The Unpretentious Reader

weekend things

Weekend things


I have a confession.

I’m having a REALLY HARD TIME adjusting to being back in the real world, AKA not Kauai. Whomp, whomp. I know you’re all sick of me. But I am back, and all week I’ve been fighting what feels like a cold. It’s probably not helping that I’ve been staying up late every night, either watching Bates Motel (new obsession) or playing No Man’s Sky (even bigger new obsession). So I guess the lack of sleep is my own fault, but hey. Whatcha gonna do.

In other news, here’s what I read over the past few weeks:

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this podcast interview with Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show. A much more serious, less jokey Noah talks race, politics, and the current election. The below quote in particular was fantastic, but the entire interview is worth a listen.

Regarding presidential candidates: “Yet in America, there’s, would you have a beer with this person, can they eat my food, can they make me like them. I care less about what they are planning to do, I care more about how they feel and how they make me feel about them. And that is a very dangerous place to be in, because essentially, America is electing a mascot and not a president.

This keeps happening and we keep being surprised, somehow: “The Justice Department’s incredibly damning report on Baltimore police, explained

Dying. This is how I always feel at yoga class. So good: “What the women from my beginners’ dance class definitely said about me after I left

A long but incredibly worthwhile read: My four months as a private prison guard. I’m glad to hear the Justice Department has decided to end the use of private prisons. When your priority as a company is to make a profit, and your products are human beings, guess who suffers?

How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet. “…the Internet’s personality has changed. Once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information. Now, if you need help improving your upload speeds the web is eager to help with technical details, but if you tell it you’re struggling with depression it will try to goad you into killing yourself.”

Weekend things

Kalalau Trail, 2014

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, 2014

Hey hey! I’m in total vacation mode even though I’ve got three days of work left before leaving for Hawaii. Since Danny’s been in school, we try to take a vacation every August (his longest break between semesters) and I’m so looking forward to a week of relaxing and exploring the beautiful island of Kauai. Ok, FINE, I’ll stop talking about it. Posting might be sporadic for 1-2 weeks since, you know, I’ll probably be too busy lounging on the beach to blog! Ok I’m done this time, for real. 😉

It’s becoming a little more real as each day passes by that we’re on the final stretch of this school journey, and I couldn’t be more ready. Going back to college for a STEM degree when you’re in your 30s and married looks a lot different than when you’re 18 and living at home, and by different I mean substantially harder. It’s crazy to imagine that a year from now, I don’t know what we’ll be doing, but school won’t be part of the equation (at least for now – who knows what the future holds). I’m excited for what’s to come – whatever that may be!

And now, the many things I read this week…

This piece on self-judgment and inability to take a compliment really hit home.

Op-ed: Trump reflects white male fragility. Agreed.

I’ve got about six hours left to listen to of The Wise Man’s Fear (a 42+ hour book!), so I enjoyed reading this interview with the author, Patrick Rothfuss.

After finishing this book last week, I stumbled across this essay and immediately felt compelled to share. “‘She’s not even that fat!’ But I am.

Ever since discovering Donald and Hobbes, I can’t stop laughing/crying on the inside. So good.

President Obama on feminism. Loved this!

Happy weekend!

Weekend things


Well, it finally happened…I turned 30 on Saturday! Pictured above was my dinner (that’s chimichurri on the steak…SO good). It was a lovely day filled with breakfast at Ruth’s Diner, the climbing gym, a massage and pedicure, then dinner, dessert, and watching Star Wars with good friends. It was the perfect way to ring in a new decade of life.

While returning some clothes to Kohl’s today, I inadvertently found myself in the awkward position of emotional support listener to the poor cashier girl. There wasn’t another customer (or employee, for that matter) for miles, and before I knew it I was hearing about how exhausted she was because she’d stayed up late fighting with her boyfriend last night because her boyfriend just doesn’t understand her problems and cares more about his own feelings than hers and she’s stuck in a dead end job but she has a communications degree but can’t find a job in that field and …. by this point I’d backed up a good 10 feet because she’d already finished my return ages ago and given me my receipt, and despite every clear social sign that I was ready to leave, she kept talking. So I listened.

Sometimes I think we’re all just so desperate for someone to listen to and understand us. I couldn’t tell that girl whatever it was she needed to hear, but I listened and wished her good luck. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

In other news…here’s what caught my eye online this week:

From one of my favorite female travel bloggers: The world is not safe – but you should explore it anyway.

Like the rest of the country, we ferociously consumed Netflix’s Stranger Things and I already can’t wait for the second season. So I found this article to be pretty interesting: The stories behind Stranger Things’ Retro ’80s Props.

And there was much rejoicing: new Gilmore Girls trailer!

Speaking of new trailers… M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming film looks CHILLING.

As someone who despises brainstorming in a group office setting, this research gives me hope. “As companies all over the country adopted the method, psychologists started to wonder: Does brainstorming actually work? Many scientific studies later, they had their answer: a resounding no. Study after study found that people who use this group technique produce fewer good ideas than those who ideate alone.” Brainstorming is dumb.

My friend Stef is one of those creative people who is good at EVERYTHING (seriously – check out her work). Her latest creation is this song, titled Ebb and Flow, and it’s so good.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Weekend things


How has your weekend been? Utah has a state holiday called “Pioneer Day” this weekend which means we get an extra day off work! Hallelujah. Except that Utah people really love their fireworks, which let me tell you, reaches several levels above annoying when it’s almost midnight and they’re still going strong. Trying not to be that person who calls the cops but HEY, SOMEBODY’S GOTTA DO IT.

We spent our Saturday in the Uintas National Forest and found the perfect place to climb in the shade. Afterwards, we came home and I played Minecraft for too many hours. It’s not a complete waste of time if you’re also listening to an audiobook while playing, amiright?

Here’s what caught my eye on the web this week…. does anyone even call it the web anymore? Maybe I’ll start calling it the “internet webs” like the Chewbacca lady.

I’d love to one day have a garden where we can start to grow our own food. Even more so after reading this, because apparently everything we love to eat is a scam.

This post is everything. Donald Trump’s nomination is the first time American politics has left me truly afraid.

Dude. Food art is my favorite kind of art. Dying over these cheese platters!

This entire article is 100% worth your time. What it’s like to be black in Naperville, America.

I’ve been thinking this for a while now. Our brains weren’t designed for this much bad news.

Here’s to another week – hope it’s a great one!

Weekend things

Sunset Peak trail

Heading back down the trail from Sunset Peak.

Here we are, at the end of another weekend. It’s true what adults say when you’re a kid; time flies when you get older. All you can do is try to live life to its fullest as it literally rushes past you. Ha.

This week our diet was in complete shambles. Does that ever happen to anyone else? We actually had food to cook, meals that were planned, but for whatever reason I just couldn’t face the kitchen this week. So, we ordered pizza twice (delivered by the same girl, who you know was judging us), ate cheese quesadillas one night, and even – I’m ashamed to admit – ordered from the McDonald’s drive-thru. I don’t know what the deal was, but we are getting back on the straight and narrow this week (says the person who just ate a PB&J for breakfast).

How was your week? Danny’s birthday was yesterday, so this weekend we celebrated with fancy dinner in Park City (including duck enchiladas, gazpacho, chorizo queso, elk london broil, snow crab guacamole, and ceviche), and a nice long hike to Sunset Peak yesterday morning with friends. Between all the food and hiking, I feel like I could nap for days. We’ve also been getting pretty obsessed with few new shows on Netflix and HBO GO: Stranger Things, How to Make It in America, and The Night Of. (I’m also hooked on Girls. I can’t stop!)

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week. May I suggest you read…

An unlikely voice from the inside: “My husband is a cop. I’m tired of trying to convince my fellow liberals he’s not a monster.”

This is my absolute favorite: How to get a bikini body. (Or in other words, put your body in a bikini and take it to the beach!)

An imagined conversation with Instagram. So funny and true.

If you read nothing else, at least read this: Walking While Black.

Weekend things


Look. I’m not going to be one more white person adding to the noise about the tragedies and injustices that have occurred this week. All I’ll say is that it is possible for a person to be pro Black Lives Matter and pro police officers. The two are not mutually exclusive, and I am equally outraged and saddened at the loss of life on both sides this week. Senseless violence fueled by systemic racism and hate.

Most of us want peace. Most of us don’t want anyone to be killed.

What else is there to say? My heart is heavy.

Here’s some stuff to read.

The unfortunate reality of dry shampoo. Can’t a woman catch a break!?

This guy makes some good points.

“On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now.” This was a very, very good read.

Alton Sterling and when black lives stop mattering: a poignant essay from one of my favorite authors, Roxane Gay.

The next time someone says “all lives matter,” show them these five paragraphs.

And iPhone lovers rejoice: Apple may finally be ditching the 16GB iPhone.

This was heartwarming: police chief writes a passionate letter to fellow officers after Dallas shooting.

How to take care of yourself in the wake of traumatic shootings. Bad things have always happened, but it’s only in the last decade or so that we’ve had access to those bad things at our fingertips, in an instant. It’s tough on the mind and soul, and it’s important to remember to take care of yourself.

I hope this week is better – for all of us. <3

Weekend things


Yesterday we went exploring for new climbing routes in American Fork canyon, and as I stood on one side of the stream waiting as Danny explored the other side, it hit me all over again as it sometimes does that we are so lucky to live here. Utah has its downsides like any other state, but as I stood there listening to the water rushing by, surrounded by mountains and tall trees and the smell of wildflowers, I couldn’t remember any of them. Now if only my family lived here….it would be perfect.

I don’t know about you, but three-day weekends are my jam. We have an entire, extra day off tomorrow (I hope you do, too!) and I’m thrilled. We’ll probably go for a hike, maybe a climb, definitely try to get out of the valley and away from the fireworks (Utahns looooove their fireworks). Hope you have a happy 4th! 🙂

On the interwebs this week:

How being a good girl can be hazardous to your health. “From our earlier years we’re taught to be “good girls.” We’re told to be polite, be good, to not interrupt, to say thank you and fake appreciation even when we don’t like something, to be pleasant, not make waves, to be seen and not heard, to not question authority, not stand up for our rights, not be bossy, share when we don’t want to – the list of how we’re taught to “be good” is endless. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be decent citizens with good manners, but that’s different than not speaking up for ourselves and accepting what just feels wrong. Our inner “good girl” usually starts at home, follows us through school, and stays with us in our jobs, relationships, and business dealings.”

I found this interview with Matt Weiner, director for a particularly climactic episode of Orange Is the New Black, to be fascinating. I won’t say too much here for fear of spoilers, but if you’ve finished watching season 4, I highly recommend reading it!

Geraldine Largay’s Wrong Turn: Death on the Appalachian Trail. No words. So sad.

If you (like me and the rest of the country) obsessively followed season one of Serial, then you’ve probably heard the news that Adnan Syed was granted a new trial. Justice – or is it? What do you think? I’m interested to see how it plays out.

THIS. So much yes. “But when a man tells a woman she has to behave more sensibly to prevent risk, he never means that she should behave more sensibly around him. He retains the right to not only view himself as non-threatening to her, but also to insist that she treat him this way to avoid insulting him by association.” This is why we have women-only spaces, and why I don’t want to hear your complaints.

It’s like a particularly awful car crash…you want to look away but you can’t. In other words, I need to see this: Tickled.

Weekend things

Slow Magic performing at the Utah Arts Festival

How’s your weekend been so far? Mine has involved eating BBQ with friends, strolling through the Utah Arts Festival (awesome people watching), out-of-this-world pistachio gelato (eaten after a fruitless search for Dippin’ Dots at the festival, don’t judge me), a little bit of hiking and climbing, and grocery shopping. I can’t believe it’s already almost Monday. Super glad we have a 3-day weekend (4th of July) coming up!

With Danny in school, one of the things I’ve taken over these past few years is meal planning and cooking. Unfortunately I get bored really quickly with the same old recipes, so I have to keep it interesting, otherwise we’ll eat Domino’s multiple times a week (I’m not joking). I’m a bit envious of people who can just go to the grocery store without a plan or list and make it work. I HAVE to have my list!

It’s always interesting to me to see other people’s weekly menus, so here’s what I’m making if you’re curious:

Tonight: Asian-inspired salmon in foil, sweet potato, broccoli
Monday: Book club snacks
Tuesday: Slow cooker balsamic chicken with veggies and wild rice
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Sushi bowls
Friday: Meatless quinoa tacos
Saturday: Leftovers

Anyway, here’s what caught my eye on the internet this week:

Having just finished A Little Life, I really enjoyed reading this article: How Hanya Yanagihara Wrote A Little Life (written by the author herself). I love getting insight into authors’ writing processes.

Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors (am I allowed to say that if I haven’t read all of his books yet?), on how boredom is a writer’s best friend.

Yellowcard has been near and dear to my heart since high school. There are so few bands I can say I loved then and still love now, and Yellowcard is definitely one of them – so while I respect the band’s decision, I was pretty sad to hear this news that the album they’re currently recording will be their last. The single “Say Goodbye” that they just released is, of course, so good.

You probably won’t find this funny unless you’re a rock climber or know people who are rock climbers…but I couldn’t stop laughing at this video: How to be a rock climber. (FYI, this week I actually said the words “I’d rather be rock climbing” to someone, so yeah, I’ve turned into that person now. I’m sorry.)

I found this article to be pretty fascinating. Having worked at a book publisher and seen the rise in e-books and Amazon, I’ve wondered and worried about what the future of printed books is going to look like. Pulp Friction: If Barnes & Noble goes out of business, it’ll be a disaster for book lovers.

A win for women and society in general: New York City to provide free tampons and pads in public schools, jails, and shelters.

Sobering and alarming: We asked men how they learned about sexual consent. Their answers were predictably disturbing. We have to do better.

Weekend things

First and foremost: Happy Father’s Day to my dad! Love you lots.

I don’t think I can say anything about the Orlando tragedy that hasn’t already been said, but I am unbelievably heartbroken for the victims and victims’ families. I’m lucky enough to say that this week has been good – great, in fact. 49 people and their families are not. Think about that before you think about literally anything else.

This week we’ve been rock climbing just about every night, which is one of the new things I’ve been trying. So much of climbing is self-confidence and trust, I’m learning; it’s a total mental game. But I like it so far! Utah is such a beautiful place to live and I feel more grateful every week that we get to spend our days here (notwithstanding those awful winters). We’re a 20-minute drive to mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, and beautiful hikes. If there were a beach, it would be PARADISE. But I digress…

Rock climbing!

Stuff I read, enjoyed, and/or thought about this week:

Bo Burnham’s comedy special on Netflix was, well, unlike any comedy special I’ve ever watched. Hilarious, poignant, and weird.

This Turkish artist recreating Van Gogh pieces with art and water is mesmerizing.

Australian comedian perfectly sums up why other countries think US gun laws are crazy.

We are free to arm ourselves against any potentially tyrannical federal government and also free to watch our children bleed to death in our schools, and churches, and clubs.”

Heavy reads this week: Interview with a woman who recently had an abortion at 32 weeks.

I found this article about The Hills utterly fascinating. My friends and I were so obsessed with this show back in the day: The Hills producers finally tell us what was real and what was fake.

It’s not rocket science. British police station releases a video comparing sexual consent to serving tea to a friend.

Bunny (a.k.a. grav3yardgirl) is one of my favorite Youtubers. This recent video from her had me absolutely cracking up. World’s Weirdest Beauty Products!

Weekend things

Street corner, New Orleans

Street corner, New Orleans

Hi, how are you? It’s been a minute. I could sit here and talk about all the things I’ve been busy doing (San Diego! Cookout with friends! New Orleans! Work! Play! Reading! Book club!) and how that’s the reason I haven’t been around to blog, but hey, we all know that’s an excuse. 🙂 I don’t want this to be a place of obligation; my plan is to write when I can. So here I am.

did go to New Orleans earlier this week for a work trip, and while I was only there for a short time, the city surprised me in such a huge way. I can’t believe how much I loved it, and I now want to plan another trip out there – the food, culture, and music were unbelievably captivating. The humidity…not so much. 😉

Anyway – I started thinking I might be more motivated to blog if I had some themed posts to stick to. My friend Kelli does this and has a theme for each day (she blogs every single day!). After brainstorming, I realized some of my favorite posts to read are from bloggers who put together a list of their favorite stories, links, and finds from the previous week. I discover so many good things from these posts. And rather than share my own on Facebook, which I still do occasionally but which is also kind of like the yelling corner street preacher (no one listens unless they already agree with you), I plan to instead curate a list of links/stories/cool finds here for anyone who’s interested.

So without further ado, here’s what caught my eye on the interwebs this week.

Kristen Bell: I’m over staying silent about depression. I so appreciate what she has to say here. There is such a stigma about mental illness in our society, and it’s completely unfounded.

Until there is equal pay, rights, and representation across the board and for ALL women, I will never not support efforts such as this one. Love it: The United State of Women.

Emily Joy is a spoken word poet I’ve been following on Twitter for some time now (though I doubt she has any clue I exist!). She’s incredibly talented and I always appreciate what she has to say about controversial issues. Here she is in a satirical video explaining How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin.

This piece by Anne Lamott really spoke to me this week, as I’ve been trying to motivate myself to make more time for writing (and yet there’s always something that keeps me from doing it…funny how that works). The conference I attended earlier this week had a ton of workshops on storytelling, which was no small coincidence considering I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Lamott says this, on writing: “You have to make time to do this. This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity—cell phone, email, text, Twitter—steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close friendship is worth more than material success.”

Here’s the powerful letter the Stanford victim read to her attacker. I hope you’ve been following this story. It’s a horrific look at rape culture and the failure of our justice system to do what it should’ve done. It’s an illustration of the broken parts of our society and how we still have so much work to do. Here’s an idea: instead of telling women all the ways they can avoid rape and sexual assault, let’s start teaching our boys at an early age that women are people, yes means yes, and rape is wrong. Period.

I’m pretty sure I follow more animals than people on Instagram these days, and I’m not even ashamed to admit it. My latest favorite follow is Mya the Pomsky, which is officially my new favorite breed (Husky + Pomeranian). She looks like an overgrown fox and has the most beautiful blue eyes, and yes, I want her.


What were your favorite finds this week? Share them with me!