2020 Goals

Before I really get into this years goals I do want to revisit last year. Many of my goals are based on how I did with my 2019 goals so context is important. Last year I put my goals into the following categories: fitness, personal, relationships, nutrition, blog and reading. You can read my post from 2019 for all the details. I pretty much nailed my nutrition and reading goals. I wanted to make lots of smoothies and start eating less meat. I ended up going completely vegetarian at the beginning of May and I had fun making lots of smoothies (although it has been a while now!). I feel good about that and I think it was successful in part because I had very specific aims. For reading I wanted to read 52 books. I did achieve that goal although I had wanted to be reading one book per week and I don’t feel like I really did that. Some weeks were really great and others I did not read at all. I also feel like I did pretty well with my goal for my blog which was to figure out what my goal really is and make sure it is an enjoyable thing for me to be doing. I also wanted to post three times a week which I did not do consistently but I feel pretty good because I took a couple months off, blogged everyday for a month and figured out what I really want to be writing about.

My personal goal was not super specific which is why I think I struggled. I do think I am in a better place and am really enjoying my home life. There were some big changes liking Aiden moving out and getting Hazel (our dog) that were all so positive! For my relationship goal I really think I could have done better. I still don’t feel like I prioritized relationships and I did not send letters like I wanted. And then there is my fitness goal… I also feel like I really could have done better with this. I did pretty well last spring but once I started traveling I pretty much stopped working out for a few months. I do think I walked almost everyday but I don’t feel like 2019 was very fulfilling for me on the fitness side of things. Overall I do feel good about what I have accomplished and am excited for a new year!

Just to preface a little I am trying to make my goals as specific as possible because I am better at achieving them when I know exactly what it is I need to do. I also am not necessarily doing the same categories but I do want to improve on the ones I struggled with last year.

Cooking: While I do think I eat pretty well I have not made cooking a priority. I want to learn how to make good meals and make more of an effort especially during the week. Specifically I want to make at least 30 different dishes and for breakfast, lunch and dinner have five solid meals that I could make with no recipe.

Writing: This is another new goal for me. I really love writing but do not prioritize it at all. This year I want to spend time every week writing both for fun and for work (separately). I would include my blog on the fun side of this but I also enjoy writing stories. My goal is to have written two short stories that I am proud of, and to have 150 pages of ‘fun’ writing done. I also want to spend at least an hour per week writing for grad school.

Personal: Since this has been a hard one I want to give myself three things that I am going to focus on for the year. I want to meditate six-seven days a week. It always helps me feel better and I want to make it a part of my routine. I also want to write in my five minute journal every day. I have been very sporadic about it but it also helps me remember who I am and what I want to be doing every day. The final goals is to see a therapist a couple of times. I think seeing a therapist can be so good for everyone! There is nothing wrong with it and I have not been while in grad school so I am feeling the need to go again.

Relationships: This was another goal from last year that I don’t feel like I achieved. Specifically I want to say yes to social events more. Specifically once per week. I sometimes get so caught up in work and other projects that the social aspect of life falls to the wayside. The other thing I want to do is be better about keeping up with friends and family who are not here. I want to call my parents and siblings once a week. I also want to call a friend at least once a week. The other goal I have is to visit at least one friend who lives outside of Utah/Colorado.

Exercise: I mentioned I had a fitness goal last year and felt like I did progressively worse throughout the year. I am going to make it a little more manageable. I want to get outside six days a week (for at least 30 mins!). I also want to go to three classes per week when I am in town. For another specific goal I want to complete a 30 days of Yoga with Adriene every season (so four total). I terms of keeping myself accountable I am going to try to plan out my workout schedule for the week on Sunday so I know exactly what I am going to be doing.

Grad School: So I do have separate goals for work/school that are very specific so I don’t usually include them here. I wanted to this year since I am going to take my comprehensive exams in August. I want to spend several hours per week, starting in March, preparing.

I would love to hear what you all do to stick to your goals every year! I am going to try to post updates on my progress every season in order to keep myself on track.

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I hope you are having a good start to the new year!

Erin

Week in My Life No. 11

2020 is here! It is a little crazy. The holidays have come and gone and another semester is about to begin. This break has been a fun one and much needed!

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Christmas Eve outfit! I love this top. It is older and from Topshop, so not really on my sustainable list though. The open back and bow are so cute! I am also really into these pearl hoops.

We drove out to Boulder the week before Christmas. Leaving was pretty stressful since we had a lot to do and I was still working. The holidays at my parent’s house were so fun. I just love our traditions and we always switch a few things up. We saw a show on the 23rd and did our usually Christmas Eve dinner. It was so fun to have Hazel around this year. She was just adorable. Charlie (my parent’s dog) warmed up to her a bit more so it was fun to watch them.

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She didn’t understand that there was a hole in the top at first. She chewed on the side for a little while before we guided her.

Little Hazel got to open her stocking and it was so so cute. She could smell the treats so she really tried! Christmas morning was spent at my parents house. Our Christmas brunch is one of my absolute favorite meals! In the afternoon we headed to the airport for our flight to Newark. It was direct so we got in around 9:00pm and had late night tacos and Christmas with Aiden’s family.

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Fancy drinks at The Fine Grind in New Jersey on the 27th.

We spent two more days in New Jersey hanging out and meeting up with some of Aiden’s friends and family. We took a long walk around their town the day after Christmas and had coffee with his mom’s uncle the next day (Aiden actually was really sick that day and stayed home). On the 28th we headed to Pennsylvania to visit the Morris Arboretum. The lights and trains were pretty cool! We ate dinner at Farm and Fisherman Tavern (so delicious) and then stayed in a nearby hotel for the night. We drove on to Maryland the next day to visit some friends of Aiden’s family. They were so so nice and we had a great day eating delicious food and playing fun games. The next day we drove to Arlington and stopped for lunch with some of my family before heading on to Savannah. It was a very long drive but I loved Savannah so it was totally worth it!

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Savannah has such pretty squares throughout downtown. There is so much greenery and gorgeous walking paths.

I might do a separate post on Savannah even though we were only there for a day. I just loved it so much! It is very walkable and there is so much interesting history. It kind of reminded me of Charleston, South Carolina.

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E Shaver Bookseller in Savannah is a must visit. It is probably one of my favorite bookstores ever. They have so many pretty cats and lots and lots of books.
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Walking down the historic paths to the waterfront.

On New Years Eve we drove from Savannah down to Fort Meyers, Florida. It took almost seven hours and we ended up getting in around 11:30pm. Just in time to check in and watch the ball drop and the fireworks throughout Sanibel and Captiva.

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Throughout the week we did quite a lot of beach walking. I love the beach and really love the Captiva beaches since there are so many beautiful shells and lots of bird watching.

We took the first opportunity we could to look for shells along the beach. We had great weather and took a couple of much needed swims in the ocean. Aiden’s extended family was down there so we also spent a lot of time hanging out with them around the pool areas.

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Walking on the beach at sunset. The sunsets on Captiva are some of my favorite in the world. The colors are so beautiful!

Captiva has very quickly become one of my favorite places for so many reasons. The beaches are beautiful and usually not very crowded. There is also always so much wildlife. Just one short walk on the beach ends up being a pelican watching session. There were also lots of manatees and several dolphins!

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Watching the pelicans feed just after the rain stopped on Saturday.

Our last day in the Captiva area was today (Saturday). We spent the morning bird watching at Ding Darling (a wildlife reserve) and then headed up to South Seas Island Resort for some lunch. A big thunderstorm rolled in so we took cover and watched the rain. Once it cleared Aiden went fishing with his uncle and I sat in the hot tube for a while. We ended the day with dinner in Sanibel and then a couple episodes of Dark (we finished a few months ago but started watching again with Aiden’s family). Tomorrow we are headed to Orlando for a couple of days at Universal.

Some interesting articles:

50 things to be happier and healthier in 2020. I first saw this on Instagram and, as cheesy as it is, I love that these things are all relatively easy and attainable ways to improve your life this year!

Books that will change your life this year. Thanks Everygirl for all this inspo!

Some 2019 favorite products. Thanks for including some great sustainable products in your favorites Taylor (I am also a Dudley Stephens superfan)!

Political story of the week: what is the deal with Iran? This is definitely complicated so I am going to link some other articles as well. The Evergirl has an overview of what happened. I would actually recommend listening to the Special Report episode from NPR’s Up First. Friday and Saturday’s episodes also talk a lot about what is going on in very understandable terms.

12 best books of 2020 so far. I am kind of surprised this already exists but definitely not complaining!

Caitlin’s letter to herself 10 years ago. I really like this idea, thanks Caitlin!

Obama’s favorite things of 2019. Um yes!!

Wearing: I have to mention this Amazon dress since I have been wearing it in Florida a ton. It is so comfortable and perfect for warm weather.

Watching: So yes we are re-watching Dark and it is just as amazing the second time around. I highly recommend it! I will say to stick with it, some people think it is really scary but it kind of just has that feel in the beginning… its not actually scary (I don’t want to give anything away).

Reading: In Savannah I picked up Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I am not that far yet but it is so interesting.

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Hazel is staying with my parents in Boulder while we are with Aiden’s family. My mom has been keeping me updated with lots of pictures, but I am seriously missing her!

I hope you had a great holiday season!

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

2018 in Pictures

I am a little later than I had hoped for this, but I wanted to do the same thing as last year and review 2018 in photos (here is the link to 2017’s year in pictures). I think this is such a fun way to look back on the year and remember all that has happened. I will sat that 2018 was filled with more challenges than 2017 but there were also some major life changes and fun adventures. I hope to do a bigger reflection post on this in the future but for now, here was my year in pictures:

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I am so thankful for all the opportunities I had in 2018 and for all the people who have been in my life (and who I met!). I look forward to continuing to grow and challenge myself in 2019.

Happy 2019!

Erin

New Year Goals: 2018

Happy New Year!!! As crazy as it is 2018 is upon us.

I seriously can not believe it is 2018. I don’t know why but it just always seemed so far away. I am not really sure what this year will bring, as I am in such a state of transition, but I know it will be good. I decided that posting my goals for this year would be a great way to work through what I really want to focus on, and it is a great way to hold myself accountable. I am using categories, however the goal itself is within the explanation. Saying I am going to ‘work on my friendships’ is just way too vague for me and I know I wouldn’t really follow through. These are goals that I am really wanting to revisit at the end of 2018.

Fitness: I have kind of let this slip a little over the past few months. I often have periods of two or three months where I am really good about my fitness routine and then life will get in the way. I always feel way healthier and better in many aspects of my life when I am working out regularly, so I am really wanting to prioritize this. It is a goal I feel people often associate with the New Year but I want to make it a little more specific to me. I don’t want to focus on losing weight or running long distances. I am committing myself to moving every single day. It might be a 20 minute, high intensity work out, or an hour long walk, but it needs to be something. A big problem for me seems to be losing momentum. If I miss more than one day it becomes much harder for me to get motivated and find time to work out.

Jobs: I feel like this post is going to be very focused on how much I am in a transitional place in my life. I have been doing some jobs I enjoy lately but I feel like I am drowning in everyone else’s idea of what I should do next and what kind of jobs I should be looking for. I think I need to finish my StrengthsFinder and just try a couple things that I may not have thought about doing before. As much as I do want to find a more permanent job that I really love, that pressure I am putting on myself is really not helping me with the search process. Since I feel like I have to find the perfect job, I can’t really even look since I don’t even have a clear vision on ‘the perfect job.’ I really need to relax in this department and just try some new things that aren’t permanent or perfect.

Travel: A big part in why I should not be getting too permanent with any job is that I have lots of fun travel plans for this year. My sister is graduating from high school and we are planning a big trip for the summer. It is going to be a great opportunity to hang out with her and see some new places. I have been so lucky in that I have travelled a lot. There are so many places, people and cultures that I can still learn so much from. I am excited to spend a chunk of time somewhere else with some fantastic people! I really think that I have so much to learn from the world still so I want to prioritize traveling this year.

Friendship: This is probably the most important goal to be aware of throughout the next year for me. Because I know I will be moving around a lot and in a very transitional place, I can see it being difficult to maintain friendships to the level I want. I want to dedicate some quality time to my close friends. I am already planning a couple trips with people but for some friends it might just be a phone call every other week or a text check in on a regular basis. I always get really frustrated when I am the only one in a friendship reaching out and lately I noticed that I have done this a little bit in the past few months. I really don’t want that to be a habit so my biggest priority as far as friendship goes is to reach out to people. I am going to include my relationship with my boyfriend in this category because the circumstance is going to be pretty similar. It does not look like we will be in the same place for very long in the near future and I know that is going to be hard. I really need to be diligent about my communication and organize my time well.

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May 2018 bring you adventure, health, style and lots of love!

Erin

Favorite Books of 2017

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I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end! It feels like it went by so fast, yet so much has happened. I decided in early December that I wanted to do a post on my favorite books from this year.

I am going to jump right into my favorites. I will say that most of the books I read for fun were in the past six months because in college it was so hard for me to find the time to read for pleasure. I have absolutely loved getting back into that reading swing. Not all of my pick’s were released in 2017, however most were 2016 or 2017 releases.

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A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: This book seriously blew me away. I knew it would be good but I definitely did not expect to love it as much as I did. They whole baking aspect was so fun and there were lots of great characters with complicated pasts and intriguing personalities. It is tough to chose a favorite from this list but this book and Along the Infinite Sea are probably tied for number one.

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Magpie Murders: A modern Agatha Christie. It is a story about an editor and her interaction with a particular murder mystery author. I was surprisingly intrigued from the very beginning despite how long it took to introduce all the characters and their stories. It is a book within a book that is filled to the brim with mystery. This is the kind of book that holds my attention through the entire thing.

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Ready Player One: I definitely had a harder time relating to this story but I am a lover of dystopian fiction and this one made me think about things a little differently. I suppose that is why I love dystopian fiction. Most books I read in the genre seriously make me look at things in a different light. Some aspect of humanity gets turned on its side and dissected. I just found out that the movie is coming out next year and I am pretty bummed out. I saw the trailer and the characters just weren’t what I pictured and the whole thing is portrayed so much darker than I had imagined (literally darker).

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Along the Infinite Sea: I was worried that that era of war and tragedy would be glorified and made to sound almost idyllic. However the portrayal of the war itself and Nazi terror was terrifying and brought the book back to the reality of those times. Despite the historical context this novel depicts the great love stories of several people trying to find their places in a complicated and conflicted world. It is truly an amazing novel with fantastical characters.

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Party Girls Die in Pearls: This mystery is a Plum Sykes novel and I am obsessed. Its all about the adventures of two Oxford girls and a murder. It was such a quick read for me and the characters really enticed me. As goes with most murder mysteries there are lost of unexpected twists thrown in there.

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Classic Style by Kate Schelter: These is the best non-fiction read if this year for me. I related to so much of it way more than I expected and just loved her take on life and style. Her illustrations are also so on point. I actually read this during the summer and it was the perfect time. I had the time and energy to really focus on the content and think about how my own life and views relate.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite reads have been this year. I am all for recommendations and am going to start including some more book related posts next year. A big part of that will be a bran new monthly series that will break down a book I read that month. I couldn’t be more excited! I also wanted to include a short list of books that have been either highly recommended or that I am very excited about but didn’t get a chance to read this year.

Turtles All the Way Down (John Green)

Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur)

The Bookshop on the Corner (Jenny Colgan)

Happy reading!

Erin