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Kirkland's Polar Plunge 2011

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If you are high maintenance, weak-hearted, whiny or just a wuss, you should stop reading this immediately and go do something better with your time.  Ok, now that there are just 100 of us left, I wanted you to know that there IS an 'unofficial'  polar plunge again in Marina Park on January 1st at 1pm.  I guess this means it's not really organized and nobody wants to be responsible, but bunches of us just show up cause we can and thankfully someone always has a timer and a bullhorn and the sheriff's rescue boats seem to magically show up anyway. There's a great video of this event from last year on Kirkland Views, and also to my dismay and grave embarrassment, a photo in my bathing suit but luckily it's a "Where's Waldo" shot so I'm pretty safe.

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In 2010 a few of my kids decided to try the plunge with me.  So I thought it would be fun to ask them if they are up for it again.  Smartest to ask each privately to get a true reading. Funny-you can even tell by the photo whose response is whose. Here are the results:

Sydney (7 1/2 yr old, 1st time plunger last yr)- "Ummmmmmm."  Eyes quickly dart around the room remembering, calculating, envisioning. Long long pause.  "Maybe Mom.  I'll think about it."

Riley (7 1/2 yr old, 1st time plunger last yr)- With no hesitation whatsoever, "No.  That was so cold last year I could barely breathe. No." Walks away.

Brady (5 1/2 yr old, never plunged)- "Yeah Mom!  I want to do the Polar Plunge with you! Yessssss!" Big smile.

Then Sydney strolls back in a few minutes later and says, "Mom, I might do the plunge with Brady."  So- we'll have to see how many Rabuchins hit the icy waters of Lake Washington this balmy January 1st.  Will we see you there???? ~j

Sneak Peek: Olive You Lounge

Since Olive You's  Kirkland restaurant opened last summer, owner Timur Leno (in photo w/me above), has been focused on crafting his adjoining lounge concept that is getting ready to open early Jan.  This is the Lake Street location where Kahili used to be.  As I threw my nosy self into the new space, the first thing I said out-loud was "Swanky!!" To which Timur responded, "yes, SWANKY is the word."  The bar is lit from underneath while the miles of curvy suede upholstery invite you in for a seat.  Textured walls, funky pillows, sitting nooks and a shimmery dj booth all let you know how much fun Timur and the designer had making sure this place is top notch. The plan is for them to offer a fabulous array of  hors d'oeuvres and also be open for breakfast.

I am sad to miss the pre-opening party on Wednesday, so I'll have to get you more details later, but please put your comments here if you attend. Timur is going to offer VIP memberships to Olive You for a yearly fee that would allow you to skip the line at the door, get  discounts and gain you access to roped off membership areas of the club.  But of course it will also be open for the public to enjoy. You maybe want to keep your eye out for a Groupon early in the year too, wink wink.  Timur is very excited to add this upscale addition to Kirkland's evening hotspots. And it makes me smile to hear a heartbeat returning to our little downtown. ~j

Amazon Fresh and Hopelink Team Up- order your groceries now!

Here's a no-brainer for ya.  Order groceries online at Amazon Fresh through this link between now and midnight on December 31st and Amazon Fresh will do a 100% match donation to HopeLink.  It's like giving and receiving all at the same time.  Hopelink is in great need, this year more than others with many families impacted by the downturn, so order up some groceries (I love how you can order at 10pm and there are goods on your doorstep by 6am) as often as you like and tell some friends too! Merry Christmas! ~j

Third Street Threads: For Little Guys with Style

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Sometimes ideas are born while in the driveway drinking wine with a neighbor. This one started back in March when local moms of boys (and shopper extraordinaires!), Annee Zalkind and Tamara Dean, were talking about how there are too many cutsie and preppy-looking boy clothes in the stores these days.   Why is little girl shopping so exciting and boy shopping so...............NOT?

So they headed to LA to meet with vendors and quickly ramped up their website, Third Street Threads, to bring an urban look of one-stop-shopping to your little hipster dudes.  The focus is an online boutique feel of just boys clothes and accessories. They have an eye for things moms and boys love from brands like Hurley, Quicksilver, DC, and Desigual (from Spain).

Shipping and gift wrapping is always FREE, and right now there is a special discount code "holiday15" you can use through the end of December or "save10" after that. Annee and Tamara have noticed some of their local fans appreciate their personal concierge service too. If you live in the Kirkland area, feel free to contact them about coming over to Third Street or to try things on or have your items dropped off at your place.  If you would like to host a party, they also offer trunk shows for a relaxed shopping experience.

Being the  mother of a boy myself, it is good to see this local start-up amping up the fun in boys clothes shopping! ~j

Milagro Cantina: Miracle on Lake St Opens 12/9

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You guys are going to love this place

We were lucky enough to attend a preview at Milagro (148 Lake St. South)on Monday night with some friends.  What a welcome edition to downtown Kirkland! The space is sprawling and was born with a natural bustle that makes it feel comfortable and trendy all at the same time.  You can't help but notice the planning and details that went into the artistic decor: enter through giant 10 foot doors and then get pulled into the varying colorful eclectic glass lights, an open flamed fountain in the dining room a custom iron-work tree behind the bar. There are half-circle booths, traditional booths, tables and a private room to mix it up. Even the bathrooms are beautifully tiled and each stall has it's own tall thick wood door.  And, like an easily entertained child, I love those Dyson 'Airblades' (the 90mph typhoon speed blast of air) that dry your hands in 3 seconds flat. 

It was warm dark and cozy for that winter night, but Milagro has some awesome summer potential too with big glass panels that open and a really spacious outdoor deck that seats 110 people.  Stuart McLeod was really smart-I'm sure that as the owner of Hector's he knows there's a thirsty crowd in Kirkland.  This bar is sweeping and big (likely more than the space of the old Tully's space it's occupying) with plenty of seating around the rectangular bar and also booths to nuzzle into.  The house margaritas were delicious, and next time I go back I'm curious to try a ginger-caramel margarita or even a cucumber-lavender mojito. The wine list may be short and sweet, but wait til you see the two page tequila menu with full explanations of blanco, resposado, anejo and extra anejo. But no tequila for me on that school night. :-)

Let's get to the fun part though.........the food! I love the platillos pequenos (small plate) concept so you can taste a little of everything.  The ceviche was excellent and the jicama salad was crunchy and refreshing with  watermelon, cucumber, jicama, pineapple, lime, cilantro and chile spice powder. Chef Chris Peterson (formerly of Bis on Main) traveled and researched extensively to put together an interesting array of authentic Mexican creations.  You can even watch them make the homemade tortillas (last photo above). The fish tacos are TOP NOTCH and, although they didn't share any with us, we heard the black beans were really good too.  There are also enchiladas and quesadillas, but if you prefer a plato fuerte (large plate) there are 8 options all uniquely prepared to pique your interest. You'll find things like grilled snapper in banana leaf with mango,habanera mint salsa and red rice, rotisserie leg of lamb with guajillo chile barbeque sauce, and chile-glazed baby back ribs.

At dinner we all couldn't help but talk about what a cool feel Milagro has. It sparked a glimmering and hopeful vision of what downtown Kirkland might be like when the darkness eventually peels off many of our closed or empty storefronts and our little city is resuscitated from this economic slide. Milagro is a delicious bolt of energy right in the heart of Kirkland-go check it out. They open this Thursday 12/9 and are taking reservations: 425-952-6270. Happy hr: Mon-fri 3-6pm. ~j 



Kirkland Yoga: Hot Yoga of Kirkland

Hot Yoga of Kirkland

by guest blogger Megan Barnes

434 ParkPlace Center, Kirkland, WA 98033



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More than once I have come out of class at “Hot Yoga of Kirkland” and heard someone ask,  “Where’s the pool?”  Their question is certainly not out of line considering the swarm of people sitting on the concrete steps, steamy and dripping wet.  It’s not a pool that left us all soaked to the bone, it’s just the after effects of a great class at “Hot Yoga of Kirkland”.

Kirkland Hot Yoga offers three types of classes Hot Hatha Yoga, Hot Power Yoga and Hot Yin Yoga.   Hatha yoga is a series of 26 postures that will work every muscle in your body as you move from the standing postures to the floor postures.  Power yoga is a flow class, where individual postures are put together in a series of movements.  Yin Yoga focuses on long static stretching.  All of the classes are offered in a room heated to 104 degrees and 40% humidity.  The room is kept hot to ensure that as you move through the class, you are able to get the maximum stretch safely while sweating out toxins.  It also keeps your heart rate up, giving you a great cardio workout as well. 

Hot Yoga of Kirkland offers a great introductory rate of 10 classes for $10.  It provides the perfect opportunity to give this practice a try.  The classes are filled with advanced and beginner students alike.  Do not be intimidated.  This is a very community-oriented environment.  It is not uncommon to have a couple of new students in each class.  Everyone is welcome. Just leave your judgment at the door and open your mind. 

Before your first class arrive approximately 20 minutes early in order to sign in and fill out paperwork.  It’s recommended you take a place at the back of the room so you may observe those who have been practicing for awhile.  Bring plenty of water, a mat and a full-length towel.  I’d recommend you wear clothes that allow you to move freely.  No sweatshirts or sweatpants as you won’t need any help sweating! Pace yourself and take it easy.  This is a very challenging class when you combine the postures and the heat.  But your dedication will be rewarded. The teacher will guide you through class with verbal instruction and often will come by to adjust you if you are not in the right alignment.  Many teachers play music which helps students stay relaxed and focused.  Often they relay inspirational quotes which always seem to come when you need them the most.  The only rule is to stay in the room.  Much of this yoga practice is all about the mind.  If you feel overwhelmed don’t forget to lie down and relax.  If you leave the room it makes it that much easier to leave each time you feel frustrated.  As the teachers say some days the biggest success is just staying in the room. 

Hot Yoga of Kirkland is special because it has a great sense of community.  Many of the students have been practicing there for years and you’re always sure to see a familiar face.  The teachers provide a great balance between tough love and positive encouragement.  They know their students are there to get a great workout and they feel privileged to guide them through the practice. Kids are welcome to hang out in the lobby while you’re in class.  Changing rooms are available.  More information can be found on the Hot Yoga of Kirkland website, www.hotyogainc.com.  They can also be found on Facebook.

Kirkland Yoga: Bala Yoga

Bala Yoga

by guest blogger Jana Koeberle

Juanita Village, 750 NE 119th Way, Kirkland, WA 98034



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 As a fan of Baptiste-style power Vinyasa yoga, I was anxious to learn more about and experience Bala Yoga, which just opened in July.  The studio, which is located in Juanita Village, next to Urban Coffee Lounge, seemed to be showing up in everything I was reading and the website was very compelling and informational.  I’ve been practicing Vinyasa in Bellevue and was happy to have an alternative closer to home.

In talking with the owner of the studio, Mike, I’ve become an even bigger fan of what he is creating. As a nutritionist and former professional mixed martial artist, Mike came to Kirkland (where he attended high school back in the day) from Sacramento to visit Bastyr and explore educational opportunities.  He had a concept for a wellness center that focused on nutrition, yoga, and a person’s whole well-being.  While stopping in at Urban Coffee Lounge, the available spaces for lease next door caught his eye. With the input and guidance from a cadre of yoga instructors and friends, he’s transformed four spaces into an oasis with bamboo flooring and warm colors.  There are no mirrors in the studio (thank you) and in the tradition of Baptiste-style yoga, the room is a warm 87 degrees (this is not a hot yoga studio).

 I took a couple of classes last month and while I loved the foyer and the studio (whomever is providing Mike aesthetic direction on marketing and studio design is doing a great job!), I found the changing area to be a bit “communal” for my liking.  That said, if you are just dropping your bag and peeling off some sweats, it’s fine.  There are also men’s and women’s restrooms down the hall if you prefer something a bit more private or if you come tearing in after work, as I often do, and need a full change of clothes. Showers are to come and tweaks continue to be made to the space. 

Mike’s focus right now is providing Kirkland with great yoga teachers and a beautiful atmosphere so that the students can be present in their practice.  He’s building his team of instructors and while building the schedule of classes, he’s mixing up instructors to see who is a good fit for various levels and various class offerings.  Dora, a favorite instructor of mine, is teaching at the studio and she’s an especially good person to teach an all-level class as she can assess people quickly and move people into the variations they might need. You’ll see quite a few “all-levels” classes on the schedule now, which means this is a great time for the beginning yogi to start his or her practice. You’ll catch a glimpse of what someone more advanced might be doing, but there is no pressure to do anything but focus on your own practice.

As the instructors and the students begin to gel, Mike will work to create his own “Bala Flow” which will be the basis of the practice and is a variation or off-shoot of the traditional Baptiste Flow. Another fantastic thing about the schedule at this studio is the wide range of times classes are offered and the variety of classes.  I’ve seen Gentle Flow, Hour of Power, Relax & Renew and some athletic stretching classes offered over the past month or two. Later this month, Bala will be offering a series called Mommy & Me with dozens of yoga movements designed to nurture baby’s development.

Overall, my thinking is that this is a fantastic opportunity and place for someone not familiar with yoga or maybe a little intimidated by yoga studios to learn and begin to practice. It’s a chance to literally grow along with the studio.  If you are more advanced or have been practicing for awhile, you may need to find an instructor who can work an “all-levels” class and meet your needs.  Mike strikes me as a community-kind-of-guy and he’s very open to what the students want, so let him know!  I plan to return to practice at Bala more often and watch Mike grow this into a lovely addition to the fitness and wellness community in Kirkland.

Childcare: None provided

Pricing: Various packages available and pricing is competitive to other studios.  Bala does offer the $20 for 10 consecutive days for first-timers and the drop in rate is $17.  See website for more details.

Kirkland Yoga: Dahn Yoga

Dahn Yoga

by guest blogger Amy Martin

10702 NE 68th St.

Kirkland, WA 98033




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Why I do yoga:
 I do yoga for many reasons including:  exercise, strength, flexibility, and stress relief.   I like strengthening and lengthening my muscles and using my own body as resistance instead of using weights.  I like the meditating and deep breathing techniques that stop the "mind chatter"  and help your mind become calm.   I like how I feel after yoga.  I usually feel more relaxed than normal and possibly even more peaceful.

My Dahn Yoga Instructor for this project:  Christie Jensen led the class I attended at Dahn.  And the Head Instructor, Hyeran Ihm, was also present.

Cost:  The cost for the class I attended was $15 but the cost varies depending on the length of membership and services included.  For more information about pricing, see the membership and pricing page on their website.

Types of classes offered at Dahn:  There are classes focusing on Core Strengthening, Vibration Training, Tai Chi and then Regular Classes (regular classes focus on stretching, meditation and breathing) like the one I went to.  Dahn is a Korean word that means energy, or Ki, that has gathered into a powerful mass of vital energy.  Yoga is a Skanskrit word that means to join or to unite. Therefore, Dahn Yoga=uniting your body and mind through harnessing the healing power of Ki energy. Dahn Yoga utilizes a system of training called BEST5 (Brain Education System's Training) that can address a wide range of goals, from managing physical healht to focusing on spiritual growth. A class schedule can be found here

My experience:

When someone says yoga, I think contortionist type stretches, unachievable postures and tranquil breathing…right?  

At Dahn Yoga, you don't have to be a hard core yogi to feel successful!  

I went to class on Wednesday morning from 10-11 (I looked on the website and found the schedule which was accurate and easy).  I called ahead to let them know I'd be attending the class and blogging about it.  They were helpful and accommodating in every way.  They even said they’d watch my kids if I needed it!  

Instead of doing the poses and movements I was used to, we calmly closed our eyes while we held our hands in front of our faces to feel the energy between our fingertips for serenity, clarity and creativity. We stood up and tapped our abdomens with our fists over and over to stimulate our intestines.  And we sat crisscross applesauce and flailed our upper bodies to music for brain wave vibration.  All really different from any yoga I've ever done before.  

I believe it was helpful.  However, it wasn't the exercise I'd hope for.  I liked the total mind, body and spirit heath and wellness. And that anyone could do this class and feel successful. 

Check it out!

Kirkland Yoga: Studio Be

Studio Be

by guest blogger Lacie Powell

223 Kirkland Avenue #103

Kirkland, WA 98033

(425) 614-8887



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Primarily a Viniyoga studio, Studio Be is located in downtown Kirkland just across from the library and offers a range of classes varying from "Pre-natal" to "Itsy Bitsy" (baby and tot yoga) to "Gentle" and classes geared towards those recovering from cancer treatment.  Going forward they hope to add more early morning and teen classes as well as intense classes for more experience yogis.  A warm and welcoming place, its easy to see why the studio has so many regulars.  My teacher for the day and owner, Lisa Christian, greeted every student by name as they came in.  All the students seemed to know each other as well as they chatted about their weekend plans as we all set up our mats.  I took the "All Levels" class and similarly to Soul Ease, Lisa made sure to check in with all students before class inquiring about any current injury or health issues people seemed to be struggling with.  She too likes to customize her class based on the students for the day and any difficulties they want to work through.  The class was fluid and calming yet still challenging. 

I chatted with Lisa afterwards to find out a little bit more about her and the studio.  With a motto like "yoga cradle to grave" its clear Lisa cares deeply about her practice and her students, not just for the duration they're in her studio but beyond.  After sharing a bit of trouble I'd been having with my knee while training for a race, she was eager to offer up some ideas.  She has been practicing for 15 years and opened the studio after finding that yoga had profound affects on her own life.  Wanting to share that with others and live in a community that practiced yoga, she took the leap and based her studio on the idea that "students should take away a new sense of integrity when it comes to their body, breath and mind."  When asked what advice she'd offer to students trying out yoga for the first time she suggests, 1) make sure you know the qualifications of your instructor 2) try a few different studios and teachers until you find the right "fit" and 3) have no expectations about your practice.  Be open and ready for anything!


Very welcoming and friendly.

They often offer at least one free class or community yoga event a month and they're always offering different series of new classes and even have yoga retreats !


Parking can be a challenge.  They do offer plenty of options on their website though so be sure to check that out!

No showers or locker room.