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March 18, 2013 at 8:34am

Local Food Network Night


Go Local Tacoma is out to change the world - or at least the community - one baby step at a time. The group focuses on all things local, and often how to connect all the branches of local awesomeness via networking.

The organization's upcoming Local Food Network Night will be an effort to connect local food producers, markets, businesses and consumers. The two-hour evening will be all networking, all the time, in hopes to tighten up community resources and awareness.

The evening will start with 30-second introductions.

"From there, we will break the group up based on interest levels so people can see who is working on similar issues, and then break the group down further into one-on-one discussions so people can get to know each other a little better," says Go Local president Derrick Rhayn. "This process increases the overall knowledge in the network of who is working on specific parts of systems change, and begins to build the skill set of weaving together connections for change."

Go Local will also be networking at the event.

"We are interested in local sourcing of food, supporting food entrepreneurs in all stages from start up to production to market," says Rhayn. "We are also very interested in developing a city-wide commercial kitchen network that food entrepreneurs can use for production. One of our long term goals is to address food equity issues as well."

The event is open to all. If you're interested in local food, you are invited. Bring topics you wish to discuss.


March 12, 2013 at 10:08am

Best Of Olympia: Jamie Lee & Company salon

JAMIE LEE: She's been helping Thurston County look good for 18 years. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy


For three years running, Weekly Volcano readers voted Jamie Lee & Company the "Best Salon" in the Best of Olympia issues, including this year.


Is it the two resident cats, Otto and Smithsonian? Is it the colorful décor? Is it the kid-friendly salon station? How about its cruelty-free products?

Yes, but at its core, the best salon can turn a gray day into one with internal sunrays, melt work stress away, and give you ramrod posture the better to highlight your new do, eyes, and cheekbones. Jamie Lee & Company does all that, and more.

The downtown Olympia salon also makes you comfortable while offering what you need, and employs cool stylists with their personalities shining through their stations in the form of pictures of their dogs, artwork and friends lining the walls. 

"Everyone who works here is unique," says owner Jamie Lee, whose salon has called Fourth Avenue home for nearly 18 years. "I have total confidence in them. They are very talented and not afraid to go outside the norm."

Jaime Lee employees seven hairdressers, two massage therapists and an astrologer.

"We're all so eclectic that we have clients that range from young punks to little old ladies," says Lee.

Lee also attributes their reputation to the community support the salon displays, through donations to various local fundraisers, including Stonewall Youth and Animal Services.


LINK: 2013 Best of Olympia

Filed under: Best of Olympia, Business, Olympia,

March 8, 2013 at 1:03pm

Steampunk Vapory Lounge to open next month in Tacoma

STEAMPUNK VAPORY LOUNGE: The stairs leading up to the lounge will be a decorative focus. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner


Last weekend, after a long, grueling day of floor sanding, JoAnna Farr fell into a chair, lifted the remote as if it weighed 10 pounds and pressed on. The show Modern Marvels welcomed her home. The episode featured "The Marvel of Steam" stating "the largest steam explosion known to modern man was Mount St. Helens."

A smile erupted on Farr's face.

She sat up, threw her hand into the air knowing the next giant steam explosion is going to occur at Steampunk Vapory Lounge on St. Helens Avenue in downtown Tacoma.

Farr and business partners Jim Oliver and Natalie Durflinger will open the vaping/beer & wine lounge next month, if all goes well. The shop will sell electronic cigarettes and e-cig accessories, in addition to providing an environment for vaping e-cigs backed with local beer and wine.

An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, does not contain tar or carcinogens that can harm the body like typical cigarettes, but does contain nicotine. The nicotine is turned from liquid to vapor by a lithium battery-operated heating element inside the e-cigarette. It is then inhaled and exhaled simply as water vapor. The nicotine is absorbed into the system and the exhaled water vapor does not leave lingering odors or anything in the air.

"E-cigarettes satisfy not only the nicotine crave, but the entire habit and addiction of smoking cigarettes," told me as I toured the shell of the future Steampunk Vapory Lounge. "Many long-time smokers use vaping to quit smoking."

Farr says their vaping juices are made locally - many of which are organic. They are working with several local juice creators, including, Banzai Vapors in Tacoma, which will introduce a steampunk juice flavor for the grand opening of the Steampunk Vapory Lounge.

The Steampunk Vapory Lounge is the brainchild of Oliver and Durflinger. Farr met the two at her former business venture, the SideBar Bistro.

"Their office was literally next door to the restaurant and they were also our best customers," explains Farr.  "Natalie's daughter even worked with me at the restaurant.  Jim, Natalie, and I had plenty of time to talk - as the SideBar was usually empty - and they had mentioned they were in the process of opening their own firm.  Fast-forward a year. ... The Bistro had closed, and Natalie called me out of the blue to offer me job in their thriving law firm - Durflinger, Oliver, and Associates, on St. Helens Avenue. We found that we really enjoyed working together and soon after I started, they asked me to be part of Steampunk Vapory Lounge. So once we found this great new space, right down the street from the firm, we went straight to work."

Farr explains the SideBar failed because of "a terrible location, tanking economy and outrageously high rent. It was a business owner's worst nightmare. It cost me my marriage. Needless to say, I was more than leery to ever open another business."

The cozy space will easily morph into the trio's Neo-Victorian antique theme. Expect ornate tin ceilings, rich dark hardwood floors and plush leather seating. The color scheme will vary from beiges to velvety maroons - all laced with black trim to match the amazing original staircase that curves up to the upstairs lounge. Dotting the walls will be unique signage and artwork.

Unbeknownst to the trio during planning phases, The Tea Works - a few doors down in the St. Helen's Ave. Mercantile - carries a steampunk theme. Tea Works will add a few elements to the Steampunk Vapory Lounge's interior, including assisting the trio with signage.

While local beer and wine contracts are in the initial phases, it looks as if Pacific Grill will cater SVL's food, making proposed vape meetings and wine tastings more desirable.

If you have been dreaming of vaping e-cigs and sipping a local brew in a post-apocalyptic, neo Victorian parlor, keep an eye on this blog for more details on the Steampunk Vapory Lounge's opening.


March 8, 2013 at 8:25am

Local author Megan Bostic launches an Indiegogo for second book

MEGAN BOSTIC: She's attempting to self-publish her second book.


The life of an author is not an easy one. While an exclusive few are rolling in the dough, most are hanging out in the middle, hoping for their ships to come in. So it goes for local young adult author Megan Bostic, who is about to delve into an entirely new realm as a result - she's going rogue. She's entering the world of indie publishing.

Last January, Bostic's debut novel Never Eighteen hit the shelves, published by major house Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In June, she parted ways with her agent. Her publisher chose not to take her second book.

Bostic has talked to agents and her publisher about her next book, but is still drawn to self-publishing.

"If I wait to go traditional, I'm looking at a 2015-16 release date, and I really don't want to wait that long," she says. "I did most of the publicity myself for my first novel. I made connections with the gatekeepers, the book buyers, librarians and teachers. I have enough know how. I have the stamina and perseverance to do this myself and make it work."

Self-publishing is a beast in its own right. In order to get a book out there right and have full control over the distribution process, Bostic must purchase an ISBN number for each format she wants to produce, from hardback to paperback to ebook.

Bostic has set up a fundraiser on Indiegogo to help raise funds to purchase a lot of 10 ISBNs, get her next book properly distributed and put together swag - giveaways for book signings and school appearances. Especially with a teen audience, swag is a boon.

On her Indiegogo is a summary of her new novel:

Sydney Warner, a teenage girl, whom after being abandoned by her mother at a young age, becomes a thrill seeker with a penchant for extreme sports and a fascination with death. She’s brash, she’s spunky, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone.

Withdrawn and broody David, from English class, is the boy of Syd's dreams, but love soon becomes just another extreme sport when Syd finds out that David has cheated on her with her best friend. Betrayal, loneliness, and a mishap with a picture frame set Syd on a course of self-destruction that includes alcohol, drugs, and self-mutilation in the form of cutting.

After nearly bleeding to death during an arm carving mishap, Syd is tossed unwillingly into a teen psyche ward where she comes to realize she’s not alone. Through new friendships, unwelcomed therapy, and her love of the stars, she finds alternate ways to cope with her emotions on her path to forgiveness and redemption.

"There's definitely more prep work when indie publishing. The burden is all on my shoulders," she says. "What I like about it is that it's on my terms. The time frame is how long or short I want it to be. With traditional publishing it was months between phases."

Still, going rogue is risky. But then so is traditional publishing for most authors.

"I'm really hoping this path works in my favor," she says. "If it doesn't, it's still been an exciting process and I've been so grateful to those who have helped and supported me along the way."

Filed under: Books, Business, Tacoma,

March 3, 2013 at 9:56am

The St. Helen's Ave. Mercantile shopping experience

ST. HELEN'S AVE. MERCANTILE: You can score steampunk goggles, tea, candy, art and crystals in less than 15 minutes.


Antique Row? Theater District? Triangle District? The Weekly Volcano's not sure what to call the lower St. Helen's Avenue area anymore, other than the new hotspot for retail shopping. Feather & Oar, Urban Alchemy, Dwelling, Giraffe, and one month ago, the St. Helen's Ave. Mercantile have opened for business around the Tacoma Municipal Building.

Yesterday, the St. Helen's Ave. Mercantile celebrated its one-month anniversary with a grand opening party featuring sales, food, drinks and the band Half Step Behind.

St. Helen's Ave. Mercantile houses The OCD Candy Company, The Tea Works, The Blue Octopus and Wolf Bear Treasures - for a one-stop, eclectic shopping experience. The storefront, located at 753 St. Helens, is packed with goodies from the loose leaf tea and steampunk shop inside the front door, the art gallery and painting studio to the right, the candy store in the back right to the metaphysical and spiritual healing center in the back room. We drooled over the über-cool steampunk antiques and Kerry Cole's paintings in Fauvist color schemes. We grabbed up some chocolate covered peanuts and nostalgic candy sticks, and rubbed moon stones and stared deeply into crystals. You could gift your interesting friends to death.


LINK: More St. Helen's Ave. Mercantile photos

Filed under: Business, Tacoma,

February 22, 2013 at 8:09pm

South Sound Sidekick: How to run your band at the office without getting fired

THE OFFICE: Should you check your reverbnation.com page at work?

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, BandBoi87 has advice on how to manage your band from your office cubicle and not get caught.

BandBoi87 writes,

Disclaimer: The methods described in this column are based on the personal experience of BandBoi87.  All information contained herein is not guaranteed to work for anyone else.  If you don't have access to a computer or smartphone at work you are fucked.  If you don't have autonomy at your job you are fucked. But if you are smart and don't act like a greedy pig ... it just might work.

I work a stupid job because my awesome band makes shitty money. I want the band to succeed but I also want to pay my bills and eat food regularly. This is some advice for how to run your band out of your 9-5 job without getting fired.  I'll be spewing more of this on Twitter @bandboi87 so go there.  More important than any one of these tips ... USE COMMON SENSE.  If it feels like a bad idea to work on your band's bio when you're racing to meet a deadline at work ... it probably is.

1. Use timed posting devices on social media sites.

Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and many other social networking sites allow you to time the release of your posts.  So instead of waiting until the coast is clear at your job then Net-bombing the entire planet, you can plan your posts the day before or even weeks beforehand.  This is especially helpful for Twitter, where you can post all day long, say nothing, and yet feel as though something was accomplished.

2. Use your phone as much as possible.

If you have a smartphone, use it.  If you don't, get one.  If you need to send an email to a booker or check in on the status of your press kit, DO NOT send it through your work email.  There are so many reasons why this should be obvious but I'll explain.  Your band looks stupid if you're sending emails from your work email. Period. Nothing says "clueless weekend warrior" faster than this.  Unfortunately I've seen it happen! Your company can monitor your Internet and email usage any time.  Don't log in to company Wi-Fi with your phone or laptop either. Use your data plan and stay discreet.

3. Be nice at work.

This should be obvious. When you are operating like this, you can't be a prick. I mean, you CAN be a prick but you will be weeded out quickly. Treat your colleagues like gold, make them laugh, bring in food and make them truly like you. People who like you will cover your ass, overlook your wandering focus and possibly love your band if you treat them right.

4. Don't be a greedy pig.

Yes, your job sucks. Yes, they put a lot of pressure on you and it takes up a lot of the time you could be creative. But they are paying you to be there. Presumably, they'd like you to give a shit. Don't spend all your work time doing stuff for your band. Your colleagues, even the ones who support you, will lose patience when you make them wait to complete a task or don't follow through. Make sure you cover your bare minimums at all times. You want to be invisible. The fewer questions asked the better!!!

5.  Don't EVER call in sick after a gig.

So your band played a great set, sold a bunch of T-shirts and stayed till the end of the show, getting home at 3 a.m. ... and you have to get up at 6 a.m. for work! Do it. Nothing will ostracize you from your job quicker than unplanned absences that are clearly related to your band. With Facebook, Twitter, and so many other ways for people to check on you, make sure you're not giving them a reason to doubt you. 

Managing a band is a lot of work.  It can be done effectively at your 9-5 job but it's important to respect the people you work for. It's also important to realize that this is just the beginning.  If you achieve one-tenth of the success you're expecting, you will end up working much harder along the way! Treat people right, don't slack and it may just work out.       

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February 18, 2013 at 1:34pm

Tacoma's Pip & Lola's is growing

PIP & LOLA'S: From soap to being dope. Photo courtesy of Facebook


First, how fun is the name Pip & Lola's?  I was hoping they were the real names of the folks behind Pip & Lola's Everything Homemade in Freighthouse Square. But, I knew different as our Valentine's Day cover story revealed. Bruce Story and Samantha Camp are their real names, while not as quaint, are still awesome. Hyphenated, they could be Camp-Story, and that's pretty fun.

"Pip and Lola are actually the nicknames of my 4- and 6-year-olds," laughs Camp, a soap maker who began creating - and selling - certain soaps to reflect the sensitive skin needs of her 4-year-old.

Second, and obviously more important than the name, is the fact that Pip & Lola's has just tipped the scale of handmade vendors to more than 50, which says more for the business than any name could. Also noteworthy is the fact that this expansion happened in less than a year. The business opened in July 2012 with just a dozen vendors.

"Isn't it crazy!? The whole thing has been a happy accident," says Camp.

She says her soap had been selling well, and she'd always been in love with Freighthouse Square. Camp says the landlord talked her and Story into two spaces. Camp asked her crafty friends on Facebook if they wanted to come play. Within a month, Pip & Lola's hit 20 vendors and had to tear down a wall.

"Obviously something like this was needed. We really try to make it a place for people to feel safe putting their products out there."

Currently, Pip & Lola's carries knit and crochet items, pottery, jewelry, wood turnings, stained and fused glass, BBQ rubs, chain mail jewelry and accessories, candles, young girls' dresses and skirts, synthetic hair pieces, blankets, paintings, cards, hand spun yarn, Camp's soaps and a whole lot more.

"It's the coolest thing in the world. The people that are making stuff love it - and the people that come in feel that love," she says.

They even have cabinets with products strictly for charity.

There is room for more vendors. Camp says she's looking for furniture and other everyday uses, as well as opportunities for taking or teaching craft classes in the store. For more information call 253.256.5660 or email pipandlola@gmail.com.


Filed under: Business, Tacoma,

February 18, 2013 at 8:03am

Tacoma Economic Development Board's Excellent 10 list

MURRAY MORGAN BRIDGE: Will it make the Excellent 10 list?


Each year, the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board - EDB to the cool kids - gathers for its annual meeting, listens to a keynote speaker, trades economic related knock knock jokes and busts out its "Excellent 10" list. The list highlights 10 great projects or investments that bolstered the community in the past year.

"The nominees are chosen by a committee internally at the EDB," says Chris Green, one of the vice presidents at the EDB. "All nominations are evaluated on their impact and significance to the Pierce County economy and determined in advance of the annual meeting. The purpose of the list is to highlight the great projects and investments in our county over the past year that are laying the groundwork for more private sector job growth in Pierce County."

Along with the list, the annual meeting offers brief descriptions about each of the projects, just in case you weren't paying attention throughout the year.

Past makers of the list range across a wide swath of industries. In 2012, winners included everything from Downtown Tacoma's Redevelopment project to the Washington United Terminals at the Port of Tacoma to the JBLM Military Communities Project. In 2011, the brand new LeMay - America's Car Museum and Cheney Stadium's extensive upgrade made the list.

What will be on this year's list? No one except the EDB knows until the meeting. Deputy Mayor Marty Campbell, chair of the EDB, offers thoughts on what projects to keep an eye on for next year:

"From my point of view I see few key developments in Tacoma. 2014 should see the opening of McMenamins in the old Elks building. This and the completion of the Pacific Avenue Streetscape will revitalize the north end of downtown. More excitement will be coming for the point Ruston development in 2014 creating a great place to live, work and play."

Tickets to the event are a whopping $85 each and are available online. The annual meeting will take place Friday, March 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy's national economics and finance correspondent, will be the keynote speaker.

Filed under: Business, Economy, Community, Tacoma,

February 6, 2013 at 10:56am

Opening This Week: Pattaya 2 Thai Cuisine

PATTAYA 2: You can never have enough good Thai restaurants. Photo credit: Melissa Hammond

As if downtown Olympia didn't already have enough suppliers of showering rama and spring rolls, in comes another Thai restaurant - Pattaya 2.

But just like Oly's bars and salons - crammed two to three in a block - Olympians will always welcome one more tasty Thai option.

Plus, it's kind of a wash since Pattaya 2 is opening in the vacant space of another Thai restaurant that dropped it's noodles and ducked out of the game, Angels Thai Cuisine.

With more than 60 reviews on Yelp, the original Pattaya Thai Cuisine in Lacey receives an overall four-star rating, with an ironic review - given the new location - from Juli M. in Olympia, "This raises the bar for Thai in Olympia back to where it used to be when Angels was at its height. Huzzah!"

The restaurant plans to open within the week. 


PATTAYA THAI CUISINE, 9323 MARTIN WAY E. #114, LACEY, 360.539.7302

Filed under: Food & Drink, Business, Lacey, Olympia,

February 5, 2013 at 11:19am

Tacoma Cabana expanding into neighboring space

TACOMA CABANA: It's opening a live music room with a dedicated Mai Tai bar.


This past summer Jason Alexander and Robyn Murphy opened the Tacoma Cabana - a downtown Tacoma rum bar that would blend in at Waikiki beach. The long, narrow space is home to an actual grass-thatched tiki bar, authentic Mai Tais and Zombies served in real tiki glasses, exotic live fish behind the bar and Gilligan and friends looping on the boob tube.

Good news! Tacoma Cabana is expanding.

In fact, thank the tiki gods as Tacoma Cabana is invading what was once the home of underage club NRG.

Friday, Feb. 15 - on Cabana's weekly Fez Friday discount cocktail day - is the anticipated opening date for its neighboring location. Surprise! The new space sticks with the tiki theme - decked out in a tropical motif with a dedicated Mai Tai bar, pool table, shuffleboard and a Gilligan's Island pinball machine. The big attraction will be a raised stage that will house live music, including Hawaiian and Polynesian bands.

Though the new room location will only be open Fridays and Saturdays, the rest of the week it will be available for catered party rentals.

Make sure to get your Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts ready. Tacoma Cabana is hoping to begin monthly luau shindigs too. That means tiki burlesque and hula lessons!


Filed under: Business, Food & Drink, Tacoma,

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