Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sensory Friendly Concerts for Children at the Seattle Symphony

Afshan Lakha co-owns and serves as principle of the Lakha Investment Company in Bellevue, Washington. Outside of her professional duties, Afshan Lakha is a patron of the arts who enjoys numerous cultural activities in the greater Seattle area, including the Seattle Symphony.

In addition to performing regular concerts, the Seattle Symphony operates a wealth of educational programs for students, families, and young performers. One of these programs, the Sensory Friendly Concerts series, is designed specifically for 5-to-8-year-old children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders.

Led by certified music therapists, these special concerts feature low volumes, comfortable lighting, and a wide range of seating options meant to accommodate a variety of sensory sensitivities. Besides being able to enjoy small chamber pieces and sing-a-longs in a comfortable, friendly environment, audience members get a chance to meet the musicians and learn about different instruments. During the 2017 season, the Sensory Friendly Concerts series will emphasize a different social skill at each performance.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Programming for Pre-K Children at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Finance professional Afshan Lakha operates as a principal with Lakha Investments LLC in Bellevue, Washington. When not working, Afshan Lakha enjoys giving back the community and supporting the arts. She is a trustee of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), which maintains a wide range of programming for people in and around Seattle. 

PNB maintains several programs geared for the youngest members of the community. Children ages 2 and 3 are welcome to participate in the Duet program with a caretaker or parent. This class focuses on learning rhythm and moving in time to music while having fun. Toddlers can pick up some great moves and work on coordination at the same time. The summer class meets once weekly for five weeks.

Once children reach the age of 4, they can participate in PNB Tots. Students perform in class without parental supervision, and guardians are only allowed to observe on designated days. During the class, children learn how to channel their creativity and express themselves in meaningful ways through dance.

PNB also offers other programs for children up to the age of 7, at which point formal ballet instruction starts. For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Interior Design Ideas for Brightening a Dark Room

Afshan Lakha relies on her 20 years of experience as a business executive to oversee operations at Lakha Investment Company, LLC, a commercial real estate firm. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Afshan Lakha enjoys a wide range of hobbies, including interior design.

While natural light is ideal for interior design, not every room has the benefit of sunlight. Fortunately, there are several interior design tricks that can brighten a dark room.

1. Avoid dark furniture. When you add dark, bulky furniture to a dark room, the visual weight of the area is increased. Dark rooms appear brighter when light-toned furniture is used.

2. Add mirrors. A way to reflect natural light throughout a room is with mirrors, which can double the light and make the room appear bigger. Large mirrors are ideal for living rooms and other large areas, while smaller mirrors can help with staircases.

3. Follow the flow of light. When adding bookshelves or other furniture that can block light sources, place the items perpendicular to a window instead of across from it. Further, try bookcases with open shelving to reduce the feeling of heaviness.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Three Major Trends in Contemporary Art

A respected Bellevue, Washington, entrepreneur, Afshan Lakha shares ownership of Lakha Investments LLC. With a passion for painting and taking in art museums around the globe, Afshan Lakha has a particular interest in contemporary art. 

One trend among today’s art collectors is on meaningful consumption, which involves seeking out treasured objects with specific personal meaning rather than those that are in vogue. Instead of simply responding to brand messaging, aficionados seek out those pieces that offer a combination of integrity and clear vision. 

This endeavor involves an embracing of “messthetics,” which places value on imperfections and realistic representations of bodies, cityscapes, and other areas of representation. In some cases, the brutal honesty of such works makes the viewer feel uncomfortable and opens new areas of experience and discussion.

Another trend is a “silence-vs.-noise” aesthetic that seeks to take the clutter out of a crowded and overstimulated social landscape. Taking pointers from minimalist art movements of the 1950s and 1960s, it embraces a sense of calm in presenting “visual haiku” that encourage contemplative reflection.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Gates Foundation - Saving Lives through Global Immunizations

Based in Washington, Afshan Lakha guides Lakha Investments LLC with her husband and company cofounder. Maintaining a strong community presence, Afshan Lakha supports nonprofit organizations such as the Seattle Symphony and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Known for its transparency and effective use of funds, the latter supports diverse educational, population, and health-focused efforts. 

One of the Gates Foundation’s core programs strives to ensure that global immunization coverage is achieved through the distribution of vaccines for conditions such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, yellow fever, and measles. With vaccines that can be difficult to obtain and cost prohibitive in some of the least developed countries, the Gates Foundation is spearheading the Global Vaccine Action Plan, which aims to save in excess of 20 million lives by 2020. 

Areas of focus include the training of on-the-ground health workers, as well as the creation of reliable transportation and distribution networks needed to ensure drugs reach individuals in need. The Gates Foundation also strives to establish local refrigeration capacities for vaccines that require a climate-controlled environment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Health Benefits of Gardening

An experienced financial professional and business leader, Afshan Lakha serves as a principle with Lakha Investments Company. Recreationally, Afshan Lakha enjoys spending time in her garden

Research has shown that gardening has a number of health benefits. Beyond getting people outside of their homes and in nature, gardening has been shown to help regulate blood pressure. Contact with healthy soil also plays an important role in building a strong immune system, and vegetables harvested from a home garden have more nutrients than those purchased from a store.

The other major benefit of gardening is stress relief. According to Clare Cooper Marcus, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied the psychological effects of landscape architecture, looking intensely at a plant or even taking a few seconds to smell a flower allows people to bypass the mind’s analytical function. The professor continues that gardening helps people to stop thinking, worrying, and obsessing by bringing them into the present moment, thus reducing their levels of stress.

Taking a few minutes, then, to work in the garden after getting home from work and before starting evening chores can help individuals feel more relaxed while giving them significant health benefits.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honeymoon in Vegas - New Theatrical Production in London’s West End

Lakha Investments LLC cofounder Afshan Lakha guides a commercial real estate enterprise with business interests throughout Washington. A theater enthusiast, Afshan Lakha enjoys productions in London such as Les Miserables. A production currently playing in London’s West End is Honeymoon in Vegas, a musical adapted from the 1992 film of the same name starring Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The plot follows the mishap-filled life of Jack, a Brooklyn native who promised his mother on her deathbed that he would never get married. When he finally gets up the nerve to propose to his long-suffering girlfriend Betsy in Las Vegas, he finds that her attentions have been taken by a smooth-talking gambler. 

The show had its Broadway debut in 2015 and picked up critical plaudits for its throwback energy, which hearkened to the golden era of song and dance productions. The New York Times commended its “sly genius” in subverting the formulaic romantic comedy in ways that offer surprising detours and extravagant gestures. The West End version features backing by a full 30-piece ensemble provided by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Seattle Symphony - Improving Accessibility for Local Families

A co-founder and principal of Lakha Investments Company, Afshan Lakha maintains active involvement with the arts in Seattle. Toward that end, Afshan Lakha supports the Seattle Symphony, which has undertaken a number of programs in recent years to encourage parents to introduce their children to the symphony.

The Tiny Tots Series, for example, connects children up to age 5 to an interactive program featuring songs, games, and stories. Families can bring their children early for fun activities in the lobby that start 30 minutes prior to each performance. 

Designed for children 12 and under, the Classical King FM 98.1 Family Concert Series introduces young minds to some of the most popular classical pieces. Programming starts an hour before each performance with instrument exploration and crafts in the main lobby. 

The organization also offers Sensory Friendly Concerts for children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities. The concerts feature chamber pieces and participatory songs. Children are encouraged to meet and greet the performers before or after each performance, which is hosted by a music therapist.

Participation in these family events comes with free admission to the Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Two-Hour Cooking Classes for Everyone - Alain Ducasse

Afshan Lakha is a co-founder of Lakha Investments Company in Bellevue, Washington. An accomplished amateur chef and hostess, Afshan Lakha has taken several cooking classes at Alain Ducasse’s world-class school in Paris. 

World-renowned chef Alain Ducasse owns dozens of fine restaurants around the world, totaling 21 Michelin stars. He is also the head of two cooking schools, one of which is open to the general public. Located in Paris, the Alain Ducasse Cooking School is open to anyone who loves food and desires to learn. A select few classes are given in English, though most are only in French.

Alongside introductory, technique, kid-friendly, and traditional cooking classes, the cooking school operates a series of “Spotlight” classes, which offer an in-depth look at one aspect of Alain Ducasse’s cooking at a time. Amateur chefs can learn all about asparagus in one class, souffles in another, and other dishes like lobster, macaroons, and much more in these two-hour courses.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pacific Northwest Ballet Announces Retirement of Corps de Ballet Dance

With more than two decades of experience in real estate, Afshan Lakha serves as the principal partner at Lakha Investment Company, LLC, based out of Bellevue, Washington. Among the numerous Seattle-area organizations that Afshan Lakha supports is the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), where she is a trustee.

Located in Seattle, the PNB began in 1972 and has evolved into one of the most highly regarded ballet companies in the country. With almost 50 dancers, the ballet offers more than 100 annual full-length and mixed repertory ballet performances. The group also tours across the globe and has performed in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia.

In April 2016, the PNB announced that ballet dancer and Bellevue resident Jessika Anspach would retire at the end of the season. After growing up through the PNB School, she spent a total of 26 years performing for the ballet. In 2004, she joined the company as an apprentice and received a promotion to corps de ballet the following year. She had leading roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mark Morris’ Kammermusick No. 3, and Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVE…More or Less, among others. Upon retirement, she plans to pursue an English degree with a concentration on creative writing.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What to Know before Attending Your First Art Auction

Afshan Lakha co-owns an investment firm focused on commercial real estate. In her free time, Afshan Lakha enjoys collecting contemporary art and attending art auctions. Attending an auction is a great way to gain access to rare pieces, but it can also feel overwhelming to people who have never before experienced one. Before attending your first art auction, you should:

1. Investigate the registration process beforehand. All auction houses work slightly differently. Some houses allow online registration while others will require bidders to fill out forms in-house, complete with banking information.

2. Ask about the buyer’s premium. An additional percentage charge is always added to the hammer price, and this fee goes directly to the auction house. Knowing the percentage prior to an auction helps buyers determine how high they can bid on a piece of art.

3. Always request condition reports. While auction houses sell items as is, individuals have the opportunity prior to an auction to review condition reports, which detail any damage or imperfections to artwork. Potential buyers can typically request condition reports over the phone or online.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bellevue LifeSpring Provides Meals During School Breaks

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tips for Proper Auction Etiquette

Upon graduating from University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Afshan Lakha worked for Coldwell Banker Commercial in Torrance, California, until 1989. She now serves as the principal for Lakha Investments, LLC, which focuses its activity on commercial real estate. An art collector whose travels in search of great pieces have taken her all over the world, Afshan Lakha enjoys attending auctions to find contemporary art. Proper etiquette is expected at an auction at all times, so keep these tips in mind when you attend one.

1. Understand your limits at the beginning of the auction, and don’t get caught up in the excitement of any items that move at a fast pace. Keep track of what’s happening so you don’t accidentally bid more than you can afford. 

2. When making a bid, you should catch the auctioneer’s eye by raising your hand or card. Keep it held aloft until the auctioneer recognizes the bid by pointing to you. Be aware of your movements during the auction process, particularly your arms, as they can be mistaken for bids during fast-paced auctions.

3. Don’t place pressure on auctioneers to start the bidding on items you want before they are ready. They will politely ignore the request, and persistence may result in you being asked to leave.