The past two months have been busy to say the least, but I didn't want to leave out a month of favourites, so this post will be a two-for-one!
FILMS AND SHOWS
Steven Universe: The Movie
Steven Universe is one of the most touching and socially progressive contemporary children's cartoons I have ever seen. After 5 seasons, the series came to an end. At the time I was sad it was over, but glad it got a proper ending and wasn't cancelled mid story. Soon after I heard that a movie was in the works, an hour and a half self-contained story that debuted September 2nd. The animation was gorgeous, and there were a number of new songs (musical numbers being a hallmark of the series). It was fun to revisit Beach City 2 years after the events of the series, but I'll admit it wasn't as satisfying an ending as the final episode had been. I think I most enjoyed seeing Sadie Killer and the Suspects again. I've since heard that a new mini series called Steven Universe: Future is yet to come, and I am looking forward to one more visit with the Crystal Gems.
My mom and I went on a girl's night outing to see the Downtown Abbey film together. As a fan of the series, the film was a welcome opportunity to spend a few more hours with the Crawley family and the house staff. It felt very much like a longer episode of the series, resolving a few loose ends, and granting a few happy futures.
The Farewell I had the opportunity to see this film with a friend at a local indie theatre. The film is about a Chinese-American woman returning to China with her family to see a relative who has become ill under the guise of a family wedding. The film explores themes of identity, the Chinese vs Chinese-American experience, and the role of family when someone becomes ill. The film was equally funny and moving, and the lead character played by rapper/actor Awkwafina felt relatable. I would highly recommend this touching story, but be prepared for subtitles!
Handmaid's Tale Season 3 If you've ever watched Handmaid's Tale, you'll know its an intense show, and season 3 just amped up the tension. I binged the season over 3 days and was on the edge of my seat the entire time! It will be a long wait for season 4.
Bojack Horseman Season 6 (first half)
By now you've probably heard that Bojack is in it's final season (and how Netflix decided to end the series at the 7th season rather than allowing it come to a natural end). This show is a clever and deep look at the inner lives of a cast of unique characters, each with their own struggles, doubts and fears, buoyed by humour, and wicked sharp wit. The characters' evolution since the first season are unlike anything I've seen on television, presenting serious issues with sensitivity and firmly grounded in reality (despite the fact that half of them are anthropomorphic animals).
I'm disappointed it's coming to an end, but I have faith that the show's crew will write a smart and satisfying resolution for Bojack and friends.
The first half of season 6 launched on October 25, with the final half coming January 31st.
Bojack Horseman: The Art Before the Horse
My bookshelves are filled with art-of-books from all kinds of animated and fantasy movies. I love to flip through the pages staring at concept sketches and background paintings, but rarely do I sit down to read them in great detail. In fact, this book may be the first art-of book that I've read cover-to-cover. Every page is packed with anecdotes, insights into the creative process, and tons and tons of art! Reading this book just before the release of the final season, it was exciting to see some of Lisa Hanawalt's early artwork (including zines!), and read about her long standing friendship with show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. If you're a fan of Bojack Horseman, I highly recommend this book, and if you've never seen the show, I beg you to give it a go!
My New York Diary - Julie Doucet (graphic novel) This diary style comic details Julie's experience moving to New York City and trying to establish herself as a comics artist while dealing with a number of men and the expectations they put on her. Julie's depictions of herself are seldom flattering, often humorous, and highly expressive. At 104 pages, it's a quick read (I completed it on the train to Toronto), and a great introduction to one of the most influential contemporary comics artists.
FOOD & OTHER DELIGHTS
One of my Halloween season guilty pleasures, I can eat this stuff by the handful!
Sesame Ginger Seitan Wings
Last spring my boyfriend and I decided to try to reduce our dependence on factory farmed meat, and have been eating a mainly pescatarian diet ever since. One of the best parts of this journey has been exploring new foods and scoping out vegetarian friendly menu options everywhere we go. As an anniversary treat, we decided to try a local vegan restaurant. Everything we ate was delicious, but the sesame finger seitan wings that we ordered as a starter were the clear winners. I've been eager to try seitan since we started eating meat-free, but I was blown away by how enjoyable these were! The texture was great and the sauces were mouth-wateringly flavourful. Had we not ordered out mains yet, I would have happily ordered another round of wings as my entree!
To Do App As a relentless list maker, I've tried every task management app I could find, but each one fell short in one way or another. Up until recently I was organizing my to do lists, projects and assorted thoughts in a basic notes app on my phone, with shared lists for home tasks in Wunderlist or OneNote. I recently tried To Do, a list keeping app from Microsoft, and it has come the closest to meeting my needs of anything I've tried. If you're a current user of Wunderlist, the app will import your existing lists for you to make for an easy transition.
You can build lists dedicated to specific projects/categories, organize by date, view an isolated list of tasks marked for your day, share lists, and assign tasks. It has an intuitive interface, and keeps me on track with my day to day activities. It's clear that the team behind this app has put a lot of thought and research into the user experience.
The Quiet of my Backyard
Writing this on a chilly November evening, the afternoons of sitting in the shade of my back deck with a good book in hand seem far away. Stepping through the back door and closing the thoughts of work and the relentless to do list in the house provided me with the opportunity to quiet my mind, enjoy the sound of wind in the leaves and release the stress of the day. Even a 15 minute break did wonders for my mental health. I look forward to next summer when I can enjoy more peaceful moments outside. Have you enjoyed any of the things on my list? Do you have recommendations for things you think I might enjoy? Leave a comment, or let me know on Twitter or Instagram!