Year in Review: Goodbye 2015

I can't believe I'm already writing this post because how can 2015 already be coming to a close?! I feel like so much has happened this year and that it has maybe been my geekiest year yet!

So without further ado, here is my year in review.

My most liked 9 Instagrams of 2015!

  • Comic Books: I officially started reading comic books because I could not resist the gender-bending, trippy-beautiful awesomeness that is ODY-C, a retelling of one of my favorite myths, and the mythology and pop culture remixing of The Wicked + the Divine. It's been a slippery slope into more comics since these two.

  • Vlogagram: I didn't keep up with this, but it was fun while it lasted. It was nice speaking to you and finally hearing some of you!
  • Sons of Liberty: A really dramatic History Channel mini-series about the beginning of the Revolutionary War that I got a tad obsessed with. Why? It starred one of my faves, Ben Barnes, and had an opening theme written by Hans Zimmer. I loved it, and it amped me up for my NYC trip in February.

  • Los Angeles first times: This month saw my first time on the Metro and my first visit to the famed LACMA Lights installation!
  • Riffle: I became the Middle Grade Editor for the reading community site, Riffle!
  • Made a movie day out of watching the Backstreet Boys movie with the besties and re-lived our tweenage memories
  • Saw Hozier in concert post-debut album drop and was melted by his dreamy voice
  • Brunched with newly Californian Sarah Enni!

    • the Sister seeing Washington Crossing the Delaware, visiting Hamilton Grange (finally!), and of course, seeing HAMILTON Off-Broadway at the Public! Life-changing! Even better, meeting ridiculously talented-creator person Lin-Manuel Miranda afterwards and Javier Muñoz, who played Alexander brilliantly. From this point on, it became my mission to spread the Hamilton love.
All of the Hamiltons! (And that is a life-sized Aaron Bur statue in the back.)

  • Loki's 3rd Birthday and Eva's birthday!
  • Blackmilk: I had one of my Instagram pics reposted by BM, and it featured my history nerdiness!

  • Embraced my geek chic.

  • 1st SoCal-area Geek Girl Brunch: my budding Con Squad and I attended as casual cosplay Avengers, and I finally met the Nerdy Girlie herself, Megan!
  • Coachella: Attended my first music festival, which was mostly amazing but also included what is now known as the Night of Hell - in which there were rude people, a stretch of sandy dirt aka "parking lot" that was hell on earth, and drunkards trying to direct traffic.
  • Netflix/Marvel's Daredevil: After being underwhelmed by Agents of SHIELD, I was pleasantly surprised by how good Daredevil is and happily binge-watched it all over the course of a week. Was even happier to find out a non-superhero-genre geek friend was obsessed.
  • LA Times Book Festival: Always fun, but more so this year because I saw Sarah Enni and got to finally meet Kate Hart and Kirsten Hubbard! Bonus: met funny, bubbly author Emery Lord too!

  • Avengers 2: our movie ticket winning luck held & the Sister and I saw this a week early at IMAX headquarters and got cool tees. (We ended up seeing ANT-MAN early too in early July!)
  • Sriracha Factory: thanks to a work field trip, I got to see where the spicy-deliciousness is made and bottled. Fun times riding around in the Sriracha golf cart tram.
  • Disneyland: took advantage of the rarer-and-rarer SoCal Disney ticketing deal and did a whirlwind 2-park day with the best people I know.

  • Disneyland 60th: the Sister and I went back to Disney just as they debuted their new 60th Anniversary features - including a new fireworks show. Let me tell you, there is definitely something thrilling about hearing "Let It Go" blasted over Main Street while fireworks light up the sky and fake snow flutters down on your head.
  • My aunt got a new puppy (Nina!)
  • Got obsessed with Years & Years
  • Friends and I tried out one of those escape room things and made it out!
  • Triple Crown Winner at Santa Anita: Gennia and I used to be super into horse-racing thanks to all the horse books we read as kids. So it's always been a hope that we'd see a Triple Crown winner in our lifetime. 2015 turned out to be the year with American Pharoah definitively winning the notoriously difficult Belmont Stakes and thus taking the crown. We went to see him when he returned to his home track (and our local track) Santa Anita Park!
Photo source: Gennia (@gennia on Instagram)
  • East Coast Nerd trip greenlit: Confirmed which friends were going with me to the East Coast in the Fall and bought tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway!!
  • Girl on the Roam: I launched a new blog to be more focused on my geeky travels and micro-poetry.

  • Star Wars movie marathon: Started July off right with a movie marathon of all 6 Star Wars movies with friends who hadn't seen them before. They wanted to prep for the new Star Wars movie in December, and the Sister and I wanted a refresher.
  • Comic Con 2015: Every year is a different experience. This year was about line drama (bleck), meeting up with more people (yay!), and buying toys (stressful)! Still a good year though because my Con Squad was formed, I met a bunch of Tweeps and author-friends, I got to go to that Star Wars fan concert (squee!), and I got to be in the same room as Tom Hiddleston again (always a win!).

    • Meeting Elizabeth Briggs was super cool, considering she once called me the real life version of her More than Fashion protagonist, Julie. Having read some of the book now, I can tell you I'm not nearly as cool as Julie, but Liz is as geeky and awesome in Real Life as she is online!
    • Meeting Susan Dennard for the first time and seeing Sarah Maas again was so fun because they are such a dynamic duo. Other than getting their books, it was cool chatting with them about random stuff outside of their signing. I'm kind of proud of making the pug-love-connection between the Sister and Sarah.

  • Hamilton on Broadway: Hamilton began previews on Broadway, and I got my Public Theater playbill framed and bought the Vogue issue featuring the cast.

  • Poem acceptance: Opened my birthday month with an acceptance from Strange Horizons for my poem "Actaeon."
  • Beach bonfire birthday: I blogged about it at Girl on the Roam, but I had a lovely, perfectly Californian summer day at the beach with my favorite people. And I finally roasted marshmallows over a bonfire at the beach.

  • Shakespeare in the Park: took advantage of free Shakespeare in the Park to get cultured. Now, I've finally seen Much Ado about Nothing.

  • Labor Day weekend: Instead of a big family trip, we did a weekender to the Grand Canyon. It was the Sister's first time and the first time any of us had gone there by train. The unpredictable weather actually made me love the trip more because I never would've dreamed I'd be perched on a cliff, watching lightning flash over the canyon.

  • Force Friday: we don't usually get into the major toy-buying craze, but our excitement for The Force Awakens had us scrambling for figures and scooping up our very own BB-8!
  • The Sister's birthday: We rang in her quarter-century birthday with the Ghostbusters on a rooftop on a balmy, Southern Californian night in the city.
  • End of Summer BBQ- Futbolnaut party: we finally try out the small-human-sized inflatable soccer ball at Gennia's annual summer BBQ. We also race BB-8s.
  • Hamilton album drop: the cast album dropped a little early, and to paraphrase a Hamiltune lyric, it blew everyone away. Finally, the world-at-large was getting on my level; I told you this ish was life-changing!

  • The Broad Museum: thanks to Jenn from my Con Squad, we got tickets for early October to visit this new museum in downtown LA. The highlight was the Infinity Mirrored Room, which was completely enchanting.
  • Years & Years concert and had the best time.
  • Dear friend Eva threw her belated house-warming and it included karaoke in her backyard!
  • Halloween: For the first time in a while, I did some stuff on Halloween & even came up with 3 different costumes (witch / flapper!Loki / Feyre). Attended Sarah's first First Draft Live event on Halloween Eve and went to the LA Opera with friends on Halloween night.

  • East Coast Nerd Trip: The absolute highlight of my October (and probably my year) because I got to do so much nerdy history stuff with some of my favorite people. It was made even better by the friends I was able to hang out with and meet along the way. Oh, and there was HAMILTON on Broadway, of course, this time with Lin-Manuel in the lead.
    • Trip highlights: the creation of our Hamiltunes/jazzed out Founding Father nicknames; actually seeing Charlie Cox in the wild; all the incredible New England leaf-peeping; seeing my Tweeps (Sarah G, Tracey, Kim) and reconnecting with college friends (Rena, Melissa)!
  • Hamlet: Con Squad met up to see Benedict Cumberbatch's HAMLET in theaters, and then we had Boiling Crab for the first time.
  • Gennia/ Alz birthdays: we always have a great time, but this time was extra special because we watched National Treasure while still high from our East Coast History Nerd trip. This is also when we designed our Hamiltunes sweatshirts.
  • Con Squad visited the super cool Rain Room installation at LACMA

A video posted by alice (@akangaru) on

  • Binge-watched Netflix/Marvel's Jessica Jones
  • Met up with Megan for a nice brunch at Republic of Pie
  • Explored DTLA and went to the Last Bookstore and the LA Library.
  • Mockingjay Part 2: we finished off the Hunger Games trilogy with Mockingjay Part 2, but the experience was extra fun because we saw it with YA authors Kirsten Hubbard, Sarah Enni, and Maurene Goo.
  • November = Nerdvember: the Sister and I managed to complete another 30 days of geeky outfits!
A video posted by alice (@akangaru) on

      • SDCC Pre-Sale: Thanks to Con Squad, we're all going to Comic Con again in 2016!

      • Outlander marathon: after our friend was "man-witched" (aka fell in insta-love) with Sam Heughan at Comic Con, we scheduled a marathon for the 2nd half of the first season.
      • Holiday cards: I've received the sweetest cards and little gifts from Tweeps this year! I slacked off and didn't send any this year, but I am grateful for your thoughtfulness and friendship! In particular, I loved Sarah's holiday pic with her cat Hammer and geek fashion designer Jordan of JordandenĂ©'s Star Wars-themed card.

      • Disneyland again: With the Season of the Force in full swing at Disneyland, friends and I opted out of Christmas gifts this year in exchange for this experience together. We met Darth Vader and Chewie, lost our ish in Hyperspace Mountain, traveled to Jakku with Star Tours, and ate delicious, Star Wars-named food. We also wore our custom Hamilton-themed sweatshirts (though sadly, one of our crew didn't make it out) and made some Hamilton friends at Disney!
      You want a revolution; I want a revelation!
      • Christmas/ Holidays: Ugly Christmas sweaters, reunions with friends!! So lucky to get time with both Michelles this year. In fact, thanks to the East Coast trip, I got to see my other college roommate Rena this year too! Love those gals.
      • Star Wars: The Force Awakens: We finally get a new Star Wars movie, and it is so fun. I loved it so much and can't believe how much I love every one of the new cast! I've already seen it twice and will be seeing it again right after the new year. I even participated in a podcast about it. Oh, and earlier in the month, we met the actual BB-8! *loooove!!!*
      How can you not love this new Star Wars trio??
      • Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac): Lastly, I have to end December with how instantaneously we all fell in love with Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens. That man was just straight up fire in that movie, and it has been a long time since I've been man-witched so hard. Gennia and I actually leaned forward in our seats and shared a look when Poe first came on screen.
        • Let me give you an idea of how hard we've fallen. 1) We've had a non-stop chat dedicated to him since seeing the movie the night of 12/17; 2) we already made shirts; 3) we may or may not have delved back into the world of fanart and fanfiction...
        • So TL;DR we're obsessed with the gem of a person who is Oscar Isaac. (Seems like the internet agrees.)


      I know this year has been hard on a lot of people, and the state of the world itself has certainly not been kind. The state of the world is downright frightening where we leave it now, and so for many - myself included - the dawn of the new year is a bit of a relief because we can all hope for a new page and renewed resolve.

      At the same time, 2015 gave me so much good too. I can't emphasize how wonderful it was to meet and hang out with friends I've made online or how amazing it was to make a new squad of friends while becoming even geekier with my OG gals. My travels this year were all domestic, but they were so enriching and delightful and unexpected. I also got paid for writing poetry this year, which is kind of awesome!
      One of my favorite set of selifes because look at Loki's face!!
      And there is no way that a year that gave me both something as near miraculous as HAMILTON and as thrilling and joyous as the new STAR WARS movie (that there is even a new Star Wars movie!) can be counted as a loss.

      Here's to 2016. Raise a glass, and rise up!


      5 Fandom Friday (26)

      (New Graphic by Darling Stewie)

      5 Fandom Friday is a geek-blogger community building project started and hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick. Every Friday, post a top 5 list based on a predetermined topic that can be found on this master post - you can also find more info on the project there. Participate as frequently or infrequently as you like, and if a topic doesn't especially appeal to you, feel free to put your own twist on it.

      Also, tweet at @superspacechick or @thenerdygirlie on Friday with your post (and they'll RT) and use the #Fandom5 hashtag so we can all connect!

      This week's theme: Holiday Recommendations

      I took a flexible interpretation of recommendations, so since I'm a book and movie lover, I'll go with movie + book pairings. These aren't necessarily holiday-themed; they're just things I like that would be nice for a cozy day in.

      1) Love Actually + My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

      Love Actually is a modern Christmas classic - the perfect movie for laughs and feels told through a series of interconnected characters' stories. What better book to pair it with than Stephanie Perkins anthology of holiday stories, My True Love Gave to Me, told by some of the best YA Contemporary writers today?

      2) Phantom of the Opera + Of Metal and Wishes

      The Phantom of the Opera in movie form brings the music, drama, and opulence of the Broadway staple to the comfort of your living room. Can't get enough Phantom? Curl up with Of Metal and Wishes, Sarah Fine's retelling of the tale set in a meat factory in a Chinese-based fantasy world. Throw in a dash of steampunk and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle for an inventive twist.

      3) Elf + Holidays on Ice

      If the hijinks and heart of Elf leave you wanting more, pick up David Sedaris' laugh-out-loud Holidays on Ice, which collects a bunch of his holiday-related personal essays. This includes his experience as a Macy's elf, which goes nicely paired with this movie. Another fun movie connection? David's sister and fellow funny-person Amy Sedaris is in Elf.

      4) Seabiscuit + The Scorpio Races

      The holiday season is also the time of the uplifting drama and possible Oscar contender flick. While Seabiscuit wasn't a holiday release back when it was new, it does fit those descriptions. It is also seriously one of my favorite movies (and the book is a fave too), and the little horse that could is a local hero. Set during the Great Depression, it's the story of 3 broken men and one unlikely horse that will give you all the feels.

      Given The Scorpio Races decidedly magic-real premise - the book centers around a famous race on a fictional island where they ride killer horses from the sea (based on kelpies of faerie lore) - it seems a little odd to pair with Seabiscuit. But they have a lot in common! The central relationships are about the 2 main characters desires to change their lives and their love for the island and their horses (mystical sea-creature and not), and their story feels as real as fictional as the premise sounds. Not to mention, this book is also a bestseller, an award-winner, and one of my all time favorites.

      5) Beauty & the Beast (or Frozen) + A Court of Thorns and Roses

      How can I talk about the holidays without a little Disney magic? I always thought Beauty and the Beast had a wintery vibe, and I think Frozen is self-explanatory.

      But if you want something just as magical but with a little more bite, try Sarah J. Maas' first non-YA book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is a mixed up retelling of the Beauty & The Beast and Tamlin fairy tales. There's curses and magic, fierce family devotion, and steamy romance. To quote Disney's Belle, it has "Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!" But it's definitely not rated Disney PG.


      And obviously, you should watch Harry Potter and the LOTR trilogy because those are permanently linked to the holiday season in my mind. And Star Wars just because. ;)


      P.S. There's also a 5 Fandom Friday photo challenge this month! Join in!