Monthly Archives: July 2018

The Hollow — Netflix Original Cartoon Review

The Hollow is a new Netflix-original animated series produced by Vancouver’s Slap Happy Cartoons. And no, it doesn’t fall under the target demographic of Pre-K or Adult—as most Netflix-original series do. In fact, it has a Y-7 rating, which isn’t groundbreaking, but is definitely an outlier alongside the platform’s slim cartoon offerings.


Allow me to start by saying that The Hollow is an entertaining 10-episode ride. I genuinely recommend it, despite its few shortfalls, and here’s why:


Its premise.

The Hollow emanates mystery right from its very first episode. The series begins with three teens waking up trapped in a bunker with no recollection of who one another is, and more surprisingly, who they themselves are. Their job is to collaborate to avoid danger within the mysterious world they wake up in, and piece together the mystery of: where they are, how they ended up where they are, and how to return to their normal world—where ever this may be. Within the first minute of the series, the audience is lured through the mystery of the above questions, making viewers more likely to stick around for the ride. The series leaves an impactful first impression that doesn’t hesitate to draw viewers in.


Its world.

A major part of the series’ premise is the journey of discovering where the protagonists are based on their setting. The most confusing piece of the puzzle is that there are various realms which our main team explores. Some examples of these creative settings include: a desert city filled with anthropomorphic bulls, an ice-themed palace home to a gigantic snow monster, an abandoned experimental laboratory containing viles of magical potions—the list goes on, seemingly without limitations. These worlds strongly contrast one another and make for a variety-filled setting that is tied together through an interactive map which grows as the protagonists explore its, nonexistent, boundaries further. It does so in a way that leads audiences to crave more exploration into the other potential regions that can be discovered. Watching the characters interact and adapt to their various environments is half the fun of watching the series.


Its character-driven story.

The Hollow indeed has a strong premise and mysterious story, but the series is driven more so by its characters rather than its plot. Yes, 2/3 characters fall into heavy tropes, and the self-proclaimed leader of the trio doesn’t have the greatest personality, but the series focuses on the characters as a single unit, working together by using each others’ strengths to solve different puzzles and overcome resisting forces. Yes, the promise of uncovering the who, what, and why of their situation is enough to captivate interest, but it’s not enough to carry a viewer to the very end of this 5-hour Netflix binge. Instead, watching the characters adapt to their surroundings and solve problems is what keeps the audience engaged—almost prompting viewers to think of solutions with the main characters.


Although there are many series that provide multiple perspectives so that the viewer understands what is going on on all sides, this series isn’t afraid to keep secrets from the audience; we know what the protagonists know and nothing more. Not only is this uncommon in animated works, but it creates a connection between the audience and the characters in implying that we are along for the ride, and can join in on the attempt to solve problems alongside them.


Now for the not so good:

A major complaint of the series is its portrayal of female characters. Mira is an excellent character who isn’t treated like the typical token female. Rather than focusing on her femininity, the series places her intelligence and knack for solving riddles at her core. There was however, one scene where Mira confessed her feelings to Adam and planted an unsolicited kiss on him (cue trope of the token female being at the center of yet another romance side plot), but they both awkwardly and hilariously brush it off and never acknowledge the act again. This scene was the epitome of teenage angst and although seemed to fall along the lines of stereotypical use of the token female, it instead seemed to act like a slap to the face of the main-guy main-girl romance trope. In this sense, this scene uniquely exemplified Mira’s use in the series as a whole.


Vanessa of the rival team, on the other hand, was a completely different story. The use of her character fell into a pool of problematic stereotypes, which was such a shame as she could have been utilized more smartly. She in conniving, tactful, and merciless—all great traits in an antagonist—however, her main weapon in fooling the other team is flirtation. She essentially strings Kai along, manipulating his budding feelings to her group’s benefit. This is Vanessa’s defining characteristic, and she constantly goes back to using this “technique” to get ahead.


Vanessa is indeed an intelligent and resourceful person, so in stooping to using her “lady prowess” to get what she wants was completely unnecessary. This aspect of her character could have been incorporated much more interestingly, but instead fell into a plethora of negative female tropes.


Speaking of the antagonist team, these characters were quite bland as well. Skeet was interesting in that he appears to be a genuinely caring person who was just a part of a different group, whereas the other two were not very complex in only showing a few distinct character traits and not much else.


Another story element that received a mixed reaction was the ending of the series. Without spoiling too much, the series ends in live action, which is a personal gripe of mine. Mixing animation and live action is not favourable in my opinion, stylistically clashing in a negative way. It made the series feel cheap in that the switch truly made the series’ small budget apparent.


Finally, a point mentioned by YouTuber Norman Dubian (see his review here), as a Netflix-original series, The Hollow is not confined to any rules that traditional broadcasters hold it’s content towards. It could have taken even more risks with its storytelling. But I will personally let this one slide as the series as a whole is steeping in unique.


Overall, the pros of the series well outweigh its cons. The Hollow is a unique cartoon that tries and succeeds to be something different in the realm where originality is becoming difficult to come by. It truly stands out, and I highly recommend it!




It’s aight, to not always be aight


Song; I’m good – Tim Bowman Jr


In summary,


It’s come up a lot in conversations lately with friends, the people around me, in things I’ve been seeing as well; it’s something that I have been dealing with and working on intentionally since probably the beginning of grade twelve.  I don’t have great credentials, but I feel like I should talk about it, just because it’s been everywhere for me, and I do have some things to say, if for nothing else, to help any one of you feel less alone.  The broad umbrella topic I’m going to label it as is honesty, I kind of want to share about what it’s meant for me in my life’s contexts.  Honesty is a huge pillar in my life, and it is one that I’ve worked pretty hard to build.  A lot of my growth, all of it I’d say, as a person (in every facet of life) I think has been fruits out of being completely transparent with myself.  For relationships (romantic and filial), for myself honesty is HUGE in my opinion.  When it comes to me, I’ll have the things I want to pursue, to better, or work to fix, to genuinely progress for those things I have to first address and be vulnerable to where I’m at currently.  It’s okay to not have a clue, to have to figure things out, there is nothing wrong with admitting you’re a trainwreck if that’s what you are in the moment.

Projecting yourself to be better or lesser than you truly are I don’t think serves anything or anyone, and it doesn’t get you anywhere either.  Looking like you have things figured out when you don’t actually, I think is pointless and emptying.  Pushing the hurdles off in fronting to be better than you are, it keeps you from making the decisions that matter in genuinely moving forward.  Things are never going to be perfect, I’ve yet to meet a single perfect person, but I think that is so dang beautiful.  Life is progress/change (in my opinion), the things we experience are meant to be lived through, not played or pretended through.  Whatever we’re experiencing right now is allowed, if for some reason questions and imperfections aren’t, well sucks to suck, because that’s not gonna magically make them go away.  I think yours and my struggles are beautiful, but I know they never feel like it in the moment! I believe in y’all, and me too 🙂


—–xoxo Jade BOIser

The post It’s aight, to not always be aight appeared first on The Songs of Our Lives.

Colour Theory V: Op Art

This week we talked about optical illusions and tried to make our own piece of op art! At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for this assignment as it seemed complicated. So, I decided to try and keep things simple and opted for a twisted take on a checkered pattern. I wanted […]

A Moment of Reflection – Keeping My Head Above Water

Originally photographed in black and white by Toni Frisell
Weeki Wachee Spring Florida, 1947. Toni Frissell (Originally in black and white).

This time of year has always been a moment of reflection and a reminder of the changes that are possible in my life. The months of April and May represent the changes of spring and are also important months of birthday celebration in my family. My own birthday’s in May and because of this, each year for as long as I can remember, I’ve embraced this month as a celebration of my accomplishments and a means to move forward in the coming year. A time to reassess old goals, set new ones, and think about what I have to look forward to. This year is no exception, but this time I’ve found myself agonizing over what I’ve lost and the steps I’ve had to take backwards to accomplish my goals and independence. This is a first for me and a destructive pattern of thought I need to break before it breaks me first. 

A Symbol of New Beginnings

Two years ago, the months of June and July became a symbol of new beginnings for me. After several years of excruciating deliberation, I left my husband of 17 years. This was, without a doubt, the most painful decision I have ever had to make. My children and I moved out of our home, to seek happiness in the only way left imaginable. It was like facing a natural disaster head on, in which so much seemed lost, nothing was guaranteed, and only the most basic of human instincts could guide our every decision and emotion. Feeling completely and utterly lost can only begin to describe the emotions I myself experienced, let alone what my children must have been going through emotionally. I can only thank my loving family, supportive friends, and own stubborn determination for getting us through these first two years!

Tiny New Steps

While July 1st had once been an annual celebration of our national Canadian heritage and our family (our wedding date was July 2nd), on moving day it became something entirely different. As I began making decisions on my own I never imagined I would have to make, I decided that July 1st would forever be a symbol of my strength and independence, rather than a failure of my marriage, family, and long term goals. This has been something I have had to remind myself of, in order to keep moving forward every single morning for the past two years. And when evenings arrive each day and I’m tired or discouraged, I’ve had to remember that each day is a new beginning, a tiny new step in our future. This is easier said than done!

Moments of Suffering and Appreciation

I have cried longer and harder than I ever could have imagined. At times feeling as if my insides would swallow me whole and leave nothing in its wake but a tiny particle of what was once me. I have suffered in anger blaming myself, blaming others, even blaming my previous life for what I must have done to deserve such a punishment! Screaming out in rage, swearing like a trucker (a generalization, I know), running out the door to buy cigarettes, before realizing I don’t even smoke and don’t really want to start! But… craving something, anything to relieve the tension and anger I was experiencing. Suffering exhaustion as I stayed awake hours on end, over compensating with the kids, over studying for exams, obsessively over cleaning, over thinking…acting crazy…but really seeing things clearer than I ever had before…and appreciating, I mean really appreciating every little thing I still had and didn’t need to have to be happy.

Keeping My Head Above Water

More than anything else, I have watched people. And I have begun to realize that life is extremely difficult for everyone. Regardless of lifestyle, money, marriage, and/or single life. No matter who we are, at least once in our miraculous lives, life is going to shit on us, test us, and leave us drained and defeated! And I’ve come to realize that judgement comes way too easily when you’ve never really suffered anything yourself. I’ve begun to see people for who they really are: raw, emotional, vulnerable, but more importantly capable. And yes we all make mistakes, but are capable of learning, growing, and more importantly achieving amazing accomplishments. One has only to put their mind to it and fight like hell to stay above water! 

This year I have accomplished so much on my own and, with the help of others, found such joy in the littlest of things. I have cried immense tears of relief and happiness, danced in celebration of milestones, and laughed with family and friends until my gut and cheeks ached. I have pushed my mind and body to new limits, writing and sweating until exhaustion reached its limits, planning and setting goals for my success, and doing everything humanly possible to survive the battle ahead. 

So this year, my third year living independently, I’m going to continue to not only keep my head above water but fight like hell to rise above the tidal waves and swim for shore. And… I’m going to grab ahold of anyone and everyone in my path who wants to do the same!!!

The post A Moment of Reflection – Keeping My Head Above Water appeared first on nicole james kestila.

June Favourites 2018

Hello Ponderer,

In this post I will be sharing with you thee things I have been loving this month of June! Lets get right to it.

Leah Alexandra Jewellery

I have been following Leah Alexandra Jewellery on Instagram for over a year now and I love their jewellery. Last year my sister got me a pair of onyx earrings and a blue topaz ring from this brand, which I wear all the time. This year we decided to go to their annual sale which took place on the 22nd and 23rd of June. We got a couple of lovely pieces that we have already been wearing. We got matching labradorite rings, a pair of turquoise studs- that I had my eyes on last year, an onyx sing and a pink ruby ring (I think – I can’t confirm as I cannot find this ring on their site anymore).

TV Series: Downton Abbey

I came across this series as I was trying to find something new to watch after watching Cable Girls on Netflix. This TV show is set in England during the 20th century. If you like seeing what life was like for people in England during this time period, this is definitely a must watch. It’s so different from life today. You get to see the struggles women had, trying to find their place in society. You also get a glimpse into what life was like during war.  I believe a movie is currently being filmed for Downton Abbey and I cannot wait to watch it when it comes out.

Makeup: NYX Micro Brow Pencil


I believe that brows are the most important part of my face. They frame the face. I found the NYX Micro Brow Pencil at my local shoppers drugstore and decided to try it out. I have been using it for a few weeks now and absolutely love it. I picked the shade ESPRESSO, however I would consider trying the shade BLACK next time since my brows are fairly dark. It does a great job at filling in my brows. This NYX Micro Brow pencil is a great dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz.

That’s it for the month of June. Check out my May favourites to see what else I have been loving this year. Let me know in the comments section some of your current favourites, I would love to try out some new things!

See you soon,

-Shazia xx


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Colour Theory IV: Colour Blocking

More colour! This week was we continued the exploration of colour with more colour palettes and colour blocking. 1. Cherry Milkshake (Image from Hot For Food‘s Instagram page) This colour palette isn’t as obviously warm or cool as other palettes I’ve looked at as there are lots of pinks with varying temperatures as well as […]

Monthly Goals – July

This will be the second post of my monthly goals series and I am excited to get it started! To be honest, after writing down all my goals and trying to be accountable for them, I don’t feel like I put in my best efforts. I’d like to blame it on the cold windy weather, …

The post Monthly Goals – July appeared first on Lafleur Lifestyle.

Sweet Tooth Faves

I’m that girl that will carry around candy in her purse to eat at any moment of the day. This was a quick snapshot one day after I had stocked up! As much as I enjoy eating healthy, I have the largest sweet tooth ever! I have tried many different types of sweets, but I …

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