The Top 3 Most Awesome Podcasts

Once upon a time I didn’t really give a crap about podcasts.  Well, I guess it’s more accurate to say that I was ignorant to the awesomeness that lies within the little ear nuggets.  But there came a time when my iPhone playlists had bored me and I needed some auditory entertainment.  One  early morning bus ride through Atlanta and I was hooked.  The diversity of content and style, as well as relatively few “commercials” made me an instant fan.  Now podcasts are on heavy rotation in my earbuds.  I’ve got several I keep up with, but I decided to narrow it down to my top 3, the ones I never miss.  If you’ve never given them a listen, do yourself a favor and download, buddy.

The Moth Podcast

The Moth Podcast

I LOVE storytelling.  I mean, I REALLY LOVE storytelling.  That’s why I love television and movies so much… I just love a good story.  But what I love even more than a good story is a TRUE story, told to me by someone who has lived it.  That is the beauty of The Moth Podcast.  Live (true) storytelling in front of a crowd.  Often funny, always interesting.

Stuff You Should Know Podcast

Stuff You Should Know

The great thing about the Stuff You Should Know podcast is that you won’t even realize you are learning something when you listen to it.  Hosted by two moderately funny guys from Atlanta, each podcast defines, describes, and explains one (or more) of life’s mysteries.  I now understand the BCS college football rankings and venomous snakes like never before.

Savage Love Podcast

Savage Love

How could we possibly have a top 3 list without some kind of advice/call-in show?  And how could anyone possibly include an advice/call-in show that wasn’t Savage Love?  Dan Savage answers any love or sex related question callers can come up with, from how to handle a polyamorous relationship to what exactly is a male chastity belt?  He is super sex-positive and doesn’t sugar-coat anything.  Great advice no matter how you like to get it on.

Got any podcast gems in your iPod that you think ought to have made the cut?

xo Em

Awesome Activism // Saudi Women for Driving

Crazy Car Art
CC BY-ND Flickr user: ActiveSteve

While this issue may not be as critical as genocide in Darfur, Saudi Women for Driving and related activism is a totally awesome campaign that I can get behind 100%.

When I was in my teens, my parents and younger brother lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia while my dad worked for Saudi Arabian Airlines.  I couldn’t live there full-time as they didn’t allow secondary education for expatriate females.  So during the school year I lived in Pensacola, Florida with my aunt and uncle, and spent my summers and every school break in Jeddah with my family.

Living in Saudi was an awesome experience for me at that time in my life.   I credit it with my cultural awareness and sensitivity, as well as my fondness for most things middle-eastern.  Since I was a teenager at the time, the cultural restrictions on females were not as offensive to me.  Not to say I didn’t recognize the injustice… I certainly did.  But my parents did their best to control my whereabouts, so a little extra restriction didn’t seem that bad in exchange for all of the rich culture I got to immerse myself in.

My mother, on the other hand, was miserable there.  While I think this may have changed, even expatriate women were not allowed to drive.  Just as Saudi women must, my mother was required to always have a male escort, wear an abaya, and never look a man outside of her family in the eye (my father was almost arrested when I broke this rule once!).  For a self-proclaimed “women’s libber”, her lack of civil rights in Saudi Arabia were unbelievably oppressive and prevented her from enjoying the beauty that Saudi had to offer.

On many occasions we would discuss the inequalities that women faced… agreeing that it was unfair and oppressive, but disagreeing on how change ought to be brought about.  Mom suggested that the global community should pressure Saudi to address their inequalities for women while I believed that Saudi women must tackle that issue on their own.  It seems that today we are both on the same side.  On June 17th, Saudi women and their supporters all over the world participated in #Women2Drive day to bring attention to this particular inequality.  And today Hillary Clinton publicly pledged support for the movement.

I will certainly be supporting #Women2Drive and keeping up with the movement online, and you should too.  Mashable has been doing a pretty good job of keeping me informed, but connecting with Saudi Women to Drive at Change.org will give you a heads up about related campaigns and petitions.

xo, Em

Giving Myself Permission

If there is one thing I have learned during my quest for an awesome life, it is that it is PERFECTLY OKAY to change my mind about things.  Just because I think that it would be totally awesome to go on a macrobiotic diet or do a different craft every night of the week or (cough, cough)… blog every day, doesn’t mean that it actually will be totally awesome.

I often get in the trap of creating the life I want to lead and then when I actually live it, I give up on it.  Because it sucks to be on a macrobiotic diet.  And who ARE these people who can craft it up every night?  And blogging?  Well, I’m diggin it.  But I don’t always have something to tell the internet every damn day.  And then I feel all, “gosh Emily, you really must be lame if you can’t keep up these ludicrous activities of your own choosing!”

So here I go… giving myself permission to revise my not so awesome rule of writing every day.  Because this life I’m creating for myself?  The number one thing that will make my life (and yours, perhaps) so much more awesome?

QUIT BEING SUCH A BITCH TO MYSELF.

xo Em

52 Projects // Plant Party

I’ve spent the past few days feeling pretty crummy and haven’t really been able to do more than change the channel on the tube.  Which, as much as I dislike it, I welcomed it because I don’t want any sickness interfering with my trip to Chicago next weekend.

Thankfully I’m feelin better and ready to launch a little blog series called 52 Projects.  One project per week, 52 weeks per year, one year of takin care of business.  It’s likely that a lot of my projects will overlap with my 101 in 1001 list, but I can dig it.

Because I still feel a little weak and lazy, I decided to take on a quick and easy project. Maybe something where I could get my hands dirty.

In addition to my usual houseplant care taking routine, I decided to re-pot one that was outgrowing its little home and plant some clippings I had growing in a jar of water. Which took about 3 minutes. Yay! Easy win!

Even though there isn’t much to it, I like to celebrate the fact that I’ve kept these little guys alive long enough to even BE re-potted. Once upon a time, there was no refuge from my black thumb. Now that I’ve learned to choose plants that can survive and thrive in my shadowy home, I’ve paid attention to their water and nutrient needs.  As long as I can remember to water and feed them (which I have had to actually put on my to do list), they stick around.

xo Em

Team Bowman // A Love Story

photo
Jeffrey and I on our wedding day, March 28, 2009

If those of you reading this don’t know us–or haven’t caught on by now–Team Bowman refers to my husband Jeffrey and I, and our power pup Maple Mae.  It’s our identity, if you will.  The name that will be emblazoned upon our family crest.  The two words that would hover over the little stick figure people pasted onto the back window of our minivan (if we were the kind of family to do such a silly thing).

Obviously, we are Bowmans.  Not so obviously, we are the team you do NOT want to mess with.  It is both literal and figurative.  We work well together, we compliment each others strengths, and we have each others backs til the day we D-I-E. If that ain’t a team, I don’t know what is.  Where the phrase originated, I do not remember.  But once it was spoken, it seemed as though life did nothing but confirm that Team Bowman is who we are.

While we don’t really have a romantic, fairytale kind of courtship, it’s one I think set us up for the realness life would bring our way.  In a nutshell, we met in a bar.  While I knew who he was and had seen him quite a number of times over the years (he was a local musician and fellow barfly), it was some mutual friends and a near-empty dive bar that finally brought us together.  Our courtship, for many months, thrived on–get this–MYSPACE.  There was some distance…  some insecurity… some small town drama that threatened us, but in the end… Team Bowman emerged.

Since then we:

  • bought a house
  • adopted the world’s most awesome dog
  • moved to Atlanta
  • leased our house
  • feared bankruptcy
  • lived with roommates
  • left our well-paying jobs
  • moved to Detroit
  • became self-employed
  • shivered through our first real winter
  • moved to Ann Arbor

… and have essentially been on a whirlwind search for a new place to call home.  But as long as I gots him, he gots me, and the puppy gots we, things are good.

xo Em

Team Bowman HQ // Part 1

Update:  This is the first place since living in Pensacola that really feels like home.  Which means, I completed #69 on my 101 in 1001 list.  Booyah!

The time has finally arrived. After 3 years of living in roommate or otherwise temporary living situations, Jeffrey and I have established our first home as a married couple. Welcome to Team Bowman Headquarters!

Since we are unpacking, organizing, and designing room by room, the internet tour of our home will follow suit. In these pics I am showcasing our living/dining room. Please forgive me the excessive cross-processing… all of my lighting was shit thanks to the giant sliding glass door.  Once the whole house is done I will get some professional-grade photos poppin off in here.  Ch-ch-ch-check it!

low wall

tv

couch

living room

chair

hallway

dining

desk

Now that all of Jeffrey’s art is up, I’m really happy with how it looks and I really feel at home in it.  I wish we didn’t have the wall-to-wall carpeting, but that’s how corporate apartment complexes roll, yo.

xo Em

Awesome Eats // Strawberry Summer Cake

strawberry summer cake

Since one of my 101 in 1001 goals is to cook one new recipe per week (which is 34 by the time all is said and done), I decided to whip up a lil sumpin sumpin to celebrate the awesomeness that is summertime in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s been so beautiful here y’all… you just wouldn’t believe it.

Anyway, since strawberries are in season and the price is right, I baked up a strawberry summer cake for me and my sweetie. I originally found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and knew that at some point I would be makin it, and ooooooh lil doggie has that time come.

Jeffrey proclaimed that it is “possibly the best cake I have ever eaten”, and I am almost inclined to agree. This lil dish of delish was rich, but light… fresh, but with depth of flavor… and the perfect dessert for a summer evening meal. Why I do declare, YOU MUST TRY IT. Follow the recipe that follows to the letter and you cannot go wrong my friends.

buttah
berries

Strawberry Summer Cake

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.
  5. Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer.
  6. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
  7. Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 to 60 minutes.
  8. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

slice o cake

Look at that picture! Despite my shoddy iPhone pic, you KNOW that shit’s gonna be good! So hop to.

xo Em