Your Very Own Cabin Adventure Awaits!

As the weather warms, we start thinking about getting outside and getting away. Fortunately, Washington is renowned for its glorious national parks, fun outdoor activities, wonderful Pacific beaches, and numerous other points of interest. Getting outside and getting away are easy.

Whether you’re planning an enjoyable vacation as a solo traveler, a romantic getaway for two, or a family-friendly adventure, to ensure that you have the most unique experience, skip the hotel and try renting a vacation cabin with hotel-like amenities for a more memorable stay.

The world outside can take a break while you hunker down, find some nature, and truly get away in an idyllic cabin. How does unwinding in a cozy hot tub on the porch sound? Or perhaps dining on the deck as the sun sets over an amazing view? What are you waiting for, your adventure awaits!

Did you know Washington has:

  • Roughly 2,500 miles of marine shoreline, with plenty of access points for beach combing, sailing, pleasure boating, sea kayaking, fishing and whale watching?
  • Twenty-nine officially designated national and state scenic byways—including the nation’s only Marine Highway?
  • Three national parks within state boundaries: Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier?
  • More than 7 million acres of state-managed recreation lands, including access points to parks, wildlife areas and hiking trails?

No matter how you spend your days exploring and playing, after the adventures of the day are done, you will love going home to your very own vacation cabin. The following agencies offer cabin rentals all over Washington state, so whether you prefer rainforests and wild mountain ranges, the moody seashore, or somewhere in between, we’ve got you covered.

For Additional Information

Cabin Escapes |

GlampingHub |

TripAdvisor |

Vacasa |



Tacoma Lutheran Redevelopment Project

Serving Pierce County for over 80 years, Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community is a not-for-profit Life Plan Community in North Tacoma. With the planned addition of three buildings filled with condos and apartments, the community is forging ahead on its challenge to continually evolve and modernize. The redevelopment’s goal is to meet the ever-changing needs of current residents, but also to ensure it is relevant for generations to come.

Pre-sale of the upscale condos and fully equipped apartments will begin in April of this year with an anticipated construction start date in fall of 2021. The two-year construction process will see the addition of new buildings, two condo buildings with 20 and 21 units respectively, and one three-story apartment building with 50 units. The upscale finishes on the condos will be complemented by the state-of-the art common areas and amenities already existing on the campus. The apartments will feature full modern kitchens and complete laundry facilities in each unit. Monthly apartment fees will include a meal plan in the community dining facility as well as access to all amenities and programs offered throughout the Life Plan Community.

As Pierce County’s largest Life Plan Community, Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community has the facilities to take residents through the various stages of their life. With Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care, the campus features services and amenities offered to enhance one’s lifestyle. There is a wellness and aquatic centers and an art center with ceramics, wood and textile projects. Plus, there are a wide variety of life enriching activities and programs available off campus like an excursion to the Seattle Symphony or visiting the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

The community currently features 183 apartments and Six-Plex cottages that open into courtyards, 38 assisted living units, 14 memory apartments and 159 skilled nursing beds. The addition of 90+ upscale condos and apartments in the coming years will enhance the campus for years to come.

For Additional Information

Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community


America’s Car Museum Drives into the Future

Cars are for everyone.

That’s how Jennifer Maher sees it. She’s the new CEO of LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma.

“We are working to reimagine what the museum’s experience is all about,” Maher explained. “We are shifting from a visual experience to a hands-on, immersive one that brings visitors coming back repeatedly for family and youth programs, events and special exhibits.”

Maher described the importance of inspiring the next generation of children who are looking for ways to connect to a passion, a hobby, a potential career or, at the very least, a community of like-minded enthusiasts.

That can be done by “delivering opportunities to explore the past, present and future of automotive technology,” Maher said. The museum is organizing STEM education opportunities for students across the region.

“We’re all wired differently,” Maher said. “For many, cars are the connector to friendships, sense of community and, for some, careers. When we find our ‘peeps’ and interests that pique our curiosity, intellect, skills and passion, we find our place in the world.”

Maher has found her place in a male-dominated field. She acknowledges that she stands out at national conferences and conventions, but that could change.

“I find the industry extremely welcoming and excited to welcome more women into it,” Maher said. “It’s time we embrace women’s passion for cars, driving and careers in the automotive industry and get to the point in our storytelling that people no longer see it as a ‘male-dominated’ field.”

The museum is launching two new initiatives—Women Techs Rock and Women Driving Change. The overall plan is for the museum to become “a beacon in Tacoma that is a great community partner, that attracts visitors and drives tourism, that helps to empower schools and educate students and that provides exciting and engaging experiences for people of all ages.”

For Additional Information

America’s Car Museum


Farmers Markets for the Community

If there is any question about the popularity of Farmers Markets, then the expansion of dates and locations over the past several years throughout the south Puget Sound should completely put that question to bed. More Farmers Markets are popping up, including the City of Lakewood adding a second market location every other Friday night beginning in Mid-April. There are waterfront markets in Gig Harbor and Steilacoom and markets open seasonally like Tacoma’s four locations around the city (Proctor, Ruston, Eastside and Broadway). And there is the Olympia Market which is open year-round. These markets provide a venue for local farms, small businesses and organizations to directly connect with their end users.

There is no doubt that adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good idea. A diet rich in produce sold at Farmers Markets has many health benefits including improved cardiovascular health, a lower risk of cancer, improved vision, better digestion and assistance in diabetes control. Not to mention, the activity of shopping at a Farmers Market is good exercise and a lot of fun when so many provide a wide variety of entertainment.

In addition to produce, most markets feature even more. One of the largest in the state, the downtown Puyallup Farmers Market, showcases locally grown and harvested floral and specialty items like honey and spices. You often find wares on sale from talented artisan crafters or specialty food vendors serving up delicious items to eat on site.

With varying harvests and vendor schedules, visiting Farmers Markets frequently ensures you won’t miss out on fresh asparagus in spring, gorgeous Rainier cherries in summer and a wide variety of apples in fall.


Olympia Market |

Gig Harbor Waterfront Market |

Lakewood Market |

Puyallup Market |

Tacoma Markets |

Proctor Market |


6 Things Women Should Know About Heart Health

Heart disease is the nation’s leading killer of women. Paying attention to risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle, though, can help keep heart disease at bay.

While heart health is an important concern for all women, women transitioning through menopause in mid-life are at the highest risk. The menopausal changes in body composition, cholesterol levels, and fat distribution must be kept in mind when assessing risk for heart disease. Among women, 90% have one or more risk factors for heart disease at some point in their lives, according to American Heart Association statistics. Yet 80% of cardiovascular diseases are preventable.

Get annual checkups

It’s important to get annual checkups to assess heart-health risk and take action. Prepare in advance for the appointment, much as you would when gathering documents to meet with a financial adviser. Be prepared to have a conversation about past heart diseases in your family, or other relevant information.

In addition, become knowledgeable of your key health numbers, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. For example, blood pressure of less than 120/80 is considered normal.

Know the symptoms of a heart attack

Women’s heart attack symptoms may cover a wider spectrum compared with symptoms in men. Women may experience the “classic” heart attack symptoms of chest pressure, chest discomfort or shortness of breath, just as men do. Beyond that, however, women may also show symptoms such as shoulder or back pain, generally on the left side, indigestion, or nausea.

Tell your doctor if you had a pregnancy complication

Recent research has focused on heart disease linked to pregnancy-related complications. Diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy as well as early delivery have been linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk years later. The overall stress that comes with pregnancy is a possible marker for heart disease later in life.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep—getting less than six or seven hours a night—is also connected to heart disease, as research has shown. Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, can make it difficult to lose weight, and may make you less likely to want to exercise.

Tame stress

Chronic stress is another area of concern for women. It can lead to behaviors and factors that impact heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inactivity and overeating.

To cope with stress, eat healthy foods, exercise and get plenty of sleep. Consider talking to others about your stress, including a friend, parent, doctor or counselor.

Find a health partner

In all heart-healthy efforts, it helps to have a partner in the endeavor.

Work with a health care provider to find a customized treatment plan that fits your daily life and medical needs. A friend, family member or co-worker also can be a good partner for getting physically active and sticking with a healthy eating plan. If your routines are interrupted, don’t worry; a support system is a good tool to help you get back up.


May: Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, now officially proclaimed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, takes place in May. It celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Here in the South Sound area, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC), located in Tacoma, will be celebrating the month in a variety of ways.

Kicking off the celebrations on May 2nd will be Korea Day and the Center’s monthly Taste of Asia event to feature Korean preparations. Both events will be held at the APCC located on South Tacoma Way. Throughout the month, the APCC will be bringing several activities to the local grade schools to ensure students are connected to their culture and educating others about the artistry, history, business protocols and social practices of this vast group of 47 nations across Asia and the South Pacific.

Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Faaluaina Pritchard of Lakewood is, as expected, passionate about the organization whose mission is to bridge community and generations through art, culture, education and business. According to Pritchard, “The organization serves as an interactive cultural crossroads between local and international communities. We are more than just art as entertainment.”

The local government and business communities also view the APCC’s mission vital as evidenced by their sponsorship and support. Notable partners include the City of Tacoma Arts Commission, the National Endowment of the Arts, Arts of Washington and the Asian Counseling and Referral Service. Business partners include MultiCare, Alaska Airlines, Columbia Bank, Group Health Foundation, Pierce College and Catholic Community Services, to name a few.

The Asia Pacific Cultural Center was founded in 1996 through the vision of three generations of Americans with Asian and Pacific Island heritage.

For Additional Information

Asia Pacific Cultural Center


St. Peter Foundation Christmas in the Forest

The history and magical traditions continued at this year’s 32nd annual Providence St. Peter Foundation Christmas in the Forest. Gala guests gathered at the Hotel RL Olympia for a fantastic evening of dining and bidding to support the mission of Providence in Southwest Washington to serve the poor and most vulnerable.

The swanky event raised more than $654,000 in greatly needed support. $310,000 was raised to support the expansion and relocation of Providence Sexual Assault Clinic and Child Maltreatment Center.

Washington College Savings Plans

Washington College Savings Plans, or WA529, is a collection of 529 college savings plans offered by the State of Washington.

WA529 is composed of the Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET Program, which entails paying tuition in advance at a set price. Value is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state college tuition.

WA529 Benefits

– College savings reduce the need for student loans in the future.

– College savings help motivate your child toward higher education—students who know they have a college savings account are more likely to attend college.

– GET accounts are protected by state law (unique among state-sponsored 529 plans). You can pay a set price now and over time for future tuition. The value is guaranteed to keep pace with tuition, no matter how much it changes in the future.

– Both DreamAhead savings and GET units can be used nearly everywhere—including out-of-state institutions, private schools, community colleges, and even at trade and technical schools. Since 1998, more than 55,000 students have used GET in all 50 states and 15 countries worldwide. 

– If your child gets a scholarship, or decides not to go to college, you can use your funds for room and board, books and other qualified higher education expenses; you can request a refund, or you can transfer the account to another relative of the child (even yourself).

DreamAhead is a 529 college investment plan whose investment returns are tied to financial market performance. Account owners select one of two saving options: year-of-enrollment portfolios where investments automatically adjust over time, or static portfolios, that let you set your investment strategy and stay the same until you make changes.

These two plans offer Washington families a flexible set of college savings options. Families can choose GET, DreamAhead, or both. Neither plan charges an enrollment fee for enrolling online, so it’s easy to start an account.

What’s New for 2020

The SECURE Act, enacted at the end of 2019, includes new provisions that allow 529 Plan account owners to withdraw assets to pay for certain apprenticeship programs, and to pay principal and interest on qualified higher education loans for the beneficiary or any of the beneficiary’s siblings. For more detailed information on this change, visit:

Compare Washington 529 Plans |

GET 529 Prepaid Tuition Program |

DreamAhead 529 College Investment Plan |


The Nature of Community Banking

The term ‘community bank’ is widely-known in the financial world, but what exactly does it mean and how do these institutions differ from other banks? All ecosystems rely on the interdependence of different species. Every living thing provides unique and valuable abilities that build a balanced environment. In many ways, our local economies are the same, their success is determined largely by the cooperation of the businesses and people who reside there.

Community banks are small, but they play a big role in local economies. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) defines a community bank as “a bank which has specialized knowledge of their local community and their customers,” and they “base credit decisions on local knowledge and nonstandard data obtained through long-term relationships.” Essentially, they receive deposits from sources within a town or city and lend that money to local businesses to create balance within that economy.

Community banks fund nearly half of all small business loans, per the FDIC. They consider relationships when lending money and not just solely rely on credit scores, ratios or collateral. Because community banks consider history and reputation of their customers when making decisions, they invest themselves in their success and offer assistance, training, and support beyond that of many national institutions. These additional resources help small business owners make vital decisions that are often overlooked.

Commencement Bank continues to invest in the people and businesses of the South Sound 14 years after its 2006 grand opening. As a community bank, Commencement focuses on doing the right thing for its customers and communities and will uphold this mission at its new, full-service branch in Auburn.

“We selected Auburn because of the rapid growth of small to mid-sized businesses and the lack of local funding options,” said John Manolides, President & CEO. “It is markets like this where we have the most potential to make a positive impact.”

The next time you are looking for financial assistance, remember to search for local options like Commencement Bank. Not only will you receive personalized service, you will support the businesses and people within your community.

For Additional Information

Commencement Bank


Capital Medical Center Lends a Robotic Arm

Thurston County is reaching new medical heights with its very own Capital Medical Center.

Through a partnership with Olympia Orthopedic, the Center is the first hospital in the county to implement a ground-breaking robotic arm surgical system that functions to assist with hip-joint and knee replacement surgery.

This addition is an exciting one for those in the community that are proper candidates for hip and knee replacement, due to the improvements the robot makes from previous surgery performance. For one, robot assistance has proven to produce more accurate results. Studies show that robot-assisted knee replacement is two to three times more accurate than manual replacement. Further benefits include less time under anesthesia and recovery, and the hospital stay is often less than 24 hours.

Even though going under the knife is a requirement for many people during their lifetime, it can be a little nerve-racking for some. But the fact that the surgeon uses this new system during replacement surgery should bring some mental relief. According to Dr. Trask of Olympia Orthopedic, the robot makes the surgery safer and is completely guided by the surgeon. “I perform cuts through a haptic zone that only lets me cut the bone I intend to remove. I run it the whole time. The robot never does anything on its own.”

The system also allows every surgical experience to be personalized to each patient. “I get to plan their surgery virtually prior to making any bone cuts,” says Dr. Trask. “It allows me to be proactive and what to anticipate during their surgery. As a whole, [it] makes the procedure more predictable.”

Check out Capital Medical Center’s new surgical system today on their website and rest easy knowing that your hips and knees are in the hands of top medical professionals and technological advances!

For Additional Information

Capital Medical Center