Spend a Couple Hours »Salon at Kids Club

skc2630 NE University Village St, Seattle

Well. Sigh. The day had to come. We always promised we’d get Van his first haircut once he wanted it. I love his long locks, but it was starting to really annoy him getting in his eyes and mouth all the time. So I mentally prepared for a week or so and gave the local Salon at Kids Club a call.

With car seats, boxes of toys and murals, they do their best to make it a fun environment for kids. From what I could see, some hairstylists were better and more friendly than others and we lucked out with  who not managed a squirmy two year old with ease, but adored his long hair (not even once mistaking him for a girl!) and had no desire to buzz it – which was my nightmare scenario.

Van likes the new do a lot and I get a keepsake lock of hair along with a pleasant if bittersweet memory instead of a heartbreaking one.

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Posted on June 18, 2013

Spend a Couple Hours »Queen Anne Farmers Market

qafarmEvery Thursday 3pm to 7:30pm from June 6 to October 31, at Crockett Street and Queen Anne Ave. N

Seattle is a city rich in Farmers Markets. This week we headed to the lovely neighborhood of Queen Anne, a quaint area that tops our list of areas to eventually call home.

The Queen Anne Market has the usual suspects of fresh produce (Rainer cherries! Huge fennel! Bright strawberries!) as well as a food truck alley that introduced us to Tandoozy, a naan bread topped with tandoori, rice, spicy sweet potato and lentils (pictured) as well as handcrafted lemon lavendar sodas from The Soda Jerk.

The event is super kid friendly, with tots in every direction and there’s lots of hills to park your wagon or stroller and let the kids dance to music that inspired mine to pull out moves I’ve never seen before. A fun time.

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Posted on June 7, 2013

Places to Visit,Spend a Couple Hours »Woodland Park Zoo

xzoo601 N 59th St  Seattle, WA

Despite long lines to pay for parking and enter, Woodland Park Zoo was a wonderful way to spend a perfect weather Sunday.

With two young kids, you just can’t see it all in one visit, but we made sure to see “real monkeys playing in the trees” at Van’s request, huge elephants, some otters that took a liking to Mimi, and a of couple napping joeys. We rode the beautiful vintage carousel and took time to feed the colorful birds (a highlight for the kids).

The zoo is as green as you would expect from a lush city like Seattle with lots of shady trees, quiet pathways and a big green yard to just run around.

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Posted on May 5, 2013

Spend a Couple Hours »Ravenna Park

ravenna5520 Ravenna Ave NE

When I catch a glimpse of the mountains in the distance I realize we’ve barely begun to understand and experience the beauty of this part of the world.

Ravenna Park, just one of many parks in the city, for example, not only has a playground where Van has made his first mud cakes but trails leading into old growth forest. Within a couple minutes you feel like you are in the woods because, well, you are. We’ve only delved in briefly but felt transported.

The half mile of greenery is all that remains of a large forest that was almost logged into non existence. Thankfully it was saved and is now a welcome quiet spot for hiking, picnicking and playing.

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Posted on April 27, 2013

Places to Visit,Spend a Couple Hours »Pacific Science Center

pscfinal200 2nd Ave N, Seattle

Gears, wires, pipes, machines – these are my son’s passion. Naturally the Pacific Science Center, a hands on kids science museum was totally up his alley. We could have spent all day in the lobby room with its pulleys, gears, wacky mirrors and levers and he would have left satisfied.

Fortunately, though, the exhibits offered even more excitement including a tots area with water play and toys to climb, animatronic dinosaurs, a petting area with sea creatures, and a butterfly pavilion.

Mimi had a nice time too with plenty to look at and even a quiet nursing room!

Some reviews online complain that exhibits are sometimes old but they are missing the point. Kids love this place dated animatronics, duct tape and all.

When we decided to move to Seattle, the wealth of child friendly activities appealed to us. Not that NYC doesn’t offer them, but here, everything is easier to accomplish. In fact, we hadn’t even set out to go to the museum, but a morning drive happened to bring us there and it was a lovely spontaneous family fun day.

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Posted on April 21, 2013

Personal,Spend a Couple Hours »The Parlour

photo-272 Greenpoint Ave

I’ve actually recommended The Parlour salon before on Jim’s word as he gets his beard trimmed there regularly.

I however, am a much less frequent visitor to salons (two plus years since me last trim) and usually find them over priced, weirdly snotty and mediocre.All of those negatives are no where to be found at this inviting, friendly (yes, friendly!) Greenpoint spot.

You are offered water, given a choice of lovely vintage robes to slip into for your wash and cut and given a soothing scalp massage in the process.

I had intended to get a major trim, but not much more when I walked in. Together Cynthia and I decided to chop about fifteen inches to give to the charity Locks of Love.

My hair was still past my shoulders and it felt somewhat anticlimactic, so somewhere between our chat and the end of my shampooing, I decided to just cut the rest of it off.

Inspired by the signature cut of Kate Lanphear, I went for it, and Cynthia, with excitement and a deft hand took me there. She managed to give me a cut that was what I wanted without being impractical for my lifestyle and all for a very fair price (so if you go, tip generously!!).

I left feeling elated. It wasn’t a haircut, it was an experience, and a joyous one.


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Posted on January 13, 2013

Spend a Couple Hours »Pint Sized Painters

at Frolic!

I’ve been to a few kid classes in my relatively brief  time as a parent but have learned there’s a delicate  balance to making one completely successful.

Sometimes the teacher is great with kids but really awkward with the parents, other times they are too impatient for the age group they teach. Sometimes the activities are a little beyond the kids’ abilities and the focus is too much on a finished activity or project than just having fun.

Pint Sized Painters manages to balance everything really well, thanks in large part to Z, the instructor who also works as an art director.

She’s at ease with kids and parents alike, keeps instructions and slide shows short and sweet (managing to catch toddler’s interest with the work of Hurst (who taught Van the word “dots!” and Rauschenberg!) and the projects are manageable – kids get to dive in as much as they want, but if distracted, can get involved just by pointing to where they want a color, or helping her squeeze paint.

In the end, we end up with awesome art to take home, that you never feel that you created more than your child.

This is the first class I’ve taken at Frolic! and while it’s pricier than many, I’ve loved it and the take home projects are priceless -as is seeing Van swimming in a giant smock.

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Posted on July 12, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Fabric Marker Onesies


Disappointed with art fair onesies, both in price and style, I was inspired to buy some crayola fabric markers and have at it myself.

It was most fun to turn it into an art project with Van, who loves the letter “V” and bulls (the animal, not the sports team) – so I was able to customize with appropriate imagery. Bull onesies aren’t exactly easy to come by in this world. And to be honest, simple quirky dots, stars, stripes and other simple prints are hard to come by too without costing a lot more than I’m willing to spend.

The pens were a little harder to control that I expected (detail isnt really an option) but once my grandiose plans were leveled with realty, it was lots of fun.

While the colors are not super vibrant, they are nice and will only fade slightly in the wash so long as you iron each side for the recommended four minutes.

It’s cool to see your kid running around in something you made.

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Posted on July 11, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Mystic Aquarium

55 Coogan Blvd. Mystic, CT

Sorry for our absence but we were on vacation.

Part of the trip took us to the delightful Mystic Aquarium where we spied beluga whales (my favorite), jellyfish, sharks, penguins and poison dart frogs (Van’s favorite – by far).

While admission is pricey, it’s worth it for kids to see animals up close they’d otherwise rarely get a chance to. It’s a clean, pleasant place that doesn’t feel too crowded even when it is and has staff on hand to give information about all the animals.

We skipped the 3D movie but it would likely be fun for older kids.

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Posted on June 26, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »East River State Park

Kent Ave. between N. 7th and N. 10th

Not everyone will agree with me because it’s over grown, is adjacent to construction, and frankly, rather odd, but I find the playground at the East River State Park charming and strangely dreamy.

It’s like a faraway, mixed up childhood memory: abandoned tracks lead to a wooden child sized train, ancient looking ruins from jut up beside pint sized hidden bridges.

It’s especially special on overcast mornings when no one else is around and as for the construction, well, nothing could make a playground visit cooler to Van than the view of a real live digger.

As it’s nestled among a larger park, I didn’t even know about it until fairly recently. It’s a neighborhood gem and, selfishly, one I hope stays a bit hidden.

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Posted on June 13, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Ria Nailz

141 India St., Greenpoint

With Maria’s of Ria Nailz eye popping, jaw dropping nail art that calls to mind the most fun styles of the late 80’s and early 90’s (think Stephen Sprouse, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Keith Haring), you half expect her to greet you Betsy Johnson style – cartwheeling out of the back room.Instead you find a young stylish entrepreneur who’s professional, soft spoken, sweet, and immensely talented.

I discovered the Greenpoint artist via instagram and couldn’t wait to book an appointment. She recommends you call at least a week in advance. I assume as word of mouth spreads, you might need to wait even longer.

It would be worth the wait. I look at my hands and feel happy and awesome. This could possibly be my coolest manicure ever??

Watching her work – quickly and deftly is fascinating. She has a wide range of styles to choose from and the salon, which is nestled within a family run unisex hair salon is adorned with murals for additional inspiration.

Comparatively, she’s cheap – my art with gel top and base was only $36. So tip generously!!

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Posted on June 10, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Free Children’s Concert at McGolrick Park

Music, Puppets, and Sidewalk Chalk

As is in evidence in the above photo, the seeds of Van’s rock and roll dreams made have been planted thanks to one Mike Messer of The Dirty Sock Funtime Band.

Today’s Free Concert for Kids at McGolrick Park featured the singer as well as puppets and chalk drawing.

The park and the Open Space Alliance are making great efforts to make the lovely park more involved in the community and especially the local kids and hope to have more events like this in the future.

A similar show is scheduled at Cooper Park June 15th.

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Posted on May 18, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Kick and Play

20120510-113119.jpgat The School Settlement Association

Kick and Play..

Well, Van loves the “play” element and the wide safe open space for him to run around in is worth the price of this class alone.

Kick? That he hasn’t quite gotten the concept of yet and doesn’t seem terribly interested in figuring it out.

There’s too much fun to be had running, giggling and throwing the balls. Guess he gets his athletic prowess from me.

Seriously though, once your little one is up and running, this is a great active class for them with patient teachers and even a couple singing puppets.


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Posted on May 13, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Cindy Sherman at the MoMA

February 26–June 11, 2012

While I was excited about the MoMA’s Cindy Sherman exhibit, I walked out an even bigger fan than I did going in. There’s something significant about seeing such a huge collection of her work.

I have always loved the film still series, which I was most familiar with, in which as photographer and model she took on manufactured archetypes from movies.

Later, however her work becomes arguably even more interesting – taking on existing archetypes like society women and Los Angeles hopefuls who come to life with great attention to mundane details. You can read one of her characters instantly in the way her hair is done, the scarf she has round her neck, the way she smiles at the camera.

It reminded me of one of my favorite parts of film making, when you’d find just the right accessory to make a character complete.

Visually I was most enamored with the centerfold series which boasts incredible color and are infinitely intriguing; her most mysterious works. I also adored the masterpiece portraits, lovingly displayed like the pieces that inspired them would be at the Met. Like all her work, there’s a great sense of humor to them.

Less visually appalling were the gross out ones. Vomit, plastic body parts, decay – these got the most reaction from viewers and the consensus was “grody” (some teenage girls were particularly disgusted). I however, had a much harder time with the giant creepy clowns.

This is one of the most anticipated museum exhibits this season so don’t be surprised by crowds, though we didn’t find it overwhelming.

Be sure to browse the rest of the museum too. Its worth the trip to see the feet on a pedestal in the lovely sculpture garden area.

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Posted on March 12, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Talisman

The Magical Quest Game

We used to be pretty avid D&D players but over the years, as adulthood has taken over, avid turned to occasional, which turned to rarely.

We were excited then, to find out about Talisman, a D&D like board game, recommend by a former gamer himself in a similar situation (thanks Chris!).

It’s perfect. In theory it can be played in one night/afternoon. (Though we’ve yet to finish a game in the three hours we’ve aloted for play.)

While there’s not the same customization and open endlessness of a real D&D game, (let’s face it there’s no substitute for a good D&D game) it is satisfying for that particular nerd itch and it’s even made gamers out of friends that use to refuse up and down that they’d ever get involved with such foolishness.

Plus it’s far more social that WoW (another abandoned but well loved past time of ours). We like to combine the evening with a special home cooked meal – like my recently recommended pork ssam for example.

Rumor has it that expansion packs are also pretty great but we’ve only tried the original.

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Posted on March 8, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »AMNH (and Shake Shack)

200 Central Park West

Going to the American Museum of Natural History on a crowded Sunday with a toddler doesn’t exactly allow for casual, relaxed browsing, but as we rushed through some areas, I noticed the museum, which I’ve always loved, has benefited from some lovely make overs (Hall of Asian Peoples for one).

While we only saw some exhibits in passing, we did thoroughly enjoy the updated and fantastic Hall of Ocean Life. The familiar giant whale is still here, but there are new additions like a life size collage of ocean life and Van pleasing dioramas of seals, manatees, walruses, dolphins and polar bears.

The classic animal halls are still as awesome as ever, and made even more so when Van would “roar” at the lions and snort at the rhinos.

Crowds are unavoidable on the weekends, we even skipped dinosaurs completely because of them, but the museum is still a thrilling experience, any time.

And of course, we had to finish the afternoon off with Shake Shack burgers from across the street which surprisingly took a fraction of the time to get versus the original stand in Madison Square Park. There we discovered we might not be perfect parents after all (ha) after getting Van hooked on their cheese fries.


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Posted on March 4, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Weegee: Murder Is My Business

at The ICP Museum, 1133 Ave of the Americas

I’ve been looking forward to the ICP Weegee show Murder is My Business for months and it didn’t disappoint.

The larger than life tabloid photographer, never squeamish, brought the bloody and violent truth of NYC crime to the front page with shots of recently killed gangsters (and innocents), taken sometimes before the police even arrived (his nickname came from the Ouija board because people joked he used it’s powers to know about crimes.)

His images, though gruesome, are rarely without a sense of humor though. He not only took photos of the gorey, but often captured he way New Yorkers accepted the violence around them, often convening around crime scenes with smiles on their faces.

His Coney Island images, reversely, always have an element of creepiness among the smiles and summer fun.

ICP has added a couple neat components to the show including a replica of his room and an interactive station that shows Weegee’s images next to the current locations in NYC. It’s hard to imagine people being shot in broad daylight on the steps of the chic stores in Soho and Little Italy.

Fans will be thrilled, but the salacious material should gather new fans too. Don’t forget the gift shop – I always like to get a little something from the best shows I see and they have mugs, totes, pins, and posters.

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Posted on February 12, 2012