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Top 5 Podcasts for Every Mood

Introducing our latest contributor, Kristin Fairweather, a Los Angeles based writer, director, and producer. Learn more about her and all our Modern Vintage Life contributors here.

Fall has finally arrived. When I lived on the east coast this meant changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and long runs on chilly mornings followed by more pumpkin spice lattes. Now that I’m a Los Angelina fall means hotter temperatures, some fallen leaves (really!), and nice crisp mornings followed by dry heat-filled scorching afternoons. Something that bridges the divide between the coasts is the feeling that fall is a new beginning; I begin thinking about what’s ahead for the year to come. If I don’t have my girlfriends around to conspire with I pop in my earbuds and cozy up with my nearest and dearest virtual friends. So whether you are up for laughing, crying, planning, goofing off or feeling academic, put on your headset and listen up. Here are my top 5 podcasts for every mood (pumpkin latte not included):

Best Podcasts

1. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert

MOOD: desperately seeking inspiration
FAVORITE EPISODES: Cheryl Strayed “Pursue Your Passions Like a Mofo” (Season 1, Ep 2); “The Thing That You Are Seeking Is Also Seeking You” (Season 1, Ep 3)

Are you stuck in a cubicle hoping for inspiration? Break free—at least virtually—from that cubicle prison and tune in to the Magic Lessons podcast! Best-selling author and all-around positive living guru Elizabeth Gilbert lends her Eat, Pray, Love zen and more to listeners. Gilbert and guest co-hosts encourage callers struggling with pursuing their creative dreams to take a leap of faith. But her advice never enters into the follow your passion at all costs zone. She remains level-headed and warm while guiding frustrated artists, singers and comedians towards reasonable ways of beginning their creative journey. If you are hunkering for the push to finish that book, take acting lessons, record that song, etc., this is the place for you. Warning: listening may incite creative rebirth and starry eyes.

2. WTF with Marc Maron

MOOD: missing your best guy friend
FAVORITE EPISODES: Julia Louis Dreyfus (Episode 700), Judd Apatow (Episode 612)

Missing that best guy friend with a gruff exterior but a heart of gold that you used to hang out with in college? Check out the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron. He waxes philosophical (late-night bar, comedian style) for the first 15 minutes or so before welcoming a guest. Maron’s interviews are conducted through the lens of someone trying to wrestle their own demons, and it is neurotic and charming and it just plain works. His authenticity has made him a top podcaster and his guest chair has hosted everyone from President Obama to Werner Herzog and everyone in between. The secret to his success is that he treats each guest with the same sense of awe and adoration. I’m always impressed by Maron’s ability to get to the heart of the artistic struggle. Even when you have by all counts “made it”, the seeking doesn’t end.

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3. On Being with Krista Tippett

MOOD: intellectual stimulation needed
FAVORITE EPISODES: Ann Hamilton, “Making, and the Spaces We Share” (Nov 2015), Elizabeth Gilbert, “Choosing Curiosity Over Fear” (July 2016)

Krista Tippett is your dream best friend: a cerebral goddess with a silky smooth voice. She brings on experts in every field for in-depth interviews and meditations on subjects as broad as life, art and mortality. Coincidentally, one of my favorite On Being episodes is when “Magic Lessons” podcaster Liz Gilbert (see #1) sits down with Tibbert. It’s as if two of your favorite, fun, brainy girlfriends invited you over for a glass of wine at sunset for great advice and laughs. Tippert has the respect of her much-revered guests such as Seth Goden, Rebecca Solnit and Frank Wilczek. If you don’t recognize these names, pull up a seat and get ready to be wowed and inspired.

4. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

MOOD: holy crap my closet is messy and my mind is cluttered too
FAVORITE EPISODES: “Stop Apologizing” (Episode 61), “Meditation….Sort Of” (Episode 53)

Are you a world-class procrastinator? Really, who isn’t when it comes to the not-so-fun stuff? If you are looking for a friendly push towards productivity turn on the “Happier” podcast and get motivated. Rubin leads each podcast along with her co-host, her sister, screenwriter Elizabeth Craft. The sisters give practical advice in bite-sized pieces. “Happier” has added new 2 minute podcasts if you need a quick jolt of encouragement. Through their actual sisterhood Rubin and Craft invite us to break the chains of our bad habits one change at a time. They are supportive, loving and encouraging without feeling false or sickly sweet. Now that’s sisterhood.

5. Dear Sugar

MOOD: In need of advice and coffee talk with your smartest, coolest friends
FAVORITE EPISODES: Tale of The Wicked Stepmother (March 2016), The Wounded Child Within (May 2015)

Hankering for sound advice in he said/she said form? “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed and her co-host Steve Almond update the “Dear Abby” format for the Sex and the City generation. Strayed’s approachable style and Almond’s steady calm make a perfect combination. The duo answer listener questions that deal with some of life’s stickiest situations: infidelity, heartbreak, divorce, and self-abuse. What sets “Dear Sugar” apart is the open-minded nature of both hosts. In today’s social climate it’s almost an act of rebellion to be so understanding to listeners as they lay their souls bare. The best recent example of this is their handling of a stepmom who admitted she lacked affection for her stepkids. In a podcast opener that could have launched a thousand virtual pitchforks, the hosts turn convention on its head by lending the writer something revolutionary: compassion.

Got any favorite podcasts to share?

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2 Comments

  • Reply Zara

    Hi Kristin

    These are some really great suggestions. I can’t wait to get checking them out.

    October 7, 2016 at 6:54 am
  • Reply Bec

    My Favorite Murder with Georgia Hardstark & Karen Kilgarif. I love listening to those two women & Elvis the Siamese kitty.

    October 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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