7 Favorite Podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? I love them! They are such a great source of inspiration and information. Plus, listening to them at work helps time fly.

I’ve also found that the more podcasts I listen to, the more I find. So here are seven podcasts, in no particular order, that I’ve been enjoying recently.

If you have any favorites, please share them in the comments. I’m always looking for more!

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A Hungry Society with Korsha Wilson

The Make Light Show with Karen Walrond

The Lively Show with Jess Lively

How I Built This with Guy Raz

The Creativity Habit with Daphne Cohn

Black Girl in Om with Lauren Ash and Deun Ivory

Patriarchy the Podcast (Hiding in the Bathroom) with Morra Aarons-Mele

Recently Read: Enter Helen

Book cover showing picture of Helen Gurley Brown sitting on a stool, wearing a red dress.

Just recently, I finished reading the book Enter Helen, by Brooke Hauser. I wanted to make sure that I wrote about it before too much time passed and I never got around to it. Which has happened with many books. Far too many books.

Enter Helen is about the life of Helen Gurley Brown, the woman who made Cosmopolitan magazine what it is today. I had no idea that before she took over Cosmo in the 1960s, it had been a literary magazine. Boy did she change it!

The magazine was suddenly all about the young single woman in the city out on the prowl looking for men. But also about fashion, style, food, work, money, travel and more. She modernized the lifestyle magazine for women after making a career for herself writing books about the same demographic. It’s impossible not to think about the appeal of Sex and the City, when reading about Brown’s life.

While Brown had never been an editor, through connections she got the job and succeeded in bringing the magazine to heights it had never seen before through a lot of hard work and determination. Sadly, it was also because she wasn’t always a stickler for the truth. Making up sources and/or compiling several people into a fictional person wasn’t a problem for her. She knew how to get advertisers and how to sell. As a freelance writer, it was especially interesting to read about the inner workings of a magazine.

By any means necessary was her motto — in my opinion in interpreting her actions. In her early life, she had no problem using sex when it got her money, work and status. She had fun and didn’t care if the man was married either. Brown didn’t consider herself pretty, but was a charmer and used her charms to get what she wanted.

Her life story is told within the context of its time. The women’s movement is the backdrop of much of the book, along with commentary by Gloria Steinem. Brown and Steinem had a complicated relationship fraught with tension based on their different takes on how women should “be” in the world.

It was quite interesting to read and surprising to see how their careers and lives crossed. Steinem did freelance writing for Cosmo and even appeared as a model. They were so different, yet had so much in common. Especially with Steinem co-founding Ms. Magazine. Quite interesting to note that both of these magazines are still around, when so many magazines go out of business.

After reading the book, there are many things that I don’t like about Brown. But I have to respect her and her accomplishments. Enter Helen is well written and researched — a truly fascinating read. I highly recommend it. A great book to add to your summer reading list!

Free Donuts + Sunday Shopping at Shake The Tree in the North End!

A picture of a dozen different flavored Union Square Donuts in a box.

Since discovering Shake The Tree while strolling around the North End several years ago, I’ve been a fan.

Shake The Tree is the perfect little shop to find clothes, jewelry and other quality items that are unique and fun. Both for yourself and others.

While speaking with owner Marian Klausner, I learned that she used to be an attorney. On my old blog she was one of the first people to participate in my interview series called Back To Law School.

For that interview, Klausner told me that surviving law school gave her “a tremendous sense of self-confidence.”  She practiced for eight years before opening her shop.

Law school and the experience of day-to-day practice gave me the sense that I could achieve any dream I had, if I really worked for it. I never thought of myself as exceptionally brilliant before law school but I did well academically and that made me realize that if I focused on something I wanted to create, I could really do it!

Her story is inspiring and I love how she often collaborates with local shops that sell the best sweets.

So, if you’re looking to shop small and local over the next two Sundays (12/11 and 12/18, 10am – 12pm), I definitely recommend going to the North End and stopping by Shake The Tree.

You can get some free Union Square Donuts and enjoy discounted parking while you’re there. Parking validation is $3 for 3 hours at the Parcel 7 Garage, next to the Haymarket T on Sudbury Street.

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Image: Shake The Tree Newsletter

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Quiet Audacity: A Conversation with Eileen Fisher & Susan Cain

Quiet_Audacity_Eileen_Fisher_Susan_Cain

For people who are most beloved by the masses, one of the things that people most often say about them after they die is that they were always themselves. They were authentic.

Somehow during their lifetime, they found the courage to be true to themselves and showed it to the world. However, like most things in life, it’s easier said than done.

After the Memorial Service for Muhammad Ali yesterday, many of us have had the chance to reflect on his life. The choices that he made and what we most respect about those choices. He risked and lost everything in order to be true to his beliefs. He had moral integrity.

As we reflect on our own lives, it’s easier for some of us to take a stand in public than others. For those who are naturally extroverted, it may not be quite as difficult.  For the introverts among us, myself included, it’s a bigger stretch to speak out in public. Many of us are natural writers and work well behind the scenes.

I just watched this video showing a conversation about introversion between Eileen Fisher, famous clothes designer, and Susan Cain, who started a Quiet Revolution and has made it her life mission to show the value of introverts. One of her most recent projects is Quiet Schools Network, so that introverted students are not overlooked in school.

This video is inspiring to watch. It’s a bit long, just over an hour. But it’s well worth the time. I had not known much about Eileen Fisher, except for her beautiful clothes that I wish I could afford.

After watching, I learned that even though she built her widely successful business from the ground up, she was painfully shy and introverted. Which is probably why most of us have not known much about the woman behind the brand. She did not want a public life.

With Fisher’s recently launched Learning Lab, she is pushing her boundaries and working on this new project that means so much to her. It’s very much in the beginning phases, so she is bringing us along on the journey to see what it will become.

The actual lab is located in an historic building overlooking the Hudson River. She has events and workshops that you can attend in person, then she makes them available online for us to watch for free.

I love the idea of this experiment, because that’s all that life really is. We’re all just trying to figure it out and experiment with what could be.

So that we all can try to live a life as well-lived, remembered and cherished as Muhammad Ali.

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Screenshot: Eileen Fisher Learning Lab

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