GETAWAY: BIG SKY, MONTANA

A few months back I mentioned our plans for a spontaneous trip to Big Sky, Montana for some much needed rest and relaxation. I started romanticizing the idea of trip out West this summer, but the pieces fell into place for a winter getaway after the well timed discovery of a charming ranch. Montana really captured our hearts so I thought I’d share some photos.

We purposefully kept the itinerary sparse on this trip. Our only real commitment was a day of backcountry skiing through Yellowstone National Park (shown above). We’re both normally downhill skiers, but experiencing the beauty and solitude of Yellowstone at a slower pace was almost meditative.

We stayed at Lone Mountain Ranch which I would highly recommend. Our little log cabin couldn’t have been more charming and was exactly the backdrop I had in mind for our mountain getaway.

The interiors (make sure you get a renovated cabin) felt very Ralph Lauren and we were happy to spend time inside reading, stoking the pot belly stove, and enjoying hot chocolate. Basically relishing in every après ski cliche.

hat | sunglasses | sweater | boots

As you can tell, I really embraced the theme, and am obsessed with this Harvey Faircloth sweater. It’s definitely earned a spot on all future ski trip packing lists. As you can also tell, I don’t know what to do with my hands in photos, but we’re giving less of a you know what in 2018, right?

Many competitive games of backgammon were played.

If you remember from my packing post, I was waffling over outwear. I did end up investing in a Canada Goose, and although I was hesitant before ordering, I have to say, I think they’re 100% worth the investment. No regrets.

I opted for the Shelburne in Navy which felt less “arctic explorer” and kept me toasty on long walks throughout the property. I brought this jacket in black which is both amazingly packable and deceivingly warm.

Also scoring high points: this sweater which I’ve been wearing more often than I should cop to.

We didn’t rent a car, so we were relieved to find the Ranch’s on site restaurant, the Horn & Cantle, to be reliably delicious for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

And naturally, I was still enjoying my Ralph Lauren fantasy with all of the buffalo plaid and faux bois furniture.

We didn’t make it this trip, but these gentle giants will escort you on a sleigh ride dinner if you’re so inclined.

Photographic evidence of the spring returning to my step after a few days of mountain air.  As much as I appreciate Raleigh’s temperate weather, I really do miss seeing more substantial amounts of snow in the winter, so it was wonderful to walk the Ranch’s cross country trials and take in the scenery.

Even though we hardly did a thing it was such a memorable trip and a place I’d love to return to. Maybe next time in the summer for hiking and fly fishing!

2017 GAME CHANGERS

We’re well into 2018, but I couldn’t let January pass by without hitting publish on my annual game changers post. I’ve enjoyed sharing the standout products, apps & practices the past few years (read 2016 & 2015and wanted to continue on with the tradition.

STYLE/BEAUTY
Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humid Spray: my hair is super thick and wavy and this spray is the only thing that keeps me from going full on Monica in Barbados in the southern humidity. I truly can’t imagine surviving another Raleigh summer without it. Plus, like all Oribe’s products, it smells divine.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara: I had been loyal to L’Oreal’s Voluminous since middle school (!) before a sample of this mascara made me a convert. The curved applicator gives insane length & curl. Pair it with my favorite lash serum for even more dramatic results.

Kule Stripes: if, like me, you’re constantly searching for the perfect striped shirt, look no longer. I prefer the Boyfriend cut which is slightly longer and have been really pleased with the quality.

LIFE

Mariage Frères Tea: on our trip to Paris last year, we had afternoon tea at the Mariage Frères flagship which was such a wonderful experience. I brought back several canisters of their iconic blends, and brewing a pot of tea has been a part of my morning routine ever since. Their Marco Polo blend is by far my favorite. I use this kettle and found the same adorable tea pot they used in the flagship.

Pillows: conquering my sleep issues was a big focus in 2017 and we’ve both noticed a serious improvement in the quality of our sleep since upgrading our pillows to Pacific Coast’s Down Surround. Less tossing and turning, more restful nights.

Blackout Window Treatments: in the same vein as the above, investing in custom blackout lined window treatments in our master bedroom was a huge game changer. I sleep so much more deeply now. If custom treatments don’t make sense for your situation, there are some attractive retail options out there.

The Defined Dish: I enjoy cooking but become easily overwhelmed with menu planning for weeknight meals. Enter my favorite resource for delicious, healthy, and most importantly, easy meals: The Defined Dish. We’ve especially loved: crockpot chicken tikka masala, mongolian beef stir fry, potato leek soup, and pork chops with mushroom gravy. Most of the recipes are Paleo or Whole 30 approved which I take an 80/20 approach to, but Garrett (who takes a 100% approach to carbs, dairy & sugar) has loved all of these too.

Life 360 App: Garrett travels often for work and is notoriously bad about letting his phone go dead or missing calls which, being the worrier that I am, gets my overactive imagination going thinking of all the harm that could have befallen him (please tell me I’m not alone on this). Enter peace of mind via Life 360 – a location sharing app that allows you to see your loved ones in real time on a map. It even shares the battery life on their phone so I’ve had no more “he must not be answering because he’s dead” moments, which I think we can all agree is a pretty big win.

WORK

Unplugging: okay, this might not seem worthy for a list of game changers, but 2017 was the year that I really learned the value of unplugging. After going too hard for too long, I experienced some serious burnout this Fall. Feeling that mentally, physically, and emotionally depleted made me reevaluate my relationship with work & technology and recognize I needed to implement better boundaries. If you don’t put yourself first you can’t give your best to those that you serve.

A few strategies that have helped me below…

Turning Off Automatic Email Fetching: I can’t not read an email once I see that little red icon pop up on my phone which makes it pretty difficult to “turn off” on nights and weekends. Having to manually check for new mail helps me to stay present and not a be slave to my email box even during the work day.

Airplane Mode on Vacations: even if I have an out of office up, I find I still end up responding to emails or spending too much time on social media. Keeping my phone on airplane mode allows me to use my phone to take photos and videos, but keeps me away from other distractions which lets me fully relax.

Deleting Instagram: whenever I feel particularly scattered, spending too much time on social media is usually the culprit. Lately I’ve been doing some “intermittent Instagram fasting” if you will, and deleting the app for a few days at a time to give myself a break from the noise. Try it for a few days, I guarantee you’ll notice a difference!

The E-Myth Revisited: I read this book when I first started my business and re-read it this year. It’s fascinating how different parts of it have resonated with me at different times throughout the life cycle of my (still somewhat nascent) business. If you’re an entrepreneur I’d highly recommend it.

And there you have it, my game changers of 2017! As always, I’d love to hear yours – especially if there are any apps you’ve been loving, I was a little light on that front this year.

MERRY & BRIGHT

The holidays are finally upon us and if you’re traveling this year, I hope you’ve made it safely home to celebrate with your loved ones.

In the spirit of all things merry & bright, I wanted to share this lovely feature on Jane Scott Hodges’ New Orleans home all decked out for the season.

Jane is the founder of Leontine Linens, the New Orleans based linen company responsible for the envy inspiring monogrammed linens you see bedecking the beds and powder baths of many of the homes in our favorite glossies.

I’ve been a longtime fan (posts from the archives here including photos from my trip to their flagship) and while a set of monogrammed bedding has still eluded me, I’m a big advocate of their monogrammed jewelry rounds.

I gifted each of my bridesmaids one for our wedding, and my own has been well loved for 7+ years now.

But back to Jane’s stunning home. You know I have a thing for chartreuse walls–still waiting for the client daring enough to try them–and Jane executed hers masterfully.

I admittedly dropped the ball on holiday decor this year, and am taking notes from her magnolia leaf garland. There’s nothing more classic for a southern Christmas.

Naturally, Jane is the consummate hostess. I’d love to see more of her beautiful dining room. I spy some eggplant grasscloth in the background and that rug is a real stunner.

Her cranberry etched glassware is so perfect for the holiday season.

But of course, the real stars of the show are Jane’s linens. Perfect in every way. For more inspiration, pick up a copy of Jane’s book.

I’m off to find some last minute stocking stuffers for Garrett and treats for Brody, but I hope you have the most wonderful holiday. I’ll be back next week with one of my favorite posts to write all year, my game changers of 2017.

Merry Christmas!

INSPIRED BY: AMANDA MOFFAT POTTERY

Are you familiar with Amanda Moffat Pottery? I recently stumbled upon her work via Sue Fisher King (a gorgeous site to peruse for all things home, by the way) and haven’t been able to stop thinking about her pieces since.

Naturally, after discovering her work, I embarked upon the requisite social media deep dive to discover everything I could about the talented potter.

What I discovered is that in addition to her skill at the potter’s wheel, Amanda also has unfailingly excellent taste in interiors.

Her Brooklyn Heights townhouse, featured in Elle Decor, could easily be confused for an English home with its saturated color palette, collection of textiles, and heirloom pieces.

The same old world elegance is reflected in her pottery which Amanda describes as: “inspired by classic fabric patterns and Piranesi etchings and all things beautifully made, from shoes to bridges.”

I couldn’t love the sentiment or her pieces more. Incidentally, I signed up for a seven week pottery course which begins in the New Year and am so looking forward to a new creative outlet.

I’ll be keeping up with Amanda on Instagram for even more inspiration!

Shop pieces from her indigo collection here or at select retailers in NY and CA.

MONTANA STATE OF MIND

The holidays are always hectic, but on the heels of an especially busy few months of work I’ve been craving a getaway. No cell phone, no email, completely off the grid. Just give me a fireplace, a log cabin, and Cameron Diaz’s wardrobe in The Holiday. It’s really not so much to ask.

I’m still working on the wardrobe (see my picks at the end of the post), but I’ve got the fireplace and log cabin on lock care of a recently booked trip to an adorable lodge in Big Sky, Montana.

Excluding trips to CA, this will be our first trip out West, and as a displaced New Englander living in the South, I couldn’t be more excited for some snow! Raleigh’s warm winters still feel strange to me.

While in my Montana state of mind, I was reminded of a project in Big Sky completed by one of my favorite up and coming designers, Anna Burke Interiors.

It’s everything a modern mountain house should be and more. I imagine the soaring glass windows give you the feeling of being in a snow globe. Can you even with those views?

Plus, the luxe neutrals and layered textures are essentially the interior manifestation of Cameron Diaz’s The Holiday wardrobe which, as we’ve already established, I am very into at the moment.

With its midcentury chairs upholstered in a Zac & Fox print and statement making modern chandelier, the dining area is a particular favorite.

I’m certainly reading too much into this, but I love that diamond pattern on the fabric subtly echos the mountains in the background, and the fixture almost feels like falling snow. Much less obvious than an elk antler chandelier.

The powder bath is another favorite with its Eskayel wallpaper and feather watercolors.

But the real standouts are the bedrooms. If I were a guest, the above is where I’d be angling to rest my head, if only for the long standing love affair I’ve had with Suzanne Rheinstein’s Indian Zag on the upholstered bed.

Really though, who would mind if you ended up in this room with its epic sculptural nightstands.

Or perhaps this room, with another stunner of a bed in Peter Dunham’s Ikat, and some equally gorgeous burlwood nightstands. Not a bad room in the house!

Parka | Sweater | Boots | Socks | Sunglasses

Okay, now on to my packing list. My biggest dilemma has been outerwear, do I invest in the ubiquitous, but undoubtedly January in Montana appropriate, Canada Goose down parka? Or maybe this three-in-one option, or this still chic, but more budget friendly buy? Completely open to recs and reviews so please weigh in!

These boots have served me well for 5+ years and have definitely earned a spot in my suitcase. I’ll also bring this pair as a dressier option for dinners, etc.

This sweater, sized up, feels very alpine chic. I also scored an amazing vintage fair isle and am eagerly awaiting its arrival – so many hidden gems here!

For sleepwear, I couldn’t resist this set. Also, the skiers on these!

I’m still working on accessories, so far I’ve grabbed this hat and will pick up a pair of these gloves I buy each season because I inevitably lose one.

For base layers, it’s time for a new set of Capilene.

If you’ve been to Bozeman (we’ll spend a day there) or Big Sky, I’d love to hear about your favorite spots!