The podcast I wish I’d created

I wrote yesterday about how I’d listened to Elizabeth Dehn on the Being Boss podcast episode 123 last week and that I really liked her vibe. The truth is that words can’t really describe how much I mean that. From the very start of her intro, I knew that she was someone who was going to have a big influence on me if for no other reason than that we are so very similar. Now, we certainly don’t have the same roots (she is the founder of a very successful beauty website while my interest in cosmetic products is of the strictly functional variety) but we got to the same place which is a pretty mainstream lifestyle with a seriously non-traditional wellness bent. Or, as she puts it in her bio on BeautyBets.com, “a hippie disguised in J.Crew.” I identify with that so much and have for so long. I was friends with all the super jock dudes in high school who called me Moonbeam because I could talk sports with them in class, but the rest of the time, I was their little flower child. An interesting dynamic to say the least, but one I’ve cherished as it’s come up from time to time throughout my life. Kevin loves that Moonbeam story and I think it’s because he can totally identify with it. Though I never dated those guys. You know, just for the record.

So, yes, Elizabeth Dehn launched Beauty Bets and it became and continues to be a huge success. Her most recent expansion took her into the world of podcasting and a sharp veer from the discussion of brushes and lipsticks. (Although, she really is so darling that even a non-makeup person like me can actually enjoy reading her makeup stuff.) It’s with the first season of her show called HEALERS where she welcomes a different guest onto each episode and gives the audience a thorough introduction into their particular specialty.

She had me at hello.

The day I made my discovery, I went home and downloaded every episode of the podcast. I was so thrilled that I made a sacred ritual out of listening and only played it when it could have my undivided attention (i.e. on my way to and from work, but not in the office or at home while I was doing something else and could get distracted.) Still, I was through the whole ten episode series in little over two days. It was fascinating and fantastic and I could have listened to one hundred more episodes. From each one, I learned, I was inspired and I had at least one takeaway.

There was an astrologer, a nutritionist, a, intuitive medium, a therapist, a pagan priestess, an aura photographer, a colonic therapist, a breathworker, a money & happiness guru and a home & life organizer. Doesn’t all of that sounds so great? Well, it does to me. And throughout each episode (35-45 minutes per) I felt – and I know it sounds hokey to say it, but – home, at peace, surrounded by people like me. And I don’t feel like that all that often.

Almost all of my medical care is naturopathic and I feel blessed that the specialists that I deal with are not only supportive of that, but actually encourage it. I’m open to many things and I usually jump at the opportunity to try something new. Acupuncture? I’m a regular. Floats? I love ’em. Hypnotherapy? I’ve even tried that. I think one thing that really excited me about this podcast was the chance to be able to add a few more things to my bucket list.

I loved the astrology episode the best (and I am actually in the process of booking a meeting of my own with Stephanie Gailing.) The episode talking to the founder of Less Mess. More Life. gave me some inspiration to tackle the bedroom that I haven’t really unpacked since our recent move (while giving me a lot to chew on about why I haven’t already…) and the chat with the founder of Move Colonics even has me seriously thinking about colon hydrotherapy.

As the world of functional medicine grows and we hear and read more and more about different kinds of non-traditional treatments and therapies, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. HEALERS opens the door to new things and makes it really comfortable to go inside, learn more and, most importantly, answers the question: where do I start?

BONUS: Don’t miss the Healers Handbook that breaks down show notes from every episode while adding actions and activities to enhance the topics and make it easier to bring them into your life.

What kinds of non-traditional care do you use? What kinds are you curious about?

Want to start a blog? Just write.

How was your Mother’s Day? Did you do something to celebrate either with your mom or as a mom with your little ones? Or both? Is Mother’s Day a day that brings up some complicated feelings for you? I found this image floating around my social media and I wanted to share it because I know that it’s a day that isn’t easy for many and for many very complex reasons. Whatever your relationship is with Mother’s Day, I send you compassion and hugs. ♥♥♥

We took the Skytrain over to see my folks in the morning. We used a brand new extension to the existing lines and this was only the second time we’ve been on it, but it was pretty convenient and it made me feel deeply envious of the kids growing up near where we did. It would have been a dream for us to have such quick and easy access to so many areas when we were young! They’re done a great job so three cheers for Translink!

Many moms want to go to brunch to celebrate Mother’s Day or they want a new book or jewelry or perfume. Mine? She wanted to climb a mountain. So that’s what we did.

It was a pretty challenging hike, but the scenery was certainly worth it.

***

I’ve been talking to a few people lately who’ve expressed that they’re interested in blogging. As someone who has blogged on and off for many, many (early thirteen!) years, my immediate response is: YES! DO IT! YOU’LL LOVE IT! I love blogging and I tell everyone they should have a blog. Even if they’re not expressing an interest, I’ll sometimes bring it up. You know, if they have a cool story (who doesn’t?) or if they’re tackling some really interesting feat… “Hey, have you ever thought about blogging?” I nag encourage all of my friends who used to blog back around the time when I started to take it up again and I try to force motivate others to get started. The returns from blogging have just been so rich that I want to share those rewards with everyone. I’ve met new people, established decades long friendships, I’ve learned about myself and about others, developed new skills. Heck, I’ve been published in a writing textbook at Ole Miss! Since I discovered blogging, I’ve rarely (if ever?) not had one on the go.

So, on my way to work one day last week, I was catching up on my podcasts – and thank god I walk for a couple of hours each day because I would never keep up with them if I didn’t – I listened to a new episode of a podcast I hadn’t heard in a while: Being Boss (a podcast for creative entrepreneurs.) They talk a lot about interesting aspects of the sometimes delicate balance between business and creativity, lots of marketing stuff and topics the personal side of running a business.

On this particular episode, they were interviewing a woman named Elizabeth Dehn, the creator of a website called Beauty Bets. She’s a woman I’d never heard of running a website I’d never seen. But, hey, that’s why I listen to this stuff, right? To discover new things. Long story short, Elizabeth runs a successful beauty blog (she took a pretty interesting path to get there so I do encourage you to listen to the episode) and I really dig her vibe. (But more on that tomorrow…)

She started as a blogger just casually writing reviews of makeup and cosmetic products and grew it into a much bigger project. Her site now includes a few more contributors and covers a variety of topics primarily beauty, style, spirit and wellness. When talk on the podcast turned to blogging, whether for the first time or reviving an old one (as one of the hosts revealed she was considering) Elizabeth had a few things to say including:

First, I want to commend you on doing something purely because you want to do it and not because it has some sort of quantifiable productivity driven end game.

To which she added:

The act of doing something that you enjoy for no other reason is a beautiful thing.

And, most notably, was this simple advice:

Just write.

There is so much truth to those two simple words. If you want to start a blog, just write. It’s really easy to get caught up in overthinking themes and schedules and topics and tones and all of that can be exhausting. It is worrying about the future and thinking too far ahead when what you really need to do is just write. And keep writing. And writing. And writing. It comes together. It works itself out. Your voice becomes clearer. Your theme emerges as does your voice.

This is advice that I wanted to share with people who have told me they’re considering starting their own blog and those who have told me they are stalled with the one they’ve already got. I feel it, sisters and brother. I really do. My stumbling block is having a theme. I don’t have a neat common thread that weaves its way through my posts. I don’t do the same thing all the time, nor do I want to. That isn’t me and I’m a firm believer that you should be yourself in your online space (this is my blog – if I can’t be me here, where can I?!?) but at the same time, all that I am can’t always be tidily filed into an existing category. And I get hung up on that. It paralyzes me. And then someone tells me, “I love how you cover so many different topics on your blog” and I don’t believe them at first, but then I think about how that’s what I would want to read, too. Huh.

Other hang-ups?

  • Not having a name/title. I get this. I’ve been there. The great thing is, you can always change it. Trust me, I’ve done it. A thousand times.
  • Nerves. This comes out in procrastination and excuses (no time, no topic) or just honest fear. It’s totally understandable, but it’s also getting a little ahead of yourself. When you publish, you’re going to have a few readers. Probably just your family and a handful of friends. In most cases, it takes a heck of a long time to build up a readership that is going expose you to real live strangers. By that time, you’ll be rocking this blogging thing.

I’ve found that the real key to overcoming any of the obstacles that are keeping you from writing or growing your badass blog is really very simple and Elizabeth Dehn nailed it:

Just write.

What gets in your way of blogging? Have you thought about starting a blog? If so, what’s stopping you? Let me if you do have an up and running blog – I’m looking for new ones to read!

Try this: listen to a podcast

Trying new things is a great way to feel an invigorating boost in life. Occasionally, on a Monday, I’ll be posting an idea for trying something new with the details on how and why I think you should do it, too. Consider it your mission should you choose to accept it. 😀

For a while now, I’ve been pretty in love with podcasts. Over at the last six months, they are all I’ve listened to on my phone. Music has been relegated to runs and runs only and that is probably only because I haven’t yet found a way to listen to podcasts while I do that, too. I listen to them in the office, while traveling, there are even a few that Kevin and I listen to together in the car.

March is #Trypod month, a campaign which encourages people to share their favourite podcasts and to get their non-podcast-listening friends subscribing as well.

A podcast is an episodic audio series that can address a specific topic or theme, a story or be based on personality of the host and/or guests. They can be fun, humourous, educational, thought-provoking or any combination of those things depending on what you like. There are hundreds of thousands of them out there so there has got to be a few you would be into.

Getting started couldn’t be easier. If you have a mobile device, it’s pretty likely that you have a podcast app at your fingertips. Just open it up, search the name of a podcast and subscribe. (Don’t have any leads? Look below or ask your friends.) You can also look back into the archives to listen to older episodes. I would recommend (from experience) that you download a number of episodes while connected to your home wifi and store them on your device. This will save you risking going over your data plan limitations if you’re streaming them on the go. Your podcast app can likely be set up to delete them once they have been played.

If you find the right podcasts, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Here are a few that I listen to on the regular.

My favourite podcasts.

  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin & Elizabeth Craft. If I had to pick a favourite podcast, this one would be it. Rubin, the NYC authour of books like The Happiness Project and Better Than Before is joined by her sister, a TV writer in LA, Liz Craft. They talk about creating habits that help make for a happier life with tips and tricks for and from listeners as well as interesting guests who expand the topics to their areas of expertise. Some of my favourite episodes have been about picking a signature colour (episode 75) and picking a Happiness 911 song (episode 87 – more on that below.)
  • Radical Candor. This one is a doozy. This is the one podcast that I only feel comfortable listening to when I can give it my full focus. This is one I listen to alone and at a time when I’m in quiet surroundings. In fact, I want to devote my attention to it so deeply, I often listen to it with ear buds. Radical Candor – Care Personally and Challenge Directly. Episodes include: Ruinous Empathy and Praise, Ruinous Empathy and Criticism, How to Get Feedback from Your Boss, Make Meetings Less Awful, Radically Candid Criticism (<– this episode was my favourite so far.) This podcast is really, really impactful, but it’s a personal challenge at the same time.
  • Note to Self. Host Manoush Zomorodi tackles “essential quandaries for anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age.” Lots of talk about technology and modern living and the mixing of the two. I’m put off by information delivered at a level that is over my head and Note to Self is easily digested and applied to life. Recently, they launched The Privacy Paradox, a project to help listeners/participants better understand how they control their personal information. I was only able to go through a few of the exercises (the others are still waiting in my inbox) but it was definitely eye-opening and worth the effort.
  • Making Oprah. I don’t remember how I ended up listening to this one. I’m not particularly oprah enthusiastic so it seems kind of random, but it was very enjoyable and, in fact, it brought a whole new respect for her. Short and sweet, it’s a six episode series with a bonus Donahue installment at the end. This would be a good starter podcast for a newbie.
  • Serial. Season one or two is a seriously divisive distinction when it comes to Serial listeners. Season one told the story of the death of Hae Min Lee and the subsequent arrest and questionable conviction of her boyfriend Adnan Syed. Season two took a totally different approach and addressed the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier who abandoned his post in Afghanistan. To me, season one was attractive because it was sensational. Season two, however, that was the season that I enjoyed the most. I recorded countless tidbits of information on little pieces of paper or in the Notes app on my phone and I think of the dynamics of the story often.
  • Anna Faris is Unqualified. “Not-so-great relationship advice from completely unqualified Hollywood types.” Fantastic. And hilarious. They’ll go off on these improv riffs that are just phenomenal. Like, literally laugh out loud while you’re walking down the street phenomenal. It’s the kind of stuff you can’t plan and can’t rehearse and people that are just really damn funny. My favourite: episode #77Milo Ventimiglia.
  • Love Alexi. Alexi Wasser is adorably neurotic and super fun to visit with – at least, that’s the vibe she gives off. Her podcast is set up as interviews with people most of whom are just slightly off my radar. She is so cute and so fun and so completely out there sometimes, but it’s impossible not to love her. Check it out. My favourite discovery via Love Alexi was Dallas Clayton (episode 28 here) and my favourite episode was with Lisa Loeb. (Lisa Loeb! Episode 40!) The only drawback is that some of the episodes are loooooooooooooooong. I don’t love that, but, for Alexi, I’ll do it (sometimes.)

Gretchen Rubin & me at Happier LIVE in Seattle

Have you already curated your own best podcasts list? Are you hooked on your own favourites? Then I have a challenge for you, too!

Try this: go see a live podcast.

Friends of ours went to see the live recording of one of their favourite podcasts last night and seeing their posts reminded me of how much fun we had when we went to see Happier live last October. (This was the Happiness 911 episode I mentioned above.) Also last night, I listened to Happier‘s second anniversary episode when they talked about favourite moments and many listeners wrote in and referred back to that night in Seattle. It sounds silly, but the memory of it, listening to the theme music and hearing others’ recollections of that night brought tears of joy to my eyes. I had a very strong emotional reaction to the memory and it was such a good one. It was definitely an experience that made me happier.

So, tell me: are you a podcast listener? If so, which are your favourites? If not, what’s stopping you?