Year in Review: 2016

December 29th, 2016


With 2016 coming to an end, this seems like a good time to look back on the year and how it was for me. Here is my usual year in review!

Life in General

I didn’t have major changes in my personal life, but things did change at work. Last year, I wrote about how I was moving more into a management role, and in January 2016, I was officially promoted to a Development Manager!

Since I’ve been a team lead for years, most of my responsibilities didn’t change. However, now that I’m considered a hiring manager, I have to deal with annual reviews, salary, promotions, and things like that. I also became a manager for a second team, so now I manage both a team of developers and a team of designers. Sadly, that means I have less time to program, but I’m still very active in code reviewing and mentoring developers, and I check in code whenever I can.


In 2016, I tried to do a “hybrid” of cosplay and photography at Anime conventions. Instead of filling my schedule with photoshoots, I only did a few and spent the rest of the time in cosplay. This meant I did less photoshoots than normal, but I did get to spend time making new cosplays at least!

I still have a couple shoots coming up, but so far, I’ve done 7 photoshoots – 6 at conventions and 1 as a private shoot:

As for cosplay, I completed 2 and a half costumes. I finished cosplays for Tashigi (One Piece) and my Pokemon Go Trainer, and I have a bit done for my next Tashigi cosplay too.

I also went back to making a video game cake for my husband’s birthday after taking a 4 year hiatus from it. This year’s cake features Ultimate Chicken Horse!

Click to see full image!

Click to see full image!


My first Japan trip was in 2014, and I decided to go again in 2016! This time, we went in the summer to be there during the festival season, specifically the Tanabata Festival in Sendai. We spent two weeks in Tokyo, Sendai, and nearby areas. My Japan category has entries on this!

I also took a couple short trips. I was in San Francisco in September for my cousin’s wedding, and I was in New York in December for a funeral.

Other Notable Events

  • My husband and I built a small console PC to play PC games on the TV. We held many game nights with friends!
  • I attended PAX South for the 2nd time and met an online gamer friend for the first time, who I played online tournaments with.
  • I bought a treadmill and have been running more consistently since I can’t use the weather as an excuse anymore.
  • I met a couple bloggers in person! I saw Michelle again at A-kon, and I met Tiff in person for the first time at San Japan.
  • I attended 3 Anime conventions (Ikkicon in Austin, A-kon in Dallas, and San Japan in San Antonio).
  • My husband caved and bought the Vive, which is a VR system.
  • My team got runner-up in my company’s hackathon for making a custom A/B testing service.

Favorite Entries

Moving Forward

I set professional and gaming goals last year, but I didn’t do any New Years resolutions. I think that worked out better for me because it’s hard to set goals for an entire year. I do have a general idea of how I’d like to approach 2017 though, and I’ll have a separate entry on that later! I hope 2017 will be a good year for everyone!

18 Responses to “Year in Review: 2016”

  • Holly says:

    Congratulations on your promotion! It’s a shame that you don’t have as much to code as you used to. I think our team leader feels like that. But I’m sure you are learning lots of new management related skills.

    I loved reading your travel posts. Japan is somewhere I’d like to visit some day and your posts left me feeling inspired. :)

    I’ve only set myself one major goal for 2017, but then I’ve decided some intentions for how I want to live in 2017; some small life changes that I hope will leave me feeling happier and healthier.

  • Claudine says:

    Congratulations on your promotion! :) That’s amazing! Sure there’ll be more responsibilities, but it’s also very exciting and will make you grow even more! :)

    Your travel posts were amazing. I loved reading all about the places you went to in Japan and I really wish I could go there someday. Your posts gave me ideas on what I should see and do while I’m there! :D

  • Elisa says:

    first of all, congrats on the promotion! (i suck at keeping with blog buddies, i swear)

    it’s so nice when you have a fellow gamer as husband, isn’t it hehe :P a gamer “significant other” is definitely a must criteria in my list too (so thank god that my bf is a gamer too) hahaha
    that’s so cool that you guys spend time video gaming together! that’s my definition of a fun date right there ;)

    your travel posts to Japan were so, so fun! i know i didn’t comment on every single one of them (like i said, i suck and i’m forgetful sometimes) but i really enjoyed them. you’re very lucky *o*

    here’s to a better 2017, fingers crossed! :’D

  • Kya says:

    It has been a really busy year. I hope 2017 will be really positive, and filled with lots of love and happiness. :)

    That cake is so awesome!

  • Michelle says:

    Congrats on having a great year and doing my photoshoot! <3 I'm so lucky to know you and have you as a friend. May you have a great 2017~ <3 Congrats on the promotion, too!

  • Rezina says:

    Congrats on being promoted to a development manager! You’ve done so much this year. I love the video game cake! Excited for all your new posts next year and one of my favorite entries was also your Ghibli Museum post! It made me want to visit Japan, haha.

  • Amy says:

    Congratulations on your promotion this year! It’s a shame you have less time to program, but at least you’ll be able to develop your management skills. I always find it strange how moving up in a company gets you further and further away from the skills you were hired for – it’s bizarre!

    I’ve loved reading your Japan posts this year. Definitely gave me major travel envy. I hope one day I can see the Studio Ghibli museum – that would be amazing!

    I love all your cosplays and your photography is great. I wish I lived nearer to you, ‘cos I’m sure we’d be going to the same sort of events! Comic cons/anime cons are the best!

    Hope 2017 is amazing for you!

  • Nancy says:

    Oooh I remembered that blog post about your promotion to a managerial level! It’s so cool that you’re moving in the ranks to lead teams toward the company goals :D. It is awesome to see your passion for cosplaying. Your shots are amazing! I love how the coloring turns out ;D. Your Tashigi cosplay looks too legit. I’m glad that you got a chance to go back to Japan this year! You definitely took advantage of the two weeks :).

    It’s awesome that you and your husband got the Vive! Hope you’re enjoying some VR goodness! I’m looking forward to seeing your resolutions for 2017! Glad to see that 2016 was a great year ^__^~

  • Tara says:

    That’s great you were put in a management role! It’s weird, though, that as you move up, you do less of the thing you originally want to do, though . . . good that you were able to still do some coding and such.

    You’ve done a lot this year! Quite a bit of travelling and cosplaying and photoshoots! It’s good you still kept up with your hobbies amidst all else you were doing :) I especially enjoyed seeing your travelling posts! Thank you for sharing them!

    I wish you and your hubby all the best in 2017 :) Keep it up with all your hobbies and I look forward to seeing your posts in the new year!

  • Pauline says:

    I loved this year in review. I remember your blog post on your promotion! I’m so proud of you, you’ve done amazing things to get to where you are! Well done! It’s still awesome you got to do some aspects of coding though :-)

    I really enjoyed learning about your development proccess in cosplays. It’s been insightful seeing how it all works and actually inspired me to potentially go and do more DIY stuff.

    Thanks again for your card <3 I loved seeing Japan through your eyes! It's been great following your adventures!

    Best of luck in 2017, excited to see what it'll bring!

  • Georgie says:

    Happy new year, Cat! :)

    I find it interesting about the changes you experienced with your promotion, because I think the same sort of happened with my current team delivery lead. He is now managing two teams and was previously a technical lead, but now has to do the annual reports and salaries and stuff like that. ? He definitely misses the coding, so when we had a hackathon day, of course he took the opportunity to code. ?

    You had a fun 2016 and I definitely loved hearing about your Japan adventures! I personally stopped doing typical new years resolutions because I didn’t want a goal specifically, but to just make progress with certain things related to work and life.

  • Becca says:

    That is quite an accomplishment to be moving into more of a managerial role. That stinks you can’t code quite as much, but I think that is cool to be able to mentor and lead the two teams!

    Cat, you are so creative and talented! I always enjoy looking at the cosplay costumes you put together and the cake you did for your husband is so awesome! Not to even mention your photography (which I loved the photo you included with your Christmas card, thank you!!).

    Happy 2017!! I look forward to reading your new posts and all that it has in store for you. :D

  • Liz says:

    I love the cake! I also love your Pokemon Go Trainer costume/photo—it’s so cute!

    The Scooby Doo-themed cosplay of the girls, I remember you sharing earlier last year, is still my favorite, whether it’s their outfits or the photography. I do think you’re skilled at the photography portion, though—do you figure out places to shoot, or do your subjects do that bit?

    • Cat says:

      Thanks Liz! Most of the time I pick the location and research them ahead of time, but for the Scooby Doo shoot, the cosplayers picked that one :)

  • Shar says:

    Wow!!! Congrats on a promotion!!!!! That’s a great transition to a new year! I wish you good fortune, luck and happiness for 2017.

    I looovveed your cake. I’m just starting out right now in baking and I’m nowhere close to that kind of decorating but I hope to eventually get to that level soon enough!!!

  • Michelle says:

    I am so honored to have you as a friend :D May you and your husband be happy in everything this new year and forever on~ I still get praise from my Kaz Miller cosplay <3 Metal Gear Solid is amazing lol

  • Ongaku says:

    Soo much fun for you in 2016 and great news. That is awesome! I certainly hope we get to meet again at a convention.

  • Cat says:

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