I checked the status of my passport and it's in the mail for delivery! I should be getting it on the 31st so it looks like it took about 4 weeks for processing. I'm so ready to leave now but I've got 5 more weeks to wait and it kind of feels like forever.
My business cards arrived too and they turned out perfectly! I couldn't be happier!
This Sunday I found out my dividend from REI was $135 so I was about to purchase most of the final, much needed items for the trip. (Compass, flashlight, toiletry bag, laundry kit, compact tote for the markets)
The pair of shoes I decided on were Teva Westwater Shoes in Bracken. With the dividend and a 20% off coupon they were only $53 so I'm happy. They look comfy and had some great reviews for people who have traveled and walked around a lot with them. They aren't as stylish as the Dansko's but they are a lot cheaper (and technically "free" since I used my dividend money).
As many of you know I love socks and couldn't resist 50% off nice wool socks. I bought a pair of Lorpen Merino Light Hiking Socks in Turquoise and as soon as I put them on I decided I wanted to buy a couple more. They are comfy and perfect for the trip. My dad's girlfriend, Deborah bought me some Smartwool biking socks for Christmas that I absolutely love and these are similar. Unfortunately, my Siamese mix cat really likes wool and she chewed up the green pair I got for Christmas. I can't help but to love her though, check out the cuteness:
I keep all wool and knitted items where she cannot reach them now :)
So, I confess, I did splurge on something I didn't need for this trip. I bought the Haiku Messenger Bag for everyday use in the brown color. I doubt it will make it to Europe because I already have a purse/carry on bag but ever since my rock climbing gear got stolen from my car back in November I haven't had a backpack and I've desperately needed something to pack clothes/gear in for overnights. This was affordable, practical and very cute.
And lastly, I bought the Mountain Hardwear La Rambla Skirt in Espresso because it's lightweight, matches the shoes and looks comfy to travel.
I'm choosing a lot of REI clothes to bring with me. They are expensive but from experience they are quite durable and really great for long trips. The style is kind of athletic-chic and usually the clothes are flattering on my figure. I always feel comfortable purchasing REI clothes because they are so great with returns. If something doesn't fit or I just don't like it they are amazing and refund or exchange immediately.
The funny thing is I started out not wanting to over-plan this trip and now I'm pretty much documenting and planning everything. I am just too excited. At least I haven't made any day itineraries yet! I plan on picking a few things from each city I'd like to see and planning when I get there. For now I'm mostly concerned with packing and space. I'm a clinical over-packer and in order for me to minimize how much I end up packing it helps to be organized and also buy a few new outfits I'm excited about.
It will be nice when I'm finally able to leave so I post a little more about where I am and less about the silly things I'm buying. One month left... My sister is going to be in Europe at the same time as me but she is going to be on a cruise with my Grandma. I'd love to meet up with them but they are going to be pretty far North so right now it's not in the plans. I don't even think Claire (sister) knows her itinerary yet either. We'll see though, it could be fun to plan a mini-trip!
Last weekend I got to enjoy the opening of the Portland Farmers Market at PSU and I may do the same tomorrow. I bought some amazing cherry strawberry lavender jam from one of my favorite booths and also picked up some nettles and wild mushrooms to make a delicious soup. I have leftovers for dinner tonight! The only downside of the market was scoring an $80 parking ticket for being a foot or so over the yellow line because car behind me parked out of their space. Yep, awesome. I won't be paying that ticket for a few months. And tomorrow I'll be biking! Hopefully the weather is nicer. Around this time Portlands weather is pretty bi-polar; one minute it's pouring and the next it's sunny and warm. Mornings are crisp and cool and afternoons are warm, bright and sunny. This is why we learn to embrace layers! I will miss Portland while I'm gone.