My love language is giving recommendations, which is probably why Joy asked me to start writing these Sunday posts back in the summer of 2021. When she told me that this month I would be giving a top ten list of recommendations, a thrill surged through my COVID-riddled body. Oh yeah, I just got over my first case of COVID. The good news is, I’m better. The bad news is, I haven’t spoken to anyone in almost 2 weeks and I have a lot to say.
Let’s dive in to my top ten!
My husband’s birthday is in January and he loves what he refers to as “yellow chocolate cake.” In case you don’t know this, Joy has the best recipes for vanilla cake and chocolate buttercream frosting. Bring this cake plus a bottle of champagne to your friend’s holiday party and get ready to spend your night awash in cake compliments, cakeliments, if you will. (Joy the Baker)
I read a lot of books this year, particularly memoirs and there’s one that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I finished it last spring: Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott. If you haven’t read it, ask Santa to bring you a copy. If you have read it, send a copy to your best friend. (Bookshop)
If you’re not listening to steamy romance books while you walk through the woods, drive home from work, or scoop your cat’s litter box, you’re really missing out. I’m going to recommend two because they’re both popular and you’ve likely already listened to one or both. First up, Book Lovers by Emily Henry. If you’ve read that one, try By the Book by Jasmine Guillory. (Libro.fm)
For most of this year, my friend Nicole and I spent every Friday night watching television together from our respective couches in Nashville and New Orleans. We stumbled into a niche genre, the founder docu-drama. I feel qualified to tell you which one is the best because, reader, I watched them all. If you only watch one, watch WeCrashed. Anne Hatheway will blow you away. If you watch two, watch Super Pumped. (Apple TV+, Showtime)
I’m such a fan of so many great newsletters, but I have to go with Burnt Toast because of the sheer number of people I refer to this newsletter. A few times a month a friend will open up to me about a struggle they’re having with either their kid’s eating or their kid’s body and I will refer them to Burnt Toast. It’s such a valuable resource for parents and non-parents alike. I’m not a parent and it’s still one of my favorite newsletters. (Virginia Sole-Smith)
Ooh, this is a tough one as I’m just coming off my first case of COVID and have watched approximately one million hours of television in the last 2 weeks. I’ve got to go with my man, Titus Welliver, aka LAPD (Hollywood Department) Detective Harry Bosch. Bosch is a crime procedural based in L.A. and all 7 seasons are streaming on Amazon Prime. I heard an off-hand comment about it during a podcast earlier this year and had never heard of it, so I looked it up and started watching it. If you’re into these types of shows, this is one of the best ones out there. It’s like if SVU and Fast and the Furious had a baby. (IMDB)
As fellow Taurus, Abby mentioned in last week’s post, I did indeed dedicate an entire post this year to The Bear. Stick with me. While I was sick these past 2 weeks I decided to re-watch Moonstruck and I came to a huge realization: Nicholas Cage’s character in Moonstruck is the proto Carmy. Don’t believe me? Re-watch Moonstruck, particularly the scene where Cher meets him for the first time in the basement of the bakery. (Joy the Baker, Amazon)
This is usually where I would recommend Maintenance Phase, but we’re all already listening to that one, so let me tell you about a new (to me) podcast that I’ve been listening to as I navigate (swallow) perimenopause. It’s called The Midlife Feast. It’s hosted by Jenn Salib Huber, a registered dietitian, naturopathic doctor and intuitive eating counselor. This is the podcast for all of us who have recovered from disordered eating and are just trying to learn about perimenopause without getting triggered.
I absolutely adore Marielle Elizabeth. If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, please do. She’s also on TikTok now and she’s a little spicer on there, which I love to see. Marielle puts so much care and time into the content she creates. I get a ton of inspiration from her, especially her Instagram stories aesthetic. Love her!
Well, now that I’ve brought it up, I’ve got to close us out with a TikTok follow recommendation. Kaylee, aka khaotickaylee, won me over with her unabashed love of hotdogs and corndogs. Even if you’ve never seen her face, you’ve probably heard her voice as one of the Tok’s trending sounds is Kaylee saying, “Shh, don’t bother me. I’m having enrichment time in my enclosure.”
Merry, merry! See you again in 2023.
Bosch and Moonstruck! Two of my favorites. Thank you for all of the recommendations. Can’t wait for more!
OMG I could not love this list of recommendations more, THANK YOU!!! Especially all the TV and book things, so excited to dive in.
Karen Ross Samford
Yay! Yellow chocolate cake is my favorite in the whole world. Now I’m going to have to make one :)
You had me at SVU and Fast and the Furious love child….
I really enjoyed your selections and look forward to WeCrashed, I had not heard of it before your recommendation, so thank you very much. As for, your suggestion about a “Re-Watch, “ may I be so bold as to suggest the indie film, “Swiss Army Man,” starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. Granted, it is not for everyone; the humor is dark and a bit twisted, but look closely and you will find a sublime masterpiece about love, loneliness and a longing for human connection.
Hi Stella, thank you for this recommendation. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it, but I’m adding it to my list! Dark and twisted humor is right up my alley. Thanks!
I have to agree with your husband’s cake choice.
Ha! Thanks,Annette. It really is a solid choice.
On the subject of listening to steamy romances, the best one I have listened to in years is Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith. Just wow. It has been weeks since I finished it and I still think about it almost daily.
She has an earlier novel called Whiskey & Ribbons, which is really good too!
Immediately adding Bosch to my watch list – thank you Kim!
Bosch is so good. Were not too patiently waiting for the next season.
Same, although I heard there aren’t going to be any more new seasons. Hoping I’m wrong though. Give us more Bosch!
Bosch Legacy too!! That is having a second season! I love the show. Currently trying to get through the books – the collection is huge!
Oh, yay! I hope you like it, Megan. Report back!
Bomb Shelter, Book Lovers, & Khaotickaylee! These are also two of my books of the year and Kaylee is the only reason I ever even open TikTok. This is the best list!
You are SO right about Carmy!! I can’t believe none of us noticed! 10 points!
Kim – every one of these recs is gold! I didn’t need a reason to rewatch the Bear, but you gave me one anyway-love. Happy holidays and thanks!!!
Thank you, Carol! Happy holidays to you, too.
OMGoodness! So true about the character of Ronny Cammareri in Moonstruck and Carmy in The Bear! Thanks for pointing it out! Although I’ve seen Moonstruck a zillion times I didn’t connect the steamy, intense, Italian chef/bakers. Must watch again – now! :-)