portland city guide: 14 coffee shops to try out

There is no shortage of coffee shops here in Portland, which is one of the many things I love about living here. When I first moved here, I didn't even like coffee, but I've always loved the atmosphere of cafes. There's something magical about a place where people meet to take a moment to sip and talk or get down to business and work on a project. I always find coffee shops extremely inspiring. Here are just a few of the dozens of options around town that I recommend you try out.

Sweet + Unpretentious
Dragonfly Coffee House
Costello's Travel Caffe
Java Hound (Dog friendly!)

Too Cool for School

Study Break
Cathedral Coffee

Cup & Bar
Southeast Grind (Open 24 hours)

Favorite Roasters
Water Avenue
Five Points 

vintage nyc


portland city guide: top 5 brunch spots

As Ted and I gear up to move this summer to NYC, I've been thinking a lot about the places that I will miss when we don't live in Portland anymore. I figured, why not share a few of my favorites? Not surprisingly, most lists will involve food.

Before I moved here almost six years ago, I did not fully understand the meaning of brunch. I never was too big on breakfast foods. I had not seen the light. It didn't take much time for me to catch on. Portland takes brunch seriously here. Expect a wait, and embrace it. Grab coffee nearby, and relish each moment of anticipation. 

Screen Door
It doesn't get much better than this. The chicken and waffles and the garden grits are my go-to dishes. They are large portions--perfect for sharing! Everything on the menu is indulgent and delicious. Heart coffee is down the block if you need somewhere to get cozy while you wait.

This place is so Portland it almost hurts. I love it. The breakfast sandwich (add bacon and avocado, duh!) and the corncakes are me and Ted's standbys. The Salted Honey Pie s also my favorite slice in town. Grab some coffee and walk across the street to hang out in the grass if it's nice out.

Tin Shed
A new favorite! Pretty standard fare, but done well with flair. They rotate their french toast offering, and it's always good. The best part? Their enclosed, heated patio is dog friendly! Pierre loves Tin Shed just as much as we do.

Classy and reliable breakfast spot, with all the usual offerings, as well as some offbeat options like Crunchy French Toast and Breakfast Nachos (best for sharing!). If they happen to have the bourbon pecan pie, I highly recommend getting a slice.

The Steak & Eggs are the best I've had! Ted and I like to split this dish with something sweet, like the Dutch Baby or Rum Cake.

use your words!

I used to have something against t-shirts. I don't know what it was, but I definitely feel differently now. Why? Because they are the perfect opportunity for you to say something very specific without ever opening your mouth, they're damn comfy, and any reason to use stellar typography is a win for me. Here are a few of my current favorites:

1/ Always In the Mood

2/ Girls Support Girls 

3/ Gentle & Kind

4/ I Did My Best

4 things that ban.do has taught me

As some of you know, I hope to someday own my own brick and mortar business. This dream of mine sometimes veers into "obsession" territory.  I find myself using my free time trying to learn as much as possible from other business owners. It's easy to be inspired, especially on instagram, my favorite social media outlet. I've been following the success of Ban.do since I was in middle school--2008, almost 10 years ago. Wow!

Just a few things that Ban.do does well:

1. Consistent branding. I could look at any of their photos out of context and think, "BAN DO." That doesn't mean they aren't dynamic though. They manage to stay within a certain color pallet without it looking forced or redundant. They know their customer, and she's fun, not afraid of color, and has a unique sense of style. I look at their images and think to myself, "I want to be that" or "This inspires me." And you know what that means? I'm going to buy their products to feel closer to this brand I feel connected to visually. This all might seem sneaky, but as someone who wants to own a business down the line, I find it totally clever and inspiring. The most clever part? Read on...

2. Creating a brand that people want to belong to. Like I said, creating a brand that people want to be a part of is crucial to success. Ban.do's tagline is "We're serious about FUN." Who wouldn't want to be a part of a brand that encourages you to embrace the fun things in life, like pool parties, brunch, and sparkles? Sure, this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but there is a strong demographic that does identify with the bright-colored dreamland that Ban.do creates. The best part? The women behind Ban.do want you to join their #bandogirlgang.

3. Inclusive marketing. The amazing thing about clear branding of a business you love is that consumers who identify with it are going to want to share their love of it, whether that is through instagram or word of mouth. If they get it, they get it. Throw in a fun hashtag like #bandofuninthesun and consumers will not only want to photograph your product, but they will try to photograph it in a way that will encourage the brand to repost it. And you know what that means? Not only creating community, but also FREE marketing. Score.

4. Transparency. The business leaders that I admire most are the ones that are killin' it in their respective fields with grace, humility, and a whole lotta fun. The founder and artistic director of Ban.do embodies all of these things for me. Her candid take on leading a business is something that I've always looked up to as an aspiring small business owner and leader. She's never afraid to be vulnerable, to open up and literally say "Hey, my life looks awesome, but really I'm having a bad time lately." As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and depression, it's always a relief when a super successful woman shares not only her ups, but also her downs. Honestly, I think it's an incredible business move. Who doesn't want to feel like they not only can purchase items that will make them feel more like the cool chicks on instagram who are making them, but also that they can actually relate to these badass women? It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, included in their brand, and thus makes me want to buy their products even more. Now that's a successful business model!