portland’s greatest hits.

3 11 2010

remember that time i posted about all the things in portland that have been going out of business lately, and how bummed out about it i am? well, i’m still bummed out about it (north star- nooooooooo!), but i’m willing to let  it go… as long as the following 5 businesses promise me (blood may be required to seal the deal), that they will always be here. ALWAYS.

now, i didn’t just go for places that are fancy or popular. in fact, many of my favorites didn’t make the list (i’m sorry caiola’s and rosemont market, there just isn’t room for everyone!). i wanted places that were iconic, and integral to the structure that makes portland porltand. do you remember when jennifer grey got that nose job, and then she looked like nobody anymore and we all forgot about her? that’s what would happen to portland if these businesses went away. i’m THAT SERIOUS.

in no particular order…

1. material objects: first of all, we are extremely lucky that there are a lot of great consignment shops in this town, especially now that shit is going down with the economy. but material objects is the king of them all. i love that it still looks exactly like the 90s in there. i also love the fact that pretty much everything in the store is less than $20. friendly, unpretentious, and always stuffed full of dirt cheap fashiony goodness. love.

2. paul’s food center: ok, totally shifty- i would probably/definitely never buy produce there… but there’s just something about a sketchy independent grocery store plopped in the middle of town that warms my heart. it feels like the land before time in there, but with more drunks.

3. bill’s pizza: hub for late night wasted snackage, this is another kind of gross one for the list. their pizza isn’t very good (so salty), and kind of pricey (for a single slice of kind of shitty pizza), but they have beer and orange soda on tap, and if you’re lucky, you can hear drunk people having sex in the bathroom.

4. videoport: as a complete netflix whore, one wouldn’t figure that i’d be singing high praises to a video store,  but videoport feels like home. probably because it consistently employs the very best people in town, and last time i checked, netfilix didn’t have an “incredibly strange” section. it’s a cinematic archeological dig in there. i don’t care if all video is going online, videoport needs to stay open FOREVER. are you listening dennis?

5. yes books: YES. BOOKS. everywhere. piled into corners and on the floor. dusty and disorganized, like a vaguely alphabetical treasure hunt. i love the musty used book smell and the ornery owner. to me, it’s portland’s own tiny musty version of the embryo concepts bookstore from funny face.

honorable mentions: the eastland park hotel, geno’s, old port candy, and ferdinand.

what local landmarks do you refuse to live without (you don’t even have to live in portland)?

the cold shoulder.

10 05 2010

roughly 7 months ago (when this blog was just a wee baby), i wrote a little post about my deep love for consignment shops in the portland area. well, during that short time, yet another one has cropped up in the cavity where high-end old port used to live.  the shopaholics boutique is located on the corner of exchange and fore,  and i actually noticed the coming soon sign on their door a few months ago. i even took a photo of it (which i can’t post, but we’ll get to that in a minute)! buy you’re not missing much. they use A LOT of fuschia, and have somehow involved the eiffel tower in their logo in a way that confuses me very much (paris= classy?). but my disdain for their logo aside, i thought i would finally roll in and give it a try.  shopping is shopping, not matter how stupid the name of the store. i wandered down there after work on friday, and can’t say that i wasn’t a little hesitant to go in. their website and windows seductively dangle a stock of gently used coach bags and discount seven jeans, which are two fashion priorities that i just don’t have. i got the impression that i wasn’t their chosen demographic, but i had to do it- you know, for journalism (or possibly because i wanted a less dumpy outfit for my evening plans but didn’t have time to go home and change *shame*).

once inside, it’s easy to forget that shopaholics is a consignment store. the bright and clean space is well laid out and tailored in a way that assure’s that A) you’re only seeing their best stuff (no random filler crap), and B) you’re not completely overwhelmed with choices. it’s a high end approach that i think is smart, but that also feels cold and makes me extremely uncomfortable. i’m definitely more in my element amongst the cluttered mishmashes of material objects. but for research purposes, i press on. as it turns out, it’s not entirely consignment, but a mix of very aggressively filtered consignment stuff (they even have a disclaimer on their website about how you shouldn’t be offended when they turn your shit down), and reasonably priced new goods from brands like kensie, arden b, and true religion. it definitely wasn’t what you would call dirt cheap- with prices appearing to range from $30-$70+.  but that said, their selection (though not entirely my taste), was pretty solid. if you’re looking for an interview outfit, killer jeans, or a cocktail dress and can’t afford full retail (but aren’t quite digging in your couch cushions for goodwill money), this place is definitely your best bet. i spotted at least a few items that definitely would have come home with me if they were slightly less expensive, and if the awkwardness hadn’t rolled in to bust up my shopping haze.

admittedly, i should have asked first if it was ok for me to take pictures. i initially snapped a couple shots of a super hot high-waisted faux ombre skirt without incident, but when i turned to start taking photos of the store, the gentleman behind the counter coolly informed me that i needed to stop. apparently it was a privacy issue (even if i didn’t photograph any of the patrons). oops. i haltingly tried to explain that i only wanted to take pictures for my blog… but he  shot back “i know what you’re doing”- as if i was caught taking a poop in the dressing room or something. flushed with shame, i attempted recovery by telling him that i just wanted to write an article about the store, but it was not working out. i passed him my card- NO LOVE. a few more awkward questions smugly dismissed with one word answers, i thanked him and excused myself to finish browsing… and then swiftly but discretely  crab walked my way out the door as fast as humanly possible (to another much more welcoming store that i’ll talk about tomorrow in part two of this sordid saga).

sure, there are a few things that i wouldn’t have liked about the shopaholics boutique regardless of my experience, but it’s rare that i ever write off a venue so quickly, especially one that has quality shopping potential. and sure, i probably could have approached the situation with a little more savvy (ok, a lot more savvy), but my faux pas aside, i shouldn’t have left there feeling angry and ashamed. the bottom line is that it’s a nice store, and i’m sure they’ll thrive just fine without my approval. which is good, because i definitely won’t be returning.

fine tooth comb.

1 11 2009

raceug. trapped again. my cvs advisory panel extrabucks are expiring this week, and i need to roll them or lose them. no surprise that the cvs deals this week suck hardcore. blood sugar monitors as far as the eye can see… maybe a little metamucil on the side. anyway, after very very carefully sorting through this week’s cvs flier over the course of the entire first friday the 13th movie (FYI- way more boring/ridiculous than i remember from when i was 8), this is all i could find:

fruitopia & viologie hair care are on sale 2/$5. using 2 of the $2/1 coupons (one each for viologie & fruitopia) that i pilfered from the stack of loose “reinventing beauty” coupons hanging out at the forest ave. store= $.50 each.

softsoap ensembles- not sure of the price, but at cvs.com they’re listed as $5.99 for the pump, $2.79 for the refill… if that’s true, and i use the $2/1 coupon from the “reinventing beauty” mag + that buy one pump, get $3 off the refill from the 10/25 smartsource… $4 extrabucks = $.22 profit (unless of course the prices are wrong or if they adjust down the $3/1 coupon). basically, it’s risky, and likely not too work.

if there are good coupons in the paper this weekend, i could possibly also go for some cheap gillette razors, and (if i can score 3 more $1/1) 4 oral b toothbrushes for $1.76. still, weak cvs! weak!


16 10 2009

matobjonce upon a time, it felt like the high-enders were taking over and exchange street was becoming a shopping void for anyone who wasn’t a tourist or making 6-figures. but as the economy began to change, and people started chopping the luxury goods out of their budgets, many of the fancy-pants boutiques were no longer able to support the super-high boom-days old port rents. betsy’s and spoil-me-rotten moved away, amaryllis closed, simply chic shut down… and suddenly, the hottest block in town was mostly vacant. admittedly, the best of the best did manage to stick around (bliss is constant, black parrot is phenomenal, and zane took the old amaryllis space…), but in marched the replacements- discount and consignment stores. it’s a little weird now, but i’m into it. i’m a crazy clothes whore, so consignment is on of my favorite places both to buy and to sell. in the last year or so, it seems like consignment establishments have been cropping up all over the place.

1. second time around started on fore street- but moved into the simply chic space, leaving its annex behind. their quality overall is pretty good, and they tend to have some good high-end designer jazz at reasonably reasonable prices.

2. find just popped up on free street a few months ago. so recently that it’s unfindable on the web. it’s kind of the black parrot of consignment stores. the space is beautiful, spare, and 90% of what they have is modern and pretty interesting. they also have a really good selection of jeans.

3. encore is super duper pricey (too pricey really), but their jewelry selection is jaw dropping, and it’s the best place in town to find vintage hats and shoes.

4. however, the king of them all (in my opinion at the very least) is material objects. they’ve been open forever (and bizarrely don’t have a website), and have the most well rounded selection in town with the best prices, and best amount of turnover. they also have a really solid collection of vintage (evening dresses for under $30!), and some newer stuff in the front of the store from brands with good design and low prices. anyway, this is where i consign.

5. for those of ya’ll living outside the immediate peninsula area, i also really love forget-me-nots in falmouth (they have a lot of incredible super-high-end stuff and really amazing handbags), and estilo in brunswick (great prices, casual everyday wear selection)

recently, after a 30 lb. weight gain that wasn’t quite as transient as i had hoped, i decided to get rid of a lot of my skinny clothes because they were taking up my space and making me depressed. i believe strongly with consignment that you have to be mentally prepared for the worst. just because you drop off $500 worth of clothes, doesn’t mean you’re going to get $250 in return. i’ve gotten $20 before. but today, i got $140 (i was expecting $80 at the very best)!

i’ve been consigning a long time, and the key is knowing the clientele/stock of the store, and choosing things to consign that are currently in style,  unique, in good shape (preferably unworn looking), and if you can get some vintage in there, that’s good too.

realistically, it might not stay there for long, but i have currently nestled my hoard safely into my saving’s account. progress!