January Books

The grad school life has been extremely crazy lately. I am very behind on my blogging schedule right now and am hoping to get on track soon. However, the work right now is not going to really let up for a while. I do want to share what I read in the month of January. It was a pretty great month for ready, especially with being so busy!

Turtles All the Way Down (3.5/5 stars): So I am not really sure why I didn’t love this one. I am a huge John Green fan but had a really hard time getting through this one and I found it to be a little confusing and unexpected, in not the best way. I really don’t like to hate on books and I still overall liked it but just didn’t love. In short it is about a girl who really struggles a lot with some mental things. She also becomes involved in a mystery of a missing billionaire. I feel like this is kind of a terrible summary but it is basically about this girl’s inner struggles with some side stories about relationships with people and this crazy mystery.

Howl’s Moving Castle (4.5/5 stars): I had no idea this was a book until I was sent it for a Life’s Library book club read. I was so excited and it did not let me down. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is about a girl who works in her family’s hat shop. One day a witch walks in and puts a spell on her that causes her to appear as an old lady. She leaves town and comes across Howl’s moving castle. The story revolves around her time in the castle and her relationships with the inhabitants. It sounds kind of strange and crazy but it is such a beautiful story!

The Silent Patient (5/5 stars): Definitely my favorite read from the month of January. I just loved it. It is kind of a thriller/mystery about a psychotherapist who moves to an institution in hopes of getting one specific patient to talk. This patient, Alicia, has not spoken a word since she killed her husband years before. There was a lot of hype about this book and I wasn’t totally drawn in at first. Someone recommend I read it so I gave it a try and absolutely loved it. I didn’t expect it and thought it was very well-written.

The Only Plane in the Sky (5/5 stars): I guess this was just a great month for reading because this was also a five star read. It is an oral history of 9/11. I highly recommend listening to it via audiobook because it is read by a whole cast and I think it just adds to it since a lot of the book is people talking about their experiences. I cried a ton and just was overwhelmed with feelings. It is very well written and will resonate with anyone who had an experience with the event. I don’t even really have words for how this made me feel. Truly heartbreaking and moving! I will say that it is very heavy so be prepared mentally and emotionally.

Have a great rest of the week!

Erin

Favorite Purchases of 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Now for some non-clothing items:

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

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

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

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

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

Erin

Week in My Life No. 12

We are finally back in Utah and I am back into the full swing of the semester! Coming home was very bittersweet since I so loved the warmth in Captiva and am not really psyched to be back in the cold for another couple of months. On the flipside I am ready to get rolling this semester and am excited to get going on my goals for the year. I am also just so so happy to be back with Hazel. I missed her like crazy during our trip.

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The view of Gringotts Bank in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. The Gringotts ride is so well done!

We had a couple of days left of vacation after Captiva that we spend exploring Universal Studios. I have never been to Disney or Universal and the closest thing I have done to that is maybe six flags. Aiden’s family likes to go and I was all about going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter parts of both parks were amazing. I was very impressed. I also wasn’t sure how I felt about rollercoasters (I had not been on one in over ten years) but there were some fun ones. Hagrid’s Motorbike was by far the best although the wait is kind of crazy. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are both very well designed and include some incredible details. Wednesday, January 8th we had a relaxing morning before flying back to Denver. We spent one day in Boulder catching up with my family and packing the car. Our drive home was pretty uneventful and Hazel did a little better then the last long car ride.

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My sister and I saw Little Women while we were back in Boulder. It is beautiful and all the actresses did an incredible job (I can’t recommend enough)!

 

We had the weekend to catch up and take Hazel for her vet appointment. This past week was very full for me. I had several urgent projects that I was pushing to finish. I ended up being in the lab eight to twelve hours every day. I worked at home on Friday though which was really nice! I really love that as a grad student I have a lot of flexibility with me schedule. I have a class this semester on Tuesday and Thursday but other than that I pretty much make my own weekly schedules.

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The sunset on our drive home was beautiful. We stopped just before Bear Lake so Hazel could take a pee break.

Oh yes I do have to say that the new season of the Bachelor started and I am here for it. I have had mixed feelings about the show in the past but I have been totally on board for the past several seasons. It is so entertaining! We had a watching party with our friends on Tuesday.

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Hazel cuddling with her friend Zoe during Bachelor night.
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I gave Aiden Pandemic for Christmas and we have playing several times already! It is so fun. I am a big fan of cooperative games. We also made breakfast tacos a bunch. Trader joe’s hashbrowns, goat cheese, egg, avocado and pear salsa. It is amazing!

I have spent most of my time this weekend with Hazel. She is just adorable and we have been playing quite a lot! We also took her on a couple of walks to parks nearby. She is still not great at walking on the leash but loves smelling all the new smells. I also started my 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene this weekend and am psyched to get back on my workout game.

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Lots of snow walks with Hazel. It has snowed probably four or five days since we have been back.

Interesting articles and other things I’m loving:

The real women of Bombshell. This is just a moving discussion that highlights what was kept true in the movie and what they got wrong. I highly recommend it!

Tan France’s home tour. Of course it is beautiful. I liked how he talked about how it was before and what aspects of the original house were kept.

The Everygirl Splurges. Great ideas on pricier things that are really worth it.

Almond Cow plant-based milk maker. This was in Hitha Palepu’s newsletter this week and I am very interested in trying it! Also this is a great read on the problem with almond milk.

The cutest sweater. I am so tempted by this right now.

Of course there is the whole Harry and Meghan thing. There is a lot out there on this. I recommend reading this article on the press’ portrayal of Meghan vs Kate. It is kind of crazy!

The temperature in your city last year.

Watching: As I mentioned earlier I am back on the Bachelor train and excited for this season. I honestly have not had time in the past couple of weeks to watch anything else!

Wearing: My brother got me this scarf from Anthroplogie for Christmas and I have been wearing it almost every day since we got back to Utah. It is so warm and soft but I have had to teach Hazel not to bite at the fringe.

Reading: I just started The Only Plane in the Sky as an audiobook on libro.fm and it is very moving. It is going to be tough to listen to but it is already a really good book. Also I already can definitely recommend listening to it (there is a full cast that reads it and I think it is a little more powerful since it is an oral history)!

Instagram: I am loving Julie Leach‘s Instagram feed.

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I am totally obsessed with this jacket right now. It is Gal Meets Glam and on sale for such a good price.

I hope you are having a great weekend!

Erin

Florida Outfit Round-Up

Today I am rounding up my outfits from our trip to Florida. As a part of the new year I am going to try sharing my outfits, especially for trips, in a more cohesive way. I used to do monthly favorite outfits but stopped that. I really enjoy sharing outfits though so I want to try this way! This is partly inspired my Grace Atwood’s style of sharing her outfits. I am going to be doing a Captiva travel diary so this is really just what I wore. I will say there were a couple of outfits that I did not get photos of so I did not include those.

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Walking the beach: shirt Tommy Bahama, shorts AGOLDE, bag Faithful the Brand, sunglasses Karen Walker
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Pool day: dress Amazon, bag Faithful the Brand, sunglasses Quay, shoes Birkenstock (this dress is so comfy so I worn this outfit multiple times)
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Beach day: dress Free People, bag Faithful the Brand, sunglasses Karen Walker
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Casual Captiva evening: pants old H&M (similar), sweatshirt KJP, bag Faithful the Brand, shoes Birkenstock, sunglasses Quay
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Travel day: jeans Levi’s, top Madewell, bag old Kate Spade (similar), sneakers Adidas, sunglasses Quay
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Post rain storm South Seas Island Resort: jeans Madewell, cardigan Leith, tank BP, sunglasses Quay, bag Faithful the Brand, shoes Birkenstock
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Universal Studios: jeans Madewell, sunglasses Quay, jacket Levi’s (such a good price), sneakers Adidas, bag old Kate Spade (similar)

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of your weekend!

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

Week in My Life No. 10

I am skipping straight to another Week in Review since I have not had a whole lot of time to post but want to at least stay up-to-date with what has been going on in my life. This has definitely been a holiday week. I had a ton of work to get done as well and really tried to cram that into the first few days of the week. It was busy since we also had to pack, take Hazel to the vet and tie up all the loose ends around the house.

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Last real day of work attire plus a necessary coffee.

Our drive back to Boulder was quite an adventure. I have to say that one of the biggest struggles we have had with having a puppy is travel. I knew this would be tough but I was always saying to myself that since we drive from Utah to Boulder it should be fine. Hazel hates the car. She whined for so much of the drive. We also had to stop to take her out a lot which is fine but when we did stop it took a while to actually get her to pee and eat/drink if was time. At Little America it took at least 30 minutes just to get her to pee (it was almost 0 degrees so she got really cold and we had to get her warmed up). Anyway we eventually made it to Colorado.

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She could not figure out what this statue is or what she should do with it. This was when we wondered around Little America waiting for her to pee!
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Warming little Hazel up in the car!

I still had quite a bit of work to do from home so I spent the rest of the week doing that and Christmas shopping. It was really nice to be around my family though! We had a great birthday dinner for my dad and brother! I have been doing yoga as much as I can even if it is just an online class (I do Yoga with Adriene and really like it). I also got in a cycle class that my friend teaches at Rush. I also got to spend some time catching up with that same friend (which was long overdue!). The weekend has been overall very chill and nice. Saturday we took Hazel up to Wonderland Lake and she met so many people and dogs. It took us two hours just because we met so many people and she played with other dogs. We baked lots of cookies and had some family/friends over for dinner. Today we baked more and hung out with Hazel.

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Christmas shopping with my sister!
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Saturday morning Rush Cycle in Highlands following by a delicious brunch.
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The end of Hazel’s walk up to the lake. Also the weekend was so warm in Boulder. It feels so weird because last time we were here (Thanksgiving) it snowed over two feet and was freezing. I know Boulder is always kind of like this (very drastic changes in weather/temp especially through winter) but it still feels weird around the holidays.

Articles/links (yes I am a little light on these since I have not really been on my computer this week for anything other than work):

A great last minute gift guide. It has a little of everything!

Women to watch in politics. So this is not just women who are in office (what I expected) but minority women who hold jobs that relate to politics. This is such an interesting and exciting read!

Ideas for New Years Eve. I feel like the New Years Eve hype can be harder as I get older! These ideas for staying in on New Years are great.

I will also say that something else I have been really following this week are politics in general. There are lots of both interesting and frustrating things going on right now. I highly recommend following Jessica Yellin on Instagram for a great recap. I also listen to NPR’s Up First podcast.

Wearing: Lululemon align joggers are amazing. I was picking up some gifts in Lululemon and somehow found my way to these. I am already a huge fan of the align legging so its not really surprising that I fell in love with these. They are so comfortable and flattering and I have been wearing them almost every day since I got them!

Watching: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 3 is out on Amazon! I love love love this show and am so excited. I started watching this week and of course its amazing.

Reading: I am still finishing up Red, White and Royal Blue however I am hoping to finish up in the next day so I can start reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House.

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The sun setting over the mountains at Wonderland Lake.

I hope you are have a great weekend and holiday season!

Erin

Week in Review No. 9

This Week in Review is long overdue. It has been several weeks! So much has happened. My last big Week in Review post was just before we left for Thanksgiving break in Boulder. That break ended up containing a big life change for us! We drove back to Colorado the week before Thanksgiving, once I had finished teaching. I-80 can be scary to drive in snowy weather so we left early to avoid in incoming snowstorm. I am just going to jumps straight to the big news (I did mention this in a post last week). In short my aunt’s dog had puppies and we ended up taking one home with us! She is such a cutie and we named her Hazel Jane.

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Little Hazel Jane in our backyard back in Utah. She is a Stabyhoun (I am linking to some information on them since I have yet to meet anyone who has heard of the breed).

Okay we spent lots of time with the litter while we were home. They were seven weeks when we got there and just the cutest little things. I helped my aunt take five puppies into her work on Friday and Monday and it was such a blast. I met some great people and got to spend lots of time with the pups. My brother and sister also came home which was so fun! One of my close friends happened to be visiting other friends in Leadville so she stopped by for a night. We went downtown to Pearl street for some fun at into the wind and dessert. I also was able to get brunch one day with one of my high school friends!

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I spent so much time hanging out with the puppies! It was the perfect therapy!
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My sister with an armful of puppies and their momma in the back!
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Walking around the lake with our family dog, Charlie, a few days before the big snow came in.

It snowed twice while we were there. The second time (just a few days before Thanksgiving) we got over two feet of snow. It was crazy! I feel like I haven’t seen that much in one storm since I was a little kid. We had actually taken Hazel home right before the storm so it was so cute to have her around for all that snow. The morning after the bulk of the snow came in I got up early to take the puppy out. I ended up shoveling and shaking out the branches for a while. Hazel was so adorable but definitely could not go beyond the paths I shoveled for her! We spent lots of time by the fire with warm drinks!

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Snowy little pup on the morning after the big storm!
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Hazel watching Charlie roam the yard. Their relationship was so funny. Charlie is a bit of an old man so he did not really want to put up with her and he kind of ignored her most of the time. She was so curious though and would follow him around and watch him from afar. I can’t wait to see how they are at Christmas!

Thanksgiving itself was a blast. We had lots of family and friends over for a delicious meal. Our neighbors were snowed in so they ended up coming as well! As always most of the day was spent cooking and making last minute trips to the grocery store (I am pretty sure I went to the store four times in two days). We had lots of delicious food and then played several rounds of Telestrations.

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Lots of people required lots of pies (five plus mini pumpkin pies)!
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Our family portrait with little Hazel! Also I am obsessed with this dress from KJP.

We got sushi downtown and spent some time in Boulder Bookstore on Friday night. Both Friday and Saturday were crazy windy. The snow had stopped but the wind caused pretty much all the major highways around us to close. I got a little worried about the drive home. We left Sunday and took I-70 which is a much longer drive. Luckily the roads were clear but with Hazel (we stopped a ton) and the longer route we took almost 13 hours to get home (usually it takes about eight on I-80.

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Hanging out at my parents house. I also stopped in J. Crew Factory and picked up this adorable headband (similar J. Crew version).

Ever since we got back to Logan I have been super busy with work. I finished teaching but I have some big projects that really need to get done by the end of this semester. There have also been a ton of holiday parties and other social engagements. The week we got back I also hosted our Ecology Center speaker (every month we invite a professor/professional from somewhere else to come speak and share their research) which was amazing but ended up being a lot of time and logistics.

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It snowed in Logan while we were gone so we also came back to around five inches! I definitely had to quickly transition into dressing both professionally and warmly.

This weekend has been much more chill but we do have lots to do before leaving for winter break. On Saturday we did end up going over to a friends house for a bit so Hazel could meet their little daughter. We also watched The Christmas Chronicles which I missed out on last year and am glad I took the time to watch this year. Other than that we have spent a lot of time playing with Hazel. I also got some reading in!

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Reading this morning while Hazel slept some more.

On a side note I went down a bit of a rabbit hole with mormon mommy bloggers this weekend (you will see why when I talk about the podcast I have been listening to). That whole world is just fascinating and gives an interesting take on social media and blogging. I just wanted to preface since several of my links are related to this topic.

Articles/videos:

Emma Watson’s Bag. I hadn’t been on YouTube in a while and went on last week to this amazing video in my recommended. I just love her so this was incredible.

An ex mormon mommy blogger’s take on Instagram vs reality. So first I would say listen to Be There in Five’s mormon mommy blogger deep dive (I talk about it in my Listening mention), then read this article.

A scientific article on mormon mommy bloggers. This whole world is for some reason incredibly fascinating.

FIT museum exhibit on powerful clothing. I just love this little journey through the ages.

Maximalism and the power of taking up space. This is a great article on the power of maximalism.

Holiday from Trader Joe’s. Um yes… always.

Watching: We are on the final season of Parks and Rec. It is the best show and I am so sad that it is almost over.

Reading: Right now I am reading Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Yep it is another book about royals. I am really on a role right now. I am about halfway through and I just want to keep reading!

Listening: Okay so I am definitely late to the game on this but Kate Kennedy’s podcast Be There in Five is amazing. I found her through Bad on Paper’s interview. I went back and listened to her Mommy Mormon Blogger’s deep dive which was so fascinating. I live in Utah which is very mormon so it was really interesting to here this take on the culture and learn about why blogging is such a big thing for mormon mom’s.

Wearing: My current clothing obsession is by KJP moose socks. They are so perfect for winter! I also do have to add my J. Crew fleece lined boots since I worn them a ton with all the snow. They are so warm and have great traction.

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One last pic of the pup… also I got her a matching moose bandana!

Thanks for stopping by and I apologize for the long and very puppy-filled post!

Erin

November Books

I am finally getting my November books post up. My to read list was of course much longer and I, again, only ended up reading three this month (I actually finished How Could She in the beginning of December).

The Summer Book (4.5/5 stars): This was the most recent Life’s Library read. It is by Tove Jansson who did the Moomins comics. It is an amazing read. It is about this young girl and her grandmother and their adventures on a tiny island in Finland. The relationship between these two characters is fascinating. I just was completely drawn into their banter, interactions and conversation. The only reason I did not give it five stars is that there is not really a plot, although that is kind of the point. I highly recommend this book though, it is very short, easy to read and such an interesting take on life.

Finale (4.5/5 stars): As you may know I absolutely love the Caraval series. This is the final installment and it did not disappoint. I really can’t recommend this series enough. The characters are interesting and the way magic is woven into the world and the story is beautiful. I am not really going to recap the plot since I don’t want to ruin the series for anyone but it definitely ties everything together! I talked a little more about the first book in my Best Recent YA Reads post.

How Could She (3/5 stars): Okay I have so many thoughts on this book. In short it is about the lives of and relationships between three women living in New York City. The women’s struggles and personalities really fascinated me. Lauren Mechlin brought the characters to life through interesting personalities and relatable flaws. I really  pushed through because I became attached to the characters and their relationships with each other. Overall I did not rate it that highly since I did not feel like there was a real plot. I read this one because Bad on Paper Podcast chose it as one of their bookclub picks and when I listened to their episode on it they mentioned that as people who lived in NYC in their 20’s/30’s it was very interesting and relatable on a different level. I am guessing that if I had this background I might have liked this book more. So I am torn on whether or not to recommend this. I would say that if you like books with a plot and don’t care as much about the characters themselves this is probably not the book for you. If you either really like books with well developed characters or lived in NYC for a while this might be a good read for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Erin

Week in My Life No. 8

When I got back from Honduras last Sunday our friend from college was visiting. It was so great to see him and I definitely wish he had stayed longer but Aiden was able to show him around while I was gone and we took him to Herm’s Inn, out favorite brunch place, for breakfast on Monday. He and his cousin were driving from Seattle to Dallas. They headed on to Moab Monday afternoon. Even though I was at a conference for grad school I have had lots of catch up to do with work over the week. I taught on Tuesday so I spent a lot of time getting ready for that and grading. I also created an end of semester survey for the class to take this Tuesday. I am all about improving this class and my teaching so I really wanted to have a survey that has direct feedback for the labs we did and the lectures (just the overall structure and assignments as well). I also spent some time finalizing plans for the holidays. We still need to book our tickets (ASAP) but we have a pretty solid plan that hopefully everyone is okay with. I definitely struggle with where to spend Christmas. For the first couple years of our relationship we just went to our own families which made sense since we were still in college and had not seen our families all year. Now we have been together for over four years and we are getting to the point were we would like to be together but also want to be with our families. Last year we were living apart so we really wanted to be together and we ended up traveling between our families on Christmas day (flying from Denver to Newark). My family was not too keen on that so we reevaluated this year. Jess Keys did a great post on splitting the holidays!

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Walking to my office! It was actually a beautiful week with highs in the 50’s.

The other big part of work right now is data analysis for several projects. It is kind of looming over me so Aiden helped me out with some coding this week that took a ton of stress off of me. I have also been organizing a speaker that is coming to the ecology center at USU in December. On Friday we ended the work week with tea at a campus coffee shop.

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Friday’s outfit. I was feeling the jumpsuit and blazer vibes.
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Tea, grading and reading at coffee shop. The best way to end the week.

This weekend has been really nice. We have been doing yoga at home to help Aiden with some of his pains so we did that on Saturday and had an overall chill day. I got lots of reading in! We went to a friends house in the evening to hang out and play Mario Kart (my fav). Today was mostly yard work (so many leaves to rake) but we also did some crossword puzzles and set up our Christmas tree. I know it is way to early but we are going to be gone through Thanksgiving and then also for actual Christmas so I figured we might as well enjoy it as long as possible. We also have some new ornaments that were my grandmother’s!

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Tree decorating… we added the Nutcracker characters this year!

Interesting articles:

3 Ingredient Trader Joe’s meals. As a Trader Joe’s fan I just had to share this and will definitely be trying some of these.

Time’s 100 most influential people. Also here is a blurb on how they choose people for the list.

Watching Hallmark movies for money? This is kind of hilarious and amazing.

Finland’s stunning public library. This place is beautiful and I seriously hope to visit someday. I also so wish we had such emphasis on public libraries!

Julia’s holiday guide for her. This is dreamy. I mean everything is seriously beautiful!

Plastic waste in laboratories. I have a constant struggle with waste in our lab. I do think what we research is important for conservation and for science but the amount of waste generated can be really hard to stomach. I am always looking for ways to reduce but it is so hard in science because it is extremely difficult to have a sound experiment, with no contamination, without producing a lot of waste.

Best celebrity memoirs. Grace Atwood posted this in her Weekend Reading and I really liked this article since there are so many books out there and so many celebrity memoirs that it can be hard to know what is worth reading.

Reading: I started Turtles All the Way Down by John Green several months ago and for some reason did not keep reading. I decided to pick it up again and finish this time! I am really enjoying it and am not sure why I put it down before.

Watching: Parks and Recreation has been our go to right now. I am not sure why I haven’t watched it before but it is amazing. I love it and have a hard time stopping because all the characters are hilarious.

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It was just barely warm enough for no tights. As much as I love the holidays and the snow I am relishing in these last few days of warmth!

I hope you had a great week and thanks for reading!

Erin

Science Week in Review No. 2

I am excited to bring you my second Science Week in Review. I really enjoyed writing and researching the first one and so I was just as excited about this one. As much as I can I am trying to share stories and articles that don’t require lots of background information. I give some short explanations for any concept that I think might not be common knowledge. Please feel free to ask if you need any clarification!

The importance of understanding microplastics. This article reminded me of how important awareness of our use of plastic is. I feel like I sometimes become complacent and need a reminder of how every action counts and just how serious the situation is. There is also this article on plastics and fish. The issue of microplastics is an important one that I will definitely address in the future but in short microplastics are fragments of plastic less than 5mm that are polluting the environment. Plastics degrade into these tiny little pieces that are much harder account for and clean up.

Understanding Species Recovery (IUCN red list). If you are familiar with any part of conservation you have likely heard of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is basically the platform used to keep track of species status. It is basically a database of information on many species around the world. Each species is reevaluated every so often and that allows for numbers to be monitored especially for species that are listed in a threatened category. This article gives some insight into how species recovery works. Recently the Green List has been introduced as an add on to the Red List that will allow for monitoring of conservation efforts. We actually had a discussion about this at the conference I went to last week!

Algae species as a key to plant evolution. Plants are a crucial part of our ecosystem, our breathing depends on them! Studying plant evolution is difficult since we don’t have fossils like we do with animals. The important science here? Recently scientist published the genomes of two algae species that are evidence for plant evolution to land species. They appear to be the closest living relatives of land plants. This is definitely an important find for plant scientists and for evolutionary biologists.

A star flying out of a black hole. I do have a fascination with space so I always look to include an interesting article about it. Astromoners observed a “runaway star” that has come out of the black hole at the center of our galaxy. The speed at which it is going is absolutely crazy (4 million miles an hour)! I think this article was so interesting and understandable (for someone who has not much knowledge of astronomy).

Methane emissions in California. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect. This is the process of the warming of the atmosphere by radiation of greenhouse gases. The warming today is so extreme because we have drastically sped up natural processes. We are emitting greenhouse gases at an unprecedented rate. This article speaks to California’s monitoring of methane emissions. The relevance here is that the research done looked at spatial emissions of methane allowing the state to focus efforts on facilities with the largest emissions.

One last interesting article only because I found this to be a fun and interesting little piece of information. A fossil relative of the orangutan. Scientists used proteins from the jaw/tooth of a Gigantopithecus blacki fossil to link it to modern orangutans.

Please let me know if you have found any interesting science articles! Also I always appreciate feedback on posts, especially this series. I strive to bring science to everyone and in terms that are understandable for everyone. I also try to make sure I state the relevancy of each article I share. Thanks for reading!

Erin