Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and the importance of connecting)

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“A sale is not something you pursue, it’s what happens to you when you are immersed in serving your customer.”
~ Unknown

This past week I’ve had a blast working with a coaching client who really gets it when it comes to the relationship-building aspect of sales. As a recruiter who has hired a lot of salespeople over the years, I’ve also come to notice how obvious it is during the interview process if someone has the ability to build relationships or if they are only about the money. There’s a certain way people operate that is something I can only explain as a “gut check”, where I just know deep down if I trust them, and if they’re going to look out for others, or if they’re all about themselves. Am I able to truly interact with them and get to know who they are and what drives them, or is it obvious they’re just waiting to talk and, yes, sell me something so they can get onto the next deal?

As I begin this project of examining different career paths and then eventually deep-diving into them on this blog, I found this great infographic (below) about the vital aspect of relationship building in today’s sales climate. More and more companies are realizing that they can’t just have old school sales and marketing teams. They need the kind of professionals who get that the Customer Experience is enhanced by those who have been out there building, nurturing and growing relationships, and with that, the business grows both financially and culturally. To be an employer of choice AND a product/service of choice? That takes people who get it.

Whether you are working on a retail sales floor, doing inside sales from an office, or out in the field making it happen, those connections are incredibly essential to your success. I think of the people I know in sales who have made me feel valued, and how I have shared my experiences with others so that they may prosper, and I know that as both a recruiter and a career coach, the relationships I build are why I’m successful. If I called it in, I’d be miserable and my clients would be looking elsewhere.

Here’s a bit more on the evolution of relationship building in the sales world (and sales folks, your thoughts and stories from the field are welcome!)…

Weekend in Pictures

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This weekend I had the most lovely time away from regular life at the coast for a Warrior Flow Wellness Retreat, hosted by my favorite yoga instructor, Jennifer Oechsner, at a huge house in Lincoln City. Along with 4.5 hours of yoga ranging from gentle to flow, mixed with meditations, we also received massages by none other than my favorite massage therapist, Julie Campbell of Written on the Body. Oh wait, and did I mention Brittney from New Seasons Market was our chef for the weekend with tons of fresh, local, organic ingredients to nourish us during this time?

Needless to say, it was wonderful and really an honor to get to spend time with ten (eleven?) interesting, smart, and creative women who bring so much to the world we live in. Along with that, it was nice to have it set up so that there was enough unstructured time to get to take solo walks on the beach, sit at the window and write, curl up on the sofa and read, and just sit around and talk with other women you may have never otherwise met and get to know each other. An unexpected surprise for me was making a vision board, as it really made me contemplate my intentions for the coming months and years. What does my world look like now and where is it headed? How have my priorities shifted and what do I need to let go of so that I may explore and create new bliss?

Here are a few things I saw while out on the beach, from the early Saturday morning fog to its rainy afternoon to Sunday morning’s windy nature to the last minute walk through afternoon sunshine…

Footprint

 

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Aimee1

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and understanding today’s marketing profession)

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I’ve had the chance to hire, career coach, and partner on social media with a ton of marketing professionals, and the one thing that is often understated about this profession, time and again, is how incredibly multifaceted these folks are. The common stereotype for recruiters is to call us ‘sales’ which is so not true. I’ve always felt that there are much more similarities between (good) recruiters and (good) marketers, as the work is so incredibly cross-functional, with a need to blend both technical and creative skills and work with a tremendous variety of individuals and systems to be successful in their organizations, as well as influencers outside of the corporate world.

Below is a sweet infographic that I think summarizes the many sides of today’s marketing professional, and what makes working with them so cool! Got anything more to add, marketers? What should people know about you that they don’t know?

(This is a hint of what’s to come! Over the coming months, I’ll be delving into different career tracks in my 9 to 5 column, with interviews of professionals who have been there and done that!).

Weekend in Pictures

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Yay for rain! After a ton of work in the garden both in the front and back yards, the skies opened up, giving us much needed precipitation after a very dry start to autumn. So when the skies took a rest? Ahhh...this taken as we walked out of Cafe Eleven, one of our neighborhood haunts. :)

Yay for rain! After a ton of work in the garden both in the front and back, the skies opened up, giving us much needed precipitation after a very dry start to autumn. So when the skies took a rest? Ahhh…these clouds were spied as we walked out of Cafe Eleven, one of our neighborhood haunts. :)

As our sweet girl can't do major hikes, we found an easy trail for her to get the chance to be safely off leash and experience nature. :)

As our girl can’t do major hikes, we found an easy trail for her to get the chance to be safely off leash and experience nature. After being cooped up in a fluorescent-lit shelter for far too long, we love giving her these kinds of experiences!! While she got tuckered out pretty quick, she was happy to quietly, slowly explore her new surroundings in the trees :)

And with that, she got to cool off in the river and enjoy the field trip. She's no hyper water dog, however - while she strolled for a wee bit along the water, she mostly just drank from it then laid down on the sand while the spazzy retrievers and the like raced back and forth. Our girl has no interest in sticks or balls - she was more interested in just chilling with us while we sat on a log :)

And with that, she got to cool off in the river and enjoy the field trip. She’s no hyper water dog, however – while she strolled for a wee bit along the water, she mostly just drank from it then laid down on the sand while the spazzy retrievers and the like raced back and forth. Our girl has no interest in sticks or balls – she was more interested in just chilling with us while we sat on a log :)

My husband's gardenia plant is blooming!

My husband’s gardenia plant is blooming!

We bought several Japanese Holly plants referred to as "sky pencils" in that they grow that skinny and reach up to 8-10'. Excellent against the fence and won't be such a bugger to maintain!

We bought several Japanese Holly plants referred to as “sky pencils” in that they grow that skinny and reach up to 8-10′. Excellent against the fence and won’t be such a bugger to maintain! I’d love to have more but dang they are soooo expensive! Slowly but surely…

My husband landed a second job at the local organic grocer, so we celebrated with - of course! - great food :) Incredible Italian meal at Three Doors Down off SE Hawthorne in a romantic little table by the window. He's going to be a busy man with this and his job at the pub but after some disappointment at the way services are handled in Portland in his normal profession (mainly nonprofit work here compared to Oz), he's happy to be in an environment that is fun and fast paced until he figures out his next move.

My husband landed a second job at the local organic grocer, so we celebrated with – of course! – great food :) Shared an incredible Italian meal at Three Doors Down off Hawthorne in a romantic little table by the window. He’s going to be a busy man with this and his job at the pub, but after some disappointment at the way services are handled in Portland in his normal profession (mainly nonprofit work here compared to Oz), he’s happy to be in an environment that is fun and fast paced until he figures out his next move. (image source)

EcoGrrl-icious

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My sweet girl likes to look out the window while I'm working (when she's not sleeping, that is), so there's a box there that she can put her front paws on to improve her vantage point :)

Our girl likes to look out the window while I’m working (when she’s not sleeping, that is), so I have a box there that she puts her front paws on to improve her vantage point :)

Here we go, y’all…are you feeling the chill in the evenings yet? I went to go buy a sweater for winter and was amazed there were none to be found – isn’t October when you start stocking up for winter? (Please retailers don’t make me shop after Thanksgiving!) Anyhow, we are focusing on completely revamping our garden before the rains come (before & after pix to come soon…I hope!) while the husband works a couple of jobs as well, but I’ve managed to still find some rad things to share with ya…

* The real deal on when you need to be washing your recyclablesI always rinse everything – pop ‘em in the dishwasher, how hard is it?

* How to make your own canning & pickling salt - spotted on Pinterest. Rad! That being said, I’m done pickling for the year but will remember this for next year’s preserving party!

* Engineer leaves Toyota to plant trees. Awesome story. What are you doing to push for greater green?

* Incredibly honored to be asked to be a keynote speaker at an Oregon Women Lawyers event in January for women in a variety of professions. OWL believes “that by working together, we can transform the practice of law and ensure justice and equality by advancing women and minorities in the profession.” YES!

* If the Earth was a cherry tomato – awesome graphic for all ages :)

* And as we get that chill of autumn in the evenings, staying inside and cooking is getting more and more tantalizing. Husband and I love cooking together and I’m going to be introducing him to baking this winter. Starting with these Chocolate Chip and Toffee Shortbread Cookies. Yum.

* We had an emotional first two weeks with our new dog Ruby, as we almost thought we’d need to find her a new home, because of the gross misrepresentation (and a few downright direct lies) by the Oregon Humane Society of her extensive health problems and physical capabilities. When we went to them for counsel, instead of being empathetic and trying to suggest solutions, they instead threatened us, demanded we bring her back, and then when we made the decision to keep her, instead of congratulating us they said they were putting us on their “do not adopt” list and telling all the other shelters in the Portland area that they should not adopt to us in the future. After volunteering with and contributing to this organization for years, we were sickened by the behavior of OHS and learned on Yelp that there are a number of other complaints over the years of the way they misrepresent pets. From now on, I contribute to ASPCA instead. I am proud I stood up to their unprofessional, unethical behavior and bullying and refuse to let them prey on the guilt of adoptive owners anymore.

“It is not the anger of other women that will destroy us but our refusals to stand still, to listen to its rhythms, to learn within it, to move beyond the manner of presentation to the substance, to tap that anger as an important source of empowerment.”
~ Audre Lord

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and leading in an ever-changing world)

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image source
(image source)

This week I’ve invited business leader and tech advisor/consultant Peter Bohnert to guest blog for my weekly “9 to 5″ column where the focus is on the career, from finding a job to the various facets of being in one, whether it be the daily grind, leading teams, the art of running your own business, and much more. Originally a client who became a dear friend to my husband and I (and participated in last year’s interview series!), Peter is a highly respected leader of teams, with a lot of wisdom to share. In today’s post, Peter shares his thoughts on collaboration in today’s evolving and globally distributed business world…

On the morning of September 20th, like many people around the world, I was eager to hear of the results of the Scottish independence referendum.

Having lived and worked for a time in the Republic of Ireland and have traveled there many times over the years, I’m familiar with the long history and tenor of independence debate and struggle from those island nations. There continues to be quite a lot of fallout from the election results, with both feelings of relief from many (most?) in the UK as well as clear positioning for more devolvement: i.e., witness the English wanting to have ‘England only’ votes in the House of Commons.

I am struck by two things: there is a lot of truth in seeing four different peoples be “better together” as one country and there is equally a lot of truth to the great advantages of local governance. I imagine these themes are going to continue to play out for the UK for some time and a greater degree of devolvement within the country – for English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Scots – will probably take place.

A further significance of this event started to crystallize for me some time later during a conversation with a senior engineering director for a globally dispersed software company. This person clearly was chafing at the constraints of centralized leadership “sending down direction” from another geography and wanted to know how I would manage such a distributed set of teams in one company if I were the overall head of engineering.

I thought to myself, is there a lesson here from Scotland?

I have built my career on managing engineering and product teams in many different kinds of software companies. I’ve also started two companies of my own and admit I have enjoyed the adrenalin rush of needing to grow my company and product when I cannot find my engineering talent either within my locality or within my budget. Or both.

There was a time when the question of who I would hire was more often a financial one, and I first started working with hybrid onshore/offshore team models around that time. As time has passed, it has become simply more and more difficult to find enough talented engineers to meet the kinds of aggressive product and project timelines we have and to do so in ridiculously hot hiring markets like Portland and San Francisco.

Suffice to say, it is for all of those reasons that I’ve spent the last ten years of my career embracing the notion of distributed teams. I say ‘embrace’ because I truly believe the best way to move creatively in a distributed world is to look for advantages in this model, rather than get stuck on the challenges.

Everywhere I look I see this as one of the leading growing trends – that the only way to survive and flourish is to hire your talent where you can find them and let go of the very natural desire to have every member of your team in the same room.

I am a firm believer in the power of collaborative teams – cross-functional teams at that. The very notion of collaboration implies to me the ability to work side by side with others and bounce ideas off each other as you work the creative process. There is truly something distinctive and bonding about being able to be in someone’s presence as you first get to know them and as you face difficult problems together. I’ve seen teams truly galvanize and accomplish amazing things together.

But how do you do that when you have product teams dispersed across four, five or more different physical locations?

I have found the answer lies in balance. In balancing between building global cultures and local ones.

Recently I built a team for my company – a team of 75 technical and product people across 4 continents and 6 time zones. It was crucial to aim for a globally defined culture – to have a sense for what it meant to be a member of the overall team as we were building a new product with new technologies and we wanted a single Agile process throughout.

There were a lot of components in our approach to succeeding at this and yes they did include frequently putting people on planes and more often utilizing video conferencing, group chat and other collaborative technologies. Laying the groundwork of a new team with everyone in the same room tended to make the follow-on long distance collaboration more effective. Frequently repeating the “in person” experience keeps that connection refreshed.

I found that much depended upon consistently setting the example and leading from the front: regularly demonstrating the importance of connecting and collaborating across geographies. As the manager of this distributed team, I believed that I needed to make it my regular practice to set direction, let collaboration flourish, take measurements, share feedback across the teams and set new course corrections based upon that. Then repeat. And repeat again.

Leadership, however, is not just leading from the front. As your cross-geography team starts to get momentum, it is critical to find those opportunities to delegate and then lead from behind and from the side. As you do this, you can also start to look for ways for local culture in each of your different geographies to thrive and contribute to the overall success of the team. Local culture is one of those hugely important elements in what keeps technical and product people engaged – increasing the sense of belonging and community amongst a team.

I’m not just talking about fun stuff like beer & wine in the fridge, special team outings and local traditions that help bind that team together (and yes those are very important).

I’m also talking about looking for local efficiencies – perhaps your Portland team has the greatest concentration of your webstore/shopping cart technical knowledge while product catalog know-how might be in Austin.  If you find a situation like that, let those sub-teams and team leads run with their specialty while you as manager ensure that the connecting points continue to get the attention they need.

I want my team leads to not be afraid to try out new ideas locally and also not to get caught up in asking permission first. Yes, that is something that needs to be moderated to a degree, but I find a huge benefit in pushing for innovation while keeping the connective links between your teams and geographies.

Can this go too far? Can you be too distributed? Yes, indeed.

Everyone’s threshold is different – every team I’ve managed has its own rhythm, cadence and collaborative framework that works most optimally. Experimentation is key here, along with a willingness to admit one approach has failed and to try another. Think in terms of Agile processes – for example, I favor an approach where we regularly do a “lessons learned” look at how we are collaborating together across geographies and make adjustments accordingly.

Ultimately, where we fail is when we are lulled into wanting our work to be a checklist item – can I just mark this done and go work on something else? Instead, keep your focus on this as a practice, where you regularly alternate between making course corrections based upon the team’s shared experience, and then letting those collaborative teams make their magic without you breathing down their necks. It’s in finding that balance between the efficiencies of small co-located teams and the accomplishments feasible with networks of such teams all closely collaborating with each other.

Like our friends in the UK, there can be great momentum and execution as one global community, even and especially while you are also pushing large amounts of decision-making authority and accountability down to the local level.

It also helps if each team has some really great flags to fly.

Weekend in Pictures

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Well, staring at the peppers doesn't appear to help them turn fully red, so after being home a week and a half and no changes in color, we've harvested the rest of our pepper plants and the husband gets to enjoy the green ones (I only like red and yellow). For the greens, I prefer to slice them, lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer, then after they're solid, pile them into canning jars and freeze them for later use. Easy-peasy.

Well, staring at our peppers doesn’t appear to help them turn fully red, so after being home a week and a half and no changes in color, we’ve harvested the rest of our pepper plants and the husband gets to enjoy the green ones (I only like red and yellow). For the greens, I prefer to slice them, lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer, then after they’re solid, pile them into canning jars and freeze them for later use. Easy-peasy.

One week and our new girl Ruby is both charming us and making us a little nuts. The plusses are that she doesn't dig, bark, or chew, and is super easy around kids and other animals. Oh yeah, and this charming little thing of pretending to offer up her paw when she wants attention. The negative is her bullmastiff notoriety for stubbornness which on every walk causes her to suddenly balk, and often just sit down right where she is (even in the middle of the street), and the fact that she also is a 10 year old dog in the body of a 5 year old in terms of activity level. That and the Oregon Humane Society having done a crap job of assessing her health, not mentioning her bad tooth or dealing with her incredibly fungus- and yeast-filled ears which have required some pretty spendy medication. But she's a sweet girl, and we're going to do our best to be good pet parents. :)

One week and our new girl Ruby is both charming us and making us a little nuts. The plusses are that she doesn’t dig, bark, or chew, and is super easy around kids and other animals. Oh yeah, and this charming little thing of offering up her paw when she wants attention. The negative is her bullmastiff stubbornness which on every walk causes her to suddenly balk, and often just sit down right where she is (even in the middle of the street), and the fact that she also is a 10 year old dog in the body of a 5 year old in terms of activity level. That and the Oregon Humane Society having done a crap job of assessing her health, not mentioning her bad tooth or dealing with her incredibly fungus- and yeast-filled ears which have required some pretty spendy medication. But she’s a sweet girl, and we’re going to do our best to be good pet parents. :)

Used up our gift card (a long-unused wedding present as the nursery is really far from where we live) to get six sky pencil Japanese hollies to go along our fenceline.  We

Grabbed a Ziptruck and used our gift card to help finance six “sky pencil” Japanese hollies to go along our fenceline. We recently invested in an electric corded chainsaw to take out several of our gargantuan laurels which grow out of control (and are really exhausting (and expensive) to maintain), so after we get the stumps ground out we’re going to plant these nice, narrow, slower-growing hollies along the fenceline to create a more controlled privacy screen. (example from Pinterest shown above)

And while most of the weekend was spent in the garden in the middle of a massive revamping of our raised beds and much more (before and after pix to be posted when we're done!), we did also decided that in the spring we're going to use our frequent flyer miles we've accrued to go to Paris! As 2015 is our year dedicated to starting a family, what better place than the most romantic city in the world to kick that off?!  (image credit)

And while most of the weekend was spent sweating (yes sweating – it was close to 80 here in PDX) in the garden in the middle of a massive revamping of our raised beds and much more (before and after pix to be posted when we’re done!), we did also decided that in the spring we’re going to use our frequent flyer miles we’ve accrued to go to Paris! As 2015 is our year dedicated to starting a family, what better place than the most romantic city in the world to kick that off?! (image credit)

EcoGrrl-icious

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Okay I’m finally 100% back in action on the blog!!! After sorting through a bajillion honeymoon photos and sharing those, now it’s time to get back to posting the things I love and writing for reals :) I hope everyone here in the northern hemisphere is enjoying the start of fall, and for the folks down south the start of spring! Here is my latest list of discoveries I wanted to share…

* One thing I miss from my time in Australia with my (now) hubby is the orange almond cake which seemed to be everywhere.  I love this recipe from the awesome blog Life at Arbordale Farm – and did I mention it’s gluten free?

* After Yelp-ing about the fact that I didn’ t like seeing foie gras on the menu of a favorite restaurant (and therefore would no longer be returning), a fellow Yelper emailed me with this link to Order (free) Cards Urging Restaurants To Stop Serving Foie Gras, provided by the Humane Society. Don’t know what the issues are with foie gras? Read this.

* The hubby and I enjoyed the quieter life so much during our honeymoon that we are contemplating a move out to the countryside when our house is paid off here in Portland. No, we don’t want to become farmers, just have a quiet spot of land to live on and raise our (future) kids. We’ve read a lot about straw and cob building, and that might be the ticket. In the meantime, reading The Last Straw Journal, which focuses on straw bale and other natural building techniques, is keeping our ears perked up.

* Coming home from honeymoon with a 20 pound box of pears meant making my annual batch of pear ginger preserves, and this year, spiced pear butter. After making apple butter in the crock pot last year, it’s pretty darn addictive to just toss everything in the slow cooker and go to bed and wake up just having to can/waterbath it! I like making apple and pear butters because it doesn’t have to STAY butter – pour it onto parchment and make it into fruit rollups? Yes please!

* With our new family member Ruby, it’s time to get her to the vet for a checkup. So psyched to hear that Lombard Animal Hospital offers both conventional and alternative healthcare for pets, as she’s got a bit of a swayback and we’re contemplating acupuncture to help her feel better.

* And finally, I love this Utne Reader story on teaching kids to heal the earth. While everywhere around me there are articles about people making money, building tech companies and products, and creating supposed “needs” where once there was none (I swear to god, I just read an article praising Elon Musk for “recognizing the need for affordable space travel”, I kid you not), our relationships with each other and our planet that nurtures us is what really matters.

What if when you die, they ask “How was heaven?”
~Author Unknown

Honeymoon Happies: Woodinville, Snoqualmie, Yakima & The Gorge

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The final part of our honeymoon after 5 days on Orcas brought us over to Woodinville and Snoqualmie, then taking the I-90 through the central part of the state, heading to Yakima then down to the Columbia River Gorge for our final night before getting back home.  It was quite an adventure with lots of memories, but like every road trip, also makes you happy to be home sweet home :)

While we came to Woodinville with the idea we'd be wine tasting, that ended up being tossed out the window after realizing there were few vineyards and mostly just tasting rooms lined up in a row with not a ton of personality - kind of like a "wine mall" IMHO. It turns out the best part of these couple of days was when we stopped by 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living!

While we came to Woodinville with the idea we’d be wine tasting, that ended up being tossed out the window after realizing there were few vineyards and mostly just tasting rooms lined up in a row with not a ton of personality – kind of like a “wine mall” IMHO. It turns out the coolest part of these couple of days was when we stopped by 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living!

While our original intent was to stop by their farmers market for some picnicking food (the Asian pears were SO good!), we'd arrived an hour early on our bikes and met Jane, the events manager who gave us an extra long tour of the building and grounds, explaining a lot of their awesome green building features.

While our original intent was to stop by their farmers market for some picnicking food (the Asian pears were SO good!), we’d arrived an hour early on our bikes and met Jane, the events manager who gave us an extra long tour of the building and grounds, explaining a lot of their awesome green building features. Everything from solar energy to water savings to air quality and of course food production was taken into consideration, and I loved hearing about all the kids who get to come here and learn about where their food comes from!

Walking the grounds, there were a ton of ideas for how we could continue to push ourselves sustainably. As we are thinking of eventually making our garage's roof into a green roof, this example was super informative!

Walking the grounds, there were a ton of ideas on display for how we could continue to push ourselves sustainably. As we are thinking of eventually making our garage’s roof into a green roof, this example of what’s involved in making that happen was super informative!

Lots of ideas in the adjoining community garden, and I was definitely enjoying being in flower mode :)

Lots of ideas in the adjoining community garden, and I was definitely enjoying all the flowers on another mild sunny day :)

We then drove down to Snoqualmie  and hiked down to get a view of the falls. Arriving there on a weekend meant a zillion tourists to plow through which was a bit annoying, but not as many went all the way down to the final viewing spot so we got a few nice shots. Unfortunately we were dismayed to see how much litter was everywhere! At every viewing point you could look down and see coffee cups and soda cans and other trash, and at the last overlook there was a gnarly old gal chainsmoking and unfriendly. Nothing like walking through a wall of smoke on a small observation deck to see nature. I had great memories of this place when I was in my 20's and unfortunately will probably never come back.

We then drove down to Snoqualmie Falls and hiked down to get a view of the falls. Arriving there on a weekend meant a zillion tourists to plow through which was a bit annoying, but not as many went all the way down to the final viewing spot so we got a few nice shots. Unfortunately we were dismayed to see how much litter was everywhere! At every viewing point you could look down and see coffee cups and soda cans and other trash, and at the last overlook there was a gnarly old gal chainsmoking and unfriendly. Nothing like walking through a wall of smoke on a small observation deck to see nature. I had great memories of climbing around this place when I was in my 20’s living in the Seattle area and now will probably never come back as it’s so poorly managed.  We stayed at the Salish Lodge which was supposed to be 5 star and well let’s just say it’s gone downhill…a LOT. Water damage and terrible service and a housekeeping staff that seems to think it’s fine to go through your personal toiletries. The best part of this particular leg of the trip was getting OUT of the town for breakfast at Issaquah Coffee. Felt like home :)

That being said I loved seeing my honey smile :)

That being said I loved seeing my honey smile :)

And the river itself was lovely...

And the river itself was lovely…

No matter where we go, we're blissin' on our life together :)

No matter where we go, we’re blissin’ on our life together :)

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After finding out our (so very not) 5 star hotel in Snoqualmie served Starbucks (yikes), we skipped coffee and headed outta town and dropped into Cle Elum where Stella’s awaited us with killer coffee (including this city grrl’s nondairy options) and delicious treats (gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, anyone?). Plus there were super nice gals working there and a totally awesome cowgirl motif. One of our fave places on the road – yay! The fancy hotel restaurants could take a lesson or three from them :)

Yakima-Dan

My husband’s literary hero Raymond Carver moved to Yakima, Washington, as a child with his family, and so as part of our trip we spent some time chasing around the areas inside and outside of town (including the gorgeous old winding highway along the river and adjacent to the I-90 that he recommended) where he grew up and spent time, based on a letter from Carver in the book Carver Country. (great photos by Bob Adelman by the way). Two of the three homes he referenced in the book are now gone, replaced by a strip mall and apartments (boo!), but we did see one, and also stopped by the 100+ year old Sports Center, where he spent time and which is still open for business (sadly it’s next to an Olive Garden).

Ha! The Teapot Dome Gas Station (no longer in service) was the cover shot on our atlas and we realized it was about 8 miles off the freeway on the way from Yakima to the Gorge, outside of Zillah. So naturally we stopped by to snap a shot :)

Ha! The Teapot Dome Gas Station (no longer in service), built in 1922, was the cover shot on our atlas and we discovered it was about 8 miles off the freeway on the way from Yakima to the Gorge, outside of Zillah. So naturally we stopped by to snap a shot :)

Husband wanted to check out the Maryhill Museum of Art in Klickitat before we crossed over to the Oregon side of the  Columbia. OK museum iwth a great Native American exhibit and even some Rodin. A bit bougie otherwise but the view from the parking lot was unbeatable :)

Husband wanted to check out the Maryhill Museum of Art in Klickitat before we crossed over to the Oregon side of the Columbia. It was an OK museum with a great Native American exhibit and even some Rodin, but a bit bougie. The view from the parking lot however was unbeatable :)

Arrived at our final destination before going home, the Columbia Cliff Villas. Simple, attentive service, beautiful rooms, and an awesome view. We loved it!

Arrived at our final hotel in Hood River, Oregon, to an amazing view from our balcony. The Columbia Cliff Villas were simple yet elegant, with great service, beautiful rooms, and set as close to the water as we could possibly ask to be. We loved it!

Wanting to see one more beautiful sky, I got up early to watch the pre-sunrise on our last day of honeymoon. So blissful. We headed out to a great coffee at 10 Speed Roasters and then picked up 40 lbs of pears and apples at Draper Girls Farm on the Hood River Fruit Loop. Nice way to end our honeymoon and yet at the same time, we were glad to be home sweet home!

Wanting to see one more beautiful sky, I got up early to watch the pre-sunrise on our last day of honeymoon. So blissful. Later we got a great cuppa joe at 10 Speed Coffee, then picked up 40 lbs of pears & apples at Draper Girls Country Farm (who we buy from at the Portland Farmers Market) on the Hood River Fruit Loop. Nice way to end our honeymoon and yet at the same time, we were glad to be home sweet home!

Honeymoon Happies: Orcas Island

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After an awesome first few days, we headed to Port Townsend to catch a ferry, drive to Anacortes, and catch another ferry to the San Juan Islands, with the lovely Orcas Island being our destination, as per many a recommendation we received back in the spring. It was my first time driving a car onto a ferry – we had rented a little economy Toyota for the road trip, and unfortunately our resort was so far from the ferry (and town), and there was no shuttle, we actually did more driving on this island than we did on any of our other stops on our honeymoon. Kind of odd and for us car-free folks, pretty tiring! But it was a pretty place to explore…

On the ferry leaving Port Townsend...pretty pretty!

On the ferry leaving Port Townsend…pretty pretty!

Waiting in the sunshine at the ferry dock in Anacortes - more perfect weather!

Waiting in the sunshine for the ferry in Anacortes  perfect weather!

Our room was the Roundhouse Suite at the Rosario Resort, which when it was still the Moran Mansion, was the children's play house. It was nice to get something quiet and special just for us, although we were extraordinarily disappointed at the poor service and somewhat dilapidated quality of, well, everything at the resort. If they just focused on great service and cleaned stuff up a bit, they could charge even more. But that being said, we enjoyed the increased privacy and the killer view.

Our room was the Roundhouse Suite at the Rosario Resort, which when it was still the Moran Mansion, was the children’s play house. We were extraordinarily disappointed at the poor service and somewhat dilapidated quality of, well, everything at the resort. If they just focused on great service and cleaned stuff up a bit, they could charge even more. But that being said, we enjoyed having the increased privacy and the amazing view.

Yep that was our suite on the right, on the cliff and looking down at the seals and birds. I highly recommend traveling in the off season when there are less people - I would have gone berserk if this would have been full of tourists!

Our suite on the cliff and looking down at the seals and birds. I highly recommend traveling in the off season when there are less people – I would have gone berserk if this would have been full of tourists!

Being that I no longer know how to truly sleep in, I caught the sunrise from our suite's patio :)

Being that I no longer know how to truly sleep in, I got up extra early once to catch the sunrise from our suite’s patio while the husband was still asleep. So worth it!

On a gluten holiday, we went to Brown Bear Baking that was so good we went three times during our stay!!! Awesome people and an insanely good savory scones!

On a gluten holiday, we went to Brown Bear Baking that was so good we went three times during our stay!!! Awesome people and an insanely good savory scones!

Happy honeymooners :)

Happy honeymooners :)

A bit of quiet time after breakfast in town over at the Crescent Beach Preserve.

A bit of quiet time after breakfast in town over at the Crescent Beach Preserve.

Did a lot of hikes while we were there including a short, more tourist-infested walk at Moran State Park to view the islands from above.

Did a lot of hikes while we on Orcas Island, most pretty quiet but this one was a short, more tourist-infested walk at Moran State Park to view the islands from above. Meh.

One of the best meals of our honeymoon was had at the Inn at Ship Bay, with a serious focus on farm-to-table eatin'. It was recommended to us by a couple we met on a walk who had been married 45 years :)

One of the best meals of our honeymoon was had at the Inn at Ship Bay, with a serious focus on farm-to-table eatin’. It was recommended to us by a couple we met on a walk who had been married 45 years :) And the amazing view from the farm?  That’s the picture I posted in my Honeymoon Snippet post!

After our sailboat charter that we reserved forgot to pick us up, the good folks at Deer Harbor Charters more than made up for their error by giving us a complimentary whale watching tour. This of course is my photobombing hubby as we took off into the waters on their boat.

After our sailboat charter that we reserved forgot to pick us up, the good folks at Deer Harbor Charters more than made up for their error by giving us a complimentary whale watching tour. This of course is my photo-bombing hubby as we took off into the waters on their boat.

Definitely the most perfect day ever to be out on the water - not too hot, not too cool, not too crowded!

Definitely the most perfect day ever to be out on the water – not too hot, not too cool, not too crowded! We were blissin’ out.

Deer on one of the island we passed on the way to see the orcas.

Deer on one of the island we passed on the way to see the orca whales.

We saw so many whales!!! Dan & I were both so emotional watching them and the chance to see orcas in the wild is definitely a bucket list item for everyone. Even if you've not seen Blackfish, you'll know that they are NOT meant to be cooped up at Sea World, where a recent director resigned and after seeing orcas in the wild, told the charter company about how the only reason the animals seemed "happy" in captivity there was because they drugged them regularly.

We saw so many whales!!! Dan & I were both so emotional watching them and the chance to see orcas in the wild should be on everyone’s bucket list. Even if you’ve not seen Blackfish, you’ll know that they are NOT meant to be trapped at Sea World, where a director resigned and once seeing orcas in the wild, admitted to the charter company that the only reason the animals seemed “happy” in captivity was because they were drugged.

these ones were from a transient pod of orcas...the naturalist on board was very familiar with each pod and who was who, telling us about the resident orcas versus the transients and their different behavior patterns.

these ones were from a transient pod of orcas…the naturalist on board was familiar with each pod, telling us about the resident orcas versus the transients and their ages, behavior patterns, etc.

Ok just one more, because every time I saw one I squealed with joy :)

Ok just one more, because every time I saw one I squealed with joy :)

The view of Indian Island, across from where we ate a scrumptious meal at the New Deal Cafe.

Indian Island, across from where we ate a *scrumptious* meal at the New Leaf Cafe.

Our quiet walks along the water were my favorite, capturing little images like this.

Our quiet walks along the water were my favorite, capturing little images like this.

Dusk on Orcas Island.

Dusk on Orcas Island.

Early morning on our final day at Orcas Island. While we wouldn't return to the resort we stayed at, we agreed we'd love to stay somewhere else on the island as the slower pace suited us well :)

Early morning on our final day at Orcas Island. While we wouldn’t return to the resort we stayed at, we agreed we’d love to stay somewhere else on the island as the slower pace suited us well.