Gratitude List: Curator Edition

The holidays are here! Families are planning Thanksgiving menus, booking holiday travel, and thinking about the upcoming gift-giving season.

This is a magical time of year. We are all a bit more cheerful, grateful, thoughtful, and willing to celebrate the everyday. At Curator, the holiday season is also the busiest time of year because our clients are concentrated in the retail, travel, and food and beverage industries.

While we all are working hard on behalf of our amazing roster of clients, we are never too busy to acknowledge a teammate’s good work, applaud an agency win, or express appreciation to one another. With that in mind, we reflected on what we are thankful about Curator. Here is our collection of gratitude notes: 

"I am grateful that I come to Curator and learn something new from our team every day. We’re all focused on results, but we come together from different backgrounds, bring different strengths to the table and offer different perspectives. I love the process of brainstorming and problem solving with this team. I’m energized by the smart, thoughtful people around me and I never take that for granted." - Ann Marie Ricard, Senior Vice President / Group Account Director 

"I am thankful for our Curator team. I'm very appreciative of everyone's hard work and dedication to our clients. While we all are very different, we share a passion for our jobs, getting great results and being the best in client services." – Jennifer Carroll, Account Director

"I have always been fortunate to work alongside smart and remarkable people, but Curator takes it to the next level. With this team, I am mentored, challenged and valued. I laugh everyday. Beyond my incredible colleagues, I adore the brands we represent and my client teams are rad. To sum it up, I am grateful for finding job love at Curator for the first time in my career." – Kate Hudson, Senior Account Executive

"I joined Curator a few months ago, eager to be a part of the team, eager to be helpful. Transitioning into a new job is exciting, adventurous, and challenging, and as one might expect, I was greeted with a learning curve. My colleagues rallied around me, determined to see me succeed. Scott, Ann Marie and Jennifer guided me with helpful feedback, patience and generous praise. Kate jumped in when I was overwhelmed; Erin and Stephanie greeted me with daily kindness and encouragement (and a needed trip to Chick-fil-a). I am grateful for this supportive team of good people and I’m grateful that transitions don’t last forever!" – Blaire Benson, Senior Account Executive

"I am grateful for the people I work with. Ultimately, I’m a better professional and a better person because everyday I get to learn from and be pushed by some of the best in the business. I’m excited to come to work everyday and I want to work hard for the people who are sitting next to me." – Stephanie Kirk, Account Executive

"I’m grateful to Curator for a chance at an incredible career. Fresh out of college and in search of a job, Curator gave me a shot at a position better than I imagined. While this job is challenging, and often times stressful, I’m so grateful to work alongside knowledgeable mentors who teach me the how-tos of the PR industry, and, most importantly, this is a great start to my career with co-workers I call friends. To that, I thank you, Curator." – Erin Brown, Assistant Account Executive

"I'm grateful for all of the awesome mentors Curator has given me, who have all been so willing to help me grow and learn in this profession. Being a part of the Curator team has surrounded me with encouragement, knowledge and lots of laughs, and for that I am so thankful!" – Nicole Braman, Intern

"The different personalities we all bring to the table meshes so well, and I love that I can learn from each person in the office in different ways. During this busy holiday season, I can't help but adore the appreciation and support everyone gives to one another despite stressful situations. I am excited to get through the holidays and am so blessed to be part of a hardworking team!" – Kia Vang, Intern

Throwback Thursday: Curator’s retro back-to-school photos

The first day of school is the most important day of the academic year for many students, with kids and teens painstakingly planning what to wear. We’ve all been there!

Earlier this summer one of our fav clients, Simon Malls, launched a throwback back-to-school campaign encouraging shoppers to ‘find your style’ while reflecting on their past first days of school and the outfits that were the height of fashion in previous decades.  

This got the team at Curator feeling nostalgic for our yesteryears. From kids’ wear to young adult style, today’s school fashion is throwing back to the 70s, 80s and 90s. Luckily, those were the decades we were coming of age!

These are some time capsules of the fashions that the Curator team was strutting down the hallways of our schools. 

  Jennifer

Jennifer

  Ann Marie

Ann Marie

  Kate

Kate

  Stephanie

Stephanie

  Erin (left)

Erin (left)

  Blaire

Blaire

To share your most memorable back-to-school photos, use the hashtag #tbtbts (Throw Back Thursday Back To Simon) to reminiscence about the days gone by.  

Curator Summer Plans

Summer is a great time to be a Seattleite. The sun is shinning and weekends are often packed with adventure. Here are what us Curators are up to this summer:

Ann Marie

I am not a camping person. I don't like bugs. Or most wild animals. But the Olympic Peninsula is so beautiful that I become a camping person for one or two weekends every summer. I will sleep in a tent. I will brave raccoons, spiders and outdoor bathrooms. And it will be spectacular. 

Jennifer

I spent a long weekend in Walla Walla a couple of weeks ago. My husband, Chris, and I visited the following wineries: Long Shadows, VaPiano, Pepperbridge, Sleight of Hand Cellars, Northstar, Basel Cellars, Waters Winery, Beresan Winery, Balboa Winery, and Spring Valley Vineyard.

Long Shadows’ wines are amazing and were my favorite of all that we tasted. The view at Northstar can’t be beat, and the vibe at Sleight of Hand Cellars is laid back and very Seattle. 

Kate H.

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I’d be lying if I said I was not having a goddamn fantastic summer! Lots of little weekend trips to Whistler, Chelan, Oregon Coast, Anderson Island and Whidbey Island, plus a couple concerts I’m very excited about like Adele and Willie Nelson. Beyond those events and trips, my other big summer highlight is weekly beach volleyball on Alki.

Blaire

One of my favorite summer traditions is going to my family’s beach house in Sandestin, Florida. They’ve had the house for longer than I’ve been alive and it’s been one of the greatest constants of my life so far. Laying on the beach all day, soaking up the sun and then retreating to a place that feels more like home to me than anywhere else isn’t a bad way to spend a week. Our house is on the bay side so we usually take a short walk to watch the sun set over the water and it never disappoints. Besides this getaway, I have been enjoying exploring my new city with day trips to Bainbridge Island, Owen Beach, and Crystal Mountain, as well as sipping cocktails on the roof of my townhouse. Long live summer.

Stephanie

I’m finally going on vacation! I'm going on a cruise to Mexico for a week with my family. I’ve never been to Mexico or on a cruise so I’m very excited for this vacation. We plan on swimming with dolphins in Cabo to fulfill my childhood DREAM of doing so, “snuba-ing” (where scuba diving meets snorkeling) in Mazatlan and renting speed boats and exploring Puerto Vallarta. 

Erin

With Seattle summers being significantly cooler than those in my hometown of Houston, Texas, I plan on spending as much time outdoors as possible. I love that Washington offers a variety of terrain to explore. While many of my weekends have already been devoted to hiking through some of the local parks, I’m looking forward to hitting some new trails and enjoying the incredible mountain views. I recently hiked Poo Poo Point and some trails on Whidbey Island, but I'm hoping to take a trip to Rattlesnake Ridge or even Mount Rainier. I’m also excited to hit the beach and catch some sun, not just locally but also in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my boyfriend and his family.

Kate S.

This summer I will be traveling to San Francisco for a few weeks, which I am thrilled about, but I am most excited to be seeing my favorite band Foals live for my 22nd birthday!  

Audrey

I don’t have any huge plans this summer, but I have been doing lots of fun little things on the weekends. I love getting out of the city and hiking or camping with friends. I’m also looking forward to going wine tasting for my 21st birthday. 

5 Reasons Fall is the Best Season

Summer has packed its bags and the crisp air has returned; the leaves are changing colors, and the hashtag #pumpkineverything is in full swing. Fall has arrived. Today marks the “official” start of the season (gasp), but for some of us fall started a few weeks ago when Starbucks released the PSL.

Fall is my favorite time of year—there is so much to be happy about—and if it’s not yours, I’m going to give you some reasons it should be. The sudden change from summer to fall doesn’t need to bring summertime sadness! Here are the reasons you should fall in love with fall:

1. Football Season has begun

You can now spend your Thursdays-Sundays watching America’s favorite sport. Whether you’re cheering for a high school team, college ball, or the NFL (go Hawks) football brings people together. There’s just something about this sport that brings out great energy.

2. The flavors of fall are here

Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin candy—Pinterest has taught me you can incorporate pumpkin into literally any food. Whole Foods Market even carries pumpkin dog treats! But if you are not a fan of sipping on pumpkin, fall also brings warm cups of hot coco, tea, and cider.  

3. TV shows are back

Gone are the days of searching the TV guide for the best reruns to watch; fall is back with new seasons of all your favorite shows. Here’s a calendar of when your shows premiere.

4. Holidays are upon us

It is the season of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas preparation. This is the time of year where you always have a reason to get together with loved ones, dress up, decorate, and show people you appreciate and love them. I love the holiday spirit and the joy people exude during this time of year.

5. It's the final (full) season before a new year

The weather has changed, it’s a new school year, or a chance for new work objectives; it is your chance make something big happen before the ball drops and it’s 2016. Enjoy these fall months while they are here because there’s a lot to be happy about!

Meet Kate Hudson

Hi, I’d like to introduce myself—I’m Kate Hudson. Lovely to meet you!

If you are like most folks when we first meet, now would be a good moment to make a joke like “I loved you in Almost Famous” or “I can’t believe you dated Alex Rodriguez.”

One month ago yesterday, I joined Curator PR!

Since diving in, it has been a fast and fun four weeks of learning the business, honing in on new media friends, asking questions and getting to know the team and clients. While many would fret over being new, Curator feels like home, working with a team that is damn good at what they do and consumer and lifestyle clients that are best in class.

Before joining Curator, I built my career as an earned media specialist working with clients across commercial real estate, city government, hospitality and consumer technology at Seattle PR agencies like Frause and Weber Shandwick. Whether producing influencer events or building relationships with my clients’ key press, to keeping a pulse on the industry trends driving news cycles, I love the earned media hustle.

Beyond the credentials on my résumé, I’m a Seattle native and love the Pacific Northwest. I was indoctrinated as rain worshipper at an early age with my first memories being from the coast or a campground, and I learned to read at the same time I learned to recycle. I have drunk coffee like it’s water since passing my driver’s test, and I didn’t realize one shouldn’t wear fleece every day until halfway through college.

These days I can be found hiking the Cascades with my Chocolate Labrador, racking up air miles with my husband, sipping wine with my squad, or putzing around Seattle neighborhoods. 

As autumn rolls in, I’ll hope to see you at the Curator office soon!

Until then,
Kate 

If you were a BuzzFeed headline

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Admittedly, a lot of us are big BuzzFeed readers. It's hard not to peruse the ridiculous lists or pass up a fun quiz to break up the day, and last week was no exception when we stumbled upon What Would The BuzzFeed Post About You Be Called?

We couldn't help ourselves and had everyone in the office take it. Here's what the team got.

Brooke: The Emotional Ode to Brooke Andersen That Will Make You Die Of Cute

Chelsey: The 53 Most Badass Pictures Of Chelsey Allodi That Will Make You Smile

Paul: 86 Magical Pictures That Prove Paul Balcerak Is Douchey

Ann Marie: 43 Extraordinarily Witty Things You Didn't Know About Ann Marie That Will Make You a Worse Person

Scott: 13 Reasons Scott Battishill Won't Eat At A Pot Luck -- And You Won't Believe Number 9

Colin: 8 Cringe-Worthy Things You Didn't Know About Colin Bishop that Will Make You Feel Boring In Comparison

Maggie: 97 Unusually Anxious Photos of Maggie Samson That Will Make You Feel Young At Heart

Jennifer: 92 Amusing Things You Didn't Know About Jennifer Carroll That Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable

Noelle: The 11 Most Adorable Facts About Noelle Ibrahim That Are Better Than A College Education

Shawn (ok, we might have done his for him): 25 Hello Kitty Crafts Pinned by Shawn Herron that Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable

What's your BuzzFeed headline? Tweet us @CuratorPR

Take a Hike!

photo A few weekends ago, I hiked to a ghost town in the middle of the North Cascades, Monte Cristo, and it was glorious. When you get out there, about 2 hours outside of Seattle, there's absolutely no cell service, and the woods, like woods do, look virtually untouched. The story goes that Monte Cristo was supposed to be the major lead and silver district of the Northwest, but mining ceased when it was apparent the area wasn't fit for it. A flood and later a fire left the ruins in the state they are still today, and now it's an eerie ghost town in the middle of the mountains.

This all clearly happened way before social media, and yet I found out about this hike from Sosh. Who knew such a simple, timeless destination in the middle of the woods had such a trendy piece of the internet? I assume at least a handful of the many hikers we passed along the way had heard about the hike the same way I did. It's an ironic reminder that the world hasn't really changed, we're all just so much more connected to one another. The internet is a crazy place.

Here are some other excellent-looking hikes to get you out there while contemplating how new and old exist as one...

Inspiration Day: Scott

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Earlier this year we instituted what we call, Inspiration Day — a day for our team members to go do something, anything, that may spark creativity that can be used for our clients. I chose to use my Inspiration Day for a cooking class in Charleston, SC. My wife and I both love everything about food and cooking. For me, it's a stress reliever and something I can do that is creative, but is also so immediate. In our field, we often create things where we may not see the definitive end of the idea before we're already iterating it. Metaphorically, we don't get to sit down around a table and enjoy the idea. With food, we do. And, as much as I love food, I equally love how food brings people together. My wife and I love sitting around a table with our kids and the food we've made and talk about the day.  Or, one of those dinner parties where everyone gathers around the kitchen island for drinks and appetizers while we finish making dinner ,then sit around a table covered with dishes, and wine bottles, and talk all evening. Wendy and I joke that our next house will just have one huge area for a kitchen and a big table — it's where we spend all our time at home.

Before I left for Charleston, a bunch of team members said, "take lots of pictures of the cooking class for the blog…"  I intended to. But, the truth is I took very few — just two. I took a lot of pictures of Charleston and our time there.  I loved it — it is a magnificent city. But once we started the cooking class, the chef instructor started talking about the importance of our senses when it comes to cooking: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.  And I decided to put my phone away to be fully present. We didn't focus on any one recipe, but rather techniques. There were two in particular that I made note of and thought to apply to my work: the importance of mise en place, and the need to work toward balance in the dish.

Mis en place translates to "everything in its place." If you've ever watched a chef demo a dish being made, you notice the small bowls of all the components needed for the dish already cut, washed, measured out and placed meticulously at the chef's station. It makes cooking look easy. But it's the attention and work the chef puts in before you ever see them making the dish that makes it look so effortless. I find my thinking for a campaign can be sloppy or unnecessarily complex when I haven't put in the work to think through every element of the campaign in advance. I have to start over to get to a clean idea.  If I'm indulging myself I can call it the process of reaching an idea.  But, if I'm being honest, it would best be described as time wasted because I rushed in.  Mise en place applies to our world in creative communications. I enjoyed the article by @ronfriedman in the Harvard Business Review Blog called, 'How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day.' It uses the concept of mise en place in relation to  productivity and drives home the same point. I'll be working toward applying the creative version of PR mis en place moving forward.

And lastly, I enjoyed how the chef showed the importance of understanding balance in a dish and where it comes from.  And once you do, you can cook — not bake —without a recipe because you know how to create balance.  If the dish has too much acid, add fat; if it is a soft textured ingredient, look for places to add a bit of crunch, etc. My wife makes the most amazing dressings and sauces and whenever I say, "please make that again!" she says she can't because she was just playing with whatever she had available — just creating balance until it worked.  The reminder I wrote down was to continue to seek out the balanced thinking that comes from talented people other than yourself. Because, like anyone who creates for a living, at some point you run into the danger of becoming "one-note."  Our world in PR is changing so fast that if we just rely on our own thinking — even if you've been told your whole career how wonderfully, strategically, creative you are — you run the risk of losing balance in the idea.  At Curator, we seek out team members who bring different components to our thinking — we are definitely not one-note when it comes to our team.

I was also reminded while participating in the class why we designed Curator around working with lifestyle brands. It's a passion and a joy to be able to spend our days working with brands that make people happy. And of the continual growth and work needed to be great.

Curator Celebrates the Red, White and Blue

For me, the 4th of July is summed up by San Diego beaches, friends and family, good food and fireworks over the Bay.  Growing up, we had annual BBQs at La Jolla Beach, where my entire extended family (and there are a lot of us) would watch the warm summer days fade into evening, ending with fireworks lighting up the sky. I’ve always loved gathering with family and staring in awe at the display of lights over the ocean. This year, my plans are to spend that day once again with friends and family, and head down to the harbor to watch multiple firework displays over the San Diego Bay, famously called the Big Bay Boom. We watched the Big Bay Boom fireworks show last year, and it was spectacular, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they top it this year!

Noelle pic

Want to know how the rest of the Curator team plans to celebrate this year? Check out their plans and favorite memories below:

My all time favorite 4th of July had to be in 2012. Some of my best friends were getting married just a few days later in Chelan, which gave us all a great reason to head over there early for a celebratory 4th of July holiday. We spent the day by the water with good food, good drinks and surrounded by all of closest friends who were finally together in the same place! Between busy schedules, work, kids, and living far apart, it's so rare to get everyone all together, so it's always such a treat when it works out.

This year I'll actually be heading down to San Francisco to spend 4th of July there for the first time. Fireworks from a new view!  -- Annie

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My favorite 4th of July memory is having my mom’s side of the family, who all live in the area, gather at my uncle’s house, as we have for the past several years. From his deck over Lake Washington, we can see several fireworks displays happening simultaneously. It’s so pretty! Along with that, a staple of my family’s celebrations is delicious, summery foods to congregate over. My aunts should all have their own cooking shows and books!

This year, I’m spending the 4th of July BBQing on Lake Union in my neighborhood with some good friends, and then we’ll head to my friend’s house nearby to watch the fireworks from her patio. – Megan

My best memories of the Fourth of July revolve around summers as a kid spent visiting family in Ouray, Colorado. This town, which is tiny, goes all-out for the Fourth and just about triples in size. There’s so much to love—firefighter-hose fights in the town square (which sting your face like hell); fixing up our family’s old ’57 Willy’s Jeep every year; off-roading in the surrounding mountains and sledding in 80-degree weather; pie-eating contests; the small-town parade.

My favorite memory, though, is probably that someone used to always set off a couple sticks of dynamite the night of the third, right when the clock ticked over to midnight (Ouray is an old mining town). One year, my cousins told me to stay away from the windows because the shockwave could explode them inward. So when I heard the sound that night, I ducked for cover. Naturally, they were liars, and I looked like an idiot. I don’t know if it was the most memorable thing that ever happened, but it certainly encapsulates the kind of dumb fun we had every time we went there.

(This year) it’s going to be low-key and boring because I have a kid and forgot that you have to plan any holiday weekend like six months in advance. But look, we’ll have some beer, and some meat, and some fire, and if that isn’t America, I don’t know what is. – Paul

When I was eight, my dad built an elaborate fireworks display in the backyard of our new house. The landscaping hadn’t been done yet, so there was a ton of room. I remember watching him run around in the dark and setting off all of the different types of fireworks. I thought it was awesome, though my little brother, who was four at the time, stood inside the house and watched from the backdoor while wearing a Los Angeles Raiders football helmet.

This year, I’m spending the holiday with my husband and daughter, and my sister-in-law and two nephews at her mom and dad’s house in Burien. My sister-in-law and nephews live in Southern California, and we don’t see each other often. I can’t wait to spend time with them!  – Jennifer

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I don't think I have just one favorite 4th of July memory, but more a general love for getting together with family and friends, eating and drinking, and of course watching fireworks. There has to be fireworks!

This year I am getting out of town and will be enjoying the 4th in Lake Chelan! Hoping for hot weather and some good fireworks shows over the lake! – Chelsey

My favorite july 4th memory was back in Ohio, when my neighbor buddy's dad decided it would be more fun to light up the whole box of fireworks at once, rather than one by one. i don't have any pictures of this, outside of my mind. but it was as impressive as it sounds. – Shawn

(My favorite memory is) sitting in Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands watching fireworks overhead with my wife and kids.

This year we're heading back to the island this 4th — watching the 4th of July parade in Friday Harbor in the morning then spending the evening in Roche Harbor to watch the fireworks.  – Scott

West Seattle always hosts a fantastic little 4th of July kiddie parade. People decorate bikes, pets…themselves…and hit the streets to celebrate together. Police and fire trucks line the parade route. It’s all very Mayberry. I think my very favorite fourth was a few years ago when my kids were finally old enough to ride their bikes and experience the event on their own. It was pretty fantastic to see them anticipate the holiday tradition, knowing that this is how they’ll remember their childhood 4th when they’re older.

What Will I Be Doing This Year for the 4th? We’ll be marching in the parade again, having a casual back yard BBQ and lighting a few kid-friendly fireworks in the streets. Safety first, people. – Ann Marie

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Aside from my childhood memories where I spend the 4th with my friends and family while enjoying firecracker popsicles and the sweet smell of summer BBQ's, I'd have to say my most notable 4th of July memory was the summer after my sophomore year of college. Being my first summer living in Spokane, I had no idea what to do for the fourth. I had heard Lake Coeur De Alene has a huge fireworks display but I had no idea where to go or what to do. So my girlfriend and I took the quick drive to Lake Coeur De Alene for the day and ended up finding a beach off the side of the road where we decided to post up and have a picnic. We figured since there was a nearly destroyed dock that this location has been long abandoned.

After about 4 hours of laying in the sun, the sun finally set and the local residents came out of the woodwork and all crowded up around are picnic spot. To my surprise we chose literally the best spot to see the fireworks, but unfortunately my camera died on my right after sunset. When the firework show started we could see both shows at either ends of the lake almost as if each firework was an echo of the other. It was madness and I was so bummed my camera was dead. But after such an awesome night, it truly turned from spur-of-the-moment to an awe-inspiring and romantic outing. Above is my favorite picture I shot that day right before it died.

This year I plan on staying local by apartment surfing and bar hoping with my friends down in Lower Queen Anne Friday night. The night will likely be full of tomfoolery, bottle rockets, beer, and patriotism.  – Colin

Favorite 4th of July memory? July 2006 when I was living in the small beach town of Fenwick Island, Delaware for the Summer. It might be because I lived in a bathing suit for 3 months, but the bonfire and fireworks with my best friend visiting continues to be one of the best Fourth of July memories of all time! – Brooke

Last year was probably my most unconventional Fourth of July: I was at a music festival in Denmark and I think the only fellow Americans I saw were bands on stage.  It was certainly different to go through the day thinking about what sort of festivities were going on at home while simultaneously experiencing festivities of a completely different manner. This year, I'm looking forward to getting fireworks back! I plan to be down at the beach soaking up the sun, surf, and sand. – Maggie

What are your plans to celebrate the 4th this year? Tweet us: @CuratorPR, and have a happy and safe 4th!

Planning the Best Seattle Summer Yet

It’s gloomy and overcast in Seattle today but according to my weather app, Summer is around the corner! I can be somewhat of a homebody, but this summer I’m giving myself a bucket list. There will be no wasting good weather in this beautiful city and planning my Seattle summer starts now. Raspberry-Prosecco-Popsicles-3

Paddle boarding I work out and I like to be pretty confident when it comes to balance. Paddle boarding was on my list last Summer but never found the time or buddy to try it with me. Will it happen this year? I already purchased a Groupon so I don’t see how it won’t.

Outdoor Concerts/Outdoor Everything I have a few concert tickets booked for Chateau St. Michelle's concert series. You don't have to twist my arm for a concert on the lawn with a bottle of wine. The more I thought about it, I don't want to spend any time I don't have to indoors this Summer. Thankfully, Seattle has an expansive list of outdoor movie venues! What else can I do outside that's normally indoors?

Peach cobbler Don’t freak out but I don’t eat fruit. In case you’re wondering, I love vegetables and don’t hate all fruit but until this last year I never bit into a whole strawberry or mango (you can thank my wonderful client for forcing those on me). Growing up, my mom would make a peach cobbler at the peak of the every season that my family cooed over. I always avoided it and opted for ice cream only but I think this is the Summer I’ll dive into my first bite!

Prosecco Popsicles You can blame Pinterest for this one. I would love to make my own popsicles this summer and adding prosecco sounds like the right way to do it!

What do you have planned for your Seattle Summer? Tweet at me @brookeandersen.