Sunday, August 30, 2009

Perfect Overcast Day

How can an overcast day be perfect or loved? Imagine riding your bike, jogging, or hiking a long distance and barely breaking a sweat. That's a Perfect Portland Overcast Day. It's not hot, it's not cold. It's not raining. It's just gray. And as you ride, jog or hike you think "gee I sure am glad it's not 95 and sunny right now." And as soon as you finish your strenuous morning activity and take a break to have an afternoon snack on the bank of the Willamette, the sun comes out and warms you. The sky has suddenly turned from gray to blue. And you fall in love with Portland all over again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pete Yorn

I heart Pete Yorn in Portland! Saturday night, August 21, Pete Yorn played The Roseland Theater on Burnside. I've been a big Pete Yorn fan since about 2001 or 2002? His album, musicforthemorningafter, is on my "records I couldn't live without" list. I love every song...almost equally. Although Kink FM (here in Portland) was the first station to play a single from that album back in 2001, he doesn't seem to have the fan following that he does back east. I'm from Nashville. And I can vouch that Nashville LOVES Pete Yorn. Nashville pretty much loves all singer songwriters...but that's a different story. This blog is about Portland! As a fan, Pete not having a huge following in Portland was a boon for me!! My husband and I stood right up front under the stage. There wasn't much elbowing or personal space infringement to get this great spot. The floor was maybe 1/3 full? Maybe 1/2? The balcony seemed to have a pretty solid crowd. Personally, I prefer our floor spot at the front. And I have to mention that I also absolutely loved Max the tambourine man! He's a huge asset to the show. He sells t-shirts at the back, but runs up on stage for various songs and rocks out on the tambourine like no one you've ever seen!! It was a great show!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The City of Roses

I heart Portland because I can walk down the street on any given June or July day and the smell of roses will drift into my nose. In the photo above Quinn and I were standing on the corner of a very busy intersection waiting for the bus and this beautiful rose bush kept us company and tickled our senses. I heart Portland because I'm raising a child who really does take time to stop and smell the roses.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Portland Providence Bridge Pedal 2009

To write about summer in Portland is often going to involve writing about bicycles. The Portland Providence Bridge Pedal is a quintessential Portland event. It truly embodies the spirit of Portland. Thousands of folks ride together criss-crossing over the Wilamette River on their chosen course: 11 Bridge, 38-mile; 8 Bridge, 24-mile; or 6 Bridge, 14-mile. The highlights of the day are crossing the Marquam and Fremont Bridges normally reserved for interstate traffic. Most people take a break atop these bridges to relish the height, the accomplishment, the views, the freedom and the scene. Live music and refreshments make the moment sweeter. Portland mayor, Sam Adams, greets riders on the Fremont Bridge handing out pocket-sized Portland by Bike maps and has his photo taken with eager participants. Down at the finish line Sunshine Dairy hands out chocolate milk and popcicles. Ahhhhh victory! And all for a good cause, too. Partial proceeds go to the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tour de Coops

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 25 from 11am - 3pm you can tour different chicken coop options around the city on the Tour de Coops. Folks will be opening their backyards to other city chicken enthusiasts and the curious. Twenty-five homes will open their backyards for this self-guided adventure in East Portland. Tickets are $10 and support the fabulous local non-profit Growing Gardens. The idea of this event makes my heart do somersaults. I love my city and all my chicken-loving friends!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Parkways

Photo: Benjamin Rue
Even from far away, I still love Portland. Today NE Portland hosted the event Sunday Parkways. The city closed off 7.5 miles of streets to car traffic. I wasn't there. I'm in Nashville right now, but I can imagine the scene. People biked, walked, jogged, maybe even stilted their way around the route. This is Portland's 2nd year to host the event. (See a really awesome movie of last year's event) And this year they added 2 more dates and 2 more quadrants of the city. NoPo hosted the event in June. And SE will host the event in August. Sunday Parkways is aimed at bringing communities together for a fun-filled, relaxed Sunday. The route joins public parks that are hubs for the days activities and food vendors as well as informational booths.

The idea of Sunday Parkways was inspired by Ciclovia, an event in Bogota, Columbia. Every week on Sunday, from 5am to 5pm, the city closes 70 miles of streets to traffic and nearly 2 million people fill the streets. People bike, walk, run, skate, dance and build community. You can watch the Bogota event on Streetfilms. What an amazing and awesome event to bring people out of their homes and bring them together!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Working Class Accupuncture

I heart affordable accupuncture. Working Class Accupuncture offers two locations in and around Portland.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Food Carts

I heart food carts! It's a phenomenon here in Portland like no other place I've ever seen...except maybe London. Food carts. Apparently it's pretty easy to obtain a permit to run a food cart. And there are tens of empty lots around the city that lease out their space to the carts. Many carts are clustered together offering a "food court" atmosphere. You might have a snack at one cart, move to another for a main course and then another for dessert. There are carts all over the city operating at all hours of the day and night. On a Saturday morning I like to head over to Flavour Spot, "home of the waffle sandwich," not to mention $1 drip coffee. The lone cart is located at the corner of NE Fremont and Mississippi on a gravel lot with picnic tables, lounge chairs and a covered area. It's adjacent to The Rebuilding Center. So what's a waffle sandwich? A waffle stuffed with bacon or sausage and maple syrup. It's delicious! On weekdays downtown there are tens of carts to choose from at lunchtime. Everything from Nepalese to Japanese to Czech to Mexican to Indian to Thai is on offer.
The late night food carts usually open around 8pm and close at 3am. There are about 5 or 6 carts at the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne. Tonight we had dessert at Perriera Creperie along with all the single-gear riding hipsters of Portland. It was a lively atmosphere. I had the simple lemon and sugar crepe. Jim had the classic nutella and banana crepe (with a splash of rum). Tim chose the chocolate and pear version. I'll be heading back to this cluster of carts in the future. I'm excited to have the poutine at Potato Champion. Check out the article in this month's Portland Monthly

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kid Friendly Establishments

I heart Portland for the many kid friendly establishments. There are kid friendly restaurants, cafes, book stores, music stores and even clothing boutiques. What determines if a place is kid/family friendly? For me, it's diversions also known as toys and books! It's so nice to walk into a boutique like Tumbleweed on Alberta and be able to browse and daydream about the beautiful gauze-y dresses while Quinn busies himself in the corner looking at books or putting together a puzzle. We frequent Helser's, also on Alberta, for their $1 kid menu and pro-wrestling figurines that keep Quinn occupied while we're waiting for our food.
One of our favorite spots for fun is Airplay Cafe located on NE 7th and Burnside. Everyday Airplay has family-friendly activities on offer. We enjoy storytime on Monday mornings at 10am. Forget about quietly sitting in a circle as a book is read. Think singing, hand motions, shakers and action packed stories. It's a great time for everyone. The kids play on the stage. The moms, dads, nannies and grammies drink coffee from big ceramic mugs. Throughout the week there are family friendly concerts, jams, sing alongs and dance parties.

A Children's Place Play Area

Here are a few of our other family favorites: County Cork Public House (chalk, books, kids menu); Cafe Destino (toys, kids table); Urban Grind (huge playroom, toys, great for moms groups); Laurelwood Public House and Brewery (family room with toys, toy corner); Bridges Cafe (toys, books); Fred Meyer on Broadway (playland 1-hour drop-off service); Ikea (toys, kids menu, kid activity centers throughout store, playland drop-off service for older kids); Powell's Books (kids reading section with small tables); A Children's Place Bookstore (storytime, reading area); Barnes & Noble Lloyd Center (Thomas train table, reading area); The Kennedy School (family concerts, the soaking pool, kid's menu); Milagros Boutique (play house, toys, family events); Grasshopper (toys, train table); Spielwerk Toys (play kitchen, toys); Trade Up Music (they have a soundproof drum room where your kid and play as loud as he/she wants!) Wow! Those are just the places I can think of off the top of my head!! I didn't even make a dent about what is on offer in SE, NW or SW!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

King Farmer's Market

Portland has many farmer's markets located around the city on different days of the week. I love the farmer's market. I especially love having one just a short bike ride from my house. The King Farmer's Market is on Sundays from 10a-2p at the King Elementary school in NE PDX on 7th ave and Wygant. It's not just a great place to shop for farm fresh local fruits and veggies, it's also a wonderful place to meet up with friends and neighbors. When I go I really feel like I'm part of a community. Today as my son, Quinn, and I wheeled up to the market we were immediately greeted with a familiar "hey, how's it going?" It wasn't someone we know really well, but a familiar face in the community. Within the first five minutes we saw another familiar face and then another. It's a warm fuzzy feeling to be part of something. There's a playground adjacent to the market and nice big grassy area shaded by trees to picnic under. After playing for awhile, Quinn is always interested in checking out the market and different samples. Today he got a Sol Pop strawberry popcicle as a special treat. And I treated myself with a Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich. Imagine this: two cinammon cookies with chocolate chips filled with espresso ice cream. YUM!! Ruby Jewel is another reason I heart portland. Check out their website here:

After playing, talking with friends and eating delicious treats it was time to shop. We picked up a lovely bouquet of flowers for only $8! Every week the flower arrangements blow me away and I can't believe they're only $8-$15 for huge, professional bouquets!! I let Quinn choose the bouquet. He was drawn to yellow and red flowers. I don't know flower names, so I'll just have to upload a picture of them. Next we headed to the berries. We got a big pint (and devoured them when we got home!) We also bought a big artichoke and Quinn informed the woman at the table that he doesn't like them with dip. He only likes artichokes. No dip. What a fun way to spend a morning! And then it was back on the bike to coast down the hill! And I've just brought up another reason that I love Portland. Riding my bike. But that's a post unto itself.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Quinn got to spend some birthday gift certificates here today. It's a fun store to visit, just up the street from our house. It has hard wood floors and tall ceilings. The walls are adorned with beautiful, whimsical artwork by Jen Mercede. Owner and designer, Kara, neatly displays her Wild Carrot children's clothing line. There are many display toys to play with and a reading corner. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. We rode our bike there this morning and came home with some super fun finds!

Jameson Square

Jameson Square Water Feature
One of the many reasons to say "i heart portland." Located in the heart of The Pearl District, Jameson Square keeps the city kids cool and entertained for hours. Moms, dads, grandparents and nannies line the perimeter on blankets with picnics or, perhaps, take-out from one of the nearby restaurants Hot Lips Pizza or Laughing Planet.

Hula Hoopers

It looks like one of many Prius you see around portland. What made me smile and think "i heart portland?" The yellow caution sticker on the left side is a Hula Hooper Crossing sign and in the back, if you look closely, are 2 hula hoops.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

People Walking

Tree lined streets. People walking. Today I walked across the street to the library to pick up a movie and a few cds. It was nearly 90 today, but the heat wasn't oppressive. It was around 2pm. As I was crossing the street to come back home I was struck by how many other people were on the sidewalk in my block alone. There were 7 of us. I smiled and thought to myself "I love this town." I love that I live in a walkable neighborhood with people who enjoy walking! What's a walkable neighborhood? It means you have businesses, schools, parks and a library within walking distance of your home. Check out the walk score of your neighborhood here: My neighborhood, Sabin, gets a walkscore of 71 out of 100. I'm happy with that. We have a very walkable neighborhood, but it remains quaint and not too busy. Because, unfortunately, if there are many places to walk to then that means there are many places that people drive to as well. Making it a high traffic area. Don't get me wrong, we have our fair share of cars in my neighborhood (especially police cars going 70mph and literally catching air over the speed bumps!) My friend, Donna, who lives in the sought after Sunnyside neighborhood located in SE between Belmont and Hawethorne gets a walkscore of 97 out of 100! Awesome. I heart Portland!