Interview x Kristen Dilley


I am excited to post the second interview in our Inspired Living series! Last year I stumbled upon Portland Apothecary’s Instagram account and was fascinated by their approach to preventative medicine and desire to share herbalism in their community. Portland Apothecary was founded by herbalists Elie Barausky and Kristen Dilley. They offer some of my favorite wild crafted seasonal remedies and teach seasonal wellness workshops in the Portland area.

When I reached out to Elie and Kristen about interviewing them for the blog they were so warm and engaging. It was clear they love sharing their passion for wellness and that made me want to post them on the blog even more!

In this heartfelt interview Kristen shares how she begins the day with gratitude, the importance of taking walks without her phone, and how she and Elie are creating space for self-care in their community. Be sure to take notes on Kristen’s phenomenal reading list, it’s full of gems!



What are your self-care musts?
Drinking a daily blend of red clover, nettle, oatstraw and raspberry leaf tea, taking a walk at least once a day without bringing my phone and doing at least three rounds of the qi gong exercise ‘bringing down the heavens’ taught to me by the late (and great) Suzanne Friedman.

Do you have a morning or evening ritual? If so, tell us about it.
With my first couple breaths I make a mental note of what I’m grateful for, this really helps put the rest of the day in perspective. My evening ritual has always been to read, and often I pose a question to my dreams in hopes of an answer!


How do you stay inspired?
Walking. I walk everywhere, and now I walk even more now that I am a mom. I am inspired by how people live, how they choose to arrange their space, what the cycles of each ecosystem presents. When I am in the city I hardly ever drive, you miss so much that way! Walking has been my daily practice for as long as I can remember. Rebecca Solnit has a great book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking that is really inspiring.


List a few books that changed your life. * I am very eclectic!
Angela Davis, Women, Race & Class stopped me in my tracks in my early 20s. Not only for the content, but her style of writing. She is so accessible, inclusive and direct. Angela Davis is such an inspiration to me in how she communicates.

Peter Tomkins & Christopher Bird, The Secret Life of Plants. This book blew my mind and really made me see plants in a different way. It might have helped pave the way to my current life that is full of plants in every way!

Lloyd Kahn, Shelter. Endless hours of fascination seeing how many different ways humans can choose to live. So much here to think about.

Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright. The Delicacy and Strength of Lace. A really beautiful exchange between writers. Timeless. Letter writing is a practice that I would like to return to.


Where do you enjoy silence?
Before having a child I would’ve had a different answer! Now, I take silence and try to really inhabit that space whenever and wherever I can get it!

What does wellness mean to you?
To me, wellness is a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. It means learning how to be gentle with myself, when to give it my all and when to step back. It’s a real dance, and I’m still such a student.


How do you create community?
Elie and I have dedicated ourselves to the Community Supported Herbalism model so that of course is the first thing that comes to mind. We are focused on providing for and educating our community about seasonal wellness. We are starting a class series called The Seasons of our Cycle which is focused on women’s health, and now we are beginning to collaborate with Sweedeedee (an amazing local cafe) and Magic Hour Astrology to host a seasonal dinner focused on seasonal foods, herbs and the moon cycles. We are really trying to bring the act of self care into different fun, beautiful and inspired events.

What are you most grateful for?
Air, water, love, the opportunity to live fully. All of nature, really just all of it. I’m so grateful for so much, and even more so right now in this particular time in world politics and unrest. I don’t take the life I am able to live for granted at all.


For more info on Kristen and her private acupuncture practice in Portland visit Nightengale Acupuncture & Herbs.

Hand and herb photos by Cheryl Juetten, and the rest are by Elie Barausky.



  • Maja

    Wonderful interview and indeed great booklist. I LOVE shelter! It’s such an interesting read. I’ve discovered it in the shelves of a house we rented in the country last spring.

    • ashley

      Thanks Maja! Isn’t Kristen awesome? I love what she and Elie are doing with herbs too. Super inspiring. That is so cool you discovered Shelter in a house you rented, makes me think about all the ways we are connected. Thinking of you and wishing you well this week. xoa

Leave a Comment