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Showing posts from 2014

14 Great Things about 2014

Photo by Cassie Ngo In no particular order: I successfully trained for my third marathon and PRed my time. I read/watched the entire Harry Potter  series. It was a good year for YAF at the movies ( Vampire Academy, Divergent, TFIOS, Mockingjay Part 1 ). I completed in my first duathlon. I entered the wonderful world of Veronica Mars . I learned a ton about intersectional feminism this year. (This was a HUGE part of my year.) Jolie ran in her first race in January. I saw Hank Green live and got to say "Good morning, John! It's Friday!" for a Vlogbrothers video. I had blonde hair. And then purple hair. I got another tattoo (my marathon one). We moved out of our condo into a house and I have a kickass office/craft room/library. Jolie received a leadership/citizenship award at school. I became PR/Marketing copy editor for Cracked Slate Productions and we're well on our way to getting started on our first series. I read/finished 46 books this year and

So you want to be a runner...

I'm not really one for new year's resolutions (because I find that my goals and wishes change throughout the year anyway), but of course, along with everyone else in the universe, I do want to be in better shape. Not to have a "hot bod" or whatever, but to be more fit, to be a better athlete. Whatever the motive, it's a pretty popular goal every January, right? I used to devour fitness magazines by the dozen, and this is the time of year where every single media outlet puts in their two cents about getting fit. If I had a dollar for every time I saw the phrase "new year, new you," I could probably buy myself a new treadmill. These days, there are TONS of fitness options out there, but it seems like, almost universally, when people talk about getting fit, they start to follow it up with "I should start running" or something like that. And while I totally applaud that, I also have to fight really hard to resist the urge to start dishing out

Swatches: Smashbox's On the Rocks Photo Op Eye Shadow Luxe Palette

I am SUPER excited to have this, if only because I only had to pay $20 for it instead of $42. But I'm also excited because it's really beautiful and it's overall a really nice palette with tons of shades that I love. It's very sturdy - the pans sit in a plastic insert that actually comes out (as I discovered, to my surprise), so I guess you could put earrings or thin necklaces in it if you wanted to? The top (pictured above) is kind of cushy, and the diamonds are textured and glint rainbow in the light :) It also comes with a little "Get this look" guide. Here are the names of the shades: They're printed on a clear plastic insert, which I hate, because I have to remove it every time to use it, but I can't just throw it away either. As you can see, it's a nice range of colors (earth tones, jewel tones, smoky shades, and some brights thrown in) as well as textures and finishes (matte, shimmer, sparkle, duochrome). I divided it up into thr

How do you know when you're really a RUNNER?

I'm still basking in the glory of my recent marathon, so this past weekend, as an act of reflection, I went back through all my old blog posts tagged "running." I think it's important to remember your past as it helps shape your future, you know? Sometimes looking back can help you answer questions you have now . So what did I learn? I learned that I tend to aim high, but I lack the follow-through. I read a lot of sentences that were like, "I didn't train very well" (or at all ), or "I didn't do as well as I would've liked," or "I should've done x better." Or "I should've tried harder." I read lots of regret for not pushing myself more. Part of that is me not actually trying hard enough, and part of it is me never thinking anything I do is good enough. On the other hand, I also read a lot of triumphs and break-throughs, not just in terms of time, but also in terms of mentality - I did stop beating up on

Impromptu 5k: The Santa Run

Surprise! Just when I thought I was done racing for 2014, I suddenly felt a burning desire to put on a Santa suit and run a 5k today. The Santa Run takes place in downtown San Jose, and benefits Christmas in the Park and Downtown ICE (the ice rink). Christmas in the Park has been happening as long as I can remember - there are rides, food, games, animatronic Christmas-themed dioramas, and trees sponsored/decorated by local businesses and groups. (My high school alma mater, which is also in downtown SJ, always had a tree there every year.) I was itching for a run, and rather than going to my usual trail, I decided to sign up for this 5k, and I brought my daughter and my mother-in-law with me - Jolie's never been to Christmas in the Park, and I figured it was a good time for her to go. (She had a BLAST, by the way.) So yeah, this is the first time I've ever decided to do a race last minute. I registered on Saturday at packet pick-up, received my race shirt, bib, and Santa

Instagram post: December Ipsy bag

( see full image )

Third time's a charm: California International Marathon race recap

Marathon #3, with a bullet Everything was beautiful and... okay, some things hurt. I feel like today's race was fated to go well: it's the 32nd annual CIM, and this year it happened to fall on my birthday - my 32nd birthday. The weather was absolutely perfect (especially considering how last year it was icy, and the year before that, it rained so much that the course was flooded). It's a beautiful day for a PR, yes?  I knew I was going to PR by default if I met my goal, which was to run a sub-6:00 marathon, to finish within the course limits and record an official time. I know, I know... not a remarkable time by anyone's standards. (Today's winner finished in 2:11, by the way.) But for me, it meant that I would have to stick doggedly to my goal pace, and I've been working super hard for the last five months to make sure that I had it in me. About to start The course is a net downhill, which is good for going fast, but it had a LOT of hills.

Swatches: J. Cat Beauty's Wonder Lip Paint

Last month, I received one of these Lip Paints in my November Ipsy bag (see here  for pictures as well as my thoughts on the formula), and I liked it so much that I purchased a few more. They finally arrived, and I had to swatch them right away. What I got: - Wonderland , a beautiful blue-leaning turquoise - Always Late, Rabbit! , a pinkish purple - Caterpillar Smoke , a bright, warm rosey-pink - Blabberwocky , a salmon pink - Red Potion , a blackened berry red - Queen of Harts , an even more blackened berry red that is more purpley as well - Curiouser , a warm-ish beige Some of those colors are totally colors that I always gravitate towards (purple, vampy reds), and some of those are colors that aren't really me (um, the blue!), but at $5 a pop, it's not a big deal, and it's a good opportunity to get those weird colors that I always wish I had every time it's a crazy dress-up day. Here they are, swatched in the order listed above. They all were thic

On privilege

It's Thanksgiving, and I want to talk about privilege. Specifically, mine. There are people who appear to have a lot of trouble either understanding what privilege really means or recognizing that they do in fact have some, and I want to talk about mine because I'm hoping it will clarify some things in a hopefully non-accusatory way (I will try to police my own tone on this one, but no promises) and also... just to express thanks. It IS Thanksgiving, after all. So let's begin with what and who I am, in no particular order: - Asian (specifically, Vietnamese) - Female - Graduate-educated - Upper middle class - Cisgender - Heterosexual (though to be honest, I would call myself "heteroflexible" or "curious") - English-speaking - American-born (to immigrant parents) - Physically and mentally able - Fat - Atheist - Unmarried As you can see, there are areas where I have privilege and areas where I don't. I'm heterosexual (for all i

Mockingjay, Part 1: NOT another teen movie

Spoiler warnings in effect, for the book as well as the movie.

Instagram post: Purple for daaaaaaays

( see full image ) I have purple hair now :)

My November Ipsy bag, featuring J. Cat Beauty's Wonder Lip Paint

November's Ipsy theme was Girl Meets Glitter. After not being terrifically impressed with the last couple of bags, I was pretty happy with this one, which had a nice variety of items: - Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil hairspray - Be a Bombshell eye base in Submissive - Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder in Universal, with a mini fan brush - Elizabeth Mott You're So Fine Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Glitterati - J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in Mad Splatter I also cashed in some Ipsy points for a full-sized bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Elegant Taupe: I liked the smaller sized version enough that I didn't mind getting a full-sized one in taupe, because you know how I am about taupe :) Swatches, top row: Elizabeth Mott eyeliner, bareMinerals cream eye shadow Swatches, bottom row: Be a Bombshell eye base, J. Cat Lip Paint In particular, I was most interested in the Lip Paint. If you look at the packaging

Race recap: Mermaid Run SF Sirena 10-miler

Yep, the selfie game is STRONG with this one. This past week was my first "off" week since maybe early September. Going into the race today, I'd only run four miles (though, I was coming off a 28-mile week). For various reasons, I was just really off my game this week. But still, I was excited to run this. I did the inaugural Sirena 10-miler last year with my knee injury, and though I enjoyed the race anyway, it definitely wasn't a great performance. I was looking to redeem myself today, even with being off my game. I woke up at 4:30am, which is not so different from my weekday runs, except getting up early to DRIVE feels way worse than getting up to run. I know that sounds weird, but seriously, once you start running, your body wakes up. It was surprisingly not very cold when we got there. The last couple of weeks, my long runs in Los Gatos were 48 degrees at the start, and by general rule of thumb, San Francisco is colder than the South Bay, so imagine my