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5 Things I Miss About Portland

Last year, we moved to Portland, OR for about 6 months.  I still miss it and here are five reasons why.

1.  THE FOREST

We had the pleasure of living about half a block away from a trail head entrance into Forest Park, one of the country’s largest (5100+ acres) urban forest reserves.  It was our Wonderland.  Ava never stopped looking for fairies and it was easy to believe they could exist there.  That forest is magical.  The scenery/greenery all over Portland is amazing.  Spring is beyond imagination.  Every time we went outside we were like, “Whoa – it’s so colorful here”.

2.  NEW SEASONS

(image via new seasons)

New Seasons really is the ultimate neighborhood grocery store.  We do plenty of grocery shopping and have visited lots of different grocery stores in lots of different cities, but this is the only one I’ve ever found myself missing.  It’s sort of like a Whole Foods except there is so much more local stuff – the “Home Grown”  produce rocks.  Every time we went we found new things to try and were never disappointed with the selection.  Love this place.

3.  SCRAP

(image via eric steindler)

Now this place does not look like much from the photo, but trust me, it’s AWESOME.  SCRAP is a donation based creative reuse store.  You can find pretty much any craft based item here – glue, yarn, paper, boxes of buttons, crayons, ribbons, stencils, wood & metal scraps, buckets of foam, corks, ceramic tiles, etc. (I think you get the idea).  A collage artist’s dream.  Always new stuff to check out and because they run off of donations, it is super cheap.  We filled up our basket one day and spent about five bucks.  Score.

4.  LOCAL MADE EVERYTHING

The sense of community is abounding in Portland, which is what I feel drives people to make and create.  At least half (if not more) of my husband’s and my Christmas gifts were made in Oregon.  If you live in Portland and aren’t making or growing something, you’re doing it wrong.  A few faves:

Capturing the pure essence of the forest – Juniper Ridge

Self-proclaimed “plant nerds” at Portland Apothecary making amazing teas, extracts, and more

Delicious “farm to cone” ice cream – Salt & Straw

My list of faves could go on for days.  The people of Portland know how to get down.

5.  PAPER BAGS

Yes, I miss paper bags.  Sure, we have them here in Chicago.  You see them at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and some smaller shops, but in Portland you get them EVERYWHERE.  Even Target.  I detest plastic bags.  I try to always bring my own shopping totes, but I will admit that sometimes I forget or sometimes I have more items than I have bags.  When I have to bring items home in plastic bags I always drop them off to be recycled, but I’d just rather them not be around at all.  Don’t even get me started on the recycling issues here – it’s horrible.  People have no idea what they can and can’t recycle and where we live, it rarely gets picked up.  So yes, I miss paper bags.

And there you have it, five things I miss about Portland.  I’m not sure if it’s in the cards for us to move back there, but we will definitely visit again and may even end up somewhere close by.

XO

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Shop Crushes!

You would think that after the holidays I would be all shopped out … think again!  Now I have to spend Christmas cash and use up gift cards!  It would be easy to spend it all and more at my latest shop crushes – Alder & Co and Leif.  Alder & Co is in Portland [another love of mine] and Leif is based in my old hometown of Brooklyn.  Both shops are full of simple and beautiful things … how can I resist?

French Linen Tote (Alder & Co.)

“KNOT” Rope Basket (Alder & Co.)

Sailcloth Pot Holder (Alder & Co.)

Gemstone Magnets (LEIF)

Batik Coffee Scoop (LEIF)

Chrysocolla Necklace (LEIF)


life

Portland, We Miss You

I can’t believe it has already been two months since our vacation!  And at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.  Man, I really miss Oregon.  Our plane hadn’t even landed yet and I was already in love.  We spent two nights [not enough] in Portland and then a quick drive to the Northern Coast for a week of much needed R&R.  We all wished we never had to leave … it’s the sort of place we could happily live for – oh, i don’t know – forever probably.

If you’ve never been to Portland, you should.  It really is a beautiful city and we really needed more time to explore it, but what we did see totally impressed us [and that ain’t easy, folks].  At first I thought maybe I was just enamored because it wasn’t Chicago [sorry, Chitown], but that wasn’t it.  It just felt …. homey – in a very indie vibe sort of way if that makes any sense at all.  It has all the things we loved about Williamsburg circa 2005, but it’s CLEAN and frankly, not trying so hard.  The food truck scene is just beyond any I’ve ever seen and there were so many restaurants to choose from that if we had stayed much longer, I would have gained 20 pounds easy.  We weren’t able to sample too much grub in such a short amount of time, but if you go, please eat at Pok Pok – the food was fabulous and Michael is now obsessed with ‘drinking vinegars’.

Being tourists, we most certainly had to check out Voodoo Donuts.  Um, yum.
Then a walk along the waterfront, smiles, and playing in the fountain.

Then of course we did a little shopping … too many shops, way too little time.  Portland, we miss you and we promise to come back soon.  Next up, Oceanside … ahhhhhhhhhhh.

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