LETTER TO MAY

Image-1Dear May,

It’s funny, but I really feel like you were the most eeehhhhh blogging month for me, so far.  And, I actually think that was a good thing.  You opened my eyes to the importance of taking time for myself and prioritizing my needs.

It sound very cliche and I do believe it is the most first-world of first-world-problems-that-I-create-for-myself, but I am just not good at putting myself first.  My mind just tends to work in a very task oriented, or To-Do list-ish, way. My success is based on a checklist.  Thankfully, May, you allowed me to take a step back from that (as much as my control-freak personality would allow).  So, thanks for that.  Like, thanks a lot for that. I know myself well enough to know that I truly need those reminders every so often.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I’m fixed, or whatever weird way you want to phrase that; you just taught me that I may miss a post during the week or I may post something that I don’t necessarily believe is Pulitzer Prize worthy… and the world will keep spinning.

And you know, May, even if you weren’t a stellar blogging month you were still a pretty good month, overall. When I do these reflections I tend to look at the blog and forget about most everything else.  And that is completely crazy.  MGG is my outlet.  It’s fun.  I do it in my free time.  I love it.  I really love it a lot.  But, I am also a teacher, and I’m in a relationship, and I’m keeping my dog alive/not running through windows, and I am trying to keep in touch with my spread-out family, and I’m staying up-to-date on Game of Thrones, and I’m trying to learn to cast while avoiding wind knots.  There’s a lot more than what I write here.  All important stuff.

So, thanks for letting me slip up a bit, May.  I needed to let go.

I’m ready for some serious June adventures, though.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

THE KEY TO TOTAL RELAXATION

There is no way I’m the only high-strung, type-A, stress-about-stressing-and-the-act-of-stressing-and-maybe-I’m-not-stressing-enough person out there.  If you are in that boat with me: I have found the perfect way to relax.  If you are nowhere near that boat with me: I have found the perfect way to relax.

The Roo Hammock.

Kammok Roo Hammock + Python StrapsI was never a big hammock person (is that even a thing? a big hammock person?),  until I went backpacking with my brother last summer and he brought his stuff-and-go hammock along with him.  There was literally no better feeling in the world than curling up with a beer, book, and pup in the hammock after a seriously grueling day of hiking.  It’s also perfect after mowing the lawn.  It’s also perfect after a long day of running errands.  It’s also perfect after an entire day of laying around in your pajamas doing absolutely nothing.  It’s just perfect.  There are no rules.

Of course, the inner wannabe hipster/hippie inside of me really wanted a handwoven, locally made, one-of-a-kind hammock.  But, the Roo Hammock + Python Straps honestly is just… better.

Here’s why this is the hammock you need:

  • It include hanging materials- so many of the hammocks I looked at did not include this.  Meaning I was either going to need to spend extra money OR attempt to rig it up myself and I do no trust that option.
  • It includes a easy to use stuff sack-  perfect for taking gear on the go AND it’s water resistant.
  • It is tear resistant-  this is incredibly important if you are going to take this item with you camping.  It’s so easy to get your hammock caught on a stick, tree, rock, or dog’s claw (Teton inherited high-anxiety from me and loves to bite his nails into razor sharp points…) and this will give you some peace of mind.
  • It can hold two people-  only if you feel like sharing; if you want to keep it to yourself– LIE.
  • It comes in pretty colors-  I like the grey because I’m boring and love all grey e’rything.  But, the green is awesome, as well.

I’ve mentioned before that I love Huckberry (cool products, awesome customer service).  And RIGHT NOW through the 31st Huckberry is offering free shipping on  e v e r y t h i n g,  plus they have tons of other gear on sale.  It’s the perfect excuse to do a bit of stocking up for all of your summer adventures.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

PODCASTS YOU NEED TO BE LISTENING TO (they will make you run faster, clean better, and drive safer)

I am ridiculously, unbelievably late to the podcast game.  I’m almost so late that it feels retro– just not quite.  Recently, I have found a few podcasts that I absolutely love.  They can make the most miserable of runs more bearable.  The longest of roadtrips more interesting.  The most boring of housework more entertaining.

I firmly believe that there are music people in the world and TV people.  I am a TV person.  Instead of blaring music in the background as I wash dishes or fold laundry, I turn on a rerun of The Office or a YouTube video talking me through all of the best mascaras available at Sephora. Even if I can’t actually watch what is happening (which is usually the case, but only bugs me if I’m trying to keep all the plot lines in Game of Thrones or Grey’s Anatomy straight), I just like to have the background conversation going on.

So, as much as I want to claim that I love running outside and just taking in the beauty of the nature around me… that’s totally not the case.  I know I’m supposed to say that, but in reality I prefer to run on a treadmill and binge watch Friends.  It takes my mind off the excruciating act of actually running.  But, now that the weather is borderline nice here in Laramie, I do want to spend a little more time outside.  Plus, getting Teton some extra exercise never hurts (then he is too tired to crash through windows or eat my underwear).

This is exactly where podcasts come in.

IMG_4864Call Your Girlfriend – This has been my top podcast lately.  It’s just like going to your favorite Happy Hour spot, having a drink (or 6), and cracking up with your best friends.  It reminds me of my best girlfriends from high school, in the best way possible.  They cover everything from the Kardashians to Supreme Court appointments and it’s awesome! (You know those annoying groups of girls that always claim their group of friends needs their own reality TV show?  Yeah, these girls have that vibe without the annoyingness.)

The Lively ShowIf Call Your Girlfriend is like spending Happy Hour with your gal pals, The Lively Show is like meeting at a coffee shop for a large latte, and nice long chat.  This show covers topics that relate to every woman’s life, but doesn’t feel too preachy.  The host is so welcoming and relatable you feel like you’ve known her for  y e a r s  and you can 100% trust her.

Stuff You Should Know– I must admit: I totally made fun of my brother the first time he showed this to me (granted we were on a 15 hour roadtrip from Wyoming to California, so I wasn’t really in my most open-minded mood).  But, I do thoroughly enjoy this podcast.  The hosts are like your cool, hippy teacher that used to actually make really boring things really interesting (I need to quit relating all of these hosts to different people from high school…).  They talk all about how different stuff in the world works, like inflation or the Iditarod or El Nino.  Granted, I do tend to skip on some of the more science-y episodes, but as a whole, I love the show.

This American Life– Okay, I feel like this is the OG fan favorite podcast.  The inner wannbe-hipster and me desperately wanted to find something less mainstream to share with you, but this is a ridiculously popular podcast for a reason.  Each episode they will pick a different topic to share stories on.  These stories can be funny, or heartbreaking, or heartwarming, or any combination of the 3– but, they are always entertaining.

Honorary Mention: Total Frat Move– This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is a fun listen-and-be-slightly-entertained-and-slightly-appalled show. Kind of my guilty pleasure of podcasts.

IMG_4865I’ve mentioned I am very new to the podcast game, so please let me know if there is anything else I need to check out!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

NO FUSS ‘STACKED’ BRAID

I love simple hairstyles that keep the hair out of my face (without looking like my 6th grade slicked-back-greasy-ponytailed self).  And I have been seeing ‘stacked braids’ all over Pinterest and YouTube for quite some time now.  So, I decided to create my own simplified version of this trend.

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This is the closest I will ever get to an Elsa braid.

Here’s why I love this hairstyle:

  • No heat– I am in desperate need of a hair cut (like no hair cut since November bad). My ends are totally dead. So, I have made a conscious effort not to use any heat on my hair for the past month (don’t worry I’m getting my hair cut soon).
  • No bobby pins– not that I have anything against these little guys, but lots of stacked braid tutorials that I checked out involved pinning the 2 braids together and I just felt like I had to worry all day about the pin sticking out. I need to feel free to whip my hair whenever I please!
  • No time– this is super fast, but still looks cute.

Materials:

  • 2 tiny hair elastics
  • A beautiful head of hair
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This is my brushed out curly/wavy/dirty hair… your hair will look much prettier during this step.

Step 1: Gather you hair together and then separate it into two section.  The bottom section should be about 1/3 of the size of the top portion.

Step 2: Braid the bottom portion in a standard braid.  Secure with a tiny elastic.

DSC01261Step 3: Take the top portion and braid it into a fishtail.  Be sure to keep the braid as tight as you can, then secure it with a tiny elastic.

Step 4: Grab your normal braid and weave it in and out of your fishtail (I literally just push it from one side to the other a few times).  Be a little careful with this step so you don’t destroy the braid, but don’t worry it being perfect. Secure the two braids together with a tiny elastic (I just remove both of the ties I have already used and put the braids together into one because I don’t like having that many hair ties in at once– I’m all about  simple).

This is generally how I prefer to style my braid. Add a hat, a crew-neck, gobs of mascara and I’m ready to go!

Step 5: Gently pull at different parts of the braids to get your desired fullness. Then, be prepared to bask in compliments all day long!

*If you are unsure about how to do a standard braid there is a fantastic tutorial here.  If you are unsure about how to do a fishtail braid I love this tutorial. Really I forgot how much I adore The Beauty Department until I was looking back through these.  It is just too pretty.


I am a huge fan of this look because it is so ridiculously easy and cute.  I would love to hear about any go-to summer hairstyles you have!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

SPRINGTIME FAVES

I have been completely guilty about being on the Complain Train when it comes to this cold, snowy, wet, and gloomy spring we’ve been having here in Wyo.  In fact, I’ve pretty much been the conductor.  So, to fight that off I am going to do a little springtime favorites list for you.  Forcing myself to rattle off the things that I’m loving right now, so I can’t complain.

The mountains have been calling for weeks now... but the weather keeps getting in the way.
The mountains have been calling for weeks now… but the weather keeps getting in the way.

*I love this little list that Kelsey does over at abalancingpeach each month!  So, I stole it for my Spring Faves!

Wanting: to climb my first 14er this summer.
Reading: the entire Harry Potter series.  For the about the 17th time.  I have a problem, but I don’t care, you muggle.
Watching: Game of Thrones.
Listening: to some killer podcasts!  I’m super late (like a mom discovering screenshots late) to the trend, but I can’t wait to give you the run down of my favorites.
Hoping: to squeeze in a bit of fishing this weekend… fingers crossed for sunshine!
Waiting: for it to be warm enough to wear shorts (even shorts with a sweatshirt!  I’m not picky).
Getting: excited for summer afternoons grilling and relaxing with a beer (this is more Brady grilling, Teton pacing, Ellie sleeping, and me pounding chips and salsa while I hold a beer– but still).
Wishing: my sense of direction were better.  Summer adventures are calling my name, but solo adventures are pretty limited with my abysmal sense of direction– it’s not like cute-and-ditsy-bad, it’s oh-goodness-I-may-wander-off-and-never-come-back bad.
Working: on some ridiculously exciting collabs for future posts.
Dreaming: of a summer tan (without skin damage or weird tan lines).
Munching: on these chips. All day.  Every day.
Sipping: some Kombucha because it’s trendy, usually over-priced, and supposed to be good for my health– all things I love.
Finishing: my last few assignments for the year! (If you didn’t know I am a teacher, which means I’m just about 2 weeks away from S U M M E R!!)
Planning: to share all of my favorite small businesses soon.  There are some seriously talented people out there!  I’m not necessarily one of them, but I like sharing the ones I find with you.  That’s my talent… sharing– cool new companies, sweatshirts, wine, whatever you need.
Saving: up for my summer trip to San Fran!
Looking: like a hot mess. Counting down to my first hair cut since 2015…
Wearing: my Chacos. Even when it’s much too cold and my feet look like a shriveled, old, granny ghost’s feet.
Buying: my first Woolrich blanket… it’s way more than I should be spending, but I don’t regret it one single bit.
Refusing: to Spring Clean.
Organizing: my Adventure To-Do list for the summer. adventures + lists = one happy camper
Loving: my newest additions from Alex Apland’s pottery (like that little teacup in my picture– so cute, I almost died).
Bookmarking: EVERYTHING from simplyliv&co — it’s all so stinkin’ pretty.

Happy Spring!  What have you been loving lately?

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

SHEETS ABOUT TO GET REAL

The sun is starting to shine in Laramie! Which means warm weather… and that means I want to wear less make-up (the fewer products I have on my face the less I have to sweat off throughout the day).  So, I need my skin to be in tip-top condition.

img_4147I have been on a serious sheet mask kick for the last few months.  They were never anything that I was too interested in or knew too much about until I received a few in a PopSugar Box.  That is when the lazy-girl/skin-care-junkie inside of me realized I had hit the jackpot!

Sheet masks are a super easy and mess free treatment for your skin.  They are a one time use item that you simply lay on top of your skin, let the treatment sink in (DO NOT try to snack during this step– I tried that out, but just ended up with food all over the mouth opening; smoothie drinking with a straw is a-ok), throw away the mask and marvel at your beautiful and glowing face.  I highly recommend these for a moisturizing mask, but I still keep a few of my favorite clarifying masks on stand-by.

In order to give you a full rundown of which are the best of the best with these masks I have selflessly tried out a wide variety of these guys (well, really I totally used this post as an excuse to buy any and every sheet mask that I saw for the last few months– so thank you!).

Of course, there are TONS more out there that I would love to try, but here is the rundown of the options I have tested so far:

Patchology Facial Sheets

  • The Good- It only takes 5 minutes for your skin to feel unbelievably moisturized. Yes. 5 minutes. 
  • The Bad- These are pretty darn expensive… Around $50 for a pack.  Yikes!
  • The Ugly- You look like Hannibal Lecter wearing this mask.

Sephora Collection Face Masks

  • The Good- The fit of this style of sheet mask was the best for my face shape.  The mouth and eye holes actually lined up with my mouth and eyes!  Also, these are perfect to add into your cart at Sephora if you are just so close to that free shipping minimum.
  • The Bad- All sheet masks tend to move around a bit on your face, but these were exceptionally hard to keep in place if I was doing anything but reading or lying in the bathtub (which really I used as an excuse to take more nice, hot baths– so maybe this is part of ‘The Good’…)
  • The Ugly- You look like your entire face is molting off like a lizard wearing this mask.

TonyMoly I’m Real Sheet Masks

  • The Good-  The ingredients in these sheets are fantastic!  The name: “I’m Real” is a pretty darn good sign and I felt really good about using these.  Plus, you can get them for a super budget-friendly price on Amazon.
  • The Bad-  Because these are a Korean beauty product the shipping can take a bit of time (really it depends: I have had one order come incredibly quickly and another that took  w e e k s).
  • The Ugly- You look like a Silence of the Lambs reject wearing this mask.

Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Facial Sheet Masks

  • The Good- You get a wide variety of  mask options with this pack and they are another incredibly affordable option.
  • The Bad- I wasn’t a huge fan of the shape with these.  They leave a little eye flap in case you want to hydrate your eyelids and the nose flap has a weird slit in it.  Not things that I found I needed or wanted.
  • The Ugly- You look like your geisha make-up took a turn for the worst wearing this mask.
These masks NEVER look good, but you can pretend you're at a spa, bundle up in a comfy robe, and make a fancy green smoothie to help you feel a bit prettier.
These masks NEVER look good, but you can pretend you’re at a spa, bundle up in a comfy robe, and make a fancy green smoothie to help you feel a bit prettier.

For me, the TonyMoly have been my most repurchased set of masks. I love the simple and real ingredients that they use.  I love the cute packaging.  I love how hydrated they make my skin feel.  But, mostly I love how inexpensive they are.

Really, none of these masks made my skin freak out or left me dissatisfied with the results.  But, I still didn’t notice a major difference in how my skin felt with the different brands.  Essentially, unless you have an incredibly specific skincare need you are trying to meet, I suggest sticking with the more inexpensive brands.

Let me know if there are any suggestions for masks that you swear by!  I would love to check them out.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

5 PRODUCT – 5 MINUTE – FACE

Summertime is meant to be spent outside. NOT in front of a mirror. So, here are the only 5 products I’ve been using everyday this summer. They’ve been helping me avoid looking like my 12 year old self, but don’t push me over into Kardashian-glam-squad territory.


Admittedly I am a very lazy “girly girl.” I don’t like to put much time (or effort– if we are being honest) into my makeup. Of course, I still want that whole naturally-flawless-and-beautiful-Blake-Lively vibe… but I only want it to take 5 minutes. Here’s what I’ve been using to get as close to that as I possibly can.

Products:

  1. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream– I already did a full post about this cream here, so I won’t go too in depth again. Just know that it is perfect for the summer.
  2. Maybelline Super Stay 24Hr Concealer– this I would love to be able to cut out of my life, but I just can’t. My skin definitely goes through phases, but even when it’s completely clear I still have annoying acne scars to cover up. So, for now this is necessary.  Thankfully, this particular concealer is cheap and long-lasting.
  3. Model Co Shimmer Bronzer– I don’t usually prefer a bronzer with shimmer, but with this look that is so minimal I like it. I just dust this on my cheek bones and temples. It takes about 7 seconds and makes a major difference.
  4. Mini Travel Sized Mascara– I just received this fancy-schmancy, little sample and have been loving it, but any mascara will work. I absolutely P I L E it on like nobody’s business.
  5. Mario Badescu Facial Spray– game changer! This spray helps everything look perfect and blended and natural. I’m not completely sure about it prolonging the wear time of my make-up. It just makes it look better. And it smells good. And it’s super inexpensive. All around win.

Happy summer everybody! Please share any of your favorite minimal make-up products with me.  I would love to hear it. Continue reading 5 PRODUCT – 5 MINUTE – FACE

IT COSMETICS CC CREAM (better than foundation?!): WORTH THE SPLURGE?

I have finally blown the dust off my old purse strings and bought a make-up product that was over $10.  For seriously the first time. in. my. life.


So, is the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream worth it?

Price: The full-size, 1 oz., product retails for $38 dollars.  Which is usually what I am comfortable spending for happy hour beers and snacks… not a makeup product.  But, I guess, it’s not outrageous like some other high-end brands I have checked out.

Packaging:  This may seems like a small thing, but I LOVE that this product comes in a squeezy-tube (technical makeup term) with a pump! I like the tube because with my ridiculously impressive upper-body strength and sculpted biceps I can ensure I get to use every last bit of this $38 product. And the pump ensures that I don’t get overzealous and accidentally shoot out way, way too much… which I have been known to do on early, sleep-deprived mornings.

Function: Okay, this is what you really need to know. What does it claim to do? What does it actually do? What the hell is a CC cream?

I could copy and paste exactly what the It Cosmetics website claims this puppy can do right here. But that sounds lazy and impersonal. So, I’ll tell you the results I’ve actually seen, on my beautiful mug, and let you check out all of the official business just by clicking on the links.

In general, I prefer a low maintenance and quick makeup routine–but also want to look like I just stepped out of a magazine. And this product helps me get (kind of) there. It is said that this product can be a sunscreen-moisturizer-primer-and-foundation-all-in-one product. I prefer to still use a moisturizer and primer, but do love it as a foundation alternative.

It gives you a medium to full coverage and is perfect if you have pretty good skin, but have some redness or old acne scars. It evens out my skin tone like no one’s business. I love how it makes my skin look and feel hydrated, without appearing oily. And I especially appreciate that it doesn’t cake up in my fine lines (shout out to anyone else with early onset crows feet!) or dry patches. Basically, I feel like it looks as if I were naturally blessed with semi-perfect and effortless skin when I wear this.

Really the only drawbacks come with wear time and blemish coverage. I only get about 5 or 6 good hours out of this (which is perfect for a summer brew fest or coffee date, but not ideal for a full work day). Then the coverage starts to fade. Luckily, it is super easy to reapply and doesn’t get all pancake face-y. Also, if you have a big ol’ zit you’re trying to mask, you’ll need reinforcements.

Repurchase: Definitely. This is my everyday staple. I love the look. I love what it does for my skin. And I love how easy it makes my mornings.

*There is another product called Bye Bye Foundation Tinted Moisturizer that is $65. The reviews on that product are phenomenal! But, after doing a little digging I found that the ingredients are basically the same as the CC cream and most people who had both products claimed they saw very little difference. So, I say save the $$ and get the CC cream. 

It takes quite a bit for me to travel outside of the convenience and comfort of drugstore makeup, but I am so glad that I did with this CC cream.

Overall, I have found that It Cosmetics is probably my favorite high-end makeup brand.  They really focus on quality ingredients and taking care of your skin.  I can’t wait to try out more of their products!

I would love to hear some of your favorite high-end items that are worth the splurge.  Let me know what I need to check out next!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

RIDICULOUS(ly cool) FISHING TERMS

Today, I want to cover the very first, and most important, step of becoming proficient with any skill:  The Lingo.  Now, I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a good fly fishing angler.  But, I am all about talking like I know exactly what I am doing.  So, below are a few phrases that I have picked up from some much more accomplished fly fishing aficionados to share with you.

Brady and his cousin, Michael, are both much better anglers than myself and much cooler than myself.  So, I stole a few lines from them for this post.
Brady and his cousin, Michael, are both much better anglers than myself and much cooler than myself. So, I stole a few lines from them for this post.

I am a fair-weather fisher-woman. Finally, some nice spring weather is starting to creep its way into Wyoming which means I need to brush up on my fly fishing trash talk.

Working on that "dead drift."
Working on that “dead drift.”
  • “Rip lip”- What you say about setting a hook while fly fishing.  But, no, unless I accidentally get much too overzealous with a teeny brook trout, no actual lips are ever ripped.
  • “Let ’em run”- My dad always tells me this when I hook a trout.  Trout can’t literally run, but they like to swim around like crazy and tire themselves out before being reeled in.  As long as you keep your line tight, this is a great way to make the fish do the work for you.
  • “Dead Drift”- This refers to the perfect drift you get on a fly when it is moving at exactly the same pace as the current.  I have heard of this, but I rarely achieve it– if I do it’s by accident and I get so excited I immediately mess it up.
  • “The river is milky/chocolate milk”- The river is muddy and yucky.  Not exceptionally good for fishing.
  • “Statue of Liberty”- The pose I make when setting a hook (well, really I add in a highly ineffectual and unattractive squat that our Lady Liberty definitely does not do, but it’s the pose I aim to make).
  • “Trigger finger”- A finger that you keep on your slack line.  Then, when you do get into your Statue of Liberty pose you can immediately get the slack out of the line and set your hook. ‘Rip lip’ if you will.
  • “That is a sexy fly”- I have heard more than one bearded trout-bum use this phrase to describe a fly that has been particularly successful in a certain area.  I guess it kind of makes sense… I always buy the fly, at least.
  • “Nervous water”- This was pointed out to me early on as a good place to catch fish, so I always cast into ‘nervous water.’  This is a spot on the river where a slow moving current and a fast current meet up and create a sort of wiggly seam (that’s the technical term).
  • “Roll your own”- uh, fly patterns that is.  This means making your own flies.
  • “There are no fish in here”- I heard it once and now I say this EVERY time I get I don’t catch a fish.
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Stetson “rippin’ lip”

What are some of your favorite fishy sayings?

Thanks for reading,

Sydney