Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Every April in Washington state there’s a liiitttllllee thing called the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Even if you haven’t heard of it, I am sure you’ve seen the photos. We went April 22, 2018. 

Before going, I was curious about where the festival was, how much it cost, what there was to do and I had a few other questions.

First, you need to know this is an area full of tulip farms near a town where they host the actual ‘Tulip Town festival’. Because of the draw of the attraction there will be a lot of traffic so plan for extra drive time. We parked in the back lot near a bank and walked into the main street of the town for their festival which was more like a street of live music and vendors.

We stopped in for a beer and lunch at a local pub after checking out the tents and tried to decide which tulip farm we wanted to visit. There are several to go to and, from what I was seeing, for free. As you drive out there are loads of signs to turn into different fields but we only visited one. I was extremely pleased with the the one near Swinomish Village.

 

You’ll have to remember it is an actual working farm so it’s very muddy. I know you’ll want to wear a cute outfit but incorporate boots you don’t mind getting muddy into that outfit!

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It’s hard to understand just how gorgeous it is in person vs. photography. The fields are separated by colors, solid vs. mixed pattern flowers and toward the back were daffodils and other types of flowers.

 

For a majority of you, this will be several hours of a drive. Before you go you can check out the weather in the area, the bloom times, and other news updates. It’s worth taking your kids and friends up for a day trip! Note that pets are not allowed and walking in the fields is not allowed. More information begins here. If you’re looking to stay up there for a weekend there are several things to do in the area and the surrounding areas. One of which is Anacortes.

Cheers!
Marin

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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

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Washington Family Trip: Anacortes & San Juan

Living 2,000+ miles away from our family the last three years has had it’s own challenges but it’s also one of the best things we could have done for us as a couple.

One of the perks of living far away is being able to offer a home away from home for family vacations. Both sides of our family and our friends have been awesome about coming to visit and we’ve been able to see and do a lot of fun activities with them. I’m going to go more in depth on some of the more popular areas (like Seattle) but the Upper Left Corner makes for a great trip no matter age, group size or time of year.

The first time our families come to visit we offer them a tour of our everyday life: the capitol 15 minutes away Olympia, our hometown Lacey, JBLM and Tolmie State Park (another day hike area I will dive into). We will also take a quick drive out to towns near the Puget Sound Steilacoom, Tacoma and Gig Harbor for great food, drinks and views. If you want to hear where we like to go, leave a comment and I will let you in on a secret.

When our in-laws visited in July 2017 we were looking for more adventure farther up. We looked into the San Juan Islands and nearby areas for hiking, look outs and whale watching. After picking up the family from SeaTac airport, we drove up to Anacortes. We stayed at the Majestic Inn & Spa which offered the best views of the town and the islands, the rooms were large and clean, the hotel was updated while keeping it’s historic charm. The Majestic offered fantastic service including a rooftop happy hour, delicious breakfast, free game/movie rentals and more. We highly recommend staying here.

The entire town has art standing and painted on the outside of buildings. We ate and drank on the strip since we were able to walk down the main street. There are some places where you must be over 21 to enter but there are many more where you can get in with your family. One of them was a super busy pizza place called Village Pizza. We noticed all the restaurants were busy so expect a wait at the popular places, especially as a table of six. We also stopped into the Rockfish Grill & Anacortes Brewery, Brown Lantern Ale House, and the 5th Street Bistro in the Majestic Inn. We also watched the sunset on the docks with the porpoises.

 

Here’s a quick view of the Snapchat story I had taken showcasing our trip. If you want to follow along in real time, here’s my Instagram.

 

A short drive from Anacortes over to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal to catch an early morning ferry over to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We hopped on the Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley (yes, that’s the real name and it was awesome) to tour the island. As soon as you hop off the ferry there are numerous options for trolleys and tours. The immediate area is full of steep streets that were covered in historical, patriotic decorations for the Fourth of July. There are lots of stores, ice cream, food and lavender shops.

I tried some lavender ice cream and some different flavors.

During our tour I was amazed that this was an ISLAND where people lived, worked and attended school. They told us how they take garbage off the island, electricity when it’s storming and routing other utilities or real estate. There were lots of farming fields and livestock as well as a huge lavender farm. We didn’t get off on this stop but even driving through you could smell the freshness. Next to this farm there was a huge tree house up in the woods if you look closely.

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On the other side of the island was Lime Kiln Point State Park. The driver let us off here for a little bit to walk around. You will want to put your phone on airplane mode here (if not the whole island) because of Canadian roaming charges. You can see Victoria from the edge of the coast.

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While we didn’t see whales on this trip there was lots of other wildlife and seals swimming around in the harbor. Last summer when we were in the Port Angeles area to whale watch we saw lots of Gray Whales. We had also seen lots of whales in the islands when we went whale watching with my sister. If that’s your goal, you’re in the right place.

 

Otherwise they do drive you through other attractions that will make you have huge House Hunters envy.  The next day we stopped through Seattle on our way back down to Olympia. While we spent the Fourth at our house, there’s also a really good fireworks show on Main post at JBLM or across the Sound.

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Let me know if you have any questions. Here’s to good adventure…Cheers!

Marin

 

PS: Did you want more to do in the PNW? Check out the Passport section of my blog to plan your trip; like this.