You Can Do It, 2021!

 Rainbow2021

I feel sort of bad for 2021 and the weight she must carry on her shoulders.   I do not envy her. We are all cautiously optimistic knowing 2021 has to pick up the pieces of that fresh hell that was 2020 and try to get us moving forward again.   I figured it's a good sign that she's making her best effort when I opened my blinds to see THIS, a rainbow so close I could almost touch it (no pot of gold at the end, we checked).  I was, however, getting a little uneasy when I read about the series of minor quakes and tremors that have been rumbling nearby lately.  Not now 2021, not now, we need you to hold tight sister.  I decided it was wise to double-check the status of my emergency-prep supplies and wanted to give you this reminder too. What a great stay-at-home project-right?! Here's a link to our city's advice on building a kit/making a plan.  And you can also buy kits from a local company in Redmond that I've used called Prepare Smart, where I'm sure they would do a touch-free pick up and appreciate the support. 

Speaking of supporting small businesses- have you heard the news? Kirkland is hosting free parking spots in the Marina Park lot for in-car dining.  A handful of the restaurants downtown will deliver right to your car! That's pretty exciting around this house, because if our family can all pile in the car and place a few food orders to arrive curbside while we stare at the lake, pounding rain,  and lingering holiday lights from our cars then THAT would be a big night out circa 2021. Baby steps- first a rainbow, then a meal in public inside my car? Things are looking up my friends.  Participating restaurants and their online menus can be found here.  See you in the park (..ing lot?) ? Yessssss. C'mon 2021. We can do THIS.

PS- are you following the Kirkland Weblog on social media? New Year's reminder: Facebook, Insta, Twitter. Sometimes secrets and little tidbits hit there first. ;-) Besides, we're already friends what are you waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cleansing Ourselves of 2020

COVIDornament <-Best homemade ornament of the season

To plunge or not to plunge?  Normally in this last week of December,  I'd have a jovial post about our invigorating Kirkland Polar Plunge tradition that would take place on January 1st in Marina Park.  But this year has been NO FRIGGIN' JOKE.  And clearly, sadly, we still can't gather.  So, it's up to you Kirkland, the way you start 2021 is in your hands. Water temp in Lake Washington looks like it's about 47 degrees, plenty cold enough to pair with a good scouring brush to cleanse our souls of the heart wrench that the last 12 months delivered for so many.  If you and your family are holding true to a plunge, please be wise and go during daytime hours and with supervision in case of any shock, hypothermia, heart attacks, or tsunamis that may still be remnants of 2020.  Let's stay Kirkland Strong together and look forward with high hopes for our new year.  Best wishes to all of you for a joyful holiday. ~j


Hearth's Christmas-To-Go

HearthHoliday4      HearthHoliday1  

Are you tired of cooking? Do you wish a holiday meal would just magically appear this year? No kidding. I've got your back! Hearth at The Heathman Hotel is on-the-ready to help you make this year's Christmas delicious and festive at your home with their four-course feast that is packaged and ready for you to simply heat and eat. Stress-free sounds pretty perfect. But don't procrastinate, because your pre-order needs to be called into 425-284-5900 by this Fri 12/18. You'll start with wild mushroom bisque, then onto gem lettuce and roasted beet salad, followed by an entree choice of honey glazed natural ham OR braised beef short trib medallions, and finish it all off with an apple crisp.  This delicious spread is $55/per person, and there are also some festive fave kids' meals, extra sides, charcuterie, and wine pairings available to elevate your experience.  Supporting local business and not cooking for the holiday never sounded so good.  Pickup is available on December 23rd, 24th, or 25th. Even if you are cooking, what a thoughtful gift for Grandma, Uncle Fred, or other family members you may not be able to share your meal with in-person this year.

HearthHolidayDavidMitchell  HearthHoliday3 <--Yummy brunch shot: croissant bfast sandwich and the farm egg soft scramble
It's worth noting that Hearth also has the perfect pandemic-ready patio with plentiful heaters, widely spread tables, and gloved/masked staff.  I feel safe there. The building's architect must be patting him or herself on the back about now because nobody saw Coronavirus coming, but their design is keenly equipped for our current restrictions.  Steve and I were in for brunch and nestled ourselves in the outside corner fireside table humming along to the blissfully upbeat holiday music while wishing we could get waited on every day.  Check out our delish food photo from brunch (above, Sun 9-2). We also had a chance to chat with Executive Chef David Mitchell about the Christmas pick-up menu and he shared, "I want to make sure it's a good amount of food.  I really want people to be WOW-ed."  So if you're ready to be wowed with a stress-free holiday dinner,  call 425-284-5900 with your questions and pre-order by Friday 12/18.  Of course, Hearth To-Go and their Pie on the Fly program are also still available Weds-Sat 3-8pm.   And there's no shame in ordering a Hearth pizza for the holidays too, it is 2020 after all.  Note days of operation are Weds-Sat, reservations are recommended (and are required for the Christmas meal). Enjoy!


Go Duff Around on Lake WA

Duffyboatsflyer 
Perhaps we are not completely trapped this holiday season??? What if there was a Christmas miracle that allowed you to escape your home in a safe and special sort of way? Duffy Electric Boats to the rescue!  There are six of these tricked-out little rides docked right at the Kirkland Marina decorated with holiday lights so you can be part of your very own lighted holiday boat parade.  Bah-humbug to the pandemic,  THIS we can do-grab your family and masks and go. It's a one-hour ride for $149 plus insurance/tax and your household has a boat all to yourselves.  You are your own captain (or you can pay extra for one) and since they are electric, powered by 16 golf cart batteries, they are quiet and zero-emission. You don't even need a boater's license since your max speed will be 7mph.  This special 1hr rental with holiday pricing is available through January 3rd.


 Duffy3   Duffy3   Duffy3   Duffy4
 
When I asked my kids if they would like to do a holiday boat ride on our own Duffy boat, you would have thought I asked them if they'd like to go to the Caribbean.  "All of us?! On a boat ride? Where? When? This Saturday!!?"  they shrieked. We don't get out much anymore so putting on our big coats and holiday cheer and hopping in the car together for a mile ride to the marina for a new adventure was quite the novel experience.  We checked in at the tent on the south end of Marina Park and headed to the dock where the masked staff welcomed us and told us some super simple instructions about how to operate the boat.  The minimum rental age is 21. Each boat has a different color holiday-themed light trim and when it was time to go, we all launched off in a straight line to follow the lead yacht with blue lights.  My kids were not sad to discover a sealed container of iced holiday cookies that await the guests of each Duffy boat. The clear canvas sides of the 21' vessel zip up or down and there's even a little heater which keeps the adorable holiday-themed interior quite comfortable.  Onward! Our mini-parade headed south past Carillon's fabulous light display and continued on into Cozy Cove where we could oooh-and-ahhh at the homes and their displays also.  Staff is there to catch your boat and tie it up when you dock in the same area where you started. 

Duffyparade   Duffyparade
If you haven't heard of Duffy Boats, it's an interesting story how Marshall "Duffy" Duffield designed the Duffy boats over 45 years ago and they became an integral part of the lifestyle in his city of Newport Beach, CA where he also later became mayor.  The City of Kirkland did an RFP back in 2019 for tourism at the marina, which sparked hoteliers Troy Longwith (former GM of our Heathman) and Tanner Eriksen, who lives in Newport, to pitch the Duffy idea for Kirkland.  And so here we are, and the Kirkland Duffies have seen many marriage proposals, memorials, and even a wedding!  There are different themed boats too- Seahawks, Cougs, and Huskies are all represented in these cleverly named boats such as Duff'n Hawks, Duff'n Around, Duff'n Good Times, to name a few. The Duff'n Hawks boat was featured twice on the intro to Sunday Night Football on NBC and features the work of street artist Kelsey Montague, who is known for her collaboration with Taylor Swift and the Wings of Nashville.  I appreciate that Troy and Tanner have an enthusiasm for Kirkland and also that they bring their hotel expertise to their  Duffy boats.  There are four scheduled bookings for each Duffy in an evening, and the boats are cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected between each session. They also use a cold-fogging solution that is similar to the one hotels use to keep their guests extra safe. 

So, are YOU going to "Do the Duffy?" (<-- weird watching pre-COVID videos sometimes, right?) You can book your Winterfest Light Cruise online here or email info@duffyboatfun.com or call/text 425-588-1716.  Enjoy!


Kiwanis Trees and my Brilliant Idea

Kiwantistrees
The Kirkland Kiwanis Tree Lot is open at Juanita Beach Park!  It's all lit up and loaded with inventory and fresh evergreen smells, but you know it won't be for long.  Spread your cheer! Your purchase and donations benefit local children's programs such as the Kirkland Teen Union, Special Olympics, Nourishing Networks, Student Scholarships, Attain Housing, Eastside Baby Corner, and Camp Casey.  You'll find trees 3-15 feet tall priced $40-190, wreaths, garlands and even candy treats.  They are staffed by Kiwanis volunteers and local Key Club teens will help you load up your vehicle.  And of course, you are distanced, masked, and outside! Hours are (pay attention they are tricky): Mon/Tues/Thur 12-7, Weds CLOSED, Fri/Sat/Sun 10-7.  This lot blows out of inventory every year so get in while the getting is good.

Shoplocal

What's the brilliant idea? That's why you really clicked through, isn't it?  With all of the clicking and shopping and Black Friday and Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday I couldn't help but think about our local businesses and how we can help them.  Of course, you don't want to forget the new ShopLocalKirkland site, but I also remembered something I did recently that could maybe be applied more broadly.  A few months ago, when we were also up to our eyeballs in COVID cases, I called The Grape Choice and told them I'd like a case of wine, as any sane person would do when in the midst of a pandemic. I told them my budget and that we love Cabernet Sauvignons and Viogniers, but always avoid Sauvignon Blancs.  "Surprise me!" I said.  And they sure did- they even delivered! It has been a pleasure and delight discovering new wines since that delivery- tonight's was a Hightower Cab from Red Mountain that was excellent. My point being-- what if we called or emailed our favorite local businesses and gave them some creative leeway. I'll bet they'd love to hear from us and put together some surprise gifts for our family and friends.  Pick up the phone. I know they miss us, and we could all benefit from a little personal acknowledgment from our fellow sheltered community members.  Athina for your holiday floral arrangement? She's a creative wizard. How about a guy's gift from Seattle Thread Co or Asher Goods (they helped me with some awesome Yeti gifts last year). Perhaps some artwork- Gunnar would love to find for you? Or Vince at Lake St. Diamond can help you find your daughter her first pair of diamond studs.  Blingy masks from Via Lago? A beautifully delish array of macarons from Lady Yum?

Remember your local retailers.  Reach out and maybe something magical will happen. ~j


Let's Fast-forward to Winter Holidays

....and 2021 ( ooops, did I say that out loud?).  Here's an early rundown of some distanced holiday fun coming at you.  Because really, what else do we have to do? I am now wearing hoodies every day just like my teenagers. It's not a good look, but it sure is comfortable!  And I may or may not be losing my marbles over here. My kids tell me I'm repeating myself and then five minutes later I can't even remember what I was going to say. It may or may not come back to me a few hours later, but I do realize I'm forgetting something. Is this some kind of stay-at-home brain-melting dementia? Oh yeah, I know I know, holiday updates..that's what I was doing. Here you go:

Tree
Kirkland's tree-
the tree is going up downtown, even if there will not be a tree-lighting ceremony as in years past.  The tree will be installed in Marina Park in early December, so head on over with your masks on for some family photos.

Google Lights- a classic Kirkland event postponed until 2021


Santamailbox
Santa's Mailbox
- coming soon! This will appear on the corner of Lake St/Kirkland Ave AND at Kirkland Urban this year! Email volunteer@kirklanddowntown.org to help with replies and help spread some cheer.

 

Holiday Lights Contest Flyer2020

Holiday Lights Contest: Nov 16-Dec 18
The Kirkland Park's Dept is hosting the first annual city-wide Holiday Lights Contest for homes and businesses. People can register their home or business for free and decorate from November 16-December 18. A committee will drive to each location to judge and choose a winner for each category. Winners will be announced on the Park's Dept Facebook page and will win a victory yard/window sign. Participants can register at https://bit.ly/3nAeohR

Below is the event information, and the flyer is attached to this email. We hope to spread some joy this holiday season in fun and safe way.

Contest Rules:

  1. Decorations must be visible from driveway.
  2. Decorations must be available and lit up on December 19-20 between 5 to 8 p.m. for the judging.
  3. Each category winner will win a victory yard sign (or window sign for businesses) to announce their special status to all who drive by!
  4. Winners will be announced on December 21. Winners will also be announced on our Kirkland Parks Facebook page. 
  5. Registration closes December 18 at Noon. 

Decorate and enter your home or business into one of the following categories:

  • Best Home Display
  • Best Business Display
  • Best Apartment/Condo Doorway or Balcony Display

 

Holidayhometourvirtual
Assistance League of the Eastside 2020 Holiday Virtual Home Tour- Nov 28-Dec 6

It’s not too late to get your tickets. Get inspired by lovely holiday décor, creative stay-at-home holiday entertaining ideas and wonderful gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list. They are excited to share their virtual tour with you, and hope that you will join in celebrating the joy of giving back to those most vulnerable in our community who need our support, now more than ever.

Purchase tickets through December 6 at https://www.aleastside.org/holiday-event-2020.

Your $35 ticket allows unlimited access from November 28 through December 6.  

KIN
KIN Virtual Alternative Gift Fair- Dec 5th

For over 25 years, Kirkland Interfaith Network has (KIN) been organizing and hosting an Alternative Gift Fair. The Fair is an opportunity for community members to make a donation to their choice of local charitable agencies in honor of someone on their gift list. They receive a gift card that they can present to the person they are honoring. No wrapping, no boxes – just a simple and meaningful remembrance. Their gift gives twice – once to the charity to support their important causes, and again for the person being honored.

Participants are asked to register for the Fair in advance via Eventbrite at https://tinyurl.com/KINFair2020. Before the Fair starts, KIN will email the Zoom link to all registered participants, who can then come on December 5 anytime between 11AM and 3PM. After entering the online lobby, participants will choose which organizations they’d like to learn more about. KIN volunteers with send them to whichever breakout rooms they’d like to go, where they can chat with a volunteer or staff of the organization. There’s no pressure to make a donation right there on the spot – when they leave, they’ll have all the information needed to ponder on the right gift and then donate. Gift cards will be sent either via postal mail, or emailed or downloaded for printing at home. Please register now by going to https://tinyurl.com/KINFair2020. There’s no cost to attend.

 


Eating Enchanted with Marla Groves

MarlaEatingEnchanted

Meet fellow Kirklander, incredible cook, world traveler, avid entertainer (pre-COVID), and now The Eating Enchanted Cookbook author, Marla Groves.  What better way to re-launch into your stay-at-home time than with some new recipes!  Especially healthy ones. Marla's philosophy is that people should give themselves the gift of healthy eating while recognizing that everyone's path is unique. All of her recipes are naturally gluten-free and focus on unprocessed ingredients that are both flavorful and nutritious. She says, "you should never feel restricted or locked down but work towards a balanced and sustainable healthy lifestyle. "

Marlacookbook Marlathaicurrysoup <--Khao Soi (Northern Thai Curry), which would hit the spot on a rainy day like today

Many of the recipes found in Marla's cookbook have a flair of flavors from Italy or Thailand, both places she has lived before, and that have continued to ignite her love of fresh seasonal and local ingredients.  In her cookbook, you'll find breakfast, soup, salad, fish/poultry/vegetarian modifications, snacks, cocktails, and desserts which are all dishes she shares from her own family's table. Some are simple 10-minute ideas to whip up, and others are more elaborate creations, but all have her voice woven in the stories behind the recipes and how they came to be.  There are great tips, photos, and -bonus- each lists out whether it has gluten, dairy, veg, lectins, low carb, vegan, pescatarian, or even if it is a 'healthy comfort food.' Marla grew up cooking with her mom and baking with her grandma and was clearly inspired from a young age.   Her career has spanned from the finance industry to trained pastry chef, but her discoveries around sustainable healthy eating and how it can make you feel have certainly been culminating for years.  The result is her Eating Enchanted cookbook that she's excited to share with you, her Kirkland community.  You can find it on Amazon now ($40 paperback or $9.99 Kindle version). 


ShopLocalKirkland.com Creates a Digital Main Street for Kirkland Businesses

Shoplocalkirkland
With cases on the rise and the weather forcing us to buckle down for winter, there's a great new way to buy local and support our Kirkland merchants! Here is the press release for www.shoplocalkirkland.com.  Turn on your holiday music and start clicking.

A new digital marketplace now makes it possible to find and purchase the unique goods, gifts, food and services that Kirkland businesses offer, many with contactless pickup and delivery options.  From clothing and décor to restaurants and wine to business, health and wellness services, ShopLocalKirkland.com offers a fast, easy way to make purchases, and support Kirkland businesses in the process.

“We are thrilled to provide this platform to connect Kirkland businesses to consumers and promote the exceptional goods and services that Kirkland businesses offer to shoppers” said Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet  “We are fortunate to have incredible businesses in Kirkland, and ShopLocalKirkland.com makes it safe and convenient to buy from businesses we know and trust.  I signed our own retail business up and am looking forward to the results.”

The Shop Local Kirkland initiative responds to the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Kirkland’s business community and is designed to help local businesses survive and thrive through WA State’s Safe Start Plan and beyond. Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy, contributing about 50 percent of GDP. The vast majority of businesses in Kirkland are classified as small businesses.

Since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, restrictions imposed by local, state and federal governments have presented severe economic hardship for businesses that depend on in-person customer experiences. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable -- the average small business has only enough cash in reserve to remain open for 27 days and have suffered dramatic declines in revenue. The Shop Local Kirkland initiative endeavors to assist Kirkland businesses with recovery as well as help them take vital steps toward digital transformation so they can reach and transact with customers in the future.

“Current data shows that more than 80% of consumers purchase online, however not every small business has an online presence,” said Samantha St. John, CEO of the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. “The Shop Local Kirkland initiative and the Shop Local Kirkland website aim to create a ‘safety-net economy’ designed to help small businesses weather disruption and downturns, build e-commerce capacity, and survive and thrive in a digital as well as physical marketplace.”

To peruse and purchase unique and trusted goods and services offered by Kirkland-based businesses, go to www.shoplocalkirkland.com

Have a business and want to join? Registration is free and open to all Kirkland-based businesses, including home businesses and not-for-profits. Register your business at  www.shoplocalkirkland.com.  Questions? Need help? Please email shoplocalkirkland@kirklandwa.gov.


Deja Moo to you Too

DejaMoo

Pre-Covid we would get excited when a new restaurant sign went up, but in 2020 boyyyyy we can hardly contain ourselves when this level of mystery arrives in our fine city.  A new place to pickup food? Count me in! Recognize that font? You bet you do. The old Brix location in Juanita Village will be moving to Woodinville with a forecasted April 2021 opening, while the old spot (same owners) will become Deja Moo,  a counter-service version of Tipsy Cow (also same owners).  Expect to experience the same great burgers, wine, shakes and flavors of Tipsy Cow, with a new name.  They are shooting for a Feb 1, 2021 opening. Moooooooo-re details when I have them. ~j


The Village's VIRTUAL Hween Costume Contest

Hween 001

I thought you'd enjoy this photo of me from Halloween 2013.  It's one of my faves because nobody recognized me and my kids were crying and running, confused to hear my voice but not seeing me in that face at all.  This year, there's a big contest in classic 2020 VIRTUAL style and yes, there are prizes..$50 gift cards to some of your favorite spots!  So get your silly, scary, crazy, hilarious costumes on at HOME this year and participate in the The Village at Totem Lake's 'Spooktacular' Virtual Halloween Costume Contest.  All family members- parents, kids, pets, are encourage to get decked out and enter.  Instructions are on their Insta Page. Snap and share a photo between Oct 19-30th and use the hashtag #TotemLakeHalloween and stay tuned for the winners to be announced on Oct 31st in the following categories:

Costume Categories:

  1. Best Princess or Superhero (prize: $50 gift card to one of The Village’s eateries)
  2. Best Make-up (prize: $50 Ulta Beauty gift card)
  3. Best Pet Costume (prize: $50 All The Best Pet Care gift card)
  4. Best Nails (prize: $50 Anthony Vince’ Nail Spa gift card)
  5. Judge’s Choice (prize: $50 gift card of winner’s choice at one of the stores above)

I'll be looking forward to your creativity!