Top 10 Portland dates under $10

Let’s face it, this economic slump is going to last longer than Kim Kardashians marriage did, so what’s a girl to do? My vote is to figure out cheap ways to have some fun while the world figures out how to put itself back together.

Top 10 Portland dates under $10

10. Costco. There is an endless supply of entertainment at Costco. Hot dogs and soft serve, the true American way. While I’m on the topic, you could do the same thing at IKEA
(the Swedes know how it’s done).

9. Bike from Waterfront Park to Wallace Park. Notable stops: Kenny and Zukes (rueben sliders…yummy), Salt & Straw (olive oil ice cream), and Vivace (iced coffee and crepes…yes please).

8. Oaks Park for roller skating. Bring out your inner child. If you’re feeling extra fun, hit the amusement park as well and ride the roller coaster. Nothing says young love like ice cream cones and roller coasters.

7. Roller Derby. Where else can you see ladies crush each other AND drink overpriced PBR. Most bouts are under $10, but you may find that some larger bouts cost more…don’t kill the messenger. Want more info? Click here.

6. First or Last Thursday in PDX. Whether it’s the yuppie art museum atmosphere or the dirty hippie situation you’re looking for, there two events will most likely have what you’re looking for.

5. Free concerts in the park. Portland summers team with musicians just wandering around yearning for audiences. Ok not really, but there are lots of free concerts all over town. Once Portland Parks and Rec posts the schedule, it’ll be here.

4. Avalon Theater and Nickel Arcade. Best place to accidentally brush hands, do the ol’ reach around while playing arcade games, or simply try not to beat your date too badly at buck hunter.

3. Portland Farmers Market @ PSU. What better place to buy your lady some fresh local flowers or consume delicious breakfast burritos. If you’s like to make it a true experience, ride your bike there or hop on the streetcar.

2. Patio sitting at Swift Lounge. Besides being one of my favorite local spots in the PDX, it’s also a great place to snuggle with your special friend while enjoying the best mason jar creations I’ve ever had. No matter your spirit of choice, they’ve created mind-blowing drinks that are housed in 32oz mason jars. Yes, that’s right, I said 32 ounce…you did read that correctly.

1. Cathedral Park. I’m convinced this place is magical, and may have once been home to elves or a bridge troll. The park sits directly under the St. Johns Bridge and is a GREAT place to picnic at night, especially if it’s a clear night and you can sit under the bridge and look out over the water. Or, if you’re feeling brave you can walk out onto the boat docks and watch the stars.

Go forth. Have fun. Be safe.

The ugly business of refining

Chicago's Navy Pier 2011

Newton’s first law of motion states that the velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. How funny that life works the same way. Just when we think we’re on a steady coarse; on a constant path, life zigs, and we find ourselves in a situation completely our of our control. Control is a funny thing, because what we want most is to feel safe, secure, and in control. God, however, does not call us to this same practice. He calls us to come, find rest, and let go. This is no easy feat, as it defies every fiber in our bodies (at least mine, not sure about yours).

I suppose God either has a sick sense of humor, or (and much more likely) He acts upon us, just like Newton’s first law of motion, on purpose…to refine us. To make us better than we were before. I’ll be honest, I don’t like being refined. It hurts sometimes, and it’s always a little ugly during the in-between parts. The only thing I know for sure is this: Jesus changes everything. He is fighting for me, and I have assurance that He will not leave me in want. Everything else will work itself out.

I had the privilege of seeing Aaron Strumpel this week at a house show, and this song has hauntd me since.

Arise Oh Lord
Lift up Your eyes
Don’t forget I’m helpless
Oh You lead me to waters and pastures so green
Oh You pour out Your oil and choose goodness and mercy for me
No I will not be in want
You’re with me
I will not fear
You comfort me
I will not fear

Twenty Three lyrics by Aaron Strumpel

Enter the Worship Circle: Chair and Microphone, Volume 2

Top Ten: Favorite Fall Fashions for the male persuasion

Welcome to the first of what I hope to be many Monday Top Ten lists. This one goes out to all you gentlemen out there. While everyone has different opinions on mens fashion, I’m of the opinion that men shouldn’t look like they’re trying too hard (straight men for sure), nor should they look like male models (apologies if you’re a male model). There is something to be said for a subtle elegance, even in a t-shirt and jeans. Really, it’s the man that makes the clothes regardless of what he’s wearing, whether that be a great cardigan or a pair of Warby Parker glasses, but I won’t lie that I say a man in a plaid shirt makes my heart skip a beat. Women should not be the only ones that can have a little fun with their wardrobes…

10. Nothing’s better than a good leather watch on a man. Delightfully understated.

9. Glasses. Thank you Warby Parker for making glasses cool again. And for every pair you buy,  they give a pair to someone in need.

8. The Sport Jacket. Thank you and good night. Jersey, Knit, Cotton..it honestly doesn’t matter. Men look good in jackets. I love this one with the professor patches on the elbows.

7. Colored socks. Seriously so fun! There is definitely a manly way to pull this off without looking like a circus clown. The key is to be subtle so that just a little sock peeks out. These are super fun!

6. The Cardigan. Bring it on. Stripes, cable knit, weird bunnies, reindeer, aztec print. I love them all. This one is very dude-ly.

5. Scarves. Not the girly frilly ones. The very manly kind.

4. Layering. Ladies have been mastering this for some time, but men have been on board in recent years. Be affirmed gentlemen, it’s a good good thing.

3. Boots with cuffed jeans. Yes. Always yes.

2. Plaid, in all its glorious forms. The thing about plaid is that everyone looks good in it. You can be a lumberjack or the cashier at the local mini-mart. Plaid is always a win-win.

1. Drum roll please…the number one fall fashion is the ever evolving mustache. It has made its way to the top of the list because it’s distinctly male. Tom Selleck made it famous, and men everywhere are bringing it back, and I’m a huge fan.

W-A-I-T.

When all else fails, Terri Riehl sends out an email. I have no idea how she knows…every time.

“We want what we think we need. We want what we think will make us happy.  And then, God does what we struggle with so often…He doesn’t give us what we “need,” but calls us to WAIT for what is best. Often when God does not readily give us what we want, it is because He knows what our desire would cost us. Faith sometimes means forgoing our desires because we trust Christ to have a better plan for our lives.”

Every. single. time.

Holding your breath…

For most of my life, I’ve had those moments. You know, the situations that make you hold your breath, waiting expectantly for the rabbit to appear from the hat, or for car one to impact car two, or for a sentence to be uttered; one which you may or may not want to hear. These moments  usually leave me with questions (lots of them) which swim around aimlessly in my head, waiting to be answered as all good questions do. I will also admit that I don’t like unanswered questions. The tension tends to make me want to crawl out of my skin, or more likely curl up in my bed wearing very bad sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt (very sexy I know…don’t be jealous). Then life kicked me in the butt this weekend when I was reading.

“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
in Letters to a Young Poet

In all things life, love, work, passions, interests, frustrations, and friendships, I have a strong suspicion that I have been trying to get answers, not live them (see previously referenced sweatpants moment).

So I pose the question, what does it look like to live the questions?

I’m on a mission to find out. Come along with me if you’d like. All are welcome.

Match made in heaven

In all honesty I usually write these with no title in mind, and the title usually finds its way out in the end. It’s one of the most exciting parts of the writing process for me.

Today was it. The very first day of Portland boot weather! (That sentence rightly deserves the seemingly superfluous exclamation point). This is one of my all-time favorite parts of this fine time of year. It’s almost magical how the air suddenly turns crisper, the nights seems a little longer (or really are but let’s keep up the illusion that we have no idea why), and the trees instinctively know to start shedding their leaves one at a time (even if they think it’s funny to do it all over my car) in a very slow fashion, much like the old couples that walk my street every dawn and dusk.

Boots are the best part about this slow process of change. They ring in the era of night rain and all things pumpkin flavored (seriously pumpkin if getting around these days, it you know what I mean). This year I decided to venture into the world of “real” boots. Now, I know what you’re thinking, what have you been wearing all these years? Well, not real boots apparently. I have, however, been wearing fake leather want-to-be boots that masqueraded as real boots with their fake brown leather sheen and easy style appeal. They were not, however, durable, comfortable, or weatherproof. Boots should be at least those things, if not also stylish and lets just face it, fun. Boots should show off a little personality. Buttons, zippers, buckles, black, brown, short, long, over-the-knee, flat, heeled…you name it, boots usually have it. They’re the one way to make a statement without being too over the top (in most cases).

Here’s the awesome thing about boots, you can wear them with ANYTHING; jeans, shorts, jean shorts, dresses, rompers, leggings… the list is endless. This year I was in search of the illusive “perfect boot”; one that was the prefect combo of stylish, comfortable, modern, but not too modern, fun, but not too showy, and above all classy. If I can offer one piece of advice, when spending a small fortune (which is defined differently in each woman’s mind), always go classy. I could say the same for men I suppose. You don’t want something that will sit in the back of your closet for 3 years, never to be brought out for this special time because you bought a pair of black short boots with fringe thinking it would be “so fun”, when really you knew only 20 year-old baristas with guitarist boyfriends can pull that off when you pulled out your credit card to pay. And now, all you have left is sad feeling of regret and a pair of really, really bad boots taking up precious closet space.

For me, this meant classic calf length cognac brown riding boots. I was looking for something in the department of flat, and came out with a 1″ heel (so kill me). Ladies who are 5’10” (and a half but I always round down), have a tendency to gravitate to flat shoes, unless you’re my friend Dayspring who can’t stand the thought of flat and almost always goes with a heel, and I love her dearly for it. I also desired something in the realm of “real” leather, which I happily found. Then there was the aspect of comfort. For me, I needed a boot that would be able to withstand bicycle riding, urban walking, and lots of rainy winter months, all while maintaining shape, color, and water resistance. Check part 3 off the list. Part 4 was a bit harder to pin-point. Style. It needed to have style, maintain that classic look, but have a little twist (I always need a little twist to keep things interesting). Salvation apparently came in the form of a buckle placed very intelligently at the base of the boot where the foot meets the leg, making it look like a biker boot without the biker…or the bike. My perfect boot weather boot. I had found you. Classy, stylish, hip, young (but not too young), and can be worn for years to come without any regret or appearance of trying to be a 20-year-old barista with a guitarist boyfriend.

My perfect boot for my perfect fall boot weather. A match made in heaven.