PAPER WITH A PURPOSE

In case this is your first time here: Hi, I’m Sydney and I’m a compulsive list writer.

Which means I am also a serious sucker for a good writing journal.  Truthfully, I keep notebooks for everything … One for lesson plans, one for work outs, one for day-to-day to-do lists, one for my wannabe-artist doodles, one for house hunting (uh YES! we are buying a house!! which is super exciting, but can also be overwhelming– hence the need for list making).  I am a person that absolutely-100%-I-need-it-or-my-brain-will-explode-and-nothing-will-ever-get-done rely on my plethora of lists.

Thank goodness for Pen + Pillar.

FullSizeRender3Taylor Mahkle is one of the absolutely most fantastic creators out there.  Her designs are gorgeous, without being too overwhelming or busy.  Her colors are vibrant, but not so in your face that you feel like a walking neon sign. There is a serious water-color vibe to her work that feels simple, but unique.

Plus, her actual products themselves are HIGH QUALITY.  A true stationary freak like myself can appreciate this.  You can tell that Taylor values putting out good items.  It’s a classic quality over quantity situation.  There is definite love and purpose put into every single product.

Oh and the best part (I mean as if it could get better than supporting a small business, drooling over outstanding artwork, and writing every little list your heart desires): 10% of each Pen + Pillar sale goes towards helping refugees get settled and feel safe in their new home.  How incredible is that?!

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TBT: MY HARDEST BREAK-UP

The first time I posted this the shock value with my friends and family was fantastic.  Absolutely my favorite part of the post.  But, it goes beyond the shock.  I am weirdly and unabashedly connected to this piece.

Originally posted: August 16th 2016

I tend to toe the line between product reviews, outdoors love (less than I would like, as of late), and oversharing my emotions here on mgg So, I figured it was about time I walk you through an exceptionally difficult time in my life.

It gets talked about a lot, but social media is just a snippet of one’s life. And even though I try to keep mine pretty real, I definitely gloss over some of the messier business I go through. But, I’m just like everyone else (of course I am… every 20-something with a tiny bit of extra time and a sense of ‘I can be witty and informative’ out there has a blog too!). Not everything is perfect.

I forget to switch over the laundry, so it starts to smell. I have days where I’m moody and pick fights (today). I get too lazy to take Teton for a walk. I cry, a lot. I pretend to read when really I’m watching YouTube.

It’s not all hikes and farmer’s markets. No matter how much I like to pretend it is

And that’s why I haven’t shared my hardest break up with you, yet. It’s not shiny or pretty. But, I want to be honest.

My 10 year relationship was recently ended. I was forced to sever ties and come to terms with the fact that we would not be getting back together. There was no patching things up this time.

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TBT: OUR BODIES KICK BUTT

We are going to be throwin’ it back all week long.  Lately, I’ve had a handful of new readers (welcome and thank you) and I wanted a chance to share some of my favorite posts again.  Now, sometimes when I look back at older posts (especially some of my earliest ones) it can be a lot like looking back at an awkward phase school picture (enter Stetson and I in matching vests/chopping off my bangs into nubs as a fourth graders/braces with a rubber band cutting right across the front of my mouth).  It’s painful and embarrassing and you can’t believe it’s been captured forever.  But, other times they bring back some of my favorite memories.  So, let’s focus on that bit.

This is one of my favorite posts because 1. I was terrified to post it and 2. I tend to need these reminders every few months.

Originally posted: September 10, 2015
This is a post that I have had in mind for quite some time, but I have continuously put it off. My excuse for this was that I am not an expert in this area, so I shouldn’t be writing about it. And then I remembered that I’m not an expert about anything that I write about on here…

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13 THINGS YOU LEARN DURING A HALF MARATHON

This year I decided to run a half marathon each month.  Of course, I had never run a half marathon before.  Ever.  But, starting with 13 in 2017 seemed like the perfect move (yes, I know there are only 12 months in a year, but I am throwing in a bonus one for a nice even 13).

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Now, with how much I over-think/over-stress/over-analyze everything, this decision came shockingly quickly.  One night, in the last week of January I couldn’t sleep and this thought popped up in my head (along with 3,458 other thoughts).  The next day I told Brady about my idea, so I had someone to hold me accountable.  Then, that weekend I ran 13.1 miles (on the treadmill, with my iPad catching me up on all of my favorite ABC shows like any truly dedicated runner).

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GUESS WHO’S BACK (…back again…)

Nothing like a good ol’ Mid-February Resolution to get you going again, am I right?

I don’t have a massive, super significant reason for my absence.  I just got busy (and a little lazy). Like every other person on the face of the planet.  But, I’m back and super jacked about where MGG is headed.

Continue reading GUESS WHO’S BACK (…back again…)

FRIDAY FAVES

Happy Friday!  These last few weeks have been awesome, but incredibly exhausting.  Which for me, means going to bed at 9:30 instead of 8:30 (I do feel the need to justify my bedtime by mentioning that I get up at 5 to exercise before I go to work… But I am fully aware that I have a bedtime– and sleepy temperament– of a toddler). And I’m a serious bear without a full 8 hours of sleep under my belt.  So, I have decided to slow down a bit and simply share some of my most recent faves.

Wanting: this perfect fall to last forever.

Reading: The Girls.  This actually wasn’t one that I picked out, but one that was chosen for me.  I thought I would  h a t e  it, but I’m actually loving it.

Watching: ALL the fall shows that are back! The Mindy Project, How to Get Away with Murder, New Girl, Grey’s Anatomy… I’m a background-TV junkie.

Listening: to Teton whine incessantly until I let him snuggle on the couch (completely under my blanket and in my lap because he is a whole new level of needy)

Hoping: all of the baking I have been doing will magically stop affecting my wallet and waistline.

Waiting: for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, like the true Hufflepuff that I am.

Getting: better at not sweating the small stuff.  This, of course, still puts me miles behind a normal person, but I am improving!

Wishing: there were more hours in the day (like everyone else EVER, but I can’t always be insanely witty and original).

Working: on buying Christmas gifts early this year to avoid extra holiday stress.

Dreaming: of more sleep.

Munching: on the last of our Farmer’s Market salsa. I should be savoring it… Instead, I am piling it on everything.

Sipping: coffee with cinnamon, sugar, and a bit of milk. A LOT.

Finishing: another pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food.

Planning: constantly.  My “planning brain” literally never shuts off. It’s ridiculous and completely unnecessary.

Saving: all of the neighborhood cats and squirrels lives by keeping Teton inside the house.  Yet, they still enjoy taunting him by strutting across our fence line.

Looking: like Daisy Duck— according to Brady.

Wearing: a t-shirt and jeans whenever possible.  Just like I have since I was in junior high.  #ifitaintbrokedontfixit

Buying: every skincare value set (they make it seem like I’m saving so much money!) Sephora has to offer.  It’s an actual addiction.

Refusing: to rush through fall, and head right into Christmas.

Organizing: my newly minimalized make-up collection.

Loving: my EYELASH EXTENSIONS!

Bookmarking: way too many fall recipes.

*Thanks abalancingpeach for this outline.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

(Only slightly basic) FALL FAVORITES

Fall is here!

While I am not a fan of pumpkin flavored anything (not because I’m cool and original– I still blindly follow the booties and scarves trend), I do love me some fall.

And I feel no shame about it! So, I’m going to share some of my fall faves with you.

and then proceed to shove fall themed posts down your throat, until I’m ready to complain about my frozen toes. 

Book: Harry Potter (any and all from the series).

Coffee: Whichever k-cups are on sale, topped with milk and cinnamon.

Beer: This one is still up for grabs this year. I’ll be sure to taste test and retest as many as I can to give you a well researched answer.

Bundling Gear: I tried to think of something trendy and aesthetically pleasing for this, but it’s 100% my torn-resown-threadbare-pink-with-decorative-telephones blanket.

Candle: This Smoked Wood and Amber candle from Paddywax smells just like Fall, but isn’t sweet-cupcakes-give-you-a-tooth-ache-just-by-breathing-deeply; it’s perfect.

Pampering: Now, is the best time to bust out my detoxifying  and hydrating mask!

Jamas: Ok, admittedly I am a 9 years old sweats and stained t-shirt to bed type. But, I am considering stepping up my game to a cozy jama set. Maybe. 

Shoes: My Sorel shirt boots I got for last Christmas (the specific color I have isn’t available but these ones Editare super cute, too). I bust them out as soon as there is any sort of chill in the air.

Movie: Remember the Titans— All time FAVORITE movie and perfect to kick off football season (someone call the pun return team, because I just nailed that).

Adventure: Camping. It’s hard to fit in (mostly considering the college football line up for the weekend), but I love waking up on cool mornings, sitting by the fire for coffee… and bundling in 26 layers to stay warm at night.

Scarf: This circle scarf. It can literally turn into a blanket. Like a full-on-cover-your-entire-body-and-fall-asleep-in-the-movie-theater blanket. But, it’s not too bulky to wear normally. (Although, I was recently gifted a Hufflepuff scarf that could make a serious run for this title.)

Food: Anything with sweet potato or squash. I LOVE fancy butternut squash recipes, but love throwing frozen sweet potato fries into the oven on a lazy night just as much.

***

I know… I know…Blah, blah, PSL, blah, sweater weather, blah, blah, crisp leaves, blah. But, let’s be honest: there is some serious truth to why this season is sooo popular. It’s hard to beat that chill in the air (before your fingers are cracked and frozen) and bundling up in your favorite blanket.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

HOW I (don’t) GET LUCKY

I would classify my fishing abilities somewhere between “mostly lucky” to “mediocre skill.”  So, if you came looking for foolproof fishing tips you are DEFINITELY in the right place. I’ve been know to land a solid 4 or 5 baby brook trout, the occasional lazy and fat white fish, or even a confused rainbow every so often.  Whoa— I know.

But, there are some rare times when I’m not just slaying it out there and I want to explain why.



Here’s
exactly why I don’t catch fish:

  • I get hungry.  I’ve only got about 3 good hours of fishing (maybe) in me before I’m ready for my next meal.
  • Fish can sense my skill as I deftly stumble my way through the river.
  • I give fish too much credit.  I spend a good chunk of time changing up flies and trying to stay in the shadows and not yelling… But, let’s be honest: fish aren’t winning any Animal Kingdom Trivia Nights.
  • I don’t give fish enough credit.  If I do catch a fish I will just keep casting and casting and casting into that same spot for the rest of the day, assuming the fish I caught is stupid enough to eat a glistening metal hook covered in string, again.
  • According to Brady: Casting.  I like to “whip it and whip it good.” Apparently–not the recommended technique.
  • I’m a control freak.  I can’t let trout run; I fight them tooth and nail with ridiculously tight lines until they spit the hook.
  • I talk to the fish that I do catch like puppies.  They go back and tell their friends.  And no self-respecting fish wants to go through that.
  • I am too busy constantly checking over my shoulder for wild life.  We’ve got moose, elk, deer, beavers, and bears around us.  And those can be some mean mamajamas when you are in their space.
  • I’m a diva.  I get cold and tired and lose focus pretty easily
  • I try TOO HARD.  I’ve never really mastered that whole relaxing thing.

So there you have it: the only reasons why I don’t catch all the fish.  Feel free to let me know any reasons you don’t catch fish (I could always use a few more excuses reasons to add to my list).

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

TOP 9 REASONS TO STAY HOME THIS WEEKEND

#wanderlust is a serious thing right now. But, like most trends, it’s way overrated. Sure, you get to experience new things and broaden your horizons and blah, blah, blah… But can that really replace the feeling you get when you hunker down for a solid Netflix and Nachos (I want that to be my new motto– #netflixandnachos) session on your very own, dog-hair-covered couch?


Of course, I was lucky enough to go on my fair share of trips these past few months.  And I loved them and wouldn’t take them back for a second.  I just want to spread a little Staycation love.

Here’s all the stuff you can only do while you’re at home:

  • Complain about tourists (I mean, I live in Laramie, Wyoming– so, I don’t get this opportunity much, but I can imagine people enjoy it).
  • Curl up in your favorite (torn and stained and massive and definitely not carry-on friendly) blanket with a glass of cheap wine, a good book, and a stinky dog.
  • Use ALL the liquid products you want– even if they are over 4 ounces.
  • Feel zero guilt about never leaving your house for the entire day, thus staying in your jamas all day.
  • Walk into a bar, immediately be served your favorite beer, and be greeted by name.
  • NOT have to choose between absolutely God-awful coffee or paying $5+ for a cup (that isn’t even as good as you make it).
  • Not feel shame every time you look at your gyms clothes that you packed, but definitely aren’t going to use at that gym with the ridiculously priced day pass– just put them on an head to your gym or shove them out of sight in your drawer like a normal person.
  • Spend the entire weekend without having to listen to that condescending b***h on the GPS.
  • SLEEP IN YOUR OWN BED.

So there you have it! Stay home. Embrace your inner homebody with pride.  You have my full approval.  Feel free to take a nice, long staycation this weekend, on me.

*Obligatory Disclaimer: it’s all about balance.  Get out there and explore, but don’t take your home for granted.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

MY HARDEST BREAK-UP

I tend to toe the line between product reviews, outdoors love (less than I would like, as of late), and oversharing my emotions here on mgg So, I figured it was about time I walk you through an exceptionally difficult time in my life. 

It gets talked about a lot, but social media is just a snippet of one’s life. And even though I try to keep mine pretty real, I definitely gloss over some of the messier business I go through. But, I’m just like everyone else (of course I am… every 20-something with a tiny bit of extra time and a sense of ‘I can be witty and informative’ out there has a blog too!). Not everything is perfect. 

I forget to switch over the laundry, so it starts to smell. I have days where I’m moody and pick fights (today). I get too lazy to take Teton for a walk. I cry, a lot. I pretend to read when really I’m watching YouTube. 

It’s not all hikes and farmer’s markets. No matter how much I like to pretend it is

And that’s why I haven’t shared my hardest break up with you, yet. It’s not shiny or pretty. But, I want to be honest.

My 10 year relationship was recently ended. I was forced to sever ties and come to terms with the fact that we would not be getting back together. There was no patching things up this time. 

Yes, my beloved ZX/2 Chacos in Burnt Orange had been destroyed. 

Now, this had happened before. We went through some rough patches. The wear and tear of our relationship and forced me to seek some outside help to get these guys re-soled. And they had even been re-strapped (when Teton was a puppy, he got a little frustrated about the attention my Chacos were getting and he decided to chew right on through them…) but we had been able to come back from all that. 

Not this time. 

My parents’ new dog had ripped straight through these guys. I wasn’t too upset. I understood that those things happen. Chalked it up to stressful times visiting the family. And assumed we could patch it all up when we got home. 

My stepmom even gave me her Chacos as a replacement. Of course, we all know being set up for a new relationship by your parents is sweet, but never works. I still knew in the back of my mind we could sort things out once we got home. 

After I got home though, it became clear that I couldn’t. It had just been too long to go back to the way things were. We weren’t the same as when we met. (And Chaco no longer carried the Burnt Orange straps…) We had to officially part ways. 

Goodbye to the literal hundreds (possibly thousands– estimates aren’t really my thing) miles we walked together. We had survived middle school, high school, college, and my first years teaching together. We got a dog together. We were dumped by our college boyfriend, then dumped him, then he called it off, then we finally broke up (classic). We went through that short hair/fat face phase. We said goodbye to our best friends together. And then we went on our first plane ride by ourselves to go visit them. We backpacked through Tahoe. We went on countless dates with Brady (no matter how much it bothered my more fashion-focused friends and family). We left home together. 

And I’m not really proud of this, but I got a rebound right away. I know it’s not the healthiest way to handle it; I just had too. I was about to head out on vacation- a family vacation that my Chacos had gone on for the past 10 years- and I couldn’t face it alone. So, I rebounded.

Yes, the new ones are a bit fancier (or feminine, as my brother told me). They are durable. They are a bit lighter. And I like them, I really swear that I do. 

But, I still keep my old ones under my bed. Some may say I have to let go. That it’s the healthy thing to do. I’m just not ready yet. And that’s okay. 

We’ve still got the memories. 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney