• Come visit us, and our ultra friendly staff or if you find you can’t see us in person visit our website where you will find many of our in store items. If you see something featured on this blog that you just know you have to have, but can’t find it on our website, and can’t make it into our store, just e-mail us and we will do our best to get that gift to you. Don’t hesitate to ask!

From Europe with Love – Part 2 Slovakia & Hungary

I recently decided maybe it was time to add something more to the mix of Portland made, Handmade, Indie & Eco American lines we focus on here at Presents of Mind. Being a gift store is goal #1, and giving something truly unique from somewhere interesting & beautiful can make that gift even more special. I traveled to Europe this September & organized my road trip route to lead me through Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungry, Slovenia & Croatia in hopes of finding wonderful handmade works not found here in the States. The following are some of my travel journal entries with photos of the beautiful cities, wonderful people & some of the lovely & unique products I found.

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Bratislava, Slovakia

Day 11: After 2 nights in Kosice, Slovakia I was heading to Bratislava. Bratislava is at the other end of Slovakia, heading there my route mostly led me through a long valley between two small mountain ranges with rock & stone peaking from the green hillsides. The towns were fairly modest with mostly one story stucco homes & maybe a church. Occasionally there would be some castle or ruins on a hill.  I stopped in the afternoon at the small historic town of Banska Stiavnica. I enjoyed a cappucino in a gorgeous leather & wood clad cigar bar on the main street before exploring more & searching for treasures at a large outdoor market in the square. Short on time to get to Bratislava, I headed back on my way. A narrow winding forest lined road led me back down to the valley & through the neighborhoods of a couple small villages before leading me back to the freeway. As I entered Bratislava I came across a large bridge & was greeted by the castle on the left & a stunning church on my right. My apartment was just a few blocks from the old town, so I headed straight there to see what I could while it was still daylight. Right away I found some gorgeous handmade rings with elaborate metal work & beautiful various stones. Slovakia is known for these stones & for their indicate metal work jewelry, but this was the best example I had seen. I bought nearly everyone they had, knowing my customers would love these one of a kind gems.  I walked through all of the old town & the square where I encountered a very drunk street performer, a race being held for preschoolers & some incredibly gorgeous buildings.

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Kosice, Slovakia

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Kosice, Slovakia

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Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia

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Bratislava, Slovakia

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Budapest, Hungary

Day 13: I woke up early excited to revisit gorgeous Budapest. It had been more than 15 years since I had made it here. My drive in had reminded me just how stunning this historic city is. I checked out my map & saw that I was only a couple blocks off the main road that leads to heroes’ square on one end & castle hill on the other, it’s a long walk, but I wanted to do it. I headed out & decided I would walk to heroes’ square first. The whole way there I enjoyed beautiful historic buildings & churches & even some impressive statues. I approached the castle from the back, it was peaceful & fairly empty as I crossed the small creek bridge onto the castle grounds. This building is like something out of a fairy tale. It might be my favorite ever. As I circled the building I realized there was some kind of fair happening. Turns out it was an Hungarian white cattle festival called szürkemarha vigadalom. There were cattle skulls & taxidermy & huge live cattle as well as rides, food vendors & lucky for me tons of handmade vendors too. I found a few great artists with pieces that were perfect for the store including gorgeous barrettes made from the white cattle’s horns & plum wood earrings carved with traditional Hungarian designs. I found some beautiful fused glass bracelets from a local glass maker as well. I headed from the fair to Heroes’ square. The huge verdigris statues depict incredibly commanding men with proud faces. Even the horses are huge & powerful looking.  I then decided it was time to start my journey to the other side of the river & castle hill. The bridge to get across to the hill is really incredible, it’s like Europe’s version of the Brooklyn bridge with huge lion sculptures greeting you at either end. It’s an easy climb to the top of Castle Hill with just a couple switchbacks. Once I arrived I found they were having a wine festival full of Hungarian wineries. I spent hours enjoying mostly rose & champagne on the top of castle hill from many wineries & even bought a bottle for later. The views of the city & the delicious perfectly chilled wine on this particularly gorgeous day were a great reward after my long walk.

 

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Budapest, Hungary

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From Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, Hungary

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Szentendre, Hungary

Day 14: After a Hungarian farmers breakfast at a nearby outdoor cafe I headed out for the day. I was heading to Szentendre, a small artist colony outside of the city of Budapest. I knew it was more affordable than the city & had many local artists, so I figured it would be a great place to look for treasures for the store. I walked across the incredible bridge again & along the waterfront to the train. There is a short line that starts in Budapest & ends in Szentendre with about a 1/2 dozen small town stops along the way. Once on the train I took a window seat & gazed out taking in the scenery of the backs of these little towns until there were only fields & villages in the distance. Shortly after the open fields I arrived in Szentendre. It’s a short walk through a tunnel & over a bridge till you are at the main road that leads to the square & eventually to the river at the end of town. Along the road were many small galleries, street artists, restaurants & souvenir shops. I walked the town from end to end & along the river finding a couple great treasures for the store & taking in the beautiful little old village. The first thing I found was a beautiful scarf shop with racks & racks of scarves of every design & color. I filled two large bags with various scarves for the store, pretty much, as much as I could carry. Further down the main road I found a gorgeous factory shop for a nearby small historic factory making applique pillows, blankets etc… I bought out their selection of sweet little pouches in navy & red with white applique that had a scandinavian look. After my successful shopping for the store I had a delicious salad at one of the outdoor cafes facing the river, before heading back to catch the train to Budapest. 

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Szentendre, Hungary

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Szentendre, Hungary

 

Tonight as I walked miles carrying heavy bags in blustery wind & rain I realized I had a huge smile on my face & an indescribable sense of well being. My dream for most of my adult life has been to have a career that lets me travel to different countries to buy various goods to sell in the U.S., and here I am doing it. Every time I find something wonderful I know will be a huge hit back home, my future is reaffirmed. I know my customers will love all of my finds & best of all I love them. That all being said; Yes, I have an incredibly fortunate life, yet those who know me well know it is not by any means perfect. I will say that I refuse to let fear rule me & I think that is the key to overcoming the things that would otherwise hold you back. In short: Fear is the destroyer of success & happiness. Go for your dreams, do what you love & never let anyone or anything hold you back.

Posted in Apparel and Fashion, Jewelry, Presents of Mind Features, News, and Interviews, Seasons' Portland, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Europe with love – Part 1 Czech Republic & Poland

While traveling on a road trip through Europe last year for my 40th birthday, I found a large selection of stunning scarves from Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic & beautiful earrings from a small factory in Murano, Italy to sell here at Presents of Mind. After the popularity of those two lines, I decided maybe it was time to ad something more to the mix of Portland made, Handmade, Indie & Eco American lines we focus on. Being a gift store is goal #1, and giving something truly unique from somewhere interesting & beautiful can make that gift even more special. I returned to Europe this September & organized my road trip route to lead me through Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungry, Slovenia & Croatia. The esthetic of these countries are closer to our Portland style with many artists & makers not represented outside of their countries.  Along the way I met many talented people & fascinating shop owners & found a multitude of jewelry, accessories & even some home goods to carry here in the store. The following are my journal entries & photos of the beautiful cities, wonderful people & some of the lovely & unique products & the days I found them.

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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

 

Day 2: I only had one full day in Cesky Krumlov & lots to see and do. My Pension includes breakfast with your stay & brought up to my room a delicious offering of meat, cheese, fruit, coffee etc… After stuffing myself I set out to do some shopping for my store & sightsee around Cesky Krumlov. My first stop was a small factory store just down the street specializing in locally made wood cuts. They had a huge selection of creative wood art from large home decor pieces, to small ornaments. I picked out some beautiful stand up trees & some woodland creature ornaments that were perfect for the store. A couple blocks away I found some luxurious 2 toned cashmere scarves in a great unisex nordic print. I decided to cross one of the bridges & meander to the other side of the river facing the castle & town & slowly work my way back to the bridge below the castle. Tourists don’t really go to this side as there are far less businesses. The view of the town & castle & the peace of the quiet path are well worth the short trek. The unique colors & shapes of the Cesky Krumlov buildings reflected in the water with the castle & church peeking out above, is a beautiful sight. I worked my way back around & to the back road opposite the bank I had just been on. This small street is also free of tourists & filled with incredible street art. There were a few pieces from my visit last year, but a whole new installation was in place of the previous work. Spray paint art was combined with vibrant photography pieces that included nudes, nature & various subversive subjects. There was even a tiny plant installation in a place where the old stucco had broken away leaving a small hole. After taking in these quiet treasures I made my way through a small courtyard & under a wide arch to find myself back on one of the main roads & once again amongst the tourist traffic. From there I walked throughout the streets of the old city from end to end searching for treasures & enjoying the sights & sounds for most the rest of the day. I found some awesome carved leather bracelets in an incredible little old world shop with an arched fresco covered ceiling & beautiful sheer scarves in fun bright colors from a shop at the very end of town. It rained most of the afternoon, but was still warm. I stopped for a cappuccino in one of the outdoor cafes along the river shielded from the rain by their enormous umbrellas. The smell of fresh pastries filled the air & the sound of street musicians mingled with the voices of several languages filling my ears. It was a perfect day to feel the coming of fall. After dropping off my treasures at my Pension, I walked to an Italian restaurant I had heard of for dinner. I had a delicious prosciutto & arugula pizza & their house red as I sat quietly alone on the tiny balcony listening to the rain & enjoying an incredible view of the castle & surrounding area.

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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Prague, Czech Republic

 

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Prague, Czech Republic

Day 5: My last day in Prague. My old friend who lives in Prague & I had a late night enjoying the city, so she stayed at my apartment. In the morning we visited a friend of hers adorable children’s book store in hopes he may have a line or two for my store & then walked around the nearby famous Zizkov Television Tower to see the huge sculpted babies crawling all around it & the really cool park below. We then went to her favorite neighborhood cafe for a late breakfast. It’s hard to find egg breakfasts in Europe, much less any version of bacon. It was really more like pancetta, but I wasn’t going to complain. The cafe itself was very cool, with a cut metal bar with an intricate delicate pattern lit from behind & a gorgeous mural of a woman in a rustic teepee camping scene with an animal headdress. It looked like an artist you might find in Portland. After breakfast we parted ways & I caught the tram towards old town & over the river. I explored the area for awhile then walked back towards old town & across the Charles Bridge. On the bridge I found some beautiful copper & enamel jewelry from a local Prague artist that would be perfect to sell in my store. I chatted with the artist & hand picked more than 60 pieces to bring back home. I then continued on across the bridge & headed towards the old town square. I stopped for a beverage at a cafe across from one of my favorite art nouveau buildings to meet back up with Adrienna. Once she arrived we headed towards my apartment through the square. Along our way we decided to stop for an early dinner. We were fortunate enough to get a table at Prague’s famous Lokal restaurant. It’s known for having some of the best Czech food in the city & is always crowded, often requiring a reservation. They are a brewery too & the building is long & cavernous & filled with people. We both ordered house specialties with house drinks, we were not disappointed. I got the chicken with mushroom seasonings & butter with mashed potatoes. I am not exaggerating when I say that may have been the best chicken dish I have ever eaten. They had browned the butter & the “mushroom seasonings” were incredible. I could eat that every day… We tried their house pear brandy & then the apricot & finally our favorite, the walnut. It was a perfect last meal in Prague. After dinner we parted ways & I headed back to my apartment for some much needed rest before my drive to Poland the next day.

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Krakow, Poland

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Krakow, Poland

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Krakow, Poland

Day 8: My last day in Krakow, Poland I decided to explore a few of the sights I hadn’t before. I started my day walking along the river towards Wawel Castle, there were sweet little catamarans you could rent and large touring boats as well as a couple huge restaurant boats along the river, people were feeding the swans & ducks, as walkers & bikers made their way around. I toured around the huge castle for a while before heading back down towards the square. Along the way I stopped in the Church of St. Francis. The church suffered damage in the late 1800’s and had to be redone. Much to my joy, it was decorated exclusively in art nouveau murals & stained glass. Beautiful floral motifs separated by ornate borders & stained glass of flowers & dramatic figurative scenes with a celestial ceiling. Seriously gorgeous & since art nouveau is my favorite period of art, right up my alley.  I then walked down a couple of the streets I had missed the day before and happily stumbled upon a local handmade store. I found some adorable wood magnets & small art pieces that were perfect to sell in my store. I hand picked through all they had & chose a nice selection. The girl who worked the store was lovely & we chatted awhile about the city & local art scene. I then headed to the main square. Breathtaking churches & a huge market at the center it is lined with cafes & has a couple very cool sculptures thrown in the mix for good measure. I decided to go explore the largest & most impressive church, St. Mary’s. You have to pay a little extra to take photos, but once inside you instantly know it’s worth it. The incredibly tall ceilings have a mural of celestial stars of gold leaf on a dark cobalt sky, from there tall stained glass windows & huge multicolored & heavily detailed arches lead your eye down. Ornate gothic gold wood carved alters & stone monuments fill the walls & separation between the rooms. At the end is a massive carved sculpture under huge arches & stained glass & in the middle of the huge hall a giant crucifix hangs from the ceiling separating the two spaces. The whole place is stunning & incredibly elaborate; taking in all the little details takes some time, but is definitely worth it. After my awe inspiring church touring I came back out to the square. I found a sweet little store filled with local treasures & bought a bunch of scarves with incredible motifs of everything from sketched moths to a whole impressionist landscape. Surrounding the old town is a huge park where once was a wall to protect against attacks. It’s filled with trees, birds & people enjoying this stunning green space in the surrounding the beautiful old town. I walked through the park in a loop around the old city & back to a restaurant near the square taking in the evening light & locals playing in the park. After a nice dinner, I headed home to sort through my finds & get a good rest before my long drive to Slovakia in the morning.

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Krakow, Poland

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Krakow, Poland

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Krakow, Poland

 

Tonight as I walked miles carrying heavy bags in blustery wind & rain I realized I had a huge smile on my face & an indescribable sense of well being. My dream for most of my adult life has been to have a career that lets me travel to different countries to buy various goods to sell in the U.S., and here I am doing it. Every time I find something wonderful I know will be a huge hit back home, my future is reaffirmed. I know my customers will love all of my finds & best of all I love them. That all being said; Yes, I have an incredibly fortunate life, yet those who know me well know it is not by any means perfect. I will say that I refuse to let fear rule me & I think that is the key to overcoming the things that would otherwise hold you back. In short: Fear is the destroyer of success & happiness. Go for your dreams, do what you love & never let anyone or anything hold you back.

Posted in Jewelry, Presents of Mind Features, News, and Interviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to School Portland style & Hawthorne Street Fair Aug 16th!

The Hawthorne Street Fair is August 16th 11-7pm! It’s gonna be an awesome day on Hawthorne with street vendors, music & sales along the Boulevard. We will have a 40% off table outside as well as a couple local vendors. Inside we will be offering $5 off all T-shirts & 15% off all socks, bags & dresses just in time for Back to School! Take a look at some of our new favorites!

We have been filling up our shelves with tons of great products to get excited about showing off this fall. We are known for our great T-shirt selection & in preparation for this Fall we have stocked up our shelves with hot new lines & best sellers that are sure to get compliments in the school halls.

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You may also know about our epic sock selection. Well, we have gotten in huge orders from all our favorites! Stance, Sock it to me, Sock Smith, Sweet Marcel, Living Royal, Blue Q, & Peony & Moss have all come out with some awesome new styles for Fall.

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We have also stocked up on some great new purses, backpacks, wallets, pouches, & phone cases so you can fully represent this year.

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We got in some amazing new dresses for fall too. Sure to have you feeling sassy when you hit campus.

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Come enjoy a fun day on Hawthorne & stock up on some fun new goods for fall!

Posted in Apparel and Fashion, Portland,OR, Presents of Mind Features, News, and Interviews, Seasons' Portland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A virtual tour of the current treasures at Presents of Mind

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