Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Weekend!

(image courtesy of Etsy)
Ah, the weekend is finally here! Hooray!
What a long 3 and a half day week it has been... But really...I'm exhausted!
What are you up to this weekend? I've earned my half-day Friday and plan on spending the afternoon on a floatie in the pool with my sweetie.
Saturday we're off for a fun-filled day in the sun as we tour Oregon wine country with some of our closest friends, followed by a good old-fashioned potluck BBQ.
I honestly can't imagine a better weekend! Hope you have one just as fantastic!

La revedere,

Portland Parks

Living in the Pearl, I've discovered so many things I didn't know about my marvelous city. One of my favorite discoveries? The number of parks (or urban oases as I like to call them) we have within miles of downtown.

My goal for the summer is to get to know as many of these parks as I can. I think my first stops will be on the East side: Mt. Tabor Park and Sellwood Park.

But for now, some pics of the impressive Laurelhurst Park I took a couple months back. I am determined to own a cute bungalow in this charming area someday!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breakfast Blessedness

Breakfast used to be my least favorite meal of the day. In fact, I rarely ate it (probably because I was sleeping in 'till 11:30 to catch my noon class...).

But now, my opinion on this blessed meal has changed. And I just have one thing to say: Breakfast, I love you.

Check out
Simply Breakfast for some inspiration on the most important meal of the day. Added bonus: This blogger has a great photo blog now, too! Bon apetit! (images courtesy of Simply Breakfast)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

City Living at its Best

This view is so much of the reason I love our apartment.
Goodnight, Friends...

Taking on Italian

I don't spend enough time with my Mom. The longer I'm officially out of the nest, the harder it seems to find my way back for a little hang out time with her. I found the perfect solution for us to get some quality time in (not sitting in her workroom flipping through mounds of fashion magazines, as usual).

We're going to take Italian classes! She actually mentioned this months ago and I'm just now inspired to go for it. Who better to learn Italian with than the person who took me there? Heck, the person who taught me to love Andrea Bocelli and Italian high-fashion. Mama, of course!

My rusty Romanian actually makes it difficult to learn another romance language (I'm constantly mixing them up, trying to blend words from both languages). Now that I have quite a few years of Spanish under my belt I'm wondering how tossing a third one in there will go... Only time will tell.

I'll keep you posted and pass on some of my learnings! Wish me luck! Now if only I could find that picture of me with that pigeon on my head in Piazza San Marco.....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Childhood Memories

(Image courtesy of Stash Studios)

This photo reminds me of my mom, and the nights I didn't want to go to sleep until she did. I say it like that rarely happened, but I spent so many nights waiting for her to finish working on her latest creation, she had to put a bed in her studio so I would sleep. Those were the days...

Portland Love: St. John's Bridge

This would be cute in our apartment!
"This gocco screen print captures a romantic walk under the St. John's Bridge. I know it isn't strictly of Portland city, but the St. John's bridge is one of the prettiest- and most inherently romantic- bridges I've seen, so I couldn't resist. Plus, a walk in the park among evergreens with birds in the distance struck me as very Oregon! The black is hand printed from an original illustration, and the red umbrellas are painted with watercolor"--Etsy
Have you ever walked under the St. John's bridge in Portland?

Summer Soundtrack: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

It just isn't summer without a summer soundtrack. You know, that CD that stays in your changer for three months straight, and no matter how many times you belt out the notes, it just never gets old? That one that makes you want to roll down the windows, take a long drive to nowhere, and sing at the top of your lungs.

Well, I found mine! The oh-so-reliable Phoenix has done it again. Their new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, has the catchy, quirky, sing-along songs that made me fall in love with them years ago (Alphabetical has been in my changer longer than I can remember). Thomas Mars' unique voice lends itself perfectly to the album's more mainstream alternative-punk vibe.

If you've never listened to Phoenix, or you're not so sure about putting the money down for the entire album, download one or all of these songs for a taste of their carefree melodies: "Everything is Everything", "Lisztomania", "Rome" and/or "1901". Hope you love them as much as I do!

Squirrelly Love

Few people share my love of squirrels. Most remind me they're a lot like rats, but with bushier tails. Which is nonsense, of course. Two people I know have the same appreciation for these little creatures? My sisters. This one's for you!
(image courtesy of enormouschampion)

How adorable is this little wooden statue? I think we all need one!

Bikes, Brunch & Bowling: Weekend Recap

Happy Tuesday everyone! How was your weekend? Hope it was nice and relaxing.

Corey and I had a great long weekend, but it was very eventful, therefore I'm not feeling very rested!

Here's a quick look at some of the festivities:

I rented us a tandem bike and we rode about 10 miles from the waterfront to Sellwood on the Springwater Corridor. We rode right along the water's edge. This was so much fun, and a beautiful way to see Portland. I highly recommend it!!
We certainly worked up an appetite on the bike ride. Luckily I had reservations for brunch on the patio at Veritable Quandary! I'm not kidding you when I say I had the best meal I've ever had here. If you get the chance to stop in soon, get the Dungeness Crab Benedict. You will not regret it. Plus, the patio is so quaint and romantic. You can't go wrong at VQ!
I think I might have gained 10 pounds this weekend! Ha! This is me with the Denfeld fam at Hopworks Urban Brewery. Fun fact: The chef here started his career as a pizza chef in the Bay Area after moving there from Philadelphia. He brings his expertise to the brewery with inventive options like the Backyard BBQ pizza, a spicy twist on a barbecue chicken pizza. And as great as the pizza was, the beer was even better. Try the cream ale (it's seasonal) if you're in the neighborhood soon. It's superb!Then it was off to Grand Central Bowl. One of my favorite places in Portland! I guess I shouldn't mention that the birthday boy got beat by a bunch of girls, should I? :P You can see more pictures here on my photo journal!

Friday, May 22, 2009


(image courtesy of

Happy Friday, Friends! I can honestly say this has been one of the longest weeks of my life, but I survived! I've got a lot to celebrate this weekend: I have a job (a better one at that!). Corey has a job. It's Corey's birthday Sunday (happy birthday you old man!). My sissy is in town from Laguna. It's a three-day-weekend. And best of all?! It's going to be hot and sunny. Bring on the festivities!

Hope you all have fabulous plans for the long weekend!

Talk Monday,

The Power of Positivity

It has been a rough week. This reminds me to keep my head up and try to smile and stay optimistic through it all. It makes all the difference.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

L.A. Weekend in Pictures

A weekend away is always great fun! It also reminds me how much I loooove Portland. Not that I need reminding :)
Dinner in Laguna with my sissy
UPGRADE!Rehearsal Dinner. Here we are with the Bride-and-Groom-To-Be.
Reception at the Cal Club was insanely gorgeous!
Back in Laguna for a quick lunch with a view (it was sunnier in Portland)...
See more pictures here on my photo journal!

Shopaholic, Not So Anonymous

Why do I do this? Why do I convince myself time-and-time-again that I can "window shop"... Just "browse"... Yeah. Right.

I'm in a predicament. I'm this close to purchasing a sweatshirt I've had my eye on for months... months people! The catch? It's two-hundred buckaroos. That's pretty steep for a sweatshirt, right? But not for the most fabulous, unique, perfect sweatshirt ever made! Right?....

Check out the pics and let me know if you think it's "two-hundred dollars cute", as I like to ask myself. But warning: I might not take your opinion. I am a shopaholic, after all.

Can't you see it? With jeans and boots.... With black tights and chunky heels... With jeans and sneakers?! (Normally, once I've gotten to the point of fantasizing about all the outfits a certain article of clothing could go with, there's no turning back...)

Citrus Sangria

We're expecting a warm weekend here in Portland. And I can't wait! I'm dreaming about long walks, picnics at Pittock, barbecuing and most of all, a refreshing batch of this Citrus Sangria. This effortless recipe takes just minutes to whip up and the results are rewarding. Enjoy!

(images courtesy of

  • 1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Albarino, Chablis, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 oranges (sliced) or may substitute 1 cup of orange juice)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 lime (sliced)
  • 1/2 liter of ginger ale or club soda (ginger ale for those with a sweeter tooth!)


Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange,lemon and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.

If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled white wine and serve over lots of ice.

Recipe courtesy of

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I wish I was British. Then I could say "Brilliant!" every five words! Love it.

I'm Not Crazy

(photo courtesy of
Have you ever passed someone on the street and thought they looked awfully suspicious? Or heard a strange sound in your house and assumed it was a burglar? A study on the Web site PsychCentral found that these paranoid feelings are more common than one might think.

I guess I can rest assured that I'm not the only paranoid soul out there! Phew!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I've never been much of a Fourth of July fan (I truly am Euro at heart!), so Corey and I are taking advantage of the three-day weekend and heading out of the country for a much-anticipated trip to Victoria, B.C.

I am so excited, and the vacation planning freak in me has already started plotting where we will stay, eat, play. Here are a few of the contenders:

Butchart Gardens

(image courtesy of
Needless to say, it's beautiful. But a perk for us: "June through September, musical entertainment is provided free Monday through Saturday evenings. You can even watch fireworks displays on Saturdays in July and August." Guess we won't miss the 4th of July festivities after all!

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress

(image courtesy of
If you go to Victoria, you can't miss it.. It's one of the city's grandest traditions! I plan on devouring pastries made by award-winning pastry chef D'Oyen Christie. Yummmm...

A Bike Ride Along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail

(image courtesy of
We can take in the scenery in slow-motion. This trail is 40-miles-long. You can see everything from dark, hidden lakes to majestic canyons and even some rainforest.

Picnic at Beacon Hill Park

(image courtesy of
Considered the jewel of Victoria's parks, Beacon Hill Park is the perfect place to lay a blanket down and enjoy both the natural and landscaped beauty. There's a water park on the grounds and even a petting zoo for the kids (and me).

Hope we find the time to see these attractions and many more!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Frugal Portland

(picture courtesy of
Looks like the secret's out: Portland rules! Matt Gross, writer of the New York Times Frugal Traveler blog, recently visited our fair city and wrote a hefty entry on everything from First Thursday in the Pearl to the 1.9 mile track encircling the Nike campus in Beaverton. I appreciated the post for touching on well-known aspects of Stumptown (our bike friendly, liberal nature), but more for paying well-deserved attention to some of our city's unsung hero's (our cheap, delish food carts & our "functional but chic" fashion sense).

Good thing we have the rain and grey skies to keep people away, or Rip City would be filled to the rafters!

Until tomorrow,

Passion for Peonies

(image courtesy of
If you love Peonies as much as I do, you won't miss the Passion for Peonies event being held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. The Peony is the unofficial flower of China, treasured for its "large, sumptuous blooms and elegant foliage". You can stop by to browse and buy these gorgeous flowers between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, until May 31st. See you there!

Is One the Loneliest Number?

Yesterday (Mother’s Day) I hosted the ladies of the fam over at my new apartment for a little dinner party to celebrate our mamas. It was so fun reversing roles for a night, although I’m pretty sure I couldn’t handle that role permanently… Anna, Julie and I cooked a delectable dinner while the moms sat back and relaxed with a glass of Prosecco.

When our bellies were full and the dishes were done, the ladies of the fam left me…. Alone.

The moment I shut the door confusion and dread consumed me. I realized I forgot how to be alone. Corey and I have only been living together for a month and a half, and yet having someone by my side 24/7 has already become normal. If I’m not with him, I’m having happy hour with friends, or going out for a movie with my mom… I’m always with someone.

At first, I couldn’t shake that feeling that something was amiss. But that feeling subsided as soon as I realized my mom brought me my new issue of Glamour (there are few things that get me more excited than a new issue of Glamour…but that’ll have to be for a different day…).

Anyhow, memories of my SSBs (secret single behavior…Sex & The City, anyone?) came rushing back. I felt completely content cuddling up in my cloud-like comforter, reading my magazine in complete and utter silence, all by my lonesome. Maybe one isn't the loneliest number after all?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Balcony Bliss

Spring has been making some sporadic visits recently. This weekend, for example, the temperatures are supposed to reach the 70s here in Portland. Of course, the rain is returning on Monday, but that's beside the point...

Corey and I are almost done furnishing and decorating our new apartment. The one space we haven't done anything with? The balcony. It boasts an incredible view of the city, but the space is limited. I've been looking for inspiration on how to make it a cozy and comfortable place to read the morning paper or sip a glass of wine while the sun sets. Here's my favorite so far:

(picture courtesy of flickr)


With a 3-year-old daughter, a well-established career and her entire family to lose, Elizabeth Kollo fled the communist country she called home to try for a better life in the land of freedom... America.

1984: In a country where she knew nobody and did not speak the language, Ms. Kollo managed to succeed beyond anyone's expectations. Working as a pattern maker for world-renowned designer James Galanos, Elizabeth perfected her trade. More than 20 years later she is a noteworthy local designer in Portland, OR. And lucky for me, she's my Mom.

The wisdom, talent and positivity my Mom has to offer this world is unending. Of course, we've all been through hardships and many of us have come out on top. But few people can say they've escaped a communist country, raised three children alone in the face of bankruptcy and re-established herself as a one-of-a-kind clothing (and handbag) designer in a city not known for its impassioned fashion sense, but rather for its liberal beliefs and tastes. She is simply one-of-a-kind.

There are so many stories I could tell, so many things I could say. There's no time or room here to even begin to scratch the surface of how incredible and indescribable my mother is. Someday, I will share her story with the world in a book about her life. Until then, I dedicate this post to her and wish her a Happy Mother's Day. To the most amazing person I will ever know...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ink & Peat

Have you ever noticed how flowers and plants can transform a house? I think they’re the finishing touch that really make a house a home. This concept takes bloom at Ink & Peat in North Portland.

"ink & peat is a lifestyle store which combines a clever mix of modern, vintage, and organically-inspired elements: a hand-selected array of unique home decor products combined with fresh floral designs."

(photos courtesy of

Looks like a little piece of heaven to me!