Photo Diary 2

I’ve been away for a while again but maybe instead of NaNoWriMo-ing (and failing) like I do every other year, I’ll take November to get back into the blogging swing of things.

Here are a few snapshots from life since we last caught up.

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Photo Diary

I deactivated Instagram in a fit of anger with myself a few weeks ago, but while I feel free from my feed and stories and posting, I wasn’t free from the guilt of renewing my blog domain and not posting here.

So I thought I’d just share a few photos of the nicer memories I have from the past few months, a bunch of moments that I considered writing entire blog posts about but was honestly a bit too out of it to follow through. Depending on how I feel, I might go back and do belated posts, but I’ve been blogging for 2 decades now so it seems unlikely unless something is specifically requested.

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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 »

Infinity Rooms, Disco Fashion, & An Assassination| week in review

Happy Revenge of the Fifth and Cinco de Mayo for the people of Puebla. Please be sure to observe respectfully and enjoy the magic of Star Wars on this lovely Friday.

This week has been one of my more eventful weeks, especially as I’ve been doing a lot of DC things and exploring parts of my base city that I haven’t in the past. (I arbitrarily posted on Instagram every day in April, and most of those were San Francisco latergrams, so many people reached out to me thinking I had moved to SF. Nope! I just hadn’t gone out very much in April. 😅)

INFINITE KUSAMA // I cannot believe that I was able to see Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit at the Hirshhorn a second time, and this time it was through my own tickets! I’ve been trying to get tickets literally every single Monday since the ticketing system opened up, but every week ended with disappointment. BUT I finally was able to get them AND they were for an early morning slot, so I brought Ben and my friend Vivian to see Kusama for the last time on Monday, as her exhibit will be leaving DC and headed to the next destination for her tour. I’ll try to put together a dedicated post with photos and a video if possible, but if you’re able to catch Infinite Kusama when it comes to your city, I highly highly recommend it. It’s a bit stressful with the lines and the short time limits in each room, but it is really accessible art and I find a lot of peace in the patterns that helped calm the artist’s mind.

“All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins” – Yayoi Kusama, 2016

TIM GUNN & DISCO FASHION // On Tuesday, the Library of Congress hosted Tim Gunn to talk about the fashion of disco as part of their month-long celebration of disco fashion, history, music, and culture. I got there early because my ticket had some nonsense about “ticket does not guarantee admission, we recommend arriving 30-45 minutes before doors open” but almost bailed because I was not in the mood for that nonsense, ya know? I don’t even watch Project Runway! I was thinking this and singing a little bit under my breath (I think it was “Till There Was You”, if you were curious) and it was an absolutely perfect day, weather-wise. The Library of Congress is this gorgeous building, and I was glad to see there was no line winding outside yet, so I started hurrying towards the entrance. As I walked up the steps, I noticed a few meters in front of me were a man and a woman. As I got closer and closer, with my hustlin’ pace, I realized:

I was walking about 10 feet behind Tim Gunn.
To go to see Tim Gunn speak at an event.

No one paid me much mind? They didn’t ask me to back up, and I feel like if I wanted to, I might have even been able to just walk through the staff-only door that he and his handlers went through. There was a funny incident at the security check, where the security guard asked for a handshake from Tim Gunn because he and his wife were fans… but I had my arms out waiting for him to wave the metal detector wand over me… and it was a wee bit awkward. (Also awkward: me trying not to bother Mr. Gunn because celebrities are people too, so instead of asking for a photo or anything I just said “thaaaank you…. and hiiiiiiiii~” when he held the door open for me.)

He was SUPER hilarious. While he only briefly talked about disco and how the fashion was a very logical progression from the 60s and how important disco was for people in terms of finding acceptance no matter what, I learned a lot about Tim Gunn like:

  • He comes from a background in academia, and didn’t even study fashion in school.
  • He hates leggings as pants.
  • His feelings towards the Kardashians? Disdain.
  • Ditto for the current White House administration.
  • He and Anna Wintour are arch-nemeses and he is not ever invited to the Met Gala because he once told the New York Post that the most outrageous thing he ever saw at a fashion show was Anna Wintour being carried down 5 flights of stairs. To be clear, he wasn’t trying to imply that she couldn’t work a Manolo and understood that this was the quickest way for her to get to the next show without waiting for the elevator, as no one in 6-inch Manolos can beat security guards down 5 flights of stairs.
  • He once met Vivian Vance at the FBI headquarters when J. Edgar Hoover was the director. Later, when it came out that Hoover was a cross-dresser, he realized that he never met Vivian Vance…
  • He adores Heidi Klum. But not his other Project Runway judges.

He was so well-spoken and charming and funny and thoughtful and kind. I really have a greater respect for how honest and genuine Tim Gunn is and will keep an eye out for his future endeavors for sure! In the meantime, disco on.

Also I was OBSESSED with that white skirt in the background. I spent half the interview staring at it.

HISTORY ON FOOT – LINCOLN ASSASSINATION WALKING TOUR // I was invited by my Instagram friend Albert to an instameet at the Ford’s Theatre. It’s a walking tour that takes you through downtown DC to several key locations that are settings for the conspiracy that was President Lincoln’s assassination. I cannot recommend this tour enough, as it’s led by a fantastic actor who does all these great voices for different people’s testimonies of the evening, and the walk itself is really lovely. I learned so much about Lincoln’s assassination and US history in general like:

  • The General Post Office building (now the Hotel Monaco) was the first all-marble building constructed in DC and housed the first public telegraph office.
  • The term “lobbyist” was coined in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, from which you can see the White House, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument.
  • While Mary Surratt was the first woman to be executed by the federal government for delivering a package for John Wilkes Booth (the man who shot Lincoln), her son, John Surratt, who was one of the lead conspirators, escaped trial and execution twice and died at the ripe old age of 72. Tsk tsk.
  • The Treasury Building’s basement is meant to survive an attack on the capital in the event of an emergency. It is where the president and other high-ranking government representatives would have been evacuated to.
  • Tad Lincoln found out about his father’s assassination a few blocks away, while attending a different show at a different theater, when someone burst into the theater in the middle of the show and shouted that the president had been shot.

There was so much to learn but I don’t want to spoil all the details of the assassination for you. If you have an interest in US history and especially if you’re interested in Lincoln’s assassination and the conspiracy surrounding it, book this tour. (It’s a little over 1.5 miles, 2 hours, at $17.)

Adjacent to Ford’s Theatre is Star Saloon, where John Wilkes Booth stopped for a drink right before shooting President Lincoln

That was my week! I’m wearing my Star Wars shirt today and listening to a lot of John Williams at work. Have a great Friday and weekend everyone!

What do you have coming up this weekend?
What are some DC things that I should do next?
I really felt a deep love for the District this week because of the beautiful weather and the amazing fun events I got to do here that I can only do here.
Do you take advantage of the unique fun your town/city offers? (Tell me how if you do!)

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
    2016-03-29 21.34.55
  • 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

    • 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
    • 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
  • Saw Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band perform
  • 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
  • Visited my brother during his NYC internship
  • Saw Ingrid Michaelson live – for free
  • Attended the 1st DC Capital Solstice black-tie gala
    • Met Guy Lambert, from WPGC 95.5
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival for the first time
  • Became a Friend of the National Zoo (FONZ), happy to support organizations I love
  • Pulled off my second Hogwarts Spirit Week with a coworker
  • 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
  • Rode the metro and showed up to work in an Espeon onesie on Halloween
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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?