Episode #138: Palm Spring Moms

This week, we are sharing about our getaway to Palm Springs, making friends in your 30s, and our book report on The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett.

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-Tips to making friends in your 30s: don’t feel guilty and quality over quantity

-Tips to maintain friendships in your 30s: Have an anchor like a weekly book club or monthly get together, and make the relationship important.

Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week, we’re sharing all about our little getaway to Palm Springs, which was such an ultimate mom getaway. And we’re also chatting about adult friendships, making and maintaining friendships in your 30s, and how that’s different from your 20s. Also, this week, we’re sharing our book report from the Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett.

Elsie: Awesome, I’m excited for this week. Okay, so before we jump into talking all about our trip, I thought we should talk about the inspiration for the trip, which was your January and February, like how it went? 

Emma: So I should say too, I hadn’t been on a vacation since before COVID hit the US. So it’s been more than two years, which is fine. I was pregnant, and I had a maternity leave in there and I have a nine-month-old now. So like, it’s pretty understandable, even aside from what’s been happening in the world. Basically, my husband, Trey has been like, you really kind of need a vacation. You seem like you need a vacation,. He was encouraging me to go on one, which was very nice and he was right. Our January and February, so normally, I have daycare five days a week, Monday through Friday and it’s 9 till 5:30. Sometimes I’ll pick him up early. But in January and February, just due to sickness and snow days and Oscar was teething and just things like that, we only had 10 daycare days all of those two months. If I had been planning for that cool, like some people don’t have any daycare, if you’re planning for it it’s fine. 

Elsie: It’s basically like two weeks of daycare days spread out into two months.

Emma: While you’re trying to do full-time work hours, which is what I was expecting to do. So it was just kind of like a stressful time. I got a lot of extra time with Oscar. It’s weird, it’s hard to talk about it because there’s this piece of me that’s like that was actually really fun. But then there’s this other side of my brain that’s like, I felt stressed and guilty the whole time because I wasn’t getting my work done. I was just hanging with my son a lot because he’s just at an age, you can’t just put him in front of an iPad like that’s where he’s at.

Elsie: All moms everywhere understand. It is both all the time, and there’s no need to ever roll dice for that. Yeah, I think that January and February were so, rocky is the word. I kind of felt like I wanted a new New Year on March 1st. You know what I mean? You know how people say you can make New Year’s be any day you want. I was like I think I need to redo. So I think we both felt that way. So it was Emma’s idea was like, we should do a trip and I was like, you know what? Yes, the answer is yes. I mean it was my first time to do a trip in more than two years.

Emma: Yeah, The only time off from work I’ve done in the last two years was time to spend with family like my maternity leave or going to visit you guys in Nashville, stuff like that. Which is in a way of vacation from work but it’s a lot of hanging out with little kids or taking care of a newborn. Which is not really a vacation in the sense of the word. I feel like there’s like, a lot of moms probably understand this too, sometimes you go on a trip and sometimes you go on a vacation. Those are two different things at times.  If you’re taking your baby to visit family and it’s a long car ride, that’s more of a trip and it’s wonderful and you don’t have to work. In a way, you might feel like, oh, I should be rested after this but the truth is you’re not. It was a trip and not a vacation.

Elsie: That is a really good point. Somebody is like gonna try to call me out that last summer, we went on a family trip to Disney. It’s like, is that technically a vacation? Yes, it’s technically a vacation. But here’s the thing we drove and we have little kids. I think there’s a difference, I guess. Yeah, maybe there’s just a difference between a trip and a vacation. I like how you said that a family trip is not always the same thing as any kind of resting. 

Emma: It’s funny because now it’s really broadening my perspective on our parents. There was a time we drove from Missouri to California to go to Disneyland. So three kids in a car to go to Disneyland and I’m like, wow, that for me was like such a special vacation as a kid. We went to the ocean was the first time I’d been to the ocean. I’d never been to Disneyland. It’s so vivid in my memory that our parents took us and did all that. I even remember some of the hotels we stayed in but that was not a vacation for our parents. That was a family trip that I’m sure they enjoyed, but there’s no way they were rested after that trip. They were probably so exhausted.

Elsie: Yeah, in a perfect world that we design we can give parents a little one day off vacation after every family trip.

Emma: Exactly. You just need a good nap.

Elsie: Okay, so yeah, we wanted to talk about our trip. I didn’t post a lot on Instagram, I posted a little bit. But pretty much we were just like zoning out. It was amazing. It was the most, like we slept in, most of what we did, would you say was like sitting by the pool reading? Most of the activities are the hours spent. We got massages, it was so amazing. It was a 10 out of 10. Okay, so let’s go through each part of it and just kind of talk about it for fun. Someone can live through us vicariously. 

Emma: So we started the trip with a small, while it was the big work event, but it wasn’t something that we were absolutely required to do. We were going to go on a trip anyway so we did that and that was in LA. So we stayed at Proper Hotel, the downtown one because there’s another one in Santa Monica, and that was really fun. It’s designed by Kelly Wearstler. I have followed her on Instagram for a long time. I’m definitely a fangirl, already was, but I’d never seen any of the spaces she’s designed in real life before. I didn’t realize when we had booked this hotel that it was one that she’s worked on. She’s done a lot of Proper Hotels but now I’m obsessed. I love this hotel. I started to look up all her other Proper Hotels and they’re so cool. Now I’m like, Trey, check out all these Pinterest boards of these Proper Hotels that Kelly designed. I think these are beautiful. We should make our house like this.  I’m just way into it.

Elsie: I love that as a design reference. I totally agree. Okay, so the part of it that left the biggest impression on me, there was like a lobby, we posted this picture on Instagram, there was like a lobby with a big mural ceiling. That was really incredible. Then also, the restaurant downstairs, we had breakfast there. It was the perfect mixture of really trendy but also really cozy. There were plants everywhere and a lot of black and white tiles. I totally forgot, I think there’s just like some things due to pandemic stuff that it’s like you forgot, I totally forgot how much I love hotels. Just like the design and the detail and just walking around and seeing, there was even really amazing bathrooms. They were so cool at the hotel. We were definitely geeking out like it was like our first time to go in the world. It was great. 

Emma: Wow, wow, look at this plant, look at this countertop. Sure everyone around us was like, okay, you guys haven’t been anywhere. But yeah, we’re like look at all the chairs. Look at the chairs in this hotel. We’re obsessed.

Elsie: Yes, it was incredible. I would definitely recommend it if anyone’s staying in LA. 

Emma: They also had a rooftop bar. We went there too to have a drink before the event and a snack. I actually think it has a pool. I didn’t see that while we were there but from stalking her Pinterest board now. I think there’s a pool as well on the rooftop, which is really cute. 

Elsie: So the hotel was amazing. Then after that the next morning, we had breakfast and we drove to Palm Springs and we stayed there for the rest of the time. 

Emma: What was our first stop? Maybe you should tell them. You decided needed to be the first stop when we weren’t quite to Palm Springs, I guess we were in Palm Desert.

Elsie: Okay, Emma was like, I want to go to a bookstore and she had this one specific book, The Night Circus that she really wanted me to read. It just popped her head and she was like, you have to read this book. So anyway, we drove straight to Barnes and Noble and just shopped for books for a really long time. It was magical. I think that Barnes and Noble, if you haven’t experienced this already the next time you go there, really take this in. It’s like a time capsule of the late 90s. Nothing has changed. In the late 90s and the early 2000s, Barnes and Noble was the coolest thing to do in our hometown, especially for church kids on the weekends and evenings. We would go there, get a frappuccino, get 18 magazines, sit there and read all the magazines and buy nothing and leave. That is like our youth. I do have a soft spot for it and I’m glad that they exist. I stand by it as something that I want in this world. If Barnes and Noble stops existing, I know that local bookstores are better. I’m not saying they’re not better, they’re better. B

Emma: I think they can coexist. That’s my belief on it.

Elsie: I just don’t want there to be no more Barnes and Nobles. It’s too sad. Whenever we were driving, I was like, Emma, when we’re old, do you think there will still be Red Lobster and Olive Garden? And she said,

Emma: I don’t remember what I said. I feel like I said yes. 

Elsie: You said definitely yes. I think definitely no but it’s interesting. I guess we’ll just see. 

Emma: I think it’s nostalgic though because you went there when you were little with your grandma so I just feel like it’s familiar in this way but we’ll see.

Elsie: It’s very familiar from our childhood. But yeah, I don’t know if it will be in future generation childhoods. As we have grandkids, are we gonna take them to Olive Garden? I don’t know. I can’t answer that. Anyways, we went straight to Barnes and Noble. We bought some books. Then we went to our hotel so we ended up staying at the Ace Hotel, just because the other hotel we wanted to stay at was already booked. The Ace Hotel is cute. We’ve stayed there a lot. It has definitely a great restaurant. 

Emma: Yeah, it’s good. There’s a little coffee shop across the street if you don’t want to get coffee at the restaurant there. We walked to a number of restaurants and things so it’s a great little, like, near a bunch of other things, too. It has a great pool and you can order drinks by the pool or snacks, has a hot tub. It can be a little crowded sometimes, There was a wedding going on while we were there, which was beautiful and actually kind of fun to watch. But if you’re looking for more of a, I don’t want anyone near me, then it might not be a good spot in that sense. But there also was a ton of babies. So many people had babies and toddlers with them so that was actually really cute. It was making me extra miss my baby. 

Elsie: Emma was having like a lot of baby, not baby fever what’s another word, like missing her baby. But there are no kids my kids’ age there hardly at all. It was like babies. And then like, you don’t bring your kids to there until they’re in upper elementary, maybe. I don’t know.

Emma: I feel like once they’re asking for things it might not be the spot anymore.

Elsie: They stay Airbnbs. I know you do. We sat by the pool so I got to read two whole books on our trip, which is a lot I felt like. The first one was like on my flying day and then the second one was at the hotel, the poolside. Did you get to read two whole books?

Emma: No, I read one, but it was a really long book.

Elsie: Oh, yeah. Okay, let’s talk about what we read. So on my way traveling I read, I was looking for a light happy read. But in the end, what happened is that I just grabbed a bunch of stuff off my shelf. So it’s like in my to read pile on my way out the door and I was trying to get books that were like the right size. You don’t want to take a hardcover if you can take a paperback and just to make my bags better. So the book that I ended up reading the whole thing on day one was the Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, and it was heartbreaking and sad. I didn’t know what it was, obviously, because I picked it. I thought like from the title, I just thought it was gonna be a completely different thing but I will say ended up loving the book. I absolutely will reread it other times in this lifetime for sure. For anyone who’s like going through a loss of someone close. I think that it is definitely a beautiful book and incredible, but it just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be at all. I don’t know but I think it did kind of like cleanse me or something.

Emma: Well, that author is incredible. Although I haven’t read that book yet, when you showed it to me I knew what it was right away because I know generally what that book is about. And I was like, oh no, she started her vacation with a book about grief which if you’re in the mood for it great, but you were literally asking me days before like what’s a light easy fun read.

Elsie: I was basically like what’s more fun to read than Harry Potter? That’s what I was asking her.

Emma: Right and so that’s why once I saw what you had picked up to bring on the plane, I was like, alright, I’d really dropped the ball here. That’s when I was like alright thinking she loves magic. Oh, you got to read The Night Circus. So that’s when we were like, gotta get to a bookstore and get you the Night Circus because that’s gonna be a fun one to read by the pool.

Elsie: So yeah, I read The Night Circus. It was definitely one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Can it be like a top, I feel like it’ll probably remain in my top 10 forever. It was so good. I loved everything about it. If you like magical things and you haven’t read them, definitely just buy it immediately right now. I’ll put it in the show notes. Yeah, and it was definitely like the trip I was looking for, like to a magical place. I just want to try all the magical food. It was incredible, Emma was reading her sexy fairies book. So sexy fairies is like a category. I feel like I call it that because of Sherry from Young House Love because she calls them sexy fairies book. I didn’t know it was a huge category of books. This is a new thing. But okay, so tell them about when you were in the airport reading the book, how not a podcast listener, not a blog reader but a stranger ran up to her because they saw her reading this book. 

Emma: Yes. So I was reading A Court of Mist and Fury, which is the second in the series, trying to think of the series name, I can’t remember but if you know, you know. It is fantasy about fairies and it is also romance so there’s quite a bit of sex. So awesome books. I had just read the first one in the series and normally I don’t like to read a series straight through. I like to jump around. I don’t like to get too stuck in one genre. That’s just my way. But I was going on vacation and I was like, you know what, I want something easy and fun and I’m gonna read that second sexy fairies book. That’s what I’m going to do. So that’s what I brought with me and it’s a huge book. I had the paperback so it was a little easier to carry but it was pretty big. So I’m sitting in the airport, just starting it by myself, my layover as I’m headed to LA to meet Elsie. A lady comes up to me and for one moment, I was like, oh, maybe she reads her podcasts or reads the blog. Every once in a while that happens, it certainly doesn’t happen to me very often. But every once in a while someone is like, oh I read your blog or whatever. But then she just kind of like, taps the book and I look up. I’m waiting for her to say something about A Beautiful Mess. Then she just shows me her book cover, which is a different series by the same author, but I knew and she’s like, oh you’re so in for a ride because she apparently read this series. Then we chatted for like a minute and we both have our masks on, it’s kind of hard to chat with a stranger at the airport. Just the interaction of it, I was like, oh I’m in like a club and they are stoked that I am reading this book. This is an enthusiastic crowd that I have entered into and you know what? Since reading the first and second, I get it, these books are awesome. You should definitely read them if you are at all interested in sexy fairy books. This is very fun.

Elsie: I have never read any kind of romance novel in my whole life. So if you’re like me graduate, I’m going to tell you like a tiny, tiny little secret. We are gonna read one in our next book club round. We’re on our last couple weeks of Q1 and then next month, when April starts, we’ll be in Q2, and we are going to read one together. So if anyone is like, I want to understand what the hell a sexy fairy book is, you can learn that for the first time with me. I’m so excited because I feel like all my friends read them except for me. So I’m like, what am I missing out on?

Emma: I think it’s so fun. But yeah, so I read A Court of Mist and Fury. I read the whole thing on the trip and it is rather long and it was a blast. While we were at Barnes and Noble, I picked up the Paris Apartment, which I’ve read other things by that author and I love it. It’s like a kind of mystery thriller-type thing. So I started that on the way home, but I haven’t gotten super far into it yet. I get a little bit of anxiety when I’m flying. I always did, but it’s definitely way worse now that I haven’t flown in so long. So I couldn’t read very much of it on the way home because I was kind of having like a where you cry on the plane because you have anxiety, but you’re trying not to disturb people around you. So I was like, I can’t read this book right now.

Elsie: Oh no, Em I didn’t know it was that bad.

Emma: I just get a little, it’s just like, your heart’s beating fast and you just keep telling yourself like, nothing’s happening. I’m fine. I’m fine. But you’re just trying not to make other people anxious because you’re like, I promise nothing’s wrong with me. I’m just crying right now. Don’t look at me, please. 

Elsie: Oh, sister. 

Emma: Anyways, not super far into that yet, wasn’t the right environment, but I’m excited to read that too. 

Elsie: Yeah, it was so much fun just sitting by the pool reading for a whole day. I’ve never done that before and I do understand now why people, like I never interested how people could sit at the pool for so long. Now I understand. Alright, so let’s talk about our favorite meals we had in Palm Springs. I kind of want to give it a tie for two, a dinner meal and a breakfast meal. So for the dinner meal, we ate at Rooster and the Pig. I’ve been there a lot of times in the past, but we hadn’t been to Palm Springs for several years. Which it was very comforting when we got there that none of our favorite restaurants had closed. What a comfort? I think actually, I haven’t been there since before we adopted Goldie. That’s a really long time. Probably before we started this podcast, probably three years ago or more. So anyway, we ate at Rooster and the Pig and it is like a Vietnamese, would you say like a fusion type of restaurant? 

Emma: That’s what I would say. I don’t know how they would describe it but that’s what I would say because it felt Vietnamese but also kind of like Thai flavors and kind of just sort of Asian fusion. Yeah, like really different types of dishes.

Elsie: We had an incredible meal. I feel like we just got really lucky. We got this like a fish dish that was really good and then we got this like it was called a curry ball. It was basically like a ball of rice with chicken and stuff in the very middle and then on the outside it was like a pinko and a fried but like a giant ball. I’ve never had anything like it before, it was really special.

Emma: It was sitting in a sweet curry kind of sauce. So you would kind of break into the ball and eat the rice with the sauce and it was so good. Yes, I could eat that every week. it was amazing.

Elsie: Yeah, that was definitely my favorite dinner meal. Then my favorite breakfast meal, I have to give it to Norma’s because we went over there. It’s at the Parker hotel. It’s just an adorable, fancy breakfast restaurant. It has Jonathan Adler pottery on every surface. So I really like to be there because it’s like my own version of an art museum, where I’m like, starstruck by every piece of pottery. Actually, the whole hotel to be honest. Anyway, we just had breakfast there and we both got pancakes. We got different pancakes and it was like a pancake feast. It was incredible. I’ll probably be thinking about it for the whole rest of 2022. 

Emma: We had great service everywhere we went but I feel like at Norma’s at the Parker, it’s just like that kind of very classic. Just really, really great service thing. It gives you the feeling of oh, I’m somewhere like extra nice. I don’t know how to describe it. But anyway, it’s wonderful. It’s a great experience. And yeah, pancakes. I usually am a savory breakfast person, but they just had so many good pancakes on the menu. I had to get them.

Elsie: Same. If you have Palm Springs’s favorite restaurants that are different send them to us because I’m always curious. I love a hard sell so don’t just be like this is great. Describe every detail of why you love it.

Emma: What’s your favorite dish? What’s your favorite cocktail or whatever it is that you get when you’re there? Let us know.

Elsie: Yes, because for sure I can’t wait to go back. It was just like such a comfort. The other thing we did a lot was we took a lot of long walks. That was nice because there’s obviously like beautiful mid-century neighborhoods is what Palm Springs is and just like the house peeping is incredible. So we did some long walks just to see, we walked by the Pink Door House we walk by the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway house. Then some other, I’m really into the Swiss Miss houses. If you don’t want that is Google it’s like kind of looks like there’s an A-frame coming out of the middle of a ranch-style house. They’re really beautiful and special. I feel like we had actually like the perfect weather too, because it was a little bit cold, which was kind of nice. What was your favorite part of our sister trip? 

Emma: Okay, so we’ve talked about a lot of my favorite parts, because I could just peep hotels and go on long walks to look at houses and eat fried rice with curry, forever. That sounds like heaven to me, oh, and read sexy fairy books. That’s just heaven so we talked about that. But I think another piece that was really fun for me was in between these fun things we were doing Elsie and I would talk about work. We would talk about A Beautiful Mess and just things we want to do with it in the future. New ideas we have for Instagram because we’re always trying to improve the Instagram and just make it something. Yeah, so I feel like we had a lot of talks like that. Some of it was like, literal planning of like, let’s do a DIY that’s like this but a lot of it was more like big picture stuff that we don’t get as much time to talk about in the day to day work time. Because day to day work time, it’s like, okay, time to make content, time to answer emails, time to pick up my son. I don’t really have time for the big picture. But one thing we were talking about that I’m still kind of thinking on is how I really would love it if our brand, A Beautiful Mess, like all parts of it, the podcast, blog, Instagram, whatever, if it has more, more the message of you are creative. Encouraging people who are listening or consuming our content, whatever way that they are creative, and that they can do creative projects. Sure, we want to give them ideas of things to make or ways to decorate their house and all of that but a lot of people don’t make all of the recipes or all of the crafts or whatever. We just really want to encourage people that they are creative and they have everything they need and they can start where they are. They don’t need to be a professional are anything other than who they are. Because I feel like we got that message a lot from our parents growing up and not everyone got that gift. So the idea that our brand could be a little bit of that makes me really excited for the future. It makes me feel more energized to think of ways to kind of bring that message forth in whatever we’re making. It’s not like every single piece of content we make is just going to be like a poster that says you are creative but just the underlying message of it. 

Elsie: No, I think that that’s a beautiful thought. That’s kind of what I took away from it as well. I felt really inspired and also just refreshed, which is a great feeling. That I haven’t felt in a while. I think it’s just like fun to dream about what A Beautiful Mess can be at this phase because it’s already been so many different things. It does continue to evolve. When we started this podcast, we didn’t know what it would become and it’s sort of become like our internet friends. We feel like we’re like a family of creative people who just want to talk about like, you want to hear about our trip to Palm Springs. That’s great. It’s kind of like our space to be ourselves, if that makes sense, within our whole brand. That feels really special at this phase. Anyway, yeah, I think my favorite part was kind of just getting that feeling of open space in our schedule because it had been kind of a long time since I felt it. I know you have the same thing. It just, I don’t know, like one night we watched most of Knives Out in bed. It was just so great.

Emma: It was just on and we were like, let’s watch this. 

Elsie: Yeah. Loved it. It was magical. We’ll be back soon. Yeah, I want to keep doing sister trips. I loved it so much. Okay, so something this is a listener question or topic request. I actually we’ve had this request coming in probably like once a week for a year. So I am surprised. I’m sure we’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t think we’ve ever fully dove into it. The topic is making friends in your 30s or making adult friendships. So a lot of people write in and say like at this phase in life, it’s definitely escalated for people who have become first-time moms, and it’s definitely escalated because of the pandemic and there’s probably other situations working from home, things like that, that have changed things over the past few years. A lot of people just want to talk about how do you make friends as an adult? Sometimes your friendships sort of fall away or evolve, or things like that. So, anyway, it’s a great topic. So yeah, I want to hear your thoughts about it and I am collecting mine as well.

Emma: Yeah, so I don’t know if I have a ton of tips or ideas around making friends. Because I kind of have a pretty large group of friends that I’ve had now for some years. So I have more thoughts around maintaining friendships in your 30s. Especially as your life gets more and more full, whether that’s career, kids, or whatever. So my group of friends a big way that, like our anchor point is we have a book club. So every other Tuesday night, we get together and talk about a book. Other than the book, we talk about our lives and joke around or cry or whatever’s going on. So that’s kind of like the anchor that you can always turn back to. There’s lots of times where people kind of drop out for a while. They have stuff going on or whatever. They just had a baby and they’re like I’m doing that, don’t have time to come right now. Then they drop back in. In that sense, it feels very much like a community where you can come in and out, but it’s always there. I honestly think of the book club with my friends as like my church, because it’s not necessarily spiritual. I wouldn’t say it’s not spiritual, we talk about all sorts of things. But I just think of it as like, this is my community of where I go and it’s always there. But if I can’t make it one week, that’s fine. So we just read a book, though, in that group called Big Friendship. It’s by the same women behind the podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, which actually I think they just ended their podcast this past month. But they’ve been doing it for years and there’s a lot of great episodes and content and the book, Big Friendship was really, really good. It’s about growing and maintaining friendships in adulthood, so more like your 30s or 40s, or whenever. So if you’re interested in something longer, I would recommend that it was really good. There’s a lot of things in that book and just generally where I would say, basically, if you want great friendships, you have to think of it as something that’s really important to you. The same way that you might a career, or a life partner, or a romantic partner, or a marriage or whatever, or parenting. It needs to be something that doesn’t necessarily take up that amount of time because those things I just listed probably will take up more time than any friendship, likely. But it has to be something that you’re willing to pour into. If you’re not willing to do that or you feel you don’t have the space for that in your life, then I think that’s going to be kind of difficult, because it has to kind of be a two-way street. So when you’ve poured into a relationship for a long time, then you can expect that it’ll still be there whenever you need to duck out for a while because your mom died, or you just had a baby, or you’re just going through whatever, and you just need people to support you rather than reach out. When you’re in a space where you can reach out, you kind of need to be doing that. Whatever it is, you know, going on a walk in the middle of the day, because you can’t do evenings, because that doesn’t work for your schedule or whatever. So many of my friends, I have to schedule time to hang out with them two or three weeks in advance. I don’t have almost any friends where it’s like a random, what are you doing tonight, nothing, let’s hang out. That was maybe something I would do sometimes in college and after college but that does not fit my life anymore. So I just don’t have any friends who expect that of me or want that because it’s just doesn’t fit. I think that that’s fine. I think in some ways if you love spontaneity, that can be kind of a bummer. But I think it’s just a season of life, I think I’ll get back to that when my kid is bigger or my life just different but right now, it’s not like that. So I really do book hangouts with my friends that might not even be a big deal. It’s literally like, I’m going to go on a walk in their neighborhood with them. I’ll book it two or three weeks out, and I put it on this shared time tree with my husband, just in case, there’s anything childcare-related around that. So that we can communicate and make sure we leave space for the other person to have friendships and relationships because that’s a piece of it at times is like, you’ve got to make sure that your partner knows like, it’s important to you to have time with your friends. So they have to help you with that, because they have to help you with everything that’s important to you, and you have to help them. So leaving that space is really, really important too. So yeah, I think it’s just like, trying to be a thoughtful person do little things and if needed booking time, but yeah, there’s a lot of stuff in the book, Big Friendship if you’re interested. I don’t want to make it sound like friendship is just a bunch of work. It’s actually such a joy and such a relief to feel like I have people I can talk to or when I went through a really hard time the past year and a half like they were all there for me. I’ll never forget that. Yeah, it’s very meaningful.

Elsie: Okay, so I have like a couple of things to share. So the last couple of years have been like a little bit of a tough time in my life, because a couple of my closest friends moved away from where I live, which is like never fun. It is just like a normal part of adulthood and life. So yeah, a lot of my closest friends are online friendships or long-distance friendships. That has been, I think actually really good. So a couple of things, the first one is I think that when I first started therapy, the therapist has helped me with so many things, but one of the things is just letting go of guilt feelings. I have guilt problems. I know so many women do and it serves no one. It helps nothing. it is just a drag and there’s no purpose behind it. I think that just like realizing that this is a time in my life, I have little kids and we have two companies, this is a time in my life when the only friendships that I can have are low maintenance friendships where we’re on the same page about our expectations. So in the past, I’ve had like a couple of times where friendships were I couldn’t keep up and that was like sort of like a deal-breaker in a relationship, which is tough, but I think it’s also totally normal. If that’s a phase that you hit in your life, you can feel seen by me right here, right now, because I get it. So all of my close friends are very forgiving, low maintenance people who it’s like when we catch up, it’s like, we can get into the mode of catching up and feeling close immediately. Then when we don’t talk for a month or a couple of months, it’s fine. It’s like, not ever a problem or an issue. That’s just like, where I’m at in my life. I think I can see a phase in the future, where I could have high-maintenance friendships again, but it’s definitely not in this decade.

Emma: What do you consider a high maintenance friendship? How would you define that?

Elsie: Okay, so if there’s someone, like just to make it really specific, someone who would be upset if you didn’t text them back that day. I don’t have any friends who would be upset if I don’t text them back today. They would all just understand if it’s a couple of days. Sure, it’s like a totally different thing if you need each other and you’re not there. But just like on normal everyday stuff is just like, there’s no pressure. We’re all just like understanding and chill. That’s something that’s like a comfort to me at this age. Then the other thing is so, a few years back, I tried to do that Tim Ferriss thing that’s about, I’m gonna get it wrong. the thing that’s like about how the people closest to you are essentially like, the future of who you’re becoming.

Emma: Oh, yes, yes. Yep. I don’t know how to describe it other than that too. Your three closest friends is like who you will become kind of thing. 

Elsie: That’s perfect. So I put a lot of thought into that over the past few years. My sort of like mentality with friendships right now is definitely quality over quantity. As far as like, I tried to make a list. I was like, okay, who are the 10 women in my life, actually, a couple of my close friendships are men too but whatever, who are the 10 people in my life who I want to invest more in. I look up to them. I admire them. I respect them. I want them to be an influence on me. So it’s like, I’m going to be more intentional about these relationships. As I started making that list, it took a while. It was a great exercise. I realized I didn’t even need 10 people. It was like more like five or six people at the season and that was totally enough. If you haven’t done that, I think that’s the other thing is to realize that maybe you don’t need more friends, maybe you need to put more into the friendships that you already have. It is kind of a thing where it’s like, during the times when you’re putting more into it, you’re also getting more out of it. I think having room to breathe and rest and like life happens and we don’t have to talk every single day is also super healthy. So anyway, that’s all my advice. I hope that it helps. 

Emma: As you were explaining that with the Tim Ferriss thing and all that, I also was thinking like, so I kind of explained how I have this great group of friends and we have a book club and all that. So that’s really something that’s happened in the last probably five, six years, something like that, probably five years. Many of them if I got married today would be my bridesmaids. Many of them, like, I didn’t even invite to my wedding because I didn’t know them then. It’s a more recent friendship thing, I guess, is what I’m trying to say with that. I think too, for a long time, like most of my 20s and definitely before that, other than like you and my family, I think I really mostly had friendships where I gave a lot more to it than I got out of it. I don’t think I realized for a long time that that isn’t necessarily healthy. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s something I chose willingly so I’m not complaining about it. It’s just more, I don’t think I realized it could be a different way for a long time. Then when I kind of matured I guess, and grew wiser as I got older, I don’t know I was like, oh, I need more friends who pour into me and listen to me talk rather than just me listening all the time or whatever. I think it took me a while I guess to realize that I deserved like a good friend like I was trying to be.

Elsie: Hell Yeah. 

Emma: Kind of like giving myself the space and permission to have that. Also, have times in my relationships where I’m like kind of the down one, and they just listen to me and take care of me and then return it when I can.  I’m really grateful that I figured that out. I bet a lot of people figured that out much earlier than I did. But just in case, maybe you didn’t and you’re listening just so you know, your friendship should pour into you and like be a positive influence on your life, kinda like what Elsie’s saying. If not, that doesn’t mean like don’t be their friend but maybe keep looking or keep that in your mind. You deserve to have people who lift you up and also inspire you to live the great life that you want. 

Elsie: That’s beautiful. I love that. It’s so true. Okay, well, we love you all so much. I think it’s time for a group hug. Okay, let’s move on to our book report. So I’m so excited about this book. This is for sure one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It is the Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett. So I’ll just flick quickly read the synopsis. It says this is a multi-generational family saga set between the 1940s and the 1990s and centers on identical twin sisters, Stella and Desiree Vignes, the two light-skinned Black sisters who were raised in the fictional town of Mallard, Louisiana, and witnessed the lynching of their father in the 1940s. After that, the two sisters kind of go their separate paths in life and they have two very different lives. They don’t reconnect until they’re much older and then the story also is a lot about their two daughters. So they each have a daughter with very different lives and cultural experiences. Their daughters also connect later on in the book, which was one of my favorite parts of the book. So yeah, let’s talk about it. First, I thought this is so interesting I just have to say it first. I read yesterday that there was a bidding war for the book. Did you already know this? 

Emma: No, I didn’t. 

Elsie: Okay, so for the TV rights to make it into a TV series and it is going to be an HBO series. Britt Bennett is going to be a producer. I’m just so excited. I don’t know. I have no idea when it’s coming out. I think it’s been a little while since they purchased it so hopefully maybe within this next year. I’m excited to see who they cast and watch it again. Because I love seeing how TV shows are different from the book. I think it’s so interesting.

Emma: It’s fun, movies too. But yeah, this one you said will be a TV show so that’s cool. General things from the book. No particular order, just stuff is oh, and there’s not really spoilers to this book per se so we’re not really doing that. It’s not a mystery, there’s not really so I don’t feel like you really need to worry about that in case you haven’t read it or if you’re halfway through and you’re worried. I don’t think that’s really a big piece of this type of book.

Elsie: I should have said that upfront. I don’t think that you can spoil this book. I think that hearing about it will only make you want to read it more. Unless you just like don’t want to know anything about it. Which is fine. I kind of wish I would have known more going in, I had almost no idea at all what it was gonna be about.

Emma: I had heard a little bit, but definitely not much. I’d mostly just seen the beautiful cover and I was like, well, that looks cool. So it’s really beautifully written. So if you’re just looking for kind of a drama, melancholy, beautiful literary piece, this is an excellent read. It’s very, very, very beautiful, and very rich characters, lots of different characters over the course of many, many years. So it’s not really a small story in that sense. It’s small, and it’s not like the end of the world and you see all over the world or anything like that but it goes over many, many years. So I wouldn’t say it’s like something that takes place over the course of a couple of months like some stories can. I think this was beautifully written and you’ll enjoy it just for that reason alone. So other than that, another thing I loved about the book was all the family dynamics. So big theme is race, as Elsie mentioned from the synopsis. The characters are Black and they also have different skin tones. That’s a big thing that’s talked about a lot in the book so if they’re very Black-skinned, or very light-skinned Black person, they sort of explore that, and how people have prejudices, even within that community about those different things at different times because it’s set over so many years. I thought that was interesting and it’s also kind of just like family expectations, I guess. So like what your parents expect of you than you expect of your child like that sort of something that’s explored through the scope of race a little bit in this book, which I really enjoyed just being observing, just observing it and getting the opportunity to read about it because it’s not something I encounter every single day in the same way. So I really enjoyed that. Left me with really a lot of like to think about and curiosity, I don’t feel like it was telling you what you should think. It was more just opening up your world, or it was for me, and I thought that was really rad, and really well done. I like when a book leaves you, not necessarily with more questions, but just feeling like your thoughts have been broadened and so this book definitely did that. So I liked that a lot.

Elsie: Yeah, I felt the exact same way. So first of all the characters by the end of this book, it was hard for me to believe that the characters weren’t real. Which really sounds kind of silly because I knew as a fiction book, but when I was Googling about it, there were a lot of other people asking if it was based on a true story or if it was a true story. I think it’s because the characters, they feel so real that it’s just hard to believe that it’s not. Which was really cool. Then I think for a book, like, I’ve read a lot of antiracist books in the past few years and that’s not what this is, at all. This is a fiction book. But like, I think that it was kind of like a, I guess I didn’t know what to expect when I started it. But I loved the feeling of ending it with more questions, more curiosity, no answers. She never tells you how you’re supposed to feel. Actually, I watched this interview and she said that she objects the idea of judging her characters because she thinks that that’s just not an interesting perspective to be like this is a bad way to be, this is a good way to be. I think that we said it already but if we didn’t say it already, one of the characters lives a white-passing life. She marries a white man and she has a white daughter and she lives in a white community. Then one of the daughters doesn’t and they’re identical twins so that’s why it’s so interesting because they go to live two completely different lives. She just wanted to discuss, what you can gain and lose by taking these different paths. I really felt like I got to experience that so it felt like a gift. It was a beautiful book. I can’t wait to watch the TV show.

Emma: Yeah, it’s excellent. So, very, very good read. It’s no sexy fairy book, but it’s very literary lovely reads. It does have some pretty heavy themes though like they witness their dad being lynched when they’re little girls. The book kind of starts with that so I feel like you know, right away what you’re getting into. There’s also domestic violence. There’s really a lot of things that happen in the book that are fairly heavy, but I think it’s handled extremely well and it’s just really beautiful. So yeah, a whole different vibe from what I was talking about at the beginning of this episode, but this book was lovely. If you haven’t read it, you really should.

Elsie: Yeah. Just to note, I think that the audiobook, I really liked the performance. I listened to his audiobook and some are just better than others and this one was one of the really good ones. So I would definitely recommend it as an audiobook if you like that kind of thing. Okay, so yeah, we will link to this book in the show notes. It was a best seller so a lot of people were like, yeah, I already read that two years ago. But if you haven’t read it yet, we definitely suggest it and then we’ll also link to Britt Bennett’s other novel called The Mothers in our show notes as well. I’m definitely going to read that one now because this one was so good. 

Emma: Love it. 

Elsie: Yes. So thank you so much for listening. Next week we will be back to do a favorite things episode and we’ll also be doing our book report of Think Like A Monk.

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