So a stage mom I am not. But, I do believe that trying new things can lead to growth and is important for all of us to keep doing. I do also love shoes… hmmm, I probably should have mentioned that first.
Last year, when I saw an informal casting call for the local kid’s shoe company, See Kai Run, I moved pretty quickly. All three of my kids have worn SKR shoes and we love their colorful and vibrant designs. See Kai Run was started in 2004 by Seattle mom, Cause Haun, who was looking for fun and stylish shoes for her kids. When she was unable to find kicks she liked in the current market, she started a a shoe company that promotes healthy footwear for kids. Now, ten years later, this local company is thriving and continues to make fantastic children’s shoes for a national audience.
So the end of this story is that the boys were picked for the See Kai Run photo shoot! The shoot happened last May, on a chilly, grey Seattle day at a beautiful home in the Seward Park neighborhood of Seattle. It was a fun to see what happens behind the scenes and get a little preview of future styles. The kids were great sports, despite the many goose bumps that were present that day. Thank you, See Kai Run, for letting these Poole boys experience something new with your cool company!
(Note: The photos will be used for the Spring/Summer 2014 marketing campaign. Please feel free to let me know if you see these cute faces – or um, feet – in your travels!)
We have stood at the bus stop for approximately 59 days so far this fall. Give or take… For the foreseeable future the bus stop will be part of our everyday life. Four of us (mom and three kiddos) trek outside each morning at 8:34, no matter the weather. As a stay-at-home mom of babies, there was little need to get outside – we could stay cozy inside on those rainy, nasty days, drinking hot cocoa and reading stories. Now, we all go outside with our kindergartner and wave him off, wishing him a successful day away from us.
Sam has transitioned just fine to riding the bus, the element I hadn’t thought about was bus stop style. Whereas in years past, I could throw on some Uggs for the quick drive to preschool, suede is totally impractical for the muddy, rainy days of Seattle (of course as I write it is a gloriously beautiful, sunny, clear and cold day!). Anyhow, on those rainy days, I have been challenged to find the “just right” footwear for our quick, daily trip out into the elements.
I have a hypothesis. It goes something like this… The people who are happiest in their environment (whatever that may be), have figured out how to dress for it and be comfortable. We moved to Seattle 11 years ago (Gasp! I can’t believe it has been that long!) and since then I have been trying to figure out how to be most comfortable in this mild, yet damp place. Hunter boots and Patagonia jackets have been successful steps towards Seattle comfort in varying degrees. But this week I think I figured it out. Eureka!!
There is an L.L.Bean tradition in our family that goes back to my husband’s Maine roots. We named both our dogs after this particular northeast retailer, respectively Leo (after Leon Leonwood Bean – L.L. Bean) and Ella Bean. As we have made our life on the west coast, this is a small nod to our extensive roots that exist on the other coast. When Gus and I first got together I became obsessed with the L.L.Bean Tote, . Every summer when visiting family back east, we would get a new one with some new monogram. Eventually our home reached a saturation point on those totes, but they are used heavily to this day and are still one of my favorite gifts to give. My newest L.L.Bean passion is for the classic Bean Boot. I think it was created specifically for the PNW Bus Stop. I just ordered a pair of the classic 6″ style and I couldn’t be more excited for them to arrive (and for the rain to begin again so that I can give them a try)!
I found a fun Bean Boots guide on The College Prepster. It gave me the courage to add these to my Bus Stop look! I went with the classic 6″ – which pair would you choose? Maybe add them to a holiday wishlist and let Your LL Bean Boyfriend know that these could make your winter “just right”!
Moccasins | They’re great for slipping into on lazy mornings and wearing with patterned socks when it’s cold.
Gumshoes | These are a great pick if you’re not sure what size to get. They’re low. And easy. A great medium between the 6″ and the mocs.
6″ | Perfect for slouchy socks and tucking into skinny jeans. I like that these are definitely made more for the elements.
8″ | If you’re in a snowier climate, you might consider the higher boot. I personally think the six inches feel more comfortable and hit my leg at a better point, but you definitely get more pant coverage with the eight inchers!
You may be familiar with Your LL Bean Boyfriend on Tumblr. It was created by a fellow Mainer, Liz Pride and is hilarious. She pulls photos from the LL.Bean catalogs and creates dialogue with them as though it is your ideal man saying something dreamy. It is something Gus and I particularly enjoy, because of these L.L.Bean connections and history. Pretty brilliant actually.
Before I’d even woken up, Liam had already raked the yard and was in his workshop refurbishing some chairs for his parents. I brought him out some coffee to reward his hard work and he took me into his arms. “You’re all the reward I need,” he whispered.
I see now that Liz is doing a female take on the award winning, Your LL Bean Boyfriend, with Your LL Bean Girlfriend…”She’ll serve you pancakes with the maple syrup she tapped herself. Can’t beat that.” I think these Bean Boots move me a couple steps closer to fitting the profile of Gus’ LL Bean Wife… Here’s hoping!
PS: If a buyer from L.L.Bean reads this, please know that my LL Bean husband would do practically anything for you to make Bean Boots in a size 16. Pretty, pretty please…
Some days I need an anthem to keep moving. To get that chin up. Or, to deal with bad attitudes all around… Often, P!nk’s infectious lyrics and bold beats are just the ticket.
We were lucky enough to attend P!nk’s live performance last night. She was in Seattle performing her Truth About Love Tour. As I have mentioned before (Life Lessons on the Playground), I really respect P!nk’s ethos of feminine strength and her no-nonsense attitude. Her music often inspires me to be my own best person… and lately, to stop taking cr*p from unthinking people.
P!nk’s concert was fantastic. She is a fabulously talented performer that grabbed the audience from the first note and didn’t let go for two hours. I had heard that her concerts are part-rock concert and part-cirque de soleil-esque theatrics and she did not disappoint. She spent much of the concert in the air doing amazing trapeze-type tricks while also singing her songs beautifully. It was a high energy, emotionally-charged rush that was just what I needed after a long week.
Here are a few snippets of the concert. It won’t do her justice, but might give you just a little taste of the fun we had. In the last clip of “So What” you can see that she literally flies right over us! It was really a fun time!
I am thrilled to share that Poole Party of 5 is featured on Assemble Shop & Studio’s website today! Andie Powers interviewed me as their Favorite Friday Friend today!
I used to work with Andie Powers years ago at Paper Source and always respected her talent and vision. We ran into each other at Alt Summit this summer and I got to meet her business partner, Emily Grosse. I had been following these ladies ventures for awhile, but it was so wonderful to get reconnected in real time. I am in awe of all that Andie and Emily are up to on Assemble and beyond. The ladies recently completed a kickstarter campaign and are definitely moving and grooving with lots of cool projects on the horizon. Go check them out!!
Click here to see the Poole Party of 5 interview: Assemble Shop and Studio: Favorite Friend Friday: Lesley Poole of Poole Party of 5
Thanks so much to Andie and Emily for the feature! I can’t think of a more fun and inspiring spot to be featured than Assemble.
This past week I was lucky enough to attend the Alt Summit in San Francisco. The minute I read about Alt SF, I knew I would do almost anything to go. It seemed like a mecca of inspiration created just for me; an event to support community within the design and blogging environment. My husband was wonderfully supportive and helped to me imagine that all could be covered at home during my trip. Arrangements were made and I found myself on my way! Add to this that San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and I was primed to have a fabulous trip. When we were notified that the after-party would be held at the new Pinterest headquarters, I knew this was going to be big! Alice in Pinterland was the theme of that party and it turns out this was the perfect description of my entire trip. There is something incredibly exhilarating about jumping into a new experience with both feet.
As you might know, I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 6 years and there is a certain hibernation attitude that is possible to adopt in this particular lifestyle. As frenetic as raising children is, it can be a bit isolated and insulated. As I launch this new chapter of self-discovery through the blog and Poole Party Designs, I realize that it is time for me to emerge from this cocoon and broaden my world once again.
Altitude Summit was the perfect launchpad for this. Although the attendees experience levels ranged from novice to professional within the design world, there was a warm sense of community that made this a very welcoming atmosphere. A shared attitude of innovation was present and a strong feeling of comradery that I don’t think was just imagined on my part.
Early in the day, an attendee handed me a quote along with her business card. Maybe I was just in the right mindset to soak up everything coming at me, but, it read:
“Go as far as you can see;
when you get there you’ll be able to see farther.”
I feel like the message was meant just for me on my little journey. I made my way to Alt, by myself, not knowing what I was getting myself into. Once there, I began to dream about what could be next for me around the bend. Had I not made the choice to go to San Francisco, I wouldn’t have been able to see that far.
Altitude Summit picked phenomenal speakers that no matter one’s background, you couldn’t help but be impressed. The speakers’ perspectives were varied, and all very inspiring. Mariam Naficy, founder and CEO of the lovely online stationary site Minted, reminded us that set-backs are part of the story that you don’t always see from the outside. Throughout her career she was told by others that her ideas wouldn’t work. Through this process she learned that entrepreneurs don’t care what other people think. Mike McCue, founder and CEO of Flipboard, an amazing social magazine site, closed out the day with heartfelt and inspiring messages from his experience with start-ups. Despite the difference in scale, these entrepreneurs made their business experiences feel accessible (and one element of their life that they balance with other important things such as family).
1. “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” (Jon Acuff, author)
Emily Olson LaFave of The Startup Couple reminded the group of this important message about comparing oneself with others. We are all in different places with our creative process. When starting something new, it is possible to get overwhelmed, looking around at others and not taking into account that these people might be much farther along their path. Good things take time. It is important not to get frustrated with ourselves when things go more slowly than we might like.
2. “Understand what you are good at.”
Take the time to figure out where your strengths are and what makes you unique. Spend most of your time where your personal strengths are. Keep happy and passionate. As you begin to employ others, try to retain the part of the process that you are best at and enjoy the most.
3. “Spread the love.”
Caring about what other people are up to is a good way to get people to care about you too. Community is important. I have been working in a bit of a bubble and it was such a good reminder that finding one’s community can be a great source of new ideas and collaboration.
4. “Be a sponge.”
These were Rena Tom’s words from Makeshift Society. She reminded the group that inspiration comes in all forms. Get out of your comfort zone and actively be in the world, one can find inspiration in all things. Soak up inspiration in all its forms and don’t be afraid of trying something new. If it fails, you will probably still be moving forward, just in a little different direction than you had imagined from the start.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed after going to something like Alt. There are so many amazing people, innovative ideas and creative stimulation. I came home with a feeling of wanting to start over completely in all my projects and begin again… right now…this minute! Strangely, this created a paralysis. It took me a full week to slow down my thoughts and remember that, for me, this is just the beginning. Alt allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and slip down the rabbit hole for a day to dream like Alice in a Wonderland of inspiration. And, now that I have been to Wonderland, my dreams will be different from before. I navigated the city, met new friends and felt myself intoxicated with all the creative energy around me.
I will try to utilize all the lessons I learned at Alt, but know that I have time. Time to keep discovering what I am great at. Time to invest in my community. Time to absorb the world around me. I am not an expert in anything (yet!), but rather a jack of many trades, that loves to dabble. My life is still mostly about being a mom. I grab moments here and there in an effort to infuse creativity into our lives. This is the curse and beauty of my life in this moment. I have the freedom to explore and try to figure out what is next and, most important, enjoy the journey!
And now, here are some photos of the fabulous party that Pinterest threw in honor of Alt SF! Certainly a fun element of the journey and a rabbit hole I would recommend to anyone!
Summer. Camping. Time away from the pressures of home. No television or cell phones. Real quality family time. S’mores, camp fires, nature in abundance… Really, what’s not to love?
Well, I will admit I am a reluctant camper. More specifically, I love camping in my mind’s eye, in theory, and in the planning stage. And, to be fair, it does always end up being fun. The awkward stage for me happens somewhere between setting the plan and the time when I relax enough to realize we are all going to be covered in dirt and that is totally okay. Can you relate?
Recently, we had an experience that far exceeded my expectations of camping. The spot is a well-kept secret that I feel so excited to have discovered. I even debated a bit about sharing it with you…
We went to Cama Bay State Park on Camano Island and I am hooked!
I want to go back every year. I want to call now to reserve our next ten years of camping trips (not allowed, unfortunately). This in and of itself is different for me. Usually camping is fun, but I am not ready to sign up for more camping immediately upon our return to civilization. (Let me be clear that at this point, the camping we are doing as a family of five with children under the age of six is definitely “car camping”.) We do not pack lightly enough to attempt anything more adventurous than this. But, even with all this in mind, Cama Bay hits a very sweet spot!
First off, Camano Island is a 90-minute drive from Seattle – no ferry schedule required. Once you have arrived, there is a shuttle service that brings you and your stuff down to the waterfront (for us this meant multiple Rubbermaid totes, copious amounts of bedding in Ikea blue bags, large cooler of food, friend’s paddle board, etc… ). There are no cars allowed at the campsite. This is a wonderful feature once you have gotten settled. Camping occurs in small rustic cabins that were built as a 1930s-era Puget Sound fishing resort. There are amenities such as electricity and running water, but no heat. The website describes Cama Bay as a “time capsule” experience and I can’t think of a more apt description. The location is absolutely lovely and feels relatively untouched by time. We felt so far away, not only in location, but in time.
Our cabin was right at the edge of the beach, which made this event feel even more like a vacation (clearly not how I would typically describe camping). Once settled, there was also very little schlepping. This definitely added to our overall feeling of relaxation. The kids spent the entire weekend in their swimsuits, exploring the beach. We discovered shells and wishing rocks aplenty. We created our own play structures with driftwood. We tested our comfort zones with a caterpillar colony. Because of the beach, it wasn’t even that dirty! There were loads of families present and it truly felt more like “summer camp” than “camping”.
We had an amazing weekend at Cama Bay. The weather was spectacular. The company was fantastic. The memories are forever. And I’ll be calling in 3 months to book our time for next year. I encourage you to do the same.
Author’s Note (01/25/14): Zaarly is no longer operating in Seattle, which is a bummer, but, oh well ~ such is life with start-ups! The Poole Party Design items are still available on Etsy, though, and most of the other vendors can still be found at local farmer’s markets. Happy Shopping!
Do you Zaarly?
If you haven’t heard, Zaarly is an awesome new service that has recently launched in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City and New York. Zaarly handpicks vendors to bring the local marketplace online. It combines local flavor and personality with the ease and convenience of online shopping! Looking for your favorite farmer’s market salsa guy or amazing caramels? Searching for a new personal trainer or some everyday help? Look no further. Zaarly prides itself on bringing only the best providers to you, by showcasing references and reviews, as well as a personal story by the vendor. By the time you are ready to purchase, you know a little something about who you are buying from. What a nice change from the often faceless feeling of buying online! Zaarly is becoming known around Seattle as one of the best new resources in town. Many of the vendors even offer FREE local doorstep delivery in the greater Seattle area! More vendors are being added daily to give you even more selection. Stay tuned for fun events and developments!
When I became a parent, I tried for awhile to function as I did BK (Before Kids). This was easier with one child than with three, obviously. In some ways we have achieved this lofty goal – we still like to go out to dinner to restaurants on occasion and we still like to explore our city and natural surroundings. But, one area that has changed dramatically since BK is that I adore any company that will deliver to my doorstep. AmazonFresh and Amazon top the list, but sometimes I am looking for more niche items and I don’t have the time or patience to search all over town. Since moving from our old neighborhood of Ballard, for example, I am still on the hunt for the perfect croissant and savory scone nearby.
As it happens, Poole Party Designs also recently opened a storefront on Zaarly. I have gotten to know the website, as well as some of the people behind it and I am thoroughly impressed. I am excited to be part of something new in Seattle and I am thrilled to get to share it with you. Check out some of our latest items here:
Have a birthday party coming up this weekend that you haven’t had a moment to shop for? Baby or wedding shower later this month and you don’t know what to get? Show how thoughtful you really are with a custom gift for your loved one. The best part is, you can order online and your gift will show up on your doorstep! Voila! Like magic…
That’s how I feel today! Somewhere in Seattle, someone is baking up some savory biscuits that will appear on my doorstep tomorrow! Like magic! I can’t wait…
Oh, and another thing. If Zaarly hasn’t made it to your city yet, check out the Handmade Goods category and find lovely artisan quality items that can be shipped all over the world. Homemade Marshmallows or Seersucker Bow Tie, anyone?
We are having glorious weather in the Pacific Northwest and you can thank me because all it took was planning Duncan’s 4th birthday party inside to encourage those rays of sun to shine, shine, shine… Like bringing an umbrella on a walk, so too, does planning an indoor birthday party encourage the fickle Seattle sun to appear! (Click here for last year’s party: Rain Rain Go Away)
Frog Legs is a hidden gem! It is a kids culinary school, located in the Mount Baker neighborhood of Seattle, and is run by the beautiful and talented Mrs. Frog Legs, Laura Vida. She is a picture of calm, as children bustle into her home to spend a few hours learning the particulars of measuring, stirring, and most of all having fun! Every time I see Laura in action, I am impressed by her positive demeanor and her amazing memory for all the children’s names. My kiddos have attended fabulous week-long summer day camps at Frog Legs in the past, which made it a natural choice for Duncan’s 4th birthday party location. (Well, and the fact that we could be inside if it was pouring down rain.)
Mrs. Frog Legs made it a very special day for Duncan. Very Berry Smoothies, Create Your Own Pizzas, and Confetti Cupcakes were on the menu for the day. The kids had a blast cooking, listening to some fun stories, as well as playing outside in the lovely yard. I do enjoy planning a party, so I had to let go of that a bit by having our party at Frog Legs, but Laura’s attention to detail and decoration made me feel that I was in my own home, only better – since no clean up was required! And I mean really, look at those cupcakes… pretty much every kid’s dream!! Marshmallows, and gummies, and chocolate chips – OH MY!!
Mrs. Frog Legs wrapped up the event with Duncan giving each of his birthday friends a recipe book of the day’s treats, a wooden spoon, and a homemade frosted cookie. What fun!
Every so often, I believe it is the perfect choice to make things easier on ourselves, versus harder and more complicated. This was one of those choices for me. Duncan had a lovely day and so did I. I was so relaxed, I think we might have even gotten a photo of our whole family!! Something I definitely would have forgotten if I had been hosting this party!!
Thank you, Frog Legs, for making Duncan’s birthday feel super special!
If you live in the Seattle area and are looking for a fun activity for your children this summer, check out the Frog Leg camps – your kids will love it! And, as Mrs. Frog Legs says, “Hoppy Cooking!”
I have been obsessed with kale salad for two weeks now. I recently went to dinner at Serious Pie in Seattle. If you are not familiar, this is one of Tom Douglas’ restaurants. Tom Douglas is a Seattle restauranteur, famous for his delicious crab cakes and many successful restaurants. At Serious Pie, he has re-imagined pizza for the better. The crust is super thin and topped with delicious items that although delicious, sometimes require a bit of navigational help from one’s server. My favorite pizza on the menu is the traditional buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil; showcasing the beautiful technique and high quality ingredients used at this establishment. We often order this simple beauty along with a more exotic pie, think seasonal mushroom and truffle cheese or sweet fennel sausage. The pizza is phenomenal, but leaving the restaurant on this particular night, I was still thinking about kale.
We had decided to try Serious Pie’s second location, Serious Pie Westlake. I prefer this location to the original, it seems to have a bit more seating and there was no wait at all! We ordered our food, planning to share. The kale salad arrived I had to hold myself back from gobbling down the whole dish. A second plate was quickly requested from our server. Not only did it taste fresh and lemony, but the texture was nicely soft.
I have been riding on the kale bandwagon since last summer. My husband literally rolled his eyes when I start whipping up yet another kale salad. Usually they involve everything but the kitchen sink, but not this one. This salad’s beauty is in its restraint. I had to try to recreate it.
(inspired by the kale at Serious Pie), serves 4Ingredients: 1 bunch lacinato (or Tuscan) kale 1 1/2 oz Garlic Olive Oil juice of 1 lemon (about 2 oz) 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan (I prefer pecorino), reserve a bit for a garnish pinch of sea salt (to taste) 1/3 cup pine nuts finely sliced calabrian chilies (used at Serious Pie, but omitted this time around in hopes that my kids might try it) So this is my second attempt at trying to get this recipe just right. Last week I tried it and amazingly, three of the four of us who enjoyed dinner together were all attempting it on the same night! Seriously, Serious Pie??? We had not spoken since having dinner the week before. Clearly I was not the only one dreaming of kale…