TV Reviews: May – July 2018

Book reviews are still coming next week, but in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to do some TV reviews, since my last one was over a year ago. There are too many new shows now that it took me a long time to decide which show to keep watching and which show to drop. I’ve been watching mostly old shows (Black Mirror, The Crown), though I’ve had to give up on some, too, like Legion (too weird) and The Handmaid’s Tale (too grim). Nevertheless, here are the new shows that I’ve watched:

Cobra Kai:

I’m a fan of the original Karate Kid (fun fact: the high school where they shot it is just down the street from my apartment building back in LA), but I’m well aware of its cheese factor, so when I heard that they were making a sequel focusing on Johnny Lawrence reopening the Cobra Kai dojo and reigniting his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso, I thought it sounded stupid and would surely be bad. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be really, really good. The series manages to capture the nostalgic feel for the movie while still updating the story to the modern day; the continuation of Johnny and Daniel’s characterization is believable, and the new characters are fun too. I can’t wait for season 2.

The Durrells:

I’ve actually been watching this for a while (it finished its 3rd season, and the 4th is coming next year), but I never got around to reviewing it before, so consider this a belated review. It’s based on the Corfu trilogy by Gerald Durrell, which I love. I’ve seen two other adaptations of My Family and Other Animals, but neither of them manages to depict the magic and the ridiculousness of the Durrells’ life on Corfu. The series does a little better, though I still find the Durrell children selfish and horrible to their poor, long-suffering mother, and I think it would be better as a half-hour comedy/drama than a one-hour drama/comedy. Still, between the beautiful setting, the breezy 1930’s costumes, and the fun (but sometimes exasperating) storylines, it’s the perfect summer watch.

Harlots:

I’ve been meaning to check this out since last year but I haven’t gotten around to it until now (it’s now in its 2nd season). I mostly watch it for the gorgeous costumes, but the story, which revolves around the rivalry of two brothels in 18th-century London, is actually very good. The anachronistic modern soundtrack requires some getting used to, but it’s nowhere near incongruous and annoying as Marie Antoinette. Also, despite its subject matter, the sex scenes are not as graphic as I’d expected, and best of all, they serve a purpose in advancing the plot and developing the characters, as opposed to being a gratuitous and exploitative way to grab the audience’s attention, like in Game of Thrones.

Set It Up:

This is technically a movie, but it’s streamed on Netflix so I count it as a TV movie. Now, for all of my preference for dark, angsty series like Black Mirror and such, I also have a soft spot for rom-coms, though I tend to favor period or non-American rom-coms (The Decoy Bride, Austenland, etc.) This one, on the other hand, is a very standard American rom-com about two overworked assistants who set up their bosses (or, as they say in the movie, “Cyrano them” and “Parent Trap them”) so they could have more free time. I wasn’t going to check it out (Netflix series are usually good; Netflix movies, not so much), but everybody was raving about it, so I decided to give it a go and ended up really enjoying it. Sure, it’s predictable as hell, but it’s also cute, and the two leads are charming and have great chemistry, so it’s good for a Friday night in.

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Ebony And Ivory

Here’s my interpretation of this week’s SIA, inspired by a 18th-century Native American powder horn with Wampum shoulder belt. My linen pants reflect the ivory color of the horn, while my shirt mimics the color and design of the belt. I also include my strappy brown sandals for the intricate lines of the engraving on the horn. The outfit came together very quickly – I actually thought of it the moment I saw Jen’s email – which is always a sign that it works, both as a standalone outfit and as an interpretation of SIA, so I’m a happy camper.

Don’t forget to check Jen’s blog on Wednesday to see other outfits inspired by this piece!


A Bookworm’s Problem

We finally had some rain after the scorching heat of last week. Though the rain isn’t as abundant as I’d like and makes the air quite muggy, at least it’s a relief not having to stay inside and have the air condition on all day.

I wore this a used book sale on Wednesday (it’s one of the things I miss about LA – the book sales at the local library every weekend and lunch at the dinner afterward.) I didn’t get a lot, only 4 books, but the again, I’m seriously running out of shelf space. I read a lot of ebooks, which helps, but holding an actual book is still so much better, you know? I also try to implement a “one in, one out” rule with my bookshelves like I do with my closet, but it’s a lot harder. Take Harry Potter, for example – I have both the UK and the US editions, and I’m not giving up either of them. They just look so lovely together.


Loosey Goosey

This is the last of my work outfits from the semester. I almost didn’t post this because I wasn’t wild about the outfit, but I’m running out of material to post, so I figure beggars can’t be choosers. See, I was going for this kind of loose silhouette I see on so many Japanese fashion blogs, but I don’t think I pulled it off with my body type. I guess I’ll just stick to the more classic “loose + fitted” silhouette from now on.


SIA Inspiration: Powder Horn

It’s Jen’s turn to host SIA, and she picked a very interesting piece:

This is an engraved powder horn from the late 18th – early 19th century. The style of engraving and the Wampum shoulder belt suggest “it was made by a Penobscot Indian, possibly for a Massachusetts soldier during the Penobscot expedition of 1779–80”, which is why Jen chose it, to honor the Native Americans after Independence Day last week.

You can see more details of the engraving and learn more about this powder horn here. The color scheme is mostly white/beige and black, but the engraving can provide a lot of interesting graphical touches, so it should be fun. Remember to send your outfits to Jen (librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com) by next Tuesday, July 17th. Enjoy!


Stripes & Leaf

Another work outfit straggler here. This was taken a while ago, so I didn’t remember why I added a brooch to this outfit. Oh wait, I think it was the day we had some important meeting or something, but it was too hot to wear a more formal shirt, so I added a brooch to make my T-shirt look less casual. And because my shirt has green stripes, a leaf brooch seemed like a good choice.

Hot as it was back then, it was probably still blessedly cool compared to this past week. Yesterday the heat index was nearly 120F! Thankfully school was out so I no longer have to come into work. Even if I still had to work, I don’t think I could bike in this heat. I would be cooked alive.


Fourth Of July Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July to my US readers! I haven’t taken outfit photos in a while (since school is out, I haven’t gone anywhere; plus it’s too hot for outfit photos), but I still have some straggling work outfits that I haven’t posted yet, and here is one of them. I figure that between the red-and-blue color scheme and the pattern on my blouse, which looks like fireworks on the night sky, this would be appropriate for an Independence Day post. Do you guys have any plans for today? I hope you have fun!