Around Portland: The Governor Hotel

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Last week I stayed downtown for a couple of nights at The Governor Hotel.  The Governor was built in the early 20th century and is a beautiful historic building on SW 11th Avenue, right in the heart of the city.

Pros:

  • The location is perfect–close to public transportation and near some cute little boutique shops and local restaurants.  (Not to mention it’s across the street from one of the best food cart pods in the city.)
  • The rooms are generously sized and the bed was fantastic.

Cons:

  • I feel like the hotel is having a bit of an identity crisis.  If you look at the website, the rooms are presented MUCH differently than they were in person.  That kind of tone on tone look seems like it’s more in line with the hotel’s character, but you can see what I got above.  Deep green walls with a bicycle pillow and owl clock (??)  Hipster meets … I don’t even know what?  Mini bar and surfaces just seemed cluttered, kind of like an after thought.  Style differences aside, the room was clean and I slept well, so it’s just more of an aesthetics thing.
  • The staff was hit or miss.  I either got great service or whatever a shade under “meh” service is.  The guys at the door and the women who answered the phone for room service were fantastic–helpful and cheerful.  The women who worked the front desk regardless of the hour didn’t even smile or greet me in any way.  It was odd.  The woman who checked me out was a bit nicer, but there’s no warmth or charm happening at the front desk at all.
  • Room service for breakfast doesn’t start until 7:30 a.m. which I found odd?  Especially since they advertise 24 hour room service and I needed to be to work at 8.  No biggie for the morning I didn’t need to be at work, but it just seemed late?  “Starbucks is open” was the curt response I got when I called to order.
  • I don’t think you have the ability to order movies on the TV?  In the hotel’s defense, I didn’t call to ask, but the remote looked like you could but when I tried I got nowhere.

Would I stay there again?  Maybe?  I really liked the location and the history of the building, but all the other little stuff was a bit grating.  I may have hit them on an off few days though, so it wouldn’t surprise me if down the road I tried them again.

Another hotel in downtown Portland. 

Charmed I’m Sure: Grocery Store Hydrangeas

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I bought these little packs of hydrangeas for $6 at Trader Joe’s last weekend.  That’s $2 a stem!  I cut them way down, removed almost all of their leaves and popped them in bud vases all over the house.  They have been such a lovely, fresh and charming addition.  And they’re holding up so well!  They’re thirsty little buggers though, I’ve been having to refill their water every other day and they show no signs of giving up.  I’m happy to keep them as long as they want aaaaand will most likely be bringing home some more of their siblings this weekend.

Project Pretty: Guest Bath

During the laundry extravaganza that came with updating my master bath, I happened to keep glancing at my guest bath.

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What?  You don’t use your sink as a laundry basket for kitchen towels?

Here’s what happens when you raid your linen closet:

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Ahhh much better.  I ended up putting that little purple lotus flower in with the box to drop off at the Goodwill.  I just didn’t love it anymore.  And I want to love everything in my house, you know?

That green shower curtain was going to go in my master bath, but it felt a bit too much after my bedroom makeover turned out so soft.  I love it in here though.  It’s like a nice fresh pop of color in a small room.

I’ll update the towels (these guys are over 10 years old!) and then this little room will be done and ready for some guests!

Project Pretty: Master Bath After

So just a reminder, this is what we started with before:

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And here is the much improved after!

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Before:

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After:

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Before:

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After:

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Nothing that some fresh new towels and a new shower curtain can’t fix!  I raided my home for everything else and love, love, love having that fresh hydrangea bloom in there.  So beautiful.

I’m pondering a way to clean up the shower junk too, but for now it’s at least all corralled and the shelf things in the shower are clear.

Quick guest bath perk up tomorrow!  And then where, oh where will Project Pretty end up next?  Your guess is as good as mine!  (Seriously, I have no idea.)

Project Pretty: Master Bath Before

Kind of like my bedroom, my bathroom was faring no better.

I spent the bulk of last year decluttering.  I went room by room and decided what I wanted to stay and what needed to go.  A LOT went.  The problem was that after SO much went, my place looked a little blah.  Lifeless.  Tired.  Hence “Project Pretty.”  I’m bound and determined to pretty up my spaces a bit and decided to start with the stuff that drives me nuts.

Allow me to guide you through a tour of Exhibit A …

Meet the broken towel bar and my terrible storage solution (read: the floor).

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The cluttered shower shelves (there’s one more you can’t see) and shrunken shower curtain.  (Never buy 100% cotton and then proceed to wash it in hot water and dry it in the dryer.  Tip of the day.)

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And then in my defense, I had started giving everything a scrub down and had just returned from running a couple of errands and had dropped everything on this counter, so it’s not noooormally this cluttered.  (And P.S.  I don’t keep my toothbrush out on the counter, I just charge it overnight once a week or so.)  (Okay, disclaimers officially over.)

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So what’s a girl to do?

Cry.

Fix the broken towel bar.

Declutter the mess in the shower.

Get a new shower curtain.

Get some new towels while you’re at it.

Clean up the counter top and make it something you like to look at.

Luckily this project went MUCH faster than my bedroom!  I even snuck in a makeover on the guest bath while I waited for my new towels to dry.   See the after photos tomorrow!

Charming Little Book: The Secret Garden

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I know Spring doesn’t officially begin until later in March, but at Chez Beck?  It’s here.  I switched my purse out and everything!  I had a great weekend giving the two bathrooms upstairs a “Project Pretty” makeover.  Details on that to follow probably tomorrow-ish.  (My camera is aaaaallll the way upstairs and I’m aaaaaallll the way downstairs.)

In the meantime, I thought one of my favorite books should get a little highlight.  Everyone knows about The Secret Garden but when was the last time you actually read it?  My copy was given to me by my grandmother 30 years ago.  It is from John Cole’s, an old cute little bookshop on perhaps one of the prettiest streets in one of the prettiest cities–Prospect Street in La Jolla, CA.  John Cole’s has since closed, the paper cover is long gone and its pages have the perfect patina.  Gam read to me as a child, and I sat next to her bed and read sections to her the morning she died.  This book is hallowed territory for me and I try and read it once a year.

“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something were pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast.  Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing.  Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people.  So it must be all around us.” 

The Tonight Show

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I was never really a Tonight Show watcher.  First of all, I’m rarely up late enough to tune in and Jay Leno seemed funny enough, but it was just never something I got into.

I happened to catch Jimmy Fallon’s first show on Hulu and was so incredibly charmed by his monologue (you can watch it on NBC here) that I’ve ended up tuning in to each episode since.  I catch myself literally laughing out loud in my living room and if I’m not laughing I’m usually smiling pretty big.  Completely charmed.