Need a Few Gift Ideas?

I am just starting my gift shopping and wanted to share a few great gift ideas for those people on our list who are tough to shop for…

Unusual gifts – How about whiskey rocks (shown on left) that will keep your drink chilled but not watered down?   I found and they have lots of fun ideas, including a portable ping pong set – don’t we all need one of those?

Personalized stationary – I am big believer in hand written notes and this can make a wonderful gift that you know will get used.  Check out or for inspiration.  Also, a nice pen makes a great gift; Silberman Brown Stationers has a great selection of pens and a multitude of options for personalized stationary.

Cooking classes – Not only a gift, but a fun experience as well. features classes like “Better with Bacon” and “Cooking without Recipes” to bring out your inner chef.

Terrarium – If you prefer something homemade, find an interesting glass vase or jar and add rocks, shells, mosses, orchids or succulents, these are beautiful on bathroom counters and make great hostess gifts.


Most importantly, your presence is the greatest gift you can give, so be sure not to over-do it this holiday season and remember to take care of yourself so you can fully enjoy your time with friends and family.  Enjoy the season!






Posted on December 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm
Marianne Parks | Category: Hot Trends, Living Life

Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

As winter approaches and temperatures start dropping, will you be warm and snug in your house? Is the outside of your home ready to face cool temps and windchill?

Now is a great time to winterize your home…while the weather is still mild, take some time to complete winter basic maintenance; you'll be glad you did when the freezing temps of January hit. Also, putting together a winter action plan for inside your home will help. Your time and money are important; doing a little now will save you both in the long run.

Here’s a list of things to check on the outside of your home:

  • Outdoor faucets: detach those hoses from the faucet. Insulate the faucet with a styrofoam cover.  During extended cold, turn off the water running to the outdoor faucet.
  • Gutters: make sure they are free of debris.  Ice can form when water collects in plugged gutters, a situation which can create the potential for water seepage into your home.  While checking out the gutters, see if water draining out of the downspout is flowing away from the house’s foundation.
  • A/C Lines:  make sure the lines are drained if you have an a/c unit. If the air conditioner has a water shut off valve , it’s a good idea  to turn it off for the winter.
  • Check for Air Leaks: look in those areas where two different materials meet.  Inside your home, carefully carry a lit incense stick around potentially leaky spots (electrical outlets, door and window frames, recessed lighting, cable entries). You’ll see the smoke being moved by any drafts present. You and a friend can also try out a hair dryer test. The person outside operates the hair dryer around the window frame. The person inside holds carefully a lit candle. If the flame flickers, the window frame needs caulking or weatherstripping around it.

Strategies to use indoors to stay warm:

  • Ceiling fans: reverse the direction the fan turns to push warm air down away from the ceiling.
  • Electrical Outlets: Add foam insulation gaskets around the outlet and use outlet covers when not in use.
  • Exterior doors: add doorsweeps to each exterior door and use draft stoppers.
  • Furnace:  change the filter.  Have the furnace serviced regularly.  Make sure registers are open and not covered by furniture, drapes or loose carpeting.
  • Fireplaces: keep the damper closed when not in use.  Remember to open the damper before building a fire. Have your chimney inspected—  it may need to be swept by a chimney sweep.

Don’t forget that extra layers go a long way.  Putting on a long sleeve, light-weight sweater adds about two degrees of warmth to our bodies.  Throw on a heavier sweater and receive a 4 degree warmth bonus.



Photo courtesy of

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm
Marianne Parks | Category: Living Life

Feng Shui Tips for the Kitchen

With the weather changing and the upcoming holidays, many of us are enjoying more time in one of the most important rooms of the house, the kitchen.  It's the hub for not only food preparation and dining, but socializing as well.  In Feng Shui the kitchen relates to your health and wealth; based on the premise that as we nourish our bodies with healthy food, we are enabled to go out into the world and create wealth and other resources for our lives.

Here are five easy ways to tune up your kitchen in time for the holidays…

1. Add a fresh fruit and a fruit bowl to symbolize the abundance of nature


2. Place a shiny tea kettle on the stove top that reflects the burners and symbolically double your wealth potential


3. Display glass containers of grains and colorful pastas as a visual reminder to eat healthy


4. Rotate the use of the stove top burners keeping the fire element energized


5. Fix any plumbing leaks – water represents money energy in Feng Shui


Considering a kitchen remodel?  I have some great resources to help you maximize your layout design. 

Tips courtesy of Cynthia Chomos, Feng Shui Consultant and Color Designer,

Posted on October 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm
Marianne Parks | Category: Hot Trends, Living Life

Exploring the Puget Sound Region: Best Beaches

Picnic on the beach, build sandcastles, find a treasure, or just read a book and relax. I hope you enjoy these great spots to visit as you explore our beautiful Puget Sound region.


Best Beaches for Sand

Marina Beach—Edmonds

Alki Beach—West Seattle

Golden Gardens—North Seattle

Richmond Beach—Shoreline

Meadowdale Park—Edmonds

Discovery Park—Magnolia

Carkeek Park—North Seattle

Dash Point State Park—Federal Way



Best Beaches for Fires (In designated pits only)

Alki Beach—West Seattle

Golden Gardens—North Seattle

Best Beaches with Playgrounds

Seahurst Park—Burien

Marina Beach—Edmonds

Richmond Beach—Shoreline

Golden Gardens—North Seattle

Best Beaches for Sea Creatures

Brackett's Landing North and South—Edmonds

Seahurst Park—Burien

Howarth Park—Everett

Best Beach Walks

With a stroller:

Alki Beach—West Seattle

Lincoln Park—West Seattle

With a backpack:

Meadowdale Park—Edmonds

Discovery Park—Magnolia

Best Beaches for Picnic

Richmond Beach—Shoreline

Kayak Point Regional Park—Stanwood

Saltwater State Park—Des Moines

Dash Point State Park——Federal Way

Seahurst Park—Burien

Lake Sammamish State Park—Issaquah

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park—Renton

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm
Marianne Parks | Category: Exploring the Puget Sound Region, Living Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Feng Shui Tips

Spring is in the air and it’s the perfect time to refresh your surroundings and life with new energy.  Whether it’s starting a remodeling project, gardening or painting your walls new color, the active “yang” energy of the season can support you to take action!


Enhance the path to your home.  Welcome spring with a floral doormat and a wind chime hung outside your door to stimulate energy.  Remove dead plants from garden beds and pots and replace them with colorful plants and flowers.  Pay attention to your decks and backyard spaces for inspiring outdoor views.


Bring the “wood” element of nature indoors. Add vase of fresh flowers or a plant to key living spaces (if you don’t have a green thumb, silk plants represent the vitality nature in full bloom).  Throw away dried flowers that lack life force and become dust collectors!


Change your bedding and bedroom décor.  To reflect the shift from winter to spring, use lightweight floral or striped prints for curtains, pillows, or bedding.  Add inspiring artwork and clear the clutter to enhance this important room.   A change in scenery refreshes body, mind and spirit!


Paint your walls or an accent wall. Paint is a low-cost and high-impact way to energize your living spaces.  Be bold and try a bright color to transform your walls from drab to dramatic.  Use low or zero VOC paint to ensure a healthy environment for you and your loved ones.   Happy painting!


If you’re interested in a spring “tune-up” for your home and would like assistance to get started, I highly recommend my favorite Feng Shui and Color Consultant, Cynthia Chomos.   She can be reached at (206) 919-0107 or visit:

Posted on April 13, 2012 at 1:00 am
Marianne Parks | Category: Hot Trends, Living Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Be More Interesting

(In 10 Simple Steps)

1.Go exploring.
Explore ideas, places, and opinions. The inside of the echo chamber is where are all the boring people hang out.
Go Exploring

2. Share what you discover.
And be generous when you do. Not everybody went exploring with you. Let them live vicariously through your adventures.

3. Do something. Anything.
Dance. Talk. Build. Network. Play. Help. Create. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it. Sitting around and complaining is not an acceptable form of ‘something,’ in case you were wondering.
Do something

4. Embrace your innate weirdness.
No one is normal. Everyone has quirks and insights unique to themselves. Don’t hide these things—they are what make you interesting.
Embrace your innate weirdness

5. Have a cause.
If you don’t give a damn about anything, no one will give a damn about you.
Have a cause

6. Minimize the swagger.
Egos get in the way of ideas. If your arrogance is more obvious than your expertise, you are someone other people avoid.
Minimize the swagger

7. Give it a shot.
Try it out. Play around with a new idea. Do something strange. If you never leave your comfort zone, you won’t grow.
Give it a shot

8. Hop off the bandwagon.
If everyone else is doing it, you’re already late to the party. Do your own thing, and others will hop onto the spiffy wagon you built yourself. Besides, it’s more fun to drive than it is to get pulled around.
Hop off the bandwagon

9. Grow a pair.
Bravery is needed to have contrary opinions and to take unexpected paths. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.
Grow a pair

10. Ignore the scolds.
Boring is safe, and you will be told to behave yourself. The scolds could have, would have, should have. But they didn’t. And they resent you for your adventures
Ignore the scolds

Source: Jessica Hagy,

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm
Marianne Parks | Category: Infographics, Living Life | Tagged , , ,