How I Survived 2016


In the prophetic words of Kylie Jenner, 2016 was the year of “like…realizing stuff.”  Gigi realized she really did love Zayn.  Brangelina realized they wanted their own names back.  Drake realized maybe he didn’t love Rihanna…maybe he loves J.Lo.  And for me, at 28, I realized I was riddled with anxiety and not doing anything about it.  So my year was spent keeping my head above water and retraining my brain.  Oh, I also realized I should’ve been filling in my eyebrows this whole time.  FML.

There were a number of things that helped me survive, and even enjoy 2016.  These things kept me smiling even when the world felt like The Twilight Zone – because holy shit, 2016 was fucking weird.  I came out of 2016 a far better and happier person than I entered.  At one point, I had someone ask me what I used to do for fun when I didn’t feel so much anxiety.  Turns out, I wasn’t doing those things anymore.  Now, I remind myself of something my mom taught me – no matter how hard the times, you still need to have fun.

These are the things I’m #grateful I had last year.  In no particular order.

Small children & animals – I would’ve believed you if you had told me getting a pet would be beneficial to my mental health, but I didn’t know HOW beneficial.  We got our cat, Marilyn, at the end of 2015 and she is perfect.  She’s an incredibly calming presence and she keeps me to some kind of schedule, which I have never been able to do.  I am also lucky enough to have a 1 yr old nephew, a 2 yr old niece, a 6 yr old cousin, and my best friend’s 1 yr old to play with and/or stare at.  These kids bring me more joy than they will ever know.  I am so grateful to their parents for all the pictures and videos – if they were physical tapes, I would’ve worn them all out by now.

John Mayer & Katy Perry – Weird, right?  Let me explain.  When I travel by plane, I will often have an anxiety attack of some degree.  At one point this year, I was traveling alone to SLC and I totally lost it just before boarding.  I had no choice but to suck it up and board the plane.  I started panicking until I remembered I had a couple albums downloaded to my phone.  Actually, I had two.  JM’s Paradise Valley and KP’s PRISM.  I know both these albums backward and forward, and listening to them literally saved me from a full-on meltdown at 10,000 ft.  They may not love each other anymore, but damnit I love them!  Paradise Valley is now my go-to SOS album.  I highly recommend finding yours.

HeadspaceHeadspace is a mindfulness app.  How many times have you heard the word “mindfulness” lately?  If not, you will.  It will probably get obnoxious, but believe the hype.  Mindfulness can be magic.  I had tried to incorporate mindfulness/meditation into my life multiple times, but as I mentioned, I’m terrible at routines and nothing stuck.  I tried Headspace on a whim – you get 10 free 10-minute sessions, then full access costs around $6/month or $90/year.  The cost is substantial, but I.  Was.  Desperate.  I’ve now used this app for just over 100 days in a row.  I love it so much and truly look forward to it every single day.

The Life of Pablo – I probably would never suggest this album to anyone.  Not because I don’t think it’s effing genius, because I do – it’s just not super accessible to everyone and I’m not about to argue with anyone over Kanye.  This album was my motivation many, many days.  I had multiple cathartic cries to “Waves” and “FML” and let’s be real, “Famous” made 2016 way more awesome. The way this album flows, by the end, I feel like I’ve let go of a lotta shit and I’m ready to go chill with KKW.

Views & Drake in general – Drake REALLY did it for me this year.  Views is an album that can chill me out when I have ZERO CHILL happening.  It’s SO long and keeps the most relaxing, chill tone throughout.  Not to mention you get RiRi if you stick it out to the end.  Drake’s wordplay is some of my favorite of all time.  I honestly think you could survive a whole day only speaking in Drake lyrics.  “Welcome to Chick-Fil-A, how may I serve you?:  Number SIX SIX SIX!” “What do you think of my new boyfriend!?: More immature than Marcus Houston.” “Are we there yet?:  Just Hold On, We’re Goin’ Home.” “Excuse me, are you looking for something specific?: I’m out here looking for reveeeenge.”  “How long are you going to talk in Drake lyrics!?: All summer sixteen.”  THEY DON’T WANT US TO HAVE A BIGGER POOL THAN KANYE.     

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – My mom and I LOVE a good murder mystery series and, between us, we have seen a good 80% of them, which is saying a lot.  Miss Fisher is basically the Murder Mystery of my dreams – A sassy, sexy, independent lady detective solves crimes in 1920s Melbourne.  I have watched every episode at least three times (because there are only three seasons) and it is my absolute favorite escape.  Sound like your jam?  Netflix that shit.    

Books – For Christmas 2015, I got a number of memoirs and I loved them all.  I’ve always been more of a fiction reader than a non-fiction reader, but in 2016 I realized that a good memoir/self-help/bio can be incredibly motivating.  This was the first year I had non-fictions in regular rotation and now I’m converted.  My personal literary cocktail is some non-fiction in the morning to get you going and then fiction at night to escape real life.  That’s the ticket.  So thank you Khloé Kardashian, Drew Barrymore, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Emily Gordon.  Boy, that would make a funny dinner party.

EAT – In 2014, Jimmy and I released EAT.  It was our first feature film and it has now lived on the internet for just over two years.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading what people say about EAT. – good or bad.  And some people really hated EAT.  We get tweets/emails/reviews at least a few times a month and it keeps us alive and ready for the next one.  Best of all – we were MEMED this year!  So yeah, I love my little horror movie that could.

I can’t wait to see what new things I find to help me through 2017.  I can tell you one thing, it will have a lot to do with this Kylie Jenner calendar on my wall, the John Mayer tickets currently in my email, and whatever Katy Perry has up her pastel pink sleeve!

Hang in there, everyone!  2017 is going to be bumpy, but don’t throw out your party pants.  Never throw out your party pants!

“Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith


I’m so hooked on this series.  It’s killing me with the cliffhangers, and the creepy creepers, and the terrible fiancé!  I love it.  This one was a bit dark in the best way and I was legit creeped out.  I really hate being scared by movies, but there’s something I love about being scared by books.  Flashback to when I was a wee 9 year old, reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  I was alone in my room and I reached the part where Tom Riddle rearranged the letters of his name to be Lord Voldemort.  I was so scared, I had to stop reading and join the rest of my family in the living room.  Shocker that, as a 28 year old, I was thoroughly creeped out, alone in my room, reading a book by the same damn author.  JK – 2, Annie – 0.


“Rebels: City of Indra” by Kendall & Kylie Jenner


Of course I read this book!  I had no idea what it would be like, but I gotta tell ya, I was super entertained the whole time.  The book is a collaboration between K&K, their manager Liz, and Maya Sloan.  It seems odd to me that Sloan is considered a ghost writer when her name is on the first page.  Not totally ghosty.  But that’s why I love these girls.  The first thing they said was “Of course we hired a writer.  We can’t write an entire novel on our own.”  Because as Kim says, “do what you want, but own up to it.”  I love that they did press with their writer, thanked her endlessly, and never denied her existence.  But that’s how the K/Js roll.

I think this collaboration worked wonders.  If you are fans of these girls, the connection to the characters is immediate and it really is written quite well.  The world building is phenomenal – plenty of gnarly post-apocolyptic visuals.  And I’ll say that the plot lines were never too eye rolly.  We’re not winning pulitzer prizes here people, but we’re keeping the kids reading!  It’s unfortunate that the trolls immediately pushed this thing aside because I think they accomplished a pretty big feat.  YA novels can get bad, especially when written by disconnected adults, and not every kid is into the classics like this nerd.  This book is more about adventure and coming into your own, and less about the pressure of sex and boys who don’t text you back.  So suck it, internet.  I liked it.

“Joyland” by Stephen King


Confession: this is the first Stephen King book I’ve ever read.  Whatever, I read a lot of books.  I don’t feel bad.  Anyway, this was a bargain buy.  I like to hit up my neighborhood Barnes & Noble every so often to see how sad it is, for one, and to pick up any clearance deals.  I judge these books by their covers as they’re often haphazardly stacked on a cart.  Obviously this cover was amazing.

Color me really fucking excited when this book turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster of awesomeness.  I liked it so much, I immediately mailed it to my mom for her to read.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.

I don’t like to blab on too much in my posts because who wants me to ruin the experience?  I will say that this book will make most grown people cry.  There is a sense of magic in this book that I haven’t experienced in while.  You have an incredibly vivid world full of unique characters, and on top of that, a murder mystery!

“House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton


I read the first seventy pages of this book the first time I picked it up.  It had been sitting on my shelf, looking all fancy, and I finally gave it a turn.  Loved it.  I was engulfed in the world and caught up in all the drama the whole way through.

I expected controversy when I began this book, but I didn’t quite expect darkness.  This isn’t Pride & Prejudice where Elizabeth gets Mr. Darcy in the end.  Instead, nobody will marry our heroine, dooming her to a miserable life.  But oh the drama!  It’s a turn of the century Real Housewives.  So many fabulous characters with tragic flaws doing expensive things.  Don’t be intimidated by the darkness.  This was well worth the read.  I’m excited to read the other two novels that come in this adorable set.

“Dollhouse” by Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé Kardashian


I have a lot of love for these ladies.  They don’t give two fucks.  Actually, they don’t give any fucks.  I respect that.  I also happen to think they’re hilarious and entertaining as hell.  Do I think they’re good at writing novels?  Not really.  To be fair, they didn’t write this shit.

I’ll say this – have you ever seen an episode of Passions?  It was a Soap Opera in the early 2000s that had a fantastical vibe – there were witches and magic and shit.  Anyway, I would equate this book to that show.  It’s a quick read, it’s pretty funny for the most part (as you can see by the quote I chose) and you don’t really have to be paying attention while you read to put it all together in the end.

And I had to know.  I had to.

“‘J’ is for Judgement” by Sue Grafton


Another one down.  This one was kinda depressing as far as main storyline went, but it was great everywhere else.  Kinsey finds out she has family nearby – bummer.  Rosie and Henry’s brother are getting married – gasp!  But no collateral damage done on this one.  No bullet wounds or concussions suffered.  Just blows to the heart.

How could I not write that?  It was staring me in the face!  Anyway, K is for Killer.