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Kili Climb: Day 2

Exerpt from Jean’s Diary:  Machame Gate 5,380 ft to Machame Camp 9,350 ft

The group from Seattle: Alex, Garrett, Niel, Jean, Joe and Jill

We got up early and took a 90 minute car ride to the Machame gate, registered with the park service and began our climb!

SCC at the starting gate, Machame

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It rained this morning and the path was muddy and slippery. This day we climbed 1000 meters and it was hard! We were in a rainforest for most of our 6 hour climb.

We quickly became comfortable going to the toilet in the woods. We still have not laid eyes on the mountain – too foggy & cloudy. The rain quickly let up and the weather was pleasant and we climbed in short sleeves. I consumed 4 liters of water! When we arrived in camp I was exhausted and overwhelmed by the camping aspect of this trip. Packing has been so confusing for a camping neophyte and I didn‟t know what I needed or where it was in my bag and I was frustrated and tired.

We arrived at camp at 5pm and sunset is at 6pm so it was beat the clock to cleanup and get organized before dark.

Dinner was good and the group we are traveling with is awesome – every member nice & easy to be with. Our guide John is a man of few words but great at giving helpful survival tips.

The blue hue of the mess tent.

Best surprise of this trip: I slept pretty well with no Ambien & woke up feeling happier about the trip.

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Kili Climb: Day 1

As we promised, for the next few weeks our blog will be dedicated to telling the story of Jean, Niel and Joe’s experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer as part of the Fred Hutchinson Climb to to Fight Breast Cancer.  We begged Jean to keep a diary.  Lucky us… she did!  We hope you enjoy her notes from the trail.

Excerpt from Jean’s Diary:  Gear check and tour of Arusha, Tanzania

Arrived in Kilimanjaro after two long flights. Toured Arusha and were safeguarded by at least 10 Tanzanian men who took us to the center of Africa (n/s from Egypt to S.Africa) which was marked by a clock tower with a Coca-Cola logo. The men were very proud of their town and its embassy and they took us to the cemetery reserved for dignitaries – a poorly maintained, over grown graveyard. They took us through the market quickly and to a wholesaler for tanzanite. We were struck by how uninterested they seemed in selling their product; only to later learn that there is not much tanzanite left in the only mine for this precious stone in the world. This was not a very productive harvest year.

The day ended with a dinner in Arusha at an Italian & Indian restaurant where two Tanzanian acrobats entertained us with cirque de soleil acrobatics, fire eating and limbo stunts.

I learned in the morning’s equipment check that my poles were missing and I packed way too big of an air mattress! I later was glad I didn‟t know how silly I was because it was super comfortable and I slept great the entire trip.

Alex and Jill Heijer equipment check.

Niel Campbell with extra boots brought for porters.

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Thinking of Thanksgiving

Posting from HQ:  November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week has arrived.  In Seattle that means leaves are falling in city neighborhoods and snow is forecast in the mountains.  There is something about watching the seasons change so dramatically that makes us aware of the year gone by.

Looking back over the last year, we’re grateful for a lot of things.  But most of all we appreciate that however much we grow and change as a company, it still feels like a family around here.  Sure, we all share a love of chocolate, but it goes beyond that.  Last fall, Jean, Niel (President), and Joe (Controller) decided to take on the challenge set out by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.  They all had their separate reasons for climbing but together they set their eyes on Kilimanjaro and the goal of raising $20,000 for breast cancer research.  After 10 months of training, they all reached the 19,340 ft summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.  What a team!

We think their successful summit is so cool, that over the next few weeks we will be sharing some excerpts from the diary Jean wrote during her climb.  Stay tuned for stories of frozen water bottles, sore feet and watching the moonrise over Kilimanjaro.

Happy Thanksgiving from our ‘family’ to yours.

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Sweet Conversation

Posting from the Retail Store:  November 11, 2011

The store is a feast for the eyes, for sure.  But what makes it even better is that we get to share something so easy to love.  When you get to chatting about chocolate, people just seem to relax and smile.  Even the most frazzled shopper melts when they taste a little sample of Extreme Dark or a sliver of San Juan Sea Salt.  That is why we always appreciate hearing what you have to say.  Your emails this week have been great.  A little while ago, one of our favorite customers even made and sent us a beautiful hand-sewn book of chocolate notes.  Each page was patterned with a chocolaty swirl, and the cover was made from our colorful twist wraps.  We love the sweet conversation!

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What a Party!

Posting from the Retail Store:  Nov 5, 2011

We want to shout out a big thank you to everyone who came to our Grand Opening today!  As some of you know, the store opening was part of our 20th Anniversary Celebrations and we must say that today really felt like a party.  It was a blast to hear customers talk so passionately about their favorite Seattle flavors and to help some of you get your holiday shopping done.  We’re also guessing that a few of you now have a pretty nice chocolate stash built up for yourselves.  Who knows, could be a long, cold winter.  Chocolate helps!

We were particularly touched that a few special friends came by.  Anna Gottlieb, founder of Gilda’s Club Seattle was there.  Clearly she has a future in retail if she ever wants one!  And to those of you out there who purchased one of our Gilda’s Bars (100% profits benefit Gilda’s Club Seattle) look for a golden ticket in your bar – one of you won a factory tour today so we hope to hear from you.   Here is a picture of Anna and Jean.

anna and jean

Bri Seeley designed some beautiful dresses inspired by our truffle bars.  So fabulous Bri!

Bri Seeley

And Joan Kelly from Fashion First came with her daughter and friends.

And so many more..thank you Seattle!

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Coming Nov 5th!

Posting from the Retail Store:
November 3, 2011

We love to shop.  Always have.  Especially when we track down that perfect hard to find item that has been missing from our lives.  But what really makes our day is the whole retail experience.  Music.  Lights.  Sales people with great tips.  That is why we are so proud to announce…drum roll please…the grand opening of Seattle Chocolate’s very own, fabulous, retail showroom!! 
Entering the store is like walking into one of our beautiful gift boxes.  You are surrounded by the bold, colorful imagery that is our signature style, and yet connected to the factory where all of our chocolate is made. 
 
So Seattle, now you can get all of the same beautiful stuff you find online, or at your favorite retailer, right from the source.  The deals on seconds are unbelievable.  Be there this Saturday for 25% off everything, fabulous freebies, and sampling to your hearts content!
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BOO!

Posting from HQ:  October 31, 2011

According to the National Confectioners Association, 68% of kids say they prefer homes that give ‘anything made of chocolate.’  Amen to that!  Maybe that’s why Jean’s house has become a destination stop for the neighborhood ghosts and goblins.  Word has it that she gives out the good stuff.  But kids beware… NCA also says 90% of parents admit to sneaking candy out of their kids’ trick or treat bag!  And 4 in 10 can’t even wait until Halloween night so they just sneak treats from their own candy bowl.

 

And don’t kid yourself…they see every move you make!

 

Of course, treats on every doorstep are only one part of what makes us love Halloween.  The fall is a very busy time of year for us and Halloween just gives us a much appreciated excuse to let off a little steam.

Happy Halloween!