Experience the magic in Big Sky this winter – By Hillary Folkvord

Many times I’m dreaming up our next adventure somewhere exotic, when really we have some of the best places in the U.S. right here in our beautiful state of Montana. Montana is really a destination hot spot right now. Whether you are visiting in the summer or in the winter, Montana truly is “the last best place.” With the holidays just around the corner, I wanted to put together a packing list for the snow + the best places to eat and drink in Big Sky during this magical season.

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PACKING LIST

  • DOWN JACKET — I like to bring one down jacket that is versatile and can be worn with everything.

  • COZY SWEATERS — This is the obvious and also best option for the mountain. After a long day skiing, throwing on a good cashmere sweater is perfect.

  • WATERPROOF BOOTS — I love Sorel boots, and they are worth the investment!

  • SCARVES — Adds a little something to every outfit.

  • GLOVES — These are a must in the snow. I like the Echo tech gloves.

  • SNOW PANTS — if you are looking for a very affordable option, check out Top Shop

EAT @ EVERETT’S

My new favorite lunch spot on the mountain. You must ski or at least ride the chair up to the lodge. The food is great and the views are just the best.

My very favorite place to lunch while skiing Big Sky is Moonlight Basin lodge. Our best days consist of skiing 5 runs, then making our way over to Moonlight Lodge for lunch. Getting there typically requires a few tough runs, so you really earn your lunch getting here.  Check into lunch before you head here. I heard they have turned the lodge into a private dining experience for guests only. Nick and I ate there the other day and we had no problem, but just a heads up if you go.

EAT @ OLIVE B’S

Our first choice for dinner is always Olive B’s. You’ll find a delicious menu utilizing local protein and produce. This place gets pretty crowded at night, so make sure to make a reservation.

EAT @ LOTUS PAD

Big Sky really offers some delicious restaurant options. Lotus Pad is a long-standing crowd favorite for great Asian cuisine.

EAT @ OUSEL & SPUR

Great pizza, but my favorite dish is the MT bison carpaccio!

APRES @ CABABINER

We love to grab a drink here after a long day of skiing. They have live music daily and a great wine list.

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STAY

SKI @ BIG SKY RESORT

Look, there are a lot of great ski mountains in Montana.  However, I grew up skiing Big Sky Resort since I was a little girl, and it will always hold a big place in my heart. Not only does it have some of the best powder in North America, the terrain is also the largest in North America. You can ski as extreme as you want, or as leisurely as you like as well.

STAY @ RAINBOW RANCH

Located at the bottom of the mountain, about a 15-minute drive door-to-door up to the ski hill, this spot is the place for romance. The lodge sits on the Gallatin River, with spectacular views, a 5-star restaurant, and cozy rooms.

STAY @ THE SUMMIT

The Summit is hands down the easiest location for accessing the mountain. If you want ski-in, ski-out…this is your spot. Ask for a mountain view room, it is worth the extra $$.

STAY @ LONE MOUNTAIN

For a cozy Montana experience, Lone Mountain Ranch is your place. Little cabins serve as guest rooms, the restaurant is one of the best on the mountain, and the bar is the perfect place for a great cocktail and live music.

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TO DO

SLEIGH RIDE @ LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH

Taking a sleigh ride up to a cozy lodge, no cell phone service, and a delicious meal is the perfect place for a memorable night.

WATCH A MOVIE @ LONE PEAK CINEMA…THEY SELL BEER & WINE!

Catch up with the latest movies and enjoy a beer or wine!

ICE SKATE IN THE BIG SKY TOWN CENTER

Skis and snowboards are not the only way to enjoy wintertime in beautiful Big Sky! Rent a pair of skates from East Slope Outdoors or Grizzly Outfitters and enjoy this timeless tradition!

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Hi! I’m Hillary. I’m a small-town Montana gal with big dreams. I created the Lady H lifestyle brand as a creative outlet to inspire, from the indulging in the joys of being a first-time mom, to rediscovering wellness beliefs that keep me sane, to travel that keeps my spirit alive. This space is meant for you and me to celebrate this crazy life together.

The Kindness Project

THE KINDNESS PROJECT

I started The Flower Bar because I wanted to bring beautiful flowers to my community and bring more joy and happiness to the world. Each delivery I make brings a smile to someones face and has such a great meaning. Working as a florist delivering flowers to individuals in Bozeman has made me privy to many conversations that you may not know of someone on the outside. The woman whose son died and receives flowers every year on the anniversary of his death because her friend across the country wants to continue his memory. The brother who hasn’t spoken to his sister in 20 years due to a falling out. The boyfriend who loves his girlfriend and wants to bring her some joy when she has had a bad day. The father who sends his daughter flowers because he loves her and he will always be there for her, no matter what.

These are the stories I love to hear. It’s not about the flowers, it’s about the stories behind the flowers and I love hearing them. Sometimes they make me cry, especially when I receive a hug when I deliver. I’m just a stranger to them but I’ve been part of something that has helped her that day. Stories are not just for individuals that I don’t know. It’s also for the ones you do. Have you ever had a great shopping experience after you’ve been dreading it for weeks? How about that personal trainer who really helped you through depression and getting your body back and feeling more confidence in yourself? Or perhaps it was a teacher who spent extra time helping your child get the information and now they’re raised their grades for have applied and been accepted into college. What about your coworker who stays late, makes sure there is coffee in the breakroom and really brings the team together! These aren’t the stories you hear often on social media or the news. These aren’t the stories that get told often in reviews. This is what I want to change.

practice kindness

The Kindness Project is a movement to spread kindness at school, home and work. Each month I will be delivering flowers to three individuals who have touched someones life in some way. The three categories will be school, home and work.

For school, each month one inspiring teacher or administrator will receive a flower bouquet of seasonal blooms delivered with a handwritten note about why they were nominated. Nominations will come from the public and you can fill out a form and telling the story of why this person has made a difference in your child’s life. I remember many of my teachers and I’ll never forget the impact they had on me, especially through my parents divorce and the bullying I received in middle school. I want to share their stories and reward teachers for all the hard work that they do!

For home, each month one caring and loved individual will receive a seasonal bouquet with a handwritten note on how their presence in someone’s life has been essential. This could be the best friend who helped you get ready for your wedding or was there to take your kids so that you and your husband could have a date night. This could be the realtor who helped your family find the right home for you so that your kids could have a yard. This could be the trainer or counselor who helped you gain confidence back and brought you to where you need to be. Or even the sales clerk who helped you pick out the perfect outfit for a photo shoot or interview. This nomination is for someone who helped you and showed kindness to you.

For work, this one I’m particularly excited about. There are so many amazing employees out there and coming up with a way to recognize someone can be challenging. For this category, employers will nominate an employee that they feel has shown exemplary service, has been a team player and who has lived by the company values. Maybe they got a big sale for the team or perhaps they were able to make an unsatisfied customer happy. Perhaps they founded an internal recycling program or motivated others to be more mindful and sustainable at work. Or perhaps they’re the silent member of the team who does so much in the background and never asks for credit or acknowledgement. No matter the reason, if we didn’t have these amazing team members, our businesses wouldn’t run as well as they would.

So how do you nominate someone? Click the link below and fill out the form to nominate someone in any of the categories! Share this on your social media so we can spread more kindness in our community and bring more attention to the wonderful, positive things that people do in our community!

Deadlines for nominations will be the last day of the month and I will deliver the second week of the month so that I have time to go through all the nominations and choose a story to feature. Each story will be featured on a social media post so that we can all be inspired a little more by someones kindness!

How to Rock the Bridal Walk!

We know how it is. After the flutter of excitement from your engagement and all your friends and family wanting to see your ring, asking how he proposed and then asking the date, you go back to your daily life knowing that you have the most wonderful day of your life ahead. You may have started pinning things on your pinterest board or saved items on instagram and picked out your wedding party but then it hits you. Now you need to plan a dinner party for more than just your immediate family. Then there is the decision of a venue, a band, a cake or cupcakes or donuts? What about food? How many people have food sensitivities? Will there be a vegetarian? Should we have banquet style or a served dinner? What about colors? You’ve loved burgundy and blush but your best friend did that last year and another friend is doing something similar? Should you have different flowers? What about a photographer? How do you pick? What about video? Should you get a videographer? What about rentals? Then the biggest concern… is anyone available!

 

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Don’t stress out. If this is just too much info, hire yourself a wedding coordinator girl. She will save your life and help you with all the other details that you haven’t even thought of. This is probably the first time you’ve ever planned a wedding. They’ve planned hundreds and know exactly every detail. If you don’t want to hire a coordinator, no worries! We have some tips and tricks here to help you nail the bridal walk so you can get the info you need, ask the questions you don’t even know what to ask and walk away inspired and excited for your big day. Wedding planning should be fun so let’s have some fun and get ready to be treated like the guest of honor!
Wedding CakeThe 411 on the walk
Bridal fairs can be the most convenient way to learn about a myriad of options in one place. From your wedding dress, to getting in shape for it to hair and make up to catering, you’ll find all you need to begin planning your big day. And you know what? We’re excited to meet you! We’re excited to hear about your story and bring a smile to your face. A bridal fair will help you meet the vendors behind the images you follow online. You’ll get to smell the flowers, taste some of the food offerings, feel the dresses, try on jewelry and interact with people who love helping you design and share your individual love story. And there is no better place to do it than downtown Bozeman.
The Bozeman Bridal Walk has been an annual event where over 50 vendors meet downtown and create a wonderful event for brides and her posse to come to partake in wine, hors d’oeuvres and enter to win many prizes! Being face-to-face with vendors has many benefits as you can ask your questions on site? Can my wedding cake be chocolate and gluten free? (of course) can i get an ethically sourced and organic style ring? (you betcha!) Can i get flowers grown locally and a more wildflower look? (absolutely.)
Where else will you be able to feel a wedding gown, taste a cake, sip on rose, check out wedding venues, touch luxurious paper goods and be treated like the honored guest? Vendors will be excited to share with you the services they offer after all, we do this because we love it. Those working in the wedding industry are interested in helping you tell your love story.

Bridal Fair Checklist.pngBe prepared
As the bridal walk will help you prepare for your wedding day, you should also be prepared for the walk. Always be prepared. There is going to be so much going on that for some, it can be overwhelming. We don’t want you to feel that way. Make a checklist of your required services and design questions that will help streamline your efforts. Check out the list of vendors on the page and mark the ones in order of priority that you want to visit. See where they’re located on the map and try and map it out so that you’re hitting vendors that are close to each other before moving down the map. This will help you so you don’t have to back track so much so you can get in as much as you can. Unless you are an over achiever and want to hit your 25,000 steps goal for the day.

Wear something comfortable. You’re going to be walking around, carrying items, standing and strolling for hours. I know it’s almost spring and you may want to bust out those cute wedges but trust me, your knees and feet will thank you. Bring a backpack or a bag to carry your swag. If you’ve registered, you may get a bag at check in. Make sure you have something comfortable to carry. And above all, make sure your phone has a full charge. There will be so many opportunities to take pictures to save later, and many places will have contests for you to take pics and share on your social media. For example, we will have a photo booth with flower crowns for you and your gal pals to take pic of and share. You won’t want to miss out on that (#flowercrownqueen).

Ready. Set. Go!
You’ve arrived at the event, meeting and greeting florists, event venues, cake decorators, hair and make-up artists and more. When you’re interested in a particular service, make sure you get their contact info including the name and title of the person you’re speaking to. Find out if they would be who you would be working with or and if not, who. If you’re really jamming with a vendor, ask them if your date is available to book with them. Popular vendors fill up quickly. A little tip, listen to which vendors listen to you. A quality vendor should be asking questions about what your vision is, and what you want to avoid. Again, this is all about you (we love that right?) And so don’t be afraid to brag about your day and what excites you! As a florist when working together with people, you want to get a good energy vibe from the person you’ll be working with. Planning your wedding is very intimate and you want to have a team of people who you’ll rely on and trust. Not every vendor will be a good match and that’s totally ok! I’ve had several brides who i’ve referred to other florists because i didn’t think we would be a good fit but i knew someone else’s style who would be able to fit her need.
Make sure you still have your camera! Take pics of displays, services and just have fun! This is a time to go and hang out with your friends, family or partner and check out what Bozeman has to offer! Enjoy the photo booths! Share on social media! Enter into the contests. Do it all!

Post bridal walk bliss
You’ve finished the walk. You’ve had enough cake and appetizers that you can’t possibly eat any more. You’ve tried so many different types of wine and champagne that you’re feeling a little buzzed. You’ve learned more about different types of wedding dress styles that you feel like you could be a judge on a designer fashion show now. Congrats! You’ve made it! You’ve got your notes, your collection of bridal booty, business cards and you’re ready to go home and lay down.
Take the next day or two to let everything process. Then sit with your partner and go over all your notes and swag and begin deciding which vendors, tablescapes, flowers, photographers and ideas left you with an impression? Was it the donut wall or the floral dog collar for your four legged friend? How about the beautiful fully restored 100 year old barn, or perhaps it was the way a certain photographer really captured their clients. Begin putting your wedding vision board together and assembling your dream team. But don’t forget to contact them right away as many book a year in advance.
Be wild. Be free.

RICHELLE

Fun Flower Friday

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Welcome to #FunFlowerFriday, a bi-weekly blog post about different flowers where we discuss their origin, common names, different varieties, uses and any other tidbits. This week is the delicate and beautiful Scabiosa, also called the Pincushion Flower due to the prominent stamens in the center and round blossoms looking like pins in a pincushion.

The first time I heard of this flower I instantly thought of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter saying, “Levi-O-sa, not Levio-SA” thinking “Scabi-O-sa, not Scabio-SA.” (BTW I’m a HUGE HP fan. ) Pronunciation aside, this delicate flower is often seen dancing above other flowers in bridal bouquets, centerpieces and even daily arrangements. The name comes from the latin word “scabies” meaning “the itch” which it was used as a remedy against scabies back in the day. The variety Scabiosa succisa is used in traditional herbal medicine to treat coughs, fevers and internal inflammation. Not only do flowers give us natural beauty in our daily lives but they can also aid in our healing!

This flower is native to Europe and Asia but grows beautifully right here in Montana. Generally they have a smaller bloom but some can grow to be about 3 inches in size. There are many species and varieties however most come in a soft blue, lavender or creamy white flower which makes them excellent for use in weddings.

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Do you like butterflies? Plant these babies in your yard or garden and watch the butterflies come and drink the rich nectar from your flowers. They’re pretty low maintenance and will bloom all season long.

As a cut flower, they can last between 5-10 days under the right circumstances. After they have bloomed, the dried seed heads are great for adding texture and interest to arrangements.

Why not request some of these beauties in your next arrangement to add some fun texture and movement to the arrangement. Our local flower farms here in Montana have been growing some amazing scabiosas and I love adding them to my arrangements, hoping to introduce new flowers to the recipient and opening their eyes to all the possibilities!