twwYES!  There is now a weekly podcast about one of my favorite TV shows ever, The West Wing.

I didn’t even know I needed this podcast to exist until it existed.

For several years of my twenties, circa 2005/2006, I was borderline obsessed with TWW.  To date, all of my understanding of politics stems from either my friend Squid, who works in DC and whose word I take for fact, and/or TWW.

For this podcast, Joshua Malina (who starred as Will Bailey on TWW) partners with  Hrishikesh Hirway; they are re-watching all of TWW and discussing each episode on a weekly basis.  I have not been re-watching the episodes at this point because there’s no need; I pretty much know all these episodes by heart.

BUT that could change; I really don’t need much of an excuse to go back and re-watch a favorite TV show.  Currently I’ve been re-watching The Office for no reason other than I FORGOT HOW INCREDIBLY FUNNY IT IS.  So we’ll see if I decide to binge-watch TWW.  Anyway – what’s next?


Embracing Shine Theory #mind

9edfd485-a150-4740-8416-0ee0ed03194a_13Tee is always recommending podcasts for me.  One she recently recommended is Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast with Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, long-distance best friends who talk about anything and everything.

I haven’t really given CYG that much of a chance – as previously discussed, I have a podcast diet and if I add too many podcasts into the rotation, I get overwhelmed and listen to nothing.

However, Tee filled me in on a recurring theme of CYG – Shine Theory – and I looooooove it.

You can read an article by Ann Friedman about Shine Theory here, but I will sum it up as best I can.  Friedman writes about cultivating friendships with smart, beautiful, successful women.  This may seem like a no-brainer or a nothing statement – why wouldn’t I want to be friends with someone who is smart, beautiful, and successful?

Jealousy.  Resentment.  A fear that being around people who
are awesome will make you seem less awesome by comparison.

9f7c4bb3946f029b56eebff3203cc5d5It can be really difficult to tame the jealousy we feel when someone with similar interests and goals to us is achieving success.  It feels as if there’s only a limited amount of success to go around, so if someone like us is making a ton of money, publishing a novel, appearing on a TV show, starting their own business – it’s easy to feel like their success means we are less likely to achieve our own personal goals, whatever they are.

The concept of Shine Theory, per Ann Friedman, “if I don’t shine, you don’t shine.”  When our friends or acquaintances achieve success, it helps us to shine more.  It doesn’t mean that there’s less room at the table of success for us – if anything, it means we have more of a chance at success.  Comparison2

But it sure doesn’t feel that way.

I definitely experience the sting of comparison and jealousy when it comes to my career and my writing.  However, it also sneaks up on me when I’m stressing about the adoption process.  It’s become increasingly difficult, as the adoption wait continues, to feel happy and not jealous or resentful when others announce their pregnancies.

I love the idea of Shine Theory, and I so want to embrace it.  But I acknowledge that it’s not as easy as it sounds.  Logically, I know that someone else’s success or addition to their family has absolutely nothing to do with my chances for success or for Our Baby coming home.

But emotionally – it’s hard to get to that logical place when you’re sitting in your pain, feeling vulnerable and exposed.

Friedman writes, “…in reality, we’ve all been both of the women in this scenario, the idealizer and the idealized, often simultaneously.  Foregoing the internal ranking system in favor of being your best self and helping your girlfriends do the same was a revelation to me.”

We can be both of these women – the one who’s jealous and the one inspiring jealousy in others.  We almost always are both of these women.  And even if it’s difficult, we can remember that there’s more than enough sunlight for all of us to shine, every single day.  My goal is to remember this, and to help shine a spotlight on other women when they achieve success rather than allowing jealousy or resentment to keep us all from shining.



#mind #podcasts #Limetown

Tee likes to recommend new podcasts for me to check out.  Her recommendations are always good, but I have to absorb them one at a time; when I try to incorporate too many new podcasts into my podcast diet, I get overwhelmed.

My current podcast diet includes Happier With Gretchen Rubin; Podcast For America; About Race; Dear Sugar; Magic Lessons; The Total Soccer Show; Slate’s Audio Book Club; CNN Debates; Invisibilia; Serial (I keep waiting for a little red 1 to pop up on that one!); On The Media (which I only occasionally listen to); and Death Sex & Money.

I’m caught up on all my regular podcasts, so the other day I decided to check out my phone’s top podcasts chart.  A new podcast was at the top of the list, in the number one spot; it was called Limetown.  I decided to download it to see what it was all about.  Limetown-stories-podcast

I am totally hooked!

The first time I listened, I thought that Limetown was a Serial-type podcast, a reporter re-investigating an old true crime-esque story – in Limetown‘s case, the disappearance of over three hundred people from a research facility in Tennessee.  I got extremely excited listening to the first episode, and texted several friends telling them that another real life, true crime, suspenseful, intriguing, addictive podcast was now available for download.

Yeah – I was wrong.  Limetown is fictional.  My bad.  But – it’s still awesome!

Only parts one and two are currently available; the story will supposedly be told in seven parts, and my googling indicates that a new episode will be available every two weeks or so.  I keep checking my phone to see the little red 1 pop up.  (See?  Just like Serial!)  And I hope this new podcast continues to be as intriguing and compelling as its first two episodes were.  For now, Limetown definitely has a space reserved in my podcast diet.

Writer’s Note – As of 10/19/15, I am feeling a little down on Limetown.  I think the wait time between episodes – almost a month between episodes 2 and 3 – causes my interest to wane.  However, I’m going to stick with it and hope for the best! 

books + reading · podcasts · writing

#MagicLessons #ElizabethGilbert #soul #mind

There are days when I open up my blog to write, and I don’t really have anything to write.

What I do then, usually, is one of the following:

  1. Go through my “blog” folder and look at different images I’ve saved.  I have one folder, labelled “inspiration,” that contains images I find inspiring but haven’t connected with a specific blog post yet.
  2. Scroll through the Facebook pages of people who post inspiring quotes and pictures.  I have a few friends who fit that bill; I like to check the pages for Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert as well.
  3. Go through my “ideas for upcoming posts” list and see what sparks my interest.
  4. Go to my “stream of consciousness” blog draft and just write whatever random, ridiculous thoughts are streaming through my head.11890947_884456791636437_946288421562206663_n

This is all runway work; this is all creative play.  This is my time to dance and frolic and see what happens.  And it’s lovely #soul and #mind food.

I’ve been loving Magic Lessons, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast, and it’s helping me to feel good about my creative playtime.  There are silly ideas in my head.  And even when they’re silly – I still need to get them out.  I need to take my creative thoughts and ideas and put them on blank canvas.  That’s a big reason why writing this blog has been therapeutic – it’s a way of getting my ideas out of my head and onto a canvas.  “If I am not actively creating something, then chances are I am actively destroying something – myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind,” Gilbert writes.  I tend to agree.

liz gilbert


Choosing A Theme Word For Your Day #Happier #mind #soul #WordOfTheDay

I’ve still been enjoying Gretchen Rubin’s new podcast, Happier With Gretchen Rubin.  Last week on the podcast, they (she and her sister, Elizabeth Craft) talked about choosing a theme word for the year.

I love this idea.  Gretchen and Elizabeth each chose a theme word for their year, using the beginning of the school year as a fresh start and a chance to re-center and set goals.  Elizabeth chose novel – her goal is to finish her novel – and Gretchen chose vision, because she wants to develop a vision for her next project.  I instantly started thinking about what word I wanted to choose.

However, I don’t think my word is for the year; I think that my word is for the day.  Things-that-MatterI’ve been struggling a lot with the adoption wait, and I need a word to help me to re-focus and to center myself.  I need a word to help me to focus on the good in my life.  I need a word to help me appreciate everything around me, rather than living in anticipation of the moment to come.

Today, my word of the day is happy.  I spend so much time feeling sad, anxious, anticipatory, disappointed, worried.  I don’t like those words; there’s so much I have in my life to feel happy about, and I choose happy.