Category Archives: Favorites

Podcast Paradise Part Two

Last week, I shared some favorite podcasts for writers. Here are a few more podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately that, while not specifically geared toward writers, have given me tasty food for thought while I burn calories. Enjoy, and please share your own favorites!

  • The Minimalists Podcast. You might have seen their documentary Minimalism, a Documentary about the Important Things, recently released on Netflicks. Former corporate strivers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus ramble on (and on and on) about their conversion to a minimalist lifestyle. Their podcasts often run over an hour, but I find these two young guys (both thirty-five) amusing and inspiring in their search for a more intentional life, which is my number one goal as well. Good stuff—I highly recommend this one.
  • The RobCast. I dipped my toes into this podcast because The Minimalists praised his podcast so highly. So far, I’ve been delighted with Bell’s non-preachy exploration of the good life and spirituality.
  • Optimal Living Daily. These are quickies, mostly ten minutes or less. Pleasant-voiced narrator Justin Malik reads the best blogs on personal growth. How cool is that? Think of the time it would take you to find and read all these blogs. Excellent idea.
  • Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. I looooved his interview with Carol Burnett, and look forward to more.
  • 2 Boomer Broads: Life, Love, Laughs, and Unsolicited Advice. Giggly fun as Dr. Sharone Rosen (chiropractor) and Rebecca Forstadt-Okolski (health blogger) chat about issues facing women over 50. Warning: one of these ladies, a voice-over actress, has a squeaky voice, something I normally abhor. However, their chats are so entertaining I find it easy to overlook it in this case.
  • 10% Happier with Dan Harris. The author of a book by the same name, journalist Dan Harris interviews high achievers in many fields to discover whether one can be both successful and enlightened. Very thought-provoking.
  • Revisionist History. I love this one! Malcolm Gladwell, author and deep thinker, offers ten episodes from 2016 in which he takes a different view on issues ranging from education to food to the Vietnam War. Fascinating.
  • Call Your Girlfriend. While I reject, spit upon, and trample the idea that a mature woman like me must keep up with the latest trends in order to stay “relevant,” I do find it interesting to see what thoughtful younger people are up to. Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, two young BFFs who live on opposite coasts, discuss current events both serious and frivolous. Very enjoyable.

A Few of My Favorite Things

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”

                                                                –Iris Murdoch


Coffee with creamer
and Triscuits with cheddar
bright belly dancers
and big Zumba classes…

Oh dear, that doesn’t rhyme at all.

Years ago, I read Sophia Loren’s 1979 autobiography Sophia: Living and Loving: Her Own Story. (I can’t wait to read her newest memoir, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life.) In the former book, Sophia gave this bit of advice: Always combine a chore you dislike with something you enjoy. I believe she used the example of listening to your favorite music while ironing. Imagine that—Sophia Loren ironing! In any case, that’s very sage advice, and I forget it all too often.
It’s funny how seldom I take the time to remember my favorite things. Is that true for you too? I find myself schlumping through my ordinary routine wearing ordinary clothes and thinking ordinary thoughts. It only takes a few simple treats to light up my day, but far too often I forget to include these small treats.

And so, for the record, here is a list of things that bring me joy. Henceforth, I resolve to do at least one of these every day. If I can manage to do five items from the list, I shall paste a gold star upon my calendar. (I like to start resolutions with “Henceforth”—makes it sound very official.)
• Listening to my favorite music: samba, blues, jazz
• Belly dancing
• Lighting a scented candle that smells of pine, or orange
• Attending a live music performance
• Zumba class
• A good workout at the gym
• Reading a cookbook or cooking magazine while eating breakfast or lunch. Weird, huh?
• Reading a girly magazine in the bathtub
• Plopping down on the couch with a good book in the middle of the day
• Going out for coffee—with a friend or by myself
• Taking a walk through the park, or along the waterfront, or just through the neighborhood
• Belting out jazz standards. No one will ever pay to hear me sing; nevertheless, there’s something so satisfying about a classic like “Come Rain or Come Shine.”
• Petting a friendly dog or cat—or horse, or sheep, or… Animals always lift my mood.
• Wearing something fancy. I have some lovely, sparkly jewelry, some artistic clothing, but I tend to reach for the same old jeans and sweaters over and over again.
• Making soup
• Strolling through antique shops and other funky emporiums. I seldom buy anything, but I enjoy browsing.
• Going to the library. So many books, and all free!
• Visiting an art museum or gallery
• Visiting a book store
• And of course, spending some—ahem—“quality time” with my beloved.

Let there be treats! What are your favorite small treats?