Does Ivanka’s Judaism Make Donald Holier?

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” So says the Ten Commandments found in Exodus. And many faithful people around the world go to great lengths to devote one day a week to God. The Huffington Post recently published an insightful piece about Ivanka Trump and her role in the Trump campaign. The article highlighted the contrast between Ivanka’s grace […]

Can Bill Nye Debunk Religion?

If you grew up in the eighties or nineties, you know Bill Nye the Science Guy from his hit children’s television show. Since then, Nye has made a name for himself sparring with religious leaders and others who make anti-scientific claims. Now Nye will continue his pro-science mission in his new Netflix series, Bill Nye […]

Sinner & Saint: Mother Teresa’s Doubt

Yesterday, the Vatican declared Mother Teresa a saint. The “saint of the gutters” and founder of the Missionaries of Charity received this honor less than twenty years after her death through an expedited process facilitated by the Church. While the notorious nun is not without controversy (with Christopher Hitchens famously calling her a fraud), her legacy […]

Do Cults Still Exist?

If you listen to my podcast, you know I am fascinated with cults. Scholars tend to avoid the word “cult” altogether because it has been used carelessly by the media for so long that it is now seen as pejorative. Instead we usually use the phrase “New Religious Movements” (NRMs), fringe religion, or alternative religion. For shorthand, […]

Welcome to the Garden

You might be sensing a theme that I am a fan of produce and gardening. My husband is actually the one with the green thumb around here, but I am an aspirational gardener. This May, our friends sent my son a little gardening kit (which you can get here: It’s an egg carton with packets […]

Book review, Beach, All At Sea,

Book Review: All At Sea

I love books, but I really love memoirs. There’s something about knowing that the story you’re reading actually happened that makes it more riveting. All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead is no exception. Aitkenhead’s story begins with her family of four on vacation when her son runs into the ocean and begins to drown. Her […]

OC fair, Fair ride, Big Wheel

My Fair Lady: The OC Fair

Most days I’m toiling away in my office with my Brain Candy Podcast co-host, Sarah Rice, creating, editing, and promoting our show. Ok, it’s not exactly back-breaking labor, but we do work hard, and every once in a while we like to get out of the office and have a laugh. So recently we trekked down to […]

Steel City Renaissance

About a year and a half ago, my family and I moved from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles. I had just finished my doctorate, so since my husband works in television and I was newly free to roam, we decided it just made good sense to head west. We had watched while we lived in Pittsburgh […]

Farmer’s Market or Bust

From the time I was 14 until I was 18, I worked at a produce market in Pittsburgh. I swear to you that to this day that was the best job I ever had. This was back before the farm-to-table and hipster movements happened, so most “normal” people didn’t make a stop at a produce market. […]

4 Tips for Deals on the Internet

Anyone who knows me or listens to my podcast knows I love a good deal. I’m a couponer, I’m a bargain hunter, and I love finding ways to save money. I know coupon clipping and matching of deals can be overwhelming, so I will save the ins and outs of grocery couponing for another post, […]