Vacation So Far…

Oh my goodness…I don’t think I can sum up perfection in one little blog post.  That’s how this trip has been so far.  I was going to try and blog every day but let’s get real – that’s not happening.  I’ll go ahead and break down the first few days for ya like this…in pictures (all pics were taken with my iphone).

Arrived in pretty Portland SUPER late!! I drove on over to Tyler‘s place and we caught up for a bit then I fell asleep…pronto.  Air travel makes me a sleepy one plus we were leaving for Seattle the next day.  I needed to snooze for preparation of what was to come.

(outside of Tyler’s home)


Picked up Shawna and headed to Seattle!

Spent some much needed time with these lovelies – Victoria, Tyler, Nycala, and Shawna. (I think I can call Tyler lovely without getting into too much trouble!!) Tyler took this pic!! He’s a super great photographer!!  See his work –> here.

Found my dream ride.

Checked into the most fabulous hostel!! City Seattle Hostel in the middle of downtown.  All of the rooms are decorated by local artists, plus there’s a hot tub, dance floor, free breakfast, movie theater, clean bathrooms, and fun/interesting people to meet around every corner.  If you go, ask them to read the rules in a british accent…it makes the process much more enjoyable. 

We took a few pictures.

And jumped on the bed.  We explored for a bit and had a yummy italian dinner on the patio….until we realized how cold it was and charmed our way into a perfect (and warm) table inside.  Soon after dinner we realized that people don’t go to hostels to sleep!! Goodness it was SO LOUD but we didn’t care a bit. 

Bye bye, super adorable hostel that we love.  I don’t know why I never stayed in these before.  It was swell!!

Seattle was BEAUTIFUL!!! So we headed to the market.

Waiting for Cafe Campagne….a cute french place.  We had brunch and it was tasty!! Mmmm mmm!!

Getting our caffeine buzz going.  Shawna is SO CUTE!

FRENCH TOAST!!! ohmygawsh!! There’s a reason they’re famous for this.

Instant replay.

We watched street performers….and they made us smile and clap and dance.  This was was UNREAL!!!  He ended up balancing a second guitar on his chin and playing the other while hula hooping….and he didn’t miss a beat.

I took a few market pics….

And of course, we stopped by the gum wall and the street art.

Gum wall!! Obviously.

Gum art. *smile*

No trip is complete without a cupcake.

Tie dye?! Seriously?! YES!!!!!

We drove home and made it back in time for church – A Door of Hope.  I got to see all of my friends in one place!!! Oh man, I was overwhelmed with good vibes and happiness.  After church, a group of us had dinner at Cha Cha Cha.  It was lovely to sit and laugh and look around to see people I loved everywhere.   My dear friend Laura leaned over to me at one point and said (with a smile) – “it’s like you never left.”  That made my night.  After dinner, I had coffee with Parker, a new friend that I already adore.  He’s a gifted artist and you should check out his photos –> here.

Woke up early and met Shawna at her beautiful home.  This is their front yard.

Borrowed some bikes from her roomates and went on a beautiful ride through Portland to meet the ladies for brunch.

Serena and Shawna outside of The Tin Shed.

Pretty girls!! I will say that breakfast with my Portland friends is a much different experience than breakfast with my fellow Texans.  Things I overheard at breakfast:
– Do you have a vegan menu?
– Are these eggs local?
-Could I get organic/soy milk, please?
– I pee in a jar and put it in my garden.  It’s good for the soil. –Bailey

Window shopping with these sassy ladies.

Laura Elizabeth + Laura Elizabeth = magic.

The sweet girls got me presents!! Mustache socks from Laura and a Heart in Oregon pin from Lily!!

Stopped off at Bailey’s to get the bikes before heading to the park.  This is Bailey and Dorothy…the cat.

Bailey’s poet tree.  She transforms words into beauty and displays it outside her home for all to enjoy.

I held one of her little chickens and wasn’t freaked out at all.  Ok, that’s a total lie.

Back on the bikes to our next stop.  I wish we could ride bikes more in Texas.  It was such a perfect and fun way to get around. 

Bailey and Laura love their brains.

I took a pic while operating the bike…whoops.  Don’t tell on me, please.

We brought blankets, Thai tea, and books to Laurelhurst park and had a beautiful afternoon.  I love these ladies and their kind/gentle spirits.  This was good for my soul.

Lily…killing me with her cuteness.

That night we all had dinner together and returned home.  One of the sweetest memories of the day was when  my friend Laura prayed for me.  I told her some details about things going on and she immediately bowed her head and said the sweetest prayer on my behalf.  I so want to be like that.  It’s completely natural among this group of friends to pray for each other about everything.  *happy sigh* Later, my dear friend Charlie came over to hang for a while.

Here he is modeling my present from Serena…cupcake flavored dental floss!

I spent the day with Parker and his polaroid camera.  We had a delishush breakfast at Cricket Cafe.  So so good.

I got lost at Powell’s book store and left with some Roald Dahl books for my collection.

Afterwards, Parker and I got ice cream and headed to the Rose Garden.  It was in full bloom and GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!  I took some pics with my old AE1 film camera and Parker used his lovely vintage polaroids.  So…all that to say, I didn’t use my iPhone to take pics.  I left it in my car to not be distracted.  *he he*

At 5, Charlie came and picked me up because our friend Serena was cooking dinner for us.  Sweet girl.  But first, we stopped to get coffee because that’s what you do around here.  *smile*

Serena’s homemade strawberry pie.  She’s thinking about opening up a pie shop….and you should all go because this pie tasted even better than it looked.

She’s the sweetest girl!!

Afterward, Charlie and I  met up with Adriana and Lily and we headed to Lovely 50 50’s for some ah-mazing homemade salted caramel ice cream.  Here is Charlie displaying his mad parking skillz. 

After ice cream, we went to the boys house for a little bonfire action in the backyard.  We talked and laughed and talked some more until 2:30 in the morning.  Naptime!!!

I met my friend Scott for coffee.  He’s also a gifted artist and was so kind to give me a book of his artwork.  He has an incredible story!! I copied it from his website and posted it below:

  At the age of fifteen, the artist, Scott Gearheart, suffered a spinal cord injury while playing ice hockey, a sport he’d played since he was five.  This left him “medically defined” as a c4 quadriplegic.

 Gearheart admits he can be a bit bull-headed at times.  In fact, he refused to paint following his accident even with the prodding of family and friends.  He didn’t want to paint because he didn’t want to hold the brushes using his mouth.  You see. to him, painting without using his hands would be as if he’d given in to being a quadriplegic, and he definitely did not want that!  Unless he could paint like “normal” people, he didn’t want to paint at all.  And so he didn’t.

Finally, in 2003, after much prodding from family and friends, he decided to swallow his pride and try painting.  Of course, he first tried holding the brush with his hands, but it didn’t work.  The brush fell out of his hand upon the slightest pressure from the canvas.  Gearheart tried again, but this time he attempted it by holding the brush with his teeth.  This time it worked!  The canvas took the paint.  So he kept at it.  Six months later, in early 2004, he completed his first painting.

Painting now occupies a bulk of Gearheart’s time and energy.  He says that every piece he does, whether a 5” x 7” or wall-size, receives the same attention.  Every one of his paintings has spent countless hours weighing on his mind.

He calls on his life, his experiences, and his emotions when developing the idea for a painting.  He says that there is no time during the day when he is not thinking about one of his pieces.  Gearheart says that has between two to three conceptual ideas for new pieces running through his mind at all times.

Because of the way he paints and the toll it takes on his body (his neck, jaw, and back all become exhausted after a couple of hours painting), it takes him between four to eight weeks to complete a project.  Often times, a piece can take an entire three months to complete because he might insert a break into the process in order to reflect and recharge.

Check out Scott’s work at:

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the sunshine on Tyler’s back porch.  It’s a good thing I rested because that evening I met up with some folks for the Portland Timbers soccer game!! These people are CRAZY!!!!!! We sat right beside the drums and craziest fans I’ve ever seen.  The south doesn’t even get this crazy about football!!

Josiah and Michael and vegetarian nachos….of course.

Adriana and her black waving flag thingie….I’m not sure of the technical name.




Chaos!  At one point everybody was jumping and apparently I wasn’t showing enough enthusiasm so the guy next to me (one of the LOUD drummers) picked me up and started jumping with me!! HA!! He aplogized later for his over enthusiasm.  I laughed.  So basically – When I root, I root for the Timbers!!!

So here I am, sitting in a coffee shop and finally having time to share the memorable experiences I’ve had so far.

I started crying just a tiny bit while writing this.  I’m leaving in a short amount of time and not sure when I’ll spend a lot of time back in this city that has stolen my heart.  I love it so.  I gotta run now!! Birthday parties are happening soon and Charlie is on his way here so we can explore the city!! Hooray!!  


6 Responses to “Vacation So Far…”

  1. Jamie Maldonado Says:

    I definitely agree on the bikes … Minneapolis is just about as bike f(r)iendly as Portland, and then I returned to East Texas and, well, you know. 😛

    Also, cupcake faces: ha ha ha.

    Thanks for sharing the goodness! I hope you get many more memories in before you have to return. 🙂

  2. Cheray Says:

    It looks like you’ve had such an amazing time with some really amazing people! 🙂
    Love all the pics (yay for iPhone pics!) & that coffee looks amazing 🙂
    enjoy the rest of your time there & I’m sure you’ll be back again before you know it!

  3. ~ calista ~ Says:

    Ahhhh!!!! Wow! Awesomeness :-} I’m so glad you’re having an awesome time. I’m really starting to have iPhone envy – especially with those pictures. Wowzers.

    Can’t wait to see more and thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Tigpan Says:

    Laura Elizabeth – you are such an amazing and precious friend. As I read this I put my hand to my face to find it wet. Yep, I had started crying without realizing it. I’m not sure why….I think because in between the words, the fun, and the beautiful lovely pics in this post….I see your heart. It is amazing and beautiful. I feel there is a part of me that knows you more deeply and knows how to better pray. Thank you for being you….YOU are AMAZING! ❤

  5. bookjunkie Says:

    love that bike!!

  6. Glass*Plant Says:

    Just checked your blog out from RVA. I love Portland and Seattle. Thanks for reminding me that I need to try to get back up there! Looks like good times and people!

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