Relax–It’s Just Food! Finding the Fun in Cooking with Teri Turner

As we come to the end of our Favorite Pastimes series, we hope you are filling your summer with your favorite activities —and maybe some new ones we’ve talked about here! Our series wouldn’t be complete without a conversation about one universal pastime that is approached with either love or loathing—cooking!  Perhaps cooking has become nothing but drudgery for you and those ungrateful kids who eye your culinary masterpieces with disdain have made you turn to slinging out Lunchables and microwave mac and cheese. Or maybe you are single and cooking for one seems like a chore. Or maybe you *think* cooking could be your thing but you’re intimidated by the lingo and measurements and if you have the right appliances (Hot Pots! Air Fryers! Immersion Blenders! Oh my!). No matter where you fall on the cooking spectrum, easy and delicious summer cooking is within your reach and we have a guest who is here to help us claim our cooking identity. Teri Turner is an author, home cook, and podcast host who has turned her love of the kitchen into a whole career for herself. Her mantra is “It’s Just Food,” —takes the pressure off, right? She encourages us to find our “food thing” and how we can perfect that signature dish that will have even the most skeptical palates coming back for more. Teri’s tips include Whole30 options, gluten free dishes—she leaves nothing behind. Teri makes cooking seem accessible to us all—and promises our kitchens can be places of joy and magic-making. 

Travel the World on a Ramen Budget, ft. “The Points Guy” Brian Kelly

Time to grab your passport and packing cubes! The world’s back open for travel—and if you’ve tried to book a trip recently, you know that, hello, the prices are a smidge higher than they used to be. But with a little planning and a lot of advice from The Points Guy, you can rack up the credit card points that’ll get you to unforgettable destinations around the world for a fraction of the price! Brian Kelly, The Points Guy himself, joins Jen to share how he turned his love of a good deal into a lifestyle brand sharing travel how-to’s for every budget from every corner of the planet (it’s a *wild* story!). Brian tips his hand on the best-kept trips you need to take at home and abroad, how you can earn enough points for a free flight to Europe in 90 days, all while building a credit score that can unlock opportunities at home while you plan your next getaway. #practical This episode is a treasure trove of travel tips, so grab a pen and paper—and maybe a fruity drink with an umbrella—because your next adventure is closer than you think!

Creating Magic from our Favorite Pastimes: “PieLadyBooks” Stephanie Hockersmith

When it comes to hobbies and pastimes, the inspiration can be drawn from anywhere. Maybe it was something you did during the summer as a kid, or it was an activity you loved to do with your mom in her freetime. No matter where your inspiration stems from, perhaps you’ve returned to it today  and it brings you peace, comfort and even healing. Our guest this week was diagnosed 15 years ago with Celiac Disease, with neurological implications that put her in a wheelchair. Looking for solace and healing, she turned to her two favorite things: reading and gluten free baking. Stephanie Hockersmith, aka, PieLadyBooks, took her therapeutic pastime and has turned it into an absolutely amazing Instagram page and now small business (and healer herself in the process)!  She takes covers of her favorite books and turns them into the most incredible pies you have ever seen! If you are curious like we were when we first met Stephanie, be sure to head over to watch this episode on YouTube as we’ll be sharing some of the incredible pies she’s created there. You’ll be inspired as Stephanie talks about how she stumbled into this art, how it guided her healing process, and why believing in yourself creates magic if you let it. 

Nurture Your Garden, Nurture Yourself with “Garden Marcus” Bridgewater

Aren’t we all inspired by people who have taken their favorite hobby, or their little side hustle, or their craft–and they invested in it, they loved it so much that it became their main thing? In this series, we’ve introduced a variety of pastimes we all can enjoy this summer–the kinds of things that give us that break from the daily grind–but in doing so, we’re also talking to folks who took the leap to make their pastime their career. And in this episode, we’re giving a nod to a pastime that’s been exploding over the past few years–a love for plants and gardening! For many, gardening has long been a part of their favorite pastimes, but we’re seeing it become more accessible to weekend gardeners, others who thought they could never be good at it, or those who thought the whole proposition of keeping another living thing fed and watered was overwhelming at best. Marcus Bridgewater, aka, Garden Marcus, is our horticultural guide to the secret of growing healthy plants, and simultaneously, becoming more healthy ourselves. He presides over an insanely popular Instagram account, is a content creator and a CEO of his company Choice Forward, where he offers workshops, presentations, life coaching, and more to empower individuals and strengthen communities. Jen shares the story of her metamorphosis from becoming a plant murderer to plant mom with the advent of two little hanging plants entrusted to her by friends in a season where she was struggling to nurture herself; much less two plants. Marcus also gives us a peek into his new book, How to Grow: Nurture Your Garden, Nurture Yourself, and shows that it is possible to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our plants thriving and growing.

Audacity to Believe In Yourself and Your Art with Jaime Kurowski

As we continue on in our Favorite Pastime series, we’re reveling in all the opportunities that are hiding in plain sight–through the beloved activities we cherish in our spare time. No spare time, you say? We understand—and that’s where our series has a delightful twist–these folks took their passions and hobbies and turned them from hobbies into full-fledged careers. So you think those toaster cozies you like to knit can’t be a full time gig? Think again–we’ve got creators, makers and dreamers of all ilks–and this week’s guest is one for the books! She is an artist, a poet, a driftwood collecting connoisseur–yes you heard us right–and she is creating the most unique, beautiful and accessible art that you would ever hope to see. Jaime Kurowski has always felt the call to pursue art, as it’s ingrained in her family tree. So when she took a sabbatical from teaching to pursue her driftwood creations, it wasn’t a big surprise for anyone. But like many creatives, her work comes from a place of darkness. One devastating event led to another and Jaime found herself seeking healing from her profound emotional and physical brokenness.  Part of her healing was finding a new way to unwind, express herself, and put light into the world. She came through that rough season and now has a company of her own that is thriving, and also heads up a collective of female business owners and artists who have gone through similar journeys, who all focus on finding the audacity to believe in themselves and their talents. 

Not Outdoorsy, But Love Being Outside? REI’s Ben Steele Helps Us Find Our Outdoor Zen

We’re back with another episode in our For the Love of Favorite Pastimes series, and this week, we’re talking about the great outdoors. And in case you think this topic is just for those of you who find their greatest joy loading up piles of gear to go hiking for 20 miles every weekend, or for all the rabid runners, cyclists, swimmers, campers, and the rest of you that make the other half of us real, real tired––there’s something for all of us who may like being outside, even those who aren’t necessarily the outdoorsy type. Maybe your jam is barbecuing outside with friends, or sitting on your porch swing à la Jen Hatmaker. At the end of the day ,we can all agree (and science proves) that spending time in nature makes a person happier. And that’s the message this week’s guest is taking to the masses. Ben Steele is the Chief Customer Officer at REI – the nation’s largest consumer co-op for the outdoor community.  Ben didn’t grow up with an innate love for nature, even though it was a part of his family’s life in Idaho. It wasn’t until he found his own outdoor personality as an adult that he truly appreciated the benefits of spending time outside (and surprise– it doesn’t have to involve driving miles away from home or having oodles of gear).

Turning Junk into Treasure (and a Treasured Life) with the Junk Gypsies

What’s your favorite pastime (go with us here, we know that lots of us don’t even know the concept of having time for a pastime).  Imagine being able to really spend time in your garden, instead of just hoping it will rain or the rabbits don’t eat your bounty. Think about being able to carve out some time to write–really giving some thought and intention to your journal or that spark of a story you’ve been thinking about for awhile. Taking time for what matters to us, aside from doing the things we need to (and yes, that matters to) is like nurturing our soul–it helps us become fuller versions of ourselves, and in the end, those respites make us better at our “real” jobs/routine/duties. That’s why this series is coming in hot–to help us make that step in allowing that outside passion to become a part of our weekly schedule. For the Love of Favorite Pastimes delves into how to identify the things that spark joy and passion in our days, and give ourselves space for them–no matter how small that space may be. And to kick this whole series off, we are thrilled to welcome friends of the show and Jen, Amie and Jolie of the Junk Gypsies. Now, we know you all know who these ladies are and we can’t believe it’s taken so long to get them on the show. But, now that we have them, we will be talking to them about their side passion (and how that turned into a full time business), how they pursued it with nothing more than a pick-up truck and a dream, and how their love for other people’s junk turned into a treasured way of life.

Ask Jen! All Your Book and Writing Questions Answered

What was the hardest book for Jen to write? How’s the new book coming along? How on earth do we dip a toe into the publishing waters? And when is she going to write us a cookbook?! No doubt each of us in the For the Love community has had a question or two for our host. And while Jen normally asks the questions, today we turn the tables and give FTL listeners the mic! We asked you to send your book and writing questions, and you delivered some practical and thought-provoking conversation starters. Today in our second Q&A episode, Jen answers all kinds of questions, everything from the craft of writing and how she stays inspired to creating a platform and even how to deal with regular life (her advice on working well with a spouse is gold). And stick around till the very end, when Jen answers all the questions we’ve been asking to each guest in the book series, including what’s saving her life right now.

Piercing Shattered Dreams Into a Beautiful Story: Shannan Martin

When we’re kids, we each think about the lives we want when we’re older. What if you worked hard for years to make that dream—a loving husband, doting children, a farmhouse with a literal white-picket fence—a reality? And then, all of a sudden, you’re picking the shards of your realized childhood dream off the ground? That’s what happened to Shannan Martin—and she couldn’t be more thankful. Shannan is a writer and speaker from Goshen, Indiana, who is one of Jen’s literal favorite people. Today we’ll hear how Shannan found her voice in the country and her story in the city, and about her new book The Ministry of Ordinary Places. We’ll learn how she and her jail-chaplain husband Cory found their four children, including one who was a nineteen-year-old father of twins when he came to them, and how Shannan and Cory have learned to parent each of their adopted children. We’ll talk about how to become good neighbors with people who come from different walks of life, whose path to the present doesn’t resemble ours at all, and why sometimes staying in a place you don’t feel completely comfortable in can be one of the bravest things you can do.

Tell Me More, Kelly Corrigan: A Live Show with the Poet Laureate of the Ordinary

This is a special week in For the Love world, because it’s our very first live podcast! A few weeks ago, Jen and author Kelly Corrigan hosted 150 women in Jen’s backyard in Buda, Texas, and today we get to share this conversation with you, our beloved For the Love listeners. Kelly is the New York Times bestselling author of four books, including The Middle Place and her latest Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say. In this live episode, Jen and Kelly talk about being raised by dads who loved them ridiculously, their shared crush on Tom Brokaw, Kelly’s brief flirtation as a shoplifter in the ‘80s, the glories and doldrums of writing, and so much more. This episode is extra long, so pencil in a few more chores or squats at the gym, and settle in for lots of laughter and fun as we sit on the porch with Jen and Kelly.