5 Free Super Awesome Podcasts

5 Free Super Awesome Podcasts

5 Free Super Awesome Podcasts

I’ve been an NPR junkie for years. Since the end of my college days, actually. I’d listen every time I was in my car. Once I finally broke down and bought an iPod in 2008, I discovered podcasts, and I could finally listen to every single episode of my favorite NPR shows any time I wanted. And they all fit in my pocket and were completely free. If you love listening to smart or cool people talk, you’re probably already into podcasts, and if you’re not, you’ve got to get into it. They’re the ideal way to stay entertained and informed while working in your cubicle, while you’re on a road trip, or while working around your house. And did I mention, they’re absolutely free? Yeah, that’s super awesome. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Joy the Baker

If you’re a food blogger, or even if you’re just a human with a sense of humor, you need to subscribe to the Joy the Baker Podcast. It’s the only non-NPR production to make my cut. It’s co-hosted by Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker, and Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean. It’s basically two best friends getting together to talk about “totally important unimportant things,” like food, blogging, boyfriends, cats, hot dogs, Google auto-fill, and cutting yourself out of your underwear. It’s real life, and it’s hilarious. 

2. Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour is an NPR Podcast, but not an NPR show. You can’t hear it on the radio, but you definitely shouldn’t miss it. It’s four witty and wonderful NPR writers and sometimes hosts chatting about their opinions on all things pop culture including books, TV, movies, video games, comics, podcasts, and theater. If the PCHH crew says a movie is good, I’ll usually go see it. I’ve also been caught bursting out into raucous laughter while listening to this at work, and with segments like “Regrettable Television Pop Quiz,” how could you not? I’ve also been moved to tears from time to time by the discussions on this show. I won’t miss it.

3. The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table is hosted by the fabulous Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and this lady knows everything ever about food. This is usually a weekend show, so it’s not always easy to catch on the radio, but if you subscribe to the Podcast, it’s there waiting for you. There’s a mixture of interviews with chefs, in-depth food news, and call-ins from listeners. The highlight of every year is the live Thanksgiving call-in show where people can call in with their Thanksgiving emergencies. Lynn has a fix for everything. If you’re a foodie, you must listen to The Splendid Table.

4. The TED Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour combines excerpts from TED talks and interviews with speakers to focus in-depth on a given topic each week. I absolutely love listening to smart people share ideas about how to make the world a better place. I am constantly amazed when I listen to this podcast. It gives me so much to think about without having to sit in front of my computer watching a 20 minute YouTube video. Nerds rule!

5. This American Life

Saving the best for last, This American Life will blow your mind. Sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, always poignant, this show is a hipster nerd’s dream come true. With contributors like David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, and Mike Birbiglia, the content on this show is always diverse, and deeply human. The host, Ira Glass, is basically as cool as a human can be, in my opinion. I never miss an episode of This American Life, and I’m never disappointed.

If you have an iPhone, you can subscribe and listen with the built in app in your phone. If you have an Android phone, I recommend Podkicker, which is free. If you have none of these, you can subscribe to all of these, and many more podcasts through iTunes on your computer. And in case I haven’t already said it a hundred times, they’re completely free. It’s just too awesome!

Did your favorite podcasts make the list? What do I absolutely have to check out right this minute?

Go grow your brain, have a laugh, and make your day a million times better. 

Awesome in April

The hibiscus lady at the KCC Farmer's Market is super awesome!
The hibiscus lady at the KCC Farmer’s Market is super awesome!

April has come and gone and we’ve reached the end of our first full month of Awesome on $20. No idea how that happened. I’m so thrilled that a few people have found their way here. Isn’t the internet crazy? Indeed.

Here’s the awesomest stuff April offered up. Let’s do this every month! And let’s invent new words.


Awesomest Way to Get Funny Looks at Work

My new obsession is the Joy the Baker Podcast. I’m honestly a little sad that this has been happening for two years without me. Luckily, when you subscribe on iTunes, you can get every episode, and then listen to two a day at work. There’s a strong chance you’ll burst out laughing while everyone is quietly clicking away in their cubicle, then everybody will look at you like you’re a freak. It’s okay. They don’t even know how awesome you are.

Joy and her sidekick Tracy of Shutterbean chat endlessly about “totally important unimportant things.” Sometimes they even talk about food and blogging. It’s reassuring, as a new blogger, to know that people as successful as these two once felt a bit insecure as well. I’m totally normal. Yeah, I’m totally not normal. Joy the Baker podcast. Get it. Laugh much too loudly. You won’t regret it.

The Steeldrivers

Awesomest Band You Never Skip When Your iPod Is on Shuffle

Do people even have iPods anymore? I’ve been using the same one since 2008, and I don’t think I’ve ever skipped over a Steeldrivers song. I’m always in the mood for their perfect brand of contemporary bluegrass. Alas, they lost their lead singer and songwriter, Chris Stapleton, a few years ago. I haven’t heard any of their recent stuff with the new singer, but that doesn’t stop me from singing bad harmony while driving my moped down busy streets. Their first two albums, plus “Live from The Station Inn” will always be worth listening to.

If you have Adele’s 21, and who doesn’t, then you already know one of my favorite Steeldrivers songs, “If It Hadn’t Been for Love.” I adore everything Adele does, but you really have to check out the original version. This song has a fiddle solo that just rips my heart out. Even if you think bluegrass isn’t your thing, I urge you to check out this band and have your mind thoroughly blown.

photo and recipe by Tracy of Shutterbean.com
photo and recipe by Tracy of Shutterbean.com

Awesomest Thing I’m Super Excited to Make

Whilst obsessively listening to the Joy the Baker podcast, I heard Tracy of Shutterbean talking about making her own amaretto. I immediately gasped (cue weird glances) and dropped everything to pin the recipe from her site. A few weeks ago I wanted to make a cocktail that called for amaretto, and the cheapest bottle at my grocery store was $25. What? I’m not paying that. When I looked at her recipe, I realized I already had everything except the vodka. How are we out of vodka? That needs to stop. I’m so psyched to try this out. I promise to let you know how it goes.

Clockwise from the top: pulled pork grilled cheese; pulled pork sandwich with smoky bbq beans and spicy mac and cheese, both from Tin Hut BBQ; mini sampler from Dolcita
Clockwise from the top: pulled pork grilled cheese; pulled pork sandwich with smoky bbq beans and spicy mac and cheese, both from Tin Hut BBQ; mini sampler from Dolcita

Awesomest Opportunity to Stuff Your Face in Honolulu

Since before I moved here, I’ve been saying I wanted to check out Eat the Street. That was a year and a half ago, and I finally went for the first time last week. Eat the Street is a monthly gathering of food trucks in Kaka’ako. They have around forty vendors, including beer and wine. There’s music and entertainment, and it’s all outside under the stars (depending on what time you get there, I suppose). Every month there’s a theme, and each truck creates a special dish for the event. April’s theme was bacon. How could I stay at home?

Next month is garlic Eat the Street. It happens the 4th Friday of every month. You don’t want to miss it. I don’t think I’ll miss out ever again. If you live in town, or you’re visiting my island, look for me. I’ll be near the cupcakes eventually.

What was the awesomest thing in your life in April?

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