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2016: A Year in Review

We did it, guys. We survived 2016.

Like many of you, I am drained by and done with this tumultuous year. 2016 was a harsh wake-up call for humanity, and 2017 will be the real test for us all. With hard work and heart, I truly believe we can and will weather the storms ahead.

Despite all the chaos, I did have some personal highlights worth mentioning, including traveling to Paris, meeting new people, accomplishing long-held goals, and listening to a lot of good new music. As I gear up to say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2016, I’d like to share the moments that made this year one to remember in a celebratory way.

Throughout the year, I’ve been compiling a page of memories from 2016—including notable experiences I had, concerts I attended, music I listened to, movies I watched, television shows I  followed, and books I read—and now the time capsule is complete! Check it out here at Scrapbook 2016.

Featured image by Robert Wiedemann.
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wizarding world harry potter hogsmeade hogwarts

The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling’s imaginative universe of witchcraft, wizardry, fantastic beasts, enchanted objects, and spellbinding adventures comes to life in the muggle realm at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In April, my friend Zoey and I checked out the opening weekend of the new theme park expansion at Universal Studios Hollywood to explore the rides and attractions that allow fans to immerse themselves in and interact with the story of Harry Potter through a full sensory experience.

For a glimpse into this wonderful wizarding world, here are some of my photos from my day trip to the stomping grounds of the Boy Who Lived. Something magical this way comes…

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palais garnier opera paris france

Bright Lights of Paris

Everywhere you look in Paris, the city of light glows. As I wandered around, I found myself mesmerized by the endless illumination of the streets, bridges, buildings, and landmarks. From the street lamps that align the cobble-stoned sidewalks to the exquisite chandeliers that sparkle from the ceilings of the relics of its royal past, no piece is left unturned and unlit in La Ville Lumière. During the day, the bejeweled stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle shine bright and after sunset, the towering Eiffel Tower twinkles in the night sky, proving that no matter the hour, the magic of the capital of France does not cease to delight.

Here are some of the highlights of the lights of Paris spotted during my recent trip. Let there be light!

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paris france eiffel tower trocadero

La Vie En Rose in Paris

In Sabrina, the titular heroine Sabrina Fairchild (played by Audrey Hepburn) proclaims that Paris is for changing your outlook and for throwing open the windows to let in la vie en rose. The city of light and love is a reputed destination for adventurers who believe in seeing the world through rose coloured glasses and embracing new places and new opportunities with joie de vivre.

This spring, I ventured to see if such a grand notion on the life-altering effects of Paris is a true reflection of reality or just a romanticized fantasy. From April 25th to May 1st, I journeyed to the capital of France (and cultural center for fashion, beauty, art, architecture, cuisine, history, romance, and much more) for a week of extravagant exploration. Below is a summary of my jam-packed itinerary for the week, which included an endless list of internationally renowned landmarks, monuments, museums, and hotspots in the city’s various arrondissements (neighbourhoods). For my photos of the picturesque Parisian sights, click through to the hyperlinked titles below and check out my #BonjourParis2016 hashtag on Instagram. As you can see, Paris is a photographer’s paradise. Without further adieu, here is la belle vie!

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american idol finale series farewell

An American Idol Moment Like This

Some people wait a lifetime for moments like the ones I had during what was, without a doubt, the time of my life in Los Angeles last week (all of which I am still processing – please, don’t pinch me just yet).

Thanks to the good luck of being in the right place at the right time to meet the right people (and extremely kind people at that), I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the two American Idol finale shows at the Dolby Theatre during the final farewell week of the series on April 6th and 7th.

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