Current Events

20 Good Things That Happened in 2020

Ah, 2020. I think as a whole, collective unit, humanity can agree that 2020 sucked. Big time. Many of us spent months in isolation, there was so much illness and death, and the suffering and pain just seemed to keep on coming. We’re all filled with this deep gratitude that 2020 is leaving, and for good reason. But, with every bit of suffering, there is also joy. This is not to diminish the absolute gravity of the losses that have been experienced this year. I just want to spread a little bit of light and joy during “these unprecedented times” (as every boss and company says). No matter how hard it gets, there is still hope. There is always, always something to be grateful for. Here are 20 good things that happened in 2020 that you can be grateful for.

Disclaimer: this post does contain affiliate links! That means if you purchase a product using the links below, I will be given a small commission, with no further cost to you!

  1. Drive-in movie theaters made an unexpected comeback.
  2. Tabitha Brown encouraged us to do it “like so like that” and to do what brings us joy, “’cause that’s your business.”
  3. Parks and Recreation had a quarantine special and made me ugly cry.
  4. John Krasinski encouraged positivity and love with Some Good News.
  5. We reconnected with friends and family with virtual game nights and Zoom happy hours and birthday parties.
  6. Crayola released a box of crayons with diverse skin colors, encouraging children and adults alike to embrace the beauty of diversity. You can get your own boxfor less than $5 here!
  7. Ahead of the holidays, The World Health Organization assured us that Santa Claus is immune to COVID-19 and Dr. Anthony Fauci later elaborated that he had vaccinated Santa himself!
  8. Hamilton was released on Disney+.
  9. Parasite was the first international film to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
  10. DJ D-Nice created Club Quarantine as a way to bring us together while apart.
  11. Ratatouille: The Musical brought Broadway-level theatre to our phones on TikTok.
  12. Taylor Swift released not one, but two surprise albums.
  13. There were virtual reunions for the casts of beloved TV shows and movies, including Back to the Future, Lizzie McGuire, Legally Blonde, Father of the Bride, The Parent Trap, The Lord of the Rings, The Goonies, and more!
  14. LOTS of pets were adopted and fostered.
  15. Dolly Parton helped fund the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine among her other accomplishments this year. If America ever becomes a monarchy, I formally nominate Dolly Parton as Queen. That’s how it works, right?
  16. The first Black Bachelor was announced. Better late than never, I guess?
  17. Schitt’s Creek had one of the best TV finales in history. This is also a fact, not an opinion. The show also swept the house at the 2020 Emmy’s, further proving it is perfect.
  18. We binge-watched Tiger King. Or… you did… I still haven’t watched it.
  19. People still got married during the pandemic (we saw Zoom weddings, physically distant weddings, smaller weddings, etc.), proving that the power of love cannot be put out.
  20. You stuck around, no matter how difficult the year was. Thank you for staying. The world is better with you in it.

So here’s to 2020. The year that pushed us all to our limits. The year that forced us to grow and adapt and roll with the many, many, many punches that were thrown at us. And yes, good riddance to 2020, you definitely won’t be missed. But also, in a way, thank you for the good we experienced. May 2021 be kinder to us all, and may we take the inner strength we found in 2020 into all the new years to come.

COVID-19 · Entertainment · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

4 Movies that I Streamed on Netflix During Quarantine.

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Recently, I shared 8 TV series that I watched on Netflix during my time of social distancing (Read here). Today, I’m sharing the movies I watched. I’m definitely much more of a TV show person than a movie person (though I do love movies!), so the list of movies that I’ve watched is literally half the size of the TV shows I’ve watched. Granted, these are just the movies I’ve watched on Netflix, so that’s another variable.

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (no longer available)

Although I was born in the early 90s, I did not grow up loving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe I’m too young (I definitely grew up more in the early 2000s), maybe it’s because it was just my sister and I growing up. I definitely remember my boy cousins who were a few years or more older than me loving the turtles, but it just wasn’t a part of my childhood beyond that.

A few of my cousins organized a cousin movie night over Zoom at the beginning of quarantine, and this was the choice. It was super fun to see my cousins, most of them in their 30s and with kids of their own now, geek out over the movie. I did enjoy the movie as well, though some of the sexist and racist undertones definitely didn’t hold up. Unfortunately, it is no longer available to stream on Netflix.

2. Back to the Future

For our second virtual cousin movie night, we were originally going to watch the second TMNT movie, but we unfortunately had to postpone it, and when we finally were able to all reconvene, Netflix had taken all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies from the 90s off its platform.

So, the organizers decided we’d watch Back to the Future. I had seen this before during my childhood, but to be completely honest… I knew it best from John Mulaney’s standup set. So the entire time we were watching the movie, I had John Mulaney’s voice commentating on the absurdity of the film in the back of my head.

But beyond the weird… incesty and fat shamey and rapey undertones of the movie (YIKES), it is a fun movie with a lot of nostalgia. It brings you… back to the… past.

3. The Reputation Stadium Tour

I have a confession to make. I. Love. Taylor Swift. Like a lot. I have since the first time I heard her sweet, fake little southern voice singing about Tim McGraw 10+ years ago. And while when she made the switch from country, I was initially upset, and felt like I wasn’t able to relate to her music the same, I eventually (took 4ish years) came around and recognized the genius of her newer music. When Lover was released last year, I was so excited that it felt like I was back in high school, giddy and excited about my favorite singer again. What a time.

One of my best friends is another Taylor Swift fan, and we’ve had countless deep discussions about Taylor’s music and legacy. So a few weeks ago, we decided to watch the Reputation Tour together over FaceTime. Before that, Reputation was probably my least favorite of Taylor’s albums. I just didn’t feel like I could relate, and it felt darker, and Reputation era Taylor felt so different from the Taylor I fell in love with ten years ago.

That all changed when I watched the Reputation Tour. Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t count the times my jaw dropped out of amazement. The outfits. The stage presence. The sets. The dancing. The lyrics. It felt like such an immersive experience. It changed my life and I will now defend Taylor to the death even more.

4. The Wrong Missy

I’m pretty picky about comedy. I feel like my taste in it is very specific. My favorite stand-up comedian is John Mulaney, and the first “adult” comedy movie I truly enjoyed was 21 Jump Street (Forever a classic). When The Wrong Missy was recommended to me, I figured I’d give it a try, because I liked the cast, and hey, why not?

It was fine. It’s not something I was like “OMG I have to tell everybody to watch it” about, but it is something I’d recommend if you’re looking for something light hearted and silly.

What movies have you been watching during quarantine? Did you get to watch TMNT before Netflix pulled it? What are your thoughts on The Other Missy? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll talk to you next time!

Entertainment · Lifestyle

8 Shows I’ve Binge Watched On Netflix During Quarantine

I know that things are starting to open back up, but let’s be honest. A good Netflix binge needs no excuse.

While I’ve tried (and mostly been successful at!) to limit how much TV I’ve watched while in quarantine, I’ve still gotten some good screen time in. Here’s some of the shows I’ve watched to distract myself during the pandemi

  1. Schitt’s Creek
The Rose Family standing in front of the Rosebud Motel.
Picture from independent.co.uk

When the Rose Family loses their fortune, they are forced to move to Schitt’s Creek, a podunk little town, and start over with some of the strangest townies. Starring and created by father/son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek is as lovable of a town as Pawnee with a wonderful cast of characters that you will grow to know and love. Catherine O’Hara absolutely shines as Moira Rose, and her lines and looks are absolutely magnificent and unforgettable.

2. Community

The cast of Community.
Picture from web24.news

Community is one of those shows that I’ve been meaning to watch for almost ten years, and just now have gotten around to. What? There’s just so much good television out there! I’m still on season one of the show, and although it hasn’t quite grasped my interest the way that other, similar shows have, I’ve heard that it gets better, so I’m looking forward to sticking it out and enjoying the later seasons!

3. Parks and Recreation

The cast of "Parks and Recreation" is gathered around a computer.
Picture from Bustle.com

Ah, my beloved Parks and Rec. I can write an entire book about how much I love this show and how much it means to me, but today is not that day. But wow, it pretty much is the perfect show. It’s self aware, has an amazing and hilarious ensemble of characters. Not to mention that Leslie Knope is a feminist icon! I usually tell my friends to start with the beginning of Season 3 (that’s when it gets really good) and then watch Seasons 1 & 2 once they already like the show. The first two seasons aren’t bad, but to be completely honest, they’re not really good unless you know and love Pawnee and the Parks department.

4. The Circle

Picture of Sean, a plus size, body positive contestant on "The Circle". She is wearing a pink shirt, and her microphone is visible.
Picture from Refinery29.com

Ya’ll, The Circle blew my freakin mind. I’m usually not a big reality TV fan, and after my bad experience with Love is Blind, I decided to ignore Netflix’s other attempt at a reality show. Eventually, a friend recommended it to me, and I wanted something mindless and trashy. And I did not find that in The Circle. The Circle is filled with heart, hope, acceptance, generosity, and friendship. It’s the perfect show for a time like this. It will warm your heart and give you faith in humanity again.

5. Gilmore Girls

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, who star as Lorelei Gilmore and Rory Gilmore, respectively.
Picture from PorchDrinking.com

Gilmore Girls is another popular TV show that has been around (and over) forever, but I’d slept on till now. I really like the show! I always thought I’d connect with and like Rory (considering all I really knew about her before I began watching the show was that she liked to read) but woof, is she irritable! I really like Lorelei though, and while I’m still on the earlier seasons, I’m a sucker for a good mother/daughter bond and am looking forward to finishing the show. It definitely doesn’t hurt that the show takes place in Stars Hollow, a fictional town in my home state of Connecticut!

6. Hollywood

The cast of Hollywood in a black and white, stylized photo shoot.
Photo from Elle.com

I have complicated feelings on Hollywood. I expected it to be a fictional story set in a real life 1940s Hollywood… and it was… kind of. It was an idealized version, and I think that almost was the show’s downfall for me, personally. You saw all this rough and rowdy stuff, all of this misogyny and racism and homophobia running rampant around the film industry, and by the end it’s okay and they pretty much fixed all of that. It just didn’t sit right with me for some reason. There was also a lot of female nudity, and I’m not a fan of nudity in media, especially when there’s excessive female nudity and almost no male nudity. I actually made a TikTok video rant about my annoyance with it.

7. Never Have I Ever

Devi, an Indian teenager who is the main character of Never Have I Ever, sits across from her two friends, Fabiola, a black teenager, and Eleanor, an Asian teenager.

This one was another show that surprised me. I love Mindy Kaling as an actress and a writer, so when I heard that she was one of the creators of this new Netlix Original, I knew I had to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting a lot, to be honest, ecause I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Mindy Project, and I also knew that this show was made for a teenage audience. This show, in my opinion, somehow portrayed emotional trauma and the high school experience in such a deep way. I absolutely sobbed during the finale, and I hope to see more of Devi and her friends in a second season. I am planning to do a full review in the near future, so definitely stay tuned.

8. Space Force

Picture from Vulture.com

From the moment that Space Force was announced, I was excited. Steve Carrell? Ben Schwartz? Making fun of Donald Trump?? Um, yes please! I was immediately on bord and couldn’t wait. And I have to say… I’ve only watched the first few episodes, and I’m definitely having a harder time getting into it than I’d anticipated. But if my relationship with some of my favorite shows has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t always judge a TV show by it’s first few episodes, and sometimes seasons. So I’ll keep watching, and hoping I find that “something”.

What have you been watching on Netflix to occupy yourself during this time of social distancing? Did any of your picks make my list? Any recommendations

for what I should watch next? Let me know in the comments!

Lifestyle

100 Things to Do in Quarantine

Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com

Like most of the world, I have social distancing for over two months. Specifically, I have been limiting contact with others (I haven’t seen my friends since before there was a lockdown), limiting going out at all, and spending most of my time inside. I was furloughed at the beginning of April, and haven’t gone to work since Mid-March.

This is such a strange time for everyone. Of course we’re stressed about the fact that, you know, there’s a global pandemic, but in addition to that, many of us have been effected financially and socially. Some of us don’t know what the future holds in regards to life events or our jobs. It’s scary. It’s stressful. And that’s completely okay.

I’ve found the best way to cope with the emotions I have surrounding all of this is allowing myself to feel, validating my feelings, and staying busy.

So, if you’re in the same boat as me, and struggling during this time, here are 100 things you can do to keep yourself busy.

  1. Throw Out Any Unimportant Papers You Have Lying Around
  2. Learn to Cross Stitch
  3. Start a Virtual Book Club with Your Friends
  4. Practice Drawing
  5. Organize Your Clothes
  6. Learn to Embroider
  7. Clean Under Your Bed
  8. Experiment with Ways to Reuse Items
    • For example, I’ve been using candle jars as planters!
  9. Make a List of Things You’re Excited For
  10. Call a Family Member or Friend
  11. Join a Fitness Challenge
  12. Practice Painting
  13. Film 1 Second a Day
    • There’s an app called “1 Second Everyday” and it helps you film and compile clips and makes a video out of them.
  14. Set up a Virtual Game Night with Friends or Family
  15. Learn How to Make Your Favorite Starbucks Drink at Home
  16. Meditate
  17. Clean Your Carpets
  18. Watch Something with Friends or Family
    • I usually don’t like video chatting, but it has been my saving grace during quarantine. My friend Gianna and I have been working our way through the Disney Animation Library together, my friend Jim and I are watching the funniest episodes of The Office and my friend Abbey and I just watched Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” Tour on Netflix!
  19. Create a Mindfulness Practice
  20. Organize Your Craft Supplies
  21. Organize Your Pantry
  22. Organize Your Desk or Vanity
  23. Experiment with Makeup
  24. Organize Your Bookshelves
  25. Go for a Drive
  26. Create an Instagram Account for an Interest of Yours
  27. Clean your Refrigerator
  28. Start a Blog
  29. Create Something as a Gift for Someone Else and Send it to Them.
  30. Write Something.
  31. Read a New Book
  32. Do a Social Media Detox
  33. Practice Positive Affirmations
  34. Create a Gratitude Practice
  35. Clean your Freezer
  36. Make Your Own Cocktails
  37. Journal
  38. Make Copycat Recipes of Foods You Don’t Currently Have Access To
    • I tried a Copycat Dole Whip Recipe, and although it wasn’t as good as the real deal, it was still fun to make and enjoy!
  39. Go on a Walk
  40. Learn More About Something You’ve Always Been Interested In
    • Maybe there’s a topic you’ve always been interested in. Now is a great time to go more in-depth and learn more about it!
  41. Organize Your Toiletries or Cosmetics
  42. Make Friendship Bracelets and Mail Them To Your Friends
  43. Organize a Closet
  44. Get Involved in a Cause You’re Passionate About
  45. Organize Your Jewelry
  46. Mail Cards and Letters to Your Loved Ones.
  47. Reread an Old Favorite Book or Series
  48. Create Art for Your Walls.
  49. Check a Book Out from the Library
  50. Wash Your Windows
  51. Clean Your Bathroom
  52. Get Your Car Washed
  53. Start (or Continue) Taking Vitamins
  54. Clean Out Your Car
  55. Do a Home Workout
  56. Wash Your Makeup Brushes
  57. Make that TikTok Coffee Everyone is Talking About
    • Link to Recipe Here!
  58. Go Through Your Closet and Get Rid of Clothes that Don’t Fit or You Don’t Wear
  59. Dye Your Hair
    • My job doesn’t allow unnatural hair colors, so I took this time of unemployment to dye my hair pink! Having a fun hair color and dyeing my hair has brought so much joy to my life! I use Arctic Fox Hair Dye and LOVE the variety of colors and how long it lasts! Check it out Here!
  60. Listen to Audiobooks.
  61. Cook Something New
  62. Go Through Your Makeup and Get Rid of Old Products/Products You Don’t Use
  63. Listen to Podcasts.
  64. Get Some Plants (or Plant Some Seeds) and Take Care of Your Indoor Jungle.
  65. Do a Face Mask.
    • I usually use sheet masks, but recently I was informed about the unnecessary waste sheet masks create (I’d never thought about it before!), and am planning on switching to jarred face masks. If you have any favorite face masks, let me know in the comments!
  66. Take a Free Online Course
  67. Clean Your Room
  68. Learn a New Language
  69. Go on a Run
  70. Start (or Continue) Composting
  71. Rearrange Your Room
  72. Start (or Continue) Recycling
  73. Create a Skincare Routine
  74. Organize Your Phone Screen
  75. Try that DIY Project that Has Been Pinned to Your Pinterest Board for Years
  76. Go Through Your Art Supplies and Get Rid of Anything That Isn’t Useful
  77. Light a Candle
  78. Get a Pen Pal.
  79. Paint Flower Pots
  80. Go to Therapy
    • Many therapists are doing therapy over video chat, and there are also apps like TalkSpace and BetterHelp that specialize in Online Therapy.
  81. Create a Morning Routine
  82. Unfollow Pages and People That Don’t Make You Feel Good About Yourself on Social Media
  83. Create an Indoor or Outdoor Herb Garden
  84. Do a Home Improvement Project
  85. Do Yoga
  86. Watch a Youtuber who Matches Your Interests
  87. Plant an Indoor or Outdoor Vegetable Garden
  88. Make a Vision Board
  89. Create an Evening Routine
  90. Play Animal Crossing
    • I don’t play, because I don’t have a Switch, but I know a lot of people who do play, and it brings them a lot of joy.
  91. Plant Flowers
  92. Rewatch a Favorite TV Show
  93. Bake Something New
  94. Rewatch a Favorite Movie
  95. Learn to Crochet
  96. Catch Up on a TV Show That You’re Behind On
  97. Color Something
  98. Catch Up on a Podcast That You’re Behind On
  99. Learn to Knit
  100. Find Your Signature Drink