The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McAlary

The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McAlary

Australia

We live life in the fast lane. We race to keep up with The Joneses. We are over-worked, over-committed and over-stressed, and we compete on how busy and important and sleep-deprived we are. But we don't need to. There is an ever-growing group of people who are saying no to life lived at 110%. They are opting to slow down, simplify, say no and focus on the things that are truly important. Brooke McAlary, founder of SlowYourHome.com, is one of them, and in this podcast she chats to others who have adopted a similar approach to life - slowing down, opting out, saying no. Learn what makes people change, how life is different, and what their advice is to anyone looking to get out of the fast lane.

Episodes

How to Live a Good Life with Jonathan Fields - The Slow Home Summer Series  

WELCOME TO THE SLOW HOME SUMMER SERIES! BROOKE AND BEN ARE TAKING A BREAK OVER JANUARY, SO WE'RE WE REVISITING SOME OF THE BEST EPISODES OF 2016.

In today's episode, Brooke sits down with Jonathan Fields - founder and host of The Good Life Project, author, father, life-long learner and all-round wonderful human.

Brooke and Jonathan talk about what it means to live a good life, why the power of choice is a game-changer in how we choose to spend our days, and the hugely traumatic event that led Jonathan to question his definition of 'a good life'.

They also chat about the delicious irony of advocating a slower, simpler way of life when in the midst of a busy season (Jonathan is in the midst of launching his new book and all the work that entails) but also why it's not necessarily a bad thing to experience the busy-ness some times.

Jonathan explains the difference between mindful living and practicing mindfulness, and has some incredibly practical tips on using technology to live more intentionally - flipping on its head the idea that technology is only good for distraction and faux-connection.

Such a wide-ranging and beautiful conversation, that is certain to leave you feeling inspired and motivated to continue the quest for your own version of a 'good life'.

Head over to the blog for links to Jonathan's manifesto, his new book and The Good Life Project, as well as links to A Simple Year registration.

The Long-Lost Hobbit Poem Revealed!  

For years people would ask Brooke what her biggest decluttering regret was and she never had a good answer because she genuinely couldn’t think of anything that she missed.

That was, until the day she realised her beloved Hobbit poem (a reimagining of Tolkien’s epic tale that Brooke wrote as an 11-year-old) had been accidentally decluttered. Not a big deal, sure. But at least it gave her an interesting story to tell people when the inevitable question arose.

A few weeks ago, as she was looking for some paperwork, she found her poem tucked in a folder of academic transcripts. As an end of year treat (for Brooke and Ben, anyway!) and as a thank you to this amazing community of Slow Home listeners and readers, here is a live Boxing Day reading of this previously lost masterpiece.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday Hostful  

In today’s poggie, a special ‘year in review’ kind of hostful, Brooke and Ben talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of 2016. They look at the Slow Home Experiments - which ones have stuck, which ones have fallen by the wayside - and which ones they’ve learnt the most from.

They also talk more about the year that was, their personal highlights, the biggest challenges they faced and the toughest lessons they each learnt, as well as the things they’ll be doing more and less of in the year ahead. Inspired by Kelly Exeter, both Brooke and Ben have decided on guiding words for the year ahead and they reveal what they are (and why) in this episode as well.

They wrap up with some talk about the poggie in 2017 - they’re taking a break from today through to early February, but will be hosting a Summer Series every Thursday to give you a chance to revisit some of their favourite episodes of the past two years. There’s also a special, silly treat for you next Monday, so be sure to check it out.

From Brooke and Ben: We just want to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has listened, shared, reviewed, laughed at, or enjoyed one of our shows this year. We wouldn’t be anything without the amazing people who listen, ask questions or appear as guests and we want you to know just how much we love and appreciate you all.

Knowledge Nugs for all these holidays!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Slow December #3  

This is the final Slow Home Experiment episode of 2016 (next Monday is Boxing Day and there’s something a little special planned for you!) and Ben and Brooke take the opportunity to wrap up their Slow December experiment.

They’ve taken December super easy by adding little pockets of peace and slow to their days and in today’s episode they talk about the different things they’ve tried this week, and the slowing down techniques they’ve got in mind for the last working week of 2016.

Brooke talks about yin yoga (a slower type yoga where you hold poses for up to three minutes, and focus on softening in to the pose, rather than moving quickly in to another) and finding something beautiful to focus on every day. Her and Ben also talk about the parallel idea of softening in to stress and problems, as opposed to meeting them with resistance and tension, which has been really helpful over the past few days as they’ve put in a lot of hours in the hope of taking a full break over January.

Ben talks about his efforts to say no more this month, and how it’s been more difficult but also more rewarding than he thought it would be, and why this is going to be a focus for both he and Brooke in 2017.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Getting Off The Wheel with Caro Ryan  

In today’s episode - the last non-hostful conversation of the year - Brooke has the pleasure of chatting with Caro Ryan, whose story is an amazing reminder that there is always choice and always another way, we just need to be ready to see it.

Having recently moved from a hectic, fast-paced life in Sydney to a much more intentionally paced life in the Blue Mountains, Caro talks about the catalyst for change and why getting her hands dirty and growing some veggies was one of the most important changes she’s ever made.

Caro and Brooke also talk about the challenges she’s faced as she decided to make the move to the mountains, as well as the benefits and confidence that have come from becoming part of a new community.

The second part of the conversation is centred on Caro’s big passion of bushwalking, and her and Brooke talk at length about learning to love and treasure something (in this case, nature) by spending time immersed in it. As an avid multi-day hiker Caro also talks about the mental health benefits of bushwalking and why one of her favourite things to do is go off-trail and walk in silence.

Head over to the blog for links to Caro's websites and social media profiles, and enjoy this inspiring, uplifting episode. 

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Slow December #2 (or is that #1?)  

After the slightly hectic end to November, Ben and Brooke decided to make their final Slow Home Experiment of the year a simple one - to make time for slow every day. They probably took the theme a litte too far last week when they completely forgot to record a Monday episode, but the experiment remains nonetheless!

Today they look at the different ways they've uncovered pockets of slow (most) days, and the impact it's been having on their December - a typically busy month. Ben talks through the successes and failures he's felt, and Brooke gives a list of the strategies she's been using.

Head over to the blog for a list of suggestions for finding moments of slow in the busy season of the holidays, and in the meantime, enjoy your week!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/slow-home-podcast-brooke-mcalary/id985005895?mt=2 or head over to the Patreon page http://www.patreon.com/slow to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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How to get back on the slow living wagon  

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the…month. It’s hostful pogpast time, and as is now customary, Brooke and Ben answer some incredibly insightful and wide-ranging listener questions in today’s hostful, that cover questions like:

How do you view the relationship between creativity and stuff? That is, how does simplifying impact a creative person’s ability or desire to surround themselves with beautiful, inspirational things? What’s your plan of action when you fall off the slow living wagon? (This is very timely for us but also lots of others feeling the pinch of a busy end of year period). Much of the advice on minimalism forums centres on simply ‘getting rid of excess’ or throwing it in the bin. What can we do with our unwanted items before the last resort of throwing them away, and how can we begin to educate others on the different options available to us? How can I get back to living in alignment with my why when I’m tired or completely unmotivated?

See? The best questions.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Same, same but different with Andy McLean  

One of the things you requested from our recent listener survey was that Ben take the reigns and do more poggies featuring conversations with other men. 

The good news is, you’ve spoken and we’ve listened! 

Following his chat with Dr Arne Rubinstein earlier in the year, this week Ben sits down to have a chat with freelance content creator, ocean swimmer, meditator, Dad, Shakespearian tragic and business magazine publisher Andy McLean. 

Ben has known Andy for eight years first as a co-worker and have since become great friends. In this pogpast Ben and Andy talk about the similar trajectories their lives have taken them over the best part of a decade with Andy too taking the leap and starting his own business this year. 

Andy and Ben talk about the themes of mentoring, balance, mindfulness, feminism and the importance of passion projects as well as their love of pogpasts (Ben and Andy were trailblazers having recorded their first podcast together close to seven years ago).

It’s not often men get to talk about such themes in such a public way and hopefully you will get a lot from the discussion.

Head over to http://www.slowyourhome.com/124 for links and resources mentioned in today's episode.

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Play #4  

This has been an unexpectedly challenging experiment for Brooke, and while she and Ben originally chose the theme of ‘play’ as a respite from the previous month’s decluttering work, this one has proven to be much more taxing in ways they hadn’t expected.

Brooke, admittedly, has been feeling the pinch of some big deadlines, and getting sick mid-month certainly didn’t help matters, but as she discussed in this week’s episode, having the idea of playfulness in the back of her mind over the past few weeks has seen some really simple, beautiful changes in her daily actions.

Things like giving a funny reply to her kids when it would otherwise have been neutral, dancing around the kitchen, listening to music in the car and having a ready laugh have all helped in small but significant ways.

They also talk about the final experiment of the year, and why they changed it at the last minute - given how overwhelmed they were feeling at the mere thought of another thing to do at what is one of the busiest times of the year.

Truth be told, it seems like the end of year shenanigans are starting to take their toll on Brooke and Ben (in a good way!)

Head over to the blog for a list of suggestions for finding moments of slow in the busy season of the holidays, and in the meantime, enjoy your week!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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From the City to the Bush - The Realities of a Tree-Change with Bele Masterman  

Bele Masterman returns for her fourth appearance on the poggie, and this week she and Brooke sit down face-to-face and talk about the realities a very big tree-change. 

Having recently moved from a large family home in the inner-city to a tiny cabin on riverfront acreage, Bele talks about the process of moving, the challenges and pushback she's had to overcome, and the surprising benefits she's discovered as her family has settled in to what is a very different life. 

They also discuss the pros and cons of documenting such a big life change on social media, and why it so often feels like the documenting of life is actually the robbing of presence. 

As has been a theme lately, both Brooke and Bele talk about their personal Whys and how knowing their priorities in life helps them avoid slipping in to comparisonitis (too often). 

Such a great chat. Head over to the blog to find Bele's earlier episodes and social media links. Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Play #3  

Three weeks in to this month's play-centred Slow Home Experiment, and yet again, Brooke and Ben get a little emotional.

Brooke has had a tough couple of weeks and talks a little about the reasons she's feeling burnt out, as well as the realisations she's arrived at during this month's experiment. Ironically, it's turned out to be one of the most challenging they've ever done, when it was initially chosen as a light and easy reprieve after last month's decluttering experiment. 

After watching the 1991 classic film Hook (well, classic to them, anyway) both Ben and Brooke also reflect on the lessons they learnt about people, priorities and happy thoughts. BANGARANG! 

And enjoy! 

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Coping with news and social media overwhelm  

It might have been the after effects of a tumultuous, emotional week or possibly the fact that they had to record this episode twice (no word on whose fault that is, Brooke) but this hostful gets a little emotional. 

As usual, Brooke and Ben answer some listener questions about various elements of slow living, but considering the events of the past week and the subsequent media frenzy, this hostful comes at a super opportune time as Brooke and Ben talk about the role of social media and news in a slower paced life. They also talk specifically on how to avoid overwhelm when faced with an excess of opinions dressed as news, and the different strategies they each use to keep oversaturation of 'current affairs' to a minimum. 

The conversation get quite emotional when answering a question about their personal Whys, as both Brooke and Ben examine the reasons for change and what they each stand to gain by choosing to slow down and simplify. 

Thankfully, there are also some less emotional questions regarding books (which Brooke is delighted about!) recovering from a busy or stressful period, and the negatives to slow living. 

As always, these questions get the brain juices flowing, and hopefully some of the answers and strategies in today's pogpast will be helpful to you as you continue to slow down and simplify. 

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Play #2  

This is the second full week of the November Slow Home Experiment of daily play, and in today’s episode Ben and Brooke talk about their progress.

Brooke’s been feeling a little insecure in her attempts this week as she’s not naturally as playful as Ben and has been wondering if she’s doing it ‘right’.

Her and Ben talk about the things they have been doing, including more play with the kids, choosing to laugh and joke more freely, listening to funny things instead of serious things, hunting for rainbows and throwing the ball around. But what Brooke can’t really shake is the feeling that this is a job.

They chat about habit change and whether the ‘job’ feeling is part of making a lasting change, as well as the problem with comparisons.

This is another experiment that’s open to everyone, and it’s never too late to join in. Feel free to tag your social media posts with #slowhomeexperiment and have a cracker of a week.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Ethical Fashion with Melinda Tually of Fashion Revolution  

In another deep-dive episode, Brooke chats with Mel Tually, the co-ordinator of Fashion Revolution in Australia and NZ. 

Fashion Revolution was started in response to the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh, where more than 1,100 garment workers perished. The tragedy shone a bright light on the garment industry and the substandard conditions many of them are forced to endure, in the name of cheap, fast fashion. 

In this episode Mel and Brooke talk about the importance of ethical fashion and the transparency that is starting to appear in many well-known labels around the world. But they also talk about the importance of being intentional with the choices we make, opting for quality over quantity (or brand name, for that matter) and simply buying less fashion. 

Mel also has some fantastic advice for those of us who feel completely overwhelmed by the problems facing the fashion industry, and the inevitable paralysis by analysis when we begin to look a little deeper into the clothes we wear. 

There are some amazing listener questions featured in this episode and Mel lists whole heap of resources to help you learn more about the people behind the clothes. Head over to http://www.slowyourhome.com/118 for a full list. 

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Play #1  

A new month rings in a new Slow Home Experiment, and after the fairly heavy workload of last month’s decluttering experiment, in November Brooke and Ben have decided to go for something more playful. In fact, as they explained in last week’s episode, they’re experimenting with daily play! (Or random silliness, playfulness, wonder, non-task-oriented things, call it what you will.)

Unsurprisingly, they’ve both had lots of fun this week, but Ben and Brooke talk about the fact that he is much more naturally playful than she is, and that this week has been more challenging than Brooke expected. They look at why that might be, plus how Brooke is choosing to remind herself to lighten up every day and rediscover her inner child.

One thing they both wanted to make clear is that this experiment is definitely not just for those with kids at home. Everyone has the opportunity to be more playful, and while kids perhaps make it more obvious that play is available at every turn, play can be anything that’s just for fun. There are so many ways we can re-engage that sense of child-like wonder in our days, and Ben and Brooke talk through some of them in today’s poggie.

Head over to http://www.slowyourhome.com/117 for a full list of play ideas.

This is another experiment that’s open to everyone, and it’s never too late to join in. Feel free to tag your social media posts with #slowhomeexperiment and have a cracker of a week.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Fermenting: A Thousand Year Old Food Trend with Jaimee Edwards  

In today’s episode Brooke chats with Jaimee Edwards, who, as a professional fermenter, has one of the coolest job titles ever.

Fermenting is having quite the resurgence in popular culture now - think kombucha, miso, kim-chi and sauerkraut - but in today’s chat Jaimee and Brooke talk about food trends and why some disappear while others grow and shift, becoming movements that appeal to a far greater audience than just the French-basket wielding, farmer’s market crew.

Jaimee talks about her experience in bottling 100 kilograms (yes, kilograms!) of tomatoes one afternoon and how it proved to be a turning point in not only her career, but also her relationship with food. She and Brooke also talk at length about what life is like when lived elbow-deep in good bacteria.

Head over to the blog for links to Cornersmith and the books Jaimee recommends in this poggie. 

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Decluttering #5  

Today marks the final day of the October Slow Home Experiment of daily decluttering, and the big question is - how did they go after last week?

Brooke and Ben talk about their final efforts, what clutter they let go of and whether they made the #minsgame total of 497 items each. 

They also talk about the upcoming November experiment of playfulness, and why they decided to go with something that felt a lot less like work.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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How to Live a Good Life with Jonathan Fields  

This week's episode is such a treat, as Brooke sits down with Jonathan Fields - founder and host of The Good Life Project, author, father, life-long learner and all-round wonderful human. 

Brooke and Jonathan talk about what it means to live a good life, why the power of choice is a game-changer in how we choose to spend our days, and the hugely traumatic event that led Jonathan to question his definition of 'a good life'. 

They also chat about the delicious irony of advocating a slower, simpler way of life when in the midst of a busy season (Jonathan is in the midst of launching his new book and all the work that entails) but also why it's not necessarily a bad thing to experience the busy-ness some times. 

Jonathan explains the difference between mindful living and practicing mindfulness, and has some incredibly practical tips on using technology to live more intentionally - flipping on its head the idea that technology is only good for distraction and faux-connection. 

Such a wide-ranging and beautiful conversation, that is certain to leave you feeling inspired and motivated to continue the quest for your own version of a 'good life'. 

Head over to the blog for links to Jonathan's manifesto, his new book and The Good Life Project. 

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Decluttering #4  

This month’s Slow Home Experiment is proving to be quite the emotional roller coaster for Ben and Brooke! After a strong start and a shaky Week 2, last week felt good, while this past week has been a real stretch.

Brooke tries to talk Ben down from his decluttering-related tantrum while remaining stoically upbeat, but even she has to admit this week has been tough.

It’s also important to Brooke that this doesn’t become a different kind of obsession with stuff (the letting go as opposed to the holding on) as Ben shares the fact that he’s actually feeling unpleasantly obsessed with decluttering at the moment.

It’s not all bad news though, as they have some big areas to tackle during the final week of the experiment (and Ben has some “Trump decluttering” to do) which will offer up clutter they haven’t considered yet, but it’s certainly going to be an interesting time as they try to make the total of 500 items by October 31.

Head over to the blog for a full run down of the week’s efforts and a hilarious journey through the month so far (in gif form!)

Enjoy!

It’s never too late to join in on this month’s experiment, so feel free to tag your social media posts with both #minsgame and #slowhomeexperiment and play along.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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Grow Just One Thing with Kyrstie Barcak  

Brooke chats with the wonderful Kyrstie Barcak - a passionate gardener and educator - about the slow living benefits of growing even one edible plant, and why her personal goal is to see every home growing one thing they can incorporate in to their cooking.

Kyrstie and Brooke talk about information overwhelm, garden comparisons, time and the steep learning curve of growing your own food, and why starting small is the best way to slowly find a level that works for you. Brooke talks about her own experiences with gardening, and how, even though she didn’t realise it at the time, it was actually a practice in mindfulness which helped her recover from post natal depression.

Kyrstie also has some great advice for people who want to grow just one thing but don’t know where to start - including some suggestions for hard-to-kill starter plants and her never fail tips on caring for your plant once you’ve got it in the ground.

Head over to http://www.slowyourhome.com/112 for links to the awesome resources mentioned in today’s episode, as well as links to Kyrstie’s blog and book.

Enjoy!

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If you're enjoying the show and want to know how to best support it, leave a rating or a review in iTunes or head over to the Patreon page to help support the show financially.

And thanks so much for listening!

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