Where would you go?

My mother has terminal cancer.

This has been the most difficult year of my life.  Dealing with the idea of losing my best friend and mother is the worst thing I could imagine.

This is mom and I a couple years back in Hawaii, we had a beautiful trip.
  This is mom and I a couple years back in Hawaii, we had a beautiful trip.

Watching the most giving person have to go through such a difficult sickness has been so frustrating, especially when there is nothing you can go.  My mom is such a fighter and has continued to impress me with her continuous strength and courage to battle cancer.  She is a true fighter filled with strength. I admire her and am so proud and lucky to call her my mother.

I could talk about that but instead I am trying to stay positive, as that is what my mother wishes.

SOOOOO, if you knew you had a limited amount of time, where would you want to go?  What would you want to do?  What experiences would you want to have?

My mom wants to experience some adrenaline rushes and spend as much time with her family as possible.  We have been squeezing in as many fun experiences as possible.  The one thing my mom really wanted to do was spend a weekend on the Oregon coast with our crazy family.We were lucky to gather everyone except my oldest brother, and had a really great time in Newport.

It took three cars to get everyone there!

It took three cars to get everyone there!

Did I mention I got a kitten?!  His name is Wallace and it turns out he doesn’t mind driving in the car one bit!

Although my two other passengers got restless really quick, as we got stuck in traffic A LOT.  The entire drive from Seattle down to Newport took EIGHT hours.

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After a late arrival we found a hole in the wall bar (my favorite) a brief walk away from the  hotel.

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 I won some money on Oregon Lottery slot machine and we got some hot food before heading back to hotel for…

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LATE NIGHT PANCAKES!!!

The next morning we were off to hit the dunes (mom’s choice, that wild woman).  Unfortunately we had an unexpected two hour wait. 6

This is my sweet mother and father, pretty cute huh?

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Making best of the unexpected time, Phil and I went to go visit the city of Florence.  We had stayed the night here during our HWY 101 trip a couple months back.  We went for coffee but I ended up shopping and then found him sitting outside enjoying a beer, go figure!  Thes rest of the fam played some miniature golf.

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The whole crazy group

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FINALLY!  Strapped in and ready to roll 🙂

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Off we go

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Buggy #1

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Buggy #2

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I had no idea how beautiful and SCARY the dunes would be!  You can’t tell in the pictures but it literally feels like you are about to fall off the edge of the earth on some of the hills.

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Cancer most certainly didn’t stop my mom from enjoying the dunes in the front seat ❤

The next day mom wanted to go sit on the beach and enjoy the ocean as she loves being near water.  So we tried to find a beach that wasn’t to difficult of a walk down to the water, which was more of a struggle than you would think.

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We stopped at many beaches that had very steep inclines, that mom insisted she would be fine at, but we all worry and wanted to be sure we found a safe option… I’m sure this was very irritating for mom.

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Success 🙂

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Did I mention we brought Wallace the kitten to beach? Yup, I was the crazy lady with the kitten on the beach.  To all of our surprise, he loved it!

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Took a little nap in my shirt after exploring.

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It was a successful trip and I will cherish it as a beautiful memory ❤

Thrifting Treasures

I can easily lose hours in a thrift store.  I prefer to attend garage sales and estate sales, but since those are only available on weekends, thrifting at local used stores is a good replacement.

On this trip I was on a mission to find a new (used) french press and a basket for cat toys.  There are usually multiple french presses, but I wasn’t that lucky this day.  Although I did find a bunch of stuff I didn’t know I needed that of course I purchased!

I tend to lean towards the bizarre things in life.  That definitely includes my taste in decorating and clothing.  I have always liked items that hold a story or look out of the ordinary.  Although I also really like quality items, which can be found for affordable prices while thrifting.

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You never know what unique art pieces you’ll find!

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Pretty excited to find this brand new leather adidas jacket for $8!

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I use to be a vintage camera collector, as I have a love for photography and think they are beautiful to put on display.  Unfortunately my large collection which I had been acquiring since I was 14, was completely ruined.  An ex from Texas (sounds like country song right?!) decided when we broke up to take a hammer to each lense, making the cameras completely unusable.  This was a beaut but I resisted the temptation.

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I love bizarre pieces like this.  I use to buy anything I found cute or that I was drawn to.  After moving so many times and realizing I hate clutter I now refrain from buying nik-naks… but I really liked this little handcrafted mini cabin.

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These were huge wooden cutouts.  I tried to justify buying them, as they were only $4.99 and I would have loved to randomly put them in someones yard.  Alas I resisted in hope that some teenage boy would acquire awesome decorations 😉 !

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I am a sucker for this color of kitchenware. 99 cents each.

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The overall haul of this trip…

  • Brand new Nike Yoga pants $6.99
  • Lulu Lemon Yoga pants $4.99
  • White shelf to refinish $7.99
  • Globe (collecting to make light fixture) $4.99
  • BRAND NEW Frye Boots $19.99
  • Basket for cat toys $1.99
  • H&M peacock bohemian dress $3.99
  • Two shelves for wall $4.99
  • Squirrel Shaped cat bowl .99 cents
  • Brand New Michael Kors wooden heels
  • New Black Heels $5.99

Before I check out I always go through what I have thrown into my cart and reanalyze my life and realize I have been on a day dreaming shopping high and usually put back half of the stuff, but I always seem to leave with a lot.

I really love everything behind the idea of thrift stores.  The idea of reusing someone else’s discarded item is something I really can support.  I also donate on a regular basis to the local goodwill.

So even if you think thrift stores are smelly and you’d rather just pay full price at a mall store, consider swinging by your local second hand store, you never know what you may find!

Buckley Log Show

BUCKLEY

Buckley, a little town nestled in the woods in the beautiful Washington state is where I spent most my adolescence.  As most teenagers despise where they grew up (I couldn’t wait to leave when I was in my teens), Now that I’m older, I actually really enjoy going back to visit mine.  My parents still live in Buckley so I get the opportunity to travel through frequently.

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The last weekend of June every year, the city of Buckley has an event called the “Buckley Log Show.”  When I was younger I would make fun of this event because I found it embarrassing that the only event that ever happened in our small town, was centered around logs.  Now that I have traveled in various places around the world, I look back at this event and find is absolutely fascinating!

The below video is of the city right next to Buckley, Enumclaw.  It gives you a good idea of what my hometown is like.

This one is pretty cute as well. my favorite is the ending comment

How many competitions can you you think of that can revolve around a piece of an old tree?  There are 21… yes 21 events involving a log! Everything from Ax Throws to Ma & Pa Bucking, they do it all the Buckley Log Show!

a small cluster of tree trucks ( there must be a real name for these?! )
a small cluster of tree trucks ( there must be a real name for these?! )

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Was SO thrilled that the scone truck was there, the only time I like scones!  The beer garden is also pretty cool.  Only $2 for a beer!  As you can see suspenders are in fashion, not only at this event but year round for Bucklians.

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I didn’t get too many pictures of the events as the beer garden can be very distracting, my camera holding hand was occupied…

If you look closely you will realize there are men at the top of these logs.  It’s pretty dang impressive, the race starts at the bottom and the men climb the log with a hug saw attached to their hip, once they get to the top they use the saw to cut thru the wood up top.  You thought the last minute of a football game was intense—this is edge of your seat entertainment!

Always run into some old friends in the beer garden.
Always run into some old friends in the beer garden.  I don’t usually drink water, sorry I mean budlight but there is a time and place for every beer!
Entrance
Entrance
Some of my beautiful family!
Some of my beautiful family!

Next year I vow to drink less beer and take more pictures 😉 !

Cabin Stay On Lake Quinault

Have I mentioned how much I love living in the PNW?  There are so many glorious places to escape to.  Last week I was lucky enough to stay in a friend-of-a-friends cabin on Lake Quinault in the Olympic Forest.

Dreamy Cabin
Dreamy Cabin

My ears always perk up when I hear mention of a cabin, as a cabin would be my dream location to settle down in, so when I overheard that a cabin was available I may have been a bit insistent that we check it out.  I imagined a rickety little shed that would be in somewhat proximity to the lake.

The short walk separating cabin from Lake Quinault.
The short walk separating cabin from Lake Quinault.

I was completely wrong.  After a scenic drive up Hwy 101, was the most delightful surprise pulling into the driveway that positioned us directly in front of Lake Quinault.  The cabin was beyond adorable from the outside, but when I ventured inside my heart melted to the ground with overwhelming perfection in every corner I looked in.  Enough jibber jabber, here are some pictures of my amazing three night stay… there are a lot.

 The inside of the house couldn’t have been decorated better even if I tried, the owner paid attention to detail and was able to incorporate a cozy cabin feel with a new element of whimsical woodland creatures, almost as if Snow White lived there.

Loved the oversized Fox Art
Loved the oversized Fox Art
I had a couple favorite pieces on dinnerware when I was living in Houston that I absolutely adored, they had the FULL SET!  I am so jealous, and it was beautifully displayed on this shelf.
I had a couple favorite pieces on dinnerware when I was living in Houston that I absolutely adored, they had the FULL SET! I am so jealous, and it was beautifully displayed on this shelf.
I stayed in this room.  Had great rest while here.
I stayed in this room. Had great rest while here.
View from out my little room.
View from out my little room.
The other main room.
The other main room.
Cute trinkets
Cute trinkets
Why can't I be this good at perfectly placing nik-naks?!
Why can’t I be this good at perfectly placing nik-naks?!

See what I mean?  I was seriously in love with every nook and cranny.

The lake was beautiful and surrounded by the Olympic Peninsula, supposedly an area of the world that get’s the most rainfall but we didn’t see a drop!

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I was lucky to enjoy the lake as well as go on multiple hikes around the area. 25I love “worn” parts of maps, the spot every touches that withers away an otherwise freshly printed map. We did a good portion of these, and they were relatively easy and relaxing as the were primarily flat.

Ferns galore!
Ferns galore!
Poor moth.
Poor moth.
Tree hugger?
Tree hugger?
This fog melted my heart, it was so eerie looking yet inviting.
This fog melted my heart, it was so eerie looking yet inviting.

There were two spots we frequented that were about a five min walk, which was perfect.

Bit pricey, but delicious and overlooking water.
Bit pricey, but delicious and overlooking water.
Mercantile were we went for supplies and breakfast.
Mercantile where we went for supplies and breakfast.

I was pretty impressed with this meal I made on the last night, considering we took advantage of all the restaurants the other two days.   It was a drunken creation that I was told was delicious... but that could have been lies or bourbon talking ;)
I was pretty impressed with this meal I made on the last night, considering we took advantage of all the restaurants the other two days. It was a drunken creation that I was told was delicious… but that could have been lies or bourbon talking 😉

It was such a great trip that it was hard to pack up and head back home.

Lake Quinault Adventures
Lake Quinault Adventures

THANK YOU so much to Carol and Ian for sharing this cabin.

Check Meow-t
Check Meow-t

Until the next adventure…

Oliver the Cat.

The other day I said goodbye to a dear friend, Oliver the cat.

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Oliver and his good buddy Phil

Although Oliver was not mine, we spent much of the last year enjoying each other’s company. Everyone believes they have the most unique pet, but Oliver was–at least for me–a truly special little guy.

My landlords adopted Oliver from a shelter in the 90’s, making him at least 17-years-old, but he was still spry–especially when he wanted your attention (or whatever you happened to be eating). Despite his stinky breath and dirty feet and sometimes curmudgeonly attitude, everyone who met Oliver found themselves charmed. He had charisma and confidence. That, and he loved to snuggle.

He had a habit of insisting on being where it was most inconvinient for you.
He had a habit of insisting on being where it was most inconveinient for you.

Oliver stayed close to the house overlooking Alki, so we started to worry when we hadn’t seen him for a couple days.  Those days turned into weeks and those weeks quickly became a month.

While we were realistic enough to know Oliver would probably never be coming back, we still held onto a glimmer of hope.

Oliver and I shared a love of Irish Whiskey ;)
Oliver and I shared a love of Irish Whiskey 😉

Unfortunately, these hopes ended when the house dog found Oliver under the porch.

A little heartbroken, but also relieved to finally know what happened to our friend, my roommate Wendy and I talked about what was best, considering the homeowners were away traveling. Finally, we buried Oliver in a peaceful spot in the flower garden of the same front yard where he’d spent his long and lovely life hunting birds and relaxing in the grass.

We buried him near the gorgeous black bamboo in a shady spot he had frequented.
We buried him near the gorgeous black bamboo in a shady spot he had frequented.

We sipped a beer, said a few words that somehow felt silly and overly sentimental, but also like not nearly, not even close, to enough. Finally, we said goodbye.

I’ll sure miss you, Oliver.

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Customer Compl…iments!

I have worked in the Customer Service industry intermittently since I was 18 and have dealt with some of the nastiest customers imaginable.  People spend so much time complaining about minor details that they forget to enjoy the experience they came for. Of course, some of this complaining is done to score a discount or even a free meal.  This may seem harmless to the complainer, but it can negatively affect an employee’s livelihood.   So you insisted on “talking to a manager”? Well, now that hardworking employee is losing a good shift and being disciplined.  Do strangers get to walk in and critique you at your work? Happy? Good, now go enjoy your free appetizer… 😉

The point of my rant is to consider spending more time complimenting someone for good service instead of ridiculing them.

You wouldn't believe the way adults can act.
You wouldn’t believe the way adults can act.

Mind you, I’m not saying you should smile and eat a well done burger when you ordered it medium rare and tip 20% when your server never supplied you with refills, was glued to their cellphone, and had an attitude.  Everyone deserves what they pay for.

What about the server who kept your drink full at all times, brought you extra ranch, checked in on you multiple times, kept all dirty dishes cleared and overall had a positive attitude — why not acknowledge good service too?

My recent collection of receipts
My recent collection of receipts

So, when I am feeling grouchy I pour myself a big cup of coffee and pull out a stack of receipts from good customer service experiences and write kind letters of acknowledgment on behalf of those people who are out there doing a good job.

On a receipt you can usually find the details necessary to write a successful customer compliment.

  • Date of service, name of employee, time of visit, check #

Here are some responses I have gotten back that in turn, brightened my day!

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BBB


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Amongst my years bartending I have had compliments relayed to my employer and reaped the benefits, but even more so I was flattered that someone went out of their way to compliment me.  To know that I brightened someone else’s day brings me joy.

We all play a role in this world and although a restaurant job can seem miniscule, if we all put 100% into every task the world could be a less complaint-filled place.

The next time you think about complaining about slow service, take a look around at what’s really happening. Does the waiter have a full section? Are they having a rough day? Could you handle it if you were in their shoes?

More importantly, the next time you get good service, consider acknowledging a job well done.  Maybe it was a cheerful grocery store bag boy, perhaps a polite security guard, or perhaps it was me. Regardless, we would love to know our hard work is being recognized.

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

A random trip to Orcas Island was such an unexpected treat.  Orcas Island is somewhere I had gone camping as a child and has ever since had a special place in my heart.

Deception Pass
Deception Pass

On the way to Anacortes where you catch the ferry to the San Juan Islands is a great spot called Deception Pass.  No matter how many times I have seen this place, it always takes my breath away.  I always get the chills at one spot of Deception Pass because in 2010 I found a dead body, seriously.

Some Pictures around the bridge
Some Pictures around the bridge

That is my model face… and that is why I am not a model 😉

Nailed it?
Nailed it?

I asked for this picture and the hand in the picture was not amused with the thirty times he tried to take it.  Recognize it from those around the world pictures of the sexy brunette?  I tried… ha.

The wait for the ferry to come is always a long one, and expensive!  It cost $60 to get a car onto that thing! Luckily when you get on the ferry the view is breathtaking and they serve beer, which always helps.

Love the native art all over ferry.
Love the native art all over ferry.

Local beer, breath taking views- it was hard to get off!

Pit stop
Pit stop

Upon arriving to the island we did some exploring before checking into our hotel at the Island Hopping Brewery.  A very cute and cozy tasting room filled with locals.  I also found myself sitting next to a girl who had lived in Montrose, the same neighborhood of Houston that I did and it turned out that we knew a handful of the same people.  The world just seems to get smaller and smaller!

The room at Rosario Resort
The room at Rosario Resort

I stayed at the Rosario Resort  which had a dreamy little porch overlooking the water.  There was also an adorable restaurant on the marina which was about a 3 min walk down a little path that we ate at twice, and later went to the bar and mingled with the staff.

Random shots
Random shots

Exploring around the Island.

Found a book filled with interesting ways to judge the rarity of my seaglass findings. I had to pull over to snap a picture of this quaint little stand.
Found a book filled with interesting ways to judge the rarity of my seaglass findings. I had to pull over to snap a picture of this quaint little stand.

The evening sunset was pretty epic, though not much of a traditional Sunset.

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I highly recommend visiting the San Juan Islands, especially Orcas.  My only complaint about this trip is that it wasn’t long enough.

Amanda.