Friday, January 25, 2013

Valentine's Excitement

I get so excited this time of year! Valentine's Day is coming, and it means I get to switch out all the decor in my home for fun pinks, reds and mauves; hearts, flowers and glitter. I have always adored this holiday since I was little. Since tiny valentines were put into tiny boxes at school parties. Since my Dad would buy me a heart of chocolates every single year. Since I felt like I always had a valentine (be it my friends or family) every year to celebrate with.

At the end of January, when I feel like I still have enough time, I'll start making valentines. I go through the stockpile of frilly scrapbook paper, doilies, stamps and glitter. And then of course forget to remember to consider the size of a standard envelope, and then have to make my own envelopes and then pay a crap ton for postage... Will I ever learn?! :)
I thought these were really cute handmade valentine tags

Simple and sweet!
  When February 1st finally rolls around I will hang the pink swag on the mantel, the Valentine's wreathe on the front door, and add all of my little holiday touches. I love searching the internet and the magazine stands for decorating ideas...

Isn't this lovely?
I can't get over this darling swag
Lots of wonderful red!
 My sister is not a big fan of this holiday--never was. So she has a few decorations I'll put in her room that reflect her distaste for the holiday. Anything to make her laugh!

Are you folks just as excited as me for the next holiday?!

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Honor of a Dream

I'm so glad we take a day to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., though his influence trickles through our every day lives, 365 days a year. I smile when I think of who he was. Courage like his is rarely exercised, and he showed how much change it can cause by letting it shine. The kind of strength he used, in the face of such anger and passion, shows just how much an Angel on this earth he was. He has my utmost respect and his dream of equality inspires me.

It's why I fight my local battle in Montana regarding the LGBTIQ community. (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, & Questioning.) We're all humans, and judgement based on sexuality--just like on skin color and ethnicity--is absurd. I've made myself a University Ally, being a safe place and a trustworthy person to listen and help students around me that may be struggling. This is the big issue I see in my world. I see a lot of hate and a lot of confusion, and if I can assist in anyway to make my work place and hometown a safer place, I'll do it. In honor of MLK, I'll continue to stand up for equality among my neighbors and peers. We have a ways to go, but look at the strides our country has made so far. I'm going to try and help, one Montanan at a time...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Montana Winter Wedding

A few weekends ago, I rented a car (4 wheel drive for certain!) and headed south west toward Livingston, MT. A few miles south, out in the ranch land, likes Chico Hot Springs Resort. A lovely place, that I'm embarrassed to admit, I had never visited before (even after being a Montanan for something like 23 years). I got a lot of flack for that from friends! The reason for my trip was for a winter wedding of two friends. I'm a sucker for a wedding, and if it is amongst the diamond crystals of a snowy winter---even better!

 The roads were questionable and after seeing seven wrecks only a handful of miles out of town, I definitely thought of turning around. But I just kept keeping on. The fog rolled in and out, the snow fell, the sun appeared, the roads froze, the traffic thinned, and after four hours I was there. Arms a bit shaky from battling the wind.

Pray, MT
My choice of room was the least expensive variety, which put me in the lovely original lodge at Chico, built in 1900. No TVs, no phones. No bathroom either, except a few down the hall. It was rustic, but beautiful, and I slept well on my antique iron bed.

The rest of the weekend was spent wandering both Chico and Bozeman. I did some shopping, went to the Museum of the Rockies (had to buy my sister a dinosaur souvenir) and drank a lot of good coffee.

 Upon returning to the resort, I sidled up to the bar, ordered a Bud and watched the Bronco game with the locals. This was some of the best fun of the trip! Met some great people until it was time to go get dolled up. I chose my favorite Armani dress and simple accessories and walked carefully down the snowy sidewalk to the ceremony.

The bride's colors were black and silver and white. The whole affair was very elegant, with flickering candles, silver mercury glass and lots of white feathers. The ceremony was sweet and personal. The couple smiling at one another and laughing. Lovely!

 The reception was a joy, with a lot of great food and wine and company. Delicious cake and a big dance floor! The speeches were sweet, the first dances were heartfelt and the party just got better and better. As the night slowed down, we were given scratch-off tickets as favors and we all feverishly scratched away at the bar hoping for winnings!

Early the next morning I bed adieu to the lovely resort and headed home through the cold. (Mind you it was about 5 degrees each day). It felt good to get out of town---and out of my comfort zone! Attending a distant wedding alone is not an easy task for a gal, but I made the most of it! (Thankfully I had friends in attendance and even knew the photographer from grade school!)

Ahh, Montana love. Doesn't get any better!

The lovely bride and groom! Dennis Webber Photography

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winter Colors

Over the white crystal snow here in Montana, we are treated often to glorious pink and orange sunsets. It reflects off the frozen fields like fire and lights up the mountains with the most glorious alpenglow. This frigid land has many moments of sheer beauty!

The setting sun (and rising moon through the trees) in my neighborhood.

A taken-from-a-moving-car photo of red skies over Seeley Lake.

Cotton-candy colors above my tree lined street.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Cottage by the Sea

A fellow blogger recently talked about cottages and it got me day dreaming about the weather-worn cottages I see on the Oregon coast. Oh how I miss the ocean! I've always wanted to go in the winter, when the storms hit. I want to hunker down under a cozy blanket, with a cup of coffee and watch the waves. Maybe someday I'll be able to own something like this:

I have always loved the grey and white homes I find by the sea...

And I'd love a view like this! The rolling waves, the roar of the water and wind. What a magical place this is!

And the woods still stay so green! I would love to stroll down this trail!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time to Organize!

Oh my has my life been busy lately! Running around and leaving very little time for maintaining my home. It's time for me to slow down and go tend to my nest! I need to do some major organizing in the next few weeks.

Project 1: Jewelry collection! After all the events and parties of the holiday season, my jewelry collection is tangled into one ball. Necklaces are laced through earrings, rings are lost all together in the jumble. Time to separate them all, and put them back in their places so I can find exactly what I need when the mood strikes!

Project 2: Laundry room! Oh what a disaster this has become! Time to organize all the comforters (thank you Space Bags!) and clothes. It'll feel so good to go into the basement and have this place all cleaned up. Just gotta watch out for the spiders while I straighten!

Project 3: Holiday decor! There's an area of my basement specifically for holding all of my holiday stuff. Well, in the hurry of the last season, the boxes and bags have slowly crept further and further out of their designated area. I now have a Christmas tree mingling with the Easter bunnies, a Halloween ghost sharing space with the Pilgrims...time to organize, stack neatly, and breathe a sigh of relief at how easy it'll be to decorate for the next holiday in February.

Hopefully getting these items done will give me some mental relief! Nothing feels better than getting your ducks in a row. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy 2013!

All the necessary equipment for skiing in the new year!

This year, the sister and I decided to ring in the new year in the mountains. Skiing has proven to be one of our favorite ways to celebrate New Years Eve--and most resorts have events that night too. We were treated to night skiing and then a fireworks show!

Before we even made it to the ski hill, we stopped off in Glacier to run an errand. We ended up wandering around the snow, sipping champagne and taking pictures. This park is gorgeous in the winter! Then we headed up to Whitefish.

After an evening of night skiing, we were treated to a torch light parade on the mountain and glorious fireworks. We headed back to the hotel late for more champagne and to watch the ball drop. What a simple celebration this year! Just me, my sister, and the mountains. Perfect!

Fireworks on the mountain! To the far right you can see part of the torch light parade.

Not sure if this guy was associated with the ski hill, but he was fun!

Frozen waterfalls by the highway that someone dyed
Sister at the Apgar dock on Lake McDonald

All the hill employees (and other skiers) liked our New Years flair on our helmets!

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