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!

Friday finds: Monday edition

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VISIT: Union Way in Portland. My sister and I finally made it this weekend to check out this attractive experiment in urban re-development. An “alley” was carved through a city block to create a row of shops connecting Powell’s Books on Burnside with the Ace Hotel on Stark. Not only is it a lovely space of rough-hewn beams with sun streaming in from above, but it also features an impressive line-up of tenants. These include Steven Alan, Danner, and Micah Camden’s Boxer Ramen. I also discovered two new favorites: Spruce Apothecary— check out the amazing fragrance lines they carry, and Marine Layer— for San Francisco-made comfy-stylish clothes at reasonable prices.

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Photo from Fast Company

BROWSE: the quarterly magazine and website of the resurrected Domino. The design magazine with a cult following is back with a new business plan. You can pick up the holiday issue, their first new issue in four years, on news stands until mid-January.

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EAT: a sampler of delicious and warming fall soups. Try this trio:

  • This roasted butternut squash and cauliflower soup from Whole Living is a long-time favorite at my house. It’s simple enough for everyday and elegant enough for company. The secret: the sweetness of the butternut squash is perfectly balanced by the cauliflower and balsamic caramelized onions.
  • I think I found the perfect lentil soup recipe this week, courtesy of The First Mess. I made two minor tweaks: I added a about half a cup of Pinot Noir Rosé add let it reduce a bit before adding the tomatoes for an extra layer of flavor, and for simplicity, I used Herbes de Provence instead of adding thyme and tarragon separately. Use French green lentils if you can, they keep their texture while other lentils will get a bit mushy.
  • At the top of my “to try” list is this leek fennel apple and walnut soup, also from The First Mess. The unique flavor combination (not to mention the gorgeous photo) caught my attention.

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LEARN: all about the many types of gluten-free flour and their respective strengths in this brilliant compilation from Meg of Beard and Bonnet. Bonus: Meg provides a curated list of amazing-looking recipes for each flour type. I want to bake my way through pretty much the entire list. Thanks, Meg!