It’s episode 501 – onward toward a thousand! I start with mini interviews with Shana and Elyse, and then Amanda and I have more listener email, questions, recommendations, and many, many jokes. Yay! Thank you for celebrating with us!

Key Questions:

What should we do for our next merch opportunity?
What SBTB phrases have stuck with you?
What is the best kind of French fry?

Our music in this episode is a custom composition from Sassy Outwater titled, “Rhumba for SB.” Thanks, Sassy!

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

Links! So many links!

The image of crossed out words in Garden Spells – please be advised this picture is during a scene of intimate partner/domestic violence, so proceed with caution:

CW/TW assault, domestic violence, sexual assault

A close up of the text of a book where the word fucking has been scratched out and replaced with kissing

Amanda loves graphic design!

a cloud with red text at the bottom in papyrus font that reads graphic design is my passion with a poorly pasted image of a frog on top

And check out Maggie’s award-winning PUNTASTIC office door!

click for outstanding puns, door decor, and penguins!

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Sarah Wendell: Hello and welcome to episode number 501 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I’m Sarah Wendell, and Amanda is back with me. We are headed towards, well, episode 1000, I guess! We are going to start with some mini interviews with Shana and Elyse, and then Amanda and I have more listener email, questions, recommendations, and many, many jokes.

I have some housekeeping. First and foremost, Rhonda, in last week’s episode, updated me. We were very confused about what her feline assistant was named. Her coworker is named Malcolm, and I did add the photos to episode 500 for the show notes. I apologize that I forgot to upload them the first time. But if you go to inside episode 500, much quilt, much cat.

Thank you again and always to our Patreon community. Every pledge makes a massive difference, makes sure the show is going – and going and going and going – and that every episode has a transcript, so thank you!

I have a compliment in this episode!

To Michelle D.: If your personality were a recipe, it would be a technical challenge on a baking competition, and every single contestant would nail the recipe and love every minute, because you are universally fabulous.

If you would like a compliment of your very own or you’d like to take a look at the Patreon community, have a look at

This episode is brought to you in part by Osea. Wherever you are in the world, the seasons are probably starting to change, and for me that means warmer, which means shorts and short sleeves and more moisturizer for my skin. And if you are looking for gentle, soothing self-care, have a look at Osea. You’ve probably heard me talk about how much I love the Osea body oil. It soaks in easily, it is never greasy, and I can’t tell you how smooth and soft my skin feels; I just adore it. Osea also has a hyaluronic sea serum that I tried, and wow! I love how hydrated and soft my skin feels after I use it. It is perfect after I wash my face. All of Osea’s products are clean, vegan, cruelty-free, climate-neutral, and created with sustainably sourced seaweed, and made in California, so you can feel good about what you are putting on your skin. Find your new skincare favorites at and get a special discount just for our listeners. Get ten percent off your first order with promo code SARAH at You’ll get free samples with every order, and orders over fifty dollars get free shipping! You’re going to want it all. Go to O-S-E-A Malibu dot com and use code SARAH.

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This podcast episode is brought to you in part by PrettyLitter. Having a cat is wonderful: the purring, the pets, the thing where they flop over and commence relaxation. The cat litter box? Not my favorite part, especially because most cat litters can make a giant, dusty mess. My cat and I deserve a litter that works for us, not against us. That’s why I use PrettyLitter! PrettyLitter’s crystal formula is lightweight, ultra-absorbent, and long-lasting, and it is virtually dust-free and minimizes mess. Here’s the smartest part about PrettyLitter, though: the crystals change color to help detect early signs of potential illness in my cat, including urinary tract infections and kidney issues. And I learned this week that Elyse uses PrettyLitter for her four cats. PrettyLitter works for me: trapping odors, not clumping, and gives me peace of mind. That’s why I love it. You and your cat will love it too. Go to and use code TRASHY to save twenty percent on your first order. That’s, code TRASHY, to save twenty percent –, code TRASHY.

This podcast is brought to you in part by Prose. Now, most of you have heard me talking about learning to take better care of my hair in the Quarantimes, and you may have heard me talking about Prose, the world’s most personalized hair care. First, there’s a quiz, an in-depth hair quiz. Prose has given over one million consultations, and my results created a custom blend that has made my hair softer, my surprising amount of curls more defined, and because I get to choose my own scent, it smells incredible too. All their ingredients are sustainably sourced, ethically gathered, and cruelty-free. And if you’re not a hundred percent positive that Prose is the best hair care you’ve ever had, they will take the products back, no questions asked. Prose is the healthy hair regimen with your name all over it. Take your free in-depth hair consultation and get fifteen percent off your first order today. Go to – that’s P-R-O-S-E dot com slash TRASHYBOOKS – for your free in-depth hair consultation and fifteen percent off!

This episode is brought to you in part by my favorite shoes, Rothy’s. I am not usually a person who becomes obsessed with things. Information, sure; researching obscure things; internet rabbit holes; absolutely. Shows and movies, not so much, but Rothy’s are definitely a shoe obsession with me. Rothy’s give you right-out-of-the-box comfort, they come in amazing styles and color combinations, and you can wash them! I know you’ve heard me talk about that part. I own one of nearly every style they make: the Point – I might actually own four pair of those – the Loafer, the Moccasin, and the Lace Up sneaker. I love all of them for travel, and they’re stylish and comfortable when walking, plus – this is key – they stretch ‘cause they’re woven with a thread made out of recycled water bottles. And when they get dirty, I toss ‘em in the washing machine and they come out looking like new. I love these shoes a lot. Step up your shoes and accessories this spring and get ready to be asked, are those Rothy’s? Yes, that has totally happened to me. Plus you get twenty dollars off your first purchase at That’s R-O-T-H-Y-S dot com slash SARAH.

Are you ready for some fun and mayhem? Let’s get started. My first mini interview is with Shana.


Sarah: What book do you recommend above all others for the five hundredth episode?

Shana: I decided to recommend Jackie Lau’s Not Another Family Wedding.

Sarah: Ahhh!

Shana: I love that book and, you know, I was thinking about all the books that I found just ‘cause of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, like –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Shana: – that no one else, you know, in my friend group is reading, I hadn’t heard about, and, you know, I think she’s one of those authors that I had never heard of before I saw the site, and I remember somebody recommending it in the comments as a book that had a child-free heroine, and I was very excited about that! [Laughs] Always trying to avoid the baby tropes, and it just was just perfect for me –

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: – like, at that time, and it’s, and it’s a great re-read! Like, I love both of the characters. They’re just so smart and competent and caring, and I’m like, just the amazing family dynamics? ‘Cause I love a, like, wacky, sprawling family?

Sarah: Yes!

Shana: [Laughs] The heroine’s family is just really amazing. And I just like to pretend that I’m Canadian, so I love reading books that are set in Canada.


Sarah: One thing I love about Jackie Lau’s writing is, one, there’s a number of heroines who are very happily child-free and do not want children –

Shana: Mm-hmm.

Sarah: – and I think there needs to be more of that kind of representation in romance, that procreation is not the only path to happiness. And I love the sprawling family, and in particular I love the way in which she deploys food, because a lot of the time I think – here’s a real hot take; I’m sure you’ll be shocked by this – it’s almost like a garnish? Like, see, here is some sparkly delicious ethnicity sprinkled on the top through this food! With Jackie Lau, the food is so integral to everything happening you can’t take it out. It is not a garnish; it is an essential part of the story. Do you understand what I’m trying to say here?

Shana: I totally agree. That’s one of my pet peeves too, especially when there’s no other cultural references in the book except the food.

Sarah: [Laughs] Yes.

Shana: I mean, I feel like Jackie Lau, you’re right; the food is amazing. Like, I always want to eat and cook – [laughs] – but it’s never, like, it never overshadows the, where it’s part of, like, individuals?

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: And, like, their own, like, you know, love for their food or –

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: – for family. Like, there’s always, like, a story around the food, too? It’s like, this is unique to us, not like we’re representation –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Shana: – of a broader culture, and therefore we cook and eat X –

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: – you know, and it’s just like, you know, it’s integrated in a way that is really beautiful.

Sarah: Yes. Every book I’ve read of hers, food serves a different purpose, too. Like, for one book –

Shana: Mm-hmm.

Sarah: – what is it, The Professor Next Door, or My Grumpy Next-Door Professor? I, it, I forget, I can tell you which one it is –

Shana: Like, which one cover of that one?

Sarah: I want to say it’s The Grumpy Professor Next Door, something like that, but, the char-, the character is exploring her own autonomy by eating whatever she wants and trying something new every day, and she’s coming out of a family where she was just expected to be around for everyone else’s convenience, and now her time is her own, and she is – the food part is about her own expression of autonomy?

Shana: Mm, mm-hmm.

Sarah: You can’t take that out; it’s essential.

Shana: I want to do a Jackie Lau reread.

Sarah: Yeah, I think that’s a good plan. I think that’s a real good plan. That’s a really good recommendation too, because once you start with Jackie Lau, there’s lots and lots and lots of books –

Shana: There’s so many!

Sarah: – and they’re all lightly interconnected?

Shana: And I have a bunch, actually. Like, I have her Christmas, is it like Christmas Road Trips? [A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas] I have that one; it’s like my emergency –

Sarah: In case, in-case-of-emergency- –

Shana: – novella.

Sarah: – break-glass-with-this-book book?

Shana: Yeah.

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: Yeah, and I almost read it this week. I was like, oh, I don’t know, Shana, and then I was like, you know, it’s okay. [Laughs] You can save it, yeah. I just, I just gobble hers up, and I say –

Sarah: Maybe you should do a reread and then cap off the reread with that one.

Shana: Ohhh!

Sarah: Like when the new book of a really long-running series that you’ve read all the books of is released, you just start with book one and then work your, all the way up to book nine or whatever it is? You could just do a reread and then read that one as like your pinnacle.

Shana: Is that what you do with the Murderbot books?

Sarah: Yep.

Shana: [Laughs]

Sarah: Pretty much!

Shana: Yep, those are great, and short, so you –

Sarah: And –

Shana: – can actually do that without feeling like you’re waiting.

Sarah: Yes. Yes, and the best thing about them is when I reread them I always notice something different? Like, they still work and the puzzle is still there –

Shana: Mm-hmm.

Sarah: – but every time I notice something different about the other characters or a particular scene, and every time it runs differently? I bet, I bet Lau’s books are similar in that way.

Shana: They totally are, ‘cause I reread Not Another Family Wedding, and what I remembered, I think, the first time I read it was, I was just excited about their, like, their relationship dynamic –

Sarah: Right.

Shana: – and just, like, I don’t know, like the confidence and vulnerability of the heroine?

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: And then just, like, the family stuff was really funny. And then I think this time, you know, I was really thinking about when you are uncertain about your kind of, whether your work – [laughs] – it feels aligned with, like, your own life values?

Sarah: Yes.

Shana: Like, there was just all sorts of interesting things in there about, like, your identity and your work that I hadn’t really noticed the first time.

Sarah: Yep.

Shana: Maybe I’m in a different place too, thinking about my work, and that’s partly why I noticed it.

Sarah: All right. So what question did you bring for us? I’m looking for silly questions in each ep-, each, each recording.

Shana: Okay, sooo – [laughs] – my, my question is that this week I’ve been watching a reality TV show called Finding Magic Mike, which I don’t know if you’ve seen.

Sarah: I have not; tell me?

Shana: It’s a competition where random men decide they need to regain their confidence and get in touch with their true selves, and they do that by learning to be strippers. And so in each episode they, like, learn new skills – lap dances, humping the floor – and it is surprisingly, like, sweet and wholesome? [Laughs] Even though there’s a lot of half-naked –

Sarah: Really?

Shana: – and occasionally fully-naked humping that happens?

Sarah: Lot of, lot to unpack in that premise!

Shana: [Laughs] So I love the show, and so my question is, if you were going to nominate someone for the show, of any gender, could be a real person or a fictional person, who do you feel like would most benefit from learning how to give a good lap dance?

Sarah: Oh my! Can I nominate myself?

Shana: [Laughs] Yes!

Sarah: I would like to learn how to do that! I’m, I, I, I used to dance, but I’m not that fluid. I would like to learn this skill.

Shana: Yeah, I feel like you would be really good at it! And you know, there’s all this, like, eye contact that you have to do. It’s about, like –

Sarah: Yeah!

Shana: – communicating with the person to make sure you’re not overstep- – there’s a lot of consent involved.

Sarah: Oh yes.

Shana: You should totally do it. I would nominate you too, Sarah! [Laughs]

Sarah: Aw, thank you!

Shana: You can re-, you can report back to the Bitchery –

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: – about your experience.

Sarah: Well, first, let me tell you how much my back hurts, y’all; let me just start right there. My lower back is now –

Shana: [Laughs]

Sarah: – made of Silly Putty. It is, it is a problem.

All right, so my question for you is, if you had to go on the run from the government or anyone else, where would you go?

Shana: Oh, that’s so easy. I would go to St. Croix, because even though it’s part of the US, the US likes to ignore, not give voting representation to, and just generally avoid, unless it’s helpful for them, all of the places – [laughs] – that they have an imperial relationship with, including the Virgin Islands.

Sarah: Yep.

Shana: So once you go it’s like people just forget that you’re there. And I feel like you could slide in? It’s like a big island.

Sarah: That is a solid answer. Solid answer.

Shana: All right! Well, what’s yours?

Sarah: Svalbard, which is an island north of Norway.

Shana: ‘Kay.

Sarah: It’s small. The downside is there’s like, you know, twenty-five hundred people. There’s no visa requirement, and no one would think for me to go there, ‘cause it’s fucking cold.

Shana: Well, I, first of all, I’ve never heard of it, so, like – [laughs] – like, that’s an excellent hideaway.

Sarah: Yeah.

Shana: A place that you didn’t know existed.

Sarah: No idea. No idea.

Shana: [Laughs]

Sarah: Well, thank you, Shana!

Shana: Thanks, yeah! This was great. I’m glad to have one and now two options for when I go on the run, and you should totally watch Finding Magic Mike now –

Sarah: I think –

Shana: – and tell me what you think!

Sarah: I think I might, I might have to.


Sarah: Hello, Elyse!

Elyse: Hello, Sarah!

Sarah: What book do you recommend to people above all others?

Elyse: You know, I was thinking about this a lot last night, and, you know, these past two months have been really shitty. We lost Catherine, which obviously is devastating, and the month prior to that, I had someone very close to me pass away from cancer. So I’ve just been in this space where, like, I need a lot of gentleness –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Elyse: – and, like, comfort, and for me that is always Act Like It by Lucy Parker.

Sarah: I cannot agree more. I love that so much.

Elyse: That book is like crawling into a heavy, warm blanket.

Sarah: It’s so true! I’ve read it a bunch of times, too. Each time I reread it, I’m a little, like, worried. Like, okay, what if, what if it doesn’t work this time? What if it –

Elyse: Mm-hmm.

Sarah: – what if it’s not as effective? And that is not a thing I need to worry about. It works great!

Elyse: Like, I don’t want to insult her, ‘cause I feel like it’s kind of a weird thing to say, but that book is like two Xanax.

Sarah: Oh no, it is so comforting, and it is, each time I read it I, I just, even though I know what’s going to happen, it is so mellow and comforting.

Elyse: Very much so. And Cat Richard.

Sarah: Oh, for sure. Good rec.

So what is your silly question?

Elyse: So this is not a silly question; this is very serious, because I’m from Wisconsin, but I need to know, Sarah: if you could only eat one type of cheese for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sarah: I feel like if I answer this incorrectly I’m going to offend the entire state of Wisconsin. And I’m very tempted to say Velveeta, because I like torturing –

Elyse: Which is the wrong answer.

Sarah: Right, I know that is the wrong answer –

Elyse: Right.

Sarah: – but I, I love to torture Rich with the idea that there was Velveeta in lasagna?

Elyse: Velveeta is a foodstuff; it is not a cheese.

Sarah: [Laughs] It comes out of a tube! Only one cheese for the rest of my life. All right, I like a really, really good, super sharp, punch-you-in-the-face cheddar, and barring that, straight cheese curds. Like, when there’s, when it is the time of the cycle where the salty snacks are required, cheese curds are the greatest.

Elyse: The squeaky ones.

Sarah: Yes! You want –

Elyse: You’ve got to get the squeaky ones.

Sarah: – little, squeaky nubbins of joy. I love them. What is –

Elyse: Yes.

Sarah: – one cheese that you will – what is your cheese?

Elyse: I want a good, smoky gouda.

Sarah: Oooh, smoky gouda is a good answer.

So here is my question for you.

Elyse: All right.

Sarah: You ready? What is one food that always, always-always gives you gas?

Elyse: Oh my God.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Elyse: So I cannot – not that I’m a fan of it anyway – I cannot eat bologna, ever.

Sarah: Bologna!

Elyse: Like, so we have, we have this measurement of gas in my family, where my mom had Boston Terriers? Which, they’re the little smoosh-face dogs, so they swallow a lot of air? And one of her dogs, Reggie, his farts were so bad it was like a rendering plant and a tire fire had a baby. Like –

Sarah: Oh no!

Elyse: – like, they, he would get up out of the room; he would gross himself out. So my sister and I have this system where if something gives you the Reggie farts, it is Bad News Bears.

Sarah: Oh no! And the thing about dog farts is that they don’t break up. Like, they don’t – like a, like a human fart’ll dissipate. A dog fart just hangs together in a cloud and then slowly travels around the room so you can just watch people encounter it as it makes its way around the room to them.

Elyse: His gas was so bad that I was like, this dog has to be dying. Like, this can’t be a normal biological process –

Sarah: Oh no.

Elyse: – but no, it was.

Sarah: I respect this answer very much, and I will, I will also tell you that I once had Brussels sprouts, and I thought, oh, these are really good! I will eat this nice dish of Brussels sprouts, and later on I had gas so bad I thought I was dying.

Elyse: [Laughs]

Sarah: Like, I could watch my abdomen swell up, and I was in a hotel room, and I was just like, am I, am I dying? What is this? It wasn’t even like a process. Like, nothing was happening. There was no movement. There was no relief. It was just swelling like –

Elyse: You were just inflating.

Sarah: I was just inflating. I was watching myself inflate, and then I was like, all right, maybe I ate something. So I thought about everything; I’m like, oh, wait a minute. And then I googled, like a dumbass, do Brussels sprouts give you gas? And there were millions of people on the internet going, oh my God, what’s happening to me? Yeah. Brussels sprouts –

Elyse: There –

Sarah: – I cannot eat. They’re evil!

Elyse: There is a Mennonite bakery kind of out near where my in-laws live –

Sarah: Right.

Elyse: – and they have this cheese bread that is –

Sarah: Oh no.

Elyse: – amazingly good. So my, I got some, and, like, in a day, my sister and I ate the loaf of cheese bread, and then the next day we were just texting each other –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Elyse: – about how horrific our constipation was. Like –

Sarah: [Laughs more]

Elyse: – at one point I’m like, I’m negotiating with God now, right? Like –


Sarah: Oh no!

Elyse: I told my husband, I’m like, whatever you do, just stay downstairs, right.

Sarah: Yeah.

Elyse: Like, this is between me and the Lord.

Sarah: [Laughs] Well, well, thank you! I really appreciate this!

Elyse: You’re welcome. I have Pudding here; should I see if I can get her to growl at us?

Sarah: Yes. If Pudding is present we need to hear Pudding’s thoughts.

Elyse: Nope. Not going to perform.

Sarah: Pudding, I, I respect your, I respect your call there.

Elyse: She’s clearly annoyed, but she says that she’s not, she, she does not perform on command.

Sarah: Well, you did make her watch The Bachelor.

Elyse: I did. She’s very excited about The Courtship.

Sarah: Aw! She’s there for the right reasons!

Elyse: She is!

Sarah: Good for her!


Sarah: I wrote down phonetically how to say this.

Amanda: Okay. I saw that and I was like, wait, what?

Sarah: [Laughs] This email is from Christina, and Christina wrote:

“Tillykke med de femhundrede afsnit –“

Christina is now crying ‘cause I said that so terribly. That is:

“ – (congratulations with the 500 episodes in Danish) – “

Which –

Amanda: Christina, what would you rate that out of ten?

Sarah: Yeah –

Amanda: I want to know, please.

Sarah: – was that like a two?

Amanda: [Laughs]

Sarah: The first one was, the first one was the hardest, ‘cause it’s tillykke, and, and like the L-Y-K-K-E is all in the back of the throat, and I don’t do that very well, ‘cause English is all up in the front of your mouth.

Amanda: All right, that sounds, both of those, the way you described it, sound nasty.


Sarah: So “(congratulations with the 500 hundred episodes in Danish) to a podcast that always makes me laugh, learn something new and make my TBR longer and longer!”

This episode in particular is going to be bad for that.

“I was not a romance reader until about 7 years ago when I got a bad depression and I just needed fiction I knew would have a happy ending. And then I discovered Smart Bitches and I’m so happy to have become a part of this community and all the wonderful books in the genre I’ve read!”

Aw, thank you! I hope you’re feeling better.

Amanda: Thank you.

Sarah: “My question is: when will you make a new t-shirt design? I just love my Stay golden horny girl t-shirt (it’s SO soft and fits perfectly) –“

Amanda: It is. It’s so soft.

Sarah: “  – and would love to have more from SBTB.

“Can’t wait to listen to the next 500 episodes!

“xo Christina”

Thank you, Christina!

Amanda: I also love the, the sweatshirt too. The sweatshirt is very, very –

Sarah: Oh, the Bonfire hoodies and T-shirts are so comfortable, but we should do another Bonfire. What should we do for our next Bonfire?

Amanda: I don’t know! I mean, like, maybe we can ask the community. I feel like we’ve had a lot of zingers –

Sarah: Yeah.

Amanda: – in these podcasts, and I don’t remember half of what I say, what comes out of my mouth.

Sarah: If we were going to do, if we were going to do a line of T-shirts, what phrase from the community do you nominate? Oh, that’s a good idea!

Amanda: Yeah! Like, what phrases have really, like, stuck with you from, like, podcasts and stuff like that, or we –

Sarah: House of Wheels! [Laughs]

Amanda: Yeah, that’s one of them. [Laughs]

Sarah: Yep. Adam says that to me all the time now. Oh, this is in your House of Wheels! And I’m like, dude! [Laughs]

Amanda: We can do House of Wheels and a Wagon of Bands.

Sarah: [Laughs] And then there’s the really old ones like in the first year of this site, people used to comment and say things like, you Bitches have gone too far!


Sarah: We should, like, it’s, it’s not like waving a red flag in front of me? It’s more like waving, like, a green flag. Oh, goody! Keep going!

Amanda: I can go farther!

Sarah: Yes!

Amanda: Watch me!

Sarah: Just watch! Yeah!

I think, I think that’s a really good idea: we’ll ask the community for ideas, and I’ll be sure to ask the Patreon community what, what phrases do you think would go on a, a line of Smart Bitches T-shirts?

Amanda: I’m honestly surprised the site has been around for so long, and we’ve never really done like a continuous, like, merch line?

Sarah: No, it’s – there’s stuff with the logo, with the site logo? But it’s something that I –

Amanda: Yeah.

Sarah: – I, like, that takes a lot of time! [Laughs] I have some stuff I do!

Amanda: That’s fair.

Sarah: But, you know, the thing about Bonfire that I like is that they do all the design work?

Amanda: Oh, that’s right! I remember when they came out with the, like, the design prototypes for Stay Golden, Horny Girl –

Sarah: They were –

Amanda: – and they, like, nailed it. They were so fucking good!

Sarah: They were so gorgeous. And I figured, you know, putting the Ladies on stuff is not hard because the original Ladies, I own the rights of reproduction from the museum that I bought the scan from – I don’t know who the original artist is – so I, I can do stuff with that? But other, like, I’ve never trademarked it. It, other people can use it, and, you know, running merch takes a lot of time, but Bonfire makes it very fast. Very, very fast.

Amanda: [Laughs] Anytime I do something like graphic design-wise, like, stupid, I think of the meme Graphic Design Is My Passion?

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: I don’t know if you’ve seen it, Sarah. I will post it, but, like – [laughs]

Sarah: Please do!

Amanda: It’s just this meme where, like, anytime I do anything, like, artistic, this is what pops into my brain –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: – is this.


Sarah: And I know the name of that font! [Laughs] That’s awesome.

Amanda: What is it?

Sarah: It is Papyrus.

Amanda: I thought it was Papyrus, but I didn’t want to be wrong!

Sarah: Nope, that’s Papyrus. I can recognize Papyrus and Scriptina at five hundred paces.

Amanda: [Laughs] Spot that Papyrus!

Sarah: Papyrus, Scriptina, I can spot ‘em – especially, so many covers had Scriptina back in the early self-pub days. Like, so much Scriptina.

Hi, Linus! How’s your whole butt?

Amanda: What, what are you doing? I just don’t understand what goes in, through that tiny little brain! There’s, like, a tweet about owning a cat, and it’s like, you adopt this cute little cat, and next thing you know you’ve just got a little guy screaming in your bathtub at 3 a.m.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s true! It’s not –

Amanda: Yeah!

Sarah: It’s not wrong.

Well, I’m going to have to definitely think about what phrases to, what phrases would make good merch, and we can ask the community what phrases they think would make good merch, ‘cause I’m all about –

Amanda: Yeah!

Sarah: – buying more soft T-shirts; that sounds like great fun.

Amanda: More T-shirts and sweatshirts and –

Sarah: Hoodies.

Amanda: – to be cozy.

Sarah: Yeah.

Amanda: I just want to live my best cozy life. That’s my –

Sarah: Why not, right?

Amanda: That’s my dream.

Sarah: So I have questions for you. Did you –

Amanda: I saw some of the weird ones, for sure.

Sarah: Yeah. Okay, so do you have any questions that you brought to the table? Or should we jump in with these?

Amanda: Let’s just jump in!

Sarah: Okay. So Elyse asked me: you can only have one kind of cheese for the rest of your life; which one is it?

Amanda: Easy: I’m a basic bitch; I’m going cheddar.

Sarah: Basic – okay, sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, or any cheddar?

Amanda: Sharp cheddar. I love a sharp cheddar. It go, it pairs well with most things.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s true!

Amanda: Yeah. I love a goat cheese too, but if I had – cheddar.

Sarah: Cheddar?

Amanda: Cheddar is so varied.

Sarah: I said, in the original recording, sharp cheddar or cheese curds. Salty cheese. Salty cheese.

Amanda: That, that kind of squeaky cheese.

Sarah: Yeah! It’s, they squeak when you eat them; you know that they’re good if they squeak.

Amanda: Yeah!

Sarah: Which is not something I would ever invite? Squeaky things on my teeth? Nooo.

Amanda: It’s also like a very weird sensation that I have never been able to replicate with literally anything else.

Sarah: No, it’s, there’s only one experience of eating cheese curds –

Amanda: It’s only that!

Sarah: – and it’s just eating cheese curds, right? It’s weird.

Amanda: Yeah, that’s it!

Sarah: Okay, this is from Carrie, who wanted to know what fanfic do you love that is objectively terrible, but still sparks joy?

Amanda: Every fanfic I read is amazing, so it’s, none of them are terrible.


Sarah: That’s what I said! All the fanfic I’ve read –

Amanda: None of them are terrible.

Sarah: – has been really good!

Amanda: They’re all my precious babies and I love them equally –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: – and there’s not a bad one among the bunch.

Sarah: Awww! Many fanfic writers are now very happy.

Amanda: [Laughs] I wouldn’t waste my time –


Sarah: Right? Of course!

Amanda: – otherwise!

Sarah: Hang on, I have to tell my son that I’m not available for input about activities.

Amanda: [Laughs]

Sarah: I am recording; ask Dad.

Amanda: Aw! [Laughs] The dreaded Ask Your Dad!

Sarah: Well, Adam’s, Adam’s currently making English muffins, so the house smells like butter.

Amanda: What the heck?

Sarah: They’re so good.

Amanda: Linus, why can’t you do that?

Sarah: Well, Linus doesn’t want to make you English muffins, that’s why.

Amanda: That’s fair.

Sarah: Tara asked, what fruit or vegetable do you embody and why?

Amanda: This is –

Sarah: Very Tara question, right?

Amanda: This, this is ASMR in here.

Sarah: [Laughs] Yeah.

Amanda: [Whispers] A potato.

Sarah: [Laughs] You’re –

Amanda: I’m just a little potato!

Sarah: You’re just a little potato? You’re starchy?

Amanda: I’m starchy –

Sarah: Full of, full of steam?

Amanda: I’m, I feel like I’m versatile, I’m a versatile person, but –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: – you know, we all have how we prefer –

Sarah: Yeah, it’s true!

Amanda: – a potato or a person –

Sarah: It’s true.

Amanda: – and that’s usually fries, right?

Sarah: Yeah!

Amanda: Yeah, I’m a potato.

Sarah: You’re a potato?

Amanda: And it’s like, if we’re going to go specific potato, I’m a seasoned curly fry.

Sarah: Ooh, the prepared seasoned curly fry potato. You’re not like a specific –

Amanda: Yeah, I’m a seasoned curly – like, if we have to be like a specific potato dish, seasoned curly fry.

Sarah: Best kind of fry?

Amanda: My fa-, yeah, my favorite! No shame to anyone who loves a waffle fry or a sweet potato fry. All are good!

Sarah: Yeah.

Amanda: But I love, I love a curly fry, ‘cause you get, like, the soft parts in the middle and then, like, the crispy ends of the curl? Oh, they’re so good! I love a curly fry. Yeah, I –

Sarah: My favorite is when you get the really narrow spiral of curly fry. Like a little tube?

Amanda: Ooh, yes!

Sarah: That’s good!

Amanda: If I were a fruit? That’s a tough one. I think maybe like, my, I’m a little biased ‘cause my favorite fruit is raspberry.

Sarah: Ooh!

Amanda: I feel like I’d be a little raspberry.

Sarah: Yeah?

Amanda: Yeah!

Sarah: Yeah, that works! That works.

Amanda: Yeah, I don’t know, like, how we make that connection of, like, what my qualities are compared to a raspberry! [Laughs]

Sarah: Ta-, ta-, tart? Tart? That doesn’t seem – tart?

Amanda: Tart? Tart and tiny?

Sarah: Yeah! Tart and tiny?

Amanda: Tart and tiny?

Sarah: Yeah! My answer was pomegranate.

Amanda: Ooh!

Sarah: You, you might need a YouTube video to figure out how to, how to actually get through –

Amanda: [Laughs]

Sarah: – but once you get through the very annoying exterior, the insides are pretty good. TL;DR: worth the effort.

Amanda: Aw!

Sarah: Yeah! Now, my questions were – you get all of them, you poor thing –

Amanda: That’s fine! I’m ready!

Sarah: What is one food that always, always gives you gas? I don’t know if I told you this, but one time I ate Brussels sprouts, and I didn’t know that those were a very gassy vegetable, and I thought I was dying.

Amanda: Yeah, for sure.

Sarah: I thought I was going to expire.

Amanda: I’m trying to think. What routinely – Brussels sprouts, yeah, for sure, but hmm. I mean, like, let’s be honest: Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell with every fiber of my being.

Sarah: Right.

Amanda: I love it so much –

Sarah: But what particular food, though? Because there’s infinite combinations.

Amanda: Well, I always get the same thing!

Sarah: Oh, so what do you always get at Taco Bell?

Amanda: I always get a #6, which is the chalupa meal. And I always get seasoned beef. I never get chicken or steak or anything like that.

Sarah: But that gives you the gas.

Amanda: Yeah! I mean, Taco Bell wrecks my body, and God bless anyone who has never had that experience with Taco Bell. But I, anytime I go to order it, I, I weigh, I weigh the pros and cons of, like –

Sarah: The cost?

Amanda: – I, I get to eat Taco – which I love.

Sarah: Right.

Amanda: Throwing the ring into Mount Doom and –

Sarah: Going for the Bell.

Amanda: But yeah, Brussels sprouts is another one. I do love a glazed, balsamic-glazed Brussels sprout with, like, bacon?

Sarah: Yeah, that’s what I had.

Amanda: Ooh.

Sarah: It had a lot of bacon in it; it had a lot of, like, a reduction; and I thought, oh, this is good! I could eat Brussels sprouts! No, I will not eat Brussels sprouts. I thought I was dying!


Sarah: So you are in an eating competition. What food are you eating?

Amanda: Cupcakes.

Sarah: Huh?

Amanda: Nope, hot dogs.

Sarah: Hot dogs?

Amanda: Hot dogs!

Sarah: Why?

Amanda: I would – I love hot dogs. I could eat –

Sarah: So you, you would just power through the hot dog eating competition.

Amanda: Oh yeah. Or, or baby carrots. I will sit at my desk with a two-pound bag of baby carrots in my lap and just mindlessly cronch on baby carrots.

Sarah: That’s not a bad thing to mindlessly cronch on!

Amanda: Yeah! Plain, no dip, nothing. I will just open up a bag of baby carrots and eat ‘em like potato chips. But a hot dog eating contest, I’d be interested, but, like, the thing is, people are just unhinging their jaws at that point, right?

Sarah: Yeah. Ahhh –

Amanda: Like, they’re barely even chewing. Like, I would never challenge Joey Chestnut –

Sarah: No!

Amanda: – to a hot dog eating contest, for sure.

Sarah: No! You just, you can’t touch that level of consumption of food.

Amanda: Do you have to pay to be in the contest?

Sarah: I think you might have an entrance fee?

Amanda: Okay.

Sarah: But I could be wrong.

Amanda: ‘Cause, like, I would just love to sit there and have my fill of as many hot dogs as I wanted. [Laughs] But if I have to pay, I don’t know.

Sarah: I mean.

Amanda: Yeah, I think baby carrots if we’re going to, we’re going to stray from hot dogs; baby carrots. I can put those puppies away like no one’s business.

Sarah: I can’t top that! I mean, I had no idea about you and baby carrots.

Amanda: [Laughs] I love baby carrots, for sure! So, like, when I’m playing WoW, everybody knows I have tiny, wet hands. I either have a thing of, like, ice cold, like, seltzer so the condensation’s making my hands wet, or I’m just eating a bag of baby carrots, and the baby carrots are wet.

Sarah: Which must sound amazing in the microphone when you’re all talking! [Laughs]

Amanda: Well, I, well, no one can – I have, like, noise suppression on in Discord, but, like, you know, they’ll be like, Judi, where are your wet hands at? We need someone to, like, heal this dungeon. I’m like, I’ll be there; let me get my carrots! So.


 Sarah: Hang on, I’ve got to get – how, how is Dame Judi Dench?

Amanda: Judi’s fine! I mean, like, game-wise, we’re in, like, a bit of a content lull. But new content’s coming out –

Sarah: Ooh!

Amanda: – on Tuesday!

Sarah: That’s exciting! Did you get –

Amanda: Everyone’s pretty pumped.

Sarah: Did you get the new Horizon?

Amanda: I haven’t. So I had a friend ask if I was going to get it, but, like, it just came out, and then I’m going to be gone –

Sarah: Ah.

Amanda: – for, like, two-ish weeks?

Sarah: Yeah.

Amanda: So I wouldn’t even be able to play it, so I’m just – I didn’t get it, like, on release day or anything –

Sarah: But you going to get it?

Amanda: – Horizon Forbidden West. Probably!

Sarah: The people who I have seen talking about it online are having the best frigging time, which makes me really happy.

Amanda: Yeah! The first one, Horizon Zero Dawn, was so much fun. I had a lot of fun with it, so yeah! I, I fully intend to play it, but probably when, like, you know, I don’t have, like, a ton of stuff –

Sarah: Yeah!

Amanda: – lined up.

Sarah: Question.

Amanda: Yeah.

Sarah: This was the one I asked Shana: if you had to go on the run and hide from the government, where would you go?

Amanda: [Glumly] Florida.

Sarah: [Laughs] And you can’t tell us where, ‘cause you’d have to kill us?

Amanda: No one – look, Florida is a No Man’s Land. It’s a lawless place –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: – and I feel like once you reach Florida they’re like, she’s a lost cause. Okay, don’t even – just leave her there.

Sarah: But –

Amanda: Being there is punishment enough.

Sarah: But that’s where you’re from! So you have, like, secret knowledge, right?

Amanda: Yeah! And, like, my parents have property. I could probably get, like – you know, would I want to stay with them? Probably not, but, like, they would hide me, for sure.

Sarah: For sure, for sure.

Amanda: I, my dad would probably build me a bunker if I asked him to.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: Can’t, can’t dig too deep, but he’d probably build me like a little hidey-hole if I wanted. And I come from, like, rural, backwoods-y north Florida, so, you know.

Sarah: Florida.

Amanda: Or I could just blend into the crowds of people at Disney World.

Sarah: This is also true. Put on a hat and some ears and no one will look twice at you.

Amanda: Yeah, hat, ears? Wear a mask? No one would know!

Sarah: Yeah, for sure!

Amanda: That’s where I would go. Would I enjoy it? Probably not, but –

Sarah: No. No, that’s probably not the case.

Amanda: No.

Sarah: My last one was, describe the perfect pizza, but I feel like you’ve already told me this.

Amanda: My, my go-to pizza order is a crispy, thin crust – I like a thin crust – pepperoni, onions, and green, green peppers.

Sarah: Tara told me about her preferred pizza order when she worked at an Italian restaurant?

Amanda: Yeah.

Sarah: It was sausage pineapple, because the sausage is –

Amanda: I love a pineapple!

Sarah: – spicy and greasy enough and salty enough to counter the sweetness of the pineapple much better than ham.

Amanda: I will have to try that. I am a pineapple-on-pizza person, so thank you, Tara.

Sarah: Yeah!

Amanda: Also, this year – so every year for my birthday I get a birthday pizza.

Sarah: Yes!

Amanda: From the same hole-in-the-wall place –

Sarah: Pepperoni, right?

Amanda: Pepperoni and onion –

Sarah: Yep.

Amanda: – from Santarpio’s. It’s like, they take cash only; they don’t deliver. I don’t know how I’m going to fucking get it this year. Maybe just Uber out there or something.

Sarah: Yeah, why not? Or –

Amanda: Yeah.

Sarah: It’s your birthday!

Amanda: Yeah!

Sarah: Take an Uber. And besides, it’ll be warmer then.

Amanda: Not necessarily. It snowed on my birthday like last year or the year before? So – [laughs]

Sarah: Not cool!

Amanda: It depends!

Sarah: All right, so last question for you: what book do you recommend above all others?

Amanda: Well, I’ve talked about this book so many times, and it’s my favorite, one of my favorite comfort reads. It’s Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I love it so much!

Sarah: Have you reread it, have you reread it recently?

Amanda: Not recently. I – funny thing – I sent a copy to Emma, and it’s, I think it’s, like, out of print now. I had to buy it, like, used online.

Sarah: Ooh!

Amanda: So I sent a copy to Emma; I was like, this is one of my favorite books; it’s a comfort read. If you don’t like it, don’t tell me. Like, I don’t want to hear, I don’t want to –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: But in the book – I didn’t even check it before I sent it – someone had gone out and, like, changed the curse words.

Sarah: What?

Amanda: So it, like, instead of the word fucking, someone had crossed out the word fucking and wrote kissing.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Amanda: – I – let me send – I think Emma has sent me a photo of it, and I’ll put it in the chat, but I’m like, wait, what? She’s like, yeah!

Sarah: That’s outstanding!

Amanda: Someone had crossed it out!

Sarah: That is outstanding.

Amanda: Yeah, and I didn’t even, like, look, ‘cause I didn’t think like, who would do that? I’m like, why?

Sarah: Instead of fucking, because that’s totally going to work linguistically, right? Why would you –

Amanda: Yeah.

Sarah: – why would you scribble out the curse words and then put kissing? For God’s sake, people!

Amanda: Yeah. So apparently it seems like most of the book, like, had been censored!

Sarah: Oh my gosh. Well, have a good time in Germany!

Amanda: I will! I, I looked up a bad joke for the episode.

Sarah: [Gasps] I’m so excited! Tell me the bad joke!

Amanda: What’s the best place to buy soup in bulk?

Sarah: What’s the best place to buy soup in bulk? What?

Amanda: The stock market.

Sarah: [Laughs] Should have seen that coming!

Amanda: [Laughs]

Sarah: Thank you for bringing a joke, and thank you for, thank you for joining me for the five hundredth episode!

Amanda: No problem!

Sarah: I bet you thought this was the outro, but it’s not! I had an email come in after I recorded, and I wanted to include it because, well, Maggie is fabulous. This email is from Maggie, who says:

“First off, CONGRATULATIONS on your 500th episode!”

Thank you!

“Thank you so much for sharing your absolute awesomeness with us – spending time with Smart Podcast is always fun, and it even makes boring things like housework and exercise bearable.

“I’ve been relistening to some past podcasts, and on one of them Sarah mentioned that she loves dragons –“

I do indeed love dragons! And Maggie says:

“I do, too, and I’ve recently discovered an app called Merge Dragons. It’s low key, charming, and filled with adorable dragons that you’re helping defeat the evil Zomblins and heal their world. You may already have heard about this, but I had to share just in case.”

I had not heard about this. I am going to have to download this, because I have never merged a dragon before.

“Finally, I share your love of terrible jokes, and hearing them in the outro makes me deeply happy. A couple of years ago, my office did a door decorating contest for the winter holidays, and my door was Walkin’ in a Winter Punderland. I’ve included several of the jokes that I found in my extensive research, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

“You all are fantastic, and I look forward to spending another 500 episodes with you!

“All the best,


Walking in a Winter Punderland. Okay, so Maggie included an entire list of jokes, and I am going to use one of them! And use many of the other ones, and this’ll become more and more fun as it gets warmer and warmer where I am, ‘cause they are all winter-themed. I love it!

But I have some questions: what should we do for our next merch opportunity? What Smart Bitches phrases have really stuck with you? What is the best kind of french fry? We have burning questions here! We would love to hear from you.

You can email me at [email protected] or [email protected], or you can call and leave a voicemail at 201-371-3272. I love hearing from you. It is so much fun to include your messages and your email messages, so please, please-please-please get in touch, and if you have bad jokes, you know I want to hear them, right? Of course I do.

I will do my very, very, very best to not forget to upload the pictures. I have a picture of Graphic Design Is My Passion, and I’ve got links, and all of the books that we talked about will be in the show notes at, episode 501. Like the jeans! Oh, I just realized that.

As always, it’s time to end with a bad joke. This bad joke is from Maggie because Maggie is a generous and wonderful person and we are very excited to have a whole Punderland of jokes. You ready?

What do you call a snowman with a six-pack?

[Laughs] What do you call a snowman with a six-pack?

An abdominal snowman.

[Laughs] Some-, somebody somewhere just got an idea for a series, and it’s going to be all these white cover models, like really, really white – [laughs more] – with carrot noses! Okay – ohhh boy, that’ll be something. Hmm-hmm! Thank you, Maggie!

On behalf of everyone, we wish you a very wonderful weekend. Thank you for hanging out with us! It is always a pleasure to keep you company.

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at

Abdominal snowman! [Laughs]

[Sassy music!]

This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at!
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