For the past week I have been in Raleigh, North Carolina visiting some of my dear friends from university. It has been a beautiful time of re-connection and exploration. Another reason for the trip was the redesign and rebranding of Culture Keeper. Jordan Dale Young is the genius behind that project (and many upcoming Culture Keeper projects). Mike and Megan Gilger (of the Fresh Exchange) who often contribute to this blog, have also been a huge part of this endeavor. I have some exciting adventures planned for this year. In the next month I will be heading to Chicago, South Bend, and then on to Paris. I did want to give you a heads up that, for those of you readers who follow via an RSS feed, your link may be broken in the move. You may have to re-subscribe to continue following along. The site address will remain the same. Thanks for 3 years of your readership and support. As always, Culture Keeper will remain a space open to collaboration and conversation about creativity, adventure, and style. I would love to include your voice and perspective.
This summer (as is the new usual) Michael Newsted and I went off on an adventure around Northern Michigan. We were on assignment to gather images for Clyde Oak, and write a story for Hello Mr. Magazine, but we did manage a few detours.
Michigan is really the most fabulous place to spend the summer. It is the perfect climate for beaches and bonfires, for sailing and for cozy, rainy days. When I am in Paris or Chicago I am content- until it gets warm. In the Summer I crave bare feet, running through the forest, and swimming at least twice a day.
Traveling with Michael is fantastic, because he brings such a positive energy to everything he does. Everyone is his friend. Every new place is a blank map ready for exploration. Every day is filled with picnics, and music.
This post features a behind-the-scenes look at our shenanigans off set. It also highlights a few aspects that make Michigan Summer wanderings so delightful.
-Sailing- (with Bryan Dale)
All of these images are courtesy of Michael Newsted, who will be writing and posting about these adventures as well. In the coming weeks, we will also be sharing the poloroids he captured for our commissions. Be sure to check out his inspired photography.
On my trip to Cappadocia, Turkey this spring I had the good fortune to meet Serdal Karakus. Over the course of a week, Serdal gave me an education in Kilim rugs- the history of the weaving process, as well as an over-view of the symbology. It happened like this: Ricky Cohete and I were tired of eating at tourist cafes. Simple as that. "I want to eat where someone's grandmother would eat" One of us shared out loud. We scoured the village with no luck. Before long, I saw a beautiful orange rug, and went into a shop to inquire about it. That is when I met Serdal. He had lived in Paris, and I had lived in Paris, and so we got to talking about french culture, and about rugs, and beautiful things, and French Women, and .... He invited Ricky and I to eat dinner with him. Now I am aware that this happens regularly in some cultures and settings, but each time it does, it still seems magical to me. Sharing a meal with a stranger is still about the most beautiful thing in the world. While we ate the dinner his mother had prepared (NO JOKE!)... we continued chatting. He explained to us a lot about Turkish culture, answering many of our questions. Eventually we got talking about rugs. He took us back into his show room and spent a few more hours teaching us about his beautiful collection of rugs. That was a dream come true as well. I have always been fascinated by tribal craftsmanship, and it was beautiful to have the nuances explained. Each piece in his shop was custom made- by a specific person- for a specific person in a specific place. Some were designed with little squares cut out to avoid a tent-pole, or with a specific pattern to reference a family member or historical event. Serdal has been collecting, and subsequently dealing rugs for many years. He has lived in several parts of Turkey, and can read the a Kilim rug just like a book. I have always wanted to know more about this craft, and our chance encounter was the perfect opportunity. Serdal is a kindred spirit, who is passionate about this history and story of beautiful, handmade goods. (and of course, now I know where to go for rugs)
You can find many of Serdal's rugs here... but of course, nothing comes close to seeing them all in person. You will have to visit Goreme, Cappadocia for that.
This November, I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks adventuring out west and visiting Tyler Grant in Portland, Oregon. As a child, I once visited portland, during a rather magical summer vacation... and certain elements of the city have haunted my imagination ever since.
It was great to return, to see Portland as an adult, and to spend Thanksgiving with my little brother's dear friends. I also had a few weeks to explore. Here are my very favorite finds:
COURIER COFFEE- This is pretty much the only coffee place you need in Portland. Seriously. It is small, peaceful, fun, and does not have a twitter account. Do you need anything else? Oh, and they have amazing coffee. I spent an entire day there writing. Between the simple decor, folk records, and the witty banter of the baristas, I was sold. More than a coffee shop, I definitely felt that I stumbled on a hilarious secret community.
BOLLYWOOD THEATRE- Not a theatre, although they do play a fantastic loop of vintage bollywood films. B.T. Is a great indian resturaunt, serving street food in a grungy / eclectic setting. I would eat here every day if I could.
CARGO- Off the beaten path, in the Pearl District- Cargo offers foreign goods you have been craving but did not realize: Those golden cats that wave at you in chinese resturaunts, English-language copies of Mao's little red book, Brass bells from Ghana, and everything in-between. It is magical. I will return every time I visit Portland.
MACHUS- This store! omg! Clothes that I want to wear! This shop is not to everyone's taste, but as a stylist, I crave simple black pieces that are a touch extreme. Does that make sense? I thought I was crazy until I visited Machus. I am craving a few of their chic tunics.
TANNER GOODS- No trip to Portland would be complete without a visit to this iconic maker. Tanner Goods, is a portland-based leather company specializing in quality pieces that will last for generations. Their shop is staffed by super-friendly fellows, and is filled with great finds.
STEVEN ALLEN- It is probably the most perfect shop in Portland. The perfect light balance, the perfect flow, the perfect selection of clothing and home-goods. Delightful.
POWELL'S BOOKS- This shop is every bit as magical as the rumors suggest. Although their selection of fashion magazines is a little lacking- they do have an entire section dedicated to T.E. Lawrence... so no complaints here.
ANGEL'S REST- It is my little brother's favorite hiking place, so please don't bombard it. This spot is a peaceful climb- beautiful views of the columbia river, lush ferns, and not too challenging. The summit is its own little ecosystem, perfect for a picnic. or hideout.
HIPPO HARDWARE- You might think it odd to include a hardware store in a city guide... but then, I did not promise an ordinary guide. Hippo is a three-story labyrinth of vintage fixtures. And Magic. And the most hilarious / eccentric shopkeepers you have ever met.