Podcasts: I’ve been loving #2

IMG_8195I listen to podcasts throughout my week. They accompany me on dog walks, get me through time consuming house projects, cleaning and serve as copilot on my drives. I starting listening to podcasts back in 2011 when I discovered Radiolab. I have gone through phases of listening to more or less but for the past two years I have steadily been consuming a variety of shows. Just like other media I consume, I love lifestyle content so many of the shows I listen to are about food, or marriage or home/DIY. I did a post about a year ago about podcasts I was loving, so check that out for more recommendations.

This month NPR is trying to expand the reach of podcasts by encouraging podcasts listeners to spread the word with the hashtag #trypod for “try podcasts.” Obviously I am a fan of podcasts, most of my friends know me to recommend new ones monthly. Many of my talking points at social events begin with, “I was listening to this podcast and …” In supporting this medium I love so much I am going to do another wrap up of podcasts I’ve been loving.

For Serial and Godfather Lovers:
Crimetown – This podcast was actually a recommendation from my husband Neil. He heard about it on a show he listens to called Reply All and they are also produced by Gimlet Media. He knew this would be up my alley. I am the one who is into thriller books and movies and story type podcasts, like Serial, he just tolerates them. I love this show because it takes a look into the crime culture in a city and tells as many of the perspectives and stories as they can. This season the city is Providence, Rhode Island and I just love the way they tell this story with a mix of interviews and clips from old court cases and audio. It really submerges you into this town’s history of organized crime and all of the corruption. The main mob boss in the story was the man The Godfather was based on, so if you like that book/movie you will love this show. Plus the intro music is awesome, which I can’t say for every podcast. The first season is still in progress so I am waiting each week to learn more about Providence.

For Radiolab lovers:
Science Vs – This is another Neil recommendation, also from Gimlet Media. He caught my attention by telling me about the episode the G-spot. These are fun episodes because they take such a variety of topics and rather than getting into the politics or other emotion based systems they pit science against each topic and do their best to get to the bottom of the topic. I recently listened to one on acne and since I am into natural skincare it was definitely interesting. Plus you get to have lots of fun random facts in your back pocket like the difference between white and blackheads. I compare it to Radiolab because they interview a variety of people and attack the subject in multiple ways so it feels similar to Radiolab in the way they peel back the layers.

For people sick of news overload:
The Daily – After last year’s election I had a hard time with feeling overwhelmed by the daily play by play of everything. I can’t remember the blog I saw this podcast recommended on but if I remember I will update. The Daily comes from the New York times and it is a 20 min show put out monday through friday with an overview of the news. They do about 2 stories and then give a few highlights at the end of each episode. This has been the perfect amount of news for me lately and when I hear something interesting I can go and find more. It is a great way to start my day or my dog walk.

For lifestyle lovers (like myself):
The Perfect Wife – This comes from one of my old faves Marriage is Funny host Jessie Artigue of Style and Pepper. You may remember that we actually went on vacation with the Great Love Gang (followers of the Marriage is Funny podcast/community) to Mexico last year. I love their original podcast but this year Jessie created one on her own interviewing some of the women who inspire her to be a better wife. A theme in Marriage is Funny is aiming for great love not perfect love and that sentiment definitely carries into this podcast series. I loved learning about each of the women interviewed and I learned a lot about myself and my own marriage by listening to this show. Explaining this show makes me want to listen to it again. This is a series of 9 episodes with mini episodes that are messages from Jessie after the interview and her thoughts on lessons in the episode. I am a fan and hope that she will come back to this side project once she gets farther into her kickstarter for a new dress I am dying to get my hands on.

Young House Love Has a Podcast – I followed this home/DIY blog off and on over the past couple of years and follow them on social media. When I heard they had a podcast I was excited. I listen every week and like the fun shorter format with what’s new updates, a fun game show style game, occasional interviews and a what we’re digging segment where they share products, podcasts, books they are enjoying. It is fun and light-hearted and a good listen when you are in the thick of home projects.

The Cookbook Deal, Also The Weirdest Year of My Life – This series is from Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant. She also has a podcast called One Part Podcast I recommended last year. She recorded everything during the year she got a book deal, wrote her cookbook, and published her first book. There is a lot of crazy personal stuff that happens during that year of her life and she takes you through it all, the excitement and struggles in the year she put out her cookbook. I listened to a few episodes on a car trip a couple weeks ago and found myself in tears on the freeway, so get ready for all the feels here. I enjoy her original podcast and this one is such an interesting look into the way a book deal works and all of the things you don’t think about the go on before you get to hold the book in your hands. This is still in progress so join in and catch up before the next episode comes out.

What I am going to listen to next:
Like most of the podcast community I can’t wait for S-Town. I know it is out now, aka binge-ready, but I am saving it for a special occasion. I need a good project, like painting my yoga studio next week, to take me through the series. I love getting caught up in a good story, which is why I also love audio books, and know this is going to be good. It comes from the makers of Serial and This American Life. No spoilers please!

If you haven’t ever tried a podcast give one of these a shot or check out my post last year for more suggestions. #trypod

Happy listening!

Progress & Setbacks

IMG_1577Over the past month we have been trying to traveling, working on projects and fighting a lingering cold. We have made some more progress getting the french doors installed on the yoga studio, ordering a rug and cushions for the family room and lots of little upgrades around the house. However, those small triumphs can get overshadowed by setbacks. Like the huge amount of work we need to prioritize redoing attic insulation and adding vents or ordering the wrong blinds.

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It is crazy that we can let the setbacks take away from our joy in the progress of everyday. A couple of weeks ago after a few days of heavy rain, Charlie chewed up the book I had just started and the next day ate the entire upper of a Dansko clog. I was so upset. I focused on all the things I should have done to prevent this and how she had reverted after being so good about not chewing things ups. I told everyone the story about how I came home and found the heel and sole of the clog sitting there. There are little victories everyday and overall she is such a great puppy.

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I want to strive to spend more energy, thought and words on the positive things that happen, the progress. I want to think about and tell people about how she is the star dog in puppy class each week. I want to tell people how she has learned to fetch and drop it easily for people who call her. I want to tell people how she is ready to take the Puppy STAR test through AKC and hopefully this time next week that she passed!IMG_1453

I want to be happier about the projects we have completed around the house and not spend so much time focusing on what we have not done. I truly believe that when you focus on the positive it flows more easily. Here’s to a happier more positive 2017 and more beautiful beach walks (photos from College Cove near Arcata, CA).

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Any tips for keeping the focus on all the good things? Would love to hear your thoughts on this over on instagram!

House Projects: New closet, New studio, New friends

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We got a bit over zealous with the demo of our master bedroom closet in the first month of moving here. We have since been working little by little and waiting to decide whether we would try our have at sheet rock or whether we would hire it out.

The good news is that right before the holidays we found someone to do the work in the closet as well as installing the french doors and additional windows in the room behind the garage. We are going to update that room to become my yoga studio. I am very excited to get this project underway. We bought the french doors from the previous owners as they had originally planned to install them but did not move forward when they decide to sell. We also recently purchased bamboo flooring and windows for the space.

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Seeing any progress makes it feels so much more real. Neil framed out the new wall for the closet and installed denim insulation in the closet. This is mostly to provide sound proofing as the closet backs up to fridge/freezer in the kitchen. Now that the lights have been installed and the drywall is finished in the closet we need to clean up and get ready to paint! We are planning to build barn style doors for the closet and have an oversized mirror in the middle on the wall. I can’t wait to actually move into our master bedroom.

I have been working on my pinterest board inspiration for both of these spaces. Check out some door inspiration here for our closet.

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I am also thinking of keeping the walls in the yoga studio light but warm since the floors will be a bit darker. I am looking for a color other than purple for props and accents but have not decided yet. The studio will be so much brighter already with windows and the large french doors. I can’t wait to hold privates and small classes out there.

Neil recently built new shelves in our garage to try to organize this space more. They turned out great and he built them all by himself over the course of a few week nights. We are getting closer to being completely unpacked and starting to shuffle and find the right spot for things. It is feeling more like home as we move through each week. Another update is that we moved and cleaned out our hot tub. It is finally in working order and quite nice for an evening dip. Come one, come all! We are doing our best to bribe our friends to visit us up in Santa Rosa!

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We have been very focused on the house and the puppy and need to get out in the community more. It is easier to stay home and visit with the few friends and family we have here, especially in this crazy winter weather. We have had so much rain up in Sonoma County and have even been having flash flood warnings. It has been fine in our neighborhood but definitely flooding in parts of the county. Charlie and I are both hoping for a dry day soon so we can go out for longer walks, we are a bit stir crazy these days (look how big she is).

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Even with the big storm this week we are making an effort in the new year to connect with new friends and find new hang outs in Santa Rosa. Tonight we are heading to trivia night at a, new to us, brewery we recently tried called Fogbelt Brewing Company. Wish us luck.

Here is to new friends and new house projects in the new year!

16 Books of 2016

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-9-38-40-amExactly one year ago I posted 15 books I read and enjoyed in 2015. I thought I would make this a tradition and put this list out again. I have been in the same book club since late 2011, so going on five years. I love the monthly meetings/girls nights out and the variety of books we read with five ladies choosing our reads.

We use good reads to help narrow down our selections. We are all friends on there and try to check our picks against other members lists of Read, To Read, and Currently Reading shelves. It definitely helps cut out the back and forth of suggesting a few books that multiple people have already read.

There is also a fun feature where you can set a reading challenge goal at the beginning of the year and track against it. I definitely underestimated this year and challenged myself to read 24 books but will most likely read 32 books this year. Here are some of my favorites from this year:

16 Top Books of 2016

  1. Wild Seed – Octavia Butler
  2. The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings in Authenticity, Connections and Courage – Brené Brown
  3. Only Love Can Break Your Heart -Ed Tarkington
  4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert
  5. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
  6. Before You Know Kindness – Chris Bohjalian
  7. Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  8. The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
  9. At the Water’s Edge – Sara Gruen
  10. The Clifton Chronicles #1-5 – Jeffery Archer
  11. A House in the Sky – Amanda Lindhout
  12. Dark Matter – Blake Crouch
  13. Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  14. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  15. A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
  16. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

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I am currently reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett for book club and am loving it! If  I had already finished it I would definitely have included it on this list. I have also done a lot of audiobook listening this year with our move and dog walking it is great to be able to read while walking or packing/unpacking boxes. I split time between books from audible and my favorite podcasts. Here is a pic of my reading buddy when she was still so little!

What have you been reading? Any recommendations for me in 2017?

Nashville Guide: Birthday Edition

img_1102As I mentioned last week, my super sweet husband surprised me with a weekend in Nashville for my birthday. Or at least he tried to. He did keep a few tricks up his sleeve like tickets to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman which was so fun!

We woke up early on my birthday, Thursday, and headed to the airport. At one point in the car we listened to Footloose and some other ‘80s hits to get the birthday vibe going. Neil also bought muffins at a local bakery for us the night before. We had a nice easy flight and when we landed we headed straight to our airbnb to change before dinner. It was a loft that was converted from an 1840s carriage house in Germantown. We were walking distance to a few restaurants we had on our list.

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We started the night with drinks and appetizers at Butchertown Hall. It had a great vibe and a good happy hour. We then headed over to Rolf and Daughters for dinner. The food and drinks were fabulous and farm to table style. Every dish was so interesting and it would have been fun to try more of the inventive dishes. This restaurant was a bit more cozy but had a great atmosphere.
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To keep the night going we went to the Broadway strip downtown where there are blocks of bars with live music going on all day! It is so cool, and full of tourists and locals. The first place we popped in was The Second Fiddle. This ended up being my favorite place. I had the best margarita of the trip, and believe me there were many, out of a plastic cup there. They also had the Wes Cook Band playing ‘90s country, so it was a winner. We headed out to try out some other places but after finding some places too crowded and others with bands playing mediocre ‘80s covers we found our way back to see this band finish off and a new band come on. For the next band we were sitting right up front and the lead singer said we looked like a cute couple and asked if we were married. When we said yes, he asked how long. Then he said he was dedicating the next song to us, Break Up With Him by Old Dominion. Joke was on him because I love that song!

We finished off the night hopping to a few more bars, watching the Warriors play and looking for some late night food. The only place open was the place called Paradise Park Trailer Resort, a kitschy diner, complete with the tots and shots sign. It was quite the night out to ring in my new year.

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On Friday we had a great breakfast over in the Fiver Points neighborhood at Marche Artisan Foods. We had croissant french toast (wow) and scramble with grits. The food was tasty and I was checking out their tea menu which had some super interesting blends and noticed they were made locally. After breakfast we went to check out the tea shop called High Garden and I bought some tea to bring home including, Toasted Fig, Lavender with Love, Spiced Maple Mate, Mocha Mint Mate, Ginger Mint Revive and Fancy Earl Grey. We also hit a local coffee shop Bongo East in the same neighborhood and I got one of the crazy signature drinks called Matcha Miruku. It was a matcha latte with vanilla and lime essence.

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Next, we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It was so fun to see the special exhibits on Alabama and the Zac Brown Band as well as the history of country music and all the old greats! Quite the experience and I am generally a sucker for museums. After this we walked over the neighborhood the Gulch and had some beers at the local brewery Yazoo. We liked the Hop Perfect IPA the best as well as the Hefeweizen. We headed back to our place to change before going out to my surprise show.

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It was so fun to pull up the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Opry. It was originally a church so there is stained glass that is gorgeous and tiny pew seating, that is made for much shorter folks. Even though we didn’t know anyone who was performing too well it was still so much fun to hear new and old artists performing.

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We had a late night BBQ dinner before heading home for an earlier evening. We ate at Martin’s BBQ Joint right before they closed on a recommendation from an Uber driver and the food was really good. We just wished we had order a larger portion as we ordered the combo that served 1-2. We had tickets to Nashville Christmas parade early the next morning we had also heard about from another Uber driver, so many good recommendations.

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It was freezing at the Christmas parade Saturday morning, literally in the 30s but it was definitely fun to be at a live parade kicking off the holiday season. There were stars singing, large floats and lots of confetti. I was also glad we got reserved seating because we had a great view and didn’t have to get there too early.

Afterward we headed back to our place to get warmer clothes we went to stand in line at Hattie Bs Hot Chicken. We were told this isn’t the most authentic or the “best” but that it is the most popular. It was definitely an experience to wait for 30 minutes to get in the door to order food, but we were warned ahead and once you get in and order your food comes pretty fast. Basically your decide what kind of meat, light or dark, how much, the spice level (Southern -no heat, Mild, Medium, Hot!, Damn Hot, Shut the Cluck Up!!!) then you choose your sides. Neil got medium and I got hot, which was perfect for each of us. We tried mac n cheese, greens, slaw, and banana pudding. It was so tasty.
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Afterward we headed to a local distillery called Nelson’s GreenBriar Distillery to go on a tour and whiskey tasting. I am not much of a whiskey drinker but Neil loves it. It was a very cool tour with lots of history. About 10 years ago these two brothers found out their great (times 3) grandfather started the fifth whiskey operation in Tennessee. Their family had lost track of that history and connection after prohibition when it wasn’t popular to talk about connection to liquor. They started looking into the history and paperwork and were able to reopen with original recipe and original legal paperwork so they could maintain designation of DSP 5 TN and started selling in 2012. If you are interested to hear more you should look the story up or go on the tour. It was a great story and a fun look into the history of spirits and prohibition. Our favorite was that day’s single barrel bourbon and every single one is different. They hand bottle and label so it is a very cool small operation. They sell some of their bourbon under the label Belle Meade at Bev Mo in CA and over 10 other states.

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We headed over to The Country for a small show and killed time at The Springwater with beer and darts beforehand. Springwater is a Supperclub and Lounge which claims to be the oldest bar in Tennessee established in 1896. It was quite the little hole in the wall but nice to get away from the crowded tourist bars. We had dinner and drinks at The Country while waiting for the band Holy Smokes and The Godforsaken Rollers to start. We had found them when looking for music off the strip and looked them up on youtube. They were fabulous. The best way to describe them is a bluegrass Andrew Bird duo. They asked for tips and tequila shots so after they wrapped up Neil bought them shots and we ended up having drinks and chatting with them. They were so great, if you get a chance to see them you should!

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We had another drink out in Five Points  and grabbed a slice at the well recommended Five Points Pizza before we headed back for the night before our early flight. It was such a great weekend in Nashville. We had such a great time and everyone was so friendly! Best birthday surprise trip ever from the best husband ever!

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We are heading to Neil’s company holiday party tonight. Have a great weekend!