Best Podcasts For a Road Trip
How To Read 1000 Books

What I'm Into (July 2015 Edition)

2015-07-19 20.24.48What even is my life? Housesitting is the best.

I've been in San Francisco for a little over a month now. July was filled with All Things New: new city, new job, new friends, new bus routes, new restaurants. Everyone handles transition differently and I know I do best when I make forays here and there, then retreat to the comforts of home and a good book. So far, so good.


Read and Reading

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The Word Exchange (Graedon) is already on my Favorite Novel list for this year. It's a bibliophile novel, perfect for any book or word nerd. What if books and libraries were a thing of the past? What if our iPhones did everything from diagnose our illnesses to paying our taxes- automatically? What, then, might happen if the word flu spread causing people to speak gibberish and then die? An interesting look at our dependence on technology and social media, this novel gives us an ode to the written word and was a fun ride from start to finish. More please.

I didn't know what The Girl With All The Gifts (Carey) was about before I started and that's how it should be. I could barely put it down and once I figured out what was happening, I was like, "WHAT?!" and then I was glad I hadn't known what it was about because this is not my normal genre and yet it was so captivating. The ending was a bit much for my taste but it's well worth reading.

Lion Heart (Gaughen) was a satisfying conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy. I loved seeing how Scarlet grew as a character and it was such a fun and imaginative reinvention of Robin Hood.

I would like anything Tara Austen Weaver writes but Orchard House especially blew me away. It's a beautifully rendered exploration of how gardens grow and families learn to connect. (The imagery alone!) Though our stories are different, this memoir resonated in a powerful way. Highly recommended. Side note: you may remember I got to spend time with Tara while she was in Nashville for a book signing a few months ago. I had literally just decided to move to SF and the story spooled out of me as we drank tea. Tara grew up in the Bay Area and had such wonderful advice. She references SF a number of times in Orchard House and offers her experience of forging community in Seattle, which made reading it now that much more perfect.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (Evans) was a breath of fresh air and a balm for my soul. This is RHE's best writing yet.

Michael Pollan never ceases to inspire me and Cooked was no exception. I loved learning more about the science behind cooking, as well as his process of incorporating water, earth, fire, and air into his cooking methods. It made me want to braise all the meat and bake all the bread posthaste. It might have convinced me to start fermenting foods other than pickles, too.


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We'll be discussing Once Was Lost (Zarr) this month on The Red Couch. If you need an excuse to read great YA, here you go!


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: Embracing the Body (Owen), Here If You Need Me (Braestrup), Spinster (Bolick), The Good Luck Of Right Now (Quick), Once Was Lost (Zarr), The Silver Witch (Brackston), Fire Shut Up In My Bones (Blow), Wild In The Hollow (Haines)


(I read 15 books this month.)



Must-see TV: So You Think You Can Dance, Real Housewives of New York, Real Housewives of Orange County


I am loving this season of SYTYCD! Is there anyone who isn't #TeamStreet? They are all so incredible.

There's no cable where I'm housesitting so I've taken this as a sign to finally watch The West Wing for the first time. I've only ever seen a few random episodes and I'm still not sure why I didn't watch when it was first on. (Probably because it started when I was in college and I was sidetracked by shows on the WB.) In any case, better late than never. I'm on season 3 and loving it. Every episode is so good and depressingly still relevant to current events, even if they can also be tone-deaf at times regarding race and the LGBTQ community.

I'm also re-watching The Hills because I'm a sucker for Lauren & Co. No matter how many times I watch, I'm always horrified by Spencer and his vileness.



New subscriptions: The Robcast, Another Round with Heben and Tracy, Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert

Highly recommend Marc Maron's interview with President Obama, no matter what side the aisle you're on. A fascinating listen the whole way through. Also worth listening: the episode about how the interview came to be.

Congrats to the Popcast on 100 episodes! They're the coolest, even when they're oh so wrong about things. I'm looking at you, Knox McCoy.

This Sorta Awesome episode about hospitality was fantastic. I love hosting people in my home, even though I rarely did it while I lived in Nashville. I'm anxious to get back in the habit.

Tsh of The Art of Simple relaunched her podcast as The Simple Show and brought back the episode I recorded with her last summer about the Enneagram. If you missed it the first time around, have a listen (it's episode 6) and then check out the rest of the podcast.


Things I Love:

  • Ezra the Cat: he is a purring, snuggly lovey
  • Spending the morning with one of my coworkers Florence: talking about life, learning about the work I'd be doing, and eating yummy (dairy-free!) pastries from Arizmendi Bakery

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  • Cara took me on a driving tour of the city so I could start getting oriented. It's still a blur but it was so helpful and so utterly kind of her.
  • Fourth of July with Cara's family: we hit up Jack London Square and had amazing Filipino barbecue for lunch and then headed over to her neighbor's house for a barbecue that night. It was one of the best spreads of food I've seen in a while and I had a blast talking with all the neighbors.

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  • Brunch with my cousin Clara, her husband Wallie, and their kiddos. It is so wild to live in the same state now! We kept marveling over it. I adore them.
  • I started my job! I'm the Children's Ministry administrative assistant for City Church. I've been there a month now and feel like I'm getting the hang of things and actually making a contribution. Everyone has been super welcoming and I've loved all the lunches and coffees I've had with everyone. They are my people. Plus, Thursday afternoon debrief (aka Happy Hour) is the best way to end the work week. (I work Sunday-Thursday.)
  • We missed out on cruffins but my coworker Laura and I had a great time getting donuts and other pastries from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Since it's near work, cruffins are assuredly in my future!

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  • Hanging out with my cousin Nick! We hadn't seen each other in 15 years and probably only saw each other a couple times before that. He grew up in Oregon and so we're family but we don't know each other super well. And yet, it was just like talking to an old friend. I'm so thankful to have him nearby and that we have a chance to build a relationship.
  • Last-minute dinner invitations from new friends

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  • My latest Stitch Fix! I kept 4 out of 5 pieces- 3 cute tops and a pair of jeans. Another home run.
  • Finding a good bus route to work. There was a lot of trial and error involved but I figured it out and even started reading on the bus earlier this week. Victory!
  • Facetiming with my best friend and her kids. Technology is the best.

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  • I can't stop taking pictures of this view. Just a small sample of what I come home to. I'm looking forward to finding my own place (with a roommate) but this is truly the life.
  • THE WEATHER! I cannot believe it is July and I wear jeans and a cardigan almost every day. It is beautiful. It hasn't gotten higher than 80. This weather is my favorite.



Favorite Instagram:

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I broke bread with a new friend tonight. The conversation was easy and the food a delight. I hope this is a harbinger of what's to come.

(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)


On The Blog:

I shared the Best Podcasts for a Road Trip, complete with specific episode recommendations. You're welcome.



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