My First Visit to the San Juans

IMG_8683Roughly 20 years ago, I saw photos of the San Juan Islands in a travel story. I was nothing short of mesmerized by the natural beauty of a part of our country, which, to that point, I didn’t know existed. It looked like another world, not the United States. The San Juans have been on my “must visit” list ever since. Little did I know I would one day be living less than a half day’s journey from them!

For the twins’ Spring Break this year we packed our bags for Friday Harbor on the largest island, San Juan. Their friends were bragging about travel plans to Palm Springs and other sunny destinations, which made me feel a little guilty, admittedly. We were basically taking the twins on a week-long nature hike, but we know our kids. They may have preferred to be in Disneyland, but they love the outdoors.

Here are our favorites from our trip

IMG_8267Roche Harbor – a short drive from Snug Harbor Resort, where we stayed, this village is quite charming, complete with a little white church and brick-paved streets. We dined at McMillin’s in Roche Harbor later in the week, where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset, not to mention tasty food.

IMG_8351English Camp – even a long-time (50+ years) American history professor (my dad) had never heard of this “conflict” between the British and the United States, which all began with the killing of a pig in 1859. What ensued was an argument between the two countries over who owned the San Juans. This stand-off dragged on for 12 years until in 1871 the boundary issue was placed in the hands of Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany for arbitration. Thanks, Wil! The camp sits on Garrison Bay, and the hikes around the property are easy and scenic. A visit to the cemetery where 7 British men are buried is worth the walk (across the road).

IMG_0089Lime Kiln Point State Park and light house – we read this spot was our best bet for seeing whales, short of a whale-watching tour, and if we had brought binoculars, we would have had a great view of a group of orca swimming far off the shore. Darn it! We will know better next time. This park includes a nice hike along the water to a beach/bay full of driftwood and rocks. Just beware of a sharp cliff near the whale-watching sign not far from the light house. After I wrote a letter of concern to the park, they have agreed to install warning signs of the cliff danger.

IMG_0137American Camp – situated on the south end of the island (English camp is on the north side), we were astounded by the vast open land here. The drive to American camp looks like the English countryside. We would have enjoyed more time for exploring, but the kids were wearing down by this point of the trip.

IMG_8698Jakle’s Lagoon – two ladies at a local winery told us to take the twins here, and we were not disappointed. The short hike to the lagoon was very pretty through dense trees, and the beach is long, rocky and full of driftwood. A driftwood fort had been built by previous visitors, and we had fun adding to it.

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We look forward to returning and to visiting the other islands, as well. We promised the twins next time we will ride horses and drive scooters. They love those ideas (but they remain curious about Palm Springs).

(All photos are my own.)

My Advice To New Moms

PRINT_MG_6479-3I will preface this blog by saying I am not an expert in raising a child. I have 6-year old twins, but this by no means makes me an authority. I read one or two books on caring for a baby before the birth of mine, and that was it.

I was asked by a soon-to-be mom for my motherhood advice. I proffered what was on my mind. She loved it. So, I thought I’d share it on my blog for others who may appreciate it, as well.

  • Don’t go it alone. We’ve all heard “it takes a village” to raise a child. Truer words were never spoken. Don’t try to do everything yourself. If others offer to help you, let them. You will need breaks, and you will need extra hands. Find a mom group in your community for advice and support, for play dates, and, most importantly, for Mom’s Night Out!
  • Trust your instincts. You will be amazed at things you will “just know” because you are their mom even when they cannot tell you what is bothering them. You will learn to read their cries and their moods. However, call the pediatrician and nurses as much as you need to. You will need their guidance.
  • The baby phase goes fast. Try to enjoy it, but it is okay if you sort of hate it sometimes, too. There will be days when you are over all of it. That is fine, and that is normal. (See point #1 about Mom’s Night Out.)
  • Feed your baby however you need to. Advice on breast feeding changes constantly. Do what you can and do what feels right to you and your baby. Each situation and baby is unique. If breast feeding doesn’t work out for you, your baby will be fine! I pumped milk for seven months for my twins and guess what? Once they started crawling, they were sick all the time, and they pretty much stayed sick until two months ago. I am sure I gave them good nutrients, but do not put a lot of pressure on yourself to make it work.
  • Your life will be messy and disorganized. This includes your schedule, your house and don’t get me started on Mommy Brain. It’s real. Just know that one day you won’t have bottles spread all over your kitchen counter, or diapers filling up your trash. You will get back to a new normal, which will still be a bit chaotic and messy, but not as much as the baby phase.
  • You will be a GREAT mom. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I am a horrible mother,” either from other women or inside my own head. No, we are not horrible. In fact, we are fantastic. Do not feed yourself negative talk ever. You will have your own strengths as a mother. They may not be the same as your mom’s nor will they be exactly like those of other moms around you. But your child will think you are THE best mom ever. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

IMG_8618Have fun, be yourself, don’t compare, and by all means, sleep as much as possible!

My best,

Bethany

(Photos of Nathan & Vivien as infants by Dahlia & Daisies Designs.)

Why I Allowed My Daughter To Cut Her Hair

IMG_7936About two months ago, my six-year old daughter asked to have her shoulder-length hair cut like her brother’s hair (quite short). I waited a few weeks before making the appointment for her, periodically checking to see if she still wanted to do. Yes, she was firm. I talked her away from Nathan’s super short cut, however. My advice was to do a more feminine style: a pixie like Michelle Williams. IMG_7961I showed her a few photos on Pinterest. She liked them and agreed.

I am in the business of helping people refine their personal image. It is my job to make sure my clients look like who they are and what they do. My daughter is a tomboy and she hates me to do anything with her hair (no pony tails, no braids, no barrettes, etc.). While a pixie is amazingly well-suited to her face shape and bone structure, it is also the perfect cut for a sensible, slightly boy-ish young lady!

I asked my personal hair stylist, Julianna of Bocz Salon (photographed below with Vivien), to do the cut. I didn’t trust anyone else to do it. Great success! The cut is so easy to wash and style. And best of all, no tangles for me to comb (my daughter is quite tender-headed).  Vivien has been skipping around, super happy with her new haircut. She has loved it from the start.

Here is what I hope Vivien takes away from this experience.

IMG_7975Do what you love. This applies to the career she will one day pursue, the clothing she will buy and the updates and changes she will make over the years to her image. Do not worry what others think. Make up your own mind and go for it.

She is in charge of her image. Vivien is free to express herself through her personal image. While I still play the role of her mother, protecting, guiding and teaching her, she can make image choices for herself. I may not agree with all her choices, but she has the power to make them!

Change is good. Vivien has always resisted most new challenges. This is not something she was taught. It is simply in her DNA. However, now that she has experienced a dramatic image change that made her very happy, I hope she will understand that change is a part of life, and many changes are good ones.

Here is what I took away from this experience: I am very proud of my daughter. She is smart, strong and very capable. While she has received a little bit of negative feedback on her new look from a couple of peers, she stands firm in her choice to cut her hair. She loves it, and I love her.

IMG_7973Brother Nathan was less than interested in what was happening.

IMG_7990Vivien made a sweet new friend before she left the salon.

What image change would you like to make? Let me know in your comments!

My best,

Bethany

All photos are my own.

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Aeon Neue Fashion – Art Institute of Seattle

IMG_7629It was a pleasure to attend the Aeon Neue Fashion show last night, showcasing collections of students of the Art Institute of Seattle. This student-run show was the school’s 19th, and this year it was hosted at the Canvas Event Space, which itself is an industrial work of art. I was mesmerized by the oversized chandeliers with numerous individual LED lights.

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It takes great courage to show your art and your hard work to an audience of not only friends and family but also the local fashion crowd. I applaud the students for their hard work on their collections and for pulling together a wonderful show.

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As you can see from the photos above (my own), there is a wide-ranging aesthetic among the students who showcased their work. It is refreshing to see their hard work come to life on the runway.

Thanks for taking a peek. See you again soon!—Bethany

 

Lavender Hill Farm – Vashon Island

IMG_3535With my twins entering Kindergarten this fall, I am acutely aware this summer is very special for us, a last moment of calm before the storm of schedules, reading, writing and school activities hit. Lavender Hill Farm on Vashon Island, a short ferry ride from our home in West Seattle, was an easy day trip for us, a picnic packed in the back of my car.

IMG_3448For starters, the ferry ride was gorgeous. And we did not have a long wait for the ferry, which is not always a given during summer.

IMG_3533When we arrived at the farm, we learned it was the last week they were open (end of July). Lucky us! What a charming property, not very large, with a private home (that is available for rent most months of the year), picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and a quaint store. IMG_3536

IMG_3475You can cut your own lavender or buy a bunch already cut for $6. They have a wide variety of products in the shop including hand creams, body scrubs, and, of course, lavender oil, of which they have a few varieties. They grow 20 varieties of lavender on the property, and they distill their own oil. The lavender season is short, 6-8 weeks, so plan ahead and make a point of visiting next year.

IMG_3503IMG_3504All photos by me.—Bethany

Dallas Street Style Heats Up

IMG_3053My hair stylist and best friend, Gary Walden, has been doing my hair for longer than I care to admit. Today the spotlight is on him as he heats up the Dallas streets with his playful yellow and blue ensemble and his perfectly imperfect bracelet stack. The bright yellow shorts play nicely off the darker blue shirt. Neither is vying for the focus. Perfect playmates.  The bracelets are a cool mix of colors, textures and weights. IMG_3082Each one stands on its own; however, he has brought them together in one look which makes it unique and special.

IMG_3068Whatever your story and whatever your style, it is yours. Let it speak and do not stifle it. Have fun. Thank you, Gary, for showing us how to have fun with style!

Technicolor Dreams at Neobantu

IMG_3092It was a wild party as revelers swang from the chandeliers, swilled champagne spilling over the edges of their glasses, their laughter ringing through the hallways… okay, maybe just that last part is true. But it was a colorful, wonderful evening of fashion at the studio of Tendai Tawonezvi as my Dallas clients, family and friends perused her spring/summer collection. A few smart party-goers purchased pieces to take home, investments for their wardrobe.

As I told everyone in attendance, when I spotted Tendai at a fashion event in Dallas a few years ago, she stood out in a sea of black-clad play-it-safers (of which I was one, sadly). I could not take my eyes off of her. I wanted what she had, not only the clothing, but also the bravery to wear it. Little did I know she was wearing her own pieces, and one day I would own a piece, as well. It makes me very happy every time I wear it. Naturally, I wish everyone to love and enjoy each piece they own, which is why I was eager to show Neobantu to my people!

Enjoy the photos from the colorful party, and if you have not seen Neobantu up close, follow Tendai’s blog so you can be at her next technicolor soiree! Happy Shopping, fashionistas. xo

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