My mom spontaneously asked me if I would accompany her to Portland last week. I agreed because it sounded like fun AND I hadn’t ever been to Oregon and the only things I knew about the state came from the show “Portlandia”. I also knew that Oregon had a town called Beaverton because that’s where my best friend’s fake ID said she was from. So as you can see, my knowledge was vast.

“Portlandia” paints the city in a comical way. In the first episode they note that “The dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland” which I have concluded to be absolutely true. Compared to the only other Northwest ¬†city I’ve encountered (Seattle), Portland is a little less polished, and a lot more homeless. They have their fair share of hipsters–trendy restaurants, quirky boutiques, funky hotels. But overall, the city and outlaying suburbs have a quaintness about them that is hard to find elsewhere.

While I was in town I made sure to drag my mom to Voodoo Doughnut with me at 7:30am. If I had to accomplish one thing in Portland, it was to eat a doughnut from this location. Usually I’ve heard that there are massive lines coming out of this shop, but since we went bright and early, we stepped right in. We both got boring, old fashioned doughnuts, but they were really delicious. You can get some really weird creations there. For example, they offer bacon doughnuts and cereal coated doughnuts. I’m a plain Jane so I just do with whatever option looks suitable for a child’s palate.¬†6108795141_effae307fc_z

On our trip we visited some subdivisions outside of the city and did some shopping at a cute outdoor mall. Our favorite store was a paper/stationary/card shop that offered super cute calendars and greeting cards for almost any occasion. We stayed in there for quite some time because outside it started to downpour. Tired of waiting it out, my mom and I took off our shoes and made a mad dash to the car. We ended up soaked. Memories!

For dinner that night, we met up with our blogger friend turned real-life friend, Maggie! Maggie, being a true blue Oregonian, took us to a delicious restaurant called Mother’s in downtown Portland. It was yum. I could’ve just eaten the bread for my entire meal. I love meeting bloggers in real life. It’s so surreal. Maggie is such a happy and funny person. She had such a good energy about her. I told her that I thought her butt looked really nice and she seemed alarmed by that comment, but other than that, I think I came off as semi-normal. She and my mom were like two peas in a pod. It was precious.

The pretty chandeliers inside of Mother's.

The pretty chandeliers inside of Mother’s.

The next morning we met my friend Matt, whom I befriended during my study abroad in Canterbury, UK. He took us to this little place called Bijou Cafe. Super cute. Their bacon was delicious. It was great catching up with him and discovering his new-found talents (he makes metal jewelry!). He really loves Portland and everything that the city has to offer, so it was fun seeing it through his eyes. We all had a good laugh about how much we hate snotty French people, but that being said, we really want to learn French.

Overall it was a fun whirlwind of a trip. I got a little taste of Portland and got to meet up with some great friends. Did you do anything fun last week?



Store Brand vs. Name Brand

I’m slowly getting used to my husband’s reluctance in purchasing name brand goods. I’ve grown up thinking that no one possibly buys the other no-name brands. They must be there for decoration. Now that I know how money works (it’s only taken me 24 years, guys) I’ve been noticing all the sweet deals you can get when you buy store brand (or poor brand as I like to call it).

Store brand shopping is tricky. I was in the habit of telling myself that if something’s more expensive, it’s probably better quality. This is not always true. But it usually is.

Also, I’m a sucker for good packaging. Store brands have the worst appearance. They just don’t look good. Which would you rather buy?

Just for the record, mayo is disgusting.

This brand really went all-out on their look.

The bottom picture’s brand is actually called No Name. I almost have to laugh at that. But it takes more than that to make me laugh. There’s a warehouse type grocery store here that sells a lot of No Name food. I’ve actually purchased a couple of their items. Their chicken nuggets aren’t bad, but their tortilla chips are. It just depends, I guess. I was really proud of myself for eating cheap chicken nuggets. That was a big step for me. Soon enough my ghetto transformation will be complete.

One of my favorite store brands is from an English grocery store called Sainsbury’s. I have so many good memories there. Sainsbury’s Basic brand knows it’s crap, and it tells you so right on the packaging. Here are some gems:

"A little less tidy, still a great pick." Is it though? Why couldn't you have made it tidier?

That cat looks like he wants to kill himself.

"Still rises to the occasion" is kind of cute, but I still wouldn't purchase this product.

I can’t help it if I like the finer things in life. Food is too important to mess around with. If I’m gonna partake in a calorie fest, it better taste like heaven.

That is all.