Put This On Your Bucket List, Montana

A week in Montana just makes you desire more time and more exploring. Winter time is the only time that I have experienced this beautiful state but summer is now on my bucket list while driving an airstream.  Big Sky has a blue sky that is indescribable.  It has an ever-changing light that draws your attention back to the natural landscape that is truly majestic.  Mother Nature has been very kind to Montana.  Experiencing the magic from an elevation of 7,500 feet at the base to over 11,000 feet at the top of the mountain you are quickly made aware that one can not tackle this mountain at Big Sky in one week.  You feel small in comparison to the grandeur of the mountains and the wildlife that make it their home.  We did are best with the spring like temperatures and fresh pow pow that delivered.  Here are some highlights from a week of skiing in Big Sky!

We rented a home for the week through Big Sky Vacation Rentals.  A perfect solution for two families.  The house was fully equipped with all the amenities including an outdoor fireplace for s’mores, hot tub, and a foosball table for some tournaments.  Every morning started with a fresh coffee sipped over the first rays of sunlight awakening Lone Peak.

Skiing was the goal! 6 days straight of rising and taking hold of the day was achieved.  Bluebird days and some fresh powder to keep it fresh.  A week filled with fresh air, beautiful landscape, and family fun.

Big Sky has a fun and growing downtown center.  Everything one needs is a short drive from the ski area.  One can grocery shop at Hungry Moose, sip a coffee at Compass Cafe or Caliber Coffee, pizza at Ousel & Spur Pizza Co. or take in a movie at Lone Peak Cinema.  All your skiing requirements including rentals and gear can be taken care of at Grizzly Outfitters.  My favorite shop to buy souvenirs and other Montana inspired merchandise can be found at Montana Supply.  They have expanded into a new larger space shared with Compass Cafe.  What a nice concept (shopping and sipping coffee, perfect!).  Montana Supply is offering even more crafted accessories and clothing from local artists.  The space is industrial and rugged.  It complements the outdoor nature of the store.  It is one stop shopping offering stylish garments and accessories for men and woman.  The shop is so well curated that you want to make a lifestyle change and move to Montana!

One of the most surprising events that was happening in Big Sky’s town center on way out-of-town was the National Skijoring Event.  Skijoring is a winter sport that combines skiing and horseback riding.  A horse and rider pair up to pull a skier or snowboarder at a fast speed around a track with obstacles and jumps along their path.  A team can take home a purse of up to $2,000 and the champion takes home a belt buckle as a trophy.  This is a highly respected sport and professional athletes come from all over the country.   It is a spectacular event that draws crowds from all over Montana.  There was a special guest supporting the event, Miss Kayla Seaman, Northwest Montana Miss Rodeo Queen.  While I was snapping pictures of the event, my isostilo partner met Kayla.  Kayla is your all American sweetheart with a big smile and proudly wearing her NWMT Miss Rodeo hat.  She is equally sweet, smart, engaging and in a brief interaction a young woman who is a role model.  You can find Kayla on instagram or Facebook.  This event was the icing on the cake.

I can’t end the post without mentioning two other eating establishments to check out. The Horn & Cantle delivers an authentic inspired Montana menu in a beautiful ranch setting.  They also offer a saloon with live music and an outdoor wood burning fireplace for the full ranch effect. The other restaurant is the Gallatin River House Grill.  It is your down and dirty barbecue filled with large tables, a bar, arcade games, a stage for live music, and incredible view of the mountains.  The best in Montana!

Vacationing in Jupiter, FL

I’m a fan of Jupiter.  Not just because it is convenient as heck with a three-hour direct flight from Boston to West Palm on Jet Blue.  Jupiter is a small beachy town with bike paths, nesting turtles, and lovely beaches.  It is active and vibrant with an easy-going mind-set.  The vibe is low-key with a slow tempo.  This is something I am appreciating more and more these days.  My parents are snow birds and have been making the migration to Jupiter for the past seven years or so.  My son and I are the fortunate ones to visit a warm sunny place each winter with the absolute gift of grandparent time.  Jupiter is becoming more familiar to me with each visit which has me returning to my favorite spots and discovering new ones as well.  Life is simple with the motto of taking each day as it comes.  Waking up to blue skies and warmer temperatures than what New England tends to deliver this time of year is not a bad way to start your day.  It always feels like a Friday!

Jupiter Inlet
Shades of green and old banyan trees
Jupiter Inlet
Boat show ready
Jupiter Inlet
Homes of the Inlet
Jupiter Inlet
Layers of beauty
Jupiter Inlet
Boat house, dock, or yacht, not sure which is more impressive
Jupiter Inlet
A view that is in my memory bank to draw from the next New England snow storm
Jupiter Inlet
Happiness is priceless

A cocktail sunset cruise along the Jupiter Inlet is a perfect end to a day.  It is like a Sunday drive with no where to be and no schedule.  One marvels at the rich and famous homes tucked along the waters edge as you cruise at cocktail speed.  At times you just get a sneak peek to the homes through the beautiful banyan trees and colorful tropical landscapes.   Each home is different with its own stamp of style.  I love the low crawling style homes that blend into the environment but they are far from subtle.  The sun setting makes everything glisten and a calmness is present.  I enjoy every opportunity to take this cruise! Jupiter offers many options for taking cruises and tours of the Inlet if you do not have access to a boat.

Sailfish Marina
Sailfish Marina
Sailfish Marina
Fishing haven
Sailfish Marina
Sit and take in the sunset
Sailfish Marina
Waterfront dining with no complaints
Sailfish Marina
Tables of creativity
Sailfish
I love this hat! I wish I would have bought it! Regrets!
Sailfish Marina
Fish and Pelicans

Sailfish Marina, a tropical setting located in Palm Beach Shores is a lovely spot to enjoy waterfront dining.  It is a fisherman’s destination but it is also certainly a place for families to enjoy the coastal scenery.  Kids can feed the fish off the docks and parents can stroll the eclectic mix of craft tables set up by local artists selling their wares.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Sea Turtles have a safe place here
Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Learning about Guy Harvey

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center strictly focuses on ocean and turtle conservation.  It is a wonderful place educating, researching, and rehabilitating sea turtles eventually returning them back to their habitat in good health.  The center has an annual celebration called the Turtlefest.  A festival we don’t miss if our timing is right.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to learn about marine life, conservation, and everything about turtles.  We enjoy at least one if not two trips to the center when we are visiting Jupiter.  The center is about to undergo a large renovation.  I can’t wait to see the changes!

Fishing
One for the memory bank!
Fishing
A bent rod means one thing
Fishing
Damn they got me!
Fishing
Learning from the master

Fishing is an art.  One must know the rules and the subtleties in fishing to play the game.  My father is a true salty man of the sea.  I have had plenty of childhood memories filled with fishing, scrubbing boats, and wondering when we will head home.  We would wake before sunrise and return after sunset.  Fishing teaches you patience, appreciation, and respect for the ocean.  This week my son fished and had the taste of the chase.  He had time learning from one of the best.  Life lessons from your grandpa are worth the weight of gold!

Jonathon Dickinson State Park
Explore
Jonathon Dickinson State Park
Warning! Gulp
Jonathon Dickinson State Park
Paddlers
Jonathon Dickinson State Park
Choose your water vessel and head out for an adventure

Something new and a day to remember.  We headed to Jonathon Dickinson State Park for an outdoor activity.  Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a 11,000 acre park offering land and water activities.  We decided on canoeing by default since the kayaks were all taken by the time we arrived.  $26 for a three person canoe for two hours of water exploring seems reasonable.  We set off for our adventure but not before noticing the crocodile warning sign.  This set a tone of nervousness but we were assured by the trusting staff that the crocodiles were well fed (really?!) and are accustomed to the activity.  We canoed for 45 minutes in a small circle just beyond the loading dock.  We saw two crocodiles and rowed to safety!  We canoed, we conquered and can tell the story.  Next time we may opt for a land activity.

Leftovers Cafe
Here’s The Vibe
Leftovers Cafe
Cold Draft
Leftovers Cafe
Belly Up (Sriracha ready)
Leftovers Cafe
First impressions and I’m digging it
Leftovers Cafe
Vibe of the week

I have a list of great places to eat here in Jupiter and I tend to want to return to those favorites.  Not this time.  Leftovers Cafe is the sister restaurant to the Food Shack (awesome!).  They had me at the front door with the sticker covered entry way creating a skate/surf kind of vibe.  The interior wall space is wrapped with street art graffiti.  The food is fresh, creative, and generously portioned which allows for sharing.  I highly recommend the sweet potato encrusted tilefish.  I’m on the hunt for the recipe!

Loods 5 , Amsterdam

Take a short drive out of Amsterdam to explore Loods 5, a massive furniture store located in a warehouse setting.  You can find everything you need for your home.  It has a similar feel to an Ikea with its grand space but with a pop up esque feel offering everything from Eames to local designers.  Loods 5 is a place to draw inspiration.  I love how they create themed spaces.  Have a coffee and a bite then stroll along to explore everything from furniture, home accessories, to your everyday lifestyle needs.  You will find something to walk away with and you will leave with fun ideas to spruce up your space!  One stop shopping baby at it’s best.

Here are a few examples of larger furnishings that speaks to the Dutch shoppers (me included!) and what is currently trending.  Loods 5 showcases many lines but here are a few recognizable designers that I explored: Eames, Hay, Muuto, Vitra, Fermob and their own in-house line, Design 5.

 

Spent hours just strolling the endless home accessories.  Why is it that when one travels you marvel at others offerings?  I always find myself saying “we just don’t have this at home!)  The truth is I really do hunt out places and stores to experience when I travel.  I welcome the opportunity to actually touch and see those finds that I have admired from a far (online).  I also like to understand the aesthetic that speaks to that culture.  I get inspired by other people and the way of life that can be so different from my day-to-day.  So I was snapping away while in Loods 5.  It doesn’t mean I have to buy or replicate it.  It just means I appreciate another lens to look through when comes style.

Having experienced Amsterdam with a new-born, I had immediately fell in love with the Dutch aesthetics for children.  I grew an appreciation for their parenting styles, family Sunday rituals of spending time in a park, to only needing the necessary gadgets to survive those young years.  I still have a soft spot for the lovely, sweet, and well designed children’s furniture, toys, and accessories that are found in Holland.  I have held on to all the Dutch treasure that I collected for my son.  They hold memories of a time and place for me.  So exploring the curated pieces of Loods 5 for children made me smile!

Check out Loods 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rise and Conquer The Day

Staying active and staying outdoors is the theme here in Montana.  Yesterday’s activity was a five hour snowshoe hike in the northwest tip of Yellowstone National Park led led by our fearless leader, Ken from Yellowstone Safari Company.  An amazing day trekking through snow enjoying the natural beauty of a constant changing landscape.

Montana
Peaceful and untouched
Montana
Ken led us with enthusiasm and an abundance of local knowledge
Montana
Bear claw sightings

Montana

One learns how vast this land is when you put on snowshoes and think you are going to just take a hike to explore Yellowstone.  Yellowstone is so large that five hours of adventure trekking just gave me a taste of the majestic environment.  Although no wildlife was spotted on this outing, a distant grizzly sighting would have been amazing.   I did feel like a humble trespasser in their vast home of unspoiled wilderness.  It is breathtakingly beautiful and nature is meant to be respected and enjoyed.

Montana

Montana
Untouched
Montana
Coffee, snowshoeing, and mountains is pretty spectacular!
Montana
Found a lovely spot for lunch under the trees with the sun keeping us warm

The day started off chilly but by the end I was peeling off layers of clothing.  It was a bluebird day.  I have a few more wrinkles from the sun but they will be a constant reminder of this beautiful day!

m

Montana

Montana

Montana

Yellowstone Safari Company

Montana

This week I am enjoying a family vacation with our dear friends in Big Sky, Montana.  Land in Bozeman and drive 1.5 hours.  Easy!  One goes from the big flat land of traveling 70 miles per hour on a main road with the big boy trucks just hauling to a landscape of trees that sneak up on you.  There are no scary, twisting mountain roads that you endure.  Arriving late at night did not allow for us to take in the beauty of what we would be waking up to.  But upon waking to the sun rising and a window view of the mountains of Big Sky I can share that mother nature is stunning.  My morning coffee routine for this week will be sitting at a small round table perched on a baby blue Eames chair watching the sunrise and the mountain waking up.

There is something special about Montana.  It doesn’t take long to forget about the city life and welcome the calmness of the mountains.  I love the vast landscape and the bright clear sky at night that makes me feel like the stars are reachable.  As I have shared, I have resisted skiing for many years and did not grow up with this activity in my life.  But over the years I have been flirting with it.  Last year was a turning point for me.  It was here at Big Sky that I embraced it a bit more and took lessons.  I have nothing to prove on the slopes because I have proven to myself that it is never too late to give something a go.  Believe me at times like yesterday that I felt I was way over my head with no alternative way down.  But I am perfecting the art of the side slide.  I enjoy the wide open terrain and the long rolling trails that Big Sky offers as well as the apre scene at Madison (eye on the prize!).  This mountain has something to offer for everyone.  It is massive!  Big Sky is laid back with a chill vibe.  A vibe that is contagious.

This year I am fortunate to be here again.  I will be embracing all the fun this mountain offers.  The spring like temperatures have my arms wide open to all the adventures!  THANKFULLY  my family and friends are beyond patient  and encouraging when I click into the skis.  But today I am trading in the skis for a full day snowshoe adventure.  Fingers crossed that it doesn’t have me meeting a grizzly!  Stay tuned.  xo

Montana
Mornings
Montana
Sipping and blogging with a beautiful mountain view.
Montana
Good morning

For The Guy And Gal In The Dam

The Amsterdam posts are still flowing!  Baskets, a new shop for me that I stumbled upon while exploring on foot.  Here is the deal, when I tank up on coffee it just leads to hours of exploring.  Baskets catches your eye with its garage door like entrance.  It allows you to have glimpse into a beautiful and bright environment from the street.  I love street wear and street culture and this shop showcases it in a wearable way.  This is a mens shop but has lots of unisex pieces or as my girlfriend says “snackable pieces”.  I could have easily walked out with a few elevated basics for my husband or a beanie (can’t have to many:), hoody or kicks for myself.  I will keep this place in my memory bank of places to revisit.

baskets
Kicks, scented candles, a hoody and that’s at first glance. I’m sucker for industrial looking boutiques that are minimal
baskets
I have a sneaker fetish
baskets
“Snackable Pieces”
baskets
Simple
baskets
Beanie Time!

Check out Baskets for yourself.  It is always a fun way to gain style inspiration.

Bellerose

Welcome to the Bellerose store in Amsterdam.  A Belgian company that offers stylish, well crafted, and playful basics for the whole family.  I love that the branding is subtle and not obvious.  The store itself is worth the experience.  The environment is welcoming, warm, and encourages you to wonder around.  The store is spacious, allowing the clothing to stand out.  There is no clutter, no over packed shelves, and every garment is visible.  I enjoyed just browsing and easily could have made some purchases:) but I didn’t.

Bellerose
A Store For The Whole Family
Bellerose
Beautiful And Uncluttered
Bellerose
Simple Basics But Playful Yet With Feminine And Masculine Detailing
Bellerose
Cozy Atmosphere With Creative Ways To Display The Merchandise
Bellerose
Lightly Arranged Pieces That Play Off Each Other. Love The Raw Wall Background And Concrete Flooring

Check out Bellerose online or pop into one if you have the opportunity.