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The Best Advice Show
5 minutes | 16 hours ago
Pooping with Kira Newman
Dr. Kira Newman is a physician and scientist who studies poop all day. AVOIDING CATASTROPHE WITH BRENDEN MURPHYTo offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: ZAK: I took a walk this weekend with a gastroenterologist friend of mine. So, of course we're gonna talk about poop. If you could tell everybody who poops one thing, what would you tell them?KIRA: I think if I could just tell them one thing it would be that there's no right number of bowel movements to have. I think a lot of people get sold this bill of goods that like, you need to have one perfect bowel movement a day. It should look like a snake made out of toothpaste and if you don't do that then there's something wrong with you. But really and truly there are lots of people who poop more than that, less than that...different consistencies and that may just be there normal.ZAK: That's gonna put so many people at ease. That's gonna put so many butts at ease.KIRA: Hopefully. There's definitely stuff we tell people to watch for in their poop. Blood is not a normal thing that should be in poop. Black tar-like poop can sometimes be blood thats been digested. These are things that I want people to know that they should be concerned about. But most poop most of the time is just a sign that the body is doing what its supposed to do. And that's a wonderful thing. ZAK: Can you introduce yourself? Tell me who you are and what you do.KIRA: I'm Kira Newman. I'm a physician. I'm towards the end of my training for gastroenterology. So I study poop all day everyday, talk to people about their poop and help them problem solve when their poop isn't doing what its supposed to do. KIRA: I wish that people paid a little more attention to their poop sometimes cause I think that people don't give it the appreciation that it deserves.ZAK: How do you mean?KIRA: We spend all this time thinking about...you talk about evolution and the magical evolution that gave us eyes that are capable of seeing. But, we all have these guts that are capable of taking all kinds of things from the world and turning them into nutritious things that build an entire human being and nobody appreciates it. Take a moment to be, instead of grossed out, be excited and be like, wow, my body just did something really cool! My body took all the stuff I ate and broke it down and turned it into fuel for me. That's pretty rad. So I hope that people can appreciate it a little but more and just think like, hey, my gut did this for me today and it does it everyday. It doesn't ask for a lot. It doesn't look like the prettiest organ on your body but it's pretty marvelous. ZAK:Thank gut!KIRA: Yeah. Thank gut!ZAK: Thanks, Kira.KIRA: You're welcome.
5 minutes | 4 days ago
Repurposing Food with Zoë Komarin
Zoë Komarin cooks fun, gorgeous, healthy, delicsious food @ ZOEFOODPARTY Zoë was last on the show talking about the superiority of spoons. TRANSCRIPT: Zak: It's so nice to be with you for another addition of Food Friday. Before I get started though, I've been doing some soul searching about this show and I have some big questions about what I want this show to become and what you want this show to become and I want to put together a Zoom call with a handful of you who consider yourselves dedicated listeners...people who love the show a lot and listen a lot. I just want to ask you some questions. If you want to get in on this, I would really appreciate it. Email me at ZAK@ BESTADVICE.SHOW. I will be forever in your debt. Ok, on to today's Food Friday advice.Zoë: Hi, my name is Zoë of Zoë Food Party. I'm a chef and a food curator and in general I have a lot of food ideas and I have sticky hands.Zak: Get ready for a very simple, very effective refrigerator trick.Zoë: I can honestly say it has consistently provided me with a much easier time quickly making myself a meal than any other trick I can think of and that is to always keep a rotating bowl or box or plate of the odds and ends that you're cooking with. In your fridge, ready to grab. And what I mean by that is, every time you cut half an onion for a pasta sauce you have this other half. Or every time you use a couple slices of tomato and you've got a bunch of tomato left. All of these odds and ends I feel like people just put them back in their fridge in a haphazard way. Something's on the top shelf. Half a lemon is in the door. Maybe you wrap your onion in saran wrap because of the smell. Whatever it is, they all need to land in a box. And the box should be clear and the bowl should be clear so you can see in there. And every time you open your fridge and think, oh, I'm hungry and I need to make some food and I don't have a thought out plan. The first thing I do is I pull the bowl or box out and land that on my counter because I'm starting with what I have...what's already in use...what's in flux. I've got half and onion and a carrot and a bit of tomato. If I'm making a sandwich, those should all go in it. It just helps me...It's a catalyst for creating something. It's a starting point.Zak: And for wasting less. It's so great. The amount of avocado halves that browned in my life. Zoë: That's the saddest thing I've ever heard in my whole life. What's sadder than not getting the full delight of a whole avocado. Zak: This is fantastic. What's something you recently made out of odds and ends?Zoë: Breakfast. I reached for this scrap bowl and in it were half a zucchini, some red onion. We have some spring garlic from the farmer's market that we store in the fridge. There were some mushrooms. All these little bits and pieces that we just hadn't used up the day before that landed in this bowl and we quickly threw those in a cast-iron pan, got a garlic and salt and chili flake on there and then made some avocado toast and piled it on there and it was absolutely delightful and you know, sometimes it just doesn't matter. Like, you can make a curated avocado toast with exactly what you're imagining should go on one or you can just take whatever you have in the fridge and make one and it's delightful. Zak: What's it gonna be? Curated avocado toast or whatever avocado toast. I'm going for the latter everytime. Thank you, Zoë. If you don't follow Zoë on Instagram, you must. She puts out amazing videos. You'll learn a lot. You'll chuckle. @ZoeFoodParty. Like I said earlier, if you want to participate in an interactive feedback session with me, email at ZAK @ BESTADVICE.SHOW. And thank you in advance!
4 minutes | 5 days ago
Giving Effectively with Laura Solomon
Laura Solomon is an attorney dedicated to providing specialized, but affordable, legal services to nonprofit, charitable organizations, foundations, business leagues, political action committees, and philanthropic individuals.To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT:ZAK: I'm Jewish and in our tradition we have this thing called tzedakah. That's Hebrew word that translates to righteousness. But really tzedakah is this ethical obligation we have. And one of the core tenants of this obligation is that we're supposed to give ten-percent or our income to charity each year or to people or organizations in need. The ten-percent principle is something I heard my whole life. But one thing I never learned, at least explicitly, is how to give. And that's where today's advice, from Laura Soloman comes in.LAURA: So, I'm a lawyer. I have a law firm devoted to forming and representing charitable organizations and working with philanthropic individuals to achieve their charitable missions philanthropic visions. I think people benefit from having philanthropic mentors, role-models. I was blessed in growing up with a grandmother who was a survivor of the holocaust who would get her reparation check from Germany and we would sit down at her kitchen table in Washington Heights, New York and write check after check until it was all gone for charitable purposes. And she had a catch-phrase. In German she'd say, "the last dress has no pockets," meaning you don't hoard it. You don't keep it for yourself. Give freely with a full-heart and give now and so I think finding a philanthropist of a generous person that you look up to as a role model can be incredibly helpful.ZAK: I love that. And so you had your grandmother as your philanthropic mentor or at least one of them. What are some questions that I might ask my philanthropic mentor once I find them?LAURA: How have your priorities changed over time? Have you always been passionate about the environment or last year were you more interested in addressing racial disparities? I think it's important to understand that, you know, our thoughts and feeling change over time and therefore our priorities and therefore our philanthropic priorities.ZAK: What's the objective of having the mentor?LAURA: I think you can learn to be good at philanthropy just like you can learn to be good at something else.ZAK: Like, what do you think makes a compatible mentor/mentee relationship in this dynamic?LAURA: Somebody who's open to talking about it. Not feeling as through money or philanthropy is a taboo subject but one that should be part of our everyday lives and part of the conversation. You know, one of the things I think COVID has shown us is that we all have this shared vulnerability. But we can also all share in the repair.
4 minutes | 6 days ago
Customizing Rituals with Andy Eninger
Andy Eninger is an improviser, writer, facilitator and dog dad. To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: ZAK: It's The Best Advice Show where everyday, I invite a different guest on to offer one piece of advice. Today, we're gonna talk about moving through grief in our own unique ways with Andy.ANDY: My father passed away from COVID-related caused a couple months ago.ZAK: Oh man. I'm sorry.ANDY: Yeah. It's been rough on top of a pretty rough year for him and certainly for the family. I'm also in such a busy phase right now. And I'm like, you can't busy yourself through something like this. And so, I just had to figure out something new and someone recommended, well, think of a ritual. Have a ritual. And so now, I have created this box and I put in this box different things that remind me of him and different aspects of him. A t-shirt that he gave me when I was a little kid that I still somehow have, a ceramic chicken because he hoarded his mom's ceramic chickens after she passed away. Some other little trinkets and I pull out this box, I light a candle and I just breathe ten times and then whatever comes up, comes up. But just that ritual has been profound in just letting me move through it and be really aware of it and be mindful of actually letting myself do that. Because I know on the days that I don't do it, I'm a crab. I'm just terrible.ZAK: So this is a daily thing?ANDY: Yeah, I do it everyday, every other day. I've replaced my meditation with doing this because it's such a focus right now.ZAK: So how did you figure out that this would be a good ritual for you?ANDY: Trial and error. I wasn't sure. I was like, I don't know what a ritual is. When I think of ritual I think of going to church and something huge and based in history. And just simply thinking, well I can make up what it is was completely outside of my experience. I don't know, I'll put together a box and put some things in that box. I don't know what to do with it. I'll just breathe. And I discovered that just that time with those things and those memories of those things also bring is so profound in letting me bring those things to the surface rather than having the be underneath. Here's my little box. I'm gonna use this box for the next ritual. So the next thing. I'm gonna do one thing at a time right now. As I move through this and when it's time to take on the next thing, I want to use this same box and I want to start thinking what the next process that I want to move through...the goal that I'm working toward. But put those signs and symbols into it and use it as a thing that I can return to. Light the candle, put on some music and assemble the elements that allow me to move through that. I think we often feel like ritual has to be something that's handed to us but I think that what's needed in a moment actually lives inside of us too.
6 minutes | 7 days ago
Asking Again with Adriana Lozada
Adriana Lozada is the creator and host of The Birthful podcast as well as a working doula, a childbirth and postpartum educator and a sleep consultant.To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: ZAK: Adriana is here today to teach us something that I am so incredibly uncomfortable with. Asking again.ADRIANA: This was year's ago and my husband and I were going to the Apple store because both our earbuds had busted. He had an iphone. I had an ipod so his, they were like, here's your replacement, no problem. For me, it was like, you need to make an appointment with a genius. There was no appointments. And it was hours wait. So I asked the person helping us, couldn't they just give it to me. You know that's what's gonna happen at the end. My husband just got it. Can't you just give me one again. He was like, well, I don't know...policy. And I said, can you ask the manager. I'm a doula. So it comes from advocacy and making your voice and needs heard in a very conversational and curious way. Like, why not? Lets just explore this. Is it possible. Not, I'm demanding something to happen. So, that person went and asked the manager and came back and said, no, the manager said no. And I looked up and I said, can you ask them again?ZAK: Whoa. ADRIANA: And of course he laughed and my husband's looking at me like, what!? And he's like, sure. I'll ask again. I'll humor you crazy lady. And he went and came back with my earbuds. hahaha. And he's like, here ya go. And so that was very much the epitome of the ask again moment. But, it's a moment that I've definitely honed in with all I do with my doula clients. Understanding that circumstances can change and asking again does require you to put yourself out there and it does require some vulnerability because you already have the answer you didn't want. If you ask again you might get the one you want. ZAK: My fear is by asking again, people are gonna think I'm a diva or something. How can you give people like me the confidence to actually ask again?ADRIANA: The key point there is you do need to put your ego aside. The outcome doesn't reflect to you or who you are. And I think that also comes from...I'm originally from Venezuela so my other mother tongue is Spanish and their you've got two different words for the verb, to be. And you have ser and estar. And one is you are. A condition that isn't gonna change. Like, I am a human. I will always be a human. But the other one is estar. It's a condition that is depending on how the moment is. I am cold. That's not who I am. I am cold right now. So, I think having that flexibility in your brain of this doesn't define me has been helpful in being able to navigate that asking again. And then from being a doula for so many years, I get to have the unique perspective of being able to go to different hospitals, work with different providers at home, at schedule cesarian, unmedicated births...The whole gamut and I see one provider might come up or a nurse and say, no, we need to do this and I know just last week in this same hospital down the hall with different providers, we did something different. And so knowing that things can be done in many different ways. There is that strength inside me of, well, I know it can be done differently. Lets see if we can make it different today.
5 minutes | 8 days ago
Practicing Passion with Ned Specktor
Ned Spector dance, sings and inspires from Metro-Detroit. To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTlisten to COUNTER PROGRAMMING!TRANSCRIPT: NED: I'm Ned Specktor. I'm 40 years-old. I just really stand for positivity, optimism and good energy. I feel like my thing that i've been given is energy and I want to share that. I want to build a platform for good. I want to light people up. No matter what situation I get into, I'm just trying to bring good energy to it in a very, very genuine way.When I watch Ned's videos on Instagram. It makes me want to get up and do aerobics. So, here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna cue this music (electro-pop music begins) and as we listen to his advice, if you wanna do some jumping jacks, I'm not gonna stop ya.NED: My best advice is, as fast possible in your life and even if it's later in your life...but man, like, fight for the time to bring your passion to life. If you said, what do you stand for, I'm on a mission to get people plugged into why they're here and I just feel like it gets buried under bills and fear and jobs and everything but, man, I don't care if it's at night, on the weekends, in the morning, please schedule time to work on the thing that lights you up the most, period, end of story. I feel like the world would be so happy even if you're going to a job that's 9-5, maybe there's a creative way you can bring it into your job but if you know even going into that job, if you know Tuesday nights from 7-8:30, that's my time to work on my passion project. Like, you're ok with the BS that happens. You just know, you know there's something else going on here for me. I'm cool. I'm gonna honor where I'm at like Danny Johnson says, prosper where you're planted. But man, please schedule time to work on your passion. I just feel like we all have a gift. As corny as it sounds. But I feel like we're more than a 9-5 and I think we should honor that. Do great. But please just do it. Yeah, and what I so appreciate about your framing of it is, it really only takes 10-minutes a week or a minute a day. You don't have to quit your job and move to LA.NED: And I will say that. Cause sometimes I get a little radical. I'm like black or white. We've gotta quit our job and go do this. And I've learned to live in the grey a little bit. Ok, cool. I'm working on this live show. This motivational musical we're gonna bring to the dance floor and it's literally, dude, it has literally taken me 6-years. Like legitimately its taken me 6-years because A) insecurity and B) sometimes I can only work on it once a week. But there's a great book called The Compound Effect. Small behaviors practiced consistently over a long period of time produce massive results. Brick by brick. Drop it in the bucket, drop it in the bucket. Like, schedule it. Time Ferris, great podcast, I'm sure you're familiar...he's like, if it's not on the schedule it's not real. And it's so true. You're never gonna be like, oh, I have an extra 90-minutes. Not gonna happen. So, schedule the time for your passion.
6 minutes | 11 days ago
Telling Your Crush with Erin (from the Society for the Advancement of the Crush Agenda)
Erin is the Minister of Communications for the Society for the Advancement of the Crush Agenda.MAY 7TH IS INTERNATIONAL TELL YOUR CRUSH DAY!TRANSCRIPT:ZAK: Yes, I know that's Food Friday but it's a national holiday and we must observe.ERIN: Hi Erin. I'm the Minister of Communications for the Society for the Advancement of the Crush Agenda, a mostly fictional organization that runs a very real holiday, International Tell Your Crush Day.ZAK: When you're talking about crushes. Is it specially romantic of not necessarily.ERIN: Yeah, not necessarily. I think we all have that connotation and that model of crush can help you know what the feeling is. Like, is this a crush or is it not? You know when you have...sometimes we call it sparklies...that whatever the physical feeling is that goes with that intellectual pining for someone. Yeah, it can be a friend crush. It can be someone you appreciate a lot. There's a lot of room here. We're not too big on specifics and exact rules.ZAK: Yeah. And so what are you big on?ERIN: We're big on knowing that people can't read your mind. That's a big premise of good communication in general I think. We all kind of go around thinking...well if they knew they wouldn't have done that thing. I think we assume that our intentions are clear and that our experiences are clear and they're not and so we're big on, if you want somebody to know something, tell them. And so, we think the world is better when people get to hear that they're loved and they're noticed and a valued part of your community and your world.ZAK: I can think of what it sounds like to tell someone you want to be romantically involved with tah you're interested in them. But how might it work for platonic friendships and people in your life?ERIN: We really encourage people to reach into their own creativity and their own thoughtfulness and to figure out what the message delivery needs to be for their particular situation. There's also two categories. There's the people you're gonna tell, I have a crush on you. And that could sound like, hey, I just wanted you to know that I love it when we both show up in the same places and it always makes me so excited if I know you're going to the meeting I'm going to. If you ever want to get ice-cream, let me know. Like, that could be a basic crush tell. There's also people you shouldn't tell you have a crush on. Whether it's your boss or someone you're gonna have to see everyday and it might make things super awkward. But, if you want to celebrate the day, please join and tell those people, you've been my teacher for the last five years and everything you share fills me with excitement for the work that I do in the world and I can't thank you enough. There's so many different ways to do it. I'm gonna use this crush day to tell someone that I had a a really sweet dream they were in. Like I don't even know if I have a crush on them. But in the dream it was so nice being in their presence and so I'm gonna send a text and tell them. ZAK: I love this. I'm thinking about if someone came up to me and said that, like, to be honest I would be wondering, oh that's so sweet...like, are they interested in me as a partner or are they just interested in me as a friend? How have you dealt with these dynamics?ERIN: That's a great question. I think being careful with your words and saying as much as you need to. Like, you can even say, hey, just so you know...I'm in a committed partnership and I'm not in a position to date other people right now but I also want you to know that I have a little crush on you and it's just fun seeing you when we're both around. Being clear. Setting up what your boundaries are...if you're not sure where you want to go and you want to leave it open, LEAVE IT OPEN!
6 minutes | 12 days ago
Vetoing Mutually with Sarah Knight
Sarah Knight (@mcsnugz) is the author of the NYTimes Best-Selling No F*cks Given guides and host of the No F*cks Given Podcast.To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: SARAH: I have a piece of advice that has kept my 20-year relationship moving smoothly and it involves saying no and setting boundaries. So, I call it, MVP...Mutual Veto Power and this is something that's been working for my husband and I since the early days. We got together in 1999 and it means that you both have the power to say no to something and not be questioned. If I say no, I don't like that paint color. No, I don't want that couch. No, I don't want to go on our honeymoon to Tokyo. The answer is no and we've agreed to not pre-argue about it. We're not gonna debate. We're not gonna engage in guilt-tripping. It's just a no. We both get to have that Mutual Veto Power and what it means is you avoid a lot of conflict and if the other person is just neutral on the thing. You know, on the vacation destination or the paint color or whatever then you go-ahead and do it because that way one of you is getting what you want. But if anybody is a no then you don't do it because that way nobody has to do what they don't want. And I have to say, you know, it works for the little stuff and it works for the big stuff and it just takes a lot of the pressure off of a relationship and this could work with, you know, a client relationship, a family relationship.ZAK: Because you've had so much practice with this...I can imagine when it first starts it takes some restraint to not push back.SARAH: It does and I think, you know, what we've learned as a couple over time is that life is much better when you don't force one another or guilt another into doing something the other person doesn't want to do. What you're doing when you say yes to things that you don't want to do or force other people into saying yes to things they don't want to do is you're poisoning the time that you do send together. You're poisoning the relationship. You're creating toxicity that doesn't need to be there and it is not ever, I don't think, my intention or anybody who's trying to get me to do somethings intention to make me frustrated, resentful, angry, anxious about it. Wouldn't it be so much better to just rip-off the band-aid at the beginning, say no, have your no be respected and go on about your day and you know, be able to do things with and for one another that you're both excited about it?ZAK: Hell yeah. My wife and I, we've been together since 2006 and I think some adjacent practice that we do, it's called Who Wants it More? You have to be really honest about, do you actually care about this? And if you do. If you really want to go out to eat rather than carry-out, just invoke, I think I want to go out more than you don't want to go out. And it causes us both to evaluate how much we do care about and then just to be like, ok, you care more. We're gonna do the thing that you care more about.SARAH: That's a really good way to phrase it. I have something similar where I talk about making a selfish decision. And I think you can differentiate between good selfish and bad selfish and what I like to advise people is, listen, is the decision that you want to make...is it helping you more than it's hurting anybody else? Because that's probably good selfish. Bad selfish is when a decision you want to make hurts other people more than it helps you. In which case, why aren't you doing it. Why not just go ahead. Go with the flow. And that kind of ties into the MVP rule of, if it's neutral then the person who wants to do it, we can do it. But if either one is a negative, we just both don't do it. And again, that means that at least somebody is getting what they want all the time and nobody is getting what they don't want, ever.
4 minutes | 13 days ago
Parsing Language with Adam Milgrom
Adam Milgrom is an entrepreneur and dad living from Michigan. ANALYZING ENVY WITH GRETCHEN RUBINTo offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: ZAK: A few months back, I talked to the wise Gretchen Rubin about envy.GRETCHEN RUBIN: One of the challenges of our lives is to know ourselves and you would think, it's so easy to know myself. I just hang out with myself all day long but it can be hard to be truthful with ourselves and really see what's in the mirror and so sometimes it's helpful to think about questions that get at the truth indirectly and I think an indirect question that's very helpful is whom do I envy?ZAK: Today's advice comes on the heels of that episode. It's from one of my dearest pals in the world, Adam Milgrom. ADAM: Try to think about the difference between jealously and envy. It's an easy thing that people mix up. Jealously is when you want the thing that the other person has and you specifically don't want them to have it. You want to have it instead of them. You want to take it away. Envy is just when you also want it. And when I think about this, nine times out ten what I feel is envy not jealousy. And that makes me feel a lot better about it and feel like I can do something about it. Because when I realize that it's not that I don't want that person to have it, I just also want that. It makes it more about me than about them and I'm not trying to take it away from them but I'm just understanding something that I want. And that feels not as dark and it feels like, oh, if that's something that I want, why do I want that? And should I do something about it? It also feels nice just understanding language. Yeah.ZAK: I got a quick story about Adam. He and I were 16 years-old visiting his grandfather in Miami. We borrowed Adam's grandfather's car. I believe it was a sky blue Ford Taurus station-wagon and we were driving late at night. We didn't know where we were going. And at one point we had to gas up so we go the gas station. I'm driving the car at that point and as we're pulling out I scraped the side of the car against this cement barricade. Of course, I'm terrified. How am I gonna explain this to Adam's grandfather? How am I gonna pay for it? When we get back to Adam's grandpa's condo, Adam says he's the one who was driving and pays his grandpa back for the repairs right on the spot. This is one of the noblest things I've ever witnessed in my life. Adam, thank you for being such a good friend and thank you for this advice. You've been listening to The Best Advice Show and I would love to hear your advice. Give me a call at 844-935-BEST.
4 minutes | 14 days ago
Seizing Detours with Dr. Kidada Williams
Dr. Kidada Williams is the host of new podcast, Seizing Freedom, a historian, author and professor of U.S. History, with a focus on African Americans. She is an Associate Professor of History at Wayne State University.ZAK: It's The Best Advice Show. I'm here to help.KIDADA: My name is Kidada Williams. I am a history professor at Wayne Statue university. I research and specialize in African American history. ZAK: Kidada is also the host of an important, beautiful new podcast called Seizing Freedom.KIDADA: If you had asked me 10 years-ago or even 5 years-ago if I had thought I'd hosting a podcast, I would have said, there's no way in hell. No! Even though I like podcasts, right? I'm a historian. This is what historians do! But one of the things that I realized along the way was how much of the history that I produce in conversation with my peers, my fellow historians never makes it down to the public. ZAK: It was this observation and some unintended circumstances that led to Kidada down this other path. KIDADA: Figure out how to pursue the work that you love and have a sense of where you want to end up or what your destination is. But be open to paths that you wouldn't expect. I think what you realize is that what's meant for you will find you, right? That sort of saying. And if you're plan or your intended destination changes a little bit based upon that detour then that will sort, you know, reshape your future and that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It could actually be really good and promising. ZAK: And how do you think you stay open to this idea of like, being willing to get side-tracked or just like, reoriented. KIDADA: I think I stay open by thinking through the possibilities. Thinking through questions about whether or not it's a good fit and trusting my instincts. ZAK: Yeah, I don't remember who told it to me but it's just like asking yourself...actually actively asking yourself, what's the worst that can happen. The downside of exploring the possibilities is pretty low, right?KIDADA:I agree but I think that perspective comes with age and personal experience. So, at 20 I might not have taken a risk like, agreeing to do a podcast. Or, I may have seen it as risky. But, coming through, experiencing things, knowing I can always say no. I can change my mind. I can figure out what the stakes are. I can collect enough information has made it easier for me to sort of explore possibilities and see what's a good fit or what's not a good fit.
2 minutes | 15 days ago
Paying Your Taxes with Julia Friedman and Arthur Braverman
ZAK: It's The Best Advice Show and today we're gonna continue our on-going series, Advice from Our Grandparents. If you have some advice from your grandparents, I would love to hear it. Give me a call at 844-935-BEST.JULIA: My name is Julia and my advice is to never complain about paying taxes. Tax day is nearly upon us so this advice seemed timely. My grandfather, Arthur Braverman, used to have all these saying he would repeat and one of them was, "never complain about paying taxes." The reason behind this counsel is because paying taxes typically means two things. You are living in America or are an American and you likely have a job. Two things to be grateful for and not complain about. Both of my grandfathers were World War II vets and taught us to take great pride in being Americans. It is the land that gave our family opportunity. Also, there are so many people in our country that don't have a job right now and are hurting economically, emotionally or otherwise. They don't have the chance to pay taxes. It is important to not forget about them.ZAK: Thank you Julia Friedman and thank you, Arthur Braverman. I've got an old picture of Arthur up on our Instagram @BestAdviceShow. He's wearing a great suit. It was a less schlubby time when that picture was taken. Go check it out.
5 minutes | 18 days ago
Inventing Cocktails with Kamala Puligandla
Kamala Puligandla is the author of the novella, You Can Vibe Me On My FemmePhone and writes The Dyke Kitchen Column at Autostraddle.IMPROVISING SALADS WITH KAMALA PULIGANDLATRANSCRIPT:KAMALA: I'm Kamala Puligandla. I'm a writer.ZAK: Kamala is a Food Friday returning champion. We last spoke about salad making. Today, we're taking it to cocktails.ZAK: I like, kind of make an Old Fashioned. I think that's the only cocktail I've ever made. I'm overwhelmed. How can I improve my cocktail confidence?KAMALA: Ok, so I think that classic cocktails are really delicious and really cool but I don't hold myself to doing them in the classic way. So, I like to borrow flavors from them. Sometimes I'll borrow ratios from them. I'm just really into making my own simple syrups right now that have whatever flavor that I'm into. So, recently, I think it was last weekend, a friend of mine was like, come over and hang out in our backyard and everyone was like, we'll bring our own cocktail so I was like, ooo, I have to bring a good one. So, I had some mezcal and I was like, what are some flavors that I can mix into a syrup that would go with the smokiness of the mezcal and I ended up putting some garam masala into my simple syrup with a cinnamon stick and some cloves and then I mixed that into the mezcal with some grapefruit soda. And that was really, really, really good. It's sort of like a paloma but it's like, I don't know, like a spicy paloma. ZAK: That sounds really nice. How do you imagine what will work?KAMALA: So, recently I realized that I thought I didn't like sweet cocktails but that when you add sugar to things it changes the things that everything else tastes. And for awhile, I was trying to resist putting in too much sugar because I have had sickly sweet drinks that I'm not into. But when I'm making my own syrup it helps it marry all the flavors together so that they're a little closer. They don't feel like alcohol, citrus, some other flavor. So that's something that I was like, I should just add syrups to things, But what I'm usually thinking about is like, I have the alcohol taste and I'm trying to figure out what about the alcohol taste I like so that I don't mask it. And then like, what can go with it to sort of enhance that. So with mezcal, I like that it's a little sharp and a little smoky and so I try to add citrus to it. I think citrus helps in every cocktail cause it helps brings the sharpness out and then doesn't overwhelm the smokiness or overwhelm the taste of the alcohol. And then also on something smokey, I was like, what are some other things that I eat that are sort of smokey and I was like, oh, I would put garam masala with chilis which are kind of smokey and I was just like, that sounds good. It sounds earthy and like it would go in the same family as smokey so that's what I was thinking. But then like, sometimes I'll have lighter cocktails. Like if I have gin I like to get a really herbaceous gin and then I don't love floral tastes that much but I do love putting other herbs in there so it's like, I don't know, there's like a rosemary simple syrup that I've made that I like and that sort of brings out the flavors in the gin. Things like that. That's mostly what I'm thinking about. I think it's similar to the salad question. I want something kind of earthy, something kind of bright and then something that's kind of punchy, so like, just pulling those things together and sometimes spicy is a really good addition and sometimes it's totally unnecessary.
4 minutes | 19 days ago
Structured Walking with Sharon Mashihi
Audio artist, screenwriter, performer, and story editor Sharon Mashihi is the creator and host of the podcast Appearances from Mermaid Palace and Radiotopia.Sharon on managing fear and self-doubt, saying yes to your wild ideas, and using rituals to break through creative blocks.Aaron Finbloom and The School of Making ThinkingTRANSCRIPT:ZAK: Sharon Mashihi is one of my favorite audio people. One of my favorite artists in general, I'd say. She made this podcast called Appearances, which if you haven't heard yet, just stop this episode and go listen to that. But anyways, I was reading an interview with her on a website called The Creative Independent, and she talked with the interviewer about this thing called, Structured Walks.SHARON: Alright. It's recording and unfortunately, I'm not able to fully monitor the levels but they look good. SHARON: You and I would take a walk and we'd time it.SHARON: I was thinking we could do 25-minutes you and 25-minutes me and then we'll both walk in one direction and we'll both walk back. Does that sound good?ZAK: Perfect.SHARON: You know, my friend, Aaron Finbloom, devised this but I always think of Socrates and those dudes. They were walking.ZAK: So, I'm walking on Belle Isle which I may have mentioned to you before. It's the big, public park in Detroit.SHARON: Uh huh.ZAK: So, the concept here is simple. You can try it today with a friend who lives in your town. Or you can do what Sharon and I did and call someone up. You take a walk on your end, like I did in Detroit. And then they'll be wherever they are. Sharon was in New York City when we talked.SHARON: Go first Zak. I think it should be you. Alarm set. ZAK: For the first half of the walk I'm talking through this current creative struggle I'm having. I've been mapping out this historical fiction project but I don't know how to start and I'm intimidated.SHARON: Maybe can you articulate what your hurdle is with fiction?ZAK: And this is all we're talking about for 25-minutes. My current struggle and then when those 25-minutes are up, we turn the tables and it's Sharon's turn. You can do it for however long you want. I think the important thing is that it's equal amounts of time for both people.SHARON: What I had in mind to talk to you about. I'll paint the picture. It has to do with work and art and how organize this next chapter of my life. Um...ZAK: The structured walk is such a simple, effective tool. And it can work for anything. You don't have to be engaged in a creative project for this to work. Maybe you're just having such questions you want to wrestle with about your work life or a relationship.
3 minutes | 20 days ago
Stop Yucking My Yum with June Thomas
June Thomas (@junethomas) is one of the hosts of Working, Slate's podcast about the creative process and also the Senior Managing Producer of the Slate podcast network.PERFECTING EGG SALAD w/Nancy KafferTRANSCRIPT:ZAK: So, today's advice, I've usually thought of in relation to food, specifically. But June helped me understand it's much bigger and broader than that.JUNE: I was walking down 6th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn and I heard these little kids arguing about whether the child had been correctly accused of yucking someone's yum and it struck me that that is a really profound and very correct piece of advice.ZAK: Yes!JUNE: Don't step on someone else's pleasure. Don't feel that you have to be scornful of what makes someone else happy. If you don't like it, you don't need to tell them. You don't need to argue about their views on something that they take pleasure in. Like, just let it be. So much of the really advice in life comes from the school-yard and I never heard that on the school yard. That was something I only heard the first time a couple of years ago but it is so right, you know. I have a lot of really weird hobbies...things that I like I know objectively, they're not good, but I love them. And so, selfishly, I don't want anyone yukking my yum. But also, it's something that I really try to keep in mind, like, I'm a very judgmental person. I'm a critic by nature as well as sometimes by profession. But, you know, when you're talking with your friends or just a stranger on the street, like, it's a version I guess of live and let live but also, if somebody is getting pleasure and fun from something and it's not harming anyone, that is the greatest thing in the world.
4 minutes | 21 days ago
Building for Tomorrow with Jason Feifer
Jason Feifer (@heyfeifer) is the editor in chief Entrepreneur magazine and hosts Build For Tomorrow. A novel he wrote with his wife, Mr. Nice Guy, is currently being developed for television. How are you building for the future? Lemme know at 844-935-BEST. TRANSCRIPT: ZAK: Hey, it's The Best Advice Show where everyday, a guest offers one morsel of wisdom.JASON: My name is Jason Feifer. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur magazine. And I self-describe as the guy that gets you excited about the future. In front of you, in front of me, in front of everybody who's listening to this right now, you have two sets of opportunities. Opportunity Set A and opportunity Set B. Opportunity Set A is everything that is asked of you in your job. Everything that your boss expects. All your KPI's, Key Performance Indicators...all that stuff. Opportunity Set B is everything that is available to you that nobody is asking you to do and I am telling you that Opportunity Set B is more important. It is always more important. I have built my career on Opportunity Set B because if you focus on Opportunity Set A, all you are doing is you are helping yourself be qualified to do the thing that you're already doing. But Opportunity Set B is where real Opportunity happens. That's where growth is. If you want to focus on your future, on improving your career on finding new things that you didn't even think that you would be interested in later on, well then you focus on Opportunity Set B all the time and that doesn't mean that you have to be a bad employee. It just means, in fact, I would say it's quite the opposite. Sometimes if you go out and you focus on Opportunity Set B, you are gonna be building new skills that are ultimately useful for you at your job too. But it's also gonna open up all these other avenues.ZAK: Do you have a rubric or a filter for figuring out what's A and what's B?ZAK: It's either, are you expected to do this or are you not. Is somebody measuring you by your performance in this particular area or are they not? You want to find the thing that nobody's asking you to do.
7 minutes | 22 days ago
Heart Connecting with Joey Soloway
Joey Soloway is a showrunner, director, writer and creator of Transparent. TRANSCRIPT: ZAK: I love the idea of team-building. But usually in action, team-building activities make me cringe. Maybe you're at a work thing, or a meeting, and you're told to do some ice breaker, or an activity meant to bring the room together. It can be so awkward when there's no buy-in from the participants or feels forced or trite. I think we've all been there. But team-building done right, it can an be incredibly uniting and energizing. That's what today's episode is about. I'm a huge fan of the TV show, Transparent. If you haven't seen it. It's on Amazon. It was created by Joey Soloway.JOEY: I remember as I was an up-and-coming filmmaker, somebody told me a story about Quentin Tarantino. When he first arrived on the first-day of Reservoir Dogs...I think it was a grip who was there and he said he came outside. They were building a stage there and he came outside and the camera truck had pulled up. They opened the back-doors and they pull out the tailgate and he jumped up on the tailgate and he ran inside and he's like give it to me! Give it to me! Give it to me! And somebody was like, here...And he took the camera on got out on the tailgate and he took the camera like Simba. He was so excited to take the camera and go fill it with images. So that made me never really want to do that but it did make me want to give a speech from a tailgate. And the first day of the second season (of Transparent) was the day that Marriage Equality passed and so then we were just like, the camera truck happened to be there. So I got up there and said something about Marriage Equality and then we just kind of took turns. Different people wanted to get up and say something. And then it became a tradition where every morning we stopped using a tailgate and started using a big apple box and putting it in the center of wherever we were. So all the actors were get ready. They would all have gone through hair and makeup and be ready to shoot. And before we would go to the set, we would all just start going...box, box, box, box, box. And people would start to gather and clap and say box and the whole crew...like every single person would come and stand in the circle around the apple box and people would take turns talking about whatever they were going through. Sometimes it was good stuff like, my kid got a scholarship or sometimes it was like bad stuff like my wife has cancer and it would connect everybody so much. Even if we were wasting time that morning by box going so much longer than anybody planned for or budgeted for or scheduled for, it always made the day go faster cause we all were so heart-connected. And normally the pieces of a machine on a movie, somebody's like, that's not my fault. That's the AD's fault. That's the grip's fault. People were always throwing each other under the bus and then once we started doing box you're not throwing anybody under the bus anymore cause you know there wife has cancer.ZAK: Yes. So much is happening with box. You're decentralizing the leadership. You're connecting. This is something where you don't have to be making TV shows to practice box. I can do it with my family tomorrow morning. I can do it at work.JOEY: Totally. And then like prioritizing wasting time which is amazing. And that would be my favorite time where people couldn't really stand it anymore because we were wasting too much time. I truly believe it actually makes a better product. So, when other people were like, we're running out of time, you can be thinking that this time, that nobody thinks we deserve that is past the amount of time that we've all decided was the right amount of time to spend on love is now the most important time. Just to tolerate the emotion of feeling present to one another and the gratitude that we're making art.
4 minutes | 25 days ago
Shipping Cookies with Darian Muka
Darian Muka is a baker and marketer in NYC. Perfecting Chocolate Chip Cookies with Michelle Ganley.To offer your own FOOD FRIDAY advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: ZAK: I hope your week has been above average, and I hope it gets better with today's Food Friday advice.DARIAN: I'm Darian Yuca. I'm a slightly above average baker.ZAK: Granted, I haven't eaten Darian's baked goods, but calling herself a slightly above average baker has got to be a gross understatement. She told me she has 12 kinds of flour in her cabinet!DARIAN: Well, I don't eat a lot of my own baked goods. I'm not really a sweet person. I really like making them. That's probably why I make a lot of bread. And also my partner has like really bad teeth. So he doesn't like sugar. So we don't really eat a lot of this stuff I bake. So anybody that will take it, I will either send it or walk it to that person.ZAK: And that's what we're here to talk about today. One of the ways in which Darien preps her care packages.DARIAN: Yeah. So anything that's like super soft, um, will harden with air. So when you're shipping it, you want to have something that will release moisture in order to keep the cookie moist. So I put slices of apple inside anything with soft cookies. Um, the apples look absolutely disgusting when they get to the person, but the cookies are really soft. So, um, the apples will like, yeah, they'll shrivel up and your cookies will stay nice and moist. So you have to like warn someone. Cause it's not fun to get like a shriveled apple as like here, I bought you some cookies, but yeah, the, the cookies take away the moisture from the apple. That's like slowly releasing. So they stayed nice and moist, I've done it over like a three to four day shipping period. So it's like, it stays good for a while.ZAK: First of all, it's very nice of the apples they're giving their life to these cookies. But so, so your cookies are in the same bag as the slices?DARIAN: Yeah. You have to put them like directly in the box. Try not to have them touch the cookie because then that part of the cookie will get really moist, like kind of wet. So you want it to like be in the box, but try to like move them to the sides so that they're sharing the same air, but they're not actually touching the cookies. Actually. You couldn't do that like normal in your house too. If you want to keep cookie soft and they're out and they're already baked, just drop, um, Apple slices in, they sell like, um, little discs that are, I don't think they're terracotta, but they're usually used to make Brown sugar moist so that doesn't harden over time. Those work the same. They're a little disk that you can buy, but if you're not trying to buy anything, Apple slices are the exact same thing.ZAK: And the cookies won't take on any of the apple properties?DARIAN: Nope. Um, I'm trying to think if there's like, I'm sure you could do this with another fruit. If someone was allergic to apple and have to have the same, like texture and moisture levels and apples. So I would try like a pear. I'm trying to think if there's...the only thing that's coming to my brain, that would be the same, like consistency.
3 minutes | a month ago
Making Your Needs Known with Beth Pickens
Beth Pickens is a Los Angeles-based consultant for artists and arts organizations and the author of Make Your Art No Matter What: Moving Beyond Creative Hurdles (Chronicle Books, 2021) and Your Art Will Save Your Life (Feminist Press, 2018). TRANSCRIPT: ZAK: Just saying the word...need, gives makes me hesitate a bit. Instead of coming out and telling someone, I need your help, I usually modify to, I could use your help. But, thanks to today's guest, Beth Pickens, I'm working on being more forthcoming with my needs.BETH: I think we have to always tell people everything that we need because we all float around we're just little children masquerading as adults...just assuming that nobody needs anything and we're the only ones with needs and we have to get rid of those needs or diminish them. But we all need emotional support.ZAK: What's a way that we can practice giving and asking for help?BETH: I like to do everything starting with a quantity. Just quantifying it. A goal of, I'm gonna ask for three things this week that are directly related to my creative practice. And here's what those needs are gonna be and here are some appropriate people I think I could ask. And I'm just gonna practice on the asking. I have no control over the outcome. Then I'm gonna avail myself three times to people. Maybe I'm asked for something or maybe I offer something or I connect with another artist friend and say, this is the kind of help I need right now. What kind of help do you need right now? Let's help each other find it.ZAK: And not necessarily a one-to-one where the help you're offering you're getting back from the same person?BETH: Right. Cause maybe the things you ask for maybe you don't know how to give or you don't have that resource to give. Or maybe the person you're asking for something from, they have a different thing to reciprocate with. Cause we all have different things to offer. Some are universal but many are very different. And we always have to identify, who do we ask...How do we match the ask, the request to somebody's who's appropriate. Rather than I'm gonna try to ask this person for emotional support who I know cannot or will not give it. But if I try hard enough, I can prove that I won by going to the hardware store for a gallon milk. They don't have it to give. So we have to think about who are we going to for which things and one person cannot meet every need which is the fallacy of marriage and modernity.ZAK: Totally. It's kind of like a creativity time-bank you're describing.BETH: Yeah, very much so.
5 minutes | a month ago
Re-Entering a Project with Beth Pickens
Beth Pickens is a Los Angeles-based consultant for artists and arts organizations and the author of Make Your Art No Matter What: Moving Beyond Creative Hurdles (Chronicle Books, 2021) and Your Art Will Save Your Life (Feminist Press, 2018). To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BESTTRANSCRIPT: ZAK: I love a specialist. That's how I'd describe Beth Pickens.BETH: So, I essentially counsel artists. I went to school to be a therapist. I only work with artists and I've been talking recently with artists about how to re-enter a project or something that you have been avoiding for a long time. And you have a lot of fear about. It's a thing that comes up for artists when somebody has like a durational project, a book or an album, or some big thing that they're doing. Sometimes, you know, after the honeymoon phase wears off, it can be hard to sustain that marathon nature to keep going through it. Especially if you don't have somebody waiting for it, if you don't have a deadline or accountability. Um, and so, what will happen is a person maybe will retreat from the long durational project. And then it will start to build into something in their mind that they become afraid of, but they can't get back to, and it becomes this big mental block about, I want to finish that. I'm afraid of it. I don't know how. It's impossible. It becomes this sort of cycle of self-defeat. And so I will often work with clients to help them re-enter, kind of tiptoe back into the water of a big project that they've lost the honeymoon limerence feelings for, but they really are committed to.ZAK: How do you tip toe back?BETH: We start really simple. You start with just like 15, 20 minutes. Just planning to be in the project for 15 or 20 minutes. And I'll often recommend that people actually just kind of go into the world they're creating and turn the lights on. So if it's a manuscript, for example, or if it's a body of music to go first and just inhabit it, read everything they have. listen to everything that they have and do that about four or five times, just for 15 minute increments, maybe once a week, maybe a few times a week, to first just to re-inhabit the universe and let it come alive in your subconscious. Because so often for a big project, the solutions that artists come up with happen when they're not sitting in front of the computer, when they're in the midst of it, it's like when they're on a walk, when they're washing the dishes, when they're doing something else, they can have an idea of, this is where I can go next. Not necessarily a breakthrough, it doesn't have to be that big, but it can be just an indication of this is a next step. So we start with really tiny increments and then celebrating that as an achievement, like telling an artist friend right before you do it and then telling them right after you do it and celebrating, just re-entering, tip-toeing back into the water. And that sort of breaks the myth that seal of I can't do it. It's impossible. There's no way back in. It's just by slowly reentering and not doing it with a ton of pressure that I have to go in and finish it or figure it out. Cause I think that's not realistic. And it's a mean thing to expect of oneself.ZAK: Yeah. I love this two-part process.BETH: Oh yeah. Having somebody outside be like that big congratulations. You can do it again, but for today you're done. You don't have to do that again today.
5 minutes | a month ago
Quit Future-Tripping with Stephanie Wittels Wachs and (Harris Wittlels)
Stephanie Wittels Wachs is the co-founder of Lemonada Media, host of Last Day and author of best-selling memoir Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss. Harris Wittels (April 20, 1984 – February 19, 2015) was an American comedian, writer and podcast. His book is Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty. TRANSCRIPT: ZAK: Whoa, I just realized this. Today is the one -year anniversary of The Best Advice Show. We are more than 250 episodes in. Here's to another at least 250. In honor of this one-year celebration I would love to your advice. Give me a call on the hotline at 844-935-BEST. Ok, lets get to today's show.I never met Harris Wittels but in my mind, we were dear friends. I get the feeling he had the effect on people. Even if you've never heard his name before, you've you've probably laughed at Harris' jokes. He was a writer on Parks and Rec. and the Sarah Silverman Program, Master of None and Eastbound and Down. He also hosted one of my all time favorite podcasts, Analyze Phish, in which harris, who loved Phish more than most things, spends hours and hours trying to get his co-host, Scott Aukerman, to like Phish too. The band Phish I'm talking about. Harris also invented a word. Before harris, we didn't have a word for an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud. Yes, the humblebrag. We have harris to thank for that. Today is 4-20. Harris' birthday. Harris Wittels was born on 4-20. That this is a fact makes the world worth living. Harris died in February of 2015 when he was just 30. Since that time, Harris' sister, Stephanie, has flown her younger brothers flag. In the wake of his overdose, she started a podcast, Last Day in his honor and subsequently she co-founded a media company called Lemonada which recons with the messy, ugly, hilarious, painful parts of living so very well. And so, today, on Harris' bday, I'm here to talk to Stephanie about just one of the many pieces of advice Harris left us. STEPHANIE: He used to say quit future-tripping. And one of our dear friends from high school got that tattooed on his arm. And its become this kind of mantra for a bunch of very high strung, anxious, neurotic people. And I think what it means is that very cliched, like, live in the moment and you can't control what happens tomorrow. So I love that advice and I have internalized and tried to abide by that as much as possible. There's been a lot of things that have happened to me in the past 5 years, 6 years that, you know, pre-COVID, that would have caused me to future-trip...have caused me to future-trip.ZAK: What does your future-tripping look like?STEPHANIE: Oh, it's movies in mind. I direct them. Star in them. Produce them. Sound-design them. Edit them. They are sprawling. There are multiple sequels and I can just really get caught up in anxiety. I have very intense anxiety. I'm medicated for it. God bless medication. But, I can seriously spiral out on if this, then this and it's not real. It's not steeped in reality. It's steeped in my version of reality. It's steeped in a lot of fear and for me fear is about everything that we can't control. Everything that's unknown. And the thing about life is, it's all unknown! It is all unknown. I am talking to you right now...in five minutes, I have no idea what's gonna happen. I can predict based on prior experience living my life everyday but I truly do not know. So, that's what it looks like for me.ZAK: Next time you're getting ahead of yourself. Directing movies in your mind. Just think of Harris and his advice. Quit future-trippin'. If you don't know Harris' work, give him a Goog. He was one of the greats. You can listen to Stephanie's podcast, Last Day, wherever you hear The Best Advice Show. Thanks, Stephanie.
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