Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Last Time...

the last time...

This photo is so ordinary and grainy and dark and ugly but it's one of my favorite photos in the world now. I was just cleaning out my phone and came across it and looking at it feels like both a punch in the gut and like I'm cloud nine. I remember quickly taking it as I put him to bed the night before I left for New York, knowing it would be the last time I nursed him.

I cried a little bit and stroked his hair but mostly just smiled.. a lot. And he looked up at me like what?? I mean, I had done this every single day since the day he was born...I couldn't stop without (quite) a few tears. It's funny because I didn't really intend on nursing him past the year mark but when he turned one I/we just weren't ready. He would be about 18 months when I left for my trip and we decided that was probably the best way to go about it, clean break. He did fine and I did fine. And he's still the cuddliest little man on the planet so all is well in the world.

I know I'll have and nurse more babies (like 1,000 more if I could) but excuse me while I cry for awhile about my baby not being a baby any more. (and lets REALLY not talk about how he'll be turning 2 in a few months). Being a mama is so emotionally exhausting, am I right????

Monday, August 10, 2015

Portland Favorites - NW Portland

Portland Favorites with Public Bikes
I'm so excited to be sharing all of my favorite places in Portland to eat/drink/shop/etc over the next couple weeks/months. People that are planning trips or just moved here ask me alllll the time where they should go so it's about time I put it together. It'll also be nice for when I'm being indecisive about where we should go on a date (happens every time).

I'll be splitting it up by the quadrants to make it easy! First up is NW Portland since that's where we live and spend most of our time. It's a beautiful area for going on long walks or riding bikes, has some of the nicest parks in Portland, gorgeous neighborhoods ($$$$) and of course amazing food every five steps.

I'm not going to detail each place since I would probably say "THIS IS THE BEST PLACE EVER" about all of them. So just know, these are best places ever.

Kung Pow (best chinese food in the world)
Nuvrei (sandwiches, pastries)
Little big burger
Los Gorditos
Stepping stone cafe

Salt & Straw (which I've mentioned here before)
Blue Star Donuts
Nuvrei Macaron Bar
Ken's artisan bakery

Tea chai te (get the black milk tea with boba)
Coffeehouse NW

Childs play toy store
Powells Bookstore
New seasons market
West elm

Wallace park (Beck's favorite park)
Jamison square fountains
Hiking/walking up in forest park
I also enjoy casual strolls through the pearl district and on NW 23rd

Portland Favorites with Public Bikes
Portland Favorites with Public Bikes
Wallace Park
Portland Favorites with Public Bikes
(My bike is a V7i from PUBLIC bikes)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Portland Favorites with PUBLIC Bikes - The showroom grand opening

Portland Favorites with Public Bikes

Hey Portland friends! Did you know PUBLIC bikes opened up a cute pop-up shop for a bit in NW Portland? I have been wanting this to happen foreeeever and when I finally got an email about it I freaked a little bit. If you've been wanting to hop on one of their bikes and try it out, the time has come!

Portland Favorites with Public Bikes
Tomorrow is the grand opening party with food and beer, bike giveaway and other fun shenanigans. I'll be hanging out there for awhile and I hope some of you can make it too! And Salt & Straw is next door if you want to round out the day with the best ice cream ever. You can find all the details on the facebook page here. (11am-3pm, 828 NW 23rd ave)

Portland Favorites with Public Bikes

p.s. I'll be sharing some favorite places to ride, eat, drink and shop in each quadrant of Portland over the next couple months. My first post will be covering NW Portland (since thats where we live!) and it'll be up on Monday! Finalllllly! Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

5 Favorite Reads

scary close

So after spending virtually all of last year not picking up a single book I was craving to jump back into reading. I didn't realize how much I had missed it and how lifegiving it was to take time every night to read. I have averaged a book a week most of the year so far (with a few lags here and there) and my to-read list grows almost daily... so many good books out there and not enough time!

I love reading book recommendation lists so I figured I should post mine. I'll preface this by pointing out that I'm obviously into best-seller books... I mean, they are best-sellers for a reason right? So if you're looking for some cool indie books, this ain't that! That said, these were all books I read in just a couple days because I just couldn't put them down. Lots of late nights and trying to squeeze in pages while cooking dinner happened reading these.

Here we go!

top 5 books

1. Unbroken
I just heard in passing that this was a good read and decided to give it a shot. So much more than just a good read... it was captivating and SO unbelievable (in the best way). It's a true story of a WWII veteran and his whole story from childhood and beyond is incredible and inspiring. Plus its always good to read about history. (They butchered the movie by the way, just read the book!)

2. Gone Girl
This is a really fun one. Her writing style is phenomenal and sucks you in immediately. It's a dark, twisty, insane quick read. I can't even say much without having spoilers sooo just read it! The movie is great too, but like usual the book is better.

3. The Husband's Secret
This is written in multiple first person narrative and it takes some time to get familiar with all the characters but it all comes together perfectly and about a quarter of the way through I was so invested I couldn't bear to stop reading. The story unfolds at the perfect pace and the payoff is far and away better than I was imagining. Also, the title and cover makes it seem like a weird romance novel but it totally isn't. I think I finished this 500 page book in 3 days... that might be a record for me.

4. The Girl On The Train
Another multiple first person narrative and this is the definition of a page turner. I know this has been on the top sellers list pretty much since it came out and it initially didn't sound that interesting to me but once I started I couldn't stop (there's a theme here..) and if I had to pick an absolute favorite from the year this one might take the cake. It moved me to tears, it was suspenseful and it was riveting through and through.

5. Yes Please 
A book written by Amy Poehler, thats all it takes to convince me it's a great read. But seriously, this was super funny and really interesting to read about her childhood, her early comedy years, her years at SNL and all that. I even cried. She's perfect.

Honorable mention: Scary Close by Donald Miller
I feel weird that I didn't include this just in the main list because I read this one twice already this year and feel like I'll read it over and over forever but when I was making the list I was only thinking about novels/memoirs and this is more of an inspirational book. But I need to still include it!
Anyway, this is the first donald miller book I've read so I can't say I've been a fan forever but this book alone makes me his biggest fan. He speaks so open and honestly about dropping your "act" and being yourself no matter what the cost. In a world where we're so caught up in impressing people and virtually presenting an entirely different version of ourselves, this book was like a breath of fresh air. He talks candidly about the risk involved in impressing less people in order to connect deeply with a few people and the freedom that comes along with that. I wish I could force everyone in this generation to read it.

Any must-read books you've read recently I should add to my reading line-up for the rest of the year?

Friday, July 31, 2015

More sprout fun + custom chocolate bar wrappers

Custom Chocolate Bar Wraps
It was really hard to choose just two projects to share that I made with my Sprout since I had about a dozen I was working on and equally excited about (I can always share those later right?) but custom chocolate bar wrappers won out! It's not that I think straight from the store chocolate bars are awful (though some are) but I have a love affair with custom designing things like this for special occasions.

This time I stuck with very minimalistic designs and it only took like 10 minutes to draw all three on the sprout mat and print them off. I've been in love with the simple tree illustration from Fine little day so I free handed one, filled it in with black and copy+pasted it to fill the page up. So easy!

Here's the link to each print if you'd like to use them for anything: Mountains, Trees, Lines
Custom Chocolate Bar Wraps

Another fun way I used it last week was to create a page of everything that Beck loves at 20 months.
I used the 3D scanning projector to scan in his favorite toys (dinosaurs), his swim shorts, his favorite book and his blanket to create a little memory collage. I didn't take any video of the scanning action but it's super fascinating to watch and they have some videos online if you want to see!
DIY deodorant (that actually works!)
And last but not least, I took a short time lapse of me going through photos and writing on them with the mat. It is really easy to use (unlike other writing tablets I've tried)!
Sprout time lapse

Thanks HP for letting me try out the Sprout. I'm kind of in love with and learning more and more things I want to use it for everyday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Make: Natural Deodorant (that actually works!)

DIY Natural Deodorant using essential oils
DIY deodorant (that actually works!)

I'm always making my own household things around here (especially with my newish found love in essential oils!) but they are usually unlabeled or worse... labeled with masking tape. The horror! Well, I got this fancy new computer called Sprout from HP a few months ago and I've been playing with it and learning how to use it and it wasn't until last week that I was like Duh... I can make cool labels for all my homemade concoctions now!

The sprout is incredible, with technology I can't really even fathom and it's SO fun to use (I have another project I'll be sharing in a couple days). It has a scanner/projector attached to the top that can scan 3D objects, and touch-sensitive mat that you can use to edit and create projects. The actual computer screen itself is a touch screen too. It's all just so amazing (and anyone that comes over needs to try it out). I'm not super great with using photoshop for design things since I'm a more hands on type of person and this is really nice for that—you can pull photos off the internet, drag them onto the mat, edit them, crop them, write on it, turn it sideways... all with your fingers. I made a little time lapse video for my next post... be excited!

DIY deodorant (that actually works!)
DIY deodorant (that actually works!)

I stuck with something super simple for the label since I don't have the best drawing skills and added text and I was done within a minute or two and sending it to the printer. Hooray!

DIY deodorant (that actually works!)
DIY deodorant (that actually works!)
Now, lets talk deodorant! I've made deodorant in the past and it worked fine but for some reason we ended up going back to something from the store. When we ran out a couple weeks ago Josh picked one up that was natural and wasn't test on animals... and it sucked (ahem..Toms).

I knew I had a bunch of essential oils that are antibacterial which would be great in a homemade deodorant since it's the bacteria that makes you stink. I read about this combo of essential oils in deodorant elsewhere and thought I'd give it a go. And the verdict is: it works so incredibly well and smells great too. We've both been using it everyday and it's been SO hot here and no odor from us whatsoever.

If you're a natural deodorant skeptic, this one will win you over.

Orange Peppermint Oregano Deodorant

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (I highly recommend this over cornstarch)
5 Tablepsoons coconut oil, melted
10 drops oregano essential oil
10 drops orange essential oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the essential oils to the melted coconut oil and stir it into the dry ingredients until it is very well mixed with no clumps. Put it in the refrigerator to solidify it. Use a pea-sized amount in each arm. Tip: Hold it in your arm for a few seconds before spreading around to melt it a bit.

If you make it and use it, let me know!

oh, bye July! (Currently...)


July has passed by without a peep from me here. Ooops! But right now I have a free minute and this juice was begging to be on the internet (wink) so I thought I'd do a Currently post just for fun.


Reading: All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr. Really fun read so far. I've been a reading machine this year and I'm working on my list of favorites to share in a post soon!

Watching: If I get a chance to watch anything, documentaries on netflix are my jam. Any recs of what I should watch next?

Eating: Beck's goldfish right now ;) BUT.... we've also been juicing every day and it feels SO good to incorporate loads of veggies in each one and chug it down. Favorites are: beets apple ginger, cucumber kale apple, and carrot pear ginger.

Wondering: How long I have before Beck wakes up (always the question of the day!)

Shocked by: How much Beck is talking! It feels like he was just saying mama and milk last month and now he says more words than I could write down right now (hard ones like dinosaur and elephant!) and putting sentences together. It makes my heart explode and also want to cry all at the same time. He's not a baby anymore.

Planning: We're loosely starting to plan a few vacations for the upcoming months. A lazy week at the beach reading books and playing with Beck is on the agenda for now... though I'm still absolutely dying to get our butts somewhere tropical. White sand, clear blue water are my priorities.

Learning: more in depth about essential oils. I have this reference guide that talks about the historical data, plant origins, what each one is used for, etc. It's so fascinating! People have been using these for hundreds (actually, thousands) of years. I could nerd out for hours flipping through the book.

Laughing at: the socalitybarbie instagram. Have you seen it? Whoever came up with the idea is a genius (its not me, but I wish it was!) and I can't get enough of it.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

New essential oils goodies!

YL essential oils
So I've probably made it clear by now that purchasing the starter kit from Young Living was one of the best decisions we've made as a family so far. I like them a lot... and I talk about them a lot (If we're friends in real life, you know this x100) and I feel like everyone needs to make the investment (save $ for a couple months!) because it's SO worth it. It's not just for hippies or weirdos, promise. (Though I am that weirdo that made a pretty video about essential oils)

Anyway, you can read more about how I got into them (and my skepticism) and why I chose the brand I did and yada yada by clicking on the essential oils tag where I keep all the posts but I wanted to pop in and talk about the brand new kit they released that replaced the one I first bought and started out with.

The one I got is awesome and thought it couldn't get much better but it did. They replaced 3 oils with Copaiba, Digize, and RC which are literally 3 of my favorites and are SUPER amazing to have on hand for keeping you and your fams healthy. (They were the 3 I always recommended getting after you got the main ones with the kit). So this is an awesome upgrade! They also improved the packaging and branding and added tiny little bottles so you can take them on the go or share with a friend or something.

And I thought this graphic that some friends put together perfectly showed how diverse the oils in the starter kit are. They do this and even more...
What can YL oils do for you?

I wish I could sit down with all of you and tell you face to face how much these dang little oils have done and let you smell them and borrow them. But since I can't you could always email me and pick my brain, I have a ton of experience with them now and will openly share just about anything :) So don't hesitate to do that if you're curious about something! [ vanillaandlace@gmail.com ]
 Brand New Premium Starter Kit from YL from Abi Porter on Vimeo.