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!
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!
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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 nonbinary 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!
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 shtick 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!
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.