Looking Back: The Best of April

It's hard to believe that April has come and gone, but it has. Perhaps most exciting to me this month was the start of the hopefully-continual Social Justice Book Club, in which a group of us read Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. (I still haven't finished it, but the book is freaking excellent. Heartbreaking at times, but excellent.)

April wasn't a huge reading month for me--I'm behind in my reading goal for the first time in years--but I'm ok with that. Between lots of travel and lots of running, I probably had too-high expectations for myself anyway. Luckily, those books I did pick up (and finish) were quite good:

Week in Reading: May 2nd

Greetings from the arc formerly known as my house, friends. We're on day 6, I think, of straight downpours (though it feels like day 600), and looking a forecast of more of the same this week.

We did get a brief glimpse of moody sun in Western Maryland yesterday, where I was volunteering at the end of a 100-mile ultramarathon. I suppose I can't complain too much about rain (or mud) after those folks braved 30 hours of it. The finishers were soaked to the core, and the very last stretch was almost all uphill on a solid mud slick. Pretty impressive stuff.

Social Justice Book Club: Just Mercy Wrap-up

April has come and gone, ya'll, which means an end to the "official" window for the first installment of the Social Justice Book Club. But don't worry if you haven't finished Just Mercy yet... I haven't either. So my own personal wrap-up post will come later next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to get a link-up up for anyone who wanted to share their thoughts or comments or ideas about the book.

Make-Ahead Breakfasts

I learned an interesting thing about myself when I transitioned from working in an office every day to working from home: I do not make breakfast. When my mornings were a rush to get out the door, looking reasonably like a functional adult human being, I assumed this was because of lack of time. Sleep an extra 10 minutes, or eat a healthy breakfast? I always chose the sleep.

But now that I work from home, those 10 minutes aren't a black and white choice between sleep and eat. I could, theoretically, make myself a real, balanced meal in the morning and still get to my desk in plenty of time to dive into the workday. But I don't. I sit at the counter and drink coffee on an empty stomach, making myself sick and leaving me cranky and shaky by 10:30am. Anything to avoid actually cooking something before 9am.

To the rescue: make-ahead breakfasts that require nothing more than finding a clean spoon.

Overnight Oats

There are tons of "recipes" for overnight oats, but the premise is simple: one part oats, one part liquid, add flavorings to taste. I prefer Bob's Red Mill Muesli soaked in coconut milk*, topped with chia seeds and frozen fruit (which thaws in the overnight process).

For a creamsicle-like version, half coconut milk & half orange juice is great (though the berries can overwhelm the creamsicle flavor if you're also adding fruit on top).

*Coconut milk tends to keep me fuller longer than regular milk, and is easier on my stomach pre-workout than dairy. I buy the canned lite coconut milk (in my grocery store, it's with the Asian foodstuffs) as it's cheaper than the refrigerated box variety, lasts longer, and doesn't have stabilizers added into it. I've also done this with skim milk when I'm out of coconut milk and it works just fine.

Banana Chia Pudding

I first stumbled into this dish when I tried a Whole 30, and have kept making it long since re-introducing gluten and sugar to my diet (hello, cupcakes). Blend a banana and a 1/4-1/2 cup of coconut milk until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup of chia seeds and let sit at least overnight. Serve with fruit or other toppings to taste! (Recipe adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo.)

I make both of these in leftover jars (salsa, jelly, mustard, pickles), and eat them straight out of the jars they overnight in. They're also conveniently portable that way for mornings when I do have to put on pants and leave the house.


What are your go-to breakfasts? Favorite make-ahead breakfasts?

Social Justice Book Club: June Book Pick

We're not quite finished the first round of the Social Justice Book Club, true, but I'm comfortable enough calling it a success to go ahead and pick the book for round 2: The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, by Laura Tillman. (Thanks to Julianne for the recommendation!)

Because so many have other reading commitments, and I know some readers weren't able to join us this time around because of delays in getting a copy of Just Mercy, #SJBC will become an every-other-month reading event. So we won't be diving into The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts until June (but I wanted to get the book announced ASAP so folks (like me!) had time to get their hands on a copy).

The more the merrier--link up below if you're interested in joining! No pressure--the link-up just helps me (and others!) keep track of who's participating so we know where to go to discuss.

And stay tuned next week for a wrap-up of this first edition of the Social Justice Book Club, and a call for your input in shaping how we move forward!

Week in Reading: April 18th

Happy Tax Day, fellow Americans! (Happy April 18th, non-U.S. readers!)

As promised, I've done a lot of traveling and not a lot of writing. Not as promised, I haven't done a lot of reading: I spent a surprising amount of my six hours of airport time and two hours of flight time this weekend talking to strangers instead of reading. Who even am I?

Which means this week's reading stack looks almost exactly like last week's...

Some Days Are Better Than Others: A Running Recap

Some days are better than others.

This is a thing that I know to be true, but really experiencing it--and letting myself believe it--has proved something else entirely. A recent run was a much-needed reminder that some days are, in fact, better than others. And that's not such a bad thing.

I set out for a long trail run on a gorgeous morning, planning for 11 miles. I'm training for a half in May, and this was one of my longest runs in my training plan, so it meant a lot not only physically, but mentally: if I can do this, I told myself, I can do the race.

But less than a mile into my run, my legs felt like lead. My feet felt like bruises. My calves felt like fire. My quads felt like jello. I hadn't even hit the hills yet.