Chris Harrison has become a bachelor nation icon bosating a 17 year career (and counting!) with the Bachelor Franchise. With his jovial demeanor and father like advice to the leads, it’s easy to forget that he gets paid a TON to be there.
But how much does Harrison make? What about contestants? It’s no secret that a Bachelor career can become quite profitable, but to what end?
No worries< Bachelor Nation, I decided to get my hands dirty and figure out the finances behind this franchise.
Turns out, Harrison makes $60,000 per episode of the bachelor. That equates to AT LEAST 2 million a year according to Men’s Health.
Bachelor in Paradise contestants also make a bit of money from their bachelor career In season one, Reality Steve alleged someone could make anywhere from “$7,000-$15,000 total.” Now, in the age of social media, these contestants are virtually garuteed sponsored posts and endorsements to bolster that.
How much would it take you to start your Bachelor career? Is love worth the initial investment?
Do you like a variety of outdoor activities and breathtaking views?
Well, it can’t get much better than this. Firstly Missoula is located close to the beautiful Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, which are a must see. Secondly there’s a great variety of close by destinations, such as Lolo Peak, Bison Range, Pattee Canyon etc. If you’re up to exploring other states, Olympic National Park isn’t too far away either. When you travel, you will most likely get to know some locals too, such as bisons, deer and black bears. Remember to bring your camera.
Always wanted to be a part of the sports hype but couldn’t find the right team?
Search no more! Our very own Griz family is open to every single person from a toddler to grandparents. Whatever game (football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey) you see, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
Looking for the best academics?
Speaking from experience: Here in Missoula you’ll have teachers who inspire and encourage you. They will help you to succeed in work life after school. They do care for you. (Coming from people who study Communications, Politics, Philosophy, English & Arabics, Pharmacy, Physics and Space Science).
The campus environment for studies is pretty neat too. Where else do you have trees growing inside your study building?
I promise you one thing: If you do come here, you will have the best time of your life.
Delivered to you by one happy exchange student who totally lost her heart to Montana.
“Will you accept this rose?” Many of us (mostly female, but also secure males) have gathered around our screens to watch some hopeless romantics compete for love and gain fame on abc’s Bachelor franchise. The show has created a cult like following as bachelor fan pages, meme pages, and watch parties have emerged over the years. But the question I want to answer is how? How has abc played their cards so right to make this show such a success? Especially when it is based on such a silly premise.
Amy Kaufman, a producer with the show since 2009, has opened up on some of her theories on the enthusiasm of bachelor nation. Kaufman admits “This is such a crazy premise, I need to tune in and see how it works because it’s such an odd social experiment.” But watching the same social experiment 35 different times (with male, female, and island spinoffs included) could bore anyone. The VP of the series Jason Sarlanis said that the show is constantly evolving to align with current trends, “story soaps were blowing up so they said, let’s infuse that storytelling, but ease up on the format.” Loyalty has also proved to be a cornerstone of Bachelor success, producers focus on “recruiting returning players in the “Bachelor nation.”” This fueling of the Bachelor subculture and helped to make long lasting success.
But still, why is a dating reality tv show inspiring cult like followers in the first place? In an article on the subject from Psychology Today, therapist Erin Asquith explains “We have a morbid curiosity for drama as it allows one to escape from their own drama, their own life.” The show is built upon pain, a bad car crash that we can not stop looking at. according to author of The Physiology of Emotional and Irrational Investing:
Causes and Solutions, Elesa Zehndorfer, humans are “trained to seek out drama because we experience a rush of dopamine and adrenaline when we encounter it…The more novel it is, the greater the effect.”
In the Spring of 2017, I had the pleasure of living in the beautiful country of Cambodia for two months. Part of an organization in Kona, Hawaii called YWAM, I traveled and lived with 11 other people that were in my DTS – Fire and Fragrance. My time with these lovely souls, and with YWAM as a whole, was an incredibly stretching and beautiful season – one that has helped shape me into the person I am, as well as the person I’m continually striving to become. While I’ve only been overseas for a short season of my life (so far), my two months in Cambodia taught me SO much about love, community, and walking in boldness. Watch the video below to hear about 5 things I learned living abroad!
The video above demonstrates my go-to, everyday makeup routine for when I am in a rush but still want to look my best. This only takes 10 minutes, and you too can get this exact look by using the same products as I did (products listed at bottom of page).
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a passion for makeup. When I was younger, I used to steal my mom’s beauty products so I could look like a teenager. I taught myself how to do my makeup through watching tutorial videos and following beauty influencers. I regularly get asked how I do my makeup, which products I use, and if I could teach people how to do their own.
Doing makeup has become a passionate hobby of mine, whether it is for school, work, social events, holidays, or even simply because I want to experiment new looks. Not only does my love for cosmetics evoke self-confidence, but it also allows me to be creative and express my inner girly-girl.
Here are a couple examples of my favorite makeup looks I’ve done:
4 girls set out on college budgets to see the Pacific North West, stops are listed in the video along with videos of the beautiful scenery!
by Teresa Zortman
Start: Sacramento, California
We then stayed in the Redwoods in Arcata, California. After one night, we woke up the next morning and got on Highway 101.
We then camped in Lincoln County on the coast of Oregon. The campsite was nice- but crowded. We usually back-pack to our campsites so this was a change.
Then we did another big haul up the 101, this was a big driving day but we took many impulsive stops to break it up. We arrived in Seattle in time to eat an over-priced lunch!
We spent some major time exploring the city, surprisingly one of our favorite parts was not the space needle but the wheel on the Seattle Waterfront!
Next was Canada- the border crossing. It took us about an hour to get over the border, even though we tried crossing late at night.
We woke up to a sunny, bright day in the land of maple syrup. We stayed in Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver. We had breakfast, biked, and went to Granville Island! (I rode a tandem bike, and wore a fanny pack. Representing America well to our Northern neighbors.
Sadly, we could not stay in Canada. So we drove down back into Washington where we conquered Mount Baker and tested the speeds of the Ford Fiesta that we had all crammed into.
Our final stop was Portland. We got followed by homeless men cat-calling us but other than that it was great!
The original plan was to camp one more time at a remote site by a River South of Grants Pass, but an epic rain/thunder storm killed those plans. So we settled for a Dutch Bros stop.
I would HIGHLY recommend this trip and these stops! I wish we could’ve taken a longer trip than 10 days.
On a cold winter weekend some people prefer shredding the mountains, others enjoy a cold beer in a 100 degree natural hot spring pool. The beautiful drive along Highway 12 is a huge perk, especially when you’re the only one on it!
The video was shot on my Canon 5D Mark III with a 35mm f1.4 lens.
4 years of college golf all wrapped into one video. Just a little reminiscing before I graduate. Montana was the perfect spot for the California girl. I am so grateful for all the people I have met and everything I got to experience. Thank You Montana! Go Griz!
Quick video highlighting some of the views available along the Montana/Idaho border! Just about an hour and a half southwest of Missoula, Montana, we made a Sunday trip to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho County, Idaho. We explored the Mocus Point Trail and surrounding areas, took in some wintertime views and made our way over to the Weir Creek Natural Hot Springs.
Located in the northwest corner of Montana is what most refer to as the “Crown of the Continent.” This is a vast playground for any outdoor enthusiast. Glacier Park is home of the continental divide, and 1 million acres filled with vast forests, towering mountains, and during three months of the year a ocean… a ocean of cars, crowds, and crazy drivers.
Every year Glacier National Park breaks it’s annual visitation record. Last year a whopping 3.3 million people hiked the trails, swam in the lakes, and battled for parking at the famed Logan Pass Visitor Center. But this doesn’t have to be you this summer if you follow this tip.
Explore Outside the Boundary of the Glacier
The truth is, there is much more to explore beyond the boundaries of Glacier than most think. If you want to beat the crowds this summer, exploring these spots is the right choice for you.
Located 40 miles south of Glacier Park nestled up in the Swan Mountain Range is the Jewel Basin Hiking area. This spot provides some of the best day hikes in the area. Home to 25 crystal clear alpine lakes and 35 miles of hiking trails, it is easy to say one could get lost here. Don’t worry though, I promise you will only get lost in the best of ways! 😉
Ever wonder what Glacier Park looked like before the roads, the buildings, and parking lots? Go see it for yourself in the Bob Marshall Wilderness aka “The Bob” by locals. For the slightly more adventurous types (yes I’m talking to you), spend a day, or a week or two weeks here. There are approximately 1,100 miles of trails, that stretch across it’s 1.5 million acres. Home of the some of the most amazing mountains, rivers, and valleys in Northwest Montana.
Ah yes… how could I forget home! Maybe I am biased, but the opportunities of the Swan Valley are endless. Don’t believe me? Hop on Alpine Trail #7 and head north, you’ll be walking for about 50 miles! Want to stand on mountain peaks in the morning? No problem! How about swimming in sparkling alpine lakes? Yeah got that covered. How about ease of access? Park at the trail head. And yes of course it is FREE!
Too often we are blinded at what’s in front of us because what people say we should think, speak, and explore. Don’t fall for it, and explore your surroundings. Maybe the trick isn’t to listen to me. But try to focus on what is right in front of you, because your Glacier Park is probably begging to be explored!
For most of my life now I have played team sports that have required road trips in some shape or form. Since the start my collegiate career way back in 2010 for TCU’s Lacrosse team I’ve learned that long road trips are inevitable. Over the years as a player and now as a coach for Griz Lacrosse, I thought I would share some tips and tricks on how to make a team road trip easier.
Pack The Night Before
Personally, packing is not the most exciting part of a trip. Coaches demand that we be ready to go at a certain time (usually before the sun comes up). I have found that packing the night before prevents me from forgetting anything in those early morning hours when I am not thinking clearly. In addition, line your bags up at the door so you can have a smooth exit out of your apartment or dorm.
Carry Both Card and Cash
To get to a game you will have to travel though the middle of nowhere. And in the middle of nowhere often times you will find technological conveniences are nonexistent. It is crucial to have cash and not just a card on a road trip in case the store where you are trying to buy snacks is still stuck in the ‘50s. Being hungry on the bus is miserable.
Portable Chargers are Worth Their Weight in Gold
Missoula to Portland on a bus is anywhere from 8 to 12 hours depending on external factors. So even if you charge all your electronics the night before, you will run out of battery life on a haul like that. For $25 to $50 you can get a good quality portable charger that will keep your electronics charged and you blissfully entertained while the hours go by.
Bring Food and Drinks on The Bus
One of the reasons I pack and line up all my stuff the night before is to save time in the morning. With that extra time, I always run and grab food and coffee to bring on the bus. Doing this will save you money over the length of the trip, since prices in food vary from location to location. Additionally, you don’t always know when and where the team will stop for food, having your own will prevent any unforeseen problems.
Bring a Pillow is Key
This one is a little self-explanatory. Not all buses or cars have comfortable seats or headrests. In my case, the Griz Lacrosse team bus has some hard armrests. I always bring a pillow on bus trips. It not only makes the ride more comfortable, but I avoid dealing with hotel pillows that I am not used to.
I’m a 21-year-old college student in Montana, and I’ve been married for a year and a half as of this month. I consistently get the same reactions whenever someone, especially someone around my age, discovers that I’m a wife: “You’re married?!? At 21?? That’s soo young!! I could never give up so much of my life right now!” While I understand that not everyone needs to, or even should, get married young, I feel that there are quite a few misunderstandings about what it’s like to be a wife at my age. Here are 5 lies that many people believe about marrying young:
Lie #1: Marrying young takes away all of your independence.
It’s true that being married brings change to your life; you’re choosing to weave your life together with another person and that requires a beautiful, and sometimes difficult, selflessness. However, being married does NOT take away everything that makes you YOU. I’ve found that it’s really healthy for my husband and I to do things independently; we both have very different passions, hobbies and activities that we find restful and/or enjoyable. For example, he loves to take the occasional day to go fishing with a few buddies, and could be on the river allll day long. I, on the other hand, could fish happily for a maximum of (maybe) 30 minutes, and would much rather spend an afternoon at a dance class (my husband’s worst nightmare) or catching up with a girlfriend over coffee.
My husband is my best friend and we value taking time to pour into one another and into our marriage; there are even many things we both really enjoy! However, we treasure our individual friendships and hobbies and understand the importance of taking time for ourselves. I believe that when you’re in a healthy marriage, you take the time to intentionally pursue one another, but you also encourage your spouse to continue pursuing things that they love independent of your marriage. Marrying young has given me a new dependence on the person I love most in this world, while also allowing me to maintain my independence in ways that I deeply value.
Lie #2: You have to give up on your dreams when you get married young.
I hear this one a lot. People think that getting married young requires one to give up on everything they’ve ever aspired to be and do. In fact, many don’t think they should get married until they’ve achieved what they want and have “everything in their life under control.” My experience with marriage, however, has shown me that it doesn’t inhibit you, but rather has the potential to encourage your dreams to flourish and grow in beautiful, new ways. Being a wife and walking through life with my best friend has inspired the dreamer in me to come alive even more; my husband’s support and belief in me gives me a greater courage to walk in my gifts and choose boldness. Now, I must point out that it’s important to choose to do life with someone you’re compatible with– someone who’s heart is in alignment with yours in the ways that matter most. Doing so will allow you and your spouse to pray for and pursue your dreams together.
Lie #3: You won’t grow as much as you could if you stayed single.
This one is fairly similar to the lie discussed previously. Many believe that getting married at a young age “ties you down” and holds you back in life. However, the beautiful thing about marriage is that it gives you and your spouse the opportunity to sharpen and encourage one another to grow in areas that may be hard to identify alone; starting young can be a tremendous blessing when you view marriage in this way! When you live with another person long enough, they see every bit of you – every flaw and insecurity and struggle. Acknowledging personal weakness is not something most of us excel at… Luckily, a spouse is someone who sees everything in you, loves you despite your imperfections, and even loves you enough to encourage growth in your blind spot areas of weakness – what a gift!
Lie #4: Marrying young doesn’t empower women.
Attending a very liberal university, I often get the vibe that women see marrying young as an undermining of women empowerment. That, for whatever reason, it is more admirable for a woman to achieve things independently than when she’s chosen to become a wife. I simply do not believe that I have to achieve a career before marriage in order to be a confident and accomplished woman. Whether a woman is single or not does not determine the validity of her success; accomplishing something without a man in one’s life does not prove greater strength and should not earn greater admiration. I believe that a truly confident woman sees worth and potential in herself whether married or not. Women can walk in empowerment no matter their relationship status.
Lie #5: Marrying young takes away some of your fun.
Let me just say this… if you choose your life partner wisely, then your life together will not be dull. Partying, dating around, and hopping from one person to another may be seen as “fun” by some young people, but for others, it’s realized that this is an empty and unfulfilling way to live. Am I saying that you have to be married to have fun? Absolutely not. Am I saying that being single is always unfulfilling and empty? No way! What I am saying, is that the idea that marriage takes away your fun is based on a warped view of what marriage can be. Throughout this past year and a half, my husband and I have laughed until our bellies ached (both at and with each other), we’ve had crazily competitive and hilarious game nights, we’ve gone on lots of small (and some big) adventures together, and we’ve found humor even in the days that seem mundane. It’s incredible to be chosen and loved by another person every day, and it’s a gift to find that special someone early in life – someone who brings more joy into your every day.
I hope that I have been clear in writing this blog. I want to reiterate that I do not believe that every person should get married young; I believe that God’s timing works in all sorts of wonderful ways, and I know that everyone’s story is different. I’m not claiming that mine is better than anyone else’s, or that it’s even the “ideal marriage timeline” that should be sought for by all. My hope, however, is that my words have brought light to the negative perceptions that many have about getting married young, and that they have clarified why I find the opposite to be true. Although marriage brings certain challenges and complexities to my life that many college students don’t face, I’m thankful to be married and I cherish my role as a wife. Marriage can be such a gift, and it is my hope that other young women may see it as so.
Thanks so much for reading! Feel free to check out my blog page, Wall Wife Life, to read about other thoughts, experiences, and lessons I’ve learned in marriage thus far.
If you’ve played football at any level, you understand the expectations and pressure put on athletes to be able to gain or drop weight quickly. While these pressures can be felt at every position, there’s no position groups that feel these demands more intensely than the offensive and defensive line, where size matters almost as much as talent. I’ve spent the last few years of my life as an NCAA Division I student-athlete, but it wasn’t until football was over that I was finally able to achieve my fitness goals.
First Things First
So I don’t think it’s a secret that a lot of football players (especially the dudes in the trenches) are just wired a little differently than your Average Joe. You’ve gotta be a little bit insane to voluntarily sign up to commit 40 to 50 hours a week (not including school or work) to a jam packed schedule of workouts, 4:45AM wake-up calls, film sessions, training room work, practices, meetings, yada yada yada, all for the reward of bashing your head into another 300 lb grown-ass man over and over again… but for whatever crazy reason, we did that… And that madness instilled a mindset in us that is different than most. A mindset that allows you to face any challenge and attack it without hesitation. The mindset that allowed you to achieve your goals in football is the same mindset that its going to take to achieve your goals after football. Commitment, self-disciple, and a whole lotta that WORK. Easy as that. And just like in football, you’ve gotta have a game plan.
Through hard work and dedication, I’ve been fortunate enough to drop 70+ lbs (in under 7 months) twice in the last 4 years and the things I can point to that contributed the most to my journey were:
Working out with purpose
Keeping your eyes on the prize
You’re a former lineman. You love to eat. I get it. But believe me when I tell you that even though it sounds pretty intimidating, intermittent fasting is going to be your best friend in this whole process. In fact, if you do it right, you can still eat a lot of your favorite not-so-healthy foods somewhat regularly.
Contrary to popular belief, the entire idea behind intermittent fasting is NOT to starve yourself. With intermittent fasting, you’re still supposed to take in the same amount of calories you would normally, but instead of taking in those calories through the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner, you instead give yourself a 4-8 hour window (depending on what you can handle) each day where you scarf down an entire day’s worth of calories. After a few weeks, your body will eventually get used to your new eating pattern and you’ll start to not even get hungry outside of the window that you’ve set for yourself. Not only does intermittent fasting offer weight-loss benefits, but there are also cognitive and cell restoration benefits that come along with fasting regimens as your body enters into a state of ketosis.
As great as the benefits of intermittent fasting can be, it is definitely something that you shouldn’t jump into without doing your research first and making sure it’s the right weight loss method for you. Below are a few links to videos and podcasts to help you begin your research and better understand exactly how intermittent fasting works.
So obviously, throughout this process, your workout regimen is going to need to be pretty gnarly if you want to see real results fast. It’s crucial that you’re able to hold yourself accountable to not only get in the gym everyday, but also to work your ass off while you’re there! You don’t have your coaches to yell at you anymore, no more teammates to hype you up when you’re not feeling it, no real consequences for skipping a workout. IT’S 100% ON YOU NOW!
So now that you’re in the gym, you’ve gotta figure out how to transition from the year-round swoll-sesh that is lineman workouts into a workout that’ll get you slim and trim. I get asked all the time what my workout routine is and the answer varies but the one thing that is always a constant is CARDIO! I know… as a big guy, cardio is your worst nightmare and rightfully so! Even when you drop the weight, cardio still sucks but like I said before, you’ve gotta embrace the challenge! If it was easy to drop 85 lbs, everybody would do it!
While I 100% encourage you to attack the gym, it’s important to make sure you’re smart about your cardio and that you don’t try to do too much too fast! You can definitely put yourself in some sketchy situations if you’re going all out too early in the process. Nobody wants to be the guy that passes out at the gym because he was hitting the elliptical too hard so make sure you know your limitations, but cardio definitely needs to be the focal point of your workouts. Everything else is supplementary. You’ve been big as hell your whole damn life, you don’t need to lift anymore! Go ahead and hop on that treadmill big fella!
As many big guys do, I’ve always had some pretty serious knee issues and I know jogging isn’t too easy on the ol’ joints, especially when you’re pushing 300 pounds. I’ve found that the stationary bike is a great alternative to the treadmill and a much more comfortable place to knock-out a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session. I bike at least one hour (22-25 miles) on the stationary bike 5 to 6 times a week, alternating between 30-second and 90-second working sets with 30-second resting sets in between. It’s the worst thing in the world for the first few weeks but it’s a freakin’ game changer once you start getting comfortable with higher-intensity cardio! Find some good thermogenic pre-workout, search for a good playlist, and get crackin’ on that thing!
The first month or so of daily cardio is gonna be killer on your lungs and your legs. Your heart is going to be beating through your chest. You’ll probably be the sweatiest guy in the gym and I promise it won’t be a pretty sight. But as you gradually start to shred more and more, you’re gonna realize how worth it it was and be stoked that you did it!
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Just like chasing any other goal in life, its super important to be able to see the big picture and remember what you’re working towards. The biggest challenge you’ll face in this whole process will be the mental battle you’re going to be fighting with yourself to keep pushing your limits. It’s key that you don’t let yourself get discouraged or lose sight of your goals if you aren’t seeing the results that you want right away! Keeping the right mentality can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
You’re not gonna lose 10 lbs in a week and you might not even lose 5 lbs in a week, but you’ve always got to remember to keep a level head, put your head down, and keep on grinding! You’ll only get out what you put into your workouts and dieting, so if you give a shitty effort, you’re bound to get shitty results. At the end of the day, nobody else can want it for you. If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen! No excuses.
I hope this helps you in your journey! Good luck, be smart, and get after it!
Have you ever been to a point in life where you wanted nothing to do with the opposite sex? This is exactly where I was ever since I moved to Missoula, MT in the Spring of 2017 to attend the University. After a year had gone by this is when my love story began. The pictures provided will be important events that happened in order.
On Thursday January 25th, 2018 I was reading The Duck Commander Devotional book (Image above) and the topic was on motivation. I’m not usually the person to post things to my instagram story but it motivated me and I wanted others to be motivated by it as well. With that said, it was uploaded to my story within seconds. Shortly after, a girl replied to my story and said, “Sooooo good”. What did I do next? You guessed it! I went to her instagram profile and scrolled through some of her photos. Of course she was attractive so I messaged her back and made conversation. After a week of messaging back and forth, an unplanned appearance occurred.
Downtown at a local coffee shop called, Zootown Brew, there was a church service being held. I decided to go with some of my roommates that evening and of course the most beautiful woman in the world was there that night. During the church service, I had the worst butterflies anyone could ever imagine. After the church service was over, I saw her and a friend heading across the street. I had to make up my mind and I had to do it quick. Do I try to run into her and make conversation or do I let this opportunity slide and maybe get another shot some other time? I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night if I didn’t go talk to her so I went and made conversation. From the very first time I made eye contact with her, I knew there was something special about her.
Over the course of a month we became really good friends and I decided I wanted to start pursuing a relationship with her. After discussing our feelings with one another, I decided to ask her dad if he wanted to get coffee at City Brew.
We had a great conversation and I asked him for his permission to pursue his daughter. He gave me permission as long as I would Respect her with a capital R. I would recommend this to any guy that wants to get on good terms with the father from day 1. Believe me, it will help.
After the conversation with her father, that night I wrote her a letter in a journal. The letter consisted of my intentions with her and I gave it to her when we were out to dinner at Jakers. After she read it I asked her to be my girlfriend. She said yes and when I dropped her off we shared out first kiss together.
Over the course of a few months we shared several memories and wrote back in forth in the journal to each other. Each and everyday I began to fall more and more in love with her. I had a plan in my mind to complete school before I would ever get married. God had different plans… I shared this with my girlfriend at the time and she felt God was leading her down the same path. After some time had passed, I went to one of the most nerve racking conversations I would ever experience in my life. THE CONVERSATION OF WHERE I WOULD ASK MY POTENTIAL FATHER IN LAW FOR HIS DAUGHTERS HAND IN MARRIAGE.
Him and I met at the Cracker Barrel at 9am on a Friday morning. We had some small talk conversation at first and then I lead the conversations into my feelings for his daughter. The rest was a blur until I asked him if I could marry his daughter. He said yes and we both shared some tears as well as some laughs.
Fast forwarding to the proposal! This was one of the most exciting moments of my life. The 1 time in my life that I will get on 1 knee to ask the woman I love, “Will you marry me?” The evening consisted of a nice dinner in Bigfork, MT at When in Rome. After dinner I asked her if she wanted to go catch the sunset on Flathead Lake at a state park called, Wayfarers. She didn’t hesitate to say yes and the ring in my pocket began to itch. As the sun began to go down we arrived at the destination where my sister and her husband were undercover taking photo’s. Neither of us saw them as we walked into my plan to ask her to marry me. I got down on one knee as she began to cry. Then I began to cry. I could hardly get out the words, “Will you Marry me?” I wanted to say all these things that I loved about her before I asked her but the tears down both of our faces said it all. After she composed herself, she said yes. This was the beginning step towards one of the most important days of my life, the wedding!
We had 100 days to plan a wedding over the summertime. My job was to say yes to everything and help where ever I could. It went by so fast and sooner than I knew it, I married my best friend. The 1 thing I wanted to do at our wedding was choreograph a special dance between the two of us. If you’ve gotten this far, don’t hesitate to watch our first dance (click on the picture below). YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.
If someone had come from the future four years ago and told me that I would be living in Montana in my early twenties I wouldn’t have believed them.
As someone who grew up
in the heart of a major metropolitan area less than 20 minutes walking from the
beach I’m the last person that anyone would have expected to move to Missoula.
However, with the
incentive of a good scholarship, snowboarding and fly fishing I found myself
drawn to this little mountain town.
Although moving to Missoula hasn’t been without its challenges, through trial and error over the last 3 years, I’ve managed to learn a few things about the place that I now call home.
If you’re from any other state than Montana you will get poked fun at.
Especially if you’re a Californian.
It is completely possible experience all the seasons in a 24 hour period—learn how to dress accordingly or you will get sick.
Where I grew up the most
layers I ever needed were a winter and summer hoodie. Most of the time
they were the same hoodie.
Winter weather is not bad until it there’s wind or the temperature is in the single digits.
Learn and embrace that 40 degrees is t-shirt weather.
Ice is real and you will fall on it in the wintertime no matter how much you penguin walk.
It builds character.
Everyone knows each other. Get over it.
Despite it’s significant geographic size, it’s a small state. While there are a fair amount of out of state students there are a ton more locals and most of the time they already know each other. It’s a pretty small town and even smaller school. Tread carefully.
The food will take getting used to
Salt and pepper will be the most spice that you see. And although the number of places where you can get a bomb burger or pizza is uncountable the best Mexican food here is still Taco Bell.
The most you will ever dress up will be a nice t-shirt and cowboy boots
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a twin? More specifically, someone you look exactly like, act like, and share the exact same thoughts and interests with? Let me tell you, it’s slightly crazy. I truly believe twins connect on a different level. Although I have a twin sister, we don’t look similar enough to pull off what my dad and his twin brother would do growing up. If you want to hear some amusing stories, I advise you to keep reading. If not, go ahead and stop here.
In sixth grade it may have been cool to show up in your pink sparkle Adidas and butterfly jeans the same day your best friend was wearing them. In Kane and Kaden’s case, they weren’t pleased with this idea. Similar and likeminded, they would often come out of their rooms in the morning before school wearing the exact same outfit. In my dads’ words, “We would get into a full-on argument and if I changed last time then Kaden would have to this time. At times it got pretty ugly and led to fist fights. My mom would have to separate us.”
In school, Kane liked one subject better and Kaden liked another. You probably already know where I am going with this. They would switch classes and supposedly never once got caught. Although, it was a close call sometimes. Their friends would laugh when the teacher called on ‘Kaden’ to respond to a question, but Kane would forget that he ‘was’ Kaden.
Like the class situation, Kaden and Kane would answer the phone and pretend to be the other. To their twin advantage, even their voices sounded the same. When the other one’s girlfriend would call, they would stay on the line and pretend to be the one the girl was asking for. You could imagine what problems this would cause.
Did your parents ever buy you something because your sibling wanted it? Well, try every time one asked for something the other automatically always got it too. There was double everything in their house. Individuality was a tough act. I even experienced this at Christmas this year. My sister asked for slippers, but not once did I ever, yet I unwrapped a pair from my grandma saying, “I know Kay wanted some for Christmas so I got some for you too.” (If you’re reading this Gram, you know I love ya for this)
When I talk about their individuality, they even were called a mutual name. Even their friends had a hard time telling them apart. This was how the name ‘Graffer’ came about. Although, today if you asked my dad or uncle, they would say they were known as the “wonder twins.” (eye roll)
To this day, they still play on the same softball team, enjoy the same hobbies- collecting and fixing up cars, riding dirt bikes, and spending the majority of their summer days at the lake. I’m pretty sure they talk on the phone almost every day. I know, how cute right? Twins truly share a special bond. My twin sister and I will read each other’s mind and often say the exact same thing out loud. What’s most interesting about this is the idea that physical and behavioral traits can be closely replicated in two humans. This runs counter to our expectation that no other person in the world could be like us. Wow, like I said before… crazy.
I very distinctly remember being 18 and thinking
“I have this figured out.” By “this,” I mean college, and by “figured out,” I
really had no idea. The only thing that I knew was that I wanted to leave my suburban
hometown, and become “a badass business woman.” With that specificity, what
could go wrong? But what happens when you choose the ‘wrong’ place to spend the
next four years at the expense of thousands of dollars? What if you are under
contract as a student athlete? What if your instagram pictures at the beach
make your friends red with envy? I hope that by sharing my transfer journey, at
least one struggling college kid can resonate and understand that it is okay to
take your college experience into your own hands. Your happiness is important,
radical change isn’t the answer for everyone but for myself it was exactly what
A little about me
I grew up in a California suburb that has become known for the railroad running through it and the rice fields surrounding it. A great place to raise a family, being an hour from the Sierras and two from San Francisco. Pretty perfect for the matured adult, but pretty boring for the car-less teen. Luckily, I was a decent enough track and cross-country runner to get some collegiate attention. After a quick visit to Southern California and a scholarship offer, I was on my way to Los Angeles to start school in the fall, leaving my sleepy old hometown in the dust.
You do not have to be happy all the time, but it
should be part of your experience
Have you ever seen the Spongebob episode where Squidward goes to a village of other Squidwards? He thinks it is perfect until he realizes that the days there do not vary or change, and everyone there is fine with that except him. Well, that’s what I felt like after four months in sunny Southern California. The beach is great, but the 10 miles to get there took 25-30 minutes because of traffic. I was running the sport I love, but the practice regimen was starting to break down my body. I had some nice friends, but at night I would still break down alone and cry. Somehow everyone was living in their paradise, except me. I wanted to like this place, I spent so much time telling people about how excited I was to go “Sunny, perfect SoCal” before I left home, I was sure it would pan out.
There came a day I realized that maybe I did not fit in at my current school. I sat and filled out transfer applications to various schools, but I could never send them. Shame that I was “giving up on my team” or that people from home would laugh at me since I was so sure when I left. I felt trapped. I tried to assimilate to the culture and every time it only made me realize even more that I did not fit in. With the way things were going at the moment, I was depressed, angsty, and no-where near the best version of myself. I had never quit something before, that’s why Cross-country and track had come naturally to me, but at some point my course needed to be corrected, so I opened up for that to happen.
When I stepped on the campus I knew
During the Summer, my family was taking our
bi-annual trip to Montana. My younger brother was on the college search, so we
stopped by University of Montana. An old friend from high school was attending
the university and graciously gave us a tour. The tour was for my brother, but
I fell in love. The campus lit something inside me the moment I stepped foot on
the brick paved walkways. I continued to think of Missoula as we drove away and
even when we got home. That was a feeling I hadn’t had before.
So, while sitting at my Southern California University, I applied, got in, and got a scholarship.
There’s no good way to tell everyone
As my second year in Southern California drew to
close, the reality that I was leaving began to set in. People would ask me
about housing arrangements for the next year, and I just smiled and said “oh
yeah! Maybe we can do that!” I knew I had to tell everyone.
So I started with my closest friends.
They were more supportive than I could’ve even
hoped for. I felt closer to them because they only wanted what was going to
make me happy, if that meant a different school so be it.
Not long after telling them, the news spread on
the track team like wildfire. I got people coming up to me asking if it was
true, the cat was officially out of the bag. Some people surprised me with how
supportive they were, some turned out to be hiding the same secret. One of my
closest friendships was forged by the fire we went under for transferring out.
I felt so loved by people who I would’ve never expected. For those people I am
so grateful. Others were not as supportive, and still do not talk to me, but
that was something I had to learn to be okay with. It strengthened me in
patience and love so much that the depression and anger that lived in me no
longer had a place to live, even if they felt entitled to be there.
It’s okay to doubt
Before I left, even though I had been accepted
to UM and more and more details of the transfer had begun to come together, I
still questioned my decision. I would love to say that it was ‘easy’ since I
was clearly struggling, but the reality was I was living a life that I knew
would be discontinued in a matter of months. After the good workouts, the beach
visits, the good days, I truly questioned if I should just pull the plug on the
transfer and gut it out. I remember breaking down on the phone with my Mom
wishing that I would just know what the right choice would be, she simply said
“you’ll end up where you are supposed to be.” As I sit here in my favorite
coffee shop in Missoula, I can say she was right.
Where I am now
Almost everyday, my decision to come to
University of Montana is affirmed. The University took all but a few of my
transfer credits, and supportive staff has made me enjoy academics truly more
than I ever have before. I have formed close friendships with other friends,
transfers and traditionals alike. I even entered a sales competition within the
business school and took home 3rd, bringing internship opportunities and close
relationships with inspiring professors that I had not known before. There is a
sense of comfort that comes with being in the right place, it’s unexplainable.
Even though as I am writing this it is -5˚ in
Missoula and Sunny and 65˚ in Irvine, I have no doubt this is my place.
There is a difference between missing home and missing out. Too often, college students feel obligated to gut out a decision they made when they were still in highschool. Psychologically, your brain changes from 18-22, that also happens to be when we, as students, have to make one of the bigger decisions of our lifetime. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, or making the ‘wrong’ choice for you. Life is as positive or negative as you want to make it, having the courage to take your happiness seriously is not something to be overlooked. Transferring is so often ‘taboo’ because it IS a radical change, but why is a radical change towards happiness a bad thing? Everyone is entitled to pursue their own future and happiness.
Transferring universities is not a “one size
fits all” solution. But for some, it can make all the difference.
My Sophomore year of college I met a girl and we instantly connected on so many levels. From that moment forward we became best friends and we were practically inseparable. We did everything together, and I literally mean everything. She was the person that I looked up to for advice on family, friendships, boyfriends, and even academics. Not only was she nice, but she was smart, loyal, spontaneous, hilarious, and most important, she always supported me whenever I needed her.
As we get older and mature into who we decide to become, we often grow out of friendships or lose touch with them. A lot of the times these falling outs can be completely unintentional. Whether we get busy with school, work, family, new relationships, or we simply just change, the truth is that this is just the reality of life.
I’m sure many of you have experienced something similar, and you can relate that it isn’t easy. There was never an argument or a huge fight that ended our friendship, we simply had a falling out. The past few months have been extremely difficult for me, and I feel that both my friend and I have missed out on being there for each other for many important events.
Having a falling out with a close friend can be emotionally draining, so here are 5 recommendations that helped me and can help many others going through the same process:
Give yourself time to process your emotions and understand the situation
A breakup with a friend can be just as tough as a breakup with a significant other, and it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions. To cope with your emotions, start by giving yourself time to grieve and assess your feelings about the situation so you can come to terms with the reality of losing a friend. During grieving, ask yourself: Are our problems beyond repair? Did they do something unforgivable? What caused this to happen?
Since the breakup with my friend, I have experienced about every emotion possible. I initially tried to brush it off and pretend I did not care. However, as weeks turned into months, I realized I was genuinely hurt by the situation and I missed her. I experienced a range of emotions: jealousy, anger, disappointment, loneliness, and confusion. I cried, A LOT.
It is important to remember that it is okay to feel vulnerable during these situations. You might force yourself to hold in your emotions, but bottling up your feelings is not healthy and it is normal to cry it out.
Look at the situation from their perspective
Everyone has flaws, even you. Try to be more self-aware and understand you might have been in the wrong too. If you both equally contributed to the falling out, then you cannot throw all the blame on them nor should you hold a grudge. It is better to ask yourself: Why did the friendship end? Should I have tried harder to maintain it? Remember, friendship is a two-way street and it takes two people to communicate.
You should take into consideration how they are feeling. When you lose a close friend, it is likely that they are also experiencing the same or similar emotions as you are. And guess what, she probably misses you just as much as you miss her.
Do NOT make your mutual friends choose a side
I cannot express this one enough. A good friend would NEVER try to put their other friends in an uncomfortable position by forcing them to take a side. This problem involves two people, and no one else. Your mutual friends might be hurting too because they’re conflicted and feel they now have to split their time. Making your friends choose a side will only cause more drama and could ultimately make you lose those friends too.
When both of you are in the wrong, you must be mature and refrain from speaking negatively about them. In my situation, I know that the girl was and still is an amazing person, so I never could say anything bad about her. Talking crap to your mutual friends puts them in an even more difficult position, and frankly, it will make you look petty.
Make new friends
Moving on is never easy but making new friends can be when you put yourself out there. While you may think that no one will ever compare to your lost friend, surrounding yourself around different people can fill the void and offer you new friendship qualities. Evaluate which qualities you look for in a friendship, then find the courage to expose yourself to new people.
I used to struggle when it came to making friends, and when I was younger, I honestly did not have that many. After my falling out, I decided to put myself back out there because I was tired of feeling left out. I ended up meeting a few girls recently that welcomed me in with open arms and have since become people I could not imagine my life without.
And finally, reach out when you are ready
If you are as stubborn as I am, this will be the hardest part. This requires you to be the bigger person and to take initiative. If you realize that you still want them in your life, start by apologizing or reaching out. If the two of you are still unable to resolve your issues, then at least you know you did everything that you could.
I found myself reaching out many times during the first few months, but I eventually stopped because nothing was changing. We would agree that we both missed each other and wanted to resolve our issues, but after each time I reached out, I never heard from her again. It turned into a never-ending cycle and only caused me more pain. I finally had to accept that when she was ready, she would let me know.
If the friendship was genuine, remember that this is only temporary. Eventually you will both come around and have the opportunity to discuss the situation, but for now it is going to take some distance. In the meantime, be patient, focus on yourself, and understand that sometimes people change.
Instrumental music is crucial when studying requires your full attention and vocals are only going to distract you. With nine studio albums since they formed in 2002, God is an Astronaut is a post-rock style band that blends traditional rock instrumentation with electronic features to create an upbeat and vibey sound without losing their authentic rock feel.
If you’re looking for something a little edgier to go along with your late night contemplations of dropping out and moving back in with your parents, Tool’s third studio album “Lateralus” is a great place to start. Classified as an alternative metal band, Tool’s music has an intensity level high enough to keep you alert without having to resort to that third Red Bull.
3. Hans Zimmer Soundtracks
If you’re ever experiencing a lack of motivation while
studying, it never hurts to throw on the Interstellar
or The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack
for a spark of inspiration. Hans is a go-to when responsibility knocks at your
door at the eleventh hour and you have to start a paper you should have started
weeks ago. The forcefulness of the music combined with a dose of Adderall (doctor
prescribed, of course) will make you feel as if you are on a mission from God
to do the impossible and get that A you probably don’t deserve.
Kygo has a lot of great music if you have been walking across campus in single digit temperatures all day and would rather be on a beach somewhere. Kygo’s bubbly sound can help just about anyone keep a positive attitude during stressful times and see the light at the end of the tunnel during finals week. If you’re in need of a pick me up, put on Kygo’s debut album “Cloud Nine” and turn that corner of the library into your own tropical paradise.
A mellower alternative that should not go overlooked is
Emancipator. With a very hedonic and almost spiritual sound, Emancipator’s
instrumentals are a great way to entertain your ears while doing your
schoolwork. To this date Emancipator has released five studio albums, all of
which are ideal for tuning out distractions while checking things off your to-do
And there you have it, get familiar with some of these
artists to help you get through your next big study day!
We all heard of the idiom “early bird gets the worm”, probably from your parent, or someone like my friend Michael! I used to, who am I kidding, still am the one who sleeps in till 10 am and can’t fall asleep before midnight.
When I moved to Missoula, MT to study business at the Uni, I
got introduced to a community of fun, down-to-earth and adventures photographers,
which became really good friends of mine! At the end of summer 2017, I was invited
by the supeeeeer duper talented and the sweetest Michael Graef on a VERY early
sunrise exposition (4am kinda early!) somewhere outside of Missoula and as much
as I thought I could pull myself out of bed, I simply couldn’t. But, there was
a time when I agreed to get myself out of bed one morning and meet with the
group that was going. To be completely honest, that was one of the best
decisions I’ve ever made!
On the day to day basis I love sleeping in as much as I can,
but when it comes to getting up to get with a group of creatives, my camera, and
explore new areas I am ALWAYS down!
Few nights ago, I got a message from Michael about going to
the hot springs in the am with a few other friends, and I will likely never
turn down that opportunity, especially on a Wednesday morning when the chances
of us getting an empty pool are very high.
Here are a few of my favorite photos of Meghan from that morning, and you can find some behind the scenes in my “Sunrise” highlights on my Instagram @fotografed_ .
As the summer ends and winter creeps up on me, I find myself losing motivation to keep myself healthy and happy. However, I continued to see advertisements for spin and barre classes, two things I did not know anything about before this adventure. In place of my very few days at the gym, I decided to try out the new fad. Here is my experience with these different places in Missoula.
Hype House: Spin Class
What an amazing first official spin class experience. I had been to spin classes at my gym before, but nothing could quite prepare me for this intense workout. Hype-House made my first time ride an easy-breezy experience. They offer a free-ride to all first-timers, and all I had to do was sign up and schedule the class on their website. Within the same day, I was in the studio ready to take my first spin class.
When I arrived, I walked up to the two ladies at the front desk who were extremely welcoming. They recognized from my reservation that I was new and they told me they would show me around. I got a free shoe rental with my first ride (you need special shoes to latch onto the pedals) and waited for my friends. Once my friends arrived, we headed to our reserved bikes and the ladies were nice enough to come show us how to adjust everything correctly to make sure we were protecting our joints. Something I loved about this place was that they turned the lights off for the workout (phew!).
The instructors wear luminescent clothing to make sure you can see them. We started off with a warm-up. Now, just that was enough to kick my butt. You are consistently changing pace and increasing gears to challenge yourself. We then went into some sprints and other choreographed moves which involved moving up and down to work out arms and quads (no matter how fit you are, you have to be coordinated for these moves). Eventually, we slowed down, sat up, and proceeded to complete a 5-minute arm workout with weights; while on the bike. We then finished off with some longer sprints and a nice stretch to calm down our muscles.
There were a couple things I loved about this place. Firstly, they were incredibly welcoming. Although I was lucky enough to have some friends with me, I would have felt comfortable alone. Secondly, I loved the instructor. She spent the class motivating us by encouraging us to push ourselves and get the most from our workout while also respecting the boundaries of those who don’t frequent her classes. She wanted us to push ourselves as long as we felt comfortable.
Overall, this was a great first stop on my fitness journey. I felt motivated and rejuvenated from my workout, but the most important part of the studio was the support given by instructors, employees, and even experienced riders.
I am sure I was not alone in asking myself this question before going to Pure Barre: What the heck is a Barre class? From my experience, I learned that it’s a strength-based workout class that focuses on building and toning all the muscles in your body. A ballet bar is used (yes the one that sits up against all the mirrors) to complete really intense reps that focus on your leg and glute muscles. I have never been quite as sore as I was the day after going to this class.
It all began with me signing up for their free first-timers class on their website. I entered all of my details to create a profile, and they said they would contact me about scheduling my first class. Nowadays, we sign up for things online and receive an automated email about “signing up”. However, someone at the studio personally texted me to help me schedule a time for my trial in a class that would work well for me. As someone who has never done a barre class, their foundations class was my best option. The class is an “easier” version of their alternative ones.
When I arrived for the class, I was again greeted by two welcoming women who introduced themselves and showed me where I could change and keep my belongings for the class. Once I was all ready, the instructor personally introduced herself and asked about my previous experience to gauge what I needed to know. She then showed me the proper form for their moves and we began class.
The class was just as I thought it might be: intense. We worked out our abs, legs, glutes, arms, back muscles, and anything else you can think of. But it was amazing! The instructor switched between demonstrating and roaming around the room helping people fix their posture and answering any questions. The thing I loved the most was that the instructor knew everyone’s names, even mine. She would use it when she spotted me working hard or having exceptional form. This was encouraging and welcoming.
After class, my instructor thanked me and asked me about my experience. They provided me with information about their different membership packages and sent me on my way. What a great first barre class! The welcoming environment that focused on helping newcomers feel like a part of their family encouraged me to fall in love with the workout.
After Pure Barre, I had to get a sense of another studio to compare. Was it the workout that I loved so much? Or was it the environment of supportive women encouraging me to better myself? Either way, I knew I wanted to try more.
Barre 406 allows first-timers to try one of their classes for just $5. Their purchase process was slightly hard to follow, but I managed to get signed up and into class all in the same day! Once I signed up, I followed the directions on their website to make it to their studio located by the Sunshine Factory next to the mall. Once I found the studio, the first thing to greet me at their door was two cute dogs! Yay! The cute pups greeted everyone at the door to provide some puppy-therapy before a hard workout.
The ladies at the front desk again helped me to get settled in and showed me around their comfortable studio. Once I was changed, I met my instructor and got settled into the class. Now, comparatively, this class was harder than Pure Barre. Pure Barre worked on functional strength with fewer reps, while Barre 406 focused on repetitive, difficult moves. The class was fun, and by the end of the 50 minutes, my legs were shaking so much I could barely walk back to my car. The aftermath in the next couple of days were some seriously sore muscles!
Overall though, I liked the studio and the instructor. I felt comfortable in my first class, and definitely felt welcomed back for more classes after that. It would be hard to exactly compare Pure Barre and Barre 406, because the moves were not exactly the same, but I would definitely stick with my argument that Barre 406 is a more intense workout, while Pure Barre offers a more accommodating beginner experience.
Sobba Cyle: Spin Class
Like barre class, I also wanted to experience another spin class to know how unique each studio is in their offerings. Luckily at that time, Sobba Cycle of Missoula was offering a free “Stressless” ride for UM students before finals. This worked well for me to experience their studio, and it was also a great way to attract new clients. Normally Sobba Cycle does not offer a free or discounted first ride, so this promotion was great timing.
Their sign up process was, like most all the others, a fairly simple process. I followed their Facebook promotional event to their website and was able to book the class easily.
When I arrived, I once again expressed to the welcoming ladies that I was new and they helped me to get my free rental shoes checked out. The instructor came out of the cycle room and asked me if I would need some help adjusting my bike for my first ride. Once I was all settled in, we began. Similar to Hype House, the room was kept dark (phew!) and only the instructor’s stage was lit up.
Now, there were many similar things about this class to Hype House. Movements and choreography were very similar to each other. However, this class felt as though it were less sporadically intense, but more consistently intense. Of course, it could be that after three other workout classes within a few weeks of each other relative to virtually no exercise, I was actually building resilience. I was able to adjust my gears and push myself a little bit harder than I did at Hype House (yay for self-improvement!). Either way, the class was difficult but fun. I especially felt comfortable in a room full of first-timers.
After-class, as a treat for hard work, they provided us with kombucha and a healthy snack! The studio did a great job of letting its culture shine through to the new-comers during this promotion.
Overall, this was a super fun project. I got to experience all kinds of studios in Missoula and learn about each one’s offerings and cultures. This helped me to realize my fitness goals, and also helped me to understand the work I need to do to get where I want to be. One of the best things about experiencing these classes was knowing that there are groups of people who are experiencing the same workouts, having the same goals, and wanting to be working towards them in a supportive group environment. Now, while I was focusing on portraying the authentic experiences that each studio offers, I was intentionally not mentioning the costs of keeping up with these workouts. Needless to say, these workouts are not in the average college student’s budget. They range from around $100-$120 a month. Although I find these to be valuable workout methods, I look forward to finally joining the club when I can afford it.