It’s Fall. At least that’s what the calendar says. I’m in Texas at the moment, so it looks like every other day of the year just eight degrees cooler. I really miss the fall foliage, wearing my pea coat, and feeling crispness in the air as I walk down the street in my super cute scarf. Since I can’t have those things this year, here is what I’m loving right now.
- roadtrippers.com – Hands down my favorite place to suck time. If you have a serious case of Wanderlust like I do, then you find a lot of inspiration and useful tools here. You can plan your (US) trip down to the mileage and estimated gas costs. You can find cool and unusual places on your route and save them to your trip! It’s a “web and mobile platform that streamlines discovery, planning, booking and navigation into one engaging road trip planner.”
- Gravity (film) – I saw this movie a few weeks ago (in 3D, of course) and I can’t stop thinking about it. It was a beautiful and intense movie that explores more than outer-space. A few of my friends have complained that the film inaccurate, and had little plot. To this I say, you are wrong. A film like Gravity isn’t to be taken literally. If you do that, you are missing the whole point of the film. The movie isn’t “about” astronauts and what it is like to be in space. It isn’t a documentary. The film is about the gravity of relationships, isolation and loss. The movie asks – do things like love and loss tether us to the past, pull us back down to earth, or let us float free? Try watching movies with a wider view and your enjoyment will triple.
- Masterchef Junior (FOX) By far the best competition show on television, and it stars children. And Gordon Ramsey. And he’s nice! Most shows featuring kids either exploit the kids and their family by making them seem out of control, or crazy. I find Toddler’s and Tiaras to be a good form of birth control, and also a handy “What Not to Do” guide for parents. It’s difficult to watch a kid lose, especially when they lose like a brat. Watch any T&T episode and you’ll see what I mean. The kids featured on Masterchef Junior behave better than most adults in these situations. It focuses on talent, good parenting, smarts, and losing. You probably cannot cook half as good as these kids (I can’t!) and it is eye-opening to watch a nine-year old make a perfect three layer cake, sear a steak, or cook escargot – ALL BY THEMSELVES. No parents around. Just Gordon, Graham, and Joe. Children are capable of so much more than most people give them credit for. They don’t need to be talked down to, or fed “kid food”. They are capable of being happy for the person next to them when they win, and losing with grace and dignity. Adults sometimes are not. These kids know that playing the game is more important than winning or losing.
- Trader Joe’s (Market) – After seven years in the Czech Republic, US grocery stores were a frightening experience. I almost had a panic attack when I went to the local supermarket. I actually got lost inside. I got used to a smaller store. It was a year before I was able to get my ass back to TJ’s. (They finally opened one in Austin last month) TJ’s is the only place to go for inexpensive, healthy food that is good quality. I feel like Trader Joe’s takes the guess-work out of shopping. When you walk into a Trader Joe’s you are not going to have 75 different yogurt to choose from. You’ll have about ten. And that’s more than enough. You’ll know which ever you choose will taste good and have less chemicals and shit than what you’ll get at a BIG store. They have the best wine and beer selection for the budget minded, and their coffee is the shit. I’m so happy to have TJ’s back in my life. And not just for the White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn.
- Camping – Okay. I haven’t actually camped in a really long time. But that is about to change. In January we are driving to California and camping along the way. I have a new tent, jacket and sleeping-bag, and I’m super excited to test them out. We are going to drive to San Antonio next month and test out our gear before taking it to The Grand Canyon in winter. I’m excited about being outdoors (in The Nature for all you Prague Expats) and being surrounded by beauty. I can’t wait to be disconnected from everything, and everyone, and having time to just sit in peace or just read a book. And, your day revolves around food. I’m a big lover of food, and when you’re camping, it’s the perfect time to really enjoy cooking. It just takes a little longer to prepare, but camping can be an excellent time to bring out your inner “foodie”.