On Twitter, where brevity reigns supreme, I sum myself up as: Writer, educator, yogi, runner, general nerd & wearer of many metaphorical hats.

While that’s great place to start, a list of labels only gets you so far in learning about someone. In addition to the above, I…

  1. Fill my phone with pictures of Azula, my Blue Heeler puppy with a personality fitting her Avatar: The Last Airbender namesake a little too well
  2. Am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but currently live in Pittsburgh
  3. Love a good buffalo chicken…

What works for one casual runner might work for you, too

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If I may put a spin on that well-known Game of Thrones quote, summer is coming.

While it’s not quite summer in my corner of the world, we’ve had enough warmer days to get me thinking about the gear around the house that I need to re-locate in order to be prepared for hot summer runs.

This caused me to realize I’ve officially be running long enough to have a good sense of the gear that works for me, and that means I might be able to provide some guidance for newer runners, or folks who are still searching for…

It didn’t go viral, but it sparked engagement & taught me something, too

Photo by Carol Magalhães on Unsplash

Over the weekend, I realized I had gotten quite close to hitting 200 followers on Medium. This felt like an exciting milestone, so I fired off a quick tweet about how close I was:

Revisiting your favorite books helps you reflect on how you’ve changed

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(Disclaimer: Book links that appear in this article are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you choose to purchase books via these links.)

Many readers like to return to their favorite books time and time again. Folks often re-read classics, like Pride and Prejudice, or revisit favorite young adult authors like Tamora Pierce or Meg Cabot. And of course, plenty of readers take annual trips to a certain wizarding school.

The practice of re-reading is usually talked about as a form of nostalgia, or comfort. That’s certainly a huge piece of why I re-read certain books, particularly…

5 online celebrity book clubs you can join today

Photo from the Reese’s Book Club facebook page

Recently, I realized something. I have, more or less, accidentally joined Reese’s Book Club.

It began innocently enough, a simple “follow” on Instagram. Then, I started reading the picks because, well… some of them had really pretty covers. And once I enjoyed one, I thought maybe I’d enjoy others, too.

When the app came out, I got curious and downloaded it, at which point I was provided with my very own digital membership card. It’s — I’ve become a card carrying Reese’s Book Club member.

This membership card made me stop and ask myself, What’s the deal with all these…

Mindful Traveling. Hiking. Outdoors.

After years of dreaming, I finally took my first overnight backpacking trip

I read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild during college and immediately became obsessed with the idea of going on my own thru-hiking adventure.

Despite being anxiety-ridden and terrified of doing anything alone, I daydreamed about one day strapping on a backpack and leaving my day-to-day life behind.

When I read Wild in college, I was a young woman trying to find romance in singlehood and independence, and the book resonated deeply with me.

A few years later, I reread it as someone who had experienced deep grief for the first time and took it as a guide. …

Running after a hiatus is a mixed bag of emotions

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

In 2020, I ran my first half-marathon (virtually, of course). Then, I took some well-deserved and much needed time off from running.

This week, thanks to the go-ahead from my doctor after some routine tests for my chronic illness, I set out on my first run in around three months.

As excited as I was to get back out there, I knew it would be difficult to face the loss of fitness I’d incurred over the last several months of walks and yoga only.

I know I’m not the only one who’s had to hustle and struggle through a running…

A poem from my last summer working in retail

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Here I am, once again bringing you something from the archives of my poetry project during my last summer working at TJ Maxx.

For the full context of this set of poems, shared in honor of National Poetry Month, check out the intro post, here:

Oil In A Can of Kickstart

Muttering to a rack full of clothes,
I’ll say “You belong on a feature,”
Or “Finally, more women’s plus!”

Being in charge forces investment,
Creates camaraderie with clothes.
But it takes something, too. …

But I didn’t always

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I first encountered T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in high school, and it quickly became my favorite poem. When I lived alone, I would annoy my cat by sometimes pacing around my apartment, reading the poem aloud.

The most-quoted line is “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons,” which I found a bit ironic since, when I first encountered Prufrock, I did not drink coffee.

Now, a print of this quote sits atop our coffee mug shelf. Now, my daily coffee ritual is a constant that begins each new day. It’s hard to believe…

At the time, I didn’t know it would be the last

Photo by Matt Bowden on Unsplash

One day in March of 2017, I got on a roller coaster for the last time.

I had no idea then that I would one day sit in front of a neurologist and receive the medical opinion that I was “going to be someone who will want to avoid roller coasters.”

Sure, I’d seen warning labels on the signs that people with back issues or pregnant women shouldn’t ride, but I’d never thought so far ahead as to imagine either condition might befall me. I had certainly never heard of such a thing as occipital neuralgia before.

Admittedly, the thrill…

Amanda Kay Oaks

Pittsburgh-based writer & wearer of many metaphorical hats. Making words about self, health, books, travel, and more! She/her.

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