Monday, November 20, 2017

Set the Scene: Sam's Dance Party

This past Saturday we held an 18th birthday party for Sam. When the girls were young we decided that every other year they could have a big party and thankfully it worked out to have the parties on the big years...and this one feels really big. This feels like the last time we will be throwing a party for our youngest and we wanted to make it count. 

When we started talking about it we talked about her likes and one of them is 80's music and dancing. So we reached out to a DJ at her school, Marcus Poulos who has thrown some great dances of his own. Once we had him it was a matter of setting the scene. My friend and boss Elizabeth was kind enough to lend us the use of our workplace which helped immensely! 

Eighties music was the that lent itself to the minimum decor that we set up. My smart husband set up a backdrop for us made of astroturf on a frame with a gorgeous and fun sign that was custom made for the party! This became our photoshoot area with guest getting together with the birthday girl for fun photos! 

Once you walked thru a tinsel fringe curtain doorway you were in the dance area! Thankfully once Marcus set up his lights and we set up a couple of disco balls and lined the walls with foil fringe the stage seemed to be set. The enthusiasm of the group was enough to get the party started! 

We went streamlined on food and drink for the party. Sam is a lover of La Croix so we had a mix of them available along with water to keep our dancers hydrated. 

For food we decided to go for salty and sweet, starting with sweet! Sam isn't big on cake but can go for doughnuts. And since they are portable and easy thats what we went with. Of course with pink icing and sprinkles! 

Then at 10 we surprised our party goers a delivery of McDonalds french fries just to keep the party going! This was something we had heard of from another party and thought it was perfect for our party. Both the treats seemed to go over well with everyone taking part in the snacks. 

The conclusion? We loved throwing the party. Sam's friends are fun, inclusive and wonderful to be around! They were up for dancing and laughing and having a good time. It was cool to see that there were kids of all ages and from different high schools there. And the best part? That our daughter is part of this cool group. Though we were tired from the set up and tear down we were happy to do it. Her appreciation and enjoying the group made it all worth it! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Letting Go

Are you feeling the press of the upcoming holidays? We are too, though ours is feeling even more bittersweet with the season we are in with our youngest daughter. She is in the midst of applying for college and that means we are in on the ride. 

This is a journey that you might consider when you kids are young as you look into the future. And then when you get there there, no matter how much you prepare it still catches you off guard. The campus visits, the applications, the questions of where they may end up. 

When your kids are small this all feels so far away. I can't even describe how it feels to be in the middle of the process. I still picture this little monkey and now we are talking about moving her away! It makes me want to hold her tighter, but I know it's the thing to do to let her go! 

Kate has taken a different route and lives nearby with her boyfriend. I have been teasing her that we are going to drive them crazy hanging out with them! She has grown into an awesome adult that we love hanging out with. Smart, warm with the best sense of humor. 

So it's a ride we go on willingly...watching our kids grow up and leave. We know that they don't leave forever. It's just the end of another phase in our life with them. And it takes some mourning of the past. Of the part of our lives that is gone forever. But there is good stuff waiting for us on the other side. So, I give myself moments to be sad. Then we go on with the search for where our monkey will end up next year. And we wait to see what the future will bring! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

On My Radar: Surviving Flu Season

I thought I would celebrate Halloween by coming down with the flu! Apparently I needed a whole week of rest, because that's just what it took. And though the cough is still with me at least I'm back to the land of the living. Here are some survival tips! 

Drink a lot of fluids. I mean enough to drown you! I found myself craving cold pressed juices which my husband was nice enough to treat me with. They taste great and you know you are giving yourself a great dose of vitamin C! Whatever you feel a craving for I would advise you get. 

If I'm not drinking juice I'm nursing a hot cup of tea. We found some loose tea called Cold Remedy that tastes great and is supposed to help. And I'll try anything! And hot tea feels great on the throat. I pretty much have a cup with me at all times these days. 

And let's just call Netflix what it is...a lifesaver if you are stuck home resting. I found myself watching a bunch of documentaries, including one on Franca Sozzani. It's a great time for watching the shows no one else in the house is into. 

Another soothing item...soup. I found soup tastes great and makes you feel better. Of course chicken soup is magical. I made one called superfood chicken soup with ginger, turmeric and kale. Talk about getting all the good things in one bowl! 

Another important way to fight the flu? Find someone to snuggle with! Our dog was happy for the heat my elevated temperature provided! Let's just say it's like having a living hot water bottle. He helped make the enforced rest tolerable. 

The one thing I had to steer clear of was social media. It reminded me of all the things I was missing it out. I found if I just hung out in my quiet bubble of tea, soup and Netflix and just focus on resting the time goes faster. And that's the hardest part, giving yourself permission to rest and just get well! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Traditions

Today we finally made our long awaited trip to the pumpkin patch just in time for Halloween. We don't really even carve pumpkins anymore, but we love the trip to the patch to run around the fields, see all the photos happening, and of course bring home a trunk full of gourds and pumpkins.

We have been visiting Gordon Skagit Farms in Mt. Vernon for years now. This year it was just Steve, Samantha and I. But we found out that Kate and her boyfriend Nick had already made their pilgrimage there and have filled their shelves at home with cute little pumpkins and gourds. A tradition passed on. 

Do you adhere to traditions? Do you follow ones that your family did, or have you come up with your own? My own parents weren't huge on them. Sure, we carved pumpkins like everyone else, and trick or treated. But beyond that there wasn't a lot that we did every year. 

I have found that I love traditions, especially ones that our little family has made on it's own. It makes sense to us living in the area we do to make a trip to the fields and see the beauty of fall around us. It feels wonderful to go to the tree farm and cut down our own tree even if it's a small one, and knowing that after you haul it home theres a hot cocoa waiting. 

I find that this year things seem especially sweet with Samantha being in her Senior year and Kate having moved out. Traditions are either changing or are at an end. Will Steve and I make the trip to the pumpkin patch next year on our own? Or maybe with Kate and Nick. It makes my breath hitch to think about how much has changed! 

With all the preparations for college these traditions have given us some structure and nomalacy when things feel so different and new. Sam still picked out her weird gourds. We took lots of silly photos. We walked around the fields enjoying the photo shoots happening all around us of little ones with their families. We will still have pumpkins on the porch. 

And when they don't serve us anymore we'll make changes to our traditions, like we have with Thanksgiving. When we decided it was to be just our little family we took ourselves to yurts and had our Thanksgiving there. We bend tradition to serve us and make our lives richer. We may end up back at the yurts again this year. That may become our new tradition. 

How do you feel about doing things year after year? Do you find comfort in the familiar? Do you have anything you are especially excited about in the coming holiday season? Or any suggestions for us with regards to Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear your thoughts or any interesting traditions! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

On My Radar: Tuft & Needle

Steve and I have been long overdue for a new mattress. We would wake up every morning not feeling refreshed or happy. He finally took care of some other sleeping issues (hello sleep apnea mask aka Darth Vader!) we decided it was time to take care of getting a new mattress. Neither of us could face the idea of going thru the usual routine of going to the stores, dealing with sales people and figuring out the right mattress and then paying a bundle of money and still not get the right thing. 

Being that I am on the computer quite a bit a new trend had been appearing. Buying a mattress online. The appeal was huge for us. Decide what we want, order online and have it arrive within a week? Sign us up! When we did some research we found that Tuft & Needle had all the right qualifications. Great feedback from both consumers and the press. A great warranty of try it for 100 days and if it didn't work they help you donate it to a local charity or non-profit. And their price was quite a bit easier to take than some of the other online companies. We decided to go for it! 

And go for it we did. We had a box on our doorstep within a week! It was that easy! And so strange to realize that a queen sized mattress was in the box on our porch. 

Once you get your box inside you bring your mattress into the area you want it and start cutting it free from it's packaging. It almost instantly starts to take form. It's vacuum packed so it's pretty crazy to see it start to look like a mattress! 

The above photo looks crazy, but this it what the mattress looked like right before we fully started to cut it free from the packing. Once you do it starts to look like  a traditional mattress. And we could't believe how plush and wonderful it was almost instantly! 

This is us on it within an hour! It feels amazing. It's plush and firm at the same time. Once we bought it I found out friends have one as well and have been very happy with theirs. They find it stays cool in the summer and it's snuggly in the winter. It's been a very easy transition for us to this from a traditional mattress. We have placed ours on our old box spring which is perfect! We ended up going back online and buying the mattress pad to protect our new investment. It just arrived and makes things feel even more comfortable! 

Have you tried buying a mattress online? Has it been a good experience? Would you consider it? We just found out that Tuft & Needle just opened a store in Seattle which we are hoping to visit at some point. Because they have pillows too! We may need to add to our set up! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Field Trip: Moorea Seal Store Opening

Sam and I were so happy to attend the Opening weekend celebration of Moorea Seal's new flagship storefront at 1012 1st Avenue. We've been longtime fans and it was wonderful to see her vision on a larger scale and see all the details come together! Knowing her and her staff have been working nonstop to make it a reality makes it even better! 

I'm not really sure what to talk about first, the woman or the store. Samantha and I met Moorea when she made an appearance at an Urban Craft Uprising signing her first book. We instantly loved her and were so happy to find her to be a genuine, smart and caring business woman that was interested in lifting others as she made her mark in the Seattle retail scene. 

And she has continued to be that person. A peak at her instagram and you know that she is passionate about mental health, women, equality and supporting small makers. And besides that she is a kick in the pants! She is truly one of our favorite people.

And then there is the store. Sam usually finds herself spending some time goofing off at the sunglasses wall and it's even more gorgeous now that the shelving is made of pink acrylic! The selection is fun and reasonably priced. I always think these would make the perfect gifts for teenagers. Especially if you want to be the cool adult in the know! 

There is a gorgeous selection of leather goods and something on my Christmas list (Steve are you reading?) is a Pine & Boone bag. Pine & Boone is made in Seattle by Jesse Marie Griffith who Moorea went to SPU with. I love all the connections, and being able to carry a piece made in Seattle is really special. 

Another item that I find irresistible is the jewelry. I find she has a great selection of fun everyday items and special keepsake pieces. I have collected both statement earrings and some beautiful rings that Steve has given me for special occasions. 

On this trip we found ourselves drawn to the candles. They have P.F. Candles (along with many others!)  that was burning at the lodge where Steve and I stayed in Palm Springs. And of course we had to bring home her signature candle fragrance by them, a gorgeous Moss, Rose, & Vetiver fragrance. 

And also in our bag is a copy of Moorea's third book Make Yourself at Home, which she finished in addition to her store opening! I can't wait to sit down, light a candle and take some time to look thru all the spaces covered in the book and feel inspired. And it's likely Steve and I will find ourselves back in her place before Christmas doing some shopping for our girls! Having one of my other favorite stores in Seattle, Watson Kennedy Fine Home a couple of doors down makes it a perfect area to visit! Maybe I'll see you there?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Dealing with Grief

Can we talk about grief? Have you found it's a subject that has been coming up in your life like has been showing up in mine? There have been many personal losses in families close to. Then you add the things happening in our world. Grief is becoming a common emotion in my circles and I would love to talk about how we deal with it. 

 We have realized it is important to attend the funeral. We have been to more funerals recently than weddings and have come to terms with it. We know it's important to be there for our friends, to show up, to provide the hug, the shoulder, the help when they might need it. It can also help with understanding the person that your friend has lost. It's painful, but there is a beauty in the stories and the memories that are sometimes revealed. 

When we are at a loss for what to do, we usually go with food. We will either deliver a meal or a bag of treats from Trader Joe's. If we know a friend is dealing with a level of grief that will likely affect their appetite we'll go with the bag of snacks knowing it's sometimes easier. In our home food equals love so this is pretty much our first response! 

If we don't bring food it's likely you will see flowers from us. Along with a visit and a hug. There really isn't a right answer as to what is the best thing. I think we should all follow our intuition. I've had a crazy nudge to make a grieving friend laugh and though it felt crazy we laughed and cried together and it seemed healing. You never know what might be the best thing for a friend dealing with grief until you are there with them in the moment. But don't let fear hold you back from doing something. 

Then there is dealing with loss yourself. (Don't worry, Boston is alive and well!) Again I think you should follow your instinct. Do you need to be with people? Do you need to be alone. Do you need to snuggle up with your dog, watch a couple hours of sad movies on Netflix and cry? I think too often we think we can run from the pain instead of allowing ourselves to just sit with it a bit. 

Don't be afraid to reach out to others. I think there is nothing that makes me happier than being called on by a friend telling me that I'm needed by them. And I am learning by watching others dealing with grief that it has it's own time table. That it will catch you off guard months down the road when you think you are "over it." So be prepared to support that friend, or ask for support yourself if you are dealing with a loss of your own. We are all so lucky to have each other. 

Please, tell me what you do to either support a friend or take care of yourself when dealing with grief. I would love to hear from you.