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one year oregonians!

Yesterday was our anniversary of arriving in Oregon & I can't believe it's been a year already!! We began our special day at our friends' Vietnamese engagement ceremony, which was filled with so many interesting & lovely customs, including the groom's family gifting the bride's family with a whole roast pig! Afterwards, we met up with some other friends at a special brewery event which even included beer donuts & beer ice cream! Then we had yummy dinner at a nearby food cart pod, drank some more beer in our friends' backyard, & watched a movie once the sun set. It was such a fun day to mark the occasion :]

Our first year as Oregonians has been filled with such positive experiences, wonderful new friends, A LOT of scrumptious food, & unbelievable natural beauty :] It isn't difficult to imagine Burton & I buying a cute Portland bungalow & raising little kiddos out here. Since we arrived, I knew that this was the place I wanted to lay down some roots & we are very excited for many more years in our new home state!

chop chop!!

9 inches gone!! I needed a change & I'm so happy I decided to go for it :] I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair - no blow drying, straightening, or curling - & my long hair has starting to look frumpy if left unstyled. But I am LOVING the short hair because I don't even have to brush it anymore. Just scrunch in some mousse & it looks awesome. I should've done this years ago!!

adventures with Jess!

A couple months back, my beautiful Florida friend, Jessica, moved to Portland! What's even crazier is that her apartment is only 4 blocks from mine! Not only have we had lots of lovely brunch dates & pot luck dinners together, but we've also been going on lots of outdoorsy adventures as we show her her beautiful new state. A few weeks back, we all went to Cannon Beach (where "The Goonies" was filmed!) & hiked along the coast. We also had some reeaaaalllyyyy good ice cream :]

Needless to say, everyone was pretty tuckered out afterwards. But we rested up for another adventure the following weekend...hiking around the Columbia Gorge! 

We hiked for about 5 hours on the Indian Point Trail, which has a 2800ft. elevation gain, making it one of our most challenging hikes yet. But those views!!! It was worth every single step. I'm not afraid of heights, but it was a little dizzying being so high up & so close to a sheer drop off - it was so thrilling! The rest of the hike was pretty mellow, with a beautiful picnic stop & music playing on our portable speaker :] We were practically running on the way back down. Which was fitting because after the hike we visited not one, not two, but THREE breweries!! That pretty much sums up my perfect day :]

school's (almost) out for summer!

This is the final week of school (yay!) & winding everything down has been HECTIC. You can see what my students have been up to on my art teacher blog :] I taught my final art classes today & I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Burton & I have been so busy that we haven't even had a chance to firm up itineraries for our summer trips! We'll be leaving for Hawaii & Japan in just TWO WEEKS, holy cow!! We need to start doing some research...

As the school year winds down, we've been attending LOTS of school events - community BBQs, graduation, dance recitals, musical performances, etc. But my absolute favorite event was PROM! Burton never attended his prom when he was in high school, so it was exciting to be his first ever prom date :] We "chaperoned" by strolling through the beautiful venue, enjoying the sundae bar, making s'mores at the garden's fire pit, & dancing awkwardly at arms' length. It was such a great night - I hope Burton asks me to be his date again next year!

cinco de mayo!

We had such a blast this past weekend :] There was a huge Cinco de Mayo festival at the waterfront park, so Burton & I rode our bikes over the Willamette River into downtown to check it out. They were giving away free sombreros in an attempt to break the world record for most sombreros worn at an event. Only in Portland, right? Even the police officers were wearing them! I laughed my butt off watching Burton find a creative solution for getting our giant sombreros back home by bike :] Needless to say, it was an awesome day - nachos & tacos, sombreros & bike rides, beautiful weather & bridges. I just love this city :]

banana "nice" cream - YUM!

If you haven't heard of banana "nice" cream yet, I'm about to change your life. This is the best tasting healthy treat I've ever had & the main ingredient is simply frozen bananas! After watching this video, I thought it would be worth a shot & bought a food processor. I AM SO GLAD I DID! It actually tastes just like ice cream & it's FRUIT! You can also change the flavor by adding cocoa, nutella, or peanut butter to it. Seriously, if somebody handed me a cup of this stuff, I would think it's actual ice cream.

Here's the recipe I like to follow:
  • 3 chopped up frozen bananas
  • 3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
Blend & enjoy! This will make two heaping portions. Do yourself a favor & try it :]

springtime in oregon!

I am LOVING the spring season in Oregon! The weather is amazing, the days are getting so long, & so many flowers are in bloom! Everyone always talks about foliage in the fall, but I hadn't really thought about how all the plants just "spring" back to life after winter ;] It felt like the saturation in the city was kicked up a notch practically overnight. Needless to say, we've been hiking ever single weekend this past month. Above are a couple photos from hiking around the Columbia Gorge with Burton's co-worker, Andrew, & his fiance, Lisa.

A couple weekends ago, we hiked the Silver Falls trail for the first time. 10 waterfalls in 10 miles! It was glorious. About half of the waterfalls were over 150 feet & the trail actually took you behind many of them. There's always something magical about getting that close to a waterfall.

This was our lunch time picnic spot. Not bad, right? ;] We did this hike with our friends, Maggie & Walker, who also moved here last summer. We were introduced to them by a mutual friend, Jody, who lives in Boston. I had met Jody on my trip to Israel & Maggie knew her from a study abroad program in Chile! It's crazy how small this world is.

Here was the final waterfall of our trip. We finished the day at Hair of the Dog brewing. If I could describe my perfect day, it would be really similar to this one :]

Last weekend, we hiked near Mt. Hood along the Old Salmon River trail. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have from that hike - sometimes you just get too caught up in the moment to snap a picture. We hiked with our friends, Lindsay & Ian, who we were also introduced to through Jody. Crazy, right?! Turns out Jody's boyfriend has been really great friends with Ian since high school. Thank goodness for Jody!

To be honest, I was nervous I'd get homesick in Oregon, considering we didn't know anybody prior to moving out here. All we had were just a few vague mentions of somebody who knows somebody who also lives in Portland. But we absolutely adore every single person we've met out here & I'm so grateful for these friendships that are being built. June 13th will be our first anniversary of being Oregonians & I can't believe a year has already flown by! I'm looking forward to many more years spent in this beautiful state with these wonderful people :]

hello again!

Whew! The past few weeks have just FLOWN by & I have been a busy bumblebee.
Here are some recent snippets via Instagram:

Feeling incredible post-workout! I'm so proud of how far I've come in my weight loss journey :]
We picked up a treat for Myla while out for a stroll & she carried it the whole way home!!

"Just because" tulips Burton picked up on his way home from work. Love that fella!
I sometimes make smart outfit choices in the morning & can't resist a shameless selfie ;]

Blueberry pancakes & sour ale for our beer/food pairing of the month!
Enjoying time with Portland's newest FL transplant, Jessica :]

Decemberists wall mural!

Somebody painted a giant mural of The Decemberists' newest album cover just a couple blocks away from our gym! I couldn't resist taking some photos with it after one of our workouts :] The day we took these pictures was extra special because we saw them in concert just a few hours later! Needless to say, they ROCKED IT. It was magical seeing them perform in their hometown - which is now our hometown! God, I love LOVE Portland :]

weight loss journey!

YOU GUYS. I have some incredible news & I've wanting to shout it from the mountain tops: I am at my lowest weight (since maybe middle school?) & am no longer "overweight" by BMI standards!! I've lost about 35 pounds from my highest weight, 20 of which was lost in the past few months. I can fit into my "skinny" clothes & had to replace many old ones with new size smalls! It feels AMAZING! I feel healthier & stronger than ever, but more importantly, I can tell that this isn't just me going on a temporary healthy kick (again). I'm in it for the long haul :]

So how did I do it? Drinking way less beer had to happen & now I might only have 3 or 4 drinks each week. Logging what I eat on My Fitness Pal keeps me in check, but I haven't changed much about my diet. Burton & I have always been healthy eaters (lots of vegetables!), but I just think we were over-eating. As for exercise, we've been going on long weekly hikes & appreciating the beautiful weather & nature that Oregon has to offer. During the work week, we'll go to bootcamp or yoga classes at our gym instead. I'm starting to see my little abs coming in! They say weight loss is 80% diet & 20% exercise, but I think the most important factor is will power. When you alter your perspective & view these lifestyle changes as a treat to your body, weight loss doesn't seem so challenging anymore. The physical changes will happen if you're good to your body & PATIENT :]