Bachelorette Weekend in Poulsbo, WA

Have you ever heard of the place called Poulsbo in Washington State? Poulsbo is a charming little town in the northern part of Kitsap County. A beautiful ferry ride from Seattle and then a quick drive to town makes this spot a great place for a weekend trip. And what better time to take a weekend trip than to celebrate one of your friends getting married?! (because we all know girls weekends are the best weekends)

The four of us stayed at the most beautiful modern farm house that was close to town to celebrate our bride. We decorated the house with all the classic bachelorette things, ate a ton of bomb food, played some games and danced and talked all day and night.

The weather was incredible! It was our first taste of Seattle summer and we couldn’t get enough of the sun. We started the morning by meditating together in the grass to get us awake and energized for the day. Blankets, pillows, sunshine, your girlfriends…what else do you need.

Later we surprised the bride with a virtual tarot card reading over Zoom. This was a first experience for me and I loved it! Each of us had very different readings with one main connection, that we are all on a journey to find joy and happiness in life. The woman told me my mantra is to Following the Callings, so this is something I will take away from the weekend. If you have never done a tarot card reading before, I highly recommend! It’s all about perception and reflection. To me, it’s where you think about what each card could mean or represent for your life in this moment and then determine how you want to move forward with those ideas. Check out RaDonna Reed if you are interested in using the same Tarot Reader.

After our tarot card reading we packed up a picnic and headed to the beach called Point No Point. I highly recommend checking out this beach if you are in the area. It’s HUGE with plenty of space to spread out away from others and so very beautiful.

Later in the evening we played some of the classic inappropriate bachelorette games, (won’t be sharing those photos here 😉) put on our cozy matching outfits, drank lots of wine and had a dance party. It was a perfect bachelorette weekend celebrating the bride-to-be with some of my favorite girlfriends!

Weekend Road Trip to…Montana!

A 10+ hour road trip from Washington to Montana and back in 3 1/2 days? That’s over 20 hours of driving. Normally I would try to extend a trip like this but since my husband and I only had a couple of days and had the urge to travel, we decided to go for it! Oh, and there was a special reason why we chose to road trip to Montana…our friends who live there were getting engaged!

We left Thursday and started the 10+ hour journey. Tommy made a little bed in the back of the car with an air mattress, pillow and blankets to trade off napping. Our first stop was Ellensburg for some lunch. We discover THE BEST little sandwich place. If you ever find yourself passing through Ellensburg, definitely stop at Daily Bread and Mercantile. We had the Very Veggie and the Mean Green Panini. So, so good.

We continued to drive until we reached St. Regis Travel Center where apparently they have the best huckleberry milkshakes. **One thing to note, Tommy started filling up the gas tank and then we went inside to grab a bite to eat. We were so excited to get back to the car and eat our tater tots that we forgot to put the gas nozzle back. So Tommy drove off and the entire gas thing flew off dangling from the car!! 😂 Luckily it was able to go back on and reattach but this was definitely a first for us.

The next day, we explored Helena where our friends Kevin and Mary live before setting off to Livingston, Montana where Kevin was going to propose! (Livingston is a former railroad town in southwestern Montana along the banks of the Yellowstone River. It has this old western charm and a small town vibe. They stayed at Livingston’s famous historical hotel called The Murry, which is the place to stay if you are visiting the area).

The day of the proposal we went to this little restaurant called Faye’s Cafe in an old school building called The Shane Center. I cannot recommend this gem of a place enough! Customers pick out 2-3 words from the menu to describe the meal you would like. Then the waitress takes the words back to Faye (the cook) and she will whip something up just for you! The words I chose were potato, veggie and cheesy and this is what I had. Poached eggs, cheesy hash browns, green beans with balsamic, pesto and hummus on naan bread and citrus orange corn bread. Incredible. So rich and so flavorful. I’m still dreaming of this breakfast.

Next we set off for our hike to Pine Creek Falls where our friend Kevin was planning on proposing! Around 2.5 miles, this hike was short and sweet with beautiful views all around us. (But be careful if you go in late October. We were slipping all over the place since it was very icy. A couple of close calls on my end but no major falls).

We got to the falls and it couldn’t have been more perfect. There was this little bridge where Tommy and I stood to take photos. Kevin proposed and Mary said YES (She also had no idea and was so surprised)! Then we popped some champagne and enjoyed the moment before making our way back. The most special and memorable hike with great friends.

Next was the second part of Kevin’s proposal plan, to go to Chico Hot Springs! This resort was established over 120 years ago in 1900 and is located in the heart of Paradise Valley. It definitely didn’t feel like our typical cold Halloween day in Seattle. We felt like we were on a mini tropical vacation with the warm hot spring water and pool side drinks. So much fun!

We ended the day by going out to dinner in Livingston to celebrate the newly engaged couple! (I really enjoyed taking photos of all the neon signs that lit up the streets).

Then on Sunday Tommy and I started our long journey home back to Washington. I was so grateful for that extra hour we got with daylight savings. And the bed in the back of our car really came in handy for naps. Not to mention the scenic drive was absolutely beautiful.

This was one epic Halloween weekend to celebrate our friends’ engagement and an amazing quick little road trip to Montana!

Wedding Day Dreams

I didn’t shared many detail photos of our wedding last year and since my husband and I recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary I thought I would now. Plus, I created this blog as a way to look back and remember my adventures and this is definitely a day that I want to remember every detail from 🙂 (FYI long post ahead).

Details

Venue: Trinity Tree Farm We got married at The Lodge at Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah, WA and felt this was a perfect venue for us. An outdoor ceremony with Christmas trees as the backdrop and an indoor reception with classic white lights and plenty of space for our guests. We loved the PNW vibe mixed with a romantic and elegant feel.

Catering: The Tall Chef Tommy and I love to cook together. One of our favorite things to make is tacos because they are so delicious and also so easy to make. This led to an easy decision to have a taco bar at our wedding and it did not disappoint. (Jack from The Tall Chef is very talented – we have already used his catering services again for special occasions and a few of our friends are using him for their upcoming 2021 weddings).

Dessert: My husband had two best men at our wedding. He has known them and their families since elementary school. One of their moms is an amazing baker and created our wedding cake. She also made cupcakes for dessert. It was so much fun going to ‘tastings’ at her home. It felt so special to us that she was part of our day, since she is like Tommy’s second mom. And the cake was absolutely DELICIOUS!

Florals: BloomTara our florist was amazing! She sent us a mood board and completely nailed our my (lol) vision with blush and green tones. Fun fact, we met her about 4 years who when we first got our dog Edgar. She owns an indoor/outdoor Dog Park + Bar (check out my post Dogwood Play Park to learn more about her space). She created the bridal bouquets and gorgeous arbor. For our centerpieces, boutonnieres and sweetheart table, one of my bridesmaid’s mom was kind enough to make these. She is a master gardener and is incredible at what she does. The garden at her home looks like it could be out of a magazine. We felt so grateful she did this for us.

My grandma passed away in 2015 and left me her wedding ring which I tied to my bouquet.

Dress + Shoes: My wedding dress was from Dolce Bleu and I am so grateful for their help. Long story short, I found a dress at their store that fit me perfectly that they no longer carried. They offered to have the dress dry-cleaned since it was the store sample. When I picked up my dress it had a yellowish tint to it. They called around other boutiques, found the same dress/designer (Martina Liana) and ordered me a brand new one. It was definitely an ordeal but it all worked out in the end. My reception dress was from BHLDN and shoes were Jeffery Campbell.

Hair + Makeup: Since I had 7 bridesmaids + my mom and mother-in-law, we needed a couple of people to help us with our hair and makeup. Joey Van Pelt and my friend Alana did makeup and helped with hair. I met Joey about 8 years ago through a friend of a friend. Random fact, she was on Big Brother Season 16. She and Alana were great (love you Alana!). Leah from Zo and Co Styling did my hair. A couple of weeks before our wedding date, I got a ‘trim’ at a new salon nearby. The lady took off way more than a trim so I used Luxy Hair extensions and Leah ensured everything was blended and looked natural. We started hair and makeup early…I can’t remember the exact time but I want to say like 6am early. All worth it though especially since I got to spend even more time with my besties the morning of my wedding day!

Wanted to add some portraits of my hubby because he looks so good! He def did not wake up at 6am to get ready. Probably woke up around 10 or so, showered, got dressed and was ready to go.

DJ + Photo booth: DJ Daron I think a great DJ or Band is important for a wedding because they help keep things moving and keep the party going. Our DJ also offered photo booth services and this was such a blast. I have always loved photo booths at weddings, plus the photostrips make a great keepsake for guests.

Stationary: I used a template off Etsy to design our invitations and then printed them on CatPrint (much cheaper than Minted and great quality). I made the menus, fans and signs using the same template and just printed on my home printer with card stock. My favorite sign I made was our signature drink The Edgar because I wanted to somehow include our pup on our special day. Dogs were allowed at our venue but if you know Edgar you know that would have been a disaster waiting to happen.

Wedding Party Attire: Bridesmaid dresses were Show Me Your Mumu in blush. Groomsmen rentals were The Black Tux.

Gifts: The girls were given Bridesmaid Robes and Jean Jackets (check out my blog post Hand Painted Denim Jackets to read about how I made them). The boys were given Duke Cufflinks to honor one of Tommy’s best friend who passed away in 2015. My mom and dad were given Mother + Father Handkerchiefs. I gave my mom, step-mom and mother-in-law necklaces from one of my favorite jewelry shops, GLDN. We gave our officiant (Tommy’s friend growing up) this Custom Officiant Flask with his face on it.

Little Details: I think all the little details in a wedding make it that much more special. Some of my favorite from ours are: Advice for Marriage Book – My 2nd grade students wrote us marriage advice. I turned their advice into a book and absolutely cherish this. Corn Hole – My father-in-law designed and built this for us. Edgar’s Cantina Bar Sign – Because we love going to Mariner’s Games and we love our dog Edgar (I used my Cricut to make this). Kappa 2 Kanuch Sign – The first picture of Tommy and I taken together when we were 19 at a college house party. A gift from one of my best friends that now hangs in our home (didn’t get a pic of this). T+N Wine Glasses – A gift from my maid of honor which we now use for special occasions.

Lodging + Transportation: We stayed at The Marriot hotel in Bellevue because it was close to our venue. The night before our wedding, we got drinks in the lobby and went out to a restaurant close by with our bridal party and family. On our actual wedding day after we left the reception, a bunch of us went out to a bar close to the hotel to keep the party going. This made for a fun little wedding weekend. We used BMC Limos for transportation to and from The Tree Farm.

Photographer + Videographer: All the pictures I’m sharing on this post are from Luke and Mallory. Our friend Jens Bracht was our videographer. We are so happy with how our photos and video turned out! Below is our wedding video.

If you made it to the end of this blog post…wow, congrats because it was a long one! Hopefully if you are a bride in WA reading this, you found it helpful in planning your special day (I tried to link everything). I especially enjoyed writing this post because it brought me right back to our wedding day and gave me all the feels. Cheers to marriage. Cheers to planning weddings. And cheers to all the future brides. 🙂

Beautiful Weekend Getaway to Lopez Island

If you live in Washington, chances are you’ve heard of the San Juan Islands. The islands are between Washington State and Vancouver Island, Canada. Surrounded by scenic shorelines, mountain vistas, endless Evergreen Trees and beautiful views. This is definitely a place to visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The three most popular islands are Orcas, (where my husband and I went for our mini honeymoon – read about that trip here), San Juan and Lopez Island. About a 2 hour drive north from Seattle, you’ll head to Anacortes to catch a ferry and will then experience one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the state (seriously, the views are incredible!). I highly recommend making a ferry reservation so you are guaranteed a spot to board. Depending on which island you choose to visit, the ferry lasts about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

My husband and I initially planned our trip to Lopez Island for our friends wedding. Being the planner that I am, I booked us a place to stay last year when we received the save the date in the mail. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the wedding was rescheduled. We still had our reservation booked. So we decided…why not? Let’s keep our reservation and go there anyway since we’d never been. We also decided to bring our pup Edgar to make this trip a little family weekend getaway.

We stayed at a quaint Garden Cottage next to Lopez Center. If we ever go back to Lopez Island, I will definitely be booking this spot again! The charming cottage was within walking distance to the beach, the farmers market (which we quickly realized is the place to be Saturday morning) and close to the main restaurants. We spent our time at the cottage sunbathing in the garden and listening to the sounds of nature while drinking mimosas.

When we got off the ferry, the first thing we noticed about Lopez Island is how flat it is. This makes it a great place for bike riders who want to explore the island without a car. You could even do this as a day trip – bring your bike on the ferry no reservation needed, bike around and then catch the ferry back that night. We brought our bikes on this trip but didn’t bike around as much as we wanted since we had Edgar. The one time we brought him with us on a short bike ride, he saw a bunny and zoomed away racing as fast as he could trying to catch it (luckily he didn’t but I did end up chasing after him in a panic).

Lopez Island aka Bunny Island is full of so many bunnies! Tommy and I saw over 100 hopping in the fields, crossing the roads and burring themselves in burrows. Edgar especially enjoyed watching (and chasing) them.

Not only are the roads perfect for bikers and the endless bunnies surrounding the fields great for nature lovers, but Lopez Island also offers many trails with family friendly hikes. Tommy and I went to IceBerg Point in the morning which is a short trail that takes you out to a gorgeous cliff surrounded by water. We even saw a couple of sea lions. In the evening we went to Shark Reef to catch the colorful sunset that lite up the evening sky.

Overall if I had to pick between Orcas and Lopez, I prefer Orcas Island. It felt like there was more energy compared to the Lopez Island vibe, which is definitely more laid back and slow paced. The restaurants and stores close very early. The main grocery store closed at 7:30pm and the ice cream shop closed at 5pm. I don’t know if this is their COVID-19 hours or if this is the norm. There isn’t as much to do on Lopez Island but that is typically the reason people travel there in the first place. To relax and unwind, which we definitely did.

Sunshine, the smell of salt water, sand in our toes, garden flowers, beautiful views and our pup running around in absolute heaven made Lopez Island a great little weekend getaway.

Ain’t No Party Like A Disco Party!

Welp, it happened. I can no longer say, “I’m in my 20s” because last week I turned 30. THIRTY! Everyone always says this is such a big birthday. A milestone. A new chapter. That once you hit 30 you become an adult. What does that even really mean? (#foreveryoung) I was honestly looking forward to turning 30 because I love birthdays and celebrations in general. Plus most of my friends are already 30 so I was looking forward to joining the club.

Originally I wanted to spend my birthday traveling with my husband. When this was no longer an option due to everything going on in the world, I thought it would be fun to go to the beach or go someplace close to get away. From my 14th to 18th birthday, every year for 5 years I had a party at the beach/park close to where I grew up. We would swim, float, play games, run around in the sand + sunshine and of course eat endless fried chicken. If you are reading this and you know me from high school, chances are you were at the beach one of those years. 😉 Well instead of a beach party, my close friends and I decided to rent a house for the weekend about 2 hours away from Seattle. We had a themed Disco Dance Party and it was absolutely AMAZING! Seriously. So much fun.

We stayed at the most beautiful rental in Leavenworth, WA. Right on the river. Private beach. Hot tub. VolleyBall Court. BBQ. And enough bedrooms for everyone to sleep comfortably – because ya know, we’re 30 now and sleep is important.

We spent the days at the beach, blew up a bunch of inner tubes and floated on the river. When I say floated I mean we were either tied up to a rock or my husband ‘rope boy’ was making sure we were all attached and pulling us along. Well, until that moment when we weren’t and tried riding the current. A couple of us went a little too far but luckily rope boy ran down and got everyone before the extreme rapids. Later we barbecued, went in the hot tub, popped some champagne and played games. The day turned into a little beach party after all.

Saturday night was DISCO TIME! My thoughtful sister-in-law surprised me by bringing decorations for the living room Disco. All the classic 70s music was playing, pictures everywhere, balloons, glow sticks and of course the disco lights. She also had everyone contribute to a 30 Things We Love About You gift which made me feels so special (I made myself wait until I got home to read them because I knew I would get emotional. The night before I got teary-eyed when everyone was singing happy birthday. I was completely overtaken with happiness from being surrounded by my friends. Just feeling so very, very grateful and literally couldn’t speak. Tears of joy ❤️ ).

Everyone dressed up in 70s inspired outfits. Jumpsuits, Sparkles, Hoops, Fur, Tie-Dye, Bell-Bottoms, Sunglasses, Gold Chains, Wigs. Just the best.

We danced + sang all night. I had an absolute blast and still can’t stop thinking about all the fun moments from the weekend. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to enter this ‘new chapter’ of 30s. I have a feeling it’s going to be great.

Lavender Festival

Is there a certain smell or scent that you just can’t get enough of? Maybe a favorite perfume or the smell of a home cooked meal that reminds you of special memories? Or maybe you just think of the name of a scent and can instantly imagine the smell. Maybe you can instantly imagine the feeling it gives you. That’s how I feel about the smell of lavender, I absolutely love the smell. I can honestly smell this scent right now just typing about it. Lavender reminds me of Calm. Beauty. Sunshine. Happiness and Home.

I remember looking out the kitchen window when I was younger to our little backyard, and seeing this giant tree with purple flowers that would blossom every Spring. Growing up, I always thought these beautiful purple flowers were lavender. My mom used to cut them and bring them inside, filling our little home with the sweet smell of happiness and tranquility. We used to cut the branches together and would make bouquets to give to my elementary school teachers. Well it turns out, the beautiful purple flowers were not lavender branches at all but instead was a lilac tree (Unfortunately, I still have yet to develop my green thumb). I finally discovered this when my best friend’s mom gave me a small bunch of lavender tied together with a pink ribbon to put in my room. Even though the two smells are different, I grew up loving both. That’s why anytime I think of the smell of lavender (and lilac too) I am instantly reminded of the sweet smelling memories with my mom at our home. Of calmness, beauty, sunshine and happiness.

Since I cannot get enough of this scent, my best friend Amber and I (the girl whose mom helped me realize the difference between lavender and lilac oh so long ago) decided to go to the Lavender Festival in Sequim, WA. We went last summer on a beautiful sunny Sunday in July and wow…what a day it was!

We took the Kingston Ferry from Edmonds Ferry Terminal and drove about an hour to Sequim (actually I think it took us a little longer since we got lost and missed the exit on the way there due to traffic). We started at the main event, The Sequim Lavender Festival Street Fair. Here you can find a variety of food, drinks (lavender infused cocktails), music and shopping booths to please all types of people. Many booths are run by local business owners around the community. (The lavender infused ice cream was amazing, highly recommend. Also, the lavender chapstick – my fav).

From there you can pick which lavender fields you want to visit. There are TONS. I recommend printing or saving the Driving Guide, which lists all the fields around the area. Oh yeah, this event is dog friendly, so bring your pup(s)!

Amber and I went to B + B Family Lavender Farm and cut lavender to take home. You can cut as much or as little as you like, and can choose from a variety of lavender bushes (some 20+ years old) which are all a bit different. It smelled AMAZING. We stocked up.

The festival is always held the 3rd weekend in July. This year it will take place from July 17 – July 19, 2020 (fingers crossed that things with coronavirus settle down by then).

This is a wonderful day trip but be prepared to wait in lines of traffic on your way back home (especially on a Sunday evening, I recommend having some different podcasts queued up and ready to play for the drive back). You also need to plan to catch the ferry at least an hour ahead of time unless you want to drive around through Seattle. And be prepared to have your house smell INCREDIBLE if you decide to take a bunch of fresh picked lavender home (I dried up the bouquet I brought home and left it out as a centerpiece in my kitchen for a couple of months).

Maybe you will discover your favorite smell, a memorable scent from your childhood, even a cherishable memory. What’s your favorite scent? What does it remind you of? Either way, you can’t beat the smell of lavender (and lilac too!) at this festival.