Favorite and Life Changing Podcasts

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Are you a podcast listener? I LOVE podcasts. My addiction started slow, but once I found ones I loved I became hooked. There are podcasts for any niche thing you are into. I find I would much rather spend time listening to something that really resonates with me or be learning something over most (not all) of the mindless shows on television.

I have many favorites that have either helped me in some way, or I’ve learned something from or I just flat out find them entertaining! I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

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Personal Development/Health and Wellness

Happier with Gretchen Rubin/Happier in Hollywood
Goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of her work. This show has all three of things I was talking about. I learn little tips and tricks to use in my life, it’s helped me to focus on what is important and it’s super entertaining. It’s where I began my second Happiness Project that sent everything in motion for me and how I started my “18 for 2018” lists and every year after.

Happier in Hollywood is Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth’s podcast that she does with her TV writing partner Sara Fain. In the same vein as Happier but with the twist of life in LA as TV writers.

Balanced Bites
This one is no longer producing new episodes but you can still access all the previous years of content. This was PERFECT for me when I began my paleo lifestyle. Diane SanFilippo and Liz Wolfe are just a fountain of knowledge when it comes to clean eating.

The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman
This took my knowledge of wellness and food to a whole other level. His guests are top-notch! He goes beyond just “what should we eat”. He dives into climate change, farming, mindfulness, mental illness, social justice and list goes on. He has truly opened my eyes to the BIGGER picture and has inspired me to get involved with food advocacy. Future project!

Infinite Potential with Deepak Chopra
Another teacher/mentor I have learned so much from . With all of his 21-day Meditation Experiences I did, this was a no brainer. Every week Deepak interviews a guest to discuss everything mind, body, spirit and beyond.

Ten Percent Happier
If you are familiar with Dan Harris from ABC News you are probably already aware of this podcast. Every week he interviews a mediation teacher or leader. I always come away inspired and motivated and I learn something new every single time.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
It’s Oprah! What’s not to love? I’m a fan of SuperSoul Conversations on TV but if I miss the episodes, I can always find them here.

The Sheri and Nancy Show
If you are a woman 40+ I guarantee you will find this show not only relatable but entertaining! Sheri spent most of her career as Oprah’s producer and now with her friend Nancy they are working on their “pillars” for all of us to hear and learn from. This show is great. It’s all about the second half of life. Sheri is 60 and has no intention of slowing into retirement. What keeps you alive are all the things I talk about on my blog and on this show they are sharing what happens as they work on all of those things. This show gave me a total mindset shift. When I was approaching 50, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I finally figured out how to live and it’s almost over. I was sad about that for a while, but after listening to this podcast I have a whole new attitude. When I tell people my age I also add that “I’m only half way” and that’s how I view it. I’m in the second HALF. When I reframed it, I now think, “ wow, there’s SO much I want to do and I have the time to do it. Life is good”. But it doesn’t magically happen on it’s own. If you don’t work on all aspects of your life you won’t get there or if you do you probably won’t feel so great and will be force to stop “living”. See my post on my Wellness Wheel to see the areas I’m working on for longevity. Another way I’ve heard it described is “training for the centurion olympics”. I love that. If you want to get to 100 AND feel good you absolutely must train NOW. Ok, that was a lot on one podcast! Update: This podcast is no longer producing new episodes, but the old ones are there for you.

Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson
Think of Dr. Hanson as a kind of Mr. Rogers for adults. He is SO CALMING. And extremely knowledgeable. His show focuses on mindfulness, compassion and happiness and all the science behind it. I find it fascinating.

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Personal Finance

HerMoney with Jean Chatzky
You may know Jean Chatzky from the Today show or Oprah. When I decided to truly get our finances in order I began listening to MANY personal finance podcasts. Some stuck and some didn’t. This one stuck. It’s informative and practical and she always has interesting guests. I needed a lot of help in this area. I knew NOTHING about personal finance and money in general. I was starting at ground zero. I’m so much more literate now. This podcast was only a very small part of my learning. I went to our local library and checked out every basic personal finance book and read them all. I found a budgeting method that works for me and now I work on our finances every single day. But the podcast keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

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Music (aka podcasts that makes me happy)

Stories of rock stars behaving badly told by Jake Brennan. Not for the faint of heart. Some of these stories are just outrageous. But that’s what it is to be a rock star. Personally, I can’t get enough.

My Favorite Album with Jeremy Dylan
Great concept for a music podcast. Jeremy invites a musician to discuss their favorite album song by song. A lot of fun to hear what these artists favorite albums are and why.

27 Club
Another darker podcast from Jake Brennan. This focuses an entire season to one artist that passed away at 27 years old. I love a podcast that takes a deep dive and this one definitely does.

Rolling Stone Music Now
From Rolling Stone magazine. The best interviews and music journalists in one place. I love their conversations and find myself laughing all the time.

80’s Music Exposed
This is a fun one! Especially if you grew up in the 80’s like me. This is a monthly podcast where they discuss the albums that came out in the 80’s in order by month. It’s really fun to hear some of this music again and to hear the critiques. The two guys are musicians and also around my age so I like hearing their opinions about what they liked then and now and what holds up and what doesn’t.

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You Must Remember This
Probably the most well done, entertaining, informative podcast I listen to. Karina Longworth hosts this podcast about old classic Hollywood. These stories are FASCINATING! The best part about this podcast and what makes it unique is that she doesn’t just pick random stories. She selects a subject and then goes deep. Truly better than anything on TV. This podcast along with Disgraceland have won a couple of awards and you can tell why when you start listening. They are just on a different level and it’s obvious the work that went into them.

The Librarian is In
The New York Public Library has a podcast of book recommendations and what I love about this podcast is how it’s relaxed, but intelligent. I’ve tried other book related podcasts and they are either stuffy or just someone reading a list of recommendations and info off the book jacket. These are two employees of the library who come to discuss one book that each of them read. The conversation always takes a turn into something else. It’s just conversation. I love it. It’s funny, emotional and educational. And very New York.

Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda
I’ve always liked Alan Alda. Smart and funny, just seems like a great guy. And loved watching him on MASH. I didn’t know until recently about his interview podcast. All the guest are well know and when Alda interviews them, it’s a sincere, thoughtful and intelligent conversation. Reminds me of BBC’s Desert Island Discs if you’ve ever listened to that podcast.

Lost at the Smithsonian
Assif Mandvi takes us to the Smithsonian Museum to explain the importance of one object in the museum per episode. He interviews the staff as well and those who are knowledgeable about the history of the object. This one is so fun to listen to partly because Assif is so funny. One of my favorites was Henry Winkler’s Fonzi jacket from Happy Days. His interview with Henry Winkler was just heart warming. Another favorite was Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Give it a try!

Listening to podcasts about things you are interested in or want to learn from can help you achieve all your goals. By listening regularly you will keep everything that is important to you at the forefront of your mind and help you stay on track. Win-win.

I’d love to hear your podcast recommendations! Thanks for being here!

The Four Tendencies

I can’t tell you how much self-knowledge has changed my life. It makes everything so clear and EASIER. Knowing yourself enables us to pursue all those things in life we want to pursue, it allows us to tackle problems and makes change. One of the ways to do this is to know your tendency, as laid out by Gretchen Rubin in The Four Tendencies. You can find it here. https://amzn.to/2VfHJ46 This is just one small slice of your personality, but an important one. Your tendency shows how you respond to expectations, both inner and outer.

I’ll start with Upholders because I fall into this category! Upholders easily meet inner and outer expectations. They like to do lists and generally can do what is it is they want to get done. They are doer’s and rule followers. On the downside, they can be rigid and can seem like a killjoy. They also experience “tightening” which is when they go beyond the rules to make more rules. They can be told they have a “extreme personality” (oh yes, I’ve been told that) I tip a little bit to Questioner, but not much. One more thing, this is the second smallest group.

Questioners only meet expectations that fit their criteria. If they believe it to be true or from an authority they trust they will meet the expectation. So, everything becomes an inner expectation. They tend to analyze to death and have difficulty making a decision. They can end up in “analysis paralysis”. Questioners also don’t like to be questioned. I can vouch for all of this, as my husband is a Questioner.

Obligers are the largest group! Most people are Obligers. They meet outer expectations but have trouble meeting inner expectations. They can meet the work deadline, but have trouble sticking to their exercise program. Obligers do well with an accountability partner. They will meet the expectation if someone else is expecting it from them. Accountability partners or accountability in some form are key for Obligers.

Rebels are the smallest group. Rebels only do what they want to do. They tend to not meet inner or outer expectations, unless they want to. If someone tells them to do something, it makes them not want to do it more. Rebels do not like to-do lists. They can do anything they want to do. Usually, reframing the situation works well for Rebels. Forming the expectation into something they want for themselves is key.

Not only is self knowledge important, it’s also so helpful in all your relationships. Now that I know my husband is a Questioner, I can see when his tendency is showing up immediately and most of the time, it doesn’t get under my skin because I take a moment to pause and think “ that’s his Questioner personality coming through”. I really think it helps in friendships, families and coworkers as well. Once you know the structure, it’s pretty easy to identify someone’s tendency and therefore you can more easily understand where they are coming from. If you want to know your tendency you can take the quiz here. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/four-tendencies-quiz/ When you are done come back and leave a comment telling me your tendency! Can’t wait to hear! Thanks for being here!

18 for 2018

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In December of 2017 I was a new listener to Happier with Gretchen Rubin. In this episode Gretchen and Elizabeth talk about creating a list of 18 things to accomplish or complete in the year 2018. This is not a New Year’s resolution list, nor is it a vision board, it is simply 18 things you want to DO in the coming year, big or small. Some things might seem trivial to you, but the idea is to get things done to create happiness and unload the to-do’s into action. I loved this idea. The Upholder in me literary jumped at making my list. The minute the podcast was over I started making my list. It looked like this.

Take an online mindfulness class.
Find the perfect crossbody bag.
Plan a fun adventure with Nathan before he leaves for college.
Purchase a Swell water bottle.
See as many exhibits as possible.
Organize my linen closet.
Have Carney family heirlooms framed.
Frame my National Book Festival poster.
Go on a bird walk with my Dad.
Purchase a receipt organizer.
Return to my book club.
Learn to sketch.
Buy new outdoor cushions and pillows before Nathan’s Graduation party.
Buy a new birdbath.
Go to lunch with friends regularly.
Have the fireplace cleaned.
Visit a used bookstore.
Plant perennials.

I love a list and a challenge. Something in my Upholder personality loves to make lists and check things off of them. I ended up completing all but number 9, (because I was being overly ambitious about my capability to hike for any extended amount of time) and number 10, for no good reason (that should go on my 20 for 20 list!) And hmmm, that fireplace did not get cleaned. Another for my 20 for 20 list. But overall, I did really well. Gretchen says “things that can be done anytime are often done at no time.” That’s the truth! I easily could have done any of these things (maybe not the hike) at any time but then did nothing. Why? Get it on a list and get it done! I can’t tell you how good it felt to get all these nagging and some fun things completed! Another tip, is to know your tendency. I’ve spoken about this before. Once you know, it’s much easier to complete lists like this. For me, being an Upholder, this type of challenge is fun and I have no problem completing, however, a Rebel, Obliger or Questioner may want other strategies to help them complete their list. All tendencies have strengths and weaknesses. Once you know yours life becomes much simpler. You can learn more about the tendencies here. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/

Do you have a things you want to get done or accomplish but they seem to never happen? I hope you will join me in the New Year with a 21 for 2021 list or if you want to start now, make yourself a very short list to complete by December and then you will be ready for a new list in January!

Thanks for being here!

Time to Read

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My last resolution was bringing back one of my favorite things to do which was reading. Reading had been put on the back burner because of my neck issues. Anytime I sat down to read for more than a few minutes, my neck would flare up. This was extremely depressing. It was one more thing taken from me during this time. And something that gave me so much joy. I knew I had to start slowly, like everything else. My resolution looked like this:


My Quotation: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.”

Daily/Weekly Actions:

Read in the morning
Take my book everywhere
Set goals
Schedule reading into my calendar

Let me start by saying I’ve ALWAYS loved to read. Since childhood. I went through phases when I read less (my teens and new motherhood for example) but the love was always there. There’s nothing like getting deeply lost in a book. It really made me dislike movies for awhile. You can get so deep into a character’s thoughts, that movies just seemed so superficial. But, I can respect them now as an artform. I’m just very selective about what I see and I tend to lean towards documentaries.

Reading in the morning when it’s quiet and no one else is up is one of the best parts of my day. I have my tea, I run through my phone to make sure nothing major is going on, I meditate and then, I read. Sometimes, that morning reading time is the only chance I get all day to read, other times I can pick up my book again and again. As long as I always read in the morning, I know I will get some reading time in no matter what the day has in store for me.

Having a book with me at all times results in a much better use of my time than scrolling around mindlessly on my phone. For example, I will read when I am waiting at an appointment, sitting at the car wash or just about anywhere. I just throw it into my bag before I leave for wherever I’m going that day.

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I set reading goals two ways. I use the Goodreads app to track all of the books I’ve read. I also use it to set my yearly reading goals. My yearly goal for many years was 20. And a lot of times I didn’t hit that. But once I had more specific goals and most importantly stopped watching TV almost altogether, that’s when the real progress came. My yearly goal last year was 50 and I went a little over so this year I set it for 60 and currently I’ve past that goal by 10! Back to TV. Ok, I learned a little something from Laura VanderKam about time management. If you haven’t read her book, I highly recommend it. https://www.amazon.com/dp/159184410X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_RdxXDbKE9CRFTTV is a BIG time killer. All the things we think we don’t have time to do, can probably be done with the elimination of or the scheduling of TV watching. The first thing I did was stop TV as background noise. If I’m doing chores at home, I will have an audio book playing or a podcast. Both of which I enjoy so much more than TV. There ARE shows I do like! I record them, then I schedule time on my calendar once or twice a week to watch them. That’s it. No more hours and hours of whatever is on. My TV watching is PURPOSEFUL. This is a real game changer for time management. It’s allowed me to complete my online health coaching certification without any disruption to my life. It’s also allowed me to write this book! I’ve taken on many, many activities since my second happiness project, and I’m asked all the time how I have the energy and time to do everything I’m doing. And there’s a few reasons. One, of course is scheduling TV watching, two, I’m an Upholder as I’ve said before, so when I decide to do something, I jump in and do it, and three, I’m a planner. I love my calendar and I absolutely love filling it up with all my goals and to-do’s!

The second reading goal I set was new to me in the last year or so. And when I mentioned it to my daughter she said “That’s how we do it in school!” I honestly don’t know where I picked up this tip, but it’s been very helpful in moving my reading along. I don’t set an amount of TIME to read, I set a page number goal. For example, I used to jot down that I would read for 30 minutes or an hour in my calendar for reading. Sometimes I would complete that time and sometimes I wouldn’t. But, when I changed the goal to “read 50 (or 100) pages” I always completed it. It didn’t matter how long it took to complete. When I made this change I started flying through books. Usually, I have a fiction and nonfiction book going at the same time. In addition, I also have a audio book I’m listening to as well. So, together, three books at once. This is how I hit my reading goals. I have an extremely long “to be read” list! And did I mention I work part time in a LIBRARY. Ahhh, surrounded by books that are calling my name and discovering books I may never have seeked out on my own. This is a huge happiness boost!

And my neck has becoming accustom to reading again. I will admit that I no longer have day long marathon reading days, that to be honest, I miss that. But I know that I would pay the price with neck pain if I read for entire day. It’s all about making it work. What I have set up for myself is working and has increased my happiness and that was the goal to start with!

Do you want to read more? Try the following:

Visit your local library. Libraries are WONDERFUL! So many books for you to choose from. Visit your local libraries website for all the ebooks and audio books to choose from. There truly is NO REASON to buy an audio book. I will still buy books if I know I’m going to have that book signed my the author (which I do often). Otherwise, everything else is from the library.

Try reading in the morning before your day gets going. If time is tight in the morning consider waking up 30 minutes early to fit it in.

Set your own personal goals. I’ll go back to Gretchen Rubin here and suggest you know your personality type. That will help you build your habits in the way that will work for your personality.

Let me know how it goes? What are you reading? Thanks for being here!

Ditching the sugar

We all know sugar is not good for you. But do you how bad is actually is? I didn’t. I grew up hearing sugar rots your teeth and makes you fat. And although that is certainly true, it does so much more. Sugar causes inflammation among other things, which in turn causes a multitude of chronic diseases. Read more here. https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/what-sugar-does-to-your-body/

And more about the link between sugar and cancer here. https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/10/health/sugary-drinks-cancer-risk-study-intl/index.html

This was fairly easy for me to give up, personally, for a couple of reasons.

  1. There are SO many alternatives to processed sugar.
  2. Once I knew what it was doing to my body, I was completely on board.

That is partially my personality type at work (I’m an Upholder, see The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin https://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-four-tendencies/intro/) Once I decide to do something, I’m all in.

I think the best alternative to processed sugar is honey and organic pure maple syrup. I bake and cook with both. When I first eliminated sugar I was doing a lot of baking of paleo recipes to fend off my sugar cravings. But now I only do that maybe once a month or so. If I want something sweet I eat fruit or a Larabar. My taste buds have completely changed.

Processed food is not food. Period. It’s what some of us have become accustomed to, to the detriment of our health. Sugar is hiding in things you may not think of. We all know it’s in sodas, desserts and the obvious places but you will also find it in bottled salad dressings, condiments, soups, etc. A lot of foods labeled as organic still have sugar. Reading labels is key. Pretty much anything in a box or a can has sugar with few exceptions. Some companies are coming around due to demand but it’s slow. I was raised making our family recipe for salad dressing since I was a kid so I’m not one to buy bottled dressings, but if you haven’t tried making your own I promise it’s super simple. Or just throw some oil and vinegar/salt and pepper on your salad. And yes, I do like cooking. That also makes it easier. But I think cooking is a life skill! Not some chore to complain about like cleaning a bathroom. Your health is the number one most important thing. Without it you have nothing. I know this to be true first hand. Until you lose it maybe you’re not aware of how important it is and how important what you eat is to your health. No dessert will ever be that enticing to me when I look at it this way. I feel good. And that’s all I need. And I want to stay that way.

Have you thought about eliminating sugar from your diet? Try the following steps. Remember, it’s good to know your personality type. It will help you figure out the best approach for your internal expectations. I highly suggest taking Gretchen Rubin’s quiz here. https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/Once you know your personality type everything you want to do for yourself becomes easier!

  1. Decide to eliminate sugar from your diet. Hooray!
  2. Shop! Read the labels. Pay attention. Look to avoid sugar, corn syrup, fructose, etc. Buy replacements like honey and maple syrup.
  3. Try a few recipes for baked goods, salad dressings and replacements for your favorite foods. I suggest recipes by Cassie Joy Garcia, Diane Sanfilippo or any quick paleo recipe google search will do the trick.
  4. If you are having a craving eat fruit.
  5. When eating out just ask! Be THAT person. Lol. I am. I ask, I alter, whatever I need to do to get what I want. I’ve never had a restaurant not comply.

Good luck!! I want to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment with your questions and experiences! Thank you for being here!