AuOutdoor Retailer Displaygust 2-5, 2012 marked the annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was my second year attending. I attended as a buyer with my colleague Tom, to meet with existing partners and mingle with new potential partners. It was awesome to visit the booths of my favorite outdoor brands, including Brooks (best running gear!) and Patagonia (best ski jackets!). One of our partners had a booth that included Geocaching gear.

This year we stayed in beautiful Park City rather than downtown Salt Lake City. With my background in ski instructing, I found Park City to be a much better fit as a place to stay rather than SLC. I’ll have to find an excuse to go in the winter, next!


Fat Cork

Are you familiar with Fat Cork? It’s a new and very cool online Champagne retailer based in Seattle. Fat Cork offers rare (and tasty!) grower’s selection Champagnes. And, there’s a subscription style club, “FC Club”, in which you can receive regular shipments of Champagne.

I was fortunate to visit their rustic-chic warehouse in Seattle, and got to enjoy a Champagne tasting with several friends. Of course, we walked away with several bottles at the end of the evening.

In August, we pulled out the road bikes and made a trip from Seattle to Woodinville. This is one of my favorite rides. It is a day trip, not a short bike ride, but it can be completed almost entirely on flat trails (yes!). The Burke Gilman Trail eventually connects to the Sammamish River Trail and makes a nice bike route to Woodinville.

Once in Woodinville, there are a variety of options for brunch or lunch – depending on what time you arrive. Redhook Brewery doesn’t open as early as Barking Frog, if you arrive in the morning. We enjoyed Barking Frog for lunch on this trip, and then spent time relaxing at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, where there are lovely grounds and plenty of wines to taste.

I’ve biked this route many times, and if you only do one summer ride, it’s a good one! Plenty of rewards at the destination!


Rowing Newbie

This summer, I decided to take up the sport of rowing. I took several classes from Lake Washington Rowing Club (located on Lake Union). The crew house is next to my office, so it’s an easy option to take classes either before or after work.

The summer morning classes were incredibly beautiful. The clam water and sunny morning skies were enough to make anyone feel at peace. Some days I felt as though sitting in the boat, surrounded by such beautiful scenery, was all I needed – who needs to row, when it’s so lovely to just be there? On some mornings, there would be friendly pet dogs in the crew house, waiting for their owners to finish rowing – and eagerly greeting the other rowers.

Evening rowing classes were another story. The canal and Lake were often busy with motor boaters, creating lots of traffic and a pretty heavy wake. Morning rowing wins in my book!

We spent the 4th of July on pretty Bainbridge Island. A short getaway from Seattle (and a perfect summer day trip for one of the Mercedes), we spent the day exploring Bloedel Reserve and finished the night at a friend’s house on the water – with great views of the sunset and, later, the fireworks!

Bloedel Reserve is a beautiful and peaceful estate that was established by Mr. Prentice Bloedel, a Canadian lumber baron. We spent several hours walking the grounds and enjoyed relaxing at a bench overlooking one of the ponds. The Reserve is expertly landscaped to have a healing effect and to provide wellness through nature. At the farthest end of the grounds is the manor house where the family used to reside. The house is open for visitors to tour, as well. Continue Reading »

A couple of times a year, we have “Geaocaching Mania Month” at work (Geocaching.com) to encourage staff to get outside and geocache more. Of course, there is always friendly competition to see who can find the most geocaches, the farthest geocaches, etc. In the spirit of the game, I went geocaching before work several mornings. My reward? This amazing scene of dinosaurs in someone’s yard in Fremont! Definitely a highlight of the day!

In June, we went back to Germany for several weeks. We stayed in Göttingen, Elvershausen and Berlin again. After an amazing wedding in Göttingen (see some of my inspirations on Pinterest), we finished the trip with a visit to Berlin — just in time for the EuroCup games.

Germany played the Netherlands while we were there. Berlin had several locations set up with large outdoor screens broadcasting the game, including at the Brandenburg Gate. Crowds gathered to drink, watch the game and to yell.

We staked out a spot near Checkpoint Charlie, where a city block had been roped off and turned into a makeshift beach with a large screen TV. We got there early and claimed two front row beach chairs that were set up for viewers.

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