14 Podcasts You MUST Listen To

Podcasts are so popular and are definitely a saturated market now for good reason. Everyone from bloggers, to cooks, to stay at home moms, almost everybody has a podcast lately. We all love hearing advice and good topics of conversation to grow ourselves inside and out. I think anyone can learn a lot from podcasts

1) The Hustle Sanely podcast: I’ve been following Jess for several years and to be honest even though I love all these podcasts, I would suggest this one MORE than any other. If you haven’t checked her out yet or know of Hustle Sanely then you need to IMMEDIATELY! She talks all productivity and motivation and schedules, time management and prioritizing what is important while not losing yourself and the rest of your LIFE to hustle culture (schedules are tools not chains). Also her products are glorious and her programs and journals are beyond compare- just go find her where you listen to your podcasts (she does FREE coaching there- yes it’s incredible).

2) CRIME JUNKIE: If you are someone who likes true crime, documentaries or biographies of serial killers or true life crime shows- you should check out this podcast and it’s a great one to listen to while you’re doing chores or busy work. I have spent hours now paying attention to these two lovely gals and the catchphrases and shock and awe is so worth it! The follow ups and types of episodes are a wonderful variety too. I love this show!

3) Pretty Basic w/ Alisha and Remi: The best chatty podcast I’ve come across that feels like you’re talking to your best friends about popular news, celebrity gossip and the everyday lives and growth of these two boss babes in L.A.

4) Unsolicited Advice (Ashley and Taryne): Again just another chat with your best friends giving each other funny anecdotes about life and advice on the variety of situations. If you haven’t heard; go check it out now- I like too that their opinions differ and it’s not two people agreeing the whole time.

5) Stuff You Should Know: An educational podcast that ISN’T boring. I used to listen to this before school or in the mornings when I get ready. Two guys, Josh and Chuck take a deep dive into a wide variety of topics including pop culture, history, life, theories etc.

6) TED Talks Daily-It’s just what it sounds like- TED TALKS DAILY on any one specific topic explained by a professional in great detail. A.I to zoology everything to spark your mind and change your perspective and expand your opinions and worldview. It’s great car audio or while in the shower learning something you’d never expect to- pretty fantastic if you ask me! I give this one 5 stars!

7) Detail Therapy-From YouTuber Amy Landino- productivity, time management, relationships, career, loving yourself and more. Get a little therapy in a positive and lighthearted truthful way before going after the dreams you desire. Her podcast has also taken a slight back seat and has only a few episodes but ALL are still so relevant and useful so don’t write them off just yet! Also check out her book on routines and habits with Good Morning, Good Life.

8) Wild Til 9 (Lauren and Jeremy): Probably one of the most LOL, dirtiest, raunchy and hilarious topics and spews of a podcast ever! I give it 5 stars- it really does it for me… long episodes too which I can appreciate when I want to just listen to the background.

9) Soul Sugar w/ Carrie Rad: Soul Sugar is all about everything from lifestyle to culture to personal issues and lessons… it’s all in there. She started this podcast back in 2019 and her following I’m sure really enjoyed hearing more pure content from her. There are a few new ones from earlier this year but the value is in there for the topics covered is great. Go give it a listen!

10) Whine Down w/Jana Kramer: I personally love Jana! She’s funny, spunky and honest. She’s a talented artist, great mother and a great role model… she recently had a public divorce in the spotlight and now she’s finding what her real core truth is and raising her kids right. I adore her and would love to listen to more of her chatty self.

11) My Favorite Murder-Another huge hit in the murder and crime stories realm that I know for a fact has a huge following. This one unlike others is kept up with and currently uploading new episodes twice a week (Monday and Thursday). It’s all true crime and hometown stories that will knock your socks off! If you haven’t checked out an episode why not try one now?! Maybe not right before bed though….

12) The Ultimate Health Podcast: I have had this one saved in Spotify and no wonder when I go to look at episode titles because they all intrigue me. From basic healthy eating to mental health and sharing your own life story, everyone has something to dabble in and learn about.

13) Kalyns Coffee Talk: This podcast is in my top 5 ever too! She is a bit woo-woo, a bit free spirited, some real honest NO BS content chats and just she’s a soul sister. Somehow I think that translates in her podcasts she gets so deep into the topic, you will have major mindset shifts and it feels so good. She is chock full of great ideas and opinions and feels her own feelings and has totally no judgment which is a breath of fresh air when it comes to topics of all shapes and sizes.

14) COLD (true crime podcast): A true crime story I am excited to follow- not one I have gotten into yet but; it’s highly rated and well known. So give that a listen if you’re real into again- true crime and stories of dark things that really happen, sometimes.

I highly suggest that you maybe try these podcasts if they haven’t been on your radar yet. Just double task by listening to a podcast (when safe to) is a great practice to educate and entertain yourself as well. And if you have any favorites be sure to drop them in the comments below!

Master Closet Makeover: Before and After

In December, I suddenly realized how large and yet how very dysfunctional our closet was. The clothes were crammed in (decluttering hello), the hanging rods were really high so I had to stretch or knock the clothes down, the shelves were great to have but the whole thing wasn’t arranged very well. So instead of complaining- I decided to improve it.

Immediately I thought about IKEA’s closet systems that are fully customizable and work wonderfully; however I just wanted something that looked a bit more sophisticated. So I found out that Home Depot does flooring, kitchen and other projects among also organization and closets!

The first step was to have a “closet designer” come out to sit down with me and plan out and configure what would be most beneficial and useful in our every day lives. They also take the initial measurements and render the space in 3D with a laser. Which is the coolest part of the plans being in your email and in your hands on their work tablet. He was very helpful even as I changed my mind a few times with certain elements which wasn’t really a problem. It’s nice that you can see it all come together in real time with the build simulation of the room.

It took a few hours but it was pretty fun going through all the options, textures and colors of wood, knobs and more accessories which we didn’t really want or need to get. There was options for a tie hanger, valet hooks, pants & jeans hangers etc, a dressing station elements, lighting and much more. We did get a few cabinets and a few glass elements on the cabinet fronts as well as extra optional removable shelves. I didn’t see anything more that was worth paying for. The top three glass front cabinets were for displaying my purses in a stylish fashion and having them up and out of the way. We added a set of 12 drawers to replace the place for our underwear, socks, pjs, swimwear and my jeans. Sean also wanted his own tall cabinet for storage, so we added that in one corner. There was what I called the “problem” corner that I was going to keep for extra shelving and storage but in the end I wanted more hanging so that was converted again in the second measuring appointment. They do this with a more experienced technician so they can verify the measurements that were taken and double check the plans for any problems that maybe someone missed. The problem corner had an area that was too tight to use and so it made more sense to take out that extra hanging section behind the door that was going to be installed. (This will make sense when you see the blueprints/mock-up). The final piece was a tall hang corner for my long sweaters and mainly my wedding dress- anything that had a longer hemline. I put my tanks tops on a specific type of hanger there for everyday access when I want to wear a camisole under a shirt or sweater. It’s been a very useful spot to have certain things at a quick grasp.

Then of course because of C-19 then everything in materials for the actual installment was backordered. Our original date was January/February and it didn’t get done until April so…. I understood that it would take awhile. I was very excited!

We ended up having to adjust the measurement height of the upper rod because Sean’s clothes are taller than mine despite the original measurements. But everything fit and worked out for the best. We also switched a cabinet door and hinge direction, also one drawer was slightly damaged at the back corner (luckily not noticeable so I didn’t care). It took two days and they were so quick and nice explaining any tiny issue they ran into and swiftly discussed with me to solve it. They disassembled everything and took the debris with them as well as patching any small rough parts that may be seen- of which none were because of the backing.

Once it was completed and I was loading our clothes, I noticed how much space we had and how it was immediately more efficient. He could put all his shirts, muscle and workout tees, jackets, polos etc up on his racks and they would look just as nice but would not then be dragging on the lower shelf. With his regular everyday shirts they happen to fall into two categories: solids and graphic tees. Choosing a visually appealing and easy way to spot what he wants to wear: rainbow order or type i.e star wars, comics, movies, quotes. This has worked out well and he hasn’t needed to ask where anything is because A) it’s all hung up and easier to see and B) organized, so he knows now exactly where to look. Also the second benefit to extending the height is still having some upper storage on top for short items and seasonal items in collapsable totes.

Next, I decided where each section of my tops where going to go. As I hung them all back up, I began seeing a bunch more things that I could donate and get out of my closet. So many things that I forgot that I had and that upon looking at each piece again; I didn’t like. Three or four bags later and I’m so glad that I wasn’t shoving a bunch of unworn and discarded pieces back into my closet. My short sleeves tops got hung up in rainbow order again like Sean’s did. My long sleeves got hung up all together with over shirts I wear often and then thicker long sleeves like he lets and corduroy type button ups.

I folded my jeans and pants using the Marie Kondo method into the bottom three drawers. I made them fit vertically and sorted them by type. Ever since then I’ve found how much neater it keeps my pants in the drawer and more organized when I know where to find a certain pair. In the other drawers I folded in my swimsuits (of which I have a few new ones) that needed space in a drawer. I have a separate sock and intimates drawer, I laid these out nicely and tucked my socks together into the organizer I have. I have one extra drawer for workout underwear and sticky bras etc, miscellaneous pieces I don’t reach for often. My pajamas and sweats had to be spread out among a couple drawers but they all fit in the end. And the last couple drawers I put Seans’ underwear and socks in and organized them as best I could.

The best part of this closet redesign has been laundry loads have been so simple because now each item has a place and I don’t feel like I’m scrambling to find a hanger, get the step stool and figure out where in the closet it should go. Or how I can fit one more coat in the closet downstairs. Because I have less now and with a new closet it all just fits.

And with that it’s the season to declutter and donate whatever isn’t serving you. I recently read a book called “Decluttering at the Speed of Life” and I really resonated with much of the routines and philosophies of the book. Showing you step by step for one space or room at a time and how to declutter at your own pace; while remaining productive and diligent about getting things OUT of your home. There is a procedure or method she explains in the book, ways to declutter efficiently and to get the obvious trash out first, then by putting away the things that have homes and can be put away quickly, followed by the things that need to find a permanent home. I have always been great at the one in and one out rule but also forgetting what I have or what I even like. My other saving grace is seasonal closets, so I didn’t quite move all my winter clothes back into my master closet although I could I stashed the puffer vests, parkas and huge scarves in another closet to take back out in the fall when it gets cold, although I did already go through and minimize what I had.

Well anyway if you are thinking of decluttering or are thinking of doing a project like this one- I say go for it! This was a vast improvement on what we had before and has made my daily chores and laundry routines so much easier. I’m glad I can share this project with you and our experience using Home Depot and their closet installation department (*not sponsored*). I really enjoyed the whole process and we may likely hire them again in the future for another project where we could use their help.

Thanks for reading and bye for now!

2022 Goals: Progress Report (Quarter 2)

In 2022, my word is Inspire and I created a vision board to see my goals in front of me. This is a list of my categories in my life and the things I wanted to start working towards this year. Basically I will just be talking through my goals and how each one is going so far 4 months into the year.

This is my 2022 vision board that I made back in January when thinking about the themes I wanted to work on this year, I’ll explain each one in further detail now.

FRIENDSHIP: My aim was to be spending more intentional time with friends in person, checking in with those I don’t talk to every single day but still want to stay close with, conversation in my Voxer group nearly daily (participating in conversations and giving advice), making online friends in fb groups and on Instagram and finding commonalities among my hobbies and passions I follow in the online space. I feel like I’m doing a good job in this area; also I’ve been connecting with our neighbors more often which is nice. Since Covid started it really taught us what connection means to all of us and it can’t be ignored.

WATER INTAKE: I used to HATE water but I’ve been GREAT at drinking more water- mainly at night but here and there through the day. I’ve also switched from juice and soda to sparkling water and the HINT water (which I count in my intake). I’ve tried Bubly and Waterloo and didn’t care for those but of the others I’ve found I have a means of drinking more water and clear liquids that works well for me. I am now consistently drinking 1-4 bottles of water daily and for me that’s a WIN! Still no soda a month and a half in- so YAY!

WRITING HABIT: My main goal is to have dedicated writing time and if it’s not for the blog, then it’s for the book brainstorm and outline. My goal is 20 mins on my own but then also my power hour time is a full hour so I try to write more on those nights too. I often will just drop a few lines in when I’m watching a show or whatnot. It’s been a great way to get content written into my projects whether that be for a post or for the outline or on top of some other project. I have made progress with staying on top of writing posts for awhile between journaling, outlining for the book and planning other parts of the blog website.

READING HABIT: Every night I read for 30 mins in my current book or in a book or my choosing on my kindle paper-white/kindle app. I have been staying on track with my goal of 12 books in 12 months. I’m reading between months at this point so I’m like catching up to be 1st to 1st instead. I try to tackle a few chapters a night and highlight whatever important pieces or quotes jump out. I feel like I want to vary the style of books and pay more attention to reviews and ratings for an accurate read into the book before I start it and waste time on a book I somewhat end up disliking. I am finding that I am enjoying reading again and do it a lot more in my free time-which has been a aspiration of mine for years now.

LEARN A LANGUAGE (Italian and working on French still): I was practicing French in the beginning of the year- then I wanted to learn something more new to me; so I switched to Italian. I feel like my cultural background (3rd generation Italian) really helped, I picked up on it too. I need to dedicate actual chunk of time in my day to it so that can be a more focused habit through the week at least. I have been trying to review the last few days and get back to a routine here.

NUTRITION: I need to be better at eating breakfast-whether that’s a bowl of cereal or a bagel and PB. Something to get me going in the morning and get my energy up. I’ve been drinking ketones (from Pruvit), and I really like that it gives me a natural non chemical boost that I really need without the drop of an energy drink later on. Sean and I have been calorie counting and trying to stay within a certain limit by eating whole foods and paying more attention to labels and additional sugars to cut. We are eating more balanced meals with a smaller portions and equal amounts of protein and vegetables with a complex carb. Managing to have no takeout, no soda, healthier snack options and focus on three square meals and not snacking endlessly. We’ve been doing a good job of it and really want to stay on track.

WORKOUT/FITNESS: The one category I’m not doing so great on, I count the fact that I hardly every sit down and I’m always moving during the day with the dogs and doing house chores. But I am enjoying having the home gym and the option to do a workout in a variety of ways! I need to wear my Apple Watch more often to track my actual steps and movements as well- that’s a great tool I forget about often.

SELF CARE: This isn’t a hard category for me to take care of- but I’m finding new ways to treat myself and calm my mind etc. Like soundscapes in the morning before I do anything- nature sounds are the best! I follow more of a routine now in the mornings are pretty much the same. I take care of the dogs, get breakfast for Sean and I, journal and then shower and get dressed, maybe do a small chore or two. Then it’s better to start my day off on the right foot.

I feel like I’ve made more progress in the last few months than I have in the last few years! It’s a great feeling when you have made growth on your habits and goals. I hope this somehow helped you and encouraged you to check in with your goals as well, as we soon will be in the third quarter before we know it!
What are your big goals this year and what steps are you in the midst of taking now to get there? Leave me a comment down below!

Building Friendships with Intention

Before Covid, I had a few friends that lived close to me but things happened and I have been finding healthier relationships and eliminating the toxic ones. So this number dwindled however- I am blessed that I do have so so many great friends online. I count on them the same amount if not more than the people physically in my life. So it’s no different to me and I hope they know how important to me they are.

I always love when people check in with me or stay in constant contact; aside from busy lives I believe it’s very important to keep your community and friends near you and active in your life. I try my best to always check on my friends to see that they are happy and stable in daily life.

A kind thing to do to stay in touch is use some personalized or special picked out stationary and write a letter. I always mention what’s new, ask questions and hope that they write back and maybe it becomes a regular thing, which is so fun. You can also include cute things to share like stamps, stickers or vinyls. Anything thin enough to be placed in an envelope without extra postage. I love the idea of having pen pals- when I first started blogging this was a fun way to meet new people. And I am one that loves a hand lettered (script) address, so if you can do that or want to learn I know they would appreciate the simple beauty on the envelope.

Often times a face to face video chat is perfect between busy moments in your day and while the mask mandate is lifted right now yet it still being actively Covid and still being careful-so it feels nice to connect in this way.

ZOOM is what I use for a lot of live streams for ecourses and recorded videos from memberships etc. Pam and I use ZOOM for our planning powerhours while we visit and catch up on life. It’s a great place to work actively while having a meeting or long discussion with someone else or many people at a time.

We also have a “blogger group” I call it because at one time we were all bloggers and/or now entrepenuers and content managers. Voxer is a great app in which you can use for voice chats/walkie talkie mode, text chats and group messaging. Also having the option for many chats is a great benefit when you have many people in one space communicating. We also lead a book club here where we talk about the books we are reading as a group or ones we enjoy on our own. And we share great quotes and tips when it comes to that topic of the month.

Slack is geared for groups and different hashtags and rooms for different purposes. And with the slackbot’s auto and controlled responses- it can be a really fun place to talk and plan business or be a part of a club in here is easy too.

Facebook messaging is a fast speedy way to quickly catch up with friends if they are also on FB. The use of GIFS and emojis/avatars make conversing here more fun and entertaining. Also can be good for family convos if and when someone passes- I have saved convos that are preserved by not deleting or archiving them. This app is in combination with its own FB video chat which is also great in a pinch.

Texting can be a great resource to stay in touch with family and friends and acquaintances who may not live near you. It’s almost just as instant and enriching when you don’t have a limit on time or space (per say) unless your phone is in limited space. I love having full on conversations via texting. I’m not much of a telephone call person (I think I have some anxiety around that) and well I think the point gets across the same. I believe you have to be more careful with time and attitude in text but for the most part- it’s my desired communication style.

Marco Polo is an instant walkie-talkie video clip chat app. I like this if I want to see someone face to face but want a different app for it. It’s also just dependent on what apps people are on and use.

Snapchat, I mainly use with certain people for daily updates or for those who do use Snapchat to a wider audience. I really enjoy taking selfies here and using their filters and in the moment ree

Maybe this helped someone or reminded you of a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in awhile. Just take a minute or five, and call, text or video message them- heck write a letter to an elder, that can be a fun thing to do and share in those memories forever. Staying in touch with each other as we continue to live through a endemic era is a very important thing because if not we become hermits and claustrophobic and society as a whole cannot function that way. It is crucial to connect and share our lives with others to make us whole to and continue to inspire and drive the human experience.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Hi! I'm Nora

I’m a stay-at-home wife & dog-mom. I began this blog ten years ago,  I couldn’t ignore that I felt a calling to help people find comfort, a sense of belonging or a place of community whenever they really needed it. » Read more about me here on my About page!

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