I started getting into anime and manga in my junior year of high school when a few friends showed me Fushigi Yuugi and Princess Mononoke one night. My first manga titles were InuYasha (I have since repented and learned the error of my ways) and Blade of the Immortal (I have since come to terms with the fact that it is so awesome that yes, they really can only put out one or two volumes a year lest there be an awesomeness overload and the world gets rebooted.) I'm more into manga than anime. Some of my favorite manga titles are Mars, Kizuna, Blade of the Immortal, Megaman Megamix, I.N.V.U., In These Words, Kitchen Princess, Aquarium, Demon Diaries, Dawn of the Arcana... I read a decent variety of genres. You Higuri is one of my favorite mangaka. Some of my favorite anime are Fullmetal Alchemist (the original,) Moribito, Nerima Daikon Brothers, Beck, Rurouni Kenshin, Fruits Basket, and Reign: The Conquerer.
I went to my first anime convention in 2005 where I attempted to cosplay Yumi from Kenshin and mostly just got mistaken for Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi. Oops! I generally make it to one convention a year, usually Tekkoshocon. I really enjoy cosplaying and for the last couple of years, my friends and I have been doing steampunk cosplay. I love the challenge of making cosplay, especially since so many anime characters somehow manage to shop in stores that sell gravity-defying clothing!
I am pretty hard-core about actually buying my anime and manga rather than reading it on-line if it is available in America. I won't judge others for not being the same way, but I do believe that if you really love the industry, you need to support it financially as much as possible. Unfortunately limited funds means limited supplies, so I may not get to see or read everything I'd like, but I hope more people commit to really supporting anime in America so that we can also support wonderful people like Greg Ayres, Vic Mignogna, Justin Cooke, Laura Baily, Travis Willingham, Sonny Straight, and all the other voice actors/producers/etc. who are working to make anime more accessible to the English-speaking crowd. I also hope that we don't see more manga publishers closing their doors - having such a major player as Tokyopop go under really shook me. I know there are a lot of really great series out there that haven't been licensed yet, but for those that have, please consider buying it instead of watching or reading it online!