Snowbird Life Update

The past couple of weeks have been crazy. I worked a ton during July and had a conference from the 23rd until the 29th in Snowbird, Utah. I went down a day early to hang out with my high school friend who was visiting from Denver. We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Salt Lake so that we could be close to everything and it has an outdoor pool. We had a great time just laying out by the pool, reading, chatting and relaxing. I needed that day so much! We ate at a delicious vegan restaurant called Zest which had amazing gluten-free, vegan pizza and other yummy appetizers. For dessert we headed to Capo Gelateria Italiana for gelato.

I headed up to Snowbird for the conference the next day. It is so beautiful up there! Seriously though I highly recommending either going up during ski season or hiking during the summer. It is just the resort and the mountains and although I didn’t really expect it to be that isolated, I really liked it. I did not have a ton of time to explore since I was at sessions most of the time but I did go to many of the restaurants up there and I managed to squeeze in a trip of the tram to the top of the mountain. The views were so beautiful and I loved just having some time to myself to walk around. Also I saw a moose!

The conference in general was amazing and I met some really incredible people. The best part of attending conferences is definitely the opportunity to network and find interesting people. My experience was dampened by some news from home which I won’t go to into in this post but it did effect my ability to be present and really take advantage of every opportunity available.

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Erin

July Books

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 There by Tommy Orange. Seriously such a great book.

Annihilation (3.5/5 stars): I was very mixed on this one. I really liked the idea as it sort of a dystopian style fiction with an interesting female lead but I was not 100% sold on the main character. Granted this is a series so I am sure more will be revealed in the coming books. I am not sure where to even begin with this plot. It is kind of a crazy, this group of women enter into a barred off zone with the purpose of researching and of figuring out what happened (I am sorry this is such a terrible explanation, I am not sure how to overview without giving anything big away).

In the Unlikely Event (4/5): This Judy Blume novel is about the people involved in a series of unlikely plane crashes and the events that occur over time to the characters. I really enjoyed this one and the characters are amazing. I highly recommend checking it out! I listened to it on audiobook which I actually really liked but I am sure I would have understood the characters even better if I read it via print.

There There (4.5/5): Hands down one of the best books I have read this year. Its about many different people connected in different ways. They all are making there way to the Oakland Pow Wow and their individual lives and stories come to life throughout. It is such a moving book that portrays the modern struggles of native peoples with identity in todays world. I highly enjoyed it!

Where’d You Go Bernadette (3.5/5): I have to be honest about this one. I am a little confused about why it got so much hype and why so many people liked it. It was okay to me but I felt like it kind of went on for a really long time and did not hold my attention despite being a mystery. I thought the voice of the book just did not flow super well. In theory the story of a girl sounds good but it was just not flowing for me. I have to say that I am glad I kept reading because I did enjoy the last eighth of the book (still not sure how worth it it is). For how I felt while reading it, I think three stars is actually pretty generous.

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That is it for July reads! I would love to hear what you have been reading lately!?

Erin

Nordstrom Sale Try On

I know how overwhelming this sale can be so I am just doing this one other post and the only reason I decided to do an actual try is that I ended up really loving some of the things I found in the sale. I original was a little disappointed in the selection but after trying things on I am definitely really excited about some things. I also wanted to especially link options that are still available since public access is starting today!

First I am going to do a little round up of things that are still fully in stock and that are either so worth the money or that I would still consider getting.

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Zella Pocket Leggings: I have the normal high waisted Live In leggings and absolutely love them. I am about to order these since I am really into the pocket aspect.

Leith Cardigan: I am not really a cardigan person but I ordered this one and am really excited about it. It is a great length and looks so cozy. It has also been recently restocked in all sizes! I also think this cashmere Halogen one is a great option but much pricier.

Spanx leggings: Still fully stocked and 100% worth full price so this is a great time to get them for cheaper.

Nordstrom PJs: Everyone always raves about these and for some reason I only jumped on them this year (see below) and they are the softest and most comfortable pajamas ever. There are still several color options in a few sizes and all sizes in black.

Free People Blouse: This blouse is so pretty! The pink is available in all sizes and the black in a few sizes. The price is great considering it is Free People.

Joggers: I am super into these joggers. The price is great and they are still available in all sizes. Disclaimer though, I have no idea how the quality is in them.

Halogen Trench: So I feel like I might be able to find a better deal on a quality trench coat but I can’t speak to quality here I just really like the look of this and it is still entirely in stock!

And now on to all the pieces I have purchased so far (disclaimer I am definitely not keeping everything).

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Nordstrom PJs, this cardigan is one of the Barefoot Dreams from last year (so comfy!)

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Alo crop top (hands down my favorite purchase, I so wish it was still in stock), Amazon leggings

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Waffle knit jumpsuit (it is so comfy and still available in all sizes)

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Free People swing top, Sam Edelman Boot, skirt is KJP (not a Nordstrom purchase)

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Suede Jacket (such a beautiful, high quality jacket), Sam Edelman Boot

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BP sweater, Vince Camuto Bootie (one of my favorite purchases), Levi’s jeans (not on sale)

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Long sleeve tee (great fit and very comfortable but I am not sold on the colors), Sam Edelman Boot

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Chenille sweater (I really love this, the fit is great and I love the green), Vince Camuto Bootie

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Ponte pants (so flattering and comfortable but kind of on the expensive side), Lace cami (love love love), mules are from last year’s sale (I do love this year’s studded loafers)

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Leopard cardigan, Free People top, Zella leggingsVince Camuto Bootie

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Cowl neck sweater (this is much larger than I expected, this is a small and I felt like I was swimming in it), Sezane booties (not Nordstrom), Levi’s (not in the sale)

Happy Friday!

Erin

 

Prime Day

Amazon’s Prime Day is upon us. I am in a little bit of a rush getting to work today so this post will be rather short but I wanted to get it out early since the sale is only two days. I have already picked up a few things and wanted to post of few of my highlight items that are on sale. You can click on the photo and it will link you directly to the product.

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Such a great deal on this Nespresso machine (down to $99.99 from $181.99)!

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This sports bra by Amazon’s clothing brand is on sale for $20, I just got it in grey. Super excited about it!

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I am also psyched about the matching leggings (on sale for $27.30).

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This is my one big purchase and it is the one I have been planning for. I finally am taking the leap to the Kindle, mostly for travel reason. But now is a really great time to get it since the paperwhite is only $84.

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For now my final pick is this green cast iron dutch oven for $28.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you end up get during prime day! Happy Monday!

Erin

To-Read List

Happy Saturday! Here’s to hoping for time for reading this weekend. My stack of books to read is insanely long and as much as I don’t need any more recommendations I keep getting them and just can’t help but add them to the list. Right now I am in the middle of There There by Tommy Orange and I am listening to the audiobook Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus (I really enjoyed her first book, One of Us is Lying). I thought I would do a quick post on the books at the top of my list.

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The first is a Life’s Library pick, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. It is not my usual genre but I am intrigued and can’t wait to start. Next is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This one has been recommended to me so many times and I have had it on my list for years so I am finally putting it at the top. Third is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. There was a lot of hype around this one a while ago but for some reason I never jumped on it. My mom got it a while ago and gave it to me so now I have no excuses! Scythe is a book I heard about several months ago and was immediately interested. When Aiden took me to Barnes and Noble for my birthday I made sure to pick it up! The other book I am including here is Normal People by Sally Rooney. I got this as my May Book of the Month pick mostly because Bad on Paper Podcast was reading… I am a little behind so I need to catch up.

There are a few others that are very high up on my list as well. Night Circus is one that I have yet to get to but has been on my list for years, it was between Scythe and Night Circus at the book store last week so next time it is definitely coming home with me. Another one is The Farm by Joanne Ramos which is probably my number one to read right now (it sounds so interesting!) but it is in hardback so I am trying to wait until it comes to paperback. Wow I keep thinking of more and more that I am excited about (see Goodreads for my full list). I will mention just one more and that is Becoming by Michelle Obama. I am so excited to read this one, I have heard only good things!

I would love to know what you are reading and enjoying right now! Aside from reading, talking about books is my next favorite thing to do.

Erin

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

So I told myself I didn’t want to post about this sale however I have spent way too much time thinking and planning for this sale so I decided to channel some of that into a post despite knowing how much other people post about it. It really is a great opportunity to prep for fall if you are in need of any clothing or beauty products. There are also some amazing basics that go on sale for great prices (especially for the quality, e.g. BP. and Caslon). I think the best part of the sale is that there are several great deals on things that don’t usually go on sale (e.g. Barefoot Dreams, Spanx, Barbour, Patagonia). Just in case you are not familiar with this sale I will quickly go over how it works. The sale opens today (July 12th) for cardholders and then it opens to the public on July 19th and runs through August 4th. The second important thing to know about this sale is that it is such a big deal because its the one sale that occurs at the beginning of a season. This means that everything is brand new and has not been sitting on a shelf for months.

First I want to share the products that I have continued to use over and over again, that are included in this year’s sale. These are the products that for me have been most worth the money. This includes mostly things that I have had the most wear out of for the price and several things that are hard to get for lower prices:

Tory Burch Riding Boots: These were one of my first Nordstrom sale purchases and they are such a great closet staple that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend getting these in the sale if you have had the on your wish list. They are such a deal!

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Hunter Boots: Although I did not purchase these from the sale, it is a great place to buy them. They are such a great deal and will last forever. If I repurchase ever I will definitely get the packable ones so they are easier to travel with.

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BLANKNYC Moto Jacket: I have one in black, I paid full price, and it is totally worth it. They quality and fit are incredible and despite thinking I wasn’t very into leather I wear it all the time.

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Spanx Faux Leather Leggings: I have the cameo ones from last year’s sale but I am considering buying they normal ones since they are a great deal and very versatile. I wear mine fall through spring.

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Zella Leggings: If you don’t already own Zella leggings they are a great closet staple for such a great price. I have worn them for workouts, around the house and even to dress up in.

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Zella Jogger: I bought these in last year’s sale and they continue to be my absolute favorite pair of sweatpants. They are so comfy and great for hanging around the house. I went up a size because I like my loungewear to be on the looser side.

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Patagonia: I am not including a specific one since I don’t have any of the items included in the sale but I will say that all of their stuff is such great quality and perfect for outdoor adventures. They are also a really great company with an amazing vision and mission.

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I have looked through everything that is in the sale and I chose my top three items from the from clothing and shoes/accessories categories. Although I did lump skirts, denim and pants together because in all honesty I was not that impressed with the selection. I organized it kind of how I am shopping and thinking about the sale. I will do a post in a week or so with more specific categories. What I am looking forward to this year:

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Pants/Skirts: Madewell jeansCorduroy skirt, Leopard skirt

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Tops: Leopard wrap top, Free People swing top, Lace camisole

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Dresses: Floral printed dressMidi slip dressFloral printed dress #2

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Sweaters/cardigans: Madewell color block cardigan, BP v-neck sweaterCaslon Hoodie

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Coats/Jackets: Suede Jacket, Something Navy CoatPlaid printed jacket

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Athletic wear: Alo Yoga moto leggingsAdidas SneakerCrop top

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Bags: Rebecca Minkoff Circle Crossbody, Tory Burch Tote, Longchamp tote

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Shoes: Vince Camuto Knee High BootBP BootieLeopard sneaker

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Jewelry: Necklace Set, Statement earringsRainbow hoops

Those are my current picks! I will update you all soon with what I try on and what I end up purchasing. I will say that have set a budget and am trying to stick to that so I definitely won’t be purchasing everything!

Erin

Summer Sun

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…

Beaches
Farmer’s Markets
Swimming
Sunny Days
Dresses Galore
Watermelon
Fresh Fruit
Cookouts 
Road Trips
Sprinklers
Wicker Baskets
Camping

Erin

A Birthday Adventure

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.

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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!

Erin

May & June Books

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.

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I try to keep of with my Goodreads so feel free to friend me over there (I always love recommendations!).

Erin

It’s Been a While!

Wow it has been three months since I have posted. I took quite the hiatus for several reasons, the biggest being this time of year for grad school has been absolutely insane. I guess my last post was at the end of March. Research prep, fieldwork and finals all collided in April and May and I barely stayed afloat just keeping up with all that. I was able to see my family for Easter which was a nice little break. Then I focused on studying for my vet immunology class (such an incredible class but required lots of studying). In the thick of it all I went to Aiden’s graduation in the beginning of May. Being back in Indiana allowed me to catch up with some college friends for a bit. This was such a blessing for me since I have been missing them a ton this year.

The rest of May and the first half of June were filled with fieldwork for my research. This is my absolute favorite part of my job/school and I had such a blast trouncing around the Exumas. These trips were the first ones that I was responsible for most of the organizing and data collection so I worked insane hours but it was so much fun. Because of this I was totally exhausted when I got back and had to really rally to get all the lab work done in the following weeks.

I had several days between trips so I visited Aiden’s family in New Jersey. I still had to work a bit while there but his sister and I went into NYC for a day and saw Dear Evan Hansen. It was amazing! I highly recommend seeing it if you are in the city! I had a short visit with my family on the way back to Utah. It fell on father’s day so I was able to play some golf with him and we hiked Mount Sanitas and went to Dagabi Cucina for dinner.

The last two and a half weeks have been spent intensively doing lab work. There are several assays I am using in my research that need to be done right away so we had a bunch of people working intensive, long days for a week to get everything done. I am now in the thick of doing DNA extractions for some microbiome samples that I am looking at. Despite still being busy with work I have been feeling inspire to write some. I am missing this outlet and feel like it is time to start consistently blogging again.

The other reason I took a long break from the blog was because with being so busy I started to feel like I was forcing myself to think about and write specific blog related content. I want it to be authentic. It is also supposed to be both an outlet for me and a way for me to share my stories, interests and opinions. I am feeling good about my headspace and ready to write more for fun!

Here are some photos from the last several months:

Easter
Celebrating Easter with my family back in Boulder
Utah drive
Driving from our field site in southern Utah to Denver to fly out to Indiana. I-70 through Utah into Colorado is so so beautiful… it makes a great road trip!
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This amazing guy finally graduated from Earlham College. He focused on physics and computer science (so out of my league but so proud of him!).
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Fieldwork in the Bahama islands!
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I can’t recommend this musical enough. Very moving and sad but incredible!
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Visiting Rizzoli Bookstore before the show. I love a good book shop!
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Bahamas trip #2… Taking a quick break from data collection to swim in the beautiful waters.
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The top of Sanitas with my dad. Loved having this day with him… he has been such an inspiration for me!
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We ran over 500 samples! So much work but very exciting.

Thanks for reading!

Erin