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Heathy and Holistic Inside and Out…Don't Drink Coffee While Riding an Elliptical.

My Trip to Bremerton

A view of aircraft carriers docked at the Brem...

Three decommissioned aircraft carriers docked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. From left: the Independence, Constellation, and Ranger. Image via Wikipedia

Several weeks ago, I decided to do a big girl thing and take a road trip by myself. I’ve been on many a road trip, but never by myself. Wait, I just recalled I drove from Vancouver, WA down to Eugene, OR by myself several years ago. Thinking about it, the only thing I can really remember is that horrible stretch of I-5 between Albany and Eugene: flat, brown and boring.

I have been places: Grand Coulee Dam, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Yakima,(pretty much the majority of Central Washington Cascades); I’ve been through quite a bit of Oregon: Warm Springs, Bend, Sisters, Detroit Lake (with and without water) and Mt. Hood, being lucky enough to be at Timberline Lodge for the first snow of the year, yet even more impressive was being able to see Mt. Jefferson from the window of the bar, which is about 100 miles directly south. Just in case anyone was wondering, I have actually been out of the Pacific Northwest, but that’s for another post.

Thus the severity of my traveling over 150 miles to a place I have never been before. I have been to Seattle, and I have been as far north as Bellingham; I have also been as far northwest as Neah Bay, I’ve seen the rainforest of Lake Quinault, but I was always with someone and I never drove.

Which is why my trip to Bremerton was just epic for me. This was the first time I was venturing out on myself, and it wasn’t even a vacation. I wasn’t staying; I was visiting a sister blogger and a soap-making friend of hers for the first time. My sister blogger I have known on-line for quite some time but we have never met, and her soap making friend I never heard of, let alone knew until my plans were solid and my sister blogger asked if a friend could tag along. Sure, why not? I’ve never met a soap maker in real life, and yes, that might sound corny but for me it was exciting! I was finally going to meet my sister blogger Melissa Whitman and Shannon, her “personal” soap maker. Dear Santa, please may I have a personal soap maker beneath the tree?

Armed with a Google map, a general idea of where I would be stopping at Starbucks along the way, and a solid promise to a friend to not stop in Tacoma, or anywhere in Pierce County. My trip was going to be pretty easy: Hwy 30 to Rainier, cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Longview, WA, hit the Ocean Beach Hwy Starbucks on my way to I-5 Northbound, drive about 100 miles until exit 136, take the 16 through Tacoma (not stopping, remember) until I hit the 3 into Bremerton. Over the course of nearly a month, I had stared at enough maps and satellite images to get the route down in my head, but I printed off directions from Google just in case. I hit the road on a foggy Saturday morning around 8AM, thinking I was going to get to Bremerton around noonish, which was about right. What I didn’t plan was Longview being a hurdle I just could get across.

Yes, I admit, it’s horribly sad I spent a half an hour in Longview, getting lost, trying to find the Starbucks on SR-4. I turned off 15th when I should have remained straight. Even worse, there’s the Oregon Way Starbucks right off the Lewis and Clark Bridge, but I wasn’t to hit that one until I was on my way home. I had a process and I was going to stick to it, even though I drove around Longview like a moron for what seemed to be forever. I finally found it, right before I was going to give up and call home.

I blame Google. Totally.

Eventually I got there, and eventually I found how to get to I-5 Northbound. Once I hit the interstate I was home free, all I had to do was drive the 100 miles to exit 133ish to hit the 16. The speed limit is 70 for passenger cars the majority of the way, so I made good time as I didn’t stop anywhere after my epic fail in Longview. Truly, I was humiliated by that little mistake.

The fog wasn’t going anywhere, so there was nothing to look at. I passed Ft. Lewis (I had forgotten they merged with USAF McCord Air Force Base back in 2010, so it’s now known as Joint Base Lewis-McCord. I remember driving along, wondering what the heck JBLM stood for) thinking that was super cool, but I was driving on automatic. I hit my exit, and then I really woke up with I came across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

It was cool. Why lie, I thought it was super cool. I’ve never been across it and for some reason there was something majestic about it. I have quite a relationship with suspension bridges, having grown up in the bay area, but this was just awesome and amazing.

The trip from the bridge up to the 3 was boring and rather reminiscent of the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, without the overpasses.

When I hit the 3 I really started to pay attention because I didn’t want to mess up and end up in Port Townsend. I was totally, absolutely blown away by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the three massive, decommissioned aircraft carriers. Up until that time, I have only seen carriers on TV, and I had absolutely no idea how damn huge the things were. I found out later that I driving past the Independence, the Constellation and the Ranger. They were stripped down but that didn’t take away the sheer strength that exuded from them. Apparently, the Independence is waiting to be sunk as an artificial reef. The Constellation is waiting to be dismantled, and the Ranger (which was used in Star Trek IV and you know that is just uber cool) is currently being considered as a museum in Oregon. It’s difficult to drive while you’re gawking out of your passenger window. About 15 minutes later, I had found the restaurant in the Fred Meyer parking lot that was my destination. The sun was out by that time, and boy how gorgeous were all the trees, the water, and just everything?

The visit was amazing. The three of us couldn’t stop talking long enough to order, the wait staff was losing their patience with us but we had so much to say and look at. The menu was the last thing on my mind. The table ended up strewn with bags full of goodies: Melissa had made me a wonderful Cinnamon Orange Body Butter, bath fizzies, a coffee sugar scrub and an amazing cream deodorant that actually works. Shannon loaded me down with different types of her soaps (her Lavender Oatmeal is absolutely amazing, check her wares out over at www.hensonsoapcompany.com) and I came weighed down with teas and goodies from Owens Acres. I don’t even remember what I had to eat, once we finally ordered. Whatever it was I do know I ended up taking the majority of it home, as we just couldn’t eat around all of the talking we were doing.

While we were together, the clouds burned off completely and there was nothing but blue sky, which I took as a good omen for the drive home. We parted ways with hugs and promises of another visit (my goal is to get back up in the beginning of December, as I have another load of Owens Acres products to unload) and I couldn’t get the grin off of my face as I indulged in the ultimate luxury of pumping my own gas before I left town.

It’s the little things.

I managed Longview just fine on the way back, hitting the Oregon Way Starbucks without a problem. Well, that’s the Starbucks you can’t miss, it’s right at the entrance to the Lewis and Clark Bridge, but the parking lot is the worst to get to as you travel west towards the bridge. I committed the most heinous u-turn to get into it, but hey, when you need coffee…

All in all, I did it. I had no problems (other than being owned by Longview, WA), was able to meet two wonderful people, and was able to prove to myself I can do things on my own, far from home. I can’t wait to do it again.

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Survival Products: My Collection

Owens Acres Energizing Aromatherapeutic Scent

There’s some things I don’t leave the house with, especially when I have to make the 40 mile trek into work.  Some are obvious:  coffee (to drink for the trip), my purse, etc…but when you dig into my purse there are absolute must have products that I reach for over the course of my work day.

My purse is a bulging mess, and believe me when I say I try to downsize as much as I can but the same products remain.  I cannot leave the house without them:

1.  Owens Acres Headache Balm:  I think the name of the product says it all.  Comes in a twist up tube in two sizes, .15 oz. and .50 oz.  Think tube of lip balm.  Anyway, its a lovely balm with Lavender and Peppermint, great for those tense necks and pounding temples.  As well, a quick swipe beneath the nose opens up those pesky sinuses.  I order them two at a time, one to keep at home and the other for my purse.

2.  Owens Acres Lavender Lotion Bar:  Comes in 2oz or 4 oz tins, I keep the 2 oz in my purse.  Great for dry hands (and I HATE dry hands) and the Lavender is potent enough for a relaxing escape, no matter how brief.

3. Owens Acres Arnica Warm Roll On:  I have bone spurs in my neck and they are aggravated by cold weather.  When my neck hurts boy does it hurt a sickly, throbbing hurt.  The Arnica Warm really helps with the pain. I apply and wrap my neck in a scarf.

4.  Energizing Perfume Roll On:  Is a great pick me up for those work blahs.  Smells like Lime Lifesavers, it really does.

5.  Starbucks VIA:  For when Starbucks is closed and I need coffee.  The swill that’s in the work lunchroom can take the caulking off a bathtub *shudders*

6.  Tea:  when I feel chilly, which makes me miserable.  Sometimes all I need is a hot cup of tea to warm me up and lift my spirits.

7.  Owens Acres Lip Balms (bottom of page):  I keep Peach and Peppermint with me.  No color, just serious, natural moisture.  Laura just came out with Cinnamon and Pomegranate as well.

8. Owens Acres Aroma Inhaler in “Anxiety”:  yeah.

 

So there you have it.  I need a bigger purse.

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Juni by Xango Gentle Body Bar

Juni by Xango Products

I know I’ve already done a review on the bottled Juni by Xango products, when I did so I had yet to use the Gentle Body Bar.  Due to trying to get out of the house on time yesterday, I used my Juni Bar.

Monday.  That word alone should bring about nods of understanding from my readers.  Trying to get out of the house on time, two hours of sleep the night before, find time to eat, take allergy meds, make a lunch…yeah.  All in the time of an hour!  I had unwrapped my Juni Bar completely a few days ago, just so I could smell it while I worked on my computer.  As I headed to the shower, wondering how on earth I was going to get to the bank and Starbucks before starting my hour commute to work, I grabbed the bar.

Now.  I love bars of soap more than anything, especially natural bars of soap because I can use it all over and for everything, which is very handy when I am showering in a hurry but still need to be clean.  That Juni Bar was AWESOME.  Lathered up quick and rich and I used it to wash my hair, face, my body, shave…one bar of soap did it all.  My hair felt GREAT afterwards, not gummy and not weighed down at all.  The soap did not bother the sensitive skin on my face or anywhere else on my body.

Even better?  It didn’t vanish.  Some handmade soaps, you use it once and the bar is half gone.  I don’t think the imprint is gone yet, this is a sturdy bar of soap!  I will have it for a while for sure, its a good, solid 3 ounces, and I figure as long as I keep it dry between uses I shouldn’t have an issue.

The  ingredients, like the smell, are just yummy.  We have shea butter, orange oil, lavender oil, safflower seed oil, among other things, as well as the mangosteen pericarp.  This soap is not drying or irritating and leaves your skin feeling really good and clean without that sticky, drying feeling I usually end up with after using a standard bar of soap.

You should know that I sweat, and its easy to get funky by the end of my work day, so much so that I need to shower before bed.  I got home from work 12 hours later still feeling pretty good in my skin, and this morning I smell my arm and I can still smell the soap.  Don’t get me wrong, its not perfumy or flowery or heavily scented, there are no scents other than the oils in the soap.

Bottom line?  WINNER.  Its foamy and smells good and cleans and my hair liked it.  I was out of the shower in 10 minutes and I was able to hit the bank, hit the Starbucks drive thru AND make it to work on time.

I smelled good the entire time.  If I was offered a case of this wonderful  product I would take it.  Its multi purpose, gentle yet effective, and healthy.

Oh, and if you unwrap it and leave it on your desk, it makes your work area smell really good. *grins*

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