Archive for Holidays

Plaid Is the New Black

Celebrate “Plaid Friday” instead of “Black Friday”

Show your support for independent, locally owned businesses


Thanksgiving Day comes late this year. For those of us who don’t own small retail businesses, it probably has no other meaning than rent is due mere hours after turkey time. For small business owners, however, it means there are fewer shopping days till Christmas. Did you know that many small retailers take in 50% or more of their annual revenue during the holidays? Without intentional local shoppers, a short holiday shopping season could break some of the small businesses we hold dear!

Instead of risking life and limb at the big box stores this year, why not shop at your local indie stores instead? Many of them are welcoming customers through their doors with food, special events, and offering special deals. Below is a list of some “Plaid Friday” events in Renton. Do you know of others? Comment or email me, and I’ll add them to the list!







Chici Baby’s Consignment Boutique

  • 10% off everything

Old Renton Book Exchange

  • Extended hours: open from 10am to 8pm
  • Raffle and door prizes on Friday, as well as specials on select items.

Antique Country Station

  • 20% off everything

Little Quadoo Consignment

  • Extended hours: open 9am to 5pm
  • 20% off storewide!
  • 30% New select baby carriers, Yummi Pouches, and Buttons Diapers!
  • Sale excludes locally handmade items. Maximum 20% discount on consigned items is $10 per item.

Maker’s Mercantile (The storefront where Ryliecakes is located)

  • Early Bird Doorbuster Goody Bags for each customer that pops in before 12pm, ’til we run out!
  • Buy any 4 skeins of Stash-quisition yarn, get the 5th free.
  • Between 12 and 4 Free Make & Take: Addi Express Headbands & Hats, with over 50 colors to choose from!
  • Don’t forget to bring your Local Rewards card to get a buy-one-get-one-free gluten-free bakery item at RylieCakes!

The Wine Alley

  • MEGA Beer Tasting featuring 10 beers from 4p – 7p. $5 tasting fee includes keepsake beer glass.

small business saturday






Maya Whole Health

  • 20% off Lululemon apparel

Sierra Fish and Pets

  • 10% OFF Store wide
  • 30% OFF Freshwater & Saltwater Livestock

Chici Baby’s Consignment Boutique

  • 10% off everything

Little Quadoo Consignment

  • Extended hours: open 9am to 5pm
  • 20% off storewide!
  • 30% New select baby carriers, Yummi Pouches, and Buttons Diapers!
  • Sale excludes locally handmade items. Maximum 20% discount on consigned items is $10 per item.

R&D Thriftstore

  • 10% off everything with one-day-only RelyLocal Coupon

Old Renton Book Exchange

  • Extended hours: open from 10am to 8pm
  • Bake Sale
  • Raising money for RAYS (Renton Area Youth & Family Services)
  • Children’s book drive for RAYS

Antique Country Station

  • 20% off everything

Poggi Bonsi

  • Complimentary treats all day
  • All Henkel’s knives will be 50% off
  • Customers will receive a free tea towel with their $100 purchase.
  • Many other in-store specials

Maker’s Mercantile (The storefront where Ryliecakes is located)

  • Early Bird Doorbuster Goody Bags for each customer that pops in before 12pm, ’til we run out!
  • All felt, fabric and roving is 15% Off.
  • Between 12 and 4 Free Make & Take: Felt, Pom-pom and Tassel Cap Ornaments or Garlands, using roving, yarn, buttons, acorns and beads!
  • Don’t forget to bring your Local Rewards card to get a buy-one-get-one-free gluten-free bakery item at RylieCakes!

The Wine Alley

  • We are doing a Cote Bonneville Tasting from 12p – 4:30p. Great high end wines. Perfect for the holidays!



Valentine’s Day Adventures in Renton


For Valentine’s Day, Ian and I decided to take to Downtown Renton to see what kinds of adventures we could have.

First we stopped over at Garland Jewelers to get me a pretty little piece of jewelry. We made it at 5:45pm (which for us means getting off work early). They were closed, so we took silly pictures in front of their store. Don’t you love the quaint mosaic tile floor with their name on it

Next we walked until we found something open: Old Renton Book Exchange! I love books of all kinds, and particularly children’s books. We stopped in to see what we could see. Dacia, the owner, had some great recommendations for us. This is how the conversation went:

Me: “What do you have with pretty illustrations?”

Dacia: “How pretty is pretty?”

Me: “I don’t know, pretty.”

Based on her recommendation I found a new book of a French fairy tales with illustrations from Edmund Dulac. Monsieur Dulac’s illustrations are what I would call “pretty”. We also bought the next book that the Old Renton Book Exchange book club is reading. I hope we can read it before Wednesday when they meet again!

After leaving the bookstore with hugs and well-wishes, we stopped over at Renton Flower Shop where Ian had cleverly called ahead and ordered me roses. Don’t they look lovely? They smelled so lovely too! Thanks Ian!

The arrangement was an aromatic delight to carry down the street as we walked toward our dinner destination. On the way I noticed this sign in the window of Uncle Mo’s Snappy Inn. Funny the things you notice when you walk as opposed to drive.

We arrived momentarily at our dinner destination: Red House Beer & Wine Shoppe and Tapas Bar. We had peeked at the Valentine menu. Our mouths watered with anticipation.


We sat at a table surrounded by floor-to-ceiling wine bottles. The flowers we bought looked beautiful on the table. Here is Ian poring over our new treasures.

Ian had the venison special, which had a fruity balsamic reduction, and came with garlic turnip mashed potatoes and sauteed spicy greens. I had the Filet Mignon Oscar with Dungeness & Rock Crab Meat, Asparagus Caper Hollandaise Sauce over Garlic Turnip Mashed Potatoes. My steak was fork-tender, and the sauce delectable. I didn’t lick my plate. That’s not to say I didn’t want to.

After dinner we drove up to the Highlands to get a little something for Ian. We stopped in at 4th Street Wine and Spirits for some Scotch. Here’s a happy Ian with his treat. Actually we both love Scotch, and buying from this independent liquor store, so this gift is a win-win-win!

Our final stop was at Sweet Decadence Chocolates in Newcastle*. Like business smarties, they were open until 10pm on Valentine’s Day! Even in the late evening, Sweet Decadence had a wide selection of handmade chocolates and caramels. We chose a half-pound of truffles, which were carefully placed in a white box and tied with a red ribbon.


*For the record, we are not exclusive to Renton. We love Newcastle and businesses in Newcastle too! Ian and I both grew up there. Ian’s dad, Stuart Liddle, was among the first city council members when Newcastle incorporated as a city.

Triumph of the Commons in Two Tales

Two Tales of Sharing

The story of stone soup has inspired children to share for generations. Stone soup is that folk tale of people with limited resources not realizing the value of the resources that they actually have. A leader inspired them to bring together their most abundant, but overlooked, resources to create something of higher value. I have lots of carrots, someone else has lots of onions and potatoes, put them together with some water and voila: stew. The villagers were starving before they brought their goods together and shared them. Afterward they were feasting. Moral: Your resources are more valuable when you share them with your community.

The second tale is one of a community library. Ten people had one book they which they had read multiple times. To each person, this book was an “old favorite.” Alas, they longed for new knowledge. One villager began to talk to others about this book they had, and found that others felt the same. Ten decided to put their books together into a library. INSTANTLY they had access to TEN different books, nine of which were new to them. Furthermore, the news began to spread about having access to many books, and other people sought to contribute their one book to the library, in order to have access to an increasingly valuable library. Moral: Your resources can be many times more valuable when you share them with your community.

In the first story, the quality of what was put in increased, but the quantity remained the same. In the second story, you put a little in and get a lot out. The quantity and value of the collective contribution to the library was exponential. The difference lies in what kinds of good area shared: tangible versus intangible, consumable vs non-consumable.

The Damaging Lie of Scarcity

I’m hearing this all over town, “This down economy has been really hard on me and my family. I’m just hunkering down and looking after myself right now.” This mindset, driven by fear and a focus on scarcity, says that sharing will reduce availability of scarce resources and therefore increase suffering. They seem to have bought the lie that resources in our community are limited in quantity and quality. There are many ways this mindset damages our community:

  • Scarcity discourages community involvement, because of perceived limited ability to affect change. “I’m only one person! What can I do by myself?”
  • Scarcity creates fear of one another. A scarcity mindset views neighbors as potential enemies: people who can  make your resources less available to you and your family.
  • Scarcity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Scarcity inspires hoarding. Hoarding resources means that your resources are not available for use by you or the community around you, which is functionally scarcity. It reminds me of a line from a song I learned in elementary school: “Love is like a magic penny. Hold it tight you won’t have any. Lend it, spend it you’ll have so many, they’ll roll all over the floor!”

Triumph of the commons: The more you give, the more you get.

Wikipedia defines “tragedy of the commons” as “the depletion of a shared resource by individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self-interest, despite their understanding that depleting the common resource is contrary to their long-term best interests.” Tragedy of the commons is natural to people acting out of fear and scarcity mentality. Thankfully we are not bound by our base natures. We can rise above and experience the power that collaboration brings: triumph, rather than tragedy, of the commons.

In an economy where the money and material possessions are the only measure of value, it’s easy to be trapped by a scarcity mentality. The truth is that our collective resources as a community are vast. We need to put money and material wealth in it’s place: it’s just one of many tangible and intangible resources that we have to invest.

Let’s look at what is possible when a modern community collectively invests tangible resources: a twenty-first century stone soup. Kickstarter is a great example of crowd-funding. Community members contribute small amounts of money and collectively fund new creative projects like movies, games, music albums, etc. Crowd-funding has also been used to open local businesses like pubs, bookstores, and food co-ops. This model has amazing implications for the city of Renton. What could we build together? The sky is the limit!

The resources we think less often about are our intangible ones. Our knowledge, and expertise, and circle of friends, are some of our intangible resources. Scarcity says that sharing knowledge and expertise freely will reduce the value of your paid service. On the contrary, sharing tips sets you apart as an expert in your field. The trust created when you share information freely helps people remember you when they have need of your service. It also builds relationship, which enhances customer loyalty.

Shopping Small is Sharing

Shopping at small, locally owned businesses is one way you can share with your community, and you don’t have to spend any more money than you would if you shopped at a big box or chain store! For instance, let’s say you want to have a night out with your sweetheart, (it could happen…right?) You have a choice to spend your money at a unique, locally owned place, or the bland, ubiquitous chain. Does it really make a difference? The answer is definitively yes! Recent studies show that when you choose a local company, more money stays in your local economy.That money, rather than being consumed one time, and leaving our economy forever, circulates here. It is like the book in the community library, which is loaned out time and time again to other community members. The more people who do this, the more money will be available to pay you as well! Jobs are created, small businesses flourish, the economy improves.

Another way the money benefits you multiple times is by tax dollars at work. I don’t know anyone who really likes paying sales tax. That being said, if you have to pay it, it may as well go to support amenities that you will take advantage of, right? When you spend money in your city of residence, your tax dollars go to fund parks, schools, roads, libraries and other great features and amenities that you actually use.

The holiday is a season of giving and sharing. Take time to recognize your assets and be thankful for them. Think about how much more they could do for you if you invested them in your community. Choose local.


10 Ideas for Keeping Holidays Local

Why waste gas and fight crowds to shop for the holidays? You don’t have to look any farther than our Renton community to find quality, unique, meaningful holiday gifts. Here are ten ways you can reduce stress and enjoy your holiday season while finding the perfect gift for loved ones.

1. Hand made gifts. When you give hand made gifts, you give a bit of yourself. Need ideas? Pinterest abounds with ideas for handmade gifts, and we’ve pinned a few to get your creative juices flowing. Don’t want to make it yourself? Consider the goods of many local artisans and crafters to be suitable alternatives.

2. Gift a service that you can do yourself. Think of a service that you can provide that will bring joy and/or relief to the ones you love. A few ideas are: one hour of housekeeping, one evening of babysitting, or one home made dinner delivered. For kids you could offer one hour of bubble blowing (see the tutorial for this easy homemade wand that makes epic sized bubbles), an afternoon of bike riding or crafting together, or one batch of home made cookies of their choice.

3. Gift services at locally owned businesses. You could give gifts for massages, manicures, or pedicures, but anyone can think of those. Why not give a helicopter ride, or tickets to Renton Civic Theater performances?

4. Gift a class together.  Get creative, take a class. Right now “sipping and painting” services are very popular, and fun to do with friends or family. Glass Blowing or acting classes make great gifts for the person who has everything. The City of Renton’s What’s Happening booklet is full of classes that would make excellent gifts.

5. Gift a membership. Wine of the month club, anyone? There are several small independent wine stores with great deals on wine clubs. With the New Year right around the corner, membership to a local fitness center would be a welcome gift.

6. Donate in someone’s name. Make a contribution in your loved one’s name to their favorite local charity.

7. Gift a meal at a locally owned restaurant. It’s hard to think about gifting food during this season of overindulgence. Just remember that after the excitement of the holidays dies down, and the reality of our 9-month rainy season sets in, a meal at a local restaurant could be a nice distraction.

8. Buy gifts from locally owned businesses. Local businesses often have special or unique items you may never find anywhere else. Plus the staff will give you the attention to help you pick out the perfect gift that you may never receive at the big box store.

9. Buy from thrift shops, consignment stores, or used book/music stores. There is no shame in giving used gifts. As a matter of fact, it is quite green and trendy! If you’re looking for a truly unique gift, consider browsing one of our many antique stores, consignment shops, or used bookstores in downtown.

10. Use cash or debit cards, not credit. Whenever you can, use cash. Convenience aside, credit cards cut into the profits of local businesses by charging them for each transaction. If you must use your debit card, allow the merchant to choose “debit or credit” for themselves, as often one fee is higher than the other for them. Cash keeps more money in the local business person’s pocket so they can continue to thrive.

RelyLocal Renton is your resource to find a great service, restaurant, store, or consignment shop for that perfect holiday gift. You can find most anything on your holiday shopping list there! Be sure to look for the RelyLocal Renton logo on the door of your favorite local business.

How do you plan to keep the holidays local? We welcome your thoughts in the comments below.