03 October 2011

Seattleites! Readers! The two of you out there that still know this blog exists!

Tell me your stories of Belltown (good, bad or ugly). What's your favorite memory? Have you lived here? Where do you dance, drink and eat?

I'm curious to know how this neighborhood effects you. My hope is to bring change to one of the oldest neighborhoods in this city. The one that houses top-notch restaurants, lively bars, unique boutiques and spa, and growing businesses. It'd be a waste and a shame to let it all turn to mud.

You can email me or post in the comments. Be you or be anonymous. Either way, I'd love to hear.

01 October 2011

It's been a year and 7 months since I last posted. And, although this blog and I have outgrown one another, here in this space, is where I've always posted the things that are important in my life (from glassware and denim to cocktails and food to love and life). And, since it's the only place I've got, I'm posting this letter I wrote to the people who make decisions in our city. Because, we both know (you and I), that changes need to be made.

A Call to Action:

Mayor McGinn and City Council Members,

Please hear my voice:

Hello, My name is Amanda Akin. I am a resident and business owner in The Belltown neighborhood. I am a Seattle Native who grew up in Lake Forest Park and has since lived in Madison Park, Madrona, Pioneer Square, Centeral District, N. Capital Hill and now, Belltown. I picked Belltown as the neighborhood where my Partner and I will settle and start our family and grow our business.

We believe in Belltown. As do many of the residents and business owners here. It is a true melting pot. From low income subsidized housing to million dollar high rises and nearly everyone in between. Entrepreneurs and growing technology companies are here. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, spas, and boutiques settled in Belltown for the lively day and night life, vast culture, and easy access to the entire downtown area. On Friday and Saturday nights, hundreds of people seek BellTown to dance, drink, eat and party. I've been utilizing Belltown's nightlife since before I turned 21 (listening to music at the old Sit and Spin). It's a part of me and many of us here. These are all things you know.

Here is what you may not know:

Everyday, petty crimes take place here; Low level drug dealing, prostitution, public intoxication, open container violation, and urinating in public. Other "non-crimes" also take place; Street fighting, general harassment, general threats and littering.

We need help. Time and time again (through the Belltown Business Association) we have been told "call 911. No matter the "crime", call 911". apparently the more we call, the more West Precinct knows that there is a need for police presence.

I am writing to tell you, every Friday and Saturday night, Belltown needs a police presence. EVERY Friday and Saturday night.

A police presence vastly reduces street crimes and "non-crimes". It requires the drug dealers and users to move on, giving them less time to use and sell on the street. It saves club goers from street brawls. A police presence helps. These are things you know.

911 operators are frustrated by our calls. Generally unresponsive and sometimes rude.

I have story after story after story. I'll save you. If you have time, I'm happy to share my personal experiences as a resident and business owner.

We need your help. We need more police here everyday - most specifically Friday and Saturday nights. On September 30th, only 3 police officers were assigned to Belltown. My partner and I were attacked by a club-goer while walking our dog. We found ourselves in the middle of a street brawl on Blanchard (between 1st and 2nd). In calling 911 and describing the suspects, my partner was chased down, and nearly assaulted. When officers arrived, unfortunately worn out, they were less than helpful (save officer Felix, a strong and true advocate for safety in Belltown).

I am scared to walk in my neighborhood.

Mayor McGinn and City Council Members, Your city is falling apart. It's starting in the very neighborhoods that built it. From Pioneer Square to Belltown to Capitol Hill.

We need your help.

Myself and other Belltown Business owners and residents are available anytime to share our stories. We have voice, I'm just not sure you've heard it yet.

Amanda Akin

04 February 2010

I’ve hit a low. Yesterday while at Cost-co, I bought a thermal shirt with a tye-dye heart in the center and came VERY close to adding a terrible Michael Kors half trench coat with fake silver coated buttons to my collection. I almost bought it in white and a size too big, just because.

It’s clear, I’ve sort of, lost it.

I’ve been spending most of my day’s in a “holiday” t-shirt from J-crew, whatever denim I have clean in my (incredibly charming) boyfriend’s closet, and a pair of shit for an excuse of Shearling Boots.

I finally unpacked from our trip to Nashville. We arrived home nearly 40 day’s ago.

I just stocked up on fashion rags and yet nary an inspiration. I’ve been drawn to the Gap and Banana Republic and my T-shirt drawer. I wandered aimlessly through Nordstrom and slipped out with a pair of boots that I’m not sure are even fashionable and a stubbed toe pair of flats in teal patent leather (I later found out these little slips are a Nordstrom Brand, yuck). I have a Tribal Print H&M sweater dress ( a suggested purchase by a thirteen-year-old) taunting my wayward ways every time I thumb through for something.

I am worried I’ve lost it, completely. But I haven’t given up.

Instead? I'm focusing on the things that do inspire. stiff cocktails with smart people, muscle failure and sweat on Queen Anne, Exercising my dog(even when I’m not around), love, and a night out with a a squad of fashionable go-getting-women.

Let's hope all this nonsense is nipped in the bud soon. I'm not sure how much more I can take.

15 January 2010

05 January 2010

I have got something to say, and it's beyond important for this space. I just can't find the best way to say it. So far, everything I've written just isn't right. I'm hoping sooner rather than later it all comes out the way it should.

I kid you not, I am in the exact same place I was 365 days ago. In my living room, noshing on frozen pizza and skinny asparagus, and watching The Biggest Looser. But the thing, the one big thing, that's different about now instead of then? I'm in love and hopeful and I'm ready to resurrect the chic, quaint, innovative, fun-loving-city Seattle is.

12 December 2009

Also, I just bought a handbag that will officially push me over the edge to insanity. It's black, deep, and without pockets. I will loose my keys, cell phone, and lip gloss no less than fourteen times day.

I am a glutton for punishment.
Heartache, You're the last thing I'd expect to find all bundled up and braving the cold streets of Seattle. Normally you sneak in unexpectedly and demand vodka and denim. You're slightly unruly this time around. I'm hoping you'll wise up and shape up or ship out sooner rather than later. You've taken me by surprise so much, I spent the better part of a car payment at J-Crew on Sweaters I'll never wear, socks that don't keep my tootsies warm, a fantastically misshaped blazer in plum, and enough bejeweled t-shirts for every day in February.

Shame on you heartache.

All J-Crew, All Available at J-Crew, University Village or Pacific Place. If you go, have Kelly help you. She's sweet and fashionable, and she'll even tell you that you are "not that pale" and that you will be "just fine" going to meet your boy-friends parents for the first time. Even though you know she is lying, she is kind. And when you try to tell her that you, at one point, were this girl who really was fashionable. She will smile and nod and carry your clothes to the check out counter.

08 December 2009

I am so very aware it's been lifetime since we've connected. I've got a pocketful of excuses and none that I assume you care about. The reality is, this year, this time, has been one huge transition. One that has led lifelong friends away and brand new people into my life. I have real life bills for the first time. And the charm of this city has been covered up a lack of, well, charm. I'm not quite sure what's happening with me or this city but I am sure that at some point, I'll get to the bottom (or top) of it.

I'm making a new space for all these words to live in. I have work to do and not much time to do it. As usual, I promise to try (and, try harder).

27 October 2009

I'm at this point where I'm searching for answers in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. I'm with out the worry, the words, and tthe too. It is a wicked, wicked trilogy.

If you need me? I'll be in secret foggy corner with the tip of my nose in a thick, chewy, ale doing my best to muster up some sort of answer to questions I can't quite articulate. That, and I'll be searching for a new black bag. Maybe a Minkoff from Clutch?

18 October 2009

Since I was sixteen I've battled with Acne. And when I say battled, I mean full-on-no-holds-bar-war. Most of the time the acne won. And it wasn't until about 4 years ago, my acne had finally run its course. But until that time had come, acne controlled my self-esteem and weighed heavy on my social life. You never would've known it was such an emotional nuisance. But it kept me from all sorts of things like public swimming, the woman at every make up counter from Saks to Nordstrom, dates, photos, "let's get ready together" parties, and the kind of self esteem every girl should have by the age of twenty.

And, if you'd asked me what I think the cause of it was, my answer would change daily; "it's sleep, cigarettes, stress, beef, my birth control, fruit, my new cleanser, the rain." I wouldn't allow you to touch my face, ever. I even went as far as using diaper rash cream on a particularly bad outbreak. Bad skin is humiliating and humbling and causes and unwilling war against yourself.

It all sounds dramatic, but I promise, it's not. It's real.

I've always done my best to use natural products. But when battling with acne, you use what "they" say works.

Now one of my most favorite facial products, that won't make you feel guilty after purchasing is the Lush line of Fresh Facial Masks. You get a 3 month's supply for $5.95. It's the easiest way to pamper you skin.

my favorites are:

The Ayesha
(for skin tightening and smooth out fine lines; rosemary, eliderflower and lime flower). Perfect for right before going out, a tiny little face lift.

BB Seaweed
(calming, soothing, takes away redness, deep cleansing with aloe rose, and seaweed)

The Sacred Truth
(packed full of antioxidants; wheat grass, papaya, and green tea)

You can't buy these online because they are fresh. But you can buy them from the LUSH store in Westlake Center (400 Pine Street; that place next to Pacific Place). The gals are helpful and sweet and all under 17 with nearly perfect skin. Maybe it's because they use their own products...

13 October 2009

Let me let you tarts in on a little secret. I loathe shopping malls, department stores, and chain retailers (save Target and Club Monaco). I'd rather spend an entire weekend milling about a pocket of this city tracking down all the things I need (and want) one boutique at a time. But the reality is? I hardly have time to wash my underthings and get a manicure and take out my recycling. Therefore the easy-to-be-fashionable-and-moderately-financially-responsible places come in handy, every-once-in-a-while. And, since George W. Bush and Paul Allen took away most of our notable boutiques (and they still continue to wither away*), I have to pop into these places most of the time these days.

And since my Sweet, Southern Boyfriend is turing somewhere around his mid-thirties this Friday, and we'll be sipping strong, secret cocktails HERE, I need a new outfit, or at least a new something. I've been craving ruffles since early 2009 and since they've now trickled down to all the chain retailers, they are EVERYWHERE. YAY for me (and you, and you).

After a humiliating meeting with a MAC genius I popped by J-crew to see what all the bling glittering their windows was all about. And lo-and-behold, I fell right into a bag of soft and voluminous ruffles. Yumm.

J-Crew, Poplin Brynn Dress, J-Crew University Village

J-Crew, Kelsey Ruffle Top, J-Crew University Village

J-Crew, Merino Ethereal Ruffle, J-Crew University Village

J-Crew, Ribbon T, J-Crew University Village

By no means are any of these pieces unique, but it's the girl who makes the clothes not the clothes who makes the girl, right? Also, The University Village Store is packed, and I mean packed full of cute T-s to wear under just about anything. Also, more head bands than a speakeasy in 1922.

PS-I would like to note, I am not hater of big business, I do however, prefer to support the smaller businesses. After all, I buy my unders from Old Navy and have about 34 pairs of Nine West Shoes circa 2001. Preferences people, not requirements.

* My hope is for more brave and fashionable folks like Verdis to pop up here and there as our economy steps back into action.

10 October 2009

The past four days I've had a spider webbed between my drivers side side mirror and the drivers side door. He's been camping out day and night (I assume) and it's not until I'm on the road, making my way to wherever I'm going at a cool 30MPH that I remember he's there. When I glance over he's usually balled up, hanging on for dear life, and cautiously making his way to the safest spot where the wind can't get to him. I contemplate stopping so he'll have a better chance of making it to where he needs to be. I cheer, directing him to move left or move right or to "hang on!", around corners. And, when I finally make it to where I'm going, he's settled, in the safest spot he can find. And we repeat the same thing on the way home, me forgetting he's there, and all.

In my neighborhood, there isn't much of what I like (besides real culture and real community) - except for a new really, truly, inspiring coffee shop. The kind of coffee shops you and I used to study at during college. The kind that has fledgling musicians strumming and humming in the evenings. Artists' photographs, paintings, and collages hung haphazardly. The kind of coffee shop that remembers your order, even if you only come in every-once-in-a-while.

SOHO COFFEE Company is just up the street from my house, and despite having fresh grounds and a french press at home, I brave the mean streets of the CD early morning. Because, it's the kind of coffee shop that deserves to be here, in the city where people come to visit the kind of coffee shops that don't exist anymore, except for Soho Coffee Company. It's the kind of Coffee Shop that, I hope, despite the sharp corners and growing trends of prim and proper (and snotty) coffee shops who sling cupcakes and hire unapproachable barista's, hangs on for more than just a few rides at 30MPH.