Oh, how I missed Portland. Over the last year, Portland has become like a second home to me between traveling there every few months and staying with my best friend's family.

This time around, I crashed Grace Belle's trip to Portland and over the three days I was there, we worked with various companies and showed them around the city I hope to officially call home.

We flew into PDX Wednesday around 7 at night, grabbed our rental car, and headed off to dinner at Lardo. It was a short night as we were tired from traveling and had a long next day of collaborations ahead. So off to bed we went, then woke up bright and early to head to Blue Star Donuts.  

I was in charge of shooting Blue Star since we divided up the roles for each collaboration. Working with this company was beyond surreal because IT'S BLUE STAR — I don't think any more needs to be said. I quickly snapped some shots and then we split up the donuts to get a little taste of each. This was my first time at Blue Star and the donuts not only met, but exceeded my expectations. My favorites of the bunch were blueberry bourbon and passionfruit cacao nib.

Next on the schedule was Mother's Bistro, where the sweetest chef came out and described each dish, making our mouths water and setting our expectations high — boy did it not disappoint. This particular brunch place had never been on my radar, but I will for sure be adding it to my list.

The donuts and brunch brought us all into a food coma and we decided the best way to beat it was by walking it off on 23rd. We took an hour of the day to do some tax free shopping along the infamous street, then wandered around the neighborhood to give the group a sense of the city.

We then headed off to Powell’s, which is always my favorite stop each time I visit Portland. Taking over an entire block with an inventory of two million books, a visit to this bookstore is a must on any trip to Portland. Each visit, I always find myself wandering up and down the aisles of the literature section in a daze trying to not buy every book I see. I am a huge reader, so this place is paradise and I could easily spend hours here, but sadly we needed to get some work done.

We joined the other half of the group who had already camped out at Heart Coffee while we were in Powell’s. I bought myself a chai and plopped myself down for the next couple hours to get some editing done.

Once our parking meter time was up, we went off to our next collaboration with Kayo’s Ramen Bar. This restaurant is owned by an American and Japanese couple who met in Japan in 1984, eloped in 1992, then moved to the US to start a family. These two were beyond the sweetest people and their immediate hospitality brought me back to my time in Japan. We each ordered a bowl of ramen as well as garlic fried rice and potstickers to share. Next time you are in Portland and are in need of food that will help you beat the Portland chill, I wholeheartedly recommend stopping by this ramen shop.

We proceeded to roll our stuffed selves out of Kayo’s and off to Townshend Tea to get a little more work done before calling it a night.