New Obsession – Don’t Save Me

Can we talk about how obsessed I am with this song/video for a second? Girl band, basketball, catchy lyrics… oh my, I am in love.

Nevermind that I’ve got a huge paper due on Monday morning, I’ve probably listened to it 3 or 4 times while dancing around my house like an idiot instead of studying today.

C’est la vie!

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Oh hello blog world!

It’s that time of year, so I thought I’d pop in to say hello!

Wait… Christmas what?

I meant finals week! Having been out of the school loop for what feels like forever, this finals week (and the subsequent end of my first quarter as a doctoral student) is hitting me pretty hard, both in terms of nostalgia – what up old school livejournal finals rants! – and in terms of workload. And if my time as an undergraduate taught me anything, it’s that when your workload gets overwhelming during finals week, you…

…procrastinate with anything and everything possible!

{ Source. }

So I figured it was time to update this here blog. Getting overwhelmed with starting grad school means and consequently retreating into the stacks means I’ve missed all the cool things happening in the blogosphere lately (like NaBloPoMo, etc.). But I have learned a few things during this first quarter that I feel like sharing with all you wonderful people today. So, go go gadget bullet list!

Becca’s Tips for Prospering In Surviving Graduate School

  • Do your reading when it’s assigned. Because DUH that makes it easier to sound intelligent in class, and keeps you from wanting to simultaneously pull your hair and stab your eyes out at the end of the quarter when you think about trying to catch up.
  • Make time for the things you love. Especially that one hobby that relaxes you (knitting) or makes you feel really accomplished (jewelry-making and blogging) or lets you interact with the people you miss and that keep you sane (card-making and blogging).
  • Make time for the people you love. Especially your husband, who has to put up with your craziness for the whole quarter and still loves you anyway. This may also involve an impromptu Seattle trip for a housewarming party in the middle of midterms…
  • Take care of yourself. Eat good food, get good sleep, and make time to workout, because it’ll make you feel good and you won’t feel out of shape and stressed out at the end of the quarter.

Clearly I did not do any of these things adequately this quarter (which actually isn’t done yet, and I may or may not have 60 pages worth of papers due in the next week…), so I have my marching orders for the next one. Thankfully, I’m completely done on December 7th, and then have nearly a month to recover take a break before facing winter quarter.

But in the mean time, since I’m in full-time study procrastination mode, expect to see a bit more of me around these parts. I’ve missed this creative outlet, especially since it has nothing to do with democratic peace theory

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Five Best Portland Restaurant Experiences (So Far…)

Once I learned we would be moving to Portland, I immediately began researching awesome new eateries that I knew I’d finally have the opportunity to visit. As a vegetarian, Portland is basically the food destination of the west coast – there are just so many more options down here to partake in that I’ve never had access to before!

Though I’ve been an official Portlander for less than two months (and actually in the city for significantly less than that!), I’ve already developed some favorites. Here, in no particular order, are my top five Portland restaurant experiences so far:

  • Fire on the Mountain meatless wings. Oh MY these are delicious (and I normally hate “fake meats”)! The best part of these wings are the sauce choices – my personal favorites were the Jamaican Jerk sauce – which has an awesome green color to it – and the Lime Cilantro sauce.

  • Driftwood Room (at Hotel deLuxe) mac & cheese and signature cocktails. This is the most affordable, best mac & cheese in Portland thanks to the truffle oil in the recipe. Washing it down with a violet-infused champagne cocktail just makes it that much better. And putting both of those things on special during happy hour is just the icing on the cake!
  • McMenamins cajun tots. Portland has a serious love affair going with tots of all sorts (I swear that about half the restaurants I’ve gone to have them on the menu!), but my first are still my favorites. Nothing beats the crunchy, slightly spicy Cajun-ized tots that the McMenamins pubs put out.

  • Hands On Cafe Sunday brunch. Did you know that Oregon has a College of Art and Craft? And that contained within that college is one of the best weekend brunch places? The are only a few dishes, and they change every weekend, but they’re always absolutely fantastic. Plus, you get to look at the students’ work on display while waiting to be seated. A fun and delicious weekend outing!
  • Cafe Yumm! bowls of all sorts. When we were in Eugene earlier this summer I was thoroughly disappointed that we didn’t make it to Cafe Yumm!, but then I found out there are now quite a few Portland locations! Which is great, because the combo of rice, beans and that special Yumm sauce is one of the best lunches I’ve ever had in my life.

Honorable mention: Veggie GrillI just had lunch at Veggie Grill for the first time ever today, and this Southern California chain is not messing around with their sandwiches! I had a “chickin” sandwich that tasted amazing and was completely vegan. Also, I could eat both their avocado spread and cilantro pesto by the spoonful.

I’ve already written about my favorite food cart on the blog as well – always a fantastic meal at Potato Champion, too! I definitely have quite a bit more exploring to do on the food front here (we haven’t had any sushi yet!), but I’m quite pleased with what I’ve found in our short time here!

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Wordless Wednesday

{ Cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Crescent City, California }

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My New Favorite Dress

I spent the majority of July out of town, but managed to finally hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary sale when I returned to Portland. Sometimes I feel weird still perusing Brass Plum, because as a 27-year-old married woman I am most certainly not a “junior” anymore. But honestly, it’s full of cute and affordable pieces that still fit me, so why not?

Lush Drew Blouson Dress

My latest junior’s-section-find is this $44 Lush dress, which conveniently comes in a variety of colors and prints. The blouson top and flowing bottom make this dress perfect for those that are a bit bottom heavy (like me!), because it draws attention to the shoulders and gives the illusion of evening out the top and bottom. Needless to say, I took advantage of the lack of sales tax in my new city (and a gift card left over from my birthday) and purchased two.

I’d be lying if I said that this style was completely appropriate as a dress on me (I am 6’1″, after all, and anything short is not likely to completely cover my bum), so I’ll definitely be wearing them more like tunics, or at least with (thick and absolutely not see-through at ALL) leggings underneath. The pleasures of being tall and buying off the rack, eh? So keep that in mind as you check out how I’d style these beauties!

Casual Summer Weekend

I actually wore this outfit to a small outdoor concert just east of Portland on Wednesday night, and I felt great in it! Pairing the dress with jeans kept it a bit more modest (for climbing into and out of picnic tables) as well as warm (it’s chilly when the sun starts setting). Though I’ve already determined that I’m never going to be the best dressed in a place like Portland, I definitely felt like I was in the running in this.

Grad School Library

The one requirement I have for all new wardrobe pieces is that they have to be versatile (and classy) enough that I can wear them in all areas of my life, including school. Throwing on a blazer over this dress and pairing it with some leggings and a pair of boots makes it totally grad school appropriate, and definitely something I envision myself wearing for a long day of classes and research. Then just take off the blazer and leave the school bag at home and you’re ready for a night out!

I also purchased a lace mini-dress that I immediately decided was actually supposed to be a shirt (and a cute shirt at that!) that actually was part of the anniversary sale, but it appears to be sold out now. Boo! You’ll just have to trust me when I say that it’s cute. 😉

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Wordless Wednesday

{ Mt. Rainier, as seen from the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise }

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Delicious Delicious Poutine.

Ooooh, poutine. You crazy Canadian concoction, you. I remember heading up to Calgary for a business trip a few years ago, and hearing about poutine while preparing to leave. Because I was frantically packing (and, as a vegetarian, make it a general rule to avoid anything that requires gravy), I didn’t pay much attention – until I found myself in the Calgary airport lusting after a coworker’s fast-food poutine secured from A&W. And I can count the number of times I’ve positively salivated over fast-food anything on one hand.

Poutine really is the ultimate comfort food. The combo of crispy fried potatoes, hearty gravy, perfectly-sized cheese curds definitely gives mac and cheese a run for its money, although I’m sure some evil genius somewhere has already combined the two (and clogged many arteries in the process).

{ Potato Champion poutine. }

One of the nice things about living in Portland now is the ability to easily secure poutine whenever I want. My personal favorite is Potato Champion, a food truck usually parked on the Southeast side of town, which offers both vegetarian and vegan options. (I’ve mentioned their awesome poutine before). And, lucky me, they tend to make appearances at local events, too. I’m much more likely to accompany Matt to a beer festival if I can get some poutine in the process!

Cheese. Gravy. Fries. So easy, so delicious.

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