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!

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A Hidden Gem of a Restaurant in Ladbroke Grove

Kipferl is an Austrian restaurant located in Ladbroke Grove. There’s a few other locations, but this was the first time I stumbled upon this hidden gem. Kipferl serves  Viennese classics such as Wiener Schnitzel and Kaesespaetzle, along with some refreshing Austrian beers and wines. The feel to the restaurant was so welcoming with a swanky looking cocktail bar and framed paintings and artwork throughout the eating area.

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I ordered the Kalbsgeschnetzeltes. Yeah. I asked the waiter if people just point to the menu items but he reassured me that the one I chose was a hard one to pronounce. It was pan fried veal in a mushroom and wine sauce with fried potatoes for £13.80, and I ordered a Austrian beer to accompany my meal. The food had such a home cooked feel to it, as my portion was just enough to fill me up. The mushroom sauce was so flavorful without being overpowering.

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Also, as a side note, where have I been with the Huji photo filters? I’ve seen so many people using the filters and never asked where it was from. Huji is an app that mirrors a disposable camera and applies an automatic filter to your photos. I’m obsessed with it now as you can see these series of photos,a long with the one above.

Last was this espresso soaked chocolate cake, which was a great way to end my night. Overall, I love finding these types of places in London. It’s a great way to venture out, and the prices were descent. I’ll definitely be returning to this cozy restaurant again!

Hope you liked this post. I’ll hopefully be doing more reviews like this soon.

Canary Wharf Lighting & Getting the Perfect Shot

Here’s a little picture from the Canary Wharf lighting they had a few weeks ago. I saw tons of photos on Instagram prior to going and these were the ones I wanted to hunt down and take pictures with.

These went off every eight minutes which was so funny for photos. Did anyone else start snapping like crazy when the lights started again? It was a timed race to get the perfect picture, which is hilarious in retrospect. Anyway, I’m looking for some more Instagram spots or events in London so if anyone knows any, email me or comment below a favorite spot of yours during the wintertime!

Netflix Review: Elite is Gossip Girl on Steroids

Elite is a Spanish web television series about three working class teens that attend a wealthy school. With all the drama that ensues, episode 1 reveals that there is a murder that takes place as someone from the main cast is responsible for the death of another main character. This series caught me by surprise, and it’s sort of like if Gossip Girl and Big Little Lies had a baby. Also, times the drama by 15 because there’s a lot packed into this eight episode series. I’ll be breaking up the review into the sets of characters who shared a story line. Read with caution because this does contain spoilers. Let’s start with the romance and then we’ll get to the murder.

Everything Marina, Samuel & Nano: So Samuel likes Marina. Nano likes Marina. And Samuel and Nano are brothers. Cue the drama. At first, I thought Marina was miscast because I did not feel the chemistry with Samuel, but then I realized that maybe we as an audience weren’t supposed to buy them as a couple because her chemistry with Nano was so much more intense. I feel bad for Samuel, but I also wished he stood up for himself more because as much as Marina was going through, she was a terrible girlfriend to him. Also regarding Samuel, I adored his friendship with Omar. I actually liked Samuel supporting his friends way more than his interactions with Marina.

Polo, Christian & Carla: Okay I was not expecting there to be a story line like this. Polo and Carla have been together forever, but they’re bored. So enters Christian who becomes obsessed with fitting in with the elite crowd, and we’ve got a throuple. It’s a pretty messed up story line because both Polo and Christian would do anything for Carla, include share her with another man, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from this captivating plot. You can tell that Christian enjoys the luxury and I have to hand it to the actor because he’s kind of like a cartoon character. But with Polo, there’s much more of a darkness with his adoration with Carla.

Guzman and Nadia: Guzman is the top dog at school. We establish that he’s supposed to be the rich popular guy. He starts off dating Lu, his other popular counterpart, and they make a bet to take new girl Nadia’s virginity. Nadia is a Muslim girl who struggles with her family values and her school life, but she’s one tough cookie. Her romance with Guzman was so innocent and sweet. To see the chemistry build episode after episode without ever sealing things with a kiss makes them such a rootable couple for the second season. I like that they’re both pretty imperfect as well. Guzman can be materialistic and lose his temper. Nadia can be close minded sometimes. But somehow, they work.

Ander and Omar: I saved the best for last because I loved watching these two on screen. Ander is the classic “athlete rich kid” who feels all this pressure from his family to be a tennis star. What I really liked about Ander was that he would always be the quiet or neutral one among the popular crew but when he blew up, you knew he was a lot more layered. While Ander seems to be angry a times, Omar is simply living his life  in fear. Omar is Nadia’s sister who happens to be a gay drug dealing Muslim. They’re from two completely different worlds, but the chemistry between them is electric. The actors are really fantastic, and their forbidden romance is hands down my favorite plot of the bunch because they’re so darn cute together. Who’s down for a double date between, Guzman and Nadia and Ander and Omar?

The Murder: MAJOR SPOILERS* So Marina dies. We find out in episode one and we’re supposed to believe it was either Samuel or Nano because of all the relationship drama. For some reason, my dumb ass believed it was the teacher for some reason. Once Samuel accused the teacher of sleeping with Marina, I thought we were going to get real dark considering it cost him his job.

Similarly, in Big Little Lies, I thought the father of Ziggy was going to be Madeline’s ex for some reason, and I thought Noel Kahn was the first A from Pretty Little Liars. I was wrong again. It was Polo. And it was actually done pretty masterfully in terms of storytelling. We get this threesome story line that very much feels separate from the other plot points, but it all makes perfect sense as things escalate over a watch that Carla is desperate to get back. Polo is so madly in love with Carla that it leads him to murdering Marina after a heated argument. I also was so in love with characters like Nadia and Ander that I was praying it wouldn’t be one of my favorite characters. And we also slowly learn that Polo is a bit messed up himself so it all ties together well.

Something that Pretty Little Liars failed to do was give people the correct motives, but by the final episode, everyone has a motive and a damn good one at that. And something Gossip Girl also failed to do was stay on track with its original mystery after a few seasons. This show really impressed me, and I’m shocked it doesn’t get more attention because it really deserves it. The acting is great. The murder was a great premise, but all the drama that ensues in between is gripping as well. I cannot wait for a second season.

Visiting the South of France & Solo Travel

I had a little vacation to Nice in the South of France, and it was beautiful. I have always loved traveling but was hesitant to do some solo traveling. When I first arrived, I knew it was the right decision because I was staring at the French Riviera when I got off my bus. Nice is a relatively small city and can be explored in just a few days. While it’s not a thrill seeking city by any means, if you’re looking to have some wine and pizza on the beach (which I did), it’s the perfect place to go to.

These photos were taken while going on a free walking tour. I used the app Meetup, which gives tons of free events to join by simply plugging in what area you’re in. The thing about the app is that you can choose your location no matter where you currently are, so I was able to find Nice events while still in London. Our tour guide was great because she led us on top of a waterfall, where we got the view of the entire beach. It’s really breathtaking.

While we were walking, we found a ton of lunch spots but opted to get two pizzas and two bottles of wine to take with us to the beach. I don’t have pictures, but there was a pizza that had bacon, goat cheese and drizzled honey on it, and it was amazing. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, try going through narrow roads like this one rather than all the restaurants along the beach. You can have a little picnic while still having the view. Also wine is 5 euros for a bottle at corner stores, and it tastes just as delicious.

Here’s another really lovely photo from atop the waterfall. It really is such a stunning city. One thing I’ll say about solo travel is that you end up meeting tons of other people traveling alone. I think people are hesitant because you’re worried you won’t meet anyone and will feel lonely. However, if you’re going to be staying in a hostel, you’ll have loads of people to interact with. Take some time to be alone as well. I went to grab this amazing basil pesto pasta shortly after landing and it was one of my only moments alone. So if you’re considering traveling, but your friends have different schedules, just do it because you won’t feel alone, and even when you are alone, t’s still worth every penny.

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That was my trip. I’m not claiming to be an expert of this city. I was there for only three days. For me, it was about the experience. It felt like I could take a pause on life, but it also felt like moments I’d remember forever. Sounds dramatic, but if you’re need of some TLC, maybe take a weekend to yourself and take a chance.

Notting Hill & Columbia Road Flower Market

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In  an effort to blog more, I wanted to recap a couple of places that I visited last year but never got a chance to write about. My new year’s resolution is to blog more about my travels in Europe. Here are a couple of gems I went to in London.

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First off was the Columbia Road Flower Market, which is located in Bethnal Green. They had a ton of flower stands on sale, and it gets pretty crowded quickly. I also love the vibe with sellers chatting with customers or yelling out their latest deals to customers. Additionally, there are a ton of restaurants nearby to grab a quick Sunday brunch.

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The second place was Notting Hill, which is such a quaint shopping spot with little stands ranging from old fashioned cameras to alpaca wool sweaters to street food. My favorite part was walking around and seeing all the little houses that were each painted a different color. It’s so cool to see that people actually live these houses too. It seems like a pretty quiet area in comparison to most of London, so it was a nice excursion.

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Outfit details: My flower printed boots in the first picture were from Charlotte Russe and was only $15, and my scarf was actually from a charity shop for $2. My long coat is from boohoo and was on sale for $30, and my fur coat is from H&M and was on sale for $25.

 

 

H&M Jumpsuit: Wedding Outfit & Talking Insecurities

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My brother recently edited these photos from over the summer, and this jumpsuit was only $16.99 from H&M with the original retail price at $34.99 I believe. There’s a funny story about this jumpsuit. I was going through a stage where I wasn’t really happy with my body. I woke up feeling bloated and just wasn’t feeling a fitted jumpsuit like this one, especially for a wedding.

At the time, I thought a black wrap dress would be safer, but looking at these photos, I really love how I looked that day. When you’re not really happy with how you look, it’s easy to magnify all your imperfections. Now, I’m so thankful I went outside my comfort zone, because at the time, the only thing I was looking at was my arm fat or my stomach peaking out.

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Just a friendly reminder to take it easy on yourself. January is all about starting new, so naturally people are in fitness mode after the holidays. Remember to be kind to yourself because at the end of the day, you can be your biggest critic.