Artist Spotlight: Jennifer Thomas #TheFireWithinTour Opened at Magnolia Music Studios in Richland, WA


Photo of Jennifer Thomas, courtesy of Jennifer Thomas. Used with permission.

Jennifer Thomas, Award-winning Pianist, Violinist & Composer, Yamaha Artist: Epic Cinematic Orchestral Piano Works. 

Click here for current tour and ticket information.

The first time I became acquainted with Jennifer Thomas’s music was while listening to Spotify. My suggested songs came from her album, “Illumination,” and I was surprised by her energetic, motivating sound! Quickly her music became a favorite and so I searched for her on YouTube and watched her music video “A Beautiful Storm” and was blown away by both her music and Will Thomas’s cinematography of the dramatic west coast landscape.

Jennifer Thomas Music News:

  • #TheFireWithinTour happening now.
  • Six albums in ten years, including: Key of Sea (2006), The Lullaby Album (2009), Illumination (2012), Winter Symphony (2015), Key of Sea 10 Year Special Edition (2017) and The Fire Within (2018).
  • Russian figure skating pair Natalia Zaiiako and Alexander Enbert (2019 bronze World Champions) have chosen “The Fire Within,” by Jennifer Thomas, co-written and featuring The Rogue Pianist (Kimberly Starkey) for their 2019-2020 short program.
  • “The Fire Within” music video won “Best Music Video” at the Silicon Beach Film Festival and 1st place in the Instrumental Music Video Category of The Indie Gathering Film Festival, as well as “Best Music Video” in the Sunnyside Up Film Festival.
  • Jennifer Thomas’s music will be appearing in a BBC documentary (details to come soon). Follow Jennifer Thomas on Facebook and Instagram for music news and upcoming events.


#TheFireWithinTour opening night at Magnolia Music Studios in Richland, WA. Photo by Alicia Walters.

Magnolia Music Studios in Richland, WA provided a beautiful atmosphere for #TheFireWithinTour opening night. #TheFireWithinTour concerts will be set in intimate venues where guests will have the opportunity to meet Jennifer Thomas and her husband Will and ask questions about her music and purchase signed copies of her albums, including five inspiring albums with epic sound and one incredible Christmas album filled with classics as well as modern favorites, including “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Breath of Heaven.”

One of the qualities that sets Jennifer Thomas’s music apart is her classical piano training. There is a timeless appeal to her music; high quality scales, technique, and dynamics that will keep audiences coming back for a long time while framing it in a context today’s listeners will get excited about (they will want to update their workout playlists to include her music)! Her crossover style is achieved beautifully while not at the expense of superb musicality, which is one of the reasons her cover of Hans Zimmer’s “Time” works so well. Her music is made for the big screen as it would enhance audiences’ enjoyment of the cinematography.

Although her presentation in her concert seems straightforward: piano, violin, a few monitors, speakers and lights, her music is anything but simple. Her technique in her live performances is seamless as she transitions from piano to violin seemingly without effort. Jennifer’s commitment to practice is readily seen as her live performances are superb; truly, the difference between her recordings and live performances is hard to detect. Her therapeutic music make experiencing her concert worth the investement to attend. Attendees routinely report a feeling of being carried away in her music to a better place mentally; they come away feeling inspired to believe more in themselves, and perhaps even let go of past hurts. #TheFireWithinTour is a musical journey that fuels the mind and soul with positive energy.

When I had arrived at Magnolia Studios, I felt like I had listened to multiple tracks from multiple Jennifer Thomas albums but one number that surprised me was her song, “Glorious.” Jennifer explains in this video that while she was completing her album “The Fire Within,” she had one last song to write. She had this idea of what it was going to be and it just wouldn’t come. Finally, she resorted to delving back into the classics: Beethoven, Chopin, etc. until finally, it came to her and she wrote the song “Glorious” in one night.

Jennifer says about “Glorious” that she imagines what it will be like when we arrive at the end of our lives and rather than have it be a morbid, sad thought, she thinks it should be something we are proud of because of all we have endured and pushed through. And that really is what #TheFireWithinTour and album is about: we have a fire within each of us and we shouldn’t let the worldly pressures extinguish it but we should fight and that is why each track is what Jennifer describes as her “fight songs,” until we arrive at the last track, when we have fought so hard, it will be “Glorious.”

Jennifer Thomas and family are currently en route to New Mexico as they enter week four out of seven of #TheFireWithinTour. Visit for current tour and ticket information. Support independent artists and become a Jennifer Thomas patron here. 

Just as a side note – after the concert, I grabbed my CDs and was looking forward to my turn to meet Jennifer Thomas. I remember feeling overcome with emotion having just heart “Glorious” and saying to myself, “I am just going to talk to her and be very professional.” Well, I cried and I fan gushed. I think I pointed toward the piano and made an inaudible cry in an attempt to express how much I appreciated her music. I had recently had someone very close to me experience some severe health challenges and I was very impressed with how understanding and compassionate Jennifer was as she listened to how her music touched my heart. Music can be medicine if we will look for and listen to music like that found on The Fire Within album.

Written by Alicia Walters, freelance writer for print and digital media and author of When in Tri-cities Blog. Tri-cities, WA.

Monson Wealth Management  presents, “That’s Christmas to Me” – Forte Show Choir


Christmas is a time for traditions. Some are new traditions started in recent years and some are traditions from our childhood that still burn bright in our memories like the embers of a dimming fire. We each have things that make the holiday special to us whether it is the smell of a fresh pine tree in the living room, matching Christmas jammies, or the taste of grandma’s homemade fudge. These treasures warm our hearts and make us feel like we are home regardless of where we may be. Come celebrate with us this season as we highlight the things that make Christmas such a special time of year and bring joy and hope to each of our hearts. We promise laughter, entertainment and a heartwarming experience you won’t soon forget. – From Forte Show Choir

Forte! Tri-City Youth Choir in “That’s Christmas to Me!” is at Southridge High School Friday, December 7th @ 7 pm and Saturday, December 8th @ 2 pm and 7 pm. For tickets, visit or purchase at the door. This is a show for the entire family! I can only imagine the amount of effort and practice that goes into a production of this scale. I enjoyed Friday evening’s performance and wasn’t surprised that they brought the house to their feet again just like their show last spring!

Your family will love Christmas classics like “Joy to the World” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as well as some contemporary arrangements of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Mister Santa.” What impressed me this show was the attention to detail in the costumes, props and lighting. I loved the humor in “Variation on Fa-La-La!” Joseph Haws is amazing on the piano!

“That’s Christmas to Me” stands apart from typical holiday entertainment shows in that there is a definite Christian message throughout culminating in a live, choral nativity complete with the holy family, shepherds and angels!

What a wonderful way to provide a wholesome and educational opportunity for Tri-City Youth! You can reserve your tickets by visiting as well as learn about their spring show May 4th and 6th “A Million Dreams” and their Benefit Concert and Silent Auction to support the TCYC Building Fund May 10th. If you would like to donate auction items or be a sponsor for the event May 10th, please inquire at

  • Artistic Director               Jill Clayton
  • Vocal Director                   Joseph Haws
  • Choreographer                 Jenna Larsen
  • Choreographer                 Christine Riesenweber

Photography by Amelia Walker





Autumn Flame Maples, Kennewick WA

20181021_08445320181021_21062020181021_21215420181023_080809Photography by Alicia Walters 

W. 4th Ave. in Kennewick the 2nd half of October is one of my favorite streets! I look forward to the Autumn Flame Maples showing off all year. Last year, just as they were showing a lot of color, a wind came and blew all the leaves to the ground. I was so excited this year because we had a lot of wind in September. And I hoped the wind had come before the leaves had a chance to turn so that when the leaves did turn, the wind would be calm and we could enjoy their color for a long while! It has really been one of the prettiest falls we’ve had.

Tri-City Youth Choir Building Gala


Photography provided by Amelia Walker

In May, I was invited to experience Tri-City Youth Choir! I wrote a review of their show, “Rise!” which you can read, here. I loved everything about their presentation. The repertoire was so much fun and makeup, costumes and choreography were great! So what? That shows that the choir has great management, but what about their singing? They brought the house to its feet! I was so blown away by the youth and their enthusiasm and talent that I went to the show again the following night! I would confidently put them up against a collegiate show choir!

Gala+Invite+reduced+flyerNext Friday, September 28th, please join Tri-City Youth Choir at the Richland Community Center (500 Amon Park Dr.) from 5:30 – 8:30 pm for their Building Gala! Included in your sponsor price (starts at $50) is dinner, followed by a program and dessert dash! Registration is here and proceeds from the evening will go toward their goal of having their own building! Come for a date night out or have your business sponsor a table and bring a group to enjoy a delicious meal with a great performance! Participation in local fundraising events is a great way to take part in shaping our community as well as being a great networking opportunity for your business! If you are unable to attend, you can still make a donation to this 501(c)3 cause here. Thank you for considering Tri-City Youth Choir’s Building Gala!



Shop Tri-cities #shoplocaltc–Art in the Park, Beaver Bark & FreshPicks

Alicia Walters, @whenintricities

I’m so happy to share ways to Shop Local Tri-cities, WA this summer! Each of these places represents special memories for me, particularly as a mom, because they have become part of our tradition as a family as they provide so many visually enriching colors, tastes and experiences that give me and my children something to look forward to and enjoy! I hope you will take the time to share these experiences with your family and use #shoplocaltc to share what you discover locally together!


68th Annual Art in the Park – July 27th & 28th, Friday 9 am – 8 pm / Saturday 9 am -7 pm  Howard Amon Park, Richland, WA

Set up in beautiful Howard Amon Park, Art in the Park offers over 230 artists and artisans from the northwest and beyond. Admission to Art in the Park is free and guests are encouraged to attend as a family. There will be live entertainment from a variety of local talent. Concessions throughout the park will be supporting Tri-cities area non-profits. Art in the Park has an outdoor, public market feel like that of larger cities in the northwest.

Art in the Park is the primary fundraiser for Gallery at the Park: Allied Arts Association and supports the growth of arts in the Tri-cities area. Read more about this annual event in the Tri-cities Area Journal of Business. New to Instagram @artintheparktricities.

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Beaver Bark Gift & Garden Center  607 Aaron Dr., Richland  (509)946-1000

Beaver Bark is a must see for the Tri-cities area. Their stunning, 16,000 square foot showroom displays home décor, garden accents, holiday lighting, gifts and more! Beaver Bark offers over 50 bins of bulk materials for your landscaping and home garden needs. They have a large outdoor shop with trees, shrubs and plants as well as a 10,000 square foot greenhouse! Families love to see their Koi ponds and fairy garden section. Foodies love to check out what they offer for the kitchen and try their delicious chocolate treats.

Beaver Bark specializes in educating customers about plants and flowers that grow well in our region’s climate. Check out for a menu of plants that will add beauty to your yard. Find them on Instagram @beaverbark.


FreshPicks Smoothies & Fruit  8378 W. Grandridge Blvd. Kennewick, WA  (509)491-3252

FreshPicks Smoothies & Fruit specializes in providing customers with fresh, locally grown fruit and locally made fruit products. Their smoothies are delicious and good for you! Popular smoothies include their Blueberry Rush, a hearty smoothie made with perfectly ripe blueberries and oats and their Spinach + Antioxidant, a refreshing smoothie that hydrates and cleanses while giving you optimal nutrition for the day. Children can try a complimentary fruit while you shop!

FreshPicks recently celebrated its 5th Anniversary at the store! Summer smoothie is the Watermelon Splash. Summer cherries and peaches are available as well as their stand-bys like their Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate, Strawberry Salad and chocolate covered strawberries. Check out for a menu of their delicious offerings, now including coffee! Find them on Instagram @freshpicks_smoothies.


More Schools Should Offer Marimba Classes—‘Bahuru, Tri-cities, WA


By Alicia Walters, @whenintricities 

Marimba doesn’t just sound good, the instrument lends itself especially well to young students because unlike the recorder, a common instrument offered to elementary aged students, the marimba doesn’t require developed fine motor skills. When students try the recorder, they have to overcome obstacles that the marimba just doesn’t pose. And although the recorder is mass produced and cheap, it rarely produces a quality sound. In other words, no one wants to listen to the recorder, especially when compared with the catchy sound of the marimba.

Playing the marimba requires motor skills children typically already have. The sensory experience of playing the marimba comes naturally for most children because it meets them at their skill level. “Playing the marimba is more like a choreographed dance; the patterns are all physical patterns,” says Walt Hampton, 5th Grade teacher of 28 years and marimba director. Within minutes of experimenting with a marimba, children can hear a quality sound they themselves enjoy, which can be highly motivating. If you give a young child a violin, they are going to have to spend a great deal of time practicing the technique required to achieve a quality sound—so the marimba is an ideal beginning instrument.


Since 1996, the Tri-city Steel Band Association based in Richland, WA including Bram Bratà and OK2Botay (steel drum bands directed by Ben Leggett) and ‘Bahuru and ‘Baduku (marimba bands directed by Walt Hampton), Tri-citians have enjoyed their summer concerts in the parks and Christmas concerts. “People in the Tri-cities are accustomed to hearing marimba, but when we perform out of town, audiences are amazed by the quality of the sound these students produce,” says Walt. Performance schedule can be found at

Walt teaches marimba group lessons in the summer starting with students entering 4th Grade. Classes are 45 minutes a day for two weeks, with a performance at the end of the session. During fall and winter, classes are an hour a week for 10 weeks and students from fall and winter classes can try out for the middle school and high school performing marimba groups. They play locally as well as tour throughout the northwest and have even played recently in Hawaii.

But many do not realize that Tri-cities marimba originates from quite another place. During the 70s, a percussionist from Zimbabwe came to study at the University of Washington. The Zimbabwean taught a marimba group and people loved the catchy sound of marimba and it just caught on rapidly. Although he returned to Zimbabwe, his students established marimba bands throughout the northwest—most popular in Portland and Seattle.

Years later, when Walt Hampton was attending the University of Washington, he became interested in whether marimba would be applicable to younger musicians. He made simpler arrangements of some of the songs from his marimba group so that they could be played on Orff xylophones, typically used as classroom instruments. “I thought it would be hard for the students to pick up, but it wasn’t hard for them at all,” he said. What initially started as an experiment surprised Walt so much that he continued to make more arrangements for elementary aged marimba, which became his first book of marimba music.

Walt quickly realized that the marimba was so student-friendly that in addition to teaching marimba in the elementary school, he could open up classes after school and in the summer to incorporate middle school and high school performing marimba groups. This was more fulfilling for him personally than if he had gone a more traditional route, as in high school marching band. “I could spend my time and energy on arranging music that people want to hear at more venues than a high school football game,” he says.

“My students can play anything I can show them. If we do a song that’s in 7 or in 5, they don’t have trouble with it unlike adults who have had so many years of hearing songs arranged in 4,” Walt says. His second book, Hot Marimba: Zimbabwean Style Music for Orff Instruments is inspired by marimba music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

Marimba music has become so popular in the northwest that there are now several marimba makers in the region. A marimba maker in extreme north central Washington has made four sets for Walt and those sets are scattered around the Tri-cities. Walt instructs teachers locally as well as abroad how to incorporate marimba into their music programs. Now marimba bands are beginning to pop up around the entire country.

In addition to arranging music, Walt is also a composer. His popular song, “Once Upon a Time in the West” was inspired by the harmonious melodies of Aaron Copeland as well as the sounds of Zimbabwean marimba. Several marimbas play harmonious themes resulting in a polyphonic texture that reaches into the imagination and reminisces of the vast and diverse landscapes of the American West. It sounds as if the American West is being paid tribute by a sound that traditionally comes from Africa.

Despite his success as a teacher and composer as well as influencing music programs in various schools, Walt attributes the popularity of ‘Bahuru and ‘Baduku to his students. “It’s partly because of the books, but it’s really because of the public performance of these kids.” When he takes them on tour whether to Idaho, Texas or Hawaii, people want to know how their son or daughter can play in a marimba band. To make a secure contribution to the Tri-city Steel Drum Association or register your kids for summer classes (going on now), visit

MCMT’s “West Side Story” Opening Night!


Written by Alicia Walters, @whenintricities. Photography by Casie Davidson:

It’s the perfect outdoor, summer performance for the whole family! Tickets to “West Side Story” can be purchased ahead of time at or at the door. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on and come to the Bandshell in Columbia Park. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome. Seating is general admission seating and is first come, first served. House opens at 6:30 pm with live music and show starts at 7:30 pm. Dates are June 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30!

Megan Johnson, director of Mid-Columbia Musical Theater’s production of “West Side Story” brilliantly cast the show with young actors, including high school students from the Tri-cities area while Jill Madison beautifully directs an orchestra of local musicians. The result is a modern, relevant take on a classic musical that engages the audience and re-introduces music that is familiar yet refreshing at the same time.


“The Jets,” or native gang characters are played by area Caucasian actors and “The Sharks,” or Puerto Rican gang characters are played by area Latino actors. Megan says, “Each gang character is assigned a mirror in the other gang. They’ve worked together, fought together, staged together.” See Tri-city Herald. You can see that while the characters come from different backgrounds, they are really the same—working through similar feelings of fear, insecurity and eventually, growth.



Tyler Zirker and Cleo Howell star as Tony and Maria. I think their voices complement one another very well. Tyler is a youthful tenor, just perfect for the voice of Tony and Cleo has a beautiful, soprano voice with a vibrato, which reminiscences of a tender, innocent Maria. Assistant director Sergio Bueno plays Shark leader and Maria’s brother Bernardo. Kanisha Castillo plays his girlfriend Anita. Sergio captures Bernardo’s rugged, protective nature and Kanisha has a wonderful voice and stage presence!

Audiences will love the choreography, which is really what brings the show to life! What sets this production apart from others you’ve seen is that it is produced, directed and performed by Tri-city locals and shown in a quintessential Tri-city location—across from the Blue Bridge in Columbia Park. You cannot attend this production without feeling a greater sense of the potential our community has for theater and the arts. We really ought to be doing everything we can to support Mid-Columbia Musical Theater!

Strides Therapeutic Horsemanship Center: Unlocking Human Potential with Horses

Champ 2

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of Living TC Magazine. All photos taken by Keely Bowen, Nationally award-winning photographer at Pieta Elegante,

Strides Therapeutic Horsemanship Center

180 Honeysuckle Road / Pasco, WA 99301 / / (509) 492-8000

Strides had my heart from the moment I set foot at their beautiful location on Honeysuckle Road in Pasco, WA. It is a very special place, where volunteers and therapy horses work together to make a big difference in the lives of individuals facing overwhelming physical and mental challenges. There is great power in these beautiful animals because they are uniquely adapted to be especially sensitive to and therapeutic for their riders.

Strides came about because Jennifer Casey, DPT, wanted a better way to help one of her pediatric clients with autism. Jennifer teamed with Jill McCary, an autism intervention specialist and a horse named Scribbles. Jill says, “I could talk forever about Strides and tell story after story of how this organization is changing lives.”

Strides is now the home of fifteen horses who work alongside an industrious and passionate Board of Directors, two PATH-certified instructors, four therapists (including one Hippotheraphy Clinical Specialist) as well as over forty trained community volunteers. Four of Strides’s horses were rescued from going to slaughter and four were rescued from neglect.

Visitors to Strides can expect to be moved by these gentle giants. There is a special, quiet feeling among the horses at Strides. When I walked out to meet them, I felt like I had several horses looking at me and reading me. They are service animals with big hearts. They are trained specifically to be especially resilient to human interaction. Jill says, “We throw every curve ball at them in their training. These are highly experienced horses.”

Strides Therapeutic Horsemanship Center works as a non-profit 501c3 volunteer organization. Among their services are: assisted activities and therapies for children and adults with special needs. They offer: adaptive riding, hippotherapy and private lessons. They are a PATH accredited center and their mission is to demonstrate the highest levels of inclusion, compassion and caring.

I had the opportunity to attend the Strides Masquerade Gala last February at the Stone Ridge Event Center. At the event, one rider took the mic and shared how her experience with Strides has changed her life for the better. Everyone was inspired by her ability to convey in words her love for the program and her therapy horse. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful organization so close to our Tri-Cities community.

​Riders are both young and elderly with a wide range of physical and mental challenges. Strides makes it a point to focus on the riders current abilities and build on those. It is amazing how placing a rider on a horse can help him achieve his goals. For example, one of their young riders was unable to swallow new foods. But while sitting on top of his therapy horse, he was willing to try and swallow new foods that he would never have tried at home. Jill says, “We have children that don’t speak and then we hear their first words while they are sitting on the back of a horse.”

Strides can help riders who are dealing with various challenges from: Trisomy 21, autism, sensory processing disorders, brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, spinal cord injury, stroke, developmental delays and others. Strides works with parents, caregivers, physicians and therapists to design custom lessons to fit the needs of individual riders.

Cheyenne, a rider’s mother says, “Strides truly is the best thing that ever happened to my daughter! Within just a few short months of working with these wonderful horses, my daughter – who couldn’t even push herself up off the floor from a belly or back laying position (at age 2), was pushing herself up, crawling, and cruising furniture! By the start of the next year’s season she was walking!”

To participate in Strides’s Adaptive Riding Program, individuals or their family members need to complete an application form, which includes an annual doctor’s assessment and release. The form can be printed from Strides’s website and mailed in. For more information, visit:

Strides strives to keep their rates as affordable as possible for their riders while still providing quality service. There is a $50 initial evaluation. Six weeks of group lessons costs $200 and six weeks of private lessons costs $300. Please keep in mind that rates are subject to change to allow Strides to continue in providing an exceptional experience to their riders.

therapy horse Pete.jpg

This summer, Strides will be introducing its new program, “Horses and Heroes,” which will serve our local veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and EMS responders who have suffered physical injury or trauma while in the line of duty. The instructor is former military and a former cop. Fundraising for this program will come from the generous support of the community. Strides is needing approximately $150-200 per rider in this program. Donations are secure through the Strides website and the donation button is in the upper right. Visit here to make a tax deductable donation:

The Board of Directors are so appreciative of every Strides volunteer who collectively spend countless hours feeding horses, changing water troughs and cleaning pens to ensure the horses receive the highest quality care as well as their work in the arena. What is gained is smiles on both the rider’s faces as well as volunteers. Strides is truly a place where joy is shared in abundance. Jill says, “People often say how much we are helping our riders but what they overlook is how profoundly our riders are helping us.”

The minimum age to volunteer is age ten (with parental supervision); potential volunteers eighteen years or older will require a background check. Volunteers will attend orientation and receive all necessary job specific training. Strides asks that volunteers maintain a consistent schedule for a minimum of three months. Other responsibilities include: leading the horse, horse care, maintaining facility, organizing special events and assisting in the office. To request to volunteer, send an E-mail to:

Tri-cities Artisan—Tina Murphy of 2 Cool Creations


Photography by Courtney Corriell

2 Cool Creations Shop Pages  Custom art jewelry and hand cut stones / 2 Cool Creations Jewelry  Facebook / 2 Cool Creations Jewelry Sales  Jewelry auctions recurring Sundays  / 2 Cool Creations Jewelry VIP Group  Join this group for exclusive first looks at Tina’s new designs / 2cooltina Instagram

2 Cool Creations at Market at the Parkway Find 2 Cool Creations outside Paper Street Brewery / The Parkway, Richland, WA / Fridays June 1st – October / 9 am – 1 pm

Contact 2 Cool Creations Tina Murphy (509) 551-9468 / E-mail

When I was a little girl, I used to love to get into my older sister’s things when she was away at school. I’m sure she didn’t appreciate it, but how could I resist her blue, suede with fringe cowgirl boots or her turquoise and sterling silver ring? Even today, there’s something about western jewelry that appeals to my curiosity and stokes my imagination—as if the expansive, diverse landscapes of the west are telling their stories through precious stones.

2 Cool Creations jewelry and hand cut stones are crafted here in Eastern Washington, although stones are curated from all over the world. Tina Murphy handpicks the stones and is the sole jewelry designer. By blending timeless and modern styles together, her aesthetic represents the inland northwest and Columbia River Basin—a region rich in history as well as booming growth and new development.

Tina has had a passion for precious stones since she was a child. She would often check out the fossils and minerals books from the school library and started making her own jewelry as early as middle school! Her curated collection of precious stones is one that you can mull over again and again—and still discover new stones all the time!

Tina seeks to let the stone’s beauty speak for itself when designing a piece and only works with natural materials. This earthiness in her creations connects the wearer to both rustic as well as refined elements. Whether she’s working with Royston Ribbon Turquoise, Tanzanite, Crazy Lace Agate, Hessonite Garnet or Amber (as shown), each stone determines its setting so that the stone itself is the focal point of the piece.


Models Top to Bottom: Alla Schock, Abi Dayton and Brandi Dayton

Tina’s jewelry lends itself well to styled shoots and special events because each creation is made by hand and unique. Her statement pieces are full of natural, vibrant color, texture and shine and enhance makeup artistry and clothing to produce a truly unique, styled look. She mixed popular boho with traditional western appeal making her jewelry timeless as well as effortless in dressing down with jeans or dressing up!

This will be 2 Cool Creations’s 13th year at Market at the Parkway in Richland! You can find Tina on the corner of Paper Street Brewery during market season as well as the annual Art in the Park. Stop by to ask Tina questions; she is very knowledgeable and strives to educate her clients about the pieces they select. In addition, Tina offers Bling and Bottle jewelry classes at various wineries throughout the Tri-cities. Follow Bling and a Bottle on Facebook.


Tri-cities Maker—Cassie Scott of Modern Clementine


Photography by Alex Lasota

Modern Clementine Shops / Gathered Home  211 W. Kennewick Ave. Kennewick, WA / My Garden Overfloweth (Coming late June)  33512 SR 14 Paterson WA / Rescued Junk  135 S. Chestnut Ave. Earlham IA / Coffee Paint Repeat  139 E. Idaho Ave. Meridian ID

Modern Clementine Events

The Farm Chicks Vintage and Handmade Show  June 2nd-3rd Spokane County Fairgrounds / My Garden Overfloweth Pop-Up Shop Coming late June  date TBA / My Garden Overfloweth Pillow Dying Class with The Painted Crane  July 14th

Cassie has been in the home and textile business for over three years. Her Etsy shop, Modern Clementine boasts over 1,000 sales with an average of 5 stars from 275 customer reviews. Since childhood, she has enjoyed the creative process. Modern quilting was the catalyst that helped her emerge into creating original home décor pieces for her clients.

She is also the moderator at Modern Clementine on Instagram and co-host of the weekly home décor hashtag #mybohoabode. Her popular page features her modern pillow covers made from authentic African mud cloth and other unique fabrics. Each piece incorporates elements of pattern, texture and color. She also consistently delivers neutral pieces that look great among any home décor style.

Her page also features rooms that show high contrast, clean lines and sophisticated design—while maintaining comfort, livability and an inviting appeal. An average of 1800 users regularly tune in to Instagram stories as she shares her thoughts about running her home business while raising two young boys and an active pup—as well as dishing out some occasional snarkiness, giving herself and others permission to not take all this too seriously.


Photography by Nicki Laurenti

While offering staple pieces and on trend fabrics, she also releases seasonal collections that allow her to expand her creativity. Her summer collection was inspired by the retro colors of fashion week and the surge in bohemian style. Fabrics include heavy woven jacquard, velvet, chenille, and bark cloth featuring saturated colors and a classic palm print. Cassie says, “This retro meets boho collection will give your gypsy heart true Hollywood glamour.” Summer collection is set to release at The Farm Chicks in Spokane June 2nd (limited quantities) and online June 7th through Etsy.


Gallery at the Park—Children’s Summer Workshops

“All children are artists.” – Pablo Picasso

The Gallery at the Park / / (509)943-9815


Art by Cameron Milton, @meltingmiltons. 

The Gallery at the Park is a Tri-cities gem! They are located right by Howard Amon Park on 89 Lee Blvd in Richland and open weekdays 10 am – 5:30 pm, Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1-5 pm.

For as long as I can remember, art has been a part of my life. My mother is passionate about art and continually shared her discovery of new artists with her children. I took art classes, including painting and art history from 7th – 12th grade. My 8th grade art teacher told our class, “Children are natural artists-it’s up to the adults in their life to nurture it.”

Art is a perfect way to give children an opportunity to discover their talents and experience self-expression. That’s why I am excited to share about The Gallery at the Park’s upcoming Children’s Summer Workshops! They have a great lineup for children ages infant up to 15 all summer long! Tuition is $60 for all classes, with the exception of Little Picassos, which is $40.

Register online

June 18-22          Comic Book Art, taught by Suzette Resetar—this class teaches students storyline and character development, formatting and illustration. Each student will come home with a comic book he or she created! 10 am to noon for ages 7-11 and 1-3 pm for ages 10-15.

June 25-29          Paint the Town Watercolor Workshop, taught by Gail Roadhouse—students will learn to paint familiar Tri-city scenery. 10 am to noon for ages 7-11 and 1-3 pm for ages 10-15.

July 9-13               Cultural Art Workshop, taught by Felicia Follum—students will learn about art from prominent cultures within our community. 10 am to noon for ages 7-11 and 1-3 pm for ages 10-15.

July 16-20            Melting Minions Workshop, taught by Cameron Milton—students will have the opportunity to create an assortment of colorful, inventive projects. 10 am to noon for ages 7-11 and 1-3 pm for ages 10-15.

July 30-Aug 3      In Flight Watercolor Workshop, taught by Gail Roadhouse—students will learn about and paint a new bird species each class. 10 am to noon for ages 7-11 and 1-3 pm for ages 10-15.

Aug 13-17            Little Picassos is a workshop for infants and toddlers along with accompanying parent, taught by Tenesha Corn and her daughter Ruby—students will work with washable mediums, but play clothes are recommended for everyone. 10-11 am each day.

Aug 13-17            Creating Collages, taught by Tenesha Com—students will experience the fun and creativity collages offer. Noon to 2 pm each day for ages 7-15.


Illustrations by Suzette Gurtinsen. 

Tri-cities Eats—Hot Tamales


Hot Tamales / 110 S. 4th Ave. Pasco, WA / (509)551-1110 /


I’m really excited to share about Hot Tamales! I love these tamales–they are so good and so different than ones you buy at the store. The ingredients are fresh, the corn is fluffy and the meat is very tender. You’ll love em! I also believe in the story behind Hot Tamales–find the thing you are really good at and do that! Hot Tamales is a family business, Paulina and Mama Lupe make a great team!

“Mama Lupe” has been preparing tamales since she was a young girl in Coalcoman, located in Sierra Madre del Sur, the Southwest region of the state of Michoacan in Mexico. Since growing up in Mexico, she worked for 25 years for a packaged food company to make a wonderful life for her children. Now, she serves up the best tamales in the Tri-cities area!

These tamales would make great tailgate party food! The milder chicken would even be a hit at a children’s birthday party! Hot Tamales flavors are rich and aromatic and the corn is never dried out. The tamales are $17/dozen and come in: chicken, pork and spicy rajas! They are gluten free, lard free and come fully cooked—simply reheat!

Heating Instructions:

Wrap each tamale in a damp paper towel and microwave for approximately 1-2 minutes. If freezing, microwave an additional minute. Or you can place tamales in a steamer basket over boiling water for approximately 8-10 minutes.

Hot Tamales offers delivery Monday through Saturday 11 am – 4 pm with a minimum 2 dozen order for free delivery. You can also visit their store front Monday through Saturday 11 am – 7 pm. Online orders must be placed the night before for following day delivery. You can place your order, here.


Monson Wealth Management Presents: FORTE! TRI-CITY YOUTH CHOIR in RISE




Photography provided by Amelia Walker 

I’m so excited to promote Tri-City Youth Choir’s current show, “Rise!” I love show choirs, and so when Stephanie Monson reached out to me, I was so happy to learn that the Tri-cities has its very own youth show choir! Tri-City Youth Choir is a breath of fresh air! They are so completely energetic and obviously filled with a love for singing – and not just any singing –singing that uplifts and inspires their audience and fellow singers.

Participation is TCYC is by audition only for grades (9-12). These high school students can sing as well as dance! I was so impressed with their soloists’ ability to belt it out as well as the choir’s stamina to maintain dynamics while dancing and putting on a wonderful show at the same time! Their current show Rise reflects the purpose of TCYC, which is to give students a wholesome place to develop their talents among peers who share a belief that God and art coexist and where they can take that passion and shine like a light to those who attend their shows – and that’s exactly how I felt watching them in Rise!

What makes this show so fun is my family recognized many of the songs! This is a show the entire family can enjoy. Grab the grandparents, kids and grandkids and take them to this show! You will enjoy beautiful, uplifting music that will make the audience want to clap, cheer and sway along! Repertoire includes: “Fight Song,” “This is Me,” “Brave,” “You Raise Me Up,” and many more that you will love. They brought the audience to their feet after their final song, “I Lived.”

Everything about the presentation: costumers, hair, makeup, choreography, staging, etc. makes you feel like you are watching a collegiate show choir! You cannot help but walk away from this show feeling rejuvenated and empowered! I can’t wait to add all these great songs (many I recognized and some I haven’t heard before) to my playlist! Tickets are sold online and at the door. They have prepared for a great show! Learn about the choir in their complimentary program as well as upcoming summer youth camps!

Location: Art Fuller Auditorium / Kennewick High School, 500 S. Dayton St. Kennewick


  • Friday May 4th @ 7 pm
  • Saturday May 5th @ 2 pm
  • Monday May 7th @ 7 pm

Thank you for an amazing show! I cannot wait for more people to attend Rise! as well as your upcoming Christmas show! If you would like to make a donation to assist Tri-City Youth Choir with their mission, visit: Donations may also be mailed to: Tri-City Youth Choir, 5930 Willowbend St., West Richland, WA 99353.

Artistic Director, Jill Clayton / Vocal Director, Joseph Haws / Production Intern, Aaron – Michael Sintay / Choreographer, Julie Howald / Choreographer, Christine Riesenweber

Forte! Tri-City Youth Choir

Sopranos: Katylin Brooks, Emily Ford, Pyper Gill, Ashlyn Jeppson, Addy Stanfield, Sadie Stevens, Briana Tippetts, Katlyn Tippetts

Altos: Megan Anderson, Emma Baugh, Miriam Gearheart, Melissa Homer, Jenna Kreutz, Sandy Montgomery, Ashley Nelson, Alena Sintay

Tenors: Isaac Baugh, Kaden Beus, Nathan Cahoon, Fisher Hedrick, Jacob Monson, Ethan Sharp

Bass: Kelton Brooks, Dawson Gearheart, Sam Gill, Kade Harrison, Dallin Hayter, Gregory Heath, Alden Nieman

Treble Forte! Tri-City Youth Choir

Sopranos: Rachael Ford, Rio MacDonnell, Rylee MacDonnell, Liah Meredith, Hailey Ostler, Abi Withers

Altos: Rebekah Harris, Alyssa Jacks, Lauren Christensen, Sydney Clifford, Emma Johnson, Liz Mohlman


Tri-cities Professional Deseree Rose – Belu Salon, Kennewick


Screenshot_20180428-115921Photo by Courtney Corriell @courtneycorriell

Beginning her career as a marketing associate, Deseree Rose @deseree_rose loves the freedom of artistic expression styling hair gives her. “I really want to help as many people as I can,” she says. A fresh cut and style can help people feel more like themselves and more put together.

Deseree now works as an Element 1 Stylist at Belu Salon – recognized as a Paul Mitchell Number Three Salon Globally in Kennewick, where clients can expect a perfect blend of art and science to bring them the best in salon treatment. “Client education is a primary focus; that is why all our color is set out front so everything from the choice of color to the mixing involves the client,” says Deseree.

The team at Belu is really cohesive. They work and play together. Continued education is a top priority and stylists travel to hair shows regularly and make time for team building experiences. Deseree says, “I love working here! It really feels like a family.”


Deseree Mcewen - C1AD7605-4DB3-46F3-8581-2B13D6750708Belu Salon Tanning & Spa . 4504 West 2nd Ave. Suite 140 . Kennewick WA 99338 . (509)820-3848 . . @belusalonkennewick 

Deseree Mcewen - EEC3A7B4-5833-4178-AE9B-75B2A87C8880 (1)Salon photos care of Belu Salon in Kennewick 


I think what sets Belu Salon apart, in addition to its team is the floor design. Owners Jim and Kristeen Wade @kristeenbelu designed everything from the large conversation table in the floor center to the station carts. The open concept lends itself very well to a warm, social atmosphere for clients to experience while getting their hair done.

The washing station is probably my favorite. It’s in a separate, darker room with spa lighting and heated towels. “We feel at Belu that clients should have a spa experience along with their hair treatment.” Deseree says. I could have stayed there longer. It’s a beautiful salon!  To follow Deseree’s work, see Instagram @deseree_rose.

26182770_754684884741104_1154127393984610304_n(1)Photos by Nicki Laurenti Photography @nickilaureantiphotography


WSU Extension Garden Education Series 2018

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All Photos Angela Johnson Photography 

WSU Extension Garden Education Series

These classes are free and open to the public. They will be held at the Waterfall Classroom of the Demonstration Garden 1620 S. Union St. in Kennewick, or in the adjacent library if inclement weather.

  • April 28th 1 pm / Choosing Tomato Varieties
  • May 24th 6 pm / Gardening 101
  • June 28th 6:30 pm / House Plant Hints
  • July 26th 6:30 pm / Solving Garden Problems
  • Aug 9th 6:30 pm / Seed Saving for Adults & Children
  • Sept 13th 6:30 pm / Herb Hints
  • Nov 3rd 1 pm / I Dig Dahlias

Gardens SPRING 2017-2793

5 Reasons for Children to Visit the Demonstration Gardens in Kennewick

Fresh Air and Sunlight
It is no secret the healthful benefits of Vitamin D for children, but even just being out in the open, fresh air can shift the mood for the better. The warmth of the sun and the feeling of a cool breeze provide multi-sensory stimulation that children find refreshing and exhilarating. It’s good for mom and dad, too.

Color and Variety
The demonstration gardens at Grange Park in Kennewick are beautifully landscaped and offer families a variety of plants, including types of gardens such as their Japanese garden, rose, and formal garden.  Children learn to observe beautiful flowers while learning that there are boundaries when you say “Don’t pull the flowers. Let’s just look at them. ” Colors make us feel happy! Why do you think we send flowers to people who are sick?  In addition, Children begin to notice the difference between the way the grainy dirt, the smoothly paved path, the soft petals of the roses, the prickly bushes, etc. all feel.

Quiet Observation
One thing that the park and garden offer that electronics typically do not is the opportunity for quiet observation. Visitors can hear the quiet sounds of birds chirping, or leaves rustling in the wind, or the way their feet crunch in the gravel as they tromp across it. In Autumn, they can grab fallen leaves by the handful and listen to them crinkle up in their hands – all of this without the distraction of a background soundtrack that so often accompanies electronic games and movies.

Take advantage of this time you’ve made to appreciate nature and just exhale some of the stress of your day. Think of this time as hitting the reset button. How has your day been going so far and how would you like the rest of the day to turn out? Our thoughts control how we feel emotionally and so really try to use this time for positive thinking and retrain your thoughts to be upbeat and positive when needed.

Freedom to Explore
One of the easiest and safest ways to give your children a little bit of control in their own lives, which is critical for their developing self-esteem, is to give them the freedom to explore the outdoors. Encourage them to take the lead for a change. Tell them, “Show me where to go. I’ll follow you.” Children will feel a sense of empowerment and your relationships will grow when you let them take the lead in exploring.

You can play “Show and Tell.” Have your children find the most beautiful spot and lead you to it, then tell you all about it. Let them choose where to go and what to see. Your children will soon look forward to this time because they know it will be a special time for them as you let them practice leadership and good decision-making in a safe environment.

Unplugged Quality Time
Set a schedule for unplugged, quality time and do your best to stick to it. It isn’t just when you are taking your children out in the stroller to go for a jog. This time is different than the rest of the day because it is for them and only them.

Your children may not know how to express it well, but they will notice when you are unplugged and giving them your undivided attention and it will pay you back in dividends because if your children know that they get your full attention at regular times each day, even if you only have fifteen minutes, they will know that they are getting what they need and will be able to be calmer during times of the day when you have other work to do.


2nd Annual Fundraiser “Around the World with HIHO”-Hands In for Hands On Tri-cities Children’s Museum



  • Saturday, May 12th 6:30 pm – 10 pm
  • Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center
  • 2140 Wine Country Rd. Prosser
  • Tickets by Eventbrite. Guests must be 21 +.

Tickets include: appetizers, drinks, desserts, trivia contest, music, photo booth, games and prizes!

HIHO is a new 501c3 raising funds to establish a world-class discovery museum in the Tri-cities! We are supplementing fun with STEAM skills to make lifelong learning a passion for children and their families in our community!

Help us make this dream a reality by attending our 2nd Annual Fundraiser at the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center! Everyone can help by:

  • Purchasing individual tickets
  • Sponsoring a table
  • Making a secure donation on our website, here
  • Sharing this post

We are also in need of gift card donations for a minimum of $25 for our “Gift Card Grab” at the event. Contact: Elena Gavin,

Purchase tickets to the event, here.

City – Individual Ticket $65

State – Sponsor a Table of 8 $500, includes logo signage at table and recognition in program.

Country – Sponsor a Premium Table of 8 $1,000, includes logo signage at table, recognition in program and at the podium as well as 2 raffle tickets per guest.

Continent – Premium Event Sponsor Table of 8 $5,000, includes logo signage at table, recognition in program and at the podium as well as 2 raffle tickets per guest AND recognition at our next traveling children’s exhibit “Trivial Pursuit: A 50 State Adventure!”

For more information and to RSVP on Facebook, click here.


GoArtSplash – Tri-cities Marketing & Graphic Design


GoArtSplash offers clients a one-stop shop for all their marketing needs such as: web design, branding, consulting, social media planning, photography and videography and more tools for entrepreneurs and established businesses wishing to rebrand.

GoArtSplash was created by Lisa Lopez while a student in the Innovation and Design Thinking Program at Columbia Basin College. This program provides students with the education and marketable skills they will need to lead in the business world of the future! From,

The CBC Center for Innovation and Design (CID) applies the same processes and philosophy currently in use by IDEO. IDEO, an award-winning global design firm, takes a human-centered, designed-based approach, Design Thinking, to help organizations in the public and private sectors. Design Thinking brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable.

Lisa says that the Marketing Special Projects class at Columbia Basin College gave her the real push to start her own marketing business. One of the reasons this class stands out is it gives students opportunities to work with local businesses to gain that real-life work experience with an internship feel.


Photography care of Lisa Lopez, @goartsplash. 

GoArtSplash uses relevant, modern marketing strategies to bring your business into the conversation on social media through artistic logo design, branding photography and videography that engages likes, comments and followers. Lisa shows clients how to increase visibility of their website, page and posts to increase their revenue. And her list of clients is growing!

Consultations are easy to schedule and available in English and Spanish. To schedule a consultation, visit and select “Book Online” under the menu. Lisa is happy to meet with you and draft a game plan for the future of your business, which may include:

  • Branding photo and video
  • Business cards
  • Consulting advice
  • Content creation
  • Logo design
  • Search engine visibility
  • Social media management
  • Targeting demographics
  • Web design


I’m very happy to give GoArtSplash my endorsement. Lisa designed my banners for and When in Tri-cities Facebook group, as well as this logo for instagram @whenintricities. I appreciated that she was willing to work with my unique preferences and to provide several versions to choose from. She is exceptionally skilled and prepared to take your business to the next level!

Lisa says she is inspired to excel as a student and work hard as an entrepreneur by her mother who cares full-time for Lisa’s brother who suffered severe brain trauma from a motorcycle accident. “Everything I do, I do it for them. I want to be in a position to help them however I can.”

My Garden Over Floweth Spring Fling & Grand Opening

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Teresa and Katie photographed by Urbren Shoot

My Garden Over Floweth, which opened in 2012 has a big season ahead, including their 2nd Annual Spring Fling and Grand Opening of their building! Join Teresa and daughter Katie (owners) at their farm! They are so excited to open their new Farm Shop, where customers will be able to see all the produce, flowers and farm-to-table offerings grown at My Garden Over Floweth! They will have local vendors, including newcomers to the shop and will have hanging flower baskets to pickup as well!

My Garden Over Floweth offers wedding and event flowers, cut flowers and bouquets, wholesale, vegetables and beef quarters and halves throughout the season. In their new Farm Shop, they plan to host monthly Farm-to-Table dinners, cooking classes, beef, fresh produce and fresh cut flower sales as well as products from local vendors!

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Teresa and Katie photographed by Urbren Shoot

Teresa and Katie hope people will enjoy coming to the Farm Shop and make it their choice for hosting workshops, classes, and special events such as baby and bridal showers paired with a floral class! (Limited occupancy applies).

Here is My Garden Over Floweth’s current event calendar, though events are being added all the time. Be sure to follow My Garden Over Floweth on Facebook and Instagram for upcoming events and details! You can find them also at Market at the Parkway on Fridays beginning June 1st from 9 am – 1 pm!

“Succulent Pumpkins” by Katie 

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Teresa and Katie photographed by Jordan Edens Photography 


When in Tri-cities Online Spring Popup Shop & Events + Surprise Giveaway!


Photography by Jessie Arambul 

Thank you for visiting the When in Tri-cities Online Spring Popup Shop! After reading about some of the exciting happenings coming up and options for shopping locally this spring, take a moment to leave a comment on this post to enter our Surprise Giveaway! Thank you to Stefanie at Simple Acres Blog and Jessie at Jessie Arambul Photography for being our generous giveaway sponsors!

Mark Your Calendar!

  • April 6th                 Doggie Style Gourmet at “Food Truck Friday”
  • April 28th              Gathered Home Grand Opening
  • May 10th – 12th   Garden Gate Nursery Public Tour


Photo by Juvo Media

Doggie Style Gourmet

“Make plans that rock” – when a brand has that for a motto, it’s gotta be good times! Doggie Style Gourmet uses locally sourced hot dogs and sausages and creates flavor combinations that are sure to please any hungry crowd! They offer vegan options as well.

The Doggie Style Gourmet mobile catering cart is available to set up at graduation parties, family picnics, business and special events! And Fridays beginning April 6th, they’ll be at “Food Truck Friday” at the Pasco Farmer’s Market! Visit their website here for more information.

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Gathered Home Grand Opening

Gathered Home, a locally owned furniture and home décor boutique located at 211 Kennewick Ave. in Kennewick will have its Grand Opening on April 28th 9 am – 6 pm! Come shop their collection of well-curated, hand-made, custom and repurposed pieces PLUS fresh, hand-tied bouquets by My Garden Overfloweth. They will be doing giveaways throughout the day! Bring a friend because it is going to be so much fun! RSVP to the event here. 

Follow Gathered Home on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on all their great inventory! A great gift would be a store credit to Gathered Home! Call during business hours to purchase store credit for a friend. Gathered Home (509)949-3949.


Garden Gate Nursery Mother’s Day Weekend Public Tour

Garden Gate Nursery, a wholesale nursery located at 2761 W. Sagemoor Road in Pasco is opening its doors to the public Thurs. May 10th at 8 am – Sat. May 12th at 2 pm. This is a great opportunity for people in the Tri-city area to come pick out their tree(s) from the farm and meet a friend at the Garden Gate.

Plan on staying a while to give yourself amble time to peruse all of the trees and pick out the best one for your yard! Because Garden Gate is a wholesale nursery, you will get to experience the feel of visiting a real farm! Bring a friend and bring your mom! From past events, Thursday morning is the least busy time to come! Visit their website here for more information.


2 Cool Creations by Tina Murphy

Since the year 2000, Tina has been specializing in rare and hard to find gemstones – creating one of a kind artisan jewelry! Her collection of hand crafted sterling silver and gemstone jewelry, wire wrapped pendants, silver smithing, rings, necklaces and bracelets are truly unique and full of beauty!

Join her 2 Cool Creations Jewelry VIP Group, a Facebook group for customers wanting first pick at Tina’s special designs! She holds weekly jewelry auctions on Sundays in addition to her jewelry shows. Use coupon code “Springfling2018” on her website here to receive 10% off your purchase (valid through May).  Local shoppers can see Tina at Market at the Parkway in Richland beginning Fri. June 1st 9 am – 1 pm.


Biinx Boutique

Biinx Boutique, cleverly named for shop owner Hailey’s love of black kitties (remember Thatchery Biinx from “Hocus Pocus?”) offers colorful, crocheted beanies, hand warmers, blankets and throws! I love her use of color in her crocheted gifts and she uses only the softest, warmest, weightiest yarns! She is currently working on a weighted blanket prototype and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with.

Visit her etsy shop here to explore all of her carefully handcrafted gifts! Each gift you purchase from Biinx Boutique is made by Hailey to ensure quality. Use code “Local” at checkout for free delivery to the Tri-cities.

When in Tri-cities Spring Surprise Giveaway!


Enter to win a 30-Minute Mommy & Me Photo Session with Jessie Arambul Photography and TWO tickets to attend an art class hosted by Stefanie at Simple Acres Blog! Follow both ladies on Instagram here and here AND leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favorite spring activity in the Tri-cities! Be sure to give me a contact E-mail or Instagram handle. *One entry per person. Must be local. One random winner will be chosen April 4th.

YoungLife, Non-denominational, Jesus-Centered Youth Group Invites You!


God loves us so much – we are his sons and daughters. The world often tries to undermine this fact just as Jesus was dismissed by some during his lifetime, but we know who we are just as he did. And when he comes, we will see him because we will have followed him. See 1 John 3:2-3.

Life for a young person in today’s high-tech/low meaningful interaction world can leave youth feeling apathetic and directionless about life. Christians teach their youth that we are all sons and daughters of God – it means that we love our brothers and sisters and extend a hand of friendship to them – even if they are different, even if they have struggles, even if they don’t deserve kindness; because Jesus loves us, despite our shortcomings and so we love others.

This belief serves as a behavioral compass for a youth – to correct and guide him or her toward conduct that is healthy and uplifting for – not only the individual but for all those who come in contact with him or her. It requires consistent, spiritual nourishment through individual study as well as reliable support from parents, extended family, mentors and peers.

That is why I am so happy that Whitney Klos, English teacher at Kamiakin HS and YoungLives mentor would talk to me about the YoungLife organization! She says, “YoungLife is a non-denominational Christian organization with the goal of having caring adults work alongside teenagers and meet them where they are currently to make a positive difference in their lives!”


Participate in YoungLife

Youth can participate after school in Club, which includes: music, games and a short talk about Jesus. Campaigners delves a little bit deeper into the specifics of how God can work in our lives. Currently there are YoungLife clubs and Kamiakin HS, Kennewick HS, Southridge HS, Chiawana HS and Richland/Hanford HS.

In addition, there are WyldLife clubs at Chief Joseph MS, McLoughlin MS, Desert Hills, MS, and Horse Heaven Hills, MS. Mentors and leaders are unpaid volunteers and kids participate free. The only cost is camp and YoungLife holds fundraisers to off-set the cost.

Click here to find more information of when and where to meet to participate.

Additional Branches of YoungLife

Capernaum is a branch of YoungLife for teens with special needs. They meet once a month and have a blast! To get involved, contact CJ Gose:

YoungLives is a branch of YoungLife for teen moms. Whitney Klos is currently working with this branch that works to provide one-on-one mentorship to teen moms in the Tri-Cities region. They have a club event that includes: dinner, childcare, crafts, games and a short talk about Jesus. They provide diapers and wipes for teen moms the last Thursday of the month.

To get involved with helping teen moms in YoungLives, sign-up to do childcare once a month, donate diapers and wipes and support teen moms and babies in attending camp this summer. Many have never been able to go to summer camp and are excited at the chance to get away and be a teenager.

Bunco for Babies Fundraiser

Coming up is the annual Bunco for Babies fundraising event May 24th. Come enjoy a night of Bunco, dessert, hearing about YoungLives and a silent auction. To attend or help out, contact Whitney Klos:

Become a YoungLife Mentor

There are several ways community members can help support YoungLife: 1) Make a donation by clicking here, 2) Volunteer to be a leader by contacting Steve Vollmer:

Read about YoungLife’s Mission here.

Read about YoungLife’s Safety Standards here.

Spring Cleaning Mind & Body with Mrs. Washington 2017, Deidra Murphy



Photography by Taylor Alton,

This article was originally published in the Spring issue of Living TC Magazine here. 


Sitting down with Mrs. Washington 2017, Deidra Murphy and discussing possible goals for the upcoming spring regarding health and wellness, I realized that what I often prioritize in my spring cleaning effort may be tackling the clutter in and around my home but it fails too often to address the real “cobwebs” that are having a negative impact on my quality of life. Deidra’s kind manners and calmness radiated overall health – the kind that is earned. The message she has to share is unique, yet refreshingly relatable to many women.

Before being crowned Mrs. Washington 2017, Kennewick native Deidra Murphy struggled with her wellness. She had been employed as a school teacher and cheer coach, but insomnia and hormone imbalances, which led to a forty pound weight gain left her feeling lethargic and unable to keep up with her schedule. She decided to quit teaching and coaching and fill the role of office manager at her husband’s chiropractic clinic, but her health did not improve and the mounting stress left Deidra feeling apathetic about her life.

Insomnia turned into a nightly battle and brought on severe anxiety and real panic attacks. In addition, she had chronic bronchitis that seemed untreatable. Eventually, Deidra was so overwhelmed with an enormous sleep deficit that enjoying life was no longer possible for her. She lost her desire to interact with other people or even travel. She credits her faith-based upbringing for giving her the strength to recognize that it was up to her to change. She says, “I knew deep down I wanted to be alive and enjoy living again. I wanted to want to attend social events again.”

Deidra started to educate herself about health and wellness. She implemented small changes at first and those changes became habits. Over time, more changes were added and she decided to compete for Mrs. Washington 2017 to challenge herself physically and hopefully, inspire other women to reach toward their fitness goals. Deidra created a wellness platform based on her personal struggle with food intolerance, anxiety and insomnia and how she overcame them using a holistic healing approach.

Your Mind Needs Beauty Rest, Too

When your mind is full of beautiful thoughts, it will show on your face. Maybe that’s where the term “beauty sleep” comes from. Getting adequate sleep is so subjective. Not everyone will have to make drastic changes to their lifestyle to get more sleep. For some of us, it could just be a matter of not watching an extra hour of TV or turning our phones off earlier.

For Deidra, she really had to change careers to help her manage her anxiety in a way that would allow her to sleep. “I quit coaching. It was just too time consuming and stressful. I stepped out of the office. I learned to say ‘no’ when social opportunities came up that would conflict with my sleep schedule.” She designated 9 pm as the time when the TV is turned off, electronics are docked and she reads from a paper book to help her fall asleep. She says, “I noticed a real improvement in my well-being after two months of sticking to this sleep schedule.”

When she wakes up in the morning, she begins her day with gratitude. She says, “I come from a very faith-based upbringing. Beginning each day with gratitude and even recording what I’m thankful for in a journal starts my day off with positive thinking that can really shape my attitude  throughout the day.”

Nourish Yourself


Deidra knew that her body depended on her food choices to feel whole again so she incorporated a holistic approach in her diet and exercise routine. She cut out fast food and processed food and started meal planning and cooking at home. No matter what her day throws at her, she will have a healthful snack packed in her purse to fall back on when she’s on the go and would previously be tempted to stop at a fast food place.

“It’s about respecting my body and giving it what it needs to feel healthy,” she says. Her fridge is always well-stocked with fresh poultry, fish and vegetables. She incorporates healthy fats, lean protein and nutrient dense greens in every meal. Healthy fats from fish, avocados and coconut oil will help you feel satiated without putting on pounds; actually, they help your body metabolize your food and feed your brain. We often think of physical and mental health as separate entities, but what you feed your body directly relates to your mental well-being.

Deidra spends about an hour every morning exercising in her home gym. There are many benefits to a home gym; the biggest is the amount of time it saves. Rather than having to get ready for the gym, commute there and back, she can just step into her garage. Her home gym is simple: a treadmill, floor mat and some free weights. Moving your body for half an hour to an hour every day releases endorphins and helps you feel better. You can find workout videos by Deidra at, where you can also get a FREE copy of her eBook, Getting It Back.

Wherever you are right now is where you can choose to start to make those changes that will improve your mental and physical health. Deidra says, “It’s those two degree changes done consistently over time that create real results.”  Her husband Dr. Chris Murphy, D.C. also wrote a book: The 5 Foundations of Remarkably Healthy People, which is a helpful resource for people wanting to educate themselves about how to live a healthier lifestyle.


Dress Your Truth

Deidra encourages women to “dress their truth,” meaning dress your actual age, body type and in a way that represents your true style. She loves to help women debunk erroneous “fashion rules,” and has a free file on her website that addresses some of these including how to style white after Labor Day and pair mismatched belts and shoes.

Style by Deidra, an independent fashion styling business strives to empower women to be happy in their clothing right now, as they are and use that confidence as a stepping stone to overall wellness. For more from Mrs. Washington 2017, check out her weekly podcasts on iTunes under the title, “Miss Style, Strength, and Grace” or on her website here at

Mid-Columbia Arts Fundraiser “All You Need is Love” – MC Ballet, MC Mastersingers, MC Musical Theatre & MC Symphony

I’m honored that Amy Hatfield, Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre board member would reach out to When in Tri-cities to help spread the word about the upcoming Mid-Columbia Arts Fundraiser! I am happy to announce that When in Tri-cities preferred businesses have raised $1,000 value in items for the auction! I’m hoping people will read and share this post and it will get the attention of more businesses who would like to support the: Mid-Columbia Ballet, Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre and Mid-Columbia Symphony!

The arts have always been an important part of my life beginning when my parents enrolled me in ballet lessons as a three year old! Since then I have studied ballet, piano, language arts, and humanities and learned to appreciate all that goes into these amazing performances! There is nothing quite like a live performance! There is an energetic dynamic between the performers and audience that cannot be replicated on a flat screen.

The arts are something people in the community can share and appreciate together! Music and dancing are universal languages. When you reach for your wallet to purchase event tickets and attend a performance in your own community, you are helping to make possible the cultural enrichment of the performers and everyone in attendance! You also help these programs to continue and be available for up and coming artists and musicians. Please consider purchasing from the links below and sharing this post!

MCAF2018 postcard

Tri-cities FAB FOUR: Mid-Columbia Ballet, Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre and the Mid-Columbia Symphony is throwing the fundraising bash of the year! Online auction is ongoing now through the event. At the event, you’ll enjoy live and silent auctions, drinks and dinner, live performances from the FAB FOUR as well as a costume contest, dancing and fun side events featuring music from The Beatles.

Bidding on items is happening now through the event, here. There will also be a slideshow at the event that will feature contributing businesses and items up for bid! Special thanks to these When in Tri-cities preferred businesses for donating items/services to the fundraising auction. Businesses who would like to donate to the auction, please send a pdf file of your logo, contact information and description of donated item to:

For additional questions regarding the auction, contact Amy Hatfield, Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre board member:

Upcoming FAB FOUR Performances

The Mid-Columbia Ballet is busy practicing for their upcoming performance “The Jungle Book & More,” which will feature Chiawana High School’s Mariachi Halcón del Rio. Performances will be Friday, March 16th at 7 pm and Saturday, March 17th at 1 pm at the Richland High School Auditorium. Adult tickets are $21, Seniors/Students/Children Tickets are $11 and can be purchased here.  There will also be a Sensory Friendly Performance of The Jungle Book March 17th from 4-5 pm. Admission is free to this event, but registration is required here.

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers will be performing “The Gonzalez Cantata,” composed by Melissa Dunphy. Performances are April 6th and 7th at 7:30 pm and April 8th at 3 pm at the REACH Museum. General tickets are $25 and Children K-12 are free. More information and tickets here.

Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre is proud to present Alan Menken’s and Stephen Schwartz’s retelling of Victor Hugo’s story of love and acceptance, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” One weekend only, there are four performances: March 22nd – 24th at 7:30 pm and March 25th at 2 pm at Hanford High School. Tickets are $13 – $25 and can be purchased here.

The Mid-Columbia Syphony will perform “Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue,” and will feature winners of the Young Artist’s Competition as soloists. Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Catherdral” will open the concert. The performance is March 24th at 7:30 pm at Richland High School. Tickets start at $15 for students up to $55 and can be purchased here.

Vista Arts Center

The Vista Arts Center is really the “missing piece” of our arts community in the Tri-Cities. See design and purpose as well as learn more about how you can help here.

Month of Love Online Valentine Pop-up Shop-Now through Valentine’s Day

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Watercolor calligraphy by Carly Allred Studio

Thank you so much for hopping on to the “Month of Love” Online Valentine Pop-up Shop! Shop these great products from local, When in Tri-cities selected vendors now through Valentine’s Day! Shop anytime –in your pjs if you like, we won’t judge! I wanted to give you a chance to get to know these shop owners a little more personally and so I asked each of them what their favorite Valentine treat is, to share a favorite love quote or chick flick and how they put love into their business! Read below to find out what Marcie and I have in common!

It is so important to shop locally! When you support a local shop, you are helping your neighbors! Often, these shop owners are mothers and grandmothers who are earning a secondary income for their families while following their dreams! Let’s show them some love and give them a follow! From Heather who makes adorable bath bombs in loving memory of her mother to Naomia who makes sweet shirts and donates a portion of her proceeds to help victims of trafficking, there is a lot of love being shared between these boss babes! Follow me along on Instagram @whenintricities for more of my favorites!

Angela Johnson Photography

Angela’s favorite dessert is White Chocolate and Strawberry Limited Edition Truffles by Lindt. Her favorite romantic comedy is “Something’s Gotta Give” and she loves the quote, “Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze,” Elinor Glyn. Angela says, “I’m in the business of love because every single encounter with a client is the beginning or strengthening of our friendship. From their engagement to their wedding, to the arrival of their first baby to their baby’s milestones and more family memories, I’m always happy to be there with them, capturing those moments!”


Angela Johnson Photography is having a special on her wedding packages and engagement photos when you book in February! Wedding collection photos start at $1,499 and Couples Minis at $129!, Instagram @angelajohnsonphotography

Carly Allred Studio

Carly’s favorite Valentine treat is chocolate but only “when it’s the good, expensive and delicious stuff!” She also likes to make her own coconut nice cream and pour Virgil’s Zero Root Beer over it for a killer root beer float! She likes the movie “Mean Girls.”

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Carly believes that a high quality item communicates love to her clients; she loves to create items that are the mouthpiece of her commitment to excellence. Her shop is made completely of items that she designed and crafted herself! Nearly every piece is done start to finish by hand. Her goal is to make her customers feel spoiled!, Instagram @carlyallredstudio

KRISanthemums, Kris Bennett

Kris loves dark chocolate for her Valentine dessert! She lives by the quote “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.” Each unique flower design is made only when ordered and Kris uses seasonal, quality flowers. She includes an organic garden element in each original design.


For Valentine’s Day, KRISanthemums is offering a limited supply of Kate Spade vases, Valentine’s Day arrangements and green tulips!, Instagram @kriskrisanthemums

Marcie Koch Designs

Marcie calls homemade sugar cookies a “labor of love” and they are her favorite Valentine treat! Just like me, she loves the movie “Hope Floats” and also like me – it was the movie she’d watch on her VCR in college when she was having a bad day! What a coincidence! Marcie loves creating and hopes that love shines through in the things she makes for your home!

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Marcie is promoting her Valentine signs, “I love you more than tacos!” and cards at 509 Farmhouse in downtown Kennewick. Also, she sells felt heart garlands and hand lettered, hand painted welcome mats., Instagram @marciekochdesigns

Modas Boutique

Miranda loves the traditional Valentine box of mixed chocolates. “I don’t know what it is, the fun of biting into one of those chocolates from a heart shaped box or the fact that I can eat a whole box in one sitting!” “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get!” Her favorite romantic movie is “P.S. I Love You.” She says it’s a beautiful portrayal of how life still goes on even after we lose those we love in life.


Miranda appreciates every one of her customers. She enjoys putting love into her business by adding details like a thank you note or a little gift with each order. She loves seeing how her customers style their order., Instagram @shopit_shopstevie

Naomia May, Journey to Mrs. Washington

Naomia loves anything that has everything to do with chocolate! She says, “It doesn’t matter what it is, if it has chocolate in it, I’m down!” Her favorite love saying is, “I love you more!” She says, “We literally say this around our house all the time. It’s almost a competition who can say it the most!”


Naomia makes her products herself with “love, sweat and iron burns.” 20% of all proceeds go to Mirror Ministries to help victims of human trafficking. Queendom is about loving the little things and who you are, no matter the scars or burdens each of us carry every day., Instagram @naomiamay; Photography @the_blackiris

Udabomb Bath Bombs, Heather Quigley

Heather describes herself as a “sucker for cake.” She and her husband have started eating paleo, so she has to forget about her love for cupcakes for a while! Thankfully, she makes calorie free bath bomb cupcakes! So she can enjoy her cupcakes in the bath! She loves the quote, “I love you more than the human heart can love.”

Her love for her mother, who passed away from cancer inspires her business. “When my dad was alive, he ran a bath for her every night to keep her comfortable during her treatment. He would write notes on styrofoam plates for her and put rose petals in her bath. We were her caregivers in the end, and making bath bombs has become therapy for me.”


Heather puts love into every bath bomb as everything she does is inspired by the loving memory of her mother. Udabomb Bath Bombs deliver to the Tri-Cities., Instagram @udabomb_bath_bombs

Christmas Brunch, Christmas Traditions – Terra Nyce Photography & Mahler Ridge Farm

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Photography by Terra Nyce Photography, 

Terra Nyce Photography is based in Kennewick and available in the Inland and Pacific Northwest as well as destination weddings. I love Terra’s wedding portfolio. Terra is a skilled indoor as well as outdoor photographer – perfect for weddings and other catered events!

Visit Terra Nyce Photography, wedding and portrait photographer at: I love the softness that she adds to her photos. She works hard to capture the lighting and ambiance. I love how she incorporated the Christmas lights into this tablescape shoot.

Christmas brunch is a tradition in my family. As long as I can remember as a child, I would wake up to the smell of fresh oven rolls and the sound of my mother whisking, stirring, and the dishes clanking as she got the table ready! My mom is a gifted hostess and I love that she shared that talent with her children.

The tablescapes she created are fixed in my memory: quilted place mats in rich, Christmas colors, beautiful dishes and silverware, glasses and coordinating napkins. We had a tradition of eating shrimp cocktail with warm rolls with butter and delicious jelly. The main course was typically chicken or fish with rice pilaf and vegetables.

I didn’t realize until I became a mother myself that it is a lot of work to put on a spread like that! Over time I realized that the reason for all of that labor in the kitchen is to create a special meal for those we love and cherish so dearly to gather together and celebrate that love for each other – you never know how precious a memory you can create for those you love with a little effort beyond the every day.

My creative team on this Christmas Brunch shoot wanted to show that with a little, you can make an elegant and inviting tablescape. Our hope is that you see this styled shoot and get inspired! Whether you are traveling or staying home this Christmas, look around at what’s available at home and in the garden and get creative and make a simple and inviting look to share with those you love during your Christmas meal!


Mini wreaths for the back of the chairs were hand-made by Mahler Ridge Farm and made with locally grown: Cypress, Dusty Miller and Spruce greenery. Greenery centerpiece includes the same with the addition of painted silver branches for accents. I love how Evangeline incorporated the sliver branches. Spray paint is inexpensive and you can forage for branches and add some sparkle and contrast to your table.

Mahler Ridge Farm is a small family farm growing flowers and produce in Eltopia, WA. Seasonal flowers are available for events, here. During the growing season (June – September), in addition to selling at the farmer’s markets, Mahler Ridge Farm sells loose flowers by the bucket! Buckets start at $35, providing an affordable option for decorating anything from a family gathering or small party to weddings and corporate events.

Mention you heard about Mahler Ridge Farm on When in Tri-Cities and get $5 off your bucket order for events during the June – September 2018 growing season. E-mail: with your event date, request pick-up date, and number of buckets you would like.

I love this traditional, Swiss Jelly Roll made by local bakers at Decadent Delivery. Christmas is a time to bring the world together by sharing traditions and the easiest way to share traditions is through food! There is nothing as festive for your Christmas tablescape than a traditional dessert! Orders for desserts must be submitted before December 23rd. Fill out a custom order form for specific days, here.

Decadent Delivery is a husband and wife duo with a combined forty years experience in professional baking. They use new techniques, flavor profiles and textures to make their desserts delicious and memorable. Decadent Delivery is based in West Richland and delivers delicious desserts to your doorstep! Shop their “Dessert Bar” at and also check out their “Weddings” menu!


Black Currant Creative is most well-known for her signature watercolor family portraits. She also creates watercolor florals and a variety of hand lettered goods: prints, cards, invitations, etc. Black Currant Creative will take custom orders and will work with clients to create their ideal product like these canvas place holders with Christmas greetings! I love the idea of place cards, but I loved even more that she wrote Christmas messages on them for each guests to take home as a favor.

Black Currant Creative, hand-lettering and watercolor artist, E-mail: Visit and use code: TRICITIES10 for 10% off anything in the shop! Code expires May 31, 2018. Follow Black Currant Creative on Facebook and Instagram.



Special thanks to Amy Rene @amyrenemua for sponsoring this post. Registration is now open for her makeup class, “Slay the Look,” which will be held at Blankspace Saturday, January 6th from 1 – 3 pm. This would make a great Christmas gift for any lady on your list! Blankspace is a beautiful venue where people can gather and be social and learn something new!

Sometimes we put so much focus on the holidays that we forget to plan something to look forward to in January! This class is the perfect remedy. Amy Rene has fifteen years professional experience as a makeup artist. Her goal is to help others learn makeup techniques that will help them start each morning with confidence and “Slay the Look!”

Thank you so much for reading When in Tri-Cities! This concludes my official content for 2017! I started this blog in 2015 and am so appreciative of the local support you guys have given it! Thank you to those who have sponsored content this year. I couldn’t do it without you! 

I am currently mapping out content for When in Tri-Cities and Instagram @whenintricities as well as pitching article concepts to magazine editors within the Inland and Pacific Northwest for Spring 2018. If you want to work with me, send me a DM on Instagram or E-mail: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May all your days be merry and bright! -Alicia Walters 

Sugar Plum Fairy, Ruler of the Land of Sweets –Baum’s House of Chocolates & YOUnique Event Designs

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Photography by Manny Avila,; Instagram

In the well-loved The Nutcracker, in Clara’s dream, the Sugar Plum Fairy welcomes her and the Nutracker to the Land of Sweets where a memorable parade of dancers greet them culminating in The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy! She is “not only a symbol of seasonal splendor and hope, but the symbol of childhood dreams!” – Dance

Baum’s House of Chocolates in Kennewick is a traditional chocolate shop filled with: hand-made chocolates, candy, ice cream and specialty sodas where families can take a break and pick out a treat. I love taking my children there because there are so many colors, textures and flavors for them to try! Ok, ok, I actually love the milk chocolate and sea salt covered caramels for myself!

Baum’s House of Chocolates invites you to bring your family to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy Saturday, December 16th at 2 o’clock and enjoy a special sale of chocolate during her one hour visit to the shop: buy ONE POUND of chocolate and receive a HALF POUND free!

  • When: Saturday, December 16th   
  • Time: 2 o’clock – 3 o’clock pm
  • Baum’s: 513 N. Edison Street in Kennewick


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I love working with Trixie Ortiz of YOUnique Event Designs on styled shoots. She brings organization to the creative process with beautiful inspiration boards and a clear vision of the art, color and creativity that will go into the shoot. I love the color palette she chose for the Sugar Plum Fairy and how she laid out the tablescape and backdrop details!

Baum’s House of Chocolates has decorated Christmas houses available as well as these oversized, imaginative lollipops! Local cookie artist Marla Rogers of Marla’s Cookie Co. designed these gorgeous Nutcracker themed cookies!

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Our models –JaNessa Prewitt and Taylor Alton did a wonderful job portraying these whimsical characters! Desere on makeup added dreamy color that made them glow! Kourtney styled their hair with softness that speaks to the characters’ femininity and grace as well as their royalty.

YOUnique Event Designs is available for a variety of special events: weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, corporate events and more. She more from her portfolio at and Instagram @youniqueeventdesigns.

Thank you to this wonderful creative team for bringing the Sugar Plum Fairy and her attendant to life in this beautiful, styled shoot! And especially to Photography by Manny Avila for his videography expertise. See more on Manny Avila YouTube, here

The following local businesses are now booking in 2018 (read below for details):

  • When in Tri-Cities, small business networker and magazine contributor. Assisted with inspiration, networking, costume and arranging event at Baum’s House of Chocolates. Instagram @whenintricities.
  • Desere Dorran, makeup artist. Bridal, holidays and events, Instagram @dezbeautyxo.
  • JaNessa Prewitt, model and UCF Princess. Instagram @janessa_live_laugh_love_18.
  • Kourtney Bailey, hair stylist based in Hermiston and available to travel. For appointments, call (541)571-3755. Instagram @hairbykourt.
  • Manny Avila, visual storyteller specializing in wedding and portrait photography and videography, Instagram
  • Marla Rogers, custom cookies and decorating classes. Currently on maternity leave. E-mail: Instagram @marlascookieco.
  • Taylor Alton, model. Instagram @tayloralton_.
  • Trixie Ortiz, inspiration and set design. Wedding and event planning services at YOUnique Events and Design, Instagram @youniqueeventdesigns.

Special thanks also to April Moller for loaning some of her beautiful pink Christmas décor for this shoot and to Baum’s House of Chocolates, located next to Let’s Party on Edison in Kennewick. 

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Merry and Bright – Studio One Salon, A & J Modern Designs, Kennewick

I am so excited to show you this holiday party setting with Studio One Salon and A & J Modern Designs! Special thanks to Photography by Galicia for these festive and fun photos! Smiling is contagious and our models did a wonderful job for this shoot!

Christmas time, more than any other time of the year it seems is a time where family, friends and neighbors go out of their way to make one another’s days a little merrier – a little brighter. We sing the classic lyrics, “May your days be merry and bright…” –Irving Berlin, and mean them because we wish for those we love to be happy and prosperous.

But sometimes we get run down by busy schedules and just life and the best gift –that of our time can be the hardest one to give. I love this stylized shoot because it shows that we can make a gift out of the simplest joys –using a minimal approach to our holiday parties!

I hope you enjoy this inspired look and remember that it doesn’t take a lot to partake in what Christmas is all about –all you really need is to invite some friends to come enjoy some hot chocolate and share some laughter with you while you stay out of the cold.  

Studio One Salon’s talented style team created beach waves and casual, teased braids for our models to wear under their adorable, festive beanies from Free Culture Clothing. Free Culture Clothing outfitted our models with trendy comfy-casual pieces, perfect for hanging out and staying warm.

Our models are wearing A & J Designs handmade, modern minimalist jewelry –each piece incorporates copper, their signature metal to add style and shine that transitions well from boho, day-time casual to holiday evening glam.

Kathy Nunez, owner of Studio One Salon provided the elegant, modern space and beautifully decorated Christmas tree. A & J Designs brought in fresh greenery, custom décor, including wood bench and succulent planters as well as artwork to add layering to our Christmas party atmosphere!


A & J Designs modern designer and creative team specializing in: wall textiles, furniture, home goods, staging and modern jewelry. Now booking staging and home decorating in 2018! E-mail: Instagram @a&j_moderndesigns.

Free Culture Clothing high fashion, on trend, skate shop and boutique in Kennewick at their new location: 2411 S. Union St. Suite D. Free Culture Clothing is hosting a Holiday Fair in their shop on Sunday, December 17th from 3 to 7 pm! They will have: tamales, Perfect Posh, paintings, etc. Bring the family! Admission is free. See more at: Instagram @freecultureclothing.

Studio One Salon voted “Best Salon” by Tri-City Herald People’s Choice Awards -hair color experts, precision cutting, full-service makeup, lashes and brows as well as retailer or Oribe and Bumble & Bumble products. See more at: Instagram @studioonesalon.

Photography by Galicia specializes in high school senior portrait photography. Galicia’s vision is that each senior will feel confident and beautiful! Her elite brand of senior photography includes an impressive portfolio of stylized shoots with a flourishing Street Team. She also spends extensive time mentoring up-and-coming photographers through The Twelfth Year. See more at Instagram @photosbygalicia.


Sponsored by RiverRidge Farms Local and handmade, luxurious lavender body lotion and cream, lip balm and other goods from RiverRidge Farms are a great gift for the one on your list who loves the therapeutic, calming smell of lavender! See more at: Instagram @rrfarms.wa.


Polar Express Children’s Christmas Party for Foster Community Children – Kennewick, WA, #LightTheWorld


I had so much fun collaborating with local businesses to bring this Polar Express Children’s Christmas Party to the foster community children in our area. Special thanks to our creative team for bringing this together:



As you walked into the party, an adorable hand-lettered sign by Lisa of Artful Virgo greeted guests. In addition, she hand-lettered an adorable Evite for guests as well as personalized mugs for each child to take home with a cupcake and party favor inside made by our event planners.

Mother and daughter team Sue (Moments in Time Events & Design) and Krystal (Sweet Delights by Krystal) brought in Polar Express themed decorations and desserts, including: a frosted blue cake and cupcakes topped with a bell, hot chocolate bar, and trains, trees and Christmas lights! Sue made Polar Express tickets with a bell attached to give as favors.

Vicci of LionsGate Chapel was such a kind host. The event room has newly finished floors and modern ceiling lights that can be dimmed and plenty of room for dancing! Brandon and Veronica of Bonsai Audio provided Christmas music for the event while children enjoyed an Italian dinner catered by The Village Bistro, followed by dancing! The music was wonderful and fit the theme perfectly and the children thought the food was delicious!

Wrapped, new toys were donated by The Columbia River Eye Center staff. The Columbia River Eye Center, located across from Howard Amon Park in Richland provides patients with exceptional care including: routine eye exams, complex medical and surgical care. Their goal is to help their patients make the best decision for their care.

It was so fun to watch each child open his/her surprise gift! Everyone had a really good time and it truly felt like a Polar Express party! Special thanks to Gabriela Miller Photography for capturing the event! I love working with Gabriela; she always brings out the best in her photos (children not shown to protect their privacy).

Special offer from Gabriela Miller Photography: mention When in Tri-Cities when you call to book your event or session in 2018 and receive 15% off. Valid through December 31, 2017. Gabriela Miller Photography (509)551-2150.


Beautifully Inspired is a local non-profit made up of foster moms and dads who care about improving the lives of foster children. They help provide clothes through Beautiful Threads as well as overnight bags with essentials like socks, pjs and toothbrush/toothpaste that a child transitioning into a foster home would need. “Not everyone can foster, but all can help.”

Thanks again everyone who jumped in to help out with this fun evening for the foster children, especially Krystal for being the first to reach out to When in Tri-Cities for a December collaboration and to my husband Brandon for having the inspiration to do something beautiful for the foster community.

I was particularly impressed with Brooke from Beautifully Inspired and the foster parents that I met. I can feel their love and dedication to their life’s mission. Please consider making a donation to Beautifully Inspired, here. If you would like your family to share in the JOY of the real purpose of Christmas, here is an invitation to follow the #LightTheWorld Christmas advent calendar, here. Merry Christmas!  -Alicia Walters, @whenintricities 




When In Tri-Cities Holiday Gift Guide & #shoplocaltc

I am so excited to share the When in Tri-Cities Holiday Gift Guide with you! is in its 3rd year and I enjoy sharing with readers where to play, eat and shop locally. If you plan on shopping for gifts, please join us in supporting Tri-Cities businesses by shopping local AND sharing your favorite local shop stops using #shoplocaltc all season long!

The Gift Guide is organized by categories of people on your list—“the foodie,” “the makeup junkie” and suggests gifts at various price points, including exclusive discounts! Thank you to these great local businesses for their support; it is a privilege to be acquainted with the talent behind these brands. I know they’d agree with me that the greatest gift you can give anyone is time well-spent together in kindness and love!

THANK YOU for following When in Tri-Cities—on Instagram @whenintricities and When in Tricities Facebook group. I am currently scheduling content to promote local with a family focus in 2018! For inquiries, contact Alicia Walters:

123The Sweeth Tooth, Cake – Layered Cake Artistry Cake designers – baker Concetta Gulluni and artist Jamie Adams offer extraordinary cakes for those wanting something extra special. Receive 15% off when you book a cake during the month of December for your wedding or event in 2018. For booking and questions, E-mail: Instagram @layeredcakeartistry.

email signature 3The Beach Bum, Frozen Yogurt – Yogurt Beach Yogurt Beach in Kennewick gives customers a beachy getaway year-round. They have 21 flavors of frozen yogurt and custard to choose from! Check out their seasonal flavors such as Candy Cane, Eggnog, and Caramel Cake! Gift cards in any amount make for fun stocking stuffers! In December, for every $20 in gift cards you purchase, you will receive a $5 gift card for yourself free! Located at: 910 S. Columbia Center Blvd. Suite A in Kennewick. Visit:

StudioOne-7224-3.jpgThe Hair Model, Hair – Studio One Salon Give the gift of gorgeous hair! Studio One Salon in Kennewick continues to be the People’s Choice for Best Salon. Owner Kathy Nunez manages a team of beauty experts who specialize in: balayage, babylights, precision cutting, lash extensions and makeup. Studio One is a retailer of Bumble & Bumble Hair as well as Oribe products. Located at 101 N. Union St. in Kennewick. For appointments, call (509)735-3354. Gift cards can be purchased in store and online:

Screenshot_20171120-195621.jpgThe Lash Lover, Lashes & Boutique – Flash Your Style Flash Your Style in Richland offers lashes and microblading as well as hosts a great selection of clothing and accessories. If you know someone on your list who wants her lashes and microblading certification, beginner’s course and training dates are available at Visit their lash salon and boutique located at 118 Keene Rd. in Richland for stylish winter jackets, scarves, beanies, tops, jeans and shoes to go along with a beautiful set of lashes!

IMG_3416The Makeup Junkie – Julies Beauty Bar Give her long lasting lipstick that is waterproof, smudge proof and kiss proof! For a limited time, Julie’s Beauty Bar is offering a $55 LipSense gift card for only $45! Visit and use promo code: WhenInTricities when you place your order.

Image-1.jpegThe Beautician, Facial – Laura Mendoza We all know a mom, aunt or sister who works so hard to make the holidays special for others – here is your chance to pamper her with a facial! Laura Mendoza of Tranquil Waters specializes in cutting edge facials to deliver the skin she always wanted! Laura is offering a free brow wax with gift cards purchased for Christmas stocking stuffers by December 12th. Gift cards can be purchased in store, 8503 W. Clearwater Ave. Suite B in Kennewick and online:

078The Reader, Book – Alicia Walters, @whenintricites In The Magic of Children at Christmas, twenty women share their most precious Christmas memories, including some of their most memorable Christmases as a child. Edited by local writer Alicia Walters, it is a unique book for the reader who loves non-fiction and loves Christmastime! It will truly open your heart to the real meaning and spirit behind Christmas and make you believe in the human spirit!  Available as download and paperback.

2016-11-09_0001The New Mom, Newborn Photos – Tiffany Parrish Tiffany Parrish is Tri-Cities premier newborn photographer. Give a new or expectant mom the gift of a session with Tiffany in 2018. Book the photo session between now and December 25th with promo code: whenintricities and receive 15% off! For portfolio, information and pricing, contact Tiffany through her website:

IMG_20171108_143635_556.jpgThe Candle Burner, Candles – Dandelion Wishes Candle Co. Handcrafted, small batch candles made with pure soy wax burn cleaner and use essential oils and fragrance to fill her home with beautiful holiday scents including “Woodwork & Plaid,” “Lemon Sugar Cookie,” and more! Some candles available at French Vanilla Market in Sunnyside and a selection of melt bars at 509 Farmhouse in Kennewick. Use promo code: jolly15 for 15% off your online purchase through December 5th:

IMG_7268The Homemaker, Interior Design – Grace Filled Interiors Give the gift of a beautifully designed home with Grace Filled Interiors! Jennifer Mead specializes in Digital Design Boards and Finish Selection for: new construction, remodels and home staging. Working with an experienced Virtual Interior Designer will save you time and hassle. Book your virtual interior design consultation now through December 31st to receive 30% off! To get started, request a free Design Survey by sending Jennifer an E-mail: You can also send her a direct message on Instagram @GraceFilledInteriors.

The Snuggler, Pillows – Modern Clementine Beautiful textiles, pillow covers and home décor by designer Cassie Scott who hand-picks all fabrics to ensure each pillow cover has elements suitable for modern design. Fabrics include mud cloth and leather as well as a winter collection that includes: texture-rich fur, velvet and heavy woven linen. Modern Clementine pillow covers are size 18 X 18 and some lumbar pillow covers are available as well. To give the gift of beautiful new pillow covers (or to get a couple for yourself) visit:


IMG_7265The Hand-made Collector, Handmade Macrame’ – Tangled in Twine Hand-made macrame’ wreaths, wall hangings, plant holders as well as table runners and other modern accessories by local Boho maker Bree Jablonski of Kennewick. Use promo code “HAPPYHOLIDAYS” for 10% off any online or custom orders on or

The Camera Ready, Portraits –Kaila Homes Kaila of Kaila Homes Photography is a Tri-Cities-based natural light photographer. She specializes in lifestyle and portrait work – capturing those sweet, authentic moments you’ll cherish for a lifetime. For more information, visit: Be sure to mention “When in Tri-Cities” for an exclusive discount when you schedule a session now through January 1st.

Special thanks to Kaila Homes Photography for capturing this child’s bedroom styled by Grace Filled Interiors and Modern Clementine! See their modern, styled den in the winter issue of Taylored Living Magazine


IMG_7336The Botanical Boss, Winter Bulb Planter Class – My Garden Overfloweth A perfect gift for the person on your list who favors hands-on experiences –she will get a beautiful planter, soil – as well as a variety of winter bulbs, including Paperwhites and Amaryllis. Class is $65 and   will be December 16th at 1 pm at My Garden Overfloweth Farm Shop, 33526 W. SR Highway 14, Paterson, WA. To register as well as check out what else is going on at the farm, visit:

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The Jewelry Hoarder, Jewelry – Tina Murphy Handmade jewelry including festive bracelets for holiday parties, Bengals, necklaces and more – all designed by Tina Murphy, a popular, local jewelry artisan! Join 2 Cool Creations VIP Group on Facebook for listings and deals. For 25% off any purchase now through Christmas, use promo code: Santa17 when shopping at!

holiday reach logo2The Museum Hopper, Museum Pass – Reach Museum Give the gift of a REACH Museum membership! The Family Membership (2 adults + 4 kids) is a great deal at $125. Student (valid id)/Senior, $35. Individual, $50, Two Adults, $85. ASTC and NARM reciprocal – with a REACH membership, you can get into many other museums including OMSI and the Pacific Science Center! Plus, included is a 10% discount at the Museum Store. or Contact Laura, (509)943-4100.

Ethos Christmas Logo.jpgThe Foodie – Ethos Bakery & Café The best gift for foodies, Ethos Bakery & Café is the perfect place to take family and friends this holiday season. Enjoy Coava coffee, fresh-baked pastries, wood-fired pizzas, hand-crafted entrees and custom cocktails – all created in a made-from-scratch kitchen. You can also pick up a gift card for others to treat themselves! Grab a gift box of pastries to take to your holiday party or have Ethos cater your holiday event! For details on catering and full café menu: Located at 2150 Keene Rd. in Richland. Open M-Th 6 am-7 pm, Fri 6 am-9 pm and Sun 7 am-6 pm.

IMG_1554The Cook, Farm Fresh – Tucannon Farms The perfect choice for a special occasion to treat your guests to the most flavorful meal: pork that has been pasture raised locally at beautiful Tucannon Farms. Now offering 1/16 pork shares for a limited time while supply lasts! Options include (approximate pricing, based on actual weight): ham share 7-8 lbs. $75, 6 packages sausage at 2 lbs. each $96, and two pork roasts at 4 lbs. each $64. All shares come with a Tucannon Farms Tote when you use the promo code: whenintri. Complementary delivery to Walla Walla and Tri-Cities. Contact, specify your 1/16 pork choice and “pickup” or “delivery.”


The Christmas Elf, Trees and Décor—C & M Nursery The C & M Nursery event on December 1st will start at 5 pm and go into the evening and include: caroling, cloggers, ponies, hot chocolate and cider and a bonfire where families can roast marshmallows! The tree lot includes live trees that can be decorated for Christmas and then planted as well as cut trees. Admission is free, cash donations to benefit the Emmaus Center are appreciated. Located at 2517 Van Giessen St. in Richland. Online at

The Local Shopper, Parade, Skating & More –Merry Little Christmas Village Grab some friends who love to shop local and take them with you to the Merry Little Christmas Village in Downtown Kennewick December 2nd! The parade will start at 10 am along W. Kennewick Ave. and will welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus into town! Other activities include a skating rink with lots of holiday characters, wreath making, Polar Express story time and much more! Merry Little Christmas Village will also be on December 9th, with no parade.

Thanksgiving with Grandpa’s Girl


Tablescape design and photography by Betsy Empey. Shared with permission. 

My mom is spending a week with us at Thanksgiving! And we couldn’t be more excited! I have four young children and lately my cooking has taken a turn for the worse. My meal planning consists of survival mode: peanut butter, pasta and cheese, scrambled eggs and toast. I honestly asked my mom if she would like to eat out this Thanksgiving because then we wouldn’t have to do the work. And like a good momma, she said, “Let’s do a traditional Thanksgiving and I will help you!”

I have to admit, Thanksgiving dinner is not my thing. I have a low acid stomach that upsets easily and cooking and cleaning is not my favorite pastime. I’ve been watching FoodTube and trying to plan out how to cook Thanksgiving dinner and have it look lovely. I’m getting inspiration for my tablescape from Mesa Washington homemaker and blogger Lanette Empey, Instagram @betsysheartstrings and I love the use of her turkey tureen and matching serving dishes.

Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant.-Tony Robbins.

The approach of Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving has me remembering my Grandpa Stephens. He was of a cherished generation – men and women who grew up during the depression, who didn’t have anything and everything they had, they made it from scratch. The bravery of their generation in WWII is legendary. What I love about my Grandpa Stephens is he wasn’t only a big hero, he was a small hero – by which I mean he did serve his country but he came home and served his family the rest of his days.

Thanksgiving at the Stephens was memorable because my Grandpa did as much in the kitchen as anybody else. He had an apron on and was chopping, mashing, cooking, serving, doing dishes, the whole bit. My grandparents knew how to put on a Thanksgiving spread. Everything tasted like it had all of their whole souls wrapped into each bite. It was so rich and flavorful. Maybe I remember it for being more than it was simply because of the love that I felt there.

I don’t know why I was so fortunate to be born to parents and grandparents who loved their children and made every effort to make their lives and their holidays comfortable and filled with love. Life isn’t fair and I think this is especially true to children in the world who, through no fault of their own are suffering. Children who grow up without the comfort a home can give and then turn around and make life better for them and their own children are heroes.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to put away, even for just one day, our disappointments, heartaches and troubles. During the colder months, it isn’t hard to find something in our lives to appreciate: a working furnace, warm water and warm clothing – as well as those known and unknown to us who work day in and day out to improve the quality of our lives in education, medicine and food distribution. With, it is so easy to find a way to give those among us who are lacking basic comforts this holiday season.

Whether you celebrate what you are thankful for by dining out or having a traditional meal in your home, I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that the spirit of the holiday will enter your heart and you will feel how truly amazing it is to be alive and, to have the opportunity to change others’ lives for the better if we will open our heart to them. We cannot control everything that happens to us in our lives, but we can choose to become better for it and leave the world better for the people we come in contact with throughout our own lives.

Joel Nunn-Sparks – Photographer Based in Pasco, WA


Photography by Joel Nunn-Sparks. Senior photo shoot at the Imperial Stock Ranch in Shaniko, OR. 

Joel bought his first DSLR camera in 2009 hoping to record videos for events. It seems as if the camera had another thing in mind for Joel because after seeing how he could capture photos with this new equipment, he decided to test his creative boundaries by photographing a wedding – he loved it!

His first wedding gig was a game changer for him; since then, he’s done countless weddings, portraits and events and says, “each one is a brand new opportunity to flex my creative muscles.”

Joel admits he is different and hopes to remain so. He strives to offer his clients a different perspective by seizing each capture as if it may be his last. His photos truly have a signature on them. You can see Joel’s portfolio on his Instagram page, here. 

I have enjoyed watching Joel expand his portfolio and look forward to working with him on a Christmas feature for C & M Nursery’s event to benefit a local mental health clinic. Stay tuned! Also, catch some of his work on Facebook, here. 

Kris Bennett of KRISanthemums & Bennett Botanical Gardens-Hermiston, OR and Tri-Cities, WA

Photography by Sweet Life Photography, Hermiston, OR and Tri-Cities, WA

2521 (1)Kris operates a flower design studio and botanical gardens in Hermiston. She loves the changing seasons, which challenge and inspire her to keep innovating in the area of floral design. Her portfolio on Instagram @kriskrisanthemums shows her passion for flowers! I love her full-color-full-blooms approach to her designs as well as her use of less seen, beautiful flowers.

With over 17 years of flower design experience which includes working and designing on a 5 acre garden, Kris’s expertise and competence in designing florals for her clients is very unique and exceptional. Continued education to improve her design skills, her business and her overall creativity is vital to Kris. She feels providing excellent customer service as a small business owner is a priority.


Kris loves flowers! She belongs to the Portland Flower Market and Seattle Wholesale Growers Market-both have a central mission to promote local, seasonal and American grown flowers. “That is where my heart is,” she says, “creating beauty out of the ordinary is the challenge that motivates me.”

KRISanthemums has been featured in local, regional (Oregon Bride Magazine) and national magazines (Florists Review Magazine). Kris has traveled throughout the US designing flowers for weddings and events. She also makes local deliveries for any occasion, including: wedding flowers, corporate/business flowers, sympathy designs and occasion flowers. Packed within each of her unique designs is some form of garden element, which most often comes from her own Bennett Botanical Gardens. Within those gardens is a 5,000’ greenhouse where hanging baskets are raised. Place your order ahead(now) for those, they sell out fast.

Her studio offers design classes for Thanksgiving and Christmas centerpieces in Hermiston and at Anelare’ Winery in Benton City, Wa. Mention this ad and receive $5.00 off your class at Anelare’ Winery which is Sunday, November 19 at 1:00pm. RSVP please.

Consultations are offered for wedding flowers by appointment at the studio or your location. With over 5 acres of plants, trees, flowers, grass, water features and paver surfaces, the gardens are a beautiful location for those special outdoor events. Evenings and weekend appointments available to come to the gardens and schedule your event there.

You can reach Kris by filling out the information form on her website, as well as by E-mail: and call/text: (541) 571-2172.

Dandelion Wishes Candle Company – Handcrafted in Zillah, WA (wholesale available)


Dandelion Wishes Candle Company was started in 2015 by Kristen Stewart who recognized that members of her family as well as friends were unable to tolerate the harsh chemicals and soot from other candle brands. Dandelion Wishes Candle Company candles are a clean alternative for those with asthma and allergies. They are phthalate free, with no paraffin or palm wax. Using 100% soy wax creates a cleaner, longer burning candle.

The candles burn completely, leaving no residue at the bottom, which is especially great for the walls, cabinets and fixtures in your home as well as being better for people with respiratory health conditions. They last anywhere from 40 hours for a 6 oz. candle all the way up to 150 hours for an 18 oz. candle. Keep the wick trimmed between 1/8” and 1/4” and burn between 1-4 hours at a time.

Dandelion Wishes Candles are available online here. 

I was surprised when I tried Dandelion Wishes candles because I thought as they were a more natural candle, they would have only a faint fragrance but that was not the case at all. I would hold their home fragrance abilities next to popular chain brands! Most of their fragrances are custom blended, using the highest amount of oils acceptable for candles and melts. They are an exceptional value of the best quality ingredients.

All of their products are hand crafted by Kristen. Her husband prepares the lids and vessels and she pours and packages. Candles can be purchased online and ship everywhere in the US. They also sell wholesale and do custom fundraisers for any group.

I recommend Banana Nut Bread for sweet, Mulled Cider for spicy, Apple Ginger Crumb for both sweet and spicy, and Pumpkin Spice is wonderful as well! Also try their wax melts for your ceramic melting pots. I have been really happy with my candles from Dandelion Wishes. I have a two story home and their beautiful fragrance fills the entire space upstairs and down! So many people say that my home smells so good!

Upcoming Events for Dandelion Wishes Candles

  • Oct. 14th Fallout Artisan Bazaar in Kennewick
  • Oct. 14th – 15th Harvest Festival at the Suncadia Resort in their Historic Nelson Barn
  • Oct. 28th Junk-tiquen in the Berg at the Ellensburg County Fairgrounds
  • Nov. 1st – 4th Piper Barn Show in Moses Lake
  • Nov. 18th Vintage Fix Market at the Benton County Fairgrounds

Dandelion Wishes candles are available in retail shops as well:

Vintage Me in Yakima

Outlaw Woman in Spokane

Kristen is also hoping to have her candles available in shops in the Tri-Cities, Dayton and Walla Walla soon! Contact those gift shops and boutiques you think should carry Dandelion Wishes candles and let them know what you think of these amazingly fragrant, clean burning candles!


About this Styled Shoot

Special thanks to Gabriela Miller Photography, @photographybygabrielamiller for these stunning photos and to all these amazing women for their creativity on this styled shoot:

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Thanks for reading When in Tricities! I love sharing what’s beautiful within our region. Follow along on Instagram @whenintricities or on Facebook When in Tricities group.

One of my favorite Robert Frost Poems


Photography by Courtney Corriell. All rights reserved. 

A few years ago, my grandpa passed away.  He was a kind and loving man who helped my grandma all their marriage with cooking and cleaning. I only remember my grandpa as being pleasant and wonderful to be around. He was so accepting and I never heard him talk bad about anyone or really complain at all. When he died, my grandma said, “What more could I have asked of him? He was a perfect husband to me.”

I am so fortunate because my husband is that kind of man to me. He is selfless and patient. It is the greatest privilege of my life to share it with him. We love our children. Brandon and I were married in the Bountiful Utah Temple. We were married in a sealing room, where we knelt together joining hands across an altar, surrounded by our closest family and friends. There we promised to treat one another the way that Heavenly Father would want us to treat each other throughout our marriage.

Life with four young children is wonderful and fun and full of adventure. It isn’t always easy, and during those times when bitterness, arguments and frustration come, I am grateful that I made those promises in the temple because I remember that forgiveness, patience and love can overcome much of life’s challenges. I’m also glad that I made those promises while kneeling. I think it is so easy to forget that as sons and daughters of God, we have direct access to divine help if we remember to kneel and supplicate to our Father in Heaven.

In my life, I have felt like giving up and settling for less than my potential too many times to count. I have learned that what I perceive is my potential may only be a small part of what God thinks is my potential – or what I think of my life may not even be on course with what God thinks of my life. Truly, I have felt great bursts of joy in my heart when I realize that everything I have been working for and praying for and then some came about because I exercised faith in God and in myself and went for it!

I love this experience shared by my sister Christine. She said that as a young mom, she often felt sleep deprived. She had an intense schedule of watching a handicapped brother as well as young children and her husband was gone most of the time as he was in the middle of medical residency. She said she prayed every day she would be able to get more sleep. But eventually, she realized that was not going to happen. She changed her prayer and rather than praying to get enough sleep, she prayed that she would be able to function and enjoy her life on the sleep she was given. She said that it worked and she got through those challenging years.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Sometimes it looks as though Jesus has not overcome the world. We see recent natural disasters, political strife, poverty and hunger and think, “where is Jesus now?” In reality, there has always been great calamity and arguing as long as there have been human beings.

I remember being a first year teacher having just obtained a degree in literature and so excited to start my own Dead Poets Society. But no sooner did I enter my first classroom full of students did I realize that my idea of our content was not going to fly with this group. I was teaching students faced with poverty, neglect, gangs, and drug use. There were security cameras at the entrances of the school and in some hallways. I had to deal with constant heckling from my students. I felt bullied and unappreciated.

Part of getting my license required that I eat lunch with my colleagues; the idea was team building. But my colleagues did not have a favorable view of Mormons and even though they knew I was one, they would make disparaging remarks of people of my faith in front of me. One day, the language was so bad, I stood up and left. I could hear some of my elder colleagues poke fun at me as I walked out.

I wanted to quit every day. My older sister reminded me that I was a daughter of God and that I had direct access to his divine power and help in my life. Being reminded of this helped me to refocus. Instead of crying to my sister about how difficult my job was, I started to pour my soul out to my Heavenly Father in prayer. I asked him to help me see my students the way he saw them. It gave me compassion on them and what they were dealing with.

We organized a student talent show and let the students share what they had to offer. This gave me an opportunity to praise them and build them up, which was different from their usual time spent feeling in trouble or sent to detention. Both I and my students finished up the school year stronger individuals and better learners than when we started.

“This is the spirit that shall fill your soul with joy [in good times or in difficult times].” – Barbara Thompson, from “Cleave unto the Coveants,” Oct. 2011.

I pray to have the Holy Spirit with me every day. Not only is the Holy Spirit a purveyor of joy, he is a great teacher. He tells me in my thoughts how to work through my challenges and frustrations. When I pray, I am better able to put my life into focus and reshape my thinking for the better. It doesn’t take my problems away, but it strengthens me so I am better able to bear them.

Some of the things I try very hard to remember is how Jesus forgives me, so I need to be quick to forgive others. When I feel stressed, angry or impatient, I try to remember to say a silent prayer that despite how I feel, I will be able to respond outwardly with kindness and patience. This is so challenging, especially when I feel overwhelmed with taking care of my children and housework but it is so worth it because then I don’t have to deal with feelings of regret over having a bad temper toward those I love most.

One of the easiest ways to change the course of the day is to think of others. I know that when I reach out and ask a neighbor, “can I help you with anything?” just the thought and sometimes the smallest acts of service like watching a few extra kids or sending over a meal can make me feel like I contributed something great to someone else’s day. Then I feel better asking for and receiving help whether in prayer or from others.

One of my favorite scriptures from the bible is in Isaiah 49:15-16 which reads, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, yea, [she] may forget, yet I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” This scripture gives me so much peace and comfort. Jesus is aware of my experiences and trails and he does not forget – even if there are endless people who are dealing with bigger challenges than my own.

For certain, I can pray even if I feel there are others who need God’s hand in their lives more. This is possible because God’s love is infinite and can reach everyone who asks.

Since my first year teaching, there have been more trying times in my life where the stakes were much higher for me personally but I reflect on that first year teaching because it was the first time in my adult life were I felt really pushed to my limit. I am so grateful for that experience because it has become a model for me to try to remember when I am struggling or going through a period of personal growth that I have access to divine help if I will get on my knees and ask.


I have really grown to love and appreciate this wonderful poem by American poet, Robert Frost:

God’s Garden

God made a beauteous garden

With lovely flowers strown,

But one straight, narrow pathway

That was not overgrown.

And to this beauteous garden

He brought mankind to live,

And said: “To you, my children,

These lovely flowers I give.

Prune ye my vines and fig trees,

With care my flowerets tend,

But keep the pathway open,

Your home is at the end.”


Then came another master,

Who did not love mankind?

And planted on the pathway

Gold flowers for them to find.

And mankind saw the bright flowers,

That, glittering in the sun,

Quite hid the thorns of avarice

That poison blood and bone;

And far off many wandered,

And when life’s night came on,

They still were seeking gold flowers,

Lost, helpless, and alone.


O, cease to heed the glamour

That blinds your foolish eyes,

Look upward to the glitter

Of stars in God’s clear skies.

Their ways are pure and harmless

And will not lead astray,

But aid your erring footsteps

To keep the narrow way.

And when the sun shines brightly

Tend flowers that God has given

And keep the pathway open

That leads you on to heaven.

I know life isn’t easy. It’s so hard! Sometimes it seems like life is Scrooge from The Christmas Carol and telling you that “everything is dead set against you!” There are professional and personal setbacks. There are things you cannot control and there are unsolvable problems that you are tasked with. Heavenly Father knows about what you face. He loves you and he wants to help you. I have experienced that feeling of being lost, helpless and alone that Frost alludes to and I have known the deep, piercing awe when God has answered my prayers and come to my rescue – not absolving me of my trials but strengthening my spirit to handle them. “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”

Prepping Your Home and Garden for Fall

Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.-Shira Tamir.

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Photography by Abogabir Photography, see more here.

This article was published originally in LivingTC Magazine here.

The end of summer is a wild ride as families in the Mid-Columbia attend the fair, rodeo and any last minute family reunions or summer vacations. Back-to-school shopping seems to take over for parents with school aged kids and the mall is packed with students looking for the right first day of school outfits. Truly August slips by so fast and to borrow from Oscar Wilde, “all at once, summer collapses into fall.”

If you’re like me, I feel a little sorry to see summer go especially because for part of the day, I do not hear my children in the house as they are at school. My attention shifts from making summer memories for my children to prepping my yard and home for the upcoming season. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. No matter your age, you can appreciate the change in scenery with cooler temperatures and the variety of fall colors.

With the welcome cooler temperatures in the fall, it is fun to swap out your home fragrance from summer coconut and beachy scents to warming apple cider, cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Guests will love walking into your home and being greeted with the smell of fall. Put away summer décor, clothing and swim suits and break out the chunky sweaters, jeans and boots. Place thick throw blankets near the couches and replace summer travel guides with fall related magazines, books and décor on your coffee and end tables.

Stock the pantry with items you’ll need to have on hand for fall baking, Halloween Trick-or-Treaters and Thanksgiving company. Items that are useful to stock up on are canned pumpkin, stuffing, spice flavored cake mixes and chocolate chips! If you like to make fruit cobbler, stock up with canned fruit like cherries and peaches in heavy syrup. I like to get fall-themed paper plates and napkins and just have a stockpile in my pantry ready to go.

Easy Peach Cobbler


  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup
  • ½ cup butter


  • Melt butter in 9 X 13 inch pan.
  • Mix together the flour, sugar, and milk. Pour mixture into the pan. Spread peaches, including syrup, evenly around the pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the crust turns golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.-Recipe by Nancy,

With a little attention, your yard and home can have a second gardening season in the fall. Fill containers with fall plants and flowers and place around your home. Job’s Nursery in Pasco has a variety of fall shrubs and flowers. Maple and amber colored grasses, succulents and mums look stunning in a fall container garden. Big baskets of mums look very inviting on the front porch and are the perfect, seasonal companions to orange and white pumpkins. Place a beautiful, fall wreath on the front door; add lights next to the door or in the entry way for an extra touch of warmth.

Clear away the summer lawn and patio accessories. Deadhead any flowers and bring in any containers with plants that are sensitive to the cold. Trim any bushes or shrubs that are touching your home so that the wind won’t cause them to brush up against the exterior causing damage. Leave any major pruning to when the trees and shrubs are dormant, after the leaves have fallen and the first frost has come.

The last half of September is when you want to take care to invest in the health of your lawn. Aerating your lawn will improve drainage and open up space for new roots, which will thicken your lawn over time. Also if you have bare spots, overseed in those areas. Little holes from aerating provide a great place for seed to thrive. This is also a great time to fertilize your lawn.

Before winterizing your irrigation system, give your yard a good soaking. Afterward, walk around the outside of your home and make sure that water is draining away from the foundation of the home. Have the sprinklers blown out by a professional. Typically the charge is between $50 to $100 depending on your property and it is worth it to prevent any pipes from freezing and breaking. If you leave for vacation, leave your sinks at a very slow drip to prevent any of your home pipes from freezing and breaking.

Plant tulip and daffodil bulbs in the flower beds and be happy in early Spring that you did! The best time to plant your bulbs are when the temperatures fall below 70 degrees during the day. A striking way to plant tulips is to go for a monochromatic color scheme – all red or all purple. Another fun way is to plant bulbs in succession of when they bloom to maximize your enjoyment of them in the Spring.

Other ways you can prepare your home include clearing any debris from your gutters, having your furnace checked and tuned as well as replacing any furnace filters and air filters in your home. Replace all batteries in the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The last thing you need on a busy school night is the chirping of a fire alarm to go off. Make sure any regular maintenance is completed on your chimney or gas fireplace.

Whether you are attending school during the fall or not, hit up the library for a few good reads. Get a new blanket and a favorite warm drink to sip as you enjoy your fall home and garden. Read more seasonal ideas from Alicia Walters at and on Instagram @whenintricities.

More About Fall I Wanted to Write (not published): 

I look forward to the fall more than any other time of the year. Nature speaks more to me in the fall, it seems. Bugs bug off. Temperatures get cool. Light dances through pretty leaves and wind blown leaves crunch and splash like waves in the gutter. 

Around the 2nd week of October I like to drive around in my car looking for beautiful fall leaves. In Kennewick, in addition to Columbia Park, I like to drive up and down W. Grandridge Bld., W. 4th Ave. and W. Canal Drive into Downtown Kennewick. I also like to continue to Finley to Two Rivers Park for beautiful fall scenery. In Richland, in addition to Howard Amon Park, I like to visit Leslie Groves Park in the fall and drive up and down Bellerrive Dr. and take Bradley Blvd. and cut to the Riverfront Trail and walk to Columbia Point Marina Park. In Pasco, I like to take a bike and ride from Chiawana Park to Wade Park along the Sacajawea Heritage Trail. So there are many beautiful places to see gorgeous fall scenery! 

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” For me, fall sometimes feels like the “Monday morning” after an enjoyable summer break. I get a cleaning bug. I want to organize my home and my closet and make long overdue appointments to the hair salon and other regular appointments I’ve been avoiding. I make goals like “drink more water” and “go to bed before midnight” that I never keep. Fall will always be my happy place because growing up, that is when things started to get fun. My family would take a week vacation together to Sun Valley, Idaho and ride bikes along the trails with vivid fall colors on both sides. 

My mom always made decorating and celebrating Halloween so much fun for the kids – a tradition I keep up with for my own. I truly start thinking of costumes in August and what I’m going to do to help my kids have fun this fall. I love the big pumpkin patch events at Bill’s Berry Farm and Country Mercantile. I think that Job’s Nursery in Pasco does a perfect job for families on a budget who want to enjoy the pumpkin patch without the carnival. 

Thanks for reading When in Tri-Cities. I appreciate so much the opportunity to share what I love about this beautiful place. The word is getting out – people are moving here in droves. In the not distant future, it will be a completely different place. It has already changed so much in the eight years we’ve lived here. If you like, please recommend When in Tri-Cities to your friends. Thanks for reading! Alicia Walters 

Get a Free Consultation and $500 off Treatment at Andros Orthodontics – Pasco, WA



Dr. Andros is a Board Certified orthodontist in Pasco, WA with training from Columbia University and Jacksonville University. He is a Richland High School graduate and fond of the Tri-Cities. “It’s a great place to live and to raise a family,” he says. Andros Orthodontics gives back to the Tri-Cities community by sponsoring community sports teams and working with PTO’s. A parent himself, Dr. Andros wants to help alleviate any concerns parents may have during his consultations with new patients.

When to Get a Consultation

Consultations are free and it is recommended that parents bring their kids in beginning at 7 if there are any questions regarding the child’s bite or how his teeth are growing in. If there are no concerns, still schedule a consultation at age 8 or anytime you have questions about braces.

Your Free Consultation Includes:

  • X-Rays
  • Pictures
  • Visit with Dr. Andros
  • Answers to any questions regarding treatment


Phase 1: Typically beginning at ages 9-10, early treatment before braces will address any issues with the patient’s bite or how the teeth are growing in, including spacers. Not every patient will need early treatment.

Phase 2: Typically beginning at ages 11-2 years when the permanent teeth have grown in and anytime after that a patient wishes to address any issues, braces are applied.

Patients and parents of patients like Andros Orthodontics because of the friendly staff, beautiful facility and Dr. Andros’s attention to detail. Patients can earn “Doc Dollars” for being on time, wearing their elastics and keeping their teeth and braces clean. If the patient loses his retainer, Dr. Andros will supply a replacement at no cost.

Mention you heard about Andros Orthodontics on When in Tri-Cities and receive $500 off treatment (includes lifetime retainers).

Patients will enjoy the open floor plan and panoramic windows looking out into the clinic’s garden. At the patient education station, a team member will assist new patients in the care and maintenance of their braces. When treatment is finished, patients will enjoy having their teeth polished by Dr. Andros and then choosing from an assortment of treats from the “Candy Cart” that have been “off limits” during treatment.



Andros Orthodontics wants to make financing as hassle free as they can by providing each patient with an estimate up front. A team member will call your insurance provider for you to see what insurance will cover. They offer interest free payment plans up to 24 months, as well as a discount for those patients paying up front.

Thanks for reading When in Tri-Cities, a southeast Washington lifestyle blog by Living TC Magazine contributor Alicia Walters. Follow on Instagram @whenintricities. 

Fresh Picks in Kennewick – Brought by Rowley and Hawkins Fruit Farm

lunch combo promo

There are several reasons to make Fresh Picks your regular morning and afternoon pick-me-up! Their natural smoothies are made with wholesome ingredients and sweetened with only agave nectar. They use 100% juice and unsweetened milk. My personal favorite to jump start my day is the Blueberry Rush. This smoothie is made with: blueberries, yogurt, flax, peanut butter and almond milk. A customer favorite is Fruit Paradise made with: strawberries, apricots, mango, yogurt, orange and mango juice.

Be sure to mention you read this ad on @whenintricities and get %15 off your Fresh Picks order! 

Fresh Picks has some of the Tri-cities locally made favorites including: Taste-a-Treat Cherry Apple and classic Apple Cider, Rowley and Hawkins famous farm stand pies, Sheffield Cider, jams and chocolate dipped strawberries! My husband and I agree that their pie crust is the lightest and tastiest we’ve ever tried! Apricot season is just around the corner and peach season is coming and so they will have freshly frozen peach pies to take and bake – nothing beats a warm peach pie with melting vanilla ice cream on top!

As of July 24th, 2017, Fresh Picks will also offer their delicious salads and smoothies in a lunch combo. The $10.75 combo includes a medium smoothie, green salad with dressing and a dessert – your choice of a tart or chocolate dipped strawberry. The salads are generously topped with your choice of nuts and berries. And these guys know their berries. The berries in their salads and pies have a very concentrated flavor and are just delicious.

lunch combo 3.jpg

I love going to Fresh Picks year-round. I consider them my year-round, indoor farmer’s market in Tri-Town. It is so fun when the summer changes to fall and apple season hits Fresh Picks. They offer classic stand by apples as well as new varieties. The apples are big, and the smell is wonderful. Pumpkins are also available to purchase in October. We are so lucky to have this amazing farm stand just a small stretch from Costco in Kennewick. Why wouldn’t you want your produce to be locally grown? The taste doesn’t even compare!

Did you know? School Fundraising and Large Group order programs are available year-round at Fresh Picks. They offer fundraisers for PTA, Education, Sports, Clubs and Activities. Give Briana a call to find out more! Briana at Fresh Picks (575) 725-4550.

Thank you for reading When in Tri-Cities – I’d love to feature your local business! Send me a direct message on Instagram for details. Also, look for my work in Living TC Magazine’s and Taylored Living Magazine’s (local, independent magazine) upcoming fall issues! I’m a freelance writer and available to write brochures for your business or event as well. Promoting your event on and on my Instagram@whenintricities is affordable and a great way to spread the word! Thanks, Alicia Walters 

Sunny Wright Photography – Prosser, WA

Sunny Wright is known for her stunning use of natural light as well as landscape in her portrait photography. She is a seasoned photographer and has been serving the Tri-Cities for eleven years with exceptional high school senior and family photography. I highly recommend perusing her portfolio, here.


Sunny is located in Prosser and is typically booked out two to three months, so schedule your session early. Her portraits look like they come straight out of a magazine. She has a keen attention to detail regarding composition, natural light and color. Her portraits showcase the real beauty of her clients.

One of the unique qualities of her work is the use of our region’s beautiful backdrop of endless land and sky. Recent work can be viewed on Instagram @sunnydwright, as well as Facebook: Sunny Wright Photography. Send E-mail request for pricing,

Thank you Sunny Wright Photography for participating in the #summergiveawaytc. Congratulations to our winner, Kim Wiberg of @wibergphotography!

In My Father’s Garden

All photos by Angela Johnson Photography, see more here. 


When I was a little girl, I followed my dad. He had so much to offer me because I would have soaked up anything he had to say. He is my hero and friend. I didn’t realize at the time how fortunate I was that he wanted me to soak up all that was good about the world and God. I took for granted that at my impressionable age, I could have been an observer of less beautiful things. I’m so grateful for my dad.

In the summer, my dad was prepared for the sun. He didn’t wear short and t-shirts. He wore long pants and long sleeves, sun block and a straw hat. We have fair skin in our family and the sun is not kind to it. He would sit on the step in our garage and change his everyday shoes to his gardening shoes. He tied his laces in a double bow knot. Those laces were not coming undone. His gloves were thick and leather and had a thin layer of garden soil on them except not in the creases.

He would till the garden soil until the texture was as smooth as butter. It gave way like moon sand when you stepped on it. He told me a lot of secrets about fertilizer and preparing the soil. It was a religious ritual. In a way it reminds me now of how he took care of his young family. Just as the gardener he prepared the soil for the plants, he spent a lot of time on the foundational building blocks we would need to form our characters to help us survive in the world.

There were two sections to the garden: the tomatoes, and everything else. The tomatoes were given the primo spot. They were along the border of the garden and each tomato “bed” was built up like a volcano with the tomato plant bursting out of the top. It made hand watering those babies a cinch and prevented the garden from needing weeding. His beefsteak tomatoes were worth their weight in gold. They were as scrumptious as a ripe watermelon. I have never found their equal in all of Washington state.

When I was too young to help, I would swing on the swing set and watch his garden unfold as he went up and down the rows repeatedly every summer morning. At times it looked like nothing was happening and then all of a sudden, I looked out one early summer morning and the entire garden was filled with ripe vegetables! We could take our potato baskets and go through and pick the tomatoes and peppers.

When you think of the plants in the garden, they do not need very much except the important things: sunlight, water, and plant food. But what they need, they need it consistently, every day. It can seem menial and repetitive to grow a garden. It’s dirty and hot out there in the summer sun. There’s bugs and sometimes pesky animals that try to take what you have grown. The garden is only as good as the gardener’s consistency.

There are many parallels to be drawn from gardening, and I’ll let you come up with those on your own. For me, I will never forget the wonderful memory of my dad handing my sister and I the watering can and having us share the job of watering the tomatoes each summer morning. I can still see the two of us sharing giggles in the sunlight while walking up and down the garden feeling the sunlight and the mood sand squish underneath our feet.

Thank you for reading When in Tri-Cities, written by Alicia Walters. My friend Lisa shared this poem from Sally DeFord entitled My Father’s Love for Me. It expresses some of the feelings I have. I have always felt very fortunate that it was easy for me to understand that we are children of God and have a loving Father in Heaven because my own father has always been a good man and a good example of that kind of love to me. My dad has told me a number of times, “We do not all have a good father, but all of us have a perfect Father in Heaven.” I know that is true. Read the poem here. 

Up Close with Ann Thompson Photography – Natural Light Photographer

Ann Thompson is a natural light photographer based in Kennewick, WA. Her portfolio is unique because she really captures well the inland northwest lifestyle through her horse and farm animal photography, as well as portrait photography against the background of the panoramic Columbia Basin.

Her work is artistic, but can be practical. If you are needing an artsy, magazine worthy photo or a senior portrait to hang in your home, she can produce well. She is down to earth in showing the every day scenes in natural light, but also demonstrates some whimsy as well, including her Game of Thrones inspired photo shoot.

Recently, she’s posted some stunning macro photography. To view her portfolio, click here.



Picnicking in the Tri – Styled Shoot by Pasco’s Imagine Design Create Inspire @i.d.c.i.

Tablescape by Melissa Martinez, Imagine Design Create Inspire @i.d.c.i. Photography by Martha Marisa Photography. Model Anais Valdez Makeup. Written by Alicia Walters for Living TC Magazine. Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue, here. 


We think of picnics as a one-time thing or reserved for a family reunion but actually in the summertime in the Tri-Cities, we are constantly picnicking, whether we’re eating at a Farmers Market or at the park with our friends or children or if we’re just eating in our backyard.

During picnicking weather, I like to have the essentials already placed in the trunk of my car such as: camping chairs, an outdoor blanket, sunscreen, bug repellant, hat, sunglasses, Frisbee, football, paper plates and napkins as well as a couple trash bags to help with cleanup. For my children, I pack a few sand buckets and shovels, towels and anything else they typically need.

My favorite food to serve at a picnic usually comes from the many farmers markets we have going on all summer. I like to stop by the market with my family, pick up our lunch and since the car is already packed, we are then ready to enjoy our picnic wherever we decide to land. It’s a really effortless way to go about it.

The Pasco Farmers Market runs June – August Wednesdays 8 am to noon. The Historic Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market runs June – October Thursdays 4 – 7 pm. Market at the Parkway in Richland runs June – October Fridays 9 am – 1 pm. There are several more, including pop-up markets. Follow along @whenintricities on Instagram as we visit the farmers markets throughout the summer.

When we’re not eating what we pickup from the farmers market, I like to keep the picnic menu simple and get my guests involved by letting them custom assemble their plates. A sandwich or kabob bar is a classic. For the sandwich bar, I like to go to Albertson’s deli and get fresh slices of sandwich meats and cheese. Pack several spreads such as pesto, vinaigrette or Dijon as well as the usual standbys. For the kabob bar, if you won’t have access to a grill, pre-dice cold cuts of ham, turkey and a variety of cheeses as well as pickles and peppers and pack skewers. Don’t forget the cooler filled with drinks!

Bring a guitar if you or someone in your party plays or bring a portable lawn game. Have something planned that is easy, that people can relate with and that will encourage people to stay off their phones and just soak in the simplicity of a warm summer afternoon. Lisa Peppard of Artful Virgo, a calligraphy business in the Tri-Cities designs makes hand lettered signs and place cards for special event picnics such as birthdays and reunions. “Hand-written words set the tone and evoke feelings before they are even read,” Lisa says. See more @artful.virgo on Instagram.

Some favorite spots include: Howard Amon Park in Richland (splash pool), Grange Park and Demonstration Gardens in Kennewick (splash pad), Chiawana Park in Pasco (sand volleyball and view of the Blue Bridge), and Leslie Groves Park in Richland (sand volleyball). Two Rivers Park in Finley offers Frisbee golf and a duck pond. One of the most popular places for a picnic is Columbia Park in Kennewick (splash pad, kiddie train, Sno-shack, and duck pond). Located along the Sacajawea Heritage Trail, it offers 22 miles of continuous paved walking and biking trails. It’s a great place to picnic and enjoy recreation.

If you have access to a boat, picnicking on the Columbia River is a great way to see the Tri-Cities from a different angle and enjoy the water that our area has to offer. Or hike Badger Mountain and enjoy the panoramic view of the city below while you picnic. Wood pallets are a fun way to dress up a picnic spread because there are so many diverse ways you can incorporate them into a picnic theme. Picnic for the 4th of July, throw a Fiesta or create an elegant tasting table picnic setting.

Wildflowers in Southeast Washington – Heather Weagant, Teacher & Photographer


A shrub native to our area, rabbitbrush can be found throughout the Tri-Cities

All photos copyright Heather Weagant. 

Heather Weagant is a full-time special education teacher and mother born and raised in Richland. When not around children, she tries to spend her time behind the lens, photographing landscapes within the Tri-Cities and around the Pacific Northwest.

Contact Heather on Instagram: @hweagant


Pink desert wildflowers found in the sand at Twin Sisters outside of Wallula Gap.


Balsamroot in full bloom at Twin Sisters rocks near Wallula Gap.


Big patches of balsamroot found overlooking the Columbia River from Wallula Gap.


Abundance of balsamroot against ominous skies while hiking around Wallula Gap.


Balsamroot blooming atop McBee Grade outside of Benton City.


The sun shines through the pedals of balsamroot while hiking on top of Red Mountain.


A rare native cactus pokes out of the brush near Horn Rapids.


The infamous rusted out car sits in a field of balsamroot and lupine at Dalles Mountain Ranch within Columbia Hills State Park, just under 2 hours away from the Tri-Cities.


Pink phlox can be found within our desert, like these found near Rattlesnake Mountain.

Photography Destinations with Courtney Corriell Photography + Real Estate and Small Business Photography based in Irrigon, OR

All photography © Courtney Corriell Photography.


Photos of farmland in Irrigon, OR

Courtney Corriell is a photographer based in Irrigon, OR who serves Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington. Most clients meet her along the Washington/Oregon border and there are plenty of reasons to do so. Courtney is a natural light photographer who loves to get outdoors.  She prefers not to work in a studio because there is so much available stunning landscapes in our area, ideal for family and individual portraits. While she shoots plenty of family and portrait photography, she continues to expand and add diversity to her portfolio through her creative work.

Courtney also specializes in real estate photography. The way you photograph and represent your home online can make all the difference in helping to attract potential buyers to come explore your home. Too often, sellers try to take the photo themselves with a cell phone or outdated equipment. The best way to ensure the most potential buyers look at your home is through high quality, professional photos.

In addition, Courtney is passionate about working closely with small businesses that are looking to increase their online presence and use professional photography as part of their advertising and marketing strategy. After all, the beautiful things that help make your business run deserve to have beautiful pictures.

Courtney does custom wall photography for businesses to enhance their interior aesthetic and help customers feel at home in their shop. When I walk into a business, I love to see local scenery captures in the best possible light hanging on the walls. It helps to give the community a sense of pride.

The Big Print Shop, located in Benton City is an excellent resource for wall art in this region. They can print fine art posters, marketing materials, vehicle graphics and more. Courtney is well connected with the shop and they work closely with her on her prints to make sure they are done to precision. Courtney Corriell Photography is offering an exclusive deal to When in Tri-Cities readers:

Mention you heard about Courtney Corriell Photography on when you book your Summer Session or order a product and receive an exclusive 15% off your order. *Valid through July 4th, 2017.


Photo of Boardman Tree Farms, Boardman, OR


Photo of Kiona Vineyards

Courtney loves photography because of the creative freedom it gives her. The surrounding parks, landscapes and rivers are ideal backdrops for creative expression through a camera lens. Clients of Corriell Photography are pleased to see themselves surrounded by local beauty. It just makes your session experience a little extra special. You cannot get these dessert canvases everywhere; they are truly unique and beautiful.

One tip that Courtney suggests to clients is to feel free to be themselves in the photos and try not to overthink the clothes or the session. She invites her clients to try a beautiful location in our region and to give themselves permission to enjoy the session. Her photos truly capture that warmth and down home style; and are the kind of photos that you will enjoy hanging in your home for years.


Photo private property Finley, WA


Photo McNary Wildlife Area, Umatilla, OR

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Photos from Hat Rock to Pasco to Prosser and Benton City. 

When in Tri-Cities: Eastern Washington Lifestyle Blog & 2017 Tri-City Herald People’s Choice Awards

Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2017 Tri-City Herald People’s Choice Awards. See full publication in The Tri-City Herald, published May 18, 2017 or online here published May 19, 2017.

Below are the People’s Choice Articles written by Alicia Walters, and Instagram @whenintricities.


Best Seafood/Best Fine Dining: Anthony’s By Alicia Walters,; photos by Urbren Shoot,

Anthony’s at Columbia Point, 550 Columbia Point Dr. Richland, WA 99352, (509) 946-3474

Anthony’s is part of a family of fresh seafood restaurants in the Pacific Northwest with origins dating back to 1969. Their commitment to beautiful interiors with an open concept design allowing customers a peek into the kitchen and large windows to showcase their waterfront views contribute to a wonderful dining experience. Anthony’s provides fine dining with a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

Tim Ferleman is a seasoned fisherman and former Anthony’s chef. He leads the seafood team for Anthony’s restaurants. He is committed to providing the restaurants with the very best Pacific Northwest seafood. The team is HACCP trained and has strict adherence to “Best Practice” standards. Read more about their commitment to excellent seafood on their website,

Anthony’s at Columbia Point serves up local and regional catches plus regional wines and beers. They focus on serving local, seasonal food such as their tart and delicious rhubarb grown in the Puyallup Valley and regional peaches and huckleberries. Their in-house blueberry and huckleberry lemonades are a delicious treat on a summer’s evening, along with the fresh, locally made strawberry ice cream.

Popular entrees include the coconut prawns. These large prawns are perfectly prepared with a thin layer of panko crust and are sweet as can be. Fish is always flaky and melt-in-your mouth amazing. Their sides are tasty, too. They have several soft breads, clam chowder, shrimp cocktail, and crisp and refreshing Caesar salad.

Located on the Columbia River, guests enjoy a scenic view of Marina Park in Richland. Their banquet room has a 60 person stand up reception capacity and a 40 person seated capacity. The Vineyard Room has an adjoining private deck that overlooks the Columbia River. During the warmer months, the deck may be used to increase reception capacity.

To schedule their banquet room for your event, contact Anthony’s Managers, 509-946-3474 or Anthony’s is open Monday – Thursday 11 am – 9:30 pm, Friday – Saturday 11 am – 10:30 pm and Sunday 9 am – 9:30 pm. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant or online at


Best Bakery: Viera’s By Alicia Walters,; photos by Urbren Shoot,

Viera’s Bakery, 6411 Burden Blvd. Pasco, WA, (509) 545-4043

Viera’s Bakery, 430 W. Lewis Street, Pasco, WA, (509) 546-9726

Viera’s Bakery is a longstanding local favorite in the Tri-Cities and is well-known for their excellent fresh churros as well as their many flavors of empanadas such as: Bavarian Cream, Pineapple, Apple, Sweet Potato, Strawberry, Guyaba and Coconut. Traditional pan dulce, including Roscas de Reyes, a cake pastry traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany and Pan de Muerto, traditionally eaten around the Dia de Muertos are a specialty. They also serve flan, tres leches, gelatinas and much more.

Viera’s creative team will custom design cakes for birthdays, quinceaneras, weddings, anniversaries and more. Customers can bring in their photos and ideas and know that their cake will be made to their satisfaction. Children love to visit Viera’s because they like to look at the great variety of pan dulce on display in their cases.

Manuel and Esther Viera, owners of Viera’s Bakery for over twenty years, maintain a tradition of excellence at their two locations.  Bakery opens at 4 a.m. at the Lewis St. location and 5 a.m. at the Burden Blvd. location and is open at both locations until 10 p.m.  “We start early and our ovens run twenty-four hours a day,” says Marisa Viera, manager of Viera’s Bakery. Customer favorites include their 1,000 Layers Caramel, Empanada Bavarian Cream, Campechana in Assorted Flavors, and Mexican Cheesecake. And they do serve coffee!


Best Movie Theater: Fairchild Cinemas By Alicia Walters,; photos by Urbren Shoot,

Fairchild Cinemas, 2871 Duportail St., Richland, Washington, (509) 627-4348

Fairchild Cinemas is the premier movie theater in the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas. Their roomy, luxurious, electronic reclining chairs take movie watching comfort up a level. Once you go Fairchild, it’s hard to settle for anything less! Purchase assigned seating tickets online, pick up at the kiosk (just scan the barcode off your phone) and you don’t have to wait in line.

Their concessions offer more than your average theater variety including: chicken strips, pizza, pulled pork sliders, chocolate chip cookies and more. Also, beer and wine are now available at the concession stand for their 21 and over auditoriums. Popcorn is locally sourced, as is their wine selection. Fairchild strives to staff their theaters adequately so that customers never have to wait too long in line at their concessions.

Their auditoriums feature the Dolby Atmos Sound System and seating is designed for optimal viewing enjoyment. The best news of all is that a new Kennewick location will be opening up in 2018 on the 2900 block of S. Quillan, between Quillan and Olsen Streets. Premium large format screens will make for a big showing at the new location as well. Follow Fairchild Cinemas at


Best Furniture Store: Walker’s Furniture and Mattress By Alicia Walters,; photos by Urbren Shoot,

Walker’s Furniture and Mattress, 205 N. Morain Street, Kennewick, WA 99336, (509) 374-9773

Mark Walker, founder of Walker’s Furniture opened the store with his wife in 1980. Their number one concern is quality. They buy imports from around the world at the best prices and pass along quality furniture at reasonable prices for their customers.

Walker’s Furniture has the best customer service in furniture in Eastern Washington and the Inland Northwest. They want to make sure their customers are happy with their purchases whether shopping in one of their showrooms in Eastern Washington, Oregon or Idaho or using their website, which is updated regularly to include their current inventory to make shopping accessible to all customers.

Walker’s Furniture has the best and newest technologies in mattresses by: iAmerica, Enso Sleep Systems, Bellagio at Home, icomfort, Beautyrest and Tempurpedic. Mark says, “Our customers, when they come in to buy a mattress, they are surprised by our great selection.”

Walker’s got its start in oak furniture but have expanded to include a comprehensive inventory of home furnishings including leather, upholstered seating and dining tables. They make sure all their dining tables have a finished edge. They want their tables and chairs to last for a long time in customer’s homes.


Best Garden Center: Beaver Bark Gift and Garden Center By Alicia Walters,; photos by Urbren Shoot,

Beaver Bark Gift and Garden Center, 607 Aaron Drive, Richland, WA 99352

When customers walk into Beaver Bark Gift and Garden Center, they are immediately impressed by a visually stunning display of seasonal and holiday décor, a soothing Koi pond and over 10,000 square feet of plant and garden products for your garden and home. Beaver Bark employs a highly experienced team of nearly forty people to create the aesthetics for their store.

They start planting in February inside their climate controlled greenhouse and grow the majority of their spring plants right here in Richland. As Renae Bobbett, co-owner and founder says, “It doesn’t get any more local than that.” Located along I-82 in Richland, Beaver Bark Gift and Garden Center is located year-round. Halloween, Christmas and Easter particularly offer fun for the whole family to enjoy.

From their humble beginnings nearly 25 years ago near the Richland Wye, Beaver Bark Gift and Garden Center has flourished to rank among the top 100 Garden Centers in the US. Still family-owned and operated, they continue their passion for quality plants, beautiful merchandise and their large selection of bulk landscape material.


Best Hair Salon: Studio One By Alicia Walters,; Studio One Photos. Exterior by Jenni Price Photography,

Studio One, 101 N. Union St. Ste. 101, Kennewick, WA 99336, (509) 735-3354

Encore by Studio One, (509) 820-3636

Kathy and Sylvester Nunez are the co-owners of Studio One Salons. Kathy, who has been in the business for 20 years and owner of Studio One for 10 years believes that what sets Studio One apart is their passion for the industry as well as continued education. They are continually attending and teaching classes all over the US and bringing their knowledge of the latest trends and techniques here to the Tri-Cities.

Studio One specializes in advanced coloring and cutting techniques, such as balayage and hair painting. They also have mastered cutting edge services such as skin care, lash extensions and brow enhancement. Areola re-pigmentation for breast cancer survivors was recently added to their service menu. Kathy says they keep the experience fun while demonstrating their passion for great hair created in a team-based atmosphere.

Their staff continues to grow and they opened a second location called Encore by Studio One Salon in August 2016. Studio One Salons has a big social media following as they continue to share their online portfolio. Follow Studio One on Facebook and Instagram: @studioonesalon, @encorebystudioonesalon and @hairbykathynunez.


Best Spa: Nouveau Day SpaBy Alicia Walters,; Nouveau Day Spa photos.

Nouveau Skin Care and Day Spa, 8136 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick, WA 99336, (509) 987-1098

Nouveau Skin Care and Day Spa is the premier skin care and day spa in Southeast Washington with a complete line of nail services, comprehensive skin care and day spa menu. And they offer the best pedicure in the Tri-Cities. Customers love how their pedicures leave their skin feeling super soft and well treated.

From the moment customers walk in for their appointment, then are greeted on time and taken into a beautiful locker room to change and prep for their spa service. The facility is impeccably clean and quiet to maintain a real retreat and relaxing ambiance.

Nouveau only uses top of the line hair, nail and skin care products for a truly world class experience. Their trained professionals take good care of clients and give each the individual attention to detail that a quality spa service requires. Read more about their services on their website,

Nouveau Day Spa Gift Cards are a popular gift to give and receive. Gift cards are available for purchase at the reception desk and on their website. You can purchase dollar amount gift cards or purchase one of their many gift card packages, including but not limited to: Nouveau Spa Day, The Gentleman’s Escape, The Ultimate Spa Day, Seaweed Body Treatment, and Steamy Wonder (a very relaxing treatment where the body is enveloped in therapeutic steam).


Best Florist: Lucky Flowers By Alicia Walters,; bridal photo Alex Lasota Photography.

Lucky Flowers, 6827 W. Clearwater, Kennewick WA 99336, (509) 547-6091

Lucky Flowers has proudly served high quality floral arrangements to the Tri-Cities for ten years. They specialize in one-of-a kind designs for all of life’s special milestones, from beautiful everyday bouquets to elegant wedding floras. They also offer custom arrangements that include vibrant colors, a wide variety of textures and cutting edge designs.

Melissa Behen, co-owner says Lucky Flowers is very much a family business and they strive to provide their customers with personable, individual attention to each order. They carry local artisan goods, plants and beautiful fresh flowers at their Clearwater Avenue location. They believe surrounding themselves with nature’s gifts enriches life.

Coming up on the calendar for Lucky Flowers is their “Jewelry Making Night with Guest Designer The Outlaw Woman,” on June 9th. Other events: “Kid’s Dinosaur Garden with Niftae Thriftae,” June 23rd and “Garden to Table” July 14th. Follow them on for their upcoming events and Instagram @luckyflowerstc for their portfolio.


Best Caterer: CG Public House By Alicia Walters, Exterior by Jenni Price Photography,

CG Public House, 9221 W Clearwater Ave., Kennewick, WA 99336, (509) 783-0128

Shirley Simmons has been around the restaurant business her entire life. Her parents, Chuck and Mabel Wyatt owned the Pancake Corral, which opened in 1979 at the corner of Highway 395 and Vista Street in Kennewick. The public loved it and as customers increased, it was remodeled and renamed The Country Gentelman in 1984 by Shirley’s sister Marge and Gerald Van Zuyen.

In 1996, Shirley and her husband Steve became partners and added catering, which was so successful that they outgrew their kitchen and moved to a new building at 9221 West Clearwater in Kennewick. Now, their son Kyle is modernizing the restaurant, which is now CG Public House and “offers tasty new fare for foodies, crafty cocktails and bountiful beers,” From But through it all, their commitment to never compromise on quality is what keeps customers returning again and again.

CG Public House values high standards of hospitality, sustainability and community. Shirley, Steve and Kyle take pride in using local ingredients wherever possible. They are well-known for their exceptional staff  and dependability; in fact, CG Public House catered off-premise or at their restaurant 2,800 events in 2016 ranging from 10 to 4,000 people at the events! During peak season, CG Public House may be catering up to 30 events in a day. Small or large, each event received the same honor of CG Public House’s high standards.

Wedding Fever in Eastern WA

This article originally appeared in the Spring issue of Living TC Magazine, here. 

Photography courtesy of Eder Abogabir @abogabir_photography. 

Few events in life are better than falling in love. –Jay Pancost, Officiant at Charvat Wedding, 10.1.2016, Othello, WA.


There are very few milestones in life that compare with your wedding day, surrounded by family and friends on both sides of the aisle that have brought the two of you together at that point in time. When you look back on your wedding day, the memories that will stand out most are that of people, family and friends and the feeling that you shared that day.

It will be an extraordinary celebration and everything that goes into it will help to create the atmosphere, feelings and ultimately memories that will last your lifetime. Your wedding story will be one that you will want to tell again and again. The parts of the story that will matter are the comforting, familiar memories of having one of the most important events of your life unfold close to home, surrounded by your people.

These feelings result from hiring the right team to help your wedding celebration run smoothly. The Mid-Columbia is filled with great venues and wedding services that are ready to make your day memorable. The options available here are diverse to create the kind of wedding you are dreaming of.  Alexandra Roselee of White Glove Weddings is networked with local vendors and wedding services to design the styled wedding of your choice, take care of your guests and all within your budget here in the Mid-Columbia.

Hiring a wedding planner early on in the process can save you time and money. When you work with Alexandra, you are inviting a professional on your team who knows the wedding industry and can help you determine a reasonable budget to accomplish your priorities and meet your expectations. “I always ask what matters most such as the gown and food and beverage for the guests and work it into the budget,” she says, and when it comes to rehearsal, she says not to worry – she is there through every step.

The wedding industry prices are competitive in the Mid-Columbia with the national average. You can have a breathtaking wedding here for less than what you would pay elsewhere. “Desert Wind Winery [Prosser] is my favorite venue. They have such versatile space and so much can be done with their location,” Alexandra says. She also recommends working with Jose and Silvia Garcia of Artfetti Cakes, Kennewick and Chandra at Simplified Celebrations, Richland for stunning floral.

Wedding photographers here know too well how beautiful wedding photos look against the backdrop of sweeping desert landscapes with a panoramic sky that goes on and on. And in the summer, you can’t beat those Mid-Columbia sunsets. In addition, Jenne Kissell of JK Photography says she really tries to capture the emotion in a couple’s faces as they experience their wedding day together because that is what they will want to remember, later on. Jenne’s bridal photography tip is to wear false eyelashes to enhance your stunning eyes and add a little touch of drama.

“I recently shot a wedding at the newly redone Lionsgate in Kennewick. It was beautiful! A really gorgeous setting,” Jenne says. The venue includes an intimate chapel surrounded with elegantly manicured gardens and they have several packages to choose from on their website. One of the things that couples enjoy the most about Lionsgate is their helpful and friendly staff.

Anais Valdez Makeup, Pasco, strives to enhance the existing beauty within each of her clients. “I want my clients to look in the mirror and ooh and ahh, not because they don’t recognize themselves but because they recognize their own unique features beautifully enhanced,” Anais says. She consults with her brides first and does not pressure them to follow current makeup trends to create their desired look for their special day.

The choices are abundant in the Mid-Columbia to have a beautiful, dream wedding. One bride, Jordan Charvat, whose Mid-Columbia wedding was featured on The Ruffled Blog,, says, “Having our wedding close and being able to have our close friends and family there for the reception was a blast and we wouldn’t have been able to experience that at a farther destination.” Family and closest friends are what a proper wedding celebration is made of.

Jordan bought her dress at Amy’s Bridal in Richland. She was very pleased with their selection of dresses and jewelry and also mentions they were very accommodating with her schedule. Her husband Dyllan had her wedding ring and band custom made with family jewels at Brother’s Jewelers in Richland. They were very happy with the rings and also how efficient they were.

Tina Miller, Miller Media Films was Jordan and Dyllan’s videographer. Jordan says she’s watched the video about fifty times and it is exactly what she hoped for, saying, “It always brings me to tears; Tina captured our wedding and our love beautifully.” To book with Tina at Miller Media Films, visit or send E-mail

Local Wedding Vendors and Services


  • Airfield Estates Winery
  • Bella Fiori Gardens
  • Canyon Lakes Champions Room
  • Columbia Gorge Hotel
  • Desert Wind Winery
  • Events at Sunset
  • Foundry Vineyards
  • Gooseridge Winery
  • Lions Gate Chapel
  • Moore Mansion
  • Sandberg Event Center
  • Stoneridge Event Center
  • Tagaris Winery
  • Terra Blanca Winery
  • Tucannon Event Center


  • Ellen’s Chair Covers
  • Red Door Rental
  • S & S Rentals
  • Sandy’s U-Rent
  • Sash Wedding
  • SunRental 

Dresses and Tuxedos

  • Amy’s Bridal
  • Dawson Richard’s Tux Shop
  • Fashion Corner
  • Men’s Wearhouse


  • Brother’s Jewelers
  • Chloe + Isabel Jewelry

 Hair and Makeup

  • Anais Valdez Makeup
  • Charlette Geffen
  • Gala Ursul, Studio One
  • Halo Couture Hair Extensions
  • Keene Edge Salon
  • Makeup by Ceilidh

Cakes and Sweets

  • Artfetti Cakes
  • Erin Waddell, Erin’s Creative Cakes
  • Frost Me Sweet
  • Sugar Rainbow Bakery
  • TSP Bakeshop


  • Anthony’s
  • Castle Event Catering
  • CG Public House
  • Columbia River Catering & Co.
  • Country Gentleman Catering
  • Fat Olive’s
  • Pacific Pasta and Grill


  • Harper Road Floral
  • Heritage Floral
  • Just Roses Flowers and More
  • KRISanthemums
  • Lucky Flowers
  • Simplified Celebrations

Invitations & Illustrated Signs

  • Artful Virgo, Calligraphy
  • Olivia Berg, Black Space Tri-Cities
  • The Rustic Rosebud, Calligraphy


  • Abogabir Photography
  • Alex Lasota
  • Breshears Photography
  • Huffaker Photos and Films
  • Jenne Kissell, JKPhotography
  • Jordan Edens Photography
  • Kissing Grey photography
  • Melissa McFadden
  • Wiberg Photography

DJs and Lighting

  • DJ V Productions
  • Mod Jamz
  • Platinum Entertainment Mobile DJ Service
  • Sight and Sound Services
  • Trademark Entertainment


  • Firefly
  • Huffaker Photos and Films
  • JK Productions
  • Shotz MultiMedia
  • Tina Miller, Miller Media Films
  • UpAngle Weddings

Make the Eggs: For Moms

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All photographs by Jenni Price Photography. See more at Used with permission. 

[Mothers] when you look back on your life, what will matter to you will be your posterity-Ephra, my dear friend. 

Mother’s Day can either be a pleasant day or a miserable one. One Sunday my husband was sitting with other married men at church and one said to him, “Is it Mother’s Day this weekend? Oh great! My wife is going to be mad the whole weekend!” Sometimes as moms our expectations for Mother’s Day are very high. We just want to have one day where we don’t feel such enormous responsibility but it often doesn’t pan out.

With the many joys that come with motherhood, it is hard to feel joyful all the time. I’m convinced as a mom of young children that I can only be as happy as my headache medicine is effective. There is no prescribed way to be a mother. But we moms love to berate ourselves with our perceived failings, comparing our shortcomings to other mom’s triumphs often to the background noise of children screeching or stomping on the 2nd floor above our heads.

As a stay-at-home mom, and aware of my many privileges, still the only upside to completing the day-to-day menial household tasks is that it is pretty easy to think of something entirely unrelated to folding laundry while folding laundry (do people still fold? I kinda tend to just plop things in the clean basket). It’s a great thing to be able to think, I think, and I’m sure Decartes would agree. But there are downsides to all this thinking.

When I have so-called mom brain, it’s because my thinker has been on overdrive for so long it shorts out. Just the other night, I was checking out with my groceries and the machine asked if I wanted cash back and I blanked out completely! For an awkward second, I couldn’t figure out how to navigate the arduous mental journey of checking out at the grocery store!

This past summer my mom brain took its toll and I was afflicted with mom blues. I was overthinking too often and for too long. I finally had to call my younger sister who told me that she tries very hard not to indulge in negative thoughts. I asked her how and she just said, “If a negative thought comes up on my thought feed-just like on a social media feed-I swipe it up and move on.” I try to practice her method now and I can say it is very helpful.

But you can’t just not think a negative thought, you have to replace it with a positive thought. The reason I think this is worth bringing up in a Mother’s Day post is because I think that above all-what we think as mothers throughout our day can make or break us. For example, I have spent hours before thinking and planning how to best take care of my family-all the while not remembering to eat breakfast myself.

A mom’s mental health is vitally important to her family. And if you’re like me, I can’t think happy on an empty stomach. That’s why it’s so important to wake up in the morning and make the eggs. But more on eggs, later.

I think the worst advice I’ve ever heard about being a mother is something along the lines of, “When you are a mom, you are no longer the picture, rather you are the frame.” I promise that is not true. You are definitely the picture in your baby’s eyes and she is in yours. The frame is time. You only have so much time before she is grown and doesn’t rely on you so much. Make the picture what you want her to remember. To do this, you must think consciously about what you allow yourself to think.

The best advice I’ve heard about being a mom actually came from my dad when he said, “On an airplane, they always tell you to put your own mask on first and then place the mask on the child sitting next to you because if you do not put your mask on first, you could black out and then how would that help the child in the next seat?”

After a back injury, I went out one afternoon to get a pedicure alone. I sat next to a seasoned mother as well as a back pain survivor. Quickly after we started chatting, I began to cry. In fact, I poured out my soul to this stranger and told her that I was just so overwhelmed with taking care of my four young children and that it was ruining my health, at least it seems to be some days.

She said she could empathize and told me basically to put my own mask on first as well. Her exact words were, “Whatever you need to do to be a healthy momma, you do it. If you need to get a pedicure once in a while, do. If you need to make regular visits to a doctor, do. Keep yourself healthy because you do your family no favors by driving yourself into the ground.”

You know, I am not a great cook, but one thing I can make is scrambled eggs. In fact, the same sister taught me that if you crack the eggs on a flat surface, rather than the edge of a bowl, you’ll never get egg shell in your eggs. It’s genius. Scrambled eggs don’t require much. Hot pan. Pat of butter. Whisked eggs. Easy. Don’t overthink the eggs. If you leave them cooking too long you have an ugly mess.

The same could be said about how us moms think about ourselves.

Moms are like cooked eggs. Some of us are wired to be hard boiled. We like to wear our shell and not mingle with the other eggs. Some of us are scrambled no matter what we do! Some of us seem to always be sunny side up (while the rest of us resent those eggs). Some of us more uppity moms are poached. Sometimes we look at the other eggs and think they are better than us. But have you ever tried to scramble a hard boiled egg? Gross! Just be the kind of egg you are. We are all good eggs.

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This Mother’s Day, wherever you’re at in life as a mother, a daughter or a friend of a mother or a daughter, celebrate the wonderful opportunity that you have before you to share your eggy goodness with the world.

And guess what? Children don’t even know who Martha Stewart even is. So don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t one of those Martha Stewarty types. If you would rather bond with your child on the soccer field, go for it. If you’d rather take your child to a play, wonderful! You are your child’s mother for a reason, so include her in everything you do and don’t hide the real you.

Lastly, this one is from my own mother who told me that she thinks that I should do what I am good at and teach my children whatever it is I feel I can. She said to expose them to great books, beautiful music and art. She said to travel with them and show them as many things educational and cultural that I am able to. And that is great advice from an exceptional mom.

Love is Photogenic-Wiberg Photography in Kennewick



Featured photography by Kim Wiberg of Wiberg Photography 

Kim Wiberg (Wiberg Photography) grew up in the Tri-Cities and lives in Kennewick. She is a devoted wife and mother and volunteers in her church with the young women. She is warm and personable and her clients love her. She has a particular soft place in her heart for mothers and hopes that moms who are sometimes shy in front of the camera will take the time to invest in getting professional photos with their kids.

Kim Wiberg lost her own mother all too soon when her mother passed away from cancer. To honor Chris Carver, Wiberg Photography recently gave away a photo package to Floyd Mahaffey, a Tri-Cities resident who is currently battling three types of cancer.  He was nominated by his daughter who says that despite his illness, Floyd remains a hard worker and wonderful father and grandfather. It’s important to capture these special photos with those we hold dear.

So many times, we put off family pictures because we wait until we are the perfect weight with Pinterest ready matching outfits. But do we wait so long that a precious moment in our family’s life passes us by? Wiberg Photography encourages clients to get pictures often. The time to take photos is now, as we are, with the people we love doing the things we love.


“Love is photogenic,” says Kim Wiberg who isn’t afraid to get goofy in front of her clients. She works well capturing children’s portraits because she has valuable experience working with young children in her home and church. She understands the camera can be intimidating for young children as well as anybody. “I really want my clients to know that the pressure’s off. I just want them to be comfortable and overall, just be themselves.”

Kim, along with her husband Jeff work together. They have been taking pictures for over ten years and they don’t use a lot of photo editing. They just use good principles of photography and natural light to get a naturally beautiful photo. You can see Jeff Wiberg’s photography of their son Devon riding his unicycle up Badger Mountain at night, here.

Kim likes to meet her clients with her family portrait sessions and wedding sessions prior to the session to introduce herself and meet any children who are getting pictures. It really helps the entire family feel comfortable. A little meet and greet as well as discussion of what the clients are wanting most in their photos goes a long way. “I want my clients to look at their photo and say, ‘that really captures who we are.’” Kim says, “I want the photo to be a ten!”



Cedars Restaurant at Clover Island-Tri-cities, WA

Thank you everyone who entered the Yogurt Beach Gift Card Giveaway! The winner is: _melibee! I wrote the following feature, which appeared in the Tri-City Herald People’s Choice Awards 2016, here. 

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Dave and Darci, husband-and-wife owners of Cedars Restaurant have been in business for forty years and their children have worked in the restaurant as well.  Darci says, “This business is our life.”

Cedars is a special landmark of the Tri-Cities, situated on Clover Island, surrounded by gorgeous views of the Columbia River. Darci goes on to say, “Many of our guests came here for their first prom, first dates, got engaged here and continue to come here for their wedding anniversaries.  We’ve come to think of many of them as friends.  We love our customers.’

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In addition to enjoying deliciously cooked steaks or refreshing cocktails on their heated outdoor terrace or beside their large rock fireplace in the lounge, you can even pull up in your boat in one of Cedars docking facilities.  Customers also appreciate that Cedars is one of the few remaining restaurants in town that include everything in one price: entrée, bread, soup or salad and fresh sides.

Their lounge menu offers pub fare such as nachos, burgers, and fish and chips.  A well-known tradition at Cedars is when a customer turns twenty-one, they enjoy a Rum Barrel.  It is such a popular drink, Darci says, “In the summer, it’s not uncommon to see every patio table full with Ru Barrels.”  Lounge opens at 4 p.m., with the dining room open at 5 p.m. daily.



Floral Print Paper Plates Cups Napkins 12 Plates, 12 Cups, 30 Napkins Vintage Flower Tea Party Garden Patterns
Entertaining with Caspari Spring Sketchbook Paper Cocktail Napkins (20 Pack), Pink
24pcs Pretty Fairy Cupcake Toppers for Cake Decorations
The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies

2nd Annual Spring Vintage Market @ Sugar Beet JUNKtion-May 13th Pasco, WA



Photography Rosie Goulet, 1st Annual Spring Vintage Market 

Spring is here and folks in the Mid-Columbia are hitting the antique shops to find those modern farmhouse pieces that will liven up their spring décor and add something new. Local markets and getting out to shop and mingle with neighbors is one of the many charms of living in Eastern Washington.

The 2nd Annual Spring Vintage Market at Sugar Beet JUNKtion is organized by: Connie Lamb, Karen Elliott, Lisa Lamb, Lindsay Bodnar, Monica Lamb and Shannon Powers-lifelong friends, Bible study sisters and all former Pasco School District employees who share a love of vintage, re-purposed furniture and unique finds.

The market will be at Sugar Beet JUNKtion, named for the history of farming sugar beets in the area. Many friends grew up in the 60’s and will remember the tall, brick building where sugar beets were refined into sugar. They opened their first Spring Vintage Market last May with twenty participating vendors. This May, they will have thirty participating vendors.

Sugar Beet JUNKtion is located at 161 Sunset Loop, Pasco WA-eight miles north of Pasco on Rd. 68. Follow the signs. It will be on a 5 acre property and you won’t miss it! Market will open at 9 am and go until 4 pm. $5 Admission (under 12 free). Parking is free and attendants will be helping. Cash preferred.


Fans of vintage re-purposed furniture, antiques, jewelry, pillows and more will not want to miss this local market! Live music will be provided by local area high school kids. There will be baked goods and lunch items available for purchase.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Young Life, a program designed to give youth access to non-denominational, Christ-centered mentoring. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will also benefit Beautifully Inspired, a non-profit that supports families trying to adopt foster kids and also families who are unable to adopt but can help by providing essential supplies to improve the lives of foster kids and their adoptive families.

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Farmhouse vintage magazine rack.

Vintage light.

 Cute teal accent table.

Thank you for reading When in Tri-Cities, an Eastern Washington lifestyle blog featuring local shopping, talent and scenery by Alicia Walters, freelance writer and contributor to Living TC Magazine. To subscribe, scroll down and enter your E-mail address, which is never shared. Follow along on Instagram @whenintricities. Send me a message to have your shop or event featured on When in Tri-Cities! 

Willow House Farm Tables & Keep Home Simple Blog – Southeast Washington

Robin Harrington is a talented homemaker and blogger in southeast Washington. Her blog, Keep Home Simple is brilliant because she writes about updating your home with DIY budget-friendly techniques to create that modern farmhouse elegance, while also trying new things like when she and her husband updated their entryway by adding planking and paint. Robin will show you how to paint over your tile back splash, make your own built-ins, and how to rest from all this and enjoy your family and home.

I love Robin’s writing because she’ll show you pictures of how she and her husband pull off these seemingly overwhelming updates to their home but she’ll break it down for you to show that these projects are within reach and anyone can learn how to do them. I also like how she explains the reasons why she does them and how the updates enhance the overall beauty and flow of the home.

Robin agreed to be a guest here on When in Tri-Cities and the following is her post entitled, “Spring is in the Air,” originally published on Keep Home Simple and republished here with permission. Follow @keephomesimple and @willowhousefarm, the Harrington’s farmhouse table business on Instagram.


After the coldest, harshest winter in years, I am more than ready for spring right now!  Luckily it’s literally right around the corner, less than a week away.  It has me grinning from ear to ear! 

Just like a lot of you, when spring is on my mind, I start brainstorming about all those nooks and crannies in my home that need cleaning and special attention.  My windows need a major cleaning from all that harsh winter weather, my closets need to be pared down and winter clothes need to be packed away till next year.  All of this cleaning and paring down breathes a feeling of fresh clarity and lightness into our home.

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Then it’s time to start thinking outside projects!  Spring for us means planning our summer garden and eagerly checking the weather app on our phones to figure out the best time for planting.  The warmer temperatures mean it’s finally comfortable enough to tackle other outdoor projects as well.  We’ve lived in our current home less than a year and because we’re in the midst of turning our acre and a quarter into a small suburban farm, we have lots of outdoor preparations. (Planting fruit trees, fencing for animals, building raised garden beds, etc.)

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We have seventeen chickens and one rooster, named Napoleon.  It definitely feels like spring around here, when we go to collect their eggs in the afternoon and we come back with an overflowing egg basket.  Our kitchen counter looks so springy after the eggs have been washed and are ready to be refrigerated.

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My favorite way to bring spring indoors and lighten the stale winter mood, is to bring in fresh grocery store flowers.  These flowers are from Yokes, our local market.  Aren’t they beautiful?  I love the pop of color. 

Along with the scent of fresh flowers, I like to shop for new spring scents for our home as well.  We love to light candles in the evenings around here, no matter what time of year it is.  But instead of wintery scents like cinnamon or pumpkin spice, I like to switch to vanilla or coastal smells. 

After a long cold winter, hibernating in our home, my favorite thing to do in the spring is to open all the windows.  The fresh air and sound of local song birds, brightens my mood.  What can be more simple than opening a window?

Happy Spring friends! We’ve made it through another winter. 

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See more from Will House Farm @willhousefarm. 

I love this rug! It is so plush and soft. The color is greige, it is definitely gray but there is a little bit of beige tones mixed it so it pairs really well with gray and beige both!

I have this rug in my more formal room. I love how elegant it looks especially for the price!

I just recently started looking at this run as a possible kitchen runner. I love that it adds some color with a modern tribal vibe.

i-st9n6jp-xl-001 Thanks for reading When in Tri-Cities. I have really appreciated all the readers that have shown interest in my blog and Instagram page @whenintricities. I moved here almost 8 years ago from Bellingham, WA where my husband and I had moved shortly after getting married. We are both originally from Utah. We love living in the Tri-Cities and experiencing Eastern Washington.

When I moved here the first thing I noticed was the beautiful Columbia River and the Sacajawea Heritage Trail next to it. I also enjoyed Market at the Parkway in Richland and the Country Mercantile! I don’t drink alcohol but I love the restaurants that some of the wineries offer like Tagaris and I love Anthony’s! Over time, I came to really appreciate the parks here as we are raising a family.

For those who are new to the area, Eastern Washington is generally known for its wineries, golfing, farms and STEM or Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics and typically when we think of arts and culture, we refer north to Spokane or west to Seattle and Portland. But I am seeing that change dramatically as more and more artists, artisans and designers are taking a chance on Eastern Washington.

There is so much growth and so many new businesses popping up here in the Tri-Cities that you blink, and an entirely new subdivision is up and running. The purpose of When in Tri-Cities is to attempt to keep up with what’s new lesser known that Eastern Washington has to offer – particularly what it has to offer us moms and our families (since I’m a mom and so there is a slight bias to what I’m interested in).

So stick around, subscribe below, follow @whenintricities on Instagram and DM (direct message) me ideas for upcoming features! Tag @whenintricities or use #whenintricities to keep me in the loop and I’ll pass things on to my readers as I have time! Thank you!

-Alicia Walters, author of When in Tri-Cities, contributor to Living TC Magazine, a regional magazine in Tri-Cities, WA. When in Tri-Cities is completely separate and not sponsored by Living TC Magazine in any way. 

Ethos Bakery & Café in Richland, WA-Where Food & Friendship Meet

Ethos is perfectly setup to be a social culinary experience; the open kitchen design lends itself well to conversation about the food being prepared. The food is the event! It’s live-action dining as your pizza is prepared right in front of you. The chairs are actually setup to watch the chef prepare your meal.

The staff is very friendly. It is a great place to stop by for a snack or meal. I personally love the pizza for its freshness and flavor. The ingredients are just clean and the flavors are balanced perfectly. Ethos prides itself on introducing new combinations of flavors to you.

Many of their baked goods are packed with healthful ingredients and presented beautifully-almost like art! Their Instagram page @ethosbakerycafe is beautiful! Angela has sent me some photos of the pies they’ve been cooking up for Pi Day!


Ethos Bakery & Café .

2150 Keene Rd. Richland, WA 99352 Monday to Thursday 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday & Saturday 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sundays 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Keep the dinner table elegant with the classic square-shaped Oil and Vinegar Dispenser Bottles. Also equipped with a Dual Spout design so you can pour a little for individual dishes, or a lot for cooking in the kitchen.