When I started blogging this year, I didn’t realize that it would be the year that would have the most surprises in store for me. Well I kinda did, considering I was graduating from college, but even in terms of travel and reading and art, it’s been a pretty effing productive 2015 for me. And below are my list of awesomeness I’ve been up to this year (chronologically). Click on a picture, and you can toggle your way through the rest. Enjoy, and see you next year on Dwelling In Erised!

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Btw this is from the new illustrated HP and the Sorceror’s Stone edition! I’m not that big of a fan, but I thought that this was a very beautiful image for the Mirror of Erised chapter. It got the emotion down pat.

A skeptic’s trip to Europe (January 2015)

I really used to be such a snob. I was one of those skeptics who were like, “Oh, Paris is nothing, what’s so special about Europe?” But then my mom dragged me to Europe for the first time (10 days in Amsterdam, Paris, and Nice), and I was floored by the beautiful architecture of these cities. SO absolutely gorgeous. I can finally see why people say Paris is such a beautiful city–Notre Dame on on a rainy day is an absolute treat, and Nice had a pretty gorgeous river and hiking place too.

Farewell, college (May 2015)

I graduated earlier this year, and I’m already missing college. Those nights studying, pizza delivery, endless hours in the music practice rooms, tramping up and down campus…tears, sweat, and laughter over the span of four fruitful years. And these pix below are just a homage to a few favorite lecture classrooms, locations on campus, and memories overall:)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

As a graduation gift, my family and I went to Hogwarts at Universal Studios Orland. nerd spasms And you can check out my post on it here.

I gotta say, I don’t think I’ve had more fun in my entire life. Shopping for souvenirs, riding the rides, gaping at the Hogwarts castle…But Disneyland fireworks weren’t half-bad either. Okay fine, they were brilliant; the view of the fireworks from our hotel bedroom was pretty awesome.

Welcome to Cancun! (June 2015)

Beach, food, sleeping in, getting fat…you think those are the best things about Cancun? Nope, Costco is. Because Costco’s in Cancun have the most friggin’ amazing stuff EVER. I mean, do you see the Hello Kitty and Minions candy cases in the pictures below?! This place is a kid’s wet dream–okay that sounded wrong, but you know what I meant. I was a little kid in a candy store grabbing everything off the Costco shelves until my mom exasperatedly yanked me out of the store. She probably was thinking never again lol.

Exploring Puffer’s Pond! (July 2015)

Before I left my college area, I found the most breathtaking pond called Puffer’s Pond. Its trails and rivers were like a thing from Lord of the Rings (I could’ve cried), and I spent the last month or so of my summer exploring its wonders from morning to twilight. But I still couldn’t get enough of it before I left. Oh well. I’ll definitely make a nostalgia trip in the future here again. I also made a post here if you’d like to check it out.

My 23rd birthday. Yay…?

Well, here’s to getting older each year old lady. sighs And I had to spend this birthday all alone since all my friends had left after graduation. But hey, they sent chocolates–which is all that matters, right? And I had a great day at Puffer’s Pond reading my new books. The fishes said hi:)

Moving out of my very first apartment (August 2015)

This was a crusher, I tell you. Seeing the empty apartment for the first time in two years made me cry as I was leaving for the airport.  I must’ve said good-bye about 4 or 5 times before I forced myself to get in the car. Such good memories here, truly.

Although just as a little FYI landlady, I wrote my name inconspicuously on the ceiling before I left. Don’t charge me for that. And don’t paint over it!

Aaaaand~ the rest of 2015!

Cooking and gardening: I make a mean veggie sandwich, according to my vegetarian friends. Onions, red peppers, sprouts, two kinds of textured lettuce, mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes, olives, cheese…yum. With chips and pickles. Triple yum!

And also, I planted flowers and peppers in my garden–in the middle of the night.

Work frenzy: My new lab. I spend 8 hours each day here, but hey, my desk has a nice window view outside. But the numbers, dilutions, fear of contamination, details, picky people….ugh, too many details…my brain hurts….sobs

Reading: I’m learning to read books in Spanish. Harry Potter in Spanish is pretty easy since I have it memorized in English lol.

Painting: I got snapped in a local newspaper while painting on a Sunday afternoon. Totally paparazzied! I was caught in the act of going crazy with the burnt umber again, and I uploaded a few paintings on my blog here and here.

And of course, blogging.

This is my first year of blogging, and it was a good year to start. What a packed and exciting year it was for me, with new travels and experiences, new starts and endings. I look forward to an even better year, and I likely won’t be giving up blogging so soon. Btw this is my 30th blog post:D

So happy New Year’s Day, bappy 2016, happy year of the monkey. Don’t forget to “dwell in Erised” every once in a while. And do keep warm, keep safe, and cheers to all!