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I've Been

I've been listening to these albums:

The Voyager by Jenny Lewis is a nice little laid back pop album, even though the songs aren't all so happy. My favorite songs are She's Not Me, Just One Of The Guys, and The Voyager. Strange Desire by The Bleachers is a fun album, while we're waiting for Jack Antonoff to get back with fun. to make their new album. My favorite tracks are Rollercoaster and I Wanna Get Better. I know Midnight Memories came out almost a year ago but after seeing One Direction in concert, I'm just now into it and listening to it on repeat. My favorite songs are Story Of My Life, Strong, Happily, and Better Than Words. Plus Little White Lies and Through The Dark. Oh yeah, and Right Now and Why Don't We Go There. Um, yeah I'm obsessed with all but like three songs. Jordan Knight and Nick Carter are my favorite boys from each of their boy bands, so of course I had to check out their side project, Nick & Knight. It's light and a little '80s, and I like it. My favorites are One More Time and Drive My Car

I've been watching these music videos:

Black Widow is my favorite song on Iggy Azalea's album and the video is pretty cool. It looks like a little tribute to Kill Bill. Hilary Duff's first single, Chasing The Sun, was crap and I wasn't really looking forward to anything else she put out, but she quickly released All About You and I'm into it! Her lyrics video is pretty cute. I love that she participated in it. I like the '90s sound and high school movie visuals in Break The Rules by Charli XCX, complete with a Rose McGowan appearance. 

I've been reading these books:

Flying Shoes was pretty boring. I thought it was going to center around an unsolved crime from decades ago, but that was only mentioned a few times. It really just followed the main character around all day, while she did totally mundane things and talked to her family, neighbors and friends, who were pretty unlikable. Jimmy Carter's A Call To Action is not exactly a pleasant read, but it's an important one. He touches on current women's issues, such as human trafficking, FGM, domestic violence, rape, unequal pay, honor killings, dowry deaths, child marriages, HIV/AIDS, and the way religious texts are interpreted by powerful male leaders to claim the inferiority of women and girls. He also explains what the Carter Center is doing to educate and empower women all over the world. Great book! Great man! Say What You Will was really cute. It's been called a cross between The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park. It didn't hit me on quite the same level as those two books, but it was still a good, quick read. I loved it until the last section/weird twist that was just too unbelievable. I still really enjoyed all the characters and Cammie McGovern's writing style though. Friendship was boring. I didn't like either of the characters and nothing really major happened in the entire book. I was sort of expecting a light beach read in The Girls From Corona del Mar, but it was not! Some of the subject matter was really tough to read, but it was a well-written book and I couldn't put it down. I was a little disappointed with Landline because I've loved Rainbow Rowell's previous books so much. While I appreciated the writing, the characters, and the storyline about marriage, I don't know, I just couldn't wrap my head around the magical telephone. Tempting Fate was super predictable chick-lit. Plain and simple.I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. The characters in Bittersweet were all so unlikable, including the protagonist, but the story kept me interested from the very beginning and had lots of weird twists. It was well written, but too long and slow paced. The Julian Chapter is a short story based on Wonder, which I loved. It's short and simple, but nice to get the background and point of view of the bully.

I've been watching these new shows:

FX's new comedies You're The Worst and Married are actually very funny and filled with awesome casts. They are dark and don't sugar coat anything, but I find them both very entertaining. I've only seen three episodes of The Hotwives of Orlando because I haven't paid for Hulu Plus yet, but I plan to. The show is absolutely hilarious, especially if you are a fan of any of Bravo's Housewives shows. And if you aren't a fan of those crappy shows, the cast of super talented hilarious ladies is enough, trust me. Candidly Nicole is cute, I love the topics and everything that comes out of that little munchkin's mouth, but it's so scripted that it sometimes annoys me. I know she's not playing it off like these situations are happening naturally, but the insincerity is a little distracting. I'm a big fan of Amanda De Cadenet, so I was excited to hear about her return to TV with Undone. Her weekly hot topics show reminds me a lot of a girl power version of Watch What Happens Live and I like it. I only watched Running Wild with Bear Grylls because of Zac Efron's episode, but it's become a show for Jacob and to watch together, which is a rare event, so I'll keep tuning in.      

I've been catching up on these old shows:

I started The Comeback when it originally aired almost ten years ago, but never finished the season. Since it's coming back as a six-episode event in November I thought I'd rewatch all of it. It can be uncomfortable at times, but Lisa Kudrow is just so brilliant as Valerie Cherish. It's funny and it has a lot of heart. I totally forgot about Kellan Lutz being in it! 

I've been seeing these movies:

A Long Way Down was alright, but the book was much better. It was nice to see Aaron Paul in something new though. They Came Together had funny moments and made so much fun of rom-coms that I loved it, even though the movie itself was pretty stupid. Begin Again was also just alright. Keira Knightly bugs me and she really can't sing so it was strange casting to me. It was a nice friendship story though, which is rare these days. Snowpiercer was called the surprise hit of the summer. I totally agree! I'm not that into sci-fi, but it had an original plot, a great cast, and completely held my interest. I recommend it! Very Good Girls is a coming-of-age story staring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen. I LOVE both of them so much, and the movie was sweet and awkward, but not totally amazing. Guardians of the Galaxy was awesome. It look about a half an hour for me to get into it, but after that it was fun and funny! Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was fine. I loved the first one so I was excited to see this. The visuals were awesome, just like in the last one, but the plot wasn't very interesting. (Side note: Ava Green is absolutely gorgeous, but her eyes have always bothered me. Sine they were bright green in this film, I was distracted whenever she was on screen.) I didn't love the book If I Stay, but still wanted to see the movie because I love Chloe Grace Moretz so much. I thought she was great, but the rest of the cast was awkward and the pace was too slow. That being said, I still cried like a baby during a few key scenes.

And I've been renting these ones:

I wasn't at all interested in reading Divergent, but heard good things about the movie. Nope, still not into it. I actually fell asleep for a while. It was slow and too long and I didn't love any of the characters. It kept Jacob's interest though. The Other Woman looked stupid, so I wasn't surprised by how bad it was. There were entertaining parts, but it took a turn for the worse halfway through and just got ridiculous. Bad Words was predictable and not that great, but it entertained me from beginning to end. I don't think it was a terrible directorial debut by Jason Bateman. Rohan Chand is pretty amazing. Keep an eye on that kid! Palo Alto (the book and the movie) was written by James Franco as a series of linked short stories. I think it played out pretty well on screen and I enjoyed the cast. I didn't love the movie, but I didn't hate it.

What have you been up to?

Fall Movies

Summer is almost over and so is the comic book/superhero/sequel movie season. I'm excited to see some of the darker dramas, thrillers, and independent comedies coming out this fall.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
This love/heartbreak story looks so good.

The Skeleton Twins
I love the cast and the concept.

The Drop
This thriller has such a great cast!

No Good Deed
This sort of feels like a remake of Labor Day, but without the love story. It looks creepy.

The Guest
This looks creepy too.

Another creepy one!

This Is Where I Leave You
I read the book earlier this year and loved it! Amazing cast!

The Maze Runner
Jacob read and liked the book and I think the cast looks fantastic. I'll see it!

The Zero Theorem
It looks so weird, but with this cast and director, it's got to be good, right?

Hector and the Search for Happiness
I'll see anything Simon Pegg is a part of.

Two Night Stand
I love Miles Teller so much! This looks like a cute little rom-com.

Gone Girl

The Good Lie
This looks so touching.

The Judge
I'll see anything with RDJ.

Kill the Messenger
Again, an incredible cast!

Dear White People
It looks fresh and funny and I'm excited about the cast.

This will be hard to watch, but looks pretty good.

How perfect is Michael Keaton for this role? I can't wait to see it.

Men, Women & Children
A must-see! Great cast, concept, director, writer, everything.

Camp X-Ray
This looks intense. I'm excited to see Kristen Stewart in something completely different.

I'll look past crappy Keira Knightly for the rest of the cast. Plus, it's set in Seattle.

I loved playing with my Ouija board as a kid! I'll check it out.

St. Vincent
The cast. Period. I'd watch all of them read a phone book.

Before I Go To Sleep
This is like a not very pleasant version of 50 First Dates. Looks good!

I don't know what to think about this except that I can't wait to see it.

Underground freelance crime journalism? Um. But it looks good.

I don't quite know what it's about, but I'm sure it'll be awesome.

This looks amazing and important. Kudos to Jon Stewart!

I love the cast and I'm curious about the story. It looks disturbing.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Double duh.

Horrible Bosses 2
I didn't love the first one, but I didn't hate it either. I love everyone involved.

I'm sort of over Reese (don't hate me), but this looks pretty good.

I really don't know about this one, but my musical-loving heart will probably see it at some point.

Also playing this fall: The Green Inferno, Dolphin Tale 2, A Walk Among The Tombstones, The Equalizer, The Boxtrolls, The Two Faces of January, Left Behind, Annabelle, A Good Marriage, Northmen: A Viking Saga, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Addicted, Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead, Automata, Dracula Untold, Book of Life, The Best of Me, Before I Go To Sleep, Big Hero 6, Rosewater, The Homesman, Jessabelle, Dumb and Dumber To, Beyond The Lights, McFarland, Penguins of Madagascar, Paradise Lost, The Pyramid, Demonic, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

What are you excited to see?

Niall Horan

You guys, I've hit an all-time low. My latest celeb crush is Niall Horan of One Direction, who is 21-years old today. TWENTY. ONE. That's just pervy, right? I didn't really pay attention to the UK boy band when they first came out. Up until a month ago I couldn't even name three songs they sang. And in my opinion, their singles are not at all the best songs they create. Looking back on the short history of 1D, Niall was obviously the ugly duckling at just 17-years old.

When the band got more successful, Niall got braces and better hair.
He was definitely cuter, but still looked like he was in junior high.

Last fall, I saw One Direction perform on the AMAs and fell in love with the song Story Of My Life.
While staring at dreamy Liam Payne, I noticed the hot blonde guy behind him. Niall grew up!
After I watched This Is Us, I decided he was my favorite. He's talented, silly and just plain adorable. 

When they started touring earlier this year, I REALLY took notice.
Probably because of his signature move on stage. His guitar playing helps too.

And at the concert a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but watch him the entire time.
He looks like he's having the most fun up there. I can't get enough of his Irish accent either.

Jacob makes fun of me constantly and thinks Niall is the ugliest of the entire group.
For the record, he's the second ugliest, but I still like him most of all.

I'm in love and it's completely inappropriate.
Happy 21st birthday, Nialler! Have a vodka and OJ on me.

9/11 Memorial & Museum

I have been to NYC three times and all three times I made sure to visit Ground Zero, but this time it was completely different. It was no longer a construction zone like I had previously seen. Instead there was a beautiful memorial on eight acres of the World Trade Center complex with two HUGE reflecting pools set in the footprint of the Twin Towers. 2,983 victims' names are inscribed into bronze parapets surrounding the pools. It was hard to get a good picture because it's so spread out and there were tons of people and trees, so here are some I found online.

The 11,000 square-foot 9/11 Memorial Museum was built under the original World Trade Center site, going as far as 70 feet below ground. There are three main exhibits with other large scale artifacts scattered throughout the museum. The Foundation Hall is a massive room featuring a surviving slurry wall and the 36-foot tall last column that is still covered with mementos and memorial inscriptions. The Historical Exhibition presents the events of the day as they unfolded using timelines, maps, videos, articles, first-person testimonials and even voicemail messages. There are also galleries detailing what led up to the attacks and what happened in the days, weeks and years afterward. The Memorial Exhibition commemorates the lives lost during and after September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. There are nearly 3,000 portraits and you can use touchscreen tables to read obituaries and learn more about each person.

I'm not gonna lie, it was tough to go through. It was thoughtful and beautifully designed, but it's dark, huge, quiet and just so emotional. I didn't take very many pictures because in some areas it wasn't allowed and in others it sort of felt wrong to do so. I also didn't stop to examine every object or read every plaque because it could have put me in a deep depression. 

The Slurry Wall and symbolic Last Column.

Salvaged tridents from the Twin Towers.

A section of steel facade from the North Tower.

Virgil quote made from remnant steel. The blue is to represent the sky that day.

The Survivors' Stairway served as an escape route from 5 World Trade Center.

The only window that remained intact from either building.

20 foot section of the 360-foot radio and cable antenna from the North Tower.

Ladder 3, crushed by the North Tower collapse. All eleven responders were killed on the 35th floor.

It's so heartbreaking, but a must-see if you visit New York.
Never forget.