Gardens, Ducklings, and Bridges, oh my!

Sometimes during a long, crazy week, you’ve just gotta stop everything, grab a couple of your favorite people, and go have girl talk and adventures in the sunshine. So, last week, I did!

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I’d been hearing for ages that I had to go see these landscaped gardens in the area. And oh gosh, everyone was right! They were gorgeous! Practically endless, wandering paths, ponds, a wooden bridge with stunning architecture next to a weeping willow tree, and massive rhododendrons.

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Little nooks with equally little waterfalls spilling into hidden pools, and shade trees protecting benches that looked out over a lake.

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All sorts of geese, ducks, and adorable ducklings (!!!). Best part is they were all comfortably strolling around right at our feet with us, with a casual attitude about the whole thing that said, “oh this old place? It’s not much, but we like to come wander on afternoons when we’re bored.” Haha!

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I realized afterwards that I took more pictures of the waterfowl than I even did of the stunning views! They were just so disarmingly comfortable with us that I couldn’t stop snapping photos! I’ll try to trim down the amount that I post here-you’re welcome.;)

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Anyhow, nothing important to share, just pretty pictures, and me being reminded that I always forget how much better and more relaxed I feel after pausing the to-do list and just savoring the outdoors, girl talk, and just “being”. Hooray for Spring and Sunny afternoons!

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Fun, Little (Cheap!) Decorating Touches to Celebrate Spring

Let’s all give a deep sigh of relief and maybe do a happy dance. It really is Spring! This weather always inspires me to do more cleaning, baking, and diy home beautification!;)  I get excited about all those things normally, but the crazy gorgeous sunshine, crisp air, and intense colors after so many rainy days fill me with even more ideas than usual-and even some extra energy…thank goodness, am I right?;) I’ve always loved anything to do with making a house feel like home, but since getting married, that sense of “home” has deepened in such a special way. Creating a haven for our own little family has been so much fun! Being newlyweds, there isn’t an endless budget for all the beautiful things that catch my eye and tell me they’d look perfect in our little house. And that is a bit of a bummer at times. But that’s part of the fun too, isn’t it? Finding treasures at garage sales and thrift stores, repurposing, re-imagining, and diy-ing are all things that really get my blood pumping-haha! So, I wanted to share with you a few small (and super inexpensive!) things I’ve been doing this week to celebrate Spring.

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I spotted this lovely little geranium at Bi-Mart for less than $3, and found this gorgeous, turquoise pot (my favorite color) at an estate sale for just $2. It’s such a little thing, but it makes me so happy when I’m walking up to our door! Added bonus, geraniums this color always make me think of my adorable Grandma.:)

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Love it.

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And inside the house, my bedside arrangement helps even those crazy early barista mornings start off a little better-thank goodness!;) The table was a garage sale find for only $15. Nice, solid wood and adorable, artistic detailing won it a place in my heart. Refinishing or repainting may be somewhere in its future, but for now, I’m kind of loving the little scratches and the slightly worn look. It looks like it has a story.

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The lovely lamp was a hand me down from a coworker who moved. Am I the only one obssessed with this mustard color?? And finally, the alarm clock is the most recent addition. It came from my happy place-more commonly known as IKEA.;) After almost buying it on my last four or five trips there, I finally decided it needed to come home with me. Best part? It was only $6. Score! However, I will NEVER actually use it as an alarm clock. As much as I love looking at these adorable clocks, the shrill alarm almost gives me a heart attack. Haha! Also, did you happen to notice that luscious, soft aqua, velveteen pillow on the bed? Also IKEA. Any wonder why I love that place??

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Are you all finding fun ways to get creative with decorating and celebrating Spring?? I’d love to see what you’ve done!

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On Beach Adventures

I had the biggest treat this week. My sweet friend Ashley and I threw responsiblity to the wind and ran away to adventure at the coast! We drank so much delicious coffee, explored so many beautiful beaches, took so many pictures, wandered so many adventurous backroads because that’s what we love, laughed so hard, had the cutest, and tiniest hotel room ever, saw the most beautiful sunset, and probably solved all the problems of the world.

The best coffee shops not only have amazing coffee, they're out on piers.
The best coffee shops not only have amazing coffee, they’re out on piers.

Ashley has such a special place in my heart. We were roommates for four years, and it was such a beautiful, crazy time. There was one time we were flooded out of our apartment when a pipe explosively burst in our bathroom-of course at one in the morning! And after grabbing a few belongings, we camped out (for a month!) in a vacant apartment the office reluctantly offered while they fixed ours. image We had crazy dance parties, laughed way too hard at everything, relished the giddiness of our first real independence, brought each other gatorade and saltines when one of us was sick, had roommate “dates” at our favorite restaurant when the work week was way too long, sat on the carpet and cried together over broken hearts and when a parent recieved a life-threatening medical diagnosis, rejoiced together when hearts and bodies were healed, and then stood up as bride and maid of honor on the day I married my sweetheart. image I know all of that probably sounds way too sentimental and full of girly emotions to anyone who wasn’t there experiencing it all with us. But the everyday so often is full of small tragedies and miracles that most people don’t even recognize, but mean a lot to you. And I’ve realized it’s such a beautiful gift to have people to witness them and care. image So many people come into my coffeeshop every day. And after a while of sharing a few moments every morning, and hearing stories about their lives, I realize that not all of them have those people. They’re coming in to share their everyday tragedies and miracles with us, because we are those people for them. And it makes feel me equal parts humbled, heartbroken, and then blessed that we can be someone for them. image And it makes me realize what an incredible treasure it is that I have been blessed with not just one, but several of “those” special people who have walked with me through all these seasons in life. Because we need each other. We need to be looked in the eyes, listened to, and feel that validation that we are important, special, unique, valued. Because we are. image Wow, I didn’t expect to get this introspetive when I started this post-haha! But I guess sometimes you’ve just got to “introspect”.;) Thanks for listening, and thank you to the people in my life who make me feel so heard, important, and treasured. And especially to those who take me to the beach. image image image image imageimage image image

On Food Carts and Coffee Shops

Food carts and coffee shops. They’re easily two of my favorite things about Portland. Although, the mild weather almost year around and the gorgeous Springtime that lasts for months is pretty wonderful, too. Ahem! Unless you don’t live here. In that case, it really does rain three hundred and sixty out of three hundred and sixty-five days a year. Don’t move here. Ha!;)

One of my favorite coffee shops.
One of my favorite coffee shops. How beautiful is this place?

Anyhow, back on topic. Coffee shops are wonderful for obvious reasons. And the beautiful thing about our communal coffee addiction as Portlanders is that there’s a shop for almost every city block. So, if the one you’re in doesn’t have the particular vibe you need to inspire the next chapter of the novel you’re working on, there are a couple hundred more to choose from. *happy sigh*

Another of my favorite shops. Love.
Another of my favorite shops. Love.

But food carts. Food carts were a revelation. I don’t really remember noticing food carts near the rural area I grew up in. And the one or two I ran across in other places looked suspiciously like Salmonella on wheels. So, I had my mind pretty firmly made up that I’d stick with brick and mortar establishments that had a very large permit from the health department clearly displayed.

I love all the beautiful details.
I love all the beautiful details.

But after a little leap of faith followed by extremely extensive testing (and realizing they also have health permits!), I’ve been completely won over. Best. Thing. Ever. The passion that drives an independant business owner combined with a venue that only allows enough space to focus on one specialty is a pretty magical combination, turns out!

Marni casually strikes a pose while waiting for delicious teriyaki.
Marni casually strikes a pose while waiting for delicious teriyaki.

One of my favorite people hadn’t yet been to one of my favorite pods of food carts, so we decided a sunny day we both had off from work was the perfect time for some girl time and food adventures. In a devastating blow, my favorite sushi place was closed for the day. But we consoled ourselves with specialty mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken teriyaki that were ridiculously delicious in their own right.

My love for striped shirts may be bordering on obsession.;)
My love for striped shirts may be bordering on obsession.;)

Also, the Hawaiian teriyaki cart had mini donuts so life-changingly delicious that they didn’t even last long enough to snap a picture. Thank goodness I enjoy cooking, or else so much cheap, delicious, easily available food would make it tempting to never eat at home! But I guess, as far as problems go, that isn’t such a bad one. 😉

On Turning Thirty

I turned thirty years old today. Honestly, it’s a little weird. And even though I’ve decided that I’m actually excited and ready to embrace this new decade, I laid awake for a little while last night feeling a silly sort of panic. “I’m pretty sure I’m not old enough…to be this old! Haha!;)

Birthday macaron.
Birthday macaron.

Thirty is one of those numbers that sounds like it should automatically come with having “arrived”. It seems like an age when you should have things all figured out. Career, retirement plan, finally finding the perfect hairstyle for your face shape.

My sweetheart bought me a bouquet of my favorite flowers.
My sweetheart bought me a bouquet of my favorite flowers.

I think maybe what bothers me the most is the concept of time. At twenty, I felt relaxed and confident about figuring out exactly what my fantastic, very mature life plan and goals would be-but equally relaxed and confident that I didn’t need to figure it out at that moment. Because, after all, I had all the time in the world to decide on one of the endless possibilities. And now, the time doesn’t feel so endless.

The most delicious birthday cake from a local, French bakery.
The most delicious birthday cake from a local, French bakery.

But the good news is that I don’t feel at all that my time has been wasted. Life definitely hasn’t unfolded in the way or on the timeline that I expected. Every time I look back on my journey so far, though, I’m so grateful for the way my story has unfolded. My own plan for myself would have much smaller, quieter, and less adventurous than what has actually happened.

Can we talk about how cute this tiny, chocolate Eiffel Tower is?!
Can we talk about how cute this tiny, chocolate Eiffel Tower is?!

Instead, I’ve had a beautiful chance to fully embrace and explore each little season. I’ve gotten a chance to figure out what I didn’t want, and what I did. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know myself and to firmly find my identity as an adult on my own two feet. I found out that I could be beautifully happy in a full life as a single person surrounded by cherished friends. And then in the most wonderful gift, I’ve gotten to know how heart-swellingly happy I am in a marriage more beautiful than I could have hoped for.

Ranunculus and polaroids from our wedding.
Ranunculus and polaroids from our wedding.

I’m so grateful for every little bit of my story-the hard, the happy, and the everday in between. It hasn’t all been perfect, but I find myself now, at the “ripe old age” of thirty, holding the hand of the man I adore, surrounded by the most supportive, loving friends and family, at a job that even though not glamorous, fills me with purpose in a way that lets me wake up excited every morning, and a heart that is looking forward to whatever adventure life has around the next corner. And all I can say is, it’s beautiful.

Springtime and New Adventures

I’ve been wanting to try the adventure of blogging for a while now, but have always had too many nervous reasons in the back of my mind that have stopped me every time. “You’re not actually a writer, so wouldn’t that be weird?” “Doesn’t everyone have a blog now? What could I have to add that isn’t already being said?” “Don’t you either need to be an incredibly fashionable lifestyle blogger or else dripping with wisdom and life-changing advice to be taken seriously??” And then I realized it. I don’t need to be taken seriously. Ha!

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So, if you’re taking the time to read this, don’t expect anything world-shatteringly grand. I won’t be changing the world one blog post at a time.;) But I do plan to write about and post pictures of the things that I would like to read and see. Maybe some serious heart talk now and again, or maybe just a simple journal documenting the small and beautiful things that happen every day on this lovely adventure we’re living. Because don’t you really think we all need to pause in this hectic pace? To take a moment and really savor the things that are good in our lives? It’s so easy to get lost under the crushing weight of the to-do list, of our own expectations for ourselves. I want to just stop for a moment and savor the simple and the good.

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