Portlandia! x2
March 9, 2011


I have always loved Portland. I remember going to Powells as a child and being in awe. Every time I go back to Portland, I am inspired. Caleb and I considered this an inspiration trip! A time to see art, music, good design, good food, good beer and of course…good coffee. And let all of these things inspire us even more to live out our passions in Spokane. We love visiting Portland, but our home is in Spokane.



We stayed at a really nice, very mod hotel called Hotel Modera. Their restaurant was great, staff was nice and we felt super fancy.
Our basis for the trip was to go see this guy: Alexi Murdoch. Caleb also loves the Doug Fir for a lot of reasons, but mostly how good it sounds. Even when Alexi was strumming a little mic’d violin, the sound of it was so loud without any feedback…an difficult feat in most venues that size. The show was great. He has such a serene voice, and such beautiful songs. Here’s a perfect example…



My favorite part of the show was in between songs. There was a young lady up near the front of the stage being obnoxiously loud, which wouldn’t have been a big deal at a rock show where other people are talking some. But this show was VERY quiet and no one else in the whole crowd of say, 300 people were saying anything at all. In between songs Alexi would look down at her and say, “You know, we’re not in your living room.” When she wouldn’t be quiet, it went from that to “Why don’t you just go home and watch some tv, you seem to do a lot of that anyways…How much did this show cost? Does anyone have $20 I could borrow?” Then his trombone player pulled a $20 out of his pocket and they paid the girl to leave. Everyone cheered and he sheepishly apologized to everyone else, saying he hoped it wasn’t too harsh of him. Haha…what a great moment. I’ve seen musicians respond in so many different ways to poor listeners, I think this was my favorite.


We of course had to make the coffee rounds. Stumptown and Cloud Seven in the Pearl district were our shops of choice this time. Boy, where Spokane is missing in style or good coffee, we sure make up for it in nice Baristas. Both coffee shops we went to we were greeted with the most aloof, frowny, awkward baristas. No smiles, no thank yous, no “how is your day going?” I almost felt like it was too much for me to order something, I might actual screw up their day more. And the coffee, honestly, was not that good. Vivace in Seattle is still my favorite. But, the style of the shops is really fantastic. I was especially loving the different lighting.


How do you go to Portland and not shop? I’m loving these little goodies I found for cheap.


Portland is always a place that inspires the designer in me. Unique signage specifically intrigues me, probably because there is so little in Spokane.  It fills my heart with joy to see murals, trendy typefaces and unique presentation on storefronts and windows. For businesses, I think signage is one of the most important ways you SHOULD think outside the box.