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magic, mischief, & mayhem: haul out the holly!

Fresh Scratch, Kelli Samson, Shelby Payne Photography

So you know I’ve broken my leg. And you know that, before that, I spent much of the fall walking to work through the spooky woods listening to a true crime podcast {not my best idea}. But here are all the other little real life moments since I last caught you up. Because it’s the little things that count.


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

After what was truly a YEAR of research, my hubby finally bought his electric car, thanks to this sugar mama. We had to track it down at the last minute by heading to my old haunts in Bremerton for a quick jaunt. We may have stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home and then had snacks for dinner.


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Just another soggy day in the pnw, where we thankfully love the color green! This is my friend Amanda’s enchanting driveway.


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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Halloween was a riot. It began with a sweet swag bag of the best caramels ever from my lady at Blush Spa earlier in the week, then we carved a ton of pumpkins because my girls think you need to carve them all {eww!}. Can I admit to you that carving pumpkins is something I’d just rather not do? I know, I’m horrible! Mine was a camper and a car but it didn’t work out so well. My makeup was a little questionable, too. Oh, deer! I was supposed to be a deer. But…


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

My college pals and I got together the day after Halloween for some much-needed catching-up. Until my adult life, most of my friends were always guys. This is Scotty, Myles, and Benny. They have all the dirt on me that you could ever want. Shara, of course, has always been my girl. We were like little Smurfettes in our village back in the day.

We met up in Seattle for an escape room. Have you heard of these? Crazy. One hour locked in a basement room together, finding clues to a mystery and trying to find out the code to open the door. I was sweating! At one point, we unlocked a wardrobe and it led to another room! It was cool, but we didn’t solve it in time and had to be let out. I’d do it again!

We also checked out Starbucks’ new roasterie on Capitol Hill – awesome! They had all kinds of things made in the pnw for sale. It was such a stunning rainy day that that photo of the city is truly unfiltered and just with natural light.


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Still lovin’ my 2nd hand Frye boots oh-so-much. Can’t wait to wear them on two feet again and not just one!

This next batch of pics is from that time Emily and I took the train up on a rainy Friday night {shocker that it was raining!} to visit Stacee in Bellingham and may have drank many Fresh Scratch cocktails on the way and not shut up for the entire four hour ride. Oh, how I love the train! And there is something so exciting about Stacee being on the other end of the ride. She is the best.


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This is at Daphne’s in Fairhaven, where they have the cutest banquettes and the most classy drinks. I don’t remember what I had. I just know I had too many of them.


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I love Honest Foo. How ’bout you? This makes me giggle still!


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I fell head over heels for these paper chains made from old books and a little gold paint. They’re at Stacee’s friend’s shop. She has a super cool cocktail blog, too!


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A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

We wound up night number two at Temple Bar {ooh, that’s a location in A Tale of Two Cities! Nerd alert!}, where we enjoyed the Black Dahlia and the Dylan cocktails, among lots of small bites. Those drinks were le bomb and it was hard to not drink too many!

I just love my girl time. We chat about all. the. things. We laugh too loudly and sometimes cry, and sometimes there’s a little blushing. It’s real. I don’t know what I’d do without my girls.


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I had Stacee pull over on the way to catch our train Sunday morning so I could grab this shot of Lake Whatcom. Because, well, that lake is a show-off.


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The train station in Seattle is so gorgeous. I love train stations and trains and train travel in general, which you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been around here a while. Train stations remind me of Jimmy Stewart, adventure. loneliness, a good book, longing, possibility, freedom, and – to steal from John Green – “the great perhaps.” Basically, all the things we live for. Right there.


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I can’t wait to see this. I have loved all of David O Russell’s masterpieces.


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My seniors do black-out poems in our poetry unit. Naturally, I couldn’t resist conjuring up this one. I presented it and they gave me snaps. That’s poetry for clapping!


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This is one from Paris this summer, just re-purposed after the attacks. It is strange to go about normal life when these things are continuing to happen all around us. My girls are getting to an age where these are things we talk about at home. When they are worried, I remind them there is so much more love in the world than hate. I try so hard to believe that, too.


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I bought this little turkey candle collection at the Girlfriends Vintage Market. I’m shooting all their barn sales now, so it was fun to experience it from behind the lense for a good hour first, scoping things out, then putting my camera away to be a customer.


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This is where I spent my summers growing up. My dad’s house is just up that hill to the left in the background. My step mom still lives there. It casts a spell on me every time. It’s where I learned to knee board and where I spent my first night on our sailboat in middle school.


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Before I broke my leg, I wasn’t getting much time to myself. This is a shot of where I went on a rare occasion recently with no one in tow: The Olympia Farmers Market. I have been a weekly regular for years, but until the other week, I hadn’t been seen August. Sob!


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I get some dang good sunrises on my walks to school. This was one of them. Guess it’ll be a while before I’m walking to school. My FitBit will be sad.


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Thanksgiving morning was so perfect! Such a lovely, sunny drive over the Cascades to my mom’s, in fact, that I couldn’t stay awake enough to drive. I napped in the passenger seat and we all listened to Lois Lowry’s latest, The Willoughbys Such a fun story! And short. Oh! And we did Thanksgiving Mad Libs. So fun when everyone in the car can now read and write. Holla!


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My gosh, it’s hilarious to watch Clementine get mauled by her baby cousin! He is really stuck on her. It’s so sweet!


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When we left Richland, it was all iced over. Goodbye, Thanksgiving, and hellloooo, Winter Wonderland!


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Brrr. It was a tad bit chilly in Suncadia with this man. The kids threw snowballs with him while I napped in the car. Again. Because apparently that is a thing I do. One day I will be forty. That is the explanation.


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Do you know you can mail letters to Santa at Captain Little here in Olympia, and Santa will write back? Hurry, though, because you’ve only got til 12/12.


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Another fun thing going on here in our fair city? Stardust! This year it’s set in 1959, so it was over two hours of them singing my favorite oldies. I left tired but very happy. So did my girls. It was a very late school night for them!


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An update on the leg, as I had a follow-up set of x-rays today with my doctor: fractured fibula. Higher up than originally thought. But it won’t be needing a fo-real cast, just this air boot thing I’ve been wearing. I might even get to wear normal boots by next week sometime. It’s crazy what is okay when it’s not a weight-bearing bone.

In other related news, my friends and family are THE BEST. Emily arrived at 6 am after I broke it and took our girls to school so we could go to the hospital, and then the offers for help just started pouring in as word spread. Thank you to everyone for the dinners, the rides, the help with the tree, the chocolate, chocolate, chocolate {!}, the visits. Just, all of it. My heart is so full. This community is what keeps me from moving to Vermont tomorrow. We will just have to stay put for now.


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Also in Oly right now: A Charlie Brown Christmas at Olympia Family Theater. It’s only an hour long and the adults playing the characters are HYSTERICAL! They even do the dances! I laughed my buns off. And I could recite every line. I wonder how many times us GenX-ers have seen the cartoon special?


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This man right here has had to do so much with me out of commission. I baked him some granola today as a thank you. My life was interrupted, yes, but so was his. However, I could’ve done without him making fun of all the faces I make and weird things I do when I am in pain!

Despite everything, we got up Saturday morning and met my fave photographer and ex-student, Shelby, for about 10 minutes of family photos. We stood in the street at Sherman and Garfield so you could see downtown behind us, and she clicked that camera so fast that my leg didn’t have time to hurt! Love that one of me and Matt. And I love Shelby. She is an honorary Samson.


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My mom-in-law took me out to lunch yesterday after helping me complete some errands. I still love Phoebe’s Cafe so much. Her goodies are adorable!


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And Spruce and Bon Lemon are also lookin’ festive these days! How are you doing on your holiday shopping? I’m nearly there, thanks to planning ahead and this extra time to shop online this week.

And there you have it! We’re getting ready for the next big thangs: Hanukkah dinner, a baby shower, cookie baking and swapping, The Nutcracker, and Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

And Ho-Ho-Ho and Mistletoe and Presents for Pretty Girls!

xo, Mrs. Fresh Scratch

magic, mischief, & mayhem: the deep fall edition.

There’s no denying it – there’s finally a little chill in the air most mornings. I hope there’s one where you are, too.

The spiderwebs are draped over everything. My walk through the woods on my way to work at zero dark thirty is now, in fact, quite dark and spooky {especially since I’m listening to the Undisclosed podcast on my way – nothing like learning about what happens to dead bodies and going over evidence while you’re walking alone. through a forest. in the dark…}.

All of my summer things are put away. Just a few blooming Dahlias in the back yard remind me that summer was ever, in fact, here.

The transition back to working full time has not been without its bumps. Or tears. Or moments of wondering: did I do the right thing? does this mean I won’t have any time to write? why does it feel like all I do most evenings is clean the house? will I ever have time to watch tv? You know, the usual working mom stuff.

Fall is the perfect time for a fresh start, though. And here’s the beauty I’ve been finding along the way:


Spa-hhhhhhhhh. Just what I needed – quiet, save for some old Mazzy Star.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

A small moment to breathe at Blush Day Spa – even just a half hour there in the quiet and pretty colors leaves me feeling like I can keep going. The “Fade into You” didn’t hurt, either. Remember that song, fellow Gen X-ers?


The Northwest is Best. ?#nrthwst #pnw #folkvibes #livefolk #liveauthentic #seabrook @seabrookwa A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


Looks like Winnie the Pooh ate too much honey again…. @seabrookwa

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Our family took our annual fall trip to Seabrook last month, and it seemed like fall arrived all at once that weekend. It was rainy and a little chilly, but we cozied up with our friends and drank cocktails, played Family Trivial Pursuit {the mamas’ team won! thank goodness I know so much useless celebrity trivia.}, and tromped around in our wellies. Oh, and got a flat tire. 

You’ll read more about that weekend in a later post, I promise. For now you need to know that the PNW has the best fog, my little Clementine cracked me up with her little fanny sticking out of the tree stump and I just never want her to grow up even though she drives me bonkers, A Seaworthy Home has expanded into a new space there that is so much bigger, The Red Velvet Bakery has went from Olympia cottage bakery in Trista’s house {I interviewed her last year} to its own sweet shop in Seabrook, and I have the kind of friends whom I can hang out with in my pajamas and ratty old college sweatshirt. That says it all, doesn’t it?

I am not a pack rat, but I can’t seem to ever part with this piece of my middle school self. Reading this book with Clementine sparked endless nights where the requested bed time lullaby was Lost in Your Eyes. Yes, I still know the words.


Finally. A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on




Give it up for my mom-in-law, who all this time thought I was a crazed Twisted Sister fan! A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Shara’s cousin generously gave us her Counting Crows tickets for their Seattle show last month, making it our EIGHTH time to sway along to Long December when Adam Duritz sings, “All at once you look across a crowded room and see the way that light attaches to a girrrlllll….” We always catch each other’s eye at that moment and it’s like we remember right then that there is and always has been magic. It’s my favorite part.

One thing about being back to work all the dang day is that my weekends have taken on a preciousness that they’ve not had since I had kids and stopped working all dang day outside of the home. So when Shara and I drove into the cit-tay, you bet we were going to eat at the fancy London Plane and, yes, we’ll take another couple of glasses of wine, please, because it’s the weekend!

And then my mother-in-law revealed via text that she thought I’d been seeing Twisted Sister all these years. Which provided me with no end of giggles.


Mad for Plaid…??? also, I pretty much bought all of it. A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Have you seen all of this plaid enchantment at Target lately? If there’s none left, it’s because it’s all over my house.


October Sky. #nofilter A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


  ♥️   A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Ooh, another one from Seabrook.


Loved a little Lush Rush above Capitol Lake with my homegirl @content_neophile ! That’s the best way to wrap up a Monday, A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Our girls have been in school together since kindergarten. Debi’s one of the most organized, efficient, and good-natured women I know. It was fun to take a breather one Monday afternoon and meet for drinks outside at Swing while we still could. And their beet cocktail? The bee’s knees.


A whole lot of pretty. Congrats @compassrose_olympia !!! A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Oh, my stars. My favorite shop in Olympia got even more amazing this month when they totally remodeled. If you haven’t been into the Compass Rose in the last thirty days, get your hiney down there. It’s absolutely stunning. Those girls have the best taste in all of the land.

Was I a little crazy to host the Junior troop camp out in our back yard? I worried that I was. But the great thing is that our troop has only four girls, and all four mamas stayed, too. Fifth graders can do anything, so we just sat around and made them do it – took them over an hour to set up our enormous tent!


Worth being late to work. A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


Autumn PNW Light.? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

There’s nothing like that low glow of autumn. I’ve become a bit mesmerized by it. It’s moody.


The end of the earth. #pnw A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on



I will miss you, Olympia. I think I’m going to move to Port Townsend. ? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on



And now my need for adventure is quelled for a few days. A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Matt took his students on a three-day field trip to Port Townsend earlier this month, and Annabelle begged me to chaperone. She didn’t have to beg too hard – three days off from work in one of my top three favorite places in Washington? Two nights of being told it’s lights out at 8:30 pm {I got 19 hours of sleep over two nights – OMGosh!}? Spending time with my eldest? Watching my hubby in action with his students? No brainer. But we sure missed Clementine.

I always leave both Port Townsend and Bellingham wondering if we should move.

There will definitely be a post on this one soon – so many pictures to share.


One of the only gals who calls me “sweetie.” ??? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

West-siders: Doos Doughnuts is where it’s at. And I love that this lady makes me feel like the nicest, most wonderful person ever when she calls me “Sweetie” about 40 times in 7 minutes.


My little pumpkins ????? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Clementine has the best Daisy leader ever – she plans so much for them to do and packs so much into their experience. Our afternoon at Lattin’s was perfect. And it didn’t hurt that I brought some cider doughnuts home.

What did hurt? Annabelle complained most of the time. That pre-teen kind of whining that is so irritating, yet so sad because only a year or two ago she would’ve been silly and enjoying every second. It’s sad to watch the magic die, but I keep remembering it’s my job to show her that there are different kinds of magic that you can hold on to forever, that you can be grown up and full of wonder at the same time.


As I rush from weekend to weekdays, I’m going to try so hard to remember this little gem. Regram from @schoolhouse A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I so love this.


…and a ferry sighting! ? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on



The Great Wheel on a lovely Seattle day! ? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on



So much more manageable than Powell’s….! A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on



Ahhh, brunch. A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on



On top! A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on


The one thing we didn’t get to on our short summer fun to-do list was taking the kids to Seattle for a day. We made up for it big-time last Saturday. I planned a day that was pretty packed, but I knew we could pull it off.

It began with sleeping in, as all good Saturdays should.

Then we rode the Great Wheel, which we loved! There was so much to spy from up there. We then headed to Capitol Hill for a visit to Elliot Bay Books, which I love so much more than Powell’s in Portland, people. I know I am practically breaking the law in saying I do not love Powell’s even a little bit, but it’s true. For me, books are about comfort and quiet, and this has those things in droves.

Next door was our stop for a late brunch: Oddfellows. I’d been wanting to eat here for like a year, and it didn’t disappoint. At all. It was loud and quirky and delicious. I’d eat there every weekend if I could! Then we made a little stop at Anthropologie because of course, then on to the Space Needle. Times have sure changed from when I went up as a kid. It was $70 for our family of four. $70!!! And there was an enormous line. But we were all happy, so it was okay. And Seattle Center has an awesome new playground where the little amusement park from the World’s Fair used to be, which we loved. Except I didn’t love it when a mom in a dress was climbing up the ropes and everyone could see up her dress. What was she thinking?!

Finally, we had a cozy dinner at Delancey where we scooted right in and got the last table just by the door. We had drinks and tons of pizza and were just leaving with Ashley Rodriguez’s killer chocolate chip cookies when Ashley herself walked right in. You all know how I get with foodie celebrities, so I passed her in the foyer as I was leaving and she was waiting for a table and told her how much I loved Date Night In. And she was very gracious and just as pretty in person.

{then I took a pic of her from outside through the window and texted it to my friend Andrea and my family called me a stalker all the way home, but whatever.}

And then Molly Wizenberg saw my Instagram post from Delancey and actually commented with a “hurrah!” and I pretty much had the perfect day right there.


Olympia Coffee Roasters, absolutely killin’ it in their new space downtown. ☕️ A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Oly Coffee Roasters opened up their newest, biggest, most spacious spot downtown last weekend, and I am in love. It’s my new jam. I know you know I hop from new favorite place to knew favorite place like nobody’s business, but that’s okay. For now, this place is the place. Stumps for stools? Heck to the yeah.


My favorite cranny in Oly. ? A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

A sighting of these colorful doors can only mean one thing: I had a hair appointment nearby! I love this little courtyard of color.


? everything’s coming up rainbows A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

And then I came out of my appointment {three hours later} to this double rainbow and everyone on the street ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and I was just like, “Dang. It’s a great day to be alive.”

So, yeah. Life is messy. And complicated. And at a lot of times just too harried. But there is always a reason to stop and be amazed if you just let yourself.

Go forth and get buried in leaves and pumpkin spice and apple pies and scarves – immerse and enjoy this fresh start.


mrs fresh scratch