Looking Back on 2019

Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody! Around here, another year means another recap. This year was obviously a really BIG year for me because of 2 major life transitions: (1) I moved to New York! and (2) I got married!! A lot of 2019 revolved around those two big transitions: settling into my new city and settling into my new marriage.

Despite what this highlights reel says, what it doesn’t say is that 2019 was not without difficulties. Leaving DC while furiously applying for jobs so that I could join Ben as quickly as possible meant that I felt rushed leaving behind my friends and family. Moving to New York while planning a DC-area wedding meant I spent the first half of the year with a foot in each city, not entirely in either. I spent a lot of time confused because I was grateful for all the time I was spending with Ben, first as an engaged couple and then as a married one, and for being in the city that I felt almost entitled to my entire life, but I felt lonely and longing for the companionship and community I left behind in a hurry back in DC.

With that being said, 2019 was still full of so many great moments!

GIF by KLMRead More »

Looking Back on 2018

Happy 2019 everyone!

Erm… it’s been an awful long time since my last blog post, and an awful lot has happened since then. To be honest, I kept thinking about explaining my absence and settling back into the regular posting schedule, but every time I did, I felt super anxious about both the explanation and the regular posting. It was a lot easier to not think about the blog.

But I’ve missed blogging a lot, and I could not let myself not post my annual year-in-review posts, which are the highlight of my blogging year every year. I’ve been reflecting on my calendar years basically since I started blogging in 2001, and I wasn’t going to let my rough year ruin my streak!

So let’s just start fresh and run through a list of what I did this year.
(Note: Photos, videos, and reference links will be added at a later date, so stay tuned to social media to see when this post will be ~complete~ in that respect. A lot of polishing is needed here, but I will be doing it.)Read More »

Looking Back on 2017

How is January already halfway through? I’m running behind on my year-end/new year blog posts, but let’s have a look at what 2017 looked like for me:

Fun fact: I began and ended 2017 in China!

  • Dyed my hair red – for real this time

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    January 1 from the glass bridge at Zhangjiajie
  • Walked across the tallest and longest glass-bottomed bridge in the world in Zhangjiajie
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  • Flew alone on an international flight for the first time
    • Which included my first ever visit – via layover – to the Middle East
  • Signed up for ClassPass
  • Attended my first-ever Washington Capitals game (and my first NHL game in well over a decade, if not my first NHL game ever)
  • Dined at a DC Michelin star restaurant for the first time – Rose’s Luxury
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  • Sent off our panda cub Bao Bao before she goes to China
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  • Presented to a class of new hires who are me from one year ago
  • Slept with a zillion wires for my first sleep study
  • Visited San Francisco to see friends and support Ben presenting at a conference while:
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  • Asked Danny Boyle about how his movies are interpreted by audiences at home and abroad
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  • Sipped on drinks out of a lucky cat cup at a cherry blossom + Super Mario-themed pop-up bar
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  • Watched The Little Mermaid ballet on my own
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  • Met Representative Maxine Waters at the US Botanic Garden
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  • Experienced the repetitive patterns of profound genius at Infinite Kusama, the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Hirshhorn
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  • Attended my first-ever Washington Wizards game (and my first NBA game ever)
  • Saw Chicago! at the Kennedy Center, starring Brandy (!!!)
  • Tried acro-yoga and a bit of aerial yoga
  • Danced the Charleston and put aside my aversion to flapper style for a Gatsby party
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  • Met Tim Gunn before hearing him speak about disco fashion at the Library of Congress
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  • Toured downtown DC while learning about the assassination of President Lincoln through an awesome immersive walking tour with the Ford’s Theatre18278381_10212917470155173_999720346742464472_o
  • Danced and sweated at 7AM on the Kennedy Center terrace
  • Down-dogged at cat yoga
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  • Learned loads at RevolutionConf during my first visit to Virginia Beach
  • Tasted samples prepared by 3 of the top Asian cuisine chefs in DC
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  • Asked Edgar Wright about the hidden details of his work
  • (Finally) Cosplayed at AwesomeCon, my first ever convention
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  • Attended the opening day preview of Ai Wei Wei’s new exhibit at the Hirshhorn19437142_2165047673721933_5763673148604022784_n
  • Showered my friend Gretchen with love and gifts for her soon-to-arrive baby
    Taylor, Jen, Gretchen, and her mom!
  • Danced at 7AM beneath the new National Building Museum’s summer installation, Hiv19764978_1700346696937905_1001085391261925376_n
    • Namaste’d beneath The Hive, too
  • Visited my brother while he was interning in Delaware
  • Cooked 9 Blue Apron mealsDSC03074
  • Slept through another sleep study, through the night and the day
  • Floated down the river during my first river-tubing trip
  • Witnessed the Great American Solar Eclipse in person with my family
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  • Returned to my home city of New York for Labor DayIMG_20170904_232418_746.jpg
  • Revisited Paris with Ben
    • Visited the LouvreEmpty Louvre hall
    • Visited VersaillesDSC04659
  • Pondered color and interactivity at Artechouse22351661_1442356609218754_1138615913436676096_n
  • Laughed watching Whoopi Goldberg do standup at the Kennedy Center
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  • Felt so many feelings watching Death of a Salesman at Ford’s Theatre
  • Cheered on knights at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
  • Nearly won a Disney trivia night with a 2nd place finish
  • Experienced my first omakase dinner at Sushi Hachi
  • Wore a week of Sailor Senshi-themed blazer-centric outfitsScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.40.07 PM
  • Channeled Rey for Halloween as part of a Star Wars group at work20171031_115957
  • Saw Christopher Nolan speak at the Library of Congress
  • Partied at the National Air and Space Museum’s Found in Space
  • Visited New Orleans for the first time!
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    • Delivered a lightning talk about karaoke because it’s me
    • Received a chipped tooth courtesy of a drunk coworker (seriously)
  • Walked with locals at my first ever WalkWithLocals instameet
  • Watched another Washington Capitals game
  • Traveled to Buffalo for a business trip
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    • Saw Chad Michael Murray standing about 3 feet in front of me in the hotel lobby
  • Celebrated my birthday with hot pot and karaoke and friends
  • Flew to China to celebrate the holidays with my family
  • Rang in the new year with about a million people in the streets of Hong Kong

    December 31 from Victoria Peak

For better or worse, it has been a really eventful year. I feel super motivated to go into 2018 and achieve so many things. Stay tuned for my resolutions post to see what specific things I hope to achieve and how I plan to achieve them!

Previous years: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Looking Back on 2016

2016 was a good year for me, a year for replenishment. With my new job in my new career, I was able to afford – mentally and financially – many opportunities this year that I wasn’t able to in previous years. I strengthened friendships that mean a lot to to me and worked hard to let go of the ones that needed to mean less. Taking cues from the successes of past years, I made sure to take action on goals I wanted to see through.

I said yes more and no less. While I’m still finding a good balance and learning what I’m really saying yes and no to, my life is fuller as a result.

Buckle up, because here’s my annual recap of things I did, 2016 edition:

  • Completed my web development course
    • Spoke at our graduation
  • Saw my brother off on his semester abroad in Milan (!!!)
  • Sipped my way through the DC Whiskey Walk
  • Got my first interviews and job in software development
  • Learned to drive manual/stick shift (sorta)
  • Saw Tom Hiddleston and Marc Abraham at the DC screening of I Saw the Light
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  • Partied in Las Vegas as an adult without my family for the first time
  • Visited Los Angeles for the first time for Don and Megan’s wedding
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    • Stayed in an AirBnB for the first time
    • Went to Disneyland for the first time
    • Met the wonderful Briana and Adam in person (congrats again!)
    • Met some Xanga friends for the first and second time
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    • Sang karaoke in Koreatown
    • Ate In-n-Out and Roscoe’s and many other LA foods
    • Saw my friend Ran after something like 15 years?
  • Watched Game of Thrones as it aired (versus binge-watching on HBO Go over the summer)
  • Photographed a hot air balloon festival
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  • Saw Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band perform
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  • Had my first boutique bra fitting experience
    • And finally got bras that fit my not-so-average body
  • Tried heated yoga (I think it was a few degrees cooler than official “hot” yoga)
  • Thwarted identity theft
  • Wound up with a scary-looking but mild case of subconjunctival hemmorhage (aka a burst blood vessel on my eye – I would not recommend looking it up, it’s scary to see blood on anyone’s eye)
  • Attended an IGDC Instameet and made some new Instagram friends
  • Got my very own mentee in the DC tech community
  • Saw my old summer camp friend Yufeng get married in Roanoke
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  • Visited my brother during his NYC internship
  • Saw Ingrid Michaelson live – for free
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  • Attended the 1st DC Capital Solstice black-tie gala
    • Met Guy Lambert, from WPGC 95.5
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  • Moved my family out of the house we’ve called home for almost exactly 10 years
  • Attended ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum to Save Jack!
  • Got stuck in an elevator for the first time
  • Took action to stop teeth from destroying themselves while I sleep
  • Watched The Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center
  • Restarted ballet classes
  • Jumped for joy at my first trampoline park visit
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  • Went to a Washington Nationals game with my company (it’s a popular company outing, as evidenced even by my startup last year)
  • Kayaked for the first time and had a blast
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  • Visited Christine in San Francisco (my first trip back since 2003!)
  • Saw Kurios by Cirque du Soleil
  • Colored my hair to celebrate autumn
  • Saw Trevor Noah perform live at the Kennedy Center
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  • Visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival for the first time
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  • Became a Friend of the National Zoo (FONZ), happy to support organizations I love
  • Pulled off my second Hogwarts Spirit Week with a coworker
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  • Went to the Kennedy Center by myself for the first time
  • Attended Night of the Living Zoo as a newly minted FONZ
    • Wearing the Sailor Mars costume costume
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  • Rode the metro and showed up to work in an Espeon onesie on Halloween
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  • Celebrated my 5 year anniversary with Ben early with a trip to the Shenandoah Valley
  • Visited Cincinatti for the first time
    • For RubyConf, my first tech conference!
    • Which I attended as a RubyConf Scholar
    • Gave a lightning talk in front of hundreds of people and the author of the Ruby programming language
    • Walked across a bridge at sunrise from Ohio to Kentucky
    • Went off on a solo photo walk to explore downtown Cincy
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  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with Ben for the first time since we started dating
    • Brought my brother along to Ben’s parents’ house where his family friends were all very excited to meet me
  • Shopped on Black Friday for gifts to bring to China from 1AM to 4:30AM and then from 7AM to noon. And then more shopping in the afternoon.
  • Got my first salon manicure
  • Attended the Obamas’ last National Tree Lighting
    • Where I got to see performers like Kelly Clarkson and Chance the Rapper live
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  • Found out that my long-standing belly problems can be attributed to something very treatable!
    • Note: Go see your doctor about little things that may be interfering with your quality of life. It may not seem serious now, but if I left my condition unchecked, it could have made me prone to ulcers and gastrointestinal cancer, so I’m glad I am being treated now.
  • Threw a star-themed birthday party that somehow came together to look wonderful
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  • Attended my company’s winter event and had a great time with my coworkers
  • Got a flat tire and was reminded that knowing how to change a tire is pretty useless when you don’t have the right tools to do it!
    • Note: You should probably learn to change a tire. And make sure you car has the right tools to do it. Go out this weekend and change your car’s tire to practice. And check your tire pressure while you’re out there.
  • Attended my first holiday party for Ben’s company
  • Saw Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana perform holiday hits at the Kennedy Center
  • Ran a 60-person white elephant exchange
  • Danced the morning away at a 7AM dance party to ring in 25
  • Saw the Northern Lights! (from a plane)
  • Went to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in China with my family for the first time (my second winter China trip)

This has been a very big year for me. Having a great new job has been a big part of it, as it has allowed me to be able to afford to say yes to many opportunities. (Literally. Having a job that pays me a fair salary for the area is huge. Having that job be a great work environment is even better.)

I indulged my vanity a lot this year, but I think it has a little bit to do with me recognizing that I’m becoming the person I want to be, inside and out. I am taking better care of myself and I am acknowledging that self-care is, in fact, doing good for me! (But I am going to try to keep the vanity in check, because one of my biggest personality trait fears is being too vain.)

2016 was kind of a dumpster fire of a year for the world, but reflecting on my personal achievements and milestones and experiences, it was a good year.

I hope that 2017 will be good as well, and that I can channel some of that goodness and put it back out into the world, which needs it more than I do right now.

Happy 2017! What are some of your highlights from last year?
Are there things you’re already looking forward to this upcoming year?

Looking Back on 2015

I started this post on January 1, 2015, knowing how difficult it was to put together my 2014 post, but I have not been as good about updating it with significant events in the 364 days that followed, unfortunately. (So much for the foresight to avoid my current struggle.) Despite that, I can still tell you a lot of really big things that happened in 2015 because it was a significantly eventful year for me.

In the interest of time, here are some things I did in 2015 (without accompanying photos) (for now):

  • Took the GMAT after 15 days’ notice
  • Got into graduate school
    • Withdrew my enrollment from graduate school so that I could say yes to a different opportunity
  • Reunited with my friend Tammy after having not seen her for over 10 years
    • And again the day after Christmas! Meaning I saw her 2 times in 2015, which is 2 times more than the past 10 years combined!
  • Survived Valentine’s Day
    • Cooked a surf ‘n’ turf meal of steak & crabcakes from scratch
    • Attended a really kick-butt Valentine’s Day party
    • Hit a bus (at ~3 mph)
    • Saw a tree fall
  • Watched 50 Shades: The Musical Parody at the Warner Theater
  • Attended my first ever Instameet, courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • Watched Anything Goes at the Warner Theater
  • Saw Chelsea Clinton at the American Heart Association ball
  • Met and had my copy of The Buried Giant signed by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Listened to the NSO Pops and Lea Salonga perform live at the Kennedy Center
  • Saw my friends Megan and Don get engaged
  • Proved that blog friends are real friends when Christine and Karen visited
  • Went to Florida for my first proper spring break, stopping by:
  • Started a new job with an exciting new DC startup
    • Left that job
  • Watched Once at the Kennedy Center
  • Moved my stuff to Ben’s place
  • Ran my first Color Run (belated blog post to come shortly)
  • Resumed eating chips!
  • Attended Diner en Blanc DC
  • Saw Bo Burnham at the Lincoln Theater
  • Saw Stromae at Echostage
  • Started a full-time web development boot camp
  • Got food poisoning for the first time

I’m sure there are more significant events that happened in 2015 that I just never got around to writing down here. It’ll be March and I’ll suddenly jerk away with the realization that I actually did something super wicked awesome and need to put it on this recap before I forget it forever!!

As far as reflections on 2015… I’m glad that I was able to attend so many live performances! These experiences can get expensive but the Kennedy Center has made them so much more affordable than I previously thought possible. Definitely take advantage if you are 18-30 and/or active military! I really did try to say “yes” to more experiences this year, given how well that went for me in 2013 and how I felt the effects of not doing so in 2014. It definitely doesn’t hurt, although being a student and paying tuition did put a damper on saying yes to as many of these experiences.

It quieted down towards the end of the year when I started my full-time boot camp. But I’m really excited for what 2016 will hold because I am entering a new field and there are just so many new opportunities opening up for me. I just have to be brave enough to go for them.

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Past annual recaps: 2014 | 2013

How was your 2015? Any big milestones?