• Daily Life,  Lifestyle,  Thoughts

    Why We’re Reading (Or Not) During the Pandemic

    Have your reading habits changed over the past year? I’ve heard that many people have been reading less than ever before, as this interesting Refinery 29 article states. Some people seem to find it hard to concentrate. As this isn’t my case, I wondered why that would be, and the article mentions that since last March, people’s thoughts seem to drift towards our current situation and what’s in the news or the lack of social contact we’ve been having. This leads to checking the news, doom-scrolling Twitter or checking up on friends online instead of picking up our books, perhaps. I know a big reader who has been playing Animal…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Film,  Language Learning,  Lifestyle,  Winter

    My Winter Joys, Goals, & Other Things

    How’s that for a title after that last post? Thank you for your nice words and reaching out; I’m feeling a bit better these days. The photo taken above was at our annual half-term cafe day at the mid-point of the school year, this time taking place on a bench in my favorite square. I like this photo because even though I wasn’t doing well, I wasn’t going to not participate in this annual tradition – you’d have to drag me away. It seems somehow hopeful. Typically I really like January (and this one has been lovely!), and even though it hasn’t been easy, I can’t but help still feeling…

  • Herbalism,  Lifestyle,  Recipe,  Winter

    Recipe: Chaga Masala Chai Tea

    This past December I was all about ‘dat chai. I was constantly cooking up batches of this delicious, spicy and warming masala chai to enjoy in the evenings mostly, but even in the day time as an alternative to coffee. See… here’s the sad news. I had recently come to the realization that coffee is no friend to me. Maybe one of those frenemies, but not a true friend. I had also been doing a lot of research about healing my hormones and found that I ought to drastically reduce both coffee and processed soy consumption. I’m more of a black tea person anyway, so this wasn’t the worst news,…

  • Lifestyle,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    The Books of 2020

    A big year for reading it was! I set my reading goal intentionally low at twenty books, but in the end I managed thirty-one! Perhaps this was because I still wasn’t sure if I would undertake any kind of formal studies and wanted to emphasize quality over quantity, and although I greatly surpassed it, I don’t really think the pandemic was the culprit. This was the first year that I really, actively considered reading books a hobby. Before it was just something I did, I guess, but now it’s gone full-out obsession, I’m either sorry or delighted to say. Ironically, I feel like I spend more time thinking about what…

  • Autumn,  Budějovice,  czech culture,  Czech Republic,  Herbalism,  South Bohemia

    Autumn Lockdown Feels Like

    Do you think optimistic, positive people ever just… lose it after awhile? I consider myself one of those and was wondering when that breaking point would come. After holding it together so well since lockdown started in March, I’ve had more work than ever before (none of this Corona free time) and I guess last Sunday, in mid-late November it all sort of came to a head. It came to me today that of course our Christmas trip abroad would be cancelled this year – it would be folly to go through with it. I thought of all the sadness and destruction that 2020 has wrought. I wondered when I…

  • Autumn,  Film

    The Spooky October Film Series, Pt VI

    It’s time for my annual spooky film list for Halloween! If you’re just tuning in, every October, Alex and I draft up five films that are not the typical Hocus Pocus (however beloved that movie is) – something we have not seen tens of times that still has the spooky Halloween vibes many of us are craving at this time of the year. Especially this year, there’s been a lot more time on your hands and far fewer events to go to, making this Halloween a perfect one to sink your teeth into a proper spooky, atmospheric movie. I hope you find a suggestion here for your watching pleasure that…

  • Autumn,  Czech Republic,  Lifestyle

    Little Cottage in the Woods

    Even though the weather forecast for our early autumn cottage holiday weekend looked comically grim, there wasn’t a thought in my mind to cancel. We’d been hoping to go for an unplugged, off-the-grid weekend since late summer, but after returning from Croatia in August, we decided it would be much better appreciated if we waited until the long weekend at the end of September. Fortunately I packed for the cold — lots of woolly knits — and I’m so glad I did because it just did not stop raining. We arrived in the dark on Friday evening to pouring rain, which continued straight until early Sunday morning. When you stay…

  • Daily Life,  Eats,  Herbalism,  Recipe,  Summer

    Three-Day Seasonal Eating Menu: Late Summer

    Here in South Bohemia, like many other parts of the country (and maybe where you live, too), we are lucky to have a bounty of gorgeous vegetables in season this time of year. Five or six years ago I subscribed to our CSA (community-supported agriculture) vegetable box which is usually only available about May-late October, and it has provided us with such delicious organic produce over the years, some vegetables that were totally unknown to me before coming here. (Achocha? Kohlrabi? I had never eaten both in my life!) In between boxes, I’m always at the bi-weekly farmer’s market picking up eggs (especially), fruit and whatever else looks good or…

  • Daily Life,  Lifestyle,  Minimalism,  Summer

    Upgrade Season

    The end of summer is always upgrade season for us kids. It’s usually the time of the year that we come back from whatever summer adventures we’ve undertaken, walk in our house and say man, that table’s got to go or I can’t believe we still haven’t got that print framed. You see, we’ve lived in a furnished flat since the beginning of 2013. Most of our furniture is used and loved hand-me-downs (which I am so, so grateful to have been able to use!) or just whatever furniture that friends of ours don’t want anymore. Because we never knew how long we’d stay, I’ve always been reluctant to purchase…

  • Daily Life,  Lifestyle,  South Bohemia,  Summer

    The Saturday of Summer

    July, my favorite month of all – the Saturday of summer! It blew in with a flurry of gatherings, barbecues and a spot of camping at a lake (Lipno, naturally) at the beginning of the month. Camping in Europe has been… interesting. This was our third camping trip here in Central Europe and I have to say, I really prefer American camping a bit better! Usually for tent campers, you get literally just a patch of grass on which to pitch your tent and nothing else. No picnic table or fire pit unless you go to a campground with a bit more of a bougie situation. Also, we don’t have…