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Monthly Recommendations: February 2021

I’m going to be honest, this wasn’t a great month of media consumption for me. I had movies and TV shows I wanted to watch that just never happened. I am also in a reading slump and only got through one book this month and it was only alright for my personal tastes. So this is a little bit of a lean recommendation post but feel free to leave the things you enjoyed in the comments and send me some secondhand joy along with things to add to my list that maybe I can actually get through in March.

Show Title: The Expanse

Episodes: 56

Where to Watch: Amazon

I recommended this show in a post just like this two years ago but with two more seasons completed and a final one announced, it feels like time to bring it back. Even if it’s only so I can tell you that the fifth season of this show featured some of the strongest performances on television and I am going to be eternally frustrated if/when (listen, I am under no illusion that Emmy voters even know this show exists) Dominique Tipper isn’t given every possible acting award. I will admit to struggling a little with this season because I missed having the Roci fam together and have had enough bad experiences with sci-fi and fantasy shows that separate their characters only to never really put them back together again. But I shouldn’t have worried, this show knows where its emotional core lies and the good these people have done for each other. Even with my slight disappointment at the separation, it led to two phenomenal stories for my two favorite characters. We got to see Naomi stand tall and take pride in the woman she has become and in the knowledge that she made the right choice for herself. She owned her past and her truth in the hopes of reuniting with her son and when that wasn’t possible, she did what she needed to do to save herself and was brilliant and brave and driven by the love she has for the family she’s made for herself. We saw Amos revisit his past and realize just how far he’s come and how badly he needs his family to be the person he wants to be. We saw his loyalty and drive and love alongside the brutality he’s capable of and it was everything I could have wanted from him. For a show that is telling a much wider story, it never loses sight of its intimate character moments. It is deeply concerned with making its characters feel like fully formed people and making you understand their perspective, even when you disagree. It’s a style of storytelling I will always appreciate and I’m grateful to them for doing it so well. 

Continue reading Monthly Recommendations: February 2021

Monthly Recommendations: January 2021

I missed talking about the things I love on a regular basis, so these rec posts are back for 2021! The content in them may vary on what I’ve been doing for the past month but they’ll always be some combination of book, TV, movie, and music recs that have gotten my attention in the past month. But these aren’t just about me, I also want to know what things you’re currently loving and we can all share our interests and have even more fun with them.

Book Title: Queen Move

Author: Kennedy Ryan

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I’m pretty sure this book ended up on a lot of Best of 2020 lists and no matter how many it was on, it still wouldn’t be enough. This is one of the most gorgeously written romance books I have ever read. It’s my first by Kennedy Ryan and I was blown away at her poetic language and the yearning she infused in the whole story. It’s a childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance and the emotional grounding in these characters is the feature at every step of the way. We get Kimba and Ezra’s story from their first meeting when they were babies to their first kiss and separation to their reunion as adults and it is as magnetic for the reader as their bond is for them. You cannot help but invest in their story, the love between them is so special and rare that through everything that happens, there’s faith that it will survive because something like that can’t just disappear. I cannot recommend it enough and I will leave you with this gorgeous phrasing because it blew me away when I read it, “She was there for my scaffolding – there when my flesh was knit over my bones. And if love is not an emotion, but a type of eternity, an infinity that lives in our hearts, then we have always been in love.”

Continue reading Monthly Recommendations: January 2021

Best of 2020: Things That Made Me Happy

I think everyone can agree that this was a mess of a year. Cancelled plans of all forms, loneliness, and general frustration at the subset of people who refused to care about others made it a challenge in multiple ways. But even in the worst of times, there is always joy to be found. Sometimes that came in the form of Skype chats with friends, sometimes in the satisfaction of making or creating something that made you proud, and sometimes it was in YouTube binges. So to conclude the year, I thought I would share some of the things that made me the happiest or most fulfilled this year and offer up a whole lot of YouTube links to explore and enjoy.

Cooking

SortedFood I talked at length last year about how much I love this channel but this year I appreciated them even more. Like everyone else, they had to pivot and change their plans in March but through it all, they improvised and found a way to continue offering the same terrific content they always have on top of bonus features like a couple solid months of Instagram Lives that functioned as a way to hang out and watch them in a more casual setting. They made the first few months of lockdown easier by giving me a structure and something to look forward to daily and I am extremely grateful for it. They are dedicated to helping people fall in love with cooking and food in general, all while making us smile. Their passion is evident in everything they do and I can’t wait to see what they do in 2021.

Recommended videos: 2 Chefs Cook an Easter Feast, Ultimate Fusion Battle, one of their Pick the Premium series, a Restaurant Meal Kit review, a test of Vegan Fish and Chips, How to Roast a Chicken, and a Pretentious Ingredients Taste Test.

Mythical Kitchen This offshoot of Good Mythical Morning highlights the incredible talent and chaos of their cooking team and is ridiculous in the best possible way. It most often takes something prepackaged or fast food based and re-imagines it in some way and takes that process very seriously without ever veering into pretension or the need to act like they’re above the base food they’re working with. Everything on the show is done to their best ability but with a sense of playfulness and fun that is found in everything they do. It’s more than a little chaotic because Josh brings that out in people and Nicole and Trevor act both as perfect foils and facilitators of that chaos. It’s a source of silliness with a side of genuinely very good looking food and my 2020 would have been worse without it.

Recommended videos: Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza recipe, Recreating Taco Bell’s Discontinued Volcano Taco, Food Fights: Hamburger Helper Hacks, Fancy Fast Food: Burger King Breakfast Sandwich, I Crashed Guy Fieri’s Party and It Changed My Life (which absolutely sounds like clickbait and it is not, it’s a really good story).

The Takeout If YouTube videos aren’t your thing and you’d rather just read an article, but still want the same sense of fun and genuine love of all things food, The Takeout is the website for you. From interesting deep dives into a local food or food celebration, to fast food taste tests, fantasy food drafts, general food news, and a whole of delicious sounding recipes that I will one day try, it’s a website for people who love food and want to talk about it with others. Its comment sections are usually wonderful and made up of people sharing food stories and recipes. It is a daily read for me with excellent staff members and guest writers that I highly recommend if it’s something you’re at all interested in.

Recommended posts: Hardee’s BFC Angus Thickburger review (or really, any of Allison Robicelli’s taste tests), the Hibernation Holiday series, Miso Butter Spaghetti Carbonara, Peanut Butter Milk, Fantasy Food Draft: Best Ballpark Food, When Finding the Tastes of Home Requires A Roadtrip, The Worst Meals I’ve Cooked This Year (So Far), Ice Cream For Dinner Night

Continue reading Best of 2020: Things That Made Me Happy