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On the 18th of this month (June), I commemorated my five-year anniversary in Seattle. The city has been good to me. In an economic period where some people are working at jobs that are other than their first choice, I have been blessed upon blessed to work for three, very different yet equally great organizations. I’ve been able to maintain bonds with some very special sorority sisters and college friends, forge ahead in making new friendships with people who have come to Seattle from all over the country and invest in a vibrant community at my church (fun fact: this was the sermon series which sealed the deal for me).

As I sat back and reflected upon my time in Seattle, I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t been all easy breezy though. I’ve been through some of the scariest (ie: snowiest) weather in a city where people just shouldn’t drive (hello, we have steep hills people!) yet do. My first grocery trip as a newly employed accounting associate led me to the nearest grocery store which happened to be the Whole Foods on Roosevelt where I bought what I thought was a modest dinner. The $27 grocery bill for a box of couscous, some asparagus and a salmon cake threw me into a tail spin where I called my mom completely exasperated… how was I expected to live in such an expensive city? (Thankfully when I got home, my roommate reassured me that there were other (cheaper) grocery stores in Seattle and introduced me to Trader Joes). And then there was the realization that I was no longer the dependent of two public school teachers who had excellent health insurance. Finding out that there was a monetary consequence to cavities urged me to get a Sonicare tooth-brush and fast.

I bring up the highs and lows not only because I’m wordy (and awfully nostalgic too, it seems) but because of all the Seattle memories I’ve built over the last five years, there is one culture shock which stands out to me and that is this: my first Target in Seattle experience.

Let’s just say that it was awful.

Sidenote: I say it was awful because if you know anything about me you know I love Target (as evidenced by my affinity for their furniture as documented here). So don’t get crabby and start accusing me of libel just yet, ok?

Now, as I was saying. My first trip to Target as a Seattleite was awful. It was a Sunday night, I desperately needed some new towels and an ironing board and so I set off for Target. Living in the Maple Leaf neighborhood, I was instructed to head north to Northgate and there I would find a Target. I was looking for a large parking space with a building donning the red logo in the background. What I found was a mammoth multi-story building with a parking garage. After I found my way to the very, very top via the express ramp (yes, the express ramp) I stumbled my way into the store with half an hour until closing time. I found my way to the homewares and picked up an ironing board easy enough. Next was the bath towels. As I meandered down the aisles, I couldn’t even put a matching set together. If I liked the thick stone-colored towels, I could only find a wash cloth and one of those really, really big towels. I was still looking for a suitable set when the “Good evening Target shoppers” announcement came on. I was annoyed. Greatly.

You see, I had just graduated from business school and knew that Target was sophisticated enough to know better. I knew that as a Seattle store, the Northgate location’s inventory had to account for the fact that it was in the center of a metropolis. I might have located a sales rep and clued her into my frustration (I really didn’t want to go home and take a shower sans towel and only have a wash cloth to dry off with). It was then that she clued me in to two important facts that have since guided my Target in Seattle experience:

  1. The Northgate Target sells the second highest volume on the West Coast. (I don’t know if that was ever true or is still true but the empty shelves definitely validated her claim at the time), and
  2. Clothing deliveries happen on Wednesday mornings.

Since then, I have really only resorted to Target for stable things like cotton swabs and cleaning supplies. If I happened to find some cute pajamas or something from one of the limited edition lines (ie: Missoni for Target), I considered it a blessing from Jesus, himself. Anything that got my pulse slightly rising required a call to my mom who lives in a suburb of Olympia because demand for good taste is very competitive in both King and Snohomish Counties.

This was my experience up until two weeks ago and brings me to the whole point of this blog post (837 words and no pictures later). You see, I was in Olympia helping my mom with a bridal shower and ran into Target to get a gift. As I was looking for aisle numbers, I turned the corner, saw the following, and gasped:

Target’s Colorwheel Solera Collection | via Target.com

I’m not usually a melamine fan (another sign that Seattle’s rubbing off on me) but if a pattern and color scheme could speak to a person, this one would be singing (probably something by Eric Hutchinson). Coral and teal are both colors which I naturally gravitate to and there are so many great entertaining pieces (like the Coral Dip Bowls with Bamboo Serving Tray seen above and other things like rose-colored, stemless wine glasses or stackable drink dispensers). I also love polka dots.

I had one of those oh-so-awesome moments where I grabbed everything I loved and put it in my cart before my brain cells even charged and fire. Halfway towards the check out, however, common sense got a hold of me (I had come in to get a gift for my new cousin, not myself, silly) and so I performed the walk of shame and put everything back.

A week later I was still thinking about the Solera Colorwheel Collection (I know, I know). A brief trip online to read all the product descriptions (I’m weird like that) and I had settled on my one fun purchase. The oh so practical:

White Serving Bowl with Bamboo Lid | via Target.com

Truth be told, while I couldn’t rationalize anything in the pattern giving that I don’t even have any outdoor furniture (although this may become a reality soon), this bowl is the perfect solution to all my former moments where mass and capacity haven’t aligned. The bamboo lid is just a bonus in consideration of my race car driving skills and the amount of bugs which like to linger near summer buffets.

Oh, and because I have really been trying to increase my water intake, I may have bought the coral colored cocktail pack (not available online)…

Cocktail Kit (8 Straws and Glass Clips) in Coral for $4.99 @ Target Stores

… to accompany the best drinking glass of all time.

And because I seem to be in the midst of a shopping confessional, I bought a packet of napkins too. (Quick! Someone call Shoppers’ Anonymous!)

So, dear friends, while I might not be serving drinks or snacks off of the Colorwheel Serving Tray this summer, I do have an inkling that Seattle Targets are catching up with demand. You see, those purchases I made above? They were all from my neighborhood Target!

Here’s a dose of reality for you:

Washington kiddos (at least in the schools I drive/live by) aren’t out for summer vacation quite yet. That didn’t stop this banner from being posted at Target.com:

What happened to summer?