2016: In a Nutshell.

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Whenever I go to write one of my annual year-end wrap-up posts, I like to take a look back on the last one I put together- not only to track my progress with the resolutions I had set for myself and adjust any of the ones I didn’t accomplish so that I can try to complete them again- but to also see what events/news changed over the course of the year that followed, too.

Oddly enough, this little snippet from New Year’s Eve in 2015 caught my eye:

Indeed, I’m a little anxious for 2016. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I’m eager for it to begin- not only because it marks the year I will be turning thirty (gasp!) and I’m actually quite excited to enter a new decade of my life with all the wisdom I’ve gained over the past ten years of laughter, tears, triumphs, tragedies and PLENTY of mistakes (and believe me- I’ll have a post up with all of those juicy details and some well-intentioned advice within a couple of weeks just for the occasion!) but because, overall- 2015 was a bit rough for me- and I don’t believe it would be an exaggeration to say it was possibly one of the more difficult years I’ve had since my father’s untimely death in 2012.

Of course, had I known exactly what a dumpster fire 2016 would turn out to be- I never would have taken a moment of 2015 for granted.

Listen: 2016 had good moments. Even the most awful of years have them- and I’m truly grateful they were peppered across the past twelve months. Indeed, my turning 30 was a joyous and wildly celebrated occasion by both friends and family alike. One of my best friends got married to a wonderful guy whom she loves very much. I had an amazing vacation in Las Vegas and San Diego and another (and equally amazing) mini-vacation in Virginia and around D.C. I excelled in my career, I spent time with old friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time (including my long-time West Coast family- Tom, Andrea and their beautiful baby boy, Lorenzo!) I met new and incredible people, and traveled to new & different places- some local and some not-so-local- that I would have otherwise overlooked or missed entirely during my somewhat sporadic days off from my job. Plus, “Captain America: Civil War” came out this year- and that was awesome, right?

But 2016’s rough patches often overshadowed the good times- and not just for me- but for a lot of other people, too.

The biggest blow came at the beginning of Summer when I ended a 7-year relationship (which tied into a 15 year-friendship) that I documented here on “Legally Redhead” shortly after the dust had finally settled. Although in my heart of hearts I know it was for the best and that I had made the right decision to cut the man who had hurt me and betrayed my trust beyond comprehension out of my life entirely- it was still an agonizing ordeal that really screwed me up emotionally and mentally for a long time after the fact. I would be lying if I said that it still doesn’t sting just a little bit when I look back on it- and although I formed a new friendship with another woman who had been hurt by the same guy at the exact same time, which was really the only silver lining to the whole mess of a situation- it was still devastating and draining to me in so many ways.

The breakup had a negative ripple effect into some of my longtime close friendships with a couple of different guys in my life, too. Men I’d known for years and who I thought I had a mutual understanding and respect with suddenly tried to swoop in and become romantically (or just plain physically) involved with me despite my working through a considerable amount of pain and anguish and making things downright uncomfortable and confusing at times. It goes without saying that I’ve been cleaning house and “taking out the trash” in certain aspects of my life for the past few months- actively trying to rid myself and surroundings of people whom I feel have a negative impact on me, my life, my progress, and my overall happiness. It all ties into my resolutions for 2017- which I’ll get to in a bit.

This past year also saw my encounter some financial setbacks due to unforeseen circumstances. A change in my living situation stood to help me save more money, however my old car finally dying once and for all caused a considerable amount of stress when I had to rush out to purchase a new one in order to get myself to/from work and my daily activities. Although I adore my new Elantra- the extra payment every month definitely hurts whenever I dare look at my bank account statements- which isn’t exactly ideal for someone trying to budget a move to the West Coast. I’ve been putting in a lot of overtime at work to help make up some of the funds- and with a recent change in my schedule that provides me a but more flexibility- I’m hoping it will all become easier to manage in the coming months and new year.

Before I jump into my hopes, goals and aspirations for 2017- I wanted to take a look back at this past year that was: the headlines, the trends, and the odds  & ends that made up a wild and unpredictable 12 months that I don’t think any of us are going to forget anytime soon.

This is 2016, in a nutshell:


(Image via People)

What the actual f*ck, America?!: In one of the most stunning upsets in politics and in history in general, former reality TV star, corrupt businessman and present-day puppet to Vladimir Putin (with absolutely no control over his temper- a brilliant combination if there ever was one)- Donald Trump actually convinced people that despite multiple scandals and bankruptcies- he was somehow fit to run a country and was elected President of the United States after a long, volatile, and downright ugly campaign against actual experienced politician, Hillary Clinton. Since then, each and every day’s news headlines just seem to be “oh God, did he really just do/say that?” and sure enough- he did.

I wrote about my feelings on the election results back in November- so reiterating my disgust with Trump, the people he has surrounded himself with, and his supporters isn’t necessary at this point- but I’m hoping that the recent findings of his ties to Russia, Putin, and their proven interference with the election changes the course of this sham of a decision and this embarrassment of a “leader” (and even bigger embarrassment of a man) gets impeached A.S.A.P.


(Image via New York Times)

What the actual f*ck, England?: Not that it helps me feel any better, but America wasn’t the only country who lost their collective minds this past year. In another shocking development- the United Kingdom willingly opted out of remaining in the European Union- “breaking free” after campaigns filled with fear-mongering and anti-immigration sentiments were concocted by those leading the brigade to abandon the EU- and which also played a role in the public assassination of Parliament member Jo Cox- and thus changed their country’s course forever.

Immediate changes included David Cameron stepping down as Prime Minister and the pound quickly (and alarmingly) losing it’s value- although long-term consequences are still up in the air and many are left feeling uncertain about their futures and the future of their economy, national security, livelihoods, healthcare, etc.

We know how you feel, England. You can come sit with us. Let’s talk about it.


(Images via various news sources)

Who DIDN’T die this year?: If you’re reading this, then congratulations- you’re alive- and that’s more than so many beloved musicians, actors/actresses, sports legends and cultural icons can say after 2016. I had a feeling things were going to be bad this year when David Bowie and Alan Rickman passed away unexpectedly within days of each other- but I never anticipated someone like Prince (I wrote about my feelings on his passing here) or Anton Yelchin to go in the horrible ways they did, either. It felt like we were losing people we loved and admired left and right in 2016- and even as I type this- I’m afraid someone else will leave us before I get the chance to publish this post. That’s how frequently it’s been happening.

I know we’re going to lose people in 2017, too. It’s inevitable- but I really, really hope that the losses are few and that most folks get to stick around and enjoy more days ahead just a little longer.

[EDITED TO ADD] Since starting this post, I’ve had to add two additional celebrities to the collage- George Michael and Carrie Fisher. That’s how brutal this year has been.

[EDITED TO ADD II] Rest in Peace, Debbie Reynolds.

(Image via CBS News)

(Image via CBS News)

Flint, Michigan poisoned it’s own residents: Although the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan started back in 2014- the rest of the Nation didn’t really hear much about it until this year. Following officials’ failure to properly apply corrosion inhibitors after changing the source of Flint’s water supply- the area’s drinking water became contaminated with high levels of lead and dangerous neurotoxins. To date, it’s possible 10 people have died due to complications stemming from ailments caused by ingesting the water- and up to 12,000 children have been exposed to the elevated lead amounts- which can cause serious health issues in the future.

Flint was declared to be in a State of Emergency back in January, with officials scrambling to solve the problem at it’s source- and criminal indictments have come down on negligent members in the Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services- but many residents to this day still do not have access to clean drinking water. It’s completely unacceptable and the crisis serves as a painful reminder that we are not being diligent enough in keeping people- especially kids- safe.

(Image via CNN)

(Image via CNN)

This waste of Oxygen got a slap on the wrists for being a rapist: Oh, to be a wealthy white male in 2016. You can get away with pretty much anything- including raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster until two good Samaritans find you and pin your ass on the ground while they wait for the police arrive to put you in cuffs. Such was the case of Brock Turner- a student athlete at Stanford University who was sentenced to six months in prison (but only served three) after he was spotted sexually assaulting an unconscious woman following a house/fraternity party in 2015. Although a jury found Turner guilty of three felonies at the end of his Spring 2016 trial- Judge Aaron Persky handed down one of the lightest sentences imaginable- citing his concern that prison may have had a harmful effect on this piece of shit.

The decision was, understandably, met with harsh criticism and protest. Turner has been banned from competing in any USA Swimming event, and his father faced backlash and public shaming for crude and irresponsible remarks he’d made about the crime following the sentencing. Perhaps the only good thing to come from such a despicable series of events was the victim’s pull-no-punches impact statement- which has since gone viral and has shined a light on the ongoing epidemic of on-campus sexual assaults throughout colleges and universities across the country.

(Image via NY Mag)

(Image via NY Mag)

Oh my God, this gorilla: Back in May, following a toddler climbing into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo- the attraction’s 17-year old gorilla, Harambe- was shot and killed by staff after he’d grabbed at and started to drag the child around. Officials at the zoo explained that there was no other option as the toddler’s safety was in jeopardy when Harambe reportedly became more and more agitated at the panic and hysteria from the onlooking crowd that had gathered. The entire incident was captured on video and uploaded onto the internet where it spread like wildfire across social media.

Tragic? Absolutely. Infuriating? Of course (who doesn’t keep enough of an eye on their child to not catch them climbing a four-foot-high fence and crawling through bushes at a wild animal enclosure?)– but I don’t think any of us expected the memes that followed. Each tribute to Harambe was so over-the-top, so inappropriately funny with it’s exaggerated sincerity- that poor Harambe easily became one of the most recognizable memes to emerge from 2016- spanning across the internet, television, and music alike.

But really, all joking aside- if you take your child to a zoo- watch them carefully, for f*ck’s sake.

(Image via NPR)

(Image via NPR)

Our hearts broke for Orlando: On June 12, 2016- the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida became the site of the deadliest terror attack on American soil since 9/11 and the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history following an attack by a lone gunman with ties to ISIS that left 49 people dead and 53 injured- most of which were members of the LGBT and Latino Community. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Facebook implemented their “Safety Check” feature for the first time in America which allowed those in the area to notify friends, family members and followers that they were out of harm’s way- as stories of courage and bravery amid the chaos from survivors who had risked their lives to help others began to trickle out to various news outlets.

In the aftermath of the shooting, gun control was once again brought to the forefront of political debates and arguments on all facets of social media- and the nation rallied together to voice their support for the victims’ families, the survivors, and for the LGBT Community. The club has since been purchased by the city of Orlando with plans to convert it into a memorial to honor those who had lost their lives while simply trying to have a fun night out dancing and being who they were.

(Image via NYMag)

(Image via NYMag)

Do you believe in miracles?: Coming from Boston, where I witnessed the Red Sox break their own curse back in 2004- nothing gave me more of a thrill than watching the nail-biter, edge-of-your-seat final game in the 2016 World Series, where the Chicago Cubs looked to clinch their first series win since 1908 against the Cleveland Indians (who hadn’t won a series since 1948). With a tie-up that lead to extra innings, a rain delay, and the game running well into the late night hours- seeing the Cubs finally come back and win the whole thing was one of the few truly touching and inspiring sports moments- and moments in general- of 2016.

And although I’m not a Cubs fan by any means- it was an absolute joy to see how happy their supporters and the city of Chicago were following the victory- including a parade that was attended by nearly five million people. I wish I could have been there!

(Image via Variety)

(Image via Variety)

“Hamilton” reigned supreme: Although this Broadway musical made it’s debut in early 2015, it took the show being nominated for- and then winning- 11 of 16 Tony Awards for a lot of people to stop and take notice. Written by and initially starring Lin-Manuel Miranda as the lead role, “Hamilton” tells the story of the life and death of Alexander Hamilton with some of the catchiest songs imaginable- making it infinitely more entertaining than anything I ever watched or read about in history class.

The show took off in 2016- selling out months and months in advance and sparking both a national touring production set to hit the road in 2017 and an overseas residency in the West End in London. Getting tickets for the show is like trying to get the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory- but I’m hopeful I’ll get to see it someday without having to sell my car to afford it.

I mean, if anyone reading this has tickets and wants to just casually slide them over to me- I won’t mind…

(Image via Huffington Post)

(Image via Huffington Post)

The Pipeline was thankfully stopped: With the largest gathering of Indian tribes in over 100 years and the eyes of the world watching- it was announced on December 4th that the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL for short) would be halted. The pipeline, being built throughout parts of North Dakota- was set to assist with the carrying of crude oil across 1,172 miles. It was discovered after a re-route through the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, however- that the pipeline not only threatened the tribe’s water supply, but could contaminate their sacred burial grounds, as well.

Protests against the DAPL gradually began to gain momentum in the Spring of 2016- eventually growing to a full-blown movement with thousands of people standing with the tribe come Summer and Fall, however supporters of the pipeline retaliated- using attack dogs, high-powered water cannons (in frigid temperatures) and alleged concussion grenades to try and shut the protests down in order to clear the area and resume the building of the pipeline. The lead-up to the December 4th decision was looking grim, indeed- but the halt of the pipeline’s construction serves as a victory for the Sioux tribe. I’m hoping their land stays protected.


It feels like there is SO MUCH MORE news that needs to be discussed- and I’m absolutely sure I’m missing some key events/headlines- but the above-listed stories are the ones that come to mind whenever I think about this past year. They are the ones that either impacted me and my life directly, or stood out more prominently over these last twelve months.

Of course, there were some other brief, not-so-major stories that should get some recognition, too. As always in my year-end “In a Nutshell” review, here’s the Honorable Mentions:



– Creepy clowns were a horrible, horrible thing: You know how sometimes stories go viral on the internet but there’s never any proof that the events in question ever really happened and it all just seems too absurd to be true? That’s how I felt at the first reports that people were dressing up like clowns (of the circus variety) and terrorizing people around the country by chasing them or running up to their stopped vehicles- sometimes with weapons to make it all the more frightening- as some sort of deranged prank. That was, until- my friend spotted one in Nevada. Then another friend saw one in New Hampshire, and then another and another- and although I still haven’t seen any clowns running around and causing chaos with my own eyes- it was enough to briefly make National news and even resulted in a statement from the White House.

– Pokémon Go got people out of their houses (and occasionally hit by cars): If there was one thing in 2016 that could cause our divided Nation to come together as one- it was chasing cartoon monsters with our phones. 2016 saw the debut of Pokémon Go, an app that allowed people to capture Pokémon using just their mobile device and their own two feet and surroundings. Pokémon would randomly spring up in yards, on subways,  in bathtubs- and random buildings (usually unbeknownst to the owners) would occasionally be designated as gyms where players could gather to battle their Pokémon together. The game caught on like crazy- resulting in more than one incident where someone chased a Pikachu into moving traffic and got tossed up over someone’s hood- but at least it got people moving, right?

– Notorious older cases were thrust back into the limelight: With FX’s debut of their mini-true crime series, “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson” getting critical acclaim (I didn’t see the appeal- and I was much more invested in and moved by ESPN’s “O.J.: Made In America” documentary released earlier this Summer that better tackled subjects like the racial divide in the country leading up to and following the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman- as well as really focusing on the victims themselves)– our morbid fascination with brutal “cold” cases  was reignited. Along with the resurgence of interest in the O.J. Simpson rial was the still unsolved murder of JonBenét Ramsey- whose mysterious death shook the nation twenty years ago. Both cases saw multiple TV specials, mini-movies, and magazine cover speculation throughout 2016.

– It was not a good year for Samsung: As an owner of a Samsung Galaxy 7- nothing made me side-eye more than when I heard the Samsung Galaxy Note 7s were experiencing technical difficulties this year. Specifically- they were exploding- and after a massive recall, their replacement models were exploding, too. A battery flaw in the phones were causing more than one person to have to stop, drop and roll when their Note 7 would randomly burst into flames or blow up- which made the TSA screening process in the airport all that much more faster and enjoyable. The problem became so big that Samsung ended up discontinuing the model all together- and are attempting to save face with the Note 8s which are due to debut (and hopefully will have an attached fire extinguisher with it) in Spring 2017.

– There were some kick-ass (and some guilty pleasure) comebacks this year: Whoever thought that a science fiction/horror series set in the 1980s could be so good? I’m talking about “Stranger Things”, of course. The Netflix based series- which brought Winona Ryder back into our homes and hearts- developed a cult like following in 2016 and for good reason. It was well-written, brilliantly acted, and the story was filled with all sorts of nostalgia that hit you right in your feelings. Also making a comeback this year via Netflix? “Full House”- only the follow-up to the cringe-inducing family comedy from the late 80s & mid 90s was called “Fuller House” and focused on the grown-up Tanner girls (sans-Michelle because the Olsen Twins couldn’t make an appearance) raising their own families. The star of “Fuller House”- much like the original version- was, is and will always be Kimmy Gibler, though.

Both “Stranger Things” and “Fuller House” have been renewed for additional seasons.

– Ryan Lochte remained painfully stupid: Olympic medalist and shameless buffoon Ryan Lochte had everyone talking this year following a fact check on his fabricated story of being robbed at gunpoint by a group of armed men with police badges while in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics. As it turns out, a security guard had wielded a gun at Ryan and his friends after their drunken vandalism of a gas station bathroom. Surveillance footage from the gas station corroborated the security guard’s version of events- and it was quickly established that no armed robbery ever took place.

As a result of his dumbass behavior- Lochte was suspended from swimming for ten months and lost a bunch of endorsement deals- reduced to appearing on ‘Dancing with The Stars’ to pass the time. I knew there was a reason I liked Michael Phelps better.

– LEO FINALLY GOT HIS OSCAR: Much like the Cubs winning The World Series, another curse was broken this year: The DiCaprio Curse. For years, poor Leonardo DiCaprio poured blood, swear and tears into his roles and performances- and nearly every year he’d get nominated for an Academy Award only to get snubbed at the last possible second. This year, he finally got to hear his name read from the envelope and hold his very own gold statue for his performance in “The Revenant”. Although I’m going to miss the Leo/Oscar memes- I was genuinely and truly happy for him. He looked so relieved that he wouldn’t have to actually die in his next role to score a win.


And there it is! 2016 in a nutshell! What a crazy year, right? Just looking back on everything is enough to make my head spin- but now that it’s (thankfully) over- it’s time to look ahead towards 2017.

I’ve been contemplating my resolutions for the upcoming year for a while now: editing them, erasing them, re-writing them, editing them some more- but I think I’ve finally got them in order and just the way I want- and I’m ready to share each of them with everyone. 2017 is the year I turn it all around. I’m determined and driven and I’m ready for it.

1. Get healthy and in good shape again: After my early Summer break-up and the months of stress that followed it- I won’t deny that I let myself go. Although I had spikes of energy where I’d work out, eat healthy and get enough sleep to get me feeling like a normal and semi-functioning human being again- I’d often sink back into a depressed slump of eating too much junk food, staying up too late, and not really wanting to get off my couch much unless it was absolutely necessary (and even then- I’d stall.) I don’t feel as great as I did when I actively took care of myself and as a result- I don’t feel I look as good, either. That changes this coming year. Now that the holiday feasting and partying is over- I’ve got my meal and fitness programs planned, my bedroom has been re-vamped so I can get the most restful nights of sleep imaginable- and I’ve taken up meditation and yoga to help melt away any residual stress from my work or personal life. I’ll be chronicling my journey here on “Legally Redhead” as I bounce back and get into the best shape of my life again.

2. Spend more time on my own: It’s not that I’m anti-social. Quite the opposite, in fact- but grief was hard to work through in 2016 when I was consistently surrounded by people at all times and I feel like I lost pieces of myself as a result. In 2017, I plan on taking some time now and then to enjoy my own company and really focus more on rediscovering myself, my interests, my talents and the world around me on solo trips and outings, or even just watching a movie or playing a video game on my own in the comforts of my living room. That’s not to say I won’t spend time with anyone ever again or anything- but I really do think it’s important to have private time now and then, too. You have to be comfortable on your own and confident with yourself before you can truly be comfortable and confident with others.

3. Get organized!: Another consequential setback of falling into a depression earlier this year? Good Lord, did my work and personal space get cluttered! Even my email inbox was a mess for a while, and I’m still getting things tidied up! In 2017, everything that has a place is going in said place- and everything that doesn’t is getting donated or trashed. I was given a beautiful new monthly planner for Christmas, and I’ve already been laying out my upcoming appointments, deadlines, and scheduled social events to keep me in check so I’ll never run late or fall behind again. I’ve always prided myself on staying on top of tasks- and this coming year is when that talent shines through again!

4. Focus on blogging and take ‘Legally Redhead’ to the next level: While I did have some quality posts this year, ones that I’m quite proud of- I admittedly slacked on the blogging front these past few months- mostly due in part to me being extremely distracted with all that was happening around me and in my personal life. Writing was temporarily put on the back burner and for someone like me who takes such pleasure in creating content- that’s simply unacceptable. In 2017, I have big blogging plans I’m looking forward to starting and seeing through. More partnerships, more posts that cover a wider range of topics (while still featuring plenty of the usual stuff!), and more utilizing social media. “Legally Redhead” will be getting a makeover soon to make navigation a bit easier- and I’m excited at new networking prospects that are coming up! Even if I’m not a redhead anymore- I truly love writing this blog and I’m so thankful for everyone who reads it and supports it. I want to put out the best possible stuff for you all and I hope you all enjoy what I have in store during the coming year!

5. Get my finances in order: A move to the West Coast costs money, as do trips to New Orleans, Nashville and all the other places I want to visit in the next year or so- and with a new car throwing a bit of a wrench in my plans- I’d like to save more money in 2017 and better balance my budget. I know it’s going to take a bit of practice to get back into the swing of things now that I have an extra expense to take into consideration- but I’m confident I can do it and store plenty of money away to go on my next great adventure- and working hard will make it all the more enjoyable when I do!

Those are the big ones I’m going to strive for in 2017! There are some random ones, too- like “get my motorcycle license”, “don’t date assholes” and “visit/tour Paisley Park”, for example- but the above five are the ones I truly want to focus on since I feel they will bring me the most peace, satisfaction and happiness in the new year.

And with all that being said- I’m heading up to Vermont for an extended weekend in a Victorian mansion-turned-bed & breakfast to quietly see out 2016 and peacefully usher in 2017 while lounging in front of a fireplace and getting lost in a good book by myself. I wanted to hold off on sharing my New Year’s Eve plans until the last possible minute- since sometimes things can get compromised or intruded upon- but it all looks good to go and I can’t wait to kick off the new year in a new way!

I hope you all have a safe and joyous New Year! If 2016 was a good year for you, and I’m sure it was for some- then I hope your good fortune and happiness continues well into 2017.

And if your 2016 was less than satisfactory, like it was for so many- myself included- then here’s to better, brighter, and much more wonderful days ahead! You made it all the way to this point- even if it feels like you barely got here and even if you’re completely and utterly exhausted- and that’s a feat in itself. Be proud of yourself for surviving such a tough twelve months and making it to the end!


See you all in 2017!


2015: In a Nutshell.

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My goodness- here we are again! Another year has come and gone in what feels like the mere blink of an eye and we’ve arrived at another New Year’s Eve, just a few short hours away- where it will be spent reflecting and celebrating the past 365 days and making hopeful wishes and promises for the next 366 days (leap year!)– before 2015 is a thing of the past and a shiny and sparkling brand new year is here with all it’s mystery and endless possibilities.

Indeed, I’m a little anxious for 2016. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I’m eager for it to begin- not only because it marks the year I will be turning thirty (gasp!) and I’m actually quite excited to enter a new decade of my life with all the wisdom I’ve gained over the past ten years of laughter, tears, triumphs, tragedies and PLENTY of mistakes (and believe me- I’ll have a post up with all of those juicy details and some well-intentioned advice within a couple of weeks just for the occasion!) but because, overall- 2015 was a bit rough for me- and I don’t believe it would be an exaggeration to say it was possibly one of the more difficult years I’ve had since my father’s untimely death in 2012.

Don’t get me wrong- 2015 wasn’t all bad. It really wasn’t- and I’m truly grateful that I had/have it considerably better than many others who aren’t as fortunate as I am and who undoubtedly faced way worse circumstances than I did. I’m just summarizing my own personal experiences over the past twelve months. I had my fair share of fun, adventures, and my usual brand of sarcasm and silliness with friends, family, and strangers alike. I accomplished a great deal within my field and at work and pulled off some truly rewarding collaborations with different companies and fellow bloggers here on “Legally Redhead”- but it felt as though the year was also chock-full of more-often-than-usual challenges and maybe a brief bout of bad luck for a short period of time.

I was unexpectedly laid off from my place of employment of just over five years in the midst of budgeting cuts this past Fall (but, on the brighter side- I quickly found employment elsewhere! I’m still currently getting situated within my new office and position), plagued by consistent car issues that required substantial and expensive repairs, saw drastic changes to my love life and personal relationships (I plan to blog more about those experiences in the future), and spent a good portion of 2015 really tackling my anxiety issues head-on- which proved to be utterly exhausting at times (and is something else I plan on blogging about eventually, too!)

… It also didn’t help much that I spent most of the first few weeks/couple of months of this past year completely buried under snow during what was unquestionably New England’s worst winter in a very, very long time. I swear, I was starting to slip into Jack Torrance mode for a little while there. “All work and no play makes Ashley a dull girl…”

But I digress- I endured and emerged unscathed, and I grew more as a well-rounded person with the knowledge I obtained from each experience I went through this past year- good AND bad. I’m ready to begin 2016 with a clean slate- and with new goals and aspirations to work and strive towards. I’m excited, maybe even a little nervous- but ready!

But before I get to my resolutions for the coming year and my final thank you’s of 2015- I wanted to complete a small round-up of some of the biggest news stories, pop culture happenings, trends, and general craziness that transpired over this past year.

This is 2015, in a nutshell:


Image via PBS.

Mass shootings occurred ALL THE TIME: As I write this, there have been a total of 355 mass shootings in 2015 within the United States alone. Movie theaters, college campuses, churches, restaurants, medical facilities and most recently- an office building in San Bernardino- which took place just days after an attack on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that left three dead, including a responding police officer. It seemed that no public place was off limits from attack or truly safe this past year- prompting more heated debates between gun control advocates and those who feverishly support citizens’ rights to bear arms despite the fact that the Second Amendment was written way before assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons were even conceived and muskets that took twenty minutes to load and fire were still a thing.

The seemingly never ending shooting sprees have also sparked controversy as to how the media reports on them- and specifically- the responsible shooter(s.) While violence perpetrated by any non-white person often results in broad generalizations for anyone who looks like the suspect (i.e.- any crime committed by a someone of Middle Eastern descent causes any and all Muslims to be labeled as violent terrorists), white male shooters are often described as “troubled lone wolves” by news outlets and humanized with accounts of their difficult childhoods or marital/financial struggles.

As of now- the final day of 2015- it seems that the heated debates (and ugly Facebook arguments between relatives and former high school classmates) hasn’t made any difference whatsoever, and the push for proactive change will continue on into 2016. The question remains, however- how many more innocent people will have to die before it finally happens?

Image via TIME Magazine.

Image via TIME Magazine.

The United States wasn’t the only place that saw unspeakable acts of violence: All eyes were on the City of Love in 2015 as Paris was attacked by terrorists not once, but twice. The first, a January 7th shooting that took place within the offices of controversial satirical newspaper- Charlie Hebdo- which left 12 dead and resulted in a massive two-day manhunt until the suspects were eventually located in Northern France and killed when they began to fire at approaching authorities.

The second attack, carried out in November with mass shootings and multiple suicide bombings across Parisian cafes, restaurants, France’s National stadium during a soccer match- and the Bataclan Theatre in the middle of a performance by the band Eagles of Death Metal- resulted in 130 deaths and over 300 injuries- marking it as the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II.

Both attacks were carried out by radicalized Islamic extremists, prompting leaders across the globe to come together in the aftermath and attempt to figure out a swift and effective strategy for dealing with ISIL. Meanwhile, horrified onlookers from around the world joined in support and to show their solidarity with France and the people of Paris as they attempted to move forward from such unfathomable anguish and horror.


Image via CNN.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis: With ISIS/ISIL wreaking havoc with coordinated attacks and sheer brutality throughout 2015- civilians in some of the hardest hit areas of Syria began fleeing their homes and families by the thousands- risking their lives as they crossed treacherous territory and oceans to seek safety and refuge in other countries. While many European nations welcomed them with open arms and an overwhelming show of support and compassion- some areas closed their borders to the plight of the less fortunate, citing fear of unknowingly allowing terrorists posing as refugees into their land where they could potentially attack innocent civilians. Following November’s attacks in Paris, when it was reported one of the responsible terrorists was found with Syrian refugee documentation on them- a handful of Governors across the United States also vowed to ban further refugees from obtaining citizenship.

The coverage of the crisis spiked, however- when multiple, disturbing, and sobering photos of small children who had drowned with their desperate families while attempting to cross bodies of water to safer locations and who had washed ashore began circulating among news outlets and on social media- prompting many officials to finally take a long look at themselves, commit to a course of action- and assist those in need. Recently, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, personally welcomed a plane of Syrian refugees to Canada- offering them warm words of encouragement and winter coats as they disembarked to begin their new lives in a new, and safer country.

Image via Business Insider.

Image via Business Insider.

A leathery looking clown with bad hair and an inability to apply bronzer properly decided he wanted to run for President: Donald Trump- of reality TV and gaudy skyscraper fame- and who is no stranger to controversy after openly criticizing and questioning every decision President Obama has ever made throughout the entirety of his term thus far (as well as his citizenship), decided this past year that he was going to “make America great again” and run for President himself in 2016. Although Donald has been incapable of providing a single viable solution to any of the multitude of problems and concerns plaguing the country right now (and no, forcing Mexico to build a wall along the border isn’t a feasible answer to immigration concerns, Mr. Trump)– his campaign has essentially dissolved into nothing more than outbursts of insults, bigotry, racism, and sexism. His most recent proposal- the banning of any and all Muslims from entering the country- drew comparisons to Adolf Hitler and his rise to power, which Trump has since shrugged off as “no big deal.”

Unfortunately, using fear and intimidation tactics has somehow worked in Trump’s favor- and he’s gained quite a fan following despite being a real life version of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ parody character and despite the rest of the GOP collectively shunning him and his antics. Whether he’ll continue onto the actual election remains to be seen (I’m hoping he throws in the towel and soon since I’m sick of seeing him and hearing about him) but he definitely made headlines this past year- and not in a good way.

Image via Vanity Fair.

Image via Vanity Fair.

The world met Caitlyn Jenner for the first time: In a year that saw monumental strides in understanding and acceptance for the transgendered community, perhaps one of the most noteworthy stories was former Olympian and Kardashian-centric reality TV star Bruce Jenner’s public transition from male to female. Following a touching interview earlier this Spring with Diane Sawyer where Jenner discussed the difficulties of protecting oneself, family and friends while struggling with gender identity from an early age- Caitlyn was formally introduced via an editorial and cover shoot by Vanity Fair Magazine. Since then, Jenner has gone on to be presented with the Courage Award at the ESPYs and act as an advocate for transgendered youth while starring in her own reality show/mini-documentary, ‘I am Cait’.

Caitlyn is not without controversy, however- as some of her commentary on same-sex marriage and what she considers to be the priorities of females (i.e. clothes and makeup) have drawn heavy criticism and backlash. While she is still getting used to the media attention and the responsibilities that come with being a champion of transgender rights (like thinking very carefully before you speak or give an interview,) it’ll be interesting to see what Caitlyn accomplishes in 2016.

Image via Washington Post.

Image via Washington Post.

We got to see Pluto up-close and personal: Over the Summer, NASA’s ‘New Horizons’ probe performed a fly-by of everyone’s favorite, forgotten little dwarf planet- a mission over nine years in the making. As the probe passed by Pluto, capturing images while it floated on- what was once just a round and blurry speck in past photographs was now displayed in extensive and intricate detail. Craters, mountains, canyons, and a coloration that resembled a heart (Awww!) meant that the world got to see the surface of Pluto in a new and exciting way.

To make things even more interesting, further research showed that Pluto- like Earth- has blue skies and patches of icy water on it’s surface, which opens the door to even more discoveries that can be made about it’s atmosphere and the possibility of living organisms beyond our own planet. There’s still no definitive proof that extra terrestrials exist out there, but I’m going to go into X-Files mode and just say “I want to believe…”

Image via NY Daily News.

Image via NY Daily News.

Some people needed a reminder that the South lost the war: Following the June 17th mass shooting in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a 21-year old white supremacist- which left nine churchgoers dead- multiple images of the shooter were promptly found depicting him posing while holding a handgun and/or the Confederate battle flag. While the subject of gun control was once again discussed at length in the aftermath of the attack (and again- nothing was done to change the current laws and regulations)– the topic of the Confederate Flag and it’s racist symbolism in American history was also brought to the forefront of controversial debates. Many agreed that the flag represented a dark and despicable time in the South’s past during the Civil War- but others argued that removing it from the front of the South Carolina State House was insulting to those who viewed it not as a flag celebrating racism- but as a relic from our Nation’s history.

Eventually, the South Carolina Senate caught up with the North- and the flag was removed from the State House in July (not counting activist Bree Newsome scaling the flagpole and removing it herself in late June before being arrested by officers who had been waiting below)– and major retailers pledged to stop selling items that featured the flag emblazoned on them.


Images via CNN & The Boston Globe.

2015 was the year Massachusetts’ jurors were NOT screwing around: If anyone living in or visiting Massachusetts this past year considered committing any type of violent and/or depraved crime while within state lines- all they had to do was tune into any of the three major trials that unfolded in the state throughout 2015 to realize that it probably wasn’t the best idea. April saw the conviction of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (and May saw his being sentenced to death for his federal offenses), only to be promptly followed up by the conviction and maximum sentencing of former New England Patriots’ tight end- Aaron Hernandez- for the 2013 murder of his friend and former football player, Odin Lloyd. Hernandez will be facing a second trial and additional charges in the coming months for his part in an unrelated 2012 double homicide.

Finally, the trifecta of justice was completed with a ‘GUILTY’ verdict for Philip Chism- a high school student who stalked, raped and murdered his math teacher- Colleen Ritzer- in October of 2013. The details surrounding Chism’s gruesome crime were especially disturbing- as was his “insanity” plea where he attempted to delay his trial for as long as possible with bizarre courtroom behavior. His sentencing for the first-degree murder conviction is scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.

Well done, Massachusetts jurors. Well done. Please continue the diligent work throughout 2016 and keep monsters like these off the streets.

Image via Tumblr.

Image via Tumblr.

The Kim Davis memes were fantastic: After June’s Supreme Court ruling that finally legalized same-sex marriage across the country, most of the nation celebrated the monumental equal rights win accordingly (and with a LOT of rainbows!) but all was not sunny and cheery in Kentucky, where county clerk, unapologetic bigot, and possible real life bridge troll- Kim Davis- found herself in some hot water by defying the ruling and denying same-sex couples marriage licenses, citing her religious beliefs as an excuse to not do her job.  Davis was promptly hit with multiple lawsuits by couples she had turned away, and was eventually found to be in contempt with the court’s order and taken into custody. Since her release and return to work under the stipulation that her office MUST issue marriage licenses to any and all couples- including same-sex couples- Davis and her legal team have filed appeal after appeal to stall the process- all of which have been shot down.

During Pope Francis’ visit to America in September of this past year, it was reported that he’d met privately with Davis. While Davis’ lawyer gave details of the meeting- insinuating that the Pope supported her actions and encouraged her to “stay strong”, the Vatican wasted no time in shooting down those rumors- and even went as far as to state that the meeting may have been manipulated by Davis and her Attorney.

The internet had a field day with Kim- be it for her unfortunate haircut and wardrobe choices, or the fact that it was revealed she has been married four times to three different men (making her more than a little hypocritical, no?) but the resulting memes were a hilarious highlight in an otherwise infuriating situation.


Image via The Daily News.

Everyone was talking about Tom Brady’s balls: In one of the only NFL scandals in recent history that didn’t involve murder, rape, and/or domestic abuse- 2015 brought us “Deflategate”, AKA- the most unintentionally hilarious controversy in New England. Following the Patriots’ 45-7 annihilation of the Indianapolis Colts in mid-January, an unfounded accusation that the footballs used in the game had been deflated by the Patriots and/or their staff- thus giving them some sort of advantage over the Colts- began to fly. The rumors eventually grew serious enough that a full investigation was launched, resulting in quarterback Tom Brady giving the best press conference ever where he told a room of reporters just how he liked his balls to feel (and those of us in Massachusetts who are perpetually immature took it and ran with it.)

After the dreaded Wells Report was released, condemning Brady for having knowledge of misconduct- he was suspended for four games in what would be the 2015’s regular season. Brady went on to fight the decision- all the way to Federal Court- where his suspension was eventually thrown out in September. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has a lengthy history of poor decision making and questionable choices- once again was made to look like an incompetent fool- and The Patriots began what has since been dubbed their 2015/2016 Revenge Tour just a few days after the decision.


Collage compiled from images obtained through CNN, MSN, HTV, and E!

We lost a few folks along the way: Just like every year before this one, some familiar and beloved entertainers, musicians, and public personalities left us behind in 2015. Although the list is lengthy, and I acknowledge that I’ve unfortunately omitted quite a few names- a handful of celebrities who passed away this past year include classic film star Maureen O’Hara (aged 95), the King of slasher flicks, Wes Craven (aged 76), Whitney Houston’s only daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown (aged 22), the logical Mr. Spock – Leonard Nimoy (aged 83), the very funny comedienne Anne Meara (aged 85) and soul-singer Ben E. King of ‘Stand By Me’ fame (aged 76).

Image via Google.

Image via Google.


– Rachel Dolezal lied about her race, and the backlash was hilarious: When it was revealed that the the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, Rachel Dolezal, was not actually a black woman as she’d been portraying and promoting herself as- but of German and Czech descent- the fallout was a delicious blend of insanity, confusion, and hilarious reactions from social media (the #AskRachel tag was one of the best Twitter trends of 2015.) Dolezal, who resigned from her position shortly after being called out and confronted on her deception- maintains that she is a woman of color- attempting to make terms like “transracial” an actual thing while childhood photos of her with blonde hair and blue eyes have been plastered everywhere- but the internet doesn’t forgive so easily- and it certainly doesn’t forget.

– We bid farewell to David Letterman, ‘Mad Men’, and ‘The Daily Show’: 2015 was, in many ways, the end (and beginning) of a few TV eras. David Letterman retired from late night, passing his chair to Stephen Colbert who took the reins of ‘The Late Show’ in September. Over at AMC, the Emmy-winning powerhouse and 1960s drama ‘Mad Men’ aired it’s last- and slightly confusing- episode in May. And finally, Comedy Central saw a shift with it’s brilliant news program ‘The Daily Show’ when longtime host Jon Stewart stepped down from the program- giving newcomer Trevor Noah the chance to take over (and so far- it’s been pretty good!)

– The world collectively hated a dentist from Minnesota: When it was revealed in July that Cecil, a popular and beloved adult lion in Zimbabwe- had been lured away from his sanctuary and killed by a big game hunter- it didn’t take long for sleuths to track down the man who had paid an exorbitant amount of money to commit the act: an American dentist named Walter Palmer. It took even less time for Palmer and his practice to feel the wrath of the media- who condemned his multiple big game hunts and briefly sent him into hiding until the initial outrage blew over. Palmer’s Yelp page for his practice continues to receive negative ratings and reviews on a daily basis.

– Robert Durst “killed them all, of course”: With the staggering success of murder mystery podcasts like ‘Serial’ and real life crime dramas like ‘Homicide Hunter’, it was no surprise that all eyes were on Andrew Jarecki’s HBO miniseries- ‘The Jinx’- earlier this year. A 6-part documentary, ‘The Jinx’ detailed the bizarre life and trail of even more bizarre crimes that have followed eccentric real estate heir- Robert Durst- since the still-unsolved-disappearance of his first wife in the 1980s. What WAS a surprise, however- was Durst’s chilling confession (made unbeknownst to him when he failed to turn off his microphone post-interview with Jarecki after he was faced with severely damning evidence.) In the confession, Durst- between burping and mumbling- admits he had “killed them all.” He was arrested on first-degree murder charges a day before the finale- which featured the startling confession in it’s final minutes- aired.

– What color was that dress, anyway?: The nation has never been more divided than it was back in February, when a photo of a dress and accompanying question- what color was it?- went viral out of nowhere. While many agreed that the dress was blue and black (which it clearly was)– SOME PEOPLE (see: people who were wrong) argued that they saw gold and white when they looked at the photo. Thus, the debate to end all debates was kicked off- and everyone from celebrities, politicians, scientists, and even my own mother- weighed in on it. I don’t think any resolution was ever reached- but it sure was fun while it lasted.

– ‘Jurassic World’ was awesome, and ‘Prattkeeping’ was my favorite meme of 2015: ‘Jurassic Park’ was the first movie I ever saw in theaters as a kid, thanks to my dad disregarding the PG-13 rating- and it blew me away. I’d been anxiously awaiting the release of ‘Jurassic World’ earlier this Summer- and wasn’t disappointed in the least when I saw it during it’s opening weekend- but perhaps one of my favorite memes that resulted from the movie’s success was when zookeepers around the country uploaded photos of themselves posing with their animals, mimicking Chris Pratt’s iconic “raptor taming” pose. If you haven’t seen it- simply Google “Prattkeeping” and try your best not to laugh out loud.

And there it is- 2015 in a nutshell! As you can see, a lot has happened over these past twelve months- even more so when you take into consideration that my review barely scratched the surface of the year that was.

We now come to the trickiest part of preparing for a new year- and that’s the resolutions. I personally think I did a decent enough job at keeping most of my promises to myself in 2015- but as with anything else in life- there’s always room for improvement. After much reflection and careful review- taking many things into consideration- I think I’ve compiled a pretty good list and one loaded with things that I can actually accomplish in 2016!

1. Take better care of myself: Taking care of myself isn’t just limited to eating healthy, exercising, or getting enough sleep- although those are all things I plan on doing in the coming year, too. To me, taking better care of myself involves strengthening myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, too. I want to meditate more. I want to put myself and my feelings first now and then. I want to rid my life of people and things that bring me unnecessary stress and/or negativity- and instead surround myself with people and things that build me up, support me, value me for all my strengths and flaws, inspire me to be the best version of myself I can be- and encourage an overall healthy and stress-free lifestyle. I want to move forward and stop giving third, fourth or fifth chances to people who have hurt me- and I don’t want to let people take advantage of me. All in all, I want to be more confident in myself, stronger, and in a more peaceful and zen state of mind.

It won’t be easy, but 2016 and turning 30 means an all new chapter for me- one I’m determined to begin writing the right way.

2. Thrive at my career: I’ve only been at my new job for a few short weeks now, but I’m already really happy there. I love the laid-back environment. I truly enjoy the people I work with. I’m very appreciative of the benefits and the perks I receive- and I’m even more grateful for how fair and fun everything is thus far. 2016 is the year I plan to fully thrive within my new position and work hard to be the best employee I can be for an already established business that is looking to expand it’s horizons and grow. I’m excited to chase new opportunities and learn all that I can!

3. Relocate: I love where I live right now. I love who I live with, and I love my location- not only because it’s conveniently close to anything and everything from my job, restaurants, shops, music venues or even nature trails and hiking paths- but also because my city is sort of ingrained into who I am as a person. I have a lengthy history here. I have so many fond memories- but as I get older, I’m hoping to make a fresh start somewhere else and provide a different backdrop for that aforementioned new chapter in my life I’ll be writing in 2016. It could be anywhere from beautiful Western Massachusetts to somewhere as far as San Diego (or Las Vegas! You never know!) but I’m hoping to seek out a change of surroundings in the coming months.

4. Finally get my first tattoo: Long before my father passed away, I had wanted to get a tattoo. Of what, I wasn’t sure- since my ideas changed constantly- which is exactly why I hadn’t sat down and gone through with one yet for fear I’d regret it a week later. Since his death- I’ve had one single idea that has stayed consistent for a few years now. A subtle and small way to pay tribute to him on the inside of my wrist. In 2016, I’m hoping to finally get the ink done at one of the three local parlors I’ve been researching for a couple of months now. While I won’t give away too much- the tattoo features Beatles’ lyrics from one of the songs he and I used to sing together all the time.

5. Visit New Orleans!: Finally, I’d like to take a real, legitimate vacation in 2016 and visit one of the locations on my travel bucket list that I haven’t had the chance to see yet- New Orleans. I already have an itinerary of things I want to do/see, including a cemetery tour and attending a jazz performance since I’m such a big fan (and also eating so much food!) but I keep adding more and more to my plans so it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy week if and when I do decide to go. I’m thinking of heading down in mid-September, after the crowds disperse just a little bit- but we’ll just have to wait and see!

And with all that being said and all my resolutions, hopes, and aspirations in writing- I’m off to bid farewell to 2015 and welcome 2016 with wide, open arms! I’ll be ringing in the New Year in Nantucket this evening with my best friend- where we’re attending a 1900’s themed costume party. I’ve got my pearls and my crystals ready to go- but I’ve got to head out to catch the Ferry to the island!

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Year. I’ll be seeing you all in 2016!


2014: In a Nutshell.

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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:

Image courtesy of the International Business Times.

Image courtesy of the International Business Times.

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.

Image via TIME Magazine

Image via TIME Magazine.

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 Plane

Image via Forbes.

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.

Image via The Guardian.

Image via The Guardian.

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.


Image via PARADE.


Image via the New York Times.


Image via The Mirror, UK.

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.

via Reuters.

Image via Reuters.

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.


Image via NBC.

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!)

Jennifer Lawrence

Image via TODAY.

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.


Image via Tumblr.

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.

Image via Google.

Image via Google.


– “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!


2013: In a Nutshell.

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I can’t believe that 2013 is coming to a close and 2014 is mere hours away. Much like last year, I’ll be spending New Years Eve dancing and drinking champagne with good friends all night long at the McKittrick Hotel in New York City. We’re forgoing catching a performance of “Sleep No More” and the pre-production dinner that’s offered to instead gallivant around Manhattan for a few hours before we go straight to the party- the theme requiring black & white attire and a masquerade ball style mask- to countdown to midnight. I’m very excited.

People often say that “time flies when you’re having fun,” and I think that statement has never been more appropriate to use than right now when describing the whirlwind of fun, adventure, accomplishments, personal growth & success, and wonderful memories I’ve made and experienced over these past twelve months- which were drastically needed after the loss of my father in 2012.

2013 was indeed my first “real” year without my dad here to share milestones with me: my birthday, a big promotion at my job, my travels and tales from the road, Father’s Day, re-connecting with my older brothers and members of our family I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years, and so many more. But whenever I started to feel sad, I thankfully had good friends and family to surround me and support me and remind me that he was very much there for everything- every moment- in spirit. Keeping his memory alive by being the best that I could be and doing the best that I could in everything I did this year helped fill the void that his absence had left in my life and in my heart. I miss him tremendously, but I think I’ve found a sense of peace.

Indeed, 2013 was the year I pulled myself up, as difficult as it was at times, and dove headfirst back into the world to live and savor each day to the fullest. I traveled- sometimes on my own just for the hell of it- I tried new things, and I met so many new people who have quickly become beloved friends. I also launched this blog on January 1st of 2013, and as a result- I’ve reached an audience of incredible people and have had wonderful interactions with so many individuals from all walks of life who follow and read my posts. I was welcomed with warm and open arms into the Boston Blogger community, and I’m so beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the doors that have opened from “Legally Redhead,” and for every single one of you who continue to support it.

From celebrating Dropkick Murphys’ latest album with the band at McGreevy’s in January, getting snowed in following the “Nemo” Nor’easter, seeing the Rolling Stones live in concert, getting the chance to meet and talk to fun, down-to-Earth celebrities like Chris Hardwick, Henry Winkler, Joey Fatone, a bunch of the cast from “The Walking Dead,” and most recently- Joe Manganiello- to taking day-trips and spending weekends in NYC, the White Mountains, and Southern California, or just doing some urban exploration and discovering fascinating places right here in and around New England.

From learning how to do the Charleston at a “Great Gatsby” themed party at a beautiful estate in Ipswich, to learning something more serious, i.e. how to control and ultimately overcome my panic attacks and Hyperventilation Syndrome. From getting my full-blown geek on at Wizard World NYC all the way to Boston Comic-Con. From looking like a very scary zombie in “The Walking Dead: Escape,” to feeling like a very scary zombie after cheering myself hoarse and into exhaustion following the Red Sox Rally after their World Series win. From all of those events- and everything in between- all the way ’til now as I’m getting ready to head into NYC- 2013 was one of the most eventful, one of the most fun, and overall, truly one of the best years I think I’ve ever had.

Here are just some of the newsworthy events, pop culture moments, and usually strange phenomenons that happened this year:


Boston Magazine’s May 2013 Cover following the tragedy.

The Boston Marathon Bombings: I think in terms of major events in 2013, especially since it hit so close to home, the April 15th bombings at the Boston Marathon comes to mind almost immediately. I, like many others, remember exactly what I was doing that beautiful, sunny afternoon when I first heard about the explosions near the finish line. I remember the panic as phone lines went down as I tried to contact my friends and loved ones, and they tried to contact me, as we all tried to make sure we were okay. I remember everyone taking to social media to provide updates to those outside city lines as all of Boston went into lock down following a shoot-out between the two terrorist brothers responsible for the bombings and police officers in Watertown, and I remember the sense of relief, and even joy in some ways- when one of the two brothers was killed and the other was finally found- alive- and taken into custody.

But more importantly- I remember the unbelievable display of bravery and heroism as police, paramedics, runners in the marathon, and bystanders- ran towards the danger following the explosions to try and help in any way they could. I remember the overwhelming response to The One Fund, which was established to help the families of those killed in the attacks and provide aid to the 250+ people who were seriously injured. I remember the emotional rendition of the National Anthem at T.D. Garden just two days after the attack where the crowd took over for Rene Rancourt and sang loud and proud. I remember the city of Boston banding together to support and care for each other during some of our darkest and uncertain days, and the sense of camaraderie through inspiring and hopeful moments throughout the year as we moved forward without fear- showing the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, what being “Boston Strong” is all about.


Logo courtesy of the National Security Agency

The NSA is watching us. ALL OF US: Men and women everywhere briefly second-guessed sending selfies or sexting when it was revealed that the National Security Agency had been monitoring millions upon millions of phone calls, messages, e-mails, and data collected without warrants from Americans, as well as allies to the country- sparking resentment and protest from citizens who felt their right to privacy was not only invaded, but disregarded all together. The leak of the NSA’s controversial surveillance tactics came from Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the NSA who went from relatively unknown to international fugitive in a matter of weeks until being granted temporary asylum in Russia. While some thought Snowden was nothing more than a criminal, many seemed to support his efforts to expose and inform the world of the National Security Agency’s spying operations.

Since the fall-out, there has been heated debate as to whether or not the NSA’s surveillance is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. Representatives for the NSA have stated that any monitoring is strictly for defense purposes, i.e.- to thwart any possible terrorist threats.



Images via HLN, CNN, and the NY Post.

Images via HLN, CNN, and the NY Post.

Jodi Arias, George Zimmerman, and Whitey Bulger: 2013 saw three high profile trials come to explosive conclusions. First was Jodi Arias, who after weeks of gruesome and often scandalous testimony, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the brutal killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Jodi is currently awaiting a decision to determine whether or not she’ll receive the death penalty.

Then there was George Zimmerman, whose shooting and killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin as he walked back to his father’s home from a convenience store sparked widespread debate over racial profiling and Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder, but has had numerous run-ins with the law since the trial.

Lastly, after sixteen years on the run, notorious Boston-based mobster Whitey Bulger finally faced charges for murder, racketeering, weapons charges, money laundering, and extortion. Following explosive testimony, some from Whitey’s former criminal affiliates, he was found guilty and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. He is 84 years old.


Photos courtesy of PEOPLE and the NY Daily News

Photos courtesy of PEOPLE and the NY Daily News

The world welcomed a new Pope, and England welcomed a new Prince: TIME Magazine named Pope Francis as their 2013 “Person of the Year,” and it fits, since he’s actually pretty likable. Not only has the Argentinian called out the Catholic Church for their poor treatment and intolerance of the gays, women, and the poor- but he’s actually taken strides to set an example as opposed to just talking the talk. Although his views on abortion may be, in my opinion, more than a little old-fashioned, his overall enthusiasm to change and in some ways, to even modernize the Catholic Church, is admirable. Also? He’s technology savvy, which makes for an interesting connection to the Vatican.

In England, my ultimate OTP, William & Kate, welcomed their firstborn son, George Alexander Louis. As expected- the kid is really, really adorable. I think his parents are just one of the cutest couples ever, so this was one of those stories that made me very happy this year.



Images via E! Online and the Washington Post

The final season of “Dexter” was unwatchable, and “Breaking Bad” delivered the goods: If there was ever a series finale that made an audience feel cheated to the point of rioting- it was the one thrown at the viewers of “Dexter.” In a sloppily written, pointless, plot-less, and overall messy season that focused on new characters that didn’t contribute anything to the story while neglecting to round out established and important characters, the last moments of the series finale were infuriatingly bad. The only consolation I took from Dexter’s final season was that it prepared me for what will undoubtedly be an equally horrific final season of “True Blood” next year.

On the flip side, “Breaking Bad,” one of the greatest TV dramas of all time, had an incredible final season filled with jaw-dropping and nail-biting moments, humor, and a finale that left everyone satisfied. Brilliant writing. Fantastic acting. It was, and will remain, a perfect show. It will be missed!


Image via E! Online

Hannah Montana couldn’t keep her tongue in her mouth: Deciding to forego what little talent she has as a singer to instead go down the “shock value” route previously paved by artists like Marilyn Manson and more recently, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus was all over the place in 2013. Grinding on Robin Thicke in latex underwear at the VMAs, licking sledgehammers in her “Wrecking Ball” video, smoking pot on stage at the EMAs, taking her clothes off for hack photographer and creep extraordinaire, Terry Richardson, mouthing off to the press, so on and so forth. I’m sort of hoping that all of the media attention Miley received this year satisfies her, her management, and her P.R. team for a while so we don’t have to see so much of her (or her tongue,) in 2014.


Via ABC News

Three women, missing for a decade, were found in Cleveland: Ten years ago, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, all from Cleveland- went missing- seemingly without a trace. After searches and media attention eventually died down, and their disappearances were overshadowed or pushed aside by other news stories in and around the Cleveland area, no one had ever suspected that the women were all still within the city until May 6th when Amanda Berry, with the help of neighbors who had overheard her screaming for help, was rescued with Knight and DeJesus at the home of Ariel Castro- where they had been repeatedly chained, beaten, raped, and psychologically tortured for a decade.

After their rescue, including that of Berry’s six year old daughter fathered by Castro during her captivity, the bizarre and disturbing details of what the women had suffered through came to light- made even more horrifying by how no one, including Castro’s own family- had known what was going on behind closed doors in his home.

Castro was eventually sentenced to life in prison (plus 1,000 years) only to hang himself in his prison cell a month into his sentence. Meanwhile, Berry, Knight, and DeJesus are still recovering from their ordeal.



Images via CNN

Celebrities said some really stupid shit: As it seems to be the case every year, 2013 wasn’t lacking in celebrities saying stupid and/or overly offensive things and subsequently creating outrage and backlash.  Paula Deen saw her endorsement deals slip away this year after it was revealed she’d used the N-word more than once in conversation, and more recently- ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch Phil Robertson came under fire for his strong (and insanely misinformed) views on gays, resulting in his temporary suspension from A&E Network and causing a rift between people who agreed with A&E’s decision, and people who didn’t understand how the First Amendment actually works.

Via Yahoo! News

Via Yahoo! News

The Government shut down: When politicians in Washington failed to come to an agreement about funding for ObamaCare, they did the only mature, reasonable, and logical thing there was to do- and shut down the government for sixteen days- resulting in thousands of federal workers being furloughed and national parks and landmarks being closed to the public until a solution, any solution- could be reached. It was pretty shameful, definitely frustrating, and more than embarrassing to watch both sides of the debate bicker like stubborn children- more so than any other typical day in D.C., that is.



James Gandolfini


Images courtesy of E! Online, PEOPLE, CNN, and Huffington Post

Images courtesy of E! Online, PEOPLE, CNN, and Huffington Post

We lost a lot of really good, talented, and interesting figures in 2013: I feel bad leaving people out of an “In Memoriam” section of this post. There were quite a few losses, some under horribly tragic and unexpected circumstances- and all of them sad- in 2013. That included, but certainly wasn’t limited to: Paul Walker, Lou Reed, James Gandolfini, Marcia Wallace, Roger Ebert, Cory Monteith, and Nelson Mandela- among many others.


Via Google


– Aaron Hernandez (may have) killed someone: Former New England Patriots’ tight end and longtime thug Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, during the Summer of 2013. You know who would have never done something like this? Tim Tebow.

– A meteor flew over, and into, Russia: Thank God for dash-cams, which seem to be a staple in most Russian cars (to document accidents and prevent fraud, FYI,) because some drivers on their morning commute back in February captured the meteor’s semi-terrifying descent before the resulting debris and shock waves injured over 1,500 people.

– Lorde conquered: Perhaps one of the best breakout artists of the year, 17 year old Lorde (real name: Ella) dominated the charts and the radio with tracks from her debut album, “Pure Heroine.” With a voice beyond her years, the infectiously catchy single “Royals” was hard to escape from this year. It was everywhere.

– Rob Ford went batshit crazy: Between denying, then ultimately admitting to smoking crack, being caught on video drunkenly making threats to kill people, and giving some unsolicited info about his sex-life to the press- it’s been an unusual year for Toronto’s mayor. On the plus side, his meltdowns and then quick attempts to save face have been legendary to watch unfold.

– Carlos Danger: Not to be outdone by Rob Ford, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner yet again made headlines this year when it was revealed that the married horndog hadn’t learned his lesson when it came to sexting other women. Messages exchanged between multiple women (under the hilariously bad alias “Carlos Danger”) were soon revealed, resulting in more embarrassment for Weiner, who has since kept a low profile.

And there you have it. 2013 – in a nutshell. I’m positive I’ve unintentionally left out and/or overlooked some big stories or moments, but everything I’ve listed is what stands out most to me when I think of this past year.

Moving forward into 2014, I’ve reinstated some of my resolutions that fell to the wayside in all the craziness of 2013:

1. Get back into healthy, tip top shape: I eat well, and I’m as active as I can be given my schedule- but there is always room for improvement. In 2014, I’d like to lose a little more weight, tone up, get my exercise and sleeping patterns under control, and overall just be a more healthy and fit.

2. Go on a cross-country road trip (or visit Ireland!): I had originally wanted to head out on the remnants of Route 66 this year, driving from Chicago to Santa Monica and back- but my workload caused that plan to be postponed. In 2014, I’m hoping I can get around to accomplishing that life-long goal, or, if not- I’d like to at least visit Ireland for a couple of weeks. Fingers are crossed!

3. Brush up on another language: I don’t expect to be 100% fluent in French by this time next year, but I also wouldn’t like to be as rusty as I am (I know the bare minimum and that’s about it.) In 2014, I’m hoping to strengthen my language skills, preferably in French, but also in Spanish, too.

4. Attend San Diego Comic-Con: This is actually a new resolution on my list. I’ve been saying I’ve wanted to do it for years, but have never gotten around to actually committing to it- but in 2014- I want to attend San Diego Comic-Con. If only to say I was there, at least. Will I wear a costume? We’ll just have to wait and see.

5. Write/photograph more: I think I did a good amount of observing this year, both through my camera lens and without it, but in 2014 I’d like to do even more- just to challenge myself. I want to do more urban exploration, pull apart my closet for more fashion-centered posts, go to more shows, etc. I enjoy blogging very much, so I’d like to do it more often.

I’m sure I’ll add others to the list as they come to me.

But I’ve got to end this entry here. NYC awaits! 2013, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for being such a phenomenal year. I hope 2014 is just as good, if not better.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone! I’ll see you all in 2014!