2nd Annual Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale Day

You KNOW there will be some nifty, quirky, funky finds at the 2nd Annual Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale.  Basically, the way it works is everyone who lives in Capitol Hill who wants to have a garage sale registers on the Capitol Hill Garage Sale website (deadline for registration:  June 10).  Then everyone registered has their garage sale on the same day.  This year it will be on Saturday, June 13

The concept of having a neighborhood garage sale works great for patrons because the Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale  provides a map of where all the garage sales are located, so a person can save gas and time by being able to stick to one neighborhood and easily find garage sales. 

I have been doing a little garage sale shopping around Capitol Hill the past couple of weekends, and I have found some great stuff.  In a quirky downtown neighborhood, garage sales are bound to have some interesting items for sale.  So far I have purchased a zebra print area rug (asking price $10, haggled down to $8), brand new picture frame ($.0.50), ceramic soap dispenser ($0.50), and one unopened large bag of cotton balls ($0.25).  Yes, I bought a bag of cotton balls at a garage sale.  I'm nearly out of paper towels so I'm holding out for June 13 to see if I can find a roll of paper towels at a garage sale.  Hey, you never know, and it doesn't hurt to save a buck or two when you can.


Location:  Capitol Hill (go to www.capitolhillgaragesale.com for map when available)
Date and Time: Saturday, June 13, all day (Check www.capitolhillgaragesale.com for start and end time when available)
Price:  Free.  Bring cash for purchases.  

Seattle Photographer Gabrielle Fine

Gabrielle Fine is a photographer who has been living in Seattle for over 10 years.  Over the years she has accumulated a nice collection of photos of people, places, and things in the Northwest and the West Coast.  Here are a couple of my favorites of Seattle:

Seattle Snowpocalypse 2008 (click on image for more pictures)


Weaving project at St. Mark's Cathedral in Capitol Hill (click on image for more pictures)


And here is another fun one taken a few years ago in San Francisco:

Nightclubbing at Cafe DuNord, SF (click on image for more pictures)


If you are interested in ordering or viewing more of her work, please visit Gabrielle Fine's website or her shop on Etsy.

Hurray for Hedonism

One of the cool things about living in a town like Seattle is sometimes there are some pretty interesting things you can do around here.  Like, how about going to a reading of a new book about food and sex by a former sex worker this Saturday evening at 7:30pm at Eliot Bay Book Company?  There is no way that can be boring.

From the press release:

In Sex and Bacon: Why I Love Things That Are Very, Very Bad for Me (Seal Press / May 2008 / $14.95) Sarah Katherine Lewis tears down boundaries in a tribute to her lust for larder and lovemaking.  In her uninhibited vignettes, Lewis exposes all that is deliciously nasty and delectably uncouth when it comes to her bountiful appetite.  A follow-up to her first book, Indecent, which chronicles her time in the sex industry, Sex and Bacon is her homage to the culinary and the carnal.

Sex and Bacon is full of Lewis' snippets of wisdom accrued from her life, her reflections on pop culture icons, lots of talk about sex and her experiences as a sex worker, thoughts on female body image, Seattle weather (Lewis is a Seattle resident), Lewis' recipes, and more.  Almost every paragraph is a little statement of Lewis' philosophy, or a naughty tidbit of her career in the sex industry. 

I have a bag of fun size Reece's peanut butter cups in my cupboard.  It's nearly Halloween so I'm allowed.  I'm also allowed every other day of the year because I'm a grown-up, and if I want to have ten fun size pieces of candy for dinner I can.

Ah yes, we do indeed have the freedom to do stuff that is bad for us as adults like eat candy for dinner, but how far should we take it?  Lewis took it pretty far, and I enjoyed reading about her thoughts on her life experiences.   Sex and Bacon doesn't hold back when it prominently proves that Lewis is "an authority on the sins of the flesh, both culinary and carnal."  Definitely adult reading material.

Location:  Elliot Bay Book Company (map)
Date and Time:  Saturday, May 10, 7:30pm

Where to Buy the Best Christmas Tree

I'm back!  Back from Cancun with a golden tan that people around here must think I bought at a tanning salon.  My week long stay in a tropical paradise was fantastic, but I have to admit that I am very happy to be home.  It is great to once again breathe the crisp clean air of the northwest, and drink cool, non-toxic water from the faucet. 

This year I have been bitten by the holiday bug.  I am normally apathetic to the holidays, but seeing a man dressed in a Santa suit in Mexico sweating his brains out made me appreciate the traditions in Seattle that make a little more sense in Seattle's colder weather.  This year I'm getting a Christmas tree.  I haven't  had a Christmas tree in over 10 years, and this year I'm doing it.  I'm going to get a northwest native tree, probably a noble fir, and put in in my living room.

There is a buzz on the streets about where to get the best deal and the best Christmas trees in Seattle.  I heard they have great deals on trees at Top Foods in Bellevue, but who wants to drive all the way to the east side?  I live and work in Seattle proper, and I appreciate convenience, so I will get a tree in Seattle.  The Capitol Hill Seattle blog suggests Dunshee House, and, I have to agree that is a great place to get a tree.  I saw a woman holding one of their fine trees last Sunday and I was impressed.  It looked like a healthy 5 footer for $30.  I think that's a great deal, plus the Dunshee House is a group that provides support for people living with HIV and AIDS so you can feel good giving them your money.

My best friend warned me that if I want to get a small tree I should get one of those sooner than later because those sell-out early everywhere. 

In the spirit of the holidays, here are a couple of links to silly e-cards and silly interpretations of vintage Christmas cards:

Where to Buy the Best Natural, Organic, and Dolphin-Safe Products

My radar is set to low for fun activities in Seattle this week because I am getting ready to spend a week in Mexico beginning on Saturday.  Seattle en la Franja va a México!  I will enjoy many activities in Mexico including visiting Mayan ruins, deep sea fishing, and swimming with dolphins.  Oh yes, it is going to be amazing. 

Speaking of swimming with dolphins, I have to make sure I bring biodegradable sunblock on my trip.  Non-biodegradable sunblock makes dolphins sick.  Apparently, people can buy the appropriate sunblock at dolphin-swim registration on site, but it is overpriced.  It makes sense that it is overpriced.   There you are all set to swim with dolphins with your pasty gringo skin sizzling in the sun, and they tell you you can't go unless you wear sunblock that won't kill off the dolphin population.  What choice do you have?  Thankfully, I know enough to get my biodegradable sunblock in advance and save a few dollars. 

Where can a person get biodegradable sunblock in Seattle? 

  • My first instinct is Trader Joe's because it usually has the best prices for natural and organic food and products.  However, I'm not totally secure in my knowledge of which sunblocks are biodegradable.  The sunblock I need has to be paraben-free in order to be biodegradable, but I do not think all natural sunblock brands found at Trader Joe's are paraben-free, and I want to be absolutely sure I buy the right product. 
  • I will mostly likely go to Rainbow Natural Remedies and take advantage of their expertise and let them guide me to what I need.  Rainbow Natural Remedies was recommended to me by a naturopath because of their large selection of quality natural and organic products.  Not all natural remedies are equal and it's important to me to get the best product.  The folks at this place know their stuff and they have never sent me down the wrong path.
  • Another option is Whole Foods, but this grocery store is more expensive than Trader Joe's and it is not a locally owned small business like Rainbow Natural Remedies. 
Fortunately for me, I live in a city where it is fairly easy to find natural and organic products.  There are still more options other than the 3 options I listed.  These are the closest available choices I have to where I live and work.

I Heart Rummage: Locally Made Crafts That Aren't Lame

I'm headed to warm and sunny (and smokey) Venice, CA, this weekend, which will be lovely trip, but I will be missing some fun happenings in Seattle.  This Sunday is I Heart Rummage, a monthly urban craft show of cool local independent artists.  Generally the first Sunday of every month from 12pm - 4pm at the Crocodile Cafe, people of all ages can browse, buy, and socialize with other crafters and craft connoisseurs.  Also, anyone can apply to be a part of the event and showcase their own DIY treasures (advanced notice required). 
IHR continues its commitment to provide a platform for all up-and-coming craftsters that want to show new, edgy, and dynamic work. Every month you’ll find 45 hardworking designers and crafters presenting the latest in style and hip crafts - some seasoned vendors, as well as new work that has never been shown. Relevant local charitable and indie businesses are also spotlighted each month as IHR’s "special guest of the month".

What makes this craft show different from other craft shows?  This show is less likely to have macrame pot holders made by your grandmother.  Not to say your grandma doesn't make great pot holders, but, come on, we're hip urbanites, and we crave art with a bite.  Cassandra Lanning, the director of the event, said in an interview:
IHR is an event that showcases handcrafted works with an indie/urban/edgy appeal. Irony and balls (not literally) definitely have an edge on getting in. For all the vendors that apply that do not make the cut, I do try to refer them to and encourage them to sell with some of the "suburban" craft shows which have their own following.
This Sunday is IHR's 6th Birthday Show, with special guests Nova School, and music by DJ Huggy.  Go prepared to find lots of treasures, and even grab some brunch at the Croc while you're at it.  I'm going to have to catch the next one on Dec. 16.

Rainy Day Activities

It's that time of year in Seattle.  Time to hunker down and stay inside and try to keep warm and dry.  The rainy season is upon us, yet it is still too warm to head to the mountains and play in the snow.  Here are my rainy day activity suggestions:

  • Take this time to catch up on work.  Pretty soon it is going to be dark outside whether you leave the office at 4:30pm or 8:00pm.  If you don't have kids, might as well stay at work later.
  • Cook a nice meal for your friends and family.  It's time to add that extra weight (I like to call it "winter weight") so you won't shiver like a chihuahua all winter.  My favorite local grocery stores are PCC and Madison Market.  Both are co-ops that feature local and organic produce.
  • Pick up some good books to read.  I generally go to Elliot Bay Book Co. This bookstore is one of Seattle's best independent bookstores, and is conveniently located near my work, which makes it even better.  They have an amazing selection of books, including a well arranged corner of the store that features local authors.  The coffee shop downstairs has good food, with a decent selection of vegetarian options served by a variety of Seattle hipsters.
  • Dine out at a cozy restaurant.  For breakfast, The Library Cafe has more than one fireplace to dine next to, books galore, and delicious comfort food.  Bleu Bistro has to be my favorite fall/winter dining spots.  It's perfect for a first date, but probably a depressing place to go alone as it seems to be designed for small groups and couples. I recommend any of their hot specialty drinks; they come with a cookie!
  • Go for a steam at the spa.  My favorite spa in Seattle is the affordable Hot House in Capitol Hill.  Sorry guys, it is ladies only.  It is a tiny place that makes great use of the space by providing the basics:  a steam room, sauna, hot tub, massage room, shower room, and lounge area.  The butch clientele generally scares off the bourgeois condo-living-yuppie-trash who have taken over most spas in Seattle, so Hot House is a safe haven for the down-to-earth lady who just wants to relax and warm-up.