British TV shows to binge on this weekend

I'm a huge anglophile - in part because my grandparents lived in London and so I spent many summers there. And I have a weakness for accents. As far as British TV is concerned, I really like how they structure their TV shows - there's usually a definite end, and most TV shows end in a few seasons, making them extremely binge worthy over a weekend (especially if the weather is crappy). Here is a list of some of my favorites - this is in no means comprehensive, nor is it in any particular order other than how they came to me as I typed. 

1. Peaky Blinders: Set in 1920s Birmingham, this series tells the fictionalized story of the real Peaky Blinders gang. Lots of sex and violence and period costumes, interesting characters, and Cillian Murphy (he was Scarecrow in the Batman series) is magnificent. 

2. Lovesick: This is a charming love story of a boy who finds out he has chlamydia and has to call all the women he's ever slept with to let them know. Along the way, he figures out he's in love with his best friend and roommate, who is unfortunately engaged to someone else. It's a sweet will they/won't they with some funny bits thrown in for good measure. 

3. Crashing: So this is a British comedy, and although I did see the humor in it, it's not quite laugh out loud comedy - more in the slightly cringeworthy comedy like the original Office. Anyway, a group of 20-somethings end up living in an abandoned, barely livable hospital, acting as caretakers in exchange for low rent. Think F.R.I.E.N.D.S. but way more diverse and more awkward, without the fabulous apartments and wardrobes. 

 Image credit: Netflix

Image credit: Netflix

4. Great British Baking Show: This show is my "moment of zen" and I don't even bake in real life. Everything about this show is lovely - lovely hosts, lovely contestants, lovely food. It's a reality show without the backstabbing and unnecessary drama, and some serious food porn. 

5. Flea Bag: I watched this show because it features the same lead as Crashing - this tells the story of late 20/early 30s woman who is going through a challenging time in her life, but it's a comedy. Well, it's British, so more like black comedy, but there are moments of true humor.  A refreshing reminder that life can be messy and sad, but you can still see the humor and fun in it. 

6. Broadchurch: I'm going to preface this to say I only liked Seasons 1 and 2 about this show. I just couldn't get into Season 3 and abandoned it 2 episodes in. Season 1 is great, season 2 is a continuation of that story. It's the story of a small coastal town in England where a young boy ends up dead on the beach, and the story of the search for answers on how he died. It's a bit slow to start, but the last few episodes just fly!

7. Luther: IDRIS ELBA. That is all I have to say. 

 Image credit: DETAILS magazine

Image credit: DETAILS magazine

Ok, I lied. It's a really freaking awesome cop drama - like edge of your couch good. If you like drama or mystery, you need to watch this show. Luther is not the good guy, but he's not the bad guy either. A wonderfully written, complex character, played to perfection by a smoking hot actor. Ok, I'm done now. 

8. Sherlock: I love this modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Also Benedict Cumberbatch. But seriously, tight writing, short seasons, and each episode is like a little movie. I don't know anyone who hasn't watched this show, but if you are one of those people, kindly remedy this situation immediately. Also, if you find yourself in London, definitely do a Sherlock tour - it's a great way to orient yourself with the city, and they cover scenes from all the adaptations shot in London. 

9. The Crown: If you're a fan of the British monarchy and have watched all the royal weddings in your lifetime, then you need to watch this show. Fun fact: the cast, including the title characters, change every couple of seasons, so season 3 will have a different Queen and Prince Philip than seasons 1 & 2. If you like period pieces, this is a must-watch. 

10. Travels with my Father: Comic Jack Whitehall invites his posh (quite stodgy really) father to join him on trip through Southeast Asia. Hilarity ensues. Actually, I found this show incredibly charming - a unique take on a travel show, you could see the frustration and the love in parent-child relationships. If you love travel, this is a must watch show! 

Any fun shows that you've been watching? Leave them in the comments below!

Top 10 Tips for Airline Travel

I first got on an airplane when I was a year old. Since then I've gotten on many flights to many destinations, and over my 30+ years of travel, I've accumulated some pretty handy tips. I thought I'd take a few minutes to share them with you for your next trip!

 Photo credit:  Julianna Arendash

Photo credit: Julianna Arendash

1. Try and travel with just a carry on and personal item, especially if you have a connecting flight. This will reduce the chance of your bags not traveling with you in the case of delayed flights and tight connections.

2. Always, always travel in shoes that you can run in. See aforementioned delayed flights and tight connections. Also, if you're planning to do a lot of sight seeing, sneakers are your friend, and considering they come in so many cute options these days, you will not be forsaking style for comfort.

3. If you must check luggage, make sure you don't put all your clothes in one checked bag. Meaning, if you're traveling with a spouse or partner or roommate, split your belongings evenly between your checked bag and his/her checked bag. This way if one bag is lost, you will still have clothes. 

4. Things you should definitely have in your carryon: basic toiletries, 2 pairs of underwear, a bathing suit, sleeping clothes, and an entire change of clothing. If you are someone who has to wear makeup, take the VERY BASICS in your carryon. Again, if your bags don't make it, you won't have be completely without options. My favorite travel pillow is this one - a must have on long-haul flights. 

5. Always carry your jewelry and any essential medication in your carry on. Do. not. check. these.

6. Carry your international adapter and your phone charger in your carryon. This international adapter is my favorite because it also has USB slots to charge multiple devices at once.

7. Get a 6 foot USB charging cable. Your outlet may not be right by your bed, especially if you're in an Airbnb in Europe, and a long charging cable will allow you use your device while you lay in bed. My favorites are the Amazon Basics cables - they are way less expensive than the Apple cables and work just as well.

8. Take a picture of the first page of your passport and save it on your phone. If you're in Europe, you are eligible for a VAT tax refund, but you need to show your passport to the retailer to get it. Now, everyone knows it is not a good idea to carry your passport around (leave it locked in your hotel safe), but a picture of if will do for the VAT form.

9. Minimize your wallet. Take no more than 3 cards total (debit and credit) and leave everything else at home! You definitely don't need all your grocery loyalty card!

10. Layer up on the plane (scarf, cardigan, long sleeves over a tank top etc) - it will keep you warm, and you can always shed layers when you get to your destination. Also, see (1) and (2) - if your checked bags are delayed, it's just more clothing that you don't have to buy when you arrive! 

Bon voyage!! 

Bonus: If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, don't waste time applying for TSA Pre Instead, for an extra $15 ($100 total fee) apply for Global Entry, which fast passes you through immigration at most major U.S. airports and includes TSA Pre with it!! Learn more about Global Entry here

Books I Read in January

Inspired by Kate from Greatest Escapist, I joined Goodreads late last year (I know, so late to the party) and since then, I've recommitted to reading. I thought I would share the books I'm reading each month, along with my thoughts on them! Enjoy! 

The Year of Living Danishly: I'm fascinated by stories of people who just pick up their lives and move to a different country, probably because (a) I did that once, and (b) I'm tempted to do it again and move to Amsterdam. In The Year of Living Danishly, writer Helen Russel moves to Denmark from London, when her husband takes a highly coveted role at Lego. Helen and her husband end up living in a small town, so she doesn't have the amenities of Copenhagen, and its quite an adjustment from big city life in London to a more quiet, quaint experience in "Sticksville". The book is broken up into months, and reads like a really fun diary. I now want to visit Denmark and eat real Danish pastry. 

Rating: 4/5; I read the paperback version

The Last Black Unicorn : I decided I wanted to read this book when I saw author Tiffany Haddish on The Daily Show. She was so charming and funny that I immediately decided I needed to read her book. Tiffany had a really tough childhood, which she doesn't shy away from. So even though this is a book by a comedienne, its not a non-stop laugh out loud book. Sure there are some funny stories and she's a funny person, but you will not be laughing the whole time. This book is written like a collection of short stories from her life, and if I'm being honest, the stories toward the end of the book are not quite as well written as those in the first half. Perhaps its because she's tackling particularly difficult material (she married, divorced, re-married and re-divorced her ex-husband) but they just don't seem as well constructed as the other stories. Regardless, an interesting look into the life of someone who makes it in Hollywood!

Rating: 3.5/5, I listened to the audiobook on Audible, read by author Tiffany Haddish

Trevor Noah born a crime

Born a Crime: This had been on my list since it was published and I finally got around to it in January. I decided to go the audiobook route on this one because it was read by the author Trevor Noah, and I absolutely LOVE his brand of intelligent, thoughtful social commentary through comedy. Again, if you're expecting to laugh out loud the whole time, this is not the book for you. Rather this is the story of Trevor's life growing up in South Africa. Trevor was born during apartheid, to a strong woman who decided to be a single mother by choice. Trevor quickly discovered the trick to surviving in tough conditions - using language and blending in like a chameleon. There are some really really funny stories, but most of all, this book is a loving tribute to his mother. It is so well written that you will do yourself a grave disservice if you miss out on this book. The audiobook is even better. 

Rating: 5/5, I listened to this one on Audible read by author Trevor Noah

Modern LoversThis is a warm comforter of a book - cozy, comforting, not too dramatic - an enjoyable, entertaining read that moves pretty quickly. This is the story of 3 college friends who met at Oberlin (oh hey, Northeast Ohio reference) and move to Brooklyn, NY, and live just around the corner from each other. Their college band was a one-hit wonder, and now several years later, Hollywood wants do a biopic on the 4th band member, who died of a drug overdose. The story moves quickly, and I could honestly see this a short season TV show, similar to Friends from College

Rating: 4/5, I listened to this one using Libby via my public library!

What have you been reading that you've loved?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase using any of the links in this post, I receive a tiny fee for the referral. 

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

If this is your first time here, Hello!!! I'm Shibani. 

For the rest of you - hey friends, great to see you again. 

To catch you up on the short story of my life - I was born in Mumbai, India, and moved to the U.S. as an adult, attending Miami University. My education was in economics, and after a year in sales, I moved to Cleveland to marry my college boyfriend, Nick. Fast forward some years, and I've been living in Cleveland for 14 years, with Nick and our 3 adopted rescue boxers - Clair, Webster and Reggie. My day job is with KeyBank, as an Initiative Development Manager focused on Business Development Strategy, and in 2015, I started not one, but TWO businesses. One, you're already familiar with - my online jewelry boutique, which of course, is also why you're here. The second, is a blogger collective that aims to amplify and elevate the voices of the women of Northeast Ohio - She In The CLE

So the super abridged version aside, here are 10 things you may not know about me. 

1. When I was younger, I really really REALLY wanted to try out for the Miss India pageant. However, I moved to the U.S. before I reached the eligible age for tryout - I never moved back, and got married at 23 and was promptly inedible again. I think it was just because I really love tiaras.

2. I was a fairly decent tennis player as a kid - I was ranked #3 in the Under 10 category at one point. I haven't picked up a racket in years, but I'm fully confident that it would take me no time at all to get back into it. Come to think of it, I think I may just get back into tennis this year!

3. I love cameras and I love public speaking. I've been a "model" for a number of local businesses including Destination Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art, KeyBank, Yellowcake, Studio Chartreuse, Deboe Studio, and so many others. I think people like to "cast" me in their photoshoots because they know I will say yes! My dream is to have my own TV show - topic TBD.

4. I've had 2 celebrity encounters in my life. The first was the time I stood behind Alec Baldwin at Raegan airport in the security line. Alec Baldwin was very slow going through security, and he didn't go through any magical VIP line. The second was the time Donnie Wahlberg touched my hand at an NKOTB concert - we made eye contact.

5. I am very messy. VERY messy.

 Photo credit:  Suzuran Photography

Photo credit: Suzuran Photography

6. I have 6 tattoos, not including permanent eyeliner. I fantasize about getting a half or full sleeve down my right arm. 

7. I am convinced that I have undiscovered talents - its part of the reason I continue to try new things because I might just discover a new talent!! 

8.  I am an only child, and I was an only grandchild for the first nine years of my life, but I never felt lonely because I'm an extreme extrovert. Most of the my real life friends in Cleveland are friendships that started on social media. 

9. I didn't learn to drive until I was 21, and I failed my driving test 3 times before I finally passed it.

10. I fantasize about doing a project related to Indian food.