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Have you guys heard of Dax Shephard’s podcast, Armchair Expert?  Well, in case you haven’t, I’m here to tell you how awesome it is.  Dax Shephard is half of the amazing combo with Kristen Bell (this Kristen Bell).  And they’re just so stinkin’ cute.   I just played that video for the boys (Jake LOVES giraffes and elephants, so I thought they’d get a kick out of it – also, it helped pull Jake out of a grumpy mood, haha), and I just fell in love with them all over again.  I also realized that Jake needs to go to Africa someday to chase giraffes.

Since I started listening to AE, I like them even more.  And now there’s also Monica Padman to love.  Although Dax and Monica chat with mostly fellow artists of various mediums (actors, producers, writers, etc.), they also have “expert on expert” podcasts where they talk to someone that has expertise in any given area.

I love that the premise of the podcast is just to have open and frank conversations with people.  It’s to increase communication and dialogue, and it really allows you to get to know people you’ve seen on screen for years in a different way.  They become almost like you and me: I realize that Mila Kunis has some of the same challenges in motherhood that I have, so by extension, Mila and I could easily be BFF’s.

The last part of the podcast is the “fact check” with Monica – and it’s one of my favorite parts of the podcast.  This part is done in post-production, and Monica and Dax go through and fact-check some of the stuff that came up in the interview portion of the podcast.  It’s really great to hear Monica and Dax work through disagreements – it’s always a very civilized conversation and they both try really hard to understand where the other person is coming from.  I think this is also one of their ultimate goals in doing this podcast: showing by example how to work through differences of opinion but with love and understanding.  I also have found myself laughing out loud more than once during the fact check.

Speaking of laughing out loud: the commercials.  I’ve never laughed so much at commercials (and probably never at audio only ones).  Although  most of the stuff they advertise is way out of my price range (I’ve checked almost everything, they sell it all pretty well!).

Just a heads up that these are definitely not kid friendly – so don’t go listening to them in the car with children present.

I haven’t caught up on all of them, but here are some of my favorites so far and why:

  • Ted Danson (“TD”): TD talked about his parents a little, and I loved hearing about how exceptional his parents where and how that made his childhood that much more interesting.  I’ve seen that with a couple guests who speak so admiringly of their parents, and it really makes me want to do something extraordinary with my life, just so my kids can say “my mom was amazing..she was/did blah blah blah and accomplished x/y/z.”  Also, Ted Danson just sounds like an amazing human being.
  • Rob McElhenney: the actor and show runner for Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  They have some pretty hilarious conversations about the male physique (watch this video from the finale of Always Sunny if you want to see what Rob’s physique can do), but I love where Rob says that his favorite thing ever is when his son says “hey dad, I have a question.”  I find this to be so true.  Jake, at 5 years old, is so inquisitive about the way things work and why things are the way they are, and I absolutely love his curiosity.  And I love when Jeff or I get to explain something to him.  Or when we get to do an experiment to figure something out.  Rob follows that up by saying how kids ruin your life, haha.  The point he makes, and I would agree, is that they ruin the life you had before them.  Life after children is so completely different than the life you had before.  To balance things out, Dax spends a lot of time in other episodes talking about why having kids is so great.
  • Mike Schur (“MS”):  There were a couple things that really spoke to me on this episode.  One, MS talks about how his dad became an attorney because there was no money in the field he has then studying (linguistics).  His dad was never happy being an attorney but practiced it his whole life anyway.  The one thing his dad told him not to become was an attorney.  It makes me think a lot about where I am in life and the situation I find myself in because I did go to law school.  This will be a separate blog because Jeff and I recently had a really good conversation about this topic and how we don’t want to be sixty looking back and regretting the things we didn’t do because of the things we did do.  The other thing MS talks about is people that have won the “genetic lottery” by being born as a white male in a middle/upper class home, with two parents (or whatever the case is).  When I was working at Starbucks after college (right before going to law school), I worked with someone who I would say was a tad racist.  When he found out I was half-Guatemalan, he told me I won the genetic lottery because I look white and not Hispanic.  At the time, my friends and I were outraged that he would say such a thing.  As years have gone by, however, that phrase has popped up in my mind more than once and I’ve realized that in a lot of ways, he was right.  Although I don’t view it in the positive light that he probably did,  I do often wonder how my life might be different if my name was Alejandra instead of Alexandra (as my mom had intended), or if my skin resembled my mom’s olive tone rather than my dad’s.  I feel, sadly, that my job opportunities would have been different, and that my social circles would have been different as well.  And I would probably be a totally different person.
  • Jason Bateman: Maybe the funniest one for me so far.  Plus, Jason mentions Arrested Development a lot – which I LOVE!  And generally…I might have fallen a little in love with him.  Is that too weird of a note to end on?

Just in case it is, here’s something random to end on.  A couple years ago we started planning meals for the week – and it was such a game changer for our week nights.  If I can plan meals on the weekend, and buy all my groceries by Sunday, we’re guaranteed to eat better and to not spend as much eating out.  But, you know me…I need something to keep me organized…and to make lists upon lists.  I found this great meal planner on Rifle Paper Co. (I’m also really into all things floral lately, so that helps).  I used my handy hot glue gun to attach a giant magnet to the back of it, and keep it on my fridge.  The left side lists my meals for the week, and on the right side I can add things throughout the week that I need to get on my following run.

I hope you’ll start listening to AE – then I won’t be the only one I know singing “He’s an armchair expert….” to myself all the time…

Happy listening!