Can you believe May is almost over? Like, holy cow this might have been the quickest month so far in 2015! As sad as I am to say goodbye to my birthday month, I'm also pretty excited but it means I'm about to get another paycheck!

As one of my 26 before 26 goals, I want to participate in a blogger link-up every month, and I thought I'd start with one of my favorites: Franish's Budgeting Bloggers link-up! I've always wanted to share what I purchase each month with y'all, but never could seem to get my act together in time to participate in the link-up. My goals really help me stay on track and I'm excited about starting to more carefully track my shopping (and therefore spending) along with a bunch of other awesome bloggers!

May was an especially broke month with extra bills and payments popping up, so my shopping was especially limited. Kind of lame for my birthday month, but I did purchase three items that I desperately needed and one pretty thing, so that's a win in my book.
what-i-bought-in-may


Ruched High-Waisted Bikini Bottoms from Urban Outfitters -- $42
Embroidered Dolman Top from Gap Factory -- $21
Pointed Ankle Strap Flats in Nude from Forever 21 -- $16
3 1/2" Pixie Shorts in Black from Old Navy -- $20 (on sale from $25!)
Total: $99


The swimsuit bottoms are a replacement for the TopShop pair I bought last summer. I've gained a little more weight I think since last summer, but mostly I decided I wished I'd purchased a ruched pair to begin with because they're more flattering and make me feel more comfortable being out and about in so little clothing!

Am I the only one who seems to always be lacking tops? I went to the outlet mall with my girl gang over the weekend, vowed not to buy anything, and then walked away with just one item: this breezy embroidered top from the Gap outlet. It's the kind of thing I probably wouldn't have ordered online, but having tried it on and considering its value in my current summer closet (see: lacking), I decided to go for it.

I've been needing a replacement pair of nude flats for a while and decided an ankle strap pair would be a fun addition to my closet. I've been especially wanting them to wear with the dress I'm wearing to weddings this year as a summer alternative to the black and red look. I have persistently checked LuLu*s for the last several months, hoping a pair would show up, as I love every pair of shoes I've gotten from them. Forever 21 beat them to it, and I'm really happy with these shoes! You can see me wearing them with my birthday outfit here. As you can tell, they're a little on the yellow-ish side? But I really don't mind because I think the idea of "nude" shoes is so problematic in the first place. Also, if you're interested in these, I recommend sizing up half a size! I am a very true 7 and wish I had just a little more toe room.

These shorts are awesome. I dread shorts shopping like most women, but I decided to randomly try these on one day when I was shopping with Chelsea, not really expecting them to fit. I took in a size 4 and 6, and tried on the 6 first just so I wouldn't be sad at myself if I tried on the 4 first and they were too small. Luckily, the 6 was PERFECT (like, almost scary perfect!) and it put me in the best mood about my body. I don't care too much about the number as long as the item of clothing fits the way it should. I love that I can wear these to work (thank goodness for working in a creative industry because it's too hot in Austin to go all summer without wearing shorts!), and not feel like I'm being inappropriate. I've got hella long legs and was never allowed to wear shorts to school growing up because they never passed the fingertip rule, but these are a great length on me, both in appropriateness and flattering-ness.

I also purchased one of the blue oxford shirts from my wishlist a few weeks ago, the fitted boyfriend oxford shirt from Gap, but there was nothing "boyfriend" about it and I ended up returning it. The fabric was a heavy woven cotton (almost like soft denim?), rather than the breezy, lightweight material I was expecting. I was hoping to wear it with the new black shorts and my favorite Steve Madden sandals, but it was way too fitted (especially in the sleeves!) and not at all summery. I'm pretty bummed because I got the $50 shirt for $7.99 using my $10 Gap Cash and the 40% off sale they were running at the time. It seems like every time I buy something with earned Gap Cash, I end up losing it because I have to ultimately return the item! Womp womp.

That's it for this month, but I'm hoping to add a few more things to my summer wardrobe because I am feeling completely uninspired by my closet lately.

As I mentioned, I'm linking up with Franish and the Budgeting Bloggers! Can't wait to see what all the other ladies bought this month -- be sure to check them out for yourself!

what i bought in may

red-scarf-blue-dress1 red-scarf-blue-dress3 red-scarf-blue-dress7 red-scarf-blue-dress5 red-scarf-blue-dress6
dress: J.Crew Factory (this season's version) // scarf: thrifted Totes // shoes: Steve Madden (similar)

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

When I bought this scarf last fall, this is the outfit I had in mind for it. You know how sometimes a blogger wears an outfit, or you see an outfit on the street, and it just gets stuck in your head? That's exactly what happened with this outfit worn by Kaylee Daily last summer. I mean, those colors just scream summertime happiness! I knew I had to recreate it, so I started hunting for a cute blue dress and a bold red scarf of my own.

Next up for this dress, I think I'll be copying Poor Little It Girl's cute striped outfit!

See another outfit with my favorite scarf here!

summer scarf

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top: Old Navy // shorts: vintage Levi's via Prototype // shoes: Steve Madden (similar) // headscarf: vintage


A couple of weeks ago I was shopping for a breezy, white eyelet top and it wasn't long before I found the perfect one for this summer. Since I've been wearing lots of high-waisted bottoms this season, I loved that this top had the eyelets around the lower torso. And how cute is the scalloped hem?

I actually wore this outfit to our first ATX Blogger Brunch at the beginning of May organized by Personify Austin. I'm super excited for what's in store for Personify Austin, run by Mandy, Ana, and Courtney, three local bloggers who are filling our need of connecting and engaging as a community instead of only interacting behind a screen. If you're in town, be sure to follow Personify Austin on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to stay up to date on upcoming fun, like the Ladies Who Brunch event on June 6! If you're in Austin, I better see you there!

in the eyelet of the beholder

Thanks for all the birthday love, my dears! And without further adieu, my birthday bucket list for the next year...

26-before-26-birthday-bucket-list
photo by Chelsea Laine Francis

I'm so ready to start checking things off the list! If you're curious, check out my 24 before 24 and 25 before 25 lists!

26 before 26

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dress: c/o ASOS (similar) // scarf: Target (similar) // belt: Target // shoes: Forever 21


I made it! I made it to 25! I think what might be most crazy to me is thinking about how 10 years ago I was 15. I had pink hair and I did theatre in my spare time and I listened to a lot of Fall Out Boy. I had big dreams to be the editor of a magazine and to have my voice heard.

Today, on May 21 2015, I have pink hair, I'm the editor of an international wedding website, I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift (okay, and I still listen to a lot of From Under the Cork Tree if we're being honest), and I run this tiny corner of the Internet where sometimes people come and read what I have to say.

What's even crazier is to think about where I'll be in 10 more years. I can't even imagine where I'll be at 30, much less 35, but I can only hope I'll keep making my 15 year-old-self proud.

Hey 25. You're looking pretty good.

t w e n t y f i v e

Whether you've been following this blog for a while or you're new around here, you've probably noticed that I'm real into goal setting and I love a good recap. Since I turn 25 tomorrow (yay!), I figure it's the perfect time to let y'all know how I did on my 25 before 25 birthday bucket list! I did a check-in back in November for my half-birthday that you can check out here, and if you're interested, you can find the original list posted here.
25

As of November 21, I had completed 11 out of 25 goals. Since then, I've completed 8 more, leaving me at 19 out of 25! Here's a little update on those:

02. Make fresh lemonade - Completed on 5/17.
09. Pay off my credit cards - Completed 3/11. Thanks, tax refund!
12. Dye my hair a fun color - Completed on 5/16. I waited til the last minute on this one, but I finally dyed my hair a fun shade of rose gold over the weekend! Better pics tomorrow, but here's a quick 'gram.
14. Do an art project for our home - Completed on 2/22. See a cute, summery pic here!
19. Submit a piece of writing to a zine - Completed on 1/3 and 5/4. My 1/3 submission was published in the Winter '15 issue of Vagina :: The Zine and I'll hear back on the Spring/Summer submission soon!
20. Send out family photo holiday cards - Completed on 12/25. You can see our photo shoot with Briley and the card we sent out here.
22. Meet a feminist icon - Completed on 3/22. I met Sophia Rossi at TxSC and then got to see her again last week for the first stop on her book tour! You can read about meeting her the first time here.
25. Make a chapbook of my poetry - Completed on 5/18 with the help of Briley! More on this coming soon.

And the 6 things I didn't complete:

03. Love the way I look in a swimsuit
04. Run a whole mile without stopping
06. Get another tattoo
07. Write half of my memoir
16. Purchase a real camera and tripod
18. Attend a yoga class

I feel 100% proud and content with checking off 19 goals from my list! All six things I didn't complete were things I actively decided I didn't want to do after all. As life changes, goals shift -- I think it's important not to hold yourself to something that isn't right for you anymore or that doesn't get you closer to the you you're working towards.

Looking at the things I did and didn't accomplish, I put together a 26 before 26 bucket list that I'm really excited to start working on! I'll be sharing that list on Friday, so stay tuned!

For reference, here's my 24 before 24 recap!

25 before 25 | recap

navy-stripes-blazer2 navy-stripes-blazer1 navy-stripes-blazer5 navy-stripes-blazer3 navy-stripes-blazer4 navy-stripes-blazer6
blazer: hand-me-up from my brother // dress: Old Navy // necklace: The Land of Salt // shoes: Old Navy (similar)


I don't know about your circle of friends and bloggers, but everyone I know owns this dress. It's from Old Navy, which means it has a wider shopping appeal. It's linen, so it's perfect for summer. And it's a smock dress; my very favorite trend (see more here) that everyone else seems to be favoring now too!

I've seen this dress styled a ton of cute, summery ways, most of which I, too, have worn since purchasing the dress a couple of weeks ago. (Seriously, I wear it at least once a week because it's so. darn. comfy!) However, I did something a little different with it for work and thought I should share since, you know, that's what I do here on this blog.

How do you take a summery, shapeless, linen dress from weekend to work, you ask? Add a blazer, of course! I wore this outfit (with different shoes -- decidedly I'm not feeling the clogs with this) to a work meeting and got all of the compliments. That's one way to know a look is working for you!

If you're wondering how to style the same dress for play instead of work, I love how Tay, Chelsea, and Jesse styled it!

Do you, too, own this dress? I want to know how you've worn it so far!

that one dress you know everyone has

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shirt: old (similar) // shorts: vintage Levi's via Prototype // shoes: Steve Madden (similar) // backpack: c/o TOMS // sunglasses: c/o TOMS


Though it's been uncharacteristically rainy and cool this spring, summer. is. coming. For once, I'm feeling pretty prepared! I picked up these vintage Levi shorts a couple weeks before TxSC because I figured I'd need them (I didn't; it was freezing and rainy the whole weekend). They are literally the dream shorts I've been searching for for years. I took a lunch break one Friday and ventured to South Congress into my favorite vintage shop Prototype where I walked directly up to these babes, tried them on, and very happily paid the cute shop girl for them. I love when vintage shopping is easy! These are the perfect length -- no riding up my rear like modern high-waisted pairs from Forever 21 and the like. They are made of soft, thick denim that is perfectly worn-in. They hit me exactly at the smallest part of my natural waist and I don't have to fuss with them to keep them in place. Simply, I feel amazing in these shorts and you'll be seeing a lot of them this summer.

Another couple of pieces you'll probably see a lot of this summer are my new TOMS sunglasses and backpack. TOMS Community Director Bethany Joy Clark was at TxSC where she shared her exciting journey of meeting all sorts of humans as she fulfilled her purpose -- her why -- through her work with TOMS. Bethany got her "Oprah moment" when she gifted these amazing waxed canvas backpacks to every attendee ("You get a backpack! And you get a backpack!"). For every backpack purchased through TOMS, a mother is given a safe birth. That's a service I just can't argue with. TOMS' one-for-one model has come a long way since their early shoe-for-a-shoe mission!

I don't know about you, but I tend to want to ditch my purse in the summertime and grab a backpack instead with a book, blanket, and sunscreen for days spent at the park. This bag has a crazy amount of pockets and compartments to hold all your summer necessities.

If you see me this summer, you can pretty much guarantee I'll be wearing some form of this outfit. What's you're go-to summer uniform?

a TOMS and Levi's kind of summer

small-goals-may

It's May! While it is my birthday month, I really like May for some other unrelated and sort of related reasons too. First, summer really sets in during May and I start to get out and enjoy those summer nights where the sun stays out real late and the lightening bugs are everywhere. Second, I like to treat May like a second chance at the "new year" since it's a new age for me. I love a good set of goals (obvi), but January 1 isn't always the most conducive to year-long resolutions. A lot can change between January and May, and year after year I find myself reevaluating the goals I set five months ago simply due to shifting dreams and altered life circumstances.

I'll undoubtedly be writing about goals a lot this month as I break down last year's birthday bucket list and share this year's, but I didn't want to skip over my favorite monthly tradition of setting a few small goals to work on for the next 30 20 days.

Before we get too much further into May (where the heck has this month gone already???), here's what I was up to last month.

1. Give physical therapy a try | done! Post coming soon!
2. Go for at least 1 walk per week | nope. I think I only walked once the whole month. Womp womp.
3. Review Not That Kind of Girl | done! Read it here!
4. Create a media kit | nope. This was lofty for sure.
5. Make Breakfast for Dinner business cards | nope, but I know what I want them to look like now! I just didn't have the money this month to buy them, and I thought making them and not buying them yet would be disappointing.

Two out of five isn't too bad, especially considering I kind of piled it on for April. Here's what's on the docket for May!

1. celebrate me for my birthday | a comment on my recent The Year of the Woman post really stuck with me -- Ella mentioned using birthdays as a reason to celebrate oneself, rather than being celebrated by others. How often do we really take the time to celebrate ourselves? I'm for sure going to use this day for a little self-lovin'!
2. finish up and reflect on my 25 before 25 list | I have just 3 more things to complete to get me to 19/25 (currently I'm at 16/25). (See last update here.) The remaining 6 items are things I either can't do or decided not to do before this birthday. I'll share more details on this soon!
3. get my 26 before 26 list polished and posted | I've been making little changes here and there, but I've got my birthday bucket list almost ready to share with y'all! It's a good one and I'm so excited for the adventure the next year holds for me.
4. take salad to work one day a week | I have mastered a salad that I really love (spring mix + avocado + Italian dressing), now I just need to work on prepping and transporting it!
5. go for a walk one day a week | Dago is so good about consistent physical exercise several times a week. He used to play soccer twice a week, but has sustained a minor injury, so instead he goes for walks. I walked with him around the neighborhood the other evening and it was THE BEST, so I want to try to do it at least once a week!

What are you going to try to do this month?

P.S. I didn't want to count this as a goal because it's DEFINITELY happening, but if you're in Austin this week, come join me at Sophia Rossi's first book tour stop at BookPeople tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7PM! Bring your bestie to celebrate Sophia's new book A Tale of Two Besties, which is an excellent read. If you're not in Austin, be sure to check out her other stops and see her in your nearest city!

may | small goals

podweek3

For a couple of years before we even started our podcast, Dago would play shows around the house and we'd listen on the weekends while we read blogs or did chores. It was so fun to feel like we were hanging out with all of these smart, cool people without having to leave our living room!

While Dago used to do the majority of the podcast-listening and choosing, listening to podcasts has become a fun new source of both entertainment and self-care for me. I spend way too much of my day looking at a screen, so it can actually be nice to listen to something without needing to also watch it (note: this doesn't mean I'm watching any less television, however). I especially enjoy plugging in and catching up on a few episodes while I'm responding to emails at work or doing relatively menial tasks that don't require too much attention.

While you've probably heard of Serial and maybe even checked out some of the shows Dago mentioned in our Q&A from earlier this week, I wanted to share a few of my favorite shows that I think you'll enjoy too!

The Lively Show | Blogger and life coach Jess Lively interviews inspiring humans about their journey in finding happiness and success through living with intention. Every episode is filled with gems you'll want to retweet and tattoo on your brain. Topics range from career to wellness to relationships and more. Even stories that I don't explicitly identify with leave me more understanding, empathetic, and motivated. This is a great show to listen to when you're experiencing self-doubt or you need that extra push to take the next step in the direction of happiness. website | twitter | facebook

Fake Goth Girls | This is a new show by my dear blogging friend Mia and her fellow geek girl Liz about geek culture, pop culture, and lady culture. The hosts are a blast to listen to even when I don't get all the references, and they have me rapidly live-tweeting during my lunch break about all the things I agreed with them about from body positive music to television spoilers. I love the structure of this show and we've even taken some cues from them! Their episodes always end with each host revealing what made them "fake" that week, which is both a cool way to get to know them and a neat commentary on the labels we put on each other (especially women!). | website | twitter | facebook

What's The Tea | This is the first show I ever truly fell in love with and the hosts hold a special place in my heart. Nic and Reg are childhood best friends living in different states who catch up every week with each other and all of us. They talk about Black culture, pop culture, musical theatre, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta. The set-up for the show revolves around each host asking the other "what's in their tea kettle" this week, which makes me feel like I've just sat down in a comfy chair with a mug of hot tea to laugh with my friends. Also, as a side note, Nicole and I are actual twins, which makes listening to WTT even more fun for me. We even share a birthday! | itunes | twitter

Here You'll Hate This | Another new show started by a friend, Here You'll Hate This chronicles the exchange of various pop culture by the hosts that the other is sure to hate. Each week, the pair reconvenes having consumed the film/record/book/etc to discuss their thoughts. Oh, did I mention that the show is hosted by two of the funniest people in Austin? Both Courtney and Tre are improv comedians taking over my city and the world. If you like to laugh and maybe learn about a movie or book you haven't yet absorbed, you'll enjoy this show. | website

For now these shows have been my main listens, but a friend recently tweeted this awesome list of female-hosted pods to me and I'll be checking them out soon! I'll be sure to report back with my best findings. What are your favorite pods? I'm always looking for new shows!

podcasts you should be listening to

podweek2

Tomorrow Dago and I will record our 75th episode of Breakfast for Dinner. We started this adventure a year and a half ago and we haven't looked back since. We've upgraded our equipment and our content, but we're still sharing our thoughts on pop culture, music, television, and current events from our lime green kitchen table in our little apartment in South Austin.

We started this baby as a way to spend more quality time together having awesome conversations about things we cared about. Since then, we've gained a little following and an amazing community that humbles me weekly with their participation in our show and our lives.

Though this blog and Breakfast for Dinner are distinctly different, both hold the purpose of starting conversations. Neither platform can thrive without someone on the other end. Both have taught me so much about making the other medium stronger.

With all of that said, here's what I've learned from podcasting so far:

1. You don't have to know the right answer to use your voice. On several occasions, upon looking at the script together on Tuesday night, I've said something to the effect of "I'm not sure I want to talk about XYZ because I'm not sure how I feel about it yet." It can be scary to talk about something, especially a controversial topic, without knowing where you stand. Every time this circumstance has come up, Dago has encouraged me to go ahead and have the conversation on the podcast because not only is our honesty something our listeners appreciate, but having these complicated conversations is valuable to both my own opinion-forming and that of our listeners. 

2. Having different facets to your personality doesn't make you less authentic. If I'm being honest, I struggle with insecurity when it comes to showing off who I am on our podcast with my blog community. It's not that I'm ashamed of any part of our show or who I am in that space, but I'm a different version of me. On one hand the content of our show is totally different than my blog, but I'm also a co-host on Breakfast for Dinner which means that you're hearing me as a part of the Nic and Dago team, which isn't a side of me you see too often here. It doesn't mean that one version of myself is more authentic than the other, and it doesn't mean that I should hide one side of myself. We're all uniquely complicated humans and no one platform is going to capture all of our beautiful facets!

3. Being respectful and aware goes a long way. Since day one of our show, we've covered current events surrounding issues of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and class. While we are far from being experts on any of these topics, both Dago and I are dedicated to being allies to communities that are oppressed or underprivileged. We may not always say the right thing, but we do always try to come from a place of respect and awareness of our individual privileges and the nuances of the situation. We've been able to engage in some pretty awesome conversations with both friends and strangers because we came with open hearts and understanding minds.

4. Honoring your love language is incredibly valuable. Both mine and Dago's love language is quality time. We love to spend a whole day walking around the mall and talking about stuff or taking a drive and singing really loud together. It re-energizes us to take the time to do something fun together. Having this passion project has made us closer than ever: every week we put in the time to build a script together, structure the show together, and record together. We have a blast doing it and we get to have really cool and even sometimes important discussions as a result. I can't say enough how remarkable it has been to honor our shared love language with this venture that we're truly so proud of. We made something together! And we do it again every week! How cool is that? Plus we've learned a ton about each other along the way, both through the process of podcasting and the conversations we're having on air. I wouldn't trade this time we've spent together working on the podcast for anything.

Is podcasting something you're interested in? Be sure to check out the Q&A with me and Dago to learn more about our experience!

what i've learned from podcasting so far

how to start a podcast


Welcome to podweek here on Writes Like A Girl! A lot of people have been asking me lately about podcasts, both starting them and listening to them, so I wanted to do a little series. All week I'll be sharing podcast-related resources and insights.

To start, I've got a little Q&A for you that my boyfriend and co-host Dago and I put together answering everything you ever wanted to know about podcasting.


Getting Started


Why did you start podcasting?


Dago: I’ve been listening to podcasts for about 7 or 8 years. I was really into sports pods on ESPN Radio because I was a student and didn’t have a lot of time to keep up with things like the latest draft news or whatever. I then started to branch out into different types of podcasts like educational ones, pods that told linear stories, and of course comedy podcasts of which there are so many right now. A few years back I got into a podcast called The Black Guy Who Tips hosted by Rod and Karen, a couple out of Charlotte. They are so freaking funny and have such amazing insights about pop culture and current events. They opened my eyes to a whole new type of podcasting and a bunch of other great shows. The more I listened to them, I was like, “Hey, yeah, I can do that with someone.” My friends and I always entertained the idea of having a soccer-specific podcast, but it never got off the ground because the REAL key to a good podcast is consistency and commitment. Without those, you’re out of luck. 

I had the podcasting bug for a while, and in Fall 2013, I asked Nic if she wanted to start a podcast together. If you’ve ever met us, you probably already know that we pretty much just try to make each other laugh and say ridiculous things to each other all the time. We thought it would be cool to record those crazy conversations and see if anybody cared to listen to them. We’re about 75 episodes in, and I think it’s safe to say there are some very chill people that like listening to our ramblings. 

Nic: The most chill! We both love to laugh and talk to each other (guess it’s a good thing we’re in a relationship, right?), so starting a podcast felt like a productive use of that fun we were having. Without sounding too vain, we were always saying how we should really record ourselves so other people could hear how funny we were. Now we have this thing that people listen to and enjoy, while we still get to hang out every week and have awesome conversations that we might not have otherwise. Our shared love language is quality time, so this passion project has been great fit for us.

How did you come up with your name?


Nic: We thought it made the most sense to name the show something we both loved or words that described us, so we made a long brainstorming list. Though we kept coming back to Breakfast for Dinner, we were almost Milleni-LOLs!

Equipment & Programs


What hardware do you use to record your show?


Since Dago is the expert on our equipment, I'm going to let him take the lead here!

Mixer: Behringer Xenyx Q1202 USB Mixer ($99) | If you’re just starting out this mixer might be too much power for a two-person podcast. It’s got 12 channels -- 4 of which are powered XLR inputs. We like to have in-studio (dining room) guests. This is a perfect mixer for that. At most, we’re running three mics together. We could run 4 no problem. The USB out is super duper helpful because I can just hook up the mixer to my MacBook Pro (MBP), change the settings on my computer, and the mixer serves as the primary audio input. Easy peasy. Also, Behringer makes REALLY great mixers that are easy to use and are powerful enough to make you sound like a professional while not breaking the bank. The problem with this mixer is that they’re no longer sold in stores. Amazon will have some in stock from third party vendors. The Behringer QX1202USB ($129) still is available in stores, and it’s a newer model with new bells and whistles you probably don’t need. You may need it. Idk. Do you, beloved. 

If you want an even simpler setup, there are USB mics that act as great room mics or just for use by one person. My personal fave is Blue Microphone’s Snowball.

Mics: PG48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone ($40) | I’m a big fan of these mics. My only gripe is that they’re very sensitive to movement like moving the mic stand or hitting the table. Higher-end Shure mics won’t have this issue, and they might have a warmer, fuller tone. Unless you’re an audiophile that might not matter to you.  I’m a big Shure fan, but I’m s(h)ure you can find suitable mics with other companies. ALSO, in order for services like Stitcher to get your show to people quickly, your audio might not be at the standard that you export it at.

Mic Stands: On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand ($13) | They are mic stands, and they hold our mics. They have never dropped our mics. They are good mic stands. 

Fuzzy thingies: Bluecell 5-Pack Handheld Stage Microphone Windscreen Foam Cover ($2) | These are great for cutting out some of the popping noise that comes with saying your Ps, protecting your mic, and you can rub your face on them ALL DAY LONG. [Exhibit A]

What software do you use to record your show?


Dago: We use GarageBand. It can be intimidating at first for someone just getting use to it, but it’s actually pretty easy to use. Since high school, I’ve dabbled in more complex audio recording software like Cakewalk, and to be perfectly honest, I prefer GarageBand. Especially when you’re trying to get something recorded and out the door quickly, GB is #1. 

How do you edit your show?


Dago: GarageBand makes everything pretty easy for us. We like to take breaks between segments to gather ourselves and talk some stuff out. GarageBand makes it really easy to just snap the segments together. 

If you’re on a Microsoft computer, and you’re being all like, “WHAT ABOUT MY NEEDS, DAGO?” Well, I suggest using Audacity. It’s free, easy-to-use, and it’s the preferred software for a lot of my podcasting buds. 


Where do you host your show?


Dago: We use Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 (Simple Storage Service). AWS is one of the largest cloud storage services in the world. It’s incredibly affordable and reliable. We’ve never had server issues, and we’ve been doing this for almost two years. The amount you pay every month will vary on how much storage you’re using and the amount of file transfers you make. The first 5GB are free, I believe. I like AWS because it makes figuring out how many downloads we have every month pretty easy. It just takes a little math. We also pay for a mid-level subscription to Soundcloud. It limits us to 6-hours of content to the site, but we like to use it as a place for new listeners to try out our show before they subscribe on another service. They could also just stick around on Soundcloud. 

Our way is definitely a more hands-on approach than you may prefer to take. PodOMatic is an option for a crew that may want some of that back end work done for them. There are several other services I’m not entirely familiar with, but they exist. Soundcloud has also just unveiled a new RSS feed feature for content creators. It may really change the game for podcasters, and it’s exciting. 

How do you get your show on iTunes?


Dago: There are a lot of great tutorials online about how to create an .XML file for your podcast’s RSS feed and uploading that to your server space so services like iTunes and Stitcher can distribute the podcast to their users. If you have a little HTML experience, it’s a lot like building a table in HTML. 

Tutorials:
Chris Linford (this is my fave)

At the end of the day, there are tons of different kinds of ways to record and distribute your show. My advice is find the best fit for you and your audience.

Content & Creativity


How did you decide how to structure your show?


Nic: We definitely took different aspects from shows we loved. We love podcasts that get into deep conversations in the heart of the episode, but keep it light on either side by playing games or including segments that are intentionally lighter. We’ve also changed up the structure of our show over the course of the last year and half as we decide things make more sense. For instance, we recently moved our “Stories” section of the show to the beginning where we talk about what happened during the week. Then we go into talking about television from the last week, our Question of the Week that involves community participation, Song of the Week, and a silly game to finish out the episode.

Dago: When I got into shows like The Black Guy Who Tips, Insanity Report, and Where’s My 40 Acres, it really opened my eyes about what podcasts could be. It wasn’t just about being informational, educational, or a vehicle for punditry. It could be fun, irreverent, and warm. I think that’s the spirit of our show. The little segments we have are definitely inspired from other shows we love and the conversations we have, but the purpose behind the structure of the show if to allow us enough freedom to be creative while maintaining the mirage that we know what we’re doing. 

Where do you find interesting topics?


Nic: We both follow lots of news sources on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with current events, both serious and silly in nature. A lot of our news comes from sites like Jezebel, Gawker, Death and Taxes, Refinery29, etc.

How do you decide what to talk about each week?


Dago: We usually talk about stories we find most interesting the day prior to recording. We’re sit in the living room and go through our communal Google Doc where we save all of our fave stories from the week. Some make the cut for the show, and all of them go in the companion material we post at bfdpod.com.

Is there anything you won't talk about on the show?


Nic: This is a tough one. When I was still working at the domestic violence hotline, I really struggled with some of the tougher topics in the news. We decided to draw a line and not discuss domestic violence, child abuse, etc. on the show for the sake of our own hearts. I’m not sure if there’s anything other than that that we explicitly won’t talk about?

How do you get people to listen to your show?


Dago: NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK. “If you build it, they will come,” only applies to ghost stories about dead, dead baseball players. (Editor’s Note: Nicole is pretty sure no one will get this reference.) Find other like-minded pods that you can connect with locally or even nationally, and go on each other’s shows. Share each other’s links. Have discussions online and offline. If it isn’t obvious already, podcasters LOVE to talk. It’s how the whole thing works.

Nic: Yeah, it’s just like blogging: putting energy into your community means your community will put energy into you.

Personal


What has been the hardest part about podcasting?


Dago: Staying consistent has been the hardest part for me. Early on, when you’re preoccupied with what you’re doing or saying or worried about whether or not anyone is listening to begin with, it’s easy to get down on yourself and quit. But, it’s like with any creative pursuit, you’ve just gotta keep pushing along the best you know how and with the resources available to you.

The most surprising?


Nic: For me it’s been the community we’ve found. With blogging, people comment on each other’s blogs and you can click through to comment back and start a friendship. I just didn’t see that happening with podcasting, but we have made some really fantastic friends through this medium, some we connect with over Twitter and email or through shout outs on our shows, and some we’ve even met in person!

How has sharing a podcast affected your relationship?


Dago: We’ve become even more powerful than ever before. Not even the Avengers could stop us tbh. 

Nic: I know he’s being facetious, but podcasting really has brought us so much closer together. We’re both very independent people, but having this project has put us very much on the same wavelength and we’re more connected than ever.

Have you ever said something on the show you regretted later?


Nic: Once in a while I’ve said things on the show that I wished later I could have worded differently. You know, in the moment, things don't always come out quite the way you mean. The other thing that I sort of jokingly regret is admitting that I thought (and still think) the lyrics to Wanna Be A Baller are “shacalla” instead of “shot-caller.” I’ll never live that down.

Dago: I regret being so hard on online dating. Luckily, our listeners and Nic reeled me in. 


How do you deal with negative responses to your show?


Nic: We aren’t big enough to have had a lot of experience with this, but we recently got an email that sort of rubbed us the wrong way. We talked about it a lot and ultimately decided not to address it on the show because we want this to be a positive space. However, when we receive constructive criticism about the show, whether something we’ve discussed or the structure, we usually address it in the feedback segment at the end of the show.

How did you find a community in the podcast world?


Dago: Twitter was/is a great resource for finding new shows. I just started following the hosts and just kinda jumped into conversations that were going on. It took a while, but we’ve built a really nice podcast fam out of interactions we’ve had on Twitter. Stitcher is a wonderful resource for finding new shows similar to your own. Their discover function has introduced me to a lot of great podcasts and creative folks out in the digital wilderness. 

What’s the one thing you would tell someone who is thinking about starting a podcast?


Dago: Be honest with yourself and your audience. The one thing that doesn’t transfer well to podcasting is being disingenuous. People who listen to podcasts want to hear YOUR side of a story or opinion. Being who you think someone wants instead of who you really are will hurt you from the start. Oh, also, do your research. 

Nic: Just start and don’t stop. It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s also not going to be anything until you press record and put it out into the world. You don’t have to be an expert to create something really wonderful.

So there you have it! Everything you ever wanted to know about starting a podcast. Did we leave something out? Ask in the comments below! And be sure to check back in tomorrow to read what podcasting has taught me so far.

everything you ever wanted to know about starting a podcast

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