What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Sarah

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Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week. I am excited about (hopefully) having a low key weekend after this being a fairly hectic work week due to the kids being on school vacation next week. We don’t have any big plans for vacation but we are hoping to get outside as much as possible and hopefully meet up with some friends for a couple of play dates. I am also hoping to catch up on some reading, blogging, and sharing as I have felt a little behind the last couple of weeks.

I am excited to introduce you to my friend Sarah today! Sarah and I met in an online pregnancy message board/group when I was pregnant with our second child and she was pregnant with her first. At the time she as living on the west coast but had been married in Vermont and was photographed by the same wedding photographer as we were (the same connection I have with my friend Kristy) which felt like such a fun coincidence.

We connected again when she moved to Vermont just a couple of years ago and now are friends in real life too. Sarah and her family are amazing skiers and she juggles a  challenging career while also doing so many amazing outside adventures which is so inspiring to me! At our last get together we drank coffee and walked around Target discussing books and podcasts, I mean how much better could it get?!

I hope you enjoy learning more about Sarah today. ❤


Introduction:

Hello! My name is Sarah. I live in northern Vermont with my husband, our two children (ages 6 and 4), and our two elderly labrador retrievers, Summit and Ellie. I am an emergency room physician, but in my off-time, I love to ski, hike, bike and, of course, read!

When I was growing up, I was always that kid with her nose in a book. And I was a true child of the 80s – my favorites were Sweet Valley Twins, The Babysitters Club, R.L Stine, and Christopher Pike. High school kept me pretty busy, and I found myself reading less, and even less so when I went off to college, medical school, and residency. When I finally finished my training and felt like I could join the land of the living, my husband and I started a family. So here I find myself staring down the barrel of middle age and finally catching up on lost time! My nightstand might reflect this ambition — haha!

What is on your nightstand for books?

SO MANY BOOKS. Usually, I don’t have this many books all stacked up, but we are preparing to go away for winter break, so I have a few extra set out that I may pack for our trip. I’m currently trying to make up my mind between The Wife Between Us, The Woman in Cabin 10, Sometimes I Lie, and This Is How It Always Is. I love fast, suspenseful reads that I can’t put down, especially on vacation.

The main book I am currently reading is The Devil in the White City (I told you I was catching up on lost time!). I am enjoying the parallel storylines, though admittedly some parts of this book have been so disturbing, I have been tempted to just put it away for good! So many friends have recommended it, so I’m keeping it for now. I am also slowly making my through Duct Tape Parenting, which was recommended to me by my hairstylist (who also, I like to joke, serves as my life coach). It really helps remind me to stop meddling and let my kids be independent and start taking responsibility in the home.

Other books that have found their way to my nightstand include The Storyteller (Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors!), Weekend in Paris (looks like a fun, quick read), The Emperor of All Maladies (the size of this one intimidates me, but I do enjoy medical non-fiction). I also have Mom’s Five-Second Memory Journal (this is also a favorite of mine to include in baby shower gifts), How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (recommended to me by my son’s preschool teacher), and Fodor’s New England (we recently moved back to Vermont from the west coast, so I’m always looking for inspiration for mini vacations and day trips!).

What is on your Kindle? 

I’m a bit of an old school reader on this one. My husband has a Kindle, but I’m still reading regular old books. This is partly because one of my favorite things to do is find and collect good books to read from consignment shops and used book stores. I have amassed quite a collection, and I don’t think I’ll ever run out!

What are you listening to? 

I love to listen to podcasts on my commute to work or when out for a run. I am not much of an audiobook reader, but my favorite podcasts are EM-RAP (Emergency Medicine Reviews and Perspectives – nerd alert, haha!), Unladylike, On Point, Forever 35, This American Life, and The Longest Shortest Time.

What else is on your nightstand?

My nightstand also holds a few extra sundry items. One is Palmer’s cocoa butter, which I use on my lips before bed. The texture is smooth like lip balm, and the smell is heavenly! I also love to use Badger Lavender & Bergamot Sleep Balm on my face and neck before bed. It smells wonderful. Additionally, I have a small lavender-scented candle from Pelindaba Lavender, based out in our former hometown of Seattle, which I like to burn sometimes before bed. And finally, I have a small hand-painted tile I bought on our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, which I use as a coaster.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Gen!! xo


Thank you so much for sharing today, Sarah!

Juliet’s School of Possibilities | Laura Vanderkam | Penguin Group Portfolio| Book Review

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“A charming, life-changing fable that will help you rethink your whole approach to time, priorities, and possibilities.

Riley Jenkins is in trouble. An ambitious, hardworking consultant in her late twenties, she’s used to a lifetime of nearly perfect evaluations – until she gets a terrible performance review from her boss. How is that possible when Riley does everything her clients want – including answering emails 24/7 – faster than they expect it?

That’s precisely the problem: she’s spread too thin. Despite her insane hours and attention to detail, Riley can’t produce the thoughtful work her clients expect. Now she’s been given thirty days to close a major deal, or she’s out. Meanwhile, her personal life is also on the edge of disaster, with her boyfriend and close friends losing patience with her chronic unavailability.

The last thing Riley wants, at a stressful time like this, is to attend a women’s leadership retreat with some of her colleagues. But she can’t get out of her commitment: a weekend in New Jersey at some silly-sounding place called Juliet’s School of Possibilities.

Yet before long, Riley is surprised to find herself intrigued by Juliet, the lifestyle maven who hosts the conference. How does a single mother of two run a successful business while acting as if she has all the time in the world? The answer may lie in one of Juliet’s Zen-like comments: “Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”

By the end of this story, you’ll join Riley in rethinking the balance between your present and your future, between the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Like Riley, you can free yourself from feeling overwhelmed and pursue your highest possibilities.”


I have been looking forward to Juliet’s School of Possibilities since I first heard Laura Vanderkam mention it on the Best of Both Worlds Podcast last year. I love Vanderkam’s books about time management and this is her first novella. She incorporates her knowledge and expertise into a short fable about a woman named Riley who is spread too thin. ⁣⁣⁣
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In a society where “busy” reigns supreme, Vanderkam’s books are a wonderful reminder about how we get to choose how we spend our time and energy and this book is such a fun spin-off. We meet Juliet who shares wisdom and helps Riley rethink this balance. “Expectations are infinite. Time is infinite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”

A big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Portfolio for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Coffee Talk Tuesday | Currently…

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Hello! I hope your week is off to a good start. This is the last week of school before the kids have February vacation so I am getting in as much work time as possible. We don’t travel during the winter due to Lucas having a family business that is directly related to cold weather…So we will be having a staycation and are hoping to get together with some friends and play outside as much as possible.

The boys are much more independent now and much easier in many ways than just a couple of years ago, but we are also experiencing lots of sibling drama and competition so being home all day can be rough! There is always something getting easier and something getting harder when it comes to parenting. 😉


Currently listening to…

After commenting last week that Lucas hadn’t listened to many podcasts besides Serial, he seriously made up for it in the last week! He finished Bear Brook and up to date with The Cold Podcast (a new episode comes out tomorrow!) I am so excited to be able to talk about it now in “real time”. We aren’t watching any shows together right now so it is fun to have something else to discuss.

I have listened to quite a few true crime podcasts during the last month and these two still get my vote for the best ones out there right now. I am also still listening to The Teachers Pet which I find fascinating and heartbreaking, especially with how poorly the case was handled and how differently this would have been treated if that had happened now.

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I have heard amazing things about Crime Junkie and I am planning to start that one next!

Currently cooking…

We have been making a lot of soups lately, especially on lazy Sunday afternoons. We made Creamy Tuscan Garlic Tortellini Soup this past weekend and it was amazing! I love soups that are rich and filling and this was perfect. The cannellini beans and (rotisserie)chicken made it rich and filling and it was the perfect one-pot meal.

Currently wearing…

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I like to work on my book reviews and blog first thing in the morning before the kids are awake. I love throwing on a sweatshirt and coming downstairs to drink my coffee in peace and quiet, there really is not a better way to start the day! We have early risers so usually, I have until 5:45 for this so I try and make the most of it.

My favorite open front hoodie is from Old Navy and is so cozy and perfect for lounging around the house or throwing on over a tank top and yoga pants in the spring or fall. It is the perfect length (butt covering) and just so comfortable to wear. I am a size 8-10 and I have a medium in this.

Currently loving…

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My Scout Junque Trunk. I have this in the back of my car and it the perfect way to keep things from sliding around (including groceries). It is so sturdy and easy to wipe down and can also be folded up for easy storage. I love all things Scout and this comes in handy all the time!


Have a great rest of your Tuesday! ❤

2019 Beach Reads | Upcoming Book Releases

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Are there any authors that just scream summer to you? I always associate summer beginning with the release of Elin Hilderbrand’s books because they come out in mid-June. I know it feels far away but it will be here before we know it. I try not to wish away the seasons and we have plenty of winter weather left here in Vermont but I do get excited about all the summer book releases!

It is also currently the time of year where parents are figuring out their summer childcare plans and we are too. We do a mix of the summer swim team, a part-time babysitter and trading the kids on and off with each other so we can both get our work obligations completed. That means it is a bit of a whirlwind but it also means there is some time sitting by the pool with the kids. I love beach books for this because my attention to details can’t be that great since it is often very interrupted reading but they are still super engaging and enjoyable! Here is my list of summer books that I am looking forward to in 2019…

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Releasing June 18th, 2019

“Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changed, in New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.”


The Friend We Keep by Jane Green

Releasing June 4th, 2019

“The Friends We Keep is the heartwarming and unforgettable new novel from Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Sunshine Sisters and The Beach House.

Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted—the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.

Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man.

Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause.

Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.

By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness . . . until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.

The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.”


The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

Releasing June 11th, 2019

“From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life. 

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.”


Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Releasing August 6th, 2019

“From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?”


Mrs. Everything by Jane Green

Releasing June 11th, 2019

“From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.”


What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Releasing October 8th, 2019

“Secret lives and new loves emerge in the bright Caribbean sunlight, in the follow-up to national bestseller Winter in Paradise
A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a plane crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -and death – of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of American’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.”


 

 

What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Courtney

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Hello! This post is a little late because there have been a lot of other obligations that took priority over book blogging this week. I’d like to think eventually I will stockpile of some of my posts so I can schedule them in advance but for now, I am working in “real time”…so thank you for your patience. ❤


Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Courtney! Courtney is another one of my mom friends who I met through school. She has all boys as well and there is something special about having some friends who are in the same boat as you. She hosted a gingerbread decorating party with 6 boys 10 and under and did it all with a smile. She has the best advice and is always up for an outside adventure. We love to walk our dogs together and catch up at the same time, its the best kind of multi-tasking.

Courtney and I loved talking about books and she especially is a big fan of audiobooks! She does a lot of her listening while driving and is such a great example of how you can still read a lot while utilizing audiobooks.


Introduction:

Hi! I’m Courtney, I live in Vermont with my husband and 3 boys. We also have two Goldens, Duke and Bear and a little Dachshund named Bella. I am mostly a SAHM but I also manage some rental properties that my husband and I own.

My nightstand, similar to my life is a scatterbrained pile of all of the things I would like to be working on whether for myself or my kids…The truth is, most nights by the time I get my 10yo to bed I am ready for bed myself, and I haven’t successfully figured out how to incorporate actual reading into my night time routine. If I’m lucky enough to read a little at some point during my day I like books that I can read a chapter at a time. In the meantime, I use the endless amounts of driving I do to listen to either fiction or parenting books, depending on what I am in the mood for.

Currently reading:

Right now I am listening to The Yes Brain by Dan Siegel, I love how Dan Siegel can simplify the steps to become a person with a yes brain mentality. Something I have found my kids need to work on. Being excited to take on a new challenge or try something new, isn’t something that comes easily for at least 2 of the 3.

The Big Life Journal is a really cool little company that puts out all of these materials to help kids also cultivate a positive approach to life and the world. They also have a teen version that helps mold a teens mind to think on a large scale of what they can accomplish if they put their mind to it.

I am super into educating myself on food and the most nourishing healthy diets, that’s why a friend gave me Brodo for Christmas and I have been thumbing through the recipes in that as well as Gweneth Paltrow’s new book The Clean Plate. She has some really great interviews with some well known alternative health Docs.

Make Your Kid a Money Genius is sort of self-explanatory, I always seem to have something I’m reading to help me in raising the sort of adults I hope to be turning out. How to handle money is something my parents never taught me, and school certainly didn’t, so it’s something I am really trying to teach my kids about.

The Epstein Barr Virus Solution is one that has been in my pile for a while…its a topic that fascinates me since most of the population has EBV, and it can be the cause of so many health issues. But its not really one you can read in little bits….so it will probably be a while before it makes its way off my nightstand!

What else is on my nightstand:

I can’t go to bed without my homemade lotion on my hands and feet (I can’t seem to find anything store bought that does the trick for mine or my kid’s dry skin) as well as my eminence citrus lip balm on my lips. I am also completely obsessed with Lunaroma’s lavender oils and I love to spritz their room spray up in the air as I’m settling into my pillow at night, as well as diffuse it in the evenings so my room smells like lavender when I get my jammies on each night. Not pictured is my big hydro flask filled with Pellegrino, my water of choice. I lug that thing around with me all day because I love how fresh my bubbly water tastes in it.

Thanks for asking me to share Gen!


Thank you so much for sharing, Courtney!! I need to check out that Big Life Journal, it sounds great!

A Stranger On The Beach | Michele Campbell | St. Martin’s Press | Book Review

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“From the bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband comes a novel about a love triangle that begins on a fateful night…

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

A Stranger on the Beach is Strangers on a Train meets Fatal Attraction in Michele Campbell’s edge-of your-seat story of passion and intrigue.”


A Stranger on the Beach is my second Michele Campbell book. If you are looking for a domestic/psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, this is it! This novel is written from multiple points of views, each sharing their own narratives of what ‘happened’. Campbell is able to build suspense while the twists keep coming and I didn’t know who to trust as I progressed through the pages.

This was one of those books where I just needed to know what happened. This book is dark and manipulative and I didn’t care for any of the characters, which I think was Campbell’s intention. There are many issues that are covered, including marriage, infidelity, class, money, greed, fraud, betrayal and more. If you are looking for a dark mystery that will keep you on your toes, I think you will really enjoy this newest book by Michele Campbell. A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this e-book. All opinions are my own.

Coffee Talk Tuesday | Currently…

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Hello! How is your week going? We are preparing for a big snow storm tonight which means the kids are hoping for a snow day tomorrow. I love snow days but we are also in the midst of planning for our next photo class and I also have some other work deadlines so I have mixed feelings…Working with kids home always sounds like an okay idea in theory, but doesn’t usually work out very well!


What are you listening to? 

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I am still on quite the true crime podcast kick and am deep into The Teacher’s Pet. If you are looking for a comprehensive list of other true crime podcast recommendations this article from Buzzfeed was super helpful.

Currently Watching:

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I am not watching anything currently but I am excited for March when the new documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed comes out. Like many people, Serial was the first podcast I ever listened to and I think it is the ONLY podcast Lucas has ever listened to…so we are excited to watch this documentary together!

Currently making:

Chicken Tortilla Casserole! This was one of our go-to dinners when we first got married and we still love it! It is a great one pot meal and it just delicious.

Currently loving: 

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We are big fans of baths around here and this makes the best bubbles and smells amazing! I found it at Target but it is available online too.

Currently planning:

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We are adding another class to our workshop lineup and will be teaching our first photo organization class called Your Life, Your Memories, next week! We will be discussing, culling, organizing, storing and printing your images and I can’t wait. ❤

Currently Excited About: 

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Valentine’s Day has never been a big deal to us as a couple…Now that we have kids that really understand it (and get way into it at school) we have a new appreciation for the holiday and it is a fun excuse to celebrate. We have plans to have take-out sushi for dinner and hopefully a delicious treat like these amazing cookies from Klinger’s Bakery.  I also like heart anything so it’s always another great reason to break those out…like my Pure Barre heart socks. ❤ ❤ ❤

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I hope you have a great rest of your Tuesday! xo