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After a whirlwind trip to South America in November and December, January was meant to be a quiet antidote. And it was — a busy month of working, healthy living, and starting the year off strong!
This month, I made a big goal for 2024: I want to visit at least one new destination in the Czech Republic every month of the year. I’ve been resolving each year to visit more places in the Czech Republic, and it hasn’t really been working out, so this seems like a way to actually visit new places on a regular basis.
I figure that even in very busy travel months (and March is going to be one!), I can squeeze in a quick day trip somewhere.
So I got to work this month, with a very snowy and wintry visit up to Liberec.
- Prague and Liberec, Czech Republic
Getting really, really into closing my rings. Charlie got me an Apple Watch for Christmas — something that I resisted for awhile because I thought it would make me look like a Spy Kid.
Well, turns out I love my watch, especially the detailed health tracking information. I have become obsessed with is closing my rings every single day. Now Charlie and I are both doing crazy dances when it’s time to get another standing minute!
Between that and Dry January, it’s been a very healthy start to the year.
I got my eyebrows microbladed! This is something I’ve been thinking of doing for years. Microblading is basically a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo that fills in the sparse areas in your eyebrows and makes them look more uniform; most last around a year.
I went to AR Aesthetics in Prague and absolutely LOVE how Alesia recreated my brows into a gorgeous shape. But right now you can’t tell I had anything done at all — post-scabbing, your brows look bare until the skin finishes a regeneration cycle, which takes about 22 days. So I should see the final results in a week or so.
If you get micro bladed, my big tip is to book yourself a blowout or haircut 5-7 days after the procedure, because I wasn’t able to get my eyebrows wet until they stopped scabbing (took about 13 days), and thus couldn’t wash my hair. I got by on dry shampoo until a week in and it was SO nice to have someone else wash my hair in a way that would keep my brows dry!
Visiting Liberec. Liberec is a small city up in the mountains, near the German and Polish borders. It has a pretty town hall, some nice coffeeshops, and a cool atmosphere.
The big attraction in Liberec is just outside town — a place called Ještěd. Ještěd is a weird pointy hotel kind of shaped like a spaceship, and it has views over the mountains. Or if you go on as snowy a day as we did, you have a view of just clouds!
We had some outrageously delicious pumpkin soup (seriously, it tasted like it was full of meat and cheese) and I loved taking pictures of the tree branches with perfectly frozen snow.
Fun with friends in Prague. Another of my goals is to do 50 new things in Prague this year (and no, I can’t go all in on restaurants or it would be ALL RESTAURANTS). My friend Janna and I hit up the Christmas City Cinema, which was putting on Bridget Jones’s Diary — one of my all-time favorite movies. And you walk in through a wardrobe, like it’s Narnia!
And my friend Harvey came to visit and we hit up the Banksy exhibit, the Dvorak Museum, and yes, the Sex Machines Museum. All very much worth visiting.
Fun with the kitties. They’re just the best. We also started them on Feliway this month at the vet’s recommendation and they’ve been more relaxed and happier to play with each other.
No challenges worth mentioning here this month. The toughest thing has been dealing with the darkness of January and its consequential seasonal depression. 4 PM sunsets and no Christmas lights to cheer you up.
Blog Posts of the Month
There were a LOT — most of them about the Florida Keys and Montenegro. Are you ready? I’m not going to summarize them because the titles are kind-of self-explanatory.
Book Club This Month
Our next book club will take place on Sunday, April 7, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. Yes, I know that’s a long time from now, and I apologize for that — I literally have a commitment every Sunday until then (except Easter Sunday, which I’m not touching).
We will be reading Nervous Conditions by Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga.
“The groundbreaking first novel in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s award-winning trilogy, Nervous Conditions, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and has been ‘hailed as one of the 20th century’s most significant works of African literature’ (The New York Times).
Two decades before Zimbabwe would win independence and ended white minority rule, thirteen-year-old Tambudzai Sigauke embarks on her education. On her shoulders rest the economic hopes of her parents, siblings, and extended family, and within her burns the desire for independence.
She yearns to be free of the constraints of her rural village and thinks she’s found her way out when her wealthy uncle offers to sponsor her schooling. But she soon learns that the education she receives at his mission school comes with a price.”
You can sign up here. Hope to see you there!
Most Popular Reel on Instagram
I haven’t been doing much on Instagram lately — just feeling super burned out in every other business direction — but I did create a reel about my new eyebrows! (Let’s just hope that they stick around!)
For more updates from my travels, you can follow me on Instagram at @adventurouskate.
What I Watched This Month
I have a new favorite TV show, and it is called For All Mankind. It’s on Apple TV+. I didn’t watch it initially because it looked sci-fi-ish, and I’m not a big sci-fi fan — but trust me, it’s SO SO SO SO GOOD.
Don’t read anything about it — just watch the first episode. And you’ll be hooked.
Charlie and I have watched a single episode for 34 of the past 35 nights. So far the series has 40 episodes overall (four seasons of 10 hourlong episodes).
The showrunners say they have a seven-year plan for the series, and they’ve got that Apple money, so I’m looking forward to where they’re going to go!
What I Read This Month
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (2016) — This book is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Cincinnati and starring a family of wayward sisters who keep running into the same two doctors, one of whom is the alum of a recent reality dating show. Will journalist Liz be able to save her family from financial ruin and her sister be able to find true love, and will that awful Fitzwilliam Darcy start leaving her alone?!
I’ve been working my way through Curtis Sittenfeld’s books, and this was a lovely one. A very faithful adaptation (and even more meaningful when you read the afterward, which was about writing the book for her terminally ill Austen-loving friend). Pride and Prejudice is just SO easily adaptable — I actually rewatched Fire Island after reading this book, which is another fabulous adaptation!
You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith (2023) — Poet Maggie Smith’s life changed after her poem Good Bones went viral worldwide. SO much happened after that poem, and one sad and unfortunately predictable thing was that her husband couldn’t handle her being more successful than him, had an affair, and left her and their children. This is a divorce memoir.
I really enjoy reading works of prose by poets, because they take such care with every word. This book feels at the same time delicate and incisive, and I enjoyed being in Maggie’s head for a bit, even if the subject matter was bleak. That said — this is one book where I want to see more of the story beyond what she shared. Not because I don’t believe her, but because she portrayed her ex-husband in such an arch way that I can’t see what she or anyone ever liked about him in the first place.
Everyone Here is Lying by Shari Lapena (2023) — In this mystery thriller, a nine-year-old girl goes missing and captivates the nation. Her father looks a LOT like he could be behind her disappearance — but turns out there are a lot of people who could be equally plausible kidnappers for this annoying-as-hell kid.
I read this book because Roxane Gay recommended it in her newsletter. And it IS a fast-paced thriller that keeps you guessing. I couldn’t stop listening to it. But it has one of my LEAST favorite literary tropes — the precocious child who talks, thinks, and acts like an adult. My eyes nearly rolled out of my head.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (2022) — Avery is a therapist who lost her license; she now acts in the capacity of a consultant who isn’t bound to the laws and ethics of therapy. She starts working with a couple looking to rebuild their relationship after infidelity — but soon Avery is swept up in a much darker, more complicated mystery than what she signed up for.
Eh. It’s a meh thriller. None of the characters interested me, and nowhere did Avery demonstrate how her lack of ethics could make her a better therapist. The best part of the book was when Avery adopted a sweet but hard-to-adopt pit bull, and the dog DID NOT die at the end. Phew.
Coming Up in February 2024
My 2024 travels are kicking off in mid-February! First off, Charlie and I will be visiting London. I’ll be attending IMM UK, a travel industry event, and we’ll be celebrating a belated Christmas with his family, going to see the Arsenal women’s team play, and gorging ourselves on Chinese food at Hunan and Indian food at Dishoom.
Then I head to Paris on my own for two days. I’m honestly mainly going to do some shopping intel (aka try out ALL THE BRANDS I LOVE and see how I like them in real life). Beyond that, I tend to a lot of the same things whenever I visit Paris, so this time I want to do all new things. It’s been fun planning.
So what will my new Czech destination of the month be? Mariánské Lázně! Charlie and I will be visiting this famous Czech spa town near the end of the month.
Like Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně is one of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Spa Towns of Europe, though it’s more popular with Czechs than international visitors. Winter seems like a nice time to luxuriate in some geothermal waters.
Any plans for February? Share away!