Top Ten TV Shows of 2019

Top Ten TV Shows of 2019

Hi everybody! It’s that time of year again, where I post all my favorite movies & TV shows on my Instagram (@sammydumb). If you’re thinking “Wow, that Sammy sure does watch a lot of movies and tv!”…you certainly right about that. Let me start by saying that this year’s TV Shows were VERY GOOD (imho) and I had a very hard time narrowing down this list – I’m still second guessing some of the shows that got left off. But at the end of the day, it’s just a dang list and who really cares? So in that spirit, let’s get to it! (Also, there are extra photos of these various TV shows that you can swipe to see on Instagram.)

 

Starting with number 10, we have the batshit-crazy and incredibly fun show: The Boys.
 
I laughed, I screamed (actually screamed), I gagged and what more could you really ask for from a show? Go look at the SPOILERS at my favorite section of IMDb, the “Parent’s Guide.” If they don’t convince you to watch it, I don’t know what will.
 
 
 

Coming in at number 9, we have the genius Pen15.

If you are a millennial woman and you haven’t watched this show – what are you even doing?
Remember AIM? Remember fighting with your friends over who got to be what Spice Girl? Remember really panicking over a plan to hold hands with a boy while you watch a movie? It’s all there!
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle perfectly capture the true nightmare that was middle school, and the blessing of having a best friend at your side to help you survive it. Whether you’re a millennial woman or not, this show is wonderful. It is hilarious and sweet and nostalgic and heartfelt, and boy did I love every minute of it.

At number 8 we have Euphoria!

Man this show was so intense but so beautifully made. The acting! The cinematography! The music!! The EYE MAKEUP!!! Yes, some of it’s not hyper-realistic, but I feel like it’s not QUITE as unrealistic as maybe you wish it was. A tough-to-watch portrayal of addiction, mental illness, bullying, and all the self loathing and shame that comes with growing up. Not a feel good show! But good GOD, the eye makeup – seriously breathtaking work by @donni.davy

Number 7 is The Crown.

I cried in every single episode. Usually just an elegant single tear, but still. Olivia Colman is my own personal queen and I will watch and love everything she ever does…ever.
I am also determined to be able to speak in this accent. I would basically repeat everything they said out loud so thank God I watched it alone.
That’s my review of this show. All the things I did while watching it. Pretty cool. If anyone out there can give me accent lessons please let me know.

And at number 6, What We Do In The Shadows.

I may be in the minority here, but I think the show is … better than the movie. Natasia Demetriou is so damn perfect and hilarious and thank God we get another show with Matt Berry. Excellent cast. Excellent writing. Excellent accents (this one I can do). And episode 7: “The Trial”, is one of the best episodes of television overall this year. Watch it! On Hulu.

Getting into the TOP 5 now, and coming in at number 5 is I Think You Should Leave.

This show has broken my own personal record for most re-watches ever; partially because the entire season clocks in at a crisp 96 minutes, but mostly because it’s the funniest fucking show ever made. Tim Robinson’s humor is so delightfully weird.
There are so many amazing sketches in this, but swipe to see my personal top 5 favorites

At number 4 we have a show that is VERY different from I Think You Should Leave – Chernobyl.

The creators of The Hangover really took a turn this year and brought us Joker (Todd Phillips) and THIS (Craig Mazin). Did you know Craig Mazin also wrote Scary Movie 3 & 4? Wild!
Initially I didn’t like this show because it is so unpleasant to watch (radiation melting people from the inside? People shooting puppies? No thank you!) but it’s so flawlessly executed that I eventually had to admit that it’s one of the best shows ever made. The whole crew is phenomenal – the directing by Johan Renck, cinematography by Jakob Ihre, the SCORE by Hildur Gudnadottir, and the whole cast is amazing but you know I love my main man Jared Harris the most.  Definitely not a fun watch, but an important reminder of the necessity of transparency and accountability in our governments and corporations; and of man’s ability to completely fuck up our whole planet in an instant. Terrifying.

At number 3 we have the excellent German-time-travel-thriller DARK.

It’s hard to talk about this show without spoiling anything, so I’ll just say that the writing, performances, cinematography, and music are all so so good, but the true feat in Dark is it’s CASTING. *I guess what I’m about to say is a slight spoiler so if you haven’t watched stop reading now*
The show takes place in multiple timelines, so almost every character is played by multiple actors and…just wow. I watched all of season 2 without realizing that old Ulrich wasn’t just Oliver Masucci in makeup – proof that Simone Bär should win every casting award ever.

Pretty tough to put my number one boy at number two but here we are! Number 2 is Succession!

My first repeat from last years top ten and it has gone up 3 places! I don’t know how they did it but season two is somehow even better than season one. It’s so funny and so sad and everyone is so god damn good in it. And damn if that theme song isn’t playing in my head while I’m writing this.
Also, Kendall Roy has really filled a Phillip Jennings shaped void in my life.

DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Number 1 is Fleabag and I don’t just think it’s the best season of tv this year, I think it’s the best season of TV…EVER. It is truly flawless just like PWB herself. Will be rewatching this show until the end of time.
Wow, we did it. Lots of great tv this year and want to acknowledge some great shows that were on the list at some point… Watchmen, Bojack Horseman, Years and Years, Veep, Catastrophe, Barry, The Righteous Gemstones. Taking a little break before top ten movies cuz it’s gonna take me a long time to watch The Irishman. ttfn

Meet Samantha Smart

An avid fan of movies and TV (hence the Top Ten article)
Follow @sammydumb on Instagram where you'll find posts on Movies. TV, Sammy's Sustainable Sundays, and...cats.
Samantha is a video editor of documentaries, features and trailers - more info is on her website www.sammysmart.com
And she is the Co-host @tsdwpodcast - a podcast about horror movies for those too scared to watch for themselves.
Oh so Grand!

Oh so Grand!

Recently, Zuke Oshiro (SoCal’s travel editor) and myself were invited to get a bird’s eye view of the beginnings of something rather grand. Looking out from the 44th floor of the Wells Fargo Tower, we could see not only helio-pads on multiple rooftops, and amazing views of the San Gabriel mountains, but also the auspicious foundations of the future GRAND.

The GRAND, located at the epicenter of Grand Ave’s Arts corridor in DTLA, is designed by 90-year-old, Frank Gehry—the man who revolutionized architecture’s aesthetics. This newest Frank Gehry project is being constructed right across the street from his famous Walt Disney Hall, and this is the first time that Gehry has designed a second building alongside one of his own. Not only that, but a third design is in the works for the Colburn School of Music expansion. That means Los Angeles will boast three Frank Gehry designed buildings in a row. The rest of the dream team signed on to bring this vision to life is: the Rockwell Group, Tara Bernard and Tony Ingrao.

The GRAND will be a dynamic destination for shopping, dining and entertainment, with chef–driven restaurants, and name brand stores— as well as being a paradigm-shifting place to live.

For long-term residents there’s “The Grand Residential Tower”—39 stories boasting 436 residences of which 323 are luxury apartments and 113 are ultra-reserve collection. If all this sounds very luxurious it’s because it is. There’s a swimming pool over-looking the Walt Disney Hall, stunning BBQ areas, 24-hour concierge, 24-hour valet parking, plus a dog sitting facility where you furry friends will be well looked after if you need to go out of town.

For short-term guests, there’s the 20-story, 309 room, Equinox Hotel. This is the third hotel for the luxury fitness company that touts “high performance living” and offers exceptional health and wellness for their guests. Like their flagship hotel in NY, the Grand Equinox will focus on three core concepts: movement, nutrition and regeneration. In line with these principles, there’s a state of the art gym, a pool deck on the 7th floor, restaurants with top chefs (who take your dietary needs to heart), and regeneration? Well, that’s all about getting the perfect night’s sleep. Due to extensive sleep research, Equinox Hotel rooms come equipped with a button you press to hit “sleep mode”. This means your room darkens to zero light, the acoustics bring you noise-free nights, and since apparently the best temperature to sleep in is 66 degrees, your room will stay at that temp for the night (if you so choose).

The Grand Ave Arts Corridor is already home to: MOCA, the Walt Disney Hall, the Broad, The Colburn School of Music and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. In fact, there are more performing arts venues in a 2 block radius than anywhere else in the US.

At the hub of the Grand Ave Arts Corridor, located within walking distance to eight different entertainment and cultural venues, the GRAND aims to fully support the world-class Los Angeles’s performing arts and cultural scene by offering free, curated performance events, multiple public programs and plan on hosting permanent and temporary art installations, too.

The pedestrian walkway and public plaza (which Gehry calls the Urban Room) will have green spaces (using rainwater collection for irrigation purposes), and outdoor benches set amongst olive trees and tranquility. Having incorporated sustainable and innovative features, The GRAND exceeds energy efficiency requirements and further offers guests EV charging stations, on demand EV car sharing, and 150 bicycle parking spaces. The GRAND is also accessible from the Civic Center/Grand Park Metro Rail station, plus there’s a new Grand Ave Arts Station being built—set to open in 2021. There’s even talk of a free Streetcar that will service the DTLA area.

Lastly, an oval outdoor bar at the epicenter of the towers–suspended between floors with an exotic sculpture overhead, promises to be a huge attraction. My favorite thing is that on special occasions, the GRAND will project images and videos of the LA Phil onto the actual Walt Disney Hall itself. Imagine sitting in that oval bar on NYE watching fireworks in the sky while symphonies sweep across the beautiful Walt Disney Hall building. I want to do that. Okay, so when will all this be ready? Roughly, at the end of 2021. I believe the GRAND will most certainly live up to its name.

 Rendered photos courtesy of “Red Leaf, New York”.

A time-lapse video of The Grand’s first concrete foundation pour, in which 13,478 cubic yards of concrete were poured into the foundation of The Grand’s 39-story residential tower. The first pour took place this summer.

Winter Style

Winter Style

The Art Of Winter Outerwear In A Warmer Climate

SoCal has its own style
These days, people in Southern California are more accustomed than ever to warm winters. Anything much below the low 50s or high 40s is an aberration, and while some LA folks may shiver in 65-degree weather, this still makes for a more comfortable winter than most experience. The interesting thing is squaring this unusually mild season with one of the more fashion-forward and culturally up-to-date regions in the United States. While fashionistas around the world rush to update winter wardrobes with the latest faux-fur coats and sustainably-sourced infinity scarves, you might be sitting outside at a restaurant in a long-sleeved tee! This doesn’t mean winter outerwear isn’t an option in warmer climates though. There’s just a little bit of an art to it. To examine the idea further, for any readers in SoCal, other stylish spots like Austin or Miami, or anywhere else where the winters are warm, we dug into some specific suggestions for seasonal garments. Find A Statement Sleeveless Coat It’s sometimes remarkable in fashion in general how far you can get by thinking just a little bit outside the box. This is certainly true when you’re looking for ways to embrace fall and winter fashions living in a region that doesn’t really get a winter by traditional standards. We actually went back a number of years and found an article on this very topic – winter fashion in warmer climates – that presented some lovely ideas that can still inspire you today. Most notably, a sleeveless camel coat highlighted by Song Of Style stuck out. It’s undeniably, timelessly chic, can be worn with any number of ensembles (the example included a leopard-print skirt underneath), and perfectly suits a warmer winter climate. Lightweight Jackets Are Your Friends A lightweight jacket can be the perfect everyday garment for a mild winter, though it’s sometimes surprisingly hard to find the right one. Often you end up caught between ordinary hoodies and sweatshirts, and heavier coats or down jackets that are warmer than you need. For the current season, the zip-front lightweight twill hooded jacket from Woman Within serves as the perfect picture of an in-between option. It’s described as something to have on hand for “transitional weather” when it’s neither too hot nor too cold, and the brand’s inclusive sizing range can also be a bonus. Something with a little room can be cool and casual for a SoCal winter, and at the same time this jacket will still fit you if you add a few pounds over the season (as so many of us tend to do!). Embrace A Playful Sweatshirt Or Two Since you likely aren’t going to be bulking up with full-fledged winter outerwear, there’s nothing wrong with taking an altogether more casual approach also. This likely won’t be an everyday option like a lightweight jacket might be, but if you find a graphic sweatshirt that speaks to something you love – perhaps a retro sports team look, or one of the Nickelodeon sweatshirts from Love Tribe – it can be just the thing for an average winter day among friends. These basic sweatshirts don’t heat you up too much, and almost always look great with the sleeves pushed up, but will still give you that little bit of added warmth you need. Opt For A Fall Blazer One of the trickiest things about all of this is finding an everyday look if you’re a little bit more fashion-forward. The sleeveless coat option is a very nice look, but not necessarily something for every day of the week; a lightweight jacket can be perfectly stylish, but may not fit in, say, a work environment. And needless to say, a Rugrats sweatshirt has its place! There’s a clear solution here though, and it’s to find a stylish fall blazer or two that can take you right through a mild winter season. A standard black or charcoal option can be dressed up or down and make for an excellent everyday jacket substitute. Though we also can’t help but love the emerald-colored notch collar cotton blend blazer from Gibson that’s popping up in some 2019 collections and write-ups. Find A Cap Or Beret You Love It’s somewhat difficult to take winter fashion beyond light jackets and coats when you live in a warmer area; it’s not as if you’re going to need some cute mittens or a head scarf for the next 55-degree day! That said, a seasonally appropriate alternative to a winter cap or beanie can be a nice touch that works just fine in warmer temperatures. Such an accessory can take all sorts of forms. You might actually find a loosely knit beanie that’s more of a fashion statement than a means of keeping your head warm. If you want to be a little bolder, you might find a suede fedora to pair with certain looks. For some winter staples though, the textured knit “baker boy” cap from Brixton and Hat Attack’s leopard-print beret were a few options that caught our eye. You can go well beyond these suggestions to more fully dive into winter fashion in a warmer region. A light scarf, some classic boots, whatever colors are trending in a given year…. These are all wonderful ways to embrace the season regardless of temperature. But the ideas and suggestions above can help you to really enjoy the seasonal wardrobe update you might be yearning for.

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are here! It's time to start stuffing the stockings, or putting presents under the Christmas tree. This year, however, holiday shopping may be a little crazier than it usually is. The National Retail Federation reveals that Americans are willing to shell out 4% more on holiday shopping. Additionally, they project that holiday retail sales will be up by nearly $4 billion. It's safe to say that you can expect a crazy number of holiday shoppers who'll make it difficult to brave the crowds at the mall, which is why lifestyle writer Sheena Dizon of Pretty Me recommends shopping online where possible. This way, not only will you get to do some extra research on your gifts, but maybe even snag a few discounts as well. Of course, planning early is the key to getting your holiday shopping done right whether it's online or at the mall. That said, here's our carefully curated guide for your gift-giving adventure.

By Juliet Olson

 

FOR MOM From exerting energy to clean up your room after leaving it in chaos to giving up precious hours of sleep just to help you go to bed when you were afraid of the dark, there’s no question that your mom has made the most meaningful sacrifices for you. This is why you should treat her to some rest and relaxation with an electronic massager like this heated pillow from MaxKare that’s highly recommended on The Strategist.
(Retail: $32)

Credit: MaxCare

Credit: Pacific Shaving Company

FOR DAD If there’s anyone you can trust for advice or words of wisdom, it’s your good ol’ dad. And although hearing his stories or life lessons from his youth is a delight, you can introduce him to a new way of shaving that’s both efficient and single-use. He’ll surely ditch his old razor for the ultra-cool Single-Use Shaving Cream Minis from the Pacific Shaving Company. Our senior editor Joshua J Pinkay shares that these are pods of shaving cream enclosed in a single-dose water-soluble container.
(Retail: starts at $7.99)

Credit: Audio-Technica

FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL If there’s someone near and dear to your heart, you can make their holidays extra magical this year by surprising him or her with a timeless turntable like Audio-Technica’s AT-LP60. What makes this a special present is that the two of you can build a collection of vinyl records of your favorite albums. Or, if you’re feeling extra saccharine, you can make it a holiday tradition to dance together to some holiday tunes playing on the turntable.

Credit: Ember

FOR THE BOSS When it comes to work, your boss is more than just someone who delegates tasks to you, as he or she helps you take the necessary steps to go further in your career. You can express your gratitude for the guidance by gifting them a smart mug. The days of leaders at the workplace tend to be occupied as they go from one task to another, which is why having a smart mug like Ember’s that’s suggested by Food & Wine’s associate digital editor Megan Soll is a great gift idea. A smart mug can do a world of good for their busy workdays, since it keeps his or her drink at the preferred temperature no matter how many times they walk around the office.
(Retail: $70)

Thrillist Wraps Successful 100 Course Meal

Thrillist Wraps Successful 100 Course Meal

After days of high-stress preparation and rehearsals, it’s officially a wrap on the highly immersive and theatrical culinary spectacle, 100 Course Meal. Created by Thrillist and Michael Cirino, of A Razor/A Shiny Knife, the event took over DTLA’s Hudson Loft this past weekend, from December 6th-8th. If you didn’t catch our Instagram story coverage, check out the photos, courtesy of Nicholas Gingold, and the extraordinary details from the event below.

Over the course of the three-day sold-out event, 800 plus guests came through the doors to experience the showdown. A total of 8,500 plates were served with dishes from such notable chefs as Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery of Konbi, Burt Bakman of SLAB, Keith Corbin of Alta, Briana Valdez of Homestate and Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza

800 tacos, 800 donuts, 800 sandwiches and 800 pieces of sushi were served and an on-site drone made more than 250 cocktails while a high-tech food laser personalized another more than 250 cocktails.

40 chefs were on-site for demos while guests rolled a total of 300 flour tortillas and enjoyed spirits and coffee tastings from such names as Lamill Coffee and Nosotros Tequila

The buzz-worthy event drew in such chef and celebrity talent as Roy Choi, Dan the Automator, The Bachelorette Season 9 contestant Robert Graham and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Taylor Nolan.

google.com, pub-2907176749232271, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0