Let’s talk about Portland

Just a couple of weekends ago my fiance and I decided to take a quick last minute trip to Portland. I had never been… and it has suddenly become a city that everyone talks about. With the popularity of the show “Portlandia” and a recent episode of “United Shades of America with Kamau Bell” – it made it’s way onto my list of places I wanted to see.

This is the first time in a very long time that I’ve blogged about a personal experience, and I want to share this for several reasons. There is a LOT to say about Portland. Is it as cool as they say? Uh, yes. Is it as “hipster” as they say? I didn’t think so… Is the beer as good as they say? Yes! Are there things you wish you knew before going? ….. Yes.

But let’s start with the fun stuff… VooDoo Doughnuts!brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-1brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-2brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-3brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-4brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-5brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-6brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-7brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-8

It’s well worth the wait! They taste like your average delicious doughnut if you get a regular one… but they have so many different crazy types like I’ve never seen. The line is long but it moves quickly… and all the craziness is worth it!

Next up: the countries largest street fair!

brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-9The creativity in Portland… the entrepreneurial spirit… the friendliness… is all unlike anywhere else.

Now for the beer!


I highly recommend the beer bike tour at Back Pedal Brewing! We had a blast. We were the only two people not a part of the 40th birthday celebration crew that was on board, but Randy made friends by buying the birthday boy a shot.

We stayed at Hotel Monaco which was an incredible experience as well. The staff was so professional and friendly – everyone ready to jump and help with whatever you need. And each night from 5pm to 6pm they held a complimentary cocktail/mingle hour with a pianist. We loved it!

Next Up: Japanese Gardens.

brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-14brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-15brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-16brianna-caster-and-co-photographers-portland-18We walked for miles and miles and miles that day. The gardens were breath taking, peaceful and so very very unique (at least in this part of the world!). I was surprised at how many people were there. I didn’t realize that it was such a huge attraction, and sadly that takes away some of the peacefulness of the park, but it was still lovely! We walked around town on our way back to our hotel and enjoyed the city.



The night vibes were powerful in Portland! Pok Pok was easily the best food we’ve had in a long time. I want to go back JUST to eat there! Again, in credible service there and at the Richmond Bar across the street. So much love!

And finally… what do I wish I knew? What does everyone seem to forget to tell you about when you are heading to Portland? The homeless population. It is an intensely, and shockingly large population and it ripped my heart right out of my chest. Many say the reason that Portland has so many people living on the streets is because everyone in Portland is so kind. In many cities around the world it’s illegal to sleep on streets, but in this loving city… no one tells you to go away. You can literally sleep anywhere and no one bothers you.

I couldn’t get my mind off the sadness until I came home and did some research. I wanted to find out why the population is so large, and what I could do to donate to help in some way. It turns out there are a LOT of programs and an on going effort to help relieve the homeless population by providing more housing and shelters for those in need. Unfortunately right now the wait lists for much of the housing currently provided is 6 months to 2 years. I obviously did not attach any photos of this because I didn’t want to exploit anyone, or make them feel like a spectacle by photographing them.

As we come into the season of giving, and as the winter comes upon Oregon… let’s pay forward our blessings of a roof over our heads, and food in our bellies by giving back to those living without.

Here are some links:

To give funds, clothing, food, etc. click here:

Donate Food, Clothing and More to Portland Rescue Mission

To learn more about the Homeless Crisis in Portland click here:


With love and hope for the homeless,



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