Weekend Reading #5: Bonjour, 2014!

Just add Negroni

Just add Negroni

I started composing this on a 15-hour journey from New York back to Ottawa. I then promptly lost interest and fell asleep, then listened to bits of an audiobook and tons of Kino. But I have returned! Now this list is complete, just in time for what I’m sure will be a weekend of very weird weather. Enjoy, lovelies!

  • Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t always, through I do love dreaming up things to improve. And it’s only January 8th–there’s tons of time left for ~change~. Alain de Botton, Refinery 29, Medium, The Hairpin and Marie Forleo have some ideas that address “resolutions” from very different angles.
  • I love advice columns at any time of the year, but the recent Ask Polly and Dear Prudence are particularly worthy.
  • And speaking of Russia, I think what’s happening there in connection with Ukraine is just fascinating. An acquaintance of mine wrote a really good primer last month.
  • OK, more Russia, but on a positive note this time. A Buzzfeed list of Russian quirks. This stuff doesn’t feel that strange to me, actually. Oh, and the author writes that many Russians will “dress up” to go to the store, which they do. What they fail to mention is that when they are at home many Russians dress unbelievably casually–it was not unusual for my adult students to greet me in their pyjamas or bathrobes.
  • Growing up here in Canada, we were told never to pick wild mushrooms. And yeah, you have to be pretty careful in order not to hallucinate and/or die. But for serious, going back to Estonia or Russia to forage sounds just delightful. This piece, written by another acquaintance, makes me long for an Eastern European fall day.
  • If you really are traveling soon, you may want some tips. This article is useful, and this video will show you how to take a flight and still look fly (hah…ugh).

Weekend Reading #4: Modern Art Cakes, James Bond, and Soviet Cooking


Fall here has been lovely. It has been the perfect time for brisk walks, taking photos, and cozying up with a cup of tea and some good reads:

  • The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food (Книга о вкусной и здоровой пище) was a Soviet stalwart for 50 years. It was so important that there’s a whole memoir devoted to it. Interesting to note that all the “Soviet recipes” listed in this article are still very much on Russian plates today.




  • Dreaming of comforting cold-weather recipes. This would be amazing.






  • I don’t care much for James Bond, but I do like hotels


  • Next time you’re planning a trip, check out Travel Independent. It’s specific, current and, refreshingly, stays away from Europe/Australia/Thailand travel topics. It was indispensable for my trip through Asia. Also, a really comprehensive discussion of malaria…


  • I adore the New York Times DIY Handbook. It’s from two years ago, but I still love it. Some great recipes for nutella, chilli oil, and kimchi, among others.


  • Some travel tips, if your next getaway can’t come soon enough: here and here.


Have a fantastic weekend!

Weekend Reading #3


The next time we talk I’ll be galavanting around Central Asia, filling my brain with all sorts of new fodder. I just have a 56-hour train ride to get through first. If there were wifi on this train (hah!) I’d be re-reading this stuff all over again. Failing that, I have two 800-page books, two movies, and piles of podcasts and songs. Hope I make it to Astana with my sanity intact!

•Bye bye, Moscow! For those of you still in town, do check out some of these cool old buildings.

• Are you as big a fan of personality tests as me? This one differs in that it shows how people see you, and what you bring to the table. It’s about $30, but I thought it was quite insightful. I was the “Wise Owl.” Take it and tell me your archetype!

It’s easy to sabotage yourself in the early stages of a job. Doing what you say you will, and not being too fussy will go far.

•This woman is “too pretty to work .” Um, please.

•Mm, ice cream. This sounds like the best mix yet.

•It’s not summer without ice cream. And picnics! And swimming! What other plans have you got?

•Homemade life. In Sweden!

•Is there anything better than Mad Men? Those costumes are incredible.

•On a similar note, have you ever wanted to see your favourite films categorised by colour palette?

This man worked as a private chef to Kim Jong-il for YEARS. Needless to say, his relationship with the great leader is rather complicated.

Gay and lesbian couples may be far better at the “division of labour” than their straight counterparts.

This crime went unsolved for years, before turning out to have the unlikeliest of solutions

•If you’re upset with someone, here’s how to tell them in a constructive way.

See you in Asia, friends!