Monday, June 19, 2017

Field Trip: June Downtown Night Market

School is out for the summer so it's time to put those plans from our Intentional Summer calendar into action! One of the first things on the agenda? The first Night Market of the summer! 

This event came complete with a Roller Disco that had Bellingham's own Roller Betties available to give pointers and help with anyone needing it! Samantha happened to have a pair of skates that we had found at Value Village so she brought them along. Thanks to her sweet friend Octavia she had some help getting around the rink! 

There was a little area where you could drink if you are over 21, and the area was complete with music provided by DJ Polous! Steve and I had a drink and La Croix while Sam took her spin. 

Then it was time to check out the rest of the Market.  One of our favorite entertainers, Jules the Juggler was doing his act to a huge crowd. After spending time being impressed and laughing at the same time it was time to check out the offerings of the food area! 

All the food was great, though we decided to start with dessert first! Steve, Samantha and I started with a Coco Whip treat with a waffle! It was so good, and we were able to feel good about it since it was somewhat healthy! It was so fun to get to try something different thanks to the Market bringing in food trucks! (we did follow up with pizza and gyros, so it wasn't all treats!) 

Our daughter Kate and her boyfriend Nick made a special trip down just to get a box of some of their favorite macarons from Alexandra's Macarons from Seattle. We were familiar with her sweet little bus from a trip to the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall (another fun summertime event!). And how cool to have her here in our town! 

Then it was time to dance! And dance and dance! There was a second DJ down on the street who had everyone moving. Sam's friends brought out their two microwaves (don't ask!) and things started shaking! Being out in the night air, with a view down the street to the water was just the thing to kick off the summer! 

We all had a ball, from Steve and I to our daughter who is 17. We ran into friends from all areas of our life, from my gym, to neighbors, to co-workers. Besides being a fun night out it was a way to feel connected with our community. Going to these events make me feel like we are a part of Bellingham in a bigger way. The Night Market is held on every third Friday, May thru September. And if you would like to keep up with other events and all the other things Downtown Bellingham has going on (Downtown Sounds is another summer event we will be taking part in!) check out this link here

Monday, June 12, 2017

Deep Thoughts: An Emptying Nest

There's something new in my life that I have been working around. Our firstborn moved out on Mother's Day weekend and ever since life has been a bit bittersweet. We are very happy for her and her situation. Happy that she is moving forward in her life and moved out with her boyfriend who is wonderful. She is only minutes away so we can see her. 

And yet, she's gone. there is a room with a plant and a mirror in it. There is a table for four, that now seats three. There is one less daughter to bug when things are quiet, or I need a vote on my outfit. 

So, things have been bittersweet. And we knew this was coming. So we have been filling the time with more dates, with getting outside. With hobbies and market walks and reading. 

And the good? Watching our girls get together outside of us. This past Saturday Kate and her boyfriend Nick took Samantha to Seattle Meowtropolitan, Seattle's first Cat cafe. They took her to lunch and took care of everything. This is the amazing part! Watching your girls decide to hang out together and enjoy one another is what we have always hoped for! 

Kate has also reached that stage that we had always heard would come. She thanks us for the things we have taught her. She ask us questions and now actually listens to the answers. This is the good stuff! 

So, how do you get thru this new stage? Leading up to it make sure you make time for your family. Know how fleeting your time with your kids is. And when they are ready? Let them go. And allow yourself time to feel sad about it. Make sure that it doesn't get out of hand and take care of yourself and get out there doing things that make you happy. This new stage will become your new norm. And it will be good. I promise. 

Anyone else been there? Or contending with this themselves? Tell me if you have any tips to share! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Field Trip: Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures

For my birthday Steve gave me the gift of a half-day trip out with Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures! We had decided some time ago that experiences rather than things were the way to go these days as far as gifts go. And he is all about helping me find content for the blog! (it appears to be a win-win for us both!) It was a perfect outing on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend for Steve, Sam and I and the weather was glorious which was a definite plus. 

I met the owner of Moondance thru our mutual friend Morgan Henry of Momad Productions. Kristi Kucera recently did one of the Morning Jam talks, giving us all an overview of Seaweed Foraging which you can hear if you find the link here. Seaweed Foraging is another kayaking trip you can take with her company if you choose.  She's an easygoing, calm, and funny person who mixed well with us and the two other couples during our introduction to the kayaks, equipment and the overview of our day. 

I have been in a kayak maybe twice since living here, which is really a crime as we are surrounded by water. Having someone run us thru the basics, and take us out on a tour was really a great way to get a comfort level around a really great outdoor activity. I was a bit nervous, but Kristi made it easy and we all felt there was little to worry about. 

We all figured out how to get ready, putting on our pfd's, the spray skirts, and stashing our gear in waterproof bags. Once we figured out how to get in and out of the kayaks without tipping them, then how to use the paddles we were on the move. 

Leaving from the beach at Wildcat Cove, we followed the coast toward Bellingham so that we could check out the coastline and look for wildlife, plants and see what there is to see. There is something serene about being on the water in that way...once the three of us got ourselves together. There is a some coordination when you have three to a boat! Then we headed to the beach on Chuckanut Island and took a little walk around checking out the views, the tide pools, and stretching our legs. 

Then it was back to the water. It was an easy paddle back to Wildcat Cove now that we were a bit more coordinated. Our half day adventure was over so quickly, we think we could easily do a longer trip! A trip we are considering booking now for later in the summer is the Bioluminescence and Sunset one! This gift was a perfect adventure that I hope will lead to more! 


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Be Right Back...

Hi guys! It looks like I took a vacation what with the three day weekend! Working on a new post that will be up next Monday! Hope you are having a great week...see you soon! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Intentional Summer Calendar

Now that the sun has come out here in the Pacific Northwest it seems like the time to think of summer. Once the girls got older we found we had to be really intentional about planning to be sure that things happened! We have certain things that really make it feel like we have had a well lived summer, and if we miss doing them it feels wrong!

A tool that I was introduced to last year was the Intentional Summer Calendar created by my friend Elizabeth Boyle. She held a get together where we discussed our plans and how to make them happen, and then took the calendars home to fill out with our families. This year she is making the calendars available for purchase here and I am glad to have one at hand to get to planning! 

The older our girls have gotten the more we find there is a need for the calendar to make sure these things happen. We are down to only one daughter living at home, and we want to make summer count. It's likely she will be working so it's extra important that we we plan. Sitting down and figuring out what's important to everyone has been a helpful start to the season. 

There are a few activities that we have done most summers since the girls were little. One is  the drive in. Steve grew up in Oak Harbor and has been going to the Blue Fox Drive In since we was little. Being able to to bring our girls to the same place has been so much fun, and a tradition they have continued with their friends. We anticipate at least two trips there this summer! 

Strawberry picking is another very real marker of summer. We hit Boxx Berry Farm as soon as they put out the call that the U-pick is open, then pick until our trays are (and tummies!) are full! We eat as much as we can fresh, then freeze a bunch so that we can have a taste of summer all season long. And if we are feeling extra industrious we make strawberry jam. 

Steve loves going to the Bellingham Bells Baseball Games. We live so close it's easy to attend the games. They are relaxed and fun. And though I'm not as into the game, I do find hanging out eating peanuts and drinking beer on a warm summer night to be a relaxing way to spend a summer evening. Compromise is sometimes a great thing!

Something that we fill in in-between the planned activities is trips to the lake to swim! We head there almost once a week when the weather is nice for an early evening dip to cool off. It's one of the many benefits to living in this area! 

Something that we had to plan for and buy tickets for is the Seattle Art Museum show of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. I'm so crazy, excited about this show! We have friends meeting up with us in Seattle and we are all going in together. We are doing this as a family, and I am so looking forward to our day in Seattle. 

Are there any activities you are hoping to take part in this summer? Anything that speaks to summer for you? Let me know in the comments. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Field Trip: Herbivore Botanicals Spring Shopping Event in Seattle

Friends, I am all about trying to move toward natural skincare and makeup. And when you package it in a beautiful, minimalist way even better. And when it's made in Seattle it's an incredible bonus. So, when I found out thru Facebook that Herbivore Botanicals was opening up their showroom for a shopping event I was all in. 

So, on Wednesday I met a friend for lunch in Seattle then after a quick visit to one of my favorite stores, Moorea Seal we headed over to the event. Though you head into a regular looking office building the lovely smell of their products greets you as you hit the floor they are located on!  We were welcomed with a free pin and then into the showroom for some shopping. 

They had a lovely spread of food and treats (Cupcake Royal cupcakes!) but we were truly focused on seeing the space, and of course shopping. The office is a lovely, open area full of natural light and white furniture. This is the type of place I imagined working at when I was in my cube working at a bank! I wish I would have gotten more photos, but lets just say it's a well curated, relaxing spot. We were told that the production happens in a building a couple buildings away and that is smells even more amazing there. I can't even imagine! 

After taking in the space, we got down to shopping! They have beautifully packaged, natural and cruelty free skin care and it's really hard to chose. I've been a fan of the Coconut Milk Bath Soak  for some time and can't think of a more luxe bath. I also have the Sea Mist Texturizing Salt Spray and have been so happy with both I felt ready to try some of the other products I have heard raves about. 

So I decided to try the Phoenix Facial Oil Roller. It's meant to help skin regenerate, and rehydrate which is something I would be more than happy to see happen! It has a beautiful, light fragrance and feels delicious on my skin. It's lovely to have a skin treatment that smells so delightful, will help your skin be it's best, and you know you aren't exposing your body to unnecessary chemicals! 

I also purchased the Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask. I've long been trying to make Sunday night a spa night and felt like this would be the perfect addition. It takes the smallest amount (1/2 - 1 tbsp) mixed with a bit of water to make a mask that will exfoliate and soften your skin. And again, this smells wonderful. Almost a bit like a sweet tea. Along with our purchases they gave us a lovely gift of the Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist which my daughter tried to take right away! A toning, hydrating facial spray that again smells fantastic. I can't wait to put all these products to good use! 

The highlight of the visit had to be our quick chat with the founders of the line, Alex Kummerow and Julia Wills who couldn't be sweeter, more open and so excited about their brand. Alex admitted to being a "plant nerd" and talked of how much they enjoy learning about plants and their properties, and the uses they have. Much of their brain storming takes place in Hawaii where they can un-plug and really think about the next thing. And if they can't get to Hawaii, they said the next place they brainstorm is with Julia in the bath and Alex taking notes! We joked about "bath culture" but I really believe they have created a wonderful addition to what we have available when it come to pure, plant based body products. And after meeting the two of them I am sure I will become even more of a devotee to the brand. Picturing the thought and care that goes into everything they do makes it all mean that much more! 

Interested in trying some yourself? You can find Herbivore Botanicals online here, or if you are local you can find them at Spruce downtown! Let me know what you try! 


Monday, May 8, 2017

Field Trip: Book Larder Croissant Class with Rachael Coyle

I have a co-worker (and friend!) who is a great cook and baker. So much so that it's a benefit at work! When a birthday came up we gave her a gift certificate to Book Larder in Seattle, a cookbook shop (and so much more). They have a huge selection of cookbooks, author talks, and cooking classes. 

When my co-worker Cherie decided on a class I ended up being the lucky one to accompany her to it! The last time I spent any time at the Book Larder was back in September of 2013 for the Trophy Cupcake book tour which you can check out here

To say that I am not an advanced baker would not be an understatement. I would make chocolate chip cookie dough to eat it rather than bake it! But Cherie had faith, and Rachael is a relaxed and calm teacher, making what could be complex and scary a doable thing. Rachael Coyle was at one point the Culinary Director of the Book Larder and now has her own bakery, Coyle's Bakeshop

There is a mysterious alchemy of dough and butter that is involved with a laminated dough. There are many steps to working with the dough, known as the Detrempe and the butter, known as the Beurrage. We were taken thru steps to "lock in" the butter, and work with the dough in turns. 

The class was so well done that we were able to work thru the whole process thanks to Rachael coming prepared with dough at different stages. Getting your hands dirty and really getting a feel for the dough makes a difference for someone like me that needs that for learning. 

And in-between steps? We were able to taste test! After proofing, rolling in chocolate, or gruyere cheese and ham, and applying egg washes we got to eat! I couldn't help but stuff my face with warm, delicious croissants in all forms! 

If you have any inkling at all to try your hand at baking or any other interest in cooking I would get on the e-mail list for Book Larder. They bring a variety of chefs to the store and there is always something interesting going on. It's worth the short drive to Seattle. I know Cherie is now talking about taking a biscuit class. I know next time I am Seattle I plan to visit Coyle's Bakeshop! Is there something that you would like to conquer in the kitchen?