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.

pedX Shoes

pedX shoes, Portland, Oregon

Every summer, as the air started to turn a little colder, my mom would prep us for back-to-school shopping. She’d parade us over to Nordstrom for their summer sale and we’d get to pick out a few things for school, including a pair of shoes. That particular year, both Emily and I had our eyes on a new pair of Doc Martens.

“Really?” mom asked, holding the shoes up, their thick soles gleaming under the shoe department lights. “I know you girls think these are cute, but in your size, they’re going to look ridiculous.”

Thank goodness for power in numbers, because I probably would have believed her. But the oft-used “Those will look ridiculous in your size” speech comes from a place of my mom’s own insecurity about her feet looking big. It’s a little ironic, considering we both have bigger feet than she does. And they didn’t look ridiculous at all. We proudly laced up and headed to school in those Doc Martens when September rolled around.

pedX shoes is a space filled with beautiful light, beautiful shoes and the almost constant smell of waffle cones. How does anyone accomplish anything under these circumstances?!

pedX shoes, Portland, Oregon

This inspired women’s shoe shop — “shoe shangri la,” is just a couple doors down from the Alberta location of Salt & Straw, which is where that heavenly smell comes from. But what about the shoes? I sometimes have trouble with independent shoe stores since the styles are so particular to that store’s owner and feel. But in this case, whoever is picking the shoes should keep it up. They are all beautiful, but with just a hint of practicality — which I appreciate. And not one pair would look ridiculous in my size.

The staff here are over-and-above helpful and sweet, and welcoming too. Great for a browse or a shopping spree. And don’t miss the great sale section!

pedX shoes, Portland, Oregon

pedX shoes, 2005 NE Alberta in NE Portland’s Alberta Arts District. Check out their sister store Manifesto for men’s and women’s shoes. See also pedX’s Twitter and blog.

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.