Pigging out in Portland

I love experiences and memories more than things, and my husband and I were recently looking for a getaway to celebrate our anniversary. It had to be somewhere we could get to by car, because we wanted to make the most of the long weekend. We decided to go to Portland because it’s only a 6 hour drive from home and has so much to do.

It wasn’t the first time we had been to Portland, but our last trip a few years ago was so much fun that we couldn’t wait to go back. We learned a lot from our trip and for that reason I was excited to share my recommendations for a weekend in Portland; what to do, where to stay and most importantly how best to enjoy the great food and beer Portland has to offer.

The Kimpton Monaco in Downtown Portland, 506 SW Washington St, Portland, OR

In the heart of downtown, the Kimpton Monaco was the perfect central location that gave us the luxury of parking the car and spending the weekend on foot. Although I haven’t always been loyal to a hotel chain, after a previous stay at a Kimpton Monaco hotel my loyalty was forever forged. Boutique hotels with a whimsical charm, each room is artistically decorated with in a style homage to the city in which it resides. A stay at a Kimpton Monaco feels less like you’re staying in a hotel room, and more like your staying in an interior designers meticulously decorated apartment. In Portland the eco-chic styling of the Kimpton Monaco rooms pay tribute to the beauty of nature in the pacific northwest, with bird wallpaper, tree inspired lamps, an earthy color pallet and a smattering of plaid fabrics.

The building was once the distinguished Lipman Wolfe Department Store, that opened in 1912 now converted to the Kimpton Monaco Portland, it has lost none of the architectural glory. The centerpiece of the hotel being the large lobby with soaring ceilings, decorated to look like a vintage library and designed to be the heart of the social space that Kimpton Hotel’s are famous for.

Every night the lobby lounge plays host to social hour, featuring live musical and local wine and beer. If you’re lucky enough, like we were, to time our trip on the last Thursday of the month, you have the pleasure of skipping the long lines at the Portland staple VooDoo donuts and indulging in colourful and flavourful baked goodies during social hour. Beyond the beauty and comfort the Kimpton Monaco hotels I have stayed at offer, it is genuine the hospitality that brings me back each time, like the complementary nightcap before you turn in for the night and the hot cup of coffee or tea waiting for you when you wake up.

Portland is the place to go if you want to leave your diet at the door! It is a city of carb indulgence.

These are my recommendations for where to eat in Portland;

Brunch at Mothers, 212 SW Harvey Milk St, Portland, OR

A relaxing weekend away for me is not complete without a leisurely brunch and brunch at Mothers is a must when you stay in Portland, the wait can be long, but  it’s well worth it. The aroma of fresh baked pastries and strong brewed coffee permeates the air. Even with plenty of time to choose it was still challenging to narrow down what I wanted to eat. When I travel I like to indulge in what a restaurant is famous for and the crowds of locals return each weekend for Mothers famous Biscuits & Gravy. I have admittedly never had biscuits and gravy and clearly I was missing out. The flaky fall apart biscuits came smothered with thick, seasoned gravy. It was rich without being heavy and paired perfectly with a Mother’s signature spicy bloody mary.

Lunch at Lardo, 1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR

Lardo is more than a deli, it’s a mecca for those seeking flavorful, meaty sandwiches inspired by worldly flavors. Birthed from a food cart Lardo is now a restaurant favored by locals with two locations, one downtown and one on the other side of the river. The first thing I had to order was one of the house made dill pickles from the big jar on the counter. Then after much deliberation over the mouthwatering menu, we ordered the Nashville hot fried sandwich with honey, bacon, pickles, and Dukes mayo and the Korean pork shoulder sandwich with house made kimchi, chili mayo, cilantro and lime. Lardo has a beer menu that can rival any pub, with rotating tops of seasonal local beer that are just $3.00 during happy hour!

But what forever seared Lardo in my mind and the reason I will never visit Portland without carving time to visit, was their Salt & Vinegar Chicharrones. Fresh from the fryer and still cracking, these light as air pork puffs are the best I have ever had, so much so we returned more than once on our trip to have them again.

Dinner at Grassa, 2360 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR

The casual counter service at Grassa might seem contradictory to the artisanal, hand crafted pasta that dominated the menu. I am so glad we didn’t let the industrial ambiance and long shared tables dissuade us from choosing Grassa as an intimate dinner location. The pork belly mac and cheese came highly recommended and the spaghetti “Aglio Olio” rivaled any made by my Italian grandfather. Delicious handcrafted pasta with fresh flavors and ingredients, without the high price I expected. Clearly Grassa knows they have a star product because you can now buy their fresh pasta to cook at home, perfect for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have Grassa close to home.

Things To Do In Portland

I have always loved nail art and I have been following Finger Bang (@FingerBang) on Instagram for years. Getting my nails done at Finger Bang has always been on my bucket list, as soon as I booked our hotel my next call was to make an appointment. I wanted the most authentic Finger Bang experience, so I opted for a for a “Mystery Box Manicure” giving my nail technician free range to let her creativity shine. My only request was that she add an eyeball in the mix. The eclectic shop is clearly a reflection of the owners passion for all things Star Wars and the easy on the eyes life size cutout of Idris Elba shows the playful spirit of Finger Bang. I enjoyed great chat with Tianna, while I sipped rose and watched in awe of her steady hand and artistic skills while she created a whimsical one of a kind manicure just for me. Complete with eyes!

A trip to Portland is not complete without a brewery tour. Portland is a mecca for craft beer lovers, with over 70 breweries, a boozy weekend in Portland is somewhat inevitable. You can sign up for guided tours, but we opted to do it on our own time and did our own self guided tour. We picked a brewery to start and from there just walked around the block to find the next. We set out in the Pearl District and our self guided brewery tour took us to:

Backwoods Brewery, 231 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR

This was the first stop and a perfect way to kick things off. They have such as large selection of craft brewed beer that a flight was the best way to taste them. Even when I could choose 6 it was still a tough choice (which you can see with my messy selection card). Backwoods brewery has someone pretty cleaver naming their beers as most tie into the overall woodsy theme of the brewery. I (finally) with much deliberation picked;

1.Dreamsicle; Tastes just like a creamsicle, sweet and equally refreshing

2.Logyard IPA; Light with a hoppy kick at the end

3.River Pig; An amber lager that is clear, light and smooth

4.Into the backwoods we go; Had a mild pine flavour as is someone sprinkled in a few needles when they brewed it

5.Grifford Pincot Pilsner; Crisp, refreshing, right up my alley

6.BlueBerry Wheat; If a blueberry muffin and a beer had a baby

BackPedal Brewery, 1425 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR

Our next stop was BackPedal brewery. This smaller brewery is all about the beer, they don’t serve food, but they serve up a great selection of house crafted beers, including a selection of fruit infused beers that was right up my alley. Backpedal brewery is a great place to spend a couple hours drinking beer and playing games. They have all the classic board games on hand and large communal tables, so if your a few players short don’t fret, you can easily find new friends to play with. Backpedal brewery has the vibe of a converted garage and on a sunny day you’ll find the large bay open giving way to plenty of space to play corn-hole.

Von Ebert Brewery, 131 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR

After a few brewery stops it was delightful to find a great food menu at this brewery. Von Ebert focuses on a house made brew, American made, mostly poured directly from brite tanks, which helps keep aroma in the beer. They proudly do not have a filter, but still make very bright beers. With so many on tap to choose from another flight was they best way to experience what they had to offer. With our flight of beer we ordered the deep fried pickles, I never skip ordering them when I have the chance, and these were very good!

A weekend in Portland is not complete without some shopping, without sales tax, the price you see is the price you pay. I love visiting Portland at the very end of summer or into fall, not only for the ideal weather, but the shopping season is perfect, because you are on the cusp of a new season and wardrobe!

IMG_5817I cannot ignore the essential EyeStyles for my weekend travels. We were very lucky to have sunny skies overall in Portland, but not without a few showers on our first day. Lucky for me I was wearing Transitions Lenses all weekend, so I didn’t miss a beat in having to change glasses or get caught without sunglasses when the sun eventually came out. I took inspiration from the laid back hipster vibes of Portland and opted for two pairs of simple gold wire-rimmed frames by Andy Wolf. They proved the perfect eyecessory for a casual weekend getaway in Portland.

Do you have a favorite Portland spot I missed?

Palm leaves & Popsicle’s, The Transitions Xtractive Style Mirrors Launch

I believe that personal style is based on comfort and personality, and I love something that is adaptive to different situations.

styke-quote-e1534217931164.pngUsually people don’t associate style with Transitions Lenses, as an avid lover of these lenses I find most people dismiss them based on an outdated impression. But even the naysayers will not be able to resist the amazing style you can create with the new Transitions Xtractive Style Mirror Lenses.

Only a chic setting would do justice for the launch of the stylish new addition to the Transitions Lenses portfolio. The Addisions is a little hot spot, a venue with a cheeky story,

“Few people know who they are, and even fewer have ever made their acquaintance. They collect fine art and always have a stocked bar.  They have amazing food on hand, and their friends are all so charming. And their house – my God. Have you seen their house? They really do have it all. It’s just too bad they’re never around to enjoy it.”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn The Addisons Hamptons inspired backyard, littered with pool floaties, skirted by black and white striped cabanas, overflowing with palm printed pillows; it was the perfect venue to lounge, listen to summer anthems spun by DJ’s Coco & Breezy, all while sipping on refreshing Prosecco Pop cocktails and trying on sunglasses by Coco & Breezy featuring Transitions Xtractive Style Mirror Lenses.

img_4741-Eyewear designers, DJ’s and Transitions Brand Ambassadors Coco & Breezy-

Because we all want to look fabulous from daylight to dusk. The desire to always be wearing the right eyewear is as crucial to me as wearing the right shoes! So I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to wear and share Transitions Xtractive Style Mirrors. A lens that amps up the style factor and elevates any outfit. These new sun lenses are an option that will appeal to both prescription and non prescription eyeglass wearers, because the responsive and adaptive nature of the lenses suits so many styles and situations.

Transitions Xtractive Style Mirror lenses change from a sheer translucent mirror in low lights and alters to an opaque, iridescent mirror when exposed to bright UV light.

These sun lenses are available in two Transitions Xtractive base colours, grey or brown, and 5 on trend fashion mirrors. So no matter your age or EYEstyle the light intelligent, hassle free nature of these lenses allow you to express your individual style, without missing a moment.

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I chose the gold mirror colour on a brown Transitions Xtractive base, when I put these lenses in my Alexander McQueen sunglasses I was blown away! Originally these sunglasses featured a plain grey gradient lens, which didn’t do much to compliment the green and gold frame design. With the gold mirror on the lenses, these sunglasses are next level amazing! The gold finish on the lenses blends perfectly into the shiny gold finish on the frame and made the unique green acetate of the combo style standout.

These sunglasses were the perfect inspiration for my outfit choice for the event. Coco & Breezy have been know to say “eyeglasses are the outfit, and clothing is the accessory”, in this case I couldn’t agree more!

The palm print pattern of this two piece set intensified the green of the Alexander McQueen frames. I added a contrasting pop of colour with these fun tassel earrings by H&M and my signature summer orange-red lipstick “Countess” by Kat Von D. A simple nude shoe let everything else shine.

Set your sights on looking stylish and enjoying every last minute of summer sunshine with adaptive sun lenses with Transition Xtractive Style Mirror Lenses.

-Be sure to tag me and show me how you EYEstyle yourself! #OpticianAboutTown-

 

 

 

 

All Eyes on New York

New York City has become a familiar place for me; it’s somewhere I have been lucky enough to visit each spring for the past few years. I have my favorite restaurants which I always have to revisit, my favorite neighborhoods for shopping, yet each trip I discover many new places, which sometimes happen to be on the same streets I’ve been down dozens of times before. What brings me to New York each March is Vision Expo East, and if you can only make one North American optical event per year, this is the one to attend. For me Vision Expo East is what signals the first signs of spring, a new style season and a clear view of where optical trends are going for the coming year.  The temperature might have felt more like winter, yet the sun was shining and the new eyewear styles were in full bloom.

Vision Expo was 4 days of optical education, networking events and of course the largest showcase of eyewear and accessories all in one place. As I returned for my 4th year it was my busiest yet, with so many great things to share, this might turn into a novel if I share them all, so here are my highlights from Vision Expo East 2018.

This year I had the pleasure to share my Vision Expo experience with friend, fellow blogger and all things eye enthusiast, Dr. Amanda Rights (@optomeyeslife). You know when you meet someone and just instantly click?! This was Amanda and I when we met at Transitions Academy two years ago. Meeting someone that shares my passion for the optical industry and being a serious girl boss made us fast friends.

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The OWA Champagne Breakfast

Champagne for breakfast is always a good idea! As is coming together with inspirational and supportive female leaders in the optical industry. Although it was an early start, looking around the room, there was no doubt why these women are lady bosses all in their own rights. Keynote speaker Francis Cole Jones, author of “How to Wow” made me sit a little straighter, stand a little taller and leave with the know how to exude confidence in any interaction through body language and conversational cues.

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Eyecessorize

This blogger and media event took us to the top floor of The Standard Hotel to get an exclusive first look at the newest Eyecessories for spring. It was really a perfect evening for an eyeglass blogger, a 360 degree view of the Manhattan skyline, set against a sky that matched my glass of rosé in hand, all while I tried on glasses and sunglasses from collections I know and some I had not seen before. I get downright giddy for cool glasses, and it wasn’t just the rosé that had me tickled pink. Frames from Kate Young for Tura and Kendall & Kylie eyewear impressed me with their style and featured frame shapes I hadn’t seen before (which is hard when you see as many glasses and sunglasses as I do!).

Coco & Breezy Showroom Grand Opening

I have had the pleasure to come to know this dynamic duo over the past couple years, as Transitions Brand Ambassadors our paths have crossed many times. It has been so inspiring to watch these ambition, driven, unstoppable young ladies make their place in the optical industry. Evolving their self named brand from sunglasses to ophthalmic frames in just a few short years. As these ladies build their empire, they have built a showroom that is as much a reflection of their style as their eyewear. It was a pleasure to be invited to celebrate the grand opening of the showroom, to see their creative space, view the sketches, feel the material samples, and of course try on the finished product.

Meeting a Real Housewife

So I am admittedly a Real Housewives of (every city) super fan. It’s my guilty pleasure and I’m not shy to admit it. So after a cup of tea and some Real Housewives of Atlanta on Sunday morning I was off to the Javits for my fourth day. Imagine my delight when only an hour after watching her on TV I had the pleasure to meet Ms. Cynthia Bailey herself! Showcasing her eyewear collection at Vision Expo, the fabulous Ms. Bailey was warm and kind and more beautiful in person than she is on TV.

I love that after 4 days at Vision Expo East, seeing thousands of frames, and admittedly trying on hundreds,  I have a clear outlook on eyewear trends for 2018 and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

Be sure to sign up to follow the blog for my Spring/Summer 2018 EyeStyle trends forecast.

 

A Secret Worth Sharing

I am lucky enough to love what I do professionally. But running a small business and blogging means I rarely spend much time not thinking about glasses.

It can be hard to carve out time away from the shop, time I sometime forget is essential to refresh and reset, and most importantly time to spend quality one on one face time with my husband.

Lucky for me the stars recently aligned and I was able to get away for a week of Sun, Sand and Sea at Secrets Akumal in Tulum, Mexico. It was our first trip to Tulum and I thinks it’s the perfect combination of breathtaking scenery, tranquility and seclusion. Which leads to a perfect state of relaxation. The beach is powdery white sand, the calm turquoise waters feature stunning coral reefs, brimming with multicolored fish, stingrays and sea turtles.  Secrets Akumal has been designed with the perfect balance of traditional Mexican character with a modern contemporary interpretation. The lush tropical landscape features dozens of different plant and flora species, creating plenty of secluded spaces for relaxing.

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It isn’t until I get away that I realize how much I needed a vacation! But because I am who I am and my love for all things glasses runs deep, a beach vacation is a great excuse for some new sunglasses and the opportunity to pair some new sunglasses with some tropical inspired fashion. This trip was a little spur of the moment, but I still had time to find a few new vacation wardrobe pieces. I was inspired by Mexico, choosing dresses in breezy white linen with lots of embroidery in shades of blue.

If you ask me no outfit is complete without a great pair of glasses! It’s hard for me to say if my eye-wear inspires my outfits or my outfits inspire my eye-wear, but no matter which way I look at, theses sunglasses where the focal point of my favorite vacation looks.

IMG_0689.jpgThis dress has so many special details done in such a delicate way that they come together perfectly. Gauzy linen with peekaboo shoulders and an embroidered bib, finished with little tassels make this dress perfect for dinner and dancing the night away.

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I instantly fell for theses new sunglasses from Etnia Barcelona. The “Hampstead” caught my attention in an ocean of new sunglass styles released at the fall Vision Expo. Etnia has done it again and created another style that is top notch design and quality. The brow bar is thicker, showing off the natural Mazzuchelli acetate in classic tortoise, held together in a trim of polished gold.

For the most part my days were spent lounging in the sunshine, reading a good book with a coconut cocktail in hand (in a nutshell my perfect day!), so this caftan got a lot of use on this vacation and will no doubt be used on future travels.

Beach side Bar

Gauzy semi sheer fabric, billowy sleeves, high slits, a beautiful embroidered bib and a playful trim of little blue pom poms, make this caftan so much fun!

To match the light feel of this caftan I chose to pair it with MODO’s (model 666) sunglasses in their signature Paper-Thin titanium.  At just 6.8 grams and 0.6 mm thick, MODO’s Paper-Thin Titanium frame means absolute comfort, it’s so light you hardly notice it’s there (careful before you get the urge to jump in the ocean!). Although this frame is also tortoise, the darker tone of tortoise, set on an unexpected dark hunter green titanium frame. The hint of green on this frame is a great compliment to the subtle gradient polarized lenses, in grey green.

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To say that our trip to Mexico was a relaxing and re-invigorating vacation would not do it justice.  The pure enjoyment I had spending lazy days in the sun and crystal sea, all while dressing up and matching new sunglasses that don’t get enough wear in my daily life. Trips like theses remind me exactly what I work for.  Now to get back to work and hunker down for another winter, all while daydreaming of the next getaway. But my eyes are always open for those unique new sunglasses, the perfect pieces to help me better enjoy sunny skies!

Eyes on Las Vegas

I am excited to once again surround myself with Optical junkies, get together with industry friends and meet new industry insiders as optical enthusiasts unite in Las Vegas for Vision Expo West 2017.

This is west coast stop for Vision Expo, the event showcases the newest trends in eyewear and optical innovations. Regardless of which sector of the optical world you inhabit, this event brings us all together. From Optometrists, to Opticians, frame designers, sales reps and lens manufactures you name it! If it has anything to do with eyes you’ll find it at Vision Expo. All these optical professionals coming together to the share the products and services that help optimize vision.
I am returning to VWE for my fourth trip and each time I am discovering another layer to this massive event. As an Optician and frame buyer I focus on seeking out the latest and greatest trends and technology in eyeglass frames and lenses to bring back to my patients and share with eyeglass enthusiasts through my social media.
I’m like a kid in a candy store! The galleria is 173,000 square feet of space showcasing fabulous glasses and sunglasses. Each company utilizes the opportunity to showcase their brand identity in creatively designed booths displaying their products.
Here are my highlights from Vision Expo West 2017. Day 1 had me doing my first ever
Facebook LIVE. Alongside IntroWellness.com founder Dr. Ryan Corte and YouTube personality Dr. Zdogg MD. Dr. Ryan Corte gave Dr. Zdogg MD his first ever eye exam in real time, I then helped fit him with his first pair of glasses. With the help of his “dogg pack” and their live opinions we choose two great frames from Prodesign and matched them with the Essilor total lens package including a style addition of Transitions Lenses.

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Watch it here: Dr. Z Get’s His First Eye Exam

My favorite frames from the show this year are by Andy Wolf. A new collection to my shop, Andy Wolf’s frames are as unique and welcoming as the team that represents them. This brand stands out for the minimalist, yet in no way understated shapes and designs of their frames. Rose gold and 70’s inspired shapes from Andy Wolf are just what I want in my shop (and need in my life).


It’s not all work and no play, it’s Las Vegas after all and I cannot ignore the all the great dining and things to do after the show is over. These are a few restaurants I tried and would recommend:

Yardbird
The Yardbird; Not far from the Galleria I found this Southern style restaurant just the thing to appease the big appetite I had worked up after walking over 10 miles (special thanks to my step counter for keeping up). Deep fried avocado spears, chicken and waffles and a deconstructed fried green tomato BLT are a few of The Yardbird’s signatures dishes I just had to try. The delicious food and our attentive and charismatic waiter, reflects a deep and undeniable Southern charm.

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Wicked Spoon; It’s necessary to try at least one buffet in Las Vegas and Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan Hotel has everything you could ever imagine eating in one place. Brunch at Wicked Spoon is one of my Vegas ritual, much needed fuel for a long day and a lot of walking. Even though it’s brunch, I suggest you don’t skip their gelato bar, with exotic flavors like strawberry balsamic and Thai tea or classics like chocolate and raspberry, it’s all you can eat, live a little and try something new.

Lacave
La Cave; This hidden gem in the Wynn doesn’t feel like it’s in Las Vegas, perfect if you’re looking to get away from all the hustle and bustle. La Cave is an intimate space with a menu featuring small plates, great for sharing. Inside you feel nestled in a cavernous wine cellar, on the outdoor terrace you can enjoy the warm Las Vegas nights. La Cave is a place to linger over a flight of wines and a decadent cheese and charcuterie board.


What I love most about Vision Expo West is after a whirlwind of frame buying I get to share all the fabulous new styles arrivals and the knowledge that the next Vision Expo is not too far in the future. I look forward to spring in New York for Vision Expo East 2018.