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    Portland, Oregon

    I’m excited to finally share some snapshots from my trip to Portland with all of you. This is my second time visiting this wonderful city, and I feel like I’ve fallen even more in love with it. I had such a great experience on my trip that I even got a bit teary-eyed at the airport upon realizing that I was about to leave the city and my friends. You can definitely say that reentering the work life has been quite challenging for me.
    I have to say that it was really hard not to post every single picture that I had since I have so many great memories from this past weekend. The funny thing is that I wouldn’t have been able to compile these photos without the help of my bestie Laura. I unfortunately forgot my DSLR at home and, therefore, I had to resort to taking pictures with my iPhone. Laura was kind enough to send me some of the pictures that she took with her camera.
    One thing that I really enjoyed about Portland is how many beautiful parks there are and how close you are to nature. Working at a desk job, I constantly spend most of my time sitting in front of a computer; I do the same when I get home. Over the weekend, my friends and I visited both Laurelhurst Park and Cathedral City Park, and I realized how nice it was to step away from a computer screen and spend time outdoors hanging out with my friends. It was also nice to see so many people outside with their families and friends, interacting as a community. Living in Los Angeles, it seems like everybody is always in their car and in a hurry to get somewhere. Therefore, it was a nice change to see people making an effort to interact with each other.
    During my trip, my friends Kelsey, Laura, Candace, Linda and I went berry picking at Columbia Farms U-Pick and had a blast! They currently have raspberries and blueberries in season, and we stocked up on both. I definitely want to do some sort of similar activity at home, since it’s so much fun and more affordable than buying berries at the supermarket.
    My favorite part about Portland has to be the food and coffee culture. If you know me well enough, you probably already know that I’m constantly hungry and that most of my social life revolves around eating food and drinking coffee. I really enjoyed eating at the many street food vendors around the city. However, my favorite food experience had to be the Portland State University Farmer’s Market. They have so many cool food vendors and live music, and it’s a very lively place to spend the weekend.
    As I mentioned before, I love drinking coffee. My friend Candace, whom I visited, and I actually developed a strong friendship because of our love of exploring new coffee shops. My first coffee stop was Heart Coffee Roasters, where I met my friend Candace after I arrived in Portland. I of course loved the coffee and the minimalistic style of the shop, and I have to say that Heart Coffee Roasters was my favorite coffee shop; I’m such a creature of habit that I visited more than once while I was in town. During my weekend coffee crawl, I also visited Stumptown Coffee Roasters at the Ace Hotel, and The Fresh Pot Coffee which also brewed Stumptown. I also really enjoyed getting coffee at Pearl Bakery because they had amazing pastries!
    There were many things about my trip to Portland that made me rethink about where I’m heading in life. My vacation made me realize that I hadn’t been feeling very at ease in a while, and that I need to make it one of my goals to be in an environment or place that makes me feel comfortable and happy. I feel like lately my sole focus in life has been my career. While thinking about my career path, I’ve also been very adamant about leaving Los Angeles. The short time that I spent in Portland made me realize that maybe I could use a change of scenery for a while, and that I can be happy living somewhere else than where I currently am. With that in mind, we’ll see where life takes me.
    Helen Grace
    Outfit, Travel

    It’s Beach Time!

    Photography by Laura Nolan
    Outfit Details:
    Forever 21 Sunglasses
    Old Navy Chambray Shirt
    Forever 21 Crop Top
    ASOS High Waist Linen Shorts
    H&M Strappy Sandals in Black (Not Pictured)
    My best friend Laura and I met up in Dana Point this weekend, since it’s our halfway meeting spot between L.A. and San Diego. I had only been to Dana Point once before on my first year of college, and I basically spent all day seasick on a boat collecting water samples for my marine biology class. Needless to say, my first visit to the area wasn’t a memorable experience. Thankfully, this trip made up for my last. Laura and I decided to head over to Dana Strand Beach while we were there, and I loved how calm and relaxing it was. I’m not much of a beach person, and I’m used to frequenting busy L.A. beaches that offer limited and expensive parking. Unlike most beaches that I’ve visited, Dana Strand Beach had tons of free parking, and it had a very calm vibe to it.
    What I really loved about Dana Point is how friendly everybody was. People noticed Laura and I taking pictures of each other–she took outfit pictures of me for my blog, and I took pictures of her in various yoga poses for her Instagram–and they were quick to offer to take a picture of the two of us together. Laura thinks that many of the beach goers had a friendship crush on the two of us. However, my guess is that many of them were probably super impressed by Laura’s awesome yoga poses. She is currently participating in Free People’s Instagram Yoga Challenge, and where else can you find a more serene spot to practice yoga than the beach? I can only dream of the day when I’ll be as strong and graceful as my best friend. You should all go check out her pictures on Instagram and cheer her on throughout the challenge.
    After lounging at the beach for a couple of hours, Laura and I decided to head out for lunch. Thanks to recommendations on Yelp, we ended up going to the Hummingbird House Cafe in nearby San Juan Capistrano. Little did we know that this particular cafe was located on Los Rios Street, which just happens to be the most darling street I have ever laid eyes on. Los Rios Street is located behind the San Juan Capistrano MetroLink Station, and is lined with houses that have been converted into shops and restaurants. These businesses all had a boho chic and vintage feel to them, and every store we walked into had a nice garden and lounging area which made you feel right at home.
    This was the outdoor dining area of the Hummingbird House Cafe.
    Las Catrinas, a cute and colorful shop featuring Mexican/Mexican-Inspired Jewelry, Crafts and Artisanal Products.
    Laura has the coolest laid back beach style.

    I can’t believe June is here already! It’s already starting off to be an exciting month. Not only did I meet up with Laura this weekend, but I also had the opportunity to celebrate my friend Sara’s birthday at a cute restaurant called Abricott in Pasadena. It’s seems like it was only yesterday when I had made my New Year’s resolution to start this blog, and made a commitment to doing new and fun things. I’m very proud of myself for keeping up with it.

    What was your New Year’s resolution and are you keeping true to it? Are you making any new resolutions now that we’re halfway through the year? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

    Helen Grace
    Outfit, Travel

    Los Angeles Arts District

    Photos by: Laura Nolan

    Outfit Details:

    H&M Sunglasses
    Ruche Dress (No longer on the site)
    Victoria’s Secret Sweater (Old)
    ASOS Leather Belt (Old)
    Anne Klein Satchel
    MAC Lipstick in Russian Red
    My best friend Laura visited me this past weekend, and we decided to make a trip down to the Los Angeles Arts District. Because we’ve been friends for so long, we have definitely fallen into a routine and always frequent the same places. Therefore, a trip to the Arts District was a great way for us to change things up a bit.

    The Pie Hole

    While we were in the Arts District, Laura and I decided to stop by The Pie Hole. It’s definitely a great place to visit if you consider yourself a pie lover. Although I don’t usually like pie, my Chocolate Crostata was to die for! Laura let me sample her Earl Grey Tea pie and it was equally delicious. It is really funny because our meal at The Pie Hole pretty much set up the scene for the rest of our weekend. We pretty much lived off of dessert and coffee for the next two days.
    Since Laura was volunteering as my photographer for the weekend, we thought that it would only be fair that I do the same for her. Laura is a certified yoga instructor, and is participating in an eight-day yoga challenge on Instagram in which she has to document a different pose each day. The Los Angeles Arts District provided the perfect backdrop for me to take pictures of her striking some awesome yoga poses. I’m always amazed at how strong and flexible she is, mostly because I could never dream of doing half the things she does. I really hope she wins!
    This was my favorite mural that I saw that day in the Arts District. It’s right next to Wurstkuche. I love how it almost looks like a pencil and water color painting.
    The Los Angeles Arts District is so beautiful! It was really hard not to upload all my pictures because I wanted to document everything I saw. It was also such a beautiful day to explore the area. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m so excited that I can finally wear layers. I got the grandpa sweater that I’m wearing from Victoria’s Secret about two years ago, and it is my favorite layering piece. It is extremely cozy and comfortable. Furthermore, I would go as far as to describe it as a very stylish blanket.
    Although I have visited the Los Angeles Arts District several times, it was nice to really take the time to explore the area a bit more. More importantly, it was wonderful having the opportunity to do so with my best friend. I’m really looking forward to having more adventures around L.A., and hopefully even getting out of the city to visit friends next time that I get a chance.