Monday, October 13, 2014

On Getting Called Out...and everything else that's good.

This week was pretty normal. However, if I lived a thousand lives and this was one of them, I would be the luckiest girl in the world. (My fave quote)

Keeping my life balanced is a ever-ending endeavor of mine, but I am super blessed with all the tools and strength to do so. It feels like every week I'm diving into a different form of self-improvement, from working on my personal finance skills, home decor, outdoor sports gear, cooking, travel planning, Spanish, dating (how this is positive is highly debatable) kickboxing, and even the Paleo diet. It's weird how everything usually lasts only about a week. It's not a bad thing, it's just a sign of my restlessness and insatiable appetite for living life. I have yet to get into my gardening stage, a canvas painting phase, or serious typewriting stage but I know it's going to happen eventually.

One form of self-improvement that I have not mentioned in forever is my relationship with God. It's definitely not a phase though, it's just who I am and will always be-a believer. I'm a Christian girl. Do I go around telling people this? NO. You can't tell it by the way I live, so I don't want to give people the wrong idea... However, once upon a time, being a follow of Jesus was my biggest identity. I even had a whole blog on my journey with Christ. He was my first and everything. I can't say that any particular incident turned me away or that I've turned away at all. I've just placed God on a shelf somewhere, and wandered off, globetrotting the world and falling in love and enjoying my whimsical little life and God is just there, getting dusty (and probably getting irritated and plotting to strike me with a lightening bolt to remind me that I'm NOT building towards my calling). That's not how it's supposed to be, and that's not what I want. The hardest thing about stepping back into the God journey is that He will suck everything you have into it, including your soul. And then He will save it. 

I've always believed that we don't get to choose Jesus, He chooses you. It's been burning in my heart for awhile, and so I went to service at Imago Dei this morning. The pastor shared a story about a tax collector named Zacchaeus who climbed up on a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as He was walking by (Luke 19). And that's how most people 'seek' Jesus. We are interested, but don't want to get too serious or too close. The thing is, Jesus saw this man and He knew, and called him down. It's like trying not to make eye contact with your teacher or boss but they know you have an answer so they just call you out anyway.

I don't really have a point, just that Jesus shouldn't be a phase or something I balance into my life, I need Him to be the core and I just want an extra push. I'll push myself, but it's always good to be held accountable.

After all, He has poured SO many blessings into my life. Even if He hadn't...but He has. One of my friends has a routine Thankful Thursday post so that she is always reminding herself of things to be thankful for. I'm not that disciplined, so here's my just random list from this past week:

+Having the best girl friends a girl could ask for. My girl friends are funny, ambitious, smart, supportive, fierce, kind, loyal, gorgeous, strong, wise, and all over the world. I love that I can turn to anyone of them at any time to either go out for drinks or vent about school loans. I wouldn't be sane without them <3 Today I was especially happy to have one of my besties visit home, and for an amazing brunch.

+Living where I live. I don't mind staying in my NW Portland hood like, all the time. I love Trader Joes. I love Powells. I love Washington Park and the Popehouse. I especially love walking to work lately cause the leaves are CHANGINNNNNG COLORSSSSSS. I love that I can walk practically to anywhere I need to go to and that I feel perfectly safe doing so. There are still many restaurants I haven't been to yet..although I've been a regular at most of the bars :D As I've repeated many times before, moving back to Portland was the best thing I've done for myself in a long time.

+My job. Everyone knows I have a very cushy job loaded with too many perks and we are spoiled rotten. Monday we had a pizza and beer party after work to share stories in the office. On Tuesday the avocados were back, and macaroons. Wednesday we had a biker guy making us fruit smoothies and had massages, then a Timbers game. Thursday we had a keg of Pumpkin Beer, a Pumpkin bread bake off and a kil
ler happy hour at the Bitter End. Friday we had more Pumpkin beer. I don't ever want to take this for granted and we all work hard every day. But seriously. I am so blessed to be SO taken care of.

+Having the means to do this Paleo Diet. No dairy? No grains? No processed foods or sugars? Not everyone has access to fresh fruits and veggies and organically farm-raised meat, but I do. I have been thinking about this privilege since I started two days ago, and I don't know why I get to have this choice but I do, and so I should treat my body better. So far I enjoy eating tons of salad with meat and eggs on it. It makes me go to the bathroom a lot. A I must be losing weight. :)

+Being able to travel. Never an understated luxury. I don't care where you're from or where you've been, but if you can travel, be grateful. Truth be told I'm a bit nervous for my upcoming solo trip, but excited. I'm going to San Francisco next week for a short stint to process my Brazilian visa, and then in November I'll be off trekking through South America for three weeks, conquering Macchu Picchu at the end. I know some people spend their entire lives dreaming about this, so it's amazing that I'm just gonna do it next month. Yeah, JUST DO IT. Sometimes, I surprise myself.

+That it's Autumn. Time for scarves and plaid and corn mazes and PUMPKIN PATCHES! I don't give my guy friends credit for putting up with me, but I should. I'm thankful that my friend Andrew wanted to go to the pumpkin patch today and now I have two pumpkins I don't know what to do with.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Week I Thought I was In Love

I can't believe my relationship posts got over 5x more views than my BELOVED TRAVEL ARTICLES. Sheesh you guys. I guess that just shows humans are obsessed with love, heartbreak, drama and everything in-between. Besides, my dating life is a tad bit more happenin' than my travels at the moment, since I'm not going ANYWHERE for another month. Oh, to San Francisco for a bit for besides that.

So what's the story today? At 26 years old, I finally understand the difference between infatuation and love. I met a guy last week, and it was magical. We couldn't get enough of each other, and I found myself letting all my guards down and telling him everything and wanting to share my future with him. Instantly. We texted all day and all night nonstop, to the point of my iPhone threatening to die before getting out of the office to see him almost every day. I was so head over heels that I've announced to my best friends that I was positive he was The One (they were all skeptical, as they should be. It's a wonder no one tried to slap me out of it). He was completely flawless and perfect to me, and I had decided that whatever issues that might come up, I would do whatever it took to resolve them so that we could continue to be happy together. It was too good to be true. I realized that I was ready to be in a relationship again, because I found the one I wanted to have it with. For one week, I thought I had fallen in love and it was the best feeling ever. Like getting hit with a train.


The thing about infatuation is that it's like a drug, and it's like the cheap vanilla extract instead of the pure vanilla of love. I became addicted to him. Any texts/contact from him throughout the day were like shots of adrenaline. It was so hard to focus at work, and I would wake up too early every morning day dreaming about him. He told me he felt the same way. Scientifically speaking, my brain was releasing huge amount of dopamine which changed the wiring in my brain, then synaptic neurotransmitters  made a connection between my lover and dopamine production and thus intensified my feelings for him which vetoed all sense of logic. Google it. I happily obsessed over him because it was being reciprocated, and I didn't see how I was subconsciously building up irrational expectations for him to maintain this incredible high. We foolishly declared how much we wanted to feel this way forever! Not his fault, not my fault, it was just the way it was.

The tragedy with infatuation is that 1) it's not reality, 2) it screws up judgement and 3) it's not sustainable. It's a dangerous stage, and sometimes it will turn into a healthy, long term relationship (if you actually find the right person)...but I think more often than not it just ends and you feel like shit. I panicked like an unreasonable, lovestruck girl when I sensed he wanted more space and therefore, got put into the 'crazy' category. Guys, please confirm but I'm pretty sure I know this already: If a guy puts a girl in the crazy box, you don't EVER get out of the crazy box. Sigh. It's like guys getting put into the Asshole box. Or worse, the Friend box. UNFAIR FOR EVERYONE but since when was life ever fair?

Events that unfolded after this incident made it clear to me that it was not love. Damn it, hindsight always kills me. Usually it might have taken me weeks to figure out, but I'm so much wiser now. If he had loved me, he would not have put me in the Crazy box. If I had loved him, I wouldn't have whined about him wanting to do what was most important to him. I wouldn't have been a selfish little moron trying to keep him all to myself. If he had really loved me, he wouldn't have shut down and pulled away from me. If I had really loved him, I wouldn't have looked at him like he was magic but instead with loyalty and kindness. If we had loved each other, we would have tried to work things out. Love is about putting each other first, and making them feel secure and supported. Real love is accepting each other and seeing each other clearly, then choosing to commit to them anyway. 

So I failed at falling in love. HAHA! Figures. It was only seven days, but the withdrawals are painful, and oddly feel quite similar to heartbreak. As in, it hurts. I could have loved him, if he had stuck around-but the fact that he didn't just shows it wasn't meant to be. I feel much, much better though after writing/processing this...and you know what? Next time I'll know the difference. I know there will be a next time because I'm actually not crazy. In fact, I'm going off to be amazing now. I love my bed.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My favorite summer things to do in Oregon

I’ve been spending most of my time doing things rather than writing about them, and I’m a bit sorry but not sorry for doing so. This tends to happen most during the summer time, and since the end is near I’ve been saying YES to every opportunity in or around town that arises for me to bask in summer adventures in all her glory. Here are some activities I highly recommend to do, in no particular order, in case you wanna live in Oregon for a summer (or forever):

-Driving and hiking around the Columbia River Gorge: Along the border of Washington and Oregon, these are my favorite views of the Pacific Northwest. Drive up a smooth highway carved off the edge of endless forest-covered mountains, with a sparkling river below, and stop at trailheads to begin your hike. There are numerous hikes up along this Gorge and they are all fantastic. My favorite is still Angel’s Rest, because the views are spectacular and I’ve seen the most chipmunks there. The Multnomah Falls are in this area as well, so is Crown Point and you can continue up to Hood River. Check out these hikes:

-Floating down the Sandy River. It’s a thing. This is the perfect adventure with your friends on a sizzling hot summer day, when you’ve got the whole day to worry about nothing. Make sure you have at least two cars, one to park at the start (wherever you choose to start, Dabney is the most popular lot) and one at the end (Lewis and Clark is where most people turn in). Grab a cooler, stock it with beverages, bring rope to tie your group together, load up your tubes and get your tan on. I love dipping into the water when it gets too hot, toasting to new friends along the way, and extra kudos if you’ve got waterproof speakers! Beware; you may be sunburnt with a midday hangover by the time you pull your inner tubes out of the water. Prepare to spend the majority of your day in the river, the float can take anywhere between 3-4 hours to 7 hours depending on the current. Make sure not to leave any litter behind!

-Beer festivals. No summer in town is complete without spending numerous weekends chipping in those tokens for multiple tasters of delicious beer. I think I’ve hit almost every major beer fest this summer, from the organic, local, specialties and internationals. I usually hear about them by word of mouth. I love the white tents, the drunken old people, the confused lines for tapped out editions, the accompanying concerts in parking lots and parks, and running into everyone from high school. Most of all I love how they’re always outside and beer just tastes better when you can drink it outside! Here’s a nifty guide:

-Movies at the park. They’re free, play classics, and you can have a dinner picnic with your friends! Perfect weekday activity for a chill evening, plus the location is always changing so you can explore new parks. Make sure to bring a blanket, lawn chairs if you’re smart, and munchies! The only downside is that you can’t drink alcohol, because it’s a park and you might be watching Nemo with little kids. Upside, the little kids might give you their glow sticks for no reason. It’s happened to me. Looks like the season just ended, but there’s always next year!

-Drinking on bar patios. I’m really good at drinking beer when there are so many amazing brews just steps from my door. I love sitting in the back patios where they have strings of little Christmas lights above the tables and you can gather tons of your friends or go on causal dates. There are plenty of these patios all around Portland, but the ones on 21st are the most convenient for me cause I live there. The warm summer night breeze combined with a chilled mojito is just perfect for hanging out on those wooden bench tables. Decks close at 10pm. I also love catching up with friends down by the Brewery blocks at Rogue, Deschutes and Bridgeport. I have also been introduced to Bailey’s Taproom this summer and it’s changed my life a little. The possibilities are endless, so you’ll never go thirsty. Below left is the patio outside of Valentine's, and right is White Owl Society. 

-Running up Washington Park to see the Rose Garden. I do this at least once a week, and I know its cliché but it’s my happy place. The Portland International Rose Garden draws visitors from all over to admire the vast rows of roses in all colors and variations. It’s just a beautiful sight and there are always people with big cameras and couples strolling through. There are numerous trail paths weaving around the garden and I will sometimes continue on running into the woods. I think the time to go is in June/July, but it’s September now and there are still plenty of roses in full bloom. Don’t miss the Japanese Gardens while you’re there.

-Heading out to the Oregon Coast. I hesitate in putting this one in cause I’ve only made it out to the coast once this summer, but I hope to get out there again soon, plus I grew up making multiple trips a year. The Coast is about 2-3 hours out from Portland, depending on which beach you have chosen. Seaside is my favorite for a touristy beach, and Pacific City is my favorite getaway beach. The Pacific Ocean is NOT warm, but the sand is hot in the summer time, and I LOVE the little towns and seaside cottages. The seafood is phenomenal (have oysters! Clam chowder! Crab omelets!), have an ice cream and rent a funky bike. The sunsets are gorgeous on the coast, and remember to bring a windbreaker.

-Going to Timbers Games. I went to my first game on a whim, and I knew it wasn’t going to be my last. The Portland Army is a fierce and passionate crowd as any-if you come to a game you must sit in the Army section. We have our own war chants and victory songs, and the audience is so captivated and fueled on microbrews that no one sits down. If you love soccer, you will have a blast. If you don’t, you will still have a blast and probably leave as a lifelong Timbers fan. Season is almost over, so grab your tickets! Here are some chants for your entertainment:

-Skipping brunch to go for pho or ramen. I’m not going to go too far into the crazy food scene here, so I’ll just stick to this. As much as I love a nice omelet and hashBROWNS, after a wild night out on the town all I want is broth and noodles. It might be an Asian thing, and it’s a good thing cause the lines for the best noodle joints aren’t 2-3 hours long and the worse thing when you’re hung over is having to wait for food. My favorite place for wonton noodles is Good Taste in Chinatwon. For pho it’s gotta be Pho Hung on 82nd although Luc Loc is trendier and closer so I go there too. I just discovered Boxer Ramen and I’m so happy it’s down the street from my house, and definitely hits the spot.  My picks are confirmed here, under the 10 Best Asian Noodles in Portland:

-Always having back up indoor activities. Remember it still rains here, that’s why we have living room theaters, Glowing Greens 3D underground mini-golf ranges, DIY painting studios, Powell’s Bookstore, Ground Kontrol Arcade, and of course our cozy homes. I suppose beer can also be consumed indoors once we have to. I’ve spent so much time outside this summer I’ve barely been home. Right now I’m in bed on a Sunday and I wanna stay here all day.

There is still SO, so much more to do in and around the city that I don’t know about or haven’t gone to yet. That’s another thing I love about this place, that it’s a new city to me because it’s evolved so much but the roots are still where I remembered them. I am looking forward to Autumn, and all that entails. Pumpkin beer, haunted corn mazes, OSU football games…I’m ready for you.

**All photos are my own except the the movies in the park one. Mine all turned out too dark for those :) 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Redundant Love Advice Part Three (All About Tinder)

Seeing all these beautiful wedding photos emerge on my newsfeed every weekend makes me feel weird. First of all, they're people my age. Younger than me, even. Second of all, WHY WASN'T I INVITED TO THE PARTY? Jk. Uh, I'm available as a plus one, okay? As long as it's not a date...

Third, it's a reminder that relationships are hard to keep forever, so when two people commit to doing it, it's worthy of a celebration. First dates are not, as they are easy come and easy go. This week was a rough one, and at the end of it, it's plain for me to see that I can be an expert at beginning a relationship, but I sure as hell suck at keeping one.

So I dipped my toes into Tinder on Monday, 50% out of curiosity and 50%...well actually I guess boredom. I feel like everyone disses it, but have it themselves. If you're reading this and you're single-either you're already on it or you've thought of it or you've done it in the past. I know who you are!!!

I could only bear to swipe right once in about every 80 pics...which didn't surprise me at all. I often got stuck with just my own face, Tinder desperately trying to gather more men within my 5 mile radius to reject. Guys on Tinder in Portland need to take their sunglasses off, trim their beards, and do something other than stand in front of a waterfall with their baby niece. Anyways, I quickly matched with a handful of suitors and swiftly accepted arrangements to meet up throughout the week. I chose tall handsome men with remarkably nice smiles and funny profile lines. I'm deleting my Tinder tonight though.

Long story short, don't date if you're not actually looking for a relationship. Tinder is indeed good for people that want to date causally and hook up, but there's definitely potential for more if that's what both parties are interested in. I enjoyed going on dates, but at the end of the week I felt like I missed out on a lot of activities and time I would rather have spent with friends or by myself. I won't be making plans to see any of them again. Dating without a purpose made me feel unbalanced and I didn't like it. I'm not ready to fall in love and start a relationship, so I had to cut out the actions of pretending to do so. Plus, 'meeting up for a casual drink' all the time will eventually make you fat. For the record though, the Tinder dates I met accurately reflected their photos and I was quite impressed and pleased that they existed. Guess I was lucky!

So what is my amazing, pivotal advice for everyone out of all this?

1. BE PUNCTUAL. This is kind of unrelated, but important. If you are running late, keep them updated. This is my #1 deal breaker/pet peeve. Respect people's plans and just imagine that they are missing their mom's birthday to hang out with you. They could be. You wouldn't leave them hanging on their sofa while they could be having cake with their family, would you? WOULD YOU?! For me, every time I make plans it means that I'm saying no to something else.  If that person is late, I feel upset because I could have spent that time doing something more fun than waiting.

2. Don't date if you're not open and ready to start a relationship. It sucks to meet someone incredible and then have to let them down. This should be obvious, but some people (hi hi hi hi) forget.

3. Reject/accept rejection gracefully. To boys and especially girls, be kind when you are saying no. I have a hard to navigating this skill...I am just awkward about it and sometimes-I'll only admit it on here-I play dumb. I'm no idiot lol but I need to work on being more straightforward. But however you do it, always be kind.

If they say no to you, notice how they deliver the news. If they were gracious and honest, then realize that they aren't complete assholes-they are just not ready and the situation is not right. Respect them, even if it hurts. I can personally relate to this. If they aren't nice about it, let them go cause you don't want to date mean people anyway.

4. Be happy for your friends that are getting married or engaged. You'll be there too someday, and they'll be there, 'liking' all your photos and offering marriage advice. Ask them for the name of their photographer if you love their photos, and keep a secret list to go for YOUR wedding someday. After all, you'll want your photos to look great on Facebook too ;)

My lonely Tinder screen because I've so kindly rejected everyone. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Redundant Love Advice Part Two

 This one is meant for the ladies. What this really is, is a reminder to myself as well. Being a single girl in Portland has been very…interesting. It doesn't help that I'm not particularly attracted to bearded, vegan men that love their bikes more than their own souls. However, all you other women that are into that are golden, because the guys here as a whole are friendly, adventurous and intelligent.

I really don't have many single girl friends. I wish I did, so I would have more playmates to go out with. But the reality is that most of my best friends are taken, and so I've been left to navigate through solo-land alone. Sure I love bouncing advice and thoughts off people, but the choice is always up to me at the end. I have built up plenty of knowledge and my own theories throughout the years, but as we grow and evolve, so does the way we handle ourselves in relationships. Oh man, disclaimer again: I am drinking boxed wine in my bedroom full of Ikea furniture on a Sunday night. Take everything I write with a grain of salt, and a shot to chase it down if needed.

Here's what I think the world (of women) need to know:

1. Know your worth. You are worth AT LOT. We are beautifully made, smart and (I quote Mao Zedong) we hold up half the sky. So, don't let men treat you badly. Badly is being disrespectful, degrading, dismissive, controlling, and intentionally hurtful. Know the difference between that and a guy just being a guy (ie. busy rock climbing so he doesn't text you back immediately.) I'm still learning the difference, and sometimes I have to take two steps back before I can cool off and see that miscommunication happens. I tend to think that every guy out there is secretly plotting to woo me and destroy me. But seriously, if you meet a guy and he really isn't making an effort to engage you, he's probably not going to be investing in any type of relationship. Suck it up, and move on. Don't waste your precious time, girl.

I was/am such a daddy's girl (Hi dad!). When I was in my teens, he used to take me out on dates. My dad always picked me up ON TIME (more on this for the guys in next post), paid for our dinners, listened to me talk for hours, and would always call me back. It's set a certain standard for me. It's not hard for men to do, and I think every woman deserves to feel treasured and safe if she is with someone. That's why when a guy's idea of a first date is to invite me over for a movie at his place after 10pm, I basically tell him to quit being a bro and write him off. Don't put up with anything less than what you deserve, whether it's your first date or a three year relationship.

2. Give the nice guys a chance. They will usually treat you much better than the hot, shirtless guy who has girls hanging all over him on his Instagram. But really, don't scratch them off until you get to know them a bit. Chances are, they will be the ones who look at you like you're magic, and they will be the ones with crazy hobbies and will invite you to share their world. They will be the ones who are proud to introduce you to their friends and family. They are ambitious, secure, and ready to have someone to love. They are the ones who aren't afraid to plan out a future with you, and they are the type I will probably marry. Nice guys are usually average looking, nerdy, and have really great smiles. I dated a nice guy once, and I was so glad I did. As I got to know him more, his personality made him more attractive to me and the way he respected me built up my gratitude and love for him. You will find this type of guy on your sports team, at the bookstore, sushi restaurants, career summits, start up mixers or REI. And traveling, of course.

Don't date them if all you want is to feel worshiped, that's really unfair. If anything, that is the one thing that holds me back from dating nice guys…if they seem too engrossed with you as a trophy. You'll know if that's the case and if so, just gently…ignore them. LOL sorry I know I should say something else but I don't know how to handle this either. And this is unfortunately common for single girls sometimes. Sigh, friend zone announcement it is.

3. Go ask him out, dammit. Guys LOVE it when you make the first move. Why? Imagine being the one always having to throw yourself out there and risk a 50/50 chance of rejection. It's breaking an obnoxious norm, and makes you instantly wildly cool. I know, that means YOU have to risk rejection. But guess what, the chances of that are WAY lower than we think, and especially since if we ask first, they will be so shocked they will probably say yes. They won't say no unless they are already in a relationship, or, in my case, gay. That's right, I get kindly rejected by gay men often. At least they think it's flattering and adorable and I just feel stupid, not rejected.

Anyways, the worst that can happen is that they say no. You'll live. But success rates are extremely high and you'll start off with them already impressed. I know, because I am not afraid to ask guys out if I see what I like, which doesn't happen here though...

4. Enjoy being single. Let's be real. If you're single, it's not gonna last long. Think about when you've been in a fight w your significant other and it's going nowhere and you feel so emotionally attached yet drained and you kinda want to just die…and then you see your girlfriends frolicking along getting ice cream with cute guys. IF YOU'RE SINGLE, BE GRATEFUL. I have to tell myself this sometimes, but it's so true. Being single is a gift, it's a precious window of time for us to figure out our careers and try to balance life out and deepen our friendships. It's our time to become more of who we want to be in the future and to define what we want for our lives. This is our break so that we can catch our breath and enjoy each day at our own pace. I love being able to join my friends for happy hour whenever I feel like it. I love setting my own schedule for the gym, and changing my mind if I feel like it. I don't need permission for how to spend my money, I don't even have to shower if I don't feel like it! Also, single people that are content being single don't have to tell people they are happy being single all the time, because they are so busy being happily single. I somehow have the energy to do both, lucky you!

C'mon, give the nice guys a shot! We had a cocktail workshop at work on Thursday...

Would I have gone off backpacking with friends if I wasn't single? …well actually yeah. This is the Upper Twin Lake in Oregon, was here yesterday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Redundant Love Advice Part One

People wanted me to write a thing or two about relationships. Why? I don't know-I've always failed at them and they've sucked the life out of me. I guess I should probably write a book about what doesn't work and what you shouldn't look for and what you can't believe? I brought this up today to a friend (an ex, nonetheless) and he brilliantly pointed out that people who write about relationships don't have to have solutions, they only have to address a common issue that people can relate to and get people thinking and/or inspired. So then I guess I'm good to go!

The best thing about having such a vast history of unique, intense, traumatizing and blissful encounters with love is that in the end, you know yourself more than anyone else can claim to.

I guess since most of my girlfriends are all either hitched or hooked up forever, it's been my guys friends who have been picking at my brain. They want to know the answer to the most perplexing question known to the history of manhood: how to get a girl to fall in love/go out with you. Different things yes, but whatever-one thing could lead to the other. Rather, sometimes I wonder if they want to know how to get a girl similar to myself. I'm only concluding that because they're asking me and not married women, whom would actually know what they're talking about.

The following are strictly OPINIONS from the perspective of THIS happy, single, charming, active, attractive (society tells me anyway!) well-traveled, educated, and employed 26 year old woman. I shouldn't even be giving advice but hey, you asked and thus you shall receive.

1. First, start with the basics and be on my level. Be the type of person you wish to date. (ie. be happy, single, charming, active, attractive, well-traveled, educated and employed..and preferably older than me.) Simple.

2. Second, love your life. Have hobbies, passions, projects, dreams, and/or exciting plans for the future. Be working on improving yourself and others around you. I melt for guys that volunteer. I also love it when someone starts talking about doing something they love, and you can feel the energy beaming out of them because they're so passionate about it. It could be a sports team they play in, a community group they're starting, why, even if they are beer connoisseurs and love beer tasting! Enthusiasm for life is infectious, and if they have it, I'll want to share it with them and share mine as well! Just have something to share and bring to the table, okay?

3. Be assertive. I cannot emphasize this enough. BE ASSERTIVE!!! What HAPPENED, American millennials?! Why do guys beat around the bush so much? It's such a shame when guys I would otherwise be interested in, just don't ask. They hint and suggest and elude...but I gotta see if you've got the balls. Pretty girls can be intimidating I know, but I bet you would be surprised at how relieved they would be if you just said the words instead of complimenting them here and there all day like everyone else does. What are the words? "Do you want to go out with me sometime this friday? There's (something cool going on)  at the _________. Can I pick you up/meet you there at _______pm?" Is that so hard? And if they can't make it, they'll be impressed enough to offer to do something else another time! Works for me, anyways. If I absolutely cannot stand you and you smell, then I will say no and walk away. That's the worst that can ever happen and it's not even that bad! Just imagine me stepping into dog poo.

4. Speaking of smells, wear cologne. Divine cologne, of course. This is probably just me. I love it when a guy smells good. It either means that he's putting in effort to present himself nicely (which are always +1) or he just has good taste. It's also a pheromone thing. I'm a hypocrite at this because I rarely wear perfume. I get paranoid of spritzing too much and giving people around me headaches. I should work on that.

I know guys, this is a lot and it's mind blowing ;) Maybe I should stop and let it all sink in while I sleep since I love my bed more than any man right now. If you like what I've written or are strongly offended either way let me know. If you get a date this weekend I take credit for it. I think most of you will make fun of me and that's okay, I CAN TAKE IT CAUSE I KNOW MYSELF haha I still haven't opened up my comment boxes again due to a crazy stalker, so write me via FB :) Or better yet, you give ME some advice.

Buenas noches x

Next one's for the ladies..

Monday, August 4, 2014

So begins August

Hello, August. You came quickly. Remember when summer used to be defined by summer breaks from school? Now it's just the weather that makes the difference, and thank goodness in Portland, summer has been endless. Wow, I don't know if I've ever loved a city more.

It's challenging for me to write about Portland, because I don't really know who is reading this and who I am writing it for. If you live in Portland, nothing I write is interesting haha. If you don't? Maybe Portland will become a dream destination. It is one of the last 'affordable' cool cities to live in, and everyone here is pretty much as happy as a clam.

For the past two weeks I've been in training at work to gear us up to the next level, yo. It's been an interesting two weeks, with some bonding and tiffs in work relationships. It's interesting to see how the dynamics of a start up office can evolve with a continuous influx of new hires, internal promotions and an ever-transforming office space. We even had a surprise visit from one of our CEOs, Brian Chesky on Thursday. Thank goodness I was in a dress and not sweats that day. Oh also, I dyed my hair blonde. I love it, it's everything I had ever imagined, and blondes really DO have a lot of fun! I'm not sure why it took me so long...

On Friday following pizza and avoiding beer after work, I went to check out a game of Ultimate Frisbee at a park in my neighborhood. It was pitch black by 10pm, but we had light up headbands and frisbees, and it was so much fun OMG. I met a whole set of strangers, potential friends if I return, and I think I will. If you're in Portland, you should come check it out! Every Friday at 9am, Wallace Park in  the NW. :) They're cool people. I'm a cool people.

Saturday was for floating the Sandy river. We had a BBQ and then invaded the river! Basically you grab a bunch of friends, blow up inner tubes, and float down the river with a cooler of beer, surrounded by the forest and nature and people getting high in the bushes off the banks. It's one of my favorite Oregon summer activities, and no summer is complete without a river float. It can get kinda messy and you have to be careful in certain parts of the river, but if you use common sense and don't get too wasted, it's a perfect way to spend a Saturday. Probably one of the best ways, cause you can't do it anywhere else that I've been to.

I went searching for 'my' cafe on Sunday. Everyone in Portland has a go-to cafe in their neighborhood. I don't I set out to find one. Long story short, I failed. Vivace, Barista..I just know when I want to spend a whole day at a cafe and neither of them were it. Well, I stayed at one for the majority of the day anyway to iron out details for my upcoming trip. The more I research South America, the more obsessed I'm getting! I also had my first Spanish tutoring lesson on Sunday. My tutor was sooooo impressed with how good my spanish already is. NOT! But I have no doubt I'll be ready when the time comes, and I'm so excited!

I spent today mostly outside, relaxing at a park and getting ice cream with my bestie Julie and her daughter. Although I'm terrified of having my own, I can't help but admire how much my friend has grown and pulled up her big-girl panties to be a mother. Most of my besties from high school are mothers too now, actually. While everyone is posting pictures of their kids on Instagram, I just post food. At least you can eat food? But really, parenthood is incredibly overwhelming and I am so proud of them for taking it on.

I'll leave you with something that stuck out to me from our CEO's spill that made us all teary. Lots of things he said made us teary..I'm not sure how he does it. But this applies to everyone reading:

"If you end up living a thousand lives, and this one gets to be one of them, you are lucky." -B. Chesky

After work on Thursday we were surprised by an army of pedicabs to take us to our company happy hour. Most spoiled employees ever? I think so <3 

Every summer I've been away, I've dreamt of coming back for this! 

Hitting up the urban parks throughout the city center. Oh, summer time. 

I still love that vino blanco con mis amigos!