Recent Finds

My goal this month has been to buy no clothing or books for myself. It is almost the end of October and I have actually been so good. I am pretty proud considering some incredible collaborations came out this month. I have been dying seeing all the amazing shoes, coats and books. It was definitely a good choice though since it is saving my bank account. I also don’t really need anything right now. Since I am not buying anything I am going to live vicariously by rounding up my favorites from recent releases. I just hope I can hold out once October is up!

recentfinds

Black GMG jacket (so psyched about the GMG coats and I have been on the hunt for a nicer black coat), pink GMG coat (so fluffy and pink!), plaid heels (Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific), pink loafer (I was so close to breaking for these), green pants (an absolutely gorgeous Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific release, the matching blazer is also beautiful), bow booties (Julia really killed it this month, the shoes she released with Margaux are amazing)

I hope you are having a great Saturday and enjoying the last of the fall colors (depending on where you are!).

Erin

Science Week in Review No. 1

While this blog has been a way for me to do something else and get out of the science world for a little (I am a biology Ph.D. student so it is pretty constant), I have felt more and more compelled to share some more of that side of my life. I have struggled with how to do that and still stick with my blog mission. The solution I found is to have a weekly post that rounds up interesting articles that are science related. I am going to try it out for a few months and see how it evolves. For now I will be sharing several articles that are current and from a variety of disciplines. I hope for this to become kind of a round up of what is going on in the world of science every week.

A few articles to start us off:

A study of potential earth-like planets. UCLA scientist are finding that planets like Earth may be common throughout the universe. How? These scientists are studying the geochemistry of asteroids from other solar systems. They are attempting find out what other planets are made of, and they are finding similar elements to what we find on earth. This is incredibly impressive and interesting. The subject of life beyond our planet is so interesting!

Life after dinosaurs- the beginning of mammals. One of the great evolutionary mysteries has been the fall of the dinosaurs and rise of mammals. Recently scientists in Colorado discovered a trove of bones that have led to lots of interesting information about the period of time following the extinction of dinosaurs. This discovery is pretty amazing for the piecing together of mammalian history.

Linking gut microbiota to westernization. It seems that life style changes (increase in fats in diet, sedentary lifestyle, antibiotic use) caused largely by westernization have impacted our gut microbiomes. How? By comparing gut microbes from people in westernized areas to those in non-westernized areas these scientists were able to uncover significant differences in microbes. They were also able to compare to ancient DNA in order to confirm their hypothesis. If you are unfamiliar with the term microbiome it refers to the microbes (fungus, protozoa, bacteria, viruses) that inhabit your gut. I will continue to share microbiome articles since it is a relatively new field and there is a ton still being discovered about its role in health.

One idea for putting a stop to climate change. A solution to climate change by locking carbon into the soil. These scientist are proposing we stabilize C02 emissions through the land, by making desertified lands useable again. It would take a lot of effort and $300 billion dollars. On a semi-similar note, NASA released an article about monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere through satellites. I thought it was an interesting read!

Bonus: In lieu of Halloween I had to add one more article. This is not current science but the story of Roman emperor Domitian and the feast he threw for senators in 89 CE. It is chilling but an interesting historical read for this time of year.

I recognize that this is a little out of character for me but I think about this stuff almost constantly so I figured it would be fun to share some of the highlights and important articles. I hope you enjoyed and learned something new!

Erin

Wearing Leggings to Work

While I do like to look nice, especially for work, I think there is definitely a way to both look nice and be comfortable. I am totally not above wearing leggings to work. They are so comfortable and some days I just need a little extra comfort. There are a ton of ways of making them look professional. Some of my favorite leggings for work include Spanx faux leather leggings, Zella live-in high waisted leggings and my Lululemon align leggings (olive is a color other than black that works well for professional settings).

1. Adding a great blazer. This is always a way to up an outfit. I am particularly loving plaid this fall. I also think that by choosing a long blazer it does not really look like you are wearing leggings.

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2. Cardigans. Long cardigans are a great option to wear over leggings. Paired with a nice sweater or button down and you are all set for a long day at work.

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3. Nice shoes. A nice flat, boot or low heel goes a really long way. Add that great shoe to some leggings and a blazer or cardigan and you are ready for the office. I particularly love these Vince flats but they take quite a bit of breaking in. I am obsessed with the GMG x Margaux collection and every piece is great for work!

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Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your week! I can’t believe it is already Thursday. This semester is flying by.

Erin

Non-Fiction Favorites

Happy Reading Wednesday!

While I usually read more fiction than non-fiction, I do try to read at least one non-fiction book per month. Some of my favorite books have definitely been non-fiction! I am going to share my current five favorites. At some point I will do a non-fiction round up by subject but for now here are the ones that have really stuck with me:

The Sixth Extinction: Yes I am starting off with some incredible science writing. This is by far my favorite non-fiction book and has continued to be ever since I read it. Elizabeth Kolbert addresses the sixth major extinction that humans are causing through the lens of different environmental issues. I first read this as a freshman in college and it was one of the reasons I became a biologist.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: This is a brilliant book about the woman whose cells have been widely used in medicine. It is such an interesting read and an important one considering the impact this woman has had on science.

Educated: I talked about this one in my Favorite Books of 2018 post. But it is one of my favorites because it tells the story of a Tara Westover and her journey from a reclusive family in Idaho to a graduate student at Cambridge. I found it fascinating and highly recommend it (especially as an audiobook!).

Three Women: I have raved about this book for a while. It is just so different as far as non-fiction goes. It kind of reads like fiction which makes it easier to read but it is about the lives of three women their experiences with sexuality. It sounds a little strange but it is truly amazing and made me think! It was also included in my August Books.

Unbroken: This is the story of a man who faced some crazy struggles throughout World War II. During WWII his plane goes down in the pacific ocean and he goes through some serious mental and physical struggles as he floats on a raft for an insane amount of time. For some reason this story has stuck with me for a long time. I read it back in 2011 and still think about it. The perseverance and mental strength exhibited are incredibly inspiring.

Honorable mentions: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Reason for Hope, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Under the Banner of Heaven, Man’s Search for Meaning

Let me know what your favorite non-fiction books are!

Erin

 

Sustainable Style #2: Facing Reality

The amount of pain and environmental damage the clothing industry has caused is absolutely devastating. I will admit that writing this post has been an upsetting experience so far. It has made me realize just how terrible parts of the industry are and it has shown me just how much I need to change my own ways. I will continue to see fashion and clothing as a way of expressing myself but I think there is a better way to accomplish what I want (a better way to interact with the industry). Many of us go through life relatively unaffected my the negative impacts the fashion industry can have. This often allows us to turn a blind eye to what is really going on. The most important thing we can do is recognize issues and begin to match our behavior to our beliefs.  

The fashion industry produces 4% of the world’s waste.

One garbage truck full of clothing is burned or sent to landfill every second.

Every year the average American throws away 82 pounds of textile waste.

The minimum wage for factory workers in Bangladesh is $64.

Burberry burned $40 million dollars worth of stock in 2017.

The documentary that kept coming up in my research of the fashion industry and sustainability was True Cost (on Amazon Prime right now). It is from 2015 so I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet but I am glad I found it now. It covers a lot of ground and gives a good overall picture of the entire industry and who is impacted. It speaks to the recent move to fast fashion, from a four season turnover to constantly changing trends. As a side note, if you are not familiar with the term ‘fast fashion’ it refers to brands that are producing large amounts of clothing and selling them for low prices. The turnover for these brands is very quick since they are built on constantly creating new trends so people will continue to buy their products. The documentary also cover factory workers and how they are treated. This has received more and more attention but the working conditions of some factors are unacceptable. No one I know would want to work in such conditions, or have their children work is such conditions, therefore it is unacceptable to allow any company to permit these standards.  The film goes all the way down to the cotton industry and how fertilizers of such farms impact people.

This documentary gives a clear picture of the dangers of the industry for people. It also interviews some people who are really trying to do a good job in the industry. People who care about other people and who care about the environment. I overall highly recommend watching it! I will give a warning that this documentary shows real footage that is very graphic.

I will do a more detailed post in the future about clothing waste and how we can best go about reusing and recycling what we have but while I was researching for this I found out some things about the waste in the industry that I just had to share. Fashion houses engage in a practice of burning unsold stock. This completely appalls me, I almost have no words and I truly had no idea about this practice prior to writing this. I know that massive amounts of clothing end up in landfills every year, even from the things we donate. The waste part if the fashion industry is a huge problem and very multifaceted. We often don’t think about the waste that is generated when producing each item of clothing. That should factor in to the overall environmental cost of an item and of a company.

It is so important to first recognize that there is an issue and then focus on remedying that. I believe that companies (especially the big ones) have a responsibility to consumers, workers and to the environment. That responsibility should include both short term and long term goals toward better practices. I know that, for a company, the problems are much more complex since a priority for most is economic success. The issue is that I see economic success as a short term, immediate reward. Companies may have strategies for the next however many years that involved growth and increase in total revenue but there is a lack of vision when it comes to potential environmental or social issues. There will be no revenue for a clothing company if our planet falls apart. This sounds extreme but as a scientist and researcher I have witness many environmental issues first hand and I know just how devastating an impact humans can have on the world. It is all a circle because damaging the environment will also have negative impacts on our standards of living.

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From the Global Fashion Agenda 2018 Pulse Report: Four Transformational Priorities for Fundamental Change

I want to end with some final, tangible takeaways.

Buy less and buy better. I have been trying to achieve this throughout the past year but it has become so clear to me that I need to hold myself to a much higher standard and really stick to that.

Eliminate waste. I have been going through my closet recently as a part of this journey to made a more eco-conscious closet and while researching waste and what happens to clothing once donated I realized that I need to try my best not to throw away. Instead I need to find new uses for things.

Advocate for a better industry. For a few years now I have let myself believe that not causing conflict was best for my own interest and journey. I used to be very vocally passionate about multiple issues and have been criticized for that. Learning about the true issues with this industry have reminded me of how important it is to speak up and advocate for what you believe in. Change happens through awareness.

Facts and information come from the following sources:

Global Fashion Agenda 2018 Pulse Report

True Cost Documentary

Forbes article: Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret

The New York Times on H&M’s Declining Sales

Reuters Article on Burberry Burning Stock

By the Numbers: The Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of “Fast Fashion”

The Fashion Law on Bangladeshi Garment Workers

Planet Aid Article on Clothing Habits

I would really love to hear your thoughts on this subject. It can be a tough one to deal with but hearing multiple opinions is a helpful way of looking at things. Thanks for reading!

Erin

First Snow

The snow finally stuck! I love snow and although it feels kind of early I am so excited about out first real snow. So it did snow a couple of times throughout the past month but it never really stuck here in town. This weekend we had some crazy weather. It was so windy, rainy and snowy on Saturday evening. A big branch actually broke off into our driveway. Sunday we decided to take a drive up Logan canyon to enjoy the leaves, the snow and try to hike (we weren’t sure what the trail conditions would be like). The trail we wanted to do is pretty steep so we decided against it but did explore some little trails. It is so beautiful right! I truly love that transition from fall to winter.

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I hope you had a fun weekend and got to enjoy some fall weather!

Erin

Week in My Life No. 5

I have a grant proposal due tomorrow so I have been pretty focus on prepping my application this week. As usual Monday and Tuesday were spent mostly prepping for the class I teach. This week was not too hard since the students were just interpreting their data and prepping lab reports. Wednesday morning I had a great yoga class. The instructor was subbing and she was amazing, really worked me! I did have a lunch meeting on Wednesday and we decided to go to this ceramic bowl sale. The bowls were so pretty and they were serving the most delicious vegetarian chili. It has squash which was unexpected!

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The weather was beautiful for most of the week so we did lots of walking. I love looking at all the Halloween decorations at this time of year.
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The leaves in our neighborhood are so beautiful right now. Peak season for sure!

We went out for drinks and trivia on Wednesday night after work with a bunch of friends. Our team did not do all that well but we had a really fun time (that night’s categories were tough). Several of my friends have been away or sick and we are finally all back so it was great to catch up with people. I unexpectedly ended up working from home on Thursday. My one meeting for the day was canceled so I decided to stay home and focus on this proposal.

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I found another free little library on one of our walks! They just make me so happy.

Friday night we went to our friends house for sweets, Kentucky mules, Baileys and Over the Garden Wall. I have never seen it before and really loved it. It is a Halloween-themed animated show. I am sure it is not for everyone but I found it to be really fun! Saturday was a relatively lazy day. I made a orange spiced coffee cake for breakfast. Aiden had been wanting coffee cake for a while so I decided to try a new recipe. It was yummy but way more orange tasting than I was expecting. We watching Halloweentown which is a must for me in October. It is just so nostalgic and perfect for the holiday. I finally made butternut squash soup for dinner (my favorite)!

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The delicious vegan butternut squash soup. I made it with friends last year and absolutely loved it so had to make it again. It is a Minimalist Baker recipe.

Interesting articles:

Jess Keys on the environment. These are by no means new things but this is a great list of ways we can be better about our impact on the environment.

Fun date night outfits. I am so into these outfits that Grace came up with. They are such unique and fun ideas!

Some amazing wildlife photography. Just wow! Such incredible photos.

Big name career changes. These are definitely interesting career change stories however I will say that I feel like a lot of them had enough influence and privilege to easily change careers (that is definitely making an assumption because I am sure everyone has their own struggles with it).

Podcasts for Halloween. I will definitely be trying some of these out in the next few weeks.

Another viewpoint on Paris Fashion Week. The Chanel show was amazing!

Everygirl fall wardrobe items. I though this was a great list of things to up your fall wardrobe.

On curiosity and why we are intrigue by certain things. This was a really eye-opening article for my on why we are curious but often don’t learn about what we really want to learn.

A collection of Halloween stories. Yep anything Halloween definitely gets me excited!

Rachel Lindsey interview. Yep I am a fan of the Bachelorette and I really love everything Rachel has to say.

Watching: I am in a Downton Abbey rabbit hole right now. For some reason I was never very interested before but my good friend recommended it so I had to try to get through at least the first season. Now I am entirely sucked in. We are already in the middle of season three.

Reading: I will admit that I am still working on last week’s books (The Seven and a Half Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle and Upstairs at the White House). Of course I have a long to-read list but it has been a really busy month on the work side of things.

Clothing Obsession: I think my clothing obsession is definitely black and orange right now. I love embracing the Halloween spirit and a great way to do that is by embracing some Halloween-inspired outfits. I did a post on this yesterday.

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Friday work outfit, had to rock the black and orange.

Have a great Sunday!

Erin

Halloween Spirit

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I am not sure why but I just love everything that goes into it. The pumpkin carving, corn mazes, baking, great movies, caramel apples, dressing up etc… The holiday is just made up of so many fun activities that all take place in the fall, which is my favorite season. I thought I would give some ideas for fun Halloween outfits. This is not a costumes post but just ways to make an everyday outfit feel more Halloween ready. For me it is definitely about embracing orange and black. There is definitely a way to wear those colors together without feeling like it is too much.

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Midi dress (I so wish this was in my budget right now), pumpkin body suit (a little more costume-like but still great for getting in the Halloween mood), booties, pumpkin sweater (number one on my wishlist so I had to include it), bag (comes in a perfect orange as well), skull sweatshirt

Here are some outfits I have been wearing that are Halloween inspired:

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Happy October! Let’s fully embrace the Halloween spirit!

Erin

Finding the Time to Read

While I love to read finding the time to do so can be a real challenge. In college I really only read during breaks because I was reading so much for classes that I never had the time. It was also just a busy time in general with endless homework and socializing (don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved college). Since graduating I have made a big effort to get back into reading and wanted to share some of the ways that I allot time for reading.

I am definitely a believer that if you really want to do something you can make the time for it. There are definitely ways to bring reading into your day despite a very busy schedule. I am in graduate school and it is honestly if anything even more crazy than undergrad. There is still lots of reading involved and I always could be doing something else. Here are some ways I try to make reading a daily habit:

  1. Getting an hour in before bed and/or just after waking up. This has been the easiest way for me to get some reading in every day. Just by waking up an hour earlier or choosing to read instead of watch TV before by has really helped.
  2. Spending the occasional weekend half day. I say occasional because I know that it is not practical for many people to have even half a day every weekend to dedicate to reading. I usually do this when I really just need some time for myself. It also usually happens when I am reading a book that I just can’t put down. Giving this kind of time does allow me to actually finish multiple books.
  3. Audiobooks. If you really don’t have time this is probably the best option. Audiobooks are a great way to kind of multitask. I usually have an audiobook going for transportation and even sometimes at work. I can usually listen to an easy novel and follow the plot while still doing basic things.
  4. Choosing the right book. This is a really hard one to articulate but I am way more likely to finish a book quickly if I am really excited about it. For me this means mixing genres and reading books that I just can’t put down.
  5. Rereading your favorites. I find that rereading Harry Potter is so therapeutic and is often easy because I don’t need to be fully present (although I love it so often end up fully immersed). This is a good strategy if you have not been inspired to read recently and need something familiar (and that you know you will love).

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Have a great Friday!

Erin

Adding Pink to Fall Outfits

Happy Thursday! Yesterday was 70 and beautiful in Utah. I so enjoyed it especially since it is probably going to be one of the last warm days of this year. I shared my monochrome challenge earlier this week and while brainstorming outfits for it I was inspired to do a post dedicated to wearing pink in fall. I love pink so much and actually do wear it all year long. Like wearing white, it is not typically associated with a fall color palette. Regardless I think it is a great way to bring something different into beige and orange outfits.

Accessories are a great way to do this. Bags and shoes are my favorites for pink but some pink sunglasses or a headband can really liven up an outfit. This fall I have been really into striped sweaters with pink and brown/orange. It is kind of a weird combo but there are some really cute ones. I featured one in my monochrome post the other day. I do have two entirely pink sweaters that I have worn a lot during this time of year. A sweater is practical for the cool weather and can be easily paired with a brown plaid skirt or jeans and a brown overcoat. The other way I have enjoyed bringing pink into my fall closet is through prints. A fall floral print can mix traditionally fall colors with a nice pink to create a fun new fall look!

Here are some of the ways I have incorporated pink into my fall outfits:

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I would love  to hear any ideas you have for wearing pink in fall!

Erin