Portland, Oregon - November 2014 Part II

Without further adue....

Since I know you all have been biting your cuticles all week in suspense to see the rest of the post about my Portland trip I will skip the intro and get right into it.


Yes, that's right. Donuts. The most incredible donuts I have ever eaten in my life. These heavenly morsels come from a shop called Blue Star Donuts which have a few locations around the Portland area. After my fun filled day of tacos and smoothies I went back to the hostel and took a quick, much needed nap to let the goodness digest and then I was ready for round two. That's when we stumbled upon this wondrous place and I will add, I ate three different kinds of donuts that afternoon and I hold absolutely no shame. None, except for... I am ashamed that I only got a photo of one of them because I ate the other two too quickly to even register what it is that I was supposed to be doing. Ha. But the ones you see above are my last donut, which I almost didn't get a photo of as you can clearly see. It was a vegan pistachio cake donut with a hibiscus raspberry frosting with sprinkled pistachios, the next one pictured was my friends donut which was the Valrhona  Chocolate Crunch, the little balls on top were malt balls ! As you can see in the last photo they have a limited amount due to the fact that they are made fresh, starting at 3 am everyday and are only made with the most fresh and best ingredients. So get there quick because they sell out fast. The other two donuts I had that I really still can not get over how good they were was a Cointreau Creme Brülée donut, and the last one was a blueberry Bourbon Basil Donut, both of which you can sneak a peak at on their website but sadly due to freshness they are unable to ship donuts at this time (trust me, I looked.)

That's enough about donuts......for now.

These next couple images are from the Farmer's Market at Portland State University that they have every single Saturday when the weather is nice. There is countless vendors selling incredible produce (and yes, they hand out free samples) on one side of the promenade along with flowers, and other fresh goods and then on the opposite side is prepared foods like coffee, sausage, preserves, cheeses, cured meats, the list seriously goes on and on. Cuisine from several different cultures and tons of entertainment. I could have spent an entire day and thousands of pictures trying to capture every aspect but I was with my foreign friends who you will see in images to come so I had to move along but if you're ever in the Portland area during the nicer seasons (Spring/Summer/Early Fall) head on over to PSU (Portland State because people from where I'm from will associate that with Penn State) and get your produce on ! And if you happen to live in the area and you're dating a woman who likes flowers, skip the corner shop and get them here, they are gorgeous !

So now that we got fruits and veggies out of out systems.... back to business...

Donuts. More. Donuts.

Voodoo In fact which is probably the most popular donut shop in Portland and the only reason I say that is because if you notice in one of the images above, it is a picture of the front door but the line starts there and travels off the photo to the left side, winds back around snake-like, and then travels around the corner of the building. Crazy. Really really crazy. They offer over 50 different kinds of donuts, the kinds vary from day to day because I couldn't imagine carrying over 50 kinds of donuts and then like a bazillion of each donut to satisfy the insane amounts of customers that come in there everyday. The line gets so long in fact they even have a guy on stilts that comes and plays his ukelele hooked up to his portable speaker purse to entertain the line. In the last photo you can see my various hostel friends (and no, hostel as in where we we staying, they are, in fact, quite friendly people) The left side of the table is Jane in the red scarf, and Nicole in front of her, then on the right side of the table would be Amelia the brunette in the blue beanie, and Steph the blonde. Jane, Nicole, and Steph are from various parts of Australia. Jane and Nicole took the train down to Portland together for the weekend from Seattle where they are studying abroad. Steph traveled most of the west side of the country including San Fran, Vegas, Yellowstone National Park, and Portland among other places on a final expedition to see America for the first time before going to College (yes, she was traveling solo at the mere age of 19 all the way from Australia. And you all thought I was crazy. That's why Steph and I became best friends. :):) Miss you Steph !!) And Amelia was traveling and visiting from Vancouver where she is from on a mini vacation. They were incredible people to meet and I hope sometime in the near future we find ourselves all in Portland at the same time and go to the TO DIE FOR Thai place called Monsoon on Mississippi Ave.

Here is my harmless business plug as I explored the incredible coffee of Portland. I don't have all the photos here but there are more on my Instagram if you follow the link at the top of the page. If there is one thing that is vital to know about me it is this. I love, LOVE coffee. I can not function on basic levels without it and if I find a way to do so I don't recommend talking to me much. Some of my favorite coffee places were  Heart Coffee Roasters, Stumptown Coffee, and Olé Latte Cart where I got that seriously awesome metal and leather mason jar coffee cup. I probably had coffee at at least six other places that I can't remember right now. But what I can't stress enough is that when they say coffee in Portland is good, they mean it. Thoroughly. Thank you Portland for knowing what you are doing.

Last but absolutely not least are all the stunning pictures of how beautiful Oregon is not too far outside the city. I hiked ten miles through Washington Park which are the images on the bottom of the grid. I have never seen anything so green, the smell was unlike anything that can attempt to replicate in a Yankee Candle, and the trees were so tall I couldn't possible capture it all with the lens I brought on the trip. The views were breath-taking. On my trip I met a wonderful guy by the name of Nate who so kindly introduced me to the best tour-guide in town, Goose, the Black Lab pictured above. He showed me all around Mt. Hood which is where the pictures shown here were taken. I simply could not capture the beauty of the rest of the day, so I can't stress to you enough how much you have to see it for yourself. The sheer enormity of all the mountains and the vast space between you and their peaks makes you feel very small and really puts a lot of life in perspective for you. There are not enough words to describe my adventures that day and how magical it felt. I saw orchards for miles with picturesque mountains that you only see in postcards in the background. I comfortably walked barefoot in the pebbley sand of the Hood River shore in Mid-November where the following week, after I would be gone, was covered in a couple feet of snow. The air is truthfully just different out there. It fills your lungs in a way that felt healthy, alive, and very very free. By the end of the night, after taking in all that amazing beauty, I was fully ready to take in some amazing pizza. So Nate took me to a local brewery in Hood River called Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom. Where I had a great couple of beers, and some fantastic pizza. The whole place opens up this time of year and they have nights with live music. If you're ever in that area and you should be, at least once in your life you should definitely check it out. During the Summer there is so much to see and do in the gorge but I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't tell you a bit more about Nate, he plays the guitar in a band and they play at various venues around Portland, Hood River, and I believe a few places in Mosier (the neighboring town to Hood.) He bar tended (which is how I met him) at a place in Downtown Portland called The Big Legrowlski (which is run by an Australian bloke named Brenden, I also recommend going if you like beer and if you're in Portland, you should because you are definitely in the right place for it.) Last but not least, what takes up most of Nate's time is kite surfing in the Hood River Gorge. He teaches there for the summer months, stays home for the holidays and then come January he lives in Panama for a few months to teach there until it gets nice out in Oregon again. This summer he just started his own company with his brother Isaac called Gorge Kite Brothers, so if you're ever looking for a helluva good time just look Nate up. If you're not into the whole extreme sports thing then I hear he knows quite the tour guide too (I mean look at that puppy face.)

Oregon was such an amazing time that happened completely on accident (Just go with your gut and see what happens) and I'm hoping someday, sooner rather than later to take up residence on that side of the country. Keepin my fingers crossed !

The plan has changed a time or two for me since then, but I'm confident it will work itself out as long as I keep working hard, being true to myself, and being brave. It always does, even when the way it works out was never part of the plan. Let it change, you'll be alright. I've recently been reading a really great book I'm sure you'll hear about more than once, and there was a really great quote I took with me from it.

"When I want to turn away or run away, which is all the time, I remember what Adrienne told me the night I bought my new bicycle.

When you feel like you’re falling, she said, steer into the fall. Lean into it instead of away, and you’ll be all right
— Carry On, Warrior - Glennon Doyle Melton

Best Always, Cait