report on portland, part 3: out and about

There’s so much to do in Portland, we found ourselves a little overwhelmed. We took a lot of your suggestions to heart and tried to do as much as three days and two dogs would allow. Here’s the rundown in my final post on Portland. –Mary T.


Canoe – I was taken with much of the selection at the spare and elegant Canoe. The votives by Lilach Lotan are exceptionally beautiful; I was amazed that they were made by hand and not directly from the sea! The foldable, portable stainless steel Pack + Carry Fireplace with Bag by Snow Peak would make a worthy addition to Megan’s seplace. At around $245, it was a little more than we could spend, but I stared at it in longing for a good, long while. You can order it by calling the store at (503) 889-8545.

Grass Hut – Half art gallery, half arty store. (You can tell by the top photo, right?) We loved the colors in this place, and I regret we didn’t buy the “Let’s Just Be Friends” screen print by Ryan J. Smith, $30, while we were there. The current exhibit in the gallery was called “The Squirrels Made Me Do It” — no wonder I loved this store.

Hive Modern – Hive Modern is right on the North Park Blocks. We didn’t do much more than peek at the selection, but there was one thing that got me drooling — an entire wall of Panton chairs in turquoise!

Life + Limb – See this post about our visit; we loved this place.

Powell’s City of Books – Everything our commentors said it would be, and more. We walked the dogs until they were tired, parked them in a cool, shady spot, and spent a little time in Powell’s, where we could easily have wasted hours. We made it out with an assortment of new and used books we’ve been wanting to read (I was deep into the A.M. Homes book by the time we hit the hotel that night) and two of their very cute souvenir glasses. We spent time in the main City of Books, but there are several Powell’s locations, including one in the airport if you’re passing through.

Really Good Stuff – Another really good reader suggestion! We stopped by just as they were starting to close up, unfortunately, but the owners graciously invited us in for a half-hour as they pulled in their displays from the sidewalk. We could have spent hours pawing through the crazy selection here. In the market for reels and reels of old films? The trunk lid to a vintage Beetle? Original mantle-size, framed paintings of Jesus and Santa (not together)? You’ve come to the right place. We ended up with a small tiki-head-topped souvenir spoon and a button that reads “I am not an Oregon pig,” a remnant from 1981 of an insult hurled at residents by an area cult leader who carried out a bioterror attack on the region.

Saturday Market – On a drizzly Saturday morning, the market was thronged with people browsing an impressive selection of local food (everything from mushrooms, truffles, and fiddlehead ferns to knitted hats and homemade pies) while listening to live music. My husband was beyond thrilled to find a vendor offering not only morels but hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. We bought some and took them home to saute the next day. Now that’s a souvenir.

Click for what we ate and where we walked. (more…)

From our partners

report on portland part 2: the ace hotel

Interesting surroundings, interesting people, cool art, and they take dogs? It’s no surprise we liked our stay at the Ace Hotel in Portland so much.

Because we have two large mastiffs, we made sure to get a room that wouldn’t be too small. We ended up in one of the Superior Deluxe corner rooms, and let’s just say — yes, it was big enough! At 500 square feet, it was larger than my first apartment. The enormous couch (which converts into two twin beds, and no, we didn’t let the dogs on them) was super comfortable and looked to be upholstered with old military tent material. The desk was made from reclaimed wood and a battered Marines locker. The room also had a record player and a selection of vinyl. I had a nice moment of nostalgia listening to a Boz Scaggs record that was once a major feature in my older sister’s music collection. Click for more photos and fun! (more…)

From our partners

report on portland part 1: life + limb

I visited one of my favorite places in Portland, Oregon when we were about to head back home. Before we left town, we made it a point to stop at Life + Limb, the fantastic store of Molly Quan, who was profiled in the most recent ReadyMade. Quan specializes in things we already love, and some we’re starting to: modern design, art, and succulents. We loved the simple, elegant plant arrangements she creates, and we also liked her collection of housewares.

Life + Limb carries a wide variety of plants — even if you’re not quite ready to make a big investment, you can find lots of great succulents in the $6-15 range. And if you’re new to succulents like I am, Quan takes the time to talk to you about what you’re looking for, if it’s safe for animals, and how to care for it.

Llife + Limb also carries work by local artists. Currently showing is work by Quan’s friend Brent Wick, and we were also entranced by this modern dollhouse created by local architect J.M. Cava and cabinetmaker Mark Allen (contact Life + Limb if you’re interested in buying one).

We traveled back to Seattle with some lovely succulents — one planted by Quan in one of the gorgeous pots she sells, and a few others to plant ourselves. Highly recommended if you’re in the area, but if you’re not — Life + Limb just opened a store online! –Mary T.

P.S. Thanks for all the great tips on where to go in Portland — we followed a lot of your suggestions! I’ll have more on the trip, including our rave about the Ace, in the next few days.

From our partners

post off: are you a good traveler?

Like most people, I love to travel. But while going on vacation is always a good thing, preparing for the trip is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Let’s start with packing. I start by piling things onto my bed. Once the entire contents of my closet are on the bed, I begin to worry that I’m taking too much. I then stand in the middle of my room for a good 30 minutes stressing about how many items I’m taking, and convincing myself I need each and every one of them. Then I start making lists about what not to forget in the morning. Instead of packing these things right then and there, I write them down and prepare myself to pack them later. It’s a veritable nightmare. The morning of my flight I run around like a chicken with my head cut off and panic all the way to the airport. What if I forgot something? What if we hit traffic? I’ve come to understand that although I love to travel, I’m just not a good traveler. Are you? –Erica P.

Photo by David Ruiz

From our partners

what should we do on our trip to portland?

Folks, it’s my anniversary this week, so to celebrate, my husband and I are packing up the mastiffs and heading to Portland, Oregon for a couple days. We’ll be staying at the Ace Hotel, a cool chain of boutiques that accepts animals (I’ll write about that next week) but other than that, Portland is a clean slate for me. Any suggestions on places we should go, stores we should visit, or food we should try while we’re there? Dog-friendly ideas are encouraged, too, of course! –Mary T.

From our partners