Portland Preservation Society

Just about a year ago, with Brooke's motivation and organization, a handful of people - friends, and friends of friends - somewhat awkwardly assembled at a café in SE Portland to discuss canning and preserving. We each brought books to reference, and a general enthusiasm to form a group in which we would reconvene each month and exchange canned goods. Formally named the "Portland Preservation Society," most of us casually refer to it as "canning club." At that first meeting, we loosely established some method to the process, which after the initial exchange we realized needed to be overhauled. From then on, the general process is that anyone who comes should bring 5-6 jars of something preferably seasonal and local that they have canned/preserved. At the meeting, we all place our goods on the table, form a circle around the precious goods, and one-by-one explain what we've made. It's nearly impossible after a couple glasses of wine and good conversation to remember which jars sounded best, and which to choose first! The second time around the circle, we each get to choose one jar, and then we go back around and around until each person has the number of jars they contributed. In the end we each walk away with 5 or 6 incredibly creative, flavorful canned goods that we probably wouldn't have thought to make ourselves.

Image(from the second swap)

We have our one year anniversary meeting this week, and it's amazing to see how it's grown! From a modest 10 or so people in the beginning, we now have over 250 members in the Facebook group, thanks to Brooke's continued organization and excitement. We began by having a different member host each month, but now it's grown so big (about 30-50 people attend each month) that we are meeting at Union Pine, thanks to Summer and Patrick's generous contribution of that lovely space.

Image(left to right, top to bottom: curried cauliflower, gomasio, cranberry apple ginger beer, balsamic pickled eggs, pickled Asian pears)

When I was young, my mom would make pickled beans and beets, and they were always such a treat! I started canning only four years ago, and luckily I can say my skills have progressed with time. The first batches of pickled things I made were too spicy - not too hot, they just too many competing flavors - but now I have my go-to recipe for pickling. And I've tried so many other things that once would have seemed too ambitious.

Image(lapsang souchong tea jelly that I made)

Image(mushroom herb seasoning that I made for the next meeting)

Even though a canning club is the ultimate Portland cliché, it's a really wonderful group to be a part of. Through it I've made some great friends, gotten to take home some delicious foods (hello bacon jam!), and had a number of memorable wine-filled conversations.

**Some notes - to join, just become a member of the Facebook group for the details on the next meeting. Check out the Portland Preservation Society Tumblr page, too! And see photos on Instagram at #portlandpreservationsociety.

____________________ all photos taken with my iphone

Unruly Things

Today I have a guest post up at Unruly Things.

bloody mary

Check it out here. Or below:

Chances are good that if you invite me to brunch at your house, I’ll bring Bloody Marys. Typically this is met with enthusiasm, but tomato-based drinks are sometimes divisive: either you love them or you hate them. I’ll assume, like me, you love them.When I was thinking about what to write about for Unruly Things, I looked back through my Instagram feed for inspiration. One of the recurring themes was posts of different Bloody Marys I’ve made. Once strangers started commenting on the frequency in which I drink them, I realized that my love for a good Bloody Mary may be a little over the top

Over the years I’ve perfected my recipe. Friends have asked for it, and up until this point I’ve kept quiet. If I’m going to share it, why not let everyone know, right? It’s very simple and straightforward – there’s no need for it to be too complicated.


1 32oz bottle of tomato juice 2 lemons, juiced 2 tablespoons freshly grated or prepared horseradish 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons celery salt 1 teaspoon dried dill weed ¼ teaspoon cumin Vodka Pickled vegetables for garnish Ice

ingredients Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients except vodka together in a large bowl. Whisk well.

2. Using the juiced lemon, wet the rim of the glass. Use celery salt to salt the rim.

3. Add ice to the glass, then mix one part vodka to three parts tomato juice mix.

4. Garnish with as many pickled vegetables as you can fit on a toothpick!

Makes enough to share with all your friends.


I'm really terrible at talking about trips. When I got home from Paris and people asked how it was, I simply responded "great!" Expecting more than a one word answer, I'd follow that up by reiterating "so good." When that still didn't satisfy whoever I was talking to, I'd add "we ate and drank, walked, biked, shopped, saw a few sights, and drank more wine."  Then I'd change the subject. Unless you want every detail, I can't sum it up in a short conversation. So this might be a long one.

To start, the reason I went to Paris in the first place was for my former job -- at a high school study abroad non-profit. In February I was awarded a chaperon flight to Paris, long before I had decided to leave the organization. Lucky for me, I was allowed to keep the flight even though I hadn't worked there for months. So in early September, I headed to New York for a few days where I met the 46 teenagers who I'd eventually take from JFK to Charles de Gaulle airport. Just me and them, with an hourlong layover in Zurich where we had to go through security and immigration. I only yelled at them once, but it was well deserved. Needless to say, we made it to Paris and the staff there took over. An hour after arriving, I had completed my responsibilities and was ready for vacation.

Sarah had been visiting our friend Kim in London the week prior, and the day after I arrived, the two of them took the train down and met me in Paris. There is something really special about meeting up with friends in another country. You get to see a side of someone that you wouldn't normally. The night they arrived, we went out to dinner at a highly recommended neighborhood restaurant in the Marais, where we were staying. It was packed, and we needed to get on the list. Neither of them speak a word of French, so I was elected to do all the communicating. I proudly got us on the list, but somehow inadvertently told the bartender that I'd like to go to his house. You'd think three years of college French would get me a little further than that.

Thanks to Kim's special European credit card with a chip in it, we could rent commuter bikes by the hour. There was a bike station right out side of our apartment, and conveniently there was always a station to drop them off near wherever we went. One day we seemed to bike all over the city to see many of the major sights. When I was 18, my cousin and I spent the summer in Paris living with her former exchange student. We were young and dumb, and didn't even have a guidebook to tell us where to go. But I think we made our way to all of the major museums that summer, and most of the famous attractions. I've been lucky enough to go back a couple other times between then and now, so I was totally content letting this trip be purely a vacation of eating, drinking, and wandering around. Luckily Sarah, Kim, and I were all on the same page. Everything was seamless.

By the end of the week, we'd buy multiple baguettes and at least two bottles of wine at a time. Just in case we needed them when the stores had closed. We didn't want to be caught without either.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with Parisian café culture, but it's something people do: sit at cafés and sip espresso. Did you know that the espresso is actually really gross?  For a couple of Portlanders and a Londoner, the coffee was totally sub-par. While Kim could handle it, Sarah and I couldn't. We made it our mission to find decent coffee. We never really did, but we came close at Rose Bakery. We'd each order two drinks during breakfast so we could feel properly caffeinated.

I was talking with a friend the other night about Paris, and he said seeing photos makes him feel weirdly nostalgic, which is how I feel, too. I'm not sure if it's even for a time that I've already had there, or if it's for a time I want to have. But there's something about that city that makes me feel like I want to make memories there. Maybe that's what we just did?

____________________ All photos taken on my film camera.

Summer blur

A year ago this weekend -- Labor Day weekend -- my dear friend Christie and I were camping at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon. It was a memorable weekend in which the highlight was a 40 or so mile long drive along a gravel road not meant for cars like the one we were driving. At times we weren't sure if we'd make it to our destination: the highway. The map we were using was either inaccurate, or we (most likely) made some wrong turns. It was supposed to be about 20 miles, but ended up taking hours longer than expected because we were going so slow most of the way that we didn't even shift out of first gear! At one point I had to get out of the car while we forded a creek, so as not to weigh it down any more than necessary. We both silently made note of our mileage as we would pass a house in order to know how many miles back we'd have to walk to civilization if the car got stuck or we broke down. There were hills as far as we could see, cows wandering in the roadway, and not a person for miles and miles. We finally made it back to the highway at dusk, luckily, and headed to our camp where we were rewarded with the most refreshing beer we'd ever had. There aren't many people I'd want to be in that situation with, but Christie has a sense of adventure that is contagious, which is also paired with extreme capability when it comes to precarious situations like that one.

It's hard to believe a year has passed since then, as it seems like such a vivid memory. Over the past year a lot has changed for me, however. In June I left my job of four years, which has completely turned my world upside down. I'm able to pursue the kind of work I want to be doing, and am already consumed with three different jobs, tons of projects, and trips seemingly every weekend, that I'm busier than ever! It's certainly not the summer I had expected it to be: unemployed and lazily taking river trips mid-week.

In Portland, summer officially starts on the fourth of July, once it finally gets warm. I was lucky to go camping even before that in Central Oregon, where it's much warmer and dryer, for my roommate Alea's birthday. Sharing the weekend with friends in the desert while eating great food and swimming in the John Day River was the best way to kick off summer.

I love Alea for a lot of reasons, but the one of the first things that brought us together was that we were raised about fifteen miles from one another out in the Coast Range of Western Oregon. We both have a little bit of country in us. Anyway, it was a beautiful weekend of getting dusty in the desert and celebrating Alea. The first night we stayed at Pine Mountain Observatory, where we saw the most incredible sky filled with stars. More than I've ever seen. There were astronomers with gigantic telescopes who pointed out the constellations and showed us Saturn, which was recognizable with the ring around it. While laying on the ground for just a short while, I counted at least ten shooting stars.

The next day we drove out to the Painted Hills and planned to find somewhere to camp along the way. It was hot out, and we wanted to find a place to swim. But with no cell phone reception and a proven unreliable map that I had used last year in the same area, we didn't really have a destination in mind. As we were driving down the highway, I saw a local dude and his two young sons near their driveway and quickly pulled over. I asked him if he knew of any good swimming holes nearby. He asked how serious we were, because if we wanted to drive on a gravel road, up a hill, he could direct us to the best place around. Little did he know that I had traversed those roads with wild abandon just last year. I memorized his directions, but for good measure he drew us a map:

We made it to the spot without a hitch, and were all in awe of the picturesque spot we found. Even though it wasn't really a campsite, we couldn't tear ourselves away from the spot and pitched out tents right there for the night.

A group of locals stopped by and joined us for a bit, just proving to us that we were at the best spot around.

I suppose there are memorable elements of every summer, but for the last two, some of the greatest moments were spent in Central Oregon along the John Day River, amongst friends.


In case you didn't know, Christie and I have a blog called Summer Goals that we rarely update anymore, but has been the source of much of my excitement for summer of the past few years. We also curated a book of the same name, published by Publication Studio.

____________________ All photos taken on my film camera.


In the past year and a half, I've traveled more than I ever have before. For the entirety of this past fall, I was taking weeklong trips to the East Coast every third week for work. Once I was home I'd need a week to recover, then the next week I was busy planning another trip. Consequently, I've been racking up frequent flier miles which has allowed me to go on some real vacations. I just got back from a wedding on Cape Cod a few days ago, but before that a couple friends and I went on a dream trip to Texas. As the rain continued to pour down in Portland, we flew to Austin to work on our tans. We spent the first two days exclusively drinking coffee, eating tacos, laying around and occasionally getting into the water at Barton Springs, and then drinking micheladas at the bar at Hotel San Jose. If this alone was all we did it would have been a great vacation, but it was just the beginning of what turned out to be the best trip I've taken in recent years.

From Austin we drove to White Sands, NM, which is a place I'm not sure if I even knew about before we started planning this trip. When we were driving up, I was convinced that we'd pull up, look around, then go along our way. I don't think any of us expected to be so blown away by White Sands. Huge rolling white dunes that seemingly go on forever. I've ridden a camel in the Sahara Desert, and that has nothing on this place.

The clouds were beautiful and intense, but we didn't think much of it. We drove five or six hours down to Marfa, TX that evening, and the clouds followed us there.

We were driving south, just 50 or so miles from Marfa, in the middle of the desolate West Texas desert, and this was the view in my rearview mirror. At any point during the trip, if one of us wanted to stop the car and take photos, that's what we'd do no questions asked.

We got to El Cosmico after dark and after the reception area closed, but were instructed to just go straight to our teepee and check in the next morning. We were so excited to be there, and to finally shower after running through sand dunes and camping the previous night. We settled in, exhausted, and quickly passed out. Those thunderclouds that we had seen all day caught up to us and we were awoken just after 1am to extremely loud claps of thunder, rain and hail pounding on the canvas walls of the teepee, the wooden poles that hold it up rattling in the wind, dirt and rain flying in the sides where the structure wasn't sealed to the ground, and incredibly bright flashes of lightening. Christie's and Sarah's beds were more exposed to the rain and dirt, so they got in bed with me and we weathered the storm together in my bed with the covers completely over us. Of course we all had thoughts of the teepee collapsing or flying away, but we mostly just stayed quiet and let the storm pass. The next morning the girl at the reception desk told me that she was thinking about us all night, and how terrified she was for us. She was so sweet and said that we didn't pay for that experience, and didn't let us pay for that night.

We ate our way around the small town of Marfa. Food Shark was definitely our collective favorite. A month later I'm still craving the fattoush salad. My unexpected favorite thing I did there was tour the grounds of Donald Judd's home and studios. I realize this isn't what I was supposed to take away from the tour, but even just peering in the windows of his home left a lasting impression. I've never seen a house that I've wanted to live in more. No photos were allowed on the premises, but it looks like someone snuck a photo of the exterior.

Equally impressive was his library. His will stated that none of his thousands of books should be moved after his death, so in recent years an archivist photographed each shelf and cataloged his entire collection online. It was a massive project that took two years, but now you can type your zip code into the website and find the closest bookstore to you that sells a given book. Amazing.

I came home from this trip many shades darker (or redder?), and drunk on sun and friends. It's taken this long to be able to articulate anything about this experience, because more than anything, it just feels like a sweet dream that I really can't do justice with words.

*I almost forgot - I owe Michael M. Muller a big, public thanks for sending a list of recommendations for both Marfa and Austin at the very last minute. As our friend said, he's the salt of the earth.

____________________ All photos were taken with my film camera.


My entire life I've struggled with getting up in the morning. For a brief period when I was a little girl, I would get dressed in my school clothes the night before so I could sleep just a little longer in the morning. In the winter, to get me out of bed, my mom would wake me by telling me it snowed outside. For some reason it always worked, and I would jump out of bed and run to the window only to be disappointed. There was actually good reason to not want out of bed when I was young: we only had a wood stove to heat the house, and if the fire hadn't been burning for a while, it was freezing when we got up. That was an excuse during the cold months, but really my problem persisted year round.

As an adult, I'm a serial snoozer on weekdays. There's never anything that sounds more appealing than laying in bed for a few more minutes. Often I don't eat breakfast until I get to work, if at all. My morning routine is frantic, and usually ends in me running out the door with just minutes to catch the bus five blocks away.

The weekends are another story though. One of my favorite things about Saturday or Sunday mornings is that I get to wake up early and enjoy a nice home cooked breakfast. Eggs and coffee are always on the menu, but the rest varies. Sometimes steamed kale with preserved lemon and olive oil, and other times toast and jam. The morning after returning from Florida, I made poached eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee. Simple and delicious.

____________________ This photo was taken with my film camera.


It seems that I've gotten so carried away working on projects and spending time with friends that I forgot to share what I've been doing. More likely is that I failed to take any worthwhile photos of my own lately, and have been waiting for these to become public.

A couple weekends ago I was a part of something so special and beautiful, it almost feels like a dream. Kinfolk hosted their first of twelve dinners in just as many cities over the course of the year, at the incredible Beam + Anchor space. I had the good fortune to receive an invitation, and found myself dining amongst a handful of Portland's most inspiring doers and makers.

The gatherings are meant to bring people together to "take advantage of the rich community that already exists around them, opening up and drawing close to the people that share a common place." The aim is to encourage collaboration and connections with other local creative-minded people. Everyone was asked to participate by helping to set the table, open wine bottles, light candles, or take care of other small tasks. We got to know the people sitting next to us by sharing a meal with them, which is something that always brings people together.

Similar to my own aesthetic, the entire event had a feeling of wabi-sabi -- the Japanese idea of beauty through imperfection, with an appreciation for irregular, organic objects and processes. There was no right or wrong way to approach the meal. Only one fork to keep track of. We had to clear our dinner plates because there weren't any special dessert plates. We could drink wine of any color (red, white, rosé) depending on our individual taste and not what the proper pairing would be.

When I was in college I worked at a natural food store and was the wine steward's assistant for a short time. I confessed to him that I didn't really know anything about wine, but I knew what I liked. He told me that's all that mattered, and I shouldn't worry about anything else. That's kind of how I felt about this dinner: we did what felt good. And it just happened to be beautiful.

Read more about the dinner on the Kinfolk journal.

____________________ All photos by the very talented Laura D'Art.


On Saturday I finally made it down to the lovely new little shop and cafe in Portland called LOWELL. Christie and I were excited to check it out, but as we approached the front door and glimpsed in, we were both taken aback. It was even more amazing than we expected...and we knew it would be good.

The couple who opened the place, Maya and Dino, are pretty incredible, too. We got some coffee, sat at the bar of the café, and talked to them like we were old friends. (Maybe one day we will be.) Maya told us that her parents used to have a shop where they sold Native American crafts, and that's where some of the wire baskets and other goods they're selling came from. The beautiful wooden spoons were sourced from an indigenous community that they have a connection to in Mexico. I bought a teeny little vintage leather coin purse that I couldn't bear to leave behind. Christie left with her arms full of a beautifully worn rug and metal toolbox. The entire shop is expertly curated, and the jewelry, pottery, furniture, and other little trinkets each had their own stories and allure.

Dino is in charge of food in the basic kitchen, and based on the smell of the soup stock he was brewing, he knows what he's doing. I already have plans to go back for a Japanese-style soup they'll begin serving this week. In fact, from the moment I walked into the place, I couldn't help but think it belonged in my favorite outer neighborhoods of Tokyo: Shimokitazawa or Nakameguro, just like the café that is the inspiration for this blog.

If you live in Portland, do yourself a favor and go to LOWELL as soon as you can.

819 N Russell St | Portland OR 97227 503 753 3608 Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12-8pm-ish


____________________ All photos were taken with my iPhone.

New Year

New Year's Eve is usually pretty anti-climactic for me, and I often feel that I watch things happen rather than really join in on the fun. But this year was much different. I've had the best weekend -- filled with so much laughter and happiness -- that I can remember in a long time! It started with a nice dinner with an old friend and her family, and ended at 4am after dancing to Robyn in my highest heels. I hope it's a sign for the year to come, but I feel totally content with my life as 2012 is commencing.

The biggest theme that has emerged as I have been reflecting on the past year and thinking about the coming one is that I want to continue to pursue making and creating in 2012. Last year around this time I said something similar, and specifically that I wanted to create an actual space to make things. In 2011, Christie and I got our studio and published our book. I can only hope this year will be as productive.

To start the new year off, I spent some time this morning sitting on the couch, drinking tea and recounting the night before as I listened to npr. Tomorrow a friend and I are starting a 7-day detox to start the year anew. After this weekend, our bodies need it!

Here's to the new year and all that is yet to come!

____________________ All photos taken with my iPhone.

After Christmas

After Christmas, I always get a little depressed. Nothing serious -- I just get a little down because I don't have anything in particular to look forward to. Throughout the fall I traveled constantly it seemed, from mid-September through early December, I was going back and forth to the East Coast every couple weeks for work. It was exhausting, but fun at times too. Right now I'm looking forward to a bit more normality in my life. Breakfast at home, not at a strip mall coffee shop. It's time to slow down a little bit and relax. So while I don't have anything in particular to count down the days until, I am really happy to just be home and have time to appreciate mundane things like breakfast.

____________________ This photo was taken with my iPhone.