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. 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

A Note On Posting Schedule

As you may have noticed I have been doing my very best to post every single day. It is a long story but in short I came to a point in my daily life where I just was not happy about a lot of things. I have been constantly stressed about work and about random life things. I needed something that I just enjoy doing that I can kind of release some stress in doing. I have been thinking a lot about this blog and about the kinds of things I want to be posting and I made a brainstorm calendar of potential posts. The calendar just started to quickly fill up. At first I thought it was crazy to try to post so much but I realized I was excited for every one of the post ideas and I realized that I need this in my life right now. For many it may sound counter intuitive to use something that keeps a set schedule as a way of releasing stress but for me it actually has been forcing me to do something I want to be doing.

I will admit that I am going to try my hardest but my life as a graduate student is incredibly crazy so I am not sure how long I will be able to keep it up. Travel has also historically been tough for me in that I have not been as focused on getting posts up so they usually fall to the wayside. I do have a trip coming up next week and while I am trying to prepare posts for that time I am not sure how it is going to go. I guess that will be a good test for myself!

So for the time being my posting schedule will be as follows. Mondays will be just a kind of random lifestyle post (i.e. seasonal fun, movies/shows I am loving etc…). Tuesdays and Thursdays will be style posts (with the occasional style post on Saturday as well). Wednesdays will be dedicated to talking books and Fridays will be either a travel/adventure post or another lifestyle post. Saturdays will generally be a day off but I do have a couple of style posts planned for a few Saturdays in the coming months. Sundays will be a summary of my week.

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I hope you enjoy this new schedule!

Erin

Denmark Travel Diary

I have finally been able to get to some of my travel posts! I am currently on my big Europe trip traveling around with my sister. We are in Nice, France right now but I was able to get my Denmark travel diary done on the train rides. In general I really loved this country! It is so beautiful and the city of Copenhagen is a great place to be. I am a little jealous of my friend who lives there!

Day 1- Just a note, that first picture is from the plane just before landing and I was just so impressed by how many wind turbines there were. I had never seen them in the ocean! I got to Copenhagen around 12:30pm on Sunday after a flight from Denver to London and then London to Copenhagen. I was extremely jet lagged but needed to stay up as long as possible so I could get on the right time zone. My friend picked me up from the airport, with Carlsberg beers as welcoming gifts. We rode the train back to his house in Hellerup. This town is very cute with lots of nice houses, flowers and a great beach/harbor. My friend’s boyfriend had a delicious danish lunch waiting for us so we ate open-faced sandwiches before taking a train to Klampenborg. It is only one or two stops and probably walkable (definitely an easy bike ride). First we walked around the deer park. It is a really pretty park which would be great for picnicking or biking through. There is a manor several kilometers from the entrance because the property used to be a hunting home for nobility. We saw several species of deer, including the fallow deer which I had never seen before (they have very fuzzy, wide antlers). After walking a little ways we headed to Bakken which is the world’s oldest amusement park. it was created in the 1500’s (I can only imagine what that was like). You do not have to pay an entrance fee so we just walked through the park and got some ice cream cones. Some of the buildings definitely channel a historical look with sloping roofs. They have lots of horse drawn carriages for rides around the area. From here we walked across the rode to the sandy beach for a swim. The water was chilly but so refreshing and really woke me up. It was a really nice, sunny day so there were lots of people! Back at home we had a traditional dish called Flæskesteg, which was amazing! Apparently it is usually made around Christmas time. We finished dinner around 9:30 and the sun was just starting to set (I forgot about the whole more sunlight thing). We walked through the neighborhood to downtown Hellerup and the beach/harbor. There is such a nice rose garden there as well.

Slide1Day 2- This day was pretty much entirely exploring Copenhagen. I woke up to fresh coffee and croissants (such a treat!). My friend and I went out around 8:30 and he took me on a long walking tour of the city. We started with Christiania which is an artist community in the city that sort of follows its own rules. There are lots of colorful buildings and beautiful art. You can’t take pictures inside so I only have one from the side entrance. It was a Monday morning so it was pretty dead but they usually have lots of food, music and shops. From here we walked along side the canals, past Church of Our Savior. I had no idea that Denmark is comprised largely of islands. There are so many canals in the city and just walking around is so nice, especially along Nyhavn. Nyhavn is the postcard Copenhagen with the colorful buildings and boats lining the canal. I would note that this area is so packed! It can be a little difficult to navigate with all the people so I recommend timing this well so you aren’t there during peak times. There are lots of great restaurants and cafes along here that would be so lovely to eat at. From Nyhavn we headed along the water towards the mermaid statue. Honestly this is not very worth it. It is very out of the way, tons of tourists are there and it is really small. I recommend just seeing it from the boat tour. There is a great view of the opera house, statue, royal houses and church along that walk though. From the mermaid we headed past the Gefion Fountain and St. Albans Church to the royal houses. The palace was burnt down several times so the royal family now lives in several houses that belong to noble families. The lutheran church is there as well so we walked through it, the ceiling is pretty cool! By this time we had walked a ton and were super hungry. We ended up walking a ton more to get to Gasoline Grill, a burger place that had been recommended to my friend. It was worth the walk! We ate in the park nearby before walking through the crown jewel palace to the botanical gardens. It was Monday so the butterfly garden was closed but we had a nice time checking out the plants and flowers. From here we walked through some nice market plazas that I definitely want to check out more when I come back. We walked through the Royal Copenhagen store (very beautiful but expensive tableware) and then had coffees at the top of the Illum, enjoying nice views of the city. We ran a couple of errands before heading back to Hellerup. Dinner was another traditional meal of Frikadeller and then we watched the world cup semi-finals.

Slide1Day 3- We took a train to Hillerød in the morning to visit Fredriksborg Castle. This was by far the most beautiful castle I have ever seen. There are such beautiful views from the town so we stopped there for some pictures. There are also some cafes there that would be fun to try! You walk across a bridge to get into the courtyard where there is a beautiful fountain. Originally we weren’t sure if we were going to get tickets to go in or just explore the courtyard and gardens. We ended up getting tickets and I am so glad we did. The interior was incredible. I was especially impressed by the ceilings and chandeliers (so ornate!). My other highlight was the church (yes inside the castle). We hopped on a tour for a bit before exploring by ourselves for a while. I cannot imagine only one family living in a place that big. We walked around the grounds next, which we just as amazing. The crown emblem is literally carved out of a hedge on either side of the canal that runs from the water fountains. We walked out the other side of the garden and though the other side of town to the train station.

Slide1Day 4- We headed out early to pick up my sister, Meghan, from the airport (she came on a 8:15am flight from Stockholm). Meghan and I ate some food before heading to Helsingor for some more castle adventures. This town is definitely worth a visit whether or not you decide to see the castle. There is also a maritime museum and some interesting things. The castle was costs around 120 krone and neither of us were dying to see it so we chose to skip the castle and just walk around it and down the shore. I am pretty sure this was the home of a noble family so it is not nearly as big as the Fredriksborg castle but it is right up against the sea which was very cool! After walking around the castle we headed back through the town, exploring, taking pictures and hitting up a thrift shop. We hopped on a bus to Humlebaek. This stop is worth it if you want to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, none of the exhibits caught my eye at the time so instead of going in we walked along the rocky beach and then up along the street (the house and gardens are all very nice).

Slide1Day 5- I took my sister into Copenhagen so she could see everything. We did some shopping along the main streets and walked around for a while. For lunch we went to Dalle Valle which is an affordable buffet that has lots of danish options. After lunch we walked to Nyhavn for a boat tour of the city. I highly recommend seeing the city via boat. They take you along the canals and point out all the important landmarks and the history in both Danish and English. We went with Netto boat tours which was 50 krone per person.

Slide1Day 6- We went back into the city with the sole purpose of reserving our train tickets to Germany. If you need to make reservations or get international tickets in Copenhagen make sure you leave a lot of time because we spent at least an hour just waiting for our turn. We then grabbed a bite to eat outside of Tivoli and then walked back through the city. We were pretty tired by that point so decided to head back to Hellerup to get packed up. We walked down to the Hellerup beach for a swim because it was very hot and sunny. The water was even better than the first day! Our last little adventure involved a very long walk to University of Copenhagen for my friend’s BBQ. It was so much fun! Lots of dancing, drinks and good food.Slide1

This part of my trip was truly amazing. I love love love the city of Copenhagen and it was so incredible to see my friend again!

Erin

Winter Boots

Hello lovely people! This winter I am doing several posts on warm weather dressing and today I am highlighting my favorite winter boots. Christmas is the perfect time to ask for a solid pair of boots to last you through winter. I own almost all of the pairs that I am suggesting and have been able to use them in a variety of conditions. There are lots of options out there but these are the ones that I have had great experiences with. I use comfort, durability, quality etc… to determine how worth it a boot is. This is something that I highly recommending investing in.

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Bean Boots: I can’t possibly do a post on boots without including those classic bean boots. These have so many pros. If you are looking for one boot that is probably the most versatile and comfortable than L.L. Bean is your best bet. They are very comfortable and not to big or clunky. They also have that rubber sole and shoe which makes them great for rain, snow, sleet, mud and everything else that could possibly come your way. There is one down side to them and that is if you do not wear thick socks they can be pretty cold. If this is a big factor for you I highly recommend the shearling-lined Bean boots which I have heard great things about. Bean boots are just overall great shoe’s that can be worn in every season.

Sorel: These are the best for severe weather and lots of snow. I have a pair that I wear pretty much only when it snows a lot. This is not the boot to get if you don’t get very much weather. They are pretty heavy and much bigger. They are however wonderful boots. They are incredibly warm and comfortable.

Hunter: If you use them as winter boots than make sure to get some sock liners. They are a great option for snow and mud but are very cold without liners. There are actually quite a few good options so I highly recommend perusing the website and finding some reviews on different styles. Right now I have been looking at the adjustable ones. Also certain colors often go on sale at the end of a season, especially from other sellers such as Nordstrom Rack.

J. Crew Nordic Boots: So this is the one I have not actually bought myself yet. I have been contemplating it for a while however I do have several pairs of boots already so I am not sure I need them. I include them because they are another great option for warm and good tread in the winter. I think they look great as well! The lining these have is probably the warmest on this list.

Sperry Duck Boot: Sperry has some very similar options as L.L. Bean however the version I really like is their wool ones. I don’t have to wear thick socks and they are still light and easy to walk in. The wool on the one I linked is plaid which just adds something extra. Here is their classic version.

Another popular choice is Ugg for winter boots however I am not including them since my personal experience with them has not been great. Maybe the model has improved but I did not like how they did not have great waterproof options. My feet ended up getting wet many times when there was lots of snow. Also the tread was very poor and that is really difficult for lots of walking and hiking. So this could be a good option if you don’t need tread and it is not very wet (they are super warm).

As you might have noticed, all of my recommendations are pretty classic and well-known companies. I do think that as far as winter boots go they are well-known for good reason and truly worth it. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any recommendations for great winter boots!

Erin

Gift Guide for Everyone

There are so many gift guides out there right now and it can be pretty overwhelming so I decided to go about it a little differently this year. Several weeks ago a blogger asked for input on what gift guides people wanted to see. This got me thinking about gifts and how I actually had most of my gifts planned out already for the people close to me. I always struggle with gifts for people I need to get things for but may not know so well. This could be a friend, in-laws, family members etc… I wrote this as a suggestion but decided it would be a great challenge for me as well. So this is my gift guide for pretty much anyone. I tried to choose things that I feel are either fun and unique or could be useful to almost anyone. I am doing my categories by price and will round up 10 items in each price range. Note that I tried to link cheaper items in all categories for options.

 

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1. iPhone Lens Kit: There are some fun lenses out there these days that add something new to iPhone photography. I actually have a set myself and my favorite one is definitely the macro. It is crazy how much detail you can see. Here is another set and there is this pink one too.

2. A Big Candle: You can actually end up spending a decent amount of money on candles. The prices vary hugely. I like the Bath & Body Works collection because they are cheaper but still have great smells. Holiday smells are often big hits with everyone. For subtler scents go for ‘winter’ or ‘fresh balsam’. I personally love the smell of any pine tree.

3. Fun Ice Cube Trays: This is such an easy one. My parents have several different ones and it makes drink making so much more fun (dachshundsemojisducks).

4. Himalayan Pink Salt: You can use Himalayan salt in lots of ways. It is often an item that people don’t really buy for themselves but enjoy having and using. This is a great option since it comes with a grater set up. It is great condiment to have around!

5. Board Games: This is the best present for any family. You do have to gauge ages with this one but you can’t really go wrong here either. Even if it is not right away, it will get played at some point.

6. Cheese Knives: This is an excellent gift for the hostess. Prices really vary so you can go as nice as you want with them. I like finding ones that are a bit more fun.

7. Winter Hat: There are so many options out there for this one at all price ranges as well. Patagonia is a great option but it is a bit pricier (they are an incredible company and so worth it though). Here is a great option for men.

8. Tea/Coffee: This is a great gift especially if you are coming from out of town. Giving someone some coffee or tea from where you live can be a great way to connect. It also lasts forever which is a major plus. The Celestial Seasoning Factory is very close to where I live so I almost always bring back tea and mugs for my friends.

9. Moose Munch: This stuff is heaven. You are bound to make anyone’s day with the delicious popcorn from Henry & David (in general they have great gift options for everyone). It is so good I want it for myself!

10. Herb Growing Kit: This is one of my favorite gifts I have ever received. It is a great way to grow your own herbs inside (probably not for the big gardener).

 

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1. Honey Jar: Most people often do not already have a honey jar which is why it can be a good gift. It is one of those things which used to be in every household and is not anymore but brings some fun into any kitchen ( I also love this one but it is over $100; here is one under $25).

2. Fun Socks (KJP): This is a great gift because everyone needs warm socks. I love patterns that are a little more interesting like KJP’s new collection but if you really don’t know someone’s style go for something simple and quality like L.L. Bean camp socks (women/men) which are under $25.

3. Plaid Scarf: This is another item that you can’t really go wrong with. When it is cold out everyone needs a nice scarf. Darker plaids usually go across better especially for men (if it is not something they usually wear). If you need a nice gift I highly recommend a cashmere scarf because there so soft and great quality but they are pricier (under $100Burberrymen).

4. A Fun Water bottle: Water bottles are just things that people always need. It can be fun to get something a little more interesting and of great quality. I linked a S’well bottle but there are so many great companies. I love my Lifefactory glass one (the straw is great). There are also Hydro Flasks and Nalgenes (the cheapest option).

5. A Marble Cheese Board: Cheese Boards are great as gifts because it is again not something people often get for themselves but are great to have. This one is monogramed and from Anthropologie. This is definitely an item you could end up spending a lot more on though.

6. Fun Salt & Pepper Shakers: These animal shakers are just so adorable. There are so many fun ones out there that would make such great gifts. This is a cute avocado shaker and here are some Colorado skiers just for fun (I really love this one but it is much pricier).

7. A Fun Plant: I linked a bonsai because it is something I always thought would be fun to have. Also orchids are a great options but prices can vary a lot. For a maintenance plant I highly recommend a succulent. They are also very affordable!

8. Slipper Socks: The perfect gift for lounging around. There is pretty much no one who doesn’t need some super comfy, thick socks. There are lots of options out there including these for a great price.

9. Holiday Pajama Sets: There are lots of options for this fun gift. Getting ones for a whole family would be so fun! There is a great selection for that at Target.

10. Advent Calender: This is often associated with kids but there are so many fun ones out there these days for all ages. This could make the perfect gift, giving people something small every day until Christmas (or after). Here is a great compilation of different advent calendars.

 

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1. Pendleton Throw: Throws in general are great gifts because they are so useful. It is something you can almost guaranty will be used. Blacks, whites and grey are colors to stick to if you don’t know someones house very well. There is also this option which is also Pendleton but under $50.

2. National Parks Pass: I saw this on REI’s gift guide and thought it was such an amazing idea. What better gift than to give a family some beautiful places to go together. It might depend a little on where they live/their lifestyle but I think it is such a great idea. It could motivate friends to plan a trip and get outside.

3. Poloroid Camera: This is also one of the greatest gifts I received. It was a complete surprise and has been such a fun thing to have around at parties and on trips.

4. A Box Set of Classic Books: Whether you know someone is a reader or not this can be a great gift because it is such a beautiful decoration and can be read. There are lots of options for different books in different age ranges.

5. Water Garden: I just found this several days ago and think it is such a great idea. This one might not be for everyone but it is a fun way of having a fish and also grow some herbs for your kitchen.

6. Nice Headphones: I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use an pair of headphones, especially nice ones. They are so easy to break and loose that I am always trying to find new ones. Of anything on this list this is the one that would likely get used the most.

7. Multi-Tool: I feel like this is one of those things that now days many people don’t really have them or don’t know they need one. In college mine was so useful because I didn’t have a tool kit so I used it for when things needed fixing (so many times).

8. Polarized Sunglasses: Again this is something everyone could use. They are so useful and if polarized they are great for any outdoor activity.

9. Faux Fur Throw: I talked about throws above and how great they are as gifts. I wanted to include another in this guid because faux fur can be such an amazing home addition. It is so cozy and takes any living room to the next level.

10. A Cozy Crew Neck: There are some fun crew neck sweaters out there. I think they are so great an comfortable for an gender and any age. Right now I am loving the KJP ones but there are lots of options.

I hope this was useful and got those gift ideas flowing. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Erin

Life Update

So I decided to change up my plans for this Friday’s post and do a little life update. I have been in a place of real flux lately and next week a lot is going to change. I am going back home on Wednesday and I am super excited about it. I love Colorado so much and I couldn’t be more excited to go back to the mountains. I have still not made a whole lot of progress on my long term goals and plan but I have decided that the next several months will be spent with my family and working on several projects. I am also going to do some serious thinking and planning about my future and where I want to go from here.

I have struggled a lot over the past six months because I have been feeling some major pressures about where I should be going and how I should use my degree. This all has really clouded my own goals and what I am passionate about so I need to take the time to think about what I want to spend my time and energy on. I am really loving blogging and taking photographs right now so I am hoping with this time home I will have time to focus on that.

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Blouse similar, Pants Macy’s, Booties Sole Society, Earrings Rocksbox

Anyways, I am feeling really good about going back to Colorado right now and I am excited to see where this next journey takes me. Happy Friday and have a lovely weekend! Stay warm!

Erin

3 Beautiful U.S. Backpacking Locations

Happy Friday! This is definitely one of those weeks in which the weekend couldn’t come fast enough. I really need to get some more sleep this weekend and do some organizational things to get me ready for the next month of craziness.

I really wanted to continue adding a couple more posts on backpacking so I decided to write this one on some of my absolute favorite locations around the US. I am going to list three states however in my descriptions I actually explain exactly where within the state I recommend doing some backpacking (or at least hiking).

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Colorado: I am very biased since I am from Colorado but I absolutely love it. There are so many beautiful places to hike that this was by far the hardest to choose one backpacking location. Maroon Bells is a beautiful area and many people recommend a trip there, however I am going to talk about the Steamboat area (Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area) since I have personally had the most experience here. It is a very beautiful area and the perfect place to go to get away from the crowds. I have usually gone in August and rarely see other people/groups on the trails. The views are truly breathtaking and the lakes are freezing but clear and beautiful. I recommend getting on the continental divide and taking a route either north or south. This allows you to stay high and enjoy those views. The downside to this area is that it is very high in elevation and you have to gain a lot of elevation in the first couple days in order to get onto that trail (be cautious if you are from out of state or are not experience.

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Virginia: Western Virginia was the first place I ever backpacked. The Appalachian mountains are absolutely beautiful, so basically the entire tri-state area (North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee). I include this location because the fall foliage is definitely a highlight of any place I have ever been. Mid to late October is the ideal time to enjoy the prettiest trees in the US. I just picture walking up a mountain covered in reds, oranges and yellows and it makes me so happy! The mountainous landscape combined with the perfect colors makes for an amazing experience. This is definitely the most accessible location. There are trails everyone can do and you can go for however long you want. Just doing a day on the Appalachian Trail is very worth it!

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Utah: Although I am from Colorado and hold it very dear to my heart, Utah is my favorite place to hike. There are so many incredible national parks and landscapes and features I couldn’t have ever imagined. As far as backpacking goes, I have done several longer trips in the Uinta wilderness, which is a east/west mountain range. It is very beautiful but can be quite a challenge as there are many passes and peaks that you must climb in order to reach some of the pristine lakes and trails. There are some more populated areas with great fishing, shorter trails and interesting rock features (eg. Red Castle lake). I highly recommend this area! For a shorter trip (but pretty challenging) climb Kings Peak, the highest mountain in Utah. The last mile to the summit requires you to boulder the entire way, so allow for extra time!

Thanks for reading!

Erin