Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cowgirl Yoga in Montana

*photo courtesy of Larry Stanley

You know the song "I left my heart in San Francisco"? Well, I left my heart in Montana! (And I LIVE in San Francisco! ;) I came across Margarets Cowgirl Yoga blog about 3 years ago. I think I've been stalking her pretty much since the beginning of her blog! ;) From the first time I had read the words "Cowgirl Yoga", I've been fascinated by the thought of one day being able to attend a retreat in Montana. What a genius idea this is!! Yoga? Horseback riding? Yes, please!! So, I slowly planted the seed in my husbands head that this was something that I really, really wanted to do someday! Well, last month my dream came true and I was finally able to attend the Luxe Cowgirl Yoga retreat!!

I booked the trip about 6 months in advance and was very eagerly awaiting its arrival. I had many questions about various incidentals and Margaret was extremely helpful and patient with me and my numerous emails over the months. I was able to plan my trip perfectly and had done very thorough research on Bozeman and the surrounding area.

I flew in a day early to get myself acclimated. As suggested, I decided to stay in the cool little town of Livingston and at a funky hotel called The Murray. But my first stop after my flight landed was to do a little shopping in Bozeman since I had a few hours to kill before being able to check in. What a gorgeous drive it was! I instantly fell in love with Montana! House hunting definitely occurred to me. ;) When I arrived at the hotel, I was very eager to get into my room. On the elevator I saw a women with about as much luggage as I had, so out of curiosity, I said "Cowgirl Yoga"? Long story short, we went to dinner together and really hit it off. Turns out Lynnette was to be my suite mate and the person with whom I would share the bathroom with!! Everyone thought we came together, but we had just met the night before. We are instant friends.

When I arrived on the ranch (after another gorgeous drive!!), I met Margaret and she was just as adorable and enchanting as I had imagined her to be in person. And she is drop dead gorgeous with the the cutest figure! I was eager to begin my retreat. My room in the Ranch House was really comfortable and I settled in very quickly. I have done a little yoga in my lifetime before, but never has anyone taken the time to actually explain the poses, their names & meanings, and demonstrate them in such detail. I learned so much from this retreat. I have to admit, I came for the horses. But I left with a deep love for yoga. I was skeptical that I would be able to relax during Savasana & meditation, but I found my own techniques using my inner dialogue. My mind is forever going over my To-Do list. I started to realize that I was in Montana at the absolutely gorgeous Double T Ranch, in an amazing restored barn/yoga studio with some pretty amazing women and I didn't have to do anything! I was there to learn and absorb. I ticked off my reverse To-Do list in my head: I don't have to pick the kids up from school, I don't have to plan and make dinner (even though I love doing that!), I don't have to clean house, I don't have to feed the dogs, I don't have anything but be here in the present moment! A definite "Aha Moment"!

I was beyond excited about meeting the horses and releasing my inner cowgirl. Yes, I'm a wannabe cowgirl, I admit it. And I have a lot of cowgirl boots to prove it. If there was an award for who packed the most boots, I'd have won it! I learned proper horseback riding technique from Janice & Ron. They are such a wonderful couple. So friendly & dedicated, but also firm. I will never forget them and their generosity. I got to observe the horses, brush them, and breathe in their musky scent, the dirt, & hay. Riding Tango & RC was a sheer pleasure. I miss my handsome men!

I very quickly got used to being served the most amazing meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner by Kate. Everything was healthy and delicious. I was so impressed with the local ingredients that she insists on using. That is very important to me in my own cooking. Kate inspired me to really try to dig deep within and pursue whatever it is that I'm trying to achieve with this blog and my love of cooking. My intention is to get more people cooking home-prepared meals and learn to love the art of it. For me, cooking is enjoyable therapy. I can tell Kate feels the same.

Cowgirl Yoga was literally the best experience of my life so far. It fulfilled my heart, soul, and body. Between the fabulous people, the breathtaking scenery, the yoga, horses, and food.....I'd say this retreat has to offer what every Cowgirl Yogini is looking for. Lynnette and I are going to reunite at Luxe Cowgirl Yoga again next year and I cannot wait to get back to Montana!!

YeeHaw and Namaste!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Roasted Garlic with olive oil and thyme

Oh Em Gee, this is the easiest thing to prepare ever, and its so friggin' delicious! All you do is peel the outer papers off several bulbs of garlic, drizzle lots of extra virgin olive oil over the top, add some good kosher salt, pepper, thyme, a cup or two of chicken stock...then bake it for about an hour in a 350 degree oven. Baste a few times and boom! Just squeeze it on your bread or eat it all alone. So delicious! Enjoy! xoxo