Get cozy, stay warm and binge one of these seven shows this winter.

I love winter. I’ve posted many blogs about winter hiking and embracing the cold weather. Last April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, my theme was “Winter in Maine“.  I really like winter. That hasn’t changed. I’m still a fan.

But, sometimes when the temperatures drop, I grab the remote and click on the propane fireplace as I flip-up the footrest on my nearby recliner. I settle into the chair with my favorite fuzzy blanket draped over all but my arms and head. Before I get cozy, I make sure that the nearby table has everything I could possibly need for an extended period including remotes, a snack or two and a seltzer, or glass of wine, or both.

Hunkering down and streaming a new show is one of my favorite weekend activities and this winter I succumbed even more easily than usual probably because my youngest left for college so I’m still adjusting to the empty nest. Streaming does fill the time.

Below are seven shows that I’ve binged recently.

Peaky Blinders. Netflix. I’m a little late to this party in that it’s already on Season 4 but I’m glad I finally watched Peaky Blinders. It is extremely compelling. While the story is fantastic, a couple of other things really stood out for me. The cinematography was exceptional. Every shot is so carefully crafted. The acting is also great across the board and I must say that it’s the first role I’ve ever seen Tom Hardy in where I was blown away. I didn’t recognize him and the supporting character that he played was one of my favorites.

The Umbrella Academy. Netflix. This show is right in my wheelhouse. I love anything with a sci-fi fantasy superhero slant.  I did enjoy this one although I found it a little uneven and slow to start. Still, a few characters saved it for me including The Séance and The Boy. It also grew on me the more I watched it so I’d be up for a Season 2.

Salt Fat Acid Heat. Netflix. When my daughter got home for spring break, she immediately started searching her phone for the perfect recipe from Bob’s Burgers. She wanted a family cooking night. We’ve spent a lot of time together as a family watching cooking shows. They’re addictive. Netflix’s take on the genre was fabulous. Host Samin Nosrat, who wrote the cookbook on which the show is based, is down to earth and enjoyable. You feel like you’re hanging out with a friend.  Each episode of this four part series takes you to a new location to do a deep dive into one of the cooking components of the title: salt, fat, acid and heat. Each episode was compelling. I’m can’t wait to pick up her cookbook now.

The Ranch. Netflix. I have never followed Ashton Kutcher’s career and only sporadically caught episodes of That 70s Show, but I heard him talk about The Ranch on Dax Shephard’s Armchair Expert podcast and I liked what he had to say about it so decided to give this sitcom a chance.  I enjoyed it and while it’s definitely funny they do not shy away from serious story lines. It can get dark too. My husband who doesn’t always like what I pick to stream was a big fan too.

White Dragon. Amazon Prime. I can’t say I gave this my full attention as I streamed it on my computer while organizing my new office but I did like it. White Dragon is a mystery show where the main character tries to solve his wife’s murder while learning unexpected things about her past. The lead was so familiar to me, but it took me a few episodes and some googling to realize that John Simm also played The Master in Doctor Who.

Endeavour. Amazon Prime. I watch each new season of this show as soon as it’s released on prime. As with White Dragon, I don’t always give it my full attention as sometimes it can be a little too much of a slow burn for me but I am a fan of the young Inspector Morse. I never saw the original series on which this prequel is based so am not caught up with the history and canon of it all. I just like the mysteries that Inspector Morse solves each episode.

I’m Sorry. TruTV. I streamed season one of this comedy series recently and have been watching season two episodes as they are released. I find this show hysterical. I love the goofy chemistry between the shows creator and star Andrea Savage with her TV husband, the constantly bemused Mike (Tom Everett Scott) and the crazy stories. The humor is definitely adult but so silly and fun. My husband and I laugh out loud a lot when we watch this one.

As I was pulling together this list of the recent shows I had streamed, I discovered that you can easily see a history of all your recent viewing activity on Netflix. While helpful for this blog post, overall it’s a little disturbing to see how much I actually stream on Netflix. Sometimes it’s better not to look too closely.

What are you streaming these days?

things to know
Total Hours Spent 113
Most Used App Netflix
Favorite Day to Binge Friday Night
Favorite Show I’m Sorry

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Looking for free things to do? Here’s a monthly breakdown of free events in Maine for 2019.

A few years ago, my family and I did the Living Well Spending Zero challenge from Ruth Soukup. As part of the challenge, we spent minimal money for the entire month. No groceries, no entertainment, no take-out. We allowed ourselves a small amount of cash at the start of the month for minor necessities, and activities that had already been planned, but that was it. We ate through the food in our refrigerator and pantry, learned to ration our seltzer, and went to some free events like the Fork Food Lab grand opening.

Overall, we did a great job, or at least until the last day of the month when our cat came down with a UTI, and we had to do an emergency visit to the vet complete with x-rays, anesthesia, and multiple antibiotics, all of which negated most of our savings from our zero spend month. Still it was a fun, creative experiment and one we are about to embark on again.  Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | Z is for Zero Degrees, Staying Warm and Embracing Winter

I went to Iceland in January three years ago. When packing for my trip, I knew I needed to bring warm clothing as we were taking an adventure tour and would be spending most of our time outside exploring. Packing for Iceland wasn’t a problem because the first thing I learned upon arriving is that Maine is colder.

Having the right winter gear is essential if you want to truly embrace winter. You’re not going to have fun if you are cold or wet. So how do I dress for winter? Layers, Layers, Layers. The colder the weather, the more you want add on the layers.
Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | U is for Unrelenting and Unending

Winter has some wonderful moments. There is deep beauty to the landscape during the colder snow-covered months. When it arrives covering everything in white, it makes me smile.

I love winter.

There are no mosquitoes or ticks to bother us during our hikes and the overall pace is slower and peaceful. You can snowshoe under the stars during a full moon hike or sit by the fireplace, sipping wine and binge watch the latest Netflix show while snuggled under a blanket. There is so much to enjoy about winter. Continue reading


#AtoZChallenge | T is for Trees and Trail Markers

In the winter, when the trees have shed their leaves and all that remains are the bare branches some unique, interesting natural sculptures begin to appear. I’m drawn to trees that are different and I don’t think I’m alone because many of the trail markers that I see on our hikes are placed on the most unique trees.

Some trail markers are painted on to the trees while others are actual tags that are attached and as we’ve grown in our hiking experience we’ve gotten a lot better at spotting them. Fortunately, at least for us, it seems to be a little easier in the winter which is good because the actual trail can be more challenging to find when the ground is covered in snow and you can’t always trust the trampled path of those that went before you. Sometimes they wander off the main trail so you need to rely on your trail markers. Continue reading