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. Read More »

A YEAR IN TV: 2020 Favorite TV Shows

I realized in 2020 that I am way more of a TV person than a movie person. Some of you might know from reading my TV posts or monthly wrap up posts that TV tends to be go-to way to relax during busy points in the school year, since I’m sometimes too tired to focus on reading, but don’t feel like going to bed just yet. I think nearly all of us leaned into television more than usual in 2020 for stay-at-home reasons. Since I do watch so much TV, I really tried to limit my absolute FAVORITES…which means that there is quite a lengthy honorable mentions list included in this post. 

Favorites 

Cheer (Netflix) – I’ve really come to love Netflix’s docuseries, including Cheer, which follows a competitive junior college cheerleading team. I’m a huge fan of this production’s team other Netflix docuseries, Last Chance U. They do such an incredible job of capturing these sports realities that aren’t generally understood by the everyday person. Both Cheer and Last Chance U follow junior college sports, cheerleading and football respectively, and the incredibly competitive atmosphere and setbacks experienced by those athletes. 

Never Have I Ever (Netflix) – I love, love TV shows that manage to make me laugh and cry, and Never Have I Ever was the perfect culmination of those feels. The show follows Indian American high schooler Devi, who’s dealing with the unexpected loss of her father while navigating high school dating and social life. Definitely stick out the beginning of the first episode – it takes a bit to get used to the narrating style, but this show is SO worth it. If you love YA books, you’ll LOVE this show. 

Sex Education S2 (Netflix) – One of my best friends & I managed to binge-watch the second season of Sex Education in a matter of days in the beginning of the spring semester. I didn’t think this show could get better, but season 2 had such great character development, plot, and so many surprises.

Beauty and the Baker (Amazon Prime) – All the hype surrounding ABC’s rom-com series, The Baker and the Beauty, did not lead me to watching the show (I did watch the first 2 episodes and just couldn’t get into it), but instead led me to watch the original Israeli romantic comdey show it was inspired by, Beauty and the Baker. Beauty and the Baker was one of my favorite quarantine binge-watches, and was genuinely so funny. I watched the English subtitled version on Amazon Prime. I’m holding out hope that they’ll include the show’s third season on there as soon as it premieres in Israel. Read More »

What I Read & Watched This Weekend: November 2020 Edition

This past weekend was a super recharge weekend while also trying to tackle as much school work as possible. To be perfectly honest, November has been really draining for me. I know a lot of people both personally and in general from the blogging world that have felt that same way, especially considering how much the election consumed the first half of November (& continues to do so) and the fact that we’re experiencing a COVID-19 rise practically everywhere in the U.S. My fall semester of grad school will be wrapping in less than 4 weeks (!!!), and I’m coming right around the corner on final assessments in every course. That being said, aside from doing some school work, blog things, going for runs, and going to my sister’s field hockey game, I took this weekend to just let my mind and body relax. I decided to start out this week of blogging by sharing what I read and watched over the weekend. And yes, I am putting the final edits on this blog post after spending most of Sunday working on a final project and other school assignments while sneaking in an episode of Gilmore Girls and a holiday rom-com read. 

What I Read

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd – If I had to describe my reading in this latter half of 2020, it’s been an eclectic mix of romance, YA, non-fiction, and literary fiction, which I’m also starting to feel like is my new reading style in general. I feel like I should be saving some of these thoughts for my 2020 wrap-ups, but I am beginning to realize that I’m really not as big as a fantasy reader as I ever thought I was? 

Anyway, I decided to pick up Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings to take a mini break in my contemporary romance reading game and because it was actually available in my library! It’s had so many holds since it came out in April. I had been reading this one over the week, and I took an hour or so on Friday night to just finish it. I think I read The Secret Life of Bees at some point in my middle school or high school reading life, but like everyone else, I was intrigued by The Book of Longings because it follows the wife of Jesus (yes, that Jesus), Ana. The book does follow Ana and Jesus’ marriage, but the book is definitely more about this young woman living in Galilee and Nazareth in a time (to say the least) where women weren’t respected and didn’t have many rights. The Book of Longings was such an informative read. I didn’t actually realize that there has been reason and research into the idea that Jesus did indeed have a wife. There’s nothing too scandalous about their relationship, but it was really interesting to think about Jesus having a wife and how this lack of one (or so we know) may have influenced the views on marriage and sex in religion. I admit that I wasn’t too attached to the writing style as other readers were, but there were some beautiful passages about Ana and the other women’s strength. I think having a foundation or small understanding of the Old Testament or Jesus’ story definitely helps immerse yourself in this book, but it is still easy to follow along and be invested in Ana’s story. Overall, I gave this one a 4 out of 5 stars. 

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – I wasn’t expecting my e-library copy of In a Holidaze to come in from Libby until December, so I was pleasantly surprised over the weekend. And, I am so, SO happy to report that I am LOVING In A Holidaze so far. I was a bit hesitant going in and honestly didn’t go out to buy my own copy because I had heard pretty mixed reviews from readers I super trust. However, I am one of the readers who does in fact LOVE Christina Lauren’s newer releases, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised there! I’m looking forward to finish reading it this read and reviewing it on the blog soon. Read More »

What I’m Reading & Watching This Weekend

Like myself, I’m sure many of you have been super grateful to coffee and books for getting you through this week! I already feel like October has been the shortest & longest month ever – I can’t believe it’s already October 9th, but this month is so packed for me with school and work commitments. For today’s post, I thought it would be fun to fill you on what I’ve been reading in between work and school this week, while also sharing what books I hope to pick up and what TV shows I hope to sink into this weekend. Although I’ll be digging into school assignments and blogging this weekend, I’m hoping to read at least two of the books below this weekend.

What I Read & Watched This Week 

What I Read 

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett (ARC)- I mentioned in my September Book Haul that the lovely team at Simon & Schuster sent me two YA thrillers, one of which being Those Who Prey, which comes out on November 10. I instantly wanted to pick it up for its college setting, as college freshman Emily is recruited into a religious student group and sent on a mission trip to Italy, where she begins to learn that the Kingdom is not what it seems. I’ve been able to read about fifty pages each night, and I’m hoping I’ll have it finished by tomorrow. 

What I Watched

Below Deck Mediterranean S5 E19 (Bravo) – I really don’t have a ton of time for TV during the week, but Below Deck Mediterranean has been the show this summer & fall I must watch at least 24 hours after it premieres. I know some people feel like this season has been a bit slow, but I’ve been enjoying it so much. The editors actually had to minimize one cast member’s role as much as possible because of their racist & sexist posts on Instagram and then had to focus on or amp up other storylines. I think since so many shows have been delayed from filming because of the pandemic, the editors created more episodes out of the footage – which goes to show how reality TV can manipulate storylines so much through editing, but here I am still watching! This season of Below Deck Mediterranean ends on October 19th, with the new season of Below Deck premiering on November 2. 

Emily in Paris (Netflix) – Like so many other viewers, I was pretty conflicted about how I felt about Emily in Paris. On the one hand, I blew through this ten episode season about a twenty-something who works for a marketing firm in Paris in three days. I loved the setting, Ashley Park’s character, Mindy, and Emily’s neighbor, Gabriel, because he was so, so dreamy. On the other hand… I can’t believe this show is being described as the millenial/Gen Z Sex & the City because it is not it. I know why it’s been described as so, since it was created by Sex & the City creator Darren Star, but Emily in Paris and Carrie Bradshaw can’t even compare. While yes, it was such a fun binge and escapist watch, I thought the storylines were wrapped up way too nicely each episode. I watched the final episode on Monday (hence why it’s in this post), and I didn’t think it was that big of a cliffhanger ending because it was super predictable.  As someone with marketing experience and you know, someone who uses social media, I did not understand Emily’s Instagram fame, and there’s no way she would be able to get away with half of what she did at her job. Also, I am for sure part of the crowd who doesn’t understand how this girl affords a new Chanel outfit or bag each episode…Read More »

Happy 22nd Birthday to Me: 22 Favorite Books, TV Shows & More 

If you couldn’t tell by the title, today is my twenty-second birthday. To say the least, it’s definitely a weird birthday thanks to our current reality. I’ll be going out shopping – in mostly outdoor shopping outlets –  for the first time since January and I have plans to celebrate with friends later on this week. 21 was a big growing up year for me, and despite the events of the last five months or so, I loved being 21. I think 22 is going to be another big growing up year for me, as I navigate post-college life, real working world and grad school included. I’m trying to be more optimistic and less stressed in August, and I want to do my best to carry out this attitude this year!

I wanted to bring some birthday cheer to the blog today, so I’ll be sharing 22 of my favorite things that have brought me so much joy this summer, in the forms of books, TV/movies, and podcasts – you’ll likely recognize a few repeats from my monthly wrap-ups but I can’t stop gushing about them so much! I also didn’t want to share strictly books because I recently shared my favorite reads of 2020, and let’s be honest yearly wrap ups or a summer wrap up will be here before we know it!

Books

Some books that I’ve LOVED but haven’t shared too many details about yet or full reviews for include: 

The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks – I feel like I’ve mentioned The Heir Affair in so many blog posts this summer, but I officially read & finished it last week… and I can’t stop thinking about this sequel to The Royal We! I actually got too impatient to wait for a physical copy from the library, so I borrowed a digital copy and devoured it on my Kindle in about 2 days. The Heir Affair was everything I wanted in this sequel, and while I’m really content with the way it ended, I seriously would not mind a third book. 

Anna K by Jenny Lee – Anna K is hands-down one of the best YA books I’ve read in 2020. I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to use the Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians comparison because while it has GG vibes (and honestly not really CRA), it is such a story of its own. I loved its Anna Karenina retelling, and it just felt so mature. I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the upcoming sequel. Read More »

What I Watch on YouTube

In light of everyone having some extra time at home lately, I have been loving the many TV and movie recommendations, YouTube included. My relationship with YouTube has definitely changed over the past few years. Like many, I was absolutely obsessed with YouTube in my middle school and high school days, falling into many BookTube rabbit holes and other popular YouTube channels. Blame it on college and adulting life, but I’ve definitely become more selective about what I watch on YouTube- don’t worry I still fall into many binge sessions. I typically now watch YouTube while baking or doing homework, but there are definitely some videos that I like to sit and watch without any distractions. Since I’m always on the hunt for recs myself, listed below are my favorite BookTube and other YouTube channels and why I love them so much.

BookTube

Super Space Chick – Kristin of Super Space Chick’s blog and YouTube channel was recommended me by one of my TAs freshmen year, and I’ve been following her content since! Super Space Chick features a mix of YA, new adult, and adult book recommendations across many genres, with plenty of other fandom topics mixed in. As someone who is a pretty recent fan of Star Wars, I’ve loved jumping into Krisitn’s Star Wars book videos, explaining how to read through the canon, and her hauls. My favorite series on Super Space Chick is News & Stuff, in which Kristin recaps the latest news across books, television/film, fandom, and more.

PeruseProject – Regan of Peruse Project was one of the first BookTubers I followed back in 2014. I still watch almost all of her videos, but I especially love her reading vlogs. They’re such a nice blend of her reading & reviewing while also sharing her everyday life, plenty of clothing hauls, food, TV, and her adorable pug included. She primarily does weekend vlogs, but has also started vlogging during the week, showing the balance between work and reading life.

Peace Love Books xo – Jessica of PeaceLoveBooksxo is my latest BookTube discovery. She also runs the book blog,Peace Love Books. A huge romance reader, her channel has definitely matched my increased interest in new adult and contemporary romance She also reads YA. I really love her recommendation videos, reading vlogs, and vlogs dedicated to reading favorite or ranked (like the Goodreads Choice Awards).

PolandBananasBooks – Christine of PolandBananasBooks was the first ever BookTube channel I watched and subscribed to. I don’t watch all of her videos like I used to- I really don’t follow her Book Writing series or watch too many hauls- but I still enjoy her sketches and especially love her monthly-wrap ups.

Non BookTube

Delish – I am here to admit that whenever a Julia Tries Everything or Iconic Eats video hits my subscription box, I almost always immediately watch. My sisters and I both love these series and sometimes wait to watch them together (if we have enough patience and can hold ourselves off from watching them on our own). Julia Tries Everything follows Julia trying all or the most popular menu items from chain restaurants. In Iconic Eats, Tess tries the most popular food items at amusement parks.

Zoella/Zoe Sugg – Zoe Sugg of Zoella, who now really just goes by Zoe Sugg nowadays, was one of the first YouTuber channel I ever subscribed to. Back in 2015, I used to follow so many British/UK bloggers, but she’s the only one I still really follow. Although she doesn’t really post on her main channel and as much as she used to, I still really enjoy her vlogs.

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What do you watch on BookTube or YouTube? Any of the same? Any recommendations for me? Share in the comments!

Most Anticipated 2020 TV & Movies

Right after reading of course, my favorite way to relax and unwind is with a good binge-worthy TV show or ten. While there are plenty of books I am looking forward to in 2020, today I’ll be discussing the TV shows and films that I can’t wait to hit the big screen and my small screen this year.

TV

Schitt’s Creek S6 (Pop TV)

Release Date: January 7

Although I just discovered Schitt’s Creek in 2019, I know the final season of the show will be bittersweet because it’s just so well-done and it will be so sad to know that it’s over!

Zumbo’s Just Desserts (Netflix)

Release Date: January 10

Everyone knows that I love a good baking competition show. One of my favorites is Zumbo’s Just Desserts. I’ve been honestly waiting for a second season since finishing the first one in October 2018.

Grace and Frankie S6 (Netflix)

Release Date: January 15

Grace and Frankie just might be the show I am anticipating the most on this list! After binge-watching the first five seasons this summer, Grace and Frankie absolutely stole my TV-loving heart.

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ALMOST EVERYTHING I WATCHED: Favorite TV Shows 2019

Even though I feel like I dedicated more time to reading, given the amount of books I read, I also dived into a lot of TV this year. I’m always on the hunt for TV shows that I know I’ll likely enjoy from the get-go or will only take a few episodes to get into. With a few exceptions, the biggest theme of my TV watching in 2019 was watching shows with episodes between 20-20 minutes. I feel like I watched a lot of shows in 2018 and even earlier in the year that were hitting the near the 60 minute mark, so I think my head was just ready for some lighter and shorter episodes. As per usual, comedy also made up most of my watching.

Favorites

Derry Girls S1 & S2 (Netflix)

I’m likely going to say this about nearly every show on this list, but I love everything about Derry Girls! This show is set in 1990s Ireland and follows a group of very dysfunctional friends growing up in Derry. Only six episodes per season at 25 minutes each, I highly recommend binge-watching both seasons available on Netflix over one day—even though you’ll be on one of the worst TV show hangovers after.

Sex Education S1 (Netflix)

My friends kept telling me watch Sex Education back in March and I’m so glad they did. The premise- a socially awkward teenager provides sex guidance to his classmates inspired by his growing up with his sex psychologist of a mother- completely sold. I’m so excited for season 2 in January.

Grace and Frankie S1-S5 (Netflix)

I spent June and July absolutely obsessed with Grace and Frankie. The show had been on my radar for a while and I can’t believe I didn’t watch it sooner because it’s become one of my all-time favorite shows. Grace and Frankie is one of the few shows that is guaranteed to make me laugh out loud every episode. I recently got my best friend to watch it, and it’s been so fun re-following it along wit her. I definitely see myself rewatching a few episodes before Season 6 premieres in January.

Workin’ Moms S1-S3 (Netflix)

Workin’ Moms was the first show I dived into when I moved back home for the summer. The show follows a group of friends who are all dealing with the challenges of being working mothers while also finding themselves in a wide range of shenanigans and relationship problems. There’s definitely some mature content, aka sex, in this one that makes for a lot of funny moments. This is another gem that my best friend and I are both obsessed with.  We texted non-stop when S2 dropped this summer, and we had both finished S3 during by the second weekend of the fall semester. We’re unfortunately in for the long haul when it comes to S4 being available in the US, since it airs first on CBC and then goes to Netflix US after. It’s set to air in Canada during winter 2020, which means we likely won’t have it in the US until 2021.

The Politician S1 (Netflix)

If I can only show one show on this list to have the next season immediately, I would hands-down choose The Politician S2. I loved everything about this dreamed, and it definitely reignited my celeb crush on Ben Platt. Its 40+ minute episodes had me hooked throughout each episode. It definitely has a bizarre moment or two- it truly is a blend of AHS, Glee, and American Crime Story meeting high school politics- but it works so, so well! I’ve also been listening to the music/covers from the show non-stop. I’m so happy that we only have to wait until June for S2.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel S3 (Prime)

Considering that I’ve only watched three episodes so far, I am cheating a bit with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but how could I not love the latest season of one of my all-time favorite TV shows?? Based on what I’ve watched so far, I’m once again in love with the cinematography and how much this show gives me Gilmore Girls vibes. I’m also so interested in each other character’s development this season, and I really don’t know what to expect from Midge and Joel’s relationship.

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My Disney+ Watchlist

When Disney+ was first announced, I wasn’t that excited.

The day before Disney+ came out I wasn’t that excited.

I am a Disney fan, and an even bigger Pixar fan, but I didn’t really want to subscribe to another streaming service. My family subscribes to Amazon Prime and Netflix. I’m either going to have to subscribe to Hulu or borrow my friend’s account info. when Little Fires Everywhere comes out and I finally check out Looking for Alaska. On Disney+’s launch day, my best friend and I scrolled through her account and I realized how much I really wanted Disney+.

Disney+ basically has EVERYTHING that is even the slightest bit related to Disney– and yes, that includes nearly, if not every, Disney Channel Original Movie. Fortunately, Santa decided to come early for my family this year and I am officially a Disney+ subscriber. I’m really looking forward to some of their original content, as well as ALL the Disney Channel Original Movies and TV show rewatching.

Originals & New To Me Movies

Noelle Before I had Disney+, Noelle was the one movie I knew I’d watch with my Disney+ subscribing friends. Everyone knows that I need to watch Christmas movie ever, especially this one starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader and Billy Eichner. Anna Kendrick and Billy Hader play Santa’s daughter and son, Noelle and Nick, as they prepare for their father’s retirement.

Encore! I didn’t watch Kristen Bell’s Encore! when it was on ABC in 2017, but I’m so excited to follow this weekly docuseries. The show reunites high school alumni to recreate the musicals they performed while in school.

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Happy Galentine’s Day: Favorite Parks & Rec Episodes

Besides Treat Yo’ Self (the best day of the year), the best holiday to come out of Parks and Recreation is Galentine’s Day. Created by Leslie Knope, Galentine’s Day is all about celebrating with your best gal pals.

prIn honor of Galentine’s Day, I think it is about time that I’ve shared my favorite episodes of Parks and Recreation. If you don’t already know, I am a Pawnee Goddess by heart. Parks & Rec’s humor and messages has always resonated to me. It’s my go-to TV show for comfort and laughs. I live in fear of this show being taken off Netflix and Amazon Prime, hence why I need to get the DVDs in my life ASAP.

Choosing the following episodes out of 125 options definitely wasn’t an easy task, but I’ve had so much fun reflecting on the show. Each favorite episode is listed by season and episode  number.

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