Sunday, May 10, 2015

Portland - A Blogger's (food, thrifting and nature lover's ) Paradise

This bright and beautiful woman is Krista, and her handsome boy Peetee.  I "met" Krista through her blog Peetee's Palace (which she stopped updating in December) and after an exchange of comments on each other's blogs, emails, and Skype chats, she extended an invitation to visit her in Portland, Oregon.  I had heard great things about the west coast city so I jumped at the chance to see it for myself, and meet the colourful, creative, and all-round cool gal in person.

After a drive to Detroit and a 4 and a half hour flight, I arrived at Casa Krista and Chris (her husband).  Here we are the next day on her couch with Peetee snuggled between us, making plans for the day.  Krista is wearing a gorgeous Mexican wedding dress that she found at her (and now mine) favourite secondhand store. Isn't modern technology wonderful?

Krista's home reflects her love of cheerful colours and all things cute and creepy.  Skulls, fairies, and dolls share space with colourful textiles, Mexican handicrafts and lots of art.  Several of the fun dioramas Krista has made are displayed throughout the house, including the bathroom, and even the keyboard in her office is a perfect reflection of her.

On Day One of our adventure we were joined by Krista's bestie, Cristi (it was a challenge spending three days with a Krista, Chris, and Cristi and not get names mixed up).

It was a treat to spend the day with these two fun-loving dames, and I couldn't resist grabbing a quick shot as they skipped off down the sidwalk ahead of me.

After a scrumptious lunch of Vietnamese and Thai food at Jade Bistro  (I would soon learn that delicious food is abundant and inexpensive in Portland) we went to visit Portland's famous International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park , hoping for some good photo opportunities. 

The Frank Beach Memorial Fountain, designed and built by Oregon artist Lee Kelly, made a great backdrop for a faux fashion shoot.  Beach is credited for having christened Portland "The City of Roses".

Unfortunately, we were too early in the season, and the roses weren't blooming yet, but you can imagine how beautiful it looks when it's bursting with blossoms.

The Rhodedendrons were in bloom and we each posed for a photo with the vibrant flowers.  I've never seen Rhodedendrons here in Ontario, but they were all over Portland in a variety of colours.

From there we walked across the road to the Portland Japanese Garden.  I know absolutely nothing about Japanese Gardens, but had read that the one in Portland was considered to be one of the highest quality, and most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.  The garden, designed by Professor Takuma Tono was opened in 1967, and consists of five smaller gardens, each reflecting a distinct garden style.   Being used to Canadian gardens, I was surprised there were very few flowers, or colours aside from green, in the garden.

Stone, water and plants are the three main elements of a traditional Japanese Garden.  Gardens of raked gravel and stone are called karesansui ("dry landscape gardens").  These gardens demonstrate the Japanese aesthetic principle of yohaku-no-bi, "the beauty of blank space".

My favourite part of the Japanese garden was the Koi pond.  The Koi were obviously very well-fed as they were the largest one's I've ever seen.  On the left, Cristi is documenting Krista's best fish face.

 As part of the regular "Art in the Garden" series, there was an exhibit of beautiful carved and lacquered wood in a small pagoda.  Sisters Keiko and Naoto Goto brought works created by four generations of their family to Portland for the exhibit.   As you can tell by the photos above, I was drawn to Keiko Goto's modern aesthetic more than the elaborate designs of her ancestors.
Clockwise from top left:  Keiko Goto - Arabesque Series Stationery Box, 1995; Keiko Goto - Black lacquered, three-layer food container,  2005 ; Keiko Goto - Drapery Series: Bowl, 2014 ; Itsuki Goto - Tray with lion and peony design, circa 1890

Our nature and culture-filled day finished with a trip to the Portland Art Museum to see the exhibit Italian Style - Fashion Since 1945 .  It was the last weekend of the exhibit, and I was so happy to be able to see it as it was chock full of gorgeous, glamorous clothing, and is the subject of my next blog post.


  1. Amazing Krista!! I've missed her. And Peetee and Cristi. So good to see them all again!! Thanks for sharing this, Shelley. I had been looking forward to your trip also for the catchup with this gang it would afford.
    It looks like you had fantastic luck with the weather. My favourite photo is the Frank Beach memorial with Cristi and Krista draped in the architecture like '60s blase supermodels. Heh. I'm glad you had a chance to vamp around. I look forward to Part 2!

  2. Ahhh, I've been looking forward to this post (and more to come)! Darling Krista, she is much missed around here, and it's a relief to see she has lost none of her trademark colourful style. And lovely Cristi too, and of course Peetee; I feel as though I am reconnecting with treasured friends.
    And there is gorgeous you, getting to hang out with them, you lucky thing! It looks as though you all got on like a house on fire; like Mel, I love the shots by the memorial fountain, 1960s models is quite right!
    Great food, beautiful blooms and gardens, Japanese artistry, and three wonderful women - a perfect day, I think! xxx

  3. Wonderful! Those koi are the biggest I've ever seen. And you three are gorgeous and look so happy. I've missed Krista and Peetee too. xox

  4. Hi, Krista! I've missed you and Peetee! Thank you for the Portland fix. Last night I was binge watching Portlandia....hmmmm!

  5. You were both in orange! Krista's floral crown is stunning. I'm sure she made it right? I've missed her.

    Looks like a wonderful colourful time. Krista's house reminds me of Anja's that I visited in Amsterdam. I ADORE spaces like that. They are a museum/art gallery in their own right.

    BC is the spot for Rhodedendrons so it isn't surprising there were lots in Portland. I have one in my backyard, but they don't grow as well as the ones I had while living in BC.

    Great photos! I can't wait for part 2.


  6. What fun! I love how colourful Krista is and how she has created her perfect home environment to match. Lovely that you got to go visit.

    Yup, we are rhododendron and azalea central here in BC's west coast! Though mine got rather wasted (along with most of my vegetable garden) by a freak hail storm last week. Sigh.

  7. What a wonderful trip you had! I can't wait to hear more about it. I got to go to Portland twice last summer, and my favorite spot was that rose garden, which was in full bloom by June. There is nothing like it! You will have to go back some day to see that---but I have a feeling you had such a great time in Portland that you will want to go again, right?

  8. My goodness! Talk about the meeting of the minds - or great minds think alike!

  9. The post I've been waiting for! I've heard about your visit from Krista so it's wonderful to see the photos!
    If I didn't like you so much I'd be jealous of you hanging out with my bestie, Chris, Cristi and Peetee. You look great together, your Fifties frock is a gorgeous companion to Krista's mexi beauty.
    The gardens are stupendous, the Koi are massive and the artefacts need to be mine! xxxx

  10. You Are Fabulous Ladies!!, wouuuu, such an amazing post!!, and love that you shared with us a little bit of all that fun!! love Krista's beautiful dress and cute hairstyle!
    besos & fabulousness!

  11. How wonderful that you met! I love Portland, and I adore Krista. So touching to see her again. Big hug to you both! xxx

  12. A beautiful, colorful and fun filled post. I can feel the energy radiating from my screen as you dance through Portland with Krista, Cristi and Chris. Portland looks gorgeous through your lens. Happy to hear that you had a spectacular trip!

  13. Oh, I love Krista's and Cristi's hair - and the colour of all of your outfits! So fun. I love the rhodos - they are in bloom up here right now too. Looks like a wonderful trip!

  14. Omgggggggg yessssss! Love these pics, what an amazing trip :)

  15. I'd love to hear about the many fab places you shopped!

  16. Lovely energetic post. Sounds like you all had a great time. My hubby is Cris and my sister Chris, so I know the murky waters in which you walked! That orange dress against Krista's pink hair! Yes! Also adored the carved wood. Having tried it, I can attest to how hard it is to carve a curve in wood!! JJ