Old Fashioned, Organic, and The Smashing Burrito

Before you read any further, you have to watch this short video… If you have watched the show Portlandia, you know exactly what Portland is all about. If you haven’t… sit back and relax…

We came to Portland to visit a friend, as we were on the way up to Seattle, and he told us to watch this video before we got there.

It turned out to be 100% accurate.

It’s all organic, chilled out, and young people do go there to retire.

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But we started the visit with a smashing burrito! Tomek, who is a partner at the “FUEGO burritos and bowls” food carts business, brought us a couple of his best burritos. Food trucks are one of the Portland staples, and Tomek’s burritos are one of the best! They’re only open for lunch and you can find their locations on their site.

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old-fashioned-short1Tomek is a friend from Poland, but he has lived in Portland for years, before  the hippie-organic movement exploded. He wanted to show us the best that his town has to offer, and so we went on the search for his favourite cocktail, the best “Old Fashioned” in town.

Michal and I are new to the Old Fashioned drink; it’s a simple, yet hard to perfect mixture of Bourbon, Bitters, Orange Rind and Simple Syrup. We sampled these delicious little drinks in bars all over town, and they all had their own twist. And they were made all the more enjoyable by the local bands that were playing here and there.

Mornings were lazy breakfasts from farmers markets or at brunch spots; at the farmers market, we took so many samples that we weren’t particularly hungry for breakfast… but of course, everything’s local, everything’s organic, and everything’s triple the price!

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The organic, vegan, local movement is hard to get used to… Even when Michal asked for some milk at a bar, they apologised and said that they were a vegan bar! A little bit strange…

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Portland is surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and Tomek took us hiking to a spot with amazing views of several peaks. After the previous evening’s bar tour, it was good to get some exercise.

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After a good barbecue, we went to try a couple more Old Fashioned’s at a couple of bars that we couldn’t visit the day before since we didn’t have our passports (If you’re a foreigner visiting Oregon, make sure you bring your passport as ID otherwise they won’t let you in.)

When we came back, we were greeted by a garden on fire! The hot ashes from the grill had fallen onto the wood chips that the landlord recently spread all over the back garden. Had we come back an hour or two later, the house would probably have been gone!

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So after playing firefighters, we spent the rest of the night celebrating the fact that we had been spared and learned our lesson.

We had a wonderful trip – Portland is definitely a fun place. But the health-food hippie culture brought out Michal’s rebellious side – after finding out that the bar we were in was vegan, he asked for a steak…

But if you want eat chicken-with-a-name, sleep in until 11am, and live the 90s dream, Portland is the place to be.

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Buki Style

On the hottest day of the year so far in Vienna, Virginia, Michal and I sit down to a table bursting with Mexican food cooked by a Nigerian and an Italian. With six nationalities represented during dinner, as we caught up with our old friends, I am pleased to have made a new one: Buki Peters. Amidst the eating, drinking, good jokes, terrible jokes and rip-roaring laughter, I did my best to gather some sort of interview… And it wasn’t until our dear Peruvian friend politely joked that he was going to excuse himself to “set all of his alarms for the year 2016” that we finally got to really talking about Style With Buki.

buki19Buki, with her radiant smile and cheeky sense of humour, is a fashion and lifestyle blogger. Originally from Nigeria, Buki graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and now lives in Vienna, close to Washington DC.

I used to have a menswear blog. But I had to stop when I moved to Virginia, because I couldn’t find any men who would let me take their photo! In New York, I could take photos of guys with their clothes just anywhere. But here people are like “no… wait, what?”…

Style in D.C. is very different to New York. It used to be much more uniform. But now it’s actually changing… it’s become more eclectic and more international which is really fun. I think because of the variety of neighbourhoods in DC – there’s so much international fashion, which is being mixed with the DC uniform preppy look.

So after six months or so of trying with the menswear blog, I just thought ‘hey, I’m just gonna do me’. So I started doing my own blog – and I found my niche.

Buki, who currently also owns and runs her own day care centre, is about to take the leap to making her blog her full time business.

Right now, I feel like I don’t have a life! I work like 55-60 hours per week with the kids, from 7.30am-6pm every day. So I’m really excited about going full time – it will give me the freedom that I don’t have right now to go places and really invest the time.

I want to start sending out newsletters, doing giveaways, even having contributors; that’s where I want to go. For me, it’s really all about building community – I want my blog to feel like a conversation, not just a destination. I want people to be able to learn, discover and connect – and feel like they can be a part of that conversation too.

As she served us a huge slice of Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie (we are still struggling to get used to American size portions!), Buki told us that we were actually eating a pie that was a product of her blogging explorations

So one of the main features of Style With Buki right now is “Locals Luv”, which I love! I connect with a local: sometimes another blogger, or through instagram, or just a good friend, and ask them to show me around their town or city – but not the tourist stuff, it has to be the locals’ perspective. So today, we did “Locals Luv Leesburg”, and we went to this amazing pie store. It’s no bigger than this deck! But the pie came straight out of the oven!

So we just chat to people, ask them to share their stories, their perspectives. Sometime I send questions in advance, but other times if we visit a shop or a restaurant, I just say that we’d love to feature them and any of their products that they’d like to highlight. 

I started “Locals Luv” because I didn’t think I was gonna be able to travel so much now that I work for myself. I wanted to explore my surroundings and actually experience being here. Even Vienna, I don’t know that well and I live here! Something we wanna do is, if you can’t travel like to Europe, you can do “Florence for a Day” in DC – so you can like visit the Pantheon, then there’s super authentic Italian restaurants, there’s the desserts, the Italian markets. So you’re not leaving your town, but you’re enjoying it fully, with the locals who have made it what it is as they’ve immigrated from other places.

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I really hope it can be a way for locals to rally behind businesses and help build that community. 

Amidst the beautiful community experiences that she shares, the one thing you cannot miss when you visit Style With Buki is her wonderfully bright, beautiful and bold fashion. With her winning smile greeting you from every photo, each post, even the ones not about fashion, inspire you to brighten your wardrobe, and try new expressions in the way you dress. I love the fact that Buki mixes vintage with high street with her own ready-to-wear couture pieces, in her unique, unpretentious, joyful style.

I love people. I love style. I enjoy people getting together, and I enjoy seeing people learn. So I do DIYs (like bags, shoes) because I love seeing when lightbulbs go off. So I think it’s really fun when I do DIYs and people are like ‘hey I didn’t know I could do that, that’s awesome’!

I’m about to launch an online store too; to people can buy ready-to-wear pieces, bags, clutches, jewellery… But my favourite thing is people. I love people. When someone comes to my site, I want them to feel like they can relate, they can enter conversation, you know, and discover something new.

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Buki has been featured as a guest style editor in Marie Claire, and has had several TV and online appearances. It was wonderful to see her joy at the anticipation of what might be around the corner as she is able to fully invest her time and energy into bringing her passions together.

For now, it’s still quite local, like in this area. But soon I want it to go international – like I have a friend in Hong Kong, and I want her to do a “Locals Luv Hong Kong”. I love connecting people, and I really want to keep building this community.

It’s amazing when people are not just talkers, but doers. And Buki is true to her word about connecting people; as soon as she saw our blog, she wanted to help us, to link us with people in different cities, for us to contribute to the voice on her site, and to share her work with us to put on our site. So, here’s that first step… Buki Style!

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All photos courtesy of stylewithbuki.com