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

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.

Nespresso

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

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

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

Spring has Sprung

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.

Floral Prints
Lots of Pink
Fresh Flowers
Warm Weather
Light Sweaters
Raindrops
Baby Animals
Potting Soil
Dresses
Green
Walking in the Rain
Hammock Reading

 

 

 

Erin

On Being Happy

I won’t go into all the details, but I have been struggling on a personal level a lot this year. I realized recently that I haven’t been entirely happy and that has really made me not want to do things that I usually love to do.

The important part of this is that I also realized that my happiness is 100% in my control. I have had some great opportunities and I have amazing, supportive people in my life. I have an amazing job that I really love and I live in a very beautiful place. I thought to myself, how am I unhappy with all these incredible and positive things? What is it that is making me unhappy? The problem is right there. I am way to focused on the outside factors. Happiness is something that can be influenced by outside factors but is ultimately a thing I can control. I can control my own attitudes about my situation and about life in general. This might sound intuitive to some but for me this has been a big realization. I need to take the necessary steps for myself to be happier and have a better outlook on life.

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I want to make a quick note that generally I am a very positive person and don’t usually have a problem making friends and being happy. I have gone through some big changes in the past year and I think I struggled a lot with that. It put me in a state of mind that was not as positive and I started blaming things on other people or outside factors.

A few things I have been doing to change my mindset:

  1. Lots of yoga. This is one that is probably different for everyone but moving your body is a really great way to focus on something else (not thinking too much) while moving your body and getting in touch with your physical self. I overthink things a lot and letting myself let go for an hour or two each day is such a beautiful gift. I want to be clear about this one, it is not at all about losing weight or even being physically fit, its about getting to know myself better and focusing my mind on that.
  2. The 5 minute journal. I only started this about five days ago but I spent a lot of time thinking about it and debating whether or not I should give it a try. I wanted something that puts me in a more positive mindset from the get go every morning. This journal seemed like a great way to influence my initial attitudes about the day while still being true to myself. The journal is just a daily journal with more directed prompts. The prompts are short and quick to make it a very easily attainable habit.
  3. Everyday joys. Incorporation of the things I love and am passionate about into my every day life has been a fun way to remind myself of what I do and who I am, everyday. This sounds vague so I will be more specific about what I am doing. I first made a list of things I love and care about and am trying to dedicate at least 5 minutes a day to thinking about each thing. I am trying to incorporate this into my Instagram stories because it gives me a sense of accountability to those things and it lets me shares those things that I love. One example of this is finding a cool nature video on YouTube or taking the time to explain an interesting biological concept (I think about biology all day but this gives me dedicated time to remind myself of why I love biology). It could also be sharing a trend I am into or a book I am loving. I will say that of all the things on this list, this one is the least developed, meaning I have not made it a habit yet so it might change a little over time.
  4. Intentionality with food. This absolutely does not mean that I am only eating super healthy food, it also does not mean that I previously was not eating healthily. It just means that I am focusing more on what I eat and how it makes me feel. Balance is such an important part of life and it is something I am trying to intentionally bring into my diet. A green smoothie every day has really improved my stomach problems and it has increased my vegetable intake significantly.
  5. Saying yes. In the past I have been that person that always says yes, is always overcommitted and takes every opportunity. This definitely made my life crazy busy but I like being busy, I feel like I work harder, am more productive and am happier when I have lots to do. I realized that I have been making excuses a lot lately which is very unlike me. So, I am trying to say yes to more social things and volunteer for different opportunities at school.

Being happy is a big part of creating the life I want to live. Realizing and recognizing that I have been unhappy has been a big step for me. I definitely hid my feelings and tried to convince myself over and over that everything is okay I am entirely happy with my life right now. It is okay to not be great and happy all the time. Life ebbs and flows and that is just a part of being human. I can’t always control what goes on around me but I can control how I choose to react to things. I may have a gut feeling about something uncontrollable but ultimately I can control how I feel about it in the long run. I choose to be happy with the person I am and to do more of what makes me happy.

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I hope you had a nice, relaxing February. Its already almost March, so crazy!

Erin

2019 Goals

I am a little later than I had hoped to be for this but I still really wanted to do a 2019 goals post. I find these kinds of posts so helpful for me, personally, in sticking to my goals for the year.

Before I get into 2019 I want to do a quick recap of last year’s goals. My major categories were fitness, jobs, travel and friendships. I did okay with my fitness goal for the first half of the year but it definitely fell of the map once I started grad school and because of that I am including it in my goals for this year as well. I think I made some big moves in the jobs category and feel great about where I am right now as a PhD student. I really love this job and love taking classes still so I do have specific goals for my job but I am not making a category since I feel really good about it. I think I also very much fulfilled my travel goal for 2018 and while I will definitely continue to travel this year I did not make it a 2019 goal. Finally, friendships which is a little difficult to gauge but I feel like I did okay at this one. I could do better though and my relationships with people are too important not to include as a goal in 2019 (they will probably be something I always include because they are such a priority for me).

And now on to 2019…

Relationships: I looked back at my section on friendships from my 2018 goals and this is going to be very similar. So many of my good friends live all across the country (and the world) so the situation is still pretty similar. I need to make a conscious effort to keep in touch with people and that can be difficult and time consuming so I do feel like I need to think about some more specific ways I can do that. One thing that would be fun is sending letters. I want to send all of my friends one piece of snail mail throughout the year. I also want to try to visit one or two friends who don’t live close in 2019. This definitely includes my family since I am now in a full time job and living away from all of them. I also need to make friends and work on friendships where I am living now more. That has been really hard with graduate school and being in a new environment but making friends has never been a problem for me before so I feel like I really just need to put the time in and make a conscious effort. I am also including my boyfriend in this category and it is going to be similar for the first several months as we are still living apart but he will be moving here in June so my goals there will definitely change. I think the biggest thing for that relationship is just being very conscious of both myself and him and what we both need in our relationship.

Personal: I am not going to go into this a ton but I am in need of some serious personal ‘discovery’. This sounds a little ridiculous but I feel like I have lost myself a little bit over the past year and a half (basically since graduating college) and part of that is probably due to the fact that I have not had a place to really settle down and parts of me have been spread out across the country. I am really hoping to focus on my self a little this year and prioritize figuring out who I want to be, while taking into account who I am right now and where I come from. This sounds like a really vague goal but in all honesty I don’t have a game plan for this goal yet. It just been something I have thought about a ton and am realizing that I have the power to do something about it.

Fitness: This is definitely the epitome of a new years resolution. Even so, it is important for me to set fitness goals every year. It makes it easier for me to hold myself accountable. This year I am really trying to push this one by setting specific goals and rewards for myself. There are two parts for this. First is walking at least 30 minutes every single day. The second part is doing some sort of workout (whether that is yoga, running or strength training) at least five days per week. I am actually starting with six days a week just to help myself get into it. I am pretty good at working out a lot when I am in a grove but if I stop it is so hard to get back into for me so I am trying to minimize breaks.

Nutrition: In general I eat pretty healthy but I think putting this as a goal is important since both my health in the present and my long term health can be affected. I also specifically have been wanting to get into making healthy smoothies and this is definitely the year. So far I have made at least one smoothie almost every day since I have been home this year. Also in this category is eating less meat. I might talk about this later but for now I just want to do my best to not buy much meat and only eat it once or twice a week.

Blog:  In creating a goal around this blog it is important for me to revisit why I started this blog. I created this and continue to do it for me. It is an outlet that lets me get out of the science world for a little bit and express a side of myself that I don’t usually get to (don’t get me wrong I love science and am basically thinking about biology all day every day). Creativity is an important part of who I am and its something that I don’t feel like I get to really do on a daily basis. I am busy but do want to keep up and try to keep a schedule. I am not going to give exact days but in the next few months I want to get to three times a week. Hopefully I can find the time to give a little more to this project and come into myself on this blog. It has been hard for me to find a good balance between really making this mine and doing what I want vs. what everyone else is doing.

Reading: Kind of along the lines of blogging, I love reading and want to do my best to read a book a week. It is so tough because I have to read so much for grad school so I end up not reading nearly as much as I would like to for fun. I set my Goodreads goal for 30 books, like last year, but I am still trying for a book a week. We shall see how that goes. So far I am almost done with my third book so I am on track, however the two books I finished were both audiobooks (way easier with school).

In comparing my 2019 goals to 2018’s I think its really interesting that a lot of them are very different. I actually really like that because it really feels like I am reflecting on what I need in 2019 and what I did not do as well in 2018.

I hope you are having a great 2019 so far and have set some good goals for yourself!

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Erin

2018 in Pictures

I am a little later than I had hoped for this, but I wanted to do the same thing as last year and review 2018 in photos (here is the link to 2017’s year in pictures). I think this is such a fun way to look back on the year and remember all that has happened. I will sat that 2018 was filled with more challenges than 2017 but there were also some major life changes and fun adventures. I hope to do a bigger reflection post on this in the future but for now, here was my year in pictures:

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I am so thankful for all the opportunities I had in 2018 and for all the people who have been in my life (and who I met!). I look forward to continuing to grow and challenge myself in 2019.

Happy 2019!

Erin

Favorite Books of 2018

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!

Erin

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