Long waits and harsh lighting are just two inconveniences that can plague a standard trip to the post office. The process leaves little room for relaxation, let alone time to kick back and enjoy a freshly made latte. That's what Sip and Ship hopes to remedy. The family-owned business combines two different worlds—the post office and a coffee shop—into an operation that runs as smoothly as its coffee goes down.
The process is both friendly and simple: customers bring in items they need to send far away, such a piece of art, an old-fashioned letter, or a cursed monkey's paw. The Sip and Ship team wraps, packs, and ships it—all while customers wind down with organic, locally roasted drinks and homemade cookies and scones. In between all the sipping and shipping, customers can squeeze in some shopping, too; the store stocks its shelves with bottled wine, bath products, and even children's toys.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.:m]]
High above the city, you might hear the sounds of splashing in the Seattle Municipal Tower. They're coming from the 25-meter lap pool and jacuzzi at one of Seattle Executive Fitness's two downtown outposts. Both gyms tend to the bodies of busy Seattleites with personal training sessions with certified fitness gurus, rows of cardio and Hammer Strength equipment, and more than 60 weekly classes. Before exercisers head back into the city to impress their bosses with their new muscles, they can freshen up in the facilities' plush locker rooms, which have showers, towel service, dry saunas, and steam rooms.
Countless do-it-yourself projects would never have seen the light of day were it not for Aurora Rents—gardens would remain untended, furniture unsanded, bedrooms unpainted. Luckily, the locally owned and operated business has rented tools and equipment—all properly cared for—to northwestern craftspeople for 50 years. Equally as vital, each employee carries industry expertise around in his or her tool belt, and delights in providing insights, safety tips, and techniques for refinishing floors or shellacking homemade Trojan horses.
An online wine emporium, Cellar Stocker educates bored palates with a plethora of local and international wines with varying taste-bud-tantalizing notes. New sippers can indulge in four months of the World Wine Club ($29.99 a month), a membership that offers a new selection of delectable nectars from different regions of the world each month. Members can contribute to checkerboard wine racks by nabbing one red wine and one white wine. Current featured wines include the 2007 Perfecta merlot from California's Napa Valley and 2009 Erste & Neue pinot grigio from Alto Adige, Italy. Included with each shipment is Cellar Stocker's monthly newsletter, which details world-renowned and up-and-coming wineries, flavor profiles, and food and wine pairings. Monthly members will also receive an additional 10% off all other wines and accessories, such as wine glasses, carafes, and corkscrews that magically coax corks from their bottles by playing smooth jazz.