BE THANKFUL FOR YOU (yes, you)

Happy Thanksgiving!

   Hopefully, you are enjoying an incredibly relaxing day with your family and those that are nearest and dearest to you. If that’s the case, get off your phone/computer/tablet and go hang out with them! Of course, be sure to come back and read this tomorrow… But, if you’ve had just a smidgen too much bonding time, feel free to read this as a nice little breather from all that togetherness. Then, get right back out with a smile and listen to all of the bad jokes/complaining about the weather that may be going on.

This is going to be slightly different than most Thanksgiving posts. Yes, I absolutely want to mention a few of the things that I’m thankful for. But, I also want to do a little Thanksgiving self-love. There are so many people that I’m thankful for, but what about myself should I be appreciating a little more. Yes, I am partly doing this as an opportunity to compliment myself (I love giving myself compliments—I mean, if no one else will, I’m all over it). Mostly though, I think this is a great idea for everyone to do. During this time of year, it’s important to appreciate yourself, too!

Family:

* I have two very different families, but they both love me absolutely unconditionally

* My boyfriend balances me out and fits in so well with both of my families. I love being with his family. I know that’s not always the case and I feel incredibly lucky

* My family instilled a love of the outdoors in me, and even though I fought it for a while, they are now super patient as I try new things

* I still get cards/cookies/old pictures in the mail regularly

* I’ve grown up with a brother who I am lucky enough to honestly say is one of my closest friends (and not just on those ridiculous #nationalsiblingsday days)

Outdoors:

*Montana is my home, sweet, home and there is undeniably no better place to explore

*I get to live in beautiful Wyoming right near the Snowies, where I have plenty of opportunities to hike and fish and boulder and cross country ski and really any other outdoor activity you can think of that I may be willing to try/fail miserably at

*We are getting enough snow for me to bust out my cross-country skis soon (so I can pretend to be so cool/trendy and I can burn some energy off Teton)

Girly:

*The newest mask recipe that I have discovered is helping my skin out of its’ latest freakout

* I’ve finally discovered the perfect mascara combination that has gotten me several compliments in the past few weeks (OK, just a few compliments may not seem like a big deal, but they are all on my eyelashes! That’s a very specific compliment)

* My newest primer—Nivea’s Men’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm is super cheap (as in stolen from Brady’s medicine cabinet cheap) AND has been seriously prolonging my makeup

Me, Myself, and I:

* I love hard. Like really, really, in your face hard. I care an unbelievable amount about people and I wish they could see it (not in a pouty ‘notice-how-much-I-love-you’ way, but in a ‘hey-you-deserve-this-much-love’ kind of way)

* I’m not afraid to fail. In fact, I’ve made my tendency to usually fail at stuff one of my stand-by jokes to make about myself

* I make kick-butt potato soup that is perfect in during the winter season

* I realize my weaknesses and have been making a concentrated effort to work on them

* I’m getting better at being myself–it’s still a work in progress, but I’m pretty awesome

And…You:

*Honestly, I’m so thankful for you taking the time to stop by MountainGirlyGirl. This site is a continuous work in progress, but I have received so much support and it is definitely appreciated. This is no pageant answer here… I’m seriously so thankful for you. For real.

Clearly this doesn’t cover everything that I am grateful for, but that post would be miles and miles and miles long. It was actually super difficult to keep my list at a reasonable length. And you are probably thankful that it’s not much longer. 

Enjoy the time you have with those that you love.

What are you thankful for about you? Take this opportunity to compliment yourself! I would love to read about it!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

LETTER TO NOVEMBER

* This letter really should be posted on Thursday, for my last post of the month.  But, I decided to put it up a bit early and then do something more Thanksgiving focused for Thursday!

IMG_3511-1
Life’s about balance. And trying to make it all work even with the many real-life distractions. Plus, I love a good, generic yoga pose picture with an inspiring caption.

Dear November,

You have left me feeling pretty darn unproductive.  And given my type-A, neurotic personality that is my absolute least favorite feeling.

Each month, when I begin to think about what I would like to address in this letter, I asses everything that I accomplished during that month.  That’s really how I decide if I had a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ month.  So, as I started to write this letter I thought I was really going to give it to you, November.  I was planning this no-holds-barred-profanity-laced rant about all of my expectations that you didn’t live up to.

My holiday shopping is not done.  I’m feeling overwhelmed at work.  Ridiculously off-kilter and unpredictable emotions tend to be running my life.  My Pinterest inspired holiday gifts have gone unmade.  The vacuum hasn’t been run in a few weeks at my house (and between the amount of hair I shed and the amount of hair Teton sheds, I basically have a new layer of carpeting).  Any motivation to decorate for the holidays has yet to be found.  Pretty much, I’m feeling extra complainy.  And whiney.   And, in general, am just a real peach to be around. (super uplifting read, so far, right?)  Yes, I would like to blame you, November.

But, really if I take a step back and think about it, were you that bad, November?  It’s true that I went to bed with dishes still in the sink more nights this month (something I absolutely hate to do—my inner Monica Geller almost can’t sleep when I do that).  But, I did that because I was spending extra time relaxing on the couch with Brady.  I only baked one batch of holiday cookies (and did not send any of them to friends or family like I had planned).  But, I did get to spend extra time learning about where Stetson is going to be living after his move.

Maybe, I’ve been a bit harsh on you, November.  In fact, maybe, I’ve been approaching these reflections all wrong.

I do seriously value productivity, and I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing.  But, it shouldn’t be my only gauge for ‘good’ versus ‘bad.’  It’s hard for me to accept, but maybe getting to spend extra time with those that I love can be counted as ‘productive.’  Or maybe I don’t even need to be productive all the time.

I guess you weren’t that bad, November.  The reminder to enjoy relaxing and not feel guilty about it, was probably overdue.  Of course, I’ll need to kick it in gear for December, but I’m going to remember what you taught me, November.  I need to relax.  This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, right?

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

NOVEMBER POPSUGAR MUST HAVE

My first PopSugar Must Have box was an unbelievable success (I read that Mindy Kaling book like it was going out of style and have already passed it on to a friend—definite success)!  So, I had extremely high expectations for this November box.

Keep in mind: this box is a bit pricier ($34 a month).  But, I really am loving it.  Plus, the overall value of the box this month was $133 (not including the $20 gift card)! I think getting $100 worth of items, essentially free, is totally worth it.

Here’s what was in the box this month:

Nov.PSMHTarte Cosmetics Beauty &the Box Eye Shadow ($22)

I was thrilled to see Tarte included in this box.  They are a high-end make up brand that I love to look at, but never buy for myself.  These shadows are so easy to apply, and the four shades that are included (golden delicious, caramel, gala, and honeycrisp) are absolutely the only kind of shades I ever use. They are neutral with just a subtle gold thrown in, just in case I’m feeling fancy.  It’s perfect.

*I’m feeling extra lucky, because it seems as if this box set is sold-out and/or ridiculously hard to find.

Capri Blue Mercury Jewel Box in Rain ($19)

This is not my first Capri Blue candle, but it is my favorite.  I love the fresh scent (it’s a bit more spring/summer feeling for me, so I’ve been waiting to burn it), and the candle itself is beautiful.  I am a complete sucker for cute candles, because I always wash them up–after I have burned every last bit– and use the containers around my house.  Seriously, my tooth brush holder is an old candle jar.  And my q-tip container… and my make-up brush holders… and my pen organizers… you get the idea.

Gramr Gratitude Co. Exclusive Thanksgiving Postcard Pack ($10)

This is such a great item to include in the box!  With all of the Facebook ‘Happy Birthday’s’ and Instagram holiday shout outs, I think a little snail mail shows some serious thought and gratitude.  I’m terrible about texting or calling some of the people that matter most to me, so I’m planning to use these to send a little extra love during the holiday season.

*These were an exclusive item, so they aren’t available on the Gramr Gratitude website.  However, I still put a link to it above, because they have such cute card sets!  I am going to stock up for some post-holiday thank yous (I figure is I have cute cards sitting around I’ll be much better about getting those thank yous out…).

Deepa Gurnani Katie Crystal Headband ($56)

This is now officially the absolute fanciest headband I own.  Ever.  Actually it’s fancier than all of the other headbands I own put together.  $56 for a headband? That’s pretty darn out there for me.  This is another example of something that I love, but wouldn’t buy for myself.  I’m thinking this will be my fix-all to liven up my holiday outfits that generally only consist of black or grey over-sized cardigans.

Terrapin Ridge Farms Pecan Honey Mustard ($6)

This may have been the least expensive item in the box, but so far it has been my favorite.  This is just all around delicious.  I used it as a salad dressing (the salad had spinach, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, walnuts, and feta—it was so, so good, especially considering it was salad) the other night and absolutely loved it. Keep this is mind as a fun stocking stuffer for that foodie in your life.  It’s thoughtful, but ridiculously easy. My favorite kind of gift.

West Emory Bingo Set ($20)

Yet again, PopSugar is just helping me class up my life.  This Bingo set is beautiful.  Absolutely nothing like those laminated ones that you used in grade school with the germ covered markers.  Full disclosure: I will most likely leave this on my coffee table as a decorative item and continue to play my standard family card games of Blackjack or Gin.  But, I really like the idea of sending out that trendy, hipster, I-play-the-world’s-most-posh-Bingo vibe.

Inkdot Gift Card ($20)

A nice little bonus item!  This website puts your pictures on pretty much whatever. Metal, coasters, phone cases, wood panels, you name it. The best part, though, is how high quality these items are. They do not look cheap at all and would make great holiday gifts.

***

Again, PopSugar nailed it this month! I think my favorite part about this subscription service in general is the mixture of items included. You get beauty products, and home goods, and food, and really everything in between.

Be sure to let me know which of these items you have your eye on!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

THE not-so-GREAT OUTDOORS

Throwing snowAs you scroll through your Instagram or Pinterest feed, chances are at one point or another you will find some sort of picture of beautiful outdoor scenery accompanied by an ambiguous, but heartfelt quote regarding the beauty of nature.  Admittedly, I love those pictures!  But, sometimes the great outdoors are just not that great.  Below is a real account of one of my latest, tear-filled, deer-chasing, boots-full-of-snow nature outing.  Disclaimer: I have moved past this, so feel no guilt in laughing at my expense as you read along.

B Snow WalkBeing the high-strung, easily-stressed, and all around neurotic person that I am, I need some sort of outlet to allow me to relax.  Based off of some of my other posts, or my Instagram pictures, or even just the name of this blog, you may have guessed that being outdoors is that outlet for me.  Insert inspiring John Muir and/or Ralph Waldo Emerson quote here.

Usually, the outdoors are calming and a break from whatever work/financial/can’t-decide-what-outfit-to-wear-for-the-holidays issue I may be having.  Usually.
However, this is not a 100% of the time fool-proof stress reliever.  As I’m sure mothers of small or significant others of highly-emotional individuals, would be able to easily attest to—sometimes just the act of getting to and enjoying the outdoors can be a major stressor.

During my digital detox, Brady and I decided that it might be fun to spend a bit of time just east of town with the dogs.  There was a bit of snow, and we could really let them burn off some energy.  Plus, I wanted to play around with my new camera (i.e. have Brady carry it and take candid, but ridiculously flattering photos of me).

Syd and EllieThe first thing that you need to know for this post is that I have the world’s worst dog.  Teton seriously gives Marley a run for his money.  Not in the cute, he sometimes rips his toys or follows me when I tell him to ‘stay’ way either.  He is full on terrible (I promise I do really, really love him, but I talked in depth about my struggles with Teton in this post).  For example, he recently ran full speed at one of my windows because a cat was walking along the fence, and it shattered.  Yes, my 50 pound dog shattered my window.  And he did not feel any remorse, nor was he scared, nor was he hurt.  He just looked at the broken window briefly, and then ran to the next one to see where the cat had gone.

Teton has this exceptionally annoying way of whining.  It’s somewhere in between a normal dog bark and a screech you may hear from a seventh grade girl once they have finally been reunited with their BFFL, after an extremely long class period.  It’s obnoxious.  And, due to his out of control anxiety (that may be partially my fault, but that is not the point here) he makes this noise the entire time we are in the car.  Which is not necessarily soothing, during a half hour car trip.

Needless to say, Brady and I were both a bit short after surviving the car trip with Smelly Ellie and Ridiculously-High-Strung-And-Whiny Teton.  Which means Brady was just going with the flow, as usual. While I was obsessing over the fact that he didn’t seem to be having the time of his life, that my dog was driving me insane, and that I wouldn’t be able to look carefree and effortlessly gorgeous in the pictures I was planning to have Brady take.

So, I cried.

Crying is my reaction for a vast variety of emotions.  Angry?  Cry.  Tired? Cry.  Overwhelmed? Cry.  Excited? Cry.  Confused? Cry.

You get the picture.

Of course, all of this unpredictable and unreasonable crying can really make me a joy to be around.  The best way I can describe my emotional reaction is by comparing it to being drunk; you may know what you are doing is stupid/ridiculous, but you just keep doing it.

Luckily, this was not an extended crying bout (and believe me I have those—sometimes, with my brother, I will have completely gotten over whatever I was crying about and be talking about a totally new topic, but still crying; it just won’t shut off for a while).  I was able to move on uncharacteristically quickly, as Teton’s whining finally stopped and the dogs were running themselves ragged.  This outing was making a much needed turn for the best.

Dogs snow runUntil Teton, decided to chase after a deer. Which is not exactly uncommon for my wonderful little mutt.  Also, it’s surprisingly something that I actually don’t get too stressed about.  Yes, he chases after the occasional wildlife critter when he’s off his leash… but he also has such unbelievable separation anxiety I know he’ll come back.

With the exception of this time.

Teton jumpHe took off and there was no sign of him coming back for 10 minutes.  Then 15 minutes.  Then Brady decided to take off after him, seeing as I would get hopelessly lost and had on my cute, albeit completely useless, $8 boots.

My only job was to keep track of Ellie, and I am almost positive I could outrun her and/or hop on top of her back and ride her to our desired destination if need be.  So, I did that and Brady took off after The Terror.  Who did eventually come back.  Winded, but with absolutely no sign of remorse.

Ellie loves snow

We decided that was probably a good stopping point for our little outing.  We loaded the now tired, and wet, and smelly dogs back into the car.

Thankfully, the soothing tones of Teton’s whine/bark/screech eased us right back into town.  We returned haggard and in desperate need of relaxation after our ‘relaxing’ afternoon.

Sometimes, the outdoors suck.

But, I’m going to let my 67 enjoyable trips outweigh that 1 mediocre one.  Have you ever had adventures like this, where nothing seems to be going your way?  Please, let me know.

Snow in hairThanks for reading,

Sydney

GINGERBREAD COOKIES WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE TOPPING

Cookies all

You know when you have that one recipe that everyone ask for and wants you to make for a family gathering?  It can be such a pain to be in high demand like that.  I mean, I’m a busy lady! I’ve got better things to do than slave over the stove making those cookies you love for another holiday celebration.

Well, actually, that’s what I like to pretend.  But, in reality all of the “these are my favorite cookies…EVER” compliments go straight to my head and I love it.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Of course, I will still pretend that I just whipped something together last minute.  And oh my gosh, are they really gone already?

So, here is my go-to recipe for any holiday get together.  They are perfect throughout the fall and winter.

Gingerbread Cookies with White Chocolate Topping

Cookies top Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup butter (room temperature)

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup molasses

1 egg

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. This is easiest to do with an electric mixer.  However, if you are like myself (a blogger on a budget) and broke your electric mixer, but want to wait until the after holiday sales to buy one, you can do this using a fork or your hands.  It just takes a bit longer.

*But I don’t care because I’m off my digital detox (check out what on earth that was here) and mix while I’m watching The Office.*

  1. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture. Keep mixing and mixing and mixing until it is fully combined.  I love to use my hands for this, because I think it works better and it’s one less dish to wash.
  2. Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredient mixture. Mix until dough comes together into a sort-of ball.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Leave it there for at least 4 hours—I usually just leave it overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°.
  5. Form dough into 1” balls. Dump the sugar into a small bowl. Roll the balls in the sugar, until they are fully covered and place them 2” apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Take cookies out and allow them to cool for just about 2-3 minutes. Then, while they are still pretty warm.  Place a few white chocolate chips down into the center of the cookie.
  8. Enjoying eating 6-7 of these bad boys as you package up the rest for various parties or gifts!

Alright, now these may never be featured on the cover of Healthy Eating or Women’s Fitness magazine.  But, holy cow do they taste delicious!  They are that nice and moist, soft kind of gingerbread.  And they actually stay that way, as long as you keep them covered.

Gingerbread cookies can seem to be a bit Christmasy.  And, yes, I guess they are.  But, these also are a hit at Thanksgiving or any other fall/winter get-together you may be attending.  In fact, recently Brady complained that most people save all of their really good recipes just for Christmas and he thinks that is just ridiculous (he was trying to coerce me into whipping up a batch of these before Halloween had even hit).  So, bust this recipe out whenever you need a little, sweet treat.  There are no rules!

Please, please, please share some of your favorite recipes– that everyone just begs for you to make.  I would love to add some more to my repertoire, for those times when I’m looking for extra compliments.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

DIGITAL DETOX

I will be the first to admit that I am all about the ‘detox’ fad.  Really, I’m pretty susceptible to any good marketing in general, and detox has become such an ‘it’ thing I jumped right on the bandwagon.  I’ve tried a juice detox.  I buy any and every kind of detox tea.  I look up detox yoga videos on Youtube.  Mostly, I use anything detox-related as a way to cancel out anything unhealthy I may have done that day.

Ate so much at dinner you feel like you just might explode? Drink detox tea.  Didn’t go for a run all week, but finished an entire season of The Office on Netflix? Do a little detox yoga.  Finished an entire pint (plus a little of your significant other’s) of ice cream in one sitting? Do a juice cleanse tomorrow. The way I use detox is the laziest of quick fixes for me.

Dicital Detox

So, thanks to one of Estee Lalonde’s most recent Youtube videos I decided to go on my first ever digital detox.  Which Brady took very literally and thought I should be banned from looking at the clock on my microwave or using any form of electricity.  To his dismay, I did not take it quite that far.  Basically, I did not use my phone (no calls, no texts, no social media) or watch any form of TV for 2 days.

I figured this would be my quick fix for the increased time I have been spending glued to my phone and/or computer ever since I started mountaingirlygirl.  I mean, my Instagram usage and hashtag game (admittedly, I still find hashtags a bit annoying, but I have been using them liberally on each of my pictures and to find new accounts to follow) alone have drastically increased.

I decided to do this detox on Sunday and Monday.  I figured Sunday would give me a glimpse of how technology shapes my weekend days and Monday would give me a glimpse of how it is used during my work days.

*Disclaimer-  Sunday morning Brady and I did watch Friends while we ate breakfast and Sunday night we watched another as we ate dessert.  Yeah, this could technically be considered cheating, but I decided on these detox rules and I figured cutting it down to 2 episodes from our Sunday 6 episode average (ok, in my defense the episodes are only like 20 minutes long and we definitely don’t do this every day) was a pretty big cut.  Plus, we are at a really funny part in the series!  Also, I ended the detox Monday night, because I did need to use my computer to put this post together and schedule it to launch on Tuesday while I am at work.

Here’s what I learned:

I watch a whole lot of Netflix- Ok, I did know this about myself prior to the detox.  In fact, I think that stepping away from Netflix (and Youtube, and ABC Go) was by far the most beneficial bit of this process.  I literally lug my laptop with me all around my house the entire time I get ready before work in the morning and the entire time I am home after school.  I constantly have some sort of show going.  Constantly.  I justify this because I live by myself; I like to have a bit of background noise in my otherwise silent (aside from Teton whining every time I stop petting him for more than 7 seconds or move further than 4 feet away from him) home.  Plus, it’s not like I’m plopping myself on the couch and staring at the TV the entire time.  I’m washing dishes or chopping ingredients for dinner or doing my hair or sorting laundry.

Excuse, excuses, excuses.

I need to learn to be alright with being alone with my thoughts for a bit.  I came up with of tons (well, three—but still) of new post ideas and a few more gift ideas for my Christmas gift giving list, while I was doing all of my most mundane chores sans my TV shows.

But, I do think that there is a balance.  If I want to watch Olivia Pope cover up another fictional senator’s affair while I fold laundry I think that is 100% alright.  If I want to watch Michael Scott fall into a koi pond as I wash the dinner dishes—good for me! But, maybe I leave the computer closed as I prepare dinner or wash the countertops.  A little quiet time never hurt anyone.

I can still easily find ways to put off productive activities- To be honest, going into this detox I had some ulterior motives.  I figured I would get 6 or 7 times the amount of work done compared to my digital days and have enough time left over for a nice bubble bath. But that wasn’t the case.  I put off just as much work as normal.  I looked through my cookbooks (didn’t cook anything from them because I spent too much time looking to actually fit in the necessary cooking time).  I saw how long I could get Teton to “stay” with a treat on his paw.  I closely examined anything resembling a blemish on my face.  I separated my split ends.  But, I still got the same amount of, or possibly even less, work done.  Really, I think I put off my chores more because I didn’t have any of my Shonda Rhimes shows to look forward to as I did my unbelievably boring housekeeping.

I really didn’t miss social media- Yeah, I love checking my Instagram and I’m getting my Twitter all blog-ified.  But, I never had a real pang of longing to scroll through my phone.  In fact, I hardly thought about it.

Of course, as soon as I’m off this detox (Tuesday morning) I will spend a good chunk of time scrolling through pictures, liking posts, and responding to comments.  All while attempting to work out with Brady at the crack of dawn (well, even before the crack of dawn, because it’s winter here in Wyo and it doesn’t get light until I’m headed to work).  Now, though I absolutely know I can easily do without social media.

I like the feeling of being ‘off the grid’- Feel free to contact any of my friends or even my parents and they will tell you that I am terrible about keeping in contact.  I have to make a conscious effort to remember to call my parents at least once each week—and I actually really like my parents.  I am even worse about calling or texting my friends—I have a few people that a still absolutely consider to be my best and closest friends, even though I only talk to them every few months.  So… having a valid excuse not to respond to texts or feel guilty about not calling the people that I really should catch up with is very welcome.  And something I like to take advantage of.

It’s a bit unrealistic to entirely unplug-  This is pretty much the bottom line conclusion that I came to after my entire detox.  Now, I totally think that I need to cut back on my incessant background TV watching and scrolling through my social media as I lay in bed in the morning.  Those are things that I have known for a long time, but this detox made me realize those things are actually a lot more doable than I had imagined.  But, turning off your phone so you can’t get calls or texts or emails isn’t necessarily realistic and can in fact be irresponsible.  No, despite what I may be inclined to think, I am not a ridiculously important person who needs to be available to be reached every second of every day.  Of course that’s not me.  However, my brother did need to ask me about some time sensitive stuff during this detox and tracking me down was a bit difficult (eventually we met by chance at the grocery store and then he came to my house).  Also, my landlord texted me to ask a few minor questions, and I really try to be responsible and reply to her as quickly as I can.  And, quite possibly most importantly, my cousin needed my help on the proper maintenance of her SmartWool socks! I do not mess around whenever SmartWool is concerned!

***

Overall, this detox worked in generally the same way that the other ‘detoxes’ I attempt do.  It reminded me of what I should be doing—focusing on the people that I am around and allowing myself to be alone with my thoughts—but wasn’t realistic to maintain for an extended period of time.

Kelly Kapoor from The Office during her juice cleanse.

Have you ever been around someone on day 3 or 4 of a juice cleanse?  They are irritable, they are remarkably sweaty—for whatever reason, and they are not quite locked in to whatever you are talking to them about.  That’s how I feel it would get if you were unplugged for too long (minus the irritability and sweat).  You would just be a bit disjointed from people as they tried to reach you.

Plus, it is surprisingly hard to shop with a paper shopping list compared to a shopping list on your phone.  The masses of people at Walmart on Sunday afternoon did not like getting stuck behind me as I attempted to push my cart, cross off the item I just picked up, and look for my next item.

DD Dinner
Brady clearly loved getting a chance to really talk and reconnect over our spaghetti squash lasagna.

So, I think this is something that is fun to experiment with, and should be done on a daily basis in realistic doses.  I’ve been reading at night rather than playing on my phone.  Brady (reluctantly) and I have agreed to include non-TV dinner time into our weekly routine.  I’ve decided to leave quite time while I cook, but keep my background How To Get Away With Murder going while I do chores (seriously what else can make folding socks bearable?).

Like with any detox: keep everything in moderation.  Luckily, I live in an area where it is not uncommon to be out of service and it is wonderful.  Go for a hike.  Spend the weekend at a cabin. Take an afternoon to explore a new area.  Just leave your phone.

Then, come back and binge watch Netflix with the ones you love.  It’s all about balance.

What are some of your favorite mini-digital-detox ideas?  Any ways to ‘unplug’ for just bit, before returning to technology?

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

GO-TO HOLIDAY GIFTS

It’s that time of year again!

Yay.  Cue all of the annoyingly early Christmas music and red Starbucks cup selfies (disclaimer: I will be definitely have a red Starbucks pic on my Instagram in the next few weeks, despite pretending to be above it; however, I will not participate in listening to any Christmas music until Christmas Eve, because I firmly stand by my ‘annoying’ statement).

Okay, so it is a little early for me to get on board with full on Holiday Season Sparkle, but I do want to be more on top of my gift-giving this year.  My (lofty and ambitious and possibly unrealistic) goal is to have all of my holiday shopping, DIY gift making, and gift wrapping done before December even hits.

Seeing as how I have routinely finished compiling and wrapping gifts literally while my brother is driving us to our grandparent’s house, this may be reaching a little too high.  But, I figure if I fall a bit short I’ll still be much, much better off.

Anyways… enough of my blabbering about being behind.

Below are items listed that make absolutely phenomenal gifts (Ahem! to all of those wondering what to get for me…).  I did have the adorably trendy, outdoosy-ish girl in mind with most of these.  But, some are totally gender neutral.  Some are more suited for girly-girls.  Some are great gifts to buy if you are a guy with a girly-girl girlfriend that you want to trick into spending more time outdoors.  Yes, that’s what the Christmas Spirit is all about: tricking your loved ones into liking the same stuff as you.

Hopi, Sandstone, dynamic   Versatile Travel Journal with Pockets and Envelopes - Personalized and Made to Order for You         W's Cotton Quilt Snap-T® Pullover (25280)Women's PhD® Ski Medium Pattern Socks      IMG_7009.jpg

Chaco Hopi Boots

I have already mentioned that I wear my Chaco sandals  anytime it is warm enough to feel my toes in Laramie.  These boots would be perfect for all of the many, many other days.  Plus, any girl will appreciate that these look cute, but have a whole heck of a lot more traction on those slippery winter walks than their Uggs.

Travel Journal

‘Wanderlust’ is unbelievably popular right now.  It’s seriously trending on Instagram about every other day.  While you may not be able to send your loved one on a 2 week long trip across Europe.  You can buy a travel journal! Seriously, if they are into organizing and traveling like me they will love it.  Etsy is the perfect spot for unique journals.  The one linked above has built-in envelopes to hold all those easy-to-lose keepsakes.  Also, there are tons of fancy leather travel journals on Etsy that can be personalized, as well (I’m always drawn to these because I like to be just a bit pretentious with my journals).

Tobacco and Vanilla Paddy Wax Candle

Love, love, love this candle! Tobacco and vanilla may not sound too pleasant… I mean, who likes the smell of cigarettes? But, this just reminds me of the woods, with a teeny hint of sweetness.  Plus, the packaging looks really fancy-schmancy.  They also have a Paddywax ChaiTea candle that is phenomenal or, for something a little easier to find, check out Bath and Body & Body Works Mahogany Teakwood candle.

Yeti Tumbler

Everybody who is anybody that’s into outdoorsy business knows about Yeti.  This is the newest ‘it’ brand.  Then, it’s pretty much required that outdoorsy people drink copious amounts of black coffee (I’m not quite there yet, but I  pretend and then sneak milk into my coffee).  So, this gift is absolutely perfect.  Added bonus: this tumbler is supposed to work wonders if you are drinking some camp-gin-and-tonics– or any other mixed drink– and want to keep them ice cold.

Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail

I’m no expert, but I have read a few hiking memoirs.  This one is by far my favorite.  Suzanne Roberts is unbelievably relatable.  Also, John Muir quotes (“The mountains are calling and I must go”) are thrown around Instgram, Twitter, tattoos, Pinterest, Tumblr, and inspo boards like no one’s business– people might as well get to know where all of that stems from.

Patagonia Cotton Quilt Snap-T Pullover

Alright, some could maybe call me high-maintenance, but it just doesn’t quite feel like winter until I’m wrapped in a little Patagonia.  Yeah, I know, it’s totally high-maintenance, but I have no shame!  This pullover appears slightly more unique than the standard fleece ones (which I also love), and looks unbelievable comfy.

SmartWool Socks

I cannot say enough good stuff about SmartWool socks (although I did try in this post).  There are so many different styles, patterns, you can be sure to pick out ones that fit whoever you are giving them to perfectly.  And they fit wonderfully into a stocking.

Cairn Subscription Box

My subscription box addiction is incredibly real.  So, I will feel less guilty if others join in it with me.  My own motives aside, this box looks to be perfect for any outdoors lover.  They sell gift boxes for $75, or you can begin a subscription in your loved one’s name for $25 a month (you could decide however many months you want to buy for them).  This is the perfect gift for someone who just has everything and is impossible to buy for.

*Even if this particular box doesn’t sound like it would fit, keep subscription boxes in mind for those hard-to-buy-for individuals.  There are so many different kinds you’re bound to find one to work! I personally can highly recommend BoxyCharm and PopSugar Must Have boxes.

Mountain Mug by Alex Apland

I’ve already mentioned that coffee guzzling is a prerequisite for being in the outdoors community.  Having the perfect mug to guzzle from is also essential.  These mugs look absolutely spot-on in any Instagram picture you want to post as you sit atop a mountain, sip coffee, watch the sunrise, while wrapped in a handwoven blanket.  Seriously, these are handcrafted and stunning.

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Please know that each of these items I honestly and truly recommend.  I could go on and on and on.  But, my comments would get less witty and entertaining.  And you would begin to lose interest.  Just know that these make awesome gifts (whether they are for yourself or your loved ones is up to you…).

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

 

 

COFFEE CHUGGING, CIDER SIPPING, BEER DRINKING, AND TEA GUZZLING APPROVED LIP PRODUCTS

Mug EverythingAlright, it has been a pretty long time since I had a post up that is solely dedicated to beauty.  Uh, really that is because as I am figuring more of my niche for this whole blog thing, I have realized that I am girly, but not very good at it.  I love to watch make-up tutorials and Sephora hauls online.  Seriously, I watch every single Kathleenlights video with absolutely zero shame.  I read from multiple beauty blogs everyday.  And I dream of having Blake Lively-esque hair… But, in reality I do the bare minimum (with unhealthy amounts of mascara– and lately bronzer– gobbed on) each day.  Come to think of it, I’m like one of those junior high girls who every so often will attempted to try something new (probably involving shorts worn over tights like they see on their favorite Disney stars), and then go back to the same sweatshirt and jeans for the next 17 weeks.  Yeah, that’s totally me.

So, I essentially know next-to-nothing about beauty. Glad you’re reading this beauty post, right?

However, I totally feel that I am qualified to write about this particular subject.  Actually, I even think that this post is so important it is my duty and responsibility to share it with you!

What lip products can you wear and still drink all the fall appropriate beverages you want without looking completely ridiculous?

See how happy I am that my lip color is still going strong as I sip my evening tea and smile casually out the window?
See how happy I am that my lip color is still going strong as I sip my evening tea and smile casually out the window?

I have two absolute go-to products for this: Revlon Color Burst Balms and Colourpop Matte Lippie Stix.  I’ll give a quick little review of each product below.  Basically, though, they are both affordable, long lasting, and wear off in an attractive way.

*Side note: I used to think it was the stupidest thing in the entire world when people would talk about how a lip stick wears off.  I mean, I am paying for this product and taking the time to slather it on my lips.  Why on earth would I want to know about how it comes off?  Well… apparently that’s pretty darn important.  A product that wears off nicely keeps you looking like the beautiful human being that you are all day long.  A product that does not wear off nicely makes you look like a sad Vegas show girl at the end of her shift.  Not usually my desired look.

Now, I drink coffee in the morning, water all day long, usually have a beer or glass of wine in the evening, and tea before bed (I know that’s a lot, but I constantly need to be eating or drinking– seriously constantly).  And these products last through that.  The color may fade a bit– I mean, all day long I am drinking as if I’ve been walking through the desert and finally found a source of hydration.  But, they generally wear beautifully, and if you do feel the desire to touch up they don’t get chunky or gross.

Revlon Color Burst Balms:

These are just absolute no-brainers when it comes to a lip product.  You can easily find these at just about any drugstore.  They only run about $7-$9 (this all depends on which store you are in to buy them).  There are tons of shades to choose from– I prefer the Balm Stain in Honey for everyday wear or the Matte Balm in Sultry for something a little darker/fall-ish.  Yes, the name is “Sultry,” but, no, I do not look sultry as I wear this and proceed to boast to anyone/everyone who will listen about how long it has been since I washed my hair.

Colourpop Lippie Stix

This brand has just absolutely taken off lately.  They have not been around for a super long time, but man they are good.  Especially their Lippie Stix.  They have an insane amount of colors and different finishes; I have found that I prefer the matte finish.  I have mentioned before that Lumiere (created by Kathleenlights) is one of my all time favorites.  Bossy, is another that I love.  It’s a true red, red, red and I rock it!

Personally, I do recommend that you get the liner to go along with the Lippie Stix, as it helps avoid bleeding (especially with the bolder colors).  And seeing how the stix and liners are each only $5, it’s definitely worth it to buy the pair.  These are only (as far as I know, right now) sold on the Colourpop website, but I have that linked above if you want to check it out.

Honorable Mention:

Ok, I do need to give a shout out to Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment and Aquaphore.  I live in Wyoming and it is insanely dry.  If I wear lipstick on a semi-regular basis, my lips get chapped like no one’s business.  So, at night I am sure to use Aquaphor in place of my normal lip balm.  Then, if I still feel that my lips need another day’s break, I will wear the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Tulip throughout the workday.  Aquaphore is drugstore affordable, but the Fresh brand is on the pricier end.  So, I feel right at home with my Aquaphore slimy lips, wool socks, and over-sized gym t-shirt as I hang out at home.  Then, I feel a little fancier as I head off to work in my Sugar Lip Treatment.  I love both of them.

Which lip products do you suggest I add to my collection for low maintenance, all day wear?  Please, give me any excuse to buy more make-up.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney