best of 2022

5 People I Had a Crush on This Year (List-cember #7)

In middle school, admitting you have a crush on someone feels equivalent to setting

yourself on fire. It is painful and horrifying, which makes sense because everything about being a middle schooler is painful and horrifying.

As an adult, well, it doesn’t get that much easier. Being vulnerable is never fun, setting yourself up for rejection is always terrifying. But we get through it—maybe not gracefully, maybe not easily, but we get through it.

Luckily, we’re not talking about those kinds of crushes today. Because as I’ve grown up, I’ve found that those are not the only ones that exist.

Sometimes you have a crush on someone that is not based on romantic feelings, but rather that longing to be more like a person, or a wish that you were friends (best friends?), or a productive envy that inspires you to better yourself.

These kinds of crushes are the kind that make you want to say, “I just think you’re so rad.”

Even if you never use the word “rad” in your everyday vocabulary. (Which I don’t.)

This year, I crushed and I crushed hard.

These five people inspired me and made me laugh and cry (in a good way) and just overall made me feel cozy.

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1) Meghan Trainor

If you are/were on Tik Tok this year, you might have run into a lot of Meghan Trainor content. She kind of took the social media world by storm. At some point, I looked up her podcast and then binge listened to it, smiling and giggling my way through every episode. I then proceeded to follow her on Instagram, listened to her music, and simply just fell in love with her. She is so fun and genuine and goofy, and she is upbeat while never being afraid to be honest. At times I would forget that she was a mega pop star known and beloved by the world, and would scroll past her on social media thinking she was one of my friends. (find her here)

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2) Nora McInerny

After finding Terrible, Thanks for Asking, during a Google search for “podcast recommendations”, I quickly and gladly snuggled into its orbit. The premise of the podcast is to embrace your feelings—even and especially the hard ones—which is why the name is phrased as a response to the question, “how are you?” Having gone through multiple harrowing losses herself, Nora founded a community that invites its listeners to just be, and I was hooked instantly. While keeping up with the podcast, I listened to Nora’s audiobooks and even went to a live show she put on in Los Angeles. The content she creates makes me feel safe and seen, and it gives me courage to write about the hard parts of my story.

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3) Toni Collier

On another night spent searching for new podcasts (the subplot for this blog might be my podcast addiction) I found Still Coloring hosted by Toni Collier. It is Christian based, and it encourages those who are walking/have walked through hard seasons. Not only do I find inspiration in each episode, but I am constantly in awe of Toni’s ability to hear and have hard conversations. She leaves space for people. She’s not too quick to respond, she doesn’t try to fix or explain or bandage, she just says, “mmhmm” allowing her guests to know she’s listening, while giving them room to keep talking. She’s not intimidated by gaps or silence. I am in AWE of this, and I want to do better at it in my relationships.

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4) Kelsey Kreppel

I started watching Kelsey Kreppel’s videos on YouTube a few years ago. They have always been funny and easy to watch, cozy and casual without all the flash and show that you find in many other popular videos. She is just a normal person, going about her day, sometimes thriving, sometimes struggling, never afraid to admit either. She is funny, sweet, and comfortable in her own skin in a way that I am striving for.

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5) Ashlyn Sailsbury

I mentioned Ashlyn in a List-cember post a few years back and she remains one of my favorite people to follow. She is so funny and sassy and is always sharing her latest hobbies and travels. I like that she goes with her own flow and is never ashamed of that. She feels like a big sister I can check in with that encourages me to speak my mind and define my own bliss.

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You know that saying “you are who surround yourself with”? I have seen it be true in my real-life relationships, and in the people I follow on social media. I am proud that I actively pursue people who encourage me to be myself. It’s a good reminder of how far I’ve come on this journey to self-love and acceptance. And I’m thankful for all the people (online and IRL) that continue to help me on that journey.

Here’s hoping we all crush next year.

I know I will!


You can find more List-cember posts here.

Best Things I Bought this Year (List-cember #5)

There are few things I love more than a listicle full of links to things I can BUY.

Things I need, things I don’t need, things I’m convinced will make me feel better or give my life/home/closet/car that little oomph it’s been missing.

So if you’re in the mood to open a few extra tabs, or if you just want to be a little nosey, these are some of the best things I bought this year.

1) Skeleton Yoga Sweatshirt

I came across this crewneck on Etsy and immediately loved it. I ordered up a size for a baggier fit, and it is so cozy! The perfect sweatshirt to cuddle up in at night. (find it here.)

2) FitBit Versa 3

I have always stayed loyal to FitBit over AppleWatch, mostly due to familiarity and a preference for simplicity. So when the time came to get a new model, I stuck to what I knew, and it didn’t let me down! It gives me everything I’m looking for: workout tracking, sleep stats, V02 scores, and notification alerts. Plus it’s comfortable and easy to use. (Note: It looks like the Versa 3 is no longer available on the website, but the Versa 2 & 4 are, and they’re both on sale! find them here.)

3) Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

This was an absolute impulse purchase. It felt like going to a pet store and having a kitten curl up in your lap, making it impossible not to take it home. It batted it’s proverbial eyes at me, and I just couldn’t resist! It now sits below my kitchen window and I call it Figgy Azaelia. (I bought mine at my local hardware store, but there are some available on Amazon too, find them here.)

4) Merrell Hiking Boots

I had my last pair of Merrells for seven years. This is probably, like, five years longer than you’re supposed to. Especially when you hike consistently–including casually climbing a mountain. At one point, both my dad and sister looked at my boots, horrified and truly shocked I hadn’t slipped or sprained my ankle with how little traction they had left. Needless to say, I’m excited to break these new guys in. (find them here.)

5) Coiled Lightning Cable

When my Apple Car Play cord started to fray, I found this one. And honestly I wish I bought it earlier. The coil keeps it from constantly getting stuck in the door, and it just looks a lot neater in general. (find it here.)

6) Beyond Yoga bike shorts

Can shorts be the love of your life? If so, these are mine. They are so soft and so cozy. They say, you do you today, Kim, I got you. And while yes, they are a bit pricey, they are WORTH IT. I have two pairs and would probably buy 50 if I didn’t have to make rent. (find it here.)

7) Gaiam Yoga Mat

I had a Gaiam mat for the longest time and when it got thin and worn, I randomly switched to a different brand. But it didn’t have anywhere near the grip as my old yoga mat, so I went back to the tried and true. I got this beautiful mat from Target and have loved it. (find it here.)

8) JoyLab Sports Bra

Speaking of Target, their JoyLab active brand is marvelous. I got this seamless sports bra and it instantly became one of my favorites! It’s comfortable, it doesn’t dig in anywhere, and it does its job. It’s everything you can ask for in a sports bra. (find it here.)

9) Kate Spade purse

I LOVE a Kate Spade purse. But even more, I LOVE a Kate Spade purse on sale. And that’s pretty much the only time I’ll buy one. I got this purse (in blue) for 75% off, and I bring it up pretty much every time I wear it. (find it here.)

10) Velvet hangers

About a year ago my sister switched out all her plastic hangers for velvet ones and I was instantly jealous. Not only does it make your closet look neater, it also saves a ton of space, and helps those stubborn shirts actually stay on the hanger. When I moved into my new apartment, I jumped on the velvet hanger train and I’ll never look back. (find it here.)

11) Mini Vaseline

To make a very long, very infuriating experience very brief, my lips went crazy this year. There was a big chunk of time when seemingly every lip product I used gave me a wild allergic reaction. The ONE thing that helped was Vaseline. And while I know this isn’t necessarily a ground breaking recommendation. You can’t deny this tiny size is adorable. Perfect for keeping in your purse and preventing you from ripping your lips off your face. (find it here.)

12) Thrifted Dresser

This is one thing that I won’t have a link for since I found it at an estate sale. So this is more of a recommendation to go thrifting every once in a while because you never know what you might find. I found this guy for $40!! And it is now one of my favorite things that I own. Plus, you know it’s true love when you notice the dresser even when there is a giant box of flushable wipes on top.

13) Stanley 40oz Tumbler

If this were a list numbered by ranking, Stanley would be near the top. It is truly worth all the hype. The handle. The straw. The ability to carry over half my recommended daily water intake at once. Stanley has easily become my favorite emotional support water bottle and I will recommemnd him over and over and over. (find it here.)

14) SKYVOO Blue light glasses

I am always on the hunt for the best blue light glasses since I spend so much time on the computer. Early this year, I bought a pair of *stylish* blue light glasses, but quickly learned they did almost nothing for blocking blue light. So I went back to the drawing board, and eventually found these. They were more affordable than quite a few of the other pairs mentioned on “best of” lists, but they still boasted a lot of positive reviews. I am very happy both with the style, the blue light blocking, and the comfort on my face! (find them here.)

15) 40 Watt Light bulbs

Part of me hesitates to put these on the list because they are literally LIGHT BULBS. And not specialty, environment saving, made from recycled glass or everlasting gobstopper light bulbs, they are just plain light bulbs that I got at my local grocery store. BUT they were a fantastic purchase for me because they are *soft.* I spent the first couple months in my apartment trying not to turn on my bathroom light because it was so bright and unflattering. I dreaded doing my makeup every morning because turning on the light instantly gave me a headache and announced every single flaw on my face. So at my mom’s recommendation, I scoped out 40w bulbs, and it wouldn’t be dramatic to say that they have improved the quality of my life. (I got the Phillips 40w Ultra Defintion bulbs)

16) Fanny Pack Bag

I know that fanny packs are having a come back right now, but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think they were cool? I mean, my mom rocked a fanny pack when I was a kid, and could anything be more convenient?! I grabbed this bag at Target to have as an on-the-go bag for when I’m running errands, headed to a workout class, etc. It’s super light and easy and has enough room for my wallet, phone and, of course, my mini vaseline. (find it here.)

18) Slipper Socks

If it seems like every other item is from Target, it’s becaue I’m a stress shopper and always add cute/cozy things to my cart when I have a lot on my mind. With that pattern of behavior, Target is essentially a death trap for me, but, like, a nice death trap. A peaceful one. One that knows exactly the way I’d like to go out: with oversized sweatshirts and furry socks. When I touched these slipper socks, I immediately put them in my cart. They are nearly irresistable and under $10. My feet write me thank you notes every day. (find them here.)

17) Shelf from IKEA

If you’re wondering if I have an eye for interior design, when shopping to decorate my apartment, I typed, “a bookshelf” into Google. I had no idea what I wanted or what key words to use, I just knew that I wanted a shelf to go right *points to corner of room* there! Eventually, I came across this bookshelf and I’m so happy I did! It was easy to put together and the final product was exactly what I was looking for. I also love how cute it looks next to my green thrifed dresser! 🙂 (find it here.)

19) Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care

Similar to the onslaught of allergies I experienced this year, my scalp seemed to have an identity crisis. I kept getting bouts of dry scalp and NOTHING I did seemed to help. After some Googling, I found out that sometimes dry scalp can be caused by eczema, which I’ve struggled with in the last couple years. Reviews of this product claimed it helped with eczema based dry scalp, so I decide to give it a go, and I’m happy to say that I agree! (find it here.)

20) Shoe Rack

Similar to the velvet hangers, I bought this shoe rack to add some organization to my life. I’ve always kept my shoes pretty neat, but I wanted a space saving, more concrete shoe home, and this was the perfect solution. One downside is that it made me realize, contrary to what I tell myself when I’m in DSW, I actually don’t need anymore shoes, but that is an issue I’ll deal with at a later date. (find it here.)

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Did you buy anything especially great this year? My wallet is both scared and curious to know.

Check out more List-cember posts here.

Places I Sat This Year (List-cember #4)

At the end of last year, I came across a few bloggers that participated in the Take Up a Seat challenge. According to the website, the challenge asks you to take a picture of “places you sit, you might sit, or art about sitting.” Weekly posts showcase couches, chairs, benches, rocks, etc., that follow the theme. I liked this idea and so I decided to make participating one of my goals for 2022.

Throughout the year, I took pictures of places I sat, but rather than the physical chair, I tried my best to photograph me sitting in the chair. To capture that moment. I held the camera up high, getting my legs in the picture, as a kind of documentation that at one point during the year, I was sitting right here.

It’s been fun looking back at the photos and I wanted to share a handful. So many offered glimpses into small moments that I otherwise might have forgotten. I also liked seeing the documentation of rest. Because I most often remembered to take a picture when I felt relaxed or peaceful, so looking at the pictures as a collection was like reliving some of my most calming of the year.


1) Two Days In

In January, I got COVID. I spent a solid 5-6 days in my room, in my bed, sometimes sitting upright, but most often laying down asleep. My FitBit thought I was hibernating. It was not a good time. But shout out to my ZZ plant poking into frame which has grown A LOT since this picture was taken.

2) Backseat Sushi

In February, my sister’s coworker invited the two of us to see a show in Santa Monica. She offered to pick up sushi from her favorite local spot, and we planned to meet at the theater. “Get in,” she said once she pulled up. We had almost an hour until show time and she wanted us to have a “dinner with a view.” We drove to the beach and rolled the windows down so we could hear the waves. I wrote this post from the same night.

3) Engagement Sandwiches

In March, I helped my now brother-in-law plan his proposal to my sister. It was in one of our favorite places, and it was truly one of the most perfect days! Everything went off without a hitch, and she said yes! The next day, we woke up in a happy glow. We grabbed sandwiches from the local grocery store and then ate them lakeside on a bench near one of our favorite fishing spots.

4) Bible in the Spare Room

In April, shortly after my sister and I moved out of our apartment and I moved into my parents’ house, I found a lazy Saturday morning with no plans. Our church had provided a Bible reading plan for the year and I was very behind. So I tip-toed into the spare bedroom and caught up on my reading. (Note: don’t ask if I stayed caught up for the rest of the year, we’re looking at the positives here.)

5) The Downton Fizz

In May, my mom and I saw Downton Abbey: A New Era in theaters. For a while, we had a checklist of movies to see and we were becoming regulars at our local theater. On this particular evening, we grabbed our popcorn and then decided to try the Downton promotional drink called the “Downtown Fizz.” We cheers-ed and took our first sips and then our eyes lit up. It was DELCIOUS. So delicious that I dm-ed AMC for the recipe—and they answered!

6) Car Meeting

In June, as I was hastily making my way home from a chiropractor appointment, I hit a burst of traffic that I knew was going to make me late. I had a 5:30pm meeting, was 20 minutes from home, and it was 5:23pm. So I got off the freeway, pulled into the parking lot of a gym, hung a flannel in my window to block the sun, and took the meeting in the car. I wondered if I had the frame angled enough for no one to notice, but as soon as I logged onto Zoom, the first question asked was, “Hey Kim, are you in the car?”

7) Dodger Game

In July, on a last minute offer from some friends, my mom and I got tickets to the Dodger game. Typically, we sit up in the Loge or Reserve section, but these seats were Field Level! We grabbed a beer and some hot dogs—and I also impulsively bought a bag of Cheetos that were perhaps the best Cheetos I’ve ever had in my life?—and watched the boys take home a win!

8) A River Runs Through it—in Texas

In August, we visited some family in Texas. I’ve written about Jim and June before, so you might already know how special these visits are to me. It is always a breath of fresh air. We sit and talk and laugh and eat junk food. It’s the best. One day, we hung out and watched A River Runs Through It, which none of us had seen in a long time. It was the perfect slow movie for the perfect slow day.

9) Sushi on the Floor

In September, after getting approved to move into my apartment, I ordered myself sushi to celebrate. I didn’t have any of my furniture yet, and I was going over every day after work to unpack boxes. I was looking forward to the days when it looked like a home instead of a chaotic storage unit, and I was eating my sushi on floor while watching Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on DVD.

10) Mrs. Fields Saves the Day

In October, my friends and I went to the When We Were Young Festival in Las Vegas. It featured all kinds of bands we listened to in high school and it was a very nostalgic and fun day. However, since it started at 12:00pm, we got there at 11:30am to get in line. And since the last band was set to go on at 10:00pm, and after the sun went down the temperature dipped into the 40s, the prospect of staying until the end became very daunting. My sister, her husband and I cut out a little early, and we Uber-ed back to our hotel where we bought some snacks and then went to bed. I barely made it through this cookie before passing out.

11) Left on Tenth

In November, as I finally began to feel settled in my apartment, I had some lazy weekend mornings where I would make oatmeal and then read on the couch. One of my UCLA Extension writing instructors recommended Delia Ephron’s new memoir, Left on Tenth, and I loved every minute of it. Not only did it teach me a lot about writing, it was also a crazy story! After losing her husband of over 30 years, Delia not only finds new love, but fights (and beats!) cancer.

12) Here

And finally, in December, as I write this blog post, I sit in my chair, in my apartment, next to my Christmas tree. I have two candles burning, my heater running, and my favorite slipper socks on. This is where I have been doing a lot of my writing, and I foresee a lot more of it in the future.

I’m thankful for this year and for the many places that I sat and found rest. I hope I continue to notice these little moments of peace.

If you’re interested, here are a few more pictures I took for this project. You might not know the story, but you still get that sense of place. You can still see that moment of me capturing, I was here.


Check out more List-cember posts here.

My 2022 Rec Roundup (List-cember #3)

My favorite part of doing a Rec Roundup at the end of the year is realizing how many things I watched/read/listened to. I’m always surprised to look at my lists and think, I read that THIS YEAR?! Because once you reach December, January and February don’t just seem like months ago, they seem like a lifetime ago. So it’s nice to reflect on all the lifetimes I’ve lived in the course of one year.

Wanna relive them with me?

Here are my favorites of 2022:

Books

  • The Night the Lights Went Out by Drew Magary
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
  • The Gift of Forgiveness by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
  • Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
  • The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
  • Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge
  • One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Podcasts

  • Terrible, Thanks for Asking
  • Correct Opinions
  • Back to the Beach
  • Workin’ On it Podcast
  • Still Coloring
  • Circle Time
  • Brooke & Connor Make a Podcast
  • Minnie Questions
  • Podcast but Outside
  • Funny Cuz it’s True

Movies

  • Everything, Everywhere, All At Once
  • The Tender Bar
  • Father Stu
  • Thirteen Lives
  • Redeeming Love
  • West Side Story
  • Persuasion
  • The Alpinist
  • Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Elvis

TV Shows

  • Ghosts
  • The Bear
  • Abbott Elementary
  • Conversations with Friends
  • The Terminal List
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty
  • House of the Dragon
  • The Man in High Castle
  • Wicked Tuna

Music

  • Sidelines by Wild Rivers
  • Circles by LEON
  • Good Person by Ingrid Andress
  • Midnights by Taylor Swift
  • Raised by Hailey Witters
  • Harry’s House by Harry Styles
  • Subject to Change by Kelsea Ballerini
  • the farewell debut album by Avenue Beat
  • Humble Quest by Maren Morris
  • Renee Rapp EP by Renee Rapp

Misc

JVN Conditioning Hair Mask: My hair went through a *journey* this year and it was a fight to find products that made it happy. This was one of those products! It is super conditioning, but doesn’t weigh my hair down. I use a dime size of it once a week and it leaves my hair feeling so refreshed and soft. (find it here)

GooGoo Clusters: During the holidays my sweet tooth likes to shoot for the stars. So I figured if you’re anything like me, you need to know about these. I tried one for the first time a couple years ago and then completely forgot about it. But then when we went to Nashville in the spring, I was reunited with this absolute magic. My favorite are the pecan ones. Do yourself a favor and go buy some, you deserve it. (find them here)