Inside the art of making hand-painted cookies

Back in May of this year, I got the opportunity to feature the pop culture-themed treats of Korean-American baker Judy Kim in a POP! article. Since that time, Kim has continued to hone her skill in baking, making more jaw-droppingly beautiful works of art in the form of cookies.

Just take a look at her recent baked goods featuring US President-elect Joe Biden and US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

She even made one in honor of the late Ruth Bader-Ginsburg.

Because of this, I caught up with Kim regarding her process for making the cookies, the inspiration behind some of her designs, and her advice for aspiring bakers worldwide. Here’s what she had to say about it. 

Making custom-designed cookies can be tedious but it’s an activity she enjoys

Just by looking at the detail put into each cookie, you would know that Kim devotes a lot of time and effort into making each one look perfect. And working full-time in the medical field, it can definitely be very time-consuming and tiring–but it’s one activity she seems to enjoy. 

“The hardest part about creating cookies is probably all the time-involved. Custom cookies are very labor-intensive! Personally, I am a full-time practicing physician, so I make cookies on the side, and I can definitely lose some sleep over them!” she explained. 

She also shared how many of her hand-painted cookies can take two or more hours to make, depending on the level of detail. And among her most tedious creations would have to be her Mandalorian-inspired cookies. 

“The Mandalorian was probably 4 hours or more in total: [this includes] baking, creating multiple layers, piping royal icing, and hand-painting.”

But through it all, she seems to find fulfillment in baking and continues to put out great designs, as evidenced by her Instagram posts. 

She was very inspired when she made her Parasite-themed cookies

Kim admits that many of her pop culture-themed cookies were made upon the requests of family members and friends. But the Parasite cookies were something special for her as it was made to celebrate the film’s momentous win in the 2020 Academy Awards (also known as The Oscars). 

Moreover, she was very happy to know that her friends also appreciated her movie-themed baked goods. 

“I definitely found the Parasite cookies really resonated with my Korean friends, and it’s great to celebrate special moments like this!” she exclaimed.

View this post on Instagram

Woooooo @parasitemovie !!!

A post shared by Judy (@judyscookies) on

Indeed, her Parasite-inspired cookies seem to be the perfect treat to celebrate the special occasion. And I’m pretty sure even Director Bong Joon Ho would be proud of this specially-designed creation.

Her advice to aspiring bakers: “Be as creative as possible!” 

Kim surprised many of her loved ones when she started making these custom-designed cookies. 

“I think many of them were surprised because I started making cookies only about a year ago as a hobby and most of them do not [even] know that I have an artistic background,” she recalled.  

Despite their initial response to her baking, Kim continued to hone her skills and now, she has made a countless number of beautifully-designed cookies. 

Through her experience in making these hand-painted baked goods, she shares this piece of advice for aspiring bakers worldwide: 

“My advice for people who would like to make custom cookies is to start with the basics (such as finding a good sugar cookie and royal icing recipe) and feel free to be as creative as possible! The cookie-making community on social media is incredibly gracious and that is how I learned myself, by asking questions and practicing.” 


You can see Judy Kim’s full set of creations on her Instagram

Here’s what I learned about making miniatures

I first started making these miniature rooms when my friend Cath showed me the living room diorama she made as a gift to my mother. At that moment, I was so amazed by how detailed her miniature creation was–from its carefully-constructed furniture to its highly-detailed pieces. And I knew that I would like to try this project on myself. 

Fast forward to today, I have made a total of three miniature rooms and houses. 

My first project was a living room set, complete with a sofa, a cofee table, and some cupcakes.
The second one I made was a windmill house with a small shop on the side. You can watch a close-up video of this here.
My third and latest project was a pink bedroom designed with a floral dresser, a tea set, and a double deck bed. You can watch a close-up video of this here.

Now, I do admit I am still far from being a “miniature expert”. But I would like to share the things I learned from creating these projects, in case any of you would like to try this as a hobby. 

So, here are a few tips you might want to know about before working on your first DIY miniature kit:

Purchase DIY miniature kits from established online shops or websites 

This is quite possibly the most important tip I can give you and let me tell you why… So, when I decided that I wanted to make these miniature set-ups, I purchased a few kits from random sellers on Lazada and Shopee. Since it was cheaper there, I thought I was getting a good deal and saving money. But let me tell you, the kits I bought had a lot of missing parts–to the point that I had to improvise on some of the details. 

In hindsight, I realize that it might have been better to spend a little more money on DIY miniature kits that have complete materials rather than save a few bucks on kits with missing parts. 

And if I were to recommend some online sellers, I highly suggest you check out and purchase from either Lil Haven PH or Miniature MNL. They provide a complete set of materials and are even very eager to assist if you have questions about their items. 

Always have extra glue on hand 

Another experience I had from purchasing random DIY kits online was that the glue provided was dried up and not usable. Fortunately, I had extra glue on hand so that situation was easily remedied. 

However, this instance reminded me that it helps to have another tube of glue on hand, especially when the one provided to you by the seller is defective. 

Plus, the extra amount of glue may also be useful in further securing the wooden pieces of your project. 

Tweezers and electrical tape are also essential items for miniature-making

Most (if not all) of these DIY miniature kits contain electrical wires with small bulbs that you can attach to the walls and lamps of your projects. Given this, you will need some electrical tape on hand to connect the wires together and light up your room.

I created a GIF to show how the wires can light up your miniature house or room once it’s connected to the battery pack.

Another tool you may also need to have prepared is a pair of tweezers. This will allow you to easily grab those very small pieces and glue them together. And if your first DIY miniature project is as tiny and as intricate as the windmill house I made, then you are definitely going to need your tweezers beside you as you continue on crafting.

This is how small and intricate the pieces were. So, I definitely made use of tweezers to pick up, hold, and glue the items together.

Remember that it may not turn out perfect… and that’s okay 

If you were blessed by the arts and crafts gods with masterclass miniature-making abilities, then you might want to just skip this point. But if you’re like me, a regular crafter, then you might agree that there may be times when your projects don’t turn out as you expected.

Perhaps, there may be times when you still see visible remnants of glue on your diorama?  Or you may even find some pieces of fabric fraying from your furniture pieces? 

If you see these imperfections, don’t fret. Mistakes are always a part of the process. All you can do really is learn from them and adopt these lessons on your next project. Who knows, maybe with time, you will end up being an expert miniature craftsman!  

Don’t be pressured to finish it, just have fun crafting

One of my friends who also bought a DIY miniature kit shared with me that she felt a bit pressured seeing the overwhelming number of pieces she had to assemble. Understandably so, it can be a bit distressing having to think about all the things you have to cut and glue together to form the furniture. So if there’s one thing I can advise, it’s this–start with the easiest piece and work from there.   

Sure, the process can be tedious and time-consuming but that’s ultimately where the fun of crafting is! And I promise you, after finishing one of these projects, you’ll feel slightly more accomplished than you had before.

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Additionally, if you’re a beginner in making miniatures, I suggest trying the smaller rooms first. The first one I ever made was a 17 x 15 x 5.5cm living room that allowed me to get the feel of what it was like to make miniatures. 

This is how the 7 x 15 x 5.5cm living room looks like and it’s perfect for beginners!

Consider altering the design to fit your interests 

Now, this tip is something you might like to consider if you want it a bit more personalized. Instead of using the pictures provided in the kit, you can change it up by printing out your own and placing them in the diorama. Or maybe, you can even choose to change up the color of the walls by painting on them with acrylic paint. The possibilities you can make are endless when it comes down to it! 

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Hopefully these tips will help you in your next project. And remember, have fun crafting!

What I learned from the ‘In Larger Freedom’ webinar: An article contribution from Krizza Cernechez

Foreword from Cesca Militar (owner of the website):

Hi everyone! As you can already tell from the title, today’s blog is different from the rest of my other entries as it was not written by me.

This is a special case as I don’t normally accept article contributions on my page, however, I think Krizza Cernechezs thoughts on her recent attendance of the ‘In Larger Freedom’ webinar is one worth sharing.

Given this, this website would like to share the following disclaimers:

All thoughts and opinions shared on this particular blog post are that of the contributor (Cernechez) and does not represent the ideas of the website owner and blogger (Cesca Militar).

– The article was posted as is, which means there was no editorial intervention from the website owner.

This is an article contribution to the page, which means no monetary value was received by the owner for the posting of this entry.

I hope you can check out what Krizza Cernechez has to say!

***

‘What I learned from the In Larger Freedom webinar’: An article contribution from Krizza Cernechez

I am deeply honored to be a part of such a milestone and to be able to listen to our leaders, the trusted advisors in Public International Law. With this prestigious webinar, I was able to grasp valuable information that is relevant to the challenges we face today as a community. 

From the title itself, “In Larger Freedom”, we know that we can draw a large number of possible topics and values from it. Yet, I’m just going to chime in on a few things that left a mark on me during the lecture. 

The cornerstone of International Law

According to AMB Enrique Manalo, the United Nations (UN) is considered to be the world’s government. But through its 75 years, we could see that it is not a perfect journey as the organization faces challenges that can cripple them and others quite easily. Manalo highlighted this by saying, “We are here not to celebrate, but to take action.”   This further shows that the declaration of the 75th anniversary of the UN reiterates the call for reform and instills new life on the Security Council. It’s the perfect opportunity to start a conversation on the future of International Law. 

The knowledge gap

“To honor the 75th year charter, we must democratize the information and appreciation,” Atty. Maria Luisa Isabel Rosales said. Still, people don’t have any idea about the true service of the UN and as we all know, knowledge is the primary driver of growth in economic development. Therefore, our apprehension is needed in our participation and contribution to the UN.  Let us step up to be where we’re needed to be by further examining its rules, mechanisms, and accessibility.

Success is not merely perfection        

Although the unique exceptional powers of the council in maintaining peace has a limited result, its effort through the years can already be considered a success since it continues to move forward with its responsibilities as both the world’s government and the impartial voice of all states. This makes the UN charter a special treaty–one that prevails with its obligations under any circumstance.

A look back on my past celebrity interviews and encounters

NOTE: All of the article and video links here are from the POP! website and Facebook page. This post, therefore, serves only as a summary of my projects in the company as its former Content Creator.

During my time working at INQUIRER.net‘s pop culture channel POP! (also known as INQPOP!), I’ve been given the incredible opportunity to be able to interact with some of today’s established and up-and-coming artists. (Something that I will forever be grateful for during my employment there)

To reminisce on those fun times, I’ve rounded up all of the interviews and encounters I’ve had during my stint there. Most of them are interviews with celebrities and fan meeting reels (I was the AV writer for these clips), though I have one on-camera interview that I hope you all would enjoy.

Here’s the rundown of my past celebrity interviews and encounters:

Jess Connelly

Back in 2017, I had the chance to interview Filipino-Irish singer Jess Connelly on her role as the first-ever MTV Buddy in MTVph. It was there that she shared details on her new title and discussed her show called “MTV Fuel”.

You can read my full interview with her here: bit.ly/3emkAq3

Kento Yamazaki

Two years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to speak with Japanese actor Kento Yamazaki for his role in the television series “Kiss That Kills”. It was there that I was able to learn more about his preparation for the show as well as how his character related to his personality.

Moreover, I was able to attend his fan meeting in Hong Kong, wherein I got to see him interact and play games with his fans.

You can read my interview with Kento Yamazaki here: bit.ly/35ZerfG
You can also read my event coverage article for the Kento Yamazaki fan meeting here: bit.ly/324eQwu

Zach Herron from the American band ‘Why Don’t We’

Zach Herron was the first American artist I got the chance to interview and by far, he was the most memorable one. He was so down-to-earth and very enthusiastic that I honestly couldn’t help but think our chat seemed more like two people catching up rather than an artist-to-journalist type of interview.

You can read my interview with Zach Herron here: bit.ly/34PelrI
You can also read my 2019 event coverage article of Why Don’t We’s ‘8 Letters’ Philippine concert here: bit.ly/382CsFx

Christopher

Also, back in 2018, I got to interview the Danish singer Christoper on his new song then called “Bad”. He also discussed with me his music career and his past experience visiting the Philippines.

I especially enjoyed how candid he got when sharing with me why he chose the name “Christopher” as his screen name in the music industry.

You can read my interview with Christopher here: bit.ly/2GpCo7m

Ji Soo

For this interview, I was with the video team in recording the responses of Korean actor Ji Soo. In this Valentine’s Day special, he shared the traits he looks for in a soulmate and what Filipino words he remembers during the filming of his movie “Seoul Mates”.

You can read my interview with Ji Soo here: goo.gl/hiB2zJ
Or you can watch the video interview I did with the POP! team here: bit.ly/3kNS6bm

Anne Curtis

During the opening of BLK Cosmetics in Alabang Town Center, I was able to speak to Anne Curtis about her special message to fans, in relation to the store’s opening in the South.

You can read my interview with Anne Curtis here: bit.ly/2Jz4uy7

Kat Graham

Before Kat Graham graced our television screens with Christmas movies like the “Holiday Calendar” and “Operation Christmas” (which is set to release this month), she was the voice of April O’ Neil in the Nickelodeon show “The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

And in this interview, she discussed what it’s like to be a character that can inspire a generation of young girls.

You can read my interview with Kat Graham here: bit.ly/35SEANe

Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan

In this interview, Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan talked about “Whiskey Cavalier”, a show that’s about two opposing government agents who are forced to work together in a mission to save the world.

You can read my interview with Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan here: bit.ly/320Kuur

Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell

When Netflix first announced that the “Gossip Girl” alum Penn Badgley was coming to Manila with “Pretty Little Liars” actress Shay Mitchell, I was absolutely excited! And thankfully, I was assigned to attend their press conference in Manila for their Netflix show “You”.

You can read my event coverage of the ‘You’ press conference here: bit.ly/34LJ8ps

Ryan O’ Connell

Ryan O’ Connell was quite possibly the most insightful celebrity that I got the chance to interview. His responses to my questions were so profound that I really learned a lot from my brief conversation with him.

And my absolute favorite quote from my interview with him is this: “Being like everyone else doesn’t get you a Netflix show.”

You can read my interview with Ryan O’ Connell here: bit.ly/35TT3IN

Two Door Cinema Club

During this interview, Irish band Two Door Cinema Club discussed what it was like making their fourth studio album, “False Alarm”.

You can read my interview with Two Door Cinema Club here: bit.ly/3ehq2dS

Jesse McCartney

First things first, I was (and still am) a huge Jesse McCartney fan! So to be able to be given the chance to get to interview him twice and watch his concert was definitely a surreal moment for me.

But out of the two conversations I had with Jesse McCartney, the second one was definitely the most memorable for me since that was the first time I ever had to do an interview on-camera.

You can watch my video interview with Jesse McCartney here: bit.ly/3oPIYVN
You can also read my 2018 interview with Jesse McCartney on his ‘Wasted’ tour here: bit.ly/2TKOuLg
Or you can read my 2019 event coverage of his concert in Manila here: bit.ly/3kKB5yC

Jannine Weigel

Before Thai-German singer Jannine Weigel performed at the first-ever Nickelodeon SlimeFest in Asia, she spoke to POP! about her career in music and how she was excited to meet her Filipino fans.

You can read my interview with Jannine Weigel here: bit.ly/3jR20aC

Dallas Roberts, Debby Ryan, and Gloria Diaz

I had the very special opportunity to be able to interview “Insatiable” stars Debby Ryan and Dallas Roberts, as well as Miss Universe 1969 winner Gloria Diaz, to promote the second season of their Netflix show.

You can read my interviews with them here: bit.ly/2HMULnu
Or you can watch the video highlights made by the POP! team and I on the 2019 ‘Insatiable’ fan meeting in Manila: bit.ly/3eoXXRV
You can also check out my teaser article about season 2 of ‘Insatiable’ here: bit.ly/3oIH1e1

Henry Cavill

The last international celebrity encounter I had in 2019 was in The Witcher fan meeting with Henry Cavill.

As a fan of Mr. Cavill himself, I was over-the-moon to be able to see him up close in person. And honestly, I’m still not over this encounter!

I even framed the poster Henry Cavill and ‘The Witcher’ showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich signed during The Witcher fan meeting in Manila.

You can read about my encounter with Henry Cavill here: bit.ly/2PUHDOp
Or you can watch the video highlights the POP! team and I made for his 2019 fan meeting here: bit.ly/2GjzQYe
You can also check out the article I made about The Witcher season one: bit.ly/2siWSHA

Eloisa

In my very last interview for POP!, I got to join the video team to document my friend–the “Queen of Busking in the Philippines” – Eloisa Jayloni for an episode of POP! Bio. During this POP! exclusive segment, I got to ask her questions about her experience busking in Russia, as well as, her advice for people who would like to try busking as an avenue to express themselves.

You can watch the POP! Bio episode with Eloisa here: bit.ly/3oVhIFJ

Five true crime and horror podcasts to listen to this Halloween

As many of us already know, Halloween is the annual occasion where you can express your creativity by dressing up in your most outrageous, provocative, or absurd costume.

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It’s the only event wherein you can justify eating boatloads of candies since you (or your kid) have worked hard trick-or-treating for them. And it’s quite possibly one of the only times you can enjoy a series of horror movies and television specials released in honor of this spooky celebration.

All of these things put together is what makes Halloween such a special event for kids and kids-at-heart. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the things we look forward to on this holiday have been put on hold. 

For instance, the large costume gatherings we might’ve been planning to attend have likely been cancelled. Because of this, many of us would have to settle for video chat rooms to commemorate the “day of horror”–something that doesn’t feel quite like an actual party.  

Trick-or-treating has also been banned in certain areas of the metro–leaving many children candy-less on Halloween.

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Although these restrictions can put a damper on your plans, it doesn’t mean the end of the Halloween festivities. In fact, there are still a few things you can do in the comforts of your home to celebrate the scary occasion. And one of those things is listening to true crime and horror podcasts that will leave you either frightened or entertained by the stories told there. 

To help you get started on what could be an epic podcast listening party (at home), I’ve rounded up some of my favourite true crime and horror podcasts that you might want to check out. 

Crime Junkie Podcast 

If there’s one thing that can frighten a person, it’s the idea that someone can kidnap, kill, or murder another fellow human being. In the Crime Junkie podcast, hosts Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat discuss at length the details of these true crime incidents. It is through their discussion that listeners can gain insight to the crime, understand the possible motives of the suspects, and elicit discussion amongst themselves about the reality of the situation. 

What is especially great about Crime Junkie is that it also discusses cases that have not had the same media attention as others. They even add links to their website and social media accounts so that listeners–who may have a lead on the case or could add something more to the investigation–can reach out to the proper authorities. 

Moreover, they share “Crime Junkie life rules” that help ordinary people, like us, spot danger when it approaches. Their “Be weird. Be rude. Stay safe” mantra has definitely reminded me to be more wary of my surroundings. 

You can listen to them on their website, Apple Podcast, or Spotify. 

Serial Killers Podcast by the Parcast Network 

Much like Crime Junkie, this podcast also discusses true crime cases. But the difference between the two is that this one focuses solely on the stories of serial killers, whereas Crime Junkie includes topics like missing persons, unsolved mysteries, and even conspiracies. 

The Serial Killers podcast typically devotes two episodes per killer. The first episode often looks back at the individual’s childhood–examining his or her past and how it inspired their modus operandi (MO) for killing in the future. The second episode then discusses the killers’ crimes and how they later got caught by authorities. 

Now, what makes Serial Killers so interesting is that it delves into the minds of these notorious people by offering psychological studies to explain their actions. It is through these well-researched explanations that listeners gain a better understanding of these killers’ minds. 

You can listen to them on Stitcher or on Spotify

Let’s Not Meet–A True Horror Podcast 

Let’s Not Meet gathers real-life stories from fans and retells them in a such a way that you feel like you’re witnessing the situation firsthand. And that’s thanks to host Andrew Tate’s charismatic reading of these stories.

Listeners will literally feel chills go down their spine as they hear stories of psycho exes, strange stalkers, and even crazy house burglaries. Honestly, this podcast may even turn out to be the perfect scare you need for the Halloween season! 

Additionally, Tate sometimes changes up his normal podcast scheme and invites guests to read some of the stories. This gives fans a somewhat different feel as the other hosts offer a new kind of listening experience.

You can listen to Let’s Not Meet on their website, Apple Podcast or Spotify

Radio Rental Podcast

Similar to Let’s Not Meet, Radio Rental also gets their scary stories from the real-life experiences of people. However, what makes this podcast unique is that it has a fictional character as its host. 

The podcast is hosted by video store owner Terry Carnation (voiced by The Office actor Rainn Wilson), who welcomes you into his store called Radio Rental. In each episode, you will be offered to listen to tapes from his exclusive collection, which features the actual audio recordings of people who have been through horrifying, real-life situations. Some of these stories include near-death experiences, possible paranormal sightings, and even an an actual encounter with a serial killer. These stories will leave you on the edge of your seats, anxiously waiting for what would happen next! 

You can listen to them on their website or on Spotify

Full Body Chills 

Now, unlike the previous two horror podcasts mentioned, Full Body Chills features only fictional paranormal stories. 

Narrated by Crime Junkie host Ashley Flowers, the stories in this podcast are creepy to say the least. And couple that with Flowers’s emotional reading and the sound effects, you’ve got a scary audio to listen to in the company of your family or friends. 

Lastly, since it’s going to be Halloween, the Audio Chuck team–which is the group behind this podcast–recently released more episodes for your listening pleasure this season. 

You can listen to Full Body Chills on Stitcher or Spotify

*NOTE: This article is not sponsored by Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or by any of the podcasts or audio platforms mentioned here. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of these podcasts.

This online shop proves that vintage wear will never go out of style

Much like technology, fashion evolves through time. For instance, back in the 90s, people couldn’t get enough of bell-bottom jeans, baby shirts, and all-denim ensembles. But this time around, you would rarely see people donning that kind of get up.

Now, it seems that wearing the “basics” is what’s trending–from simple colour-block shirts to the quintessential sweatpants. (Case-in-point, the new Yeezy clothing line) 

It’s true that fashion continues to change as the years go by. But there are some essential pieces that seem to never go out of style. And among them is vintage wear

From the puff sleeves to the long, flared out skirt, vintage wear defined the 60s through the 80s. And even though it’s been decades since that time, the style never seems to go out of date. In fact, you would still see celebrities and  other prominent figures sporting the look during special events. 

Princess Beatrice wore her grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s 1960s gown on her wedding last July 17, 2020.
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy

But what makes the style so timeless? 

Well, for one thing, it gives off a casual yet chic vibe. For example,  wearing a button-down blouse makes you look more put together than just the regular crew neck shirt. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

And second, it’s a style that can be fused with a more modern look. Think about it, you can pair a puff-sleeved blouse with some denim shorts for a more effortless, semi-casual look, or even wear a flared skirt with a graphic tank top for a more unique style.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless when you think about it!

To prove this point, Pampanga-based shop Style for LESS PH shows you how to combine vintage wear with a more modern look. 

With their second collection, the owners remind people how fashion can be fused together for the perfect #OOTD. Here are a few examples of the styles you can do with the items in their new lineup. 

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC

Moreover, these items are super affordable. Priced at 150 Pesos per blouse, you can definitely get your desired look without breaking the bank.

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So, if you’re interested to know more about their collection, click here to open the album. You definitely won’t regret the purchase!

NOTE: This is not a paid, branded post, which means the author does not receive any money from the clicks or purchases on this article. This article was made in an effort to help a friend better advertise her products and online store.   

Three ‘perfectly splendid’ reasons why you should watch ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’

Warning: This article contains spoilers from the Netflix series. 

When Netflix first released The Haunting of Hill House back in 2018, it garnered rave reviews from critics and viewers alike. So, it’s not surprising that a lot of people were eager to see what the creators can come up with for the television series’s succeeding season. And after two years of waiting, the streaming website finally answered the fans’ prayers and released The Haunting of Bly Manor on their platform.

As many fans already know, the much-awaited second season is not a direct sequel to Hill House, as it follows a different set of characters and features a new plot. And this time around, the cast face another set of menacing ghostly threats in Bly Manor.

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Its nine-episode run will leave you in a flurry of emotions–from being startled by the spirits lurking in the shadows to being in tears by the time you reach the last scene. It’s definitely a must-watch series for anyone who appreciates a well-written and well-crafted horror story. 

To further convince you of this, I’ve listed down three–as Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) would say– “perfectly splendid” reasons why you would want to watch The Haunting of Bly Manor.    

The show doesn’t sacrifice good storytelling for obvious jump scares  

Through the years, there have been countless horror movies and television shows that heavily relied on the “scary aspect” of the plot rather than its storytelling. Because of this, a lot of the films in this genre end up having unnecessary jump scares that distract the viewer from actually appreciating the tale behind it. 

But Bly Manor differs from these movies and shows in the way that it doesn’t sacrifice its story just for the scare factor. In fact, it frightens its audience by using ghosts as background elements–making the story the focal point of the whole series. 

And with regards to the show’s storytelling, it was seamless and intriguing enough to keep viewers, like me, glued to the screens of their devices. I particularly liked how the series contained a lot of foreshadowing elements that would elicit speculation and discussion from viewers as to what would happen next. This was evident in the fifth episode, wherein we come to understand why Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller) continues to see cracks on random places in the house. 

Moreover, every character was well-written and given a backstory that could very well explain their complexities. From Viola’s (Kate Siegel) violent past to Peter Quint’s (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) traumatic childhood, their histories have been thoroughly narrated so you would understand why the characters were driven by their actions.  

The ghosts are more than just spiritual entities

In an interview with EW, show creator Mike Flanagan shared that he wanted to present the “ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds that we carry around.” This brings a deeper meaning to the ghosts shown in the series as they have evolved into manifestations of the characters’ emotional well-beings. And this can be seen through Dani (Victoria Pedretti) whose guilt resulted in the creation of her ex fiance Eddie’s (Roby Atal) ghost.

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At the heart of the show is a story about love  

While watching the whole series, you’ll be met with different love stories which includes Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) and Peter Quint’s (Jackson-Cohen) tumultuous relationship, Hannah Grose (Miller) and Owen’s (Rahul Kohli) friendship-turned-romance, and Dani Clayton (Pedretti) and Jamie’s (Amelia Eve) endearing union. However, it is Dani and Jamie’s love story that will make your hearts melt by the end of the series.

Because it is through their love that Dani chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice–to become the lady of the lake so that Viola (Siegel) can never kill another human being again. This selfless act of love on Dani’s part leads to the series’s ultimate conclusion that shows the storyteller (Carla Gugino) being the older version of Jamie. 

Although the show is primarily classified as horror, this tragic romance is the one thing that made the story worth telling and one that has left many viewers in a puddle of their own tears.

*NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other streaming platform or program. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of the show.