Being unemployed has given me the gift of extra time. What I have been doing with this time (besides applying for jobs, updating my résumé and cover letter, filing unemployment, etc.) is checking out some of the things I never had time for before. Since those of you employed readers also likely struggle to balance your time between work and life I decided this week to share about a few of the things that I have been into lately. I tried out podcasts, TV shows, and even food so you don’t have to. Below are my favs.
My Favorite Murder
It only seems appropriate to start off a list about favorite things with something that has the word “favorite”in its name. My Favorite Murder is the true crime podcast hosted by comedienne’s Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark and runaway success for independent podcast network Feral Audio. Friends have been asking me what I have been doing for fun or for myself since I was laid off. I usually get the same confused blank look when instead of saying I’ve taken up something like underwater basket weaving I respond that I’ve been really into this murder podcast. The reason I love this podcast is that I am one of many Murderinos fascinated by mysterious and often sick and twisted stories. Each week Kilgariff and Hardstark pick an intriguing murder to research and recap. Murders have included infamous ones like child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and Latina pop sensation Selena Quintanilla as well as lesser known but just as gripping ones like the “My Way” karaoke killings in the Philippines and the Zankou Chicken Murders. The podcast also includes shorter minisodes where the hosts share hometown murders submitted by their devoted listeners. However, My favorite Murder isn’t just witty banter followed by horrific happenings, Kilgariff and Hardstark also often discuss important policies and advocacy groups that came about as a result of the murders they feature and common sense safety tips for women. So if you are looking for new alluring audio to help break up your day – stay sexy, don’t get murdered, and check out this podcast!
Netflix continues to dominate the documentary game with 13th released in October of this year. This documentary explores the challenges of being African-American in the United States by examining the 13th amendment that ended slavery and resulting historic events that have led to the present day mass incarceration of African-Americans. Experts in race, economics, education, government and civil rights leaders intelligently and eloquently give viewers a hard look at the history and the policies that have continued our country’s oppression of minorities including segregation, the war on drugs, and the Clinton administration’s 1994 Violent Crime Control Act. I cannot stress the importance of this documentary enough. The information and statistics should be a wake up call to all Americans (1 in 3 African-American men can expect to go to jail). This is our history. We must acknowledge it and actively work to make things right.
Parks and Recreation
Okay I know I am late to the Leslie Knope fan girl meeting, but I have just discovered the delightfulness that is Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks and Recreation Department. NBC’s Parks and Recreation officially ended in 2015, but I just began watching it a little over a month before I was laid off after reading the star Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes Please.’ I love everything about this show. I love every character on this show. The beauty of this show is that it is several love stories that all center around one woman, the caring, neurotic, workaholic, and always optimistic protagonist Leslie Knope. This show is a love story between Leslie and her job/her community, Leslie and her best friend Ann, and of course Leslie and Ben (siggghhhhh). I recognize that I posses several Leslie-like qualities, especially when I was working, so now watching the show I wonder how she would have handled being laid off. This show has saved me in so many ways. It has been like a warm blanket always ready to comfort me, make me smile, and remind me of the value of hard work and the beauty of good breakfast food.
Arugula on Pizza
If you haven’t started adding arugula as a pizza topping stop what you are doing make plans to have this as a meal TODAY! I am obsessed. This subtly salty leafy green is the perfect complement to your pie and all around treat for your taste buds. Leave the arugula plain or lightly toss it in a vinaigrette or drizzle balsamic dressing on top once its on the pizza to add an extra burst of flavor. The result it always the same – delicious. So get over your preconceived notions of this unlikely combination (salad on pizza?) and do yourself a favor and try my new favorite flavor fad!
I should start by saying that I live in San Diego where the weather is nearly perfect and I am able walk all year round. I am also a pretty healthy individual and have no physical ailments that make walking difficult or impossible for me. I am grateful for both.
I typically try to stay pretty active. For years I have been an aspiring yogi and runner (emphasis on aspiring). However, despite having more time available to work out now that I am unemployed my activity level has definitely decreased. My energy is down and I’m often glued to my laptop applying for jobs and making strategic LinkedIn connections. Due to this I have gravitated back to one of my favorite activities – walking. I love walking! My ideal morning would be waking up, grabbing a cup of coffee, and walking for a few miles somewhere scenic while listening to a podcast (probably My Favorite Murder). Walking calms me down. It lets me zone out when I need to or focus and create a plan when I need to. There’s no pressure with walking, no competition, no right way to do it. It’s an exercise in carving out time to be with yourself outdoors, plus its free! So if you are stressed, angry, sad, bored, annoyed, or wired my advice is to make time in your day to walk it off.
Free time is a rare gift. We spend too much time waiting for free time to present itself instead of carving out a space in our busy schedules for it. Making time to go for a walk or listen to your favorite podcast is a small daily getaway everyone deserves. So do yourself a favor and take a page out of Park and Recreation’s Tom Haverford’s book and find small ways to “treat yo self!” daily and don’t feel bad about it afterwards.