One of my favorite places to visit in England is Bath. It's so full of history and charm, and as a Jane Austen junkie, I like to think I'm walking amongst her spirit there. It's a perfect day trip from London or other nearby cities like Oxford or Bristol, but it's also a great little weekend getaway. Bath is a small city, so there are a few tourist staples one must do in Bath (other than walk around and enjoy the quaint town): 1) visit the Roman baths (duh), 2) visit the Jane Austen Centre, and 3) have tea or a meal at Sally Lunn's for the famous Bath bun.
Over the last year or so, I started noticing people were dropping the hyphen from Asian American and other similar terms. To my own ignorance, this wasn't something new. Dropping the hyphen started more "formally" in 1993, though it seems not universally. I guess before recent years, I had only ever seen and was taught to use the hyphen. So, me being the person who will use a semicolon in a text message, first thought people were just being sloppy. However, as I noticed it more and more, I decided to look up why this might be, and eventually came to the conclusion that I'm also done using the hyphen and I feel so much freer.
When I first saw the trailer for Bridgerton on Netflix, I was not particularly intrigued. I watched it again after watching the series and determined it was a poor trailer, because I never got through the first few seconds of it. If it weren't for two of my good friends telling me to watch it this week, I probably would've continued waiting to watch this when I felt I had absolutely no other series or film peaking my interest. Well, against my better mama judgment, I binged the entire series through the middle of the night as baby and daddy slept, at the expense of losing my patience through a couple diaper changes today (Sidenote: someone please tell me that at some point baby will stop trying to escape in the middle of his diaper changes). Though the plot is highly predictable even with me having never read any of the books, I thoroughly enjoyed the series. It kind of feels like a bunch of Jane Austen books meshed into one, with the addition of a lot of steamy sex scenes. It's a fun watch, and if you enjoy these types of stories and settings, I felt like it has a certain witty charm about it, that I did not expect based on the first few seconds of the trailer.
Have you watched it? What are your thoughts?
I didn't see a trailer before I watched this movie, but heard a lot of buzz about it, and figured I love jazz so was excited to check it out. What I quickly learned as I watched it is that this movie is not about jazz, though jazz is one of the vehicles of the story. It's a thought-provoking animation about life that has a timely message as we leave behind an unprecedented year and enter a new one that remains challenging but has hope. This is a great movie to watch with the family, and the animation is cute, fun, and imaginative. Soul is indeed good for your soul.
Christmas is my absolute favorite season and holiday. A few years ago, in need of booking a replacement trip for a previously cancelled trip before the end of the year, I decided to take a solo trip to Europe. I did a very American trip, in which I squeezed in a number of countries into 2 weeks of travel, because I wanted to visit friends in different countries, but didn't have much vacation time. I planned the trip over Thanksgiving weekend to give me a couple extra days of non-PTO holiday as well, which lined up perfectly for the opening of the Christmas markets. Somehow, I started in London and ended in Vienna, and along the way stopped in Nuremberg, which turned out to be one of my favorite stops, because the Christmas Market was everything I dreamed it would be. So, I thought I'd reminisce a little on the magic of the Christmas Market, especially as Christmas is already different for all of us around the world due to the pandemic.
Cardi B recently got some backlash for depicting Hindu goddess, Durga, in a Reebok ad. Durga is the Hindu goddess of war, strength, and protection, so the ad intended to pay homage to her, but the Hindu community quickly shed light on why this was in fact disrespectful and not an homage to the goddess. In her apology, Cardi B acknowledges that she should've done more research and promises to do so in the future--she didn't mean to disrespect, but now she knows better. I think that's all we can ask of anyone when they make a very human mistake. I'm sure many of us can relate to this experience, though we don't all do so as publicly as Cardi B did. Just this summer I got scolded by my dad when we tried to use an umbrella as shade for baby and I at my grandma's funeral, because apparently that's not okay in Chinese culture. As someone who loves learning about and experiencing other cultures, I understand that sometimes there's a fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation or just simply understanding your cultural surroundings. Something I've been thinking a lot about lately though, is how we respond to others in such situations.
It's no secret that I love romcoms, and I'm excited to see more and more in the form of series, because sometimes you need a 90 min. escape, while other times you want to live in the love a litlte...or at least binge it. The latest one I've watched is Mismatched. Mismatched is a light YA romcom based on "When Dimple Met Rishi," a novel by Sandhya Menon, and centers around a teenage boy, Rishi, who believes in old-fashioned love, and a career-driven teenage girl, Dimple, who defies old-fashioned Indian gender roles. It's not totally groundbreaking from a story perspective, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, because what's not to love about a bunch of nerds falling in love during a summer app-building course, and discovering their true desires while overcoming each of their own internal and external challenges? If you like shows like Atypical, The Half of It, or Never Have I Ever, I'd say you'd enjoy this one. The only difference is that this one is set in India and it's in a mixture of Hindi and English, though mostly Hindi. It kind of reminds me of my family or when I visit Taiwan. We speak a mix of languages in our home, and sometimes I'll hear my mom on the phone with her sister or friend and she'll be speaking Chinese, but suddenly throw out a random word or sentence in English. You'll also notice that the series seems to try to cover as many social issues as possible, including, sexism, classism, ageism, disability, broken homes, family issues, and same sex love. It's almost like someone was standing in the writer's room saying, "Tick all the boxes!" Something that I personally really appreciate is that for those of us who aren't Indian or don't live in India, this series shows us that teenagers, no matter where you are in the world, are teenagers and love is a universal language. Some of you may be thinking, "duh, Justine. Don't be naive." But something I always emphasize is that we are more similar than we are different. So, I hope people who might not normally watch an Indian or international series will watch it, read the subtitles, and enjoy it like they would any other silly ol' teen comedy.
Have you watched it? What's your take?
I watched this last week and I didn't know how much I needed to watch it. To add love, joy, and inspiration to your life, watch this short docuseries, which follows eleven individuals with autism on their quest for "the one." It's sweet, it's honest, and it's one of the best things you'll see about love. Watch it. Your soul needs these stories.
At first, I went into watching Emily in Paris with a bit of a French attitude. My French husband had read in the French media that it's just all the stereotypes and all the French people are always smoking. The smoking part really bothers my husband since he's not a smoker. I guess it would be like if French people made a series and all the Americans were always eating hamburgers. Anyhow, I love Lily Collins and it looked like the kind of bright and fun Darren Starr series that I love watching, but I'm so over all the unrealistic romanticizations of France and especially Paris. I even wrote a sitcom about how unromantic and obnoxious it is being married to a Frenchman. Still, I decided to watch the series, because it's also in the space and genre I love writing in...so, let's call it homework. What I found is that it's the usual fashionable and super posh side of Paris that most of us can only dream of, and the show hits all the stereotypes. That being said, I found watching the show was unexpectedly therapeutic for me, because it confirmed for me that you can take the boy out of France, but you can't take the France out of the boy (even if the boy says he's not the most intolerable French person). Thanks to my husband, I now have a love/hate relationship with France and everything French, but in the end I enjoyed the series. What can I say, I'm just a bright-eyed, colorful, optimistic, loud American girl who loves a good romance and happy endings. So, let me break down some of the comically true stereotypes and cultural differences.
The Moon Festival, also known a the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated by Chinese and other Asian cultures. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar, which falls on October 1st this year, but can fall anywhere between mid-September and early October. On this night there is a full moon. Each year, for the Moon Festival, my family buys moon cakes to eat, but that's the extent of my knowledge and experience with the celebration so I thought I'd do some digging to learn what this day is really all about.