A New Blog is Born

I’ve been blogging at PRprep for more than two years now, and although I still love to find and share tips and tricks for living a successful 20 something life, I’ve found myself wanting to share more about my life in Portland…from this desire, Preppy in Portland was born.

This blog will follow me as I explore the amazing city of Portland, sharing my experiences as I discover new  places to shop, drink, relax and have a little fun in the City of Roses.

What will happen to PRprep, you ask? Well, we’ll just have to see.

See you at Preppy in Portland!

April 1, 2010. Tags: , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Apartment Searching 101

One of my best friends has been tossing around the idea of moving in to the city for several months now. For a fun, active and single 20 something like her, living in the suburbs, though cheap, meant a long commute for work and for fun. So, for the past couple of months, we’ve been casually checking out places in her desired neighborhood and just last weekend, she signed the papers on her new apartment!

Helping my friend find her dream place brought back a lot of memories, tips and tricks that I learned during my own apartment search nearly two years ago. If you’re in the hunt for a new place or just considering a new location, read on!

1. Narrow in on a neighborhood. Moving to a new city can make finding your desired neighborhood particularly challenging. Before you start viewing apartments spend a weekend exploring neighborhoods you’re interested in, both during the day and at night. Take special notice to things like availability of parking spots, the kinds of people you see, local restaurants and shops and how you feel walking around.

2. Find your price range. If you’ve never lived in the city before, prepare to pay more and get less than in the burbs. Do some research online to see what kinds of places you can get in your favorite neighborhood for what cost per month. Once you can an idea of what rent could cost you, spend a couple of months putting away that amount in a savings account (minus the rent you’re already paying). This will help you narrow in on what you can actually pay per month and avoid getting in to a situation where you’re in over your head.

3. Make a wish list. Is neighborhood a top priority? Or does location not matter as long as you have a washer and dryer? Make a list of what is important to you and take note of the things you’d be willing to give up. For me, living in Northwest Portland was a non-negotiable. From there, it was hardwood floors, a historic building and enough space to be comfortable. You can’t know that you’ve found your perfect apartment unless you know what you’re looking for, so take the time to make a list, but be prepared to not get everything you want.

4. Don’t just rely on the internet. Around here, a majority of the available apartments  aren’t posted on Craigs List or sites like Rent.com. The only way to get in is to walk around and make calls where for rent signs are posted. Saturday afternoons are best for checking out available apartments. Landlords are prepared to show apartments on the weekends and if you’re diligent (and lucky) you can see several apartments in a single weekend.

5. Pay attention to details. When viewing an apartment, don’t forget to check out the little things. Turn on the shower to gauge water pressure, count the number of grounded outlets (trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t) and ask about on-site laundry. Find out what isn’t covered in your rent (electricity, sewer, water, heat) and determine the terms of the lease. Also, don’t assume you can bring your furry friends with you without checking with your landlord.

6. Don’t discount location. The neighborhood you choose isn’t the only location you need to think about. Keep in mind what floor the apartment is on, what direction its facing and the number of apartments you share a wall with. Top floor apartments tend to be the quietest, since you’re removed from the street and don’t have anyone above you, but if your apartment is without an elevator, prepare to hit the stairs. First floor or garden levels are often a bit darker and are obviously closer to the street, so walkers by may get a view in to your place. Southern facing apartments get the most sun; Eastern facing get the morning sun and Western the evening. It’s easy to overlook, but if you’re a night-owl, you may kick yourself if your South-Eastern facing abode is filled with morning sun when you’re trying to sleep.

Good luck with your search!

March 30, 2010. Tags: , , , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Oh Shitl! 10 Things Not to Forget on Your Next Vacation.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve come to realize just how important it is to take a break from work – at least once and a while. Hopefully this means you’ll be traveling somewhere fabulous and tropical (instead of your parent’s house in rural Idaho – wait, is that just me?). Anyway, it seems like no matter how hard I try, I ALWAYS forget to throw in the essentials. So, in an effort to pack flawlessly the next time around, here are my top 10 things you shouldn’t forget on your next vacation.

1. Large bottle of lotion with aloe vera.

2. Sunscreen for face and body.

3. Waterproof mascara.

4. Extra-strength Tylenol.

5. A good conditioner.

6. Extra pair of contact lenses.

7. A comfy sweater and pair of sweats.

8. Nail file and clippers.

9. Workout gear (shorts, sports bra and shoes).

10. Moisturizing lip balm.

Happy travels!

March 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Bar of the Month Club – Lucy’s Table

I’ve decided to add a little local flair to my blog and include a series of posts I like to call the bar of the month club. As an active happy hour hopper in the vibrant city of Portland, I often have the chance to check out some great restaurants and bars around my town, and I thought I’d share my latest adventures with you, so here we go…

Name: Lucy’s Table

Location: Northwest, corner of 21st and Irving

I stopped by Lucy’s Table last week to partake in the restaurant’s “Social Hour.” The menu features the usual offering of 8-10 wines by the glass and a varied selection of tapas-sized plates. The atmosphere is upscale but airy and has a great relaxed elegance to it.

I had a pretty basic spring salad, which was eh. My friend had the avocado hummus, which was a great twist on the usual app.  And we both had the White Haven, Sauvignon Blanc, which was incredible. All told, my salad and two glasses of wine came to $23.

While other Portland restaurants are packed to the brim during weekday happy hour, Lucy’s Table was a ghost town. Though I’m not nuts about waiting for a table so long we miss happy hour (which has happened to me and my friends on numerous occasions), Lucy’s Table was so dead that it felt a little awkward. On the positive side, the servers were super nice and attentive, and if you’re desperate, they offer valet parking for $4. Their social hour is from 5pm-6:30pm Monday through Friday, which is great for those of us who are lucky to get out of the office by 5:30.

If you’re looking for a silent quiet, classy spot for relaxed drinks after work, Lucy’s Table is a great choice thanks to the atmosphere and service. But, if you’re looking for a high energy place that puts the happy in your happy hour, I would look elsewhere.

Have another happy hour spot in Portland you’d recommend? I’d love to hear!

March 27, 2010. Tags: , . Bar of the Month Club, Entertainment, Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Dear Body: Prepare to Run

Last spring, after a couple of years of sporadic jogging stints, I decided to take the plunge and run my first 10k. Training was a challenge at first, but by race day, I had really come to enjoy running. As summer turned to fall, the weather became, let’s just say, less jogging friendly, and I didn’t have the guts, really, to continue.

Now, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, and again, I’m getting the itch to hit the road. Today was my first run, and damn did it hurt! Legs, lungs, abs. Everything that could hurt, did. So, in an attempt to preempt these ailments next time and hopefully get back in to fighting shape sooner, here are some tips for half marathon training.

1. Build mental stamina…I’m only laughing because, even with a goal of more than 13 miles, this tip will probably be most challenging for me. This is advice on a lot of peoples’ lists, but music is key for me to keep pushing – I will publish my play list later this week.

2. Get on a schedule. This is one of the most important aspects of my success last year. Having mini goals to reach and time scheduled on my calender was key to me reaching my goal. Here’s the schedule I’m following this year from the same site that I used for the 10k. TIP: for those of you who are often over-scheduled, remember, even if happy hour followed by running seems like a good idea, it’s not. Trust me.

3. Get some good gear. (guy readers, feel free to skip to #4) workout clothes can be a great motivator to get you up and running – literally. Although I’m not usually a fan, Old Navy actually has some amazing running pants that are reasonably priced ($12 on sale!) and super comfortable. You’re going to be needing several pairs and although LuluLemon has some really cute ones, I’m not in love with spending $86 a pop. Good shoes are clearly essential – try a place like Portland Running Company instead of heading down to Nordstrom. Running stores have trained professionals to determine the best shoes for your foot shape and gait. Also, make sure to have a supportive sports bra  to protect the ladies.

Welcome back boys!

4. Take a break. Finally! A legit excuse to watch reruns of ANTM, sorry guys, I mean COPS, after work. Rest is key to recovery and rejuvenation. Without a day off between runs, you could put your body in a tough spot. So just do it.

5. Drink water. Pretty simple. If you’re tempted to try another libation in place of good ole’ H2O, just remember what happened to Tiger after one too many Gatorades… too much endurance. Really, you’ll avoid needless calories and sugar, if you just stick to the clear stuff.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now. Keep an eye out for more posts about my adventures in half marathon training.

Got a tip about training I missed? Have a recommendation about great running trails or killer capris? Let me know!

Ps: sorry Tiger. I couldn’t resist.

March 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Bloggers Block

I’ve written two posts this morning. – both suck, trust me. Perhaps the next one will be about regaining motivation and overcoming bloggers block. Maybe not.

March 11, 2010. Tags: , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Hello new computer!

Six calls to stores around Portland. Three favorite netbooks. One douche-bag BestBuy guy. And finally the perfect laptop. ERRCH! Yeah, I said laptop, not netbook. My reason? The Toshiba Satellite T115.

Part netbook, mostly laptop, this sweet little baby is the perfect computer for the gal on the go! Under 4 lbs with a 11.6 inch screen (aka, close to netbook size) but the power you need to actually do anything (I don’t really understand all the numbers, so let’s just say it does what it needs to do), the T115 exceeded my expectations for what I could get for under $500.

Here she is! And as sad as I was to say goodbye to my Vaio, I think I will get used to this Toshiba just fine.

February 19, 2010. Life-in General. 1 comment.

Letting go and moving on…with a new computer

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of purchasing a netbook to replace my very old, about to die but beloved Sony Vaio laptop for several months now. I’ve popped in to Best Buy a couple of times to check out what’s available (aka what colors does this one come in?). But so far, I haven’t been able to pull the trigger. My old laptop, I convinced myself, was still semi-alive and kicking (albeit VERY slowly), so it seemed silly to purchase another one to replace the ol’ girl –maybe she’d be ok afterall.

…first stage of grief: denial.

However, last night while attempting to download NPR podcasts on my iPod (key word: attempting), I became a little peeved at her inability to successfully perform the simplest task (a little peeved = “I swear I’m going to throw this thing out the window!”).

…second stage of grief: anger

We left her to manage the download while the boyfriend and I went for a walk. Upon return, I felt guilty at how I treated her and asked my boyfriend if there was ANYTHING at all we could do to help her get back to fighting form.

…third stage of grief: bargaining

His answer: an unwavering, no. Over the next 12 hours, my entire hard drive flashed before my eyes: thousands of songs; pictures from Mexico trips, college graduation, family gatherings — all gone in an instant if she unexpectedly passes.

…fourth stage of grief: depression

But this morning, after much uncertainty, I finally decided that it would be best for both of us if I replace her, so she can die in peace, without the burden of holding on to my documents, music and photos.

…fifth stage of grief: acceptance

So, this afternoon, amid feelings of loss and sadness for the spent life of my Vaio, I will be purchasing a shiny new netbook. Though I’m excited at the prospect, I know that no computer will ever replace what I had with my college laptop. She was there with my through it all, and I will miss her.

(more…)

February 18, 2010. Tags: , , , . Life-in General. 2 comments.

Halloween Costumes for the Recession-Savvy Gal

A lot has changed in the past two years: a college degree no longer guarantees you a job, birthday presents from your parents now consist of one more month of health insurance and a couple packets of Starbucks Via, and extravagant Halloween costumes purchased online are just a fond memory. 

So, what is the fabulous and frugal Halloween lover to do? Here are my tips for creative costumes straight from your closet.

StepfordStepford Wife: Combine a pastel cardigan, floral dress and nude heals. Add in some pearl jewelry, airbrushed makeup, perfectly quaffed hair and the apron your mom gave you for graduation (finally an excuse to wear it!) and TA DA! You’ve been transformed in to a trophy robot wife. Extra points for freshly baked cookies and a vacant expression. DWF15-470740

College Freshman: Find your shortest jean skirt, a cheap Forever 21 party top and pop on your ugg boots. Add a teased bump in your hair, fully line your eyes in black liner and gob on the mascara for the authentic look of a clueless 17 year old. Major kudos for carrying both a backpack and Coach purse.

MeghanMcCainMeghan McCain: In light of the recent buzz around her Twitter account, this costume is particularly timely. All you need for this one is a black low cut tank, Andy Worhol book, and the best damn push up bra you have. Pull back your bangs with a workout head-band, add a Vote McCain campaign pin and prepare for the media firestorm!

Happy Halloween!

October 16, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Entertainment, Life-in General. 3 comments.

Fall shows I LOVE and the wines that pair best.

I’m not going to lie to you. Lately, I’ve been working really late  (long stories, yeah, plural) anyway, some days, after a stressful day at work, I’ve been forgoing the gym and hitting the couch to discover some of this season’s new  shows from the comfort of my DVR.

This occasional habit of mine is sometimes accompanied by a glass of wine, and over the past couple of weeks, not only have I discovered some amazing wines, I’ve also found my share of great new fall shows that make even a long day at work fade away.

So,  here are my recommendations for wine and shows for you to enjoy when you just don’t feel like hitting the treadmill.

EastwickEastwick with Tuscan Moon Sangiovese: This show just began last week, so I can’t guarantee it’s going to be a season-long winner, but so far, I’ve enjoyed the Sex and the City-esque banter, Practical Magic-ish story line and female empowerment angle. This mix of magic, sex and power pair perfectly with the bold yet smooth flavors of the sangiovese. Don’t expect anything deep here, but with Halloween on the way, what could be better than this?Glee

Glee with Argyle Chardonnay: Officially my favorite show of the season, Glee is a perfect combination of hit pop music and popular show tunes with off, sometimes awkward comedy. The actors are talented and the show is just original enough that my boyfriend doesn’t hate it. Best paired with the deep flavors of this chardonnay (to balance out the fluff).

DropDeadDivaDrop Dead Diva with Rootstock Sauvignon Blanc: This show has been getting a lot of press lately, good and bad. But I have to say, regardless of what you think of the premise of the show, the roles are well cast and the characters are charming and funny. Love it with a good sauvignon blanc like Rootstock, which is approachable, well balanced and not too sweet, just like the show.  MelrosePlace

Melrose Place with any good red table wine: Believe it, my friends. The new millenium version of this primetime drama is complex and surprisingly dark. While you may not love it at first, give it a chance. Compared to Gossip Girl and 90210, this is the one to watch. Just like the repeat premise of the show, the wine that pairs best with this one is that half a bottle of table red leftover from last weekend.

With several premiers still scheduled on the DVR, I’m sure there will be more great shows and pairings on the way. Can you say The Hills? The City? Lost? Amazing Race? Can’t wait!

Got a good show and wine pairing? Let me know!

September 24, 2009. Entertainment, Life-in General. 1 comment.

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