Do you have one habit or ritual that’s so much a part of your everyday routine it’s almost a non-negotiable? Some break out their journal, others carve out time for reading, and many can’t get through a day without their daily meditation.
At the beginning of quarantine, I started taking daily three-mile walks to step away from screens and get some fresh air and movement. It was a great way to take calls, catch up with friends, and my favorite: listen to podcasts.
While I haven’t been perfect with the daily walk (sometimes opting for a different kind of movement) I haven’t stopped listening to podcasts. Some drive around a little longer until their favorite song finishes playing on the radio; I’ll walk an extra mile just to finish a really great episode. I love listening to humans talk to one another, and when the moderator is great, really diving deep into issues and life experiences we’re all curious about and can relate to. While I don’t have a system for how I pick a podcast to listen to, the constant is my desire to learn, pique my curiosity, and learn to ask better questions.
After hours of listening since April, I’m sharing a few of my favorite podcasts. The list is ever-growing and dependent on what I need for the day. Might this also be research into launching my own someday? Yes, absolutely. Someday.
image above: riley blanks for her interview with jules acree
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If you’re looking for a mix of politics and pop culture. . .
Keep It, hosted by Ira Madison III, Louis Virtel, and Aida Osman.
It’s hard to pick a pod from Crooked Media as I have most in heavy rotation, but this one is my favorite as we get the intersection of mainstream entertainment, pop culture, and politics. The episode with Nicole Richie was hilarious, and if you’re a Schitt’s Creek fan, you’ll love the “Best Creek Ever” episode.
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If you want to flashback to a hot topic in culture, dive deep, and have your mind completely changed. . .
You’re Wrong About, hosted by Michael Hobbs and Sarah Marshall.
According to the description, “Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination.” I have zero clues on how I found this one, but I’m addicted. I started with Jessica Simpson’s four-part series diving into her book and pairing it alongside pop culture and media’s message about Jessica throughout. It reminded me that we never know the full story of someone’s life, and what we see in the news or online is only a sliver of what’s really happening. If you’re interested in celebrity culture or hot topics like Sexting, Killer Clowns, Gangs, and Exorcism, this one’s for you.
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If you want to hear from one of the most revered changemakers of our time. . .
Ask Big Questions with hosts Bill Gates and Rashida Jones.
This one just launched last week and I’m already enthralled. In the first episode, Bill and Rashida sit down with Dr. Anthony Fauci to talk about how COVID-19 and what the future of work will look like. It’s a true delight to get this kind of access to Bill and Rashida, who don’t typically engage with social media, and I can’t wait for more from both of them.
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If you’re looking for conversations around gender, sexuality, and identity. . .
Queery, hosted by Cameron Esposito.
Given Cameron is a stand-up comic, you know there’s bound to be some humor, but be ready for moments that really hit your core. I enjoyed both Philip Picardi and Jacob Tobia’s episode.
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If you want unfiltered dating content (from two cis-gendered hosts) . . .
U Up? hosted by Jared Freid and Jordana Abraham.
I originally found this pod by following Jared’s Bachelorette “Live Screams” on Instagram, which are hilarious, and started tuning in. They take questions from listeners around every possible dating situation you can imagine and answer them in their real, honest, and humor-filled way.
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If you want to talk about sex. . .
Sex with Emily, hosted by Dr. Emily Morse.
Emily goes there on every topic related to sex and relationships. What I love about these episodes is that she helps the listener communicate better in and outside of the bedroom with their partner. Think of every sex-related question that you’ve had, but may have been too embarrassed to ask a friend. . . Emily has you covered. Bonus: she recently became an expert on Masterclass.
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If you’re looking for a random pairing. . .
Lizzo sits down with Macaulay Culkin on his Bunny Ears podcast.
Once you start listening, we find out it’s not a random pairing after all. Macaulay and his band “The Pizza Underground” used to open for Lizzo back in the day and the two are great buds. How did I find this podcast? A casual rabbit hole after watching Home Alone one weekend and wondering, “what is Macaulay up to these days?”
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If you’re looking for an honest reminder that we are beautiful and complex humans, and want to walk away feeling seen, refreshed, and reminded to stay vulnerable. . .
Unlocking Us with host Brené Brown.
These episodes get shared most on my various text threads and I love it. Every single time I listen, I am reminded that the little quirks and ways I choose to approach anything in life aren’t weird, they’re magical. She touches on shame, empathy, fear, compassion, and injects humor, vulnerability, honesty, and kindness. “Clear is kind” is etched in my head forever and something I repeat often to myself and friends when addressing any situation. It’s so hard to pick a favorite episode but her most recent one with Dolly Parton is top 5. And any episode with author Austin Channing Brown on anti-racism work and racial justice are not to be missed.
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If you’re looking for honest conversations with incredible women touching on the messy, and beautiful realities of mental health, wellness, racial adversity, and identity. . .
Woke Beauty by Riley Blanks.
This one comes from our fellow contributor and storyteller, Riley Blanks, but would be on my list even without that connection. Riley does an incredible job of navigating these conversations and holding space for women to reveal their truths. As a listener, we get to see women in all aspects and stages of life and walk away feeling connected to their journeys, and in my experience, absolutely inspired.
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If you’re looking for an unreal amount of laughing where no topic is off-limits. . .
Absolutely Not, hosted by Comedian, Heather McMahan.
Heather adds the perfect amount of humor and levity to life, never taking any one thing too seriously. She’s as quick to bring you along for the ride as she is making you laugh so hard your stomach hurts. If there’s one way to describe Heather, it’s that she always keeps it real, is “doing the most, and the least, at the same damn time.” Not to miss her episode with Jennifer Lawrence.
*Note: Heather’s podcast is produced by Dear Media, a podcast network focused on female audiences, and voices and has a host of great shows.
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If you’re looking for a mix of no BS and career development . . .
Just B, hosted by Bethenny Frankel.
I, ALL CAPS love following anything Bethenny does. She’s unfiltered, driven, curious, and gets straight to it. Her tagline for this podcast is “If you can’t handle the truth, you can’t handle this podcast.” Bethenny is no BS and that’s exactly how she approaches her interviews. Bonus, she doesn’t fawn over her high-profile guests, nor make the interview about her (which many hosts and moderators tend to do). I’ve enjoyed every episode, but my favorite is with powerhouse Bozoma Saint John who just joined Netflix as their new Chief Marketing Officer.
What are you listening to and where are you finding inspiration? Share below in the comments, I’d love to hear what you’re enjoying.
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