It’s Friday! // Instagram + Places in Portland

Happy Friday! I woke up (at an ungodly hour) this morning dreaming of my favorite city. I spent about a half an hour looking back through my photos from my last trip up and realized I want to do something with them! I am not by any means a Portland tour guide (I only just started touring the city last spring), but I’m super excited to show you one place at a time that I really loved. I’m going back up on August 10th, so these will probably be popping up a couple times a week.

Salt & Straw is a unique chain of ice cream shops that began in Portland and has recently launched in LA. Their special flavors (such as Honey Lavender, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, and the classic Arbequina Olive Oil) and hip, modern atmosphere draw people in.

More info on Salt & Straw:

How it all began

Flavors

Even if you don’t really care about the story of it all, I would recommend checking out the website because it’s adorable.

I didn’t get that many photos while I was there and I didn’t get ANY inside (why?!?!?!?) but I’m going to share a few shots from outside. And yes, I did basically do a whole shoot just because of how beautiful my ice cream was…which brings me to the Instagram portion of this post! I get a lot of questions about Instagram which is always a little surprising because I don’t have much of a following, so I thought I would talk a little bit about photo content.

Utilizing Walls

When you’re in the city this one really comes in handy. The first way to do this is, of course, to just stand in front of it and smile. This one is classic but not obnoxious or overdone.

And then there’s the thing plus wall strategy as pictured:

No matter what, interesting walls are your best friend. Let me know what YOUR favorite spots in Portland are for my next trip up!

xox

Bec

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San Juan Capistrano // #WhatBeccaWore and Traveling

all photos taken by Amanda Parsons (heyamandalane.wordpress.com and @heymananda on IG)

So I know I JUST did a #WhatBeccaWore but I’m just so excited about this last shopping trip and I was up in San Juan Capistrano to see family last night and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to shoot this. We had a fun family dinner and of course a little exploring and shooting! Wherever we are we like to drive to the top of parking garages and sit on our car and get a bird’s eye view of the city!

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Dress: Urban Outfitters // Clearance $19.99 (I don’t think it’s available online anymore)

Boots: H&M // $34.99

xox

Bec

Side note: My cousin Jilly, who is currently visiting from Australia, is a crazy inspiring world traveler. She travels in tour groups to places like Croatia and Dubai and lives simply in order to pay for it all. Everyone was talking about that last night and my mom brought up the old saying: “You can either have things or do things.”

#WhatBeccaWore // It’s Monday!

So if you follow my Instagram you know that I did a little bit of shopping this past week (whoops!). I’ve been super excited about the things I bought so I decided to do a little #WhatBeccaWore with my outfit today! I’m heading up north a little later tonight and hopefully I’ll get to shoot in the rest of what I bought.

DSC_0012 DSC_0014 DSC_0037 DSC_0038SHOP WHAT’S PICTURED:

Top: H&M // Approx. $15 (The pattern I have isn’t on the website but I saw it in the store the other day so maybe it was discontinued?)

Pants: H&M // Approx. $17

Boots: H&M // Approx. $35

Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters // Approx. $18

xox

Bec

PS This was shot outside of Living Spaces, a Southern California furniture store that I’m absolutely in love with. Manda and I go there a solid 3-4 times a week to walk around and look for inspiration and daydream. If you live in Southern California, I would definitely recommend that you check out Living Spaces even if you’re not looking to immediately buy anything!

Cafe Chatter // How to be a Perfect Customer

Hi again! I know this post may seem like a passive aggressive followup from some kind of bad experience with a customer, but it’s really not. It’s more a response to the discomfort I’ve noticed in customers who don’t know how to carry themselves in the cafe! If you struggle with social anxiety in any way, you understand how it feels to be nervous just to go out to eat. I feel a little weird posting this because I don’t want it to come across the wrong way, but it’s meant to be a way to feel confident that you aren’t a difficult customer.

In order to feel at ease in a cafe you’ve never been to before, there are three major things you should keep in mind.

1: You are not putting anyone out. Customers are our priority. However, you are not always the only customer. So if you notice that there’s a worker behind the counter but they seem to be ignoring you, you’re most likely on their radar, but they’re working on getting things done in the right order.

2: Notice whether or not there is a tray above the trash cans. In the cafe I work at, we just have trash cans set out, but there isn’t anything set out to help you bus your table. If there isn’t a tray for this, you should leave your plate. Bringing your plates up to the bar when you’re finished may feel polite, but it usually sets the system off balance. Cleaning your own table may leave that table unwashed for the next set of customers, and sometimes it’s really difficult to keep up with a messy bar. Rule of thumb: if you can’t bus it yourself, don’t try.

3: Don’t try to comfort workers about the long wait. If a server apologizes about a long wait, a simple “oh, that’s okay,” goes a lot further than a “Oh no it’s totally fine you guys are way understaffed, I waited even longer at the place down the street…” One time, I forgot to make a drink and even though the customer was very polite about it, their friend was saying things like “you paid for it! Don’t feel bad!” and “This same thing happened to me at Taco Bell the other day. They made my order wrong THREE TIMES…” These sort of things do not set you up for good service.

And of course, don’t forget to tip!

xox,

Bec

PS this list is, of course, very server oriented rather than customer oriented, but this is just me letting you in on what seems like common courtesy to the people behind the counter. Don’t stress about ordering in a picky way, etc. I’ve never really heard anyone complain about custom orders. If we can’t make something a certain way, we’ll tell you, and if that upsets someone it really is an overreaction on their part and not yours!

4 Ways to be an Urban Explorer // Tackling Big Cities

Hi friends! Things have been very hectic in my life, as always, but today, my sister and I had the same day off (hip, hip, hooray!) and were able to do some exploring. We decided we would take the Coaster down from suburban San Diego into the downtown area and spend some time just walking around experiencing parts of San Diego we’ve sort of neglected. I’m always surprised how much more there is to my city than what Manda and I have explored because it feels like we’ve gone everywhere, but today, everything felt completely foreign to me. There was a very unique crowd of hundreds of thousands of people visiting for Comic Con on top of the regular weekend/summer hustle and bustle, and I realized how little time I’ve spent in the Gas Lamp district, which is arguably the heart of the city.

But the truth is, sometimes exploring feels like a whole lot of work. The more chaotic my life gets, the more likely I am to stick to all my same coffee shops and book stores and restaurants instead of branching out into the unknown where (God forbid) I might not immediately find parking. So without further ado, here are four ways to make the city a little less scary:

1. Utilize public transit. Even if you don’t mind paying for parking, driving in the city is just plain stressful, especially if you haven’t been driving in one your whole life. Either way, most cities have great public transit systems set up that will end up sort of being like a mini tour for you!

2. Research the area you’re going to. What’s highly rated? What do locals say is unmissable? Ask around when you get to the city. Even if you change your mind on where to go, you’ll still feel like you know what you’re doing. Make sure to research the communities within the city, too!

3. Or don’t. This is usually the way I go, but it isn’t necessarily a great plan if you are traveling or trying to get the most bang for your buck. But who knows…sometimes the best places are the hidden gems that you stumble upon!

4. Find a high place. Pretend to be a guest at a hotel and go to the top floor. Try and look professional in an office building and stare at your watch while you rush into an elevator. You’ll be glad you did.
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xox

Bec

Salvation Mountain // Leonard’s Life’s Work

Love is universal.

If you’re a California or Arizona native, you have probably heard of/been to Salvation Mountain, a permanent art instillation by Leonard Knight hidden in the depths of the low desert. We made the 4 hour journey out to the Calipatria/Niland area next to the Salton Sea and were completely amazed by what we found. In a slightly dismal desert area, Leonard’s work, created almost 100% by himself, is a giant mountain of bright colors and encouraging messages about love. The piece was created using local adobe clay and donations of paint from people far and near. When he appeared in the movie “Into the Wild,” Leonard spoke about being in awe of the love he receives from people internationally because of his art. The piece is categorized as “outsider art” and draws attention from people all over the world. Even in the blazing heat, we met many other people during our time there.

Anyway, I’m done rambling, so here are some photos from our adventure to Dr. Seuss land in the 110 degree heat:

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Leonard passed away last year, but since then, volunteer groups have been devoted to preserving the piece for future generations. If you want to learn more about Salvation Mountain and volunteer opportunities, here is there official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SalvationMountain

We spoke with some volunteers who were repairing part of the piece and they told us that despite all the different websites about Salvation Mountain, the Facebook page is the only official website they have.

xox

Bec

Alone Time (When You Don’t Like Alone Time) // Step by Step

Lately I’ve been so stressed out with work and finances and even my own health that I haven’t taken a second to just stop and breathe. Even though I’m not someone who loves to be alone every second of every day, I think everybody needs a little time to themselves for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, I think we need alone time to relax and to fall in love with ourselves!

So here is my recipe for productive alone time:

Step One: Take your time getting ready. Play some music, curl your hair, dress up a little (but keep it comfy!). You want to feel confident!

Step Two: Take the long way there. These are written obviously to suit me, and I love driving…so of course I’m going to choose PCH over the 5 when I’m taking time for myself!

Step Three: Go someplace peaceful. The photos in this post were taken at Roasting Works by Lofty, a small coffee shop full of neutral tones that usually isn’t crowded. And best of all, it’s inside of an art store!

Step Four: Order tea. Always. Even if your heart is crying out for coffee. (Okay, maybe not if your heart is crying out for coffee. But generally, green tea is going to make you feel a whole lot better than coffee will!)

Step Five: Plug in. Get going. Whatever activity you want to do, be it journaling, painting, reading; ready, set, go go go for a solid fifteen minutes. Don’t worry about the people around you. If you like to wear headphones when you’re out and about, this would be a good time to whip ’em out (Personally I’m paranoid that somebody is talking to me every second that I have headphones in…even when there isn’t music playing!). This is time for yourself. Try to keep off your phone. Everyone else can wait.

Step Six: Take some photos. But again, don’t spend a lot of time on your phone. For me, photos that I love of my life help me visualize where I’m at in a more positive light. If it’s not the same for you, maybe skip this step!

IMG_2355 IMG_2357 IMG_2363Of course, these are 300% tailored to my personal preferences. Try creating your own step by step guide to unwinding!

xoxxo,

Bec

Cheyenne Erin // The Rustic Gypsy

“I was bullied a lot through elementary school and through junior high. It got so bad that I had to go into homeschooling, and when I got to my freshman year of high school, it grew even worse. I was diagnosed with severe depression and I felt as if I was headed in a never ending, downward spiral. I figured out how to leap out of that trap, and now it’s my mission to help people who are going through the same thing I went through.”

So after all this time and me building this profile up and up, I finally have realized there is no way I’m going to be completely happy with how it all turns out. It’s 100% due to the fact that Cheyenne and The Rustic Gypsy are absolutely phenomenal in all that they do! Unfortunately, the memory card that held the photos from my shoot with Cheyenne was damaged and we haven’t been able to retrieve the photos (sad face!!), so I’ve inserted a few photos of her that I’ve collected over time.

I have to say that I really enjoyed sitting down and talking with Cheyenne about her business. At seventeen she’s already chasing her dreams and she’s so passionate about being compassionate…but I’ll let her do the talking!

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Where did your earliest lifestyle inspiration come from? How did that change as you grew up?

“I was a dancer growing up. I did competitive dance for a while and was entirely committed to that. That did begin to change because I finally realized it wasn’t a healthy environment to be in. For a while, dance was my escape (as cliche as that sounds). I danced to distract myself from things, and other dancers inspired me to push myself harder and work more. It took me 6 years to find a new passion after I quit that. I started seeing a lot about health and well-being and was inspired by that. Ever since then, eating right and exercising regularly has become my main focus.”

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What inspired you to be vegan?

“Anyone who knows me personally is aware that I am absolutely obsessed with animals. I don’t agree with the abuse that occurs in slaughterhouses and it physically hurts me to think about what goes on in dairy farms. I want to be a part of the group that helps prevent animal abuse, and I believe that is all a part of my purpose here on this planet.”

What’s your favorite vegan meal?

“This is a difficult question because I have so many amazing recipes that I’ve discovered through babes like Essena O’Neill, Lauryn Evarts, and @lolacooks on Instagram. I’m a sucker for a classic veggie burger with a side of quinoa and kale, though.”FullSizeRender (6)

Which movements are you most interested in right now?

“I’ve loved learning about She’s The First, which is an organization that sponsors quality education for girls in low-income countries. These girls will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. I strongly believe in equal rights for women and I stand by my opinion on education rights for young women.”

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Who is your biggest style inspo?

“My biggest style inspiration is definitely Vanessa Hudgens!”

What’s your favorite store?

“I’m torn between Liv3 and Urban Outfitters!”

What’s your go-to outfit?

“I’m currently obsessed with simple, open-back dresses with a pair of black converse. Super comfortable and easy!”

What do you think is important for someone trying to find their style?

“It took me a long time to find my style, and I’m still working on fully discovering myself and what I like/don’t like. Just start experimenting with different things, and see which colors/patterns suit you best. It’s not an overnight thing, but stick to the basics first and then begin to build your dream wardrobe over time.”

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What inspired you to start your business?

“I absolutely adore handmade things and any chance I get, I go all out on buying things like the items I’m working on making to sell. There’s also a beautiful sense of accomplishment that comes along with making something all by yourself and having it turn out exactly how you imagined.”

The Rustic Gypsy, Cheyenne’s most recently launched project, is a collection of happy home made goodies produced in her town home in a suburb of San Diego! The website is currently under construction (I’ll release the link as soon as it’s back up and running!) but you can find her on Instagram as @shoptherusticgypsy! Her personal Instagram is @organicfajita. She’s hands down my favorite lifestyle blogger and I absolutely love trying out all her recipes!

xoxo

Bec