A Portrait of an Imaginary Life in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Everywhere I travel, I try to picture myself living. Some places are a stretch, like Illinois, where the summer heat combined with humidity are a recipe for my misery. Others, like Cannon Beach, where I visited my sister last week, feel like a dream come true.

Haystack Rock

I can imagine myself getting the part time job advertised in the window of the Organic Boutique, and stocking up on their little pots of all-natural paints. When I’m not working there, I’ll find a comfortable seat on a driftwood log on the beach with my sketchpad, capturing the Haystack Rock or the children flying kites. Maybe I’ll search for inspiration on a hike through the mossy evergreens, discovering hidden waterfalls and caves, channeling Sacajawea minus Lewis and Clarke.

Seaside
Campers by the caves

On rainy days (so, frequently) I’ll spend a few hours in various cafes writing deep, introspective thoughts, fueled by Aztec Mochas or Lavender Vanilla Lattes (both completely amazing). In all weather, I’ll visit the beach, allowing myself to be hypnotized by the rhythmic music of the waves and wind.

Aztec Mocha from Insomniac Cafe
A corner in Sesame and Lillies
North Beach

My TOMS and Wellington boots will co-exist happily by the front door, awaiting an excursion to Sesame and Lillies for a new home decor piece, or North Beach, for a sandy walk along the shore to collect new shells. My sand dollar collection will be artfully framed and displayed over my river stone fireplace.

My morning spot on the back porch

I’ll meet friends at Bill’s Tavern for fish and chips with a Blackberry Beauty Beer, or I’ll savor the best root beer known to man. It’s my kind of town, with yarn shops and glass works and fried seafood existing so close together, a car is cumbersome. And yet, you’ll never fail to discover another hidden gem on a street you walked a dozen times.

Best Root Beer Ever

From the chatty baristas at Insomniac Cafe to the fellow southwest and midwest transplants at the Conference Center and Ecola Bible School, the people I met are genuine, accepting, and kind. I feel like we would be friends, especially the girls my sister and I watched musicals On The Town and The Phantom of the Opera with while doing henna tattoos. Not only do we share similar interests; artistic, literary, fair trade, we’re also in similar places in life. We’ve found a place to minister, and maybe something else that pays the bills. We’re really just trying to find our place in life, trying to find what we’re meant to do.

Henna Birds

And when in Oregon, do as the Oregonians do, and put a bird on it! 

Have you ever fallen in love with a place you’ve visited? Tell me about it in the comments!

Inspiration: Carry On Closet

Remember Fashion for Freedom? I’m still working on cutting my closet to 100 items. I’m having some trouble figuring out how to have a wardrobe that works for multiple seasons and occasions. When I saw these videos posted by the Ethical Fashion Forum of Antithesis‘ new line of versatile, ethical clothing, they totally inspired to rethink how my clothes can be worn together. Plus, I always enjoy stop motion videos!

Carry On Closet from Antithesis on Vimeo.

“Whether it is for business, studies or simply leisure, nowadays many of us travel extensively. With the strict one-bag policy reinforced by low-cost airlines, the need for a compact and versatile wardrobe is becoming essential. Carry On Closet is a transeasonal capsule collection of multi-functional pieces that can be worn in countless different ways. A cape becomes a one-shoulder top or a skirt, a dress transforms into a top, a coat unzips into a crop jacket or even a waistcoat. Effortlessly stylish and practical, it all fits in a cabin-size suitcase. Bon voyage!”

 My favorite: the bag that turns into a rolling carry on suitcase.

Are you doing any travelling this season? What size suitcase do you take to fit everything you need?

Last Minute Vacay, the Calm Before the Storm

At last minute, Brian and I decided to spend Labor Day weekend in California with my sister-in-law. We were feeling the pressure of all we needed to do before moving, plus the stress of finding a place to move to, so we took our last opportunity for a quick get-away.

Saturday we went to Seal Beach and had Mexican food twice.

I looked like a snowflake!

We also watched Harry Potter 6, since I just finished the books.

Sunday, Andrea painted my nails.

We watched Harry Potter 7 Part 1, and we tried to go to the Getty, but they ran out of parking. So instead, we went to Santa Monica, and drove for at least half an hour before we found parking there. It was worth it!

 The pier!
Man with a tiny dog in his murse.

Then we went to church. I wish I’d taken pictures, it was breathtakingly beautiful inside, but I felt like it would be sacrilegious. The music was beautiful, and the sermon just happened to be on the same passage as last week’s at my church: James 1:27. Then we went out to dinner with Andrea’s newlywed friends at BJ’s.

After incredibly delicious pizza, we ordered the Pizzooki Party Sampler, with triple chocolate, white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter, and red velvet cookies with chocolate and vanilla ice cream on top. Heavenly!

Then we watched Harry Potter 7 Part 2, and went to bed.

Monday, we went to our favorite restaurant in Cali, Schooner or Later, for brunch. Looked at all of Andrea’s pictures from her Europe trip, packed up, and hit the road.

For the first time ever, we didn’t hit traffic leaving LA or coming into Phoenix! 
As always, the time went by too fast, but it was perfectly relaxing and wonderful. 
Now the storm has hit us, a storm of stuff to do before we can move, stuff to do on the house and cars for our landlord, furniture to fix up before we move, a desk to sell, packing, programs for my other SIL’s wedding, packing, stuff to do for church, cleaning, cars and hotels to reserve for the wedding, packing, a dress to find for the wedding, downsizing, lease to sign, laundry, projects, and so much more. Not to mention blogging, and all the things I want to plan for the coming months.
I mentioned to Brian that while we were in Cali, I fell asleep right away and stayed asleep every night, but here, I toss and turn for hours. His theory: I didn’t worry or stress while in Cali. I think he’s right, all I thought about were the one or two fun things we were going to do the next day. Here, my mind is in a constant swirl of to-do lists. 

It will pass. We’ll get through it somehow, and I will survive!

Nostalgia, Friends, and Moving On

As I’ve mentioned, last weekend Brian and I flew to Iowa for the wedding of Brian’s best friend. It was an incredibly good time, and also a little bittersweet. So today, I feel like just sharing a bunch of my favorite pictures from the four days with you all.  

You know, up until 2009, I had never flown before, and now I’m starting to lose track of all the times I’ve had the privilege. To me, it’s like riding on a fun rollercoaster, just enough thrill without getting too crazy. Unless of course, there’s turbulence. That’s a little too thrilling for me!

This is the mesmerizing fountain in the Detroit airport
We flew all night and arrived in Des Moines Thursday morning with about two hours of sleep. We showered and ate a second breakfast at Brian’s grandma’s house, and picked up the van from his uncle that they offered to us to use while we were there. Then we met Jay, the groom-to-be, for lunch at the iconic Hickory Park restaurant in Ames. We had a couple hours before the rehearsal, so I took a nap at the hotel, while Brian assisted Jay with running some errands. My nap was over too soon, but then it was time for the rehearsal!

I got all choked up when they just practiced walking down the aisle! I’m such a softy! 
That night we enjoyed a wonderful meal, and a slideshow of pictures of the couple. That seriously choked me up! I also got better acquainted with the wife of one of the other groomsmen. They got married the week before we did last summer. We had fun hanging out together for the rest of the wedding events, sharing recollections of our own wedding days. 

Friday morning Brian dragged me out of bed so that I could meet my mentor and friend Sabrina for breakfast.  She caught me up on all the news from the last year, and we had a great time talking about blogging!

After breakfast, I had a few minutes to gather all my wedding attire, and then Brian dropped me off on Welch Ave. to meet more friends for lunch while he took my stuff over to the wedding location.

Amazing Chinese food for incredible prices
I was meeting them at one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants, but before they arrived I had time to walk around Welch and Campus and take a few pictures of some of our favorite spots. Oh, the nostalgia! 

Good old Welch. Brian and Jay lived down this hubbub of campus activity. 

Lake Laverne and the Memorial Union

Lancelot and Elaine, the ISU swans.

One of the many locations Brian and I used to sit for long chats

The camponile, with the amazing CyRide!
The beautiful MU

During lunch I remembered one of my favorite things about ISU. I was eating with a friend from Russia, a friend from Puerto Rico, and a friend from Hong Kong, at a Chinese restaurant with both Asian and Mexican employees. ISU and Ames in general is such a diverse city. I loved that about going to school there.

By the time we finished eating and chatting, Brian and the rest of the wedding party were on central campus taking wedding pictures. I said good-bye to my friends and walked over to meet them and ride back to the wedding location.

It was incredibly hot and humid, and we couldn’t stop sweating! It took me at least half an hour to cool off and dry off before I could get dressed for the wedding. That’s one thing I don’t miss about Iowa! 
Then it was time for the wedding! 

A sweet moment after the mothers placed the unity sand up front. 
Waiting for the Bride
The sermon was awesome! Sometimes wedding sermons are sappy, but this one was very practical and challenging! 

Announcing Mr. and Mrs.!

We had about an hour before the reception, so we milled around the lobby and enjoyed the hor d’ouevres and catching up with people we knew.

The couple had arranged so that both of us wives of the groomsmen got to sit at the head table with our husbands, which I really appreciated! It made the reception so much more enjoyable.

Awwww
Us at the reception, lookin’ good

Brian did a great job with his speech! I was quite concerned, because if you know Bri, he’s not much of a public speaker, but he is quite the rambler. And sometimes he thinks things are funny that no one else understands. He allowed me to read his notes before hand, and I was impressed with what he had, and when he actually delivered it, it was even better! I was so proud!

Brothers 🙂

We had so much fun at the reception. I was so excited that I got Brian to dance with me! He’s always insisted that he can’t dance, which I totally understand, because I can’t either, but I still enjoy it! Even though we kept stepping on each other’s feet, we had fun! 

After a late night, we had breakfast with a big group of our college friends at the ridiculously early time of 8 a.m. In spite of making us late by spilling coffee down myself twice, we finally made it there and hung out with them until almost 11.

Spending time with them definitely made us homesick. The only thing we don’t like about living in Arizona is that in the year we’ve lived here, we have just as many friends as when we started: two. And friends our age? Zero. And we haven’t figured out how to meet people our age with similar interests.

We were bemoaning that with our friends, when one of our friends said something really interesting. While having college friendships that endure through the years is wonderful, “I think we need to move on too, and make new friends where we are now,” he said. He mentioned that his parents have friends from college that they still keep in touch with, but no close friends where they currently live.

He’s right. We need to maintain our friendships, but we need to find/form a new circle here too. 

Well, after breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, picked up Jimmy Johns to-go, and headed to our home town. That evening, we had a picnic on Brian’s parent’s deck for all our family. We celebrated us being back, and also my brother’s 12th birthday. 

A great candid shot

The birthday boy!

I invited my best friend Rachel, and she came over early to hang out, and stayed late.

Rachel! 

My sister, brother-in-law, and niece

I heard crocodile tastes like chicken…

Edward was very excited about having an Iowa State cake

Happy Birthday!!!

Ethan is making his action hero eat the cake, and Eric thinks it’s pretty funny

My FIL scooping homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream

Edward is a big ISU fan, if you can’t tell!

We went to church the next day at the church I’d grown up in, and got to see many old friends. We had lunch with my older sister and her family, and before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport.

Good-bye Iowa!
On to new horizons!

So, now things have settled back into the normal rhythm for the most part. We’re still catching up on sleep, and pondering how we can form a new circle of like-minded friends here. If you have ideas, feel free to share!

School starts in three weeks. It’s hard to believe the summer is almost over! Do you have any big plans for the last few weeks before back-to-school hits?