Week in My Life No. 6

I have been so work focused this week that I honestly can’t really think of what I have been up to on specific days. That is definitely not a good thing and is reminding me to balance more. I basically went to work around 8:00am everyday, came home around 4:00pm and worked from home until I needed to sleep. Yeah it seems a little crazy and it was but I have a bunch going on right now and am definitely feeling the pressure. Oh yeah I also have not fully recovered from being sick so when I was not working I have just felt so tired and have needed to sleep way more than usual.

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Last Sunday we went to Herm’s Inn for brunch and order a cinnamon pancake which was way bigger than I could’ve ever expected!
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The leaves were so gorgeous this week but had almost entirely dropped by Friday. It has been pretty cold here.

On Thursday evening we did go to a pumpkin patch to find pumpkins to carve today. It was a big bummer though because there was basically nothing good left so we ended up getting a couple from Walmart.

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Such a gorgeous sunset from the Smith’s parking lot! This photo definitely does not do it justice.
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Sad pumpkin patch feels. I am guessing most of the pumpkins were rotted now because we had such cold weather at the end of September and throughout most of October.

We did make Trader Joe’s mushroom ravioli for dinner last night and it was amazing. I love all their ravioli but this might be my favorite. It is in the frozen section and you heat it up in a saucepan. I am also 100% obsessed with their Harvest pasta sauce.

Interesting articles:

What to read, watch and listen to based on your enneagram. I had to include this since I just liked everything they recommended.

Carly’s Shopbop sale roundup. Such cute pieces and I am definitely having to put my foot down to keep from breaking my no-shop October!

Upcoming books from around the world. Such a good list of  books released in 2019 from around the world. This kind of thing definitely gets me out of my comfort zone and into other perspectives.

Atlantic-Pacific NYC capsule collection. I shared some of my favorites from this yesterday but still wanted to include up in my article round up since I just love it.

Kate’s Style Guide. Just love this. Kate Middleton is definitely a style icon of mine and I love that Lauren is sharing her best looks and giving similar options for all price ranges.

Fashion industry climate report. This is a great article bringing light to how companies are actually reaching goals and committing to change. It did make me really sad that Nordstrom is so low. They have great features on their website that allow you to shop sustainably but if they aren’t trying to change things it makes me disappointed.

Reading the right book. A great reminder, especially since I have been in a bit of a book slump.

New York Times best weekend reads. A round up of interesting articles and the news that we all should be reading.

A two quad figure skating routine. This 15 year old did had a stunning and historic performance. Truly beautiful!

Watching: I have been a little all over the place with show and have not been watching very much. Yesterday I did start re-watching The 100. It is a classic apocalyptic show and I love it. We also did watch all the Halloweentown movies last weekend. They are a definitely must every October. Totally nostalgic and perfect for Halloween (plus they are kid friendly!).

InstagramRachel Martino is absolutely killing it on the Halloween Instagram game. Her costumes and recreations are so amazing and have been even more excited for Halloween.

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On Friday I was the only one in the lab for most of the day so I went for a comfy look.

I hope you are having a great weekend!

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

Week in My Life No. 4

Wow I can’t believe it is already almost mid October. The leaves are beautiful here in Logan right now and the temperature has really dropped. I actually started off the week in Vermont. I fly back to Utah on Monday afternoon and was pretty sick. I was kind of dreading Tuesday since I had two labs to teach and lots of prep work to do on top of feeling bad. I honestly have not been sick in a while and had just been thinking about that when I got some sort of cold just before going to Vermont. I got to school at 7:30am Tuesday morning and did not leave until nearly 7:30pm. There was so much to do to prep the labs and get myself ready to teach. My voice improved just enough to talk to the students which was a relief. I worked on some blog stuff and went to bed to try to rest up a bit.

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Emails and tomato bisque at the Denver airport. I had a long layover so I tried to catch up on some work things.

Wednesday and Thursday were just filled with work and trying to recover from my cold. We did have some friends over for pizza one night which was fun! Friday I went into work to do a few things and then Aiden and I went to Crumb Brothers to work for a few hours. I had a couple of Skype meetings so I was able to work out of the lab. We had a chill evening, just made dinner and watched You’ve Got Mail.

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Tea to sooth my throat while watching the movie.

Saturday was so fun and relaxing! We went to the farmer’s market for a butternut squash, peaches and olive bread. It is on of the last markets so we had to stop by. We went to Great Harvest for bread and a cinnamon roll on the way home. The leaves are so pretty right now. We took care of things at home and watched some Downton Abbey in the afternoon. Eventually we went for a long walk up around the neighborhood and then made some Trader Joe’s food for dinner. To end they day we watched Charade.

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Farmer’s market finds. So many pumpkins right now.
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Gorgeous views of the sunset on our evening walk!

Interesting articles:

Professor McGonagalls Letter for Tenure. This letter is hilarious and just brilliant. It is probably the best thing I have read all week.

More outfit inspiration. Love this round up of fall outfits!

Relationship “hacks”. I think these are all great ideas to keep up a good relationship.

Modern Love TV Series: This is a fantastic column and I know the TV series is going to be amazing.

Eileen Fisher on Sustainability. I am so excited about this company and their mission!

Watching: We watched Cold Case files on Netflix over the past week and I actually really liked it. I am not usually big into true crime but I found these stories to be really interesting. They are all cases that went cold and then were solved around 30 years later. It is just crazy and amazing!

Reading: While I am still in the middle of The Seven and a Half Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle I also started reading Upstairs at the White House while on the plane and I have been learning a ton. I will give a better update when I finish!

Clothing obsession: I have been wearing my adidas stan smith’s almost everyday. They are so comfortable and since they are white they go with just about anything.

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A day at the office outfit. Those stan smith’s are life.

Have a great Sunday!

Erin

5 Things I Learned from My First Year of Grad School

It is Sunday night and I am at my friends house in Vermont. I have been trying for days to brainstorm ideas for today’s post and I have not had any that I felt passionate about. What I realized is that I spend so much time thinking about grad school and stressing about work. I have been actively avoiding the subject since it has been hard for me lately but sometime the most important thing to do when something is hard is face it and talk about it. Instead of updating you on where I am right now with everything I though I would list the five most important things I have learned from my first year (and a few months) of grad school.

  1. Stuff happens. The unexpected happens a lot and the worst case scenario happens way more then I thought it would. The thing I have learned from this is that the best way to handle it is to recognize it, deal with it and move on. Rolling with the punches is a must and finding a solution to an unexpected problem has been a part of my job. It does not help at all to stress about it and overthink it a ton (which I have spent lots of time doing).
  2. Don’t say yes to everything. This is by far the most surprising point for me on this list. I was the ‘say yes to everything’ person in college and that was a great strategy for me since I was able to do so many amazing things. Now if I said yes to everything I would really be struggling. In fact, right now, I am limiting what I say yes to and still feel completely overwhelmed. A few weeks ago I had to drop something since I realized that I was way over my head and I did not feel like I was doing anything well since I had too much to do.
  3. Have a life outside of school. Having both a family and a hobby are so important for staying balanced and sane. I am so used to being around people whose jobs are their hobbies and vice versa (that seems odd but I had quite a few professors in undergrad who truly loved their jobs and spent a ton of time going above and beyond a day job). While I am happy for those people and look up to them, I am the kind of person who needs other things in my life. I want to do other things. I also think that regardless of whether or not you need a hobby you should have a work life balance that consists of people you care about. Ever since Aiden came out to Utah I have been way better at this but am by no means an expert. I am still struggling a ton with this one.
  4. Make friends outside of work. While I love my lab and everyone in it I have been learning how important it is to have other people in my life. I do want to talk to my co-workers and hang out outside of work but it can be so easy to slip into talking about work. For me the lines definitely blurred and I am feeling the need to at least reach out some more to other friends.
  5. Try to focus on what you want to get out of it. In other words, what do you care about in regard to this job? This is definitely not always possible since there are many things you need to do for others in order to get where you want to be. I included this one though because I feel like I struggle with it the most. I always think about the expectations others have of me and what they want me to do versus what I want to be doing. I care so much about people and want to please them and for them to be proud of me. I still think it is important to care about others but in grad school I am learning that the biggest motivator is your own desire to do certain things (i.e. care about your research). Not only that but it is about creating your own research. So build off of other people but the most important thing is do what you want to be doing.

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Thanks for reading! If you are in grad school or have had similar experiences with work I would love to hear about it.

Erin

Week in My Life: No. 2

Sunday and Monday were work at home days. I am in the middle of some big projects so I really needed some time to focus and get some things finished. I love being in the lab but it can be very distracting and I always end up doing a bunch of other things. I was also able to spend time planning out blog posts and brainstorming for the holiday months.

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Taking a break from work to watch some Friends.

Tuesday’s are always busy with teaching and this one was no different. I will say despite arriving at 8:00am and not leaving until almost 6:00pm I did enjoy talking with all of my students. Aiden and I also went to Morty’s for lunch which was a great break in a busy day and they have some gorgeous views. They also have one of the most delicious veggie breakfast burritos! We also picked a ton of apples since our trees are loaded right now and the apples taste delicious.

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We have two apple trees in our backyard and they are so full of apples right now. I have been make lots of crips/crumbles and eating lots of apples. They are at their prime right now!

Wednesday and Thursday were just busy work days. Since I am leaving for Vermont next week I am trying to get a lot done before I go. I did go to the SACNAS social and  went to my professor’s presentation. We also started house sitting on Wednesday… hence the cat Instagram stories. Her cats are so cuddle and adorable and I am loving it. I stayed up way too late working on Thursday night yet the craziness was just beginning. I went to yoga in the morning with a friend who is in town for the weekend (from Seattle). I then worked until 12:30pm before heading down to Salt Lake City to pick up a friend who is visiting from Austin. We got coffee at this cute little place called Blue Copper Coffee Room. Then we made a Target and Trader Joe’s run before heading back to Logan. The leaves are changing color in Sardine Canyon and it is so beautiful! Our roommate is moving to Oregon so we stopped at her cookie farewell party before calling it a day.

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One of the cats joined our game of Forbidden Island on Friday night.

It rained almost all Saturday (and it is continuing today and Monday). Since my friend is visiting we still wanting to show her around a bit so we went to the farmer’s market (yes it was still open despite the rain and cold). We got coffees and berries and then headed to Lucky Slice for a pizza lunch (great vegan pizza if you are ever in the area). It was so nice to spend the afternoon under warm blankets. We just read, napped and watched the rain/hail. To end the day we made a bread run and cooked  some delicious food.

A few interesting articles:

NY Times Article How To Buy Clothes That Are Built To Last. Such a great article on skipping fast fashion and buying quality clothing.

A great article on climate change and sea level rise. Definitely worth a read right now.

Vox article on Reese’s Bookclub. A reader suggested this article and it is a great look at the power of celebrity book clubs (particularly Reese’s). I highly recommend this article, especially if you follow her book club. It gives insight into how books are chosen and to how integral books are to Reese Witherspoon’s brand.

Mattel’s gender neutral dolls. I am so an board with this! It is such a great way to teach kids that is ok to be yourself (whoever that may be) and to accept others for who they are.

Bookbub article on Three Women. Bookbub featured my favorite book of the year, Three Women, in article! Read it, it is so so good!

A video on Kate Middleton as a royal. I have never been that into the current British monarchy, aside for Kate and Megan’s outfits because they are always amazing, but I clicked on this video and was definitely intrigued by their influence and presence.

Ambient Worlds Youtube channel. This channel has amazing playlists for background music. They have lots of Harry Potter so of course I was into it.

Instagram: @chloeiscrazy is hilarious and I definitely went down a bit of a rabbit hole watching her posts.

Clothing obsession: Mark and Graham sweater coat. I posted about it in my Favorite Fall Outerwear post and have worn it four out of the five weekdays this week. Also I do want to say that I actually bought this on Poshmark a few weeks ago (first Poshmark purchase!).

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This was the coat repeat offender this week. It was the perfect weight for the cold mornings we have had.

Reading: I am attempting to finish Thunderhead (the second book in the Scythe series). I loved the first one and still like this one but I am just having a hard time to get into it.

Podcast: I mentioned last week that I was looking forward to Bad on Politics with Grace and Becca and it did not disappoint. I can’t recommend it enough. They had Alyssa Mastromonaco on and she had amazing information to share about how the primaries work and about how to get involved in politics. I also tried hard to keep up with current events this week via NPR’s Up First.

I also can’t finish this post without mentioning some of my Trader Joe’s favorites. I am a huge fan and kind of go crazy every time we go since the closest one is in Salt Lake.

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Above are some of the things from the Trader Joe’s trip… the Black Pepper Tuscano Cheese is my #1 favorite ever. I am excited to try the tempura cauliflower, pumpkin bisque, fall zuchette pasta and the halloween cookies. I also love their pumpkin butter, veggie gyoza and hash brown patties. Also the tea is new to me but I love it so much already, delicious and perfect for fall.

Things I am looking forward to next week:

I am not sure if any more info will be out this week but the next Atlantic-Pacific x Halogen collection is suppose to come out in October and I am beyond excited. Blair is one of my style icons and I have loved her collections so far.

Going to Vermont this week is definitely my number one. I can’t wait to see my family and I just found out that I get to see one of my best friends from college as well. I also am hoping for some gorgeous colors.

My friend from Seattle is actually visiting to defend her dissertation and I am so excited for her. Her presentation is Monday morning and we are going to celebrate afterwards, I can’t wait for both!

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Campus life gave out pumpkin donuts this week and I could not resist. It didn’t help that Trader Joe’s had apple cider donuts which are my favorite. I have not seen them in Utah yet so I could not resist that either.

I hope you had a great week! Thanks for reading.

Erin

Snowbird Life Update

The past couple of weeks have been crazy. I worked a ton during July and had a conference from the 23rd until the 29th in Snowbird, Utah. I went down a day early to hang out with my high school friend who was visiting from Denver. We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Salt Lake so that we could be close to everything and it has an outdoor pool. We had a great time just laying out by the pool, reading, chatting and relaxing. I needed that day so much! We ate at a delicious vegan restaurant called Zest which had amazing gluten-free, vegan pizza and other yummy appetizers. For dessert we headed to Capo Gelateria Italiana for gelato.

I headed up to Snowbird for the conference the next day. It is so beautiful up there! Seriously though I highly recommending either going up during ski season or hiking during the summer. It is just the resort and the mountains and although I didn’t really expect it to be that isolated, I really liked it. I did not have a ton of time to explore since I was at sessions most of the time but I did go to many of the restaurants up there and I managed to squeeze in a trip of the tram to the top of the mountain. The views were so beautiful and I loved just having some time to myself to walk around. Also I saw a moose!

The conference in general was amazing and I met some really incredible people. The best part of attending conferences is definitely the opportunity to network and find interesting people. My experience was dampened by some news from home which I won’t go to into in this post but it did effect my ability to be present and really take advantage of every opportunity available.

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Erin

On Being Happy

I won’t go into all the details, but I have been struggling on a personal level a lot this year. I realized recently that I haven’t been entirely happy and that has really made me not want to do things that I usually love to do.

The important part of this is that I also realized that my happiness is 100% in my control. I have had some great opportunities and I have amazing, supportive people in my life. I have an amazing job that I really love and I live in a very beautiful place. I thought to myself, how am I unhappy with all these incredible and positive things? What is it that is making me unhappy? The problem is right there. I am way to focused on the outside factors. Happiness is something that can be influenced by outside factors but is ultimately a thing I can control. I can control my own attitudes about my situation and about life in general. This might sound intuitive to some but for me this has been a big realization. I need to take the necessary steps for myself to be happier and have a better outlook on life.

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I want to make a quick note that generally I am a very positive person and don’t usually have a problem making friends and being happy. I have gone through some big changes in the past year and I think I struggled a lot with that. It put me in a state of mind that was not as positive and I started blaming things on other people or outside factors.

A few things I have been doing to change my mindset:

  1. Lots of yoga. This is one that is probably different for everyone but moving your body is a really great way to focus on something else (not thinking too much) while moving your body and getting in touch with your physical self. I overthink things a lot and letting myself let go for an hour or two each day is such a beautiful gift. I want to be clear about this one, it is not at all about losing weight or even being physically fit, its about getting to know myself better and focusing my mind on that.
  2. The 5 minute journal. I only started this about five days ago but I spent a lot of time thinking about it and debating whether or not I should give it a try. I wanted something that puts me in a more positive mindset from the get go every morning. This journal seemed like a great way to influence my initial attitudes about the day while still being true to myself. The journal is just a daily journal with more directed prompts. The prompts are short and quick to make it a very easily attainable habit.
  3. Everyday joys. Incorporation of the things I love and am passionate about into my every day life has been a fun way to remind myself of what I do and who I am, everyday. This sounds vague so I will be more specific about what I am doing. I first made a list of things I love and care about and am trying to dedicate at least 5 minutes a day to thinking about each thing. I am trying to incorporate this into my Instagram stories because it gives me a sense of accountability to those things and it lets me shares those things that I love. One example of this is finding a cool nature video on YouTube or taking the time to explain an interesting biological concept (I think about biology all day but this gives me dedicated time to remind myself of why I love biology). It could also be sharing a trend I am into or a book I am loving. I will say that of all the things on this list, this one is the least developed, meaning I have not made it a habit yet so it might change a little over time.
  4. Intentionality with food. This absolutely does not mean that I am only eating super healthy food, it also does not mean that I previously was not eating healthily. It just means that I am focusing more on what I eat and how it makes me feel. Balance is such an important part of life and it is something I am trying to intentionally bring into my diet. A green smoothie every day has really improved my stomach problems and it has increased my vegetable intake significantly.
  5. Saying yes. In the past I have been that person that always says yes, is always overcommitted and takes every opportunity. This definitely made my life crazy busy but I like being busy, I feel like I work harder, am more productive and am happier when I have lots to do. I realized that I have been making excuses a lot lately which is very unlike me. So, I am trying to say yes to more social things and volunteer for different opportunities at school.

Being happy is a big part of creating the life I want to live. Realizing and recognizing that I have been unhappy has been a big step for me. I definitely hid my feelings and tried to convince myself over and over that everything is okay I am entirely happy with my life right now. It is okay to not be great and happy all the time. Life ebbs and flows and that is just a part of being human. I can’t always control what goes on around me but I can control how I choose to react to things. I may have a gut feeling about something uncontrollable but ultimately I can control how I feel about it in the long run. I choose to be happy with the person I am and to do more of what makes me happy.

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I hope you had a nice, relaxing February. Its already almost March, so crazy!

Erin

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

Favorite Closet Additions of 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Erin

Living in Utah

The past four months have been an intense introduction to graduate school, not to mention the fact that I moved to an entirely new state. I chose my graduate program for my lab/advisor (I might talk about this more in a later post) however the location is definitely a bonus! I am a mountain girl through and through and am thrilled to be back in the rockies. Talk about 360 mountain views!

Here are my five favorite things about living in Utah:

Mountains galore. I can’t even explain how beautiful it is! The valley I live in is surrounded my mountains and I love it. There are such amazing hiking trails and plenty of rock climbing.

Salt Lake City. I don’t actually live in Salt Lake but I have gone a couple times and I really like it. There is so much good music, food and drink! I am actually going down there tomorrow with some friends to go to the German Christmas Market.

The location. This sounds kind of strange but I really love being back in the west. I was born and raised in Colorado and I am so psyched to be back in the area. It is way closer to family which is nice as well. There are also so many great national parks and ski areas!

Skiing. Speaking of ski areas! I haven’t skied yet but I have heard great things about the skiing here and am beyond excited.

The people. Everyone has been so nice and I am loving all the outdoor vibes. Moving is so tough especially when you don’t really know anyone so having good people around has been so helpful.

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I also quick wanted to mention that Utah is incredible and so is graduate school but it has been so busy so I am hoping to get on a more regular posting schedule soon!

Erin