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Could Be Better
43 minutes | Dec 20, 2020
This is it, folks! Could Be Better is winding to a close after three years. In this bonus episode, Rob and J. say farewell, reminisce about some favorite moments, and share their final advice on home decor. Who will deride all-white interiors and Magnolia now? Who knows but we are sure someone will. Thanks to the thousands who have tuned in over the years, special thanks to the designers and magazine editors who supported us, and to hands-on help from Tim, Michael and Bob. Theme music was by Bensound.com. May your home and your garden be a little bit better than your neighbors' and your best friend's! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
58 minutes | Dec 4, 2020
The December 2020 Episode
In our final regular episode, we are all about Christmas. And spending all your remaining moments between now and Christmas crafting your handmade decor. At least, that’s what the magazine seems to be saying. No more worries about free time or boredom! You won’t have a moment to spare. Whether you go mad for plaid, feel fine with pine, or you’re down with brown, we’ve got you covered. (Especially the brown…there’s a lot of it.) Rob gets his mind blown by the serendipitous inclusion of his childhood decor projects in the magazine. J. shares a tag for love on a Narnia-esque wardrobe despite what it suggests about parenting styles while Rob says “meh” to the decorate-the-playroom-for-Christmas concept (doesn’t everyone do that?). But we love Christmas decorating, we swear! Fitting for our last episode, Rob’s magazine is different than J’s! (Those pesky Z pages again.) Signature cocktails: mulled wine for Rob, spiked eggnog for J. Theme music by Bensound.com. Thanks to all of our listeners and supporters over the past few years! Keep decorating, keep reading, and of course keep drinking! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Nov 1, 2020
The November 2020 Episode
It’s November again, Thanksgiving (arguably the best holiday for food of the year) is approaching, and you’re wondering what design trend to highlight on your family table. Spoiler alert: it’s dowdiness. How to turn a negative into a positive? Pretend it’s cool! You could also throwback things (like the Throwback feature, which is back, sorta) to a trend you embraced a loooonng time ago, like the one we highlight as our “last page.” (Boycotting the Stylemaker feature.) Rob goes all-in on 90’s female musicians and J. flips for hex tile floors. You know things are weird when one of our favorite (and agreed-upon) tags for love is for the article about composting. Never fear, magazine lovers, this is our penultimate episode so you won’t have to disagree with us for too much longer. So take a new look at Lace (the 80’s miniseries), dried flowers, the color pink, International Male mesh sweaters, and crafts, pour a Thanksgiving cocktail or four, and join us for another episode. Signature cocktails: apple-cran-pumpkin sour, pear-ginger tart martini. Music by Bensound.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
50 minutes | Oct 4, 2020
The October 2020 Episode
For our October 2020 episode, we go full-on Halloween and revel in the autumnal palettes of the season. We sip apple cider-based cocktails and gush over the “not too spooky” handmade projects in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens–and, shocker, J. admits to liking these crafts! There are very few tags for hate, so the editors either did a good job or we drank the pumpkin-flavored Kool-Aid. We talk Halloween candy favorites, ghosts (that when wet can look like other things that are even less savory) and ghoulish tableaux. “I Did It” features shiplap, a renovated kitchen inspires J’s reno project, and Rob admits to a huge tag for hate on marshmallows (from a highly specialized store OR in Peeps form). Signature cocktails: caramel apple martinis and apple-ginger sours. Music by Bensound.com. Happy haunting and safe Halloweening! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
14 minutes | Sep 4, 2020
Mini Episode: Pride Flags
Welcome to a special episode of Could Be Better! In the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens, they featured rainbow-hued items as a trend in decor. (A little late for Pride month, but whatev.) That led us to a discussion about Pride flags, and the current debate between the traditional six-color Pride flag and more inclusive versions–the Philadelphia Pride flag, the Progress flag, et al. Here’s our full conversation about rainbows and Pride flags, unedited. And we’re projecting joy, projecting joy… See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
56 minutes | Aug 30, 2020
The September 2020 Episode
September is here, if you can believe it! In this month's episode, we discuss how the magazine celebrates gay pride a few months late, railroad stripes, and how to project joy throughout your life. It may have been PROject joy in the mag but we've turned it into ProJECT Joy. Which we kind of fail at by lamenting more white walls and even (maybe) having a falling out over plans for J.'s upcoming kitchen reno. Oh, the drama! We're also not sure if one front porch is more M.C. Escher or Q-bert. Plus: another peacock chair, another hot gardener, and throwbacks to the 80's all over the place. Signature cocktails: an Aperol spritz and a Rum-eo & Julep. Music by Bensound.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Aug 3, 2020
The August 2020 Episode
It’s August 2020 and we’re back with another fact-filled episode of Could Be Better! Do you know what the watermelon emoji means? Do you know what color makes Rob go ga-ga for paint can lids? Can you guess what culinary tip J. has been keeping from Rob for years? What is the kids’ favorite song and parents’ least-favorite song? Find out the answers to all of these puzzlers in our August episode! Plus: more hot male gardeners, pickling with the gays, and defying the architecture of your house in your decor. So pour some big-batch rosemary lemonade (our signature cocktail, spiked of course), grab your magazine and read along with us! Music by Bensound.com and the Zinghoppers. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
88 minutes | Jul 4, 2020
The July 2020 Episode: Part Two with Special Guest Paul Trudel-Payne
It’s a summer surprise: not one but TWO episodes of Could Be Better! In Part Two of our July 2020 episode, we talk with award-winning interior designer, real estate expert and podcast host Paul Trudel-Payne. He hosts the awesome In Your Mind podcast, which we’ll be on in a few weeks. We review a section of the July 2020 issue of Better Homes and Gardens with him, talking paint can lids, the color green, Southwestern style, and some budget-friendly home updates. Whether we are into these things or not…well, listen and find out. We also talk about a non-binary backyard–because gender is over! Make sure to listen to Part One for our full opinion-packed tour through the magazine. Theme music by Bensound.com. Thanks again to Paul for joining us for a fun conversation! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
48 minutes | Jul 4, 2020
The July 2020 Episode: Part One
It's July, it's summertime, and after months of quarantine/shelter in place/safer at home you deserve a little treat--so we're bringing you TWO episodes for July. In Part One, we do our usual schtick and go through the magazine offering up our unsolicited opinions (spoiler alert: there are tags for hate and tags for love). In Part Two, hear our conversation with our very first guest, Paul Trudel-Payne, an actual award-winning designer who hosts his own podcast! (We'll be on a future episode of his show, In Your Mind.) Part One brings us some Independence Day crafts (not doing those, sorry), yet another all-white house, a gorgeous garden that stresses us out, and some Upstate and Chill. (It's a thing: Google it). Signature cocktail: Cherry Ginger Coolers a la Moscow Mules. Theme and interstitial music by Bensound.com. And make sure to listen to Part Two with our special guest for more shenanigans! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Jun 6, 2020
The June 2020 Episode
This month is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and it’s “How To Decorate Your Patio” time again! Despite the pandemic and protest marches, we are still here doing what we do: obsessing over a home shelter/food/crafting magazine as if it were the end-all, be-all of American experience. But we know we are not saving the world, and that this is all just design. If it makes you happy–and you are privileged enough to have a home to decorate, more power to you. Unlike the magazine, we are not changing our format, though we lament the replacement of the Throwback with the new Stylemaker back page. We taped this on what came to be known as Blackout Tuesday, and oh! the irony! of a paint can lid section devoted to WHITE paint! More white walls are only slightly offset by a rainbow-hued napkin and painted rock tableau. We puzzle over the plans for a kitchen makeover with both a peninsula and an island, and ponder the implications of building a big black box in your front yard. Happy Pride Month, everyone! Signature cocktails: strawberry mint lemon-orangeade cooler, and a “Lilac’s Lament,” a lilac-infused vodka drink with nectarines. Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Ramon. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
55 minutes | Apr 26, 2020
The May 2020 Episode
In our May 2020 episode, we are still under a "Safer At Home" mandate in our home state of New York and so we recorded this episode via Zoom video conference once again. We each make our own signature cocktail: J. does a classic vodka gimlet, partially inspired by the lemon curd tart on the cover of the May 2020 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, while Rob pulls a recipe for ginger punch from the mag's new Stylemaker column. May means Mother's Day so we cover a few ideas for a special Sunday for ya mom, and Rob invents a new tag to discuss certain magazine features. Of course, depending on where you are in the country, you may have to stay socially distant from your mother. Especially if, like Rob's mom, she mispronounces the word "peony" because you may be tired of correcting her. We notice a few changes at work in the magazine, including transitions from our usual tableaux and paint can lids, and need to mourn the loss of other features. But we'll get over it. There are more important concerns in the world right now, right? Like "why does my husband want a door from our shower to the balcony?" (PS we have a theory about that one.) Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Tim Lawton. Stay healthy, dear listeners! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
58 minutes | Apr 3, 2020
The April 2020 Episode
In this month's episode, Rob and J. are on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic of course--so we recorded this by a socially distant Zoom meeting. Thus we have two signature cocktails: a classic Mary Pickford for Rob, inspired by the Throwback feature, and J. created a "Social Distance" cocktail, a modified Greyhound. It's the color issue packed with lots of practical, hands-on tips for fixing up the home you're now trapped in. We stretch to find anything to hate once past the pink cover (which gets a pass since it's technically Easter), we love the I Did It! feature since it doesn't involve building a box, and side with the husband (of course) in a couple's makeover article. Grab your magazine and follow along--it makes for great listening while you're sheltering in place! End credits: Tim Lawton. Music by Bensound.com. Signature cocktails: the Mary Pickford and the Greyhound (with extra ingredients). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Mar 13, 2020
The March 2020 Episode
In our March 2020 episode, we discuss the latest trends in home design. Or the latest popular things that are about to be overexposed. At least the houseplants are paper this time. Another plus: lots of green and nary a pink! Rob invents a Dark & Bootchie cocktail inspired by the “give up alcohol” article (as if), and Chef Tim gets sour with the Lemon Tiramisu from the recipe section. Also: caning, ferns, a Queer Eye-adjacent article, and a kitchen that makes J. proclaim “this is my favorite thing ever in this magazine!” Listen up, trendoids: things are about to get bootchie. Whatever that means. Music: Bensound.com. End credits: Tim Lawton. Recipe tasting: lemon tiramisu. Signature cocktail: Dark and Bootchie (rum and kombucha). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Feb 7, 2020
The February 2020 Episode
On this month’s episode of Could Be Better, we indulge in some speech therapy practice as J. heads towards recovery from a brain hemorrhage. Can you say “editor’s letter” without blending the sounds together? We warm up with a ginger-liqueur cider but say “tag for hate” on another outdoor entertaining suggestion. We’re in for the chocolate spice cake skewers, though. There’s a lot of food in the February issue but we do have paint can lids in mint green. A less polarizing pastel? We decide. Also: indoor gardening, another white room, and a retro 1950s room straight out of the ’70s. Get your magazine, follow along and practice your speech therapy! Signature cocktail: ginger-pear cider warmer. Music by Bensound.com. Credits by Tim Lawton. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
60 minutes | Jan 12, 2020
The January 2020 Episode
In this episode, we field a few pressing (not really) questions from readers (not really, the editors did that) instead of the usual “New Year, New Me” features. This month we have lots of dark paint colors instead of the usual white, including a purple/blue that Rob tags for love and J. tags for hate. Yet paint can lids are in scarce supply. We range from tips on cleaning (when should I clean?) to tips on landscaping (native plants all the way) but end with a throwback feature that is too retro red for us. Signature cocktail: a Sacred Sipping Chocolate Martini. End credits: Tim Lawton. Music by Bensound.com. What’s your problem? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
53 minutes | Dec 7, 2019
The December 2019 Episode
It's December once again and we're in the holiday spirit...and into the holiday spirits with Rob's family recipe for egg nog. We have a few glasses and dish up our opinions on the latest issue of BH&G. There's a lot of Christmas and not many of our usual features, like I Did It or paint can lids. Instead we get lots of snow-white rooms warmed by holiday colors, even some non-traditional hues which is nice. Tag for love! Tag for hate on the oversized 5th grade play decorations. Sorry we weren't into what you wrapped in a bow. Signature cocktail: egg nog. End credits by Tm Lawton. Music by Bensound.com. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Aug 1, 2019
The August 2019 Episode
We're in the summer doldrums (but savoring them) so we're going shirtless for this episode! Why not enjoy a few stone fruit margaritas (inspired by the August issue's articles on peaches and plums, and how to throw an ice cream social) and hang out topless with your cohost?This month, we dive into beekeeping and hot beekeepers (new fetish alert!), why you should invest in your laundry room, and OCD pantry organization. The Color of the Year makes a return after a nine-month hiatus, the Editor's Letter has us nostalgic for mid-90's life in Chelsea, and a basement reno leaves us scratching our heads. Plus: we go gaga for a new feature but it's Tags for Hate on this month's wallet-busting I Did It. Oh yeah, and it's the family issue. This month's signature cocktail: the Stoned Rita Moreno (aka stone fruit margaritas). Recipe testing: savory stuffed waffles. Recipe prep by Tim Lawton. Music by Bensound. Did we mention we're shirtless?Subscribe and listen to all our episodes wherever you get your podcasts, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Or visit us online at www.couldbebetterpodcast.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @couldbebetterpodcast for all the latest news...and more shirtless pics. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
60 minutes | Jul 1, 2019
The July 2019 Episode
In our July 2019 episode, we have a summer surprise! Special guest host Bob Brink fills in for Rob while he recuperates from a solstice cold. Bob, who also happens to be J.’s husband, is a fine wine buyer and hospitality expert. He’s also not a regular BHG magazine reader, but you know what, sometimes an honest outside opinion is refreshing…like the Sandy Bottom, a watermelon-flavored signature cocktail. We talk frankly about hot dogs, toppings (of course), where not to put your child during a magazine photo shoot, more white walls, and the biggest light fixture ever featured (size does matter). Plus: a cameo by the Queen of Tennessee and a return to crafting! So Happy Independence Day, safe travels, and let’s just call it what it is, all right? Signature cocktail: the Sandy Bottom. End credits read by Tim Lawton. Music by Bensound.com. Listen to more episodes and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at www.couldbebetterpodcast.com. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for all our latest news. Thank you for listening! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 minutes | Jun 13, 2019
The June 2019 Episode
t's LGBTQ Pride Month and Rob and J. search desperately for some signs of gay life in this month's magazine. Though there's little to be found on the pages, there's plenty of love at the bottom of their cocktail glasses (thanks to the strawberry basil smash cocktails, lifted from the recipe section). J. explains why this episode was delayed and shares a very painful housing-related memory. Rob gets tongue-tied over a supergay font but otherwise feels kinda "meh," especially about all the #whiteonwhite neo-bohemian rooms. However, everything turns out all right in the end thanks to a Tea Dance #lewk for the ages. This month's recipes: white bean dip, crispy fish open-faced sandwiches, Pimm's Cup ice pops, all prepared by Chef Tim. Theme music is by Bensound. We're now on Spotify in addition to Apple Podcasts and all your other favorite podcast listening platforms. Visit us at www.couldbebetterpodcast.com for our blog posts, videos, and more! Happy Pride! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
60 minutes | May 3, 2019
The May 2019 Episode
In this episode: Deception! Lies! Big baskets! Secrets revealed! But even those might be another deception. As Rob pours Kentucky Derby mint juleps made gayer with lavender and berries, J. digs up memories of a childhood dinner gone horribly wrong. (This is the Food Issue, after all.) We discuss what charities really want (NOT your #KonMari non-joyful items), what no one wants (Grandma’s silver trays), an instant classic color scheme, and another hot male gardener. (Brace yourselves for that one.) Plus, a house that’s nautical but not, kitchen countertops that Rob and J. both tag for hate, and the best I Did It yet. Signature cocktail: mint julep. Recipe tasting: five flavors of cold-oven chicken. Music by Bensound.com. Subscribe and rate us in iTunes or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Visit us on Instagram and Facebook at CouldBeBetterPodcast, and please check out our website, www.CouldBeBetterPodcast.com, for bonus content, more opinions, and videos. And please, don’t make your mother cry. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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