LETTER TO JUNE


Dear June,

You went way too fast. 

Seriously. 

Putting that aside, you were a pretty great month and maybe that’s why I’m sad to see you go, June. I appreciate you letting me feel like a totally in-control adult one day. Like a junior high kid enjoying summer break with no responsibilities the next. Then, like a hot mess 20-something that can’t even begin to handle any of this. And like a grandma who is tucked into bed at 8:30 each night. All in one month. 

And I actually loved it. You helped me avoid falling into my summer rut, June. Of course, I love being able to relax all day (I have an exceptionally mellow, or lazy, soul), but I have learned that I am definitely one of those people that needs structure. You gave me that: walks with Teton (and coffee) to start the day, semi-productive mornings, lazy afternoons, ice cream way more often than I should, and early bed-times. It’s simple and low-maintenance and keeps me from going crazy. 

There have been a few rough spots. Not because I lead an exceptionally challenging life or feel the need to fit in a complaint here, basically because I’m a normal person and everyone has that stuff. But, I am feeling better about how I handle it. Usually, my initial reaction is too harsh and overly-emotional… however, the important part is that I realize this–first step–and can generally improve it–second step. So, you weren’t perfect, June; I don’t want you getting a big head. But, we made a pretty darn good team. 

I’ll end by saying you were H O T. And while that was fun and all for the start of summer, I’m ready for things to fizzle a bit and really settle in with a comfortable month like July. Don’t take it personally– it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just ready to move on. 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

GET RICH OR… ATTEMPT TO SAVE A FEW EXTRA BUCKS IN AN EASY AND QUICK MANNER

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That’s the saying, right?

I have finally found a way to make money while sitting on my couch, snuggling with my dog, drinking coffee, and wearing my pajamas (and not those cute insta-worthy pj sets… true, ripped sweat pants and stained t-shirt pajamas). And I am here to share it with you!

Sound like an infomercial yet? Because I feel like one. I can practically hear the enthusiastic, albeit clueless audience ooohing and ahhhing in the background.

It’s not a get-rich quick scheme, though. It’s really more of a way to feel slightly less guilty about any wine-induced, online shopping sprees you may go on. You won’t be making the BIG bucks; you’ll just be getting back a few of your medium-sized dollars.

I’m taking about Ebates. Basically just a middle man for online shopping. I opened up an account (free), then anytime I shop online I just go through that site, and I get a percentage of what I spent back in a check every few months. Plus, there’s usually some sort of gift card they give you just for signing up. You can sign up right here.

There’s more that goes into it and better explanations, but those are the basics. I just can’t explain it that well because I’m not an actual infomercial actress. What I really know is that I have been doing this for a year now. It’s not some sort of slimeball scheme; there’s no catch.

Here’s the deal: this post is way out of my comfort zone. It feels kind of gimmicky or impersonal. And that’s exactly what I don’t want for MGG. But, it’s helpful and a concrete tip you can use. As much as I love to think each one of you keeps coming back to my blog because of my witty comments and fresh one-liners, I know the reason that I check out most blogs is for helpful advice. So, this is mine. My next post will be back to my day to day ramblings, but I honestly recommend you go check out Ebates.

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

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

LET’S GET REAL ABOUT ‘ME TIME’

Everyone needs a little bit of time on their own to relax and unwind. But, sometimes it seems like there is need for that time to be Insta-worthy (I’m talking drinking coffee on white sheets with a cable knit blanket…which is a picture I know I will never get because of my terrible lighting and fear of spilling). And that’s just too much pressure!

Me Time is about being Y O U. So, I’ll share exactly how I really relax. 

Here’s how the blog-ified me wishes I spent Me Time:

  1. Painting my entire house white and adding gold accents. It’s all about that aesthetic. 
  2. Meditating. It totally soothes me to pretend to clear my mind for an hour, while really I’m just building stress about everything I could actually be getting done during this tried-to-center-myself-but-unbearably-unproductive hour.
  3. Arranging flowers. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that these expensive, little sh!ts are going to die in a week. They look so beautiful and inviting for the ZERO people that drop by my house. 
  4. Chatting with my girlfriends at a coffee shop. Putting on make-up, brushing my hair, and wearing real pants just to pay $5 for a cup of coffee sounds super relaxing. (Ok, I probably should do this, or at least call my friends on the phone while I drink coffee, because I am really terrible about keeping up even with my BEST friends…)
  5. Eating a fresh acai bowl. I truly wish I could do this. Someone bring acai to Wyoming!

Here’s how the normal-human me spends Me Time:

  1. Binge watching ANYTHING on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go (I seriously need cable). I have an intense ‘never give up’ attitude when it comes to TV shows; if I start it I will power through to the series finale– no matter how terrible the acting or unbelievable storyline. 
  2. Painting my nails. I do enjoy doing this, even though it looks like a toddler did them until all the excess paint comes off my fingers, days later. Mostly, I want fresh nails if I ever catch a picture-worthy fish. 
  3. Watching YouTube make-up and hair tutorials that I will LITERALLY never do. I 100% know the chances of me mixing up my mascara and messy bun look are slim to none. But, I waste hours on those videos. 
  4. Rereading Harry Potter.  No shame. 
  5. Getting up at the crack of dawn, just so I can hike with Teton without having to see any other humans. Then, coming back to the house and crawling straight into bed again. 

The more I try this whole blogging gig, the more I honestly love it. But, it also makes me realize how much I need to make it my own and show the real me. It may not be what’s trendy right now (even though Lord knows I love being trendy and try way too hard at it), but it’s much more comfortable. 

If you truly love and enjoy the blog-ified  version of my Me Time lists: good for you! Keep doing your thing and there’s absolutely no judgment here. I know people who genuinely enjoy everything I listed. They are wonderfu, creative, and kind people. As are the people who skew a bit more towards my second list… It’s whatever works for you. 

Me Time is a big deal. Personally, I need it to keep from fully letting my inner needy-complainer (raging B**** may sound cooler, but I’m more of a whiner) control my whole life. And everyone around me is grateful for that. 

 I would love to hear how you really spend your Me Time. 

Thanks for reading, 

Sydney

GOING AU NATURALE

That’s right! We are talking about going au naturale today.

Over the last few months, I’ve tested out lots of different natural products. There have been some duds and some new faves. So, I figured I’d share them and let you know what to expect if you switch to any of these products.

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Hello Whitening Toothpaste

Natural toothpaste is NOT for me. Sure it got my teeth clean and I’m cavity free, but I need that overpowering, artificial mint smell in my life! I wanted to like this item so badly– the packaging was trendy and just adorable– but I couldn’t. I have a major fear of being that girl with the awful breath. Give me that in-your-face-mint-kick.

Yes To… Facial Towelettes

The entire Yes To brand is a natural option that I love, simply because of its accessibility. I mean, it can be found in good ol’ Laramie, WY, right in our WalMart. That’s a big deal! But, I did find that not ALL of their products work for me. The “Soothing” Cucumber towelettes burned the sh*t out of my eyes, but the Blemish Clearing Tomato ones are my new favorite wipes for removing make up (I just slather coconut oil all over my eyelashes to remove the layers and layers of mascara, check out my wicked-cool raccoon face in the mirror, and use the towelettes to wipe the entire mess away).

Deodorant 

Okay, trying new deodorants is actually kind of tricky business. When you switch from your ‘normal’ brand to a natural kind it takes your body a few weeks to adjust. So, keep that in mind when you try it out. And do not try a new, natural deo on any sort of important day!

Here’s what I tried:

  • Homemade natural deodorant- left me smelling okay, but gave me a nasty underarm rash (as if there is another kind of underarm rash…)
  • Tom’s Deodorant – left me smelly AND sweaty– luckily I teach at a junior high, so I just blended right in

Here’s what works:

I’ll admit, figuring out what worked for me here was some seriously smelly business. But, I am FINALLY happy with my natural-deo choice! And it’s definitely passed the sniff test, thanks to some above-and-beyond friends.

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Of course, this is nowhere near an all-inclusive list of natural items you can add to your beauty routine. But, these are items that I have tested for a loooonnnng time and feel like I can give you a totally honest, full review.

I love mixing and matching natural products into my routine. My desire to be a super-all-natural-trendy-earthy-hippy is something that I’ve mentioned before. But, I also know that people who are much, MUCH smarter than me have made some serious scientific and technological advances when it comes to self-care. And I want to take advantage of that. I like the balance.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

KEEP THE BUGS AWAY! (DIY citronella candles)

We had a wet (and ridiculously snowy) spring. The bugs have been absolutely awful. I hate the sticky feeling of bug spray. And basically all of these things led to a TON of complaining on my end. So, I decided it was time to finally test out one of my good ol’ Pinterest projects and make some citronella candles.


I love to buy (usually overpriced…) candles that come in cute containers and then repurpose them. These  Paddywax ones are my favorite– the jars are adorable and they burn  f o r e v e r. Once I burn through them I just scoop out any extra wax and then place them pretty much all over my house. I use them as silverware holders, toothbrush holders, makeup brush holders, pen holders, really any kind of ‘holder’ I can think of. And now they get to be new little citronella candles!

I looked through and tried out tons of different tutorials for DIY candles. And ended up with a ridiculous amount of wax stuck to my stove top, until I found a way that worked.  Basically, I just took bits a pieces from each and made my own.


Materials

  • Beeswax pellets
  • Old coffee mug
  •  Candle Wicks*if you can’t find wicks you can just use twine dipped in wax and it will work just fine
  • Old candle jars or mason jars
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Desired essential oils (I used citronella and lavender)

Directions

  1. Pour the pellets into the coffee mug and place in microwave. Microwave at 30 second intervals until the wax is completely melted.
  2. Lay pencil over the top of your candle container. Measure your wick so that the bottom touches the bottom of your container and the top reaches your pencil. Tape the wick to the pencil (this just helps keep the wick in place as you pour in the wax).
  3. Pour wax into the candle container.
  4. Add essential oils. * the amount will depend on the size of your candle and smell preference– for my medium sized candles about 10 drops of citronella and 5 of lavender worked perfectly
  5. Allow candles to cool at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Making your own candles can sound super, over-the-top, hippy-ish– and, honestly, a bit like it’s more hassle than it’s worth. But these were truly easy to make.

The best change that I made was melting the wax in a coffee cup in the microwave instead of in a double boiler on the stove. I always like to go with a stove option over the microwave. Strictly because it makes me feel classier. But, trying to pour the wax while wearing oven mits lead to an absolute mess. The coffee cup is so much easier to control.

I love the final result. They look adorable and smell… as nice as citronella can smell, I guess. I’ll keep you updated on how they repel the bugs, though. So far it’s been good, but I want to see some long term results.

Hopefully these can help you keep the mosquitos at bay!

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

JUST GET OUT THERE (who cares why?)

My standards for a “productive” day during the summer are exceptionally low. As long as I can cross one household chore off my to-do list and get in some sort of physical activity I’m feeling pretty good.  (I know this completely goes against the incredibly popular #workgrind #bossbitch #illsleepwhenimdead vibe that is so popular right now– I’m less ‘work hard play hard’ more ‘work medium play until you’re tired enough to chill on the couch’ right now.)

This means that when I had the responsibility of keeping 3 dogs at my thimble-sized house last weekend I knew I would need to wear them out early or they were going to make my love of being lazy much less enjoyable. So, I decided to take the entire crew out on a little morning hike with me. Which could easily have been an absolutely genius plan or could have been a complete disaster– but I was willing to risk it if it meant hours of my afternoon could be spent lounging in my yard reading (for the record: I am not reading a trendy/blog-chic book– I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series, again, and I love it).


Luckily, earlier in the week I went for a little hike with one of my friends and her 3 and 4 year old kiddos. I figured if two preschoolers could manage this route I could manage it with three unruly dogs. For some reason those seemed like very comparable groups to me…

And it was a complete success! The dogs loved it and wore themselves chasing every squirrel, blowing leaf, and new smell they could find. Then, when they ran out of those things they just chased each other. I loved my feeling of accomplishment having tuckered out the pups before it was even 9 am. Plus, I’m lucky enough to be on summer vacation, so I can plan to hike on weekday mornings when I know it won’t be busy. This means I didn’t even have to worry about trying to keep all of the dogs on their leashes (though I’m sure that would have been a thoroughly entertaining site). Ellie and Riley are good enough listeners they don’t get too far, and Teton is so unbelievably needy/attached he rarely leaves my side for a long enough time that I even need to call him back.

I had planned for the post to be a touching/insightful/inspiring piece about the importance of spending time on your own and taking solo adventures. I do completely think that exploring on your own is so important and something I truly need to work on. But, let’s be honest: I really only went on this mini-hike out of selfish-wear-the-dogs-out reasons, not any spiritual-take-time-to-center-yourself reasons. 

And that’s totally ok! I will  a l w a y s  be the first person to back that up. Good intentions are fantastic, but the part that matters the most is actually doing it. Who cares if I took the dogs hiking not out of my deep love for nature, but my desire to get lost in Hogwarts? Who cares if you go for a run to fit into that dress instead of your love for fitness? Who cares if you bought those shoes because they are cute and think that the pair that gets sent to Africa is a stellar bonus? The important part is that you are doing good things! And they make you feel good. And all of the other benefits are icing on the cake. 

That may not be the most enlightened mini-paragraph that I’ve ever written, but it is totally true. 

No matter what your motivation is to get outside, the important thing is that you’re out there. Don’t feel guilty! You’re still braving the bug bites and the sunburns. Good. For. You.


Thanks for reading,

Sydney

SH*T YOUR DAD WANTS 

Father’s Day is coming up! Of course, dads can be a bit difficult to buy for. I mean, how many bad joke coffee mugs can one person need? But, I have put together a few options that should be real crowd pleasers.

Admittedly, I absolutely love shopping for this kind of stuff. Cheesy dad jokes and cool food/drink gadgets are 100% up my alley. 


Pathfinder cooler– coolers are weirdly “Dad-Chic”  right now. Of course, Yeti Coolers are always a hit, but this little cooler is much more affordable and just as cool (Dad joke: check). Most importantly: it’s the perfect size for a 6-pack!

Sh*t My Dad Says– I love this book! Everyone would get a good kick out of it. It’s hilarious and totally fitting for Father’s Day. There are tons of short stories that are just so “Dad”– it’s perfect. 

Wild Rogue Botanicals Beard Oil– this is absolutely something that your dad wouldn’t buy from himself, but would definitely love. Of course, I do suggest your dad actually has a beard if you decide to go with this gift…

Copper Flask– this is a completely timeless gift. Plus, the copper can class up even the dorkiest of Dad-fashion. 

Stovetop Pizza Oven– you can’t go wrong with fancy food gadgets. This little pizza oven is super versatile. I suggest really up-ing your gift game by including all of Dad’s favorite pizza ingredients and making a whole night out of it. 

Craft Beer Homebrewing Kit– dads love hobbies. Dads love beer. Dads love doing things themselves. So, combining all 3 of those things should make the perfect gift. 

Adventure Coffee Percolator– Stanley has been a staple Dad-brand forever (I can still remember my dad’s old Stanley coffee thermos from when I was tiny). So, this percolator is a fantastic updated gift to ensure the best camp coffee. 

Be sure to make your dad feel special this Father’s Day! Skip the generic tie and give him something he will truly enjoy. He dealt with all of your whining, sat through every school concert, and always gave you the best bite of his dinner; he totally deserves it. 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

SUMMER ADVENTURES TO-DO

To-do lists suck. There’s no real way around it. But, they are a bit of a necessary evil. So, I found a way to make them much less terrible. 

I am a major list-er. I make lists for anything and everything. Most of these lists are full of very menial tasks: laundry, grocery shopping, mow the lawn, feed Teton (yes, I put that on my lists. Of course, I would still feed my dog if it weren’t listed, but I really love the satisfaction of checking it off– especially on those days where that’s pretty much the extent of what I accomplish). However, there are lists you can put together that will actually make you smile rather than immediately cringe. 

Adventure To-Do List 

  • Climb a 14-er
  • Visit San Fransisco
  • SUP at Horsetooth
  • Try all the Wyoming beers at Brew Fest
  • Go to a Rockies game
  • Camp… A LOT
  • Spend time in Torrington
  • Catch more fish than Brady
  • Take a new brew tour
  • DISNEYWORLD
  • Take a cooking class
  • Get home to Montana
  • Hike Medicine Bow Peak

*not many lists get to include San Fransisco AND Torrington– that’s pretty darn special

So basically, my summer will be spent drinking beer, traveling to visit family, and putzing around outside with Brady. I’m not mad at it. 

I do tend to throw around the word Adventure extremely casually here on MGG. But, I don’t care. These are my adventures. And they can be as non-hard-core-adventure-y as I want them to be. 

Of course, I can keep adding to this list. But 13 is the perfect number to start with.  I don’t want it to get overwhelming and I want my fair share of time sitting in the yard with Teton and reading. 

Without lists I tend to be exceptionally lazy, so I love this idea to keep me active. Plus, a lot of times I’ll think about these things, but let all of the other boring/time-consuming/bleh stuff get in the way and I never get around to it. I get major joy out of crossing things off my to-do lists, though, so this will hold me accountable. And I’m thinking I may make one for every season. 

I would love to hear what’s on your Adventure To-Do List! 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney