Puget Sound’s Historic SSS Odyssey

odysseyThe Odyssey, a 90-foot sailboat, was designed by Olin Stephens and built in 1938 by the Henry Nevins Yard of New York for Mrs. Barklie Henry, a member of the Vanderbilt family. As a pleasure vessel, Odyssey quickly proved itself as a winning member of the racing community of Long Island Sound. The family also sailed it down to the Caribbean for visits with Ernest Hemingway.

By 1942, the U.S. Navy acquired the Odyssey and renamed it USS Saluda. It was painted standard military “haze” gray, converted to diesel auxiliary power and put into service in October 1942 at Port Everglades, Fla. The Navy assigned it as a research vessel for its underwater sound laboratory. It was used for radar and sonar testing when American shores and ships were at high risk of attack from German U-boats.

Now named the SSS (Sea Scout Ship) Odyssey, Tacoma’s own “tall ship” is recognized nationally as a premier youth sailing programs vessel. The Odyssey is the largest youth sailing ship in the South Sound and one of the largest Sea Scout ships in the United States.

After decades of valiant service, however, the main engine on Odyssey has died. The timing couldn’t be worse since the Odyssey’s mainsail developed a massive tear during a recent high wind. Without a mainsail or motor, the Odyssey and its youth sailors are stuck at the dock of the Tacoma Youth Marine Center. Senior Skipper Bud Bronson says, “The task of getting a new mainsail and a new engine at the same time is unanticipated and practically overwhelming for us.”

Odyssey is operated year-round by 68 local youth and about a half dozen adult volunteers. The ship typically sails 185 days a year. Today the young men and women who care for it and train aboard the Odyssey are mostly idle. But one 15-year-old Sea Scout says, “While we look for the funds we need, we are also working, scrubbing, sanding and painting just about anything that doesn’t move.”

Local marine suppliers are helping out, but the crew still needs additional funds to replace and install the necessary equipment. On behalf of the Odyssey crew, the Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation is asking for help from the community to get the Odyssey powered up and sailing again.

For additional information:
Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation

To donate to the YMF Odyssey Campaign, please call the Youth Marine Foundation Malcolm Russell or Bud Bronson 253.572.2666


Star Center – A Place To Connect

starcenter2South Tacoma Activity and Recreation Center, better known as STAR Center, is far from the average community center. With activities ranging from hands-on culinary classes to a state-of-the-art fitness facility, STAR Center offers the community a place to connect, play and stay fit. On an average day, members can be seen dropping into a Zumba class, gathering to meet for a study session or hitting the gym with friends.

After countless meetings and listening to the needs of residents, Metro Parks Tacoma created a place that is as diverse as it is welcoming. South Tacoma needed a place where people could really connect with one another and their community.

starcenter7STAR Center supervisor Kristy Gledhill has been with the facility since November but has a long history with Metro Parks. Her enthusiasm for the center and the community it serves is contagious. “STAR Center was conceived by the community itself to be a gathering spot for Southwest Tacoma and a place where people could go to connect and learn, stay active and have fun. I see that happening here all day, every day,” says Gledhill. Diversity is at the heart of everything at STAR Center. Creating an environment that is both welcoming and meaningful is part of what makes the center so special.

STAR Center also offers versatile space for events from birthday parties to business meetings. Catering is available to groups through the on-site Subway Compass Café.

Plans to expand the SERA (South End Recreation and Adventure) Campus are already underway and feature a spray ground, which will open next to the existing playground this June along with an events lawn and multiuse playfield. Future plans include a multiuse sports field, skate park and zip line, just to name a few.

For additional information:
STAR Center
3873 – 66th St, Tacoma



matador721 Pacific Ave, Tacoma

Tex-Mex techno cool. That’s what the Matador is. Deep amber lighting, trendy techno beats, and the aroma of spices and fire greet you as you cross the threshold. Guests, numerous and closely packed, lean in to one another to intimately relate tales as they sip drinks and sway to the beat.

The Matador owners started out with a vision of showcasing high-quality tequilas. Currently they have 130 varieties, with a well-trained bar staff that can steer you to a flavor that will satisfy your palate. We were treated to a classy sipping tequila by Fortaleza that was smooth like bourbon and had a taste that was both spicy and sweet with a hint of berry. That was at the end of our meal as we lingered to enjoy the atmosphere.

Next we sampled margaritas—handcrafted cucumber jalapeño margaritas to be exact—with a chipotle salt rim. The salt is blended in-house; in fact many options here are house-made from scratch. The chefs focus on using traditional Mexican flavors and crafting foods rather than just cooking them. There’s a new fresh sheet every month and both traditional and daring options available.

Our appetizer of choice was Chipotle Mushrooms with house-made habanero sauce. They’re served in a cast iron pan and seem unassuming, but don’t be fooled. The smoky chipotle flavors are followed by HEAT—wonderful bodywarming heat, perfect for spice lovers. Hint for those with more timid tastes: Order the guacamole with your chips and salsa. It’s not spicy and cools the heat well.

Carnitas was my dinner choice; my companions had Seared Steak Enchiladas. The pork is roasted for six hours in a spice mix until it’s soft and unbelievably tender, and served with a lime and cilantro sour cream and tortillas. The enchiladas were served with a creamy verde sauce that was so clear you could distinguish the different peppers.

The finale was a dessert of churros with raspberry jalapeño jam and chocolate chipotle sauce. You will perceive the sweet taste, and as you are savoring, the spices liven your mouth and settle pleasantly in the back of your throat. I think I found a new chocolate to love.

You never know what’s going to be on the fresh menu since the chef chooses ingredients that are at their best each season. As summer approaches, the peppers gain more depth to their flavor and the chef ensures you will be wowed. The big showcase in the summer, however, is the patio, which is now open on good days. It’s a perfect place to take in tequila, fabulous food and a sunset in style.


Farmers Markets: Building Healthy Communities

farmersmarketsOver the past few years, farmers markets have grown increasingly popular. From Tacoma to Olympia, these local markets provide a vital service to the communities they serve. Among a number of benefits is the unique opportunity for consumers to connect directly to farmers.

At the Tacoma Farmers Market, the goal is simple: to provide fresh, healthy foods to everyone. “Every community member should have access to fresh, local foods, regardless of income,” says Stacy Carkonen, executive director. It is critical that local farmers continue to receive support, she says. “The market creates a sense of community. We want to support local farms and feed families local foods.” To ensure all members of the community are able to access foods offered at the markets, Tacoma Farmers Market accepts SNAP benefits.

In Puyallup, the farmers market has seen extensive growth in a short period of time. As more people become health conscious and farmers look to share their products with the local community, the market serves as a natural place for both to grow together. Shawn Edwards, farmers market coordinator, says the farmers are more than willing to help educate visitors and will answer questions. “It is a very educational experience. Farmers are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who asks,” says Edwards. Since farmers bring their crops from only a few miles away, the markets have a reduced carbon footprint, for a positive impact on the environment. In addition to fruits and vegetables, visitors to the market can find fresh flowers along with a wide variety of additional vendors.

Whether you are looking for fresh salad ingredients or advice on how to properly cultivate your own herb garden, farmers markets provide neighborhoods a chance to connect with one another and local farmers, creating a true sense of community.

For additional information on the farmers markets in Olympia, Tacoma and Puyallup, please visit the following websites:

olympiafarmersmarket.com – Olympia Market
tacomafarmersmarket.com – Tacoma Market
puyallupmainstreet.com – Puyallup Market


A Day Trip – Discover Centralia

foxtheaterCentralia is being revitalized. If you haven’t visited recently, this is the summer staycation destination you need to consider. Quaint and quiet, the downtown main strip features original brick-and-mortar buildings, but with a twist. There’s a modern group of boutiques, coffeehouses, wine bars and eateries, setting the stage for an extraordinary day trip for couples and families alike.

Recently we took a day to discover Centralia. We started our visit at the Santa Lucia coffeehouse, where beans are roasted on-site and cushy chairs beckon from several bright, cheery spaces beyond the counter.

Diverse and ample shopping opportunities abound, for elegant clothing, quirky knickknacks, baby and kid fare, body-works and antiques that will appeal to both men and women.

We stopped for lunch at Dawn’s Delectables, where they still make their menu offerings from scratch. Try the chicken salad sandwich and tomato soup.

centraliaAfter lunch we took a tour of the historical sites with a local guide. Two major renovation projects are occurring downtown.

The legendary Centralia Square building, which was turned into a shopping complex but still houses the No. 1 breakfast spot in town, has been reopened as a hotel and it is absolutely gorgeous. Many of the original building fixtures have been salvaged or re-created thanks to the new owners’ love and devotion to the project.

The other renovation is the renowned Fox Theatre, which hosts shows. It has a full schedule and shows everything from comedy and movies to live burlesque dancers. The hope of Friends of the Fox Theatre is to take the establishment back to its original state, says the group’s president, Scott White.

After our tour we took a break from the town and went just a few blocks east to the park. Well-maintained trails took us up a hill for a beautiful overlook of the city. It was an easy little hike that even the kids can do. Dogs are welcome too, both throughout town and in the parks.

By late afternoon we were ready for a break and stopped at The Compass for tapas and wine tastes. We sampled meats, cheeses and bruschetta, with accompanying wine samples. The food was tasty and fresh, the wine was rich and the ambiance was welcoming and comfortable.

Finally, we crossed the street for dinner at Boccata Deli and Market where yet another thoughtful restaurateur was putting together fine fresh food. This is a local favorite for fine dining.

If you’re looking for a day trip or weekend adventure, I recommend discovering Centralia’s fine food, walkability and local culture.



Go Red For Women: 10 Tips To A Better You

goredGo Red for Women celebrated its 10th anniversary this past February. The American Heart Association–affiliated program asks all women to “Go Red” by wearing red, living a healthy lifestyle and “speaking red” by spreading the message that heart disease is killing our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. In fact, it is the No. 1 killer of women.

One of the Go Red programs started in conjunction with Franciscan Health Systems is called BetterU. This three-month plan helps participants look at ways to be more heart-healthy, including what they are eating and how they are moving and exercising. Participants are given a Fitbit, which monitors the number of steps taken daily and makes wearers mindful of medication, nutrition and their daily exercise goals.

We asked BetterU participant Jennifer Haury about her experience, she said, “I feel better, healthier and prouder of the choices I am making as a mom. I would never go back to eating the way I did. I notice significant change in my energy level, stamina and overall general health.”

Marisa Gillaspie Aziz, a BetterU facilitator, shared what she thinks of the BetterU program: “It’s a different approach. It’s really focused on wellness and health versus weight loss. It’s important to understand why you’re going to be healthier. I cleaned out foods in my house that weren’t following the program. I drink 80 to 120 ounces of water every day. Our goal is to get 10,000 steps a day with our Fitbit pedometers.”

“This is a great program,” says Aziz. “I think people really take their health for granted and this puts our health first. I’m a nurse and I work in the hospital and people don’t care about their health until they don’t have it anymore. This program helps us be proactive.”

Take inventory, challenge yourself and incorporate these 10 tips into your daily life.

For additional information: goredforwomen.org

The following are 10 daily tips for a Better You:

  • Identify your big “why.” Find out why you are on the journey to getting healthy.
  • Create a safe environment. Have healthy foods in your home.
  • Eat breakfast. Eating a whole-food breakfast of scrambled eggs with veggies, fruits, nuts or a healthy smoothie ignites metabolism and curbs cravings throughout the day.
  • Drink coffee with your breakfast. Drinking coffee with food signals our body that we are not stressed or in danger and curbs the effects of the release of our stress hormones.
  • Drink plenty of water. Aim to drink 60 to 80 ounces of water a day.
  • Eat every two to three hours. This helps keep you from being starved and overindulging later.
  • Eat mostly plant-based whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains are nutrient-dense foods that will heal your body and release the weight.
  • Eat a salad a day. Add as many healthy items as you can to your salad: veggies, meat and healthy salad dressing. You can purchase healthy salad dressing or make your own.
  • Move your body. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Wearing a pedometer holds you accountable to take the stairs, walk during your lunch break, park your car farther away and so on.
  • Aim for progress not perfection. This is the motto of The Healthy Edge, and BetterU participants have adopted it as a daily reminder of the journey they are on.

Dazzle Your Senses: The 2014 Gig Harbor Wine And Food Festival

winefoodfestThe fourth annual Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival brings the culinary arts to life along the historic downtown waterfront. With help from James Beard award-winning celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau, this year’s festival promises to dazzle the senses and be nothing short of spectacular. Foodies will delight at the offerings, which include samples of the greatest local cuisine and a sensational cook-off challenge.

Summer finds many fresh, local foods in abundance. Recipes and cooking demonstrations are sure to feature some of the best ingredients the season has to offer. Chef Rautureau finds inspiration in all things local and believes in creating dishes that speak to our Pacific Northwest lifestyle. When he was growing up in the Muscadet region of France, ingredients came from the garden. “I love fresh tomatoes. They are essential to a great summer dish,” he says. “You cook with what’s around you.”

Chef Douglas shares the same passion for local ingredients, calling salmon one of his favorite summer foods. “Making a salmon roast and pairing it with a great relish is one of my favorite summer dinners,” he says.

Both chefs support local farms, opting for fresh ingredients that they say taste better and last longer than those well-traveled. Douglas, who owns his own farm, is looking forward to meeting local farmers during his visit to the South Sound.

In addition to offerings from over 20 local restaurants and over 30 wineries, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of cooking classes throughout the day.

The festival is on July 26 and attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets early before they sell out. Reserve your place at the must-see, and taste, event of the summer.

For additional information: harborwineandfoodfest.com


Straight From The Heart

fromtheheart2Three hundred forty foodies and philanthropic leaders attended the sold-out Straight From the Heart fundraising event at Lucky Eagle Casino. Lucky Eagle’s culinary team prepared the meal while wines were paired by special guest Michael Madrigal. Michael was voted 2012 Sommelier of the Year by “Food and Wine” and “Wine Enthusiast” magazines. Lucky Eagle also recruited food and beverage expert Shawn Ellis who added a new twist to the event with artisan food and wine sourced locally. Guests had an opportunity to witness the culinary team in action through a live video feed as the team carefully prepared each unique course. Proceeds from the event in excess of $140,000 benefit the needy in Thurston County.


Stay & Play In The South Sound

Discover the wealth of activities available in our own backyard this summer. From the following list, choose those pursuits that sound most appealing and parlay them into a three-day weekend staycation.

Federal Way
Snuggled into a residential neighborhood, PowellsWood Garden dispenses both floral beauty and quiet serenity to those who walk its paths. Benches throughout the three-acre ethereal display invite you to sit and savor the landscape.

Shop for bargains at the newly remodeled Outlet Collection, the only indoor outlet mall in the West. Get up close to the stunning thoroughbreds racing at Emerald Downs. On July 3 marvel at the Firework Spectacular after the final horse race.

As the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World, Sumner gives a yearly nod to the crimson fruit during Rhubarb Days (July 12-13). New this year, neighbors vie for the best front yard, front porch and best use of rhubarb at the Frontyard Fair (August 7-10). Walk or bike those pie calories off on all or some of the 8-mile Sumner Link Trail.

Taste homemade berry fudge or refresh with a fresh fruit smoothie at Spooner Farms. Buy fresh-off-the-vine raspberries, blackberries and blueberries plus corn in July and August.

On July 4, Tacoma’s award-winning Freedom Fair marks our independence with live music, an air show, food, rides and other festival customs. Swim with the sharks or touch the stingrays at two new Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium exhibits.

Test your handicap on the Home Course golf course. Ladies Night falls on Mondays during the summer, which means women can attend a skills clinic and then play a round for a reduced greens fee.

Revel in a musical feast at America’s Classic Dixieland Jazz Festival June 26-29.

At the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, summer reveals songbirds feeding their young, juvenile eagles foraging and shorebirds dining on the mudflats. A trip to Olympia seems incomplete without a stop at the Farmers Market, one of the largest in the state—filled to the brim with colorful, healthy produce and much more.

home course golf course
emerald downs
rhubarb days
shark diving, point defiance zoo & aquarium
home course golf course
olympia farmers market


Sole Obsession

100 years of women’s shoes from kitten heels to power pumps

Step into the White River Valley Museum’s newest exhibit, Sole Obsession: 100 Years of Women’s Shoes from Kitten Heels to Power Pumps, opening June 18. Sole Obsession presents a range of dressy footwear, spanning from 1910 to 2010, and reflects on the dramatic changes experienced by the women who wore them. Over 100 pairs of shoes from regional museums and private collections will be displayed with examples of women’s cocktail and party apparel from the museum’s collection.

Historic clothing aficionado Christine Palmer curated the exhibit, calling upon her connections to vintage fashion collectors throughout the region. “Shoes have been a particular passion of mine, as their styles can be powerful, seductive or fanciful, depending upon the era, materials and designer.”

Today most American women own at least 19 pairs of shoes, some secretly, although they wear only about four pairs regularly. About 15 percent of American women have over 30 pairs of shoes. Over her working life, the American woman will own about 188 pairs of shoes.

When she looks at a pair of vintage shoes, a woman is also looking at a piece of someone’s past. A newly acquired pair of vintage shoes allows a woman to build a special look, makes her feel like an accomplished collector and whets her appetite for more. The most expensive pair of vintage shoes cost $655,000 at auction— a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers used in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

Puget Sounders enjoyed past historic apparel exhibits of women’s undergarments, hats and swimwear. Consequently, the staff at White River Valley Museum has considered a women’s shoe exhibit for some time and is now proud to present this dazzling assemblage. Palmer says that the exhibit Sole Obsession reveals that throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, women of all sizes and ages have relished wearing attractive shoes.

For additional information:
wrvmuseum.org or 253.288.7433