photo diary: mesa summer part III

Thanks to my racked-up rapid rewards points, I could fly back to Phoenix (from Austin) free one last time before heading back to Portland for the school year.  Lucky me, I got home just in time for my dad's big birthday party and a visit from Ted, who was going home afterwards for the first time this summer.  The party was a hit, thanks to my mom's hard work, an awesome trivia slideshow made by my dad, and some delicious tacos and bean dip.  It was a great time had by all, and I loved catching up with family and family friends.  That night, Ted and I watched The Truman Show and I felt very lucky to have him around to show off (this never gets old), and to just do whatever.

The next day, Ted and I made our first carrot cake for my dad's actual birthday and went to my grandparents' (mom's side) to hang out for a while.  Despite some frustration, the cake turned out great, and we covered it with walnuts and coconut, because WHY NOT?  It went wonderfully with the delicious homemade meal my grandparents (dad's side) cooked up for my dad's birthday dinner--ribs and mac n' cheese.  SO GOOD.  

After the road trip, Ted and I enjoyed a low-key day of a lunch and movie date.  We ate at Cornish Pasty Co., which got our seal of approval.  We split the The Oggie (Steak, potatoes, onion and rutabaga) and The Lamb Greek (Lamb, spinach, fresh mozzarella, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichokes and roasted garlic).  As you can probably imagine--both incredible.  Highly recommend this place for a casual date.  Afterwards, we saw Monsters University.  Nothing like a Pixar movie date!  (Fun fact: The first time we hung out, we had a Pixar marathon with friends.)  We ended the night with leftover Mexican food and a froyo run with friends.

The next day, we did some Harry Potter legos and said our goodbyes, like true adults.  It was sad, but at least I got to go hang out with my grandma with my dad and Kendal afterward for lunch. The days leading up to my departure were filled with sewing (pillows for my momma above), Izzy cuddles, iced tea with Rylee, Flancer's with my grandpa and parents, and one last trip to Nello's with my grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins after some antiquing.

It was sad saying goodbye (I hate goodbyes more than most things), but the promise of the holidays is always present in my holiday-obsessed mind.  Miss and love you guys dearly.

photo diary: grand canyon

Ted had never seen the Grand Canyon, so like a good Arizonan, I gave him the grand tour around the south rim, but not before exploring the parking lot extensively for a spot.  We took our time hiking and enjoying the views of the canyon (but not of the parking lot as we tried to find the parking spot again, at the end of the day).

As we started to leave, Ted decided he wanted to go back to our spot on Airport Road to watch the sunset.  So we raced against the clock (in the safest way--I'm a very cautious passenger) to beat the sunset.  We put off dinner to do so, so we cracked open a bag of Pop Chips and finished our cooler fruit on the way to Sedona.

After enjoying the sunset just in time (although not at our favorite spot, because the parking was full) at the top of Airport Road, we went to Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen for a laid-back dinner date.  What's better than enjoying late night gourmet pizza outside with your loved one?  We split the Free-Range Chicken Pesto, which we loved.  We were tickled that the menu said, "As a complimentary investment to your health, add arugula to any pizza at no charge." Too good.  It was a great day, made even greater by a warm pizza with one of my favorite people.

Photos taken by Ted.

photo diary: sedona & flagstaff

Ted and I took a small road trip while he was visiting me--hopefully the first of many.  We got up early, packed the car, got some Starbucks, and hit the road to Sedona.  We may have taken our time...  Yep, we're those kind of road trippers.  It was fun being spontaneous throughout the trip--I'm very lucky that Ted's more laid-back nature compliments my excessive planning.  We got to Sedona in time to get some sightseeing in before finding a lovely bench to eat our leftover tacos and bean dip (the best bean dip) from my dad's epic birthday bash.

Our favorite place we found in Sedona was on Airport Road.  There were some red rocks on the side of the road that you could climb to see a beautiful view overlooking Sedona.  We had a blast Oak Creek Canyon, wandering through the trees and along the creek, amongst the numerous towering vortex rocks.  There was action, adventure, romance, and even danger.  Yep, Ted saved me from a snake.  It was epic.  Sure, the snake was probably completely harmless, but hey, it was pretty cool.

Finally, we drove to Flagstaff to walk around the shops and grab some dinner at Beaver Street Brewery--we had the Beaver Street Burger and Rustic Portabello, both solid as usual (this place is a family favorite).

PS I will be blogging about the prior and following days to the road trip in a combined "Mesa" post.  Excitement, I know!

Photos taken by Ted.

in which kaylie watches too much new girl and her life becomes a sitcom

When it comes to small frustrations and inconveniences, sure, sometimes I get really upset, but most of the time, I think Well, this is kind of the worst, and super embarrassing, but it might as well be on one of the sitcoms I so lovingly binge-watch on Netflix.  Ted's and my relationship usually falls into this category--like that one time we took at least half an hour finding a parking spot at the Grand Canyon, and just as much time trying to find it when it was time to leave.  Yes, frustrating.  But c'mon, also hilarious.

1)  Since I can't eat Little Big Burger for every meal (unfair, I know), I had to go grocery shopping Monday afternoon.  I was lacking patience because I hadn't eaten a full meal since the night before, so I got into Ted's car READY for some groceries.  I started the car and tried pulling out and nothing happened.  The parking brake was on, and being from mostly flat desert, I have very little experience with park brakes.  After panicking for about five minutes over not being able to get it off while two strangers picked blackberries in our driveway probably thinking I was secretly a grumpy old man waiting for them to leave, it easily snapped down.  Cue the laughing track--I know, you're laughing at me, not with me, on this one.

2)  While making dinner that night, I realized that I needed a can opener.  Everything else had been chopped up and the last thing I needed to do was prepare the chickpeas.  I couldn't find an opener anywhere.  I called Ted and texted my housemates to ask if we had one.  Finally, out of desperation, I found a swiss army knife on the kitchen table and slowly started using it.  I was about a third of the way around the can when I got a text about the opener's whereabouts.  Sure enough, it was hiding in the corner of one of our drawers.

3)  After spending time at my internship yesterday, I went home and decided to unpack some small things into Ted's room (he's home in CA) so it felt a bit more Kaylie.  I thought, I should put the record player on while I unpack!  But it was acting strange, and no sound was coming out.  So I wriggled the needle around like I had in the past, but this time it snapped.  Good thing it's replaceable.

4)  Last night on my way to Fred Meyer's (my #1 hang out, apparently) I dropped something off at someone's house.  After she answered the door, I made small talk and mid-sentence had the overwhelming sensation that some cilantro from my dinner might have lodged into my teeth, so I awkwardly started to talk with my mouth closed as much as possible.  As I walked away, I checked.  It turned out to be onion, but the damage was already done.  I'm awkward.

5)  Walking into Freddy's, I smiled at a mom who had an adorable daughter in Pooh Bear overalls (my childhood in a nutshell) and she sighs and says "Jesus Christ..." under her breath.  I'm hoping I had nothing to do with her distraught...

Perhaps she foresaw what was going to happen next and pitied me.  I had gone for the sole purpose to purchase something personal (ya know, girl stuff), and it didn't phase me at all that I might run into someone embarrassing, because I thought, "Who am I going to run into?  My crush?!"  Just as I laughed at the thought, I saw one of my housemates walking towards me.  Of course.  Although it wouldn't have been the end of the world if I had bumped into him, it certainly wasn't my first choice, so I scurried to the self check out.

The good thing is that despite my sometimes awkward and embarrassing existence as an "adult" (emphasis on the quotes), days like today remind me that I'm at least a somewhat fully functioning human being.  Sure, I slept in, but... I got up, got dressed, picked some blackberries outside, made myself brunch, cleaned the kitchen and tile (while watching Doctor Who, obviously), did some yoga and stretching, ordered most of my school books, watched Ruby Sparks, made myself a dinner that included a large salad (I'm trying really hard, guys), taught myself a new hairstyle, made the sound decision to not cut my hair into bangs, took a shower, and now I'm sitting here writing this.  Life is awkward and embarrassing, but good.

finding the one

Today marked my first day back in Portland.  Last night I got in, smiled a lot driving around in the sun, and enjoyed a burger and truffle fries at my beloved Little Big Burger.

Guys... I think I'm in love.  I've been many places this summer (like, geez, it's been a crazy summer) and I've found some serious space in my heart for Colorado and Texas, but boy.  Once you've met the one, you've met the one.  As stressful and emotional it can be living away from home for college, I'm so happy I chose to come to Oregon.  Maybe it's the fact that I grew up in the desert and Portland is the complete opposite, a lush, green wonderland, or the fact that everyone here is a character, from the enthusiastic food cart owners, multitude of dog owners, and tea goers with not only a sloth in baby girl clothes, but also an entire sloth colony, to the couple in front of me at the Fred Meyer deli today interrogating the poor workers about nitrates and all-natural meat.

I love how much people care here, even if it sometimes verges on ridiculousness.   I love that people take pride in doing things themselves.  I love how close and accessible everything is by public transit.  I love that we have an entire block devoted to an independent bookstore.  I love that food and drink is an art form here, as it should be, and attracts Disneyland-worthly lines out the door.  I love how southern food (arguably my favor type of food) is a thing here, for no apparent reason (other than, duh, it's delicious).  I love that having a chicken coop is totally normal.  I love that there is more pressure to be weirder than to be more normal.  I love that there are beards and bizarre facial hair everywhere, as embarrassingly self-aware it sometimes may be.  Speaking of hair, I love that if I forget to shave my legs, girls won't notice or care.  Gee, they might give me a high five exposing their own wildly hairy armpits (For the record, I'm less okay with this).  I love how worked up people get when it gets over 80 degrees, and how the sun's rare appearance makes people dress like summer when it's still in the mid 50s.  I love that someone near my school owns a peacock named Honk that likes to visit campus.  I love that my school is walking distance from a state park and community farm.  I love the cherry blossoms in the spring and the blackberries outside the house right now.  I love that city and nature are intertwined seamlessly here.  And even though I'm often intimidated by how outdoorsy everyone is in comparison to me, I love that it inspires me to be more adventurous and push myself to do more than just enjoy nature from the sidelines reading or knitting under a tree (although this will always be my first instinct and first love).

Or maybe it's just all these Christmas trees, constantly reminding me of my favorite time of the year.

In all seriousness though, I couldn't be happier with a city.  I feel very lucky to live here part time, even when right now it's with three guys in a rickety old Frankenhouse that we call The Burrow but creaks enough to be called the Shrieking Shack.  I already miss my family, friends, Izzy, and Ted, but it's good to be back.


Yep, the Blogger Family went to Austin.  And it rocked.

But...this is probably the most intimidating post I've had to write.  How do you blog about a trip taken with bloggers who were all micro-blogging the entirety of the trip as it happened?  So much happened within the span of just two weeks, five days of which I was present, that I can't even begin to encapsulate it into one post.  All I can say is, it was such a bizarre yet wonderful experience.  There was one moment driving in the car, where I thought about something that was happening and how I felt about it, and my initial reaction in my mind was, "I should tell the blogger family about this."

But they were right there in the car with me.


It felt so natural to be hanging out with this group of people, which is saying a lot coming from someone like me, who is the queen of awkward social situations.  Nothing felt forced or expected--it was just like we were any group of friends hanging out, looking at cool shops, eating awesome food, talking about whatever.  Those were my favorite moments--just talking about whatever and soaking up each other's company in the car, over dinner, or sitting on a hill overlooking the skyline.  Such normal, simple moments made magical by the fact that these people are usually states or countries away, separated by a glowing screen.  Everything was pure blogworthy-bliss, and planned to perfection.  I feel so lucky to have somehow been adopted into this beautiful family and able to attend this summer's meet up.  Love y'all, and hope to see you again soon.