Lost in translation

My coworker shared this video with me and I could not stop laughing. When traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language, you may or may not want to try Catherine Tate’s method of communication!

 

Chop, chop!

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Sometimes a girl just needs a change. And what better way to do that than a fun new ‘do!

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I knew I wanted something different, but the big chop was basically a game-time decision. For the third time, I donated my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which uses the hair to make wigs, which are then provided free of charge to women with cancer. The last time was almost exactly two years ago. This was my longest donation – 12 inches. That’s a foot of hair! Bonus for me, way less time to blow-dry my hair in the mornings!

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Over the years my hair has been many different lengths and styles, but I haven’t cut it this short in a really long time (maybe college?). My awesome stylist, Sheena, and I decided on a medium length, inverted bob. Takes some getting used to when I look in the mirror! The truth is, I find it easy to hide behind my hair sometimes. It’s almost refreshing not to have that safety blanket. In a way it feels like a visual representation of other big life changes. Out with the old and in with the new!

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Glacier National Park: Avalanche Lake and Trail of the Cedars

Glacier National Park

After our amazing stay in Wyoming, we hopped back in the car for another long road trip stretch to… MONTANA! Yest another new state for me, and Big Sky Country did not disappoint. Our destination was Glacier National Park, and our home base for this leg of the road trip was beautiful Whitefish, MT.

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Glacier National Park is very large. As in, it takes at least three hours to get from one side to the other. Additionally, lodging was somewhat limited as it was still peak season, and we decided on this trip somewhat last minute. Since we ended up staying  in a town to the west of the park, it was really only feasible for us to visit the attractions on the western side of the park. The majestic views of the eastern side will have to wait for another trip!

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Our first full day was a little dreary and damp. Good thing we had those rain ponchos! We stopped at the visitor center to get some info; good thing we did – we were told that the park was so crowded that the parking spaces near the trails were likely full. We were encouraged to take the shuttle, which was relatively easy and painless.

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We opted for the hike to Avalanch Lake, which starts out with the very easy 1.0 mile Trail of the Cedars. Due to the excess humidity in this valley, it is not uncommon for the cedars to reach 100 ft in height, and 4 to 7 ft in diameter. Many of the trees in this area are 500 years old. It’s pretty cool to walk amongst that history. From the Trail of the Cedars you can find the offshoot for the Avalanche Lake trail, which was a relatively moderate hike at 4.5 miles roundtrip and an elevation gain of 730 ft  (highest elevation: 4031 ft).

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This ended up being the most crowded hike we did, and we would frequently catch up to, and cross paths with, other visitors. Despite this, it was a very relaxing day.  Given the overcast skies and enveloping greenery,  the ambience was very serene and calming. 

The  piece de resistance:

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DSC05544To be honest, it was a bummer that the weather was so “blah” because I’m sure a little bit of sunlight does wonders for the views in this place. Or maybe I’m just not an experienced photographer. In any case, on this particular day, the views weren’t as spectacular as some of our other hikes. Still, it was a cool sight to take in. And there’s just something about the hiking and the effort that it takes to get there – makes the end result that much more enjoyable. Kind of like the way food tastes so much better when you’re hungry!

Trick Or Treat!

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Happy Halloween! I’ve always loved Halloween. It’s just so much fun to dress up – especially when you have a fun costume! One of my favorite costumes is a witch, which I’ve gone as many times from the time I was a kid. But as an adult, my favorites tend to be pop culture costumes. Hence, Sara & Mir.I.Am and the infamous “Ew!” girls sketches from the Tonight Show!

IMG_3078.JPGNikki and I had a blast playing these two pre-teens made famous by Jimmy Fallon and Will.I.Am! “Slutty Halloween costumes are so Ewww!!!”

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“He’s so basically basic… Ewww!”

We celebrated with my friends Bobby and Priscilla (otherwise known as The Incredible Hulk & Jason!) who are pretty famous for their legendary Halloween parties. They really go all out and have the best decorations! (Party photos courtesy of P!)

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This was one of my favorite costumes of all time. Less than 360 days to start planning for next year!

Jackson Hole, Wy

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When I think of fun cities, my mind goes straight to  places like Las Vegas and New Orleans. New York and LA if you’re a city mouse, perhaps Miami if you’re a beach bunny. But I have a new city to add to that list:  Jackson Hole, Wy. This place is just So.Much.Fun! Prior to visiting, I really didn’t have much in the way of expectations, basically thinking that it was just a ski town which would be pretty quiet in the summer. In fact, we only picked it as our base camp due to its close proximity to both the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. But I’m so glad that we ended up there because we had a blast! With tons of great restaurants, bars, and shops, it was the perfect complement to our long days out in the wild.

Some of our new Jackson Hole friends ;)

Some of our new Jackson Hole friends ;)

Our home in Jackson Hole was a quaint little condo we booked on VRBO. Condo rentals are an economical alternative to hotels, especially during peak seasons (the summer was actually pretty hopping, with many accomodations at full capacity). It was also nice to have the extra space of a living room, and the convenience of a kitchen and washer/dryer (it was so great to do laundry after all that outdoor activity!). We really lucked out with the location; we were just a few blocks away from the center of town where all the action was, but we had total peace and quiet as the condo was located next to a large creek. Best of both worlds!

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The restaurants in Jackson Hole really surprised me. There were so many options that I think any foodie would be happy here! Our first stop upon arrival was Bin22, a tapas restaurants with a huge wine selection. They have an beautiful outdoor space, which was a nice place to spend an afternoon.

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The next few days were  a blur, but we did have some standouts. For our one breakfast out, we hit The Bunnery Bakery and Restaurant, which was awesome. I rarely go sweet for breakfast, but I got the French Toast, and it was awesome! No pictures because apparently we were too busy eating to  photograph anything!

We also had a great dinner at The Kitchen, which featured modern American cuisine, cooked with local and seasonal ingredients.

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Jackson Hole has a slew of sporting goods shops and art galleries, but they also have a handful of eclectic shops with unique gift ideas. Our primary purchases were bear spray and bear bells (for reals), and SNACKS! Our favorite, hands down, was the S’mores cookie from Persephone Bakery. #IWantOneRightNow

I only had one! Though I was tempted to steal Maria's as well...

Don’t worry. I only had one! Though I was tempted to steal Maria’s as well…

One evening we decided to make our own bar tour of Jackson Hole, choosing all the places with Happy Hour specials. Not only was it nice on the wallet, but it was a fun way to check out several different places! Two of our favorites were Cafe Genevieve and Local.

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We liked Local so much we actually ended up there twice. At the recommendation of our condo neighbor, we stopped there for a light dinner. It turned out that there was live music on the patio out back, so naturally, that is where we parked ourselves!

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There were plenty of non-park activities as well. We tried a Vinyasa Flow class one morning, at the studio across from our condo. Maria and I both enjoy yoga (in fact, she is yoga certified!), but doing yoga at such a high altitude was a completely new experience – read: kicked our butts!

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There are also daily “shoot-outs” on the town square, which was essentially an old-timey, wild-west type of show.  While this was not a Broadway caliber performance, I could see it being really fun for kids!

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Another great way to find out about daily events in town is by getting a copy of the free local newspaper, which lists all happenings for the week. Our server at Bin22 gave us a copy as well as great recommendations for things to do and see.  It turned out to be really helpful!  At her suggestion, we checked out the Jackson Hole People’s Market. There were several vendors, food and drinks for sale, and live music. Lots of people, of all ages, out and about!

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I really enjoyed my stay at Jackson Hole and would love to go back someday! I’m thinking a winter trip may be in order so we can see what the ski scene is all about!