September Favourites

It’s been a year! Is anybody still reading this? I even forgot to share the videos I made!

Anyhoo, here’s a favourites list for last month in no particular order, just in case you do.

from left to right: My Time at Sandrock (via), my new campus, Miracle Workers (via), The Stranger Times podcast (via), train reading
  1. My Time at Sandrock. I must have started playing its predecessor, My Time at Portia, around this time last year because I found it mentioned in the half-started draft of last September’s favourites. The sequel has a more Western adventure feel to it, but still with the same “cute postapocalypse” twist.
  2. Going back to uni. It’s big and scary, but having more routine, input directed by someone else and a plethora of new, interesting stuff to learn is very much worth it so far.
  3. I don’t think we’ve breezed through a series like this since What We Do In the Shadows. Miracle Workers was such a refreshing show to binge inbetween all the angstiness of True Blood (the current “main watch” at the HQ). I can’t even quite decide which season was my favourite so far: Season One has a great plot, Season Two does the anachronism thing very vell (which I enjoy tremendously – either I want people to put a ton of research and work into something or this), and Season Three has that one scene… you know which one (spoilers, I guess?). Can’t wait for Season 4!
  4. Having friends who give me bones and teeth as gifts.
  5. Days full of rain are a blessing after this extremely hot and dry Summer. It’s a bit weird how now that it’s getting colder everything springs into lush greenness all of a sudden, but that just means the falling golden leaves aren’t just doing that because the trees can’t sustain them anymore.
  6. I can’t remember how decent they were at my old uni, but out Cafeteria Lunches are really neat here! I somehow always liked cafeterias, it’s fairly anonymous, you can watch people, do homework, have food and don’t even have to do the dishes.
  7. The Stranger Times podcast. It’s urban fantasy weirdness with some really nice worldbuilding, so very much straight up my alley. I listened through all of it within maybe two weeks and am feel quite compelled to listen to or read the actual novels, so that’s a good thing… And if you don’t know it yet, you can get it here.
  8. Having time to read on my commute. Sure, having a campus on the other side of town isn’t perfect, but I haven’t had time to read like that in a long while! I’m through two books already in less than as many weeks!
  9. Growing up I never had Helium Balloons for my birthday. This year a huge but very, very lightweight package arrived shortly before and when I opened it up on the day, it had the whole number-plus-some-heart-shapes package floating out because my favourite person remembered me saying something about liking them.
  10. My new backpack from Morgntau (not sponsored, sadly). I needed something new for hauling around all the stuff that somehow accumulates in my bags, and juggling a messenger bag plus canvas tote for the laptop wasn’t ideal. I also needed a birthday present to give to myself, and they had a sale… it’s the Oslo in green, by the way, and I’m very happy with it.

(Life) Style Tips in September


September lends itself to cottagecore and hobbit vibes like few other months do. Start drying herbs in your kitchen by screwing hooks to the underside of your shelves and bundling your harvest up with rustic ribbons or colourful yarns. If you tend to forget which herb is which, add small labels to the string to tell them apart – no shame in that, especially when the labels are pretty.

If you grow your herbs on a balcony or outside your window start thinking about your Winter situation, even though it might seem early to do so. Where will you put that basil? Will the bergamot survive outside? Will the chili be okay with whatever light it can get on the sill inside? Prepare your inside winter garden ahead of time to make adjustments if you find it lacking anything, and maybe arrange it so that you have something to sit there and read or work in the company of your plants during the cold and dreary times of the year. You don’t need a winter garden or sun room to feel like a turn-of-the-century artist with a fernery (or herbery, rather)!

Get a disposable camera or a new film for your analogue and document the last hurrah of Summer. We usually think of analogue photography as either artsy or something to use on vacation for a retro twist. While that’s not wrong at all, catching early autumn sun filtering through leaves that are about to turn yellow or the hopeful atmosphere around campus for orientation weeks has its own magic. If you feel drawn to take snapshots of golden fields and wild flowers consider waiting to have your film developed after the first merry rush of Winter is over and you need something to tide you over the greyest time.

Treat yourself to the idea of back-to-school fashion, no matter how long it has been since you’ve set foot in a classroom. It doesn’t have to be an entire new wardrobe, not even a whole outfit, but maybe scout your local thrift haunt for a new neck-tie (you can wear them as belts, headbands, hair ties and neck bows if actual ties aren’t your thing), a pair of oxfords (brogue or wing-tip are the most dark-academia looking choice) or a pin that looks like it could be the crest of a secret society that meets in the attic over the auditorium to plot world domination or swap sticky-sweet poetry, your choice. Just get yourself something that gets you excited about September, is all.

With light and fields and even trees turning golden, why not experiment with honey for a golden addition to your cooking and baking? To continue the Dark Academia topic, there’s Roman baked goods like these globi by Cato or this honey cake, but there are also the cottagecore choices that look like they just jumped out of a Brambly Hedge illustration like this sponge-and-cream stack, honey butter crumpets and very autumnal apple tart. For a main course there’s naan pizza with honeyed pears, mushroom tacos and glazed everything. And if that isn’t enough yet, there’s also drinks: aside from sweetening your tea or putting it in your coffee (a whole science, as always) there are plenty of cocktail options like the Bee’s Knees, Eau de Lavender, Sting like a Bee and of course the Hot Toddy.

August Favourites

Left: The Green Knight via | Centre: Der Weiße See (Theaterritter I) via | Right: Misbehavin’ Maidens: Busted via
  1. The Green Knight was a damn weird movie but still magnificent. Sure, it was like someone took an Arthurian tale, adapted it into an USSR fairy tale film from the 70s that in turn got made into a stage play for modern German theather, threw an outdoor shop catalogue’s worth of nature photography at it and then took a bunch of drugs, but I really like that combination. After two hours of being baffled and confused I staggered out of the cinema (the first time I’d been since the first Hobbit!) and didn’t want my money back, so I guess that’s a recommendation. I’m just still confused. Maybe I need to watch it again.
  2. I’m about to start the Theaterritter Campaign for Das Schwarze Auge. I can’t wait to dive back into the fantasy world that was my very first contact with pen & paper RPG after years of neglecting it (or just not having a group to play this specific game with), and I’m really looking forward to doing it with friends, and in person, too!
  3. Summer thunderstorms. Summer was long and hot, and now it is nearing its end, with days getting shorter and cooler. But even in the midst of the hottest time of year we were blessed with rolling thunder, thick drops of rain splashing into the still-warm sand of the playgrounds, onto the leaves of thirsty plants, into my stretched-out palms. I am grateful for not living in the parts of Germany that got far too much rain, and that I can still cherish every Summer storm to come.
  4. Being fully vaccinated feels. So. Good. I’m so happy to be able to do my tiny part to get to herd immunity, and relieved to know that even if I should catch the virus somehow it won’t be as bad. Three days of fever and fatigue are a price I’m happily willing to pay to return to a more relaxed life one day. It also has a few side effects I really enjoy, like…
  5. Seeing my family in person for the first time in over a year and
  6. Casually having friends over. We played D&D in person for the first time with our quarantine group. We had a BBQ. We’re meeting up with people to hang out by the river, having friends from other citys come over without a guilty conscience, visiting others ourselves without as much worry. Now I just need for my LARPs to happen again and my vacation plans to work out, but hey, I’m willing to wait it it’s needed.
  7. Walking 10k steps almost every day and discovering new places around me. I got myself a fitness tracker and as gamification always seems to work with me I’m actually really trying to meet my goals. Finding new places – interesting details, small shops, pretty spots, climbable trees – is a really nice side effect.
  8. Green nail polish. I sometimes remember to paint my nails and there is something about green – maybe it’s because it reminds me of goblin claws or witches’ talons depending on the hue.
  9. Plum Season is either in full bloom or almost over depending on variety and where you are, but oh, the plumpness, the golden-purple splendor, the sweet flesh, fleeting as they might be, are the last warm rays of the late Summer sun made fruit.
  10. Misbehavin’ Maidens are propbably the band I listened to most during the last few weeks. The Maidens play feminist, LGBTQ+ friendly, sex-positive sea shanties and nerdy filk that will make you smile if at least half your mind is somewhere near a gutter (and probably if you’re ace, too, just because they have their own community member and offer representation in more than one of their marvellous ditties). If you are part of the Alphabet Mafia, an 18+ geek or a horny pirate you should definitely give them a listen.

(Live) Style Tips in August


If it’s still hot, spray the wet sheets or drapes in front of your window with a mixture of your favourite essential oils or a room or body mist of your choice for the Summer version of scented candles (without the fire hazard)

August creates as she slumbers, replete and satisfied.

Joseph Wood Krutch.

Embrace your inner picnicker at hanging rock, Southern Gothic hero*ine or Edwardian summer guest by dressing in all-white lace or linen. Add a boater for a classic choice of headwear or a crown of wildflowers or moss for the choice that will confuse, bewilder or enchant the people around you. Skeleton key necklaces, frayed scraps for neckwear or a headband and bare feet round off the waifish, slightly unsettling strange omen look.

A woman is like an artichoke. You have to do some work before you get to her heart.

The Pink Panther (2006)

If you haven’t yet, go and find yourself a local artichoke dealer. Learn to prepare them in a number of ways – boiled with a vinaigrette is a classic, but deep-fried alla giudia, stuffed (Italian or Turkish), grilled or sautéed variations are surely worth a try, as well. The smaller flower-heads can be eaten whole and the centre is delicious. Celebrate eating your artichokes, savour each petal and treat yourself to a meal that you couldn’t even wolf down mindlessly if you wanted to.

Did you know that a bee dies after he stings you?… And that around the tenth of August, any year, you can look up in the sky at night and see dozens and dozens of shooting stars?

Elizabeth Enright

If you want a change of routine without going on vacation in these strange times or just have trouble sleeping why not move your bedstead into another room for a few days? Swap beds with a flatmate or move your pillows and blankets to the sofa. If you don’t have that option, improvise a tent over your bed with a rope and some sheets. If you have a rain-proof balcony that might be a good place to rest your bones, as well. It might get a bit cold at night but isn’t that a wonderful idea during the hottest time of the year.

In the parching August wind,
Cornfields bow the head,
Sheltered in round valley depths,
On low hills outspread.

Christina Rossetti

If you happen to come by an abandoned lot or even live in the country, get yourself a bouquet of wildflowers. Others might regard them as weeds, but there will be enough time for greenhouse blooms come winter. When your flowers start hanging their heads, consider tying them up and hanging them to dry, either for their petals or even their seeds – keep them until spring to make seed bombs or plant them in your own garden or balcony as a buffet for your local insect population.