BOOKS I READ IN MARCH

The first quarter of this year is over. It feels like we have already lived through a decade again. When looking back at all the goals and plans for 2020 it’s almost comedic. Life can change within a couple of days. Good thing books are a constant. After struggling through a couple tough ones reading picked up again. However I didn’t find any hidden gems lately. I finished 3 books and one I missed telling you about in February.

kindle book with cherry blossom books I read in march craftaliciousme seeking creative life abalone und das tiegergesicht

Abalone und das Tigergesicht by Christine Li | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: A young sorceress is supposed to be married off. She’d rather learn fire magic. Disguised as a tiger she is embarking on an adventure during the night where evil spirits are roaming free. A book about growing up and realizing your parents aren’t quiet what you thought them to be.
What I thought: A book so very different from anything I have read. It is an asian fairy tale with magic and and dragons and mystic tales, hope and shadows and all things in between. It did take me a bit to find my footing in this new adventure. And even though I only gave three stars it is a series I look forward continuing to read. I believe it will become stronger in the following books. This was only ground work.
Language: German, not translated yet
Recommend to: If you like fantasy, fairy tales and strong female characters, other cultures and a different approach.

Uncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: The story of Tom a slave in Kentucky who is sold off. Having to leave his family he ends up at a very brutal place. His faiths keeps him going even forgiving his tormentors. A story of slavery and religion. The book that started the Cicil War.
What I thought: This book has been on my reading list for a while. When my mom mentioned it was one of the books that stayed with her it moved up on my list. Oh man did I struggle with this one… I started reading in English. I had to switch to German because I had no f*** clue what was going on. It got mildly better in German. However I didn’t really liked the story. The writing is just horrible to be honest. The story itself is all over the place jumping from one character to the next with no real reason or intention. This way you can hardly like any of the characters. Why did I rate it with three stars you might wonder. Mainly due to the epilogue. This was gold. Placing the story in historic context, giving reason behind by the author herself and seeing the goal she pursued. And this is really something you have to bow to. Considering the time, the place and that the author was female. I am glad I’ve read it. However it was no pleasure.
Language: English and German
Recommend to: Everyone who can manage to get through this writing. It puts things in perspective and I believe knowledge is key to become better humans.

Wir sind Eure Töchter, Nicht eure Ehre by Serap Cilli | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: The autobiography of Turkish suffragette and her long way to happiness. Forced to marry at the age of 15 after avoiding a previous engagement only through a suicid attempt. After seven years of living in rural Turkey she finally had her parents agree to divorce only to have the next husband lined up in Germany. By breaking with her family and fleeing to a women shelter with her kids she finally managed to start her life.
What I thought: It was very interesting for me to read and get a peek into a totally different culture and lifestyle. Some scenes were really horrible and hard to believe. I always feel like it is not fair to judge an autobiography. The writing wasn’t really good and you could tell that it was often tainted by hurt feelings and wrath. Which is understandable. However it left a sour taste in my mouth specially towards the end when complaining was added.
Language: German, currently no translation
Recommend to: Everyone interested in learning about the struggles of Turkish women and the reality of forced marriage.

She belongs to me by Carmen de Sousa | ★★⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎

What’s it about: Charlotte police officer Jordan Monroe is used to being in control. On a business trip, however, he meets the one person who throws his life into a whirlwind–Jaynee. Five years later, Jordan finds Jaynee on their back porch with a gunshot wound to the head. While Jaynee lies in a coma, Jordan has to go back to their beginning and figure out what went wrong. Did he push his wife to the edge, or has her past come back to haunt them?
What I thought: A very cliché and rather mediocre story. A bit of a waste of time as I was hoping it is more of a suspense novel with a pinch of romance (instead the other way around). Fortunately it got me back into a reading routine.
Language: English
Recommend to: If you like mindless chick-flicks go for it.

It was an ok reading month I guess. Often I was not able to concentrate on the story, my mind wandered and so I had to re-read passages. It’s ok. It will be different.

Now let me know about a good book you can recommend. I have finished up my no-spent-months and I could purchase books again. HA.

Happy reading

Tobia

Corona Diaries – Week 1 & 2

The pandemic is holding this world in suspense. Is there a country not yet affected by the corona virus? I doubt it. I didn’t want to make this a huge topic on my blog. But I feel like when this is all over we will sit by the fire and tell our “war stories” and laugh about it, pad us on the shoulders that we are some tough fellas and celebrate with a beer (or Moscow Mule). And for those moments I will capture the days in my corona diaries.

Number of days at home?

We started the with an official quarantine on March 12 after Mr. ♡ went to the doctors to get tested. Until the result came back we were in quarantine (until Saturday 14th when the test came back negative). Mr. ♡ started home office on Wednesday 18th and hasn’t left the house since then as he is still sick. I went outside to a dentist appointment on Monday 16th and to run some errands like getting birthday presents. Since then I only went outside to get some groceries.

How is the political situation?

Schools and universities have closed on Monday 16th and many offices have shut down and have their employees working from home. Since Friday 20th we have official contact ban meaning no meeting/talking with people on the streets or meeting outside. Only two people are allowed to walk together on the street unless living together. Personal sport and movement outside is allowed but no sitting outside.

How is the work situation?

March 12th was my Black Friday when three of my four clients canceled all engagements. The only one still running is only putting out 2 days a months and I assume will get reduced too. Of course that doesn’t pay bills. March will be ok so far. Since payments come in in April that will keep me going but from May on out it will be a tough stretch. Honestly I don’t expect business to pick up before the end of the year…

How is the mood?

I had to get used to having Mr. ♡ hop around during the day. This took a couple days to getting used to and finding a new routine. But since he used to work from home as a freelancer before and I am working from home since 2017 we were both not having many issues. But still it’s a bit stressful at times. Specially when it comes around the questions of “what’s for lunch/dinner”.

Any favorite moments?

  • First lunch on the balcony in the sunshine.
  • Facetime coffee break with my sister.
  • Facetime call by my nephew
  • A battle of Song Pop Party with Mr. ♡

What was the worst moment?

Hearing about family members who don’t really take this as seriously as we do and run around even though being in the risk group. Angry, sad, helpless… all the feelings.

What is stressful right now?

In the beginning it was watching all the news and reading stuff with the first coffee. This got a bit better. Also some moments/situations of anxiety that bubble up.

What was fun?

Laughing with the husband. Seeing the neighbors across the street dance. Looking at Spanish song lyrics one evening.

Any makes/DIYs this week?

Shoot a couple photos with the phone. Decorated an envelope. Wrote blog posts. Blew out eggs. Fixing some holes in the wall and making new ones.

What’s for lunch/dinner?

Suddenly cooking more and trying to find meals we both enjoy. Hard thing. But we had

  • Fish (fingers), mashed potatoes and cucumber salad
  • Pasta with pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes
  • Lasagne
  • Pizza & chicken fricassee
  • Käsespätzle
  • Meatballs with veggies and potatoes
  • Königsberger Klopse (German meatballs in caper sauce) with potatoes

If you feel like you need to adapt the corona diaries to keep sane feel free to join me. I was inspired by tastesheriff and made my own version.

Happy quarantine to you and stay healthy

Tobia

25 Ideas when Staying Home is inevitable

craftaliciousme seeking creative life 20 ideas when staying home

The whole world is going crazy because of the virus and the restrictions being put out to keep the pandemic as small as possible. Honestly not much is changing for me. I work from home, I might need to reduce my lunch walks but usually they are made at the cemetery (not many people there). My weekends are spent at home most times. So I think I can adjust much easier than other people. If you are one of those who need to get out, meet people and have activities lined up I got you covered. Here are 25 ideas when staying home.

  1. Reading a book – self explanatory. Have a look at my recommendations if you haven’t picked one up in a while.
  2. Crafting for Easter – we probably need to stay home until the holidays. Time to craft something you never find time for. I will definitely make some more Sorbian Easter eggs.
  3. Writing letters – when was the last time friends and family got a handwritten letter? Now is the time to pick up that habit again. While running errands today I picked up some stamps. Let me know if we should start a pen-pal-friendship offline.
  4. Learning a language – now is the time to freshen up your language skills so next time we are able to visit countries again we are all ready to go. I will work on my Spanish skills.
  5. Baking & Cooking – how many recipe books do you own? And how many recipe have you actually done? Could be a fun way to work through books and discover new favorite meals. Or maybe you find a recipe on this blog and give it a try.
  6. Making a photo book – are you taking images and never really look at them once saved on your phone? Or do you still have printed copies in a shoe box. Make a photo album.
  7. Dreaming up a bucket list – don’t have a bucket list? Time to start dreaming about all the things you’d like to do.
  8. Learning photography – when confined to one space, learning photography poses new challenges and option. Looking at the same things over and over again sparks creativity.
  9. Watching a tutorial – watch a tutorial on something you always wanted to learn.
  10. Growing an herb garden – watch something grow when not being able to spend time in nature. Maybe you want to cultivate an herb garden, or maybe you’d like flowers on your balcony this summer? Start now.
  11. Repairing your clothes – favorite pant has a hole? The blouse misses a button? Small fixes passes time.
  12. Meditating – too hectic around you? Try meditation.
  13. Sorting your purse – it’s never a bad idea to look through the purse. Hidden gems can be found.
  14. Commenting – now is the time to finally leave a comment at your favorite blogs and instagram accounts you always read.
  15. Cleaning the windows – it’s amazing how uplifting clean windows can be.
  16. Reducing your watch list – of course now is the time to watch all those movies and shows on your watchlist.
  17. Playing a board game – if you are not stuck at home alone consider playing a board game. But even through FaceTime some games can be played.
  18. Making a scrub – how about taking some time and do a body scrub. Check out my coffee cinnamon scrub or maybe you prefer an avocado sugar scrub.
  19. Painting – the walls or just a piece of paper
  20. Dancing – by yourself. Or maybe learning those salsa steps finally.
  21. Selling things – are there some items you always wanted to get rid of? Lets put them up on craigslist or Ebay and get them out the house.
  22. Painting – no matter if some small doodles or the big canvas. Art is always a good idea.
  23. Challenging someone – now that we don’t get much radius for activity it would be fun to start some challenges to increase steps and activities.
  24. Thanking – people who keep this countries going, who work to their bones, who have lots of responsibility and don’t think about them selves.
  25. Journaling – maybe a practice to pick up know to let people in a couple of years know what this crazy time was like.

These are my 25 ideas when staying home. Let me know which ones you’d like to add. And what are your plans for the next days/weeks/months?

Happy social distancing

Tobia

VIRTUAL COFFEE DATE | MARCH 2020

In times like these it is good to have routines. But we need to be flexible and find creative solutions so we meet online today and chat from the comfort of our apartments.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life cappuccino with Röststätte logo on marble table for virtual coffee date

If we met for coffee…
of course our topic would be the current pandemic that holds this globe alert. While I am not overly concerned about my (personal) health issues I do worry about a few people around me. Mr. ♡ and I actually have been officially quarantined for 72 hours until his test came back negative. It’s just a regular infect for now. Even more anxious makes me the economic and political aftermath that will follow though. I personally already had almost all jobs canceled due to the situation. I decided to volunteer my time to a small business helping to keep them alive with my online marketing skills I can provide from home. Also I decided to write weekly letters to my godchild to keep them (hopefully) entertained with writing me back. How are you handling the situation so far? Let me hear all your thoughts about it.

Then we decide to move on to more regular topics and try to keep life going as usual. No point in panicking.

If we met for coffee…
I’d admit about my thoughts to only own books that are blue or white and maybe some shade of pinky coral. Ok and grays to black. Is that crazy? But I am always very annoyed by the different covers, the titles being written left to right and right to left on the spine. Who does that? Not even within a series it is the same. Drives me crazy.

If we met for coffee…
I’d tell you about my recent Marie Kondo project. I finally caved in and decided to get some structure in my wardrobe. One Saturday night I threw all my tops in a big pile on my bed and started folding in this special way. While doing so I also tracked every item I owned in an excel sheet for a better overview. It is amazing how many pieces of clothes you own when you believe daily there’s nothing in your closet. Could you pinpoint the number of clothes you own?

If we met for coffee…
we would discuss the following situation. I recently hired a cleaning service before we had some guests coming over. I was happy to squeezed in a couple more hours of work while someone got the apartment in order. When she was done I saw that the bedroom was still very dusty so I asked if she didn’t have time to finish it. She said she cleaned everything. Well after she left and a closer inspection I ended up doing a recleaning for 90 min. But that wasn’t the strangest part. At night when cooking with our guests I was reaching for the avocado I bought the day prior. But I only found one in my fruit basket instead of two. I was doubting myself but I was pretty sure I put two in. My guests said that I might have left it in the store but they came in a net… Oh well, sometimes strange things happen. However the next day when we wanted to make breakfast and I reached for the “Brötchen” (breakfast rolls) one was missing. Again I started to doubt myself but remembered I kept the receipt so I double checked. The right number was right there.
Since I and the cleaning lady were the only people in the house until the guests arrived I have to assume she took them. How crazy?! I mean if you are hungry you could ask. When she arrived I did offer. I am really pissed not because of the value of the stolen things but the audacity. Tell me, am I out of line?

If we met for coffee…
I share with you my Easter egg tutorial. Since we are meeting online it is easy to do so. And now that we might have a bit more time at our hands it might be something to try. I will probably do a few more of those eggs in this wax technique. Do you have a special craft that is very unique to your area or heritage? I would really love to hear about it.

We say our good byes for now and commit to check in with each other next month for sure. Maybe a quick note in between in these times were we all need some extra kind words.

Best for now

Tobia

Anniversary trip to Oslo – travel log

craftaliciousme seeking creative life anniversary trip to Oslo_6

I was pondering back and forth if I should write a little travel post about our anniversary trip to Oslo. I feel like I will not have something new to say about the city and I will probably not be able to give you the best of tips. But then, this is my party and looking back I always regret not writing my travel posts so lets do it. Hope you stick with me to the end.

We flew in Friday morning and out again Monday night leaving us two full days and two half ones. When we arrived on Friday there was still a dust of snow on the ground and we couldn’t be happier. However we could see no 10 meters ahead of us due to heavy mist. We decided to take a walk around the hotel after check-in to get a lay of land. The hotel was build a newer part of town with modern housing on little peninsulas and lost of waterfront. As you know by now our happy place despite the wind and cold weather.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life anniversary trip to Oslo_4

Towards the evening we decided to just find a place to eat and head back to the hotel to relaxe a bit. Unfortunately my shoe broke right there and then and we had to do a little impromptu shopping trip. I didn’t want to spend all Saturday doing that. Luckily I found a shoe right in the first store and so we didn’t waste much time there. After dinner we went relaxed in the room with some reading, talking and crosswords.

On Saturday we had a wonderful relaxed and late breakfast. The snow was all gone, the mist was all gone and so we decided to see as much from Oslo as we could. The forecast didn’t look to promising. We started out by having a look at the opera hose that happened to be right in front of the hotel. It is a modern building modeled after an iceberg in the sea. And the best part is the roof is open to the public and everyone can just clim the iceberg. You could even get up there with strollers and wheelchairs as it was no stairs. Lots of wind though. And a beautiful view of the surrounding city.

Next we climbed the castle hill and strolled around there (not too impressive to be honest) but a nice few to the water. Then we wandered into town looking for the old city center. If we ever found it I was not impressed. When I think old I have midivil towns in mind. This was more like bricks and mortar old I guess. I started drizzling right when we came upon the boulevard Karl Johann that leads up to the castle. So we made a stop in one of the coffee places to warm up. Here we had a lovely chat with a local lady.

Later we strolled to the castle and a look but not inside and then walked down the boulevard because I wanted to see the cathedral. As you know I always need to see those as I love the architecture. Unfortunately this one was very disappointing. I think I didn’t even take a photo.

We had our anniversary dinner at an Italian restaurant in a food market. This was a good compromise for us as I was able to have some seafood while Mr. ♡ also had some choices.

Unfortunately on Sunday a big storm hit and it was raining non-stop from morning. So we took our sweet time with another long breakfast. Then we decided to go to some museums. In the end we spend all day in the Nobel Peace Prize Museum reading up on everything and a lot of people. It was nice. Later another coffee break and some relaxing hope the weather would quiet down a bit so we could walk along the marina. No such luck. So we decided to have an early dinner and head back to the hotel.

The next day we had to pack and leave the hotel but not before enjoying another wonderful breakfast. Then we haded to a sculpture park. The artist Gustav Vigeland worked his entire life on filling up and entire park he design with sculptures. Over 200 in total. It was interesting to see even though it wasn’t quite my taste in art. As this was a bit more outside of the city center we took the tram there. This way we also got to see a bit more of Oslo. And at least some of those old wooden houses I was searching for. Unfortunately not much time to wonder around. We stopped at the marina and walked around there for a bit before heading back to the hotel picking up our luggage before heading to the airport.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life anniversary trip to Oslo_65

So much for the anniversary trip to Oslo. Here are a few more facts I gathered.

Things I found interesting

  • Right when you land you realize the Norwegians are more relaxed. The airport felt like a huge lounge area instead of a hectic travel hub.
  • You can rent a tiny little house boat that contains a sauna. Either with friends or a spot in a public house and then just jump in the Oslo Fjord to cool down. We observed some brave people doing so.
  • The most peculiar food we came across is a sort of cheese made of whey called brunost. It is eaten on waffles, crips bread and biscuits. We had a chat about that cheese with our waiter and it was very interesting. The taste however is something to get used to. But I am always interested to try local things.
  • For some reason Thors hammer is present through the city. We have come across a few references and not only because of Netflix releasing a new show.

Travel & Transportation

Boarding a plane from Berlin to Oslo is the fastest way to get there. Specially when only staying for a long weekend. Since bankruptcy of airberlin though it wasn’t that easy to find good flights and in the end we did pay quite a bit. But my mind was so set on Oslo that I didn’t feel like I should rethink the whole thing due to prices. We knew it wouldn’t be the cheapest trip – Scandinavia never is.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life anniversary trip to Oslo_39

After arriving in Oslo you have two options to get into the city. The airport is about 50km outside the city.
There is the flytoget airport express that is a non-stop ride to the city center and takes 19 minutes and costs around 20€
And then there is the Vy service – the national train company with one stop in-between taking a total of 23 minutes costing only half with around 10€.
But be aware: at the airport the ticket machines for the flytoget are omnipresent while vy can not be found. That is why we took the expensive ride into town. It was a relaxed one though since we were all by ourselves in the train.

Within the city you could walk most of the areas you will look at during a weekend trip. If not you can get the app Ruter Billett to buy your ticket and get around the city. There are options for 24, 48 or 72 hours.

Accommodation

We spent the time in the fairly new “Clarion Oslo” hotel. It is a chain within Scandinavia and we picked this one as it was modern and not too expensive compared to others houses. It was located within walking distance to the main station (Oslo S) and the opera house.
Beforehand I wrote a quick note asking for a quite room with some nice view telling them that we are taking an anniversary trip to Oslo. When we entered the room we had a little treat and a handwritten card from the hotel staff wishing us all the best. This was a really nice touch and I never had anything comparable. Also I was really impressed with the breakfast that was served. It was a huge buffet and you have a ton of options from continental to more local choices. And since the hotel has a cultural and art orientation you will be able to admire a real Edvard Munch in the lobby. So I can definitely recommend this hotel.

Now I wonder: have you ever been to Oslo? Is it on your travel bucket list? And where should we go next for our anniversary trip?

Happy traveling

Tobia

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