Book Review: The Rules of Magic

Last week I read The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman, while we were at the beach in South Carolina. I knew it would be good since it is the prequel to Practical Magic and it has been highly recommended. What I did not realize was just how much I would love it and how much it would impact me. Because it was so significant, I have decided to devote an entire post to my thoughts on it. I will not spoil the actual story or ending, but rather talk about the themes that I related to and that impacted me.

The story is entirely separate from Practical Magic, but is about the same family and has similar themes. It is the story of Jet and Franny (the aunts from Practical Magic) and their journeys in life. The family has been cursed in love for hundreds of years. Each generation has their own complex experience. In brief summary, three siblings Jet, Franny and Vincent struggle in their relationships with each other, their parents and their significant others, while also coming to terms with their family’s history and origins. There mother does not talk of her family or the secret’s that are held deep within her past, making the journey of discovery all the more difficult.

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Despite the premise of magical roots, the story turned out to be very relatable. Much conflict within their stories are things that we all face throughout life. Finding yourself, family, love, relationships, death and grief.

This story helped me come to terms with so many things in ways I had not thought about. A major theme, especially in the beginning, is connection to family and how ignoring/denying where you come from will never end well. This is shown through the lens of witches denying who they are, in large part to find love and get away from the legendary curse, and the consequences that ensue. It struck a chord with me because I do believe that those who came before us make up a large part of who we are, although we may deny this at times in our lives. Embracing this could bring about great things and cherished relationships. The first part of the book takes place throughout the teenage years of the siblings and I found their experience and feelings to be very similar to my own in that time of life. This drew me in immediately.

The second element of this book that was important to me was that of grief and death. This is a very human subject that can be so difficult to deal with in reality. There are lots of books that involve death but this one brought out the grief process in a way I never experienced. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail, but the subject of death and grief are very prevalent and incredibly relatable. The loss of someone we love so dearly can feel like the whole world crashing in. It might feel like we lose a piece of ourself. The loss in this book brought that reality to fruition and really challenged me to think about how the losses in my life have effected me and how I deal with grief.

Loss goes along with the importance of love because death (and the potential for loss) creates a fear when it comes to love. Opening yourself up to love can be incredibly difficult when loss has been a big part of your life. The fear of loss and pain are so much more real when you have people that are so very important to you. The curse of the family in love brings the fear of losing someone into close proximity. Fear of loss is ever present and cannot be ignored or hidden. Through out the story I thought a lot about what it means to love others despite your own potential to experience great hurt.

As you might guess, I highly recommend this book. It is written beautifully and the characters are developed in a truly remarkable way. I would love to hear any thoughts you have had if you have read this book (or otherwise). I am also always looking for book recommendations!

Erin

Bell Sleeve Floral

I found this dress along with one other on Shopbop last month and couldn’t wait to share. South Carolina was warm enough, so I took the opportunity. I love the floral pattern and the colors are perfect. The sleeves also add a really fun touch that is definitely from anything else I have. It is also very comfortable.

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Dress Shopbop, Bag Everly Oak, Sunglasses Amazon, Shoes similar

Erin

Around the Web

Last week was a whirlwind of adventure for me. We drove to South Carolina and spent the whole week on the beach. It was a little cooler than I expected but we had a couple great days for sun bathing and swimming (although the water was freezing). My highlight was definitely driving down to Charleston to explore the city. I am going to do a whole post on what we did because I loved it so much!

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It is going to be difficult to get back to the daily work routine after so much fun in the sun. It should help that the temperature is getting warmer and spring is almost upon us. I rounded up some things I have been looking at for the past few weeks. This week is kind of a jumble, however I have been reading a ton lately, so I included a great booklist and a yearly checklist.

Hunter and Target Collaboration: This is one of the most exciting collaborations! It will debut in early April and will include lots of very affordably prices items. On Hunter’s part is a great way to make the brand more accessible to many more people.

Eartheasy: I just found this website through a podcast and it is a great way to fill your life with sustainable solutions. They sell some great products for more sustainable living and a blog with lots of great content. I have been eyeing this booklist from their blog right now.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter: This year they use their letter to answer some pretty tough questions. I am including this because these are questions I often struggle with in my own way and I really liked reading their answers.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: This challenge caught my eye because it is a little more challenging and very specific. The challenge I have been using so far this year had more general book prompts and I like that this one is specific because it forces me to search more and get out of my comfort zone.

JooJoo Azad 5 Ethical Brands: I recently discovered JooJoo Azad and love how it ties fashion with some really important social issues. They have lots of exciting projects coming up so I will definitely be keeping an eye out. The article itself is older but I am always looking to grow my knowledge on eco friendly and ethical brands.

Have a wonderful week!

Erin

Yellow Gingham

I am really loving being on the beach right now. We have been walking every single day, down the shore, and it is so refreshing. It has been a little chilly but we are expecting some warm days later in the week. This dress is absolutely perfect for this spring and summer. I love the length and style. It is also incredibly comfortable. I could not wait to wear it!

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Dress ASOS, Sunglasses Amazon, Hat vintage

Have a great week!

Erin

Spring Goals

Looking back on my goals for this past winter, I realized I need to prioritize my goals by actually scheduling them in an planning them out. While I did some of them from my last list, I wish I had done more. As much as I love being spontaneous I feel like I will be able to fit some of these in more if I give them some more thought and a place in my schedule. I think part of that for me will be doing a blog post that features each goal. This will help me hold myself accountable.

Pick my own bouquet: I actually have no idea how feasible this one is but I would really love to make my own bouquets of flowers this spring. I think it would be so fun to first go flower picking, then try my hand at some flower arranging.

Spend time at the beach: This one is kind of cheating because we are actually leaving for Myrtle Beach tomorrow. I am really excited because I have never been there before and I love the beach!

Track my carbon footprint: This goal is not really seasonal however I want to track my carbon footprint and figure out some ways I can offset it. I love travel and do not want to give it up but I also do not want to go against my own values of trying to have a lower impact on the world. The idea with this goal is that I will track my carbon footprint and then figure out what I want to do to offset the big things, like flying to Europe. It might mean planting some trees or other greenery during the spring.

Go on a picnic: I love getting together with friends for some delicious food and time outside. Last summer I actually did it quite a bit and want to continue that this year. I am hoping to do at least one picnic this spring with only seasonal foods. That will add a little challenge to it!

Go camping: I am really hoping to do this when I get home to Colorado. I miss being outside a lot right now and I want to prioritize a camping trip during the next few months.

Visit a farm: For some reason I have recently been wanting to go see farm animals. My parents always have had chickens and I went to boarding school on a farm so I am feeling a bit nostalgic about that life right now.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any fun ideas/goals for this spring!

Erin

Farewell to Winter

Although winter is not quite over yet, it is close and I wanted to do one last real ‘cold-weather’ post. This outfit also feels great for the transition into spring with these pink heels. They are the perfect height and a great color for the spring season. Because I have been working a lot but am still in a college setting amping up my wardrobe has been a big part of keeping myself focused and in the ‘work mindset’. I embody my version of business casual everyday and I really love how it is making me feel. Here is one of those outfits:

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Jacket J. Crew Factory, Blouse similar, Jeans similar, Heels similar (also these), Belt Talbots

Have a wonderful week!

Erin

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

‘Capsule wardrobe’  has been thrown around a lot lately. I decided that I needed to figure out what it really means. Basically it is a collection of items that simplify your wardrobe. Here is an article with a little more information on the concept. The number of items seems to really vary but the lower the better. Many people seem to be doing seasonal capsule wardrobes, which is great but I wanted to try something a little different. I decided that a week long capsule wardrobe, with only six core items, would be the perfect challenge for me.

For my first time around I chose items that were more versatile and I intentionally chose a color palette to stick with that would allow me to wear any of the items together. It seems like the key to a capsule wardrobe is having pieces that all work together so you don’t have to think about your outfit as much.

Here are the six items I chose:

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Black dress: Again, I chose a color palette and the crux of that was black. The great thing about a black dress is that is can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Black jeans: This was one piece I chose mostly because it is still pretty chilly here and I needed something a bit warmer. They definitely can be worn in different ways though. I also think its essential to have a pair of black pants in general.

Light blue button down: I knew that a button down would be a must. This was the piece I worked with most and I just generally love button downs. They can be so comfortable but look fantastic.

Simple black shirt: I went with black as my ‘neutral color’ and a simple cotton shirt was a great go-to in several outfits. I also tied a knot in the bottom for one of the outfits to change it up a bit.

Floral booties: For my one pair of shoes I chose my floral heeled booties. For a simpler look I could have gone with white converse or black boots, but I wanted one piece that  brought some life into my outfits and still went with everything.

Trench coat: This was almost entirely for practicality since it has been a little colder here. I thought is would go best with all the outfits I had in mind, of the jackets I have. And honestly a trench coat always brings some class to an outfit.

Accessories were not included in these core six items. I added certain jewelry or hats to outfits to really bring out the look I was going for. Here are my outfits from the week:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

In reflection, I think the reason I loved this challenge was that it made me think about the pieces of clothing I have in different ways. Just because something is advertised in a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to wear it like that. It is as simple as cuffing pants, rolling up sleeves or maybe even wearing a skirt as a shirt. It is amazing how many different ways you can wear single items. Realizing this and accepting it opens up your wardrobe to so many possibilities. I enjoyed this so much that hopefully I will do more in the future!

Have a good weekend!

Erin

10 Favorite Outfits: February

So I definitely switched up my approach to this post this month. Instead of intentionally planning and thinking about an outfit in advanced, as an outfit I would probably include in my favorites, I just took some photos of my outfits almost every day. It feels so much more natural and I like the pictures much better. It felt like a more casual setting so it seems like I am much more genuine.

Here are my 10 Favorite Outfits from the month of February:

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Coffee date: Coat J. Crew Factory (similar), Jeans similar, Button Down similar, Scarf Nordstrom (similar), Bag Zara, Boots L.L. Bean

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Work day: Sweater Abercrombie, Scarf Tilo (this one is so fun), Leggings similar, Boots L.L. Bean, Socks L.L. Bean

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Work day: Sweater similar, Dress similar, Tights similar, Boots Zara

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Walk in the snow: Sweater L.L. Bean, Scarf Tilo, Jeans similar, Boots L.L. Bean, Socks L.L. Bean

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Coat J. Crew Factory (similar), Sweater Abercrombie, Scarf Nordstrom (similar), Leggings similar, Loafers G.H. Bass & Co.

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Work day: Dress Nordstrom (similar), Coat J. Crew Factory (similar), Tights similar, Loafers G.H. Bass & Co., Sunglasses similar

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Work day: Trench ASOS, Top Express, Jeans similar, Boots Zara, Bag Zara

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Adventures in Cincinnati: Jacket H&M, Top Express, Pants similar, Boots Zara, Bag Tribe Alive

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Exploring: Sweater similar, Leggings similar, Top similar, Boots L.L. Bean, Socks L.L. Bean

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Sunday fun day: Sweater Abercrombie, Pants similar, Boots L.L. Bean, Sunglasses similar

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

Erin

Life Update No. 2

Time is flying by, as it always seems to do. February is almost over already which is blowing my mind. We have had some crazy warm days lately which has been a sort of spring tease.

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I am currently working for the college I went to and really loving it. The work is just so interesting and I love the professors I work with/for. We are doing some really interesting research that has made me so much more passionate about climate and our place as humans in relation to other species that inhabit the world. As much as I love the work and the people I still am struggling quite a bit with the environment since I did graduate and I am very ready to move on. In general I also am not crazy about Indiana and miss the mountains! The Olympics really having me itching to ski. Alpine skiing used to be such a big part of my life and I miss that a lot, especially right now.

A great thing about being in this area though is that I have a couple college friends who are still in the area and it has been really great to see them often. My friend Dörte had the genius idea of going to IKEA in Cincinnati last weekend and it was super fun. I love just wondering around and getting ideas for future home design/decor. We also did a little shopping and got to talk a lot. I also have watched a ton of Olympic events with another friends which has been so fun. I have been able to see lots of people in the past month and talk to even more which has been so great for me.

I am on a serious reading train right now. I mentioned a while back how I was re-reading Harry Potter and I am now almost done with The Goblet of Fire. I decided to listen to the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text which I mentioned on my podcast favorites. I am finally caught up to the current episode which is so exciting for me! Here are the other things that have filled my time/thoughts lately:

Reading: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, I actually just finished this book and it really put the human experience in a much broader perspective for me. It was a little depressing for a while because I thought so much of how small we are but Neil De Grass Tyson talks about this in the end so it is definitely worth it. I love his interpretation of things.

Watching: Grace and Frankie, I started this maybe last week and am only six episodes in but it is a super funny and interesting show. The perspective just feels so different. I also bing watched The Good Place at the end of January and realized I never talked about it on the blog. It is probably my favorite show of all time though.

Movie: Aiden convinced me to watch The Shawshank Redemption. I don’t love dark movies so I was skeptical but I actually really liked it, especially the ending.

Eating healthy: I am really committed to eating healthier. For breakfast I try to have an egg and sausage (maybe on a piece of toast), grapefruit or yogurt/oatmeal. At lunch I will eat toast with avocado, a salad or go to the café for a sandwich. Dinner has varied quite a bit but some of my favorites have been veggie pasta with red sauce, a salad with protein and spring rolls with peanut sauce.

New skin care routine: I usually just use a Bioré acne cream and wash my face with soap. Now I am doing a Pond’s cleanser and make-up remover at night with a Neutrogena moisturizer/sunscreen in the morning (on top of the acne cleanser). I don’t have a confident verdict on it yet but I am really liking trying something new and I have such a new found respect for my skin.

Wearing: Pink… you probably noticed as so many of my February posts have been pink-filled. I am seriously loving the statement booties from my last post (from Zara), I have been wearing them a lot and am going to include them in my up coming capsule wardrobe. I also found the heels (pictured above) at Aldo when shopping with a friend the other day. They are something I have been looking for for a while.

Have a great rest of your week!

Erin

Hearts & Floral Booties

I hope you are having a good week so far. I have been in a great routine this week (I guess it has only been two days) with waking up earlier. I really love have a little bit of me time in the morning to just read, listen to a podcast and workout. It is a routine that I really want to keep.

So this is the outfit I wore on Valentine’s Day. Yep I am so about the pink right now. Almost every outfit has some pink element lately. I think statement booties are becoming one of my favorite things. They just make an outfit so much more exciting. I have been eyeing another pair but really don’t need them right now.

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Top Express, Skirt Express, Booties Zara (seriously loving these too)

Erin