Welcome to the August edition of What We're Loving This Month! It is hard to believe that we are already at the mid-way point of summer. Sometimes it can be hard to focus or be inspired at work with daydreams of the beach or a summer evening ice cream in mind. This is why we asked some of our colleagues what keeps them inspired through the occasional summer slump. This month, discover the transformative powers of reading multiple books at the same, get inspired by women standing up to bullies, explore the intersection of art and motherhood and top it all off with a delicious vegan summer recipe!
The art of multitasking
In the spirit of multitasking, I have started reading multiple books concurrently this summer — something I used to not be able to do. The trick, I find, is to keep the genres very different. Right now, I am reading Kafka on the Shore, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and Thinking, Fast and Slow. This allows me to experience multiple storylines and exercise diverse trains of thought synchronously. Much like juggling multiple projects at work, it's teaching me not to let any single thing dominate my headspace. Life's short, and finding balance is key!
Reading Lolita in Theran
The summer is a funny time. On the one hand, I love the long days and sunny weather (though climate change is making that one harder to count on!). I spend as much time as I can in my garden, where my native pollinator plants and grasses attract lots of birds and wildlife. Tending to my green space and teaching my children about what I am learning along the way is probably my best parenting moment. But much as I love the summer, around August, I start craving the coziness of the Fall, and one of my favorite things to do is peruse second-hand bookshops in search of something good to curl up on the couch with. I recently randomly picked up Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi. It has totally captivated me both for the window it offers into life under the Islamic regime in Iran and also because it is a story of women standing up to bullies; we all need more of those these days!
The Eye Mama Project
View this post on Instagram
Almost twelve months ago, I added "working mom" to my official job title. Quickly, I realized that my 9 to 5 job became a side hustle to my new 24/7 job - to be a mom, that is. Like so many of the women I work with, I think a lot about navigating my life as a mother alongside my work and art. This lead me to a wonderful online community of mother artists (or is it artist mothers?) and the Eye Mama photography project is an absolute standout. It features photographers who are mothers from all over the world documenting the varied experiences of motherhood, home and family. The images are beautiful, sometimes painful but always inspiring.
A Foodie becomes Instagram official
View this post on Instagram
I am a self-proclaimed foodie. I love spending my summer (and year-round) cooking and baking while hanging out with friends and obsessively talking about my doggo Bernie. I love to make fresh food that comes from the farm to the table.
When I'd make a delicious dish, I would always share it on my personal social media accounts which is when one of my good friends suggested I create an Instagram account to track all of the recipes I make. And so was born Foodieboss94! It is where I cook from recipes I find in cookbooks, online or through friends. I create the dish and share my own critiques and opinion on these dishes.
It’s a project where I share food creation with friends but it has also inspired me to fall in love with food again. If you are looking for what to cook, you should follow my Instagram account!
Caroline Leal is a communications officer at Oxfam Canada.