It's the time of year where we all get together with the ones we love. We eat, we drink and we laugh a lot. There are lots of hugs, full bellies and even a couple of squabbles. Is that a word? It just felt like a good word to use there. You know what I mean though, we like most of the people we see, but there are always a few that we night have to put on a happy face for, you know, we've all got that crazy Unc..... You get my point.

This past summer, we hosted a dinner at our house here on San Juan Island. We had been toying with the idea of hosting more events here, so it was a great trial run. Only problem is, we loved it so much we wanted to do it every week. But that also equals a lot of work!

To me, gathering together has never been about having the perfect decor, perfect food, or perfect outfit to wear. Sure I enjoy cozy homes, good food and fancy new clothes. But there is also something so wonderful about things that are a little more worn in, authentic and true to who we are. The people are what make those times we get together the most special.

Every year I have a million half burned candles leftover from the wedding season before. For this dinneI raided goodwill for wine glasses and silverware. I have a pretty solid collection of white plates and serving platters, and a stash of the most beautiful farm tables made by my Dad. (Which he rents to people on the island, Folks!)

We pulled all of the pieces together, cooked a million meatballs, drank good beer from our friends over at San Juan Brewing, shared laughs and made some great memories.

And in true Ryan Family tradition, we do a big 1-2-3 HOORAY before our meal to celebrate all that is good in life, and sometimes even just yelling hooray makes you forget about the bad things, if only just for a minute.

So cheers to you, this season in your life, whatever or wherever that may be. We'll hold you close to our hearts and hopefully we'll get you up here one day for a big ol' HOORAY and family dinner by the sea, sipping bourbon by the fire well into the night with us.

Until next time!


Kestrel Bailey Photography

Welcome to the first post for Bloom San Juan! It's that time of year when things get really busy on the salt end of the business. For those of you new here, I'm Leah, owner of this flowers business, and my husband Brady runs a salt company on the island called San Juan Island Sea Salt. Our busy seasons tend to be separate, which ends up being a great thing for us and our sanity. My season is all hands on deck April-September, and his peaks in November and December. This means that come the New Year, we typically take a week to collapse onto the couch before realizing we miss working and then start the business planning process for the upcoming year. Although this year might be different with a toddler, might be less couch naps, insert cry face here. We work a lot at night after Sawyer (15 months) goes to bed. We call this "3rd shift." When the dishes are put away, the floor is swept, the toys are picked up (my personal nemesis lately are those damn wooden puzzles of his that I have to do evvverrryyyy night, there's always some chicken, zebra or something missing, who's with me?!)

As the season comes to a close we can't help but look back and think about what a wild, wonderful year this has been for us. At the beginning of the flower season, we had a 6 month old, now here he is, running around making bird noises and yelling, "Whoa baby!" This year has been the best one yet for both of our businesses. I don't know if we just focused more because we had limited time with a new baby, or if we're finally getting the hang of things and finally reaping what we've sown.

With great success also comes some big mistakes, blows to our egos and even not-so-fun convos with people that we need to have those not-so-fun convos with. We're learning to navigate these situations better, brush them off, not take things personally (I am so bad at this by the way) and learning to support each other through all of it.

Brady and I have had to learn how to communicate better, to let go of the petty arguments, mostly because we're too tired to argue it out. We definitely still have our struggles trying to balance it all, and I swear people would think I am crazy if they heard some of the crap I bring up to him. It doesn't make sense sometimes, I think I'm just trying to find ways to blow off steam, and bless him for always being there, usually wide eyed and nodding a lot. Men, take note, that helps us ladies.

We would sit down late on Sunday nights and make a plan for the coming week; who was on baby duty, who was working, who was going off island to get supplies, who would ride up above on the ferry with Sawyer, who needed a nap, and who needed a beer (Can you see me raising my hand?)

Aside from the salt and flower business, we've acquired one new feral kitten who now sleeps in our living room. My self declared cat hater personality quickly dissipated upon that little guys arrival. Guilty and cat obsessed. We moved our tiny home Tina to our property where we've hosted many friends and a big dinner party outside her door to kick off the summer. We've painted our wooden ceilings in our mid-century house, and are taking on more renovations this winter, can you say leaky roof and a carport that has chunks falling from it with every rain?

But by far our biggest accomplishment is having a happy kid along for all of this. Sure, Sawyer just started sleeping through the night (read: gets up at 4 AM), but what a treat to get to have a smiling sack of sugar along for the ride.

Thanks for being here, following along on this journey of ours and being so kind and supportive to us! We wouldn't be here without any of you. Cheers to health, happiness, a good nap and a great beer!

More to come,


photos by Casey Sjogren

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