Thursday, June 22, 2017

What I've Been Loving Recently #3

Like last month I was worried I wouldn't have that much to write about for June's instalment of What I've Been Loving Recently, but I should realise by now I consume so much popular culture that I'll always have recommendations to write about. Here's what I've been loving over the past month or so. 

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I'll start with television as usual, or should I say Netflix. I adore a good true crime documentary and a series is even better. I had heard about The Keepers a few months ago and I was eager for it to be added to Netflix at the end of May. I didn't read too much about it or watch the trailer because I didn't want to spoil anything for myself. I knew the basics which is all I'm going to tell you here because I always feel like it's best to know as little as possible about a documentary (or anything for that matter) before you watch it. The Keepers is the story of Sister Cathy Cesnick who was murdered in 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland. As the story progresses, we learn of the horrific abuse that went on in the school where Cathy worked as a teacher and which may have ultimately lead to her being murdered. I don't want to give away anything else but that's the basic story. Just to warn you, it's a harrowing, hard to watch documentary and if you have bad feelings about the Catholic church as it is, this series will only strengthen and cement those feelings. I cried a lot watching it, it broke my heart to hear of such incomprehensible suffering. If you can stomach it, I feel like it's a very important story to know about and sadly it's probably one of many many more stories like it.

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Next up is the tv show I've been excited to see since it was announced a couple of years ago. The Twin Peaks revival started on Showtime at the end of May and so far seven episodes have aired. I was so nervous that I wasn't going to like it after completely loving the original series, but I'm blown away by how David Lynch has brought the story back and taken it so much further. If you haven't seen the original Twin Peaks, it begins with the discovery of the body of Laura Palmer, a teen girl who has been murdered in a small town called Twin Peaks. FBI Agent Dale Cooper arrives in the town to investigate her murder and the rest is history. The first season is pretty straight forward, the second goes a bit mad and this recent incarnation is just completely nuts but in a good way. You will most definitely either love or hate it, there's no in between. The story continues 25 years from where it left off and there's a whole host of new characters added into the mix. There are lots of famous faces in this new series including Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried and Michael Cera. I'm so excited to see what happens, the first episode was crazy and I had no idea what was going on but slowly pieces of the story are being revealed. If you loved Twin Peaks and if you love the films of David Lynch you'll definitely love this. I have haven't seen the original two seasons, I'd recommend watching them, I know it won't be to everyones taste but it's definitely worth a try. 

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Anyone who is a fan of Tina Fey and watched 30 Rock, will no doubt have seen Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you haven't, it's a comedy about a woman who was help captive in a bunker for 15 years by a doomsday cult leader played by Jon Hamm. The show begins with her moving to New York after escaping from the bunker, and moving into a basement apartment with an aspiring actor named Titus Andromedon (who is probably my favourite character). She has to learn to be an adult in the real world after growing up isolated from the world and as expected the results are hilarious. If you loved 30 Rock, you'll definitely love this because it has the same Tina Fey stupidly clever sense of humour. The above photo shows Titus's tribute to Beyoncés Lemonade which is so funny. We just finished the third season and I already want to see more because I love it so much. I think this most recent season has been my favourite so far (I mean, it features Fred Armisen as serial killer Robert Durst dating one of the main characters!). If that doesn't convince you, nothing will. 

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Silicon Valley is a HBO show that's currently in its fourth season. It's a comedy about a group of computer programmers attempting to become the next big thing in the tech world with their data compression app. It was created by Mike Judge who is famous for Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, Office Space and Idiocracy which he has either created, written or directed. The show is basically about the guys trying to get backers and funding and having everything go wrong, go right and go wrong again. It's hilarious, but yet again, a specific type of humour that you'll either like or you won't. Then again, it's HBO so you're pretty much guaranteed it's going to be good. It's definitely not my favourite comedy show, but it's consistently funny and I'd watch anything Mike Judge does because I think he's a comedy genius. 

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Wonder Woman is pretty much the only film I saw this month worth writing about. I actually watched Brooklyn too (and rewatched a few other things). I really enjoyed Brooklyn, a lot more than I thought I would. But onto Wonder Woman. So I think everyone can agree that the DC film offerings haven't been great lately. I didn't even bother watching Man of Steel or Batman v Superman. To be honest I'd rather watch the Animated Batman, the Adam West one or the Adventures of Lois and Clark. I was praying that Wonder Woman would redeem the DC world and it totally did. It exceeded my expectations, mostly because I didn't get my hopes up. Incredible casting first of all. Gal Gadot is perfect in the role. She's funny and strong and STUNNING and smart. Chris Pine is the most adorable actor of all time and Robin Wright is just as amazing as ever. It was heartwarming and a lot funnier than I had ever thought it would be and just totally empowering. It's so great to see a comic book movie with a female lead that's actually just a very good film. It's about time! 

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It's been six years since the last Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues and their third album Crack Up was only released last week but has already become a favourite. I love their first two albums and have seen them play a few times (and I'll be seeing them again next month) so I was really hoping that after waiting for six years, this album would be great. I've only listened to it fully a few times so far but I'm already excited to see them play the songs live.

I saw Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes frontman) supporting Joanna Newsom last year which I only found out on the day of the gig and I was so excited because I hadn't heard anything about the band in years and didn't even know if they'd be releasing another album. Seeing him solo was an incredible experience, his voice is just so beautiful, I would have sat there and listened to him play by himself all night. He's got one of those voices that sounds so much better in person. My boyfriend listened to the album before me and said he loved it but he said he couldn't hum or sing one song to me. It hasn't got the obvious singles that the previous albums had but I really love that. It's complex and beautifully written and I want to listen to it and read the lyrics and study them. If you haven't listened to them yet and you're looking for some new music, check out their first album, it's still one of my all time favourites. 

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My final favourite of this month is Radiohead. I saw them live this past Tuesday night and it was unbelievable. This was only my second time seeing them live and I was completely blown away. It was such a emotional experience, I found myself welling up several times during the show, particularly when they played one of my favourites, Let Down and then again with Fake Plastic Trees. The first album of theirs that I listened to was The Bends and it's probably still my favourite. They're one of those bands that I always take for granted how good they are and how many amazing songs and albums they have. 

So that's what I've been loving recently. I finished the Handmaid's Tale which I wrote about last month and it blew me away, I just want more and more of the story. I'm still listening to My Favorite Murder, in fact I just listened to the 50th episode so I'm catching up quite quickly. If you've seen or heard any of these do let me know in the comments or if you have anything that you've been really loving recently and think I'd like, please let me know! 

You can read the first two WILR posts here and here.

Emma x


Sunday, June 18, 2017

New York- Part Two

If you haven't seen it already, last week I wrote the first part of my New York series. I'm aware it was rather long, but I wanted it to be as informative as possible and it seemed to go down well. I've really been enjoying going through all of the photos and trying to remember what we did each day, it's a great way to relive the trip but it makes me desperately want to plan a second visit. 

Hopefully I can keep this part a bit shorter. On our fourth day we decided to get the subway into Manhattan and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. In retrospect, this was a stupid idea because it was another ridiculously hot day despite the cloud cover but we survived with the help of lots of sunscreen, water and light clothes. We got off at Canal Street and walked about ten minutes to the Manhattan side of the bridge. The nice weather meant that everyone else seemed to have the same idea and at first it was slow going because of the amount of people in front of us but it slowly tapered off and we were able to enjoy the walk at our own pace without being surrounded by people. 

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I think if you were to walk the bridge without stopping it would take around 25-30 minutes but of course we stopped several times along the way to take photos and just take in the views so it probably took us an hour or so. Because it was so hot we didn't walk as fast as we normally would. You can also cycle across, there is a dedicated cyclist path which runs parallel to the pedestrian path and it can get crowded so be aware of that if you're planning on walking the bridge on a busier day. 

We didn't really have any plans once we got to Brooklyn. After our long walk in the sun we both just wanted to sit down and get some lunch so we went to Shake Shack which I've heard so many people rave about. I'll go into more detail about our trip to Shake Shack in my New York food post which will be coming soon. 

After refuelling we decided to walk around DUMBO. We just wandered in and out of little shops and stopped to take photos because everything looks amazing and is so photographable in this area. We also took some photos for a style post which you can see here if you haven't seen it already. I absolutely loved DUMBO, the views of the Williamsburg Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan, all the big warehouses that have been there for years and years and all of the picturesque little streets. I could have walked around taking photos all day.

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The next day was a Sunday so of course we decided to go for brunch and what better place for our first New York brunch than the famous Jack's Wife Freda on Lafayette Street. Once again I'd heard lots of people rave about their food so I was dying to try it out. I'll go into more detail in my dedicated food post, but for now I'll tell you that it didn't disappoint. 

After brunch we headed towards the Chelsea Market looking in book shops and record shops along the way. We also did the obligatory stop at the Friends building on Bedford Street which happens to be a couple of minutes walk from Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on Perry Street and since we were headed that way anyway we stopped there for a quick snap too. We stopped in Magnolia to get some cupcakes and their famous banana pudding which we ate on a bench outside the Gansevoort Market. We then walked around Chelsea Market which I loved (we wished we weren't too full to eat there because all of the food places looked amazing!).

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We decided to walk the High Line while we were in the area, it was the perfect end to a great day walking around SoHo, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. I absolutely loved the High Line, we wanted to go back again some night as recommended by my brother but we didn't get a chance. It seemed like it'd be a great place to hang out in the Summer because there's lots of places to sit down away from the craziness of the city. There was an installation for The Handmaid's Tale where they had been giving out free copies of the book (they were all gone by the time we got there). We stopped to take photos of the amazing views at all of the street intersections and the apartments overlooking the park. I loved reading more about how the High Line came to be at the information points along the way. 

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We had a late start on our sixth day so we went for brunch in Astoria before going into Manhattan. Simon wanted to watch the Liverpool match in the afternoon at a Liverpool bar in the East Village which wasn't my ideal way to spend an afternoon but lucky for me it meant he had to come to the Glossier showroom with me first. I wrote about the experience here and you can read my first Glossier product review here. The match actually turned out to be a great experience. The bar was packed with huge Liverpool fans and I even got chatting to some ladies from Canada who were stopped in New York on a cruise and were so excited they got to watch the match in this bar. One of the ladies even gave my a Liverpool crest made out of metal that her husband makes which was so kind. After the match we were in need of refreshments so we walked to the Milk Bar and got ice cream which we ate on the way to Union Square. We decided to try to get tickets to Top of the Rock for the evening so we went and booked in for later that night and went off to get some pizza for dinner. 

We wanted to do both Top of the Rock and the Empire State building so we thought it'd be a good idea to do one during the day and one at night. I was so excited to see the view of the city all lit up at night. Coming out of the elevator and seeing that view for the first time is one of those moments in life that takes your breath away. It was so windy and cold but so worth it. Top of the Rock is definitely one of the must-see places in New York because the view is just spectacular, it was especially amazing to see the Empire State building all lit up in green. 


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So that's the end of part two. I'll have part three which consists of our last four days in the coming week including a wrap up of our trip and any advice I can offer. I hope you're enjoying this travel series and please let me know if there's any other information you'd like to know about our trip like prices etc.

Emma x

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