By Chance: Searching for Home in the City of Bridges


Until about a year ago, it never occurred to me to live in a house.

Apartments? Of course. A one-bedroom suite in a character home? Check. A studio in Busan, Korea, that sat six floors above a convenience store selling 12 different kinds of soy sauce? Not so long ago.

But a house — a real house with walls you don’t share with neighbors and a backyard you can walk out onto on a sunny afternoon, if you want, and tend to a tomato plant you’ve grown or read a book on a blanket on the grass; a house with a spare bedroom and a porch and a front door to open wide and let the breeze blow through — this was the kind of home other people lived in. People at “that stage” of life. People with advanced careers and extra cash. People with kids. Continue reading


Shotgun House in New Orleans (+ a $25 Airbnb credit…for you)


When our friends Dianna and Evan got engaged last July, we knew there was a chance the wedding would be in Louisiana, where Dianna is from. They were torn between having it there or in Oregon, but in the end, an opportunity came their way to get married at this amazing Bed & Breakfast outside of Lafayette, two hours west of New Orleans. The big day is coming up at the end of May, and Joe and I are going!

Dianna and Evan are planning a Southern-style wedding, complete with 200 guests, a “crawfish boil” at the rehearsal dinner, a huge bridal party (eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen), a “second line” parade to marching band music (played by their DJ), and an outdoor dinner and dancing. Here is a glimpse of the property where they’ll be saying “I do”…


It’s a house that was built in the 1800s, which, according to the site, borders the edge of a “primordial Louisiana swamp”. I’m excited to experience not only the wedding, which is obviously going to be epic, but some of  ‘the South’, as Dianna refers to it. She and I became friends five years ago while teaching English in Korea, and by chance both of us ended up moving to Portland. Dianna has told me many, many stories about her family, college years, and the Southern culture she grew up in. (Even though she has lived in Oregon since 2012, she still says “ya’ll” in approximately every other sentence. :)) This lady loves tradition, and has been dreaming about her wedding day since she was a little girl.


(Dianna, Evan, Joe, and me ~ first Portland Halloween.)

When Joe and I started talking plans for the trip, we knew we wanted to extend it a few days so we could visit New Orleans. It’s a city neither of us have been to, but that’s high on both of our ‘really want to go there’ lists. I suggested we invite his parents to join us, and the day after he mentioned the idea to them, they booked flights. Sue and Al have been to New Orleans, but since they live in Illinois and we only get to see each other a few times a year, this is a perfect opportunity to hang out. In blues bars. Eating gumbo.

It was also an excellent reason to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon on one of my favourite websites: Airbnb.

Most of you have likely at least heard of Airbnb, if not used the service yourself. But if not, the company’s tagline sums it up: Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 + countries.

Joe and I are HUGE fans. Basically, rather than renting  a hotel when you go on a trip, you rent a home. Or part of a home. Or a cottage. Or a treehouse/trailer/loft/converted garage. Pretty much any option you can imagine — for any kind of budget — is available, all over the world. The company started in San Francisco in 2008, and just keeps growing.

So far, we have used Airbnb for trips within Oregon as well as to Victoria. My favourite is… Continue reading

Flash of Life: Half Past February


How are you guys doing? The cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Portland, and I have to say I feel extra lucky to live in this part of the world right now, with spring already showing up. Joe and I took a day trip to the coast on Sunday, and it was so mild kids were playing in the sand in shorts!

I enjoyed doing this “Flash of Life” writing exercise last month — did any of you try it? After I posted it, a friend wrote to say she had been feeling really blocked with journaling/writing, and doing this helped a lot, which I was happy to hear. She also had the idea that this could be a great conversation tool with your partner. What do you think?

You can find a blank list at Pip’s blog here for any of you who want to copy it and give it a go. The fun part is you can modify the list however you like, just choosing the word prompts you feel inspired by.

Making: Final touches to my new portfolio (will be publishing it on the site soon!)

Feeling: Grateful for sunshine

Sipping: Chai lattes

Thinking: It’s time to tune up (and dust off) my guitar and learn this song

Wondering: What our next home will look like (no rush, just daydreaming)

Hoping: For a two-bedroom bungalow

Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things (almost finished), the awesome news source The Skimm

Deciding: On an epic camping trip we might take this summer

Cooking: Honestly, we’re really into baked potatoes these days (with cheese, beans, plain yogurt, and salad)

Watching: Transparent, the incredible (Golden-Globe winning) show about a transgender woman and her family. (Available in Canada on Shomi.) Also…The Bachelor.

Wanting: New Converse sneakers

Loving: Weekly classes at The Yoga Space

Remembering: Travelling through India, almost three years ago

Hope you’re all having a great week :)


*photo by Rula Sibai via Unsplash