Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

My last weekend in the USA before heading Barcelona, London and Luxembourg for two weeks!

Things I didn't do this weekend:

  • Watch The Olympics Opening Ceremony (I hear I didn't miss much)

  • Go to the Oregon Brewers Festival

  • Eat ice cream, fro-yo or any other variation

  • Susan's Day 28 or 29 Ab Challenge (oops)

  • Drink enough water

  • Tan my legs

How about some things that I did?

I ran 15.5 Miles. It was not as hard as you may think. It was the first time that I've run with music since early 2010 when I shorted my headphones from too much sweat decided I wanted to listen to the sounds of the world and I think that I enjoyed it. I wouldn't want to have music on my daily runs of 4-8 miles, but would find the music helpful when I look down at my watch and still have 2 more hours to be on my feet.

Against my better judgment I broke in some brand new Nike Lunarglide+ 4's which are no longer as shiny white as they are below. I can't believe I will be running 26.2 in October!

Sunday was a long overdue Mother & Daughter day! Mom treated me to some new Europe trip worthy clothes and shoes and then set me up with an excellent bag to transport my new camera in.

Wait, I haven't mentioned that yet? I'm the proud new owner of a Canon Rebel T3i camera. Isn't she pretty? I bought it on a whim after I was lusting over a DSLR for years a few months and found a great deal at Costco for a solid package including two lenses and a sturdy kit bag.

(Not my Photo)

While the camera does a lot of the work for me, I don't know that I'll be a good "photographer" like Anne or Paige until I watch the whole Instruction video, go on photo-shoot trips with friends who also have DSLR Cameras (Hurry, Brooke!) and learn something about Picasa, Photoshop, Lightroom, any other photo editing software (suggestions?)

Everyone loves pet photos! Here are some of my favorites of the best model I could work with! Thanks, sister!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="559"] She did this pose all on her own and stayed steady for 20 seconds![/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="562"] Bailey's loving it![/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="572"] SI Bodies Pet Issue?[/caption]

Looking up to Dad, majestically

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="549"] Neck Break[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="548"] Calm photo after an hour of shooting[/caption]

In other news, Intramural Slow Pitch Softball starts today at my place of work. Although I played my entire life, I only pick up my glove 6-8 games a year. This year that count will be considerably less due to my 2 weeks abroad! We have a fun team and I think we will be decent despite the loss of some key players.

Wish me luck, I was never very good at hitting the change up.

<3 JE

Friday, July 27, 2012

Restaurant Reviews | Ox and Salt & Straw

While Portland may have it's fill of convenient food carts and budget eats to satisfy my appetite, every once in a while I indulge in treating my taste buds to the up and coming restaurants that seem to be capturing all of the buzz. Luckily I have my foodie friend Phil to guide me through the difficult decisions of where to go and what to eat. He not only follows restaurants and trends in PDX, but he follows the Chefs and what they specialize in! Even more impressive is that he follows these chefs locally and domestically, knowing what crazes are hitting the nation in both up scale restaurants and street eats. He's quite the friend to have!

Clipboard Menu @ Ox

We met on a Tuesday afternoon just as the dinner hour approached. When I walked into Ox I was greeted by smiling staff, the aroma of wood-fire grill perfection and a clean ambiance that clued me in that I was somewhere special.

Ox is Argentine-inspired Portland food, meaning that you get the tastes and staples of typical Argentine cuisine yet prepared carefully and thoughtfully to cater to the taste and showcase the chef's impeccable talent.

I'm not too adventurous when I am eating alone, but take a look at Eat & Drink and you can see where Phil's recommendations really set the night!

Eat & Drink:

Malbec, Ben Marco, Mendoza, AR '10 ($40 bottle)

Fresh clam chowder, smoked marrow bone, spring onions, jalapeƱo ($12)

8oz Beef Skirt Steak ($19)

4oz Maitake mushroom, smoked sea salt ($12)

House Chorizo ($9)

Whole roasted fava beans in the pod, shaved radish, hazelnut romesco ($7)

My favorite was the skirt steak, clam chowder and fava beans (championed by the romesco!). I could eat here on a 'budget' if necessary, but had a great time sampling some of the key delicacies from the menu.

Know Before You Go:

  • Leave your frugal barriers behind - here the price means quality.

  • No reservations for parties under six. Get there early or invite a few others out to join! (more people = more sharing!)

  • Address: 2225 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

  • Hours: Dinner, Tuesday-Sunday 5pm - close

  • Be ready to TRY SOMETHING NEW!

  • They have their own parking lot - don't be caught searching for parking on the streets like I did.

Whoa Whoa. We aren't done here. There's still dessert!

Both Phil and I had never been to the Ice Cream shop that was placed in Oprah's April 2012 Magazine as their new favorite ice cream for summer!

I'd been dying to try it, but each time I went to Alberta Street the line was 20 people out the door. This Tuesday night was more of the same with at least 10 patient customers inside and 15 wide-eyed hopefuls soaking in the sun. I couldn't decide which was worse more agonizing; Standing outside watching others devour and rave over the flavor they'd chosen, or stepping inside to experience the freshly churned ice cream and waffle cones filling my nostrils.

Once inside I realized that a big reason that the line is a practice of patience is that the employees are happy to let you sample as many flavors as you wish! I tried at least four, and ended up with the best choice of the 4 and arguably of all 14 on rotation! Nothing out of the ordinary in the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, but that's what set it above the rest - it made my mouth water and my inner child smile.

I was most impressed that there were children in line who were just as patient as the adults. It's that good.

Salt & Straw has put a spell over PDX. Don't let the line intimidate you, it's worth your time!

<3 JE

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Puppy Play Date!

This past weekend came and went like every other. A bachelorette party at Departure, pinterest recipe grilling, seeing The Dark Knight Rises for a second time and my best attempt to escape from the stresses that work has laid on me in the past few weeks.

Want to know the cure for stress? Four legged friends!

The highlight of my weekend was that Dan's co-workers needed a weekend sitter for their 1 1/2 year old golden retriever, and to my personal benefit they chose the most dependable and animal friendly person they know. Dan has a way with pets. All of his friends that know this about him joke that it's because dogs and cats see him as a big hairy animal too - but I think it's his gentle nature, genuine compassion and high energy that wins them over. He doesn't even have to try.

Miss Harley

Dan caught in the moment (in his new shirt and shoes!)


My parents invited us over on Sunday morning for an adult brunch and a puppy play date with my sister, Bailey - I couldn't describe a more fun 5 hours than this. If I were to try to paint the scene, it would look something like this:

Two Golden Retrievers meet for the first time, they sniff, they nudge, they stare. One takes a sudden step forward as to initiate their dance, and the other catches on to the language that only they know. Chaos ensues - 8 legs simultaneously skate across hardwood floor, graze over carpeted surfaces, spring off of leather couches. These two young ladies, one blonde and one brunette, weave in and out of the dining room, kitchen, living room, up and over couches, using the four of us as pillars and distractions. Gentle nudges and sweet kisses are followed by taunting barks, "I-Mean-Business" Nips and Nibbles, ultimately culminating in exasperated panting and tongue-out smiles. This is life!

Constant Motion

Stand Off!

Bailey says, "HeY HaRlEy, bRiNg mE sOmE tReAts!"

Whispering secrets to Harley

"I'm QuEeN oF tHe MoUnTaiN!" - Bailey

Girls taking a well deserved break

Girls Snoozin'

Harley can't keep her eyes open on the drive home!

My sister Bailey loves play dates and I can't wait to see Harley again!

<3 JE

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Sister, Bailey

It was a tragic day in August when I had to say goodbye to my beautiful sister, Brandy. A tragic run in with three off-leash dogs at a campsite in Eastern Oregon ended her life too soon at just under 4 years. I will save the memories of Brandy for another day, but in the meantime I will share a photo we shot in her last few weeks of life as she had just begun to love swimming! She was a beautiful girl with a wonderful spirit and we will forever miss her.

With the loss of Brandy, my family went on the ultimate search to find another perfect golden retriever to fill the hole in our hearts. After great amounts of research crunched into a day's time (thank you, retirement!), my mom found a litter of 8 in St. Paul, Nebraska that had just been bred by such beautiful parents, Joy and Aspen. Of the litter of 8, there were only 2 girls, and only one was available for reservation. My mom, so overwhelmed by how much Joy looked like Brandy did, reserved one of the pups without hesitation.

Loup Valley Goldens - Joy and Aspen

As the weeks went by, my family did our best to cope with the loss of Brandy along with prep ourselves for the introduction of a brand new puppy into our homes. I first laid eyes on my sister when she was only 3 weeks old and watched her grow up with the rest of her litter. We didn't know which of the two girls we were going to get, but how can you decide? They were all so precious!

Joy and Aspen's girls

"Miss Red" at 6 weeks - before we knew she was our little girl

As she was born in Nebraska, we would have to either take a road trip or fly out to pick her up and bring her home with us to the Northwest. My mom wisely opted to fly, and invited me to come along to escort her on the journey! I took two days off from work to support 5 flights in one day on our "Amazing Race".

Portland to Seattle at 5:30am > Seattle to Denver > Denver to Omaha (PUPPY!!!) > Omaha to Denver > Denver to PDX

Once we got to Omaha, we met at the hand-off spot outside of the terminal and it was love at first sight! We had a quick chat with the breeders, thanked them over and over for such a sweet and beautiful little girl and the opportunity to start over.


We said our goodbyes to the breeders and returned into the airport terminal to get ready for our quick turn around flight back West. Once through security, we got the little beauty out of her carrying case and let her show us how much personality she had. She made us laugh non-stop with her puppy wiggles and prancing steps - we found it difficult to get a still photo!

Bailey says, "LoOk gUyS, I'm WaLkInG MySeLf!"

On our flights home, the airline protocol was to leave all pets on the floor in an appropriate carrying case, but the great flight attendants were more than accommodating and were even offering to take photos of our journey home. She was too cute to keep on the floor!

Bailey, mom and I - on a plane to Portland!

After getting her to Portland, my dad picked us up from the airport and held her on the drive home. She instantly fell in love with Dad, probably because he hadn't been harassing her and petting her for the past 5 hours. That night, the house was once again filled with laughter, warmth and four legged footsteps - a very welcomed contrast from the past 2 months of silence and mourning of Brandy.

The next morning we got onto a skype call with my brother in Europe and went through the important task of naming the new addition to our family. After several names were thrown around and my brother proposed "Bacon" as her name (you know, so that Dad could have Bacon in the car, Bacon in bed, Bacon on the couch) we unanimously chose Bailey "Bacon" Even and started to call her by name immediately.

Enjoy the following photos of my beautiful sister, she will turn 1 Year old on August 14th!

Bailey meets her brother, Matt for the first time over Skype

Pirate Taz is no match for Bailey Bacon

Helping me untie my shoelaces

Little as can be

Autumn Potty Party

Classic Car Model

Learning about the backyard

Toy avalanche

Out like a light

Tall enough to be nosy

Happy In School

Sister Sleepover! (pillow hog!)

A Lady and a Scholar

Making Friends with a Doodle

Helping at the Beach House

Pondering Life's Deeper Questions

We love you, Bailey!

<3 JE

Restaurant Review | Yakuza Louge

I simply love snagging a great deal - especially when it involves spendy food at a discount!

A few months ago on the recommendation of a co-worker I bought a $15 Groupon for a $30 value to Yakuza Lounge in NE Portland.

(All Photo Credit:

In typical Groupon fashion I waited until the expiration date to use my voucher, but couldn't have chosen a more perfect evening. The commute was easy, the parking was hassle-free, there was no wait to be seated on a Friday night (although the only seats remaining were at the bar), and the food was above and beyond my expectations.

What We Ate:

2 Sapporos on draft ($5 each pint)

2 Cucumber, Avocado, Sesame and Togarashi Salads ($6 each)

Donburi - Kimchi, Grilled Zucchini, Crispy Poached Egg, Rice ($8)

Really Spicy Roll - Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Mango, Basil, Thai Chili ($12)

We were lucky enough that they rolled up the garage doors and let a little July evening breeze come through.


Know Before You Go:

  • Like many of the higher end restaurants popping up in PDX, Yakuza has a "small plates" and "shareable portion" platform with a narrow yet promising Eat and Drink Menu.

  • Yakuza has one of Jen from Under the Table with Jen's favorite Burgers. (She's a PDX foodie who I'd love to be friends with!)

  • Yakuza takes reservations on their website - get a table for a romantic evening date!

  • They're social - @YakuzaPDX

  • Address: 5411 NE 30th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97211

  • Hours: Wednesday-Sunday; 5pm-11pm

  • GET THE BURGER! It looked as amazing as it sounds (Chevre, Shoestring Potatoes, Catsup, Spicy Mayo)

Don't take my word for it, plan a date!