Manor

Manor, Portland, Oregon

I’ve been cleaning out closets, bustling around and taking loads of stuff I’m not that into to Goodwill. Call it crazy spring-cleaning jitters, but about right now I wish my house looked like the interior of Manor, an incredible home shop in NW Portland.

Manor, Portland, Oregon

Just walking through this place brings my blood pressure down a few clicks, taking in the textures and the expertly-assembled vignettes. It’s inspiring, for sure — maybe next year I’ll be able to get my home in order so that it can channel this kind of zen.

Manor, Portland, Oregon

Manor is a great spot not only for fine home goods, but also small gifts, thoughtful books and other things you simply won’t be able to go home without.

Manor, Portland, Oregon

Manor is located at 907 NW 23rd. There’ll be no shortage of exciting things to check out nearby, so I’d make a day of it.

Quin

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

At the tender age of 2 years old, I broke my arm. I don’t remember exactly how it happened because, as we’ve already covered, I was 2 years old. It was something about a swingset accident — normal kid stuff. The point is, it’s really pitiful to see a 2-year-old with a tiny little cast. I would imagine it’s akin to seeing a kitten in a cast (which I did actually see once, and I can vouch that it’s pretty heartbreaking).

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

Being a laid-up 2-year-old with her arm in a cast raised great sympathy from my community. My uncle Dave (who was not really my uncle, but a good family friend) showed up at my bedside later in the day bearing gifts. He brought with him two bags of M&Ms.

“Hopefully these will make your arm feel better,” he said. I ate them, relishing the attention and the chocolate, and proclaimed that they did, indeed, make my arm feel better. And from then on, whenever a kid in my family was hurt, the magic cure was M&Ms. Stitches from a nasty fall? I’ve got just the cure. Had to have a tetanus shot? You’re getting M&Ms too.

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

Candy has a way of making everything feel better (and boy, I’m sure my dietician friend could tell you how this particular parenting strategy did a number on my relationship with food). The cheery, tiny little candy shop Quin, in the city’s West End district, is pure joy. It’d pull anyone out of a funk. This candy is handmade here in Portland, packaged in pretty little containers and ready to bring happiness to the world. My picks are the coffee orange caramels and the tangerine gumdrops. The artisan marshmallows have a reputation for miles around.

Quin candy shop, Portland, Oregon

Find Quin at 1025 SW Stark St.

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?

ink + peat

ink + peat, North Portland, Oregon

Summertime, and we were carefree! No school, no obligations. That summer, the one between 6th and 7th grade, was one of total relaxation. We laid by the pool and we ate ice cream and otherwise just relished the hot weather and lack of schedule.

I also had a great idea that summer — why not show everyone how fun I was by lightening up my hair a bit? My mom wouldn’t let me dye it, but she did buy me a bottle of Sun-in and let me  go to town. I sprayed a light shimmer across my hair that first day. Disappointed by the lack of results, I sprayed in more the second day. By the third, I was practically soaking my hair in it. Please tell me I was not the only kid who tried this.

ink + peat, North Portland, Oregon

By the end of the week, I was blonde. Bleach blonde. I thought it was awesome, and I continued to show my damaged blonde hair around the pool until August rolled around. I’d probably still think that I looked pretty awesome, if I hadn’t been forced to attend school picture day that year. My ensemble consisted of: a lilac T-shirt which made me look more than a little jaundiced, my bleach blonde summer experiment (full-bodied from all that sun damage), the eyebrows I inherited from my dad that hadn’t undergone any tweezing yet in my life and a full set of braces with pink rubberbands stretched across them.

When I got the photos back, I was horrified. By then, I had roots. Dark brown roots. But the rules hadn’t changed — I still wasn’t allowed to dye my hair — so I was stuck with the growout for the next 8 months.

ink + peat, North Portland, Oregon

My point is, I wasn’t always what you’d call put together. But I did have great ambitions. I think I keep it together most of the time now, but when I step into a place like ink + peat (a local shop that seriously has it together) I wish I could be cooler. The good thing is, they let you hang out and take cues from their stylish wares, which are always impeccably chosen and make a perfect gift — to someone else or to yourself.

ink + peat, North Portland, Oregon

ink + peat is at 3808 N. Williams Ave. It’s always impeccable — as is their home decor blog, housemartin.

Canoe

Canoe, Portland, Oregon

It was way too late to still be at school, but we sat in the pickup truck together in the parking lot, under the glow of buzzing lights, as he told me that he didn’t like me in that way.

The day before is when I let my affections be known, through a note (which I thought of as romantic, but was really a way to tell him without getting up the nerve to look right at him). That day after our rehearsal, he asked if we could talk. We went out and sat in his truck until the sun set and it was just us in the parking lot.

A year younger than me, he seemed to be wise beyond his years and more compassionate than most high school boys. He looked me in the eye, and he told me the things he loved about me. He told me the traits I have that make me a great friend, and then — softly — he told me that he just didn’t want to date me. And he was sorry about that — I could tell how sorry he actually was.

As time wore on and our conversation bubbled into laugher, stretched into long silences and ended in a hug, I made my way from the truck back to my car and then home. The boy that I had in my sights for more than a year had said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and I somehow didn’t feel heartbroken. All because he was so classy about it. It was the classiest gesture I’d ever experienced, and that thoughtfulness hasn’t been matched many times in my life in the 12 years since it happened.

Canoe, Portland, Oregon

Classy and thoughtful, through and through — which is exactly how I’d describe Canoe.

Everything inside is lovely, purposefully arranged and accompanied by a little note that tells you about its origins. If you’re in the market for a thoughtful gift, this is absolutely the place to go. The staff tenderly wraps purchases, slips a little treat inside and provides care instructions for your gift. This kind of care is rare — appreciate it, like I did my friend who let me down so gently all those years ago.

Canoe, Portland, Oregon

Canoe, 1136 SW Alder Street, in downtown’s West End district. For more impeccable taste and curation, check them out on Twitter and Pinterest.

Alder & Co.

Alder & Co., Portland Oregon

Due to a combination of overtiredness from the trip and nerves, I felt sick to my stomach as the plane landed in Barcelona. I was 17, I was going abroad for the first time, and I was about to meet the girl (and her family) that I’d be living with for the next month.

I needn’t have worried — I know that now — because that girl has been a friend to me ever since that summer. But before I knew her, her world was new and exciting and just a little scary. The next morning, Conchi came into my room to wake me up, speaking in the second language I had not yet mastered and way too fast to understand at half-asleep. I panicked. I had no idea what she was saying and I had no idea how I was going to get my bearings.

Alder & Co., Portland, Oregon

It all got better quickly from there — it was summer in Barcelona, and as high school students our job was to have fun, get to know each other and speak Spanish. Most days we’d head to the beach, or on a walk through the Barri Gòtic. I learned more in that month about the world, myself and new friendship than I ever had before, and that trip started a love affair with Spain that has seen me through five trips in 12 years and fostered a friendship with a family that treats me like one of their own.

That first summer, wherever we went, Conchi and my other Spanish friends all wore the same shoes — leather avarcas, which were worn-in, comfy and the ultimate summer sandal. On a later trip, I got my own pair, which I have long since lost, and I always have a pang of nostalgia whenever I see anyone wearing these sandals.

Alder & Co., Portland, Oregon

Seeing these avarcas for sale — imported from Spain — at Alder & Co. in downtown’s West End district, takes me back to that first summer, playing beach volleyball at Barceloneta and eating helado while “Asereje” blasted in my headphones.

Alder & Co. is a curated shop — but not like the very curated shop just a couple doors down. This place has a more accidental, even serendipitous, feeling. I love the collections, from brightly-colored books to rare finds like Swedish magazines and handcrafted housewares.

Alder & Co., Portland, Oregon

Alder & Co. is located at 616 SW 12th St. in downtown Portland’s west end district. If you’re not in Portland, you can shop online! Follow the shop on instagram for more eye candy.