April 27, 2016

podcasts | reading my tea leaves
I was marooned in a café recently, minding my own business, when a couple of bros sat behind me and began to wax expert on some kind of startup that at least one of them was very passionate about. There was a lot of dude-ing involved. I don’t know what exactly they were talking about but I do know that they were talking very loudly and that I was des-per-ate for it to stop. And desperate for anything else to drown out the noise. 

Enduring their conversation did have the happy benefit of reminding me that I’ve been wanting to share a few favorite podcasts where I get to listen to women wax expert, or, be experts, or interview experts. Or just be generally funny.

Unless I’m doing something with my hands, or editing photos, I can’t work very well while listening to podcasts, but when I am doing those things, podcasts make working by myself so much less boring. In case the same is true for you, here’s a little list of podcasts that I’ve been listening to lately. (I promise this isn’t my not-very-covert way of getting you to listen to podcasts that have had me as guests. It’s just that I’ve had the total pleasure of getting to make a few guest appearances on the shows of badass women this year.)

2 Dope Queens: I snarf a minimum of five times per podcast. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are hilarious (and smart and touching) in this hysterical podcast where they riff on race and love and New York City among other things. They bring on comedian friends to do a bit for each podcast. It’s short and funny and so good. PSA: It’s not for the delicate of spirit, so if you’re not comfortable with a bit of adult language every now and then, this might not be the right fit for you. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Call Your Girlfriend: I don’t know why it took me so long to really get into this podcast from Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, but I’m so glad that I finally started listening more regularly. I loved this episode with Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. It’s so refreshing to hear a fellow blogger speak candidly about the work of her work (if you know what I mean). Also this one on periods, because obviously. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Why Do We Have Things: Rita Mehta, who runs the American Edit, started this podcast with Erin Husted of Hackwith Design House at the beginning of this year. The podcast is a series of conversations with independent designers, artists, and small business owners (and your occasional book-writing blogger;)) about what they do and why they do it. Thoughtful conversations on creative process, product design, ethical businesses, and…stuff! My favorite topic of all. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

A Few Things With Claire and Erica: I’ve mentioned here before how much I love the weekly newsletter from Of A Kind founders, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo. Their podcast is like a deep-dive into a few of the things they mention there, with the added bonus of getting to listen to the two of them finish each other’s sentences. It’s fun and funny and I learn something new every time I tune in. (Subscribe in iTunes.)

That’s So Retrograde: When I was out in LA, I chatted away with Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari on their very-California-in-the-best-possible-way podcast. I especially liked their latest episode on zero-waste. (Also def comes with a parental advisory; you’ve been warned, kids.) (Subscribe in iTunes.)

Please, oh please, share your favorites below.

PS. More on some of this podcast-y stuff going into my May newsletter this weekend (along with an announcement about a special NYC event next week!). Sign up below in case you haven’t already.

PPS. For more really great podcast recs, follow my friend Camille Storch (@WaywardSpark) on instagram. She’s a podcast-listening champ. Also, semi-relatedly, she’s a purveyor of amazing raw honey. Save the bees, buy honey.

(Update: Thank you for all of the great Recommendations! Camille also just pointed out this amazing list of 111 women-hosted podcasts! Boom!)

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  • Reply Laura | Sea Salt & Cervantes April 27, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Yes, yes, and YES to your first paragraph. I’ve had to endure just those sorts of conversations at coffee shops and they’ve been brutal. Thanks for sharing this list, I’ll check these out. I would add the Guys We F*&#ed pdocast — it’s very NSFW, but it has two female stand-up comedian cohosts who are just amazing.

  • Reply Sophia April 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I’m so glad you included 2 Dope Queens on this list of 5!

  • Reply Anna April 27, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Great suggestions! I am hooked on Serial and the Modern Love podcast based on the NYTimes column. It is fantastic! I also love Radiolab which is science-y and fascinating, and the Moth is full of hilarious stories.

  • Reply Jessie April 27, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Oh man, I have so many favorite podcasts! I actually have a whole blog dedicated to them. I’m loving 2 Dope Queens so far, and Call Your Girlfriend + A Few Things are a couple of my longtime favorites. If you like those, you might also like Cavern of Secrets (interviews with extraordinary women), Pardon My French (Garance Dore’s new show!), The Riveters Podcast (candid chats with superstars like Patricia Arquette and Sen. Tammy Baldwin), and She Does (conversations with creative women, plus really amazing music). They’re all incredible shows featuring badass women.

  • Reply Brid April 27, 2016 at 8:59 am

    I love Stuff you Missed in History Class, and Stuff Mom Never Told You. My radar for the things that go on around me has definitely been honed by the latter, and I can’t count how many times I’ve found information from these podcasts to be useful and interesting in conversations.

  • Reply Alie April 27, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for the suggestions! I like Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and The Longest Shortest Time!

  • Reply Sarah Z April 27, 2016 at 9:10 am

    For the new parents, The Longest Shortest Time is so great. Got me through many long nights sitting awake nursing, wondering if all the new parenting experiences were normal.

  • Reply Katie April 27, 2016 at 9:17 am

    I LOVE podcasts and have been listening to some of the above already. One you simply HAVE to try is Stuff You Should Know! It’s run by these two men called Chuck and Josh (who are really funny and I often find myself giggling on my own!) and delves really deep into really REALLY interesting and incredibly varied topics. I couldn’t reccomend it highly enough and I always have something new and interesting to talk about when I see friends – it’s opened my eyes up to a LOT of new things I had no idea about before.

    The best one so far was about how HIV/AIDS works…it was absolutely fascinating.

    Katie. xx

  • Reply Jen April 27, 2016 at 9:26 am

    On Being with Krista Tippett is absolutely wonderful. Serious, usually tough topics presented as graceful conversations.

    • Reply Emily April 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

      It is so good! She’s a great interviewer.

  • Reply Nicole T April 27, 2016 at 9:29 am

    These are some of my faves! About 1 year ago when I started listening to CYG I decided to go lady-only on my podcast list and it has been amazing and transformative. I get enough bro-ing from other media and love just listening to ladies rock the ‘cast and be so great. I would add to your list: Death, Sex, Money, SRSLY and Lady to Lady.

  • Reply ladylyn April 27, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I am brand new to the podcast scene, but I love Kate from A Playful Day’s podcast! I look forward to checking these out!

  • Reply Whitney April 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Death, Sex, Money is my favorite at the moment!

  • Reply Haven April 27, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I highly recommend “Another Round” with Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton. You can get a taste of them coming up, as I think they did an episode with Aminatou and Ann that’ll air soon.

  • Reply Jakki April 27, 2016 at 10:26 am

    The Lively Show with Jess Lively is one of my very favorite podcasts. She interviews some amazing people with great stories and insight (Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert being among her guests!), and I always take away a lot about life, self-worth and business.

  • Reply hmbalison April 27, 2016 at 10:30 am

    One of the funniest that I listen to is Satellite Sisters–5 real sisters who focus on news, talk and laughs. It’s light and funny and if you have sisters or siblings–it’s just fun.

  • Reply Emily April 27, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I just started listening to Sampler (on Gimlet) and it’s a great one! It’s a podcast about podcasts, but they have other media or podcast people on to interview and talk about podcasts with. I first listened to episode 6 (We slay) and very much recommend it! The most recent episode, 12, was a good conversation starter in our house. It talked about food, race, and class in a thoughtful way. We have a small tea company importing organic & fair trade tea from China, and I can’t tell you how many people (to our faces, not to mention online!) tell us a) nothing good comes from China and/or b) our tea couldn’t possibly be organic because no one can trust Chinese people. The discussion on the podcast about how Americans perceive food from different countries and cultures was a good perspective on the problem.
    Sorry to go on about it! But, it’s pretty great when a podcast can lead to good, important discussions at home!

    • Reply Katie April 28, 2016 at 6:19 am

      YES! I lived in China for two years and since I’ve been back in the states I’m surprised and yet unsurprised by people’s comments, biases and ignorance. Thanks for the podcast recc!

      Also, I have to ask- what is your company? It sounds fabulous!!

      • Reply Emily May 1, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        It’s called Little Red Cup Tea, and thank you!! My husband’s family started it out of a love for China, they’ve lived there off and on for years, and it’s a fun way to keep a strong connection to the country!

  • Reply Rae April 27, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I love love LOVE That’s So Retrograde. I’ll have to check out the others you mentioned – thank you!

  • Reply Sam April 27, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I’m a podcast fiend – I’ve been holding out on 2 Dope Queens because I listen to so many but now I’m pulling the trigger! Death Sex & Money, the Longest Shortest Time and Fresh Air are my favorites. I love Serial and This American Life (of course.) Not for everyone but I also love Criminal -true crime profiles – and Reply All – stories about internet oddities. The Moth, StoryCorps, Modern Love all make me cry about once week.

  • Reply rose April 27, 2016 at 11:40 am

    I love all of these suggestions. And I would add – Good Muslim Bad Muslim, which is awesome, informative, and funny and hosted by two Muslim American women.

  • Reply Rona April 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I haven’t listened to any of these recommendations, but am excited to give them a try! I’m a regular listener of Serial, Savage Lovecast (not for the delicate of heart), The Urbanist (by Monocle Radio), Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean and Mortified. Also, amen to needing something to keep your hands busy whilst listening!

  • Reply amanda April 27, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Aren’t podcasts just the very best? As long as podcasts are around, I will never complain about my urban commute.

    I won’t repeat others mentioned before, but here are a few I really enjoy listening to regularly. The Longform podcast is a dream — it’s all lengthy interviews with writers of all kinds. I really recommend beginning with Cheryl Strayed. Ira Glass’s interview is revelatory as well. I’m a giant fan of Criminal, which is a short podcast about different crimes, some more traditional, while others very unexpected. “Final Exit,” about a woman who works as an exit guide for those who want to peacefully end their life, is one of my favorites. For foodies out there, Food52’s podcast, Burnt Toast, is actually quite enjoyable, and has lovely interviews with food icons and conversations about food culture.

  • Reply simone April 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Seconding the recommendation for Another Round! It it THE BEST. And the first podcast I was ever compelled to listen to every single previous episode. They make me feel like I’m not the only one who _______ (fill in the blank with literally anything).

  • Reply Stacy April 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    My absolute favorite is The Lively Show by Jess Lively. She’s such an inspiration. Also, equally obsessed with A Few Things with Claire & Erica!

  • Reply rosalinda April 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    “The Black Tapes” and “Anna Faris is Unqualified”. Oooh and “Dear Sugar Radio” for its candid conversations on all things love and relationships.

  • Reply Mary April 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Try the Popcast for laugh out loud discussion on pop culture! I can’t wait for the weekly episodes. Knox and Jamie deliver all the latest in a great format. I highly recommend.

  • Reply Tamara April 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I NEVER listen to podcasts but I am a West Wing superfan and am LOVING “The West Wing Weekly” podcast. It’s really excellent. Anyone who loves the show should check it out!

  • Reply Jamie S April 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    The well/aware show is wonderful– it’s interviews with awesome people in the wellness community, many of them in NYC.

  • Reply paula April 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Strangers! I LOVE Lea Thau. There is just something really special, almost spiritual, about the community she builds around listening and radical empathy for strangers.

  • Reply Wendi April 27, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Hope Writers, At Home, and Stuff You Missed In History Class are my essentials! I just got into podcasts and seriously can’t get enough of them.

  • Reply Libby April 27, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I love you for this WHOLE post! Podcasts are my jam. So happy that many of these are on my list but some arent so I can’t wait to check them out.
    I really like listening to Jess Lively’s podcast but it can get a little woo-woo. I am fine with it though because it balances out well with the ranting that comes with The Read and 2 Dope Queens.

  • Reply Erin April 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Yesssss, we listen to so many of the same podcasts! You might also love Another Round (which I see a couple other people recommended above) – those two babes are sharp and hilarious.

  • Reply Stephanie April 27, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I can’t wait to listen to some of these podcasts!

    For being able to think straight amidst loud conversations, I LOVE my Noisli app. It is a white noise generator that lets you mix various sounds to find one you like and one that blocks out a particular noise (or voice). You get to add a little more campfire crackle and wind if required. I find ocean waves work really well for loud male voices. It makes an otherwise frustrating situation kind of fun.

  • Reply Tim April 28, 2016 at 12:03 am

    My favorites are: Lore, Criminal, and Radiolab

  • Reply Amber April 28, 2016 at 1:22 am

    “This American Life” is amazing. Also Chris Gethard’s “Beautiful Stories By Anonymous People”. Have laughed and cried at both!

  • Reply Brenda April 28, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Always looking for new podcast. I enjoy Dear Sugars and Serial podcasts.

  • Reply Caitlin D April 28, 2016 at 9:15 am

    My podcasts are always kind of niche, but: Hardcore History. Dan Carlin makes history come alive in the most riveting and empathetic way. No two dimensional characters, no names and dates. Second, Woolful is “a podcast for fiber folk” and filled with intimate and inspiring interviews with business women, makers and doers in that realm of the craft world. Even if you don’t craft, you’ll definitely relate to childhood stories, and their discussions on of entrepreneurship, work/life balance, and more,

  • Reply Erin April 28, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Awesome. I’ve been interested in 2 Dope Queens since I heard their commercial on NPR about 30 times on the NJTP last week. 🙂

  • Reply Cordelia April 28, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I do quite a bit of driving between three states these days, the only thing I listen to is podcasts! Thank you for your suggestions!
    Here are a few I have loved: 10% Happier with Dan Harris (all about the “why” of meditation) TED Radio Hour (because it is a really easy way to recap amazing TED talks) Invisibilia (about the invisible forces that shape human behavior, ideas, beliefs, assumptions and thoughts.) How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black (in-depth interviews).

  • Reply Nicole Krensky April 28, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Erin! Two of my amazing female classmates in my MBA program at MIT Sloan started a podcast called “The Business of Being Awesome,” which is all about finding meaning in your work and unconventional career paths. It’s pretty fantastic!


  • Reply Brooke April 29, 2016 at 10:49 am

    That’s So Retrograde was the first podcast I’d ever listened to and I LOVE IT SO MUCH! And it’s how I found your lovely blog! (:

  • Reply Allyson April 29, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Radio Cherry Bombe! The best podcast if you’re interested in food and/or badassladybosses

  • Reply Sara D April 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Death Sex and Money is one of my faves not mentioned already. I also like The Brain Candy Podcast which is hosted by Sarah Rice and Susie Meister of MTV fame-they’re very smart and talk about all kinds of stuff-pop culture, science, women’s issues, etc-and they have a great cadence. I write reviews at audiblefeast.com if you want to check out more of what I like (and don’t like)-I give recommendations like “if you like Criminal, you might like Sword and Scale, FBI Retired Case File Review, Detective, etc.”

    • Reply Erin Boyle April 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Death, Sex, and Money is a huge favorite here, too! Have mentioned so many times in the recent past that I left it off this list, but HUGE fan! Glad to see your site!

  • Reply Bea April 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Yes! Thank you so much for this list, the one I’ve listened to is Call Your Girlfriend. I really needed some more women-centric podcasts. I went on a road trip last weekend, and in preparation I downloaded a ton of new-to-me podcasts recommended by the internet. It wasn’t until like five hours into the drive that I was like, wait, why am I not enjoying this? And then I realized it was because every. single. one. was dudes!!!!

    My favorite podcast hosted by women is “Stuff you Missed in History Class,” if your’e looking for another one to check out!

  • Reply Michelle April 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    There’s an endless supply of fascinating stuff in the archives of BBC’s In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, as well as public radio’s Radiotimes. They’re really conversation and full of variety.

    • Reply Michelle April 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      I should add – these are podcasts hosted by men, but with a variety of experts of various genders, on topics that include historical and current figures, writers, scientists, artists, musicians, and thinkers of all genders. I especially am looking forward to In Our Time’s show on Agrippina the Younger: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b074yzwk

  • Reply Julie April 30, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Stuff You Missed in History Class and everything else on How Stuff Works’ app!

  • Reply Hilary May 1, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Love all these recommendations coming through the comments! There are so many great podcasts out there and I’m now inspired more than ever to check them out.

    I host a podcast as well… it’s a series of conversations with creative women about life, work, artistry, style and more. The first part to each podcast episode is a style profile of their home and lifestyle which I share on my blog, http://www.ourstylestories.com. Here’s the link to my podcast:


    Anyone ever listened to it?

  • Reply Kate LS May 1, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I recommend The Dinner Party Download, which I’ve been listening to for years and years. It’s light and funny. Also enjoyed Gimlet’s The Mystery Show and looking forward to a new season of Invisibilia.
    Right now listening to all the Personality Hacker episodes about my personality type.

  • Reply Laura May 3, 2016 at 4:51 am

    thanks for the list! always after good podcasts.
    listened to call your girl friend – smitten kitchen. felt inspired and made this: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/06/valeries-french-chocolate-cake/ – it was amazing – highly recommended served with creme fraiche and blueberries.
    Also loved Why do We Have Things – the episode with STILL

    PS – my sister ordered me “Simple Matters” for my birthday! Cant wait to read it! 🙂

  • Reply Eva May 6, 2016 at 12:17 am

    I listen to way too much Thinking Sideways on laundry day. It’s about unsolved mysteries old and new, and the three hosts (2 dudes, one girl) do all the research. All you have to do is fold fold fold while they run through their theories.

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