my life

Best of 2016: Sophia in Review

The last 4 months were some of the worst in my entire life and I have never been so happy to say welcome a new year!

2016 was a 9 year, which completes a 9-year-cycle (of horrific pain, apparently) that signifies endings, letting go, and forgiveness. 2017 is a 1 year and I'm already ecstatic!

Despite the utter hell, there are still amazing moments in 2016 to honor:

SOPHIA'S SUPERLATIVES: 2016 IN REVIEW

1) BEST Moment of 2016:

I usually celebrate my birthday for a week, but I crammed all four parties (including a baptism!) into 2.5 days. It took me about a week to recover. WORTH IT.

Here's 80% the footage from the weekend crammed into less than 4 minutes. Watch for the gift of a lifetime - something unicorns use to poop rainbows...

 

2)Best New Project 2016: Griot good

Lee-Sean Huang has been collaborating with me to use our Harvard degrees to completely ruin the Asian American reputation for more years than we would like to divulge. 

This year we filmed an Asian fusion cooking show called Griot Good, where we coordinate our outfits to the theme and cuisine.

I hope my dad is glad he pushed me so hard.

3) BEST WRITING FROM 2016:

Apparently people love when I share how unbearably painful my life is in gory detail, so here you go - Sophia's latest piece on the endless regrets that make up my life! Click the photo

4) Best Trip in 2016:

I spent an amazing week in Philadelphia before my annual trip home to NYC, and Nick Lachey even made my pizza:

Full post from Facebook:

Most of you know that SYTYCD was instrumental in my becoming a pro dancer way back in my Hollywood years. What I haven't mentioned is that the Sing-Off is what inspired me to finally audition for an a capella group, which took me around SoCal performing for awesome events. (see celebrities HERE)

Last night in Philly I got to tell Nick Lachey what that show inspired me to do and he thought it was super cool.

5) single Best Thing About 2016:

Becoming a Christian. Two weeks ago I celebrated my one year (re)birthday in Christ. My life has changed irrevocably - I've healed in ways I haven't been able to for 3 decades, and I broke a dating addiction I've had for over twenty years (articles on those coming soon).

I also started a personal blog and some of my best articles are there about my spiritual and relationship lessons from my (painful) life. Visit FiftyTwoFaces

6) honorable header mention - COSPLAY OF 2016:

The mysterious redhead in the lower header photo is me performing live band karaoke at the Hard Rock Cafe as Black Widow. <--yes there is a video

 
 Captain Asian America, Yellow Widow, and Spider Pinoy at the MARVEL Avengers premiere. I rode the gold line like this and nobody batted an eye.

Captain Asian America, Yellow Widow, and Spider Pinoy at the MARVEL Avengers premiere. I rode the gold line like this and nobody batted an eye.

 

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3 Things I Can't Wait to Do When My Toe Heals

Ah, injury. The marker of a dancer's life more common than they show.

 Punched in the throat by a metal bar

Punched in the throat by a metal bar

A month ago I had my first aerial fall - off my beloved cube, hitting my throat on a metal bar on the way down. I had whiplash and some concussive symptoms.

2 days later, I went in for my Level 2 Pole Teacher Training, because I'M SHE-HULK.

I taught from the ground, and my master trainer said I was made to teach and that any studio would be lucky to have me. It was heart-filling to hear that.

 Snapchat: making injuries glamorous

Snapchat: making injuries glamorous

Just when I recovered enough to get back on aerial, I went to a nail salon to get an ingrown toenail removed. Using rudimentary tools and no anesthetic, they butchered my nail bed in a procedure that made me feel like I was in a third-world country and my passport had been stolen. 

It was infected within the hour.

After a week of antibiotics, my doctor properly removed part of the toenail and the horrifyingly large ingrown section. Though I'm limping again, the nightmare is finally over.

Here are the 3 things I'm most looking forward to doing when the gaping wound on my toe closes:

  1. Hip-hop! I finally went back to a Beyonce-video style class involving lots of shade and requiring knee pads before my toenail's dignity was taken away.
  2. Getting into that gorgeous poolIt's summer. We're having a heat wave. I should have been LIVING in that pool, instead of staring resentfully at it from the concrete.
  3. Blues/Fusion Dancing. I can't remember the last time I had a full-body hug. #churchpeopleproblems

Filming Griot Good in Phoenix

 © 2016 Lee-Sean Huang and Sophia Chang

© 2016 Lee-Sean Huang and Sophia Chang

#nomad2015 has concluded!

Introducing Griot Good

I spent the 13th and final month on the road in beautiful Arizona shooting the first season of my brand new cooking show with fellow storyteller Lee-Sean Huang.

Griots are West African traveling storytellers and musicians. LS and I have wandered the world eating and singing since our Harvard days (much longer than we care to remember) and now we're bringing you the goods in food culture!

 © 2016 Sophia Chang

© 2016 Sophia Chang

There could not have been a better way to start 2016.

We cooked and ate until I had heartburn, did yoga, watched Melrose Place (the original) late into the night, hiked the stunning Sonoran desert in a desperate attempt to lose what we were gaining, and made mochi versions of everything.

Episode 1 is live now! We're dressing up in traditional Chinese wear and making Beer + Chocolate Short Ribs on a Spicy Slaw. It takes 100 subscribers to get us a personalized URL so we'd really appreciate if you subscribe to our Youtube!

 

We are @griotgood on all social media:

Instagram

Facebook

Youtube

Twitter

Website

JaNoWriMo and Other Exciting News

Happy 2016!

For 3 years I ran a highly interactive blog about Young Adult Fiction that I just LOVED called Sophia the Writer.

I hosted book giveaways and did 50% of the book blogger memes in the world, which meant I did about 8 million.

I'm happy to announce that I'm returning to my roots and refocusing on my novel writing this year.

Which means it's time for

JaNoWriMo!

That's right, NaNoWriMo in the month of January! 30 days to write every single day. You can choose to hit 50,000 words if you like, but JaNo has the flexibility of setting the simple goal:

Words on a page. Every day.

If you'd like to join, just comment below and let us know what you'll be WriMo-ing this month! If you want a word sprint partner, follow me on Twitter @thesophiachang where I'll be announcing (usually nightly) #wordsprints.

The Great Facebook Break

I started ramping down social media last fall and took a blessed Facebook fast at the end of the year. It was so peaceful it reminded me of the 90's.

As part of my refocus on YA fiction for 2016, I've begun separating out my personal Facebook profile for family and friends only. I'm now directing all business contacts to my business page. Since Facebook's algorithm is as reliable as a Tindr date, the best way to stay in contact with me is by subscribing to this blog - you'll also get my short cheatbook 3-Step Brand for free!

As a bonus challenge to joining JaNoWriMo with me - who's also going to have a Facebook purge or fast? Let me know below!

2015 Blog in Review

2015 blog in review (2).jpg

I've been blogging for 8 years (starting with a very pink, secret one on blogspot) and my favorite meme is to take the first line of the first post of every month to form a review. Just click the pink titles to read the full articles!

Sophia's #nomad2015 Blog Review

January - Happy 2015!

February - Happy Chinese New Year eve!

"Wishing the world an amazing Chinese New Year eve from Sun Moon Lake here in Taiwan."

March - Behind the Great Firewall

"China is the hardest leg of my world travel so far."

april - Fooling the Asians

"Someone asked me last week if I was Asian."

may - The View from Vegas

"One year ago I posted my article Measure Your Success By Lifestyle, Not Numbers."

June - San Diego County

"Food safety question: if you leave an omelette in a warm car for 4 hours is it still safe to eat?"

July - Sophia Battles the Ramen Burger (and crawls home sobbing)

"I'm supposed to be on a diet, which means I work out everyday and end up famished every night."

AUGUST - Bi-country Birthday

"It's my birthday! This is the first year I get to celebrate in two countries. I am full of gratitude for my beautiful friends and the adventure I'm on! XOXO"

september - Nomad Truths: Travel Weariness

"It's that time again. Travel weariness sets in."

october - Last 24 Hours in New York

"I took this photo leaning against the tiled wall of Penn Station, sitting on the speckled linoleum alongside hundreds of New Yorkers waiting for the track number of our train to Jersey to pop up on the screens."

november - The Real Sisterwives of the Citadel: Sophia on the Fury Road

"#nomad2015 has brought me on poles all over the world, but never did I expect it to bring me to the Thunderdome on the road to Valhalla!"

December 

I won't get too meta - it's this post.

Feel free to steal this meme - just link back to this post and let me know when it's up so I can see your year in review!

The Real Sisterwives of the Citadel: Sophia on the Fury Road

#nomad2015 has brought me on poles all over the world, but never did I expect it to bring me to the Thunderdome on the road to Valhalla!

 The 5 Wives of Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road © 2015 Sophia Chang

The 5 Wives of Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road © 2015 Sophia Chang

Yeah. My Halloween was epic.

 Saved by  Mad Matt - The Road Courier  © 2015 Sophia Chang

Saved by Mad Matt - The Road Courier © 2015 Sophia Chang

 Coma the Doof Warrior © 2015 Sophia Chang

Coma the Doof Warrior © 2015 Sophia Chang

Sophia's Bucketlist: Drum Lesson from John Chong of Run River North

A gazillion years ago Kevin Kim, my APA Bachelor of the Month 2012 told me I had to go see his bandmate's OTHER band. So I show up at this hipster little venue in Silverlake and met the BEST BAND EVER.

I evidently did something stupid and lost the photos of me with Run River North at their first big show at the Satellite, so here's one of RRN attending The Nehemiah Band's show in East LA.

 Look it's keyboardist Sally (L) and lead singer Alex (R) © 2015 Sophia Chang

Look it's keyboardist Sally (L) and lead singer Alex (R) © 2015 Sophia Chang

Every time Run River North plays the Troubadour, I stand behind John Chong and gape slackjawed as his manbun unfurls repeatedly in the ecstasy of his drumming. It's been on my bucketlist for a few years to take drum lessons from him.

 John takes us around the world for five seconds © 2015 Sophia Chang

John takes us around the world for five seconds © 2015 Sophia Chang

Tonight I caught up with John after the RRN concert in Orange County and told him my dream. He immediately led me onstage to his own kit for an impromptu lesson.

THIS HAPPENED:

I promised a photo of me and the NBA-sized Chong brothers in the video, but alas it is floating in the ether of "Sophia Doesn't Back Things Up Anal-Retentively Enough."

FOLLOW ME on Periscope to catch more bucket list hijinks on #nomad2015!

Last 24 Hours in New York

I took this photo leaning against the tiled wall of Penn Station, sitting on the speckled linoleum alongside hundreds of New Yorkers waiting for the track number of our train to Jersey to pop up on the screens.

 Last of the summer swelter at Penn Station © 2015 Sophia Chang

Last of the summer swelter at Penn Station © 2015 Sophia Chang

It was 80 degrees at 10 at night and every inch of my skin was dewy from the intermittent rain alternating with humidity so heavy all I could do was let it press against me as I sank to the ground, unbearably happy to be among the 8.4 million who love this city so much we'll stay in heat, in cold, in blizzard and hail.

Unbearably happy to be 1 in 8 million...

The next night the temperature dropped 25 degrees and coastal wind kicked up. Hurricane Joaquin prepared to visit too. My oldest friend from college and my protege met me in the East Village for midnight yakitori on a work night. New York.

At 2 a.m. we shoved our hands in our pockets and walked back. Around us New Yorkers bent their heads into the wind and did the turbo walk we're famous for. I waved to my Harvard hubby as he turned toward Alphabet City and I continued north.

 #trainlife ©2015 Sophia Chang

#trainlife ©2015 Sophia Chang

My light Uniqlo down jacket did little against the sea winds but I still had to find a bodega to buy water for the night. I shivered and swore and stamped my feet on the pavement and felt in that moment my life was perfect.

 

"How will you handle winter?" my mentee asked.

I'd just said what I say every year when I visit: "I want to come back."

"You'll be fine," Lee-Sean said. "I just wear snow pants over my outfit and take them off when I get to where I'm going,"  We joked we'd start a new fashion trend.

Inside my heart swelled. My friends wanted me back in the city and, because they're New Yorkers, had infinite solutions to my problems.

The last 24 hours in the city I, the snowbird, never took my purple puffy off. I barely noticed. 

 The best people on earth ©2015 Sophia Chang

The best people on earth ©2015 Sophia Chang

I noticed the gaggle of brash businessmen in the cafe during my last meal, boasting loudly in Tri-State accents. 

I noticed the way everyone I met remembered my name.

I noticed the way my East Coast friends had the ability to make me feel utterly capable of anything while rallying around to support me, walk me to the train station, look me in the eye, share a meal with me at any time, and extend their resources to me with a generosity that brings me to tears every time.

And I knew I could do it. I could come back to the city, to winter. 

I could feel my bones getting ready.

Back to the people who are family.

Is it time to go home?

 The view from my friend's rooftop

The view from my friend's rooftop

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Nomad Truths: Travel Weariness

It's that time again. Travel weariness sets in.

 Montreal to New York © 2015 Sophia Chang

Montreal to New York © 2015 Sophia Chang

For some a week, others a year. Me - nearing the last week of 2 months.

In the last 2 months:

I haven't slept in the same bed for more than 7 days.
I had my heart thoroughly touched and shattered by the same person.

I've lost money. Saved money. Received lodging and meals for free.

I had my purse stolen. In it was my wallet from my protege student who's all grown up now. In the wallet was the 2 dollar bill that my oldest friend wore in her wedding as her something borrowed. I'd carried it for 16 years before that and was her maid of honor.

I went home for the first time in a year.
I saw the way New Yorkers practice kindness, which is different from the way Quebecers show it.
I even missed Los Angeles for a moment or two. (fuck)

I'm in my last Canadian city, debilitated by allergies, dehydrated from so many plane, train and road miles, dazzled by the view from the skyscraper apartment.

I've been cursed by 50 chigger bites, put 5 people on Periscope - many for the first time.
And I'm blessed. And I know it at last.

Love,
Sophia
‪#‎nomad2015‬


talk to sophia live on periscope

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