Brooklyn Color Run 2016 and Thoughts on Fitness

Hello!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I’m doing well, and I hope you are too!

When I started this blog, I had the intention of developing myself, learning from the process and sharing any insights that could help anyone out there. This included working out regularly. To preface, I haven’t always been an active person. My family isn’t active as well and this has been influential in the way I viewed or lacked focus on fitness and health.

When I graduated college, it’s as though my mind made room for new concentrations to focus on. Goodbye essays and late night cramming sessions, hello to overall feelings on feeling strong and fit. I’m a firm believer in the little things all add up. I started out with a plan to simply join a gym. This was major because I set out the path for myself to dedicate to utilizing this resource that I saved some of my earnings on. I also set a goal of working out at least once a week. For people out there, that may seem too small of a goal. But this is coming from someone who never took the time to work out. This was a big step for me and was meaningful to me to approach.

My workouts started out with some cardio: running on the treadmill, bicycling and using a stairlift. At first, I was exhausted in merely 10 minutes. But as I became consistent and dedicated to this cardio regime, my body was thanking me for challenging itself to become healthier and stronger.

Once I laid down a good workout foundation, I thought it’d be great to run my first 5K. I was waiting for the subway and saw an advertisement for the color run. I thought that this was a fun and approachable way to tackle on my goal of running a mini marathon. I instantly signed up.

 

I started off my labor day weekend at the color run and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It felt great to know all the training I’ve done prepared me for this moment. The day was colorful and eventful. A lot of families, friends, couples came together in their colorful workout outfits. It made me feel happy and unified to be a part of this crowd. It also helped that people of all shapes and sizes were in attendance. It wasn’t intimidating at all! There were also food and beverage vendors that were touting healthy and nutritious snacks. I was hooked!

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When it came to race time, I forgot my headphones at home and was feeling anxious running my 5K without music. I’ve never done that before. However, through that challenge, I was able to focus on the silence and put my mind to motivate myself throughout the race. I was my inner cheerleader. I was in the moment and felt deep gratitude and appreciation for my body carrying me throughout this race. The comfort of my sneakers, the sweat off my face, the pounding of my feet on the pavement as I moved forward and onward. It was fantastic. Of course, I felt tired at times, but my ability to stay on track kept me motivated. When I finally hit the finish line and had color powder thrown on me, I felt victorious and happy. I grabbed my medal and felt like I could do anything. It is an incredible feeling to feel in charge of your body and strong.

All in all, I think I’ve come a long way from my journey of fitness and I look forward to challenging myself in becoming the best person I can be.

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Here’s to many more healthy days of running!

 

 

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Things I Love: July 2016

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I’ve always been interested in the things people buy and reach for when they want to feel their ultimate best. It’s uncovering insights about someone that makes them uniquely their own. For anyone curious, here are a couple of items I’ve been loving recently.

The greatest thing someone can share with me is knowledge. I seek ways to improve myself because I understand I have flaws and I am willing to work on them. With that said, someone recommended I read Nathaniel Branden’s “Six Pillars of Self Esteem” because it has a great foundation in explaining how one can improve their overall self esteem. And as we know, having healthy self esteem is essential for everyone in not only feeling their best, but performing their best. Self esteem trickles into the respectful and meaningful relationships we build with people on a day to day basis. Nathaniel Branden’s “Six Pillars of Self Esteem” goes beyond the typical self help books. It actually has actionable exercises one can take to moving forward in becoming your best self. The book goes in depth into different parts of self esteem. Here are a couple of key points in easy digestible text I pulled from each topic:

The Focus on Action – “We must become what we wish to teach”

The Practice of Living Consciously – “A mind that is active rather than passive”

The Practice of Self-Acceptance – “When we fight a block it grows stronger. When we acknowledge, experience, and accept it, it begins to melt”

The Practice of Self-Responsibility – “Taking responsibility for my happiness is empowering. It places my life back in my own hands”

The Practice of Self-Assertiveness – “Self-assertiveness means the willingness to stand up for myself, to be who I am openly, to treat myself with respect in all human encounters”

The Practice of Living Purposefully – “The root of our self-esteem is not our achievements but those internally generated practices that, among other things, make it possible for us to achieve”

The Practice of Personal Integrity – “The challenge for people today, and it is not an easy one, is to maintain high personal standards while feeling that one is living in a moral sewer”

The Philosophy of Self Esteem – “No other individual or group has the power to determine how I will think and feel about myself”

Solid, honest and uplifting words to help us build a healthier self esteem.

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The next thing I’ve been loving is Hanae Mori’s Butterfly perfume. I tend to gravitate towards soft scents and when I smelled this, I was instantly hooked. To add on, Hanae Mori is a fashion designer in Japan who became the first Asian woman to be admitted as an official haute couture design house in France. That’s pretty bad ass, so I was sold. Taken directly from Sephora’s website the scent is described as, “The fragrance is a rare blend of berries and flowers with a distinctive tone of strawberries and almond, and a lingering impression of vanilla. The subtle composition of scents make it a fragrance unlike any other.” The bottle is also very unique and beautiful. The top (which I accidently broke when I dropped the bottle) has a shape of a butterfly with folded wings. I’ve also gotten many compliments on the perfume, so that’s a definite plus.

It’s summer in NYC and I’ve been on the hunt for a good mattifying face cream for my oily skin. I was lucky to find Botanic’s Mattifying Gel-Cream Shine Away at a Duane Reade. It’s a unique jelly like consistency that has a subtle herby fragrance to it. It moisturizes my skin without feeling greasy, and it’s great under sunscreen. As an added bonus, it hasn’t given me any breakouts, so I’m a happy lady.

It’s no secret that I love watching travel videos and vloggers, in particular J-vloggers. These are video vloggers in Japan. I was watching Kim Dao’s video and her friend Laura was handing out these beautiful choker necklaces to her friends. You can find them here: https://www.bambiluna.com/collections/all. I bought the Maru Choker and I love the simplicity and edginess it adds to any outfit I wear.

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I have also been loving the floral trend that’s been mixing with masculine pieces like floral bombers and these Vans x Opening Ceremony collab sneakers. I love Vans because they are so comfortable, especially their slip ons because it is so easy to put on. When I found out Opening Ceremony was continuing their Year of China line with Vans, I was intrigued. The beautiful delicate satin flower details with the intersection of the tough and tomboy feel of Vans instantly caught my attention. I was lucky enough to snag a black pair in the Opening Ceremony NYC shop and I’m looking forward to wearing them with many outfits.

So that’s a wrap with a couple of items I have been loving recently. And as a reminder, items should not define your whole self worth or happiness, but it’s fun to complement our self expression.

I’m interested in knowing what items or non items have been making you feel best in the comments below.

 

Asian American

Firstly, I write this post on Memorial Day, a day when we honor those who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Commemorative days like today, make me reflect and appreciate being American. I have tremendous respect for those who serve or served our beautiful and diverse country.

What I love most about my country is the diversity that make up this large and vast nation. May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Although May is coming to an end, I couldn’t let the month pass without writing my thoughts and experience on being Asian American.

To be more specific, my roots are Indonesian. Indonesia is a Southeast Asian country made up of hundreds of ethnic groups and thousands of volcanic islands. My parents traveled approximately 9,201 miles in hopes of living their dream of having a better future for themselves and their children. My parents worked tirelessly and hard to provide an upbringing that offers so much freedom and opportunity. For that, I am incredibly blessed and proud to be born and raised in the United States. A country that cultivates the diversity of its people and gives hope in cultivating the best individual we can be.

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Bali, Indonesia

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New York City (Home)

Growing up, I was aware that I wasn’t the light skinned, blonde/brown haired, light eyed individual that was often portrayed in American media. I was black haired, dark eyed, dark beige skinned me. But living in NYC, made it more accepting in the rainbow of people that I had class or interacted with. However, that does not mean that I escaped the subtle or not so subtle discrimination that came with being Asian American. People would often mistake me as anything but Indonesian heritage and when I answered that there is more to Asia than one country, people would gasp or be confused. It frustrated me that there weren’t prominent Indonesian Americans represented in mainstream society. My glimmer of hope, was when there was any Asian American representation in the media. Surely, we have so much work that needs to progress this.

But with these frustrations, there is the beauty in my day-to-day life of being Indonesian American. The food never fails to skimp out on flavor. I love the complexity and richness that comes with Indonesian food. As I grow older, I curiously hover and take notes when my mom is cooking Indonesian food. Below is my attempt in cooking “Bubur udang” which translates into “Shrimp rice porrdige”. If you can’t tell, there is also a healthy dollop of “Sambal” which is Indonesian hot sauce made up of a variety of chili peppers typically made with shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, and lime juice. This also fueled my curiosity of searching for more Indonesian foods in NYC, which led me to this charming place in Brooklyn, New York called “Selamat Pagi”. It was definitely interesting to see Nasi Goreng, which translates to fried rice being prepared in a professional culinary experience. It definitely tasted a little different than what I was used to preparing at home, more upscale. But still very delicious.

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Bubur Udang

 

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Nasi Goreng at Selamat Pagi in Brooklyn, New York

It excites me when I see Indonesian businesses come to rise or people eating Indonesian food. It means acceptance and openness to me. Just like the complexity of flavors in Indonesian food, I think that perfectly describes the dynamism of being Asian American. There’s a saying in Indonesian called, “Bhinneka tunggal ika”, which translates into “Unity in diversity”. And it feels great being part of a diverse whole.

I’d love to hear from you about any unique facet about yourself, so please feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Sakura Matsuri 2016: Cherry Blossom Festival

Warm weather, light clothing, flowers blooming. Spring has certainly sprung here in New York City (even though I write this on a cold and rainy Sunday). Out of all the seasons, spring definitely elevates and revives my mood with happiness. There is a running theme of growth and renewal in spring that makes me have a special spot for this joyous season.

One of my favorite things to do in spring is visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and admire the beauty of the cherry blossoms thriving. What makes Sakura Matsuri even more fun is the accompaniment of taiko drumming, cosplay and delicious Japanese food like onigiri.

In comparison to last year’s festival, this year surely stood out. For one, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the blushing pink petals falling off the trees was so scenic. I felt like I was in a Miyazaki film.

Seeing nature in bloom was so therapeutic, I highly recommend people taking walks in parks and gardens if you need to clear your mind. If you really want to take your zen a step further, meditating for a couple of minutes can do wonders. Closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and reopening them to the sight of red, pink and purple flowers is refreshing. It really makes me appreciate the little things in life, that nature provides us with. I can truly say I left the garden with my soul feeling rejuvenated and I will definitely be back.

Do you have a specific spring activity you like to do?  I’d love to hear from you!