Cherry Blossom in Portland

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My friend Deb and I flew up to Portland, Oregon, last weekend and stayed with my BFF Maya, and had an ah-mazing time.

We were incredibly blessed that it was sunny and warm (even hot at times) during our stay, despite the heavy rain the city experienced only few days prior. We were told that this was, hands down, the best weekend there in many, many month! Even the cabin attendant had to make a disclaimer that it’s not an April Fool’s joke that we can expect an unusually pleasant weather once we land in PDX.

We didn’t do much, other than eat good food and vegged out at home, which is exactly what Deb and I needed to relax and unwind. My favorite part of the trip, aside from catching up with my girl friends, is seeing rows and rows of Sakura trees and their lovely, pink petals dancing on the streets of Portland.

We went into this little speciality beauty shop called Blush Beauty Bar on the trendy NW 23rd Street (aka “trendy” third) and I fell in love with a bottle of this Cherry Blossom scent from Demeter.  I’ve tried different Cherry Blossom fragrances, including ones from Jo Malone, Bath and Body Works and L’Occitane, but this has to be my favorite I’ve tried so far.  It’s light and floral, and you immediately transport yourself to spring with just one spray.

And even more spring-y, are these designer chocolate bars from Moonstruck.

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Day 4: I Heart Brooklyn

Maya and I welcomed Day 4 of our NYC adventures with mixed emotions. While we were excited that we had another good afternoon ahead of us, we were so sad that this was going be our last day in NYC.

We spent our final afternoon sightseeing in Brooklyn. Our first stop was DUMBO (shortened for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), where we got to be at the foot of Manhattan Bridge. I actually think Brooklyn Bridge is 10 times prettier than the neighboring Manhattan Bridge.

We stumbled upon a wonderful restaurant called Al Mar (thanks to Maya and her handy Android), where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch. The place was cozy and very Brooklyn.  I can totally see myself spending hours here with a good book.

Maya had Eggs in the Cloud (baked egg yolk floating on whipped egg whites, Fontina cheese, smoked ham, toasted Brioche, served with saute spinach) and I had smoked salmon sandwich (with avocado, cucumbers, beets, and creme fraiche, on pumpernickel breads). We split the tart. Everything here was absolutely amazing!

After lunch, we strolled over to the Brooklyn Height neighborhood and took in the picturesque Downtown skylines. I am absolutely in love with Brooklyn and this is perhaps my favorite spot in this borough. I get a rush of energy whenever I stand here.

It still feels a little strange that the World Trade Centers are no longer standing proudly among these buildings in Lower Manhattan. I’ve been to NYC many times in the last several years, but I still haven’t made the visit to Ground Zero. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to go there.

What I love so much about this magnificent city is that each neighborhood has its own, unique charms. Brooklyn doesn’t feel, at all, like Manhattan. You feel like you were transported to another state when you get off the subway. Brooklyn feels slower paced, greener, and a lot more relaxed, than Manhattan.

After the visit to Brooklyn, we hurried back to our hotel in Times Square to collect our luggage (we stopped by at Pie Face for some cute savory pies for the road). We took a cab to JFK, to get ready to board our flights home. We ate an early dinner at Le Vie in the jetBlue terminal – our last supper together on the trip. Maya and I toasted our Chardonnay and Espresso Martini to short but a wonderful four days together, and enjoyed delicious meals of escargot (for her), Salad Nicoise and Pomme Frites (for me).

Now, it’s time to find a destination for our next adventures! (Oh, and to unpack and resume the real world.)