Here we go…

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As I write this, 2015 is only hours old. I’m reminded of C’s (very wise) philosophy on buying the occasional lottery ticket. She says it’s not about winning, rather it’s the space to dream really big that’s worth your 2 dollars.

January 1 feels to me like that ticket, and I’m trying to dream as big as I can about the year ahead and those to follow. For me, 2015 feels like a year to shake things up and make big strides towards the life I want to live. And not one for treading water.

I was reading recently about turning points in people’s lives and what they went on to accomplish. The takeaway– it all depends on how brave you’re willing to be.

So my intention for this year is to be very, very brave. Both in the dreaming and in the follow-through. And I wish that for you as well.

Happy 2015!

From Portland with love

In Portland, there is no shortage of talented and creative folks making beautiful and useful products. These are a few of my favorite things made right here in Portland. Great for gift giving!

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Gorgeous hand-thrown mugs, cups, bottles and more from Mazama Wares. If you’re local, you can stop by Mazama’s open house at their North Portland studio this Sunday, December 21st for the best selection.

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Covet-worthy chopsticks from Hank by Henry— handmade from untreated hard woods and free of chemicals. I can’t resist red, but the subtly metallic versions are really lovely, too. I first spotted these at the holiday gift shop at the Portland Japanese Garden, where they’re selling individual pairs and boxed sets.

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This handcrafted mixer from RAFT Botanicals makes a very chic and tasty mimosa when mixed with prosecco. And it’s delicious in soda water with lime, for a fizzy agua de jamaica. I’m also a big fan of their smoked tea vanilla syrup. Can’t decide on a flavor? They have a gift box with mini versions of all three and don’t miss their recipe archive for inspired drink ideas.

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Delicious jams with a savory twist from 3 Little Figs. These versatile jams are great with biscuits and the like, but are also fantastic on a cheese plate or grilled cheese. The citrus and smoked salt is my absolute favorite.

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This Grayling necklace is clearly for someone very special. Like all of Grayling’s pieces, it’s handmade at their NE Portland shop. Not only is it gorgeous, it cleverly converts from a short to a long necklace.

Happy shopping!

Pre-shopping breakfast

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Lately,  I’ve been craving some balance in this busy, decadent season. So instead of going out for brunch, or making an omelette and/or a mimosa at home, I found myself reaching for some humbler ingredients.

I cooked rolled oats in water with a little bit of butter and sea salt and then stirred in some fresh, whole milk and a little maple syrup once they were soft and thick. I topped my oatmeal with toasted almonds and local hazelnuts, really amazing dried cranberries from Vincent Family Cranberries, and cinnamon-rich baking spice. And then gave it an extra drizzle of milk and maple syrup.

Paired with an earl grey tea latte and a clementine, I found that winter bliss I was looking for. Maybe have a bowl before you head out for your last-minute shopping, ice skating, cookie swapping, Elf marathon watching day? Enjoy!

Spooky style

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Picture 1
Twisted branch wreath
Happy Halloween garland
Black branch candles
Skull and black rose appetizer plates
Dia de los muertos decanter
Smoky faceted votive holder

Picture 2
Lace platter

Picture 3
Beverage tub
Carved wood ravens
Sugar skull pillow
Black and gold pentagon votive candles
Porcelain and gold fall figurines
Flock of ravens plate
Spooky tree food toppers
Black cake pedestal
Skull candle

Picture 4
Full moon tee

Happy Halloween!

Happy New Year!

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The holidays have been so lovely this year. Fun, relaxing, great food and drink, and time with family and friends. C, Béa and I capped it off at our favorite inn in Astoria, on the Oregon coast. So good. Just what I needed.

I hope your holiday was just what you needed, too!

Now it’s time to get busy making 2014 awesome…

20+ thoughtful gift ideas

Can you believe we’re under the two-week mark? I put together some of my favorite gift ideas and made them customizable, so you can choose your own gifting adventure. 20131211-231804.jpg

Who doesn’t love jam? Especially really good jam. Package up a couple of the following for a sweet gift:

  • Vintage jam spoons from your local antique/vintage shop, etsy or ebay
  • A jam cookbook, if they cook (or would like to)
  • Homemade jam, if you cook
  • Great jam jars, perhaps with a recipe tucked inside
  • Artisan jam from the store or farmer’s market, like Ayers Creek here in Oregon (so good!)
  • Fresh-baked bread or scones

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For those who like to entertain, mix and match items to spice up their next soirée:

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For new homeowners, choose a selection of heirloom-worthy ornaments like these from Schoolhouse Electric to help start their collection.

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For those who appreciate creature comforts, help them get cozy with one or more of the following:

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Jewelry is always a great option. Pair a stylish jewelry box with something sparkly. Or if you’re feeling unsure, tuck in a gift card for a local boutique or etsy. (Necklace, earrings and ring shown above.)

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Know someone who’s serious about teatime? Any combination of the following would be perfect:

Happy shopping!

Essentials and upgrades for your holiday kitchen

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I use my Le Creuset dutch oven all the time. It’s easily one of the most used and most loved pieces of equipment in my kitchen. It heats so evenly, cleans up in a snap, and looks pretty doing it.  For smaller jobs, like making my favorite cranberry sauce, their signature saucepan would be just the thing.  Continue reading