LETTER TO APRIL

Dear April,

April, I ended my letter to March saying I was ready to tackle you head on!  I was all sorts of fired up and poised to attack!  But, it didn’t really end up being a battle did it?  It’s not like I let you run me over.  And I didn’t show you who was boss.  We both sort of just went through the motions, I guess.

So, I’m not sad at all to see you go. You were a very, very BLEH month.  You were basically just a place holder month between Spring Break and May when I can really start to count down until summer. Basically, April, you were the cracker (or lately: entire tub of Rainbowchip Frosting…) that I snack on to keep myself from starving before dinner; you’re not terrible, but you’re not great either.

Usually when I go to write these letters, it’s helpful for me to think about what has changed during this month.  And, honestly, just about nothing has changed.  March threw me for a loop a bit, so I think you may have been trying to throw me a bone.  And while I do appreciate that, it got to be a little boring.

In my first edition of this letter my paragraph here was a challenge to May to really bring it so I could really show my stuff.  But, I actually think it’s on me to “bring it.”  If I’m bored I need to push it and challenge myself and get out there.  Yes, I am a creature of habit and I love routine to a curled-up-in-a-ball-and-rocking-in-the-corner-if-it-is-changed fault, but that doesn’t mean I need to be   b o r i n g   (honestly the most exciting thing from this month was me discovering how cool the s p a c e d   o u t   t e x t could be).  That’s what I am going to focus on for May.  Thanks for the break April, but now I’m ready to rock it.

Finally…

Stop snowing. I’ve tried to be all good natured and jovial about these spring snow storms. “I’ll miss this in August when I’m sweating profusely just attempting to put my hair in a ponytail,” right? But this is getting ridiculous. Stop it.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Mother’s Day is only 2 weeks away! And I have found a few perfect gifts for any mom in your life.  Seriously.  This will cover the outdoorsy mom, or the trendy mom, or the book-worm mom, or the already-has-everything-and-doesn’t-need-one-more-dang-knick-knack mom.

IMG_4684Despite the ridiculous amount of love I have for my mother and step-mom, each year Mother’s Day tends to sneak up on me.  So, it’s that struggle between wanting to find that perfect gift that says “Hey, you were right.  Always.  And will always continue to be right.  And I’m sorry sometimes I turn into my sassy 9th grade self when I talk to you, even though I’m grown and know better.  Oh, and sorry for always hiding my laundry in my closet for weeks so it would get all smelly and the barbecue sauce stains would set,” but still getting it quickly.

This year though, I have my gift list ready!

Herbivore Jasmine Body Oil

This is such a fun treat-yo’self item.  Which means– of course– your mother won’t buy it for herself.  But this oil is super hydrating and smells amazing.  The perfect updated version of your old standby gift: hand lotion.

Rifle Paper Co. Yosemite Print

You really can’t go wrong with anything from Rifle Paper Co.  But seeing as the National Park Service is celebrating 100 years of service this year, this Yosemite print is absolutely fitting. (There are loads of other options if you want to look for another park or design though.)

Roo Hammock and Python Straps

Moms work too hard.  They need to relax, and this is a nice way to encourage them to do so.  These hammocks are perfect for some good ol’ back yard relaxing AND they are super easy to pack for a weekend camping trip.

Garden in a Can

I love sending plants this way!  Sending flowers from a long distance can be tricky business because you never quite know how they are going to look, but these are definitely shipping friendly.  Now, your mom can have her own little herb garden right on the windowsill.

*I’m pretty trendy, so I would probably transplant these little guys into cute mason jars (I would probably kill them in that process, but I’m sure your mom has a more green thumb than I do).

One Foxy Mama Pillow

Every mom needs this.  Every grandma needs this.  Every home needs this.

The Year of Cozy

This book has pretty much everything any Becky Home-ecky Mom could want.  Tons of homemade ideas (that you haven’t seen 546 times on Pinterest).

Or, if your mom isn’t into that kind of thing, I love this option as a reminder that not everything needs to be perfect.

Slow Down Candle

It seems like all moms have that go, go , Go, Go, GO mentality.  Here’s a nice, subtle way to tell them to s l o w   d o w n.  Plus, I think this is more personal then your typical candle.

A-Bomb Workout Gear

Having cute and durable workout gear is a real necessity no matter who you are.  I mean this is perfect for the latest Zumba class at your local gym, or hiking on the weekend, or catching up and grabbing a coffee (ok, ok… a bottle of wine) with your friends.  There are so many customizable options from A-Bomb!  It’s easy to get worried about size or fit, but you can’t go wrong with this top.

*This is a one woman show (and this woman is awesome– you’ll definitely hear me gush more about this brand later), so keep that in mind and order early.

Chaco Dorra Sandal

These sandals will be a staple for mothers as we head into warmer weather.  These are super stylish and can be dressed up or down.  But most importantly these have the support that so many sandals are lacking!  The perfect balance.

***

Be sure to spoil all of the moms in your life this Mother’s Day!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

 

EARTH DAY LOVE (and tips that you can actually use on your next outing)

Happy Earth Day!

I’m a pretty big fan of good ol’ Mother Earth, so I decided to include a few of my favorite tips (that you have not seen 76 times on Pinterest! There are no wind-chimes made of old wine bottles or wood pallets re-purposed into a shoe rack here…) for loving our planet.

One of my favorite pictures of my Tahoe backpacking trip... we were ridiculously lost on day 2, but this view wasn't too bad.
One of my favorite pictures of my Tahoe backpacking trip… we were ridiculously lost on day 2, but this view wasn’t too bad.

I will admit, I used to give Earth Day kind of a bad wrap.  I mean, I have always loved the earth and exploring, but I just didn’t buy into this holiday for a long time.  I had associated it with bathe-once-a-month hippies or pretentious I-have-14-different-recycling-bins soccer moms.

I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

This day is simply a reminder to do my part and give a well-deserved shout out to our planet.  And I love that.

Of course, this love-the-Earth vibe shouldn’t just be limited to today or this week.  It should be an all the time thing.  But, a nice little reminder and onslaught of landscape pics in your Instagram feed never hurt anyone.

Here are 5 of my favorite Earth-Loving Tips:

  • Shop with brands that give back— More and more outdoor brands are starting to hop on board with this.  A newer and growing brand, Rep Your Water (one of my personal favorites), donates a portion of each purchase made to a conservation group of your choice.  Likewise, well-established brands, like Patagonia, do this.  My favorite brewery, New Belgium, even does this! So grab yourself a new fishing hat, some hiking pants, and beer!  Just to help the earth of course.
  • Leave a better trace— Ok this is my FAVORITE tip!…  that I am still figuring out… There is so much talk about leaving no trace when we are outdoors.  However rather than attempting to be Invisible, Ghost Adventurers, I like the idea of leaving a trace that is actually helpful or beneficial.  Really, I am still working on this one myself. I stumbled upon the #leaveabettertrace on Instagram and was intrigued.  Right now, contributing to conservation programs is the biggest way that I do this.  But, I also like to make sure that I am a catch and release fisherman (or in my case, I skip the catching all together to really focus on conservation), always pack out any garbage when camping, and leave any firewood that went unused ready for the next camper.  I am completely aware that these are baby steps, but I am still learning and incorporating more into my adventures.
  • Avoid single-use items— This is definitely the most concrete tip in the bunch.  It was just really pressing on my mind as we head into grilling and camping season.  It can be so, so tempting to bring along a bunch of paper plates and plastic utensils when camping or eating outside.  Believe me: I HATE doing the dishes as much as the next person.  But buying some camping cookware and dishes (this option is fantastic or this option is a great cheaper alternative) will cut down on your packing time and waste.  Plus, the cups are perfect for camp wine, as Stetson and I figured out while backpacking last summer.
  • Educate yourself— There is so, so much I still don’t know about conservation and doing my best to ‘be green’ and attempting to leave a better trace.  Of course, I’m not an expert.  I just do my best to find little ways that I can help and am sure to double check any rules or regulations that may effect me before I head out on an adventure.  Everything is so easily accessible right now.  My goal is to try a new green tip each time I head out to explore this summer.
  • Get out there and enjoy it— The earth is pretty damn cool and just wants us to explore and appreciate it.  I’m trying to do my part and you should too.  It’s my easiest and most important tip.

IMG_1963I’m planning to ride this Earth Day wave all the way through the weekend.  It’s finally feeling like spring here in Wyo and I’m going to take full advantage.  A nice walk along the river with the dogs Friday evening.  A little fishing for Saturday morning.  The spring football game for UW (because the Mama Earth loves football too).  And hopefully a nice hike to start off Sunday morning.

What are your outdoor plans this weekend?

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

APRIL POPSUGAR MUST HAVE BOX

I recently came home to a lovely, little surprise (surprise because I thought I had cancelled the subscription last month to save a bit of $$, but lovely because this box is AWESOME) delivered right to my front door.

April’s PopSugar Must Have Box was spring themed and fantastic.  This subscription costs $40 each month and the overall value for the box this month was $136 (not including the $20 Bloom That gift card we received)!!

IMG_4647 Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat ($30)

This cook book looks absolutely delicious!  With all of the Pinterest and Tasty recipes that are out there now I have honestly never cooked something from a recipe actually in a cook book.  But, this one looks like a winner.  There is a super wide variety of recipes, and they seems easy to follow.  Thankfully, I can actually recognize the ingredients listed (meaning I won’t have to hop on my donkey and ride to the nearest Underground-Ingredients-You’ve-Never-Heard-Of-And-Will-Only-Use-Once Market).

I think I’ll play around with this book for awhile and then my next food post will be something out of it.  Sound good?

Plus, Chrissy Teigen is absolutely stunning and her pictures with John Legend in here are gorgeous.  So, I figure if I use her book I’ll instantly look like her.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

*This book is listed as $30, but the Amazon link I used above has the book for $15.

Canvas Home Tinware Salt & Pepper Shakers ($12)

Ok, these salt and pepper shakers are for serious salt and pepper fans.  They are adorable, but the holes are pretty darn big and the salt and pepper pour out at lightning speed.  So, not really my fav.

The rest of the Tinware line from Canvas Home is pretty darn cute, though.  It’s got that rustic country vibe, while still looking a bit modern and not too beat-up.

next by Nature Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans ($4)

I’m devouring these as I write this.

Chocolate covered espresso beans.  Need I say more?

Occasionally, I will see these at my local grocery store, but usually the price is way jacked up.  They are much cheaper on Amazon.  I couldn’t find the espresso beans specifically, but they do carry lots of next by Nature items here.

Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm ($48)

I am in love with this item!  Honestly, the entire box was worth it for just this one item.

I love fancy skin care and this brand looks awesome.  The Farmacy site gives you tons of info on their products, but basically their mission is skincare using natural ingredients and cutting-edge technology.  So, the best of both worlds.  Still keeping with that natural-granola-y-vibe I like, but not completely ignoring all of these super impressive modern advances we have made.

I’ve only used this a few times, so I can’t attest to any long-term effects, but I love how it makes my skin feel.  It’s ridiculously soft and moisturizing without feeling oily.  Seriously, I made Brady feel my face twice after putting it on the first time.

*These products are a bit pricier (which I am okay with for skincare), but they have a sample kit on sale right now, which would be a great way to test out the brand.

Noon Design Shop “Lemons” Flour Sack Tea Towel ($18)

At first this item was kind of ‘meh’ for me.  I mean, it’s cute, but really it’s just a tea towel. But, now I am so glad that PopSugar included it.

The entire Noon Design site is adorable.  I want ALL of the tea towels.  They have adorable prints and are actually meant to be used.  They have super simple wash instructions– nothing like those look-but-don’t-touch-tea-towels at Grandma’s.  They also carry some really fun jewelry pieces and skin care products.

Royal Apothic Conservatories Hand Cream in “Field Poppy” ($24)

I am someone who really appreciates a good hand creme (or cream because I live in Wyoming and am not that fancy).  I am a teacher so I am constantly washing and sanitizing my hands, which makes them ridiculously dry.  This creme does wonders for moisturizing my hands.  Honestly, the most moisturizing product I have tried.  The smell, however, is just a bit overpowering.  I’m talking “punched in the face with a fist full of flowers” overwhelming. So, I think I will keep using this (when I am in an open and well-ventilated area), then try another scent from this collection.

***

As always, I am floored by the value of this box.  I really can’t say enough good things.  I did actually succeed in cancelling this subscription (at least for awhile) in order to save a little bit of cash.  But there is a PopSugar Mini Must Have Box launching in July (for $18 a month), that I can’t wait to check out!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

 

 

HOW TO FIGHT SPRING FEVER

Spring Fever has set in HARD over here at MGG.  The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the beer is getting colder.  It’s full on spring and I just want to be outside all day, every day.

Photo Cred: bepurposed.com
Photo Cred: bepurposed.com

Unfortunately, that not exactly a feasible option for me.  I do still have a full time job with responsibilities (for 6 more weeks!!– Yay, yay for being a school teacher!).  I do still need to do normal household chores.  And I do still need to put together posts that are helpful or funny or insightful or any combination of the 3.  So, I have been searching pretty darn hard for ways to combat this severe case of Spring Fever.  My current coping mechanism of just letting everything pile up around me as I stare wistfully out the window hasn’t proven to be the most effective…

Thankfully, I have found 5 strategies that do actually seem to hold off the Spring Fever a tiny bit.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Take it outside- any of those mundane responsibilities I just listed that can be done out in the sunshine should be done out in the sunshine.  Bring your work to the front porch.  Move your run from the treadmill to the pavement.
  2. Make a list- I’m a sucker for lists of ALL kinds, but this is my favorite list.  If you are stuck daydreaming about all the adventures you want to be on and all the camp fires you want to be sitting around while you are stuck at work make an Adventures List.  Quickly write down what activity you want to do or where you want to go… and then get back to work!  Just writing it down seems to help me get it off of my mind in a positive way, so I can focus on the stuff that needs to get done in order for me to ever get the chance to be outside.
  3. Treat yo’self- Set small goals (i.e. a checklist) and when you finish that task reward yourself with some outside time. (Now, I know immediate rewards aren’t always an option, depending on your job.  I am a teacher, so as much as I think my students would appreciate a little walk outside each time I finish grading a stack of papers or putting together an assignments, it’s not exactly an option.  So, I make those rewards for later:  “If I get this done I’ll have enough time after school to read a chapter on the porch… If I get this done I’ll be able to have a beer while I read, too!” etc.)
  4. Staycation for the weekend- Use your weekends to scratch that Spring Fever itch.  Even if you can’t jet off to an exotic destination, spend the morning fishing or go for an afternoon hike.  Just that little bit of outdoor air will do wonders for the rest of the week.
  5. Get seasonal- This is my simplest and favorite fix.  Embrace all of the seasonal releases.  Switch to iced coffee.  Try the summer beers.  Buy a spring-y blush. Trade your boots out for Chacos.  These changes are 100% superficial and I 100% don’t care.  They help my Spring Fever symptoms.

***

Good luck!  We are all in this as a team.  Fighting off the fever is pretty daunting work, but we can do it!  Just embrace the bits of spring that you can and stay as on top of things as possible during your work time so you can truly enjoy your free time.

What are you favorite tips for a nice ol’ fashioned case of Spring Fever?

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

THE BOOK YOU NEED TO READ THIS SUMMER

When I read the title Big Magic I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into I mean, personally, I have never outgrown Harry Potter, but I wasn’t convinced I wanted to hop on yet another fantasy series bandwagon.  Thankfully,  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert had absolutely nothing to do with wizards and I loved it.

DSC01040Okay, if you have made it just this far in the post and you are already thinking that I am going to be spitting some hippy-dippy-bologna at you and you immediately want to close out of this page: STOP!  I know the title is a little hippy-dippy, and I myself tend to like a bit of hippy-dippy-ness, but this book isn’t just for your stereotypical 20-something year old attempting to write a blog.  It takes a whole new spin on creativity that appeals to a much, much wider audience.

This is my first “self-improvement book” (although I’m really not even sure if it even qualifies, but that’s the section I found it in), so I was very skeptical.  Surprisingly it wasn’t preachy or boring (my 2 biggest fears with this kind of book) at all.  Gilbert is witty, she’s honest, and she knows the importance of a well-placed swear word: I love her.

Why I loved it:

First and foremost: I just plain like what Gilbert is saying.  I’m picking up what she’s putting down.  I’m hitting what she’s pitching.  I’m buying what she’s selling (literally).  And all that other stuff.

She maintains that being creative shouldn’t be so complicated.  And it shouldn’t be forced.  And it shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed by.

That’s what I really connected with.  I love writing.  I love mountaingirlygirl. But, I still get embarrassed when people ask me about my blog and I very rarely volunteer that I have a blog to anyone I know.  If they find it– great; if not– at least they can’t judge it. (I mean I have a seriously cool sticker with the MGG logo on it that I didn’t even put on my car, until after reading this book, because I didn’t want people to ask me about it.)

There are just so many people out there who are blogging.  I get stuck thinking that I’m just another one of the masses or I’m too late to the trend to make an impact.  Pretty much weekly I wonder how easy it would be to just slip away and stop posting for my 6 loyal readers (thanks Auntie Kim!) and pretend this whole experiment was just a phase.  Some days it is exceptionally tempting–I would have so much more time to watch Parks and Rec re-runs!

And if I wanted to stop because I didn’t like it that would be fine.  But, that’s not at all why I consider it.  I consider stopping because I’m embarrassed that this site hasn’t grown as fast as I want or I’m embarrassed about using hashtags and self-promoting on social media.

Well, those reasons are really shitty and this book pointed that out. So, you’re all stuck with me!

Why you need to read it:

Still, you may be thinking to yourself: “I’m not one of those whiny/needy individuals who needs to share every bit of their life through a blog or needs thousand likes on each carefully curated Instagram post.  Why on earth would I need this book?”

Because creativity doesn’t have to mean you are someone with a aesthetic you stick to on your Instagram profile or you sit in the corner of  coffee shop and brood over 18th century poetry each weekend.  It’s whatever you feel like creating!  It’s starting a Christmas tree farm or priding yourself on bringing the best potluck dish or writing the funniest work emails.

Honestly, with the title and all of the color explosion on the cover I was sincerely expecting this book to tell me to cast aside all my worldly possessions, live off the land, and write for 12 hours each day.  Thankfully, Gilbert is refreshingly realistic.  She even kept her day jobs (one of which was working on a ranch in Wyoming– which obviously had me squealing-at-my-book excited) all the way through 3 published and very well received books; she only made writing her full-time gig after a little book called  Eat, Pray, Love. Pretty darn respectable in my opinion.

Image
Picture cred: PopSugar

Favorite Quotes:

  • “I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity then by fear.”
  • “He didn’t quit his day job to follow his dream; he just folded his dream into his everyday life.”
  • “Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble.”
  • “If people don’t like what you are creating, just smile at them sweetly and tell them to go make their own f***ing art.”

DSC01036Do yourself a favor and check out  Big Magic (the audio book
is available as well).  You can plow through it in days like I did or you can just read little bits and pieces here and there as you desire.

Whether you want to be the world’s next J.K. Rowling or you want to dabble in bee-keeping this book has something for you.  Be sure to let me know what you think of it!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

PERFECT SPRING TEES (Plus a discount!)

Spring is finally here!  Which means you will be needing a few new tees to fish and hike and drink beer on the porch and perfect that farmer’s tan in.  Huckberry has you covered for ALL of that, plus anything else you could possible think of doing while wearing a great t-shirt.


I am a t-shirt girl.  There is really no way around.  I love being girly by piling mascara onto my lashes, coating my face in bronzer, and painting my nails as soon as I see one, tiny, little chip.  And even with all of that I still prefer to wear an athletic style tee every, single day.  But, I want to have that casually-thrown-together-and-headed-on-an-adventure look, not the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-headed-to-the-couch look.

That’s where these Huckberry tees come in.  They have a ton of different designs that all have that cool-outdoors vibe to them.  They are ridiculously comfortable (of course, t-shirts are inherently comfy, but these are also made with that super soft material you just want to snuggle up in).  And they have my ideal fit.

I tend to go towards uni-sex t-shirts rather than women’s cut (much to the dismay of a few of my more style-conscious family members and friends).  I am just not a fan of tight shirts.  My lineman-sized traps look ridiculous and it never seems like the tapered waist actually hits where my waist is tapered.  So, I stick with a looser t-shirt.  But, that does not mean I want it to be boxy.  And these are perfect.

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If you sign up here you get a $10 credit towards your first purchase.  So, basically you’re losing money if you don’t buy some new gear for the spring.  Or, at least that’s how I tend to look at it…

I’ve fallen in love HARD with this company.  (I mean, I like them so much I actually read the emails they send out!!) The only drawback is that their products can be pricey, which my bank account does not love.  So, I have eased in with a few purchases with these t-shirts (because I seriously couldn’t resist–my will power is practically non-existent), and then I am keeping a close eye on a few of my favorite items for when they go on sale.  Luckily, Huckberry does a really nice job of rotating their sales around, so I am hoping I won’t have to wait too long for the Woolrich blanket or Herbivore jasmine moisturizing body oil I have my eye on.

*This is not a sponsored post, but it does contain affiliate links.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney