Adventures of a Bookshop Ho

I keep telling myself “your blog is called Adventures of a Bookshop Girl” and yet you’ve kiiiiinda stopped posting about books lately.

I was going to post about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but I wanted to wait until after my book club met, in case any of them were stalking me (hi guys!). But book club has come and gone, and I never reviewed it on here. Brief review: I liked it. I didn’t love it. I really appreciated Junot Diaz’s writing, and his merging of genres, but I still kind of felt like I was watching everything from arms length and didn’t entirely connect to the story. And it’s not because I have nothing in common with the characters. I still think you can connect with a book without relating to it. There was just the magic spark missing for me. But I really really liked it, and it was so close to having that Missing Thing. Yeah…worst book review ever. Moving on.

I told myself I would post about the Next Book I Read. My last blog review was on Midwinter Blood. Right after that I read Insurgent, which is the sequel to Divergent. I didn’t want to post a review about that one because it’s the middle of a trilogy, and it would be hard to do so without spoilers. (spoiler: I read it really fast and enjoyed it for what it is: mediocre fluffy YA. I like Divergent better.) And then I went right into reading Allegiant, the third and final book in the series. And something terrible happened. I just didn’t give a damn about this book. And I stopped reading entirely. And then the book was due back at the library (what? I work at a bookstore and I go to the library. judge away.). I never finished it. So I started Ready Player One last night. I LOVE IT.

But. I have Allegiant BACK from the library. AND book club just extended our deadline for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, AND we’re meeting to talk about Remains of the Day soon.

In summary. I’m reading three books at once. I’m usually a book monogamist. I now feel like a dirty, filthy book slut. My plan: sit my ass down and finish Allegiant. Read Ready Player One really. damn. fast. And then get back into my book club books.

Challenge accepted.

Time to read!

What about you guys? Do you ever read more than one book at a time?

Portland Dining Month: Tabla

March in Portland is Portland Dining Month, which means restaurants all over town offer a $29 dinner that usual incorporates a sampling of different choices from their menu. Most restaurants pick one appetizer, one main course, and one dessert to highlight, but some have other variations on the $29 deal.

On Sunday night I had the pleasure of dining at Tabla. Tabla calls themselves a “Mediterranean Bistro,” but for the geographically confused this might make you automatically think “Greek food!” It’s more Italian based fare here, though not the heavy red-sauce based Italian, a lighter, less Americanized Italian. Tabla’s Dining Month selection actually allowed each diner to choose their own appetizer, pasta, and main course from the entire menu. Options!

I started with the winter salad:

photo 1

I picked the salad because it has my favorite olives, castelvetrano. They’re those big lime green olives you see at the fancy olive bars at Whole Foods and New Seasons. They’re almost buttery in taste, and definitely a common indulgence of mine. The olives complimented this salad well, and it was a nice, crispy, fresh start to my meal. Although I did find the inclusion of celery in a salad odd, it actually worked well and added a nice crunch.

For my pasta dish I chose the crab tortellini: 

photo 2

I have been to Tabla a few times before, and always ordered the Tabla Ravioli, which I highly recommend. But I’m glad I decided to change things up. The tortellini is made from fresh pasta, and each one was stuffed nicely. Sometimes I’m afraid of ordering things like tortellini or ravioli at restaraunts instead of actual pasta because the servings tend to be skimpier, but this was just right. The crab was actually hard to taste at first, so if you’re wary of seafood this dish isn’t overly seafoody.

For my entree I went with the Braised Pork Braciole:

photo 4 

It’s basically a pork ragu. The sauce was good and tomatoey, and the pork was tender. There’s polenta on the bottom, and I was surprised and delighted by how creamy it was. The entire dish was delicious. At this point I was rather full, so I’m happy to report that the leftovers heated-up nicely the next day.

I highly recommend Tabla, even after Portland Dining Month is over. After March they still have a Three Course Dinner option on the menu that is only $33, which for what you get is a fantastic deal. The service is fantastic, the dining room was nice and quiet even though the restaurant was full, and most importantly the food is consistently good.

In case you’re interested in other PDX Dining Month options, Eater PDX put together a list of the best deals.

Stay tuned as I continue to eat my way through Portland!

 

Tabla on Urbanspoon

Shamrock RUN!

First of all, I totally forgot to post a weigh-in last week:

Starting Weight: 176.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 168.4 lbs
This Weigh-in: 167.2 lbs
Difference: -1.2 lbs
Total Difference: -9.4 lbs

My body does NOT want to get to the 10 lb mark. Which is too bad because I’ve already started saying “I’ve lost ten pounds.” Whoops. Anyway, the past few weeks have had many celebrations (birthdays, bachelorette parties, etc.), and while I’m definitely making better decisions that I would have in the past a) it has NOT been easy and b) I think this week and continuing on I need to REALLY switch up my priorities and stop with the gaining/losing one pound a week thing. It’s like the same pound every week, it either goes up or down!

Moving on! I did something amazing yesterday. I ran an 8k. And when I say ran, I mean RAN. None of this run/walk business for me!

The Shamrock Run was the morning after my friend’s bachelorette party, so we were a little tired:
IMG_1225

 

Those are “did we really spend all night bacheloretting and now we’re running an 8k” faces.

The Shamrock Run, for those non-Portlanders, is probably Portland’s biggest run. Ok that’s completely unofficial, I really have no idea and don’t feel like googling, but man it is CROWDED. But I love the color green, so it’s ok by me. I wish I had taken more pictures but my phone was dying and I needed my playlist to make it through. The run is along the waterfront and through downtown Portland. It’s a pretty flat run until the end when there’s a bit of a hill, which of course was a lovely challenge during the last mile of the race.

Now let it be known: I had not been training. I signed-up for the race thinking it would encourage me to train, but really I had gone on maybe 4 runs total this year before the race. I was completely expecting to run/walk it. But something kicked-in, and I just never stopped running. I literally cried when I got to the finish line, I was so proud of myself.

The ironic thing? My time last year when I ran/walked was faster than this year’s time! But that’s ok. This run was more about proving to myself that I can get back into the running game. I’m now motivated to NOT lose my running lungs/legs and to keep it up, so I’m signing-up for a 10k. Which kind of scares me, but I think I can do it. Maybe I’ll even train beforehand!

One last side note: Last week was definitely slow in the blogging department, but I have quite a few posts planned, so don’t leave me! I’m still here, I promise!

 

Weigh-In, Weigh-Up

So I gained again. But that’s ok! Because…I ate like shit last week. And now I feel fully motivated to STOP DOING THAT. MY BODY DOESN’T LIKE IT. And every time I ate something not so great for me, guess what? The guilt, and the stomach problems made it completely not worth it.

Starting Weight: 176.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 166.8 lbs
This Weigh-in: 168.4 lbs
Difference: +2.4 lbs
Total Difference: -8.2 lbs

Yikes. But, at the same time, I needed this kick in the ass. I didn’t really track all week, and then I just went deeper and deeper into the pit of Shit Eating. Now I know, it is NOT worth it. I love love love food, but indulging as much and as often as I did wasn’t great. I feel like most of it was cheap non-delicious indulges. I didn’t really save my extra points for something amazing. And I get extra pounds in exchange. Ugh.

But that’s ok! I’m back on course. I’m tracking. I’ve signed-up up for many Bar classes, and I’m going to kick this week’s butt and get back on course! The only person I’m hurting is myself if I continue in this way. It’s funny because I felt extra anxious all week too, and I’m sure that food had something to do with it. So here we go. Who is with me? We are going to kick this week’s ass! Because weeks totally have butts, duh.

I’ve got the Remedy…

Last week I had the pleasure of going to Remedy with some of my Bar Method friends. Remedy is a a fabulous wine bar on the corner of Everett Street and Park Avenue. It’s kind of tucked away, but one of my friends lives in the building and is a regular. I’m so glad she told me about it, because it has that perfect combination of ambience + food + wine. And they serve wine in beakers, which is totally my kind of science:

Screenshot 2014-03-05 22.02.43I don’t really know all that much about wine, but both times I’ve been to Remedy I’ve enjoyed what I’ve had. This time around, we got a bottle of red. I conveniently took a picture so that I wouldn’t have to remember exactly what the wine was. So let’s have a peek, shall we?
photo 1 (3)Yep. Whatever that wine is, it was great. Remedy also has some pretty amazing food. They have a somewhat limited food menu of snacks and small plates–good drinking food. But if you’re wanting dinner, they have a “plat du jour.” When we were there the daily dinner was chicken pot pie. It was a dreary Portland day, and the chicken pot pie was exactly what the weather ordered…errr… what I ordered:

photo 2 (4)You know you need a close up:
photo 4 (1)It was so good. The crust was buttery and flakey, but not too flakey. The inside was filled with chunks of chicken, potatoes, and other veggies. It was perfect, and it went surprisingly well with the wine.

Remedy is in the Pearl District, and yes it is immaculate, airy, and clean, but for some reason I don’t get a pretentious Pearl District Vibe (which I honestly don’t get in that many places, despite the Pearl’s reputation). The staff is incredibly friendly–I’m pretty sure I met the chef the first time I went, and she was very sweet and helpful. Rumor has it she’s a cheese genius, and I believe it because the cheese plate we got was amazing.

Everyone at Remedy seems like they’re really enjoying what they’re doing, and I truly wish them the success they deserve. It is a bit pricey, but according to this article on Eater, they’re starting up a happy hour deal–$6 wine pour and a $4 snack. Cheers!

Remedy Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Zombie in Love

1982067_10102502654432283_198930371_nThis weekend I had the pleasure of selling Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Scott Campbell, at the Newmark Theater downtown. Why was I selling a picture book at a theater? Great question! The Oregon Children’s Theater was debuting Zombie in Love, the musical! Not only was it the world premier, to make the event even more special, Kelly DiPucchio was there signing books! She was really sweet, and the audience was SO excited to have her there. Embarrassingly, I was not prepared for the throngs of zombie lovers, and actually sold out of books. I didn’t get to see the show–we also had another event going on at the same time so it was busy busy (Sorry Kelly, I didn’t get to say thank you because I had to run! THANK YOU!), but EVERYONE leaving the theater after the first performance was SO happy, so I’m going to go ahead and tell you that it was FANTASTIC and you should try to go next weekend if you can.

The picture book is also fantastic. It’s a picture book about a zombie trying to find love! What isn’t to love about that (ha.)?! It’s funny, and creepy in all the right ways, and I would definitely suggest you stop at your local children’s bookstore and grab a copy.

 

I’m Still Here! (Weigh-In)

I swear I’m still here! It’s just been very very busy in Bookshop Girl Land. Between two jobs, two writing groups, a book club, writing a book, and having a social life, something has to give. The blog isn’t the thing that’s going away, I promise, but I definitely have fallen behind. Watch this space for more updates on books, food, and stuff, later this week. For now just a quick “Hi I swear I weighed-in on Thursday!” recap.

Starting Weight: 176.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 167.6 lbs
This Weigh-in: 166.8. lbs
Difference: -.8 lbs
Total Difference: -9.8 lbs

SO CLOSE TO TEN POUNDS. But I’m not celebrating yet. I have eaten SO MUCH SHIT this week. A burrito the size of my head, lots of beer, mac and cheese, egg sausage sandwich…and on and on. It’s been a challenge and busy week (I know it’s only Monday, I’m thinking Thursday up until today = my week, for whatever reason), and I’m just not good at juggling all of these balls AND eating well. But sometimes you need an off week to keep you motivated. And honestly, all of those times I fucked up with my food choices, I felt HORRIBLE AND GUILTY AND DID NOT ENJOY MY FOOD. So, lesson learned. I am in control here, and I need to get back on track. I’ve already decided to make myself my priority this week, so from the post forward, I’m going to do start taking care of myself.

I’ll be back shortly with other updates! Hope you’re all having a good week!