FIVE BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LIKED THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

5 books to read if you liked girl on the train

Before everyone on planet earth read and recommended Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, I wasn’t really in to suspense-type (see also: scary) books. My mood gets really affected by whatever book I am currently reading and I am already a huge chicken, so why add to my anxiety, right? (This also goes for super sad book. Don’t ever ask me to read a Jodi Picoult book because it’s never going to happen.) Well, now that I’ve gotten on said train, I can not get off. Like, someone please help me because I’m almost preferring them to my usual super upbeat chick lit these days and I don’t even know who I am.

If you too drank the Girl on the Train Kool-Aid I think you would really like these, also:

51qI2RzRlzL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
If you are looking for something suspenseful, but not super intense, you should start with this one! I liked it a lot. A little far fetched at times but what book isn’t?! TCND is about a set of parents who go to the neighbors house for dinner, leaving their baby asleep by herself next door, and she is taken out of her crib. They become the main suspects and are vilified in public for leaving her alone. Lots of secrets they thought were buried in the past come out over the course of the investigation – it’s very twisty and just good!

From Amazon: Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

26117546

What She Knew
Someone tell me why all these books have to do with children being taken? Oh, because that’s the most terrifying thing that could happen to a parent, duh. This one is about a single mom who’s son goes missing on one of their regular walks. She lets him run ahead a few steps and then he vanishes (worst. nightmare.). Almost everyone around them has some reason to look suspicious and it really hooked me in wondering who it was going to be in the end.

From Amazon: Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.  Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion. As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

28187230

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
When you read a bunch of the suspenseful/thriller/mystery type books sometimes they can all start to seem similar and predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that not to be the case with this book! This is probably my favorite on this list. It kept me on my toes and I really enjoyed it. It’s about a travel journalist who in on a luxury cruise with just a handful of other people when she sees someone thrown overboard in the next cabin over but when they start to check it out, everyone is accounted for. Definitely highly recommend!

From Amazon: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

51ms72awQiL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
To be honest, this book straight up terrified me. I read it on the drive back from our Florida trip, and I kept wanting to stop, but could not because I really needed to know what happened. And it did not disappoint. It’s about a marriage that looks like one thing from the outside but is something completely different and shocking on the other side. It’s good, but proceed with caution because it is intense.

From Amazon: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable. Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.


medium

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Since I like The Woman in Cabin 10 so much, I decided to give another Ruth Ware book a chance and it did not disappoint. In a Dark, Dark Wood is about a writer who is randomly invited on a bachelorette weekend of a friend she hasn’t seen or talked to in years. They go out to a beautiful cabin in the middle of no-where where strange things start to happen. It goes back and forth between the weekend and present day as the main character tries to figure out what happened. Loved it!

From Amazon: When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.

There you go! Five more books to read if you liked The Girl on the Train. Do you all read suspense novels? If you have any suggestions send them my way! I really had no idea they were such a thing until a few years ago. I love listening to the audio version of them (borrowed from the library with the Overdrive app) and can take a book down in just a couple of days if I really put my mind to it ;). Happy reading!

Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures & stories on Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with KatieSeptember FarmMeet @ the BarreLiz, and The Slaughters.

2017 FAMILY PHOTOS

During our Captiva vacation in July we had our first professional pictures taken as a family of three! A storm rolled in about two hours before our session and didn’t let up until 10 minutes before we had to leave. And thank goodness because the thought of having to do my full hair and makeup for a second time that week because we were rained out did not have me excited, ha. #beachhairdontcare In the end the storm made for the most beautiful sunset of the entire week – we couldn’t have picked a better night!

Let me just say, Niesha Rose Photography completely hit it out of the park with these photos. I can not actually put into words how much I love them. I tried to narrow it down to just a few of my top faves here but seriously, they were all this beautiful. Obsessed. Niesha was amazing as well, especially with Camden. Definitely look her up if you are in the area!

Sansing_Family_06 Sansing_Family_30 Sansing_Family_46 Sansing_Family_60 Sansing_Family_54 Sansing_Family_53 Sansing_Family_70 Sansing_Family_61 Sansing_Family_74 Sansing_Family_01 Sansing_Family_36

His curls. His face. I can not. I’m so glad we did this!

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with AnnieNatalie, and Amanda.

CAPTIVA ISLAND 2017

Well, we’ve been doing a pretty crummy job of getting back in to the swing of things since getting home from vacation almost ten fourteen days ago. The sleep issues from my Friday post? I would chose those any day over the stomach issues that hit last Saturday and lasted all the way through Tuesday. That’ll really throw you for a loop. Also, sick babies are just the worst. So is puke in a car seat. #momlife

But talking about sick kids is not why were are here, friends. We’re here to recap the family vacation to Captiva Island over the first week of July which is much more pleasant, at least from where I’m sitting.

IMG_6957
Camden was a real trooper in the car, he really only couldn’t hold it together the last 45 minutes or so of the trip. The drive to Captiva is about 14 hours from where we live before you factor in stopping (and you should factor in A LOT of stopping with a baby). We generally drive through the night but that makes me a nervous wreck so we decided to stop once we got to the Florida state line to get some sleep. That drive alone took 15 hours with holiday traffic and a wreck so I think that was the right decision.

Our car was literally packed from front to back (thank God we bought an SUV this year or we would have been driving down the highway with a car top carrier on the top of an Impala) because holy moly, it takes more than you would ever think to haul a baby to the beach for a week. I also  stuffed our car with anything and everything I could think of to entertain my one year old in the car. I’m going write a whole post about all that soon so stay tuned for that 😉

Now I think I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking:

IMG_6968
We traveled with a total of 14 people so a house as much needed. We stayed in this house and it was perfect for us all to spread out. Baby proof, it was not, but I guess that was to be expected.

IMG_7124
The house was just a short wagon ride to the beach!

We got our wagon and tent from our local Academy sports and I would say that they are both absolutely necessary! (And lol to the fact that Camden is sitting IN the wagon in this picture. This must have been the twelfth trip of the day. I was usually carrying him on my hip because that thing was jam packed with everything under the sun.)

IMG_7153
This beautiful place has my heart!

IMG_6972
Love my boys so much!

IMG_6977
I tried to mentally prepare myself that Camden might hate the sand (he has serious issues with grass, insert eye roll here) but he did ok! He wasn’t super sure of himself and his walking abilities the first couple of days but he figured it out eventually.

IMG_7018
Since he is early to bed, early to rise and the time difference is only an hour, I tried to keep Cam on his regular sleeping schedule while we were gone. That meant he was up at about 6:30 every morning and well before most everyone else in the house. Keeping a toddler quiet in a house full of sleeping people is not one of my favorite things to do so we would load up in the stroller and take little adventures every morning. We would hit the beach, the marina to see the boats and manatees, then head to get some coffee. Such a fun, special time with my boy!

IMG_7178
He is my shadow in every sense of the word!

IMG_7108
This was our first time being on the island for the 4th of July, which I was hesitant about because it’s a holiday I take very seriously. My one request was that we had to find a firework show. We ended up on a tiny (TINY) strip of beach over on Sanibel on the suggestion of a local where we could see three shows at the same time. Disappointed, I was not!

IMG_7012
I’ve heard mixed reviews, but we loved our little collapsible pool. The sides to fold in easily but we didn’t really have any problems with that. Camden was content to sit in it for hours at a time some days splashing around and doing his thing which gave me a few minutes to relax.

IMG_7009
We attempted a beach nap in the wagon the first few days but I quickly realized a happy, well rested baby at dinner was well worth packing it in from the beach a little earlier than normal.

IMG_7111
Family photos happened one night! I’m still waiting (not patiently) to get them back and I am SO EXCITED. I think we got some really good ones! It stormed really bad for about two hours leading up to our sunset session which made me nervous, but also made for the most beautiful sunset of the entire trip once it blew over! Other than forgetting the bug spray and getting more mosquito bites in one hour than I have had my entire life combined and singing “If You’re Happy & You Know it” and “The Wheels on the Bus” about 1000x each, I think it went pretty well! #doitforthegram

IMG_7034
So creepy. But this boy loved the marina!

Nathan and I opted out of going on the boat trip this year because we were both having anxiety over different aspects of it. It ended up being one of the better choices we made all week even though we both love Boat Day. The three of us spent the whole day on the beach relaxing (including a two hour nap on top of me for Cam) before cleaning up for the 4th festivities!

IMG_7155
Two hours of nap = two hours of reading for mom. You won’t hear me complaining about that!

IMG_6988
Don’t let the hesitation in his face confuse you. By the end of the week he was running face first into the water every time he got near enough. That made picture night pretty interesting 😉

IMG_7001
Did you guys know? Shells are the yummiest thing you could ever put in your mouth!

IMG_7060
Enjoying the beach with my boy!

IMG_7133
Ps. Taking pictures of a one year old is HARD. I have 20 versions of this picture on my camera and he isn’t looking at the camera in any of them. Sigh.

IMG_7151
Always so much fun at the Crab Races! We named our’s Frank the Tank and he was a dud. Maybe next year!

IMG_7217
Loving the Crab Races!

IMG_7181
This is the best we could do.

IMG_7218

Overall,  it was an awesome trip full of fun and sweet memories, but let me just get real for one second – it was not all a walk in the park. Nathan was gone the whole week leading up to us leaving which left all the packing and prep on me, left him exhausted and stressed from work and travel, and left us both trying to figure out how to get back on the co-parenting train (which always happens when he’s been gone that long). Add in a lot of people (admittedly not our strongest suit) and the stress of a house full of baby hazards from top to bottom and it really took a toll on our first few days there. I don’t say that to complain, I’m beyond grateful we get to go on nice vacations with people we love, but just to be real. Nathan and I both learned a lot about what we value as a family, how we can do better next time, and the boundaries we need to set for ourselves to make sure our vacation reduces our stress, not induces panic attacks. When you know better, you do better, right?

Ps. I haven’t been able to bring myself to erase my count down to vacation chalkboard in our kitchen. Maybe I should just keep it going for the next one? 130 days until Orlando! 😉

Oh, one more thing. Are there any WordPress geniuses out there? My comments are no longer coming to my email making it super hard (harder than normal) for me to reply to you all. The forums are not helping at all. Any tips?

Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures & stories on Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Biana, ErinKatie, and Jenna.

FRIDAY FIVE

It’s not a vacation recap post, but it’s a post! (Working on that, I promise. So. Many. Pictures. To. Edit.)

We (Camden) have had a rough week adjusting to life post-vacation. As hard as  I tried to keep him on his normal schedule, the poor guy is having a ROUGH time sleeping. Maybe because he slept in the same room as us all week? He is also in the middle of a developmental leap which never fails to bring about sleep issues. All I know is that I laid on the floor of his room for one hour and forty five minutes on Tuesday night while he fell asleep because he screamed like he was being murdered if I left. Yay for sleep training round two!

Other than that, it’s been pretty fun around here lately! Here’s a little peek for you:

IMG_6904off the shoulder
ONE | Nathan and I got away for the night a few weeks ago to see Hillsong United in Nashville and it was amazing! We left home early so we could get dinner at Bar Taco and wander around Nashville for a little while before the show – highly recommend Bar Taco for dinner if you are in the area by the way. Poor Nathan was only about a week in to recovery for having his wisdom teeth out but was such a trooper. The concert was amazing of course and I only cried once about leaving my baby for the first time overnight. #momlife

ALSO. I’m not sure if this is common knowledge but I found an awesome trick for keeping your off-the-shoulder-tops OFF your shoulders without pulling them down all night so I had to share! You basically take two safety pins and loop a hair tie through them, then clip them to your shirt so that the hair tie fits under your arm pit. Here’s a video that shows you. Game changer!

IMG_6808
TWO | I have a ton of books that I’ve read in the past few months that I need to share with you! Someday… While we were on vacation I finished Eligible and in the end, I really, really liked it but it did take me a while to get in to. Probably for the same reason that I couldn’t get in to the original Pride and Prejudice book or the movie with Kiera Knightly – there are SO MANY dang characters it’s hard to keep them straight for a while. Has anyone else read these books and felt this way?

IMG_7263
THREE | Last night my sister-in-law and nephew came over for dinner and these boys has so much fun being silly and playing together! Cam loves to be around other kids so much – I’m so excited for him to start his Mother’s Morning Out program this fall. He’s going to love it!

IMG_7258
FOUR | I served these Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers over Coconut Rice for dinner last night and it was a major hit all around! I added onions to mine because we looove grilled onions. My sister-in-law was also telling me that they don’t have a grill and I was super confused. Like, how do you cook in the summer? Don’t stoves take a sabbatical? :) EVERYTHING tastes better on the grill!

IMG_7248
FIVE | I talked over on my Instagram yesterday about how apparently the start of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale means the start of fall to WAY too many people. I will allow you to spam me with posts about fall clothes that are part of the sale (because I get it girl $$$), but I will not allow any other talk of the f-word in my feed. I LOVE fall, I really do but I don’t want anything to do with it until we have squeezed every last drop out of summer, mmk?

Have a great weekend, friends!

Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures & stories on Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with KatieSeptember FarmMeet @ the BarreLiz, and The Slaughters.

LIFE LATELY

Hi friends! Long time, no talk. I hope you all had a good weekend. Camden and I stayed busy doing fun stuff with all sorts of friends and family while Nathan was holed up at home recovering from getting his wisdom teeth taken out on Friday. Whomp whomp. Somehow, I found myself on basically the same diet of mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes, and pudding as he did which sounds fun in theory but I am feeling soo sluggish this morning. Reeling that in today for sure – only 11 days until vacation!!

Since I haven’t post in a while here is a bunch of random updates/pictures/stuff from our life, lately:

IMG_6781
Starting the first week of June, I dropped down to working from home two days a week and friends, it has been a complete game changer. I don’t know if May was just an exceptionally hard month or what, but scaling back on the time I am in the office was 100% what I needed in order to feel like I can handle working and moming in this season! I’m so grateful (so so so SO grateful) to work for people who support me as a person and a mom just as much as they support me as an employee!

IMG_6646
Well guys, I drank the kool-aid and joined our local Orange Theory. My sister that lives in Connecticut has been raving about it for a couple of years and oh my, it does not disappoint! I am a person who NEEDS a class and structure and someone telling me what to do and…a consequence if I decide not to show up, ha!  I’ve been going 3-4 times a week for about five weeks now and I already feel so much faster and stronger and my pants are FINALLY starting to feel looser. Amen.

IMG_6623
That awkward moment when you go try to find a link to your cute Target dress and realize it is a maternity style. No wonder I could size down so much! Lol. Thanks a lot people who organize Target’s clearance section. I’m going to pretend like this never happened and keep on wearing it – it’s so cute!

FullSizeRender
Camden is in a serious “collection” phase. Every day he has a different, random object that he insists on carrying around with him all. day. long. It’s usually some sort of kitchen utensil because I have a few of them in a yard sale box in our office at home and he knows where to find them. This day he took this spatula in the stroller on our walk, outside to play, and tried to eat with it at dinner. One day he found a (new, I swear – it had just been ordered and taken out of the box!!!) toilet bowl cleaning brush at work which made for some super awkward looks from customers. #momoftheyear

IMG_6691
Single girl behavior much? When Nathan is traveling I try to watch stuff that he would normally never be up for and last week I requested An American in Paris from our local library while he was gone. Love love love this movie! Give me all the Gene Kelly.

IMG_6733
I
‘m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet 😉 but we are headed to our favorite place in the world, Captiva Island in just 11 short (but long) days. Cam has had a blast climbing in and out of his “beach chair” aka this portable high chair – I can’t wait until he’s got this little toes in the sand! Quick question for parents: What sort of flotation device do you use for a one year old? Puddle jumper? Life vest? Swim suit with floats built in? Something else? Google is not giving me great answers to these questions. What has worked for you? Help!

IMG_6615
This boy LOVES to swing and be outside! As soon as he gets up in the morning he whines and whines at the back door until I take him out to for a few minutes then we are usually out there playing in the water table or baby pool after nap/we get home from work until it’s time for dinner.

IMG_6845
We got out of the house this weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather walking around downtown Newburgh. Coffee, farmer’s market, big sales at the cutest kid’s boutique, a patio lunch with a view of the river, and home in time for a two hour nap. That’s what Saturday dreams are made of (if only dad could have been there).

IMG_6852
Me and my best boy at lunch. I love being this kid’s mom!!

Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures & stories on Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Biana, Erin, Katie, and Jenna.