3 Reasons to Ring in the New Year in Lake Oswego

new yearsRing in the New Year close to home by joining the festivities at these Lake Oswego hotspots.

Step It Up Studios. Kristy Higgins has a gala affair planned for members complete with a masquerade ball and full sit-down dinner. Of course it wouldn’t be a Step It Up affair without dancing so there will also be a group class and social dance party. The good news is that the studio is offering a holiday special you can sign up for now which will give you member rights to join the party!

The special includes six lessons – two private, two group and two practice social—for only $70. So if learning how to step up your dance moves has been on your to-do list, this could be the time to check it off.

The party will run from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the studio before members depart to another location to bring in the New Year. Cost is $98/person. 449 3rd Street. 503.744.0105.

The Lake Theater and Café. Keep your night interesting with all the Lake Theater team has planned for you. Doors open at 9:00 p.m. and once inside you can choose from the jazz/blues/swing/boogie-woogie sounds of  the DK Stewart Sextet in the event space or the Latin American guitar style of Jason Okamoto in the lower lobby. Chef Scott will be putting out menu favorites as well as some of his revered off-menu hors d’oeuvres. There will also be something up on the screen for viewing as well as a few other surprises. Plan on a midnight toast, party favors and more.

Tickets are $60 for admission; $75 for admission and two drink tickets before tomorrow, December 15. Then prices increase by $10. 106 N. State Street. 503.683.2092.

To sweeten the deal, remember that the Lakeshore Inn is located just a few steps from the Theater. Book a room there and you can walk home after the celebration! 210 N. State Street. 503.636.9679.

Maher’s Irish Pub. If you want to get started early on your toasting, head over to Maher’s for a free champagne toast at 4:00 p.m. to bring in the Irish New Year. The offer is good at midnight too. In between you can enjoy live music from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. with Tyler Carson and Peter Duff; Open Mike from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. hosted by Peter Duff and offering free Feckin beer and a food item to performers; and wrapping it up with a live reggae band, the Shanky Yankees at 9:00 p.m. Located at 352 B Avenue. 503.305.8087.

Keep up-to-date on what’s new in Lake Oswego by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column. I aim to keep you informed about all the reasons to live (or want to live) here.

Do you know of other places to bring in the New Year in Lake Oswego? Leave your comments here.

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Give Twice by Shopping in Lake Oswego This Holiday Season

holiday shopping 2Local Lake Oswego businesses are offering to double your gift giving power this holiday season.

How?

Recent studies have found that small businesses recirculate their revenue locally at a much higher percentage than the big box stores. The figures vary but in each case, local retailers trump the big chains in terms of giving back to their communities.

One study put the return at 52 percent for small businesses compared to 14 percent for national chains. Researchers came to this conclusion: “If residents and visitors were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would generate an additional $235 million a year in local economic activity, creating many new opportunities and jobs.”

So this holiday season, why not be part of that shift researchers are talking about. Shop local. Here are a few places to start:

jjwinters handbagSoletta Shoe Boutique. 390 N. State St., Suite 116. 503.210.4125. Lucky for you, owner Carrie Elliott loves to shop…and her fashion forward sense means everything in her store is sure to please the recipients on your list. In addition to a sophisticated shoe selection, you’ll find handbags, jewelry and scarves culled from some of the finest designers both local (like a handmade chocolate ivy rose gold necklace by Grayling) and afar (like an Italian leather handbag with beautiful detailing by JJ Winters).

Accessories From the Heart. 220 A Avenue, Suite 100. 503.675.1144. Remember that statistic about local businesses giving back to their community? Owner Carol Winston walks the talk. When she’s not volunteering for the Rotary, Chamber, Lake Oswego Business Alliance, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, or the Arts Council she’s tracking down the perfect gift to make your shopping easier. Inside her store you’ll find over 100 vendors represented including some bigwigs like Brighton, Versace and Kate Spade as well as artists who design exclusively for Accessories From the Heart like Deb Funches and Dina McNalley (jewelry), Sarah Fenwick (photography) and Patricia Rogers (artwork).

Holiday Gallery. 510 First Street. 503.675.3738. This is your one-stop-shop for unique gifts featuring handcrafted art by 30 local artists, many of whom reside in Lake Oswego. The wide selection guarantees that you’ll find something just right for the person on your list. Choose from a variety of mediums: paintings, Ukranian eggs, fiber art and weaving, ceramics, stone and metal sculpture, furniture, collage, photography, paper and poetry, hand-bound books, and printmaking. The Gallery is offering a special promotion through December 23–find one of 60 signed white porcelain stars hidden throughout Lake Oswego and receive ten percent off your purchase when you bring it in (you get to keep the ornament too!). Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through December 23. Reception held each Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Graham’s Book & Stationery. 460 Second St. 503.636.5676. Paul and Teri Graham have a volunteer track record that speaks to how invested they are in the Lake Oswego community. They’re also invested in making your holiday shopping more merry and less harried with a wide assortment of gift items for everyone on your list. High on the cool factor is a line of upcycled products from Alchemy Goods. The company takes reclaimed bicycle inner tubes and old advertising banners and morphs them into classy gifts that will be an added bonus to the green person on your list. Choose from wallets, purses, luggage tags, toiletry bags and a Mercer Shoulder Bag with just the right compartments for storing your iPad, cell phone, journal and valuables—a perfect school or work companion.

Oilerie Santa Pants1reducedThe Oilerie. 438 1st Street. 503.675.6457. The Oilerie is a great stop for the foodies on your list. And the best part is you get to try before you buy. Sampling is encouraged. The Oilerie Duetto pairs one bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil with another of Aged Balsamic Vinegar complete with recipes to put your gift to use right away. The store can also package the olive oil and vinegar you choose in a festive pair of Santa Pants topped off with their holiday chocolate covered almond “olives” or local hazelnuts.

Lucky Me Boutique. 385 1st St, Suite 115. 503.636.9595. The cold weather has put Pandemonium faux fur scarves, hats, gloves and neck warmers on many shoppers’ lists this year. Owner Marie Lerud is also seeing a big demand for reversible shawl capes with a variety of color combinations that make them a versatile, stylish gift. And if you’ve got a Department 56 collector on your list, Lerud carries ornaments—aren’t you lucky!

Paper Caper. 16829 65th Avenue. 503.620.9460. From stocking stuffers to hostess gifts you can check a lot of people off your list at this store. Kray-zee Bells harken back to old-fashioned school bells custom designed to encourage recipients to ring for a hug, a smile, beer, the remote, coffee, money or chocolate. Selfies is a photo album designed to get those “here’s looking at you kid” pics off the devices and into a book. The kids on your list will love (the above) plus snow globes, erasable crayons and all kinds of markers–scented, glitter and brush. A good selection of Tea Forté and wine charms make perfect thank-yous  for the holiday hostess.

Be sure to follow “52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego.” Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

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16 Ways to Bring in the Holidays in Lake Oswego (Part 2)

holidaysHorse Drawn Wagon Rides. Here’s another opportunity to slow the season down and take in the sights. While you’re waiting to board the wagon, you can enjoy the children’s activities and mini-holiday market going on inside the center. Saturday, December 6 and December 13 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. Reservations will be accepted for some of the available seating by calling Dawn Kolb at 503.697.6590. Fees: Reserved seats- $5/Adults;$3/Ages 0-12. First come first served seats-$3/adults; $2/ Ages 0-12.

Holiday Magic Breakfast Theatre. Enjoy a special holiday continental breakfast ½ hour before the curtain goes up for this interactive production of The Peppermint Bear Show and the Toy Elves featuring area high school student performers. Geared for ages 3-12. Saturdays, December 6, 13, and 20 at 9 and 11 a.m. in the Lakewood Center Community Meeting Room at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Advance reservations are required by purchasing tickets either online, at the box office or by calling: 503.635.3901. Fee: $12/person

Holiday Market and Mistletoe Merriment. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the season. You’ll find unique gifts, entertainment, kid activities and photo ops with Santa. Saturday, December 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. West End Building, 4101 Kruse Way. 503.675.3985.

Bells n’ Brass Concert. Here’s the perfect antidote to all that background mall music—enjoy authentic sounds of Christmas in this concert featuring the Covenant Bell Choir Sunday, December 7 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Lake Grove Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. 4040 Sunset Drive. 503.636.5656.

The Inner Bottom Line®: The Gift of Giving. Find new ways to give that don’t stress you out and drain your pocketbook. Thursdays, December 11-18 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. Register for Class 10374. Fee: $25/ACC Members;$38/Others.

High School Holiday Choir Concerts. Holiday carols have a way of bringing out the merry in all of us. Let local high school students work their magic as they perform in their auditoriums over the next couple of weeks. Lake Oswego High School on Thursday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m. 2501 Country Club Rd., 503.534.2313. Lakeridge High School on Wednesday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m. 1235 Overlook Drive. 503.534.2319.

Journey to Bethlehem. Watch the story of the birth of Jesus unfold as you walk through this live production. Registration required for 40-minute walk-through slots. Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Lake Bible Church, 4565 Carman Drive. Free. 503.699.9840

Christmas Ships Parade. Catch a glimpse of up to 60 boats decked out in holiday lights as they make their way from the River Place Marina in Portland to George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego. Boats due to pass by Foothills Park around 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 20. Warm up by the fire in the park shelter while you wait. 199 Foothills Drive. 503.675.2545.

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What Lake Oswego’s Tree Lighting Ceremony Has That The Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony Doesn’t

holiday tree lightingLake Oswego is celebrating its 50th annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony this year.

While places like the Rockefeller Center have longer traditions (almost 80 years) and bigger crowds, they are missing three key ingredients that make Lake Oswego’s ceremony my favorite.

1. Small town charm. Tens of thousands crowd next to each other to catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller tree and millions watch it broadcast on television. There’s bling and celebrities and razzamatazz. If you’re looking for more of a homegrown holiday, a harkening back to simpler times, then take your place among the crowd of hundreds at Lake Oswego’s ceremony.

2. Two trees. Okay, the Rockefeller Center may have a 75-85 foot tree bedecked in 30,000 to 45,000 LED bulbs, but Lake Oswego lights up two trees! One at Bigelow Plaza on the corner of 5th and A Avenue featuring giant snowflake lights and the other at Millennium Plaza Park at First and Evergreen. Take that New York!

3. A Parade. What sounds like more fun? Being crammed up against a bunch of strangers in the freezing cold while you wait for the lights to go on and then disperse? Or mingling with neighbors and friends as you stroll down main street going from one tree lighting ceremony to another? If you picked the latter, see you in Lake Oswego.

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16 Ways to Bring in the Holidays in Lake Oswego (Part 1)

holidaysLake Oswego makes it easy to get in the holiday spirit with activities planned for the young and the young-at-heart.

Check these out and then put a few on your calendar to keep the “we give thanks” and the “ho ho ho” in your season. This is the first installment. Stay tuned for round two the week of November 30.

Holiday Poetry Greeting Card Workshop. Surprise your holiday card recipients this year with poem. Inspiration and ten handmade cards provided. Wednesday, November 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. Register for Class 10278. Fee: $10/ACC Members; $15/Others.

Paper Plate Turkey Craft for ages 3-5. You know you need more Thanksgiving decorations and the library is willing to help you out. Tuesday, November 18 and Wednesday, November 19 at 11:00 a.m. 706 Fourth Street. Register: 503.697.6580.

Thanksgiving Wine Tasting. Let the experts guide you in the proper pairing of wine with turkey! Friday, November 21 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fee: $15 for 6 wines; $5 bonus pour. World Class Wines, 269 A Avenue, 503.974.9841.

Lake Oswego Reunion Market. Local farms bring autumn’s bounty to downtown Lake Oswego. Enjoy shopping in the crisp fall air and pick up some fresh ideas for your Thanksgiving feast. Saturday, November 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Millennium Plaza Park, First and Evergreen.

Horse Drawn Wagon Rides. Bundle everybody up and take a tour through scenic Lake Oswego. Saturday, November 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Millennium Plaza Park, First and Evergreen. Rides are first come, first served. Fee: $3/adults; $2/youth.

Holiday Craft Workshop for ages 6-12. Get it all done here: greeting cards, gifts, decorations and wrapping it up. Pizza lunch included. Saturday, November 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. West End Building, 4104 Kruse Way. Register for Class 10011. Fees: $30/Residents; $45/Non-Residents.

50th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Enjoy one of Lake Oswego’s longest standing traditions which includes tree lighting, caroling, treats, and a visit from the big guy decked out in red and white. Friday, November 28 at 5:30 p.m. Begins at Bigelow Plaza on the corner of 5th and A Avenue and proceeds down to Millennium Plaza Park.

Lakewood in Lights. This annual event features food, complimentary wine, entertainment, live and silent auctions and festive trees to benefit the rising star program at Lakewood Theatre Company. Wednesday, December 3, 5:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Tickets are $75/person ($50 tax deductible) and can be purchased at the box office, online or by calling 503.635.3901.

Check back November 30 for the next round of holiday events. Subscribe to “52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego” to make sure you don’t miss it–just click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

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5 Things Lake Oswego Homeowners Can Give Thanks for This Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingIf you are lucky enough to own a home in Lake Oswego, here are five things you can add to your gratitude list when you gather around the turkey this month.

1. Your home is going up in value. Just by owning a home in Lake Oswego, your net worth has gone up 11.3% this past year. That’s on top of a 7.6% appreciation the year before that. What does that look like in terms of dollars and cents? A home I sold last January in the First Addition for $660,000 is now worth $755,000 based on recent sales. In Lake Oswego, your home does more than provide shelter. It provides financial security too.

2. Interest rates are still working in your favor. Thirty year fixed rates continue to remain low at around 4.25%. Five year adjustable arms can be found at 3-3.25% and 15 year adjustables are coming in at 3.25 to 3.5%.

3. It’s the best of all markets. We’ve gone from a buyer’s market during the recession to a seller’s market the last year to more of an even playing field, making it better for everyone involved. No one is “making a killing” or “getting a steal.” Prices tend to rise slowly and evenly during a market such as this which is much more sustainable than the crash and booms of the past. The Lake Oswego real estate market is primed to offer both buyers and sellers a win/win situation right now.

4. Location. Lake Oswego can stand on its own with shopping amenities, restaurants and a thriving downtown; however, it’s also close to everything else the Portland metro area and state of Oregon has to offer. And depending on what’s important to you (access to I-5, walk-ability to schools, close-in to downtown, you can find a neighborhood that gives you just what you are looking for.

5. Schools. If you read my blog, you know there are more than 52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego. But in my twenty plus years of selling real estate, I’ve seen the school district’s reputation bring in as many homebuyers as the lake, the location, or the community. Our strong schools bring people in, fuel home values, and keep the demand for housing high.

Anything else you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving season? Leave a comment and share with us.

If you’d like to give thanks for living in Lake Oswego, give me a call at 503.939.9801. You’ll be thankful you did!

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Family’s Group Jump Photo Wins Lake Oswego Photo Contest

2014 group jump 2Thanks to all of you who voted for our Group Jump picture in the Lake Oswego Photo Contest. We came in first place in our category! Check out the other winners here.

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Why Rudyard Kipling Thinks You Should Attend Lake Oswego’s Festival of Words

festival of wordsRudyard Kipling once wrote, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

Stories have a direct line from the heart to the brain, allowing us to feel something first so we remember it later.

The Lake Oswego Public Library is determined to strengthen this connection with its fourth annual Festival of Words set for this weekend, November 8-9. Events are designed to entertain and teach you how to entertain. All events are held at the Lake Oswego Public Library 706 Fourth Street, unless otherwise noted. Here’s the lineup:

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8

Friends of the Library Book Giveaway. 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Begin with stories on the printed page by selecting a free book at the library’s Booktique, 3975 Mercantile Drive, #225. 503.699.9109.

Are We There Yet? 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Award winning recording artist and master storyteller Anne-Louise Sterry will engage children of all ages with her stories and music.

Step into Storytelling-Learning to Entertain Family and Friends with Stories. 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is a hands-on workshop to free your inner narrator complete with tools and techniques compliments of popular storytellers Ken Iverson and Anne Rutherford.

Story Swap. 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Put what you’ve learned or already know into practice—share your favorite travel story. Emceed by Ken Iverson.

Flying in the Wind: Tales of Adventure, Travel and Dreams. 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See where three master storytellers can take you! Ken Iverson, Anne Penfound and Anne Rutherford will take you on a wild ride.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9

Train Travels with Terry. 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. All aboard the imaginary train with local storyteller Terry Jordan as your conductor. This interactive journey is aimed at preschoolers but everyone is welcome.

Artful Storycatching. 2:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Let artist and writer Carole DeMar help you capture your own story through guided memoir writing and mixed media art. Registration required: 503.675.2540.

Storytelling Matinee with Storyteller Habiba Addo. 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Get immersed in stories from another culture while you learn more about your own.

Storytelling Matinee with Storyteller Julie Strozyk. 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Do a little time travel as Strozyk shares traditional, mythological and epic tales from early cultures.

If you want to read stories about what makes Lake Oswego such a great place to live,  subscribe to my blog. Just click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column. Stories will be delivered to you weekly.

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