Porch Light

Porch Light, NW Portland, Oregon

When I was in late elementary school, my sister Emily and I loved watching the movie Man in the Moon. We’d snuggle up to watch it, imagining that we were Reese Witherspoon, falling in love for the first time in the summer in the south. It’s such a great coming-of-age movie.

It’s weird thinking back now — because I know at the time I wanted to know so badly what it felt like for those characters. What was it like to be in love? Would I ever get to the point where I had those kinds of feeling and emotions and experiences? Even as a kid, I was always a total romantic.

Porch Light, NW Portland, Oregon

Porch Light is a shop in the Pearl District that carries little oddities and beautiful objects — it reminds me of the south and it’s every bit as charming as that darned Reese Witherspoon. Pop in for a dose of inspiration or a new trinket or gift to remind you of a simpler time.

Porch Light, NW Portland, Oregon

Porch Light is in the Pearl District, 225 NW 11th Ave. They tweet too.

What was your favorite coming-of-age movie?

Popina Swimwear

Popina Swimwear, NW Portland, Oregon

I need you to understand something about me: I love water slides. I think they’re just about the most fun you can have. I trace this love of water slides back to being a kid, when I was too scared to ride most roller coasters but water slides were just my speed. I also grew up swimming, so when I’m on a water slide, I’m in my element.

One of my favorite places on the planet is Wild Waves, near Seattle. Yeah, I know it’s a little gross to be all dripping wet and barefoot with a million kids and their wet band-aids, but when I’m there, I’m on cloud nine. We used to go up there from time to time when I was a kid, and when I was too little to really ride water slides all by myself, my dad would always take me down the infamous green slides (which are so not the best slides anymore). My dad, like me, prefers his feet to be on the ground when it comes to thrill rides, but he definitely appreciates the laid-back and fun nature of a water slide.

Who wants to come with me on a nationwide tour of water parks? We could hit Schlitterbahn, Water World and Splashin’ Safari?

Popina Swimwear, NW Portland, Oregon

The only challenge to all that water slide fun is, of course, finding an acceptable bathing suit. Fear not, Portlanders — we’re covered. I know it doesn’t make a lot of intuitive sense that we’d have our own local swimwear designer, but we do and she’s awesome. Pamela Levenson, owner of Popina Swimwear, designs super-cute vintage-inspired swimsuits and shopping for them is actually fun. Bring your man friend — they’ll make him feel like he’s already on vacation with free Hawaiian beer while he waits for you to decide between suits.

Popina Swimwear, NW Portland, Oregon

Popina Swimwear is located in the Pearl District at 318 NW 11th Ave. and in the Hollywood District at 4831 NE 42nd Ave.  Follow the owner on Twitter, and let me know if you’re up for my awesome national water park tour!

Cupcake Jones

Cupcake Jones, NW Portland, Oregon

The way the story goes, my sister Emily was to be delivered via scheduled caesarean section. The doctor looked at his schedule and suggested September 13, 1985. The problem with that date, though, was that it was my second birthday. So even though the doctor had to move his Saturday tee time, she insisted that we have our own birthdays and my baby sister emerged on September 14.

The convenient solution to having your kids just one day apart is that you can combine their birthday parties! This was a revelation for my parents. Just one big mess, one huge herd of small children in the house, one day of chaos. They were sold.

This worked really well the first couple years. Until the year when we were 3 and 5. That year, we had each invited probably 8-10 friends and they all sat around us on the floor of the living room in their party dresses. The five-year-olds gathered around me, and the three-year-olds gathered around Emily. It was time to sing. The problem, of course, is that three-year-olds are such followers. They get confused easily; they’re little. So instead of doing the proper thing and singing to Emily, they followed the lead of the older kids and everyone in the room sang to me only. Emily burst into tears. Birthday ruined.

That was the last time we had a joint birthday party for awhile.

Cupcake Jones, NW Portland, Oregon

Everyone gets their own cake at Cupcake Jones — no sharing required. You can get a jumbo or a mini cupcake in flavors like peanut butter cup or chocolate mint. They even offer some vegan and gluten-free cupcakes so no one has to go without. My favorite is the vegan, gluten-free chocolate. Happy birthday to us, sister!

Cupcake Jones, NW Portland, Oregon

Cupcake Jones is in the Pearl District at 307 NW 10th Avenue. They tweet too!

Local Choice Market

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

I decided it was finally time to take Eric to Madrid. I studied abroad there — and he’d patiently take my calls at all hours because of the time difference — but he’d never walked the streets I loved, tasted the tapas, drank the wine and strolled through the Puerta del Sol.

For a week, we wandered. I walked him past the apartment I lived in, the school I attended and the spots where I used to meet my friends for dinner and drinks. And then, once the trip down memory lane concluded, we went off in a new direction, looking for a spot we could call our own. We found it in Chueca — a large, four-story gourmet grocery store with a restaurant on the top floor. We walked past fresher-than-fresh seafood onto an entire floor lined with small stalls. One sold hamburgers, another traditional tapas. Twice we ate dinner there, relishing the food, the view and the experience.

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

I hadn’t seen anything quite like this grocery store in Portland until I happened on Local Choice Market. They offer seasonal veggies and high-quality meats, then have a special area for wines and beer (pull up a stool and taste something!) a deli section and an area with an espresso bar and fresh-squeezed juice selections. Pull up a chair and make some new Portland memories.

Local Choice Market, NW Portland, Oregon

Local Choice Market is located at 830 NW Everett St. in Portland’s Pearl District. Do your shopping, or stop in for a juice, lunch, coffee or wine tasting. Follow their blog for more.

Lovejoy Bakers

Lovejoy Bakers, Portland, Oregon

We hopped on a plane and we went to Las Vegas — five women who had just met a handful of times and wanted to learn more at a photography conference. We had our profession in common, but otherwise we were practically strangers. But something about a hotel suite, a batch of fun parties and exploring the conference together bonded us, and we decided to keep in touch after we arrived back home in Portland.

Annie, Christy, Deyla, Melissa and I met up a few weeks after that conference for coffee and shop talk at Lovejoy Bakers. We were new friends, we were still discovering things about each other and we talked mostly about business as we got to know certain personal details about one another.

Just a few weeks ago, as I sat and had lunch with a couple of these girls, it hit me — this place saw the birth of a friendship. It morphed from the five of us comparing notes about photography into a much deeper connection. When Melissa, and then Christy, announced that they were expecting babies, we hugged and celebrated. Now those babies are here, and when we meet together, we hold them and pass them around.

I’m so grateful for my friends, but I’m also grateful for the place that provided the morning coffees, sandwiches and treats that got the ball rolling.

Lovejoy Bakers, Portland, Oregon

Lovejoy Bakers, a bustling spot in the Pearl District, is encased almost entirely in glass and overlooks the Portland Streetcar. The custom light fixtures, fashioned by local Pigeontoe Ceramics, add a touch of whimsy to the modern space. Snag a pillowy spot by the window and trust me, you’ll never want to leave.

My personal favorite is the smashed chickpea sandwich, with fennel sliced super-thin and a lemony substance inside that’s pure magic. It’s vegan, and they’ll swap out the non-vegan potato salad for you gladly, but usually I just eat it, because as far as potato salads go, it’s delicious.

Lovejoy Bakers, Portland, Oregon

Lovejoy Bakers, NW 10th & Lovejoy in the Pearl District. Near the foot of the Broadway Bridge.