Saturday to Sunday

Written at Floyd’s Coffee Shop, NW Portland

I am having an amazing week (and you thought this post would be about only two days – ha!). My personal taste in blogs include bloggers that write about their daily routines, who find awesomeness in the mundane (a word, which comes from the Latin root mundos, to mean world – worldly bloggers!) and who share their own personal stories with the world. I also accidentally took a bit of a hiatus from Growing Up On OM so this post is intended to help me play catchup. Without further ado, the following is what made my week amazing:

Last Saturday, my roommates and I went to a lovely farmer’s market and Grocery Outlet (a winning combo) to stock up on goods for a combination of our housewarming and my 23rd birthday (all one event). The party was a total success and fused together college friends and Portland AmeriCorps friends. By the end of the night, I was thoroughly pleased that I have made a life here for myself, filled with really awesome people (most photos courtesy of roomie A).



We all went for a great brunch at Cup N Saucer, me and J’s new regular place now that we can’t pop over to Brew Bakers at the drop of a hat. Afterwards, I did some much-needed post-party vegging out at home on the couch. I broke out of my couch potato reign to explore a new part of Portland: Mississippi Avenue. Mississippi is home to adorable coffee shops, coffee specialty stores (where I was finally able to find the right filters for my Japanese pourover – yes, you can hate me after saying that), thrift shops, food carts, street art and the amazing Rebuilding Center where J is volunteering and with an outside of the above photo. I could not believe that I’ve lived in Portland for over three months and still hadn’t been.


via unfold website

via unfold website

The day started off with my new yoga class at Unfold Studios on Division St. The class ended up being a private because the studio was waiting to advertise it, but I was struck yet again by how – just like it says on their sign – “unconditionally welcoming” Unfold is. I am honored to be able to teach a weekly class there – it’s every week so if you’re reading this and are in Portland, COME TOMORROW!

So on Tuesday, I actually turned 23. And on this day where I worked extra hours at the school because of a parent’s meeting, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Like, I could – and did – cry at the generosity of everyone in my life on that day. I woke up bummed out that there wasn’t a Taylor Swift song for my new age and hit the pillow at night filled with unbounded gratitude.
My special day began at 7am with gifts from housemate J: a plethora of the things I swore off in my budget (for extremist budgeting, it is helpful to have friends who are excellent listeners): packs of gum, 85 percent dark chocolate, NuGo Dark protein bars, heaps of magazines and Taylor Swift’s album 1989 (wow, I am still in awe of this generosity; J, thank you!).
I then walked over to Starbucks to get my free birthday drink with my gold card.
At the school that day, I thought something was a bit suspicious. No one said happy birthday and I did not expect them to, but there was still an air of people keeping a secret from me (I liked the mystery!). At the parent group meeting that night, all the mamas that make my heart swell surprised me with flowers, cupcakes, a card they got what felt like everyone in the school to sign and more renditions of feliz cumpleaños than I knew existed. I teared up and unfortunately my subconscious chose that moment to have me lose my Spanish out of emotional overwhelm; I still do not know if my thank-you made sense, but I tried.

My birthday finished off with tacos and pomegranate margaritas with the roommates at Por Que No?, an amazing taqueria on Hawthorne. When I got home, I was about to hit the pillow (I thought this amazing day was over!) when my other housemate A knocked on my door to present me with this, a piece of home that she created having never visited it. I burst into tears for the second time that day. Hanging above my bed, I have a piece of my Laughing Lotus hOMe in PDX. It feels so right it too makes my heart swell.


Fast forward to today and I am sitting at Floyd’s Coffee Shop writing other things until I am pleasantly forced to write my novel at a NaNoWriMo “write-in” that will take place here shortly. I began my day early with a “Kick Your Asana” yoga class with the phenomenal Jessica Garay at People’s Yoga. Jessica is a teacher I discovered just yesterday and my body feels exhilarated with new challenges! I then went to a neck of the woods I so rarely am in: the Northwest. I walked in the rain to the place I first arrived in during my first trip to Portland a few years ago: the river. Next to the river, the Saturday Market was taking place (it occurs on Sundays too) and I looked around an artisan market that lasts all year long just after having a conversation with my sister about how I’ll be missing the Union Square Holiday Market this year. The thing with Portland, though, is that it is a city that doesn’t make me feel like I am “missing out” on urban life the way Middletown did. I don’t feel like I need to go back to New York for dire reasons besides the people I love there. NYC has a holiday market once a year…Portland has one year round. And it includes Ethiopian food trucks. So ha!

So Ham.

~ S

Portland(ia): The City of Functional Nonprofits

In preparation for my move to Portland, I bought a trench coat. Yes, it rains a lot here, but the reason why I bought a trench coat had a lot more to do with the fact that I love feeling put-together. I adore people who are put-together: who wear button-down dresses and efficiently check items off lists.

I just love put-together people.

What do I love more than put-together people?

Put-together nonprofits.

Like a book, you should be able to judge an organization by its cover. I understand that this might seem superficial, but please follow my train of thought here. An organization starts from the inside, out. It begins with an idea. If that idea is powerful enough and has enough people to back it (a sign of its power), the inside will start to be reflected on the outside: on the stationery, the website, the graphic design, and how well the volunteers are taken care of.

I have had my fair share of exposure to dysfunctional nonprofits: organizations with potent missions and shake follow-through. Portland, however, has provided a different experience accompanied by the illusion that there are no problems because of an abundance of organizations and like-minded people dedicated to fixing them. Here are three Portland nonprofits, accompanied by their mission statements, that dedicate themselves to reflecting their beautiful missions in their communications with the public.

Living Yoga


Living Yoga is a non-profit outreach program teaching yoga as a tool for personal change in prisons, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, transitional facilities, and to populations who would otherwise not have access to it.

We believe that yoga creates and supports positive change from the inside out for all individuals. We recognize there are vast numbers of people who do not have access to this practice and its benefits including stress management, self-awareness, impulse control, mindfulness, and distress tolerance. We believe the health of any community is dependent on the health of all of its members. Living Yoga implements its compassionate mission by providing yoga support services with volunteer teachers.

Growing Gardens


Growing Gardens gets at the root of hunger in Portland, Oregon. We organize hundreds of volunteers to build organic, raised bed vegetable gardens in backyards, front yards, side yards and even on balconies. We support low income households for three years with seeds, plants, classes, mentors and more. Our Youth Grow after school garden clubs grow the next generation of veggie eaters and growers! Through Learn & Grow workshops and work parties, we teach gardeners all about growing, preparing and preserving healthful food while respecting the health of the environment.

We plant seeds for good food and healthy people by making sure low income people have the resources they need to grow organic vegetables at home. Through this work, community members meet over the backyard garden, through volunteering, by attending classes, and through sharing extra produce.

Metropolitan Family Service


A world where children never go hungry, young people are always educated, families are financially stable, older adults remain connected and all humans are healthy, happy and cared for.

Perhaps you know someone in our community facing cultural and economic inequity. We help thousands of people who struggle because of inadequate education, health issues, social isolation, unemployment, and poverty. These challenges increase vulnerability and compromise well-being. Worst of all, hope fades. For many, life is just plain hard.

To tackle these tough issues, we meet people where they are and listen to what they need. Combining the wisdom and experience of our elders with the energy and potential of our youth, we build community wherever we work. And as champions of innovation, we develop lasting solutions that bridge gaps, create equity and demonstrate respect and value for every person.

Now tell me: what are your favorite nonprofits in your abode? What are the organizations that reflect the changes they make?