| Jessie + Lexi | If she doesn't know to pinch your butt to make you laugh, is she even your friend?

Would you just look at these two...

Guys, Jessie (red dress!) was one of my first friends when I moved to Bozeman AND she designed my website AND she's always such a freaking blast to shoot with. This time, she brought a friend and Lexi was the icing on the cupcake. Look at these two. Just look at them.

Anyway, as Jessie was getting ready, Lexi and I did a few solo shots. This is how it went: 

Lexi: "So I've never really had my picture taken. I'm going to be really awkward."

Me: "That's okay - it's not natural for most people to be in front of the camera. We'll just have fun and let you get warmed up a little."

Lexi: "Like this?"

 

Me: "Uhhh...yeah that'll definitely do! That's not what I had in mind when I heard awkward..."

Needless to say, girl's a natural. SO gorgeous! And so sweet! And smart! She's just finishing her degree in Community Health and will be heading into the medical field shortly.

Anyway, once Jessie was ready, I gave Lexi a short break to put Jessie to work. She's got the fierce face down like nobody's business. 

 

She's knock-your-socks-off beautiful and has been such a blessing as a friend and as a long-running piece of my photography world. 

We capped off our morning with something near and dear to my heart: a best friend session. My best friend and I used to do them regularly and they came to be known as our "seasonal engagements." It may seem silly and unnecessary, but I love having those tangible reminders of our friendship (yes I've printed them!) now that we're a few hours apart and don't see each other as often. In fact, it's probably time to update those bad boys ;)

 

We finished the day with tacos and margaritas at Toro (if you haven't been, go! The food is amazing). 'Twas a good day indeed. What are some traditions you have with your best friend? I want to hear about them!

Earth Day + Weekend Shenanigans

Anyone else feel like there should be an extra day in the weekend? I can't figure out who decided it was a good idea to work five days a week and only play two. Oh well. We made the most of our short weekend in the Bitterroot and celebrated Earth Day by racing out to Roaring Lion to catch the sunrise.

We missed the sunrise but the view was still beautiful. This area burned badly during last year's fire season, so we had a clear view of the mountains and valleys with no trees left in the way. For better or worse, it provided a good opportunity to chat about responsible land management, which is always a hot-button issue. Selective logging for forest management purposes is always a contentious issue, but forest fires that break out in forests that have not been managed can be truly devastating for the forest and for those who build in those areas. This blog is no place for political persuasion, so I'll end this with a simple reminder of the importance of taking your time to understand the pros and cons of a proposed action.

 

After chasing the sunrise, we headed out to the Sula area so Dylan could show me around his hunting grounds. I also learned that Lars Ulrich, Metallica's drummer, lives right there, so that's cool. Dylan said he's a pretty nice guy, too.

 

Anyway, as usual, the weekend went way too fast, but we spent it enjoying the grandeur of the Bitterroot Valley and making friends with the locals. In this case, a young moose. And no, we didn't actually approach the moose, try to feed it, take a selfie with it, or anything else that you shouldn't do with wildlife, regardless of whether it lives in town. Safety first!

I hope you all had a great weekend - tell me about it!

 

An In-Home Session with Tons of Chemistry and a Dash of Interior Inspo

Where do you feel most comfortable? Maybe it's the solitude and remoteness of nature, or maybe it's right at home, or somewhere else altogether. Either way, finding a spot in which you are relaxed and comfortable can have a huge (positive!) impact on how your lifestyle photos turn out.

I've followed Ashley on Instagram for a while now and when she moved to Bozeman, I jumped at the chance to get to know her in person. Turns out she's just as awesome in person as she is on social media - yay for genuine people! Anyway, when I first met her, she told me immediately that her and her husband Mike were very much homebodies, which totally resonated with me because I am too. Give me coffee, a comfy blanket, and Netflix or a good book and I'm good (until I get antsy and need to get out!). I digress. Back to Ashley: go check out her IG (@ashleyacarpenter) - it only takes one glance at Ashley and Mike's beautiful home to see why they love their time there.

Ashley and Mike have been remodeling their home and have done much of work themselves. Ashley writes about their remodel and DIY adventures on her blog, which you can visit here. She's done such an incredible job brightening up the space by using lots of bright whites and happy neutrals (I call them happy because there's lots of caramel-colored leather and caramel makes me REALLY happy). Their home is clean and classic with just enough hints of rustic and modern to showcase their own personalities and give you a glimpse into who they are.

Anyway, I met up with them at their home to document this new Bozeman/first home chapter in their lives and had such a great time with this fun, sweet (and gorgeous!) couple and their fur-baby Sage. Take a look at their in-home session below, then head over to www.joyfullygrowingblog.com for some amazing interior inspo and DIY resources!

 

Long weekend shenanigans

     I took last Friday off to celebrate Dylan's birthday weekend and it was so nice to have an extra day to just hang out! We spent a couple hours in Missoula on Saturday (mostly eating) - it was totally worth it. Notorious P.I.G. has INCREDIBLE bbq!

     Pro tip: get the burnt ends and fire and ice pickles. I promise you won't regret it ;)

     After lunch, we decided to stroll around downtown. I'm a sucker for a good sign and local distilleries, so Montgomery Distillery was our next stop. They have the coolest interior there and I could spend WAY too much time on their couch. In fact I did...it's this gorgeous worn camel-colored leather and it's right next to this huge window, so it's this perfect cozy spot to sit and sip your cocktail and admire the most interesting bae in all the land.

     Pro tip: these guys are seriously master crafters when it comes to cocktails. Pick something on the menu that you wouldn't normally pick - you'll be so pleasantly surprised! 

    Saturday's adventures wore me out. Lucky me though: our good friends made us brunch Sunday morning before I headed back to Bozeman. Both Kevin and Stefanie are in the restaurant industry: Kevin as a chef and Stefanie as front-of-house. They are so gifted and they have the cutest little boy. 

     Last pro tip: if you want to experience Kevin's culinary talents yourself, go grab lunch or dinner at the Top Hat!