August Hygge Challenge

So it’s the middle of summer; the cozy-lover’s nightmare.

It’s hot, sweaty, sunny and busy everywhere… and if you’re anything like me, you’re missing the cozy environments and activities that seem to be present in every OTHER season..

But no one said you couldn’t embrace the hygge lifestyle in the summer. If anything, it’s important to find ways to embrace this lifestyle in the summer, especially if you’re not a “summer person”. Need a little brush-up on exactly what hygge (pron.: hoo-guh) is? Check out a few of my last blog posts Hygge Part 1 and Hygge Part 2!

Here are 8 hygge-centered things that I challenge you to do before the long days and summer heat fade into even longer nights and crisp leaves:

  1. Read a Self-Help Book:
    It’s good for you. It opens your mind to new ideas, new concepts, and new ways of thinking. Plus, we all need a little help. Reading is a super hygge activity in itself, and reading to better yourself makes it so much more rewarding.
  2. Play in the Lake:
    Cold water, hot sun, laughter and play. There’s something surprisingly cozy about a day at the lake. Get out, dry off with a big fluffy towel, have a snack, and breathe it all in.
  3. Deep Clean the House:
    I know what you’re thinking… Cleaning!? How in the F*#k is that hygge? Well everyone knows how good it feels when the house is clean. Ultimate relaxation and comfort often comes after making your environment clean and tidy. Kick those feet up and relax now, it’s alllllll clean.
  4. Do Something You Did as a Kid:
    Run through the sprinkler. Jump on a trampoline. Ride your bicycle aimlessly and curiously through the streets. Write in a diary. Eat a hot fudge sunday. Nostalgia is good for the soul, and very, very hygge.
  5. Have a Pot-Luck:
    Round up your favorite people and tell them to bring their FAVORITE dish ever. No big plan, no theme to the meal. Just eat yummy food and enjoy the company. Unplug and tell stories, and listen to other’s stories. Take it all in. This is where memories are made.
  6. Get a Summery Candle:
    I’m burning “blushing amber” right now. It’s sweet mix of floral and musk, reminiscent of watermelon hard candies, grandma’s perfume and a flower garden. Sweet cinnamon pumpkin can wait until October, I promise.
  7. Go to a Farmer’s Market:
    Just go wander around. People put a lot of work into the unique things they’re selling, appreciate it. Buy a few things, sip a coffee or some lemonade. Wear a big sun hat. Embrace that “day at the farmer’s market” like first-season Jess from New Girl would. Your heart will feel warm and fuzzy, I promise.
  8. Lay Out and Star Gaze:
    Nothing crazy. Throw a blanket down… just for a bit. 5 minutes even. Look at those things up there. Wow. When was the last time you did?

I challenge you to do some or all of these things before the end of September. Even if it’s just one. I’d love to hear how they make you feel.

I do not own most of the photos in this post, you can find the source of most of them here.

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!

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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

 

Summer Style Inspo for Tank Top Haters

I have a confession; I hate tank tops. So much. There, I said it…
The freakin’ closet staple of summer makes me cringe.
I hate tank tops for two reasons;

  1. I have terrible skin. Acne, scars, easy bruising, eczema…. I don’t feel like showing that off (yes I know a lot of people have flaws like these, and I should just get over it and feel comfortable in my own sh*t skin, but I’m not there yet, okay?)
  2. Armpits… I don’t like armpits. I don’t want them just, out, you know? Free to the world, free for everyone to judge if I lift my arms and my deodorant decided to ball up or I forgot to shave my spider legs. I don’t neeeeed that in my liiiiife.

So summer is a struggle for me. In the style department, that is. Short sleeves are as close as I get, and I honestly don’t even love those. I rounded up some of my summer outfits that aren’t tank top based, and I think you’ll enjoy them even if you are one of those freaks that bears their shoulders.

L O N G  S L E E V E  &  J E A N  S H O R T S

 

C R E W N E C K   &  H I G H  W A I S T E D  J E A N S

 

T E E  S H I R T  D R E S S  &  A C C E S S O R I E S

 

J U M P S U I T S  &  F L O P P Y  H A T S

 

P A T T E R N E D  J O G G E R S  &  B O Y F R I E N D   T E E S

 

C L O S E T   S T A P L E S

Summer Closet Staples

I really like neutrals and simple staple pieces. Camel, black, white, olive & denim pretty much consume my closet.

I’m honestly really simple (and pretty dang lazy) when it comes to style, if I’m being honest. Throw on a wide brimmed hat or a trendy head scarf when you’re on day 5 of dry shampoo. Rock oversized sunnies all day when you don’t feel like putting mascara or brows on. Hide beneath a frumpy tshirt dress and a cross body bag when you’re too lazy to plan out a multiple piece outfit. Buy staple items that you know you’ll love to wear all the time – it makes life a lot easier.

There are tons of ways to avoid wearing tank tops, trust me. So if you’re anything like me, I hope these suggestions helped you a little bit. And just keep in mind, there’s only a month and a half until Fall. (;

montanalaurasig

How to Keep Things Hygge in the Spring

The hygge way of life was invented to combat the notorious depression that comes with winter. Denmark has long, drawn-out winters with scarce amounts of daylight. Therefore, they needed a way (or a feeling, if you will) to not only get through this time, but to embrace it. So hygge was born.
Hygge, when defined simply by the Oxford Dictionary, is : a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.

Note that the dictionary definition doesn’t really state anything specifically about winter. So who’s to say you can’t “hygge” during every season? If anything, hygge is imperative during Spring.
You’ve just hunkered down for 6-8 months and can’t really remember what green grass and daylight look like.. So now’s the time to truly embrace the coziness that comes with sunshine and a completely fresh and new landscape.

Here are a few ways to carry the hygge lifestyle with you throughout Spring:

1

There’s nothing like fresh flowers and precious little succulents to chase off those winter blues. Bring bright colors and fresh pops of green into your home to brighten it up and make it extra cozy. Plus, nothing says “I have my shit together” quite like a vase of flowers or a well-kept succulent garden! That’s right, look at me, keeping plants alive!

If you’re in the Flathead Valley, your best and most delightful place to get either of these pretty little home treats is going to be Mum’s Flowers in Whitefish! Plus, they have a build-your-own succulent garden station and some of the cutest gifts you’ll ever see.


T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Start small; buy one small succulent garden or one pretty bouquet of flowers, and watch them transform your room
2. If you’re not going to go local on your flower buying, the next best place is Costco (the best bang for your buck!)

2

Natural light is one of the coziest things nature has to offer. Let those bright yellow sun rays dance across your room, or the cool blue hues cast from a rainy day… No matter what type of natural light you’re letting in, it’s going to instantly create a cozier vibe.

T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Open up those blinds first thing in the morning to take advantage of morning light.
2. Clean windows and windowsills make for a better experience
3. If you have large windowsills, keep some plants in them (pretty for you, good for the plants)

outdoors

Even if this means just hanging out in your back yard, just get out there. Get a little bit of sunshine, get your feet dirty, smell the rain, read a book on the patio.. Just be outside, and disconnect for a little while. Brownie points if you actually make it out on a hike or picnic. But no matter where you go, if you’re outside and your relaxed, you’ve got it all figured out.


T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Create a back (or front) yard sanctuary. This can always be done on a budget! You just need a chair or two, a small table, a blanket and some candles!
2. Go the extra mile to have a real picnic. I mean those picture perfect picnics you see in the movies. It will make the experience that much more hygge to have everything set up so well! (it’s like ‘plating’ a meal – making it look almost too good to eat!)

candles

Ah, candles. All the candles! You cannot hygge, without the candles. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, candles just make everything better. Having a nice dinner, add candles. Relaxing at home while reading a book? Light some candles! Bubble bath!? Not without the candles! Candles bring instant warmth, glow and coziness into any situation they’re brought into. I mean, even Satan worshipers use candles! (Hah). But seriously, the Danes constantly have candles going, and for good reason; they just make everything better.


T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Buy UNSCENTED or naturally scented candles made from beeswax or soy! Scented candles and petroleum based candles release toxic chemicals into your home and that is NOT hygge. Plus, if you have a ton of candles going at once, you’re definitely not going to want them all to be scented!
2. Even when doing mundane, day-to-day activities, light a candle or two! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere something as simple as lighting a candle can create!

All of these tips are just little things you can do each day to create a cozy life. It’s about simplicity, togetherness, and comfort. There are many ways to incorporate this amazing way of living into your daily schedule. The Little Book of Hygge is where I discovered it all. I immediately fell in love, began applying these rules to my life, and then wrote my first two posts about it :
Hygge Part 1 : What is Hygge and Why Do You Need It In Your Life?
and
Hygge Part 2 : How to Embrace Hygge In Your Everyday Life

My life has been more cozy, organized, and full since discovering hygge. And I can only hope that it does the same for each and every one of you.

 

I do not own any of the photos above, all can be found in their original form on my Hygge Pinterest Board.

Merchandising, My New Love!

I was recently promoted to “Head of Merchandising and Inventory” at The Montana Scene.
I have been “head of inventory” for quite a while (making sure all the stores get the product they need on a regular basis), but with my new job I get to spend a lot of time reaching out to all 5 Montana Scene locations, making sure their stores and windows look top notch. It’s been a blast so far, and it’s really sparked in me a love and passion for Visual Merchandising!

For the past few years, I have been casually working on displays and prettying up the Flathead Valley stores each time I worked at them. But now it’s my DUTY to make sure each store looks good. And while I’m really loving it, it has made me realize that I have a lot of learning and growing to do when it comes to my Merchandising skills.  I can’t wait to keep learning and growing and getting better.

Here are a few shots of the Kalispell store merchandising that I’ve done so far!

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Another aspect of my ‘new job’ that I’m absolutely loving is getting the opportunity to style and direct photo shoots once a month. It’s literally like, a dream come true. This is another thing that’s fairly new to me, but styling outfits is already my thing, so the styling aspect of the shoot is a breeze! It’s the directing that’s hard;  Getting models into different outfits, different poses, and ensuring that you can see the logo on each product in every shot, all at the same time, can be pretty stressful! Especially when it’s 17 fricking degrees. 

It’s such a fun thing to do though, and the creative aspect of it really and truly fulfills me. I get to work with the amazing J. Vigil Photography (Jaci, mah girrrlll) once a month, and she’s the absolute shit, guys.

It’s such a blast, too. Not only is Jaci amazing, but the models have all been fun to work with.. And when I’m directing shoots I feel like I can be my true, weird self.
I’ve kind of become “known” for the erratic noises I make in order to get models to laugh, so you can always count on me to do something weird as hell to get the perfect shot.

(all of the following photos were taken by J. Vigil Photography unless otherwise noted.)

Here are some shots from the few photo shoots I’ve directed and styled over the past few months!

Montana 1889 Retro Raglans from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

MONTANA ALL DAY Tee Collection from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

Life is Better in Glacier Mug from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

Life is Better in Montana Flowy Tee from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

Home is where the Mountains Are Flowy Tee from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

Montana Vibes Unisex T from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

Life is Better on the Trail Knit Cowl from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | Eric Matt Photography
Eric Matt Photography

MT Scene Logo V Neck from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | Eric Matt Photography
Eric Matt Photography

Car Hang in Montana Scene Apparel | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

Montana 1889 Retro Raglan from The Montana Scene | Montana Laura Blog | J. Vigil Photography

You guys recognize those floppy hats & shades? Ehh?

Aren’t those great? The clothes, the photography, the styling.. It’s all amazing, if I do say so myself!

I love making things look pretty ; and I get to make stores & photo shoots look pretty all the time now!

And if you’re interested in modeling for The Montana Scene, email us with 3 pics of yourself and explain WHY you want to!  >  hello@themontanascene.com

What’s your creative outlet? Do you ever get to use your creativity at work? Let me know in the comments!

montanalaurasig