Posts tagged Netflix

My Favorite Netflix Documentaries #FallEdition

Friends!

The weather has been getting colder and you know what that means in my book, right? Watching lots of Netflix documentaries all cozied up on the sofa with a glass of wine and lots of popcorn. So without further ado, here comes my selection of Netflix documentaries I’ve been enjoying lately. Disclaimer: I just realized that they are mostly pretty dramatic and dark (with exception of the beautiful Maya Angelou documentary). Still, they are made so well and you’ll learn so much that they are definitely worth a watch. Let me know what you thought!

#1 Under the Sun

Wow. What a story. What a country. The film follows a year in the life of a family in Pyongyang, as their daughter Zin-mi prepares to join the Korean Children’s Union. However, what you’ll find out soon enough is that the Ministry of Culture pretty much gave the filmmakers a final script. They selected all of the characters, film locations and scenes to be used in the film.  Realizing that the North Korean government intended to make a propaganda film, the director Mansky decided to keep the cameras rolling between shots. What you’ll see will just be so unbelievable you’ll think this isn’t real. And I don’t know if it was only me but there were definitely scenes where I thought I could see people’s sadness in their eyes. Definitely a great documentary, check it out!

#2 Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

What a legend. What an elegant and wise woman. No more words needed. If you want to learn about this huge American culture icon then definitely watch this film. And order some of her beautiful poetry books while you’re at it.

#3 Casting JoBenet

This documentary is just so incredibly well made, you’ll want to watch it until the end even though the story itself is very sad and upsetting. In 1996, Boulder, Colorado a six-year-old pageant queen, JonBenet Ramsey was found dead under mysterious circumstances. 20 years later, director Kitty Green returns to audition local actors, unpacking how each remembers and relates to the Ramsey case. You’ll hear the actor’s points of view on the case and it will really show you how differently everyone perceives a murder case.

#4 Welcome to Leith

It is painful to watch, yet so important as it still seems to be a reality that there is so much hate in this country towards everything and everyone that is different from you. Welcome to Leith tells us the story of an attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. It is stunning how accessible both the residents and white supremacists are and it is incredibly interesting to see how a small community tries to fight against an extremist vision.

#5 The Imposter

This documentary is centered around  a young French guy who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years. Yes I know. This sounds absolutely crazy. Even though the film feels slow at times it is just incredible to see how the different parties involved think and feel about this whole situation.

My September Favorites

Long time no Favorites post.

So without further ado, here come the things that made it on my September favorites list. What things have you been loving lately?

#GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO

Seriously guys, watch this Netflix documentary! I NEVER was a fan of hers, I found all those costumes and wigs to be too much to be honest. BUT. This documentary changed my opinion on her  (my friends can attest that I have been harassing them to watch it over the last couple of days). You’ll get a glimpse into her life, her views on women in the entertainment business and on living with chronic pain. I don’t know if I was already feeling emotional but I definitely had to cry. Let me know what you thought!

#2 Everything lululemon

Buying lululemon work out gear seriously was a gamechanger. The quality is beyond amazing and worth the investment. I’m most willing to spend money on leggings and sports bras because I feel like that’s were the good quality is most important. What do you like investing in when it comes to work out gear?

#3 Everything Meyer’s Clean Day

Can you tell that I’m old? I’m including cleaning products in my favorites. Seriously though, the products by Meyer’s Clean Day are amazing. And that’s something that I really think Americans got down better than us Europeans. There’s so much choice in the cleaning section here. Bonus: They’re not full of nasty chemicals but smell delicious AND get the job done. WIN-WIN!

#4 American Fall Traditions

I’m looking forward to go apple picking, to having hot apple cider and cider donuts, basically everything apple related. Or pumpkin related (more on that to come soon). I hope to be able to go apple picking soon with friends, in case you’re a local and interested in some suggestions on where to go, check out this helpful map.

#5 Breakfast LOVE

I’ve just recently realized that breakfast really is my favorite meal of the day. Especially now the days get to be a little colder again I am all into my porridge with freshly chopped up fruit. A new favorite of ours is to put a liiiiittttleee tiny bit of maple syrup on it. It gives the whole thing a great and delicate little flavor, love it! What’s your favorite meal of the day?

 

5 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

Friends,

I haven’t done a Favorites post in what feels like years. Still, I thought I’d share 5 random things that I loved over the last few weeks. Let’s get started, shall we?

#1 Icarus and Jinx

Both the Icarus documentary as well as the Jinx miniseries definitely are NOT the type of thing to make you happy per se but they are so well made that you’ll want to keep watching. The last Jinx episode is just like…..OMG ahhhh…crazy. Thumbs up for those two.

#2 Planning our Californian Honeymoon

People, the level of excitement I’m feeling for this three week long trip, it’s HIGH. VERY HIGH UP THERE. Who else LOVES planning trips (equally as good as going on the actual trip itself, right?, all of my organizing fanatic friends are on my side). Researching restaurants and bakeries, nice hiking routes, cool treehouse hotels just makes me sooo happy. Also, if any of you have tips you want to share about San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, the West Coast in general or Los Angeles, hit me up!

#3 Homebody Heaven

Maybe it’s knowing that I’ll practically be out on the road all of September and moving house soon that really makes me want to stay at home as often as I can. I’ve been loving giving myself pampering sessions, catching up on reading and watching Netflix (see #1). Ahhh I love that cozy, relaxed staying at home feeling. Do you, too?

#4 My Fitness Routine

Does it sound pretentious to call it my ‘fitness routine’? Still, with my agenda in hand, cozied up in bed on a Sunday evening, I’ll look at the week ahead and will plan when I want to workout. That way I’ll make sure to stick to a plan and not miss it. Also, I’ve done the Harvard Stairs again this weekend and was able to finish them at my Personal Best. 

#5 My Skincare Routine

If you’ve read my post about my current skincare staples (see post here) you’ll know that I’ve been loving The Ordinary and Weleda lately. They still prove to be very good and I enjoy my skincare routine a lot right now. Especially when using the Ordinary products I feel like a proper scientist.

What is making you happy right know? Let me know in the comments below!

13 Reasons Why It’s Complicated: A Review

Hello everybody, how are you?

So. This is a Netflix show that literally EVERYONE has been talking about here in the US. Media, people I know, everyone has seen this show or has an opinion about it. Which is a good thing, as the subject itself is very important to talk about, yet there are a few aspects of the show that I find rather complicated. So I thought I’d be original (haha) and share my humble opinion with you.

If you’re currently watching it, I’ll try and not spoil it for you (at least in the plot and twists, as we all know that the outcome of the story is pretty clear from the beginning on, unfortunately). If you’re interested in watching it, this might give you an input or two to think about the show while you’re watching it.

Here goes the trailer:

The Story

The series is based on the bestseller novel with the same title published by Jay Asher in 2007. It all begins a few weeks after the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a junior at a high school. Clay (Dylan Minnette), a classmate (who also had a crush on her), receives a box of cassettes.

They contain Hannah’s descriptions of 13 events that led to her decision to kill herself, each addressed to the schoolmate or adult who caused her distress and pain. Clay, as one of the two leading roles, becomes sort of a detective, who tries to find out what happened to Hannah and confronts other people in the process.

A few reasons why it’s complicated

In the novel, Clay listens to all of the tapes in one night, while he only listens to them one by one (very slowly) in the show (and the show stretches over 13 episodes of 13 hours!). If I were Clay I would totally listen to them ALL AT ONCE. I couldn’t wait for as long as he did. I think every other person would agree with me, right? So this part is rather unrealistic, which sometimes gets borderline annoying.

You want to go and say “Clay, hey, move on a little faster, will ya?”.

But ok. That’s the smallest of all complaints I have.

In terms of dramaturgy the series starts off with you being curious about what happens next. Over the course of the 13 episodes there is definitely a slump in about the middle, where the narrative just gets overly repetitive. However, the final I’d say four episodes increase massively in darkness and gravity. It’s when things get really sad (certain scenes I can’t forget) and you as a viewer feel that the end must be near.

The blame game

We’re meant to see that the things that happen to Hannah (SPOILER ALERT ranging from High School banalities like getting a poem of yours published, over to all different kinds of bullying to very very serious and sad events) lead to her loosing self-confidence and feeling lonely to the point she doesn’t see no way out. While I can follow the narrative, I find that her performance isn’t all that convincing as she seems really strong, at times even very mean and inconsiderate to others too.

One of the most commonly heard criticisms that I actually agree with, is that Hannah turns her suicide into a blame game. She designates all that’s happened to her and the people who caused it – granted all not nice things – as the reason why she kills herself and lets them know too. She even leaves people like Clay behind who were nice and kind to her that now think they were guilty of her death. What I’m trying to say is that of course everyone around you influences you and you should always be considerate of other people’s feelings (as you also never no what they have going on in their lives) and always try to be a good person, still in the end the decision to take your life is yours only and no one else’s.

Suicide as the only answer

The second major thing that I find complicated with the show is that the main character Hannah only at the very end of her life SPOILER ALERT (actually on her last day) seeks help from a school counselor. She makes no other attempts to try and reach out to someone, not her parents or any other professional. I guess it’s difficult to understand such a situation from an outsider’s perspective, still the show has been critiqued for not showing how you can get help in a difficult situation like this when you’re having suicidal thoughts. And I agree. Also, the counselor really is shown as being weak and not of any help at all.

Be nice to each other

Clay says one thing at the very end, which stuck with me. He says something like “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other”, which is maybe the thing I agree with the most.

Have you watched the show, did you like it? Apparently there will be a season 2 coming our way (those cliffhangers tho). Have a good day everyone!

My Current Netflix Favorites (When the Bad Weather Strikes)

Hello everyone

Well, the weather around here hasn’t been the best, let’s put it this way (it has actually been really depressing and shitty to say the truth), so Netflix as well as lots of tea and planning ahead for visits of friends and family was in order to lighten up the mood.

I thought I’d share my current Netflix favorites with you in case you’re in need of some entertainment as well. But as far as I have heard, you (Europeans you) have been treated to the most beautiful weather lately, so maybe this one goes out more to my fellow friends here in Boston.

#1 The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone

I got really sucked into this series on American history and had to watch all of the episodes within a few days, it’s really well done. Also, it’s really interesting to look into the American history and learn and discover more about its past presidents and important historical events (and about forgotten figures such as Henry Wallace, OMG, what a legend. Do you know him? If not, the movie will introduce him to you. Unfortunately though, he didn’t make the presidency and lost against Truman).

In short: If you’re into history this is definitely a good one for you. 

#2 Call the Midwife

I don’t know what it is but this series just makes me HAPPY. It’s an oldie but still going strong as they have started their 6th season last week in the UK. And it does go strong for a reason, it’s just an uplifting and thoughtful series that will leave you feeling nostalgic and content. Promise!

#3 Sour Grapes

This one is definitely on the lighter side, if you’re looking for an intriguing story about a man in the crazy wine world.

#4 In Extremis

This is not a movie for when you’re feeling depressed or sad yet it so important for everyone to watch (at least that’s how I feel about it).

#5 Janis: Little Girl Blue

Such A COOL woman. If you’re into music and want to learn more about this icon, then this is your documentary!

What are things that you are currently enjoying on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below! Also, are there any specific series or movies you are looking forward to? I am surely looking forward to the release of “Fruitvale Station” on Netflix, coming up in May 12th as well as the second season of “Master of None” in May as well.

Have a nice day!

24h Digital Detox: An Experiment

The title already gives it all away.

 It did a little experiment last Sunday.

BTW: If someone didn’t get any replies and hear back from me, it was due to this:

I took a break from the screens in my life.

While this might not be a challenge at all for some people (I know they exist), others (like me) have to tell themselves to really do this. It’s ok. At least I try, right? Also I thought of my New Year’s resolution to scroll less and how that would be a good training to start with.

Here comes the breakdown of this experiment (it’s pretty strait forward):

The rules:

No touching of any electronical devices such as iphones, laptops, TVs, ipods (anyone still use those?), etc. from 0:01 am until 12:00 pm of the next day. You get the picture. 

Tips: 

I would suggest you choosing a weekend day, such as Saturday or Sunday where you can ease into this no-screen-life. 

Tell people and friends around you that you might do it, so they don’t worry if they don’t hear from you.

Here’s how my day went:

10.00 am We’ve had a good and long lie-in. Clever move, right? You sleep as long as you want and you easily stick to the no-screen-policy. HA. 

10.30 am Had a yummy breakfast with a delicious Challah bread from the Farmers Market.

11.00 am Baked banana bread because why not, I’ve got time (thanks Ella for the recipe, you’ll find it here).

11.30 am Got a little pampering sess in and got ready for the day.

12.30 pm Went out of the house to get to Copley Square and protest against the Muslim ban, which was saddening and emotional (in a good way) at the same time.

15.30 pm Came back home to get some tea and banana bread.

16.00 pm – 19.30 pm Read books (yay for my other New Year’s resolution).

19.30 pm Cooked dinner, had dinner.

20.30 pm Enjoyed a glass of wine and read again.

23.30 pm Bedtime.

Here’s when I ‘missed’ my screens:

I observed myself (if that makes sense) and when my brain would go like ‘oh-i-want-to-scroll-aimlessly-through-platform (insert name)‘, that would be fun. It happened three times over the course of the day.

10.01 am After waking up is usually when I’ll grab my phone and will want to check for any messages and updates. With the time difference my friends will already have lived through half of the day when I get up so there are lots things to catch up on. This was the first moment I wanted to get my phone. But. I. Resisted.

1.30 pm I saw SO SO many people taking photos, selfies, instagramming, facebooking and tweeting all over at the protest and I thought of how their hands were constantly glued to their phones. (I also took photos with my camera, which as Philipp pointed out also has a screen, so I technically cheated…). On the T going home the same scenario: Everyone was staring into their phones. We are spending so much time of our day looking into a screen.

16.01 pm Not gonna lie, after that tea and cake I would have loved watching some YouTube or Netflix. But I finished a book and started a new one instead. Which leads me to the last point of this post:

Here’s why YOU should give it a try:

Throughout the day I felt calm and freed of any need to have to check on updates and messages. They could wait. I could still check them another time.

What I also found was that especially while reading I was able to focus much more instead of being distracted by the binging of the phone every so often.

After the day was over I realized that I had been more mindful than on other days (even though I wasn’t doing anything spectacular): I was paying more attention to the things I was doing.

What I’m trying to say is that it is nice to get rid of laptop, phones and so on every once in a while, you’ll like it. I’m sure. In order to keep up the New Year’s resolution #4 for more than one day, I decided last Sunday that I would declare three nights a week as screen-free from 7 pm on.

Do you want to join me? I know that one friend did it (how did it go Christine?). I’ll let you know how it goes!

Wishing you a great day! Byeeee!

8 Netflix documentaries to watch right now

It has been raining all day here in Boston, it’s grey and dark outside.

So I don’t feel too guilty about only having left the apartment once today.

No judging, ok?

Also, no better way than spending some time cuddled up in a cozy blanket on the sofa and watching some Netflix (btw sorry if this is boring for all of you who don’t have Netflix, you might find the films in other places too if you want to). Lately I have been getting back into the documentary vibe. A LOT. You’ll find below some of my favorites, which I highly recommend. I’ll also note, how they made me feel when watching them.

You know, how sometimes you’re totally up for crying your eyes out, because you’re feeling emotional. Sometimes you’re looking just for light and funny entertainment and sometimes you want to learn and educate yourself. So there you go.

Twinsters (2015)

Imagine, friends of yours telling you one day that they’ve found someone online in a random YouTube video who looks identical to you. Yep, this sounds insane, yet it’s the true-life story of those two girls.

How it will make you feel (of course only my opinion, it might make you feel totally different. You’re a MONSTER then. Just kidding): You will definitely cry, I did. Especially at the end when the French girl says something really touching (let’s see if you cry at the same spot). It’s a modern story about love and what family means. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. 

13th (2016)

An extremely cleverly put together film. The title references the 13th amendment of the American Constitution. The documentary reveals that slavery never really was abolished, which seems to be a bold, surreal and most of all a TERRIFYING statement to put out there. However, I recommend this one to all the people who are interested in American history.

How it will make you feel: This is a difficult one. Especially as a European person it left me astonished at this part of America’s history and its current situation. It will (if you’re a human being and have emotions) leave you feeling so so sad (unfortunately not sad in a good way, if that makes sense) and so so angry. I’m not selling this one right. It’s a brilliant film. Go watch it and form your own opinion about it.

Minimalism (2016)

This one is all about the concept of minimalism and what it means to the people portrayed in the film. Especially in a consumption-driven culture as the American one this is a very refreshing and eye-opening approach to possessions and in general a new way of living.

How it will make you feel: It will definitely make you question your hoarding problems and your shoe collection, which SPOILER ALERT according to some of the protagonists is ok to have. So don’t worry. Still, a film that will make you think. Nice!

Chef’s Table (2016)

For all my foodie friends out there, this is an old one. No news. By now, I will have told everyone how AMAZING Chef’s Table is. It really is. It is art. Watch it.

How it will make you feel: Hungry but mostly happy and with a lot of admiration towards those cooks (artists really). Also, you’ll feel really bad about your own very basic (VERY basic) cooking skills. Still, admiration predominates.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Again, another food-related documentary that is so worth watching. Even if you don’t like sushi like me.

How it will make you feel: See above.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Shortly after his best friend, Dr. Andrew Bagby was killed by his (CRAZY) ex-girlfriend filmmaker Kurt Kuenne learns that this said woman is pregnant with his best friend’s child. With this film Kuenne hopes to create a memorial for his dead friend’s child.

How it will make you feel: This will destroy you. No words.

The Witness (2016)

The murderer of Kitty Genovese in 1964 is a worldwide well-known story. The young woman was repeatedly attacked on her way home at night, allegedly witnessed by 38 neighbors that watched her being murdered from their apartment windows–and did nothing to help. This is the story of her younger brother Bill Genovese that wants to find out more about his sister’s tragic death.

How it will make you feel: Emotional.

What happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

For all the music lovers out there, this one is for you: It’s a documentary about the life of Nina Simone who was an American singer and civil rights activist.

How it will make you feel: Full of admiration for this unbelievable talent, this voice and this complex character.

Also, isn’t this song just amazing?

The Netflix Edit

Guys! You HAVE to give “The Crown” a watch. I’m sure you’ll love it! I am obsessed with it and sad it’s already over. Apparently there will be new seasons coming up so that’s good news.

Let me know about any Netlix recommendations you might have! I will tell you if Netflix in the US is much different than in Switzerland. Talk to you soon! #byeee