When I am feeling low …

Lenten Rose

Just whisper, “Let’s go to the garden center.”

I confess, any garden center, any time of year is a pick me up. Even January in Olympia. We went to Lowe’s to pick up some clearcoat for the new Little Free Library. So, OF COURSE, I went to the garden center even though it looked abandoned from the parking lot.

I was not disappointed.

True, not much in the way of plants outside but I picked up a couple of clematis for an arbor out front. I need something that the deer might ignore. Last year’s effort barely got off the ground. 🙁 I was also pleasantly surprised by the air plant selection. They had quite a few types and different containers. Air plants are often misunderstood plants. Air plants or Tillandsias are actually a hugely varied genus from the Bromeliaceae family (yep, related to pineapples) with well over 500 species. Some are epiphytes, meaning they attach themselves to other plants. Some are aerophytes, with no roots. While air plants don’t need soil, they do need water. I soak my air plants in warmish water every 1-2 weeks and then let dry upside down. Tillandsias are not parasitic in that they don’t feed off the host plant, instead, they rely on other plants for structure and support. This opens up air plant display to all kinds of things. I purchased a 3-D metal ampersand with three air plants tucked in it plus an extra little guy for good luck.

Also in the houseplants, I picked up a very nice looking peace lily (Spathiphyllum). Peace lilies are easy plants to grow as long as you lay off the water. Seriously. Overwatering will kill these plants. They are actually drought tolerant and some people wait until they start to droop as a signal to water them. (Apparently this doesn’t have adverse effects and it’s preferable to overwatering.) As with most plants, if the soil seems damp, don’t water regardless of your watering schedule.

I also picked up a hellebore, commonly known as a Lenten rose. I recently became acquainted with this plant perusing my garden magazines because it blooms in winter. IT BLOOMS IN WINTER. It’s a pretty gray time to be a gardener so we need any pick-me-up we can get. In Olympia, that means Kale and hellebores!

Lowe’s is located at 230 Martin Way East, Olympia, WA 98516. Phone: (360) 486-0856

Hours: 6 am – 9 pm, Monday-Saturday and 8 am – 8 pm on Sunday. (It’s always a good idea to call around holidays to confirm hours.)

So, when you are feeling low, head to Lowe’s and hang out with the plants for a while. See you at the Garden Center!


Today’s weather: It was another “build the ark” day. May have seen a little blue in the sky–maybe. About 47 degrees at 5 pm.

Going native

Backyard trees.

Going native in the garden is a good idea for multiple reasons. First, native plants are better suited to your growing environment. They grow well in the soil, temperatures, and rainfall that you have. Second, some native plants out-compete invasive species. Invasive species can create a dangerous monoculture of undesirable plants that damage the ecosystem in multiple ways (erosion, outcompeting important plants, attracting pests, increasing fire risk, clogging waterways and more). Third, native plants support the ecosystem and help your part of it remain in balance with the surrounding areas. This can be especially important if you live in an area adjacent to forests or other naturalized areas. Non-native plants, even if they aren’t invasive can jump the perimeter of your property.

Sound complicated? It’s not really and there’s a great organization that helps landowners in Thurston County. The Thurston Conservation District promotes non-regulatory and voluntary stewardship, a fancy way of saying that they help people do the right thing on their property. The Thurston Conservation District has been around since 1947. A conservation district is a legal subdivision of state government that administers programs to conserve natural resources. These conservation districts exist in almost every county in the United States. Their services are free and they are committed to meeting the needs of local land-users for the conservation of soil, water and related resources.

To aid in conservations efforts, the Thurston Conservation District holds an Annual Native Plant Festival & Sale the first weekend of March each year. The 2018 sale will be Saturday, March 3  from 10 am – 3 pm. This is a great opportunity to purchase low-cost native plants for your yard.

You can also pre-order plants online until January 31 and pick them up the day of the sale.

Learn more about the Thurston Conservation District and the goals of the TCD in their strategic plan. It has some pretty interesting data if you want to learn more about Olympia and land use over time.

Top 10 Most Wanted Noxious Weeds in Thurston CountyIt’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the list of plants that are considered noxious weeds in Thurston County. If you have any of these on your property, I urge you to remove them and replant with native plants. We are doing battle with the dreaded blackberry in our yard. I think we can get the rest of it out this year.

Love your town.


Today’s weather: Drizzly and a little gloomy but warmer with temps in the mid-50s. The rain backed off long enough for me to help fill potholes on our gravel street and I was able to clearcoat the little library and its post AND I filled our green barrel with all of the little branches that came down in the wind over the last several days.

Shop the world

Birch panels

A recent article in Apartment Therapy (great newsletter whether you are an apartment dweller or not) has the Cat’s Out of the Bag: 8 “Secret” Shopping Sources Designers Love, including Cost Plus World Market. Not sure it’s all that secret, seeing as we have one in little ol’ Olympia, but the author’s point that World Market is an underappreciated store is probably valid.

World Market got its start in the 1950s with a San Francisco businessman turned importer who was importing baskets. They later branched out a number of other items including furniture, lighting, rugs, artwork, stationery, food, kitchenware, seasonal items and more.

The Olympia store just moved to a new location so it’s all shiny and new. It also has a better cash register setup than I have seen at other stores where I inevitably pick the wrong line!

If you haven’t tried the shop online and pick up in store, I can recommend it. It does let you think about things in place–especially important when you are looking at lighting, rugs and artwork, making sure that the color and size are just right.

Favorite items: Some of my favorite decorative items came from World Market. We also love the Nyåkers Gingersnaps that were initially a holiday item and then someone realized a good cookie is a necessity throughout the year. Try them with pumpkin dip. You will not be disappointed.

World Market is located in West Olympia at 2401 4th Ave W, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 890-3820.

Hours: Open 10-9, Monday through Friday, 9-9 on Saturday and 10-7 on Sunday. Always a good idea to call.

Happy eating! Happy decorating!


Today’s weather: Build the ark. Rain, rain and more rain. And gloom galore. Yikes. Turn on the lights and wear bright colors, my friends. Remember those long and dry summer days that are coming our way.

Think Pink

Pink Paint!

I have been on a quest for pretty pink spray paint for some time. I want to make a Valentine’s Day ornament wreath, and my quest to find light pink ornaments during the holidays was unsuccessful. While on I was on the hunt for pink ornaments, it occurred to me that it might be possible to paint a rag-tag assortment or ornaments that I already have on hand unifying them with a pretty coat of pink plastic-safe spray paint. Even though princess-themed everything endures, none of the many hardware sections that I perused had what I was looking for. Everything was some variation of brown, green, red, black or white with a few metallics thrown in. Very much like the paint in my garage.

Last weekend, I swung by Michael’s in Lacey to look for pink ornaments just in case. I found the same heart shaped ones that I purchased last year and I happened to walk right by their display of … spray paint. They have spray paint! And more than one pink! I actually had to make a decision! I went from nothing to choices! I was very excited and ultimately selected the Rust-oleum Champagne Pink spray paint for plastic, wood, metal and masonry! I’ll keep you posted on my progress once the rain lets up. 

Michael’s is located in South Sound Center, near Target and Kohl’s in Lacey.  701 Sleater Kinney Rd SE, Lacey, WA 98503, (360) 923-0550.

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9am-9pm. Sunday, 10am-7pm (always a good idea to call and confirm)

Download the app or go online for weekly specials and coupons.

Happy creating!


Weather today: Rainy and gloomy all day today, I’m sorry to report. 🙁 46°F at 2 pm but feels slightly cooler than that.

Are you all lost in the supermarket?

Shopping Cart

Do your grocery shopping in 10 minutes

Looking for ways to save your time and/or your sanity? If you are one of those people who like to get the max out of the min, you should try grocery pickup at Walmart if you haven’t already. There are several places that offer grocery store delivery but there are some advantages to grocery pickup. The biggest one is that it’s free with a minimum $30 order, a pretty low bar for groceries. You can schedule it when you need it–no monthly commitments. It’s easy, especially if you tend to buy the same things.

Grocery pickup is currently available at the Walmart in Lacey. You need to select and schedule your order at least the day before. There will be limited availability if you try to schedule the same day.

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to https://grocery.walmart.com/
  • Enter your zip code to confirm delivery in your area (it will show you the Lacey Walmart as the option)
  • Set up an account or login if you have one. (Once you have an account, it will default to your pickup location and the “Reserve a time” option will appear at the top.
  • Select your pickup window. You have about 90 minutes from the time you select your slot to place your order.
  • Forget something after placing your order? Depending on how far in advance you place your order, you can also add to or edit your order after you place it. You will get a message when you place your order, something like, “you can edit your order any time before 10 pm tonight.”
  • Add items to your cart. This usually takes me about 10 minutes now that I have done it a few times. The interface is easy to use and you can browse through categories. Just like walking up and down the aisles. But from your couch with your feet up.
  • If you are ordering produce and aren’t super good about remembering how many pounds you order of something, it’s probably a good idea to estimate low. Once I ended up with a rather large bag of summer squash. Oopsie.
  • Review your order. You will be asked which items you will accept substitutions for. If you are very particular, select no substitutes. If you are more go with the flow, try it out. You can refuse substitutions at pickup time. If you accept a substitution that is higher in price than the item you initially selected, you pay the lower price.
  • You will get a call when your order is ready. Many times, we have received the call 15-30 minutes before the pickup window we selected.
  • Drive to the store and go to the pickup area. (Designated parking spots, usually on the side or back of the store – the Lacey store pickup area is on the left-hand side.) Call the number to let them know that you are there. Sometimes, they will ask you to call when you are 10 minutes away but honestly, I don’t mind waiting a few minutes if needed. Your groceries are kept in a cold area so they need time to pull them out for you.
  • Staff will bring your groceries out to your car and load them up. Don’t forget your reusable bags! You can also use bins if you have them.
  • And you are off! Shopping is done!

We have done Walmart grocery store pick up in three states and have been impressed with the service. Sometimes, staff picking the groceries have a hard time finding very unusual items but this has always worked out in our favor.

Pro tip: need printer paper, glue, zip ties, needles or cosmetics? There is a wide range of things you can pick up along with groceries.

Happy shopping!


Today’s weather: Not gonna lie, today’s weather is what gives the PNW a bad rap. Rainy, gloomy, overcast and depressing. 45° at about 4:30 p.m. <sigh> Make it stop.

What’s a Haggen?


When I first moved to Olympia, I noticed Haggen and thought, “What’s that?”

Located off the Black Lake Boulevard exit off the 101 at the corner of Cooper Point Road, Haggen is a family-owned 24-hour grocery store with 15 locations in Washington. Haggen has a large produce section, pharmacy, floral, food to go, nursery and more.

If you live in the Olympia area, you’ll receive a Haggen’s flier with the weekly bundle of inserts delivered with your mail. Check out the coupons–we have found more than one deal on things we buy.

The number one thing we buy is Zevia, a zero-calorie soda made with stevia. They also have a good selection of vegan and vegetarian brands that we like including Amy’s and Gardein.

I bought a few really nice looking plants there last summer. They all did well in my yard and the prices were good. Most Haggen stores also sell Christmas trees.

Haggen’s Chef Express offers ready to heat and ready to eat foods. Check out their recipes on their blog.

Haggen is also a ballot drop off location and there’s a library book drop-off bin inside for the Timberland Regional Libraries (in the front of the store just past the customer service counter).

Location: 1313 Cooper Point Road Northwest, Olympia, WA 98502, (360) 754-1428. Typically, they are open 24 hours but they have reduced hours for some holidays. Check their website or call for details.

Happy shopping!


Today’s weather: On the cold side today and rainy this morning, overcast most of the rest of the day. I did wear sunglasses on the second dog walk because I am stubborn like that. 40°F at 4:30 p.m. but the dampness makes it feel colder, I guess. For me, there’s a big difference between 46/47°F and “feels like 39°F.”

Let’s Play

Gabi's Olympic Cards and Comics in Lacey

I visited Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comics today. My better half had already visited for a board game Meetup but I wanted to see it for myself.

All I can say is wow.

Other game shops I have been to pale in comparison. Located in Lacey, this game store is a hometown gem that seems to have grown bigger and better over the years. This place is huge–7,000 square feet!–with impressive inventory in multiple categories, including the biggest selection of Funko Pop I have ever seen. I had no idea there were so many! And the vibe was just right. This is a friendly place where all are welcome and it seemed like a great place to spend an afternoon–and the nearly 1000 5-star reviews on Facebook support this assessment. Gabi herself stopped to ask me if I needed help. (Be sure to read her amazing story.) There are two levels. Downstairs you’ll find games, toys, models, paint, collectibles, comics, graphic novels and other books. Upstairs there are rows of tables for playing games. There are also games that you can play so you can try before you buy.

Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events. And stop by and see for yourself.

Location: Near Fred Meyer in Lacey, 4230 Pacific Ave. Lacey, WA 98503, (360) 459-7721

Hours (always a good idea to call)
Mon., 10 am-9 pm
Tues.-Sat., 10 am-Midnight
Sun., 10 am-6 pm

Today’s weather: The weather alternated between fine and terrible today. It felt colder than it was (40s) because of the 20ish MPH winds in the morning that took down several large branches in our yard and on our street. When we were out and about it was fine and then not and then fine again. Shortly after we got home we had hail. It was enough to make you say, “What the hail!”

Joe Knows

Hibiscus frame

After a particularly dark period of my life when I lived in lands without Trader Joes, it became a permanent fixture on my “must-have list” for any new home. Trader Joe’s is the first store that I went to when I arrived in Olympia. Actually, I think we went to Trader Joe’s before we even saw our new house.

What I love about Trader Joe’s:

  • Lots of vegetarian and vegan options including desserts
  • Great prices
  • Good produce
  • Naan
  • Good coffee
  • Flowers and plants
  • So much dark chocolate goodness

We do the majority of our regular shopping here so we have learned their inventory and we’ve probably had almost every vegetarian thing that they sell. In December, I stockpile Wintry Blend coffee and peppermint green tea. Can’t get enough of either one. There’s always coffee brewing so you can taste a new variety before you buy. They also have samples and more than once, I have bought the whole shebang. And there are a lot of Trader Joe’s dinner hacks that are just a Google search away. 

If you like fresh flowers, it’s only a mini splurge at TJs. I have an orchid from Trader Joe’s that I have had for three years and it’s moved with me twice! It’s fierce. I definitely recommend their orchids.

Trader Joe’s is on the west side of Olympia, 1530 Black Lake Blvd SW, Olympia, WA 98502. Hours: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.. (360) 352-7440.


Today’s weather was actually pretty nice. I saw the sun. No rain, highs in the mid to upper 40s. No complaints!

Produce year round at Jay’s

Jay's Farmstand in Olympia

Jay's Farmstand in OlympiaJay’s Farmstand is a great place to pick up a wide variety of produce including many locally grown and organic items as well as other locally made food items. On our recent trip, we picked up bananas, delicata squash, tomatoes, peppers, a cucumber, sometimes-hard-to-find jicama and a sweet potato large enough to feed a family of four for about $10. It’s covered and the majority of produce is inside; everything outside is under awnings.

There’s an incredible variety packed into a small space and we found everything that we were looking for, even in January.

Location and hours: 4315 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98502
Open daily 7 am–7 pm but it’s always a good idea to call: (360) 489-0295


Today’s weather: Today’s high looks like 54°F. It’s 39°F at about 5 am. Looks like it’s going to be a bit colder later in the week with highs in the mid-40s and rain, rain, rain every freaking day.

Fun Junk and Licorice Boutique

Fun Junk and Licorice Boutique in Olympia

This enticing little store is on the corner of Harrison Ave NW and Kaiser Rd NW in West Olympia. We’ve driven by it many times and finally, we stopped to take a look around. The signs outside proclaim “Piles of Old Stuff” and “Fun Junk” — and it is that. The store has a wide assortment of things from clothing to housewares to metal and cement art. It’s a bit of a flea market and your grandparents’ attic or basement rolled into one.

Some of my favorite items:

  • A giant whisk (maybe 2 feet tall?)
  • Old school Jello-brand mini Jello molds
  • Wallets that looked like they were made out of money
  • Stereograph cards
  • They had a whole box of Crown Royal bags so we picked up a couple for storing game pieces.

They also have books and vinyl records, transistors, old-school bottle openers and old bottles, clothes and more. If you’d like to take a trip down memory lane, this is a good place to do it.

Licorice Boutique is only open Fridays and Saturdays but it’s an easy stop if you have plans in the Capital Mall area or if you are going by Jay’s Farmstand.

4524 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, Washington, (360) 259-1796


Today’s weather: Got up over 50°F today and no rain so I cleaned the inside of my car and we worked on the garage. 90% humidity according to the weather app and my new dehumidifier seems to agree.