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!
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”!
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 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 4
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)
Wash and cut out ribs of kale. Dispose of ribs. Roughly chop greens. Massage chopped kale with olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan and salt (I find this part nicely therapeutic). Let rest 30-45 minutes. This step is important. By allowing the kale to marinate and rest, the texture softens dramatically. Add pine nuts and salt to taste. Garnish with additional parmesan. Serve. Enter culinary nirvana…
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…
Dining alfresco is perhaps one of my favorite things in life. It is also one of the best things about summer. Lately, I have been thinking about what makes summer feel like summer and for me, summer is when my family and I eat most of our meals outside…
Living in a city that has a reputation for being grey much of the year, I notice that many of us who choose to stay here become a little weather obsessed. We wait patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for blessed summer to arrive and then when it does there is a frenzy of activity. It can be difficult to even see our very good friends. Maybe this is everywhere, I’m not sure. I just know that summer here feels like perfection when it arrives and I cannot get enough. This makes me think of the mouse in one of my favorite books from childhood, Frederick, by Leo Lionni. “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days.” “I gather colors, answered Frederick simply. For the winter is gray.” Maybe we are all like Frederick, gathering in the beauty of the outdoors to sustain us during the indoor months.
My patio is my favorite spot to enjoy the season (especially with three kids), but on days when I don’t feel like cooking, here are some other choice outdoor dining spots around town. Some are fancy, some are not. Some are kid-friendly, some are not. But we have had fantastic alfresco meals at each of them.
Something that might set Seattle alfresco dining apart from other locales is that some restaurants take our weather into account, adding elements such as roofs, outdoor heaters, and blankets to patio situations, making them a little more accessible. My husband and I moved to Seattle nine years ago from San Francisco. That year, Gus gave me an outdoor heater for my birthday. I was thrilled. This may seem like a random, unromantic gift, but at the time it showed me that he knew me and what makes me tick. Receiving an outdoor heater at the end of August is like being given a jar of sunshine to help make the season last a little bit longer. Eight years later, that little heater bit the dust. So this year Gus and I gave each other outdoor heaters for our anniversary. Maybe this is proof of what makes both of us tick. Here’s to another decade of alfresco living… Cheers!