Wrapping up another amazing and somewhat wild year here on the For the Love Podcast. For this special episode, Jen is flying solo to share her thoughts on what 2023 meant to her, what pinnacles were met, what didn’t go so well, and the many things add to the gratefulness list. From celebrating long time friendships and new friendships, to milestones with her kids, to being in a relationship as a “girlfriend,” to going through perimenopause and becoming gluten free, Jen recounts the blessings and the challenges 2023 brought to the table. And she gives us a peek into the process of writing for her brand new book that you won’t want to miss. For those of you who are struggling to find things to be grateful about over the last year, we’re here for you too. If you’re sludging through the remainder of the year, digging out of it a spoonful of dirt at a time, we’re here to remind you to keep going. Everything you’re doing, every teeny little moment holds within it grace or hope or strength or outright joy, and every single moment matters. And you, our listener, matter to us. On our gratitude lists, you are at the top–and we look forward to more good, hard, and worthwhile stories to share with you. Thank you for making this show a vibrant hub and a soft place to land for us all.
It’s our anticipated annual solo episode where we get to spend time with Jen reflecting on the year and the changes that have occurred in her life and our collective lives. And whew, have Things™ happened! We are still in the cyclone of massive change that launched out of 2020. Jen recently entered an empty nest phase this year and began a new relationship (an LDR relationship to boot) for the first time in years. She opens up about her relationship with Tyler in a completely new way and offers some hope for those navigating the waters of being single or testing out tough relationships. Whatever comes in the new year, Jen is committed to trying new things and believing that things do get better. It might be messy and wildly nonlinear but there is hope and there is progress and there is a future worth fighting for. I mean, Jen is still shocked she wrote a bestselling cookbook at age 47. If you had asked her in her twenties if that was her future, she would have laughed in your face. Whether you want to overhaul your own life or dip your toe into a new venture, Jen’s with you and cheering you on. We end this episode with Jen sharing what’s on her mind for the new year and what’s to come on the podcast and beyond. We hope you go into your new year feeling like you have a community that gets you, supports you, and that you have permission to try new things. Happy new year, pod community!
Another year, another holiday, and another special bonus episode of our podcast featuring our 6th Annual Jen’s Favorite Things Gift Guide. If you’re just now realizing that we’ve got about a month before Christmas, Jen and team are here to help! In this episode, Jen will guide us to some of the most practical, fun and beautiful gifts this year—along with all kinds of deals, just for you, our faithful listeners. And as we’ve done in past years, Jen has selected products she loves from businesses who are doing good in the world—whether that’s through dollars back to worthy causes, employing and empowering marginalized communities, or creating sustainable solutions that are both good for us and our planet. And here’s a fun bonus (on top of a bonus episode!). We love a good story here on our show, so to celebrate 6 years of this guide, we’ve invited some of the folks who’ve benefited from the “giving back” component of our gift companies this year to share how their lives were impacted by the help and support they’ve received through the conscientious work of these companies AND because generous buyers like you decided they wanted to spend their holiday dollars meaningfully.
We’ve reached the end friends, sadly Me Camp 2022 is over for the summer. And just like real camp, coming back home is wonderful and bittersweet at the same time. Making new friends, trying new things and getting outside the everyday routine is the magic of camp and Jen reflects on her time in Aspen to her last days in Grand Marais with gratefulness to be able to take this kind of time for herself (and to invite others into the fold, turning MeCamp into WeCamp!). Jen shares how MeCamp began; it started with the need to get away to regroup from a chaotic and heartbreaking season of her life and led to a revelation of what it truly means to take time for yourself to heal. She vowed that she wouldn’t go another year without taking this time, but instead of being born out of sadness, this year’s MeCamp was a deliberate, and joyful excursion. While listing all the the virtues of solo travel, Jen gives us some practical ideas on how we can replicate our own MeCamp— even if we’re not able to travel far or for an extended time. Enjoy this last letter from MeCamp 2022, and let’s start dreaming about our own 2023 MeCamps!
With MeCamp on the tail end of it’s 2022 tenure, Jen is still traversing the wilds of Minnesota, trespassing on neighboring roofs to read her book, and bring her beloveds along on the ride with her. So as we enter week 3, Jen’s best girlfriends arrive for 4 days, followed by a visit from our favorite Hatmaker sisters, Remy and Sydney. Jen also gives her takeaways on the value of carving out this kind of time in your life–whether it’s a few days in a tent a couple of miles from your house, or a staycation in a nearby town–it’s really about the time for YOU, and less about where you go or how long you retreat. But for now, as we live vicariously through Jen in Minnesota this week, we’ll visit the local country store, walk between 400 and 4 million stairs on a hike, bike along the lake, and happily wear sweatshirts in July.
This year’s Me Camp is in full swing, community. We have traveled from Austin to Aspen, and now up, up, up to the Northwoods of Minnesota, where we find ourselves in Grand Marais. Nestled on the shores of Lake Superior, this teeny tiny town was home to Jen for 3 weeks. And she is doing it all. Eating a plethora of fried fish salads, skipping rocks in the bay, potentially trespassing to sit on a picturesque roof and read her book and drink her wine. BONUS: Jen is joined by none other than the man of the moment Tyler Merritt, who discusses his unique state of being in the great white north, and his surprising and ever-so-northeastern encounter with a music-loving octogenarian.
You guys, it’s time again for us to load up the suitcases, grab the comfy shoes, and head on out to Me Camp 2022. What is MeCamp you say? Jen took an extended solo trip to Maine last year after a really tough season. What she thought might be lonely and maybe a bit TOO reflective became something so rejuvenating and powerful in her life, she couldn’t keep it to herself and began sharing her experiences online with her community. So this year, she decided to mix it up and do some more solo travel (and add some friends in the mix during the time) and pull in her podcast community for all the insight, learnings and fun. This year, join Jen as she spends time in the beautiful Rocky Mountains for week 1 of MeCamp 2022! Binge Jen’s first full week while she hits the town with an open heart and mind, eats where the locals eat, and shop where they shop. Bonus tidbits: she visits the Aspen Ideas Festival, a space filled with some of the smartest humans alive (and maybe a random Katie Couric spotting!). Join us as all (even you folks from Aspen, who might have spotted Jen out there) as we all live vicariously through Jen’s trip to rest, reflect, and learn.
The past few weeks have been so nurturing to the collective soul of this podcast community. We have gotten together with a friend, and caught up on all that matters in our worlds (as friends do) and talked through the changes we’ve both faced recently, on finding and keeping friendship alive at this season in our lives, and how we’ve each evolved in our own beliefs. And we’re always a little sad to say goodbye to friends, but we know that the bonds we’ve built here will keep us going til we can meet again. For the last episode of the For the Love of Conversations series, Jen and Kelly share about the men in their lives–from their friends, to their sons, their brothers, fathers and their partners—we speak to the unique relationship the opposite sex brings to our lives. And right now in our culture, in some ways that are fair, and other ways that aren’t, men are getting thrown under the bus, somewhat carte blanche. And this is rightly so in many cases and much overdue in some areas. But it still stands that there are good men and boys in our culture, men that defy the misogynistic stereotypes, and they do lift up women and are there for their sisters and their wives and their daughters and their mothers. Jen and Kelly poke at the view of men where they are portrayed as wild and rough and emotionally unregulated–those traits can sometimes be found–but they share stories of their fathers, brothers and friends that show the reverse can be true (Kelly’s story about her dad is a 10-kleenex-er, so get ready), and that the men in their lives have truly taught them how to love better.
Welcome back to another episode of our For the Love of Conversations series with one of Jen’s best loved friends, author, speaker and podcaster Kelly Corrigan. Both Jen and Kelly have seen strong beliefs give way to new beliefs, and old beliefs be tested by time and experience. It’s a wonder to learn as you move through the world, even if those lessons are hard won and hands down, a ton of them are. It’s a beautiful and redemptive thing to take a step back and level the playing field you are on–in whatever season of life you’re in–and see if everything that makes up “you:” all the stories you tell yourself about your life and other people and what happened to you and even about your own self–that composite of what you believe. And take heart in knowing that your beliefs don’t have to remain the same forever– they can grow and change with us. Jen and Kelly go deep into what beliefs they hold dear, how the truth that binds us might look a little different than it used to for all of us, and the comfort they find in a community that lives with a sense of curiosity and how to keep that alive for every phase of our beliefs.
Friendship is one of those gifts in life we can run to when it feels like the rest of the world just doesn’t get us. On a day when life hasn’t been cooperating exactly as you’d hoped, who hasn’t called that friend we can vent to, cry to, laugh with, and compare notes with? And the longer a friendship goes, the deeper the bond seems to be. But some of us are in spaces in our lives where we’ve had to follow another dream and leave the proximity of our friends. And the work of friendship takes on a different layer. It can be difficult to connect like we used to–even if it was just dropping by to say hi because you could–it’s harder to keep relationships alive when you don’t see your friend daily, weekly, or even monthly. In this second installment of our For the Love of Conversations with Jen and Kelly, we are talking all about friendship and how it changes as you mature, grow, and perhaps even re-locate. And how to keep it going strong—even across the divides of family commitments, jobs, and miles in between. Jen and Kelly first had this conversation over on Kelly’s podcast, but we loved it so much we had to share it here–plus–-Jen has added some of her own insights and comments regarding her friendship with Kelly and what she learned through their conversation.
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If you’re not sure where to begin, I got you, friend. I’m always bringing you something new to enjoy.