2015: A Year of Experiences


Well, I do need some of that money.  Because bills and adulting.

2015 was a year of experience and travel.  I decided that I wanted to make it a great year by finding things I would love to see and experience, and the year definitely delivered.  Two conventions, two temporary exhibitions, and one concert.  I know people take trips to exotic locales and take tons of pictures of their feet in the sand so we can all be jealous, but for me, the thrill of doing something has to include actually doing something.  Sitting on a beach doesn’t do anything for me.  I need to be stimulated visually, given something to write about.  I like to be inspired, to laugh, and to be able to walk away from something while telling myself that I was lucky to have seen it.

Oh, and the opportunity to take what may well be an illegal amount of selfies (illegal in the sense that I’m just all too happy to overexpose myself to the internet masses) is just too much to bear.  I only take these when I’m visiting somewhere, so I guess it’s ok.

I never said it actually was ok, I’m just guessing.

Allow me to display some of my favorite photos taken from each adventure.  It’s my way of having you live vicariously.

So put on those admission wristbands (seriously, does everything I enjoy require wearing something on your wrist?), it’s time to see experiences through my eyes!

Just a note:  All of these trips involved blog posts, except for Wizard World Philadelphia, as I was transitioning the blog to WordPress at the time.  Just click on each header for the article.  🙂

The Art of the Brick: Franklin Institute, Philadelphia – April 22, 2015

I love Lego stuff.  I played with Legos until I was (admittedly) too old to do so (I was thirteen), geeked out over the idea of a feature film that took place in a world of Legos (again, too old – I was 31 at the time), and have two Lego keychains on my keys.  Princess Unikitty (from The Lego Movie) is my spirit animal.  So when I found out the Franklin Institute, which boasts excellent temporary exhibits for several months at a time, was going to host The Art of the Brick, I couldn’t help myself.  And on April 22, 2015 (Administrative Professionals Day, which I celebrated by taking a few days off from work), I took the train to Philadelphia so I could see it for myself.

It all starts with one piece, says exhibition creator Nathan Sawaya.  What happens within the walls of this exhibit is nothing short of genius.  We all loved building multi-color houses out of Legos, but Sawaya takes Lego building to a whole other level, recreating famous paintings and sculptures, as well as his own creations.  It’s merely plastic building blocks and glue, but it’s plastic building blocks and glue as art form.  And it’s incredible, right down to the tiny details.

Wizard World ComiCon – Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia – May 9, 2015

2014 marked my first visit to a non-Stargate convention, and immersed me into the world of a pop culture convention.  I chose Wizard World because of the location (I live approximately 1 hour outside of Philadelphia, PA).  I went to meet Nathan Fillion that year, and while it was a long and tiring day, I loved the experience and wanted to return if there was someone I wanted to meet.

While I love pop culture, I’m selective on what I enjoy.  I’m not huge on comics or art, but I do love toys, video games, and anything nostalgic.  There’s a little something for everyone at Wizard World, and seeing it is a treat.

In 2015, I decided to return to the overcrowded mass exodus that is Wizard World ComiCon for the opportunity to meet Joel Hodgson, the creator/star of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show I have loved since I was fourteen years old.  While I didn’t watch Joel’s episodes in their original run (blame my cable provider because I didn’t have Comedy Central until 1996), I did watch the show when it moved to the Sci-Fi Channel (that’s Sci-Fi, not SyFy), and was always in love with the idea of silhouette robots and guy who watch a bad movie and make fun of it.  I didn’t know at the time that I would love bad movies like a respected art form until much later, but as a teenager, I loved the show and everything it was and stood for.  So meeting the man who created the show was naturally a big deal.


And getting to hold Tom Servo?  Bonus.

Creation Entertainment Official Stargate Convention, Westin O’Hare, Chicago/Rosemont, Illinois – August 14, 15, and 16, 2015

The Stargate Convention is an annual tradition for me – it’s held the same weekend in August every year in the Chicagoland suburbs, is a reunion of friends, and the opportunity meet and see our favorite actors out of costume, makeup, and in a strange alien world…that of the stage of a hotel’s giant conference room.

After having gone to this convention two years in a row with my then-boyfriend, I was going to be travelling alone for the first time since 2012.  I was fine with that – I was looking forward to seeing my large group of friends, have some laughs, eat deep-dish pizza, and hug a few actors.


What’s not to love?

Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire: Heart and Soul Tour, Borgata Casino, Atlantic City, NJ – September 6, 2015

March 15, 2015:

Screenshot (251)

September 6, 2015:

Screenshot (252)

Anticipation can be awesome and anxiety-provoking in the same breath.

I remember March 2015, sitting on my cell phone while listening to hold music, trying to get through to the Borgata Box Office.  I had a hard time ordering tickets from their website to a concert I so desperately wanted to see, so I had to call.  I hate being put on hold – I’m always convinced that in the amount of time I’m being put on hold, someone is buying the tickets I’m looking for, and that when I actually do get a live person, I won’t get tickets.

Not only did I get two tickets, I was fourteen rows from the stage.

So stage selfies and pre-concert “look where I’m sitting!” Facebook statuses aside, this was one of the most amazing concerts I’ve been to.

Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition Premier Exhibitions 5th Avenue, New York City, NY – October 10, 2015

One of my oldest addictions is Saturday Night Live, of which I’ve been a loyal (and for the most part, patient) fan for the better part of 22 years).  While some of the more recent years have been harder to watch, I always go back to the earlier years. And being a nostalgia buff, the idea of an exhibition that celebrates 40 years of a television show with displays of costumes, props, and sets, while taking visitors on a tour of the creative process to bring the show to life each week.

I’ll also admit that travelling to New York City alone was quite the adventure.  I’ve traveled alone to the Chicago suburbs in the past, but that’s by plane, then to a shuttle, and then I spend four days inside of a hotel attending a convention.  This trip involved changing trains in Philadelphia (From NJ Transit to Amtrak, first time rider over here!), navigating Penn Station and then walking five city blocks to 37th and 5th Avenues (From 32nd and 7th Avenues).  While this may seem intimidating for anyone who doesn’t really enjoy traveling (or doing so by themselves), I tend to be fearless and unfazed by it.  Granted, I only travel domestically and obsessively read directions before I go anywhere, so while everyone else was nervous (but knew I would be fine), I just kept saying “oh, I know where I’m going.  It’s easy.”  I was excited at the prospect of going to this exhibition, and did so over Columbus Day Weekend.

So not disappointed.  This is every nostalgia buff – and Saturday Night Live addict’s – dream.

The exhibition actually closes this month, and considering the weather taking the turn toward chilly that we knew was coming, I picked a great time to go.  I figured on this trip being my final one of 2015, and had I known the weather was going to be warm for much of December, I probably could have gone back to do more sightseeing.  That didn’t happen, but I’ll have something to look forward to in the spring.

And like all of these exhibits/trips/events end, so does this snippet of an amazing 2015.  And this only is a small part of what made 2015 so amazing for me.  When the year began, I never believed it was going to be nearly as incredible as it was.  The year arrived on a low point, and ended on an incredible high.  Life changes, trips/experiences, and the opportunity to show people my writing abilities were only part of the glory of the year, which also included reconnecting with a friend, building on the relationships of ones that have stuck by me…and a friendship that became so much more.  While I would have loved the Yankees to go to the World Series, and the Giants to make the playoffs (and the Super Bowl in 2016), I’m not going to complain.  Life is good.  Life will continue to be good.

Here’s to an amazing 2016, wherever the adventure takes me. 🙂

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