If you are looking for the perfect outdoor activity for springtime, you must take a trip to visit Holland Ridge Farms. Tucked deep in the heart of Upper Freehold Township is an expansive farm teeming with a rainbow of tulips stretching out to the horizon. This family-owned farm has ties to Holland, famous for its gorgeous tulip fields, and will transport you to another world once you pass through their gates.More
Discovering “Finding Fred”Like many people my age, I have been a longtime fan of Mister Rogers. I remember mentally boarding the trolley and playing with Daniel and all the other puppets in The Land of Make Believe, as a child. While I don’t necessarily remember specific episodes like others do, I do remember the sheer comfort that blanketed me whenever the show aired. Mister Rogers’ soothing voice felt like a hug through the TV screen and his gentle attitude towards life was unlike anything I had witnessed, growing up. Now, at 23 years old, I came across this particular podcast titled “Finding Fred,” when I was scrolling through podcast recommendations on my app. It remained shelved on my To Listen To list for months upon months until I began to play it and was transported back to Mister Rogers’ house and his Land of Make Believe.
Find Fred Takes Us on a Walk Down Memory LaneHosted by author and cultural critic, Carvell Wallace, we dive deep into the world of Mister Rogers for 10 episodes to discuss his impact on society, his progressive ways of teaching children, and how Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was one of the most poignant children’s programs at the time. Each episode dissects different aspects of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as well as his personal life. Wallace takes the time to interview adults who grew up watching the show along with those who worked on it behind the scenes to explore its impact in various different ways. He also relates past episodes of the children’s show to current events to ask, “What would Mister Rogers say about this situation?” or “How should we react to this moment by using Mister Rogers’ teachings?”
This podcast highlights how Mister Rogers handled discussing assassinations, the death of a beloved pet, racism, and the profound concept of teaching children empathy. It not only filled me with nostalgia to hear soundbites of the show and the songs that Mister Rogers sang to teach children how to control their anger or to remind them that they are special, but it also made me realize that this show has a greater impact than I initially thought.“Talking to people about empathy and getting people to understand it is so hard. This man was, I believe, a genius at it. ”– Episode One of “Finding Fred”
Mister Rogers’ InfluenceOne of my favorite episodes discussed Mister Rogers’ line, “I like you just the way you are,” which made a friend of Wallace’s cry when she heard that line again, as an adult. Such a simple sentence that can uplift, validate, and comfort another person, and yet I, too, cry whenever I hear Mister Rogers say that because it is the only time I’ve ever heard an adult tell me, “I like you just the way you are.” Mister Rogers lived a simple life and shared his unconditional love with everyone. Not everyone has the strength to love every person just the way they are, but Mister Rogers did and that love still affects us today. Another episode focused solely on one girl who was impacted by Mister Rogers’ kindness in the episode titled “Beth.” I encourage you to listen to that episode because it is my favorite of the entire series, but what I loved most was how it showed that Mister Rogers tried his hardest to connect with as many children as possible to provide them with a little bit of happiness off stage. He was just sincerely a kind man and that gentleness and respect he had towards everyone is unlike anything I’ve seen in media for years. If you grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood or are seeking hope during times when it seems as if there is only ever bad news being shared around the world, I encourage you to listen to “Finding Fred.” It will reignite your love for the show and remind you that there are countless people who have been touched by Mister Rogers and are trying their hardest to emulate all the goodness that shined out of him.
Synopsis: A thrilling departure: A short, piercing, deeply moving new novel from the acclaimed author of I Am, I Am, I Am, about the death of Shakespeare’s eleven-year-old son Hamnet–a name interchangeable with Hamlet in fifteenth-century Britain–and the years leading up to the production of his great play.
England, 1580. A young Latin tutor–penniless, bullied by a violent father–falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman: a wild creature who walks her family’s estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing and seductive, an impossible-to-put-down novel from one of our most gifted writers.
PG — 1h 32m — Drama
Release Date: August 28, 2020
Directed by: Brett Haley
Brett Haley, director of Looking for Alaska and All the Bright Places, recently released a new book-to-movie-adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel, Sorta like a Rockstar, titled All Together Now on Netflix. This feel-good movie follows a positive, bubbly protagonist named Amber Appleton, who may look like she has it all together, but she’s hiding a secret from her friends and classmates: Amber and her single mother are currently living in a school bus as they have nowhere else to live. Once Amber hears news that turns her world upside down, she must choose between facing the world on her own or accepting help from those who love her most.
Publication Date: August 2020
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Synopsis: Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.
Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy.
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.
Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.
Publication Date: June 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Gothic, Horror
Summary: He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Yesterday, while scrolling through Netflix, I stumbled upon Enemy (2013) directed by Denis Villeneuve, which is based on the novel written by José Saramago. This relatively short thriller is based on a simple idea: a man seeks out his doppelganger after seeing a glimpse of him in a film he’s watched.
Enemy has been recommended to me many times whenever I ask for films that have the same twisted, multilayered tone of Shutter Island. So, on a whim, I began the movie and dove deep into a world that I can’t stop thinking about, especially after I read a quote dissecting the underlying message of the entire story.
Note: Before I begin analyzing Enemy from my perspective, I do want to preface by stating I haven’t read the book, so my analysis is based solely on the movie itself, and there will be spoilers, so beware. More
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Genres: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Summary: While on her daily walk with her dog in a secluded woods, a woman comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground by stones. “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” But there is no dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken; she has no idea what to make of this. She is new to this area, alone after the death of her husband, and she knows no one.
Becoming obsessed with solving this mystery, our narrator imagines who Magda was and how she met her fate. With very little to go on, she invents a list of murder suspects and possible motives for the crime. Oddly, her suppositions begin to find correspondences in the real world, and with mounting excitement and dread, the fog of mystery starts to fade into menacing certainty. As her investigation widens, strange dissonances accrue, perhaps associated with the darkness in her own past; we must face the prospect that there is either an innocent explanation for all this or a much more sinister one.
A triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks us to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both reflect the truth and keep us blind to it. Once again, we are in the hands of a narrator whose unreliability is well earned, and the stakes have never been higher.
The world is full of uncertainty, right now, and many may be looking for peaceful distractions to accompany them as they social-distance or quarantine themselves in their homes. So, I wanted to share some tips on how to keep busy when social-distancing. I hope these tips give you some peace and offer you some normalcy in a time of change.
Remember, not everyone may be able to do these tips due to different situations, and I’m not forcing you to do them. These are just some things I do to keep myself busy when at home for long periods of time. More