Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

More to come later this week, but for now, Donut and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Vesele Vanoce!

Monday, November 25, 2013


In honour of all those Czechies who claim to hate peanut butter (until they've sampled a Reeses' after someone's business trip), I've been whipping these up for lucky coworkers...

Peanut Butter Bits
125g unsalted butter
123g powdered sugar

180g smooth peanut butter (use Skippy, it’s the yummiest annnnnd you can even buy it in Albert!)

60g unsalted butter

90-100g chopped chocolate (go crazy)

1.    Line an 20x20cm square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides, then butter the foil. Set aside.
a.     If they do not make 20x20cm pans, then I don’t know what to tell you. I’m converting everything from our ridiculous imperial system. Just use common sense. Also, I forgot to butter the foil, but it’s nonstick anyway, so I feel like this is just unnecessary. Don’t bother with it.
2.    In a medium saucepan, melt the 125g of butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until completely combined and smooth. Spread the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Lick the spoon. And maybe the pot, as it needs to be cleaned out anyway.
3.    In the now-empty saucepan (because you licked it clean), melt the 60g unsalted butter over VERY LOW heat. Add the chocolate and stir until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.
4.    Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set. Remove from the pan using the foil overhangs and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to slice into 16 bars. If you don’t have a pizza cutter, I’m pretty sure you’ll still be able to manage. If not, I think we have bigger issues to tackle than your cooking skills. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Or just eat it all, then you don’t have to worry about storing anything.

Please note that I accept no responsibility for weight gain or dentist’s bills. Dobrou chut!
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
                                                                        -Julia Child

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesdays are just the worst, aren't they?

Listening: Inexplicably, I have Coco Jamboo stuck in my head. Now you will too.

You're welcome.

Eating: For dinner, I had italian breaded chicken strips and, as a side, a plate of cheese. My diet is deplorable, I'm aware. (I had a salad for lunch though, so back off.)
Feeling: Confused - reading Mad About the Boy and cannot fathom how Bridget Jones is in her fifties, as book must surely be written in some time warp as not that much time has passed since I first began my obsession. Oh god, it has. Very soon will go less from image of BJ as typical adult to more like being her - pudgy, questionable hair and counting alcohol units. Sums it up about right.
Loving: It's Peej's birthday!!! This gorge Lilly Pulitzer print. Mail from Steph! Living room furniture comes tomorrow! Super easy peanut butter fudge - recipe coming!
Hating: It is very, very cold. (This will be my stock answer for, ohhhh, the next six months.)
Wanting: slinky, super tall black suede boots... still. Really, any lovely black boots.
Needing: Hmmm... I wouldn't say no to another cup of tea. Donut, if you'd be so kind?
Thinking: I should really dye my hair this weekend. 
Planning: This week is all about the birthday celebrations and parties! And Tin Mouth, the annual chilli eating competition, so fingers crossed for no repeats from last year. Yowza!

As we're halfway through Movember, it's high time I share the link for our work Movember team. Donate what you can (your dollars go far here!) and help safeguard futures - men, so you don't get sick, and ladies, so we don't have to take care of them. Help a Mo Sista Out!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wine Snob

Svatemarintsko... The Czech version of Beaujolais. Having been here for this time of the year for my 3rd time (what?!? How?!?), I finally partook in some festivities... A wine tasting at Noelko. Ten wines, approved and certified by some fancy Czech wine board, agreed that these bottles fit the bill. They certainly fit my bill for a cold and gloomy Tuesday.

Surrounded by one Serbian and eight Czechs, I nodded along, feigning comprehension as the connoisseur described each bottle in detail (would I have understood much more in English? Probably not), happily guzzling away and munching on cheese that tasted alarmingly like broccoli (didn't stop me). 

I wanted to screenshot for you my notes, so that you could also enjoy my slide from "if it tastes good, I drink it" to pseudo-wine snob asshole. However, and this may not surprise you, I lost them. Generally, they started out with just stars and emoticons next to the ones i liked and finished up with things like "Burnt umber coloring", "a hint of plum in the nose", and "I do detect a whiskey undertone?" Told you. Insufferable. Luckily, I wrote these all very messily so no one could understand and mock me for it. 

Looking forward to picking up my bottles this week, so I can as our that whiskey finish from the comfort of my own home.

For those of you lucky enough to be in Prague, ask for Olda at Noelka.
Vinotéka Noelka, Slavíkova 3, Praha 2, Prague 120 00

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm baaaaaaaack

I'm not even going to bother with excuses. I have none.

Just a quick post as am clearly out of practice and need to ease into things slowly.

Listening: I just rediscovered GrooveShark, my local answer to Pandora. Thank goodness, although I'm not entirely sure what I was listening to last as all of my recommendations seems to be ABBA, Disney and EDM. This is a strange combination, indeed.
Eating: Donut made tuna salad for breakfast. Is this normal breakfast food? I think not. But I am hardly about to complain when I get to sleep in and wake up to a ready made meal and hot cup of tea, am I? (Well.  Normally, I might complain a little. But I didn't today.)
Feeling: That awful feeling when you have a lovely 3 day weekend, you know you should be out taking advantage of what's very likely to be the last bit of sunshine you see for months and months, but all you really want to do is lounge on the couch in your bathrobe, drinking tea, eating your way through a tin of Quality Street, catching up on Downton Abbey and scrolling through Pinterest. 
Loving: We are in the final countdown to Centrum Krakov opening down the street, which I thoroughly expect to completely change my life, to say little of my bank account. That vacation is booked. Lovely watercolors from Elizabeth Cadd. My very Joan Holloway (nee Harris) new dress for work. 
Hating: Winter is coming. (Semi-related, it's absolutely ages until Game of Thrones starts up again.)
Wanting: slinky, super tall black suede boots. I realize they will last approximately one day before they're covered in slush and look totally beat up, but what a glorious day it will be. 
Needing: a personal trainer. I will kill Donut if he keeps trying to be one for me. And a mixer - it's almost Christmas cookie season! Looked yesterday as found the most perfect green KitchenAid, but if you think that they're expensive in the states, think again. They will run you about $1000 here. So..... no. Will just mix all my cookie dough by hand, possibly erasing need for personal trainer (until have eaten all of said cookies). 
Thinking: What can I possibly put on this canvas? How necessary is it that I clear off all the clutter that has become a mountain of books, papers, chocolate wrappers (damn you Quality Street) and papier-mache pigs on my desk? How can I get Donut to stop flying his toy helicopter so near my head short of cramming it...
Planning: Living room re-do as we've completely rearranged the apartment, how to stay in London for two days without spending more on a single room with twin bed and shared toilet down the hall that I did on a week in Croatia, my next masterpiece, to be less of a blogging delinquent.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Functioning Adult

A month of silence is not so bad. I've probably been much worse in the past. It's just that guys, real life is busy.

A year and a half of teaching, with crazy hours and long midmorning breaks meant I had a lot more time to be productive watch tv. Now that I'm back in a regular office job, the days fly by so quickly and by the time I get home, I feel like it's almost time for bed and to start again. Or take advantage of the nice weather and go have a beer. That seems much better than coming home and banging out a blog post. So that's what I've been doing.

It's an adjustment phase. I fully plan to not be so useless fairly soon. It's just that being productive means tackling the massive (and growing!) pile of ironing, which, quite frankly, seems duller than dirt. Oh, how I miss the days of jeans and leggings.

But it hasn't been all just work and bumming around. Donut and I (well, mostly Donut) spent the weekend repainting the apartment, changing it from the manic bachelor pad red that was on the walls to a nice, calm blue-grey (it turns out, not entirely surprisingly, that I'm pretty crap with a paint roller). My desk is finally all set up and organized (contained!) so my crafty things aren't in an overflowing mess in the corner. We made some adorable little Sharpie mugs (but really, who hasn't?) and I'm currently staring at a blank canvas that will eventually go on our blank wall and filled with terror at actually doing anything to it. I've been busy supporting the local businesses via manicures and haircuts (and beer. and schnitzel.) and we got our season pass to the zoo (baby elephant, squeeeeeeeee!).

Now we're trying to figure out what to do with our bank holiday Wednesday (rather unsuccessfully, tbh), and my motivation level is matching the weather (read: mehhhhhh), so I better go put my thinking cap on. Will try harder in future, promise. xx

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Big Changes

Massive delinquency... but it's been a busy couple of weeks. I found out the day before flying to the UK that I got a new (excellent!) job, which was fantastic (albeit rather unbelievable) news. Week in England spent shopping for new professional wardrobe and all of those essentials that can't be found in Prague (although I feel Donut perhaps would not say that my mugs or giant spice rack constitute essentials, though they've been very heavily used since my return). Returned home to begin final moving phase - aka, pack up everything, massive scrubdowns of apartments, and frantic list-making, all while Donut sipped wine and ate cheese and enjoyed the sunshine of the lovely French Alps. Then moving, transformation of flats into makeshift IKEA warehouses, part-time carpentry gigs, running around with last minute errands before real life begins again anddddddddd here we are. New job starting on Monday, things finally starting to look a bit less chaotic, and still not enough hours in the day. Have lots of little bits to share with you, but can't manage to find the time. Hopefully things will settle down slightly and I can clue you in on what's been going on. Phewwwww...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back to the Motherland

I know I have been delinquent again, but I promise, I've had lots and lots of ideas to write about... I just haven't actually gotten around to doing them. I'm off to jolly old England tomorrow so will probably continue to be MIA, but have lots of fun things geared up for when I get back!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Moving Blows

I've lived on Stross for longer than anywhere since leaving college (I should be a pro at moving by now), and I absolutely adore our apartment. Not only is it big and bright and sunny (well, now that the sun has finally made its reappearance - yay March! Good start!), but it's packed full of memories of fantastic times with unforgettable people.

I'm in the middle of packing up all of my stuff (aka being covered in dust - one thing I won't miss from this place) and thought I'd give myself a well deserved break. Since I'm getting all the non-essentials rounded up, I figured this is a good time to snap some pics of the products of our lazy art Sundays. So here goes (I think you'll notice a theme quite quickly...):

Friday, March 1, 2013


The thing about short months is that they're over before you know it. So that's why you're getting your final February post... in March. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Une Nuit à Paris

In Part Deux of our 12 Dates in 12 Months schtick, Donut and I "went" to Paris for Valentine's Day. Well, I knew we were going for Valentine's Day. Donut, in his Czechy practicality, doesn't appreciate VDay like us Americans, so for him this was just Thursday. With dinner. And a theme.

I picked up some macaroons from Paul for dessert as I feared French pastries were a bit beyond my means.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Be still my heart

18. Today's post is an easy one. Sorry Donut, but another man has stolen my heart. 100% of my Prague love today goes to the little grandpa at the insurance company who saw me staring dumbfounded at the electronic entrance machine, smiled through my awful attempts at Czech, explained to the women behind the desk what I needed help with and got me in and out in half an hour. The bureaucracy here can be a bitch (hence tear-filled breakdown at the foreign ministry last week), so anyone who is ready with a smile behind a counter is automatically a winner in my book. Also, similar snaps to the man at the post office (I swear, we have the loveliest staff at our branch, nah nah). Lots of tourist guides paint Czechs as a surly lot who lack even the most basic of customer service skills, and to that I say... perhaps the problem lies with you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

DIY Painted Pots

I finally admitted defeat and my poor little houseplants are now where they belong... in the trash. However, this freed up a few little pots and I knew that I could easily make them cuter than they already were. So here goes...

Credit Where Credit is Due

As you can see, there's been some changes here at Agog. While my laptop has nearly suffered the consequences of technically induced rage, I could not have figured out how to do this without the help of the following...

Lifesavers. Computersavers. <3
<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

You gotta give a little love

10. There are lots of spots in Prague that are designated expat hangouts. There are also lots and lots of pretentious expats who will vilify these places, spouting off lines such as "You'll never get a true Prague experience if you only hang out with other Americans," or "Well I only go to truly Czech places because I like to immerse myself in the culture."  Well, bravo for you. I like to go to places where I can get a damn good cheeseburger. Fraktal's one of them. It's super close, modestly priced and has a friendly staff. And even though their menu changes have taken my beloved Fraktal BLT and turned it into something no where near as good (bring back the English bacon!!!), there are still lots of yummy new things, so one can't get too mad. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Showing Some Love

5. Most of what decorates my apartment is from home, IKEA, or the product of a Sunday afternoon spent covered in paint. This is because a) I'm sentimental, b) IKEA is my happy place, c) art Sundays are therapeutic and lovely, and d) I'm poor. However, one day I hope not to be, and when that day comes my apartment will be full of charming little tchotchkes from Apropos. I love the cheerfulness of their stock from Green Gate and obviously, I will be going and buying this thermos from PaperProducts Design, because I love it and my one and only coffee mug has seen better days:

Monday, February 4, 2013

How Do I Love Thee?

Since February is the month of love (and also of Black history, LGBT history, bird feeding [skipping that one], the Super Bowl, when the US eagerly watches a groundhog in hopes of spring, when Sri Lanka and St. Lucia celebrate their independence, when Argentinians praise the sun, where Brits and Yanks wear red and when the whole world celebrates their mother tongue [no English lessons on February 21st?]), I decided to have a little list of all of the things I love about my city. A round up of my favorite places and spaces. A review of all that's hot, hip and happening cheap, convenient, and delicious, in no particular order. So let's have at it, shall we?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese

Worst. Follow-through. Ever.


I'd like to say its because I don't want to fill your inbox with inane rumblings about nothing and lackluster attempts at "projects" (my kindle cover is still sitting in tatters on my coffee table), but really I just kind of forgot. Because I was finally busy doing things.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Three solid weeks without sunshine, freezing temperatures, snow, and awful dry heat has finally caught up with me and have had a nasty sinus headache for three days, which is why I was such a delinquent poster.

As such, I have not been super productive, but I did start working on a little project to keep me busy (tho my Kindle cover revamp is on hold until I feel clearheaded enough to tackle math again). Months and months ago, I asked my mom to mail me my recipe box, but thanks to the ever-reliable Czech postal system, that recipe box, full of family recipes and ones that I had collected over the years, is now probably sitting in someone's Bohemian kitchen as they ponder the meaning of "sweet milk". So when I was home for Christmas, I went through my cookbooks and mom's and photographed all of the recipes I wanted into my iPad. I thought that would be a nice, easy and convenient way to store them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Patterns, pssssshhhht.

Blender is back where it belongs, and soup has been pureed into a smooth, velvety, veggie goodness:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The best laid plans...

It's taken me until this weekend, more than halfway through January, to really get into the new year spirit. I finally feel like big things are gonna happen, it's time to turn over a new leaf, and all of the other things that one is generally supposed to feel the first two or three days of the month, not in the second half of it. This explains why my Pinterest is full of new pins on exercise routines and healthy meals, week one of a C25K podcast is downloaded and going on my iPod (to be busted out when the snow goes away), there is a bowl of big juicy grapes next to my bed where the chocolate bars usually live, green tea in my coffee mug (mehhhh...) and my lesson stuff has been reorganized into individual folders in a lovely shade of aqua (there is no point being organized if it doesn't look nice). This may have something to do with the fact that I can no longer continue to blame Mom's fancy American dryer for shrinking my clothes and will just have to face facts that I'm getting pudgier than I care to be. Donut keeps quoting Despicable Me:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Forever 21?

While I absolutely agree with a number of these (largely 1 - 5, 8, 9 and 10 and obviously 21), I'm not sure I'm quite willing to forgo things like a duvet cover (even if putting it on is one of my nemesis chores... along with vacuuming), and I'm pretttttttty sure if my hangovers are any worse than they currently are in my twenties, I shall never drink again (ehmm...). Regardless, I'm certainly not savoring those post-wine mornings, that's for sure. 

I know, I know, another lazy post. Think I'll take a day off tomorrow and hit you with something good on Saturday. Or, you know, just something on Saturday. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday, while I was wandering the streets looking like a human snowball, Prague transformed into a beautiful, snow covered, magical world. It really is so stunning here when it snows; sounds are muffled, the city becomes cozier, and hot wine becomes even more delicious... If that's possible!

It's this beauty that I will struggle to keep in mind as I continually thaw out!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pardon me

I'm too tired, you'll have to go without for one day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Like pulling teeth...

... but pulling cards instead. Today, I'm going to call on my little tin of Best Ever Dinner Party Ice Breakers (by The Lagoon Group) for some inspiro.

Who is your favorite TV detective?
Obviously, it's Olivia Benson (though Stabler and Amaro come in at a close 2nd and 3rd) from Law & Order: SVU. This needs no explanation.

If you could physically transport yourself to any place in the world at this moment, where would you go?
My couch in NJ. Food Network on, surrounded by a far east feast, having a little cuddle with Tuck and drinking a big cup on tea. Maybe taking a little nap. Flipping through some magazines. Easy question.

If you owned a store, what would you sell?
Ohhhhhhh, it's a tough call between knickknacks/tchotchkes/doodads/thingamabobs/whosie-whatsits/little bits, and containers. Maybe I would sell all my little bits, and also sell containers to put them all in. Now that would be a perfect little shop. And there would be tea and wine and little cookies and it'd be nice and sunny and cozy and fabulous. Very similar to one of my favorite little shops here in Prague, Apropos. But instead of losing money every time I go in, I'd gain it. Yes, much better.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


One of the final contenders for President of the Czech Republic looks like either the wealthy uncle or the British butler on an early '90's sitcom, and the other looks a tad shady. You decide:

photo courtesy of

Friday, January 11, 2013

Magic Happened

This morning, I came awake in a haze of confusion... What was happening? Something was different, but what? Then it hit me; the sun was shining and for the first time since getting home, I wasn't waking up to total darkness. Glorious!

Unfortunately, it didn't stick around for long and my beautiful sunshine soon turned into a blizzard, but here we take what we can get.

Meanwhile, in Czech news...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today, I realized...

  • I have the beginnings of SADD. It needs to stop raining. 
  • I hate everyone. Not everyone. Most people. Mostly job-related.
  • I miss having a car. Today I saw a schlammered middle-aged couple with a PDA problem on the tram next to me at 3pm (as the old man on the other side of me shook his head in shame), and then someone puked on the subway (no wonder the car was so empty at 5pm).
  • Fraktal changed my beloved BLT. It's a fail. 
  • I have beer tears. Not just around Steph. It's becoming quite embarrassing. 
Hopefully I will have more interesting things to tell you tomorrow, but I'll be honest with you... it's not likely. I told you I was a little ray of sunshine lately. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On My To Do List

A quiet day, so nothing very exciting to report. Thought I'd tally up for you some of the things on my to-do list, a la Pinterest...

In the kitch:

Basically, I will eat anything that has Thai in the name or description. Yummmm.

The world's most perfect little salty sweet cracker.

For all of those crock pot recipes that call for cream of mushroom/chicken/whatever that I can't find at my friendly neighborhood Billa. 

Everything you need to know is right in the name.

What did I tell you?

However, this recipe seems to be missing some very important elements...
peppers, onions, and bacon, obviously.

Same as before, in a slightly different form.

In my cup:

If someone would be so kind as to lead me to where the apple cider is in this country, I'll make you one too.

Have introduced Donut to the magic that is the Starbucks Chai tea latte, but have a very tricky time hunting down chai tea as the Czech word for tea (čaj) is pronounced the same way and just seem redundant. This is perfect because the Maxwell House International Latte Chai mix I brought back from the states is quickly disappearing and I'm about to panic. 


Luckily, after a failed attempt at some Czech-made Jello shots last summer, I know exactly where to find plain gelatin. See, everything's for a reason. 

Now that Peej has brought home Sharpies, this is totes happening. 

Not ornaments necessarily, but some little colorful things. 

Take the 200 or so recipes I just added to my iPad and write 'em up. 

Damn you winter weather for ruining my nails. 

Looks like I'll be fairly busy for a while... 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You Can Take the Girl Outta Jersey...

It's another grey, miserable, rainy, disgusting, blehhhhhh day here in Prague, and based on my perusal of the forecast, it's not about to give up anytime soon. Am desperately missing sunshine, warm temperatures, flowers, beer gardens and more than 4 hours of "day light".

Since all my students are so busy working that they have no time for me to be able to, I've got lots of free time this week. So today I pulled out my sewing machine and tried to see if I could get it on. One Skype call home to Mom later, and we were in business. Belt loops on jeans fixed. Whipped myself up a new (leopard print) infinity scarf.  I would have posted lovely pictures of my infinity scarf as I was making it, but I did not for the following reasons: 1) I was not entirely sure what I was doing until it was actually finished, and 2) I did not want to get blood on my camera. Pins can be pesky little buggers.

Attempted to make a shower poof a la Ruffles and Stuff but my sewing machine did not like working with all of that heavy fabric so we gave up on that quite quickly. Also thought about taking in one of my sweater dresses that is gigantic, but with age must come sense because I soon realized that was beyond my capabilities and would have to either way for another day or I'd just have to get fat enough to wear it. I think we all know which one is more likely.

What should I make next??

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sometimes, I Really Miss America

Especially when grocery shopping. I miss the wide aisles and the selection and the readable signs and the fresh vegetables and fruits and bahhhhhhhhhh. I got a bit frustrated. In general, my behavior the past few days can generously be summed up as Mephistophelean, so attempting an after work shopping trip was probably not the greatest idea, but I was desperate. Yesterday I had spaghetti with garlic and herb salad dressing on it. That's how desperate things have become.

But I battled on and managed to scrounge up some essentials, including enough things to throw together something vaguely resembling chili. Super easy and came out delicious, so if I can do it, you can too.

You will need...

  • 1 kilo (2 lb.) ground beef (at least I think that's what that was)
  • two small onions, diced
  • three garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 can of black beans, not drained
  • 2 cans diced or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of "Texas" style corn, not drained (this is really just a "fancy" way of saying corn with some black beans mixed in)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper
  • 1 packet McCormick mild chili seasoning
  • 1/2 packet McCormick taco seasoning
  • salt
For those of you who don't have the pleasure of dealing in metric or with Czech markets, our canned vegetables generally come in 400g (14oz). For those of you not blessed to be doing your grocery shopping in the US, I don't know where you can get McCormicks packets. May you be as lucky as I am to know people willing to mail them to you. 

Basically, it's about as easy as it gets. Brown the beef with the onions and add in the garlic to let that brown up a bit. Drain the fat. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until you are too hungry to wait any longer, stirring occasionally (and sampling, obviously). Slap it in a big bowl, top with a dollop of sour cream (or, if you are me and are still unsure of what's Czech for sour cream after one year, a glob of greek yogurt) and burn your tongue trying to get it down. Dream about how fantastic it would be to have corn bread to go with it. Make mental note to ask Donut to help you find cornmeal. Try not to spill. Hope you enjoy it, because it will be the only thing you are eating for the next week as you now have enough chili to feed an army. 

Would have included a picture, but we all know my pictures look awful and it's chili - who cares?! It all looks the same, regardless of what you put in it. Besides, I was too busy scarfing it down (see above). 

And with that, I'm off to finish my big cup of cappuccino and try to keep my eyes open long enough to get myself back on schedule. Goodnight lovelies!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Grand Plans

I had a few ideas kicking around for Agog for January, but I think they'll end up being too similar to what I'd like to do next month, which likely means you're in for another 25 days of me rambling on about not much in particular.

Since this challenge is all about blog loving and I had a totally boring day without anything in particular to report (laundry, yay! lesson planning, yay!), now is as good a time as any to share with you some of my favorite blogs (and other sites, I don't discriminate)...

  • What Will the Neighbors Say - my roommate's hilarious blog. Though he will get a very stern talking to upon his arrival back to the CR for not posting in ages. I'm sure his mom will back me on this. I'm also under very strict instructions from my own mom to show him how to set up a mailing list. So he's got that to look forward to.
  • A Beautiful Mess - I'm pretty sure there's not a person on Pinterest who hasn't stumbled across one of their tutorials. Elsie and Emma make adorable things that you can actually recreate, and their blog is full of lovely photos and ideas and inspiration. I'm jealous.
  • Ruffles and Stuff Disney's blog (how cute is her name?!) was the very first crafty blog I ever started reading. She's got lots of great tutorials with easy-to-follow, beautifully photographed instructions, most of which star her adorable daughter, Paige. 
  • Knock Off Decor Because one day, I dream of not being a renter and having access to things like a table saw so I can whip up DIY Anthropology and Pottery Barn-esque masterpieces at the drop of a dime. 
  • Pintester She'll screw up pins so you don't have to. Hysterical.
  • My Friends are Married Okay, I actually only have one married friend, but I know it's a domino effect and that it's just going to start to snowball. 
  • How Do I Put This Gently? Spot.On.
What are some other goodies that I'm missing? 

Friday, January 4, 2013

I hereby declare...

I was right, this jet lag is killing me. After a brief nap, I'm now wide awake at 3am. Rats.

So then, lets get to it. Here are my grand plans for 2013.

- mail actual birthday cards. Mapping out calendar reminders tomorrow. Ability of recipients to understand said birthday cards highly questionable. Ability of myself to even recognize that said cards are in fact meant for birthdays also dubious.

- put that sewing machine to good use. One new craft a month, documented.

- learn some more basic Czech. Be able to have a conversation with Donut's parents.

- find a new job. Stop being lazy and get on it. Preferably one with things like benefits and a salary that puts me above the poverty line.

- expand circle if friends here. Our group has shrunk considerably in the last six months, and it can be quite lonely with the Jersey three holding things down. Reminds me, must email dinner party group and tell them will host. Now, what typical American food can I make without a grill?

- be a better blogger. This is mainly an outlet for me to fill in family and friends about what's going on, but I enjoy it a lot and want to push myself to be more diligent about keeping up with it. So hold me accountable.

- be happy and healthy and blah blah blah.

Also, quick little recipe care of Donut's dad for fast and easy hot wine (let's face it, after Christmas it's the only thing winter is good for): pour yourself a mug of your favorite red (a nice Pinot noir, a scrumptious cab Sauv), add about one inch of cinnamon stick, two or three cloves, and two teaspoons of sugar. Zap it in the microwave for two minutes, slurp away, refill with more wine when needed. Each spice mix is good for at least two glasses, so glug away as you count down the days until spring.

The Year in Review

It's time to evaluate how I did with last year's goals. I think all in all I had an excellent year, and I hope that reviewing these don't make me think otherwise!

Feed the Body:

  • Master the art of Czech "kitchen". Armed with my copy of The Best Czech Recipes, I'll be turning out Moravian Sparrow and Stuffed Kohlrabi in no time. As soon as I find out what a kohlrabi is. (Update: German turnip). Nottttttt so much. Add this to 2013. 
  • Stop just randomly pinning every nom-worthy thing that I see and actually make something. Two new recipes a month (though given how my shopping trips have been going, this is likely to be much higher simply due to the creativity needed when you can't find what you're looking for). This one I nailed. Tried out a whole slew of Pinterest recipes with resounding success.  Here are some of what I believe to be the best...
  • Eat like an adult. It is no longer acceptable to eat Ramen for 5 days straight... for breakfast. It's time to get reacquainted with vegetables other than mushrooms and potatoes (usually in fry or pancake form), or eat 17 cookies in one sitting (unless it's Christmas. Then all bets are off.). Am I swearing off grilled cheese and chips forever? No. (In fact, think I may go make a grilled cheese sandwich right now.) But it's definitely time to step up the game and hit a little closer to that food pyramid.  Definitely got better at this one thanks to trying out new recipes. Still not the healthiest diet in the world, but one needs a bit of fat... staves off wrinkles. 
  • Put those running shoes to use for something other than trotting over to the pizza place. Stick 'em on, lace 'em up, and get over to Stromovka for some less polluted than city center fresh air. Did very, very well with this for a while, until I went back to the US in the summer and then became a lazy bum again. But not completely as Donut will not let that happen. 
  • Get more sleep. Teaching means you have a whacky schedule. There are days when I start at 7am, and days when I won't start until 3pm. Usually, this means that on the days when I have a 7am class, I am a zombie and dead on my feet for the rest of the (lonnnnnng, lonnnnnnnnnnng) day. We all know I am not a morning person; I will never be a shining ray of sunshine at that ungodly hour. But I do need to start turning out the lights earlier rather than staying up til the weeeeeee hours of the morning reading A Place of Yes. Done. Old lady bedtimes and all. 
Feed the Mind:
  • Put that Rosetta Stone to good use. Brush up on my French & Spanish, and start learning German (and some important Czech. Pivo is not cutting it anymore.). Get a language buddy (bonus points if it happens to be a tall, hot German). Take a class through school. Use it. Be global and fabulous. Explain to me, language school that I work for, why you cannot offer language courses to your staff? Absurdities. Fear I cannot push off learning Czech much longer so this one will also have to join 2013's list. 
  • Go somewhere new and cultural each month. Easy enough in a city like Prague, smack dab in the middle of Europe. (Must try to save harder so can actually leave the city!) And remember my camera, so you can actually see what I'm talking about.  Did fairly well with this one and crammed a lot of culture (outside of the pub!) into the past year. Check. 
  • Put those charcoals and paints to good use and get creative. This is a beautiful city. My photography does not do it justice, but maybe I can make something that does. (Please note that hours after reading this, I did something cultural [yay, knocking that resolution outta the park] and of course, forgot my camera) Our apartment is now full of the "art" that is the result of painting Sundays with Peej. Now that I'm armed with my sewing machine, this will only get better. 
  • Read the classics - Pride & Prejudice. Emma. Sense & Sensibility. Jane Eyre. Anything else people recommend. AKA, all the books that are on my Kindle because I got to download them for free, but have been put on the backburner so that I could read things like Spying in High Heels (excellent, by the way). Also, watch the classics. Casablanca. Breakfast at Tiffany's. The Godfather movies. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Really, any movie where people look at me and go "Whaaaaaat? What's wrong with you? How have you not seen that movie?!?! It's, like, the greatest movie of all time." (Except for Sci-Fi. This is supposed to be enjoyable. I suffered through Avatar, and that was enough.) Negative. No time for movies, and much prefer my thrillers and chic lit. This is something I will just have to accept. 
The Social Network:
  • Put myself out there. Get into one new social situation a month. Find out where the non-trolls are hiding. Report back to other Prague girls. Done - networking events, mingles, speed dating, supper clubs, life in general. This one was an easy one. 
  • Join a club - drawing, books, volunteer stuff, whatever. But do something that is interesting. I absolutely love volunteering for Pink Crocodile. It's a great cause to work for and everyone is really lovely and I've gotten to do a lot of really cool stuff because of it. Wins all around. 
  • Write more letters. Who doesn't love mail? I love mail. I can't seem to get mail, but it would be lovely if my mailman actually read the addresses on envelopes and I got some. So will write them instead. (Also, this gives me a perfectly valid excuse to go buy nice monogrammed stationary, which you all know I love.) I will say that I spent the year poking in and out of papirnictvis looking for stationary which I could not find, so that will be my excuse as to why no one other than my grandparents and my cousins got a handwritten postcard from me this year. 
  • Keep a journal. I try to be fairly open on here, but let's be honest. There are just some things that I don't want to share with all of you. But this is going to be a fantastic year, and I really want an honest collection of all the craziness that's about to ensue, for my eyes only. This one I did try, but gave up when I realized that I only remembered to write in it after a few drinks and then couldn't understand anything anyway, so gave up on that one. 

Okay, so I think I did fairly well. Better to have a gazillion resolutions and succeed at a couple than make one blanket one such as "I will get healthy" and then retract that after one week at the gym. Feel fairly successful. Have a few ideas kicking around for 2013 ones, so I'll have to finalize them and get them out to you tomorrow (knowing how badly I've screwed up my sleep patterns in the last 48 hours, something tells me I will have a lot of time tonight to get it done!). 

So what are your resolutions? How did you do with yours last year? Success? Failure? Calling it a draw?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Sorry for no post yesterday, but it took much longer than anticipated to cram all of the things that I've acquired in the past few weeks into two suitcases. It took even longer to finally admit to myself that two wasn't going to cut it and that I'd be hauling three full suitcases home with me. Please note that this is the same amount of stuff that I moved to Prague with in the first place. Really not sure how this happened.

We had a totally hellish trip home. Well, it probably wasn't that bad, but I was in a demonic mood and ready to bite the head off anyone and everyone so by the time we made it to Lisbon and walked the five thousand miles kilometers from our plane to the transfers area, then were herded into lines of approximately a bazillion people to be handled by two customs agents and then further corralled through the most obnoxious airport security I've ever seen (and we fly out of Newark!), I was really ready to come to blows with the small child who kept trying to cut me. And don't even get me started on the tantrum I threw when we (finally) got to our gate and the vending machine eats my euros as I'm gasping for water. There were lots of tears over the twelve or so hours we spent travelling. I think it's fair to say that Donut was quite relieved when we got on our flight from Lisbon to Prague, I pulled up my hood, and promptly passed out for the duration of our flight. At least he got a bit of a break.

After Czech lunch at the Donut household, I headed home. It's now been five hours. I am completely unpacked, showered, have reorganized my closet, caught up on emails and now out of ways to keep myself busy. Which I want to, because it's really strange and really, really sad being alone in this apartment after getting to spend three weeks surrounded. Am regretting taking off tomorrow from work (well, not reeeeeeeeally). Am starving but lacking the motivation to change out of my Christmas PJs in order to get something, and the only thing in my kitchen is a three pound bag of Dunkin coffee and a bottle of maple syrup. Really missing the stocked fridges from home right now.

Really missing everything about home right now. Had such a fantastic time heading back, though it flew by so quickly and there wasn't enough time to do everything and see everyone as much as I would have liked. By far the hardest part about this lifestyle is constantly saying goodbye. I know I'm usually super happy here, but days like this make me feel like my heart is breaking. I miss my family and friends so much that it physically hurts.

I think I will venture out to forage for food, just in case this nausea is from hunger rather than sadness. Wish I'd stayed at Donut's tonight, but he's probably appreciating a hiatus in the waterworks. Thank goodness the only other thing I have in the kitchen is wine.

Mom, Dad, Jenna, Lili, Ben, Tuck and all my besties - I love you guys so much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lean, mean 2013

I hope everyone had a stellar time ringing in the new year and saying goodbye to 2012. Was the last year as good for you as it was for me? ;)

Spent a bit if time looking through last year's resolutions and thinking about the upcoming year, so I will get into that a bit more once I get back to Prague and have a full comp instead of my new favorite toy. Also kicking off 2013 with another blogging challenge but will also post more about that later.

Our trip to the states is wrapping up far too quickly for my liking and I really should be packing, but I'm too interested in waiting for my Chinese to get here and soaking up English-speaking tv to be bothered with something as lengthy as all that. It's gonna be quite a process, as have once again amassed an incredible amount of stuff which Donut will have the pleasure of helping me haul home.

So know that much, much more is on the way for Agog in the upcoming year but that I've got other things to focus on first. Happy new year!