Sierra's View

BlogHer Header

Thursday, November 2, 2017


You can tell that the school year has started because I only read six books over the past two months  (ha!). In the summer months, I find that I read so much!  The stress that overtakes a teacher during the school  year is a real thing, friends. And sometimes, to be honest, the last thing I want to do is open a book and think. However, with that being said, weirdly, on other days, I find that's all I want to do. Unfortunately, those first few months of a Teacher's school year, it is the former, rather than the latter. 

Outliers: The Story of Success // Malcolm Gladwell 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self Help 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. 

My thoughts:  A great novel. I only gave it 4 (not 5) because it wasn't "life changing" for me. With that being said, it was a phenomenal novel with very interesting thoughts about the benefits of being an "outlier". A great, interesting, easy self-help read

Favorite Quote from the book: “Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” 

The Lies We Tell Ourselves // Robin Talley
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.
Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

My thoughts:  ** spoiler alert ** Ugh, I don't know where to start with this book. 
The first half was so enticing and interesting. I couldn't seem to put it down. It tore at my heart strings of what these young people had to go through in the process of integration in 1959. With that being said, the second half was kind of frustrating to me because I felt like the author was too focused on a political agenda (that didn't to do with race, which is what I thought the book was about?) I don't mind a political agenda if I pick up the book knowing that, but I assumed this was more historical fiction with issues on race rather than her coming out as a lesbian. Anywho, it was a good read, but the story went a totally different direction than I thought. Wasn't an amazingly well written novel, either

Favorite Quote from the book: “We punish ourselves so much in our own imaginations. We convince ourselves everything we do, everything we think, is wrong.For eighteen years I've believed what other people told me about what was right and what was wrong. From now on, I'm deciding.”

The Magnolia Story // Chip & Joanna Gaines 
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

My thoughts:  I mean, who doesn't love Chip and Joanna? Not only am I obsessed with this show and it's my dream to have land and Jo decorate my classic/vintage/farmhouse style home, I thought this novel was good! It definitely wasn't life changing or the most amazing writing I've read, but it made for a quick, interesting, intriguing, fun read. 

Favorite Quote from the book: “Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning—and he will be there until . . . The End.” 

Kill the Boy Band // Goldy Moldavksy 
Genre: Fiction (Humor) 
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets. We were not planning on what happened next.We swear.

My thoughts:  Hilarious, funny, ridiculous, edgy, and keeps you interested. This novel is not the best written or must amazing book ever written, but it was entertaining and keeps you interested. A quick, easy read--a great audiobook. (Note: lots of F words, if that bothers you!).

Favorite Quote from the book: “Because the truth is, it isn't worth loving something if you aren't going to love it all the way.” 

The Gifts of Imperfection // Brene Brown 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self Help 
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. 

My thoughts:  I just finished reading this for the third time (listened to it once and read it once) and every time this book teaches me more about the strength in my imperfections. Seriously such a fantastic self-help book; one that really "speaks" to me. This is, truly, one of my all time favorite books that I havee ever read. I am such a perfectionist and this helped me in so many different ways in my life. 

Favorite Quote from the book: (Oh man, how do I just choose one?!). “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

We Should All Be Feminists //  
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 

My thoughts:  Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I love that it talks about feminism in a positive light--that feminism does not mean man-hating or angry, lonely, of masculine women. True feminism is rooting for women to succeed and to see them in positions of power. Great points about raising soft men and the expectations we place on boys and girls, men and women.

Favorite Quote from the book: (Can't just choose one! Ah!). “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” 

July/August Reads 
May/June 2017 Reads
March/April 2017 Reads
January/February 2017 Reads

What were some of your most recent reads that you want to share with me?
Have you read any of these novels? 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Been Awhile...

All photos by Sierra's View Instagram 
I feel like writing on this blog comes in waves. I am on my game during the Summer--writing about all of my travels, fun times, and vacations. Once the school year hits, I am bombarded with a forever long to-do list and well, I don't have as much time as I do during the Summer months. Even more than that, this blog is not the place that it used to be for me. I find that I don't need it as much for self-expression that I used to crave or want. With that being said, this blog has always been incredibly special to me. It is my journal of important moments and memories. I would like to continue it for my special "views" in my life, it just won't be as often as before (obviously...since I haven't written in months). 

What We've Been Up To: A Random Word Vomit of Our Lives! 

  • As you can tell from ALL of social media (for good reason), Fall in Utah is unreal. The colors this year have been so incredibly vibrant and absolutely beautiful. I want to be hiking in it, driving through it, and constantly taking photos of it!
  • This winter I am going to start making cards, calendars, etc. out of my all of my nature pictures. I am excited to get this going! These are going to be great gifts, stocking stuffers, or other ideas. I will definitely keep you posted on this! People keep telling me that I need to do something with these photos that I take and I think I am starting to actually believe them!

  • Tanner is finishing up his last semester in school! (HALLELUJAH!) in digital marketing. He doesn't want to walk in May, but I want to make him because this is a freaking miracle that we are at this point. Ha. 
  • He is continuing to work at 180Fusion--a digital marketing firm. He really loves his job! 

  • I started my sixth year teaching sixth grade. This year is my first year doing the English portion of the Chinese Immersion students. Honestly, I am so stressed! I have two classes and I only get them both for about two hours. Those two hours do not go as slow as I would like. I absolutely love my students, though. The program is not perfect (no classroom ever is), and it has been very stressful, but most of my students show up to school with a smile on their faces and are excited to learn. I love that most of them, truly, just want to learn. That is a teacher's dream, I tell ya! 

  • This picture is from our quick trip to San Diego in September. T had a work trip and I thought that I would join him on a long weekend trip. Everything was paid for and it was totally worth it! It was a great weekend of basking in the sun, seeing family, and enjoying gorgeous views like these. 

  • This summer I lost 15 pounds. This is a huge deal with PCOS. I worked my tail off to get there. I have kept most of it off and I want to continue to keep it off, but I am not kidding, something happens when the school year starts. My body just wants to hold on to all of the stress and weight that I let go of in the summer! Many people are curious about us wanting to start a family. Honestly, it's no one else's business, but, let's just say it's going to be a long road. That, with all of the health and weight issues that I deal with, is exhausting. It is frustrating and tiring and does not help my Depression. But I am learning to love myself and my body, despite it's imperfections that piss me off. I am tired of looking around and seeing women talk badly about their bodies. It is time for us to be happy with who we are, as people and women. Ha! 

This past weekend at the BYU Spectacular with Kristin Chenoweth! It was, honestly, spectacular! 

  • I have found that it's hard to stay social during the school year. I want to make it a priority and reach out to friends and family (since I have so much family here now!), but crazy schedules make it difficult. I have learned that it's okay to say no. I tend to have bad FOMO and it can be hard for me to say no, but I am grateful that as I continue to learn, grow, and set boundaries to listen to my body, physically and emotionally, I am happier. 

Life is good. I tend to struggle whenever the cold weather starts to come, but I have worked hard to know how to get through it. I am getting the "itch" to move, though, and I think it has to do with the culture that I am surrounded here?? What helps you when you have the desire to move?! Haha. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Healthy Back to School Breakfast and a Clean Kitchen!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ExperienceScrubDots #CollectiveBias 

It's Back to School Time! Ahhhhh!!!!! As a teacher, I am always a little weary to have school start (Don't get me wrong, there is a little bit of excitement!) One of my favorite things about starting the school year is I get back into the routine of things. In the morning, I like to have a morning routine to get my "head in the right place", if you will. Part of this morning routine includes making a healthy, protein-filled breakfast so that I can keep my energy up while at school. 

I am, also, a little bit of clean freak (A LOT OF A BIT), so I find it's important to me to have my kitchen clean and ready so that when I get home from a long day of work and exercise, I can really relax. Two of my favorite  kitchen cleaning items are the Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Dots Sponge and Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Dots Sponge. I tend to clean while I am cooking to make the cleaning go a little bit faster at the end. 

First, I want to share my favorite healthy recipe that I do during the school year: A delicious, yummy, super easy omelette! 

Step 1: Buy the following cleaning items to help clean during the process of the omelette. 

Step 2: Gather all of the ingredients

  • bell peppers 
  • grated cheese 
  • kale/spinach mix 
  • cherry tomatoes 
  • eggs
  • avocado 

Step 3: Crack eggs and mix in with a little bit of milk.

Step 4: Cut up the tomatoes and the bell peppers.

Step 5: Use the Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Dots Sponge to clean up the cutting board at this point to make cleaning easier. 

Step 6: Throw in some kale/spinach mix. 

Step 6: Mix altogether and add in Salt, pepper, and grated cheese. 

Step 7: Put on stove to cook.

Step 8: Flip it over. Add some tomatoes, avocados and cheese on top. Boom. The most delicious, easiest morning routine recipe.

Step 9: Cleaning time!!  Use your Scotch-Brite® Scrub Dots Sponge to clean off the dishes and the sink. You will see  a significant difference of before/after with these awesome kitchen cleaning supplies! 



My favorite, the Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Dots Sponge,  which I used while cleaning my kitchen made it so easy to clean. It made the cleaning of the sink fast and and rinses it nice and clean. 

Obviously I used the sponge in my sink, but the great part about it, is it can be used around the house. 
Items pictured below: 
Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Dots Sponge
Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Dots Sponge
Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Dots Dishwand
Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Dots Dishwand

You can find both the sponges and the dish wand "cleaning section" of your local Walmart. More specifically, it will be in the "sponges" section of the aisle. 

You can use this coupon to get your own sponges today! 
 $1.00 off any two Scrub Dots items offer will be live 8/15-12/31

What are some of your favorite Scotch-Brite® cleaning items? 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

That Weird Time Between Summer and FAll

It's that weird time of year where it's not summer anymore, but it's still not quite Fall. It is so cold in the morning, but by the afternoon, you have to turn your A/C on. You know what I'm talking about, right? Or is this just me. I found that I wanted to wear a dress today, but I also wanted to be warm. So, in order to make the perfect outfit, I threw on an adorable striped dress from Cleo Madison and a long sweater to go over it. You can even tell in these photos that the weather is weird--sunny in one part and cloudy behind me!

This is a great in-between seasons outfit!! This dress is so incredibly comfy that I could wear this outfit almost every day.

Also, do you all have a go-to boutique that you love to shop at? I found Cleo Madison and absolutely fell in love with their dresses and shirts. What's even more awesome is their cheap prices! Go check out this darling shop, friends.

Outfit details: 
Dress: Cleo Madison 
Sweater: Old Navy 
Shoes: Birkenstocks 

What is your favorite go-to boutique? 
Do you have a favorite dress in your closet?
What is your favorite outfit to wear during the in-between Season stages like Summer to Fall? 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Well, school has officially started! Yikes! It has been a very stressful two weeks, but I am surviving! I am not going to lie, I am really missing my summer and all of the reading that I did. As you will see below, I read 10 books in two months!! It felt so good to just read, escape, and have such great reading experiences this summer. 
Have you read any of these books? What do you think? I am always willing to chat about books! 

The Westing Game// Ellen Raskin 
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

My thoughts:  Great middle-grade/YA read. Great characters and interesting plot. This is something my students would love. Would be a great read-aloud book (may need to have students write down characters to keep track of them!).

Favorite Quote from the book: “Life, too, is senseless unless you know who you are, what you want, and which way the wind blows.” 

Between Shades of Gray// Ruta Sepetys 
Genre: Historical Fiction  
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

My thoughts: Such a fantastic novel--No, nothing to do with the other Shades of Gray Series 😜. The research behind this novel was prevalent while reading this book. This book was quite an intense, heavy novel. At times, it is pretty depressing, sad and brutal. With that being said, I loved the characters in this novel. I loved Mama and Lina, two of the main characters. They are such strong women. I didn't love the ending, but it definitely was realistic. Great read and absolute page turner. I was a little embarrassed that I did not know much about the history of this story. I am glad that my eyes were opened to me through this beautiful book.

Favorite Quote from the book: “Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness. There's love and emotion trying to express itself, but at the time, it just ends up being awkward.” 

A Monster Calls// Patrick Ness 
Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction 
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

My thoughts:  Oh my goodness. Truly one of the best YA novels I have ever read. I thought it was written beautifully, the story was interesting, and themes explained were undeniable. I love the figurative language and themes that you learned as a reader (and that the main character learns). You definitely need to read it WITH the pictures. I feel like it makes the story even more beautiful. Read it in two hours. Loved it.

Favorite Quote from the book: “You do not write your life with words...You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

You are a Badass// Jen Sincero
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help 
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary:  Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them - it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.

My thoughts: Meh. Definitely not my favorite self-help book. I definitely thought it was enjoyable, but I felt like she didn't explain anything that I hadn't read/heard/worked on before. I felt like, for me, most things were aspects of my life that I am already working on, if that makes sense. There was nothing life changing or altering about the info she gave to me. A good self-help book if you haven't read many others before, though.

Favorite Quote from the book: “You are perfect. To think anything less is as pointless as a river thinking that it’s got too many curves or that it moves too slowly or that its rapids are too rapid. Says who? You’re on a journey with no defined beginning, middle or end. There are no wrong twists and turns. There is just being. And your job is to be as you as you can be. This is why you’re here. To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less. You are the only you there is and ever will be. I repeat, you are the only you there is and ever will be. Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.”

More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting// Serena Miller 
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: The more time Serena Miller spent in Holmes County, Ohio, doing research for her popular Amish novels, the more she began to notice something—Amish children were the happiest children she’d ever seen. Despite not having modern toys and conveniences, they are joyful, serene, calm, and respectful—not to mention whipping up full meals and driving buggies before most of us will allow our children to walk to school alone. And yet, when she started asking questions about what these parents were doing differently, she was startled to learn that happiness is not a goal Amish strive for at all.

My thoughts:  Oh my goodness! I LOVED this book. This was not something that I would have chosen on my own, so I am happy we read it for book Club. Others did not seem to love this book as much as I did while at book club discussion, but I thought this book was incredibly fascinating. I thought there were so many helpful and great ideas. I don't believe you have to be Amish to follow a lot of their parenting ways and basic lifestyles. I genuinely want to take so many of their ideologies into my future parenting. Great book. I love some of their views and there were many aspects that I want to use for my own future children. I am ALL about the community feel of raising children. 

Favorite Quote from the book: Amish culture is built around preserving and protecting the family unit.” 

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind // Yuval Noah Harari 
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities.

My thoughts:  I don't know if it's because I tried to listen to this, but I was so incredibly bored. The information itself was so fascinating, but I could not get through even half of it. Maybe I'll try again later. I'm a nerd and love this kind of stuff, so I'm surprised I didn't enjoy it as much as others have (especially because it has such a high rating). The information was fascinating at moments. Overall, though, was just bored.

Favorite Quote from the book: “Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.” 

Grit// Angela Duckworth 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.

My thoughts: Great book! It is one that I would recommend to anyone: parents, teachers, businessmen and women, etc. I think this is an important quality that needs to be taught and talked about more. The only reason I gave it a 4 was because I felt like she could have explained things in half the amount of time. She repeated herself a lot. A great book, nonetheless.

Favorite Quote from the book: “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.” 

Truly Madly Guilty // Liane Moriarty 
Genre: Realistic Fiction 
Rating: 3/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite. Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

My thoughts: This was an interesting read, but definitely not Liane's best novel. I felt like she dragged it out too long. It did not catch my attention from the get go like her other novels (and it took quite awhile for me to get "into").

Favorite Quote from the book: “There is no special protection when you cross that invisible line from your ordinary life to that parallel world where tragedies happen. It happens just like this. You don’t become someone else. You’re still exactly the same. Everything around you still smells and looks and feels exactly the same.” 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck // Mark Manson 
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

My thoughts: Obviously this novel has a lot of F words (duh), but other than that, I really enjoyed what Mark Manson had to say and his outlook on life. This is one of the most "real, authentic" self-help books that I have read in a long time (maybe it's because I am cynical. Ha, but it was refreshing. I found myself nodding along multiple times. Great novel if you aren't afraid of some swear words! This, for me, is worth reading again and highlighting. He had so many great points.

Favorite Quote from the book: “Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.” 

Small Great Things // Jodi Picoult
Genre: Realistic Fiction 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

My thoughts:  Seriously one of the best books I have read over the past few months. Small Great Things was heartbreaking, intense, and definitely thought provoking. It was a novel that honestly changed some of my own views and thoughts regarding race. A beautiful, complicated novel that everyone needs to read. 

Favorite Quote from the book: “Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.” 

May/June 2017 Reads

March/April 2017 Reads
January/February 2017 Reads