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.

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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

To-Read List

Happy Saturday! Here’s to hoping for time for reading this weekend. My stack of books to read is insanely long and as much as I don’t need any more recommendations I keep getting them and just can’t help but add them to the list. Right now I am in the middle of There There by Tommy Orange and I am listening to the audiobook Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus (I really enjoyed her first book, One of Us is Lying). I thought I would do a quick post on the books at the top of my list.

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The first is a Life’s Library pick, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. It is not my usual genre but I am intrigued and can’t wait to start. Next is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This one has been recommended to me so many times and I have had it on my list for years so I am finally putting it at the top. Third is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. There was a lot of hype around this one a while ago but for some reason I never jumped on it. My mom got it a while ago and gave it to me so now I have no excuses! Scythe is a book I heard about several months ago and was immediately interested. When Aiden took me to Barnes and Noble for my birthday I made sure to pick it up! The other book I am including here is Normal People by Sally Rooney. I got this as my May Book of the Month pick mostly because Bad on Paper Podcast was reading… I am a little behind so I need to catch up.

There are a few others that are very high up on my list as well. Night Circus is one that I have yet to get to but has been on my list for years, it was between Scythe and Night Circus at the book store last week so next time it is definitely coming home with me. Another one is The Farm by Joanne Ramos which is probably my number one to read right now (it sounds so interesting!) but it is in hardback so I am trying to wait until it comes to paperback. Wow I keep thinking of more and more that I am excited about (see Goodreads for my full list). I will mention just one more and that is Becoming by Michelle Obama. I am so excited to read this one, I have heard only good things!

I would love to know what you are reading and enjoying right now! Aside from reading, talking about books is my next favorite thing to do.

Erin

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

So I told myself I didn’t want to post about this sale however I have spent way too much time thinking and planning for this sale so I decided to channel some of that into a post despite knowing how much other people post about it. It really is a great opportunity to prep for fall if you are in need of any clothing or beauty products. There are also some amazing basics that go on sale for great prices (especially for the quality, e.g. BP. and Caslon). I think the best part of the sale is that there are several great deals on things that don’t usually go on sale (e.g. Barefoot Dreams, Spanx, Barbour, Patagonia). Just in case you are not familiar with this sale I will quickly go over how it works. The sale opens today (July 12th) for cardholders and then it opens to the public on July 19th and runs through August 4th. The second important thing to know about this sale is that it is such a big deal because its the one sale that occurs at the beginning of a season. This means that everything is brand new and has not been sitting on a shelf for months.

First I want to share the products that I have continued to use over and over again, that are included in this year’s sale. These are the products that for me have been most worth the money. This includes mostly things that I have had the most wear out of for the price and several things that are hard to get for lower prices:

Tory Burch Riding Boots: These were one of my first Nordstrom sale purchases and they are such a great closet staple that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend getting these in the sale if you have had the on your wish list. They are such a deal!

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Hunter Boots: Although I did not purchase these from the sale, it is a great place to buy them. They are such a great deal and will last forever. If I repurchase ever I will definitely get the packable ones so they are easier to travel with.

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BLANKNYC Moto Jacket: I have one in black, I paid full price, and it is totally worth it. They quality and fit are incredible and despite thinking I wasn’t very into leather I wear it all the time.

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Spanx Faux Leather Leggings: I have the cameo ones from last year’s sale but I am considering buying they normal ones since they are a great deal and very versatile. I wear mine fall through spring.

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Zella Leggings: If you don’t already own Zella leggings they are a great closet staple for such a great price. I have worn them for workouts, around the house and even to dress up in.

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Zella Jogger: I bought these in last year’s sale and they continue to be my absolute favorite pair of sweatpants. They are so comfy and great for hanging around the house. I went up a size because I like my loungewear to be on the looser side.

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Patagonia: I am not including a specific one since I don’t have any of the items included in the sale but I will say that all of their stuff is such great quality and perfect for outdoor adventures. They are also a really great company with an amazing vision and mission.

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I have looked through everything that is in the sale and I chose my top three items from the from clothing and shoes/accessories categories. Although I did lump skirts, denim and pants together because in all honesty I was not that impressed with the selection. I organized it kind of how I am shopping and thinking about the sale. I will do a post in a week or so with more specific categories. What I am looking forward to this year:

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Pants/Skirts: Madewell jeansCorduroy skirt, Leopard skirt

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Tops: Leopard wrap top, Free People swing top, Lace camisole

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Dresses: Floral printed dressMidi slip dressFloral printed dress #2

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Sweaters/cardigans: Madewell color block cardigan, BP v-neck sweaterCaslon Hoodie

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Coats/Jackets: Suede Jacket, Something Navy CoatPlaid printed jacket

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Athletic wear: Alo Yoga moto leggingsAdidas SneakerCrop top

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Bags: Rebecca Minkoff Circle Crossbody, Tory Burch Tote, Longchamp tote

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Shoes: Vince Camuto Knee High BootBP BootieLeopard sneaker

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Jewelry: Necklace Set, Statement earringsRainbow hoops

Those are my current picks! I will update you all soon with what I try on and what I end up purchasing. I will say that have set a budget and am trying to stick to that so I definitely won’t be purchasing everything!

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

May & June Books

There is so much to catch up on! I have been able to read a lot this year (thanks to audiobooks) so I am going to start consistently sharing my monthly reads. I am skipping to May and June since they are most recent and I will do a round up of all the books I read and my favorites at the end of the year. As I mentioned the other day, the past few months have been so busy so I am actually surprised I was able to get through these five books. My reading list keeps on growing so hopefully I will be able to get through a few more in July.

For now here are my reads from May and June:

The Dinner List (3.5/5): I have seen some mixed reviews about this book so I wasn’t sure what I would think. I listened to it on audiobook while driving to Denver and ended up liking it. Its definitely not my favorite this year but I did enjoy it and would highly recommend. The premise is basically that this girl has a dinner party for her birthday with the people she always wished could be there (alive or dead) and the conversations that ensure captured my attention. Most centers around her relationships with people in her life.

Angels and Demons (3.5/5): If you have read Dan Brown than you know this formula well. They are all usually packed with action and very high energy. The lead is working agains the clock to solve some problem/riddle to save people. I always enjoy these so this was no exception, although I have to be a certain mood to read these books. While I liked Angels and Demons, Inferno is still my favorite by him (I just love the history and have been to Florence). This one still has a lot of historical background but some interesting religious aspects mixed in.

Leaving Time (4/5): Earlier in the year I read Jodi Picoult’s short stories “Where There is Smoke” and “Larger Than Life” and was immediately drawn in. These stories are precursor stories for two characters in Leaving Time. The book itself is about the disappearance of an elephant researcher and her daughter’s journey to find her. I loved so many aspects of this book. I think the research aspect drew me in (relatable and inspired for me), in the short story “Larger Than Life”, so I was compelled to read the book.

The Proposal (3.5/5): I was on the waitlist for this audiobook for months (I use Overdrive to borrow then from the library) and I finally got to read it. While I usually love a good romance I have not been that psyched about them this year so despite all the hype I was skeptical. As you may have heard, this story starts with a guy proposing to his girlfriend and her saying no. The woman gets rescued by some friendly strangers which starts a whole new adventure for her. The storyline was predictable to me but I really liked the main characters so overall I did enjoy it. Its a great beach/vacation read!

One Day in December (4/5): Yup I read this one in June despite it being a winter romance. The writing was really beautiful in that it brought the characters to life in a way I have not experienced before. I could relate to even their bad decisions even if I disagreed, this to me is a sign of great writing and character development. The story is all about the relationships between three people over a ten year period. There is a lot of heartbreak but there is also lots of love and great characters.

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I try to keep of with my Goodreads so feel free to friend me over there (I always love recommendations!).

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

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

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

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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