What I Read & Watched This Weekend: January 2021 Edition 

Is it just me, or is anyone still feeling some of the 2020 burnout seeping into the first few weeks of the new year? I can’t get into too much detail, but I started the first full week of my clinical practicum for my master’s program this week. Although I had a nice week getting back into the swing of things, I was absolutely drained by Friday afternoon and probably didn’t get as much work as I would’ve liked to over the weekend. I think my goal for 2021, or at least this semester, is to not let work pile up on me on Sunday and instead try to divide some work over both days of the weekend. Anyway, what I really did enjoy over this weekend was getting to cozy up with a few reads and deep dive into some travel vlog watching. 

What I Read

I try to read at night as much as I feel during the week, but my mind tends to favor mindlessly watching TV over reading.

Halfway through this week, I found myself missing reading, so I think it was Thursday night that I began Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza. This might not be the most comforting read for some, given politics & division in the US – & yes like many, last Wednesday’s news coverage of the Capitol definitely kept me glued to the couch and away from reading – but I really enjoyed it. The book follows Silicon Valley COO Charlotte as she moves her life and her family back to her home state of Pennsylvania as she runs for Senate. This was a really smart but super readable & addicting read that delved into female representation in politics, as well as the family & relationships intricacies Charlotte must deal with as she runs for office. 

After finishing Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win on Saturday morning, I soon picked up The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman. You’ll be able to tell below that travel has been the name of my entertainment game lately. The book follows twenty-nine year old, Emilia, who has always neglected discovering an exciting life for herself due to the family curse placed on second-born daughters in the Fontana family. When Emilia’s estranged aunt offers her an all-expenses paid trip to Italy, Emilia ignores her Nonna’s wishes and joins her aunt on the trip to help her re-acquiant with with the love of her life and finally break the family curse. The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany made my wanderlust for Italy grow even more! I loved Emilia’s relationship with her Aunt Poppy and how Poppy encourages Emilia to set a new life for herself. The book also includes chapters told from Poppy’s perspective in 1960s Italy, and the book’s overall story-telling was really reminiscent of Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana. I’m still deciding how I feel about the whole family curse thing (this was my only hesitation about picking up the book in the first place), but overall The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany was a fun and heartfelt read. 

I plan on including Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win and The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany in a mini review round up later this month.

What I Watched 

It’s a new year & I’m definitely still stuck in my Bridgerton & The Mandalorian hangover. I tried getting into two newer Netflix additions, Tiny Pretty Things and Dare Me, and after watching the first episodes of both shows, I just couldn’t get into them for some reason. There’s nothing I’m super looking forward to coming out on Netflix this month and I’m really excited to check out WandaVision on Disney+ later this week. That being said, I’ve been in a YouTube mood lately and checking out some shows on Netflix my friends have always 

Kara & Nate (YouTube) – Kara and Nate is my latest YouTube obsession and honestly might be my favorite YouTube channel ever! I was listening to music on YouTube one night while doing some work and one of their travel vlogs came up in my suggestions. I found myself watching that vlog that had to be maybe 15-20 minutes…then somehow diving into two hours worth of videos that night. Kara and Nate are travel vloggers whose mission was to visit 100 countries between 2016 and 2019. After accomplishing this goal and the pandemic obviously affecting their travel, they spent some of 2020 traveling across the United States. I’ve been watching their videos since November but over winter break, I definitely experienced a TV hangover after binge-watching Bridgerton and found myself only watching their videos whenever I watched TV. 

 I’ve watched their videos I think around their 94th country and to present day and some (okay, many) vlog series in between. This weekend I dived into & completed their vlog series on Russia and riding the Trans-Siberian Railway. To say the least, their videos are so incredibly shot and edited and show off little discovered parts of the places they travel to. I really think part of my deep dive was fueled by my own wanderlust, which started while I was in Ireland this time last year and of course being stuck in my own state since pandemic lockdowns began back in March. We obviously have no idea when we’ll really be able to travel again, but their videos have encouraged me to create my own travel wishlists and research some travel opportunities.

Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix) – Somebody Feed Phil was recommended to me by a friend who is also more than ready to get back to travel. The show follows Phil Rosenthal (the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond) as he travels to cities & countries around the world and trying so much food. I watched the New York City episode from season 2, and it once again made me so nostalgic for NYC (and crave pizza). 

What did you read & watch this weekend? Do you have any book or TV recommendations for me? Share in the comments! 

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