Friday, March 31, 2017

Luzia : A Waking Dream of Mexico

  Last night I attended the opening of Cirque du Soleil's Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico at Marymoor Park. Here until May 21st, Luzia is really is a beautiful show.  Given the reputation of Cirque du Soleil  you know it is going to be a good show, and I think people really trust that they will find something to like about their evening, so they come to the experience open-minded, in a mood to trust and enjoy themselves. There is something for everyone to love in Luzia.  I saw it with my husband on a rare night out without our four children and we had a great time, but I could also see us having a great time with our kids at Luzia.  

   About a month ago I had been invited to participate in a media day to have the chance to interview team members of the Luzia production- Mark Shaub, the artistic director of Luzia, and Kelly McDonald, who is not only the talented flyer at the center of the "Adagio."act but also the co-creator of the act itself, and owner of some killer biceps.  

 The 20 minutes of interview time flew by, carried along by Ms. McDonald's enthusiasm for her work and by Mr. Shaub's thoughtful insights as the person responsible for overseeing the quality of the performance on what makes a production like Luzia so appealing to such a wide demographic. I encourage you to visit  FreshJess to read more from the interview.

  Mr. Mother of Style and I arrived about an hour before the show was to begin and headed into the entrance tent where we found a very festive atmosphere with lovely performance vignettes taking place around the space- the artist Henry painting, and Spanish guitar players making the music for salsa dancing with a luchador,

  Once we made our way to our seats in the Big Top, the atmosphere inside continued to lull us into the rhythm of the waking dream of Mexico.  The air was pleasantly warm, lots of happy, chattering people in their seats.  There were little robots watering the marigolds on stage.  A man strolled down the stage strumming a guitar while acrobats dressed as hummingbirds stretched and fluttered on minor scaffolding in the seating area.  I love hummingbirds and feed them year round, so I really enjoyed this group of performers and their subsequent act of hoop diving on a industrial-sized treadmill.

  The scenes of Luzia are strung together by the appearances of a parachuting clown,  He plays ball, he is thirsty, he finds funny things to do that pull the audience along into the next scene.  Here he interacts with the talented songstress of Luzia, and discovers what the flowers on her dress are capable of when the flower she gives him blooms suddenly:

  One of the highlights of the evening for me was the "Cyr Wheel and Trapeze" performance.  These are the first thoughts that went through my mind:
  1. Those are big hula hoops.  Big, fast hula hoops.
  2. How do they avoid rolling over their fingers where they are holding on?
  3. Look at those cacti in the back.  I could do that- finally I could be in Cirque du Soleil!  But wait, your arms must get tired holding them up that long- maybe I could be the Saguaro??

  I was to be disabused of  thought #3 later in the show when the cacti take part in the Clown Scuba Diving... it isn't as easy to be a cactus as I imagined, but it is fun to dream!

  Back to the Cyr Wheel act: it was really spectacular.  The idea of performing on a trapeze in dry air seems impressive, but in rain it's really super human.  It's an intimidating idea but if you live in the Pacific Northwest you might also find this act resonates when you consider how much rain we have seen these last few months- I think I read something like this year has the most rainfall since they began tracking our rainfall in the 1850?  So, if anybody knows you can't let a little water stop you, it's Washingtonians. "Liquid sunshine" is a part of our very fiber just as in Luzia, where they stress that rain is part of Mexican cultural consciousness and as such, an important vehicle for story-telling.

  I could go on and on...the sophisticated horse and jaguar puppetry, the dazzling juggling and the engaging soccer scene.  The running Monarch butterfly woman.  The symbolism woven throughout the show, the winks and nods to Mexican cultural figures. The fantastic music, which if you like it, you can visit the Cirque du Soleil website to find a link to download a free song from the Luzia album via iTunes.  There are also lots of good-quality photos on GeekWire's coverage of the evening.

   I tried to not spend too much time taking pictures and to just enjoy the show.  I had to take another photo of this act in the second half because it reminded me of Donkey Kong, Jr. with all the ups and downs on the poles.  The acrobats really have a lot of nerve to come racing down the pole face first to a sudden stop inches from the ground:

  Unfortunately, during the penultimate scene of Luzia, one of the artists was hurt during the Swing to Swing set, when she landed on her back.  It had been an electrifying segment, and you could feel how charged up the cast was to perform that night.  The space fell quiet as she was attended to by medical staff and given encouragement by her fellow performers.  I read that she will be okay, and I join many others in wishing her a speedy recovery.

  After that, the final scene was a little subdued, understandably.  The big top holds 2,600 people and we had been through a thrilling evening that had a not so thrilling end, where you are trying to reconcile the exhilaration coursing through your body with the concern for someone who had just been hurt while performing in such a fun evening.  Being hurt is not fun.  It was a reminder that what the performers of Luzia do is not just exciting but can also be truly dangerous, and that the strength and artistry needed to make it look so easy is not to be underestimated.

 What they are doing is real and that makes it even more incredible because Luzia is not just tricks with lights:  It is a waking dream.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Maui 2017

  This January we visited the island of Maui.  It's such a beautiful place.  Although we are curious about other parts of Hawaii (like the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island) we can't imagine going anywhere else.  I blogged about our first visit here.

  We flew with Hawaiian Airlines. The plane was decorated with a Moana theme and it was really pretty.  The interior of the plane:

I didn't take a picture of the outside so here is a promotional shot of how it looks:

Getting ready to land after 6 hours on the plane:

We stayed at the Sheraton in Ka'anapali.  It is right behind the famed snorkeling area of Black Rock so it's a great location.  Our room was on the second floor:

One of my favorite things about this trip was sitting outside on the lanai with my coffee every morning, watching the sun come up and listening to the waves and the birds singing as the resort came to life:

  On our previous trip we stayed at the Grand Wailea, which was also lovely. However they have a waterfall feature at the entrance to their resort which drowns out all the natural sounds of the ocean and the birds in those early morning hours throughout the resort.  

  The pool at the Sheraton features a lazy river that connects two larger pools.  At the smaller of those two pools there is a shallow area carved out of the pool with a low, submerged retaining wall suitable for small kids to splash around in while you can float in the water nearby.  It's really pretty but I didn't get a lot of pictures to do it justice.

  The lazy river:

  At the Sheraton they have a bunch of red floating bean bags that they take in every night and put out every morning for people to use.  I've never seen a hotel offering free floaties, so I thought it was a nice touch.  Many guests- myself included- had a good laugh at themselves and each other trying to climb into the bean bags loose in the pool.  For what it's worth, I think the best way to get into one is to pull it over to the stairs, turn around and sit back into it. 

  We brought our own floaties and snorkeling gear with us from home because we thought it would be cheaper and I am happy with how it turned out.  Rental snorkeling gear costs about $20 per day, per person so we felt it was a big savings right there, by having our own. It wasn't too hard to travel with it, and we just devoted one carry on for those items.  For our 4 year old's pool time we brought an astronaut themed life jacket  , a cool turtle floatie that he would ride on top of while we pushed him (it's big enough for our 10 year old even) and a little ring he could sit in.  Our big kids had these neon colored ring-shaped floaties   The staff at the water gear concession were kind enough to use their equipment to blow them up for the kids.

  A couple more shots of the pool area:

 We ate twice at a place in Lahaina called the Paia Fish Market.  It is on Front Street towards the historic area of Lahaina, just down from the famously massive banyan tree: 

We ate outside on the porch the first night and really enjoyed our dinner. They make a yummy tartar sauce and super tasty skillet cooked potatoes.  Pictured below are the chicken quesadilla, fish and chips and mahi tacos:

  We drove to spend the day at Makena (Big Beach) because it's amazingly beautiful there and the water looks extra blue and inviting, although compared to other beaches we never play in the water beyond our shins here.  This is because the wave break here is very dangerous.  Our rules for safety at the ocean are: 1) Never turn your back on the ocean (literally) and 2) When in doubt, don't go out.

  A great site to keep bookmarked if you go on vacation in Hawaii is   It will give you current conditions and advisories to know if it's ok to go into the water. 

  You can see the back side of Molokini from Makena:

  Ah, Molokini....Once upon a time we took a snorkeling trip to Molokini.  Half of our family had fun, and the other half discovered that being in the water with the more pronounced motion of the waves in that area made us super sick.  Super sick with 3 hours to go.  It's become funnier as the memories of hanging over the side of the boat being sick have faded.  You know what they say.... "Someday we'll look back on this and laugh!"

  A close up of the sand at Makena. It was almost like powdered sugar!

  Another great, well-known place to go is The Gazebo in Napili.  The views are incredible here and you've never seen waves as mesmerizing as these ones are, erupting as they break along the shoreline. It is a nice place to get pictures:

  The kids really liked looking into the little pools and seeing the sea life such as hermit crabs and sea slugs.  Just be careful how far you go out or the waves might catch you by surprise as they flow in!

The Gazebo is a pretty small establishment, so you have to plan on spending about 30 minutes in line at least...unless you get there early.  They have enormous satisfying omelettes and their white chocolate chip (and macadamia nut if you like) pancakes are legendary: 

  We experienced a pretty big wind storm and a little rain during our visit to Maui. I thought it would be a great day to go to the Maui Ocean Center since we were trying to avoid the weather, and it was a great idea (don't forget to buy your pass online to save money!), but funny thing is, where it is located is known to be the windiest part of Maui.  Here is a picture I took of the palm trees while we were there:

  As we drove along it was cool to see the water looking so different because of the wind:

Double Rainbow on the way back:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Warmth Beats Style

  All I want is to be warm.  Looking good matters not a bit when you are too cold to enjoy it.

  Anyways, if you are sacrificing warmth for style, most likely people are not looking at you today because you look good. They are probably thinking you must be really cold.

  All I want is fleece, more fleece, quilting, down, thermoball technology, cashmere, merino wool, silk camisoles, waterproof boots, gloves with smart touch, scarves with fringe, and a hot cup of coffee in a to-go cup so I can keep my hands warm and extra fleece.

  How people look when we are dressing for warmth is pretty universal.  The nice thing about this is that since we kind of all dress the same right now we can notice the person instead of what they are wearing, and think about everything else.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

ootd -Eileen Fisher Anorak

Eileen Fisher jacket | J. Crew striped top | Tory Burch flats | J Brand jeans

Back when I saw this jacket at the Rack for an amazing price, I wasn't sure if it was a style I would wear very often, but I felt it was a risk I could take since it was a good deal.  Turns out I have been wearing it quite frequently- I bought it in the Spring and wore it a lot then, and again now that the cool and slightly drizzly Fall weather is upon us. It has a hood that is reassuring when you aren't sure if it is going to rain or not.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wolford Toeless Sheer Tights (aka Nylons) & Sizing Info

  These toeless tights by Wolford were perfect for me last weekend.  I wore them with some strappy shoes and a mini dress for an evening out last weekend. They are made with two openings at the bottom of each foot- one for your big toe and the other for the rest.  These were perfectly invisible so I could have the coverage for my legs yet still wear strappy heels without my toes covered in nylons and their seams.

   I read a review that someone posted saying that the tights ran the first time they wore them, but I didn't have that experience.  Certainly be careful putting them on because they are delicate.  Mine are ready for another use whenever I want them.  I saved the packaging and have folded them back onto it so I can tell them apart from the regular pantyhose in drawer.

  Here's the sizing info on the back:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


  It didn't take me long to decide I would like a pair of these sandals by Fleeps after I saw a friend of mine wearing her new bright yellow ones.  The style is pleasantly novel, and they come in so many pretty colors.  

  I already have a few pairs of havaianas in a couple of bright colors so I thought it would be nice to order these in "galaxy blue" because the dark color against my frog's-underbelly-white feet would highlight the Fleep's unusual style:

The way to wear them is to slide the straps until it fits comfortably around your ankle and then tuck the loose end of the strap into itself, like you might do with a long belt.  Fleeps go up to size 11. I found them to be true to size.  They are really lightweight and there is enough cushioning that I didn't feel any little rocks walking through the parking lot while out running errands.

  Another nice feature of Fleeps is the company's pledge of 10% of  the purchase price of each pair goes to funding the Fleeps Foundation, which in turn partners with non-profits to provide educational support for disadvantaged girls around he world.  Click HERE to visit Fleeps official site to read a better breakdown and explanation of the company's philanthropic mission:  "Buy a pair, Change a life."

  They arrived pretty quickly in a sleek little box and inside there was a brand information card as well as a coupon code for 10% off a future purchase,