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I don’t think I can accurately describe how special it was to be able to see these costumes and props from the movies that have brought me such wonderment and comfort over the years… While I was staying with my brother, we watched Episodes 4-6 again, and it reminded me of our childhood and how these movies fostered our imagination and creativity over the years…

We stared deep into the eyes of the exalted one, Jabba the Hut, oggled Princess Leia’s gold bikini, felt the plight of Han Solo frozen in carbonite, felt the comfort of Master Yoda, marvelled at the Imperial fleet, and trembled at the feet of Darth Vader!

Thanks again to the Telus World of Science Edmonton for hosting this amazing exhibit, and to my brother for sharing it with me!

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I flew to Edmonton this past weekend to visit my brother and to visit the most wonderfully epic exhibit that brought me right back to my childhood – Star Wars Identities at the Telus World of Science.  Ian bought us the tickets a year ago, and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since!

I tried not to read too much about the exhibit beforehand, I already knew I would love it no matter what, and it far exceeded my expectations!  Before entering the exhibit, we were given a bracelet to build our Star Wars Identity through interactive stations throughout the exhibit!  I chose to build a wookiee character, as they have always been my favourite, and we started touring the exhibit, looking at how the early beginnings of the characters shaped the people they became…

We got to see the actual costumes worn by stormtroopers and by actor Jeremy Bulloch as the incomparable Boba Fett in Return of the Jedi, beautiful sketches of the aliens brought to life at the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in A New Hope and the mask worn by the actor Tommy Ilsley who played Ponda Baba – best known as the alien who has issues with young Luke at the bar and loses an arm for it – thanks Obi-Wan (picture 16)!

My favourite feature in the 1st section of the exhibit was C-3PO!  All polished and shining a brilliant gold – as he often was for medal ceremonies, being worshipped by Ewoks, etc – the costume on display had been worn by Anthony Daniels and I couldn’t take enough photos of it!  With trusty and resourceful R2D2 by his side, these two really made my day – I would have left a very happy camper if that had been all there was to the exhibit, but there was so much more….

On our last full day in Portland, Ryan and I started our day with coffee and breakfast with the restaurant right below our hotel room at the Ace – Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen!  I had the cheese blintzes and ooooomg heavenly!

After breakfast we walked along Stark St. to Tanner Goods.  Ryan had been eyeing their leather camera strap for a few months and decided to invest!  It’s so beautiful and crafted exactly the way he wanted – he’s very happy with it!  Portland just kept getting better and better!

Of course after a bit more wandering, it was time to eat again!  Next food cart we wanted to try – so we walked back to Food Cart central on SW 10th and Alder to the Grilled Cheese Grill!  I tried the simple, but oh so cheesy “The Gabby” with a side of tomato soup (exactly the way it should be enjoyed) and Ryan tried :The B.L.T.G.C.” – two very happy campers after that lunch!

We walked around all of downtown practically, walked by the LONG perpetual line at Voodoo Donuts, snapped the “Keep Portland Weird” mural, explored the Pearl District, (picked up my new baby Rockie at Nordstrom – SO happy with him), visited the incredible Powell’s Books (wow books) and ate the cutest and most delicious little burgers at Little Big Burger!  We brought back some of the spicy catsup they use – Camden’s Catsup – best ketchup I’ve ever had! Phewf!

We finished our trip with a walk to the Burnside bridge at night to photograph the White Stag sign from the bridge!

Ryan and I (and our tastebuds) thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Portland!  We are already planning our next visit to see the East side (the land across the bridges)!  Thank you to everyone who made it so special!! xoxo

Photos 1, 2, 7 and 22 by Ryan, rest by me.

Our next day in Portland, Ryan and I started out with coffee and scones at Stumptown Coffee (conveniently attached to the lobby of the Ace) and set out to walk around Downtown!  We walked down to Waterfront Park to admire all the bridges (SO many!) and to enjoy the beautiful sunshine (we’ve heard it’s similar to Vancouver in the winter months so we tried to soak up as much as possible, as we will be back in the rainy season)!

In our wanderings, we happened upon The English Dept, a beautiful bridal boutique I’d admired from afar during our wedding planning!  Ryan was a good sport and came in with me, and patiently waited while I drooled over in-house designer Elizabeth Dye’s gorgeous gowns and ornate hairpieces by my wedding hairpiece designer Myra Callan of Twigs & Honey – swoon!  I can’t wait for Myra’s book to arrive (c’mon Chapters!!)

After all that drooling and swooning, I was pretty hungry, so we walked down the block to Food Cart Central (SW10th and Alder) to check out one of Portland MANY food trucks!  We had seen EuroTrash on Eat St. and decided to give the Escargot and Squid Fana a taste!  Crunchy, tangy, spicy, salty creamy… i think that might be everything I like in a meal! 🙂  Next time we’re down I want to try their Chorizo and Chips!

After lunch we wandered around taking photos and videos pretty much all afternoon!  After all that walking and recording we were… hungry!  Ryan and I hadn’t been for oysters in ages, so we made a pit stop at the hotel then walked down a few blocks to The Parish!  We had been flipping through a Portland Monthly (The Food Lover’s Guide to Portland – good timing hey?) we picked up at Whole Foods and came across a feature about must-try oysters and wanted to try some American oysters!  A pleasant surprise in Portland (in addition to 0% sales tax) is that almost every restaurant/pub has a happy hour!  The Parish had cheap drinks and dollar oysters, so Ryan and I got a few dozen oysters and martinis (only 2 martinis)!  Our faves of the night, by far, were the Chelsea Gems from Washington!

For dinner, we walked down half a block to Oven and Shaker for PIZZA!  It was the BEST pizza we’ve had in a long time… second ONLY to Pizzeria Prima Strada in Victoria (miss you guys will always be my favourite!!)  Ryan had his favourite Magherita and I tried the Bianca – amazing (we even went back a few days later and had the pizzas again!)  We finished the night with their house made olive oil gelato and oooooh my gosh, the BEST dessert I’ve ever had (we went back just for the ice cream the next day)!  Thanks to everyone who made our Day 2 tasty and memorable!

Photos 9, 10, 12-14, 16 and 17 taken by Ryan, rest by me!

Ryan and I recently returned from our very first vacation together!  We decided to visit Portland, Oregon for the beer and the food, and boy we were not disappointed!  Boarding our Amtrak Cascades train at 6:40AM on Tuesday morning was a little bit of an early start for us, but it was a painless (except for Ryan’s neck) voyage for 8 hours to reach Union Station in PDX!  The weather was beautiful and we packed light, so we walked to our hotel on Stark and 11th – the Ace Hotel Portland!  I really loved the unique, hip/industrial decor, definitely a breath of fresh air after staying in too many chain hotels!  After Ryan and I settled and unpacked a bit (and checked our twitter, facebook, emails, etc), we headed down the street to try a Portland Brew Pub – Deschutes!  After a tasty flight of beer and some much needed burgers, we wandered around downtown then returned to the Ace for a much needed sleep!  PDX Day 2 next!

Photos 3, 5, 9 and 15 by Ryan, rest by me.