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!

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

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Happy Friday! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? We don’t have a lot planned but we are going to a pond hockey tournament which is always a good time. The kids love collecting all the flying pucks and it is a fun way to enjoy the winter weather with friends.

Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Kari! Kari and I met when our kids were in kindergarten together and this is the 4th year they are in the same class together. She was my first real “school mom” friend and I will never forget the first time I emailed her asking her for a recipe (she is a fabulous baker and cook) and I was so nervous! I really wanted to be her friend but I wasn’t sure if the feeling was mutual…she wrote back though and the rest is history. 😉


Introduction: 

Hi, I’m Kari! I live in Vermont with my husband, our 8-going-on -18 year-old daughter and our ferocious cat named Oscar. By day, I’m a programmer working for a company located in Charleston, SC. I also have recently started a home-based bakery, specializing in vegan sweets and treats! When I do get some free time, I love to travel with my family, see as many Avett Brothers concerts as I can, hike Mt. Philo, draw & paint, and try to play the banjo. Oh, I also like to read and sleep!

Reading is something I never really appreciated until well into the adulting phase of my life. Throughout high school and college, I quite literally never read a single book. I have no idea how I managed to write papers or pass any of my English classes. Once my husband and I started traveling, I needed to find something to do on overnight flights, while everyone else was sleeping. This was before iPads and iPhones and endless seatback entertainment, so books became my new friend. I used to carry around ridiculously large novels in my backpack and then complain about how heavy my bag was. But, oh how times have changed! I am strictly a Kindle reader now – the mere thought of having to hold up a big old book makes me cringe.

What’s on my Kindle:

I try not to spend any money on books; so most of my reading list comes from the Libby app (library books), amazon prime reading, amazon kindle lending library, and Amazon first reads (yay for Amazon!). I’m sort of a panic reader, meaning I don’t have a list of books I want to read or plan to read. Instead, I finish the book I’m reading, then panic that I don’t have another book to read and search any one of the above-mentioned places for something that looks interesting.

While I do love my Kindle, it does make it difficult for me to remember what I’m reading or have read. I truthfully could not tell you the names of the last few books I read or who wrote them, simply because I don’t look at the book cover each time I pick it up. Thank goodness for Goodreads, though, because there I am able to see what I’ve read!

There are a few genres I stick to, but occasionally, on the recommendation of others, I’ll branch out. I love historical fiction and tend to gravitate towards WWII novels. I recently started reading Who Will Write Our History by Samuel Kassow, which is incredibly powerful and such important work.

I’ll read anything about ancient Rome and hope to find Splendor Before the Dark (A Novel of Emperor Nero) for free at some point in the near future. I also enjoy a good mystery and started getting into the Mary Russell series by Laurie King. I’ve read the Harry Potter series 9 times, and also enjoy books like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and the Game of Thrones Series. But, if you asked me if I like reading fantasy books, I’d probably tell you I don’t. Some of my other favorite past reads include All The Light We Cannot See, The Goldfinch, Fates & Furies and The Nightingale.

What’s on my Nightstand:

If I’m being honest, my Kindle actually isn’t on my nightstand, as I like to read on the couch. But, I do have some other fun stuff on my nightstand! When going to bed, I always have to have a completely full container of water that is ice cold. I will probably only take one sip throughout the night, but I need to know that it is completely full, for some neurotic reason! I also have a baby monitor on my nightstand (yep, I still use a baby monitor for my 8 year old). It makes it easier to hear her if she yells to us, and I get a kick out of hearing her talk in her sleep every once and a while.

I also can’t live without my Korres Guava body butter. I’ve been using this stuff for like 13 years now, and it is hands down the best lotion ever made. No joke – I’ve tried tons of other lotions and nothing comes close to this stuff. I can’t live without it. I’ve also got my lip balm that I put on every night before bed, because chapped lips are no joke during the long VT winters! Lastly, I have my journal that I use to write down all my goals. I try to do this on a regular basis just to keep myself motivated and as a reminder of all the ways I want to better myself!

Ok, well, that’s enough from me. Thanks for reading, and thanks Gen, for inviting me to share!


Thanks so much for sharing, Kari! ❤

Coffee Talk Tuesday | Currently…

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Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a great start. We are currently experiencing a February thaw, which means that we are having some spring-like weather and also a lot of mud! The kids are loving the spring-like weather and it was nice to soak in some warm sunshine today because we know winter weather will be back soon.


What are you listening to? 

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I finished the Believed podcast this past weekend and it was incredible. It was heartbreaking but so inspiring at the same time. It was such a good reminder about why it is so important to share our stories, even when they are hard. It is an excellent example of the #metoo movement and the impact of just one person coming forward and the powerful effect that can have on other survivors and sharing their stories.

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I also started Dr. Death this past week after so many recommendations. I wasn’t sure if it would be too “medical” for my taste but after the first episode, it really isn’t.  It is so devastating that this actually happened because so many people have faith that the medical system would do the “right” thing and if you are into true crime series, I would definitely recommend it.

What are you watching?

We finished The Ted Bundy Tapes series last week on Netflix but we haven’t started anything yet else. Do you have any recommendations?  I love documentaries the most!

What are you loving? 

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I am all about making life simple and I last year I learned about Peacable Kingdom Valentines on Amazon.  We used to DIY the kids valentines and it was fun but now that they have to write 20ish names on each of the card and envelopes, it became more of a fight than an actually enjoyable experience. So we compromise and we order premade valentines and they still write out the names for everyone, and everyone is much happier.

What are you wearing?

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I wear tons of different workout tops (my Old Navy ones are my fav) but I am very picky about bottoms. I have three pairs of the Salutation tights from Athleta and there is seriously nothing better. They are high rise (pulling them up all throughout class is the worst and these stay put) and they are the perfect “supportive” feeling while still be totally comfortable. I get them in the 7/8 length which is like a full-leg length on me (I am 5’4″ and tend to wear petite length pants in general). I have had to hem my workout pants from other places in the past so this is a total win for me!


I hope you have a great rest of your Tuesday evening. I am reading an ARC of the Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and I am loving it!

 

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

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Hi everyone, happy Friday! Today I am excited to introduce you to my friend Katy. Katy was one of my roommates and best friends in college and she is one of the most wonderful and kind people I know. She and I have also always shared some of my most treasured hobbies… reading and drinking coffee.

Katy actually introduced me to lattes and Starbucks when we were in college. This was in the early 2000s when Starbucks was just making it’s way to Vermont. They used to have a Maple Latte (with real maple syrup!) and they were amazing. We would drive there together and both order this…and it was quite the exciting outing and treat for us in those days.

Katy is wonderful and always has a new stack of books she is just waiting to dive into. I hope you enjoy hearing about what she is reading. ❤


Introduction:

Hello, I am Katy. I live in Connecticut with my wife and our two rescue tiger cats, Leo and Dragon. We are newly married but we want to start a family very soon. I work in early childhood education as a teacher and I have been an avid and voracious reader since the crib, where I would sleep with my books. I was an English and Education major at SMC and since I went the education route for a career, reading is one of my favorite hobbies. I always have stacks of books on my nightstand from the library and my nightstand has a second level that contains all the books I own that I want to read at some point and just haven’t gotten to. I live across the street from a library, so I frequent there once a week or so and get new stacks for my nightstand. I am much more of a hard copy book reader, and since I live so close to the library, I can get the bestsellers, and “hot” books that are out. I do have a Kindle and I like reading on that as well, but I prefer hard copy books. I use my Kindle more for travel or on the go reading.

What’s on my Nightstand:

On my nightstand are usually two stacks of books; the TBR pile, and the books that I am currently reading. I sometimes like to alternate between fiction and non-fiction (yes, I am that person), or other book genres, depending on my mood when I settle in for the night to read. I read a wide variety of genres, from non-fiction and realistic fiction to YA and fantasy novels so anything can end up in my stacks. I also have my kindle and a bullet journal on my nightstand.

My TBR pile is:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: I like to read YA when I am in the mood for something light and fluffy. I have heard that this book was cute and also that the Netflix movie was fun as well, so I wanted to give this one a try.

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena: I love thrillers, and I loved A Couple Next Door by this author so when I went to the library I picked up two more books by this author to read when I was in the mood for some suspense. Other thrillers I recently read and recommend that are similar are, The Other Woman, There Is Something In the Water and The Last Mrs. Parrish.

Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood: This story is another thriller that was on the new book shelf at the library so I grabbed it not knowing much about it on the recommendation of the librarian.

Room by Emma Donoghue: This is probably the heaviest book in my stack as far as subject matter. I have always wanted to read this book because I have heard that it is fantastic, but I would have to be in the mood to read this kind of story, especially because it is from the narrative viewpoint of a five-year-old and working with that age group it might be a sad one for me to get through.

Books I am currently reading:

A Stranger In the House by Shari Lapena: I started reading this last night and I have been flying through it. It was a little slow to start but I was hooked pretty quickly and now I have to know what is going on in this story. It reminds me of What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty because the main character has amnesia, and I am a fan of books with what is called the “unreliable” narrator. I think they are fun.

I’ll Be There for You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller: Friends has always been one of my favorite shows to watch reruns. This nonfiction book is about the behind the scene information about the show and its characters has been a very interesting read so far. I am enjoying it.

On my Kindle:

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan: I LOVED Crazy Rich Asians, so I was anxious to read the second book once I heard there were three books in the series. So far I haven’t liked it as much as the first book, but I haven’t given it much of a shot yet.

What else is on my nightstand:

I have a bullet journal of books that I have read so far in 2019 ( I love to make lists) and I also will write books that I want to read in this journal as well. I like to have something to grab if I want to make a list, books to read or otherwise. I cannot keep a water bottle on my nightstand or cup or water, because LEO (my 14-pound tiger) is always on my nightstand wanting attention and he will knock over water onto all of my books. I learned that the hard way. I do keep a container of Sleepy lotion by Lush because I love the way it smells and the scent is perfect for relaxing. Buddha hangs out on my nightstand as well, but he sometimes ends up on the floor because of Leo or Dragon deciding they want to rearrange things. I also have my Burts Bees Chapstick (favorite brand), and my book light for night reading.

This was so much fun to write and share, I love reading Gen’s posts and I am so honored she asked me to write something for her blog. 🙂


Thank you so much for sharing today, Katy!! xo