Montana

Winter Bliss

I've got snow on my blog page, snow on my internet home page...but NO snow on the ground. boo. I know that Portland comes to a complete standstill when the white stuff comes down but it sure does make everything look magical. My parents arrive this weekend from their own winter wonderland - Montana - so maybe they will bring a few flurries with them...in the mean time I guess looking at these lovely images will have to do... I've been collecting these from around the web and posting them to my Pinterest Page. A little curated piece of winter bliss. Enjoy.

Doesn't that snowy porch look like the perfect place to sit and sip hot cocoa!?

xo,

Images including links via: Winter Bliss gallery

Jake

Today, my family lost Jake to cancer. He was 9 years old. I was there the day we picked him out of his litter. A dirty, stinky, lovable, big pawed pup. So full of life. We took him home and gave him a bubble bath. That day he captured our hearts.

A little prayer for our dear friend...

Jake, I pray that you will always gaze upon the Montana mountains...

I pray that you will roll in every patch of heavenly snow and jump into every shimmering puddle, stream and river...you always loved the water.

I pray that you will come back and visit your horse buddy, Corky.

Most of all, I pray that you know you were adored, loved and cherished.

Silly, goofy, sweet, playful, trusting, loyal - Jake you will be sorely missed. I love you. Goodbye...

To my parents, who had to be the ones to put him down today, I'm so sorry I couldn't be there with you.

To anyone who has lost a special animal...I send you my love and my sorrow.

xo,

Lunch and a Massage...

Went into Ennis yesterday and had lunch out with my mom and Grace at Yesterday's Pharmacy.

Yes, it's a Pharmacy slash Diner...I don't know why...but it's kinda charming and the milkshakes are delicious. I also love the little mason jars they use for water glasses.

For an extra touch of kitch...they refinished their hardwood floors and decided to put socks on all the chairs and tables to prevent scratching. Upon entering the dining room, Grace loudly announced, "Chairs and tables don't wear socks! That's silly!" This bold statement was followed by a healthy dose of giggles.

After that we strolled over to the Montana Wellness Center, where I had my "Raindrop Therapy Massage".

One word - heavenly.

My lovely massage therapist started me on my back and did some craniosacral work first to "open" me up. I've never had this kind of therapy done before and at first I felt nothing. But as she worked her way from my feet to my neck I gradually felt waves of warmth radiate up and down my spine. It was a little alarming at first but then felt very soothing. I was intrigued to say the least.

Following this she proceeded to rub a sequence of powerful essential oils into the arches of my feet. The oils used were:

* Oregano

* Thyme

* Basil

* Cypress

* Wintergreen

* Marjoram

* Peppermint

In addition to these, two essential oil blends were applied. One called Valor to balance energy and a second one called Aroma Seiz to relax the muscles.

After my feet were thoroughly massaged, I flipped over on my tummy. Let the raindrops fall!

Warm drops of oil were dripped on my spine and then lightly massaged using a feathering technique. This continued until all seven oils had been applied to my back, which was very warm at this point. She covered me with a warm damp towel and let me lay there for about ten minutes to allow the oils to penetrate deeply. My body was extremely relaxed as my back heated up quickly. Hot and intense, my skin drank deeply of these amazing oils. When I thought it was almost getting too hot, my whole back went icy cold. It sounds a bit extreme but I promise you it was very soothing. My stess, anxiety and body melted.

When my back had cooled completely she removed the towel and stretched my neck and spine. Sadly...that was the end of my sixty minutes of bliss. I always hate when a massage ends. I did love how I felt though - totally relaxed but also energized. My lower back, which almost always aches, felt calm and soothed.

It's a totally different experience to a typical massage but for those willing to try something unique I would highly recommend it. The effects of the oils can last as long as a week in the body as they purify, detox and heal.

Anyone can give this treatment once learned, so if you want to teach yourself how to do it check this out. A book about the technique...here.

Have a great Wednesday.

xo,

Ivy

Last day in the mountains...

My heart is a little heavy today.

It's my last day in the mountains. My last day in my parents home, where...well...I feel a bit like a kid...safe, cared for and so comforted.

A place where I am loved unconditionally.

I can be exactly who I am here.

I wish I could wrap up that feeling and take it home with me in my suitcase.

Each year, I get better at leaving, a little stronger and less shaky on these long legs of mine but I always shed a few tears, mourning the passing of time and the inevitable return to reality.

Time to take a deep breath, put on my mommy hat, step back into my big girl shoes and get back on my path.

Enjoy your day and celebrate every precious moment.

xo,

Ivy

Raindrop Therapy Massage

I decided that before heading back to reality, I needed to get a massage at the local Ennis Spa - the Montana Wellness Center. It's a tiny little operation but the women who run it are professional, friendly and do wonderful healing work.

A couple of months ago my mom treated herself to their Raindrop Therapy Massage. She said it was blissful...so I signed up.

What is the Raindrop Therapy method?  I had no idea so I looked into it.

Raindrop Therapy, according the spa experts at the Keswick Hall Hotel in Charlottesville, VA  is -

"A specialized aromatherapy massage using over nine essential oils to create both structural and electrical alignment to the body. Also stimulates physical and emotional harmony and detoxifies the body."

To read more about it click here.

Needless to say, with my obsession of essential oils, I am eager to experience this.

I will let you know how it was tomorrow.

Have a fabulous Tuesday.

xo,

Ivy

Image via Keswick Hall Hotel

Mountain spa getaway

I may be in the middle of nowhere, but a lovely spa resort is not too far away...with a good winter package to boot!

Three hours northwest of here lies a secluded mountain hideaway...a historic hot springs resort that deserves a visit.  A gourmet five-star restaurant, extensive wine cellar, charming, rustic cabins and beautiful grounds - Chico Hot Springs should not be missed.

No phones or TVs, Chico is renowned for its peace inducing practices. Visit the spa and get their famous Yellowstone River Rock hot massage or detox with a Moor Mud Wrap. If you are more of the adventurous type, bundle up and go on a dog sled trek into the wild and breathtaking mountain wilderness.  Of course, one can't miss the natural, hot spring pools for a good soak.

So, if you find yourself in the mountains of Montana consider a little detour for some serious pampering.

Yes, you deserve it.

xo,

Ivy

Images via: Chico homepage, littlest.birds, jkatrta

Meet Corky

I love horses. I admit I am not a fan of horseback riding per say, but I adore their beauty, their large sweet eyes and their powerful form. I went out today and took photos of my dad's horse, Corky.

He doesn't have a regal name (thanks to my dad's quirky sense of humor) but he does have his own sense of majesty.

An agreeable model and ever curious...he came up to me to investigate my camera.

Meet Corky...

xo,

Ivy

Snow and Sunshine

The sun finally came out so Grace and I bundled up and headed outside for a stroll.

The light was so beautiful.

Grace was enamored with the shimmering snow.

We said hello to my Dad's horse, Corky.

And....we walked up the hillside for a better view of the mountains and sky.

All in all...a fabulous afternoon in Montana.

xo,

Ivy

Lunch at the Corral Creek Coffee Co.

Sorry for the delay...but we did go into town yesterday and had a lovely lunch at a quaint little cafe. Decorated with vintage cowboy decor, family run and completely cozy, the Coral Creek Coffee Company delivered great service. We enjoyed home-made spinach, feta and bacon quiche, honey espresso lattes (see recipe below...so yummy)  and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Grace did have a melt down upon sitting down - apparently we were not sitting at the right table and her peanut butter sandwich was made with crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth (oh the trials of being three) but besides that drama we had a great afternoon.

xo,

Ivy

Honey Espresso Latte

1 tsp honey

1 shot espresso

Steamed and foamed milk

Cinnamon for garnish

In an 8-ounce cup, combine honey and espresso. Fill the cup with steamed milk, top with a small dollop of foamed milk and sprinkle with some cinnamon. Then serve immediately.

YUM!

Big Sky Country

Tomorrow, my daughter and I head to Montana to visit my parents. I absolutely love it there.

My parents have a cozy, lovely home on the outskirts of a tiny, western town called Ennis. It's charming, rustic and so relaxing.

I kick around in jeans and cowboy boots, spend entire days reading by the fire, sip afternoon tea with my mom, play with Grace in the snow and end the day around the table with my family eating, drinking wine and discussing everything.

There's something about the quiet there that really calms me. The crisp, clean air, the endless sky and the way the light changes every hour playing a kaleidoscope of colors across the mountains.

I hope to do some blogging while there and take lots of pics too. Enjoy these Montana photos of the our destination - the beautiful Madison valley.

Hope you all have a wonderful week where ever you are.

xo,

Ivy

Images: Madison76