Hello fellow passengers, and welcome back to my little corner of recs. It’s been two weeks too long since we last met, and since then I have sat in endless traffic jams, endured countless delays on the 1 train, and have thrown far too much side eye toward the man-spreaders of NYC. Be better.

That said, I’ve made it out alive, all thanks to my very favorite obsession: theSkimm. Before I dig in, let me give you a little background information. I first fell in love with theSkimm daily newsletter about three years ago, and since then have never looked back. Just last year, I took the next step in our relationship when I achieved Skimm’bassador status (#humblebrag). There is not a friend, cousin, aunt, or random passerby to whom I haven’t already recommended theSkimm.

I am in so deep with my obsession, that if the brand recommends a book, I read it; endorses a product, I try it out; it tells me to enter a contest for a trip to Cali, you better believe I give it the old college try. Basically, I am a walking billboard for theSkimm.

Surprisingly, it took me a while to cave, but I recently gave the brand’s podcast Skimm’d from the Couch a try. Let’s just say, you can add it to my theSkimm shrine.


DISCLAIMER: You may be inspired to start your own business after approx. two minutes into any given episode.

Skimm’d from the Couch features the company’s founders, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, as hosts during casual sit-downs with other big-name females. For those unfamiliar with theSkimm, the brand was originally launched on the couch of certified BFFs, Carly and Danielle, hence the podcast name tie-in. They took their first dive into the big, scary world of podcasts last year, and used their platform to talk to leading ladies in similar positions as themselves. Whitney Wolfe Herde, the founder and CEO of Bumble, was the first guest to be featured on the show, and since then, the pod has welcomed countless other B.O.S.S. ladies to its couch. You will simultaneously be in awe and feel slightly insignificant (in a good way?) when you tune in.

For some reason, the whole podcast trend never took off with me, mostly because I’m not the best listener (my deepest apologies to all my former teachers who can attest to this), BUT the combination of topics, guests, and the 30-minute cut-off pushed me take a step off the beaten path. At 30 minutes long, a single episode is perfect for the average commute. It still gives most of us listeners enough time to first check emails and answer texts, and then pop in the headphones and chillax before it all wraps up just in time to get off the train at the right stop.


Lucky for me, I picked up on Skimm’d from the Couch just in time for the newest batch of episodes to air, the first of which just so happened to feature an episode with the first all-female TODAY show team: co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, and executive producer Libby Leist.

Let me be clear, I. AM. OBSESSED. WITH. SAVANNAH. AND. HODA. Always have been, always will be, and this episode was all I needed to convince me that we’d be BFFs. 

There were so many ~perfect~ moments during the pod, that I decided to pull my top five to help convince you to tune in: 

  1. The TODAY trio is the actual Dream Team. Here’s what Savannah had to say on working with Hoda and Libby following the aftermath of the Matt Lauer sexual misconduct reports:  
    “It’s been a really tumultuous year…  (There was the) change at our show that was unexpected and really broke our hearts in a lot of ways…That’s all really complicated, but something that’s not complicated is working with Hoda and Libby. It’s the greatest joy of my professional life.  Tune in at 2:50 for more gushing.
  2. It’s never too late to create the life that you want. Hoda gets REAL on navigating her career and personal life.
    “All of a sudden, one day, I thought that I had missed that window. Then I realized that I actually hadn’t… I was talking to some interns recently, and they were asking about everything, and for the first time, I think I felt complete…Being a mother is the only thing I want to be remembered as, I think.”  Grab tissues and skip to the seven-minute marker.  
  3. A work-life balance isn’t easy. Savannah shares insight on the change between her early career and where she is now in life.
    “There are seasons in life, and some seasons are all about work, and others are all about family.” Hear more on how Savannah navigated the murky water just before the nine-minute marker.
  4. Libby Leist is a BFD. She’s the first female to lead the 7 and 8 a.m. hours as an executive producer. Literally, a B.O.S.S. Here’s some insight she shared on being a leader in the workplace.
    “I do think of myself as aggressive, but I think it’s a nice aggressive. I try to push where I think it is necessary, and push in a way that’s human. That’s always been how I operated….If there is something that you want, you can clearly ask for it. It doesn’t have to be mean, and it doesn’t have to be harsh. You just have to be direct.” Tune in at about 11 minutes for more intel. 
  5. Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of the TODAY show, even suffers from the occasional panic attack.
    I hate my anxiety. I have a lot of anxiety. I hope, hope, hope I don’t shoot it out at people… If I have to interview the President or something, I’m like, ‘oh my god, I’m dying!’” This is somewhere between totally relatable but also not, because “the president.” Find out just how real Savs is at 16 minutes in, when she shares the ugly truth on all her self-doubt and anxiety.  

The entire session was basically all about female empowerment and women supporting women. Whether you are a TODAY groupie (me!), or more of a Good Morning America gal, this episode is worth a listen.


The second episode to air during the new wave of releases featured none other than bakery extraordinaire, Melissa Ben-Ishay. You may not recognize the name, but does “Baked by Melissa” ring a bell? Anyone who lives in the New York City metro area, or is loved by someone who lives in the NYC metro area should know of this chain of cupcake stores. If you don’t, I am seriously disappointed.

Baked by Melissa is known for its hand-crafted, bite-size cupcakes and macarons. These decadent cupcakes are so tiny, that you can consume a dozen without even thinking twice (been there, done that). Marketing genius. There’s a lot more to the Baked by Melissa story than its tiny treats, and just wait until you hear what the president and chief product officer had to say about her brand and its beginnings when she stopped by to chat with theSkimm. Here are the top moments from this sesh to look forward to before you take a full listen: 

  1. Started from the bottom now she here. No, really. Melissa Ben-Ishay was inspired to take a dive into the cupcake business after being FIRED from her job.
    “I was an assistant media planner, and I was not passionate about the work I was doing. And it showed, because I got fired…. I went to my cubicle, called my brother —best friend in the whole world—crying… He told me go home, bake your cupcakes, and we’ll start a business together.”  Tune in within the first few seconds to hear about this crazy turn of events in full.
  2. You’ll never look at Baked by Melissa the same again. Here’s what you may have never realized about the brand’s name… 
    “I’m a self-proclaimed pothead who loves cake… My favorite part of it is that I get to get everyone baked by Melissa.” Mind. Blown. You can hear more about the name pun when it is discussed right around four minutes into the Q&A sesh.
  3. According to customer statistics, I am above average;
    (The average customer eats) three to five cupcakes… It’s better to be above average! I also like to eat them as a sandwich, if you can’t decide between two flavors—icing to icing.”
  4. Mixing work and pleasure sometimes ends well. Baked by Melissa is a product of Melissa’s brother’s mastermind and a team effort with her husband. Yeesh!
    “My husband works at Baked by Melissa, too. We are the product development team (laughs)…My husband and I met the day (Baked by Melissa) opened (its) first store… Opening day, I’m a 24-year-old freaking out. I’m sitting at the bar, which happened to be right next to the store window, and my husband was the bartender. He looked at me and said, ‘you’re going to be my wife.’” Melissa dishes it all out at the 22-minute marker.
    “We’re going to grow our retail footprint. We are going to open in new markets that we are not currently in right now… We’re going to stick with the core product, (but) you may see some new stuff coming soon. It’s just fun and delicious and beautiful.” Get the full scoop at 26 minutes in.

What I learned during this episode: Not only do I love Baked by Melissa, but I also love Melissa. All kidding aside, Melissa is a no-BS kind of chick, which helped her get to where she is today. I lost count over how many times I went from laughing out loud, to being shocked into silence by the pure genius behind this cupcake empire. Give it a listen, and you will be too.

Have I convinced you to give it a try? As they say, third time’s the charm. Christie Hefner, former Playboy chairman and CEO, is the latest lady that theSkimm sat down with, and if the above two episodes aren’t any indication as to why you should press play, then I have done a disservice to Skimm’d from the Couch.

Until next time, happy traveling!

About the author

Stephanie Grassullo

Stephanie Grassullo

Stephanie Grassullo is an associate editor at Adventure Publishing Group. In addition to handling toy and licensing news and updates for The Toy Book and The Licensing Book, Stephanie also writes toy reviews and commentaries for the Toy Insider. When she’s not binge-watching old episodes of Gossip Girl, Stephanie is always game for Boggle tournaments—she’s the titleholder Boggle champion in her family, and proud of it! Stephanie firmly believes that there is no awkward moment that can’t be remedied with the help of Bop It. To get to know her better, follow her on Twitter @steph_grass.