Jul 31, 2018

Seattle's Best Kids Party: FrogLegs Culinary Academy

As a mom of two small children, I've thrown my share of Pinterest-inspired, out-of-the-box kids birthday parties. We've done Star Wars and Unicorn themes, Super Mario Brothers parties, and even backyard barbeques with bubbles of all varieties, because moms need to have fun too. As my daughter approached her fourth birthday what I really craved was somewhere to host a party that wouldn't require hours of set-up, food prep, and decor. That's exactly where FrogLegs Culinary Academy enters the picture because as luck would have it they were opening a brand new location at University Village and it would be ready in time for London's party.

The FrogLegs party experience was a dream. The team literally handled everything for me from selecting a theme, Unicorns, of course, and selecting the menu of foods that the kids would create together at the party. For London's birthday, the kids made colorful fruit skewers, "Rainbow" pizza, Unicorn cupcakes with sprinkles, and healthy fruit smoothies. While the pizza crust and cupcakes baked, the FrogLegs team did story time with the kids and read a selection of handpicked books about Unicorns. It was London's perfect party and it was completely stress-free for me, which meant I could actually enjoy the experience and savor all the sweet moments.

One of the reasons a birthday party at FrogLegs resonated with me is because I love the idea of getting kids into the kitchen to prepare food and learn valuable culinary skills including chopping, baking, and measuring. Owner Laura Vida, a.k.a. Mrs. FrogLegs is a true pro and it's clear that she really enjoys her time engaging with the kids and getting them excited about cooking.

We can't wait to go back for another FrogLegs Culinary adventure. FrogLegs parties are all-inclusive and include food, decor, instruction, plates/cups/napkins, and the option to purchase party favors from the mercantile. For a full list of kids party packages and themes available from FrogLegs, click here.

Thanks for a fabulous birthday experience, FrogLegs! We still can't believe that London Parker is officially four years old. You helped us celebrate in style. It was a party we will never forget and an experience that was cherished by all of our party guests too!

What We Love about FrogLegs Culinary Academy:

  • FrogLegs parties are fun and engaging for kids of all ages. At London's party, we had kids that ranged in age from 4-8 and they all had a great time!
  •  The FrogLegs location at University Village is across from Blue C Sushi with easy parking garage access. Plus, parking at U-Village is free. 
  • For moms who need a sweet treat to-go, Mrs. FrogLegs Treat Mercantile sells edible cookie dough that is delicious and comes in a variety of rotating flavors. 
  • In addition to cooking classes for kids, FrogLegs also offers classes for adults on everything from knife skills to making macarons. Take a peek at the full lineup here. 

Jul 30, 2018

Pacific Place to kick off fall fashion with a special screening of McQueen

Pacific Place has announced that it will be kicking off fall fashion in Seattle with a special screening of the fashion documentary McQueen, on Saturday, September 8th at AMC Pacific Place 11. Alexander McQueen was a talented British fashion designer who was named the International Designer of the Year by the CFDA in 2003 and named the British Designer of the Year in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003. The film explores McQueen's life and career leading up to his death in 2010.

Guests will enjoy brunch bites, swag bags, on-site activities, and more. This event is sponsored by Seattle magazine. Tickets are $20 and available via Eventbrite. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Forefront Suicide Prevention in memory of Alexander McQueen.

I'll be there alongside my industry colleagues from Styled Seattle to kick off the season. I hope you'll join us! Share this story on social and tag us for a chance to win a free pair of tickets.

What: Fashion Meets Fim Fashion Party at Pacific Place
When: Saturday, September 8, 2018
Where: AMC Pacific Place 600 Pine St. Seattle, WA
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Tickets: $20 via Eventbrite

View the Fall 2018 Alexander McQueen Ready-to-Wear collection here


Jul 9, 2018

Getaway Guide: 48 hours in Bellingham, Washington

Located just 90-minutes North of Seattle, Bellingham is a gorgeous place for a getaway any time of year. Our family just returned from our annual 4th of July visit and loved our time exploring the shops, parks, and restaurants in Whatcom County. Here's everything you need to know about spending 48 hours in Bellingham. GO!

Where to Stay

There are many hotel options in Bellingham but our favorite is Hotel Bellwether. It's located on Bellingham Bay and has beautiful views of the Cascade Mountains. The accommodations are spacious, perfect for families, and many of the rooms have jetted bathtubs and a natural gas fireplace.
The hotel also has a restaurant and does live music on the outdoor patio.
Good to know: Parking is free at this hotel and it's within walking distance of several restaurants including Loft at Latitude and Anthony's. Behind the hotel facing Bellingham bay, there's also a paved path, perfect for biking, that leads directly to Zuanich Point Park.

Where to Play

Whatcom Falls Park is well worth the visit, especially during the summer months. There are three and a half miles of trails that wind through the forest and a beautiful stone bridge that overlooks the waterfalls. Our kids loved exploring this park and if we had planned in advance, we would have packed our swimsuits. There are some great places to go for a dip in the river. The upper park features a playground for kids and a BMX track.

Historic Fairhaven has a great mix of local restaurants and charming boutiques. If you visit, you'll also want to stop by Village Books, which has been delighting bookworms since 1980. They have a great kids section that includes toys and sections dedicated to books written in the Pacific Northwest. For a full list of shops in Fairhaven, click here.

Where to Eat

Beer drinkers love Boundary Bay Brewing. Apparently, my husband used to come here in college after a big exam. Bellingham is, after all, a laid-back college town. Boundary Bay serves a mostly regional menu including steamer clams and salmon chowder, but you'll also find novelties like yam enchiladas and bahn mi sandwiches.

Anthony's is well-known in the Northwest for its seafood, so if you're an "out of towner" I would add this restaurant to your list, you know, for good measure. The fish and chips is delicious and they also have a prix fixe "Sunset Menu" available Monday through Friday until 6 p.m.
Good to know: The Squalicum location has outdoor seating with views of Bellingham Bay.

Mount Bakery Cafe is a great breakfast spot. The crepe menu is extensive and the Belgian chocolate crepe did not disappoint. The cafe also serves eggs benedict, freshly baked croissants, and breakfast sandwiches.

The summer season has arrived and Bellingham makes for a quick and easy weekend getaway. It's also a great option for a day trip if you're looking to get out of the city and explore the Northwest.

Jul 2, 2018

The Seattle Guide to 4th of July Fashion

The weather in Seattle can be tricky to navigate when it comes to picking out the perfect outfit for the 4th of July. Skies usually start out overcast and give way to sunnier skies later in the day. We're heading up north to watch the 4th of July fireworks over Bellingham Bay this year, but there will be plenty of action in the city including the annual fireworks show at Gas Works Park. If you're still on the hunt for a few must-have pieces to complete your look, we've got you covered. Here's our guide to finding the perfect outfit for 4th of July and since we believe in supporting the Seattle style scene, we took extra care to ensure that all of the items featured below are available locally.

Early mornings can be brisk, even in July. Power through with this bold adidas track jacket available locally at the Zumiez store in Bellevue Square. This jacket will also serve as a great layering piece in the evening when the temperature drops.
Keep it classic with this quarter sleeve navy and white striped top from Patagonia. This shirt can be dressed up with trousers or down with denim, making it the perfect piece for all occasions. Available locally at Wayward in Downtown Seattle at 204 Pine St. Seattle, WA 98101.

The flora & henri Sardinia Swimsuit is part of the store's private label collection which is designed locally at the Pioneer Square concept shop. Fully lined, this suit is perfect for summer and comes in three sizes. Visit flora & henri at 401 First Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98104.

A classic pair of denim shorts is essential for summer. You'll literally want to live in these Cora Denim Cutoffs available at Moorea Seal because they go with everything in your wardrobe and all you need to complete the look is a cotton t-shirt and a pair of slides. Visit Moorea Seal downtown at 1012 First Ave. Seattle, WA 98104.

I'm borderline obsessed with the simplicity of this half brass, half cobalt blue bangle by Baleen. It's handmade in Seattle and adds an instant color pop to any 4th of July outfit. Bonus: It's perfectly priced at $28.

Every girl needs a great tote for summer. Featuring vegan leather handles and a straw exterior, this tote is versatile and large enough to store a beach towel or even a bottle of wine. Find this bag locally at Moorea Seal in downtown Seattle.
Getting 4th of July footwear right is critical. Platform sandals can prove to be difficult depending on the terrain, but these suede Cora Sandals from Pipe & Row easily fit the bill regardless of your activity level. Pipe & Row is located in Fremont at 611 N.E. 35th St. Seattle, WA 98103.
Say goodbye to boring sunglasses and say hello to these acrylic red frames by Quay Australia available at Standard Goods. These glasses are the perfect summer accessory and add instant personality to any outfit. Standard Goods is located on Capitol Hill at 701 E. Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122.

The Shop List
Wayward Collective
Moorea Seal
Standard Goods
Pipe & Row
flora & henri


Jul 1, 2018

Getaway Guide: Shibuya, Japan

The only way to summarize our recent trip to Japan is to say that it was a total culture trip. We travel all over the world to crowded cities like London and New York, but none of those trips prepared us for the sea of humanity that is Tokyo. It was exhilarating and overwhelming, all at the same time. Japan has been on my personal travel list for a while now and I'm thankful that my family had the chance to experience the city and all that is has to offer. Here's everything you need to know about visiting Shibuya, Japan.

The Flight & Arrival: We took a 9-hour direct flight from Seattle to Narita on ANA Airlines. The service was great and the staff was kid-friendly. Once in Narita, we hopped in a taxi and took the 90-minute journey to Tokyo.

Best time to visit: We visited Japan at the end of March. The weather was perfect, in fact, it was in the mid-70's on most days, and it was cherry blossom season which was an added bonus. The spring season is an ideal time to visit as the summer months give way to high temperatures, rainy weather, and monsoons.

What to pack: We averaged walking about 6-8 miles per day in Japan because it was easier than trying to flag down a taxi or navigate public transit. Walking is the best way to see the city anyway, so be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes or sandals. I also recommend a light jacket for evening and clothing made from breathable fabrics to keep you cool during the day.

Good to know: Tokyo operates well into the early morning hours which is great if you love to party, but terrible if you are an early riser and want to get breakfast. Most restaurants, including those that serve breakfast, don't open until 11 or 11:30 a.m. so plan ahead if you're someone who loves a morning meal and do yourself a favor, make reservations. There's nothing worse than being hungry and then having to wait an hour for a table. On the bright side, if you're a night owl you'll be pleased to know that most places in Tokyo stay open until well past midnight. You can even live out your childhood video game fantasies by dressing up as your favorite character and driving around the city in a real-life Mario Kart.

The shopping in Shibuya is a colorful mix of fashion-forward apparel, adorable cartoon-inspired accessories, and beauty products for days. Get ready for large crowds and an overwhelming selection of just about everything in packaging that you probably won't be able to read. I recommend researching in advance if you have certain products you want to buy that are only available in Japan. This is especially important if you want beauty products because most of the ingredient lists and directions are not printed in English.

Loft - This top-rated lifestyle department store has everything you didn't realize you needed including home goods, magazines, stationery, beauty products, fitness equipment, and more. Loft is a great place to buy souvenirs on the trip and if you want to shop tax-free don't forget to bring your passport.

Shibuya 109 - Located just across from Shibuya Station, Shibuya 109 features ten floors of women's clothing boutiques and restaurants. Designed as a "fashion community", brands compete for pop-up space to sell and leases are extended based on revenue, making Shibuya 109 a popular place for young trendsetters to shop.

Dover Street Market - Located in Ginza, Dover Street Market is well worth the trip. It took us about 15 minutes on the train to get to Ginza from Shibuya Station. Featuring seven floors of fashion, Dover Street Market feels more like a shoppable art installation than a brick-and-mortar boutique. Famous for it's curated collections from cult brands like Comme des Garçon, Gucci, and Vetements, Dover Street Market is the perfect fusion of art and fashion. My son Liam (pictured below) got his first designer t-shirt at Dover Street market. Let's just call it a litsouvenirenir from the trip.
Seattle readers: Take note, Dover Street Market is coming to LA in the fall of 2018.

WEGO - Described by Vogue as "Japan's fast-fashion alternative to H&M" Wego is where the cool girls shop in Shibuya for on-trend clothing at low prices. The WEGO store is located inside Shibuya 109 (listed above) but there are also two other locations in the city.

Beauty Tip: Japanese drugstores carry a full array of beauty products and colored contacts. Take advantage and explore as many new products as you can. You may have to google ingredient lists and directions, but trust me, it's worth it. While in Shibuya I picked up the Kao Megurism Steam Warm Eye Masks in Lavender, a tube of Kiss Me Heroine Waterproof Curling Mascara, Yumi Mori Gel Blush, and the K-Palette 24 hour liquid eyeliner (all pictured above). I also stocked up on Bioré SPF 50 gel sunscreen.

One of the things I loved about our trip to Japan was experiencing the abundance of Hawaiian-inspired restaurants. I grew up on Kauai and have fond memories of eating pancakes with rich coconut syrup. For breakfast head to Harajuku to visit Eggs 'n Things. Their signature dish is a stack of buttermilk pancakes topped with a mountain of whipped cream. It's Instagram-worthy and insanely delicious. You'll also find other Hawaiian classics including spam and eggs and loco moco, plus a full "Keiki" kids menu. Foodie tip: Arrive early, even on weekdays. The line usually wraps around the block.

For a culinary adventure, check out Uogashi Nihonichi Tachigui Sushi, a stand-up sushi bar located in the heart of Shibuya. You won't find many mainstream rolls here, but that's all part of the fun. We enjoyed delicious handrolls, fresh sashimi, tuna, maguro, and amazing miso soup. Our kids loved it too!

For those with a serious sweet tooth, make time for Santa Monica Crepes. It's a total sugar rush and so worth it. We tried the strawberry chocolate crepe but you can also add cake, yes, cake or even scoops of ice cream. It's a delicious excuse for a cheat day. Santa Monica Crepes is located near the entrance of Harajuku's main shopping row.

During our trip to Tokyo, we stayed at Centurion Hotel Grand. It's located just across the street from the famous Shibuya Station and a 10-minute walk from Harajuku. The rooms were modern, clean, and spacious. We also loved the sweeping views of the city, especially at night. This hotel is a 90-minute cab ride from Narita Airport. The taxi fee was around 25,000 yen, or approximately $225. This hotel also features several restaurants and bars. Pictured below, one of the many alcohol-infused drinks we picked up from the street-side vending machines sprinkled around Tokyo. The peach flavor was my favorite.

Tokyo is famous for its cat cafes and for good reason, it proves to be a nice excuse to get out of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, even if just for 30- minutes. We visited the Bengal Cat Forest in Harajuku and paid a small fee for a half hour session with cats. They stretched out on artificial tree limbs and played with each other while my daughter tried to lure them over with a cat toy.

For visitors looking to check out local theme parks, I highly recommend planning a day (or two) at DisneySea. Opened in 2001 by The Oriental Land Company, DisneySea is the fifth most visited theme park in the world. It's not operated by the Disney company so although there is a crossover with characters and themes, it's a unique experience that you can't get anywhere else. Attractions include Toy Story Mania, Nemo and Friends, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Tower of Terror, Venetian Gondola Rides, Steam Ship cruises, and train rides. There's something for everyone at the 176-acre park including the usual parades and shows you would expect from a Disney experience. Tickets were around $66 USD for adults and slightly less for children. We purchased in advance at the Disney store in Shibuya to avoid waiting in line on arrival at the park.

New York has Central Park, London has Hyde Park, and Tokyo has Yoyogi Park. It's a beautiful park that is the perfect place to take a relaxing walk when you need to slow down and get back to nature. Located within the park is Meiji Jingu Shrine, which is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. The original shrine was destroyed during World War II and was later re-built in 1958 through public fundraising. It's a beautiful park and worth the visit.

Tokyo is one of the coolest cities in the world. It's rich in history and perfect for travelers looking to balance historical sightseeing with shopping, dining, and entertainment. We can't wait to go back again soon.
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