June and July: In Review

Welcome to “In Review”–what will be a recurring monthly post. Consider me your new informant. Books, movies, TV shows, artists, songs, albums, recipes, restaurants, tourist attractions, boy bands, Twizzler flavors, you name it.

Actually, don’t get too excited. What I review will probably only be what I would’ve eaten/listened to/attended anyway. I won’t eat any flavor of Twizzlers for you. Twizzlers are gross.

Check out what you should be checking out this summer:

1. Tori Kelly

She didn’t make the list because her last name is Kelly, but it certainly didn’t hurt her review. I’m not sure where this chick came from, but she’s making sure she’s heard now that she’s here. This 22 year old singer and guitarist hails from California, but her songs resonate with Americans coast to coast. (Whoa. Sorry. I was testing the limits of journalistic cheesiness. I think they’ve been found). Kelly’s got that easygoing, we could be go-for-burgers-at-midnight type of vibe to her. (She’s friends with Lecrae!!!) Her songs are brimming with confidence, but also a self-awareness that tells you she isn’t buying into fame and fortune. Her new album Unbreakable Smile has some greats on it–listen to “I Was Made for Loving You” (with Ed Sheeran, for all those who have impeccable music taste out there), and “Nobody Love” (her first Billboard 100 single). Great vocal range, great message, great hair. What’s not to like?

2015 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS - Theatre - The "2015 Billboard Music Awards" broadcast airs live from Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on SUNDAY, MAY 17 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET). on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABC) TORI KELLY
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABC)

2. Serena 

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper–Hollywood just doesn’t ever want them apart. This R-rated film was rated pretty low on imdb.com, but I didn’t think it was horrible. (Rave review, right?) It had one of those “keep you uncomfortable” and “oh people are definitely gonna die” plots. Top rate acting talent, of course, and the director keeps it mostly fast-paced with quick (…sometimes meaningless, four second) shots and scenes. Don’t worry about the R-rating though, as long as you have a boyfriend to cover your eyes for the “bad parts.”

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence

3. IMDb

Yes, this is the website that was just mentioned above! Internet Movie Database is–or should be–your go to for all things movie related. After every single movie I see, I check out the Did You Know? trivia section to beef up for my unscheduled future appearance on Jeopardy. (I might need to know that Angelina Jolie was first announced as the female lead for Serena). Other handy features include full cast and crew list with pictures (“Who’s that one guy again? Wasn’t he in Harry Potter or something?”), Parents Guide (less for parents and more for kids who are trying to decide if it’s acceptable to view with their parents), and quotes (that are not to be put on your Facebook page anymore. Remember when that was a thing?). Make full use of IMDb–or as my non-dyslexic Dad accidentally calls it–IMbD.


4. Epic Burger 

The first time I saw this place in Chicago, I thought Who do they think they are? The first time I ate at this place in Chicago, I thought I’ll take six more please. You have to be pretty gutsy to make a claim that the food you serve is, in fact, epic. Ever been to a classy burger joint? It was like Chik-Fil-A and In-N-Out had a burger baby, and little Epic was born. Want a wheat bun? No problem. Want to add thick cut bacon? Like that’s even a question. You can make it a cheeseburger, but the choices are aged cheddar, horseradish, or blue. You can add onions, but you have the option of grilled onions if you don’t want that strong, pungent taste of raw onions. Or the breath that comes with it. The fries–just as important as the burger–get a 4/5 stars. Kent’s peanut butter milkshake tasted like one of the EB employees had gone to Dairy Queen, broken in, stolen a Reese’s blizzard, came back to EB, blended it into a shake, and served it up like crimes had not just been committed. Delicious, delicious crimes. Congratulations, Epic Burger. You have lived up to your name. Now make me more bacon.

I asked Kent to document this foodie adventure.
I asked Kent to document this foodie adventure.
And then he wouldn't stop.
And then he wouldn’t stop.

If you listen to Unbreakable Smile, watch Serena, go on IMDb, or eat at Epic Burger, let me know what you did and what you thought! Comment below to add reviews and keep the general public informed. See you back here next month for August: In Review.


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