2016 is coming to a close on my side of the world! It’s been a strange year in social media/politics/pop culture. But on a personal level, it’s been one of the most positive years I’ve had.

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

Getting a little personal – 2015 was an incredibly difficult year for me. A toxic job & work environment, a sudden move after losing a home of 15 years, dealing with the fall out of a previous relationship that refused to end, car dealership complexity and greediness- for that time, all of these things caused me a new level of anxiety and depression that I’ve never felt before.

But it was the start of a lot of great new things and transitions too. Immersed myself in dance despite the chaos, blossomed through a new, wonderful and healthy relationship, traveled with friends more than I ever did before, resolved car dealership greediness, and finally broke out of a bad place and into a new one before Christmas.

Then, 2016 happened. It’s been a rough time in the media. But it was a great time for personal blossoming, and I’m super grateful for all the memories and opportunities I’ve been given. I want to recognize a few wins and memories this year!

  • Got my first custom-made latin dance dress
  • Performed open routines in competition for the first time
  • My 1st annual Silicon Valley Comic Con
  • My 1st NTC – Nonprofit Technology Conference
  • A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

  • My 9th year attending FanimeCon and my 6th year staffing!
  • Danced a Metal Gear Solid routine for said anime convention ball
  • Utada Hikaru’s new album
  • Frank Ocean’s new album
  • The Weeknd’s new album
  • Bruno Mars’ new album
  • Pokemon Sun/Moon
  • Having someone special to play Pokemon with
  • A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Rogue One
  • Captain America: CIVIL WAR NUFF SAID
  • Doctor Strange came out on my birthday
  • Movies in general- watched 23 of them in theaters (the most I’ve ever seen in theaters in a year! Thanks to bf for loving movies so much!)
  • Cardcaptor Sakura anime announced
  • Ballroom e Youkoso anime announced
  • Reunited with my childhood summer vacation family in SoCal for the first time in 14 years
  • Met my favorite VA, Steven Blum, for the first time
  • A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

  • Saw my favorite childhood boyband, Backstreet Boys, live for the first time
  • Celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the best job ever

Cheers to nostalgia of old times past, the exciting and ever-changing present, and to a great new year full of more memories in 2017!

December 31, 2016 - 11:30 am | Comments

time traveling

I’m a little late to the party, but I finally finished Life is Strange not too long ago. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and feels and choices and all that, and I’ve mentioned before that narrative/story driven games were my favorite ones. So, the game hit me pretty hard in all the right places, and I enjoyed thinking about how it made me felt and how I related to it in my own past. How would I change my own past, if at all? If I had any sort of time traveling power, I think I’d be too afraid to use it. I’d be too afraid to lose whatever present I have now, that I worked hard to gain, despite being given the choice to make things “better.” And yet, I would enjoy revisiting old times again and again, just to feel again how I felt back then. Because I do that even now- searching through old diaries, old photos, old music, time traveling in my own way. Too often for maybe the regular amount for someone my age, like a bad habit.


Funny enough while I was playing through and finishing up the game, I had a series of strange and coincidental occurrences happen in the last week.

I somehow randomly found my old internet chat/RP group from way back when I was a freshman in high school (lol, like 10 years ago?) and did some internet sleuthing. I found them and got connected again, to see how things were. I was welcomed back in the group and scrolled through the mindless chatter and clever jokes- like nothing had changed. I got a teeny bit emotional and amused at how much they remembered of high-school, internet-persona me.

I suddenly ran into someone from years past while walking down the street toward downtown. A stranger from a time once past and a different world now, an 18 year-old me coming of age. I was on my iPod, earbuds in, when it happened and this frikken song from Life is Strange was playing too clearly and too fittingly (seriously wow wth)- I wish I made that up, but it happened. I was unsure how to handle it. And a little annoyed at how surreal of a moment it was.

Facebook keeps doing this thing where it brings up past photos of my dancing from 4, 5, 6 years ago and asks me if I want to share these old memories, again and again. Every time I see a photo, I think about it all over again. How things have changed for me, as a dancer and a person!!

A neighborhood wandering cat that my dad fed consistently passed away yesterday. It looked like got hit in the middle of the street in front of my house. I had just discovered it on my way walking home, and it looked fresh. I think I was the first to see it. We’re pretty sad about it. What kind of an omen is THAT?

From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a new word I randomly came across on the web the other day, that resonated a little more than I expected:

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Just a few poignant moments that come in waves, that choose to come in spectacular phases in life, that probably mean nothing but mean so much at the same time, as the way life usually does. Anyway… I really enjoyed Life is Strange, and am looking to be inspired by games similar to it! Other titles off the top of my head that I enjoyed in a similar vein: The Stanley Parable, Bioshock Infinite, The Beginner’s Guide, To the Moon. I’ve heard of: Oxenfree (though I’m not good with horror), Firewatch, Heavy Rain. Other recommendations?

Also, did a ton of dancing and competing lately. It’s been great. Fun photos and thoughts on those to come!

March 7, 2016 - 3:56 pm | Comments

autumn thoughts: career and creativity

The weather’s been cold, the holiday feelings have been creeping in, and personal reflections of the past year have been bubbling up. I’ve been sitting in Starbucks a lot lately with a cup of Peppermint Mocha (guilty pleasure, I know), having bi-weekly adultlife chats with my musician cousin, thinking about career, dance, and life. Autumn is my favorite season!!

The last couple of months have been a good time to connect with friends and colleagues in their 20s, all working, pursuing dreams, keeping busy, etc. I’ve been reflecting a lot on past events and places that got me here (really, when do those thoughts ever stop?), and feeling nostalgic. In September, I visited my old office and previous workplace from a year ago to say hi and greet familiar faces. Everyone was really friendly and kind- and it really resonated with me how important a positive work culture and environment was to me. I went to my old high school’s homecoming football game (we won by like 40 points!), and emailed my high school multimedia teacher from 8 years ago, updating her on my status now and to see how she was doing. She emailed back happily.

“As an art major, it is a challenge to get through college and find your creative path.”

It’s been a big time for me to pursue change recently, getting involved in local projects (there’s a huge web project and community I’d love to talk about, once it’s ready to be public and launched!), seeking new environments, dancing very hard to distract myself from the sometimes overwhelming bouts of overthinking… It’s been one of the most difficult years, honestly, due to personal circumstances, so I’ve been working hard and thinking hard about ways I can bring a positive change to my life before end the year. Navigating the boundary between having an art education and a self-taught technical background in the Silicon Valley, especially as a millennial, comes with unique difficulties, but I’m optimistic things will turn out the way they are meant to, with the new skills and people I learn along the way.

Speaking of web projects! A while ago, I had posted that I was working on my website at http://digital-dust.net. It’s actually still in progress and not yet quite finished, but you can at least take a look at the portfolio section to see some work I’ve done. Wanted try avoiding using a CMS for this site, and instead hand-code it from the ground up for personal practice, so there are still many tweaks and content to be added. Take a look, if you like!

In other news, my partner and I are still active in the Bay Area dancesport scene, improving as much as we can. We’ll be competing again this Saturday at the 2nd Annual San Jose State Spartan Invitational (it’s only $5 to watch, all day. free for SJSU students)! Here’s an archived live stream of Autumn Dance Classic from October- we show up at around 16:50 and again at 40:00. I’m the one in the yellow dress!

It’s amazing to look back at past videos, experiences, even if they’re just a month ago, and say out loud to yourself and others… “Wow, I’ve gotten better since then. No really, our dancing’s ugly in this one. Wait ’til you see us NEXT time, seriously!

A photo posted by Mirabel (@chibi_m7) on

Random nerd-related asides: I’m addicted to The Walking Dead. Dancing with the Stars is another guilty pleasure of mine. Just finished the story mode of Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thrones. Debating on whether I should pick up Legacy of the Void. Doctor Strange is releasing in theaters on my birthday next year. And it apparently took me this long to discover Welcome to Nightvale… what a strange and compelling podcast.

Living as a millennial with intense bouts of half self-doubt and half-optimism while journeying for the right career path? Fellow ballroom dancer that can provide advice on hip flexibility issues, specifically on the left side? Any thoughts on movies, television, and media in general? Excited for the Nintendo Direct later today? DO YOU THINK GLENN IS STILL ALIVE?!

November 12, 2015 - 11:29 am | Comments