Wines and Valentine's

Natural Wine
When you put up a "Natural Wine" shop sign in Kirkland's downtown (200 Central Way) you are going to pique some curiosity.  Healthy, sustainable, chemical-free drinking is always a welcomed philosophy at our house! But they aren't ever open.  I think I've stopped by at least four times during posted open hours only to fog up the glass with my breath against the window wondering when they might let me in.  There appears to be wine in there (and ice cream too!?).  Am I being punk'd? Let me in!! Oh, and shoutout to The Grape Choice for being consistently awesome (and open) since the dawn of time. 

Here are some other fun ideas for your sweet February...

The Galentine’s Day Celebration is a special event on Feb 13 from 10-4 pm at the North Kirkland Community Center (tickets $5) that will bring together a group of local, women-owned businesses, to celebrate and support the women in our community. Along with shopping for a special gift from our local vendors, there will be demonstrations and competitions, local musical artists, goodie bags, and giveaways! Reserve your spot today at

The new improved and totally on-point Beach Cafe at Carillon Point has a fabulous dinner plan for Valentine's Day ($85/per person).  And they've just fired up their happy hour again from 4-5:30 too.

Hearth at The Heathman likes to spread the love of Valentine's out a bit with their magical menu being offered on Feb 11th, 12th, and 14th from 5-9.  But it fills up fast.  Menu and reservation link here.

Or how about a visit to this new Yuan Spa at The Village at Totem Lake?

You could always send something fun from Lady Yum for Valentine's too!

Feel free to add other events/specials I missed or some of your favorite Valentine's activities in the comments (keepin' in Rated G for all audiences) ~j


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winners! Congrats to Monique K and Joyce W for commenting on recent social media posts and being selected as the winners of a 2022 'Kirkland Sunsets' desktop calendar created  I know, dreams do come true.  And...Chicken!  Yeon's Chicken is now OPEN at 214 Central Way where Lynn's Bistro former (next door) location used to be.  I was on a walk, so didn't have a chance to eat there yet, but when I popped my head in they were anxiously awaiting some hungry customers.  It looks super casual/simple/clean and their menu has photos that I find super helpful in my decision-making.  There are a variety of dumplings, rice cakes, noodle dishes, sides, and of course chicken (always wings and drumettes w/different preparations except for the boneless chicken dish) $10-20. Lunch boxes are $16-18 and you can even grab a beer ($6) or glass of wine ($5). I've seen a few Yeon's Chicken fans on social media already so go check them out. Also on Door Dash. Report back here! 425-242-0333, 11am-9pm each day, closed on Sunday.


Small Threads for Kids has Big Deals for Us

 SmallThreadclothes   SmallThreadclothes

Small Threads for Kids is a youth consignment store that opened in Totem Lake (12507 116th Ave NE) three months ago.  The former US Bank building is now bursting at the seams with every color of the rainbow in children's gently used clothes sizes newborn to 16, strollers, bouncy seats, car seats, books, games, stuffies, and more.  This is a great way to upcycle and keep usable items and dollars in our own community.  They are constantly getting new things in so check back often.  Some of the hottest items right now are outerwear, leggings, newborn items (Evergreen is just a skip jump away), and brands such as Janie & Jack, Hannah Andersson, and Mini Boden.  I was impressed that everything is so neat, organized, and well labeled.

SmallThreadclothes   SmallThreadclothes

Have you been staying inside and cleaning out your kids' closets on these rainy days? Excellent.  You can consign 6 items by popping in without an appointment or up to 35 items with an appointment. The split is 60 % (Small Threads)/ 40% (your wallet) and stays on the rack for up to 60 days at which time unsold items can be returned or donated.  Hours are Mon-Fri 9:30am-6 pm and Sat 10-5 (closed Sunday). There are also locations in Issaquah, Redmond, and soon-to-be Mill Creek. I'm a little sad that Small Threads didn't show up a few years ago when my kids were growing out of their clothes every three months.  For those of you in that phase, this will be a winner! 

What is a 'normal' year anymore?

Sunset calendar
Here it is...2022! What do you think so far? With all of the added snow/ice and an uptick in Omicron and shifting circumstances, I am relying on my hard-earned resilience as I strive to stay positive. So, let's start this post off with something fun!? A present! 

For the last two years, I have created a desk calendar of Kirkland sunsets (mostly from home or on my walks) because it was interesting to see how varying the same view could be on different days.  Find my sunset post on the Kirkland Blog's Facebook or Insta Account and share three things you are grateful for to be entered to win one of my special-made Kirkland Sunset Calendars! If you're in Kirkland I'll even hand-deliver it. Please respond by Friday....and don't forget to give me a follow! Social media is where you'll find the extra tidbits, like videos of all the local lunatics that jumped in Lake WA on Jan 1st that nobody should miss.

Also, if you're still looking for your COVID vax or booster, the new Bartell Drugs (and KBlog advertiser, woot!) in Kirkland has availability and you can make appointments here.  

Final cheers to 2022 for taking its thoughtful time to hold us upright, slow, and steady in getting back on track where everything isn't an extenuating circumstance, cancellation, or hair-on-fire emergency. #comebackyear #prettyplease

Polar Plunge on 1/22 + Extra Ice Please

Polar plunge2022
With all of our children on the same holiday break, our family escaped to the warm beaches of Waikiki for a little sunshine this Christmas.  Imagine our surprise when we returned to all of this snow! Brrr! We looked a little silly exiting SeaTac in our flip-flops and shorts in 20-degree weather.  This immediately made me dread the severity of the impending Polar Plunge 'cleansing' that typically takes place on January 1st each year in Marina Park.  Hundreds of crazy locals rush towards the frigid waters of Lake Washington to shock their systems into a reset for the new year.  This has always been an unsanctioned event that has taken on a life of its own, an unwritten yet beloved tradition of Kirklanders.   But then I found this!

Kirkland Patch has reported that Kirkland Parks & Community Services will host a "January Jump" on Jan 22nd at Houghton Beach Park, complete with trivia, prizes, games, contests, food trucks, and free clam chowder courtesy of Ivar's.  Despite the New Year's tardiness (as we've become generally accustomed to during this pandemic), it sounds like we are really elevating our game.   If you want in on the action, you will have to register online in advance for $5 or pay $10 on the event day,  and you can also receive a t-shirt ($15 advanced reg) to recognize your insanity bravery. Proceeds benefit the Recreation Scholarship Fund.  And in true 2020/2021/2022 (!!?) fashion, there will also be a virtual option ($10) that sounds cozy, albeit symbolically unfulfilling. Registration link is on the Kirkland Parks Website or you can call 425-587-3336.  

Can I get this body bathing suit ready by the 22nd? That's a tall order. Will the sun come out and warm up the lake so I don't have a heart attack that day?  Also doubtful.  But I could use a shock to the system.  A little wake up call of sorts.  Whichever day you decide (or not) to take the LEAP, let's make this a great, well ok I'd setttle for just 'better', 2022.  Love you Kirkland. xo

Alesia and the Delights Behind Their Doors

Alesiaexterior  AlesiaSteveMelody

I was expecting a ten-minute stop when I meandered into Alesia, a new shop where Bassline (the 425 room) used to be on Central Way.  But the warmth and friendliness that I encountered kept me there for a longer visit. Meet Steve and Melody of Alesia, former teachers and possibly the most down-to-Earth bringing all the love to the table with no judgment kind of people.  Their shop is a self-proclaimed creative dichotomy of physical textures that are never off-the-rack.  They feature 32 different designers in jewelry, home goods, paintings, artistic glass, and handbags, along with Steve's custom jewelry work.  

AlesiaInterior Alesiajewelry  Alesiabracelet  

You'll get pulled into the comfort of their space that includes the cutest puppy on the planet named Finnley (photo below) and their "Bertie the Fox" logo that was created by Melody's son.  This charismatic duo cares about and supports sustainability and inclusivity and features products such as ethical lab-grown diamonds, recycled metals, conflict-free fair-trade gemstones, and vegan/cork purses.  They want to emphasize that EVERYONE is welcome, and proudly give a portion of their proceeds to TransFamilies and Pasado's Safe Haven

These former teachers are not focused on fancy, they are going for approachable and welcome their guests to be engaged and relaxed.   You won't easily find prices on things because they encourage you to ask questions and interact with their products- engage in the experience because so many of these new and unusual artisans create tactile pieces that you need to feel and have fun with.  As I started checking out the pieces, this concept became more clear to me.  A clever artist made this bracelet (photo above) that fits comfortably and artfully around the shape of my wrist, and many of the rings were square-shaped to perfectly compliment my fingers.  A fan- favorite of the artists they feature is Elizabeth Garvin.  Items in their shop range from $50 to several thousand depending on your taste and intention.  I'd encourage you to pop in and enjoy the beautiful uniqueness of Alesia's products and the warm welcome you will receive there.  Hours are Tues-Fri 11-5:30 and Sat 10-4  (closed Sun/Mon).

AlesiaFinnley10 wks <-- hi Finnley! he gives free kisses ! xo


Hohohoppin' into the Holiday Season

Okay my little Kirkland Elves, let's see what is in store for us this holiday...feel free to comment with other fun things I may have missed that you want to share.

Holiday lightscontestflyer2021
2nd Annual Holiday Lights Contest
- But hurry! FREE registration closes Dec 6th at noon. Decorate your home and also submit a photo to by 12/9 at 5pm. The top 3 winners will be announced on 12/16 and receive a victory yard sign so they will be the envy of all of Kirkland.

Ladies Night Out at The Village at Totem Lake- 12/9  4-7 pm: happy hour, a wreath-making or Santa painting workshop and food and beverages.  Grab a friend and buy your tickets here. The Village also has carols scheduled and of course, storytime with Ms. Claus at Barnes & Noble. 

Kirkland Winter Market-
Dec 11th 10 am-2 pm at Kirkland Urban/Peter Kirk Promenade.  This is the last one, so be sure to check out these local vendors for winter produce, flowers, foods, and crafts. 

Make your own parade with Duffy Boat's Holiday Light Cruise- Carillon Point Marina thru 1/2/22.  4 nightly parades at 3:30, 5:00, 6:30, and 8 pm.  Be your own captain on an electric boat that is fully enclosed, heated, and fits 10 people. Book here. Our family did this last year- super fun!

Gingerbread House contest
- on display at participating stores downtown.

"Sips & Snowballs" Wine Walk- Dec 17th 5 pm-9 pm for early admission. 21 and over. Buy your $25-$30 tickets here now so you can embark on a fun holiday adventure of shop-hopping and wine tasting.

Google Musical Holiday Lights on the Cross Kirkland Corridor- 12/8-1/1 nightly from 5-10 pm. Free show of 10,000 LED lights. You'll find this treasure at the Family Fitness and Play Area on the Cross Kirkland Corridor near the Google campus.

Visits with Santa- You can still catch the Big Guy at Kirkland Urban on Sat 12/11 11 am-2 pm and Sat 12/18 11 am- 2 pm.  Crafts and a selfie-station too.

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"
- live performances at Studio East through Dec 19th. Tickets are $20 student/senior and $25/adult.

Argosy Christmas Ship Festival- 12/11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 22. $50/adults, $47 seniors, $37 youth, and under 3 are free.  This is always such a unique and festive way to enjoy the lake and holiday lights and carols.

Community Bonfires
- Gather and watch the Christmas Ships by land!  Marina Park Sat 12/11 2:10-2:35 and O.O. Denny Park Sunday 12/19 2:35-2:55 pm.  Bonfires can be cancelled due to weather or burn bans. Call 425-587-3345 for 'day of' weather info.

The 12K's of Christmas is BACK- Registration is open for this Sun 12/12 festive run that starts in Marina Park.

Spa-La-La Still Spa Holiday Event- Tues 12/14 3-8pm at Still Spa at the Woodmark. Passport style with express treatments, complimentary wine, skincare and beauty advice, exclusive discounts, and special prizes.  Buy your tickets here before they're gone. 

Crab Cakeswoodmark 1 (photo cred: Woodmark)
Carillon Kitchen (to-go holiday meals $85/pp)  and Beach Café (3 courses, $95/pp) both have amazing Christmas dining options. Take out orders must be placed by 12/18 by calling 425-739-6363.  Reservations for Beach Café are through Open Table ONLY


Santa's Mailbox
- you will find it in front of the downtown Bank of America until Dec 18th.  Don't forget! Your little ones will get a reply! hohoho

Spud's New Mural with a Purpose

I was lucky enough to meet a talented local teen named Austin Picinich last summer when he had his own booth at Kirkland's Summerfest.  This young man is unstoppable with his amazing art that he pairs with community-focused and sustainability-centric messages.  Austin's next project is painting a 62-foot exterior wall mural on the side of SPUD Fish & Chips in Juanita to raise awareness for salmon in Juanita Creek. Austin is working with Urban Artworks to host a Community Paint Day this spring.  And, yes, that means you will be able to volunteer and get involved to help make his magic happen.  There will also be a plaque about salmon and the history of Juanita Creek.

In case your inner elf self would like to help support this project, Austin is also raising funds to help cover the cost of paint, permits, brushes, and other associated material costs.  He's a little more than halfway to his goal! Check out his pictures of the upcoming mural we will soon all be able to enjoy.  I'll let you know when they need volunteers this spring!

AustinPicinich (where the creativity begins)



 (digital mock-up)


Eclectic6Sal     Eclectic6Sal 

Too many things are opening and I can't keep up! Ack!  Cloud Food Court, Hola House, Sasquatch Strength, Alesia, and  Natural Wine are all OPEN. I need the downpours (and holidays) to stop so I can go meander around downtown without getting drenched and check these spots out. I did pop in and say hello to Sal, the manager at "Eclectic" at 3 Lake St, whose sign is not quite up yet, where Crush's Kirkland storefront used to be.

Eclectic4   Eclectic6Sal
There are so many colors, it was really fun to take photos!  This new shop has handmade products from Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and India so everything is handmade and unique.  There are colorful painted ceramic lead-free bowls ($17/ea or 3 for $45, photo) that are safe for eating and handwashing. You'll also discover mosaic lamps in a variety of sizes and colors($100-1200) which remind me of my Grandma's house and her fancy Tiffany-style lamp.  Sal can help you sort through the various colors and styles of handmade rugs too ($1-5K).  He's already noticed how friendly people are here, so don't forget to spread your holiday cheer here too!

Kirkland Greens

First and foremost, thank you festive holiday people of Kirkland!  It feels like everyone is on their game early this year with sparkly lights everywhere and it makes me smile.  This week I plan to pause and be thankful for about 150 things before I glue myself to the Cyber Monday deals.  But a little planning ahead never hurt anyone either, especially if you are sharing your good cheer.  I've heard a few people clammering for Christmas trees already...

KiwanisFlyer small Final (1) KiwanisIMG_5489 (photo cred: Kirkland Kiwanis)

The ever-famous 2021 Kiwanis of Kirkland Christmas Tree sale will be open the day after Thanksgiving (11/26) in the Juanita Beach Park parking lot.  You will find trees from 3-12 feet ($55-190) in addition to wreaths, garland, and See's Candy.  Hours are every day 10 am-7 pm but  CLOSED on Weds. they'll be open until 12/24 or until the trees are gone.  Proceeds support the Club, the Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation, and local children's charities.  This is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, and the trees always go fast, so get there early for the best selection. Want to help volunteer with set-up? What a fun way to stay warm outside and be a good citizen.

Green Trips and  SLK Logo
Besides trees, there's another kind of 'green' effort launching in Kirkland! It's called Kirkland Green Trip, to promote shopping locally while encouraging alternative transportation. Parking may not be our strong-suit in downtown, but fabulous shops and a family/friendly community certainly are.  There will be weekly prizes awarded during the month of December if you simply take a selfie of yourself shopping locally and your green mode of transportation. Learn how to submit your entry here. #shoplocalkirkland

And a quick glimpse into some holiday events for this upcoming weekend...

  • Sat 11/27 1-3 pm and Sun 11/28 1-3 there will be carolers at The Village at Totem Lake
  • Sat 11/27 11 am-2 pm families can check out Kirkland Urban's "snow globe" to meet and get a photo taken with Santa (safely seated behind a plexiglass barrier). There will also be crafts and a holiday0-themed selfie station. This event continues each Saturday leading up to Christmas.
  • Santa's mailbox will be up in front of the downtown Bank of America and in Kirkland Urban from Thanksgiving thru 12/18.  Santa writes back!  Get your requests in early (Santa is not immune to supply chain issues!)
  • Nightly holiday tree lighting at 5pm for all of December in Marina Park.

I have more to share. But I need to go welcome my college kids home and buy brussel sprouts and egg nog (to go with the Fireball) and things like that right now. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Kirkland! I am thankful to have you as part of our community. xo