My Top 10 Reads of 2022

Well, top 20 since I’m giving you fiction AND non-fiction. I am such a giver, I know.


Jackal by Erin E. Adams *Thriller, Horror REVIEW

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz *Thriller, Suspense

Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink *Horror

What Jonah Knew by Barbara Graham *Thriller, Suspense

Yours Truly by Abby Jiminez *Romance, RomCom

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher *Horror

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox *Thriller

The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis *Romance, RomCom

Nightcrawling by Leila Motley *Thriller

Sundial by Catriona Ward *Horror


Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod *Memoir, Race, Pop-culture

The Rage of Innocence by Kristin Henning *Race, Politics, Education

How to be Perfect by Michael Schur *Philosophy, Ethics, Pop-culture

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy *Memoir, Pop-culture

Before We Were Trans by Kit Heyam *Trans rights/history, LGBTQIA+

Finding My Voice by Emerald Garner *Memoir, Race, Politics, Education

Lady Secrets by The Lady Gang *Memoir, Pop-culture

Unraveling by Brandon Leake *Poetry

Who Do I Think I Am? by Anjelah Johnson-Reyes *Memoir, Humor

Unmasked by Paul Holes *True Crime

Did any of these make your list? Have something different on your favs of the year? Let me know what in the comments, I’ll add it to my tbr list! Happy holidays!


Anxiety Over Idiots

Anyone else have anxiety about other people? Probably. That’s like a huge part of it, right? And I’m probably not special in how mine seems to reach so much further than seems normal, but in standard anxiety form I *feel* like I am special because anxiety *chose* me. #swoon

Anyway, I just wanted to talk about this teensy little thing that causes my heart rate to go 30 miles over the limit: other people and their problems. I know, it says it right there, it’s their problem. I know this but my anxious side is like, “Ok BUT, what if it IS your problem? PLUS, you have all the answers, so it seems a little selfish to not share them with those who need it most???” And that makes sense to me.

I talked to my therapist about it and read a self-help book about it and both said to focus on myself and my problems and not those of others. It will be uncomfortable, but let it be. It will get easier. (And then eventually I’ll know how to set boundaries?! Incredible.) This all sounds logical too.

BUT THEN. Then some idiot is acting so dumb I’m just sitting here fidgeting and ready to pounce like, “Oh you need my unsolicited advice????? HERE IT IS!” They do need it, but they don’t want it. I’m right, I mean of course I am, but they aren’t ready for my profound wisdom. They will even look me in the eye and act like they are listening and then go right back to acting like a jackass. And I know that people can’t help it. They need to make mistakes and changes all in their own time. They have to want it. I have read all the books and inspirational quotes, I KNOW THIS. That doesn’t make it any easier for me to sit by and let them act like feral meat sacks.

I’ll sometimes notice how much progress I’ve made in focusing on myself and prioritizing my mental health and think, “Ya. This was the right decision. People are idiots and I should just let them be idiots and stay out of it.” And I swear it’s like the person knows. “Oh my god, she hasn’t tried to help me in a while! I need to do something drastic to get her attention.” And they will. And then I have to hear about it and try to still keep my mouth shut. Sometimes it’s a physical effort. I have to put my phone down and literally work off the urge in the gym or something. I have to clench my jaw so tight it needs a chiropractor to put it back in place. (These are actual things that have happened to me.)

This is why people talk shit about each other I swear lol. “Oh, so-and-so is being a real so-and-so but I can’t say anything because they don’t fkn listen so I’m going to vent.” I SWEAR this is how gossip came to be; idiots causing people with all the answers to have to resort to talking behind said idiots’ backs because…they’re idiots. Is that harsh? It might be but it’s also smart. It’s kind of better for everyone if instead of giving advice to people who clearly aren’t trying to change you just tell someone else the whole situation and then forget about it immediately. The idiots don’t have to pretend to listen and probably get resentful for getting advice they didn’t ask for and the rest of us geniuses get to keep our mentals slightly healthier.

Alas. I hope you enjoyed my little rant about idiots. If not, I can’t say that I’m too sad about it because venting about it here helped me which is what I’m really all about.

Gloria Pritchett of Modern Family

Introverts + Anxiety

One might argue they go hand in hand. (I am at least one.)

Hello and welcome to the latest in A Series of Anxious Events! Have you ever found yourself wondering why your introverted and/or anxious friends cancel plans to “just stay in”? Are You An Extrovert? Then it makes sense why you are baffled. Follow along for Five Tips on How to be More Reflective, Self-aware, and Comfortable Being Alone! And Also Quieter.

  1. Get a pet. You’re never truly alone when you have to take care of an animal’s food and bathroom needs. This allows you to enjoy being alone while not truly being alone because if you absolutely have to talk you can just say it to Fido.
    Already have a pet? You should be at home more anyway.
  2. Get more self-awareness…a designated trait of introverts. (Seriously. Google it.) Do you want to know why? Because they’re at home with their plants, book, and Netflix accounts. All of these make you smarter. Well, two do for sure. I imagine with Netflix it depends what you’re watching. Getting a little bored? Switch from your comfort shows (100th run through of The Office, Schitt’s Creek, Parks & Rec, Dexter) and turn on something that’s sure to make you stop missing people in no time! Real Housewives, Bachelor/Bachelorette, the latest serial-killer documentary.
  3. Make a nice hot bath with candles and your favorite relaxation oils and a good book and then stare blankly at the page while you reflect on all the times you embarrassed yourself in public. That time you were blackout drunk. That time that waiter said, “Enjoy your meal” and you replied, “Thanks, you too.” That time you went to your home town grocery store for ONE THING and of course that’s the time you ran into your high school ex and you’re in pajamas with no makeup. That time you saw someone waving at you and you waved back only to realize they were waving at the person behind you. This type of thing doesn’t happen to introverts. Because we stay at home.
  4. See how long you can be home in complete silence. Read instead of tv. Bath or nap instead of yardwork. Workout instead of texting. Write a story or journal entry instead of dishes. (Do them before they get stinky though.) And then turn on the loudest radio station at the loudest volume and stand next to it. You will immediately appreciate the silence. Do this the opposite way: all noise, no silence and then shut EVERYTHING off at once. You will immediately appreciate the silence. This will help calibrate your “go out and socialize meter” to a much lower level.
  5. Train yourself to love the peopleless spaces. Pick a place to go. Party, family get together, restaurant with friends. Now think about this for *at least* the entire full 24 preceding hours: what if they were all talking about you before you got there? What if they only invited you because they felt bad? What if none of them actually like you? What if they cancel and then all go without you? Okay, this one might be introvert drenched in anxiety but still. Not feeling so social (and loud and pushy) now, are you?

Thanks for reading along – the world could use more introvert converts! And remember: This is satire. But also: Introverts really do want you to stop writing articles like “Introverted? How to Stop Being a Lonely Loner Stoner and Get Crazy!” or, “Want to Learn How to Be More Fun! Read This and Stop Being an Introvert Today!” And this is satire.

The meme that inspired this article.

RayJay Everlasting Lashes

Sick of mascara? Sick of that pesky lash glue? Sick of short lashes that don’t stand out? Well do I have the solution for you! Lash extensions. They are glued on to your individual natural lashes and then BAM! You’re done. For 4-6 weeks you have the long lashes you’ve always wanted and nothing to do! I mean, wash ya face and don’t rub them when you’re sleepy but other than that they’re so easy! Okay my late night TV infomercial tone pitch is done. Now that I’ve got your attention…

The initial appointment is a couple hours but after that it’s just refills as long as you don’t let them all fall off. Your artist usually will do a one hour or two hour fill and basically whatever they can fit on your lashes during that time gets done and then you enjoy your pretty eyes for another month and half before going back.

So why RayJay Everlasting? First of all, the attention to detail. Which translates to attention to lashes. Which means you get more lashes on your lashes and who doesn’t want that?! The owner is incredible, highly attentive to those lashes, and easy to work with. (Yes, I grew up with up with her. But that doesn’t mean anything here except that I know she’s good outside of lashing too. Trust me. I don’t just give our recommendations willy nilly.)

You can get different types of lashes as well: Classic (more natural), Volume (glam-or-ous), Hybrid (a combo of the two), and Mega Volume (hello, beauty queen). For an additional fee you can even get colorful lashes! (These are special request so message first to add.) These are basically the lazy makeup girl’s dream. I love makeup but do I do it? Rarely. These make me feel done up with very little effort. And people are like, “Dayum, are those your real lashes?!” And then we laugh and laugh. “Yes”, I reply. Because who needs to know?

Hit up RayJay Everlasting on Instagram and online here!

My before and after lashes from my wedding!

Black Knife Bakery

Have you ever went around trying a bunch of the same product from different places to find the best one? If so, we would enjoy hanging out (eating) together. If not, I did it for you and, in this specific case, for macarons. I’ve tried many macarons from different places and I found faults with most of them. Like, I love macarons but they are SO EASY to mess up. And apparently I’m, how would you say it in French?, très picky.

I tried macarons from local bakeries, Costco, Whole Foods, random dessert menus while out to eat. They were all either too crunchy, somehow simultaneously too crunch and too chewy, or just downright disgusting. (Seriously, I tried a mango one that in turn tried my gag reflex.) I even tried some from an actual French import store which weren’t bad…but still not the best.

Then I found Black Knife Bakery and holy macaron-i (see what I did there?) they are AMAZING! Every year I order a classic flavor dozen of the coconut cream pie flavor to share with myself for my birthday. They are the perfect amount of chewy and melt in your mouth and I would lay my life on the line for that filling. But there are so many cool flavors in addition to the “normal” ones. I mean, blueberry lavender matcha? Fruity Pebbles?! Every month there is a new variety box you can order with multiple different flavors to try. AND you can order for tons of events (they can even be airbrushed!): corporate events, gifts, parties, Netflix binging. I ordered several dozen for my wedding! They are also priced fairly (plus bigger than “normal” macarons) and 100% worth your money.

Go to Deviny at Blank Knife Bakery for your macarons. You will not regret it – these are seriously so good and my favorite dessert! And check out all the pretty pics on Black Knife Instagram too!

Anxiety About Current Events

News stories affect my anxiety differently. I want to read them to stay informed and to know how to help in situations that require it. However, it does ramp up all the feelings of my insides shaking and the combination of fury and nervousness that all is lost. Or, furvousness. I make myself keep reading them because being ignorant of what is happening around me, while good for my overall stress levels, isn’t an option. I need to know what’s happening. I need to help. I need to spread the word and urge others to help. Even if your “following” is small, everyone knows someone who they can reach out to. Talking to people causes me anxiety in general so in times of national crises (see: Supreme Court Overturns Roe v Wade) it’s like someone inserted an air pump to my anxiety valve and pumped it up to almost bursting. I don’t know what to do. I have no fucking clue. But I do know some ways to try and help. And since this news just came out a couple of hours ago obviously my nervous system is in overdrive. Rather than breakdown (I’ll give it a couple hours) I decided to do what I do: I made a list.

Here’s some small ways you can help. Feel free to comment links/other ways to get involved below.

  1. Get a therapist. I know: WHAT? Trust me. You’re gonna be stressed and your brain is going to be overworked and the feelings of helplessness might fade but they aren’t going anywhere. Talk it out, get it off your chest, and keep going. I used Better Help – this is not an ad, just a great place to find a therapist who aligns with your values and can help you.
  2. Subscribe to people who are doing this work at a professional level and GIVING YOU THE ANSWER on how to help. Providing history, updates, petitions to sign, + tons of other info. Join their patreon if you can. Here’s a few that I use that are truly amazing sources:
    A) Anti-Racism Daily Basically real time news and ways to help.
    B) America Hates Us I follow on Instagram but you can subscribe to their patreon as well for even more content.
    C) The Progressivists Again I follow on IG – they provide a ton of news, resources, petition links, actions.
  3. Donate to Planned Parenthood. More importantly, donate to your *local* abortion clinics as well as to funds that help people that need to travel to get one if they happen to live in one of those states that think they need their hands in people’s uteruses.
  4. Reach out to get people to vote. There’s a lot of ways to do this – helping canvass, call and text banks, volunteer to drive people to voting booths or ballot drop-offs. Social stuff makes me uncomfortable so I’ve been using Postcards to Voters. Fill out postcards to voters in key elections and send ’em off. Super easy.
  5. Keep learning and sharing your knowledge. Read books, share the books, buy new books, share those books. Is a book banned? I personally recommend grabbing a copy. Find used ones on PangoBooks. (My personal one is MyFavoriteBookAffair…I add important books to the shop as often as I can get my hands on them.)
  6. Take a break to help yourself. This is a rough time so do a little more than you think you can but also take breaks and be nice to yourself.

Trying to remind myself to breathe but I’m having a hard time calming down today after the news this week. The overturning of Roe v Wade was just the cherry on top of a wholly shitty week courtesy of our very own Supreme Court of the United States. Check out my other article here on how to calm down your anxiety.

A Series of Anxious Events 1

I’ve been waiting to use the section title for this series until I was ready to tell you all a good, fun, anxiety fueled story. Lucky for all of you, the perfect starter story happened to me on my trip to Ireland last week! (Lol, “lucky” in Ireland, huh?)

My dad has always wanted to go to Ireland. I don’t know why exactly except maybe since it’s his heritage? Hard to tell. So my mom and I decided to plan a surprise trip for him. He did not know he was going until the night before the flight and only because we didn’t want to get stopped for dragging him onto a plane against his will. (He hates travelling, he’s a weirdo.) We had everything planned ahead of time though from days trips (Cliffs of Moher, falconry lessons), to tours (Guinness, Jameson), to our stay in Airbnbs…to a rental car. Because like an actual genius, I thought it would be easier than booking stuff through tour agencies and having to wait on buses for everything.

I don’t know how many people know this but fun fact: in Ireland they drive on the left side of the road. Not only that, but their cars are flipped as well. So instead of the wheel on the left it’s on the right. Most of the cars are manual so now you’re shifting with your left hand while driving on the left side of the road on the right side of the car. (To be clear, they do have automatic cars but I didn’t want to pay an extra $100. Because I’m cheap, that’s why.) Bonus: there’s practically no stop signs so hello, one million roundabouts! It should be obvious at this point that I have never actually driven on the left side of the road…

So we spend 16 hours traveling to Ireland to get to the airport and pick up our rental car and with zero practice, I am in the driver seat taking us on a 2.5 hour road trip from Dublin to Galway. Luckily we didn’t have anything planned for the evening, but less luckily we arrived slightly too early for free parking. Because everything requires a parking fee except between nighttime hours. So we drove around city streets (on the left), I’m sure angering the locals with the slow speeds and lack of knowledge on how to make turns, until about an hour before free parking kicked in. We paid the fee and then finally were able to park that machine and leave it for 12 hours. Good thing we were staying above a bar.

Next morning we’re up bright and early to get out of that paid parking space, and spend the day driving in the rain to the Cliffs of Moher (3+ hours with the godforsaken roundabouts and chocolate factory detour). Go home, repeat for next day’s activity. Well, I made it two days without incident on these roads where I should mention they drive insanely fast on the universe’s tiniest roads. Day three we’re headed to Ashford Castle for falconry lessons, and I, who hates driving even in normal (American) conditions, have a full blown panic attack when we stop at the gas station. I’m sweating, panting, gasping for air, heart racing, and looking like a trapped animal. My dad is like wtf is happening and my mom, who also has anxiety, is like it’s cool just take her outside it’ll be fine lol. So we head outside and finally it passes and my mom’s like okay, I will drive for a bit so you can have a break. I was so grateful & it was a huge mistake, both of these things can be true.

My mom starts driving and I’m in the front passenger seat and NO. 100% do not recommend. I thought she was going to hit the walls, the hills, the bicyclers, the trees, the ditches, the other cars, everything. I felt like I was about to deliberately be driven to my death. Which she must have been feeling while I was driving but graciously only mentioned 100 times. I was at 100 within 5 minutes. I was gripping the “oh shit” handle like someone was trying to rip me from that car and take me. I was white knuckles and “watch outs” every 10 seconds until she was like, “ok, do you want to drive?!” YES. Omg, YES. I never thought that would be the better option here but pull over and let me drive!

Some of you are probably like why not just switch off driving? And to that I say “see above paragraph” and also, because I’m cheap, that’s why. It was $100 per person who was to be driving that car so I was actually supposed to be driving. Regardless, even if I would have paid the extra money to take turns…you know what, see above. I would have been panicking from the other seats the whole time or else stuffed in the trunk which I’m sure would have been full of it’s own issues. Basically, I would have ended up driving anyway.

A couple of notes: I hate driving even in my own normal driving conditions. Which is to say American driving on the right side of the road. Additionally, I live in Colorado where its 75MPH which is 120km~ BUT ON FLAT LAND! I was doing my normal Colorado speeds in winding mountain roads and super tiny streets. Bananas. I drive in snow and rain and extreme cold and heat frequently. All of those are less scary than my time driving in Ireland. But. I only had the one full size panic attack AND even if I’d had one every day I think it was worth it because that trip was amazing.

Travel causes me a lot of anxiety but for me at least it’s worth it because I love experiencing new places. Wanderlust and all that. But sometimes it results in these little anecdotes. Funny now but at the time I definitely thought the air was trying to suffocate me.

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When You Choose Anxiety

Not in the realistic sense, obviously. More so in the “I know this will make my anxiety go up a few notches but I’m going to do it anyway” way. This is just within the last few weeks. Things I’ve done that I should (read: did) know better than to do.

And yet:

1) I brought a new puppy home. Riff is less than pleased. He’s more along the lines of “you traitorous beehive, how could you do this to me, I’m dying and nothing will ever be okay again”. It’s been extremely stressful and so tense in the house but I mean. Look at our new Margot Doggie’s face! How could we NOT bring her home?

2) I decided to rent a car on my recent trip to Ireland. (Of which I am currently waiting in the airport to return home from.) You know, where they drive on the left side of the road? I’ve had multiple panic attacks and did more driving than I ever do at home, but I did it! At the expense of 90% of my nerves being fried and scaring the s%#t out of my parents for a week, I DID IT. I’m worried for Colorado drivers when I get back.

3) I started wearing makeup again after 10+ years of maybe occasionally wearing only mascara 1-3x/year. So now I play a fun game called “Is this makeup acne, period acne, mask acne, or just my skin being my skin acne?” I have gotten the answer right 0% of the time and continue to be mystified and stressed daily about it. Do I stop and ruin the progress of getting my skin used to makeup to where I can eventually wear it with no acne? Do I stop and my skin clears up immediately? Do I continue and I just don’t have skin that will ever just be cool? Will my skin ever be clear again or have I ruined the algorithm of my face?

4) I’ve spent time scrolling social media and news sites after the the SCOTUS “leak” about overturning Roe v Wade. Everything is infuriating and I am furious and these posts fire me right back up every time I’ve calmed down to what is just the high simmer that is my baseline now. Just writing this one is making my insides shake with rage.

5) I requested way too many books on NetGalley thinking I’d only get approved for like 25% of them and instead got approved for ~70% and now I’m on a time crunch to get books read and reviews submitted. I KNEW not to do that. But what did I do? I did it.

And finally, 6) I started this post 30 minutes before boarding my plane and I know it’s super readable and engaging and it seems like I can do all of this really quickly, and I can, but it takes a lot of work and nerves to get it edited and ready to go before they shout “airplane mode” over the intercom and I need to sign off. I know I seem super with it but that is actually, and very much so, not the case.

Happy anxiety! I mean, Saturday!