Home Life Style Episode #155: Step Inside Our Old Lady Creative Retreat

Episode #155: Step Inside Our Old Lady Creative Retreat



Today, we’re taking you to our imaginary retirement home. It’s not a regular retirement home, it’s a cool retirement home where we make art, pies, and pottery. We also write novels and go swimming. 

We’re also answering two of the deepest listener questions we’ve seen in a while, so prepare yourselves for that.

You can find the podcast posts archive here.

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Show Notes:

Possible locations for our imaginary retirement home:

-lnside an old school or hotel
-Haunted mansion
-Mini individual cottages with a great place to walk nearby
-Somewhere that has all four seasons but a second location in Palm Springs
-A great place to walk nearby

What we would do all day:
-Poetry, painting, and other craft projects
-Take naps
-Elaborate pasta making
-Tarot readings once a week
-Field trips to Home Goods, Starbucks, the library, and the park
-A baking day
-Happy hour in the hot tub
-Night swimming
Movie nights with a popcorn machine
-Host themed dinner parties with costumes and themed menus

Seasonal Decor Traditions:

-Create holiday-themed rooms all year round

-Give a room a fresh coat of paint
Plant a garden
Spring cleaning
-Community garage sale

Pool parties
Pasta salad
Slushie machine
-Put Halloween decor up in August

-Harry Potter dinner with floating candles, floating pumpkins, and a Harry Potter marathon

-Visit family and focus on hobbies 

Listener Question: What were your favorite buys of the year? 

Emma: Coffee subscription from The Coffee Ethic and her Big Blanket

Elsie: Little Free Library for the front of her house and her kiln

Listener Question: How have you changed post-pandemic? 

Emma: More open to (and grateful) for any social interaction

Elsie: More of a loner, very comfortable with privacy, and able to enjoy simple things with her kids

Listener Question: Where you see yourselves in 10 years?

Emma: Have a schedule that mirrors Oscar’s school schedule, be a fiction writer, and have more space in her schedule

Elsie: Semi-retired, writing some fiction books, and traveling with her kids

-We mention Work Optional by Tanja Hester and I Will Teach You to Be Rich: The Journal by Ramit Sethi

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Episode 155 Transcript:

Elsie: Today we’re taking a journey to our old lady creative home. Imagine with us, you’re at the end of your life, your partner has gone on, and your kids are busy raising families of their own. So you move in with us to our creative home. It’s a place where we make art. We make pies, and pottery, we write novels, we go swimming, and on and on. So today, we’re taking you to our imaginary retirement home. It’s not a regular retirement home. It’s a cool retirement home. We also have two super deep listener questions. I think they’re the deepest listener questions I’ve heard in a while. So let’s get into it. 

Emma: Wow! So this episode is about getting old, death, and then deep listener questions.

Elsie: Okay, so actually, we get a ton of requests to talk more about getting old, because people love it when we talk about it because I do think that it’s one of my strengths, is having a really positive attitude, and trying to make it into something freaking beautiful and by the time this episode is over, I think everyone will see that on display.

Emma: Oh, yeah. Getting older rocks. So far. All thumbs up.

Elsie: Another listener question we got this week was, do you feel like people treat you like you’re irrelevant over 35? And I was like, Oh my God, that’s so sad, but it is true and I think it’s sad and it’s real and it’s also, something for us to divide and conquer.  That’s how I feel. 

Emma: Yes, I agree because I think even if it’s true, it’s like, what’s your answer then to that?

Elsie: Right.

Emma: Of like, “Okay, then I’ll just live as if I’m irrelevant.” It’s like, you’re probably gonna try to be relevant and cling to youth and I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best solution. I think it might be better to just embrace, you know, I’m just trying to say, I don’t know if a midlife crisis is a positive thing. So maybe, just accept that aging is part of life and it’s beautiful. 

Elsie: So okay, Emma is moving into my pink house. Like, what, this weekend? 

Emma: Yes, this weekend, later today.

Elsie: She’s moving in as not a permanent thing but as a temporary thing to transition between, she has to move out of her house that she’s living in because she sold it and their contractors are not quite finished with her new green kitchen house that we’ve told you about.

Emma: No. Yeah. I mean, like most things, we’re getting towards the end of our renovation, but you know, yeah, towards the end. And it’s not quite…

Elsie: Better be towards the end!

Emma: It’s mostly on time, I do want to say that, it’s definitely mostly on time.  I think we’re just going to have about two weeks where it’s not super livable, especially considering we have a one-year-old, a 15-month-old kid who’s very mobile, but still putting everything in his mouth and all that. So it’s just not a great play, we could live there but I think it will be better if we go crash at Elsie’s pink house for a couple of weeks.  I just think it will be a better situation and safer for everyone. So I’m grateful that we have that option and we’re going to do that. But of course, it just feels kind of like being displaced for a little bit. Because it’s like, we’re basically going to live out of suitcases at Elsie’s house for two weeks, which is so much better than many alternatives. So I’m not complaining but I’m just saying, “Oh, I won’t have a changing table for two weeks, I’ll be changing him on the bed”, which is fine but parents of young kids know it can be kind of a thing where you’re like, trying to hold them down so they don’t roll off the bed but you grab the wipes and you know just different things like that, where it’s like a little bit, you know, outside of your, your routines where you have everything set up. Now, that’s just what movies like generally. So that’s yeah, that’s where our life is but I think it’ll be fun. I also feel like we kind of get these extra two weeks to say goodbye to our current neighborhood, which is our favorite. Yeah, we love our neighborhood. We’re going to miss it so much. I’m really excited for our new house and our new neighborhood is great. And it’s going to be great so I’m not saying I’m sad to leave and this is torture.  I’m just saying, we have loved our neighborhood so I feel like we get these extra two weeks to kind of say goodbye because I go on walks with Oscar every morning. Trey and I will take him on a walk in the evening sometimes and go get a coffee or whatever at the little coffee shop.  Pretty soon that won’t be quite as easy because we won’t live in this neighborhood. So I do feel like we get this little bonus time and I think that’s really sweet. It’s also just starting to be cool and crisp because it’s kind of fall time. So it’s the perfect time to kind of have all these walks and say goodbye. Obviously, we’ll still be around though. We’re really moving 10 minutes away. It’s not a big deal.

Elsie: But actually a lot of people have asked me if I’m mad at you for moving out of the pink house neighborhood because that was a selling feature for me. And the answer is yes, I am mad.

Emma: Ok well, good to know.

Elsie: Just kidding. 

Emma: Nova was mad. Nova was like what?!  I was like, uh-oh, Don’t worry, it’s not very far. It’s not very far.  It’s just not within walking distance.

Elsie: Emma is like their ultimate hero so of course.  Okay, so we’re doing an episode about our old lady creative retreat. I can’t remember what episode it was, it was sometime last year that we first talked about this. So let’s just kind of give a flashback about what it is we were talking about, in case listeners didn’t catch that episode.

Emma: Yeah. So essentially, I feel like I talked about this in the episode: I was at the grocery store buying food. I was at the meat counter and a little old lady was also at the meat counter in front of me and she turned around to chat with me while she’s waiting for her order. She has said something to the effect of, “it’s so sad to eat alone all the time now because my husband’s passed away. And I’ve been alone now for six months.” And she said she often doesn’t even eat at the dining room she eats at her kitchen counter. And, you know, I was talking with her a little bit.  I think also like, we’d all just gone through a time of a lot of isolation so I’m sure that played into this. I chatted with her, and we both got our orders, all of that. It just got me thinking, I was like, you know, there is kind of this era in life. I think we saw it with our grandmas too.  One of our grandmas is still in this era, where a lot of times if you have a partner, your partner passes on, and your kids are busy, they have lives, they’re raising their own kids or their kids are grown.  It’s just kind of this season, that looking at it, I’m like, Yeah, I could see that being kind of lonely. And like it would be easy to become isolated because the person that you probably relied on, your roommate, your partner, your husband, or wife, or whatever, you know, when they pass on, it’s like your built-in social person is now gone. So I was like, you know, we should buy an old elementary building or something like that. I see schools that have been closed all the time, I don’t know why but I drive by and I’ll see an old school building is closed and nothing’s happening with it. 

Elsie: Yeah…

Emma: Or like malls, so many malls across America have closed, and they’re not going to reopen. So there’s these big empty buildings and I was like, “we should buy one of these buildings.” And we’ll just turn it into basically an old lady retirement home. And when you don’t have a partner anymore, you’ve maybe never had a partner, whatever, you’re in the season of loneliness, for whatever reason, you come in there and that’s where you live with us. And it’s just basically like art camp, but for old ladies, and we just enjoy our last season of life together.

Elsie: Yes. So basically, that’s what we said in one of our previous episodes and we’ve gotten  probably 100 requests to talk more about it

Emma: There’s a waitlist…

Elsie: To talk more about it in elaborate detail. So the fantasy definitely resonated with some of you and it resonated with me too. It’s something that I enjoy thinking about. I really enjoyed prepping for this episode and sort of brainstorming all of the fun things we could do. So yeah, I think that it is a lot of fun and I want to say up top, yes, it is silly, and yes, we’re like, it’s not totally serious but I also think it is serious and it is important because I think always looking forward to your next season of life or the future with the hope of making the most of it and making it extremely special and unique, and doing something weird. I think that that’s so valuable. And I do worry that in our culture, a lot of people feel like their best years are behind them after a certain age. And that is really sad. So this is sort of topic that I feel passionate about because I feel like we should always have something to look forward to our whole life through. 

Emma: Yeah, I mean, it is a fantasy, but it’s also like I would do this if circumstances all came together. I mean, the truth is, I don’t know if I’m going to pass on before my partner or I don’t even know anything about that season of life really. I just look at it like most people do our age and think, oh my gosh, that might be really hard and really sad and maybe kind of isolating. So this little fantasy that Elsie and I have is our way of reframing that and changing our future.  Seeing what we will still have in our control to make the future bright and to make it a happy time, even though it will also have hard things like all of life does. You know, every season has good and bad things and we’re just aiming to fantasize about some good things here. So

Elsie: Hell yeah! Okay, so the first thing to talk about is possible locations.  Emma said up front an old school, which I personally think an old school is a strong choice but also maybe not the best choice because layout wise, you know, an old school, it’s going to have shared bathrooms which I don’t approve of. And it’s also going to have big…  Is your bedroom going to be like a big classroom? I don’t know if I necessarily want that. So here’s some of my ideas. The first idea is a haunted mansion. So hear me out, I’ve just always wanted to live in a haunted mansion. And I think that in our Grandma Colt, maybe more people feel the same way as us, like, you know, we can live in a semi-restored, cozy little ghosty mansion. 

Emma: Interesting.

Elsie: My next idea is an old hotel.  An old hotel, I think would have great sized rooms where it’s like, you just get your room and your own little small bathroom and then there’s all these common areas. I think that might be a good space. My last idea is, I’ve seen these in Branson, little mini individual cottages, like, you know, a little individual, like a small little cabin for each person. Or maybe you have a roommate, it does make me feel like, no matter how lonely I get in my life, I’ll never want to live in a room where I have to sleep with a whole bunch of people. Like, you know what I mean?

Emma: Yeah, same.

Elsie: I will still always want a little bit of privacy and introvert battery charging station. So yeah, those are my ideas. 

Emma: Yeah, maybe it could be a bunch of tiny A-frames like near a lake or near something like that. Also, location wise…

Elsie: Do you remember that colt TV show a few years back where they were all dressed in red, they had the a-frames (laughing). 

Emma: They did… 

Elsie: So I was thinking of that.

Emma: Yeah, honestly, abandoned colt area would be an idea. So put that on the list. 

Elsie: If it’s nice.  If it’s fancy. I mean, my top choice is a hotel. 

Emma: Yeah, I think the hotel would be my top out of everything you just listed. I’m pretty interested in that one. I think it makes the most sense because it has space for alone time to recharge the old introvert batteries. And then it also has lots of common areas, or there could be rooms where people room together, and that’s a possibility too. So that’s nice. Yeah, I like all that. I think too, I would really like it to be somewhere that still has all four seasons. 

Elsie: Yup…

Emma: Just because I love fall so much. So I don’t really want… I know everyone moves to Florida when they get older and that’s really cool, and maybe I’ll want to do that when I’m older. I don’t know. I don’t know the future but at the moment, I’m kind of like, Nah, I think I really like the four seasons.  I’d really like it to be somewhere where the leaves change colors. You know, that’s like, just a happy time of life for me so I think I want it to be somewhere like that but I’m not necessarily tied to Missouri or Tennessee, but yeah, maybe, I don’t know…

Elsie: Yeah, I want the leaves changing colors for sure. 

Emma: Yeah. So I think that’s important. 

Elsie: Maybe we blend then because I feel like the field trips in New England are very strong.

Emma: I was gonna say yeah, maybe the Northeast would be a good spot too. So yeah, there’s a lot of good areas really but I also like it if it is cold and/or snows for the holidays. I know it’s annoying to drive in and things like that but I just like that so maybe we could have two though so then we could go somewhere else January through March because that’s the bad time of year. 

Elsie: It’s a fantasy so we can definitely have two.

Emma: Yeah, let’s just have two, there’s like the winter and spring and then there’s the summer/fall one.

Elsie: Okay, well, I definitely want to go to Palm Springs for the winter, the after Christmas,  gloomy time.

Emma: Okay, yeah, Q1, we go to the desert somewhere, probably Palm Springs. That sounds good. Okay, so let’s talk about what would we do all day. What is the syllabus of this old lady summer camp that never ends?  What are we up to?

Elsie: First of all, we need a bus with the bus driver. 

Emma: Yes we do.

Elsie: Because we are gonna go on lots of field trips, and I already don’t want to drive now. I know I’m not gonna want to drive at that time in my life.

Emma: Honestly, yeah, that is a big consistency among all my female friends. I don’t know why but none of us like driving. I don’t know what that is, I have no idea.

Elsie: Cuz driving sucks. Yes. Okay. I made a very big syllabus. Okay, so we’ll switch off between pottery and painting because I want to paint and I want to do pottery but I feel like it’s kind of an either or for the day so we can go back and forth. 

Emma: Yeah, I agree.

Elsie: Okay, so elaborate pasta making is like my ultimate passion that I have not been able to fulfill in my toddler raising lifestyle. So I need a space for that. You know a ravioli, where each ravioli has a little scene on it. A little illustration, a little picture, little design. 

Emma: Yeah, morning time we’ll be doing arts and crafts, then it’s lunch and naptime. As soon as we wake up from nap time to do elaborate food stuff so that we can eat dinner at like six, you know? 

Elsie: Yep. I will not settle for less than a two-story library with a no talking rule so we always have a space where we can read, and nobody is trying to have a conversation in this one space, because I think that’s polite, kind of a library vibe. You know, maybe if it’s an elementary school, we could do the library, that actually makes sense for that one.

Emma: That’s why I like the elementary school because one I see them abandoned a lot, but two it’s like they have different areas because they already have an art room. They might already have a kiln. You know what I mean? So it’s like, that kind of thing. But anyway, there’s drawbacks like the communal bathrooms, so…

Elsie: Absolutely not.

Emma: We’d have to renovate a little bit. 

Elsie: Yeah. And okay, for my spooky babes. I think the tarot readings are an essential part, maybe once a week. Doesn’t need to be every day.  I think once a week is a good amount to do the readings. Then for field trips, I’m thinking we’ll just go to like Home Goods. We’ll go to Starbucks. Just regular places (laughing). 

Emma: Yeah. There’s nowhere else I wanna go.  Library… Home Goods…

Elsie: Yeah, I mean, we can go to the park. You know, we could go just regular everyday places, the grocery store…

Emma: Oh, that’s another thing about the location. It should be an area where we can go on really great walks, and like, we don’t have to take the bus. We just go outside and there’s great walking. 

Elsie: Oh, she wants a walk score. Okay..

Emma: Yes. We don’t have to walk… it doesn’t have to be where we have to get somewhere. It could be like a foresty area.  It doesn’t have to be like, oh, there has to be a coffee shop nearby. I don’t have to walk anywhere. I’m good with an aimless, but I need to be able to walk, so it can’t be off the side of a highway and we can’t walk. Not interested in that. Not walking on the side of a highway. No.

Elsie: Okay, I agree. Okay, cookie baking marathon. I think we should just have baking day once a week. That makes sense to me. Yeah, we’ll have our own sourdough starter and we’ll have our own baking cabinet and it’ll be magnificent. Every kind of sprinkles. Okay, I’m thinking that we have a happy hour every day in the hot tub because why not in our, you know, golden girl years. Why wouldn’t we have a happy hour and a hot tub?

Emma: I agree. Hopefully, by then marijuana will be federally legal. I hope so. By then 

Elsie: It will be. 

Emma: If not by then were never gonna make it here in the US.  We’ll just make sure it’s in a state where it is if that’s an issue.

Elsie: It will be fine. And then okay, do you think we should do a good amount of night swimming?

Emma: Love it!

Elsie: Because our cool retirement home. And I also think we should have a lot of movie nights because movies are the best.

Emma: Yes!  I want a giant popcorn maker like you have at your house where we all make it together and scoop it out and stuff for the movie.

Elsie: Plus the homemade popcorn once-a-week lifestyle is very underrated and it has brought us so much joy.  If you have a chance to get a little popcorn maker and do it on Sunday nights and have a family movie night, it’s so wonderful.

Emma: Yeah, I think we’re gonna get one at our new house.

Elsie: You have to do it!

Emma: I haven’t picked one out yet because we’re not at that stage. 

Elsie: I have a blog post for that… I have a blog post just about popcorning.

Emma: Oh I’ll use your affiliate link. Don’t you worry.

Elsie: Perfect. Okay, that is the syllabus and obviously, send us your suggestions. We want to hear every. single. one. 

Emma: We gotta decorate a lot for the holidays too. We can start decorating for Halloween in like August. You know?

Elsie: I love that. Yeah, I mean, any month. So the next thing I have down is the dinner parties. So I think themed dinner parties with their own menus. When you have time all day, this is what I’ve always wanted to do my whole life. But you know, it’s hard to find enough time. So I feel like that’s the season in life to make the fancy dinner parties with costumes and themes and a murder mystery dinner party, all of that stuff. It makes me so happy.

Emma: Maybe now and again, we can let outsiders into the dinner parties because can you imagine if you heard that there was this old lady group that was having a murder mystery dinner party to themselves. And they were like, Okay, you can come with your friend or your partner or whatever. I’d be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m there. I cannot wait to see what these ladies are up to.” 

Elsie: Yep, yep. 

Emma: So we can let people in once in a while. Not as a business idea. Just as fun.

Elsie: Yeah, I mean, it’s all just for fun. I hope that that’s obvious. This is not a business idea. This is a very expensive retirement fantasy. 

Emma: Fantasy.  Yeah, we haven’t figured out any important logistics.  You’re like, “how are you going to deal with medical care?” I’m like, “that’s not part of the fantasy guys. Let’s focus.”

Elsie: Yeah…

Emma: like I don’t know, everyone wears a Life Alert. I don’t know. (laughing)

Elsie: We can all wear a Life Alert. That’s fine.

Emma: Yeah, heads up on the stairs. Everyone keep an eye out for everyone else. 

Elsie: Yeah, I took rollerskating off the syllabus cuz I figured that was too, you’re too fragile, that you don’t wanna bust your a$$ for no reason

Emma: Well, you wanna be careful. Take your calcium everyone. (laughing)

Elsie: Okay, the next thing is seasonal decor and traditions. So I think the more seasonal decor the better. And I do think there should be sort of a manifesto/contract that you have to sign upon acceptance to our special grandma Hogwarts, where if you’re not okay with putting the Halloween decorations up in July or August, then you don’t come to our retirement home. 

Emma: Yeah you’re out.

Elsie: because it’s a joyful, like, the whole point is that its maximum joy. So there are no downers. Yeah,

Emma: Yeah, no stinkers are allowed. Yeah, so you know, if we have room, if it was at an elementary or, I don’t know, if we had room, maybe we could designate a room that’s like, this is the Halloween room all year round and this is the Christmas room all year round. So of course, we still decorate everywhere for Christmas but then it’s like there’s a space when you’re a little bit depressed in February, you can go into the Halloween room, and it’s just a nice little escape. You know?

Elsie: I love it. Okay, I wrote down some things for each season. So in the springtime, I think that can be our DIY time of year where if something needs a fresh coat of paint, or you know, whatever, you want to plant some flowers, spring cleaning, all of that. And also, I think we should have a massive community garage sale. 

Emma: Fun!

Elsie: Cuz that makes sense to declutter. And also, I at this season of my life…

Emma: Maybe we could sell our pottery then too?  Just so we basically can make space for all of our pottery. 

Elsie: Yeah, that sounds good. Yeah, I never have time to do garage sales now, and I wish I did, but I just don’t. So it’s one of those things that I think maybe someday. 

Emma: Yeah, we could make homemade doughnuts, because we’ll probably be up at 4am anyway because we’re old ladies and I guess that’s how it works. I don’t know. So we’ll makes homemade doughnuts just for ourselves. Or the garage sale.

Elsie: Yeah, that sounds good. Okay, the summer thing is pool parties. Lots of pool parties and lots of pasta salad. So it’s like, every day you go in the pool and you make your pasta salad. And I just think that is summer at its best.

Emma: Let’s get a slushie machine so we can always have some kind of alcoholic slushy. It’s by the pool.

Elsie: OK, the answer is yes.  Slushie machine added to the list officially. 

Emma: Excellent. Okay, the budget we’re expanding. 

Elsie: Yeah, the budget is fluid actually, you don’t even need to expand it.

Emma: It’s a fantasy.

Elsie: Okay, for fall I have one very specific fantasy. I want to have a Harry Potter dinner with the floating candles and the floating pumpkins. Yeah. So that is very important to me.  I will not do anything if I can’t have the floating pumpkins. 

Emma\: The answer is Yes. I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that. I don’t know why we wouldn’t. That sounds stupid to not do that. 

Elsie: Yeah and then we can have a Harry Potter marathon.  That’s a fall activity.  Then winter, I feel like maybe we’ll have a little bit of a break for the holidays because we’ll have to go visit our families. And then afterward, I thought maybe we would be feeling kind of down because you know, you have to come off of that high of… 

Emma: The holiday high…

Elsie: Of visitng grandkids and all of that stuff. So I thought we could make the winter just like cozy hobbies, like ultra hobby time, where it’s like the number of hobbies we normally do. We just double it for that depressing time of year.

Emma: Yeah, I think the same, we’ll be hobbies and hibernation.

Elsie: Oh, yeah. That’s nice. I like that.

Emma: So it’s like, make something, take a nap, read a book. That’s it. Drink some hot chocolate, talk to someone so you don’t feel so lonely. There you go. That’s it. That’s all.  Everyone’s good.

Elsie: Magical. Okay, anything else? Because the details I feel like are the most important part of this whole fantasy. The details really matter.

Emma: What else? What else? What else? I mean, I think the kitchen is going to need to be really important because we are going to have so much elaborate baking and pasta making and I just am envisioning a lot of like, a commercial stainless steel area, that also has a big row of aprons that everyone you know, has their own. We probably are going to need a walk-in freezer, or refrigerator, not freezer, maybe freezer too, I don’t know, probably gonna need one of those. So that’s going to be important because you know, it’s annoying whenever you make cookies and you need to refrigerate them. You don’t have any more space. We need lots of racks. Where you just wheel it into the walking, you know, and we’ve got all of our hundreds of cookies that are just in there, no problem. Chillin for a minute. That kind of thing. 

Elsie: Okay. 

Emma: I do think movie night we definitely need a movie screen.  That whole experience. 

Elsie: Oh, yeah, 

Emma: I think in the summer, we should get one of those big inflatable movie screen things. So we can do Pool Party movie nights. You know, because that’d be fun. So that could be like, summer movie night changes. So it’s like you sit out there, have the popcorn.

Elsie: Love it!

Emma: Can we add, so we have pottery and we have painting. I think maybe, what if we added candlemaking because we’re making all this pottery anyway. Plus, as silly as this visual is, I kind of liked when in, The Office, when Jan goes into her candle room and she’s like, “when I’m upset I just come in here and smell the candles.” And I’m like, Yeah, you’re crazy Jan but, yeah, I get that.  Maybe we need a candle room.

Elsie: That’s how I am with my Halloween closet. I think that making candles, yeah I mean, like, I didn’t want to make it sound like painting and pottery are the only crafts we’re gonna do. We’re gonna do every craft.  I mean, there’s so many things that I still have not had the time to learn that we could still learn. So yeah, learning new things I think is the key to longevity for your brain. And that’s something that I want to do absolutely. Constantly, take a class, learn something new. So yeah, I think there’s endless craft ideas we can do. 

Emma: Maybe we could add to the bus outings. You know our little outings where we go to Home Goods and Starbucks and stuff. Maybe we can also get manicures and pedicures?  Like our bus pulls up and all the ladies get off at the salon to get… I still want to get some wacky nail art, even when I’m old because it’s cool, man.

Elsie: Yeah, it is cool. Okay, I love all of it. I think it’s going to have a very long waiting list. And I think it’s gonna be very popular retirement home.

Emma: Look, you can also make your own everyone. Did you know that you can have your own fantasies?  You can copy our fantasy and it can still be yours. You know, so they should open this with your friends, like 100%.  

Elsie: Please copy it. Yeah.. 

Emma: Please

Elsie: Yeah, I think the idea of making our golden years be all about hobbies. And you know, exploring more interest, I think is so exciting.  Just because of where I am right now.  My capacity to try something new is so small, and I’m fine with it but, it’s very small.  To have a much bigger capacity, I think it’s just so exciting. So…

Emma: Very exciting.

Elsie: So I have three listener questions and I promised that they would be very deep but how about we start off with the shallow one first? 

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: So these questions all came from Instagram.  You can follow us at A Beautiful Mess.  I ask for podcast ideas on there pretty often, whenever I’m writing the outlines. These questions all came from last night when I did that. The first one is the shallow one, quote-unquote, what were your favorite buys of the year? Which I always love this question, because it really makes me think and it’s not something that I instantly know, and I don’t know if you knew yours instantly, but I was thinking how about we each get to? 

Emma: Yeah, I wrote down two.  I tried to pick things that I haven’t already talked about on the podcast, just because there are some favorite buys that you’ve already heard me talk about a bunch of times. So I thought I’ll do something a little different. So mine are pretty random and also my criteria was more like things that I use a lot.  Both of these I use every single day.  I’m not saying they’re the very best thing ever. I mean, I think they’re both wonderful, but I was more like these things were really worth the money. So the first one was a coffee subscription and I’ve actually had this for a few years, and I have it to a local coffee shop. They make their own roast, their own beans here in town called, The Coffee Ethic.  I highly recommend a coffee subscription.  If you don’t have a great local place that does subscriptions, then there’s lots of national ones. But I totally recommend finding something local, ours is awesome. It just gets delivered to my house. That’s been a huge lifesaver this year as I have a young child.  I used to be way more on top of buying coffee and now I ONLY go to the grocery store. I don’t go to two or three places and there’s coffee beans at the grocery store, and they’re fine, but I really like a special coffee in the morning. I love coffee. I’m kind of passionate about it. I don’t know if I’d say I’m a coffee snob but, I don’t know if I know enough about it to really fit into that category honestly, but I do like good coffee. So, you know, the coffee subscription is like a thing for me that I’ve really enjoyed.  I make coffee every single morning and it’s with Coffee Ethic coffee beans 90% of the time.  And then my second one was, I bought a Big Blanket, which it’s literally, that’s the name of their company. And they actually, since then have sponsored the podcast. So I’m just letting you know that they are currently a sponsor, which is so cool of them to support us.  I got this blanket long before they were ever a sponsor and it’s on our bed. They make these giant blankets, they have a few different fabric choices and lots of different patterns. We have it on our bed currently and it fits our king size bed great.  We kind of have the issue where we’re stealing the covers from each other. So this solves that all the way.  You also could use this for picnics, or if you have a bigger family, everyone can fit under it at the couch if you’re watching a movie. They’re just really sweet and cozy.  I also wanted to bring it up for this time of year because I think it’s a really nice thing for this time of year, cozy season. It also would make a great gift if you’re looking for something for upcoming holidays or later in the year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. I use ours like I said every day, so I love it.

Elsie: Awesome. Yeah, I love having great blankets. I think that’s so wonderful.  Okay, so my favorite two things of the year are, the first one is, I bought a free little library for the front of our house.  I had put it off for a while, I think I just wasn’t, I don’t know, I don’t know what I was not sure about. But one night, I just ordered one and I ordered a small one.  You can get them on… I think it’s free, just Google free little library. I’m not exactly sure of their website.  They have ones on there that they make and they ship to you.  I think that the library itself and the post, maybe are separate, but they have a nice sturdy roof.  I think it has a metal roof and it’s been really great. We had to get our mailbox repaired and I just had that contractor also install the free little library for me. And yeah, I just love seeing people check it.  A lot of times our delivery drivers will check it and I like to see that or a postman or other contractors and things like that. And yeah, it is just really joyful. I also love the experience of sharing books that I’ve read, when passing them on to a new home. So yeah, I just think it’s a very, very joyful thing.  I have noticed that a huge commonality for me if I think a neighborhood is quote-unquote good, is if there’s a lot of free little libraries, the more free little libraries, it shows you that it’s a cozy, cute neighborhood that probably has good trick or treating and that is my type of neighborhood. So yeah, so our neighborhood did not have one yet so I wanted to improve our neighborhood and add one.  Then the other thing I bought, actually, I’m gonna admit, I think I ordered this last year, but I got it installed this year, is my KILN!  I finally got to fully use it recently, I got a local elementary school teacher came and taught me how to use it, which was so helpful.  Maybe I’ll talk about it more in a future episode but I have done my first firings and now I’m making more handhelds and you have to sort of let them dry for a week or more before you put them in for the bisque fire.  I’m just so happy that I understand how to use it. And it’s not scary. It was not hard.  I already learned things to do better for next time. So that was a major purchase.  It was definitely a splurge. I think I got it as maybe a birthday gift for myself. I can’t really remember but some kind of major thing, but it’s definitely one of the most joyful things I’ve ever bought. 

Emma: I love it. 

Elsie: Yes. 

Emma: And yeah, you should do a whole episode on your pottery and your kiln because I want to hear about it. 

Elsie: Okay, let me do a couple more loads, and then I will do an episode soon.  I promise you all I’ll do that. Yeah, I have decided that I’m going to make for my first project a table setting of Halloween dishes. So that’s my first big thing.

Emma: I love it.

Elsie: I’m just like so excited about it. So yeah. 

Emma: Very cool. 

Elsie: The next question is, these are the deep questions, how have you changed post-pandemic? So I thought this was a very interesting question. It really made me think and also disclaimer, obviously, we know that the pandemic is still going on, in some ways, but I think that at this point, I’m comfortable with the phrase, post-pandemic, just because it’s like, we’ve been through it. Whether or not it’s over yet or not is one thing, but we’ve been through something together that I think now we can, I can finally reflect on it. 

Emma:m Yeah, I think we’re not really being asked to stay home as much, as a country, as a public. I think that’s a big difference. It doesn’t mean that no one’s getting sick at all.  There’s not zero people with COVID, that’s not true and I’m not sure that’s ever going to be true but we’re not being asked to stay home like we were before. So I think that’s kind of the big difference. A big difference maker.

Elsie: Definitely at least in a different phase. 

Emma: Right. 

Elsie: Okay. So yeah, it’s been close to three years, I guess, like two and a half years. In the spring it’ll be three years, which is a long time, when if I would have known at the beginning of the pandemic that we would still be having these conversations, and thinking these thoughts this far in the future, I think that would have scared the heck out of me at that point. But yeah, now it’s like we’re all just used to it. Okay, so how I think I’ve changed, I do feel like I’ve changed a lot. I had a hard two years. I have relied on my therapist a lot. I am so thankful for, I feel like the future’s bright, and that in some ways, some things are starting to look a lot brighter for me. Okay, so how I’ve changed, I feel like I’m much more of a loner now than I used to be.  This is actually kind of bad, because I’ve always been an introvert.  I’ve always been a little bit of a loner but now I’m an ultra loner, which I actually think I might want to adjust back a few notches for the future.  It’s true for now, I’m extremely comfortable being alone and I am extremely uncomfortable having a lot of plans. So that has changed a lot.  The next thing is I am finally for the first time in my life,  very comfortable with privacy.  This is from sort of taking a pretty big step back on social media for a couple of years.  I spent pretty much my whole adult life over sharing my life on the internet and for the last couple years, I’ve kind of shared almost nothing.  It has been, I think, a positive thing because I think it’s a phase I needed to get through, to sort of, course correct myself.  Now I feel pretty balanced and I’m enjoying sharing things again.  I don’t feel as much anxiety surrounding the internet as I did two years ago.  I also have a lot more boundaries and a lot more that I know I’m going to keep private and I’m just fine with that.  I’m not worried about it, which feels really good.  The last thing is, this is kind of a small one but I think it also is a big one.  I think I’m more able to enjoy the simple things with my kids.  Three or four years ago, I remember a time when we were first parents, maybe it’s a difference of being new parents too but we made a cardboard house with Nova and we made it like a whole thing.  I spent my whole weekend painting it, making it perfect, making it accessories, and just going all in.  I think after such an exhausting season of life, I am more comfortable with just letting them play with a box. I think that a lot of parents will relate with that actually.  I’m just not overdoing things as much as I used to.  It might just be an effective exhaustion. But I think in some ways, it’s also healthy.

Emma: Yep, that all makes sense. Yeah, mine is so wrapped up with becoming a parent so it’s hard to really know how the pandemic, post-pandemic, things that were wrapped up with that versus just becoming a mom because I feel like that…

Elsie: Yeah you’re in a different season of life completely than you were at the beginning of the pandemic.

Emma: Yeah, completely. Yeah, it’s really hard to kind of parcel those out but I guess my one takeaway would probably be I’m a lot more open to and grateful for basically any social interaction.  I just feel it as like, Oh, this is great. I wouldn’t have been able to do this two years ago. You know, like, that’s kind of what I think. And there’s times, you know, you’re gonna go do something with a group of friends and maybe you were excited to go to a certain restaurant and all of a sudden, that changes because you can’t get a reservation or something, and then you end up somewhere you’re not as excited about, and I think I would be a little more disappointed about that years ago.  Now I just don’t care because I’m like, Oh, we get to go out. This is great. So I don’t know. I think it’s a product of kind of lowering my expectations. And I think that it’s been a positive thing for me. So yeah, that’d be the main thing but so many other things, but I think they’re more about becoming a mom than post-pandemic.

Elsie: Yeah, I wonder how many years it will be when I can go into a restaurant without feeling a sense of awe for it. I really do still feel that every single time.

Emma: Yeah, I’m just like, Oh, I’m grateful. Even if what I ordered was bad. I’m like, I don’t care. We’re out. We’re around people, look at this. So yeah, doesn’t matter to me, whatever.

Elsie: Awe I love that. Yeah, we would love to hear yours too. So leave them for us in the show notes. If you have something, we would love to hear it. Okay, so the next question, talk about where you see yourselves in 10 years. I LOVE this subject.  I know you probably think a lot of our episode was about that but that’s actually more like 20 or 30 years, or maybe more, that’s our old lady phase.

Emma: Yeah 30 or 40 years. 

Elsie: 10 years in the future for me is being 49. Like in the, I’ll have teenagers, you know, but I’ll still have kids at home.  It’s a medium space that we haven’t talked about as much. 

Emma: Yeah, I’ll be 46 in 10 years.

Elsie: So yeah, I am excited. 10 years to me, sounds like a really good age.  I put down I basically want to be in my prime.  I want to be in this semi-retired phase. So a really good book for understanding what semi-retired means is this book called, Work Optional by Tanya Hester, I loved this book. It is one of the money books that really changed my life. It is about how you can retire early but it’s also about how you can have a more flexible life. Because for me and my personal preferences, I don’t find inspiration and joy in the thought of retiring, because I like my job.  I don’t even care if I never retire. Retirement is not a goal for me but being in a situation where I have the complete flexibility to travel for a month or travel for two months, or you know, just have a tragedy happen where I want to take off a couple of months, just things like that.  That’s something that I want for myself in 10 years that I don’t quite have yet and we’re not quite there yet.  I feel very inspired by that and then the other thing is, I do want to transition my career.  We see ourselves doing A Beautiful Mess for a long time but we have this fantasy.  I don’t want to spoil it too much because I feel like at some point, we’ll really talk about it. But we have an idea about writing some books together, like some fiction.  So that is something that I am pretty much laser-focused on but right now I consider myself in a prep phase.  It is something that I definitely want to be.  That’s why I said, in my prime, creatively, I want to be fully in that zone in 10 years from now.  Also, I want to travel with my kids a lot when they’re teenagers. I feel like that is a rich life thing that I just really want to do. It sounds like memories that we can make for a lifetime. And traveling with them as little kids I think is worth it.  I think it’s really fun but I think it’ll be more worth it and more fun when they’re a little bit older and we can sort of share more of the experiences together.  So that’s where I see myself in 10 years. What about you?

Emma: Yeah, speaking of rich life, just a side note, our friend Remeet has just come out with a, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, journal.  I preordered it for both my husband and myself. I’m just really excited about it. So anyway, you were just talking about rich life, that’s really where that comes from is Remeet talks a lot about designing your rich life.  What it means to you because it’s not just about money. It’s about what you do with your money that you have. Okay, so yeah, 10 years from now, I’ll be 46, and I’ll have an 11-year-old.  What I’d love to be doing is hopefully still living in the house that we’re about to move to, but it’ll be very lived in and fully finished, hopefully, you know, very much by then.  I’d really love my schedule to mirror Oscars’s school schedule. I’d really love to walk him to school in the morning and walk to pick him up at the end of the day except for when there’s bad weather, of course, I’m not going to make him walk in the snow or something. But yeah, I’d like my work time to fit into those hours, which in my mind, compared to what I do right now, is sort of semi-retirement, but it is still a good amount of work hours. So I think I’ll definitely still be doing A Beautiful Mess. I’ll still be doing childhood Magic. And yeah, Elsie and I have some fiction writing we’d like to do together. I definitely want fiction writing to be a part of my career. I don’t really care that much if I make tons and tons of money at it, but I would like to make enough money that I can justify spending time on it because I really enjoy it. I love reading and I would love to be a part of it.  I’m just so grateful for all the great authors that I’ve read because it’s just special. When you get a book that you love, you know, I would love to join their ranks one day, so I definitely fantasize about that a lot.  I’m taking steps for that to be a part of my life and hopefully, 10 years from now, that will very much be the case. So I’d love to spend my day while Oscars’s at school, writing, creating stuff for A Beautiful Mess, for Childhood Magic. Hopefully, I’ll have a little more time for lunches with friends or, you know, I just did my annual go talk to fifth graders about my job. I do that once a year.

Elsie: Did they ask you anything awkward? 

Emma: No, not really. They didn’t even ask me how much money I make. That’s almost always the first question. It really wasn’t this year, I was surprised. But anyway, I’d love space for things like that.  If there’s something going on at Oscar’s school, I just want space in my schedule where I can do things like that, and basically just be a part of my community with the age of child that I have. So anyway, that’s really where I see myself. It’s nothing groundbreaking but to me, it sounds like a wonderful life. If I step back, I feel a little overwhelmed right now with moving and everything that’s going on with our careers and things like that but when I take a step back and look at it, I’m like, Yeah, you’re making a lot of good choices that I think your future self will be very happy with. So that’s good.

Elsie: Yeah, I agree with that. I think having a 10 year plan, if you’ve never made one for yourself, I think it is such an encouraging, important exercise to do.  It can give you so much perspective when you’re going through a hard season or when you’re unsure about little choices, you know, to just help you focus on what you really want for yourself. I think that is so helpful. So yep, I love a 10 year plan. Yeah, it makes me feel Yeah, so happy. 

Emma: Thanks so much for listening.  If you love the podcast, first of all, make sure you’re subscribed so you never miss an episode.  We’d also love it if you’d share our podcast with friends. We always see when someone shares about it on Instagram when you tag us. I don’t always repost every single one on our Instagram just because I feel sometimes kind of big-headed if I see a whole bunch of them, but we see them and it means a lot. So thank you when you’re doing that and it really helps us grow. Alright, well we’ll see you next week.


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