Currently

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Watching// Anything I can figure out how to watch on my laptop. I don’t own a TV so I’ve really had to step up my internet game in order to find live streams of the news and decent movies on Netflix.

Reading// Anything and everything. I’ve recently discovered the library and I’ve got e-book copies of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg for Ladies Who Brunch Book Club and Look At Me by Jennifer Egan because I kicked myself for leaving it at the used book store after I started reading a few pages.

Listening// Quite obsessively been listening to Noah Gundersen’s newest album, Ledges. And you should to. His songs were absolutely hauntingly beautiful live and totally moved me in a way I’ve never experienced with music.

Making// My own lunches. I’ve been a full time nanny since the beginning of January and since the family and I have different diets and I hate eating other people’s food, I’ve been packing salads and snacks to get me through my days.

Feeling// Tired. Sleep is hard to come by lately and I’ve made things harder by trying to get to the gym before work (5am).

Planning// A trip. I haven’t taken a vacation in close to ten years and I strongly believe I deserve one. I’ve been tossing around going to Vancouver,BC by train, visiting the BFF in Philly, and more long term, Iceland.

Loving// The idea of having a week to myself between nanny gigs. Rest, relaxation, and exploring Portland are on the agenda.

Currently idea taken from the lovely Erin over at erinwiggle.com

Happy New Year

Hello, friends! Happy new year!

What a crazy year 2013 was. Lots of ups, lots of downs. The past six months have been absolutely nutty and, because of it, I sort of went on a little blogging break.

A lot of the madness was personal and I’d like to keep it that way…although I’m sure you’ve taken note of some changes to the blog and my instagram (@thisvalleylife).

I hope this new year brings blogging and creativity back into my life. I just finished pastry school so I’m hoping I’ll have more time for myself and my friends. I’ve been horrible with hanging out and communicating in general.

I’m also dubbing this the year of the career. I think it’s about time for someone to pay me to do something I love and can do long term. There is nothing I would love more than spending my days (or super early mornings) in a bakery. I’m done with being a starving student. Not being able to afford things to bake with has gotten old. No more, my friends! This is my year.

Here’s to less negative craziness in life and more of doing what makes us happy!

Baked potatoes and bubbles

You know you’re in for a good night when you leave the grocery store with a potato and a bottle of cava.

Monday was the first day of my externship and it definitely called for celebration. So I did what any starving student looking to celebrate would do- buy cheap booze and even cheaper food.

Happy first day of externship! Only six more weeks to go…

It’s that time again

It’s my favorite season.

Fall.

Fall is the most beautiful season in Portland. I love wearing boots. I even went out and bought boots.

I’ve completely fallen in love with my new rain boots.

I’ve even jumped in several large puddles (to make sure they’re doing their job)

I fell in love with my new favorite coffee shop.

And I’ve completely fallen for my new favorite coffee. Ethiopian is always a good choice!

Happy Fall! Let’s all celebrate!

Urban Waxx-ing

Life lately has been a little crazy. The beginning of July was particularly hairy. The unemployed part of my life was getting me down, I started pastry school, and Adam and I moved. I kind of needed a little pampering pick-me-up. It was such a lovely surprise when the fine folks over at Urban Waxx offered me a brow wax in return for a review.

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There is nothing more relaxing than getting your eye brows waxed. When I hop up on that table I know that I’ve got a good 15 minutes to just close my eyes and breathe. And when I get up, I feel like a new person. It’s like getting a really great haircut, having a breakthrough in a therapy session, and losing that extra 10 pounds all rolled into one. Your face if the first thing people see when they meet you. You are a walking billboard for yourself. You deserve to have beautiful brows that perfectly frame your face.

I’ve been pouring hot wax on my face to tame my brows for over 10 years. With that said, I have had my fair share of bad waxes. I’ve been waxed in what was pretty much a closet with a table and a hot pot of wax. I’ve been burned. I’ve been over waxed and under waxed.

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When I walked into Urban Waxx NW (Alphabet District in Portland), I knew I didn’t have to worry. I was greeted immediately and asked if I wanted anything to drink while I waited. Seriously, they have mimosas (If that isn’t the icing on the cake I don’t know what is). After a short wait (just long enough to have a sit and fill out a questionnaire), my waxing guru, Helen Reznicek, escorted me to one of the private waxing rooms. The urban/minimalist design flowed seamlessly from the waiting area through to the waxing room. It was thoughtfully designed; the room was comfortable, relaxing, and inviting. I am confident that even someone new to brow waxing would feel at ease in the space.

Urban Waxx believes in doing one thing and being the absolute best at it. Believe me, they nailed it. My pearly white, porcelain Portland skin wasn’t irritated in the least. I didn’t have to cover my newly waxed brows with my sunglasses this time. I walked out of there relaxed, confident, and beaming.

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Whether you need to get party perfect or just want a small bit of time for yourself, give Urban Waxx a try. Find the one closest to you, or go to the one in North West Portland (I’m telling you, Helen is AMAZING). Tell them Ashley McClellan of This Valley Life sent you. You would be surprised at how refreshing a brow wax can be, especially one from Urban Waxx.

*So we’re all on the same page… Urban Waxx offered me a complimentary brow wax in exchange for a review. I wasn’t paid to say wonderful things about them. Everything I wrote is my opinion*