Finding the Time to Read

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

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

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

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Have a great Friday!

Erin

Books to Get in the Halloween Mood

This time of year is the best! I just love everything and probably talk about it way too much. Halloween is such a fun holiday and I love embracing October as that season. Give me all the pumpkins, corn mazes, costumes, witches, etc… A big part of what influences my mood are books. I love theming my books to get me excited and even more into that season. So here I am listing books that give me all the fall/Halloween feels. Most are mysteries but my criteria are just books I either love to read at this time of year or books that I always pictured set during October. I have not read a lot that would probably be on this list so I am just giving a disclaimer that I am only including books I have read or am reading now.

The Seven and a Half Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle: I am reading this now and am really enjoying it so far. I can just feel the crunchy leaves, forest paths and cool air. It is the perfect choice to get me in the mood right now.

Harry Potter (any but especially the first book): It is true that I could read Harry Potter any time of year but the best time to read it is October through December. I just love all the holiday scenes and it goes perfectly with a cozy blanket and cup of tea.

Murder on the Orient Express: Agatha Christie is a fantastic writing and this classic story lives up to the hype. I first read it for a project in eight grade and it has been a favorite ever since.

Sherlock Holmes: I have loved every Sherlock Holmes mystery that I read. They are relatively short, interesting and great for October evenings. I also enjoy great detective stories in general!

Magpie Murders: A great murder mystery (involving a editor) that has great twists and is perfect for Halloween.

A few books I am looking forward to reading: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, The Women in the Window by A.J. Finn and Serpant and Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

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I would really love to hear about any books you love for this time of year!!!

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

Best Recent YA Reads

Happy Wednesday! Today I am excited to share my favorite YA (young adult) reads from the last couple of months. I am a big YA fan so I am hoping to get around to an all time favorites post. For now though, here are the best YA novels that I read in the past six or so months.

The Hate U Give: I am convinced that this book should be required reading in high schools right now. There is so much to learn from this account of a black teenager’s experience watching her friend get shot by the police. It is a perspective that is hard for me, as a privileged white-girl, to fully grasp and this book really helped. It is heart-braking, eye-opening and incredibly well written. If you read anything on this list, this book is definitely the one.

American Royals: On an entirely different note this is a very light hearted novel about the romances of American royalty. It spins the current state of our government in that instead making George Washington a president he was made king and the United States became a monarchy. The historical changes are fascinating and I highly enjoyed both the setting and the story lines. It centers around the royal children coming of age and their experiences with love. I was absolutely sucked into this one from the very beginning. If you want an easy but fun read, this is a great pick!

Scythe: So the Scythe trilogy has quickly become a favorite of mine as well. I found it when Aiden took me to Barnes and Noble for my birthday and I am a huge dystopian fiction fan so this series quickly caught my eye. It is set in a future where the government is largely artificial intelligence. The only thing humans still really control is who dies since the population is still out of control. Scythe’s choose who die and are the ones to kill them. This story follows Citra and Rowen through their journey as scythe’s apprentices. I am currently in the middle of the second book, Thunderhead and am still loving it.

Caraval: The other series that I have been very into in the last few months is the Caraval series. It is so magical and the author does an incredible job bringing the characters to life. I find myself so able to see and feel what the characters experience. I listened to both the first and second books as audiobooks and really enjoyed it. The series centers around two sisters and their relationship with a fantastical performance/game called Caraval. It is a fascinating story that had me hooked from the beginning.

As a kind of bonus I wanted to include some YA that I am excited to read in the next few months. I chose the top three on my list and tried to mix up genres a bit.

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First is Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I have always been a John Green fan and was just excited for this one when it was released. I am honestly not sure when I have not finished it yet. I got about 50 pages in a few months ago and then had to leave for fieldwork so it just kind of fell to the wayside. I am still psyched about it and hope to finish soon.

Next is The Royal Runaway by Lindsey Emory. After reading American Royals I really was feeling something similar so I took a deep dive into books (specifically romance) that center around royalty. I am also really wanting to read Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Yep anything with royals and a forbidden romance.

Last on todays list of to read YA is Endgame by James Frey. I am not sure I would have picked this out myself but I found it in my grandmother’s books and was intrigued. I read the back cover and am now dying for some time to read it!

That is all for today! I hope that you are having a great week and that you enjoyed today’s book list.

Erin

Week in My Life: No. 1

In all honesty the past couple of months have been absolutely insane. Our two roommates are both moving to Oregon so we are in the middle of trying to fill the basement apartment. Aiden has had some health stuff so that has also been at the top of my mind. Work is totally crazy as well. My to-do list is very long and only keeps growing. To say the least I have been incredibly overwhelmed! We do have a lot of thing planned for the next few months, some of which should be very fun. This past week has mostly been work with a few fun things thrown in.

Last weekend my uncle and cousin visited! It was absolutely amazing and I could not have asked for a better time with them. I did not take a single picture because I was just in the present and not really thinking about it! They came so that my cousin could check out USU and they also brought some vintage furniture of my grandmother’s. My cousin and I explored campus for a while and then picked up some bread from Crumb Brother’s. We took them to Le Nonne’s (on of the best restaurants in Logan) for dinner and then made an apple crisp with apples from our tree for dessert.

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Sitting in one of my grandmother’s vintage chairs (I have always loved this living room set and am so grateful to have inherited it).

I always dedicate Monday and Tuesday to teaching so I spent lots of time prepping the lab, writing out the protocol and then teaching. In general it is the most stressful time of the week but it went pretty smoothly. Aiden came into work with me a couple times throughout the week and we got lunch at the Skyroom (on USU’s campus and Morty’s (both are delicious and reasonably priced). We ended the day on Tuesday my watching Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang (a classic favorite).

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I usually dress up during the first couple days of the week (for teaching) and then wearing comfier clothing. This was probably my favorite outfit of the week. Leggings are Lululemon align pant in dark olive, sneakers are Superga and cardigan is BP (similar).

I honestly don’t have a ton to say about the rest of the week. Lots of stuff came up with work so I ended up spending way more time that expected working. Friday was my favorite. I stopped working early and we had a great night making food and watching The Ugly Truth (such a funny rom-com, Aiden loved it too!). Yesterday (Saturday) I spent pretty much the whole day working but we did go on a nice walk and watched Friends while we ate dinner.

A few interesting articles:

12-year old singing ventriloquist. Aiden showed me the champions America’s Got Talent final this morning and we went down a rabbit hole watching this girl. She is absolutely amazing and I can’t get over it!

Meghan Markle fall outfit inspiration. Um yes please. I love every single piece she has worn recently and can’t wait to try some similar combinations!

Fall uniform by Zodiac sign. I just loved every one of these looks for fall.

On life-long readers. This article is really worth reading. I have always been a reader but there are a ton of factors that go into making a child into a big reader.

Christmas Hallmark movies. I usually would not talk about Christmas this early but I found a schedule for this year’s Hallmark movies and I am hoping for some gems.

Natalie Beach article on Caroline Calloway. So I have no idea why I found this story so fascinating but I did.

Great recipes for fall. Excited to try some of these in the next few weeks!

Clothing obsession: white sweater from Everlane. It is freaking amazing and I am obsessed.

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This is the Everlane sweater (taken from my wearing white post) and I have worn it so much this week. It goes with everything, plus Everlane is a really great sustainable brand (I am going to be featuring them in a post in early October).

I also gave Trunk Club a try this week. I thought it might get me out of my comfort zone but it kind of made me realize that I really just like shopping for myself (also I think I can find way better deals on things). Don’t get me wrong they did have some really cute things and I did keep 4 of the 15 items they sent. I just decided I probably won’t do a whole post on the experience so I wanted to mention it here.

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One outfit from Trunk Club. I kept the shoes (I have been debating getting Stan Smith’s for a while anyway). The skirt was so cute but the fit was kind of weird and I did not love the top enough to keep it. The Baublebar LOVE hair clip is so cute but I felt like it was kind of overpriced.

Reading: 100% obsessed with the book Bringing Down the Duke right now. The romance definitely just sucked my in and it helped a ton that it is set around the movement to allow women to vote in the 1800’s in England. I highly recommend it!

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I tried to read for 30 minutes to an hour every morning. It is such a great way to start the day!

Skin care: I am not that big into make up and skin product but my friend recommended Drunk Elephant a few months ago and I have been trying it out (I started with the littles kit). So far I really love it but I am not sure which products I will be repurchasing.

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My night time Drunk Elephant skin care routine. I start with the jelly cleanser and end with the night serum and eye cream.

Things I am looking forward to this week:

The last season of The Goodplace (one of my favorite shows ever!) is starting on September 26th.

Oh also I am super psyched for Grace and Becca’s new podcast mini series, Bad on Politics! They host Bad on Paper podcast which is one of my favorite book podcasts. They are going to be discussing the 2020 election and they will be bringing on some great guests.

Other things on my schedule include lots of work things, shooting some really exciting posts and I have a friend coming to visit at the end of the week!

Happy Sunday!

Erin

Reading Inspiration

I am a big reader (as you might have noticed) and I really love getting recommendations from lots of places so I thought it would be fun to share my top places to find reading inspiration. I find books from all over the place. One example is The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth Cline, a book I found in a magazine list of recommended reads. I also get a ton of great recommendations from friends and family so a big shout out to all my fellow reading buddies! This is a list of places or people that I consistently go to for great books to read. I don’t always love everything they recommend but I would say I like 90% of the things I choose to read from the following people/places.

1. The first on my list is here because for me it is without a doubt the most fun and interactive… browsing bookstores. It is one of my favorite thing to do and I could definitely browse for hours. While I will always go to Barnes and Nobles I do find that local bookstores are the most interesting and it is always good to support them! My favorites from the past couple of months have been Boulder Bookstore (always), Back of Beyond Books (Moab, Utah) and Rizzoli Books (NYC). I just loving spending any spare time (even if it is just a couple of minutes) exploring local bookstores when I travel. They can give great insight into the area and I always find a book to bring home with me! There is also something about being in a bookstore and feeling the actually books.

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2. My next place for great books is Book of the Month. It is a really great way to stay current in your reading. They often have options in lots of genres and they are almost always new releases. I just finished Bringing Down the Duke, which was my September pick, and despite not being a big historical romance type I really loved this book. I also got my copy of Three Women from BOTM (although I learned about it from @nycbookgirl).

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3. Podcasts and blogs are also places to find good books. My favorite right now (for book recs) is Bad on Paper Podcast (BOP) with Grace and Becca. I new from the announcement of their podcast that I would love listening since they started with The Selection which is def a YA fav. I have loved almost all of the books they recommend (lol I really did not like 99 Percent Mine so I can say ALL). My recent fav was hands down American Royals. Other great ones from the past year included Verity by Colleen Hoover and The Idea of You by Robin Lee. I also just love listening to their podcast and def just want to be friends with them both. They are so fun and real and have fantastic guests (sometimes even the authors of the books they read)! Grace also has a blog called The Stripe and she has lots of great book lists!

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4. Book clubs are another great way to find fun books. Reese’s Book Club has reliably good picks. I read The Rules of Magic, One Day in December (a fun holiday read) and The Proposal all because of this book club and I loved them all. Daisy Jones and the Six has been one of my favorite books this year and it was the March book club pick. Another great follow is @carlysbookclub. She has definitely inspired be to read some Brené Brown. I also highly recommend creating a book club with friends who have similar tastes in books. Right now my friend and I have been sharing book recs all summer and we are going to start a YA book club (for now just us two!). Our first book is going to be Finale by Stephanie Garber (the third installment of the Caraval series).

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5. NYC Book Girl is someone I love following on Instagram. She is so sweet and has such great reading recommendations. She also works at Avid Reader Press which is how I found out about Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (another fav of this year). I also really love her blog series, Girls Who Read. She was also a big fan of American Royals (this along with BOP really convinced me).

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6. I have been using Goodreads this year to stick to my reading goal (52 books for 2019). In using it I have found a ton more books I want to read. There are so many ways to find great books on this site. First I can see what friends and others who I follow are reading. Two, the nominees and winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards are a great way to find really good books. Three is through Goodreads Giveaways. First of all entering their giveaways is so easy and for some (especially Kindle) you actually have a decent chance of winning. I actually got an ARC of Finding Mrs. Ford earlier this year from a Goodreads giveaway. I really have found some great titles through the giveways that are on the top of my to read list! The final way that I find books through Goodreads is through their Explore tab. They have updated New Releases lists for every genre!

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7. This one is definitely in the book club category but since I actually get books from them I wanted to give it its own place on this list, and that is Life’s Library. This is a book club started by John Green and Rosianna Halse Rojas and it really gets me out of my comfort zone and introduces me to books that I would not normally find/pick on my own. They are always incredible books and I feel way smarter for reading them and following along in their discussions. I am currently reading the current book, Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains!

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8. Finally is Amazon’s Best Books of the Month. I will 100% admit that I actually found this while writing this post. I was make a reading list on Amazon to link all the books and I found the tab for Best Books of the Month. I included it because I am very intrigued and really liked their recommendations. I will definitely be checking this one out in the coming months!

That is it for my current go-to’s for good books to read! I hope you enjoyed it and got some ideas for where to go for your next read. I would also love to hear if you have any people or places you go for books. Have a great weekend!

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

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

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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