It’s been a hot, hot summer here in Montana. Hot and dry. Since June, we’ve had only .2″ of rainfall. And since then, dozens of fires have erupted across the state. Our normally crystal-clear air has been filled with smoke and haze. Glacier National Park has issued evacuations and lost to the flames a historic camping shelter. There is no rain in sight. Such a tragedy of geography that Houston drowns while Montana burns.

Other than trying to minimize my inhalation of smoke, here’s what I’ve been up to in July and August:

  • working. a lot. I picked up two new contracts over the summer so my freelancing is really ramping up. I’ve been teaching yoga 5 days a week and continuing to enjoy supporting each yoga community.
  • spending some quality time with family. While it’s been an atypical summer (see points above), I still managed to fit in a few days at the lake, sharing beers and snacks with family and friends.
  • traveling. We snuck in a weekend excursion to Seattle and a bigger trip to Colorado, for Beau to run the Leadville 100. It’s been on his bucket list for years now, and he crushed it. Colorado’s clear skies were a very welcome respite to the smoke of Montana, and it made us miss our (other) home state a bit.
  • making some plans. We’ve got a few relatively significant things currently being worked out, from finances to logistics to just being sure we’re making decisions that align with our visions. I’m not being intentionally vague, things just aren’t quite ready for prime-time yet, but rest assured some fun updates will be coming along this fall!

So on top of all of that, here are a few things I discovered over the past few months that you might also enjoy:

Products that Add Value:

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant. (Not sponsored. I just like this product.) It’s entirely possible this falls into the realm of too much information, but here we go anyway. I’m always trying to find ways to make my health and beauty products more, well, healthy. But I’ve long been a hold-out about natural deodorant. I’m active and I want to be certain I’m not stinky. But after reading for years about the threat of various toxic chemicals in antiperspirants, I finally decided to give it a try. I ordered up a sample pack of Schmidt’s, which generally received the best reviews online. And while I can’t say that all of the versions work equally, or that I stay as dry as I did in the past, I’ve been very, very satisfied with the end results. I’m eager to see how it wears through the fall and winter, but so far, I’m a convert. (What’s my favorite scent, you ask? The Lime Bergamot makes me feel fresh all day long.) And there you have it. Hopefully the only time you’ll ever read about deodorant on my blog.

Our Lower Valley Farm CSA I mentioned way back in March that we’d joined a CSA for the year. And it’s been truly incredible. The variety, vibrance, and flavor of the range of produce from Lower Valley Farm has been nothing short of awesome. They’ve friendly, funny, and engaged with their community. While I’ve struggled once or twice to use everything up in a timely manner, we’ve also made some amazing baba ganoush and tzatziki, roasted vegetables of all varieties, and the salads…oh, the salads. This has absolutely been an incredibly value-added experience, and I love the chance to drive out to the farm each week and collect my bounty.

Content That Makes Me Think And Dream:

A Land You Learn To Love Slowly. Man, Amanda Sandlin just hit things right on the head here.  I read this blog post once. I read it again. And I read it once more, before bookmarking it for this month’s roundup. For those of us drawn to wander, it can be easy to make movement the solution, instead of learning to be and love the place where you are. I will argue that there’s something to be said for an underlying compatibility with your chosen place. But then comes the next level, in which no location is ever going to be perfect.

What’s curious, what’s interesting to me… is staying. Is being a part of something bigger than myself. Still seeing the world, being exposed to new ideas, different cultures, appreciating foreign lands, all while staying rooted in a place that grows on me, and I with it.

A September Could-Do List. I love this idea and think I’ll create and post my own September could-do list. I love the balance between the desire to enjoy and deeply engage in fall activities — but without the pressure of a “to-do” or a “should-do” list. We could all benefit from creating more “could-do” lists, and then follow where our inspiration and the realities of our lives and schedules lead us.

Coffee of the Month:

This time, rather than highlight a specific coffee, I’m going to shout-out to two awesome coffee shops. The first, City on a Hill in Leadville, CO. We’d stopped here briefly when we passed through Leadville during our Rocky Mountain Roadtrip of 2015, but while staying in Leadville for four nights this August, I was here at least once a day. The coffee is good, the baked goods are amazing, and the coffeeshop was up and running for the 4am race start, providing hot coffee and warmth to runners, pacers, and crew. If you’re ever passing through Leadville, I can’t recommend it highly enough. (image borrowed from the City on a Hill website)

The second coffeeshop of note is one of my locals, in Kalispell. Colter Coffee has good roasts, delicious treats, and the best coffeeshop working environment I’ve found yet in the valley. I’m there pretty often, and they always take great care of me.

What’s new and inspiring in your world? Please let me know — either leave me a comment here, or over on instagram!