Exploring in Portland: N. Williams

It's been awhile since I've been on the blog so first I'll share some old news. This past spring Mr. Monkey and I were in Portland and were able to pass some time on N. Williams St. Loads of cute stories and eateries are there to be explored. My favorite was Lark Press (pics below). I picked up some cute coasters for the kitchen and a special book of birds. You can also check out Lark Press's Etsy page if you can't make it there in person. Others have written about eating on N. Williams so I'll skip that but I will say we had lunch and liquid lunch at Hopworks Bike Bar and we were quite happy that it wasn't completely slammed on a Saturday and the burgers were d-lish. If you want you can also pedal a stationary bike and get a discount on your beer for contributing to power the establishment. Cheers to exploring in your own state!


Modern Mexico City: Part 4

One of my very favorite buildings to visit in Mexico City is a department store! If you know me you know that I actually hate malls so this favorite building is a surprising choice. This building, known as Casa de los Azulejos, is the home on Sanborn's department store. The interesting thing about the building is that you can walk in and it looks like a normal department store. You have to walk towards the center of the building to discover this gem of a restaurant. You'll find a 3 story tall atrium with amazing artwork, intricate details, and pretty decent food to boot. You can dine on the two bottom floors and it seems like the upper floor is used for private parties or special occasions. I love this building so much because it takes the home of a wealthy family, built in the 1790's, and provides it with a modern life that is now a constant hub of activity. One of the highlights of the building an Orozco mural painted in 1925. This is one building where you really want to take the stairs! Modern designers should take note that details are included everywhere, the floor, the ceilings, the walls, and especially the staircases. 

Second floor dining terrace.

Heading up to the 2nd floor,  concrete tile ceiling detail, note the stair tiles.

First floor dining. Highlights = garden murals and tufted leather booths.

Happy me, enjoying eggs with a corn cream sauce, not what I expected but delicious.

This is the ceiling!!! Tiles on the ceiling. Love the pattern.

Here's that same ceiling from the second floor terrace.

You win, by making it to the end of this blog post, you get to see the Orozco 1925 mural. Amazing!


Modern Mexico City: Part 3

A dining experience is elevated when you have both high-quality food and an amazing view. It's much more common to have one over the other. In fact it seems if it's a roof top bar or restaurant the owners all too often over-rely on the view and not the quality of the food and drinks to bring people in. Although we were only there for lunch, we arrived for the view and left thrilled with the food and service! We feel extremely lucky to have stumbled upon El Mayor, a restaurant on top of a building with a bookstore.  We were actually site-seeing over at the Zocalo where you can find the National Palace, the cathedral, and the Templo Mayor. I looked across the Templo Mayor and say what seemed to be a modern oasis atop a building that was sure to have a great view. We walked around the Templo because of construction, ran across a protest, skirted the edge of people in the backs of trucks with bull horns, and used the skyline to find that sky-high haven.  Here's what we found. If you're visiting Mexico City you must have a meal or happy hour at El Mayor. Buen Provecho! 
Here's the Trip Advisor rating of El Mayor. I guess it's not a secret place but it certainly felt like that at the time. 

A satisfied me.

Happy Mr. Monkey with Oaxacan cheese with green salsa.

Squash flower soup

The stairs down to the bookstore and up to the view.


Modern Mexico City: Part 2

It's taken a snow and ice storm to get me back to blogging! Snuggled by the fire looking out at a winter wonderland is a perfect time to reflect on warm weather, sun, and spring travel adventures. Here I offer you some pictures of the hotel that we stayed in while in Mexico City. It's called Downtown Mexico City. It's a silly name for a hotel but the hotel itself was quite beautiful. The hotel is part of the Grupo Habita family of boutique hotels. The pictures from the website of the hotel really don't do the building justice. One of our favorite features were that there were at least 3 different outdoor dining areas. One space pictured below is a separate restaurant but in the same building. Mr. Monkey especially appreciated the living wall with a bike hanging from it to look like the bike was simply parked on a lovely grassy patch of a park. There was also a small but awesome rooftop pool, bar, and jacuzzi. We soaked with a professional paddle boarder and his girlfriend who were just passing through from Australia to Europe. They decided to break up their trip in D.F. (district federal, aka Mexico City, like calling Washington D.C., "D.C."). Of course! If you want to see better pictures of the rooms check out the hotel website. They do a much better job of picturing the room. In the end we were very happy with our choice of hotels. The location was amazing and I will definitely stay here again! I also want to check out other Grupo Habita hotels too. Hmm, now where will our next sunny adventure be?
Me in the bottom left corner, black metal poles are purse and coat holders for each table.

Slightly better view of bike on park wall.

Yummy breakfast with Nopales and mole!

Restaurant decor.

Me standing outside the door to our room. This is the second floor and the green bushes are tops of trees that cover the cafe patio below.

Second floor hotel restaurant.

Recreated Lazano painting in staircase down to first floor.

Cigarettes in our mini-bar station!

Sinks in our room.

Bathroom with only a curtain! Good for couples only!

Hotel lobby


Oregon Ducks Training Facility: Casanova Center

Yesterday was the Spring Oregon Ducks football game here in town. The longer I've lived in Eugene the more I become aware of football activities. One of the exciting things about the spring game (I hear) is that the new duck uniforms are released. You can see pictures at the link to the ducks facebook page. Anyway it got me thinking about the Women's Football Clinic that we went to in Spring 2012. Part of the time was spent taking pictures of the work out facilities and the health care areas. Check out the modern Nike aesthetic. I know I wouldn't mind being sore if I could soak and do PT in this individual pool. Although I have to admit I would want to earn a salary on top of getting my tuition paid for (my two cents). Scroll all the way to the bottom to see a quick video of special privacy glass. Enjoy these pics from behind the scenes at the Casanova Center.

Small group meeting room


Dentist chair


Exam tables used for massages, PT, doctor's exams.

Meeting room

Slightly more private PT or exam room. The glass can fog up with the touch of a button, see video at the end of this post.

More exam tables, can be adjusted by the touch of a button, extra sturdy and long to support large players.

The row of lights and exam tables.



Record Store Day: A Modern Mash-up

It's record store day (RSD) people! So stop by your local record store. My fave RSD was at CD World here in Eugene (they do sell plenty o' vinyl despite the name) when they asked Frank Black (of Pixies and now "This is 40" fame) to stop by. I think there were only about 150 people there as he wailed away on his guitar singing and playing a lot of oldies but goodies. His voice is still so versatile. 

We love our music and Mr. Monkey especially loves his vinyl.  So a few years ago I picked up a record player for Mr. Monkey's birthday so he could break out the high school and college record collection. It was a relatively inexpensive gift that allowed him to clear out a bit of space in the garage. Ever since then the records have been living in a card box that I covered with cute fabric. Recently our favorite local store Oak Street Vintage posted this lovely audio credenza on their Facebook page. I sent a FB message over to Cora, she sent back the dimensions and I knew it would fit. I gave her a phone call and she placed it on hold for us so that we could come on over that evening! Who knew shopping by Facecrack could be so simple! (Did I mention OSV is having their annual Earth Day Sale - so stop by the shop tomorrow or Monday). The little credenza fit in the back seat of the car! Once we got it home the perfect match magic continued. The top even opens so that we can have easy access to the record player! I'm happy because we have a tidy entertainment center that goes with our vintage style and Mr. Monkey is happy because he can get to his tunes. Next up is stuffing those pesky wires into the wall!

Modern Mexico City: Part 1

Mr. Monkey and I recently had a wonderful time visiting family in Mexico City.  Believe it or not, the artistic highlight of the trip was found at the Ministry of Education where the walls on all 3 levels facing the 2 central courtyards are covered in Diego Rivera murals. You can see that the ceilings were also painted which really helps to transport you into Diego Rivera's world. There is a strong and active staff keeping the building in tip top shape. You can see a woman was cleaning the bannister. Her uniform matches Mr. Rivera's red perfectly and the sunlight through the arches mirrors the scalloped ceiling. Diego Rivera's art always makes me think about the power of people without power. His art is a beautiful example of government supporting artists to tell the story of the people even if it doesn't show the government in a positive light. In fact in some of the sections of the mural below you can see Mr. Rivera making fun of the wealthy and the politicians. Notice the small Statue of Liberty. It's as if they dine on freedom and the bank vault is music to their ears as they read what their latest profits are from the ticker tape that is woven across the dinner table. On a lighter note you can also play a game of Where's Waldo, except you'll have to look for me, Mr. Monkey, and most importantly revolutionary Frida.