starting off 2017 with a magical vacation!

Kind of a late-ish post. After a busy holiday season at work and dance at the end of 2016, I started off the new year with a wonderful trip! Sharing a report of highlights from our trip from earlier in January, with a few photos taken by me and BH!

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Our January travel timing worked really well. We caught the tail end of the holiday season and lights at the Disney parks, and made it to Las Vegas and home after CES, but before the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend holiday crowd came in. So, prices and crowds were really manageable for a beautiful time of year.

We drove with our buddy down to Anaheim first. He had never been to any Disney parks before, so we were excited to show him a good time. Our first day was at Disney’s California Adventure! I wanted to try so many holiday goodies.

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Photo by BH

We introduced him to the wallet-emptying magic that is pin trading.

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Photo by BH

Our timing for the evening at Disney California Adventure was fantastic- we were able to make it into the Cove Bar (!!) right before it closed, allowing us to land a view of the upcoming World of Color show from the bar. Delicious lobster nachos, delicious drinks, and delightful company with a delightful view? Couldn’t get any better than this!

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The next day was Disneyland. We tried to jam pack everything we could, since it was the last official day of the holiday season (and for other things!). All the major rides, Mickey beignets, Magic Map, Paint the Night’s last showing, holiday fireworks and lights.

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Photo by BH

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Photo by BH

The next day was our buddy’s last day at Anaheim. We ate a great breakfast, and did more pin trading and shopping.

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

He went back home that day, leaving me and the bf to do one last Disney visit alone on the day before Vegas. It was kind of sad, actually! We realized that Disney magic really is the people we spend time with along the way. Ha.

The next day, we packed up and had our first ride-share experience to LAX, and headed on a short flight to Las Vegas!!

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I’ve been in Vegas a lot with family as I was growing up. This was my first time going without parents, post 21 years old, and getting to enjoy it fully as an adult! Boy have things changed!

Also wanted to mention that it was our first time redeeming our MyVegas points and getting our Mlife rewards- super easy and very worth it, indeed!

We stayed in Paris with with a view of the Bellagio Hotel- was able to land a high tier room at a good price. The next day, we did some buffet-eating, sight-seeing. We had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil – Ka at MGM Grand that night. Amazing show!

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After the show, we ended the evening with drinks at The Chocolate Bar in NYNY.

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

The next day was Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef, with more sight seeing, and more eating!

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We rode the monorail a few times back and forth to see the length of the strip…

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And we later found a nice and crowd-free spot at Caesar’s Palace to take photos.

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We went back to our hotel room to get dolled up a bit (so I didn’t look so much like a little kid, too) and came back to have a little photoshoot in the area!

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On our last day, we used up the last of our Mlife rewards to nab another buffet and check out the secret garden at the Mirage. At this point on Friday evening, the weekend holiday crowds were really starting to come in! We headed to Excalibur to watch Tournament of Kings- a dinner show I watched exactly 10 years ago! It was as fun as I remembered.

More food and more walking.

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A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

We gambled a little bit of our entertainment money throughout the trip, did a lot of sight-seeing and lounging about. And did a whole. Lot. Of. Eating.  Overall, it was a fun and successful trip, with a lot of discounts and deals acquired! Relaxed and fat, we flew home the next day. Both Las Vegas and SJ airports were very empty.

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I’m really grateful to be at an age and means to experience trips like this. With bf’s graduation and the start of the new year, it was a good time to reflect and appreciate childhood and adult fun… by doing both! We’re already looking forward to the next one!

January 20, 2017 - 1:40 pm | Comments

sacanime 2016!

Last weekend, we attended SacAnime in Sacramento, CA (and admittedly, I think it was our first anime-themed convention outside of FanimeCon!). We staff full time for FanimeCon as dance instructors/performers every year and enjoy it immensely, but we don’t really have the time or bandwidth to experience it as regular attendees anymore. The only event there I’ve attended outside of Black & White Ball was probably a fashion show or two!

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Our performance at this year’s FanimeCon Black & White Ball

 

So, it was nice to go to SacAnime as a con-goer with an itinerary of events to choose from and enjoy the weekend with. We were really excited about the opportunities to attend panels and have never really seen a famous VA up close before, so it was our chance to check it out!

Our first panel was a Q&A by Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey. They were a lot of fun, and it was kind of surreal seeing them in the flesh and hearing their voices live! I enjoyed hearing their answers about the industry and their insight into their voice work.

Next was a Cowboy Bebop Reunion panel, which I was super excited for! The anime Cowboy Bebop means a lot to me, and it aired during a time when I hit adolescence and transitioned between awkward and socially difficult phases of my life. Things are obviously different now that I’m an adult with a good life, but after all these years, I’m still a sentimental fan.

You can see me sitting in front! 😀

 
The panel filled up quickly, but we grabbed decent seats. Seeing my childhood voice actors up close and hearing them talk live was a crazy experience! I was lucky to get the chance to ask a question to the Bebop crew, and felt incredibly honored to receive such a reflective and insightful response from them. We got it on video!

 
The next day, I had the opportunity to meet VA Steven Blum and grab his autograph! He remembered me and my question at the previous day’s panel and took the time to comment on it- I was so grateful. What an awesome and humble person!

My highlight of #SacAnime! 🙂 #steveblum #cowboybebop #seeyouspacecowboy #bang

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on



 
It’s been a few days later, but I’m still feeling inspired and childhood-nostalgic from the experience. The boyfriend and I are feeling convention crazy and are wanting to try out a lot different events around the Bay Area this year. Now that I’m a little older, I have a better appreciation and understanding of the work and travel that artists and actors in the anime/game/entertainment industry do for fans. Looking forward to attending more cons, and hopefully seeing more guests of honor!

In the meantime, look out for a new blog redesign coming in this week or next! 🙂

September 8, 2016 - 5:26 pm | Comments

my current games list: zelda nostalgia, storytelling and more

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With all the excitement of E3 and recent developments in the gaming world, it’s been a good time for me to get back into the hype and explore playing some titles again! Being an adult is tough sometimes, but this year has given me some time and space to enjoy outside activities outside of dance… For the first time in a long time, there’s suddenly of TON of new content I’m extremely excited for that has me feeling like a little kid again! I’m trying out new games and looking forward to upcoming ones!

Titles I’m currently playing:

  • Overwatch
  • Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix

Upcoming titles I’m looking forward to:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Death Stranding
  • South Park: Fractured But Whole
  • I Am Setsuna
  • Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
  • Pokemon Moon

One of my favorite smaller studios, Crows Crows Crows (which is directed by the creator of The Stanley Parable!) is also on my radar for fun and upcoming projects!

I freaked out and even got a little emotional when Zelda was announced- but I’ll write more about feelings on that another day! Overall, I just wanted to share how incredibly excited I am by the writing, storytelling, and innovation all the games above are putting out!

Anyway, I have a backlog of projects and some exciting web/photo news I want to work on and share by the end of summer (yes, yes, I keep announcing this… but when does planning ever end?). Looking into other CMS platforms as well, and a redesign of a website or two. Look forward to it!

 

June 24, 2016 - 3:16 pm | Comments

2016 spring dance adventures!

2016 so far has been a challenging and exciting journey through the world of dance! It started off in January with new routines, new costumes, and new difficulty levels, and since then, things have been active and going strong!

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My partner and I have come a long way since we both started dancing and competing together, but we still have so much more to improve on! Dancesport sometimes become tough on the mind, body and emotions, and the pressure to improve in ability and ranking feels high every time. The atmosphere, politics and culture surrounding the competitive ballroom environment sometimes become challenging. Doing my best to enjoy each lesson, practice, and event while reflecting on things that can be improved each time. It’s a work in progress.

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This year, we had another opportunity to work and perform at FanimeCon’s Black & White Ball for Memorial Day weekend. It was such an incredibly fun and refreshing social event that helped ground and reset my thoughts and feelings after the spring season full of competitive events, and reminded me of all the other aspects of dance that I enjoyed. It’s a great feeling bringing joy and entertainment to friends, attendees and watchers, hoping they will also catch the dance bug and be inspired to learn ballroom!

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We are continuing to practice throughout the summer, and hope to be back on the competition floor in July for International Grand Ball! There are more goals for travel next year that we hope to reach as well. Other than that, I’ll share videos and write up a longer post focused on the recent FanimeCon weekend soon! And outside of dance, there have been a lot of exciting work projects and photo gigs happening lately that I’m pretty excited to share. Stay tuned!

 

June 4, 2016 - 6:11 am | Comments

conventions and conferences! – svcc and 16ntc

Back in mid-March, I spent a lot of time at the San Jose Convention Center downtown for two awesomely-nerdy events: the first annual Silicon Valley Comic Con, and the 2016 Nonprofit Technology Conference right after! I loved both of these events in different ways, and I wanted to write about and share these experiences here (photos from DSLR + smartphone, heads-up for varying quality)!

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We spent only 1 day at SVCC (Saturday), but will definitely spend the whole weekend next year for sure! We attended Opening Ceremonies by Steve Wozniak, got to see the Jeremy Renner spotlight (seeing his handsome angry resting face in person was awesome <3), checked out a lot of great exhibits and art, saw a brief glimpse of Stan Lee’s head, and ended the night with dinner with a friend and a Super Soul Bros. concert!

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The Woz’s wax figurine unveiling!

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Jeremy Renner- squee

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Captain Bae-merica

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It was a lot of fun, albeit quite a bit more crowded than expected for the first year(with the experience of Fanime crowds though, it wasn’t too difficult to navigate). The BF and I were very lucky to grab our wristbands ahead of time, and thus entirely avoided the massively epic linecon that wrapped around the center.

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I’m looking forward to seeing how the event grows in the next few years, and how they’ll improve upon the first… and of course, getting the chance to see more celebrities in my hometown!!

Just a couple of days later was the 2016 Nonprofit Technology Conference in the same location, so I swapped my Captain America T-shirt and hairbow wings and out for Silicon Valley start-up fashion of business casual jeans-and-blazer. It’s my first work-based conference, so I was excited. The world of technology in nonprofits is fascinating, and I was looking forward to learning many new things to bring back to my own workplace.

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There was so much to learn at 16NTC. I was super grateful to see passionate people and professionals from different cultures, interests, and knowledge in my hometown. The panels and speakers were informative, diverse, educational and engaging… I nerded out so hard each day, wondering which session I should attend from the 100+ choices offered throughout the week. It was a geek/philanthropy heaven come true, and reaffirmed how grateful I am to be working at a place I love for a great cause. I also think that week was the most I ever tweeted in a single timespan, ever.

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Great sessions by amazing panelists

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So many interesting topics.

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Buttons collected throughout the week!

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Of course, like any other awesome convention/conference… free swag

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I learned so, so much about digital communications, WordPress, Google Analytics/Adwords/things, nonprofit, content, etc… so many notes were taken that I’m still trying to compile and reflect on them even now!!

These events have been an excellent experience, intersecting everything I love into one place- comics, culture, tech, philanthropy. All this convention time has been a great warmup to the craziness of FanimeCon, which is happening pretty soon! Work has been blowing up with exciting news, competition season has been rough and busy. It’s been challenging to prepare for BW Ball again with our recent competition lineup, but… I’m really excited to dance for it again!

We’ve got something fun in store for a showcase routine at ball this year-these recent experiences have shown that there’s nothing better than combining something geeky with something unexpected, like ballroom dancing… 😉  Stay tuned!

April 5, 2016 - 7:32 pm | Comments