Trail Review | Wallace Falls

Take to the Woody Trail for a sensational journey up the Wallace River. It’s one of Snohomish County’s premier hiking venues. Bring a lunch and a camera, and prepare for Wallace Falls to entice you to the top, persevering through an elevation gain of some 1,240 feet in 2.75 miles, though many don’t venture past the middle falls overlook. It’s a family friendly hike and good for all ages. The river and falls pound with forceful, furious action. You can hear its fury even when out of view—but what a sight!

The trailhead begins within the Wallace Falls State Park located just outside Gold Bar’s city limits. This is a popular hike, so there are more than a hundred parking spaces, with extra parking along the entrance road.

Useful information packs the kiosks. One board illustrates the trees to look for en route. Common are the Douglas fir and Western hemlock, but you also may see Pacific yew, a smaller hardwood conifer whose seeds look like berries. This trail may be short on wildflowers, but there are plenty of edible blackberries, salmonberries, red huckleberries, and thimbleberries. Watch for Western sword ferns, deer ferns, and the licorice fern. This last fern is an epiphyte that grows on other plants.

“Any time you see a fern growing out of a tree in clumps, it’s a licorice fern,” said Vickie, who was hiking with her grown daughter Maggie. “The first time we came up here I carried her on my back. This hike is great. You get so much for your effort.”

The trail starts off flat and forks after a few hundred yards. Stay to the right on the Woody Trail, which is adjacent to the broad, rushing Wallace River. The trail remains wide and shored up where necessary. Considering that the hike is classified as moderately strenuous, the well-built trail provides ease of travel. Large wooden bridges and railings made almost entirely of logs allow passage over several tributaries. It’s a long but relatively easy 1.8 miles to the lower falls viewpoint. This area is a maturing forest, with lots of moss in the trees and as ground cover. Various ferns, salal, and Oregon grape fill the undergrowth.

At the lower falls, the river cuts a break in the trees for almost complete viewing of the 275-foot Wallace Falls. This is a good place to stop for a snack or to have lunch. A covered shelter features several picnic tables under a covered shelter, with plenty of room to rest. The next leg to the middle falls overlook is just three-tenths of a mile further. The trail continues to gradually ascend.

In these upper stretches, the river disappears and may be inaudible. A precipice at the middle falls overlooks a full view of Wallace Falls plummeting over a rock ledge. It then re-forms into a wild, mist-spewing river as it drops down into the valley.

For Regan Edwards of Redmond and Lisanne Cormier, the middle falls is the end of the line, and they aren’t alone. “This is my first hike,” said Edwards. “I just ran a half-marathon and this hike is working a different group of muscles.” The women agree to pick up some Epsom salts on their way home.

“I’m from Maryland near the water,” said Cormier. “We don’t have hikes like this. Highly impressive. It compares to New Zealand.”

The final ascent to the upper falls is difficult, and there are switchbacks. Surprisingly, one of the better views is on the way. Take the few steps off the path at the sign reading “valley overlook.” A railing prevents you from plunging to your death and there are tiered benches. The sun, if any, hits this spot wonderfully. On your left the cascading waterfall continues. Below is the deep gorge of the Wallace River. On the right are a mountain range and the fertile hills near Gold Bar.

The upper falls viewpoint is level with the top of Wallace Falls, and you can see its rough waters approaching the edge. It’s a partial view of the falls yet very worth the climb. The return trip is nearly three miles on weary legs. If you start early, it would be about midday. At this time, the trail will have more hikers. It’s best to take it slow, and the views actually improve with the afternoon sun.

Wallace Falls is an essential yearround hike for those exploring Snohomish County trails. The trail itself is kept in first class condition and even toddlers can make the picnic area. The popularity of this hike cannot be overstated. Yet, most everyone is friendly on the trail, and it’s ideal for solo hikers.

Once Upon the Water | Washington State Ferries

As long as people have lived in and around Puget Sound, the waterways and sounds that connect us have been busy with marine traffic. The relationship people have to the water here is inextricable. Before first contact, Native Americans navigated the straits and sounds of the Salish Sea in cedar canoes. With the first settlers—mostly traders with the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company—came ferries and schooners that zipped from Olympia and points south to Alaska. They became known as the Mosquito Fleet, traversing the coast picking up and dropping off passengers, goods, and mail. Our ferries today still follow many of the traditional trade routes that have been in place for thousands of years.

The first ferries to enter the Sound arrived in the 1830s. The Beaver and the Otter were commissioned and run by the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, and primarily for the fur trade with Canada. In 1888, the Beaver crashed on rocks just offshore at what is now Stanley Park, and pieces of the wreckage are still housed in the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

As the Fraser Valley boomed with gold and Bellingham became the home base for prospectors, ferry service up and down the Fraser River to Bellingham picked up. The ferry system took on historical significance when, in 1860, a 14-year-old slave named Charles Mitchell stowed away on a ferry to escape into Canada. Mitchell was seized by authorities four miles outside Victoria and kept aboard in “close confinement.” The black community of Victoria prepared to welcome Mitchell, and a Canadian judge ruled that in British waters, the young man should be granted freedom. He was eventually taken into custody by Canadian officials who brought him to Canada to live out his days as a free man. There are reports he returned to Maryland to find his family after the Civil War, but there is no real documentation of what happened to him after his successful escape.

The Gold Rush years were full of tales and stories of storms and ghosts. As the ferries churned through the Sound, two major ferry companies emerged: the Puget Sound Navigation Company and the Kitsap County Transportation Company. In 1935, the Puget Sound Navigation Company put the Kitsap County Transportation Company out of business, and in 1951, what we think of as the Washington State Ferries was formed. The fleet was expanded in the 1950s and 1960s. The next big expansion happened in 1997 with the arrival of the Jumbo Mark II-class vessels, Tacoma, Puyallup, and Wenatchee, each of which carries 2,500 passengers and 202 vehicles.

Chuck Close Prints, Process, and Collaboration

May 12 – Sept 5

Experience world-renowned artist Chuck Close’s creative and technical processes firsthand as Everett’s Schack Art Center hosts “Chuck Close: Prints, Process, and Collaboration” in its main gallery. Nearly 90 large-scale prints and working proofs will demonstrate the artist’s groundbreaking innovations in printmaking mediums. Exhibition curator, Terrie Sultan, worked alongside Close to select the works that will be exhibited.

Chuck Close was born and raised in Snohomish County. He attended Everett High School and Everett Community College before attending the University of Washington. “This is the first time I have had a major exhibition of my work in Snohomish County or Everett,” Close said of the exhibit, “I feel honored, and it’s great for people who knew me when to see what I am doing now. It is particularly gratifying to know that my work will be shown where I grew up.

Welcome Aboard! | Washington State Ferries

Welcome aboard the Washington State Ferries.

May I have your attention please?

The familiar recording issues a pleasant greeting and several instructions as the engines throttle. The Kitsap pulls away from the ferry slip, our view of Anacortes fades into the mist, and we’re sailing west, bound for Lopez Island.

Commuters sip coffee and read the day’s newspaper, a pair of sweethearts brave the rain to pose for selfies against the railing of the passenger deck, weekenders chase after toddlers while managing backpacks and snacks, and a few lone travelers pass the time by picking at the pieces of the puzzles arranged on tables between booths. After all, cell phone service is sometimes spotty out here. Of course, just as many passengers opt to remain in their vehicles parked on the car deck, dozing with their seats reclined or listening to a podcast or the radio. Nearby, a school bus transports children eager for the adventure of a field trip.

Perhaps few modes of public transportation inspire more delight than travel by ferry, fewer still attract tourists. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Ferries Division is iconic, appearing frequently in television shows or movies set in the Puget Sound. It is the largest ferry system in the nation and an integral part of the state’s transit operations, offering goods and services to nearby islands and serving as a tourism gateway to the San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula, and British Columbia. To celebrate the ferry system’s 65th anniversary, we got a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at the operations aboard the Kitsap, meeting the captain and crew and touring the pilothouse and the engine room below deck. We’re eager to share with our readers what we learned.


Here Comes the Sun

Watch as a slender cigarette boat cuts a brilliant path across the Atlantic leaving a trail of frothy sea foam in its wake. At the bow, a smartly dressed, sunglasses-clad couple laughs and cavorts, while a man in a navy blue blazer steers Baker’s Boat. The scene is awash in the turquoise haze of vintage film. This is the sun-kissed video loop on the splash page of Ted Baker’s website for U.S. customers. It is emblematic of Ted Baker London bringing “six star style” across the pond. Break out the bone china and bake some tasty scones, the British are coming!

The British Invasion happened in March—just in time for Seattleites to start singing “Here Comes the Sun”—as the luxury-clothing brand opened its store at Bellevue Square, introducing Ted Baker’s Spring/Summer 2016 womenswear, menswear, and accessories to the Pacific Northwest. The sun-soaked collection recalls the 1960s. Retro-inspired advertisements entice with all the elegant charms of an idyllic summer holiday spent waltzing along the promenade at the Strawberry Islands. Gorgeous prints abound in a variety  of styles and stripes, as do classic silhouettes for both him and her. From dapper crew neck knit sweaters and collared t-shirts in mustard, a color which feels both classic and contemporary, to crisp white dresses with splashes of green floral and checkered patterns paired with structured coats and mod, red sunglasses, these are ensembles worthy of Don and Betty Draper. A lifestyle brand that reflects traditional and contemporary influences, the store’s offerings also include bags, active wear, audio, and home fragrances.

The 2,965-square foot store is inspired by a “high tea” party, which is meant as a nod to the Pacific Northwest’s love of coffee. The decor features pastel tones of pink, blue, and mint, and includes a wall of framed lace doilies, artful arrangements of teaspoons, elegant silver tea services fixed to walls, and tiered cake-stand light fixtures suspended, as if they were edible chandeliers, from the ceiling. Near the cash desk, a delectable collection of knitted cakes and sandwiches, including such classics as egg and cress sandwiches and bourbon biscuits, displayed on vintage wood trays are sure to tempt your appetite.

Ted Baker London is known internationally for its stylish, sophisticated clothing marked by detail, beautiful designs, and high-quality fabrics, and finishes. The brand has earned a reputation for exemplary customer service and good humor. The international retailer now has more than 34 locations in the U.S., with the nearest West coast location in San Francisco, and it plans to open an additional five stores in North America this year, including two in New York and three in Canada. If you find yourself mourning the finale of Downton Abbey, then Ted Baker London promises to be the best place for stylish Anglophiles to shop away their sorrows. You might be sad, but at least you’ll be well-dressed. Pip, pip, cheerio

Sips of the Season

On March 12, guests gathered—many of them North Sound Life event regulars—at The Loft for an afternoon of wine and small plates. Dan “The Wine Guy” Radil presented wines from Lost River Winery located in Winthrop and Chef Steven Engels of The Loft created small plates to pair with the wines. Bellingham transplants John Morgan and Barbara House own Lost River Winery. Barb’s son Liam Doyle assists with marketing. Lost River self-distributes and specializes in European-style wines. May | June 2016 69.

The first wine of the afternoon was a 2014 Pinot Gris. Radil recommended that Pinot Gris be served at room temperature, belying the expectations for white wine. “If it’s too cold, you can’t get those wonderful fruit flavors,” Radil explained. Chef Engels paired the wine with an arugula salad with a citrus vinaigrette, orange wedges, and walnuts. A lovely balance of sweet, tangy and spicy, the salad paired beautifully with the slightly fruity wine.

Excitement was building as the salad plates were taken away and everyone received chopsticks. Nothing bad ever comes with chopsticks. Radil presented a 2012 Nebbiolo, traditionally an Italian wine. The wine has strawberry and cherry tomato notes with a hint of black licorice. Smoky and earthy for a lighter red, it paired very well with Engels’ second course—ahi yellowfin tuna rolls. Radil had concern about the wasabi served with the rolls, but the wine stood up well to the piquancy of the wasabi. The sushi was fresh perfection, jewel-like, and the wine and tuna were particularly strong together.

It seems unfair to call the preceding two courses a warm-up, given how excellent they were, but the third pairing was exquisite: a 2013 Barbera and beef  enderloin. Chef Engles said, “I wanted a really earthy plate to go with that wine, so I thought meat and potatoes. Can’t get earthier than that.” The tenderloin was served with a crisp potato and bleu cheese croquette. The Barbera was a perfect wine for a fine dinner with close friends and some perfectly cooked tenderloin or filet mignon. This was a pairing made in heaven.

The final dessert pairing was delightful—a lovely semillon and créme caramel served with Chantilly cream and a lattice of chocolate, almond, and orange. Radil’s recommendation about dessert wine is to ensure your wine is sweeter than the dessert, or the sugar of the dessert will overpower that of the wine. Radil and Engles carefully considered this pairing, and the marriage of the semillon and créme caramel was a beautiful one.

Lost River wines are available at the Bellingham Community Food Co-op, Haggen, and Seifert and Jones Wine Merchants. Our Sips of the Season for this month was sponsored by Overhead Door and the Bellingham Community Food Co-op. We wish to express our gratitude to the Loft and to Lost River for providing the food and wine. We also wish to thank all the businesses that contributed discounts and coupons for our swag bags. Our next Sips of the Season will be on July 9. Stayed tuned to for details and updates.

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Five Minutes to Fresh and Fabulous

Raise your hand if you have more than an hour a day to do your makeup? Okay, now if your hand is raised, then use it to keep turning pages because this tutorial is not for you. (You’re an everyday “glamazon,” and I completely admire and respect you for that).

As for the rest of us, take heart. It’s possible to look fresh and fabulous even if you are short on time. I don’t know about you, but the last time I left the house, I was in such a hurry I didn’t realize I put on mismatched ankle boots before I walked out the door! If you are like me, you may be balancing parenting, a demanding career, and other responsibilities and obligations. This article is for you. You are not alone, my friends!

I want to share with you the tools and tricks you need to create a fresh, fabulous, and finished look in five minutes flat. For these two looks, I’ve included budget conscious and natural product alternatives.

Meet Andrea, a 25-year-old dental assistant who says her biggest makeup challenge is covering up dark circles. Her skin type is normal to dry. She describes her approach to makeup as “one extreme or the other.” Andrea said, “I either get glammed up completely, or I wear absolutely nothing. I would really like to learn how to do a makeup look that is natural that just makes me feel like an enhanced version of myself.”

After her makeup demonstration, Andrea said, “This is perfect, I love how natural it is, and that the lips are a stain. I feel very girly and fresh. This is definitely something I could do in five minutes!”



For normal to dry skin, apply small dabs of foundation to your forehead, nose, and cheeks. Then, blend with a synthetic sponge in a downward motion. Use a slight stippling (patting) motion for added coverage. We used MAC Studio Waterweight Foundation ($33). Almay Smart Shade CC Cream ($10) is a great alternative. My favorite sponge used to be the Original Beautyblender ($20) until I discovered Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($5), which we used here. This sponge gives your skin a nearly airbrushed finish; it’s amazing!




For dark under eye shadows, try IT Cosmetics Eyelift In A Tube ($29). It allows you to use one end to conceal and the other to apply a gorgeous, semidewy highlight. Use the applicator by applying the “Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer” from the inner corner, covering any shadowy areas and blemishes, to the sides of the nose. Next use the “Hello Light Liquid Brightener” under the eye, on top of the cheekbone, and up to the temple in the center of the forehead. Also apply above the center of your top lip. Then fully blend using a stippling motion with your sponge. Available at a fraction of the price, e.l.f. Studio Under Eye Concealer and Highlighter ($3) works similarly.




Use a bronzer to achieve an easy contoured effect in a minimal amount of time. For dry skin, I recommend applying a cream bronzer with a brush to the top of the forehead and under the cheekbone, along the jaw line and subtly to both sides of the nose. A synthetic brush is best when working with cream blushes or bronzers, as natural hair brushes tend to soak up cream products. We used Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Creme Bronzer ($11) in warm tan. This product is an excellent alternative for Chanel Bronze Universel ($48). I honestly can’t tell the difference, and who doesn’t love a deal?



Naturally full looking brows hit the runway this season, so tinted brow gels are the way to go. Select a shade that matches your brow color, or one that is a few shades darker if your brows are naturally blonde. We chose to warm up Andrea’s brows slightly with Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel ($22) in auburn. Comb the brow tint upward through the brows and then gently lay the hairs down at the top combing toward the outward corner. Replicate the look with NYX Cosmetics Tinted Brow Mascara ($9).



Curling your eyelashes is optional, but do consider including this step if you have straight lashes. Start at the base of the lash where your lid meets the root and apply gentle but firm pressure. Hold for two seconds and move up the lash curler just a touch and repeat for another two seconds.





With your pointer finger, sweep a neutral cream shadow from lid to crease and blend softly onto the brow bone just above the crease. Andrea is wearing MAC Indianwood Paint Pot ($22.)  For a less expensive alternative try Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Cream Shadow ($6) in “Bad to the Bronze.”





For full lashes in a hurry, sweep one or two coats of a volumizing mascara from root to tip on the top and bottom lashes. I love Maybelline Pumped Up! Colossal Volum’Express ($6).




Want a fresh look? Use the applicator to stripe a line of Benefit Posietint ($30) cheek stain just above your cheek contour on the apples of your cheek. Pat and blend. Next, apply the stain to your lips and blend with your fingertip. For a less expensive alternative try Etude House Fresh Cherry Tint ($8). For a glossy texture, add a dab of gloss to the center of your lips.


Chanterelle Hometown Bistro

At home on Main Street in the quaint waterfront town of Edmonds, the Chanterelle Hometown Bistro is nestled in an historic building that was once the first hardware store in town. Owned and managed by husband and wife Randy and Brooke Baker since 1997, Chanterelle offers a cozy atmosphere, helpful and courteous staff members, and an eclectic variety of international dishes that make this small eatery worth the stop.

This bistro serves up cozy, Pacific Northwest comfort, with its traditional bar, landscape wall hangings, twinkle lights, burlap, soft background music, and antique light fixtures. A wall of high windows wraps around the eatery, beckoning customers in off the street. Whether you’re looking to drop in for a cup of joe and a piece of sweet Marionberry pie on a blustery spring day, or to celebrate an anniversary with friends over a four-course meal, Chanterelle offers a variety of dishes, suitable for most any occasion. With flavorful bites served throughout the day, the eatery offers everything from Benedicts and omelets to paninis and seafood pastas.

If a light seafood lunch is what you’re after, order the Open-Faced Crab Melt, a ciabatta roll topped with a thick helping of crab meat and melted cheese, and served with a side Caesar salad. This meal is perfect for those with a lighter lunch appetite.

If you’re looking for a flavorful midday meal, try the Chicken Mozzarella Caprese Panini. Served with potato chips, a side salad, or cup of soup, this hot sandwich boasts thick, hot slices of mozzarella cheese, large chunks of chicken meat, tomatoes, basil and a thick and palatable, full-flavored pesto spread. If you’re in the mood for something heartier, consider the spicy, yet savory Cioppino. A popular  seafood dish prepared to perfection, this fish stew serves up a hearty portion of richly flavored succulent mussels, clams, bay shrimp, salmon, and large chunks of whitefish in a tomato broth blended with onion, garlic, and herbs. Offered on both lunch and dinner menus, this filling dish is accompanied by crisp garlic toast or tomato bisque, soup du jour, or salad.

Whether you’re searching for a taste that’s south of the border, such as yellowfin or salmon tacos, Italian-inspired linguini with clams, or a three-egg breakfast scramble with smoked salmon, you know where to find it. Chanterelle serves breakfast and lunch daily and dinner everyday except Sunday.

The Vintage Company No. 7

Sandra Chhuon, owner of The Vintage Company No. 7, is sure spoken and wise beyond her 29 years, a vision of passion-driven entrepreneurship with bright red shoes and paint on her skirt. “There’s nothing I own that doesn’t have paint on it,” she confesses. “I can’t control myself sometimes.” When the daily need to paint furniture strikes, Chhuon dives in no matter the outfit.

This joy-centered creative enthusiasm permeates every square inch of The Vintage Company No. 7, which is tucked into Bothell’s charming Country Village, where chickens and ducks walk amongst shoppers and around every corner waits a new hidden treasure, be it a shop, windmill, or water feature.

Chhuon and many of her store’s other vendors specialize in giving classic furniture pieces a new lease on life with a smart, stylish fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and sometimes re-imagined features. Inside the shop you’ll also find a mix of vintage and handcrafted home and garden decor, sign art, accessories, candles, bath accoutrements, paper products, and other lovely tidbits. With nine inventive vendors arranged throughout the two-story space, you won’t be disappointed with the selection. Though all the items at arm’s reach may be unique, collectively they all tell a vintage chic story.

Chhuon’s own story of creativity began in early childhood when she would help her dad make furniture. In high school she designed and sold handmade greeting cards when she wasn’t hanging out with her friends, who would frequent Country Village. She often thought to herself, “I’m going to have a store here one day.” Maybe this seems like the pie-in-the-sky thoughts of youth, but not in Chhuon’s case.

She paused her creative endeavors to study computer science and business administration at Edmonds Community College, and after school, dove straight into corporate life with a determined resolve to be successful. As the years progressed she held good jobs but found her life was missing an essential element, so her definition of success began to shift.

A couple major life events then followed. The first was when she moved into her first home with her then boyfriend, now fiancé. Having a limited budget and no furniture they began snatching up thrift store finds that Chhuon would restore with elbow grease, paint, and imagination. This lead to an “obsession,” as she calls it, which lasted well after furnishing their home.

The second life event occurred after being laid off, along with the rest of her professional unit, at her well paying corporate job. With some severance pay, a wide-open calendar, and a renewed passion in furniture, the moment to open her own shop had arrived. “I went through four corporate jobs without being happy,” Chhuon sighed. “I knew it was a huge risk, but I had to take it, and I have been so completely happy over the store ever since. I think ‘having it all’ is just being happy, whatever that looks like to you.”

Anytime is a good time to be happy at The Vintage Company No. 7. If you want to make your time extra special, try visiting during Country Village’s once monthly Ladies’ Night Out, which takes place the second Thursday of the month and includes refreshments and a chance to win free swag. Or, if you want to try repurposing one of your own pieces, sign up for one of the shop’s Saturday night painting classes. All you need to do is bring the furniture you want to paint and the shop will provide the non-toxic chalk paint, food, drinks, and fun. You’ll leave with one of your very own finished furniture masterpieces.

A fair warning for when you do visit—you may walk in just to browse, but leave with a new dresser for the bedroom, chair for the kitchen, necklace for your friend’s birthday, garden art for mom, a smile worthy sign for where you’ll see it most, and Chhuon’s hand poured “Jamaica Me Crazy” soybased candle for your son’s room that needs to smell human again, and a handmade bath bomb for later because, really, shopping is hard work.

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Schooled in Fashion

You can hear the clicking of heels throughout Meadowdale Middle School hallways, and they aren’t your average heels. They are bright yellow, spiked high heels worn by intensive learning teacher Tamara Musser. Once you catch a glimpse of her, you may think she took a wrong turn on her way to a Paris fashion show, but this high-end fashion collector is right where she belongs, teaching. Whether she is wearing Dior, Alexander McQueen, or Dolce & Gabanna to the classroom, Musser is unapologetically herself.

“I am fearless,” Musser said. “If I feel like wearing a gown to work, I’ll wear a gown to work. I dress how I feel.”

Musser began collecting high-end fashion pieces when she was thirty years old, and ultimately acquired a dream closet. Everything in her wardrobe is both well loved and well made. It’s not about the name brand for her, but it’s about quality, distinctiveness, creativity, and inspiration—qualities which catch her eye and speak to her personality. The many components to Musser’s wardrobe reflect the many facets of her personality. When she is feeling crazy and fun, she sports her one-of-a-kind Valentino dress and matching boots, and when she is feeling serious, she puts on Alexander McQueen.

“A person can’t tell who I am by what I wear, because there are so many different parts of me,” Musser said.

If you’re looking only at her clothing, the part of Musser you might miss is her heart for children and her passion for teaching. It’s not often you see an intensive learning teacher rocking a Pucci gown, but it’s within the realm of possibility for Musser’s students. A Portland native, Musser has spent that last 30 years teaching in the Edmonds School District after earning an undergraduate degree in psychology from Lewis and Clark University and a master’s in education from Puget Sound University. She specialized in behavioral science and has worked with students with developmental delays, autism, or behavioral issues.

Even at the expense of a broken heel or two, Musser loves what she does. Her verve and confidence spark creativity in the classroom as well as throughout Meadowdale Middle School. Her boldness encourages her students to be themselves. Students are interested, Musser said. She even has had students ask her to lead a fashion club.

“People know me because of my two reputations. Either the difference I am able to make in students’ lives or because of the way I dress,” Musser said.

She is recognizable, but the attention isn’t always positive. Although her students have never taken issue with the way she dresses, Musser has contended with complaints from parents in the past; although, she says it’s never been the parents’ of her students, but others who happen to see what she is wearing. Musser confesses she has been trying to behave a little better, but she has no plans of denying herself who she is and what she wants to wear.

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Matika Wilbur

Matika Wilbur hit the road in November 2012. The photographer was on a mission: to make portraits of members from each of the federally-recognized tribes in the United States, which numbered 562 at the time. Inspired by a dream she had in the mountains of Peru and funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wilbur inaugurated Project 562 by visiting 13 tribes in California. Since then she has crisscrossed the country multiple times, been invited to the White House, exhibited locally and nationally, and photographed individuals from more than 250 of the tribes on her list, which now numbers 566.

Her goal is to provide a new canon of Native American representation based not on old and lingering stereotypes but on the reality of contemporary American Indian experience. “In my work I seek and photograph positive indigenous role models from this century,” she said in a TED talk she delivered in Seattle in 2014. Her lens has documented native scholars, musicians, teachers, farmers, culture keepers, chiefs, and children, among many others. The portraits she captures are honest, unvarnished, beautiful. And they’ve made an impression.

Her work has been covered extensively in the press, with articles appearing in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, and, most recently, O, The Oprah Magazine. The Project 562’s Facebook page has nearly 12,000 likes and she has given more keynote addresses to universities and cultural organizations than she can count. Her work has been featured in The Tacoma Art Museum, with exhibits coming up in Harvard, the Silva Gallery in New Jersey, and the Fenimore Art Museum in Upstate New York. Currently, 42 of her portraits are on view at the Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip.

The show at the Hibulb is a homecoming of sorts for Wilbur, who is a Native American woman of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes and a graduate of La Conner High School. The exhibit focuses on the idea of home and is titled, “Natural Wanderment: Stewardship. Sovereignty. Sacredness.” As stated on the introductory gallery panel, the photos are a tribute to “the most important truth Wilbur has discovered on her journey to-date—that ancestral land is the basis of Native American identity.”

Indeed, many of the black-and-white and hand-colored silver gelatin prints appear to have two subjects: a tribal member in the foreground and the land of their ancestors behind them. “I have had to experience for myself the incredible range of homelands of tribal nations,” Wilbur said, “to interact with peoples in their ancient territories is to grasp how the connection to natural places makes us who we are.”

This deep connection to the land has important implications not only for Native American identity, but also for the stewardship of ecologically fragile areas that have been nurtured and held sacred by tribes for generations.

But the relationship between person and land is only partially brought to life by Wilbur’s photos, exceptional though they are. The rest of the story is told through the interview excerpts that Wilbur has collected along the way, and the profiles of people and tribes, which are an integral part of the exhibition. Wilbur, whose first name means messenger in her tribal language, pairs each portrait with an accompanying text that underscores the meaning and message of the work.

These stories are powerful. They speak to prejudice, autonomy, identity, pride, joy, sorrow, and, most of all, to the centrality of the natural world and ancestral land to the experience of being Native American.

There is Chief Bill James of Lummi Nation standing on the shores of the Sound. His story is about preservation: “I believe in protecting this territory, because the spirits are always with us.” There is Charlotte Logan of the Mohawk Tribe, a molecular and cellular biologist, framed by a vast sky. Her story is about returning to her roots: “Knowing that there is something sacred about this place grounds me. I can look up and see that mountain every day, and it reminds me who I am.” Michael Frank of the Miccosukee. His story is about respect. Desi Small Rodriguez of the Northern Cheyenne. Her story is about strength.

Their words, and the words of the 38 others included in the exhibition, resonate alongside the portraits. Wilbur is helping to create a powerful new narrative and legacy of representation for Native Americans. One photo at a time.

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Mid-century in Medina

An updated landscape is just what this Medina property needed after it underwent a major remodel. Heidi Skievaski of Sublime Garden Design delivered a landscape design and install that complemented the newly renovated mid-century exterior.

One of the challenges of a landscape remodel is incorporating existing elements. For example, homeowners desired to keep the giant Empress tree that functioned as the focal point of the garden. There was also an existing basalt retaining wall and a hedge of arborvitaes on a neighboring property that Skievaski integrated while designing.

Skievaski transformed an aggregate, crumbling patio into a fresh, inviting backyard patio and garden infused with warmth and character. The homeowners requested a clean, simple palette of white flowers, so Skievaski worked in mass plantings of hellebores, ferns, pachysandra, and laurel hedges. She selected Limelight hydrangeas and white astilbes for white floral accents.

To add interest, she planted several specimen trees, including Japanese maples and a dove tree, which is known for its pairs of delicate, drooping white bracts. She warns against overusing specimens. “Sometimes people do too many specimens. You really don’t want a specimen tree to compete for focus,” she said.

The homeowners also requested a cutting garden. The cutting garden was in keeping with the all-white color scheme, including white varieties of Echinacea, phlox, anemone, and lilies.

Skievaski recommends strategically selecting the site for a cutting garden. “It’s nice to have the cutting garden somewhere that isn’t in full sight or a main focal point, so you don’t feel bad cutting the best blooms. They work well along a fence or beside the vegetable garden.”

One of Skievaski’s favorite parts of the design was a last-minute decision prompted by code challenges specific to the site. When it became clear that planned concrete steps would not be possible to implement, a stone alternative proved to be the better choice. “In the end, we all ended up liking it better,” Skievaski said.

Other features include a cedar privacy screen to camouflage the carport and view of parked cars on the driveway, an L-shaped raised concrete planter of boxwoods, a concrete patio with a covered barbecue that complements the pitch and style of the home.