The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, and Fall has wasted no time in making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest — despite our attempts to clutch on to those waning warm days.

And while the Parsons team thoroughly enjoyed the long days of summer, there is something special about that crisp Autumn air. Overcast days in the Pacific Northwest are made for reading, snuggled up under a blanket with a good cup of tea, or coffee, or kombucha. 

We thought we would share a little bit about what we’ve been reading, what we’ve loved reading recently, and what we are looking forward to reading.  

Joanie 

Currently reading

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It, Anna Lappé. Anna Lappé is a thought leader around climate and food systems and this is a huge area of interest for me. 

Current favorite 

Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates. I strongly believe, as does Melinda, that educated women will change the world. 

Eric 

Current favorites

It’s So Easy and Other Lies, Duff McKagen. Celebrity memoirs aren’t usually my thing, but I really enjoyed “It’s So Easy and Other Lies”by Duff McKagen, Seattle native and base player for Guns n Roses. In a low-key and charming style, he covers the beginnings of the band, their rise to superstardom, heavy drug use and eventually his sobriety and transition to mini-van driving dad and financial advisor for up-and-coming bands. Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line, Michael Gibney. I’m a lousy cook and only go to trendy restaurants when someone else invites me, yet I was fascinated by “Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line,” which takes you behind the scenes at an upscale New York restaurant where the stoves and the tempers are hot. A real eye-opener about the life of a professional chef. The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life, John LeCarré. I’m a big fan of spy stories and John LeCarre is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all of his novels and think he is one of the best in the world. I was very excited when his nonfiction “The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life” came out in 2016 and wasn’t disappointed when I finally got around to reading it this year. It’s everything you’d expect from LeCarre: great stories, near-perfect prose and memorable characters. 

Hannah 

Currently reading

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Robert Dugoni. Someone recommended The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell because it’s like Educated. It’s about a young boy who was dealt an unfair hand in life and how his story unfolds. 

Current favorite

Educated, Tara Westover. Educated was a page turner for me. I loved reading about a girl’s life lived so differently from mine and her perseverance through such formidable odds. There were moments I couldn’t believe it was a memoir, but I loved her dedication to expanding her mind and seeing the world. 

Natalia 

Currently reading

Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson. I wanted to read this book in prep for a trip to Italy. Well I started, but I haven’t finished yet, and my trip to Italy is long over! But I’m taking it slowly and totally fascinated by the life of this creative genius.  

On my TBR pile

Hollow Kingdom, Kira Jane Buxton. This was recommended by a friend who had the chance to read an advanced copy. It’s described as genre-bending, apocalyptic, and both horrifying and hilarious. The protagonist is a pet crow (I love crows) and it’s set in Seattle.  

Natalie 

Currently reading 

Washington Black, Esi Edugyan & The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin. I’m currently reading Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.  And my book club just picked the Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. 

Current favorites

Lake City, Thomas Kohnstamm. A hilarious dark comedy that if based in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood in the early aughts. I loved the descriptions of a very different Seattle and the story line is a page turner.  
The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah. It really makes you appreciate the amenities of modern life.  It is a gripping story that portrays the struggles and strength of people that live in Alaska’s bush. 
Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, Hannah Tinti. A great story of love and family that was based in a coastal town in Massachusetts which sounded similar to where I grew up and Hannah Tinti lives in Washington so there was also mentions of Seattle which made it a fun to read. 

Amelia 

Current favorite

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt. My favorite read of 2019 so far has been the Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. I scored it in the UW Book Store’s bargain fiction section, and it was impossible to put down once I started. Counting down the days until I get to see the movie adaptation!

What about you? What has been your favorite current read for 2019  and what’s in your TBR pile? We’d love to know. 




Perched on a hillside, with sweeping views of the Wenatchee Valley, lies a very special garden. Ohme Gardens is a must-see for anyone venturing to Wenatchee or passing through North Central Washington. This year marks the 90th Anniversary for Ohme Gardens which has a rich history that started with the vision of a Wenatchee couple decades ago.

Back in 1929, Herman and Ruth Ohme purchased a dry and desolate 40-acre bluff. The couple saw potential in the land with the orchard and spectacular view of the Cascade Mountains and Columbia River Valley. They developed a vision- one that included tranquil pools, fluorescent greenery, and an immaculate landscape. Since then, Ohme Gardens has become a community treasure in the Wenatchee Valley.

The Ohme’s worked tirelessly to create the Gardens. They used milk gallons to cart water to the plantings throughout the Gardens and ended up installing an intricate irrigation system throughout the acreage. Although the beautiful site was originally created to be a family retreat, Herman and Ruth decided it was best to be admired by all- and Ohme Gardens became open to the public. In 1991, the Ohme family sold the gardens to Washington State Parks. It’s now maintained by Chelan County.

The team at Ohme Gardens is working hard to carry out the vision the couple had for the property, including the physical upkeep of the land as well as creating a shared space for the community to enjoy. The Ox Yoke Lodge is a beloved piece of architecture in the Gardens, and one of the very first structures to be built by the Ohme’s. As time has taken its toll on the lodge, a goal of Ohme Gardens is to renovate this meaningful and iconic landmark- not only to honor Herman and Ruth’s work, but to allow present and future generations to enjoy the lodge with family and friends. The Ohme Gardens Friends Society is a volunteer group that aids in these efforts, working on Ohme Gardens maintenance, implementing fundraising projects, garden promotion, and hosting events.

Ohme Gardens is a place where nature, community, and history can be enjoyed. While the gardens are gorgeous enough to draw a crowd on their own, they also host concerts, movie nights, yoga, and more throughout the year to bring the community together. The gardens offer an environment where people can gather, celebrate, reflect, exercise, relax, and appreciate while surrounded by stunning views, dense greenery, and blossoming floras.

At Parsons + Co., we are working with Ohme Gardens to support their goal of maintaining the vision that Ruth and Herman had for this land back in 1929. As a company, we stand behind the values of cultivating community, preserving culturally significant landmarks, and appreciating the beauty of the outdoors.




It’s true when they say that Seattle summers are worth the wait. From watching the Blue Angels soar during Seafair to hiking the nearby evergreen trails, the season has something to offer for everyone! With August in full swing, we asked our team to share their favorite activities- Pacific Northwest style. 

Joanie: For a fun summer date night: Take the Bainbridge Island ferry from Seattle and walk to one of the wonderful restaurants in lovely Bainbridge. Then catch the sun setting on the city on the way back. There’s nothing like an evening ferry ride on a warm Seattle evening. 

Some favorite restaurants: Harbour Public HouseStreamliner DinerRestaurant Marche and Hitchcock 

NataliaAt the start of this summer I bought an inflatable stand-up paddleboard and have taken the family paddling around on the various lakes and waterways around Seattle. It’s been a lot of fun to jump in the car and in just a few minutes be out on Lake Union or Green Lake. While we try to take at least one holiday out-of-town, we also enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest during the summer. We try to get outside as much as we can whether it’s riding bikes, walking dogs, picnicking at Gas Works or Golden Gardens, or finding festivals and farmers markets that we can stroll through. Summer in the PNW is the best. 

HannahI love summers in Seattle for so many reasons! Having late nights around a campfire outside with friends and finding a good book to read in the sun are two of my favorite activities.

EricOne of my favorite summer weekend activities is to go on a long bike ride with Joanie. We carefully plan our route, make sure our bikes and other gear are working smoothly, get up early…and then go out to brunch instead. 

NatalieFor me, I love to grow lots of tomatoes to make sauce and gazpacho at harvest time.  I also love to camp with my kiddos and get out on our boat to simply enjoy being on the water. 

Chloe: One of my favorite Seattle summer activities is grabbing a picnic dinner and heading to Gas Works park! All of the boats in Lake Union are beautiful when the sun is going down, and it’s a great place to enjoy and relax with friends.

AmeliaI love taking advantage of all the fun seasonal activities Seattle has throughout the summer! To name a few, outdoor movies at Marymoor Park, Bumbershoot Music Festival, and trying bites to eat at the Seattle Street Food Festival are always highlights of my summer. 

Thanks for being so good to us, Seattle!

 




“Sometimes our issues seem so vast, but so much of what you can do can start here and now.” Anna Lappé of Real Food Media has devoted her career to understanding the intersection of food systems and climate change. At GrapeVine and PCC Farmland Trust’s June 10th event, Our Plates, Our Planet, six incredible women panelists, including Lappe, told individual stories of how they work toward more sustainable farmland practices everyday.

We know that there is so much needed change that needs to happen within our food systems, and it was inspiring to hear each and every panelist explain the waves they’re making in the restaurant and farming industry. Anna Lappé, a nationally known author, spoke about the importance of re-imagining our food systems to protect biodiversity on earth. “Our vision is to eat food that’s good for our bodies and for the land.” Lappé also spoke about how while it can seem daunting, the food choices we all make can and will make a difference — using the metaphor of being drops in a bucket.

The rest of the panel was made up of speakers from the local food, farm and ranching industries including Marjorie restaurant owner Donna Moodie, Gleason Ranch Manager Tracey Baker, Viva Farms Marketing Manager Anna Chotzen, Conservation Director of PCC Farmland Trust Hilary Aten, and Executive Director at Oxbow Farm & Education Center Liza Jaguzny.

Food systems are the driver of many big issues of our time, and transitioning farms to be resilient in the face of climate change is important in every facet of the industry. Restaurant owner Donna Moodie sources her organic ingredients from local Washington farms and creates dishes based on the seasonality of certain PNW crops. “We need to eat at places that are choosy about what they serve, and make it a primary choice in our lives, no matter where we come from,” Moodie encouraged attendees to ask more questions everywhere they eat, and make conscious decisions. Reflecting on Lappé’s metaphor Moodie said,“We’re all drops in the bucket, you can decide how big or small you want to be.”

Small farms are the backbone of the organic growing industry, as we heard Anna Chotzen speak about the opportunities Viva Farms provides to small farm businesses to become successful. She mentioned that 175 acres of farmland is lost every hour- to decrease that number we must educate small farm owners on organic practices so their farms can be resilient.

Tracey Baker of Gleason Ranch had an interesting perspective into the ranching industry, and suggested people always double check the labeling of their products. As a grass-fed beef farm, Baker works to do her best to control the process for the benefit of the animal. Baker says she is with her cattle from the moment they are born, to their very last day.

At Parsons, we have a longstanding support of organic farming and produce. We were thrilled to be able to help sponsor this event with Grapevine and PCC Farmland Trust and to hear these panelists speak so complementary of each other, it just confirms the need for more women in the organic farming industry to make change. We look forward to more thought-provoking events like this, and working with all these fantastic organizations to keep making drops in the bucket!

-Hannah




In the dialogue of climate change, waste takes up a huge space. How can we avoid waste and how can we create less of it? Today, more and more companies and entrepreneurs are asking: how can we REUSE it? These unique (some, unheard of) ideas may be putting us on the right track to save our planet before it’s too late.

Entocycle

This London based company is reinventing the future of protein. Did you know that just 55 percent of the world’s crop calories are actually eaten by humans? Thirty-six percent is used for animal feed and the rest (nine percent) goes towards bio-fuels and other industrial resources. Some of that animal feed goes back into humans, but it takes 100 calories of grain to produce a mere 12 calories of chicken or three calories of beef. Doesn’t seem very productive – does it?

That’s where Entocycle, an insect farming company, comes in. They take pre-consumer food waste (such as spent grain from local breweries or used grounds from local coffee roasters) and feed it to their Black Soldier Fly Larvae in their indoor, controlled environment. In just six days the larvae consume the organic waste and convert it into high-protein body mass. These insects are then processed into a flour when they are 45-65% protein and this flour can be combined with other products and turned into feed pellets.

Spinnova

With our current water usage, experts predict that we will only have 60 percent of the water we need to survive by 2030. Cotton, grown mainly for the apparel industry, uses three percent of the total water consumed by agriculture. This doesn’t seem like a huge percentage, but over 5,000 gallons of water is needed just to produce one t-shirt and a pair of jeans. When it comes to a life resource, any way to cut down usage is a step in the right direction.

After learning about how a spider spins its web, co-founder of Spinnova Juha Salmela wondered if wood fibre could be spun into textile fiber in the same way.

He was right. While still in their pilot stage, their process uses about 99 percent less water than cotton production and zero harmful chemicals. Using FSC certified wood, they’re promoting responsible forest management and creating a sustainable and recyclable fibre choice for the textile industry.

EILEEN FISHER Renew

American women’s clothing brand, EILEEN FISHER, has started a program to extend the life of the clothing pieces they create and love so much. Their philosophy couldn’t be more simple: Buy quality pieces, wear them as long as possible – and when you’re done with them, pass them onto someone else.

Bring your original EILEEN FISHER pieces in any condition to one of their retail stores and receive a $5 gift card for each piece. The amazing renew team then sorts, cleans and sometimes even redesigns to make one-of-a-kind creations! You can find these sustainable, affordable and unique garments online and in select EILEEN FISHER stores.




This past weekend, I attended the Northwest Travel Writers conference put on by Northwest Travel and Life Magazine in Vancouver, Washington. It was an incredible experience to put writers’ and editors’ names to faces, and learn about the ever-evolving world of travel journalism.

The Travel and Words conference truly felt like a community of people wanting to learn from each other, work together, and explore every corner of the PNW. I spoke with marketing directors from destinations all over the Northwest, and representing a client like Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce, it was helpful to make those connections and make note of how they draw people to their respective cities.

On the other hand, it was really important to me to develop relationships with the media I’ve been working with since I started at Parsons + Co. It’s one thing to exchange emails for months, but another to have a beer with a writer and get to know them on a personal level. Moving forward, it will be so nice to communicate about our clients with these writers in a more authentic and targeted way.

Not only were connections made, but insights were explored. Folio Magazine’s Content Director Caysey Welton made an important statement that I think applied to everyone at the conference: “Always think about your mission before going into any project.”

I visited a new city and represented Parsons + Co. at Travel and Words this year and can’t wait to expand my marketing and communications knowledge at the next conference!

-Hannah




Spring in Seattle means days of sun, rain, and often both- where everyone must dig up a pair of sunglasses they forgot they needed, without leaving their fleece or favorite sweater just yet. Spending time outside in Seattle lets us appreciate the beauty of our state and enjoy the outdoor recreation that’s all around us. 

Here are our teams favorite Seattle spring activities: 

Joanie: The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is definitely my start to Spring. I usually go up super early in the morning, so I have the roads and the fields to myself. It’s the best time for photographing the immense beauty of spring. Also, the first hike or bicycle ride signals the beginning of the season. 

Natalia: I’m looking forward to dining al fresco with the family on our deck (wrapped in blankets), cheering on the Seattle Sounders, and weekend hikes and bicycle rides. 

Eric: Watching my neighbors spend all last weekend working in their garden and getting inspired to—finally—do something with the landscaping around my patio. Getting all the tools together, buying garbage bags, splurging on a new pair of garden gloves…and then going on a bike ride instead. 

Maddy: My favorite part of spring is the walks around Lake Washington! 

Natalie: I’m looking forward to grilling season, local hikes and more hours of daylight! 

Hannah: I am a spring baby and this is my favorite time of year. I love that the flowers start to bloom and I can wear t-shirts again! I’m looking forward to having BBQ’s with friends and enjoying outdoor breweries. 




Hiring a PR agency can be a lucrative investment for your company, and choosing the right agency is the first step to success. You want to be confident that you are putting your brand in the hands of people who are proficient at understanding your value proposition and why people should care about it. Asking these questions will give you a better idea of who is best equipped to help your company excel:

What are your specific goals and how can a PR agency help to achieve them?

Whether it be more media attention, to increase sales or elevate your brand recognition, having set objectives will help you and the PR agency create a successful roadmap.

Does the PR agency align with your core values? How can they help you represent those values?

You will get more authentic storytelling if your company values align with the agency’s values. 

Do they have experience with brands like yours?

Strong media connections within an industry are a key to success. PR is heavily dependent on relationships and an agency that has worked with journalists and bloggers in your field will likely be able to get more attention for you, faster and more efficiently. 

What do we need from them and what do they need from us for this to be a successful partnership?   

Communication is the most important thing in a partnership! Being open and honest about expectations and the way you communicate in an initial meeting will help everyone involved be more effective. Because your success is a PR agency’s success.

To reach your company goals and have a strong partnership with the PR agency you choose to work with, it all comes down to understanding each other. Make sure you do your homework on the agency, and they do theirs on your company. Results will come and relationships will grow!




From the space we inhabit to the space we work, feeling comfortable, safe and happy are always top priorities. Human and environmental health are linked, and to ensure employees have a space where collaboration, connection, and conversation can happen means providing flexibility in the workplace.

In a report done in Gensler’s Workplace Index, it was emphasized that giving employees multiple spaces at work will increase productivity, engagement, and overall happiness. These spaces include somewhere they can focus, somewhere to collaborate, a place to learn, and an area to socialize. The key is to move away from thinking of a workplace as a single floor plan, and instead shift toward multiple layouts. Productive offices often have cubicles, conference rooms, smaller meeting rooms, a lounge or lunch area, and larger presentation rooms. These spaces give employees the option to to adjust their workspace however they need.

Plants are another way to increase employee well being that is often overlooked. In a workplace, plants have been proven to decrease stress, increase productivity, and reduce sickness. A 2010 study by the University of Technology in Sydney showed that by simply having one plant visible from each desk, employee anxiety dropped by 37%, there was a 44% decrease in anger, and employee fatigue levels fell by 38%. Though the researchers note that the sample size was small, “This study shows that just one plant per workspace can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote well being and performance.”

At Parsons, we work in an open office decorated with plants, bouncing ideas off of one another while also respecting the fact that we need individual work times during the day. Finding a system that works for your company will encourage a safe, collaborative space for employees to thrive.




It’s happened to all of us. You order a fresh, hot stack of pancakes or a big, juicy burger and when it arrives you think, “well that looks nothing like the photo”. This is because food photographers use things like motor oil instead of syrup on pancakes and layers of cardboard within a hamburger to make it look plumper. Wanting a product to look the best it can for promotional materials is one thing, but using “gotcha” marketing tactics to do so is where a line can be crossed.

More recently, marketing and public relations teams are having to be a little more creative—and straightforward—if they want to win consumers over. Customers have more choices than ever, and if they feel bamboozled by one brand, they’ll simply choose another. People respect brands that are honest in their marketing efforts, and are often willing to pay more to support a brand that they feel respects them in return.

Customers want to feel like they are connecting with people, not brands. Transparency in marketing allows a company to be seen as human, and less as a robotic corporation. Letting customers in on the failures and struggles that a business has faced to get their company to where it is reminds them that it is human- and keeping your consumers in the know about the “why” and the “how” will make them feel valued.

Clothing company Everlane is transparent with their price tags, and wins big for it. They show the cost to make each product, from production to materials, and then pass those costs onto their customer, without the huge markup. While other clothing companies may mark up products 5-6x, Everlane does so at 2-3x, making their products significantly cheaper, but with the same quality and care of materials. Research by Label Insight reveals that, “94 percent of those surveyed are more likely to be loyal to brands that are transparent.”

These days, consumers want to be respected and they want to know exactly what they are paying for. Transparency not only allows customers to have an insight into what they are spending their money on, but allows business to show their buyers that they respect them enough to share that information with them. Companies who make the effort to not only give them a product they love, but show them the “why” and “how”, will see their attempts return as profits—and often, customers who come back again and again.



© Copyright 2018 Parsons + Co. All rights reserved.