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Here you will find my most current photo work, mixed in with stories of my life. Feel free to comment and leave some love. <3

Posts Tagged '2010'

December 19, 2010
13 Comments
filed under: my life

For the past 6 years of my life I have been living in apartment after apartment. They have been nice apartments, but there’s just something so temporary feeling about them… it’s hard for me to “nest” or decorate, etc.

Well, I have been keeping this under wraps for quite some time now, but it has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do! But I’m finally ready to spill the beans!

Mark and I just purchased our first home together!!!!!!!

I am beyond ecstatic, I can hardly express how excited I am. I didn’t want to say anything about it on the internet in fear that something may have fallen through, and then I would have to explain to everyone when they asked “so how is the house coming along?!” that something fell through and we were no longer getting it… and I would probably tear up and cry every. single. time. So to save myself from that possibility, keeping it under wraps was the best option.

But I am SO excited that I can now share it all with you!!! It was a long and stressful process, but everything ended up working out, and Mark and I could not be more thrilled.

warning- LONG post ahead!

It all started about a year ago…

For those of you who don’t know, I actually work full time in the marketing/design department for a mortgage company, so the thought and realization of the possibility and benefits to buying a home have been on the table for just over a year now. In my head, I was ready and excited to buy a year ago. However, Mark, with his ever-steady-let’s-evaluate-every-little-detail attitude (which might sound like a negative thing here, but rest assured I am SO thankful for his “realism” in situations like these) laid it all out and just wasn’t so comfortable doing so at that time. He was still car-less and taking advantage of public transit at the time, so our options for locations of homes would have been very limited. That, and the worry of taking on such a large financial commitment was a little scary… so our home-buying plans came to a halt early 2010.

This year, however, has been a really great one for Mark and I. He is steadily advancing in his company, and I have established myself at my 9-5 as well. Photography has been insanely busy this year for me, Mark was able to purchase a car in the late spring, and things have come a long way in the past year.

While I would secretly look at RMLS every day, and save my favorites, daydreaming about the time when we’d be able to start home-searching ourselves, I knew that patience and persistence would eventually pay off. I don’t know if it was the television being stuck on HGTV for months, or what, but in early September, Mark asked me- “so, what’s going on with the house search?”

“WHAT?!!?!?” I replied. “We can’t afford a house” (Ok, I was having a bad day… you know, the kind where you really didn’t want to look at your bank account, but you knew you should, so you did, and then you regretted it.. kind of… but you realize that you probably shouldn’t have went out to lunch 5 times last week, or bought that really cute dress that was on sale? yea… it was one of those days.)

I re-couped myself and thought about this again. I said “Well, have you been looking for houses? Because I thought you didn’t think it was a good time yet, and you haven’t sent me any houses to look at, so I just assumed you were still on that same page. Plus I didn’t want to pressure you if you did still feel that way.”

“Well no,” he said “but I think it’s time.”

My heart did a few back-flips… these were the words I had been waiting to hear for a year!!!

“OK! I said, well, check out these houses I have saved!” I pull up our Realtor’s website (www.portlandshortsales.com) and showed him my favorites. He liked a few, so I agreed to call our Realtor in the morning and set up a time to view some houses in the next week or so.

We ended up going the following evening (because our Realtor Alex is awesome!) and checking out a few houses. Here is where the story gets interesting…

I thought we were going to look at one house, but Alex actually took us to see the house next door to the one I thought we were looking at. “Why not?” I said, and we checked it out anyways.

We. loved. it.

One problem… the house already had an accepted offer in on it, and they weren’t accepting any back-up offers! Bummer. We tried to get into the house next door, but the key was no where to be found.. odd.. but Alex had another home to show us in the area, so we checked it out, and then called it a night. It was great to get a feel for the neighborhood, and we knew we definitely wanted to live in that community, so we just kept an eye out for new listings to pop up.

We ended up making an offer on a short sale house that was on the same block as the one we looked at. It was a beauty! But short sales are a MESS and so we weren’t expecting much to come from it. About two or three weeks after we submitted our first offer on the short sale, the home we toured (and loved) came back up on the market… the other buyer’s financing fell through!

I saw it pop up in my daily listing email and immediately emailed Alex. Mark and I talked it over, and we decided that it would be a much safer road to put an offer in on this house. This house was a bank owned (much better than a short sale!) and there was even a downpayment assistance program available for bank owned homes in this area. (They said they could do some short sales too, but come to find out it would have been a nightmare!)

So we made the decision to put in an offer on the house we toured and loved. We know that the bank already accepted a certain price, so we just went in at that price and hoped for the best! It was about 15k less than the offer we put in on the short sale house, so we were happy with that.

We heard back two days later that the bank had accepted our offer, so we withdrew our offer on the short sale, and now almost 2 months later, we have ourselves a home!!! We got the keys on Friday, and today we went out to the house to take a few photos and have the carpets professionally cleaned!! I am getting SO excited!

We plan on painting and packing this week, and moving on the 26th! Eeeee!!! I can’t wait to be in there and settled. It will cut my hour long commute down to about 10 minutes or less, which I am excited about, however Mark will get the opposite commute… so I’m thinking good thoughts for him…

Anywho, here are some photos of the new place!! :D


We are in love.
And we are in love with our home.

I can’t wait to show you updates as we get settled in!!! We have ordered our washer and dryer, and we just bought our refrigerator today, we can’t wait for them to show up! I can’t wait to paint, decorate, and make the place OURS. I have been waiting for a long time to do this, and yet I still feel like a very young homeowner.

We feel so excited, happy and thankful that we were able to do this.
It will be a very merry christmas for us this year.  <3

November 16, 2010
4 Comments

You know when you go to the mailbox, and you’re sorting through all of the mail?
Junk, bill, trash, junk, junk, bill, statement, more junk, ripped/torn/destroyed coupon booklet, trash, junk, junk, bill….

And then you come to that piece… that one piece of mail that feels as though you just unwrapped the Wonka Bar with the Golden Ticket inside. You know the one I’m talking about? It’s like a little piece of love all wrapped up.

These pieces of mail are the ones I cherish. A good friend recently described it perfectly to me, she said “tangible mail is a lost art”. I completely agree. There’s nothing quite like getting a hand written note, card, or any other piece of personal mail. These pieces aren’t made out to “Or Current Resident”, they are made out to YOU.

Anyways, back to my story.

Today, I opened my mailbox to find just one such gem!!! My eyes lit up and my grip tightened on the envelope! I couldn’t wait to open it, but first, knowing I was in for a treat, i wanted to take a few photos to share with you all.

A little history about this session…
________________________________________________________________________________

Jessica and I can’t remember how exactly we found each other, but I’m chopping it up to fate.
She is full of colorful ideas, and is a complete inspiration to me! She owns her own company, Modern Moments Custom Designs, where she designs anything and everything you could ever need or want. Logos, cards, announcements, invitations, calendars,  you name it! She takes each design request as it comes and molds your vision into something even more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.
So you can imagine, how when I got the email from her requesting that I do her youngest son’s first birthday photos/cake smash session, how ecstatic I was!!!

We brainstormed for a bit, and she sent me a couple of Inspiration Boards for what she was looking for style-wise for little Emerson’s shoot. I’m talking colors, textures, fabrics, the whole nine yards! Here is one of the boards that she created and sent to me. This really helped me understand exactly what she was looking for!

Not to mention, how completely adorable is that board!?! Can you tell how amazing this woman is yet??
So now that I knew her color palette and general direction, we chose a place- this great little barn that she knew of, close to the pumpkin patch that her family goes to every year.
There was no address,it was  just “about a mile down the road off of the exit, on the right”. I didn’t need directions, once I saw this place, there was no mistaking it!! We shot at an adorable old abandoned barn.

Jessica came with adorable Emerson, props, backdrops, and even cake in tote! We had everything we needed for a stellar photo shoot!!!

We knocked out the session in less than 30 minutes, it must have been a record, and little Emerson was such a great sport!! I’m sure the cake helped a little ;)
The photos turned out AWESOME! I couldn’t have been happier with them!

Fast forward to tonight.

I open my mailbox to find the usual suspect mail-pile. Junk, junk, Bill, Statement…. and wait… what is THIS!?!!
Ok, I admit it, I knew it was coming, and I was waiting for it… But it doesn’t make it any less exciting! It was here!!!

One of the most rewarding parts of being a photographer, is to see my work in context. I LOVE getting birth announcements in the mail, save the dates, or invitations all using the photos that I have taken. It’s just got a cool factor of about 11 (On a scale of 1-10).

So without further a due, here is mister Emerson’s first birthday invitation!

The envelope… of course, the mailing address label is to die for cute!

And then, you open it and the cuteness just doesn’t stop!! Check out the envelope liner! (I swear, she thinks of everything!!)


Yep, that is REAL sewn on burlap, and REAL tied string! The WOW Factor is so high with this piece!!

Oh, and this is just the “slip-cover” for the card!! Just like a real book! Notice the adorable “vol. 1″ since it’s for his first birthday. Also, the price of the book is the date of his birthday… the cleverness just keeps coming!!! She even generously included my logo on there! How *sweet*!!!

Even a barcode!!

Once you remove the slip cover,  you get to the card/invite! The paper is a linen texture, which feels awesome, and goes perfectly with her vintage look and feel.


I am completely in LOVE with how amazing these turned out! Emerson is one lucky little dude! The way she put the photos together with the piece are just awesome! I love the cohesiveness of it all, and I think her overall ideas were exceeded.

If you would like some custom design work done, I highly recommend Jessica! She is super great and easy to work with, and she has a LOT to offer as a designer! You can go to her website, or check out her ETSY.

Sadly, she just broke her arm and is only taking a limited number of orders for the holidays, so if you’re interested, be sure to contact her ASAP!!! Otherwise, keep her in your back pocket, you just never know when you might need some stellar designs!!! Personally, I’m hoping she takes up party planning… you should check out the parties she’s thrown on her blog, the details are scrumptious!!!

<3

October 31, 2010
0 Comments
filed under: engagement

I know it’s been quite a while since I have posted, I hope you can forgive me! I’ve been shooting non-stop since August, and it’s been near impossible to even think about blogging.
Anyways, I thought it would be fun to show you a little of what I’ve been up to!

Here are some adorable photos of Luketan + Matt!
They were recently engaged, and wanted some photos to remember the moment!
They are such a sweet couple, and I had a blast at our session. I can tell that they are a perfect match!



August 6, 2010
5 Comments
filed under: wedding

Something that has become more and more popular over the years on your wedding day is the “First Look”. While many couples prefer to see their fiance for the first time on their wedding day be at the isle, more and more couples are opting for a “First Look” instead.

There are many positives to having a “First Look”, as opposed to seeing each other for the first time at the isle:

1) Your moment is totally private.
You are bound to get emotional on your wedding day, especially when you see the person you are about to marry, looking their best. When you arrange a “First Look”, you reserve that moment, that first glance of each other, for just the two of you. You don’t have an audience (most of the time- this can depend on the couple though), and you get to have a moment to say “hello”, and tell each other how great one another looks, as well as how excited you are for this very special day.

When you see each other for the first time down the isle (which is nerve wrecking enough, as-is) you don’t get that private moment. It’s hard to talk to each other without interrupting the flow of your ceremony. Trust me, that moment of walking down the isle will still be intense, just a little less emotional…. maybe ;)

2) You can get your formal photos done BEFORE the ceremony.
When you arrange to have a “First Look”, this means that you only have to hide from one another until this moment. Since you’ve already seen each other, it allows for time to be scheduled before the ceremony to get through all of the formal wedding party, family, and couple photos. As a photographer, this is a HUGE saving grace. Before the ceremony, people are generally happy, excited, and eager to participate. It’s a strange thing, but after the ceremony all people can think about is that they are hungry, want to party/celebrate, and give their condolences to the bride and groom- rightfully so. So you can imagine how difficult it is to get people to show up for the family photos before racing off to the reception, let alone concentrate!  Not to mention, everyone just wants to get the photos over with so they can celebrate already!

As a bride and groom, I’m sure the last thing you want to do after you tie the knot is to stand around and wait for Aunt Betty to waddle over so she can get in the photo with you. With a “First Look”, you can get this all taken care of and out of the way before-hand, so that once you say your “I do’s” there’s nothing left to worry about except having a great time!

3) Don’t worry about the tears- or the nerves!
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where the bride didn’t shed a tear the first time she saw her fiance standing there, all cleaned up and looking like a hunk. When you do a “First Look”, you can get those initial tears out without worrying about everyone seeing your mascara run. Have your Maid of Honor stand by with a couple of Q-tips, concealer and powder so you can freshen up before the formal photos, and before you make your debut to the isle!

You also get to let go of those pre-wedding jitters! Seeing your spouse-to-be can be soothing, and reassuring. Plus, you get to tell each other how much you love one another, and how great you look- boosting your confidence for the big moment!

4) “First Look” photos are always incredibly special.
While not impossible, it is much more difficult to get really great photos of both the bride and the groom’s expression when they first see each other at the isle. With you both being so far away when first seeing each other, it’s very hard to capture each person’s initial reaction. Generally, I stand at the end of the isle, closest to the wedding party. This way, I can get photos of everyone walking down the isle. I can also usually get a pretty good photo of the groom when he first sees his bride-to-be. However, it proves difficult to get a really great shot of the bride when she first walks through the door. (If you have a second photographer, this task can be easier) Also, just think of everyone who is standing on either side of the isle while you walk down. What if your second cousin decided to wear their neon yellow and purple polka dotted blouse? Or your little nephew is intrigued by the photographer, and instead of watching you, he’s picking his nose, staring at me. Trust me, these things have happened and they are GREATLY distracting in your photos.

This is one of the most cherished reactions you will ever keep in your memories. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have really great photos of it?

5) You get to enjoy your party!
You’ve spent MONTHS, sometimes YEARS putting this awesome event together. After the ceremony, instead of waiting around for everyone to get together for photos, you get to go ahead to your cocktail hour/reception and mingle, greet guests, and enjoy yourself! With everything out of the way, the nerves gone, and nothing but happiness on your mind, there’s nothing better than kicking back, and enjoying all of the hard work! So cheers! Drink a cocktail, chat with family, dance with friends! Since you’ve gotten all of your formal pics done and out of the way, you can just enjoy yourself.

I still reserve the right to steal away the bride and groom for some extra couple photos during the reception though, sometimes there are photo ops that are just too good to miss!

With all of these wonderful perks to having a “First Look”, you can see why more and more couples are opting to go this route. With the right planning and time management, your day is a breeze!

Please feel free to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns  you may have, I’m always happy to share my experiences, advice, and encouragement!

Feel free to share this article by linking your Facebook, blog, or Twitter! Please remember to credit me by name- Courtney Jade Photography :)

July 22, 2010
0 Comments
filed under: my life

So, it’s true… I’m turning 25 next month. In just a couple of weeks actually…
That’s a whole quarter of a century!!!  I can hardly believe it, and I definitely feel it… but wow.

To celebrate, I’ve rented a beach house over in Lincoln City, OR and invited all of my friends to come hang out with me! I’m hoping that everyone can make it out, and that it’s the best birthday EVER!!!

My boyfriend wanted a birthday list, and as I get older, it seems to get harder and harder to think of things that I’d like as a gift. Sure, there are a million things I would love, but the few things out of my grasp are what first come to mind. Those, however, are much too expensive for a birthday gift. So I am left stuck, trying to think of and find things that I would love to have, but probably wouldn’t just buy myself. (Mark has turned me into somewhat of a minimalist! I know, CRAZY!)

It’s actually turned out pretty fun! I forget sometimes how fun it is to make a list of things I’d like, a wish list!

Click on the pics to link to the item (for most things)

Pretty jewelry :)

A wrapping station for my Photo Biz

Pretty flowers

Film for my Polaroid cameras

Kurt Halsey 2010 calander of course!!! Featuring Mark and my portrait for July…
Actually I would REALLY love one of the large prints of this piece…

Also, this:

A cute teapot…

These DVDs…


The complete Twilight series hardcover book collection

Just about any cupcake book… (I already have Martha’s, the 500 cupcakes book, and Hello, Cupcake!)


These adorable Paul Frank headphones

Pretty frames – black and silver, all shapes/sizes.

One of these adorable Shabby Abby Camera straps

I should really get one of these, if not as a present from someone, as a present to myself! LOL I get lost EVERYWHERE….

A couple of each of these bad boys…

a Gocco printer kit…

Oh, and of course, this would be nice ;) heeheehee

ring

Gift Cards to these places:

A firepit :)


This awesome North Face hoodie! (Med.)

New perfume

Yes, all of the above would be very nice!! I’m sure if I kept thinking, I might be able to come up with a few more things… but really, I’d just like to have a really awesome day with some of my favorite people.

<3

July 5, 2010
0 Comments
filed under: commercial, family

It’s that time of the year again, and Autumn is fast approaching! I know, I know, it seems like summer hasn’t even graced us with it’s presence yet here in the NW… but before we know it, it will be September! (I’m crossing my fingers for an Indian Summer!)

Photos are a great Christmas gift, and Autumn is a great excuse to get those annual photos of you and your family,  your kids, your lover, or your pet! Skip the cheesy studio portraits and get some REAL lifestyle images this year! The NW has SO much beauty to offer, and it’s amplified in the autumn months when everything starts changing colors! It’s a great time to make some memories and get your Christmas cards out of the way (early this year!).

I am currently booking sessions on weekends in September, October & November. (I won’t be taking any sessions in December with the exception of newborns this year)
Last year I booked up completely, so make sure to book early this year to ensure your spot!

The Deets!
Sessions are $150 for up to 3 people (additional people are $25/each)
*Please note that the session fee covers only the actual session & post-processing work; prints & digital negatives are additional.*
There is a $50 non-refundable deposit required to secure your date; re-scheduling is limited and subject to availability and weather circumstances.
We will shoot at a location of your choice (Let me know if you need recommendations or ideas!)
Your photos will be ready within 2 weeks of your session date for review/purchase.

This year, give someone the gift of memories!
Contact me today more information, or to reserve your spot.

June 27, 2010
2 Comments
filed under: newborns


It has been a long while since I have shot a newborn baby girl, so when Stephanie called me and set up a session for her new bundle of joy, I was super excited!!

Sydney was a great sport, I’m really happy with the images that we got from her session. I just love how cute her room is, (Great job Stephanie & Scott!) The green is such a pretty color! Sydney was just 9 days old in these photos, congratulations Stephanie and Scott, on your new addition!

Here are a few of my favorites from their session, let me know what you think.

June 19, 2010
0 Comments
filed under: engagement, sneek peek

I had a really great shoot today, with a really awesome couple- Anna Kate + Jared.

Here are a couple cute ones I quickly pulled from their session, enjoy!
More to come soon!

June 19, 2010
6 Comments
filed under: my life

I think that people “see” me differently.
I think this often.
People often tell me things like “you have such a beautiful life”, “you’re always so happy!”, “you are SO talented! How do you do it!?”, and “I wish I could be like you, live your life”.
These are all very flattering comments, don’t get me wrong.

I do believe that I have a beautiful life. I believe that life itself is beautiful.

Actually, I believe that life is what you make of it. You get what you give. Per my experience, this is a true statement… or as much truth as I know.

However, sometimes I think that the internet has a way of masking some reality to life. This is in no way a “poor me” or “my life is so awful” post. I feel like I am extremely blessed, and very fortunate for every single bit of my life. I have an amazing boyfriend, a job I love, well to be exact, two jobs I love, and I lead a very happy life.

A good friend once told me “you are a genuinely happy person… you’re lucky, that’s a pretty rare trait.” I, of course, argued with him that it wasn’t luck, that I just try to put into this world what I would like in return, and he of course said something like “yea, that’s the perfect Hallmark answer”. I laughed, and said I was being for real, and he said something like “I’m serious, not many people see the world like you do.”

This made me think. Am I a “happy person” because I choose to focus on the good things? Am I naive? Have I just been lucky enough to avoid any major hardship in this lifetime so far?

Maybe.
Maybe a little of all of it.

But then I think… times haven’t always been great. I work really hard to earn what I get, and to be where I’m at right now. Life hasn’t always been easy. I was not a silver spoon child, nor was I showered with expensive, lavish gifts growing up. I think that what I was given was something so much greater than all of those “things”. I was given more love than I could possibly ask for. I was given an amazing family who supported me and believed in me. I was given wisdom, and the tools to earn success. I was taught that hard work reaps great rewards. I was taught that you treat others how you want to be treated. (thanks Dad <3)
When I think about that, I feel really lucky.

I see some of my friends struggle. I see them helplessly try to make it out there in this world, and fail. Get up again, and fall on their face again.
These are the same friends who’s parents paid their way through school. Who I was extremely jealous of, because they have absolutely no debt for the education and degree that they received.
And then I look at my cards. The ones I’ve been dealt, the one’s I’ve held on to, and the one’s I’ve earned.

I have a pretty good hand.

I think it’s a combination of love, luck, perseverance, and effort.

I am not perfect. I have not been given anything other than love and support to work with. I am very blessed, but I deal with the same problems and hardships as a lot of others out there.
I have debt. I have bad days. I get stressed out really easily. I spill things on my favorite outfits. I trip and fall in front of LOTS of people. I mess up, make mistakes, often. I laugh at all of the wrong, and most inappropriate times. I judge others when I shouldn’t. I am stubborn. I always bite off more than I can chew. I butt into conversations, and cut people off, often. I worry too much. I worry about money too much. I set up goals for myself, and if I don’t achieve them, I beat myself up over it. Sometimes goals that are even 100% out of my control.

I don’t know everything. And I don’t want to. But I know enough.
I know that if I waste my time and energy focusing on everything that’s negative (which I could), then there would be no time or energy left to dedicate to the things that are good and positive in my life.
Dumping time and energy into negative things is like throwing them down the sewer. You will never see anything good come from that… but the landfill will always be there to haunt you. When you spend time focusing on the good, and focusing your energy into the positive things in your life, it’s like watering a garden. You can see the fruits of your labor grow and blossom into something beautiful, something tangible.

To me, the positive is addicting.

One time in high school, I was having a hard time. One of my friends, I noticed, was constantly being negative. When I was around her, I felt awful. Dull, dismal. I soon realized that she was constantly being negative. Towards herself, and others. I made a conscious decision to really try to be happy. Consciously make an effort to turn a negative into a positive, or to just be in a good mood. This made me think about things that I loved, and made me want to surround myself with those who were also positive people. When my friend noticed this, they accused me of being “fake”, and preceded not to talk to me.  How can someone be angry with you for being happy? It wasn’t forced, yet I was making a conscious decision to focus on things that made me happy… Eventually, although I was never 100% sure of why… that “friend” and I stopped talking. It really hurt my feelings, for a really long time. We were really close, best friends even. And I didn’t know what happened. Maybe she was just too negative? Maybe I was coming off wrong. Regardless, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I don’t really know what inspired me to write this entry, but I hope that it gives you a little bit of insight into who I am, and “why” I am “so happy all of the time”.
It’s hard for me to be around negativity. I see it so clearly, dragging people down, weighing the world down, and my natural instinct is to first, try to nurture the negative. Help those people see things in a more positive light. But after so much negative feedback, regardless of the positive I try to throw in, some people just never cheer up. And so, it seems, my sunshiny rays of happiness are being sucked into a dismal abyss, and nothing is reflected back. This becomes almost as dangerous to me, as throwing something down into the sewer. If you see no fruit, no glimmer of hope… what’s left there but a happy-sucking-siren? To be quite honest, it’s exhausting. I don’t like giving up on these people, because they are often people who I know and love. But sometimes, for my own sanity and health, I know that I need to take a break from the situation. It’s kind of a catch-22.

Anyways, this has gotten to be MUCH more extensive than I started it out to be… and i’m exhausted! I have 2 shoots tomorrow- an engagement, and a newborn, and I still need to make sure my batteries are charged and my beanbag is stuffed, so I’d better hop off to bed!
Thanks for listening.

Oh, and I love you Dad, happy Father’s day.
Thank you for the love. And the lessons <3

June 9, 2010
5 Comments
filed under: my life

Being an artist seems to come with a few fun, yet random, perks. One of my favorite (and this one is not so random), is having a good network of creative friends. I am constantly inspired, challenged, and encouraged by my creative network of friends (I will now refer to them as my CNF), and I often find myself feeling very blessed to know such talented and amazing people.

Some of the people in my CNF I have known since childhood, others, I happen to meet here and there, and everywhere :) (Thank you Dr. Suess!). More recently, at one of our favorite “spots”, Jade, we met Josh. Josh was our waiter the first time that we went to Jade, and he was probably the friendliest waiter I’ve ever had. You can read more about our first trip to Jade here.

Anyways, Josh is a foodie himself. I’m not quite sure if he refers to himself as that, but he definitely knows the best places in Portland to eat good food. He has a blog called PDXploration where he writes and posts photos of his dining experiences. Check it out, he has some great info and his pics are awesome! He sets up group dinners once in a while for his CNF, and I was lucky enough to be added to the list!

This is the first of the group dinners that we were able to attend, but it definitely won’t be the last! A group of fun, creative people, delicious food, and a warm inviting atmosphere is sure to mean a good time!
And now, I will relish and reminisce all about our fabulous, awesomely delicious dinner ::siiigghhh::

Taste Unique
Just a few blocks (literally) from the house that I grew up in, in my old neighborhood, there is a freshly renovated strip of buildings. In that little block, is a cute little place called “Taste Unique”. They say themselves that “Taste Unique isn’t a real restaurant. If you walk in at lunchtime we will seat up to 10 people and you can choose
one of our daily specials, but our appearance places us somewhere between a Bistro and a Deli.”



They have an array of delicious dishes that you can take home and reheat for your family as well. They also offer cooking classes, and hold special dinner events once in a while. Check out their calendar for the most up to date happenings!

The owners, husband and wife, are extremely friendly! They are kind, warm, and well, let’s be honest, who doesn’t get that cozy new best friend feeling when being fed amazing foods by someone? Ok, maybe it’s just me…. hahaha! Anyways, they are great! Lawrence is from Rome, Stefani from Italy, and together, they create some fantastic dishes!

We started off with the Millefoglie di Verdure- delicious multilayered casserole of 7 different vegetables.


This was INSANELY delicious!! Each vegetable is cooked separately and then stacked, so you get the most flavor out of each  different ingredient. (Mark’s favorite was the zucchini on top- YUM!) Stefani explained to us that when she was in cooking class, they spent a LOT of time practicing cutting vegetables, so instead of tossing them, she found a way to make something delicious out of them… ok, well she was modest, I added the delicious part! I can’t help it! I felt like a judge on Iron Chef eating this one, superb quality.

Needless to say, I don’t think any of us left a morsel of this dish on our plates.

Next was the Risotto con gli Asparagi- Risotto with asparagus and a drop of lemon. Topped with real home ground Parmigiano.

Ummm, can you say “comfort food”??? This dish was something I could eat on a daily basis. The cheese, the asparagus, the risotto… mmmm it was all just sooo yummy!

Up next, just when I was almost full, came the next dish- Fettine al Marsala Beef cutlets cooked in Marsala and served with ‘summer style’ mashed potato side.



I also snagged a couple shots of them preparing this dish in the open kitchen

This dish was incredible. The food was all so simple, so pure. The flavors were bold and rich, you could really taste the Marsala, the beef, the potatoes mixed with celery root. Truly gourmet food.
They also served us fresh foccacia bread (baked every hour, fresh) with an olive oil and some type of salt sprinkled on top. I’ve never had bread that wasn’t garlic bread that was SO good!!

For dessert, we had -Maritozzi con la Panna -fresh baked sweet bread stuffed with whipped cream. One of the most famous Roman traditions.


Simple, light, fluffy, a tad bit sweet… I could have eaten about 4 of these they were so good! Lawrence was telling us that in Rome, they are no kind of delicacy at all, more that they are “street food”, served in bars, dunked in coffee (which would have also been REALLY good).

Even baby Maya loved it!

We were also served fresh Caffè, which is more amazing than regular espresso or coffee. First, the little cup is coated with a sweet cream, then the espresso is poured in. The sugar in the cream stabilizes the shots of espresso so that it doesn’t turn bitter, and it also leaves a beautiful creme on the top. Y-U-M! Mark doesn’t even like coffee, but he didn’t leave a drop of this liquid deliciousness behind!!!


The restaurant itself also has a warm charm. It is decorated with old family photos and real kitchen gadgets that have been handed down from generations before. They even have some articles of clothing hanging from the ceiling that were given to Stefani from her family. Their logo is brilliant, a silhouette of Stefani’s mother, from an old photo of her cooking. They also have an awesome chalkboard menu. I love chalkboard menus.

All in all, if you aren’t drooling by this point, then something must be wrong with you! If you live in the Portland area, stopping by this fabulous little joint is a must. Eat in, take something home and be the “dinner hero”, or sign up for a class. Stefani & Lawrence, the owners, are genuine and kind, and they clearly just want to share the love of good food. Mark and I will be going back for sure, Italian is my favorite, and this place is a home run! Thank you so much for your hospitality and delicious food!!! Taste Unique gets an A+ from us both.

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