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Watercress and Shamrock Run '15

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I had lunch with a friend at Watercress Bistro a few weeks ago and have been meaning to tell you about it ever since then.  But I can't.  It's not that I can't, I just don't have anything to say.  Nothing bad, nothing good.  It just exists.  Kind of like the roof on your house, it's doing it's job but it's not especially noticeable.  They will serve you some decent food and you won't be hungry anymore. 

Watercress (1) <--menu for you to peruse
Without wasting too much time (or a single post on one thing), here are my quick notes.  Nobody ever changes the inside of this place much, so it looks the same as the last 5 places did on the inside. Thought it was kinda weird that it was noon and many of the tables only had a tablecloth and weren't set so it felt a bit unprepared for actual diners.  I had a salad and my friend had pho and both were okay.  Service was fine.   The end.

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Kirkland Shamrock Run 2015
- Saturday March 14th @ 9am in Marina Park. Two days left of  'normal' registration and then you're on to late reg so don't dink around.  It's a 5k and you can run or walk your way through Kirkland to celebrate St. Patty's Day and benefit local non-profits.  Here's their site for all the info. ~j


Higher Leaf and Bags. Recycle bags of course

HigherLeaf
Our sweeties at the ole City of Kirkland have been busy!  They recently approved our first retail marijuana business license.    That's right.  Here we go.  And in true Kirkland style, it is a boutique.  No ghetto pot shops here, that's fo-sho. Please kindly welcome the  Higher Leaf Marijuana Boutique that is located on 12525 Willows Rd NE, Suite 60. And since I am the city guinea pig appointed to try all new things, it looks like I may have to take one for the team.  It makes me sleepy just thinking about it,  and I may have misplaced my old Grateful Dead t-shirt from college.   Hours are Mon-Thurs 11-8, Fri- Sat 11-10 and Sun 12-5. They are praising the high quality of their product  and that it is locally and sustainably grown.  So there's that.  And I think their webmaster has been hitting the bong too because they want us to know that they opened on  "Febraury 13th."  425-820-5967 or info@higherleaf.com will get you better info.

In case that wasn't excitement enough for one month, the city council just approved a plastic bag reduction policy  ordinance. Maybe you should bring your reusable eco-friendly bags when heading to Higher Leaf?  Don't freak out quite yet, you can still accumulate your dog poopie bags until March 1, 2016, at which point retailers will be restricted from using single-use disposable plastic bags.  Retailers both large and small will be required to charge customers a five cent fee for each large recyclable paper bag they distribute.  There are a few exceptions- bags for bulk food, hardware, frozen meats, take-out food, newspaper and dry-cleaning (there's got to be a better method for dry cleaners??).  Kirkland is following the lead of places like Seattle, Issaquah, Bellingham, Shoreline and Mercer Island that have adopted similar policies.  I think this should be a good step for our environmental awareness, but there are lots of people pitching a fit.  Let's see how it goes!  Maybe it will give me some extra incentive to stop forgetting my re-usable bags in my trunk?  The plastic bag reduction policy is here.  There is also a recycling hotline for residents and businesses at 425-587-3812 or recycle@kirklandwa.gov. The city will be giving away about 10,000 reusable bags this summer/fall.  Some will go directly to low-income residents through Hopelink while others will be distributed at City Hall and at local events.  

 


Valentine's Secrets

Valentineheart
Everyone has their secrets. No, not THOSE kinds of secrets! Geeezzz.  I'm talking about favorite things they do and places that they go time and again because they love them.   In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to ask our Kirkland Blog advertisers to share the love and tell us some of their secrets, since they heart Kirkland too.  

It's only fair if I start off by proving my love to you. So, I will share a secret parking trick, which obviously won't be a secret anymore.  I only use this alternative only if I'm desperate because the stalls are so small you practically have to crawl out of your trunk once you are in them.  In the Merrill Gardens parking garage there's a bay of 6-8 two hr public parking spots (you'll recognize the city signage) and they are often available.   Don't go rolling your Big Daddy Escalade in there, cause I warned ya.

 

 

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Diane & Ken Martin, 1st Rate Insurance

One of our favorite “Kirkland Traditions” is the Annual Comedy Competition at the Kirkland Performance Center.  It is held every year the day after Thanksgiving.  We make a night of it with friends, starting with dinner at one of our favorite Kirkland restaurants, Volterra, where we always enjoy the Wild Boar and the Dungeness Crab Ravioli.   After dinner we walk over to the comedy show and spend the rest of the evening laughing so hard we have tears in our eyes.  It truly is one of our favorite Kirkland evenings!  

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Sue Dowling and Debbie Berger, Columbia Athletic Club

Did you know there are a number of eagles that nest in the Cottonwood/Poplar trees just across the street from the Club? Come spring-time you can see and hear the eagles as they re-build their nest each year and raise their young right here in Juanita Bay. I look forward to watching them grow and learn to fly as I take my run along the boardwalk.  

Did you know that Juanita Bay Park, across from the club, has big turtles all over the place?  As you are walking on the wooden walk-ways look down among the weeds and branches.  What a neat experience for the kids.  I take my grand-kids there every time they come to town.   

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Jaymie Weber, Eyecandy

My all time favorite thing to do in Kirkland is sneaking out on a date with my husband to Vovina Martini Bar in the marina. Even though we have a one and two year old; we try our hardest to have the grandparents come over and take care of the girls.  We always try to go on a night when they host Corks and Canvas painting events. We love interacting with each other, the art instructors, and other guests painting. The appetizers are great, and the ambiance is relaxing and inviting. There's even outdoor seating that overlooks the lake.

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Victoria & Stacie, Ambrosia MedSpa

We love to go to a small Afghan place in downtown Kirkland called Ariana. Rob's two best friends since childhood are Afghan and he says the food from their tastes just like their Mom's cooking

Shaheen and her husband at Padria restaurant are always so kind and welcoming every time you go in or see them in the street. They ask about family, remember everyone's name and make anyone walking through the door feel like family. I know they work crazy long restaurant hours--but always have a smile on their face and a kind word...

 

Now with everyone talking about food I'm realizing I should share a few of those secrets too.  Here are three I never tire of...

Cactus- Sonoran Spa Chicken.  They nailed it on this one.  Why would you order chicken in a restaurant when you always eat it at home?  Because you don't make it like this. And it's such a generous portion ($15) that you can box half of it for lunch the next day and it's just as awesome. Love.

I speed dial Stavros at Santorini at least once a week and simply say, "Hellooooo Stavros, it's Janis.  I'll be there in 10 minutes."  He knows my entire family's order by heart and I literally cannot live without the Gyro Salad ($10, no cheese on mine, but you should get it).  I have dreams about it when he shuts his doors and takes off for Greece every January.

Rikki Rikki Happy Hour- The original Sakitini for $3.95- deee-lish. Too easy to drink though.  We've been enjoying these ever since we moved to Kirkland 16 years ago. Lots of yummy well-priced happy hour food too.

What and whom do you love around Kirkland?  I want to know YOUR secrets! Happy Valentine's Day. ~j


Urban Float- I finally did this!

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I have to say, it's surreal and unlike anything I've ever tried before.  I've been shuffling my feet on this one because it's a bit of a project to find a spare hour to strip down to nothing and jump into a salty pool of relaxation.  But many of you kept asking, "Have you tried the new Urban Float yet?"  and it became clear to me..... that I am your human guinea pig.   

Feeling anxious at the tail-end of my bathroom remodel and deflated after the Superbowl, I figured this was the perfect time to escape into a mysterious pod of sound-proofed-ness where my body and mind can rest, de-stress and heal.  Floating and its therapeutic effects have been around for a long time.  How have I existed for 39 (cough cough) years without encountering this?  When I strolled into their freshly built-out space at 211 3rd St (Kirkland Square shops, rt across from Subway) and was impressed with the helpful staff and how clean and new everything was.  

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First they have you watch an orientation video in the pre-relaxation room.  The video is short and informative and entertaining.  At the Kirkland location they have 6 private rooms, each with its own pod and shower area. The giant egg-like Mork from Ork (RIP Robin Williams) looking pods are filled with 200 gallons of water and 1200 pounds of epsom salt, which makes the water 3x as dense as the Dead Sea.  The pod regulates the water and air temperature to be the same 93.5 degrees as your skin.  A staff member walks you to your room and gives instructions on showering both before and after you float, how to turn the lights on/off, and whether you would like music or not (spa music).  There are even little packets of petroleum jelly to cover any cuts you may have or freshly cut cuticles that may not think salt water is their friend.  

UrbanFloat (7)  UrbanFloat (8)  UrbanFloat (5)


Staff member leaves.  Lock the door.  Shower. Noticed a motion detector in the corner blinking red lights.  This is NOT a camera- I asked- it's just motion so they know if you are in the pod or not. Ok, whew.  I step into my pod w/my earplugs in and shut the door, but you could leave this open if you wanted to.  When I try to sit down, of course my butt sinks to the bottom of the 12-14 inches of water but my feet float right to the top.  I can't barely force them down to the bottom in the seated position.  So then I laugh at myself, naked and flailing, and realize the solution is to just lay down and relax.  I instantly and effortless float on my back.  Buoyant feels great, and I have to keep reminding myself to relax all of my muscles.  Because even though I think I am relaxing, I realize I am still inadvertently trying to hold my head and limbs up. I used the foam noodle under my neck which worked great. I tried turning the light out in the pod for a moment but that SO dark it was a little freaky for me so I opted  for the dim blue light . 

Now that I'm in the pod and made all of these little adjustments I am ready for the relaxing part.  I am careful not to touch or scratch my eyes/face since the salt would sting.  I feel like a leaf floating gently on top of a pool.  Drifting a little bit, perhaps, or is that just my imagination?  I peek an eye open-- it's true.  My mind is not playing tricks on me.  I chose the option to have the music turn off after 10 minutes, at which point I had never heard such sheer silence in my entire life.  Weirdly, this seemed a little lonely at first.  No kids asking for things, no phones ringing, no remodel hammering/drilling, no keyboard keys, dishwasher swishing, no white noise, no nothing.   By this time I trusted the water and its comforting embrace that was suspending me in a womb-like warmth.  I sort of can't feel my arms and legs anymore.  Obviously if I move them, they are there, but my awareness of owning them is gone.  Somehow I am reminded of outer space movies like Gravity where Sandra Bullock is weightlessly drifting in the darkness of the  stars and the silence is deafening.  I am not sure if I fell asleep.  I felt like I was in and out of consciousness until the last five minutes when the music came back on and it was time to shower again.  After each client their is a sanitation process which includes disinfectant, UV light and the pod starts cycling the water through a one micron (1/100 the diameter of a human hair) pool filter three times. 

Floating is like hitting the reset button both physically and emotionally, however it takes a few times to use and recognize the benefits.  It is said to relax muscles, reduce joint pain, alleviate stress, and improve memory, learning and sleep.  When I told my daughter that it's supposed to put me in a joyous mellow mood for the next few days she responded, "Mom, you NEED to go EVERY week!"  That's probably not a bad idea, kid,  it does have me curious.  I felt like my normal self afterwards and the few days since then.  

If you are going to give floating a try, there is a deal right now on Amazon Local for $44.   Your first float is $45 (usu $89) from Urban Float and they also do packages and membership deals.  You can do everything online or call 206-257-4333.  Hours are 7:30a-11:30p every day.    If I could change anything next time, I would leave myself a bigger window of time to chill out before and after.  And I'd maybe bring a bathing cap (or at least a brush for that salty hair) and some loose/comfy clothes for after.   I have some claustrophobic friends that asked if they could try it.  I'm not claustrophobic, so I can't say for sure, but I never felt confined, and if you wanted to leave the lid of your pod open you can (but I wouldn't turn the light out in the pod)  I'd love to hear what you think about floating and if you've tried it. Add your comments below..... just click where it says (comments) on the lower right below this post. ~j