Nancy Benard

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Episode #89: Book Report

Book report time! In this episode, we are each sharing three books we’ve read recently as well as some Instagram accounts we are enjoying following.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Big thanks to our sponsors this week! Be sure to check out the offers from Agility, Bev, Modern Fertility and Magic Spoon! And if you’re ever looking for a sponsor code, you can find them all on this page.

Show Notes:

The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Naturally Tan by Tan France

The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins

Separated: Inside An American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff

The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

On our upcoming reading list: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and Atomic Habits by James Clear.

We also mention Ryan O’Neal’s podcast episode (Episode #62: Enneagram 101), Families Belong Together, Hillary Clinton’s podcast, You And Me Both, and Open Book By Jessica Simpson.

Celebrity Memoirs suggested by Elsie’s IG followers … Rob Lowe, Holly Madison, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Tori Spelling, Colin Jost, Miley Cyrus, Drew Barrymore, Trevor Noah, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sally Field, JVN, Anjelica Huston, Goldie Hawn, Priscilla Presley, Shonda Rhimes, Julie Andrews (apparently there are two?), Lily Allen, Michelle Obama, Mindy Kaling, Debbie Harry.

Instagram Accounts we’re loving:
@KJP + @SarahKJP

Give us a call at our new HOTLINE! The number is 417-893-0011.

Have a wonderful week!

Episode 89 Transcript


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Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week, we are sharing some of our favorite books we’ve listened to lately, and it is a pretty fun variety. Plus, we’re sharing some of our favorite accounts to follow on Instagram. So we’ve done episodes like this in the past where basically we just share like what books we’ve been listening to and I say listening to because I tend to listen to nonfiction and I tend to read fiction. And I kind of think of it very similar to listening to podcasts. Like I’m kind of always listening to a podcast or an audio book most of the time.

Elsie: Yeah. I only listen to books. It’s been a while. I haven’t read a book. Definitely not in 2020. It’s been a while since I read a book that wasn’t an audio book. I love the audio books.

Emma: Yeah, it’s especially fun if you’re listening to something a little bit fun and it’s the author reading it like we talked about the Jessica Simpson book a while back. Open Book.

Elsie: Yes.

Emma: And she reads it. And that kind of thing is really fun. I know Elsie has one of those on her list, so I’ll let her share that.

Elsie: Celebrity memoir! I knew we couldn’t get through this episode without talking about Jessica Simpson, but I didn’t think we would…(laughs)

Emma: It’d be right up top. Oh, yeah!

Elsie: It’s okay.

Emma: That book was awesome. All right. Well, my first one is one that I did actually read, although it’s been a little while and I read it very slowly over the course of like a year because it was with my women’s book club, which I call girls group.

Elsie: Just to clarify though, it’s still reading, if you listen to it, right? Like it still counts, right?

Emma: Yeah. I don’t know why it wouldn’t, but I just wanted to say, like, why I’m saying what books we’ve listened to lately. Because someone might be like, what do you talking about, you know, and I’m like, hello, audiobooks. But you know, a lot of people just, you know, you hear book and you don’t think immediately like, listen.

Elsie: I love the audiobooks.

Emma: Mmhmm. Reading’s great too. Whatever you want to do, you do you this is just what we’re doing. Anyway, my first book is what I consider like a great foundation if you want to learn about Enneagram, it’s called The Road Back to You. So the book is formatted where it goes through each of the nine different Enneagram types and kind of gives you like an overview and then kind of dives deep into childhood wounds. Or if you’re married to someone who has this type, you know how to love them better. Or if you work with someone who has this type, maybe how to communicate with them better in the workplace, things like that. And I loved it. And it’s really easy to read like it was a really…like I said, I read it over the course of kind of a long period of time only because I was doing it with a group of friends. But you could read it really very quickly if you felt like it. And it’s a great way to learn about Enneagram. If all your friends are always talking about Enneagram and you’re like, I don’t know what this is, and I’m kind of sick of not being in the conversation, that this might be…(laughs)

Elsie: I’ve heard it’s a really good book. I haven’t read it.

Emma: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. I think it really helped me too to understand because I felt like I understood my type pretty well, which is nine. But it helped me to understand some of the other types a lot more. And I’ve said this before, but I view Enneagram as a tool for empathy and for understanding others and for self growth. So it really did all of those things for me. So I love it. I highly recommend.

Elsie: I definitely want to add that to my list. I don’t know why I haven’t ever read an Enneagram book. It’s kind of weird, huh?

Emma: Well, there’s Ryan’s podcast and his song series, so I mean, that’s pretty great, too, if you haven’t listened to that. I would listen to that too.

Elsie: We’ll link the podcast. And obviously, we will link all of the books that were mentioning in the show notes today, abeautifulmess.com/podcast. OK, so my first book is Naturally Tan by Tan France and I was not like very familiar with him before I started this. So I only have watched like one episode of Queer Eye ever. So I am not like a super fan. It’s not that I didn’t want to watch it, like I guess I didn’t because I didn’t, but I don’t know. I just never did. So I felt like I kind of was like missing out on, like, the Fab Five, like I just didn’t like… Although we did meet Bobby one time at a party, remember that was cool.

Emma: Yes, that was really cool.

Elsie: And he was sweet. So anyways, OK, so Tan obviously is like so cute and I fell in love with him because I heard him on Hillary Clinton’s podcast and he was being interviewed and one of her questions was like, why did you choose to move to Utah? And he described it as like going to a Chili’s restaurant and feeling like everyone was interested in him and kind and like he just kind of like felt like this, like feeling he had never felt in any other place before. And I had the same experience when I first went to Salt Lake City. There’s some…it’s magical anyways. So Tan lives in Salt Lake and anyway, he wrote this book, Naturally Tan, it is a story, it’s a collection of stories from his life. It is hilarious, really, really sweet. I cried and screamed out loud during the first date at Olive Garden chapter.

Emma: Yes. Yes!

Elsie: And I was like at the park. So I screamed out loud in public unknowingly. So it was that good. There’s so many good stories. He does a whole section about his business partnership with Rachel Parcell, which was amazing. I loved it and his modest swimsuit company, which is one of his first business ventures, loved all of it. So it was just a great little kind of escape from reality. That’s why I like celebrity memoirs, because they feel like they’re a good escape from reality. And usually they have a really quick, like, sort of like rise to the top where it’s like your life as a normal person and then your life as a celebrity. And both parts of that is included in the book almost always. And I love that part. It’s just interesting and the stories are funny. So anyway, I highly recommend it if you’re interested.

Emma: I agree.

Elsie: Also has an adorable British accent and he reads his own book, of course. So, wonderful.

Emma: Yes. I listen to it after you recommended it to me because it just sounded so good. And two of my favorite parts, I mean, the whole thing’s really, really good and same — I like cried, screamed at his first date with his husband. And it’s just there’s so many sweet parts to the book. But I also really loved…he kind of describes like his younger years, I guess he was in his twenties. Oh, I don’t know if you can hear my dog, but he’s barking.

Elsie: He’s Saying hi!

Emma: Yeah, he’s saying hi to everyone. Sorry. Anyway, so he kind of describes life in his twenties and kind of how like he didn’t really like going out. He didn’t really like going to clubs or like staying up super late or like drinking culture and how that, you know, made it kind of difficult, like socially at that age and maybe also as kind of a gay man. I don’t know if he explicitly said it that way, but anyway, I kind of identify with that. I’ve never loved going out.

Elsie: Emma like will straight up leave, like in the middle of…

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: …hanging out at a bar. She’ll just be like “bye”!

Emma: Yeah. And I’ve always been that way, even college, like I’ve just never been a super late night person. So anyway, I really identify with that. And then I also loved he talked a lot about what it was like or what it is like to be a brown person at airports after 9/11.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: And I, you know, am aware. But as a white lady, I definitely felt like I learned a lot and really appreciated him telling his perspective and his experiences with that. I thought it was very eye-opening and I just really appreciated him sharing that. So that was a really I really liked that part of the book, too. I really appreciated it.

Elsie: Yeah. It definitely shares about his experiences with racism, both in his childhood and as an adult in the US. It’s definitely, I would say of all the celebrity memoirs I read over the past year, which was a lot, it was probably like my number one.

Emma: Yeah. Is was really good. That was even one of Elsie books and I still had to talk about it for like ten minutes there. (laughs)

Elsie: That’s okay, we did have a little teeny little fight about who was going to put Naturally Tan on their outline.

Emma: And you can see that neither of us want to be both talked about it! (laughs) It was so good! OK, anyway, next book. So this one is we’ve mentioned this on the last couple of podcasts I think. It is a financial book. You know how much we love Ramit, and he’s been on the podcast a couple of times, but this was one that he kind of recommends. So a little bit different. It’s called The Simple Path to Wealth. And just to give an overview of what it is, it’s basically — he’s like giving advice to his daughter. And the advice is like…

Elsie: I love that.

Emma: Yeah, I love that perspective. And it’s kind of as if, like, look, I know you don’t want to be a financial adviser or a financial planner like me. You just want to, you know, live your life and have your career, but then invest your money well, so here’s what you should do. This is just the simple…here it is. And that’s kind of the premise of the book, I would say, which I really appreciated, because I think it can be so overwhelming when you read financial books or when you’re trying to first learn about, like, how to invest. If you didn’t grow up learning even just the terminology, all of it can feel really intimidating. And so I love the perspective that it’s just like a father trying to teach his daughter and he’s like, I know you don’t really want to hear all of the ins and outs and you don’t want this to be a whole thing in your life. You just want to invest your money. Well, here’s what you should do. And that’s the premise.

Elsie: I definitely thought this was the most detailed out of the financial books I read as far as like understanding investing and understanding why they are recommending the Vanguard accounts specifically and he even recommends which one. So I found it very helpful. And if you’re someone who’s just, like, on the verge of that where you’re like, I’ve been meaning to do that. This is a really good book for kind of like getting yourself motivated.

Emma: Yes. It would also be a great one to read with a partner if you are going to be, if your money is jointly combined. I would highly recommend trying to get your partner on board and reading it with them, really any financial book, but especially this one because it is so specific and tells you like very step by step what to do. So yeah, it’s a good one.

Elsie: Yeah, I loved that book. My next book is Separated by Jacob Soboroff and this is a book about the mass separations that were happening during the Trump era. And it doesn’t just go into the Trump era, though. It definitely talks about how immigration policies under lots of different recent presidents have kind of been problematic and could be improved. And I’ll tell you all the reasons why I loved the book. So first of all, when the child separation crisis was first happening, there was — it was very hard to find information about, like how many children? Where are they? What’s happening to them? Like how many children are being reunited? Like the information has rolled out so slowly and it’s always lagging behind. And I never understood why one of the major or main charities that we support is Families Belong Together. So I definitely recommend Families Belong Together as a way to stay updated. They also send emails and I find it very helpful and something that I want to stay connected with. But anyway, Jacob is a reporter for MSNBC. So he was getting to like go into facilities and he was one of the main people reporting about it at the time. So he kind of tells the story from his own perspective of how he found out there was a lot of lags in information even for him. It’s a long, very sad story, but there’s a lot of hopeful things about it, too. He follows one man and his son’s story through the whole book. And then at the end of the book, they like request to be the first person or the first people to read it. And it’s really, really wonderful. And they did get reunited. And I’m sure, as most people know, this is still an ongoing crisis that’s still going on. So for me, I just really wanted to understand it to start with, like the history of it. Why is it happening? You hear people constantly oversimplifying it and saying like it’s this person’s fault. It’s just person’s fault. It’s for this reason, like, you know, you’re stupid, like, you know, just like I got, like, the meanest DMs of my life when I posted about child separation. And I resist oversimplification at all cos that’s what I say. So I enjoyed reading this because I at least got to understand some of the history and some of the facts. And then I feel like I have a better scope of information moving forward because this will always — immigration will probably always be a problem in our country that’s ongoing. And I think…it just felt really good to get like a basic, you know, start of an education on it. So I definitely recommend it. Now, I understand how complex it is and I understand also why it’s hard to get information, because there’s different government agencies that don’t exactly work well together, that are reporting in different ways, at different speeds and different levels of transparency. So anyway, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it because it was horribly sad, but I’m really glad I read it. And if you’re on Twitter, I am like not on Twitter, but if I was on Twitter, I would mainly be on there to follow Jacob Soboroff for sure, because I heard from Jeremy, Jeremy likes Twitter, that he still like gives updates all the time. So, you know, he wrote this book. It’s like a passion in his life now. So I would definitely recommend following him. If that is an issue that you follow, that you want to learn more about.

Emma: Sounds very heavy, but sounds definitely worthwhile. And it’s, I think, always worthwhile to educate yourself about something complex and not, as you put it, like reduce it down or just make it solely political. I find that so annoying.

Elsie: There were so many little things I learned like stories about, you know, people crossing the border for what reasons? With what family members, sometimes part of the family are citizens and part of the family isn’t. There’s just like lots of complicated situations. It also talks a lot about like drugs coming into the US. If that’s something you’re interested in learning about, how and when and why…when these immigration laws really help with that and when they don’t when they’re more targeted towards, like, hurting families and when they’re more effective on drug problems.

Emma: Keeping drugs out.

Elsie: So anyway, very good book, but very sad.

Emma: Yeah, I can see that. And now we’re going to take a short break and hear a word from our sponsor.

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Emma: Ok, my next book is not sad. We’ve talked about it in other episodes and it’s more about goal setting. It’s called The 12 Week Year. And if you’re like Emma, it is headed towards the middle of the year. Why are you talking about goal setting? Well, this isn’t about New Year’s resolutions. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s, you know, as the title suggests, more about setting goals every twelve weeks, every quarter, every three months, however you want to look at it. And what I love about it is it’s it gives you a lot of ideas and tips about momentum, about not procrastinating, about not setting goals that are so big that it would take a year, and sometimes that can kind of discourage us or we can get off track because it’s just too much. It’s like biting off more than you can chew. So it’s about making goals that are a little bit more manageable and having a finish line that you can kind of see in the not so distant future. And I think in that way, you’re probably more likely to cross it and then you can start the next 12 week, you know, marathon.

Elsie: I loved that part of it. Just the idea that you get a fresh start every quarter instead of every year and that like New Years Day comes, you know, four times instead of one. I think that’s great. And then also, if you fail, I did my first 12 week year starting in January. So it’s already ended. And I do kind of feel like I failed at the goal that I set. But I can start again now instead of waiting. So I love that part of it too. Sorry for interrupting! (laughs) I really liked this book also.

Emma: Now, as you could tell, we’ve done a lot of the same books this year, which, you know, we just tell each other about the books are reading.

Elsie: Yeah. We talk about the books we’re reading kind of a lot. And this one is a banger. Can I say one thing about it? One more thing? (laughs)

Emma: Yeah! I mean I tried to like take over your Naturally, Tan so…(laughs)

Elsie: So Twelve Week Year…it’s kind of a little bit of an old man book. So this is what — I was just telling Keely about it and I kind of want to give like this like tiny little disclaimer that like it’s definitely like not very woke. And most of his examples about like your 12 week goal are a lot of examples about like weight loss. (laughs) Which is like obviously not the only kind of goal you can have and not the kind of goal that, like, we’re really like promoting or talking about. But it’s just the way the book is. So if you go into that knowing that and you are able to kind of overlook it, the rest of the book is brilliant and so useful and so helpful. Just like try not to let that bug you. He wasn’t very creative about his examples. (laughs).

Emma: Yeah, I feel like working out and eating goals like weight loss goals are just like the default way to explain something because it’s so straightforward or I don’t even know if it’s straightforward. That’s not true. It’s so…

Elsie: It’s cliche!

Emma: …common? It’s cliche. Yeah, it’s cliche. So, yeah, I think you can kind of move past that point. I listen to a lot of what did you call it, old man books? That’s kind of like a brand for me, I guess. (laughs) I don’t know.(laughs) But yeah, sometimes you have to overlook certain things. But it still it’s great advice.

Elsie: Right.

Emma: It doesn’t have to be perfect to have good advice. But yeah it would be better if he was a little more creative.

Elsie: There’s so many things in life that are a little bit outdated. Yes. If you can overlook that. I thought it was like one of the best goal-setting books I’ve ever read, though for sure. I recommend it to people, I would say every week we’re like a little bit evangelical about it.

Emma: Yeah, we’ve mentioned it a bunch of times. I was like, should I even put this on here? Because I feel like we’ve already talked about it too many times. Probably…

Elsie: We have. (laughs)

Emma: …but there you have it.

Elsie: Ok, so my third book is called The New Jim Crow, and it is by Michelle Alexander. One thing that’s unique about this book is that it was actually written before President Obama was even president. And when I was reading it, I was reading the ten year anniversary edition, which I don’t even know when that happened. But it has like updates that are about like, oh, my God, President Obama. That’s definitely not how she said it. (laughs) But it was like, so you think everything’s changed and everything’s perfect now? It’s not, basically. And anyway, my friend Kate read this book and I heard her mention a few specific things from it that kind of stuck with me. So I went back and I listened to it. And the book is…it’s about racism, but it’s much more specific than that. It’s specifically about mass incarceration and how the prison system and the law enforcement system can be racist. So I learned a ton and I will be like just brutally honest. I didn’t know hardly anything going into this book. Actually last fall during voting season on Hillary’s podcast, which I’ve mentioned twice now. (laughs) So obviously a fan! John Legend was a guest and he…one of his advocacy things is voting rights for formerly incarcerated people. And when I heard his interview, I remember I was driving home from Missouri from visiting you Emma. So I was all by myself through like the fields of Illinois, you know,(laughs) with all the Trump signs. And I was listening to this episode and I did not know that people who had been incarcerated but had served their time and been out of prison for sometimes ten or 20 years still can’t vote. Like that was brand new information to me. And basically, everything in this book was brand new information to me. So I would highly recommend it. If you want to learn just, you know, basic information about how our prison system works, why it has systemic racism problems, how it’s changed over the years, like there’s information and sort of like history lessons about every president, like every recent president, not every president, but probably like five or six different presidents. I learned so much. It was interesting learning about voting rights. And then I learned a ton about why it can ruin your life to be labeled a felon for a minor drug crime for the rest of your life. And it…it’s so sad, so serious. And I would say it changed my life forever. And I want to be a part of advocating for reform in our prison system now moving forward. So it’s heartbreaking and it’s really, really heavy. But it is a great book if you want to learn more about how our prison system can be really, really unjust.

Emma: Yeah, this one’s definitely like, since you’ve been telling me a little bit about it, I have it on my list of like something I definitely want to learn about more because I’m a fan of true crime, which there’s lots of different parts of that. You know, if you like that kind of genre with podcasts or documentaries or whatever. But one thing that it’s exposed me to over the years is learning more about the criminal justice system here in the United States, which I still by no means know very much about. But it’s very interesting because it’s not something that I grew up really having much interaction with or really understanding at all. And there are a lot of things about it that are very surprising that you realize, like, I don’t agree with this at all, you know, like this surely this could be better, you know, and it’s just. Yeah, an area that I’m interested to learn more and educate myself on more. So, yeah, it sounds like a very good book.

Elsie: Yeah. For someone to not have voting rights after they’ve served their time is like, I can’t still, like, hardly believe that it’s real. So it’s shocking in the most horrible way. And there’s so many shocking things. And it also kind of gave me a perspective of how it’s different in different parts of the world, because, you know, I think one of the shortcomings of our education system as Americans is that we don’t learn as much about other countries. And at least I’ll speak for myself and say that I grew up with very, very limited understanding of how other governments and other countries work. I grew up with like a good amount of bias, a low amount of information. And when you learn that some other countries don’t even have any prisons, like, that’s shocking information to me. I didn’t know that. So the whole book really I, I feel very self-conscious talking about it because I know I’m gonna say something like stupid, but honestly, like I’m coming from a place of low information and it taught me a lot. And I feel like if you’re coming from a place of low information, also don’t use that as an excuse to stay in that place, like try to improve yourself and learn something, you know, and we can all keep learning. Like, it’s not really our fault that we didn’t get taught this growing up. But we can teach our selves now.

Emma: Yeah, you got to start somewhere. And, you know, I’m sure I’ll be learning… I’m going to be low information until the day I die in certain areas. You’ve got to keep going, keep learning. Can’t let that stop you.

Elsie: It’s true that you that I talk about in my therapy a lot and like, really my life goal. Like if I have to have one life goal, it’s that I’ll stay interested and curious till I die. And I think that if you’re able to do that, you know, and open to changing, open to being wrong, I think we should all be trying to do that. And I think that it would it would help a lot.

Emma: Yes. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves, is when people are like, oh, this politician changed their mind on something or…

Elsie: Oh, my God, I know! It’s so annoying!

Emma: Or this person I follow changed their mind on something. I’m like, yeah, that seems like the most human and healthy thing one can do when you learn new information is to change. So I hope I’m always changing.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: Forever until I die. But anyway, anyway, that’s besides the point. So OK, what is next on your reading list.

Elsie: Ok, so I have several things. I just kind of glanced in what is waiting in my Audible for me before we recorded, so I’ve barely, barely started this. But I’m excited. I’m going to listen to the audio version of The Artist’s Way. It was definitely recorded to tape. It has lots of instrumentation, as you like, with the flutes and, you know, the like the cheesy… it’s like bad in a good way. So bad, it’s good. That’s how it put it.

Emma: I love it.

Elsie: The Artist’s Way is a classic. I think that every creative person can benefit from it. I could tell like right away I’m like in chapter one or so. I could tell right away it was going to be amazing. But I was like finishing up a couple of other books and I have a bad habit of reading more than one book at a time.

Emma: I do that too.

Elsie: I like to go between my heavy book and my celebrity memoirs. You guys know. So anyway, I am very excited to try this one. I think it’s going to be a banger in a weird way and it’s a lot of exercises. The next antiracist book I’m reading is Stamped from the Beginning, so I’m excited to read that it’s really long. I heard that it’s a little intimidatingly long, so I am intimidated, but I’m excited to read it and then I would really love suggestions if anyone has a money book, you think I would enjoy anything but Dave Ramsey and I’m open to it and interested. So send it send it my way in the show notes our comments will be open. If there’s one that you’ve loved. What’s on your reading list?

Emma: Yeah, well, also on the note, really, any books like nonfiction that you want to leave us in the comments please do because i love having a long list.

Elsie: Oh my gosh that’s true. Can I say something real quick?

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: Last month on Instagram, I asked for celebrity memoir suggestions and I got so many. I will actually find my celebrity memoir list and I’ll put it in the show notes of the suggestions that people gave, obviously, like a lot of people were suggesting, like the new Matthew McConaughey and the new Collin Jost and just like things like that. Right, right. Right. But there was also like some weird ones that I wasn’t expecting that sounded kind of exciting.

Emma: Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah. Because I do think celebrity memoir is it’s like one category that I love. Like when you get a good one, it’s so good. But then there can be ones that are like, that was really a waste of my time.

Elsie: Really?! I’ve never had a bad one yet.

Emma: Sometimes it’s just kind of…I’m not going to say like which ones that I’ve read, but just it feels like they maybe didn’t even write it, like it’s just a little bit generic like, yeah, yeah, anyway, I only have one thing next on my reading list, so you’ll have to go to the show notes to see Elsie’s long celebrity memoir list and then leave us comments of some other ones. But next up in my Audible is Atomic Habits, which is something I’ve wanted to listen to for a while. I always want to like when I look at the title, I always want to call it Automatic Habits, which is not the title. It’s Atomic Habits. (laughs) But as far as I know and I have not listened to it yet, so I don’t know really. But what attracted me to it was it sounded like it’s going to kind of be a little bit about making small changes that can have huge impacts. And that’s something I’m always interested in because I kind of feel like think that’s where it’s at. You know, like anytime someone’s like “you need to change your entire life”. I’m like, nah, like, that’s just not realistic. (laughs) And like, that’s you know…

Elsie: Hard pass! (laughs)

Emma: …your advice isn’t going to work for me. But if it’s like, hey, here’s some small tweaks that can make a huge difference, I’m like, “I’m very interested. I’m taking my notes right now. Let me know what you got for me”. So I think that’s what it’s gonna be.

Elsie: I like the small tweaks too, if they’re like start every day, wake up and have a cold shower, I’m like, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop! (laughs) All right, let’s just take a quick sponsor break.

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Elsie: Oh we wanted to share. OK, so for the end of this we want to share some of our favorite Instagram accounts to follow. This is something we’ve never done before. I’m excited to talk about these because I have definitely like branched out a little bit on who I’ve been following. And there’s been a few accounts that have really been helpful. OK, so the first one is @sharonsaysso I know Emma also follows Sharon. Do you love it?

Emma: I love it so much. Basically, that’s all the news I get. (laughs)

Elsie: @sharonsaysso she is a former government teacher and she teaches adults about the government and about lawmaking. She also does like recaps of news and she does it in, I wouldn’t say bi partisan way, but in a like no partisan way. Like she tries to make her space friendly for people from all political spectrums, which I think is really different from a lot of things I’m seeing around. And it feels to me really good because. As much as I am very liberal, I would say on the spectrum, I’m probably like very liberal, but I still want to learn and hear from other people and at least understand why they believe how they believe. And even when it’s different for me, even when we totally disagree, it’s just better to understand than to not understand. Right?

Emma: Yes. And just like facts, I just sometimes want facts. Please don’t tell me what you think of the facts. I just want to know exactly just the numbers of what happened or whatever. So, yeah.

Elsie: I’ll tell you a little bit about why her account’s like so it’s mostly stories. It’s definitely story based. She doesn’t post on her feet that much. Every day she does a Q&A, so she answers questions. And I agree with Emma. She’s very factual. Like a lot of times she’ll just put no or just yes. And that’s the whole answer. Or she’ll explain it in a way that’s clearly not trying to tell you how she feels about it or how you should feel about it. It’s just what happened, which is refreshing, especially if you’re someone who follows and consumes a lot of news. Like that’s not common at all. It’s actually like pretty hard to find.

Emma: Well, she’s just never condescending to like any question that I see her answer, which I think is really great, because I find that to be a turnoff. Even if I agree with someone’s point of view. I just don’t like it when you kind of talk down to someone. It’s just like, yuck. Anyway…

Elsie: And like I think that her account probably attracts people who are at least somewhat moderate the most. But it definitely you can tell she has followers who are very liberal and very conservative. You can tell by the questions there’s even like Q Anon type of people in her follower group. You can just tell by the questions. That’s all I’ll say it’s so interesting. I learn something new every day. I’m taking two of her classes. Right now I’m taking her abortion class, and next I’m taking her gun law class so I can’t recommend her enough. I feel like I stumbled onto something that’s really different. It’s not an account I would normally follow because the story count every day is overwhelming. Like it’s so many stories. I can’t always consume them all every day. And I take a lot of Instagram breaks. I know a lot of you do. That’s fine. But whenever I’m on there, I always feel like I’m learning something from her account. And that is a big priority in my life right now. More than being right. More than, you know, like I want to, like, express my own beliefs. But I also want to understand why our country so divided. And like I’ve heard liberal people in the past, like explain the conservative viewpoint in a way that I thought was like missing the whole point. So, like, I don’t want to be one of those people who misses the whole point, like, I want to at least understand. So, yeah, I feel like it’s made me more open minded and she’s encouraging people to really listen. And I think that’s really valuable.

Emma: She also does a lot. We’ll move on to other ones, I promise. But she also does do a lot with our RIP Medical Debt and just talking about medical debt and helping people who are going through the crushing weight of that or bankruptcy because of that. And I started giving monthly to it just from seeing her talking about it and the impact that she has with her audience on that cause. And I think it’s a really, really cool thing. And it’s something that I wasn’t super aware of before and I’m still learning about. But anyway, I thought I’d mention because she does that a lot and it’s really cool.

Elsie: She does charitable initiatives, I would say, like every week or every couple of weeks. So that is also really exciting and encouraging. It just feels like a version of, like good news or like positive news. Like it’s bringing something like I’m learning information and you’re helping someone. There’s really no downside. Opening up our minds a little bit, because even if we don’t think we are, we’re all living in some kind of a political bubble.

Emma: Yep, true. OK, well, my first one is @kinggutterbaby which her name is Laurel. And this is just how I get my COVID news, my vaccine news, yeah. She has a medical background. She answers, she does kind of similar where it’s like she does lots of stories.

Elsie: She’s an infectious disease researcher. That’s her title.

Emma: Yes. Yes. And a lot of Q&A’s and her stories. And yeah, I just have learned a lot from it and it’s very digestible. And she’s also very just like giving you the facts, which is nice because I think that’s really all I want is just like quick facts. So don’t need anything else.

Elsie: Yeah, she’s definitely like one part comedian too. She’s really funny.

Emma: She is funny and really, really pretty and cute too which I…maybe you shouldn’t comment on the way people look, but I do think she’s very beautiful, so… (laughs)

Elsie: Adorable.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: Ok, well I put Ramit. I don’t know why it was like love Ramit, you know, but. I think this is why is because whenever I first like I read Ramit’s book and I was like, I kind of want to follow him on Instagram, but I like, looked at him Instagram and was like, oh, it’s so ugly. Like, you know, like for those of us who follow aesthetic Instagrams and, you know, we like the pretty pictures and like, you know.

Emma: Right.

Elsie: Everything’s matching and everything’s in our color scheme, like Ramit’s color scheme is yellow and black. And his stories, like it’s not for me and I know that. But a year later, I probably am following him more than a year now. I will say it’s one of my favorite Instagrams because I always learn something like, are you seeing a trend? I’m just loving, like the opportunity to learn something from a different perspective. And his information is also very digestible. He does a lot of like commenting back and forth with people and answering questions.

Emma: He like trolls people. He straight up, like trolls, his trolls. And it’s hilarious.

Elsie: He did do some, he did do some Bitcoin stories on April Fool’s Day, which was my favorite April Fool’s joke of the year. So anyway, he is a great person to follow. I just I don’t know. I just love learning. And it feels like he’s always got something fresh to serve you every day. So it’s nice.

Emma: Ok, my next one is pretty random, but she’s rad and it’s kind of newer to me. I learned about this account from my lash gal, Abby. Her name is Bonnie Rodriguez and her handle we’ll put these in the show notes, but her handle is @bonnierzm. Anyway, her whole account is how to be photogenic.

Emma: Woah!

Elsie: She’s a beautiful, beautiful woman but it’s all just tips like ways to pose, ways to pose with your partner, like just different little things like that. And as someone who…I just like…it’s not that I even in that many photos or I’m looking to do more photos of myself online, I’m actually not. I just like watching her. I don’t know, just just do her thing and she does a really, really great job with it. So, yeah.

Elsie: That’s cool! I’ve never seen her account, so I’m going to check that out. OK, so my last two, I said there were like not the most aesthetic Instagrams, it was more about learning. This is the most aesthetic Instagram, OK? And so we’re going to go from zero to a ten and that’s @kjp. Also, you can follow his wife, @sarahkjp and their accounts are very similar because their photos style, I believe, is one in the same. So it’s just idyllic. It’s like, it’s October. You like pumpkins? How about three hundred pumpkins? It’s Christmas time. You like little forts with Christmas lights. How about we’ve transformed this whole barn into a fort with Christmas lights? Like it’s just it’s over the top beautiful.

Emma: It’s very over the top.

Elsie: It’s like, yeah, it’s definitely the most over the top account I follow. And I, I’m a pretty big fan. Like I have a bunch of his sweaters. He has like a sweater brand and I got some from Jeremy also like it’s like, you know, J.Crew adjacent looking stuff.

Emma: Yes.

Elsie: And but you know, what I really like about it honestly, is that in a world of influencers like I love following influencers, I probably follow the like I don’t know, like more than five hundred people. And I love everyone and everyone’s great. But KJP is being himself like he like goes on his own path, you know, and his editing is crazy. His photo ideas are crazy. Everything. It’s like he commits to everything at an eleven and I just like love him. So I give respect to KJP. I feel like he if if there’s a king and queen of influencers, it’s he and Sarah.

Emma: Yes, I agree. Yes. It does feel very original. Yeah. Like he’s doing his thing.

Elsie: Like don’t you feel like a lot of people do the same types of things but not him?

Emma: No it’s, it’s a whole other level and it is, it’s, it’s an eleven out of ten.

Elsie: You will never be able to like catch up with him because he built an ice skating rink in his backyard, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just yeah, it’s on another planet. And I think it’s what like in probably in the way that some people love the Kardashians. That’s how I love KJP. That’s how and why he’s like the Kardashian of Halloween.

Emma: Yeah, actually, that really works for me, you’re right. OK, um, my last one is someone kind of new to me. I started following her after @amberfillerup mentioned her, which she does, Barefoot Blonde. This account is a workout account. So if you are not interested in seeing little like home workouts or gym workouts, then this is not for you. But her name is Whitney Simmons and it’s @whitneyysimmons is the handle and I’m basically eight months pregnant. So why am I looking at workout videos? I don’t really know. I could really tell you. I have like certain like pregnant lady yoga, pregnant lady pilates that I do at home. But I kind of just like learning little workouts you can do at home. I haven’t been to the gym in a long time and I’m kind of liking working out at home. Maybe I’ll go back to the gym at some point. I don’t really know, but…

Elsie: Me too. I’m kind of liking working at home.

Emma: Yeah. And I just like things that I really think of it as kind of an endorphin hit when you just need like you’re having a down day and you’re like, I just need to do some kind of workout that I could do at home while I’m watching an episode of Bob’s Burgers. And I just feel like I get some endorphins going or like my back’s hurt a lot because I’ve been pregnant. And so I just kind of like seeing little workouts that might help with back pain. Like, I don’t know, maybe that sounds really silly, but for me, my perspective on working out has changed a lot this past year, since being pregnant. And I think in a good way, I think in a healthy way where I feel, you know, I think of it a lot more holistically than I used to.

Elsie: Good.

Emma: So anyway, and I like her videos, she does a great job with it and she’s obviously a very fit woman and teaches like good form. So I’m enjoying following her. Yep!

Elsie: Nice. Oh that was fun. While on the show notes leave us any Instagram that you think we should check out based on our diverse areas of interest that we just talked about. (laughs) So yeah. I mean, honestly, like how I found out about all these people, though, is like somebody enthusiastically mentioning them. So that’s always fun.

Emma: Yep.

Elsie: I wanted to mention that we would love for you to call in to our new hotline. You can call in, leave us a message, and then we will answer it on a future episode of podcast. Think about what you want to answer and then please, please leave it through the call. And if you don’t want to, you can also email us podcast@abeautifulmess.com. If you want to call in, the number is 417-893-0011. All right. Have a good week!

Emma: Bye!


Author / Contributor: Elsie Larson

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