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

currently working from: coffee beans & books

This post serves a dual purpose.

One, it begins a trend I would like to continue: the documenting of all the different venues I find myself in as I work remotely! You may know that my job is portable in that I can work wherever there's access to Internet and an outlet for my laptop. We don't have wireless at the Shanty, so I have been coffee shop hopping for the past month!

Two, it's my first attempt to post from my phone! So far so good, although you will have to deal with strictly iPhone photos.

Anyway, today I'm at Coffee Beans & Books (a good no-nonsense name) which is about 10 minutes from where the Warriors train in Beckley. This is one of the most unique locations I've ever found for a cafe: an old Jr. High school! What?!

 

This is just outside the door where I entered the school-turned-small-business-emporium. Apparently a new Jr. High was built a few years back, and rather than leaving the old building abandoned, several businesses moved in. Coffee Beans & Books is actually in the room that once was the old library! I love it!

It took a little maneuvering to find my way into the shop--think winding school hallways--but once I found it, I was delighted. It has that feeling of many, many people filling its rooms over the years and I felt cozy inside immediately. There are new and used books lining large bookshelves in the lower level, for sale or just to borrow as you sit and sip your drink. It might be difficult for me to get work done here, since I'm just going to want to check out all the great books available!

 

 

Upstairs, there are plush couches and tons of seating. There's even a little conference room in the corner to hold book clubs! I have no idea how people find this place, and I'm not entirely convinced that they do, as I'm currently the only patron and the barista is watching a television show on her laptop in the lower level. But it really is a gem. I will never go back to the freezing Starbucks again. Coffee Beans & Books, I love you!

 

Paperfinger Holiday Products

I'm astounded at the creative ideas continually flowing from the brain of Paperfinger (aka my fab employer, Bryn). We have been working nonstop for the holidays and I want to share some of our products with you today. They're really fun and unique and feature the gorgeous calligraphy she's known for. Enjoy the eye candy, be inspired, and pop over to the Paperfinger shop!

 

1 & 2) Signature Gift Wrap Stamp Set

3 & 4) Presenting the Pinecone Greeting Card

5 & 6) Custom Calligraphy Ribbon

7) Gift Wrapping with Hand-Calligraphed Watercolor Tag

 

Moody New York

I know this is a really crappy snapshot from my 4 1/2 year old flip phone, but I couldn't resist capturing the sight of the clouds hovering above the breathtaking New York City skyline on my way home from work the other day.

Commuting into NYC from Nyack (2 hours each way) is not exactly ideal, but this view alone makes it worth it. I never ever get tired of seeing this sight. (Taken from across the river, just before entering the Lincoln Tunnel)

 

 

Martha Stewart Weddings: Bridal Market 2011

My employer Bryn brought me along to an event at the Martha Stewart headquarters on Monday! It was so much fun! Of course, my favorite part was the food. We ate the smallest food you could ever imagine (prepared by Peter Callahan. have you seen his awesome book of mini food wonders, bite by bite?). I'm talking burgers the size of a quarter.

 

And mini fish tacos with mini margaritas in mini Patron bottles.

 

And Guinness in mini beer steins, mini sushi, mini spring rolls, mini cupcakes, and shrimp lollipops. Wow, Martha really goes all out. Rumor has it she showed up, but we missed her (darn it!). The space at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is pretty stellar though...really cool to see.

We did run into a few other people I was excited to meet: Nole from Oh So Beautiful Paper (one of my long-time favorite blogs), NYC photographer Jen Huang, and one of the sweetest -- Jillian from 100 Layer Cake, who jumped in on our photobooth photos! So from left to right is Bryn, myself, and Jillian.

My favorite part of this was when Bryn got the shutter button and prompted us by saying "We love EVERYTHING!" I was cracking up.

What's that you ask? Why, yes, I was embarrassingly underdressed for this event (see venue photo above - is that a person in an actual wedding dress in the lower left?). Maybe it's a good thing we didn't run into Martha after all. You know, in case she doesn't think fondly of people who wear jeans to her parties.

Tried not to let it take away from the fun, but it was also 150 degrees in there and that sweater is wool. Yikes! Perhaps there will be a next time. Perhaps then I'll arrive prepared. And by that I mean I'll be carrying a large tote bag to fill sneakily with bitty foodstuffs. Ain't no party like a Martha party!