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A Selfie Tour of Olympia

Grab your besties and head out for a day of fun

Marguerite Cleveland, Jennifer Bowen and Gwyn Nielsen accessorize with vintage hats at the vintage town of Bucoda. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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A selfie tour is an enjoyable way to see an area, hit all the highlights and have a fun road trip with friends. For my tour, I invited two fellow military spouses: Jennifer Bowen, a photographer, and Gwyn Nielsen, a lifestyle blogger ( and photographer, who both provided great tips for taking better selfies.

The Selfie Tour of Olympia is ambitious, with a total of 21 stops. We organized the list to make a circular route leaving from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  We left from the East Gate to start the tour in Yelm followed by Rainier, Tenino, Bucoda, Rochester, Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey in that order.  We also left off three stops that did not interest our group.

Before heading out, take the time to prepare for your day.

"There are three selfie essentials for a perfect selfie tour," said Nielsen, "a selfie stick for your ‘cellie' to achieve the perfect selfie angle, a bag of props to accessorize your photos and most importantly, a few fun friends to go along so you will enjoy your tour."

Bowen recommends these tips for better selfies:

  • Selfie tip #1: Every face is different. Find the best, most flattering angle for you. Chin up and out!
  • Selfie tip # 2: Lighting is key. Natural light is your best friend. Keep the sun behind you.
  • Selfie tip # 3: Accessorize. Wear sunglasses or hats if you are outdoors and it's bright. Or wear them just for fun.
  • Selfie tip # 4: Have fun and take lots of selfies!

Next, enjoy the trip and the silliness it can entail. When the day began, our first selfies were very posed and perfect, but as the day went on we became punchier and, with the addition of Nielson's bag of accessories, the photos became more fun and relaxed. Make sure to vary your poses at each stop to create interest. Also, remember to take other scenic photos at the stops. Combined with your selfie, they make a great souvenir.

One of our favorite stops was in Rainier, which included two selfie spots at one location. When cookies are involved, it is a win.  The Main Street Cookie Company is located in a building with a large mural of Mount Rainier on the side of it, which was one stop. Second was the bakery.  The Main Street Cookie Company only makes cookies from scratch with ingredients that include real butter. A cup of coffee and a handcrafted cookie made a great morning snack.

Main Street Cookie Company, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Binghampton St., Rainier, 360.446.0232,

Some selfie lessons we learned on our trip: Check to make sure you have a great photo before you leave. Make sure all eyes are open and no mouths are open (it happened), and most importantly, make sure you have an entire face in the photo.

For more information about the tour, check out Insider tip: Experience Olympia and Beyond has a selfie contest with a great prize. Enter soon as it ends Dec. 31. For more information about taking the tour from JBLM, visit I have posted the selfie stops in the order we took our trip as well as additional photos.

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