Tag Archives: Portland

Here they are…live and in person! 1 token = 1 free meal (and time with US) at Dixieland Delight!

This is about the most excited I have been for a project in a long while.  And that says something because if you know me, you know I LOVE a good project.  A few months ago, William designed these wooded nickels.  I wrote about our plan on a previous post that you can mosey over to if you’d like (click here).

A little bit of background in case you aren’t aware of what these little beauties are…One of our dearest friends, Tiffany came up with this idea when we were moving away from Austin as a way for us to meet new friends.  Keeping in mind my love of entertaining and cooking and Mr. Fancy Pants’ love for people in general, we thought this was amazing.  The nickels themselves were fairly inexpensive and we had a blast designing them together.

We’ve been passing these out for the last several months with only ONE couple reaching out to schedule their free dinner (and huge props to them–not only are they amazing, but they’re also Texas Transplants)  William and I decided that most people probably don’t feel comfortable just “inviting” themselves over for dinner (understandable) though that was our intention.  SO we have designed an invitation using my favorite, Paperless Post, in order to invite our new friends over to cash in their token!!

We have lots and lots for the taking! Better get ’em while they’re hot!

How to document this whole process has been my little project.  And I have finally come up with what I would like to do.  There is no good reason on why they need to be documented other than the fact that I refuse to let the institution of the dinner party die while I’m still alive.  So, if you have a token, expect a whole sha-bang when you come over!  Because this Southern lady is itchin’ to entertain!

I’ve decided that we’re going to document our first 50 “takers” by photographing them with a little homemade sign we’re working on (I’ll reveal that when it’s finished), making note of the menu and any fun anecdotes of our time together.  I am going to work with William to get a template of a faux photo booth strip to put all of the pictures into (inspiration below)  At the end of our social experiment, we’re going to put them all into a book–I think I am going to use Pinhole Press to print it–and it will always be something that we have to remember our time in Portland.

Photo booth strip inspiration. Saw these on Pinterest a few weeks ago and thought they would be PERFECT! Click here to read about it!

Now all I need are some hungry new friends!!  And don’t fret out-of-towners.  WHEN (not if) you come visit and I cook for you.  YOU will be included in this little project too!!  Stay tuned for your invitation OR if you don’t have a token yet, let us know!  We want everyone to be involved with the Nickel Narratives!

I realized this afternoon as I was plopped on the couch watching football with William how overwhelmed I am.  But not in the traditional way that you would think when someone says they are overwhelmed.  I’m overwhelmed in a strangely good way.

Today starts October.  Which starts (in my mind) fall, though here in Portland it has felt like fall for about a month now.  Keeping in mind that I’m from Texas and the weather in October there most of the time doesn’t even feel like fall, but that’s still my mindset.  Apparently it needs to be readjusted. Regardless, October enters in pumpkins, and sweaters, and boots, and my birthday, and Christmas is around the corner, AND my mind is FULL of parties and events and gatherings I want to host.  I, like every other female in America it seems, have a growing addiction to Pinterest which has just made my condition worse.

Now that we live somewhere that the weather is actually reflecting what time of year it is, I have so many things that I want to do and what feels like so little time to do it.  How much of a serious problem do I have that I am anxious about being able to host all of the get togethers that I want to before the rain sets in?  Answer: a large problem.

Not everything has a date set in stone yet, but here are the things I have planned for the next month and a half:

  • Hosting my first supper club with an amazing group of girls from the Junior League of Portland (that I have recently joined)
  • Making a trip, tomorrow actually, to Sauvie Island to not 1 but 2 amazing pumpkin farms.  And yes, William is thrilled this tradition has followed us to Portland
  • Hosting a pumpkin carving party with our newly created little “woman’s crafting group” started by the amazingly talented lady behind Always With Honor.  (side note, I was PUMPED to be included in this group.  All of the ladies are incredibly talented and I was thrown in the mix–thank God!! They are inspiring and crafty and just plain amazing.)
  • Celebrating my 25th birthday with new friends in less than 2 weeks
  • Heading to the Oregon Coast for the first time since we’ve moved here with my parents to celebrate my birthday when they come in town
  • Potentially hosting a Halloween party at our house!  I should rephrase.  I want to host a Fall Carnival.  I’m not kidding.  I’m really excited about this one.
  • Host a weekly dinner for those who are “cashing in” their wooden nickels at Dixieland Delight.  I’m going to make posts about these…I’m pretty excited about them.
  • Lastly, hosting a football/tailgating party at our place a little later in the season (might have to move into November for this one).  Our new friends up here think our passion for football is quite comical and I want to have people over for a real football party to give them a taste of what being a fan (in the South) is really about!
WHEW!  I’m telling you I could be the world’s best party planner.  Not really, but I do enjoy throwing a good party.  I am making a post about this mostly because I think getting all of my ideas out in the open will force me to see them through.  I am so thankful our new friends here in Portland are just plain fun people.  They’d totally be down for all of this.  Otherwise we’d be partyin’ alone!  Calling out to all my party people in Portland!  Get ready.  The Bryants are about to show you some fun!
I have also promised myself to post 3-4 days out of the week until the end of 2011.  Starting today October 1.  I am actually doing a little personal experiment with this.  Hoping I impress myself.  Happy Fall everyone!
Spirit of 77 in Portland, OR

Monday night was probably my favorite night we’ve spend in Portland thus far. Considering we spent it in an empty sports bar might lead you to believe that I’ve had a REALLY bad time in Portland thus far, BUT before you start feeling sorry for me, take a look at where we were. If you have ever visited Spirit of 77 on NE MLK, you know exactly what I mean–and yes, this encompasses everyone on the planet Earth because I refuse to believe there is anyone who doesn’t like this place (though, I’m sure there is…but I’m making a point here people. So just go with it.)

Spirit of 77 is in a nutshell a sports bar. But it is unlike any other sports bar you’ve ever been to. I know when most of us think “sports bar” we think of a dingy, hole in the wall, beer on the floor, beer on everything really, people yelling too loud, memorabilia that looks like it walked out of Applebee’s…you know what I mean. But, if I could incapsulate Spirit of 77 in one sentence it would be:

The most timeless representation of the evolution of sports and the experience that goes along with being a fan wrapped into one building, under one roof making it impossible to not be a fan of the game–whatever game that happens to be.

View inside Spirit of 77
Incredible wood signage instillation you see immediately entering Spirit of 77.

OMFG Co. happens to be the genius behind this whole project. They are a design/illustration/branding/we do everything under the sun group of guys located next door to Mr. Fancy Pant’s studio in Portland, OR. Check out their site. Their client list is amazing.

AIGA did a case study on the development and execution of making Spirit of 77 what it is today, interviewing the guys at OMFG Co. I love what they had to say about the goal of the whole project:

The goal was implicit in the brief: reinvent the sports bar. Make it a place where people actually want to go to, sports fanatic and “civilian” alike. The survey of friends and family, when asked, “Where do you go when you want to watch the game?” never had a clear answer – it was a weighing of lesser evils, proximity, and limited by the size of your group.

The cliché is unfortunately true: sports bar food is usually sub-par, the drinks are unexciting and the testosterone levels are uncomfortably high. The design of the room, the marketing materials (if they exist) are usually uninspired or off-the-shelf from a beer company. The main feature—the endless sea of big screen TVs—creates an unpleasant atmosphere, with pockets of gatherings competing for attention, as opposed to the sense of community you have in a stadium or arena.

We wanted a place with a point of view, thoughtful design at every corner, a locally sourced and inspired menu, and a top-shelf bar program. Most importantly, we wanted a sense of community akin to being at the game itself, drawing from the best aspects of sports and leaving the hostility aside. The collective cheering, rooting for your team, and the shared groan of losing—you feel a part of something bigger. It’s invigorating, to say the least.

Dart board area
Basketball goals! (photo above and below curtesy of OMFG Co.)

I will say, I cannot wait to go watch an Alabama game there. They are showing the September 10th UA vs. Penn State game and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be there. It was a completely amazing experience to be there basically by ourselves though. There was one other group of people there when we arrived and one other couple there when we left. It is my understanding that this is FAR from the norm. Spirit of 77 is normally packed to the brim with people so I was glad to catch it on a quieter evening. We will definitely be returning, though to experience the whole thing again with the excitement of fellow sports fans.

Above and below are pictures of the custom, hand-built basketball arcade (dubbed The Buzzer Beater). We played I don’t know how many games on this thing. They also have shuffleboard, foosball, and darts (all free I might add–you just have to wait your turn to play).

Mr. Fancy Pants showing off his mad skills. His scores were WAY higher than mine.
Look at that follow thru!
Having a good ole time for a Monday night! (for any night for that matter!)

Here is my favorite take away from the article (sorry for so much copy and paste but I couldn’t say it better myself):

Imbued into all components of the branding and marketing is a layer of “intelligent stupidity.” For example, using vintage sports trading cards as a base, we Photoshopped out what was once a football or basketball, and replaced it with a piece of fried chicken or a boiled egg. Once reprinted in the exact format and style of a trading card, that became the artwork for our take away menu.

The brand voice is that of a sports fanatic with a sharp sense of humor, one that celebrates the hilarious innocence of previous eras, and wants to relive those times today.

William and I playing foosball. We’re awful.
Spirit of 77 in Portland, OR

Here is an amazing explanation of the signage above the main bar (also from the AIGA article):

Above the long main bar is the namesake signage. Each letter is 4-ft. tall, and the entire length is roughly 33 feet. We constructed it from start to finish in the space, with the typeface projected onto sheets of plywood, which we cut out with a jigsaw. The result can be seen from blocks away, and is the glowing beacon for the bar.

To top off the evening, we paid the best $4 that we have in a while to have some photo booth pictures taken. Digressing a bit, but I have decided that we’re going to take photo booth pictures wherever we encounter one from now on. I mean, how great are these?! I read this magazine article in this month’s Martha Stewart Living about this couple who took one photo booth set of pictures every year. It was a cool timeline to follow as their family grew. I like it. And I’m stealing the idea.

Best $4 I’ve spent in a while. Oh by the way in case you didn’t know, Mr. Fancy Pants is, at the moment, missing some teeth.

If you ever come and visit us here in Portland, we’re probably going to take you to Spirit of 77. So get ready.

To read more about the whole project–which I strongly recommend because it is incredibly interesting and informative–click here to access the entire AIGA article.

To check out Spirit of 77’s website click here.

To learn more about the talented guys behind OMFG Co. click your little mouse here.

I had posted a while ago about our headboard inspiration for our new house here in Portland.  Click here to catch up.  There are times in life when you see something you love, try to recreate it, and it turns out horribly.  Your expectations were so high, the original too good…you know how the story goes. I am happy to say this was NOT the case with our headboard.

Mr. Fancy Pants never ceases to amaze me.  We joke with him all the time that he should be able to do everything, a Jack of all Trades if you will, because he is an Eagle Scout.  In all seriousness though, the man can do everything.  I had no idea he knew how to use power tools or BUILD something for that matter!  Only one thing to say about that.  I was wrong.

If you didn’t see my previous post, here was our inspiration for our bed in our new house.

Reclaimed wood headboard from the Ace Hotel

We discussed wood first.  Considering the wood would pretty much make or break the piece, we wanted to make sure that we had lumber with character.  A friend in Austin suggested going to The ReBuilding Center–the area’s largest collection of building and remodeling materials.  That was our plan until my mother called and offered to bring up the wood that used to make up the fence from my childhood home in Texarkana, TX.  Free lumber that has already been aged for 10+ years?  YES please!

Mom graciously (though there is not really a word that will touch the surface of what all she did for us) offered to come help us pack in Austin and unpack in Portland.  She brought about 20 panels from the old fence with her up to Austin and we loaded them into the moving truck along with everything else.  For those of you who care about the construction, I am going to go through our process as best I can, for those who don’t, enjoy the pictures!


  • 10 recycled fence boards (6′ x 8″)
  • 3 extra stained boards (6′ x 4″)  — We threw these in for some variation
  • 4 pieces of wood to act as braces (88.5″ x 3.5″)
  • Table saw (thank you ADX!!)
  • 2 x 100 count boxes of black wood screws

We wanted our headboard to be 92″ tall which is how we determined how many boards to use.  We had extra stained wood from our shelving project (more on that later) and we decided to mix it in to break up the board sizes.  We also decided that we wanted to have more of a “laid brick” look to it.  Rather than keeping all of the boards the full 6′ long we cut them in varying lengths to mix and match.  You’ll see from the pictures, all of the boards were different colors so this added a lot to the overall look.  The boards were 6′ long.  We arranged the rows the boards into three variations: 

  • Full length (6′)
  • 1/3 + 2/3 (24″ board + 48″ board)
  • 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 (3 x 24″ boards)

Mr. Fancy Pants cutting down our fence posts to the lengths we need!

You can't see it but I have some SWEET protective eyewear on (and by sweet I mean not cool at all).

We laid out the brace boards equal distance apart and began piecing together the fence wood on top.

Making progress! Since all of our lumber was a little different color, we tried to mix and match between the boards we had cut to put together good color variation.

Still working! I would like to on record of saying that I was helping, I am just helper & photographer. Please don't think I made William build this by himself. I'm a good helper!

In go the screws. We put a screw into the brace along each cut in the wood. The larger boards had two screws on top of each other (vertically) and the smaller screws just one.

It is now about 10:30 at night (on a week night) after a run to Wal-Mart for more wood screws. We get it into the house and this is the look on his face. I think it says, "How do I let you talk me into this stuff??"

















To which I say, "Isn't it worth it?!?!!?" Here's the finished product minus the skinny top board that went on after the bed frame was built. The headboard would have been too tall to stand up had we put it on with the others.

We set out next to buy a mattress, find bedding and a bed frame.  The mattress part was easy.  We snagged amazing bedding from Restoration Hardware on sale and then were just waiting to find a bed frame.  After about 2 weeks of searching, we decided, what the heck!  We can build that too!  And so we did.  Stay tuned for the finished product!

Portland postcard credit: BettyTurbo via Etsy

Greetings from Portland!  So much in my life has changed since my last post. Some good, some not so good.  I have been sitting here for the past few minutes thinking back over the move and it seems like I’m watching someone else’s life. The short of it is we’re here.  We made it to Portland.  We have a home that is quickly becoming wonderful.  William is looking forward to starting school soon and is enjoying his new studio space at ADX Portland.  I finished up my last day of the job I’ve been doing for the last 2.5 years today.  Monday I begin a new position (with the same company) that should prove to be challenging, rewarding, and stressful all at the same time.

At the same time, I’m still adjusting to life here.  Life without our Avey who passed away.  More on that later.  The new addition to our family, Loretta, does seem to help with that void!  I am missing all of my friends terribly.  Portland itself I like almost as much, if not more, than Austin.  My friends are the part of Austin I miss.  I am confident we will make loads of new friends here, but it will take time. I pray each night that God would bring us the blessing of friendship we had in Austin while still holding a spot in the hearts of those in Austin we love so much. DON’T FORGET US AUSTIN FRIENDS!!!

More than anything, this move has made me proud.  Proud in a good way! I have always known we have a strong marriage.  But, it is times like these that I am reminded how strength and comfort can come from finding the person you were made for.  I am stronger with him by my side.  I am proud of us for making this move.  I know our families and friends are supportive (out least out loud, maybe not so happy about it secretly 🙂 ) but he and I made this happen.  We saw an opportunity and weren’t afraid to take that step.  We moved away from our home, families, and friends so that I could start a new job and progress in my career; so that Mr. Fancy Pants can get his Masters and continue showing the world how incredibly talented he is; so that we could step outside of ourselves and be reminded who we are.  For that, I am proud.

I have so much to share.  So much about Portland, our move, our home, our new kitty…it goes on and on.  Mr. Fancy Pants promised me he would redesign my blog if I promised to write on a regular basis.  So get ready my friends.  Happy Friday!

On a completely different note, the amazing postcard pictured above is from BettyTurbo.  Don’t be surprised if you get one of these in the mail.  I’m buying some!

Mississippi State/Alabama garden flags for our new house

Our garden flags have arrived!  They are 11″ x 15″ and the perfect size.  Very tasteful.  (please disregard the dead plant and creepy cat stare in the picture)  I couldn’t wait to take these out of the packages and see what they looked like.  I’ll be saving them until we get to Oregon, but they’ll be one of the first things I find a spot for when we get there!

Oregon, meet the SEC!

Though several people have been asking for an update on our current move/housing situation, which by now they’ve gotten more than they bargained for, I have realized that of late my posts have been consumed by house planning. And for my 12 readers, I’m sure if you don’t care a thing about our house in Portland, you’re pretty bored.  That said, by this point and time I figure that if you’re reading my blog we’re either friends and I’ve probably already rattled all of this off to you or you choose to read by blog because you can relate to my borderline unhealthy Martha Stewart fetish so maybe I’m ok with my current content.

Either way, I’m making taking another road today.  (Not to far off of the beaten path–let’s be honest, this 24 going on 80 year old has limited subjects in her repertoire to talk too much in length about).

Friends I’m embarking on a new gardening escapade when we move (see, still talking about the moving).  SQUARE FOOT GARDENING!

Perfect sized little square foot garden--though mine will probably have to be smaller.

I cannot wait to have space in our backyard to garden.  I’m going to have to start with some easy things because my track record is not very good.  I wrote long ago about my propensity to force my plants into a drought-like situation, begging for water in a hoarse voice that I somehow am able to ignore (despite the money that is going down the drain when I decide suddenly to stop watering everything I planted a month and a half before).

I’ve decided my practical side will relate more to a garden that is producing something of value.  Like veggies.  Something that really excites me is someone once told me that anything you put in the ground in Portland will grow.  Granted, I am taking this with a grain of salt based on the wreckage I have been able to cause here in Austin, but hey, we’ll go with it.  I’m going to start out with some peppers, lettuce, herbs and tomatoes because I have successfully grown those before.  We’ll see where it goes from there.

What I haven’t broken to Mr. Fancy Pants is the fact that he is going to have to construct said square foot garden for me.  Can’t be that hard can it?  I need to do some reading on what grows best in that climate and not go with my typical, “Oooo that’s so pretty” approach.  One way or the other, this is top priority on my list once we move.  I think this hat may help me with my endeavor.  Might need to snag one before they undoubtedly sell out.

So true. So true.

So we’re leaving our home in Austin, TX in 26 days to make the trek out West. I’m not quite sure it has hit either of us yet that were are leaving all of those we love behind.  Not that we would be able to fit everyone in our suitcases (in the moving truck maybe) but I think we’ve been focusing on actually getting there and not realizing that everyone we know will not be there when we actually get there! Ha! Not to worry though, there are many many new friends to be made and new experiences to be had.

Things I’ve been working on organizing lately are our movers, somehow getting my car to PDX (we’re flying), selling Mr. Fancy Pant’s car, packing, securing our house in PDX, picking out paint for a house 2200 miles away, packing, getting rid of stuff we don’t need, packing, figuring out how to get our precious cat (who has heart disease) to Portland without putting more wear and tear on his heart, more packing, saying goodbye to friends and family, watching the number in our savings account get smaller and smaller, still packing, trying to cross off everything on our Austin “to do” list that we haven’t done yet…OH yeah.  And paying the IRS because due to an honest mistake we hadn’t paid our taxes yet– so please keep your fingers crossed they don’t come after us.  All of that on top of a full time job.  Again, moving is giving me grey hair.

The good news behind all of the money spending is we’re finally getting to invest in some furniture we’ve been saving for for a while.  First purchase for us was a set of 6 Danish modern dining room chairs from the 50s.  They are amazing. Danish modern design is one area William and I agree on almost every time.  I think I had mentioned before, Mr. Fancy Pants (with the help of some amazing guys at Austin Architectural Graphics) is building us a dining room table for the new house in Portland.  Our inspiration is a cross between the work table/desks at Public School and the two tables below:

Great industrial dining room table

Industrial Dining Table from West Elm

Here’s a look at the desks at Public School.  This picture is from the amazing people behind From your Desks.  Side note, they did an awesome two-part look into the space at Public School.  Check it out here!

Mr. Fancy Pants' desk at Public School

Like I said, we snagged these incredible chairs from the folks at Revolver Vintage. I knew these were meant to be when not only did they give me a great price, they offered to hold them for us until we get to Portland AND deliver them for free (their storefront is in SE PDX).


Chair detail

Just lovely

Back detail

I think they’re going to look great with the rug that we have for the room.  Now if I could just decide on what color the walls should be I would be set with one room!  Here’s a glimpse of the dining room right now:

Dining Room

And if you don’t follow my irregular blog posts, here is the rug that we purchased to put in the dining room:

The best rug ever snagged from

Things are finally starting to come together.  We’re leaving here on Friday afternoon July 1st and the moving trucks will arrive in Portland with our truckload on Saturday morning to begin the unpacking!  To be honest, I’m pretty proud of us.  This really has been the craziest and most stressful last few months for us trying to make everything work out.  Not going to lie to you, we’ve had our arguments–followed by Mr. Fancy Pants’ stress relieving practice of Red Dead Redemption on the Xbox and me soaking/sobbing in the bath tub. Ha!  BUT at the end of the day, we’ve learned a lot about handling stress in a marriage (and what not to do) and I am excited.  Excited for what our last 26 days here have in store.  And even more excited for the next 2+ years in a whole new world.  Three cheers for new adventures!

We have a home in Portland.  Finally.

The Bryant home in NE Portland, Oregon

If you know us, or talk to us much, you’ll know this has been the biggest source of stress and anxiety for both Mr. Fancy Pants and I over the last several months. We have been searching for FOREVER for a house to rent that was in a decent area, decent price, decent size…well just decent.

This was house #8 that we pursued.  All of the others we were either 2nd in line when we got our applications in, they just didn’t feel right, bad location, and we even fell victim to one Craigslist scam (long story…horrible experience though it’s funny looking back on it now).

Here are some of the pictures we have of the precious little bungalow we’ll be living in:

Dining room (where the table Mr. Fancy Pants will be building is going to live)

Living room (wood burning fireplace!! WHAT WHAT

Backyard! We're going to be hosting some mad parties here!

Back porch--we're going to spend a lot of time out here!

The landlord is amazing and is letting us repaint some of the rooms.  I’m really excited about that!  I’m in the process of picking out paint colors (which I am not very good at).  Luckily colors seem to be William’s area of expertise!

We can’t wait to move though it will be sad to leave our home and friends behind here.  BUT, we’ll have an awesome place for people to come visit!  So come on y’all!

It arrived.  And it’s perfect.  I had a minor freak out when I saw it in the hallway. The way it was packaged made it look like they had shipped me the wrong one–which would have made me so upset because I bought the last one they had!  No worries though, it’s here.  It’s lovely.  It’s awaiting a floor to grace in PDX!

Here she is in all of her glory!

Clearly would be too big for our current apartment. It fills almost our entire living room.

Up close and personal. Thank you!