Favorite Five: Podcasts: Part Two

I thought I was going to make it this winter without getting sick but last Friday I could feel it attacking. Five days later; having gone through multiple boxes of tissues and having sinus pressure so bad I was in tears, I am almost feeling normal. I think by this weekend I will have kicked this thing to the curb for good.

Better late than never, here is part two of my favorite five podcast list. I hope this has encouraged non-podcast listeners to check them out or, if you already listen to podcasts, I hope you found some new ones to try.

 

 

 

 

Serial

Many of you have probably hear of this podcast. It became a runaway success when it started back in Fall 2014. The combination of suspense, murder and a sympathetic convict made for a record-breaking debut.

Serial tells one story over the course of a season with each episode building on the previous one. This season’s topic was the murder of an 18 year old high school student, Hae Min Lee, and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, who was convicted of her murder. Obviously this was not an open and shut case or else it would not be a very interesting podcast. Instead there are many unanswered questions about Adnan’s conviction and host Sarah Koenig takes us along for the ride as she tries to answer them.

If I had to pick a favorite episode it would probably be the first one; The Alibi, because that is the one that got me hooked. Who among us could remember what they did after school 15 years ago? What is this “alibi” and why wasn’t it used in the case? These questions were intriguing but sometimes the answers led to more questions. If you enjoy mysteries of any kind you will enjoy this podcast.

 

 

 

Gilmore Guys

Before you brush off this as “for Gilmore Girls fans only” let me assure you this podcast stands on its own. It’s hosts, Kevin T. Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe, are funny, smart and engaging whether you are a “Gilly” or not.

Each podcast covers an episode of the Gilmore Girls and they break it down with segments such as “Pop Goes the Culture” and “The Ffffashion Report”. They often have guests, sometimes even people who do no like the show. I love that kind of “outside of the box” thinking. These guys aren’t afraid of defending their show or of having lively discussions. The guests have all been great, even the “anti-Gillys”; in fact those have been some of the funniest episodes.

I think this podcast is successful because of it’s uniqueness. Here are two hetero guys discussing a show that is labeled “for women.” Not only does this prove that Gilmore Girls isn’t just for women but it is also great to hear a different perspective. Another unique aspect is that these are not two die-hard fans; Kevin has seen the whole series and is a self-professed “Gilly” and Demi is watching it for the first time. Many podcasts about TV series are fans simply gushing about their show; there isn’t much actual discussion.  Demi is there as a set of fresh eyes, noticing issues someone who loves the show may miss. To be fair even Kevin doesn’t shy away from laughing at bad set design or ridiculous situations. They have figured out how to toe the line of being funny without being insulting which is good since most of their original listeners were Gilmore Girls fans.

Gilmore Girls reminds me of my mom; I remember coming home during college and my mom would be watching it or she would tell me about it. I regret never sitting down and watching it with her. It is great to watch a show with someone because then you have someone to discuss it with. Now, as I work my way through all seven seasons and my mom is no longer with us, I feel like these guys are giving me an outlet for that analysis I crave, with a much needed dose of humor.

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff You Should Know

Do you want to know what the placebo effect is? Are you confused by 3D printing? (I was.) Have you found yourself wondering how underwater tunnels work? Did you forget what amnesia is? (See what I did there.) Then this podcast is for you.

The hosts, Josh and Chuck, lead us on an endless quest for knowledge. No topic is off limits. (It seems.) They have covered everything from the Muppets to lethal injection and have done so with intelligence, respect and humor.

These guys make it work with their relaxed demeanor and chemistry.  They are obviously good friends. They pick the topic together and then they each do their own research. When they come together on the podcast the information is delivered in a conversational format so you never feel like its a classroom-like lecture. The podcasts are often sprinkled with mini segues and personal antidotes which add to the relaxed feel.

These guys have created a cable show, have weekly videos and even do live events. I think it would be a blast to seem them in person. I haven’t listened to every show; there are over 600 total, but I have listened to most of them. Find a podcast that covers something you are interested in and before you know it you will be listening to all of them.

There you have it; my five favorite podcasts! What are some of your favorite podcasts?

Have a great weekend!

-Christy

 

 

 

 

 

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Favorite Five: Podcasts: Part 1

I am always behind when it comes to new technology. (I’ve only been on twitter for about a year.)  When my husband started using the word “podcast” in our everyday conversations I had no idea what he was talking about. And because apparently I tune out what I don’t know, for a long time I didn’t even ask.

However, when we started traveling and were facing eight to nine hours of driving a day he brought them up as a way to pass time.  I enjoy talk radio such as This American Life so I took him up on his suggestion.  After four or five hours of driving, multiple stops, missed exits, and miss-read maps, our conversations tended to become contentious. That is when we would turn on a podcast and calm and order would be restored.

My husband helped me find a few to start listening to and pretty soon I was hooked. Nowadays I listen to podcasts almost everyday. I can listen to something humorous if I need a laugh or distraction while I am working out, I can catch up on current events when I don’t have time to sit in front of the TV or I can listen to food podcasts while I am making dinner; they are so easy incorporate into your day.

Here are my favorite podcasts and some of my favorite episodes. Since it is hard to do all of that and keep it short I’ve decided to make this a two-part Favorite Five post.

Here they are; as always, these are in no particular order.

 

 

 

 

Stuff You Missed in History Class

This was the first podcast I listened to. My husband was wise to suggest it as I love history. Its been around since 2008 and I enjoyed it so much I went back to the beginning and have listened to all of the episodes.

History was my favorite subject in school but textbooks can only cover so much and I was left wanting more. This was back before the internet and sometimes it could be hard to find additional information on a particular subject. This podcast is just what I needed back then. Sometimes it covers something you have never heard of; other times it discusses events you have heard of but didn’t really know the particulars on. I especially enjoy the podcasts about historical figures because the hosts give you information on who the person was, not just the important thing they did.

Here are some of my favorite episodes.

Polio: The Dread Disease. My grandmother, who is 95 and still kicking, had polio has a young child. She told me she can still remember waking up one morning and not being able to walk.  As the illness continued her father began massaging her legs every day. She said she doesn’t know if it really did anything but she felt like it helped. Her family was very poor and couldn’t afford professional medical care so I imagine her father felt like he had to do something and massaging her limbs was the one thing that he thought of that kind of made sense. She ended up fully recovering but has had a few health issues later in life that link back to her struggle with polio.

Because of her experience I’m always interested in learning more about polio. This podcast did a great job of explaining how it started and spread and what it was like to live through this outbreak.

The Christmas Truce. This podcast is one of my favorites because it covers one of my favorite stories from history. I love the idea that in the thick of war people could still find some Christmas spirit. If you don’t know what I am talking about listen to the podcast! Maybe while sitting in front of your Christmas tree, sipping hot cocoa.

The House of Worth and the Birth of Haute Couture. I love Victorian clothing and it doesn’t get much more Victorian than the House of Worth. Do yourself a favor and Google “Charles Worth” and look at some of the images. I seen some of his gowns in museums but didn’t know much about him or how he got started. This man was a much bigger part of fashion history than I realized.

 

 

 

 

Death, Sex and Money

I enjoy the frankness of this podcast. The host, Anna Sale, interviews all kind of people about all kinds of things but mostly, as the title suggests, she covers death, sex, and money. Here are some of my favorites:

Living Alone and Liking It. Sometimes.

Sometimes she asks us, the audience, to email or call in with a personal story for an upcoming podcast. This time it was about people living alone; some are loving it, others not so much. It brought me back to my 20s when I almost always was living alone, and pretty much loving it.  Even after moving in with my husband I was still on my own a lot, even at night because he was working as a paramedic. I enjoyed the memories this podcast brought back and it made me appreciate my current situation even more.

I Love You but There’s This Money Thing

Money can be a very contentious topic to bring up in a relationship. My husband and I don’t argue much but when we do it is usually about finances. If you and your partner aren’t on the same page regarding money, spending, and saving you are doomed. That may seem overly dramatic but you will have issues if you don’t figure that out. I enjoyed this podcast because she was able to find some humor and levity in a serious subject. She emphasizes that while not the most romantic topic, its a topic that needs to be discussed.

This Senator Saved My Love Life

A young couple, separated by distance, is brought back together with the help of a Senator. Sounds strange but it is a lovely, heart warming story and I hope you listen to it. The older couple speaks about love and life with a frankness and wisdom that only comes with age. I think that our society does itself a disservice when we collectively ignore older people. If you are willing to listen you almost always will learn something from them. They aren’t perfect, and do not pretend to be but they are not afraid to say what they think, and why they think that way. I love hearing another generation’s opinion on life.

Next week I will have the other three, along with my favorite foodie podcasts. I hope you take a minute and listen to a few of these. Let me know what you think!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Stay warm!

-Christy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Five: Breakfast in Burlington, Vermont

I love breakfast foods. Blueberry pancakes, maple-cured bacon, gooey cinnamon rolls….but who wants all that work and mess first thing in the morning? Not me! Which is why, for me, going out for breakfast is one of life’s little joys.

Fortunately, we just happen to be living within 20mins of the Burlington, VT area which boasts an amazing variety of highly rated breakfast and brunch spots. My husband and I have been impressed with the high quality ingredients and the selection we have found. I’ve decided to share with you some of our favorite spots.

The list below is in no particular order and keep in mind- there are many great places we just haven’t gotten to yet. Hopefully this list will help narrow down your decision of where to eat this weekend!

 

penny cluse cafe

1. Penny Cluse Café

This place is outstanding and it seems like everyone in Burlington knows it. Prepare for a bit of a wait even during the week. Our favorite part of the Penny Cluse experience is the variety on their menu. There is a great selection of traditional breakfast items as well as dishes with an authentic Mexican flavor.

We have eaten here several times; Wyatt goes for the Mexican items, I tend to pick the more traditional. Everything has always been excellent. The standouts are the home fries which definitely are NOT from the freezer, and the corn bread muffins, which are so soft and moist you wish you knew how to replicate them at home.

Penny Cluse is located at 169 Cherry Street in downtown Burlington. They are open Monday-Friday 6:45am-3pm, Weekends 8am-3pm. They have a sister restaurant next door called Lucky that we are planning to try in the future.

Dining area at Leunig's.

Dining area at Leunig’s.

2.Leunig’s Bistro & Café

This place, without question, is the most beautiful I have ever eaten in. It is one of the oldest restautrants in downtown Burlington and feels like it is brimming with history. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to rest your eyes upon.

Of course no amount of interior decorating can make a restaurant last if the food is not also exceptional. And it is. We have only eaten there for brunch but the food was so good I am sure their lunch and dinner entrees would not disappoint. I ordered the chicken friend steak poutine. The chicken was perfectly fried and juicy and the gravy was delicious and flavorful. My husband had the eggs benedict and he declared it was the best he had ever had!

Leunig’s is open Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday 11am-11pm. Weekends, when they serve brunch, they open at 9am. They are located at 115 Church Street right in the middle of historic Church Street. Plan ahead, it get very busy.

3. Bayside Bakery & Coffee Bar

This place is so off the beaten path it doesn’t even have a website so I have linked to its page on Yelp. Doesn’t look like much on the outside, nothing fancy in the inside but the food is GOOD. Everything tastes like it is made from scratch and comes out of the kitchen piping hot. The service is great too; I am pretty sure it is run by a family because we always see the same people there.  We have been here several times and I don’t think you can go wrong with their menu. They are also open for lunch and dinner and have a bakery section where you can purchase items to go.

There doesn’t seem to be hours posted anywhere online so if you need to know I would just give them a call: (802)862-3318. They are located at 824 W. Lakeshore Drive, Colchester, VT 05446.

4.Chef’s Corner Café & Bakery

We accidentally discovered this place hidden away off of Hwy 2 down the street from the Maple Tree Place shopping center. When you walk in you are greeted with glass cases of delicious looking baked goods and menus of their food and espresso drinks. You order at the counter and then they bring it out to you. Our food was delicious and served quickly. In addition to my food I had a peppermint mocha from their seasonal menu that was like a dessert. I would love to order one of their cakes or try something from their bakery area.

Chef’s Corner is located at 2121 Essex Road in Williston. There is another location in Burlington but we have not been there yet. The Williston location’s  hours are  7:30am-3pm seven days a week,  hours may vary on holidays.

stonesoup

5.Stone Soup

We have only been to Stone Soup once but it made quite an impression on us. Its a cozy spot in downtown Burlington, the kind of place that makes you want to sit and drink coffee there while it snows outside. The space is full of warmth; worn hardwood floors, thick brick walls, chalkboard menus, and glowing light from vintage school house style fixtures.

We both ordered quiche and decided to share a maple walnut scone. We should have done it the other way around! The pieces of quiche were huge and very filling while the scone was so amazing we each wanted the whole thing to ourselves.

The cheddar cheese in the quiche was outstanding and the sharpness was the perfect compliment to the richness of the eggs and cream. The scone was bursting with walnut flavor and had the most delectable maple glaze on top. There were walnuts in it and all over it. Although the quiche was very good, the scone was outstanding.

Stone Soup is located at 211 College Street. They are open Monday-Friday 7am-9pm and Saturday 9am-9pm.

 

Make sure to check out these places this weekend if you are in the Burlington area! And if you are not, plan a trip here. Burlington is pretty cool.

Have a great weekend!

-Christy

 

 

Favorite Five: A Handmade Christmas

Making those Christmas gifts.

Halloween is almost here, Thanksgiving menu planning is on my mind and preliminary gift giving lists are starting to make an appearance. Yes, Christmas will be here before you know it.

Since I have re-discovered my crafty side I have really tried to push the handmade gift envelope. However, like many others, I ended up staying up all hours of the night trying to finish something, or having to hand someone a card that says “hey your gift is coming…”. Being tired and stressed out or not having a real gift to give someone is not the best way to enjoy your holidays. Here are my five favorite tips for having a handmade Christmas

1. MAKE A LIST AND NARROW IT DOWN. Write out who you are planning on giving a gift to. Then think long and hard about who would appreciate a handmade gift and put them on a separate list.  Your time is precious- don’t waste it on someone who won’t completely love what you have made.

2. CHECK YOUR LIST TWICE. Just like Santa. After you initially narrow it down you might find that you still have a lot of people on your handmade gift list. Ask yourself some  more questions. Did you make them a handmade gift last year?  If yes then maybe they are off the handmade list this year. Did the person already indicate something specific they are hoping for? If someone asks for books or gift cards or whatever then that’s what you should get them. They will be happy and you will have more time.

3. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. I am guilty of violating this one. In the daze of Christmastime joy, fueled with too many peppermint mochas, I convince myself I can do it all!! Then, inevitably, there I am frantically knitting a scarf in a bar on our way to a New Years Eve party. Look at your calendar and honestly ask yourself what are your commitments? How much free time do you have in a normal week? How long does it normally take you to make whatever it is you are planning on making? And when you are done estimating give yourself even less time because things always come up during the holidays.

4. PICK YOUR PATTERN WISELY. Now is not the time to try that complicated pattern with the fancy stitches you have been eyeing. Nor is it time to knit your Aunt that lace-weight shawl she has asked for. If you create things often you probably some patterns you have done before that you know are fairly straight forward and quick. If you are looking a new pattern you need to read through the whole thing. Are there stitches or instructions you don’t understand? Is it calling for anything less than DK weight yarn? Do not pick something outside of your skill set or you will be frustrated and end up with an unfinished gift. Sometimes I’ve seen a pattern rated “easy” or “beginner” and knew for me it was more in the “advanced” area. You know what you can do better than anyone else.

5. HAVE FUN. I know, that sounds super dorky but often in the craziness of trying to make or find the perfect gift all of the fun gets sucked right out of Christmas. Maybe you have several small kids at home or a demanding job. Christmas craftiness might not be for you. You can always designate your handmade gifts for birthdays. A throw pillow or blanket would be a great wedding or anniversary gift for a couple. When a friend has a baby that would be a great time for to make something special for her since most gifts are geared towards the new infant. And if you don’t have the time but still want to give something handmade check out sites like Etsy or Zibbet.

I hope this list helps you make your Christmas gift giving go a bit smoother. Happy Halloween everyone!

-Christy

Favorite Five : My Love of British TV

Yesterday I stumbled upon an article from the Telegraph about why Americans love British TV. (you can check it out HERE). Reading the article got me thinking about why I am so drawn to British TV. I always prefer to watch a British mystery or min-series from my Netflix queue than watch an American TV show.

I am a huge anglophile. Have been for as long as I can remember, well before I was actually able to travel to Great Britain. My freshman year of college I finally got the opportunity to travel there and of course I jumped on it. The country was everything I hoped it would be and I have been back three times since and I hope to take my husband there very soon.

Watching shows set in Great Britain, whether its the picturesque countryside or gritty London allows me to mentally travel back to the places I’ve been. I am forever yelling “I’ve been there!!” to my husband when we are watching something together.

Also, and this is one of the things the article touches on, is there is a “realness” to British shows that you just don’t see in American shows. The actors and actresses look like real people and they are living relatable lives and I think that allows us to be able to mentally connect with their characters better. Turn on an American show. Everyone is buffed, polished, and perfect looking,  living in homes their characters couldn’t possibly afford.

And finally after a long day who doesn’t enjoy a bit of escapism? The British class system, their customs, and eccentricities are so different from ours that someone might think they would be a turn off. Instead, those very same differences are what help us liberate ourselves from reality and delve into another world.

Since the Emmys were just last night I decided it was the perfect time for my five favorite British TV shows. If you click on the name you will be sent to a description of the show.

Favorite Five: British TV (no particular order)

My favorite detective/sergeant duo.

1. Midsomer Murders. Yes, I said there was no order to this list but this is my favorite show. DCI Barnaby is charming and funny, a good husband and a great detective. I love all the pretty villages the show takes place in. One of the best. Available on Netflix.

2. BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice. Where do I begin? The beautiful countryside? The clever and subtle humor? The ladies beautiful dresses? Mr. Darcy with is shirt off? Mr. Darcy with his shirt on? There are many reasons this adaptation is the BEST one I have ever seen. It is very faithful to the book and the leads, Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, are excellent.

 

3. MI5 or Spooks. You can’t get much further from the tranquil countryside portrayed in Midsummer Murders than this show. The plotline follows several people who work for MI-5 which is sort of the British equivalent to our FBI. (google it- hard to explain) These guys are spies and some of them live double lives, some of them are corrupt, some of them even get killed. They deal with national security so sometimes they have to stop people from trying to blackmail politicians and the next day they trying are preventing terrorists from blowing up subway stations. A bit on the darker side but very gripping. Available on Netflix.

 

4. The Buccaneers. These wealthy young ladies couldn’t break into high society here in America so they turned to England. This series shows the reality of being married for your money and that money does not buy happiness. A visually stunning series, the dresses the girls wear before they are married are the stuff Victorian dreams are made of. Watch it just for that. Available on Netflix.

5. Downton Abbey. If you haven’t heard of this series you have been living under a rock. A little soap- opera like at times, it is truly escapism TV. Not very many of us live on estates or even know someone who does. And, as much as I love seeing a glimpse of the high life, the heart of the show, I think, is the downstairs bunch. In many ways that is a life even fewer can relate to. Its a great show and I have really enjoyed watching it evolve. Available on Netflix.

I have to honorably mention Sherlock. I love the chemistry between Holmes and Watson and can’t wait to see what happens next season.

I know there are a great many other shows I could have mentioned but these are the ones that have made a lasting imprint on my mind and the ones I love to watch again and again.

I would love to hear what your  some of your favorite British TV shows are! Let me know.

-Christy