Favorites to Read as Audiobooks

Choosing to listen to a book via audio has definitely change my reading experience and my opinion of it drastically. Personally when I listen to a book I feel like it is easy for me to miss a lot so the person reading it really needs to be engaging and read true to the story.

Daisy Jones and the Six: This is hands down my favorite audiobook ever. Each character’s part is read by someone different and for me that really brought the characters to life. It is a whole different experience that is so worth it. I don’t often feel like I would listen to an audiobook again but I would for sure listen to this one many times.

Leaving Time: This Jodi Picoult novel was such a beautiful story. This is one of relatively few audiobooks that I really felt there for the whole time. I didn’t think I missed anything. I am pretty sure this had to do with the narrator. She just told it well and with emotion which really helps when listening to an audiobook.

The Caraval Series: So far I have finished the first two book as audiobooks from Audible and the library. I am about to start the second one on Libro.fm and I can’t wait. I think the reason I like these as audiobooks is that the narrator just has a great voice for this particular story and these characters. I feel like she really embodies how Tella and Scarlet feel. I have talked about this series in past book posts so I won’t go into the plot too much but I do recommend it as an audiobook!

Talking as Fast as I Can: Lauren Graham narrates her own book and of course it is amazing. She is hilarious and definitely does not disappoint in her autobiography. I do think actors reading their own books are so entertaining and really bring out all the feelings and stories.

Big Magic: Again, books narrated by their authors tend to be much better. Often this occurs in non-fiction but if you find fiction narrated by the author it is usually pretty good since they know exactly how things should sound and feel. Big Magic is such an inspiration and Elizabeth Gilbert does a great job articulating her story and how creativity has played a role in her life.

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I wanted to end this post by talking a bit about where I get audiobooks. There are several great options. First I recommend making an Overdrive account with your local library. You just download the app and can borrow up to five or six audiobooks. This is a great way to borrow for free however I often have to wait for books I want to download. It also really does not work for extra popular books (it is always worth checking though). There is also Hoopla which is another library app that lets you borrow books. I can only download one at a time and only one a month.

The second audiobook option is buying them. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is through a subscription service. I started out with Audible a couple years ago. It is run by Amazon and a cheapish (14.95 per month for one credit which gets you one book per month) way to get just about any book. You do get some other things from that membership like two of their Audible originals. The way I am currently purchasing audiobooks is through the app libro.fm. This app allows you to support either independent bookstores in general or a specific one of your choosing. It works very similarly to Audible in that you pay 14.99 per month and get a credit for a book. It also has additional discounts for other books you purchase. I really like supporting independent bookstores so I switched in order to do that better.

Let me know if you have an good audiobooks that you have listened to lately!

Erin

Monochromatic Looks: Fall Edition

I have always wanted to challenge myself to embrace the whole monochrome thing. I never really felt like I would be able to pull it off but I have never tried so this is my attempt to wear different colors in monochrome. I definitely chose colors that I was comfortable in and that are perfect for this time of year.

Camel/brown: The perfect color for fall is easy to make monochromatic. There are so many shades that work well together. I really think there are so many ways to wear browns and camels that it could never get old in the fall!

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Coat Mark and Graham, fleece Dudley Stephens, pants old (similar), boots Sam Edelman, crossbody Madewell, hat old (similar)

Pink: It might not be considered a traditionally ‘fall’ color but I love pink so I really wanted to include it in this outfit round up. I will also be doing a post on Thursday about wearing pink in fall. It will focus on pink as more of an accent in fall outfits so it might be much more applicable. I wanted to choose two outfits for this since one is rather formal and the other is kind of athlesure.

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Dress Atlantic-Pacific, heels old (similar), sunglasses old (similar, also I am so loving these)

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Top Nike, leggings Lululemon, Sneakers APL

White: This one is also not traditionally fall but I think most people have accepted white as a year round wardrobe addition. I added this grey bag and a beige coat to add to the fall feel.

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Sweater Everlane, sunglasses Amazon, jeans Madwell, sneakers Adidas, bag Cambridge Satchel Company

Green: My all time favorite color always deserves a spot! There are so many great shades of green that work for anytime of year. My outfit here is a forest green and is perfect for right now but there are some lighter greens that could be a great addition to a fall outfit. This one is not necessarily monochrome but relatively close and I do love the hints of color.

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Sweater Madewell, pants old (similar, here is a cheaper option), bag Madewell, booties old (similar)

Navy: Navy is also a classic color that can be easily found year round. I was on the fence about including it in a monochrome post since I don’t wear a ton of navy (or at least I didn’t think I did) but while I was going through my closet I found a ton of navy staples that I wear, especially during fall.

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Vest Barbour, top old (similar), jeans old (similar), sneakers Adidas

Thanks for reading and have a great Tuesday!

Erin

Week in My Life No. 4

Wow I can’t believe it is already almost mid October. The leaves are beautiful here in Logan right now and the temperature has really dropped. I actually started off the week in Vermont. I fly back to Utah on Monday afternoon and was pretty sick. I was kind of dreading Tuesday since I had two labs to teach and lots of prep work to do on top of feeling bad. I honestly have not been sick in a while and had just been thinking about that when I got some sort of cold just before going to Vermont. I got to school at 7:30am Tuesday morning and did not leave until nearly 7:30pm. There was so much to do to prep the labs and get myself ready to teach. My voice improved just enough to talk to the students which was a relief. I worked on some blog stuff and went to bed to try to rest up a bit.

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Emails and tomato bisque at the Denver airport. I had a long layover so I tried to catch up on some work things.

Wednesday and Thursday were just filled with work and trying to recover from my cold. We did have some friends over for pizza one night which was fun! Friday I went into work to do a few things and then Aiden and I went to Crumb Brothers to work for a few hours. I had a couple of Skype meetings so I was able to work out of the lab. We had a chill evening, just made dinner and watched You’ve Got Mail.

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Tea to sooth my throat while watching the movie.

Saturday was so fun and relaxing! We went to the farmer’s market for a butternut squash, peaches and olive bread. It is on of the last markets so we had to stop by. We went to Great Harvest for bread and a cinnamon roll on the way home. The leaves are so pretty right now. We took care of things at home and watched some Downton Abbey in the afternoon. Eventually we went for a long walk up around the neighborhood and then made some Trader Joe’s food for dinner. To end they day we watched Charade.

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Farmer’s market finds. So many pumpkins right now.
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Gorgeous views of the sunset on our evening walk!

Interesting articles:

Professor McGonagalls Letter for Tenure. This letter is hilarious and just brilliant. It is probably the best thing I have read all week.

More outfit inspiration. Love this round up of fall outfits!

Relationship “hacks”. I think these are all great ideas to keep up a good relationship.

Modern Love TV Series: This is a fantastic column and I know the TV series is going to be amazing.

Eileen Fisher on Sustainability. I am so excited about this company and their mission!

Watching: We watched Cold Case files on Netflix over the past week and I actually really liked it. I am not usually big into true crime but I found these stories to be really interesting. They are all cases that went cold and then were solved around 30 years later. It is just crazy and amazing!

Reading: While I am still in the middle of The Seven and a Half Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle I also started reading Upstairs at the White House while on the plane and I have been learning a ton. I will give a better update when I finish!

Clothing obsession: I have been wearing my adidas stan smith’s almost everyday. They are so comfortable and since they are white they go with just about anything.

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A day at the office outfit. Those stan smith’s are life.

Have a great Sunday!

Erin

Autumn Sweaters

Happy Saturday! I hope you are having a nice weekend. It has been beautiful and sunny but freezing cold for the past few days (in the 20’s and 30’s). We went to Crumb Brother’s to get some bread and work for a couple hours. I had several phone meetings but was able to work out of the office for most of the day. It was so nice and productive! Today we are headed to the farmer’s market for pumpkins and whatever other produce we can find. I hope you are doing something fun and fall related this weekend! Here are some perfect sweaters for fall.

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Bone cable sweater, rose cardigan, green creworange sweaterdark brown pullovercamel crewneck

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Erin

Books to Get in the Halloween Mood

This time of year is the best! I just love everything and probably talk about it way too much. Halloween is such a fun holiday and I love embracing October as that season. Give me all the pumpkins, corn mazes, costumes, witches, etc… A big part of what influences my mood are books. I love theming my books to get me excited and even more into that season. So here I am listing books that give me all the fall/Halloween feels. Most are mysteries but my criteria are just books I either love to read at this time of year or books that I always pictured set during October. I have not read a lot that would probably be on this list so I am just giving a disclaimer that I am only including books I have read or am reading now.

The Seven and a Half Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle: I am reading this now and am really enjoying it so far. I can just feel the crunchy leaves, forest paths and cool air. It is the perfect choice to get me in the mood right now.

Harry Potter (any but especially the first book): It is true that I could read Harry Potter any time of year but the best time to read it is October through December. I just love all the holiday scenes and it goes perfectly with a cozy blanket and cup of tea.

Murder on the Orient Express: Agatha Christie is a fantastic writing and this classic story lives up to the hype. I first read it for a project in eight grade and it has been a favorite ever since.

Sherlock Holmes: I have loved every Sherlock Holmes mystery that I read. They are relatively short, interesting and great for October evenings. I also enjoy great detective stories in general!

Magpie Murders: A great murder mystery (involving a editor) that has great twists and is perfect for Halloween.

A few books I am looking forward to reading: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, The Women in the Window by A.J. Finn and Serpant and Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

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I would really love to hear about any books you love for this time of year!!!

Erin

Work Outfit Inspiration I: Feeling Fall

Despite living in Utah I do tend to dress up for work, especially when I am teaching. I wanted to start some posts that highlight outfits that are stylish, practical and appropriate for work. As you may have noticed I love fall so I decided to theme this first round as the perfect fall work outfits. I will preface this by saying that I don’t really have a ‘dress code’ that I have to comply with so some of these outfits are a little more relaxed.

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Trench coat similar, sweater Everlane, pants similar (a fun alternative option), booties Vince Camuto

I am definitely of the opinion that a trench coat makes anything look nicer. It is a great way to make an outfit look a little more professional. I also love finding nicer pants that are also comfortable (all three dress pant options in this post definitely fit that). The final touch for this outfit was that go to Everlane sweater.

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Coat Mark and Graham, booties Blondo, skirt option from Reformation (I honestly had a really hard time finding something similar, it is pretty old J. Crew Factory), sweater similar

Black and camel are classic colors especially for the work place. The work really nicely together and I decided to make it a little more fun with the zebra printed skirt and patterned coat.

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Striped shirt old (similar, a great Everlane option), orange dress pants similar, booties Blondo (waterproof), scarf vintage Hermes (loving this leopard one)

This is my favorite work outfit from last year and I still love it. A silk scarf can really elevate an outfit. I also really enjoy the black and orange as a kind of nod toward Halloween.

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Tweed jacket old (similar, more affordable option), dress old (similar, I also love this one), boots Sam Edelman

A classic black dress is a must for a work wardrobe. There are so many options and I do recommend really searching for one that is flattering and comfortable. It can be an item worth splurging on since you will wear it a ton! I also love having some tweed pieces for work.

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Blazer 1. STATE (similar), t-shirt Something Navy, pants nydj, booties Vince Camuto

This plaid blazer is my go to for work looks this fall. It looks great with dress pants, jeans, skirts, dresses (i.e. everything). I like that this one is longer as well!

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Cardigan Madewell, jeans similar, button down similar, booties Vince Camuto

I know not everyone can wear jeans to work but they are a great option if you are able to. I think a dark denim tends to look a little nicer so I paired mine with a button down shirt and cardigan.

Thanks for reading!

Erin

5 Things I Learned from My First Year of Grad School

It is Sunday night and I am at my friends house in Vermont. I have been trying for days to brainstorm ideas for today’s post and I have not had any that I felt passionate about. What I realized is that I spend so much time thinking about grad school and stressing about work. I have been actively avoiding the subject since it has been hard for me lately but sometime the most important thing to do when something is hard is face it and talk about it. Instead of updating you on where I am right now with everything I though I would list the five most important things I have learned from my first year (and a few months) of grad school.

  1. Stuff happens. The unexpected happens a lot and the worst case scenario happens way more then I thought it would. The thing I have learned from this is that the best way to handle it is to recognize it, deal with it and move on. Rolling with the punches is a must and finding a solution to an unexpected problem has been a part of my job. It does not help at all to stress about it and overthink it a ton (which I have spent lots of time doing).
  2. Don’t say yes to everything. This is by far the most surprising point for me on this list. I was the ‘say yes to everything’ person in college and that was a great strategy for me since I was able to do so many amazing things. Now if I said yes to everything I would really be struggling. In fact, right now, I am limiting what I say yes to and still feel completely overwhelmed. A few weeks ago I had to drop something since I realized that I was way over my head and I did not feel like I was doing anything well since I had too much to do.
  3. Have a life outside of school. Having both a family and a hobby are so important for staying balanced and sane. I am so used to being around people whose jobs are their hobbies and vice versa (that seems odd but I had quite a few professors in undergrad who truly loved their jobs and spent a ton of time going above and beyond a day job). While I am happy for those people and look up to them, I am the kind of person who needs other things in my life. I want to do other things. I also think that regardless of whether or not you need a hobby you should have a work life balance that consists of people you care about. Ever since Aiden came out to Utah I have been way better at this but am by no means an expert. I am still struggling a ton with this one.
  4. Make friends outside of work. While I love my lab and everyone in it I have been learning how important it is to have other people in my life. I do want to talk to my co-workers and hang out outside of work but it can be so easy to slip into talking about work. For me the lines definitely blurred and I am feeling the need to at least reach out some more to other friends.
  5. Try to focus on what you want to get out of it. In other words, what do you care about in regard to this job? This is definitely not always possible since there are many things you need to do for others in order to get where you want to be. I included this one though because I feel like I struggle with it the most. I always think about the expectations others have of me and what they want me to do versus what I want to be doing. I care so much about people and want to please them and for them to be proud of me. I still think it is important to care about others but in grad school I am learning that the biggest motivator is your own desire to do certain things (i.e. care about your research). Not only that but it is about creating your own research. So build off of other people but the most important thing is do what you want to be doing.

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Thanks for reading! If you are in grad school or have had similar experiences with work I would love to hear about it.

Erin

Week in My Life No. 3

This is going to be a short post since I don’t have a ton of time. We are in Burlington and just got back from a night of drinks and food. I have had such a blast with my family!

My friend defended her dissertation on Monday which was so fun to watch (so proud of her!). We also drove up the canyon to see the leaves and show my friend Bear Lake. We had a party for the friend who defended which was so fun but I am going to miss her a ton.

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My friend from Austin and I getting coffee at Cafe Ibis.

Tuesday was absolutely crazy with work. Although I did a bunch over the weekend and on Monday, I had so much to get in order before leaving on Wednesday morning. I don’t really even remember doing anything else! We left early for the airport on Wednesday in order to account for traffic. It ended up being a crazy travel day. Both of my flights were delayed a ton due to weather in Newark. I ended up working in the airport for a while and not getting into Burlington until midnight.

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Last day with the adorable kitties!

I am not going to talk too much about Vermont since I have a whole post on it planned for later this week. In general it has been so amazing with lots of foliage, visits to orchards and family. The big bummer has been that I have been sick the whole time and am just doing my best to rally every day.

Some interesting articles:

Best Pumpkin Items from Trader Joe’s. Somehow I missed all the best ones.

Greta Thunberg’s Low-Carbon Journey. This 16 year old climate activist is such an inspiration.

Paris fashion week street style. It is all across the board. I am not sure how to even summarize.

Everlane is at Nordstrom right now and it is amazing. They are such a great brand so I am proud of Nordstrom for bringing them on board.

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My absolute go to fall outfit. I took this while in the Dakin Farm shop just before tasting lots of maple syrup.

Watching: We watched Unbelievable last weekend with my friend who was visiting. It is a short series that is just so intriguing. The content is definitely heavy and it can be hard to watch (it is about two female detectives trying to catch a serial rapist). I am really glad we stuck with it because I enjoyed the detectives and thought the whole show was very well done.

Skin care: Tula eye stick. This is kind of all the rare right now but I have had it for close to a month and have loved it. I am especially loving it this week since I have been sick, it is such an easy way to brighten my eyes.

Reading: I am reading The Seven and a Half Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle. I am only a few chapters in but it is getting me in the mood for Halloween.

Clothing obsession: I have been wearing me Dudley Stephens fleece non stop.

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Pumpkins at Shelburne Orchards. I highly recommend this area!

Things I am looking forward to:

I am really needing to get some rest and recover so I am looking forward to a weekend at home with just us (we have had guests or been away for about a month now).

More October fun! Although I will definitely take some time for myself I still want all the apples and pumpkins. I want to do something in Logan that is very fall.

Blair’s new collection is coming out on October 10th and I could not be more excited. Check out her blog for all her sneak peaks of the collection.

Have a great Sunday!

Erin

Great TV Shows for Fall/Halloween

Because I am such a big fall person and I love Halloween I wanted to do a post just for TV shows I watch around this time of year. I am going to start with 5 that are more general but great to watch now.

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1. Stranger Things: You have probably been living under a rock if you have not heard of this one but I have to include it since it is one of my favorite shows ever it is a perfect one for Halloween. I would not even know where to begin with explaining this one. Basically it is about some kids in rural Indiana and their encounters with the supernatural. It sounds a little odd if you haven’t heard of it but I highly recommend trying it out even if you are not into anything supernatural.

2. Dark: We finished this show a couple of weeks ago and I so wish the next season was already here. This one has to do with a seemingly normal group of people and there interactions with time. That is all I will say because I really don’t want to give anything away (plus I am not sure how to explain any more than that without giving too much away). I will give a heads up that this is a German show dubbed in English so it takes a little getting used to.

3. Broadchurch: This is an incredible show about English detectives solving a complicated crime. It is a little dark but I really liked it and am not usually into things that are too dark or scary.

4. Sherlock: The classic murder mystery show. It truly lives up and is overall amazing. The cast is incredible and the story line intriguing. Since I love reading so much I do have to mention that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as some great stories that are definitely worth a read.

5. Twin Peaks: Another intriguing mystery drama. I have not fully finished this one but it has some great fall/Halloween vibes. It is quite strange, takes place is a small town and has some interesting characters.

The second 5 are shows that truly are perfect for Halloween (mostly involve witches):

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6. Sabrina the Teenage Witch: It is a very cheesy show but I think it is entertaining and fun. I will say that I have not watched all episodes but am working through it from the beginning now. There is something so compelling about a teenage witch and her struggle as both a high schooler and a new witch.

7. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: This is a take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch that is much darker but still fun. It is much more progressive as well since it is new. This is my favorite of the Halloween shows right now.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This is the only non-witch show although it is definitely a classic show that brings all the Halloween vibes. I also have not watched all of this one but always enjoy when I do watch an episode here and there.

9. Bewitched: This is a much older show about a witch who is a housewife. I definitely have mixed feelings to say the least buy I wanted to include it since it is a classic show about a witch. It paved the way for lots of others!

10. Charmed: I used to love watching this show, especially around Halloween. It is about three sisters and their adventures as witches in a modern world (modern as in early 2000’s). I have not watched the recent CW remake of this show so I can’t say much about it but I will probably end up trying it in the next few weeks.

Let me know what you are watching this October.

Erin

September Books

This month was not great at all for reading! I was really hoping to do better but I was so busy with work and with putting a lot more work into the blog so I fell very short on the reading side. I only finished three books.

American Royals (5/5 stars): I raved about this book on Instagram because it is amazing. I was totally sucked into the lives of the American royals. The book takes place in an alternate time where George Washington was made king instead of president. The plot follows the romantic lives of the three royal siblings and everything that comes with being right at the center of attention. The little details about history and how it changed slightly were a great touch.

Recursion (3/5 starts): So overall this was a really interesting read. The reason I rated it lower is that I had a very hard time getting into it and although it did pick up quite a bit I still had a hard time finishing it. I am not really sure why I guess it was just kind of slow and hard to follow at times. It is about this women who creates a memory chair that does much more that she intended. The story is about all that occurs once it has been invented. I am not even sure what genre this is to be honest. I will say that I listened to this one as an audiobook and sometimes I have a harder time following a book as audio.

Bringing Down the Duke (4.5/5 stars): This is another great romance. I am not usually drawn to romance novels but this month I just happen to read two! I really loved this one as well. It takes place in 1800’s England and it is the story of a girl and a Duke and getting women the right to vote. I won’t say too much because I highly recommend reading it. It is so good!

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Hopefully October will be better although I already know it is going to be very crazy! Let me know what you have been reading lately!

Erin