Introducing Shelly Najjar

May 8, 2017 7:49am

You may have noticed we have a new contributor, Shelly Najjar.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to her. Shelly is a lifetime Greenlaker who has lived in the area her entire life, with the exception of a four year stint when attending WSU for her undergrad.

She has a blog called The Goal List, her bucket list and travel blog, since Jan 2014. She started her bucket list in eighth grade (calling it her Goal List), after reading a small blurb in a magazine that said people who wrote their goals down were more likely to accomplish them than those who didn’t. Now the list is 130+ goals long (with 55 of them already checked off).
An entrepreneur and registered dietician, Shelly helps people achieve their goals through process and structure where she works with fellow entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Welcome Shelly!


join the discussion

Meet Innovative Greenlaker Sarah Barnard

September 15, 2016 6:09am

We recently learned about a Greenlaker that is trying to solve some pretty big problems with an invention that she posted to Kickstarter. Her name is Sarah Barnard and she created an organization board called Chart á la Carte. Within 9 hours of posting to Kickstarter Chart á la Carte exceeded her fundraising goal. We chatted with her to find out more.

SG: What inspired you to create Chart á la Carte?
SB: For the past 10 years, I’ve been haunted by a statistic I remember hearing in college, where I studied psychology and sociology. “The average married woman believes she does 90% of the household chores, and the average married man believes he does 60% of the household chores.” Much conversation has been had around what the actual numbers are, and the gender inequality of domestic labor distribution, but what caught my attention was the fact that, apparently, BOTH men and women FEEL that they are contributing more than their share. This is significant because, as a result, they may both feel frustrated about having to do more AND frustrated that their partner is not acknowledging their contributions (because they themselves feel that they’re doing more than their share and not getting acknowledgement). It seemed obvious to me that it came down to a communication failure, but, having lived with 5 roommates, I personally understood the undesirability of making chores a primary topic of conversation. So, I created an interactive system involving dry-erase magnets that focuses on teamwork, and validates each person for their actual contributions, so that no one has to feel frustrated or unappreciated.

Believing that my system could be helpful to support healthy marriages and families, I set about designing a board that could use both push pins and magnets, hold extra pens and magnets in a storage compartment, and have a detachable frame so that the fabric could be changed to suit the asthetics of any home. During the design process, it occurred to me that there may be a great many uses for this board, and, with the free printables I designed to fit with our dry-erasable display magnets, and other decorative and functional magnets, the board could be used for a wide range of purposes from jewelry organizer, to menu planning station or memo board or chalkboard or just decorative. One of the most exciting options involves ready-to-color task pieces, to empower children who are learning to complete daily routines.

SG: What’s unique about your invention?
SB: The product is unique because, until now, there has not existed a magnetic pin board that allowed you to easily customize the fabric. Similarly, I have not seen, on the market, acrylic, magnetic holders for making printable charts and lists dry-eraseable.

SG: What’s this we hear about trying to get onto the TV show Shark Tank?
SB I have been obsessed with Shark Tank and have believed that a positive response to our Kickstarter would give us a good boost toward both applying to be on the show and also the potential of getting investment from a “Shark.” However, in the meantime, I was recently contacted by a casting director who is working on a similar style of show, to be aired on ABC in early 2017, and am excited to be in the application process.

SG: Any other info you think Greenlakers should know about your invention?
SB: We’re excited about the product, the response from our local community on Kickstarter (we met our funding goal in 9 hours) and we’re especially excited in our anticipation to see our online community grow into a place of sharing tips, photos and inspiration about what they’re doing with THEIR Chart á la Carte, how to organize and live life.


join the discussion

Former Greenlaker in Need of Support

September 9, 2016 6:27am


Former Greenlaker Greg Wickenburg could use a bit of help. Greg was in an automobile accident when he was a teen that left him a C-5 quadriplegic. Unable to control his body temperature after the accident, he moved from Green Lake to Arizona in search of warmer surroundings. The warmer weather has helped him but his aging van is no longer reliable and can’t get him around town.

He is now in search of a reliable wheel chair accessible van and created a Go Fund Me page to help him get one. Check out the link and more on his story and how you can help. Currently, Greg is a little over half way to his goal.


join the discussion

Seattle Greenlaker Contributor Chelsea Off to a New Adventure

August 26, 2016 6:24am

Back when Seattle Greenlaker was just a glimmer in our eyes, we had one enthusastic cheerleader who was rooting us on from the sidelines and would go on to become a contributor. You probably know her too – Chelsea Asplund.
Chelsea is about to move from Green Lake on to a big new adventure in another state, but before she does we wanted to write a post about her because she is a Greenlaker that has tried to make other Greenlaker’s lives better, happier and more informed.

chelseaChelsea has written for Seattle Greenlaker since the beginning her posts have been with a focus on the fun events, people and unique gems that make Green Lake like no other place. She started the Green Lake Gym Rats Series, reported about the Corgis of Green Lake and the correct way to walk/run/cycle around the lake. But most of all Chelsea reported about the things that make Green Lake tick. Even after working full time and having a super busy life she still found time to write (56!) posts for Seattle Greenlaker. Many of her posts are timeless and you will probably see us reference them from time to time.

So bon voyage to one of our favorite Greenlakers. Thanks Chels for all you have done to help make this place we call home so great!


join the discussion

Green Lake Artist Brings Moments to Life Through Color and Light

March 18, 2016 6:10am

Green Lake painter David McGranaghan is the subject of a new video created by UW Journalism student Grace Swanson.

You may remember our feature on David last year and perhaps you’ve even seen him painting various landscapes around the lake. In the video Grace asks him several questions about his art techniques, passion for painting and connection to Green Lake. Grace does a great job of showing a bit more behind the scenes of David’s world and even gets the often stoic artist to smile a few times.

Here’s more about the project and the specific style of David’s painting style in Grace’s own words.


By Grace Swanson

On a typical Seattle day with scattered rain showers, artist David McGranaghan is capturing the moments and his experience at Green Lake through light, color and oils.

Snippets of time are brought to life as his paintbrush kisses the canvas. A woman in a pink sweatshirt races across the space and down the lake shore path. In another moment, a cyclist rides along lush trees and sparkling water. Each painting tells a story.  

He paints with a plein air technique, a style that occurs outdoors and involves small, visible brush strokes. Plein air, a French phrase meaning “in the open air,” has its roots in 17th and 18th century Rome and mid 19th century France. His palette includes oil paints of magenta, yellow, cyan, raw amber, and white.

The Seattle area has a large community that celebrates the technique and artists who enjoy painting outdoors. Each year the Plein Air Washington Artists group holds a large show with a different theme at the American Art Company, a studio in Tacoma. Plein air artists from around the state gather to exhibit their work.

Pat Meras, a member of the Plein Air Washington Artists, has been working with this technique for the last 15 years. Although it can be a challenge, she believes plein air is a great exercise to strengthen her studio painting. When working outdoors she must focus on the way light behaves rather than depend on a photo from her camera. The light changes quickly, requiring artists  to work in a two-hour window.

“If you don’t, you will end up with a schizophrenic painting,” she said.  

Seattle-based painter Brooke Borcherding, who is also a member of the Plein Air Washington Artists, says there has been a plein air resurgence among professional painters. Painting outside gives artists more information about a scene than a two dimensional photograph.

Since taking her easel outdoors in 2009, Borcherding has depicted scenes in nature and urban environments. The two-hour time constraints of plein air painting forces her to be hyper-focused, the aspect of the art form she loves the most.


join the discussion

Green Lake Artist Steven Reddy Launches New Art Book

January 4, 2016 6:35am


A few months ago we shared Green Lake artist Steven Reddy’s Kickstarter project to launch his new book This is Then That was Now. The book, which focuses on North Seattle illustrations is now available online through The book includes several chapters of Seattle illustrations including one chapter dedicated to Green Lake area coffeeshops. Other chapters include a detailed how-to, that shows in detail exactly how Reddy creates the drawings, still-lives from his drawing classes at the Gage Academy on Capitol Hill, and subbing at North Seattle-area elementary schools, including Lincoln, McDonald, Lawton, etc.

For more on Steven Reddy, check out our Q&A we did last year.


join the discussion

Green Lake Artist Steven Reddy Creates Kickstarter For New Book

July 13, 2015 7:28am

You may remember earlier this year we wrote about local artist, Steven Reddy who had his art on display at a few local coffeeshops. Reddy is now doing a Kickstarter for his second book This is Then, That Was Now – an Illustrated Memoir.

Steven is trying to raise $28,000 and has asked for pledges ranging from $5 – $2,500.

His new book is similar to his first book but includes more autobiographical comics and, at the request of some of his students that he teaches here in Seattle, one of the chapters details the process of how he creates the drawings in his book.

For more information, go to Steven’s Kickstarter page. But hurry, you only have a month until the Kickstarter is done.


join the discussion

Green Lake Blogger to Chronicle Bike Ride Through Napa

May 6, 2015 7:28am

unnamed-1Greenlaker Jill Ginsberg is setting out on an adventure and hoping to inspired others along the way. On Mother’s Day she’s heading out on an extensive bike ride through Napa Valley. Jill will be chronicling her adventure in a series of blog posts called “40 Ways to Get Back in the Saddle.”
“The posts will include real, actionable nutrition, fitness and stress reduction tips for other local adventurous moms like me,” says Jill.

Before she heads out we asked her a few questions:

SG: Why were you inspired to do this project?

Jill: The inspiration for this project came when I realized that, although I’m turning 40, my biggest adventures are ahead of me. For about five years I’ve been dreaming about going on a cycling tour for my 40th birthday. But I gave up on the idea as the time approached because of various life circumstances, particularly chronic back pain.
I decided to go on the trip anyhow, and write about it. If I was struggling to bring my dreams to life, due to certain limitations, then I knew other moms were likely experiencing the same thing.
As a Wellness Coach, it’s my job to help people achieve their goals. So I’m applying the same skills to get myself ready and overcome any obstacles to success.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to continue cycling, to start snowboarding, or or to finally sign up for that class you’ve been thinking about for years – in order to help realize your dreams and get back in the saddle, you need to feel good. Feeling good means having energy and being free of pain and other sources of chronic stress.
That’s what this series is all about … helping people feel their best so they can tackle their own dream adventure, whatever that might be.

SG: Can you describe this series in a nutshell?

Jill: The series, called 40 Ways To Get Back in the Saddle, highlights my battle with chronic back pain, and my efforts to overcome physical, mental, and emotional stressors, to achieve one of my life goals – cycling 200+ miles through California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The series humorously chronicles my journey and provides informative tips to help inspire people of all ages to chase their own dreams.
Two local Greenlake businesses, Gregg’s Cycles and Kinetic Sports Rehab, are sponsoring the series.
My cycling trip begins May 10 (Mother’s Day) and ends May 15.

SG: Can you tell me more about The Jillist? How long have you been blogging?

Jill: If there’s one thing the nutrition world needs more of, it’s humor. While some people like to be coddled and have their hand held, there are also people out there who just want someone to tell them, straight up, what the hell to do to make things better. That’s where The Jillist comes in. It’s a lighthearted lifestyle and wellness blog that helps moms get their act together while laughing at the same time. The blog’s content consists of about 50% Wellness Humor and 50% Parenting Humor.
As a Wellness Coach, you have to exercise a tremendous amount of patience and grace when dealing with your clients. That’s exhausting and often inefficient. The Jillist challenges that notion a bit and shows that there’s a different, impactful way of coaching people towards better wellness.

SG: Where can we find some of the posts about your adventures?

Jill: The series consists of 6 posts, some of which have already been posted here:

SG: Thanks Jill and best of luck on your ride!


join the discussion

Local Author Among Amazon’s Best Seller List

March 30, 2015 7:59am

Photo via Stephen Merlino

Local author Stephen Merlino’s novel just topped the fantasy section of Amazon’s Best Seller List. Released in December, the fantasy novel, The Jack of Souls, hit #1 on Amazon’s Children’s Science Fiction/Fantasy Coming of Age Best Seller list.

The Jack of Souls is the story of an outcast who must break a curse laid on his fate, or die on his nineteenth birthday; it’s a story of magic, mischief, and the triumph of tricksters. Along with the roguish protagonist, the novel features strong female characters and a subplot from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Last summer, The Jack of Souls won the Fantasy category of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Annual International Literary Competition.

A former Greenlaker, Merlino is an English teacher at Mountlake Terrace High school. Merlino plans to release books two and three in the series in August and December.

For more information, go to


join the discussion

Rules of the Road: 5 Do’s and Don’ts at Green Lake’s Trail

March 20, 2015 7:57am


For anyone who has visited it, Green Lake Park is one of many treasured gems of Seattle. The 323 acre park of lush greenery, peaceful waters and abundant wildlife is why we choose to live, play and spend our time here all year round. But as anyone who has visited on a sunny day knows, the park can get crowded.

Today marks the first day of Spring. And as we mark that occasion, it seems as good as time as any to revisit some park trail do’s and don’ts. The Seattle Parks and Recreation maintains its formal courtesy code, but here are five quick ones from us:

1. Feet in the inner lane, wheels in the outer lane. This is by far, in my humble opinion, the  most lost etiquette on the trail. Throughout the pathway look for helpful markers to remind you. Feet in the inner lane, wheels in the outer.  “Feet” can be defined as runners, walkers, furry friends, even strollers. “Wheels” can be defined as bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, and so on. But did you also know that the Parks Department has recommended directions? That’s right. Wheels should go counter clockwise while walkers and runners are recommended to go in the clockwise direction.

2. Pass with courtesy. Especially on crowded days, this can be tough. But really, just take notice of your surroundings and be courteous of those trying to get by. If you want to pass, stick to the left and try to make your next move known. Speed up and slow down as necessary. If you see someone who wants to pass, be courteous and make room for them.

3. Groups? Be mindful of your space. Along that same note, if you’re in a twosome, threesome, foursome or more, be wary of how much space you’re taking up. Nobody likes that group of six who string themselves across the entire trail. The park is big and there’s room for everybody, just be mindful and break up the group as needed. Travel no more than two abreast.

4. Dog owners – leash up and pick up. One thing to love about Green Lake is that the park is entirely dog friendly and, for the most part, the people are as well. Let’s each try to do our part to keep it this way. Dog owners, this is good to keep in mind if your dog has an extendable leash and gets in someone’s path. The Parks Department has a standard length requirement of 5 ft. Make sure you do your part and pick up after your pups. If you stop so your dog can sniff another, step aside so you don’t interfere with anyone behind you.

5. Bicyclists, slow down. The Parks Department has a “Bicycle Use Policy” that dictates bicycles will be operated a “safe speed,” especially when passing other users. The department has a strict 10 mph maximum. Yield to pedestrians and use the outside lane only.

Happy trails, Greenlakers!


join the discussion
previous page iconOlder posts