100 rides and counting

This week I completed my 100th ride at Zephyr, an indoor cycling studio here in Bozeman. It combines an AMAZING workout in a funky cool setting, and some awesome instructors.

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I started riding at Zephyr in the beginning of January and in about 5 and 1/2 months I cycled my 100th class, so I am pretty impressed with myself! 😉

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I want to use this post of finding a fitness routine that I absolutely love to address body image and how just one place really changed the perspective I had about myself.

I have always struggled with body image. I can remember feeling self-conscious in dance class when I was little. Right there that’s a red flag and can not be healthy. My struggles continued through high school, college, and pretty much until about a month ago.

I have done a lot of unhealthy things to be super skinny, which I know in the long term only had a negative effect on my health.

For those who have been keeping up with my blog also know that about a year and a half ago was when my mental health started to shift and I gained weight. I was really feeling bad about myself. There was a point where I felt that everyone was judging me for how I looked and that was not a good feeling on top of all the stress and anxiety I had.

Both men and women struggle with body image, but how can we build ourselves up and just feel good?

Zephyr, quitting my job, and a super supportive boyfriend helped me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you need to find. What I do know is that as soon as I started feeling healthy there was a shift in my entire life.

I am no expert, but I do want to share the changes that I made to start feeling good!

First I really looked at who I surrounded myself with and who’s comments to take to heart. My boyfriend was always there to build me up. Whether it was a “you look great today,” or an “I just want you to be healthy,” hearing  those messages is so helpful. Especially when you are having as much self doubt as I was.

Second, I found something that made me feel healthy and good. That was Zephyr. For you it could be yoga or walking your dog. Really anything that gets you moving, because I believe Elle Woods set it best in ‘Legally Blonde’ “Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy….”

The third thing I did was change my diet. Now, I am not going to tell you to give up ice cream or pizza because I certainly did not! However, I do find myself eating healthier and not having a diet super high in processed sugars has actually helped my anxiety. I used to pop a sugar cookie in my mouth or order sugar filled coffee drinks and it used to give me crazy anxiety and I had some bad crashes. Eating foods with actual nutritional value has improved my mood, and cut back cravings. All going back to just feeling healthy!

Just these three things helped me so much! I could bombard you with more, but nobody wants to read that long 😉 !

Let’s just keep building each other up and here’s to the next 100 rides!

#keepwandering

 

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Water to Whiskey

It has truly been a summer of firsts. This weekend I ran my first 5K, and I was pretty excited about it if you couldn’t tell from the photo below.

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The 5K was held in Ennis, MT. A great little fishing town located at the base of the breathtaking Madison Mountain range.

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The race started on a bridge over the Madison River (hence the water part). It ended at Willie’s Distillery (the whiskey).

The best part of this 5K is that the distillery, who was a main sponsor also put on a FREE pig roast after! In addition to the delicious pulled pork sandwiches, there was live music, and fun yard games.

For those 21 and up you could get a specialty drink from Willie’s tasting room. In true Montana fashion I tried the chokecherry moscow mule, which was delicious!

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For anyone that likes 5K’s or free food I highly recommend attending this event next year. However, it’s always a great time to visit Ennis, if you enjoy the outdoors!

We camped along the Madison River (also another first for me). This was great because you can walk into town. After Willie’s Distillery check out the Gravel Bar. They have live music every Saturday night, and a full menu if you’re hungry!

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Be sure to stop in a fly shop or two to learn about the world class fly fishing in the area. If you are a fisherman or fisherwoman or have any interest whatsoever, trying it out on the Madison River would be an awesome experience.

If hiking is more your speed than I would say the Sphinx is the most famous hike in that area. There is still quite a bit of snow on the mountains right now, but if you’re planning a trip between July and September that would be perfect (that may also be your best bet for fishing this year)!

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If you live in or are visiting Montana take some time to visit the small towns! They are truly the Treasure State’s hidden treasures ( I know that was super cheesy)!

#keepwandering

Big Sky shoulder season

shoul·der sea·son
noun
a travel period between peak and off-peak seasons.
Before moving to Montana I did not know what shoulder season was. So, I figured I would give you the definition.
Now, shoulder season is exactly what the area where I live is experiencing. The Bozeman/Big Sky area is a very popular summer tourist destination. Both places are located very close to Yellowstone National Park. I know that Bozeman sees about 5.2 million visitors in the summer months.
Things don’t really pick up until June. Sometimes not being surrounded by tourists is nice, and that is why I decided to do an overnight in Big Sky this weekend.
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Big Sky Resort closes basically for the month of May to prepare for the summer. So, a lot of the restaurants and shops in the Town Center and Meadow Village aren’t open.
Don’t let that discourage you! There is something spectacular about having Big Sky to yourself!
Since, the resort is closed during this time I just used Air Bnb to find a place to stay.
(Even in the off-season Bg Sky is still pricey, so just be aware.)
One of the restaurants that does stay open is Ousel & Spur. This is Italian cuisine. They have excellent pizza! We usually get a pizza and a salad and have never been disappointed!
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Another place that is open is Lotus Pad. If you like Thai food this place is a must! Here we usually get Green Curry and Drunken noodles. I have never heard anyone complain about their meal at Lotus Pad, so I would definitely check it out if you get the chance.
During peak season it is almost impossible to get into Lotus Pad, so another great reason to go now!
Be sure to stop in and get a brew at Beehive Basin. This brewery has more of a local feel to it, and I am a fan of the Green Bridge IPA.
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There is also plenty of hiking around Big Sky. You will need to be aware that there is still a lot of snow covering the trails this time of year, but just talk to the locals and they will point you in the right direction. I recommend Ousel Falls if your looking for an easy hike. The views are great, so perfect photo-op.
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Also in the area is Lava Lake which is very popular as well as Storm Castle Peak.
When the Gallatin River isn’t raging and blown out like it is now there is primo fishing in the area. With the crazy snow pack we had this year, fishing is unfortunately not an option.
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However, another great activity in the area is mountain biking. If you don’t have a bike don’t worry head to Grizzly Outfitters. They rent them out!
If being outdoors isn’t your thing some of the shops remain open now, including my favorite Montana Supply. Plus these stores have a lot of stuff marked down to 50% off. Who doesn’t love a good sale ?!
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I absolutely love Big Sky, and it is a place you can enjoy year round… even during shoulder season.
*Note shoulder season will end in Big Sky on June 8th

Last minute MDW trips

Memorial Day Weekend is 24 hours away, and for those of you still trying to figure out some ideas…don’t sweat I got you covered.

I love MDW. Growing up my mom always threw a big party and it truly is the kick off to summer. So, here are my ideas for some last minute getaways. This will really only help my Bozemanites, as they are all an hour or less away!

  1. Yellowstone National Park 
    This is a no brainer in my book. This is a great time of year to head to the park. Everything is open now, so if you head in from the Gardiner entrance you can get to Old Faithful and all of the other awesome attractions that are normally closed in the winter. Plus, it’s still early in the Summer season, so you won’t be dealing with the insane crowds. For more on how to plan this trip I will refer you to my previous post about a weekend getaway to YNPS. 
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  2. Camp at the Pine Creek Lodge
    The Pine Creek Lodge is located in the AMAZING Paradise Valley. This funky little place has campsites along with cabins. There is also a restaurant, bar, and outdoor music venue. It is rumored that John Mayor will sometimes stop by and play his music for those lucky enough to be there that evening! This weekend the lodge has live music on Friday night starting at 7:00 pm. On Saturday and Sunday they will feature artists during Brunch. Also close by is a hike in the Pine Creek Recreation Area if you would like to get outdoors during your stay.

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  3. Virginia City & Nevada City
    For those history junkies, Virginia City would be a great overnight trip! Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the ghost town’s season. Virginia City is also about a mile away from Nevada City, another one of Montana’s first mining cities.

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    You can ride the train to get between the two, which I highly recommend if you have kiddos with you. There are a few restaurants in both Virginia and Nevada City. For a fancier fare head to the Wells Fargo Steak House. There is not a bad thing on the menu! You’ll find great nightlife at the Bale of Hay Saloon. And for breakfast you will want to hit the Star Bakery! There is so much to do in these two ghost towns that I definitely recommend an overnight trip!
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    (You can also pan for gold!)
    You can stay at the Historic Fairweather Inn. If you are feeling adventurous ask to stay in the haunted room! Since it is opening weekend there are plenty of special events happening too!
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  4. Hot springs day trips
    Finally, if you aren’t feeling an overnight and just want a fun daytime activity you can easily hit the hot springs. The first option would be to head to Chico Hot Springs in Pray. For a day soak it will cost you $8.50. There is also a bar and restaurant by the pool. I recommend bringing your own towels. They will charge extra for that!

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    Another great hot spring is Norris Hot Springs (also known as Water of the Gods). Norris is SUPER funky, but sooo much fun! To soak at Norris it will cost $7 for the day. There is also live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Live music begins at 7:00 pm and will cost you an extra $2.

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No matter what you decide take this weekend to get out and explore! I would love to see your adventure pictures, so use the hashtag!

#keepwandering

Open your heart, mind & soul

It’s amazing what removing the toxic in your life can do for the soul. Over the last two months I have really been trying new things that I know I normally would never have thought about doing before.

 

First, this winter season I decided to learn to snowboard. For me doing something that I know I won’t be good at immediately scares the pants off of me! Yet, at 26 years old I took two snowboarding lessons this winter. One was from my good friend Jake. Seriously, anyone that is thinking about snowboarding for the first time young or old hit this guy up at Showdown. He spent the whole day with me and I somewhat had the hang of it by the end!

Then about 2 months later I decided to put myself in another lesson at Red Lodge Mountain. I totally felt like a goon being an adult that needed a lesson. Still I just told myself to try it and I did! It was awesome too. I was way more confident on the board this time and  was able to get down the learning area by myself (baby steps)!

Finally, the last weekend of the season was here and I find myself at Big Sky Resort (arguably the best skiing in the country).

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I missed all the times for the lessons, but for the first time in a LONG time I felt confident enough to just go and try something on my own. I rented the boots and board and up the magic carpet I went and spent half a day just going over what I was taught. I would say by the end I actually looked like I knew what I was doing and I am so excited to keep going next year!

Another thing I have found myself enjoying so much is riding my bike to work. I don’t consider my self super coordinated, and I have never really rode a bike as a means of transportation. Yet, I have this adorable sand cruiser and it was about time I used it. I figured out my bike route and the hand signaling. Now, I ride my bike as much as I can!

Riding my bike around was something I always thought about, but was too scared to actually do it. It is honestly ridiculous that I didn’t even have the self confidence to ride my bike…thank goodness that is behind me!

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The last thing that I have opened myself up to is being able to get on the river in a boat. Again I know this sounds so strange, but I have been invited by my boyfriend and his friends multiple times to go in their drift boats and fish. In all honesty I don’t like fly fishing that much and it always intimidated me to be out with them when I don’t really like fishing.

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There was no reason to be intimidated or afraid and I finally said I would go with them. I actually had a really great time. I was super relaxed and just hung out and took pictures and chatted with them for the float.

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I know these aren’t huge life altering things that I have been trying, but honestly just opening myself to anything out of my comfort zone has been so hard for me in the past. Now, I realize I was just holding myself back from enjoying life!

I plan on continuing to open myself to new experiences and activities that I am unsure of.  Instagram has been full of ‘living my best life’ captions lately and I know many of you readers can’t stand that. Well I’m sorry, but I finally feel like I am living my best life (don’t hate.)

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If I can inspire just one person to come out of their comfort zone and try something new then I am doing my job. ❤

#keepwandering

 

New Beginnings

It’s been a very long year for me trying to find happiness after a big move and a new job. I moved to my home in Bozeman, MT in February of 2016 and it was rough. I left a life that I felt comfortable in and a job that I was really good at in Great Falls, MT to live in a place that I always wanted to, but it never felt right.

In television news employees are put under contract, which is always a strange and stressful situation. However, when most reporters sign their life away they are usually excited to be moving on in their career. For me that didn’t happen.

From the moment I put my pen to the paper I had immense anxiety. This anxiety was coupled with depression and it never seemed to get better. This put a strain on my relationships and my health.

As I became more comfortable in Bozeman, nothing at my job seemed to be getting better. I even thought about moving back to Great Falls, which put even more stress on my relationship.

Finally, after 15 months of struggling I decided it was time for me to walk away from my employer and it was like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

At first it was really scary and I was feeling overwhelmed, but for about 3 months before I actually resigned I had been exploring new career paths. I landed a job the day after I resigned. I am so excited about this new position and it helped me realized that I have a skill set that goes beyond just sharing news stories. That was empowering!

I learned a valuable lesson over this time that cutting out the toxic in your life can really bring out your best self. People who have known me over the last few months are even approaching me saying how happy and healthy I look!

Making money and having a career is important, but I learned that it can’t be the only thing in your life. Finding a balance and doing something that you are passionate about is important.

I am so excited about my new adventures and after just 2 weeks of leaving a job that was making me so unhappy, I feel like a new person!

A few people have approached me that are in a similar situation as the one I was in and my advice to anyone feeling like this is to really evaluate. What are your passions? Could you do that job somewhere else? Would you feel relief if you walked away?

My answers to all those questions were yes and that is how I new I was ready.

Talking helps and if anyone wants to hear more about my changes feel free to just ask!

Building people up is important and that’s what I want to do!

 

 

 

#keepwandering

 

Weekend Getaway to Yellowstone

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I am lucky enough to only live an hour away from one of the country’s best national parks. There are days when I just drive down to Yellowstone for a day trip.
But, a weekend getaway can be necessary and there is no better place than our first National Park.

You can’t beat going to Yellowstone. You can check out the wildlife, plan a day hike, or walk around the hot springs. No matter what you do the park will not disappoint.

Now depending on the time of year you plan your trip the entire park may not be open, but don’t let that stop you!

In the winter months there are still plenty of fun activities you can do like, cross country skiing! Not to mention you essentially have the park to yourself!

The time of year also depends what entrance to the park is open to vehicles. The good thing to know is the North Entrance or the entrance in Gardiner is open year round.

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Which leads to the fabulous little hotel that is a great place to stay to ensure you have enough time in the park.

The Park Hotel Yellowstone, is little apartments that range from family sized rooms to your standard two Queen Beds. The rooms are decorated with rustic Yellowstone decor to make your stay feel special.

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The rooms are priced right! Our room was only $89 a night!

(Prices will go up in the summer during tourists season.)

Gardiner also has a great new restaurant called the Wonderland Cafe & Lodge. They have everything from coffee and pastries to packed lunches for your trip into the park and an awesome dinner menu!

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On the weekends the Wonderland has also started a brunch!
I highly recommend getting a bison burger while you’re there 😋

This can be a fairly inexpensive trip if you plan ahead. Pack lunches for days in the park and shop around for the best hotel deal! I like to remind my fellow Montanans that people pay thousands of dollars to visit our backyard! So, take advantage of it! ❤

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Pendleton Yellowstone National Park boots

 

#Keepwandering

 

{park fees, hotel prices, and local restaurant menus all linked in article}