Cacti with a message on Morro Rock

In April, my sister and I drove down the Pacific Coast to LA on a several day road trip where we visited Hearst Castle, Morro Bay, Catalina Island, and Harry Potter world at Universal. One of the suggestions my sister had was to listen to podcasts along the way. My suggestion was to listen to the Backstreet Boys.

(I never claimed to have sophisticated taste in music, okay? Losing hipster cred here.)

She asked me for suggestions on podcasts she could download which I thought was funny because I had never listened to one before. I had, of course, heard of This American Life and Serial and a few others, but the format didn’t really interest me much. Coincidentally I had just read an article about S-Town so that was my suggestion.

Morro Rock with seagulls fighting the wind

She came armed with several podcasts she thought I might like besides S-TownUndisclosed, The Art of Charm, Sawbones, Stuff You Missed in History and maybe some others. So we listened to those during the trip. My heart belonged to S-Town though, a story about a maybe-murder that turned into an examination of a life cut short by mental illness.

By the time we got home, we had a couple of episodes left of S-Town so I downloaded the BeyondPod app to finish listening to it. I also downloaded a couple more episodes of Sawbones and Stuff You Missed in History, and started listening on my commute(s) which are generally around 30 minutes each way, the perfect podcast length.

While I would not say I’m obsessed, it has definitely become part of my week. Here’s what I’ve been listening to!

Hearst Castle from the Veranda below


The Nerdist Podcast – I can only take Chris Hardwick in small doses on TV but I actually find him quite appealing on the podcast. I particularly enjoyed the recent Elijah Wood episode as well as the one with Trey Parker (of South Park fame/infamy)

Criminal – This one has bite sized (30 mins or less) stories of weird tales of crimes. Start with episode 51 where a woman learns her identity was stolen… but then years later learns who did it.

Tom & Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinion Fest – I don’t listen to all of TLo’s podcasts but they always have interesting things to say about pop culture and television. Most recently I enjoyed their discussions on “Peak TV” and their deep dive on Game of Thrones.

Mind Body Green Podcast – I just started listening to this one so I’m only a couple eps in, but the ones I’ve listened to so far (interviews with Melissa Hartwig of Whole30 fame and Califia Farms founder Greg Stehltenpohl) are really interesting. Those particular interviews had an entrepreneurial bent and really flowed well.

Lore – really well produced historical background on urban myths and legends.

The Chris & Sam Podcast – Shout out to my long-time internet friend Sam! Started listening to this a while back and as a shallow American, I just love listening to New Zealand accents. These guys talk about a lot of different, random topics, and are pretty funny – and the length is just the right amount for a commute. And did I mention the accents? 😉

The beach near the marina in Santa Barbara


One-offs or series I don’t listen to very often but are still entertaining or interesting.

S-Town – I mentioned it above but I can’t express enough how much I got into listening to this one. In a way, I wish it hadn’t been the first one I listened to because the production quality is so good and raised the bar for others that I’ve tried. It also raises some great questions such as – was it too intrusive on its subject matter and should it have even been made? One of the things I found so engrossing about it was how it started off being one thing but at the end of the second episode it just pivoted into something else entirely. Even months after I listened to it I still think of John B. Macklemore

30 for 30 Podcasts – I have only just started listening to this one (not through the first ep yet) but the production values are spot on and the topics interesting. I thoroughly enjoy their TV documentaries on ESPN and if you haven’t watched their epic OJ: Made in America (one of the finest documentaries I’ve ever seen… and I’ve seen approximately one million) then you are missing out. I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast and have high hopes for it!

CG Garage: Episode 131 – Interview with my cousin regarding his career as a VFX and matte painter in Hollywood. It was interesting to hear my cousin talk about his career and the industry. Over the years it’s sort of like, oh yeah, whatever, but this really shone a light on all the hard work he’s done to get where he is today – having a proud cousin moment, haha!

Sawbones – husband (comedian) and wife (doctor) duo discussing weird medical history as well as topical items in a humorous and accessible way.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – the title is self explanatory. I particularly enjoyed the episode about the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

And that’s about it for now! I will likely revisit this in the future as I listen to more. And possibly at some point my sister and I will go on another trip where I will be exposed to other podcasts. If you have any other recommendations please leave me a comment and I’ll check it out!


Some of my favorite Whole30 meals I cooked in January

I’m currently on Day 11 of my fourth Whole30 and the last couple days I’ve been questioning my sanity. At this point, I generally know what foods are not my friends, but it’s still good to reorient, especially after a vacation in which there may or may not have been cake available practically 24/7.

***To be honest, it’s actually not that hard to stay healthy on a cruise. Yes, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. I don’t drink that much, so a few beverages over the course of a week (I think I bought four plus had some at the wedding reception) was really my main concession to ridiculous behavior. At our meals, I made the attempt to always have some sort of salad or veg, and often stuck with meats and potatoes and the like. I honestly don’t think I ate a single noodle!

Anyway, so after traveling through the Caribbean and having a (birthday) month of not eating so great, I knew that a summer Whole30 was in the cards in order to get myself back on track. I’ve found that doing these every six months or so has been very beneficial to my mental health because even though last weekend I wanted to eat ALLLLL the Pop Tarts, I generally have a sunnier disposition and am less crabby when I’m eating clean and healthy. Which – hmmm. 😉

So some of the things that I’ve learned while doing these include the following:

  • Milk and liquid dairy (sour cream, half&half, etc) are in generally not my friends. I seem to be able to eat cheese in general, in particular everyone’s favorite processed cheese, American… and cheddar. I don’t miss milk at all as I stopped drinking it years ago but I was definitely worried about cheese!
  • I do better when I eat low FODMAP as that seems to affect bloating and stomach pain. The things I’ve noticed that affect me are Brussels sprouts (*sob*), cauliflower when eating a lot of it (*sob* x 2) and a fair amount of fruit (no big deal, I don’t love fruit). I am still experimenting with this as there are a lot of items on the high FODMAP list that do not affect me such as beans, but definitely processed wheat products.
  • Bread and processed wheat products can be my enemy. Not all bread, but some. I find it gives me heartburn and sometimes contributes to stomach issues. I in general do not eat much bread in my day-to-day life and have not for some time, but I also have cut back on noodle products and am trying out various gluten-free noodles with mixed results. Gluten-free noodles are kind of lame. I don’t necessarily think I have a problem with gluten, I think it’s the processing and possibly the type of wheat we use here in the US, but since I have no immediate plans to go to Europe to test my hypothesis on the different strains of wheat, I shall continue to endeavor. 😛
  • Sugar… eesh. I generally don’t have a lot of it in the house but I do love chocolate and I especially love fruit gummy candies, and I SUPER heart So Delicious Cashew Milk ice cream. And coffee creamer. I have mostly been able to wean myself off sugary coffee creamer but I do love my sugary coffee beverages so much. :/
  • I absolutely ADORE munching on things like crackers and chips (inc. plantain chips) and this is a habit I need to try to break. I mean, it’s as simple as not buying these things but a salad is not a snack to me, nor is fruit. Crunchy things are! (I’ve never really been a nut person.) :/
  • Rice and corn have no effect on me and I shall continue to eat them if not with abandon, then with relish.

It’s good to know what affects me and what my weaknesses are. I am still working on my so-called “food freedom” and it will continue to be a work in progress. But I improve every day (hey, didn’t eat those Pop Tarts, right? …only because I couldn’t find them, tbh… still that’s a win!) so who knows where I’ll be in a year.


Ocho Rios, Jamaica

If there is anyone still reading this… Hello! I am still around. I mostly Instagram these days (find me @pynnm) but I’ve been missing the blog. You may have noticed that the theme has changed. I’ve been doing some back-end upgrades and it was time to update the look of the blog and ensure that it’s mobile-friendly, etc. (still working on that! some pictures are giving me fits).

The header picture is from a couple weeks ago when I was frolicking around the Caribbean on a cruise for an old friend’s wedding.

I’m hoping that by starting the blog back up (something I have always enjoyed) it will kick start my creativity which has been in a holding pattern as of late. I have not felt like knitting in a long time, and I haven’t been doing much beading aside from brick-stitch seed bead earrings. Obviously this lack of interest in my creative pursuits does not cause very interesting blog fodder. Mostly I have just been reading and taking pictures with my phone. I have switched almost totally over to an e-reader and have been loving it!

Anyway, hopefully this is the start of some more regular posting… I did not spend several hours wading through code and installing new plug-ins to ignore my site for another year (probably).