The blackberry is, in my opinion, the best type of berry. It tastes like candy, is chock-full of nutrients, and also freezes gloriously to suit your esculent enjoyment many months later. As there happens to be a hidden blackberry patch near my parents’ house, I decided to go blackberry picking over the weekend. The real blackberry season hasn’t started yet (it’s a berry that starts to spring up late in the summer), so I was a little sceptical about finding enough to make going there in the hot sun and risking the thorns worth it. Still, my efforts were not entirely fruitless. I managed to fill one large pail to the top and am already thinking of all the wonderful things I can do with my capture.
The literary t-shirt exudes an air of utter coolness that can only be replicated by very few other sartorial choices. (Just don’t wear a shirt with words from a book that you haven’t read and you’re golden.) And since I like to be utterly cool as much as the next person, I will be forever grateful to anyone who gives me any one of these t-shirts as a gift. I will also give them freshly-baked cookies as a way of expressing my gratitude.
This, in my opinion, is the best t-shirt in the list. (Sorry if I pretty much ruined the ending of The Great Gatsby for you!)
The famous opening lines from Great Expectations are still so relevant to today’s times that we should all be wearing them on a t-shirt all the time.
Have something that you’d want to say to someone’s face? Just wear it on a t-shirt and let other people ponder over whether or not it applies to them.
Remember having to stamp the paper cards inside library books with the date that you took each one out? Such cards are a bit before my time (having been born in the early 1990s, I briefly caught their last dying breaths), which is precisely why I find them so cool on t-shirts now.
Some people have a crush on Mr. Darcy. Others reread Pride and Prejudice for a taste of the better table manners, elaborate vocabulary, and pretty dresses. But personally, I can most relate to the pride and sense of having something to prove to others that has driven the story along.
Seafood, anyone? It’s funny because when I was a kid, I used to hate all of it. I’d eat fish and chips or some beer-battered shrimp (what kid doesn’t love all things that are oily, battered, and deep-fried?), of course, but I’d draw the line at just about everything else. But then, slowly, my tastes began to change. While I still do not like most types of red fish in anything other than sushi, I’ve come to really enjoy halibut, tuna, catfish, crab, clams, oysters, shrimp, and many other such foodstuffs from the sea. In Oregon, that’s pretty much all I ate. Stopping at one small fish shack by the water after another, we’d order a bunch of different dishes to share with the table. And so by the end of the ten days, I had enough fish tacos, clam chowder, crab cakes, crab cheese dip, fish and chips (they’ve remained a perennial favourite of mine), oyster shooters, and shrimp and prawns in all their variations to satisfy even the biggest seafood craving. The thing that stood out, most of all, though? The crab cakes in the second photo. They may look ordinary, but they taste divine.
Small towns by the waterfront is where I do some of my best writing. There’s something very romantic about sitting by the beach with a notebook and pen (I’ll opt for the laptop 99% of the time, but there still is) and writing down thoughts that aren’t necessarily meant to be published while listening to the sound of the waves. The drive along the Oregon Coast is a trip I’ve been going on with my parents every couple of summers for almost ten years now. This year, we went down to see some of the California Redwood State Parks before taking a leisurely drive up the coast, stopping to spend the night in one quaint town after another. I’ve been going on lots of long walks on the beach, eating lots of seafood (but more on that later), exploring antique shops for things that I didn’t even know I needed, and taking lots of pictures of waves, cliffs and various forms of marine life. Here are some of the photos I snapped.
I like long road trips in theory, in a feel-the-wind-in-my-hair kind of way that I got out of bad country songs, remember-when stories, and Kerouac’s famous novel. In reality, spending a long time on the road (even as a passenger) can be draining. It can be especially draining when you’ve only gotten two hours of sleep because you were at little part-ay the night before and then missed the last bus home. In that case, you just stare at the highway blindly, numbly counting down the minutes until you get to your next destination. But anyway, I digress.
It’s summer and it’s time to pack a few bags and get out of town if even for a little bit. This time, we stopped in Portland while passing through on our way to other cool places, so we didn’t have as much time there as I would have liked. As such, my visit to this city has been a bit of a whirlwind of do-this-cool-thing-fast before moving on to the next part of the journey. Still, this wasn’t my first first visit to the city so I knew just where to go to make sure that the time that I did have here was spent well.
First on my list of places to visit was Powell’s City of Books, the bookstore that is about five floors of awesome. To give you a bit of an idea of just how awesome it is, I’ll just say that they hand out a map to the bookstore. A map to the bookstore so that you do not get lost amid rows and rows of just about any kind of book (and clever literary knickknack!) you can think of. It is the kind of place that will give all you English majors hope that independent bookstores are not on the verge of becoming extinct. Naturally, I felt more than a little overwhelmed and unsure of just where to begin. Check out the rare books or go into literature for some good deals? Buy a cookbook on curries or venture into the surprisingly huge section on pirates, captain’s logs, and sea exploration? That said, I still ended up walking out with the biggest spread of books that I’ve perhaps ever purchased at one time (a book on journalism to help me better understand the nature of what I want to go into, some Faulkner books that I picked up at a good price, a book on women’s fashion throughout the ages, and a book of short stories). Now I just need to find the time to read them all.
Portland is also known to be the unofficial city of food trucks, so I definitely made a point to try try as much of them as I could in a day and a half. In the end, I tried (not all at once, of course) a green curry on rice, an Egyptian gyro, eggplant in spicy sauce, more eggplant and vegetables with labneh (a Mediterranean yogurt dip that tastes almost like cream cheese), these delicious cheesy dumplings, and a massive grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo called The Cheesus. Everything that I had ranged from good to blow-your-socks-off-good and they were certainly more affordable than most of the food trucks in Vancouver.
And then I just walked around, snapped photos for the blog, and tried to do my best to soak in the some of the cool atmosphere of the city. While doing precisely that, I saw some people who were doing high-air flips in Pioneer Square. At first I got excited because at first I thought that this was something that you could pay to do (few things make me happier than being able to hang and do flips in the air while attached to a stretchy elastic harness), but was sadly informed that they were actual acrobats practicing routines for an actual acrobat company and my own dream of becoming an aerialist would just have to wait. I was laughed at quite a bit for that one.
So that was it for Portland. As is usually the case with my travels, I never have enough time in any place I visit and always think of things that I would have still liked to do and places I would have still liked to see, if only I had more time. I didn’t get a chance to try out Voodoo Doughnuts (the line was about an hour long each time I passed by!), for example, and I still want to catch a play at the Armory. I will be back again (Fiddler on the Roof is playing in the fall!) and so I’m already looking into my schedule to see when I can next fit in another visit to this city.
Photo found through Pinterest.
If I ever do decide to get a tattoo (which, let’s be honest, is unlikely), it would probably be this quote. I always repeat it to myself whenever I’m feeling disappointed about not getting something that I really wanted. So often, it feels like a certain job, a certain answer or even a certain person is the end-all answer to our problems when, after looking back and learning some more about ourselves, we realize that it might not have been what we wanted after all. And while I’ve never been one to invent ad-hoc reasons as a coping strategy, sometimes I cannot help but think that there can be something good in not getting what you want.
That said, I do not believe that everything that happens is somehow for the best (in this world, there are so many bad things that shouldn’t be happening at all) or, even worse, part of an overarching plan for one’s life. There is no plan. I feel that, more than anything else, our lives are a combination of choice and chance, of coincidences and circumstances that play out in part due to the decisions that we make. And because that element of choice is not always as strong as I’d like it to be, I often feel the need to control everything that happens in my life. It’s always so hard for me to admit that, in the vast majority of cases, I don’t really know what the best choice will be ahead of time.
I guess we make choices based on what we want at that given moment and sometimes these can be the wrong choices. Did a fifteen year-old me want the same things as a twenty-one year-old me? Most definitely not. Figuring out what we you really want is a complicated process (not to mention one that keeps changing), so sometimes it’s good to stop, realign your focus and think about whether what you’re striving for so hard now is the same as what you’ll be striving for a year from now. And that’s why, not getting what we wanted in the meantime can sometimes turn out to be the greatest thing that has ever happened to you.
Let’s talk skirts. More specifically, let’s talk about the Anthropologie Carte Neoprene Skirt that I saw in a store window a few days ago and have been drooling over ever since. It is a skirt that looks like a giant map of Paris. For someone who loves both maps (I’ve used several old ones as wallpaper in my room) and Paris, this is quite possibly the greatest item of clothing ever made. I mean, is there anything on this earth that could possibly be more cool? The correct answer, of course, is no.
I’ve already tried this skirt on in store. I’ve already twirled around in it in front of the changing room mirror and thought about just how much I want to get it. And now, I’m just waiting for it to go on sale even a little, so that I can get it right away when it does.