Guest Pod Post: Kristen Meinzer from the BY THE BOOK Podcast

Pod pals, please welcome Kristen Meinzer to the blog! Kristen wears many different podcast hats and she’s hopped on the blog to share more about By the Book, which is proclaimed “half reality show, half self-help podcast, and one wild social experiment.Welcome back, Kristen!



Four years ago, my friend Jolenta Greenberg and I launched a reality show podcast called By The Book. In each episode of the show, we live by the rules of a different self-help book for two weeks straight while recording ourselves at home, at work, socializing with our friends, and navigating our respective worlds—so listeners can get a glimpse of how each book enhances or destroys our lives. Over the years, we’ve done things like move traffic with our minds (while living by The Secret), introduce ourselves to strangers (while living by How To Win Friends and Influence People), and volunteer our time with causes we care about (for A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance). 

But when the pandemic hit, the question arose: How can we live by self-help books when we’re no longer going to work? Or socializing in our normal ways? What happens when we’re mostly trapped at home. Will anyone want to listen to us live by self-help books when almost everything we record is confined to our own four walls? Fortunately, there are plenty of self-help books that are focused on aspects of home life, and we’d already considered having a whole season around the theme of hearth and home. COVID just pushed us to make that idea into more of a plan. 

And so we lived by The New Plant Parent, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, and other books that encouraged us to find a sense of connection and happiness in our apartments. We lived by books that promised to improve our cooking and home decor. And by the end of the season, we even lived by books that challenged us to entertain (even if the only people we were entertaining were our husbands) and fall in love with our neighborhoods (even if we couldn’t fully engage with them in the ways we used to). 

Throughout the season, we were thrilled to hear from listeners who said By The Book helped them to feel less claustrophobic in their homes (especially compared to me and Jolenta, in our little Brooklyn apartments). They told us that they felt less alone in their daily frustrations, hearing me and Jolenta do things like fight with our husbands over our shared spaces. And even the folks who wrote in at the beginning of the season to say “books about the home aren’t really about self-improvement,” wrote back at the end of the season to say, “I was wrong, you helped me to feel a greater sense of peace during these unprecedented times.” 

Next season we have a completely different theme for the show. We’re guessing some of our listeners will, again, be a bit skeptical when they hear what it is, but we’re also certain that they’ll come around to see that we’re capable of finding joy in all sorts of unexpected ways—and unexpected times.  


Thank you, Kristen! And listeners, make sure to catch the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever else you feed your podcast addiction. You can find out more about the show at and on Facebook. Plus, follow the pod on Twitter at @bythebookpod.

S4: E2 New Year, Same Us (feat. Emily Prokop of E Podcast Productions)

Hurray for 2021! We’re happy to help you kick off a new year with plenty of podcast recs. Keep reading for all the deets!

In the (Podcast) News

BYOP (Bring Your Own Podcast)

Alex gushed about Floodlines, a show from The Atlantic that delves into the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the long lasting repercussions of the governmental response to this natural disaster. A quick description of the show:

Some call it Hurricane Katrina. Some call it the Federal Flood. Others call it the day the levees broke. On August 29, 2005, the city of New Orleans was submerged. That story of hubris, incompetence, and nature’s wrath is now etched into the national consciousness. But the people who lived through the flood and its aftermath have a different story to tell. A story of rumors, betrayal, and one of the most misunderstood events in American history.

What we discussed:

  • Produced by magazine and multimedia company The Atlantic
  • Hosted by Vann R. Newkirk II, a senior editor at The Atlantic who writes on politics, race, and healthcare policy
  • Highly produced, eight-episode series combining a range of perspectives and interviews
  • Released in March 2020
  • Each episode last about 30 minutes, except the 1-hour long final episode
  • Recommended for EVERYONE, but Alex found it a very enlightening listen as a young millennial who was a tween/teen during the initial crisis—listen for a nuanced view that explores the intersections of governmental action and inaction, ethics around media and news reporting, and everyday Americans’ responses to the unimaginable.

Calendar Corner

  • January 1st: New Year’s Day
  • January 2nd: National Science Fiction Day
    • For all things Sci-Fi, check out Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy from Wired. Guests have included Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Richard Dawkins, Wil Wheaton, Bill Nye, Margaret Atwood, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
  • January 4th: National Trivia Day
  • January 10th: National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
  • January 15th: Bagel Day
  • January 18th: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
  • January 28th: Data Privacy Day
    • Reply All is all about the internet, and they have many episodes about the wacky things technology can do—plus a few episodes that delve into what is or isn’t secure online.

Interview with Emily Prokop, podcast consultant and host of The Story Behind and Hate to Weight

This month, we chatted with Emily Prokop who is a podcast extraordinaire! Give a listen for an enlightening conversation about all things podcast, the craze of 2020, and what we’re looking forward to in the podcast world this new year. Top line notes below!

Emily runs E Podcast Productions, a company she started to offer practical and down-to-earth information and support for DIY Podcasters so they can create and grow great-sounding podcasts WITHOUT breaking the bank or spending hours and hours on production. Want to know more on her company (and how to hire her for pod help)?

As mentioned, Emily also has two different podcasts under her belt:

The Story Behind tells the extraordinary history of the ordinary. Everyday objects are more closely examined, from their ancient beginnings through the present—all within 5-10 minutes. The show was nominated for a Webby in 2019 and Emily published a bestselling book on the show. Catch The Story Behind on their website, as well as on Twitter @StoryBehindPod.

Hate to Weight is a journey with two podcasters and friends who check in with each other every week and talk about their struggles and (hopefully) triumphs with weight loss. Catch Hate to Weight on their website, as well as on Twitter @hatetoweight.

More Tips and Recs from Emily:

We all met at the 2019 Intelligent Speech Conference in NYC, and the conference is still marching forward (with a smart virtual pivot this past summer). Check out the website for more on the annual event!

Emily also listed some of her favorite shows—grab your earbuds!

‘Til next time,

—Lainey & Alex

Guest Pod Post: Garnet Henderson from the ACCESS Podcast

Today, we welcome Garnet Henderson to the blog to talk about ACCESS—a podcast about abortion. It pulls back the curtain, demystifying abortion by bringing you real, first person stories, and expert perspectives. Read a post from Garnet below.


I had big plans for ACCESS before the pandemic started: I was going to travel the country, bringing listeners inside abortion clinics, immersing them in the wildly different realities of abortion access in different states. But in the spring, as I prepared to kick off a campaign to fund my first season, it became clear that walking into abortion clinics with a microphone wasn’t going to be an option for a long time. At the moment, people having abortions aren’t even allowed to bring companions with them due to COVID safety precautions.

However, my original plan for the podcast crumbled, and telling these stories became more important to me than ever before. The pandemic quickly grew into one of the greatest threats to abortion access since Roe v. Wade. Even worse, stories about abortion were getting lost in the frenzied news cycle. So I worked out a plan to record remotely, and got started. My goal for the show was always to demystify abortion through personal stories and expert perspectives, with each episode tackling a different topic. That’s still the general format of the show, but nearly every episode deals with the pandemic in some way, because its effects have been that far-reaching.

Back in the spring, governors in states that were already hostile to abortion access used their executive power to try and force abortion clinics to close. For example, in March, the governor of Texas issued an executive order banning virtually all abortions. The ensuing legal battle led to a confusing back-and-forth. One abortion provider told me his clinic opened and closed a total of eight times during that period. One of his patients had to come into the clinic five times just to get her abortion. 

More people are also turning toward a practice called self-managed abortion. This is when people end their own pregnancies at home, usually using the same pills they’d get at a clinic. Medically, this is quite safe, but legally, it can be risky. In the United States, at least 21 people have been prosecuted on charges related to self-managed abortion.

Harassment and protests at abortion clinics have also intensified this year. I spoke with abortion clinic escorts and administrators from across the country, all of whom told me that the protesters at their clinics aren’t wearing masks or physically distancing. In Charlotte, North Carolina, hundreds of anti-abortion protesters recently gathered for an annual march despite a ban on large gatherings. In Michigan, anti-abortion activists blockaded a clinic, preventing people from entering or leaving for more than an hour.

Being able—or unable—to access an abortion is life-altering. And abortion is not a fringe issue, though it’s often treated as such in the media: one in four women will have an abortion during her lifetime, and trans men and nonbinary people have abortions, too. You certainly know someone who’s had an abortion, and you may even know someone who’s had an abortion during this pandemic. I’m proud to help people tell these stories.


Thank you, Garnet! Check out the podcast on Apple, Spotify, and Simplecast. You can find out more about the show at, on Instagram, and follow the pod on Twitter at @ACCESSpod.

Guest Pod Post: Lisa Gray from the A GOOD END Podcast

We have a returning contributor to the blog! Lisa Gray, who recently shared a bit about her podcast Cause & Purpose, is back with more on another show—A Good End. Lisa is a producer, developer, consultant , and editor for the show, which is under her company Sound Mind Productions.


 A Good End is a new conversation about Judaism, death, and dying in the 21st century. The series increases awareness, relatability and conversation around end of life care and experiences. Stories are told through real life personal experiences, perspectives and practices from patients, doctors, caregivers, rabbis, students, funeral professionals, music therapists, family members, and more.

2020 has been an exceptional year regarding the awareness of death and dying. Many of us are not prepared, nor educated enough, to properly and confidently talk about death and prepare for death—for a good end.  Thinking about one’s death and the death of loved ones can be meaningful and even life-affirming. In this series, we wanted to share the voices of those whose work involves end of life, what they’ve learned, and what they can teach and share with others. Some of the people and voices we talked with:

  • Rabbi Joy Levitt, who shares the experience of discussing end-of-life care planning with her 90-year-old mother and the surprising and touching discoveries she made along the way.
  • Getting adults to talk about death is difficult. So, what if we started sooner? Some schools are beginning to include Death Education as part of their curriculum. Sasha Zitter relates her experience with Death Ed alongside her high school peers.
  • The Jewish values of prolonging life, but not prolonging suffering come face to face with modern technologies such as artificial nutrition, hydration, and intubation. In this episode, a rabbi, doctor, social worker, and biomedical ethicist discuss the ways they help patients and families navigate the difficult issues that arise toward the end of life. 
  • Many people believe that hospice is about helping someone die. Hospice care providers will tell you that it is actually about helping someone live. Music therapy provides hospice patients and their families with social, spiritual, and emotional support and has been proven to help decrease pain perception. Listen to music therapist Meredith Ferrel’s home visit with Albert, a hospice patient with lymphoma, and to the music they create together.  

To sum up the series in the a sentence, A Good End tells powerful stories that both evoke an emotional impact as well as serve the purpose of creating dialogue and providing pertinent and relevant information. 


Thank you, Lisa! And listeners, make sure to catch the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever else you feed your podcast addiction.

S4: E1 Podcasts on Fleek (feat. Bodies)

Hi Pod Pals! Thanks for joining us for our first episode of the season. Start listening here and find notes below!

In the (Podcast) News

BYOP (Bring Your Own Podcast)

Lainey told us about Spotify’s Horoscope Today, part of a series of daily horoscopes for each of the 12 signs. It features soothing music and moon positions among other pieces of information packed in a few minutes. Check out all the signs’ episodes here. Listen to a Virgo episode Lainey mentioned here.

What we discussed:

  • A production of Parcast, Spotify’s in-house studio (See the Bustle article here)
  • Daily episodes for each sign
  • Episodes started in September of 2019
  • Each episode last about 2-3 minutes
  • For fans of Co-Star (and for fans of not getting their feelings hurt)
  • Lainey mentioned Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
  • Spotify’s curation is on point. See also: cosmic playlists

Calendar Corner

Interview with Bodies host Allison Behringer

This month, we had an fantastic interview with Allison Behringer, the host of Bodies from KCRW.

A feminist documentary podcast that starts as a medical mystery, but once you peel back the layers, more questions emerge. Each episode of Bodies is the journey of one person (specifically women and marginalized genders) to solve their medical mystery. It combines intimate, nuanced storytelling with health reporting to uncover the layers that affect health, like racism, sexism, and capitalism.

There are two full seasons of backlist episodes to binge, and the show can be found on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and wherever you feed your podcast addition. Plus, the recent episode “Not This Again” won Third Coast Fest’s Best Doc Bronze Award earlier this year.

Allison shared many great insights about creating Bodies, and she also shouted out the podcast Appearances by Sharon Mashihi—make sure to give it a listen, too!

Catch up with Bodies on the website, Instagram, and Twitter. And follow the host on Twitter too!

‘Til next time,

—Lainey & Alex