I decided to make a “Brett’s Favorites 2023” part 2. I missed a few things in the first list. This will be a shorter post, but should cover some gaps I left in the first one.

Apps I Missed

I use Timing every day for keeping track of how I spend my time on my computer (and my iPhone). When I start a new project, at the end of the day I open up the main window and add rules by dragging and dropping relevant files and keywords, so time spend on that project is automatically tracked moving forward. I even made an importer for Doing that combines my time tracking with my What Was I Doing? file.
I got back into Noteplan in the latter half of 2023. I love the idea of combining my notes and brainstorming with scheduling, todos, and time blocking. All using Markdown. It’s a beautiful idea and superbly executed.

A Little Fiction

I read a ton in 2023, mostly via audiobooks. So “read” might be a stretch, but I do love audiobooks. I won’t list everything I’ve read here, but a couple of standouts:

Flux by Jeremy Robinson
I read so many books from Jeremy Robinson this year. He weaves excellent sci-fi stories. Also check out Infinite. The twists are insidiously satisfying.
In the lives of Puppets by TJ Klune
There’s a space for queer Sci-Fi, and TJ Klune does an amazing job of occupying it. This book takes the idea of a future dominated by robots and few (one?) remaining human and makes it a truly heartwarming journey. Thanks to Jesse Darst for cluing me into this one.


No Bad Parts by Richard C. Schwartz
I’ve been doing a lot of therapy this year and only recently discovered Internal Family Systems, which has been a game changer. I won’t explain the psychology of it here, but if you want to learn more about the parts of you that might prevent you from being your true self, definitely check this out. I bought the e-book version for my Kindle, but also bought the audiobook version for its guided meditations.
What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma
This was the year I realized I had Complex PTSD, and I did a lot of reading around it. This one serves more as a memoir than a treatment plan, so take it along with some actual therapy. A lot of hope here, though.
The Mental Health Corner on Overtired means a lot to me. I get to share my journey through CPTSD, ADHD, and Bipolar, as well as hear from people who go through very similar things to me. It’s kind of its own version of therapy (though it can’t replace actual therapy.) If you have issues of your own, you’ll probably be able to relate to me, Christina, and Jeff as we share. I recommend checking it out.


The Wicked Healthy Cookbook
If you’re vegan or aspiring to be, this book is a must-have. Truly delicious food and techniques that even a non-vegan can appreciate. I’m pescatarian for the time being, but cooking without meat, dairy, or (in my case) gluten means I’m always looking for recipes that actually taste amazing but fit my diet.
The Vegan Chinese Kitchen
I’ve been into Chinese cooking lately, and it’s pretty easy to make it vegan. I also recommend Yeung Man Cooking (also available as a digital version for $20), and the author has a YouTube channel worth checking out.
Misen Carbon Steel Pans
I have been through countless non-stick pan solutions over the years. I long for the convenience, but nothing seemed to stand the test of time. Our trusty cast iron pan outlasted all of them by miles, and with a good chain mail scrubber1, they’re very easy to care for. Then I tried carbon steel pans and have decided that that’s the way forward. They become more non-stick over time as a a natural result of material and seasoning, rather than quickly losing some chemical coating and becoming a stickier mess than your typical aluminum pan. I admit I’m awful at properly caring for non-stick pans, which is why I needed a solution that just got better the more you used it (and could handle high heats). Misen has always impressed me, and their carbon steel pans have proven to be an excellent solution.
Milk Street Nakiri
My favorite chef’s knife is still my Misen, but this “vegetable knife” is pretty amazing. It’s a great form factor, and I love it. If you want to spend about half as much, there are plenty of similar options. I can vouch for the Milk Street one, though. Lightweight, sharp, textured blade for gripping between thumb and forefinger.
Tumbler Diamond Rolling Knife Sharpener
I love a sharp kitchen knife, but have never been great at sharpening myself or sending my knives off for professional sharpening. That’s why I jumped on this when I discovered it, and it’s been 100% worth the investment. Definitely get the strop, too.

Other Hardware

I said I didn’t buy a lot of hardware this year, but I dug through my Amazon purchases and found the stuff that I actually love.

Elgato Stream Deck Pedal
I’m all in on Elgato stuff, from my Wave XLR to my multiple Stream Decks. But what was missing was buttons for my feet, and the Stream Deck Pedal has filled that gap nicely. I tried a few other, cheaper USB pedal solutions before I gave in and purchased this, and I’ll tell you that nothing else works as well. Whether you need a cough button, control over your Twitch stream lighting, or just want to be able to launch an automation with your foot, it’s a lot of fun.
Minoston Z-Wave Outlet Mini Plug-in Socket
I’m only dipping my toes in Homekit, with a lot of hope for Matter, but for now my home automation is mostly Insteon and Z-Wave. These little plugs have made automating the Christmas lights I use for warming up various rooms super easy.
Tineco Pure ONE S15 Pet Smart Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
I was a big fan of Dyson stick vacuums, but they kept breaking on me. Too much maintenance. So I decided to try something new. This one has been excellent. I’ve been using it for about 6 months and have only had to clean it once. Plus I love/hate the little headlight it has on it; I love it because it helps me see all the grit I’m picking up, but I hate it because it makes it obvious when I’m going too fast.
  1. Wait, you didn’t know about chain mail? You can scrub the living hell out of a cast iron (or carbon steel) pan with chain mail and it won’t destroy the seasoning or cause any rusting. If you like heavy cookware, you need one of these. Do not use it on a non-stick pan. 

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