Sober Friday Night

My Top Shows to Binge Watch in the Winter

A few years ago, after much hemming and hawing about the subject, Trent and I finally cut our ties with the cable company. We have gone with and without cable TV on and off for years, but we got to the point where we just couldn’t justify the cost. With this came tons of benefits…we read more. We spend more time away from the television. We don’t have the TV “on” for no reason or in the background. Our television watching time is definitely a bit more intentional.

Netflix and Chill : Movie Recommendations

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint and I still watch TV! In fact, I probably still watch more than I should. With the combination of Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu, I surely get my fix. But these days I’m finding shows I love and binge watching them, instead of spending time watching shows I feel pretty “meh” about (I’m looking at you, Bones and all CBS crime dramas!).

Over the holiday break, I gave myself permission to be a lazy as possible, and with the addition of some sick kids, we ended up spending a great deal of time stuck indoors…perfect chance to get started on some quality binge watching! Here are my Top 4 Favorite Shows to Binge Watch if you’re stuck inside this cold winter.

1. The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) – I had heard rave reviews about this drama from Amazon, but although the pilot was released early in 2015, the rest of the episodes weren’t made available until right before Thanksgiving. Based off the book of the same name written in 1963, the show follows an alternate universe, in which the Allies didn’t win World War II and the United States ends up being taken over by the Nazis and Japan. It follows the journeys of members of the Resistance, who are collecting videos to deliver to the mysterious “Man in the High Castle.” When they watch the videos, they see OUR history (ie. the Allies winning the war) and the show takes off from there. What is real? Are their multiple timelines? Who is the Man in the High Castle? It’s a mystery, sci-fi and historical drama all wrapped up into one. Bonus: The costuming and sets are INCREDIBLE.

2. Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix) – I started watching this one right before Thanksgiving, but it’s pretty heavy, so I’m still working on finishing. The Marvel brand has made other great shows via Netflix before (like Daredevil), but I love the character of Jessica Jones and her world. The acting and story are really superb, and I really enjoy the idea of making a “superhero” just a regular person, instead of all dressed up in a mask and tights. Bonus: David Tennant is really disturbing and amazing in his role as the villain, Killgrave. Bonus #2: Luke Cage. Enough said.

3. iZombie (Netflix/Hulu/The CW) – Okay, I’m not gonna lie. The name of this show is super dumb. Like…so, so ridiculous. But once you can get past that, it’s a really fun, quirky program with a lot of dark humor. The pretense is that a successful doctor gets turned into a zombie, but no one in her life knows. She realizes she can remain mostly human by eating brains, so she get’s a job at the medical examiner’s office, where she can eat the brains of crime victims. A side effect is that she gets all the memories and characteristics of the person who’s brain she consumed. So she uses that to help solve their murders. Yep, it’s a zombie crime drama/comedy and it’s way more amazing than what I just described. It’s made by the same team that made Veronica Mars, and you can tell. The look and feel are quite similar. I know this is a hard sell, but trust me, give it a chance. Bonus: Season 1 just came out on Netflix, yay!

4. Making a Murderer (Netflix) – It’s hard to avoid all the online buzz about this documentary series that follows the case of Stephen Avery, a man who served 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, only to be released and charged with murder two years later. I am only on episode three, but from what I can tell…this is going to be a wild ride. Bonus: Critics are calling this show a television version of the podcast “Serial”…

What are you binge watching lately? Anything I should add to my list?

Halloween 2015

Halloween 2015 : The Nerd Awakens

Halloween 2015

Yes, I know, it’s a little late for Halloween photos, but as it’s my busy season, I should be thankful I got these photos edited and uploaded at all! The weeks leading up to Halloween this year were completely insane, in every good way. I was fully booked for photo sessions, had four large writing deadlines for freelance projects AND did two segments on television all about making a DIY Halloween. Ironically, my family had no interest in wearing any of the 15 costumes I conjured up for these news segments, and instead were insistent we go as “Star Wars.” Okay, then. Luckily, my awesome neighbors threw a Halloween party and put me in charge of the photobooth area, so the costumes did get some use.

Last year my husband made us all promise we’d do a group costume this year, but when it came time to decide, there were a lot of disagreements in our house. First we were planning to be ghosts. Then vampires. Then Star Wars. Then Lucy refused to be Star Wars because she wanted to be some character from a Disney show. Then Trent ordered Star Wars costumes for himself and Tate. Then Lucy convinced Tate to go as vampires. Then we nixed that idea because we already had the Star Wars costumes. What followed was a lengthy negotiation, wherein Lucy promised to be Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but only if she could be a vampire for trick or treating. So this group costume lasted about 15 minutes, but still…small victories, you know?

Tate went as the newest Star Wars baddie, Kylo Ren, and Trent went as a Storm Trooper (I said he was Han Solo in a Storm Trooper costume from A New Hope, because we all know how I feel about Han Solo). I went as Princess Leia from the Hoth Rebel Base in Empire Strikes Back because I am totally over the cinnamon bun hairdo from the most popular Princess Leia costume and I refused to wear a gold bikini.

Halloween 2015

Thus ends the nerdiest post-Halloween belated post ever in the history of blogging. How will we top this next year?!

Growing Up Mobile: 4 Ways to Manage Screentime with Small Kids

BFF FaceTime on your birthday is the perfect cure for a little homesickness ❤️ #facetime #ipod #birthday #happy #fun

For the past few months I’ve been lucky to work with Pixelkin.org, a website dedicated to helping techy parents (or parents who want to be more techy) navigate the world of technology and kids. My recent post is up now, and it’s all about managing screen time with small kids.

Managing screentime in the summer can be so difficult, especially when you’re a work-at-home parent like I am. I struggle with needing peace and quiet so I can finish a project or an email, and it’s so easy to turn on a device to get the kids out of my hair. But the more time they seem to spend on the iPod and iPad, the more moody and cranky they tend to be!

Learn how we are dealing with the screentime issues by clicking here and reading the rest of my post on Pixelkin!

8 Great iPhone and iPad Apps for Kids

I have some fun news, friends! I am officially working with the awesome website, Pixelkin.org! Pixelkin is a site created by gamers who are now parents, which focuses on video games and other screen time activities and how they affect our kids.

Pixelkin covers the latest news, reviews, and developments in games—with a special focus on families. Whether you’re concerned about learning opportunities, exposure to violence, or screen time—or you’re just trying to keep up with your kids—we’re here to help.

You can learn more about Pixelkin here, and I’m so pumped to be working with them! My first post went up today, and it focuses on a few awesome iPhone and iPad apps for kids.

IMG_0152

How did people parent before smartphones or mobile tablets? I received my first iPhone when my daughter was about 3 years old, and having that magical little box with us on long trips or in the doctor’s waiting room has been such a lifesaver. I use the iPhone or our recently purchased iPad Mini for everything, from getting directions to meal planning. I even use it as a white-noise machine (a great white-noise machine app, here) when we’re staying in a hotel. These devices make it easy to travel light, which is quite a feat with kids in tow!

You can read the entire post here!

A Summertime TV Fix

Oh summertime TV, it’s really horrible, isn’t it? Pretty soon all of my favorite TV friends will be back with new episodes, but until then, I’ve been sustaining on my Netflix account and brand new iPad Mini. I’m a little obsessed with both of them, and they’ve made lazy summer nights even more fun. But once I’d been through every movie and documentary I ever cared to see, I started looking for a few television series’ to keep me entertained until September premiere season is upon us. And that’s when I found it:

sherlock

Sherlock is a BBC show created by the current head writer at Doctor Who, and I LOVED it (duh). There are two seasons on Netflix and the third season is set to premiere on BBC America this fall. There are only three episodes per season, and each one is about 80 minutes long, so it feels more like a movie than a television show. And this particular series falls in to the very, VERY tiny group of shows that both Trent and I actually like.

The main premise of Sherlock is that it’s an updated version of the great characters originally created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It takes place in current times, and each episode serves as a bit of a mini-mystery, while playing into an arc that covers the entire series (and is really good, in my opinion). I know there is an American show based on these characters as well, and I’ve seen an episode or two. Sherlock is DEFINITELY better television, but it might be a bit much for the CSI-loving masses in America. I think if you’ve liked any of the other series that have come out on BBC America in the past few years, odds are you’ll like Sherlock as well.

Plus, I just love Martin Freeman so very much.

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