Top Ten Tuesday: What I Miss about Washington

We’ve lived in Florida about 6 months now.  While we like it here in the Pensacola area, we miss Washington!  There’s no place like home.  Today, I’m posting my first “Top 10 Tuesday” which I’ll do every first Tuesday of the month.  As an Ode to Washington, I’m posting the Top 10 things I miss most!

10.  The Mountains – Oh how we miss the mountains!  The Cascades.  The Olympics. The breathtaking, magnificent views are unparalleled, you have to remember to pick up your jaw when you see these sights in person, and each time you see them it’s like seeing them for the first time.  The mountains surrounded us, almost serving as our daily reminder to come outside, explore something new, take in God’s beauty.  I don’t just miss the beauty of the mountains but the feeling of being with nature: bliss, calmness, peace.

Cascade Mountains.  I had to steal an image from the web because I don’t own a fancy camera, but even the best camera ever couldn’t do these views justice.

The Olympics.  I mean…even if you don’t hike or backpack, you can appreciate the beauty they possess.

9.  Coffee – You haven’t seen a caffeine addiction like that of a Washingtonian’s.  In the small town of Oak Harbor where we lived, there were 4 coffee houses and about 6 coffee stands, this is all within a 5-mile radius.  There’s literally a coffee stand on every corner, and that’s just in my small town.  If any of my Washington friends want to send me some coffee, here are my faves:

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8.  Sweater Weather – You can wear a sweater 365 days a year in Washington, even in the middle of summer you may feel a cool breeze, especially if you live by the water.  Sweater weather is my favorite weather!  Layers, scarves, boots, I’m all about it!

7.  Misty Rain – Since we’re on the topic of weather, I even miss the misty kind of rain we got in Washington.  I love the rain, there’s just something about its cleansing and soothing effect that makes me feel relaxed and comfortable. When people here ask if we left Washington because of the rain, I have to laugh because Florida probably gets more rainfall (in inches)  than Washington.  In the Pacific Northwest, we got a misty drizzle, drip type of rain, yes it would fall all day, but I could still do stuff: run errands, run or hike, because as they say “If you wait for perfect weather to do something, you won’t do anything!”  I never had to use an umbrella in Washington, now I have an umbrella in my car because down here, we get what Forrest Gump calls “big ol’ fat rain!”  Case in point:

IMAG3632Rain in Florida.

IMG_88498830144868Rain in Washington.

6.  Outdoor Activities – Backpacking, Camping, Hiking.  There’s so much to do in Washington, and this is where my husband and I truly discovered our inner “outdoorsmen.”  Washington’s Hiking trails are some of the best in the country, I could probably search everywhere and not find trails that compare to the ones in Snoqualmie or Olympic National Park.  I miss them so much!



L-R: Mt. Pilchuck, Goat Lake, Fort Casey, Big Four Ice Caves.

5.  Washington Craft Beers – I don’t drink so this actually for my husband.  There’s over 200 craft breweries in Washington, a haven for a beer enthusiast.

30 Things No One Tells You About Leaving Washington

4.  The Greenery – They don’t call it the Evergreen State for nothing.  See #1 and #5, you get the picture(s)!  Okay, here’s one more…


3.  Nature – Clean air, bald eagles soaring overhead while I’m on a run, deer crossing the street in my old neighborhood.  Washington isn’t just a state with wondrous natural beauty, but it’s a state where people have a reverence for nature and preserving the planet.  Recycling bins everywhere, bans on plastic bags, I’m down!

2.  Pet Friendliness – Sadly, pets aren’t welcome everywhere like they are in Washington.  We used to take Junior everywhere we went: public parks, the beach, dog parks, hiking trails, camping.  Now we have to make sure he’s even welcome 😦


1.  Deception Pass Bridge – Every time we drove off the island, my husband and I would joke about how people come from everywhere to see the bridge, take selfies and pictures.  There are people on this bridge every. single. day!  Rain or shine, it’s really quite an attraction.  Every time we come back from a trip, or from living somewhere else, when we get to the bridge, we immediately announce… “we’re home!”  There’s just something about this bridge that is familiar, and it always feels like it’s welcoming us home 🙂


July’s Good Reads

The one thing I was super excited about once I finished school was to be able to read!  Read a book for pleasure and enjoyment, and not mandatory school reading. I’m an avid reader, reading is my distraction from daily responsibilities and stress, food for my heart and soul when the the realities of real life are too difficult, sad, or tragic (which is pretty much anytime I turn on the news).   I prefer to read Fiction and I’ll admit it, I’m a hopeless romantic.  I’m a sucker for sappy “boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after” types of stories, but I love impossible love stories.  If a book can grab my attention and interest within the first few chapters, I’ve been known to not get anything done.  I’ll pull an all nighter for an “unputdownable” book!

Now that school has permanently ended for me, I have more time to cuddle with a good book (or my Nook) on the couch and stick my nose in something.  It’s answering the call of my inner couch potato.  I’ll be posting about what books I’ve read at the end of each month.  Here’s what I read in July:

I fell in love with Jamie McGuire after reading Beautiful Disaster, it was so successful that she made books for all the Maddox Brothers (the characters in Beautiful Disaster).  I’ve read most of her books and I love many of them.  Beautiful Sacrifice is a light, easy read (most of her books are) I loved the characters and the dialogue.  I found myself giggling and becoming invested in the characters.  If you like Young Adult and Romance, you’ll like this series!  I strongly recommend Beautiful Disaster first.

If you like mystery and suspense, you’ll like this book!  It’s a “Gone Girl” whodunnit type, and I enjoy a good suspense novel.  This book had over 25,000 reviews on Amazon and broke an all-time sales record, I had to see what the fuss was about! It’s not an easy read, it’s voiced by three characters so it takes some paying attention, I’m glad I read this highly acclaimed book, but it was just “okay” to me. This book is also set to hit the big screen, I’ll watch it for sure!

Read any good books lately?  What are you currently reading?

My Sister’s Wedding

I’m a planner.  I love planning stuff.  Events, vacations, meal planning, my workout schedule, financial planning, short term plans, long term plans, I’m a girl with a plan!  Perhaps it has a lot to do with my OCD and control-freak tendencies, but planning helps me to be prepared.  When we go on family vacations, I plan every detail, create an agenda, list of places we’ll eat at, things we’ll see and I even plan free time.  I wish I could plan things for a living!

I pretty much started planning my sister’s wedding before she even got engaged (maybe even before she had a boyfriend, lol), so imagine how excited I got when she got engaged last February.  Ecstatic!  Not only am I her maid of honor, but her make-shift wedding planner as well.  I dove straight into planning, we’ve already checked so  many things off the “wedding planning checklist” and we still have more than 10 months before the big day!

Here’s what we’ve accomplished:

My sister and future brother-in-law Brian set the date, and they’ll be married in June 2016, we researched a lot of different venues but they decided on this beautiful place:

Wild Rose Estate is located in Arlington, WA

Wild Rose Weddings @ Arlington WA Provided by: Wild Rose Weddings

Julienne and Brian are really into the outdoors, they love hiking, camping and backpacking so a garden wedding with majestic mountain views is really their style!

Before you can design Save the Dates and Invitations, you’ve gotta have pictures!  Jane Speleers did Julienne and Brian’s engagement shoot, she’ll also be the wedding photographer, she’s awesome!  Here’s one of the pictures from their shoot:


Now onto the important stuff!  The wedding dress, duh!! 🙂  My sister went to a few different places and tried on dozens of dresses.  The most important thing for her was that she was comfortable in her dress, not just that it was a beautiful dress.  My best friend Josie who recently got married recommended BHLDN, (it’s pronounced Beholden, by the way) I went to the website and picked out some dresses that I just knew were “her style.”  With a lot of time left, she tried on beautiful dresses at two different places, but she didn’t feel like she found “the one.”  She made an appointment with BHLDN and tried on some dresses, and as soon as she found a particular dress, like many brides often say, she found THE ONE!  It’s been purchased and is waiting to be worn!  I won’t post which dress she chose, but here are some of their beautiful dresses:

Penelope Gown

Maelin Corset and Priya Skirt

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We haven’t decided on Bridesmaid dresses yet but my sister chose a champagne motif, it’s a nice, neutral, tannish nude color which is simple yet elegant.  Can’t wait to see what we’ll be wearing!  Here are some pics I found of “champagne” on The Knot:

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My sister and Brian have amazing, wonderful friends…their bridal party will have people traveling from Florida, Missouri, and Japan to be there on their big day, not to mention family from all over too!  Don’t you just love weddings?  I can’t wait to share more about their wedding, stay tuned!

Thoughts on Running…

“Why in the world would anyone want to run five miles?”

“A Fun Run?  People actually run for fun?”

And this one I haven’t actually said but I’ve heard many times… “I don’t run unless someone is chasing me!”

As I begin training for the Pensacola Half Marathon, I look back to what led me to start my fitness journey.  It seems like a long time ago that those very words came out of my mouth, but I remember like it was yesterday when my fitness journey first began.  I never understood why running was so  many peoples’ choice of fitness activity.  Then one day, my husband who’s an avid runner asked me to join him for a short jog around our neighborhood.  While I wasn’t particularly fit, I didn’t consider myself out of shape either so I was baffled that I couldn’t even get to the end of the street without huffing, puffing and stopping to catch my breath.  That day, I decided to set a goal of running at least 1.5 miles in one month.

I took it one step at a time, literally.  At first, I could only get to about my mailbox that was 40 yards away before I had to stop. Then I was able to run for a minute or two then walk, and start again.  I was overjoyed with myself when I eventually got to a full five minutes straight without stopping.  I was able to achieve the goal I set for myself in a month’s time.  A mile and a half became two miles, which became three miles, then 5K, then 10K.  After about a year, I signed up for my first half marathon. That was over four years ago and I’ve since run numerous 5K’s, 10K’s, mud runs and half marathons.  I’ve diversified my workout routine over the past couple of years because running led me to love other activities too.  I love group fitness classes like Body Pump, Body Step, PiYo, and Boot Camp, but running will always be my first love.  Nothing beats going for a run, a short run or a long run.  It’s free, no monthly fees, all you need is running shoes!  There’s no better way to explore your surroundings, the streets are your treadmill, the world is your gym!  And lastly, two words…RUNNER’S HIGH!  There’s really nothing in the world like it, except maybe the feeling you get when you cross the finish line of your first race.  I’m proud to call myself a runner.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes on running…

Done and Done. What Now?

If you’ve known me for the past few years, you know that I’m a stay at home mom and also a full time student.  Well, after this week, I will no longer be a full time student, or a student at all.  I’m so glad to finally say that I’m done with school.  Not done with the quarter, or done with a class.  Like done, done!

I’m mostly happy about this, it’s what I’ve been working toward for the past 3 and a half years, no more stressing about term papers, exams, projects, deadlines, I get to sleep a little more!  This is awesome!  But wait…I’m really done?  But what am I gonna stress about?  What am I going to work toward?  Do I have to find a job?  What Now?  Being a student has been my purpose for so long, but…school wasn’t my sole purpose, and now I get to focus on other things that make me happy besides straight A’s.

Although I’m not sure what the near or distant future has in store for me just yet, I do know that I always want to work toward something, I always want to be creative and productive.  We should always have goals, they give us a sense of purpose.  So that brings me here, I created a blog as a requirement for a Communications class, but I’ve always wanted to blog and have a creative outlet for documenting day to day (or maybe weekly, monthly) life stuff.  To stick with the theme of having goals, here are my August goals:


I’ve already checked one thing off the list!  Welcome to my blog, thanks for stopping by! 🙂