2017 in review

Photographing a volunteer in the Philippines

I traveled.

Solo travels (Amsterdam, Vietnam, Hong Kong), work travels (the Philippines, Atlanta), other fun travels (Hawaii, New York, Texas), and a lot of photos along the way. I loved wandering through the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, exploring new hiking trails in Hawaii, and eating everything in Vietnam again.  Working as a photographer/videographer/producer in the Philippines was an amazing experience that challenged me professionally in the best way. I happily spent the last four months of the year traveling somewhere nearly every two weeks, including three round trips from DC across the Pacific within two months. 

coffee and french studying

I learned.

I took the GMAT after studying hours every day for three months. I completed three more French courses at Alliance Française and loved the Sunday study group we created. The group of crazy students who actively identified and purchased additional workbooks and spent their Sunday afternoons completing extra grammar exercises in the textbook. These are my people.

alliance francaise volunteer

I volunteered.

For l’Alliance, I volunteered at Fête de la Musique for the annual musical event to celebrate the beginning of summer. I also volunteered every two weeks during the summer at my local farmers’ market for DC Greens, where I supported access to healthy food through DC government’s Produce Plus program. After three years in leadership roels, I retired from my alma mater’s alumni board and was featured on the university’s website.

tea party 2017

I hosted.

Celebrated three years (!) of Friday pasta nights, a second annual yet proper tea party, and a wine tasting. 

hawaii koko head hike

It was a year of many adventures, personal growth, professional challenges, new friendships, and lots of embarrassment. Hey, French is difficult.

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings (hopefully more adventures and less embarrassment).

2013: a year in review

paris - lesley siu

A year ago, I remember counting down to midnight and thinking, “2013 is going to be my year.”

And it was.

I accomplished a lot in 2013: graduating, spending months in Paris alone, trekking across Southeast Asia, starting a new job and moving to my first big-girl apartment. A year of milestones, for sure.

My favorite moments in 2013:

– returned to the homeland and went surfing in Hawaii

Her Campus American won the social media award for increasing its Facebook following by 30% in one week

– spent spring break in Jamaica
– presented to producers for MTV Insights in NYC

– hosted SELF Magazine’s first Workout on the Quad with Her Campus (and reached the #3 most page views in a week out of 200+ chapters!)
– wrote about why you should travel now for a Her Campus and Contiki partnership…and won a trip to Asia!

– graduated from college
– set 22 goals before my birthday

chased my dream of living in Paris
– concluded that fear is a choice

stepped out of my comfort zone
– celebrated Bastille Day in France
traveled to Prague

– completed a round trip to Amsterdam in 24 hours
– discovered Merci, my favorite store in Paris
– was mistaken for a Parisian
– took too many photos of the Eiffel Tower

rode an elephant in Laos and pet tigers in Thailand
– made a video about my summer in Paris
– wrote about my favorite coffee shops around the world

– switched to self-hosting my blog with WordPress.org (and still moving some photos over)
– wrote a guest post for Contiki about my trip to Asia
– had lots of quality bonding time with my dog (and celebrated Halloween with the party animal)

– got my first full-time job (!)

moved back to DC and into a new apartment
celebrated Christmas with my family


What an amazing year. I have to admit, changing my calendar makes me a little nervous. If a year could be that amazing, can 2014 really be better? The good thing is, I’m still optimistic about the future. I’m looking forward to turning strangers into friends, furthering my career, exploring different places and launching a side project. It can be my year again, right? Two for two. Let’s go.