cait +tiff

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T / ladies who do (and talk about it)

Artwork by Miguel Porlan.

Artwork by Miguel Porlan.

I remember this feeling when I started to find my footing in that past life.  I was exhausted.  Except this time, I am more than energized by it, excited for the future and I am constantly thinking of building, improving and getting better.  I feel focused and I can envision where this is all going.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally feel like I am still out to sea and taking on water.  Yes, that probably sounds a little melodramatic, but those moments also bring on the risk of self-sabotage, quitting, and heading to land.  I don’t know why I’ve got so many marine analogies today, but I’ve got one more.  Come hell or high water, I am so in this.  But sometimes I need a buoy, a light house, basically anything to help me stay the course.  Please note that I’ve never actually enjoyed boats (that’s Cait’s thing).  You know that podcasts are my thing (all of them here), and I wanted to share a few of my favourite resources that I’ve been using to help me make better business choices, better ways of working and know that others have been there before. There is a whole bunch of wonderful, talented and brilliant ladies who are killing it and sharing with the world how they did it and all the feelings they felt while doing it.  Because these feelings are valid, everyone has them at some point or another, and there should always be resources to help you out of them.  And I look forward to chores because I get to listen to these ladies.

Ladies-Who-Work---PodcastIt was serendipity that it was Leandra Medine who answered my Google when I typed in “exhausted podcast” in a moment of weariness.  I’m not joking.  We have been fans of Man Repeller since the dawn of blogging.  And her words are just as witty and wonderful in audio as she is in type.  With Monocycle (not to be confused with the more serious Monocle), Leandra goes through the whole gamut of feelings when it comes to biz building and it came to a completely relief to me that she feels those feelings too.

You don’t need to be a creative entrepreneur to dig Why Do We Have Things?  The ladies behind The American Edit and Hackwith Design House get into the deep with designers and small business owners about the reason why they got into it, and everything that happened every which way and between.

Ladies-Who-Work---Podcast2I have to give mad props to Megan Tan because she just got picked up by (insert mega huge podcast network that she reveals in her latest episode) after all of her hard work in independently producing and hosting Millennial.  Megan is such a fresh voice and if I ever meet her, I would give her those four words: “you really get me.”  Millennial is all about all the feelings and the hard work that come with getting out of school and really making it in something you love.

There is nothing more than I love than extraordinary women.  A Toronto-based podcast about extraordinary women hosted by a funny lady?  Even better.  Host Lauren Mitchell gets all the good ones on Cavern of Secrets. Cheryl Strayed, Tavi Gevinson, Carrie Brownstein.  And those are just the big names.

All of these podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your ear candy.  I am going to go make brownies now.

PS – Victoria McGinley’s Biz + Blog Advice and Create & Cultivate are also amazing clicky things that offer all the advice.


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T / happy monday / creepytown

I’m a big weirdo.  Everyone knows that.  People who are ravenous for the Vogue September issue can be complete weirdos too.  I found myself in conversation digressing about into the topic of transcending the singularity the other day and I thought “oh boy, activate social filter, hun.”  I usually have the X-Files on while I’m toning photos and don’t even get me started on Bigfoot. But it’s Halloweek.  This means that everyone can let their creepy freak flag fly proudly.  And I’m all about the podcasts, so I thought I’d share the creepy things that I’m listening to this week (read: all the time).  If Snap Judgment (you should also listen to their Spooked series) is storytelling with a beat, this is storytelling with a creeeeeeeeeeeeek.

Tanis-and-The-Black-TapesWhen Serial exploded, we were all hooked. And it made the peeps behind the radio waves realize that there was an audience thirsty for serialized story telling.  That’s how the fictional Pacific Northwest Stories happened.  Imagine if Mulder and Scully procreated with Ira Glass.  That’s what the kids in this creepyville have strung together for us.  I found myself downloading every single episode of The Black Tapes while I was en route to Kenya. Imagine Sarah Koenig chasing down the paranormal.  Then immediately after followed Tanis, and I’m gobbling down every mysterious episode.

the-message,-lore-and-limetownThere’s more.  See how creepy I am?  But I’m glad there are others out there like me.  I got hooked on Limetown from Jo.  If you like HBO’s The Leftovers, then you’ll want to follow this podcast. Imagine the inhabitants of an entire town, a gated community at that, who disappear.  I’ll stop there.  Among the other creepies come the extraterrestrial in the form of sound.  That’s what Panoply’s The Message is all about.  And finally, if you’re really interested in getting into the underbelly of the real world, there’s Lore.  By far, this one creeps me out the most.  Each story is true.  And the melody, the sound, the colour, it all gets under your skin.  Listener beware.

You can get all of these guys on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your goodies. End of creepy.

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T / happy monday / lady podcast roundup

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Photo Credit: Associated Press

And we’re back!!! In the same town that is.  For seventy two hours, before another one of us hops on a plane again.  We are catching up on us, while also devouring mountains of cauliflower and jugs of green juice.  And planning, planning, planning. There might be some Channing Tatum action happening tonight with some other special ladies too.

Speaking of ladies…hella important thing right?  We are so freaking lucky to have an incredible community of ladies in Phnom Penh.  You’ve met a whole bunch of them already actually.  But these days, there’s a lot of movement.  Occasionally to places where there aren’t so many ladies.  I generally find myself missing the banter, the pop culture distillation, the cocktails and the support system.  They can be hard to come by when I’m out in the middle of nowhere.

My antidote to the potential run of the lonelies has always been podcasts.  Because I am obsessed with this generation’s radio and will devour content like the Stay Puft Marshamallow Man.  These are my favourite lady podcasts. They all feature a pair of ladies and a ton of banter. They substitute for those times I’ve been without any sort of network connection, stuck indoors because of the monsoon, or just even to keep in touch with the sphere of everything when I’m getting ready in the AM.  Enjoy!

A-Few-Things-and-Call-Your-GirlfriendThese ladies and their repartee are on opposite sides of the spectrum.  A Few Things with Claire and Erica is your the sister that knows stuff.  Because Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo founded and run Of A Kind (totally aspirational for us), of course they know stuff.  And they want to tell you about their Top 5, whether it’s cleaning products of photography apps, dental hygiene or their new favourite flat.  Because they just know.  Trust.   Then there’s Call Your Girlfriend; otherwise known as your hip, witty, middle sister.  And they are three: Gina Delvac, Ann Friendman and Aminatou Sow do all the cool things at opposite ends of the US.  When you are craving the update on all thing, or want to simulate the convo that would distill among friends over wine, this is what you should have in your stock.


2000x1783srI also dig ladies who can make me laugh. Because let’s face it, I’m occasionally too (insert: jetlagged, stuck in traffic while deathly fearing tardiness, struggling with a poorly lit situation and hangry, etc) to do it.  Alex and Danielle over at SRSLY already had me giggling way back when their UCB-trained selves popped up onto the Youtube.  Now they’re talking classics films and funny ladies that helped shape their humor on Funny Lady Film Club.

Chewing-the-Fat-and-Radio-Cherry-BombeLadies who cook.  Also important.  Because the sphere of the art of eating, cooking and talking about it remains heavy from the male gaze, I love that ladies like food journos Louisa Chu and Monica Eng are pivoting the discourse on Chewing the Fat.  Ditto goes to the cookbook author Julia Turshen (who happens to be married to After the Jump’s Grace Bonney) and her foray into the world of talk with Radio Cherry Bombe.


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T / happy monday / podcast addict.

Photo Credit: Pioneer

Photo Credit: Pioneer

So I am finally home.  Or when this post goes live, I will be.  And there will have been layovers, and time spent waiting at airports.  You’ll hear me wax poetic about the meditative pros and the linguistic cons (“ein sangria por favor?”) of travel later on this week, but first I wanted to share with you the thing that keeps me calm and sane throughout all the madness of having to take nine flights through four countries.  I’ve written about them before. Because I’m obsessed with them.  I grew up with public radio in my house, my parents’ cars, my own earphones. For as long as I can remember, there has been someone talking about something in that tone so meditative and calm you might want to slap them that only radio personalities can channel.  And for the weary traveler who may be crossing cultures and languages constantly, I don’t necessarily feel alone when that feeling creeps up.  I even use them as a sleep aid.  See? Multifunctional. So I thought I’d share some of my favourites today, and even a new one I just learned about on this trip.


radiolab-thisamericanlife-snapjudgementThe storytelling trifecta of This American Life, Radiolab and Snap Judgement must start any podcast list. How could I not include these? Ira Glass, Glynn Washington, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich are gods among the podcasters.  The storytelling, the music that goes with it, and the science! (because I’m a true nerd with the glasses and all) are something I look forward to every week.


I’m a pop culture nut.  You don’t even know the extent of it.  I’m also a member of the multiethnic diaspora that makes up the tossed salad (the starter) and melting pot stew (main dish) of North America. So hearing Two Brown Girls contemplate pop culture and the increasing awareness of major media networks to a multicultural audience is a bit of a big deal for me.  Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay hit all the right notes and it feels like I’m chatting with my best friends back home about it all.


criminal-hbm-serialI like a good mystery.  And I don’t mind getting into all the dark corners.  To the novice, start with Serial.  Because it is addictive and it took the podcasting world by storm.  Dinner party discussions were had.  Mix it in with storytelling and move on to Criminal afterwards, and for the even darker parts of humanity (because learning about these building blocks are so compelling), head over to Here Be Monsters.


I couldn’t get away without some Canadian content.  And while Q’s reputation was severely tarnished in the wake of it’s former host’s crimes last year, it’s pretty much with great relief to share that it’s new host, Canadian hip hop artist Shad has helped clear off all the debris and build something bright, new and shiny. But besides all of that, Q helps me stay in touch with what’s going on at home.




food-podcastsI’m a self-professed foodie and eater.  I love cooking and my ADHD-addled mind needs to not only be focused on the art of cooking, but someone talking about food too.  So I’ve got three favourite podcasts on rotation. The Dinner Party Download leads the way with more than I could ask for.  A drink, a dish, a guest, some etiquette and a conversation. Oh and music. That’s important.  Then there’s The Sporkful.  Because I’m an eater and I like to hear about how other people eat.  And because I like playing around in the kitchen, it all rounds off with America’s Test Kitchen.


Finally, the newest podcast I just added to my must-hear list comes from friends in London.  I love a new twist on podcasting, and not only does this one feature music, English accents and spot-on interviews, but it’s definitely the oldest on this list. Notable guests have been choosing eight records they would taken with them to a desert island for the last 42 years on BBC Radio.  We had this podcast on without stopping while we were tooling around southern Spain and it basically hasn’t stopped.  This chat with Martin Sheen is among my faves.

PS – Some that I didn’t mention, but also have a very soft spot for: All Songs Considered (for new music fixes), Thinking Sideways (because I’m just weird that way), Pitch (also for the music lover), 99% Invisible (well, duh) and Planet Money (because it makes the world go round)


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T / happy monday / on building

Photo Credit: On the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Tiny Atlas

Photo Credit: On the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Tiny Atlas

Wow.  What a weekend.  I hope you all had a great one too. Ours was packed, but in the most awesome way. Now for the serious stuff.

We’re seven months into the blog now.  I’m 3 months into saying no to offers of paid work as a public health and policy consultant, and it feels weird every time I do.  Am I biting the hand that once fed me? Having a good solid income is really tempting, especially when there’s a heck ton of travel coming up.  Also reconciling the creative and formerly professional sides of myself, with most of our friends in the public health and development profession, feels like an oft repeated mental theme.  So I need to repeatedly tell myself: “eyes on the prize.”

So basically, it can get difficult to key one’s eyes on the prize when so much is going on around us.  New projects keep popping up, and we are figuring out how to monetize. We are also learning how to say no, which is a new fun game. Having a support system that includes serial entrepreneurs and management specialists has been super helpful and we are unendingly thankful for that. Then there are my other friends, the podcasts.

I love podcasts.  I have them on at every available opportunity.  Ira Glass’ voice lulls me to sleep, Neil DeGrasse Tyson keeps me company while cooking, and Jess Lively helps to get me started at the beginning of the day. I’ve recently discovered another one that helps me to keep me in check, helps me to get new ideas for the blog, and know that there are plenty of others out there who are also in the process of building something new.

Grace Bonney, of Design*Sponge awesomeness, hosts After the Jump – a podcast dedicated to contemporary makers and the day-to-day challenges they face.  I can’t believe how lucky I was to have found this resource. It helps me stay grounded and remind me that all the challenges, insecurities, and temptations that I face on a regular basis are not mine alone.

So instead of a fun video to help you start your week, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite podcast episodes that help me to get started, get me going and get me excited about this path that Cait and I have chosen to explore.  Maybe they’ll be helpful and

After the Jump – Episode 99 – How to Create Content for the New Online World

As nouveau bloggers wanting to generate new careers, we’re constantly reconciling the difference between what we really want to post and what will get us the most hits.  This podcast teaches us how to reach both of those goals without compromising on this site’s mission.

After the Jump – Episode 91 – The Changing Pay Rates for Creative Talent

We are building a business. This means a crash course in learning how to value our work.  Our work may look “fun” and not like work at all. But we assure you, there’s a lot of elbow grease, negotiation and a our own resources that go into it.  Grace Bonney and a coterie of professionals who have attained success in the forum provide great anecdotes and lessons on monetization and the evolution of pay rates on this podcast.

The Jess Lively Show – Episode 44 – The Art of Relaxation and Creativity with Jen Gotch of Ban.Do

Groupies of Jen Gotch we are.  And we were over the moon when we learned that Jess Lively was going to be interviewing her about non-linear trajectory across careers (law! bartending! Ban.Do!) and building a biz that has made surprising waves.  This totally ranks high among fave podcasts.

The Jess Lively Show – Episode 64 – The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results with Jay Papasan

We both have big long term goals on the horizon.  But how do we get there?  Jay Papasan, author of the NYTimes bestseller, The One Thing, tells Jess Lively about how to break it all down.  What’s that five year goal or objective? What is the one thing you need to do to get there?  Or that quarterly goal? What is the one thing you need to do to achieve that.  We’ve been mapping it all out. This concept has really helped me to not look at this career change as a Sisyphean task, but as a number of attainable short term goals.

America’s Test Kitchen – Episode 402 – The Barefoot Contessa Speaks Out

Otherwise known as Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa has been an inspiration for more than a decade.  She was a nuclear energy policy advisor for the White House!  Then she quit and opened up a speciality food shop! And most of you know what happened afterwards.  She tells her story with ATK’s Christopher Kimball.