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2017 has already come & gone. It’s already Day 3 of 2018, & I cant believe it. Time really seems to be whizzing by. This is a look back at some of my biggest highlights of 2017.

01. This past year, I really feel like I’ve stepped up my writing, & put more focus & effort into my blog. I think I’m improving in making my own graphic images & site banners, but I’m not a trained graphic artist, nor do I have any artistic drawing abilities whatsoever. So, I’m hoping I’m improving as an amateur graphic artist. I can definitely see an improvement in my writing, & I’ve managed not to get too wordy on the unnecessary details. I’m definitely going to keep writing on my blog, & hope you all follow me on my journey.

02. When I was a teenager, I had all sorts of lofty dreams of going to music concerts & festivals. I envisioned my friends & I hopping in to my little car, & we’d travel around town looking for hip music venues & clubs. Well, that never happened, & even in my early adulthood I didn’t get many chances to go to any concerts…mostly because my group of friends at the time all had different tastes in music, & I could never find a partner to go with me to concerts or live shows.

Fast forward to today, f I can’t believe my good fortune. Jian & I have each introduced the other person to new music genres, bands, & artists. Through our mutual love of music, we’ve been able to attend many concerts & pop culture festivals in 2017. Our list of events include: Anderson.Paak in London, SAVE FERRIS, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with Kings of Leon, as well as Lord Huron, Carseat Headrest & other bands we didn’t recognize at Chris Hardwick’s ID10T Conival. We saw WEEZER twice last year. Once at the ID10T Conival, & a second time at our local Alt-Rock radio station’s winter concert called Not So Silent Night. We attended on the night Alice Merton (of “No Roots” fame), Walk The Moon, Foster The People, WEEZER, &………The KILLERS performed. Yes, we got to see our favorite rock band of all time (The KILLERS) perform alongside WEEZER!!!! It was a great way to end our year in concerts. Also, I’m going to see The KILLERS in concert again next month at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles for their Wonderful, Wonderful U.S. arena tour. I can just feel all of my teenage concert fantasies coming true.

03. I got to check off an item on my travel bucket list this past year. After all of my intense wishing, it finally came true. I got to visit London, England for my very first time. It took me a long time to convince Jian to go with me, since Jian prefers to visit Asia on his vacations, but I finally wore him down & convinced him to travel with me to Europe/the UK. I was getting a little tired of always sticking to our routine of visiting Japan or China (or Hong Kong) every time we plan an overseas vacation. I’ve been wanting to switch things up & visit Europe/the UK for a long time. Also, visiting London has been a big ticket bucket list item for me, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my new favorite city & stay at a hotel that has completely changed my life.

04. After immigrating to the U.S. from Taiwan (she was not born there), my mom said goodbye & had not given any thought to going back until recently. A lot of my mom’s friends have either permanently moved back to Taiwan, or split their time living there 6 months out of the year. This encouraged my mom to finally want to visit Taiwan. She invited her favorite travel companion (me) her sister, & together they made plans to go back & visit the city they grew up in & left behind over 30+ years ago. Of course, my mom feeling insecure about traveling to a place she hardly remembers, she invited Jian & I to join them as chaperones who could help them navigate the subway system & help them at the airports. We had so much fun eating & drinking our way through Taipei, & making the best of our trip even though it rained nearly every day.

05. Christmas is a big deal in my family. My dad had always emphasized family togetherness during this time of the year, & as a family we took his words very seriously. All of the kids make sure to come home for the holidays no matter what, & my mom throws a huge annual party on Christmas Eve. We usually tend to keep the guest list to family & close family friends only, but this year we broke tradition, & I was able to invite my closest friends & their families to our party. We had the most memorable evening I’ll never forget. This recently past Christmas party was truly outstanding & unforgettable.

06. This past year marked the 5th anniversary of my dad’s passing. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 YEARS. I think about my dad everyday, & I still think about him as though he’s still alive. I try hard not to dwell on the negative, & only focus on the positive memories of my dad. It’s hard to go through life without one parent, especially when you are still relatively young & feel like you still need your parents’ guidance. Another year will pass, & I will continue to think about my dad every day.

Those are my best highlights of 2017. I don’t have any resolutions for 2018. I want to live my life & be happy. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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During our stay in Taipei, we stayed at the AMBA Hotel.  It’s a really hip, urban & minimalist hotel located in the very popular 西門町 (Ximending) neighborhood on the west side of the city.  For me, this hotel was the best in terms of amenities, service, location, proximity to public transportation, etc.  I love being smack-dab in the heart of the bustling downtown area of any city, so this hotel was perfect for my taste.  One might think that the hotel may be quite noisy, since it is in the middle of such a busy neighborhood, but to be honest, I couldn’t really hear much outside noise from my hotel room on the 9th floor.  I was planning on taking a ton of pictures of the hotel (& my room) while I was staying at AMBA, but I got so busy with my friends & kept pushing it aside until the last day.   Then on the last day, I just happened to catch a bug of some sort & got really sick.  Luckily the illness only cost me one and a half days of vacation time.  These are the few pictures we took of the hotel…

  1. When you walk into the lobby on the 5th floor, as soon as you exit the elevators you are greeted by a large Tofu-Oyako mural hand-painted by the DevilRobots team.
  2. On the other side of the lobby, facing opposite of the front desk reception booth is the dining area & cafe complete with a hip coffee bar.
  3. Also in the middle of the lobby, under the atrium skylight is the community seats where you can eat your meal from the dining cafe.
  4. Near the elevators is another hand-painted mural of the Ximending skyline.
  5. Next to the Tofu-Oyako mural was this big “5” sculpture, which I assume is for the 5-year anniversary of the hotel (?).
  6. I completely forgot to take pictures of our room, so I borrowed one of my friend’s photos to show a sample of the sleeping area.  The rooms are quite compact, but still highly functional.
  7. There is always a valet at the ground floor elevators to escort you to the lobby on the 5th floor or to help you with directions.
  8. Also on the ground floor was a bakery with outdoor bench seats & patio tables.
  9. The bakery served lots of sweet treats (such as cupcakes, New York style cheesecake, etc.).
  10. In the morning, we would always converge with our friends at the bakery.
  11. There was a really cool 3D moving art piece in the lobby, right next to the lounge.
  12. Speaking of the lounge (Legacy), my husband & I had a few drinks there one night.
  13. The lounge had a swanky, modern, urban vibe.  The lounge often hosted many live performances on the stage.  The backdrop of the stage was covered in denim fabric.
  14. There were many types of hip sofa seats & plush couches scattered about the lounge.
  15. One of the walls were covered in stereo speakers & amplifiers.  This was one of the coolest art installations I’ve ever seen.
  16. Finishing off the night with a “Whisky Old Fashioned” cocktail.

Since I didn’t get to take any pictures of our hotel room, I made a little mock-up drawing of our room layout:

Please excuse my poor drawing skills.

Please excuse my poor drawing skills.

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