For 2.5 years I was a regular cohost on the popular girlfriend chat podcast Sorta Awesome. The show is created and hosted by my longtime dear friend (we’ve been close since I was a sophomore in high school) Meg Tietz and when she asked me to be one of the rotating cohosts, I couldn’t say YES fast enough, even though I had zero experience in audio or in cohosting anything.
When Sorta Awesome launched in the spring of 2015, podcasts were just beginning to boom in a post-Serial world, but they weren’t quite to the point of explosion that they are right now. We got in at the right time, is what I’m saying. Pretty quickly Meg built up a loyal and enthusiastic community around the show, and it was trial by fire as we figured out how to make an hours worth of compelling listening each week.
A year in, Meg and I started Smartest Person in the Room as a side project for all the topics and guests I wanted to cover that didn’t fit in the Sorta Awesome format. By the end of 2017, I realized I wanted to be writing more and juggling two podcasts was just too much. I stepped away from a regular role on Sorta Awesome, but still like to pop in from time to time when Meg will let me.
Sorta Awesome is a good mix of funny and thoughtful, and behind the mic I’ve said some supremely stupid stuff and started some conversations I remain really proud of. For posterity’s sake, I wanted to make a list of MY favorite episodes of the Sorta Awesome.
Here they are, in order:
The Truth About Anxiety, Episode 26
This episode marked the first time I’d ever spoken about my anxiety so publicly to a large audience. We were only 6 months into podcast creation, so when I listen back now there are some things I would have said and done a bit differently, but this is still the most topic Meg and I ever discussed together on the show. The opening 15 minutes is the infamous face-shaving segment, where I reveal without shame that I shave my face, at home, with a razor.
10 Friends Every Woman Needs, Episode 54
Not long into making this show for (primarily) women, we realized that a lot of people have complicated feeling about adult female friendship. This manifests in a dozen ways: loneliness, friendship breakups, social media (and podcasts!) becoming a stand-in for real relationship, etc., etc. But finding and navigating friends was a topic we came back to again and again on Sorta Awesome. Meg and I recorded this episode in person when I was visiting Oklahoma, so it was an especially delightful experience. We each brought five types of friends to the table, and it was funny and true, and I still think about some of the things Meg said during this one.
Unpopular Opinions, Episode 56
Groups shows were all three cohosts + Meg are together are my very favorites episodes to make and to listen to, and in this one we laugh so hard and for so long that Meg had to heavily edit out our guffaws. This episode can still make me laugh just thinking about it.
Grill It, Girls! Episode 58
Admittedly, this episode may be special only to me. A few years ago, I got really into grilling (I’m still pretty passionate about it), and it irks me to no end to see women be afraid of the outdoor grill or think that it’s a man’s territory. Men have perpetuated this fraud, because the secret is that grilling is SO MUCH EASIER than cooking or baking or any of the other ways people prepare food. Grilling is easy, quick, and tasty, and my goal of this episode was to convince women to fire up their grill. We have tips and recipes and just general encouragement to take back the grill!
How To Host an Awesome Party, Episode 18
Again, this was an early episode, and let’s just say that I got better with time. However, the tips still stand and I love talking about low-stress hostessing.
The Truth About Anxiety Part II, Episode 101
This was an obvious revisitation of the first anxiety episode, but instead of explaining what our anxiety feels like, Meg and I talk about our various coping mechanisms and answer a few listener questions.
Love, Marriage, and Natural Disasters, Episode 64
This is the type of episode that spawned the crux of this very blog: telling your girlfriends some of your deepest heart stuff. Meg and I share about our first loves and our marriages on this one, and it was both funny and nostalgic.
S-Town Thoughts and Theories, Extra Awesome after Episode 96
This is not an evergreen episode and will be relevant to only a certain niche, but on this bonus show Meg and I discuss the amazing podcast series S-Town. We recorded this just days after the show had premiered and we’d both binged it immediately and had lots of emotions we needed to process about John B. McLemore. I’m putting it on this list even though it’s not the type of show people will go back and listen to (unless you’ve never listened to S-town, in which case stop what you’re doing right now and go download every episode), but because this is one particular type of episode that I love to listen to. Whenever I’m done with a great movie or book or podcast, listening to other people dissect it on a podcast is sometimes even better than talking it through with people in real life.
We Don’t Know What We’re Doing, Episode 113
This show was the beginning of stepping away from Sorta Awesome, but neither Meg nor I knew it at the time. This was the most honest and most unscripted episode I made on Sorta Awesome. Meg and I were both feeling a little overwhelmed and lost in our work at the time, and we decided to record ourselves discussing what was and wasn’t working. Some listeners said later that when they heard that episode, they knew I would be stepping away from Sorta Awesome, and that Sorta Awesome would take a bit of a direction change, but they seemed to have an instinct for it before Meg and I did! I loved this truthful conversation with an old friend and collaborator.
The Original Friendship Show, Episode 14
Fun fact, I got so emotional recording this show that I cried through a whole segment that Meg ultimately left on the cutting room floor. (And it wasn’t happy tears.) I was actually going through a friendship breakup at the time, which might not have been the most opportune moment to record an in-depth reflection on friendship. The parts that we did leave in covered our struggles and successes with adult friendship, including my early years of loneliness in Los Angeles that I’ve blogged about extensively. I keep sharing this story (and how I pulled myself out of it) because I keep encountering awesome, fun, life-giving women who are without much female friendship.
Sorta Awesome is a great show that has offered hundreds of hours of entertaining and interesting listening in the last few years. I fully support what Meg, Kelly, and Rebekah are doing each Friday and within their communities. You can listen to Sorta Awesome in your favorite podcast app, follow them on facebook and instagram, and support their work here.