Less Than Challenge

Living life with less than…

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Weekend Recommendations

With all the heat we’ve been experiencing in Upstate New York over the last week, I’ve spent very little time at home (in my sweltering hot, attic level apartment) and thus I’ve had very little time to blog. But before this weekend comes to an end, I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my favorite things of late. If you’re looking for something to watch, read, or listen to, these are my current recommendations.

(Readers beware, the songs and videos included below are not so family-friendly.)

WATCH: Orange is the New Black (brand new on Netflix)

If you take only one recommendation from this post, let it be this one. In the last week, I’ve watched all 13 episodes of this new Netflix show, and I have been completely captivated. It’s funny and sad and entertaining and surprising and thought-provoking all at the same time. Season 2 cannot come soon enough. I’m no TV critic so I’ll let a few reviews do the rest of the talking, but please, give this show a try.

The Great Orange Is the New Black Is Suddenly the Best Netflix Series Yet (Grantland)
Obsessed Report Card: Orange Is the New Black (Glamour)

LISTEN: Magna Carta Holy Grail – Jay-Z (listen for free on Spotify)
Not gonna lie…my interest was definitely piqued when Samsung and Jay-Z announced this new album during the NBA Finals. I had the good fortune to get my hands on a copy right after it came out, and while I can’t say I love every song, there are a few I’ve been playing over and over again on repeat. I’d recommend listening to it all at least once, but if you’d like to start with my favorite songs, try these:

Lean In

READ: Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg (get it at your local library, or on Amazon)

I know I’m a little behind the times on this one, but I am about a quarter of the way into this “feminist manifesto” by the COO of Facebook, and so far I’m very intrigued. While I don’t necessarily find myself agreeing with every point that Sandberg makes, a lot of what she says is very interesting. I do find myself thinking more deeply (if not any differently) about women and work as I read.  And with a book like this, isn’t that kind of the whole point?

Now that I’ve finished Orange is the New Black, I’m going to need some new things to keep me entertained until season 2 debuts. If you’ve got recommendations to share, be sure to leave them below!


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LTC’s Favorite Things: A Few Good Books

I was recently asked for some book recommendations, and I happen to have recently finished two really great titles in a row. So, of course, I wanted to share with all of you!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple

Why I Loved It: This book is just plain funny. I actually listened to the audio book, rather than reading a physical copy, and I found myself frequently laughing out loud. I also could not wait for an opportunity to listen to more – in the car, on a walk, during my lunch break, while doing the dishes – I basically took every opportunity possible to devour this story. Bernadette is a brilliant, sweet, crazy woman who disappears days before a family trip to Antarctica, under the most bizarre and hilarious of circumstances. The characters in this book are a mix of charming and repulsive, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at Maria Semple’s portrayal of them all. The audio book narrator was perfect for the job, so if you’ve never tried an audio book before, this would be a great one to get you started. In any case, if you’re looking for something smart, sweet, and a little bit snarky, add this to your reading list today.

The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern

Why I Loved It: If someone had told me before I picked up this book that it was the story of a fierce competition between two magicians set in the late 1800s, there is no chance I would have committed to reading its almost 400 pages. Books about the supernatural are really not my style, but somehow this story captivated me from beginning to end.  Yes, it’s set hundreds of years ago, and yes, it’s basically about magic, but somehow that all worked even for a realist like me. In the end, this was a book about dreams and friends and stories and love, and magic just gave it some context. If you’re looking to get lost in something special, you’ve got to give this one a try. On top of the great story, this was one of the most well-written books I’ve read in years. Between the beautiful language and the wonderfully unique story, this is definitely a title no book-lover will want to miss.

Want to keep up with what I’m reading on the regular? Follow me on Goodreads and leave me some new reading recommendations below!

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CHALLENGE #4: Gatsby Love

Re-read The Great Gatsby and see the new movie in less than a week.

Like the rest of the world (at least the world as I see it), I have total Gatsby fever in anticipation of this week’s movie release. Months ago, I vowed to re-read the novel so it would be fresh in my mind at the theater, but alas I have not yet made it past the first chapter. And so – you guessed it – it’s time for a new challenge!  Continue reading