Skip to content

Month: October 2016

My Favorite Podcasts

Favorite Podcasts

My name is Rachael Nass. And I am a podcast addict.

Every day, I commute 30-60 minutes to the office and another 30-60 minutes home. Two or three times a week I go on a run. Every so often during work, I am stuck doing mind-numbing data entry or formatting exhibits in Excel. And while I love music and often listen to it while exercising or working, there are times when I just want a little something extra — a story, a history lesson, comedy. Like many people, I don’t get to read as much as I would like to, and podcasts help to fill that void. Here are some of my favorites:

This American Life

As far as I’m concerned, This American Life is the original podcast. My mom used to make sure we were driving somewhere on Sunday mornings just so we could listen to it on the radio. Every week, the show is centered upon one theme and shares stories, from journalism to fiction to stand up, on that theme. The show is expertly done and every episode is interesting. I would know — I’ve heard almost every one, and trust me there are A LOT.


Created by This American Life veteran (and fellow UChicago alum, woot woot!), Sara Koenig, Serial is true crime at its finest, a whodunit full of loose ends that are constantly making you second guess your opinion on who’s guilty. Season one follows the store of Adnan (my personal fave) and season two the story of Beau Bergdahl (PIF’s fave).

The Splendid Table

Another one my mom introduced me to, The Splendid Table is the foodie’s podcast. The endearing Lynne Rossetto Kasper has taught me so much about food and cooking and makes the most complicated dish seem totally doable. Just make sure you have paper and pencil on hand to scribble down recipes.

Fresh Air

Headed by the best interviewer on earth, Terry Gross, Fresh Air features guests from all walks of life and thoughtful interviews. I end every episode with a little note about some book I need to read, movie/show I need to watch, or historical event I need to research more.

Code Switch

If you enjoy thoughtful commentary about issues around race and identity, then Code Switch is for you. A newer addition to the podcast game, NPR’s Code Switch has gotten up to speed very quickly. Episodes cover things from the dearth of Asian-American representation on TV and the Indian accent and always leave you with something to think about.


Headed by the totally lovable Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, RadioLab is totally unique and its theme is hard to pinpoint. Usually, the show explores a story, bringing in experts or weaving in testimony from those who were there. The topics can vary widely, but the shows are clearly carefully put together. Because they’re so carefully thought out, these episodes don’t come often, so this show is better savored than binged.

Planet Money

Econ buffs, rejoice! Non-econ buffs, rejoice, too! Planet Money makes economics easy and fun, exploring the economics of the world around us, including one of my favorite areas of study, behavioral economics. Past episodes have explored the Wells Fargo scandal and how to get a Hermes Birkin bag. The episodes are short and sweet, so expect to binge.

99% Invisible

PIF’s favorite podcast, 99% Invisible, explores everything design. And not just around architecture, but how design plays a roll in everything, from public policy to the products we use to the places we vacation. Plus, host Roman Mars has THE best radio voice ever. (PIF’s favorite episode is about Rajneeshpuram.)

Two Dope Queens

Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson took the world by storm when they began Two Dope Queens, a podcast which features stand up comedians, many of whom are women or people of color. While, admittedly, sometimes a bit #basic, the totally goofy Two Dope Queens is a refreshing change of pace that often makes me laugh out loud on the L.

Sooo Many White Guys

Phoebe Robinson’s gone solo on Sooo Many White Guys in a show that features sooo few white guys. Instead of stand up, as in Two Dope Queens, expect instead casual interviews with women and people of color, like Lizzo and — one of my favorite people — Hasan Mihnaj.

Don’t know where to start? How about this:

My Favorite Podcast App: Pocket Casts ($4.99 in the App Store)

I’m a huge fan of Pocket Casts’ interface. It may be the only app on my phone that never freezes or crashes, and it’s Discover feature makes it super easy to download podcasts or find new favorites. Plus, the jump forward and back feature makes it easy to rewind when someone interrupts your listening.


This post was non-sponsored.


Leave a Comment

The Art of Keeping Cool

This content is created as part of my collaboration with Verlocal as a Verlocal ambassador. Visit to find more ways to enhance your life through cool adventures and unique experiences in your city!

Nervous Texting

There comes a time, or more likely many times, when one is faced with circumstances that try his or her patience, nerves, or confidence. If you’re like me (i.e., a chronic over-thinker with a lot of emotions and/or character flaws, depending on who is talking), these events occur on a rather regular basis.

Throughout my childhood, I was a bully’s dream. I reacted to anything and everything, and vehemently. My intense reactions to stressors were nothing less than self-destructive. As a college student, I realized the error of my ways.


When I was in middle school, my local public library had a used book sale every afternoon. (Actually, they probably still do, but that is irrelevant because this story is set in circa-2004) Quite often, I would stop by on a regular basis and impulse buy as many $1 to $2 books as I had money for.

One such book was called The Art of Keeping Cool.

No, it wasn’t a self-help book. It was some little-known fiction novel. And I actually never read it so this piece is not about what I learned from this book. What it is about is this: The Art of Keeping Cool.

From my 20-some years of experience being part-firecracker, part-Energizer bunny, the most valuable lesson I have learned is The Art of Keeping Cool. I only became a novice in this art in the last, say, 18 months.

(Photo: David Mckee/Shutterstock)

But this skill, and lots of yoga, has been correlated to an immense increase in my own personal happiness and in that of my amazingly tolerant family and friends, who no longer have to spend hours reassuring me that so-and-so was completely out of line or that X is probably not mad at me because I said I was going to that social gathering and then I didn’t go.

I call it, Practicing Perspective (patent pending).

“What the…” you say, as you wonder why you’re taking advice from a neurotic twenty-something.

But, seriously, it works.

Practicing perspective means when you start getting riled up — frustrated, annoyed, angry, embarrassed, disappointed, worried, guilty, etc., etc., etc. — you stop and think:

“Will I care about this in a week? Month? Year?”

keep coolIf the answer is “no” to any of those questions then whatever it is is just not worth stressing over. Practicing perspective means keeping your eye on the big picture and adjusting where your emotional priorities lie accordingly.

It’s a simple method that works wonders. I imagine an incredible amount of hours a day would be more productively spent all over the world if everyone would follow this method.

So just to recap:

In the event of a stressful situation…

1.) Take a deep breath

2.) Think “Will this matter in…”

          a) One week?

          b) One month?

          c) One year?

If no, exhale, and move on.

Don’t spend any further time worrying your pretty (or handsome) little head on it.
Your time can be better spent on worrying about all the things you answered “yes” to for options a, b or c!

Now get off this blog and go enjoy your life!

Leave a Comment

Healthy Halloween Treats


If you want all of the treats but none of the sweets, these Halloween snacks are for you. I love these little guys as a quick, simple, and healthy spread for parties. Plus, they’re kid-friendly and super easy to make for that holiday party you were roped into providing food for.


Banana Ghosts

Mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (make sure they’re kiss shaped)
Regular-sized semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (make sure they’re kiss shaped)

1. Cut bananas in half width-wise.
2. Point side first, push the chocolate chips into the banana. Use 2 mini chocolate chips as the eyes and the regular-sized chocolate chips as the mouth
Note: if your ghosts are having trouble standing up, use melted peanut butter or chocolate at the base. Or lay them on their backs! They’ll still look spooky : )


Ants on a Log

Peanut Butter

1. Cut stalks of celery off of the bunch and into thirds.
2. Smear peanut butter into the “valley” of the celery stalk.
3. Place raisins in a line on the peanut butter



Celery (the leftovers from Ants on a Log work great!)

1. Peel tangerines or clementines.
2. With the leftover celery (either the tops or bottoms of the bunch, if you’ve made the ants on a log), cut little stems and place into the hole on the top of the tangerine/clementine.

Leave a Comment

My Favorite Spot in My Home

Chair with a view

When I first moved into my apartment and was furniture hunting, I noticed a chair in the store window nearby. It was love at first sight. The chair was huge, perfect for snuggling up on, and a super soft gray fabric. For months I passed this store window, debating on the purchase. After all, I had no real need for it, but thought it would go great in my bedroom next to the floor to ceiling windows.

Big Comfy Chair

Finally, after getting my holiday bonus, I decided to commit. The chair wasn’t all that expensive (for a new chair) at around $375. However, I — being a n00b — figured they only had ONE chair and were having trouble selling it. Soooo I gave an insulting offer of $250 and the store owner basically told me thanks, but no thanks. Once the shame wore off a few months later, and I still wanted that big, comfy gray chair, I headed back in, agreed to $30 off, and one week later rolled it from the store to my apartment.

Thai Lantern

I’ve kept this corner simple so that the view can take center stage. Above it, I’ve hung a soft paper lantern my sister brought me from Myanmar. The AMAZING CatStudio Chicago pillow was a gift from my decorative pillow champion of a mother when I went to college (in Chicago, go figure). The side table is actually a refurbished, painted mango wood and metal stool. I got two of these (one for either side of the bed) at local shop that has recently closed (and whose name I can’t remember for the life of me for some reason…). The two differ in how the wood is painted, which I love, because I’ve always been a fan of asymmetry.

Painted Mango Wood Side Table

catstudio Chicago pillow

Long story short, this reading nook perfectly embodies the mentality I’ve been striving to for — surround yourself with things you love. This little reading nook was entirely built out of desire rather than need, but I’ve never regretted the purchase. And while there’s plenty of advice out there that says “don’t wait!,” “take the risk!,” this little corner serves as a reminder for me to practice patience and restraint, so I can get the peace of mind that certainty brings. Hey, maybe slow and steady does win the race after all…
Cozy Chair

Chair  – Coaster (Available in Chicago at Affordable Portables)
Chicago Pillow – catstudio

Leave a Comment