Weekend Stay and Play at Little Creek Resort

Fifteen minutes south of Olympia is a wonderful weekend escape.

As you approach Little Creek Casino and Resort, you are sure to notice that you and the property are surrounded by nature. You are then greeted by the warmth of the lodge-like hotel, with 1,200 newly renovated and well-appointed rooms.

Whether you are an avid golfer or just starting out, check out Salish Cliffs, the par-72 championship course that has won accolades in Golfweek magazine. The beautifully treated course will test your golf skills while exciting your senses as you traverse over 300 acres of lush bentgrass tees, fairways and greens. With stunning elevation changes and terrain, the cartonly course is challenging yet fun for all golfers.

After enjoying nature on the course, you can settle in for some food at the golf course restaurant. Salish Cliffs Grill has plenty of options for you to savor. The resort also includes the Squaxin Island Seafood Bar where fresh, locally sourced oysters are prepared in front of you, and the Island Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When it comes to relaxation, the on-site Seven Inlets Spa offers a range of luxurious treatments to choose from. The massage therapies, organic facials and body treatments incorporate Native American influences and healing elements to soothe the mind and awaken the spirit.

With golf, gaming, dining and spa all with a focus on hospitality, Little Creek Casino and Resort makes a great weekend away of play. “We offer a unique entertainment experience here and we invite guests to experience it for themselves,” says Jim Gibson, head of marketing.

For a destination weekend and a unique entertainment experience combined with warm customer service, Little Creek invites you to escape from the day-to-day and live a little.

For Additional Information
91 West State Route 108, Shelton
800.667.7711
little-creek.com

Fresh from the Farm: Get Your Share

South Sound residents are lucky to have an abundance of farmers markets in the local area. Nearly every day of the week, you can connect with local agricultural producers throughout Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties. They offer high-quality produce and other locally sourced products like honey, flowers, eggs and meat. And to become truly part of the regional agricultural system, you can enroll in a farm share program.

Much like your Netflix or magazine subscription, a Community Supported Agriculture farm share connects you directly to the source of fresh, seasonal produce chosen for you by your local farmer. Often referred to as farm boxes, CSA shares are offered in a variety of sizes based on the number of people in a household. They are typically available June through October, but some farms go year round. A few farms offer egg and flower shares as well.

Farm boxes can be picked up at the farm, at local drop points such as office buildings or front porches, and even at farmers markets. Members often get additional perks such as custom recipes based on the weekly delivery or opportunities to harvest items on the farm, such as flowers or herbs.

If you opt for picking up weekly at the farm, you get to watch plants develop from sprouting to harvest. You get the chance to reconnect with our region’s agrarian roots.

Farmers benefit greatly from having shareholders, and you help farmers stay viable, thus increasing your support of the local food supply. When you commit to eating in season by subscribing to a CSA, you can be sure that you are making a healthy choice for both yourself and the community.

HILLARY RYAN

For Additional Information
pugetsoundfresh.org/find-csa
farmerspal.com/region/washington

Timeless Kitchen Design

Sixty-nine percent of homes for sale list the kitchen as a major selling point, compared with forty-nine percent for the bedroom and twenty one percent for the living room. The kitchen is a communal space, where guests and family members meet first thing in the morning for breakfast and late into the night with a few drinks. By including a luxury kitchen in your home, you will sell your property an average 8% faster than other homes in the same zip code. If you only have limited resources, then start by designing a timeless and beautiful kitchen.

 

Striking, Subtle and Sophisticated Lighting

A good kitchen allows for decent cooking; a great one encourages so much more. Increase the versatility of your space by installing different lighting options. The simplest solution is dimmer switches. They can be on full brightness to wake the kids up before school, and then lowered for a relaxing evening. Go for something bold and modern to give the kitchen a personality, but also have the option to illuminate just around key cupboards and appliances. Lights are often an afterthought, but thinking about them upfront can help you to create a truly mesmerizing space.

 

Opening Up Your Space

The kitchen is a center for parties and events, so think about how you can open up the space to more people. In winter, large windows, glass doors and mirrors can give the illusion of a much wider environment. In summer, these windows and doors can be opened to extend the area outside. Bringing a few plants and fresh herbs into the kitchen can help to create a seamless transition between indoors and out.

What About Tech?

The global smart home market is expected to exceed $50 billion by 2022, so incorporating WiFi into your refrigerator could help to future-proof your property. However, don’t act prematurely. Some house hunters will be put off by excessive tech and it can be difficult to take with you when you move out. Play it safe by sticking to classic kitchen tech such as dishwashers and modern fridges.

 

For many home buyers, the kitchen is the most valuable room in the house. Get this right and you could add thousands of dollars to your property’s selling price. Consider versatility and timelessness, sticking to classic, but luxury designs.

Karoline Grimes

 

Heidi Duncan of Duncan Insurance, Olympia

It could be that some superheroes come into being from a toxic spider bite, but other superheroes are just born into their roles as descendants of “do-gooders” before them. That’s the case with Heidi Duncan of Duncan and Associates Insurance Brokers, based
in Olympia.

From the time she was young, little Heidi dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps and becoming an insurance agent. When other kids set their sights on becoming a doctor, professional ice skater or architect, Heidi was interested only in insurance.

Her father, Russ Duncan, founded Duncan Insurance 50 years ago. When Heidi was 3 1/2 years old, she started going to work with her dad to give her mom a break with her newborn brother. Her first job was to pick staples out of the carpet, but that soon progressed to more complex tasks. By kindergarten she was using the office typewriter like a pro.

Heidi knows exactly when she knew that she wanted to be an insurance agent. When she was 4 or 5, the phone rang at home in the middle of the night, awakening everyone in the Duncan household. It was a client. His house had just burned down and he was calling his insurance agent for help. Heidi’s father leapt to action. He let his client know that he was completely taken care of and that he would be there for him every step of the way.

The superhero was revealed. Russ Duncan demonstrated to his daughter how important it is to take care of people in stressful times. It should be no surprise that when Heidi turned 18, she was one of the youngest people in Washington state ever to take and pass the insurance agent licensing exam.

Since then, she has been working diligently to help her clients. “Listening to the needs of my clients and helping them understand all the options available to them is the center of all our work,” notes Heidi. “Our agency may be small, but we have a huge range of expertise and since we operate like a family, we work to provide seamless wraparound insurance coverage.”

Being available to clients for emergencies continues to be a cornerstone of Duncan and Associates Insurance Brokers. “We are like financial first responders,” says Heidi Duncan. “We provide calm and comforting expertise for people who are dealing with major issues. We want to be superheroes.”

HILLARY RYAN

Duncan and Associates Insurance
800.228.8291
duncanins.com

Meet Clarus Eye Centre’s Executive Director

When you meet Marta De La Torre, the new executive director at Clarus Eye Centre, you will be impressed by how genuine, courteous, collected and engaging she is. She says with a smile that she has been interested in health care “since she was almost 2”! The New England native has traveled around the world and now calls Tumwater home.

De La Torre says one of the most interesting positions she has held in her career was as a third-party health care administrator for the government of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Health care in that country, she says, was different because of gender inequality. “A male doctor can only work on males and female doctors only on females,” De La Torre explains. She said they also have different entrances to medical facilities.

Perhaps inspired by that experience, De La Torre, a mother of three and grandmother of eight, is interested in mentoring young women. She thinks it is important to build up all people to foster strong community.

What attracted De La Torre to Clarus Eye were the long-term employees at the location. She says employees of such long tenure provide an unparalleled level of expertise. She was also impressed that the practice is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “There is a lot to celebrate!” she says.

One of De La Torre’s working goals is to offer a tuition program for employees who want to go back to school. She also wants to cultivate an optical training program at the local colleges. She aims to help Clarus engage with schools and continue to build its relationship with families and the community.

“This job comes as a welcome challenge and a responsibility,” says De La Torre. She looks forward to giving back to the community and carrying into the next 50 years the legacy of compassionate service that Clarus Eye Centre has become known for.

LEAH GROUT

For Additional Information:
Clarus Eye Centre
345 College St SE, Lacey
360.456.3200
claruseye.com

Dragon Boat Festival celebrates culture!

The dragons will be back in the water on Saturday, April 28, for one of the area’s most colorful spectacles, the Saint Martin’s Dragon Boat Festival. The event, now in its 13th year, will welcome 48 Northwest teams at Olympia’s Port Plaza for intense but friendly competition between dragon boat teams. The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Saint Martin’s Office of International Programs and Development, which welcomes students from around the world to the University and helps to foster cultural exchange and education.

Dragon boat races lead off the Saturday morning of a South Sound weekend filled with extraordinary entertainment. All festival activities are free and family-friendly. Other weekend highlights in downtown Olympia include Arts Walk, Procession of the Species, and the Olympia Farmer’s Market. Making it a springtime destination weekend, many stay overnight and enjoy the great activities available in Thurston County, including wine, beer and coffee tasting, paddle boarding and kayaking, shopping, and hiking in the famed Capitol State Forest.

More than 1,200 participants are expected to take part in the festival’s dragon boat races and nearby multicultural performances.

Dragon boats have been raced for some 2,000 years in China and East Asia. While the events origins are obscured by time, the most popular legend states that dragon boat races commemorate the fishermen who paddled their boats on the waters of China’s Miluo River in search of the body of exiled statesman-poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in despair over the human suffering and political corruption of his time. Today, dragon boat races are a way of celebrating community and culture.

The Dragon Boat Festival begins at 9 a.m. with welcoming remarks by Saint Martin’s University President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., and Honorary Festival Chair, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, followed by the “Dotting of the Eye” ceremony and a traditional blessing of the dragon boats. Races begin at 9:30 a.m., with competition between paddling teams drawn from Northwest schools and universities, government, community organizations and businesses. The final heats of the race will commence at 4 p.m., followed by a closing awards ceremony.

The Dragon Boat Festival has been a natural outgrowth of Saint Martin’s educational and cultural exchanges with China, which began in 1995. Each year, China is a popular destination for University faculty members teaching business, accounting and general education and for students participating in China study tours and internships in Shanghai and Hong Kong. This spring, 16 students from China are part of the University’s student body.

“The Dragon Boat Festival is not just a Saint Martin’s event, it is a community event! It’s a fun day filled with many family-friendly and cultural activities. I encourage everyone to come,” says Josephine Yung, one of the festival’s founders and the University’s vice president of international programs and development.

The Dragon Boat Festival welcomes the support from organizations throughout the region. Sponsors are the Port of Olympia, the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, Thurston County, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Squaxin Island Tribe, Capital Mall, Capitol City Press, Olympia Federal Savings and Olympia Orthopedic Associates.

Opportunities to participate as a team or act as a festival volunteer are still available. For more information about Saint Martin’s Dragon Boat Festival, visit www.stmartin.edu/dragonboat.

 

New Aquarium Showcases Local Artists

Starting this summer, visitors to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium will be treated not only to a new state-of-the-art marine experience when the new Pacific Seas Aquarium opens, but also to breathtaking art installations featuring two Pacific Northwest artists.

The $51.6 million project, led by Metro Parks Tacoma, is funded by the One Percent for Public Art program. As the name suggests, this program earmarks 1 percent of all public works project budgets for the creation of public art. The new aquarium was approved by voters in 2014 as part of the $198 million Metro Parks Tacoma bond. These additions to PDZA are projected to boost attendance at the beloved Pierce County destination, which annually sees over 700,000 visitors.

Maria Jost, Tacoma-based illustrator and Tacoma Public Schools’ Science and Math Institute science teacher, will be creating a marine-inspired mural for installation in the aquarium’s Tidal Touch Zone. This zone is an engaging space offering hands-on and up-close experiences for people of all ages. Jost’s work has been seen in many Tacoma locations and was commissioned by Tacoma Makes for the 2014 edition of the Tacoma Playing Cards.

In addition, Seattle glass artist Kait Rhoads created a glass jellyfish that will be suspended in the atrium just past the 250,000-gallon Baja Bay habitat. This habitat will be home to green sea turtles, scalloped hammerhead sharks, spotted eagle rays and other warmwater species. Rhoads’ work has been featured in museum and gallery exhibitions across the U.S. and internationally. For this, her first permanent public art piece, she collaborated with PDZA’s jellyfish aquarist Dr. Chad Widmer, the hot shop team at the Museum of Glass and students from Hilltop Artists.

Choosing to highlight the talents of local artists for these important art installations in the new aquarium is evidence of the richness of cultural life in the Northwest. When you plan your visit, make sure you have a chance to appreciate all the beauty of this new South Sound gem.

HILARY RYAN

For additional information:
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 North Pearl St, Tacoma
253.591.5337
pdza.org

Providence Ladies Night Out

Providence St. Peter’s 30th annual Christmas Forest raised $672,000 to benefit the Providence mission of providing compassionate and excellent health care. In celebration of the sixday-long event, guests attended Ladies Night Out, which featured a night of shopping with local vendors and merchants, and entertainment by the talented local singer Chris Anderson. The event is the foundation’s largest fundraiser and community event, which brought in thousands of visitors to see the trees and wreaths decorated by volunteer designers. Funds help support charity care, life-saving equipment and compassionate programs for Providence ministries in the southwest Washington region.

Taking The World By Storm

Storm Large has been taking the nation by storm with her singing talent and rock and jazz musical infusions since 1989. Yet most people may not have known about her until 2006 when she was a contestant on the CBS reality television show Rock Star: Supernova. On Friday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., she will take the Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center by storm.

A native of Southborough, Massachusetts, Large has an extensive musical history that’s taken her all across the United States. Now with eight studio albums and a long list of touring experiences, she’s a master of her craft and of performing. And she’s more than a singer. She’s an actor, musician and author too. She has worked on musicals, one specifically to be performed at the Public Theater in New York City, and her rock performances are examples of her acting talents.

Near the beginning of her musical career, Large moved to Portland, Oregon, with a new career in mind as a chef. But music wasn’t going to let her go so easily. Not long after her move she was singing again, this time in her band. Many saw her in 2010 performing with the Oregon Symphony, and she’s sold out shows multiple times since then.

After performing at Carnegie Hall in 2013, The New York Times called her “sensational.” From her long resume, it looks as if she never takes a break, as if her creative juices are constantly flowing. That’s more than likely true, and even more likely is that no one is complaining.

Her latest album Le Bonheur is like an ode to love itself. Storm Large seems to have found a niche in subject matter that her fans can’t get enough of. Her performance this Dec. 1 in Federal Way will no doubt be exhilarating and moving. Try not to miss it. For ticket information, visit fwpaec.org

JORDAN MARIE MARTINEZ

New Luxury Home Builder Opens at Tehaleh

Tehaleh_3730_Elevation

HC Homes, a local Pierce County builder, debuted its model home and five plans for high-end, handcrafted homes designed specifically for the forested community of Tehaleh.

If you love the outdoors, you have to preview these homes, says Rick Seddon, managing broker for HC Homes. Tehaleh has numerous walking trails and community parks with amenities as diverse as soccer fields and zip lines and tranquil areas to read a book while enjoying wildlife on the pond.

“We’ve been building luxury homes for over 30 years in Pierce County and had been watching Tehaleh for about a year. We were impressed by the outdoor living, parks and community. We decided to seize the opportunity,” Seddon said.

All of the HC Homes lots back up to a greenbelt, ensuring views of the forest and direct access through the backyard to the community’s 10-plus miles of trails. These properties will integrate beautifully with Tehaleh’s 10 parks and outdoor spaces. With a focus on outdoor living, the homes feature covered patios with cabana fans, outdoor fireplaces, home audio hook-ups and adjustable specialty lighting.

HC Homes is excited to begin building its never-before-seen daylight-basement plans in Tehaleh, Seddon says. All of the main living space is on the main floor, including the master suite, which comes complete with his-and-hers walk-in closets and a sitting area. A bonus room and additional bedrooms are in the daylight basement. Two-story plans are also available.

The homes are designed with the Tehaleh buyer in mind, to include customizable premium options. Flex spaces will be able to accommodate a wine cellar, theater room or home office. The premier homes are priced in the high $400s to the low $500s, representing a higher price point at Tehaleh.

For more information: hchomes.net/tehaleh