Category: Shopping

Best Of: Happy Hour Around the Northwest Gold Coast

9986650-happy-hour-stampBack in July, the company Movoto determined that Seattle was the hardest working city in the US based on unemployment rates. But that doesn’t mean Seattle-ites don’t want a break from their hard work now and then, in the form of happy hour. We’ve conducted another informal Northwest Gold Coast poll on the best places to go for happy hour around the Seattle area. Our readers, as usual, completely delivered and now we’re just waiting for a hard day to enjoy some discounted food, drinks, ambience, and calm.

  • Agua Verde Paddle Club and Café (University District) –A distinctly UW Health Sciences crowd with a view…boy, what a view. My favorite…their spin on a margarita…tuna-rita (which our editors hear is not tuna flavored at all, but more like prickly pear-yum!) or a Negra Modelo.
  • I love going to Japonessa in downtown Seattle. It makes me feel like a grown up, cause it’s a little bit fancy! But the happy hour prices are awesome (plus in the bar on the weekdays happy hour is until 6pm!) and I really like the sushi.
  • Ooh, Ivar’s Acres of Clams in downtown Seattle has happy hour every day after 3pm in the bar!
  • TheEdgewater on the waterfront is a Seattle School of Theology and Psychology favorite, mostly because it’s so close.
  • Matador in Ballard, West Seattle, Redmond, and Tacoma because they have $5 nachos, great on any budget!
  • Palomino (in Seattle and Bellevue) has a killer mojito and great food.

Where’s your favorite place to hit for happy hour? Why?

Posted in Around Seattle, Artisan Food, Dining

Best Sandwiches Around Seattle


We tried to ask our readers about their favorite sandwich shop, but it turns out too many shops are big national chains. So instead we asked our readers for their favorite sandwiches, even at places that aren’t specialty sandwich shops. The answers were tasty and enlightening…

Honolulu Chicken Breast Sub at Sarducci’s- Kirkland and University District. “A giant piece of chicken, tons of pineapple, and the sauce, oh the sauce! Drips off your fingers but you lick every last drop up.”

Turkey, Apple, Brie, & Bacon at Specialty’s Café- all over. “While this is a chain, this sandwich can’t be missed. Every element is delightful and fire roasted apples? Yes please!”

The Tripleta La Isla in Ballard or Redmond. “Ham, steak, and pulled Puerto Rican pork make this sandwich a winner in my book. Ask for garlic sauce to dip your sweet potato fries in and you’ll get the best meal possible.”

Grilled Pork Banh Mi Sandwich at Thien Phat on Rainier Ave, Seattle. “Usually under $3 a sandwich and made as fast as you need one, these are the best banh mi in the city.”

And one for old times’ sake: “Can someone please revive Sal’s Deli in Burien so I can get one last giant family-feeding Club Sandwich?”

What is your favorite sandwich around Seattle? Do you have a favorite sandwich shop you visit often?

Posted in Around Seattle, Artisan Food


swedish chef

Growing up were you the kid with the homemade costume for Halloween every year? Or did your family go out and buy new store bought costumes each year? We did a mix, depending on the budget and costume plan each year. As an adult I have largely made my own costumes with the help of items from Goodwill or Value Village, plus some good old fashioned closet raiding. See my Swedish Chef above for an idea of a mixed costume creation (and can you believe that at a party of 130 people, mostly teenagers, only one person recognized the Swedish Chef?)

And yes, I still dress up-I love Halloween. There aren’t enough costume parties in life so why miss out on this one? Last year, even when eight months pregnant I worked at Party City seasonally selling costumes and watching people try on loads of costumes, buy props, and create the ultimate experience for October 31st. I’m excited to have an eight month baby to dress up this year and not just a belly!

My favorite local store for Halloween planning or any party for that matter is Party @ Display and Costume with locations in Everett, Northgate, and Issaquah. This store is giant and always has a large helpful staff plus changing rooms to try different costumes, masks, even props out. There’s also Party City , a large chain from New Jersey with great prices available all around town. And pop-up stores for Spirit Halloween appear across town this season too.

Tips for getting the best deal:

    1. See what you can make/adapt from items at home or from thrift stores. Be creative!
    2. Check a local store and then compare with online prices for the best deal.
    3. Start early. I prefer to design and buy any pieces I need in September because it’s when the best selection is available and the best prices. (I saw too many sad kids coming in for Hawkeye or Ninja costumes at Party City last year that were sold out by mid or even early-October.)

If you need a few costume ideas to get your creative juices flowing here you go: Duck Dynasty, Royal Baby Prince George, Wreck it Ralph, Sharknado, or a Twinkie. Helpful? What are you going to be? And where do you usually get your costume?

Posted in Around Seattle, Shopping

A Slice of Seattle


Chicago and New York hold claims to being pizza towns. But that doesn’t mean that Seattle can’t toss, top, and bake a great slice of pizza or a whole pie for that matter. Pizza is a varied pleasure with some preferring thin wood-fired crust, some looking for authentic East Coast style, some wanting deep dish. The toppings can be everything from the delicious but sometimes inauthentic Hawaiian style to green olives to figs and vegan-cheese. The question of where to find the best pizza brought the most commenters by far coming with votes all the way from Gig Harbor to Duvall.

How long do you think it would take to try a slice at each of the following establishments?

Where have you found the best pizza so far?

Posted in Around Seattle, Artisan Food

Farmers Markets Around Seattle


I was wondering how many Farmers Markets were around the bountiful Northwest Gold Coast area and found this great site that listed over 35 market opportunities by location and day!  I’ve only been to seven on the list.  Summertime is one of the best times to live in the region because of the amazing produce, artisan foods, specialty crafts, and other fine items.  Obviously having only visited seven of the market days I am missing out on many tasty, beautiful, and unique products.

Last year, we bought a box of Roma tomatoes from the Redmond Saturday Market and then create many jars of tomato sauce.  Sadly, it didn’t last us the entire year until tomato season starts again but we did get to spring.  .  My goal this year is to enjoy the height of the market season with enough foresight to find opportunities to celebrate it year round.  So far we’ve already made seven containers of strawberry freezer jam and blanched & froze many pounds of bright, fresh asparagus.  We hope to make at least twice as much tomato sauce this year too at a minimum.  We hope to prep and freeze other fruit for smoothies year round too. I have already flipped through a friend’s copy of Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook for more ideas.

What produce and products are you excitedly waiting on at the local Farmers Markets this year? 

What do you do to enjoy the best items year round?

How many Farmers Markets have you visited on the list?  Which ones would you still like to visit?

Posted in Around Seattle, Artisan Food, Dining, Health, Shopping

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th, 2013 and it is time to show extra care, attention, and maybe gifts to the great mothers in our lives.  Mother’s Day last year was especially fun for our family because it was the day we announced our pregnancy to my own Mom and gave her a pram ornament to let her know our news.  This will be my first Mother’s Day with a child and I have already given my husband, Robert, a few ideas of what I would like but I could also send him this list of ideas to help out too.  Whether you have a Mom or are a Mom, this is a great list of ways to show love if you don’t have time to throw together something Pinterest-worthy.

For the Moms who love to cook-

Ritrovo Truffle and SaltRitrovo Italian Regional Foods Gift your Mother with specialty sourced items like the Truffle Trio Gift Box, Traditional Squid Ink Pasta, or Gianduia: Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.  These can be bought online or at brick and mortar retailers too.  I saw many of their wares most recently at Metropolitan Market in Kirkland.

Dinner: A Love Story CookbookDinner A Love Story Cookbook I am happily-obsessed with this cookbook and its eponymous blog,  It is all about cooking with and for a family.  This is my current go – to gift for everyone; graduates, newlyweds, new parents, birthdays.  It is a narrative cookbook full of love stories between the author and her husband, her children, and food as well as holding delicious and yet simple recipes.  It is available for sale at or

For the Moms who don’t want to cook on Mother’s Day especially-

That's AmoreThat’s Amore Italian Cuisine’s Three Course Champagne Brunch That’s Amore is one of my favorite restaurants in the whole city.  The food is amazing, the view of downtown Seattle is perfect, the restaurant is small and quaint, and the service warm as well as impeccable.  (In fact, as I read their Mother’s Day Brunch menu I asked Robert if he’d take me here for Mother’s Day and he booked us a table!)

For the Moms who have pets they consider extra children-

Though these wouldn’t be gifts for Mom especially, loving on her pets may be a form of loving her too.

Hillrose GroomingHillrose Pet Resort Grooming Services Koko Ambuehl has over 35 years of grooming experience, plus is an owner of Hillrose Pet Resort. No one will treat your Mom’s pet better.

Soggy Doggy bakery treatsSoggy Doggy Bakery Buy your mother some specialty Ritrovo treats for herself and Soggy Doggy Bakery treats for her beloved pet.  Some of their products sound delicious enough to think about trying yourself, maybe…

For the Moms who love decorating-

Adorable Country Classics giftAdorable Country Classics Home Décor and Gifts This site is full of primitive and rustic home décor, each item more adorable than the next.  Your Mom would be happy with almost everything from this store, but it might help to send her a link and ask her to poke around for some favorite ideas.

Treasured Times Rubber StampsTreasured Times Rubber Stamps and Scrapbooking Even if you don’t have time to make something Pinterest-worthy doesn’t necessarily mean your Mother doesn’t…if your Mom is the creative type look no further than

Solid Rock MemorialsSolid Rock Memorials Personalized Engraved Stones Make this Mother’s Day one to remember forever by celebrating your mother or family with an engraved stone that will last year after year.

For the Moms who love jewelry-

Federal Way Custom JewelryFederal Way Custom Jewelers You can buy a piece already made online or in store as well as design your own custom piece for your mother with the help of this great shop.

Fast Fix JewelryFast Fix Jewelry Buy a piece of jewelry or even get a piece of Mom’s already special jewelry repaired or resized for her at Southcenter’s location.  Help her keep a lasting memory special!

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Posted in Shopping

Valentine’s Day Deal

Looking for something special for your sweetheart? Solid Rock Memorials is offering 10% off through any order completed by the end of February with discount code CES213. Get your anniversary date engraved on a Meant for Each Other Rock, or a beautiful Suncatcher, or any other memorial item! Solid Rock Memorials requires one week to produce an item on deadline, so try and order now to get it in time for Valentine’s Day.
Suncatcher from Solid Rock MemorialsAnniversary Engraved Rock from Solid Rock MemorialsMeant for each other rock from Solid Rock Memorials

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Holiday Shopping Strategies

Christmas presents

The holidays are upon us and I find myself thinking about my gift shopping strategies a lot more than usual trying to get everything chosen, bought, wrapped, and delivered early this year since baby Martin should be making his arrival any day now.  Things have changed a lot in the holiday shopping world over the last 50-75 years especially.  Many people remember when holiday gifts were often made by hand months in advance, or at least bought in cash, or at most credit from the local general store (whose owner you knew well and said hello while walking the dog).  Now, the world of holiday shopping is a whole new set of strategies.  Do you see your shopping strategy described below?

  1. Only Online Shopper. You don’t go to any stores or circle any parking lots. Everything is found online and lets you know when your items are on the best sale.
  2. The Last Minute-r.  You shop as close to the holidays as possible with no budget or shopping list.  If you spend more than you intended, you deal with it in January or later.
  3. Halloween is Over, the Holidays Are Here-r.  You have a budget, a shopping list, and your wrapping paper ready to go November 1st and everything done before December even starts.
  4. The Multiple Tripper. You have to shop over and over to find everything you want, because you keep forgetting who’s on your holiday shopping list this year.
  5. The Whatever Shopper.  Everyone on your list gets something that you could have given at a White Elephant gift exchange, hot chocolate and mugs every year, sound familiar?

Are you any of the shopping styles above?  Which one do you run into the most each holiday season?  Did we miss a category?

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Renton-Based Kitchen Store Chosen for Tuscan Home Event


Contact: Keli Sim DeRitis
Company: Poggi Bonsi, LLC
Phone: 206.714.8278
FAX: 206.242.2952
Email Address:

Renton, Washington, November 5, 2012

Poggi Bonsi

Renton-based high quality kitchen tools and home decor store chosen to participate in Tuscan Home Event.

Poggi Bonsi was selected by the Italian Trade Commission, Artex, and Promozione Toscana as one of 15 stores from across the country to participate in “Tuscan Home.” This promotion was developed to enable small artisan manufacturers in Tuscany to connect with independent retail store owners in the United States. The “Tuscan Home” event featuring newly arrived Tuscan ceramics, hand selected during the promotion this summer, will run December 9-13, 2012 at Poggi Bonsi’s store at The Landing in Renton. The highlight of the event with be an Italian-themed wine reception on December 13, 2012 from 6:30-9:00pm.

As part of the “Tuscan Home” promotion Poggi Bonsi co-owner, Michelle Codd, travelled to Tuscany in June of 2012 to meet with Italian artisans who craft everything from cashmere sweaters to papier mache masks of Michelangelo. “Naturally we were interested in the Italian ceramics.” said Codd, “though it was delightful to visit a company called Egizia–in the town of Poggibonsi–which creates intricate silk-screened glassware.” Through the contacts made on this tour Codd and business partner, Keli Sim-DeRitis, placed orders with four new Italian ceramic studios. Ceramics from these artisans will be arriving at their store in Renton in mid November 2012 and will be featured as part of the “Tuscan Home” event.

The Italian Trade Commission works to increase awareness of Italian-made products around the world. In the “Tuscan Home” campaign small shops in strategic American cities were chosen to bring Tuscan-made products to their customers and to help increase awareness of Italian quality and design. Poggi Bonsi is the only venue represented for this promotion in the Pacific Northwest.

About Poggi Bonsi:
Poggi Bonsi (, is a direct importer of Italian ceramics, French pottery, Italian olive wood utensils, and fine European linens. In addition to its imported goods, Poggi Bonsi features an assortment of gourmet kitchenware, specialty foods, whimsical gadgets, wine accessories and home decor celebrating the Mediterranean lifestyle. The name Poggi Bonsi is taken from the village of “Poggibonsi” in central Tuscany. Owners Michelle Codd and Keli DeRitis have traveled hundreds of miles in the European countryside seeking out suppliers who practice their centuries-old crafts.

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Turning Hobbies Into Strong Businesses

Jody Stacy had a home hobby in which her husband crafted wood products that she hand painted in primitive and Americana style art and then put up for sale.  Initially, she used her own designs and then over time she developed relationships with other artists and added their designs to wood products and to pottery items.

Canisters painted for Adorable Country Classics

In 2003 she turned this passion into an e-commerce company, Adorable Country Classics.   She developed relationships with other creators of primitive and Americana style home decor that complemented the work that she created and she added these lines to her business.

Today the business sells a large variety of beautiful primitive and Americana style home decor for every room of the home.

Initially business started small.  Jody states, “It didn’t really take off until I signed up with Cascade e-Commerce Solutions, Inc (CeSI).”  CeSI performed keyword research to help her identify the products that were most likely to sell online.  Then CeSI rebuilt the website and optimized it to help it secure higher natural search ranking positions.  Jody then added more products to the website.  Subsequently the business experienced growth in both its customer base and sales.

Card made with stamp from Treasured TimesIn 2011 Jody realized that if the artwork of a primitive artist were to be converted into a line drawing and then converted into a rubber stamp, other people could use the stamp to create their own items with primitive art designs.  She teamed up with artist, Terrye French, and developed a new line of rubber stamps.  She tested the market with a Blogspot blog and then given her success with turning one hobby into a business, Jody decided to convert her scrapbooking hobby and new line of rubber stamps into a fully developed business she named Treasured Times Rubber Stamps.

Then Jody brainstormed whether the next step was to open a retail store for her businesses or whether to go full out online with the second business.  As she was pondering her options she asked friends and associates for input via email, Facebook and phone.

CeSI responded to her questions with a suggestion to contact her local Small Business Development Center counselor because CeSI had found its SBDC counselor to be a tremendous help in developing its growth strategies.

Jody met with Elaine Jones,, of the Washington State Small Business Development Center.   Elaine works in one of the 24 of these offices around the State of Washington that provide services at no cost to small business owners.

Elaine encouraged Jody to move forward with a full blown website for the new business, Treasured Times Rubber Stamps & Scrapbooking.  Jody secured the domain name  and contracted with CeSI to provide the same services as previously provided to Adorable Country Classics.

She says, “I went with CeSI again because they are nice people to work with. They listen to what you want and need out of your website. They’re very easy to work with and get along with.”

Made with rubber stamp from Treasured TimesWith her passion for country crafts and stamps as well as her developing business acumen, Treasured Times Rubber Stamps was poised for success before it even opened.  In fact, her stamps sold internationally the day after the online store went live (all the way to Italy!).  She offers wholesale and retail and is a big hit in the crafting community already.  Jody has a special ability to not only sell beautiful specialty items but to also offer free advice and information for those interested in her crafts.  Check out her “Learn” page at Treasured Times website to get answers to common stamping questions.

Jody also keeps a blog for each company as well as a Facebook page showing her personalized work and projects and helping her to keep up with fans and clients.

Jody is excited to see Treasured Times grow and wants to do all she can to ensure that happens with the help of Cascade e-Commerce Solutions, Inc. and Elaine and the Small Business Development Center.

This is an especially exciting time for Jody as she prepares to hire her first employee.  She’s also been approached by two painting pattern designers to begin working to turn their designs into rubber stamps!  With the gift giving season approaching Jody’s businesses are perfect places to look for one of a kind presents for those you love.  For more information check out the links below:

Adorable Country Classics Home Decor & Gifts:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Treasured Times Rubber Stamps & Scrapbooking:
Website | Blog | Facebook

You can also phone Jody at 253-579-7623 to learn more.

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Posted in Business Advice, Shopping

Charlie’s Appliance Parts

Charlie Hicks of Charlie's AppliancesCharlie Hicks has been in the appliance industry for over 40 years. He honed his skills at Lee’s Appliances in Burien, Washington since Lee was his father. Through this experience he learned more and more about appliance parts and repair. He is second generation and now his children have become young adults and they are joining him in the effort so it’s moving into the third generation.

Charlie specializes in finding the correct appliance parts his customers need, giving the correct information on how to repair appliances, and selling refurbished appliances at a discounted rate. He’s the Encyclopedia Brown of appliance parts or, for a more modern reference, the Indiana Jones.

It can feel impossibly difficult to find the right appliance parts online if you don’t know the part number. Appliance part databases don’t include the model name or number because there are so many models for each make and no one has taken the time to match every part to every model. However, based on his years of experience Charlie has become a walking database of parts new and old and vintage. Repairmen around the Northwest call Charlie when they need a part or help with a problem.

As you and your family are going through fall cleaning this season, consider making a list of the appliances you have that need new pieces or repair. Check out Charlie’s online database for the parts you need. Or contact Charlie himself for a more detailed question about any part or repair you need; test his expertise today at You can’t find anyone more knowledgeable or helpful with your appliance part needs.

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Young Manca girls before ThumbustersGetting a child to stop thumb sucking can prove next to impossible.  Many parents try quick fixes like putting tabasco sauce or bandaids on their child’s thumb.  Sometimes it works, but more often than not the child goes right back to sucking their thumb anytime it’s free.

Mory Manca’s three daughters were serious thumbsuckers.  He tried everything to get them to stop, but nothing worked, and that’s when he came up with the idea for the Thumbuster.

Green ThumbusterSo what is a Thumbuster? It’s a glove-like device made of Lycra and velcro that covers the thumb and is attached using a band around the wrist.  And, most importantly, it works!  Just look at the testimonials on their website!

The Thumbuster is such an effective product that King 5′s Evening Magazine did a piece on it in 2009, that was so popular they ran it again in August 2010.

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Local Home Decor Business with Country Style

Adorable Country ClassicsA comfortable throw or set of handpainted decanters can add warmth and charm to any home.  Since 2003 Jody Stacy and her husband, Rick, have been working together at their home in Port Orchard, Washington to create custom home decor.  Each “Handpainted by Me“ piece is carefully cut and constructed by Rick and then handpainted by Jody.  Over the years their business, Adorable Country Classics, has expanded into an online store that markets their own country and primitive style baskets, boxes, and shelves plus Victorian Heart Collection textiles, handmade candles, country lodge style metal sculptures, wall hangings, pottery, floral accents, and holiday and seasonal items.

If it’s a custom order you are seeking, you can request the style, design, texture, finish and color you’d like. Jody Stacy has been painting for over 23 years and with her expertise, can create exactly the piece you want. The custom ordering process is easy and can give you a perfect accessory to add and coordinate with your existing home décor.

With the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect time to check out the great gift ideas Adorable Country Classics has to offer. For those are expecting company coming for the holidays, you can find the perfect seasonal décor to complete your holiday home decorating, tree trimmings and table center pieces.

For more info on the items Jody sells and how you can create a custom order, please visit:

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Local Invention Improving Local Workplaces

The Pacific Northwest is a place of ingenuity.  It is a place of creativity.  And it is a place of invention.

One company in the Pacific Northwest that exemplifies this ingenuity is Western Washington Safety Consultants, Inc. (WWSC).  According to owners, Bruce and Jacqueline Johnson, this local business has Fuel Hose Drainer“two predominant purposes: assessing situations in the transportation industry for safety enhancements and designing and producing equipment that will meet those safety needs.” 

WWSC’s featured ergonomic tool is the Fuel Hose Gravity Drainer.  The Ergonomic Fuel Line Residual Fuel Hose Gravity Drainer is a specially designed device that helps truck drivers completely empty their fuel lines.  After drivers deposit their fuel deliveries in the underground fuel tanks, they must empty their hose lines before placing them back on the truck.  Drivers would typically accomplish this task by picking the hose up, hand-over-hand, and work their way down the hose to empty it.  This creates strain on the driver’s hands, arm, shoulders, and back.  The Fuel Hose Gravity Drainer allows the driver to instead remain standing and rolls down the hose, allowing gravity to do the work of forcing the fuel out of the hose.

The innovative work of WWSC’s developers allows them to provide workers in the transportation industry with helpful solutions, creating a safer work environment.

For more information on this company and their available products, please go to:

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Expand Your Outdoor Grilling Area with Style

Some of the simplest summertime pleasures can be grilling outdoors and entertaining friends.  For the grill enthusiast, having enough space to cook and prepare food is critical.

Doug and Tracey Hepner, owners of Interior Woodworking Specialties in Redmond, Washington, saw the need for expanded outdoor cook space and designed a new line of backyard kitchen cabinet products to meet the need.  Their modular cabinets cost less than outdoor built-in kitchens and are constructed of materials that will not corrode with weather conditions, exposure to UV rays and humidity.  Industrial grade metal caster wheels make the cabinets easy to maneuver and relocate.  The counter tops are FDA approved food safe and can be order with or without the handle.  Their “nest” cabinet for the Big Green Egg grill is available in two sizes to accommodate the medium and large size grill.  Additional accessories for the cabinets are also available such as a recycle bin, sauce and spice rack and hand sink with faucet.  The Hepners’ 23 years of experience and research for this outdoor kitchen cabinet product line assures customers a high quality product built to last.

Summer’s here.  Stop dreaming about a larger barbeque area and start making your backyard kitchen plans now.  For more information on these fine outdoor kitchen cabinets and pricing, please visit the company’s website at:

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New Local Mobile Business Brings the Cutting Edge To You

cutlery-on-wheelsMost people probably don’t sharpen their household knives as often as they should. In fact, most people have never truly worked with a sharp knife because sharpening a knife seems scary or like too much trouble. 

Did you know cutting with a dull knife is much more dangerous than using a sharp one? Many injuries in the kitchen while preparing food are caused by using a dull knife. This is because the excessive force needed to cut with a dull knife can cause the knife to slip and then cut the user. 

Those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen know that a sharp knife is a vital tool and a cook’s best friend. Taking good care of knives and keeping them sharp is very important.

Now there is a new service that can help both the novice cook and the experienced chef.

Cutlery on Wheels is a new, mobile business started in the Greater Seattle Area in late 2009 by Bill Magee. Bill brings years of experience in cutlery sales and service. His new business is the fulfillment of a 20 year old dream to have a fully equipped utility van offering mobile knife sharpening service and a knife and kitchenware showroom. 

Customers bring their knives and scissors on to the van for Bill to sharpen. While they wait they can browse the knives and kitchen gadgets displayed on the shelves and walls of the van as Bill shares stories of knives and life experiences that educate and entertain his customers.

Bill loves meeting new people and welcomes all questions regarding knives and cutlery and how to care for them. With over 20 years experience in this field, Bill is very knowledgable on the subject and his storytelling style is lighthearted and warm.

Cutlery on Wheels carries a variety of quality knives from manufacturers such as Forschner, E Dick, Lamson & Goodnow, Messermeister, Victorinox and more. Quality products and oustanding service are unparalleled by Bill Magee’s business.

For more info on this business and to learn how you can schedule your service, go to

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New Stores To Come For Two “Best of the Northwest” Retail Winners

Two boutique retailers countdown to launch the holiday season with new stores at The Landing in Renton.

Poggi Bonsi of Burien and C’est la Vie of Edmonds are launching new stores at The Landing in Renton in Mid November, 2009 with a joint grand opening celebration scheduled for December 4. Both stores are #1 winners in King 5’s “Best of the Northwest” contest 2009—C’est la Vie won for best gift store and Poggi Bonsi won for best housewares store. The two retailers, who share a common customer demographic, business philosophy and promotional savvy, will remain separate entities but will team up to plan advertising, promotions and in-store events. This creative partnership will provide their customers with a varied and unique destination shopping experience.

Poggi Bonsi specializes in kitchenware, Italian and French ceramics and linens, specialty foods, home décor and “Gifts with European Flavor.” C’est la Vie is an intimate and sophisticated artisan boutique featuring contemporary jewelry, clothing and home furnishings. Each store will occupy approx 2,800 square feet with a connecting doorway so customers can stroll between the two with ease.

The Landing in Renton was chosen as the location to launch this new partnership because of its commitment to attracting boutique retailers to an under-served area of South Lake Washington.

About Poggi Bonsi

Poggi Bonsi Burien StorefrontPoggi Bonsi ( is a direct importer of Italian ceramics, French pottery, Italian olive wood utensils, and fine European linens. In addition to its imported goods, Poggi Bonsi features an assortment of European kitchenware, specialty foods and home decor celebrating the Mediterranean lifestyle. The name Poggi Bonsi is taken from the village “Poggibonsi” in central Tuscany. Owners Michelle Codd and Keli DeRitis have traveled hundreds of miles in the European countryside seeking out suppliers who practice their centuries-old crafts.

About C’est la Vie

C'est La Vie Edmonds StorefrontC’est la Vie ( ) is a one stop gift, clothing, jewelry, furniture and wall art store based in Edmonds, WA. C’est la Vie features brands such as jewelry from; Trollbeads, Heather Moore, and David Tishbi, clothing from Michael Stars, Jag and many more. C’est la Vie also showcases a constantly changing selection of handcrafted artisan works. The store’s focus is on unique, trendy products for the discerning boutique customer. C’est la Vie, which translated means “such is life” is a favorite saying of the owners; Colleen Bowman, Susan Dunn and Michael Bowman. This ownership team, with the essential help of a phenomenal staff of sales associates, combine their talents to make C’est la Vie a one of a kind shopping experience.

About The Landing

The Landing in RentonThe Landing ( is a 46-acre mixed-use development located in Renton, WA that sits at the base of Lake Washington conveniently located just off Interstate 405. The $300 million project will offer a unique combination of housing, restaurants, entertainment options, national retail chains and regional boutiques to create an urban village with all of the desired options for area residents. When finished, the project will include 900 plus residential units and more than 614,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. The Landing is a joint venture between Harvest Partners a Dallas-based commercial real estate development firm and Transwestern Investment Company, L.L.C, a Chicago-based principal investment company.

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Support Local Businesses

After the recent presidential election, people eagerly hoped to see the nation’s economy recover quickly. People are reluctant to invest money in the stock market, and are wary of big government and corporations.

My hometown, Federal Way, is actively promoting the idea of shopping locally. The Federal Way Chamber of Commerce hopes to stabilize and strengthen the city’s economy by encouraging residents and businesses to buy locally.

ShoppingSpending money in our community results in more sales taxes to city government. It also helps local businesses sustain and create more jobs.

Before searching for a product or service on the internet, it makes sense to consider our hometown businesses first. We may pay a few pennies more, but in so doing, we re-energize the whole idea of community and local prosperity.

While mobility was supposed to make the world smaller, it can isolate us from our neighbors. If we drive 30 miles or order online from a company half a continent away, simply to save a percentage point or two, we miss the opportunity to connect in our hometown. Local coffee shops, the nearby dairy, and the grocery that touts “locally grown” are places where we can rediscover our community and regain our humanity.

I am choosing to shop my hometown first. Whether you are in Kent, Shoreline or Tukwila—why not make your next purchase in your hometown?

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C’est la Vie

In the charming waterfront community of Edmonds, Washington resides the chic and eclectic retail boutique C’est la Vie. Opening its doors to the community in 2001, the shop experienced such a successful first four years that owner and founder, Colleen Bowman and her husband, Michael, decided to expand the boutique and relocate to a larger retail space just down the street from the original store.

C'est La Vie store front

Colleen, a former buyer for Nordstrom, opened the shop so she could allow her own vision to permeate every inch of the inviting, unique shop. Colleen spearheads the business as lead buyer and merchandiser. Michael directs the website and Internet side of the business. In 2008 Susan Dunn brought her great eye and business acumen as she became a partner in the business. And warm and knowledgeable staff underpin a positive shopping experience for the shop’s loyal customers.

What makes C’est la Vie unlike any other retail boutiques is the light, bright, welcoming ambiance and the one of a kind art, wall sculptures, home decor, jewelry and women’s fashions and accessories found inside. Merchandise is ever changing and always new. Once items are offered in chain stores, they are removed from C’est la Vie.

Two product lines currently featured at C’est la Vie are the Heather B. Moore custom personalized jewelry line and the luminous Fire & Light recycled glassware collection. Heather B. Moore jewelry is uniquely created for each customer to be personal and one-of-a-kind. Heather B. Moore jewelryCustomers choose the metal (14kt gold or silver), chains, tags, medallions, stones, coins, and charms to be used in each custom piece. They also define the monograms, names, dates, phrases and sayings to be engraved on each medallion, coin or tag. The resulting engraved necklaces, bracelets, rings and cuff links express the individuality of each customer.

Fire & Light is a beautiful line of hand-poured glass tableware that is made in the USA. The dishes are made from over 91% recycled glass. Fire and Light 11The glass is crushed, poured and pressed, which creates a luminous look that gives the glassware it’s brilliance and sparkle. There are 8 attractive eye-catching colors available in-store and online.

For more information on this artisan boutique, (named as one of the top 5 best Western Washington gift shops in Best of the Northwest by Evening Magazine), please visit their website at, or visit the store in Edmonds, Washington at 320 5th Ave S. You’ll be glad you did.

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Healthy Honey

Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Ancient Proverb

Many enjoy honey simply because it tastes good.

Others know that honey, man’s oldest sweetener, is an effective calmer of coughs or ulcers when ingested with warm tea. Honey is also a natural antiseptic for wounds and, because it has the ability to attract water, it can be used as a face mask or mixed with olive oil to be used as a hair moisturizer.

Yet recent media stories have scared many people off from buying honey with reports that much of the honey sold in the United States is tainted with contaminants or watered down.

So where can one find healthy honey?

Dr. Pescia's HoneySome of the best honey in the world comes to the United States via locally owned, Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods, LLC. For 10 years husband and wife team, Ron Post and Ilyse Rathet have been honey devotees and they have helped bring the hand-crafted honey products of Dr. Paolo Pescia to the US market.

Pescia, a passionate second-generation honey maker, transports his apiaries (beehives) to seasonally-flowering zones and protected national parks located from Italy’s Tuscan coast to its hills. He uses this practice to produce monofloral (one flower) honeys of stunning quality and flavor. All production is done by hand, including the scraping of the honey from their combs. Contrary to the reports of adulteration in some imported honey, Pescia’s honeys, like many other limited-production honeys, are free from chemicals and contaminants. In fact, Pescia honeys have “proudly” passed several lab analyses for the Chinese-based contaminant choloramphenicol, which has never been discovered in honey “Made in Italy”.

Pescia Honeys can be purchased locally at Poggi Bonsi Cucina at 907 S. 152nd Street in Olde Burien.

Varieties of honey are as follows.

Acacia Honey by Dr. Pescia – From a national park in Northeast Tuscany, this golden, liquid honey is extremely floral, perfect for drizzling on pastries or Sunday morning French toast.

Dr. Pescia's Blackberry HoneyBlackberry Honey from Dr. Pescia – Available seasonally, this rare, lush honey produced from bees visiting ripe fall blackberries in the Tuscan countryside. Its deep flavor is perfect for fruit desserts, quick breads, and meats–including game meats.

Cardoon Flower Honey by Dr. Pescia – available seasonally.

Corbezzolo Honey by Dr. Pescia – available seasonally.

Dr. Pescia's Chestnut HoneyChestnut Honey by Dr. Pescia – The bees are transported to chestnut woods in the hills near the Pescia farm for the production of a transparent, bronze-colored, pourable honey with a potent, molasses-like bouquet and flavor. Ideal as a condiment for cheese plates.

Ivy Flower Honey by Dr. Pescia – available seasonally.

Dr. Pescia's Sulla HoneySulla Honey by Dr. Pescia – From the flowers of a wild local legume in the Tuscan Hills, this light and delicate honey has a velvety texture, making it a delicious addition to tea or coffee. Also use it in any sauce reduction.

Sunflower Honey by Dr. Pescia – available seasonally.

Wild Heather Honey by Dr. Pescia – From the expanses of heather facing the Mediterranean near the Pescia farm, this honey has a slightly crystalline structure and intense yet balanced suite of flavors. Excellent as a dessert topping, elegant over pancetta, and simply wonderful on ice cream.

Enjoy this vignette of one of Post and Rathet’s visits to a Dr. Pescia honey territory.

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Best Bites Lives Up to Its Name

If you’re like most of us and consider a whole block of fresh Parmesan an absolute splurge compared to the normal powder in the green cans, then have we got a place for you! Or if you know exactly what “fromage” means and just where to find “rennet” at your neighborbood store, then again we’ve got the place for you!

Loie and Ezra BensonBenson’s Best Bites is just the type of store/deli that the southside has been needing for a long time. It is comfortable as Loie and Ezra Benson offer true Mom & Pop service. Plus, the store’s wares are both eye and taste-appealing. The specialty items encourage you to get creative with normally impossible-to-find cooking and baking ingredients. Ezra invites customers to be adventurous with their palates as he offers tastes of exquisite cheeses like the 2008 Paris Fair winning cheese and offers insights to fine foods. Then as you are dining on your choice of specialty handcrafted soups or sandwiches, Loie slips behind you to offer samples of pickles or the 16 varieties of olives that are sold at the store.

The service isn’t speedy, nor should it be. The time and care going into your order gives you ample time to explore the shop. And honestly, we spent twenty minutes just walking around soaking it all in before we could even bring ourselves to place an order. In the end we ordered sandwiches, the very items Ezra never intended to sell when he and Loie first opened the shop.

Bensons Cheese CounterEzra explained how he had originally envisioned a fine cheese and cold cuts counter with other delectable treats for the cook, baker, and eater enthusiasts in the area. If he made a few sandwiches here and there that was fine, but the plan didn’t include sandwich specials. After the recommendations of many customers that he make sandwiches with cold cuts and Havarti, he made a decision. He would make sandwiches with what he calls a Havarti Upgrade*. *(Havarti being one of the “fanciest” cheeses found at most grocery stores was as far and strange as most customers had been in the world of cheese.) However, Ezra sought to take them further and farther into the world of fromage.

Needless to say, when Benson’s Best Bites started making sandwiches they were sure to do them right. Our Ciabatta Mufaletta, Mozzarella di Buffala pesto en Carroza, and Dirty Jobs sandwiches were nothing short of spectacular. The Ciabatta Mufaletta has been cut down in size from its New Orleans cousin but retains all the full flavor of the Big Easy original. Both the name and a bite of the Mozzarella di Buffala pesto en Carroza truly are a mouthful in the most delightful sense of the word.
The Dirty Jobs featuring Lebanon bologna, smoked turkey, and smoked mozzarella on white bread was a pleasing surprise. Having been a student from Kindergarten through grad school for the past 18 years-I always think of white bread as that sweet-stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth Wonder bread sort. Nope, what I had before me was pure artisan bread, the very kind that makes you want to cradle the whole loaf and try Pixar’s Ratatouille squeeze on it to find out if it too, “…eez a symphony of crackle.”

Benson's Best Bites StoreBenson’s Best Bites is an eclectic but wonderful store selling everything from gourmet fresh and dried pasta, to spices like saffron and lavendar, to giant hunks of fine cheese or chocolate, to Mexican Coca Cola. And more than just the selling of products, the store and its owners are there to share with you: to share their knowledge and passion of fine food, to share their community involvement (fliers about local events are posted around), and to share their thoughts on the current weather and economic status in the southside.

Front of Benson's Best Bites StoreThe store is not the easiest to find as it is located near the back right-hand side of the Manhattan QFC in Normandy Park, but it is worth the trip, well worth it.

Benson’s Best Bites is open M-F 10 am – 6:30 pm and Saturdays from 10am – 4pm serving garlic fries the flavor and balance of which has already been adored all over the internet. If you have any questions, please phone 206-243-2420 or simply stop by the store at 17851 First Avenue South,
Normandy Park, Washington 98148.

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Bring Music Home

Have you considered starting a hobby, such as music or art? Adding music to a household can be an effective therapeutic outlet to reduce stress in your life. For a child, music has been proven to improve academic learning and develop important motor skills.*

Foothills Suzuki Institute, offers local Suzuki lessons for violin, viola and cello. Foothills Suzuki Institute works out of the studios and concert rooms at Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah, WA. (For those who don’t live in the Greater Seattle area, check here for a Suzuki teacher in your area.)

Foothills Suzuki Institute Group Lesson at Hammond Ashley Violins

The Suzuki Method was started by Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki (1898-1998). Dr. Suzuki believed that every child could learn to play music the same way they learn to speak: starting at a young age and being immersed in the language/music. From this idea, Dr. Suzuki based his method of teaching violin on listening, repetition, parent involvement and starting the student at a young age. Just as every child can learn to speak, every child can learn to play the violin with the right instruction and lifestyle habits. Thus, the Suzuki Method is known as the “mother-tongue” method.

Suzuki students have weekly private lessons as well as periodic group lessons. In the group lessons, students are provided with a fun social environment where they can learn from each other, listen and watch other violinists and have the opportunity to play in front of others. Group lessons also encourage manners, community and discipline.

Although Dr. Suzuki was a violinist, the Suzuki Method has been adapted for many other instruments including: viola, cello, bass, piano, flute, harp, guitar and recorder.

ViolinWhile the Suzuki Method was created for preschool-aged students, the Foothills Suzuki Institute uses the Suzuki Method to teach students of all ages and levels.

Starting music lessons for a child can be beneficial for parents as well since the Suzuki Method relies heavily on parent involvement. In order to efficiently coach children in their daily practice, parents are encouraged to be involved at every private and group lesson.

Learning an instrument such as violin or cello will bring value to your life whether you or your child starts lessons. Don’t keep putting it off. Contact Hammond Ashley for more information today.

*For more on how music effects child development: and

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B & E Meats – Local Butcher for 50 Years and Going!

Fresh and Smoked Meats and Seafood

For over 50 years, B & E Meats has been bringing the freshest meats and seafood to the south Puget Sound area. With locations in Burien and Des Moines, this family owned and operated business began in 1958 with two brothers, Bob and Earl Green.

Early business wasn’t easy as there was plenty of competition with over 6 meat markets at the time in the Burien area alone. Their hard work and determination paid off and their business quickly grew to open a second store. After 40 years in the business, they retired, but the company is still family owned and run by Bob’s son and daughter in-law, Jeff and Trisha Green. Business has continued to be sucessful and grow as loyal customers appreciate the warm and friendly staff and the highest quality meat products available.

B & E Meats offers a wide range of wonderful and award winning meats, seafood, and jerkys. Their ground beef comes from Eastern Oregon’s Painted Hills natural beef company where animals are fed only 100% vegetarian diet. No added hormones or antibiotics are ever used. B & E also offers many other fresh products such as a variety of steaks, roasts, pork loin and rib. Marinated, smoked meats, and poultry are also available as well as their award winning beef jerky.

A special service that makes B & E Meats stand out from other competitors is their custom processing service for game and seafood. This allows individuals, such as hunters, to bring in their game to be cleaned and processed for them. With that they offer grinding, cut and wrapping the meat as well as custom sausages and the option of fresh filleting seafood and smoking salmon.

For more information on B & E Meats products and services, visit them at their Burien or Des Moines location, or online at

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Two Fishers Gourmet Seafood

Gourmet canned salmon and tuna is the specialty for this family owned and operated commercial fishing company. For many years owner and captain Gene Fisher and his wife, Aileen, have been troll fishing off the Oregon Coast.

They have a catching and processing method that is unlike other companies to bring you the highest quality and freshest canned Albacore tuna and salmon you can buy. All of their albacore are hook and troll caught with jigs (no nets or long lines!), and timed hung / vertical bled and then flash frozen. All of this happens right onboard the F/V Two Fishers to preserve ultimate freshness ,fat and Omgea 3 content.

Two Fishers Gourmet Seafood products are unique in the canned tuna industry because they are produced by a single family owned and operated boat. So, discerning buyers are purchasing fish that is processed with a level of personal clan pride and care that large factories cannot begin to compete with. They are so confident that they offer an unconditional guarantee: Two Fishers Gourmet Pacific Albacore will be the best canned tuna you’ll ever taste!

Those looking for the benefits of fresh fish, but with the convenience that canning offers will find Two Fishers Gourmet Seafood to offer the perfect balance. Their unique processing procedure and hook and line caught seafood defines gourmet!

To learn more or to  buy canned Albacore Tuna and Gourmet Salmon online, visit

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Everlasting Chocolates?

Red Heart Fossil Fire Chocolate BoxProfessional potter, Missy James is passionate about many things, including art, pottery, realism and chocolate. Now she has merged these passions into a new product line of “everlasting chocolates” under the name of FossilFire Ceramic Chocolates. Per the tagline on the website, the shiny creations “preserve the moment of anticipation forever”. Each piece is handmade and hand-painted. Available in square, rectangular and heart-shaped ceramic boxes, each unique ceramic chocolate is set into brown glassine candy cups that look just like the paper cups used in boxes of edible luxury fine chocolates.

The article at explains Missy’s creation process in fascinating detail. From formation to final glazing, the skill and craftsmanship that go into these unique works of art is significant. Few people, even artists, have the patience or passion to carry them through the hours and weeks it takes to make each custom piece.

Because they look so real, Missy cements the chocolates and their papers into their ceramic boxes so as to prevent any choking hazard to children.

With 58 “flavors” already in production and new “flavors” being introduced each month, Missy James is rapidly becoming the world’s premier ceramic chocolatier. What’s more, customers can even fill their own box by selecting the individual chocolates they love the most! With names like “Cherry’s Da Bomb Heart” and “Splash of Apricot Oval” who wouldn’t want to pick their chocolates.

Custom versions of the boxes are available for corporate Christmas gifts while the 4-piece Square Box of chocolates may be just that special gift for a significant other and the large red heart is a stunning gift for the person who has “everything”.

For more information visit

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A Better Crab Trap

I remember crabbing as a girl with my father off the coast of Garibaldi, Oregon. Early in the day we went to a local fish market and bought a big old fish head. Dad cut it into hunks, set a hunk into each of the rusty metal cage-style traps and loaded the traps into the small motor boat. I climbed on board with a big old orange life vest (sun-faded on the outside and bright orange inside) and we launched into a slough, motored to the open ocean and tossed out the traps. A few hours later we motored back to the traps and hauled them on board. We measured the crabs’ underbellies and were thrilled if we got a few legal size Dungeness crabs. We then motored back to dad’s boss’ cabin, put a big pot of water over a campfire, boiled up the crab, let them cool and then cracked and picked enough crab to feed our family of six a few meals of crab and drawn butter and crab louie salad.

The Crab Pod

Now, some 35 years later, I’m pleased to see that a local family finally has invented the best crab trap I’ve ever seen. This new trap, called Stow-B-Low Crab Pod™ is superior in many ways. It is lighter weight, less bulky, collapsible, easily stowed and rust proof. Plus, it can be used with a better bait system that uses fish oil in a sponge rather than an old smelly fish head.

If you know a boater, whether a leisure fisherman, someone looking for a new outdoor or food-related hobby or a serious yachter, the Crab Pod™ makes a great holiday or thank you gift.

To see a demonstration video or learn more about this unique invention, visit

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Heirlooms as Gifts

Last year I handmade all my Christmas presents. The presents were personal and unique but it ended up taking more time and expenses than I expected. With the economy the way it is today, we can all step back and look at how much money we have been spending at Christmas.

With that said, I have run across the perfect solution for saving time, energy and money as well as giving a meaningful gift.

Seattle Fast Fix Jewelry in Southcenter MallSeattle Fast Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs has been in the Westfield Southcenter mall since 1999. While they do routine jewelry inspection and cleaning, watch battery replacement and eyeglass hinge repair, they do more than just that. They also restore antique jewelry, restring pearl necklaces and engrave jewelry, watches and gift items.

Do you have jewelry that you no longer wear? Maybe a ring that needs a little spiffing up, a loose stone that needs mounting, a locket that has a broken chain or a watch from your grandfather that no longer is ticking? Rather than buying new jewelry as a Christmas present, why not make a piece of your own jewelry an heirloom and treasured gift for a loved one?

Seattle Fast Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs takes rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets, watches, tie pins, broaches, tiaras and more that you already have and makes the necessary repairs and/or restorations to make them new at affordable prices.

Engraving jewelry, watches or gift items can also make meaningful, less expensive Christmas presents. Seattle Fast Fix engraves metal and glass items. A personalized glass 1st Christmas ornament might be a perfect gift for a newly wed couple or parents of a new baby. A personalized Zippo lighter might be a great idea for a grandson. An engraved key ring might be perfect for that teenager who just got their driver’s license. Seattle Fast Fix also carries items ready to be engraved such as ID bracelets, medical alert jewelry, plaques, flasks and other gift items. And, they can even remove the engraving from a solid silver item and add a new message.

So while you are out-and-about this holiday season, stop by Fast Fix Jewelry (located near JCPenney’s just inside the Southcenter mall entrance between Racha Thai and BJ’s restaurants) and have your treasured items restored, repaired or engraved while you shop for other items.

To learn more, visit

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Poggi Bonsi Ready For the Holidays

Frog Ornament at Poggi Bonsi Gifts in BurienLocated in the heart of Olde Burien, Poggi Bonsi is ready for the holiday season. The charm of the exterior draws you in as you enter a warm and inviting atmosphere. Inside awaits many wonderful, festive holiday decor and gift ideas for the season. Christmas trees are trimmed with hundreds of new holiday themed ornaments. Some of the themed ornaments include mice, frogs, nutcrackers; as well as snowmen, Santas and many more to choose from. The ornaments range in price from $2.95-$20.95.

A nice gift idea for the approaching cold of winter is a warm, cozy blanket or throw by David Fussenegger. These Austrian fleece blankets are soft and plush, pill-free, and machine washable. They come in a variety of colors and prints and retail from $114.95-$167.95.

Garlic Plates at Poggi Bonsi GiftsAnother new item is the new Whimsical French Pottery collection. Handmade in Vallauris, France; this colorful collection of pottery is perfect to mix and match. One item in the collection, the garlic grater plate, comes in a beautiful range of colors and prints and makes a wonderful gift. Simply grate a garlic clove on the ceramic grater and add some extra virgin olive oil and use to dip your favorite bread. This item retails for $25.00 and is found on the web site or in Poggi Bonsi’s kitchen store, ‘Cucina’, located just a few doors down.

Nutcrackers at Poggin Bonsi Store in BurienPoggi Bonsi first opened its doors in Burien about 6 years ago, with owners and founders, Keli DeRitis & Michelle Codd. Keli’s idea was to bring a little European flavor to it’s customers after an inpiring visit to Italy with her family 7 years ago. Three years later, their kitchen stored ‘Cucina’ opened it’s doors.

Visit the store at 901 SW 152nd Street or go online to to learn more.

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Hammond Ashley Violins

Hammond Ashley Violins Seattle Store

Hammond Ashley Violins is all about bringing quality music tools to the string communities of Seattle, Washington and San Diego, Calfornia.

Founded in 1964 by Hammond Ashley, the business began on the second floor of Ashley’s woodworking shop just south of the Seattle-Tacoma airport. Ashley’s background in engineering, woodworking and music made the perfect foundation for lutherie work. (Read more about founder Hammond Ashley here.)

After Hammond Ashley died in 1993, his grandson, Paul Ashley, took on the business, which had grown significantly and taken up shop on Des Moines Memorial Drive. In 2006, the business again moved to a shop with more space in Issaquah, Washington.

In February 1999, “Hammond Ashley Bass Violins” went online under the domain Here, they had a large inventory price list of instruments and their accessories. Customers could order these products by emailing or faxing their desired products and phoning in their credit card information.

Currently, Hammond Ashley Violins has two shops, one in Issaquah, Washington and one in San Diego, California. Both shops have recently moved location and are continuing to grow in business. They can be found online at where customers can easily complete the entire rental process online and simply pick up their rental instruments at their school or in-store. Customers are encouraged to come in-store for the purchase of instruments, bows and accessories where professional staff will help find the perfect instrument for each individual.

Hammond Ashley violins’ specialty is in sales and rentals of high quality stringed instruments. Both stores are lined with hand-picked instruments and bows from all around the world that customers can play and compare in a friendly and comfortable environment. Before deciding on the purchase or rental of any stringed instrument, customers are encouraged to take the instruments and/or bows home to play for their teacher’s input. The store also includes a workshop where stringed instruments are set up, adjusted and repaired before and after purchase. Instruments purchased elsewhere can also be brought to the workshop.

Passion for musicians is not limited to Hammond Ashley Violins’ walk-in customers. Their outreach extends to schools and the string community around them. Throughout the years, Hammond Ashley Violins has sponsored master classes, workshops, summer camps and festivals, concerts and contests. They have a school outreach program whose goal is to educate students and teachers on topics such as care and maintenance of string instruments and how to select an instrument or bow.

Hammond Ashley Violins offers reliable referrals for professional private string instructors for any skill level or age. In fact, most of the business to Hammond Ashley Violins comes from private string teachers and their students. This is because Hammond Ashley Violins

Hammond Ashley Violins is a worry-free dream for any music teacher.

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Jason Lollar: Boutique-Style Pickups & Guitars

Jason Lollar

Jason Lollar

When seeking a handcrafted guitar or pickup, knowing the artisan behind the work is crucial. Jason Lollar graduated from Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona in 1975, and has enjoyed life as a professional luthier, ever since. Besides designing and producing extraordinary archtop, solid-body electric and lap steel guitars, Jason is a noted authority on nearly everything related to electric pickups. He is the sole author of
Basic Pickup Winding and Complete Guide to Making Your Own Pickup Winder and contributed to Bart Hopkin’s Getting A Bigger Sound: Pickups and Microphones for Your Musical Instrument.

Professional musicians and instrument manufacturers look to Jason’s products to get superior sound. His client list, which includes many internationally known artists, is growing exponentially.

Lollar Guitar

Lollar Guitar

Individual design, and a master craftsman’s passion and attention to detail, mark the tailored guitars produced by Lollar. Five styles await the discerning artist: Concert, Performer, Kona, Koa V and, of course, the Classic. Each of these is sure to please the serious musician. Quality and a uniquely uplifting excellence are hallmarks of all these finely detailed instruments.

Jason Lollar also produces amazing and highly sought after pickups, for electric, bass and steel guitars. With 36 different types of pickups, Lollar is sure to offer the exact sound to match the musician and his instrument. He not only knows design and production, Lollar has made understanding the issues, the history, the folk lore- ”the heart and soul” – of pickups his passion and profession.

As a special service, Jason offers pickup rewinding restoration for old, broken coils. True to his principals, he discourages tinkering with functioning units, calling such efforts “an exercise in futility.” Nevertheless, those wishing to bring dead coils back to life, will find a friend in Lollar.

Ultimately, folks who just like to strum on a guitar can find less expensive materials that are “good enough.” However, for the musician who knows that a guitar is more than a tool, and a pickup is more than an attachment, Jason Lollar’s boutique design and production offerings will surprise and delight!

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