When you're trapped inside your own apartment for long periods of time, you can start to go a little bit crazy, I get it. In this day and age of having internet access to everything, you can quickly lose sight of what's really available because it's all quite overwhelming. So here's a list!
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TV Show Recommendations
I feel there are four categories of shows that both have a special place in my heart.
Last Updated 10:30 am Wednesday, June 19, 2020
Black Lives Matter Content
I think that TV and Movies can be a fantastic way to learn about a history and culture in the United States that it's very important to understand right now.
Here are some ones I can recommend:
- When They See Us – An incredibly moving miniseries on Netflix about the so-called Central Park 5
- 13th – Explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.
- Dear White People – The critically acclaimed series follows several black students as they make their way through an Ivy League university.
Did you know that HBO has opened its doors for a whole range of shows and movies for FREE for all of April? All you have to do is go to HBO.com and all the details are there.
When you do sign up I can recommend:
- Veep – If you like political satire, this one is for you. I think it's amazing, but you'll either love it or hate it.
- The Wire – A classic of the genre. Gritty. Deep. Twisty. You'll need a shower to get all the grit off.
If you haven't already, you should probably watch Tiger King on Netflix, because it appears to be all anyone is talking about right now!
There are the short, sharp, and shiny funnies:
- Fleabag – I freaking adore this TV show. I smashed both seasons in less time than it takes to Google what it's about. Just start watching.
- Schitt's Creek – Sounds ridiculous, but you will be curled over in laughter
- The Good Place – A show that goes deep and at the same time is shallow and belly-laugh
- Brooklyn 99 – It's just plain funny. It's snappy. It's great.
- Grace & Frankie – WILD CARD! You might not have seen or heard of this one but it IS SO DAMN FUNNY. It looks like it's designed for your grandparents, I know, but you'll love it.
- Boston Legal – An older classic. It's weird, quirky, and very “Early 2000s”
- Avenue 5 – Stupid but hilarious with Hugh Laurie
- Weeds – Hilarious. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and the probably laugh again
There are deeper shows with more plot going on:
- Mindhunter – Dark, edgy, and based on the truth. Always a great combo!
- Killing Eve – This show is just brilliant, and is created by the woman from Fleabag above! BUT IS NOTHING LIKE FLEABAG
- Broadchurch – The epitome of British crime. Incredibly good for 3 seasons (I've got PLENTY more like this one – it's my favorite genre)
- Chernobyl (HBO) – Golly, we only just finished this but it's incredible (and is only a short mini-series)
- Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – A female comedian!? Madness! Well, that's what everyone thinks…
- The Handmaid's Tale – A dystopia that none of us want to live in, and is shockingly close to a reality not far from ours
- Grey's Anatomy – It's still going!? HOW I ask!? HOW!?
- The Lost Girls (Netflix) – Determined to find her missing daughter, a desperate woman launches a personal investigation that leads police to the unsolved cases of murdered sex workers. It's gripping!
- The OA – Polarizing show which you'll either love or hate the whole way through
- Luther – Hulu & Amazon Prime, it’s gritty and great
- Sherlock – A reinterprtation of Sherlock Holmes in current-day and it's sensational (with Benedict Cumberbatch)
- The Leftovers – I love this show. It's one part sci-fi, one part whacky, and one-part “hmm”
- The Jinx – DO NOT GOOGLE THIS. It's true-crime and that's all you need to know!
Then there are the re-watchers:
- Gilmore Girls – As JD told me “they speak so fast, but the speak so true”… I don't know how I got so into this.
- The West Wing – I've seen this more times than I can count, but in this day and age of politics, it's a cool drink on a day filled with melting lava
- Scrubs – My favorite show. Don't watch it too closely because you'll realize I'm not actually funny, I'm just quoting Scrubs 93% of my day
- The Office (US) – I couldn't get into the UK one (and I love British humor) but this US one takes on a path of its own and it's HILARIOUS.
- Parks & Recreation – Comedy gold filled with some of the best characters on TV.
- Atypical – This heartfelt comedy follows Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who has decided he is ready for romance
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – This cartoon (not the crap movie) just won a Peabody award for its storytelling. It's worth the watch!
- Law and Order SVU – I'm a sucker for procedural cop shows!
- Top of the Lake, China Girl – Elisabeth Moss and Gwendolyn Christie set in NZ, and it's a fantastic crime story!
And there's the Great British Baking Show
- The Great British Baking Show – A category all for itself. Because it's glorious.
There's also a fifth category of show that my girlfriend, Stacey, loves: The long story-telling type shows. Here are her top three to start binging because, as she said, you've got time right now:
- Breaking Bad – “Great to the very last episode”
- Game Of Thrones – “Ignore the hype, it's still worth the watch”
- Lost – “You'll be lost while you're watching it but it's so good!”
- Unbelieveable – “Really good, but quite dark”
- Little Fires Everywhere – “Every episode so far has been great”
- Normal People – “… a nuanced and flinty love story about two young people who ‘get' each other”
- Dead To Me – A comedy about death and polar opposites!
Here are some movies that you might not know ARE AWESOME!
- Troop Zero – Alison Janney, Amazon Prime, sensational feel good
- Barbecue – Every culture heats meat, and my friends made it, it’s truly incredible on Netflix
- Bad Education – Fantastic movie based on a true story
- Parasite – The winner of the Best Picture Oscar, and a very fun watch (now on Hulu)
- Mystic River – A really good and twisty one, just a perfect watch!
- Shawshank Redemption – You've got the time, it's one of the best ever.
- National Treasure – Do movies even get this good anymore? Nicholas Cage, forever.
- The Core – Fantastic cast, but a terrible movie
- Wind River – Really good neo-Western
- Good Boys – Stupid but hilarious
- Silver Linings Playbook – A fantastic love story comedy that you'll love
- Back to the Future(s) 1, 2, and 3 – All available right now on Netflix!
- Clueless – It's now on Netflix!
- Zodiac – A really good thriller about the Zodiac Killer
- Twister – Netflix. Enough said.
Stacey's Book Recommendations
I'm a terrible reader, but Stace reads like a machine.
Her recommendations of the week (yeah seriously, there are so many books, I don't know how her Kindle keeps up):
- White Fragility – Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Robin DiAngelo) – A book on challenging racism by working against and understanding what the author terms “white fragility”, a reaction in which white people feel attacked or offended when the topic of racism arises.
- The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead) – Imagine if The Underground Railroad was actually a railroad!
- The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) – Historical fiction about the building of a cathedral in a town in England (“and it’s FRICKEN AWESOME! And really long… But you’re in quarantine, what else are you doing!?”)
- Girl Walks Out Of A Bar (Lisa F Smith) – “She was an alcoholic AND lawyer… BAR BAR!”
- Wunderland (Jennifer Cody Epstein) – “It's about a woman who is trying to find about her mother's past in Nazi Germani”
- Harmless Like You (Rowan Hisayo Buchanan) – “It’s about a Japanese girl in the past and her son in the present”
- The Jewels of Tessa Kent (Judith Krantsz) – “A mother daughter tail set amid a famed New York Auction house and the glamor of Hollywood”
- Mistress at the Ritz (Melanie Benjamin) – “World War 2 set in France and it's about a couple who run the Ritz”
- The Nightingale (Christin Hannah) – “It's about two sisters, set in France, when the Nazis invade”
- Nothing To See Here (Kevin Wilson) – “It's a book about friendship but with some bizarre and touching aspects – It's just really good.”
- Cork Boar (John Pollack) – “It's a memoir from Bill Clinton’s former speech writer who had a random dream to build a boat of corks, and he did it! It’s quirky and weird and funny and great.”
- A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara) – It’s long and takes a little bit to get into it but so worth it, it’s so good!
Recipes & Cooking
If you're a baker, this Hot Cross Bun Recipe is sensational. In my opinion, it needs a LITTLE more spice in it, but the fruit content is perfecto.
I MADE THESE ON THE RIGHT. WITH MY VERY OWN HANDS!
Alternatively, if you're just looking for something tasty to cook tonight that doesn't use too many ingredients, then check out this Midnight Pasta With Garlic, Anchovy, Capers and Red Pepper from NYT Cooking. It's DELICIOUS. We put some panko breadcrumbs in ours and it makes it even better.
CHOC CHIP COOKIES THE SIZE OF YOUR FACE from the New York Times. Follow the instructions carefully and you're going to LOVE these.
Other things to do
Reader and friend, Jen, sent me Virtual NYC, which is a very cool way to virtually explore the city! “There are still plenty of ways to explore the five boroughs while socially distancing. We’ve rounded up online resources from museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theaters and other venues so that you can experience the best of New York City virtually.”
PUZZLES! So many puzzles, and send me your pictures to [email protected]!
Coloring books are extremely popular for kids and adults alike, you can find so many good ones on Amazon!
What about growing plants? Have you thought about that one?
If you're looking to buy some we can recommend White Mountain Puzzles – there's a delay (obviously) at the moment but cost per puzzle is shockingly good (especially when Ravensburger is saying that they can't keep up).
Workouts from home
I will admit I've gotten a bit lazy. I was at the gym at 6:30 am, 5-days a week up until last week and now I'm having trouble justifying even a light workout to myself. So let's change that.
I asked the America Josh Community and here's what I got:
- Local at-home fitness options [The Nudge] (from Talina A.) – A fantastic list of all the apps/websites/channels that are offering at-home services (including lots of free ones)
- Sworkit (Edwina M.) – Customize and play personalized video workouts that fit into your life.
- Fitness Musings (Kristy E.) – “… is doing some very good ‘body conditioning labs' for isolation – not workouts, but things like ‘how to change an exercise for different purposes… educational'.”
- Core Power Yoga On-Demand (Dijana T.) – “Yoga on demand it’s fantastic”
- Down Dog Yoga (Karissa D. & Jacintha L.) – “It's free and very very customizable so you never have to repeat a practice. Even has a restorative option where you're lying down the whole time” and “is a yoga app that customises a different routine each time you use it for free until 1st of April”
- Tim Senesi Yoga and Yoga With Adriene (Kristy E.) – “Some of us are also loving doing the '30 day Yoga programs' on Youtube”
- Sweat App [Female Fitness Community] (Ruba H.) – “they have so many programs including yoga. All of which have recently been updated to be super at home friendly!“
- 7 Minute Workout (Jacinta B.) – “I've used that one when stuck overseas before! Good one.” – Kristy E.