Sand, Summerfest, and Sunsets

Our complaining worked! The sun heard us.  After months of springtime clouds and rain,  the summer sunshine has finally arrived and everyone has come out of hibernation.  I've been to CA a few times this month helping my daughters pack from their freshman year in college, and I almost didn't come back when it was still 50 degrees here.  But NOW we're ready for some Kirkland fun, and my battery has been re-charged.

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SAND- New sand will be delivered to Waverly, Marsh, Houghton, and O.O. Denny Park on Weds 6/29. Old sand gets washed away and so it's time to replenish!  This is a fun time for the kids where they conquer the huge mound dropoff and climb, play, and spread it around. Go and down and enjoy!  Kirkland Parks & Community Foundation is also organizing a small campaign to fund more sand if you'd like to contribute.

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SUMMERFEST- Who wants to volunteer with me? (or at least come buy a drink, I can be your new favorite bartender). Or if you don't feel like working, I get it. Just come down and hang-out, dance, drink, shop, and be you the weekend of July 29-31. Can you believe it's the 10th anniversary of this event? Tickets are on sale here.

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SUNSETS- The sunsets we experience here in Kirkland are pretty dang sensational.  Beautiful arrays of colors paint a different picture each day.   Our home is west-facing, and often friends start texting in the evening asking us to send them photos of the sunset from our deck.  And then I'll send them 3-4 photos because it changes so dramatically in a short time span and I can't decide which one I like best.  So Steve and I started a Facebook page of our @KirklandSunsets if you'd like to follow along. 

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And of course, we have the 4th of July around the corner! You can find info on what that day/parade looks like for Kirkland here.    And although there aren't Kirkland fireworks this year, Kirkland Patch has us covered with a nice list of who IS doing fireworks around the Seattle area/Eastside in 2022.  I also found this Latin Boat Party- How fun is that?! And,  I'd love to see our fireworks back next year...who's going to step up to organize/fundraise for '23?  

I have more Kirkland info to share, but I can't stand sitting at my desk when it's sunny outside.  More soon friends. j


Let's Wish the Rain Away and Get Ready for Some FUN

I feel we deserve better than October weather in May, so I'm going to ignore the fact that we just broke records for rain and cold temps and move right along with fun things that are happening and hope for sunshine.  Besides, it's the people, not the weather, right? 

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Kirkland Weds Market
- starts this week! June 1-Sept 28th 3-7pm.  This Weds is supposed to be 75 degrees, so a perfect welcome for the market at Marina Park where you an support local vendors

Senior Cruise 2020
Kirkland Senior Cruise- Sunday June 5th @7:45pm in downtown Kirkland. Come out and cheer on all of the graduating high school seniors in our Kirkland community! Adults will be cruising their grads down Lake WA Blvd and you're sure to see big proud smiles and school colors from all of our Kirkland schools.  A new community tradition that is not to be missed. 

 

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Kirklandia
is Coming!  June 10-12th at Marina Park.  This is a new Chump Change event, the Kirklandia Waterfront Festival, which will feature tasting events with 100+ wines, beers/ciders, entertainment, food trucks, and street vendors.  Buy tickets and learn more at kirklandiafest.com and/or sign up to volunteer.

 

Paintcare (photo cred: PaintCare)
When the sun finally comes out, if you are working on any painting projects (like Austin Picinich ), PaintCare has a recycling program that helps divert paint from landfills and protect our environment. Drop-off sites are listed here. Easy peasy.

 

SeriousPieTvillage Serious Pie (photo cred: The Village at Totem Lake)
The Village at Totem Lake is now 90% leased.  Isn't it amazing to see how our ole rundown Ross and Halloween store has blossomed into an entire shopping wonderland?

Here's the scoop:

Recently Opened

  • Mayweather Boxing + Fitness (December 2021)
  • Yuan Spa (December 2021)
  • COMPASS Real Estate (January 2022)
  • The SweetSide (January 2022)
  • Sandbox VR (April 2022)
  • Kati Vegan Thai (April 2022)
  • Premier Events Corp (April 2022)
  • DekaLash (April 2022)
  • OneMedical (May 2022)

Opening This Summer

  • Serious Pie
  • hanoon
  • LaserAway
  • Purple Mattresses
  • Rion Fine Jewelry
  • Pure Barre
  • Rudy’s
  • Umigawa Sushi

Wine
There's a Kirkland Urban Block Party/Wine-Beer-Spirits Walk on Friday June 24th 5-8:30pm. Grab your friends and buy tickets ($35) before they sell out!

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Kirkland Urban is also hosting a Pride Celebration on Fri June 17th 3-6pm and the Urban Splash Pad is Opening Friday June 3rd!

Ps- are you following the Kirkland Blog on social media? Facebook and Insta often have early tips and juicy nuggets. Like Sparrow that will be opening where Juanita Pub used to be in early July and I CAN  HARDLY WAIT. 


The Guilt Trip You Can Look Forward to

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I know it sounds like I'm getting ready to tell you a deep dark secret, but The Guilt Trip is actually an Indian fusion restaurant that opened a few months ago in Kirkland Square (right near Nothing Bundt Cakes!).  I dropped in for dinner with a few friends and was delighted to see many of you have already discovered their tasty food.   The tables were filling up and smiling faces were gobbling up the unique flavors that are created in this family-owned business.  They started in 2013 in Redmond and are committed to fresh food, natural ingredients, no artificial coloring or preservatives, and they grind their own spices!  You will also find gluten-free and vegan options. 


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The space is larger than I expected with dark decor and white tablecloths in the open-style dining room with selfie-ring style lights around its perimeter.  The menu presents lots of tempting options, shareables/entrees/burgers/bowls/salad/soups,  that make it difficult to choose just one. The food was excellent. We tried a few different things to get a sampling of the menu. The Rangoli salad (I loved this, great crunch, and the dressing was soo good!), the vindaloo lamb sliders, the bacon butter chicken, and the chicken masala Tikki.  Each was different and delicious in its own way. I love the sauces and spices that really make the flavors compliment each other. Check out the photos. The waitstaff was plentiful, perhaps working through small newbie obstacles, but definitely helpful, pleasant, and eager to please.  The Guilt Trip also has some interesting signature cocktails that I'd like to try next time- hello tamarind date margarita!  Pricing ranges from $12-16ish for shareable plates, burgers around $20, and entrees around $24.  Definitely worth the visit at 238 Central Way.  You can call or email with questions: 425-608-8788 or contact@theguilttriprestaurant.com .  Reservations aren't required but still a pretty good idea in my opinion. 


Cloud Food Court for Fresh To-Go

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I've been meaning to try Cloud Food Court for a while now, and I'm not sure what took me so long.  Perhaps I had to mentally work past the phrase 'food court' which, traditionally in my mind, is associated with a mall where a circle of fast-food restaurants competes for your attention and then you hurriedly eat your food in the middle of said corral and swarms of hangry people. Release this thought from your brain

Cloud Food Court resides in Marina Park (52 Lakeshore Plaza, where Wow Wow Lemonade was previously), and offers three different cuisines (hence the food court concept, all in one place).  There is no indoor dining, you just walk in and chat with the super friendly down-to-Earth owners (say hi to Ali)  while you order your food to-go or sit in one of their three cute little tables nestled on their patio overlooking Lake Wa and Marina Park.  The menu is short and sweet and everything we had was tasty and fresh.   There are a few Greek options (salad, shawarma, falafel), Italian (pizza), and American (chicken sandwiches).  I struggled to figure out what I wanted to order and decided to go for the shawarma plate (last photo, $15) since I didn't really know what that was and felt adventurous that day.  I'm so glad I did!  It was a lot of food and the tasty chicken was really fresh atop a bed of basmati rice, with a crisp side salad, and homemade hummus and pita too.  My friend was super happy with her Greek Salad ($12), although I'd probably want to throw some protein on there.  Drinks are all bottled or canned for easy to-go's.  And sometimes they slip you a dessert to try from Dolce Vita Desserts.  I've had their giant cookie fresh out of the oven which was Ahh-mazing, and some excellent baklava that is cylinder-shaped so I can eat it more efficiently without dropping little pieces on the ground.  Always a plus! They also have tiramisu, konafa, and panna cotta if you have a sweet tooth. 

At first glance, I was skeptical about such a short menu, but I like that Cloud Food Court focuses on doing fewer menu items to focus on high quality and pride in sharing their food with Kirklanders.  I'm definitely coming back for the shawarma.  I also heard the folks next to us raving about their chicken sandwich.  I'm excited about this option as we roll into summer (it's still coming, right? right?!) for a pickup after a stroll, eating outside, on a Duffy boat, or at the summer concerts in the park.  They are open 11 am- 8 pm every day but closed on Mondays.  425-242-1129.  Easy ordering online happens here, complete with photos of each menu item.

You could always drop by when you visit the Kirkland Weds Market opening day on Weds June 1st???? Check out this year's vendors.  All we need is a little SUNSHINE. ~j


Behind Google's Doors in Kirkland Urban

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I was lucky enough to score an invite to tour Google's 'officially open' Phase 1 on the Kirkland Urban Campus.  Check out these photos that hopefully help demystify what is behind the doors of that fancy new building.  Not only did I witness an incredible sustainability-focused build and unmatched creativity on each floor, but I also hobnobbed (ie; shuffled around on the opposite side of the same big room where they had no idea I was there) with Governor Jay Inslee,  Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Mayor Penny Sweet, local reps, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai who all praised Google's leadership, innovation, community partnerships, philanthropy, and investment in our region. Google plans to invest $100 M in WA state in 2022. Boom!
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Facilities manager Frederico Olmedo walked me around the Central Building which I entered on the second floor of Kirkland Urban (near Evergreens). He has been working on this project for 4 years, and clearly, it is a labor of love with a laser focus on the details.  Each floor of the building has a different WA State theme.  On the 7th floor, the fishing industry is represented with a bright orange fishing net across the ceiling in central spaces.  There's also a full sound studio, so if you want to go jam on a guitar or sing in a soundproof room, why wouldn't you?  The 6th floor was a nod to the shipping industry and UPS, where you find 'brown' barcodes next to doorways and stacked moving blankets as chair ottomans.  My favorite was the 5th floor which recognizes flight/Boeing with a sitting area that feels like a retro airport lounge, and another room whose wallpaper is made completely out of real old playing cards that used to be handed out by airlines during flights, complete with an airline roller cart full of board games.  There's also an in-flight mini-theatre that can be utilized for games or movies.  On the 4th floor, you'll find a nod to REI/tourism/nature and the outdoors with backpacks on the walls in their stocked self-serve mini cafe where you can grab a handful of snacks before bringing your pooch to hang out at the doggie lounge with indoor and outdoor patio spaces. This would be an awesome #doglife.  


Google22BigroomGoogle22Airlinefloor   Google22Airlinefloor <-- furry friends welcome at work

I think I need to work here. It just feels like a fun place to be, especially once the office fills up with people again. But I'd never get anything done, I'd just eat free snacks and play with everyone's dogs all day while dreaming of being in a 1978 airport lounge.  And then after work, I'd be a fixture at the QFC bar and eat too many Plantiful Acai Bowls.  It could be problematic on second thought. But good news if you're looking...turns out you can job search Google roles out of Kirkland, WA and there appear to be  1104 open jobs here.  They currently have 7200 full-time employees in the Puget Sound region

The North Google Building is also complete and hosts wellness and fitness centers, but I didn't get to stroll that side of campus.  The South building is expected to open in 2023, and the East tower in 2025, which will bring the total of these four buildings of Google office space to 760,000 square feet.  But they aren't stopping there, Google is proceeding with development and design planning for its additional planned campus on the former site of the Lee Johnson Chevrolet dealership, whose acquisition deal is expected to close in phases over the next several years.  Kudos to Google for pushing the envelope in both coolness and investment in our city, all while being on track for LEED Gold Certification in sustainability. 

 


Escape Reality at Sandbox VR

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I geared up for my Sandbox VR "Amber Sky" experience with a few friends, not knowing what to expect.  I haven't played video games or done virtual reality much before,  so I was excited to try something new in this interactive, fully immersive, 45 minutes where I would be riding a space elevator and fighting off aliens to save the universe.   

The new Sandbox location in The Village at Totem Lake is the first for WA State and you can choose from the 5 different experiences that they offer.  Simply book your time online, and then arrive a little early to get checked in and suited up in your futuristic vest, battery pack, wrist/ankle sensors, and of course headset/headphones. All of this gear gets thoroughly cleaned and sanitized in between sessions. Sandbox can take up to six people in each of their four rooms. I was a bit worried about all of my old lady ailments- would I be able to see clearly without my glasses?  Would I feel motion sickness like I do in cars sometimes? But these turned out to be non-issues.  Even my friends with occasional vertigo did just fine with this super realistic experience. The free-range camera allows you to move within the game while simultaneously interacting with and around the people you are playing with.  I was really glad I peeled my sweater off and wore just my tee shirt to play because fighting for the universe can be a bit stressful.  Take care to listen to the directions in the beginning so you know how to operate your weapons, re-load, and bring each other back to life.

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My friends and I all thought this was a blast and talked about what we learned this time that would change our strategy a bit for how we would play again in the future.  Most of us have teenage sons that would love this, if only they could afford it ($50-55 per person), therefore making it a great gift or birthday outing for that age group.  This would also be a fun date night or team-building exercise. Whether you are a gamer or not, this technology is a wonder to witness and command and it's right here in our backyard.  It was just the right amount of time to feel like you got a fair amount of playtime without being overloaded.  And BONUS, at the end you get a video that summarizes your game, both virtually and the correlating movements and sounds you were actually making in the room.  Those were some good belly laughs!   Sandbox VR is open during the week from 10 am-10 pm and weekends from 10 am- 11 pm.  Go check it out.  You too can save the universe whether it is from pirates, aliens, or zombies, I know you'll keep us safe. 


Cars, Tastes, the Earth, and Ca$h (what else is there?)

Here's a little lineup for your weekend and beyond!

Exotic Cars-

The Northwest Exotics Car Show at Carillon Point is this Sunday, April 24th from 9:30 am to 11:30 am at the top lot of the 2000 garage.  This free public event was created by a local high school student named Thomas Fathi that is a talented photographer with a passion for cars.  He and his friends have done a few shows over the past two years, and they hope to get to a regular Sunday show as things get back to normal.  

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Kirkland Ca$h-

The City of Kirkland's new "Kirkland Ca$h" program is striving to uplift our hard-hit local hospitality industry and small business economy.  This dollar-for-dollar certificate program runs through June 30th where you can book a 2-night minimum stay through the KirklandCash.com site and receive $100 to spend at a local participating business.  Participating hotels include The Heathman Hotel, The Woodmark Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Sattle-Kirkland, and Motel 6. You can spend your Kirkland Ca$h before 8/31/22 at an ever-growing list of retail shops, restaurants, service providers, activities, attractions, and more (some of my faves are on there).  Do you have visitors coming to town?  This sounds like a great way to point them to one of our local hotels while also encouraging more local spending.  Everyone wins. 

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Earth Month 2022-

Keep an eye on the City of Kirkland's 'Earth Month' page to stay up to date on green tips and events throughout the month and ALWAYS.  You can also learn more about our city's Sustainability Master Plan and sign up for updates here.  Lately, Mother Earth seems to be messing with us (was that hail the other day?) so I'm all for taking the very best care of her.

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Kirkland Urban is also celebrating spring and  Earth Day. On Fri 4/22 from 11 am to 1 pm community members are welcome to drop off electronics for recycling outside the 400 building. KU is also launching its #PlantwithKU campaign with the goal of planting 20,000 trees in Tanzania through a partnership with ForestNation.  Attendees can pick up a tree kit under the Generosi-tree at 400 Urban Plaza.  And, did you know that KU has rooftop beehives? These buzzzzzy workers will have honey, soap, and candles available for anyone who stops by the event, and will you also have the opportunity to enter the Queen Bee naming contest.

KUBeWell
Following this Kirkland Urban event, on Sat 4/23 from 10 am-1 pm they are hosting a "Be Well" Event. Everyone is invited to this interactive experience of the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, mental, recreational, environmental, financial, social, physical, and spiritual.  That's a lot in 3 hours! And it is free and open to the public.  You'll encounter stretch yoga at 10 am, a soothing sound bath journey at 11:10 am, total HIIT workouts at 10:30 and 11:40, a bee workshop, mini-facials by Tru Allure Beauty boutique, an Aegis Living hydration station, and much more.  Family-friendly tunes and many local businesses will be showing up to share their purpose and make sure you are taking good care of yourself. 

 

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Taste of the World-

The City of Kirkland will be hosting its first annual "Taste of the World" event on 5/21 at Juanita Beach Park to celebrate and experience our diverse heritage- so mark your calendars now! There will be food trucks, an international bazaar with artisan craft vendors, live cultural music and dance, photos stations, and a "small world" for children with global crafts and games.  They also really need VOLUNTEERS (24 to be exact) to help out with their 3 shifts- please contact Abbie (425-587-3312) if you are able to lend a hand for this awesome new community event.


Walla Walla Clothing Co Will Dress You Up... in Kirkland Urban

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Let's give a warm welcome to another woman-owned business in Kirkland! Local resident Teresa Ellison just opened her 6th location of the Walla Walla Clothing Co at Kirkland Urban and I'm a weeeee bit worried it's going to be a problem for me to control myself in there.  This company was established in 1995 and is known for service and quality.  Whether you are 18 or 80, she can style you up and have you ready to slay no matter what your body style. You'll find some favorite brands like Vince, AG, Eileen Fisher, Sanctuary, James Perse, Frame, Mother, Rails, and Donald Pliner.  There are plenty of clothes in her spacious storefront and also shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. And bonus-Walla Walla Clothing Co always offers free shipping and alterations. 

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Too good to be true? How much you ask? It varies- you can find $39 tops all the way up to $300 on a Vince sweater, but there is sure to be something for every body, shape, and budget.  And honestly, I'm kind of lazy and don't know what things to put together. They will totally do that for you. #lifesaver  I perused in on my way to a Restore session and got sidetracked buying 3 pairs of pants (in my new post- Covid size) after my QFC happy hour. Brilliant, right?  Worth a visit. Let them do the work for you, You deserve it. Hours are Mon-Sat 10-6 and Sat 11-4.  Give them a follow on Instagram here.