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

New York City for a Day

During the holidays I went into New York City with my boyfriend’s family. It has been over a month since this little trip but I still really wanted to share it since I had such a great time. The last time I was in the city was for several hours during a layover on the way to Iceland and we did not have time to really do or see much. Before that I had not been to NYC since I was eleven. That trip was amazing (we saw the Rockettes) but I no longer remember that much. My boyfriend and his family are not really city people so although they live close ( in New Jersey) they don’t go in that often. I was very excited to explore a little!

We started by walking from Bryant Park to Times Square. You could see the ball all set up and ready for new years. We got a nice view by going up a nearby hotel (the Marriott Marquis, it is a great way to avoid crowds as well). From here we walked to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice skating rink. Skating would have been fun but the line was hours long and the rink was pretty crowded (I am clearly not used to being in busy cities, not to mention the time of year in NYC). Our next stop was the New York Public Library. It is such a beautiful building (and its free!) with lots of books and some interesting art exhibits. We ate dinner at Virgil’s near Times Square (very affordable and delicious BBQ). For dessert we got cookie dough from Cookie Dough Confections at the market in Bryant Park and did a little shopping and exploring. For our final adventure of the night we walked to Saks 5th Avenue in attempt to see the windows but it ended up being much more of an adventure then we had anticipated. There were hundreds (probably thousands) of people throughout the street. You literally could not move. It ended up being an amazing light show at Sak’s. It was amazing but the number of people was a little ridiculous (pushing and shoving). Eventually we made it out of the mob and headed back to New Jersey. It was quite the adventure!

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Personally, I would love to go back. I feel like there is so much more to do and see. I think if I actually wanted to do things going back at a time of year when there aren’t so many people would be key.

Recent Purchases

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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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!

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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Holiday Wishlist

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.

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  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cozy hoodie: There are a couple of hoodies that I have had my eye on and this Eberjey one looks especially comfy!
  5. 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.
  6. Smoothie blender: An easy way to make healthy breakfasts is becoming necessary for grad school!

Happy Holidays!

Erin

Winter Wonder

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!

Snowflakes
Pine Trees
Sledding
Winter White
Snow Boots
New Years
Wood Fires
Fairy Lights
Christmas Trees
Puffy Jackets
Skiing
Evergreen
Baking cookies
Ice Skating

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!

Erin

Favorite Closet Additions of 2018

I am trying to spend money as little as possible right now because I am in graduate school and on a very tight budget, however I have made a few purchases this year that I am very excited about and have been wearing on repeat. Here are my favorite items of clothing that I purchased in 2018. I am not including any accessories but am including one pair of shoes that I absolutely love.

Patagonia hoodie: This is hands down my favorite item from 2018. I wear it everywhere! It is so comfortable and the quality is amazing. I also love supporting Patagonia because they have an amazing mission and story!

Leather hooded jacket: This is probably my second favorite purchase from the whole year. It is so comfortable and easy to pair with just about anything (I wore it in my Living in Utah post for an outfit idea). I have never owned a leather jacket and was not sure how I felt about them but this one is absolutely perfect. The gold hardware and hood really drew me in!

Houndstooth skirt: This has been a very popular item with a lot of bloggers and I could not resist those perfect fall colors. I love how people had been styling it and was so pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and flattering it is!

Leopard booties: This were more of a fall thing since it is pretty snowy in Utah right not so I have been sticking to snow boots. But these from Sezane were they perfect way to bring that leopard trend to a classic I wear all the time (heeled booties).

Wunder leggings: I actually ended up getting two pairs one black and one grey and they are so amazing for everyday wear. My black ones are also great for yoga and lighter work outs.

Zella joggers: I got some grey Zella joggers at the Nordstrom sale this year and they have become my go to for loungewear/sweatpants. I will also go ahead and give a shout out to Zella leggings because they are just as good as some Lululemon pairs and way cheaper.

Cashmere white pearl sweater: White sweaters are great because they can be worn pretty much year round. This one is so soft and was definitely a splurge but worth it. I am also a big fan of this Free People sweater, I wore it basically all August and September!

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Erin

Living in Utah

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.

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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!

Erin

 

 

 

A Week in New Hampshire

In August I spent a week with my boyfriend’s family exploring the white mountains. I have been to New Hampshire before but never for very long. My dad’s family used to have a house there and my parents were married at Bretton Woods! There is so much to explore and I am already dreaming of going back around this time of year (fall) because I can just imagine how gorgeous the leaves are.

Exploring

I flew into Portland, ME so we spent the evening eating lobster and walking around Portland. We drove back to New Hampshire and spent the rest of the week exploring the area. I think my highlight was the Kancamangus Highway which goes through the white mountains. The views are so beautiful! There are also some hikes in this area and several historical sites. We also visited the Basin which I also highly recommend. It is a river that has carved away the rock in an incredible way. It is also not far off the highway although we did end up hiking the trail above it which is very pretty as well! We spent one of our days exploring the country roads and visiting the Frost Place. I highly enjoy Robert Frost’s poetry and seeing a place of his inspiration was very interesting. It is just so beautiful!

Eating

We had a fantastic time exploring the restaurants. My favorite was probably the Schilling Beer Co. in Littleton. Seriously the pizza is amazing and I highly recommend sitting out on the deck because the view across the river is incredible. There is also a covered walking bridge right next door and some great artesian shops close by. The Covered Bridge Farm Table in Campton is a great option for a delicious but affordable dinner. The shrimp tacos were amazing and I recommend the Ahi Tuna as well! There is also a covered bridge right next to it. Lincoln is a fun town to explore and One Love Brewery has a easy pub menu with a decent lobster roll. My favorite brunch spot was Old Main in Plymouth. The thrift shops near by are also fun to explore. I also highly recommend visiting the many farm stands for delicious fresh produce!

Staying

My boyfriend’s family rented two different houses both of which were in beautiful locations. The first was right next to a farm with some trails through the forest in the back. I spent most of my time at the second house which was up on a hill right next to the Campton Mountain ski lift. The view was amazing! Both were affordable so if you have more than two people I definitely recommend renting a house!

 

Erin