there's this thing about shoes...

i perhaps purchase one pair a year. at first it was because they were pretty and were kitten heels, which made them feminine and mostly comfy. then there were the pairs that looked really good (or, rather, made my legs look really good), which were not as comfy but still tolerable for an hour or four. there is even one pair that is more like 3 dimensional art that belongs on a column rather than on my feet (my ode-to-david-bowie ysl shoes). but now, i've come to a point in my life where i expect more out of shoes; i want them to be very comfortable and pretty. i want them to make my feet feel like i'm wearing birkenstocks, but look like i've grown up and am not afraid to be a woman.
when i went on my trip, i was on a mission. i would not buy anything unless it jumped out and screamed my name. also, there was a list drawn up, narrowed, and ultimately limited to four things that i had to find:

1. elbow length knitted gloves
2. various shades of purple knee or thigh highs
3. a larger tote-like bag
4. shoes

i found many a fingerless knitted gauntlet, but somehow none satisfied. i came across a skein of softest baby alpaca hand painted chunky yarn and knew that this would become my gauntlets. they are currently undergoing that process and are quite soft and warm. after trying on so many gloves and mittens and gauntlets, i figured that it was indeed a soft, cozy, warm thing to cover my wrist and forearm that i was really after (i don't think i own more than one or two long-sleeved anythings; 3/4 sleeve, yes, long-sleeve, no). so, scratch off no. 1.

there were plenty of purple stockings to be had, but alas only one pair of purple thigh highs; and they were too precious and delicate to put up with the amount of abuse hosiery usually gets. the hunt for no. 2 goes on.
the larger tote was found at a booth, revolution of the heart, under the burnside bridge in portland at a local crafts fair they have there every saturday. it is tres cute. the buttons i added when i got home. finally a use for at least some of my collecting. no. 3, found.

now, about the shoes. my travelling companion says i visited around 16 shoe stores between portland and seattle, but i rather think it was closer to eight (and that's counting the ones that had other stuff, like clothes). the pair i eventually found, were at a mano, in seattle. i thought that perhaps i wanted boots, as i had oxford heels in mind when i was looking and trying on. i was also willing to try on shoes that at first appearance were not something i would usually go for. i knew that the ones i would love would have to be a pair that were unexpected and outside of my comfort zone.
well, on the second day in seattle i popped into a mano, as it was on my list, and tried on three pairs before i came to the pair that were instantly comfortable on my travel sore feet. there was plenty of toe room, no rubbing, no tight "ouchie, that'll be a blister in 2o mins." feelings. i was in love. they're a dark olive green (something new for me, i usually never go for the darker shades of shoes), and had a 2 inch heel which definitely does not feel like it, and are made by tn_29. as my mother said when i showed them to her, "they look like the shoes of the 1940's-comfy." they are also impeccably put together; with a little metal toe tap on the sole, nails to attach the upper to the sole and actual room in the upturned toe-box.

well, three out of four is not bad at all.


scrumptious yet insightful

on the railway trek up to seattle i happened to be sitting across form a librarian. this, i did not know, until i mentioned to my fellow traveling companion that i wish i had a book to read; to fill in the hours to our destination. lo and behold, the woman sitting across from me (who was making a valiant effort to keep her curtain from covering the window) pulled out three books and asked if i would be interested in reading any of them; it would cost me only my opinion in the form of a book review of my chosen novel. so, thanking her and wondering out loud at her array of books, she told me that she was a children's book librarian, she had been asked to review several books. i was delighted to help.

"the wednesday wars" by gary d. schmidt was delightful and entirely too full of wisdom. not that that's bad in any way, just surprising, as the focus of this book is children in grades 5-8. i am very glad that this book found me. there are many memorable and comedic parts in this novel, the author has a way with witty words. it's a growing up book for the character, in leaps and tumbles we see the depth of change one year can bring a young person. the book, like the works of shakespeare that are featured throughout, is a mirror to so many of our lives, regardless of the time in which it was taking place, or even that it is about a boy. it's absolutely lovely, and complex, and rich. it shows in so many different ways what one person who takes an interest in us can do.

at last

sometimes i get a lust for wandering. for the most part i bat it down and keep to my comfy surroundings. but every now and then it creeps up on me and i actually let it lead the way. i just so happened to let it have a go and it chose to take me on a trip to portland, oregon and seattle, washington. i'm very glad that it did.
portland has to be one of the best places. i know i've read and heard lots of bloggers and people say that it's a great place to move to, but come on, if everyone is moving there why should i? well, they are right actually. everything i've ever really wanted or could want is in that one city. so many of the restaurants have whole menus dedicated to vegetarians, meals that are nutritionally complete and tasty! waiters actually know what it means when i say i can't eat gluten, instead of saying "does that mean you don't want bread?" or "you can just take that part off when you get it.".
there are stores that stock ribbon, many different types in whole color ways. there is a fabric store that carries nani iro fabric. there is a plethora of lovely clothes sold in small boutiques where the owners actually care about what they sell and where it comes from. not that there aren't large stores like anthropologie or nordstrom, but hey, at least there's choices. like i don't have to go to the mall; i can choose not to.
on one of our days there, we took the metro rail to 24th ave and lovejoy. i love that there is everything you could need all within 3 or 4 blocks of where you live. there was this teeny tiny bakery that makes only gluten free goods. i bought a mini apple tart and a blueberry crumple muffin. the muffin was light and moist and chewy with delicate tastes of cinnamon and fresh blueberries, definitely the best blueberry muffin i've ever had (a feat, because i've eaten my fair share of blueberry muffins all over this country, and three others, and for it to have been a gluten free one, kicks all), the crust on the tart tasted and felt just like a flaky, buttery pie crust should. we found an amazing grocery store that had a giant variety of produce, and cheese from all over the world, a baked goods section that had yummy macaroons, and a butcher that stocked fresh fish. i could eat there everyday and die a happy herbivore/sometime pescetarian. and that's the other thing that is great about this city, the metro rail, as in reliable public transportation so that i don't have to own a car. i would so want to move there tomorrow if i could.
i feel another trip to portland is necessary in order to do further research and to cement any plans concerning actually living there.

seattle was big. giant city big. i don't actually like big cities. they are fun to visit and to do some specialty shopping, and to see the art museums, but i wouldn't want to live in one. it was really neat that it was a 28 dollar train ticket away and only took 3 hrs and 40 mins, but to live there, and work there? no way.
we had vegetarian dim sum that was very yummy, and i bought the comfiest pair of heels, and had the chance to do some tea tasting (actually was reacquainted with my favorite, but forgotten, chrysanthemum tea), toured around what has to be the most vibrant and modern public library, and all in all thought it was a neat visit. but would i visit again? eh, maybe not. if i lived in portland it would be absolutely necessary to make a sojourn up there in order to fulfill my mid-century modern furniture dreams, though.
oh, if you are ever in portland or seattle and want an affordable, eclectic, funky, stylish, and modern, and on top of all that also comfortable (organic cotton towels form turkey anyone?) hotel, ace hotel is where you want to be staying. the rooms were inviting and colorful, i did not mind in the least having to share a bathroom (the least expensive rooms have a common bathroom, which was cleaned and stocked at all times), and both hotels are centrally located in the downtown area and near public transportation. i wish there were more places like this when i travel.