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Kirkland, take "the Plunge" with Me!

Polarbearinarctic1 Get yourself ready for the Kirkland 2008 Polar Plunge on Jan 1st at 1pm at Marina Park. This chilly Lake Washington event is strangely addicting.  I tried it for the first time last year (photo left, I look huge in white) and already find myself excitedly recruiting a group to join me this year.  The funny thing is that people are surprisingly easy to convince.  I can only explain it as some kind of adolescent peer pressure type of phenomenon where you can do something kinda CRAZY but it's not really BAD.  So, why not?

Images1 Kirkland does it right- there's a big bonfire, lifeguards on duty (right), hot chocolate, and this year you'll earn a "2008 Polar Bear" patch.   Wilde Rover even gives you free soup if you join them afterwards and Kirkland Food Bank donations are gladly accepted. 

First-time plungers have been asking me how this event actually goes down.  There are some tips on the park's website. I've only done it once, so I'm no pro, but here's my experience: Everyone hangs around huddling for warmth by the fire and laughing about how crazy they are and who double-dog dared them to be attempting this in the first place.  When the countdown is approaching, you peel down to your bathing suit and wait for the 'go' signal.  I saw some people jumping off the docks, but I joined the masses that  ran in at the water's edge at Marina Park.  My strategy was to run out fast so that by the time the message got from my body parts to my brain that I was f-f-f-freeeezing, I was already there.  I basically submerged and b-lined back for the towel that my 4 year old was holding for me (Steve was busy holding his coffee).  When my head went under the water, I heard a strange ringing in my ears and the cold kinda felt like a giant spark that just electrified through my body outward to my extremities.  Probably some sort of internal emergency alarm system they forgot to mention in biology class. 

So, c'mon--doesn't that sound like fun?  You know you want to do it!! You'll get hooked.  I've never heard of anyone saying they regretted it.  Grab a few friends and put them to the test.  See you there! ~j

Kirkland Dog Lovers Unite for Offleash Parks

Dog_nursery1 Ok, so we've been a little busy wrapping and ringing in some holiday cheer lately.  What a great time for some guest blog posts!!  Here's one from Nathan Brandal of Kirkland regarding the ever-so-passionate topic of creating an off-leash dog park in Kirkland.  I think it's a great idea.  Otherwise we'd have couch potato dogs all over town (photo left, I can't stop laughing at this pic!)
The way I see it-if all the dog folks went to one place and the people with kids went to another, then my kids wouldn't get pummelled by your dogs (or step in their dookie) and your dogs wouldn't get their eyes poked out by my kids.  So I''ll keep my penaut butter out of your chocolate and you keep your chocolate out of my peanut butter! ~j
Read on--
Dear Kirkland,WA Residents,
Thank's to Jean,a resident and proud dog owner, Kirkland once again entered into the search to open up an Off Leash Dog Park for Kirkland.  Our town has roughly 45,000 residents with about 40% owning at least one dog. Our advantage is not only Kirkland's ever growing love for man's best friend, but an abundance of beautiful parks.  But there's not one single designated off leash area to be found, so many of us turn our local parks into unofficial off -leash areas.
We need a special place for dog lovers and dogs to socialize without the constraints of a leash!!
Here is the progress so far. A meetup group has been started and right now we have 69 members! But only so many are active. Please join us!!
KDOG (Kirkland Dog Off-Leash Group)has started an online petition to show the City Council we have strong support from Kirkland citizens. Please sign the petition!!
We have local business support from:
If you are a local business KDOG would love to have your support!!
We had our last meeting on December 10th at Dooleys Dog House. About 20 residents showed up and are eager to help out. We also learned a lot from Judy Trockel, the founder of the Marymoor Dog Park.
Please come join us-Kirkland,WA needs your support!!
Nathan B.

The 12k's Christmas Holiday Run

12ks1 Looking for a way to jumpstart that New Years Resolution to lose the holiday weight? Well, this weekend is the annual 12k's of Christmas Holiday Run put together by the Kirkland Downtown Association.  The event is this Sunday kicking off at Kirkland's Marina Park. Events include a 12k Run/Walk ($35 entry), a 5K Run/Walk ($25 entry) and a Free Kids dash. Registration is at 8:00am and they also ask for a $5 donation to participate. All proceeds go to events such as the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the downtown flower pots, and the Kirkland Wednesday Market to name a few. After the races are over, stick around for free food, music and a holiday costume contest. So be sure to join the Kirkland Downtown Association and your neighbors in a fun, outdoor holiday celebration at Kirkland's Marian Park on Sunday, December 16th with check-in beginning at 8:00am. Today is the last day for online registrations or you can also do it on Sunday.  For more information check out the official event website: www.12ksofchristmas.com.      ~Jessi Thompson

Matt McConaughey in Kirkland

Mattandme That's right, folks, he's right here in our own Heathman Hotel.  Some friends spotted him in the gym and then at the bar at Trellis last night.  Is he filming a movie in town?  I don't know, but I've got to work on the assumption that he has finally come to find me.  I promptly called Steve at work to let him know that a star on my Friends "Top 5" list was in town and that we were invoking the free hall pass scenario asap. 

Aren't we cute together?  A bit chilly for the sundress but we don't care- our love is all the warmth we need.  Might be a good night for cocktails at Trellis.  Viewing only ladies, he's all mine.  Welcome to Kirkland, Mattie!  ~j

Santa has Arrived, and we have a gift for you!

Pb270017 Santa blew on into town December 1st and has landed for pictures at Kirkland Park Place (next to Rikki Rikki).  Each child gets a beanie baby with their visit and photo. There will be plenty of candy canes to go around too.

Here are his hours at that location:

Dec 1st and 2nd...  11:00AM to 7:00PM
Dec 3rd - Dec 7th...  12:00Noon thru 7:00PM
Dec 8th... 2:00PM to 7:00PM
Dec 9th - Dec 14th... 11:00AM to 7:00PM
Dec 15th... 4:30PM to 7:00PM
Dec 16th... 2:00PM to 7:00PM
Dec 17th - Dec 24th... 11:00AM to 7:00PM

Our holiday gift to you is, hopefully, a good hardy holiday chuckle.  I have included a favorite picture of our girls with Santa Claus.  The photo says it all (double-click to enlarge).  This was about 3 years ago so we're hoping this is the year they might get near him again.  Be sure to slip Santa a flask of something strong, he works hard. ~j

New Downtown Kirkland Businesses

They are starting to pop up faster than we can write about them!  But it's delightful to see the storefronts full and feel the bustle of the season amongst us.  Here's a quick rundown- feel free to add any nuggets of info you may have too!

Trenditions_004 Trenditions-103 Lake St. South www.trenditionsjewelry.com - They are having their Grand Opening Cocktail Party this Thursday 12/6 from 2-9pm.  Seven hours of cocktails- love this place already :-) After a few drinks, you can spend a little more knowing you'll receive 10% off your purchase (thru 12/9).  This shop has an interesting story.  Trenditions_003 The owner and longtime Kirkland resident, Shannon Burrell (left) was down on her luck.  She went through a divorce, sold her house, and had a death in the family when she won a trip to Paris from a radio station.  It was in a little French jewelry shop that she bought a necklace that would change her fate.  Everyplace she wore the double cross necklace with glass beads cast in copper people commented on it (photo right- kinda freaky the way the flash picked it up, eh?).  At dinner in Carillon Point one night, seven people complimented her on it and she knew it was a sign.  So, she contacted the French jeweler and eventually was able to convince him she should sell his product in the US. She had been selling it wholesale to boutiques in WA and OR (and since sent 2 of the jewelers kids to college) and when she saw the old Hobie Cat place in downtown Kirkland- well, she just knew.  You can also find great European gifts and items for the home.

Blogdec_010 BARKZ the dog stop- 115 Lake Street South www.barkz.net - No pets at our house (just lots of kids) but this seems like a great place for the dog that has everything.  Super cute store with lots of unique products and services.  They have doggie playgroups, grooming (nails, ears, teeth), and focus on exercise/training/manners/nutrition for your furry loved one.  All of the clever canine products are beautifully displayed.  There's even a pet sitting service! 

Blogdec_007 Blogdec_013 Bella Bambini & Bella Tesori -1 Lake St.-822-7200- Rosalynn Sumners just skated into Kirkland.  This time not on the ice.  She's opened adjoining shops right in the heart of downtown Kirkland.  Bella Bambini is a posh baby boutique just bursting with gifts and treasures for your favorite little ones.  They can also do some custom design work for you.  Check out their recent write up on Red Tricycle here.  Bella Tesori has plenty of home decor and gifts with a Euro flare.  Lots of candles, pillows, frames, lamps and vases, but I especially like the Swarovski crystal encrusted mouse for the computer savvy girl that has everything (Santa, are you listening?). 

Cefiore CeFiore- 111 Lake St- 889-5860- Obviously frozen yogurt has made a comeback and nobody sent me the memo.  This bright little delight often has a line out the door and don't quote me, but a small (which is really not-so-small) serving only has 90 calories or so.  Of course, this is before you dump those chocolate chips on there but you must still come out ahead so just go for it.  There are 4 flavors to choose from: original (sort of citrus?), green tea, raspberry and pomegranate.  This eliminates me staring at the menu for 10 minutes trying to decide-another kudo. A small is about $4.50 but you could definitely share it with your sweetie.  Unless you're my husband who always wants his all to himself. 

Caffeladro Caffe Ladro-Central Way (next to Santorini)- OPENING SOON- www.caffeladro.com - Yes, there is a Starbucks, Tully's, Terra Bite and Kahili Coffee in downtown Kirkland.  But there is not one on THIS end of downtown and Kirklanders love to have their coffee at their fingertips.  Not to mention we're always supportive of businesses with a social conscience.  These espresso bar/bakery guys seem to know what they're doing - we'll be their 12th location open in the Seattle area.          ~j

Rain Rain Go Away!

Blogdec_015 Blogdec_016 We must be in some kind of weird weather vortex.  Last week I was waterskiing in sunny 90 degree weather and this week- oooops, that wasn't Kirkland.  That was Acapulco!! Never mind (don't hate me).   When I got back I didn't even mind the cold and welcomed that crazy snowstorm we had on Saturday.  Check out Park Lane (photo left) and the snow covered Christmas tree(photo right).

Decrain Now the flood gates have opened to welcome the first week of December.  I heard that we got almost 3 inches of rain just last night!  124th/124th near the Bank of America was closed for some time this morning due to the water.  Be sure to drive carefully and allow for extra time getting around. 

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on all the new biz downtown and the funniest Santa picture ever.  ~j