As a lifelong East Coaster, I've always wondered what life was like on the other side. I based most of my opinions on movies and t.v. shows, but last month, my boyfriend and I took a long-awaited West Coast trip, stopping in three different cities in three different states! We had such an amazing time and made a lot of fun memories, and I'm so excited to share the highlights of our trip with all of you! I'm starting this little West Coast trip recap with our final (and my personal favorite!) destination, Portland, Oregon, because my friend is heading there soon and I want to be able to share this with her before she goes! Keep scrolling to read about where we went, what we did, where we stayed and what we ate/drank. Happy travels!!
Where we Stayed:
To save money on this trip, we stayed in spare rooms we booked through Airbnb. In general, while hotel beds are awesome, I think I might actually prefer staying in Airbnb's over hotels when traveling. It makes you feel like you're more a part of the city you're visiting when you're staying in a residential neighborhood in an actual home, and lots of times the hosts give great insider recommendations on things to do and places to eat! Our Airbnb host in Portland, Sarah, was the best I've ever experienced and went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Her house even had a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs room, complete with a tiny bed, a stuffed Hedwig, and a framed photo of Dumbledore (which Adam and I loved because we're big Harry Potter people)! There was also a wishing tree in the front yard where Sarah encourages guests to hang their wishes. So cool! If you're ever looking for a place to stay in Portland, just search for "Steps to Great Food & Drink (10 min to airport)" on Airbnb.
Where We Ate & Drank:
The food/beer scene in Portland is no joke! We ate and drank a ton in each city we visited, but I think we definitely had the best food and drink of the trip in Portland. Just a few doors down from our Airbnb was a place called Tamale Boy that had some of the tastiest Mexican food I've had in a long time. It was sooo fresh and good! And the restaurant had a huge outdoor seating area that was perfect for the summer weather. I cannot recommend this place enough. Everyone in Portland was also raving about a Thai restaurant called Pok Pok, so we had to check it out. It definitely lived up to the hype. Every dish was delicious and the cocktails were great! They have several locations throughout the city, but we visited Pok Pok NW and were easily able to get a table. For a fun, Mediterranean tapas-style dinner downtown, definitely check out Mediterranean Exploration Co. The hummus with pita and the falafel were amazing! We also loved the brick oven pizza from Oven and Shaker (ask for a seat in front of the pizza oven - it's so fun to watch them work!) and the ice cream from Salt and Straw.
Finally, for a simple and tasty breakfast, stop at P's and Q's Market. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and serves delicious and budget-friendly breakfast food. We went there for brunch two days in a row!!
Portland is definitely not short on breweries and we visited a ton during our trip. My personal favorite was Base Camp Brewing because the beer was amazing, the outdoors-inspired decor was fun, and the patio was spacious. They even had little nozzles spread around the patio spraying cool mist, which was awesome because it was 90 degrees out. We ordered a flight of 10 beers and had so much fun trying them all. Pro tip: order the s'mores flavored beer and it comes with torched mini marshmallows around the rim! We also liked StormBreaker Brewing (outdoor seating, tasty beers) and Deschutes Brewery (huge space, popular, right downtown).
Things to See & Do:
Portland is so full of interesting places, you can really just pick a street and walk down it to find places to visit. But, if you happen to be there on a weekend, don't miss the Saturday Market. It's the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the U.S. and it's full of all kinds of treasures. I ended up leaving with a cute and summery $25 sundress, a handmade necklace and a birthday gift for my mom (I can't reveal what it is or I'll ruin the surprise. Hi Mom!). While you're strolling the market, look up and you'll see Portland's famous White Stag sign! After shopping the market, if you're still looking for a fun trinket to commemorate your trip or to bring back as a gift, you have to visit Crafty Wonderland! It is the cutest little store and they sell Portland-themed items like pins, postcards and t-shirts, but also other adorable gift items like jewelry and art prints. Adam and I both found really cute souvenirs there and had a lot of fun looking around. Finally, if you're a book-lover, stop by Powell's City of Books -- it's the largest independent, new and used bookstore in the country! The size is a bit overwhelming, but they have every type of book you could imagine in there.
Apparently, Portland is known as The City of Roses and there are several rose gardens located around the area. We visited the Peninsula Park Rose Garden and it was so pretty!! The air smelled like roses, the flowers were beautiful, and there was a beautiful fountain in the very middle. It was a peaceful place to stroll through on a nice day. It would even be a great place to bring a picnic!
My cousin Kelly lives in Portland and I was lucky enough that she was around on the last day of the trip to bring me to two beautiful waterfalls just outside of the city. It was a beautiful drive and felt very Pacific Northwest-y. The first place we stopped was Latourell Falls - a gorgeous waterfall that has been left pretty much alone. It's a great spot to visit if you're feeling extra adventurous because you can actually climb down, stand near the base of the waterfall and get sprayed by the water! Some people were even climbing up the side of the cliff! YIKES! The second waterfall we visited, Multnomah Falls, is the more well-known and was more touristy, with a gift shop/food court area and a huge parking lot. But the waterfall was beautiful and you can hike up a path and stand on the little bridge in the center. Even with all the people around, it felt peaceful being around the falling water and it was a great end to the Portland trip!
In conclusion, Portland was everything we hoped it would be and we are already dreaming of going back again! I also kinda would love to live there! If you've ever been and have other recommendations, share them in the comments below. : )
Maxi skirts are comfy and breezy, and perfect for people who want to look cute and feminine but would rather not show a ton of leg! I love them for summer! And don't be afraid of them if you're on the shorter side... as long as you find one that hits you at the right length (tons of stores offer petite/short options), maxi skirts look great on all heights.
I'm all about embracing and wearing what flatters your body type, and I've realized that I really don't like the way my torso looks when I tuck my shirts into maxis. It's just not a flattering look on me. So, I wear them with crop tops instead. I like crop tops that are long enough so that only a sliver of skin shows. It's subtle and not too in-your-face, and you won't feel self-conscious after eating a few tacos or having a few beers (just keeping it real haha)! I found this black one at Zara. I love the way the fitted crop top pairs with the flowy, feminine maxi. I finished the look off with a cute pair of Vans low-top sneakers to keep it cool and casual. I'm a big fan of pairing sneakers with a more feminine outfit - it instantly makes you look more relaxed and effortless. The maxi in the photos above is an oldie but goodie from LOFT a few years ago. But click the photos below to shop my favorite maxi skirt styles available now. XOXO
SHOP MY FAVORITE MAXI SKIRTS AVAILABLE NOW:
My go-to essential oils brand, Rocky Mountain Oils, just released a brand new "chakra-inspired" product line, and I was lucky enough to get to take it for a test drive before it launched earlier this month! I already love all of their other oil roll-ons, so it was so fun to try this seven-piece set. These chakra roll-ons are extra special because each one is designed to be applied to a different part of your body, and each rollerball is made of a different gemstone. They're so pretty!!
If you don't know what chakras are, they're the seven various "energy centers" throughout your body (you might hear about this during yoga or meditation practice, or during studies of Buddhism and Hinduism). Apparently, each chakra corresponds to a different aspect of your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being and has a unique purpose. Being aware of each of these chakras is supposed to help balance your mood and energy.
While I'm not sure that I 100% believe in chakras, I do think they each represent an important part of our lives and selves that we need to pay attention to and take care of. The root chakra (feet and base of spine) reminds us to stay grounded, trust our inner instincts, and remain connected to the beautiful planet around us. The sacral chakra (lower abdomen) reminds us to pay attention to our emotions and follow our passions. The solar plexus chakra (upper abdomen) reminds us to be confident in our abilities and personal power. The heart chakra reminds us to show love to ourselves and the people around us, and to be open to receiving love from others. The throat chakra (the one I usually need the most focusing on) reminds us to use our voices to speak up for ourselves and others and to remain true to ourselves. The third eye chakra (between the brows) reminds us to keep an open mind and work towards understanding. And finally, the crown chakra (top of head) reminds us to pay attention to the joy and peace found inside ourselves and the world around us.
I started applying the oils to each chakra every night before bed and it was actually a really relaxing ritual that helped me wind down before going to sleep. I love the root chakra blend because it feels really good when I roll it onto the soles of my feet -- like a gentle foot massage. The heart chakra roll-on is another favorite because it smells great and I love the rose quartz rollerball. It's also strangely calming to roll it on over my chest. And, of course, I like applying the throat chakra because it reminds me (a person who hates raising her voice) to not be afraid to do it when necessary. Click HERE to learn more about the new RMO Chakra Collection!
Disclosure: I am a Rocky Mountain Oils affiliate, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click the links above and make a purchase. I use Rocky Mountain Oils in my home and endorse them because I believe in their products . The opinions expressed here are my own.
One of the best parts about where Adam and I live in Brooklyn right now is our proximity to the beautiful Prospect Park. It's just a 10-minute walk away from our apartment and a much-needed peaceful oasis where we go to decompress from the craziness of the city and enjoy some nature. Right outside of our park entrance is Grand Army Plaza -- a must-see spot if you ever visit Brooklyn -- and every Saturday the plaza hosts a Greenmarket, where locals go to stock up on locally-grown produce, organic meats, freshly baked breads, and other tasty treats. If you're ever in the area on a Saturday morning, you have to stop by!
It's one of my favorite places to visit for a little "me time" on a lazy weekend morning. One of the reasons I like New York City is because of the anonymity I enjoy here. In my hometown, I couldn't walk down the sidewalk without running into a ton of people I knew, but in New York it's easy to slip through the crowds or go out for the day without that constant recognition. I love starting a Saturday morning by quietly walking through each vendor's stall at the Greenmarket and watching all the other people hustle by. My favorite products you can find at the Market are dried lavender sachets, apple cider slushies, and savory stuffed loaves of bread. Seriously, if you're in Brooklyn you have to check it out! I brought my mom when she was visiting last winter and we had so much fun picking out delicious foods to bring home and cook for brunch.
When you're done shopping at the Greenmarket, before you head out of the area, take a little detour down the nearby Underhill Avenue. Just one block down the street (coming from Eastern Parkway) you'll find a colorful and creative street art exhibition called the Underhill Walls. The artwork rotates from time to time, and it's extra fun if you happen to show up on the day the artists are painting over their old works and creating new ones. XOXO
There's nothing better than a light, breezy sundress during the hot days of summer. I'm not a huge shorts person so I pretty much live in dresses when the temperatures rise. The one in the photos above is one of my favorites! It's from Free People and it's comfortable and cool and makes me feel pretty. I also love that I can go bra-less with it - I don't need a lot of support and it just feels more comfortable to me in the summer to go "au naturale." These photos were taken on an extremely hot and sunny day, but the dress made me feel great! Sadly this dress is from last season so I can't share a link to it, but click the photos below to shop some of my favorite sundresses available now!
My name is Abby Formella and I'm a 26 year-old working girl living in the lovely borough of Brooklyn, New York.