July was definitely not my best for reading since it has been crazy with research but I still managed to get in a couple of audiobooks and one print book. My favorite was definitely There… More
Summer is such a fun time of year! I usually fill mine with lots of adventures… for school, for work and for fun. This year is no different however it has been much busier with work than I was expecting. I still have managed to find time for my favorite parts of summer. I have been to the farmers market every Saturday since I have been back in Utah and they have such great fresh fruits and veggies. Plus ours has had the most delicious lemonade. My absolute favorite summer wardrobe item is wicker baskets. They are pretty impractical for me but they are just so fun and make me so happy! It gets pretty hot out here and we don’t have air conditioning which can be a bit of a pain, however if anything it is an excuse to find some water, shade and a good book! So many fun summer things…
SO last Monday was my 24th birthday. I really wanted to spend it up at Bear Lake, reading and swimming but Aiden had planned to take me to brunch and then to a bookstore (my favorite place ever!). We decided to fit it all in. The day started off great, I had to go into work for an hour but then we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Herm’s Inn at the base of Logan Canyon. We then drove down to Ogden for some book browsing at Barnes and Noble. Despite having a crazy long booklist I still managed to choose too many! I always wish that I had one extra day to every normal day just for reading.
We drove back to Logan and started up the canyon to Bear Lake. Aside from some construction things were going fairly smoothly until we started the last ascent up Bear Mountain. I was driving and the car just would not accelerate. It was really freaky and we pulled over several times trying to figure out what the problem was. Things would go back to normal and then maybe thirty seconds later we would start to decelerate again. Eventually the car just would not go at all so we pulled over and managed to get to a parking lot off the side of the road.
The biggest problem was the we had no reception at all so there was no way to get ahold of aaa or anyone else. A very nice man stopped to help us and ended up driving us to Garden City (on the other side of the mountain) where we were able to call aaa and then our friends. Our friends met us at Zipz for dinner (an delicious raspberry milkshakes) and we all went for drinks at the country club while we waited for the tow truck.
It was quite the adventure and we did not get home until past midnight (the tow truck took forever and ended up being very expensive). The reason I wanted to share this story is that it taught me a very valuable lesson. I had an expectation for how the day was going to go and I know things go wrong all the time but I really did not expect this. It could have been really sucky but the whole day actually ended up being really fun! The car having issues and the expenses are definitely a bummer but having Aiden there really helped me feel better and I actually had a great time with my friends while we were waiting.
I am so so appreciative of all the nice people out there willing to go out of there way to help stranger. I also can’t thank Aiden and my friends enough for helping out and for making a bummer of a situation tons better!
There is so much to catch up on! I have been able to read a lot this year (thanks to audiobooks) so I am going to start consistently sharing my monthly reads. I am skipping to May and June since they are most recent and I will do a round up of all the books I read and my favorites at the end of the year. As I mentioned the other day, the past few months have been so busy so I am actually surprised I was able to get through these five books. My reading list keeps on growing so hopefully I will be able to get through a few more in July.
For now here are my reads from May and June:
The Dinner List (3.5/5): I have seen some mixed reviews about this book so I wasn’t sure what I would think. I listened to it on audiobook while driving to Denver and ended up liking it. Its definitely not my favorite this year but I did enjoy it and would highly recommend. The premise is basically that this girl has a dinner party for her birthday with the people she always wished could be there (alive or dead) and the conversations that ensure captured my attention. Most centers around her relationships with people in her life.
Angels and Demons (3.5/5): If you have read Dan Brown than you know this formula well. They are all usually packed with action and very high energy. The lead is working agains the clock to solve some problem/riddle to save people. I always enjoy these so this was no exception, although I have to be a certain mood to read these books. While I liked Angels and Demons, Inferno is still my favorite by him (I just love the history and have been to Florence). This one still has a lot of historical background but some interesting religious aspects mixed in.
Leaving Time (4/5): Earlier in the year I read Jodi Picoult’s short stories “Where There is Smoke” and “Larger Than Life” and was immediately drawn in. These stories are precursor stories for two characters in Leaving Time. The book itself is about the disappearance of an elephant researcher and her daughter’s journey to find her. I loved so many aspects of this book. I think the research aspect drew me in (relatable and inspired for me), in the short story “Larger Than Life”, so I was compelled to read the book.
The Proposal (3.5/5): I was on the waitlist for this audiobook for months (I use Overdrive to borrow then from the library) and I finally got to read it. While I usually love a good romance I have not been that psyched about them this year so despite all the hype I was skeptical. As you may have heard, this story starts with a guy proposing to his girlfriend and her saying no. The woman gets rescued by some friendly strangers which starts a whole new adventure for her. The storyline was predictable to me but I really liked the main characters so overall I did enjoy it. Its a great beach/vacation read!
One Day in December (4/5): Yup I read this one in June despite it being a winter romance. The writing was really beautiful in that it brought the characters to life in a way I have not experienced before. I could relate to even their bad decisions even if I disagreed, this to me is a sign of great writing and character development. The story is all about the relationships between three people over a ten year period. There is a lot of heartbreak but there is also lots of love and great characters.
I try to keep of with my Goodreads so feel free to friend me over there (I always love recommendations!).
Spring is already here! How crazy is that? I will say that this year I am especially excited about the warm weather. I probably say that every year but I was not expecting Utah winters to be nearly as cold as this one was. It was just this constant freezing temperature with wind (making the cold 10 times worse). The flowers and greenery are my favorite parts of spring. I have never had a Utah spring but I will be here for April so I will get a taste before my month and a half of travel starts. As always floral prints and shades of pink are favorites for the season. So far my beige trench coat has been my most worn piece, but I am sure that will change as it continues to warm. I am also very into white jeans this spring. It is such an easy way to make an outfit fit for spring while still staying warm.
Lots of Pink
Walking in the Rain
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 (at least). I definitely won’t be keeping everything but I still wanted to share!
Eberjey Hoodie: I have had my eye on this for several months and finally decided to order it while it was on sale. It is possible the softest top I have ever tried on. The only thing to note is that the sleeves are shorter, so the fit is a little unexpected but I still think it is very comfy and perfect for a lazy weekend.
Everlane Hoodie: I shared this hoodie mostly because its from the company Everlane which is a sustainable clothing company. I am really trying to shop more sustainably and live out my values more, especially when it comes to clothing.
Chenille Sweater: Seriously, Aerie has some of the comfiest clothing ever. I have several sweaters from them and love them all, plus they are super affordable. This chenille one is so so comfy and very oversized. Also the color is great!
New Balance Running Shoe: I am going to give the credit to Lauren Sims for these shoes. I have been needing something versatile like this that is comfortable but can be worn with slightly nicer things (I also wanted black).
Grey Striped Top: This is slightly more of a tunic, which I didn’t really expect, but I actually really like that because it can be easily worn with leggings. It is very soft and great for everyday (gotta love a striped shirt).
Blush Jacket: This jacket is so so comfortable and very flattering. I ordered it but didn’t really think I would keep it because I do already have a pink jacket (different shade) that is kind of similar. I also was skeptical since I order a slightly bigger size than I usually would. The minute I tried it on I knew I would have a problem because it is so so cute. The color is so perfect and I actually really like the roomier fit.
Lilly Dress: So I saw this in a boutique on Captiva Island and loved it but was not about to pay over $200 (I am a grad student over here). The Lilly After Party Sale was coming up so I checked first thing for the dress and sure enough! I don’t wear Lilly a ton but I love some of their simpler designs (I am not a big pattern person).
Dress: So disclaimer, I am almost positive I am going to send this one back. It is very cute and I love the pattern, but it was pretty tight, especially in the arms. I just don’t think I would choose to wear it very much since its definitely tighter.
Levi’s Denim Jacket: This is definitely the best denim jacket ever. It is so so comfy and the perfect mix of fitted and oversized (sounds contradictory but its really right in the middle, very flattering but also very comfortable).
Straw Crossbody: While in Captiva I also popped in the J. McLaughlin shop and spotted the cutest straw bag (I would use as a crossbody). The price tag is definitely more than I can afford but I really loved and decided to look for something similar. I found this one on Nordstrom’s website but am still not completely sold. I really like the style but I feel like it is a little bulkier than I wanted.
I hope you had a great weekend!
I will readily admit that I fell short on my reading goal for 2018. I had hoped to read around a book a week (my number goal was 30 total). That worked pretty well through June and then things got crazy with lots of travel and graduate school. Since September I have only read three books. So throughout the whole year I read a total of 24 books (five of which were re-reads) and chose to include eight of those in this list of the best books I have read in 2018.
Educated by Tara Westover: Such a fantastic and inspiring memoir of a woman who grew up in a very religious family in rural Idaho. I listened to this as an audiobook and was thoroughly captivated the entire time. Tara’s story is heartbreaking, uplifting and inspiring all at the same time. It brought on so many emotions for me (it even brought me to tears at one point).
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrass Tyson: This is a short book that gives a great overview of general astrophysics concepts. It is so easy to read (especially if you have to background in physics) and incredibly interesting. I am so glad I picked it up because I feel like I learned a ton and didn’t have to work super hard to understand things.
Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall: I had no idea that this one would be more than just her life with the gorillas. It is so inspiring and uplifting (read my March Book Round Up for more on this one). I highly recommend it.
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez: This one took be quite some time and focus to get into but the story is so very beautiful. My friend has told me its her favorite book several times so I finally got around to reading it. I seriously loved it and it will probably be one of my favorites as well!
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: In all honestly I am mostly remembering the show for this one since I read it so early on in 2018. I do remembering really liking the book though. Liane Moriarty’s style of writing was refreshing for me and the characters were so intriguing. I will say that I did not like Madly Truly Guilty nearly as much.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman: I did an entire book review on this one so I won’t go to into detail. This story did a great job of reminding me to appreciate and understand where I come from and to change my outlook on the future by accepting that I can’t control everything.
Circe by Madeline Miller: This story of Circe (the Greek goddess) was a recommendation from Bad on Paper Podcast and I am so glad they chose it. The tragic and beautiful story of a underdog goddess, looked down upon by many, is told in full. I think this is my favorite fiction read of the whole year!
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green: This is the most recent book I read and I really enjoyed it. I have been excited for Hank Green’s book for a while and for me it lived up to that hype. I don’t want to give anything away so I will only say that it is about this girl, April May, and her journey to fame through her discovery of a stature in New York City (yes that sounds vague but just read it!). I will say that it took me a while to get through. I am not sure if thats because I’ve just been busy or because I took a while for me to really get into.
Thanks for reading and I would love to hear what your favorite books from 2018 were. I am always looking for new things to read! Happy reading!
Aside from skiing, my favorite holiday activity is definitely playing board games. Games are a great way to bring people together and just have some fun. It can also be a good activity that doesn’t bring up any controversial issues at family events (make sure you choose your games wisely though). There are so many games out there these days so choosing a good one can be tough. Here I have compiled my favorites for the holiday season. All are great for larger groups and the level of competition varies from collaborative (Forbidden Island) to fairly competitive (Sushi Go!). I also threw in Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme? which are both hilarious card games for adults (great for dinner parties and gatherings with friends).
Sushi Go!: I love this one because you can play with anywhere from 2 to 8 people. It involves both strategy and luck and can be on the more competitive side but is still super fun. The game changes quite a bit with numbers but that is part of the fun! It is a very fast paced game that can be difficult to learn but is quick once you get the hang of it. I recommend getting Sushi Go Party because it allows for many different variations of the game.
Settlers of Catan: This is a fun strategy game that is fairly easy to learn. The draw back of this one is that you can only have 4 players and it can take a while. Play is generally slower and moves take more careful, thought and strategy.
Forbidden Island/Desert: Both of these are fun collaborative games that require everyone to work together in order to win. They are harder to learn because there are lots of things happening and different players have different rules associated with them. There are player limits which can be a downside and it takes on average around 30 minutes to play a game. This is a great option if games easily cause too much competition. As a side note this is one of my favorite games of all time!
Balderdash: I was very reluctant to play this game but when I finally decided to play it ended up being super fun. It is a great way to really get people out of their comfort zones. It is all about improvising and making up words or stories for obscure words. Game play is longer but is not difficult to learn!
Clue: Forever a classic but I had to include it because it is another one of my all time favorite games. There is a lot of suspense and it can be competitive but I think it is generally very fun and pretty easy to learn.
Hedbanz: This is a fun one for large groups of people. There are lots of different versions (I really like some of the apps as well), it is fun way to laugh with everyone. It is also a great way to get everyone to loosen up and have fun. Game play per round is relatively short (depending on how fast people guess) but you can play for as long as you like.
Boggle: Boggle is such a fun word game! There are lots of app versions but the physical Boggle game can be a fun way to get everyone to participate. It is super easy to learn, easy to play and each round is short. I am very excited to try Big Boggle!
Telestrations: This might be my number one pick for family games. It requires little instruction and can be easily played with all generations and still be hilarious. It is kind of like the telephone game (where you whisper a word/phrase and it goes around the circle) but you are interpreting your neighbors interpretation of a statement or drawing. You do have to be able to write and draw so its not for younger kids.
Cards Against Humanity: I probably don’t have to say much about this one. Most people are at least semi-familiar with this hysterical game. I would say the family friendly edition is Apples to Apples (this is definitely for adults).
What do you meme?: This one is actually very new to me but I am convinced that it is the best game for large groups of people. It is very similar to Cards Against Humanity but you are captioning a population meme. Seriously, so so funny. While it is great for friends, I am not sure it would be the best for families (different generations).
I hope you enjoyed this list and it gave you some ideas for what to do over the holidays! Let me know if you have any good ones that I missed!
I decided not to do gift guides this year because there are so many out there and gifts can be really personal (this year lots of mine are specific to the person). I might do them in the future but for now I decided to make a holiday wish list. This can still give others an idea of what to ask for and what to give. Mine is definitely general and I am not expecting to get everything (or even anything) but these are some things I have been wanting for a while.
- Align leggings: I don’t need to say much about these but I love Lululemon leggings and I wear leggings almost every day so I am really wanting to try the align tight. This photo is of Zella leggings which are amazing too!
- Superga sneakers: These have been in my Nordstrom cart several times but I have just yet to pull the trigger. I know I would wear them a ton and have been on the lookout for some good, comfortable sneakers for a while.
- Kitchen Aid mixer: I did not actually ask for a kitchen aid this year but it is on my long term wish list so I wanted to include it.
- Cozy hoodie: There are a couple of hoodies that I have had my eye on and this Eberjey one looks especially comfy!
- 2019 planner: I didn’t specify exactly which one but I definitely like to have a paper planner to organize my days. It helps especially with the longer term things.
- Smoothie blender: An easy way to make healthy breakfasts is becoming necessary for grad school!
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!