Thursday, January 14, 2016

Feeling Better in Portland (and What I Wore)

Not quite back to full strength, but the rain stopped for a few hours today, and I got out with my iPhone and the Olloclip 2x telephoto I bought myself just before Christmas. What a good way to feed my senses this walk through Portland's Pearl District turned out to be. Shall I admit to you that I was very tempted to do some fashion retail browsing? That I knew it would probably slip into at least one purchase which I would justify, somehow, despite all the culling I've been doing recently. Despite the reality that I depart for Rome in less than a week...


Of course, you might be more lenient with me if you knew how insistently some shops were about giving me permission to buy their wonderfully curated wares. Any other time, I might not have resisted, and I hope to come back some day...

I mean, is that a sign, or what?!

But while Frances May (and yes, that's the name of this shop--its curation is to salivate over, and I could have done some serious budget damage), she resisted...
Instead of shopping for clothes I don't need, I got out with my phone camera and walked and looked and stopped and shot and walked and looked some more. The streets of this artsied-up former warehouse district are edgier, appealingly grittier in this weather, in some ways more themselves in this cool, grey wet than they are in warmer, sunnier, more tourist-friendly days. Although the many men crouched in sleeping bags in doorways or clustered around this aid centre or that low-rent hotel probably don't agree. 


Ever since I first visited Portland on one of Pater's work gigs 15 or 20 years ago, I've been impressed by its wealth of early 20th-century architecture, especially the fine brick and metal ornamentation. This visit I was also struck by how well the predominating colours of the architecture suited the grey skies, the bare trees of winter. Honestly, despite a completely different vernacular and absolutely different climate, I thought of Rome (okay, it has been on my mind...).
All this to say I have a slew of photos to share, beginning with a few here -- including this sneaky What I Wore, taken in a reflective window I passed on my way.
And which I like much better than the ones I tried to grab you from the hotel mirror before I headed out.
And

I'm writing this on my iPhone in the hotel lobby, waiting for my guy to finish his last meeting of the day and join me for dinner, but before I go, here's a teaser for next post, when I'll tell you more about this gloriously sensuous street sculpture which has a fascinating botanical connection.







25 comments:

  1. Wow, that sculpture is amazing! I love the skirt-and-peacoat outfit, so appropriate for strolling under grey skies. And still love the short hair on you....

    We drove through Portland when I was probably about 10 years old, but I don't recall much. You've really captured a very moody feel.

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    1. Isn't a cool sculpture, Sue? Wait 'til I show you more . . .
      Thanks re the outfit, the hair -- it's interesting being in a transitional stage with the hair, a stage in which I quite like it, but it's not yet "me" -- to me at least. . .
      I love Portland, and want to get back to Oregon before very long, although the current state of our Canadian dollar suggests travel at home might be smarter...

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  2. I've been to Portland just once, in the month of November, and the downtown core (or the industrial core) felt to me just as it does to you - gritty, tough and yet appealing.
    Glad to hear you are on the mend. There's some nasty stuff going around.

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    1. There's so much going on in the arts, in food, in craft beer, in design, etc. in Portland, a very cool aesthetic and sensibility -- I wonder if your daughter at Kit and Ace might have companies or people or whatever that she "follows" there. Frances May was a great store! And while I loved what I caught of the grittiness in my photos, they're really not a fair representation of the city overall.

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  3. That outfit is perfect for winter city walking. I bet you could pick up some beautiful boots in Rome to go with it. Imagine...glad to see you up and about. Window shopping is actually recuperation. Did you not know? An ex-nurse speaks.

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    1. Thanks, Annie. Many prefer jeans or at least pants for getting out and city-walking but I do love a good skirt. I think of those wonderful plaid, pleated fine wool skirts of the 40s-50s, worn with a twin-set. Yes, mumsy, but also funkily practical while rather luxurious... (I actually had, and wore, two of those in the late 60s/early 70s, vintage, worn with irony, natch, but I did love their practical swish... I'm considering boots in Rome but only if they don't destroy the budget for further trips to Rome . . . ;-) One must make choices, sadly (or luckily, of course!)

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  4. So glad that you're better and enjoying your trip. Well,thinking of Rome, you'll have a lot to shop and window-shop as well,but Frances May Yes was so amazing! Maybe it was fashion approval for your outfit,no?
    Dottoressa

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    1. Yes, it didn't make much sense to spend in Portland, when the windows of Rome will have me drooling very soon. . . But I think I must return to that shop one of these days . . .

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    2. Let me know when you are ready to do that. I live and work nearby and would love to take you for a walk in the largest urban park in the U.S., in the hills above the Pearl District.

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    3. Leslie, we're back in Portland next month. Perhaps you could email me at fsproutATgmailDOTcom and we can compare schedules to see if we could manage that walk or a lunch/tea/drink downtown

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  5. I have not been to Portland in years. It has always been a city to bypass en route to the coast. It does have a gritty/grotty look about it. I am wondering about the sculpture. Window-shopping is fun when you have no intention of buying anything.

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    1. Oh, you must! stop in Portland one day, if only to spend a few hours at Powell's Books. A bibliophile's dream! A full city block, all one huge store, spread out over a couple of floors, divided into numerous rooms identified by colour. The section for books in and about various languages alone would hold you captive. And used books are shelved together with new, all in good condition, so that browsing will bring you the wonderful serendipities of the backlist, missed these days in too many chain bookstores.

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  6. Happy to hear that you have rallied. There is a bad flu around and many are 3 weeks into it...your immune system must be stellar.
    Your pea coat looks cozy and warm...perfect for window shopping and sight seeing...like that sneaky window shot too!

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    1. Thanks, L. I'm surprised how much I'm wearing this peacoat (J. Crew) to the exclusion of most of my others, just because it's so multi-purpose.

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  7. Glad to see that you are over the worst. Portland does look a bit gritty, but maybe the grey skies made it look more so than it really is?

    Are you glad now that you retired and able to go on jaunts like this (and Rome, of course!)?

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    1. Yes, it's a very pretty city in the sunshine -- it calls itself the City of Roses as the climate works so well for gardens, especially roses. And it's got a wealth of early 20th century architecture, so much decorative work, very charming.

      And yes, this might be the benefit of retirement I appreciate the most, the freedom to travel on short jaunts and longer expeditions.

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  8. Just come across your blog from Instagram. Loving all your photos of Portland, so different to my little island of Jersey in the Channel Islands. I am looking forward to hearing about Rome. Barbara

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    1. Welcome, Barbara -- I live on a wee island, myself, and it's also in an archipelago -- what are here known as the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. I'll be sure to check out your IG feed and compare our island lives.

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  9. Love your OOTD,Portland not so much. Looks pretty grim judging by your photos but rain doesn't help I suppose. Amused by your shop find I don't think I'd have been so restrained under those circumstances. Mary

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    1. Yes, my photos aren't intended to represent Portland except its perhaps grim beauty on a wintry day -- it's really quite a charming city, well worth visiting during its warmer months.
      I did well, didn't I, to be so restrained? Honestly, I really had to focus, and the bookstore-visiting and walking-with-camera were planned deliberately to keep my mind (and eyes!) away from the temptations of retail fashion! ;-)

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    2. So happy you are feeling better and out. I love the feeling of winter in your photos, the chill and damp and the sense of timelessness and waiting. Also the reflected photo. I am sometimes startled by similar views, of aspects of the self that are revealed in random moments.

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    3. This is exactly what happened with the photo -- honestly, I was surprised by seeing myself as smaller than I generally recognise, and I also saw how happily the image reflected the way I felt at the moment, comfortably urban, engaged by my surroundings, happy and competent on my own.

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  10. I love that pea jacket Frances. It looks lovely with a skirt and flats.

    I'm posting this comment under "anonymous"...as a test. Some of my readers are having trouble commenting, and I read somewhere that it can be the "captcha" thingie...apparently some spam filters think the Captcha is spam and don't allow it to pop up...hence the comment does not go through. I can't, however, seem to find any info on how to get rid of the Captcha on my blog. So I'm checking on other Blogger blogs to see if comments come through on their blogs. Hope you don't mind being a guinea pig... kind of:)

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    1. Sorry forgot to say...It's Sue from High Heels in the Wilderness.

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    2. Glad you added your handle, but only because it confirmed my guess, and it pleases me that we know each other well enough to recognise writing voices...

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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