Why Knot {explore}: Tillamook Forest

 One of the best parts about living in Oregon are the endless amounts of adventures that are SO close to you. Want some waterfalls? Drive 30 minutes east from Portland. Want a lush forest within the city? Walk or hop on public transit to Forest Park. Want a forest a bit more secluded? Drive 45 minutes to Tillamook forest. Want the coast? Drive an hour and a half west (from Downtown). And then there's places like Bend and Eugene or if you want a longer drive, Ashland, all at your fingertips. It's a little more manageable than California because it's a smaller state and it sure is beautiful!

 Before I moved here I started a list of fun places to eat/drink/hike/explore/etc. and I'm slowly making my way down the list and adding more every day. I've done a pretty nice job so far but I love that there are so many more places to explore. If you are thinking of heading up this way, let me know and I'll give you some of my recommendations!!

 My friends and I had the day off for Veterans day last week and we wanted to make the most of it. We realized none of us had explored Tillamook forest yet so we set out for a fun hike! We drove a little longer than we would have liked but the hike was gorgeous nonetheless. I can't wait to explore that forest a bit more in the coming months.

Also, I don't have any good hiking shoes and I didn't want to get my bright blue running shoes dirty so I hiked in my snow boots! I figured they must be waterproof and would prevent me from slipping (everything was wet from a recent rain) and I think they held up just fine! A little heavy to lug around at times but they got the job done! 

There's always something to do here and it makes exploring easy! I still have so many places on my list of things to do/places to eat! I crossed one off last night by going to Luc Lac! There's definitely no shortage of good food here in Portland. 

Where have you gone exploring lately?

These are my reflections

**shout out to Usher via Confessions for the title of this post**

22 feels a lot like this picture most of the time. There's a semi-clear cut path ahead of me yet no end in sight. It's beautiful but also a bit intimidating. There's a tendency to keep walking through to the end but forget to stop and admire the lush green landscape that lies to either side. And I do this a lot. I get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and the endless to do lists and forget to remember my age, the blessings in my life and admire the bright, puffy clouds above me. 
I've found I'm getting better at stopping and sending up little prayers throughout the day since I've moved to Oregon because it's fairly easy to do. Just yesterday I was driving to my school observation and the sun was rising above Mount Hood and the city in the most brilliant display of colors. It took my breath away and I sent up a prayer of gratitude. 

Wednesday night I lied in bed so perfectly content and thought to myself, "22 is a pretty fun time!" I have nothing tying me down and I live in an amazing city. Instead of dwelling on what I don't have and growing frustrated, I stood in the moment and thought about all that I DO have and thought about how I should allow myself to have more fun! I'll be 30 soon enough! 

So the path isn't clear but it sure is bursting with beautiful things to admire as I walk my way through.

Master of None

 Are you in need of a new show to binge watch?? No? Well you should watch this anyways! 
Master of None is Aziz Ansari's new comedy (dramedy?) on Netflix and it. is. amazing.
Seriously. I am so sad that there are only 10 episodes because I've gone through them so quickly! 
Aziz gets what it's like being a millennial. I would say this show is the perfect blend of his Tom Haverford character from Parks & Rec and his stand up.

 Each episode tackles a different societal norm or theme from casual dating to losing your friends to babies to appreciating your parents and grandparents. He handles each topic with humor and warmth that makes the show easily lovable. Also, all of the secondary characters are from unique backgrounds and are actually realistic!! Weird! What a thought! Each topic he tackles deals with real life things and not in a Sex and the City way and not as uncomfortable as some Girls episodes are. 
Aziz get's it. Is it cheesy to say that he just understands us in a way that the media has failed to portray??

Some of my favorite episodes are Old People, Parents, Indians on TV and Ladies and Gentlemen. Although Nashville is pretty great too. Some of the episodes are definitely more risque in that I would probably not recommend my parents watch them (or maybe just not with me haha) but the heart of the show is so. darn. good. Also, fun fact, Aziz's real parents play his parents on the show!! And they are so great! 

So what are you waiting for?? If you only have a little time, definitely watch the episodes I recommended. They're safe bets. :) 
Happy streaming!!

Let's Get Real

I kind of despise exercising. I love natural exercising like going on hikes or long walks with no real end in sight but force me to jump on a treadmill and I would rather die. (Ok, that's an exaggeration but stick with me) Lifting weights? Yeah, no. Leaving after a long day to attend an exercise class somewhere? I'll pass. 

And besides going to Italy and gaining a few and having to run off the extra pounds, this has worked for me. (I am incredibly blessed with a great metabolism, which I know is really annoying) But as I get older I know my metabolism will inevitable slow down and it would be nice to nip that in the bud right now. Another thing about my body is that I can't touch my toes and I am basically one big knot. I put on muscle really easily and I'm sure this isn't technical in anyway but I think that easy muscle just piles up in my body and gets stiff really fast! 


Why am I rambling on about exercise or a lack thereof? 

I am on day 5 of a 30 day yoga challenge through Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and I. Am. Obsessed. My body feels SO good, my back is hurting a little less day-by-day, and I can feel my body slowly loosening up a bit. I definitely can't touch my toes yet but my goal is to do so by the end of 2015! (I work best when I have short term goals and an end in sight!)

I think the point of exercising is to find something that works for you. I know myself and I know that I do not do well when I have to leave the house to exercise. I won't do it! I'm lazy I guess. :) BUT. If I lay a blanket down on my floor, put my computer in front of me and turn on a yoga video, I'll do it! And then I can go back to homework and making dinner without feeling like I used up so much valuable time! 

Have you found what works for you? My roommates run and love it. They just completed a half marathon!! And my sister is working towards a half marathon now as well! But you know, I have no desire to do that. AND IT'S OK! So find what works for YOU and stick to it! Or, you can always start the 30 day yoga challenge with me! 

Let's go!!

Just Messy & Beautiful Humans

The way God orchestrates our lives is pretty neat right? He picks a moment where you assume you know what's going to happen and he totally surprises you. I look back on this past year, a doozy of a year, and I just have to smile at all of the little things he's done for me and the surprises he placed in my path. 

I think back to April, the biggest surprise of them all, when I got into grad school in Oregon. I was so prepared to drop my life-long plans and pick a new life track once I received all of the wait list and rejection notifications. But then a crazy thing happened and I got into one of my top schools and in a state I've always wanted to live in! And now I'm here and absolutely in love with my cohort, my program and this state. 

Then I think back on this weekend. I was so consumed with one event happening and the build up associated with it that I almost didn't notice all of the love surrounding me. Suddenly I stopped and looked around and almost broke down by how loved and cared for I felt. All of these people have known me for 2.5 months or less yet it felt like a family. So the one event I thought was going to be life-changing, actually proved to be something else entirely and my eyes were opened to something even greater. 

I don't know what the next 2.5 months will bring but if they're anything like these last ones, I'm in for a wild ride. Being here in Oregon, reaching out to new people, trusting God, creating community, loving on people, and opening myself up to new experiences and adventures is what life is all about. And how exciting is that? 

We are all just people living our own little lives that are messy, beautiful, sloppy, and imperfect. One person's exterior is never really an indication of their interior. And when we allow ourselves to delve into other people's interiors and live life with them, there's this really special thing that happens called friendship and commitment. 

All of this is to say that I'm eternally grateful for the people in my life right now who show me friendship, love and commitment on a daily basis. Life is better with other messy humans, don't you agree?

To end, here's an excerpt from Brené Brown's TED talk on vulnerability. My friend shared it with our cohort the other day and it's SO good. Watch it HERE:

"But there's another way, and I'll leave you with this. This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen ... to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee -- and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough" ... then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves."

Amen, right? 

Life Update

Hey there!
Can you believe it's already almost Halloween?? It blows my mind. But at the same time school is in full beast mode over here. I have to actively walk myself through the day-to-day things like locking the front door when I leave or unplugging the coffee pot or else I'll panic later on in the day that I forgot to do so. But, ya know, that's just grad school for ya! And I wouldn't trade the experience or my cohort for anything (though if someone wanted to pay me for this work, I would love that). My friend perfectly described grad school in a nutshell when she said, "My blood type is coffee." #truth I think I have 2-4 cups of coffee a day. I'm trying to work on transitioning to tea during the afternoon. Wish me luck!
Also, Portland has been in full Fall mode lately as well. The leaves are fully changed or about there, the air has a crispness to it, you can kick bundles of leaves on every sidewalk and the clouds are just plain showing off. It's a true wonderland over here! 
What's going on in your neck of the woods? 

The Perfect Weekender Bag


flowers, black stripes, green, gingham, navy, blue stripes, blue bag, monogrammed

Remember last week's post when I said it all stemmed from my sister asking for a bag to take to the beach? Well I originally thought she wanted a "weekender" bag and I went on the hunt for the perfect one only to find out I was wrong. BUT! I gathered together some of my favorite weekender options for everyone anyways. :)

Maybe you are heading off to the mountains for a peaceful weekend or you're going to someplace tropical. Either way, we all need a good weekender to hold our belongings but also look cute at the same time. #priorities

I love the monogrammed white, navy and leather bag on the bottom right but if that price is too steep  (as it is for me), the Target options are also great! I love the striped ones the most but I think that comes as no surprise.

I also bought the navy and leather one in the middle as my assessment bag for school and with a price like that ($25!!!), it can't be beat. It holds a decent amount of things as well!!

Do you have a favorite brand for a good getaway bag?

So you need a new tote bag...


 First off, can we talk about the name of the picture? It's great, right? haha I had to.
This weekend my sister gave me a mission. She asked for a bag she could bring to the beach, throw her laptop in, maybe a book, and be ready to go. At first I read this as she needs a weekender bag so there's a post coming with all the weekender bags you could ever need on Wednesday :) You can thank her later. I'm just going to call this ~~~bag week~~~! 

Anyways, it was the perfect mission to give my mind a break in between assignments and readings. I looked at my favorite totes and went from there. I have and swear by the Madewell Transport Tote (the brown leather one!) and get compliments on it all the time. It holds a lot and looks cute! My only complaint is that I worry about getting it dirty or messing up the leather. If you want a splurge, go for that one! But speaking of splurges, Target has a new brand Clothe + Stone and they made the red bag above and the stuff is CUTE! Check them out!

The other tote I have and LOVE is the Baggu striped duckbag. This thing is the best. I have traveled with it, thrown it around, packed it to the brim, you name it and it has survived! My only complaint is that it doesn't have a zipper so when you put it in front of you on an airplane, I always worry things will fall out. But it's only $26!! I feel like the striped Baggu carryall (the one on the left) would be a great option for traveling and it's still an awesome price! They also have a backpack version that's adorable!!

Also, the grey leather tote from Nordstrom is all the rage. So many people have this bag because of it's price and it's reversible. When deciding if I wanted the Madewell Transport Tote or not, I saw that most people compare it to the Nordstrom bag. I do have to mention, I didn't want the bag because it had a weird and noticeable smell. Not a leather smell either.... You be the judge of that. 

This is getting long winded but here are some of my thoughts on good totes! I think everyone should have about 2 totes that they love and can switch out. I think having one with a zipper and one without would be ideal. For someone who hates to check my luggage, the zipper for the tote that I shove below the seat in front of me with my little purse, laptop, many miscellanous objects, etc. is key! 

Where is your favorite tote from? Was this helpful? 

(reading this through, it sounds slightly ridiculous to be talking about tote bags this much but you know what, totes are awesome and I'm just going to pretend this isn't trivial. Pretend with me?)

Fall Goals

I think at this point, you know I love Fall. Living in a city with so many trees hasn't helped my obsession either. This whole place is SURROUNDED by trees changing colors and my little heart just leaps with joy!! 

So anyways, I thought it would be fun to put together a little fall to-do list! If you want, let me know what your favorite fall activities are so I can maybe copy you! ;)

1. Go to a pumpkin patch. 
(I'm not the only one who puts things on lists that they've already done right?)


3. Make pumpkin bread with lots of chocolate chips

4. Carve a pumpkin (probably not happening but a girl can dream!)

5. Roast pumpkin seeds

6. Figure out what I'm going to be for halloween and make sure its le-gen-dary

7. Step on as many crunchy leaves as possible

8. Take lots of pictures of the trees as they change colors

9. Sit around a campfire and roast s'mores

10. Watch as many classic Halloween movies as I can (none of the scary ones of course! I'm talkin' Disney Channel ones or Hocus Pocus) 

What's on your list??