A few weeks ago I went on a business trip to Portland and it was my first time to visit the city known for food, vintage, and of course Portlandia.  I was only there for 2 nights so I really packed it in, and I had some spots on my list that were must-visits and did not disappoint.  I had an epic dinner at Luce with lovely Giovanna and her husband John (who is behind both Luce and Navarre), two restaurants that are very European in style and food.  It was magnificent.  I also visited Giovanna’s store, Una, where I picked up a gorgeous ceramic piece and some pants for my husband.  I checked out Stand Up Comedy and Nationale, both fun to explore for their carefully selected merchandise and artful arrangements.  I stayed with my good friend (who just moved from LA) in her new house which nearly brought me to tears when she told me how much she paid for it. When you hear figures like that you start to wonder a tiny bit why you so desperately want to own a home in LA.  The price difference is staggering, which of course I knew but to actually hear it from someone you know is a big reality check. I did a little bit of vintage shopping but didn’t find much, although there were a few vintage shops I didn’t check out due to lack of time and I can’t help but wonder if those were the gems.  And speaking of gems, one of the most inspiring shops I’ve ever been to is in Portland.  Monograph Bookwerks & Objects is a fine art and object bookstore owned by artists John Brodie and Blair Saxon-Hill and was opened in 2010 “to provide a place in Portland for artists and the public to study, explore and purchase the best contemporary art books being published today.”  Rare, new and used art books mingle with pottery and sculptures, and the design and curation of the store is unique, inviting, and piqued my curiosity so much that I left with three very special books.  My experience at Monograph was beyond inspiring and made me feel hopeful for the publishing industry and for print. There is just too much beauty in both for them to disappear completely.  I’m already looking forward to my next Monograph Bookwerks visit, and hopefully that Le Corbusier book I wanted so badly will still be there waiting for me.

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