Portland Photo Diary

Before you get in too deep into this post, we feel like we should warn you that there are going to be a lot of pictures, a lot of pictures of plants (it is Portland after all), followed by a rant. We would also like to say that we have nothing against hipsters or trendies or anybody really in general. The following rant is just what we’ve been feeling and noticing recently. Hopefully you will find it entertaining (because you just might agree with us).

Places Featured: Burnside Bridge, Pearl District, Clyde Commons, ACE Hotel, Stumptown Coffee, Washington State Park, Portland Japanese Gardens, Portland Rose Gardens, Lan Su Chinese Garden, and Northwest District. 

Of all the memories we have from Portland, one stands out above the rest. It was our first of two visits to Powell’s Bookstore. We got lost among the shelves filled with stories told by many great authors. One particular book stood out to me as I was exploring, This is Portland: The City You’ve Heard You Should Like. It was a sign (literally and metaphorically). I had to add this to the already fat stack of books under my arms. After a few of my friends have visited Bridgetown (a fun fact about Portland that I learned through this book was its overabundance of nicknames), I’ve been told countless times that I would love Portland. They said that I would love its quirkiness, its endless supply of good coffee shops, and its greenery. And after loyally following some cool people from PNW and liking countless photos of redwood trees, I began to believe my friends and the pictures. I started to fantasize about adventures in Portland and so when our anniversary rolled around, I knew that that’s where I wanted to celebrate and so we did. My friends and the photos were right—I did enjoy the greenery and having easy access to good coffee, but just like with the book, reality started to settle in. After a few moments, I started to get bored both with the book and with Portland. That’s when I realized the great disconnect between the online world and real life.

You’ve probably seen the memes that show Online vs. IRL. For a while, we thought those memes were funny because we too are guilty of emptying the contents of our bags to accessorize our iced coffees or to remove things from tables to get that perfect clean and minimal shot. However, after leaving several places that looked cool on our Instagram feed disappointed (i.e. coffee shops that only had one cool corner where everyone took pictures, restaurants that had food that looked better than it tasted, etc.), we’ve become a little jaded to hype and here-say. With all the build up, Portland was a let down. Thankfully, we always manage to have fun and find the beauty in places when we’re together no matter where we are so we were able to make the most of our trip. We made sure to take in all the greenery that we can’t find in sunny LA and basked in the lack of sales tax. This is not to say that all places haven’t lived up to the hype or ended up being even cooler (i.e. the Japanese Gardens in Portland and the Bates Motel in Silverlake). This is also not to say that we’ll stop exploring and trying to find places to hype on our own, or that you too should become jaded by what’s on your Instagram feed. We would just like to resolve to be a little bit more skeptical of the world, and to also be more content with the city we live in. For us, it really can’t get any better than living in LA, and every time we leave LA only confirms our love for our city. We are also resolved to do our part to not overhype places. While we can’t promise that we’ll stop overpaying for our coffee, we can promise that we’ll keep it real here on Be the Plebeian. *insert fist emoji* 


  1. This kind of disappointment has happened to me, too, especially with places like restaurants or clubs. Everything looks perfect on Instagram, while the reality is almost never perfect. But you know what? I think that's fine, because internet exposes us to places and things that we wouldn't have opportunity to see otherwise. Sometimes reality can be disappointing, but sometimes we can stumble upon treasures. As for me, Instagram and Pinterest have made me want to see places that I probably wouldn't think of visiting. I just think it's important to discover places on our own, not following a path of others.
    As for Portland, I really enjoyed these photos and I see that you've turned it into a good experience after all 🙂




  2. that's one thing with all these social media.. everything all of a sudden looks picture perfect! the expectations are set high and when it doesn't deliver, it just really disappoints. I can totally agree with your thoughts on the concept of “the hype” and yet, I'm still currently finding myself looking forward to my upcoming trip to Portland. But like what you said, it's not just because of the supposed “hyped” notions on the city that I'm excited for my trip, but moreso the company of friends that I'm going there with.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful shots!!! The Japanese Garden ones look exceptionally delightful!

    Back to blogging at Animated Confessions


  3. I have never been to Portland-the only thing I know is that Jessica Day (New Girl) is from there! But it looks gorgeous and I hope that one day I will be able to visit. I love the picture of the trees with the sun streaming down. Glad you had a memorable time 🙂
    Olivia | Her Name Was Celebration


  4. I was just in Portland last weekend and since I live 3 hours away from it, I'm somewhat familiar with the city. They have some great restaurants but you're right, a lot of things there are overhyped. The city is also very small so there's not much to do there. Come up to Seattle sometimes! 🙂



  5. The photos are amazing; wish the stream had never ended. But I hear what you're saying. If the feeling wasn't there, there is nothing you can do to fake it. I'd be interested in visiting Portland one day; I'll just make sure that my expectations aren't too high.



  6. Okay, this confirms my love for this blog. You always take the best photos. Thanks for that. You find cool places and cool ways to portray those places. You desire experiences in life and you make me want to do the same. Then you keep it real. I'm glad you got to experience Portland. I am afraid in our social media culture we want to look cool, do cool things, and feel cool. I know I am guilty. It's a good reminder to keep it real.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style


  7. These photos are amazingly beautiful, you really have a brilliant eye for details omg! <3
    And I agree that this window dressing can be super annoying sometimes especially when relying on IG advisors while visiting new places.. but I guess it's just something people will always do to get that perfect shot for their feed. 🙂
    Loved this post!



  8. I know exactly what you mean! Portland is my city and I definitely don't agree with all the hype it gets. There are nice parts of portland, but this city is by no means as cool as it is made out to look (nothing like San Francisco, Charleston or the French Quarter of New Orleans).

    While I do not find my city to be the most amazing place (although I still enjoy parts of it), I am so in love with my state. Oregon. IS. Amazing.

    While Portland is overrated, there are a million underrated places in Oregon. So many amazing hikes, hidden lakes, fields of wild flowers, etc.

    If you ever come back to this state, email me and I will give you a list of all the GOOD places to go! 🙂

    xo, mikéla / simplydavelyn.com


  9. Your photography is absolutely magnificent! Love the way you captured Portland… now I want to visit there too! Any place with a strong coffee game is an instant win my book 😉 And YES, you couldn't have said it better. Some places can be so over-hyped thanks to the magic of Instagram/editing apps. There's been many times where I've hunted down a certain cafe or street just because it looked beautiful online, but in reality, it was a lot “less magical”. I admit I can be obsessed with finding these Instagram-worthy locations and trying to perfect every shot, but I know I need to learn to just live in the moment.



  10. I definitely think some places can be a disappointment if you only get to see a portion of them on Instagram. That being said, Portland is one of my favorite cities and I think you did a great job at capturing how cool it is in your photos. I was fortunate to have locals show me around while I was there, so I really enjoyed my time there. Powell's is such a cool place and I always stop by several times when I'm in Portland. If you ever feel motivated to drive up there again, you should visit Cathedral Park because St. John's Bridge is a sight to see.

    Sweet Helen Grace


  11. Over-hyping can definitely ruin our experience and enjoyment, whether that be places or movies, etc. I'm glad you guys still managed to have a great trip and find the beauty and adventure that Portland has to offer. 🙂

    <3 Trou
    The Peculiar Trouth


  12. I'm surprised you didn't have as great of a time in Portland as you thought you would. I haven't been in a few years but I've always loved it and it seems to have gotten so much “cooler” recently! Love your pictures, the floral shots especially. I think maybe you should've tried some more outdoorsy things because the Pacific Northwest has some really beautiful scenery IMO!

    xx freshfizzle


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