LETTER TO AUGUST 

Dear August,

Thank you!

Thank you for not rushing by like the rest of this summer (really this entire year so far).  Thank you for bringing me adventure AND routine.  Thank you for giving me a taste of that Laramie Summer that I was missing in June and July.  Thank you for giving me time with family, friends, and myself.  Thank you for not letting me fall back into a rut.

August, you were a real MVP this summer.  I needed you.  You brought a lot of balance into my life.  Things seemed to be piling on.  July had me feeling overwhelmed, stressed, incapable, needy, and frustrated.  You slowed stuff down.

It seems like every time I sit down to write to a month, I have the hardest time coming up with what to say.  Not because I’m a quiet person, but because each month goes by so crazy fast!  It’s impossible to think back and remember what I did or how I felt.  It all just smooshes together into a general emotion blob– I look back and think: “Oh, yeah I was generally happy and don’t remember any epic bouts of heart-racing-stress-about-everything-that-is-absolutely-out-of-my-control emotions,” or “Oh, yeah I can’t think back on this month because the entire thing is just covered with a fuzzy cloud of anxiety,” or (most often) “Dang.  I remember A LOT of Netflix and couch time… How do I turn that into a letter?”

But, I actually remember you.  I had trips.  I had matching t-shirts (yes, we were that family in Disney World).  I had family celebrations.  I had fishing.  I had reading.  I had wine with Mom. I had unrealistic, but incredibly real visions of me making the Olympics.  I had Farmer’s Market dates.  I had minor amounts of stress.  I had much larger amounts of laughs.

August, you did a perfect job.  You have me all excited about fall and football and bundling in blankets.  But, you didn’t leave me feeling like you tried to steal the end of my summer.  Thanks for that.

In short: thank you, August.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

P.S. You should have helped me fit in camping.  I know that seems a bit greedy, but that really would have cemented you as THE month of the year– just sayin’.

END OF SUMMER FISHING

Summer is winding down.  And we wanted to say goodbye to it in the most fitting way: catching the prettiest (and teeniest) mountain trout in Wyoming.


This summer Brady and I weren’t able to get in near as much fishing as we would have liked.  Honestly, we hardly got to fish at all and were pretty pouty about it (okay, I was pouty and Brady was stuck dealing with me).  So, for our last day before we got back to meetings, lesson planning, and a sea of smelly/sweet/moody/in-your-business/hilarious middle school students we headed out to one of our favorite fishing spots.

No, it is not a go-to spot to pull out a monster trout.

Not, at all.  It’s up on top of a mountain.  The stream is freezing.  The fish are tiny. And we love it.

These little trout absolutely SMASH your fly.  It’s fantastic.  It’s like they think they are the size of a freaking tuna. Which makes for the most fun fishing!  (Even if I did go through a small dry spell while Brady was still killing it and then decided to show off by fishing left handed…) 


I’m sure there is some metaphor here.  Something about me starting back into another school year and attacking it like these fish attack the fly.  But, I don’t want to force that.

Really, it’s simple: we loved it.  We got to relax.  I didn’t pepper Brady with 2,358 questions while we were there.  I didn’t force myself to make a mental ‘to-do list’ between casts.  It wasn’t about anything more than fishing.  And it was perfect.

Catch ya later, summer.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

PERFECT WEEK NIGHT DINNER

5 ingredients…

10 minutes of prep…

Almost no clean up…

I’m here to let you in on a crazy simple and delicious dinner. It’s hands down my favorite week night dinner (aside from a frozen pizza, ice cream, and wine, but this is just a smidge healthier).   Ingredients:

5 oz. salmon portion (1 per hungry mouth)

1 bunch asparagus 

1 container cherry tomatoes 

Balsamic vinegar

Pesto

*Aluminum foil and baking sheet

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Rip off 4 squares of aluminum foil (each should be about 6 x 6; or whatever you conceive to look like a square- you seriously can’t mess this up). Place 2 on the on the baking sheet and set the other 2 aside for later. 
  3. Snap the bottom root part off the asparagus. Then, divide the asparagus between the 2 pieces of foil. 
  4. Sprinkle your desired amount of balsamic oil over the asparagus. 
  5. Place the salmon on top of the asparagus. 
  6. Spread your desired amount of pesto (I use a heaping tablespoon) on top of each piece of salmon. 
  7. Cut the tomatoes in half. Divide the tomatoes and place the on top of the salmon. 
  8. Take the left over 2 pieces of foil and cover the salmon, making a pouch of sorts. 
  9. Cook the salmon for 20- 25 minutes and enjoy!

And that’s it! 

I love this dinner for those nights that are just way too busy. Like those nights when you’re trying to finish laundry so you have undies in the morning, when you’re way behind on blog posts, and doing your best to mentally prepare for 125 middle schoolers showing up in your classroom the next day… Yeah, it’s perfect for those nights.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

TOP 9 REASONS TO STAY HOME THIS WEEKEND

#wanderlust is a serious thing right now. But, like most trends, it’s way overrated. Sure, you get to experience new things and broaden your horizons and blah, blah, blah… But can that really replace the feeling you get when you hunker down for a solid Netflix and Nachos (I want that to be my new motto– #netflixandnachos) session on your very own, dog-hair-covered couch?


Of course, I was lucky enough to go on my fair share of trips these past few months.  And I loved them and wouldn’t take them back for a second.  I just want to spread a little Staycation love.

Here’s all the stuff you can only do while you’re at home:

  • Complain about tourists (I mean, I live in Laramie, Wyoming– so, I don’t get this opportunity much, but I can imagine people enjoy it).
  • Curl up in your favorite (torn and stained and massive and definitely not carry-on friendly) blanket with a glass of cheap wine, a good book, and a stinky dog.
  • Use ALL the liquid products you want– even if they are over 4 ounces.
  • Feel zero guilt about never leaving your house for the entire day, thus staying in your jamas all day.
  • Walk into a bar, immediately be served your favorite beer, and be greeted by name.
  • NOT have to choose between absolutely God-awful coffee or paying $5+ for a cup (that isn’t even as good as you make it).
  • Not feel shame every time you look at your gyms clothes that you packed, but definitely aren’t going to use at that gym with the ridiculously priced day pass– just put them on an head to your gym or shove them out of sight in your drawer like a normal person.
  • Spend the entire weekend without having to listen to that condescending b***h on the GPS.
  • SLEEP IN YOUR OWN BED.

So there you have it! Stay home. Embrace your inner homebody with pride.  You have my full approval.  Feel free to take a nice, long staycation this weekend, on me.

*Obligatory Disclaimer: it’s all about balance.  Get out there and explore, but don’t take your home for granted.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

MY HARDEST BREAK-UP

I tend to toe the line between product reviews, outdoors love (less than I would like, as of late), and oversharing my emotions here on mgg So, I figured it was about time I walk you through an exceptionally difficult time in my life. 

It gets talked about a lot, but social media is just a snippet of one’s life. And even though I try to keep mine pretty real, I definitely gloss over some of the messier business I go through. But, I’m just like everyone else (of course I am… every 20-something with a tiny bit of extra time and a sense of ‘I can be witty and informative’ out there has a blog too!). Not everything is perfect. 

I forget to switch over the laundry, so it starts to smell. I have days where I’m moody and pick fights (today). I get too lazy to take Teton for a walk. I cry, a lot. I pretend to read when really I’m watching YouTube. 

It’s not all hikes and farmer’s markets. No matter how much I like to pretend it is

And that’s why I haven’t shared my hardest break up with you, yet. It’s not shiny or pretty. But, I want to be honest.

My 10 year relationship was recently ended. I was forced to sever ties and come to terms with the fact that we would not be getting back together. There was no patching things up this time. 

Yes, my beloved ZX/2 Chacos in Burnt Orange had been destroyed. 

Now, this had happened before. We went through some rough patches. The wear and tear of our relationship and forced me to seek some outside help to get these guys re-soled. And they had even been re-strapped (when Teton was a puppy, he got a little frustrated about the attention my Chacos were getting and he decided to chew right on through them…) but we had been able to come back from all that. 

Not this time. 

My parents’ new dog had ripped straight through these guys. I wasn’t too upset. I understood that those things happen. Chalked it up to stressful times visiting the family. And assumed we could patch it all up when we got home. 

My stepmom even gave me her Chacos as a replacement. Of course, we all know being set up for a new relationship by your parents is sweet, but never works. I still knew in the back of my mind we could sort things out once we got home. 

After I got home though, it became clear that I couldn’t. It had just been too long to go back to the way things were. We weren’t the same as when we met. (And Chaco no longer carried the Burnt Orange straps…) We had to officially part ways. 

Goodbye to the literal hundreds (possibly thousands– estimates aren’t really my thing) miles we walked together. We had survived middle school, high school, college, and my first years teaching together. We got a dog together. We were dumped by our college boyfriend, then dumped him, then he called it off, then we finally broke up (classic). We went through that short hair/fat face phase. We said goodbye to our best friends together. And then we went on our first plane ride by ourselves to go visit them. We backpacked through Tahoe. We went on countless dates with Brady (no matter how much it bothered my more fashion-focused friends and family). We left home together. 

And I’m not really proud of this, but I got a rebound right away. I know it’s not the healthiest way to handle it; I just had too. I was about to head out on vacation- a family vacation that my Chacos had gone on for the past 10 years- and I couldn’t face it alone. So, I rebounded.

Yes, the new ones are a bit fancier (or feminine, as my brother told me). They are durable. They are a bit lighter. And I like them, I really swear that I do. 

But, I still keep my old ones under my bed. Some may say I have to let go. That it’s the healthy thing to do. I’m just not ready yet. And that’s okay. 

We’ve still got the memories. 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

KISS (keep it simple, stupid)

I’m not supposed to admit it, but I have been sucked into the comparison game hard core lately.

I’ve been drooling over (and mad at myself for not achieving) carefree/flawless curls, a sparkling white home filled with flowers, coffees that ALWAYS have latte art… and really anything else that you may see by typing in #livebeautifully.

Except my life really isn’t that beautiful.  And I actually mean that in a non-pouty way.  I really like my life, and I like looking at beautiful things.  My life is just more silly/lazy/tomboy-that-still-wants-to-be-pretty, than #instaworthy.  So, I’m going to keep it simple, and actually show you that, rather than trying to recreate all the other stuff.


Now, I have seen tons of different versions of this post.

*Breaking News: This blog post that you have stumbled upon by a 20-something girl contains an idea that has been covered approximately 537 times by other blogs written by 20-something girls.*

Generally, I have found that most people are pretty willing to come clean that what others see on social media isn’t their entire life; it’s just a snippet of the good stuff.  People admit all the time (in long, drawn out Instagram  captions– that I actually take the time to read because pictures are pretty and all, but I am a total word person) that behind their pictures there may be dirty dishes or a pile of laundry or *gasp* unwashed hair.  And I really appreciate those reminders that everything isn’t perfect.

But, that’s not exactly how my version of imperfect looks.

Here are my non-Insta-and-blog-worthy imperfections:

  • dirty home– not in a sink overflowing with dishes kind of way (I am actually ridiculously and annoyingly meticulous about keeping my house tidy and in order– I don’t like messy), more in the sense that dog slobber is generally covering my coffee table and the kitchen floor is mostly shined by Teton and Ellie licking up spilled food.
  • Unattractive #lazyday outfits– If I am not at work I am in sweats, but I mean actual sweats that are large, ripped, stained, or any combination of the 3… Not cute romper sand knit sweaters
  • Terrible modeling skills– I hate being in pictures, I hate asking Brady to take pictures, I hate explaining what the vision of the picture looks like in my head, I hate posing; yet, I like to have pretty pictures, so I usually go through all of that, get frustrated that it isn’t turning out exactly how I envisioned it, get huffy with Brady, and hope that some light editing will make the photo passable
  • I like ugly food– plates that I put together to eat are very rarely attractive; they just taste good (plus, I usually eat it too fast to take a picture anyways)
  • A ridiculously awkward walk– people who know me in person know that I have a strange posture (Brady recently compared it to those baby orangutans you see standing with their bellies all pressed out): my feet are so flat they cause me to look slightly knock-kneed, I lock my legs out really hard when I stand giving me a bow-legged appearance, I sway my back while simultaneously hunching my shoulders forward.  So attractive. I am working on it.  But, because I am aware of all this I tend to overthink it when I am taking a picture.  I usually like pictures of me walking or from behind me as I stand, to avoid having my face in the shot, but they never turn out as casually, carefree as I would hope.

And that’s all completely real.  But, I am going to embrace it AND try to make it look pretty.  You are going to be getting the good, the bad, and the bow-legged from here on out!  Well, sort of.  I will still do my best to learn to take better photos and actually attempt some sort of editing process.  I truly want to put good content out there (and quit some of my lazier habits).

I am just going to be more me. I love looking at other blogggers posts and Insta-feeds for inspiration, but I find that I am comparing myself to them too much or trying to recreate that same feel on my page. And while I may like looking at bike baskets overflowing with flowers, and beautifully curled hair blowing in the wind, and “lazy Sunday” outfits that aren’t made up of over-sized sweats and workout shirts with rips at the seams. I just know that isn’t me.

So, be prepared for more real life stuff from me.  I don’t like having an sort of fake feeling here.  I want to be funny and original and pretty and insightful and outdoorsy, so wish me luck.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

WYO-LOVE

Wyoming doesn’t quite get the credit it deserves. I mean, I’m even a little rough on it sometimes–I let my Montana Native bias come out. But, it has recently dawned on me that I have now lived in Wyoming for a full 1/4 of my entire life (seriously shocking revelation!!) and I kind of love it!

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people just rag on where they live, constantly (granted I think part of this comes from teaching junior high kids who love to talk about how ready they are to grow up and leave… If only they knew how terrible it is to buy your own groceries…). So, I am all about the state pride/home pride/love where you live vibe. 



Here’s
what I  L O V E about Wyo:

  • This (meaning the dreamy little walk way and ridiculously massive sky) is literally 3 minutes from my front porch. 
  • People here are creating incredible stuff (clothing, paintings, jewelry, books, coffee–I’m basically just going through a mental list of my favorite booths at the farmer’s market, but really anything you can think of). And there is a small enough market that I get to feel super trendy and unique with all my Wyo-original-gear. 
  • There are adorable, little ‘weekend getaway’ towns tucked all over the state. And they are never too busy. 
  • We are usually too small for major franchise restaurant chains to come to town, which means more Mom and Pop restaurants. And they are always so much better
  • There is never traffic. 
  • Summer here never gets too hot. It’s perfect 70s and 80s. 
  • Fall/Winter/Spring (basically just October through May) is the best bundling time. I love heavy blankets and crew neck sweatshirts. And I definitely get my fill here. 
  • That TV-seemingly-fake-Cheers-vibe is real here. There may not be new and fancy bars (or these dance clubs I’ve heard of…) on every corner. But the places we do have feel like home. I take serious pride in getting to show off the kindness and ridiculous/occasionally embarrassing banter that comes from my people at my bar
  • My hair looks better here. Granted, that depends on how recently I’ve washed/brushed/styled it… But, humidity is no good and we don’t have to mess with that. 
  • My family is close and Brady’s family if close. Yes, that is specific to just me, but I still like it. 
  • Everyone waves as I drive by on a backroad. And seeing as the first driving advice I recieved from my brother was, “ALWAYS curtesy wave, because you are terrible at everything else,” I truly appreciate that. 
  • I can take off on a whim to go hike/fish/camp at anytime and it’s all so close (although, let’s be serious: I hate doing anything on a whim and would definitely plan it out first). 
  • I have good people here with me. 


I know as soon as I post this I’ll think of about 37 more unique and more witty items to add to this list, but that’s ok. I can keep those as nice, little secrets. 

Even if you feel like you’re in your ‘right now’ home. Take a minute to appreciate it. Take a little pride in your home. Take offense when people ask, “Why are you still living there?” (oh, that’s just petty me who gets offended? Oops…). Share what you love. The more you focus on what you like, the less you worry about your not so favorite things (like the hour drive I have to take to get to a Target). And the longer that Love It list gets. 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney

BITE BEAUTY AGAVE LIP MASK: Worth the splurge?

Natural- Yep. (Well 99%-whatever that means)

Effective- Definitely. 

Pretty Packaging- Of course. 

Expensive- Sadly. 

Worth it- ?

I finally bought my first Bite Beauty product after seriously lusting after the entire brand for a year. It was a big jump, though, given it was pricey and I’m still too cheap to buy brand name paper towels.

Keep reading to see if I think it was worth it. 


Price: This little tube o’ natural goodness sells at Sephora for $26 big ones… Which is a bit steep considering I can grab about 5 Burt’s Bees lip balms and 2 tubes of Aquaphor for the same price. 

Function: Well, this is pretty straight forward– this lip mask is designed to moisturize your lips. 

Duh. 

What makes this mask stand out, though, is that it is 99% natural. You could literally eat your Bite Beauty products. Plus, it’s has the same amount of antioxidants as 15 glasses of red wine (without any of the sloppy tears and headaches that would accompany that much wine). And while I do not recommend buying a $26 chapstick to snack on, that is a comforting thought considering the amount of lip product we accidentally end up consuming. That makes me extra thankful that Bite Beauty leaves out mineral oil, dyes, and other chemical disgusting-ness, I’m sure my body is ok without (or I get enough of whenever I plow through an entire bag of gas station brand chips on a road trip). 

They also make your lips look pretty, darn nice when you wear them. The mask that I purchased doesn’t have any color payoff, but leaves a subtle glossy look (not like Lizzie McGuire and butterfly clips glossy–grown up glossy). Bite also offers Champagne and Smashed color options, if you are wanting a bit more oomph.

Oh, and it’s S U P E R moisturizing. Which is really the whole point. 

Repurchase: Let’s start off by agreeing that the price is just outrageous. There’s no way around it. I could buy a weeks worth of coffee, or go to the movies with 3 friends (no snacks), or leave a tip after a much needed haircut and color; ok, that list isn’t too impressive–life is expensive. But still. 

I have to admit this lip mask is going to make its’ way back into my Sephora cart once I squeeze every last moisturizing and expensive drop out of this tube. I love using this each night before bed and waking up without any dry or cracked lips. It’s something I try to use sparingly, but is the perfect bedtime treat. And I’m all about some treat yo-self pampering. 


Thanks for reading,

Sydney

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: A-Bomb Apparel 

If you don’t know about A-Bomb Apparel yet, you definitely should. I found out about Ashley Battersby and her fantastic activewear line the good ol’ fashion way: drooling over her products on Instagram. Then, I bought my first items and the love really took hold. Finally, I got in touch with Ashley to ask her a few questions and now it’s a full blown F A V O R I T E of mine. 

Keep reading and I know you’ll get exactly what I mean. Ashley is fun-loving and so driven– I truly find her inspiring. Oh, and she’s a professional skier/all around bad ass. 


Let’s start with an incredibly generic interview question (thankfully, your answer is much more exciting). How did A-Bomb get started?

A-Bomb started in 2008 when I was 19. I was riding for a company that dropped all of their contest riders. I was without an outerwear sponsor at the time, but had many options to ride gear (for free). I didn’t want to support companies that couldn’t financially support me (skiing is an expensive sport and there are only a handful of women at a high level), so I picked up a sewing machine from walmart and fleece, and started making my own tall hoodies! 

On freezing cold days I’d rock a down jacket under my hoodies I was making and kids would ask me, “Hey what company makes those? I want one!” I had to come up with a name and a friend gave me the nickname “Abomb” when I was about 14, so I TMed it, started getting a ton of local kids to make some orders, and it all started there!


How do you manage to balance it all? I mean, you wear many, many hats, but seem to stay super on top of it and sane! We want to know your secret.

  OMG, haha, I am definitely not all balanced–that’s for sure! It’s hard being a 1 woman operation: emails, sewing each piece by hand, orders, social media, marketing, markets… THE LIST GOES ON for a small 1 person business!

 I just recently got my yoga and spin instructor certification and so that’s keeping me on my toes as well! Along with my own separate workouts with the US SKI team and sponsor obligations in the ski world. BUT, I think the key is to make sure you’re living life passionately. If it’s not fun- don’t do it, and keeping a very balanced diet to keep me going. I have tried many things and have fallen short because I lose interest or don’t have the passion. Always make sure you enjoy what you’re doing or you’ll burn out.

I got to celebrate the 4th of July wearing my favorite head wrap from Ashley.

I love the uniqueness of each of your items. You have something for absolutely everyone– you’ve got prints that look like a map of NYC, sparkly roses, and classic black. Where does your style inspiration come from? 

In middle/high school it would take me about an hour the night before to plan out an outfit, accessories, hair style, even paint my nails… and it was ALWAYS color coordinated! I never mixed and matched, it always had to be the same color or pattern. Say for example, If I didn’t have a pair of shoes to match my outfit, I’d paint an old pair, or throw glitter on it, or create it. I always wanted to be unique, stand out from the crowd and never wanted to have the same outfit as anyone-ever. It always had to be original and different. And, hey I got best dressed AND best style in the high school year book!


What is your favorite, go-to A-Bomb item to wear?

In general- leggings! Always leggings. Also living an active lifestyle, it’s hard to wear anything else other than workout clothes because you never know when a workout, hike or fun adventure will arise and I want to be ready for it!! I would be so sad to miss out on an opportunity to be outside and explore fully because I was wearing jeans! I actually just donated every single pair of jeans i owned minus 1! And they are JEGGINGS! Hahaha!

I’m a sucker for the leggings too. Especially these mesh cut out ones.

A-Bomb is absolutely fantastic about encouraging women to embrace themselves for exactly who they are. That’s one of the first things that attracted me to your brand (followed closely by the ridiculously cool leggings…). How do you incorporate that self-love vibe into your brand? 

I have always had body image issues, would look in the mirror and never be satisfied or happy with what I saw. Even through many years of working out, eating healthy, I just was never 100% with myself. Over the course of taking my yoga training, I have learned to love my body and who I am. 

When I started abomb it was too crazy (might still be for some) in the bright colors, fun prints and wacky style, but it was me. I always felt better in my own skin when I made something to fit my body exactly how it was. Being a skier and having “skier legs” it was  also hard to find any jeans or certain style dresses to fit my body perfectly. That was discouraging to even go out and shop– nothing fit me just right. 

Everyone is different and unique in their own ways, looks attitudes, personalities, and in my clothing I wanted to make sure that everyone felt authentically themselves. I have about 80 different prints and you can always customize your own leggings, so every person can feel unique and original in my clothing! Once you get the right outfit that fits you perfectly, thats when people really do shine, feel motivated and determined to go out and get it! MY whole thing has always been, LOOK good FEEL good SKI good. So for everyone out there: look good feel good live good! 

My biggest test for leggings is leg day. If I can wear them for leg day and they stay up and don’t stretch out… that’s how I know they are keepers! Side note: I also learned I am NOT a ‘take gym pics #swole’ kind of girl. So, awkward.

It is very rare that people are given the chance to really brag about all they’ve accomplished– which I think is a total shame. So, I want you to brag here! What are you most proud of with A-Bomb?  

It’s true! Um, I would say that I started from the bottom, solo, all by myself ,and have taken it this far over the years with help from family and friends, but all the trial and error, all the sewing mistakes and $$, I did on my own. I want to thank other brands and give gratitude to my own life experiences for inspiring me to where I’ve brought this brand today. When I give, I give it all, so I’m just happy to say I have loved what a journey it’s been to get to this point! 

Finally, I need to know your absolute favorite place to explore.

Most beautiful place: New Zealand – Most interesting/best snow and powder: Japan!

***

You have to go check out all of the stellar A-Bomb gear! And keep your eye on Ashley– this lady is doing FANTASTIC things. 

Thanks for reading,

Sydney