Year in review, looking ahead, and my favorite little things (2016 favorites!)

Happy New Year! I know I probably already said that, but “Happy New Year” again. This is my annual year-in-review/resolutions/favorites of my past year’s favorites post.

1). 2016 was exciting, but I don’t have to be wistful about it because the good things are continuing into 2017.

I’m still heartened with deep satisfaction from the life changes I was able to make in 2016. It was a particularly great year occupation-wise. About this, I can only say that I’m thankful every day to experience the feeling of vitality the luckiest people feel when they wake up driven and eager because they know they’re going to spend the day doing what they love, where and how they love doing it. Any work-related stress I experience is self-imposed, productive stress. I keep thinking this is all a splendiferous dream. I’m aware that I may have to wake up one day, so I’m enjoying it while I can.

Fitness-wise, adding (Les Mills) Body Pump to my workout routine was the best thing I did in 2016. It took me almost the whole year to get here, but I finally did, and I. Am. Loving. It.

The year was rich and rewarding family-wise, too. We spent lovely time with my family (between my brother’s wedding and Thanksgiving), and it was fun ending the year with my sister-in-law and her boys during their longish visit.

One thing we did with them was the annual Phoenix Zoo Lights, which is great, anyway, but so especially awesome with kids!

 

Phoenix Zoo Lights 2016

Phoenix Zoo Lights 2016

 

With Legoland now open down the way at Arizona Mills (where we also went with the kids), Legos were featured in this year’s Zoo Lights:

 

Phoenix Zoo Lights 2016 (with Lego sculpture)

Phoenix Zoo Lights 2016 (with Lego sculpture)

 

On the darker side of 2016: It was a hard year in terms of our furbabies. It involved upheaval, heartbreak, and a lot of time, effort, and money spent trying to make life good for our kitties. It’s not over, but we’re determined. Our focus at the moment is on healing Cita physically. After that, we can focus entirely on healing her emotionally, with the ultimate goal of integrating her into our household with Nenette… yes, we’re going to attempt that again. We are not going to give up.

We’re already doing what we can to make Cita’s environment as stress-free as possible – putting Feliway (comforting feline pheromones) in her air, and Bach Rescue Remedy in her water – so we’re off to a running start. Reducing her stress is helping her to heal, in general.

2). Looking ahead at 2017, I am:

–Starting out the year with an updated workout routine, doing 3 Body Pump classes and 2 Body Combat classes per week, instead of the other way around. It was time for a change, and my body is loving it!

–Continuing work on alleviating (if not overcoming) my PTSD-related claustrophobia via repeated trips to the sensory deprivation tank.

–Speaking more French at home, since I completely failed last year’s resolution and spoke practically no French.

3). I usually do a “favorites of the past year” list; continuing with the tradition, here’s my list of my favorite of my 2016 favorites!

Favorite Random:

  • Les Mills Body Pump
  • Nature’s Wick Bonfire Nights candle

Favorite Skin care, hair care, cosmetics (all cruelty-free… not tested on animals):

  • Derma e antioxidant natural sunscreen with clear zinc oxide SPF 30
  • OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner
  • The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask
  • The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil
  • The Body Shop Rainforest Radiance hair butter
  • e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation (in Sand)
  • e.l.f. High Definition Powder in Soft Luminescence
  • e.l.f. Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette

Favorite Foods (all vegan):

  • Scivation Xtend BCAAs (strawberry kiwi)
  • Bragg’s organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Trader Joe’s multi-grain sourdough (with sunflower and sesame seed) bread
  • Eureka! Seeds the Day bread
  • Seedless red grapes
  • KIND Nuts and Spices bar (dark chocolate nuts and sea salt)
  • Clif Kid Organic Z Bar (iced oatmeal cookie) with peanut butter
  • Chipotle Tabasco sauce

Favorite Movies:

  • Hush
  • Ghostbusters
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hacksaw Ridge

Favorite T.V. series:

  • Orphan Black
  • The Americans
  • Empire
  • The Affair
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke
  • Better Call Saul
  • Bates Motel
  • Stranger Things
  • Black-ish
  • Speechless

That’s it for the wrap-up. Onward!

The hilarity, insanity, and deliciousness of it all. (May Favorites!)

I’m keeping this short, but it’s very sweet. Clearly, my favorite little things about May were T.V. series, movies, and FOOD.

 

1). Empire (T.V. series) S2 finale: “Past is Prologue”

 

Cookie in Empire's S2 finale (Past is Prologue)

Cookie in Empire’s S2 finale (Past is Prologue)

 

Because this season finale, written by Lee Daniels (who created the show and produces it too, I think), was a fine example of spectacular hysteria. Empire managed to out-shenanigan itself with this one, and we loved it. I mean, just look at Cookie in that outfit!

 

2). Blindspot (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Blindspot

 

 

Because it’s a binge-worthy mystery/thriller/spy show, and we are enthralled. Why did it take us a year to happen upon this one?

 

3). The Nice Guys (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-TheNiceGuys_2016

 

 

Because I would totally see it again.

 

4). Captain America: Civil War (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-CaptainAmerica_CivilWar

 

 

Because I enjoy superhero movies with controversial endings. Personally, this is my favorite of the series. I should’ve written about it on its own, but suffice it to say, I loved this movie.

 

5). SuperStarch (UCAN).

 

SuperStarch (UCAN)

SuperStarch (UCAN)

 

Because, as you may recall I’d written (when I waxed enthusiastic about SuperStarch in this recent Garage Gym workout post), this product is a game-changer.

 

6). The veggie roll at Yogis Grill.

 

Veggie Roll at Yogis Grill

Veggie Roll at Yogis Grill

 

Because usually, I’m lucky if I can get a vegetarian sushi roll at all, much less one that’s anything more than cucumbers and carrots. I can’t begin to describe the deliciousness of the veggie roll at Yogis Grill. It’s plump with avocado, drizzled in sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds, and you do not think to yourself, “I’m eating raw cucumbers and carrots wrapped in rice.” Neither do you think to yourself, “I’m eating raw fish.” This is a win-win if you want sushi but you’re a vegetarian or a person who doesn’t like raw fish.

 

7). Cherries (and other stone fruits).

 

Fresh cherries

Fresh cherries

 

Because it’s the season of stone fruits, and they’re my favorites: cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums… if there’s a stone in it, I love it. This 8-lb box of perfect Bing cherries arrived early in May courtesy of my Dad, who went to pick them the day the orchard opened to the public in Brentwood, California. Yes, I’m spoiled.

 

8). Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy ice cream (coffee caramel fudge).

 

Ben & Jerry's Coffee Caramel Fudge - dairy-free

Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Caramel Fudge – dairy-free

 

Because coffee caramel fudge is my dream flavor combination, and this one is dairy-free. FULL DISCLOSURE: I had some dairy ice cream a few weeks ago, and I regretted it immediately on all the levels, including the taste level. This concoction of Ben & Jerry’s is to die for. And yes, it’s creamy and rich. DO RECOMMEND.

 

9). Biena Chickpea Snacks with sea salt.

 

Biena Chickpea Snacks with sea salt

Biena Chickpea Snacks with sea salt

 

Because sometimes, I just want a small handful of something tasty, salty, and crunchy… but not nutrient-empty. A serving of these gives you 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber with 0 sugar, 0 cholesterol, 8% iron, and only 4 grams of fat. Oh, and 18 grams of carbs, if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. Anyway, these are nutritious and awesome, and you should try them.

 

10). Eureka! Seeds the Day bread.

 

Eureka! Seeds the Day.

Eureka! Seeds the Day.

 

Because Dave’s Killer Bread is fabulous, but it’s more expensive than Eureka! and honestly, we like Eureka! better. We like its nutrition panel better and its flavor/texture better. Seeds the Day rules.

 

The End.