Throwing a Party While Social Distancing

Throwing a Party While Social Distancing

We all had a lot of plans for the year 2020 and I’m willing to bet being quarantined in our homes for months was not top on that list! However, we must abide by the new rules, and make the best of it in any way we know how. It is easy to think all things have to stop or be postponed but all it takes to survive this mentally is some positivity and creativity! This is especially important to have if you’re a parent or guardian of little ones! Kids look forward to their birthday and the special parties thrown for them. So how do you tell them that going to Chuck-E-Cheese or the skating rink is a no-go now? No parent wants to break their child’s heart but health and safety is everything! 

 

The big birthday party let down can be mended with an at-home celebration. No, you can’t invite extra people over but all the love they need is in the house or only a video chat away. To help you stay in the running for “parent of the year,” here are some ideas to make their special day as memorable as this terrible pandemic! 

 

Turn the Living Room into a Party Hall

Word around town is there is a new party hall and it is THE place to be! Lucky for you, it just so happens to be in your living room 😆. By moving the couch, pushing the coffee table to the side, putting Pandora or Youtube on the TV, you now have the perfect party hall set up. The guest list is going to be pretty easy for this epic party, it’s VIPs only – put personalized “invitations” in your kid’s rooms to make the experience more legit. Yes this may be a party of about five or less but the fact that it’s a party at all is what is important. Take the focus off of the amount of people and focus on the experience! Don’t forget the party favors. Order from local providers first before pushing the “easy” button and heading to Amazon. Confetë Party is a great place to order decorations from and is currently offering no contact balloon installations or free delivery on orders 50 dollars or more! 

Have a Baking Party

What is a birthday without the sweets? Even if every other day of the year sweets are no, I think we can make an exception 😉. Baking is a perfect hands-on activity for you and the kids to do together. This party may be more restrictive on age, I wouldn’t recommend kids under three years old participating and those pre-teens probably won’t be as interested. However, baking will keep the hands, minds and creative energy active for all those involved. Just start with the basics:

  • A few boxes of cakes 
  • flour 
  • Eggs
  • Oil
  • Baking powder

and whatever else you may prefer using while baking – gluten free and vegan options are just as much fun! Then you take it up a notch:

  • different icings
  • cookie cutter shapes 
  • piping bags
  • sprinkles

and don’t forget the candles! In order to make this as cost effective as possible, you can get the baking accessories at the dollar store. This will get messy but the clean up will be worth it once you see the joy and happiness this has brought in a time of much sadness. 

 

Facetime Get Together 

Finding a kid without an iPad is rare, and a parent without an iphone even more rare! Utilize your current access to technology to have one of a kind cyber party. Including family and friends into the birthday celebration while remaining socially distant has been made a lot easier with the help of facetime, especially now since multiple people can be in the chat at once. Whether it’s everyone singing happy birthday or playing interactive games, use facetime to make the birthday girl or boy feel special.

 

A lot of the time, kids just want to feel loved and thought about. The size of the presents or the parties whether big or small does not matter, if they are shown that someone was simply thinking about them. Not being able to have a traditional party right now is a bummer but with a thoughtful and creative mind, that disappointment can be easily turned upside down!

WC Studio

WC Studio

If you’re living in Tacoma, WA it’s no secret that houses in our real estate market are hard to come by and very expensive at that. The lack of inventory and high prices have pushed homebuyers toward different ways of homeownership and starting from scratch is one alternative. As you find yourself in this predicament, and don’t know where to begin, WC Studio is the perfect place to start. Being around for about 6 years, WC Studio serves Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest with new, innovative, and eco-friendly architecture and construction. By flipping the architecture field upside down, and realizing buildings and homes are the heart of our communities – especially urban communities, WC Studio is breaking the norm architectural mold. 

 

Follow this blog to learn more about the services and standards WC Studios provides its clients how their architecture is different from what you may be used to. 

 

What products and/or services do you offer? How long have you been in business?

WC STUDIO is an adventurous architecture agency with roots in Tacoma and projects throughout the Pacific Northwest that started in 2014. We design exciting and resource-efficient homes and buildings that delight the people, places, and planet they serve.

Led by architects John Wolters and Cady Chintis, our studio specializes in custom homes, multi-family developments, apartment buildings, and retail design. Our team particularly excels at creative solutions for urban infill sites in Seattle and Tacoma though we work on projects in a range of locations throughout the Puget Sound region and beyond.

How do we find you online?

On our Website

On Instagram

On Facebook

and Linked In

 

What is the lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew? 

Central to our practice is the belief that imaginative and well-crafted architecture makes people feel uplifted and nurtures the human spirit. We love collaborating with clients who share our mission to realize people centric, site specific, and high performance architecture and environments where individuals and communities can thrive.

Although modernism is often associated with open floor plans, large windows, and simple building shapes, our approach to modern design is more a way of thinking about modern life. The common thread in our work is not any particular style, but rather architecture that makes sense. We consider the characteristics of the site, the qualities of light and space, make thoughtful material choices, and pay attention to important details.

What else do you want people to know? Fun facts?

As architects with on-the-ground building and development experience, we are able to stretch project budgets further by understanding construction process efficiencies and the budget impacts of early design decisions. During construction, our eyes on the job site help protect the long term value of our client’s investment by ensuring the details for the durable and energy-efficient design are executed to perform.

 

FUN FACTS: Our favored mode of transportation and form of exercise is the bicycle and we stop work for a few minutes every day at 10 am, fire up the espresso machine and enjoy a hot drink.

Pregnant During a Pandemic

Pregnant During a Pandemic

*Written by Kiaira Thomas – Jenny Wetzel’s assistant

 

As a first time soon-to-be mom, I thought of pregnancy to be this smooth journey filled with happiness, positivity, and excitement. I’m not saying that those things aren’t a part of the journey but they forsure are not the only thing you will experience. During my 7-months of pregnancy, I have experienced: happiness, sadness, positivity, negativity, excitement, anxiety, and other emotions I’m not sure there are words for. But I was prepared to feel those ways because as my doctor (and Google) has said, all of those emotions are normal during pregnancy. What I was not prepared for was a worldwide pandemic!

 

No book, doctor or Google search could prepare me for what has been happening the last few weeks in our world. I feel as if the Coronavirus pandemic has hit me harder than pregnancy. While feeling all of these emotions, I am put into a deeper position of self-awareness. Am I feeling sick because I have a virus that they’ve yet to find a cure for? Or am I just experiencing pregnancy symptoms? Can I go to the grocery store without putting my child in harm’s way? Is it safe to be around my family? What if I have it and I catch the symptoms too late? Is it safe to go to my doctor appointments? The list of worrying questions can go on for pages. And the harsh reality is that there really is no definite answer to any questions I may ask – it is all unknown. 

 

Preparing to bring a child into the world is stressful. At this moment I am stuck between I cannot wait to hold you in my arms and I don’t want you out here in this mess! With only two months left I prepare myself to become their protector, I am responsible for this human being and keeping them alive – but so much is out of our control right now. Feeling like you cannot control the health or wellbeing of your child is a scary place to be. Putting all of your faith into our healthcare system, scientists, and the pharmaceutical industry is a scary place to be. Then I start to think selfishly. As stated, I am a first time mother, and yes I plan on having more children but this is my FIRST TIME. When I think back on my first time being pregnant, I will remember being quarantined in my house, not being able to have a baby shower, and having to eat frozen pizzas because I was forced to stock up on nonperishable food. But then I think, I am stuck in a house with the people I love and love me, I could have a baby shower after they’re born and I survived off of frozen pizzas for a while so I shouldn’t forget where I came from 😂. 

 

I have been put into the fortunate situation to still have a full-time paying job during the pandemic which keeps me pretty well occupied during the week as I am used to. However, when home becomes your office and solitary confinement for an unpredictable period of time, things start to get a little blurry. A week ago, when my shift was over I went to the store, got my eyebrows done, went to visit my mom and really anything else I wanted to do. Now, when my shift is over I walk downstairs to the kitchen, let my dog outside, and sit back on my couch. I thought just being pregnant was going to make my life unproductive but Coronavirus came and said “wait there’s more!” To keep myself from falling into a rut of Coronavirus depression I do things like:

  • Watch Hulu & Netflix
  • Search for houses
  • Sleep
  • Cook
  • Go through baby stuff

 

Like every other average American, my TV time is important to me. It gives me a chance to slip away from the real world and engage into fictional realities. And as a true millennial, I don’t have cable (only wifi) meaning my main sources of TV entertainment come from Hulu and Netflix. Right now my top shows for Hulu are:

  1. Grey’s Anatomy
  2. The Voice
  3. Your Attention Please
  4. Shark Tank 

And on Netflix:

  1. Love is Blind
  2. I am a Killer
  3. Atypical
  4. Sex Education

 

Your parents may have told you that watching too much TV will destroy your brain cells, and as I am writing this, I have just realized I am now one of those parents 😳! Sticking to parental code, I limit the amount of TV I watch – which means turning the TV off completely and not letting the shows play in the background which unconsciously makes me listen to or watch them. I spend a lot of time on my phone because well, I’m 22. However, not all the time I spend on my phone is strictly social media based (yes I track my screen time). I spend a good amount of time looking at houses on Redfin or Zillow either for fun or because I am planning on purchasing a house sooner than later. But like TV, I feel that being on your phone for too long is damaging so I make it a point to put my phone down and engage in things outside of electronics.

 

Being pregnant comes with a lot of added stress, mentally and physically. This is a time where taking care of yourself is more important than it has ever been. Self-care will ultimately impact how well you are able to take care of your child and my biggest form of self-care right now is SLEEP. I suffer from what people like to call “pregnancy brain,” I have to think three times as hard about things that really should be simple and it leaves me feeling EXHAUSTED. To try and give my brain a break, I like to nap or sleep periodically to help maintain focus (I almost burnt the house down twice last week from the lack of sleep and extreme exhaustion!). Cooking is another way I like to relieve stress – minus the burning down the house part. Playing music and cooking some of my favorite foods or pregnancy cravings puts me in a happy and undisturbed place (another “mom rule” ‘no one in the kitchen while I’m cooking!’). Cooking isn’t for everyone and even sometimes too much work for me so I like to take out all of the new baby clothes, toys, and gadgets and just look through them. This gives me time to think about the future with my baby, what they will look like, how they will act and a lot more. Playing peaceful music while doing this helps relieve some of my anxiety about becoming a mom. 

 

This is the life of a pregnant woman during a pandemic, very up and very down. Appreciating things like having good health and a supportive family, but also being bummed about the small significant things like a baby shower and food cravings. It is rough but it will also get better. Expressing your feelings and having that support system goes a long way. Ultimately the pandemic will be over, a cure will be found, and my baby will be alright. Staying in a positive headspace is important during these last few months (and even in the beginning if you are just starting your journey) – we will get through it! 💜

4 At-Home Activities to do with your Partner – Stay Home, Stay Healthy

4 At-Home Activities to do with your Partner – Stay Home, Stay Healthy

I can’t be the only one that is having some growing pains, with the increase in hours spent with my significant. I mean, I went from seeing him for 1 hour a day, to 6 – 8 hours a day 😳. This is a time in our lives we will remember forever and I want to make sure most of it is filled with positive interactions and things we will smile and laugh at years later. To do so, I’m taking my energy and putting it towards a few fun activities to prevent us from hating each other after this is all over! 

Here are four activities or “at home dates” to keep you and your partner’s relationship healthy and thriving

1. 3 course meal – “Date Night”

Yes I am being specific here. Prepare a 3 – 5 course meal. Dinner is very plain at our house; so making a multiple course meal is kind of a big deal! I’m not wanting to spend 3 hours preparing a 5-star meal (I’m sure we can all wait for the restaurants to open again for that), so I’m keeping each “course” extremely simple. Think about starting with a fresh green salad (I don’t even know if we have toppings, ha!) Then the second course, might very well be steamed noodles and sauce from a can topped with grated cheese. You don’t have to be a top chef, I’m not going for fancy here – I am going for fun and different! Finish the meal with baked veggies and a meat/protein of your choice for the third course. If you have kids, let them help with preparing the meal or setting the table – getting them to do some hands-on activities will get their buy-in. 😊 

Bonus points! Enhance your dining in experience by pairing your 3 course meal with a bottle of wine or beer. Get crazy and pair each course with a different beverage use one for all three. No pressure! Just make it fun. 🍷 🍻 


2. Happy Hour with the Neighbors

Even those self-proclaimed “best friend” couples can run out of things to talk about. If you and your partner are in a neighborhood that is close to the rest of your neighbors, plan a meeting time or “happy hour.” For some that means, all of you going out on your front porch with blankets, homemade cocktails and comfy sweats. This works best if your houses are close enough where you can (most importantly) maintain at least 6 feet distance, but also speak with each other to check in and see how things are going.

If your neighborhood set up doesn’t allow for a porch neighborhood gathering, pull out your patio furniture and plan for happy hour with just you and your people. It is spring now after all! 🌸 🌲 

3. Working Out with Your Partner

Being on “lockdown” has made a lot of people stock up on food to ensure they don’t starve to death somehow. (I get it, after this is all done, I think a lot of people are going to be carrying higher quantities of all of the essentials!) Food with a longer shelf life has more preservatives, salt and in general are considered less healthy. Incorporate some type of exercise into your new routines with your partner by creating a fun game. Place a bet or two – do something out of your norm and the “loser” has to do some type of exercise; ie, sit-ups, push-ups, wall sits are just a few that require no exercise equipment. It may feel weird or out of place, but usually when you do things out of your comfort zone, you end up learning something about yourself and your significant other. You may develop an appreciation for something you didn’t have before. Laugh and enjoy the time spent together – you can never get to much of this! 😆

 

 4. Bring out the Board Games and Movies


“Netflix and chill” has become a new norm for couples who live together; waiting until you get home to watch the new episode of your show is an unwritten rule in many relationships and now since you’re both home, there is no waiting at all! “Quarantine and chill,” is the new it-thing. Broaden your scope of entertainment. Here are a few ideas; create TikTok dance videos, replace your typical TV time with something more interactive like board games: monopoly (oldie but goodie), checkers, mancala, or even card games like uno. This is sure to bring out the laughs and old memories and is perfect for incorporating the kids if you have them!

Don’t bore yourself by doing the same things you’ve been doing! Spice it up with new activities that you normally wouldn’t have time for! If your relationship has transitioned from two very busy hardworking people who barely get time together, to two very hardworking people that aren’t busy at the moment, it can get weird.  Make the best out of the situation and do things that constantly remind you why you got together in the first place. Create new fun and healthy routines. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Flora & Phrase

Flora & Phrase

As we go through the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owner Zoe Branch has devoted to helping her community fight the virus by making face masks to help with the shortage in our state. As reported, the face mask supply has gotten so low in our state that very few people are being provided with them with this including doctors, nurses and other essential healthcare professionals. Zoe is advocating for other people with the ability to sew and a sewing machine to also join her in her efforts to supply more face masks and get this virus under control as soon as possible!

 

Gift giving is hard! You want to give something that is meaningful and from the heart but know you can’t find that at the mall. So what do you do? Small business owner Zoe Branch can help you with figuring it out. With a business centered around customizability and personal touch, Zoe creates different pieces that will reflect each customer and the relationship they have with the person they are gifting. Even if you are gifting yourself, Zoe has the perfect products for you and your personality type – literally because you are picking it all out, she is just helping you put it all together! 

 

 

To learn more about Zoe’s creative touch and how it helped her create her small business Flora and Phrase, follow along: 

 

What products do you offer? How long have you been in business?

 

I type up poems, quotes, snarky asides, and more on my great grandfather’s 1931 Remington Noiseless typewriter and mount the words on birch wood with a pressed flower. My products range the gamut from sentimental to ridiculous and people typically put one on a bookshelf or hang one on their wall. I also make greeting cards that span the same range, for example “everything I am you’ve helped me to become” or “I love that we hate all the same people” just to name a few. I also provide earrings, and candles. I started flora & phrase in December 2018 kind of by accident (keep reading to learn how).

 

How do we find you online? 

 

I have a dedicated website at floraandphrase.com

You can also find me on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/floraandphrase

 

 

 What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew? 

 

I partner with four local emerging writers to promote their poetry and pay them for their work — I refer to them as my “featured writers.” Right now, they include Brandi Douglas, Tomicia Blunt, Mushawn Knowles, and Emily Harman. I focus on partnering with people with historically marginalized identities in order to intentionally support them and to reach a wider audience: I think that poetry can and should be accessible and relevant to everyone, and that representation in the field is always crucial.

 

 

How did you start your business? What makes your business different?

 

I had written two poems for my grandparents as a Christmas gift and was trying to figure out a way to make them more than a piece of paper I folded into an envelope. I typed them up on the typewriter, bought some wood and cut it with a box cutter (do not recommend), and added some flowers I had long ago pressed in an old phonebook. Some friends saw the pieces and asked if I could make similar ones for them to give as gifts. It just took off from there.

 

I specialize in custom pieces and have had requests to type up someone’s original poem they wrote for a loved one, as well as peoples’ wedding vows, matching the flowers on the piece to the colors of their big day. These are often my favorite things to do: There aren’t a whole lot of places you can go to get something so personalized and meaningful, and I love seeing peoples’ reactions when they see their piece for the first time.

 

Fun facts about you or your business?

 

This typewriter and I have been hanging out for a while! I used to write stories on it in my grandparents’ basement when I was a kid until the keys started sticking and it fell into disrepair. About four years ago, my mom came across it and did a ton of research on how to fix it up, worked on doing so for months, then gifted it to me out of the blue. It was definitely the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received — I loved this typewriter to death when I was little — and without that gesture I definitely wouldn’t have started doing any of this.

 

My business remains a side hustle — my full-time job is as an assistant editor at South Sound and 425 magazines — and it’s been such a fulfilling experience to learn the ins and outs of the small business community. Leah Morgan and the Tacoma Night Market team have done so much to lift me up in the past year and I am forever grateful to have been welcomed into that space. And thank you to Tacoma, which is supportive of its artist community in a way I have never seen anywhere else. I am definitely lucky to be creating in the City of Destiny.