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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

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Holiday Outfit Inspiration

Merry Christmas! I can’t believe it is already that time of year. Where has December gone? I wanted to get this post up before Christmas since my life is going to get even crazier starting tomorrow (if that is possible). I really love dressing up so I wanted to do a holiday outfit inspiration post. These are the five outfits that I have been wearing for the past week and that I will continue to wear at least through New Year’s. I love plaid but did not feature it too much since I usually wear the most plaid leading up to Christmas. I did want to give you all some ideas for ringing in 2020.

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I feel like dark green and blackwatch plaid carry through January since they are a little more muted! Blackwatch skirt old Pendleton (similar), blazer similar (another option that is on sale), headband Nordstrom Rack (I could not find the exact color online but they might still have it in store, I was there over the weekend and they still had lots of them), heels Nordstrom (on super sale!).

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I did have to include at least one other plaid in here. I wasn’t very sure about this skirt in the beginning but I love it! Plaid skirt J. Crew Factory, t-shirt Everlane (I actually planned to wear a black turtleneck with this but somehow it did not make it into my bag), heels Nordstrom.

A0EB8E59-FE58-47C7-BCF9-F1DCE4C1B2F61E32FF9D-EC6D-4090-B7CF-B3808EBC5346 I had to include this Gal Meets Glam dress (similar from the most recent collection) since it is so perfect for New Years! I also just think Gal Meets Glam has great dressier options (here is another great one). Jacket is Mark and Graham and shoes are Nordstrom.

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I think this is my favorite outfit of them all! It is also not very holiday specific so it could work through spring. Blouse is topshop, shoes are Sam Edelman, earrings are J. Crew Factory, bag is Kate Spade (similar color), sunglasses Karen Walker and I actually borrowed the pants from my sister but originally planned on wearing black leggings or a skirt with this.

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Okay my last outfit just has to be this plaid KJP dress (their cable knit dresses would be great for the rest of winter). It is so comfortable and perfect for this time of year. I paired it with some KJP socks and Bean boots but I also wore it at Thanksgiving with tights and riding boots.

Have a wonderful holiday!

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

Brief Update

Okay since I have been pretty much MIA on both my blog and on Instagram I thought I would do a little life update post. I will get back on my Week in the Life post later this week and give a full rundown on what has been going on. There are several reasons for the hiatus. November was a very full month with lots of work and lots of fun. We drove to my parent’s house in Boulder for Thanksgiving week which was so much fun but crazy. Leading up to that was so busy because I was teaching my last classes and finishing as much as I could.

Since getting back to Utah I have another big push to the end of the semester. There is a lot to get finished before the year ends. So last week was tough. We also have had quite a few holiday parties and other events that have made the past week crazy. The biggest reason for all the craziness is… we got a puppy! Yep it is totally insane but I am loving it. She is almost ten weeks and can be quite a handful. It is a long story but an unexpected situation came up and we decided to go for it. Her name is Hazel and she is the most adorable little thing. Yep she also has an Instagram because I know I won’t be able to resist all the puppy pictures.

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So much time and energy goes into little Hazel and I definitely did not expect it to this degree. Overall though it has been great and she is amazing! I will have lots more to come on this but just wanted to give a quick update!

Erin

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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

Transition to Winter

I don’t know about you but the transition from fall to winter seems much more natural than from summer to fall. It is probably because it starts to get colder so I just naturally start wearing warmer winter clothing. Also I think the holidays play a big role in a smooth transition. Halloween ends October and Thanksgiving follows in November. After Thanksgiving the hype for Christmas really starts. I still wanted to share some outfits that have been great for transitioning into the colder weather. Here in Utah we have already had a couple of snow storms and lots of cold weather so I am really feeling the winter vibes.

Outfit #1: For all of these outfits I really embrace fall tones while wearing warmer things like thicker coats. For this first outfit I also wore brown plaid Sperry boots which are perfect for those fall snow storms. In general plaids are good options for fall to winter transitions plus its around the holidays so it fits well!

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Coat similar, scarf similar, fleece Dudley Stephens, boots old Sperry (similar)

Outfit #2: L.L. Bean has such great fall and winter options. I have several plaid shirts from them and recently got this amazing vest that is perfect for this time of year. Bean boots are also great for the wet snow! I have both the mocs and the 8″ boots.

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Shirt L.L. Bean, vest L.L. Bean, shoes L.L. Bean mocs, coat Mark & Graham

Outfit #3: This last outfit was an easy one for work and the plaid blazer and brown teddy coat bring more fall vibes. I am not at all opposed to black though and embraced a black scarf and pants. The sneakers also make it a little less wintery.

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Blazer 1.STATE (similar), jacket last year Atlantic-Pacific (similar, another option), pants NYDJ (probably my favorite pants ever), sneakers Adidas, scarf similar

Let me know if you have any good ideas for transitioning outfits into winter. Thanks for reading!

Erin

October Books

This post is definitely a week late and I am so sorry about that. Honduras ended up being a little too busy to keep up with my posts. I also really have not been keeping up with my reading lately. Usually I listen to way more audiobooks so I am able to get more in during each month but for some reason I haven’t been listening to any lately. I only have three books to share from October!

The Royal Runaway (3/5 stars): I am a sucker for any book that revolves around royals so this one drew me in. Overall it was a fun story but for some reason it fell a little flat for me. I really don’t know why as I was really into it the whole time but I guess I wasn’t sure how I liked the ending. If you like books about royal romances I definitely still recommend it.

Upstairs at the White House (4/5 starts): This is the account of J.B. West who was the chief usher of the white house for decades. He went through many administrations and worked very closely with many first ladies. I found it so interesting and I learned a lot. Each lady was so different and had their own priorities as a first lady and as a person. This was the first book I finished on my kindle in a while and I did think it was a good one to read as an ebook. It is so fascinating!

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (4/5 stars): This is such a unique and interesting murder mystery. I gave it 4 stars as opposed to 5 because it took me at least 100 pages to get into and I still am not sure how I feel about the ending but overall I do highly recommend it. I have never read a murder mystery quite like it and I love mysteries. I don’t want to give to much away but this man has eight days to solve a murder and each day he wakes up as someone else.

Let me know what you have been reading recently!

Erin

Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas

Wow it is already mid November. I feel like this year is just flying by. Since Thanksgiving is coming up I wanted to share some of my favorite outfits for the holiday. I did also rounded up some dresses that I am loving that would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Also this navy jacket looks fun for the holiday!

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Bow dressvelvet dress, plaid dresspink dressknit dressblack dress (also this Reformation dress is beautiful!)

Outfit #1: The Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific collection has a great collection for holiday pieces. I love all the plaids, bows and fun prints.

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Dress Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific (on sale right now), boots Tory Burch (similar, Tory Burch will release another similar style next year), sunglasses Karen Walker

Outfit #2: It is kind of hard to see but this navy plaid dress is a great thanksgiving option. I am really into belting dresses right now so I added one here and some fun tights and brown boots.

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Dress last year Zara (similar), belt Madewell, blazer Leith, tights Commando, boots Sam Edelman, bag Kate Spade

Outfit #3: This was my Thanksgiving outfit last year and I still love it and would wear it again. Clearly plaid is a go-to for this time of year for me.

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Skirt J. Crew Factory, sweater last year Halogen x Atlantic Pacific (similar), scarf vintage Hermés, boots similar

Thanks for reading and have a great Tuesday!

Erin