Welcome to Portland

It was easy to find the trendy restaurants while in Portland, thanks to their website

My reviews of my Portland Oregon experience are on TripAdvisor here: Voodoo Doughnut, Hopworks Urban Brewery and BEST WESTERN Inn At The Meadows.

I especially liked the 24hr gourmet doughnut shop, Voodoo Doughnut

Lemon ‘Kesey’ psychedelic, old fashioned chocolate, Oreo Vanilla and maple bacon from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon.

Grass is always greener

So I just got back from my internship in Long Beach, California. To say the least it was an amazing experience.

Now for my story:

It was August and I had the day off. A nice thing since I had upped my hours to 5 or 6 full days a week (that a lot when it’s all unpaid). I had already done my laundry, cleaned my room and surfed the net. Believe it or not I was bored of the Internet. I found myself wishing I had my junk from back home. In an effort to pack light I hadn’t brought all my ‘stuff’ with me to California. For the most part it was nice to have a clean slate with only the essentials. But that one day I was bored and wished I had some craft supplies or even some old papers to sort through.

Now fast forward to the present, where I am back to sharing a room with my sister, unloading all my stuff from California into a room that is already stuffed with stuff. All I could do was sit and stare at it all; it was too overwhelming to even begin to pack my things away, let alone break out the craft supplies. I longed for the simplicity I had found when I was away from home.

I know now that I want to move out, so my current project is to try and find the happy medium between my current overfilled room and the minimalist existence I had in California.

I’m going to go sort through my closet now.

Taking it in



There are days when you don’t even have to catch a wave to enjoy surfing. Today was one of them.

It began when I woke up at 7 without my alarm, usually I can’t get myself out of bed till 8 or 9 and by then the beach gets crowded. But for once I had gone to sleep just a little earlier and this made all the difference. Waking up without an alarm was win number one.

When I opened my eyes a strange glow peaked through my blinds. I realized it was sunny out and the birds were chirping. The end of June gloom was win number 2.

With the sun shining it was easy to get my things together quickly and strap my board to my car. I headed for seal beach almost forgetting to check the surf forecast before I left. Upon arrival the forecast was confirmed. The waves were beautiful, big enough to challenge me but easy enough to paddle through. Win number 3 was followed by the 4th win of the morning. I got to wear my new wetsuit with pink and purple stripes on the arms and legs. It looked sharp with my purple board.

Sitting in the line up I wasn’t worried about getting creamed by a wave, I got to think about nothing at all and take in the scenery. I watched the terns diving for fish just a few feet away. It was magical.

When a wave did come there wasn’t a lot of face to ride. The drop was nearly vertical even thought the waves were on the small side. I did manage to finally get a good drop towards the end.

Even though I didn’t stand up fully I got to spend some time with the ocean. That’s the best way to start the day.

Plastic free cosmetics

In my quest to go plastic free I encountered a dilema. There a virtually no alternatives to plastic encased mascara, even the wands i love are plastic. I bought my mascara anyways, but when I got home I got thinking. What about my shampoo, and my cleanser and my moisturizer and shower gel!!! Even my shower pouf is likely plastic. THen I remembered over hearing a converstion in the office. Some one was talking about how she was in love with lush and its organic shampoos.

Lush, that soap company from when i was a kid, my mom loved it and i often gave soaps and bath bombs- they were the best- to my friends as birthday gifts. I was surprised to hear some one so enthusiastic about some thing that was so nineties and so ubitquitous in my life at that time.

So remembering that a lot of their soaps were cut from larger blocks and left unpackaged or at most wrapped in some brown paper, they would likely have some great plastic less alternatives. How forward thinking of them!

Upon perusing their website these following items will be in my basket the next time I need my bathroom essentials:

Soothing Calamine Cleanser- $9.75 @ http://www.lushusa.com

Almost too many solid shampoos to choose from- this is my pick for its volumizing claims and ocean theme 🙂

Seanik shampoo bar- $10.95 @ http://www.lushusa.com

The only solid conditioner they have:

Jungle solid conditioner- $7.95 @ http://www.lushusa.com

Each bar is only a couple of ounces so it’ll be interesting to see how long they last. Going from drug store $3 shampoo this might be a splurge, though it’s comparable to salon prices. Lets hope the results are too!

A blue encounter

I remember watching a David Attenborough BBC film and he was talking about the blue whale. How its heart is the size of a VW beetle and some blood vessels are so wide you could swim down them. The segment wraps with a shot of the blues tail lifted up out of the water, ‘as wide as a small aircrafts wings’ it stretched out wider than the edges of the screen. After I saw that I thought to myself, if I ever see a blue whale I will be the luckiest person alive. It seemed as probable as seeing a real live unicorn. Only a dedicated researcher or well-funded film crew could be privileged enough to see such an amazing creature. The one and only largest animal that ever lived. And today I saw it. Not just one but two.

WOW. Everything I’ve heard is true, the blow really is tall and they really do have a long body, the dorsal fin is really far back. Once the whale surfaced along side of the boat and I started taking pictures blind;  I was so excited I couldn’t even look straight through the view finder. When I calmed down I got the hang of seeing the turquoise colour in the water where it was cruising just under the surface.  I was almost able to predict when it was about to surface and blow. I got some decent photos, even the ones from far away turned out to be usable. Next time I should definitely take more pictures, it’s easy enough to delete the really bad ones. I can’t wait until I go out again!

Thinking about cultural differences

Today at work someone asked what cultural differences I was experiencing after moving from Canada to the USA. It’s kind of interesting now that I have been here in California for over a week some things have become more noticeable and some stereotypes are less.

I remember the first few days, a lot of the interactions I had were tinged with my preconceptions that Americans are less polite than Canadians. But looking back, anywhere you go there are going to be nice people and people in a hurry and people with other things on their mind.

Anyways, now that I am fully immersed I can notice some of the subtler things that remind me I am in another country. For one the patriotism here  is amazing. American flags are everywhere. Talking with my coworker about this she told me how there are people who go on their daily jog and carry an American flag for no reason at all. That is ridiculous. Canadians in my experience have only ever been that patriotic if they are IN the Canada Day parade or during the Vancouver Olympic games. The rest of the time we couldn’t care less about demonstrating our nationality. The interesting thing I learned though is that my coworkers saw the intense national pride as sometimes annoying. I guess it could get tiresome to see intense displays of pride for your country day after day. When I see a proud Canadian wearing a flag as a cape I applaud them, but if I cheered every time I saw an American flag I would have very little energy left for other things.

There is something to be said for moderation though it’s great to see so many people united by a symbol like the American flag and the fact that they celebrate it everyday is commendable. Perhaps Canadians could stand to be a little more ‘out there’ when it comes to celebrating our country.

Discovered the hazards of road trips

In the past 6 days I have driven down the pacific coast to a new country, met my roommate, and gone to Disneyland. Today I also was finally able to do some unpacking and decorating in my bedroom.

On the first day of driving I learned a lot. Like any road trip we started out fresh but as time wore on we wore out. The hope was to make it to Grants Pass Oregon on that first day. It was a long haul but we did it.

Google maps

We stopped for dinner near Salem about 4 hours before Grants Pass. We were probably 2 hours out from Grants pass on the I-5 when it started to get dark. We were in trucker territory, with the only civilization being small towns, with names like ‘Drain’ and ‘Hugo’, separated by rolling hills and farmland. We were low on gas and going to stop at the next station we could find. Then we came across a sign, “Next Rest stop in 2 miles”, then “No rest stop for 60 miles”. No rest stop for 60 miles! Did that also mean no Gas stations? We pulled into the Rest stop to check the GPS for the nearest Gas station. The few that it listed were all in the direction we had come from, and there was no way to cross over the highway to go back in that direction. The GPS gave us directions to go ahead a few miles then use an exit and overpass to go back towards the last town.

It felt like hours before we got to the exit. Once we exited and were over the highway we missed the turn back onto the I-5 in the other direction. Instead we were on a local road that went parallel to the highway. We thought we could follow it along until we got to the gas station but then we saw the sign: No turnaround, dead-end. This particular road was narrow with no shoulder that dropped into a small ditch on both sides, deep enough to bottom out my little car. It was also long and windy and we were running lower and lower on gas. On a straighter stretch we made a the tight 3 point turn around; my car was as long as the road was wide. Then we were back on track, sort of. We didn’t miss the turn onto the highway the second time but it was getting darker and the gas level lower. The worst thing would be to be stranded on the side of the freeway in the middle of nowhere, at night. We were also very tired at this point so everything seemed like a crisis. We drove back along the I-5 and made it to the gas station. We filled up and were on our way. Distracted by our success, we got back on to the I-5 in the wrong direction. We had to proceed to find another exit to turn around. By the time all the turns had been corrected we were headed in the right direction we had lost at least half an hour, and about 40 miles. The kicker was that shortly (less than 60 miles) after that ‘last rest stop for 60 miles’ was a small town with a couple of gas stations, and more towns with gas stations after that. So really we had done all those maneuvers for nothing.

Turned birthday cards into home decor

I never like to throw out greeting cards. Given its March my birthday cards are already rolling in adding to my ever growing stash of Christmas and Valentines cards. Instead of leaving them to clutter my desk, I took some old leftover raffia and tied the cards into a little stack. The effect is cute and organized; the bow turns the clutter into a great decoration.

I love decorating my room with unique knick-knacks that reflect my personality and experiences, every item should tell a story. Why not have something that reminds you of all the friends that love you?  By tying the cards together they are also kept organized by year or holiday. So when I am tired of  the decor or get a new stack of cards, I can just toss the old ones into a drawer or decorative box and replace them with a new stack. You could even change them with the seasons for a more festive look!

Used Google street view

I will be relocating to Long beach California this summer and am currently searching for an apartment.

The problem is I have never been to long beach and have no idea what part of town would be best.

Thankfully we have google. I can find apartment complexes then cross reference their addresses on google maps and street view. I can see which neighborhoods have chain link around their yards and which have expansive lawns… always an indicator of the neighborhood’s priorities 🙂


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