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Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates to Get More Home for Less

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Uncategorized | Posted: April 18, 2019

You’ve probably heard that now’s the time for buyers to get into the market. The main reason for this is interest rates – that is, historically low interest rates.

If you’re considering buying a home in the next year, you may want to bump up that timeline. Right now, interest rates are low enough that you could afford more home than ever before. We’re talking about how interest rates affect your buying power and why you can afford to buy more home for less by taking advantage of today’s rates.

How Interest Rates Affect Buyer’s Purchasing Power

It’s important to understand how interest rates affect how much home you can afford. After all, the interest rate you can secure will impact not just monthly house payments, but also your overall purchasing power.

What is your purchasing power? It refers to how far your dollar goes. Purchasing power is the amount of house you can afford based on your available budget. There are all sorts of factors that go into this, like your down payment amount, debt, and credit score.

But interest rates play a huge role in what kind of home you can buy. Take a look at the chart below, which shows how different rates affect monthly payments for two different houses.

 The chart above doesn’t factor in any down payment amount on the home and focuses on Principal and Interest (P&I) monthly payments. If you’re interested to see how your monthly payment may change with these interest rates, you can calculate that here.

Paying Less for More Home

You can see how the buyer’s purchasing power changes based on what interest rate they can secure. We’re specifically looking at homes in the $400,000 and the $450,000 range.

A buyer who secures a rate of 3.75% for their new home could have the same monthly payment ($2,087) on a $450,000 home as someone with a rate of 4.75% would spend on a $400,000 home. The lower the interest rate you can get, the more home you can afford.

Today’s buyers can afford more home for the same monthly payments. You can extend these numbers to larger, more expensive homes depending on your budget.

Comparing Today’s Rates to The Past

Today’s interest rates are historically low. Even just a few years ago, rates were double if not triple what they are now. Back in 2006, the average mortgage interest rate was 6.4%. While that’s not terribly higher than today’s higher rates, even a few percentage points can make a huge difference in monthly payments.

Before that, in 2000, interest rates were averaging at 8%. Your monthly payments for a $400,000 home back then would have been $2,935 — nearly double the highest amount on the chart above.

While doubled interest rates may not seem crazy to you, consider what homebuyers faced back in the ’80s. In 1981, buyers faced interest rates at 16% or higher (source).

Can you even imagine? Compare that to today’s rates, even on the high end of 4.75%, and you can see why so many people are urging homebuyers to jump into the market right now.

Home Buyers Today Can Afford More Home for Less

The interest rate you secure plays a considerable role in determining how much home you can afford. Today’s rates are crazy low compared to those just a few years ago, not to mention those back in the ’80s and ’90s.

If you’re looking to buy a home, now’s the time to do it. You can take advantage of these historically low interest rates. You can even go beyond your expected price range because you can realistically secure a rate low enough to pay the same monthly payments on a bigger, more expensive home.

The market is hot right now for a good reason. Lower interest rates help home buyers – whether first-time buyers or seasoned buyers looking for their next home – get more bang for their buck.

Getting to Know Your New Community After a Move

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: April 11, 2019

Relocating can be tough for you and your family. Even if you’re only moving a few miles away, it’s hard to deal with so much change. Not only are you facing different commutes to work, school, and grocery stores, you’re also contending with joining a new community.

Getting to know your neighbors and neighborhood can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve gathered a few easy ideas that can help make the process easier. Even if you’re not a social butterfly, don’t worry. These are easy ways to help integrate yourself into a new community and learn about a neighborhood.

Take Regular Walks Around Your Neighborhood

Assuming you haven’t moved in the dead of winter, take some time in the mornings or evenings to walk around your neighborhood. If you can’t manage this every day, at least try to get out and about on the weekends.

You are likely to discover new bakeries, restaurants, or shops within walking distance from your new house. As you’re walking around the neighborhood, you will probably also run into your neighbors.

Besides, moving is so stressful for you and your entire family. Taking some time, even just five minutes, to walk around and get out of the house is an excellent de-stressor. Recharge your batteries every day, so you don’t wear yourselves out.

Take Notes On Your Neighbors (Without Being Creepy)

Not everyone feels comfortable approaching strangers. But even if you’re on the shy side, you can still get to know the people who live in your area. While taking walks through your neighborhood, pay attention to the kinds of activities your neighbors are into.

For example, maybe you see a neighbor wrangling kids carrying soccer gear. Or maybe you see the same neighbor working daily in a gorgeous garden. You can strike up a conversation later about community sports or ask for recommendations about local greenhouses. Finding common ground with the people living near you can be an excellent ice breaker.

You can learn about your neighbors this way without feeling like a stalker, which will make it easier to get to know them. You can also take a stronger approach and invite your neighbors over to your new home. Which leads us to…

Throw a Neighborhood Housewarming Party

No doubt your friends and family would love to join you in your new home for a housewarming party. But if you’re looking to get to know your neighbors, consider hosting a neighborhood get together after moving in.

First, give your family time to settle in, unpack boxes, and paint the walls. Then, within the first month of moving in, send out invitations (by mail or in person) to your neighbors inviting them over. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors in a relaxed environment.

There’ a good chance you haven’t met all your neighbors yet. After all, moving can be so time-consuming! So, hosting a get-to-know-you party is a great way to meet everyone.

Sign Up For Next Door

Have you ever heard of Next Door? It’s a private social network for neighborhood communities. People living in your area can post about neighborhood news or alerts, sell or give away items, and generally interact with each other.

What’s great about Next Door is it offers you the opportunity to interact with people right away after moving into your new home. Since each neighborhood community is only open to those living within the area, it helps keep interactions local.

Sign up for your neighborhood’s Next Door community and introduce yourself! Start up conversations with people in your area, find common interests, and even learn about ways to get involved. People are always posting about intermural sports teams, community events, and other meetups.

Joining a new community can be a lot of fun. You have the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests and get involved in new activities. Pay attention to community events and attend them with your whole family. You’ll have a good time, and it will make the entire relocating process that much easier.

4 Seattle Food Forests Provide Free, Organic Food and a Reprieve from City Life

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle | Posted: April 3, 2019

One of the first things that you might notice after moving to Seattle is the prolific amounts of fruit trees. Apples, pears, plums, and cherries grow abundantly throughout parks and neighborhoods in the city. Gardens here produce high-volumes of flowers, vegetables, and berries. South facing front yard green spaces are popular, and people enjoy being out in the elements growing organic food.

The mild climate and abundance of rain in the Pacific Northwest allow a front or back yard gardener to grow a healthy variety of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. With the right equipment, you can have a garden all year long. Empty, run down lots, overgrown with weeds often hide an apple tree or two, still producing in the fall.

Now that it’s spring, and it’s time to begin planning your garden. Even apartment dwellers can find a sunny window for an herb garden or a patio to grow a tomato plant. You don’t need much space to grow your favorite vegetables. If you can’t find the space or crave more, there are a number of ways to get your hands dirty in your own soil or lending a hand to others.

Food forests are a relatively new concept. Volunteers utilize city spaces, grants and donations to plant fruit and nut trees, berry shrubs, herb, and vegetable gardens that produce yields available to anyone at absolutely no cost.

 

  1. The Beacon Food Forest is on 15th Avenue South and South Dakota Street. Just North of Beacon Hill and a short walk from the VA hospital. This amazing seven-acre city project produces crops for a working-class neighborhood that historically is short on food. The idea began in 2009, and it took several years of planning and a lot of hard work, but now it’s a Garden of Eden within city limits. Fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and edible annuals greet you around each corner. Fanciful paintings, art installations and garden paths weave through the space creating a utopia within two miles of the city center. The Beacon Food Forest has a berry patch, nut grove, fruit orchard, medicinal garden, and annual vegetables.They’re working their way up to housing 1,000 varietals of plants after taking a survey of favorites from the diverse neighborhood residents surrounding the property. They’ll eventually have trees, plants, and shrubs from around the world. They host a variety of classes offering things like seed harvesting and starts, fruit tree pruning, and herbalist plant walks. The forest is a work in progress and volunteers are working in phases to bring it to fruition. Volunteers are always welcome to get their hands dirty while meeting new friends and learning sustainable gardening skills in the process.
  2. Georgetown Urban Farm and Forest (GUFF) at 6737 Corson Avenue South, is located just outside of the Georgetown campus. It’s in an area known for being a food desert and an industrial space. Organizers decided in 2015 to do something about it and started this food forest for the community. The area used to house a landfill, which has led to some setbacks. Site organizers are determined to rebuild the soil. For now, they have space for raspberries, medicinal plants, and raised bed vegetable gardens. The community is excited to have GUFF as a resource for fresh food, education and much needed healthy, living space within an industrial area.
  3. Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW) is on 5513 South Cloverdale Street in South Seattle. It sits on the shore of Lake Washington in a space that used to be under water. When they built the shipping canal, the lake dropped adding this space to the landscape. RBUFW is the newest of the Food Forests, and due to some hefty donations they’re off to a great start. Three greenhouses, a classroom, and a teaching kitchen are all situated on site. They offer Dozens of classes for kids and adults on sustainability, cooking, and livestock.
  4. Puget Ridge Neighborhood Edible Park located at 5265 18th Avenue SW in West Seattle. The edible park sits on a ¾ acre of neighborhood space. The land has established apple, plum and pear trees and grape vines that were already there when the neighborhood garden began. From March through October volunteers meet here the second Sunday of each month and every Thursday from 4:00 – 6:00.

If you aren’t close to the food forests, or if you’d like your own space to tinker. Seattle neighborhoods offer P-Patch community gardens where residents can rent a gardening patch to grow anything you want. Each of the P-Patches is on a waiting list, and it’s a good time to throw your name down if you’re interested.

If you like to garden with others check this list of organizations, they’re always looking for volunteers to help out.

Take a look at the website Falling Fruit for your neighborhood and favorite park spaces. It’s an interactive website that allows readers to log in fruit trees around town. Look at the map and notes before you harvest, a lot of the trees saved are on private property.

There are thousands of trees on city land that are open for picking, make sure it’s legal before you do. If the tree is on private property, even if the branches hang onto city streets, ask the homeowner if you can pick. It’s the polite and neighborly thing to do. Enjoy the coming summer of bounty, Seattle will soon be bursting with sweet, bright fruit. Just keep your eyes open and upward and you’ll find it.

7 Local Cinco de Mayo 2019 Locations in Seattle to Attend

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: March 29, 2019

This year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday, a lucky thing about that is that you can make a weekend out of it. Local Seattle events will be happening Saturday and Sunday this year so you can expect lots of the neighborhood Mexican restaurant and bar will be packed and offering drink specials. Here’s a list we’ve compiled for celebrating Seattle locals to check out this holiday.

We’ve compiled a list of the biggest bashes in Seattle.

Waterways Cinco de Mayo Party Cruise May 4, book now for a party cruise $62 saves you a spot on board including one free drink and a taco bar. You’ll be dancing down the lake on this party boat with a live DJ and sparkling water below.

Fiesta 5k Ole! & Food Truck Festival May 4, located the in Volunteer Park. Register to run in the 5k starting at 9:30 a.m. and stay for two live bands and a DJ in the beer and margarita tent. Food trucks from all over Seattle will be joining in the fun bringing fresh, Mexican inspired meals to the party. It will last until 5:00 p.m. when the crowd will let loose on Capitol Hill joining in on other parties throughout the city.

15th Annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party located at Tacos Guaymas in Green Lake Sunday, May 5, this event is so big that you might want to call into work the next day. Even the evening news will be here filming. The day’s events include a jalapeño eating contest, a rotation of live music and DJs, a margarita bar, beer garden, prizes, giveaways and of course, Mexican food.

Cinco de Mayo located at Las Palmas Restaurant in SeaTac on Sunday, May 5, register now to guarantee yourself a free ticket and reserve VIP seating. DJ’s will play Latin dance music all night beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Cinco de Drinko Sundaze May 5, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. if you’re tired of the same old bars here’s a different idea entirely. Hosted by event planners, this second annual affair will take place in a pretty Seattle event space, Studio 116. Buy tickets ahead of time or pay double at the door to enjoy drink specials and a DJ.

Tim’s Tavern May 5, the show starts at 5:00 p.m. come in for three live bands; Los Flacos, Amigos Nobles and Thomas Del Real from Chile. All these bands are playing for only a $5 suggested donation.  Tim’s is an excellent, little, community dive bar. If you love little digs with full vegan menus Seattle style, you’ll love this space.

The Substation May 5, the show starts at 9:00 p.m. Substation is a night club in Ballard, Come out for live bands Grunge Tree, 627, and More Shade than Sun.

Cinco de Mayo is always a good time, no matter where you go you’ll find good music, old and new friends and (arguably) some of the best food in the world.

 

What to Expect to Buy After Moving Into Your New Home

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: March 29, 2019

In the flurry of packing and coordinating moving trucks or loyal friends, did you remember to grab an extra roll of paper towels? How about garbage bags? Probably not, even though you’ll be needing them on move-in day.

Then there are other things, like a welcome mat or curtain liners, that you might prefer to throw away and purchase a replacement than pack up to a new house.

Many home buyers wait until after moving into their new home before buying these things. For some, it’s out of necessity – there’s just too much going on! For others, it makes more sense to wait until after the chaos has died down.

So, if you’re a soon-to-be new home buyer, here are some of the items you can expect to buy after moving into your new home.

Cleaning Supplies

When moving, there are things people forget to bring and other things people would rather replace than pack up. Cleaning supplies fall into both of these categories. Paper towels are probably the last thing on your mind, and who would take their dirty sponges into a new sparkling house?

So, after the moving trucks have left and you’re basking in that new home glow, it’s time to make a list. Think about all the cleaning supplies you will need, going room to room if that helps. Be sure to include day-to-day items (like toilet paper!) first.

Here are some common cleaning supplies new homeowners need:

  • Hand soap and dish soap
  • Garbage bags (for your kitchen and bathroom(s)
  • Paper towels
  • Laundry detergent
  • Sponges
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies
  • Plunger (treat yourself to a new one)

Though not an exhaustive list, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate having these items around on move-in day and the week following it.

First Aid Kit

An often-overlooked purchase after moving into a new home is a first aid kit. With all the picture hanging, light bulb replacing, and general maintenance you’ll be doing in the first few weeks of living in a new home, you’re going to want one.

You may have an old one that moved with you, but it’s likely outdated by now. Most people don’t regularly replenish or replace items in their kit. Make sure to pick up a first aid kit with bandages in multiple sizes, tweezers, and antibacterial spray. You certainly don’t want a cut or splinter ruining your move-in momentum!

Groceries and Staples

Of course, you’ll need to go grocery shopping soon after moving in. Leftover pizza only lasts so long. But remember, many people end up trashing things from their old home to make the move easier. If you’re a cooking pro, you may need to do some serious work to replenish your cupboards.

For instance, you may need to restock spices you didn’t bother to pack up. Or you may have put off buying more rice or pasta when you were running low in the last few weeks. It likely took you some time to build up that pantry, and it may take a while to do it again.

But there’s a silver lining here. You can start over. In other words, now’s the time to revisit that Pinterest board. Seen any cute ideas for storing spices? Interested in totally revolutionizing your pantry organization? Use this blank slate to your advantage to try out some new ideas.

Odds and Ends

How annoying is it when a lightbulb dies, and you don’t have any replacement bulbs? When moving into a new place, this is bound to happen.

Be sure to take a trip to the store for those odds and ends you wouldn’t usually remember to pack, like extra light bulbs, candles, or matches. Batteries are on this list too. Be sure to get replacement batteries for everything that needs them — or you’ll find yourself with a bunch of AA batteries when you need AAA.

Other “odds and ends” to consider:

  • Extension cords
  • Welcome Mat
  • Laundry basket
  • Clothes hangers
  • Shower caddy

Most of the time, it’s better to wait until after moving to buy anything new. After all, the more you have, the more you move, right?

Don’t worry about forgetting to buy band-aids or not having enough dish soap on the day you move. You’ll have plenty of time to buy these supplies after the move. Besides, cleaning supplies and groceries are great housewarming presents from family and friends. You may be surprised how many items people gift you in the week after moving in.

Pro Tips to Avoid Damaging Your Home on Move-In Day

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: March 15, 2019

Moving into a new house is both exciting and overwhelming. There are so many steps involved, so much planning, that it can be easy to forget about preparing your new home for the move. After all, the last thing you want is to chip new paint, scratch or stain the floors, or gouge a railing on move-in day. So, while you’re carefully packing, stacking, and transporting all your belongings, take some time to strategically plan how you’ll move it all in without destroying your home.

Strategically Plan Your Move

Taking the time to plan your move strategically is key in maintaining order and patience. There are some precautions you can take to ensure you’re minimizing scratch, bump, and scrape damage. These tips will also make the moving process so, so much easier:

When packing up your belongings, be sure to pack up boxes by room. Clearly label these boxes and keep them together in your moving truck. Not only will this keep the packing process organized – letting you go from one room to the next – but it will also help when unpacking in your new home.

To minimize traffic through your new home (and potential bumps, scratches, and scrapes), plan to move from back to front. Bring in furniture for areas farthest from the front door, like for upstairs bedrooms. Your move will go faster, and you can reduce traffic in and out of your new home.

Protect Your Floors

When you move into your new home, you’ll likely be re-arranging furniture all day. People will be coming in and out bringing boxes and furniture to every room. With so much to do, you’re likely not being as gentle or careful as you’d like. The last thing you want in your new house is scratched floors or chipped paint from move-in day.

  • Use drop clothes, carpet protectors, or even flattened cardboard boxes to protect both your floors and walls
  • Place moving blankest or cardboard boxes underneath furniture so you can slide them around with ease
  • Add felt pads to the bottom of chair legs, tablets, and other hard furniture to avoid scratches or scuffs to your floor

Protect Your Walls and Railings

Like your floors, walls and railings can get damaged during moves. This is especially true for tight corners or narrow staircases. Luckily, you can use the same materials to protect these areas that you used on your floors.

  • Wrap banisters or railings in bubble wrap or flattened cardboard boxes
  • Secure protections to your walls using painter’s tape to avoid peeling off the paint
  • Use corner guards or cardboard boxes around easy-to-bump wall corners

Keep Your Furniture Safe

As much as you want to avoid damaging your new home, it’s also essential to protect your furniture. Wrapping your furniture makes it easier to transport and keeps surfaces from getting scraped up.

  • Wrapping furniture in moving blankets keeps it safe and helps prevent scratches or scrapes against your floor and walls. Even better, you can stack bundled up furniture without worrying about scratches.
  • Whenever possible, disassemble furniture. Keep track of the pieces and make sure they’re moved together.

As you can see, a quick trip to the hardware store can go a long way in easing tensions while moving furniture and belongings into your new home. Taking the time to protect your walls, floor, and furniture will ensure a smooth move and keep your home looking fresh and new.

Where to Take your little Easter Egg Hunters in Seattle 2019

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Lifestyle | Posted: March 14, 2019

Spring is officially here and with it comes Easter! This year the holiday falls at the end of April, leaving more chances for sunny skies during egg hunts and Easter bunny visits. Hundreds of egg hunts take place all over the city, and you’re guaranteed to have at least one in your neighborhood. Most egg hunts fall on Saturday, April 20th leaving Easter morning for church services and Easter bunny baskets at home.

Don’t forget to bring your bags or baskets for your little ones to use while hunting. Some egg hunts limit children’s ages check your desired location to see if your kids fit within the guidelines.

Local community centers and parks offer Hundreds of Easter egg hunts look here for an extensive list of events in your neighborhood. The most important thing is to get there early. Egg hunts don’t last long and sometimes are over within minutes. Give your family plenty of time to avoid sad little hunters missing out on the fun.

 

Seattle

Woodland Park Zoo Bunny Bounce April 20, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. the zoo will be open for children to hunt Easter eggs for free with admission. Egg hunts will take place all day long with different hunts for younger and older children. Quests are for ages 1-3, 3-5, and 6-8 next to the North Meadow. The zoo animals aren’t left out; they’ll have special treats given to them in Easter baskets throughout the day. Check the schedule to find out when your favorite animal will chow down on a special Easter snack.

Montlake Community Center April 20, at 10:00 a.m. come out for a traditional Easter egg hunt with thousands of colored plastic eggs littering the church grounds.

 

Bellevue

Kelsey Creek Farm Park April 13, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. This event is only for children ages 5-7. They’ll have the opportunity to find real eggs in the chicken coop, compare duck, goose, and chicken eggs, and participate in an Easter egg hunt. A small petting zoo will be open. Pre-registration and a fee of $25 for Washington residents are required, $30 for non-residents.

Kids Quest Children’s Museum April 14, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Children will hunt for eggs hidden throughout the exhibits while enjoying the museum. Easter themed games, and Art projects will be available. Pre-register to secure your space. It’ll cost $8 for museum members, $13 for non-members when pre-registering.

 

Redmond

Redmond Town Center The Spring Eggstravaganza April 20, from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Coordinators of this massive event are expecting over 2,000 kids! The first 2,000 will receive a scavenger card and a prize bag at the end. Art tables, sports games, bouncy houses, trampolines, balloons, and face paint are only a few of the activities planned for the loads of children who attend.

 

Kirkland

Inglewood Presbyterian Church, The Great Finn Hill Egg Hunt April 20, starting at 11:00 a.m. This egg hunt takes place in a church and is open to everyone in the community. They encourage people to come early to the event for children to decorate a bag for their treasures. Easter egg hunts are separated by ages, toddler, pre-k and elementary. Feel free to bring food for a food drive the church will be hosting.

 

Newcastle

Seattle Revival Center in Newcastle on April 20, at 11:00 a.m. Pre-registration is required, this big event will have separate hunts for toddlers, 3-5-year old’s and 1st – 5th graders. Stay after the hunt to play games and jump in bouncy houses. Kids will be given free hotdogs for lunch.

 

Mercer Island

The Pebble Preschool Easter Egg Hunt and Potluck Brunch on April 20, at 10:00 a.m. This fun event is a great way to meet new people. Reserve your place ahead of time, bring a dish, and stick around for a delicious brunch with new friends.

 

Off Beat Easter:

Duvall Doggie Egg Hunt

Homeward Pet Adoption Center Easter B’egg Hunt on April 20, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Register your dogs to join in on a doggie egg hunt. Dogs will run free while sniffing out treat-filled Easter eggs throughout the grounds. It’s a free event, and donations will be accepted for pets in the Adoption Center.

Seattle Adult Bar Hopping

BunnyCon Easter Bunny Bar Hop 2019 April 20 & 21, from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Join up with a few hundred friends dressed like chicks and rabbits hopping from bar to bar all day long in downtown Seattle at this marathon event. Tickets start at $5 for early registration and get more expensive the longer you wait to sign up.

There are endless options to take your little ones this Easter rain or shine. Be sure to get out and create memories; these photo opportunities only come around once a year.

6 Cool and Unusual Things To Do Around Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Seattle | Posted: March 8, 2019

Historically the climate and landscape in Seattle have brought all types to the PNW, fishermen, tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, and most of all artists. Quirky personalities who lose themselves in conversation over a fair-trade coffee or an IPA homebrew love to call this place home.

The Emerald City is a fitting name for Seattle in more ways than one. Not only is it the city of evergreens and lush forests, but it has as much art and imagination as Alice and Wonderland. Seattle has a personality of its own and die-hard locals are working to keep the old city alive with art and music. Below are just a few of the places that make Seattle quirky.

Café Racer and the Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA) Room located on the North end of the University district. The bar is often packed full of engaging artists that work with all mediums from music to murals. The Café Racer calendar is full of entertaining shows, open night mics, cartoonist work parties, board games, comedy, improv and writing groups, any night of the week you might find artists painting or sketching at the bar. Thursday through Saturday there’s a revolving door of live music acts across all genres and Sundays are reserved for Jazz. For those who love art, but don’t take it too seriously, Café Racer is worth checking out, they’ve got everything, entertainment, great food, stiff drinks, bad artwork and a sense of humor.

Henry’s Murals, hopefully, you’ve noticed the abundance of colorful, and curious cartoon murals painting the streets of Wallingford, Ballard, and Fremont. Ryan Henry Ward is the artist, he signs all of his pieces Henry. This prolific artist is brightening up dark and boring spaces all over town from pet stores to dingy alleys.

Henry brings creativity and imagination to life while creating vibrant and lovable spaces. He paints big, bright silly characters straight out of his imagination and onto the wall, a whimsical window to his soul. Make a day of it and drive around looking for his pieces, they grace hundreds of walls and storefronts throughout the city.

Seattle Metaphysical Library is an underground library that is literally underground. Tucked away downstairs in the Kress building on NW Market Street in Ballard. This secretive little spot is worth finding if you’re into the quirky and unknown.

All types of offbeat subjects from spirituality to aliens are tucked away on the shelves of this little space. It’s worth a visit to anyone interested in secrets. The books, papers and newspaper clippings that pack the shelves are all hard to find and wouldn’t be at a regular library. $40 buys you a one-year membership allowing patrons to take home three books at a time, or you can come to browse the shelves and read in the stacks for free.

The library hours are odd, it’s run by volunteers, so you never quite know if it’ll be open. Check the schedule and look for the sign on the sidewalk, the building isn’t marked. The front door can sometimes be locked by residents who live upstairs, so if they’re open, you might need to give them a ring to come let you in.

UPS Waterfall Garden Park is a tiny little pocket park within the limits of the busiest section of the city in Pioneer Square. This little gem has a 22-acre waterfall creating a relaxing bubbling oasis to drown out the sounds of the city. Security guards make sure the area stays clean and available for anyone who needs a moment away from the crazy. The park was created as a commemoration of the very first UPS that was developed here in this spot in 1907 before it became the powerhouse company that it is today.

The Fremont Troll is one of the most unusual neighbors in Fremont. Located underneath the Aurora bridge the Troll has been guarding this space for almost 30 years and has turned this little cove into a tourist attraction.

An 18-foot cement troll appears to come out of the darkness with one shiny metal eye looking out from the depths. His left hand appears to be crushing an actual Volkswagen Beatle, which he dwarfs it in his enormous hand. Visitors are encouraged to climb on his face and take lots of pictures.

Hat ‘n’ Boots at Oxbow Park, this hilarious 1950’s roadside attraction was once very popular. It drew in massive crowds of tourists to the gas station whose owners commissioned it, making them a lot of money.

The 22-foot-tall boots once housed the gas station bathrooms and the 44-foot hat held the office. The Hat ‘n’ boots heyday was over when the interstate I-5 was built. After falling to decay, Georgetown residents fought against letting the accessories go out of style. They had them revamped and moved to Oxbow Park where residents can enjoy them daily while the kids play next door.

The weird, the obnoxious and the peaceful are only a few of the amusing and wacky oddities found within city limits. Keep your eye out, there are interesting people and pockets around every corner.

 

5 Offbeat Cinemas You Have to See in Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: March 7, 2019

Millions of people were raised on big box cinemas that rose from the suburbs and every outlying area in the 90s like AMC and Regal Theaters. They posed a huge hit to independent places and put thousands of small theaters and drive-ins out of business around the country almost squashing independent industry altogether.

For some, there will always be a feeling of nostalgia when you remember first dates and Friday nights at artsy little one-room cinemas. Each neighborhood location has its own stamp of individuality, and luckily there’s been an undercurrent of independent theatergoers that have kept these special places alive through modern times.

In a city like Seattle where individuality, art, and passion are celebrated, it’s important to remember that theater is a place of education, growth, and expression. Supporting independent theaters is important to communities, local landscapes and subsidizes artists and business.

Not only do theaters support owners and workers, but it makes our communities interesting and unique. Giving a nod to our heritage and keeping Seattle the amazing and vibrant city that it is.

Central Cinema is located in Seattle, sitting in a pretty brick building with a vintage marquis and a mosaic tree lining the front door. Inside, high ceilings with exposed brick, local artwork, and industrial lighting hang in cords from the ceiling with light-bulbs shining through glass milk jugs that light up this funky, artsy space. You can have dinner in the dining room before the show or dine at your seat during the film. The menu is gourmet and affordable offering bacon wrapped shrimp, a tasty list of burgers and sandwiches, specialty pizzas and curry popcorn among others.

Check the calendar often for a quirky list of old and new school flicks, cult classics, little known Indy films and classics like Dancing in the Rain, Blazing Saddles and Super Troopers light up the big screens. Central Cinema is guaranteed a hilarious and entertaining night out, they not only show extraordinary movies, but there are also sing-alongs, something called hecklevision that’s said to be hilarious, trivia nights, jam sessions and some have a Q and A afterward.

Central Cinema hosts award shows like the Grammy’s and Academy Awards, Oscars and every Thursday night is a Cartoon Happy Hour where kids can bring their friends and watch a free night of cartoons. The Cinema often offers $1.99 shows and free events, don’t miss out and enjoy a quirky, entertaining night out with a first date or the whole family.

Cinerama has been a neighborhood staple downtown since 1963. In 1997 it went through a bit of a rough spot when it almost went under to the bigger chain cinemas but was saved by a big-hearted investor. Seattleites are happy that it’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Cinerama has recently undergone a huge renovation, installing state of the art sound. The new laser projectors show incredible color and detail, they are the only one of their kind in a commercial theater. Red leather reclining chairs create luxury in the Cinerama’s one and only theater. All of the upgrades were implemented without losing any of the vintage character. Red and blue artwork covers the top of the building, bringing charm to the neighborhood and highlighting themes found in movies played within the walls. The Cinerama is a favorite for cult classics, first-run movies and film festivals.

All the guests rave about the offbeat chocolate popcorn. The concessions list is small but perfect hitting everything that you could ask for and sourced from local taverns, chocolatiers and ice creameries with local brews and wines available. A rotating exhibit of movie costumes graces the lobby behind glass offering interesting conversation pieces.

The Grand Illusion Cinema, located next to the University of Washington, is a little gem of a building. If you’re looking for a big box cinema, you will be disappointed. The Grand Illusion is an experience in itself, It’s the oldest, continuously running cinema since 1968 in Seattle. A non-profit, run entirely by volunteers.

This little theater is worth going to, just to help fund it with your ticket price, which is usually under ten dollars. The ends of the rows are beautifully carved and wooden with heavy red velvet curtains and deep-set ceiling tiles above. The Grand Illusion shows the classics, rare films and global, independent pictures covering every genre. Ticket prices are low, there is a small concession stand, and the volunteers running it are passionate about the location and films they play.

Ark Lodge Cinemas is a vintage Cinema located in Colombia City. Three theaters are small and intimate, two are what you might expect with traditional theater seating. Upstairs is the Prestige theater, a collection of armchairs, love seats and side tables greet you like a comfortable alternative to traditional seating. Colorful murals and bright red-carpet line the walls in the entrance creating a fun and inviting atmosphere entering the fresh bright space. A small snack section is available with high-quality popcorn at good prices.

Northwest Film Forum is a small indie theater in Capitol Hill that shows small productions and often hosts international film festivals. They offer classes for budding filmmakers in every stage of the process from children’s workshops to adult learners.The lobby is what you might expect from this little place with a quirky plaid couch and a small concession stand offering beer and wine. Repurposed glass light fixtures give a fitting and artistic vibe. If you’re interested in learning something about little known parts of the world check their schedule often, the films are quickly fleeting, but always worth seeing. Northwest holds popular children’s film festivals, so bring your kids, it’s a beautiful way to educate young minds in a way they’ll remember.

These theaters bring an appreciation of the unique and vibrant people who strive to bring cult classics and indie films to the small and large screens around the city. Bring your kids and re-discover your childhood loves and laughs sharing moments on indie screens with your neighbors.

What to Do (and Not Do) with Wallpaper

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: February 28, 2019

Some things are better left in the ’70s, like vinyl jumpsuits and shag carpeting. But patterned wallpaper should not be added to that list. When picturing your dream house, consider adding wallpaper to mix in new design elements and style.

Wallpaper isn’t the lifetime commitment you may think. In fact, you can purchase sticker-like removable wallpaper. Wallpaper comes in all forms – bold and subtle patterns, loud and neutral colors, and even in textures like faux fur or crocodile skin.

But there are some things to consider about bringing wallpaper into your home. Here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts for planning and installing wallpaper.

Do Be Careful About Patterns

This cannot be stressed enough: Go easy on bold or loud patterns. While this type of wallpaper would be great as an accent wall or backing shelves, it will quickly overwhelm a room. Either choose a subtle, neutral color wallpaper for the entire room or plan on only papering a small area with something bold or bright.

And please, don’t mix designs. Too many patterns in a room will look cluttered and make the space seem smaller than it is.

Don’t Blindly Buy

You would never paint the walls in your house without testing out the color first (right?). Think of wallpaper in the same way. You may fall in love with a floral pattern in the store, but at home, it might look like your grandma’s kitchen. Unless that’s the style you’re going for, definitely bring home samples to test out. Make sure you look at the sample in natural lighting against your room’s furniture and flooring.

Do Avoid Just Jumping In

We get it. You find the perfect wallpaper for your dining room or kitchen accent wall. You’re so excited to see it on your walls you can’t wait to start putting it up.

But you better pump the brakes unless you want crooked or wrinkled walls for the next decade. Don’t rush in unless you’re a professional. It’s better to wait for an expert to help you install that wallpaper. You’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t Worry About the Commitment

One of the arguments against putting up wallpaper is that it can’t easily be replaced if you get sick of a pattern or get new furniture that clashes. For people afraid of commitment (no shame in that), there’s a perfect solution.

You can buy removable wallpaper in a variety of colors and patterns. Think of it as a giant wall sticker. If you ever get sick of a pattern or want to try switching things up each season, this works great. Removable wallpaper is a great way to add a temporary pop of color or style to any room.

Do Plan for the Future

Right now, foxes hiding behind trees may look cute in your breakfast nook. But five years from now, are you still going to love the look? Choose a style that will grow with you and your home. Trendy designs are best kept to wallpaper decals or artwork.

This tip applies both to the design and quality of your wallpaper. Be sure to pick a high-quality wallpaper that will last for as long as you want it on your walls. Unless you love the arduous task of wallpapering a room, you want a wallpaper that looks good for years to come.

The biggest DO of adding wallpaper to a room is not to be overwhelmed. Like picking out furniture or choosing which artwork to hang where, wallpaper is an exciting way to make a space reflect your style. It’s a great way to add color or texture to a room, and your options there are endless.

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