127. profile: proud pour

what if we told you that by raising a glass of chilled white wine, you could be helping to protect our local waters' ecosystems? berlin kelly founded proud pour in 2014, directly connecting two of her biggest passions, food & wine and the environment. proud pour's first wine, "the oyster", is an award-winning california sauvingnon blanc. for every bottle purchased, proud pour restores 100 oysters to local waters. reviving the oyster population helps to filter the water and provide a habitat for many species of sea plants and creatures.

we met with berlin and her co-ceo, brian thurber at union oyster house to sample some wine and discuss inspiration and impact:

what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration? 
nature. it is constantly teaching me lessons. sand allows the waves to crash, trees let the wind blow, and plants keep popping through sidewalk blocks. nature reminds me to go with the flow of what life presents and shows me how to handle adversity.

what is your favorite time of day to create? 
definitely in the early morning, before all the construction, honking, and conversations flood the quiet sounds of dawn. i try to go for a walk near water to purge what's been racing through my mind and listen to what i need to create.

favorite or most inspirational place? 
new york city. the harbor used to be one of the most bio-productive and diverse places in the eastern united states. even though the land is now full of people and covered in concrete, new yorkers respond when we tell them about the harbor's history and our wine's mission. to me, if there's any place that can be the leader in serious environmental change, it's nyc. we've already been able to fund our ny restoration partner, the billion oyster project, to restore half a million oysters.

have you always had an interest in food and wine? 
unfortunately for my wallet and waistline, yes. i love food and wine. my father and grandfather were both very into fine dining; they used to read michelin guides regularly. when i was five, i would order the "chateaubriand with bordealais sauce" at my favorite restaurant. i had no idea what that meant, except that it was delicious. my interest in wine developed after college and hit full-gear when i began making wine, cider, and beer with the nyc homebrewer's guild. but more than food and wine itself, i love that it brings people together.

how did you come up with the idea of pairing wines with environmental concerns? 
i was living in nyc, and i became frustrated that so many people seemed much more focused on drinking ($11 million a night is spent on alcohol in nyc!) than they were that our land and sea has deteriorated around us. ny harbor used to have 220,000 acres of oyster reefs. the natural environment is the foundation of our society. i wanted to raise awareness and attract volunteers, but knew i'd have a hard time getting people to leave their drinks with friends to help restore oysters in the gowanus canal. so instead, i thought i'd bring my mission to their happy hours. i built proud pour so that we can all feel proud making a difference, even while out with friends.

proud pour's first wine, "the oyster", restores 100 oysters to local waters for every bottle purchased. how has the decline in the oyster population affected the ecosystem? 
dramatically. wild oysters are a keystone species. as with coral, oyster reefs provide habitat for thousands of other marine species. bring back the oyster reefs and you bring back the fish, birds, crabs, starfish, mussels, sea horses, sponges, shrimp, and more that live and feed there.

what is your favorite food to pair "the oyster" with? 
is this a trick question? oysters of course. i'd like to enjoy an oyster from ny's and boston's harbors before i'm 40.

how do you see proud pour growing and evolving? any new wines on the horizon? 
we have big dreams. near term, we plan to launch "the honeybee" pinot noir and "the oyster" rose. long term, we envision supporting a variety of keystone species with beverages, such as "the beaver" beer, "the wolf" whiskey, or "the prairie dog" primitivo. rather than people being impressed that you're drinking a 1985 bourdeaux, they'll be impressed that you're enjoying a limited release "the oyster" champagne that restores 10,000 oysters to ny harbor.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? 
don't follow your heart, follow your heartache.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give? 
stuff is hard. this world is chaotic, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. take even just one minute to step outside and see how the trees have grown and listen to the birds singing to each other. things start to make sense.

"the oyster" can be found in locations throughout massachusetts, new york and new jersey.

a very special thank you to union oyster house who not only serves "the oyster", but provides proud pour with the oyster shells that decorate their wine bottles.


126. weekend to-do's

  1. don't just stand there, let's get to it. choreographer trajal harrell has been called the "next martha graham". he's bringing his latest piece in the series twenty looks or paris is burning at the judson church to the ica this weekend. for antigone sr., harrell uses vogueing to re imagine the greek myth of antigone.
  2. brain train. elevate, my new favorite app, is a personalized, game-based cognitive training tool that helps to build communication and analytical skills. 10 minutes of exercises every night help to build mental agility and memory. it's like a workout plan for your brain.
  3. shake it. we just got a new blender and i've been putting it to daily use by starting my day with a healthy smoothie. my current favorite combination is a mix of avocado, spinach, mint and hemp milk.

  1. brunch bonanza. i'll be digging into some delicious breakfast creations at cafe luna in central square this weekend. the dining room is small but the menu is huge. i've got my eye on the butternut squash and goat cheese omelet. or maybe the lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh berries. this is going to be a tough decision.
  2. get crafty. i recently purchased a book of sewing patterns from design house alabama studio. in order to stock up on materials, i'm heading over to gather here for some organic cotton jersey. i'm planning on including some hand-made items to my spring/summer capsule wardrobe. stay tuned!


125. march reading

with so many great new books out, it was a near impossible task narrowing it down to just three. here are the ones that made the cut. happy reading!

nine short stories about the power of keys (both literal and metaphorical). oyeyemi's writing is always magical and i expect to be thoroughly enchanted by this collection of modern fairy tales.

this is the first novel by kia cothron, an acclaimed playwright and writer for the wire. a sweeping saga of two american families confronting the painful and violent divides of the mid-twentieth century.

the american single woman. this is the subject that award-winning journalist rebecca traister had originally planned to explore as a piece of contemporary journalism. over the course of her research, she discovered a full book's worth of evidence that throughout history, when women elect non-traditional lives, it results in massive social change.


124. weekend to-do's

  1. green my scene. it's still a little too cold to start working on my outdoor garden, but i'm definitely ready to freshen up the apartment with some new houseplants. brattle square florist always has a super healthy selection. i'm especially partial to the golden pothos - they're pretty much impossible to kill and as an added bonus, they help to purify the air.
  2. big nostalgia. one of my childhood favorites is back with a new movie. pee wee's big holiday debuts on netflix today and i can't wait to giggle along with this bow tied blast from the past.
  3. serve it up old school. on selected sundays, beat brasserie spins classic hip hop from the 80's and 90's for dope sundays. i can actually get excited about the end of the weekend if it means eating delicious food while listening to my favorite jams.

  1. market time. heading over to the boston public market for some local produce. and, union square donuts is now serving up delicious treats in the market. my favorite!
  2. up my coffee game. i've been looking to make a better cup of coffee at home and forge baking company has all the supplies i need to improve my set up. i'll be getting a new chemex, some delicious fresh ground beans and a scale for a more precise measure.


123. all-natural body care

did you know that almost 60% of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream? the ingredients in your body care products matter. instead of dousing yourself with harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances, why not treat your skin to it's very own health food. these are two of our favorite simple recipes using all-natural ingredients. they will get your skin glowing and ready for spring.

whipped body butter:

1/4 cup unrefined cocoa butter
1/4 cup raw shea butter
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup jojoba oil
20 drops of essential oil (we used a combination of sandalwood, cardamom and peru balsam)

melt the first four ingredients in a large bowl over a double boiler - whisk to thoroughly combine. place in the refrigerator until the mixture solidifies (about 1 hour). using a hand mixer on high speed, whip the mixture until it starts to break up. add in your essential oils of choice. continue whipping for about 10 minutes or until your body butter takes on the texture of whipped cream. it will keep it's dreamy texture when stored at room temperature, just be sure to keep it in an airtight container.

vanilla cardamom coffee sugar scrub:

1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons ground coffee
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
15- 20 drops cardamom essential oil

stir coffee, brown sugar and olive oil together till there are no clumps of sugar. add vanilla extract and cardamom oil and mix thoroughly. store in an airtight jar at room temperature.


122. weekend to-do's

  1. functional fashion. i'm so excited to check out the mfa's new exhibit, #techstyle. they are displaying pieces by innovative designers utilizing cutting edge technology and 3-d printing. the result is fashion that interacts with the wearer and the environment.
  2. get critical. new york times film critic, a.o. scott will be at the brattle theater tonight discussing his new book better living through criticism: how to think about art, pleasure, beauty, and truth. he'll be sticking around after his presentation to introduce a screening of the 40's noir classic, they live by night.
  3. wind down the weekend. i've been loving the sunday night slow flow restorative class at barre & soul's harvard square location. it's the perfect way to relax and mindfully prepare for the week ahead.

  1. market time. oliver best vintage market in allston is hosting an oddity market with some of my favorite types of decorative items. they'll also have a beer and cider bar while you peruse!
  2. get out and about. the weather has been so incredible this week and i can't wait to get out hiking tomorrow. boston magazine has a great index of all the trails in the local area and beyond broken down into easy, moderate and advanced categories.
  3. relax time. after my hike, i'll be heading to my new favorite spot, inman oasis, for a massage. last weekend i went for my first hot tub soak and loved the staff so much. they are reasonably priced and it is the perfect spot for some much needed relaxation!


121. march playlist

march is here and we've got 16 of our favorite songs from local artists to get you moving into the spring season:


120. weekend to-do's

  1. meet and eat. one of our favorite somerville restaurants, la brasa is teaming up with boston & bale for their e-som maker's market. this special saturday brunch will go from 10am-3pm and many of our favorite local makers will be on hand with their amazing products - among them claire cheney from curio spice co. and janine kwoh from kwohtations.
  2. daring debut. australian hip hop artist and poet, omar musa will be at harvard book store on saturday evening. he will be reading from and discussing his debut novel here come the dogs. musa has described his coming of age tale as being about "hip hop, graffiti, greyhounds, drugs, bushfires". the audacity and realism of his writing is already garnering high praise.
  3. dance and discussion. the dance complex will be hosting its monthly sunday salon this weekend. each salon allows those attending to view and respond to works in progress. this is a great opportunity for those in the dance community to sharpen their critical skills and for others to provide a fresh take.

  1. play a little. my band parks is playing a show at once in somerville tonight with one of my favorite local bands, eternals. we're joined by touring band wilder maker to round out the evening of solid music.
  2. dance a little. heading out to support other local bands this weekend at the loft. this small diy venue is a great little gem of a place to see up and coming bands.
  3. sew a little. i've been testing out my garment making skills this winter and found a comprehensive class on skillshare. caroline hart is a master pattern maker and seamstress and has worked with celebrities like victoria beckham and sienna miller. i can't wait to dig into her classes to push my clothing making skills to the next level. project runway, here i come.


119. travelogue: portland, maine

this past weekend i made a trip up to portland, maine with a friend to celebrate his 9th birthday. (in case you're looking at the photos below confused, he's a leap year baby). we walked the streets happily overwhelmed with all the great shops and amazing food this city has to offer in such a small condensed area. here is a short list of some of our favorite spots from the weekend:

this four story building is chock-full of unique architectural elements, antiques, and decorative accessories. many of their pieces are period materials for those who are renovating historic properties looking to stay to true to the original architecture. their decorative items are great as well. i walked away with some beautiful antique frames for some of my artwork. you just never know what you will find at this place!

this noodle spot is a perfect restaurant for a savory and warm meal. i highly recommend the lobster wontons and any one of their house made noodle bowls. in addition to being delicious, i like that they incorporate ingredients from local farmers for their dishes. definitely hit up this sweet spot.

this maine based design house makes beautiful, functional, and timeless leather bags. their new flagship showroom here in portland recently opened a few months ago and i was psyched to get a chance to take a stroll through. each bag is hand made from carefully curated materials in what they call a "rugged understated luxurious" style. i now own two of their bags and can speak for the high quality and longevity of their skillfully made bags.

if you're looking for an amazing lobster roll and some of the finest oysters, this is the place for you. the steamed buns are unlike any other and the interior design is spot on. the raw bar features a large block of maine granite housing the shellfish display. be ready for a little bit of a wait here as the dining room is on the smaller side but, i will say, it is worth it.