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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for stopping by and I apologize for the long and very puppy-filled post!
I have been so work focused this week that I honestly can’t really think of what I have been up to on specific days. That is definitely not a good thing and is reminding me to balance more. I basically went to work around 8:00am everyday, came home around 4:00pm and worked from home until I needed to sleep. Yeah it seems a little crazy and it was but I have a bunch going on right now and am definitely feeling the pressure. Oh yeah I also have not fully recovered from being sick so when I was not working I have just felt so tired and have needed to sleep way more than usual.
On Thursday evening we did go to a pumpkin patch to find pumpkins to carve today. It was a big bummer though because there was basically nothing good left so we ended up getting a couple from Walmart.
We did make Trader Joe’s mushroom ravioli for dinner last night and it was amazing. I love all their ravioli but this might be my favorite. It is in the frozen section and you heat it up in a saucepan. I am also 100% obsessed with their Harvest pasta sauce.
Kate’s Style Guide. Just love this. Kate Middleton is definitely a style icon of mine and I love that Lauren is sharing her best looks and giving similar options for all price ranges.
Fashion industry climate report. This is a great article bringing light to how companies are actually reaching goals and committing to change. It did make me really sad that Nordstrom is so low. They have great features on their website that allow you to shop sustainably but if they aren’t trying to change things it makes me disappointed.
Watching: I have been a little all over the place with show and have not been watching very much. Yesterday I did start re-watching The 100. It is a classic apocalyptic show and I love it. We also did watch all the Halloweentown movies last weekend. They are a definitely must every October. Totally nostalgic and perfect for Halloween (plus they are kid friendly!).
Instagram: Rachel Martino is absolutely killing it on the Halloween Instagram game. Her costumes and recreations are so amazing and have been even more excited for Halloween.
The past couple of weeks have been crazy. I worked a ton during July and had a conference from the 23rd until the 29th in Snowbird, Utah. I went down a day early to hang out with my high school friend who was visiting from Denver. We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Salt Lake so that we could be close to everything and it has an outdoor pool. We had a great time just laying out by the pool, reading, chatting and relaxing. I needed that day so much! We ate at a delicious vegan restaurant called Zest which had amazing gluten-free, vegan pizza and other yummy appetizers. For dessert we headed to Capo Gelateria Italiana for gelato.
I headed up to Snowbird for the conference the next day. It is so beautiful up there! Seriously though I highly recommending either going up during ski season or hiking during the summer. It is just the resort and the mountains and although I didn’t really expect it to be that isolated, I really liked it. I did not have a ton of time to explore since I was at sessions most of the time but I did go to many of the restaurants up there and I managed to squeeze in a trip of the tram to the top of the mountain. The views were so beautiful and I loved just having some time to myself to walk around. Also I saw a moose!
The conference in general was amazing and I met some really incredible people. The best part of attending conferences is definitely the opportunity to network and find interesting people. My experience was dampened by some news from home which I won’t go to into in this post but it did effect my ability to be present and really take advantage of every opportunity available.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hope you had a nice, relaxing February. Its already almost March, so crazy!
I am a little later than I had hoped for this, but I wanted to do the same thing as last year and review 2018 in photos (here is the link to 2017’s year in pictures). I think this is such a fun way to look back on the year and remember all that has happened. I will sat that 2018 was filled with more challenges than 2017 but there were also some major life changes and fun adventures. I hope to do a bigger reflection post on this in the future but for now, here was my year in pictures:
I am so thankful for all the opportunities I had in 2018 and for all the people who have been in my life (and who I met!). I look forward to continuing to grow and challenge myself in 2019.
Aside from skiing, my favorite holiday activity is definitely playing board games. Games are a great way to bring people together and just have some fun. It can also be a good activity that doesn’t bring up any controversial issues at family events (make sure you choose your games wisely though). There are so many games out there these days so choosing a good one can be tough. Here I have compiled my favorites for the holiday season. All are great for larger groups and the level of competition varies from collaborative (Forbidden Island) to fairly competitive (Sushi Go!). I also threw in Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme? which are both hilarious card games for adults (great for dinner parties and gatherings with friends).
Sushi Go!: I love this one because you can play with anywhere from 2 to 8 people. It involves both strategy and luck and can be on the more competitive side but is still super fun. The game changes quite a bit with numbers but that is part of the fun! It is a very fast paced game that can be difficult to learn but is quick once you get the hang of it. I recommend getting Sushi Go Party because it allows for many different variations of the game.
Settlers of Catan: This is a fun strategy game that is fairly easy to learn. The draw back of this one is that you can only have 4 players and it can take a while. Play is generally slower and moves take more careful, thought and strategy.
Forbidden Island/Desert: Both of these are fun collaborative games that require everyone to work together in order to win. They are harder to learn because there are lots of things happening and different players have different rules associated with them. There are player limits which can be a downside and it takes on average around 30 minutes to play a game. This is a great option if games easily cause too much competition. As a side note this is one of my favorite games of all time!
Balderdash: I was very reluctant to play this game but when I finally decided to play it ended up being super fun. It is a great way to really get people out of their comfort zones. It is all about improvising and making up words or stories for obscure words. Game play is longer but is not difficult to learn!
Clue: Forever a classic but I had to include it because it is another one of my all time favorite games. There is a lot of suspense and it can be competitive but I think it is generally very fun and pretty easy to learn.
Hedbanz: This is a fun one for large groups of people. There are lots of different versions (I really like some of the apps as well), it is fun way to laugh with everyone. It is also a great way to get everyone to loosen up and have fun. Game play per round is relatively short (depending on how fast people guess) but you can play for as long as you like.
Boggle: Boggle is such a fun word game! There are lots of app versions but the physical Boggle game can be a fun way to get everyone to participate. It is super easy to learn, easy to play and each round is short. I am very excited to try Big Boggle!
Telestrations: This might be my number one pick for family games. It requires little instruction and can be easily played with all generations and still be hilarious. It is kind of like the telephone game (where you whisper a word/phrase and it goes around the circle) but you are interpreting your neighbors interpretation of a statement or drawing. You do have to be able to write and draw so its not for younger kids.
Cards Against Humanity: I probably don’t have to say much about this one. Most people are at least semi-familiar with this hysterical game. I would say the family friendly edition is Apples to Apples (this is definitely for adults).
What do you meme?: This one is actually very new to me but I am convinced that it is the best game for large groups of people. It is very similar to Cards Against Humanity but you are captioning a population meme. Seriously, so so funny. While it is great for friends, I am not sure it would be the best for families (different generations).
I hope you enjoyed this list and it gave you some ideas for what to do over the holidays! Let me know if you have any good ones that I missed!
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.
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.
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.
Although I love fall, I am just as psyched about winter this year! I absolutely love the snow and everything that comes with it. Wintery days by the fire, holiday cheer and the new year! There are also so many fun things to do in the winter. It is strange because technically winter does not start for another week but we have had snow in Utah for several months now!
There are so many things to do this winter. I have so much planned for the holidays and then a busy spring semester starting in January!
This month has been a crazy one so far. I am still in such a place of transition, attempting to find my way and figure out my next steps in life. I almost definitely will be attending graduate school next year and am in the process of making some big decisions in that regard. I have been able to do tons of reading and have loved getting caught up on all the current books. I loved both the book Big Little Lies as well as the TV show, although I did not love the way the TV show did the ending (I know they are trying to set up for a second season). Anyways, here are some things that have been on my mind lately:
Hunter for Target: I have had this marked in my calendar for the last month and was so excited when it launched on Saturday. I will start my saying it definitely will not be as high quality as Hunter, which is why I was a little surprised to hear about this collaboration in the first place. Hunter has always been about quality and while I love Target, it definitely is not normally a place to buy high quality items. Women’s tall rain boots were delayed but they have some great items. I love their kids items. They are all so cute, plus kids grow so fast that having a cheaper option for rain gear is great! I bought the yellow rain jacket which I absolutely love. I also got the bubble umbrella in pink, which is so cute. It doesn’t rain a ton where I live so I have been really wanting something cute but I don’t really need to splurge on quality since I rarely use it. I do have a nice North Face rain jacket for hiking and backpacking trips but wanted something for day use around town. I am also eying this sweatshirt. I tried it on in store and it is so flattering!
Friendships: This year one of my goals has been to focus on friendships. It can take so much time and effort to maintain relationships once they are no longer part of school or work. Since I graduated last year I have started to realize just how much more you have to work when it is not already worked into your daily schedule. Although I was already well aware of the things on this list, it served as a good reminder to reassess my goals and put some extra effort into my friendships, especially while I have the time to do so.
The Simple Sophisticate Podcast Episode: I loved last week’s podcast episode from the Simple Sophisticate. It was an interview with M.L. Longworth and I am so excited to read her books. I also just really enjoyed hearing about France from her. She also talked about some great summer sandals that am very curious about.
Get Better Mindset Talk: My dad sent me this talk a few weeks a go and I didn’t get around to it until yesterday. It is all about the mindsets most people have and how they revolve around being good and proving ourselves. Hedi Grant Halverston introduces the “Get Better” mindset as an alternative to the “Be Good” mindset. I found it to be useful and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.