What I’m Reading – September 2014

Somehow or another, the summer has flown by and fall is on the way. And I find myself eagerly anticipating the cool mornings like this one that almost demand that I sleep in and then make my way to the local coffee shop, as I’ve done today.

And with the shift back to a school-year schedule (yay!), many things seem to fall back into place. Seems as good a time as any to take a look at what’s been inspiring me lately.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake: I had the opportunity to meet Lisa and her awesome family at the Food Blog Forum a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband shared some of the strategy behind their very successful blog, which Lisa started a couple of years ago with a 100-day pledge to only eat “real food.” She has kept right on with pledges to avoid processed food on a budget, and she just came out with a beautiful new cookbook.

Definitely an interesting read, and I’m kind of in love with her blog recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes. They made for the perfect Sunday morning breakfast, and the leftovers reheated beautifully in the toaster oven. The bananas provide just enough sweetness, and they’re delicious with some fresh fruit and just a drizzle of maple syrup. Next up from the world of real food: Lisa’s Super Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits, perhaps with a fresh batch of roasted tomato jam.

“Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt” by Momastery: Glennon writes inspiring, honest blog posts about her life and her struggles and invites guest posts from equally honest women. It’s beautiful, or sometimes—as she puts it—”brutiful,” equal parts beautiful and brutal. But thats life. I’m really interested in checking out her book, Carry On, Warrior.

Anyway, she recently wrote this post about giving herself the best and easiest kitchen makeover ever—a gratitude makeover. In includes gems like: “You guys. I have a REFRIGERATOR. This thing MAGICALLY MAKES FOOD COLD. I’m pretty sure in the olden days, frontierswomen had to drink warm Diet Coke.” And apparently I’m not the only person who loved this. The article caught the attention of the Today Show, who interviewed her in her home. 

Humans of New York by Brandon Staton: I think I was vaguely aware of this project before, but a few weeks ago I started following the Facebook page pretty closely, and I honestly think it’s the single awesomest thing on the internet right now. This guy stops people on the sidewalks of New York City—all kinds of people—old, young, rich, poor, white, black, brown, you name it. And he takes their picture, and he posts it with a little tidbit from their conversation. He asks them about their past, their family, their dreams. So many times when I look into those faces, I wonder if anyone has ever asked these people these things. If they’ve ever had a chance to speak their truth. Some of the stories are hopeful; some are unbelievable sad. But they are all 100% REAL.

Right now, Brandon is traveling abroad. He’s recently been in Iraq, Ukraine, and Sudan, and he’s currently posting from India. It’s been fascinating. I love seeing the different kinds of dress, and the Ukrainian children with flowers in their hair for the first day of school. And I love seeing how the hopes and dreams and fears of all of these human beings are really the same. In the face of everything happening in the world that seems to dehumanize us, this work is really, truly important.

Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: Isla is the third book in a three-book set from this awesome author, who—full disclosure—is somewhat of a friend and who lives about three blocks from where I’m sitting right now. Yay local! I have loved all three books, but this one is my favorite. As one of my friends put it, Stephanie’s writing does not sound like and adult trying to be a 17-year-old girl. It sounds authentically 17. And in the case of Isla, I cannot agree more.

Isla is a senior at an American boarding high school in Paris, and she’s had a crush on classmate Josh since freshman year. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I tell you that they finally get together, but their journey is rocky, and really SO real. I can’t tell you how many times while I was reading that I wanted to shout through my tears: YES! It’s exactly like that! Read it. Love it. Also, this book put Stephanie on the New York Times Bestseller List, she debuted at #8! So incredibly proud and excited for her!

Anyone else noticing a theme here? Am I searching for the REAL? What have you found lately that says REAL to you?

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