Life Update: Pacific Northwest Love

Headed to Portland!

We’re headed out to the West Coast for a few days on what I like to call “blogging business,” which mostly means seeing friends I don’t get to see often enough. What’s funny is that I didn’t know these ladies all that well when I actually lived in Portland, but now I can’t imagine visiting the city without seeing them! I can’t wait to see Stephanie, to finally meet Rachel in person, and to see Melissa so that we can keep the ball rolling on our big project. (The details are flying together on that one, so we may have more to reveal soon!)

And, of course, I’ll get to see my very best friend, Lindsey, and her new baby Olivia, who looks like a real life anime baby. Oh, the cheeks on that one! I think she’s made of mochi.

Going “Home”

I’ve lived in four different cities in my life, and I have a different kind of homesickness for each of them. Aside from my friends, I think what I miss most about Portland is how easy it is to live there. The neighborhoods are great, there’s hardly ever any traffic, it’s affordable, the food is amazing, and it rarely snows. Yeah, going for weeks at a time with grey skies is hard, but it’s nothing compared to the sheer terror I feel whenever there’s ice on the ground here.

And yet, when I lived in Portland I missed Boston–the pace, the New England fall, the quaintness of the towns and history of the city. So there always seem to be opposing forces pulling at my heart, which is kind of nice, in the end. So many places to call home.

Wish You Were Here

I’ll be snapping lots of photos, so come and see Portland with me on Instagram! We’ll be going to LOTS of our favorite food places. You may even get a hint or two about the project Melissa and I are working on. I’m so excited about this trip that I might burst!

J xoxo

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A Tiny House Hotel

Caravan Tiny House Hotel Portland

One of last Friday’s links was connected to Airbnb, a cool service that allows travelers to sublet apartments for short or long periods of time. Well, over the weekend I learned about a cool new hotel that books exclusively through Airbnb — and it’s in line with one other thing I’m wild about: tiny houses.

Caravan is the first tiny house hotel in the country, currently featuring three miniature houses built on 100-200 square foot flatbed trailers. The houses are situated around a central community area with a barbecue, a fire pit, and Adirondack chairs, and are easily within walking distance of the awesome shops and restaurants in the Alberta Arts District. They all have bathrooms and tiny kitchens.

Caravan Tiny House Hotel Portland: Rosebud

Caravan Tiny House Hotel Portland: Tandem

While most of us probably wouldn’t fare well with permanent tiny homes, a little tiny home vacation sounds like a lot of fun. A bit like urban glamping, don’t you think?

P.S. A couple who built a tiny home to live and work in — with special space just for their cat.

Advice From a Local: Portland Edition

Stephanie was the first person I asked to write a post for the Advice From a Local series. I proposed the idea over breakfast when I was in Portland last month, and she replied, “Just one place? That’s so hard!” We then sat in silence for a couple of minutes trying to think of the one spot we’d choose. We couldn’t pick! So now Steph is giving you the very difficult task of narrowing down the spot you’d choose.

Frock Files | Advice From a Local: Portland (Pretty & Delectable)

There are so many wonderful places to visit here in Portland! After much deliberation, I simply couldn’t decide on one place in particular. So, I would offer a visitor the following options and let them decide which one sounds most appealing.

A stroll through Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a great way to enjoy some fresh air and the beauty of our city. The park is located along the Willamette River which divides the city into an east side and west side. During the summer months, there are lots of fun food/music festivals to enjoy along the waterfront.

Frock Files | Advice From a Local: Portland (Pretty & Delectable)

One of my favorite bakery chains here is Grand Central Bakery. They use fresh local ingredients and their cinnamon rolls are to die for! They also serve breakfast and lunch, and the casual atmosphere is perfect for a quick meal. Their simple egg and toast meal is my favorite and costs less than $5.

Portland is one of the microbrewery capitals of the world, and one of my favorite breweries here is Hopworks Urban Brewery. They serve delicious organic beers and food using sustainable methods, and they even have a play area for kids! Their handcrafted root beer is tasty too. :)

Portland is one of the microbrewery capitals of the world, and one of my favorite breweries here is Hopworks Urban Brewery. They serve delicious organic beers and food using sustainable methods, and they even have a play area for kids! Their handcrafted root beer is tasty too. 馃檪

Frock Files | Advice From a Local: Portland (Pretty & Delectable)

The summer farmer’s markets here in the Portland area are a nice way to efficiently browse and enjoy locally grown food (my favorite are Oregon Hood strawberries which are famous for their incredible sweetness and red color throughout) and local food vendors.

Thank you, Steph!

Stephanie documents her life as a physician, mom of twins, and lover of fashion over at Pretty & Delectable.

P.S. More advice from locals.

Simple Recipe: Berry Oatmeal Br没l茅e

Frock Files | Oatmeal Br没l茅e

Each city I’ve lived in has brought a host of new foods to my world. When I lived in Portland, one of my favorite discoveries was oatmeal br没l茅e. My friend Kim and I love meeting for chats at Lovejoy Bakers, where I had my first oatmeal br没l茅e experience. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Stephanie took me to La Provence bakery where I was excited to see it on the menu again. Since I live across the country from both of those lovely establishments, I decided that it’s time to take matters into my own hands by making it myself.

Frock Files | Oatmeal Br没l茅e


The ingredients will vary a bit depending on your method of cooking the steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are the inner part of the oat kernel that have been sliced down to small bits. While these take longer to cook than regular oatmeal, the result is totally worth it. Check out the decadent version and the healthier version (vegan). You’ll need:

  • Steel Cut Oats (If you’re gluten-free, and even if you’re not, you’ll love Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten free steel cut oats.)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Berries

Other tools: Ramekins and either your oven or a br没l茅e torch.


1. Cook your steel cut oatmeal according to your preferred recipe and allow to cool to room temperature. You may also cook the oatmeal in advance and refrigerate it, then warm it just a little in the microwave (in 20 second increments).

2. Line the bottom of your ramekins with berries. I used raspberries and blueberries, but any kind of berry will do.

3. Spoon some oatmeal on top of the berries, then sprinkle with a generous layer of brown sugar.

4. If you’re using your oven, place the ramekins on a baking sheet under the broiler for 5 to 8 minutes. Otherwise, get out your br没l茅e torch and lightly toast the brown sugar as you would a creme br没l茅e. I like to do two layers of brown sugar to get that extra bit of crunch.

Frock Files | Oatmeal Br没l茅e

Frock Files | Oatmeal Br没l茅e

Now I have something new to add to my brunch repertoire! Since you can prepare the oatmeal in advance, you’ll just have to assemble and br没l茅e before guests arrive. It’s also the perfect thing for those of us who don’t have time to prepare breakfast during the week.

Happy br没l茅e-ing!

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

Visit to Portlandia

Frock Files | Visit to Portland

The problem with loving all of the cities I’ve lived in is that I’m always a little bit homesick for one of them. On the other hand, there’s a giddy sort of glee that comes with going back to visit all the places I miss when I’m gone. We spent our four short days in Portland visiting with friends (like Stephanie and Melissa) and eating at restaurants we love. James also indulged me by visiting all my favorite shops. The Meadow in Northeast Portland is a chocolate, wine, and flower shop that just can’t be matched. We stopped by there and I bought a huuuuuge bouquet. My favorites were the ranunculas and the white tulips with the frayed edges.

Frock Files | Portland

Frock Files | Portland

When I lived in Portland, Lindsey and I had a tea ritual — we’d drink tea on my couch, at her house, and on very rare occasions, at the Heathman Hotel. Since we only get to see each other a few days of the year, we got fancied up for afternoon tea beneath this amazing chandelier.

Frock Files | Portland

Frock Files | Portland

And, of course, we had cupcakes. Twice. These are from a cupcake shop at Bridgeport Village, but we also got some from Cupcake Jones, which is home to聽the best red velvet cupcake and the biggest hearted owners (they donate a portion of their profits to charity every week).

Frock Files | Portland

We also had dinner at the best ever ramen shop, Yuzu; visited Eugene for the first time; and I did some damage at Aritzia (a Canadian store that we don’t have out here). The best part was spending time with friends and enjoying all the Portland greenery. Here are the cherry blossom trees that were bursting to life outside of our hotel.

Frock Files | Portland

We’re so happy to be home in Boston, especially after what happened on Monday, but I’m glad I got to fill up on Portland. Yesterday, my dear friend Gemma from London emailed me and I got homesick for that city! A vicious cycle, for sure. Do you ever get homesick for other cities you’ve lived in? What do you miss most?

P.S. Did you get to visit me and Melissa over at Lulu the Baker? I’m talking about what I always have on the ready in my kitchen. After this post, it’ll make complete sense!

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