Saturday, July 16, 2011

Catch the fever….it's contagious!

It’s finally official. Summer has finally arrived in Seattle, the sun is out and everyone has caught the runners fever!  Watch out…it’s contagious. You could find yourself one of the hoards of people getting outside and running before, during and/ or after work! Everyone is training for some running event be it a half or full marathon. Everyone except myself that is. When asked if I am a runner I simply respond, “No…I play soccer.” People usually give me a confused look and state that there is lots of running in soccer. This is of course true but I don’t have the patience to run long distances without a ball to focus on. My husband John however is a runner…and I always support healthy causes so we both will be participating in 3 upcoming races in the Seattle area.  Be sure to check them out below…these are all either 5K or offer a 4 mile option instead of a full half marathon. Get your running shoes on…here we go!
1)      Foster Kids 5K at Marymoor Park- Redmond, WA- Saturday, August 13th, 2011- 9am
Run/walk to support foster kids in King County to allow them to go to summer camp to be loved and learn valuable life lessons. Anyone can participate - baby joggers and dogs are welcome!
2)      Labor Day Half at Redhook Brewery- Woodinville, WA- Monday, September 9th, 2011- 9am
Starting and finishing at the famous Redhook Ale Brewey, participants will traverse the cities of Woodinville and Bothell along the Sammamish River trail on this scenic Northwest course. With the event landing on Labor Day, the race serves as a perfect training opportunity for fall marathoners.  This event also offers a 4 Mile run/ walk for those who chose.
3)      Seattle AIDS Walk & 5K run- Volunteer Park- Seattle, WA- Saturday, September 24th, 2011- 9am

Lifelong AIDS Alliance is proud to host the 25th Annual Seattle AIDS Walk & 5K Run.  The AIDS Walk route is a 5K loop through Capitol Hill and followed immediately by our AIDS Walk After-Party, a musical celebration of our community coming together, and featuring complimentary snacks for all.  Through the AIDS Walk, we are able to educate the community and raise awareness about the continued importance of fighting HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Walk also serves as the Pacific Northwest's largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser, with all funds supporting the HIV prevention efforts and basic care services Lifelong provides to the community.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seattle Opera and Bravo! Club: Seattle Sophistication at its best

The 2011/ 2012 Seattle Opera season is set to begin soon and the line-up this year is filled with five classic performances.  Even if you’re not an opera buff, you have heard of these. The season kicks off July 30th with Porgy and Bess followed by Carmen, Attila, Orpheus and Eurydice (okay I haven’t heard of this one!) and Madama Butterfly.  We purchased our opera subscription this week and I am ecstatic about the fact that we received 50% off our tickets simply by being a member of the Seattle Opera Bravo! Club.

What is Bravo! and how did you get such a generous discount you ask?  Founded in 1996, Bravo! Club is the premier Seattle-area arts organization for young people between the ages of 21 and 39. With a mission to develop new generations of opera lovers in Seattle, Bravo! provides its members with a variety of exciting social and educational events and discounted performance tickets.  My husband John and I joined Bravo! last year and have enjoyed ourselves immensely at the many cocktail parties and social events they throw throughout the season at venues such as Teatro Zinzanni and Columbia Tower Club.  Along with discounted opera tickets and invites to fabulous parties the benefits of a Bravo! club membership also include complimentary intermission receptions at Bravo! nights at the opera, exclusive invites to lectures and free per-performance talks. We have connected with a beautiful, sophisticated group of young professionals and from their passion have become even bigger fans of opera.  Even if you’re not into opera (secret: many Bravo! members aren’t!) you can still attend any of the fabulous parties they put on. 

The season kick-off party is being held on Wednesday, July 14th in the Alani Room at Palisade restaurant at Elliott bay marina and promises to be a vibrant event!  For more information about joining Bravo! and upcoming events click here and I hope to see you at McCaw Hall this season!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rooting in Style with the Seattle Storm!

Seattle does not have a great track record when it comes to Championship winning sports teams.  Whenever a team gets close Seattle sports fan’s hearts are promptly broken by a loss followed by many more years of losing. Perhaps it’s the weather….or a curse.  There is one shining light though and that is in our Womens National Basketball association (WNBA) team the Seattle Storm.  Created in 2000, the Storm have won 2 league titles in 2004 and just last season in 2010.  I have never been a big fan of basketball but after attending a home game at Key Arena in style against the Minnesota Lynx this past Friday I discovered that I am just not a fan of men’s basketball but a HUGE fan of the Storm and in supporting women’s sports!
We were invited by John’s boss (thank you Brett!) to sit in the prestigious (and very large) South Suite to enjoy the game.  It happened to be star forward Lauren Jackson bobblehead night  and we were treated to a private tour of the facility including walking on the court and standing right outside the locker room of the Storm and cheering the players on as they ran out right past us onto the court.  At halftime we were greeted by Storm CEO Karen Bryant who spoke to us about leadership and thanked us for supporting women’s sports. 
 While I watched the second half of the game (and John encouraged me to network instead) I found myself really enjoying the quick action and technical skills of these talented female athletes.  There was none of the trash talking, larger than life bad attitudes or egos that turn me off of the men’s game.  After the game we were treated to player autographs which capped off the very special evening.   As a fellow female athlete, I quickly realized this is a team, and women’s sports a cause, I need to get behind and support wholeheartedly! 
As I write this post, the 2011 Women’s soccer World Cup is about to begin and the #1 ranked US women’s team is looking strong to win the cup…the time for women’s sports to shine has arrived.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Columbia Tower Club 25th Anniversary Gala

Last night we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Columbia Tower Club in style at their wonderful black tie gala to mark the occasion.  Most citizens of Seattle know the Columbia Tower building well as the tallest building of the Seattle skyline at an impressive 932 feet and housing 76 floors which was completed in 1985.  The 75th and 76th floors are home to the Columbia Tower Club- a well established private business, networking and fine dining club.  John and I recently became members as part of the club’s Tower 39 club which looks to expand the club demographic by catering to young professionals.  Today, Tower 39 makes up about 40% of the club’s membership!  We were drawn by all of the social and professional benefits and activities on offer such as business and networking events centered on various topics, art gallery tours, wine and scotch tastings, Easter brunch, and so much more which will allow us to connect with great professionals from around the city and make new friends.  And of course one of the best perks is enjoying the sweeping views of the city from 76 floors up!
Last night’s gala certainly showcased Columbia Tower Club’s best and was a night to remember!  Everyone was dressed in their black tie best and danced the night away to the live band playing hits from the 80’s and enjoying drinks at 1980’s pricing near the gorgeous up-lit ice sculpture of the tower.  As we nibbled on fresh oysters and pasta from one of the club’s many spreads of food we chatted with one of the founding members who reminisced about contributing funds to the creation of the club and visiting it even before the construction of the building was complete!
The Columbia Tower club certainly put on a class event and we absolutely cannot wait for upcoming events such as a meet and greet with the pilots of the Blue Angels and future black tie events.  A big thank you to the staff of CTC for putting on such a special and memorable evening.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Celebrating one very happy year at the Willows Lodge

It is hard to believe that it has now been one year since John and I became married at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington….and what a wonderful year it has been!  With trips to South Africa, St. Martin and Las Vegas and with 2 very busy careers we couldn’t think of a more special spot to celebrate our anniversary than back at the Willows.  Nestled centrally in the valley of Woodinville Wine Country, about 30 minutes east of Seattle, the lodge welcomes you with relaxed VIP service from the second you pull into the driveway and ensures that every detail of your stay exceeds your expectations.  We were greeted with a lovely glass of wine from a local winery which we sipped next to the welcoming fireplace in the lobby until our room was ready.   We watched as another couple was married right where we were one year ago and it brought back all the emotions that come with that very special day!
Our room, like most others at the lodge, was very spacious and featured a fireplace and jetted spa tub…perfect for a romantic night away!  We enjoyed happy hour drinks and snacks in the Fireside Cellars lobby bar and then a romantic dinner on the grounds at the Barking Frog restaurant.  We chose to stay in but others may enjoy one of the over 20 local wineries, including the world famous Chateau Ste Michelle, within walking distance and the concierge will work with guests to create the perfect tasting trip for them!
We chose to be married at the Willows Lodge because of the gorgeous location and grounds, their ability to make each guest feel special and their attention to detail.  This is why we returned for our anniversary, had a wonderful time, and will continue to return for many more happily married years to come!
Experience the magic of the Willows Lodge:
For more information on Woodinville Wine Country:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunny and Sensuous St. Martin

Alright…this post isn’t about Seattle but here it is…Memorial Day weekend…quite nearly June…and we are yet again Sunless in Seattle.  Though we found this rainy and gloomy day the perfect day to clean the house, I can’t help but yearn to go back to the week we spent in sunny and fabulous St. Martin in March. Located in the northeast Caribbean next to St. Barths, St. Martin (also spelled St. Maarten) is a beautiful, relaxing, unassuming island which is divided between France on the northern half of the island and the Netherlands on the Southern half.   During the late summer and early fall the weather can be quite stormy and the island is the target of hurricanes.  Both times we have traveled there were in the spring and the weather was nothing but a dream…in the mid-80’s and sunny each day with a bit of rain at night to cool off.  This small 37 square mile island offers the perfect blend of culture, nightlife and with over 36 white sand beaches to choose from, the perfect place for a relaxing vacation.  I’ve traveled to make wonderful places around the world but St. Martin has won my heart.
Here are some of my favorite activities and must do’s should you ever find yourself on this charming little island!
   1)      Coffee and Croissants in Marigot- This lovely capital city of the French portion of the island offers a chic European feel.  With its cosmopolitan dining and boutique shopping I always set aside a day here to sip espressos, peruse the boutiques, enjoy a 5-star dinner and practice my French!

   2)      Daylong catamaran tour- Several companies that offer half or full day boat tours either around St. Martin or to another island nearby.  We have had a wonderful time on a daylong tour to Prickly Pear beach on the island of Anguilla and on a wonderful 8 hour sail around St. Martin stopping several times at top beaches to snorkel.

3)      Visiting ANY of the 36 beaches- St. Martin has a wonderful collection of beaches and no matter what you are in the mood for…there is a beach for that! You may be feeling energetic and social or want a quiet, secluded beach for a romantic day.  Be sure to obtain a beach guide (available online) which offers a description of each beach.  It comes in handy when you are NOT up for accidentally ending up at a nude beach like we did. J

4)      Nightlife in Grand Case- The nightlife in Grand Case on the French side of the island is vibrant to say the least!  There are several nice dinner spots and bars along the water where you can dine on the beach as you watch the sun set and dance the night away later to a live band. I love visiting the trendy Calmos CafĂ© which combines all of the above into a sophisticated yet beach-cool setting.

5)      Guavaberry rum- The local rum of choice? Guavaberry rum for sure! While not actually made with Guavaberries, this delightful, fruity rum mixes well with fruit juices for a refreshing cocktail. Be sure to visit the Guavaberry Emporium in downtown Philipsburg where brightly dressed and very enthusiastic shop keepers serve up as many samples as you like!

   6)      Watching the planes land on Maho beach- You’ve probably seen the photos online and thought they were photoshopped….tourists standing on the beach with a plane landing so close you’d think they could reach out and touch it. Well…they are real and you MUST go to Maho beach and experience it for yourself!  The beach is right at the end of the runway at Princess Julianna Airport and when planes come in for a landing they are literally right above your head. Absolutely an experience like no other!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Welcome! A bit about me...

Welcome to Seattle Sophisticate: the blog of Lorna K. Croswell.  Inevitably while attending any sort of social event and meeting someone new they will ask that quintessential question, “So what do you do?” which of course really means “Who are you?”. While many people answer this question with who they are professionally, here is my answer: I am a lot of things!  I am a professional who completes process improvement at Safeco Insurance, an entrepreneur who buys and sells antique and vintage decorative arts, a philanthropist who, with my husband and other board members, runs a charity which benefits HIV orphans in Africa, I am a soccer player, love to travel, attend the performing arts and I am a Seattleite.
Seattle is not completely about earthy people, farmers markets, rain and socks with sandals.  This city is multifaceted and also has plenty to offer those with a more refined taste.  I enjoy being a part of its more sophisticated side which I hope to share with my family and friends who live overseas and other interested readers of this blog. Enjoy!
Seattle Sophisticate: For friends, for family, for those interested in the finer side of Seattle!