Last Week Listens

 Posted by at 3:50 pm  review
Dec 302012

It’s been a very podcasty last few days. I loaded up my IPod with a fresh playlist to listen to while traveling back to New York from Dallas very early Thursday morning. You’ll notice I tried to fit in every Holiday episode I could to listen to before 2013 in an effort to wrap up the Christmasness in a nice little 2012 bow.  Here’s what I’ve listened to in the few days.


  1. Kumail Nanjiani and Becky Reams – Dining with Doug and Karen
    Listened to: Thursday morning, while on the plane from Dallas to Newark.
  2. The Hobbit and The Habit of Storing Your Stuff – NPR: Pop Culture Happy Hour
    Listened to: Thursday morning, while on the plane from Dallas to Newark
    Worth noting: I was in and out of the Hobbit talk, but was really interested in the talk about digital vs. physical entertainment and the storage of such.
  3. 21 – Soulmated! – Totally Married
    Listened to: Thursday morning, while walking through Newark
  4. Ep 52 – Happy Holidays – The Because Show
    Listened to: Thursday afternoon, while seated at gate C 136, with a Jamba Juice in hand
    Worth noting: The Because Show is one of my favorite shows – if you’re not listening to it yet, give it a try.
  5. Elna Baker: A Mexican Morman Christmas – The Moth Podcast
    Listened to: Thursday afternoon, while waiting to and boarding the plane at Newark.
    Worth noting: A laugh out loud-able story. I’d actually heard this story on another podcast before, but it’s so hilarious I deemed it worth another listen.
  6. 22 – “Suck” Them! – Totally Married
    Listened to: Thursday afternoon, while waiting for the plane to be weighed and measured, for the flight crew to inform us we were too heavy to fly [thanks Christmas pie!], and through the arrangements being made of United bribing two people to get off the flight.
  7. Josh and Ross 12/18/12 – Joss and Ross
    Listened to: Thursday afternoon, while in the air from Newark to Albany, grocery shopping and the putting away of groceries, and while doing the dishes.
    Worth noting: This is the first episode of the Joss and Ross show I’ve listened to, and I’m so happy I came across it.  If you’re a fan of Chelsea Lately, I’d suggest trying this one out.  Ross Matthews is my favorite person in the land of Chelsea, and he and Josh are really entertaining bouncing off of one another. A+ comedy conversation.
  8. 23 – Xmas Eve Cat Poop! – Totally Married 
    Listened to: Thursday night, while unpacking all of the bags I managed to fly home from Dallas with.
  9. #482: Lights, Camera, Christmas! – This American Life
    Listened to: Friday morning, while on a[nother] trip to the grocery store and prepping the ingredients I would need the next day for Nick’s birthday celebration. And doing the dishes again.
    Worth noting: So many great Christmas stories.  As you would expect from This American Life
  10. 24 – Confessional! – Totally Married
    Listened to: Friday afternoon, while cleaning the bathroom, opening the mail, and taking out the trash in the snow.
    Worth noting: Elizabeth opens up and shares from her heart. I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Laime for a while now, and her “confessional” gives me such an appreciation for Totally Married, where she and her husband, Andy, share their lives and experiences and advice with listeners.
  11. The Moth Radio Hour: Episode 1010 – The Moth Podcast
    Listened to: Friday afternoon, while baking shortbread and making banana cream pie.
    Worth noting: I plan to listen to the Radio Hour online every week now.
  12. Judd Apatow – The Nerdist
    Listened to: Friday evening, while wrapping a few gifts for friends, cleaning off the kitchen table [which has become a ridiculous catch all of any and all things], and playing fetch with Benson.
  13. Catherine Smyka & Lisa Schuldt: StorySLAM Favorites – The Moth Podcast
    Listened to: Friday night, while doing the dishes, sweeping the kitchen and folding some laundry.
    Worth noting: Great story telling sharing bits about being human. Heart warming. Worth a listen.
  14. Approaching Ira Glass – True Story
    Listened to: Saturday morning, while making a latte and cutting veggies into dipper sizes. and doing some dishes. again.
    Worth noting: Another great story telling podcast.  This was the first episode of True Story I’ve listened to; happily subscribed.
  15. Sarah Silverman & Andy Windak – Dining with Doug and Karen
    Listened to: Saturday late morning, while making breakfast pizza and setting out the donut bites.
    Worth noting: I really love that my favorite podcast worlds are coming together. [Andy [from The Table Set podcast by Homefries] on a Nerdist podcast hosted by my favorite comedian, Doug Benson.  It’s a pop culture love fest in my ears!]
  16. Carly Craig – The JV Club
    Listened to: Saturday afternoon, while preparing buffalo chicken dip, and setting out the snacks.
  17. Mike Birbiglia – You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes
    Listened to: Sunday morning, while organizing photos and files on my computer.
  18. Holiday Stores 2 – RISK! 
    Listened to: Sunday morning, while cleaning up the party mess and making scrambled egg muffins. and doing the dishes. again.

Coming up through my ear buds, I’m giving some new shows a try and spending some time catching up from my “Podcast for Later Listing” list – my holding place for podcasts when I get really far behind clearing out the queue.  I’m also super excited to finally listen to the 12 Guests of Xmas III episode of Doug Loves Movies.  [I’ve been saving it so Nick and I can listen together.]


What podcast have you been listening to lately?

Dec 202012

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post from Eat & Sip in the City about City Dining Cards for Boston. I found the cards super impressive, and sent out a tweet sharing so.

A couple of days later, I received an email from City Dining Cards alerting me of their offering a CDNY Deck, too!  I was stoked! When they asked if I wanted to review a copy on THS, I couldn’t pass it up; I was way too intrigued!

Once I received my city dining cards in the mail, I knew that this little deck was a perfect gift to give to some of my local friends this holiday season.  Here are the top 5 reasons I think city dining cards make an awesome gift!


1. The price for what you get.  The CDNY deck is currently only $20 and contains fifty $10 off coupons, plus two bonus coupons.


2. It’s a gift that encourages activity and experience.   Here’s how they work: there is one card for each of CDNY establishments, each for $10 off your purchase of $30 or more.  That’s $500 in savings if you use the entire deck. 

I personally think this deck is an awesome idea for weekly date nights! There are 52 cards total – why not work your way through the deck, one card a week with your significant other or a group of friends?  Seems like a perfect equation to me!


3. The variety in the deck. The deck contains places I’ve been meaning to go to since I’ve moved here, old favorites I’ve been to several times, and some places I’ve never even heard of before.  All of the restaurants are local – no big box chains, and cuisines and price points of every kind are covered.  I also love that this deck covers the entire CDNY area, including one tavern in the little old village of Scotia, walking distance from THS HQ.


4. The wild cards. Free loaf of bread at Bountiful Bread and a free baked good from my favorite CO-OP, Honest Weight.


5. Last but certainly not least: the purchase of the deck of cards helps to support a local charity: 5% of all proceeds goes to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.


City Dining Cards are available for CDNY, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Providence, Rochester, Syracuse and BuffaloBuffalo also has a cocktail edition deck, which looks MIGHTY fun as a gift for a 21st birthday, don’t you think?

Coffee Before it was Cool

 Posted by at 6:00 am  review
Dec 052012


A couple of weeks ago, the largest box in all the land was delivered to my office. [Caroline captured the largeness quite well]  A crowd gathered around my desk as I broke through the packaging tape to get to the goods inside. It was a Mr. Coffee Latte I was sent to review…


… and this awesome marketing board filled with goodies for enjoying the coffee house feel at home.


If you follow my social media accounts, by now you probably know that I am totally in love with this machine.  The winning over started immediately after I opened up that box.  I love the “Mr. Coffee did coffee before it was cool” theme of this campaign.  All of the goodies I received we aimed to bring all the best parts about coffee shop visiting home.


I woke up eagerly that Saturday morning, ready to get my latte making station set and enjoy a fancy beverage while I started my day.  After reading through the short and simple instruction guide, I got ready for my first experience with the Mr. Coffee Latte.  And then I just couldn’t stop!!  As a matter of fact, less than 24 hours after opening the Mr. Coffee Latte machine we had already run the machine ten times. 


I made my first cup of goodness using pumpkin flavored coffee, pumpkin pie spice, and half and half.  And then I made another, followed by a latte made with Golden Gate Java blend. Then we started experimenting with tea lattes, and then with hot chocolate. We had a few visitors over the next evening – everyone received a mug of deliciousness from the Mr. Coffee Latte.


OH! I’ve jumped ahead of myself telling you all about how much we love this little machine, but barely telling you a thing about it.  [I think they call that gushing uncontrollably in rambly emotion.] So, what is the Mr. Coffee Latte you ask? 

It’s a dual working machine – it brews while it foams.
So while the coffee, espresso, or tea is brewing, the milk or cream is getting frothy.  It is super easy to operate.  Coffee and water go in the top, like in a regular old drip pot.  The water level is labeled and very easy to read, so you don’t need to measure ounces out but can just pour to the level line.  Your milk goes in the bottom, along with any sweeteners or seasonings/flavors.  Power the machine and it does all the work.  After the brewing is done, it streams into the pot contains the already frothing milk.  The two liquids blend together to make a creamy beverage with a ton of foam.


Let me break it down for you, + / – style, on the Mr. Coffee Latte:

+ Super easy to operate.  Emphasis on the super.

– The pot can not be submerged. It’s all electric and stuff, which means I’m super parinoid about ruining it each and every time I wash it.

– Each and every time I wash it means approximately 90 seconds after pouring the beverage. I’m the kind of kitchen cleaner who likes to do a sink full of dishes at once and this thing has been throwing off my rhythm. [aka: laziness]

+ I was expecting so much more noise while the machine was in use. I’m happy to report that you can barely tell it’s running while your in the same room as it.

– Lack of temperature control on the end result. The machine finishes brewing into the pot well before it stops foaming. I wish I could set the machine to stop foaming when the beverage reaches a certain temperature.

+ You can make hot chocolate and such, too!! There is an option for the heat & foam mode only.  Perfect fancy hot chocolate machine for when my friends’ children come to visit this winter :)

+ Also perfect for the beverages for adults, too.  We made some Hazelnut Baileys Lattes this past weekend in the Mr. Coffee Latte.  It would seem Mr. Coffee knows how to party.

– It only holds two servings worth of beverage at the time, meaning when we have guests over for coffee hour, we’re running it several times. [though, this way everyone can have a different flavor, I suppose.]

+ The quality of the drink, especially the foam.  It should be noted that a couple people I know who own a coffee shop are seriously impressed, especially for the price. [on the Mr. Coffee Latte site it’s $99 – & spoiler alert: I’ve got a coupon code at the end of the post.] 


A few of my favorite Mr. Coffee Latte creations thus far:

  • Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea brewed into a foaming mixture of milk, half and half, and a little sugar.
  • Golden Gate Java blend [from J. Watt’s Barista House] brewed into a foaming mixture of milk and a spoonful of caramel syrup.
  • Coconut loose leaf tea [from The Whistling Kettle] brewed into a foaming mixture of milk.
  • Celestial Seasonings Authentic Green Tea or Stash Green Chai Tea brewed into a foaming mixture of milk and honey.


Does this little machine sound like the perfect gift for your favorite fancy coffee lover this holiday season?  GREAT NEWS!! The Mr. Coffee® brand is extending a special offer to THS readers: $10 off and free shipping on the purchase of a Café Latte at Enter promo code: MLAT10A

Now, who’s coming over for coffee and chit chat?