On Personal Victories

May 16, 2014

Back in March, I posted about how I'd rediscovered a love of jogging and signed up for my first 5K.  You'll be happy to know (or you might not care -- that's cool too) that last Saturday I successfully completed my first race!

Warning: The post gets cheesier from here.

Running alongside so many other people of various ages, body types, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and in different stages of their wellness journey was surprisingly inspiring and motivational to me -- only surprising because I'd never thought I'd care about any achievements outside of my own.  The notion and sentimentality of people coming together to hit personal fitness milestones together never spoke to me... until last Saturday.  There was also a certain element of nostalgia about running my first race on Roosevelt Island, the very place where I began my Couch to 5K and ran my first full mile.

I'm so proud of myself for training as hard as I did.  My shins are less proud of my achievements as they are still sore after running 15 miles in a week, but I've learned from it and am now taking the appropriate rest days in order to prevent future injury because -- YOU GUESSED IT -- THIS LADY'S GOING BACK FOR MORE WADDUP.

I'm doing another 5K, this time with a great friend and my wonderful husband, at the end of June and I'll be upping the ante to improve my personal time.

I'm so ready.

Houston FotoFest: View From Inside

April 23, 2014

Chambray shorts: J. Crew Factory (here) // Silk tank: Madewell // Sandals: Target
(photo cred to @rpchow)

This past weekend, I finally made a trip to the main FotoFest exhibits in Houston. FotoFest is a biennial city wide event that have over 80 participating spaces ranging from museums, private galleries, to even restaurants and hospitals. This year's theme was "View From Inside" which features contemporary Arab photography, video and mixed media art. All of the pieces from the main exhibits feature 48 prominent contemporary Arab artists from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Yemen, Qater, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria,  and Kuwait.

From the official FotoFest website they state:

The featured artists in the 2014 Biennial explore a diverse range of ideas and subjects important to contemporary Arab artists including: the emergence of secular art and culture in modern societies; the desert as metaphor; religion and faith in everyday life; a sense of belonging and feelings of estrangement; the complexities of East-West relationships; the rapidity of social, economic and environmental change, particularly in the Gulf region; the position of women in Arab societies; and the recent political changes in the region.

The end result was so powerful and one of my favorite FotoFests in the recent years. I regret not taking photographs of my favorite pieces since photography was prohibited, however I did purchase the commemorative book featuring every artist that participated in the main exhibit.

Below the cut are some pictures of my favorite pieces taken from the book I purchased. Sorry for the poor quality since they are photographs of the book!

Youssef Nabil (Egypt/USA)
Say Goodbye, Self Portrait, Alexandria, 2009
Hand-colored Silver Gelatin Print

Things You Might Have Missed

April 22, 2014

1. This has been going around the Internet for the last week or so, but ~in case you missed it~ here is an amazing photo story of 13-year-old Ashol-Pan from western Mongolia. She is perhaps the country's only female eagle hunter. Makes you rethink your life choices, eh?

2. Kristina Wong is back with a hilarious essay on xoJane called "I Can't Believe I Now Have to Convince White People that I Like White People."
When I talk about systemic racism and historical racial inequalities as it ties into white privilege and modern-day racism, I think I must sound like this to white people: “Hey Whitey! I am going to kill you.” I know this is a lot to ask of white people, but could you please STOP FLIPPING OUT when the topic of white privilege comes up? 

 3. Working in a tech company (even though I don't really do anything remotely tech-y) is interesting. I've learned a lot, my ideas are taken seriously, and everything moves fast. CEO of Locket, Yunha Kim, writes about the pros and cons of being a woman in tech--and more importantly, being a badass CEO.

4. It goes without saying that I am obsessed with Chinatowns (seeing as I also live in one in New York). Enclaves and pockets of cultural goodness where you can get everything your mama and grandma had in her kitchens and beyond. Not much literature has really been there about the first Chinese Americans. This is a good article about unearthing the cultural and historical significance and lives of the first Chinese immigrants in a land that is strange and most often hostile.

5. RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez. "Somewhere a dictatorial “patriarch” is still having his rival cooked and served up to his dinner guests on a great dish; an old colonel is waiting for a letter that never comes; a beautiful young girl is being prostituted by her heartless grandmother; and a kindlier patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, one of the founders of the new settlement of Macondo, a man interested in science and alchemy, is declaring to his horrified wife that “the earth is round, like an orange." Read this very moving piece by Salman Rushdie about the work and life of this great writer. you will truly be missed.

6. Also literature-related, an essay on why Diversity is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing. Interesting read especially for those in the business (or trying to woo this world): "The publishing industry looks a lot like one of these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive."

Glossy Box, Birch Box, Beauty Box

April 21, 2014

With so many beauty and skincare products out there, who knows what to try? I'm an avid user of MakeupAlley.com where people post reviews about products, but reading reviews can only go so far. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and try the products itself.

I've signed up for Birch Box before, where it's $10 a month per subscription. In the box is usually about 4-5 products ranging from nail polish to lipstick to skincare to haircare. Basically any beauty item. I had a subscription for several months before I just realized that I just didn't care for any of the selected items each month. It was kind of disappointing to be honest, even at a mere $10 loss. I could put that money toward food, you know?

Until last month, I wasn't ready to try any more beauty box subscriptions, but Glossybox kept enticing me with deluxe samples of products from lines I genuinely really wanted to try. So I signed up. At $21 a month, it's not as easy to drop money as it was for Birch Box, but the samples are bigger and I found that a lot of the brands were familiar.

Glossy Box shoots you an email when it's about to be shipped and provides you with a tracking number. They ship via USPS and the box came within 3-5 days for me.

In March's box were five items (there are always five):

  1. Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask (0.38oz, full size 2.1oz at $158)
  2. nails inc. Baker Street Nail Polish (0.13oz, full size 0.34 at $9.50)
  3. Alex and Ani Scent 7 Body Mist (3.4 oz at $18, full size included in box)
  4. Alex and Ani Swan Charm Bangle (priced at $28)
  5. Alterna Professional Haircare BAMBOO Luminous Shine Mist (full size 4oz at $24.00)
  6. Jelly Pong Pong Lip Blush in Marshmallow Pink (full size $20)
I've only been able to try the body mist, the nail polish, and the lip blush; of those, I only liked the nail polish out of all of them. The mist has sort of a strong and masculine scent that's hard for me to wear since I prefer more lighter and floral scents, so I don't think one will be a keeper. The lip blush is extreme baby pink, which is a shade that is very difficult for me to wear. I tend to gravitate towards more natural lip tones or reds, but never light pinks, so that will likely be tossed as well.

The bangle is a nice gift, and itself pays for the entirety of the box if you think of it that way, but silver tones do not flatter my skin tone as much as gold does, but I'll probably keep it and wear it out from time to time.

All in all though, I think I'd probably try out one or two more months of GlossyBox before I make the decision to cease my subscription. I've seen pretty good boxes previously so I'm holding out hope.

What beauty boxes have you tried, if any?

Way Down South

April 18, 2014

I'll keep today's post short and sweet because I'm on vacation, visiting family in Nashville, and I've got a full day of activities and home-cooked meals to look forward to.  I apologize for the grainy camera quality.  In the midst of my frenzied packing, I forgot to bring my nicer Nikon and now I only have my phone.

I wore this yesterday to have a date with my husband at the Station Inn, a music venue in downtown Nashville that is often considered to be one of the best places to enjoy some country and bluegrass.  The show was a benefit to raise funds for Billy Block, a beloved radio host, as he undergoes cancer treatments.  The talent and positive energy in that room was incredible.

Leather Jacket: Muubaa / Scarf: H&M / Shirt: J. Crew / Jeans: Forever 21 / Boots: BP / Handbag: Foley + Corinna

Until next time, fellas!  Note: you'll be seeing a lot of that jacket and scarf as it is the only outerwear I packed.  Whoops.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Swatch and Review

April 16, 2014

These Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms are pretty much everywhere on the blogosphere world, however, I still went ahead and took some swatches to show everyone how the colors look. Colors always look so different on different skin tones and depends so much on the pigmentation of your lips.

The big question about Revlon's Matte Balms is always: How do they compare to Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils?

Answer: They don't.

As other bloggers have mentioned, these matte balms are really not a true matte. The finish and application of the product actually remind me more of the Nars Satin Lip Pencils. They both do not sink into the cracks of your lips as much and they're both more slippery. The finish on both pencils are also very similar where its a very soft sheen. Not quite matte but not at all glossy either.

Revlon's Matte Balm line all have very good opacity however they are all pretty slick. Depending how much I pre-treat my lips (exfoliate, line, and primer), I can get about 4 to 6 hours of wear on these.

Lots of swatches underneath the cut!

Festival Fashion?

April 4, 2014

As the summer and music festival season approaches, it seems like there's been an increase in faded florals and fringe at most stores.  This makes me unhappy as it clashes with my aesthetic (see: monochromatic and disgrunted).  Now that I'm seriously considering attending one of the days of Governors Ball this June in New York City (not all three days as I'm neither rich nor a masochist), I'm trying to kind of care about what I'll wear.  I've compiled a dream outfit below and beneath that I've compiled a realistically affordable alternative.

Neither of these are really festival appropriate but I've accepted that this is as close as it's gonna get. Also, I swear I'll have an outfit post as soon as I clean my disaster of an apartment.  (I keep it real on Within Color, y'all.)

Anybody going to any festivals this spring and summer?  What do you wear?

Things You Might Have Missed

April 1, 2014

Photo courtesy of Angry Asian Man
1. Do ya'll want to talk about #CancelColbert? It's been consuming my entire weekend basically but if you're looking for some more thought-provoking essays, this one by Jay Caspian Kang (who actually interviewed Suey Park) is a great one. This Time Magazine one (actually co-written by Suey and Eunsong Kim) is a good one, too. Don't agree with any of it? Jeff Yang over at Wall Street Journal talks about the "perils" of "hashtag activism."

2. Another thorn in my side is the Model Minority myth. ColorLines has this super informative piece on "The Economic Truth About the 'Model Minority'. This article on Race Files gets into it even more by calling the Model Minority a "lever of white supremacy." Scott Nakagawa says, "Anti-black racism may be the fulcrum, or pivot point, of white supremacy, but the model minority myth is one of white supremacy’s many levers."

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
3. In light of the new Cesar Chavez biopic, poet/novelist and community organizer Bino A. Realuyo pens an open letter to the often-erased Filipino-Americans involved in the Movement. Says Realuyo, "I didn't know about you when I started organizing in the '90s. I had role models, but no Filipino-Americans. In the community organizing world, no one ever mentioned Filipinos next to the apotheosized Cesar Chavez. No Larry Itliong. No Philip Vera Cruz. None of these Filipino men and their Agricultural Worker Organizing Committee that spearheaded the very strike that catapulted Cesar Chavez into American memory and left you in the shadows."

4. Did you know more than half of Asian American teens are bullied in school? I shared a report on Sikh kids getting bullied last time, so although this fact is not new, it's still heartbreaking. Click here for full size infographic. According to a 2011 survey released by both the US Justice and Education Departments shows that Asian Americans teens are three times as likely to face bullying online. And compared to any other ethnic group, they endure more bullying in US schools.  

5. And to end on a light note: How often do you see a comedian on national television/late night say "race is a social construct"? I've been a huge fan of Hari Kondabolu for awhile: his take on race in America as well as growing up a child of immigrant parents resonates loudly with me. Here he is in support of his new album Waiting for 2042:


March 31, 2014

There is no telling what kind of weather will show up anymore! Even Florida, with its actual lack of a spring and fall season (well, we like to label that we do but we all know better), would have a blistering 95 degree weather one day to a freezing 43 degrees the next day.  To be honest though, I am somewhat enjoying it since I can still wear sweaters, the only thing I ever seem to purchase and own anymore.  Not to mention, the continuity of wearing black is also alright with me. The idea of summer (again, we skip spring here entirely) and its fashion actually stresses me out already. So, let it be cold, drab, and gloomy. I'm sure I'll blend in just fine. Anyhow, here's an outfit fashionable enough to meet those requirements above with matching low-quality photos.

Balenciaga glasses | Old Navy sweater | F21 skirt | Old Navy booties | Coach satchel | MK two-tone watch

In other news, have you guys seen this video?  

Nothing has been as deliciously accurate as that video.  It instantly reminded me of one of my favorite actresses ever, Ms. Anna May Wong. The first Asian-American actress who ever graced Hollywood with her ethereal beauty and badass presence.  She was an incredible performer who had been robbed of many opportunities, such as infamously losing a lead role as a Chinese character to a German actress.   If we deny racism as a reasoning behind that, then I don't know what else it could be.  So, you know what she did?  She upped and left Hollywood for Europe, and there she was deservedly recognized for her work.   It seems as though we are only accessories and supporting roles, not complex enough to go astray from the personality categories delegated to our ethnicity by white Hollywood. What are your thoughts on this?

Image courtesy of: Tumblr

Earthquake Weather

March 28, 2014

As a kid, I spent a lot of time intricately tying chicken drumsticks to pieces of string attached to crab traps. The San Francisco Municipal Pier at 5am – the bane of my childhood. Some x amount of years later, I’ve since figured out my mom and her brother simply needed my sister and I to be their gateway to illegally harvesting Dungeness crab. Things were more lax then. There was minimal security and the kids at the pier almost always had their own miniature ice chests. If pier patrols were in sight, you can bet we hauled ass to the car, mini ice chest in hand. And if caught, there was that cloyingly sweet believable innocence present. Real clever, mom. To 10 year old me, San Francisco was the city of crabbing, roasted chestnuts, and that damn Palace of Fine Arts and in a way, it still embodies just those things.

Not Your Ordinary Baseball Cap

March 26, 2014

Hat: J. Crew Factory // Mint Pants: F21 // Shirt: Madewell // Shoes: Target

My friends and I having fun being ~fashion bloggers~

I've always been a big fan of baseball caps on others, but never on myself. I always felt like my head was too big and my hair was too poofy. However, when I saw this chambray polka dotted hat at the J. Crew Factory store, I just couldn't help myself - it was just so me. The original price on it was about $29 but after the sale price and a student discount, I got this for about $14 so not too bad. 

I've seen a lot of girly baseball caps for sell everywhere, and now I'm craving a cutesy, floral one. I compiled a rather large list of links of various baseball caps of all price ranges. 

Baseball Caps: Splurge
J. Crew  // UO // Acne // Asos // J. Crew // Vans

Honorable mention: Arizia Faux-leather hat

Spring City

March 25, 2014

Spring has arrived!....And it's supposed to snow again. Nightmare City, honestly. In a very desperate grasp for warmth, I opted to wear a springtime look of SHORTS this weekend but after standing outside in the 30+ degree weather, boy did I regret it. They say silk retains heat but I guess we should also add, "if you also wear more layers, Vivian." A huge kudos to Hernandez for taking these photos. Spoiler alert: come Thursday, the backdrop of my photos will make another appearance.   

Outfit: Madewell silk top and silk shorts, Sam Edelman "Petty" booties, Uniqlo wool coat, necklace via Renegade Craft Fair.

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

March 24, 2014

You guys, I think I can probably speak for all of us at WC, but it feels pretty good to come back! It's been a long hiatus thanks to Adult Life, but hopefully that's the end of that. Unfortunately, I don't get to return with an enthralling post thanks to my wisdom tooth rearing its ugly head. For the past week, I've been popping Advils upon Advils for the amount of unbearable pain I've been having with it. It's severely impacted (coming in completely sideways!) and has actually given me a few issues for the past two years so I'm finally extracting it tomorrow morning. But thanks to the pain, I haven't been doing anything worthy of a post except for reading many books while I lay in bed hating life. So begins a quick book review!

Eleanor & Park

On Personal Health, Self-Care, and Footwear

March 21, 2014

It is purely coincidental that the rebirth of Within Color is kicking off at the same time that I'm promising to get a fresh start on my health.  I'm vowing to stop measuring my health against the unrealistic Western standards of beauty and instead focus on why I enjoy being active and how it ties into self-care.  Five years ago, I couldn't run longer than 30 seconds without being absolutely winded, but I kept at it and eventually found that I loved the idea of doing something that I had always dismissed as impossible.  Additionally, running, although I continue to have a very love/hate relationship with it, allowed me to better cope with stress and anxiety -- something that I certainly appreciated a hell of a lot more five years ago, when I was stuck in a depressing post-grad limbo.  My relationship with my running shoes has waned and been rekindled a few times since, but I feel like this time it'll actually stick because this time I really want it to for the right reasons and not because I feel running will magically bestow some near-impossible body type upon me.

After being away from running for so long that I can't resume my 10K training without risking fainting on the treadmill, I'm going to start entirely from scratch.  I am so excited to announce that I'm getting back on the horse.  I'm going to be training for my first 5K, the NYCRUNS Mother's Day 5K, on May 10th.  I'll be posting follow ups about my personal non-scale victories as the date approaches.

That's enough talk.  Now help me choose some crosstrainers!

Winter Recovery: How To Get Rid Of Dry, Flaky Skin

March 20, 2014

Hello all!

Congratulations on surviving the Polar Vortex. It's been a long and hard road, but I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But for some of us, we still have a few more weeks left of unpredictable weather and dry rooms. So I decided to share some of the products that are helping my skin through the tail end of winter.

I started to notice how bad my skin was looking when one day I was applying makeup and my skin turned to sand and blew away. I was a little mortified how long I had let this go on, so I started YouTubing and Googling several homegrown methods- anything I could do at home at 1 AM.

Let's be real, I did not try all the rice wrapper or deconstructed guacamole face masks. Don't get me wrong, they sound kind of fun/experiment-y, but I don't think perishable items are a good solution for me. Last thing I want in the morning is a spray bottle full of rotten lemon and honey toner.

So, after doing some research and digging through my supplies, I think I have found a solution. Some of these products may be a little on the pricey side, so if you have any cheaper alternatives please leave them in the comments.

Find out more below!


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