Tea Bar

The Tea Bar is one of my favorite places to hang out as and is also one of the few places in Portland to get yummy matcha.  When I was in school in Corvallis, I would drive back home to Portland during my days off to study or catch up with friends, and I always made it a point to go to the Tea Bar.  I love this place so much that it is where I meet clients for freelance work. Below are a few of the many times that I've been there (checking in on Instagram is a must, obviously). 

Until a few weeks ago, the Tea Bar only had one location on NE Killingsworth, near the Alberta District. But recently they expanded and opened a new location on SE Division St., which made me the happiest person. When I found out they were opening a new space on Division I knew my visits were going to be more frequent because it was on my way to and from work. Unlike the first location, my drive to the Tea Bar on Division would only be 15 minutes instead of 25 minutes. The new location is also near some of my other favorite spots such as Salt & Straw, Petite Provence and St. Honore. Unfortunately, the company that I work for moved their office to Lake Oswego, so my trips had to wait until a free weekend came along.

Tea Bar_1.jpg

Another thing I love about the Tea Bar is their branding; it’s so simple and lets the tea and their space speak for itself. Like the first location, the space is as minimal as it can be - white walls, concrete flooring, light wood countertops, wickerwork chairs and some greenery for accents. What makes this location better than the original is that it’s much larger; it seems almost double than the original. The whole storefront is counter and bar seating with a few tables on either ends of the cafe. My favorite part of this new space is the floor to ceiling windows that exposes the whole café to those passing by. The natural light gives the space a cheerful mood.

Sometimes minimal spaces can feel cold and unwelcoming, but the Tea Bar does a great job of warming up the space with greenery. There are beautiful white flower arrangements on the countertops and little succulents on the tables that give the space life. The lightly colored tabletops and wicker chairs also help warm up the space by adding color and texture. Minimal spaces can also give a manufactured vibe, making the space feel impersonal because they tend to look so similar to each other. So in choosing wood textures for both their cafes, it gave it a special touch.

Other than the space, the Tea Bar is the best place for tea. I can only think of other place in the city with really good matcha. I love their matcha, whether it’s iced, as a latte or a milk tea. And if you’re a tea enthusiast they have a wide variety of teas ranging from greens, blacks, herbals, whites, oolongs, pu’ers and mat´es. Other than tea they also serve other types of drinks like steamers, lemonades and mimosas. This is a great place for everyone because there is so much variety!

The main reason I love the Tea Bar is that it’s an Instagram “hotspot” for creatives like bloggers and designers. The pretty drinks and minimal design of the space makes it perfect to style photos. If it weren’t for bloggers that I follow, I don’t think I would have known that this place exists because I rarely branch out from my regular hotspots. I feel like the Tea Bar has brought a lot of creatives together and with this new location the creative community will continue to grow. Also, being in a beautiful space helps influence my creativity. Everytime I visit the Tea Bar I feel at home because the environment and space matches my aesthetic so well.

So if you’re ever around the Alberta or Richmond neighborhoods I definitely recommend that you stop by and try a drink. It’s a casual place to catch up with friends and unlike coffee shops it’s not as loud, perfect for reading that book you’ve always wanted read.


teabarpdx.com | 4330 SE Division St | 1615 NE Killingsworth St


LIKELIHOOD

Seattle knows how to design their retail spaces and they do it well. If you remember my post a few weeks ago I visited a retail space called Totokaelo. This time around I stopped by a men’s shoe boutique, Likelihood, a few blocks down from Totokaelo in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

I found out about this boutique on Instagram and saved it on my list of places to visit. Likelihood is Seattle's only men's sneaker boutique and the owners as well as local artists designed the beautiful interior - and that is why I loved this space so much, it’s strictly Seattle owned and designed.

Before you even walk through the door, you can see the interior from floor to ceiling through the windows. The space is bright with white walls and concrete floors. As I stepped in I wasn’t sure where to go first, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. On the left there was a rack of monochromatic clothing under a custom-made neon sign by Mark Kelly that reads, “I called shotgun infinity when I was twelve”. While in the middle was a platform of shoes shaped into a honeycomb pattern that mimicked the light fixtures. In the back of the space was a staircase of sneakers; it couldn’t get any better than that (talk more about this staircase). Even with it’s contemporary and futuristic space, the wood accents on the register and paneling next to the staircase gave it a pacific northwest type of feeling.

 

 

Aside from the space, I also fell in love with their shoes! You can find shoes from brands like Adidas, Grenson, Converse and Buttero. Likelihood is a great spot to scout special edition collaboration sneakers like Rihanna’s Fenty trainers and New Balance x Burton.They have styles for anyone, whether you’re looking for something sporty or for something you can wear out around town. Likelihood really concentrates on footwear, so their clothing selection is limited. But you can find shirts from Comme Des Garcon Play, where I only had the luck of finding them online. They also sell high-end art and fashion magazines like Fantastic Man, Highsnobiety and HypebeastAnd of course, I picked up a little something for myself, a pair of Puma Mono Suede sneakers!  

So if you’re ever around the Capitol Hill area in Seattle make sure you stop by Likelihood, you won’t be disappointed!

 

LIKELIHOOD

1101 East Union, Seattle, WA 98122

likelihood.us


Likelihood Wishlist


Society Cafe

Portland’s Chinatown isn’t an area that I visit very often.  Last week I went on a random stroll to the waterfront and ended up in Chinatown and ran into the new Society Café and Lounge which is part of the new Society Hotel. It’s located on 3rd Ave in Chinatown, a few blocks away from the Chinese Garden and the Waterfront. Before the building was transformed into a hotel, this historic building was named the Mariners Building. It was built in 1881 and was a place for sailors to stay to help keep them away from bad influences as they docked in Portland, and by the 60’s and 70’s the building became a gathering place for the Chinese community. A few years ago I remember walking past this building when it was painted a pastel pink and mint green with palm trees on the outside -and of course I loved it.  It was upsetting to see such a beautiful architectural building not being used, so when I found out they turned it into a hotel, while still using the original facade, I was ecstatic.

Because it was a Sunday afternoon the cafe was calm and mellow. If the cafe were busy, finding a place to sit wouldn’t be a big deal because there’s a great amount of seating with couches, booths and tables. The tables are small and intimate, only seating two people. The small tables might not be appealing to those with laptops and huge textbooks, but they’re perfect for a quick morning coffee with a friend. Overall, the total ambiance of the space was very Portland. Everything is new and modern, but you still get a touch of hipster with old school sophistication. It’s definitely going to be my new favorite place.

Other than the interior, I have to say that this place has the best matcha latte! It’s really hard to find really good matcha in Portland and I’m happy to say that I finally found my go-to place for it. I hope you stop by the really gorgeous space for a great cup of coffee and some quality time with friends! Hopefully my next visit is an overnight one in one of those rooms!


The Society Hotel

203 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209

(503) 445-0444

 

totokaelo

Walking around big cities is my favorite thing to do. Cities are where I feel the happiest; the hustle, architecture, culture and the people. The best part of the city is that it’s constantly changing. There’s always something new the next time that I visit. A couple of weeks ago I visited Seattle with a friend; there’s something that Seattle has that Portland doesn’t. It’s busier, the buildings are taller, and it has a metropolitan feel. During my visit to Seattle I found this stunning store called Totokaelo. It’s located a few minutes east of the Public market. Totokaelo is a store that carries clothing and accessories for men and women as well as home goods.

As you walk in, the first thing you realize is how airy and minimal the store is. It’s such an open space that you can see the whole store all at once. I was most excited for how the space was decorated. Everything about this place was designed to create an experience. What you notice first is that it’s simple yet it’s functional architecture. I loved how tall the ceilings were, and having them painted white made them seem gigantic. Another cool part of the architecture is how they built the fixtures into the walls.

As you walk around you notice large shelves built into the walls filled with beautiful ceramics accompanied by flatware, candles and textiles. Then walking further into the store you see these beautiful steps with hundreds of women’s shoes; all different styles, shapes, sizes and colors. At a glance all these shoes are overwhelming. Right next to the shoes is women’s clothing with beautiful neutral pieces from brands like Acne Studios, Jil Sander and The Row.

In the middle of the room is a staircase which takes you down to their basement. The basement was their original space before they built up. As you walk down the wooden staircase you’re engulfed in a new world. The vibe is more intense and intimidating. The bright fluorescent lights, the lack of windows, and the depth of the space made the white room seem like it could go on forever. I felt like I was in a museum with everything lined up, stacked and placed in their own designated spot with most of the merchandise aligned perfectly on the right and left side of the room. As I looked around I couldn’t help but drool over the monochromatic pieces they carried; from black leather backpacks to crème colored sweaters. You can find pieces from a classic knit sweater to a modern asymmetrical shirt where you couldn’t tell which was the front and which was the back.. In the middle of the room sat a large area rug with a coffee table. On top of the coffee table are some publications, and other little accessories like belts and wallets. Looking straight ahead from the staircase you see another showcase of shoes, this time for men. The whole wall is like a bookshelf, displaying formal leather shoes by Comme Des Garcons to casual Adidas Stan Smith sneakers.

The best part of Totokaelo is what lies right behind the staircase - In the very back of the space is a tiny greenhouse filled with little trees. It was a nice balance to the rest of the store. The whole space was minimal and contemporary, almost futuristic, yet in this tiny corner was the only instance where you saw color from the lush green leaves. It was as if they were trying to bring in nature, something that was lacking in the sterile environment.

Stores like this and the experience I have within them have always been interesting to me. The design of their store was well thought out. They wanted a specific mood - it was playful and creative with the merchandise they were selling, but the interior made it seem sophisticated and intimidating. I loved how the decor and architecture was very clean and minimal as they mixed vintage and contemporary elements. It wasn’t just any store, I actually felt like I was transported into a museum, with everything too delicate to touch. I enjoyed the styling and the aesthetic of the space. While I wanted to purchase everything I saw in the store, I ended up leaving empty handed. Everything was of great quality and design and with that came a hefty price tag. This store is definitely catered to a certain demographic, but this was a place I enjoyed and it was a treat to my design eye. If you ever get the chance, visit this beautiful space in Seattle or their New York location!


MY TOTOKAELO WISH LIST

I'm pretty sure if I had the money I would have purchased everything in the store! But because I don't I put together a mini wish list. Everything I chose would work great as a winter outfit or great as separates. Each piece is a basic staple that would be perfect for the Portland lifestyle. Also, if you had no idea what you wanted to gift me for Valentine's Day...here are a few hints!