All posts by Rebecca

Episode 5: The Livin’ Is Easy

It’s finally summer! In this episode, learn how to be a rad wedding guest with advice from the fashion mags, hear about a very shitty summer job, and find out which books made the cut for the Not Shallow Summer Reading List. (Spoiler alert: the books are not very beachy but if you like celebrity tell-alls, you won’t be disappointed).


Summer Reads & Dranks

brandy-slushHere’s how to make brandy slush, a frozen summer drank (no blender required):

Combine 7 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar. Boil until sugar dissolves. Let this cool.

Add 2 cups boiling water to 4 black tea bags and let it all steep until cool.

(This is the cooling portion of the recipe. Go read something online or watch Jeopardy.)

Once both of these items (the simple syrup and the tea) are cool, combine them in a container that you can also use to mix the rest of the ingredients and then put in the freezer. A plastic ice cream bucket, if you happen to eat enough ice cream that you purchased a bucket of it, works great.

1 12-oz. can of lemonade concentrate
1 12-oz. can of OJ concentrate
2 cups brandy

Stir it all up and then freeze until slushy – overnight is preferred.

To serve: fill a water glass 2/3 full with brandy slush and then top it off with ginger ale (you can also try 7Up or Sprite or a diet soda but I think ginger ale is the best, specifically Seagram’s because its not as sweet. There is going to be a lot of sugar in this drank!)

Best if served with a swizzle stick and a straw. Now sit around and talk smart… or read.

Which brings me to the books mentioned in episode 5’s segment “Beach Reads and Blanket Books.”

The Run of His Life: The People vs. OJ Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin (“The inspiration for the first season of American Crime Story on FX, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., John Travolta, David Schwimmer, and Connie Britton”)

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction by Joan Didion (this includes the books Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, both great reads on their own)

Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr by Stephen Michael Shearer

Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway

Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life by Cindy Williams

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Sick In the Head: Conversations About Life & Comedy by Judd Apatow

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. (sorry I forgot to mention the Ph.D. on the show…)

The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire and the Hunt for America’s Youngest Serial Killer by Roseanne Montillo (because what would a summer be without a book about America’s youngest serial killer?)

Re Jane: A Novel by Patricia Park (not sure why this title needs “A Novel” added to it but it must have something to do with the current craze for the colon. That’s the punctuation mark, not the body part)

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Not on our summer lists but some celeb/Old Hollywood memoirs and tell-alls we’ve read that are worth checking out:

Knock Wood by Candice Bergen
This ‘N That by Bette Davis
Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood by Suzanne Finstad
Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler
Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin
Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford (come on, you haven’t read this yet?)


Episode 4: I’ve Got the Music In Me

In this episode, it’s all about the music. Learn about one man’s struggle to come to terms with his love for emergent nightclub dancing, explore reasons why classic rock radio continues to exist, and hear about some first concert experiences. Oh, and a special album recommendation.

Episode 4: Get Your Playlist Here

Michael Hutchence of INXS and his glorious hair.First, glorious Michael Hutchence and his outstanding late 80s hair. Mystify me!

Next, here is a playlist, should you wish to re-create it for yourself, of every song mentioned in Trouble on the Dance Floor: The COMPLETE Guide to Emergent Nightclub Dancing. Perfect for the emergent dance party you now want to have in your backyard this summer.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston
When Love Takes Over – Kelly Rowland (David Guetta mix)
Absolutely Not – Deborah Cox
You Won’t Forget Me – Stevie Nicks (I think this is the song referred to – it was mentioned by lyric, not by title)
Sandstorm – Darude
This Joy – Vernessa Mitchell
One More Time – Daft Punk
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Commander – Kelly Rowland
Better Off Alone – Alice Deejay  (Joey’s “signature song”)

And if you want to check out the sweet Moog Cookbook album Ye Olde Space Bande Plays the Classic Rock Hits here it is on iTunes. You can also listen to it on Spotify.


Episode 3: Stuff About Stuff

This week it’s all stuff about stuff… The many cars of Keith Pille, a discussion of cleaning up clutter using the Kondo method from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and a Memorial Day trip to the thrift store that results in some fun summer finds.

If you want links and photos mentioned in the episode, check out this post.

Episode 3: Get More Stuff Here

Stuff from the stuff episode:

There is so much being written about the Queen of Tidiness, Marie Kondo, right now. You can also see her in action at the 92nd Street Y (or just get the highlights from New York Magazine). And you can read accounts from people who have Kondo’s much more thoroughly than I have.

Want to fold using the Kondo method? There are tutorials for that:


Me, I’m still balling up my socks.

If you enjoy the music featured in the episodes, you can listen to full versions of the songs, or download them, on or

A trip to an Arc Value Village thrift never disappoints.

The weirdest thing I found on my recent trip was this guy, encased in a bell jar. His name was Izzy Guilty and he was a Christmas gift that someone seems to have kept, out of guilt or maybe just forgetfulness, since 1984. I imagine that the day came for retirement, the office was cleaned, and this was promptly dropped off at Arc.


I also didn’t purchase:

Boy George Coffee Table BookOr

Charlton Heston and The Bible

But this little guy  (he’s a candle!) did get to come home with me, for sure.

Orange dog with big eyes


Episode 2: Chicks Keep Getting Younger

Welcome to episode 2 of Not Shallow.

This time out, I share my impressions and deep thoughts about the TV show “Younger,” now airing on TV Land. Yes, I’m watching it. Also, in another daring confession of sorts, I talk about a old love affair of mine… with the body suit. Finally, I send you off with a roll call of some of the pets of Old Hollywood. RIP to those stars and their much-loved furry friends.

Don’t forget to eat some berries and nuts. That stuff is so totally good for you.

Want to be bad and watch “Younger?” You can watch entire episodes here for free. If you have AdBlock installed on your computer, you don’t even have to watch their embedded ads. It’s a victimless crime.

Also, here is a favorite photo of Audrey Hepburn and her pet deer, Pippin:


Episode 1: R.C. Phone Home

Sometimes cats are a drag.Welcome to Not Shallow, the podcast!
In this first episode, I discuss the @Work section in Marie Claire, Keith Pille and I commiserate over the mental and physical state of our 17-year-old cat, Jones, and Sarah Collins and I unpack some French baggage in lieu of any serious consideration of the book The Little Prince. Please enjoy these visual aids that may (or may not) increase your enjoyment of the topics discussed.

Meet Jones

This is Jones:

This is Jones the cat!

This is also Jones:

Jones the cat on Santa's lap

Brief Jones Update: We forgot to mention that for the first time in our lives we had to purchase a baby gate, although we have no children, to prevent Jones from going out onto our (enclosed) back porch, which has become his preferred litter box (without litter or a box).

Photographic Evidence

I wanted to share with you the 6th grade awkwardness I referred to in the show.

(deep breath)

This is me in 6th grade looking oh-so-awkward.

That’s me in the bright red t-shirt. I used to stand like that a lot, holding my other arm, like it would protect me or make me smaller. The woman with the odd look on her face, far left, is my mom. I’d go so far as to say that’s a smirk on her face, even though she’s not that kind of person. She doesn’t go around smirking… She and I are about the same height and I’m 12. “Forenza” is my sister. I suppose she’s just as awkward, in her way, but to me this photo of her is endearing. On the right in my French exchange student… innocent in all of this.

Standing by bus before departure to Paris

I’ve included this photo, even though it’s not the best quality, to showcase, once again, my size. That’s me, far left, looking into the camera as I stand and hold the flag. I mean, never let it be said that I coasted on my good looks. Zuzu has her back to me, per usual. Girl directly in front of me was one of my best friends on the trip – I’m about a foot taller? The only kids taller are those standing on the steps of the bus. I believe we are getting ready to depart on our trip to France.

But first we did this (performed our talentless talent show for our parents):

Girls passing hats in "New York, New York"

Start spreading the news…


If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere…


NEW YORK! (big finish featuring grumpy Statue of Liberty – this made me incredibly sad and upset but I guess I just sucked it up… how very adult of me.)

Since recording this episode, I was made aware of the upcoming Little Prince movie that is being released this year. I have to admit, the trailer doesn’t look too bad, thanks mostly the addition of a rad little girl into the plot. Still, I guess I’m just not someone who needs to be reminded, ad nauseam, that “what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Like, duh.

What can I say? I’m also the gal who never even made it through the first Harry Potter book.

what-about-do-smallP.S. We also have a dog named Freja, who is now eagerly awaiting her turn for podcast scrutiny. Equal rights for dogs!

Thanks for listening and for reading!

Not Shallow: The Podcast

Not Shallow: The Podcast is on its way!

That’s right, there is a podcast in the works – the first episode will be unveiled this week.

It’s everything you didn’t know you wanted, all that your ears have ever needed.

Dogs everywhere are excited. Not that it has anything to do with dogs, per se, it’s just that dogs are, in general, very excitable. Which is nice.

Maxin’ & Relaxin’: Summer Reading

2014 summer books list
Every summer I have visions of simply collapsing into a lawn chair, lemonade in hand and reading, reading, reading from morning until night, stopping only to eat ice cream.

While the reality is far different, I start off the season with an ambitious list. I tend not to focus on “beach reads” but on books I’ve meant to read and anything that seems like it might be good to get lost in on a hot afternoon.

2014 Summer Reading List

The Musts:
Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov; I’m currently reading this and every time I turn a page I ask myself why I’ve never read this book before. Awesome Russian novel with a “supernatural” bent, especially great if you’re a fan of…

Haruki Murakami: Norwegian Wood, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (will be published in August)

The Goldfinch by Donna Taart; after experiencing bitter disappointment over The Little Friend, her 2002 novel, I’m going to give her another try after her Pultizer win!

Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel; I’ve read articles about Hilary Mantel that have been fascinating but never any Mantel books. If I love it, I’ll definitely read the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.

Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie books. I read Atkinson’s Life After Life this winter and wish I could rediscover it this summer – it would make a great summer read to get engrossed in while sitting on the porch with no one bothering you. Luckily, Atkinson has written many other books, and her detective novels with Brodie are highly praised.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion; I simply haven’t read enough Didion and that’s a hole that needs to be filled.

Couples – John Updike; in a recent New Yorker review of the new Updike biography, I learned that it wasn’t all WASPy angst in Updike’s world. Maybe I had him confused with Cheever? In any case, this novel about infidelity in the 1960s is supposed to be more frothy and soap opera than his other work.

The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan; not anyone’s idea of a beach read, but I’m curious after not having picked up this groundbreaking work since middle school when I discovered that feminism was a thing.

Memos: The Vogue Years – Diana Vreeland; a read through the entertaining memos Vreeland wrote while helming Vogue in the 60s. Frothy, fun, frenetic.

Super Sad True Love Story – Gary Shteyngart; been promising Keith I’d read this for years – it’s his favorite Shteyngart novel and, he promises, a winner on all front.

Side Orders (Sprinkle into main list generously)

Vampires in the Lemon Grove – Karen Russell
The Double РJos̩ Saramago
The Gift – Lewis Hyde
There’s a Road To Everywhere Except Where You Came From: A Memoir – Bryan Charles
The Vacationers – Emma Straub (the closest thing on my list to a beach read)
A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter – Richard Barrios (this is also going to be my summer of musicals!)


I’m working on writing some fiction that involves the devil, which gives me a good excuse to read how other writers have imagined him and find out his history. Thus, Master and Margarita, as mentioned above, but also:
Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
The Devil: A Very Short Introduction – Darren Oldridge
Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World – Jeffrey Burton Russell