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Congrats to Simplicity Decor on the Arrival of their Baby: Simplicity ABC

Technically, the baby is still coming. Third trimester.  Simplicity is due to birth another great store at the end of April, Simplicity ABC. She will joyfully fill the previous Lakeshore Gallery 1800sf space on  Park Lane with a colorful and playful children's shop that offers affordable gifts for kids.  ABC will love to LIVE (furniture, wall decor, bedding), LAUGH (toys, plushes, games), and LEARN (books, educations toys, science experiments).  There will be a special kids play area too with music and classes- storytime, baby gym, parent education.  Maybe this baby will eventually even host birthday parties!

ClassicKids_LogoSimplicityABC jpg

Daddy "A" and his staff will be balancing their time between their first born, Simplicity Decor, and the new arrival. In leiu of baby gifts, please send your favorite photo of your child/children to modelkids@simplicityabc.com .  Your little superstar could be selected as a model to be photographed by Katie at Classic Kids Photography for the new store, and your family could win a Simplicity ABC gift certificate.  Welcome to the world, little Simplicity ABC, we look forward to watching you grow up in Kirkland. ~j

Lake WA School District Extends School Year One Day

We're in the clear, right? No more snow days? After the monster snowstorm early this year that  declared snowdays on Jan 18,19 and 20  for LWSD, the powers that be have announced that the last day of school (which is a half day) will be Monday June 25th instead of Friday June 22nd, which is now a full day.   In addition, Friday May 4th which was originally planned as a teacher professional development day (aka Leap Day) will be a regular school day now.  This allows the district to get in its required 180 days of school for the 2011-12 school year.   I'm not too worried, the sun doesn't usually show itself around here until mid July so unless you already had a vacation booked...... ;).

Penterra Spa Through the Eyes of a Winner...

We ran all sort of fun contests and prizes as part of the Kirkland Blog's holiday series at the end of year.  Don't you  wonder if anyone ever really wins those things?  And darn it, how come it wasn't you?  If you don't try, you don't win (and it's not calculus proofs we're asking of you!)  For the sake of follow up and squashing your feeling of bewilderment, I wanted to share this nice note from Rachel Buchan who won a free treatment at The Heathman's Penterra Spa.  The challenge was to write about why you thought you deserved a free  treatment.  Here's her giving us a behind the scenes of her spa experience.  Many thanks to Penterra and all of the other local businesses (George's, Anthony's, Lucia, Purple, Vovina,Herban Wellness) that donated prizes for those posts!

Rachel Buchan, Kirkland Blog Prize Winner Extraordinaire:

 Your holiday series was especially great and I was so thrilled when I read about the spa giveaway. I had just been complaining to my husband about my sore shoulders from working at a computer all day mixed in with the stress of the holiday season. My husband and I were just married in August, so this was our first Christmas as a married couple and hosting Christmas day brunch for our friends and family. Really exciting, but also a little sad as my beloved Aunt who normally hosts is sick this year and sounds like we'll be taking over. So I wrote in to the Penterra Spa and told them my whole story. How I was recently married, will be hosting our first Christmas as a married couple, how I commute on the bus everyday to a highly stressful job routing 911 calls for cellular companies. And how this amazing spa treatment was just what I needed to de-stress and treat myself after all my hard work to make this holiday season special and wonderful.

Low and behold, I got an email on Friday the 13th (who says that day is bad luck???) saying that I had won! The spa package included a 25 minute hydrotherapy treatment, a 60 minute facial and 60 minute massage. I felt like I had won the lottery! This was the real deal super fancy spa day I had been dreaming about. I was so excited I emailed back right away to inquire about what they might have available that weekend and just my luck...they had a Saturday 1pm appointment just waiting for me. Apparently it was just one of those days where everything works out, lucky me indeed!

It was snowing a little Saturday morning, but that didn't deter me from venturing out. I only live a couple miles away and  it was barely sticking. As I arrived in the spa I was greeted by a very friendly reception staff and taken on a tour of their facilities. The spa is actually located beneath the hotel, which was nice because it kept it quiet and dark. Our first stop was the locker room. Everything was in those light beige relaxing spa colors and I couldn't wait to jump in the eucalyptus steam room. The she showed me their relaxing room and the various teas and waters they offer. There was a beautiful fountain, some nice artwork, comfortable chairs and mellow music. Everything you could hope for in a cozy luxurious spa.

The steam room is absolutely heavenly. Especially on a cold winter snowing day! After sitting in there for a good 20 minutes, I swaddled myself in one of their delicious robes and made my way over to the relaxing room. The tropical green tea I sipped on was delicious and I perused a few magazines until I was escorted to the hydrotherapy room. I am not a big "bath" person, but this takes bathing to a whole new level. There had to be about 8 jets and I was instructed to turn them on and then add the sea salts that were mixed with essential oils. The result was heavenly. I could feel my dry winter skin softening as I soaked.

Next was a little break in the relaxing room with some more tea and then off to my facial and massage. I have pretty sensitive skin and my esthetician Michelle listened to my skin concerns and had some wonderful suggestions. She used the Phytomer line on me, which I happen to have used before and love. It is a European line based on sea minerals and my sensitive cranky skin just loves it. Everything smells wonderful and fresh too without being perfumed. The facial was perfect. She used a couple different exfoliants, as my winter skin needed it. Mixed with steaming and some extractions, my skin was glowing by the time I was done. I also loved how she did a thorough hand, arm and neck massage while my mask was on. Such a nice treat, especially if you were only going in for the facial.

I was basically butter by the time we switched rooms for my massage. If it was even possible, Michelle managed to relax me even more. She used some wonderful aromatherapy oils, even pressure and covered all my trouble issues. She even noted some especially tight spots and suggested stretches I could do at home to help out. How amazing is that?

After my massage, I indulged in the spa showers and lotion they had available. I noticed they even had hair styling products, blow dryers and styling tools available to use. So if you wanted and had extra time, you could get pretty close to ready there after your treatment. Pretty nice to know.

Of course this spa isn't cheap, but it is wonderful. My suggestions would be to go a little early to your appt so you can indulge in the steam room and they even have a nice looking workout facility available. I had already squeezed in a morning workout with my workout buddy or I would have loved to check that out! Perhaps next time, as there will definitely be a next time.


Things I Love.....

It's that time of year again-hearts, Valentines, flowers and chocolate.  So I thought I would share with you some things that I love in the order that they randomly pop into my brain.  We'll skip the obvious, which are things like my husband,  family/friends, waterskiing, Kirkland, sleeping in and tropical vacations.


1. My kids' adorable Valentines! Photo above. Katie, the head photographer from  Classic Kids Photography , is a gem that really captures their essence in black and white.

2. The Lighting Universe Warehouse Sale10930 116th Ave NE (NOT the showroom near the Old Costco Home , it's the warehouse at the end of Forbes Creek Drive) I've been there at least 5 out of the last 7 days.  If you follow me on Twitter, you'd already know this, but they are clearing out tons of stuff for crazy dirt cheap garage sale prices.  Many things are new in the box. They have lighting, furniture, knobs/pulls, vanities, mirrors, sinks, faucets, bulbs and strangely enough, some shoes.  Someone needs to report me to that hoarders show soon b/c I can't stay away.  Tell all of my new friends that work there I said hello: JJ, Corey, Terry, Chip, Todd, and Henry.   

3. ....that Susanne Park of Sweet Cakes in on the front page of the Kirkland Reporter this week!  Way to go-a super fabulous local woman and fellow mom with her own business centered around cupcakes.  Who doesn't love a good cupcake? This month's special gluten-free cupcakes are White Chocolate Raspberry and Pink Champagne.  Cheesecake flavor of the month is Cherry Chip. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

4. Price Brothers Garage-  Was just there yesterday and I love that they never BS me. Been going here for a few years now.  Honest and professionally run place that deserves some kudos.  My poor kiddie delivery SUV has over 100K miles on it now and still going strong without having to endure a list of things to fix every time I go.  And on the occasion that it does need some work- they give you options, explanations and competitive pricing. 

5. Dave at West Coast Paint Supply- Why make yourself crazy picking paint when there are color geniuses like Dave in the world?  Not only is  Benjamin Moore  great paint, Dave is awesome at brainstorming on different ideas and helping match paint to other materials you are working with.  My mom is an artist and even she-who questions how many drops of red are in a particular brown- is a die hard Dave fan. Thank you, Dave, for dealing with all of us crazy ladies (dudes too, just not as outwardly crazy) trying to figure out our paint.


 6. The shops of downtown Kirkland that get excited for Valentine's Day despite most of us that are closely guarding our wallets these days.  Thank you! Love ya! Look at the fun window displays.  (photo from Life is Good) Get out there and buy something locally for your sweetie.  Take him or her to a great meal at one of our many restaurants. They can't do it without you.


7. Kirkland's camaraderie-- there is a flash auction on Sunday Feb 19th from 5-8pm at the old TGIF location in Kirkland Park Place  (above Rikki Rikki) to raise money for this year's 4th of July celebration.  Drink some wine and support this community event-those fireworks are not cheap! Call with your questions.425-686-0164.  Can't make it? You can always write a check to the KDA or procure an item to be auctioned.

Feel free to share what YOU love about Kirkland this Valentine's Day.



PSE Ratings- Follow Up

My recent PSE post really hit a nerve for a lot of you. It's always fun to see what gets you talking!

First, you should know that we have found someone with consistently great report cards from PSE. Not just great, Tom of the Kirkland Highlands is typically #3 out of 100. Big round of applause to Tom!! I am amazed and impressed. So now we know it is possible. But how, you ask? Here's what Tom had to share with us:

"Until last fall my daughter Hannah and I lived in the Kirkland Highlands in a 1700sf 2 story daylight basemnent house built in 1969 with 4 bedrooms (small) and 1.75 bathrooms. The house has GREAT passive solar, which I believe really helps with keeping it warm in the winter, even on our dark days. We keep the programmable thermostat low at night (59) and about 64 when we are here. We have a tankless gas water heater, a gas furnace, and double pane windows. I think it also helps that a part of the house is below grade (4') so that helps hold in the heat and keeps it cool.My daughter has since moved away to college, and I haven't received a report in awhile. Hope this helps, and good luck motivating your kids - they like to see the improvement and we found the quarterly reports to be a good incentive (plus we kept trying to move up to # 1)."

I have since shared our report with our children so I can get them on board. Long hot showers and leaving lights on are the vices we need to break them from along with throwing every item of clothing in the laundry even if it's been worn for 15 minutes. I cannot turn my thermostat down to 59 or even 64 because I'm pretty sure that frozen nipple replacement surgery for a family of 5 is more expensive than power. But we are motivated to get a better report card next time.

I also received an official response from PSE- feel free to comment away- sounds like they are listening... Here is what they had to say:

My name is Dennis Rominger and I’m one of the energy efficiency experts at PSE. These Home Energy Reports are one of the programs that I manage. I wanted to thank you for starting a healthy conversation about energy use in people’s homes. This is one of the fundamental reasons why we have started experimenting with these private mailers to our customers…. To draw out their reactions, and perhaps spur some persistent action inside homes to lower energy bills especially in these winter months

We love having customers like you and your readers who take such extraordinary measures to safeguard our energy future, and can serve as evangelists to get us all using energy more efficiently. Regrettably, there is a large percentage of our customers who have yet to get on the bandwagon, and we need to turn them into believers as well.

We are taking a lot of customer comments on these mailers into account during this experiment, and we are learning at lot about how our customers respond to a bit of peer pressure when it comes to making choices about how to use energy. We realize that the comparisons aren’t necessarily apples to apples, but at least there is enough relative comparison to a radius of your neighbors --- so that it might trigger some quick attention on your family’s habits, or at the very least, make “energy efficient” top of mind for next equipment purchase you make.

For the comparisons, admittedly we don’t know everything about your home, occupants, or household activities. The information we have was received from county records and PSE account information. This includes home type, size, heating fuel source, and location. This information is sometimes incorrect because the county records aren’t always up-to-date. To assure the most accurate comparison, you can update your info by visiting www.psereports.com. This might correct any inconsistencies that you feel are preventing you from a proper comparison. You are always free to opt out too. But, we hope you don’t.

Please continue to spread the energy efficiency gospel – and if you or your readers need any ideas on the choices you can make in your daily lives, visit PSE.com/re-energize, or call one of our Energy Advisors at 1-800-562-1482. Keep those critiques coming.... we learn best when we "hear" the conversations.