I’ve fallen in love with this blog, and I don’t even live in there! Portland Loves: local is what every city should have – a website dedicated to great food, local businesses and everything that makes a place unique. If I ever get the chance to spend some time in Portland, I’m going only armed with the information contained in this fantastic blog. The lovely writers, Misha and Amy, subjected themselves to a barrage of questions for my lovely readers. Here’s what they had to say!
1. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
misha// a voodoo doll donut from our fabulous local donut shop, VOODOO Donuts. They were left over from my birthday breakfast! YUM!
amy// Stoneyfield vanilla yogurt, vanilla almond granola, and local wildflower honey.
2. Are you both originally from Portland? If not, where did you come from and what brought you to Oregon?
misha// I am kind of from all over the US. Born in Pensacola, Florida, grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, a few years in Seattle, Washington and finally the Portland area since high school. We moved around alot for my mothers job! I tried moving away after high school only to miss Portland too much and move back after only two years. I will probably still live in other places from time to time, but will ALWAYS come back to Portland, it is my home!
amy// I am originally from Portland, but only lived here until I was five, then spent the rest of my formative years in the Seattle/Tacoma area. When I was able to move away from home, I moved to Bellingham, WA, which I loved and lived there for almost a decade. While living there, I met my husband and with him, I moved to Boston so that he could go to grad school. We lived in Boston for two years before returning to my original home (and where we’ll stay!), Portland, OR. We’ve been here for a year now and we love it!
3.. How did you two meet?
Amy and I met at a art/craft show put on by Handmade NW in fall 2008. She and her husband had just moved here from Boston and we were both interested in trading our art work for each others. We’ve been friends ever since, hanging out, talking art and business, coming up with new ideas to keep doing what we love most.
4. What was your inspiration for starting the Portland Loves: local project?
misha// For me it was just my love of Portland and how tied to the community we all are.
amy// One thing I’ve noticed about people who live in Portland is that they love it here! So when Misha approached me with the concept, I immediately felt that it was a great idea!
5. How do you decide which businesses to feature? Do they contact you or do you just go around town writing about your favorite places?
misha// Currently we are just writing about our favorite places. Also, I rarely leave home without my camera and if I happen upon a place that I think would be perfect for the blog, I ask if I can take pictures and then send Amy there to do a write up and vise versa.
amy// We also try to be mindful of what we feature in that we don’t want too much of the same thing. We like to mix it up a bit.
6. If you had to describe Portland with three words, which would you choose?
misha// beautiful, green + friendly
amy// charming, creative, vibrant
7. Everyone’s always going on about how awesome Portland is – tell me, what’s one thing that you don’t like about it?
misha// Well everyone expects us Portlanders to say the rain, but really I LOVE the rain and its a little secret of ours that it doesn’t rain as much as people think. Oh wait, you asked what I don’t like, well…I would have to say the amount of available jobs and the quality of pay. But that is another great thing about Portland is that you don’t live here for the quality of pay, you live here for the quality of LIFE!!!
amy// well, I totally agree with Misha on this one, but I would have to say also that after living in Boston for two years, one thing that I miss is the diversity. Portland just isn’t as diverse as I would like it to be.
8. If you can, please walk us through your dream day in Portland. Where would you eat, where would you stay, what would you do, etc.
misha// I live in the SE neighborhood of Portland, it is a great balance of beautiful houses and local businesses. Each morning the smell of Stumptown Coffee wakes me and draws me into the local coffee shop a block away. After a nice STRONG cup of jo, I ride my awesome red bike to my favorite breakfast shop, Cup N Saucer on Hawthorne, for the #7 Sour Cream and Chives tofu scramble with home fries and spelt toast. Then I would probably do a bit of vintage clothes shopping, maybe hit up the antique mall’s in Sellwood. Lunch would have to be at the Bonfire Lounge for happy hour. They have great food and stiff drinks for uber cheap!! Then I would take a short hike up to Mt. Tabor Park and sit to watch the sun set over the city. For dinner it would be a toss up between The Farm and Pok Pok.
amy// For my dream day, I would wake up early and watch the sunrise. then I would head to my favorite neighborhood cafe, Dragonfly (in NW Portland) and grab a mate chai before heading to my studio/boutique (someday!) where I would work on jewelry for a few hours. then I would head out to meet a friend for brunch at the Tin Shed and have my favorite breakfast, the Everything Naughty. after brunch, I would do a little vintage shopping and spend some time in my favorite boutiques, Flutter, Moxie, Tumbleweed, and Pistils Nursery. in the afternoon, I would work some more in my studio, then head to a yoga class. for dinner, I would dine at the amazing Veritable Quandary with my wonderful husband. he would probably have sea scallops and I would have Chilean sea bass. mmmm….. delicious! oh, and of course, I would enjoy a glass of wine or two!
9. What do you both do when you’re not writing for the blog?
misha// Goodness, what don’t I do?! I am a full-time photographer and graphic designer. I started my business called Ashton Photography + Design [www.mishaashton.com] in 2001. Mainly I do abstract film photography that I sell at art shows, craft fairs and boutiques.. When I’m not doing that, I am a full time wedding photographer. I have also started to get into pregnancy, new born and kid photography as well. I am always working to perfect every avenue in photography.
amy// well, I am a jewelry designer and have a full-time business called Amy Olson Jewelry. I sell my work online (http://amyolsonjewelry.etsy.com) as well as at shows and in boutiques. I also work at a darling boutique that sells my work called MInk in SE Portland. All of these things keep me quite busy!
10. When you’re buying products online, do you look for something that’s made locally first?
misha// Online, I always buy from independent designers and artist from all over the world. I buy my local items from locally owned businesses or directly from the artist/designer themselves. I completely gave up shopping at stores like Wal-mart, the mall and other such places over 10 years ago.
amy// typically, when I buy online, I go straight to websites like Etsy where I can look for handmade items. I also like to buy locally, which I can usually find at shows around town. like Misha, I don’t remember the last time I shopped at Wal-mart or the mall and that is because I made a decision long ago not to shop at these kinds of stores~ Wal-mart especially!
11. What is the biggest local trend you guys have gotten into – for instance, do you have backyard chickens?
misha// Oh man, I would LOVE to have chickens and my own little garden, but sadly I do not…yet! I ride my bike every chance I get, whether its just for fun or to run errands or meet up with the ladies at a bar for girls night. I do as much of my grocery shopping from the local food co-op, and I recycle practically everything I can. To me though these don’t really feel like a trend, just part of everyday life that everyone should be doing around the world.
amy// well, I think that what I have gotten into the most is spending less time in my car and doing more walking and bike riding. Portland is great about promoting alternative forms of transportation and I try to make the most of that! I also do my best to support local farm stands and picking my own produce. I hope to one day have a farm where I can garden and keep chickens, but for now, I do what I can!
12. What kind of music have you been listening to lately?
misha// I am currently in love with Queens of the Stone Age, the Death Proof Soundtrack and a New Zealand band called the Eastern who I met last summer playing in front of my art booth at First Thursday in the Pearl.
Ive been kind of lame these days an not going out to local shows, which is a bad habit because we have so many great musicians.
amy// I realized recently that I must really like music that is soulful because lately I’ve really been into Cat Power and Antony and the Johnsons. I love the mixes that my husband makes, which are very diverse and fun. the latest mix, Summer 2009, consists of songs from some of my favorite artists such as Jim White, The Handsome Family, Girltalk, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and Neko Case. I really love music and simply can’t live without it. Portland always has amazing shows going on and the most recent ones we plan on attending are Girltalk, Daniel Johnston, and M. Ward.
13. If you were trapped on a desert island, what three items would you make sure to have with you?
misha// my nikon f100 film camera, a holga 35mm and all the expired slide film in the world!
amy// my jewelry-making supplies (can that count as one?), my camera, and a sketchbook/pencil.
14. What is your best garage sale find?
misha// Hands down, a mini seafoam green guitar amp that my boyfriend adapted for my iPod. That way when Im working in my studio, people can hear the music and not just me singing horribly out of tune.
amy// my husband I have a vintage camera collection and many of our cameras have come from garage sales~ I think these are my favorite!
15. In a perfect world, outside the constraints of reality, what would you be doing?
misha// Living and traveling all over the world taking photos, having gallery shows of my work on every continent and being able to speak the language of everyone I come into contact with, while still having a home to come back to in SE Portland.
amy// I would be living on a little farm near the river where I would have alpacas and donkeys, as well as a dog and a cat, of course! I would have my work in various boutiques throughout the U.S. and would be able to travel all over the world to look for gems and supplies. my studio would be in a converted Airstream Bambi.
16. Who in your life was a creative inspiration for you?
misha// My parents bought me my first slr camera when I was 14 years old and have always supported and encouraged my dream of being a photographer. They have purchased my art from every show they’ve been to and refuse to allow me to just give them the pieces they like best!
amy// my grandma is my inspiration. she was a professional craftsperson all her life and has taught me almost everything I know. I have definitely inherited all of her ‘creative’ genes! and I am lucky enough to be living near her again in Portland.
17. What’s the next hottest thing you think everyone should be checking out?
misha// Old school film photography!! Polaroid photos, cross processed photos, lomo cameras, twin lens cameras. FILM’S NOT DEAD!!!
amy// well, I don’t know if I’m the best person to answer this question, but I’m really excited about community supported agriculture, community gardens, and farm shares. there are so many options out there as far as price ranges, proportions, and what you would like to receive that it has become easy for everyone to either grow their own food or be able to support other local farmers in the area.
18. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
misha// Do what you love, oh and to always remember the Rule of Thirds.
amy// to be honest, I haven’t received too much advice in my life, but I’ve always believed in what Misha said- do what you love!
19. What is your most treasured possession?
misha// my 24-85mm macro lens for my nikon f100. I love abstract detail shots, especially when people cant figure out what the full images really are!
amy// oh dear, this is a hard one as I have so many lovely things that are so beautiful to me. one in particular is my great great great grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. it’s truly exquisite.
20. What’s next for Portland Loves: local?
misha// Personally, I am very excited for some of our upcoming week long reviews. Portland Fashion Week is coming up and we have so many wonderful fashion designers, make-up artist, models and fashion photographers here in Portland. It will be so hard to choose who to feature!!
amy// I’m really excited about a variety of guest bloggers that will be writing on our blog as well as promoting different events around the city.
21.If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
misha// Other than EVERYWHERE, I would have to say Malta is at the top of my list right now.
amy// you know, I haven’t been overseas yet, but I’ve always dreamed about visiting Paris as I know I’ll fall in love. but, at the same time, if I could go anywhere tomorrow I would go to Boston because I really love Autumn in New England.
Thank you to Misha and Amy for the great interview! And make sure to check out Portland Loves: local!