Thoughts on Love: to the Moon, AND BEYOND

I love you to the moon and BEYOND | itsaLisa.com

Maybe you’ve heard this quote, or seen it printed on all the accessories at your favorite local boutique…

I love you to the MOON and BACK!

But WHY? Why stop at the moon? I mean I get it, it’s like a cute way of saying “I like you a whole bunch” or whatever. What I can’t stand is how there is a stopping point. Love is eternal, love goes on forever.  I’m not in love, as I’ve mentioned before, so I am no expert on the matter, but I’d like to think that is true. Continue reading

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Indefinite Permanence – To Making it Count

Today I start my next big journey. I’m finally moving somewhere where there is no end in sight. For the first time in my life I will have no plans and no future obligations. Instead I will have permanence.

All I know is I have 1 job and 1 apartment; this could last months, years, or just a few days. Hey, you never know. What I do know is what I am doing at this very moment. For that matter, as this post goes live, I should be in a U-Haul transporting all of my earthly belongings, including my scooter, to my new apartment in Downtown LA, with the help of some dear friends.

Whatever happens next is yet to be written.

This spot of time in my life parallels one of my favorite moments in cinema. A moment performed by none other than the great Di Caprio as the young Jack Dawson in Titanic, of course.

His toast:

Well, right now my address is the RMS Titanic. After that, I’m on God’s good humor.  . . . I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen or, who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. So I won’t. Cheers!

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

 

A Year in Review | Happy 1 Year Blogiversary itsaLisa.com

It’s official!!! I am moving to DTLA!

That means I have also checked off the FINAL BOX of my Post-Grad Checklist, and all in only 1 year.

You know what else happened in one year?

Answer: itsaLisa.com.

I created this humble little lifestyle blog exactly one year ago. It has been quite a journey since then, as well as a stepping stone towards my career. I couldn’t be happier with how these past 12 months have shaped me, I feel so blessed and I praise the Lord for watching over me every day because of it. Now I want to share my short story with all of you.  Let’s review.

happy blogiversary! itsaLisa.com

1 year ago I started itsaLisa.com, here’s what has happened since:

May: itsaLisa.com is founded

  • Graduate

From George Fox University with a BS in Interior Design, Fashion Merchandising, and Marketing. Now I have a pocketful of knowledge, and a pocketful of friendship; I miss those crazy kids.

  • Move back home

Move back to Huntington Beach, and in with my parents. I told them I wanted to spend my summer focusing on a blog because it was something I always wanted to do. I had just spent my entire life in school to get a degree and then a career, so I needed this break to “focus on me.” What a line 😉

  • Become a blogging and social media expert.

I went to the library and checked out every book about blogging and social media marketing that I could find. Here’s what I learned: (1) find your niche, know your audience (2) feed the people what they want and (3) don’t read books about social media, they’re all outdated. …If you have taken any marketing class ever you should already know the top 2, so basically, stop researching, sit down, and get to work.

  • itsaLisa.com is born: May 31, 2013. Cheers!

June: Networking

  • Dwell on Design

DOD was my first major networking event. It was also one of my first blogs, I look back and think “wow this blog post is so ugly. But every blogger must start somewhere. This event was a big convention in DTLA for interior design. This was also my first time in DTLA as an adult, I loved it. There’s just something about those hot and bustling streets lined with skyscrapers and palm trees…

At the event I networked with fellow ASID (American Society of Interior Design) members, and flirted with all the design booths. Which is when:

  • The art of small talk. 

Gabbing is really a game; it is the ability sustain a conversation long enough to keep it interesting, and short enough to not be a nuisance. Your goal is to have them remember you, and for you to remember them well enough that you could use each other again as contacts later in life. Always exchange business cards.

Networking Hint: Collect as many business cards as you can (make it a game if you want) and add them all on LinkedIn right away. Do it that night – Don’t wait! If you do it the same day they might actually remember you better, and once you’re Linked In you’ll be connected forever.

July: Rethink Healthy

before and after weight loss pic, lose 10 pounds

  • Join a fitness bootcamp

Senior year of college did not treat me well, I gained about 10 pounds that year alone. I blame it on stress, but it was probably the food stamps: $200 a month is pah-lenty to live on for food, don’t let any advocates tell you otherwise. So I joined an awesome bootcamp in Huntington Beach to snap back into a shape that made me feel truer to myself.

  • Lose 15 pounds

It took me 5 months, but the first half was all in the first 6 weeks of bootcamp. 🙂 The second half was just from being more health conscious. Keyword: HEALTH. NOT weight, NOT a number, just health.

As a side note, It takes a lot of courage to post before and after pictures on the internet. I’m proud of what I was able to do, which is why I bit the bullet and posted one. I also know that this is a very common inner-struggle that so many people deal with. If weight is something you battle with, please feel free to connect with me and I would love to help you boost that body confidence!

August: Find a Scooter, Find a Job

  • Goodbye Transportation

I waved Old Blue, my beautiful 1991 Lexus, goodbye in June as she sat idol on the side of a freeway. I was carless for 2 months after that, which meant I was biking everywhere. It also meant I was virtually grounded and only got around when my parents would oh so kindly let me borrow their car, or my friends would oh so kindly give me a ride. However, since I hate being dependent on others, I mainly just stayed home during those months to focus on my blog and cleansing my life. Saving money, etc. …It was a very cleansing summer.

  • Must find job

My goal was to have a job by the end of summer, but a job also meant I needed transportation. So I went for the cheap alternative, and it turned out to be the best decision I have probably ever made… which was….

  • I GOT A SCOOTER!!!

I found my little scooter right as it went live one Saturday morning, the 2004 Kymco People 250cc. I had been obsessively watching Craigslist for weeks, while learning everything I could about scooters. (Hit me up if you’re in the market, I am full of scooter facts.) Now that I have one, I will never look back; (except over my left shoulder before changing lanes so I don’t die). If your local weather permits and you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. It is so choice. 😉

September: Ties.com & Scarves.com

  • Get a Job

I landed a job at the company behind Ties.com and Scarves.com. I actually found the job before I found my scooter, they came hand in hand. – Yet another reason why I thank Craigslist (God’s gift to modern man), and this blog, for the past year of my life!

  • Social Media Marketing and Blog Content Writer.

I became their new social media girl. I took care of the whole social media package for both sites, as well as writing awesome fashion blogs full of clever info-graphics made by our cool creative team. While there, I learned how to take on the voice of a company and work as a team to write blog posts that would appeal to the target audience. You can view my writings here on their girl blog: Sparkle & Fuzz.

October: Off to Neverland

  • Peter Pan for Halloween.

I chose this costume because I had short hair and I wanted to be a fun character that would work with this hair length that I could also create a blog post around. I made the costume from scratch, wrote a blog, and made a short (and real dumb) YouTube video.

  • Youtube FAMOUS (ok not really)

That video has now received over 4,000 views, and the blog post ranks #1 when you ask google “how to make a peter pan costume” HOLY SCHMEE! It is my most successful blog post to date. You can even buy your own Peter Pan Hat on Etsy, if you don’t feel like making one.

November: New York Baby!

  • Visit New York City

I flew to the big city for the first time to visit my best friend Michelle who moved there indefinitely, and my Father who was there on business.

  • Fall in Love

I just felt so alive in New York. It is even more romantic in person. I mean, I’ve seen it in every movie ever, I’ve seen it as I obsessively watch FRIENDS and every TV show ever, but IN PERSON, the city had me at every corner. My eyes swelled up every day as I took in the beauty. I hope need to visit again soon. Highlight: I schmoozed my way up to the top of the flatiron building. (SHHHHHH don’t tell security!) 😉

You can watch me derp my way through New York in this quick 10 minute video.

December: Crate & Barrel

  • Get a Seasonal Job

I found a seasonal job working at Crate & Barrel(thanks to Craigslist, once again). Here, I learned the art of customer service, I made new friends, and I got a sweet discount. Most importantly, I now know the different of a pilsner glass and a blonde glass. Oh, and I got to wear a headset.

  • Make it Happen, Make it Count, Make it.

While at Crate & Barrel, I made a handful of new acquaintances. My coworkers were all really cool, and it was fun getting to know an assortment of part-time working moms who were picking up extra Christmas cash, versus the salesmen who were there to make a living. This brief job is where I coined the phrase Make it Happen, Make it Count, Make It, because I was inspired by all the hard working individuals who each had their own motives and passion to perform. *To making each day count!*

January: For SALE

  • Sell House

My parents put our house, my childhood home, on the market. They wanted to retire to Arizona, that meant that as soon as we sold, I would need to hustle and find somewhere else to live in a matter of weeks. I had two options in mind:

    • 1) Move to Spain, teach English, learn Spanish, and enjoy life before I became tied down with a full time job.
    • or 2) Move out and find a full time job.
    • (keep reading in the later months to find out what happened)

I also started going back to church. Getting connected in a Christ centered community is very important to me, and something I had been missing out on since I graduated from George Fox University. So I started going back to the church I grew up in. I’ve been going to their young adults group as often as I can, if you’re ever in Orange County I highly recommend attending: Seabreeze Church, click here for details.

February: Make Cool Stuff

  • Etsy

 I opened up an Etsy shop, where I sell my Peter Pan Hats the very same one you saw me make in my Peter Pan video, as I mentioned earlier. I also plan on making jewelry and greeting cards, so stay tuned!

  • Boutiques

I designed these Leather Tassel Keychains (with bottle opener) because I liked the trend, and I wanted to make something even more practical, hence the bottle opener part. I sell them at an adorable boutique in Long Beach called Blue Windows. Note: if you love local boutiques and the things sold at anthropologie than Blue Windows is to die for! Walking into a store and seeing your work displayed on a table marked “local artist” is like the coolest feeling ever. These keychains will be available again on my Etsy store soon, or shoot me an email if you’re interested!

March: Laid Off

Here’s where things get interesting….

  • Looking for WORK

Ties.com laid me off. It happens. At the end of the day a business is about profit, not the individual employee. I had been looking for work since January just because I needed something full time, but this was the KITA I needed to really get hustling. So I started scanning Craiglist for ANYTHING. Preferably Marketing, but Writing, Blogging, Creative was always on the background.

  • Become a Marketer?

I temped for a week as a Marketing assistant at an OBGYN. They paid me well, and that was when I realized my worth. I have a college degree – I am worth more than minium wage damnit! There would be no looking back, no more settling for less.

  • Become a Blogger!?!?

It was late on a Sunday, I was on Craigslist again, and that’s when I saw it, the headline: “FULL TIME DIY/Craft Projects Creator/Writer.”  My eyes went blurry as I skimmed over it, what? Am I really reading this? Is this really an ad asking for a full time person doing exactly what I’ve been doing for fun as a hobby at home???? I read and reread the post, I closed out of it. I said no, this is too good to be true, what’s going on. Then I opened it up again and wrote a kick ass cover letter.

 I heard back a day later. They wanted me. THEY WANTED ME! I was “the creme of the crop” I JUST MIGHT BE A BLOGGER!!! …2 phone interviews and 1 in-person interview later, and I found myself standing in the middle of a very large and very empty studio in DTLA, at the heart of our new DIY studio for DiyReady.com.

April: Move into a career – Move out of my childhood house

This is the crazy month.

  • SOLD!

Our house finally sold! Which meant I had to find a new place to live PRONTO. I moved in to a two bedroom apartment in Long Beach with three other girls still in college. I reside here temporarily through June before their 4th roommate comes back from abroad. Just call me a squatter, but surrounded by all my worldly things.

  • Start Work

I began showing up at work right away, first to build our studio from the ground up, then to start blogging. I spent my days making cool things, photographing them, and writing step-by-step tutorials online. (check them out here!)

  • Commute

So if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember how I ride a Scooter. That’s kind of a long way, to scoot from Long Beach to Downtown LA… My scooter does freeways just fine, she’s a beast. However, risking my life isn’t necessarily on my bucket list, so I take the metro instead.

I am one of the lucky people in Los Angeles who works right next to a metro line. I don’t know how I got so lucky, seriously it’s such a blessing. I scoot to the metro station 2 miles away, then I ride in to work on the Blue Line.

I love it, I love the freedom of not having a car, and I love feeling like a New Yorker! (it even gives me time to read the New Yorker!) 😉 I’ve also met some pretty cool people on the metro. People you wouldn’t typically meet in a car. I have one fashion friend, two young working women, and we have the same stops so we walk to work together. How precious is that?

May: Work it

professional pattern drafter

  • Never Get Too Comfortable

Work continues to be rad, we’re trying to focus more on video content now instead of the blogs. However, being part of a new company also means bumps in the road. The truth is, I have no idea how long this amazing job is going to last. I love it so much, My coworkers are awesome, my whole floor (Maker City LA) is full of really cool creative people. But perhaps it really is “too good to be true.” All I can do is soak in every minute and enjoy my position while they need me, and hope for the best. As with anything in life, I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and I just keep pushing.

  • Do What You Love

No matter where I end up, I will always pursue happiness. The other day I was drafting a dress for one of my tutorials, and as I pinned it together I started feeling so alive. It was like waking up from a daze I didn’t even know I was in. I was on fire! My coworkers even mentioned “you look like you’re on your game right now.” I said yes, yes I am! So ladies and gentleman, it looks like sewing and pattern drafting is in my future, it was in my past, I used to work in the costume shop on my college campus and loved it. How could I not pursue something that makes me so fired up??

  • New Apartment

Once again, I spent hours on craigslist looking for an apt. I finally found a spacious living room (yes, living room) just outside downtown to call home. The whole complex looks like an Italian Villa, it’s gorgeous. I move in June.

  • Find a New Church

HILLSONG is coming to LA! They’re a church originally from Australia, you might know them from their music group: Hillsong United.  Since I know I’m moving to the city soon, I also need to find a new home church. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’ve already sent emails out to their volunteer department and am getting connected! I get to be a part of the start of the coolest church (in my opinion) around. Can’t wait to see where this goes.

And that sums up a year.

Since I began my blog I have reached over 40,000 views. I have passed 500 twitter followers, 500 Instagram followers, 400 Pinterest followers, and 100 WordPress followers totaling approximately 1,500 followers.

I know it’s not much, it really isn’t, but a wise professor once told me how important it is to celebrate every milestone, no matter the size. So I am throwing a mini party to myself to honor my 1 year Blogiversary. Ok actually maybe I’ll throw a real party – Mimosas at My Place – post coming soon!   To the small milestones! *cheers*  

What’s next? Stay tuned to find out. 😉

Thank you for supporting me, I love you all! Please drop a hello in the comments below, I would love to hear from all my readers. You guys are seriously the best.

Make it Happen. Make it Count. Make it. itsaLisa.com

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

What to do in Portland if You Only Have One Weekend

Things to do in Portland... Portland Travel Guide, A Weekend in the City | itsaLisa.com

You’re on a mission to conquer Portland in one weekend? What a quest! The token “weird” city is brimming with quirks and culinary feats. It would be impossible to see it all, but since you’re here and you’re trying, follow along as I guide you through the town highlights, as well as some of my personal favorites.

How it works: For the purpose of this post, let’s pretend you’ll arrive in Portland Friday night and leave Sunday night. I’m going to describe what my ideal trip would look like in the given time frame. Use THIS GOOGLE MAP that I made just for you along with the written guide below for your ultimate PDX tour.

Guide to PDX | itsaLisa.com

PORTLAND CITY GUIDE: A Weekend Agenda

FRIDAY: South East Portland

You’ve traveled all day and you’re starving! Where to first? Let’s start with food, then drinks. The layer titled “FRIDAY NIGHT. SE PDX” on my Google map will show you where to go. First stop is one of Portland’s hidden delicacies.

Le Bistro Montage, Portland Oregon | itsaLisa.com

Le Bistro Montage 301 SE Morrison St. Dine at this Cajun restaurant famous for their mac and cheese, but feel free to explore their wild seafood menu, you never know when your next chance to try alligator might be. Words of the wise, do not eat it all!!! Ask your waiter if you can take some to go; a surprise awaits. 😉

Now that you’re fed, time for some drinks. That’s the real reason you’re here, right? Let’s keep Friday night a quiet night. You have a big weekend ahead of you.

Rontoms 600 E Burnside St. Grab a drink and head out back to the large open patio and take in the laid back culture. Play ping-pong and mingle with the locals.

Maybe you’ve had a long day and this crowd is enough. Or maybe you’re just getting started and want to see more.  We will stay on the Northeast side tonight, so make your way up E Burnside St and follow along with this bar crawl. That is, if you’re up for it. The bars are going to get even better tomorrow so reserve your energy if needed. The following are all in walking distance from each other…

The Standard 14 NE 22ndPlay corn hole, America’s new favorite game, at The Standard (not to be confused with The Standard Hotel in LA or NYC). Sing Karaoke at the Chopsticks Express. Cheer on the Timbers (Portland’s one and only soccer team) or catch a live show up the street at Beulahland. Hop next door to Red Flag for Pinball and, dare I say, frozen Margaritas. Or mingle with more of your bearded locals at Laurelthirst Public House, did somebody say bluegrass?

Now that was a chill evening. You had a taste of the local nightlife, I think you’re are ready for a good night’s sleep, because tomorrow is jampacked with the touristing best!

SATURDAY: Everything Portland

Rise and shine my friends! Grab your Doc Marten’s and Northface, and get ready to hit the rain-soaked streets. I have divided today into three parts. 1) An introduction to the city, 2) afternoon options for you, and 3) a night out you will never forget.

SATURDAY MORNING: The Tourist Tour

Stumptown Coffee, Portland | itsaLisa.com

Stumptown 128 SW 3rd Ave.  Fuel up with Portland’s finest coffee. “The name, a nod to this beloved city’s historic logging legacy.” –Stumptowncoffee.com. Craft brewing is an art well-known to Oregon. Stumptown was the first.

(Park in this downtown region because I lead you in a full circle so you’ll be back at the car within a few hours.)

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland | itsaLisa.com

VOODOO Doughnut 22 SW 3rd Ave. While you’re sipping your coffee, head over to the sparkly line at Voodoo Donuts just next door. Checkout their menu here, my favorite is the ODB, your average doughnut covered in chocolate, Oreos AND peanut butter – YUM! With Voodoo and Stumptown in hand, you’re already a true tourist, err, I mean local.

Portland Saturday Market 2 SW Naito Pkwy. Now that you’re fueled with the blood of Portland, walk across the street to Saturday Market. Make sure you meander through the shops all the way to the waterfront. Enjoy the orchestra, the wind chimes, the weirdos, but most importantly, the Spoonman. No trip to Saturday Market is complete without trying on Spoon glasses, or purchasing a decorative-flatware-ring. Before you move on, snap a pic by the waterfront and enjoy the scenic view of Portland’s bridges. If you need to refuel I recommend trying an Elephant Ear or grabbing a bite at one of the snack huts lining the waterfront, but it’s not time for lunch just yet!

Powell’s City of Books 1005 W Burnside St. Next on the list, walk straight up Burnside and find yourself at the doorsteps of the biggest new and used bookstore in the world! *Helpful Hint: go with a purpose, have 1 or 2 books in mind and peruse the color coded aisles ’til your heart’s content.* If you’re not into books, meander across the street and peruse the aisles of trendy second-hand Portlander clothes at Buffalo Exchange while you wait. Woohoo, you’ve finally found the book you’ve been hoping for! All that hunting has made you hungry. Good thing Portland is overflowing with food options.

Portland Food Carts SW Alder St & 9th. For lunch on Saturday, enjoy the open air and stroll over to the biggest pod of food carts in Portland. A pod is a group of food carts that gather together to give you the best variety of food. I like to walk around the whole pod unit before settling down on one.  Use this map as a guide to all the carts, (zoom in on the crowded area on the NW side). Or download this Portland Food Cart mobile app.  Nowhere to sit? Walk to your next destination at Pioneer Courthouse Square just a few blocks down the street and enjoy a prime seat on the brick steps. Before you go, don’t forget to ask for extra napkins.

Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland Umbrella Man | itsaLisa.com

Pioneer Courthouse Square 701 SW 6th Ave. Known as “Portland’s living room,” this is where city festivals and events take place. It is also home to the famous glass Starbucks and the bronze umbrella man. Pose for a pic with him, and decide where to go next.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Explore On Your Own

You have a few options for the rest of your afternoon! You won’t have time for everything, so choose wisely. I have them all listed below, whatever you can’t do today you might be able to squeeze in tomorrow. Plan on each item taking 2 hours.

Portland Walking Tour: 202 NW Davis St. (Their base is right off Pioneer Square, you’re already there!) The underground walking tour is your best bet, explore the infamous Shanghai tunnels and learn about Portland’s shady past. Check before you arrive, but the tours are typically 2 hours, starting at 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. on weekends; $20 a head.

Japanese Garden, Portland | itsaLisa.com

Japanese Garden 611 SW Kingston Ave. This place is gorgeous! Walk around for hours and enjoy the nature of both Japan and Portland mixed into one epic landscape.

OMSI 1945 SE Water Ave. Explore the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. This museum is a big hit for younger audiences; it provides a great way to learn and interact with the world around us. Engage with the latest exhibits, listed here.

Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Ave. Visit the exhibits for a taste of arts and culture, tucked into a quiet corner of rainy city life. Find a list of their current exhibits here.

PDX rogue

Beer Tasting Check out Rogue Brewery (1339 NW Flanders St. facts & menu) and Deschutes Brewery (210 NW 11th Ave. menu & on tapLocated just a couple of blocks away from each other, these are two of Portland’s most popular craft breweries. Ask for flights and take your palette on a taste test (here’s how) on a journey from light to dark with Portland’s finest liquid gold. Fun fact: is it you or your travel-mates’ birthday? Rogue will offer you a free pitcher – yes, pitcher – in any beer of your choice. Cheers!

Hike. Oregon is rich with hiking trails. Since you don’t have all day, choose from the hikes listed here under the “Portland Area” headline, and find what suits you. If I had to choose just one of the listed options I would choose the Mount Tabor Hike because it’s a volcano.

Dinner

Now that you’ve explored our humble city, it’s time to grab some dinner before your big night out! If you haven’t gone yet you should hit up either Rogue or Deschutes Brewery (see above) for dinner, because craft beer is a Portland must. But, if you’re fixing for some award-winning feasts, a handful of Portland’s renowned eateries are as follows…

Pok Pok, Dining in Portland | itsaLisa.com

Le Pigeon 738 E Burnside St.  French cuisine. Stop trying to pronounce “foi grois” and eat it instead.

Little Bird 219 SW 6th Ave. Le Pigeon’s little sister, also French.

Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St.  Thai food like never before.

ROE 3113 SE Division St. Japanese cuisine, hidden from the public, reservation only, kind of a big deal.

Screen Door 2337 E Burnside St. Southern cuisine, farm to fork, chicken and waffles. Worth the wait.

Slappy Cakes 4246 SE Belmont St. DIY pancake house. They provide the batter and the fixings, and you get to grill your own flapjacks at the table.

Le Bistro Montage 301 SE Morrison St.  Cajun. If you didn’t already go on Friday than I highly recommend this location for today. Macaroni is bomb. Ask to take home leftovers.

SATURDAY NIGHT: The Nightlife Tour

Get ready for some Portland Nightlife at its finest. Unless you already have a local concert or festival ticket in hand, get fancy and prepare to hit the dance floor!

PDX night life

Old Town Chinatown, NW 3rd Ave. is the place to be for a wild night. Police block off the streets with barriers so you may walk freely from bar to bar nary a concern. Explore the different venues. Let your curiosity lead the way. Is it the music that guides you? The atmosphere? The long wait to get in? Every bar has its scene.

For a more unique experience try Darcelle’s and dance with world-famous drag queens. My personal favorite venue happens to be the Barrel Room, home to a covered outdoor dance floor filled with farm tables, yes, farm tables – you’ll see. Enjoy your night and make lasting memories; Old Town Chinatown, like the rest of Portland, is one of a kind.

SUNDAY: Northwest Portland

Go ahead and sleep in. I’ve planned a nice and peaceful day for you. Or get up and at’em to hit all the stops you missed yesterday. Before you go, there are a few more must-dos on my agenda for you. I have saved the best for last. Follow my Google map under the layer titled “SUNDAY. NW PDX” for guidance.

Raspberry Macarons from Ken's Artisan Bakery, Portland | itsaLisa.com

Brix Tavern 1338 NW Hoyt St. Nourish yourself at my all time favorite spot for brunch. Brix has amazing drinks, amazing food (menu), and (if you’re up for it) they also have bottomless Mimosas on the weekends.  Enjoy doodling on the table with crayons while you wait. *Suggestion: try mapping out what actually happened last night …am I right??* The Brix Chips are amazing, think: gourmet nachos. This is breakfast, however, so perhaps try the eggs benedict instead.

After a morning well spent and stomachs well stuffed. Drive up NW Burnside into the Hillside to look out over the city among the finest real estate in all of Oregon. If you have time, check out Pittock Mansion or stroll through Pittock Acres Park. After taking in the breathtaking views head back down and explore Nob Hill. Window shop along the fine collection of boutiques on NW 23rd Street and enjoy your final hours in P-town. Here you’ll find even more coffee shops and bakeries, of course, my favorite is Ken’s Artisan Bakery, where delightful macarons are made fresh daily.

Today is your day to catch up on anything you might have missed on Saturday, but please oh please make this final destination a priority. Near the end of 23rd street you will come across the best ice cream you have ever had…

Salt & Straw, Portland's best ice cream | itsaLisa.com

Salt & Straw 838 NW 23rd Ave. “Portland’s farm-to-cone ice cream shop” and Voted “Best of the West” by Sunset Magazine. This shop puts care into every cone, you can try as many flavors as you’d like before you order, so be patient – it’s worth it!  The giant chalkboard wall behind the workers has every flavor and ingredient listed, so read carefully, you don’t want to miss a beat, or …beet. They’ve mastered the art of sweet and savory, with flavors like Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, and Salted Caramel Cupcake.  This is truly the best ice cream you will ever have. Ever.

You did it!

Congrats, you have now experienced every layer the great city of Portland has to offer. You’ve tasted their craft brews, eaten their delicacies, you’ve walked the beautiful trails and partied with the locals. I hope you had an amazing time.

Now remember, Portland has approximately 1000 bars and 2000 coffee shops (just kidding I made those numbers up), but you have a lot of options! Don’t be afraid to do your own thing, too.  This is YOUR trip afterall. This agenda is merely my insider’s perspective, the tried and true suggestions that I’ve picked just for you. So go have fun, and tell me all about it in the comments below.

…Of course now that I have written out this fantastic agenda I am extremely nostalgic. So, um, do me a favor, if you ever meet someone from George Fox University while you’re up there, tell them Lisa says hi. 🙂 Thanks!

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Every Body is Beautiful, Finally! The New Trend of 2014

This is the first of a series of body image articles I plan on writing. My New Year’s resolution is to be bolder, so I have decided it is time to put my writing out there, to be more open and vulnerable, and to share my insights with you. Thanks for reading – I hope I can inspire a change of mind in anyone who is struggling with their own body image – and this goes for all sizes, big and small. Please share and comment as you see fit. 1/12/14. Lisa Loperfido. @itsa_Lisa
Every Body is Beautiful, Finally! The New Trend of 2014. read about why on itsaLisa.comphoto adapted from Elle.com

Welcome to 2014, a year where we’ve finally learned to embrace who we are. Or at least getting closer to it. Where the best TV shows are no longer about the young and the beautiful, but more about the reality of life being hard, and self acceptance within it.

The top shows that come to mind are Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project,” Lena Dunham’s “GIRLS,” and Rebel Wilson’s “Super Fun Night.” What do these three shows have in common? They are comedies that poke fun at the reality of life being difficult and awkward. They are sit-coms that follow the lives of 20-somethings as they battle love, career, friendship, and belonging in New York City. There is one more similarity you might have noticed: each show’s director also stars in the series, and yes, the directors are also curvy ladies. Beautiful curvy ladies.

Their weight, while used as a point of humor and a springboard for self-deprecation, is an undeniable truth that helps steer the show in a direction that 2014 is proud to embrace. Or so it should be.

Mindy Kaling, director and star of the Mindy Project, is an adorable curvy Indian girl. And while the show is mainly a sit-com starring Kaling and her New York Medical office co-workers, there’s also a few weight insecurities that surface. In a recent episode she admits to never being naked in front of a man, but the episode resolves in a man telling her she’s beautiful and would be even more so if she would stop “sucking it in.” In a quick scene we see a shot of her back, her back looked hot. Kaling also wears a fresh face of makeup, and really cute, feminine, office-appropriate clothes. The first thing you notice about her is definitely not her weight. Instead you see a hilarious Indian girl, and a hot doctor. While she thinks weight is an issue, weight really should not be an issue. Put plainly, she’s gorgeous.

Same goes for Lena Dunham. I am behind on my viewing of Girls so for fear of sounding like a fool I am only going to state very generic facts. 1. Hannah (Dunham’s character) is not afraid of being naked. 2. If Dunham is ok with her weight, than you should be too. As The Daily Beast puts it: Hate Lena Dunham’s Naked Body? Show us yours. She also wears flirty little dresses, rompers, and clothes that show she doesn’t care what others think, which exudes confidence, because what others think should not matter. From what I’ve seen in tabloids, it is very clear that Dunham looks good on and off the red carpet.

And then there’s our newest star, Rebel Wilson. Brought to light by her aloof role as the roommate in Bridesmaids, stealing the show in Pitch Perfect, and now starring in her own sit-com: Super Fun Night. Wilson’s character Kimmy, is a heavy lawyer facing the daily struggles of life and sit-com worthy affairs. But what I really want to discuss here is her style. Yes, she’s fat, but so what? She wears fun challenging clothes that look good on her because she wears them with confidence. Rebel Wilson and her TV character, posses a bold heroism, the will to succeed and the desire to have a good time… to have a “super fun night.” Her strength to keep pushing, aside from the bashing she gets from others, is motivational. Kimmy uses clever jokes and a bubbling personality to stand out, she also mocks that her boobs are supremely larger than her skinny costar’s, a battle the bigger girl will always win. Kimmy always looks great by styling herself well and taking fashion risks, but what also stands out is her personable charm. By merely being herself she achieves. Do I sound like an American Girl ad or what? But her attitude really is inspiring. Take notes people.

The point that we see trending here is that we are all girls, and we are all fighting similar battles. While the hilarious and curvaceous directors mentioned above are all writing a similar script to a similar story that speaks to our generation, we can conclude something very important:  Looks are OUT, character is IN. What I mean is, these shows are not becoming hits because the cast is made up of Size 00 American Sweethearts (who can also be beautiful and full of character!), but these shows are becoming hits because the cast is GORGEOUS, FUNNY and INTELLIGENT. Their size is completely irrelevant, which makes me proud to be a part of a generation where we can enjoy this kind of entertainment, the kind where you don’t have to look a certain way to be accepted.

Ok so these are just TV shows produced by a team of highly paid professionals, but you can still take their lessons to heart in real life. Remember to be yourself, embrace who you are throughout your daily struggles. Let your own beautiful character shine. No matter what size you are dress for you, be confident, and rock what you’ve got! This is your life, if you’ve been stressing about the pounds (statistics prove that over 80% of you have) than stop! When you embrace your weight and the body you were born with you’ll find life will feel a lot lighter.

I am young 140 pound woman living in the highly judgemental sand trap of Southern California. I believe in living a happy and healthy life, but above all being yourself. I began writing this article as encouragement for myself to resist from obsessing over “the ideal figure” what is ideal anyways? It became something worth sharing. The final takeaway: strive to seek out beauty in everything and do what makes you happy. More on this subject coming soon.

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If you never make a wish, it can never come true.

make a wish

A few words of encouragement. When you have a dream, dream it. When you have a wish, make it. Doing nothing will get you nowhere. Doing something will lead you somewhere. I know these words are plain and simple, but they are so truthful. You never know, the most basic and direct thoughts could make the biggest impact.

Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest. Meow.

The Best of the VMAs | Shailene Woodley in Emilio Pucci

The 2013 VMAs will forever be remembered as the Miley Cyrus spectacle. When will that girl grow up? I am rooting for her! She is still very young you know…

miley

MTV is a dirty place, I am a little perplexed why everyone is so offended… I know it’s an awards show… but look at MTV! All of their shows are the antithesis of classy, not sure why people thought the VMAs would be any different.

The VMAs were also a brief reminder of why movie stars are movie stars and singers are singers. Because they are good at what they do.  The only talented award-presenters during the VMAs were our stars JGL and Jimmy Fallon, because that is what they do! Act! Speak to a viewers! The singers on the other hand found themselves tongue-tied and painful to watch. Because they are not paid to be eloquent, their talent comes from making the music and lyrics. At least that’s my reasoning, but what do I know, I can’t act or sing…

Other than raving on about how cute Justin Timberlake is and how much I love Katy Perry and am so proud of that California girl for taking over the world. I want to mention Shailene Woodley, that gorgeous young actress wearing the Emilio Pucci Crop Top and Fringed Skirt combo (Emilio Pucci Resort 2014). You might recognize Shailene from the Secret Life of an American Teenager, but now she stars in a Hunger-Games-esque movie, Divergent, coming out March 2014.  

shailene-woodley

I love that hemline, the inverted V. I have now scoured the internet searching for a name of that hemline, but the best I could find was “mini skirt.” So keep in mind that while it is a miniskirt… I am going to give it my own name, “The Inverted Triangle” …or “The Classy Loin Cloth,” if you will.

She looked so hot and has inspired me to sew my own version. In black of course. Let the sewing projects begin!

Shailene-Woodley-in-Emilio-Pucci-resort-2014-2013-MTV-Video-Music-Awards

photosource: vogue.com

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