Podcast episode #12:

Podcast episode #12:

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Welcome to episode #12 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about the holidays, again. Remember that pre-plan planning we did in episode #11? Yeah, now we’re stressed.

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Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.  This week we talked about where we’re at as far as preparing for the holidays.  Rae is stressed at work and has to plan for an international  vacation, on top of regular holiday stuff.  This week’s podcast is also when I realized that I had exactly two days to send out all of our Christmas cards and packages through the regular mail. Whoops.  But, have no fear, there are still two days to send things out using priority or first-class shipping.  The U.S. Postal Service has a handy holiday guide with all these dates. Try to avoid Priority Mail Express though, because it will seriously cost you a million dollars. (I’ve made that mistake a time or two.)

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Also protip:  you can buy stamps from the cashier at the grocery store, the UPS store and from drugstores, if you can’t get to the post office.

UPDATE: Rae has mailed all her gifts on-time! But the big takeaway here is that “adult Christmas is hard.”

 

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It has gotten to the point in my holiday planning, that I’m cutting everything I can out. For example, for our family holiday party, I am brainstorming ways I do not have to cook — possible options include Chipotle, Boston Market, Honeybaked Ham, or, you know, ordering pizza. Also, don’t feel guilty about doing things for yourself while you’re doing things for other people. Booking a haircut is totally acceptable.  Also, Rae and I tote the benefits of making lists all the time, but our best advice is to take the time to think things through and figure things out and it will get easier.

Also we talked about end-of-the-year reflections and resolutions. In 2013, my resolution word was finances — we worked really hard to eliminate our credit card debt and create a working budget that we stick to no matter what, and always keep our finances in mind when we made big decisions.  Next year, I’d like to focus on health. Going to the doctor and the dentist and paying attention to how our bodies are feeling and working and how to improve our general health. Also, don’t forget to reflect on your year and be proud of all the things you did.

Another thing Rae and I want to do next year is continue to try to connect with our cities.  I found a “bucket list” of things to do in Pittsburgh. Rae is going to check out some local Chicago book clubs.

We also talked about the value of having a friend or a significant other or another single person to help out with everyday things. Trade off on going grocery store, make dinners for each other, help each other.

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During the lightning round, I talked about this beefy mushroom soup, and Rae mentioned this delicious Blue Apron orecchiette.  I also talked about this movie we watched recently that started out great but ended sort of suddenly called Happy Christmas. Rae also said she hopes to find more books with heroines — at which the comic book world seems to do better. She is reading Sex Criminals and ODY-C.  I am still not reading much, but I did finish my Starry Night cross stitch. We also both might re-read Harry Potter next year, and in other news,  J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike novels will be adapted for BBC.  Also we touch briefly on Serial, which is a new podcast, that we will probably talk more about later.

So that’s what’s going on this week on the podcast. Will you be our Internet friend? Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at raesdays(at)gmail(dot)com. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at jewelsphraner(at)gmail(dot)com.

Podcast episode #11: Let’s pre-plan holiday planning

Podcast episode #11: Let’s pre-plan holiday planning

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Welcome to episode #11 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about the holidays. They are nigh!

313244_10100390311639300_3119920_nSubscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.

This week we talked about planning for the holidays. Yes, we know it is still early November. First, what are we doing about Christmas cards?

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Obviously if you can capture yourselves holding a Merry Christmas sign in front of a snowy ski lodge in time for Christmas, that is what you should go with. But some of us don’t have a snowy ski lodges at our disposal, or even snow yet, for that matter, so if you’re looking for inspiration, don’t worry, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to couple’s holiday card ideas.  A.J. and I are probably going to go with something like this:

In the past we’ve also done something like Minted’s Year-In-Review card.  Also if you’re not into taking the time to design, print and cut out your own card, totally  buy them! But don’t pay $18 for a pack of 10, please.  Rae recommends Barnes and Noble’s holiday cards on sale. And even dollar stores have some options.  We also talked about making the holiday card process more efficient by using address labels or a stamp (which just happens to be on my Christmas list, this year!).  I’ve got my eye on this one. And Elise Joy recommends using Simon Stamp.

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We also talked about mass producing small gifts for our friends. In the past, we have done: ugly sweater tree ornaments, coffee cozies, monogrammed coffee mugs and Insta-magnets.

Rae also briefly talked about her family’s cool Christmas camp that happened last year, with which I am obsessed.

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During the lightning round, Rae mentioned that for Family Book Club, she’s reading The Name of the Wind, which she can’t put down, and I’m still working on my Starry Night cross stitch.  I also just made these delicious Hungarian turkey burgers.

So that’s what’s going on this week on the podcast. Will you be our Internet friend? Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at raesdays(at)gmail(dot)com. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at jewelsphraner(at)gmail(dot)com.

Podcast episode #10: Let’s want what we want

Podcast episode #10: Let’s want what we want

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Welcome to episode #10 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about figuring out what you want and how to own it.

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Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.

Rae and I feel like this “semi-adult” stage of our life is all about figuring out what is going to make you happy in life. Sometimes it’s about trying new things, sometimes it’s about realizing that there are things you don’t want, such as working nights or having an inconsistent schedule.  It’s always about  making the best decision for yourself at the time with the information you have.  If later, you change your mind or realize that’s not actually what you want, you can make some changes.  Just because you invest time in a pursuit that ultimately doesn’t make you happy doesn’t mean it was a waste of time.

Internet experts believe part of this whole process is to analyze the feelings behind your desires. Rae and I shared different articles about this including a Huffington Post dating column and an article from Oprah’s website.

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We also mention what to do when people tell you that you shouldn’t want or not want something. One example is Rae’s cool new purple hair  — she was afraid to tell people about her decision before it was done, because she thought someone might talk her out of it. The takeaways from that are: you totally don’t have to tell anyone what you want, it’s OK to keep it to yourself. But if you are put on the spot –like mothers asking me if I want kids — and you want to answer truthfully — “nope, not ever” — realize that people’s doubts of your decision are mostly them justifying their decisions to themselves.

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In the lightning round, Rae talks about finishing up The Magician’s Land, and I’m not reading anything at all, but I am working on an embroidery project of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  Rae tried out the ingredient/recipe delivery service Blue Apron last week and loved it, and I made some wonderful banh mi inspired meatballs (that are low-carb, keto-friendly and gluten-free).

So that’s what’s going on this week on the podcast. Will you be our Internet friends? Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at raesdays(at)gmail(dot)com. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at jewelsphraner(at)gmail(dot)com.

Podcast episode #9: Let’s own our pleasure-pleasures

Podcast episode #9: Let’s own our pleasure-pleasures

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Welcome to episode #9 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about the pleasure-pleasures that is popular culture intended for young adults.

Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.

Rae and I share a love for popular media intended for young adults. We’re talking about ABC Family television series, animated movies and easy, fun, capturing books about terrible romances.

Rae owns it, and I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about it, but she’s right. “There are no guilty pleasures, just pleasure-pleasures.”

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First on the docket is our discussion on the merits of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, of which the entire series is available for all of your viewing pleasures on Netflix.

We also talk about Frozen, the Hunger Games trilogy, Pretty Little Liars, Twilight, Divergent, and Prince of Egypt.

Also, of course, we talk about the Harry Potter series, which might not even count as the young adult genre.

One of the coolest ways to enjoy Harry Potter for a second, third, fourth or fifth time is through the Mark Reads blog, where you can read about his reaction to the books, chapter by chapter.

We also want to thank Xavier for sending us an awesome email, and in that spirit: please send us mail!

Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at raesdays(at)gmail(dot)com. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and Twitter, and at jewelsphraner(at)gmail(dot)com.

 

 

What’s in season: fall

Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season and grown locally is the economical way to save in the produce department. Plus that means they spend less time in transit, so they’re picked when they’re riper and best tasting.

The above map is a look at what’s in season in the U.S. from September 22 to December 21, sorted by region.

Podcast episode #8: Let’s travel

Podcast episode #8: Let’s travel

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Welcome to episode #8 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about traveling and what you can do to help new moms.

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Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.

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For Labor Day weekend, I spent a lovely lunch at the Narcisi Winery in Gibsonia and Rae went to the Field Museum, and also recently said goodbye to Anana the Polar Bear, who’s taking a vacation.

Speaking of vacations, I am taking a trip to California to hang out with my parents for a while. Packing for such a long trip has been overwhelming, so I asked Rae for some traveling tips. There’s also some resources on the Internet for packing (and Real Simple has a list, too) and navigating the stress that is every airport. Mostly, Rae and I agreed get there early.

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(Update: trying to pack your whole closet in two suitcases is not the best idea.)

I also asked Rae for some tips on what to do to help out new moms, and as she predicted, there is tons of advice on the Internet for such a quandary. Rae suggested making yourself available, bringing drugstore supplies and dropping off food on the front porch.

As for the lightning round, Rae is reading Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer, and I just finished John Green‘s The Fault is in Our Stars.

 Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and on Twitter. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and on Twitter.

Podcast episode #7: Happy Birthday to no one

Podcast episode #7: Happy Birthday to no one

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Welcome to episode #7 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about the struggle that is sending birthday cards. We’re really bad at it.

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Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.

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We both struggle significantly with getting birthday cards out on time or, you  know, at all. Once I made a birthday card book that lasted oh, about, four months before I decided it was not the best way to remember birthdays. Rae has tried manila envelopes. Neither one really worked for us.

So here are new tips: keep all your supplies handy; keep your addresses on your phone on accessible on your phone while you’re standing in line at the post office; and set reminders on your phone. She also talked to Michael, who is really good at mail, and he said he adds birthdays to his regular to do list and sometimes sets email reminders. Do you guys have any tips?

We also talked about other organizational systems, like what are you supposed to do with magazine articles you like and tear out and save. Rae suggested Blake Lively’s method which is saving them all in inspiration binders.

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Rae’s currently reading Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and she talks about the book’s decorating inspiration over at her blog. I made Shutterbean’s sriracha chicken recently and it was incredible. (Books are affiliate links.)

 Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and on Twitter. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and on Twitter.

Podcast episode #6: Let’s all get some presence

Podcast episode #6: Let’s all get some presence

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Welcome to episode #6 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about having presence, which is like having charisma or poise or gravitas in the workplace.

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Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We talked about Rae’s final drawing project, which was Twin Peaks inspired. She said she might take another drawing class in the future, but she’s looking forward to taking a break and practicing her new skillz first.

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Then we get into this idea of presence — inspired by a Wall Street Journal article and infographic. Mostly it gives tips on professionalism and how to maintain that professionalism even when things are not that great at work.  Ask a manager is another great resource for maintaining professionalism also.

Rae’s currently reading The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman and Guardians of the Galaxy. And somewhere J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s newest book is on her list. I’m reading Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. I’ve also been watching a ton of Top Chef lately, which has led me on a journey to master the mother sauces.  (Books are affiliate links.)

Rae can be found at raesdays.com, on Instagram and on Twitter. Jewels is at ovenlovinblog.com, on Instagram and on Twitter.

Mom’s fudge brownies

Mom’s fudge brownies

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When I first made these for our picnic in the park, I forgot to take the final photo. So I had to make another batch. Poor us. We had to eat two batches of these delicious fudge brownies. This recipe comes from my mom, and they are the only brownies I had growing up, which probably explains why I can’t eat brownies that come in a box and/or brownies that restaurants serve. None of them can measure up to this goodness.

So people can be really picky about their brownies. Some people like them fluffy and cake like and other people like them gooey and some people like them dense and fudgy. My mom’s are more dense than chocolate cake, but not too dense. They have the right amount of fudge and fluff. And there’s just a sprinkling of walnuts. Just a sprinkling. So you get a little surprise crunch sometimes.

Protip: Line your baking pan with greased parchment paper or foil or something that will allow you to lift the whole baked brownie square out at the same time. It’s a lot easier to slice brownies from the rest if they are out of the pan, than in the pan. [Read more…]

Podcast episode #5: Let’s be friends

Podcast episode #5: Let’s be friends

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Welcome to episode #5 of the To Do Lists of the Semi-Adult podcast where Rae and I talk about making friends.

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Subscribe to this bi-weekly podcast on iTunesStitcher or by using our feed link.

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This week we talked about the silent soap war going on in my house, in which I haven’t won yet, because recently the soap was moved back to the soap dish. I’ll continue battling until victory is mine. We also talked about Rae’s recent vacation to Michigan, where she jet skied and paddle boarded. And I talked about A.J.’s Birthday Week, which included this fun Johnny Cash show at the Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret Theater. (Apparently they also have a Broadway songs singalong every month, so if anyone wants to go to that with me, please let me know!)

 We also talked about making friends and how hard it is. It’s really hard. I referenced a New York Times article about the science of making friends, which involves proximity, a number of unplanned encounters and the feeling of comfort and safety. Rae suggests inviting people out for concrete plans, instead of offering to get coffee sometime. We also talked about proceeding as if you’re already friends with the person and ignoring the insecurities associated with the fear of rejection. But seriously, you guys, it’s hard.

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We also talked about my upcoming trip to the zoo to see the sea dragons, that sometimes puppies play with cheetahs and Rae’s cool new dress that she made, And I learned there’s such a thing as a bias tape maker. She’s reading The Bat right now, and I’m trying to catch up on a stack of magazines, like Rachael Ray‘s magazine and HGTV, which Rae suggested I read. Rae is also making a delicious blueberry/orange salad and A.J.’s peanut butter pie with chocolate covered pretzel crust was a big flop.

 Check out our other episodes on the podcast page.