It’s July, it’s summertime, and after months of quarantine/shelter in place/safer at home you deserve a little treat–so we’re bringing you TWO episodes for July. In Part One, we do our usual shtick and go through the magazine offering up our unsolicited opinions (spoiler alert: there are tags for hate and tags for love). In Part Two, hear our conversation with our very first guest, Paul Trudel-Payne, an actual award-winning designer who hosts his own podcast! (We’ll be on a future episode of his show, In Your Mind.) Part One brings us some Independence Day crafts (not doing those, sorry), yet another all-white house, a gorgeous garden that stresses us out, and some Upstate and Chill. (It’s a thing: Google it). Signature cocktail: Cherry Ginger Coolers a la Moscow Mules. Theme and interstitial music by Bensound.com. And make sure to listen to Part Two with our special guest for more shenanigans!
This month is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and it’s “How To Decorate Your Patio” time again! Despite the pandemic and protest marches, we are still here doing what we do: obsessing over a home shelter/food/crafting magazine as if it were the end-all, be-all of American experience. But we know we are not saving the world, and that this is all just design. If it makes you happy–and you are privileged enough to have a home to decorate, more power to you. Unlike the magazine, we are not changing our format, though we lament the replacement of the Throwback with the new Stylemaker back page. We taped this on what came to be known as Blackout Tuesday, and oh! the irony! of a paint can lid section devoted to WHITE paint! More white walls are only slightly offset by a rainbow-hued napkin and painted rock tableau. We puzzle over the plans for a kitchen makeover with both a peninsula and an island, and ponder the implications of building a big black box in your front yard. Happy Pride Month, everyone! Signature cocktails: strawberry mint lemon-orangeade cooler, and a “Lilac’s Lament,” a lilac-infused vodka drink with nectarines. Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Ramon.
In our May 2020 episode, we are still under a “Safer At Home” mandate in our home state of New York and so we recorded this episode via Zoom video conference once again. We each make our own signature cocktail: J. does a classic vodka gimlet, partially inspired by the lemon curd tart on the cover of the May 2020 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, while Rob pulls a recipe for ginger punch from the mag’s new Stylemaker column. May means Mother’s Day so we cover a few ideas for a special Sunday for ya mom, and Rob invents a new tag to discuss certain magazine features. Of course, depending on where you are in the country, you may have to stay socially distant from your mother. Especially if, like Rob’s mom, she mispronounces the word “peony” because you may be tired of correcting her. We notice a few changes at work in the magazine, including transitions from our usual tableaux and paint can lids, and need to mourn the loss of other features. But we’ll get over it. There are more important concerns in the world right now, right? Like “why does my husband want a door from our shower to the balcony?” (PS we have a theory about that one.) Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Tim Lawton. Stay healthy, dear listeners!
In our March 2020 episode, we discuss the latest trends in home design. Or the latest popular things that are about to be overexposed. At least the houseplants are paper this time. Another plus: lots of green and nary a pink! Rob invents a Dark & Boochy cocktail inspired by the “give up alcohol” article (as if), and Chef Tim gets sour with the Lemon Tiramisu from the recipe section.
Also: caning, ferns, a Queer Eye-adjacent article, and a kitchen that makes J. proclaim “this is my favorite thing ever in this magazine!” Listen up, trendoids: things are about to get boochy.
On this month’s episode of Could Be Better, we indulge in some speech therapy practice as J. heads towards recovery from a brain hemorrhage. Can you say “editor’s letter” without blending the sounds together? We warm up with a ginger-liqueur cider but say “tag for hate” on another outdoor entertaining suggestion. We’re in for the chocolate spice cake skewers, though. There’s a lot of food in the February issue but we do have paint can lids in mint green. A less polarizing pastel? We decide. Also: indoor gardening, another white room, and a retro 1950s room straight out of the ’70s. Get your magazine, follow along and practice your speech therapy! Signature cocktail: ginger-pear cider warmer. Music by Bensound.com. Credits by Tim Lawton.
This month, we try out the savory stuffed waffle recipe from the August 2019 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, and Chef Tim goes for a sweet option too. This month’s signature cocktail is a “Stoned Rita Moreno” – a peach and plum (stone fruit, get it?) frozen margarita. Bonus: we do it shirtless! Listen to the full August 2019 episode on your podcast feed or here for more shirtless silliness! Recipe prep by Tim Lawton. Music by Bensound.com.
This month, Chef Tim prepares a Green Goddess white bean dip, a crispy fish open-faced sandwich (without the sandwich) and Pimm’s Pops. Rob’s signature cocktail is a strawberry basil smash. Check out our full episode on your podcast feed or right here.
It’s LGBTQ Pride Month and Rob and J. search desperately for some signs of gay life in this month’s magazine. Though there’s little to be found on the pages, there’s plenty of love at the bottom of their cocktail glasses (thanks to the strawberry basil smash cocktails, lifted from the recipe section). J. explains why this episode was delayed and shares a very painful housing-related memory. Rob gets tongue-tied over a supergay font but otherwise feels kinda “meh,” especially about all the #whiteonwhite neo-bohemian rooms. However, everything turns out all right in the end thanks to a Tea Dance #lewk for the ages.
Theme music by Bensound.com.
Our April 2019 recipe taste testing video is up on our YouTube channel! This month, Chef Tim made the stuffed spiral ham with help from Mamala Conlon. He also made the buttered sweet pea rice and a rhubarb tart. Rob’s signature cocktail for the month was also pulled from the magazine: the Ginger-Rhubarb Raspberry Punch. As written, the recipe is for a mocktail, but we added vodka of course.
Recipe prep: Tim Lawton with Patti Conlon. Music by Bensound.com. Special thanks to Michael Hall.
Listen to our entire April 2019 episode here or wherever you get your podcasts!
Shocker: She’s Got A Preference For Pink!
Kids these days… In our April 2019 episode, we become art critics, in that it’s the Art of Color issue and we’re highly critical. How many Tags For Hate can one episode handle? Apparently pink is here to stay (baloney is so on trend right now), beige is back (thank you Gen X), anything can be a neutral, and the most exciting thing about spring is cleaning your toilet. Oh, and the Could Be Better Department of Outdoor Living really needs you to turn in the paperwork attesting that you’ve decorated your deck or patio with an outdoor rug. We also share a few secrets: the recurring nightmare Rob had as a child, J’s middle name, and which featured room is really a sex den. Our takeaway lesson? Take time to smell the irises in the neighbor’s yard. Signature cocktail: Ginger-Rhubarb Raspberry Punch. Chef Tim’s Recipe Tastings: Spiral Ham With Orange and Garlic, Buttered Sweet Pea Rice, and Rhubarb Tart. Music by Bensound.com.