The Countryside

The last thing I expect to see when I finish depositing a check at the bank is the countryside looming in the distance. Low and behold, a new shop has popped up (as of this August) right behind the Yountville Wells Fargo branch, called The Countryside! Staying true to the theme, and magically contained in a very small space that used to be Steven Gordon’s art gallery, is a collection of the most beautiful, majestic items. The space is just brimming with designer journals and notebooks, handmade gift cards, and nature-inspired tea towels…the kind of tea towels that you might use in theory but are really too pretty to ever clean up the spilled milk.
Bumble Bees on tiered cake plates!

Bumble Bees on tiered cake plates!

Everywhere you look, something is sparkling or is decorated with a cute little bird or butterfly. I have a growing obsession with mercury jars and iridescent glasses (for drinking glasses or candles) and The Countryside is packed with the most wonderful ones I have ever seen! Owner Lisa Cox made sure I found exactly what I was looking for – two of the same birds on a particular (secret!) item, and was charming and knowledgable.

Magnificent Mercury Glasses

Magnificent Mercury Glasses

This would be a great place to do your early bird holiday shopping, because it is original, undiscovered, and has very unique gifts! In fact, I did a little of my own – and left with a skillfully wrapped bag with silver tissue paper (so cute!) and a glittery turquoise bow. After quite a dull day in the office, a visit to The Countryside really brightened my day!

Birdie Birds on tea towels

Birdie Birds on tea towels

Visit them: 6484 Washington St (across form Redd), Yountville, CA

Open Thurs-Mon 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-3pm

Call them: 707-266-2885


Boho Lifestyle

While wandering around downtown Napa the other night with a girlfriend trying to find a good cocktail, we happened upon the open doors of brand new Boho Lifestyle, a beautiful space filled with creative home goods, handmade soaps, jewelry, pottery, and other gorgeous objects. I immediately fell in love with a set of iridescent blue tumblers that were strewn about the room in various places; each one surprising and charming me more and more.

Handmade glasses by Roost - Like drinking out of a glass bubble!

Handmade glasses by Roost – Like drinking out of a glass bubble!

Owner Indra Fourtney, a contagiously bubbly woman full of smiles and styling ideas, ran around the shop showing us her unique wares. Many items are produced by locals and themed around the idea of nature and created by “cottage industries” instead of larger corporations. You can get anything from organic powdered laundry soap by French Laundry, to men’s dress shirts made of Turkish cotton! Jewelry by Emily Shelley was apparently flying out the doors, and Indra encouraged me to make a few pieces to sell in her shop as well! I better get on that.

Figs. Of course.

Figs. Of course.

My interior designer friend rabidly flipped through her beautiful collection of design books and ended up leaving the shop with a limited edition, flowing blue top designed specifically for Boho Lifestyle that looked perfect on her. I left with a handmade soap by Pine Tree Top Soap Shop in Eucalyptus, made entirely out of natural ingredients and essential oils. In addition to selling beautiful oddities, Indra does interior design and event rentals through her shop. The merchandise is truly unique, and inventory rolls over quickly, so check in regularly!

Eucalyptus Natural Soap

Eucalyptus Natural Soap

Boho  Lifestyle opened its bohemian doors August 10th, but they are hosting an official open house, Friday 9/13 from 7-9pm. The address is 1238 First Street, Downtown Napa. Here is her Facebook page, or you can call (707) 337-5870 to check on store hours. I hope to see you there!

Nice Legs! Table Legs, that is...

Nice Legs! Table Legs, that is…

Now, can someone tell someone else that these cups would look perfect in my cottage?

Glass Cups by Roost

Glass Cups by Roost

Healthy Sunscreen Review – the best and the worst

In less than one week I will be living in Maui to enroll in an esthetician program at Spa Luna! Anticipating my future of constant sun exposure and beach days, I began to hunt early for the best natural body sunscreens this summer, so by the time Maui arrived, I would be ready! There were many pool days, hikes, runs, and walks tested with these contestants. All five are 100% natural, with physical blocks of zinc and titanium dioxide. Did you know that drinking green tea or applying it topically helps your body’s natural sun defense? All five contain green tea extract, for added sun protection.

Tropical Sands SPF 30 Sunscreen, 8 oz, $18

I discovered this gem at Popina Swimwear in NE Portland while buying a bikini. The shopgirl insisted that this was the store owner’s favorite body sunscreen by far and had to keep it in stock at all times. It has a distinct eucalyptus scent that reminds me of Brightenbush Hot Springs, and is biodegradable and reef safe! It also boasts green tea extract for added sun protection. At 6% Zinc Oxide and 6% Titanium Dioxide with only 11 other ingredients, this is a liquid sunscreen that is easy to blend in and does not feel sticky or oily at all. I highly recommend freshly showering before applying or the product will “pill” on any other product or residue left on the body. Less is more, so start with a light application or the zinc will be hard to blend in. It survived a day at the beach and hike with only one reapplication.

Schmidt’s Mineral Protection Sunscreen, equivalent to SPF 30, 4 oz, $9. Available at various Oregon and Washington retailers.

This creamy sunscreen comes in a small bottle that is easily stashed in a beach bag, has a barely identifiable scent (but also comes in Lavender and Sandalwood), and is easy to blend in and apply without the zinc chunking up, although it can make your skin a little paler looking. It also has “wildcrafted green tea extract” for added sun protection. I love that it is made in Portland in small batches! My only concern is that this may not be the best product for swimming. Right after jumping in the pool with Schmidt’s on, it felt like it was sliding right off, but I still managed to stay sunburn free, so it could have just been my imagination!

The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 30 Body Cream, LaVanilla Laboratories, 4 oz, $38, available at Sephora.

This creamy sunscreen smells just like vanilla pudding, but with 20% Zinc Oxide, goes on looking and feeling like it too. It is very smooth and thick, and is best suited for just the legs or feet on a day at the beach. Anything applied above the waist doesn’t blend in well enough and can feel too greasy. While I love the product, it makes me look ghostly, so I add a few drops of liquid shimmer bronzer before applying, and that evens out the color nicely! I like Dr. Hauschka’s Translucent Bronzer for a natural hue or LucyB’s Bronze Body Shimmer Oil for bronzed, shimmery legs!

Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer-SPF 30, Kimberly Sayer of London, 4 oz, $32.

While I am aware that this is a facial sunscreen, it is a generously sized bottle that touts sun protection for “combination, oil and blemish prone skin,” which is fabulous for those who break out on their face, chest and back. I love that it is made with organic ingredients. It is extremely sheer, fluid and lightweight, with a delicate scent of lemon bars and frothy milk, to be specific. It stays put and barely feels like anything at all, and doesn’t slide off in the water. It might be a little too luxurious to apply all over your body, but no one can stop you if you have finally found your favorite sunscreen.

Eminence Organics Tropical Vanilla Sun Cream SPF 32, 5 oz, $49.

This sunscreen is by far my favorite, made with organic ingredients, but is also the priciest! It combines Zinc Oxide with Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, which is a chemical block. After speaking with a Eminence product rep about my concern with chemical blocks, she clarified that the product molecule is scientifically confirmed to be too large to sink into your pores, and technically acts as a physical block, so that it cannot be a cancer causing agent. This sunscreen is lightweight, smells like vanilla and is not too greasy or heavy, but can start to feel a little oily after a few hours in the sun. It sinks into the skin after a few minutes and does not turn you white. I don’t have my own photo of it because I used it already and can’t justify buying another $49 bottle until I have used some of the other contenders.

There is one last sunscreen review that has been saved for the hall of shame.

True Natural Daily Moisturizer SPF 20, 3 oz, $18.

I had high hopes for this sunscreen and was extremely disappointed. It goes on clear and smells like tangerines, which is nice, but is the greasiest, oiliest sunscreen I have ever experienced. I’m talking as thick as the foot cream I put on at night. This stuff stuck to all the little arm hairs I didn’t know existed and made me want to crawl out of my skin. It stuck to the upholstery in my car. It got on my clothes. When my naturopath gave me a back adjustment at an appointment later that day, she couldn’t get a good grip on my shoulders because of it, and actually had to go wash her hands afterward. Now THAT was mortifying. I gave it away to a friend with the oily disclaimer, but she didn’t seem to mind. To each her own.


Brightly colored dresses in the window suck me inside faster than I can control, and then I see the silver glitter on the floor of the front entrance. This is my new favorite shop, and it opened up yesterday.

Dresses and underskirts, layering skirts, jackets, and bloomers are handmade by Amy Dotts of Portland, who was a regular Last Thursday vendor on Alberta Street for the past two years. The dresses are bright and invite lots of smiles – with prices starting around $120, it is a great deal for handmade, local clothing. Each one could be easily dressed up or down with a flick of the wrist and the right pair of tights or pearls! There are a variety of prints and solids, and one of my favorites has little bicycles all over it.

Part inspiration, part oddity, the knitwear by “Girl with a Hook” is something unlike anything I have seen knit before, and very mystical. The hats appear almost distorted in shape, each one created with handspun yarn in a freeform style. I placed a hat on my friend Martina and she looked charming and elfin at the same time. I didn’t leave the shop empty handed, for I fell in love with one of the knit headbands ($40)- it has sparkley yarn and bubbly bits woven in, and wass surprisingly warm on this cold December day.

Just as charming is the jewelry by Viki – whimisical and inspired by nature, Vicktoria Ciesiul uses recycled metals and beautiful stones. Each one looks unique and sophisticated.

All of the vendors are local to the Portland area – and the term, “it takes a village” really applies to Dotts. Amy Dott’s mother greeted me in the store, her dad created the metal shelving in the shop, and the individual designers are all closely tied as friends. I plan on wearing my new Girl with a Hook headband all winter, knowing that no one will ever have an identical one as this!

2916 NE Alberta St
503 516 0567

love bite: suite 6

No matter where I go, finding a good party dress always seems to be a challenge. They are often too frilly to justify wearing in the real world, too stylish to be able to wear it in two months, or too expensive to buy in the first place. I came across Suite 6, and found my new place for a party dress fix. Suite 6, located in the Alberta Arts district and surrounded by multiple Thai restaurants, lines their walls with flattering and wearable dresses. Everywhere I look, there are dresses suitable for Portland art openings and maybe a fancy dinner and drinks- Biwa, anyone?

Suite 6 is also rather tongue in cheek about some of their items. There is a grey, flowey sequin mini dress/tunic top by Ringspun that is PRINTED with sequins rather than having actual sequins sewn on. The effect is a rather chic scaly look. Something else that cracked me up momentarily is the new spin on a BFF necklace set of interlocking USB sticks, plated in gold. If you don’t have a BFF, you can just wear it by yourself, but it would be more interactive to share!

If you are in need of a pair of black or grey leggings that last more than three months before they fall apart (the ones from Target are nearly disposable), this is the place to get them. Prices for durable and creative black leggings range in price from $35-$49.

I happily galloped away from the boutique with a black dress, on sale for $40, that directly channels Audrey Hepburn. It is definitely date worthy, but I can also wear it to work. The exposed zip and sheer black back is extra exciting.

Suite 6
2641 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
503 517 0305

love bite: tilde

There are some boutiques that have, what I like to call, “the tangible effect,” where you want to touch absolutely everything the before you’ve fully walked in the door. Tilde is the perfect place to experience the tangible effect. It is impossible not to pick up every necklace, or organic shirt (by PIO, handmade in an LA studio!) that I came across today on my excursion to Sellwood. What strikes me immediately is the well-placed descriptions and artist statements neighboring every intriguing object or work of art, that gives each object so much meaning!

Have you ever wanted to buy a mug in your exact favorite color? Or maybe match the paint on your wall? For $12, you can select from different Pantone paint chip colors on a mug! I guess my favorite color is no longer Aqua Blue, but rather 337-C, in the color family of “Pale and Interesting?” How entertaining. And I can’t forget to mention the decorative robots made in Peru from 100% reclaimed materials. They are currently on sale for $30-$45, depending on the size.

Of all the beautiful local artwork featured on the walls (Tilde has a monthly rotating show of Portland artwork and also participate in Sellwood’s First Friday events), I am most smitten with the work of Hadley Hutten. Her work is endearing and colorful, featuring small animals and Japanese flowers. After being blown away with her prints, I would love to see the originals in person! There are countless adornments to be found here, but most exciting to me is a small pendant by Miki and Nora out of WI, that is the closest thing to wearing a metal marionberry on your neck. Again, the tangible effect takes hold, and I cannot resist holding it in my hand. Plus, marionberries are out of season, so I have to get my thrills somewhere. I am also smitten by the delicate yet edgy work of Rachael Donaldson, who also sells her work at Haunt, on East Burnside.

Tilde is full of innovative gifts such as Orla Kiely bags, a jaw-dropping scroll notepaper dispense, ready to send envelopes covered in multiple vintage stamps, and modern felt table runners. Get your visual-and tangible-fix here. You will emerge inspired and impressed.

7919 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202
503 234 9600

video: nepal on exchange

Nepal on Exchange is the place to go for sustainably created, fair trade clothing made in Nepal. Part of the proceeds go back to orphanages and charities in Nepal. Liven up your wardrobe with their beautiful supply of brightly colored, cheerful goods. I love Nepal on Exchange for their playful array of hand-felted accessories, like the hat I’m wearing here!
(Lily Chooses Local!)

Nepal on Exchange
1421 Commercial St
Astoria, OR 97103
(503) 298-0991