As October wraps up, and we in the Pacific Northwest bundle up, I raise my hot beverage to the unexpected, in all its forms. The Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango, got things rolling early (and somehow still feels fresh), hemlines were up, down and hi-lo, Seattle enjoyed a fabulously sunny summer (beginning early, on July 4th), athletes who were surely going to win didn’t while relatively unknowns magically got their time to shine, making us all take a closer look. What is certain is this:  Step out of your comfort zone, even if by just a pinky toe, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. You’ll be wrapped in a cozy, soul-boosting blanket of sorts, realizing what new potential awaits and that change can actually be a welcome, well, change. So, let’s toast to giving our senses something to hoot and holler about:

Taste…flavors beyond the almighty pumpkin this season. The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook is hot off the press and ready to be devoured (Stuhlbergs in Queen Anne has your copy ready). Your neighbors will certainly be side door ready!

Feel…the buttery-soft leather deliciousness and solid design of Hobo handbags and wallets found at Fremont’s Burnt Sugar. The fun linings alone will make you smile and bring a spring to your autumnal step.

Smell…the cornucopia of Voluspa candle fragrances at Bliss, also in Fremont. Choose from a few sizes, including a petite jar for just $6, perfect for travel or a hostess gift. My latest discovery is Mandarino Cannela, a scent that resembles a spiced up orange Sweet Tart (or baby Bayer aspirin, for those who remember).

See…women taking over Seattle (well, at every SAM location at least) now through January 13, starting with the provocative Downtown exhibit, Elles: Pompidou. These ladies finally get their day – and strongly serve it up through many mediums.

Hear…ponder, sway and groove to new favorite songs from Aimee Mann (Charmer), A Fine Frenzy (Pines), and Mumford & Sons (Babel)…just  to suggest a sampling. There’s nothing like music to bring everything back into perspective.

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