A Coffee Shop Shoot

When Meggan of Meggan Jessat Photography suggested we do a photo shoot, my first thought was “Ohhhhh! Coffee Shop!”. I’ve always wanted to do a photo shoot in a dimly lit coffee shop with great natural light and exposed brick. Que the little gem downtown Kalispell we call Colter Coffee.

We met up, “bright” and early on a Saturday morning. The weather was doing that dreary, depressing thing that I love so much. Meggan needed a little snack because she’s a busy AF, badass momma who has a lot of shit to do, okay? We sat by the window while she munched her delicious looking wrap, and we got to know each other a little better.

Then, all of the sudden, like it was just a natural thing that you do when you’re out with a friend…. She started taking my picture.

It was so easy. So natural. I just hung out, and she took my photo.
And that’s how you know you’ve found a good photographer.

Plus, I mean, come on….. look at these photos.

I seriously recommend Meggan for photos. Click here to check out her website, here to check her out on Facebook and here to see her Instagram!

She edits her photos so naturally, she’s bubbly and sweet, and she will NOT disappoint.

She’s going places, people!

10 Important Life Lessons Learned in 2018

Oh, hello there. It’s been awhile. 5 months to be exact.

A lot has changed since I spoke to you last.

I wanted to discuss some important shit that I’ve learned over the past year. Some, more serious than others. All of these things stemmed from real life scenarios, and if you’d like more detail on *certain* ones, email me. Maybe you can relate.. Maybe you can learn from me.. Or maybe you can laugh. We’ll just have to wait and see…

1. Don’t let people walk all over you, seriously.

If you’re giving your ALL to something, and it’s not being recognized or acknowledged, it’s time to move on. Exhausting all of your loyalty, energy and commitment and still being asked to do more and being told you’re not doing good enough is NOT a normal or healthy environment. Move on..

2. It’s really good for your heart & soul to just forgive people.

People don’t always necessarily deserve your forgiveness, but you do. Holding onto that hatred is HEAVY. And more importantly, sometimes the people that hurt you change, and deserve your forgiveness… You won’t know until you give them the chance to show you.

3. Go after shit, even if you don’t think you’re “fully qualified”.

Seriously, just give it a shot. Whatever it is. But go into it confident, and sure-of-yourself, or no one will buy it. You won’t know if someone’s willing to give you a shot unless you try. DUH.

4. Buying a latte or an americano 5 days a week costs a lot of money, stop it.

For real though. Have you ever calculated it? It’s like $850 – $1000 a year… That’s toooo muchhhhh $$$$$$.

5. There are really awful people out there that put on a REALLY good show.

There’s nothing you can do about this, really. Just tell your story, be honest, be transparent, and don’t stoop to their level. And most importantly, recognize who these people are and stay far, far away from them.

6. Step outside of your comfort zone more, like, waaay more.

A phrase I’ve tried to live my life by since I was 17; “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. It’s the most important quote I’ve ever come across, because it resonated with me, and I put it into effect. It was terrifying to fly across the world alone at 17 to be with Paul, but look at all the love and joy it brought me. It was terrifying leaving my “stable” job of two years to pursue something totally different, but it’s made a massive difference in my life. And the most relevant example; it was absolutely terrifying to find out that I’d won a scholarship to attend a 4 day Marine Dealer conference in Florida, that I’d have to fly to, and attend, completely by myself…. But I did it. And if I’m being completely honest, it fucking changed my life.

7. If you have goals set, laying in bed all the time will not help you accomplish them.

I know this seems disturbingly obvious, but it really hit me hard this year. There were a TON of things I wanted to accomplish & get done, but I spent most of my time laying in bed watching Netflix instead.. I don’t even like watching TV that much… WTF.

8. Smile more, be kind & friendly, and make conversation with people.

I did a lot of this over the past 6 months. But I did it a TON on my recent Florida trip. And I found out that there are a lot of good, cool, interesting people out there that will talk to you about some pretty interesting shit. Listen to them, learn from them, give people a chance to tell you their story. Sometimes having meaningful conversations with unexpected people changes your outlook on life.

9. Take better care of yourself; Skin, body, teeth, health, mental state, etc.

I’m almost 24 and I’m already seeing and feeling the effects of not taking proper care of my body. Without turning this into a New Year’s Resolution, I’ll just leave it at; taking care of yourself is extremely important. Start young. Acquire healthy habits early on. #SELFCARE Understand that there’s only one alternative to being healthy…. 

10. Recognize toxic behavior and cut that shit out.

In yourself AND in others. Knock it off.. Being a bitch to your significant other for no reason other than you’re in a bad mood? Stop. Nitpicking, nagging, being negative? Quit it. Being walked all over and just letting it happen? “Giiiirl, you betta stahhp”. Seriously. Whatever your toxic behavior is that you’re letting consume your everyday life, change it.

That’s it, that’s all I learned in 2018.
Haha, jokes. 18′ was quite a turbulent year for me, these were just some of my top lessons that made the biggest difference.

I have an overwhelming amount of goals I’m setting and going over for 2019. I don’t even care that it’s a cliche. I’ll be spending the day going over these important life lessons (and others); studying them, digesting them, and inserting what I’ve learned from them into all of my goals for the new year.

Booyah.

Did you learn any important lessons in 2018?
What stuck out to you?
What changed you?
What caused you to grow?
Share some important shit you learned this year >

Why ‘Montana Laura’ Didn’t Feel Right Anymore

Changing the name of your blog is a dicey decision, no matter the popularity of it.
People tend to associate blogs with consistency.. as they should.
If you get into a blog, you get used to their schedule. Bloggers tend to have set days that they post, send out emails, post on social media, and they have certain icons and names that are true to them… And all of that can be blurred when said blogger changes their name.

But sometimes we have a change of heart, or life, that makes the current name of our blog unbearable. And in that instance I think it’s more than fair for followers to at least take the time to stick around and understand why.

If you were ever following me because you thought I’d be posting about hikes,  adventures, and typical things that revolve around Montana… you were in the wrong place anyway.

My content, for the most part wont change. But my heart did.

I came to the realization that Montana is no longer the thing I so definitively revolved my world around. For years after moving away, I yearned for it. I dreamt of it. I played scenarios in my mind over and over again of what life would be like when we finally moved home.. But then I had an epiphany. I came to another painful realization that A) It was being close to family and friends that I was yearning for, not the place itself and B) Montana now is nothing like the Montana I grew up in.
I lost my passion for Montana after two years of daily reminders that it was no longer the place I had painted of it in my mind. And that’s okay..

And please don’t get me wrong… I love Montana, I really do. I will forever stand up for it, speak highly of it, and probably live in it. But when you use a specific thing to revolve your name and “brand” around… it better damn well be something you are extremely passionate about. And for me, it’s just not Montana, anymore.

So I’d like to introduce you to A Cup of Lo.
Yes, it’s a play on words in which I replace the word Joe with my childhood nickname Lo. Yes it’s cheesy & punny and if you know anything about me, you know just how well that aligns with my sense of humor (thanks Dad). And yes, it’s a coffee reference, because again, if you know me you know how much I love coffee. Drinking it. Making it. Hooking my arm up to an IV of it. Talking about it. Owning books about it. Taking pictures of it. Dreaming about opening a coffee shop.

Coffee is one of those things that I just don’t shut up about… On a daily basis.
Which made me feel really really right about choosing this blog name.

Thanks for understanding my change of name, and most of all my change of heart. I hope you’ll grab a coffee & stick around.

 

A few of my social media handles have changed, such as the following!

21

Facebook is still in the works because Facebook likes to makes everything difficult.

5 of the Best Coffee Shops in the Flathead Valley

If you don’t already know, coffee is really really important to me. No, not just because it keeps me awake when I’m forced to get up in the mornings (not a morning person).
I LOVE making coffee.
Ever since I got my first coffee job at Green Beans Coffee Co. in Hawaii, I’ve been obsessed with making coffee. It’s truly something you have to work hard at to learn, and I appreciate the process. And seeing as 50% of Americans (equivalent to 150 million peeps) drink espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, or iced/cold coffees, I’d say it’s pretty important to most of you, too.
So let’s talk favorites. I’ll take a sit down shop over the alternative any day. There’s nothing more comforting to me than sitting down in a coffee shop, sipping some fine ass bean juice, and reading or blogging. That is my happy place. But I don’t get to do that nearly as much as I’d like, so I had to throw in some of our lovely drive up shops.

5) Montana Coffee Traders  – Kalispell + More (sit down)
MCT is kind of a staple around here. With FOUR sit down locations around the valley, they better be good at what they do! Their espresso is really good, with a huge selection of bagged coffee to choose from as well. Their locations are warm and inviting, with great gift sections and pretty good food. You can’t go wrong.

coffeetraders
Via Instagram

4) Copper Mountain Coffee – Kalispell + More (drive up)
Copper Mountain is an awesome little “chain” in Montana. They have NINE locations in Northwest Montana, which is pretty dang awesome if you ask me. These small drive up “huts” are not so small when it comes to what they offer. Breakfast burritos, bagels, copper mountain moonshine, and awesome coffee. Fair warning, if you don’t like super sweet drinks, ask for ANY drink you order to be made “half-sweet”.

coppermountain
Via Instagram

3) Odd Fellows Coffee House – Columbia Falls (sit down)
This place is as cute as a damn button. Adorned with little succulents and twinkle lights, it’s a must see in Columbia Falls. They have a fireplace, open mic nights, and play great music on the daily. It’s family owned and operated which is always a perk! Great coffee, yummy baked goods and a lovely atmosphere makes this one of my top 3 faves in the valley.

oddfellows
Via Instagram

PSA: I got up halfway through this blog post to go get a coffee from Mountain Mudd. >
2) Mountain Mudd – Kalispell (drive up)
Oh Mountain Mudd.. My absolute favorite drive up shop in the valley. This is a place that you go because it hits your top three needs for drive up coffees; 1) Speed 2) Amazing Beverages and 3) Awesome Baristas. When you pull up you feel instantly loved and welcomed.. The owner, Kim, has truly set the bar for how a drive up should run. Love her, love the Mudd, love that it’s 1.2 miles from my house. Convenient location and extremely consistent! And come on, look at these girls! You know you want them to make your coffee!

mountainmudd.jpgVia Facebook

1) Colter Coffee Roasting – Kalispell (sit down)
Forever my favorite. Forever and ever and ever. This place is what lovely coffee shop dreams are made of. Brick walls, rustic wood tables & seating, back-room couches & a downstairs “living room”.. This place is where it’s at. Not to mention, it’s open until 8 p.m. which is UNHEARD OF in the valley for a coffee.
Imagine; Sitting in a cozy and dimly lit cafe, the strong smell of coffee and cinnamon fill the air, you’re looking out tall clean windows observing the quiet sleepy main street of downtown Kalispell. Time stands still while you listen to soothing indie folk music and the light chatter of people who like to take their time and escape the worries of real life.. While you take in the subtle beauty happening in front of your very eyes, you take a nibble of your freshly baked scone and a sip of your hot caramel apple cider, and you realize that no place has ever felt more like home.
Sounds nice, right? It is.

coltercoffeeVia Instagram

 

Notable Mentions:
Kalispell Koffee – Kalispell (drive up)
Cere’s Bakery – Kalispell (sit down)
Open Road Coffee Co – Errywhere (van)

Shut Down but Deserve to be Mentioned:
The Red Caboose – Whitefish (insert crying face emoji here for the rest of my life)
The Boiler Room – Kalispell

This list is obviously subject to change. All we can hope is that more and more places like this open. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing local businesses thrive… and hey, maybe one day I’ll own a coffee shop of my own. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. (;
So who did I miss? What’s YOUR favorite coffee shop in the Flathead? Let me know in the comments!

 

montanalaurasig

 

First Coffee

One of my favorite things on this planet is coffee.
I know a lot of you can get on board with that.

It gets you through your mornings, soothes your soul, and fuels your adventures.
It’s delightful, world-renowned, and can be contrived in hundreds, possibly thousands of different ways. What’s not to love?
I would go as far as to say that I am passionate about coffee.

So when the amazing company I work for decided to do a new coffee themed shirt, I was like yaaaaaaas. I was super fortunate to get to come up with the concept for this design, then the wonderful Amanda from Wheelie Creative brought my idea to life, and voila!

Here it is, the magical-ness of coffee and adventure all in one beautifully comfortable cream sweater:

IMG_2831
Coffee & Explore Pullover

IMG_2834

Side note: See that precious Latte Pin? Cutest thing you’ve ever seen, huh? I got it at The Red Caboose in Whitefish.

IMG_2850
To Go Mug: Hobby Lobby, Olive Army Jacket: TJ Maxx, Jeans: Target, Shades: Ray Ban

I can’t wait to do tons of coffee drinking and some serious exploring in this bad boy.
Also, where are your favorite places to get coffee in the Flathead Valley?

First Coffee, and then we
EXPLORE.

signa