March has been a month of transition, but despite the upheaval, I’ve discovered some new favorites, and found new appreciation for tools and products that have served me well this month. Here are a few things I’d love to share with you:

 

A Product That Adds Value

 

Audible

I recently spent 5 days driving 2,688 miles from Virginia to Montana. Since we had two vehicles to move, my husband and I each drove separately. While we’ve driven cross-country before about 10 times, this was the first time I drove the entire way myself.

Audible was my driving partner. I’ve been an audio book fan for some time — I listen during long training runs and sometimes while I’m doing something mundane like cleaning out my closet. During the road trip, I listened to three audio books, and they were a great way to pass the miles (in addition to music and podcasts and periods of simple silence interspersed).

If you’re interested in trying Audible, you can click here for a free trial, including two free audiobooks:

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

What might I recommend?

Well, on the recent drive, I finished up:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – this was a great story and my first book by Michael Chabon, who I’ve had on my list of authors to read for some time. The premise was clever, the characters were engaging, and the narration was strong.

I also enjoyed the Claire Danes Audible version of The Handmaid’s Tale. I’d read this book years prior, in print format, and have noticed it popping back up frequently in the past year. The narration was fantastic, very understated in a way that really enhanced the overall eeriness of the story. Certainly recommended.

Finally, I was inspired by the Elon Musk biography (also one of my 2017 reading challenge selections). I learned a lot more about Musk, and I share some additional thoughts below.

Bonus recommendation from my husband: In general, his reading tastes tend to favor the sardonic narrator (think Chuck Palahniuk or J.D. Salinger), and he particularly enjoyed the James Franco reading of Slaughterhouse 5.

If you’re still not sold, here are a few more of my all-time favorite listens:

The Boys in the Boat – I recommend this one all the time; the narrator is the late, great Edward Herrmann of Gilmore Girls fame. The story is incredibly compelling, and Herrmann makes it an edge-of-your-seat listen.

The Hobbit – This was the perfect fall listen for me a few years back. It’s incredibly atmospheric and well-narrated. I have loved The Hobbit since elementary school and read it several times, but this version showed me new things about the story that I’d never noticed before.

The Graveyard Book – I listened to, and loved, the version that is fully narrated by Neil Gaiman.

Content That Makes Me Think And Dream

 

Moana

We finally watched Moana, as it became available to rent on Google Play. And, I loved it. The music and the animation were both fantastic, and I actually found myself tearing up a few times throughout the movie. I’m a latecomer to this particular film, but it was so wonderful to see a Disney movie with a princess who hoped for more than finding her true love, and who embraced the wanderlust and thirst for adventure that she knew lay deep within. While I loved the main song, How Far I’ll Go, the one that actually made me feel all of the feels was We Know the Way – especially the reprise. And now I’m going to go listen to it again. Between Elon Musk and Lin-Manuel Miranda, my inspiration meter is overflowing.

Elon Musk:

I’ve been a fan and follower of Musk for a number of years now. Opinions and stories abound regarding his personal reputation, business model, and the somewhat turbulent paths that his companies, particularly Tesla, have taken.  I think he’s one of the ultimate serious visionaries of our generation. Listening to his biography gave a fascinating insight into his upbringing, his inspirations, and his guiding framework that directs his work at SpaceX, Tesla, and with SolarCity. Listening to the biography left me feeling encouraged at the progress being made in space travel and technologies to help point humanity in directions that will (literally) broaden our horizons.

The Useful Nature of Thoughtful Limitations

I really enjoyed Tsh Oxenreider’s article about limitations we impose on ourselves, and the benefits we gain from observing a thoughtful limitation. She cites examples such as a specific diet choice, a curated wardrobe, or restricting TV viewing. I thought it was a useful reminder and a great read about how we can insulate ourselves from this world of never-ending and often overwhelming possibility, in order to refocus on what is important.

One quote that stuck out:

“Sometimes I just need the reminder that these boundaries, these lovely limitations, are a good, healthy thing for me. They’re letting me play the hand I’ve been given instead of wishing I had someone else’s.”

Tsh is also the author of At Home in the World — which I recently reviewed here. If you missed that post, you can check out my thoughts and see where to pre-order!

Things I’m excited about:

We signed up for a CSA this year, in part to support the local farm community, and in part to continue eating and learning about a range of vegetables. I’m hoping to plant a small garden of my own, but since my previous ventures in keeping green things alive have not been entirely successful, this will be a great supplement to our weekly food. We’ve joined Lower Valley Farm’s CSA. In researching several great CSA options in our area, it was hard to choose, but I was inspired by Jay and Mandy’s vision of finding “a way not just to feed the world, but to truly nourish it.” I have no intention of turning this blog into anything resembling a food blog, but I’ll be certain to post some updates on our experiences with the CSA and how it’s adding value to my life!

Coffee of the month:

I’m starting a new feature. Each month, I’ll share my favorite delivery from Angel’s Cup, our weekly subscription service that delivers 4 2-serving selections of gourmet, fresh, roasted beans.

This month, I loved (and ordered a full bag of) Kaldi’s Coffee Rwanda Rulindo Cocatu.

The coffee has a great flavor profile. Since I’m not an expert on coffee tasting — just a lover of the drink — I’ll give you the Angel’s Cup blurb:

“Flavors: Raisin, Creme Brulee, Nuts. Tastes like a mix between a Kenyan and a Colombian coffee. Nice acidity with dried fruit, plum, and nut flavors. The sweetness is excellent too, with roast development flavor probably best described as caramel. We’re also getting a burnt sugar creme brulee kinda thing.”

Kaldi’s details:
Variety: Bourbon
Altitude: 1820m
Processing: Wet Process
Region: Rulindo
Description: floral notes, with toffee, raisin, and a grapefruit-like finish

The Cocatu Cooperative has a great story, as featured on Kaldi’s site:

“This is our first time buying from the Cocatu cooperative. Cocatu is a cooperative in the
area of Tumba town, in the mountainous Rulindo district in Northern Rwanda. Located at
1820 meters, the coop actually draws coffee from the surrounding hills of 2000+ meters.
Cocatu is one of the surviving cooperatives from a time when many were formed but
few truly prospered. The problem was not the quality of coffee or effort of the farmer-
members. It was the absence of sound business advice to control expenses and raise the
working capital to buy coffee cherry in the harvest. Being able to smartly and efficiently
use the money they earn to upgrade their equipment as well as being able to share
the profits with the farmers is a difficult task. In the past few years though, the Cocatu
cooperative has been able to buy new drying beds and a new disc pulper, setting them up
to be able to sell better coffee in the future.”

Interested in trying out Angel’s Cup? You can get 25% off of your first delivery by using code “CoffeeHunter2251”!

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