Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunny Day At the Park

What a beautiful day today.  I love those unexpected warm winter days.  Sarah has been taking a pet class at school, how cute is that, and she has to be there by 3:30.  So we decided to leave a little early and go to the park right next to school.  The kids were so happy to slide and play and run.  I forget how much they need that.  Sarah is getting really good at the monkey bars and Adam is a pro at climbing and sliding.   For some odd reason Adam loves to pick up the wood chips and pretend they are cookies that he is baking.  I am never tempted to try out his park creations.  I'm a little worried that he does.  After we got Sarah to her class we grabbed Alex off the bus and went back to the park.  I can't believe how big he is getting, he can pretty much do anything he sets his mind to.  He saw a couple of friends from school at the park, one little girl in particular, that he felt he needed to impress.  If she ran to a new play structure pretty soon I would see Alex not far behind.  He does love the ladies.  I hope we get a few more nice days like today this week.  I love being able to get out of the house and play.  Maybe we need to visit the zoo soon.  Hmmm?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nice Hotels Make Me Happy!

This past weekend I had the huge pleasure of getting away with my hubby.  It was an extra special bonus that it was Valentines day, but actually the whole weekend was a Christmas gift from me to him.  It started with this desire to find some kind of concert that we could go to, and I was so happy to find that the Portland Jazz Festival was just around the corner.  As an extra feature, they have a ton of free stuff going on all around town.  I decided to get us a night at a hotel to make it a true get away and so I used my best travel tip - Priceline!!!!  Really you can't beat it!  Originally we were going for just one night so when we later decided to extend our trip we got a different hotel.  This ended up begin really fun, as we got to compare these two really nice hotels.  Did I mention I got these for REALLY cheap?  Anyway, our first night was at the Benson, a Portland classic.  This hotel is a true beauty and I was thrilled that we were going to stay there.  It's right on Broadway and I knew it would be clean and safe.  Our room was not large, which I expected for the price.  We also had the view of the back of a different building, but that was fine with me, we were gone most of the time anyway.  

Upon arriving we decided to head to one of the free events, conversations with....  It was this interview of sorts with the featured artists that they were holding at the Portland Performing Arts Center.  I thought I would be horribly bored, but I was actually really intrigued by their stories.  We watched two of these, one with Joe Lavoene sp? and one with Diane Reeves.  Joe is a sax player and Diane is a singer.  Diane Reeves had these stories of being with Sarah Vaughn and other great artists.  I couldn't believe that the seats were not full of people sitting spitting distance from these amazing people that have led these amazing careers.  And it was FREE!!  Anyway after that we ate dinner at Dragon Fish.  If you have never eaten there you must.  If you like asian food that is.  We had the carmel ginger chicken and then the dragon fire chicken and shared.  So yummy!  After that we headed back to the Performing Center and had a cup of coffee and enjoyed the FREE jazz combo, featuring a fine sax player, for 3 hours!  $4.00 on coffee was pretty cheap for such a long and really good concert.  We didn't get to bed until after 1 AM, reminded me of college days.  What was even better was getting up at 10:00 the next morning.  Here are a few pics of The Benson.
Classic look, with a bit of a country comfort thing going.  Nice, cozy but yet classy all together.
One of the leaded glass windows in the lobby.  There is a lot of really neat old pieces there.

One of many sitting areas in the lobby and below is the grand chandelier in the lobby entrance.
The following light fixture is actually from Mothers Bistro!  One of my favorite Portland breakfast spots.  You must go.  Really, if you love to eat and enjoy good food, you MUST go!
After sleeping in we waited about 45 minutes for a table at Mothers, where we enjoyed delicious food as usual.  It was so nice to have no need to rush, we got to chatting with a couple that were celebrating their anniversary and just relaxed while we waited.  After breakfast we decided to see if we could check into our next hotel early.  This was one we had never heard of, The Nines!  Oh my goodness I can not say enough how amazing this hotel is.  First of all it shares the Meier and Frank building with Macy's.  At one point, I walked one door down to do some shopping, then across the street to the Pioneer Square Mall.  I was in my happy place for sure.  The room was beautiful and so fancy.  iPod docking stations, huge flat screen tv, beautiful light fixtures, huge fluffy bed, waterfall shower head....and on and on I could go.  Here are a few pictures so you can try and see what I mean.  Really, if you want a fun experience in Portland stay here.  You won't regret it.
The bed was great, look at that white puffy headboard, and you can kind of see the really pretty light fixture above the table next to that gorgeous chair.
This isn't a great picture, but this was a great little office area off the bedroom.  It had a spot for charging all the gadgets we brought, and we enjoyed updating our facebook accounts from this cozy spot.
The bathroom was great, with a little bench for sitting and doing my makeup.  Not to mention a well stocked supply of towels, including the biggest bath towels I have ever used!
Here is the carpet in the hallway.  So pretty.  In the bedroom pics you can see that our carpet had the same Tiffany blue color in subtle strips.  Nice.
This is just off the elevator area.  Our floor had something similar but in the same blue color as everywhere else.
We actually had turn down service.  Came home from dinner on Saturday to find robes laid out, ice in our ice bucket, and these little goodies on our pillows.
This sitting area is in the super cool lobby area.  There were all these sitting areas, some in these semi enclosed areas.  Our room was two floors up from the lobby with these big double windows looking out over the top.  It made people watching easy and we could hear the jazz that was happening in the lobby that evening from our room.
Weird white statues that they had in the lobby.  So New York like.
Another sitting area in the lobby, longest white leather couch ever.
The last night we went to our actual concert that I had bought tickets for.  It was really good and I think Kyle Really enjoyed it.  Really I should say more about the concert at this point, but I can't really describe it.  Kyle would have some amazing things to say, but all I can say is that I enjoyed it.  For those of you that don't know John Scofield, he plays electric jazz guitar.  We ended our Portland time by having breakfast Sunday Morning at the Bijou Cafe.  I highly recommend it, the nicest staff around.  Super friendly and ready to treat us like we were regulars from the moment we sat down.  Below is one of two pictures we took together.  My face is scrunched up because I was holding the camera.  Plus my eyes are puffy from the weird sleep schedule.  We had an awesome time.  I'm ready to go back now.