So I did an Instagram try on to go with this post (first try on, not sure how I feel about talking to the camera). These are things I have purchased over the past month… More
Last week did a quick post on my favorite show to watch during the holidays and I also wanted to do a post on holiday movies. There are so many! Here I include several classics and several newer movies that make for a great holiday night with loved ones (or by yourself!). I have actually watched quite a few Hallmark Christmas romances, however here I am choosing my favorite holiday movies overall so I am not really going into those. Instead I chose three holiday romance movies at the end.
Its a Wonderful Life: A true Christmas classic. This is one of my dad’s favorite movies so I had to include it. I won’t go to into detail but make sure you watch all the way through. There are some sad parts but the end is uplifting!
Home Alone: Such a classic, you really can’t go wrong with a night of ice skating, cookie baking and watching Home Alone. Although I was kind of terrified of these movies when I was younger, now they are so fun to watch at this time of year.
Elf: I don’t know why but this movie quickly became the go to in our house around Christmas. We watched it every year for at least 10 years (and probably more than once every year).
Santa Claus is Coming to Town: I highly enjoy the animations and the songs in this movie. It is a great Christmas classic, and good for kids!
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: I have not actually watched the new one yet but I really looking forward to it. I have heard such great things. They older version is good but I always thought it was a little creepy.
Four Christmases: This romantic comedy is the perfect movie for some holiday laughs. There is family, romance and Reese Witherspoon. I highly recommend!
Love Actually: I really loved this movie. It is very heartwarming and beautiful but not naive about love. I just feel like the relationships are more realistic!
A Christmas Prince: Pretty much the definition of a cheesy christmas romance and I do have to say it is significantly better than other Netflix Christmas romance movies I’ve seen. The sequel is actually the most recent Christmas movie I watched and it was very cheesy but decent if you are looking for a feel good romance.
The Princess Switch: This movie is also very cheesy but I did end up thinking it was pretty cute. Its about a baker and a duchess who are related (and look the same) and everything that ensues when they find each other. There are some great nods to The Parent Trap which was fun.
As a side note I am really looking forward to watching The Christmas Chronicles (on Netflix) this year.
I hope you are enjoying the holidays!
Although I love fall, I am just as psyched about winter this year! I absolutely love the snow and everything that comes with it. Wintery days by the fire, holiday cheer and the new year! There are also so many fun things to do in the winter. It is strange because technically winter does not start for another week but we have had snow in Utah for several months now!
There are so many things to do this winter. I have so much planned for the holidays and then a busy spring semester starting in January!
I thought I would do a quick round up of the TV shows I watch around the holidays. They aren’t necessarily holiday shows but they are all very feel good and fun.
The Great British Baking Show: I started watching this show when my friend Laura visited me back in September. It is strangely addicting and I am loving the holiday episodes.
Gilmore Girls: This is not really a holiday show but I really love all their wintery episodes, they always put me in the mood for some holiday fun.
Friends: This one is also not necessarily a holiday show but for me it is such a funny, feel good show, so I often associate it with the holidays. I have been watching so much this year and forgot how amazing it is!
Chill with Bob Ross: I am a big Bob Ross fan and this show is just so calming! If you aren’t familiar with Bob Ross, he is an amazing painter with some great commentary (the first episode features his squirrels).
Let me know what your favorite holiday shows are, I am always looking for more fun things to watch!
The past four months have been an intense introduction to graduate school, not to mention the fact that I moved to an entirely new state. I chose my graduate program for my lab/advisor (I might talk about this more in a later post) however the location is definitely a bonus! I am a mountain girl through and through and am thrilled to be back in the rockies. Talk about 360 mountain views!
Here are my five favorite things about living in Utah:
Mountains galore. I can’t even explain how beautiful it is! The valley I live in is surrounded my mountains and I love it. There are such amazing hiking trails and plenty of rock climbing.
Salt Lake City. I don’t actually live in Salt Lake but I have gone a couple times and I really like it. There is so much good music, food and drink! I am actually going down there tomorrow with some friends to go to the German Christmas Market.
The location. This sounds kind of strange but I really love being back in the west. I was born and raised in Colorado and I am so psyched to be back in the area. It is way closer to family which is nice as well. There are also so many great national parks and ski areas!
Skiing. Speaking of ski areas! I haven’t skied yet but I have heard great things about the skiing here and am beyond excited.
The people. Everyone has been so nice and I am loving all the outdoor vibes. Moving is so tough especially when you don’t really know anyone so having good people around has been so helpful.
I also quick wanted to mention that Utah is incredible and so is graduate school but it has been so busy so I am hoping to get on a more regular posting schedule soon!
Wow I have no idea where to even start with this post! Life has not stopped being crazy which has been incredible in many ways but also overwhelming. There have been a ton of amazing opportunities and adventures but I have had almost no time to process anything! Here is my best crack at an update on my life lately:
In August I started my first year of graduate school at Utah State University and I have been so so busy. I enjoy being busy and I think having more to do helps me be more productive but right now it is so tough to get everything done. I am teaching a class, doing research and taking my own classes, on top of moving to a brand new place and trying to figure out my life here. I barely have had time to think which is kind of crazy! The biggest thing I have come to realize is how much time professors spend on single classes. At least three days out of my week have been fully dedicated to preparing for and teaching a class that meets once a week (although we do have three sections). I spend one day focusing on my own research which comprises mostly of reading lots of scientific papers right now. The rest of my days in the week are spent in classes, doing homework and helping around our lab. I have had fairly little time for myself and do not feel like I have been utilizing that time all that well. Also if you don’t know I am starting my PhD in biology!
I am not even sure where to start with the past few months. So much has happened. My sister and I got back from Europe at the end of July, just in time for the wedding of a family friend (which was very beautiful). My mom and I left the next day to move a bunch of my stuff out to Utah. I had a few meetings with my lab but the trip was mostly filling out paperwork, moving in and getting some things set up. We only stayed three days before driving back to Boulder so I could pick up my friend who came to visit. I absolutely loved having her visit! We hiked every single day, visited the national park and did a short backpacking trip (which I did do a post about). She visited for about a week and then I left for New England because my boyfriend’s family was on vacation. I will do a post on this trip in the coming weeks because it was so beautiful and such a great place to visit (we were mostly in New Hampshire)! I flew home a week later and had one day to get any last minute things, pack the car head out to Utah.
As a side note, I was driving by myself for eight hours so I listened to the book Educated by Tara Westover and I highly recommend it! I spent my first week in Utah doing lots of safety related trainings and getting things in order. Classes started the second week and that Friday I left for Bahamas for 10 days of field work in the Exumas. My trip to the Bahamas was pretty crazy as well! I got sick (for two whole days!), visited pigs, went snorkeling and collected tons of data. I also met some great people and had lots of productive conversations about research!
Fall Outdoor Adventures
I having been really trying to get outside for a little bit every day and do something a little bigger once a week. This has definitely been way harder than I expected! Last weekend though I went camping up in the canyon with some friends which was so fun and very needed. The leaves were bright yellow and the air was cool and crisp. I have had fall camping on my seasonal goals for the past few years and it finally happened! A friend and I also went to the harvest festival to get pumpkins which as so fun and really put me in the mood for fall.
Apple picking has also given me some hard core fall feels. The house I am renting has two beautiful apple trees so I have been trying to bake when I can and freeze as many more as I can. I made an apple pie for our camping trip and am now psyched to get creative with some other apple recipes (we seriously have so many apples)!
One of the best things for me lately has been meditating. I took a hiatus for a while and am so so glad to be back at it. I went ahead and bought the student yearly plan on Headspace and it is so worth it. It has been about a week since I started and I am feeling so much better already! Taking a few minutes every morning really helps clear my head and puts me in a better place to start the day.
One last update! While I definitely have not had as much time for reading, I did finish Circe while in the Bahamas and loved it. If you at all like greek mythology you will love it. The whole thing is about Circe (commonly known for her role in The Odyssey) and her struggles as the not so beloved daughter of Helios. Right now I am listening to In a Dark Dark Wood on Overdrive and I am hooked. If you haven’t heard of Overdrive it is a great way to get audiobooks on loan from your local library!
Have a great weekend!
Autumn is here once again and I couldn’t be more excited about the change in weather. I love love love the cool crisp days and the winds that require warm drinks and thick layers. I love every season but fall is definitely my favorite. The colors are beautiful, the food is fantastic (gotta love anything pumpkin) and I love the holiday season. I am changing up the format of my seasonal goals posts to more of a ‘fall favorites’ type list. I would consider the start of fall to be right around now… I can feel it in cool mornings and the leaves are starting to change!
Shades of orange
Cups of tea
Hiking in the clear cool air
Also, check out my 10 Halloween Movies for some more fall/Halloween inspiration. Cozying up with a good book or movie is another great way to get excited for this time of year.
So I have had a crazy summer filled with lots of adventures and there is one kind of hilarious one that I have been dying to share.
One of my close friends from college came out to visit me during one of my last weeks living in Colorado. We did lots of local hiking but she really wanted to do a several day backpacking trip during her visit. We planned to do a three-day, two night backpacking trip about 45 minutes west of Boulder. We chose the route because it was close and my sister had done it last summer with her friends. Hessie trailhead (Indian Peaks Wilderness) was our start and we were going to hike the trail that runs through the Indian Peaks Wilderness, up to the Continental Divide and down to Rogers Peak Lake and then Moffat Tunnel. I included a map of our route because it is a great one to do if you are looking for a relatively low mileage but beautiful trail in the Boulder/Denver area.
The first day was a beautiful hike up through the trees from Hessie trailhead (past the town of Eldora). Once we gained enough elevation the trees cleared and the views were amazing. There are also lots of small lakes up there that are great for fishing (we met several fishing groups along the way!). King Lake is nestled just below the divide and was such a gorgeous place to break. If I do the same trip again I would get a permit and camp near that lake (you have to get a permit during the summer for Indian Peaks Wilderness but not James Peak). We hiked up above the lake and onto the divide where we walked to the parking lot and down another trail to Pumphouse Lake. We had planned on hiking further, to Corona Lake, to camp but the site at Pumphouse was so beautiful so we decided to make camp there. The afternoon included some naps, reading and Indian food on the MSR. The real story started around 10:00pm once we were about to go to sleep.
I hadn’t really thought much of the bear warning sign at the trailhead since I have camped and hiked in Colorado a lot and never seen a bear. So we piled our food away from our tents and covered it with pots, pans and our crazy creeks (this has worked well for me in the High Uintas but was a big mistake here). We just turned the lights out in our tent when we started to hear noises outside. It sounded like something throwing things and rustling bags. It was literally terrifying… sitting in our sleeping bags listening to something rummage through our food and not knowing what it was. It was at least 30 minutes of freaking out. We didn’t wanted to go outside because habituated bears can be pretty dangerous and neither of us were about to confront a bear. When it seemed quiet we got out and did some investigating. Whatever it was had somehow taken most of our food but left our pile covering the food intact. We put everything back, got into our tent and started hearing noises again. Instead of sitting there freaking out in the dark we turned our lights on and listened to a podcast/music (not sure this is the best practice but it worked for us). The next morning we were making tea and saw some marmots on the snowfield across the lake… it was probably marmots although a bear definitely makes for a better story.
They only food we had left was our snacks (trail mix and a few Cliff bars) and a jar of peanut butter. We probably could have finished our trip as scheduled however we would have been super hungry hiking out on the third day. After some though we decided we would keep going and try to hike what we would have done in two days in one day (i.e. hike out to the trailhead). In order to get picked up we had to get service somehow. Luckily we were going straight up onto the divide which was in clear sight of Winter Park. This hike up on the divide is around 4-5 miles and is absolutely gorgeous. The 360 degree views are stunning. We started our decent back down the East side of the divide just before James Peak. The decent is so steep and pretty long (coming up would be pretty rough). There are several lakes nestled into the mountains just below the divide (at tree line). We had intended to camp here (at Rogers Peak Lake) and it would have been beautiful. There were so many incredible wildflowers and great camping spots. We continued around 6 miles down to the Moffat tunnel were my sister picked us up.
My piece of advice regarding food on backpacking trips is: do your research! The safest thing is probably a bear barrel or hanging your food however if you are in an area with NO grizzlies it seems people generally leave their food inside packs.
Such an adventure!
This whole summer has been crazy. So much travel, adventure and big life changes. I am actually leaving for the Bahamas tonight for my last big trip of the season. It is entirely for field research but should be fun! So overall life has just been super hectic lately. I am going to do a more detailed post when I get back however I just wanted to pop in and say hello… I have been very MIA lately. Some highlights have been my big Europe trip in July, backpacking adventures and a trip to New Hampshire in August as well as starting grad school! I actually just finished my first full week of classes and it was crazy. It has only been a little over a year since undergrad but I forgot how much time classes take. They are great so far though and I am really looking forward to the semester. I will also do some more detailed posts on grad school in the coming months. For now I am going to sign off because my flight leaves in three hours!
I have finally been able to get to some of my travel posts! I am currently on my big Europe trip traveling around with my sister. We are in Nice, France right now but I was able to get my Denmark travel diary done on the train rides. In general I really loved this country! It is so beautiful and the city of Copenhagen is a great place to be. I am a little jealous of my friend who lives there!
Day 1- Just a note, that first picture is from the plane just before landing and I was just so impressed by how many wind turbines there were. I had never seen them in the ocean! I got to Copenhagen around 12:30pm on Sunday after a flight from Denver to London and then London to Copenhagen. I was extremely jet lagged but needed to stay up as long as possible so I could get on the right time zone. My friend picked me up from the airport, with Carlsberg beers as welcoming gifts. We rode the train back to his house in Hellerup. This town is very cute with lots of nice houses, flowers and a great beach/harbor. My friend’s boyfriend had a delicious danish lunch waiting for us so we ate open-faced sandwiches before taking a train to Klampenborg. It is only one or two stops and probably walkable (definitely an easy bike ride). First we walked around the deer park. It is a really pretty park which would be great for picnicking or biking through. There is a manor several kilometers from the entrance because the property used to be a hunting home for nobility. We saw several species of deer, including the fallow deer which I had never seen before (they have very fuzzy, wide antlers). After walking a little ways we headed to Bakken which is the world’s oldest amusement park. it was created in the 1500’s (I can only imagine what that was like). You do not have to pay an entrance fee so we just walked through the park and got some ice cream cones. Some of the buildings definitely channel a historical look with sloping roofs. They have lots of horse drawn carriages for rides around the area. From here we walked across the rode to the sandy beach for a swim. The water was chilly but so refreshing and really woke me up. It was a really nice, sunny day so there were lots of people! Back at home we had a traditional dish called Flæskesteg, which was amazing! Apparently it is usually made around Christmas time. We finished dinner around 9:30 and the sun was just starting to set (I forgot about the whole more sunlight thing). We walked through the neighborhood to downtown Hellerup and the beach/harbor. There is such a nice rose garden there as well.
Day 2- This day was pretty much entirely exploring Copenhagen. I woke up to fresh coffee and croissants (such a treat!). My friend and I went out around 8:30 and he took me on a long walking tour of the city. We started with Christiania which is an artist community in the city that sort of follows its own rules. There are lots of colorful buildings and beautiful art. You can’t take pictures inside so I only have one from the side entrance. It was a Monday morning so it was pretty dead but they usually have lots of food, music and shops. From here we walked along side the canals, past Church of Our Savior. I had no idea that Denmark is comprised largely of islands. There are so many canals in the city and just walking around is so nice, especially along Nyhavn. Nyhavn is the postcard Copenhagen with the colorful buildings and boats lining the canal. I would note that this area is so packed! It can be a little difficult to navigate with all the people so I recommend timing this well so you aren’t there during peak times. There are lots of great restaurants and cafes along here that would be so lovely to eat at. From Nyhavn we headed along the water towards the mermaid statue. Honestly this is not very worth it. It is very out of the way, tons of tourists are there and it is really small. I recommend just seeing it from the boat tour. There is a great view of the opera house, statue, royal houses and church along that walk though. From the mermaid we headed past the Gefion Fountain and St. Albans Church to the royal houses. The palace was burnt down several times so the royal family now lives in several houses that belong to noble families. The lutheran church is there as well so we walked through it, the ceiling is pretty cool! By this time we had walked a ton and were super hungry. We ended up walking a ton more to get to Gasoline Grill, a burger place that had been recommended to my friend. It was worth the walk! We ate in the park nearby before walking through the crown jewel palace to the botanical gardens. It was Monday so the butterfly garden was closed but we had a nice time checking out the plants and flowers. From here we walked through some nice market plazas that I definitely want to check out more when I come back. We walked through the Royal Copenhagen store (very beautiful but expensive tableware) and then had coffees at the top of the Illum, enjoying nice views of the city. We ran a couple of errands before heading back to Hellerup. Dinner was another traditional meal of Frikadeller and then we watched the world cup semi-finals.
Day 3- We took a train to Hillerød in the morning to visit Fredriksborg Castle. This was by far the most beautiful castle I have ever seen. There are such beautiful views from the town so we stopped there for some pictures. There are also some cafes there that would be fun to try! You walk across a bridge to get into the courtyard where there is a beautiful fountain. Originally we weren’t sure if we were going to get tickets to go in or just explore the courtyard and gardens. We ended up getting tickets and I am so glad we did. The interior was incredible. I was especially impressed by the ceilings and chandeliers (so ornate!). My other highlight was the church (yes inside the castle). We hopped on a tour for a bit before exploring by ourselves for a while. I cannot imagine only one family living in a place that big. We walked around the grounds next, which we just as amazing. The crown emblem is literally carved out of a hedge on either side of the canal that runs from the water fountains. We walked out the other side of the garden and though the other side of town to the train station.
Day 4- We headed out early to pick up my sister, Meghan, from the airport (she came on a 8:15am flight from Stockholm). Meghan and I ate some food before heading to Helsingor for some more castle adventures. This town is definitely worth a visit whether or not you decide to see the castle. There is also a maritime museum and some interesting things. The castle was costs around 120 krone and neither of us were dying to see it so we chose to skip the castle and just walk around it and down the shore. I am pretty sure this was the home of a noble family so it is not nearly as big as the Fredriksborg castle but it is right up against the sea which was very cool! After walking around the castle we headed back through the town, exploring, taking pictures and hitting up a thrift shop. We hopped on a bus to Humlebaek. This stop is worth it if you want to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, none of the exhibits caught my eye at the time so instead of going in we walked along the rocky beach and then up along the street (the house and gardens are all very nice).
Day 5- I took my sister into Copenhagen so she could see everything. We did some shopping along the main streets and walked around for a while. For lunch we went to Dalle Valle which is an affordable buffet that has lots of danish options. After lunch we walked to Nyhavn for a boat tour of the city. I highly recommend seeing the city via boat. They take you along the canals and point out all the important landmarks and the history in both Danish and English. We went with Netto boat tours which was 50 krone per person.
Day 6- We went back into the city with the sole purpose of reserving our train tickets to Germany. If you need to make reservations or get international tickets in Copenhagen make sure you leave a lot of time because we spent at least an hour just waiting for our turn. We then grabbed a bite to eat outside of Tivoli and then walked back through the city. We were pretty tired by that point so decided to head back to Hellerup to get packed up. We walked down to the Hellerup beach for a swim because it was very hot and sunny. The water was even better than the first day! Our last little adventure involved a very long walk to University of Copenhagen for my friend’s BBQ. It was so much fun! Lots of dancing, drinks and good food.
This part of my trip was truly amazing. I love love love the city of Copenhagen and it was so incredible to see my friend again!
Clearly I have taken a major hiatus from blogging. I was starting to feel like I just did not have the time and was questioning why I was blogging in the first place. A big part of both being busy and questioning what I am doing began with a huge career step that I was not really expecting to happen right now. I will be attending Utah State University as a PhD student in a biology lab. My research focus will be looking at the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on the physiology of the Bahaman Rock Iguana. It is going to be a long but exciting journey that will likely take the next six years of my life. I will be moving up to Logan, Utah in early August. Working out the details for this has taken lots of time and thought which has led to some neglect in other areas of my life. I am very excited however and have begun to plan out and my lists of priorities for the coming year. I have the fall semester almost entirely figured out, including classes and research. The last piece that has caused some stress is housing in Utah. I did not realize just how hard it is to find housing when you don’t live in (or close to) that place. With most of the details fleshed out I have started to think about some other things, including my blog.
Over the past few days I sort of re-realized my reasons for blogging. I thought a lot about why I started this project in the first place. During my senior year of college I was feeling very burnt out and overwhelmed by work. I have always loved school but at this point it had begun to feel like work I had to do and not at all like what I wanted to be doing. I think there were many factors that contributed to this feeling that were both circumstantial and stemmed from my own mental state. As my future plans have solidified and I begin to prepare for the years to come I am realizing that I am jumping straight back into the world of biology and academia. I do love this world but I learned in college that I need to have a creative outlet that is not in that world in order to continue to be happy and productive. So in essence I am getting back into my blog but will be making some changes.
In 2016 I had started reading and exploring different blogs. I had started my own in December of 2016 but was really just experimenting. As the year progressed I realized how much I was in need of a creative outlet. There are a lot of things I wish I had done differently that year but now I am going to take this opportunity to change some things. While I very much want to continue blogging, I am going to change my posts a little bit. I want to put a lot more time and effort into single posts which is kind of tough considering I am about to be in graduate school. Because of that I will probably not be posting as much, but I will focus on quality. I also want to rethink my content a little bit, but I will do a bigger post on that in a few weeks.