Archive for ‘365 Days of What I Love’

November 29, 2011

What I Love… A compilation of things from Oahu to Portland to Salt Lake City

It’s been busy couple of months and I have not had time to sit down and write about the things I love, but here are a few that will guarantee a smile and even a laugh – in random order:

1. Go to a warehouse filled with trampolines and jump your little heart out. I not only worked on my front flip into a giant pile of soft blocks, but I managed to dance to Santagold while jumping in the air. This is very challenging but very rewarding. Dodgeball on trampolines is fun and I couldn’t stop laughing when I fell. Racing on trampolines can be fun too; just as my friend fell, I looked back to see what was happening and then I fell. We’re special and I couldn’t stop laughing. Thanks B for taking us, it was a blast.

2. Go to Hawaii. I feel like I should write an entire blog about this one, but I will save that for later.

3. Surf. It’s fun and I stood up on my first day. My instructor was adorable and we had a lot of fun. My arms were exhausted afterwards. It was fun to be out there in the waves with all the other surfers. They all knew each other and loved the sport. All the different instructors were giving their students and other students tips. They were all just having fun. Even a surfing legend, Buttons, gave me pointers.

4. Sea kayak on a windy day. I went with a guide though and was glad that I did because the waves were 3 to 4 feet at times. Afterwards, it felt like I ran a marathon and I was pretty proud of myself.

5. Go on a trip with your mom alone. As much as I wished that my sisters could have come with my mom and me on our trip to Hawaii, I was glad that I got to go on a trip alone with her. We had a blast and I feel that I got to know things about her that I never knew before.

6. Salsa dance.

7. Brunch at Equinox . This is a cute little restaurant near Mississippi St. in Portland. The food was amazing and the company was even better.

8. Go to a dueling piano bar. I have always wanted to go and my friends indulged me this past Saturday and we went to Keys on Main in Salt Lake City, UT. It was silly, but fun.

9. Go to Blue Plate Diner in SLC. It reminded me of one of my favorite brunch spots in Portland, Stepping Stone, and made me a little homesick.

10. Stop by Epic brewery in SLC. They won’t let you taste the beer there, state regulation forbids it (oh Utah!), but you don’t need to. I have yet to try one that I didn’t like.

11. Go to High West Distillery in Park City, UT. It’s the only Whiskey distillery in Utah. The food was great and the whiskey even better. It has a country, barn atmosphere and I fell in love with their frosted, blue glass water bottles that I just had to buy. Their gift store made a killing off of us. I still want to go back for one of their vintage, metal signs.

12. Find a thinking spot and go and plot and plan your life. I mentioned mine earlier, but every time I go, I love it even more. I feel like I don’t have to worry about anything except just being there and breathing. I’ve come up with some brilliant schemes including going back to school and more creative ideas for my writing and my jewelry.

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November 15, 2011

What I Love… Meeting New People

Over the last few months, I have met some amazing people. Some of them I now consider dear friends that I love spending time with and others were just people I met in passing. Regardless, of whether or not these people have stayed in my life or not, I have loved every minute of it. I have even been forcing myself to go out and do things by myself in order to meet new people. I have made an effort at the grocery store to talk to people standing in line or gone to meetup groups to make new friends.  It can be nerve wrecking, but fun. A bit of advice I learned is that everyone is nervous in a room full of strangers, well the majority of people. I even have friends who I consider to be outgoing and gregarious and they even tell me it makes them nervous to be in a room full of strangers. I would have never guessed, but it really opened my eyes to see someone else’s perspective.

A smile and a hello can go a long way. It really does disarm people and make them feel comfortable. My goal recently is to try and make other people feel comfortable instead of focusing on me feelings of being uncomfortable. It helps and breathing helps too. I have even gone as far as buying books full of questions to ask people for ideas. I know it seems silly and I’ll admit I’m a nerd, but there are so many question books out there – books about questions to ask friends, families, strangers, books full of questions to start conversations. I was astonished at how many books were out there , but relieved I wasn’t the only one that has trouble starting a conversation in a room full of strangers or at networking events. A little tangent about these books…. it’s fun to think about what my answers would be too! I’m learning a lot about myself along the way. I think that learning more about ourselves is also the beautiful part about meeting new people, it opens us to new ways of being and thought. To learn new hobbies or take an interest in different kinds of music, philosophies, books, etc. It gets us out of our boxes and routine, which I hold is incredibly healthy for our psyches.

I think from now on out, one of my goals every month, or maybe week, is to do something that involves new people. I really need to look into volunteering.

November 3, 2011

What I Love… Handwritten Letters

I always have loved getting cards and letters in the mail. It’s nostalgic and one of my favorite things. It shows that someone took the time to write out their thoughts, put the card/letter in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and remembered to drop it in the mail. The effort is much more than a text, an email, a Facebook message and it holds more meaning. Our handwriting shows a side of us that not many people get to see, especially in this day in age where we have become so digital.

Yesterday, I was thinking about how much I wanted to get a card or a letter in the mail, besides the typical magazine, junk mail or credit card application and as I picked up the mail, I saw it. A card written by two of my friends that I adore. It made my day. I don’t think I’m the only one that loves getting a card or letter in the mail. I sometimes think it’s sad that we don’t get more! And why don’t more people send postcards? We always get to be so busy when we’re traveling and it seems to be forgotten, but it doesn’t need to be.

I have recently been thinking about how I would love to write more letters and send them to my friends and family. Even a couple days ago, I went to a stationary store in search of  single sheets of paper stationary. I was shocked when all I could find were cards and no sheets. Don’t get my wrong, I love cards and could probably spend hours, if not days in Paper Source and Presents of Minds looking at their cards, but I was on the search for paper where I can write more than just one page worth of words and thoughts.

I love writing, I love crafting my thoughts together in sentences. I love editing and I love handwriting – although, I do not love my handwriting, I still love the act of doing it. I love handwriting birthday and holiday cards to family because I feel that I can be more open and honest, more eloquent about my true feelings. I even love the act of tearing up a piece of paper or crumpling when it wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it to be. It take much more effort to re-write an entire letter after a mistake or when we say something we don’t want to.

A handwritten letter or card is sincere, thoughtful. I love the holidays because it’s always a certainty that we will get at least one card and if you don’t get any, send me a message and I’ll send you one!

October 25, 2011

What I Love… St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park

I had been across the St. Johns Bridge several times and had already decided it is my favorite bridge in Portland. It does not surprise me that many of my friends that I have talked to about it recently have agreed that it is their favorite bridge too. After all, it is the most photographed bridge in Portland for a reason – it is stunning. Set against the hills of Forest Park and Cathedral Park, the tall suspensions make the bridge look graceful and even peaceful as it floats above the river. Even with the rush hour traffic crossing the bridge, the hustle and bustle of the day doesn’t seem to taint the serenity of the bridge. When the sun set over the bridge, it took my breath away. If you walk across the bridge you will see people walking, biking, or running across it, but you can also see those who stop to take the moment in and reflect there. It is an inspiring place to think.

My favorite part of walking across the bridge was looking down into the park below and watching friends, lovers, and people walk through it. I had never spent any time at Cathedral Park, which is just below the bridge and when I walked through it, I realized how beautiful it was. I plan to go back there sometime soon for another stroll. I could stop and take a breath while I was there and immediately feel relaxed. Walking down to the water was wonderful and not what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be industrial near the water, but  the park extends out to the boat dock. I even managed to make a friend while I was watching the sunset. He lived nearby and was sitting watching the sunset smoking his pipe, reflecting about his long distance girlfriend and how much he missed her. He talked about the Blues & Jazz festival they had at the park this past summer and how every Saturday he saw a wedding there. I decided that when I meet the right one to marry and have children with, that is where I want to get married.

Needless to say, I finally found my “mountain”. It’s not on the bridge, while beautiful to walk across and with an amazing view of the hills and even beyond, it’s not it. My mountain is somewhere in that park. I won’t say where it is, but I finally found my place to get inspired and to sit, think, reflect, plan, plot and scheme about my life.

October 24, 2011

What I Love… Mum’s Kitchen

I’ve been wanting to eat at the Mum’s Kitchen food cart off of Fremont and Vancouver all summer since it’s just a few blocks from where I work, but I only managed to make my way over there today. I saw my chance to take advantage of a sunny, gorgeous autumn lunch and knowing there won’t be many more of them left, I strolled over there early to make sure I got back before a noon meeting.

I first saw Mum’s a couple years ago after I moved to NE Portland and had caught myself wondering what kind of food it was, but I never stopped since I was always on my way somewhere else, usually to work or to head downtown. Even though, over the past couple years I have heard great reviews for Mum’s, I was still pleasantly surprised by not only great food but a pleasant welcome by the owner. We talked for several minutes about where she was from and why she was here, we both talked about our families and how sometimes we miss our friends and family who now live far away from us. I realized how lucky that I am to be able to travel back home to see those that I love easily.

She gave me samples of what she had been cooking and what was ready for lunch and I was torn between two options, but finally committed on a pork curry that was delicious and spicy. For $7.50 I received a plateful of food that I could not even finish. I’m excited to have enough leftovers to enjoy round two of this amazing food.

I haven’t eaten much Indian food, in fact this was only my second time eating genuine Indian food, albeit from a cart whose owner hails from South Africa and not India – the world is such a small, yet large place. After my first experience of Indian at a buffet, which was good, but not amazing, I wasn’t in a rush to go back for seconds, but after this experience and the hopes of eating fresh pumpkin before it’s out of season, I will be back at Mum’s Kitchen soon.

October 17, 2011

What I Love…. The Smell of Fall

Today was a beautiful fall day. Somehow fall finally seemed to arrive over the weekend. The leaves, which have been hinting at changing colors the last couple weeks have finally started to change and even fall. I can hear the fallen leaves shuffle as people walk by my closed bedroom window. This morning was even brisk, I caught myself shivering in my car turning the heat up to high – something I haven’t really needed to do yet. My favorite part though was walking outside my office this morning to grab coffee from across the street and I could smell chai mixed with brisk, fresh autumn air. I loved it. While I had a wonderful summer, one of the best in Portland, I’m ready for the seasons to change and even rain.

I think every season has a distinct smell. My favorites being fall and late spring. The autumn smell brings back memories of Halloweens past, my favorite holiday. The smell of chili reminds me of the chili bread bowls my mom used to make growing up. The smell of pumpkin spice lattes remind me of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and the amazing pumpkin bread that my mom makes. It was one of my favorite things to have pumpkin bread for breakfast before school. I suppose my favorite smells of the season are cinnamon, nutmeg, chai, and pumpkin. Even now I find myself wanting to add cinnamon to my coffee in the morning. Something I don’t typically do, but I love the taste in the fall.

I love fall. It’s strange to think about that now. I used to not love it because it meant the pending icy, cold weather was coming and I could no longer sit and bask in the sun, but now I get to drink my porters and my stouts, my hot chai tea, cuddle up with a book on the couch without feeling guilty, snuggle under my covers to keep warm, wear cute boots, hats and my favorite jackets. I have a feeling that fall is going to be as amazing as this past summer, but possibly even better.

September 10, 2011

What I Love.. Pike’s Place Market

I spent the last week in Seattle to celebrate my sister and brother-in-law welcoming a beautiful baby girl into the family and to celebrate another year of work with my co-workers. While there, I managed to make it to Pike’s Place Market, not once, but twice. The first time, I went with my mom and my nephew for fun and did the typical main market walk. The second excursion was with my co-workers through a Pike’s Place Market food tour. Not only did I get to sample amazing food, I learned that the market is much larger than I ever even anticipated. There were so many small nooks and cranny’s to explore and I hope to make it back there on my next visit to try out some of the finds that I discovered again or that were recommended. My favorite new find has to be The Crumpet Shop that serves tea and crumpets. I had never had a crumpet before, but found it quite delightful.

August 30, 2011

What I Love… My Laughing Buddha

For the last couple of years I have been in search of a small Buddha to put on my desk as a reminder to be compassionate,  to love, and to be happy. I haven’t been able to find any that I fell in love with or in the size I wanted, but on Sunday, I managed to find the perfect one that I related to what I wanted in my life. He isn’t a sitting meditating Buddha, but an active, laughing Buddha. His belly sticks out as he grabs a breath of air and his mouth is open wide, laughing full of joy. This is what I want for myself.

I read an article yesterday that was about how our spaces can be a reflection of our personalities. It said that our organization shows our conscientious side or that if we have unique art and a wide  variety of books in our library we tend to be more open. I was so intrigued by the article, I added the book it was based off of to my library queue. The personality trait that made me laugh the most though was that they said those of us who show sayings and quotes in our spaces are neurotic, anxious and that we show these quotes as a way to soothe and tell ourselves it’s all right. I’m not sure I agree with this completely, but to a small extent I will admit that I can be. I tend to be anxious sometimes and when I look at the quotes that I have surrounding my desk they do put me at ease, but I also believe what I think expands into my life. I don’t mind little reminders like a laughing Buddha to remind me to have more love, compassion and joy in my life.

I know I don’t need these  quotes and sayings or a laughing Buddha in my space to remind me of my goals and what I want in my life, but they do make me smile and I will let them reflect into my life.

August 27, 2011

What I Love… Creating Something

My mind has been going  non-stop lately.  It even wakes me up at 3:30 am and doesn’t allow me to fall back to sleep. Thankfully, I managed to sleep in past 8 this  morning. I feel more normal now, but in order to attempt to get my mind to be quiet, I sat and listened to a podcast and made jewelry this afternoon. It was great to just tune out for an hour and make something, instead of worrying about everything that I need to do today, tomorrow, next week, this year, next year. I was right here, right now making something. It was wonderful. I have more projects to do, but I keep putting them off because I run out of time, but I realize how important it is to stop for a moment and get lost in something, right here, right now.

August 25, 2011

What I Love… The Idea of Soulmates

I believe that we gravitate to like minded people or souls and that those people are messengers that challenge us, make us question our way of being and our beliefs in a way that we have no choice but to grow, transform, evolve. Although, I have previously struggled with the idea of soulmates, until recently. I thought of soulmates as being synonymous with “the one”, “the one” person we are supposed to marry and spend the rest of our lives with. How is it possible that there could only be “one” person out there for us when there are so many people in the world that we will never even meet? What if our one soulmate lived in another country and we never had the chance to meet. I always thought that would be tragic.  Although, I suppose the theory is that soulmates are meant to meet. My cousin challenged me recently by saying that it’s possible to have more than one soulmate in our lives. This opened up this whole new world of possibilities. I know I’ve had many soulmates in my life that got me to this moment here now.

Lately, I have been thinking about all my past relationships with friends, family, and ex-boyfriends. What kept me coming back to the idea of a soulmates was knowing I had grown in such a way that my life has changed forever because of the lessons I learned from those relationships. While I’m still me, I have changed, or should I say grown, in ways that it’s hard for me to even recognize myself from who I was six months ago after my last breakup. How could he not have been a soulmate?  I know I wanted to deny it for awhile, but the truth is any relationship I have in the future will be changed forever, from friends to family to lovers. There was a lot that I needed to learn, I hate to say that I was naive when it came to relationships, maybe even a little selfish, but I’m beginning to realize what’s important in a relationship for me and what’s not.

Thinking about this made me think of all the significant people in my life  that have challenged me, forced me to evolve, to open my eyes to new ways of living, being, existing. These really do encompass a broad range of people that are still in my life or once were in my life, my parents, my friends, my lovers. If we really do have many soulmates in our lives then it must also mean that some come and go quickly, while others stay in our lives year after year.

To all of those soulmates who have been there to help me grow, to all of those who have been on my journey with me, to all of those who have challenged me and forced me to grow, and to all of those that made me see my blind spots so that I could grow, thank you. To all of you in my life, thank you. I hope that I have helped you as much as you have helped me.