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.
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?
Cohost J here. `I finally got around to seeing the latest Addams Family movie, because it’s one of my most favorite franchises ever (the first two live action movies from the 90s are in my top 5 list). Imagine my surprise and delight to see that the entire plot of the new The Addams Family movie centers around interior design and one overbearing interior designer/TV hostess! Margaux Needler, voiced by Allison Janney, is the host of Margaux’s Design Intervention, and she wants everything to be the same. In fact she’s trying to sell units in an entire town called Assimilation, New Jersey…except that the Addams clan doesn’t fit in.
She offers Morticia a free home makeover, and–spoiler alert–the house does wind up pink, but its evil spirit winds up shrugging off the Margaux-esque hue pretty quickly, and Morticia stands by her funeral home-Victorian style.
Tag for love on this iconic property hinging entirely on interior design! Can you tell who this villainess reminds us of, in her quest for every home to be the same style?
Three snaps for a foiled design intervention!
Since we are days away from a new year, everyone in the design industry is making their predictions for the hot colors of 2020. And these are definitely NOT hot colors, in that once again, for ANOTHER year, we have a lot of pastels and washed-out colors. Case in point, paintmasters Benjamin Moore, who give us not one but TEN pastel shades. Except for Cushing Green and Blue Danube, I for one would be hard pressed to find a spot in my home which would accommodate these colors.
And for the record, First Light is the color of the year, following up on last year’s Coral Reef.
Guess how I feel about this! Haven’t we done this, for, like, five years now? Is there anything new out there? How about a return to Gen X beige for a change?
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.
This month, we try out the savory stuffed waffle recipe from the August 2019 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, and Chef Tim goes for a sweet option too. This month’s signature cocktail is a “Stoned Rita Moreno” – a peach and plum (stone fruit, get it?) frozen margarita. Bonus: we do it shirtless! Listen to the full August 2019 episode on your podcast feed or here for more shirtless silliness! Recipe prep by Tim Lawton. Music by Bensound.com.
We’re in the summer doldrums (but savoring them) so we’re going shirtless for this episode!
It’s summer, time to live it up! 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 half naked 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?
Sooo…Pottery Barn unveiled its new “Friends” line this week.
And as we’ve discussed, everyone in the 90’s was watching Friends. It’s just what you did on a Thursday night.
Of course, this line of new products (including a Monica-esque apothecary table priced at a whopping $1,099! Seriously, people, have you ever gone to an antique store, or a yard sale?) is mostly powered by the popularity of Friends on Netflix…which is in turn powered by new viewers (aka those Millenials) “finding” the show for the first time.
This is all wrong, on so many levels, IMHO. Reason #1: Despite the fact that Friends had a gay character–Central Perk barista Gunther, who was a secondary character at best–and a transgender character–the show is wildly, datedly homo- and trans-phobic. The running joke of the whole show is that the guys (especially roomies Chandler and Joey) are such good friends–and share a bar of shower soap–that they might be kinda a little gay…and ewww. Let alone the constant “trannie” “jokes” when Chandler’s father is revealed to be transgender.
Reason #2: the whole series was predicated on this set-up, as I said in one of our episodes: “Oh, paleontologist Ross, you nerd. You’re in love with an airhead who can’t hold down a job. Just stop being nerdy and be dumb with the rest of us.” Big Bang Theory this was not (oh wait…actually it is.)
Reason #3: the show, like the proffered pillow and mugs, was super white. There is ONE purple pillow, however.
Reason #4: this product line feeds into the flawed thinking that the 90’s were a simpler, easier time. Before mass shootings and 9/11 and climate change and FOMO, there was this idyllic time when people with no discernible income (except for that paleontology salary) could afford to live in a massive downtown loft without having to worry about how “woke” they are (not) to the plight of other communities. They could enjoy their privilege without any worries at all! The 90’s had their moments (the music! the raves! the fall of the Soviet Union!) but it wasn’t all coffeeshops and spying on neighbors. (Another running joke on the show that is now very, very troubling.)
I can forgive anyone who watched Friends in its original run and enjoyed it. Or still enjoy it for nostalgia’s sake. I’m Tagging for Hate all those who are watching it now and enjoying it without irony, and enjoying its datedness. Go support your local Good Will or similar charity thrift shop and buy an apothecary table from them instead of feeding into this PB cash grab.
For more tirade on Friends (and another 90’s staple I didn’t like, not even at the time) you can go back to our “Sidebar” conversation a few months ago.
The water is hot and the ‘bags are already in the cup. It’s time to brew some fresh tea–for TRUTH–with the ten designers offering up their take on “what trends need to disappear forever” in this article on Architectural Digest PRO.
Cohost J. agrees with these experts on:
- Macrame’ – I tried it and returned it to the store. Nope!
- Matchy-matchy furniture
- Waterfall countertops – everywhere and now overdone
- Barn doors – waaaay overdone, and as pointed out, they do not provide any sound barrier so do NOT install one as a bathroom door!
- Accent walls – I’m iffy on this one. They can work, especially if you’re on a budget or in a rental, but a lot of people use them as their decorating default and then stop there.
- Cute neon signs – ubiquitous on Instagram, but never seen IRL (at least, in the Hudson Valley. So when I do see one it will be super outdated.)
- Granite countertops – so 2000’s.
- Mosaic glass backsplashes – so 2000’s Home Depot.
I’m still OK with:
- Edison light bulbs – cute! but in the right settings
- I just don’t know what Robert Couturier is getting at by saying: “Contemporary art collections that have been accumulated with ears rather than eyes.”
This is no shock to our listeners, but I would also add in:
- hanging chairs
- indoor swings
- white on white interiors
- white and rustic wood and more freakin’ white
- ghost chairs
- millenial pink anything
But at least a few of these design pros have validated some of our tags for hate!
Cohost J. here–we were recently approached to be part of a super cool discussion about podcasting and marketing, organized by Overit Media, (LOVE that name) which is based in Albany. Why they thought we were podcast experts, I don’t know (maybe because of the name of our show? As you loyal listeners know, we are anything but expert and loudly proclaim it all the time)! Unfortunately Rob will be out of town during the event, but I will carry on as a guest panelist.
“Using Podcasting in Marketing: Why, How & What Works” takes place on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at Overit Media, 435 New Scotland Avenue, Albany NY. Here’s the official info:
“One-third of the population reports having listened to a podcast in the last month, representing 90 million monthly listeners. With podcast growth surging in the United States, businesses are turning to the medium to attract new audiences, to engage current ones, and to be the signal that breaks through their daily noise.
With so much attention being given to podcast as a hot new marketing channel – you might have questions.
- Should your business have a podcast?
- How do you get started?
- How do you measure results?
- How do podcasts fit into a larger marketing strategy?
Attend this free, informative panel with seasoned podcasters to hear about the highs and lows of podcast marketing with actionable tips on how to get started, what works, and why podcasting deserves a spot in your marketing mix.
- Jeff Ayers, Death Wish Coffee
- Scott Jarzombek, Albany Public Library
- Steve King, A Podcast for Creatives
- J Dewey, Could Be Better
I am very pleased to be a part of this distinguished group. Hopefully I can live up to their expectations.
Free tickets are available via Eventbrite and I’m told it will be livestreamed and available as video afterward. See you there!