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Portlandia Part 1/4: The Unplugged Vacation

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I'm a Boudoir Photographer located in Norfolk, VA on a mission to empower people to own their sexuality, step into their power, and embrace their authentic selves!
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Hi, I'm LeZandra

It is such  crazy experience to be sitting here in my home and feeling as though something is off. The place is ever so slightly unfamiliar. Which is strange, because we cleaned it just before our trip. I laid everything out neatly as I would typically like to have it, yet looking at my nightstand felt unfamiliar. The lighting was also weird. And the air seemed different somehow.

I don’t know how the person who left this place just 10 days ago is so vastly different than the one that is typing this now. But I know that she just is.

Days before the trip I decided to mark new beginnings with a new look. I’ve had purple hair for well over a decade now, so I figured why not mix things up?

I wanted a vacation full of introspection, growth, and relaxation and damn this trip did not disappoint!

This business was started when I was 19. And now as I sit here just weeks away from 29, is the time that I have finally mastered the art of unplugging from my business.

I took my laptop with me. This honking thing had taken up all of my foot space on the airplane, but I made sure to pack it. I brought my camera. And a lens…and a tripod…and my video equipment…I did as I have been doing these last 9, almost 10 years. I packed all of my gear into a bag to be hauled across the country because I may need good photos for who knows what exactly?

They stayed in the yurt.

For the first time since starting my business, I went out of town and did not open my laptop or take photos with my camera.

I know I said I was going to share info about our trip, but we were so busy doing things that I just didn’t have the time or desire. We made sure to take a ton of photos and videos, because these will be things we look back when we are too old to jet across the country. But I didn’t feel the need to share on social media, or to check my emails. I trust that my incredible assistant took care of these things (which she most certainly did!) and I focused on relaxing.

P planned the most perfect trip to New York in April and I wanted to return the favor by planning something he would enjoy.

I also wanted a trip to relax after having such an action packed one. I asked if he would prefer hot or cold. He said cold, so the islands were ruled out! I wanted to stick to a budget and fly somewhere direct. I also wanted somewhere that we could relax in nature a bit.

After a lot of consideration (and consulting with our Boudie Babes!) I decided on Portland! There were a few factors that swayed me, but selfishly, I have always wanted to explore the Pacific Northwest!

The trees are really what led me there. Being surrounded by nature is where I find the most happiness and peace. I wanted a place that offered a lot of wilderness to explore. Although we ended up getting so caught up with everything else that we never made it to the hiking trails. Next trip, for sure!

The other deciding factors were the music scene, the local art, and food!

We both LOVE music and bonded over that, so hitting up the birthplace of some of our favorite musicians was a must! We were recently driving down the highway singing together to Nirvana’s Breed at the top of our lungs. It was then that I knew we had to head to the PNW! The local metal scene is also incredible there! I love black metal and I wanted to go to a place where others shared my love for the music.

Whenever we travel, we always find ourselves wandering around the streets to tour the local street art. We both love coming across inspiring new murals and seeing the art that influences a city is very important to understanding the culture. We are also HUGE foodies! P was a chef for 13 years, so the pressure is always on to find some restaurants that are sure to impress!

When we arrived in Portland we were greeted with the sweetest air and an airport filled with greenery. I knew my heart was home.

I didn’t realize just how much I had missed the West Coast until I set foot in it again. It has been ages since I have been back. I lived in the Bay Area for a few years in my teens and that left a massive impression on me. Being back where the air was cool and clean was such a refreshing experience. I couldn’t stop talking about how much I just loved the air there. There was no humidity to frizz my hair and we spent the days driving with the windows rolled down watching as views of trees meeting the seas filled the horizon.

Day One

Our first day in town was filled with exploring the city!

We found a restaurant and went some time walking around the neighborhoods. It reminded me a lot of Norfolk’s Ghent, but on steroids. All of the homes were uniquely painted and all were covered in greenery.

We stopped and met Max, who later followed us to the car. P is an animal whisperer. He grew up on a farm and I swear every single animal that comes into contact with him seems to be pulled in. We had an incredible brunch at Screen Door where I had the best damn chicken and waffles ever!

After brunch we headed to Distillery Row and did some shopping and browsing!

I chose to do a distillery tour at Eastside Distilling because it is run by Mel Heim, the first Master Distiller west of the Mississippi! She has dedicated her career towards advancing women in distilling, and I had to support her!

We somehow ended up in a few record stores and walking around town to look at all of the art. I feel like our first stops to any new place always includes a stroll through a local record store. And of course, the town is filled with amazing art!

We eventually headed to our check in at our incredible Air Bnb. You guys. This yurt was seriously the deciding factor between Seattle and Portland.

The host is an international doula educator whose property is backed up to a nature reserve.

It was the perfect mix of city and nature, as we were just outside of Downtown Portland. The views in the mornings and evenings were breathtaking.

As soon as we entered we laid our bags down and passed out in the comfy bed.

But the day wasn’t over! We had an event at 11pm and I was feeling every bit of the cross country flight by the time the evening came around.

I stepped outside the yurt to take a look at the city at night. I looked back at P and I felt so much peace and excitement at the same time. I never realize just how impactful these trips will be until after we return, but something about this moment definitely started to shift some things for me in the best way.

We wrapped up the night with a Flashback Dance Cruise! P loves 80s music. I wasn’t even alive in that decade. I often tease him about our age difference, but he definitely showed me up on the dance floor with his 80s dance moves.

The boat cruised down the waterways while we partied it up! It was so great watching people of all different ages, backgrounds, orientations, you name it just partying and having a blast! I loved the diversity of the city and being able to celebrate the night with everybody!

Most of our photos from the night feature P with his crazy faces. This was the best one. Haha!

August 15, 2019

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Portlandia Part 1/4: The Unplugged Vacation

It is such  crazy experience to be sitting here in my home and feeling as though something is off. The place is ever so slightly unfamiliar. Which is strange, because we cleaned it just before our trip. I laid everything out neatly as I would typically like to have it, yet looking at my nightstand […]

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