Monday, May 27, 2013

A Week in Portland!

I'm so behind on blogging I don't know where to start!  So I'll just jump in the middle, and figure it out from there.  A couple weeks ago I had a week-long conference in Portland, OR and I finished the weekend off with a trip to Bend to see Tim's family (without him!)

Along the river walkway

The famous maple bacon donut from Voodoo Doughnut!
I also got an "Arnold Palmer" doughnut (with the blue Fruit Loop).  :D

The famous Powell's City of Books.  It was really big... and there was a map for the whole store!  The column featured above has Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's signatures!!!  (Fantasy authors: Jordan wrote Tim's favorite series, "Wheel of Time" and Sanderson finished the series for Jordan who passed away.  I also quite enjoy Sanderson's own books.)

My brother-in-law lives in Portland and took me on a quick tour of Forest Park!  It's like two steps in and it feels like you've left the city and entered a forest.  I was also told it's the biggest city park ever.  :)

My brother-in-law Mike and his girlfriend!  We had dinner at Salvador Molly's.  We alllll got the Jamaica Road Roti which had jerk chicken and roasted sweet potato, with a whole wheat wrap (which tasted just like a tortilla) with potato chickpea curry, with a side of grilled mango chutney.  It was tasty but the roti was reeeeeally spicy.  And we like spicy.  The mango chutney helped alleviate it a bit, but it was still a hot hot meal!

Afterwards, we went to Salt & Straw!  They had the most unique flavors!  I got (top right) the Dandelion Sorbet with Spring Flowers!  And there were flowers in it!  Other flavors included olive oil, strawberry with balsamic, honey lemon with ricotta, cinnamon snickerdoodle, AND MORE.  They also let you try as MANY samples as you want.  Which also means the line can be a bit slow.  :)

I frequently the food trucks a lot during lunch at the conference.  This was day two.  Yep... that's a roast beef sandwich stuffed with fries.  The concept was good/interesting/tasty but the fries were too salty so I pulled off most of them before I ate the sandwich.

Met up with our friend Nate!  He lives close to Portland now but he wasn't around for most of the week.  I happened to catch him and his mum on the one day they were in town before he got shipped off for work (he travels a lot for work).  Enjoying some tasty Lebanese food at Nicholas Restaurant.

Hung out at The Departure with some people from my work's network.  Suuuper swanky and we just missed happy hour so it wassssn't that great of deal.  Let's just say tiny Asian tapas!  But I think if you catch happy hour, you get the same food for like half the price.

Took my co-network folks to Salt & Straw, and this time I got the Almond Brittle.

Food truck day... three?  haha.  I forget but this was tasty.  And it was at the point in the week when I wanted more green stuff and less fried.  Except for those delicious pita fries... they were just too delicious.
Friday afternoon, my conference was done and I met up with brother-in-law and his girlfriend to head to Bend, OR!  :)

It was a beautiful drive and you get a great view of Mt. Hood!

Meeting our newest nephew!  :)

Breakfast at Jackson's Corner with Tim's family!

Our first nephew  :)
Most gorgeous sunset in the park behind my in-law's house

A nice leisurely hike on the Deschutes River Trail.  It was nice and kinda reminded me of Ithaca!

Mother's day brunch at the Black Bear Diner

Happy four months old!!  And homemade strawberry ice cream he can't eat.  :oP

The ride back to Portland (this time not in the dark)
 (All photos taken with iPhone)
It was my first time in Portland and I had a great time!  Definitely more things I want to do and see if I had more time there.  But it was a good taste.  I got to check off Voodoo Doughnuts and Powell Books off my list.  Didn't get around to Stumptown coffee though!  I also accidently did some nice tax-free shopping!  ;)  It was also nice to see Bend not in the winter since I've only been there three times, I think and every time has been during Christmas/Winter!
Have you been to Portland or Bend?  What are your favorite things to do or eat there?  It's not too early to start my next list of things to do/see, right?  :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

PSA: United Mileage Plus Premier Qualifications

I learned this tidbit this week and thought I'd share. So on my work trip to DC earlier this week, I flew with my supervisor, who also bought my ticket. She has preimier status, so by association, I was "premiere" for this trip! We were able to get Economy Plus seats (in an exit row, so there was sweet leg room!) and was able to board in group 2.
So I was checking my United mileage plus account to see if I was anywhere close to obtaining silver status, and found out that tickets purchased through Hotwire or Priceline do NOT qualify towards premiere qualifying miles!!! You still get the miles but they don't help you qualify for premiere status!

See here: "Additionally, certain fares such as those purchased with industry discounts or through Hotwire and do not count toward Premier qualification or accrual of award miles."
LAME! It's easier to see all the available flights through Priceline so I often buy from there EVEN THOUGH IT'S THE SAME PRICE AS UNITED.COM! Of course no one NEEDS premiere status, but it sure is nice when you're not boarding in group 5 and forced to check your carry-on bag cause there is no more room in the overhead bin! And I figured with all the traveling I do for work (it's so tiring!), it would be a nice side perk.
This is only for United, so if United is not your cup of plane, you should review your airline's policies.
Did you know this? If you did... why didn't you tell me?!

Whirlwind in DC

Hello!  Just got back last night from a work trip to DC.  Our offices are headquartered there, as well as a lot of our partners, so we have lots of meetings there.  This time was a whirlwind visit since I didn't really get to do anything, but attend a two day meeting.  And by "get to do anything" I mean like... sightseeing.  :)  However, the pictures below will probably look like I had lots of fun.  :oP

 First night there we had dinner with our DC office folks at Rice Paper.  Delish Vietnamese food!

Rice Paper in Falls Church, VA
I got this super awesome BBQ Pork and shrimp dish.  You wrap all that good stuff into rice paper!
So that's the rice paper --- it's kind of like a giant communion wafer.  Starchy and hard.  But then you dip it into hot water and it softens!  I totally need to get a rice paper holder!  I was totally gonna huff one back from DC but the supermarket/stores were closed by the time we were done with dinner.
Some Caribou before the first morning of the meeting.  I like the sentiment on the napkin!
Met up with our former co-worker Angela at Matchbox! 
Those onion straws on top of the sliders were so tasty!  :)
Top: me and our former coworker Angela!  Do you love our hair?  HAHAH.
Bottom: coworker and her boyfriend.  :)
I try to do something "fun" on every work trip.  This time I didn't get to see anything out of the ordinary, but I guess looking back on these pics, it was a good time outside of the meetings!  :)  The weather was also gorgeous there!  East coast spring is pretty nice, I must admit.  I didn't get to take any pictures of all the flowers I saw... but I feel like SF does NOT have so many flowers everywhere!  Which is sad.  Boston and DC seem to have (planted) flowers all over downtown.  So colorful and happy.  :)
Do you travel for work?  If so, do you try to insert "fun"?  :D
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