The Big Boo Cast, Episode 74


Well, we start off recounting some difficult times we’ve experienced in excruciatingly hot conditions. Our passion about this topic will surprise approximately no one. But then, in an unlikely turn, we discuss exercise: power walking, Melanie’s first yoga class, and a new fitness class that involves a mini tramp (Melanie may try it, so STAY TUNED).

We go on to share our thoughts about Costco, vacations, shorts, plus what we’ve been watching and reading. And naturally there’s a lengthy discussion about all the skin care knowledge (and tips!) Melanie gleaned on her recent video shoot. You might want to grab a pencil.

Finally, we talk a good bit about the NCAA women’s basketball tournament because BULLDOGS.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here on the blog.

You can also listen on Stitcher.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy. We’d be honored if you’d leave us a review.

And if you’re on the Facebook, well, we are, too.

Here’s where you can get more info on the stuff / products / places we mention:

Compassion International

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Vacations


Levi’s 501 Long Denim Shorts

GAP Railroad stripe girlfriend shorts

GAP archive reissue pleated denim shorts

GAP girlfriend rolled utility shorts

LuLaRoe Carly dress

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner

Fraxel laser treatment

Good Genes lactic acid treatment

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

The shot heard ’round the world (and one of the best moments of Sophie’s life)

Enjoy, y’all!

Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

Listen. It has been a minute.

How are y’all?

I’ve had an unusually busy January / February / March in terms of speaking and travel, so when I’ve been at home, I’ve tried to really be at home. That’s meant lots of cooking and carpooling and catching up with my people, and it’s been so good. At the beginning of February I realized that I’ve been in “book mode” pretty much non-stop for five years – whether that’s been thinking about books, working on books, writing books, editing books, mapping out ideas for books, you name it – and after I finished the edits on my next book (more later about that one – it comes out in August), I sort of hit the wall in terms of words. Writing books is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, but five years of pretty constant writing = nothing much left to say. No more words. Nothing. Zilch. No más.

So, you know, I’ve been sort of quiet.

Life has still been lively, though. Alex is in the middle of lacrosse season, not to mention that a couple of weeks ago we celebrated his 14th birthday. It’s crazy to think about, but he was two when I started this blog. TWO. For some reason this 14th birthday was a ginormous reminder that we don’t have that many more years with him at home, and I may have had to tell myself to GRAB HOLD OF THE EMOTIONAL REINS, GLADYS a time or six during his birthday week. I feel like I’ve said it over and over, but this phase of parenting is hands-down, 100% my favorite. It’s probably too much to explain in a blog post, but this year (7th grade) Alex moved to the campus where I work, and OH, THE JOYS AND DELIGHTS of being in the same place all day. I get to see his friends, I get to see him, I get to eat lunch / spend time with the girls in his grade, and basically it has been all manner of wonderful. I am doing my best to soak it up and savor what sometimes seems mundane but is really oh-so-special.

This week is our Spring Break, and last night we got home from a trip to Orlando. We love us some Universal Studios, and this time we made the trip with two families from our small group. Before the trip I think we all considered the fact that even though we’ve spent a lot of time together, we had never traveled together – much less navigated four days’ worth of roller coasters together. But oh my goodness. It turned out even better than we could have imagined. We had an absolute blast. The kids are all close friends, so they had a big time (repeated rides on loopy roller coasters will solidify some bonds), but I think my enduring memory of the trip will be how much we all laughed. Tuesday night we had dinner at the hotel pool – couples at one end of the table, kids at the other – and as everybody was recapping different parts of our day, there was a point where I got so tickled that I couldn’t sit up straight. It was that kind of laughter where you can’t get sound to come out despite the fact that you are WEEPING OPENLY, and it was perfect – the best kind of chorus to our Spring Break song.

Hark! Some photos!

We watched the Mississippi State / Baylor women’s Elite 8 game while we ate dinner at the pool Sunday night. I tried not to yell. Or maybe I should say I tried not to yell too much. And I 100% cried when we won because FINAL FOUR!

The Jimmy Fallon ride is awesome, by the way. So fun that I literally bought a t-shirt. Also, I totally downloaded this picture from my friend Stephanie’s Facebook page, so a thousand pardons for that.

Two strangers and three teenagers on the log ride. There was some serious soakage.

We actually drove to and from Universal this time, and I have to say: NOT BAD AT ALL. In the past we’ve flown because there’s a direct Southwest flight from Birmingham to Orlando, and it’s been tough to beat in terms of travel time. But the flight schedule was all wonky this time around – not to mention that plane tickets were a small fortune – so we drove. I was surprised by how much I loved the road trip. We drove about six hours after school on Friday – down to Lake City – then finished the drive on Saturday morning. We did the full 8 1/2 hours coming home yesterday, and I thought it flew by (podcasts don’t hurt when it comes to filling up the time). We even made it back in time to pick up Hazel from the vet, and she was so happy to see us that she lifted her head toward the sky and barked / sang when we were driving from the vet to the house. David said she was offering her thanks and praise to the Lord for our return. I think he may have been right about that.

Today (Thursday) we have mostly stayed close to home, and tomorrow we’ll run a few errands (HELLO, GROCERY STORE) before we settle in for the Final Four semi-final games tomorrow night.

I imagine we will have some dips.

Fingers crossed that there will also be a Bulldog victory.

Happy Weekend, y’all.

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 73


As you might expect, we spend some time in this podcast recapping Melanie’s recent visit to Birmingham, and we talk at length about our visit to SEC Headquarters. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that it was a life highlight.

We also talk about the Oscars, the ageless wonder of Halle Berry, texting etiquette, a few favorite podcasts, and the great mystery that none of the old SEC Wives episodes are online.

As seems to always be the case recently, we have a big discussion about This Is Us and why we all seem to want to feel emotion that deeply week after week. Plus, somewhere in the middle of all that, Melanie lays down a hashtag that’s going to catch on like wildfire. Or πŸ”₯, if you will.

Finally, we break down some of the finer points of #oldlove – and how that might affect, say, the way your husband gets to the hospital the morning of his knee surgery. Hypothetically.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here on the blog.

You can also listen on Stitcher.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy. We’d be honored if you’d leave us a review.

And if you’re on the Facebook, well, we are, too.

Here’s where you can get more info on the stuff / products / places we mention:

SEC Video Center

SEC Media Days 2017

The 2017 Oscars Best Picture snafu

Halle Berry at the Oscars

The Popcast with Knox & Jamie

NPR’s Fresh Air podcast

Mel Tillis – “Send Me Down to Tucson” (Y’ALL.)

Emma Stone – “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”

Enjoy, y’all!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 72


Okay first of all Melanie has some internet issues on this podcast – she cuts in and out at times – and while the (lack of) internet service is unfortunate, I will say that she mines her inconvenience for some comedy gold. BE WARNED, AT&T. We also talk about our ongoing efforts to eat better and exercise more, and as you will hear we are just as thrilled as we can be about all of that.

Also on this podcast: some thoughts on the Grammys, foods we crave the most, how I found myself in an unspoken treadmill competition last week, my obsession with SEC women’s basketball, and Melanie’s elaborate skin care routine.

Then we tried to talk about books but I couldn’t remember the names of the books I’ve read recently so we’ll pick up with that topic next time.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here on the blog.

You can also listen on Stitcher.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy. We’d be honored if you’d leave us a review.

And if you’re on the Facebook, well, we are, too.

Here’s where you can get more info on the stuff / products / places we mention:

This Is Us

– Prince tribute featuring The Time & Bruno Mars (not for kids – just FYI)

Carpool Karaoke with “Sweet Caroline” (side note: Melanie was not pleased)

Carpool Karaoke with Bruno Mars (there’s a little bit-o-language)

– “Freedom 90” by George Michael

– “I Hate Everything and Everyone” – a hilarious blog post by Katherine at Grass Stains

Church Street Coffee in Birmingham (home of the Breakup Cookie)

SEC Network – it’s our favorite

Mizon Snail Repair Cream

Mizon Snail Intensive Repairing Serum

It Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer

It Your Skin But Better CC Cream

Samford Legacy League Luncheon in Birmingham on Thursday, February 23rd (Melanie is speaking)

Eleanor & Park

“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

“The Bird” by The Time (not really a family-friendly version)

Enjoy, y’all!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 71

Well, the big news at the beginning of this podcast is that Melanie is snack mom for Caroline’s soccer team, so we have a lengthy conversation about budgeting and price awareness and our limitations as household managers. We also spend some time talking about Melanie’s feelings about chicken that’s already off the bone, salsas we enjoy, goals for TV watching, and some exciting new cosmetic finds.

There’s also a considerable amount of discussion about our optimal lighting and how maybe we’re facing some skincare issues that make-up can’t fix.

We also talk about why we can’t talk about some stuff related to some writing stuff (and other assorted vagueries). But other than that it’s all very specific.

We surely do hope you enjoy it.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here on the blog.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy. We’d be honored if you’d leave us a review.

And if you’re on the Facebook, well, we are, too.

Just FYI – here’s where you can get more info on the products / places we mention:

Ellie Holcomb’s phenomenal new album – Red Sea Road

Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa, Medium

HEB’s Salsa Ranchera


Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

This Is Us (also known as Sophie’s TV failure)

The Crown

Send Me Down to Tucson by Mel Tillis

La La Land soundtrack

Rent the Runway

Mizon All-in-One Snail Repair Cream

Skinceuticals Overnight Moisturizer for dry or normal skin (Melanie’s version)

Skinceuticals Overnight Moisturizer for combination or oily skin (Sophie’s version)

It Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer

It Your Skin But Better CC Cream

It CC Cream Illumination

Batiste dry shampoo for brunettes

Additional Batiste shades

Riced Cauliflower

Ellie Holcomb’s single, “Find You Here”

– “Find You Here” video

The Basketball Is A Fine Diversion

Well, let’s see.

Last weekend the Cowboys lost their play-off game against the Packers, yet somehow the world has continued to turn. Honestly, I was surprised by how level-headed I was about the whole thing; we had cheered and yelled and clapped for pretty much the entire second half, and a Dallas comeback started to feel almost probable. But then there was the long pass play that led to the Packers scoring a field goal at the very end of the game, and suddenly our first season of following an NFL team was over and done. I expected to be sad, but mainly I was just proud of Dak Prescott and his leadership and the way he has represented his Mississippi State people. It was the biggest blast to watch him this year and cheer for the Cowboys. So, sign us up for the 2017-2018 season. I’ll be there with bells on – as well as my sassy Dallas Cowboys slippers that I got for Christmas.

I know. What a difference a year makes. And I’ll be cheering for the Falcons in the Super Bowl.

On top of all that, Mississippi State’s basketball teams have been awfully fun to watch.

Last weekend I got to see the men’s team play Texas A&M; I think it was the first time in 25 years that my friends Daphne, Emma Kate, Tracey, Elise, and I have all been in The Hump for a game at the same time. It was so much fun, and Daph had some unbelievable seats. Tonight the women’s team lost their first game of the season – they are #4 in the country and 20-1 – and I stood in my favorite game-watching corner of the kitchen and wiped down countertops and cheered just like they could hear me. In other words: BUSINESS AS USUAL.

All righty. Here are a few things I wanted to share / mention / shout from the rooftops.

– I posted this on Instagram last week (thanks, Lauren), and I keep looking at it because it makes me laugh so much. Also: I IDENTIFY.

– A couple of weeks ago I posted the first devotional that I wrote for our Unplugged challenge at my school. Here’s the second one.


– I kind of have to plan speaking stuff around Alex’s sports seasons, which means that most of the out-of-town stuff has to happen in January, February, November, or the first week in December (well, the December thing has nothing to do with sports and more with wanting to be home for all the Christmas things). There are exceptions here and there, of course – I can usually manage one thing a month in the spring – but January and February are my GET AFTER IT times with speaking. Here’s what’s going on in the next month-ish.

January 26 – Women Business Leaders – Birmingham, AL
February 3-4 – Carriage Lane PCA Women’s Retreat – Pine Mountain, Georgia
February 16 – Johnson Ferry Church – Marietta, GA
February 17-18 – Two Rivers Church – Lenoir City, TN
February 24-25 – Belle Aire Baptist Church – Murfreesboro, TN

Also, if you’re in the Birmingham area, a certain Melanie Shankle will be here on February 23 to speak at the Samford Legacy League luncheon. This means that on the evening of the 23rd, Melanie and I will be in my kitchen, working diligently to create the cheese plate of our dreams.

So basically February’s gonna be all kinds of fun.

– This past weekend I spoke at a women’s conference at Casas Church in Tucson, and when I was driving from the airport to the hotel, it was raining and dreary and I couldn’t really see the mountains; they mostly looked like flat shadows off in the distance.

Saturday, however, brought a completely different perspective. I actually had some time to explore, so I rode around and tried to take in just at tiny bit of the splendor of those mountains. I don’t know when I’ve ever been more aware of how limited my photography skills really are. There wasn’t a single picture that even began to capture to what was right in front of me.

This was at sunset-ish time on Saturday.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

So much gorgeousness.

– John Mayer released an EP this past Friday, which means that my unrequested (and, you might say, uninformed) over-analysis of his lyrics has really ramped up to some impressive new levels.

Hope y’all have a wonderful week!