FISHING IN BIG SKY, MT

My first fish on a fly!
My first fish on a fly!

I caught a fish! Well, actually 3 trout, but who’s keeping track?

Last weekend, my brother and I ventured up to Big Sky, Montana to visit our dad and step-mom. This is a solid 9 to 10 hour drive, so we don’t get up there as often as we would like, but it is like the place for us. You know how people just have a place where they feel at home and relaxed and like it is separated from the rest of the world? Yeah, Big Sky is it for Stetson and me. Which may seem a bit strange since we did not grow up there and my dad and Stacey just moved there about 3 years ago. But, that was our vacation spot growing up. We would go on hikes (and at the time I literally dreaded our hike days more than anything—they would tell me that when we got to the top I would get a peanut butter and honey sandwich, so I also hated those for a long time), Stetson and I would spend all day swimming, and we would fish.

In the jeep with Stetson, Teton, and Camden.  Just a bit snug.
In the jeep with Stetson, Teton, and Camden. Just a bit snug.

Yes, I did used to fish with my family. I had a bright pink Berkley Nibbler spin rod, that I used. It came with a bright pink plastic fish that I would tie right on to the end. That way I was guaranteed to reel in a fish every time! I loved it; it drove Stetson absolutely nuts.

After going up to Big Sky so often, my dad took up fly fishing. Then, a couple of years later the rest of us did too. But, I lost interest around age 12 (shocking that a junior high girl didn’t want to participate with the rest of the family fun, right?). So, when the family would head out for the day I would tag-along with my book and hang out on shore.

Recently, though, not fishing just doesn’t make sense. My dad, Stacey, and Stetson are all very skilled fly fisher-people. My mother’s soon-to-be-husband has an awesome cabin right on the river. Brady loves fishing all summer long. So, for Christmas I asked for a fly rod and reel, and now I don’t have to be just the tag-along.

Of course, if you have been reading, you know that I’ve gone out fishing a few times already. Mostly, it was practice casting, untangling knots, and relationship testing (with Brady being my teacher, but so far we have come out completely unscathed).

And this weekend it finally paid off in actual fish!

Like I said, the drive is long, so Stetson and I got up to Big Sky just a bit after midnight. Then, we stayed up for quite some time having a few drinks and catching up. Which put us in bed right around 2 in the morning. But, we were up and at ‘em at 7 a.m. next morning! Well, Teton mostly forced me to get up, regardless of how it happened though, I was ready to go.

Here's all of my help.
Here’s all of my help.

My dad, my brother, his dog, my step-mom, and myself all headed out on the lower Madison River. And we looked like complete Griswolds. Seriously within about a hundred yards Stetson had caught his first fish. And honestly as I was watching him reel it in, I got my first bite and set the hook!

Net

It was a bit chaotic: my dad trying to row and coach me up on how to land the fish, Stetson reeling in his first catch, Camden getting used to the whole boat concept and really wanting to see the fish, Stacey attempting to net both of our catches, and me yelling about not doing anything but having a fish! Of course, Stetson was pretty indignant because Stacey jumped out of the boat to net my fish for me, while he claims his was close enough to slap against the side of the boat and she didn’t make a move. Mainly, he was just jealous because my brown trout was bigger.

I've heard somewhere you have to kiss the first fish you catch...
I’ve heard somewhere you have to kiss the first fish you catch…

Now, I know catching a fish in the first 100 yards has you thinking I am an expert fly-fisher. Obviously. But, that is not entirely true. My dad kept telling me to “get my tip up” and I kept raising my pole higher and higher… only to sink lower and lower into my power squat. Which completely reverses the whole point of having my tip up. I get into this really awkward squat position whenever I am doing something new, or that I am not very good at. I just always have. To this day if you ever see me skiing—cross country or downhill—I will get into the world’s most awkward looking squat, with my knees all knocked in because I am super flat-footed. I even do it if I get really excited while I’m talking about something.

"The Squat" in action.
“The Squat” in action on the Gallatin.

And, no, the squat does not help you catch fish. Really, I caught fish in spite of the squat.

I'm trying to unhook my second fish on my own.
I’m trying to unhook my second fish on my own.

After, our incredibly eventful first 10 minutes of fishing, we kept going for the better part of the day. Just with a little less action. I kept on the massive and ugly fly that I caught my first fish on (it was so big, it took some time to get used to casting with it), and managed to catch another fish a few hours later. This one I feel like I really earned. It wasn’t like the first where my fly seemed to be just floating there for the world’s laziest fish to grab. This second one was a really pretty rainbow trout. Stets caught probably 5 or 6 more throughout that day. And thank goodness we had my dad and Stacey to help me handle all of my snags and questions and hitting Stetson in the face with my rod.

Stetson and Camden with one of the trout he caught on the Madison.  Apparently Camden had heard of that fish kissing rule too.
Stetson and Camden with one of the trout he caught on the Madison. Apparently Camden had heard of that fish kissing rule too.

The next day we took a much more laid back approach. We went out for a late brunch. Stopped so I could pick up some waders of my very own (I got these Patagonia ones and cannot tell you how much I love them!). Then headed down to the Gallatin for a few hours. It was pretty darn cold, and the water was still super muddy (or chocolately as the more hip fishermen say), so we weren’t expecting much.

Here I am just testing to be sure my waders can handle the squat.
Here I am just testing to be sure my waders can handle the squat.

Cold

That’s exactly how I like my fishing. Expectations low, with a good excuse if I get skunked.

Cast with Dad

Surprisingly, I did manage to pull out a nice trout right before we packed up. At first, Stetson had this spot where he pulled out three right in a row. And he gave me the spot—which is about the nicest thing you can do while fishing as far as I am concerned—but I managed to pull out exactly zero fish. So, we moved on and luckily I was able to snag one at our new hole.

3rd fish

Unfortunately, after just tearing it up fishing (yes, I consider three trout to be “tearing it up”) we had to face a 10 hour drive back to Laramie. In order to make that drive a bit less miserable, my brother decided stopping for fishing pit stop would be necessary. Now, I really, really, hate a change in my plan. A lot. But, I decided it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, since our entire day would be spent in the car anyway, so I went along with it.

We headed over to a little area of the Madison River between Hebgen Lake and Eatchquake Lake. Of course, Stetson caught fish while I didn’t. Most likely because he had a better attitude going into it. A little fishing karma, I guess. But the stop still wasn’t a loss for me. It was ridiculously gorgeous and both of the dogs got to enjoy running around for a little while.

Between the lakesBoth pups

Basically, I have come to this conclusion: in order for me to catch fish I needed to get back to my Montana roots. Now, that I have a couple of Montanan trout under my belt, I think I can take on the Wyoming fish.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

It wouldn't be a complete Big Sky post without a picture of Harley.
It wouldn’t be a complete Big Sky post without a picture of Harley begging like a champ.

 

BASEBALL SHIRTS

One of my favorite baseball bro tanks (not that I have many to pick from) that I got at skreened.com

Baseball season is officially in full swing! And most of the snow in Laramie has melted, so I feel like I can finally appreciate it now.

I have mentioned before that I absolutely love baseball season.  You can soak up the sun, drink good beers, eat lots of ballpark food and just relax.  Of course, I still want to look cute.  But, athletic.  And, put together.  But, not like I’m trying too hard. simple enough, right?

For me that usually means a classic pair of jean shorts (I am on the hunt for a new pair because mine are 7 years old, and no longer “classic”– more like decrepit), a cute-but-not-fitted t-shirt, and a baseball hat.

One of the most difficult things about dressing for any sporting event is that it is pretty much guaranteed someone else will have the same shirt as you.  While it is a lot more acceptable to have this happen at a ball game, rather than a job interview (which totally happened to me), it’s still not something I enjoy.

So, I decided to share a few of my go-to sites for baseball t-shirts.  That way I can be upset about you matching me, instead of some other random fan.

Keep in mind: I do prefer more unisex or oversized tops for baseball (and life in general). As I mentioned I am usually taking full advantage of the ballpark food and beer, so I do not want to be worrying about sucking in.

Skreened

There's No Crying In Baseball | Raglan T-shirt | Front
A few of my favorites this season.

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend Baseball tee | Raglan T-shirt | Front

This is definitely my favorite!  The shirts are cheap.  They are generally pretty unique.  And they are made with that really soft, worn-in feeling material! I have noticed though, that every once in awhile I can find a shirt from this site on another site for a cheaper price.  So, if you really want to search around know that is an option.  But, honestly for the extra 3 bucks I am happy having a one-stop-shop-site with tons of options.

Victoria’s Secret

I have to support the Orioles and the Rockies here.

shirts victoria s secret t shirts victoria s secret colorado rockies ...

I debated on including this site.  I do really appreciate that they offer a selection of clothing for sporting events that is tailored more for girly-girls.  But, at times I feel like they can be overpriced for what you are getting, and the selection is a bit limited.  That being said, if I am ever looking for a Rockies shirt that is covered in sequins (I am not being sarcastic, as I do  have this urge every so often) this is where I go.

Etsy

Baseball Tee with Glitter Logo
This is one of my all-time favorite shirts! I actually have two because I spilled all over one, but couldn’t live without it. Mine doesn’t have the sparkles… but I’m thinking I may need a third.

I love Etsy! Granted, this site will take a little more digging, but this is where you will find you most unique pieces.  And the digging can be pretty fun.  You’ll get sucked in looking at baseball tees, and then– two hours and three glasses of wine later– find yourself checking out hand woven blankets.

Just to help you out, here are a few shops that I usually find great baseball tees:

SouthernSpiritShop -very southern-belle-ish, lots of monograms girly touches

StrongGirlClothing -more workout motivation style tops (which I also really like) and if you look enough you can some awesome baseball-specific stuff

watatees -lots of state baseball designs (and being from Montana and Wyoming, which both do not have MLB teams, my options are limited) *don’t let the bearded man in the pictures throw you off– the shirts are pretty darn cool.

Last but not least, check out the t-shirts being sold at all of those little stands that pop up on gameday!  I have some of my absolute favorite baseball shirts that I got day of.  They are usually cheaper than they would be inside.  And my favorite part is that they have some of the older, or “outdated,” designs that make it a lot less likely you will find someone else matching.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

APRIL BOXYCHARM

April Boxy CharmIt’s time for my April BoxyCharm! The theme for the box this month was BoxyBloom. As in, Spring and everything is blooming. Of course, I live in Wyoming, so the day that this box arrived in my mail it was blizzarding and we got over two feet of snow in the next few days. Ah, Spring time in the Rockies…

Having lived in Montana and Wyoming my whole life, I am not a huge complainer about Winter weather—there may be some people close to me that disagree, but I really don’t think I’m bad. I mean, I know it’s going to be here no matter what. And I am actually okay with snow and below zero weather from November through March. 5 months seems fair for Winter, right? But when we are getting snow storms in April, or even May (which happened last year during my Graduation weekend, so everyone who came to celebrate was stuck) I am over it. Which is why I definitely appreciated my BoxyCharm this month.

April FullIf you don’t know much about BoxyCharm check out my March BoxyCharm post where I explain it a bit more. Just a reminder: I pay $21 dollars for this each month. And this month’s box was worth… $146.90!!

COASTAL SCENTS REVEALED 2 PALETTE

Revealed PalletI was originally planning on saving the best for last. But, I’m just too excited!

In this month’s box we received a full eyeshadow palette from Coastal Scents. And it is beautiful! The colors are all pretty warm (I have seen it described a having a rose -hue and that is spot on). It has 20 shadows and is in a really slim package that makes it great for traveling. It was the only eyeshadow that I took to Vail this past weekend and it was perfect. I have loved playing with the colors, and as a make-up newbie by “playing” I mean changing out my crease color and possibly lining the lower lashes. The only down side I have seen comes with the glitter shadows. They are a bit chalky. The satin and matte finishes, however, apply really smoothly. There are some beautiful cranberry and mauve shades, so I am prediciting when Fall is here this palette will be my go-to.

Overall, the palette gives great pigmentation, wears ALL day (like through my after-work workout), and has a nice variety of shades. It looks similar to the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette. I don’t personally own that one, but I am so happy with my cheaper Coastal Scents one, I don’t need to.

The palette is listed at $39.95, but is on sale on Coastal Scents website for $19.95. (So if you really want to be nit-picky you could take the total value of this box from $146.90 to $126.90, but I still only paid $21!)

OFRA DERMA MINERAL POWDER
Ofra Highlighter

Enough sparkles to last you a life time.
Enough sparkles to last you a life time.

This is a pink-toned, powder highlighter. And there is a ridiculous amount of product here! It retails for $35 dollars, which seems like a ton for a highlighter. But, unless you are seriously, SERIOUSLY stepping up your highlighter game you will never go through this whole product.

Now, I like it best as a highlight on the inner corner of my eyes, and I will even use it like that as my only eyeshadow on a day-to-day basis. However, I do think it is designed to be more of a cheekbone highlight. I have just learned (the hard-way as I headed to work looking like a disco ball) that if you are going to use this on the cheeks you need very little product. Once you get the hang of it though it does blend out nicely.

VINCENT LONGO DUO LIP PENCIL in “Toffee” and “Toast”

Duo Lip Pencil

Just too brown for my skin tone (honestly I could probably use the darker one as an eyeliner...)
Just too brown for my skin tone (honestly I could probably use the darker one as an eyeliner…)

These lip pencils are my only disappointment with the box. They are double-ended, which is nice for travel to cut down on the amount of lip products you need to bring with you. But, the colors I received just do not suit my skin tone at all (which is a risk you run with theses subscription boxes, but I like to live life on the edge). They apply pretty smoothly on the lips, but they are wooden so you will need to make sure you have a sharpener ready. These retail for $26 dollars, which is pretty darn expensive.

I will try them out a bit more with different lip colors layered on top, but this isn’t a product I would run out and buy for myself.

COOLWAY SMOOTHING LOTION

CoolwayI love smoothing lotions! My hair has lots and lots of texture, which is just my salon-ish way of saying my hair is super frizzy. So far, this product has done a very nice job of reducing frizz (when I wear my hair naturally and when I straighten it), without making it look greasy. And that is especially important to me because I go an embarrassingly long time between washes with my hair.

This product retails for $24.95, but here is a coupon code that came with the box for 35% off your purchase and a free hairbrush : BOXY4U.

HARVEY PRINCE MINI ROLLER FRAGRANCE

Harvey PrinceOk, getting a perfume without smelling it is a little scary. I feel like everyone likes unique scents, so it’s difficult to send out a universally likes perfume. Personally, I really like fresh scents. To me that means nothing too florally or sweet. I just like to smell clean… and good, I guess.

It super hard to describe a scent in writing but Harvey Prince’s website lists the notes as “Meyer Lemon, White Grapefruit, Satsuma Mandarin, Summer Forsythia, Pink Plumeria, Wild Verbena, Tahitian Vanilla.” Just in case you’re a perfume genius and that makes sense to you. It also says the style is “welcoming, loving, and refreshing.” That sounds good to me!

My favorite part is that it comes in a mini bottle with a roller applicator, so I have been just keeping this in my purse. This retails for $21 dollars ($55 for their full size perfume).

I highly recommend BoxyCharm. They are such a great value. Even if I don’t love every item in there, the items that I do use always add up to more than $21. And money aside: getting packages in the mail is always fun, it’s always exciting to try out new brands or products you wouldn’t normally use, and it is such a surprise to see what you are going to get each month. My May BoxyCharm is probably about 3 weeks away, but I’m already getting pumped.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

TRAMPLED BY TURTLES IN VAIL

VailThis last weekend Brady and I went to Vail, Colorado for some of their Closing Weekend festivities. Neither of us had been to Vail before, and we had the best time.

At first, we weren’t even sure if we were going to make it down there. The weather was just not cooperating. In Laramie, we got over 2 feet of snow right before we left. It was so bad that Brady and myself were able to leave early from work, just to make sure that everyone could make it home. There were people who had worked there for over 25 years and had never had that happen! We don’t have closures often, if at all. Laramie is definitely used to snow.

Of course, as we were packing up I was talking to some of my friends about what a bummer it was that Brady and I couldn’t leave for the weekend. Meanwhile, Brady was talking to his friends and they were discussing every possible route we could take and assuring him they wanted us to be safe… but we definitely should go.

So, we hit the road.

The view from our hotel room.
The view from our hotel room.

Honestly, once we got out of Wyoming our roads weren’t too rough at all. The drive from Laramie to Vail is really pretty and it was an enjoyable car ride. Especially considering I didn’t have to drive.

The first night we were down there we walked around the town square, went to a ridiculously delicious meal, and checked out a few of the bars in town. The next day, we got up at a pretty decent time, ate absolutely as much as possible from the “free” (uh, hello resort fees) breakfast buffet—because we were not stopping for lunch—and walked around town. We popped into a few shops and got some incredible coffee at Yeti’s Grind, which is my new favorite coffee place. Basically, we were the hard-core tourists that every mountain-town local hates (I feel like I can say this because my dad and step-mom are mountain-town locals). We embraced it and had a blast.

Porch
I needed a little breather after all of that tourist-ing.

Now, here comes my highlight for the trip. After all of that, we had a few hours to kill before the free outdoor concert that night. We went back to the hotel, got all geared up for the hot tub in our swim suits and robes, and headed down to the hotel bar. It was snowing out and sitting in the hot tub having a drink sounded like the best move. Until we realize that there are only two other people in the bar and one of them was the lead singer of the group that we are going to see tonight and arguably our one of our favorites groups, Trampled by Turtles. And we were wearing bathrobes!

We ordered our drinks and kept whispering like little kids about that really being Dave Simonett. I am sure he heard, due to the fact that we were a foot and half from him, but he did the polite thing and pretended not to. Finally, we were about to take off, when I made a joke to the bartender about this being our casual wear. And Dave Simonett laughed! Clearly, I took that as an opportunity to introduce us and tell him that we were from Laramie (where we saw them play a few months ago) and Brady mentioned that we saw them at Red Rocks too (his only words). I made one more joke about our robes (it was getting close to overkill, but I executed it perfectly), and we left.

Hot TubThen, we went to the hot tub and giggled like schoolgirls until it was time to get ready for the concert.

We prepared for the concert with some awesome pizza (that Brady ate really intensely).
We prepared for the concert with some awesome pizza (that Brady ate really intensely).
Then, we had some coffee (again intensely).
Then, we had some coffee (again intensely).
Headed to the concert!
Headed to the concert!

And honestly the concert was the most fun concert that I have ever been to. No exaggeration. It was outdoors. It was jam-packed (like so packed we had to climb the fence to get to the bathrooms, rather than make our way through the crowd). It snowed the entire time. I was too short to see. But I had the best time. They played right in the town square with the mountain directly behind the crowd. They played Lucy, which is my favorite song, and Victory, which is Brady’s. There legitimately isn’t a way to describe it that does this concert justice. I feel like I’m not cool enough to really be able to understand people when they talk about the “energy” of a show. But there was so much energy!

Start of Trampled by Turtles
Start of Trampled by Turtles
End of Trampled by Turtles
End of Trampled by Turtles

There is just something about an outdoor concert and this one knocked it out of the park. Oh yeah, and it was free.

This is how ridiculously happy I was with beer and coffee waiting for the concert... so squinty excited.
This is how ridiculously happy I was with beer and coffee waiting for the concert… so squinty excited.

The next day, the mountain was doing all of their final festivities. Lots of ski resorts like to end their season with something called a Pond Skim. This is on the last day of the season, where people get all dressed up and ski down the mountain, until they get to this massive pond-thing, and attempt to switch from downhill skiing to water skiing… gracefully. And I was so looking forward to watching it. But, the weather was not cooperating with us, so in the interest of being responsible adults and making it to our jobs on Monday we headed back.

Normally, I am not proud to say, a change in plans like this would have ruined my entire day. I mean I cried on the way to work Friday (twice), because I thought we were going to have to cancel. I really like my plans and don’t handle change well. But, because the concert was so incredibly amazing and the weekend was so relaxing I was alright with it.

As, summer is approaching I can’t wait for even more outdoor concerts, but I know this will be the one to beat for a long, long time.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

FAVORITE FACE MASKS

Because I’m all about that face, ‘bout that face, no pimples!
Because I’m all about that face, ‘bout that face, no pimples!

I have always had some skin issues. Never over the top, terrible skin, but always just a few blemishes hanging around. Lately though, I have actually been getting compliments on my skin. Even from some of most honest (blunt, cut-to-the-chase) people in my life! That’s how I knew I was doing something right.

Just for reference, my skin is dry and sensitive– just like my sense of humor.  My skin care routine is on a bit of a rotation.  I use Rodan and Fields Unblemished line two times a week, then I use Cetaphil (or any gentle cleanser) the rest of the days.  These masks get thrown in once or twice a week, depending on what my skin is doing.

I will be giving my opinions and tips about each of these masks. But, if you want more details about all of the benefits that each mask has to offer click on the link with each mask.

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn Hibiscus Mask

One of my absolute best friends-- since 6th grade!-- sent me a sample of this (in the cutest care package ever). And I figured this picture was necessary for a 'Thank you.'
One of my absolute best friends– since 6th grade!– sent me a sample of this (in the cutest care package ever). And I figured this picture was necessary for a ‘Thank you.’

How to apply: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of the mask with equal parts water (the directions say 1 teaspoon, but I found I did not need that much product). Apply all over face, let dry, rinse with warm water.

Why I like it: I have mentioned that I have dark marks left over from acne on my face. I also can tend to get pretty red throughout the day (and not just when I am embarrassed because one of my jokes just bombed). This mask seems to really calm my skin. Initially, after I wash it off I am a little red, but that’s from the flowers. Once, that goes away—usually in about 10 minutes—my skin is good to go.

*The website also says you can mix this with honey and I am probably going to try that next.  I love experimenting.

*The smell on this threw me off at first. It’s nice… but really overwhelming to have that much hibiscus right up in your face.

Mullein & Sparrow Facial Mask

It's a mask showdown!
It’s a mask showdown!

How to apply: Mix about one teaspoon of the mask with just under equal parts water. Add more product and water as necessary until you get a consistency that you like. Wet face first, then apply all over your face and neck. Let dry and rinse off with warm water.

I received this as a luxury sample from BoxyCharm, and it looks stinkin' adorable on the counter.
I received this as a luxury sample from BoxyCharm, and it looks stinkin’ adorable on the counter.

Why I like it: This mask is a very gentle exfoliater. I tend to get dry patches and it removes those, without overly drying my skin. My skin feels nice and soft, but not tight.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

I was being a bit of a diva about not looking very cute in this picture.  Then my photographer, Brady, reminded me that it was 9 o'clock at night and I had mud on my face, so it wasn't going to get any better with more takes.
I was being a bit of a diva about not looking very cute in this picture. Then my photographer, Brady, reminded me that it was 9 o’clock at night and I had mud on my face, so it wasn’t going to get any better with more takes.

How to apply: Mix 3/4 tablespoon of the mask with equal parts apple cider vinegar. Apply all over face. Let mask sit for about 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water.

Why I like it: This is the mask I use when I feel a break-out coming on. You know those bumps under the surface, that aren’t quite blemishes, but are almost there? Yeah, as soon as I feel one of those I pop this mask on and it’s gone the next day.

*If you don’t have apple cider vinegar at your house, or you hate the smell of it mixed with the mask, you can just substitute water.

*This is incredibly cheap and gives you a ton of product.  So, if you are unsure, but want to try a new mask, I definitely suggest this one!

Charcoal “Mask”

Coal Mask*Copycat recipe of Lush’s Coalface Cleanser: I absolutely love Lush! Their Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner is one of my all time favorites. But, it isn’t always in my budget, so this is a great alternative.

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

8 capsules activated charcoal (I found mine on Amazon for a decent price)

2 tablespoons baking soda

*This recipe makes you enough to last months if you use this mask twice a week like I do.

Directions:Melt the coconut oil in the microwave. The activated charcoal comes in a little capsule, so you dump those into the oil, and add the baking soda. Mix everything together and let it cool. When you let it cool it will become solid.

How to apply: You will have a little cube of “mask.” Break off a chunk and rub it over your entire face, like you would if it were bar soap (well don’t use bar soap on your face, but it’s the same concept). Wait a couple of minutes—brush your teeth or chase you dog around the house. Now, get really warm water and soak a washcloth, then press the washcloth over you face. Remove it and rinse out the excess product. Repeat this until your face is basically all clear, then rinse with warm water.

Here's what my washcloth looks like after my first 'rinse.'
Here’s what my washcloth looks like after my first ‘rinse.’

What I like it: This is a regular part of my skin care routine. I use it to exfoliate AND moisturize.

*Buy a big pack of cheap washcloths, from Walmart or Target for this. The charcoal will stain them. It’s a bit messy at first, but once you do it for awhile it gets much better.

Keep in mind: each face is different! What works for me may not work for you. Just mess around with different products and routines until you find one that works for you.

Thanks for reading,

 Sydney

MY DAILY BREAKFAST

Chia PuddingI will be the first to admit that when there is a new “fad” food out, I always try it. Which is exactly how I stumbled onto my favorite weekday breakfast recipe.

Chia seeds were way in like a year ago (they may still be in, but kale made a real push for awhile and I was totally on the spaghetti squash bandwagon, and I am sure there is something new I haven’t even heard of, so I don’t want to be outdated). I like to sprinkle chia seeds in my yogurt and sometimes I mix them in with peanut butter and honey to dip a banana in. And both options are awesome! But, Chia Seed Pudding is by far my favorite recipe.

I eat breakfast around 6:15 or 6:30 each weekday morning. Then, I don’t have lunch until noon. Usually I sneak in a piece of fruit, or something similar, as a snack between then, but that’s it. And it may seem over-dramatic, but that is like a lifetime without eating for me. I am a strict every-2-hours-snacker. At least. I love food.

Here’s the impressive part… This breakfast keeps me full from breakfast, all the way to lunch! And it’s another no-mess-up-recipe, just like my Cowboy Caviar. I make 5 of these each Sunday night and then keep them in my fridge, so I am ready to grab breakfast each morning.

Ingredients:

Supplies

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (this feels super high-maintenance for me, but I like how this tastes; you can use whatever milk you like—I’ve even done it with skim and been fine)

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp honey (I just do one little squirt from the bottle)

1 Tbsp raspberry preserves (this is kind of a lot, so if you are watching your sugar you can definitely cut this down)

10-12 almonds

*Makes 1 serving.

Directions:

  1. Pour milk, chia seeds, and honey into an airtight container (I use a mason jar). Mix all ingredients together and place in fridge.
  2. Allow mixture to chill for about 1 hour.
  3. Add almond and raspberry preserves to the top of the mixture. Place back into fridge to sit over night.
  4. Roll out of bed, grab your breakfast, and be on your way!
Ready for the whole week!
Ready for the whole week!

Tips:

*If you have time do step one in the morning. Then around lunch-time, stir the mixture together again and place back in the fridge. Add toppings around dinner-time. This will give you a better consistency.

Here is what the mixture looks like after about an hour in the fridge.  At this point, I suggest stirring it again before adding toppings.
Here is what the mixture looks like after about an hour in the fridge. At this point, I suggest stirring it again before adding toppings.

*Most grocery stores carry chia seeds, and you can by them right along with your other groceries.  But I have found that getting mine off of Amazon is a lot cheaper. I buy HealthWorks.

I absolutely love how easy and versatile this recipe is. As it gets warmer, I am going to replace the preserves with fresh fruit. I would like to try is with chocolate almond milk, banana, and peanut butter. I have used walnuts with this recipe. Really, you can mix it up however you want.

Full Disclaimer: this is not everyone’s cup of tea.  The consistency is a bit different and I think that throws some people off. I made this for my brother one day when he stayed with me, and he equated finishing the entire serving with climbing Mount Everest. I did not make it for him again. But, if you like to experiment with new recipes, and need a quick breakfast for the morning give this a shot.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

TETON

One of my favorite pictures with Teton as a puppy.As we get closer to summer, I am planning some of the adventures and exploring that I would like to do. Which of course means that I will be documenting anything cool, or marginally cool, that I do for you to check out. And that means you will definitely be seeing a lot more of my dog, Teton. So, I want to give you a little bit of his background and my experiences with him before we get there.

Like always, I am not claiming to be an expert here. This is simply going to be me sharing some of the things that I have learned with Teton, and venting some of my frustrations. And showing off lots of the super, adorable pictures I have of him.

Full disclosure: I am one of those annoying girls that has 27 nicknames for her dog. Teeters, Teets McGee, Little Buddy, Teeter Tot, or any explictives strung together that he has prompted me to use. But, for the sake of this post, I will spare you all of that and just call him Teton.

What kind of dog is Teton?

He's grown into his ears, a little bit.
He’s grown into his ears, a little bit.

He is definitely just a mutt. His mom is half German Shepard and half some-sort-of cattle dog and his dad is a mystery. He didn’t get as big as I was thinking (Thank Goodness!!), and is only about 50 pounds. I’m not someone who puts too much emphasis on the breed of dog. Growing up we had lots of different breeds and mutts, all with their own little quirks. I don’t think all PitBulls are vicious and I don’t think all Golden Retrievers are super friendly. In my opinion, the breed can play a factor, but really it just depends on the dog’s personality and the owner’s personality.

Where/When did I get Teton?

This was on the trip bringing Teton home from Lander, after he had pooped on Stetson's lap.
This was on the trip bringing Teton home from Lander, after he had pooped on Stetson’s lap.

I got Teton from Lander Pet Connection, which is a shelter near-ish to where I live in Wyoming. They are a small shelter and they constantly have tons of dogs and cats there. If you are wanting a pet, please go check them out! They constantly are jam packed and are wonderful to work with.

I was 20 years old when I got him. It was literally 3 days before my junior year of college when I brought him home. Terrible planning on my part, and frankly I was not ready. I thought I was, of course. I have always been pretty financially responsible, so I had been budgeting to accommodate for the extra costs I knew he would bring to my life. I have also, always considered myself to be decently mature and settled down for my age. Therefore, I assumed I was ready to take on Teton. But, I definitely wasn’t.

He messed with my schedule. He ate my underwear. He cried all night. He constantly had the puppy hiccups (which I thought meant he was dying). He was scared of most new people and dogs. He had to be snuggling with me when I sat down. He had to sit on my feet when I got ready in the morning. He “talked” (not a bark, not a whine, but like a dog-meow-thing) when he wanted more attention. Oh, and he had to suck on a blanket or pillow while he slept. And he STILL does a few of these things.

SnowAll of that threw me for a major loop! However, I absolutely love this dog. My brother always tells me it’s a good thing I got Teton because no one else would love him like I do.  No matter all of my short-comings as his owner, I love him. In fact, some people like to say that I “hugged all of Teton’s issues into him.” Meaning: any time I thought Teton was scared or nervous I just grabbed him and held him, which may be why he is so high strung…

What are some of my biggest struggles with Teton?

Dog Shame
Destroying his pillow.
Helping with laundry.
Helping with laundry.

Definitely my biggest struggle with Teton is that he isn’t a friendly dog. He really loves about 3 people, and will tolerate those who we are close to, but overall he isn’t friendly. I am still trying to work on this, but I will be honest, I am not the best about it. Because I can’t really trust him around new people, I try to avoid those situations. But, how can I expect him to get better if I don’t let him experience those things? Like so many other things I have discussed on here and in my life: it is still a work in progress.

What are some of the best parts about Teton?

Teton's "Post" at my old house.
Teton’s “Post” at my old house.
Teton's "Post" at my new house.
Teton’s “Post” at my new house.

After reading all of that you may be surprised to hear that Teton is the absolute perfect dog. Well, perfect for me. I am independent and not the world’s most social person. Teton totally embraces that and fits with me. He loves his routine, just like I do. He LIVES for food, much like I do. He is content to hang out with me at the house all day, as long as he gets to stay by me. I live by myself, and while I can hate his protective nature when he growls at the lovely family out for a nice walk, I really appreciate when I go to bed.

Teton headed camping for the boy's trip.
Teton headed camping for the boy’s trip.
Teton hiking with Brady in Montana.
Teton hiking with Brady in Montana.
Teton and Camden helping Stetson fish.
Teton and Camden helping Stetson fish.

Most importantly, he is at his best when he gets to be out exploring. He loves camping and going on hikes. My brother even claims that he is the best fishing dog, he has EVER been out with. One of my favorite things to do with him is cross country ski when I go to visit Montana. He loves the snow, and is so stinkin’ attached to me I know he won’t ever run off. Teton loves, loves, loves to be out with us when we are doing anything outside.

Teton cross country skiing in Big Sky.
Teton cross country skiing in Big Sky.

***

I have often heard that dogs reflect their owner’s personality. For example, my brother loves being around people all the time and is super friendly, as is his Golden Retriever, Camden. Brady is incredibly laid back and go with the flow, just like his Bloodhound, Eleanor. So, looking at Teton tells me quite a bit about myself. Not necessarily the most flattering things… We are high-strung, easily stressed, we love routine, and are not fans of change. But, we also make killer snugglers and are unbelievably loyal. I guess despite how many times I threaten (jokingly, I promise) to release him back into the wild, I’ll keep him.

Snuggle

Be ready to be seeing more of this guy as it starts to get warmer out!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

OPENING DAY and COWBOY CAVIAR

 

My brother and I in Baltimore two years ago.  It was our first time seeing Camden Yard and we had a blast! But if we look shiny, that is because  we are from Wyoming and never stopped sweating while we were there.
My brother and I in Baltimore two years ago. It was our first time seeing Camden Yard and we had a blast! But if we look extra shiny and pale, that is because we are from Wyoming and never stopped sweating while we were there.

Baseball season is officially here! To me this means: nice weather, and grilling, and relaxing. I love it all. Growing up, my family wasn’t a huge baseball family. We went to the occasional game in town and there are some great pictures of me picking dandelions as an outfielder, but we weren’t incredibly dedicated fans. However, some of the earliest trips I can remember were when we would venture down to Denver to catch a game. For the most part, it sounds like my brother and I were more interested in their mascot Dinger than the actual game. In the past few years though, I have come to really appreciate baseball.

I am 100% an experience fan. I am trying to learn more about the sport and I follow my favorite players and teams.  But mostly, I get into the full atmosphere of baseball. It is such a laid back and fun time; it just ties in everything I love about summer. If I am at home that means lots of good snacks and my favorite beers, while the game is on in the background. We do live pretty close to the Colorado Rockies too, so when we get to head down to their games, it means a Helton Burger and Coors.

Cowboy Caviar
Cowboy Caviar

For this opening day I decided to go with a family recipe for snacks. We call it Cowboy Caviar. There are lots of different versions of Cowboy Caviar, but this is my family’s. My aunt gave me this recipe a couple of years ago, and it is definitely a crowd pleaser for parties (or just myself and Brady eating the entire bowl on our own). Also, it is ridiculously simple. Like for real simple—not one of those recipes that claims to be simple, but 3 hours later you are crying with smoke billowing out of the stove. Been there.

CCSupplies

Ingredients:

30 oz black beans

30 oz black eyed peas (I forgot these! Oops!)

30 oz sweet corn

2 chopped jalapeño peppers (seeded if you don’t like it as spicy)

1 small onion (any color—so I go with whatever is cheapest)

3 bell peppers (again any color—I do red, yellow, and orange because it’s pretty)

1 bunch cilantro

6 cloves minced garlic

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp water

 Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, and water. Bring that mixture to a boil. Then, back down to a simmer. Let it simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved. (This usually takes about as long as it does to get the rest of the recipe together, so I basically just check it every so often, but don’t mess with it a whole lot).
  2. Drain and rinse the black beans, black eyed peas, and corn. Put all of that into a large bowl.
  3. Chop up (and seed if necessary) the jalapeños, onion, bell peppers, cilantro, and garlic. Add all of that to the same bowl.
  4. Once the liquid is ready, pour that over the entire mixture.
  5. Mix everything together and serve with your favorite chips (or eat it by the spoonful, if no one is looking.  No shame!).

*Now, you are supposed to let this marinate in the fridge for 24 hours before serving. And it truly is better that way. But, I NEVER, EVER can wait that long, so I just dive in.

*Fair Warning: you will need a mint after this.  Definitely not a go-to “date night” food. Then again. it may be a good way to weed out someone who isn’t that into you…

Really, the only part of the recipe that takes time is chopping.  But, if there's a game on in the background, or you have good music going, you hardly even notice.
Really, the only part of the recipe that takes time is chopping. But, if there’s a game on in the background, or you have good music going, you hardly even notice.
Brady doing his part! He loves to grill, so I rarely cook when it's nice out.
Brady doing his part! He loves to grill, so I rarely have to cook when it’s nice out.

See? It honestly is super easy. We snacked on this while Brady grilled up some steaks. And that was honestly all we had. Of course, you can add any other delicious sides you would like to, and I am sure we will later on in the season. But for today I was so happy with our meal! It had the best parts: chips and dip, and a big slab of steak!

MSuppliesMules

Then, just because it was Opening Day and we were feeling a little fancy, we made Moscow Mules. Nothing says summer (even though it is April, and I live in Laramie, so we will probably get more snow) like a Moscow Mule. Brady’s parents even got us some of the copper mugs, so we like to bust those out whenever we have an excuse.

Hope you enjoyed your Opening Day, as well!

Thanks for reading,

 Sydney

 

STEAMBOAT

Another highly successful fishing day, without catching any fish.

Big Group
Stetson, myself, and Brady. Oh, and Stetson’s adorable Golden, Camden.

This past weekend I spent some time down in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This is somewhat of a tradition that started with a few of my bother’s friends in college. The weekend after Fall Finals they would go to Steamboat for a weekend of skiing. Now, my brother, Stetson, and I are ridiculously close, like Ross and Monica without the weirdness. A little annoying, but not grossly sweet annoying. So, once I came down to UW I started tagging along for the trip as well. It was the weekend I looked forward to all semester. Recently, as most everyone has graduated and moved to different locations, things have changed a bit: rather than going in December, we have been going in March, and the availability of everyone invited is trickier with real jobs. But, whoever can make it comes and it is such a blast.

This is the first year, though, that I feel like I really took advantage of the trip. During the past, when we would go in December, while everyone was skiing I would bum around the cabin, meet them for lunch, and then bum around some more. I have mentioned that downhill skiing is not my thing, and I didn’t want to slow everyone down. Or break anything. Or cry. Or spend the money to do any of those things. But, now that I am stepping out of my comfort zone more and participating in the outdoor activities, my day was a lot more interesting.

After a breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage (that I had to cook up completely without oil–not to be healthy, but because I forgot it—so it obviously wasn’t as delicious as usual) we all headed out. Some people took off to ski, some hung around the cabin for the day, but I was incredibly excited to get to spend the day fishing with Brady and Stetson. We popped down town to get our Colorado Fishing Licenses and a few supplies, then headed to the Yampa.

TieReel

I still get turned around quite a bit when I am setting up, so the boys were giving me lots of pointers.
I still get turned around quite a bit when I am setting up, so the boys were giving me lots of pointers.

In my last fishing post, I mentioned Brady’s impressive patience with teaching me to fly fish. This time I had two teachers: Brady and Stetson. It’s kind of a given, with Stetson being my older brother, he has taught me to do quite a few things: rock climb, drive a stick shift (kind of), keep my mouth shut when necessary with our parents, throw a baseball. And I am bad at all of these things! But, that’s not the teacher’s fault. It’s really a lack of skills on my part. Over time, though, his patience with my lack of skills has improved and my “coachabilty” has improved, so the three of us were actually a pretty successful crew.

EveryoneOnce we were all geared up, it was time to fish. I had on just a brown Pat’s Rubber Leg fly with an indicator. The water was pretty murky and the man we talked to at the fly shop explained that even though it may seem backwards, darker colors are easier to see with the water like that. The boys taught me to cast it up river into a seam (where the ripples meet the flowing water) and then let it drift down river, and then repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

There were a few times, I saw my indicator dive below the surface and I swore I had a fish, but it was definitely just a snag. I will say though, that my casting has most definitely improved. I mean there are still some real rough ones, where I lay down the line and it looks like a yarn ball floating in water, but I felt like I was having fewer and fewer of those. I used my wrist a lot more instead of my “rainbow arms” and that seemed to help a ton.

CastingPeople always make jokes about “practicing casting,” like when you see another person headed out to fish and they ask if you caught anything. But, I actually did that. And was happy about it! Although catching a fish would have been pretty, darn cool…

Here I am trying out my waders.  Stets is about to pelt me with a snowball, but apparently got distracted by one of Brady's favorite jokes, where he pretends to push me into something.  A real classic.
Here I am trying out my waders. Stets is about to pelt me with a snowball, but apparently got distracted by one of Brady’s favorite jokes, where he pretends to push me into something. A real classic.

Aside from improving my casting, I have to say the best part of the day would have to be my new boots and my borrowed waders! I told you in the last fishing post that my dad and step-mom had given me some boots for my birthday. They are a Simms, basic starter boot with a felt bottom. Before this trip they had only been worn in my house with skinny jeans, yoga pant, or sweats. You know, pretty casual, while cleaning the house or watching TV with my dog.  But, for this trip Stetson let me borrow a pair of his Dryft waders (I am borrowing his for awhile but here are some others, for girls, I like from Simms and Patagonia), and it was awesome! Being able to get away from the shore dramatically improved my casting, and walking through the river felt unbelievably cool. I totally felt like a real fly fisher-woman!

When I catch my first fish on a fly, or “rip lip” as Brady likes to say, I will be bouncing-off-the-walls ecstatic. Even without the fish, though, it was a killer way to spend the afternoon.     HandsThanks for reading,

Sydney