Mainstay Gatherings

Model Company : See Kai Run

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!)

SKR_Avianna_Harper_Christopher_Aaron_144 SKR_Avianna_Harper_Christopher_Aaron_015 SKR_Avianna_Harper_Christopher_Aaron_115 SKR_Avianna_Harper_Christopher_Aaron_006 SKR_Avianna_Harper_Christopher_Aaron_181

Bean Boots and the Bus Stop

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)!

Men's Bean Boots by L.L.Bean, 6"Women's Bean Boots by L.L.Bean®, 8" Gore-Tex/ThinsulateMen's L.L.Bean Boots, 10" Gore-Tex/Thinsulate

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.

"I just chopped more wood for the wood pile," Patrick said. "If we get snowed in, we’re prepared."

I just chopped more wood for the wood pile,” Patrick said. “If we get snowed in, we’re prepared.”

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. 

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. 

"Let’s go check out the foliage by the river trail," Mitchell said. "We can pick up some apple cider doughnuts to take with us too."

 “Let’s go check out the foliage by the river trail,” Mitchell said. “We can pick up some apple cider doughnuts to take with us too.”

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!

Happy Fall!

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!

Friday Love

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!

Assemble Shop and Studio

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.

Like Magic

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:

DSC_0008  DSC_0045DSC_0025 DSC_0006

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?

Happy Shopping!


There is a man in my life that deserves some thanks.

Every morning my kids make a bit of a stink about getting ready for school and then an even bigger stink about getting in the car. What is it about transitions that are so universally difficult? I remember back to when my first son was around two or three years old and we realized that “getting out the door” was one of the great hurdles of parenthood. Well, I take that back… at birth there is a realization that you cannot just walk out the door like a normal person anymore. There is process, procedure and packing to contend with upon every departure. But, once toddlerhood arrives, not only are you packing snacks and making sure the diaper bag is stocked, you are also dealing with a little person that has his or her own ideas of how the day should go. Most likely, you are screwing up their plans.

So, when “getting out the door” becomes enough to make you not want to leave the house, it is time to come up with a new strategy. Usually this involves distraction. The distraction I am currently employing with abandon is helped by this man I mentioned. My husband is wonderful, but this is not the man I speak of. Right now, the favorite “other man” in our house is someone named Chris Ballew. It is true, we don’t even know him, and yet this morning he made “getting out the door” to go to school a dream.


Chris Ballew is a member of the alternative band The Presidents of the United States of America, but he has an alias (which makes him even more popular in my house). He is Caspar Babypants and he is awesome. Since 2009, Chris (or Caspar) has been singing children’s songs that are palatable to adults. There are other great groups who achieve this, but he is the first I learned of and my favorite. Caspar Babypants has released at least six albums and if you don’t know about him yet (and are a parent, an aunt, a grandparent or friend of a child), you need to! One of the things I love about his children’s music project is that he makes his performances very accessible to children around Seattle and many are free to the public. We have gotten to see him perform a few times and my kids go crazy. He is so creative and enthusiastic – it is contagious. Another cool thing about Caspar Babypants is that it is a family run business. His wife, Kate, does all the artwork on the album covers!

So, without further ado… Thanks, Chris, for making my mornings a little easier!

One more thing, if you see us rocking out on the way to school, it is probably to this song:

Youtube links:

Baby’s Getting Up

or maybe this one…

Run Baby Run

Happy Listening!

 Newest Album:

6 I FOUND YOU! cover art

Here I Am! This Is Fun! More Please! Hot Dog! Sing Along!