Bella Umbrella

People who hate to be rained on, visitors of Seattle, lovers of umbrellas: do I have a store for you!  Bella Umbrella.  I recently found this lovely gem during our family vacation and fell in love.  In LOVE, I tell you.

It can be found on the corner of 1st and Pine, just a (steep) block up from the Pikes Place Market.  We initially walked passed it on our way to the Space Needle.  The Banker and I both noticed it, but forged ahead to the next landmark destination.  But neither of us could resist the temptation on the walk back and were lured into the store.

We were greeted by colorful umbrellas everywhere.  Hanging from the ceiling, perched on the floor, waiting in umbrella stands just begging to be opened.   Everywhere.  The kids quickly found their table located conveniently in the front of the store.  It’s a kids dream to be able to open every umbrella inside.  They found Disney Characters and Hello Kitty; bugs and animals, bright colors and see through umbrellas.  BabyFace selected Super Man and Marshmellow went with the adorable pink ruffle.  Very cute.

The Banker was drawn to the travel umbrella section.  He found some nifty umbrellas that folded very small, were very light and could open AND close with a push of a button in a rainbow of colors.  He ultimately selected a standard black umbrella with a handsome wooden handle (and a lifetime warranty).  The handle cuts down on the size and adds to the weight, but it definitely has the classy factor any banker would desire.

And then there was me.  I was a kid in a candy store wanting one of everything.  Adorable lace parasol?  Yes please.  Super sleek pagoda?  Of course.  Fashion umbrella with fancy floral layers and jeweled handles?  Sounds dreamy.  A ruffled umbrella in bright pink?  Absolutely!

But we had a one umbrella per person limit.  Which even that might be extreme, given our climate at home really isn’t known for rainy days.  But who cares?  This store is awesome!

What to do?  What to do?

Ah…the Spanish umbrella adorned with pale pink polka dots with a dull grey to really make them pop.  Atop is a dangerous looking walking tip.  Below is the embroidered leather curved handle with even more polka dots.  To finish the look, a large bow hangs on the side of the opened umbrella.  I’m not going to lie; it was a bit of a splurge.  But the umbrella spoke to me and said, “Take me home.”  So I did.  But to justify myself, it also has UV protection, so can totally double for a parasol.

The really cool thing?  They rent umbrella’s too!  If you’re planning an event where rain might be in the forecast and you need umbrellas to usher your guests to and fro…this is the place.  Or if you want your dutiful brides maids to carry umbrellas dripping in white feathers…this is the place.  Umbrellas really would be awesome in a group photo too.  I’m just saying.

Now, Bella Umbrella might not be the reason to travel to Seattle.  But if you’re in the area, you really should just stop in and play for a while.  Go ahead…open a few of them, inside!


I Hugged A Stranger

[NoteOkay, so some of you got a little teaser of this post on Wednesday night.  Chalk that up to a blogging foul.  I really shouldn’t blog from either the iPad or after my bedtime.  Clearly it doesn’t work too well.]

BabyFace and I were walking back to the house from the mailbox when we were flagged down by a stranger on her cell phone.  Not in a frantic way, but in a “hey, I have something to tell you” kind of way.  She quickly wrapped up her conversation as she crossed the street, clearly heading in our direction.  There was a slight hesitation before she gave us a great big smile.

“I used to live in your house.”

[Awkward moment of silence.]

I tried to recall tidbits of information from the offer process, closing and short conversations with the new neighbors.  But the evening isn’t the best time of day for my tired brain. What I do know about the previous owners is that they moved out of state and were unable to be at the closing.  So I never had the chance to meet them.


I’m holding several days worth of mail and trying to keep track of BabyFace, who is roaming around my legs.  I stretch out my arm to shake her hand.  She returns the gesture.  Then, as only two women can do, we exchange looks and hug each other.

[Kids: don’t hug strangers.]

She tells me stories about the trees the planted in the backyard.  One for each of their daughters when they were born.  And the big pine tree up front was a housing warming gift from her brother.  I get to ask her where exactly they hung the towels, given there are no towel rods or hook anywhere near the shower.  [Turns out he threw his over the shower door and she hung her’s on what I assumed was the robe hook by the toilet.]  She warns me to never use harsh cleaners on the bathroom marble because even toothpaste can eat through it and they had it replaced three times.  I finally get to ask how they decorated around the adorable white picket fence in Marshmellow’s room.  And I get to tell her that the blue room now has a surfboard theme.

“Would you like to come inside?”

[Kids: don’t invite strangers into your house.]

Her eyes follow the driveway up to the house with a look of intimidation, followed by sadness, and more hesitation.

“Maybe next time.”

They are in town to move her mother-in-law into assisted living and don’t have enough time as it is.

Then we continue talking.  She’s been working on a scrapbook of sorts to give us about the house.  She wanted to give it to us at the closing, but something came up at the last minute.  Somehow I’m telling her that I just got a Cricut.  She has one too!  In fact, she personally cut out the saying found on the family room wall: LIFE IS A JOURNEY.  She cut it out of vinyl with the special blade.  Who knew?  She gives me a few Cricut tips, which I’ve pretty much already forgotten.

We stood outside for at least twenty minutes chatting.  I love Sally.  They built this house and planned to grow old in it.  Until a job moved them to Texas.  We plan on raising our children here and growing old here.  I’m not moving to Texas.

I feel better knowing how much love was in this house before us.  I hope she has some comfort knowing that love continues to be here and that I appreciate all of her attention to detail.  I could see us being really great friends.  Too bad she lives in Texas.

*Sally is a fictitious name.  But the story is real.


Between The Shutters

I like to take pictures (a lot of pictures) and write stories.  And I like to share my pictures and stories.   So I created a personal blog over a year ago.  I write for family and friends to show them what our family is doing throughout the year. And it’s been fabulously successful.

Then I got the blogging bug.  I started reading other people’s blogs…blogs that told stories, food blogs, photo blogs, blogs about parenting and life.  Pintrest didn’t help matters either.  I started to attempt some fancier recipes and little craft projects, taking plenty of pictures along the way.  I’ve been having fun.  And my blog posts are stronger for it.  And that’s not just my opinion.  My family and friends told me.  So it must be true.

And all of a sudden, my personal blog became more of a public blog.  Which is…well…I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet.  But this blog was born because of it.

Originally I thought I would start a new blog to just post a picture here and there.  You know, because a picture is worth a thousand words.  But what if I want to write a thousand words?  (Don’t worry.  I won’t write a thousand words.  That’s just too many.)  What if I just want to write a witty caption?  Or what if my family and friends are sick of getting notifications of yet another published post?  They might not care that I made some fabulously decant cake this weekend.  But you might.

The internet is a bloggerific place for people like me to word-dump on unexpecting strangers.  (The opposite of expecting, but spell check doesn’t like it.  It doesn’t like bloggerific either.  I also insisted on using “willn’t” as a kid.  What can I say, I am my own person.)

So here I am…blogging.  For you.  Or is it for me?

Between The Shutters.

Sounds a  little mysterious.  A little unclear.  It’s play on words.  Sounds perfect!