5 Summer Must-Haves for Your Next Beach Holiday

Summer is here, and holiday season has left me wanting to up my wardrobe game whether that means on the beach or at the airport. After doing some travelling myself, I’ve been inspired to create my own list of the summer must-haves to make your luggage a little more luxury.

Forget the sarongs and over-sized dresses. Hawaiian shirts are the new cover ups as they add a relaxed but feminine vibe to an otherwise standard bikini. Go for a size up or even try going for a men’s Hawaiian shirt so you can easily tie the ends or wear them loose.

Where to buy them: ASOS, TopshopUK and Forever 21

Not the most practical carry on bag, but it’s a cute purse to throw your phone, camera and sunscreen in. The rope-like material gives a tropical feel while still maintaining its leather luxury. This virtually looks good with any outfit whether its a maxi dress or a loose tee with denim shorts.

Where to buy them: TopshopUK, Mango, and Matalan

Hear me out. The days of biker shorts being limited to athletic wear only are a thing of the past. Biker shorts are perfect for the trip to the airport, as you can throw on a loose sweater over a t-shirt while still looking put together. You can continue rocking them with a bum bag during your holiday when you’re going sight-seeing or visiting a museum.

Where to buy them: Urban Outfitters, TopshopUK, and Pretty Little Thing

These bright-coloured headbands are popping up everywhere. They add a fun twist to any outfit, and let’s face it. Our hair can be all kinds of temperamental during the holiday whether that means dealing with constant frizz inducing-weather or 24/7 wet hair. When you run out of your travel-sized bottle of dry shampoo, this headband will come in clutch. You can wear it when you throw your hair in a bun or when your hair is still damp from beaching all day.

Where to buy them: Miss Selfridge, ASOS, and TopshopUK

Pleated skirts were all the rage this spring as they popped up on fashion runways in Paris, London and New York. This summer, they can be versatile and perfect for the day to night outfit. During the day, pair the shirt with a simple graphic tee and converse, and you can transition it to night by exchanging your tee for a black lace crop top and heels.

Where to buy them: ASOS, SHEIN, and Boohoo

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Let’s discuss those fantasy suites of The Bachelorette

This week of The Bachelorette was one of the most memorable fantasy suites I’ve ever seen on my television screen. It was very sex positive. It was explosive, and all of the dates were iconic in their own way. They went to Greece, which looked absolutely breathtaking, but let’s be real. We were all looking closely for that windmill (aka. the fence jump of the season). Let’s break the episode down by each person because it was intense.

Peter: Spoiler alert: Pilot Pete was the windmill bandit! He and Hannah got steamy when they were making out on a boat in the ocean, and Peter dropped the L bomb at dinner. All we’ve heard for the past few weeks is how Hannah had sex in a windmill, and low and behold, by the middle of their date, I sat up in my seat as they entered a stone windmill for their fantasy suite. I was a bit surprised at first actually, assuming it was maybe Tyler or Jed. But nope. They have great chemistry overall, but I just don’t think he’s her final pick. But also, way to go, Pilot Pete! You’ll forever have that street cred thanks to Hannah’s confession.

Tyler: I’ve been obsessed with Tyler ever since he comforted Hannah on their first one-on-one date. They go to get massages, and man it was so steamy, I actually felt a little uncomfortable witnessing such an intimate moment between them. They go to dinner where Hannah tells Tyler that they have such a strong physical connection, that she really needs to know if they have that emotional connection too. To me, it almost seemed like the opposite with Peter, which is why Hannah did a 180 with him. And holy crap, Tyler was so iconic and understanding, I actually transcribed what this man proceeded to say to her.

Tonight, fantasy suites, it has a connotation of sex. For me, it’s way more than that. I just want to be with you, spend that time with you. You have to really love and respect each other’s boundaries. I would never press you or pressure you at all. I want you to be 100 percent comfortable and confident in whatever we do together. I look at the man I am today; it’s not the same kid I was nine weeks ago. You got me to open up so much, and I don’t want this to end. I don’t want to stop looking in your eyes. I don’t want to stop seeing that smile. I don’t want to stop hearing your laugh, seeing those dimples. I can stand here today and tell you I do love you. I am so falling for you. You mean the world to me. I would love to spend some time with you and just be us.”

Yeah, I know I’m crazy for writing that down, but I mean he had no idea she would say something like and yet, he had this Disney prince speech ready to go. There’s something about watching The Bachelorette that makes me feel very empowered as a single woman, and this was one of those moments when I’m like “Nah, I’m not going to settle for anything less than this.” Really puts things in perspective for anyone dealing with dating bullsh*t.

As much as I’d like to continue gushing about Tyler, I will say Hannah seemed conflicted when he left. I wasn’t sure if it was painful because she knew he’s not the one or if she thought that at first and is now feeling unsure after talking all night. That’s what I got from her, but it was hard to really tell.

Jed: Did anyone feel like Jed was such a negative Nancy when he first saw Hannah? I mean, dude, you’re in Greece. We know you don’t understand the Luke thing. And she was clearly uncomfortable talking about it too. I mean what is she supposed to say? Yeah, Luke is the best kisser? That being said, I do feel like Jed and Hannah have both the physical and emotional connection more than Peter and Tyler. He’s such a frontrunner; it’s making me nervous! For those who don’t know, Jed had a girlfriend during his entire time on the show. And it’s made my viewing experience a whole lot different. With Jed bashing Luke, it just seems so shady now. I do feel like he is falling for Hannah, but it sucks because that means he treated another woman with total disregard.

Luke: Oh lord. Literally. Where do we start with Luke? Luke did his classic gaslighting tactic with Hannah, but this time, he also slut shamed her in the process. And here’s the thing. It’s OK to be uncomfortable with her sleeping with all these other guys when there’s an engagement on the line. I know I’d be an insecure mess myself as well if I were on the show. However, it is absolutely awful to say what she did was a “mistake”. I felt like he was trying to control her saying he’d leave if she slept with the other three men. Well, Luke, you’re the last date buddy, so it’s too late. Once he realises this, he changes his opinion and says they can work through it. And cue the backtracking. But he even claims that the “worst case” would be if she slept with all of them. It’s so clear where his values lie, and once Hannah sees it, queen feminist Hannah comes out and gives him a piece of her mind. I was HERE FOR IT.

After Kaitlyn’s season of slut-shaming years ago, I was so sad that our society looked down upon a sex positive woman. I know Hannah is probably still receiving awful comments and death threats, but I feel like our society isn’t nearly as taboo with these topics. I mean all the men on her season are defending her on Twitter, along with most of Bachelor nation. I’m so proud of Hannah. She truly is a queen this season. I knew I saw something in her on Colton’s season, but she proves it here with such class.

Between Tyler respecting Hannah’s wishes, Peter’s iconic windmill moment and Hannah sending Luke home, this was a wild ride of an episode. I cannot wait until the finale episode. I’m still firm in that she has the most stable connection with Jed, but if that’s true, the finale will be interesting if she does choose Jed. Time will only tell.

The Rise and Fall of Bum Bags

How did the once dorky trend go from rags to riches?

Credit: Jennifer Padilla

Bum bags are arguably the most polarising bag in the accessory community. They’ve come a long way from being thrown in the bargain bins at Urban Outfitters.The hands-free bag has been a symbol for dorkiness among tourists and dads for the past several years, but they’re back as brands like Fendi, Zara and Balenciaga showcase the once unfashionable trend on their shelves.

Bum bags date back to the Copper Age when a 5300-year-old frozen human body’s wardrobe was shown to be wearing “belt bags” made of leather and fur. Time magazine’s October 26, 1992 cover story reported the discovery of the human, Otzi the Iceman, wearing “a leather pouch resembling a small version of the ‘fanny packs’ worn by tourists today.” That’s right. People were already sporting the trend, granted it was for a more practical use in hunting and gathering. 

The United Kingdom first coined “bum bag” in the 1950s, but the bag is now more popularly known as a fanny pack. However, it wasn’t until the ‘80s when the trend gained some footing. Bum bags started popping up in its true form: nylon, neon-coloured and purely worn around the waist. They were being sported based on functionality rather than a fashion statement. Around the same time, tourism had significantly risen in popular cities, such as New York and Japan, and bum bags were simply being used for practical travel purposes.

By the ‘90s, the trend had shifted into athleisure wear, with women wearing their Kelly Kapowski biker shorts and fitted crop tops. Not to mention the iconic Dwayne the Rock Johnson outfit back in 1996 of the wrestler sporting a black turtleneck, light wash denim and an ever so tiny black patent bum bag.

Somewhere along the way, bum bags became “dorkier” and “dad like” rather than fashionable.

Fashion writer for the LA based website Good + Well Erin Bunch wrote an article titled: “How to wear a fanny pack without looking like your dad”. She says for a while, the trend was embarrassing to sport. She remembers seeing her mum and dad wearing the bags around their waist on family vacations during the ‘90s.

While the trend still got its bad rap in the media, Karl Lagerfeld created quilted black lambskin fanny packs for Chanel in 1994, while Louis Vuitton also started gracing fanny packs in runway shows. While designers started to join in on the bum bag fad, there was an irony that came with the look.

In her article, Bunch says it was the nylon material and utilitarian use that made the look so dated in the ‘80s, which is why the fad had faded. Bunch changed her opinion though during the early 2000’s, when she saw Carrie Bradshaw wearing a Gucci bum bag with a black crop top and striped skirt on an episode of Sex and the City.

“That was the first time I saw one and thought it was styled pretty cool,” Bunch says.“They came back in 2017 when I wrote that article because ‘it girls’ like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid were starting to wear them.”

Stylist and fashion blogger Jennifer Padilla frequently wears her studded leather Zara bum bag with her street and chic style on her Instagram feed. She remembers when she first saw fashion influencer and Youtuber Brittany Xavier sporting a red blazer and a Fendi bum bag cinched in at the waist. It inspired Padilla to purchase a bum bag of her own. She says as an ‘80s baby, she remembers when bum bags were simply made of nylon, cheesy neon colours and a zipper across the top.

 “I remember even as a kid seeing fanny packs when I was growing up and thinking ‘Oh that’s ugly,’” the stylist said. “I think it’s about how they were styled back then. People would wear them with baggy pants or even overalls with the one strap hanging, but I mean look at all these couture high fashion brands rocking these pieces.”

For Padilla, the trend went from ugly to couture because the materials were evolving as brands such as Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga started showing them in a chicer design in 2015 fashion runways. The other reason she feels the trend has evolved is because more women and men started wearing them across the chest.

Bunch agrees that it all comes down to the way they’re being worn, along with the people who sport fanny packs today.

“I feel like today, trends don’t come in and out of fashion like they used to so intensely. Personal style is dictated through different ways now,” Bunch says. “It used to be strictly the runways that said what was in fashion, and nowadays it’s influencers and social media as well, so there’s so many more voices and style has become a lot more eclectic as a result.”

To see them go from a practical bag to carry sunscreen in to the accessory piece of 2018 is quite a statement. Now fashion buyers seem them in every iteration of brand from Topshop’s neon green bum bag to Nasty Gal’s silver studded black version of the bag. When you see Rihanna sporting a coral-coloured power suit with a matching cinched in fanny pack, it’s hard not to want to rock one too. So here’s to the fanny pack comeback!

How to Rock Your Fanny Pack

Over the Shoulders: People have been sporting their bum bags over the shoulders, and it virtually works with any look. The over the shoulder look is for street wear everyday looks. If you’re keeping it casual with sweatpants, you can keep your look minimalistic with a matching sweatshirt and a bright coloured bum bag. You can also wear it with a simple denim jean and t-shirt for a more low key look. For someone with a more athletic built or pear shape, this is the way to wear it to accentuate the top half of your body.

Keep it Classic: If you’re apple shaped, this will be the most flattering way to wear the bum bag, and it works the best for BBQ’s, amusement parks, or just a fun summer day out. The classic nylon bag is nothing to be ashamed of as you can rock it with distressed jeans and an open bomber jacket for some more edge. You can also wear it more formally if it’s slung over a long floral skirt and an oversized fuzzy jumper.

Cinch it in: If you have an hourglass figure and want to call attention to your waist rather than your hips, try purchasing a bum bag that belts at the waist. This is the sleekest way to rock a bum bag especially if it’s a boxier shape. You can rock it like Rihanna by wearing a satin blazer and smart pair of trousers, or you can keep it more casual with a simple A-line dress.

Special thanks to Jennifer Padilla and Erin Bunch for the interviews and photos for my article! You can follow Jennifer here and Erin here.

Interview with Hey! VINA CEO Olivia Poole about her Tinder-style app for female friendships

When I was working on my dissertation, I was researching on all the platforms where I could meet women my age. I was looking for fashion and beauty opinions on a school assignment, but was surprised when I stumbled on this app called Hey! VINA. It’s sort of like Bumble BFF, but it’s so much more aesthetically pleasing with its pastel colors, and it allows women to connect after filling out detailed profiles about their interests. It also allows women to hold group events and gatherings, which can definitely take the pressure off of making friends. I spoke with the founder of the app, Olivia Poole, who gave me some insight behind the app and why women should embrace the support for one another.

Can you explain why you thought there was a need for the app? I launched Hey! VINA in 2016 because I knew firsthand how difficult it is to find friends as an adult. At the time, I had moved to San Francisco and I didn’t know anyone, let alone have an inner circle that I wanted (and needed) so badly. After starting a women’s only wine night series, Ladies Who Vino, I realized the power of bringing women together in a safe place. I created VINA to scale that experience out to the world! I decided that using a dating app like interface but with the sole intention of women’s friendship was the way to go, because I tried (and failed!) at messaging the other cool girls on other dating sites to be friends. The results proved that I was onto something—as VINA reached 100,000 downloads in its first week on the App Store.

What is your favorite feature of the app?
I love our personality quizzes! They help you see how people’s personalities fit into the equation of being a good match, plus they’re a lot of fun!

What advice would you give for someone who is going to be meeting their first VINA?
Remember that the vina you’re about to meet is here for the same exact reason as you! You both downloaded Hey! VINA for a reason and you’re here to make a connection and develop a friendship, so don’t be nervous because you’re both looking for the same things in life! You already have VINA in common, so just let the conversation build from there!

Can you explain how VINA is a bit different than Bumble BFF?
Our members say they love Hey! VINA because we’re exclusively focused on women’s friendship, so the platform is very feminine and designed with that sole goal in mind. They also love how we show so much more than photos, plus they love being able to host and attend plans created by other people in the community! Lastly, many of our members aren’t looking for dates, so they’re not comfortable having a dating app on their phones.

You can download the Hey! VINA here using Google Play or the Apple Store.

5 Things to Know About This Season of The Bachelorette

Hannah B is a feminist icon: We all had our doubts about Hannah Beast becoming the bachelorette when she flubbed on the After the Final Rose special, but Hannah has more than made up for it with her candidness and zero tolerance for bullsh*t with her suitors. In fact, I can’t remember a time when someone has called out the contestants for acting like first graders more than Hannah has. But it’s more than being a badass alpha.

She has no problem expressing her attraction for the men this season. It’s almost like when you sit down with your friends over drinks to dish about your love lives. That’s why I adore this woman. I knew it the moment Colton sent her home and she was like nah, this is crap! The previews reveal that it’s only going to escalate as it appears Luke will be slut shaming her and she WILL NOT be having it. I love how open Hannah is, and I can’t wait for her to put Luke in his place.

No one seems to be there for the “right reasons”: So Scott turned out to be a clown on night one when it was revealed he had a girl back home waiting for him. And then Tyler G. went home for unknown reasons. And then there was Cam, who I truly felt was simply misunderstood but was ultimately sent home packing when Hannah found his stories to be manipulative.

But then, we have Jed. He’s clearly a frontrunner, but it turns out that he had a girlfriend the entire time! A girlfriend who was waiting for his return. A girlfriend who he ended up ghosting. And a girlfriend who he had promised that the show was all a publicity stunt. Jed has a really good chance of actually being engaged to Hannah, and if he is, I don’t see how someone as strong-willed as Hannah is going to let that slide. Either way, it’s hard to watch the show now knowing his intentions.

But Tyler C and Peter are perfect: There are two guys who have stolen my heart this season (besides the obvious John Paul Jones.) Tyler C and Peter are so unproblematic, and it’s actually concerning that they’re two of the only descent guys left. Tyler is not only gorgeous, but he was super caring and sweet to Hannah on their one on one date. He’s super cheesy in a lot of his interactions but darn it, it’s hard not to swoon. He’s kind of like the sweet jock who writes poetry and volunteers in his free time. Also, follow him on Instagram for inspiration as he runs charity events on the regular!

Then there’s Peter the pilot, who is Ben Higgins 2.0. He’s endearing in his little awkward make outs with Hannah, but’s it’s so charming to watch on screen as he tries hoisting her up on a pool table only to hit his head on a lamp. Oh Pete. But besides that, he doesn’t cause any drama and seems to be friends with everyone in the house. If Hannah is not engaged to Peter, he’d be a great bachelor.

Luke is that toxic guy we can’t get rid of: Luke is the most polarizing person this season hands down. He’s clearly got some more close-minded views on what he expects in his wife, using words like “pure” and referring to Hannah’s body as a temple. That’s an issue just waiting to unfold. However, it’s more just him bringing up other people’s names that has him in hot water. He’s clearly lacking the emotional maturity, and that’s been clear from episode 3. What’s more interesting is that Luke represents every guy a girl has trouble letting go of because she feels an undeniable connection. We’ve all been there. Putting up with absolute nonsense for no reason other than the fact that you can’t let go of the hope or idea of someone. We see Hannah struggle with this all season, and she’s very self-aware that Luke has special treatment.

Who will likely be on paradise? There’s so many potential guys coming down to paradise. I’m actually thinking Mike and Connor, who both got sent packing last episode, will probably be contenders, along with John Paul Jones, Dylan and maybe even Garrett as well. I’m sure tons of Colton’s girls will also be featured like Hannah G, Tayhsia, Heather and Caelynn as well. I’m excited to see all the pairings unfold.

This season certainly has been original with lots of interesting personalities. I cannot wait to see how this wild ride ends. Part of me is scared that she ends up with Jed, but then part of me is hopeful that she chooses Tyler or Peter. Stay tuned! I’ll definitely share my thoughts once this season wraps for good!

I Try a Capsule Wardrobe for a Week and Here’s What Happens

The average woman owns 95 items of clothing and only wears 59 percent of them regularly, according to a study in the Great British Journal. I know for a fact I have way more than 95 items stuffed in my cluttered closet and just the other day, I had a heap of old worn out jeans come crashing down on me. I needed to confess it: I was a shopaholic. I needed a wake up call. 

A capsule wardrobe was first coined in the 70s by a London boutique owner Susie Faux when she created a collection of key essential items of clothing that were both timeless and seasonal. A capsule wardrobe typically contains 37 pieces for each season. 

Thirty-seven? I’ll admit, I probably own more than 37 jumpers alone.  After doing some more research and joining some minimalists Facebook groups, I challenge myself to wear only 10 items for the entire week. This is coming from the girl who sometimes changes her outfit midday out of pure boredom. 

To prepare for my week, I speak with capsule wardrobe queen and blogger of A Small Wardrobe Patricia. She says: “A small wardrobe relies on versatile items that can be worn in a number of different ways. You can build your wardrobe around colours and patterns – the key is to limit the palette to a few colours, and work on building that versatility – in other words – make sure you can match lots of different things together.”

I decide that I would mostly incorporate black and white and add a splash of red and yellow, two colours I wear often. Patricia says she probably has about 33 items in her closet overall, which leaves me craving more wisdom. How could she not get bored with her closet? 

“Many women love to experiment with fashion, and with so many new trends appearing weekly, it’s hard not to! Unfortunately, this is how people end up with huge wardrobes. My tip is to figure out what looks best on you, what feels most comfortable, and what is most authentically ‘you’.”

To help me, I invited my friend Caroline Allison over to choose the items for me. Allison declutters her closet every year and is a part of a minimalist group on Facebook herself, so I thought she would be perfect for the job, unlike me. I carry an emotional attachment to my cheetah printed jumpsuit and my distressed mom jeans. She picks out staple pieces that clearly show versatility, such as a black fit and flare jumpsuit and a white chiffon button up top. They both embody the minimalistic feel that Patricia evokes in her wardrobe. 

Sunday Hangover

On my first day, I play it safe and comfortable with my red knit sweater and straight legged jeans as I mostly spend the day lounging around at a coffee shop and taking a stroll down to Waitrose. Day one doesn’t seem anything out of the ordinary.

Martini Monday

Cue the creativity. Today is bold as I sport my leather leggings with the white blouse and plaid blazer. This, believe it or not, is so outside my comfort zone. I would normally swap out leather leggings for a tame pair of black skinny jeans and a white blouse in favour of a plain black tee. I’m wearing four out of the 10 pieces, so I’m not sure if I put too much in one look. But somehow, I find myself putting my hair in a little updo, and I feel like Blake Lively from A Simple Favour who rocks three piece suits and shiny oxford heeled shoes. All I’m missing is my martini glass.

Tuesday with a Twist

Today feels like a revelation. I took Patricia’s advice and decide to experiment regardless of any preconceived notions. Although both my yellow cropped sweater and formal jumpsuit are both baggy, I throw the rules out the window like she told me to. They’re an unlikely pairing, but they work harmoniously. I go to get brunch with a friend and she mentions how much she loves the “athleisure” look. 

Weary Wednesday

I’m not going to lie. I’m so cold this morning and the only viable option is the red knit sweater for a top, which I lazily pair with black leggings and my printed boots. Don’t get me wrong, my outfit still looks put together. I realise that I maybe should’ve chosen a more cohesive colour palette because I can’t possibly pair yellow and red together without looking like a hot dog. Fashion blogger Joi Smith did a spring pastel-coloured capsule wardrobe in 2017, and I’m envious of the endless pairings she came up with as she rocked ethereal mint green skirts and blush-coloured coats.

Thursday Rut

I’m feeling the rut. I wear my white blouse with the blue jeans and my boots. While I appreciate the silhouette that I normally wouldn’t rock, I don’t feel inspired at all by the look in all honesty. The white blouse is really starting to annoy me too. I’m not sure how a clothing piece could possibly annoy me, but it is. Patricia told me she’s human too and splurges from time to time and she advises me to write a list of clothes I want to purchase at the moment and walk away from it. Chances that I would still want the pieces in a few weeks are slim. I write down a fur vest, a turtleneck dress and another pair of boyfriend jeans. 

 A Fresh Friday

I decide to stop moping around and try a new look as I pair my yellow jumper with leather leggings. I really like the sleek outfit as I pulled back my hair and rocked a sporty look.  It feels very ‘me’ but with an edgy twist. I suppose what I’m learning through this process is that the phrase “I have nothing to wear” is clearly wrong. Anyone can purchase the latest jeweled jumper from Topshop, but there’s something to be said about taking pieces you already own and making them feel new again. 

Saturday Celebration

 I wear my jumpsuit with my blazer, which both happen to be my dressiest pieces. But hey, it was Saturday. Why not look regal? It is quite a preppy look for me, but I decide to wear it with a casual braid and sneakers for a more relaxed look. I try wearing the jumpsuit with my white blouse underneath, but I’m starting to feel triggered from that blouse. All in all, I’m excited to reunite with my wardrobe but feel proud for accomplishing the task. 

I’m not going to lie. I’m not sure if a capsule wardrobe is for me. 

But I’ll tell you one thing. I won’t be shopping for a while. I return back to my wish list from Thursday that Patricia told me to write down and realise I didn’t need any of the listed items. The 10 items I wore allowed me to think a bit more creatively than I thought. While I was a bit frustrated by the end of the experiment, I did rock some pretty innovative looks. All the energy I usually put into finding the latest trends was manifested into trying to make do with what I was given, and it worked. Now, to tackle decluttering my closet….To learn more about building capsule wardrobes, visit Patricia at https://asmallwardrobe.com/

Red Knit Sweater: H&M

Yellow Polo Zippered Jumper: H&M

Black Wool Coat: Misguided

Floral Printed Boots: Charlotte Russe

Black Leather Leggings: H&M

Distressed Boyfriend Jeans: H&M

Black Jumpsuit: Marshalls

White Blouse: H&M

Plaid Blazer: Forever 21

Netflix Review: The Society

Netflix’s new teen drama is a 10-episode series from Chris Keyser that follows a group of privileged teenagers who embark on a school field trip, only to return to their New England town with all of their parents missing. This “Lord of the Flies” meets “The 100” series combines mystery and teen angst to bring a surprisingly complex story that deals with parallel universes and conspiracies. So if you’re the type of person who says “that’s not humanly possible” whilst watching fantasy shows, you’re likely to roll your eyes at the concept. However, I’m all for conspiracy theories and the darkness that comes with parallel universes, so I was on the edge of my seat the entire ride through. Here are some of my thoughts after watching.

Spoiler’s Ahead:

When I was 12, I remember there was this American show called “Kid Nation”. The premise was basically the same with teens running a society on their own with a designated “mayor” and “working class” roles distributed among the town. What I learned from the show is that there’s a lot of teens willing to step up to be a leader, and there’s a lot of teens who will shell up and hide.  I really liked seeing how characters reacted to the absence of their parents. It was obvious that all hell would break loose.

There’s a lot of political undertones in the series as characters debate whether a democracy is the best way to run their town. Additionally, other issues such as physical abuse, mental illness, and the death penalty are brought up for teens to face head on. Even the state of women’s rights are brought up as 16-year-old pregnant Becca utters the words “I didn’t even get to choose to be a mother.” The intensity of the show surprised me in that retrospect.

Kathryn Newton’s character, Allie, is the presumed main character who has one of my favorite story arcs as she goes from the rebellious little sister to the fearless heroin. Her performance was one of the most nuanced, as her sister’s death fuels her to become the leader of the town.

In fact, for a teen drama, the acting overall was fantastic. Other standouts include Alex Fitzalan, who plays the spoiled “sort of” villain. What I liked about his character is that he could’ve been the straight up psychopath like Campbell, but instead, he dives into an unexpected depression. Additionally, Jack Mulhern plays my favorite character from the series, Grizz, who’s the kind-hearted expedition leader and a closeted teen who starts a romance with Sam. It’s sweet and probably my favorite romance among the teen angst, although I’m weirdly hoping Allie and Harry work things out as well.

There’s so many other likable characters such as Kelly, Gordie, Helena and Will, but I like that a lot of them encompass some gray area to their morality, such as Luke and Harry. My one issue with the series is that there’s a LOT of characters to the point where I’m confusing some of the boys and girls. Don’t get me wrong, I love that there is representation of the LGBTQ and deaf community, but if there’s going to be 15 main characters, I’d would have liked more women and men of colour.

Finally, let’s talk about that ending! OK- so what’s up with the dog? Are we sure we know who killed Cassandra? And what universe are the kids in? Purgatory? It’s too soon to really come up with a coherent theory, but I think there’s some sort of parallel universe that the kids were sent to after discovering what the “smell” was all about. It’s so intriguing to me, but I imagine fans are dying for some more clues. Hopefully, the committee on going home can sort something out soon because I want answers. Let me know what you thought of the show below!