finished reading // The Girl on the Train

Note: This post is part of a blog book club and is a post about my feelings and opinions in regards to this book. Read more about the blog book club and why I read this book here. This post was written after I read the book and therefor contains SPOILERS, so don't read this post if you aren't finished with the book!

This book took me a little longer than I would have thought to read ... not because I didn't enjoy it, but simply because over the past month and a half I didn't have as much time to read as I would like - my lack of posts here on andchloe are perfect evidence of 24 hours in a day not being enough to accomplish all that I want to (see my post from a couple days ago!).

Overall Thoughts

It was entertaining and intriguing. The mystery was a good one; certainly my style of true crime. The story was original, the twists kept me guessing, and the overall intrigue kept me wanting to read more.

Jumping back and forth between the female characters sometimes felt a little exhausting, as I would sometimes get impatient for more information about that particular character, but *boom*, end chapter, switch female.

Opinion on Characters

I liked Rachel, but I definitely became impatient with her self destructive behavior. I was routing for her but was frustrated that she struggled for so long. And, I certainly questioned a lot of her decisions. The author led us to believe that Rachel maybe had something to do with Megan's disappearance, and the reader certainly starts to wonder what she is capable of in this dark, self destructive place she is.

Megan was more of a mystery to me. I didn't find her relatable. I had a hard time liking her which let me to also be critical of her past. Even finding out the details of her murder didn't change how I felt about her. The tragedy in her past (the accidental drowning of her infant daughter) did not even soften my opinion of her. Her bad decisions started when she left home at a young age to go live with a boyfriend. Things went down hill from there and her behavior was selfish and, in my opinion, manipulative. 

Likewise, I never became an Anna fan. I disliked her, although not strongly. She didn't paint herself in a good light, and I didn't like her overall attitude. Of course, in the end, her rating went up in my book, at least a little.

The male characters were all of not much consequence to me. Most of them were not likable for obvious reasons, but my negative feelings of them were not strong and perhaps I felt more indifferent of them.

Rating the Book

To sum up my feelings about various aspects of this book, I offer the following ratings...

Scale 1 - 10 with 10 being the best

Plot/Story // 8
Pace // 8
Length // 9
Characters // 8
Ending // 9
Overall // 8

Would I recommend this book to a friend? Yes. Specifically a good vacation/beach read.

If you read The Girl on the Train too, 

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share your opinion of the book in the comments below and let's get a little discussion going.

Read Jenny's thoughts on the book...

You can read what Jenny thought about the book over on her blog.

Next Up

And, watch for the next book announcement soon!

hello, it's me

So, to say that I am neglecting this space is accurate, or more so that I have been neglecting it for a while. Aside from my weekly 52 Project posts (which are more for my own chronicling than blog content), I have been practically silent, averaging maybe one other post per month. It's terrible, and it isn't for lack of ideas or desire to post. That guy with me in the photo is a big part of my absence, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Although my work life is as busy as ever, when I am not working my priority is him not sharing the projects I am working on, no matter how proud I am of them. Likewise, the other design, fashion, and food stuff has also taken a backseat.

Over the past year the blog has been consumed more and more by the goings-on in my life, and less with my work, other design, food, and fashion anyways. All other content was suffering and rightly so, it was consumed by my life because I was consumed by my life, in the best way possible.

But, it was time - I wanted to acknowledge my quietness on here as it will continue. I have no idea how often I will post (outside of the 52 project). And, I know this may alienate readers and send some packing, but I hope you will stick around and check back time to time. I really do have so many things I want to share in this space, and I will as time permits (but that may not be very frequently). I have so many ideas for new content as well, but since other projects pay the bills - those will come first.

In the meantime, I hope to post and share more on my andchloe Facebook page - sort of a quick and easy way to share some stuff. And, you can always keep up with me on my Instagram. I hope you will stay in touch.


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015

photo taken April 22, 2015 // Denver, Colorado

We went cold turkey on the binkies (pacifiers). We had talked about it for a week, and we set Wednesday, April 22 as the date. First thing in the morning, we packed up the binkies in a box, addressed them to the babies who needed them (Raffa colored the box with crayons), and they sent them off. Raffa really enjoyed his binky in the car, sometimes around the house, and relied upon it at naptime and nighttime. Luckily, the car and at home barely fazed him. With minimal distraction, he forgot those binkies practically immediately. Naptime and nighttime are posing a little more of a challenge. But those babies who need the binkies have them now and there is no going back.

See all photos in this series here.


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015

photo taken April 18, 2015 // Denver, Colorado

Raffa taught himself how to do this on Saturday - hang from his arms and swing. He continually amazes me by learning things on his own or picking up things I am not even consciously teaching him. He can now count up to 11-12 (sometimes he skips a number or two) and loves to tell me when he is being a "fast guy" (running), "busy guy" (coloring, working, etc.), "silly guy", or a "funny guy".

See all photos in this series here.

recipe: strawberry shortcake granola

I have gone back and forth as to whether to name this granola "Strawberry Almond Granola" or "Strawberry Shortcake Granola" ... in the end, I have decided upon "Strawberry Shortcake Granola" because when you get a bit with a dried strawberry, that is distinctly what it tastes like.

My sister, Jonna, created this recipe, and she has been graciously making batches for us. It is delicious with milk or yogurt (we prefer Noosa brand), and Raffa loves to eat it plain (okay, I eat it plain, by the handful, too).

For dry ingredients you will need rolled oats, sliced almonds, pecan pieces, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut shavings, salt, and cinnamon. You will also need dried strawberries, and I adamantly prefer Steve Paleo Goods' dried strawberries for taste and freshness.  (The strawberries will be reserved until after the granola is baked.)

For the wet ingredients, you will need honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, almond butter, and vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Measure and combine your wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Take a quick break for a game of peek-a-boo, and then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until thoroughly coated. Spread over a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 250º for 60 minutes to 75 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes and until granola reaches desired level of brown-ness. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add dried fruit and mix. Now enjoy your tasty granola.

Strawberry Shortcake Granola

dry ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pecan pieces
1/2 - 1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup toasted coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6oz dried strawberries

wet ingredients:1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups dried strawberries - we use a whole bag of Steve's Paelo Goods Paleo strawberries and chop them into pieces

method:Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients together in smaller bowl.

Combine well, and spread on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 250º for 60-75 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add dried strawberries and mix. Now enjoy your tasty granola.


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015

photo taken April 9, 2015 // Denver, Colorado

Raffa and I love going to the park, and we especially love meeting friends at the park. Park playdates with friends make us both happy. With lovely spring weather, getting outside is even easier.

See all photos in this series here.

Easter 2015

We had a really, really lovely Easter last weekend. We had a breakfast Easter party and breakfast at my sister, Jonna's house. The boys got to dig in to their Easter baskets, we all enjoyed some quiche, bagels and lox, donuts, and coffee, and the boys did a little Easter egg hunt.

Asher was quite in to the egg hunt, Raffa didn't totally understand it but they both had fun. And, it is always a pleasure to watch them play together.

Later in the afternoon we went to the park for a bit (always a favorite) and had an Easter dinner over at my mom's house. The day was just perfect!

april desktop

My monthly collab with PRETTYblog continues and April's desktop, as well as 5x7" and bookmark printable are available for download on the PRETTYblog today!


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015

photo taken April 3, 2015 // Denver, Colorado

Raffa's language continues to explode. Not only does he know his colors, but he can now also count to eight (although, mostly he only makes it to five). He knows several letters including W, M, and A. He loves to sing and randomly sings "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "Patty Cake", "What a Wonderful World", "The Clean Up Song" throughout the day. He is constantly telling me "I want that" (for anything he wants), "I bring this" (for anything he wants to bring somewhere with him whether to the car, outside, or to bed), "read this", and "mama, sit down" (when he wants me to sit with him). He also likes to say "no way" instead of "no" and occasionally throws "right now!" on the end of a request. It is amazing to converse with him more than ever before; I absolutely love talking to him and never get sick of hearing him recount things we do.

See all photos in this series here.


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