Favorite Purchases of 2019

Okay this is a kind of late post looking back at my favorite/most used purchases of 2019. This is also just generally my most worn/used items of last year. I am not including book purchases in this list since I did a favorite reads of 2019 post a few weeks ago (I had to mention this since my actual favorite purchases of the year were probably some of the books I read). Enjoy!

Levi’s wedgie icon jeans: I am not a big jeans person but I picked this up last spring and they have been my go to all year. They button up (I know some people don’t love that) and are relatively high waisted. I have just found them very versatile and easy to dress up or down.

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Black ponte pants: These have quickly become my go-to pants for a dressier work look. They are as comfortable as leggings but look classy and flattering. I would wear them almost every day while teaching last semester. I was on the fence about purchasing them since they were pricier but they were marked down in the Nordstrom sale so I went for it. I would 100% buy them at full price just knowing how much I wear them!

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Madewell crossbody tote: This might be my most used purchase of the year. I got it at the end of summer and it is just the perfect size (it can hold a book!) and it looks great with everything. I have the crossbody tote in Maple Syrup (it seems like that exact one is sold out).

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Reformation cropped wrap top: This is going to be my kind of random pick from the year. I did wear it a ton but I know it is not quite as versatile as the others. It is super comfortable and very flattering! I will also say that I just love Reformation in general since they prioritize sustainability and have great quality clothing. It can be on the pricier side but if I really love something it is worth supporting a sustainable company.

White Everlane sweater: Everlane is another sustainable brand that I have been loving for the past several years. My favorite purchase from them so far has been this crew neck sweater. A good white sweater is a closet essential and this one is perfect for any occasion! It looks great and is very comfortable. I wore it a lot tuck into jeans or a skirt.

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Align leggings and joggers: I actually got my first pair of align leggings in December of 2018 but I got two more pairs this year (one for Christmas 2019) and have worn them several times a week for pretty much all of 2019. I also bought the align jogger in December and have worn them every week since. Both the leggings and joggers are so flattering and by far the most comfortable pants I have ever owned.

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Girlfriend Collective sports bra: This is one that I would recommend to everyone. I wear mine all the time… to yoga or just out and about. It is very comfortable, flattering and can pass as a crop top if you are into that for workouts. It is hands down my favorite sports bra I own!

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Now for some non-clothing items:

Drunk Elephant: I, surprisingly, prioritized finding some skin care products that I really like and that work for me. One of my best friends from home recommended the Drunk Elephant littles so I decided to give it a try. They are amazing and have worked wonders for my skin! I used just about every product and my skin care routine still feels simple and doable every day. They are also clean and make all products in the US.

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Karen Walker sunglasses: This is by far my splurge item of the year. It was probably not smart but I love them so much and do not regret it at all! For me this was a big purchase because I have been wanting these for years and they are expensive so I always just felt like I couldn’t swing that money on sunglasses. I went for it during a Shopbop sale to lessen the blow a little and am glad I did. They really are amazing quality and I think they will last way longer than any other pair of sunglasses I have owned.

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Cuisinart knives: Our roommate moved out so we ended up needing to get a couple of things for the house and one of those things was a set of knives. I did a little research but am not a chief so went for something with good reviews and that I thought would look good in our kitchen. So far these have been amazing, especially for the price!

Kindle paperwhite: I am always been a print book person. I just like having the book in my hands and I think it is way easier on my eyes. In 2019 I really got into audiobooks and I got a kindle! I still prefer print books but the kindle has been a game changer for a variety of reasons. First, I love having lots of reading options and the kindle allows that no matter where you are. It is also super light and easy to fit into a smaller purse. This one is also waterproof which has made reading at the beach so easy!

Thanks for reading. I’d love also to here what some of your favorite purchases of the year were!

Erin

Favorite Books of 2019

Another year of reading has come and gone! I was just barely able to make my goal of 52 books this year. See my Goodreads for the complete list. Just like last year I wanted to post my favorites from the year. I would say it was overall a pretty good year of reading!

Where the Crawdads Sing: One of my last reads of the year ended up being quite possibly my favorite. It just really moved me and I did not expect that at all. I won’t say too much but in short it is the story of a girl who is abandoned by her family at a very young age. She lives in a marsh that becomes central to both her being and the story. I really loved it despite how sad it was.

Three Women: A fantastic non-fiction book about three women in different parts of the country. I have raved about this book a lot this year because it is just such an interesting read that adds to the me too movement and paints a heart-wrenching story of each woman’s sexual life.

Caraval: So this does include the second and third books for me. They were all just very interesting and well done. I think the characters (both main and secondary) were really what made it so great. I highly recommend all of them! I listened to the whole series on audiobook and really enjoyed it.

There There: This novel gives an interesting take on the lives of different native american peoples an their experiences. It makes this list because I think it is very important for us all to be aware of these points of view (modern day native peoples and their lives in relation to the rest of the world and to each other).

The Hate U Give: Another book that should be a must read for everyone in this country. It is from the point of view of a black girl growing up with police violence and racial discrimination in present day. It is just such an important book for today’s world!

Bringing Down the Duke: This one is a historical romance set in England in the 1800’s. I enjoyed both the story/romance but also the background setting that shed light on women’s rights, especially their right to vote.

Big Magic: Another nonfiction book although this one focuses on creativity and how it manifests. I was very inspired when I read this so had to include it in my list of favorites. I also just think Elizabeth Gilbert’s story is interesting and she shares some of it.

Scythe: Another new favorite YA series! Scythe actually topped Caraval for me. I thought the world and plot were both so interested and I was very easily drawn in. In short it is about a future in which humans are able to heal all ailments and in order to keep population levels in check ‘scythes’ exist and are allowed to basically kill people. I won’t say more since I don’t want to ruin anything!

American Royals: I ended up reading three books about royals this year and I started a fourth. I had to include on of those on this list. My favorite was definitely American Royals by Katherine McGee (although Red, White and Royal Blue is a close second). This on is about the lives of the royal children of the United States. George Washington became king instead of president.

The Summer Book: This last book did not actually get five stars for me but I did include it since the relationship in this book is so moving. It follows a young girl and her grandmother and their adventures on a remote Finnish island.

As a sort of bonus favorite The Nickel Boys is also an amazing read!

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I would really love to hear your favorites from 2019. My goal for 2020 is sixty books so I will need lots of recommendations!

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