Monday, November 29, 2010

Twist

Earrings by Cathy Waterman
One of the best places to shop for unique designer jewelry in Portland is Twist Jewelry.  Renee, the sales person, was extremely knowledgeable about the artists, extremely nice and willing to pose with my favorite pair.

These are by Cathy Waterman and representative of the kind of beautiful, quality unique items they carry.

Unlike many jewelry stores, Twist is housed in a spacious building. Outside is a must see duck sculpture made of stainless steel parts of things. It's truly a tribute to creative thinking. Inside, various collections have room to breathe and customers don't feel visually overwhelmed.

Between the space, the special collection of artists and the wonderful people at Twist, you can't go wrong.

In the spirit of ethical blogging, I must let you know that, sadly, I didn't buy anything from Twist (this time around) nor do any of the Twistians, except Renee, know that I was going to write a post. But I did have fun, really enjoyed them and will go back!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Boov Shoes


Boov Shoes
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Actually, these are Vibram 5 Finger Bikila running shoes. But they look like alien Boov shoes (from the book, The True Meaning of Smek Day). My cat now thinks I'm Darth Vader and my husband is convinced I'm an alien Boov:)

Sparking the minimalist shoe movement, these joggers separate the toes and more importantly, the difference between the heel height and the forefoot height is basically zero in contrast to many other jogging shoes and in contrast to my 4" platform heels.

So I'm breaking myself in by wearing them around the house to get that Boov stretch between toes. If you don't know what a Boov looks like, here's a picture from www.smekday.com. Don't you think these would look good on the blue guy?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Blog Header

Again a bit late but composed of pics taken in October with one repeat from the also late October blog header.

Holiday Reads

The holidays are a great chance to curl up with a good book and catch up on some reading. Here's a selection that veers from tears that you try to hide while you're sitting in the window seat of an airplane to the sharp intake of breath and a smile from whimsy to the serious sofa shaking delight of laughter. Could be good stocking stuffers too.

Miz Lil & the Chronicles of Grace came my way from friends at Open Door Fellowship in Denver, CO. Twelve stories weave Walter Wangerin Jr.'s growing up as a boy with his growing up as an inner-city pastor. The characters from Grandpa Storck to Miz Lil are tenderly drawn but Walter's foibles less so. I came away from the book with a sense of hopelessness about the struggles of trying to do good while being human. Yet, we receive grace, unmerited favor.

Something Rotten, was a hard cover abandoned to the sale rack. It's the 4th in a continuing saga of literary detective Thursday Next as she attempts to recover her eradicated husband and save the world by winning the Swindon Super Hoop. The author, Jasper Fforde from Wales, takes his whimsical world building seriously persisting through the credits: "No penguins were killed or pianos destroyed in order to write this book. The penguin meal on page 146 and the piano incident on page 305 were merely fictional narrative devices and have no basis in fact." This book also happens to be a Powell's book store staff pick.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex was a recommended hand-me-on from my husband and it's the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. It's a story about aliens invading the earth and how a 10 year old girl, one cat named Pig and a fugitive Boov alien make the most of it.  Great laughter medicine. Best voice for both J.Lo, the Boov and Tip, the 10 year old girl.  Here's a sample line from J.Lo "Everybodies is always wanting to make a clone for to doing their work. If you are not wanting to do your work, why would a clone of you want to do your work."

Enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Best Places to Shop for Shoes in Portland


New Boots!
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Halo Shoes is one of my favorite shoe stores.  When I was last there I bought a pair of Camilla Skovgaard sandals also worn by Halle Berry and still love them.  This time, they were in the process of moving to their new location at  938 NW Everett so I didn't get my quality time.

However, all was not lost. Halo Shoes' old location at 1425 NE Broadway is still owned by Halo but has a new name and stocks only one brand called something like Cordinali. Fortunately for me, they were still clearing out other brands and I found these lovely Tentazione boots there with lovely detailing and smart design.  Originally, I was looking for a black boot but these changed my mind.
Lastly, a stop by Imelda's and Louie's across the street from the new Halo at 935 Everett is a great place for comfortable round toed shoes of all types from boots to pumps to ballet flats.

I haven't made it to all the great shoe stores in Portland but so far, these are my 3 faves!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon for Thanksgiving

It was a little over a year ago when I first attempted to cook bœuf bourguignon or The Sacred Vache! My kitchen was not yet remodeled and looks a bit quaint in the photographs. My new kitchen, which emerged after a scant 13 days, is a wonder to work in. Not a day goes by that I don't breath a prayer of thanks for it.

So, this Thanksgiving, I tackled the sacred cow again.  Again it took me 7 hours from empty cupboards to meal on the table but this effort can certainly be made more efficient with some advance planning in the provisioning.  I shopped the day before Thanksgiving. Though I started early at 8:15am, arriving at Dittmer's, the local and best butcher, at 18 minutes after opening bell put me #48 in line. The quality of the stew meat was worth the wait but could have been purchased weeks before and stored at the ready in the freezer.

Rather than the Pyrex dish I used last time (and cracked) this time I had a beautiful blue Le Creuset (snatched up at Tuesday Morning, an off-price store) and a Crate & Barrel casserole both filled with the full dosage of Julia's recipe. One other significant change as well. This time I chose a 90 point Norton Reserva Malbec at Costco and was richly rewarded by the excellent pairing by dinner time.  We had an arugula salad with a light Meyer lemon, olive oil and sea salt dressing.  I was a bit engrossed so I forgot the veg and starch.  Tonight I'll see if I can add some asparagus with shaved aged Manchego and a super simple microwaved baked potato.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best Places for Breakfast in Portland



Having just returned from a weekend getaway in Portland, I can give you the inside and tested scoop on great places for breakfast.

Hash in Sellwood at 8728 SE 17th gets props for upstart originality. Friendly staff serve press pot coffee, aebleskiver, construct your own omelets and……hash as you can see to the right.   I had a chantrelle (the ingredient of the day), arugula and manchego omelet garnished with poached pear and suave caramel sauce.  Jam is homemade.

Pine State Biscuits, formerly a food cart, serves anything with a biscuit, mostly fruit, sausage gravy or fried chicken in a variety of combinations including with mustard and honey.  All ingredients are piled chest high.  The biscuits are crispy, not Pillsbury dough boy soft. With only 12 chairs in the house, seating is communal and you bus your own table. All staff remains behind the counter working the stove and cash register. Great place for an "experience".

At the other end of the formality spectrum, breakfast at the Heathman Restaurant in the Heathman Hotel is a safe and predictable white table cloth affair.  Waiters wear ties and starched white shirts.  The smoked salmon omelet and eggs benedict were both very good. Go here if you just need things to be as expected.

We return over and over to the Everett Street Bistro, "a European style charcuterie", in downtown Portland. The spinach scramble is laced with parmesan and garlic and the coffee, served by accomplished and approachable wait staff, is dark and welcome. They also serve aebleskiver and cocktails if your morning calls for it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rainy Night Run

rain shines dark asphalt 
nacreous lights unfurl against velvet 
showing me the way

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Creating Photo Calendars

High Voltage Transmission Lines
© Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson
I made my first calendar and I had no idea it would be so hard! The questions that came up for me were particularly esoteric:

  1. Audience: Who am I making this calendar for?
  2. Motivation: If for someone else, what's important about that? What do I expect their reaction to be?
  3. Taste: If I'm making for someone else, how on earth can I pick 12 photos they would like? 3. If I'm making one for several someone elses, how can I pick something that would appeal to most? If I'm making it for me, what are my 12 favorite photos from 2010?
  4. Theme: What's the uniting theme or topics that provides a consistent thread through the calendar?
  5. Season: Should the photos relate to the season or not be constrained in that way?

The practicalities were a bit, well, tedious?

  1. What is the recommended pixel per inch and size for a particular service provider's user interface?  I never did find the answer for Snapfish.  I just used the guess and guess again rule until I stopped getting "Warning, your image is too small" message and the entire image fit into the "box".
  2. There's no approval copy sent to you.  You have to order one, pay for it, then decide if it works and order more.
  3. The supposedly easy interface between Flickr and Snapfish doesn't really meet the need because if you size photos small enough so that others can't print them as their own then they are no good for you for any of the print facilitating sites like Blurb or Snapfish.  

What looked like "quick and easy" turned out to be about 4 to 6 hours of work for 1 calendar that I haven't received yet so I don't know if I'm done. I'm sure I could do this smarter next time. For now, I'll just never believe what I read.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dark Morning Haiku

leaves whisked into an 
airy dance lit gold by the 
bright sun of headlights