The Mountains Are Calling: Mount Si

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Sigh…

Si what I did there? 

Okay. I’m done. Mount Si (pronounced sigh) was our last big hike we did before leaving Washington. As any other Sunday we headed out on July 8, 2018 around 11 a.m. to climb a mountain.

From a previous hike at Rattlesnake Ledge, another must do!, we had seen and heard all the rave about Mount Si. Si is in the Snoqualmie Area and is 8 miles round-trip. As far as elevation goes you’ll get a gain of 3,150 ft in under four miles. The highest point is 3,900 ft. From using our WTA app I found out this mountain was very important to the Snoqualmie people.

“In the legends of the Snoqualmie people, Mount Si was the body of the moon, fallen to earth through the trickery of the fox and the blue jay.”

 

This was a dog-friendly hike so we were taking our German Shepherd/Saluki Mix, Argo, and Drew’s pack. It was the ideal hiking day; maybe even a little too hot: Clear and 72 degrees. As soon as we got near the infamous peak and sheer edges were showing off for us. It’s intimidating to view this driving in but soooo satisfying when you’re driving away. Feeling like a badass=addicting. 

Post-Hike IG story. Can you see Argo’s tired head waiting for ice cream?
IG: @marinslocalcollab

It’s important to note that they have a parking lot but you might find it difficult to find a spot. If it’s a great day expect to create a spot like we (and many others) did. They also have a bus option to shuttle in and out if you don’t want to bother driving. They also have bathrooms and a water spout at the trailhead.

On the way up you have an opportunity to learn about the Snag Flat and how the mountain survived logging, mining, fires, and other natural causes. The trail you walk actually was once a 4×4 track. 

Finding squirrels and chipmunks

By the time we started our hike up it was 12:45 p.m. With a few stops to enjoy the view, catch my breath and dog breaks we reached the top at 1510 (or 3:10 p.m.) 

From the top we could see beautiful Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle, and the Olympics. If you look down and around you you can also see small wildlife.

We took turns holding the dog while the other navigated through jagged rocks to climb even further to the peak. If you’re able, go a little bit further up. The view changes with every few feet and you get closer and closer to a 360 view. The true summit is called Haystack.

In early spring, climbers getting ready for Rainier come here with weighted packs. Conventional wisdom says if they can reach the end of the trail in under two hours, they’re ready to conquer the state’s tallest peak. 

WTA

The top is mostly rocks so don’t expect shade for your lunch or snack break. I recommend lots of water, a hat and crouching down under the tree or large rocks you’ll find for shade. 

We started heading down at 3:45 p.m. and were back in the truck by 5:30 p.m. I remember how much my knees HURT so wearing proper hiking gear, layers and good boots will make a world of difference. No, we never used poles. 

As I shared on my Facebook and Instagram (FOLLOW ME FOR REAL TIME UPDATES!)

Conquered Mount Si today and HOLY KNEES AND CALVES this was no joke! 8 miles in 5 hours. We gained about 1,000 ft in elevation per mile and reached the elevation 3,500 ft. Perfect hiking day with clear views of all the cities and #mountrainier ! 😍
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#mountsi#climb#hike#explore#adventurer#getoutdoors#optoutside#pnw#themountainsarecalling#mountains#workoutcomplete#sundayfunday#upperleftusa

This kicked my ass!

Not only was it a steep and slightly challenging hike there were a lot of people on the trail (100,000 per year hike this trail) and I was at the battle of some health issues that would last a few months. But, as with all of our hikes, I was impressed that I was capable of handling something like that in good time and the view is always worth it.

Don’t let this scare you away though! Novice hikers are just as welcome and enjoy it just as much. We had so many friends who denied (and continue to deny) exploring the areas we live in. If you just get out and try you will be in awe. You have no idea what you’re missing until you go see it for yourself. 

Cheers to getting outside and moving today!

Marin

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Interest in Pinterest: Analytics For Any Season

The world is visual. 

We want to see beautiful photos, watch motivating videos and see professional, clean posts in person and online. 

You may not think the font, colors or editing you use is important but it is. 

You want to know why? 

  • 87 percent of consumers purchase a product solely based on how it looks. 
  • 94 percent of first impressions are design-related.
  • 75 percent of potential customers confessed to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.

Social media, websites and online presence are more than likely the first impression someone will have of you; make it a lasting impression. 

You know why clearance sections are in the back corners of the store? They want the regularly priced items up front, they want the pretty display up front, the neatly folded clothes up front…the disorganized, pile of clothes with the small, white, boring sign above it. 

When an area is too busy or confusing humans avoid it. Chaos and messy areas are distracting to your senses (clean your room!) and you will never get your message across with the ‘noisy’ distraction of a mess. 

If your site is bland it looks neglected.

If it’s all over the place you look irresponsible. 

If you have incorrect grammar, spelling or punctuation it looks careless.

For a review of your current branding efforts, schedule a free consultation. You can also check out this post on branding.

No matter the season or occasion, people hop on Pinterest to plan their next celebration. 

There are several tools you can use to post across multiple platforms. Buffer, IFTTT and Hootsuite are some I have used and enjoyed. 

In order to track your progress and impressions you will need to establish a business account on Pinterest. Here is a quick guide on how to do that. You can either ‘rebrand’ and change your current page or create a new one; whichever makes more sense for your business and products. 

Not sure? Just ask!

Next, make sure your boards are organized into Holiday Recipes, Christmas Decor, etc. For examples on how to do this check out popular brands like Target, Crate and Barrel or other popular brands in your field. 

You will also want to make sure your images and headlines match up with the season as I mentioned in this blog. Get your pins out earlier than the season as people want to prepare. December 1 is not the time to start sharing Christmas decorations. October 31st is not the day to share Halloween makeup. Be there before your audience is. 

How are they performing? 

Pinterest Analytics serves as valuable market research to watch for traffic and what performs well (or poorly) so you can adjust accordingly. 

Pinterest is not my sole source of clients but it does allow business, self help and marketing searches to pop me up. I include visually pleasing photos that include my website so they can return to my page and not use my work on other pages. My travel guides, book club and 

Using my page as an example, I can find my page’s analytics in the upper left hand corner. 

I have 57.3k monthly viewers, 1,414 followers with 2.6k of monthly engagement and I can see what photos or materials were saved from my website or regular uploads. 

Business accounts are FREE so you literally have nothing to lose by trying this out. You start by answering five simple questions telling them about your business and make sure all of your contact information is setup correctly. 

I have the easy view of my stats once I log in to my account and I can promote the page if I would like. 

If I wanted to click on my monthly stats it shows my stats. This is helpful to see when I had a boost, what was posted or what time of day, weekend/day, and more valuable information so I can maximize my reach in future posts. If something performed poorly I might try switching the photo or, as some people do, publish the same material with 2-3 different cover photos and see which performs best then. 

I also get sent regular business page emails about which pins were performing best and how many impressions they received. The one I recently received let me know

“93% of people say they use Pinterest to plan purchases. As a brand,
creating boards helps you get your products or services in front of
Pinners. Pick a theme, like dinner recipes or summer outfits,
then 
add some Pins.”

Here’s a screenshot from another email breakdown. 

While not all of my pins are created by me I can see what people follow me for my most popular impressions and start to create material for them if I would like. 

I highly encourage you to switch over to a business account on all of your main social media pages and, even if a site isn’t a main traffic control, it can always give the opportunity to lead people back to your site…or you can just nerd out on numbers and demographics like me. 

If you need help setting up business accounts on any social media account, let us know. We are happy to help get you the marketing results you need!

Cheers! 

Marin

6 Creative Ideas For Your Holiday Social Media Strategy

$1 trillion

The predicted amount Americans will spend during the holidays this year. Hint: that’s the highest it’s ever been. (You can sign up free through my referral link here.


Source TheSkimm

As a business owner, how are you planning to compete in the marketplace against the noise of large, corporate companies? 

If you’ve completed a Branding + Positioning Strategy with us then you know who your target audience is, how to speak to them and where to interact with them. 

The unique position you have as an entrepreneur, small business owner or the town’s only boutique is the attention to detail, the local supplier, the sense of community, the benefit of supporting a family vs. a large corporation.

You may offer homemade ornaments, goodies baked from scratch or customized clothing. 

Maybe it’s a  service you offer. Landscaping companies who hang Christmas lights or do cleanup. A cleaning service prepping for the guest’s family visit. A decorator ready to deck the halls for any office party or set a table for a home gathering. 

Ho-Ho-Hold On….Even if you weren’t planning on incorporating holiday marketing in your strategy, you need to. Too busy or overwhelmed? We are here to help.

What you offer is just as unique as how you market it. How you market your product or service needs to match the effort you put into your work. Otherwise, how will it get into the lives of those who need it? 

I have put together six ideas to bring joy to your holiday marketing strategy (and to your customers.)

  1. ADVENT CALENDAR. Most manageable is a 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar. Each day, at the same time, publish a photo or video with an offer that’s good for the next 24 hours. You may also choose to do a full 24 days and you can enter whoever answers a fun holiday trivia question correctly to win one big prize. Other ideas could be the instant winner, the refer-a-friend tag or a discount on a future purchase. 
  2. E-COMMERCE. E-Commerce sales take the lead in all orders and more than 20 percent of those sales take place during the holiday season. more than half of the sales traffic is done via mobile. Is your site optimized for mobile screens? Another great idea is to ‘decorate’ the platforms your customers will see. Think of the Coca-Cola polar bears and Santa. Incorporate a new cover photo, cover video, profile photo, and effects to your platforms. Do you have an up-to-date website? We can help. 
  3. #HASHTAG. Market research can lead you to find the most frequently used hashtags for search engine optimization (SEO). #WishList2018 can be added to your feature items or #HolidayCheers for your wine, beer or spirits. The more creative for your special offers, the more buzz. You can also turn famous songs, stories or rhymes to fit your business’s theme. Have fun with it!
  4. Packages. Make it simple. Make it easy. Creating gift boxes, packages (or another creative name) is a great way to group similar items at a few different price ranges for your customers. If they can order a basket for an outdoorsman, a teenage girl or a newborn it’s a one stop shop. Showing these off as Gift Guides For… allows people to imagine who they could gift the package to. Bonus points if you include giftwrapping in the price!
  5. North Poll. Conducting polls about Christmas cookie shapes, favorite songs, least favorite movies, holiday drinks, decor styles, etc. gets interaction from your customers. By including your shop’s tag or website on the image, every time the image is shared it’s circulating to new audiences and people will look you up from the original source. 
  6. Santa’s Cause. Tis the Season to give back. At the beginning of the month announce a cause near and dear to your company’s heart. If you have a brick and mortar you can hold a warm clothing or toy drive. Enlist your employees and their families to ring bells for the Salvation Army. A portion of your sales can go toward an organization or you can accept Christmas donations (trees, wreaths, decorations, etc.) to give to those in need. I recently saw a story of a family unable to EVER have decorations or a tree because of their financial priorities. A simple Facebook post by a family friend gave them a beautiful Christmas and no Christmas decorations or trees were tossed in the trash. 

Looking for more ideas? We’ve been waiting to share more. Just ask!

I would love to hear your ideas in the comments. If you found this helpful or entertaining please share it with your friends and business tribes. 

Cheers!

Marin 

If this was helpful please leave a review on our Facebook page. 

Do you or someone you know need a hand during the holiday rush? Reach out! 

“My Success Is Inevitable.” And The 10 Step Action Plan To Get You There.

In the Winter 2018 publication of Success Magazine Harris Faulkner shared her bits of wisdom on a feature page in the back. I loved everything she mentioned and hope to get my hands on her book “9 Rules of Engagement” soon!

Harris shared answers to several questions but one of my favorites was her favorite quote. I agree with Harris that my favorite is always fluctuating depending on what I was going through or needed in  that moment.  Her fortune cookie left her with “My success is inevitable.” It’s a great reminder that you are where you are supposed to be and, so long as you keep working and moving forward, you will be successful and end up just where  you need to be.

The answer that stuck out the most was her definition of integrity. Her prompt was “Integrity is…” to which she answered and I will paraphrase ‘That thing you do when nobody is watching.’

The definition of integrity is ‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.’

It’s when you find money on the ground and return it to the waiter who dropped it. 

It’s when you have the opportunity to break the law but choose not to. 

It’s when you hold yourself accountable for your words, thoughts, actions when you’re alone or with others. 

“Take care of your words when you’re with others and your thoughts when you’re alone.” 

A person of integrity, a person of success, a person with knowing all have a plan. I also read in this issue that being ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ is not an excuse for wandering aimlessly. You can always change your mind about who you want to be but you must always be working toward something. 

To keep working toward something, you need to create an action plan. This will help you get started in the direction of your goals and allow for flexibility should you (probably) need it later on. This is something we do with all of our clients in the Branding + Positioning Strategy which you can check out here.

  1. Set SMART Goals. The first thing we learn in any communications class is how to set SMART Goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Instead of saying ‘I will raise awareness on diabetes,’ try ‘I will prepare 200 infographics with a checklist of tasks and due-dates to help identify pre-diabetes and distribute at the health fair by April 1.’ This allows you to track progress and see how well you performed. 
  2. Identify your audience. Who are they? What do they look like? What do they sound like? How do you communicate with them? On which platform? All of these questions and more are answered in our Branding+ Positioning Strategy.  
  3. Hire in the direction you want to go. In the time it would take you to learn, try, research and implement something by ‘just doing it yourself’ take a look at who around you could help out. You can find graphic design students, Fiverr freelancers, SAHMs, Facebook job postings or a family friend to take care of the things you can let go of. Use your time where it makes sense for YOU to be. If it’s not 100% mandatory you do a task, delegate it. 
  4. Identify Opportunities. If you’re a crafter, what holidays or occasions are coming up? If you’re a decorator, before what events do people want their home decorated? Find a problem in your industry and provide a solution for it. What is the biggest pain point for your clients and how can you fix it? This is often done by a little field research as informal as a Facebook poll. 
  5. Income. Even when you think the last three months of business have been booming there is always a chance that funnel will dry up. By creating products, email campaigns, eBooks or other services you can guarantee yourself, and your employees, continued paychecks. If you’re a coach and someone can’t (or doesn’t want to) pay your monthly coaching fee, would they settle for one call a month at a lower cost? Implementing a referral program or short-time offer is a great way to bring in new clients while servicing your loyal current clients. 
  6. Move forward every day.  It’s easy to feel burnt out in your endless pursuit to success. Each day you should be taking a step toward what you want to achieve. What would a fitness icon do today? They would workout even if they didn’t feel like it. What would a millionaire do today? They would make that phone call they might not want to make. You are always choosing. You can read a book or watch a TV show. Which would be more beneficial? You could choose to sleep an extra 30 minutes or you could take a walk. Which would be more beneficial? The best thing here is that the answer is different in every situation. Some days you will need to de-stress with trash TV and sleep in instead of working out and eat a bar of chocolate instead of an apple. Balance. You control your decisions. 
  7. Network! Building a network is much more than a business luncheon to pass your business card around. Meeting locals in or outside of your industry allows you to get the word out about your offers and work with others you may have otherwise never known. Networking provides the chance to meet your mentor and create an accountability group. You could be someone’s inspiration and you’re doing no favors by playing it shy and small.
  8. Take Action! A blessing and a course, my sense of urgency still gets sh*t done. My husband is very much the type who wants to put things off and is never ready to start in fear that it will never be perfect enough to put out. I encourage clients to be well prepared but you will never know what works or what doesn’t if it isn’t public. You have nothing to improve if it doesn’t exist. 
    Want me to review your current work? Just ask!
  9.  Log Your Hours. Keep a log on your computer of where you spend your time. Much like a timesheet when you’re on a 1099 contract, log your time for a week and see if you’re spending the most time on projects that make you the most profit and make you the most happy. 
  10. Review and Improve. After implementing, testing the course for a while and reviewing your log, review what is or is not working and how you can make it better. Even if things are going great there is always a way to make the customer experience better, increase employee morale, or add-on to a current offer. Fix anything broken and reward yourself for a job well done. Thank those who have helped you thus far and be kind to those just coming in. 

I hope that you know your success is inevitable. You can slow down but you cannot stop. As long as you never give up, you will succeed. 

Cheers to taking action!

Marin

Are you ready to put your plan into action? Let’s go!

Thanksgiving As A Lifestyle

If you’re like a majority of my social media feed, your house (and mind) are probably decked out for Christmas already.

But we have to celebrate Thanksgiving first!

 

Usually my husband and I spend Thanksgiving as Friendsgiving since we live far away from family. Last year we were in Hawaii! You can read about it here.

This year, however, my in-laws will be coming to visit us and spend a week as a family of six people and two dogs.

Wish us luck on the two dogs part….

 

 

I  enjoy Thanksgiving because of the delicious comfort of traditional food, being surrounded by family and friends, watching parades and football, playing games and enjoying each other’s company with warm-scented candles and cold drinks.

In my family we pray before we eat. Right before we’re allowed to grab a plate we form a circle, hold hands and bow our heads.

We thank God for blessing us with a healthy, happy family standing to our left and right, a roof over our heads so we can celebrate together and how fortunate we are for everything we have. We also have a tradition of going around and saying what we’re thankful for. It often includes a few sarcastic remarks to make us laugh, a few sentimental comments but mostly saying we’re thankful for what is considered mundane and common.

Then we eat.

And an hour later someone will be napping, the kids want a piggyback ride and 10 people are looking through Black Friday ads.

 

 

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a time to express gratitude to those who helped you, thankfulness for having overcome trying events and appreciation for everything good in your life.

I’m thankful for my husband and my marriage. 

I’m thankful for my dog bringing humor and love to our life especially when I’m alone.

I’m thankful for a car that works, a beautiful home and the opportunity to work.

You remember the feeling of the love, the gratitude and the initial pull at your heartstrings when someone mentions your name or something you’ve done.

If you’re wanting to give this feeling to someone else in your content, download this free guide.

 

 

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be reserved as your once-a-year good deed. It’s a lifestyle.

A lifestyle of expressing gratitude, showing appreciation and spreading joy. It’s a chance to reflect on how thankful you are for people and experiences; negative or positive.

If you haven’t already hopped on the gratitude journal train, let this be the time you try it out. Just give it one week. Just try it. You have NOTHING to lose.

Literally. Nothing.

 

Every morning write three things you’re grateful for. Think of five things and list them out. If you can think of ten things, write down ten things you’re grateful for. I challenge you to come up with something different every day. Stretching past the obvious and easy topics encourages you to focus on what you take for granted or what makes you happy.

When you’re actively looking for gratitude, you will find it. 

 

The idea of writing down what you’re grateful for provides a visual of how much positivity you are surrounded by. I often flip through my old entries and can see me going in and out of slumps or where my mind was at that time. I forget I was thankful for the sunshine, a trip or flexibility.

Finding gratitude and appreciation in your daily life is proven to reduce stress levels, improving self-esteem, creating change and gaining new perspective. It also helps attract more of what you want (Law of Attraction) and forms self discipline in your daily routine.

Many people often pair gratitude journaling with meditation, prayer or just staying silent in a moment of self-care (which might be your only moment of silence all day.)

 


 

I’ve been a confused child, a dramatic teenager and a college student surrounded by chaos. I have always aimed to do my best but know I have made mistakes and experienced many things only few know about.

In times of wanting comfort and support from others I found people who could care less, people who smirk and reply with ‘I told you so’ or thrive on the secrecy of disappointing news. In the times when I was physically or mentally alone it helped to bring myself back by realizing every good thing I did have.

If you’re struggling with diving past 1) Family 2) Friends 3) Health on your gratitude list, think deeper. Write down every detail and find the positive in every step. I’ll use my day as an example:

  1. I woke up. I’m grateful for that. 151,600 people die each day
  2. My phone alarm went off. I’m grateful I have a phone and the money to pay for it. 14% of the global population don’t have access to electricity.
  3. It was raining so I didn’t take my dog on our usual morning walk. I’m grateful for the rain and a house to protect us from it. More than 20 percent of the world’s population lacks adequate housing.
  4. I worked out. I’m grateful for a healthy, fit body that’s capable of moving. 5.6 million Americans are paralyzed. 
  5. I ate a healthy breakfast and threw a healthy supper in a crockpot. 1 in 6 Americans face hunger.
  6. I took a hot shower. 25% of the world’s population don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
  7. I worked on my computer while listening to an audiobook. I’m grateful for technology to connect to people far away. I’m grateful for my hearing and sight. 700,000 individuals in the U.S. have some level of both vision and hearing loss.

All before noon. If you realize how lucky you are, even in a horrible circumstance, you are still alive to experience that.

And that’s something to be grateful for in itself.

 

Getting Started

I prefer pen and paper in a journal so if this appeals to you grab a fun pen that glides across the paper, a journal that excites you to look at and, another thing I did, place stickers randomly throughout the pages. I also flipped to random pages and wrote quotes or inspirational sayings.

You will come across those pages at just the right time (like this) and they can also work as writing prompts should you get stuck.

 


 

I can’t wait to hear about living a life of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation. There is a difference between saying or believing you are and actually living as if it’s true. In your words, in your actions and in everything you surround yourself with I hope you are thankful.

 

Cheers and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Marin

Looking for ideas to promote your business over the holidays? I have some ideas I would love to put to good use in someone’s business.

Schedule a time for us to talk.

Please use them!

Our Favorite View in Olympia, WA (And A Few Other Special Surprises)

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Claim Your Surprise

If you’ve visited downtown Olympia, WA, you are more than likely familiar with the charming farmer’s market, the eclectic shops, the vast amount of delicious food and local beers and the view of the water.

During our three years living minutes from Olympia we discovered as many easy hikes and places to see as we did new restaurants to try out in the state’s capital. Being from a land-locked state we were constantly in awe of the mountains and water; even in a crowded downtown area filled with concrete and surrounded by buildings.

Want to see photos and videos in real time? Follow me on Instagram!

There are several short ‘hikes’ and walks you can do nearby and they are surprisingly enjoyable. They are all family, kid and dog friendly so it was great when we had visitors. Some of our frequent stops were Mima Falls (read more here), Tumwater Falls, try the restaurant out, too, Watershed Park, Priest Point Park which we frequently took guests of all ages, Capitol Lake Trail which is a surprisingly great hike with great views of the capital dome before filling your growler, Tolmie State Park, and the Chehalis Western Trail which was right next to our subdivision and offered a great place to walk, run and ruck on gameday weekends.

 

Just to name a few.

But they mostly revolve around the Budd Inlet: a deepwater shipping channel has been dredged providing access to the Port of Olympia. You can walk the boardwalk and Percival Landing in downtown, watch the sunset over the water while eating supper, check out the houseboats parked at the docks or enter from multiple trailheads. One of the hikes we did near the water was Burfoot Park which welcomes families, sunbathers and dogs alike.

 

Burfoot Park covers 50 acres of property with 1,100 feet of saltwater beach frontage on Budd Inlet. There are nature and beach trails (beaches in WA=rocks so wear good shoes) with clear views of the State Capitol and the Olympic Mountains. There are also shelters, a playground, a garden and bbq grills so I frequently saw birthday parties and events going on on the lawn.

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My husband, dog and I headed out on a gorgeous day for the three-mile trail and to play in the water. We had fun walking through the forest, reading signs as we went down the path and it opened to a rocky beach filled with driftwood, sailboats and others looking for a sunny day out.

There were a few large fallen trees we hopped over to travel further down the beach until we reached a ‘No Trespassing’ sign of private residents. There were some crabs and fish in the water including salmon jumping several hundred feet out. Argo was not a fan of learning to swim in the freezing cold water and we decided to turn around. By this time the water had crept up over the trail a bit and we made a loop back. It was fun to watch the dogs run around in the walks and see the salmon jump by sailboats with the mountains in the background.

To get all of these views only a 10-minute drive from our house and a few minutes walk down to the beach access was incredible. If you’re looking for a casual bite to eat in town we loved The Spar Cafe (McMenamins chain). If you go you HAVE to get their truffle fries, add cajun tots side to your entree and top it all of with, my personal favorite, a Ruby Ale. We also had delicious post-hike pizza and built our own six pack at the Oly Taproom.

If you’re looking for any other suggestions, send me a message for more recommendations!

I hope you have a great time in town and I know we can’t wait to come back up.

Cheers!
Marin

Our promo may be over but we can still help you brand yourself and your business! Just mention this post when we talk and you can get a special surprise.

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Hiking the Olympic Mountain Range: Mt. Ellinor (This is a MUST!)

Summited July 30, 2017

One of my favorite hikes to date.

 

Is it ironic to rate a mountain on a five-star system? That’s what the Washington Trail Association Trailblazer app does….and we love it.

For the last two years I created a Goals Sheet (which you can download for free here!) One of those goals was to explore one new place a month. We used the Trailblazer app while living in Washington to find a new hike each weekend and the Olympic Mountain Range never disappoints.

Ellinor is located on the Olympic Peninsula near the Hood Canal; a favorite location of ours for weekend warrior trips with our dog. You can check out more in the Passport section!

Grab your Northwest Forest Pass and drive out, rain or shine (but hoping for shine!)

The pass is FREE for military and good for 12 months from date of purchase. Perfect for a one-time visit or a move to this beautiful state! If you don’t want to purchase one, enter at the lower trailhead on Ellinor.

Mt. Ellinor lets you choose from two different trailheads. If you find old growth peaceful like the set of a movie scene, choose the lower trailhead. If you want to cut off a few miles but go STRAIGHT UP immediately choose the upper trailhead.

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I’m a little scared of saying this was my favorite hike of all time but if the hiking boot fits then, yes, this is a MUST! This made my knees feel like I was 85 years-old, there were a ton of bugs, I started in summer clothes and ended in winter clothes, I trekked vertically up rocks, held back my dog from being an a**hole to other dogs, smelled wildflowers and slid down a snow and ice covered mountain…it was an entire adventure in 6.2 miles roundtrip.

Although it felt long with all the obstacles and it was surprisingly hotter than we thought, the mountain was packed. When it felt like my knees were made of rusted iron I told myself ‘kids, dogs and parents with babies were summiting so you can too’ 😉

There are several switchbacks that were in great condition. They are long and winding at the bottom but once you exit the growth to the rockier terrain it’s a more vertical and staircase type terrain.

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Before I forget, are you looking for someone to write

a little somethin’ special for you?

Tell me about it!

We came up on a large field of icy snow (end of July? Snow?) Yup.

We stepped off to the side to add a couple layers, gloves and Yaktrax. I honestly am not sure how much they helped but the traction was nice on the short snow field.

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Otherwise, a majority of the hike was dusty and there were several rock areas that took a second to navigate with other hikers. The steps were easily marked and the views were incredible throughout. If you find it easy to look around and enjoy where you are, you’ll be in heaven. This was one of those treks that had me counting my blessings: Strong legs, endurance, working lungs, the ability to climb and hike which is denied to many and the urge to explore with an able body that many deny. Think about that…

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It’s going to feel like you’re far enough and ready to head back down…but DON’T! You have made it this far and trust me when I say the views change and get better the further up you go! Yes, it’ll be steep but you can see every big mountain and city so just do it. K? K.

Another thing to note if you have kids or dogs, paths will be narrower the further up you go so be prepared to step aside especially in busy months. (It was pretty busy when we went). The ‘rule’ is the people coming up keep working and the people coming down step aside. Sometimes it’s nice to use that step aside as a breather though, ammirighttttt.

 

When we finally reached the top there was more snow that Argo immediately layed down for a nap in. It was hilarious because as it slowly melted, he slid down. There are a few rocky areas to sit or climb around on for that IG shot to show you did something cool and you can look down the sheer faces to valleys and water below.

Words and iPhone photos really can’t do this justice. You just need to experience it.

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You did it. You just gained 3,300 feet in 6.2 miles of crowded hiking paths through almost every terrain you could experience. You reached the highest point at 5,944 ft. with 360-degree views. You earned views of Lake Cushman, We also saw Mt Baker, Mt Adams, Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Rainier. Careful on your way down–as your legs are probably shaking–and grab an ice cream at our favorite Hoodsport Coffee Company. You sure as hell deserve it.

 

Cheers from our post-hike snack to yours!

Marin

If you own a business, let me hear from you. Leave a comment or send me a message. 

Three Year Anniversary (11.07.2015) Paper, Cotton and Leather

You know those moments when you know “Oh yeah, this is going to be big. This is one of those moments” and do everything you can to remember every little detail?

It may have been a first kiss. It may have been a major moment in history you witnessed. It may have been when you saw a shooting star.

I have a few of those myself but three main ones come to mind:

  1. Swimming solo in the Mediterranean
  2.  The day Drew proposed
  3. The day we were married

 

November 7, 2015 I married my best friend, my better half and my rock.

Three years ago we did not take a honeymoon but have made every weekend, every holiday and every single day an adventure. Words always fall short when I try to describe the type of person my husband is or why I love him but it has always been made clear we were created, raised and meant for each other.

He makes me laugh. Every day.

He makes me smile. Every day.

He makes me work harder. Every day.

He encourages me. Every day.

“Love is not about how many days, months or years you have been together. Love is about how much you love each other every single day.”

 

 

In traditional anniversary gift-giving Year One is Paper.

It’s believed that paper is the traditional symbol for the first anniversary because it signifies writing the blank pages of a new chapter in life. It also is a fragile material which represents the delicate state of a new marriage.

From the moment we were engaged I started keeping a journal of our year-long engagement. I wrote about how difficult it was being away from each other, how exciting it was to book our venue, how sweet it was to countdown to the rest of our life.

I wrote my vows in that journal and each year on our anniversary I will pull it back out and write to him/us. The papers of this journal are completely blank. They’re stark white, empty, blank; ready to be marked with the thoughts and milestones of a couple that will never be in that same stage again. If we had lines, we would be guided. If we had prompts we would be influenced.

But the pages are blank.

Only we decide what goes in them, what we never want to forget and we can focus on exactly what is best for us.

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu

One Year Anniversary. Photo by Liz Rudman.

One Year Anniversary. Photo by Liz Rudman.

For more One Year Anniversary pictures by the insanely talented Liz Rudman, check this out! You can check out the location of the shoot here

 

 

Year Two is Cotton

The traditional gift for a second wedding anniversary is cotton. It symbolizes the need for a marriage to remain strong and be able to adapt to changes. The significance of the ‘gifts’ to symbolically mark the years of your relationship is not lost on me. As more time passes the material of the gifts grow more durable and valuable.

On our wedding day we opted to symbolize our unity by tying (literally) a fisherman’s knot with two golden ropes. This has remained untouched since our wedding day and the knot: solid.

During our cross-country move the end of one of the ropes was broken up a bit. The three strands that made up the rope separated but did not fray. It stopped midway up the rope without touching the knot. While I have yet to fix that, I could glue it. But that doesn’t take away the fact it was ever broken. It experienced a tribulation, a slight trauma but it still stuck together. It was held by the solid knot, surrounded by everything meant to protect it. If I were to glue it, it might look a bit better physically but that doesn’t erase what had happened.

 

Our second year brought challenges. Oh yes, it did! Job changes and promotions. My car was totaled by a drunk driver going the wrong way on I-5. Medical and health issues. Petty fights together and big relationship changes with others. There were sacrifices as individuals, there were sacrifices by family. I brought the gift of efficiency, attention to detail and small daily gestures to ease the stress of his job. He brought humor to tragedy, tight hugs when I could only cry and he lead us through several tough, challenging decisions.

Cotton can show up in many forms. It blends with other fabrics, it adapts to it’s environment and is known for holding strong in any condition. The higher quality it is created with, the longer it will last.

 

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.” Simone Signoret

 

 

 

Year Three is Leather

The traditional 3-year anniversary gift is leather, which is symbolic of the marriage reaching a stage of flexible durability. The modern third anniversary gift is crystal (or glass), which has a special beauty, yet is still fragile—again, both significant representations of a maturing marriage.

I feel like this is going to be my favorite stage. We have reached a mutual understanding of expectations.

He updates me on his schedule and what to expect and I’ve relaxed (a little) that we don’t have to clean, do laundry…plan..or cook…etc. the same way 😉 He wants to have a relaxed day on the couch watching football without doing anything and I want to get out of the house and go do things. We compromise and do both.

We understand that good intentions are better than having done nothing at all. We understand the type of people we want to be, the type of people we want to be around or avoid and the type of people we want to raise in the future should we be so lucky.

Our wedding song was “When You Got A Good Thing” by Lady A and listening to that brings back the memories and lyrics that we hold dear to our hearts. We never forget that we do have a good thing! A GREAT thing. A unique thing.

It has always been Us and We not You and Me. We understand every decision we make is for us. Not for family. Not for friends. Not for work. Not for selfish reasons.

But what is best for US. Our favorite thing to do is enjoy every little thing around us, living in the moment, understanding how fortunate we are. We love to try new places and beers, eat new food then make fun of how it was too fancy over french fries. We love having friends and family in our home and we love being alone with the dog.

We choose to trust and love each other every day.

We choose to always kiss goodbye in the morning and say I love you every day.

We choose happiness and to laugh instead of taking each other too seriously.

We choose each other, over everything and everyone else, every day. 

11.07.2015

 11.07.2015. Photo by The Grays Photography.

 

Cheers to Three Years! 

Marin

 

And if you’d like to watch our wedding video click here

 

“Lord knows we’ve had our bad days
And more than once we’ve disagreed
But you’ve always been a friend to me.
And there’s times I’d rather kill you
Than listen to your honesty
But you’ve always been a friend to me.”

-Garth Brooks, A Friend To Me

 

 

 

Book Club Review + Bonus Download! (October 2018)

Before we begin, look to the right. If that doesn’t say you’re following the blog make sure you put your email in and I’ll send you free downloads from here on out!

In 2017 I started a list of my goals and accountability tracking for the year. I reached and exceeded every goal. (You can see that post on my personal page here.) If you haven’t read my other book reviews from this year you can catch up here.

The goal of this section of the blog is to share a glimpse into what inspires, motivates and teaches me. Out of the books I read, I only bring up the ones I would suggest taking a look at…there are still a few that get left out; entirely based on my own opinions.

So where do I find all these books to read? Lots of places. I follow the Book of the Month Club on Instagram and I get weekly suggestions from my daily news source, theSkimm. You can sign up for free here using my referral code!

 

Read For Fun

 

The Road to Eden's Ridge: Book review at www.mylocalcollaborative.com The Road to Eden’s Ridge by M.L. Rose

This is a liiitttlleee bit of stretch since this was a book I read in childhood but when I came across it while cleaning my mom’s house, I just had to bring it back and re-read this book. I remember loving the lyrics to songs inside, the way M.L. Rose (two authors) described the main character and placing actual country singers in the fictional character’s roles. This love story is set in Nashville and Maine, with a few flashbacks between family members and a surprising truth (ok you can probably guess mid-way through) of an aspiring country music artist and the George Strait of her world.

Once I was done reading this book I ended up donating it because I don’t like clutter and I hope someone else is able to enjoy this book.

 

the woman in cabin 10 book review at www.mylocalcollaborative.com The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Another recommendation from a friend, The Woman In Cabin 10 did not disappoint. To me, cabin meant this story would take place in the woods, maybe during camp but it is actually on a cruise ship following a journalist with mental health issues after having been attacked by an apartment burglar. I couldn’t help but think of The Sinner. The journalist witnesses a murder and is instantly viewed by others on the ship as the paranoid woman. After doubting herself, searching for clues and digging where she shouldn’t the main character is taken through a disturbing, confusing and thrilling mystery that ends at a (in my opinion) cliffhanger conclusion.

 

The Child book review at www.mylocalcollaborative.com The Child by Fiona Barton

I feel like if I had read the hardcopy vs the audiobook I probably would have been more involved and follow the three female characters in this book with more understanding on how they were connected. Having said that it was very creative how Barton worked around the fallout when a newborn’s skeleton is discovered beneath a bulldozed London building site. The truths exposed are also eerily tied to what is going on in the world/news currently and hits the pain points many women experience in their lives. As NPR reported in their own book review, The Child does more showing than telling and that’s what makes it a unique and intriguing story. Like the journalist character in this book you, too, will find yourself on the edge of your seat attempting to figure out whose skeleton was buried, whose baby it was and who is to be held responsible.

 

Read For Improvement

The Secret book review on www.mylocalcollaborative.com The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

This audio book was just over four hours long and, while it’s not something I would normally seek out, it is a classic that everyone should read or listen to. It focuses around manifesting what you want and the Law of Attraction. I could have done without the dramatic music and voices but this was still a gem filled with helpful and motivating tidbits such as “Energy flows where intention goes.” and “You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things.” I agreed with the mindset shift they suggest of being Anti THING vs. Pro THING. Are you anti fast food or are you pro healthy eating? If you’re feeling lost or out of control/off your path give this your attention.

The Go-Giver Leader book review on www.mylocalcollaborative.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Go-Giver Leader by Bob Burg and John David Mann

This was another fairly short audio book at about 3.5 hours. I didn’t realize this book was originally titled ‘It’s Not About You‘ but they re-published with this new title and new cover because they believe it wasn’t sending the right message about what the book was about. THIS is why BRANDING is so incredibly important. This book asks the question ‘What is influence?’ and ‘What is influence made of?’ It is an unseen flow of power. We often think that influence means manipulation but that is not true. Every person in leadership, business or any position of influence needs to read this book; and own it.

 

The 5 Love Languages book review on www.mylocalcollaborative.com The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I learned about the love languages during college in a workshop with my sorority and heard about it all over the place afterward. I never read this book before and never read it for marriage; more-so out of curiosity. I believed my love language to be words of affirmation but now after retaking the test this June, realized it’s Quality Time. Here were my results.

8 Quality Time
7 Physical Touch
7 Words of Affirmation
5 Acts of Service
3 Receiving Gifts

I do feel like this has a lot to do with what you’re going through in that moment so it would be fun to retake once a year. You can find out the love language for you OR your child here.

 


 

You’ve read through my opinions so you deserve some FREE STUFF! Make sure you are following the blog (upper right of this page) to get free downloads in the future. Once you’re following, go ahead and download this document: GOALS FOR 2018 from Local Collaborative I mentioned to track your goals and adventures for the rest of the year and into 2019.

 

Cheers!

Marin

PS: Are you enjoying these blogs? Have we worked together? I would love to get your short and honest review on my Facebook page. Thanks in advance!