Content and Happy in Portland | A Small Update

So I figure I owe it to myself to sit down and take the time to write about how the transition to Portland is going so far.  I've been here for exactly one month.

That seems weird to say.

One month.

I've lived in Portland one month.
It feels like I've always been here.

That seems even weirder to say.

But it's true.

I'm loving the rain, loving the city, loving the quirky people, loving fitting in with the quirky people, and loving exploring.  I'm taking my time and not rushing things.  And surprisingly things are falling into place with a job (that I love!) and places to stay (thanks to my family members) and, for the first time in a long while, I feel at peace.

When I was a child I experienced homesickness pretty regularly.  Even when I moved to Boise to finish school, just 2 hours from my parent's house, I would experience it often and make the trek back to see my mom and dad.  I'm not going to lie and say that I don't miss them (if you're reading this mom, please don't misinterpret this to read that I don't miss you, because I do miss you.  And I love you.  Very, very much) but I haven't experienced homesickness.  I feel like I am home.

Each day as I drive through the city toward my job I look around at all the bridges, all the green, all the cyclists, all the people and I'm happy.  Content and happy.

This past weekend I visited the Portland Saturday Market (see pictures from it here) and stumbled upon a booth that was selling Portland magnets and stickers.

I couldn't help myself.

I purchased the 3 magnets and he threw in the sticker as a bonus.


Today in iPhonography 5/30

blick art supply aka heaven on earth | keeping portland colorful
school's out and my day begins | lovely bike ride around jantzen beach

The view on my ride...


My Day at the Park with E

Yesterday morning I woke up to squeals from my cousin's daughter, Emma, running through the house asking if I would take her to the park.  As I rubbed the sleepy from my eyes, drank my coffee and attempted to wake up, I heard,

"E (what she's decided to call me), can we go to the park today?"

"Sure, E (what I've decided to call her)," I reply, "I don't see why not."

"Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!"  I hear as she takes off down the hall to get her shoes.

I got her to stand still and look at me for one shot...

And then I lost her again...

Moving to Portland and getting re-connected with family and friends has been quite the blessing.


Today in iPhonography 5/28

Breakfast with "E" | Cinnamon Toast Crunch... Mmmmm
Park with "E" | Photo-Op at park

Oh yeah, and I rode on the back of this.  NBD, I'm just a badass.


My Day in iPhonography 5/27

Emma and her monkey | Emma and Uncle Tobe (her Papa)
Stephie, Uncle Tobe and Dorn learning FaceTime | Hanging out with Emma


What I've Been Up To...

Hanging out with friends... one of which is way cooler than me and acquired a new toy this past week...

My new job comes with this view in the backyard ... Score!
None of which is my responsibility to care for ... Double Score!

I've been learning all about Lacrosse.  I'm pretty jealous this sport wasn't available to play where I went to school.  It's pretty badass.

Hanging out in the rain watching K get his football on.

Spending time with my cousin's adorbs child and checking out her hoola-hooping skillz ... see that flash around her neck?  Yeah, that'd be a speedy hoopster.

I'm paid to hang out with this awesomeness and jump on a trampoline.
You should be.

Every night I can't wait to see this view on my drive home.  It's a gorgeous city I live in.

Quality counts and he's got it.

Everyday I pick K up from school he stays to play basketball with friends.
Rain or shine.
Crazy kids.

I'm officially a Portland Girl now.  I started rolling up by pants to avoid the bottom 6 inches of my jeans being soaked.
For shit sakes.


My Day in iPhonography 5/24

coffee + finished my book | much needed pedicure
torrential downpour + left my window down | stormy skies + double rainbow + drive time


Acting Like An Adult

Now that I've started my new job and will have regular paychecks again (fist pump!) starting June 1, I figured it's high time I create a budget and stick to it.

This process is also known as, "WHOA!  When did I become an adult?!"

I've spent about 5 hours in Starbucks this morning creating list after list of what I will be making,  what I realistically spend my money on (compared with how I should be spending my money), and what categories everything falls into.  It's been an interesting and eye-opening experience.  In the past my "budget" was logging into my bank account from my phone, seeing how much money was there, mentally deducting what bills I knew I had coming up and deciding whether or not I could afford to put $15 or $20 into my gas tank.  You laugh, but I'm serious.  I'm 29 years old (ALMOST 30!) and have spent each and every paycheck this way.  I never know where my finances are, if I can afford something or not, and my savings has been a joke.

BUT NO MORE!  I'm totally geeking out on this budget thing!  I've researched templates, ways to scrimp and save, how to plan... you name it.  And I'm finally putting it into practice.  Well, I have the template built for it at least... now comes the part where I put action to plan.

Here are my favorite pieces of the plan:
  • Emergency Savings | $150.00 per month
  • Health Savings | $150.00 per month
  • Camera Savings | $200.00 per month 
You see, after all my bills are paid, and all my groceries, fuel costs, fun money, etc are allocated for, I still have money left over to budget for savings!  This makes me quite happy, and actually makes that camera I've had my eye on for quite some time attainable! 

The other piece that is exciting is that I've allocated an extra $175 per month toward my lowest outstanding debt (a medical credit card) that only has $400 left on it.  This way I will have that card paid off in two months and then can roll the entire monthly payment toward the next lowest bill and so on (thank you Dave Ramsey for this brilliant plan!) until I am DEBT FREE!!!

Who knew I could take an honest look at my finances and not break out in an anxiety attack, call my mom and cry?! 

Huzzah for adult hood.  It's about damn time...


10 Things I've Recently Learned (or remembered)

 1| My cousins are awesome, and willing to be giant dorks with me.

2| My Grandma is perhaps the funniest person I know.  Watching her and her best friend, my "grandma" Jo, interact is pure gold.  They are proof that we never have to grow old (or up!) if we don't want to.

3|  The beach is my heart's place to recharge and recenter.  If ever I'm lost, the waves will show me the way.

4| Nothing beats watching the sunset from a place high enough to be out of the city and enjoy the splendor of life slowed down.

5| Coffee is heaven.

6| I'm falling in love with stairs.  They are everywhere in Portland and each set I stumble upon is more beautiful than the next.  They are old, weathered and often full of moss.  Sigh...

7| Nothing beats an unexpected pop of color.  Nothing.

8|  Everyday I discover something new about Portland that I love.  Who knew it would usually happen at sunset while in the car?

9|  I forgot how much I love the bridges over here. 

10|  The longer my hair gets, the more entertained I am each morning when I wake up.


Emma's 5th Birthday & Catching Up with Family

Living in the Portland area gives me the opportunity to reconnect with family that I haven't seen in years.  Growing up in Southern Washington I was surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles and not a holiday passed where I wasn't surrounded by family. When we moved to Idaho, the 5 of us (my mom, dad and 2 brothers) were it.  Christmases suddenly seemed very small and Thanksgivings were eerily quiet.  Over the years we've visited family here and there, but somehow always missed out on seeing my cousins on my mom's side.  Suddenly people who I was very close with all during childhood had been absent for over 14 years.

This past Friday night I was able to see quite a few of them!  My cousin Leah (the most adorable person you'll ever meet) has a little girl named Emma (who is quite adorable herself) and she just turned 5.  I met up with the fam at Red Robin to help celebrate the birthday girl.

Here's Leah and her big girl, Emma.

The birthday girl with her mom and dad.

Emma and her Godmother, Auntie Pearl.

Emma and her Auntie Stephanie (another of my long-lost cousins.  I can't believe how grown up she is!!)

Singing "happy birthday"

Leah's Dad (my Uncle Toby), my Grandma and Emma.