Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites: My New Go-To Jeans

I have a few problems finding denim I love. First, I have an athletic-ish build with strong legs, a shapely backside, a smaller waist, and a 34 inch inseam. The second, I don’t like bling on my booty. Third, I don’t have $300 to spend on one pair of jeans.

A little while ago, I was in desperate need for some jeans. I avoid jean shopping like the plague. In order to find jeans that fit over my thighs I have to go up in size. Going up in size means that the waist is way too big which causes gaping and the constant feeling that at any moment I will loose my pants. There are not many people who can pull off the plumber look, except maybe Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch…

Mark Marky and the Funky Bunch

via BET.com

And, don’t even get me started on the broken belt loops from tugging and pulling! If by some small miracle I find something that sort of fits, they of course are bedazzled up the wazoo and heaven knows I don’t need a disco ball for a backside.

I had no idea where to start looking so I asked my friends on Facebook for suggestions. One of my girls suggested that I go to the Levi outlet in Park City because they had several new fits. I was a total Levi 501 girl in high school so my curiosity was peaked.

I drove up to the outlets and was completely surprised with my experience. The store manager walked me through the whole store and personally brought me a big pile of jeans to try on. This manager was fantastic, the dude needs a raise! He taught me a lot about what to look for in make and fit, made me feel comfortable, and I left the store with 2 pairs of jeans that actually fit!

3 months later, I am still loving my new jeans and I’m really excited for fall so I can wear them more.

I never have to tug at them to keep them up, I don’t have gaping at the waist, I don’t look like I’m waiting for a flood, and there is not a plumber in sight! Now that I have the right fit, I feel a lot more confident. I never knew that having the right fit could do that?

Here’s what I bought:

Star  Demi Curve Skinny Jeans in Extra Wash

 

Star  The other ones I got at the outlets are called the Bold Curve Modern Skinny in Black.

I couldn’t find them on the Levi’s website so you’ll have to look for them in the store. I LOVE the Bold Curve fit. They hug me in all the right places without making me look like a sausage in a casing which is a definite bonus if you ask me! I need to go back and pick up a pair of boot cut for winter and I’m crossing my fingers that they come out with a wide-leg soon. {Please please please Levi’s!}

You can find out what your most flattering fit would be by taking their Levi's Curve ID fit test. They have something for the straight body all the way across the spectrum to the booty-licious.

I have found that the prices at the outlets are much cheaper than online, especially if you watch for sales or use the 20% off outlet coupons. I got two pairs of jeans for less than the price of one pair online, so keep that in mind when you go shopping.

Who knew that a great fitting pair of jeans could bring so much happiness! 

 

**What are your favorite jeans?**

 

P.S. I didn’t get any compensation for this post, I just love my jeans and wanted to share.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What I Learned from my Own Pinterest Boards

Last week I had a big surgery (well, 7 in fact) on my sinuses and I have been homebound ever since. Being stuck inside for a couple weeks actually sounded nice at first. I could lay in bed, watch T.V., read, and have an excuse to play on my phone. Nobody told me that the only thing HGTV plays all day is some version of House Hunters! Why HGTV, why?

Yesterday I started to get extremely stir crazy.

Unfortunately, along with the surgery comes recovery and with that comes exhaustion, lots of blood, and killer sinus headaches. Doing projects and getting things done around here just isn’t going to happen for a little bit and I guess that has to be ok.

But, what do you do with yourself when you are restless and bored out of your mind? Yep, you play on Pinterest. This time instead of mindlessly scrolling through an endless sea of pins, I went to my own boards and I learned a few things in the process.

 

1. My Pinterest Boards are for Me:

As I sat looking at my boards I thought about why I have them. Is it to show off my crazy awesomeness and gain followers? Or, do I save these pieces of information for a different reason. Having people like my style and what I pin is definitely a nice self esteem boost, sure, but that’s not the reason I find myself drawn to Pinterest in the doctors office or late at night when I can’t sleep. I am saving these little bits of randomness because they motivate or inspire me.

 

Gypsy Magpie Pinterest {mountainmagpie.blogspot.com}

 

My boards are just that, mine.

It’s where I collect the the things that get my creative juices flowing. Things that give ideas and bring focus… and things that I just love because, well, I do.

I realized that if this bulletin board of sorts was just for me, then I am doing it all wrong!

I needed to make it work in a way that makes me happy.

 

2. Pinterest is a lot more Fun and Useful when it’s Organized:

If you are like me then when you started your PINTEREST journey you really didn’t have a clue what you were doing so you just made up some generic boards and started pinning ALL the things…

 

Nielsen Report Shows Explosive Pinterest Growth image PinterestMeme1

via Business2Community.com 

 

…4,000 pins later and you can’t find a dang thing.

Create as Many Boards as You Need and Arrange Them in a Way that Makes YOU Happy. It sounds odd, but take a minute to create some Pinterest order.

Use your boards in a way that allows you to keep that crazy mess in check. For example, instead of trying to pin all your recipes on one gigantic “Recipe” board, make it easier on yourself and create separate boards for appetizers, beverages, main dishes, salads, etc. Then when you are needing a recipe for a great soup, you know where to start looking.

I know that people always say to put your best boards at the top to get more followers, but if it’s not about followers then I say do what works for you!

I decided to arrange my boards alphabetically and then I placed all my seasonal/holiday boards together in sort of a chronological order depending on when they occur in the year. {Just FYI: Boards are easy to re-arrange, you just click and drag to where you would like them to be. You can also change the cover photo, edit the name, and choose a genre that they fit like Travel or Food. If you need step by step instructions go HERE.}  

If you want to put all your food boards together, all your decorating boards together, and then all your comic strip boards together and that makes you happy, then go for it girl!

If this collection is truly about you then there is no wrong or right way.

 

3. Edit, Edit, Edit:

After I got my boards set up how I wanted, I started going through each individual board. This is where I’ve had the biggest aha. Not only were there a ton of duplicate pins floating around, but half of my labels made no sense at all. When I first started pinning and saw a rad headboard bench, I pinned it as “Rad!” well, that does nothing when I’m searching my stuff for the headboard bench that I know I pinned somewhere and now want to DIY. Take some time and comb through each board. Give your pins searchable names, get rid of the doubles and the stuff that no longer interests you, then find and, for the love of Pinners everywhere, delete the broken links.

*Climbs on soapbox*

Please for the love! Don’t pin something that is a dead end! If it doesn’t have a link, find it! Click HERE if you need a tutorial. It makes me rage when I get all excited about something and the pin takes me nowhere. I am so not kidding, people!

In the words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf…

via House and Hone

 

{While we are on the “Stop It!’ subject, stop sending me game invites on Facebook.

Please and Thank you.

Good grief, now I’m really pushing it. Sorry, President Uchtdorf, it’s just so catchy!

To read his totally amazingly awesome, uplifting talk, please, go HERE.

I’m a very bad person.}

 

As I was editing, I found a bunch of pins that didn’t really fit where they were. If that happens to you, move them around, create new boards, like I said before, do what works for you. I found once I had edited and moved the pins from one of my boards, I was able to delete that board entirely. I also found that I needed to create new boards so that things were easier to find and made more sense.

Editing is probably going to take you a while so don’t expect to get it all done in one day. Go slow and be a good librarian.

You are the curator of this collection of internet idea craziness.

Kind of cool.

 

4. Take a Look at the Bigger Picture:

When I started going through my boards I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of things I have accomplished the past few years. As I looked at old pins, I realized that many of them had inspired ideas and projects in my home. I was also suddenly keenly aware of my style, what I like, and what my passions are.

I was able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of who I am.

How cool is it that you can see a mirror of yourself on a pin board?

 

If you aren’t sure what your style is, or what is important to you, take a minute to look through your collections. If a third of what you pin is green, then maybe you should add some green to your home because obviously it inspires you.

If your constantly pinning workouts, maybe you are trying to tell yourself that it’s time to focus on your health. Lace up those shoes and get out there!

 

Jaipor Rug from RugsUSA.   Can we just talk a little about how happy this rug is? I love it!

via RugsUSA by way of Pinterest

 

I pinned the same yellow rug 6 different times, I think that’s a sign. Now when my hubby asks what I want for my birthday, I can send him the link! Except it has now been discontinued because I waited so long, but you get the idea.

Sometimes you already know what you want, you just have to step back and recognize it.

 

5. Get Inspired:

The coolest part about this little organizational project is how inspired I now feel.

I have been reminded of all these wonderful ideas, plans, and goals that I had made for myself over the past few years that somehow got lost in all the pinning. I think sometimes we get so caught up looking for the next big thing or hopping on the newest trend, that we lose focus on where we want to be in and how we want our lives to feel.

Next time I find myself in a funk, I’m going to challenge myself to go through my boards and pick out one thing to focus on. Maybe it’ll be a project I’ve always wanted to try, maybe attempting that braid again that I gave up on, maybe trying a new recipe, reading that book I loved as a child to my daughter, or studying that scripture or talk that somehow the spirit knew I needed.

 

art therapy

via Indulgy

 

When it comes down to it, life isn’t about having 20,000 Pinterest followers. It’s not about how popular you are or how many people think you are amazing.

Create the life you want to live. Be inspired! There is inspiration in everything around us. Don’t do something because everyone else is.

It’s ok to use someone else’s idea as a starting place but you don’t have to be stuck there.

Find what you love and honor who you are.

Live authentically.

 

In the words of Genie…

…Be Yourself.

 

It’s kind of fun what you can learn by looking at a bulletin board, isn’t it? 

 

**What is your favorite personal board on Pinterest? Why do you love it and how does it inspire you?

Please share with me in the comments, I’d love to see!**

Monday, August 11, 2014

Carson Cars

I am now on day 4 of post surgery and wow, do I feel like I got hit by a semi! I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, and now the bruising has begun.

To get my mind off my own state of miserableness I wanted to share something amazing with you that brings me so much joy!

Share a car for Carson Courage! https://www.facebook.com/CarsonDeanCheney

via Carson Courage

You might remember my beautiful friend, Hil, and the story of her sweet Carson that I shared with you HERE in 2012.

Hilary and her family wanted to keep their beloved Carson’s memory alive by sharing joy with others and what they have chosen to do to heal has absolutely touched my heart. Carson LOVED cars, he passed away with his beloved blue car in his hand, so it seems only fitting to have a car as the mascot for Carson’s Courage.

 Share a car for Carson Courage! https://www.facebook.com/CarsonDeanCheney

via Carson Courage

It doesn’t matter where you are from or what language you speak, cars are universal. They have been a favorite toy for decades and can always make a little kid smile.

Hilary and Zach have taken Carson’s love of cars to the next level. It has become a rad little service project that I hope can really take off!

Here’s how it works:

You buy a car, any car (By the way, he loved blue and jeeps!) then print off this little badge and tape it to the packaging…

Share a car for Carson Courage! https://www.facebook.com/CarsonDeanCheney

…then comes the fun part!

You get to hide your Carson Car somewhere for a child to find!

The lucky finder (along with his/her family) is then able to go to CARSON'S FACEBOOK PAGE and learn about him plus they can post a photo and tell the story of how the car was found.

Share a car for Carson Courage! https://www.facebook.com/CarsonDeanCheney

via Carson Courage

This Carson Car was found in a book exchange box in Ontario, Canada!

Share a car for Carson Courage! https://www.facebook.com/CarsonDeanCheney

via Carson Courage

And this one was found at the Utah Olympic Park by a little boy who told his mom that one day he was going to play cars in Heaven with Carson. Yeah, I totally bawled when she posted that one!

It has been so heartwarming seeing all the places that Carson Courage Cars have popped up! They’ve been found in Moab, Hawaii, and everywhere in between! The joy on these children’s faces is amazing and I know that is the very reason why the Cheney’s started this project. Sharing joy. I can’t help getting a little teary every time a new post pops up from their page showing another happy child because it is one more reminder that Carson's legacy can live on through the generosity of others.

It is a breathtaking thing that I just had to share with you!

I firmly believe that every family needs to serve and this simple, inexpensive project is so much fun. Besides, what little boy or girl would not have a blast with this?

Please help me get the word out about Carson’s Courage so that other children can share the love just like he did.

Go like Carson's Facebook Page and take a moment to give joy in his memory.

 

 

P.S. I sure do love you Hilly girl.

I couldn’t possibly be more proud of you and your “Carson Courage”.

Friday, July 25, 2014

10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains

 

10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains {Gypsy Magpie}

This summer, my family and I have spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the incredible state that we live in.

We’ve floated the Sevier, hiked waterfalls, and explored old abandoned mining towns near Marysvale. We’ve played in beaver ponds, driven miles of forgotten back roads, and laughed as little minnows tried to attack our lures like piranhas while fishing at Electric Lake. We’ve even pulled a replica pioneer handcart up the steep slopes above Strawberry Reservoir.

Each adventure we’ve taken has refreshed our souls and recharged our minds and each adventure has been unique and beautiful in it’s on way.

Last Friday, after a long hot day on the dusty handcart trail, I enjoyed the most stunning mountain sunset. As I stood there taking it all in, I starting thinking about all the places I’ve been and adventures I’ve had in my lifetime. As the scenes flashed before my eyes, I became keenly aware of the “mountain rules” my dad had taught me. I have never loved rules. I don’t like to be told what to do and I tend to buck authority, but there is something to be said about the peace, happiness, and order that comes with doing what we know to be right.

10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains {Gypsy Magpie}

In many ways I took my father for granted.

I guess I thought everyone’s dad did the things mine did. Since becoming an adult, I’ve come to realize that not everyone grows up with a real life Mountain Man for a father.

For that reason, I thought I’d share the 10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains.

Here goes…

 

Always Prepare Like a Good Little Scout:

Be prepared!

Check the weather. Buy a map & know your terrain. Change the batteries in your flashlight. Fill your gas tanks. Pack appropriately for the conditions you’ll be in. Bring extra water. Plan on bugs. Learn first aid and take supplies. Go with a buddy. Tell someone where you are going. You get the idea.

I know this seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people find themselves in trouble because they didn’t prepare.

Stuff happens, so prep for it!

 

Share The Trail:

9 times out of 10, you aren’t going to be the only one on the mountain so don’t be a hog.

Share the trail. When you are driving down a dirt road and come upon a truck and trailer coming the other way, pull over and let him pass. If you are hiking along and find that the altitude is getting the best of you, allow the faster hikers to go around.

Be courteous.

One of the things I loved about camping growing up was that my dad seemed to know EVERYONE. He waved or said hello to each person we saw and they always waved back.

Somehow we’ve lost that friendliness these days.

Let’s bring it back. 

 

Mind Your Business:

This one is kind of gross, but needs to be said… Mind your pees and poos!

Use appropriate facilities when available. When you are out in the backcountry, drip dry when possible. If you gotta do what you gotta do, then please dig a hole and bury that landmine so some sweet little kid doesn’t go and skip through it. Maybe they do on Facebook, but on the mountain nobody wants to get in your business.

Seriously though, clean up after yourself. 

 

Gear Down:

Driving down a mountain is tricky and if you aren’t careful, you can easily burn up your breaks. People, you need your brakes so don’t be a flatlander, gear down!

When the road grade becomes steep and you find your right foot planted on that middle peddle, put your car into a lower gear. This will slow you down and save you from an embarrassing smoke-filled pit stop. Trust me.

 

Explore:

There is so much to see and discover on the mountain.

Don’t get in a rut. Sometimes we find ourselves creatures of habit. We go to the same place every time because we know what to expect. Do yourself a favor and step out of your box. Explore a path you haven’t tried, take a different hike than the one you did last time. Use your senses. Touch the rocks, smell the wildflowers, listen to the birds.

Fill your soul and ignite your imagination!

10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains {Gypsy Magpie}

 

Be the Good Samaritan:

This one is pretty dear to my heart because this is my daddy in a nutshell.

Growing up we used to complain because if there was ever an accident, a truck stuck, a crying child, or even a hurt animal, my dad put on his super cape and swooped in to save the day. His “good samaritanism” would usually set our plans back hours and we’d miss dinner or not be able to finish a ride because we’d find ourselves towing some wide eyed, bushy tailed, deer in the headlights, 16 year old kid down to town. I look back and laugh now when I think about all those detours. I’m grateful my dad taught me about kindness and compassion. The mountain can be a rough teacher and sometimes the pupil needs a loving mentor to reach out and take their hand. If it was my boy who had rolled his brand new truck up the hollow, I would sure hope that someone would have the heart to set him right side up, bandage his wounds, and put their arm around him.

Be that kind of person.

I’ll never forget the time we were playing in Calf Creek down in Escalante and a teenage kid disappeared under the water. People came running, diving in, giving everything they had to pull him out. That boy’s drowned body is seared into my memory but so is the human compassion that came from strangers working together for the good of another.

Be a rescuer.

Be the Good Samaritan. I believe that we get back what we put into this world. Do for another as you would want them to do for you.

 

Look Up:

As we pulled and pushed our handcarts last weekend, we found our eyes constantly down on the trail. It was hard labor and we were exhausted. Thistle would attack our legs and giant holes seemed to open up and eat a small child if we weren’t watching.

I don’t know how many times along the trail that one of us would look up and suddenly realize the beauty we were surrounded with.

Don’t be afraid to look up. Stop every so often and take in your surroundings. Keep your eyes open, not only for your safety but also for your soul. What’s the fun of being on top of the world if you don’t enjoy the view?

It’s not a race. Slow down. Stop. Look up.

10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains {Gypsy Magpie}

 

Pack It In, Pack It Out:

Alrighty, this one is my biggest pet peeve in the history of ever. Nothing on this planet bugs me more than litter. Pack it in, pack it out! Whether it be wrappers, plastic utensils, pop cans, or twine, if you bring it in with you then you need to bring it out too. Pick up after yourself. Your mama isn’t going to be there to wipe your nose and pick up your granola bar wrapper so do it yourself. Don’t be a litter bug. There is nothing worse than working all day to make it to some rad place only to find yourself surrounded with beer cans and chip wrappers.

The mountain is a sacred place and should be treated as such.

Show respect to the mountain and those who will come after you by packing it out.

While we are on the subject, let’s keep in mind that nobody needs to see our stamp on 147 trees plus a rock face. If you feel the undeniable urge to sign autographs, move to Hollywood. Ancient Anasazi ruins and native cliff paintings are amazing. Drunken, sloppy carvings of boobs, not so much.  

 

Leave It Better Than You Found It:

Going right along with the last one, leave it better than you found it.

When camp is over, when the hike is through, take a moment to make your impact a positive one. Pick up trash you find a long the way. Do a service project for the rangers. Get creative, it’s all up to you. Be giving. Your happy place can also inspire others also.

Always leave it better than you found it.

 

Go Often:

When the mountain calls, go.

When stress levels fly through the roof and life gets too much, get outside. Get away from the world and regroup. There is nothing quite as good for a body as fresh air and tranquility.

When kids are little and full of energy, go to the mountain. There are no china, knick knacks, and definitely none of Great Aunt Effie’s white carpet. Let them run. Let them use their imaginations. There’s no where more entertaining for a child than a place filled with dirt, bugs, sticks, and animals!

When you find yourself fighting with your teenager, yep, mountains again. Take a hike. What could possibly help you see eye to eye better than a long walk and long talk? Give your time.

When you and your sweetheart need to get away… well, we’ll just leave that one to the imagination. 

10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains {Gypsy Magpie}

 

 

So, there you have it, the 10 Things My Dad Taught Me about the Mountains. 

It all comes down to the phrase “Love where you live”.

These rules could apply to anywhere, not just the mountains of Utah. I think what my dad was trying to teach me was to be a good steward over what I’ve been given… to love the world around me and to take care of it.

I’m grateful for the lesson and hope I can pass it on to my children.

 

 

**What “mountain rules” do you live by?

What do you wish people knew?**

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Flow

I love the freedom that has come with this summer.

I love the feeling of the sun on my face as I sit under the shade of a tree watching the sticky drips of popsicle roll down my four year olds chin. I love breathing free knowing that there is no forgotten assignments due and no gymnastics classes to race down the road to. I love the reading of library books and the early morning yoga when the world is still quiet and peaceful.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot going on around here. The oven died, I gave a terrifying (for me, hopefully not for those listening!) talk in church, the freezer leaked water all over which warped our wood floor, frost and pot-guts have wreaked havoc on my garden, and the kids are running wild through the neighborhood. I’ll have to cook on our camp stove in the back yard for yet another week until the new appliances come and it’s been wicked hot for days now. Speaking of hot, yesterday, our air conditioner broke. Why not, everything else has? Today I am sewing like mad, trying to get my family ready for our pioneer trek coming up. I still have a million meetings, but they seem easier to handle when I’m not engulfed in winter craziness. Bills are piling up and the “want” list has been quietly tucked into a drawer for the time being.

There is a lot going on, but it’s a different kind of busy-ness.

IMG_5700[1]

Since J.L. passed away and my husband totaled his truck a few days later, I have put a lot of things on the back burner. My home isn’t clean. There’s graded papers and artwork left on my desk from the last day of school. There is a giant pile of mending sitting on the table, at least 72 unfinished projects, and the laundry baskets are overflowing. I still can’t see the floor through the toys down in the basement and bindweed is rapidly taking over my flower beds.

There will be time for those things but for now there are other things that are more important…

like running through sprinklers with my children.

IMG_5628[2]

I’m choosing to be there for my brother as he rips out old flooring, paints walls, and turns his new house into a home for his beautiful family. I’m taking slow walks with a sweet old granny dog who doesn’t have very many summers left. I’m painting neighbor’s barns and going for hikes with teenagers, not because I have nothing I could do. I’m just putting more weight in the things that I should do.

I can’t do everything and it’s ok.

IMG_5720[1]

This summer has been good for me.

There have been so many challenges and yet I’m learning to let go and live in the moment.

I’m allowing myself some breathing room and discovering that I can be a responsible, hard working mother and a nurturing, attentive one at the same time.

IMG_5716[1]

I want to live an authentic, happy life and in order to do that I have to be centered and confident in who I am. There is so much noise and confusion in this world but I don’t have to let it overcome me. I just have to slow down and relish the moment that I am in.

Because once that moment is over it will never come again.

I guess I am learning to be present, which is something that doesn’t come easy to a girl who’s mind and body must constantly move.

IMG_5681[1]

There will always be financial struggles, accidents, and broken appliances, that’s just life, but there will never be another moment like the one I am in, so I am choosing to experience it.

Thank you, J.L. for teaching me that.

 

Happy summer everybody.