bad on paper podcast

My Ideal Food Court

I was recently listening to the Bad on Paper podcast and they raised the following question:

What restaurants would make up your ideal food court?

It’s a great conversation starter, and I’ve found it can draw out some pretty heated opinions.

It’s also tough question, but I decided to add even more of a challenge and limit the number of choices to five.

Here are my answers:


1) Quiznos

Typically, if I’m craving a sandwich I’ll go to Subway. It’s simple and familiar and I have the app on my phone with my order tee-d up. But there is something very nostalgic and comforting about Quiznos for me. In my early 20’s I worked in retail at my local mall and it was…a lot. There were crazy hours and crazy customers—one of which told me I ruined her granddaughter’s Christmas—and most of the time I went in with a survival mentality. I just have to get through these 8 hours. I just have to finish folding this last stack of men’s t-shirts. I just have to get to lunch. Ah, lunch. The one-hour break where I got to sit in the back room with my headphones on, and just be left ALONE. My store was inside a mall, and thus there was a full food court at my disposal, and yet I only EVER went to Quiznos for lunch, and I only EVER ordered the Chicken Carbonara on wheat bread with no bacon. After a while, the guy behind the counter started to recognize me and would start making my sandwich whenever I walked in. He felt like an ally in my battle to survive retail, and Chicken Carbonara was my comfort food.


2) Bluebell Ice Cream

I am a sucker for an ice cream cone. And sometimes in the summer, when it’s 1000 degrees and you haven’t planned anything for dinner, a double scoop in a waffle cone promises nothing but satisfaction. There are plenty of delicious ice cream shops native to Southern California, but I would choose Bluebell. As of now, Bluebell remains unavailable in California, so I only have it when I visit family back east. As a result, I constantly hold all other ice creams to the standard of Bluebell’s Salted Caramel Cookie, and nothing has come close to measuring up.


3) Chick-Fil-A

I don’t eat fast food often but when I do it is almost exclusively Chick-Fil-A. In 2020, when so many gatherings happened over Zoom, me and a group of cousins did a french fry ranking bracket, where I fought for Chick-Fil-A fries as if they were a constitutional right. I would also choose Chick-Fil-A sauce as my *condiment of choice* and they have milkshakes. So…duh.


4) Coffee Bean

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I understand the need for a shop geared towards surviving the morning. Every time I’ve taken an early flight, I’ve stopped off at a coffee shop to grab a muffin or banana, and if I’m feeling wild (or freezing) a hot chocolate. Recently, I’ve started dabbling in the world of tea which has made me feel less like a coffee shop outcast. So I feel like this would be a good fit for both who I’m becoming and for my friends and family who would boycott my food court if this was not included.


5) Pizza Press

And finally, pizza. (DUH part 2.) There are only a few pizza places that I would actively choose not to order from, as I find pizza delicious 90% of the time. So honestly, this slot could be given to any pizza chain. However, Pizza Press is another one with fond memories and one of my favorite pizzas ever: “The Times” (with no cilantro). It used to be my favorite place to order from when I visited my cousins in Irvine, and a go-to spot after Friday night softball games. There isn’t one very close to me anymore, so I mostly pop around making replicas of the “The Times” at other pizza places, though nothing is ever as good.


And that my friends, is my ideal food court.

What would yours be?


January & February Favorites

Hello and welcome back to another edition of Favorites, where everything is straight forward and I tell you—you guessed it—about some of my favorites from the last two months.

Let’s get right into it.



I melt for Norah Jones’ voice. It has long been able to put me in a peaceful place and make me feel like things are going to be okay—even if the song she’s singing happens to be sad. So when I heard she had a podcast—Playing Along with Norah Jones—where she interviews and plays music with guests, I was IN. It is such an easy and relaxing listen. I’ll put it in on when I’m on my way to work, or making dinner, or, my favorite, when I’m sitting at the kitchen table doing a puzzle.

I found the Bad on Paper podcast on a best of 2022 list and I am so happy I did! It is a podcast mainly centered around books, but it also touches on a little bit of everything. I especially like the book club episodes that come out at the end of the month.

And finally, Podcrushed, which is a podcast centered around life—mainly middle school life­—hosted by Penn Badgley, Nava Kavelin, and Sophie Ansari. Each episode features a guest that talks a little bit about their middle school experience, as well as what they’ve learned since. It’s a relatable and cozy listen that makes the trials of middle school feel a little less scary to think about.



The Villa by Rachel Hawkins was the Bad on Paper book club pick for January, so I was excited to jump in and participate. It follows two timelines, one in the present day, and one in the 70’s. In the present day, two best friends go on vacation to an Italian villa that is famous for a murder that took place in the 70s. It was a gripping read and the ending left me sitting there, thinking about it, for hours.

I heard a lot of hype about Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton so I went in with high expectations…and it met all of them. It’s a memoir about the trials of love (both romantic and platonic), and Dolly does such a great job at capturing the feelings down to the bone. This book made me feel especially seen and so I’m very grateful I read it.  

It had been a while since I read a book that I loved but also hated because I was in such a hurry to know every single thing that happened but also didn’t want the book to be over, so I was excited to find Every Summer After by Carley Fortune. It follows Persephone and her best friend Sam as they grow up together during their summers spent in a beach town. I listened to the audiobook, and while I started at a slow, leisurely pace. I quickly began to work my schedule around finding time to listen to this book because I just wanted to know what happened. So I suppose you could call this a recommendation and a slight warning.



Going to come clean with you, I watched The In Between solely because I have a crush on Kyle Allen. They stuck him on the poster, so that was enough for me. I also like Joey King, who stars opposite him in this good but also kind of heartbreaking movie about a couple who is separated by death but finds their way back to each other in the “in between.” It’s a sweet story with a supernatural element that makes you wonder. (find it on Amazon Prime)

As I was writing that last paragraph, I laughed out loud because I realized that this next movie, Rosaline, also features Kyle Allen. I love watching movies that have actors in common. I call it, “theme-ing.” So this is both funny and on par for me. Rosaline tells the “untold story” of Romeo’s girlfriend before Juliet. It’s funny and original and made me laugh out loud. (find it on Hulu)

Unrelated to both of those movies (and, unfortunately, breaking the theme) is The Banshees of Inisherin. I have been trying to watch all of the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscar’s, and this one was on the list. It is a little bit hard to explain, which is funny because it is a very simply premise. In short, two friends end their friendship. It is a slow moving, beautifully shot movie that I loved. It is strange and funny and sad.


TV Shows

Shortly after I finished reading Everything I Know About Love (which I’ll admit I was a bit behind the times on) I found out they’d made it into a show that is streaming on Peacock. Needless to say, it took priority over everything else I was watching and I absolutely loved it. It is a relatable, cozy show that again made me feel very seen and understood. I caught myself nodding along to each episode. (find it on Peacock)

Special Forces: The Toughest Test is the wildcard pick of this favorites post. These last few months I have been in the mood for peaceful, calming, love stories and this show is the complete opposite. It puts a group of celebrities in the middle of the desert to try and endure special forces training. They are given a taste of what our military personnel is put through in order to fight for our country. It is extremely humbling to watch. I sit on the couch cheering all of them on, almost always on the verge of tears, knowing full well I could not do what they’re doing, and feeling incredibly grateful that people do in order to let me live this great life. (find it on Hulu)

I have long been curious about The Mindy Project but had only ever seen half of an episode, on mute, while running on the treadmill at the gym. I love Mindy Kaling so I was pretty sure I’d love this show and I was 100% correct. I think it’s rare to find a show that makes you laugh out loud but this one gets me almost every episode. I am almost sad to be loving it so much because I am blowing through it. But I suppose that’s the great thing about streaming—when I’m finished I’ll just start again. (find it on Netflix)



The People’s Champ by Quinn XCII

Everything to Everyone – EP by Renee Rapp

Rolling Up the Welcome Mat by Kelsea Ballerini


Sundae Conversation

Caleb Pressley and his interview series Sundae Conversation used to pop up all the time on my For You page on TikTok. They are short, witty, dead pan interviews that often make the celebrity guests crack up laughing. I have loved going through the backlog of interviews and am forever impressed by Caleb’s ability to keep a straight face. This interview with Morgan Wallen is one of my favorites

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.