Listening List

This summer, I spent a whole lot of time in my car since I had an hour commute to and from work every day. Podcasts deterred my road rage in Atlanta traffic and save my sanity. I'm all for jamming out in the car to music, but music doesn't always hold my attention for long periods of time. I also end up using too much data on Pandora and Spotify, but with podcasts, I can quickly download them to my phone while on my home wifi and listen in the car without using data. Then, I can delete the downloads after I've listened to them. I've rounded up a list of my favorites at the moment. 

1. Gravy - Sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance, this podcast always makes me hungry. Tina Antolini shares stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat. I love food and good storytelling and this podcast has both. The podcast and affiliated publication, also called Gravy, won the James Beard Foundation's Publication of the Year for 2015. If you don't want to go through the whole backlog, some of my favorite episodes include Hip Hop to Bibimbap: the Atlanta of Christiane Lauterbach (Ep. 11), The Jemima Code (Ep. 6), Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour: The Emotional Life of Eating (Ep. 5),  and Separation of Church and Coffee (Ep. 2). At the end of every episode, Antolini reminds listeners to "make cornbread, not war." 

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2. This American Life - You've probably heard of this podcast because it's won all of the major radio awards and it's just the bomb. Amazing storytelling that sometimes makes me laugh out loud or shed tears in my car. If you're new to podcasts, start here.

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3. Call Your Girlfriend - A podcast for long distance besties everywhere. Journalist Ann Friedman and tech boss Aminatou Sow are the besties behind this podcast along with producer Gina Delvac.They talk about current events, pop culture, boss ladies and more. It's currently on a short hiatus for updates, but I can't wait for it to come back! Call Your Girlfriend really does feel like a phone call where you catch up with your closest smart, funny girlfriends. 

4. TED Radio Hour - TED talks are the bomb. Pretty much all of my favorite professors in college incorporated TED talks into their lectures. This show takes a topic and interviews people who have given TED talks related to that topic. TED + NPR = happy ears. 

5. Reply All - It's a podcast about the internet, but not in a boring technical way. The episodes are also usually 30 minutes or less, so this podcast is great if you only have a little time.

6. The Ladycast - Brand new podcast, y'all! If Call Your Girlfriend sounds like it's up your alley, you'd probably like The Ladycast as well. It's actually created and produced by a fellow Red & Black alumna Alex Laughlin, who currently works at The Washington Post. 

What are your favorite podcasts? How do you survive long commutes? I'd love to hear!

Elizabeth + Gabe Engagement Shoot

I recently had the pleasure of taking engagement photos with my brother. I originally met Elizabeth when my brother and Lauren got engaged. Elizabeth is one of Lauren's best friends from Georgia Tech and we were both bridesmaids in their wedding. Gabe proposed this past spring, and they're getting married in May 2016!

Lauren, who you can see was our handy dandy assistant during the shoot, had the wonderful idea for my brother Michael and I to do their engagement photos. We took these shots bright and early one Sunday morning in a park in Roswell. I absolutely loved photographing alongside my brother. Photography has always been his thing - he started learning in high school through yearbook and created his own photography business, MTJ Photography, where you can see more photos from this shoot. He decided to keep it more as a hobby during college. I didn't get into photography until my junior year of college, and I'm so happy it's an interest we have in common now - he's a great person to learn from. 

I had such an incredible time with this shoot. Elizabeth and Gabe made it super easy on us because, hello!, they're super attractive, photogenic people who are completely in love. What more could a photographer ask for? Expect some more photography collaborations from Michael and I in the future!

Studying Abroad in Prague

I absolutely loved my trip to Prague. Prague as a city, the friends I made, the photos I took, the food I ate and the wine/beer I drank were all amazing. I finally got around to uploading some of photos to Facebook, and it made me want to relive the experience. I visited the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the John Lennon Wall, several farmers markets, the Prague Botanical Gardens, Petrin Hill, the Communist Museum, Gardens Below Prague Castle and many other incredible places. Paddle boating on the Vltava River was one of my favorite things I did. It only cost about $3/hour and was a great way to see the city from a different perspective. While I stayed in Prague for the majority of my trip for a study abroad program, my boyfriend Hunter backpacked with his friend Michael to 17 different cities all across Europe for about a month. They stopped in Prague and visited me for the first few days of their trip before heading to Italy, Austria, Germany and Spain. Here are some of the highlights in photos.

In addition to all of the fun I had, I also wrote two stories. Since I knew the rest of my summer would be working at HGTVGardens, I decided to write my 36 Hours in Prague piece on what to do in Prague if you love gardens. Check it out!

36 hours in Prague if you're a garden lover

For my issue piece, I wrote about the parental leave policy in the Czech Republic, which is veryyy different than policy in the U.S. If you have any interest in gender, social policy, feminism, women or babies, you should check it out and let me know what you think.