Tag Archives: Wine Tasting

Holiday gifts ideas: Give memories not stuff

14 Dec

Say "No" to stuff. Give the gift of experience

Holidays should be more meaningful than the amount of STUFF we accumulate. Shouldn’t they? When you’re 5 it’s cute to go to bed at 7pm, wake up before sunrise, rip wrapping paper to shreds. After age 15, not so cute. So why is it, we spend so much time scouring the malls, department stores, specialty shops and websites looking for, yet again, more STUFF?

Don’t get me wrong, I like shiny new toys just as much as the next person. But when I stop and think about my favorite holiday memories, I remember HOW I spent time and not necessarily WHAT I unwrapped. A few years ago I decided that instead of giving stuff, I’d give memories. Mom & Dad: tickets to the Seattle Rep and dinner at the Melting Pot. Little bro: Seahawks tickets and a case of beer. My nephew: tickets to the imax and a fun day (with me) downtown. They wouldn’t necessarily buy these things for themselves, but they loved every minute of it.

If you’re looking for gift ideas that are new and different, try giving the gift of experience. Concerts. Standup Comedy. Theater. Special Movie Screenings. Food & Wine Tours. Pair any one of those ideas with a gift certificate for dinner and you’ve got yourself a gift that keeps on giving.

A few ideas to get you started:

Columbia City Theater | Catch a live jazz show and grab a plate of Southern-style cuisine at the Bourbon Bar (try the Blackened Catfish Po-Boy or Maker’s Mark Burbon pulled pork sandwich, mmmm…..)

The Big Picture Do movies right, with cocktails, snacks and big comfy chairs (check out the “Movie & Martini package)

Licoln Square | Get some laughs in at The Parlor Live and have dinner at one of 10 great sit down restaurants

SavorSeattle tour | Enjoy food, drinks and more on a SavorSeattle tour (they have a Chocolate Indulgence tour, need I say more?)

The Triple Door | Great shows 3-5 times each week and for dinner I suggest the tasty AND filling Phad Thai (you can order dinner and drinks during the show or grab a quick bite at the Musiquarium Lounge before the show starts – either way this is a win)

You can even let them pick the show, these venues have gifts certificates!

Check out GoldStar for other great deals on local shows and events

Outdoor concert season is here!

9 Jul

A concert stage on the right, mountain-view on the left and sunshine all around–this is Summer in Seattle at it’s best.


Mountain View Plaza at the Snoqualmie Casino

After what seemed like the world’s longest winter, I would have paid anything for a Saturday like this one. Fortunately for me, and my budget, the Toast of Cascades Concert and Wine Tasting was only $15!  4 guitar-toting artists and 30 wineries in attendence. H2O and I become best buds on days like this, but I was certainly the exception and not the rule on this Saturday.

Arriving to find free parking, polite staff and a smoke-free environment was just the beginning. Although I was carded a few times, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall hometown hospitality. In and out priviledges? Check. Comfortable chairs? Check. Free bottled water? Check and check! (When was the last time you picked up free anything at a concert?) I even asked the staff if I was allowed to bring in my own blankets and snacks–and the answer was YES. For essentially the cost of a Saturday night movie, the Toast of Cascades Concert offered all the frills and none of the fuss typically associated with summertime experiences.

Singing along to one of my new fav artists, Tyrone Wells, my deamenor was mild in comparison to the many cougars and young single ladies who were belting out the lyrics and dancing in the open spaces. The acoustical set up was perfect–I couldn’t hear any of them. In fact, no one could really hear me singing either.  This venue lacks the annoying delay and echo typical of outdoor concerts; the Mountain View Plaza is a spacious yet intimate setting and the sound matches the audience distance perfectly.

Due to my lack of wine, I was in full anticipation of the final act and the approaching sunset around 9pm (I am a self-proclaimed sunset junkie). Both singles and couples seemed to equally enthralled and the lowering sun was the perfect touch. Snoqualmie Casino put it down and I’ll certainly be back for more.

Rated: Sexy|Cool

Great for: Date night | Casual day out with friends | Rollin on the solo tip 

Reminds me of: New artist Tyrone Wells

Upcoming Outdoor Concerts (see the calendar for more events)
  • July 11 | Guitarist Angelo Pizarro @ Chinatown/ID Summer Fest
  • July 23-24 | Capitol Hill Block Party
  • July 24 | Amos Lee @ GreenFestival
  • July 29 | Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken @ Snoqualmie Casino Mountain View Plaza
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