Monday, June 13, 2016

6 Tips to Survive Hoopfest

6 tips to survive hoopfest, spokane hoofest, tips for hoopfest spokane

What is Hoopfest, you ask? It's only the largest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament IN THE WORLD! Held in Spokane, WA every year at the end of June. The site states "That means around 7,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers, 25​0,000 players and fans, 450 courts ​spanning 40-some downtown city blocks!  Beyond basketball, though, Hoopfest is an outdoor festival chock-full of shopping, food, interactive entertainment, and every year brings something new. It is pretty amazing how the city transforms each year."
 
If you've been doing Hoopfest for years, you already know. It takes some planning and prep to make it successful. If you're thinking about it for next year or going in a few weeks to beautiful Spokane, WA, (June 25-26th, 2016) there may be a tip here for you. I was grateful for my friend for sharing her experienced wisdom to help me out my first year.

1 - BOOK EARLY
Figure out where you will stay. One of the best places to stay in my opinion is Red Lion Inn at the Park. The reason is that you can park there for free as a hotel guest, they have a pool with a slide for the kids. They have meal options onsite, but no free breakfast. (Wendy's is around the corner, and McDonald's a short ride up Division Street towards the north end of town) if you want that. Many rooms also have fridges and microwaves, so you could bring your own food as well. But the biggest reason is that you can simply walk out of the hotel and through the park over to Hoopfest. About a 5-10 minute walk (yes wear comfy shoes and bring the stroller), but it's a pretty walk over the bridge with Spokane Falls raging underneath, through the tree lined park sprinkled with squirrels and marmots

But here's the snag - everything fills up quickly and you will pay premium prices for any hotel during Hoopfest weekend (the old supply and demand thing). It is not strange to book your hotel a year in advance to ensure a close in stay. Even the cheapest motel will be expensive.
 
If you don't have early game times and you can handle the drive into town for up to an hour, you may consider staying towards the north end of town and even just into Idaho. We been going for years and one year we booked late, and could barely find anything under $275/night if at all. We booked at Coeur D'Alene Casino Resort Hotel for $95/night. It was a beautiful place with a great pool, gift shop and amenities, plus a casino for a little nighttime fun for Mom and Dad. (Our kids were old enough to leave in the room) Of course, you can also find RV and camping places for less.
 
2 - ORGANIZE YOUR TEAM
After you have your four players (3 + 1 sub) all with accommodations set up, the best part is picking the team name and figuring out your matching costumes. You will see mucho inspiration when you see all the teams playing. My youngest daughter's team is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this year. We got matching TMNT tees from Walmart, and will cut off the arms and open up the sides (for ease of play and cool off factor), then we ordered the color of our "turtle" Nike head ties from Amazon. They will wear whatever black shorts they own, bright colored sports bras, and socks to match their headbands. Easy, right? You will need to get player info and register months ahead.

In the past we have been Super Heroes with the cape socks, black & pink cheetahs with glittered names on their shirts, tie-dye shirts, etc. (You get the idea). Oh, and practice together and figure out who will be "the coach" to sub in/out. Yes, it can be one of the parents. Also decide if you're playing in a standard or elite division. More info here.


3 - KNOW WHERE TO GO
Prep the night before. You can find the map here of the entire event. Look up your bracket and team name to find out where your game court is. Screenshot on your phone and then enlarge to find the cross streets. if you are driving into the area, you might find parking at River Park Square (great shopping BTW). See also the site's suggestions for parking here.

Also this year (so exciting....) there's an APP FOR THAT! Download the Hoopfest App here.

Know your court sponsor. (Ex: McDonalds or Dr. Pepper, etc.) When you get to your cross streets, you will be looking for the sponsor name at the top of the court markers and the number. IT.IS.A.ZOO! Allow plenty of time to get parked, drag your stuff and kiddos and walk through the maze of people to get to your court on time. Nothing worse than adding stress on top of this because you are late. The games are very short, probably only @ 20mins. long, and they keep things moving. The nice part is that the court will remain the same for all the games until the team is out.

Spokane has some really good shopping both in Downtown, at River Park Square, up at the Northtown Mall, and slightly east at the Spokane Valley Mall. The PLAN YOUR STAY section of the Hoopfest site has some suggestions for where to stay, park and other tips.

 
6 - HAVE FUN!
There is a fun, athletic and youthful vibe at this event. The music is playing, the sun is shining, and everyone is having fun and enjoying the game. You can't help but join in.

Aside from Hoopfest itself, which is packed full of people watching, seeing the various teams play from young kids, to family teams, to crazy college boys in tutus, to the old timers (40+ but still amazing to watch) teams, there is something for everyone. There are street vendors all over, plus all the shopping you can handle. And your tan (hopefully not burn) will look pretty good when you come home. Be sure and take a minute to get the schedule of Nike Center Court to watch some real talent by the elite players. So much fun to watch!

In addition to the event, be sure and check out what Riverfront park has to offer. Feed the ducks over by the convention center, ride the giant red wagon slide, take photos around the park, children will enjoy the amusement area with rides and IMAX theatre with the latest releases. And did I mention the shopping was good?
River Park Square Mall, Spokane, WA

Another family fun add-on is to combine Hoopfest with a visit to Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho. About a 1-1.5 hour drive out of Spokane. You can usually purchase cheaper tickets at Costco a month or so before the summer begins, or look online for coupons and discounts. It is totally doable in one day. There is the rides side, and the water park side. Tickets get you entry to both. It has a small park feel, but with rides for all ages, shows and a relaxing and fun train ride with a old time western hold-up played out  - not to be missed.
 

What about you? Do you go every year? Do you have any funny stories or tips and tricks for the rest of us? I'd love to hear.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Graduation Gift Idea - Customized Dog Tag Pendant


graduation gift, grad gifts, graduation gifts, graduation jewelry, sarahjanedesign, sarahjaned.blogspot.com

Just finished another customized designer dog tag pendant as a special gift to her graduating boyfriend. We used school colors of black and gold which I painted in a camo style pattern. Then I hand stamped the school name (Prairie View in Colorado), his name and graduating class date. We added a the hawk charm, since they have a Thunder Hawk mascot.

These are personalized and affordable keepsakes. They can hang from a car rear view mirror, trophy or diploma when not wearing. You can add their jersey number, or charm from almost any sport they played or interest they have. I also have many mascot style charms in stock as well. You can also pay an upgrade fee to have the back etched with a custom message.

Includes gift wrap and I will work with you to get it just perfect for your graduate.

Here's a link to my ETSY shop, where you can message me to start a custom piece. Here are some other samples below.


WSU Dogtag sports jewelry Washington State University cougars WSU sports gifts graduation gifts school jewelry school spirit
Washington State University with Cougar paw print charm
fife high school jewelry, fife high school, sarahjanedesign, sarahjaned.blogspot.com
Fife High School with school mascot charm - for the student
SEATTLE UNIVERSITY, sports jewelry, custom jewelry, football jewelry, baseball, cheer jewelry, custom sports jewelry, graduation gifts
Seattle University - custom baseball player - for Mom





Friday, January 29, 2016

Disney Princess Weekend Race Medals

Have you seen the 2016 Princess Weekend race medals? Super pretty. I'll be modifying some of my designs to incorporate the Ariel/The Little Mermaid theme this year.  I will be adding earrings as well shortly, so check back to my shop.

My personal favorite is the Glass Slipper Challenge medal below.


Check all the race medals out here...

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is coming up February 18-21, 2016 in Walt Disney World, FL. The races are: Princess Half Marathon, Enchanted 10K, Glass Slipper Challenge (which is both 10K and 13.1 = 19.3 miles), a Princess 5K, and some delightful races for kids under 13, including a one miler, Diaper Dash for crawlers and some shorter dashes as well. Yep, Disney starts them off young. And they all get a finisher medallion for participation.

Here are some of my Princess Weekend designs available for purchase in my SarahJaneDesign ETSY shop.



PRINCESS Stamped Necklace, Running Jewelry, Run Disney, 13.1, princess half jewelry, half marathon, princess, runner
Customize charm and colors


Glass Slipper Challenge CHARM Necklace, GSC jewelry, princess jewelry, run Disney Jewelry, princess half, princess marathon
Customize bead colors to your princess/costume



Princess stamped bracelet, Run Disney jewelry, custom stamped bracelet, princess half, princess marathon, 13.1, 10K, glass slipper challenge
Customize quote, race name and year



SHOE CHARMS, shoe tags, Run Disney jewelry, glass slipper challenge, Enchanted 10K, Princess half,  Disney princess, Disney half
CUSTOMIZED SHOE CHARMS/TAGS

https://www.etsy.com/listing/219904136/glass-slipper-challenge-stamped-pendant?ref=shop_home_active_10
 

Glass Slipper Challenge STAMPED Pendant
Glass Slipper Challenge STAMPED PENDANT
 
Glass Slipper Challenge SOLDERED Pendant
GSC Soldered Pendant - other colors available
 

Glass Slipper Challenge GLASS PENDANT
Customize colors, charms & bead colors


Disney Princess BLUE Soldered Pendant, Gotta Run, princess half marathon, Princess 10K, Princess 5K, Run Disney jewelry, Enchanted 10K, GSC
Gotta Run BLUE Soldered Pendant
 
Disney Princess PINK Soldered Pendant
Gotta Run PINK Soldered Pendant
 

Disney 10K GLASS Pendant
Disney 10K GLASS Pendant
 

Enchanted 10k STAMPED Pendant
Enchanted 10K STAMPED Pendant
Enchanted 10K SOLDERED Pendant
Enchanted 10K SOLDERED Pendant - other colors choices
 
As always, you can ask me to customize any of my SJD handmade Run Disney inspired jewelry for your race or character costume.

 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

RACE Movie

I love inspirational running movies, and there are quite a few out there. Who can forget Chariots of Fire? Can't say I've seen all of these, but here's a list of another 25 Great Running Movies per Running.competitor.com.

This February, we have a new one....RACE. Not only is it inspirational for running, and for race equality, but it really happened. It's the true story of Jesse Owens. He had so much pressure to prove himself for his race at the time, but also not to prove himself for what Nazi Germany was doing during the war. What a choice.

I'm excited to watch and find out what he did. When personal conviction and real life come together, you really find out what's inside.



Comes out Friday, February 19th, 2016.
 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Put on a Bracelet (Hack)

I'm all about shortcuts and ways to make your life easier, even when it comes to putting on your jewelry. I've always opened my clasp with left hand (I'm right handed) and flicked my bracelet underneath, up and over facing me on my right wrist, then held my right wrist to my stomach to hold the bracelet in place, so I could clasp a lobster clasp.  But there is another way that may be easier - TAPE! Who knew?