Portland Minute: Pride Parade, in Photos


A couple Sundays back, Joe and I met up with Sam, Bryan and José on the corner of Broadway and Davis for Portland’s Pride Parade. Other than the one I have a vague memory of attending in Victoria over a decade ago, this was the first Pride I’ve been to.

As some of you probably know, Oregon recently legalized gay marriage, joining 18 other states who have made marrying your partner possible no matter who you are or who you love. Hopefully the U.S. will catch up to Canada eventually, and legalize gay marriage nationwide. I would LOVE to see this happen in my lifetime.

In light of the progress, it felt like a particularly exciting time for a parade.




A friend mentioned seeing a naked dude in red heels at the last Pride she went to in Portland, so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. But I was really impressed by the huge cross section of the city’s businesses and organizations that participated, showing their support for the LGBTQ community.







One of the coolest aspects was seeing so many different churches taking part. It’s often perceived that most organized religious groups don’t support the LGBTQ community, so it was wonderful to witness people from a range of churches participating in the event. I saw one man holding a sign that said “Walking with my boyfriend and supportive Mormon mom.” A woman from another group carried a sign that read, “Who am I to judge?”

These paraders are from the First Congregational United Church of Christ.


This car was representing Hillsdale Community Church, United Church of Christ.


And these are Unitarian Universalists.


I’m pretty sure these guys weren’t with their church group.



A few more folks who caught my eye…




And this was our parade posse. :)


If we’re in Portland this time next year, I definitely want to check out the parade again. Joe works at OHSU, one of the city’s main hospitals which was a participant, so maybe we’ll even walk in it in 2015.

What about you guys? Did any of you see or walk in the Pride Parade where you live? I’d love to hear!

Coming soon, notes and photos from our Victoria vacation…we lucked out with amazing weather the entire 10 days we were there.

Have a great Sunday, friends.


A Portland Minute: Almost-June Picnic

It was Joe’s idea.

I just sent the message.

Hey friends! We are overdue for hanging out. The time has come. Joe and I would love to get together with you all this Saturday afternoon for a picnic. Around 1ish at Washington Park? Who’s in? Dianna has already said yes, so it’s officially happening/going to be a party. I’m envisioning food, blankets, frisbee, a dog or two… Let’s DO THIS. Let us know! xox

Magically, everyone had the afternoon free, so this happened:


A gathering which involved nine of us and a messy picnic table with curried egg salad, brie and crackers, Juanita’s chips and homous, far too many chocolate chip cookies, a baguette, spicy guacomole, moscato, strawberries, and a variety of beers and ciders, which we were quickly told by the Washington Park ranger dudes needed to be out of sight. Someone was smart enough to bring red plastic cups. Thirst quenched.

Also, there was frisbee (which I had every intention of playing but never did due to prioritizing chatting on the grass with Sara and Bryan) and three dogs: Oscar, Italia, and Charlie. A toddler-age boy named Milo who belonged to the family of picnickers next to us spent over an hour tracking down sticks and calling out, “Charlie! I got a stick for you!”, then throwing them to the pup—a little black cocker spaniel who belongs to our friends Dianna and Evan. They got engaged the next day. (Congrats, guys!). This had nothing to do with the picnic or the toddler, but is very cool news on the Portland front.

End of May/early June last year I was in Saskatchewan, still fending off winter. I mean, I was born a prairie girl, but seriously, my feelings are that this time of year should look pretty much exactly how it does in this picture.

Spring in Portland: Thank you.


(Photo credit: Samuel Dunlop)

In Bloom (Or, hello everyone…)

I feel like I went to the Q show with Jian Ghomeshi a month ago and then disappeared into some sort of blogging rabbit-hole vortex where all the posts I was writing never actually made it out of my brain and onto the blog.

It happens every once in a while.

Well, not the Q show (which was really good, by the way) followed by a rabbit hole, but the sudden and slightly prolonged silence on my site. Life! I want to write so much about you, but sometimes I can’t keep up in real time.

No matter. I’m back. With flowers…




…from our patio. These purple guys bloomed while Joe and I were in Victoria for 10 days, visiting family and a bunch of friends. I was so pleased because we chose the succulents for this planter at a big plant event here called Hortlandia, and were told by the woman who sold them to us that some of them would flower, but we had no idea what the flowers would actually look like.


There are actually twice as many blooms now as these photos are showing (they were taken last week.) Every evening they close up into little buds, and every morning they open. It’s a daily explosion of purple here on the Flanders St. patio, and it makes me really happy.

Flowers 10


Mostly, I just wanted to say hello! I’ll post about our Victoria trip soon, along with a few notes on the weekend I spent in Arizona at the end of April, and a new Portland Minute, and some of the other thoughts and images I’ve been arranging in my mind over the last few weeks…

Happy May/almost June, friends!


Tonight: Q, Live in Portland

Going to my first-ever live radio show tonight!


For my non-Canadian readers—Q is an arts, culture and entertainment show on CBC, hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. I’m a huge fan. I listen to it every morning. Ghomeshi does really compelling, thoughtful interviews (mostly with musicians, artists, writers, actors, photographers, etc. — my kind of thing!), so when I found out the show was doing a live taping in Portland and tickets were selling fast, I jumped on the chance. Tuning into Q makes me feel close to home, and watching the show with Joe in Portland is going to be somewhat of a merging of my worlds. I’m stoked.


We didn’t know what guests would be on the show when we bought tickets, but the lineup has turned out to be crazy good.

In the two-hour show, they’re packing in:

~Colin Meloy, singer from The Decemberists

~Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir, Wild. Have you read it? It’s excellent; it chronicles her solo journey on The Pacific Crest Trail. I was riveted the entire book. (Reese Witherspoon is playing Strayed in the film version coming out this year.)

~The Thermals, a Portland rock band

~Author and robot expert Daniel H. Wilson (I am admittedly not up on my robot experts, but I’m intrigued.)

~Co-creator of Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein

The show is happening at the Aladdin Theater, a historic Portland venue. I’m not sure if we’re allowed to take photos or not, but either way, I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts on the experience to share here.

Have you been to a live radio or T.V. show? What was it like? I would also love to go to The Daily Show if/when I finally take a trip to New York. Hmm, maybe I should try and manifest that.

Happy Thursday, friends.


ps. Check out Q podcasts here, and Jian Ghomeshi’s infamous interview with Billy Bob Thornton here. (It’s intense.)

Top photo via CBC

Photo of Jian Ghomeshi via Toronto Life

2 Months In: Our Flanders St. Living Room Progress


It’s been two months since we made the move from our studio apartment on Northrup to our third-floor Victorian on Flanders. In distance, the two places are just eight blocks apart, but psychologically the move was big, for a few reasons.

One is that in our old place our living room doubled as our bedroom, so right beside the futon and coffee table (which we have since sold), was our bed, with no door, no separation between the two areas. Joe and I both lived in studios in South Korea for two years before moving to Portland, and that set-up can totally work—it’s liberating, even, to have everything you need for daily life in one open space. But by this fall, we started thinking how sweet it would be to have our living room, which we hang out in all the time, be just that. (Truthfully, we also wanted a bedroom with a door to stop Cleo from waking us up at 5 a.m. wanting to play fetch with her little paper balls. This totally hasn’t worked. But it’s a dream we hope to see play out in the future.)

Part of the call for change was decor driven: we wanted to go in a new direction with our colours and furniture, but when you’re trying to create two spaces with two different purposes in one pretty small room, and you know the apartment is temporary, it’s a bit of a losing battle.

We were in a holding pattern: not that stoked about the stuff we had (bought rather hastily when we first moved to Portland), but not prepared to redesign when we knew a move was inevitable. I believe your surroundings impact your mental state, and being somewhat on pause in terms of our living space and uninspired by its aesthetic was making me feel blocked.

So I was pretty happy when we found a one-bedroom we really like, sold the pieces we didn’t want, packed up the rest, and moved in.

This is our current living room, the week before the move.

Living Rm 5

Living Rm 2

That’s a whole lot of tan-coloured flooring and tan-coloured grasscloth wallpaper. If I were renovating, instead of just decorating, these walls would be stripped and painted white, and the floors would be hardwood (still light), not laminate. But we’re working with what the universe has given us here.

This is where the living room is at now:



Two months in, it’s far from done, but our vision of cozy and calm, cohesive and eclectic (with style and pops of colour) is beginning to take form.


For those of you who are interested in such things, I’ll break down what we’ve done so far. The couch is the first thing we chose, and it’s this guy, from Walmart. We needed a sleeper sofa for guests, but didn’t want to spend a ton because when we eventually graduate to a two bedroom (one day!) we’ll invest in the real deal (meaning a couch that is only a couch, and doesn’t double as a bed), and this sleeper will find itself in that second bedroom.


For now, it’s great. A touch firm if you sit in the same spot too long, but totally does the trick and looks good. It’s modern, but with soft lines. We love the grey and I’m into the subtle tufting. My best friend Melissa who came to visit in March spent three nights on it and was her usual happy morning self, every morning.

10009308_10153886598985029_1477564179_n (1)

See, she looks like she had a good night’s sleep, right? That’s us down the street at Blue Moon Tavern. This was taken in the afternoon, after a hike through Forest Park, by the way. We don’t actually drink ciders in the morning. Although that could be fun. Maybe next time.


The coffee table and jute rug we found through craigslist (they’re the same pieces I mentioned in this post). The jute is originally from West Elm. It has a few snags, but they’re barely noticeable and we got it for the half the price of what it sells for new. The sheepskin under the coffee table was my grandma Lil’s, and I am so grateful to have it, and a part of her, with me forever. It’s not going to stay there though—I see it draped over my future desk chair that I have yet to find. I’m on the hunt for a bright beautiful patterned rug to layer over the jute instead, bringing more colour into the room and breaking up all that tan shade.

Something like this rug (photo from littlegreennotebook) would be cool. Maybe not quite that bright, but you get the idea:



The green floor cushion is from World Market. It’s essential seating for devouring cheese plates with friends around the coffee table. The little round dining table is also craigslist, a $20 rescue from a nearby town called Scappoose. Its legs are getting painted a soft grey this spring because while the size and shape is perfect, its colour blends in way too much with the floor and walls.

The bookcase: craigslist Ikea (this one) for a crazy deal.


I’ve gotta say, there is a whole lot of second-hand Ikea on craigslist. And while I much prefer unique vintage pieces, sometimes a well-priced Ikea item with clean lines that requires no sanding, repainting, or restaining lures me in. One day we will own a serious solid wood bookcase but for now this hit the size and colour we were looking for.

Plus, Cleo officially approved it.


Though I think she secretly wishes we’d put one of those giant wall-size cat scratching towers here. That will never, ever happen. (We have a small one for her strategically tucked behind the couch, next to the window.) Decor trumps kitten castle. Sorry, Cleo!

6Other plans include: Replacing the green mirror above the dining table with one that’s more interesting. I’ll know it when I see it. Different dining chairs, probably. (I like the yellow but its impact is diminished next to these walls.) Switch out the big gold pillow on the sofa for a few smaller ones, possibly patterned. Some sort of cozy reading chair in the far corner, to the left of the window. And more plants, of course!

Wow, that was some major chit chat about my living room. Thanks for staying with me, friends. This space is currently doubling as my office, which is much cooler than doubling as our bedroom. I can happily write in here for hours, which I do, most days. I’ll share more progress as the apartment evolves…our bedroom and patio are also in the works.

Are any of you moving/decorating/recreating your space? I’d love to hear about it, the challenges and the inspiration. Tell me what you’ve got going on! Happy spring to you all.


ps. Other apartment posts, including manifesting our 3rd Floor Victorian, and furnishing Our Flanders St. Pad



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