When I find something I like, I become 100% “obsessed”. Below is a list of some of my favourite current obsessions that have gotten me through this quarantine, including books, podcasts, television shows, workouts, and YouTubers.
My obsession with Normal People and Sally Rooney is so real, and I’m definitely not alone. The buzz around Normal People (which is only Rooney’s second novel) has been very prominent, and to say that she has distinguished herself as an author would be an understatement.
Part of Rooney’s charm as a writer is that she is able to create characters that feel so authentic to a young person’s experience, in addition to recognizing and highlighting universal insecurities in her stories which speaks to so many of her readers. Normal People takes place in Ireland, and follows the relationship of Connell and Marianne from their final year of high school to their final year of university at Trinity College. The book explores the topics of insecurity, mental health, class, sexuality, and gender. Another facet of Rooney’s writing that makes her work so special, is the way she plays with the construct of time and paragraph structuring.
Told you my Sally Rooney obsession was real (lol).
Before finishing Normal People I had already ordered Conversations with Friends (Rooney’s first novel). I had very high expectations going into Conversations with Friends given Normal People was just so darn good. I was slightly hesitant at first, but I must say that I fell in love with Conversations With Friends just as I had with Normal People.
I knew early on that I was really enjoying the read, as I found myself thinking about the characters and the setting of the novel whenever I didn’t have the book in my hand. Similar to Normal People, Conversation with friends mainly centers around the dynamics of two different relationships, both romantic and platonic. As well, both books share the common themes of insecurity, mental health, class, sexuality, and gender.
Before We Were Strangers follows the love story of Grace and Matt, two College seniors at NYU who fall completely in love, and is centred around the theme of “the one that got away”. The story plays with chronological time and recollection of the past.
I tried reading Before We Were Strangers pretty early on at the beginning of quarantine, after all of the influencers I follow were talking/posting non-stop about it. Unfortunately, Before We Were Strangers was so popular around this time, that it was completely sold out everywhere. Cut to a couple weeks ago, I had read everything on my list and needed a new read, and to my surprise, Before We Were Strangers was back in stock.
Guysssss, I read that book so darn fast, definitely a perfectly crafted contemporary romance novel. It was so cute and had me feeling all the feels. No spoilers, but I will say it ends exactly how you want it to.
I was recently introduced to the Crying In Public podcast after it came up in my recommended on Spotify. It is different from any other podcast I’ve ever listened to, which is largely in part due to the numerous hosts the show has.
The show is hosted by six best friends who all met while attending NYU. Each episode, the girls discuss everything from what it’s like dating in New York, to the importance of voting. What I love most about this show is just how relatable it is — it’s a conversation between six girls my age and I feel like I can relate and laugh along to pretty much everything they’re talking about.
What’s also unique and special about Crying In Public, is how diverse the panel of hosts are, therefore the show brings forward a wide range of different views, perspectives, and life experience. The podcast is recorded over Zoom, as the girls are spread throughout the country due to the pandemic.
This is a podcast that was born out of quarantine for those also stuck in quarantine. It’s the perfect thing to turn on and play in the background while in your house/room when you are feeling lonely and missing your friends, as it sorta feels like you are immersed within their discussions.
My obsession with Normal People can be attributed back to my uncle, who suggested I would enjoy the show. Let me tell you, he was so totally correct.
Normal people takes place in Ireland, and was released earlier this year on the BBC in the UK. The show is based on the book written by Sally Rooney. Rooney’s writing was so anticipated that the rights to the tv show were actually bought prior to the book’s release.
The show follows the relationship between Marianne and Connell, played by Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal, as they navigate their late teens into their easy twenties. The show also deals with issues related to class, gender, and the pressures of fitting in. In May of this year, Normal People was released in Canada on CBC Gem.
I cannot describe how much I love this show, it was so beautifully crafted, and the chemistry of Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal is absolutely incredible. I loved the show so much that I actually convinced my friend (Rachel Fiset) to do an aftershow style podcast with me all about it, called “The Normal People Podcast”.
High Fidelity is a 2020 remake of the film High Fidelity from the year 2000. However, what is unique about this remake is that the lead role of “Rob” is now played by a woman (Zoe Kravitz).
I truly love Zoe Kravitz, and I do believe that there has been no one cooler than her to walk this earth. I was obsessed with her performance in Big Little Lies, and that girl knows effortless style more than anyone, which is why I was so excited to watch High Fidelity.
Kravitz plays the lead role of “Rob”, a music-loving, melodramatic, over-thinker, whose heart is still attached to her ex-fiance. The show feels very relevant and speaks to a generation that “has come of age” within the past ten years (Rob is literally the embodiment of an Urban Outfitters).
Everything about this show is just so good, and Rob’s best friends Cherise and Simon will keep you laughing the whole way through
The Lekfit workout program hails from Los Angeles and consists of a cardio series on a mini trampoline (called a rebounder), as well as a weighted pilates-inspired toning series, including ankle weights and dumbbells.
The first time I saw a Lekfit workout was on none other than Busy Philipps’ Instagram story, and I genuinely thought it maybe looked like the most fun in-studio workout ever. So when I went to Los Angeles last summer, it wasn’t even a question that I would be trying out a Lekfit workout class. Long story short it was just as fun as it had looked on Instagram stories, and was wayyy more difficult than I imagined it would be.
Cut to the pandemic, my go-to Ottawa based workout studio Bars and Wheels had to close down and I was getting tired of doing the same YouTube workout videos every day. This is when I decided to order a rebounder online and try out the Lekfit digital program.
Let me tell you, this was probably one of the best decisions/purchases I made during the pandemic. At $37.00/month, Lekfit digital is more affordable than any workout studio membership in Ottawa, which is great if you’re a student. The Lekfit digital program releases new workouts videos weekly, while mixing it up with a variety of different instructors (my favourite is hands down Dimitri).
If you are looking to try a new workout to stay/start moving once school starts, Lekfit digital is definitely it
- YouTube Channels
I first discovered Nayna Florence’s YouTube channel while doing research for my year abroad (at the time I was still in first year doing research for what will be my third year, but what can I say, I like to be organized and on top of things).
Nayna Florence goes to the University of Edinburgh, which is my top choice university out of the list of Carleton’s partnered institutions. However, in addition to going to my dream school, Nayna also has an amazing aesthetic, is super positive, motivating, and documents her sustainable lifestyle, which includes lots of vegan recipes and thrift hauls.
I came across Moya Mawhinney’s YouTube channel after being subscribed to Nayna Florence for a while. Both girls have very similar aesthetics, styles, energies, and are both from the UK.
Moya’s paint with me videos are some of my favourites, due to their meditative quality. What’s coolest about Moya is that she attends Trinity University in Dublin. Not only is Dublin one of my favourite cities, as it is filled with great music, beer, and food, but Trinity University is also where Normal People (both the book and TV show) takes place!
Both Nayna and Moya’s channels have had significant growth during the pandemic, and currently have a similar audience size of around 100k subscribers.
Okay, that’s a wrap on my current favourites. I hope you become just as obsessed with them as I am, or maybe you already love them just as much as I do. Either way, I can assure you that there will be many more in the near future, so stay posted!