Monday, October 30, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Traditions

Today we finally made our long awaited trip to the pumpkin patch just in time for Halloween. We don't really even carve pumpkins anymore, but we love the trip to the patch to run around the fields, see all the photos happening, and of course bring home a trunk full of gourds and pumpkins.

We have been visiting Gordon Skagit Farms in Mt. Vernon for years now. This year it was just Steve, Samantha and I. But we found out that Kate and her boyfriend Nick had already made their pilgrimage there and have filled their shelves at home with cute little pumpkins and gourds. A tradition passed on. 

Do you adhere to traditions? Do you follow ones that your family did, or have you come up with your own? My own parents weren't huge on them. Sure, we carved pumpkins like everyone else, and trick or treated. But beyond that there wasn't a lot that we did every year. 

I have found that I love traditions, especially ones that our little family has made on it's own. It makes sense to us living in the area we do to make a trip to the fields and see the beauty of fall around us. It feels wonderful to go to the tree farm and cut down our own tree even if it's a small one, and knowing that after you haul it home theres a hot cocoa waiting. 

I find that this year things seem especially sweet with Samantha being in her Senior year and Kate having moved out. Traditions are either changing or are at an end. Will Steve and I make the trip to the pumpkin patch next year on our own? Or maybe with Kate and Nick. It makes my breath hitch to think about how much has changed! 

With all the preparations for college these traditions have given us some structure and nomalacy when things feel so different and new. Sam still picked out her weird gourds. We took lots of silly photos. We walked around the fields enjoying the photo shoots happening all around us of little ones with their families. We will still have pumpkins on the porch. 

And when they don't serve us anymore we'll make changes to our traditions, like we have with Thanksgiving. When we decided it was to be just our little family we took ourselves to yurts and had our Thanksgiving there. We bend tradition to serve us and make our lives richer. We may end up back at the yurts again this year. That may become our new tradition. 

How do you feel about doing things year after year? Do you find comfort in the familiar? Do you have anything you are especially excited about in the coming holiday season? Or any suggestions for us with regards to Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear your thoughts or any interesting traditions! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

On My Radar: Tuft & Needle

Steve and I have been long overdue for a new mattress. We would wake up every morning not feeling refreshed or happy. He finally took care of some other sleeping issues (hello sleep apnea mask aka Darth Vader!) we decided it was time to take care of getting a new mattress. Neither of us could face the idea of going thru the usual routine of going to the stores, dealing with sales people and figuring out the right mattress and then paying a bundle of money and still not get the right thing. 

Being that I am on the computer quite a bit a new trend had been appearing. Buying a mattress online. The appeal was huge for us. Decide what we want, order online and have it arrive within a week? Sign us up! When we did some research we found that Tuft & Needle had all the right qualifications. Great feedback from both consumers and the press. A great warranty of try it for 100 days and if it didn't work they help you donate it to a local charity or non-profit. And their price was quite a bit easier to take than some of the other online companies. We decided to go for it! 

And go for it we did. We had a box on our doorstep within a week! It was that easy! And so strange to realize that a queen sized mattress was in the box on our porch. 

Once you get your box inside you bring your mattress into the area you want it and start cutting it free from it's packaging. It almost instantly starts to take form. It's vacuum packed so it's pretty crazy to see it start to look like a mattress! 

The above photo looks crazy, but this it what the mattress looked like right before we fully started to cut it free from the packing. Once you do it starts to look like  a traditional mattress. And we could't believe how plush and wonderful it was almost instantly! 

This is us on it within an hour! It feels amazing. It's plush and firm at the same time. Once we bought it I found out friends have one as well and have been very happy with theirs. They find it stays cool in the summer and it's snuggly in the winter. It's been a very easy transition for us to this from a traditional mattress. We have placed ours on our old box spring which is perfect! We ended up going back online and buying the mattress pad to protect our new investment. It just arrived and makes things feel even more comfortable! 

Have you tried buying a mattress online? Has it been a good experience? Would you consider it? We just found out that Tuft & Needle just opened a store in Seattle which we are hoping to visit at some point. Because they have pillows too! We may need to add to our set up! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Field Trip: Moorea Seal Store Opening

Sam and I were so happy to attend the Opening weekend celebration of Moorea Seal's new flagship storefront at 1012 1st Avenue. We've been longtime fans and it was wonderful to see her vision on a larger scale and see all the details come together! Knowing her and her staff have been working nonstop to make it a reality makes it even better! 

I'm not really sure what to talk about first, the woman or the store. Samantha and I met Moorea when she made an appearance at an Urban Craft Uprising signing her first book. We instantly loved her and were so happy to find her to be a genuine, smart and caring business woman that was interested in lifting others as she made her mark in the Seattle retail scene. 

And she has continued to be that person. A peak at her instagram and you know that she is passionate about mental health, women, equality and supporting small makers. And besides that she is a kick in the pants! She is truly one of our favorite people.

And then there is the store. Sam usually finds herself spending some time goofing off at the sunglasses wall and it's even more gorgeous now that the shelving is made of pink acrylic! The selection is fun and reasonably priced. I always think these would make the perfect gifts for teenagers. Especially if you want to be the cool adult in the know! 

There is a gorgeous selection of leather goods and something on my Christmas list (Steve are you reading?) is a Pine & Boone bag. Pine & Boone is made in Seattle by Jesse Marie Griffith who Moorea went to SPU with. I love all the connections, and being able to carry a piece made in Seattle is really special. 

Another item that I find irresistible is the jewelry. I find she has a great selection of fun everyday items and special keepsake pieces. I have collected both statement earrings and some beautiful rings that Steve has given me for special occasions. 

On this trip we found ourselves drawn to the candles. They have P.F. Candles (along with many others!)  that was burning at the lodge where Steve and I stayed in Palm Springs. And of course we had to bring home her signature candle fragrance by them, a gorgeous Moss, Rose, & Vetiver fragrance. 

And also in our bag is a copy of Moorea's third book Make Yourself at Home, which she finished in addition to her store opening! I can't wait to sit down, light a candle and take some time to look thru all the spaces covered in the book and feel inspired. And it's likely Steve and I will find ourselves back in her place before Christmas doing some shopping for our girls! Having one of my other favorite stores in Seattle, Watson Kennedy Fine Home a couple of doors down makes it a perfect area to visit! Maybe I'll see you there?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Dealing with Grief

Can we talk about grief? Have you found it's a subject that has been coming up in your life like has been showing up in mine? There have been many personal losses in families close to. Then you add the things happening in our world. Grief is becoming a common emotion in my circles and I would love to talk about how we deal with it. 

 We have realized it is important to attend the funeral. We have been to more funerals recently than weddings and have come to terms with it. We know it's important to be there for our friends, to show up, to provide the hug, the shoulder, the help when they might need it. It can also help with understanding the person that your friend has lost. It's painful, but there is a beauty in the stories and the memories that are sometimes revealed. 

When we are at a loss for what to do, we usually go with food. We will either deliver a meal or a bag of treats from Trader Joe's. If we know a friend is dealing with a level of grief that will likely affect their appetite we'll go with the bag of snacks knowing it's sometimes easier. In our home food equals love so this is pretty much our first response! 

If we don't bring food it's likely you will see flowers from us. Along with a visit and a hug. There really isn't a right answer as to what is the best thing. I think we should all follow our intuition. I've had a crazy nudge to make a grieving friend laugh and though it felt crazy we laughed and cried together and it seemed healing. You never know what might be the best thing for a friend dealing with grief until you are there with them in the moment. But don't let fear hold you back from doing something. 

Then there is dealing with loss yourself. (Don't worry, Boston is alive and well!) Again I think you should follow your instinct. Do you need to be with people? Do you need to be alone. Do you need to snuggle up with your dog, watch a couple hours of sad movies on Netflix and cry? I think too often we think we can run from the pain instead of allowing ourselves to just sit with it a bit. 

Don't be afraid to reach out to others. I think there is nothing that makes me happier than being called on by a friend telling me that I'm needed by them. And I am learning by watching others dealing with grief that it has it's own time table. That it will catch you off guard months down the road when you think you are "over it." So be prepared to support that friend, or ask for support yourself if you are dealing with a loss of your own. We are all so lucky to have each other. 

Please, tell me what you do to either support a friend or take care of yourself when dealing with grief. I would love to hear from you. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Field Trip: Fall Food Tour

With it being the beginning of Fall, it seemed appropriate to go apple picking. So Steve, Sam and I found a nearby farm and headed out. 

We found Sm'Apples in nearby Ferndale and chose them based on the fact that they were featuring Honeycrisp apples. They are a favorite of our family. A little sweet, a little tart. (a bit like our daughters really!)

One thing I am really starting to enjoy about our family outings is running into friends! This time we ran into friends from when our girls were small (hello Heilborns!) Above is Eric Heilborn showing us their apple haul!

One thing we have to make sure of is not to get competitive when picking! We held ourselves to a bag of Honeycrip, a bag of Jonagolds, and a bag of what they called Fuji/Mystery apples that were a mystery since they had cross-pollinated with another apple variety. 

Another bonus of our apple picking? We are buying local which is helping keep our local community farms healthy. And they are just plain delicious. We ended up with three bags full of apples. Though it drizzled on and off it was a perfect Northwest day for apple picking! And we ended up eating an apple or two the minute we hit the car! Heading home we realized we were very close to Twin Sisters Creamery which is the only cheese producer in the area that produces blue cheese! Hello detour! 

I had been fortunate enough to taste this gorgeous blue cheese about a year ago at the eatery attached to Drizzle Olive oil and Vinegar Tasting Room in Lynden. Let's just say I remembered and knew Steve would be a fan! 

We became more than just fans of their cheese after having a chance to talk to Lindsay, one of the pair behind the brand (her husband Jeff was busy cleaning in the production area behind the glass). She educated us on how the cheese was made while the twins that the cheese is named after entertained us by zooming around the room (one on a pair of inline skates!) Their raw milk Blue Cheese is smooth and zippy at the same time, while their Whatcom White which is made with raw milk is addictive. Needless to say we left with a piece of both! 

They offer so much more than just the shop. You can take them up on cheese or wine pairings, or they create Wedding Cheese stacks which sound like a fun option! We know we will be back to take part in a class! 

Since we were in the area we decided to go and visit Appel Farms to check out some more cheese. This place has something for everyone. We were happy to grab a bite to eat, while Sam was excited to check out the Critter Corner! 

Steve and I shared a huge cheese plate that seemed it would keep a farmer happy for a meal, while Sam was happy with her grilled cheese. We decided to buy a piece of Nokkelost Cheese which has spices and cloves and tastes different from anything we've had before. Then it was off to check out the grounds.

Sam was happy to find they had a yard out back with a large koi pond, three goats and a gorgeous cow.  Though she was a bit surprised to find out how big the cow's tongue was and it's reach! You would have thought she was a city kid! 

This was a really casual day of touring around but we were really happy with how it turned out. We ran into friends, came home with delicious products, and had a ball. If you are looking to take your own tour and you are in the area Sustainable Connections has a great website with information on where to find their print map of their Food & Farm Finder which is helpful in seeing just what is available nearby. We are always impressed and excited with what we can find in our area. This may be just one of many mini-food tours we take this Fall!  Have you come across any surprises in your area?