As I’m sure most of you probably know … I LOVE PODCASTS. I listen to them almost all day long at work, I listen to them while I’m driving, doing dishes, folding laundry, working on illustrations for this blog, chopping vegetables, running, walking the dog, etc. I listen to podcasts the way other people watch television, which is to say frequently and aggressively. I love them because I can do so many other tasks while listening to them, and in the process I’m entertaining myself and often educating myself as well.
In fact, podcasts affect my life in numerous ways. If you read my Things I’m Loving posts (or this blog in general), then you’ve probably encountered multiple examples where I’ve read a book, watched a movie, found a new favorite podcast, gotten a blog post idea or a travel bucket list item from a podcast. They’re (quite literally) constantly streaming through my head and filling my brain with thoughts and ideas. I love them. I wake up every day and think about which day of the week it is – not just because I want to know how long until the weekend, but because I’m thinking about which podcasts come out that day and what I’ll listen to on my way to work. This is real life. If you want another example of how podcasts have an impact on people’s lives, check out this touching and heartfelt web comic about another young illustrator’s relationship to a podcast. (It’s seriously so good.)
So without further ado, let’s get to this list of the ones I’ve been particularly enjoying this year. With the exception of a few, these are all new compared to last year’s list. However, I do still listen to a lot of those on the regular, so if you haven’t already checked out that list you should do so now. It’s definitely still relevant. (PS – did you hear that Serial season two started?! Hallelujah.) Here we go!
Totally Beverages and Sometimes Hot Sauce (TBASH) – Alright, so I talked about this one last year, but they had JUST started shortly before my post went up. So I wanted to do them justice by shouting them out again, but also because this is probably my #1 favorite podcast of 2015. Many of the iTunes reviews for this one sound very similar and the gist of them is this: “It sounds like it should be so boring, but it’s actually entertaining and hilarious.” I would describe this podcast as nothing short of a party. I love the dynamic that occurs between Andy, Josh and their guest(s), and you end up learning quite a bit about the world of beverages (and a little bit about hot sauce). You’ve got blind shootouts, flights of LaCroix, and celebratory power hours. Give this one a shot and I dare you to turn it off. Just make sure you get to some of the hilarious (NOT pre-screened) voicemails from their loyal listeners near the end (which are sometimes drunk dials), and the ever-philosophical “Brian’s Question” to top it all off. #GFY
FREQUENCY: weekly (Fridays)
FAVORITE EPISODES: Episode 28 where they taste my father-in-law’s hot sauces that I mailed to them, and Episode 46 with Elizabeth Laime for a lemonade shootout
Burnt Toast – This is the podcast from Food52, and very much like their award-winning website, it’s a true delight. They talk with chefs, bloggers, and other members of the Food52 staff. The general theme of the podcast is “what they talk about in the office, but doesn’t make it onto the website.” I always feel inspired to get my hands dirty in the kitchen after listening.
FREQUENCY: every two weeks (Wednesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODES: with Nigella Lawson and with Ruth Reichl
A Couple Cooks – This one just recently appeared and it’s by my blogging friends, the lovely Alex and Sonja from A Couple Cooks. Each episode highlights a seasonal and timely recipe from their site, plus one or two topics related to getting comfortable in the kitchen and using whole foods as part of an overall healthy lifestyle (but not in a way that’s preachy at all). They’ve had a few exciting guests so far, and I’m really excited to see where this podcast takes them. It’s also just fun to hear their voices on a regular basis now.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Sundays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 3: Mixing Drinks, Giving Thanks & Hygge
This Week for Dinner – This is another fairly new podcast from a blogger. I had not heard of Jane Maynard and her blog until I discovered her show. In each episode she interviews someone and talks to them about their favorite recipes and kitchen tips. So far she’s talked to a handful of my favorite bloggers, and I find her to be an extremely warm and friendly host to listen to. I end up pinning almost every recipe discussed on this show, and this is another one that gets me really excited to be in my own kitchen.
FREQUENCY: so far she’s been posting a new one every few days
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 10 with Michael Procopio
The Bon Appetit Foodcast – Bon Appetit is my favorite food magazine, and I think their podcast is a beautiful extension of that. Editor in chief, Adam Rappaport, is often the host and I find him to be charming and engaging. They cover cookbooks, kitchen tips, restaurants and bakeries, and anything you might need to know about cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I enjoy listening to this one while I cook because otherwise it just makes me really hungry at work (like most of these food podcasts.)
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 25: Sam Kass on Cooking for the Obamas
The Dinner Special – If you’re a food blog junkie like me, then this is your dream podcast. Gabriel talks to people in food (mostly food bloggers) about what inspired them to get into food and about their favorite dinner dishes. He always finds a way to bring out the uniqueness of each guest, and you’ll hear about some great recipes in each episode.
FREQUENCY: twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: You can hear me talk about pizza and laugh a lot in episode 13, and I particularly enjoyed episode 90 with Lily Diamond from Kale and Caramel
The Pure Green Podcast – From Pure Green Magazine, this show is a continuation of their content which focuses on “inspired, conscious living.” While it’s not always about food, a good portion of the episodes focus on cooking and eating seasonally, while other topics include living a low-waste lifestyle, stress relief, skincare, gardening and finding balance. Celine Mackay, the host, has a seriously soothing voice, so this one always puts me in a relaxed mood.
FREQUENCY: weekly, although they haven’t had a new one since early October
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 20: Cleanse Your Skin with Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics
The Actor’s Diet – Here’s an example of my favorite kind of podcast – the ones with super chill, conversational “interviews.” Actress Lynn Chen has a history with eating disorders, so in her show she talks to people about their relationship to food and their bodies, how that relates to body image, and just eating in general (plus other stuff that comes up). Everyone eats, but we all have a unique story to tell about how we relate to food. It’s an interesting one.
FAVORITE EPISODES: the ones with my blogging friends, like Billy Green and Lily Diamond
The Chopped Podcast – Yes, there is a podcast for everything, including food blogging. This one is from the people who do the Chopped Conference in Kansas City. Marly, the kind and quirky host of this podcast and creator of the Chopped Conference, interviews food bloggers about specific topics like food photography or scheduling your editorial calendar. She also talks to people related to food blogging resources, like Coschedule and ad networks. This one has a nice blend of personal stories and actionable advice.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: You can hear me talk more about my blog in Episode 20, and I love episode 22 with Cara Reed about finding your Instagram voice
The Food Blogger Pro Podcast – From Bjork and Lindsay of Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro, this one is very similar to The Chopped Podcast. It has a heavier focus on blogger tools and the business side of it, and there’s also a decent amount of episodes dedicated to video content. This one is a wealth of knowledge and I’ve learned so much from it already.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Tuesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 13 with Molly Yeh
BEING A BOSS
#Girlboss Radio – A fairly new podcast, this one is an extension of the book named #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. The #Girlboss website says, “It’s more than a book. #Girlboss is a platform inspiring women to lead deliberate lives. Being a Girlboss isn’t about being the boss of other people – it’s about being the boss of your own life.” So as you can imagine, in each episode she talks to another girlboss. I like this one because it feels like you’re just listening in on a conversation between two girlfriends who just happen to be badass.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: with Kay Cannon, screenwriter of Pitch Perfect 1 & 2
Being Boss – Hosted by friends and business partners Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon, this show is full of helpful advice regarding being your own boss, but specifically for creative entrepreneurs. That’s why I love it so much – I feel like it fires up my brain in all of my favorite areas, and I can relate to a lot of the topics. I consider myself a “boss” of this blog, and I treat it as my side business (and it’s creative), so I’m able to apply a lot of what they discuss on the podcast to how I run this space and how that relates to the rest of my life. It’s very conversational, and I enjoy their discussions because the two hosts are so comfortable and open with one another.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Tuesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 27: Organizing Like a Boss with Val Geisler
Elise Gets Crafty – I haven’t listened to this one a ton yet, but whenever I do I’m glad I did. Elise has a popular blog, and she is truly CRAFTY. She says “I make stuff like it’s my job.” (Except it actually is.) But she also has a warm-hearted, inspiring, motivational and business-minded brain, which I really enjoy. Her podcast covers the topics of blogging, business, creativity, inspiration and motivation, etc. So this is another one from a creative entrepreneur that I can relate to.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Tuesdays) but I think she’s currently in between “seasons”
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 3: Developing an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog
WTF – If you’re a podcast listener then you’ve probably heard of this one. Comedian Marc Maron interviews other comedians, comedy writers and people (mostly) in the entertainment industry out of a recording studio in his garage. I believe he was one of the first people to do these extremely loose-format interviews, which are now very much the norm for podcast interviews, at least in the comedy industry. It’s just honest conversation. I haven’t listened to many of these yet, but what I’ve heard has been excellent.
FREQUENCY: twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 613 with President Barack Obama
How To Be Amazing – This interview show, hosted by Michael Ian Black, manages to be a little more regimented than others of its kind while also feeling intimate and casual. I personally love Michael’s dry humor and the way he interacts with his guests, and the show is extremely well produced. Even if you’ve never heard of the guest, be prepared to get sucked in and fall in love with them.
FREQUENCY: every two weeks
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 6 with Amy Schumer
One Part Podcast – I mentioned this one last year, but I wanted to bring it up again because Jessica recently started a new weekly “micropod.” Most weeks she releases an episode called “The Things That Freaked My Week,” a 20-minute chat with someone about “the things they had to eat, people they thought were neat, and all the things that made them say SHEEEEEET.” Jessica is the coolest and I want to hang out with her, so these little micropods kind of make me feel like I am, and they often give me a good laugh.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Fridays)
FAVORITE EPISODES: Why Nothing Good Comes From Ego with Jeff Garlin, The Things That Freaked My Week with Ashlae Warner of Oh, Ladycakes, and Stop Wanting and Start Getting What You Want with Rochelle Bilow
Totally Laime – Two of my favorite podcasts, TBASH (see above) and Totally Married (see last year’s post), are from the “Totally” family, which started with this-here podcast. I was introduced to them through Totally Married, but this is the podcast that started it all. Sadly this show is technically over, but they’ve got a backlog from 5 years of doing it so I’ve been slowly working my way through them this year. Husband and wife team Andy and Elizabeth talk to someone in the world of comedy in each episode. These aren’t even interviews, so much as really weird conversations that you listen in on. “Business talk” is practically nonexistent here, but you’ll hear them talk about almost anything else under the sun. I love these podcasts because I can’t get enough of the dynamic between Elizabeth and Andy, and when you throw a guest into the mix it just gets better. This is my favorite podcast to listen to while I’m doing dishes because I can get “totally” lost in their goofy chatter (see what I did there?), and I usually end up snorting in laughter.
FREQUENCY: It’s over, but listen to the archives!
FAVORITE EPISODES: with Jason Mantzoukas and Josh Briggs
COMEDY & MEDIA
Gilmore Guys – Oh man. This is my other favorite podcast of 2015. If you’re a longtime fan of Gilmore Girls then you NEED to listen to this show. And if you’re watching for the first time on Netflix right now, you also need to listen to this show. Hosts Kevin and Demi are working their way through all of the episodes of Gilmore Girls and discussing them AT LENGTH, along with the help of guests who are usually huge fans of the show. Kevin has seen it multiple times and grew up watching it while it was on television, while Demi is working his way through it for the first time. It’s interesting to hear both of their perspectives about what goes on in the world of Stars Hollow. The guys are a part of the LA comedy scene, so they bring a lot of insight to the show both as viewers and as people who really get into television with the writing and production elements. They have great chemistry even though they never really hung out before recording this podcast together. Their humor may not be for everyone, but once you get to know these guys it’s hard not to become addicted. They have also had interviews with a lot of people connected to the show, including major characters, writers, guest stars and music composers.
FREQUENCY: twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: 307 – They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? (With Jason Mantzoukas)
How Did This Get Made – You know those movies that are so terrible but they end up being worth the watch just so you can bust on them with your friends? That’s the heart and soul of this podcast. Comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael (plus a guest) sound off about some of the worst movies ever made (in their opinion). I don’t watch a ton of movies so I haven’t listened to many of these, but Jason Mantzoukas is my podcast crush and I enjoy listening to the episodes about the movies I have seen. If you’re a movie buff you’ll probably get a kick out of this one.
FREQUENCY: once or twice a week
FAVORITE EPISODES: Episode 27: Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Episode 50: Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2
Mystery Show – In this magical podcast, host Starlee Kine solves mysteries that can’t be solved by just Googling. Because of that restriction, the mysteries end up being pretty weird and personal. Topics include finding the true height of Jake Gyllenhaal, a Britney Spears book mystery, and a super cool belt buckle. The host of this podcast is the very definition of charming. With only six episodes (I’m anxiously awaiting the start of season two), this is one of my favorite podcasts of the year.
FREQUENCY: infrequent (these episodes take a very long time to produce)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Case #5: Source Code
The Message – If you listen to podcasts at all, you’ve probably heard a commercial for this one. It’s a science fiction story (which I didn’t realize until episode 3 ….) about an alien message and a podcast, but it’s told through the vehicle of a podcast. Does that make sense? It’s like a TV show about a reality TV show. I started listening near the end and binged it because I got really sucked in. The episodes are pretty short (about twenty minutes or less), but they’re extremely well-produced. It’s a lot like an old time radio show with voice actors and sound editing. I hope to see more fictional shows like this as podcasts continue to become a more popular media format. This one is truly like television for your ears.
FREQUENCY: was weekly, but now it’s over – BINGE IT!
FAVORITE EPISODE: Doesn’t matter. You need to listen from the beginning and just go all the way through. Each episode is great as it relates to the others.
The Memory Palace – I found this one just a few weeks ago after it was mentioned on another podcast. Imagine short stories from history told in a beautiful, engaging way – That’s what this podcast is. They’re usually only twenty minutes long or less, so it’s perfect for walking the dog or a short commute. History buffs will enjoy this one.
FREQUENCY: about once a week – currently on a break, but will return in January
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 76 (Mary Walker Would Wear What She Wanted)
Reply All – Some people have described this as similar to This American Life, but about the Internet. I think that’s fairly accurate. On their website they say the show “features stories about how people shape the internet, and how the internet shapes people.” It’s another well-produced show where you can always count on them for an interesting episode.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Wednesdays or Thursdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: #45 The Rainbow Pug
Snap Judgment – The tagline for this show is “storytelling, with a BEAT.” Each episode has a theme and features a few stories told in a cinematic, dramatic way. This one’s also similar to This American Life … but like maybe if Ira Glass had taken some drugs before he produced the show. So it’s fairly similar content, but just told with a very different voice.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Fridays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: #631 – Better Half, and search out the ones about ghost stories
Radiolab – This one is very hard to describe. Each episode centers around one big idea, but they’re also kind of like mini investigations … and they’re told through stories. They often touch on science and technology, but in a way that relates to the human condition. I’m not much of a science person but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this podcast so far. It’s very easy to listen to. This is some of radio at its best.
FREQUENCY: 2-3 times a month
FAVORITE EPISODE: Smile My Ass
Love + Radio – Here’s a show that’s very similar to the few mentioned above it, but it specifically touches on topics that are intimate and otherworldly. Here you’ll find people talking about their darkest secrets, or at least talking about things that aren’t considered totally appropriate within the mainstream. Some of them are particularly fascinating, and some might make you cry.
FREQUENCY: once a month
FAVORITE EPISODES: Thank You, Princess and The Living Room
Women of the Hour – I’ve of course heard lots about Lena Dunham, but I have yet to watch Girls (it’s on my list, along with reading her book one of these days), so this podcast is the closest I’ve come to any of her work. It’s a miniseries, so it sadly won’t be on forever. She has larger episodes about big topics like friendship, body image and love, and then smaller bonus episodes in between. So far I’ve found it to be a beautiful portrait of lots of different kinds of women, with them reflecting on what it means to be a woman on many different levels. Actresses Emma Stone and June Squibb also contribute answers to advice questions from Buzzfeed on various topics.
FREQUENCY: twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 2: Body
Undisclosed – I must admit – I have to be in the right mood for this one. It’s a very fact-heavy podcast, so make sure you’re not doing anything else that requires your brain while you’re listening to this. It’s for hardcore fans of Serial: Season One. They’re deep diving into the case of Adnan Syed, covering all the facts and new material as it becomes available with the continuation of his case. If you couldn’t get enough of that story then you’re probably already listening to this.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Mondays)
The So… Let’s Hang Out Podcast – This one fills the hole in my heart that was created when the Joy the Baker Podcast stopped updating frequently. Two of my blog friends, besties Gina from So… Let’s Hang Out and Beth from Tasty Yummies, get together to talk about random stuff. Topics include Gina’s doppeldad, armpits that smell like pizza, catfishing and first dates, etc. Both Gina and Beth eat gluten-free for health reasons, so they also touch on that topic a little bit in each episode, but it’s by NO MEANS a “gluten free podcast.” It’s just all kinds of wacky and I love it.
FREQUENCY: once or twice a month
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 7: Pizza Pits & Doppeldads
OMFG! – Do you feel so out of the loop? Can’t keep up with all of the new acronyms and slang words? Deanna Raphael and Emily Foster talk to the “youth of America,” asking them to teach them their ways and help them stay hip. Think snapchat, selfies, dad bods and vine. Let’s be honest – we all probably need this show at one point or another.
FREQUENCY: weekly (Mondays)
FAVORITE EPISODE: Vibing and Vining (with Anthony Troli)
WEIRD SH*T FOR YOUR MORBID CURIOSITY
Sword and Scale – OMG. This podcast. When I discovered this show, I binged real hard. I went in deep, and that’s kind of a scary place to be. This is a documentary-style true crime podcast about some of the weirdest and most horrific crimes. The tagline of the show is that it proves that “the worst monsters are real.” Some of these episodes are really intense, so proceed with caution.
FREQUENCY: Every two weeks – a tremendous amount of work goes into each episode. They recently wrapped up season 2, so they’re currently on a break.
FAVORITE EPISODE: Episode 3 about female serial killer Belle Gunness
The Last Podcast on the Left – This one covers similar topics to Sword and Scale, but it’s hosted by 3 comedians so the tone is very different. I’m almost out of Sword and Scale episodes, so this one is going to fill that void for me. It’s an interesting contrast when they’re talking about H.H. Holmes, a terrible and disgusting killer, while also making fun of him and doing impressions of what he and the other characters in his story might have sounded like. So this one is fun, entertaining and informative.
FAVORITE EPISODES: 9/11 Parts 1-3 and H.H. Holmes Parts 1-3
What are your favorite podcasts? Please shout them out in the comments – last year’s post provided a lot of gems in the comment section. It’s not like I have much room left in my life for new podcasts, but tell me what I should be listening to!