Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Reading speed test

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

I just tried a reading speed test and scored 317 on the first try, then 357 on the second. I don’t think I’d read much faster than that without compromising comprehension. Not that I feel being particularly fast at reading is going to make a huge difference, but it’s a fun little test to try!

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

December Favorites 2013

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

collage of december 2013 favorites including home ownership, vitabath lotion, julep, wrapp deals, sweaters, reading, wireless mouse, red lips, cat time, and snowI nearly forgot to get this together before the month was over! Oh boy, it’s already time to think about Jan favs and I’m still putting together the Dec ones…

1. home ownership – As of Dec 13th, 2013, we officially became homeowners. The keys were handed to us and since then we’ve been slowly planning the move. Meanwhile, all our neighbors are in and everyone is wondering when we’ll finally get into this condo they keep hearing about. 😛

2. VitaBath lotion – I got this in my Influenster Rose VoxBox in the fall and boy do I love it! I’ve been using it frequently after showers and I absolutely adore the lightly sweet scent that is also cooling and fresh. Even with frequent usage, I’ve barely used up a quarter of it and it’s wonderful how long it’s lasting me.

3. Julep – I finally caved and got Julep when they came out with a mystery box I couldn’t resist. I was totally impressed by it and will definitely get more, plus I’ve subscribed as a Maven to get some new nail polish colors every now and then. I actually really like the beauty products that Julep makes and will use my subscription as a way to explore them.

4. Wrapp deals – When I first found these shoes, I took that picture to remember to look for something similar. Then I got a great Wrapp gift card deal for something like $12 at Charlotte Russe (which cost me and Panda nothing to send to each other) so I ended up getting that exact style of shoe for a fantastic price. I only take advantage of the free offers in the app, which saves me a good amount.

5. sweaters – Well, my first proper winter in over a decade prompted me to go out and buy some sweaters to wear. I was also goaded on by Autumnfall, who laughed when I showed her what I considered to be a sweater, all proud that I finally bought one. I’ve since gotten ones that even she can’t dismiss as not “real” sweaters. 😛

6. reading – For that period when my life was a hot mess of confusion, I escaped into reading again. My childhood was filled with books and it was nice to get back into it. I hadn’t read fiction in many years, whenever that 4th Harry Potter book came out. I was surprised that I blew through the 50 Shades series the way I did (I thought I’d long since lost patience for fiction since it’s not a business book that I can learn a ton from).

7. wireless mouse – The touchpad on my new laptop gets wonky at times (kind of often). Thankfully, a wireless mouse makes it easy to move the mouse around and strains my fingers, hands, and wrists less. I’m rather particular about the feel of the mouse and I’m glad I found this one for my personal use. I even have a blog post drafted for my pickiness when it comes to this and what I look for in the perfect mouse.

8. red lips – I went through a few weeks when I experimented with bright red lips. It was fun, bold, and playful. I even tried making lip prints like this one on Panda’s cheek. Prior to getting that red lip crayon in my November Ipsy bag, I probably only used red lipstick twice before. Now I’m much more comfortable with something attention-grabbing like that, but usually only at night, special events, and the weekends. Still not a normal thing for me.

9. cat time – Going home for the holidays and spending time with Missy again was amazing. I can’t wait to settle enough to bring her over here. Having a cat around calms me and gives me something relaxing to do whenever I’m home. There shall be no ennui when I can cuddle with my kitty or play around with her. I absolutely love waking up to a cat on my chest or next to my legs, though I may never want to get up for work (or anything else) again.

10. snow – This was before the intense polar vortex/arctic chill madness. It was exciting to get snow again and get to sit by the window and watch it fall down. I’d be happy to get stranded indoors for a few days from a snowstorm so long as I have heat and food. 🙂

Oops, I left out a picture from frolicking at the beach, but I had a whole blog post on that so you can check them out. Returning to Los Angeles was wonderful and a much-need reprieve from everything else. What did you find to be your favorites in December?

A blogger, an author, a poet, a writer

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I want to write a novel. I’m not sure if I even have that much to write about, but I have some ideas I’ve been meaning to get down. I figure I’ll just start writing and see where it takes me. Maybe I’ll surprise myself with tens of thousands of words, or maybe I’ll get stuck after a few thousand. Whatever the case, a goal I have for the coming months is to get this going and eventually build up the courage to share it with some friends.

bottle of gold calligraphy ink and glass pen on clipboard with lined paperThis kind of came about due to a confluence of events, including friends sharing their writing and my personal need for expression beyond blogging. There are some things I want to get down on paper, but in a “fiction influenced by experiences” kind of way. I could post bits of it here, but I also want to explore the possibility of a story line that runs far longer than a blog post would allow. If I find I’m not writing that much, I think I might post installments here, but let’s go big first. At the same time, I had two friends who shared the various prose they’ve written and it makes me want to join their ranks. In addition, after reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, I see hope that you don’t have to be a fantastic writer for people to want to read your work. So a growing need, possible mentors/role models, and examples of success make me feel encouraged to produce something.

I’ve thought of myself as a blogger for a few years now, and occasionally I consider myself a writer. When it comes to being an author or poet though, it’s new territory for me and I like exploring that. It’s been a fantastic way to connect with some friends in ways that I haven’t before (and somehow Joseph Gordon-Levitt keeps cropping up in conversations with writer friends – who is this guy?!). I can’t wait to have more conversations about our writing journeys as we all work to produce something to share. I also find reading to be a completely different experience now that I notice what I like and don’t like about each author’s style. I feel like a new world is opening up to me and I look forward to stepping in!

Fun festivities!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Today was a chill day, with a couple of wonderful moments. Panda and I ran some errands and got a chance to swing by the condo so I could take some pictures while it’s still relatively empty. It’s still so weird to think this brand new place is ours. We then went off to the gift-wrapping event that the rental office was throwing at the clubhouse. Turned out to be quite a nice event! And I spent the day reading Fifty Shades Darker, which I just finished. I finally caved into the whole Fifty Shades of Grey hype and it’s been a nice distraction from real life. More on my thoughts when I finish the last of the trilogy. For now, here’s a peek at my surprisingly amusing day.

christmas tree with presents underneath set up at rental office of apartment complex

We arrive at the event and check in. They have a nice tree set up!

red and green balloons and christmas decorations on railing

It’s nice and festive everywhere you look.

clubhouse set up for gift wrapping event

All sorts of gift-wrapping items were strewn all over the place and catering from Carrabbas kept us full as holiday shows like Elf played on TV.

wrapping present on table full of holiday present wrapping products

Panda wrapped up a gift for my cousin and I found the boy in the back to be hilarious.

pile of plates of food sitting on dashboard of car

On our way out, we helped them clear some of the Carrabbas. I laughed hysterically as one of the guys looked at our dashboard inquisitively. Oh what fun!

julep maven and escape monthly subscription boxes on lap of driver of car

The dash, my lap, and the passenger floor were taken up by all our plates and stuff so Panda had to drive with my newly delivered packages on his lap!

365great Day 124: libraries

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 124: librariesLibraries are often not appreciated as much as they should be. In fact, they often completely disappear from my conscious mind. I forget that there’s a resource just a few miles away, where I can go to get books and DVDs and other such learning materials for free (well, for a time anyway). Then suddenly one day I think to myself, “Hey, why don’t I get a book from the library?!” It’s brilliant! Swing by and read what I want for free. Who needs a bookstore? I even got some Pimsleur tapes to try to learn some basic Cantonese since I’d never spend money on a thing like that! So yes, libraries are pretty great.

Sunday Social: anniversary edition

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday Social

Ok, so I was totally going to skip this week’s Sunday Social and join in for next week’s (what can I say? I don’t want to bore you with answers to questions that I don’t have interesting answers for) BUT then I saw they are doing a giveaway to participants. I can’t say no to a good giveaway and I’m particularly interested in a custom blog design. I’ve been itching for one but don’t want to spend the money. Here’s to hoping I win! 🙂

1. What is your favorite social media outlet?
Hmm, I guess I’d have to go with Facebook since it’s the most useful for me. I like the versatility of it – I can put up pictures and videos, tag friends, connect with brands, keep track of events, etc. It also happens to be the one I use the most. All others are sort of just there to help extend my blogging efforts.

2. Do you subscribe to any daily news reads? If so which ones?
No… I probably should, but there is way too much for me to read/do as it is. I usually get my news from Panda since he’s a lot better about staying up with the times. Me? I may as well live on the moon for all I know about current events.

3. Favorite magazine to have by the pool?
See that’s the thing – if I am poolside, I have a book and the title varies each time. I never have a magazine. I haven’t bought magazines since my teen years and I rarely ever read them (except for online articles).

4. Favorite summertime song?
A happy one. I’m having way too much trouble trying to think of one (sadly all the songs I can think of are melancholy). Yeah I warned you these answers would be boring.

5. Best summer concert you’ve been to?
Well, I’ve only ever been to one concert, which I was volunteering at and it was The Killers at the Hollywood Bowl. It was fun, but I didn’t know most of the songs so I wasn’t screaming and excited like most of the other people there. I also didn’t spend who knows how much to get in!

365great Day 43: books

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 43: booksSo since I haven’t had internet access since yesterday morning, I’ve spent much of the past two days engulfed in some books I borrowed from the library. It was a nice break from all the technology-driven things I usually do and I was reminded of my childhood, which I spent buried in books. My tastes started off with fictional stories full of wonderful characters and unbelievable scenarios. As I grew older, I took a break from reading and have since leaned towards non-fiction that I can learn from and apply towards my life. Whatever your preferences may be, there are a vast number of books available for just about any subject your heart desires. What a great way to share and spread information or anecdotes or memories.

On My Mind, episode 2

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(In case On My Mind is not self-explanatory enough and you want to learn more, check out my post explaining what inspired it.)

screenshot of giveaway tools final result: mary q. won 3-month conscious box subscription from just another new blog~I won!!! I’ve been trying to win a bunch of things, but in particular is a 3-month subscription to Conscious Box, which tons of bloggers have been giving away. AND I ACTUALLY WON! I was just going through checking up on the giveaways that had expired to see if they announced winners and what did I find? My name! That is probably the most exciting thing in the world.

~Last week I went to the DMV because I wanted to renew my license and update the photo. Why can’t I just send in a picture like I can with a passport? I’m assuming it has to do with that special shade of blue they use for the background, which then begs the question… why that color??

~I tried to book an online appointment for the DMV but the earliest appointment was two weeks away! If I didn’t need to drive in the mean, I totally would have gone that route to save the time at the DMV. Unfortunately I didn’t have that luxury this time, so I was stuck standing in line. It took nearly 3 hours (and there were only like 15-20 people in line in front of me!). Luckily, I was smart and got a book to read before going. I was the only one.

~My mom and I went to Best Buy because she had some reward money she had to spend – all told, we spent $0.30 on a bunch of random pens for her and a cool whiteboard/blackboard for me! We didn’t know what else to buy with her $20 credit. And it took us over an hour to figure it out, lol. Granted, much of that hour was spent waiting for an associate to help me locate the board at another store. The one they had was missing the crayon box and what’s a board if you can’t write on it?

5 sets of pens from best buy

Ignore the cat paw. 😉

crayola dry erase board dual-sided black and white with set of dry erase crayons and wiping cloth

Comes with dry erase crayons!

~I’ve been reading a bunch of books like Buyology & The Zappos Experience – great source of learning and very useful lessons for my future business attempts. I’m trying to apply everything I learned to the Kickstarter I’m developing. I sure hope it’s successful!

~So when I went to get some of those books I’ve been reading, I discovered the cool new library self-checkout! My fancy little library has this system where you put the stack of books (up to like 7 or 8 at a time) on the counter and it can check them all out for you. No more scanning one by one! Nifty. I should also note they have a conveyor belt thing behind the wall when you return a book, complete with video so you can watch your book get dropped off into some bin at the end.

~Remember that Influenster campaign I mentioned last time? Well, yay I got in! Turns out it’s for an Aveeno product, which they’ll be sending to me shortly. 🙂

~This week I got to hang out at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach. It’s right on the water and I really enjoyed working in the cabanas and other similar areas. It’s great to have a fabulous view, a slight breeze, the warmth of the sun, and the option of shade all at once. If it weren’t for my reflective laptop screen, it’d be perfect for working all day.

outdoor couches at hotel maya in long beach

I spent most of the days here.

view of waterfront from hotel maya in long beach

~Since I was at the waterfront, I spent a lot of time (sea) bird watching. Totally fun! There are the ones that bob around on the water and dive down for fish, disappearing for minutes at times. Then there are the fliers that dive down to the water from high above, making a nice splash. There are the little ones that flit about quickly and the larger ones that almost seem like they’re gliding in the air. In the morning, they were most active and by noon, many of them had settled in for a nap. By the afternoon, they started waking up again and as the sun set, I lost track of them.

~I also caught a glimpse of a seal! Actually, I think a pair of them. So cool!!! Next time I need to find a beach that they hang out at. I’d love to seal watch.

(Here you can hear how excited I am to see them, even though I didn’t get to see much.)

seals at Long Beach from Mary Qin on Vimeo.


Night owl syndrome

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

Oh how my mind races at night. When the darkness surrounds me, my head is filled with ideas. There are fewer distractions from the outside world, so I can really focus on all the research, writing, learning, brainstorming, planning, organizing, and doing. For whatever reason, my energy levels and alertness start to pick up around 10. It doesn’t matter if I’ve eaten or not, had any sort of caffeine all day (usually not), gotten enough sleep the night before, or what I was doing leading up to that time. Naturally, I start to work better, even think better (and certainly focus better). I can write my blog posts and clean out my email and read those articles and prepare my eBay listings so much better.

Why? I have no idea. All I do know is that if I try to sleeping around 11 or midnight, I’m doomed. Doomed to lay in bed tossing and turning, unable to shut off the river of thoughts flowing in my head. Eventually, I’d have to give up and get up so I could write down all those ideas before I had to come up with them again. When I was young, I never understood how people could just fall asleep. It took me a minimum of an hour of laying there, staring into the darkness, trying to calm down my mind before I could drift off. Then I went to college and learned what some intense sleep deprivation can do! Suddenly I was packing my life with so much activity that I could finally sleep soon after laying down. But then again, that pretty much only happened after midnight anyway.

Nowadays, I don’t have a strict sleeping schedule and I’ve found myself on a shifted schedule from the norm. I still get 6-8 hours of sleep a night, but umm… well, my “nights” are actually days. I don’t know how it started to shift so drastically, but I found myself sleeping around 4 or 5 am, then 6 or 7, and even a couple of days past 8. I tried to deprive myself of sleep so I would be tired earlier in the day, but that didn’t work out. Apparently 4 hours of sleep is still plenty enough to sustain me. Alas, the only thing that really worked was going to China. Whether it was being on the opposite side of the world or in a completely different cultural atmosphere, I was able to wake up naturally around 7 or 8 in the morning and become tired around 10 or 11 at night. Unfortunately the same doesn’t hold true when I shift from PST to EST and back (which I do every 2-3 months).

This week, I was miraculously feeling somewhat tired around 2:30 one night, so I turned off my computer and settled in with a book. I probably read for half an hour before starting to drift off to sleep – amazing! It worked a second time but then I fell off the wagon… I’m going to try that again tonight. Wish me luck!

The bookworm inside

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

A year ago, I had a squirmy feeling.  It was the bookworm I used to be, wanting to get out again.  There weren’t really any books I’d heard of that I really wanted to read at that point, so time passed and next thing I knew I was all caught up in starting a job.  In the latter months of last year, I began to have that need again and decided to start listening to audio books since my commute was extremely long.  Now that I no longer have that crazy commute, I find the itch coming back again and I’ve decided to make use of the public libraries I haven’t been to in so long.

When I was a kid, all I did was read.  I didn’t want to eat, sleep, or shower.  I’d rather read.  I’d read on my way to the bus stop, on the bus, walking down the halls between classes… anytime that I wasn’t talking to someone or listening to a teacher!  I would read while eating (since I ultimately had to eat sometime) and I often turned showers into baths so that I could bring in a book to read.  Yeah, I was pretty obsessive.  In fact, I remember the first time I turned in a reading log to my 5th grade teacher.  She called up my parents to confirm that they had indeed signed my form and really did believe I read that many books that week.  I usually powered through about 25 to 30 age-appropriate books in a week.  My mom even made me a special cloth bag so that I could carry all my books to the car in one go.

When I think about it, I can’t remember most of the things I read, but that habit as a child will come back to nudge me subconsciously every now and then.  I do have faint recollections of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series, Goosebumps, the Boxcar Kids, Little House on the Prairie… and these things remind me of the childhood I had as a bookworm.  I stopped reading so much right around the time I moved to New York in 7th grade.  I guess the challenge of changing schools halfway through the school year and getting used to a more rigorous academic schedule took up all my time.

From then on, I started to get into physical activity, joining the track & field team, two swim teams, and JROTC.  I no longer had the time to think of reading anything other than the schoolbooks I needed to for my classes.  It also didn’t help that the books we had to read in high school were all rather dreary and too literary for me.  I like a good story or lesson, not some convoluted message that takes multiple reads to understand.  So into my young adulthood, I learned to read when I had to.

Then sometime in college I began to cultivate my interest in business, economics, psychology, and non-fiction in general.  This was probably largely due to my desire to go into business and my choice to double major in Econ and Psych (surprise, surprise).  And that’s what’s gotten me to where I am today – I love books like Freakonomics, The World is Flat (which I discovered because my dad got it for me as a birthday present one year!), and The Tipping Point.  These are books with interesting studies, explanations of patterns and phenomena, and real lessons I can use.  I’ve also begun to delve into books about evolution and atheism.  While I considered myself agnostic for a long time, I’ve come to realize I’m really quite atheist and agnosticism now seems like a cop-out I used to not bring on conflict from religious people.

And there you go, the evolution of that little bookworm inside me that once loved cute stories and now seeks practical lessons.

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