Chick Chat: Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down Edition

Fall is around the corner, which means number 2 pencils, sweater weather, raking and LOTS of conversation about the merits or evils of pumpkin spice anything.

So in the spirit of loves and hates (or likes and don’t-much-care-fors), let’s share what we’re currently ranking as thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Movies, TV shows, food, drink, types of socks—anything is up for discussion. Let the thumbing begin!

Lisa Q. Mathews

Here in NH we are bracing ourselves for THE RETURN OF THE LEAF PEEPERS. That’s right, ’tis almost foliage season, all the local restaurants and bars are packed, and I can already feel the increasing chill in the evenings, the creeping earlier sundowns, and those infernal crickets chirping *extra* loudly. (Wasn’t it just the other day I complained about the intense heat? Answer: yes.) It’s also Town Fall Festival & Touch a Truck time here as well. Roll me up in cider doughnuts, pretzels, whoopie pies and beer.  Our town is known for its Schnitzelfest. With luck, I’ll remember the right weekend for the pumpkin boat races (yep, they hollow out giant pumpkins and literally paddle/race them in the rivers). Why waste a perfectly good pumpkin jettisoning it from a trebuchet? (Yeah, they do that, too.) I’ll admit, I often flop on the couch instead and zone out in front of the Pats game. TV show return I’m most looking forward to? Season 2 of Big Sky, starting Sept. 30. Don’t miss it, crime fans! It’s on plain ol’ ABC, so no excuse.

 Ellen Byron

Since we’re empty nesters and have more time than we used to, my husband is on a mission to have us take advantage of this golden age of TV and watch more shows. (I tend to be glued to my computer, which isn’t fair to him, so I support his quest.)

A thumbs-up to Atlantic Crossing, which we watched through the PBS Passport app. It’s an historical miniseries about the Norwegian crown princess’s exile in the U.S. with her children during WWII and her relationship with FDR. Pretty compelling, although I did laugh at the Eastern European (it was shot there) mansion they tried to pass off as being in Maryland. Other thumbs up go to two HBO Max offerings, Hacks – if Jean Smart doesn’t win an Emmy, I will lead a protest – and our current appointment viewing show, The Other Two.

A thumbs-in-the-middle for The White Lotus. While I cannot wait for the return of those billionaires I love to hate on Succession, I was less enthralled by the one-percenters of the Mike White miniseries. But wow, was it pretty to look at, having been shot entirely at the Grand Wailea in Maui.

Leslie Karst

I’m gonna talk gardens here. Autumn is the time of year when my pole beans are reaching as high as Jack’s beanstalk, my tomatoes cover every inch of counter space in the kitchen, and I have so many cucumbers that I could live off pickles for an entire year. Which is a big thumbs up! I adore fagiolini al burro (see here for recipe) as well as pickles (recipe here), and I never tire of eating homegrown tomatoes with cottage cheese day-after-day for lunch.

The Downside: Once they’re pau, as they say in Hawai‘i (all finished), all those dead vines need dealing with—not to mention all the fallen leaves from my trees that need raking, the citrus that needs pruning, and all the other whacking back that the coming of fall necessitates. (I spent several hours this morning cutting back a rosemary plant that had grown taller than me.) But hey, it’s good exercise, so after working in the garden all morning, I can justify that extra dollop of mayo with my tomato-and-cottage cheese lunch!

Kathleen Valenti

Sometimes I feel like the Queen of Unpopular Opinions. Seasonal cases in point: I love the aforehinted-at pumpkin spice lattes and I’m not so crazy about fashion boots. When I turn the calendar to September, I start craving the drink that many people seem to eschew. Are PSLs super-sweet? Well, yeah. But since I eat CoolWhip with chocolate syrup, perhaps I’m not the best judge. As for fashion (read: not necessarily snow-ready) boots, I always find myself confused. Do I tuck my jeans in or leave them out? What about boot-cut jeans? And what’s the deal with booties? Do semi-boots mean they’re best for semi-cold weather? So many questions, so many blisters. One thing I know I like: that magical time between Good Golly It’s Hot and Gee I Miss Feeling My Toes and Fingers. Fall is a magical season, and I’m here for every minute of it.

Jennifer Chow


  • Cream Pan strawberry croissants (let’s eke out the strawberry season!) Strawberry Croissants
  • Comfy long sleeves and hoodies
  • National Cozy Mystery Day (September 15) plus Agatha Christie’s birthday 🎂 and shameless plug: MIMI LEE GETS A CLUE is on the nomination list in the Own Voices category for the first-ever Cozy Escape Awards happening that day. How to vote for free? Glad you asked!


  • Last-minute back to school shopping lists and hectic fall schedules
  • Pumpkin spice popcorn (I’m usually a fan of pumpkin stuff but…)
  • Darker mornings and time shifts <yawn>

Readers, tell us what you’re loving or not-so-loving these days!

20 thoughts on “Chick Chat: Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down Edition

  1. Thumbs up – Anxiously awaiting the return of Survivor on CBS and season 4 of Cobra Kai on Netflix. If you haven’t seen the latter and you’re a fan of the 1980s movie The Karate Kid, you’re in for a treat!
    Thumbs down – Facebook. It seems that I run afoul of their nebulous community standards more and more often these days. I wish that just once, I’d get a clear explanation of what I’ve done that was so wrong…

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m looking forward to the new TV season and the new CSI Vegas show. I also am a pumpkin spice latte lover so as soon as I find out they are available I make my husband take me to Dunks to get one. It has to iced here in hot and humid Florida. I’m also looking forward to the temperature getting into the 80’s.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Loving season 2 of My Life is Murder on Acorn. Lucy Lawless is fabulous. Also loving the return of opening the windows in the morning to let in cool, fresh air. The months of September and October are my favorite time of the year. 🎃
      Didn’t love Nine Perfect Strangers. An incredible cast, but too angsty for me.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I like it being okay to stay indoors and not venture out, said this homebody. I like new TV shows, although what I’ve seen, I won’t be watching much.

    What I don’t like is all my annual health appointments are in the Fall.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I love fall! I am a summer person at heart, but I also love fall. I detest winter. I do love pumpkin stuff. I love being able to open my windows and not melting… I love it all. I don’t have to rake the leaves, I get to watch our maintenance guys do that. lol. I’m geared up for Cobra Kai also. I stream, I turn my actual tv on very very l little. I know, I’m a freak, but I’m ok with that. LOL. Kathy Valenti, I’ll be testing your recipe (CoolWhip/chocolate syrup)

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m not loving that it is fall.

    I’m loving that it is Friday.

    And if you haven’t started watching Family Game Fight on NBC yet, do yourself a huge favor and start the show pronto. It’s so much fun.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Sign me up for Schnitzelfest, Lisa! And can I have it with strawberry croissants? (Gonna pass on the CoolWhip with chocolate syrup, but it that were real whipped cream instead, count me in!)

    And has anyone watched Only Murders in the Building yet? Looking forward to that one!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve watched 2 episodes so far of Only Murders in the Building, Leslie. I like it–very Manhattan-y. With neighbors like those, I’m expecting a LOT of murders, ha. Selena Gomez is awesome.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Some years we don’t get autumn here in the U.P., it just snows and all the leaves fall off and *poof* it’s winter! But a few leaves are starting to change color here and there. Kathy, I’m with you, Chick sister! I’m also one of those pumpkin spice people that some people love to hate! J.C. Kenny, I know the reviews are mixed, but hubs and I are totally loving Nine Perfect Strangers! I’ve read and loved three or four Liane Moriarty books, but I haven’t read this one. So I have no idea how true it is to the novel. But the author is one of the executive producers of the show.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. So many opinions, so little space!

    1) Books: Love the chicks blog (always) – one of only two that I subscribe (the other being Ilona Andrews, if you’re looking for wonderful alternate worlds with magic reading options). Would you consider adding a recipe section to your blog (Thanks to Leslie for sharing links above and to Kathleen for the whipped cream and chocolate syrup idea :))?

    2) TV: Love ‘My Life is Murder’; can’t wait for Season 2 of ‘Queens of Mystery’. Acorn is great for wonderful TV shows. ‘Ted Lasso’ has been a joyous discovery although season 2 feels very different than season 1. ‘The Mandalorian’ on Disney was a surprising and great discovery; my husband described it as ‘Clint Eastwood westerns set in Star Wars universe’. We’ve been rewatching all of ‘Grace and Frankie’ so we can appreciate the final season (season 7). Since I turn 62 next month, certain aspects are really hitting home more than they did seven years ago. Leslie, I want to watch “Only Murders in the Building’ but it is dropping an episode a week for 10 weeks. Since I don’t have Hulu, I figured I’d wait until the end is out, then get the free trial and binge it all. Once you’ve watched it, I’d love to know what you think.

    3) Fall is my favorite time of year – the days are cooler, the colors brighter, holidays to look forward to enjoying… So ready to be done with 90+ degree weather!

    4) Dislikes – I’m like Tom but my occasional electronic nemesis is posting my Netgalley reviews on Amazon. For unknown reasons, every 8th or 10th Amazon posted review gets the dreaded, ‘we’re sorry but we can’t post your review’…. Argh! I think that I can’t use any ‘murdery’ words in the subject line or the content scans go crazy. You know – words like ‘death, dying, murdered, corpse…’ kind of the stock in trade for this genre.

    And, that’s probably way too much for today. Thanks, as always!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. There are too many shows out there to watch and get hooked on. I love to watch the oldies but goodies like TCM or Movies tv. I love older tv series like “Veronica Mars” and “Witchblade.” The only recent one I watch is “NCIS” and Hallmark Mysteries and Movies channel (as they are so like the cozies). I used to love “Dancing With the Stars,” but Tyra Banks has ruined it. So I watch lots of other stuff, but mostly I read books, work jigsaw puzzles, work on genealogy, and mess about. There is not enough time to do it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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