Portland In a Weekend

Portland is weird and proud of it! Because this city is so quirky, there is always something to do. Whether that is checking out the Saturday Market, taking a hike in the middle of the city, or catching a flick at Kennedy School, there is never a dull moment.

Although I would recommend visiting Portland for at least one week, I know for many this is not always possible.  So, I present a Weekend Guide to Portland

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I Love This Cook Book and You Should Too

At about the age of 12, my mother gave up cooking, my father would not attempt it and me and my brother never thought to learn. The older siblings were out of the house so, we were always kind of on our own for dinner. You would never see us sit at the table as a family after that point, unless it was a special occasions. Never would you smell stuffing on the stove or ham in the oven. In our house it was more like, “Pizza’s HERE!” or “What do you want, hot dog or hamburger?”


I have never held this against my parents. They had five children and I was the youngest of them all. Not to mention the house was small and the kitchen was tiny. If I were them, I would be tried of cooking too. But it did lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle of myself and those who still lived at home. It wasn’t until I was 24, when that began to change.

I finally decided to get out on “my own” and move to Portland and freeload off my sister and her wife for six months. A couple weeks into my stay they gave me a gift, a cookbook. The Can’t Cook Book. They must have grown tired of seeing me eat quesadillas and peanut butter sandwiches on a daily bases.

At first I was like, “Wow, thanks guys…” Thinking to myself, “seriously, you call this a gift?” But, after looking at the colorful pages and quick easy tips, I gave it a go.

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Newbee Friendly Bars to Hit in Chicago

Chicago is BIG. Granted it is not as big as New York or LA, but when you ask Chicagoans where are the places to check out, they start giving you a million different places in neighborhoods you have never heard of. “Check out The Green Mill in Uptown” or “You have to go to Bottled Blonde in River North”. What they don’t tell you is where these places really are, how to get there, or how much it is going to cost you.

Don’t get me wrong The Green Mill is one of my favorite places in the city. I would go there every weekend if I lived close by or if I had the cash to support the habit. The cover to get in the door varies. I have walked into a $25 cover and let’s just say the drinks ain’t cheap.

So, what are some alternatives that are easy to get to, affordable, and guaranteed to have a good time? Let me help you out 🙂

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My Heritage

My whole life I have been told I am Irish. “Your skin is so pale, because you’re Irish. Your hair is so thick, because you’re Irish. You have so many freckles, because you are so Irish. You’re hair turn gray at 12. Well, that’s because you’re Irish.” Forever, I have heard the same thing over and over and over again. Not to mention, it wasn’t just my family who told me, but friends, neighbors, even strangers. “It’s the Irish in you.” Well man, were they wrong.

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Book 3 of 24: The Sun is Also a Star

At the age of 17, like the characters within this book I also dated someone outside my race. That said, at the time it wasn’t really “dating”. I didn’t call him “boyfriend” and he didn’t call me “girlfriend”, but we definitely had something. What that was, I am not too sure.

Although the neighborhood I grew up in was very diverse, the people I knew and hung out with were just like me: white , middle class, Irish folk living on the South Side of Chicago. I was always comfortable within this community and when I did something different, I never thought I would be judged, until one moment.

I decided to take my “friend” to the senior dance. When I told my mother her immediate response was, “Well, you better tell your Father.” I had taken other boys to school dances and my dad never batted an eye. Why was this different?

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Last Minute Get Away

When you moving back in with your parents, as an adult you quickly learn that its nice to get away. Hence why Dan and I skipped away for a long weekend. We chose the hour and 30-minute drive from Chicago, to the town of Utica, IL.

Within Utica, IL is Starved Rock State Park. This park is one of the few places within Illinois where you can find the wonders of nature. As I am sure most of you know, Illinois is in the plains, meaning it is flat, flat and more flat. Dan and I had hiked at Starved Rock a few times and loved it. So we thought, why not!

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