It seems crazy to me that yet another year is coming to an end and that I’m already gearing up for 2015, which will be the last year of my twenties and my third year of blogging here at Legally Redhead! Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but it felt like all I did was blink- and these past twelve months flew by me so quickly! In an attempt to start 2015 off on a more low-key, slower-paced note, I’m foregoing my usual fun and frenzied celebration in New York City (and the all night party I’ve gone to these past couple of years,) for a quiet evening in with Troy at a lovely bed and breakfast we reserved in Salem for tonight. A roaring fire, a Jacuzzi hot tub, and a little champagne as we count down the minutes to a new year filled with endless possibilities and opportunities seems like a relaxing and refreshing change. I hope all my friends who are traveling to NYC tonight have a blast, though! I can’t wait to see your photos and videos!
Respects must be paid to 2014, of course- a year consisting of the usual ups and downs of life but loaded with new adventures, new challenges, and new faces. From frequent weekend getaways to rural Massachusetts, New York City, Cape Cod, Maine and Vermont- among others- to photograph snowy scenery, historical landmarks, beaches (and sometimes food!) to my horrific faceplant in my own driveway back in the Spring that resulted in a temporary gap in my teeth (and now a permanent fear of black ice.) This past year also saw the moving and triumphant comeback of the Boston Marathon in all it’s glory, and my very first attempt at cosplaying when I won the geek lottery and got to attend San Diego Comic-Con in the Summer! I took on more responsibilities at work in 2014 and rose to the occasion as best I could- and also took on the part-time responsibility of getting my six-year old niece to school on time a couple of days per week (which has proven to be infinitely more challenging than anything I do at my office.)
2014 also saw some really fun and really rewarding collaborations with a few different companies here on the blog- and I want to say it now before I go any further with this post: thank you- ALL OF YOU– who read, follow, share, and otherwise support Legally Redhead. I really love connecting with so many of you through my posts and within my comments, social media, and e-mails. I try to write for me, because it’s truly what I love to do when I’m not working- but I feel so blessed and am so thankful for each and every one of you who encourage me to keep going and keep blogging even on those days where I’m sparse for time and/or content because it means that my passion and my effort extends beyond just myself- and that’s everything to me. I hope to continue bringing new content and ideas to this blog that inspire, entertain, and enrich those who read- well beyond 2015!
Of course, there were obstacles this past year. An old friend from high school tragically passed away over the Summer. A plan to move to Western Massachusetts fell through, as did a trip to New Orleans with my girlfriends due to scheduling and financial conflicts- but those instances of disappointment paled in comparison to the overwhelming amount of fun and excitement I had in 2014- and they also served as motivation towards achieving new goals and resolutions in 2015- which I’ll get to shortly.
As is tradition, I’ve compiled a little round-up of some of the biggest news stories, pop culture happenings, trends, and general craziness that transpired over this past year.
So here is 2014, in a nutshell:
Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ferguson and the “Black Lives Matter” Movement: Perhaps the most prominent news story in 2014, the aftermath and resulting protests still happening as we speak- were the shooting of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri by white police Officer Darren Wilson- and the strangulation of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in Staten Island- by white police Officer Daniel Pantaleo- the latter of which was caught on tape. Both deaths (just two among many other deaths of unarmed black citizens by white police officers this year,) as well as the failure of investigators to remain as transparent as possible while they reviewed evidence and witness statements, sparked unprecedented nation-wide protests and brought racial tensions and the lack of trust between the African-American community and various police departments to the forefront. While militarized police forces clashed with protesters on a seemingly nightly basis- using tear gas and riot gear in residential areas of Ferguson- the unrest reached a boiling point when Grand Juries chose not to indict either Officer Wilson or Officer Pantaleo of any crime or wrongdoing.
With the recent shooting of Antonio Martin in St. Louis earlier this week, and the subsequent protests and confrontations between residents and police officers at the scene of the incident- this is a news story that I think will go well into 2015, too.
The Ebola scare reaches American Soil: Following the wide-spread Ebola outbreak in West Africa earlier this year, which resulted in high mortality rates across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone- it didn’t take long for panic to spread to the United States- many citizens unfamiliar with the disease, it’s symptoms, or how it’s spread- causing flights to and from affected areas to be halted and many people having recently arrived in the country from those locations being quarantined at the smallest sign of illness.
In September, Thomas Clark Duncan, a Liberian who had come into direct contact with the virus and had then traveled to the United States to visit relatives- became the first person to be diagnosed and later die from Ebola in America. As a result, two health care workers who had aided in Duncan’s treatment while in Dallas also contracted the virus (and were later cured,) and Duncan’s family and sections of the apartment complex where they lived were placed under a temporary quarantine to avoid further spread- which only seemed to intensify fears across the country as confusion grew. Once the panic had died down, mostly due to the realization that Ebola is not, in fact, airborne- things seemed to return to normal. TIME Magazine has recently revealed Ebola fighters, who are still staying strong in West Africa as they continue to try and stop the spread of the virus- as their “Person of the Year” for 2014.
Malaysia Airlines had a really, really bad year: On March 8th, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared without a trace- with 239 individuals on board- while en route to Beijing. The disappearance, which included no distress signal and produced no wreckage- prompted the most expensive multinational search for the flight in aviation history and became the focal point of 24-hour news programs for weeks on end. With lengthy investigations into the pilot, co-pilot, crew, and passengers- even inspiring theories that included the plane being hijacked and flown to a remote location, among others- Flight 370 was eventually determined to have gone down in the Southern Indian Ocean and leaving no survivors.
Months later, on July 17th, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in the Eastern Ukraine after being shot down by a surface-to-air missile by pro-Russian separatists in the troubled region. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed.
Following the tragedies, many of Malaysia Airlines’ in-flight crew members resigned. That, coupled with the company’s highly-criticized attempts to boost sales with poorly phrased posts on social media later on in the Fall- resulted in one of the most disastrous years an airline could possibly have.
The CIA tortured people (some innocent) and The White House knew about it: In a post-9/11, sometimes overtly Patriotic America, there was no greater black mark on the Nation’s reputation in 2014 than when the contents and often-gruesome details from the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” report were recently released. Those who were concerned and disgusted with the extreme brutality and atrocities committed against prisoners- some of whom were later proven to be innocent- began the discussion of how far was too far in the name of anti-terrorism and keeping Americans safe? Furthermore, what message do such tactics send to our allies or to other countries who are far more barbaric?
Worst of all, the report indicated that at the height of these tactics, the Bush Administration- who continuously denied the use of torture on prisoners- knew fully well what was happening and made no attempts to stop it, thus creating further distrust between the citizens of the country and those who are/were in charge of it.
We had some unexpected losses this year: While no year is without it’s share of notable celebrity deaths, 2014 seemed to have quite a few shocking ones. Among older, beloved figures who passed peacefully from old age or while courageously battling illnesses (Shirley Temple, Harold Ramis, Bob Hoskins, Oscar de la Renta, and Lauren Bacall- just to name a few,) it was the accidental overdoses of younger celebrities like Peaches Geldof (aged 25) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (aged 46,) and the suicide of Robin Williams (aged 63-) that seemed to come out of left field and stun everyone.
The Sochi debacle was a glorious train wreck: The Winter Olympics are an inspiring display of skill, hard work, athleticism, and perseverance- but all of that was overshadowed in the 2014 games held in Sochi, Russia (of all places-) when the lead-up to the opening ceremony was plagued by problems. Corruption, threats of terrorism, deplorable hotel conditions for journalists and visiting athletes (those photos of the yellow drinking water will haunt me forever,) and the euthanization of Sochi’s numerous stray dogs in order to make the city look “more presentable” in time for the games. For those reasons and more, it was hard to get into the spirit of the sports- and gold medals should have been awarded to those in the media who were sent over to cover the games from start to finish.
The Ice Bucket Challenge goes viral: In the Summer of 2014- athletes, actors/actresses, politicians, internet personalities and everyday folks committed to the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS.) The challenge was simple- pour a bucket of ice cold water over your head (or have someone do it for you,) and make a donation to the ALS Foundation or a charity of your choosing. From there, nominate three or more people to do the same. Although the significance of the ice water as it pertains to ALS is still unknown- the challenge caught on like wildfire- and to date the foundation has received over $100 MILLION dollars in donations since it’s gone viral.
That’s AMAZING- and for the record- my favorite Ice Bucket Challenge video thus far has been Chris Evans’ (YouTube it if you haven’t seen it yet!)
Hackers stole photos, and a long look at victim-blaming and sexism ensued: In one of the many hacking scandals in 2014 (I’m skipping over SONY’s biblical security breach since it’s still ongoing at the moment,) a hacker/hackers stole private, nude photographs of Hollywood starlets- most notably Jennifer Lawrence- and plastered them all over the internet. As a result, a refreshing amount of women came to the victims’ defense- shutting down those who attempted to blame and shame Lawrence and others for taking the photos in the first place.
In a year where violence against women and misogyny has been a hot topic with eye-opening calls for change like the #YesAllWomen trend following the Elliot Rodger shooting rampage in California in May, and the #WhyIStayed trend following the released footage of NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then fiancée unconscious in an elevator- it was really great to see females, celebrities and non-celebrities alike- supporting other females and calling the appropriate men out on sexist nonsense once and for all.
Bill Cosby is NOT Cliff Huxtable: In another saga that I anticipate will extend well into 2015, the long history of sexual abuse that has otherwise been kept under wraps by Bill Cosby’s camp came back to haunt him in a big way this past year with multiple (and I do mean multiple) women coming forward with allegations against the comedian. Appearances were pulled, specials were axed, and honors the ‘Ghost Dad’ star had received throughout his life and career were revoked as more and more women spoke out- all with horrifyingly similar stories of drugged drinks and associates who turned a blind eye to the assaults. It’s been a disgusting scandal to see unfold- not aided by Cosby’s refusal, to date, to acknowledge or answer to any of the accusations.
– HONORABLE MENTIONS –
– “Conscious Uncoupling”: Back in March, actress Gwyneth Paltrow took her GOOP-y pretentiousness to a new, formerly uncharted territory when she announced her split from husband Chris Martin. Rather than simply ask for privacy during the proceedings (or better yet, say nothing at all since it was nobody’s business,) Paltrow instead blogged a brief, nonsensical explanation of the couple’s failed attempts at making the marriage work.
– Oscar Pistorius got off easy: In October 2014, Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius, the paraplegic sprint runner- after a dramatic trial that was built up by months of crying, shaking, and vomiting in a South African courtroom where he stood trial for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp- was convicted of culpable homicide and reckless endangerment- and is currently serving a five year sentence.
– “The WICKEDLY talented, Adele Dazeem.”: Poor John Travolta. Earlier at this year’s Oscars ceremony, “Let it Go” singer Idina Menzel was set to perform live following the insane success of the movie “Frozen.” Travolta, who apparently didn’t bother to read a cue card or even do the slightest bit of homework before announcing her performance, butchered her name so badly that within an hour the internet had blown up with “Travoltify Your Name” generators and tweets- which were admittedly really, really funny.
– The former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is old, racist, and a little crazy: While there were plenty of sports scandals in 2014, perhaps the biggest was when a racist voice mail left by then owner of the Clippers, Donald Sterling, for his mistress- was leaked to the press. The justified fall-out, which included the Clippers and other teams in the NBA rallying to get rid of him while Sterling himself gave a damning, borderline senile interview to CNN- finally ended with the old man being banned from the NBA for life and being forced to sell the team.
– We said farewell to “The Colbert Report”: 2014 saw the end of one of my favorite satirical programs on Comedy Central, with the final episode airing just a couple of short weeks ago. After 1,447 episodes, it’s going to be strange not laughing along with Colbert’s political pundit character- but I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to “The Tonight Show” after he takes over for Letterman next year!
– “It’s about ethics in gaming journalism!”: If there was a bigger intimidation tactic/neckbeard dude-bro clusterfuck on social media than #GamerGate this year, I don’t want to know about it. What started as a smear campaign against a select few female game designers and feminist game reviewers by some misogynistic losers with no lives, quickly escalated into an all-out crusade against female gamers in general and anyone who defended them. With multiple accounts belonging to the targets being hacked into and their personal information being posted online with vile threats of physical and sexual violence- the hashtag made headlines and once again put misogyny and sexism in the spotlight.
– A guy in Ohio raised $55,000 on Kickstarter to make potato salad: Yep. Nothing more to say about that, really.
And that’s it- 2014 in a nutshell! I know there’s a few things I left out, like weddings, scientific breakthroughs, and a certain terrorist group whose barbaric crimes have made headlines over the course of the year (and who I refuse to give attention to on this blog,) but I have to end this post at some point!
While I managed to mostly stay diligent in the resolutions I made for myself in 2014- accomplishing a couple of the things I set out to do (like attending San Diego Comic-Con, for example,) there were a few that I missed the mark on completely and am hoping to try for again in 2015. Here are my resolutions for the new year!
1, Get into the best shape of my life: I feel like this resolution is on everyone’s list, every year- without fail- and I really did start 2014 off with the best of intentions. For the most part, I ate right, I slept as much as my schedule would allow, and I tried to work out whenever I had a chance- but it still doesn’t feel like I reached my goals in terms of re-sculpting my body and getting to my healthiest level. In 2015, I’m re-evaluating what went wrong in my initial plan and making the necessary changes for success- starting with re-arranging my schedule and meal plans to ensure that I am eating the right foods at the right time, sleeping a proper amount- and working out every day instead of every other day or every few days. It won’t be easy- but I’m determined and I refuse to back down or give up.
2. Get organized: This resolution sort of goes with #1. I’ve purchased a planner to help me better manage my time and priorities- including hitting the gym, work-related deadlines, travel and blogging plans. Once I have my schedule figured out and have mastered managing it- I’ll be able to make more time for spontaneous adventures and quiet “me” time, which is also important.
3. Blog to my fullest potential!: Over the past couple of months, I’ve had so many ideas for new content for Legally Redhead but haven’t had the opportunity to bring those plans to fruition. That changes in 2015 with my more organized mindset. I’ll be bringing weekly posts (including my usual subscription box reviews, movie commentary, and photography,) that will include but aren’t limited to “inspired by” makeup looks, spotlights on my wardrobe, gaming reviews (and maybe some play-along video!) renovation and decorating projects, and more cooking/baking posts since they’ve been far and few between. I’m really excited for the changes- all of which are good, in my opinion- that are coming to this blog, and I hope everyone who reads it will be, too!
4. Start looking to re-locate: As much as I love my living situation right now, I think 2015 will be the year I start looking to change my scenery- even if it’s just a little bit. That’s not to say I’ll be making any moves, minor or major, in the coming year- but I would like to start looking at other options in other locations- possibly San Diego (finally?)
5. Get my kicks on Route 66!: This resolution was on my list of goals for 2014 as well, and is my wildcard resolution in a lot of ways- but in 2015 I’d really love to take a couple of weeks near the Summer to head out on the road and travel what’s left of Historic Route 66 to Santa Monica. If I’m able to secure San Diego Comic-Con tickets again, I could make a pilgrimage of it- but even if I don’t- I’d still like to take the trip, either on my own or with any willing friends who want to join me!
And with all of that being said, it’s time to raise a glass (right now, mine has orange juice in it- but later it will be filled with champagne,) to 2014. It’s been a wonderful year! Truly!
I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve tonight, everyone! I’ll be seeing you all in 2015! Let’s make it a good one!