Hello friends! I am a person who enjoys pointing out that it’s raining when it’s raining. (Is that a midwestern thing? I do it all the time.) It’s the same for the months of the year, so please don’t be mad at me for exclaiming, can you believe it’s December?! As the days get shorter and cooler I find myself nesting and reflecting on my year, implementing the Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced hyoo-guh) – the softest blankets, the nicest smelling candles, and lamps of every kind.
This year, though very hard, was about finding support from the most unexpected of places. Working with Joy has been a dream and let me know all work environments aren’t abusive, they can be healing and fun, something I genuinely did not know existed after leaving my previous job. I have a supportive, gorgeous partner that helps me be the best version of myself and makes me want to help right back. My family and friends have been there through it all being amazing. I’m so grateful.
In the spirit of reflection, this month Team Joy the Baker will be giving you our top 10 favorites to wrap up 2022. Of course, please chime in with your favorites too, I love seeing what brings you joy! Let’s get into it!
Movie of the year
Everything Everywhere All At Once – turns out I saw one movie in theatre this year and this was it. I regret nothing. Firstly, Michelle Yeoh is a queen through and through. Secondly, this movie made me feel indescribable emotions felt long after viewing. Please, watch this movie. (A24)
Levar Burton Reads – as a kid who grew up with Star Trek and Reading Rainbow, Levar Burton is a personal hero of mine. He’s funny, incredibly smart and witty, I just love him. He also has the reading voice of an angel – the first story he read I burst into tears out of nostalgia. It’s perfect for plane rides, too. (Stitcher)
RENAISSANCE by Beyoncé – no one should be surprised. I didn’t post my Spotify Wrapped or Apple Music Replay this year because there was one artist on it. She simply will not let me go! Or am I refusing to let go? The answer is yes. (Spotify)
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune – rarely does a book make me cry, but this book did just that. Wallace lives a rigid life and passes away without him realizing it. This book chronicles Wallace’s journey from life to death and beyond in the most poignant way that will reshape what you think about life and love. (Bookshop)
The Bear – there isn’t much else I can say that hasn’t already been said about this incredible show, including Kim’s entire Sunday post about it that I love. This show is everything I want – fast paced, Chicago based, and drily hilarious. Honestly, I need to catch up on some stellar TV, like Severance, but “The Bear” will be rewatched many times. (Hulu)
Scenes from an Open Marriage from Jean Garnett – sometimes I’ll be going about my life like normal and then think, “Oh my gosh I wonder how Jean is doing right now??” This article continues to stick with me. Thank you to Toby for the recommendation, it rocked my dang world. (The Paris Review)
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya – I made this for Mardi Gras this year and I almost sat in front of the stove to eat the entire pot. It’s THAT good. There’s so much flavor and spice, and rice is one of my love languages. Paired with a sweet pazcki afterwards, it was my favorite meal of the year. (Joy the Baker)
Juno Sushi in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago – I am a huge fan of sushi, but going to Juno was my first omakase experience. Meaning “I leave it up to you,” the chef serves whatever is fresh that day in 12 to 15 small plate courses. I did not know seafood could taste so divine. I keep saying “it was like motorboating the ocean,” and I stand by that.
Destination or event
KAYTRANADA at the Aragon Ballroom – this event rang in the New Year for me. Have you ever been to a concert by yourself? It is a spiritual experience. It’s just you and the music unencumbered. I walked home from the venue at 1am in the rain feeling like my year started out incredibly right. (Spotify)
Clean It Zero double cleanse – friends, let me tell you about the wonders of Korean skincare. To say it’s been a game changer is an understatement. It’s not as many steps as you think but it teaches you to really take your time with your skincare routine because your skin deserves it and it’s the ultimate self care. (Soko Glam)
What got you through this year?