Smoosh Life is starting a new series called The Monday Muse. Our goal is to start off your work week on an encouraging note and be your muse to have the best Monday mornings possible!
It’s Monday! While that statement may draw out disgruntled groans from most of you, I’m going to make a bold statement: The way you approach your Mondays will define how you approach the rest of the week. Although it’s the beginning of the week, it’s seen as the end — the end of fun, the end of relaxation, and the end of freedom. While that may be true in a sense, Mondays don’t have to be seen solely as the end to the weekend. On the contrary, Mondays can signal a new day, a fresh start, a new opportunity for you to put the stress of the previous week behind you and focus on making it even better than the last.
You know that saying “work hard, play hard”? (I think you know where I’m going with this.) Besides financial reasons — and to avoid going stir crazy — work provides the perfect juxtaposition to play time. I think the only reason we enjoy moments of relaxation and celebration is the fact that we worked for it — literally. Would we enjoy the weekends as much if every day were the weekend? Probably not. And regardless if we have a job we actually love or not, we should be grateful we're making an income that allows us to have days off to relax, take care of our families, or catch up with personal chores.
So, I’m proposing that we make the most of our Mondays (or whatever the first day of your week is) by changing our approach. Part of that is finding some kind of motivation to start out your day with a smile. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you snooze your alarm? Do you jump out of bed immediately? (If you do, you’re probably not human.) Or do you lay there thinking about life and everything that’s wrong with it? I will admit, I am a snoozer — though I do wake up at 3:50am every morning for work, so you’ll have to forgive me. But I realized that it’s so, so important to find something that will make your Monday mornings just that much better — even if it’s something small.
Maybe you can caff it up by visiting your favorite coffee shop and treating yourself to a nice latte or cappuccino (or just keep it black with a dash of cinnamon — like, what’s the point of having coffee if you can’t taste it?). Or, grab a baked good from your local bakery; my favorite treats are croissants — chocolate, almond, or ham and cheese. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you’re already in the second half of the week — they are their own motivations. So, it’s extra important that you try to start off Mondays on a good note because that attitude will saturate your day and inevitably continue throughout the week.
For this Monday Muse edition, I thought I’d share three podcasts I’m listening to right now that are great if you have to commute to work. Or, you could even play them while you’re getting ready in the morning. I was never really a podcast person until I had to commute an hour to L.A. every day, but they really are great for passing the time. Plus, you can fast-forward through the commercials — the dream!! So, without further ado, here are three of my favorites.
Oh, man. This is my favorite podcast of all time. It sounds insane, and you’re probably asking, “What in the world is wrong with her that her favorite podcast is about murder?” Well, let me tell you! My Favorite Murder (MFM) is a podcast for true-crime lovers who tend to approach serious or depressing topics with a sense of humor. A fairly new podcast started in 2016, MFM currently has 170 episodes and has become immensely popular in just the past couple of years, garnering followers dubbed as “murderinos.” It’s hosted by two female, L.A.-based comedians named Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, and they’re absolutely hilarious. Twice a week, Karen, who is a stand-up comedian and TV writer, and Georgia, who is a writer and host for the Cooking Channel, go into detail about crazy murders and cold cases that have occurred all over the U.S. If you have a darker sense of humor (or can appreciate it) and like crime shows, mysteries, and topics centered on the macabre, this podcast is for you.
Because Karen and Georgia are comedians, the podcast on the whole is pretty light-hearted despite the serious subject matter. What’s special about them is they’ve managed to describe these horrific circumstances with a sense of humor while simultaneously recognizing the gravity of what they’re recounting and respecting the stories of the people they’re describing. They also make you aware that crime does happen and remind you that the world isn’t the safest place, so you should always be on your guard — especially if you’re a woman. MFM gets me through all my long commutes to and from work and always gives me something to look forward to. As messed up as this sounds, my life is a bowl of ice cream compared to these stories, and MFM really makes you appreciate how boring your life is because in the end, boring = safe.
In conclusion, if you appreciate a dark sense of humor and don’t get easily offended, I highly recommend this! As they say on the show, “Stay sexy, and don’t get murdered!”
If you love food — like really, truly love food and its history — then consider making Spilled Milk your go-to. A veteran of the podcast stage, Spilled Milk has been around since 2010 and is hosted by writers/comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton. Every Thursday, they dive deep into the history of a certain food or food-related topic, divulging their knowledge on everything from pasta widths and tater tots to Pop-Tarts and enchiladas.
When I first learned about this podcast and its premise, it sounded unbelievably boring. But to my surprise (and delight), Molly and Matthew are extremely entertaining and make me laugh no matter what they’re talking about — even when I’m stuck in traffic on the 405 (which is no laughing matter). The episodes are really informative, and I always learn something new! It’s pretty light-hearted, so it’s really easy to listen to whatever the time of day is. I found that especially in the mornings, their cheery voices are really comforting without being annoying. Plus, they tend to go on hilarious tangents and bunny trails, which actually keep the episodes from becoming mundane and repetitive. Spilled Milk currently has 322 episodes, so you have plenty to choose from!
This podcast is for all those film buffs and movie lovers out there. Hosted by actor/comedian Matt Gourley, I Was There Too delves into some of history’s most classic films and TV scenes, giving you a behind-the-scenes look from the perspective of a supporting cast member. How it works is that in every episode, Matt interviews an actor who is not very well-known but was present for some of film and TV’s most iconic moments. That actor then gives their fly-on-the-wall perspective, describing their experiences (good, bad, and hilarious) and what it was like to work with some of Hollywood’s best directors and A-list actors.
Matt possesses a wealth of filmic knowledge and is a real movie nerd, so it’s fun to hear him geek out on some of the episodes, and, honestly, his excitement is pretty infectious. I love the idea behind this podcast and the fact that Matt is honoring and calling attention to the work of people who may go unnoticed or are underappreciated — especially since they aren’t exactly big names. I always, always learn something really cool about these classic movies and the film process in general.
Since these interviews are more in-depth and require a lot of coordinating, there are only 82 episodes, and it’s not an every-week thing. Plus, full disclosure, the episodes can be hit or miss, depending on the, shall we say, vivacity of the guest that week. However, most of the episodes are worth listening to, and they definitely keep me entertained on my way home from work. You have to love movies to get into this podcast, so to get a taste of what it’s like, try listening to one of my favorites: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with Steve Agee” (July 5, 2017). Give it a listen, and see if you like it!
If you have any podcast recommendations (PLEASE don’t suggest This American Life, Serial, or Revisionist History), let me know in the comments! L.A. traffic never ends, but podcasts do, so I’m always looking for new ones to explore.
Happy listening (and happy Monday!),