From Student to Teacher at barre3

barre3 Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza

barre3 Issaquah Grand Ridge PlazaDuring barre3’s grand opening week in 2011, a now familiar face took her first class. Elizabeth Gardiner stepped into the Grand Ridge Plaza studio and instantly connected with barre3’s workout ethic. It’s a connection that inspired her to take daily classes, and to become the studio manager in 2013. Today, you’ll find Elizabeth teaching classes—something she never thought she had the courage to do.

Founded in Portland, barre3 is a one-hour workout inspired by ballet barre, yoga, and Pilates. It’s a flexible combination that immediately appealed to Gardiner. “What separates barre3 from other workouts is its multi-level aspect; a student who is new to classes will enjoy the same benefits as someone who takes three classes a week,” she explained. “Routines are adapted to individuals, it’s safe for all ages, and you can see and feel the results. barre3 tones and lengthens major muscle groups, revs your heart rate, and strengthens your body.”

While Gardiner was eager to take classes, she shied away from becoming a certified barre3 instructor. It took five years for her to overcome her initial shyness and consider the possibility of teaching.

“I loved classes so much and was invited to audition to become an instructor, but I was anxious about leading a group,” said Gardiner. “Then, my daughter asked me why I was afraid and it made me question my own confidence—maybe because I’m a perfectionist. After some soul searching, I took a chance and auditioned.”

Gardiner’s certified barre3 instructor training began with three days in Portland. Then, she progressed to teaching classes for friends and family, plus a series of free community classes.

To complete the process, she filmed a class for review by the corporate office. She was soon on her way tobarre3 Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza teaching up to eight classes per week. “Being a barre3 instructor is an awesome, fulfilling job and I’m so happy I make the decision to pursue teaching,” said Gardiner.

barre3 encourages newcomers to try a class, emphasizing that it’s not intimidating. In fact, the studio’s strong sense of community is a reason why people become regulars. Routines are constantly evolving, which keeps instructors like Gardiner on her toes. Classes change to keep the body and mind engaged with the same intensity.

“For anyone who’s hesitating about trying barre3, I encourage them to take a chance—like I did,” concluded Gardiner. “You may fall in love with a whole new fitness routine, and you’ll certainly love the results.”

About barre3 Grand Ridge Plaza
barre3 is located at 1091 NE High Street, next to Sip at the wine bar & restaurant. Visit to learn more or call 425-391-1192. The studio offers a new student package including three one-hour classes for $40. Each barre3 studio is independently operated by local owners, employing a team of instructors and offering up to 50 classes per week. Grand Ridge Plaza studio owners Heather Kass and Anna McEvers also teach classes.


NaturoMedica Welcomes Dr. Saman Faramarzi

Saman Faramarzi NaturoMedica Issaquah Naturopath

Saman Faramarzi NaturoMedica Issaquah NaturopathWhat does the body need to function at its optimal level? It’s a vital question that Dr. Saman “Sam” Faramarzi asks when working with patients at NaturoMedica, a full-service naturopathic medicine clinic at Grand Ridge Plaza. Dr. Faramarzi, who recently joined the practice, treats patients with a variety of primary care conditions.

A specialist in mind-body connection, Dr. Faramarzi challenges patients to nurture self-love and change the way they react and respond to stress. “Learning to cope with obstacles and understanding how stress affects the body is essential for people of all ages,” she explains. “By creating awareness of how we respond to stress, we can make lifestyle changes that may alleviate certain health issues. From teens to older adults, stress manifests itself in a host of symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, skin conditions and digestive issues. Rather than treat the symptoms only, I strive to work with patients to treat the underlying causes—working toward understanding and healing.”

Saman Faramarzi NaturoMedica Issaquah Naturopath SeattleDr. Faramarzi particularly enjoys helping patients interested achieving optimal health through lifestyle changes. Her areas of specialty include neural prolotherapy, which stimulates regeneration and repair of injured tissue, and IV therapy, which delivers nutrients intravenously to ensure 100 percent absorption.

Many of Faramarzi’s patients are overwhelmed with the pressures of today’s culture. By listening to their stories, she helps each patient develop his or her own tool box of actions and tactics for self-care.

“Patients are more likely to make positive steps toward improving their health if they are passionate about their lives—a favorite sport, activity or interest,” explains Dr. Faramarzi. “I strive to ignite the fire in people and help them to discover their passions. Asking the right questions is important for patients to be successful, but listening is equally important. With each patient, I help them to answer the question of what they can do to nurture themselves, and how they can decide to make attainable positive changes and modifications.”

Despite specializing in medical conditions that are often accompanied by pain, Dr. Faramarzi is known for her sense of humor. Connecting with people is among her passions, and you will often find her working with community groups and spending time outdoors, appreciating the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about Dr. Faramarzi at

NaturoMedica Pharmacy Naturopath Seattle IssaquahNaturoMedica is a full-service naturopathic medical clinic that is home to seven licensed naturopathic physicians. The clinic offers naturopathic healthcare, acupuncture and IV (intravenous) therapy. NaturoMedica doctors can provide primary care or work with an established physician to address health concerns. The clinic also has a retail dispensary, which is open to the public and stocks vitamins, supplements and healthcare products. NaturoMedica is located at 1220 10th Ave NE. To learn more, call (425) 557-8900.


Cheers to the Happiest of Happy Hours

Happy Hour Patio Grand Ridge Plaza Big Fish

Agave Issaquah Happy Hour Patio HighlandsFor anyone who loves dining out, happy hour is one of the restaurant world’s greatest inventions. Now that the weather’s warmer, it’s prime time to try a new happy hour. Here’s a look at offerings in Issaquah Highlands.

Agave Cocina & Tequilas
Tacos for $4? Yes, please! Agave’s happy hour features specials including their signature margarita for $7.50, Dos XX draft beer for $4.50, jalapeño cheese dip for $6 and tres quesos nachos for $7. For those who dare, diablo wings are $7.
Hours: seven days a week from 3:30 pm to 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close.

The RAM Restaurant & BreweryHappy Hour Issaquah Highlands Grand Ridge Plaza

When the clock strikes three, it’s time for happy hour at The RAM, where you can enjoy 18 oz. flagship beers for $4, house wines for $5, and well drinks for $5.50. Food specials include pretzels and beer cheese fondue, BBQ chicken quesadilla and boneless wings—all $7.50. The RAM’s classic mulligan burger is $5.50, and an order of their famous pickle chips is only $3.25.
Hours: Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm and again from 10 pm to close.

Bai Tong Thai

Savor Bai Tong Thai’s crispy garlic chicken, fresh rolls, Columbia Valley house wine and ice-cold Singha beer at special prices during their daily happy hour. Regulars rave about the chicken satay with house-made peanut sauce ($4.50), and spring rolls ($3.50).
Hours: seven days a week from 3 pm to 6 pm. Night owls can enjoy happy hour Sundays through Thursdays from 8 pm to 9 pm, and from 9 pm to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Happy Hour Issaquah Highlands Patio Grand Ridge PlazaSip at the wine bar & restaurant
With one of the largest wine selections in the region, Sip is a wine aficionado’s paradise. Its happy hour features $7 wines by the glass, house spirits and house martinis. All small plates, including Sip sweet roll sliders and deviled eggs, are $3 off.
Hours: seven days a week from 4 pm to 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close.


Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill

Happy hour at Chinoise features draft beer for $4.50—choose from Kirin Ichiban Lager, Space Dust IPA and the rotating seasonal beer—plus rotating sake and wine specials. Enjoy sushi and small bites, including the California roll ($4), six-piece chicken gyoza ($4), jicama summer rolls ($5), and honey walnut prawns ($8).
Hours: seven days a week from 4:30 pm to 6 pm.

The Big Fish GrillHappy Hour Patio Grand Ridge Plaza Big Fish

Happy hour in the Big Fish Grill’s lounge features favorites such as clam chowder for $4, Alaskan cod fish and chips for $6 and spicy seafood jambalaya for $8. Featured drink specials include $2 off draft beer (choose from 11 on tap) and $2 off select wines by the glass.
Hours: daily from 3 pm to 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close. Food specials are served seven days a week, while drink specials are available Sunday through Thursday.

AJI Sushi & Grill
Sample appetizers such as AJI’s vegetable and shrimp tempura, gyoza and tako yaki at reduced prices during their daily happy hour. Sip warm sake and savor an order of yellowtail collar (grilled hamachi kama) or ika gesso kara-age (deep fried squid leg) while enjoying AJI’s hospitality. The full menu is also available and includes classics such as pork katsu, chicken teriyaki and bento boxes.
Hours: seven days a week from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Photo credit: Shubha Tirumale for Grand Ridge Plaza


Enjoy $1 Movies at Regal Cinemas Issaquah Highlands

Regal Movies Grand Ridge Plaza Issaquah

Regal Movies Grand Ridge Plaza IssaquahGreat news, movie fans: $1 matinee movies are returning to Grand Ridge Plaza this summer!

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for nine weeks, you can catch a blockbuster movie for a dollar. It’s all part of Regal’s Summer Movie Express, a community film festival featuring G- and PG-rated movies.

Each week of summer brings two new family friendly movies that play on both days at 10 am. The Summer Movie Express begins Tuesday, June 27, with Kung Fu Panda 3 and Ice Age: Collision Course, and concludes Wednesday, August 23, with The LEGO Batman Movie and Storks.

The Summer Movie Express also gives back as a portion of proceeds benefit the Will Rogers Institute, which supports research in asthma, tuberculosis and pulmonary diseases. Funds raised from the Summer Movie Express directly fund the Institute’s mission in the areas of medical research and health education.

Don’t miss the chance to catch these fun blockbusters for just a buck!

Week 1: Tuesday, June 27 & Wednesday, June 28

  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Ice Age: Collision Course

Week 2: Tuesday, July 4 & Wednesday, July 5

  • Trolls
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Week 3: Tuesday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 12

  • Monster Trucked
  • Penguins of Madagascar

Week 4: Tuesday, July 18 & Wednesday, July 19

  • Rio 2
  • The Boxtrolls

Week 5: Tuesday, July 25 & Wednesday, July 26

  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • Sing

Week 6: Tuesday, August 1 & Wednesday, August 2

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Ratchet and Clank

Week 7: Tuesday, August 8 & Wednesday, August 9

  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out of Water
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin

Week 8: Tuesday, August 15 & Wednesday, August 16

  • Happy Feet 2
  • Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Week 9: Tuesday, August 22 & Wednesday, August 23

  • Storks
  • The LEGO Batman Movie

Tickets must be purchased in-person at the Grand Ridge Plaza Box Office. Online ticketing is not available. Regal Cinemas Issaquah Highlands is located at 940 NE Park Drive at Grand Ridge Plaza in Issaquah Highlands.


La Boutique Jolie Celebrates First Anniversary

La Boutique Jolie Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza

Boutique Jolie Shop Local Seattle IssaquahLa Boutique Jolie’s first year at Grand Ridge Plaza has flown by. Founded by Eastside entrepreneurs Robin Sofola and Andrea Pohle, the women’s fashion shop opened its doors in time for gorgeous new spring and summer fashions.

“It seems like yesterday that we developed the concept of a boutique where women could feel good about themselves and have fun shopping, while at the same time empowering women near and far by supporting female designers and ethical manufacturing standards,” recalls Pohle. “We also built philanthropy into the business plan to support charitable organizations that make our communities stronger, and this has created wonderful relationships with customers and residents alike.”

Each month, La Boutique Jolie hosts “shop-for-the-cause” events that fulfill a dual role: raising funds forBoutique Jolie Shop Local Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza nonprofit organizations and raising awareness for their cause. Recent beneficiaries include Eastside Baby Corner and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

“We are so blessed and grateful for the support of this beautiful community and, thanks to the community, we’ve achieved our vision,” said Sofola. “La Boutique Jolie thanks everyone in Issaquah for welcoming us. Our hope is that we continue to grow, bringing Eastside women beautiful and unique fashions they can’t find anywhere else, and continuing to partner with nonprofit organizations for the greater good.”

The boutique features women’s clothing, footwear, accessories and more for the Northwest lifestyle, including designs by Elana Kattan, Desigual, Joseph Ribkoff, Comfy, and Laura Hlavac. The shop also partners with Northwest jewelry designers, offering artists an exclusive venue to showcase their work. La Boutique Jolie is proud to feature fashion lines made in the U.S. and Canada.

La Boutique Jolie Issaquah Grand Ridge PlazaYou’re Invited! First Anniversary Celebration

Celebrate La Boutique Jolie’s first anniversary with special savings, bakery treats, giveaways, bonus gifts and more on Saturday, May 13, from 11 am to 6 pm. All welcome! La Boutique Jolie is located at 927 NE Park Drive.

Photos by Shubha Tirumale Photography LLC for Grand Ridge Plaza.