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Don't forget your Valentine

I know it's difficult for the male brain to think of anything that might be happening past this Sunday's Superbowl game.  I get that. Valentine's Day is sneaking up, though, and you know I like to give a little oh-so-gentle reminder that might help the fellas out.  This is your nudge.

A Valentine's Weekend Getaway at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland is $214 Thurs thru Sunday.  The overnight includes valet parking, rose petal turndown, a bottle of champagne and Trellis truffles.  Trellis also has a special menu available on 2/14 for $75/per person. Heaven. 425-284-5800

Remember we have a gem of a performance center right in the middle of Kirkland.   Award-winning virtuoso guitarist Andre Feriante will be playing at the Kirkland Performance Center at 7:30 on 2/14.  What girl wouldn't melt over a little  Spanish guitar playing??  Buy tickets online for $35 (or ask for this to be added onto your package through the Heathman)

The Woodmark Hotel also has a  'Romance Package' or a 'Wine and Dine Your Valentine" offering that will make your sweetie swoon. Bin on the Lake has created  a Valentine prixe fix menu for $65/per person. 425-803-5595 for dinner reservations.

Or how about dinner at Volterra?  Special Valentine menu here. Never had a meal I didn't love here. 425-202-7201

Holly Smith at Cafe Juanita has pulled together something special too ($135/pp). 425-823-1505

Thinking of something a little less fancy? Choose a park (if it stops raining or you have a giant umbrella), we have plenty of great ones, and pick up something to go from DeRu Market.  Love that place.  Extra points for your romanticism on this idea.


Your Voice CAN Be Heard

You might find this hard to believe, but growing up I was a SUPER shy kid.  I could barely look an adult in the eye and might have died of a heart attack if a teacher called on me and I had to speak in front of others.  This was not a good outlook for a young girl in New Jersey.  I got trampled plenty.  So you'll be glad to know that with some time, confidence, and maturity I evolved into the stubborn outspoken person that I am today.  These days I just need to remember when to put my filter on.  

Recently, there have been a few local instances where concerned citizens have come together for a common cause and their voices have been heard by the City of Kirkland.  I wanted to share these with you, as examples of leadership in our community and also as opportunities where you too can speak up....

Cross Kirkland Corridor-

Right now over 40% of the Cross Kirkland Corridor (CKC) is slated to be shared by bikes and pedestrians. The master plan is scheduled to be approved soon, and once finalized will be difficult to change.  Have you ever been on the Burke-Gilman on a busy Saturday? There's some serious high speed traffic funneling through there. Citizens like Karen Story helped rally Kirklanders to give their input and push for a divided trail on the CKC- one path for bicycles traveling at speed and another for walkers, joggers and kids on bikes. 

Based on this feedback, the Master Plan will now show a divided trail in the Highlands Pass area. Transportation Engineering Manager David Godfrey said, "The city is still looking carefully at other areas to make the best recommendation on how the trail should be configured and how it can evolve over time."  So now is your chance to speak up if this is something you care about!  You can email dgodfrey@kirklandwa.gov, citycouncil@kirklandwa.gov .  Get on their list serv  and Facebook page to stay current. And there's the first of a series of monthly meeting this Mon 1/27, 12-1pm, City Hall/Council Chambers. 

Marijuana Dispensaries in Kirkland

You voted for it, so here they come.   Since only two outlets will be allowed in Kirkland, the details clearly still need to be worked out on WHERE.  Multiple applications have been submitted for marijuana dispensary sites along Market Street, so the controversy is now whether these dispensaries should be in such a residential area, where children are walking to/from school or in a more commercial zone, which can better handle parking and traffice. And then there's the question of whether state-wide intiatives can trump local ordinances in situations like these. City council wasn't hearing much on the matter until local resident Kirstin Larson started learning more and sharing information with neighbors in the Market area.  Kirstin says, "As a community, we have a responsibility to help the council find smart, safe, well-lit, commercial locations in the City of Kirkland for dispensaries.  Early decisions about what dispensaries look like (businesses instead of homes) will set social norms within our state."  A groundswell of concerned citizens showed up at last week's council meeting, identifying themselves with yellow scarves, and capturing enough attention and concern to spark the City Council to write a letter to the Liquor Control Board, and consider an emergency initiative to disallow marijuana on all or part of Market Street.  So, the door of discussion is open, but public input is still needed- if you don't speak up, you can't assume others will do it for you. The next council meeting is Feb 4th, go share your thoughts or wear a yellow scarf.  Can't make it? Email your council at: citycouncil@kirklandwa.gov.

Thanks to all of you that take the time to be leaders in our community and speak up about issues that you are passionate about. ~j




Show your SEAHAWKS you LOVE them!

I get goosebumps when I see how enthusiastic and bonded everyone is over the Seahawks.  And you know I think it's karma that they will be playing in my fine home state of NJ. So awesome!! All of which is why I wanted to share this with you.  The owner of Fast Signs of Kirkland is showing his support by offering these Seahawks banners (3'x4') for $35.  They are donating 50% of all proceeds of the Hawks banner sales to Seattle Children's Hospital.  Now if that doesn't make you feel good I don't know what does. How cool would it be if we had one in every storefront in town? I'm sure your spouse would love one for the living room. 

Here's the info on Fast Signs: 12004 NE 85th St (near Petco), 425-822-6542, 66@fastsigns.com.  Call ahead with your order and pick it up 12-24 hours later.

Attention SEAHAWKS fans !!!!


Let's do this!!!!!  Kirkland is ready to show our team the love.

There will be fans, flames, and 12th Man flag rally at Kirkland’s Marina Park, Sat. January 18, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
People formation to shape the number 12; Best dressed fan contest

 “True-blue” (and even fair-weather) Seahawk fans are invited to Kirkland’s Marina Park on Saturday, January 18, 2014, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., for a “12th Man Fan Fair.” The fan fair is in honor of the Seattle Seahawks advancing into the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers to be held on Sunday, January 19, 2014.  Beginning at 3:30 p.m., Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen and fellow city council members will raise a “12th Man” flag to a drum roll by the Seahawks Blue Thunder.  The event will begin at the Plaza of Champions, located at Marina Park, 25 Lakeshore Plaza Drive.  Following the raising of the flag, fans are to form the number 12 on the beach for a photograph and video to be shared with media.  Fans can take their picture with Blitz, the official team mascot and with inflatable Seahawks players (a few beers and this could get interesting ;-).  The City will host a bon fire on the beach.  Come dressed in your best Seahawks fan costume to be judged by local officials.  Activities and promotional materials will be provided by Sea Hawkers Booster Club the at the Marina Park pavilion throughout the event.

Kirkland fans are encouraged to share their cheers, fan “selfies,” and pictures of where their “12th Man” flags are displayed on the City’s Explore Kirkland Facebook site: www.facebook.com/explorekirkland.

Kirkland restaurants will be offering food and beverage game-day specials and airing the game on January 19 which starts at 3:30 p.m. (PST). 

Event goers are encouraged to plan for their parking in advance.  For public parking, including the Kirkland Municipal Garage, go to www.kirklandwa.gov/parking.

Ariana- Cuisine of Afghan

I'm really lucky that you guys are on top of things.  While I was sidetracked with uncontrollable shivering and body aches that made my clothes hurt, you all were letting me know that a new sign went up at the old 21 Central location.  I dreamed of leaving my house to check it out.... of having the energy to push the gas pedal on my car and sit upright without coughing uncontrollably.  And finally...despite my Stevie Nicks voice, I escaped the clutches of my house and there it was..."Ariana," which will be opening soon and serving us some authentic Afghan cuisine.  (photo) 

Afghan food
By the time they open I am sure I will have my appetite back so I wanted to figure out "what is Afghanistan food?" It looks like lots of rice and lamb and has similar flavors as Chinese and Central Asian cuisines. Nobody was there for me to talk to but I'll keep an eye on it. I did read that the meat is supposed to be halal, which means that is is prepared as prescribed by Muslim law. 

As for my flu-like week-wrecker illness- well, I'm almost all better.  This one was a doozy and I rarely get sick. My friend is an Epidemiologist at Evergreen Hospital and mentioned there were eight previously healthy people in the ICU with the flu recently and three of them have died.  None were vaccinated.  So don't mess around this year, go get your flu shot. We'll get some Afghan food together later. ~j

Guest Blog: Going Remote in Kirkland


I thought it would be fun to have a guest blogger from a local company write about what it's like to being  a mobile worker in downtown Kirkland. Thanks to Scott Bradley from Facet Digital for sharing...~j

Going Remote in Kirkland
by Scott W. Bradley

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a stool with my laptop, next to the windows at Zoka Coffee, drinking my coconut milk latte, looking out at the corner of Central Way and Lake Street. I’m one of the cofounders of Facet Digital, a local software design and development agency. Kirkland coffee shops are where I work.

Well...not 100% of the time.

At Facet Digital, we are a distributed team with no central office. We all work from home offices, coffee shops, restaurants, and of course, pubs. We’re founded in Kirkland, with a critical mass of our team living here, and we use the Kirkland Marina area as our meeting place. We’re big proponents of the remote work lifestyle, as brilliantly described in the recent book, Remote: Office Not Required, written by the founders of 37signals, a firm famous for being spread around the globe.  We’ve found that Kirkland is the ideal location for a team like ours.

Have a client meeting at 9am?  I head to Zoka, Caffe Ladro, or Rococo. They all have WiFi, power outlets, delicious coffee, and the perfect ambiance for a laid back business meeting. Zoka can get pretty packed by remote workers and their Macbook Airs by 10am, which makes for an upbeat environment where the WiFi still works great. Caffe Ladro is a bit quieter and smaller. Unlike Zoka, they don’t have any large tables suitable for more than 4 people, but you will find outdoor chairs facing the sun for those rare days we can see it. Rococo has fantastic coffee.They roast their own beans on premises, which may be why it’s always nice and warm in there. The back room lets you feel tucked away from the foot traffic when you really want to focus on your work.

Today, after a few hours at Rococo, I popped over to The Lodge Sports Grille (two doors down), to grab an early lunch date with my wife (one of the perks of being a remote worker!), in a nice quiet booth where I could get in another hour of work after she left. The Lodge is great for conversations that need a little more privacy, and is usually quiet around lunchtime, but can be pretty loud when there’s a game on TV.

For happy hour, we head on over to one of our favorite drinking holes, The Wilde Rover, for a pint and a creative brainstorming session. If we’re schmoozing a client, we’ll take it on over to Cactus, Milagro Cantina, or Trellis. The food is delicious at all of those. Trellis has year-round outdoor seating, good people watching, and some very interesting dishes that focus on locally-sourced organic foods. Cactus has excellent outdoor seating during the warm month(s).

If you like boutique tequilas and the gourmet version of the street taco, Milagro is the place for you. Sometimes we’ll even make it a family thing, and have the wives and kids meet us out at Zeeks Pizza for a family-friendly evening over a delicious gourmet pizza. The kids love it for the raw pizza dough and the view of the cooks, while the adults enjoy being able to hold conversation while the kids are entertained by the staff.

The great thing is that so many of these establishments are within walking distance of each other. The Kirkland Marina area has an excellent walkability factor, and parking is surprisingly easy and cheap! You get three hours of free parking on surface lots during the day and it’s only $1 per hour from 5pm-9pm. Try finding $4 parking on the other side of the bridge!

Facet Digital loves Kirkland and we love supporting the local businesses here. Check out our website, get to know our faces, and say hi when you see us buzzing around building cool mobile apps, websites, and other software products for many of our clients who are also doing cool things right here in our own backyard.