a week in portland

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I recently got to spend a week in Portland, Oregon for work! Bryn is operating Paperfinger there for the summer and it was the perfect opportunity for us to get together for the first time in months. As a bonus I was able to stay with one of my very best friends Mary and her dear husband Clint, who have called Portland home for over two years now! They gracefully hosted me, showed me around, and helped me sample the best of the local fare. Thank you so much Mary and Clint, you guys are the greatest. 

The first morning of work was a bit surreal--and hilarious--as Bryn rolled up while yelling "Where are we?!?" It was crazy to think that the last time we had seen each other was in Brooklyn and we were both still living in New York--now here we were on the west coast meeting up in Portland. Of course the first item on our agenda was COFFEE and she took me to Coava which was truly the best coffee I've ever had. I don't say that lightly! Fun fact: they're so fancy (read: snobby?) they don't even set out milk/cream/sugar for customers.

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Throughout the week, my hosting parties took me to many favorite local eating spots. I haven't eaten that much--or that well--in a long time. I can't even begin to explain how good the restaurants in Portland are. 

And of course, Mary & Clint prepared some delicious meals for me at home. They also took me sightseeing to Sauvie Island, where we sat in the sand and watched huge barges float by, and the beautiful Rose Garden where over 7,000 species of roses are planted. It was so amazing. I was never much of a rose girl until I started working at Sassafras where I was completely taken by their insane variety and heavenly scent. I probably smelled 100 different roses by the time we left the garden.

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Bryn and I got a TON of work done and our week felt incredibly productive, not to mention sooo fun just to catch up and hang out together. I'm seriously thankful to have such a great boss and a job I love. We brainstormed, planned an intensive 6 months ahead, set lots of goals and deadlines, and finally had a photo shoot so the web portfolio could get updated with all of our new amazing samples!

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Portland, you definitely did not disappoint. From your dramatic clouds and spastic weather to your bungalows and endlessly flowering front yards. From your tasty treats and roasteries to your lovely shops and markets. From your grungy side streets to your shiny Pearl district. From the serene Columbia river to the glorious peak of Mt. Hood.

Below are just a few more snapshots of things I did and saw, including: the most weather-ready Portlandia biker I've ever seen (yes she's wearing chaps), being caught in complete unpreparedness as I biked into a downpour, another funny Portlandia moment in the office (pure local sea salt hand-harvested from the bay, anyone?), running through a beautiful rhododendron garden early one morning, the daily moody clouds.

 

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Already looking forward to my next trip! xo

Tour of Savannah

In 2008 I spent the summer living in Savannah, Georgia with my dear friend Mary who was attending Savannah College of Art and Design. Today, as I brought my mother-in-law around to all my favorite spots, I snapped some photos to share with you even though I generally really dislike busting out my camera like a tourist. HOWEVER I'm obviously no longer living there, so I decided I can embrace the fact I am coming back as a tourist--only now I'm a very well-informed tourist. Now, I'm a tourist who knows all the good spots. 

Our first stop, naturally, was the best coffee shop in town: Gallery Espresso on Bull Street.

They display local artwork on the walls and fill the open space with a mishmash of old furniture. My mother-in-law got a black coffee and I got an iced black tea. I love Gallery because I remember many, many summer evenings spent outside in their chairs reading something while Mary read something else. When we had sipped the last of our coffee or tea, we rode our bikes home in the warm Savannah air.

Then I wanted to take Lola to a wonderful little market on Liberty Street. We went too far and backtracked down Abercorn Street, where we passed a tiny shop called Fabrika. I only noticed it because of the colorful bunting hanging in the window. 

I'd never seen it before, so we kept it in mind as we continued to look for Polk's Fresh Market, a small, family-owned market situated in an old garage and adjoined with a grass lot they converted into a beautiful garden in the summertime. One time they even gave me a whole bag of okra for free because I'd mentioned that I'd never had it! Really nice folks. Sadly, we never found it so we headed back to Fabrika, which was adorable. They sold fine fabrics, a few little gifts, books, cards, and lots of sewing equipment. My favorite items were some handmade aprons--specifically one made of a thin outdoor fabric that was shiny and seemed to be water repellant (or frosting/cake batter repellant, as I thought of it). The owner was friendly as she helped us cut a length of the fabric to try our own hand at the apron. I bought a little card to write a thank-you note and then we headed out, feeling happy we stumbled upon this little gem. We went on towards the hub of all the tourist action, parking our car beyond Broughton Street so we could walk down the "main drag", per se. My goal was to take Lola to one of my favorite shops ever, Nourish, on the corner of Barnard and Broughton Streets. The first amazing thing you experience when entering this shop is the aroma of all the different products. It smells fresh and natural, not at all harsh or overpowering. The second amazing thing is the feast laid out before your eyes of expertly arranged displays, vintage furniture, soft floral fabrics laid here and there, and light streaming in against the natural brick walls and wood floors. I didn't remember to snap a photo inside because I was so caught up in the greatness of it all, which is a shame. I got a bar of one of my favorite scents: Lemongrass and Rosemary. I am completely hooked on handmade soap. I want--no, NEED--to learn how to make it. Soon. Here's an image of the interior I hijacked from here

As we headed back towards the car, we stopped in a few other shops. The Savannah Bee Company was right next door, so we did a honey tasting which was lovely. Although I've been in there several times before, this is the first time I had someone guiding me through the process. Our "guide" was super friendly and definitely knew what she was talking about. We tried tupelo, sourwood, local wildflower, a creamy winter white that melted on your toungue, and the grand finale of sliced apple topped with raw honeycomb and a piece of blue cheese. During my previous visits, I was always intimidated by the apple/honeycomb/cheese plate during my self-guided tour of the honey tasting station, so I always steered clear. But my mother-in-law and I agreed that this could potentially be a life-changing snack. Seriously, it was SO GOOD. If only we could all be so lucky as to have raw honeycomb at our fingertips on a regular basis. So then I had beeswax stuck in my teeth for about 30 minutes, but I didn't so much mind since it opened my eyes to such mind-blowing tastiness. We stopped in a brand-new store on Broughton Street called Modern General which was definitely super mod, very pricey, and carried a fairly small selection of really unique products. The whole "modern general store" theme they were going for was cool, but considering their tiny inventory I'm not sure how well they'll do. By this time we were getting pretty hungry so we made our way back to the car and drove to the best lunch place in Savannah the world: ZUNZI'S.

There are no words to describe how tasty Zunzi's is. I know everything they serve must be amazing, but I've never bothered to get anything other than my go-to, the Conquistador, because it's so ridiculously awesome tasting. It's a french bread sub piled with lettuce, tomato and grilled chicken slathered in their secret Zunzi's sauce (which I think is like crack). My mother-in-law got the Fisherman's Deck, which is the only other thing from Zunzi's I've tasted because it's all that Luke has ever gotten there. It's identical to the Conquistador except it's piled with spice-rubbed salmon instead of chicken. Today we waited in the longest line I've ever seen at Zunzi's, but I also lived in town when SCAD students were on summer vacation. Considering the storefront itself is no bigger than your guest bathroom, the line moves fairly quickly. It's just a counter where you step up, order, and, magically, by the time you make your down to the register they have your delicious Conquistador and FishDeck up (yeah, I call it a FishDeck to sound more like a regular).

After we reveled for a bit in our Zunzi's we decided to head to River Street to buy Pecan Pralines, the token Savannah treat, for our hosts Larry & Rhonda. I've never really found a good reason beyond the pralines to go down to River Street. It's packed with tourists, kitschy shops and overpriced eateries. If you find yourself down there, be sure to make your way into one of the two (or both) candy shops for a praline sample. They're yummy! Pralines in hand, we hopped in the car and headed down Whitaker Street which is a one-way road headed south the whole length of town. We crossed over to Bull Street on the lower end of beautiful Forsyth Park which we followed to our last stop of the day, one of my faves, Back in the Day Bakery. This is simply a beautiful space and I love it. It has a very soft, antique feel and the wall of vintage knick knacks fascinates me. Check out the adorable tea cup succulent gardens!

 

With that we called it a day, but not before we shared a decadent lemon bar. Yum! So there you have it, my favorite spots in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah people, what'd I miss? Where do you take friends or family when they come to town?