london 2015.

Fresh Scratch, Kelli Samson, Shelby Payne Photography

We’ve had an extra-long summer in our school district, thanks to no snow days last year and Labor Day being later than usual. While it’s been relaxing and fun, I’m starting to feel like I’m sliding down a muddy hill into the school year. I have no idea why that’s the image I conjure up when I think of it this time, but it is! It’s messy and fraught with denial!

But, you know what? I’ve bought a cute planner from Rifle Paper Co., so I must be, like, practically half way there.

I’m spending time chaotically hitting my summer to-do list before there is no summer left, and culling the stars from my photos of Europe this summer is one of the best things on that list. This morning, I’m starting with London.


fresh scratch, London 2015 Fresh Scratch, London 2015This city takes on such different flavors at different times of the day. Summer twilight in London is my favorite. It’s filled with intoxicated young businessmen in their bespoke suits, hanging out loudly in front of pubs with their buddies, which is hilarious to watch. And London just has that magic light.

Fresh Scratch, London 2015 Fresh Scratch, London 2015 Fresh Scratch, London 2015 The London Eye was playing peek-a-boo with Big Ben. This shot is one of my favorites.

Fresh Scratch, London 2015This year the part of London I explored a bit more was, unexpectedly, Notting Hill. One could wander all of those colorful little streets for days {when I got us a little lost, I sure felt like it we would never find our way out!}, then take a little rest in Hyde Park.

Which I may have done…

Next week: my favorites from France. For an overview of my entire three-week trip, click here.

behind the magic, madness, and mayhem.

Fresh Scratch, Kelli Samson, Shelby Payne Photography

It’s crazy: after a good part of the day being spent shuttling kids to and from all the Saturday stuff, not to mention cleaning out a freezer that got left open all night {with red wine having been in ice cube trays after failing to finish the bottle in time…you can imagine the carnage}, I have unexpectedly found myself with about an hour of time. Alone.

The kids are not home. Matt is playing pickle ball out front with his friends {they were supposed to all go home by 3:30, but am I keeping track?}.  I could get started on writing an article, but a whisper is coming through all the chaos and saying, “Write for yourself first.”

So, okay. Hi.

Do you journal? The way in which I do so has really changed in recent years. But I still do it the hardcore, write-every-day, old-fashioned way when I am traveling – complete with washi tape to secure all of the ticket stubs and stuff. It’s so fun to go back and re-live the adventures. I am a little obsessed with cute notebooks.

Tacoma peeps, you are so lucky. Best cocktails ever! A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Oh, I have so wanted to go out for drinks at 1022 South J for eons. Shara and I finally made it happen recently, and it was fabulous! It’s located next to a scrubby, crusty, empty lot in Tacoma’s Hilltop area. The decor was fabulously cozy and still modern, the music was so fun {ska-ish Nirvana? I’ll take it!}, the bartender was totally hipster with his big old beard and his vintage t-shirt and twinkly eyes, the food was just a hair adventurous, and THE DRINKS! I wanted to order all the drinks, but I settled for a couple orders of one from the Happy Hour menu called Sweet Somethings. I mean, how can you go wrong with vodka, coconut milk, and lavender syrup? How?? You just can’t.

Finally making it here for the first time. Best milkshake I’ve ever had!! 🍔🍦🍟

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Keeping with the spirit of trying new things, our family had a goal of making it to Van’s Burger this summer. Last week, we brought books along so we could wait patiently in the big line up of cars, and we proceeded to enjoy the best dang shakes of our lives, not to mention the cheeseburgers that were to-die for and the bags of “frings” – filled with an equal mixture of fries and onion rings – genius!! FYI: I’m told their corndogs are amazing and that they make their own cornmeal from scratch every day! What?!

My mantra since college. I think I’m pretty boss at livin’ this! 😎 A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Seriously. These words have never steered me wrong. They’ve maybe steered me into some morally questionable grey areas, but never wrong… 😉

Happy First Birthday to our favorite toy store @captainlittle_olympia !!! 🎈🎉 #captainlittle

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I can’t believe the best toy store in the world is in my town! How lucky are we?! The gals at Captain Little were so overly generous with my family when we came in to celebrate their first year. Spending all my time writing pays off in unexpected ways like that from time to time.

Tonight it’s me and my girlies at Taylor Swift! Pretty sure they’re gonna love their first concert ever!! 😻 A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Album cover: The Swifties. It’s official.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Mamas at the Taylor Swift concert!

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

This night/it’s sparkling/don’t you let it go ♥️. A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Why the heck not take your girls to their first concert at ages 10 and 6?!

It was an amazing night, thanks to Taylor’s unbeatable entertainment skills. Marie and I bought the tickets back in December for us and the four kids between us, and it seemed for months like August would never get here. We chatted with the kids about how costumes are not everyday clothes {right, girls?}, how she might not sing every song they love, and how, yes, the ear plugs needed to stay in their ears.

And my girls are so different from one another! Annabelle was transfixed all night, standing still and singing along, while Clementine was standing on her chair, dancing and singing and just extra jubilant! I was somewhere in the middle, as I often am.

Browsers, like a lot of my favorite shops, is a fun place to not visit for a couple of weeks because so much is new that way! The shop just keeps getting more amazing!

Before… A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

…after! The things she does for acting! The transformation to Dill is on it’s way.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Spending an awful lot of time going in and out of this door lately! A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Annabelle’s opening night is this Thursday. This past week saw her get her hair chopped into a bowl cut in order to look like a boy, get schooled in makeup from moi, and spend ten hours at rehearsal yesterday. Oy.

Forget boys – this is her first love. Hands down. Cross my heart. When I was ten my biggest love was probably roller skating in our empty dairy barn in Connecticut with a little Bruce Springsteen on my Care Bear tape recorder. I would’ve killed for an audience! It’s so fun to watch her sparkle.

The downside is that for about 6+ weeks, we are tethered to Olympia. And it’s summer vacation. I am going to be honest with you and say I miss going afield for adventures. I am feeling itchy. I’m telling myself this means this fall we will be spending a little time road-tripping.

What I did on my Summer Vacation, by Kelli Samson 🍰

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

You guys, I am killin’ it at reading {just caught up on my Edible Seattles}, baking, and watching movies {though 90% have been with my kids – womp, womp}. The painting the bathroom part is still not happening. But I am thinking about getting started. I promise.

Some goals are more fun than others.


mrs. fresh scratch

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