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love, lust and leave: september movies

September 27, 2016

So. Many. Good. Movies. Coming out!

Arguably, this summer hasn’t been the best for my reading (a million apologies, Good Reads). But it has been pretty damn good when it comes to movie viewing! #winning

While I’m excited to see what comes out in the next few months, here are a few movies I’ve seen lately worth note (or worth..not a lot):

The movies worth watching this month

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The Secret Life of PetsYes, this was cute and clever, which definitely qualifies it as a “love” movie this month. However, I personally was a little disappointed. Maybe I’m a diehard Pixar fan? Or maybe my humor’s gotten too dark? Because some of it just seemed a little too…predictable and cheesy for me. That said, it’s still a very cute, fun movie to see and seemed like a crowd-pleaser, based on the theatre attendees I was with.

Finding Dory: As mentioned, I’m starting to become a huge fan of Disney-created animated movies. And this second film did not disappoint. Of course, pieces may be slightly predicatble, but for the most part it was cute and maintained the essence of the first film. Highly recommend (and–sorry but–I recommend it over Secret Life of Pets).

 

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Popstar: Has anyone seen this? I totally missed it and now I’m sad and don’t know where I can watch it… I love Andy Samberg though and feel it my civic duty to see anything he stars in.

The Accountant: I know Ben is a bit of a mess right now (and I totally take Jen’s side in…whatever is going on with their family), but he’s SUCH a good actor and The Accountant looks amazing. Already scheduling this for date night.

The Girl on the Train: We’ll see if this movie is as good as the book (which I highly recommend, btw), but I’ll see it nonetheless because I’m really loving thriller lately. And Emily Blunt.

 

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Now You See Me 2: Ugh, I can’t with this movie. I *wanted* to like it. It had all these major stars (Harry Potter!) and I was surprised by how much I was into the first movie. But take 2 on this was no good at all. HARD. PASS.

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates: I love Aubrey Plaza and really wanted to see this. But then I did…and was disappointed. Went with my friend though, and she liked it. So I might have to chalk it up to my inability to appreciate simple humor.

Inspire Life Relax

love, lust and leave: sept audio

September 20, 2016

Happy Monday ya’ll.

I am not doin’ so hot still. Woke up feeling great, but as the day’s worn on, I’ve started to feel worse and worse. Now I’m just trying to breath through my nose…

While we wait for that to happen, let’s review all the things I’ve been listening to recently, shall we?

 

LoveLustAudioI’ve been on the Podcast game HARD as of late. Of course, I keep my Spotify going constantly (that membership is worth all), but have really been trying to so my audio “reading” while doing chores, going to work or going for walks with Kero. Here are a few of my faves:

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Lady Lovin’: This podcast grew on me. Hosted by Lo Bosworth (you know, starred in Laguna Beach, The Hills and basically my entire high school life) and a few of her gal pals who discuss everything from beauty and health to sex and relationships. Originally, I thought the ladies chatted a little, ahem, too much. But now I love this podcast. It’s relatable and has tons of incredible takeaways.

Monocycle with Leandra Medine: I love Leandra. She makes it okay to be weird, which is a huge thing for me (fun fact!). My favorite episode is this one because it’s so raw, emotional and unedited. A drastic departure from what your typical podcast has become. Every human in the world needs to listen to it.

Oh Boy by Man Repeller: Surprisingly not all about fashion or the team at Man Repeller (though I wouldn’t mind if it was), this podcast is a series of interviews with noteworthy creatives, movers and shakers doing cool things. Always great if you’re looking for #inspo on your commute.

Modern Love: Recommended to me by a co-worker, this thoughtful podcast explores the various ways people define, fall, thrive and deal with love in the “modern age.” Perfect reminder that one size does not fit all when it comes to love and relationships.

 

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Schoolboy Q’s album: Basing this purely on hype and this piece.

Frank Ocean’s album: Because, duh. *Update: Have listened, and LOVE! Now on Spotify… #justsaying*

Spent: Downloaded this forever ago, when I was on a “NEED TO SAVE MONEY” bender. Which, I’m arguably still on… Either way, I like the style of the podcast, from what I’ve heard, now I just need to dedicate the minutes to actually listening to it…

Myleik Teele’s Podcast: Myleik Teele is the creator of Curl Box, and I love everything about her. She’s a straight-forward, successful and stylish entrepreneur. The 3 S’s basically. She just kick’s ass. Also highly recommend following her on Snapchat.

 

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The Tim Ferriss Show: I wanted to like this podcast because I think Tim has some good #ProTips, especially for bloggers, creators and biz owners, but…I can’t. It’s so long. And bro-y. PASS.

The #AskGaryVee Show: Again, a podcast I *really* wanted to like. But after a few listens, I just feel annoyed. And usually I love his books and other materials, but hearing his voice…in that way…and then the tips or subjects they explore aren’t even that interesting? Yeah, no thanks.

GirlBoss Radio: You may be sensing a theme but, yes. I did want to like this podcast as well. However, she raddles on for the first 10 minutes and I just don’t care enough. Depending on the interviewee, it can be really interesting, but for the most part, um..no thanks.

Life Relax

love, lust and leave: september shows

September 13, 2016

Maybe it’s the cooling of the weather, but I feel like I’ve been staying in and watching even more shows than usual. Is that possible? Apparently so. Because I have the below roster and it’s about to blow up with even more good fall shows coming to TV in the next few months. Oh, did I mention we recently got cable? Yep, we did. Pretttyyy excited about it. If you guys have any recos for me for the next month (because it does seem like I have no life at this point, doesn’t it?), please leave them in the comments below.

All the shows worth watching this month

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Shameless: I may be late to the party, but I’m obsessed with this show. I tried to watch the UK version awhile back, but the characters had such thick accents it was hard to understand. On a whim, a month or so ago, I needed to pick up a new show on Netflix (after finishing Jane the Virgin, which I also highly recommend) and I haven’t stopped watching it since. Great character development, interesting plotlines annnddd it takes place in Chicago! I swear I’ve even walked by filming of the most recent episode a few weeks ago. No, but really.

WAGS: WAGS (season 2, btw) is an acronym for Wives and Girlfriends of high-profile athletes. While I’m a major feminist, I can also be traditional and am semi-obsessed with how different women act in different types of relationships and marriages. Also, money and pretty people are always fun to watch, right?

Real Housewives of New Jersey and Real Housewives of Orange County: Well, I’ve lost my Real Housewives of New York (the season is over with), but these two I’m sure I’ll do just fine. Real Housewives for lyfe.

Teen Mom: They’re back, baby! Been watching 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom since they first came to TV, so at this point, watching this show is almost like visiting an old friend. That’s a normal thing to say about an MTV reality show right?

Atlanta: This is Childish Gambino’s new show and…I just can’t say enough good things about it. The way it’s shot, the writing, the topics they cover and how authentic the whole thing feels? It’s a must-watch. Seriously. It’s only one episode in (second episode debuts tomorrow night), so get on it NOW.

 

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American Horror Story Season 6: I’ve been hot and cold on this show since it came out. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I thought the first few seasons of AHS were really well done, so I kept watching. However, there have also been a few seasons where I was like, “Um, no thanks. Hard pass.” And other seasons where I only watched it because the actors were hot (last season). Crossing my fingers this season is better than the last few. Stay tuned…

JonBenet Ramsey CBS Special: Apparently it’s the 25th anniversary of the JonBenet Ramsey disappearance, which explains why every network is diving back into this investigation. However, the one I’m most interested in watching debuts next Sunday on CBS. Who’s watching with me?

 

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Ridiculousness: This isn’t new, but am I alone here!? How does this guy have his own show where he watches YouTube videos and provides commentary? His commentary isn’t even good! And this is coming from a girl who openly watches Love & Hip Hop (a non-scripted-but-clearly-scripted-with-terrible-actors-and-actresses reality show). I know this is a random one to throw in, but it’s been a long time coming. Please take your Ridiculousness and go away now.

Inspire Relax

lust, love and leave: september books

September 6, 2016

Doing a little housecleaning and upgrading the name of this series because that’s how passionate I feel about these things.

Also, it’s been awhile but I’m back in the reading game baby!

While I know Oprah and Mark Cuban prioritize reading, I’m not always so strict with my reading schedule. For me, reading and books are oftentimes like a roller coaster. One month, I’ll read nearly every day. The next month I’ll barely touch a book.

But no matter what hill I’m climbing on that roller coaster ride, you can trust two things: 1. I’ll always be reading up about what books to read next *and* 2. buying more books.

And with that, let’s break down what I’m reading (or not so much reading at times?), and what I’m looking forward to reading this season.

The books you need to check out this month!

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The Goldfinch: If you’ve read this blog for a bit, you know that I’ve been trying to read this book for. Ev. Er. I think I started reading it about three years ago? I’m on page 200-and-some. Out of 700-and-some pages. Yeah. I think the size of it is intimidating (I have the hardcover), and also makes it next to impossible to commute on the train with–where/when I do the majority of my reading–but I’m hopeful I can fall in love enough with this book to finish it this summer year.

Shoe Dog: Written by the founder of Nike Phil Knight (a fellow book enthusiast), this book is highly recommended for any entrepreneur or the entrepreneurial-minded. It was well-written, engaging and gives readers a subtle boost to never settle and never give up on your dreams.

Gang Leader for a Day: I may have mentioned this book in the past, but since it’s been a bit, I thought I might recommend it again. LOVE. Maybe because it’s based in Chicago, and I’m inherently biased, but this is a smart book that makes you look at the world differently. With all the racial issues going on in this country, this is a strong reminder to love your neighbor because, as cheesy as it is, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Don’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Literally, because this book is kind of on the older-looking side.

The Girls: Lusted after it. Read it…fast. Loved it. It’s inspired by the Manson murders, so if you’re into a bit of creepy darkness, I recommend.

 

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Life on the Line: If my former reads haven’t been dead giveaways, I’m a sucker for a good chef book. I also am obsessed with Netflix’ Chef’s Table. Put those two together and you get this book–featuring one of the Chef’s on Chef’s Table and his incredible journey, that spans beyond cooking. Hoping I can snag this one for cheap since it’s not a newbie.

Sweetbitter: A “summer must-read,” this novel follows the journey of a young twenty-one year old girl as she navigates the culinary world in NYC. Per above post, I’m a sucker for a chef’s tale. Fiction, or non.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo: Like most aspiring writers and self-proclaimed feminists, I’m way into Amy Schumer. Which means by default, I’m pretty damn excited to soak up her recently released book. Lucky for me, my sisters gifted me her book for my birthday, so I’ll report back soon.

 

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Wake Up Happy: I’ve heard stories of Michael Strahan and how driven and charismatic he is, so when I saw this book on sale at Barnes & Noble, I thought “Sure! Maybe I can glean some wisdom from this man!” Sadly, the terribly poor editing detracts from whatever message(s) are buried within the pages of this text. Skip it!

P.S. I’m always down to be friends on Goodreads, if that’s your jam. Let’s get nerdy together.

Life Relax

Summertime CHI

July 1, 2016

Chicago in the SummerThere is something so insanely special about living in Chicago in the summertime.

Everyone jokes that you give up 8 months of grey, terrible weather in order to live in the bliss that is summertime in Chicago. While I disagree (Autumn and Spring here are also beautiful), I will say there “magic in the air” in the summertime. Or that’s just the sangria. Either way, I love it here.

I mean, if you live here, you know what I’m talking about.

And if you don’t, you have to make a special trip to visit the city in the summer.

We talk a lot about “patio weather,” which basically means it’s a gorgeous day and we need to find a restaurant or bar that has a patio so that we can all hang outside in the sun.

The lakefront is bustling—people running, biking, laying out, swimming, walking their dogs, fishing off the walkway, taking pictures, playing beach volleyball on North Avenue Beach, taking out their sailboats or cruisers or waterskis. And when it’s a sunny day, you can expect this sort of crowd all day.

If you do visit for the summer, here are a few must-visits (ranging from predictably touristy to more local flavors):

P.S. If there are any other Chi-town peeps out there, leave your favorite Chicago spots in the comments below. I’ve lived here a few years, but definitely need more places to explore. Especially during the summer.

Relax

weekend relaxing sesh 8

November 17, 2015

weekend relaxing seshSo, we’re almost half way through the week, and I’m posting this now. WOW. Guess that’s the level I’m on right now.

Hoping to carve out time to continue to clean up this space (midwestlovefest.com .. and my apartment), as well as my life. But hope you’re all having a good start to your week!

READING

  • Mock me now, but I could see reading Khloe’s new book. Especially after reading her food journal entry. Doesn’t sound too bad. #goals
  • Style advice via Nasty Gal.
  • Though I’m no where near this point in my life, this is such an honest and well-written piece about the shame associated with failing to get pregnant.

WATCHING

  • Good for College Humor for doing this video. Funny and memorable.
  • Even though I get cable, Amazon Prime and Netflix (yes, I have a pop culture problem), I’m still a sucker for free tv shows. Has anyone been watching Shitty Boyfriends?
  • I admittedly love the Victoria’s Secret Show (set design + costume design is INSANE), but have mixed emotions on how much weight these young models put on making the cut.
  • Okay, who else is excited for Finding Dory?
  • Missy‘s back, ya’ll.

WANTING

Relax

November Book Love

November 9, 2015

I am on a MAJOR book bender.

Oddly, it takes me forever to get back into reading. Sometimes, I’ll go months (like, 8+ months) not reading a single book because I’ll be stuck on a terrible read that just ruins all other books for me. But once I find a good book to get me over the hump, I’m back at it with a vengeance.

While I’m 13 books behind in my GoodReads Challenge, I’m not giving up! I’ll just be over here, keeping my nose down…in a book.

november to-read listREAD

Kitchens in the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal: Love this book. Such a sweet, easy read. I also respect that the author wrote the book a little differently, by changing perspectives every chapter. It oddly wasn’t too confusing and just added to the depth of the novel.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: Not going to lie, I wasn’t a huge fan of Mindy’s first novel. Compared to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, Mindy’s first book fell flat. Well, for all the ways I was bored by Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, I loved Why Not Me?. If you follow this squad of feminists, I highly recommend picking up her book.

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler: Hard pass. And this isn’t because I hate Chelsea. I actually really like Chelsea (hence why I chose this book). But the end is riddled with spelling errors and the stories are boring, especially compared to her standup or previous novels.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Konmari: If you haven’t heard of the KonMari method, now’s the time to get on it! I mean, it’s becoming a TV show for heaven’s sake. Essentially, this lovely lady teaches you how to organize your life and how, by organizing your things, you can organize your health, love life and happiness. Pretty interesting read and definitely made me re-think what I keep and what I throw away and why. She is a bit out there though, so I would take everything she suggests and apply it only in ways that work for you.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamison: If there are any medically-minded people out there, they would love this book. That said, I have no intention of joining the medical profession anytime soon (and though I admire it, I would actively turn away from any opportunity that would bring me even remotely close to bleeding or ill people) and yet, I loved this book. I think it was a best seller when it was first released, and some psych students even have to read this book for class! Lucky them.

november reading listREADING

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Yes, I’m still reading this. “Nicole! It’s so good!’ Okay, that might be true…but it’s taking me for FRIGGIN’ EVER. It’s a huge book and I’m just not to the point of the book where it gets good yet. Right now, the little boy just seems to be wandering aimlessly around Las Vegas.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: Okay, so I finished this book. It took all of, um, A WEEK. I thought this book was going to be like The Notebook or Twilight–all sappy, stupid and just pop culture hype. WRONG. Read this book! It made me cry. It’s so good and just a beautiful, unexpected love story.

Spinster by Kate Bolick: Saw this on the shelves and had to pick it up. I’m trying to read more books that challenge me or that I wouldn’t normally read, and this fell into that category. Stay tuned.

What books are you reading right now? I’m clearly looking for someone to talk books with me. Any recommendations? Do you belong to a book club? Am I just going book crazy?

Relax

weekend relaxing sesh 7

November 9, 2015

relaxing sesh 7Pretty delayed posting again today, but it’s been a super sleepy weekend. You ever have those? Like, you’re trying really hard to get everything together, and you’re close, but still struggling. That’s me. Struggle bus. ‘nuf said. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend…

READING

WATCHING

WANTING

Relax

weekend relaxing sesh 6

November 1, 2015

session 6

Happiest of Sundays to all of you. I’ve had such a happy, cozy and productive weekend. Definitely feeling the benefits of a “no plans” weekend and hoping there will be quite a few of these as the weather continues to cool and it gets a bit, um, less friendly to be outside. Kero’s also been surprisingly snuggly today (he’s been sleeping alongside me for the past 4 hours), but no complaints here. More time to meal prep, blog, read, clean and sleep. Just the way I like it. Hope you’ve all had a lovely Halloween weekend too!

READING

  • I know sugar is bad (that’s why I’m trying hard to kick my sweets craving), but this article just proves how toxic the stuff really is.
  • Love these fitness tips to learn before you’re 30. Can you tell I’m trying to psyche myself back into being healthier?
  • Then again, there’s this pizza diet.
  • Instagram habits of the fashion blogging elite.
  • I want ALL the nature-inspired decor.

WATCHING

  • Dogs like superheroes too.
  • Have you watched Adelle’s new video yet? It’s gorgeous.
  • Happy for this whale, but annoyed SeaWorld was the organization that made the call. Can’t help but think it’s a PR move.

WANTING

  • This clay mask situation. Cheap and proven to work, how could I not want it?
  • Need a new winter jacket and am oddly attracted to bold colors like this one. Then again, I love this too. And this.
  • Ohymygosh, I need this too.
  • With winter coming, I’m on a Timbalands kick recently. Especially this one, this one, and this one.
  • These heels!
Relax

weekend relaxing sesh 5

October 26, 2015

weekend relaxing sesh 5I can’t stop taking pics of my little puppy. I’m such a proud dog mom..

So, I have this theory that hen you turn 25, your entire life just spins out of control and it’s next to impossible to control the busyness. Or at least, that’s how it’s felt for me this past year. Like a Jackson Pollock painting–gorgeous, but really messy. *le sigh* Wont’ bother you with the details. Just hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

READING

WATCHING

  • I watched this awhile ago, but am newly obsessed with it. Probably because of this. Too funny.
  • Okay, obviously I’m still on an Amy Schumer kick.
  • Loving this SNL situation.
  • Hoping this turns into a 45 min podcast.
  • How to take the perfect selfie.
  • Dog videos. ‘nuf said.

WANTING