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Our Best of 2022 List

Our Best of 2022 list, an annual feature from the Avenue Property Group, highlights our favorites from media, shopping, dining and travel.

It’s officially that time of year again. That time of year that just as soon as the Halloween decorations come down, folks start planning for Christmas. Forgetting of course that Thanksgiving comes first. Our lives this year were defined by a post-pandemic rebirth as it were, when we all stepped back into the world and rediscovered that its not quite as scary as we had been led to believe. Mercifully, culture pressed on.

This month, as we’ve done for the last several years, we’ll be highlighting and celebrating some of our most remarkable finds of the year including our favorite stories, books, podcasts, music, movies, shows and products of the year. We’ll also be touching on our favorite local restaurants and weekend escapes.

In a year where this list could easily have been the ‘Worst of 2022’, we’d like to encourage you to contribute.  We’re interested to hear what you think of the list, and how yours would differ from ours.  So we’re leaving commenting turned on below.  So let us have it!

*Word of note here, this is not to say that these things were necessarily released to the public in 2022, but rather, when we discovered them.

Happy Holidays
– Brian.

JUMP TO:

News  ·  Stories  ·  Books  ·  Podcasts  ·  Music
Movies  ·  TV  ·  Apps  ·  Shopping  ·  Dining  ·  Travel

Headlines around the world

Every year it seems we see some crazy headlines in the news. 2022 was certainly no different. From foreign affairs to shock TV right here in our own backyard, here’s our list of some of the biggest, scariest, and craziest headlines of 2022.

  • The Inflation Surge – 2022 marked a return to the real world, be it back to work, to reunite with loved ones, or watch Top Gun: Maverick on the big screen. Going back into the sunlight though came with the grim revelation that gas prices reached a national high of $5 per gallon, housing prices rose 5.5%, food prices rose 11.9%, and energy prices rose 34.6%. And it’s only gotten worse as the year has gone on.
  • Depp v. Heard – In our vast history of celebrity court cases, and sadly there have been many, none have been so bizarre (and spawned countless memes) as the high profile civil lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. After weeks of testimony regarding alleged abuse on each side, the jury found Depp and Heard both liable. However, Depp came out on top, with Heard ordered to pay $10,350,000. $2 million in damages were awarded to Heard, who continues to fight the verdict.
  • Russian Invasion of Ukraine – On February 24th, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ukraine’s capitol of Kyiv, and the fighting hasn’t stopped since. The invasion prompted a mass exodus as Europe is experiencing its largest refugee crisis since the 1940s. The effects of Putin’s war though is being felt worldwide. As Ukraine continues to fight, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being praised for his bravery and communication skills.
  • God Save the Queen – Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s longest serving Monarch passed away in February at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as head of state spanned post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and the UK’s entry into – and withdrawal from – the European Union. Her funeral and Prince Charles’ subsequent ascension to the throne captivated audiences worldwide, as coverage of the Royal Family dominated the news.
  • Twitter has a new Owner – Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, finally closed on the purchase of the much loved social media platform in October. Throughout the year, there were serious questions as to whether the deal would close with Musk repeatedly raising concerns about Twitter’s saturation of ‘bot’ accounts. He closed the week of the deadline, and headlines about feature changes, employee terminations, and it’s user base leaving for alternate platforms has been dominating the tech news ever since.

Once upon a time…

We are voracious readers. Books, news apps, blogs, newspapers, and social media all feed that appetite. But there are some articles that just fall outside of the norm that we find interesting. Here’s our take on some of our favorite of the year.

Cold Weather

How to take the plunge with cold water therapy

Cold water therapy is a technique that involves immersing yourself in cold water for short periods of time—sounds nuts, right? Well, it’s actually said to have a number of positive benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved mental clarity. But where did cold water therapy come from, and how could you benefit?

Giza Pyramids

Go inside the great pyramid of Giza

I’ve always found Egyptian history completely fascinating. But since I’m not quite the world traveller, the internet has opened up a lot access for those that can’t and don’t make those trips. The Giza Project, for the first time ever, takes viewers inside the world of Khufu’s Pyramid at Giza, all from the comfort and safety of home.

Scary Stories

The 50 Scariest Books of All Time

Humans are a storytelling animal, and we’ve spent centuries using our powers to scare each other senseless. How novel, then, that what we consider scary varies from person to person. And how perfect it is that Book Riot put together this amazing list of scariest books of all time.

Funny Wildlife

Comedy Wildlife Photo Contest

From smiling triggerfish to a waving raccoon, the shortlisted images for the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photo awards have been announced. Whittled down from thousands of entries submitted by professional and amateur photographers from around the world, we’re presented with a wonderful mix of hilarious wildlife.

Nursery Rhymes

Dark Origins of Nursery Rhymes

Childhood nursery rhymes sound so pleasant when weary parents use them to put their children to sleep. But did you know, that Mother Goose, the grand dame of kiddie poems has got a bit of a dark streak, as evidenced by the unexpectedly sinister theories surrounding the origins of these 10 well-known nursery rhymes.

Books we couldn’t put down

There is a never a lack of great books coming down the pipeline, and each year we try to read some fiction, some non-fiction, with a little bit of personal development and business / wealth-building titles. This year we found some doozies.

Tax Free Wealth

Tax Free Wealth

Tax-Free Wealth is about tax planning concepts. It’s about how to use your country’s tax laws to your benefit. In this book, Tom Wheelwright will tell you how the tax laws work and how they are designed to reduce your taxes, not to increase your taxes. 

The Storyteller

The Storyteller

Most performers would feel blessed to be part of a successful band. Dave Grohl did it twice, with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. And in his own immortal words, “So… i’ve written a book“. And it’s everything you think it would be.

The Daughter of Auschwitz

The Daughter of Auschwitz

A powerful memoir by one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz, Tova Friedman, about her childhood growing up during the Holocaust, surviving a string of near-death experiences in a Jewish ghetto, Nazi labor camp, and Auschwitz.

Politikill

Politikill

Imagine if someone recorded politicians accepting bribes. Or, an execution squad murdered corrupt legislators on camera, then broadcast politicians’ wrongdoings. A powerful sophomore novel by Timothy Sojka.

The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money

In The Psychology of Money, award-winning author Morgan Housel shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.

Like movies, but for the ears

Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the last several years, and even prompted a lot of folks, just like me, to cancel Audible subscriptions in their favor. And you can listen to just about any topic you could imagine. Here are some of our favorites this year.

Think Like a CEO

think like a CEO

Think Like A CEO weaves a narrative of business and life lessons, including developing business strategies, hiring the right people, and developing a culture that truly puts people first. Hosted by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

She Needs Grit

She Needs Grit

The She Needs Grit podcast is the perfect place for entrepreneurs to explore, learn about, and implement actionable takeaways in each of the four pillars of business success – Grit, confidence, strategy, and simplicity.

The PIketon Massacre

The Piketon Massacre

Four crime scenes, thirty-two gunshot wounds, eight members of the Rhoden family left dead in their homes. Two years later a local family of four, the Wagners, are arrested and charged with the crimes.

The Apology Line

The Apology Line

If you could call a number and say you’re sorry, and no one would know…what would you apologize for? For fifteen years, you could call a number in Manhattan and do just that. This is the story of the line.

Haunted Road

Haunted Road

Amy Bruni, star of the hit TV shows Kindred Spirits and Ghost Hunters, takes listeners on a guided tour of America’s most haunted locations, with the help of expert paranormal investigators who have actually been there.

Music you won’t find on mainstream radio

We tend to shy away from mainstream commercial music, even that which comes out of Nashville because, to us, it all sounds repetitive and silly. I can’t even tell you the last time my car stereo tuned into a local station. This year’s selections all hail from the Americana category, which is what country was before it sadly became what it is.

American Heartbreak

American Heartbreak

American Heartbreak is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Zach Bryan. In it, Bryan explores the ins and outs of his last five years in hopes to inspire his listeners to pick up an instrument and become an artist in their own right.

True Sadness

True Sadness

The Avett Brothers culled this masterpiece from heartache, and in doing so, caught the attention of a really big fish. Texas Monthly chose the haunting No Hard Feelings track as the backdrop for their immensely popular Tom Brown’s Body podcast.

One to Grow On

One to Grow On

Hailed by SavingCountryMusic.com as the single greatest act in country music today, Mike & the Moonpies’ One to Grow On follows a central character throughout its nine tracks as he perseveres through life’s struggles, and celebrates its triumphs.

The Light Saw Me

The Light Saw Me

No would expect the otherwise traditional Jason Boland, to write an album around the story of a cowboy living in Texas in the 1890s who is abducted by aliens and ends up back in Texas in the 1990s. But that’s exactly what he did, and it’s brilliant.

Take It Like a Man

Take It Like a Man

Not one to shy away from doing something completely new, Shires draws on her solo experience as well as her time in the 400 Unit and the Highwomen to craft a deeply personal introspective on her life and relationships.

At the Movies or Streaming at Home

After a year in which the movie industry saw streaming services skyrocket in popularity, Hollywood finally returned to the movie theaters this year, and brought some seriously big hits with them. We can almost certainly count on the big ‘theaters vs. streaming’ release decision from here on out:

Top Gun Maverick

Top Gun Maverick

It only took 36 years for it to happen, but Tom Cruise’s breakout role (well, one of them) finally got it’s sequel, and it is an action-packed thrill ride that actually delivers… and pays homage to your favorite characters from the original.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

The Reese Whitherspoon produced adaptation of Delia Owen’s bestseller about the marsh-girl accused of murder packs an emotional gut punch, with a ‘if you haven’t read it’ surprise ending that’s sure to satisfy.

The Batman

The Batman

A lot of fans were worried about Robert Pattinson taking over the role from Christian Bale, but the dark reimagining worked and smashed box offices. It probably didn’t hurt that Pattinson likely brought his throngs of Twilight fans along for the ride.

Elvis

Elvis

The most recent iteration of the story of Elvis Presley was universally praised and even got the thumbs up from the superstar’s family and estate. That closing scene, using actual footage, was utterly heartbreaking to watch.

Thirteen Lives

Thirteen Lives

Based on the true story about the Tham Luang cave rescue of a Thailand boys soccer team and their coach, this masterfully crafted movie from Ron Howard is not for the faint of heart or claustrophobics.. but it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Remember when binging wasn’t about TV?

Breaking Bad not only had a massive following of loyal watchers… it also coined the phrase binge-watching that applies to so many more shows these days. All these new streaming services have created a new addiction for movie and television watchers. Here’s some that we loved this year:

Black Bird

Black Bird

Inspired by actual events, this series chronicles the events of Jimmy Keane’s participation in eliciting a confession from a suspected serial killer in exchange for securing his own release from prison. Find it on Apple TV.

Inventing Anna

Inventing Anna

It didn’t take Julia Garner long to parlay her Ozark success into another amazing role in Inventing Anna – the story of Anna Delvey, a con artist that convinced New York’s elite that she was a German heiress. Watch it on Netflix.

Dahmer

Dahmer

The latest Netflix true-crime docudrama tells the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered 17 teen boys and young men across more than a decade. The show broke a ton of Netflix records for viewership and drew mass criticism from victim’s families.

Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

Descend into the world of true crime podcasts. This NAACP Image Award-winning mystery series stars Octavia Spencer as podcaster Poppy Parnell, who risks everything, including her life, to pursue truth and justice.

Jack Ryan

Jack Ryan

It’s not often that TV spinoffs of original movies hold my interest, but Amazon has done an amazing job with Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. And with Homeland coming to an end, John Krasinski fills the spy genre beautifully, if not unexpectedly.

What app should I download next?

The Apple App store and Google Play both maintain top app lists, but their rankings are typically determined simply by downloads.. and I don’t know about you… but I’ve got lots of apps that I rarely use. That’s why we’d like to share our list of apps that we use everyday. Perhaps you’ll find that even just one of these can become a new favorite.

Follow Up Boss

Follow Up Boss

Built primarily for the real estate industry, this CRM app is perhaps the best client management platform I’ve ever used, and believe me when I say that I’ve tried them all. Fast, responsive, feature-packed and an active support community with developer participation means it’s solid… and affordable.

Lifesum

Lifesum

Everyone is familiar with MyFitnessPal, but we actually prefer Lifesum. It’s faster, more customizable, has a large header chart to keep you easily updated, tracks water intake, and connects to fitness wearables to easily account for your exercise.

Craft

Craft

This fantastic little app was released last year, and actually won Apple’s design award for best new app… but it’s undergone significant feature upgrades since. It’s a note-taking app on steroids, and should own a space on your most used apps list.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music

Did you know that Amazon Prime members ALSO get free access to Amazon Music’s Prime tier? It’s not the full fledged product that you can pay for, but it DOES include access to over 100 million songs as part of your membership… ad free.

Zones

Zones

If you’re a big fan of the fitness features of the Apple Watch, you need to become familiar with Zones. Zones monitors your exercise intensity and visualizes it in meaningful ways. Know your activities and be smart about how you work out.

Take our money, Amazon

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like we’re on a first name basis with the Amazon delivery guy. He brings me my stuff and never complains! And this year, we came across some amazing products that we just had to share. A LOT of these are currently having pre-black-friday sales right now.

Surge Protector

Addtam Surge Protector

Nutribullet

Nutribullet Pro Blender

65" Amazon Fire TV

65″ Amazon Fire TV

Google Nest Cameras

Google Nest Cameras

DJI Mavic 3

DJI Mavic 3 Drone

Pilot G-2

The Best Pens on the Planet

Bloom Greens & Superfood

Bloom Greens & Superfood

RENPHO Digital Scale

RENPHO Digital Scale

Charging Bedside Lamp

Charging Bedside Lamp

Outdoor String Lights

Outdoor String Lights

Airpods Max

Apple Airpods Max

Canon R6 Mirrorless Camera

Canon R6 Camera

PreSonus Desktop Speakers

PreSonus Speakers

iHome Vacuum Robot

iHome Vacuum Robot

Blackstone Griddle

Blackstone Griddle

Food is life

Foodies everywhere know that Houston is among the top culinary destinations in the nation for fine dining experiences. But did you know that the Katy/Fulshear area, particularly in the last several years, has seen an explosion of new dining options in our area. Here’s some to check out:

Roko Grill

Roko Grill

ROKO Grill is a Fast Casual Restaurant that fuses South American flavors with traditional American BBQ. Dishes include sweet or spicy sausage, burgers, tequenos, and Venezuelan-style fried cheese sticks.

Pearl & Vine

Pearl & Vine

Pearl and Vine is a locally-owned restaurant serving wood-fired steak and seafood in an elegant atmosphere. The chef-inspired menu includes wood-fired steak and seafood, oysters, rotisserie chicken, hand-crafted pizza, pasta, and desserts.

Snappy's

Snappy’s Cafe & Grill

Snappy’s Cafe and Grill is a family-owned joint serving Classic American diner fare, including Greek dishes, in casual digs for breakfast and lunch. From their extensive breakfast selection to their lunch specials, Snappy’s satisfies.

Fusion Grill

Fusion Grill

Fusion Grill specializes in unique, gourmet fusion food, including a massive selection of gourmet burgers, sandwiches, tacos, hot dogs, and flavor packed fries with unique toppings. Come hungry, because these entrees are amazing…. and huge!

Orlean Seafood Kitchen

Orleans Seafood Kitchen

Their Katy location was so popular, they had to open a second location, this time in Fulshear, for all the locals craving amazing seafood with a cajun flair. The Fulshear location offers both a seated experience, and a self serve option for a quick bite.

The greatest escapes

It’s never too late in the year to start planning your getaways – Lord knows we all need them… particular after the last couple of years we’ve had. But because it IS the season, we threw in a couple of holiday locales to kindle that spirit too!

Bullock Texas History Museum

Bullock Texas History Museum

Tucked away inside the 40 Acres in downtown Austin, lies an incredible testamentary and tribute to the great State of Texas. The Bullock Museum of Texas History features amazing exhibitions, a cafe, store, and even an IMAX theater.

Lakeway Resort & Spa

Lakeway Resort & Spa

And while you’re in Austin, you’re going to need a place to crash. Our favorite is the Lakeway Resort & Spa, nestled along the shoreline of Lake Travis. Its amazing accommodations with balcony suites, resort & rec pools, amazing dining and more all await you.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know about this secluded spot. Students at SHSU keep it kinda close to the vest. But it features some of the bluest waters in Texas, which is just perfect for when the sun and the heat return to our great State.

Grapevine

Grapevine

Known as the Christmas Capital of Texas, Grapevine hosts 40 days of the traditional Christmas experience each year featuring dazzling lighting and decorations, animated characters, dining, shopping and even a holiday parade.

Polar Express

The Polar Express

The captivating story comes to life the minute the train departs the Palestine Depot for the journey to the North Pole, as passengers relive the magic of the tale onboard The Polar Express.

So that’s it. That’s our list for 2022. What do you think? What would you add, and why? We’ve opened up the comments section below because we want to hear from you. So let us have it! And until next year, have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Need more? Check out Best of 2021 and Best of 2020 lists before you go.

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