Everyone is starting a podcast or listening to a podcast. I remember downloading podcasts from iTunes onto my iPod in 2005, obscure punk podcasts and one hosted by the singer of Voxtrot. They were rough, unrefined, mostly personal playlists with banter in between. Then over time, I forgot about my love for podcasts until the medium bubbled up to the surface of our social consciousness again. Oh yeah – I like those. It’s been a few years, and some podcasts have stuck with me and others I don’t check in on as frequently. I wanted to write this blog post 2.5 years ago, but got too precious about the presentation and never executed it. In 2016 my favorite podcasts were That’s So Retrograde, Happier Podcast, Bruce Lee Podcast, Failure Factor, and Ted Talk Radio Hour. I only listen to one of those on a consistent basis today. Not that the other podcasts failed me or anything, I will still put on Ted Talk Radio Hour if I have a long drive and I want to use the podcast as my way to track the time, but mostly my taste has just shifted and interest diverged. Also, I was listening to A LOT of self-help podcasts because those were the only ones I knew about. I still have more self-help subscriptions than any other style of podcasts, but the below are really my favorites of 2018 / Q1 of 2019.
1 ] True Crime Obsessed – My sister gets 100% credit for turning me onto “True Crime Obsessed”. As the title suggests, it’s about true crime. But it’s the hosts that make it so incredibly special and fun. Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle are two theater geeks who also have a love for Dateline and true crime docs. As I’ve described it to friends, imagine Jack and Karen from Will and Grace discussed the ID Channel; except they are breaking down some of the best (and heartbreaking) true crime documentaries with humor and compassion. They have a literal bell to ring when discussing garbage humans and Gillian’s impressions are hilarious. Her Warren Jeff’s is the only thing that makes listening to that monster’s voice tolerable. I highly suggest starting from the beginning when it comes to diving into TCO. Although you could start anywhere, it’s the episodic inside jokes that develop over the series that makes you feel like you’re really just hanging out with your pals discussing some of the most horrific aspects of life. Plus they close out the shows with a palate cleanser from a Broadway Musical that is loosely tied to the documentary, for example, the palate cleanser for Prophet’s Prey was from the Book of Mormon. *jazz hands* Yeah, True Crime isn’t for everyone – but this one is for me.
Listen If You Like: True Crime Documentaries, Broadway Musicals, LGBTQ History, and Strong Women
2] That’s So Retrograde – The fabulous hosts of “That’s So Retrograde” are Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Falcon Simbari. If you like crystals, meditation, new age, wellness, astrology and all the things that might help you just vibrate higher – Elizabeth and Stephanie are here to explore those topics for you and with you. I describe this podcast like Sex and the City meets Mind Body Green. They are down to earth, with a sense of humor, trying their best to navigate being a human, living their truth, and picking up various tools to help their mind, body, and spirit be at the level which will help them live their best life. The topics and guests range from super scientist discussing the microbiome to a little more woo-woo covering how the latest cosmic shift should possibly influence your next Botox appointment. Also, I went to one of their live shows last year and excited to share – these two hosts are totally cool and awesome in real life too.
Listen If You Like: Horoscopes, Goop, Vanderpump Rules, Gluten-Free Pizza, and Normal Pizza
3] You Made It Weird – Hosted by comedian Pete Holmes, “You Made It Weird” is for those that love long listening. I was going to say “long-form content,” but that is used for a different medium. Anyways, Pete Holmes books his guest for 2 to 3 hours so they have enough time to move through that space of guarded polite conversation to when one’s hair comes down and they are both relaxed enough to have a real and honest connection. Pete is a former evangelic Christian, reformed atheist, who subscribes to the teachings of Ram Dass and whatever helps to elevate his spiritual being. The podcast isn’t preachy by any means, but if you enjoy comedy and thinking about the deeper meaning as to why we are here (or have regular existential crises like myself) then you will enjoy “You Made It Weird.” He has a 450 episodes to date with recognizable names sprinkled throughout, so you can totally scroll till you find someone of interest or do what I do – make your Podcast app scroll through the episodes really fast, ask the universe what you need to hear and click play.
Listen if you Like: That feeling you get after having a really good insightful conversation with a complete stranger.
4 ] You Must Remember This – Remember when actresses were subscribed drugs by the Hollywood Studio system, and actors married female costars to present a family image while sleeping with their handsome male hairdresser. Yes, “You Must Remember This” is like an Old Hollywood gossip column with the sophistication and panache of scholarly historian. The host Karina Longworth brings the stories of yesteryear alive, by creating captivating seasons that cover everyone from Joan Crawford to Charles Manson. If you’ve ever been fascinated with Old Hollywood, or the transition of Hollywood to what we know of it as today then this podcast is for you. The beautiful part of this podcast is it seems like one season plants the seed for the next, like a fun fact or tidbit of information begs for further investigation and suddenly there is a series on the parallels of Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda’s careers. It’s like if Nancy Drew grew up and was a film buff.
Listen if you Like: Movies in Black and White, Scandal, True Crime, and Glamour.
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard – Cool people having deep conversations
By The Book – Two awesome ladies trying out self-help books so you don’t have to.
Fishnet Flixs – If the word “Camp” makes you think of iconic fashion and cult-classic worthy dialogue before nature and tents, then this is for you!
Let me know what podcasts are on your download list. I hope you enjoying checking out a few of my favorites.
Over this past year, I collected my trash in a large bag in my closet. The following is the results of said collection, with the exclusion of a few products, because I was getting tired of filming.
I am a loyalist when it comes to my favorite products, it is hard to get me to deviate from what I know works for me. So, I don’t think I will ever do an empties video again, because of this – I made my ultimate empties video.
Not shown is the amount of toothpaste my husband and I went through in 2018. We brushed our teeth. Trust me when I say a lot of Sensodyne toothpaste was used. not sponsored, but open to it
🧡 Below is a list of Amazon affiliate links to my Ride or Die Products 🧡
First Aid Beauty Ultra Hydrating Cream: https://amzn.to/2RXovRo
Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser: https://amzn.to/2sCvcKA
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: https://amzn.to/2APPd4I
Philosophy Purity Cleanser: https://amzn.to/2szjGzl
Rosehip Oil: lhttps://amzn.to/2T8kBml
Serge Normant Dry Shampoo: https://amzn.to/2sCxf1b
Oribe Texturizing Spray: https://amzn.to/2AVfH4P
Thank you 2018…
Now, I have that Ariana Grande song stuck in my head.
Not, but really. Thank you 2018, you forced me to grow. You pulled the rug from underneath me, stripped me of my bearings, and then starred me down challenging me to get back up.
At the end of 2017, I was chewed out by a toxic client and blamed for ruining a project that was not my responsibility in the first place. I became the whipping boy, and I took the lashings on my already burned out nerves from having spent the year plannin my wedding. I went into 2018 a little broken and tired. But put one mangled foot in front of the other, and slowly by the end of February I was starting to feel a little stronger. I’d started school and was making progress towards getting my AA — the goal to get it finished by the end of the year. I had figured out how to navigate work better. My mental health was on an upswing.
Then at the end of March, my sister and I found out my Father was losing his living situation and we would have to find him a place to live. I have a strained and complicated relationship with my father filled with a pool of pain. I had created a very structured and simple box labeled Dad I could stuff all my feelings in and shoved it on a high shelf to collect dust. I would take it down twice a year for his birthday and Christmas, but most of the year – it was out of sight and out of mind. Then all of a sudden the box fell off the shelf, shattered, and the feelings started pouring out; anger, resentment, rage, frustration, sadness, regret, guilt. Like a poisonous gas, all these issues I thought I had figured out how to deal with was all of a sudden suffocating me.
We found a place for him to live. We figured out a way to make sure he had groceries. Now, I go to doctor appointments with him as he is addressing various health concerns he had neglected for over 10 years. We cleaned out storage units to free up his cash flow. My husband and I even drove to Pullyup, Washington to empty out a storage unit into a Uhaul truck and dump the items at a Goodwill.
The tears flowed like a broken faucet as I drove away from Washington with my father’s choice possessions packed in the back of the SUV we rented, feeling like my life was closing in on me. I wasn’t going to be able to finish school this year like planned. I had to take care of a person who had abandoned me. I felt stagnant in my career. My life had become a cage, and I felt trapped by my own choices.
Then in August, something changed. I shifted my perspective and realized that the cage had an open door. Yes, there were some truths about my life that I wouldn’t be able to change. But I wasn’t locked in, and I still could exercise my freedom if I chose. I felt stronger. I felt more empowered. I continued to work towards my degree and will be working on it in 2019 too. I’m not a zen master when it comes to my Dad, still working on it – but at least I’m working on it instead of ignoring it. And I finally had a few challenging and rewarding work projects this autumn.
But 2018 wasn’t done with me yet. Oh no, at the beginning of December I got strep throat 4 days before seeing my idol John Waters, forcing me to change a few travel plans last minute. Then last week my mother-in-law, who I adore and is one of the most unique loving one of kind people I’ve ever met, had a health scare. Plus the water heater is broken, a mild inconvenience.
So with 10 days away from 2019, I can say THANK YOU 2018! I’m not racing towards the change in the calendar. No, cause, you taught me that it’s not about what is going on around me, it’s about what goes on inside me.
When my husband and I were on operation clean out Washington Storage Unit, we were listening to the book, High Performance Habits, and one of the tasks was to choose 3 words to describe the person you want to be. I chose VIBRANT, PURPOSEFUL (aka INTENTIONAL), and GROUNDED. I visualized an old oak with its roots deep in the earth, standing strong in the storm.
I don’t know what next year has in store for me, nor do I really care. All I can do is put my all into today, right now. I have goals and aspirations. I’m excited to work towards them and give my actions more intention. But 2019 will roll out as it will, and all I can do is take what it throws at me with grit and grace.
I keep thinking of this saying, “When you make plans, God laughs.” As I look back on this year, I can find several pretty comedic moments; like the Uhaul not starting and acting like it had a dead battery after it was fully loaded and we had 45 minutes to drop everything off at Goodwill and a recycling center.
The power of laughter is right there with love. Laughter diffuses pain, fear, and anger. Laughter is everything. So the only thing I ask for this New Year is more laughs.
Wishing all those who check my corner of the internet an amazing holiday season and fun night ringing in 2019.
*affiliate link to the book we were listening to : https://amzn.to/2Sg9VBk *
Q3 2018 Spotify Playlist| Road Side
Another playlist another life update…
How is it already November? How are we already in the second month of Q4?
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, ok let’s be honest, when am I not self-reflective.
I journal on a daily basis, and it’s interesting how the same frets, insecurities, anxieties, hopes, dreams, aspirations – they just cycle through the pages. To be super honest and transparent, I don’t feel like I’ve grown in the ways I’ve hoped to grow over the last few years. And yet I KNOW I’ve grown in different ways that I didn’t anticipate or plan. It’s like my life is one long road trip, and instead of getting to my desired destination, I discovered something different and interesting in a roadside attraction.
Now, what I need to come to terms with and accept is that although I didn’t get to my destination, I can’t regret the experiences and lessons I learned by the roadside. Life is the greatest adventure, the only thing linear about it is that there is a beginning and an end, but everything in between is filled with curves, roundabouts, peaks, and valleys. This year is almost over, and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done the best I could with it. But it’s not over yet, and I’m not racing to the finish line. I’m back on the road, with a new map in hand, and ready to burn rubber!
(*ok I’m done with the road trip metaphors – for now 😉)
The handmade art installation of 31,000 felt pieces by the artist Lucy Sparrow.
Unfortunately, Sparrow Mart closed it’s doors this past Saturday, but if you weren’t able to enjoy the felt made mecca in real life, you can come explore with me!
The store was mini-mart sized but more like a miniature Gelsons, as it was stocked with produce and meats, a sushi counter and fresh fish. The shelves had brand names that invoked childhood memories, and Sparrow was clever in her selection of products to reproduce. Nostalgia mixed with a bit of novelty is what made Sparrow Market so special.
It was important to me to check out the store while it was fully stocked. All the items were available for purchase, and I knew as the buzz grew, the markets visual impact would dwindle. I’ve always been fascinated with the quantity versus quality aspect of art and life. My ice princess attitude towards Andy Warhol has melted over the years, but for a long time, I hated him because of his use of quantity to create an artistic statement – the use of repetition. And as I’m at Sparrow Mart thoroughly enjoying myself, looking at the felt Brillo Boxes, I’m hit with the quantity over quality constant again. A principle I once protested, I now acknowledge the merit of because when it’s done well there is nothing to dispute.
when art imitates art
more photos if you continue reading
When I was a kid I LOVED ice cream sandwiches, and it taught me a valuable life lesson.
I basically smeared chocolate cookie and ice cream everywhere.
When I was a kid I LOVED ice cream sandwiches. I’m not a huge ice cream person, but I still have a soft spot for the ice cream sandwich. The other day, as I was snacking on this tasty treat at Thinkspace Gallery, it reminded me of this mischievous story from my childhood.
One hot summer day during the commercial break of my favorite Disney Channel show, I grabbed an ice cream sandwich from the freezer. Obviously, I had many tasks to complete during this break, so for some reason, I took the treat with me to the bathroom, but promptly left it on the counter when I heard the tv show come back from its commercial break earlier than I anticipated. Well, as I was enthralled with the storyline, my ice cream sandwich was melting on the counter. I never went back for it. I think I left it there for a good hour. Don’t ask where my parental supervision was, latchkey kid all the way – BUT after whatever I was watching was over, or something uninteresting came on the tv, I returned to the bathroom to find ice cream all over the counter. I freaked out! Being only 5 years old I cleaned it up the best I could, with toilet paper. I basically smeared chocolate cookie and ice cream everywhere. Clearly unable to hide the evidence of my irresponsibility. I just locked the bathroom door and walked away.
It was another few hours until anyone attempted to open the bathroom. I continued watching tv, playing, doing what you do when your five years old. When my parents attempted to open the door, I denied knowing why it was locked. When they finally were able to get it unlocked to discover the ice cream sandwich madness within, my tiny handprints all over the counter and mirrors, I continued to deny knowing why it was locked. Eventually, I confessed to being guilty for locking the door and leaving my ice cream sandwich on the counter to melt.
Now as I reflect on this, I have to say my 5-year-old self had some real gumption to try and figure out how to clean up the mess they created all by themselves. It was my ice cream, so I should clean it up. Great sense of responsibility. Also, I learned at a very young age closing the door on a problem doesn’t make it go away. You have to face it straight on, and maybe asking for help when it’s a little too big to manage is smart too.
Next time you eat ice cream while feeling like life’s problems are a little too much to deal with, make the choice to find your sister and have her help clean up your mess before Mom and Dad find out.
Interview with musician Dev Ray, a genuinely disarming gemini.
“It changes all the time. Lately, it’s been humming into a voice recorder while driving, not very safe but sometimes necessary.”
Dev Ray is a genuinely disarming Gemini. Not that I find most Gemini’s terribly intimidating. But I like how that sounded, and Dev really is a refreshingly genuine person. To me, there is no pretense to him as a person or his music. He possesses a quality that is similar to the dreamscapes of Michel Gondry’s Science of Sleep and creates a sense of familiarity like you could have gone to elementary school together. His new tune, “Can’t Hide” out on Dangerbird Records reflects the ray of morning sunshine that Dev Ray embodies. The songs upbeat melody would soundtrack the speed up footage of a night with friends which is carried out until the sun rises over the horizon, feet in the sand and holding hands.
Find out more about this awesome person’s musical ambitions and adventuresome discoveries in my interview with Dev Ray below.
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Favorite Color: Oh, this is a hard one. I feel like people judge you the most off this. If I say blue I’m boring, if I say green people will think all I care about is money and if I say purple they just won’t believe anything I say! Seriously though, I feel like it changes all the time. As you get older you discover new colors like chartreuse or azure. This is my very frustrating way of answering this question!
Childhood Hero: Oh, another tough one. I guess I would say, Pee-Wee Herman. I was obsessed with The Movie and his playhouse show. I think his zany humor made it into my personality somehow. Him or Mr. Rogers. I always liked how he changed his sweater and shoes when he got home, I do the same thing.
Super bummed to have missed the show at Dangerbird. How did it go? What do you feel like before a show – do you have any rituals.
The show was great! I was really nervous and overwhelmed at first! A lot of people showed up! The Dangerbird backyard was packed. When I made it on stage though I felt alright. I guess I like being on stage, ha! I was actually influenced by a post that Cecilia from the band Gothic Tropic made where she did a pre-show dance ritual when she was touring for Beck, I assume she does it for her shows too. I was inspired and love dancing anyway so I danced around a little bit before the show in front of the audience and it alleviated a lot of my nerves.
Loving the material available on Spotify, the single “Can’t Hide” and your super silky rendition of “So Excited.” What is your approach to developing songs and melodies – do you hum a tune into a voice reminder and build it out or just start strumming out notes. For those with no musical talent (ie: me) what’s the breakdown in approaching an original song and/vs a redux?
It changes all the time. Lately, it’s been humming into a voice recorder while driving, not very safe but sometimes necessary. I think I wrote “Can’t Hide” a few years ago on my old Yamaha keyboard. It was originally a slow disco song with slide guitar and a weird key change. I changed it up and was gonna use it for another band I was in called Dr. Fadeaway. The drummer Sal suggested a more upbeat drumbeat he borrowed from The Cure. I took the song back and used it for Dev Ray! “I’m So Excited” started when I jokingly sang it out loud at work in a very monotone, blasé way. I later realized after playing the chords on the organ that it actually would work slow and the chord progression is just so beautiful.
Is there a full EP or album on the horizon?
I hope so! I definitely have enough songs for an album. If Dangerbird likes me enough and these singles do okay then hopefully they will let me do a full album and release it for me!
Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Best hole in the wall restaurant is Thai Pepper in Hollywood. I lived in Franklin Village for a while and was always on a budget. This place just west of Franklin Village by the 101 is so affordable and this little old lady with a hunchback runs the whole damn place herself.
Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
hmmmmm…waffles, cereal, mashed potatoes.
Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I honestly don’t read as much as I would like to/used to but...Incognito: The Secret Lives Of The Brain by David Eagleman is the most fascinating book I have read in a while. It has to be the easiest read dealing with neuroscience out there. I also just watched a documentary on The Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin album on youtube and that was so fun.
What is a quality you admire in other people?
Humor, lots of it.
What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
Detroit. I am going there at the end of August! After that, I need to visit my friends in Washington.
Who is a person you would fan-boy over if you turned the corner and ran into them right now, and why?
Cecilia from Gothic Tropic. I would want to ask her how touring with Beck was and how she got that gig.
You’ve done a tour or two in your lifetime – what is an “on the road” story that comes to mind and makes you laugh or smile?
Touring with Nima from So Many Wizards is always a riot! I was especially making him crack up a lot during our last little desert tour. We were sitting in the back of the van together most of the time. On my first ever tour with So Many Wizards, we played SXSW 2013 alongside the band Social Studies. I made out with the lead singer/keyboard player Natalia and that always brings a smile to my face.
If you had the opportunity to Matrix download one subject (this includes the entire scope of said subject) into your brain – what would it be and why?
Tap dancing or ballroom dancing. I eventually want to learn every social dance there is.
Last three artists played on your preferred form of music consumption. (Spotify, iTunes, soundcloud, record player etc… )
Phoenix – Ti Amo, Deerhunter – Fading Frontier, Peter Gabriel – So, all CD’s in my car!
Wise parting words
You can put sunflower seeds in your yogurt, cereal, and sandwiches.
Those in the LA area can enjoy the musical stylings of Dev Ray in person at Taix French Restuarant during Echo Park Rising next Thursday, August 16th at 7 pm; and follow him on Instagram for more updates on upcoming shows and such.
*pictures of Dev Ray by photographer / artists – @lellopepper
Q2 2018 Spotify Playlist | Dormant Volcano
I’m practicing this radical truth thing which is incredibly uncomfortable and yet healing
I seem to always use playlist publications as a time to give a little life update. So, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve had a rocky Q2 of 2018. At the end of March, a bunch of dirt was stirred up in my life and I had to start confronting a lot of pain and anger from my past. I’m practicing this radical truth thing which is incredibly uncomfortable and yet healing, so in the last few months, I’ve been supporting (with the help of my sister) my estranged father. Trust that the emotional and at times physical demands (I’ve unloaded two large stuffed storage units in the last 2 months) of that relationship is incredibly draining.
But I’m sick and tired of being so god damn tired. I’m done with thinking and talking in circles. Yes, I don’t LOVE my life right now, and I feel so off track and removed from my center. Yet, I know I am the only one that can change things. I’m a firm believer in positive action yields and attracts positive results. I don’t know what exactly I’m searching for, but I know I want to be at a higher vibration – so here goes me sharing and putting some positivity out into the world with a fun new playlist.
username : blanket_fort_adventures
Playlist: Dormant Volcano | duration 52+ mins
“Pretty Woman” – Lo Noom / “E.V.P.” – Blood Orange/ “My Offwhite Flag” – Dirty Projectors / “Hope the High Road” – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit / “Let Me Get There” – Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions/ “Jane Eyre” – Sur Back / “We Are Going to Be Friends” – Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit / “Baby” – Angharad Drake / “Something for you M.I.N.D. ” – Superorganism/ “Truly Madly Deeply” – Yoke Lore / “Seventeen” – Sjowgren/ “Brass in Pocket” – Pretenders / “The Bus Song” – Jay Som / “God Only Knows” – JR JR / “Promises” – Aly & AJ
I just got out of my French class, but by the time you read this “just” will no longer be relevant.
I’m also currently craving french fries. By the time you read this, the sentence will still be relevant as I’m always craving french fries. Perhaps when you read this, I will have satiated my craving momentarily, or still be yearning for their salty goodness.
However, I created a playlist that I’ve aptly titled “French Fries” that has the songs that peaked my curiosity in Quarter 1 of 2018, and surprisingly has a lot of French tunes.
à la prochaine, prendre plaisir | see you, enjoy!
- My birthday was in February
- I’m trying to finish my AA with a transfer in psych this year
- which means I’m in school Tuesday through Thursday night, taking a French class and an Astronomy course
- I’m still doing Freelance
- I’m still editing the young adult book I wrote with my sister (this process has been 9 years and counting)
- I’ve sent out 283 tweets to Congress, and need to send more.
- I started a foodie Instagram account called lovetastyadventures
And since I did start a foodie Instagram account, I thought I would share the cheese board my husband and I had at LACMA’s Ray’s and Stark Bar for my birthday. The wedding last year has me feeling really burned out when it comes to planning anything, so I decided I wanted my birthday to be simple with just Dan and me. I was inspired to have an evening at LACMA to celebrate, and on the way we decided to stop in Ray’s and Stark Bar for a glass of wine. Our dinner plans for the night would include our latest favorite restaurant Exchange in Downtown LA. We will need to return and take decent photos of the food there, right now they are blurry and don’t highlight their deliciousness properly. But the photos of the cheese board, on the other hand, are lovely and the cheeses were delicious. I feel restaurants never serve enough pieces of bread, so we enjoyed the soft cheeses and apricot compote with the crostinis and paired the Marcona almonds with the hard aged cheddar. At this point, I don’t recall the other cheeses, but I’ll be stepping up my foodie game in the future and will be taking notes.