Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: March 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

That's a Wrap... The Weekend in Review with Pictures

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Here we are again, Sunday night - so let's review Leyla's weekend in photos... no gif and 2 collages.

Monica came into town for my pre-birthday celebration and we had a whirlwind weekend (sort of like last weekend).

Took Friday afternoon off to visit some of our favorite spots

Friday starting at 4PM
Started at Lush on Chicago Avenue wit a bottle of Chardonnay and some cheese.
While walking to our next stop, it was SO COLD that we ducked into The Charlatan for a warm up.
(By 6PM I was dehumanized after consuming the Dehumanizer at The Charlatan)
Next was Matchbox, my favorite spot, for our signature favorites - a Manhattan and a Vesper.
(Snapping strange bathroom selfies while still light out)
We didn't stop there, we went to the movies and saw that new Will Ferrell + Kevin Hart movie.
By 11PM we were in my mom's Oscar de la Renta robes, wearing face masks and enjoying a bottle champagne.

Saturday Monica went to the gym
I worked a little and organized my apartment

Duran Duran Picture Books

You're Joking Right?

Found a bunch of my old Duran Duran picture books and videos - all in mint condition, of course.
I also found the old "Behavioral Contract" a roadmap to reconciliation that he insisted we create and sign, that's my friend Sheila reading in shock. I should really put that thing on my blog so everyone gets a good laugh. 
Also went shopping on Saturday afternoon and I bought a really pretty Sandro dress.

Saturday Night

Leyla's Birthday Dinner #1

Happy (early) Birthday Leyla! 
That's my new dress. 
Monica and I had dinner at TWO on Grand Avenue

Leyla A. Harry's Velvet Room
After dinner we went to Harry's Velvet Room for a nightcap. 
(P.S., I worked at the original when I first graduated from college)
The photo above is a demonstration of how many photos it takes to get an Instagram photo *just* right enough to edit and post.

End of the night #Leylavator 

Follow Monica's good times on Instagram @msamuels1212 and Twitter @monicaasamuels 

Read more of my adventures here: 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Leyla's Weekend In Review (in pictures + 1 gif)

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Let's take a quick look back at my long weekend and the pictures - and one gif. 

And then we'll rest for a few days until my birthday week starts at the end of next week. Then we can start the marathon all over again. 

#LeylaFace Goes to Iceland

I went to Iceland with my friends... well, I didn't really go to Iceland, I was supposed to go to Iceland but I screwed up and only my face made it to Iceland. 
Check out #leylaface on Instagram to follow my face in Iceland.

Thursday Night - Welcome Leyla! 

Friday was our annual #ZenoDayofPlay so I decided to stay at the Loews downtown. I checked in on Thursday night so I could order room service and lay around in bed on Friday. 

My bathroom selfie

Actual Leyla wanted to treat herself a little because she was sad that she was not in Reykjavik eating whale, drinking Jack Daniels milk shakes and listening to Sigur Ros (I think there's actually and Eve fest going on right now so maybe I'd be listening to a lot of Eve). 

Giant comfy bed in my ginormous room! 

Don't you just want to jump right in? 

My living room

I wish this was my apartment and not just my hotel room. 

Meet You in Hell

I actually read a book (and not my phone) while lying on that big fluffy couch. Nothing gets me going like a good fight between the super rich - I picked this up on my recent trip to NYC, when I visited the Frick Collection.

Champagne for breakfast

Room service! My favorite quote from the movie Doc Holliday is when Wyatt Earp asks Josephine what she wants out of life, or her idea of a perfect life and she replies, "room service!" She later says something along the lines of, "I'm a woman and I like men, if that doesn't make me a lady then fine..." I think I might've liked Josephine Earp.

Cocktails for lunch

Burgers and beer for dinner

This was the longest Friday ever, I think. I also think it was pretty boozy. My friend Mark works at the new Burger Bar on South Michigan Avenue and I went to visit him a friend (who may wish to remain anonymous, or not, but I'll leave that up to his/her discretion, besides it sounds so much more mysterious this way). 

Worldwide Instameet 11 at Threadless

Finally, it's Saturday! A few of my co-workers and I went to #WWIM11 at Threadless in Chicago - an Instagram Instameet (or photo meet up followed by a photo walk). 

I am looking quite serious here

Chicken in Action

Check out my #autoawesome moves! I put a chicken costume on and played some ping pong at Threadless. Why? Why the hell not!?

Threadless Instameet
#WWIM11 at Threadless

Getting ready to take our group pic outside the building. 

IGERSChicago Instameet
Maggie Daley Park

Here is one of my photos from the photo walk -- we headed down to Maggie Daley Park. You can see more of my photos on IG, I'm @Leylaruinseveryting 

Serious Conversation with a Chicken
Chicken having a totally normal conversation

I needed to get one more look at the chicken before we move on from Saturday and onto Sunday.  

Sunday was rough but Kate helped me out

It was long weekend and I didn't feel like doing much, so I stayed in bed as long as I could. I found this awesome photo of Kate Moss. 

Wayne Coyne naked with balloons
I need a real hobby

While I was busy doing a whole lotta nothin' on Sunday, I was also busy making weird photo edits on my phone of already weird photos taken by Wayne Coyne - like this naked selfie (he's skinny). I think it took me about 30 minutes to make this using four different photo apps. I need to find more constructive things to do with my time.... until then, keep a look out for more Wayne Coyne edits, he's really easy to have fun with.

That's it for now! See you next week with more weird updates and Wayne Coyne photo edits. Until then, you'll find me on IG and Twitter

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

12 Instagram Accounts You Should Follow Now!

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12 must-follow Instagram accounts hand-selected by a social media expert! 

Don't let the bullshit title of this post diminish the value of what you are about to discover. 

My Favorite Instagramer 
Or Instagrammer (people argue over the "M" - I say two, but most say one). My absolute favorite Instagramer is... @leylaruinseverything - ME. Thought I'd get this out of the way first instead of sneaking it in like a jerk.

A photo posted by leyla a. (@leylaruinseverything) on

What makes me an expert? Or just skip this nonsense and scroll down to the "must follow" Instagram accounts

The title of this blog post was intended as a joke, but I do plan and execute global digital / social media plans for large companies. In layman's terms, I say something like, "You should do this on Facebook (or Instagram or Twitter)" to paint a certain picture or tell a story in a different way. And then they say, "Ok, let's do it" and then we figure out how.

Although I am quite good at my job, I believe that self-proclaimed experts are usually anything but that and titles are useless. Happiness is all that matters, and I find that often comes in the form of currency and always comes in the form of vacation time.

DISCLAIMER: What I share in this post has nothing to do with my job or anything related to it. Below are a handful of my personal favorite Instagram accounts, they were selected only because the photos make me smile when they pop up in my stream. Nothing more, nothing less.

What I like and dislike about Instagramers (in general) 
  • I do like individuals who are creative, fun and show a sense of adventure 
  • I do like photos that are playful and / or colorful - even if they're contrived
  • I do like people who engage and write back when you comment 
  • I do like it when people mix it up and show me something new 
  • I don't like to see the same style of photo or shot all the time, I find it terribly boring
  • I don't like fashion bloggers, I think they look the same, like a one-trick pony 
  • I don't like over-stylized, artistic urban shots or redundant architectural close-ups

Parents and Family 

Famewhore -- god I love Famewhore. I don't know why his title is Famewhore, he mostly photographs his twin daughters! He takes amazing photos and he showcases his daughters in such a way that he makes me *almost* want kids. No one has ever been able to do this before him! Kudos Famewhore, kudos.
A photo posted by Famewhore (@famewhore) on

Terrapin Stationers -- Ted Harrington, the inspiration behind "Leyla after 5:00", you'd have to work with me to understand that one. Few men have said the word "fuck" as much as this guy, and no one as eloquently.
A photo posted by Ted Harrington (@terrapinstationers) on

Government and Regulation

US Interior -- It's all about nature and I am not a huge lover of nature, or the outdoors, but this works! Last year I visited my first National Park and fell in love with this outdoorsy crap. Whether you're into granola or not, it is undeniable that the U.S. Dept. of Interior does an amazing job of managing their Instagram handle -- not to mention the fact that they are one of the MOST important gov't institutions!

The TSA -- absolutely hysterical. I'm not sure who is behind this, but forget the images, the copy is genius... and clearly not written by the actual TSA.

Hot and Sexy!

Immodesty Blaize -- most days, I feel exactly like this. I may have unkempt hair, mis-matched undergarments and sit in a cubical, but in my mind's eye I'm drinking a cocktail in stilettos wishing everyone could look as good as me. Not sure what, but there is something about Immodesty Blaize that makes me believe I too could pull off a turban and a feather boa... but I guess that's her charm.

Ben Toub -- who is Ben Toub? I don't know... but he's HOT! He's always hopping on private planes with Karl Lagerfeld and hanging out with the Courtin sisters. I think he might be a former model and/or a body guard and/or married to someone rich - or all of the above. Does it matter? He's Ben Toub.

A photo posted by Sebastien Jondeau (@bentoub) on

Ladies and Gentlemen 

The Lady Gatsby -- I don't know who she is, where she's from or what she does... and I hope she doesn't get mad I posted about her because I didn't get permission! I love her photos and her outlook on life - she's a capitalist, a nostalgist an eternal expat who loves F. Scott Fitzgerald and I secretly want to be her.
A photo posted by Kimberley Tait (@theladygatsby) on

Lucy Will Show You -- London based designer who had me captivated when I saw her featured in the Globetrotter feed! It was summer, she was in France on holiday, I started following her and I've since lived happily ever after vicariously through her experiences.

A photo posted by LucyWillShowYou (@lucywillshowyou) on

Jim Binder -- a man of great taste and style. More importantly, he knows his booze and his rock and roll.

A photo posted by Jim Binder (@jimbinder) on

Classics and Chicagoans 

SeanMac60 -- he likes beer, art and Chicago that's all I know. I've never met him, I have no clue how and where I started following him but his photos are awesome. I love that he doesn't worry about consistency, if he wants to share a photo of himself enjoying a beer, he does. If he wants to show a photo of a great piece of art, he does. If he wants to show a pretty flower in bloom, he does! And that's how I like it.

A photo posted by Sean McElhany (@seanmac60) on

Sarah Lauch -- there is no greater friend to dogs (pitbulls in particular) than Sarah. Aside from her busy professional life, where she works as a sports producer, Sarah is in relentless pursuit of a better life for stray dogs in Chicago. I know many animal lovers but I've never known anyone who puts their money where their mouth is like Sarah. Although we've never met, when my brother lost his dog (a pitbull), Sarah did as much as a close friend or family member would to help us get our dog back. The effort she puts forth on a daily basis to save the lives of animals is unbelievable. She is truly a special person with a heart made of kibbles and bits.

A photo posted by Sarah Lauch (@instasarah) on

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wayne Coyne is Smart... and how Tony Ham Ruined My Life

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My friend Tony posted the ENTIRE Flaming Lips show on Meerkat 

It was fun to watch but also sad because I was not standing right by their side this year at SXSW - my life isn't *really* ruined. 

Wayne Coyne Said... 
Wayne Coyne told the SXSW crowd not to envy where they couldn't be, but to appreciate where they were and who they were with instead. This reminded me of my first SXSW trip... where Tony Ham was present (of course). 

We were babies in the digital sphere, we knew no one. It was 2009 or 2010, I was at SXSW on a press pass and had not one "VIP party" invitation. FYI, all the best parties are by invitation. However, this had never stopped me before, and it wasn't going to stop me now, so I started a "snowball party" - as I called it. We were walking down the street with nowhere to go and would pick up strays and go from there, party to party, or bar to bar, whether we got in or not, we would be our own fun. Sounds stupid, it wasn't, it worked. 

Tonight, Tony is up close and personal with Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips, duh). This is his last SXSW before he heads to Australia and I'm sad to not be there. He is also with my co-worker and good friend Kriselle, they are enjoying this moment sans Leyla. But they did get me a 3M shield for my iPhone 6 from the #LifeWith3M house (or party). 

Less about SXSW, More about The Flaming Lips 
My first experience with The Flaming Lips is quite memorable. I was in college and I worked at the local bar where bands played, the only one with a decent stage for 200 miles. I was a clever kid, I never scheduled a class before 10 AM and I was always finished by 2PM. Everyday I went to the gym and worked out for an hour or two... and then I went straight to the bar, it opened at 4PM. 

It wasn't crazy that I was at the bar daily, I worked there too, but I drank from 4PM until 8PM, then nightly after 10PM, unless I was working. I would joke that I drank 8 days a week, which was true because most days I slept off my afternoon hangover and drank again later that evening. Studying was a piece of cake, I did that when others were sleeping and the bars were closed. 

In any case, back to the point! I had friends who were regulars, some students and some not. My friend Matt was a regular, I can't be certain whether or not he was a student, but he was a regular. He was there daily at 4PM just like me. He looked like a nerd and he drank himself stupid, the only reason I remember him is because he rocked the same barstool every single day and he introduced me to The Flaming Lips. 

I don't remember the season, or the reason, but Matt was missing from the bar. I wondered where he was and the kids told me he had checked himself into detox -- sounds rough, but not if you're living in Southern Illinois. I shrugged my shoulders and expected him back, when I'd surely welcome him with a shot of Jaegermeister. When he came back, he had mix tape for me, on it were two things I remember and many others i don't. Matt introduced me to Liz Phair and The Flaming Lips. 

It's weird because I have no idea whatever happened to Matt but I always think about him when I listen to The Flaming Lips. Did he live or die, I don't know. I know many others never made it out alive (I still remember them everyday) but I hope he's OK, I hope they're all OK. If you're from there, you understand my seemingly cavalier attitude, if you're not, you don't and I can't change that.

SXSW on Sunday Morning Soliloquy 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Women Rule, an Homage to Women Who Rule - Kim Gordon

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"I want to be a woman until I'm 40 and then I want to be a man" - was what I used to say when I was a younger woman. I'm not sure I believed it.  

Women rule, that I've always believed, but the youthful statement was made when I had confidence in beauty and before I knew enough to have confidence in age. 

 Debbie Harry Rules

Society had led me to believe that all the great things that could happen to a woman were only to happen in her youth, while she was still pretty and of childbearing age. I never felt at a disadvantage as a young woman, but since we all had to age, I simply decided that men were sure to have an easier time after 40. Now that I am 42, I can promise you that no man, young or old, has ever had any advantage over me simply because he was a man - not even a pretty man. And I can confidently say that I am glad my wish was not granted.

Thoughts on Feminism 
My thoughts around feminism stem from recent events. My social feeds are often buzzing with conversations about feminism and how men bring women down. Although I consider myself a "feminist" of sorts, I don't often share the same views as the women making the bulk of the noise in my feeds. We all experience negativity and discrimination in life, but for me, gender would be low on my list (if I had a list) of things that stood in my way of success. 

A few weeks back, I posted the photo below to a Facebook group I own, the outcome was not what I had expected. I thought most people would agree that it was bad or wrong, but see some humor in it, or at the very least understand that it was not a present-day ideology. Nope. Shit got crazy and it escalated fast. The heated thread in my Facebook group went on for days. 

This made me realize that my views on feminism were vastly different than other women's. I am a Howard Stern fan, I have no problems with pornography and I tend to get along better with men than women. However, the biggest point of differentiation may be that I firmly believe women should be able to do whatever they want, however the want - even if that means objectifying themselves (in other people's views). I am OK with women using their sexuality, or their looks, to get ahead in business, for marriage, or music (like Debbie Harry), or whatever it is they want to do. Sexuality and good looks are an advantage, why wouldn't you use them? Do you think a man would say, "Well, I'm tall with a chiseled jaw and I look great in a pinstripe suit, I know that's why I beat the short bald guy out over the finance job, I'm not taking that job because I feel objectified.

Women Who Rule
Instead of dwelling on the differences, and who is right or wrong, I would rather celebrate women who are awesome. Women who overcame obstacles and barriers, or maybe like me, they paid no mind to the frivolity of others.

I picked Kim Gordon because her book Girl in a Band: A Memoir came out last week and there has been so much buzz about her in the news - a timely choice but still a great choice. I'm not a big Sonic Youth fan, but anyone my age (who listened to music) knows who Kim Gordon is, and more importantly, any woman my age (who listened to music), has mad respect for Kim Gordon.  

I can't remember a time when I wasn't impressed by Kim Gordon, she appears on the Homage board mentioned in my last post, but when I started to follow Kim Gordon's Instagram account a while back I grew more and more impressed. She is so cool and normal and good and awesome and good and cool and unimpressed and blonde and cool. When I look at the photos she posts on Instagram, I so badly want to be her, or at least be her friend, or at least gain her approval for validation - anything will do, anything at all.

It was Kim Gordon's Instagram handle that alerted me to the Lana del Rey comments that surfaced last week. Her photos had an abundance of kids commenting in defense of Lana del Rey, I tried to read the articles but then I didn't care enough to bother. I guess they've been edited now anyway - I still don't really care. She also called Lana del Rey a "Female Chris Isaak", I'd be so flattered by that comment. Who doesn't want to be a female Chris Issak? I'm guessing that Kim Gordon might also tell me to "off myself", and she wouldn't be the first, but I'd finally get the validation from Kim!

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An homage to those who inspire us.

I invited some friends to collaborate on Pinterest and pin anyone who inspired them. The board below is the result.

I've been thinking a lot about those who inspire me, I thought this would be a good way to start. More to come... Who inspires you? Want to join my board, leave a comment and I will add you.

Follow Leyla Arsan's board Homage on Pinterest.