Things I’m Loving 10.25

To Watch: Peaky Blinders and The Office (again)

Similar to House of Cards, Peaky Blinders has been on my list forever and I’m just now getting around to watching it.


If you haven’t seen the show I definitely recommend it; Cillian Murphy plays the leader of the Peaky Blinders, a criminal gang in post WWI England. The three seasons are on Netflix and not only have a ton of great actors including Sam Neil, Tom Hardy, and Helen McCroy, but the cinematography is gorgeous, the soundtrack is awesome, and the story is insane. Murphy does an ahhhhh-mazing job portraying Tommy. Get ready for lots of cigarettes and Jameson shots.


After finishing Dexter, Chris and I moved on to watching the Office in our random free time together. We just finished season seven and are taking a break before moving on to the post-Michael seasons. I’ve definitely cried at least four times (Pam and Jim going on their first date, Pam and Jim getting married, Michael and Holly getting engaged, Michael leaving, Dwight reading a Harry Potter bedtime story… the list goes on and on).


A good reminder of when I had “Sometimes you just have to be the boss of dancing” as my email signature. #professionalsupervisor

The Office is just SO. GOOD. It was good when it first aired and it’s still good now. It’s too hard for me to pick a favorite character because they’re all great in their own way, but I have to say that Creed’s random one liners are just the best.


Maybe because I’m a creepy old man deep down in my heart?

I’m nervous to finish the last two seasons–I never really watched consistently after Michael left–so I’m hoping for the best that it can be without Steve Carell. The last season of Scrubs so severely impacted me that I’m a little terrified to continue.

To Play: Jack White’s Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016


I think everyone knows my love for the great Jack White so this inclusion is definitely unsurprising.

Acoustic Recordings is exactly that–an album of old and new acoustic songs from The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, and Jack’s solo work. Record #1 I almost feel like was made just for me and includes all of my favorite songs from the older White Stripes albums. “Apple Blossom”, “I’m Bound to Pack it Up”, “Hotel Yorba”, “We’re Going to be Friends”, “You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket”,”Well its True that We Love One Another” and “Never Far Away” (not White Stripes, but same time period) are amazing as always but there is something about hearing them back to back. [Look, I tried to cut it down, but its impossible given the amazing-ness of all those tracks]

Like all Third Man albums, definitely get this one on vinyl. It’s worth it.

I’d also recommend watching his awesome performance on Prairie Home Companion this week. Special mention that you should watch (or re-watch) the Catholic Throwdown between White and Colbert just because everyone needs it in their lives.


To Do: Fall Floral Arrangements


This week I also attended a fall pumpkin floral workshop here in Pápa. It was a TON of fun and I learned a lot. This was my first time arranging flowers in a pumpkin 🙂




To Eat: This Pumpkin Soup + Veggie Burger

Chris and I had to take the car to Veszprém (about 45 minutes away) to complete an inspection for Hungarian insurance. While it took FOREVER (I swear I will never complain about American DMVs ever again) our lunch made the annoyance SO. WORTH. IT.

We stopped by Elefant Etterem es Kacevo for sandwiches and I fell in love. First pumpkin soup of the season–which was perfect for the day’s rainy and gloomy weather–plus my first veggie burger in Europe!



Blurry because I was too excited to hold my phone properly.

Maybe the best veggie burger (not black bean based) ever?

To Read: Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster


I’ve been meaning to read Voices from Chernobyl for a while and just started the book last week. The first time I studied the Chernobyl disaster was during my beginning semester of undergrad at Kent State. We were tasked with writing a paper from the perspective of a country’s tourist office, promoting certain aspects of a particular area that would encourage tourists to visit. For whatever reason I was assigned Ukraine and instead wrote a paper about how the Chernobyl disaster was largely covered up, overviewing how people in Ukraine, Belarus, and surrounding areas are still greatly affected by the fallout, and that the corrupt government continues to ignore this issues. #classicspilis

Voices From Chernobyl is a collection of stories from different people experiencing the disaster. From grandmothers forced to evacuate their homes, workers tasked with cleaning up after the disaster, and women taking care of sick family members and children born with developmental problems due to the meltdown, the book allows those directly affected by Chernobyl to tell their story.

“If we’d beaten Chernobyl, people would talk about it and write about it more. Or if we’s understood Chernobyl. But we don’t know how to capture any meaning from it. We’re not capable of it. We can’t place it in our human experience or our human time-frame. So what’s better, to remember or to forget?” (page 86).

Similar to This American Life, the power of the book is in the stories, providing the human connection to Chernobyl. This wasn’t a cut and dry disaster cleanup, but rather has so many intersecting narratives of family, culture, nationalism, health, and love that you wouldn’t know of without this type of collection. Voices From Chernobyl took over ten years to complete and earned Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize for Literature.

To Look Forward To: Business of Disaster

A still running water pipe floods the foundation of a home destroyed by the storm surge of superstorm Sandy in the Staten Island borough neighborhood of Oakwood in New York

Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti, Cuba, and the eastern coast of the United States this month; luckily for us we suffered no damage and all of our friends are okay, but there are a lot of people not as fortunate and need help (internationally and abroad. Omprakash is an organization trusted by a close friend if you’re looking to donate).

After essentially attached to the weather channel and Live 5 News–with a six hour time difference–I became really interested in how FEMA and flood insurance works should there be damage. Sure, the process of buying flood insurance has been explained to me but how do private insurance companies work with the federal government? The federal government with local and city governments?


“Its Complicated.”

NPR and Frontline released The Business of Disaster detailing the complicated relationship of this private/public partnership and the impacts it has on taxpayers, particularly during disasters like Sandy and Katrina. Watch the documentary here.

Source for the graphic.

In order to make a new resiliency plan–considering storms will only become increasingly unpredictable and devastating from climate change–we need to first understand the systems in place. And how we can make them better.

❤ Ashlyn



Stinky Cheese & Climbing Mountains: Lake Como, Italy

Last month we were able to meet up with a couple of friends from Charleston visiting Italy on vacation. This was our first first trip outside of Hungary!


Unfortunately Chris’s mission was delayed so we could only spend one full day there (luckily we got there super early the day before and left really late the day after). It was awesome to see Heather and Karl. Its weird to go from living across the street to living across an ocean.

We took a super cheap flight from Budapest to Milan, then a train to Lake Como, and a bus into Malpensa. Or as I like to say, an excuse to reference Planes, Trains, and Automobiles all day.



We met at a super cute cafe/bar and I hugged Heather in the middle of the street, but luckily we weren’t hit by any passing cars. Spoiler alert but Il Baretto will show up later in the blogpost.

Their air b&b was AMAZING but literally at the top of a mountain (okay maybe not a mountain, but a super tall hill) that was the steepest incline ever–even more than the Heidelberg Castle we climbed on New Years–but the view from the house made the sweaty, swearing, trip up the stone steps totally worth it.



We were greeted by their Keanu list (absent is Chris’s personal favorite, Johnny Mnemonic so we’ll need an updated list in the next few months).


Before climbing the big hike to the house, we stopped at a little store in town and bought some local super stinky cheese, bread, and wine, then spent the day playing games before going to dinner.


This dinner was out. of. control. The restaurant didn’t give us menus but just brought their specials for the day. Definitely in my top five favorite meals of all time and #1 in Europe so far. I forgot to take pictures because I was too busy dying (remember in the first post I said how bad I was at taking food photos?) but it was an amazing combination of bread/cheese/vegetables/sauces/pasta (and meat, but I can’t attest to how great that was). We also had an awesome dessert of sorbet and tiramisu.

Sunday we went to Lake Como by ferry, wandered around, and discussed fantasy football (Chris and I were playing each other this week!)




Chris talking shit.

Making the long ass trek down to the water.


Reunited and it feels so good. Sorry for the shit quality but I was taking pictures secret-style.


Waiting for the ferry.






After pizza and gelato we took a cab back to Maltrasio where we stopped at Il Baretto for drinks. We watched soccer, talked about football, and had shots on the house (“this one is for Keanu!”). While a good idea at the time, this made the 400-ish ft vertical walk up to the house both difficult and hilarious.

We also met the Italian HCB Mr. Meowgi. Poor guy had an eye infection 😦 He was so sweet and joined us on the porch our last morning in Italy.


Luckily we were able to take a late flight back to Hungary so we were able to hang out most of the day. More pizza, more foosball tournaments (“LEGS UP!”), and Heather and I delivered a thank you letter (in Italian!) to our favorite people at Il Baretto.


Bye Italy, It’s been real.


Who needs a selfie stick when you have a friend like Kombat Karl?


❤ Ashlyn