Mad Men–style Family Portraits, Luxury Northwest Family Travel Ideas, Personalized Kids’ Stationery

Kavita Varmawhite  |   June 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Snap an un-PC family photo at Seattle Retro Photography

THE MOD SQUAD - family portraits
Fans of the hit show Mad Men have been feeling at a loss ever since the network powers-that-be announced the show’s fifth season won’t air until March 2012. May we suggest a way to get your Mad fix and also get ahead on the annual chore of taking a pic for this year’s holiday card? Take a classic family portrait with a decidedly retro twist at Cedar Park–based Seattle Retro Photography (seattleretrophotography.com), an offshoot of Old School Pinups, the vintage, boudoir-style studio run by stylist Trixie Lane and former L.A. celebrity photographer Lance Wagner. Lane does hair, makeup and wardrobe that channel your inner Don and Betty, and glams up the kiddos as well. Photos are taken in one of three period-accurate sets—we adore the Mid-Century Living Room, with its golden vinyl couch and recliner, made of material from the interior of a ’50s Cadillac—and you take your pick of totally un-PC props, such as fake cigarettes and pretend martinis. The result: a cheeky, theatrical look that screams Hollywood yesteryear.

Luxury Staycations
School’s out soon, and the only R&R many will see are  “R”ising gas prices and “R”idiculous air fares. But you don’t have to forgo luxury, says Anne Taylor Hartzell, founder of Issaquah-based Hiptravelmama.com, a blog geared toward parents who want to travel in style. In addition to reviewing lavish, family-friendly spots around the globe, the blog gives tips on how to make the most of traveling with kids. “There’s a misconception that luxury hotel properties are not kid friendly.  That’s not true anymore,” says Hartzell. Her summer-fun hit list of luxe locales closer to home includes Victoria, B.C., for Symphony Splash (July 31). “You take the Victoria Clipper and you don’t need a car or travel gear. It’s so liberating,” says Hartzell, who recommends staying at The Empress (fairmont.com/empress) “because you can walk everywhere, and there’s an indoor pool.” Another destination Hartzell suggests is The Allison Inn and Spa (theallison.com) in Newberg, Oregon, for its big suites, hiking trails and—yes!—on-site baby-sitting.

Letter Perfect
We know the phrase “Best. (Fill in the blank.) Ever.” is a tad overused. But, when it comes to an over-the-top, supremely unique birthday/kindergarten graduation/whatever-the-occasion gift idea, these Kids’ Artwork Cards from Portland-based Jigsaw Graphics (jigsawgraphics.com) really are. Have your pint-size Picasso create a line drawing (a self-portrait or doodle, along with a signature) using a black Sharpie on white paper. Then scan the picture and email it to Jigsaw, where—under the guidance of mom of two Suzanne Hallerman—it becomes gorgeous letterpress notecards. (Delivery time is three to five weeks; cost is 15 cards for $49, or 30 for $79.) It’s a great way to preserve your little ones’ artistic creativity at any age, and, it can’t hurt their manners—thank-you notes will be oh so much fun to write.