Design

Four Fun Things

Habitat podcast

Habitat podcast

What podcasts are you into these days? Gimlet’s new docu-series The Habitat is mind-boggling. Through audio diaries, six volunteers from around the world chronicled their work as imitation astronauts on a simulation of Mars for a YEAR. The study, funded by NASA, asked participants to live together in a 1,200-square-foot dome on the slopes of a remote Hawaiian volcano. The crew had to wear spacesuits every time they exit the dome, carry out geological field work and live on freeze-dried and canned food. It’s pretty much The Martian meets Bravo, with a great host (and personal drama!). We are here for it.

Ask a Manager book

We’re addicted to Alison Green’s career advice site Ask a Manager (she knows EVERYTHING), so we’re excited that her new book hits shelves today. She tackles the tough work conversations you run into during your career, and gives specific wording — for example, what to say when your boss seems unhappy with your work to how to handle a coworker’s HOW-IS-IT-POSSIBLY-THAT-LOUD gum chewing.

Tony's Chocolonely chocolate bars

The best chocolate bar we’ve had in recent memory. (A lifetime of research has gone into this title, so we can tell you it’s true.) But more important, it’s crafted with cocoa from 100% slave-free farms by a company that is working to revolutionize the chocolate industry.

Lewish travel pouches

How pretty are these travel pouches? Designed by two friends, they’re made with a cotton shell and waterproof lining — perfect for wrangling messy makeup and skincare products on trips. Plus, they look adorable sitting on the bathroom sink.

P.S. More great things, including a trick for homemade pizza.

(Top HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen. Second HI-Seas photo via NBC News.)

  1. Ada says...

    I was meant to come back and check out the other 3 things but spent the remainder of my afternoon engrossed on Ask A Manager.
    Never heard/seen it but I just couldn’t pull myself away from the Comments section! lol

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, it’s so good, right? she has the best insight/common sense/approach.

  2. Belen says...

    Yay Tony’s! My sister lives in the Netherlands and each time I visit I come back with 10 bars of the caramel sea salt one, it lasts me for months but it’s so worth it! My brother got one of each last time he visited lol, we’re a family with a bit of a sweet tooth.

  3. Melissa says...

    Tony’s rules! Here in the Netherlands you can personalise the paper wrapping online – great for birthdays and secret Santa!

  4. Martina says...

    Forever35! I listen to Kate and Doree while exercising in the gym. Guess I’m known there as the weird woman who laughs out loud during workout or suddenly calls out “Why didn’t I know this yet?”…;-)

  5. cheryl says...

    I loved The Habitat but it was far too short – I needed more!

  6. Jackie says...

    I’m OBSESSED with chocolonely ever since traveling to Netherlands last year. I was ever more in love when I found out that they were 100% slave free and out to better the world of chocolate. The best flavor is zeezout (milk caramel sea salt) <3 <3 <3

  7. Liliu says...

    At 48.00 dollars for those pouches, which seem lovely, but are made in India, I’m curious as to the conditions of their craftmanship? Are they ethically made so as to support the pretty hefty price tag? I couldn’t locate anything regarding that aspect on the website.

    • B says...

      Good question.

  8. Sheri W. says...

    My daughter JUST brought me back one of Tony’s chocolate bars from Amsterdam yesterday! It’s fantastic!

  9. Those pretty travel pouches just gave me flashbacks to my cloth diapering days. They look like adult versions of cd wet bags! Maybe I would have lasted longer as a cloth diaper-er if my accessories were so attractive. ;)

  10. Carol says...

    So glad you like the Choco-lonely bars. I’ve actually recommended them without trying them. Because chocolate should be chunky.

  11. Hannah says...

    I bought a Tony’s Chocolonely bar on a vacation last year because the packaging was so fun and Willy Wonka-ish. It ended up being some of the BEST dang chocolate I’ve ever had and I can’t find it locally. (That’s probably good for my hips though!)

    • Kara says...

      If there’s a World Market near you, you may be able to find it there! That’s where I first found it.

    • They’re available at Whole Foods, at least here in Oregon.

    • I know that Fairway carries them here in NY, and I’m pretty sure I saw at least one of their bars at my local Target (like 80% sure).

  12. Virginia Fay says...

    Just finished listening to The Habitat today and LOVED it. The host is awesome

  13. Anne says...

    I wish the dark chocolate was allergen (dairy) free.

    • The dark chocolate barss don’t have dairy in them! Or are you referring to the “may contain traces of…” warning?

  14. Brooke says...

    Mmmm I love Tony’s chocolate! It’s also HUGE (like twice the size of a normal flat chocolate bar) and cheaper than most bars. Plus so awesome it brings up the conversation of slavery and cocoa farms… not a topic out in the open!

  15. CB says...

    Binge-listened to the Habitat and loved it after kind of (?) enjoying Gimlet’s other new podcast, Sandra. I am obsessed with Radiolab’s “More Perfect” and wish they would release new episodes already! Also enjoy Criminal, This is Love, Everything Happens, How I Built This, Planet Money, and Reply All.

    • Just started Sandra and I love it. Clever premise. Will have to check out Habitat and More Perfect.

  16. CB says...

    I LOVE Ask a Manager! I send all my friends there when they need career or job hunting advice. It’s one of my favorite blogs and commenter communities– other than COJ, of course!

    • Maggie says...

      When I face a tricky situation at work, I always ask myself, “What Would Alison [Ask A Manager] Do?” And people are somehow fooled that I’m good at my job, so I heartily endorse her flavor of advice!

    • B says...

      It was so good on The Toast. But I can’t quite imagine it in book form. Have you read it? Does it work?

  17. Hani says...

    You all completely sold me on the Tony’s chocolonely–just ordered a few bars and Happy Mother’s Day fortification to me!
    ?

  18. A Martin says...

    I religiously listen to NPR’s “How I Built This” and my kids (and I) listen to Circle Round. Circle Round features folktales from all over the world. It is fantastic and my kids listen with such awe. I highly recommend it if you have kids or work with kids. I also LOVE Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” podcast. On long drives or runs, I also love listening to “.Wild Ideas Worth Living.” So inspirational!

    • Jen says...

      What ages would you say Circle Round is appropriate for? I have a sensitive 3 year old. It would be great to find stories to listen to while driving on long trips.

    • A Martin says...

      My son is 3 and my daughter is 6. My kids are both sensitive and they LOVE all the stories.

    • Jen says...

      Wonderful, thank you! I look forward to checking it out

  19. Paige says...

    If anyone is intrigued by “The Habitat,” I highly recommend T. C. Boyle’s novel “The Terranauts” about a very similar experiment:

    “It is 1994, and in the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony with five biomes—rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, and marsh.”

    It’s a great book–but I’m biased. I love T. C. Boyle.

  20. Sasha says...

    Tony’s Chocolonely is sooooooo good. Our whole family are big fans.
    We also love forever and always, Chocolove, they come in amazing flavors.
    And Guittard milk chocolate chips, straight out of the bag can fix pretty much any funk I run into.

    Simulated life on Mars?!? Yikes, no thank you. I need the sun on my bare skin. And snow flakes falling on my face. And to be able to GET AWAY FROM PEOPLE, and eat my chocolate in peace. I am definitely the wrong lady for that gig.

    Those pouches are so pretty, I’d love to get them for my daughters.

    You guys come up with the funnest fun things!

    • A Martin says...

      Sooo funny!!! I’m with ya, sister!

    • Lily says...

      Clearly, I read that comment too quickly–I thought that “A Martian” had replied to you.

    • Sasha says...

      Lily, ???

  21. I can vouch for the Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate! I’ve been eating almost no other chocolate but the green one (dark chocolate almond sea salt) for the last two years! And I eat a lot of chocolate. :) It’s just so good…

  22. Michele Hahn says...

    I have become obsessed with Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert and his assistant, Monica actually referenced Cup of Jo in one of the episodes! I wish I could remember which one and I think it was at the end when they fact check the episode. They were actually talking about an article that her husband wrote and she said that she read his wife’s blog! It might be worth checking out just to hear the reference!

    • Sarah says...

      It’s the Ashton Kutcher one! I love love love that podcast too!!

  23. Robin says...

    Just was eating Tony’s sea salt caramel today, a favorite here in Belgium. Completely addictive, and I am so happy with the good design + fair trade + slave free + amazing chocolate.

  24. Danni says...

    Yes to Tony’s! I like that the pieces are different shapes and sizes so that when my bf asks for a piece I can hunt out the tiniest one to give him.

    I’ve also found that their oversized size and bright packaging are perfect for gifting – a new notebook or fancy magainze + a bar of Tony’s + a sweet card all tied up with twine is my current recipe for pretty much all gifts.

    • Sasha says...

      I want to be your friend Danni, that’s a lovely gift idea!

  25. Kate says...

    I love a big bar of Tony’s dark chocolate chopped up for baking, too. It tastes great and I can just stick the wrapper in the recycling!

    • Meg says...

      Me, too. I chop up the dark chocolate and caramel chocolate bars to put in my chocolate chip cookies– delicious combo!

  26. Anon says...

    The Habitat kinda sounds like Big Brother but for science nerds.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahaha

    • Emily says...

      Yes, actually.

    • Min says...

      That is exactly how I described the first episode to a friend the other day…

  27. Hannah says...

    Finished the Habitat last week and it was SO GOOD. Mind-boggling. I really don’t think I could do it no matter the price… anyone else?

    • DIANA says...

      I would do it in a heartbeat! It’s like volunteering to colonize Mars without the certain death, and I would ALMOST certainly apply to do that.

  28. Myra says...

    Heaven’s gate is one of the best podcasts I have heard since Dirty John & S-Town. It is just so good.

    • Abbe says...

      Yesss the Heaven’s Gate podcast is so good!

  29. Juultje says...

    O my. Dutchie here and Tony’s is my number one chocolate addiction. Once you’ve tasted the salted caramel you never ever want any other chocolate ever again.

    • Sasha says...

      ^^^ true.

  30. claire says...

    I listen to TONS of podcasts on my (long) commute to work, and “The Habitat” was amazing! Definitely did a binge listen on that one. :)

  31. Meghan says...

    the travel pouches are WASHABLE too! So key for leaked foundation or face wash during travel. Yay!

  32. Caitlyn says...

    By the Book and Why Mommy Drinks are my newest favorite podcasts! I love new suggestions! Thanks!

    • Jamie says...

      I was hoping someone would mention By The Book! I find Jolenta and Kristen so funny and real, not to mention they have “lived” a few of the books I’ve read. I am also having a mad crush on Sam LaMott, Anne LaMott’s grown child. His heart filled Podcast How To Human gives voice to the oneness we all share. Plus, he has some interviews with voices that are relevant today. And lastly, just for the shameless addiction I have had to True Crime my entire life. My Favorite Murder with Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff is somehow hilarious and filled with shocking crimes.

  33. Lisa McIlvoy says...

    Buried Truths podcast on NPR is powerful and moving!

  34. Yes! I moved to Amsterdam two years ago and became obsessed with Tony’s. (Ahem, especially during my second pregnancy when one night I looked down to discover I had eaten almost an ENTIRE bar in one sitting!) The dark chocolate almond sea salt and milk caramel sea salt are my faves, but the purple one — dark milk pretzel toffee is amazing (maybe it’s not in the states yet? I’m not sure. If it is, buy it immediately. ;) )

    • Myra says...

      oh the caramel sea salt….. I have totally binged on that one it’s so good :))
      I love the shape of the bars too, impossible to break off even pieces.

    • Loesie says...

      I’ ve eaten an entire bar of caramel sea salt and I wasn’t even pregnant…
      It’s just…you know… once you get started…ah well, might as well finish it.

      It’s sooooo good! I liked the pretzel kind too, but I will always stay loyal to the orange bar :)

  35. Jena says...

    Ask a Manager is now officially in my Audible library! Thank you so much!!

    If I may, I have a question I would so appreciate advice on from the wise readers as COJ. I was recently promoted to a manager position myself and have a team of software engineers at a tech startup that now reports to me. While I’m very excited for the new challenge, I haven’t been given much direction as to the duties and best practices my role.

    I’d be so grateful for any recommendations on great books, podcasts, or articles for a brand new manager. I’d also love any personal wisdom you may be able to share. Thank you!!!

    • laura says...

      I can’t recommend books/websites or podcasts.. but I can share one of the best things my boss did for me as a brand new manager that I loved. He set up and hour to two hour long meetings with me and one of my peer managers to have them talk to me about how they tackle different parts of the job.

      I met with one manager about how they identify and tackle performance issues with their staff, another manager with how they structure their day and manage their tasks/emails/work, another with how they set and enforce expectations with their staff, another with how to do the day to day boring stuff like absence management, approval of time off and management clerical stuff that there just never seems to be any written guidance on! The list would be different in your job I’m sure, but if you have peers, why not set up some time with each of them to shadow how they do their job?

    • Musilla says...

      My one piece of advice is to never avoid the difficult conversations! They are where you make real progress and learn what your team needs!

    • Natasha says...

      Would recommend ‘The Coaching Habit’ book as a short, engaging read with clear examples of coaching questions to ask employees!

    • Amanda says...

      Hi Jena, congratulations on the new role! My advice would be to reach out to your HR partner and ask them about best practices and also manager expectations, as he/she should be able to give you some guidance. Full disclosure: I’m an HR Business Partner (also at a tech company, also working with SWEs) so I will always advocate for building a relationship with your HR colleagues. We’re here to help employees be successful and these are the kinds of questions we love. I really enjoy meeting with new managers – understanding what excites them about the role, what makes them nervous, sharing how we can work best together, etc. Have fun!!

    • Amanda says...

      I was also just promoted to a management position a couple of weeks ago, and it has been quite the whirlwind. One book a coworker recommended to me is Supervision Matters by Rita Sever. It’s pretty easy reading — digestible bites of info. It won’t tell you everything you need to know, but it has practical tips and things that I’m making note to think more about down the road. The author also has a newsletter that most of the managers in my program recommend.

      Oh, and make sure that HR or someone in that role gives you a rundown on the legal issues that may apply more now that you are a manager — reporting requirements for sexual harassment, appropriate hiring practices, wage and hour issues, etc.

      Congrats on your new position, and if I were working on your team, I would really appreciate that you’re trying to learn about best practices!

    • Jena says...

      I am completely blown away by all this incredible wisdom and I truly cannot even begin to articulate how much I appreciate it!! In fact, I’ve already got some meetings set up and utilized one of the feedback tips from Zoe’s article link during a 1:1 yesterday. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart – you’re the very best! <3

  36. Bex says...

    Tony’s is Dutch, not Belgian :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you!!

  37. Elli says...

    Re: Podcasts, we just started listening to NPR’s “Wow in the World” podcast with our 5 year old son, and he absolutely loves it. I highly recommend if you have any kids who are interested in science. It’s hosted by Guy Raz, who also hosts one of my favorite grown-up podcasts, “How I Built This,” which interviews entrepreneurs on the fascinating stories of how they created their companies (I particularly love the ones with female CEOs, like the woman from Aden+Anais).

  38. C-Ann says...

    The Habitat looks amazing, but the new Trader Joe’s podcast is at the top of my list!

  39. Nikki B says...

    Did anyone listen to Uncivil by Gimlet media? I LOVED that show and it seemed to just stop for no reason.

    • SB says...

      I love it too! Still catching up to Season 1 but Chenjerai has said on Twitter that there will be a second season

    • Dana says...

      Loved it too!!! I’m happy to hear that there will be a second season.