I’m happy to say I spent 18 of the 31 days of October in Greece and Turkey. This month’s 10 things loved list is going to reflect that.
1. Greek yoghurt – I could live on this stuff. I’ve always loved Greek yogurt, but there’s nothing like going straight to the source. Topped with honey, nuts, fruit – you name it. Love, love love. And isn’t it fun to spell yoghurt with an ‘h’?
2. Traveling with an iPhone – Pre-iPhone, I never imagined how fun this would be. There’s Facebook, Skype and e-mail on the go, but the biggest bonus was the camera. We brought our point and shoot Canon but we ended up using our iPhones during the day for most shots. Now I’m starting to think the perfect travel combination would be an iPhone for daily travel and busy city shots, and a nice SLR for the artsy, good shots. We also enjoyed hooking up to Wifi hotspots all over Greece and Turkey, and the GPS with Google Maps for directions.
3. Packing light – I contemplated taking just a large purse on the trip, a la the “No Baggage Challenge” guy … but I settled on this small Columbia backpack. I am always delighted by people’s reactions when they find out I’m traveling for 2-3 weeks with a tiny bag. And it’s totally worth it to take only the things you love, pack clothing that plays well in multiple outfits, and be able to hike around with your own stuff.
4. Santorini – Quite possibly the most romantic destination on the planet. We spent three days here – we stayed in Imerovigli and it was amazing. We hiked to Oia, relaxed by the pool, watched the sunset over the caldera, ate wonderful food, visited wineries, spent a day at the beach… We could have stayed for a week or two.
5. Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir Turkish delights – They’ve been making these lokum (Turkish Delights) since 1777. They are to DIE for. I regret just buying one box. We finished them before we even left Istanbul. The shop is on Istiklal Street, just south of Taksim Square. Must go back soon!
6. Going to a Hamam – I’ve wanted to go to a Turkish bath for years and knew I couldn’t leave Istanbul without crossing this off the list. Since I was traveling with my husband, we decided to go to a coed hamam. We chose Suleymaniye, which is housed in a historic building that was designed by the same architect who designed the Suleymaniye Mosque. It was a great experience and very relaxing … part sauna, part bath, part massage. Next time we’re in Istanbul we’ll hit the hamam when we arrive and the day before we leave!
7. Tulu – I have been drooling over items in the Tulu Textiles online shop for the past year or so and was so excited to go here. The designer, Elizabeth Hewitt, is an American, but the pieces have a great global feel… although I think many of her products are sourced in India. Unfortunately, It didn’t quite live up to the hype, mostly because the shop workers wouldn’t allow photos in the store (and proceeded to follow us around which was uncomfortable)! Needless to say, not the experience I had dreamed about, but still some amazing eye candy. The fabrics and colors are quite inspiring. I purchased a set of $80 napkins and a beautiful marble flower tray. Overall, beautiful store, hold the attitude. Tears.
8. Egyptian Spice Market – What an amazing source of inspiration. So many luscious colors and scents. I was completely taken with the variety of teas here. The jasmine blossoms were probably my favorite.
9. Sanborns – Our first restaurant breakfast back home in Portland was at Sanborns. We come here every few months anyway, but it was a great welcome home.
10. Portland Police – Really? Yes! We arrived home to the news that the people who burglarized our home during our last vacation were caught! That’s why I finally felt like I had some closure on my housing issue. Ah, sweet justice! Thanks, Portland Police. 🙂
Another month already? September flew by with trips and and trip planning. Here are 10 things that made me happy in September:
1. Bumbershoot 2010 – Bumbershoot is an annual tradition in our household. It marks the beginning of fall and is an awesome time to take a jaunt up north for some great music and comedy. And isn’t the EMP just the coolest building of all time?
2. Rivers Cuomo – Weezer headlined Bumbershoot this year. I 100% agreed when he said “Gen X – this is your night.” Ahhh, like traveling back in time. 🙂
3. Uwajimaya store – Never mind the food, this is one of my favorite stores for gifts, dishes and kitchenware. They have locations in the Seattle area and Beaverton, and there has been a store rumored to be opening in Portland’s China Town/Old Town for a few years now. I get to the Bellevue store more often than the Beaverton one. What’s up with that?
4. Flatstock – Flatstock is one of my favorite parts of Bumbershoot. It’s an awesome place to get unique art on the cheap. My favorite artist for several years running is Kevin Tong. He has the coolest iSteamPhone piece that is a Da Vinci-esque drawing/deconstruction of an iPhone. So cool.
5. Seattle – OK, the lovefest with Seattle ends here. This might as well be a 10 things loved about Bumbershoot or 10 things loved about Seattle list. My excuse is that I was born and (partially) raised near Seattle so my annual trips up there are near and dear to my heart.
6. Mango – I love love LOVE Costco’s mangoes. During September I had a constant supply of fresh mango and had mango for breakfast, lunch and dinner some days. One of my favorite recipes is mango “beef” lettuce wraps: mango strips, cilantro, scallions, bean-thread noodles and chi’a pow yu wrapped in Boston lettuce leaves. Yum!
7. Bar Carlo – Great little breakfast place in outer SE. They have the best mexicanos platos … my favorite is the black bean omelet with soyrizo.
8. Closet Couture – So fun – I spent a ridiculous amount of time over several afternoons photographing and categorizing all my clothes. It was quite fun and afterward I made collages and planned vacation outfits in Google Picasa. Which I know isn’t the point, but taking the photos was about 96% of the battle and now I can organize them however I wish… Dear Closet Couture – Please get an iPhone app.
9. 2011 IKEA catalog – Getting the new IKEA catalog is always a big event for me. This year’s isn’t particularly engaging, but I do love the “hooray for the everyday” theme.
10. Planning my Greece and Turkey trip – I spent a good chunk of September finalizing details for our big trip to Greece and Istanbul. And on Sept. 30 we arrived in Athens!
It’s official! I’m going to Greece and Turkey in less than a month. Flights and hotels are booked, guidebooks and clothing are strewn around the house, and we’re getting down to business planning the perfect itinerary. And for some reason, I’m quite excited that we’ll be seeing the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea in one trip. Here is my unofficial itinerary:
- Days 1-2: Athens
- Days 3-5: Santorini
- Day 6: Heraklion, Crete with a daytrip to Knossos
- Day 7: Chania, Crete with a daytrip through the Samaria Gorge
- Day 8: Athens and Delphi
- Days 9-11: Nafplion with daytrips to Mycenea and Epidauros
- Days 12-16: Istanbul
Supposedly, fall is the perfect time to visit Greece, as the weather is still great but the crowds are gone. I’m counting down the weeks until I get to cross #20 off my 30 before 30 list.
It’s time for another things loved list. Without further ado:
1. Issey Miyake’s L’eau D’Issey
Nordstrom sent me an offer for a free atomizer with my choice of perfume. I chose the Issey Miyake scent and have absolutely fallen in love. Sephora says Miyake’s fragrances are fueled by “technology, minimalism, and nature.” OK, I’ll take the technology-fueled scent. …now to get a larger version for when my freebie runs out so I can be the woman your woman could smell like.
2. The Springwater Trail
The Springwater Trail is part of a 40-mile paved loop in Portland. When I was marathon training, I did my longer runs on the trail, but biking has always been my favorite Springwater activity.
3. Hash Restaurant
Hash Restaurant happens to be just a block north of the Springwater Trail, and is a great destination for a weekend morning ride… good luck pedaling home. Hash is a classic Portland/NW style with many sustainable and local ingredients. I love their French toast with whipped creme fraiche. They also serve mini scones with their coffee, which is a nice touch.
I have two different varieties of peonies in my yard – magenta in the front yard and pale pink in the back. The magenta ones always bloom first in mid May and the pale pink peonies usually bloom the last week of May (and often get rained out). I just love the choppy texture of peonies. Very scissor-hands!
5. Sexy Boot Jeans
As I have been hinting, we’ve had a ton of rain in Portland, which really made May feel like winter or fall. I took the opportunity to stock up on my favorite Sexy Boot jeans from the Gap and ordered dark wash, medium tint and distressed finish. I won’t need new jeans for at least a year!
6. Pacific City, Oregon
In May, we took a mini-break anniversary vacation to Pacific City and stayed at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda, which was very beachy and cozy. Haystack Rock and the Pelican Pub and Brewery are the highlights of this postcard-perfect town. (And it happened to be featured in the June issue of Sunset magazine, so we felt like we went at the perfect time before it is “rediscovered” for the season.)
7. She & Him
Genius collaboration project between Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. I was able to see them at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend over Memorial Day weekend. My absolute favorite song on Volume 2 is “Gonna Get Along Without You Now” which is a Skeeter Davis cover. During the concert “She” forgot the lyrics and asked to start over, which sounds annoying, but she was absolutely adorable.
8. Santorini Table
I finally scored my summer cafe table! I drooled over the Santorini table at World Market last year but wasn’t convinced on the red or green. This year it came out in a new color – aqua – and it is PERFECT. I used a $10 off coupon to get it for $90. Then I got home to find purple marks all over the tiles so by the time I went to exchange it, all the Santorini items were on clearance and I ended up getting it for $50!!! I’m picking up outdoor “wicker” chairs at Target to go with it.
9. Dreaming about a vacation to Greece and Turkey
Speaking of Santorini, visiting Greece and Turkey is #20 on my 30 before 30 list and there’s a good chance I’ll be crossing it off my list this fall. I’ve been researching trip ideas and airfare (ouch) and planning the ideal itinerary. Fingers crossed it works out with work schedules and budget.
10. Career Changes
I spent about half of May contemplating a big career move (which was the real #21 on my 30 before 30 list). I applied for two jobs, scored interviews for both, negotiated and accepted a great new position. Change is on the way and next week I’ll start a new job after seven years with the same company!