Three Penny Mercantile

Three Penny Mercantile, Portland, Oregon

Flashback to 1989 with me. I’m 7, and inseparable from my best friend Julie. My little sister Emily plays sidekick. Most days start out good-natured, but eventually, Julie and I end up concocting mischief. This day is no different.

We decide that we’re going to have an impromptu birthday party (of course). It isn’t Emily’s birthday, but we’d like to celebrate it — now. Like, in 20 minutes. So we tell Emily that the party is going to be in her room and it’s a surprise so she can’t come in. I drag my parents’ gift wrap and crepe paper stash from beneath their bed and we go to work inside Emily’s locked room.

Three Penny Mercantile, Portland, Oregon

First, we annihilate the crepe paper stash by tacking it up with Scotch tape all over the walls. How festive!

Next, we need to focus on presents. We wrack our brains, not sure where we can find any presents on such short notice. Until we realize we are surrounded by toys. Madly, we begin to wrap up things we find on her shelves. Ten minutes later, we let her into the room. We sing to her, we show off our mad party-planning skills and then we settle down to open presents.

Emily was the absolute best sport of all time, always. She opened every single present, acting genuinely surprised and grateful for each. And they were just her own stuff, wrapped in wrapping paper.

Three Penny Mercantile, Portland, Oregon

It’s fun to have new stuff, even if it’s really used stuff. That’s why secondhand/thrift shops are a good time, and a great place to find some unique stuff. Three Penny Mercantile is a great spot, on NW 23rd Ave., to score some new (old) stuff. They have a great selection of vintage finds in a really cute shop, and you can sell your vintage goods there too.

Three Penny Mercantile, Portland, Oregon

Three Penny Mercantile is at 816 NW 23rd Ave. Stop in to buy or sell rad vintage clothes.

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!

Lodekka

Lodekka, North Portland, Oregon

I went to a lot of church camp while I was growing up, and I have to come clean — my favorite part of church camp was the boys. I was what Hall & Oates might have affectionately called a Maneater.

So imagine my delight when we loaded up the bus to head to the coast for a long weekend in sixth grade — they called it Winter Beach Camp — and my friend from school had brought his best friend for the weekend. A new one that I hadn’t met! Excellent.

As another song goes (well, kinda), he walked out of my dreams and into that yellow school bus. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And I had a two-hour bus ride to convince him that I was the girl of his dreams, too. I used my time well, trapping him in his seat and forcing him to talk to me. I somehow (coercively and aggressively, I’m sure) convinced him by the time we arrived at camp that we were going out. I disembarked the bus optimistic for my blossoming relationship, ready to tell all my friends and sure we’d be together forever.

Lodekka, North Portland, Oregon

The magic of that bus ride dissipated, of course, when he denied it all the next morning. He had never agreed to go out with me, he said. Could we just be friends?

That stung a little, but I didn’t give up. Everywhere he showed up that weekend, I was coincidentally stationed nearby — one of the stealth moves of a sixth-grade Maneater. We talked and laughed and had fun, but he wasn’t interested. He never came back to another of our church camps after that.

A full decade later, I saw him at a distance of 20 feet at a concert at the Gorge and couldn’t bring myself to say hello because I was so embarrassed. But for the record, he was still dashingly handsome.

Lodekka, North Portland, Oregon

It may not last forever, but magic can happen aboard a bus. Time stops. You’re in a bubble. Also true at Lodekka, an ingenious little dress and accessories shop in North Portland on an old double-decker bus named Guinevere. They carry “everything a girl needs to put together a smashing outfit” and shopping in a bus can turn a regular experience into a special one. All the inventory is thrifted by master thrifter, musician and owner Erin, who keeps the finds fresh and new.

Lodekka, North Portland, Oregon

Lodekka is a double decker bus filled with fashion, parked in the 3900 block of N. Williams Avenue between Lompoc’s Sidebar and Hopworks Bike Bar. Check out her blog and Twitter for more info.