Saturday, July 31, 2010

Project 365 - Made it to Cologne!

We made it to Cologne and are having a great time. We are staying in Dusseldorf outside Cologne and this morning I went for a 7 mile run along the Rhine River. Great place to run as there are bike paths everywhere! Yesterday we picked up our registration material and the opening ceremonies are tonight! The city has been taken over by mo's and everybody is very friendly!

The picture if the day is the Cologne Cathedral - construction started in the 13th century and was completed in the 1800's. We took a tour yesterday.

Our rail pass has been great! Headed to Cologne right now for a boat trip on the Rhine.

Thanks for all the well wishes!


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Class Upgrade!

The trip to Cologne is starting off great with an upgrade to first class!

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Update to Project 365

Before I head off to Europe I thought I'd get caught up on my Project 365 postings!  As I've said, although I have not been posting them daily, I've still been taking daily photos. The last Project 365 post was for the 10th of July.  The photos below, starting with the bird fountain, begin on July 11th and continue to July 28th.

July 11th - Kent and I have been doing a lot of yard work and this is a picture of one of the seven water features in our yard.  I love it and so do the birds who love, love, love to bath in it.  Kent bought this for me last year for my birthday.

July 12th - Our boy Toby with his cool doggie goggles. 

July 13th - Again, we are working in the yard a lot now that the weather has gotten better and this is a picture of the fish in our pond.  I've managed to keep them alive for two seasons!

July 14th - Another sweet picture of our boy Toby!

July 15th - Another of the water features in the yard - I've had this one for years.

July 16th - This is a funny one. It does not happen often but once in awhile right before I head to bed I realize I've not taken a picture for the day.  This was one of those days!  This is a piggy bank that Kent has had ever since we have been together.  I don't know the story but I've always thought it was funny and it was right there so there you have it - poka-dot-pig!

July 17th - Pot of flowers on the back deck.  I bought this in California when we were down there for my Mom's 70th birthday.  I'm not certain it would be something I would find in the nurseries here in the northwest  since it's really not hardy here but it makes for a nice annual!

July 18th - My parents arrived from California today!  They are here for a couple of reasons.  For Christmas Kent and I bought them a trip to British Columbia.  They are here for that and the they are going to house set for us while we are n Europe. This is a picture of there dog Lucy - a hairless Chinese Crested.  She and Toby are having a blast!

July 19th - Flowers taken at one of my favorite nurseries down the street - Furney's.

July 20th -  Kent and I in out "Team Seattle" shirts that we will wear as we march in the opening ceremonies of the Gay Games on July 31st in Cologne Germany.

July 21st - Beautiful evening for baseball in Seattle.  Mariners win over the White Sox in the bottom of the 11th inning! Part of a five game pack I bought for Kent for Christmas.

July 22nd - This is a house that is part of housing stock in Seattle for recovering homeless women.  I was touring housing of one of the providers I work with and was impressed with the home and the women who lived there.

July 23rd - This is a bit of a cheat and is a picture actually taken the next day and placed on Friday.  I've not done that before but made an exception here because the picture of the day was more dog pictures and I've already posted so many and two I wanted to post our friends Sean and Barbara who we went to a concert with the following day.

July 24th - Terrible picture but great company and great concert.  We went to see Jamie Cullum at the Chateau Ste. Michelle is a winery in Woodinville.  We had never taken in a concert there and what a find!  We will definitely be back!  The venue is outdoors and you can bring a picnic and they sell bottles of local wine.  It was really nice - now I know what I've been missing after all these years and to think Kent and I used to live just a few short miles from there!

July 25th - One of my favorite urban nurseries in Madison Park.  To be honest I don't even know the name but they sell beautiful inexpensive plants in a great neighborhood store.  I have a dream that one day Kent and I live in this neighborhood - Keep saving Jim!  The neighborhood in right on Lake Washington and s near Madison Park our favorite place to go swimming in Seattle during the summer.

July 26th - Last spring while at a Husky men's baseball game we won a free pizza from a local pizza place who's name totally escapes me at the moment.  The offer expired at the end of this month so we made special effort to get there tonight.

July 27th - My passport finally arrived!  Nothing like cutting it close!  This picture was snapped by our security camera as the delivery was made!

July 28th - We went out to dinner with my parents tonight to celebrate our departure.  We went to our favorite Chinese restaurants in North Seattle Judy Foo's Snappy Dragon - Delish!  Check it out sometime if you are ever in Seattle - you will not be disappointed!

So there you have it!  I'm all caught up on my Project 365 and I'm all packed for Cologne!  Now time to get a few hours sleep - it's almost time to get up already!

Have a good one -


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week Fourteen Training Update

Well first of all I am happy to report that my passport finally arrived yesterday! Nothing like cutting it close! Just over a week to go before the marathon and other than packing tonight – I’m pretty much ready to catch a plane tomorrow and fly into Amsterdam and from there take a train to Cologne. We ended up purchasing a rail pass that is good in four Countries for unlimited travel for two over a 10 day period. Since we are flying into Amsterdam and we wanted to make it to Berlin and Luxembourg we decided it would be a good deal. We may even make it over to Brussels - I can tell it's going to be a busy 10 days!
I've been nursing a slight leg injury that occurred last week when I did some speed work and ran a nine mile run in a 7:59 pace with several hills. A couple of the miles were at a 7:15 pace which is where the injury was sustained. I've been taking it easy - icing and ibuprofen and a little pain-relieving cream that my Mom gave me (smells like old person) but at this point I am doing everything possible to heal. I've not missed a run and today did 7 miles at a 7:56 pace and feel pretty good. All the heavy running is behind me with the longest run before the marathon being 8 miles this coming Sunday.

I am not sure how much access to the net that I will have but hopefully I'll be able to post periodically. We leave tomorrow just afternoon and arrive on Friday morning. There are several welcoming parties and the opening ceremonies to the Gay Games on Saturday the 31st. We will then have an entire week to travel around before the run on the 7th of August.  Check out the video below of the opening ceremonies from the last Gay Games held in Chicago!  Looks like it's going to be fun!

Week Fourteen mileage update:

Sunday: 20.01 long run
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 9.41 easy
Wednesday: 11.03 speed
Thursday: 9.01 easy
Friday: 9.12 easy
Saturday: rest

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Week Thirteen Training Update

Hard to believe that we leave for Cologne a week from tomorrow and that the marathon is just over two weeks away!  My biggest concern is getting my passport in time to travel!  Yes - I am still trying to replace my stolen passport - it took a while to get my birth certificate which was also stolen and now I've sent everything in and should have it back by Tuesday of next week just in time to fly out on Thursday.  Talk about cutting it close!  I'm not going to let myself get worked up about it and trust that it will arrive in time and deal with it at the time if it does not.

I mentioned that we picked up our team shirts last week - I had my Mom take this picture for my Project 365 picture of the day for yesterday.  BTW - I've not given up on Project 365 and have in fact continued to enjoy taking photos - I've just been negligent in getting them posted.  I'll get caught up soon!

Training has been great although I have to admit that I've grown tired of the double digit miles 4 times per week during the weekday.  It makes for a very long day!  Fortunately I completed my last 20 mile run this past Sunday and today I ran my last double digit run on a weekday.  Another milestone today was surpassing 700 miles in training since starting the program back on April 18!  As of today I only have 11 more training runs before the marathon on August 7th and the longest run left before the marathon is a long run of 12 miles this Sunday.  The almighty taper is in full force! 

I'm not sure what my time will end up being in the marathon - I'd love to break 3:30 and I'll give it my all to do so but I'll be happy with anything under 3:45. 

Training schedule for week 13 was as follows:

Sunday - 10.61 easy run
Monday - rest
Tuesday - 12.14 easy run
Wednesday - 11.01 speed
Thursday - 11.09 easy
Friday - 10.10 easy
Saturday - rest

Have a good one! 


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Recomendation - Zeitoun ( pronounced "Zay-toon").

One nice things about traveling for work is that you tend to have extra time on your hands whether at the airport, on the plane or in the evening that if at home you fill up with chores. I used my down time while in DC reading Zeitoun. I picked it up in Atlanta a few weeks ago at a bookstore where I heard a guy talking to the clerk about it.

It's basically about a guy and his families experience of his false arrest and lack of due process following Hurricane Katrina. I've actually been interested in Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans from a public policy perspective since the event in the super dome unfolded so publicly on TV. I recall being on vacation at Lake Chelan and watching in disbelief what was occurring in New Orleans. I was involved locally in planning for the arrival of Katrina evacuees in Seattle and have been to New Orleans twice since the hurricane. I was not aware of this book until I heard about it in Atlanta - what a find!

In some ways reading this book was transformative in nature in that I learned a lot about Islam, the Qur'an and Muslim's. It's challenging enough to deal with natural disaster but when the larger challenge becomes the man-made response it's outrageous!

Imagine being arrested - guilty or not and not being allowed to notify your family. What a sad chapter in our history. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Check it out - happy reading!


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Week Twelve Training Update

Although week eleven was a challenge due to the number of miles logged, week twelve was more challenging simply due to the weather. I was in DC for the entire week so I had five days of running to do at a time when DC was experiencing record breaking heat as high as 102! When I returned from running I was dripping wet with sweat! You could easily tell the local runners from the tourist runners by the amount of sweating occurring! I simply put in my miles this week - to dang hot to do any speed work. I did take advantage of running in a great city with many trail options. Each day I ran a new route and got to see 56 miles of DC that I would not have otherwise seen. Routes included the C&O Canal, the National Mall, Rock Creek Park Trail, the National Zoo and finally Arlington National Cemetery. Great city to run in! At least I know when I'm back in December that it won't be the heat I'm dealing with!

This weeks schedule included:

Sunday - 12.71 easy
Monday - rest
Tuesday - 12.05 easy
Wednesday - 16.05 long run
Thursday - 9.01 easy
Friday - 9.06 easy
Saturday - rest

Only four more weeks to Cologne! It's getting exciting - Kent and I picked up our team shirts last Saturday!

Happy trails!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Project 365 - Home Sweet Home

I finally made it home after being stuck in Detroit for a night thanks to Delta Airlines! I have to say that I am more convinced than ever that we need an airline passenger bill of rights. I travel enough to have had my share of travel related horror stories but it seems that since Delta and Northwest Airlines merged customer service by Delta has been horrible! Not only that but with less competition the prices have not been as good and the availability to redeem frequent flier miles is very limited.

It's not been the flight crew it's been gate agents for the most part who seem to hate their jobs and take it out on those of us choosing to fly with Delta. Both last night when due to "weather related issues" I missed my connecting flight to Seattle and again this morning while trying to get a seat assignment on my new flight. Last night - "Kimberly" at gate 54 was completely rude and less than helpful. Delta did not pay for my hotel accommodations and only when I over heard that I could get a distressed travels rate did I find out that there was a "discounted" rate negotiated for passengers being left to fend for themselves. I say "discounted" because when I called and checked on the special rate - (God knows Delta was not about to make arrangements for anyone) I was given a price of $99 for a night in a hotel 9 miles from the airport where I would literally be spending 6 hours by the time I got checked in and has to turn around and get up to head back to the airport. Kent found me a Courtyard by Marriott (love Marriott) for much less and only 2 miles from the airport.

I still think Delta should have put me up for the night but at the very least "Kimberly" could have helped me secure reasonable accommodations, been a little sympathetic to the situation and not act as if she were the one being inconvenienced! I'll spare you the details of the rudeness I experienced by this mornings gate agent trying to get a simple seat assignment.

Just glad to finally be home more than anything!  The picture of the day was taken this afternoon from Madison Park in Seattle. It's one of our favorite places in the city.  Kent and I have been coming here for the past 13 years to swim and enjoy the neighborhood.

We went to the Elite Tavern in Seattle tonight and picked up our team shirts for the gay games.  We meet a couple of people that will be attending and learned more about Cologne and some of the logistics.   It's getting pretty exciting!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Project 365 - Headed Home

I am at the airport and heading home! It's been a long week and I am ready to get home and enjoy the weekend before going back to work on Monday. This picture was taken at the airport as I grabbed a bite to eat before catching my plane.

We had a great two days of meetings - very productive and valuable use of my time. I am very lucky to be connected to some of the brightest and progressive people in the county when it comes to addressing the needs of kids in the juvenile justice system. There were people at this meeting from Oregon, Texas, California, Massachuset, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, Washington, New York, South Dakota, North Carolina, Alaska and Oklahoma. We also had representatives from our Federal partners in DC. When I attend these meetings I am always reminded of how much more there is to do to help kids who have experienced behaviorial or mental health or substance abuse problems become productive members of socity and also how much we have accomplished.

I spoke to my Mom today and plans are underway for Aunt Midge's service. It will be as soon as Monday so I am not sure if I will make it or not. I'll probably make a decision once I get home.

I am on the plane and the good news is that I've been upgraded to first class the bad news is that we are very late departing due to bad weather in Detroit. I may end up unexpectedly spending the night in Michigan.

Keep you posted -


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Project 365 - United States Capital

It's my final full day in DC and I must admit I am ready to be home! I fly out tomorrow and look forward to sleeping in my own bed and seeing Kent and Toby!

I went for a 9 mile run this morning and have only one more 9 mile run tomorrow morning before I head home. I love running in new areas and exploring cities by foot - but with the hot humid weather I must admit it's been a tough week of running and I am looking forward to training in cooler less humid conditions.

The picture of the day is a shot of the United States Capital Building - I figured I needed to have at least one photo of the day of the nations capital. Such a beautiful building and grounds.

The hotel we are staying in is what I've commonly heard referred to as "quaint". I've learned that "quaint" is another way of saying old. When a hotel advertises itself as "quaint" what they really should say is - we are old, our elevators are slow, there is one plug in the room and it's got the TV and lamp plugged into it, the air conditioning will never keep up with the heat, and finally, a pool - are you kidding!

I love hotels that are on the registry of historic places - don't get me wrong, but give me multiple plugs, high speed internet, and a pool and I am more than happy.

On another note - I learned that my Aunt Midge passed away today. I've posted in the past about her - she lived with my parents for the past 4-5 years and has lived with dementia for the past 10 or so years. Thankfully I was able to see her during the recent visit to celebrate my Mom's 70th birthday. Rest in peace Aunt Midge - I have wonderful childhood memories of you and will especially always remember your beautiful smile and contagious laugh!

Later -


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Project 365 - Julia Child's Kitchen

What a day! It started with Kent and I parting ways - he heading home to Seattle and staying on for my meetings with the Reclaiming Futures National Project Office and representatives from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delequency Programs.

I went for an amazing 16 mile run this morning along Rock Creek Park. I saw several amazing things - several wild deer, elephants, and giant pandas! I have always wanted to go to the National Zoo but I've just never made it until this morning. I ran the entire grounds as a part of my run.

I moved to my new hotel and then went out on my own to see a few things before heading to our evening kick off dinner.

I took in the Smithsonian Native American Museum and the National Botanical Garden and finally the Kitchen of Julia Child at the museum of American History which becomes my picture of the day.

Later -


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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Project 365 - Final Mexican Dinner

Last night in DC together - Kent heads home tomorrow and I have my first of three meetings.

We found several great restaraunts while in town including Lourial Plaza a great mexican place we ate at twice. The picture of the day comes from our last dinner together before Kent heads home.

Today I went for a 12 mile run along the C & O Canal before the weather hit a high today of 102! We went to engraving and printing and saw stacks of money, took a duck boat tour and went to the Woodrow Wilson House which was pretty cool.

Things begin to slow down now that the work begins!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Project 365 - Mt. Vernon

It's warm, warm, warm here in DC. Record heat expected the rest of the week - I can't complain, I'd rather have this heat than the rain we had in Seattle. It does make it difficult to run but I'm getting up early and doing it before the heat gets to be too much.

Today's picture of the day was taken at Mt. Vernon the home and final resting place for George Washington. It was pretty cool to tour a house so old and once occupied by the first president of the United States. The grounds were especially pretty.

When we got back to DC we headed out on a long walk to check out a running trail along the Potomac River for tomorrow mornings run. The walk ended up being about 4 hours along Embassy Row, continuing to National Cathedral.

The Cathedral was beautiful as were the surrounding gardens.

We continued to walk toward Georgetown University to check out the campus and than shopped in the area. It was really hot today and tomorrow is supposed to break 100. Thank God we have a nice pool to retreat to every afternoon. Dinner at a nice Itialian place called Floriana on 17th - very good! One more full day of vacation and then the work begins on Wednesday evening through Friday.

Later -


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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Project 365 - The Washington Monument and more.....

Happy Fourth of July! Kent and I are sitting along Constitution Ave. in Washington DC waiting for the National Independence Day Parade to begin. Although the photo of the day was taken earlier this morning while on a run, I do have a view from my spot along the parade route of the Washington Monument.

This morning I went for a 16 mile run mostly along the National Mall. It was a tough run as has been typical of all the run's that I've done in hot, humid conditions. I got several great shots along the way including the Capital Building below.

The White House

and the Smithsonian Ticket Office just to name a few!

Our hotel is in a perfect location in Dupont Circle. We have a room on the ninth floor with a view of the Washington Mounument.

Supposedly you would have a great view of the fireworks tonight from our room but we will likely go down to see them in person.

Last night we had an early dinner and then caught a local play called Legions. It was halarious - two drag queens played the leads and were basically washed up Hollywood stars trying to revive there long dead carriers.

Today we are basically doing fourth of July festivities - the parade and then a concert and fireworks at the Capital.

Have a great day!


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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Project 365 - DC Bound

As Kent can attest, I think I was meant to fly first class! Mind you I don't want to pay for it but I sure like the extra room, service and attention! It used to be that upgrades happened more frequest but lately it seems as if upgrades have gone the way of good intrest rates on CD's! That is until this morning! On the way to the airport I made comment to Kent about the good old days when upgrades were more frequest and planes were not always full. Seems like the airlines have it down to a science in terms of maximizing every seat. Imagine the surprise of hearing my name and then being upgraded to first class - especially nice on a flight cross country!

The picture is Mt. Adams with Mt. Hood in the background. There was also a nice view this morning of St. Helens and Mt. Bachelor.

Really looking forward to our trip to DC. We've been there enough that we don't plan on cramming everything in but rather relax and hang out. There are enough local events going on right now to keep us pretty busy. There's the Folklife festival, fireworks, and a parade just to name a few. I also want to take in Mt. Vernon while we're here since I've never been and this past week it was featured on Top Chef. The other thing that I wanted to do was have a tour of the White House but who knew you had to reserve it so far in advance! I have a return trip planned in December so I contacted Senator Murry's office and secured tickets for a tour of the White House in December when it's decorated for Christmas!

I've been asking for warm weather and boy am I going to get it! It's going to be in the upper 90's, perhaps a bit to warm. We decided not to rent a car this trip and instread just use the metro and stay local. Our hotel is in Dupont Circle so we are centrally located.

We have between now and next Wednesday to enjoy ourselves and then Kent flies home and I'll stay on a few days for my meeting and then return home very late next Friday night. It's a long time to be away so I'm glad Kent can join me for part of the trip. I miss our boy Toby but he is in the good hands of Holiday Kennels who love having him. Have a good 4th weekend!


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Friday, July 2, 2010

Project 365 - Security Shot

This picture although not very clear, cracks me up! Following the burglary we had last month we installed a security system and this picture was snapped by the camera in the garage today when Kent got home from work.  I love how he grabbed Toby and waved to the camera knowing that I would get an email with the picture. We can actually watch streaming video on our iPhone or computer, have it send still shots by email throughout the day and it is motion sensitive in that it snaps a picture and emails you if it picks up any motion. It's pretty cool. I feel much better having a security system installed! 

I'll spare you the picture but I've already mooned Kent via security camera - IKM!


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Week Eleven Training Update

I usually post my training updates the Monday or Tuesday following the completion of the week but this week I am so relieved with being done with week eleven I’m posting it right away! Week eleven marks the peak mileage week in my training – I’ve logged 65.72 miles this week! That’s the most I’ve ever ran in a 7 day period and I have to say I feel great! Not to say I am not exhausted and that I am not glad the peak miles are behind me but I’ve managed to run nearly 600 miles in the last eleven weeks and remain injury free, loose a few pounds and not miss one scheduled run!

The remaining 5 weeks of training are looking pretty manageable with two 54 mile weeks, one 58 mile week and then the almighty taper to 37 miles, 22 miles and finally the marathon on August 7th! During the past eleven weeks as part of the training I’ve ran one marathon and two 20 mile long runs. I’ve only one more long run of 20 miles – another reason to celebrate!

I know I’ve complained about the weather a lot lately - here goes again! This morning – July 2nd, it was 56 degrees and pouring rain the entire time! I kid you not - POURING rain the entire time! They say summer begins in Seattle after the July 4th holiday. I just looked at the forecast and see early next week we are supposed to get up into the mid 70’s and by Wednesday – 83! What a difference a few days makes!

During the course of the training for this marathon I’ve done a fair bit of traveling. That’s one of the things I love about running – you pack a pair of shoes and some shorts and you can do it anywhere. I love exploring new running trails. In the last eleven in addition to the miles covered in Washington, I’ve covered ran in Texas, California, Georgia and finally this next week in the District of Columbia.

Sunday: 20.16 long speed run
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 12.09 speed work
Wednesday: 12.21 easy
Thursday: 11.21 easy
Friday: 10.05 easy
Saturday: rest

Glad tomorrow is a rest day albeit on a plane to the east coast! Have a great 4th of July weekend and happy running!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Project 365 - Original Starbucks

We really do love our coffee here in Seattle - perhaps it's because it's July 1st and it's raining and the temperature never reached 60 today!  I was pretty frustrated waiting for the bus in the rain today!

Many blocks in downtown there is literally a coffee shop on every corner - Tully's, Seattle's Best Coffee, Starbucks, we have them all! At one point in my old office I had my choice of six different stores in a one block radius! I'm totally addicted to the stuff to the point that I experience serious withdrawal when I don't have my morning cup! I don't go for all the fancy drinks, most mornings I actually make my coffee at home and take a thermos to work. On the weekends and when we travel however - I'm always on the lookout for my grande no room americano at Starbucks! I tell my friend Jennifer " I like my coffee like you like your men - strong and black"! I decided a long time ago to drink my coffee black - I figured if I were going to drink the stuff I did not need the extra calories or hassle. Not to say I don't like a good latte once in awhile!

The picture of the day was taken late this afternoon - I was heading out after a meeting and ended up near the Pike Place Market near the location of the original Starbucks store. You can tell by the logo (exposed breasts on the mermaid) that this is the original store. I guess the breasts exposed was too much for the rest of the world and so when they expanded away went the nipples! Check it out if you are ever in Seattle its across from the Pike Place Market another must see in the city. The Starbucks with the best view in Seattle is located on the 41 floor of the Columbia Tower - open Monday - Friday only!

FYI - More info on the logo from the net if your so inclined -

Starbucks Logo

Starbucks is a company, which is well known throughout the globe. Known mostly for their coffee, the Starbucks brand The Starbucks logo shows a green band with two stars and a crowned Siren in the center of the logo. It is haunting yet attractive and recognized throughout the world, and provides an excellent lesson in logo design.

Brief History of Starbucks Logo

Designed by Terry Heckler of Heckler Associates, the iconic mermaid that beckons coffee drinkers was based of a classic 15th century Norse woodcut of the mythical siren. The hardy yet feminine look was perfect for the Pacific Northwest local. Evoking the local lumber industry�s history in the area coupled with an inviting face, the logo was a perfect fit

However, the finely crafted corporate identity soon faced challenges. How do you place a bare breasted siren on the side of a truck? Modify! Eventually, the siren�s hair was lowered to cover the bare-chested icon. Then the suggestive pose of the mermaid, posed a unique branding challenge during Starbucks rapid expansion. What had seemed a clever and folksy design in Seattle was considered risqu� in other parts of the country? Modify Again! Soon, the offending pose was slightly altered, and then eventually the pose completely obscured.

Evolution of new redesigned Starbucks logo

The current Starbucks logo that the world knows today now focuses on the warm and inviting face of the mermaid, rather than her body. The iconic cigar band outline remains, framing one of the most famous corporate identities in the world. The story of the Heckler Associates modification and re imagination of each subsequent logo design is necessary for anyone interested in logos and branding.


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