Need a new show? Try Fresh Off The Boat!

Fresh Off the Boat (TV Series 2015–2020) - IMDb
Just look at this loveable family you will get to follow!

With summer around the corner, everybody needs some light and fun television shows to watch to fill the time. One of my favorite genres of television is sitcoms and I have watched many that have come to my liking. Today I am recommending Fresh Off the Boat! This sitcom originally started airing in 2015 but currently has 6 seasons with the idea that there will most likely be a season 7. So do not worry, there is plenty of content to keep you busy.

Fresh off the Boat stars a Chinese family moving from a majority Chinese town in DC to the majority white in Orlando, Florida. This show takes place in the 1990s which I believe is the icing on the top for this show. The mother, Jessica, is your typical tiger Asian mom. She attempts to control the lives of her three sons: Eddie, the teenager who only wants to play video games, Emery, the perfect son, and Evan, the young smartie pants who skips a grade. There is also the dad, Louis Huang, who runs a bbq restaurant and is your classic funny carefree dad.  At the same time, Jessica attempts to fit in with the white neighborhood moms group. We get to see how it was like for an Asian family to enter a majority white area in the 1990s. Hence the name Fresh Off the Boat, meaning they are basically fresh immigration with little idea of how things work in a suburban area. 

The story mainly revolves around Eddie, the oldest child. One of my personal favorite scenes of the entire show is in the first episode. Eddie goes to school and is made fun of for his Chinese lunch. All he dreams of having for lunch is Lunchables so he can be cool, it seems we all had the idea of what is cool even in the 1990s! He goes to the market and gets to pick out the cool “white people food” as he calls it and boosts his confidence. This show is full of comedy that keeps you laughing for the entire episode. 

Nonetheless, my favorite character has to be Jessica Huang, the overprotective mother. We slowly get to witness her mellow out her ways and become more of a relaxed parent. Do not get me wrong, one of my favorite parts of the show is getting to watch her be the typical tiger mom with a twist of a comedic side. She always rocks her 1990’s fashion to no end that makes her a character that you cannot just help but adore.

If you need a new show to watch I would seriously recommend watching Fresh Off the Boat as soon as possible!!

-Lilly G.

Preparing for school?

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

The much dreaded back to school season has finally arrived. Although it is a disappointing time for most, the best way to enter the new school year is to be prepared. By setting yourself up for success before the school year starts, your future self will be thanking you once the workload begins to pile up. 

One tip I would recommend is to get a daily planner before the school year starts. One of the hardest parts of being a student is keeping track of assignments, test days, and extracurriculars all at once. Finding yourself a planner that works before the school year starts will help boost your efficiency and time management. I would recommend looking on amazon to find cheap and durable planners. They have a wide variety of options where you can even choose which month the planner starts and ends on.

Although this tip seems simple it is important. Most students neglect to check if there is ever summer homework and it always comes back to bite them in the butt. So, before school starts make sure to check your high school’s website to ensure you have all the summer work you need to do. This way the first tests on the summer information will not cause your grade to drop as soon as school starts. 

Another tip I would recommend is refreshing up on your previous year’s math concepts. One of the most difficult parts of returning to school with math is carrying over the skills you learned. Unlike other subjects, math tacks on the cumulative information that you have been learning since middle school. Going to Khan Academy or simply watching review videos on YouTube will help tremendously in starting the school year off strong and with a high grade.

For those taking AP classes, another huge tip I would recommend is buying test prep books at the beginning of the school year, along with reading the basics of the class which is available on the college board website. AP classes throw so much information at you all at once. Having a very simple basic understanding of what you are going to learn will help. Also with review books, you can make sure you understand each concept as you learn it by trying the practice questions.

Although these tips are simple and seem quite basic or unnecessary, they will be very beneficial once you begin receiving 2 assignments for each of your 7 classes. These small changes and advancements will put you ahead and will helps you receive that strong starting grade that is crucial in determining how you will success in a class. 

–Lilly G.

Summer is here, now what?

Everyone is still adjusting from the pandemic controlled world to a slightly less restricted lifestyle. Now that summer is here, every teens has more freedom, but many are questioning how they used to live their old pre-covid lives. In this post I will give some suggestions of fun activities to do with your friends, family, or even yourself.

I would first like to start off this list with going on hikes. Hikes are an activity that is enjoyable both by yourself and with company. Find a fun trail that fits how difficult you would like to experience. If you are by yourself, pop in an earbud and play your uplifting songs while staying active. For those in the Mission Viejo area, some trails are the Oso Creek Trail, Alicia Trail, and the Nellie Gail Trails. Going on hikes can take up your time while keeping you active. The only thing to be cautious of is the weather, make sure to check the weather for the day you plan to make sure you do not accidentally hike on an extremely hot day, which I am guilty of, not fun. 

If you are planning a hangout with friends and have no idea what to do, like many of us, I would recommend having a picnic at a park. Choose any centrally located park or beautiful one near the beach. Each person can bring their own food to fit what they like while still enjoying the company of others with them. Make sure to bring a blanket and maybe a speaker to play some fun music. Besides eating, I love to bring other activities to do at a picnic. Some fun ideas are to bring cards or a board game. Or bringing canvases and paint to have a painting/art contest with your friends. 

Here is an example of a fun picnic setup you have have with friends!

Another idea I would recommend is to take a day trip. Whether you choose Los Angeles, San Diego, or any other location that is outside of your daily circle of travel, a day trip can be super fun. The night before, plan your stops. This way you have a roadmap of approximately which areas you will be in. Especially for L.A, it is a huge area so planning which part of it you will be in is a great idea. On day trips to areas in the city, I find it very fun to find trendy food places I see online and actually get to try it. Some ideas are getting mochi donuts, korean hot dogs, or bubble waffles that have been circulating across the internet but are mainly located in areas like Los Angeles. Also if going on a day trip, find cool activities you can only do in that area. For example, if going to LA find a swap meet like the Melrose Trading Place. Or go to famous spots like the Santa Monica pier, which is far enough away from home that it seems more exciting. 

Summer is the time where people can finally enjoy themselves after months of stress. Find an activity you personally enjoy. Your goal is to make yourselves miss summer as much as possible!

-Lilly G.

Home Ec At Home: How To Do Laundry

How to do Laundry – a need to know skill!

Start by gathering up all of your dirty clothes. Next you will need to separate them into three different piles. 

  • One pile is for all delicate clothing, meaning undergarments along with clothing made from silk, wool, lace, linen, or any other fabric that appears fine.
  • The next two piles are light and dark clothing items. The dark clothing items include reds, black, grey, dark blues, dark purples, and other dark colors. This is important or else your dark clothing can stain the lighter clothes while in the wash. 

Now that your clothes are separated the next step is to load them into the washing machine. Load your washing machine until it is about ⅔ full of clothes. Next, you will need to load laundry detergent. On standard washing machines, there is a trey to insert the detergent on the top left-hand corner. Read the label of your detergent to find out how much you need but most call for about 1-2 tablespoons of detergent.

For the light and dark piles set the turning knob to “normal” and “warm water” then press start. For the delicate pile, it is a little different, set the turning knob to “delicate” on “cold water” then press start. Then set a timer for however long the machine says it will take to wash, normally around 50 minutes. 

Once the machine says that the washing process is done the next step is to transfer the clothes to the dryer. When all of the clothes are in the dryer check for lint. In most dryers there is a lint shield on the edge of the giant circle. Clean out all the lint that was collected from previous washes to ensure lint does not collect on your new clothes. Next close the drawer and again for the light and dark clothing piles turn the knob to “normal” and press start. For the delicates turn the knob to “delicate” and then press start. Once again set you time to the listed amount of time it will take for the clothing to dry.

When the timer goes off on the dryer open the drying door. Remove all of the clothes from the machine, check that all of the clothes are completely dry, they should be hot. If some clothes are still a bit damp hang them up to dry completely. For the dry clothes immediately hang up or fold the clothes to ensure the clothes do not wrinkle. Clothes will wrinkle are left in the drying machine once it is done for long periods of time. Lastly get excited that you have newly washed clothes in your closet!

*note that if you are washing towels turn the knob to “heavy duty” and “hot water” when in the washing machine. Same with the dryer, set the knob to “heavy duty”

-Lilly G.

Music Genres?

In modern society pop music appears to be the most mainstream and popular style of music to listen to. Especially in the younger generations artists such as Ariana Grande, Charlie Puth, and Billie Eilish are some of the most played artists. Though I personally like some pop music, most songs are overplayed and extremely repetitive to one another. As another option, I will be describing some of my favorite songs, artists, and genres to listen to.

Though it is quite underrated in the modern United States, jazz music is very satisfying. When studying or doing homework lyrics often distract students, but jazz is a great substitution. The music always contains great rhythms and crazy solos that leave you wanting to listen more. I personally have listened to jazz for many years and I know finding a place to start is one of the hardest parts. Paul Desmond’s “O Gato” is a bossa nova tune that is soft but yet addicting to listen to. Some of my other favorite players are Charles Mingus, George Bensen, Wes Montgomery, and Sonny Rollins. Their pieces have varying styles of jazz like bossa nova, big band, swing, and bebop. If you are looking for a nice upbeat song Charles Mingus’s “Moanin’” is a great tune to get your feet tapping. Though jazz is the backbone to all music today, it is often overlooked for more modern pieces. But if you analyzed songs today, they all have remnants of jazz written all over them.

Your Name (album) - Wikipedia
This is the album cover to “Sparkle” by RADWIMPS

My newfound favorite type of music as of now is japanese music. In modern society younger generations have been introduced to anime, a japanese style of television. Simurally this is how I began this new area of music. Without prior knowledge I would never see myself listening to Japanese music but now some of my favorite songs originate from openings and ending animes. My personal favorite artists are called RADWIMPS, lots of their songs are soundtracks to popular anime movies like “Your Name” or “Weathering with you”. Not only that but they have beautiful album covers that are card to ignore. Their songs included “Stick Figure”, “Cocoronoaca” , “Sokkenai”, and “Sparkle”. I would seriously recommend these songs, Japanese music in the United States is quite underrated and is not overplayed. Similarly they are great songs to listen to while doing work, since the lyrics are not in English and therefore can not distract you. If you are one of the many people that enjoy watching anime I would seriously recommend researching the openings and closings of your favorite shows as an introduction to Japanese music. 

Lastly I would like to introduce some funk bands that I enjoy. Funk is one of those styles that is always there but never that popular or mainstream. As far as modern bands go, Vulfpeck is my favorite. They combine jazz and modern rock to create some funky tunes. My favorites include “1612”, “Tesla”, and “Back Pocket”. They have great bass lines and drums that just get your head bopping. Vulfpeck has great wind players along with a rhythm section that will blow your mind. Personally I believe that Vulfpeck’s live shows on youtube are even better than their studio recordings. If you ever need some music to vibe to when you feel down or lonely, never underestimate the power of funky music.

-Lilly G.

What is Modern Family?

Modern Family (season 10) - Wikipedia

I am here to recommend one of my all time favorite television shows to binge. I do know that a lot of good shows never seem to have enough episodes, so this one is a long one, the famous Modern Family. Many people have heard of it but have yet to watch it, and let me tell you it is hilarious. Modern Family ended in 2020 but has 11 seasons for you to watch. This show revolves around 3 different families that are all related. 

The first family is Gloria, Jay, Manny, and Joe Pritchett (Joe is a new addition later on in the show). Jay is an old white man while Gloria is the young Columbian that marries him and brings her son, Manny, from a past marriage. Though many are skeptical about their relationship, they are an amazing couple. Gloria is one of the characters that just make you laugh the entire time. She is full of jokes and is constantly criticizing Jay’s old man habits. 

The second family is Cameron Tucker, Mitchell Pritchett, and their adopted daughter Lily from Vietnam. Mitchel is the son of Jay Pritchett, with Jay’s past wife. This is one of those families that you cannot look away from. Cameron is from a rural town and always finds a way to include his life from the farm into every conversation while exaggerating many events. Mitchell is the put together lawyer that tries to keep him in check. One of my favorite parts of this show is them constantly criticizing others for stereotyping them as a specific type of gay couple while fulfilling half of the stereotyping at the same exact time. 

The last family is Claire, Phil, Haley, Alex, and Luke Dunphy, my personal favorite family. Haley is the typical teen that always wants to go out and part, Alex is your nerdy middle child, and Luke is the young and carefree child constantly getting into trouble. Claire Dunphy is the mother and daughter of Jay, who is a housewife with a strong opinion. Phil Dunphy will most likely be one if not your favorite character in the entire show. He is a real estate agent with a passionate hobby of magic. He always wants to be the “cool dad” who his children see as one of the “boys”. This family is one of those crazy ones with kids running around everywhere and parents who are just as crazy.

Those families sound very different, one of my favorite aspects of this show is how we get to see being brought together during family events. There are many awesome relationships between the uncles and nieces, cousins, etc. We get to see the conflicts between adult siblings and their parents along with how they end up making up with one another. You will definitely get a hoot of this show if you love comedy while following a crazy extended family.

-Lily G.

Intro to Guitar!

With the more free time that has opened up due to quarantine it is the perfect time to find something you enjoy to fill the time. I recommend learning the basics of guitar. If you enjoy any style of music there is bound to be a guitar part somewhere within the piece. The awesome thing about this stringed instrument is once you understand the basics you can learn any song you want with a little bit of practice. Stay tuned to hear some basic tips for getting started on your music journey!

When you pick up a guitar for the first time the first thing going through your head is most likely what are all of these pieces. Right below I have a picture that shows the different parts of the guitar. If you are right handed the fretboard and neck is where you put your left hand while the right goes over the body. If you are left handed it is the opposite, there are actually left handed guitars that are made for any left handed players so keep that in mind when finding a guitar. But, it is not necessary, my brother was left handed but learned on a right handed guitar and never used a left handed one, it is all up to preference. 

As seen in the picture above there are 6 strings that stretch across the fretboard. From top to bottom, or thickest to thinnest, the notes are E A D G B E. An easy way to remember this is by remembering the expression Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie. If you noticed there are 2 E strings. The difference is the first one is a low E while the last one is a high E, meaning they are a whole octave apart from each other. Memorizing these string names is very important when you’re starting to play guitar. 

For beginners I recommend starting on an acoustic guitar so that your fingers can grow accustomed to the thick strings before playing an electric guitar where the strings ate thinner. Many do this so you can build calluses on your fingers as you play. If you start and notice that it hurts everytime you touch the string, that is normal!!!!! After several weeks your fingers will grow calluses that make  any pain disappear. 

When you pick up a guitar the first thing you need to do is tune it. On a guitar the pegs at the end of the guitar is what tunes it. For starters notes can be flat, sharp, or in tune. When it is flat or sharp the notes will sound off and distorted which is why it is important to tune it first. As a tuner I would recommend the “GuitarTuna” app available on app stores. This app will provide a visual representation of whether or not the guitar is in tune each time you play a string. Linked down below is a short and simple video to be used as a visual of how exactly to tune a guitar. 

Instructions on how to tune the guitar are readily available on YouTube!

AP Studying??

AP test month can be one of the most stressful periods in your entire high school career. Unlike regular tests AP exams demand a year’s worth of information from you. The best way to handle the overwhelming stress is to be prepared for what is coming. I have taken many AP courses and have found some of the more efficient ways of studying along with the methods that are not beneficial. 

Perhaps the most important variable to consider when studying is making a clear cut schedule for studying that aligns up with your AP test day. For example, for history or science based tests designating a certain time block to study each unit a day is very helpful. Personally, about a month out from my AP world exam I started studying half a unit every single day. This way revisiting information is not overwhelming when test time comes. 

Now that you have a set time for studying it is very important how you spend that time you have created for yourself. I have personally found that simply rereading a textbook and labeling that time spent as studying is not efficient when trying to remember information from an entire year. If you are someone who enjoys using notes to study rather than just rereading them add an extra layer. First look at the topic for the section and try to recall all the information you can about that topic. Next read the page/pages of notes. Lastly, and most importantly, outloud recall all of the information that you just reread without looking at your notes. Doing so stimulates your brain to try and read the information rather than simply forgetting the info minutes later.

When studying for history and science based tests there is so much information that no one can remember every single detail. So, when reviewing try to focus more on patterns that you recognize or different relationships. It is important to remember the college board does not just test you on verbatim facts that you have learned. The test evaluates you on different thinking processes so you have to be able to understand different relationships between time periods or scientific concepts. 

Now for the English based tests such as AP Lang one of the best tips I got was to focus on the News. At first I did not understand how this would be helpful. But, for some AP tests you must write papers where evidence comes straight from your brain, no documents. On these occasions you have to think of different important events in history to make your argument. Therefore, listening and keeping up with the news a month before testing seasons can provide you with great relevant evidence to incorporate into your essays. 

For some people, the hardest part of preparing for such a demanding test is getting the motivation to actually sit down and review. For these people, I recommend getting a study partner. As cheesy as that sounds it can be beneficial for those lacking motivation. Having someone that is supposed to study with you every day holds both your partner and yourself accountable to actually reviewing. Your partner does not need to be studying for the same AP, but having someone who is also preparing can force you to sit down and just begin. If you have a close friend you can study over facetime or at the library(considering after COVID). Other ways are finding study discords servers or zoom servers that are offered online where you can study with other people with the same goals as yourself. 

-Lily G.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Opinion: 'Avatar: the Last Airbender' is the best children's ...

Where to begin with the show, Avatar: The Last Airbender? When I was little my family and I would watch this show to no end. Then, after many years apart, this show appeared back on Netflix and I must say, it is amazing. I would say this show from 2005 was way before its time in many aspects. The writing, character development, villains, and overall plot of the show was very interesting and exhilarating.

One part that I absolutely love is female empowerment. Remember this show came out over 15 years ago when most TV shows and movies did not include the most feminist characters. Different than shows and movies today, the female involvement was not pushed or forced rather than just written to be strong leads. Characters like Toph also inspired young me, as she was blind but in my opinion, on the most powerful characters in the entire series. Each of the different women brought different things to the table but really showed me that, hey I can be just as or more powerful than anyone else.

Another aspect that needs to be talked about is the plot. This story about a young boy who was frozen in ice for 100 years to wake up and find out a war has been going on for 100 years and was partially his fault. Being the avatar, master of all 4 four elements, he meets some friends who help him on his journey while facing many challenges. Seeing the change in the duration of year was pretty spectacular. These young kids turned out stopping a war against a crazy fire lord. Episode after episode we see a group of 4 kids overthrowing corrupt governments left and right. For a kids show it was very deep. The writers introduced some real world problems to young and old viewers. The ideas of governments that aren’t what they seem took up almost half a season of the show. Along with passing by starving people and large groups of refugees as a result of the war. For a kids show, they were not afraid to include real issues and problems many face.

Lastly, I’m going to talk about my personal favorite part of the show, the villains. In my personal opinion, many of the villains were simply misunderstood. For the siblings Zuko and Azula we get to see why their actions came to be. Being in a royal family with an abusive father and mother who was forced away. Azula was a prodigy firebender, that in my opinion the most powerful fire bender in the entire show. Along with Zuko who is also powerful but not up there with Azula. During this show, we get to see the character arc of Zuko as he finally puts his wants behind him and joins the avatar and his friends in joining the fight against the fire lord. Sadly for Azula this is not the case, she goes insane while trying to be perfect to please her father.

This show is a must watch for anyone in any age group. There is something in this show for everyone. The writers hit gold when producing this show. Also, some appearances from some of my favorite actors such as Mark Hamill make an appearance throughout the show. If I had to score this show it would definitely be a 11/10 for me.

-Lilly G.

My Favorite Episodes from The Office

The Office is one of those shows that will never die off. After being aired over 15 years ago in 2005, it is still one of the most talked-about shows. Making people wonder, what makes this show based on a boring topic so addicting. Some of these episodes are worth watching over and over for the rest of my life. Each one consists of different hilarious jokes and drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat laughing. Here is a quick rundown of my favorite episodes in the series.

To start off is probably my all-time favorite episode, “The Injury”(s. 2 e.12). It begins with a screaming Micheal on the phone. He tries to explain how he needs someone to get him to bring him into to work because he is too hurt. At first, everyone is actually worried that something had happened to him. But later on, they find out he had burned his foot. The funny part is how he had burned it. He tells the story of his love to wake up in the morning and listen to crackling bacon. Of course, he has no butler, so he explains that he leaves bacon on the grill next to his bed at night, then wakes up to plug it in and goes back to sleep. But this time he steps on this George Foreman Grill as he wakes up. Dwight is Micheal’s biggest fan, so he is very worried and rushes off to get him and crashes into a pole, but he still keeps on driving. As Micheal acts as Micheal he gets very angry that no one is treating him special, so he calls in a favor. The building owner happened to be in a wheelchair, so Micheal called him to talk to the workers about being disabled but remember Micheal had only burned his foot. After being harassed by Micheal an unexpected twist happens. Dwight ended up having concussion after crashing so he is urgently taken to the hospital. The episode ending scene is a funny moment when Micheal, who is his emergency contact goes with him and tries to stick his foot in the CT scan while Dwight is in there.

Another one of my favorites is ” The Merger”(s.3 e.8). This episode is kinda a clash of two worlds. We see the Scranton branch absorbing the Stamford branch which includes an old friend, Jim who had moved away because Pam had turned him down in the previous season. Micheal tries to impress all the new employees but fails except for one due to his different type of management. The one is Andy Bernard, who tries to be the biggest Suck up to Micheal. This in return gets Dwight real mad because he sees it as Micheal replacing him. During this episode, we see the reunion of Pam and Jim. There is so much excitement that they will finally be together. But there is a new problem, Karen Filippelli, a new love interest for Jim. Micheal uses the whole episode trying the unify the two branches but they don’t seem to click. He begins receiving major lash back for his management style and one new employee ends up quitting. In the end, this episode has ups and downs full of drama that kept everyone wondering what would happen next.

Next up is an amazing, but heartbreaking episode, “Goodbye Micheal” (s.7 e.22). Like TV shows, when they say the main character is leaving, they will most likely end up staying in the end. The first time I watched it I did not think Micheal, the star of the show, would actually leave. But he did, and I ended the episode in tears. It begins the introduction to Micheal’s replacement being shown around, but everyone knows, Micheal Scott can never truly be replaced. He spends the day trying to get a special moment with all of his workers and how are now his best friends. As time runs out we see a new side of Micheal, a soft loving friend. My favorite part of this episode, and my favorite scene in the show, is the goodbye between Micheal and Jim. Jim discovers Micheal is really leaving a day before he said he was and goes to talk to him. They have a heartfelt conversation where Micheal was in tears the whole time. He says they must save the goodbyes for tomorrow and be happy today. Another just well put together scene is the goodbye between Micheal and Dwight. The best friends sit together as Micheal hands Dwight a letter of recommendation that is the sweetest words ever spoken. On the edge of our seats, we see Micheal leave for the airport without a goodbye from Pam. But the very last scene we see with Micheal Scott is Pam running to him in her bare shoes in the airport giving him the biggest hug.

While we see how truly hilarious scenes in the show are, it is much more than that. We see real friendships developed and goodbyes that make your heart sink. I loved the contrast between funny and sad. Showing that one show can have many sides, not just one. The writers did an absolutely amazing on in taking an ordinary job and showing the beauty in it.

-Lilly G.