Looking Back on 2014

I’ve been avoiding writing this post.

It’s not just because this year-end posts are time-consuming and I always forget something. If you recall last year’s post, I ended 2013 feeling really proud of myself for having accomplished so much. And I was proud of myself because I had consciously said “yes” to opportunities rather than saying “no”, as I usually do.

Unfortunately, in 2014, I didn’t say “yes” as much as I wanted to.

I won’t sugarcoat it: 2014 was difficult for me. This past summer was especially unkind to me, definitely one of the worst I’ve experienced thus far. Life is full of ups and downs; where 2013 proved to have more ups, 2014 had a not-insignificant number of downs.

As I write this, I am laughing to myself in spite of how painful this past year has been because well, this is almost exactly how I began my 2013 recap post, with a bit of yammering about ups and downs. Man, if only I knew it could get worse! I know now: Next year can always be worse.

But let’s not get bogged down in how much 2014 tested me. After all, I survived it! I live to fight another day. Let’s see what I survived this year:

  • Managed to have a little fun with our extreme polar vortex cold weather
  • Went to Atlantic City with my boyfriend and friends for Yelp’s Winter Break
  • Survived a small car accident (and learned to really fear driving in inclement weather)
  • Celebrated Chinese New Year in with my family in China for the first time
    • Set off legit fireworks
    • Visited Harbin’s Ice & Snow Festival
    • Saw a North Korean ice-skating troupe perform
    • Achieved a new nosebleed record (and had to have my nose cauterized twice when I came home)
  • Live-tweeted the 86th Academy Awards out of loneliness
    A sample of some of my live-tweets from early on in the evening.
  • Participated (sorta) in the March DisneyBound Challenge

    Marie (The Aristocats)
    Marie from The Aristocats
  • Completed (almost) BEDA (Blog Every Day April)
  • Started a new job
  • Went on my first bar crawl

    Commemorative mugs that change color when you put an icy beverage in!
    Commemorative mugs that change color when you put an icy beverage in!
  • Attended a Wale & Big Sean concert

    Not pictured: Big Sean, Wale
  • Purchased this domain name you are visiting right now
  • Made a flower crown
  • Took another family vacation on a cruise ship

  • Trekked to New York for one of my too-rare solo pilgrimages to my old home city
  • Saw The Fray live at the National Zoo

    • Visited the National Zoo for the first time!
  • Left a new job
  • Ate a pork blood + lard cupcake — and liked it

    Pork blood red velvet cupcake with lard frosting and pork cracklings on top… maybe the least kosher thing I’ve ever had
  • Attended the first wedding of my own age/friend group (!!!)

    Congrats again to Emily and Phil! Thanks for sharing this day with us 🙂
  • Received my first wedding invitation for my own friend group
  • Cooked Thanksgiving dinner on my own

    Complete with folded napkins
  • Got a one-year membership to the National Aquarium

Let me tell you one of my main takeaways from 2014: I do love dressing up. Whether it’s for holidays…

St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day, wearing basically all the green I own

… DisneyBounds…

Mickey Mouse (Oscar night)
Mickey Mouse for the Oscars

… or for work…

Channeling the Cho Chang that never was with power couple Megan and Don (@andmegansaid and @thedonofgaming)
All aboard! Fun fact: Several people thought I was a real flight attendant who had stumbled upon a travel-themed party?
Ringmaster outfit for our Halloween party
Sassy Santa?

… I’m more than happy to dress for the occasion. I hope that I got more chances to do so, but I’m really finding a lot of enjoyment in coordinating an outfit around a theme, and I’m going to be incorporating that enjoyment into my resolutions for next year.


 

As always, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something from this past year. (Last year, I forgot that I saw Turquoise Jeep live!) But the important thing is that I survived this year. I can feel a real change in the person I am now versus who I was a year ago. It makes me kind of anxious and nervous about 2015 and what it will bring.

But regardless of how I feel, the sun will set and rise, another day will be there, and another calendar year will be upon us. I have my new planner ready to go, and I’m getting my resolutions post ready. I’m going to take the lessons I learned from 2013 and 2014 and try to make the best of 2015.

Thank you for your support during 2014. My year would have been so different without it.

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2014 in Film

It’s that time of year again! I hope you have all been having a lovely holiday season! I somehow managed to get myself to write way more movie reviews this year than I have in previous years, thanks in part to my discovering a decent system for finding free early screenings.

Criteria for this list are as follows:

  1. I saw it between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014
  2. It was released between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014
    • Exceptions will be made if they were released internationally this year
      • Snowpiercer was first released internationally last year but was released here this year so this is an exception to the exception
    •  The Wedding Ringer will be on next year’s list (if I don’t forget)

Without further ado, here is my 2014 movie roundup, in the order provided by Wikipedia:

* = early screening
** = not seen in theaters (streaming service/in-flight movie/DVD rental, etc.)
No notation indicates that I saw it in theater during its release

  1. Ride Along*
  2. From Vegas to Macau
  3. Ex-Files
  4. The Lego Movie**
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel**
  6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  7. The Right Kind of Wrong**
  8. Divergent
  9. The Trip to Italy
  10. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  11. The Fault in Our Stars
  12. Edge of Tomorrow
  13. Guardians of the Galaxy
  14. Snowpiercer**
  15. The Maze Runner*
  16. The Imitation Game 
  17. Gone Girl
  18. Big Hero 6*
  19. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
  20. Into the Woods*
  21. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies*

Total = 21*

*Updated 30 December with a last-minute addition to the party!
*Updated 31 December because I forgot I went to the movies in China!

I’m realizing I missed a lot of films that I really wanted to see this year. It was a really crazy year for me, and seeing movies was one of the things I sacrificed in the midst of all that chaos. (I mean, I had been wanting to see Snowpiercer since last year and I watched it yesterday so…)

Previously: 2013 in film || 2012 in film

(Do I watch fewer and fewer new releases every year, what’s going on…)

I may watch more between now and December 31, but here’s what I’ve got for you all.

2014 in film

What did you watch this year?
What movies that I missed do I have to make sure I see? (I know there are a lot, so I need help prioritizing.)

Busy Chanukah?

I’ve had a very eventful Chanukah, actually! Although I’m not Jewish, I figured this would be a good way to mark the time period and also its a fun holiday where you get to eat fried food (hit me up with some latke and sufganiyot) and play with dreidels and chocolate gelt. (In another life, I was destined to marry a nice Jewish boy.)

Let us begin!

On the first day of Chanukah, I spent the day ambling about the National Aquarium. I’ve been 2 times before, but I have this apparently unique habit of wanting to read every single sign. All of them. After all, someone worked very hard to make the signs and I want to learn and know what I’m looking at when I’m in an aquarium/museum/art gallery! It was nice to spend the day there without having someone rush me through the exhibits.

This is Calypso, their sea turtle. She is missing a fin/foot but is still the star of the aquarium.

I got to see the beautiful little golden lion tamarins, looking at me with their giant eyes and hugging each other.
(They later started humping each other about arm’s-length away from me and I will just assure myself that doesn’t mean anything.)

I had a lovely dinner and a lovely birthday cake. (But srsly, can a girl get some Carvel ice cream cake with those delectable chocolate crunchies?)

Chocolate cake!!! With a snowman and a tree on it. (They weren't edible...)
Chocolate cake!!! With a snowman and a tree on it. (They weren’t edible…)

I took my dad to the airport on Thursday (before seeing the last Hobbit film again) because my grandfather is unwell and he wants to look after him. This would begin a long weekend of me chauffeuring my family around.

On Friday, I was able to crash attend my old company’s holiday party at – wait for it – the Newseum! For those unfamiliar, the Newseum is a really cool museum that looks at our history and relationship with news. News is intensely important in informing us what is going on, whether in our own background or across the world, and it’s really amazing to see how far the news has come as well as how far we have come in parallel with the news.

Processed with VSCOcam

Processed with VSCOcam

Bartending in an elevator
Bartending in an elevator
I was craving doughnuts and LO AND BEHOLD! Doughnuts, macarons, and tiny pies
I was craving doughnuts and LO AND BEHOLD! Doughnuts, macarons, and tiny pies

Also it was fun scaring the bejeezus out of people who thought they would never see me again.

Even though it’s not free admission (SADNESS) (in a town with all the free Smithsonian institutions, it’s difficult to get me to pay for a museum or art gallery or zoo), I would really like to come back to the Newseum for a proper visit. While it’s a really cool venue, I don’t think it’s a great place for a celebratory party, given that a lot of news is, well, bad news. The coat check line hugged the wall with all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photos and people were stumbling around drunkenly through the 9/11 exhibit. It felt distasteful, in my opinion, but that’s no fault of the museum’s.

A tissue box provided by the museum in the 9/11 exhibit
A tissue box provided by the museum in the 9/11 exhibit
One of the antennae from the Twin Towers

Processed with VSCOcam

In any case, I had a lot of fun with my old coworkers and I’m glad I was able to see so many old familiar faces.
(ALSO WE HAVE A SLOW-MO VIDEO)

I came back from DC really late that evening, and was supposed to go to an alumni meeting Saturday morning but I totally slept in and missed it, whoops. Luckily, they very kindly invited me out to lunch and we had dumpling at “Mama’s Dumplings” (aka China Bistro) and tried the famous new bubble tea place SnowBots for some snow cream! I don’t really have many photos from Saturday but it was nice to catch up with this group from college that I really had fallen out of touch with. I also picked up my brother from school after picking up an extra boba for him as a post-finals treat.

On Sunday, my Yelp region had our annual holiday party! I went dressed as Santa (kinda) and a fun time was had by all. There was White Elephant, a gingerbread house contest, a mimosa bar, Italian food catered by Venti Tre, bagels galore, eggnog, a photo gbooth, etc. etc. Again, not many photos since I was working the event, but it was a lot of fun.

Afterwards, I went to a belated birthday dinner with my closest friends and my boyfriend and then we went back to my room to just chill for a bit and so that I could give everyone their Christmas gifts. (I’m so glad I cleaned my room!)

Yesterday, I mostly chilled before picking up my mom from the airport, thus having chauffeured every member of my immediate family and making a second trip to the airport.

And that’s been Hanukkah for me! If only I could get my hands on some potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts…

I’m a Moron & Questions About BotFA

Yesterday, I was invited to go see a late-ish showing of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with some of my high school friends. I wanted to say no originally, because I’ve seen it already and I needed to be up pretty early this morning, but then I reconsidered and decided I have to stop saying no to opportunities to do fun things.

Anyway, we had a group of 6 people total and were taking my friend’s minivan. Since I was one of the first people to get in the car, I thought it was only right for me to climb into the farthest back row rather than the middle row, so that I wouldn’t have to force people to climb over me. The minivan is well-loved, so the lights in the car didn’t turn on when the car doors were open and… well, the back seat wasn’t up. So when I climbed around the middle seats, turned around, and reached behind me for the seat…

I just landed on the floor of the van. Hard. On top of a tire iron, actually.

OH how we all laughed. I laughed the hardest, I think because my body didn’t know how to deal with what had just happened. I really thought there would be a seat up and had not even considered that it might be stowed away. My friend opened the trunk door to see my just on my butt, on this tire iron, laughing hysterically but also in pain.

There is now a bruise on my outer thigh/hip/butt area that doesn’t look too bad on the surface at all, thank goodness. (But it does hurt quite a bit to lie on my side. D:)

NOW I have a lot of questions about BotFA and a second viewing just made them more salient in my head. They are spoiler-y so they will come after this video. Please keep in mind that I have not read the novels so if these are questions that can be answered in the novel, or that you know the answers to, please do let me know! I want to know what is going on here.

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No post today

I hate to do this again, but today is kind of a day off from all responsibilities besides those to my family and my boyfriend (in that I don’t ignore them entirely), so no real post today.

Just wanted to throw something up here so that I don’t miss a Tuesday because I’ve been doing pretty well with my Tuesday/Friday updating!

See you all Friday!