A Birthday Adventure

SO last Monday was my 24th birthday. I really wanted to spend it up at Bear Lake, reading and swimming but Aiden had planned to take me to brunch and then to a bookstore (my favorite place ever!). We decided to fit it all in. The day started off great, I had to go into work for an hour but then we went to one of my favorite restaurants, Herm’s Inn at the base of Logan Canyon. We then drove down to Ogden for some book browsing at Barnes and Noble. Despite having a crazy long booklist I still managed to choose too many! I always wish that I had one extra day to every normal day just for reading.

We drove back to Logan and started up the canyon to Bear Lake. Aside from some construction things were going fairly smoothly until we started the last ascent up Bear Mountain. I was driving and the car just would not accelerate. It was really freaky and we pulled over several times trying to figure out what the problem was. Things would go back to normal and then maybe thirty seconds later we would start to decelerate again. Eventually the car just would not go at all so we pulled over and managed to get to a parking lot off the side of the road.

The biggest problem was the we had no reception at all so there was no way to get ahold of aaa or anyone else. A very nice man stopped to help us and ended up driving us to Garden City (on the other side of the mountain) where we were able to call aaa and then our friends. Our friends met us at Zipz for dinner (an delicious raspberry milkshakes) and we all went for drinks at the country club while we waited for the tow truck.

It was quite the adventure and we did not get home until past midnight (the tow truck took forever and ended up being very expensive). The reason I wanted to share this story is that it taught me a very valuable lesson. I had an expectation for how the day was going to go and I know things go wrong all the time but I really did not expect this. It could have been really sucky but the whole day actually ended up being really fun! The car having issues and the expenses are definitely a bummer but having Aiden there really helped me feel better and I actually had a great time with my friends while we were waiting.

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I am so so appreciative of all the nice people out there willing to go out of there way to help stranger. I also can’t thank Aiden and my friends enough for helping out and for making a bummer of a situation tons better!

Erin

May & June Books

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

For now here are my reads from May and June:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erin

It’s Been a While!

Wow it has been three months since I have posted. I took quite the hiatus for several reasons, the biggest being this time of year for grad school has been absolutely insane. I guess my last post was at the end of March. Research prep, fieldwork and finals all collided in April and May and I barely stayed afloat just keeping up with all that. I was able to see my family for Easter which was a nice little break. Then I focused on studying for my vet immunology class (such an incredible class but required lots of studying). In the thick of it all I went to Aiden’s graduation in the beginning of May. Being back in Indiana allowed me to catch up with some college friends for a bit. This was such a blessing for me since I have been missing them a ton this year.

The rest of May and the first half of June were filled with fieldwork for my research. This is my absolute favorite part of my job/school and I had such a blast trouncing around the Exumas. These trips were the first ones that I was responsible for most of the organizing and data collection so I worked insane hours but it was so much fun. Because of this I was totally exhausted when I got back and had to really rally to get all the lab work done in the following weeks.

I had several days between trips so I visited Aiden’s family in New Jersey. I still had to work a bit while there but his sister and I went into NYC for a day and saw Dear Evan Hansen. It was amazing! I highly recommend seeing it if you are in the city! I had a short visit with my family on the way back to Utah. It fell on father’s day so I was able to play some golf with him and we hiked Mount Sanitas and went to Dagabi Cucina for dinner.

The last two and a half weeks have been spent intensively doing lab work. There are several assays I am using in my research that need to be done right away so we had a bunch of people working intensive, long days for a week to get everything done. I am now in the thick of doing DNA extractions for some microbiome samples that I am looking at. Despite still being busy with work I have been feeling inspire to write some. I am missing this outlet and feel like it is time to start consistently blogging again.

The other reason I took a long break from the blog was because with being so busy I started to feel like I was forcing myself to think about and write specific blog related content. I want it to be authentic. It is also supposed to be both an outlet for me and a way for me to share my stories, interests and opinions. I am feeling good about my headspace and ready to write more for fun!

Here are some photos from the last several months:

Easter
Celebrating Easter with my family back in Boulder
Utah drive
Driving from our field site in southern Utah to Denver to fly out to Indiana. I-70 through Utah into Colorado is so so beautiful… it makes a great road trip!
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This amazing guy finally graduated from Earlham College. He focused on physics and computer science (so out of my league but so proud of him!).
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Fieldwork in the Bahama islands!
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I can’t recommend this musical enough. Very moving and sad but incredible!
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Visiting Rizzoli Bookstore before the show. I love a good book shop!
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Bahamas trip #2… Taking a quick break from data collection to swim in the beautiful waters.
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The top of Sanitas with my dad. Loved having this day with him… he has been such an inspiration for me!
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We ran over 500 samples! So much work but very exciting.

Thanks for reading!

Erin

Spring has Sprung

Spring is already here! How crazy is that? I will say that this year I am especially excited about the warm weather. I probably say that every year but I was not expecting Utah winters to be nearly as cold as this one was. It was just this constant freezing temperature with wind (making the cold 10 times worse). The flowers and greenery are my favorite parts of spring. I have never had a Utah spring but I will be here for April so I will get a taste before my month and a half of travel starts. As always floral prints and shades of pink are favorites for the season. So far my beige trench coat has been my most worn piece, but I am sure that will change as it continues to warm. I am also very into white jeans this spring. It is such an easy way to make an outfit fit for spring while still staying warm.

Floral Prints
Lots of Pink
Fresh Flowers
Warm Weather
Light Sweaters
Raindrops
Baby Animals
Potting Soil
Dresses
Green
Walking in the Rain
Hammock Reading

 

 

 

Erin

On Being Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erin

New York City for a Day

During the holidays I went into New York City with my boyfriend’s family. It has been over a month since this little trip but I still really wanted to share it since I had such a great time. The last time I was in the city was for several hours during a layover on the way to Iceland and we did not have time to really do or see much. Before that I had not been to NYC since I was eleven. That trip was amazing (we saw the Rockettes) but I no longer remember that much. My boyfriend and his family are not really city people so although they live close ( in New Jersey) they don’t go in that often. I was very excited to explore a little!

We started by walking from Bryant Park to Times Square. You could see the ball all set up and ready for new years. We got a nice view by going up a nearby hotel (the Marriott Marquis, it is a great way to avoid crowds as well). From here we walked to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice skating rink. Skating would have been fun but the line was hours long and the rink was pretty crowded (I am clearly not used to being in busy cities, not to mention the time of year in NYC). Our next stop was the New York Public Library. It is such a beautiful building (and its free!) with lots of books and some interesting art exhibits. We ate dinner at Virgil’s near Times Square (very affordable and delicious BBQ). For dessert we got cookie dough from Cookie Dough Confections at the market in Bryant Park and did a little shopping and exploring. For our final adventure of the night we walked to Saks 5th Avenue in attempt to see the windows but it ended up being much more of an adventure then we had anticipated. There were hundreds (probably thousands) of people throughout the street. You literally could not move. It ended up being an amazing light show at Sak’s. It was amazing but the number of people was a little ridiculous (pushing and shoving). Eventually we made it out of the mob and headed back to New Jersey. It was quite the adventure!

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Personally, I would love to go back. I feel like there is so much more to do and see. I think if I actually wanted to do things going back at a time of year when there aren’t so many people would be key.

Holiday Movies

Last week did a quick post on my favorite show to watch during the holidays and I also wanted to do a post on holiday movies. There are so many! Here I include several classics and several newer movies that make for a great holiday night with loved ones (or by yourself!). I have actually watched quite a few Hallmark Christmas romances, however here I am choosing my favorite holiday movies overall so I am not really going into those. Instead I chose three holiday romance movies at the end.

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Classics

Its a Wonderful Life: A true Christmas classic. This is one of my dad’s favorite movies so I had to include it. I won’t go to into detail but make sure you watch all the way through. There are some sad parts but the end is uplifting!

Home Alone: Such a classic, you really can’t go wrong with a night of ice skating, cookie baking and watching Home Alone. Although I was kind of terrified of these movies when I was younger, now they are so fun to watch at this time of year.

Elf: I don’t know why but this movie quickly became the go to in our house around Christmas. We watched it every year for at least 10 years (and probably more than once every year).

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: I highly enjoy the animations and the songs in this movie. It is a great Christmas classic, and good for kids!

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: I have not actually watched the new one yet but I really looking forward to it. I have heard such great things. They older version is good but I always thought it was a little creepy.

Romance

Four Christmases: This romantic comedy is the perfect movie for some holiday laughs. There is family, romance and Reese Witherspoon. I highly recommend!

Love Actually: I really loved this movie. It is very heartwarming and beautiful but not naive about love. I just feel like the relationships are more realistic!

A Christmas Prince: Pretty much the definition of a cheesy christmas romance and I do have to say it is significantly better than other Netflix Christmas romance movies I’ve seen. The sequel is actually the most recent Christmas movie I watched and it was very cheesy but decent if you are looking for a feel good romance.

The Princess Switch: This movie is also very cheesy but I did end up thinking it was pretty cute. Its about a baker and a duchess who are related (and look the same) and everything that ensues when they find each other. There are some great nods to The Parent Trap which was fun.

As a side note I am really looking forward to watching The Christmas Chronicles (on Netflix) this year.

I hope you are enjoying the holidays!

Erin

Favorite Closet Additions of 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Erin

A Week in New Hampshire

In August I spent a week with my boyfriend’s family exploring the white mountains. I have been to New Hampshire before but never for very long. My dad’s family used to have a house there and my parents were married at Bretton Woods! There is so much to explore and I am already dreaming of going back around this time of year (fall) because I can just imagine how gorgeous the leaves are.

Exploring

I flew into Portland, ME so we spent the evening eating lobster and walking around Portland. We drove back to New Hampshire and spent the rest of the week exploring the area. I think my highlight was the Kancamangus Highway which goes through the white mountains. The views are so beautiful! There are also some hikes in this area and several historical sites. We also visited the Basin which I also highly recommend. It is a river that has carved away the rock in an incredible way. It is also not far off the highway although we did end up hiking the trail above it which is very pretty as well! We spent one of our days exploring the country roads and visiting the Frost Place. I highly enjoy Robert Frost’s poetry and seeing a place of his inspiration was very interesting. It is just so beautiful!

Eating

We had a fantastic time exploring the restaurants. My favorite was probably the Schilling Beer Co. in Littleton. Seriously the pizza is amazing and I highly recommend sitting out on the deck because the view across the river is incredible. There is also a covered walking bridge right next door and some great artesian shops close by. The Covered Bridge Farm Table in Campton is a great option for a delicious but affordable dinner. The shrimp tacos were amazing and I recommend the Ahi Tuna as well! There is also a covered bridge right next to it. Lincoln is a fun town to explore and One Love Brewery has a easy pub menu with a decent lobster roll. My favorite brunch spot was Old Main in Plymouth. The thrift shops near by are also fun to explore. I also highly recommend visiting the many farm stands for delicious fresh produce!

Staying

My boyfriend’s family rented two different houses both of which were in beautiful locations. The first was right next to a farm with some trails through the forest in the back. I spent most of my time at the second house which was up on a hill right next to the Campton Mountain ski lift. The view was amazing! Both were affordable so if you have more than two people I definitely recommend renting a house!

 

Erin

Life is Crazy!

This whole summer has been crazy. So much travel, adventure and big life changes. I am actually leaving for the Bahamas tonight for my last big trip of the season. It is entirely for field research but should be fun! So overall life has just been super hectic lately. I am going to do a more detailed post when I get back however I just wanted to pop in and say hello… I have been very MIA lately. Some highlights have been my big Europe trip in July, backpacking adventures and a trip to New Hampshire in August as well as starting grad school! I actually just finished my first full week of classes and it was crazy. It has only been a little over a year since undergrad but I forgot how much time classes take. They are great so far though and I am really looking forward to the semester. I will also do some more detailed posts on grad school in the coming months. For now I am going to sign off because my flight leaves in three hours!

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Love,

Erin