Saturday was one of the most exciting days that I’ve had in a while. Two friends and I participated in Challenge Nation – San Francisco Challenge. For those who are Amazing Race fans and have always wanted to do something similar, Challenge Nation is perfect for you! They call it The Ultimate Urban Scavenger Race for good reason. Teams are given 12 clues, where 11 must be completed. No taxis, cars, bikes, rideshares, skateboards, horses, etc. allowed. When you reach the clue, your entire team needs be in a photograph following clue-specific rules.
Registration was between 11:30 am and 12:45 pm so of course my team arrived promptly at 11:30.
Around 12:55, all the team captains lined up in a circle outside of the start/finish line at Pedro’s Cantina… ironically my favorite sports bar – motivation for me to run back faster for a drink. Each team captain put one hand in the circle, received the clues in an envelope, and ripped the letter open simultaneously when the countdown reached ONE.
My teammates ran across the street beforehand to avoid the chaos of 1000 people, so I met them at AT&T Park under one of the ticket counters where we strategized for 30 minutes before starting the hunt. We noticed that some teams started scavenging right away before figuring out all the answers, but they key is to answer all the questions and map out your route. Time is important, and running in circles will not get you in the top 25! Efficiency matters.
Going into this game, my friends and I just wanted to do a fun outdoor activity and we didn’t expect to place! In fact, we didn’t even know there was anything besides the top five winning some money.
…But of course in the right setting, we instantly became competitive. It’s simply the survival of the fittest. GAME ON.
All by foot, we placed 22nd out of over 200 teams, meaning we are now qualified for Challenge Championship in Las Vegas! We completed San Francisco Challenge in 2 hours, 1 minute, and 47 seconds.
What I love most about a race like this is that it not only challenges your fitness, but it also tests your ability to problem-solve, and work as a team. These are three things to feel great about after you have completed your mission.
Here are some of our team photos:
This was our first time doing a challenge like this, but it was so thrilling and fun throughout the entire process. Puts thoughts in my head for the future… What’s next?
Amazing Race? Yes please! Great bucket list item.
Happy birthday to my beautiful grandma.
She lives to tell the story of Taiwan being under the Empire of Japan.
She remembers World War II like it was yesterday.
She raised me to appreciate everything around me.
She taught me the importance of self-love.
She still slips $20 dollar bills into my hand and tells me to buy something nice.
Her body can’t move very well, but her mind is sharper than anyone I know.
She can’t see well either, but she doesn’t need her eyes to realize how beautiful life can be.
She is 92 years full – full of amazing energy, full of everything I want myself to be. She is my role model and I love her so much. Happy birthday Grandma.
On May 11th, my friends and I are joining The Rave Run to raise money for the American National Red Cross. Daily, Red Cross helps our community in need- from blood donations to disaster relief.
Working in the news room, I personally see the contributions of Red Cross every day. When residents have been displaced from their homes after a fire, the Red Cross comes to keep them warm and find them temporary shelter. Every 52 days, I donate blood to make sure that someone out there can get a blood transfusion when they are in need. These efforts would not be possible without organizations like American Red Cross.
It’s our turn to give back and this is the perfect opportunity. Any donation helps! I’d love for you to join us in making a difference.
If you want to donate, follow this link! https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/TiffanyLiou
Friday morning, tragedy struck. Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting.
28 dead. A 20-year-old killed his mother, then massacred Sandy Hook Elementary School killing 20 children and 6 adults, and eventually took his own life.
I’m sure I speak for many when I say my jaw dropped. Instant tears. Heart broken.
Now is a time where we see the world as a whole and how we are all connected. Now is a time for mourning and prayers to all who have lost a loved one. My heart breaks for the children whose innocence are now stripped from them. My tears fall for those whose spirits are broken.
Further down the line, we need to start realizing that the question can’t be ignored. How can we stop this senseless violence?
Where is the love?
“People killin’, people dyin’. Children hurt and you hear them cryin’”
No condolences can ever replace a loved ones life. I hope that there is more we can do to find justice.
<December 16, 2012>
The names of the victims were released yesterday. Eight boys, twelve girls, six women. All heroes. May each of you rest in peace.
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Russeau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
What can we do right now to help the families and the community?
- honor the victims Monday by wearing blue and yellow
- write letters to the families, friends and classmates of victims
Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT, 06482
- raise money to help Sandy Hook Elementary School and families
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
Newtown Parent Connection
Newtown Memorial Fund
Emilie Parker Fund
Various efforts, and more
Love your children, hug them tight, and never take life for granted.
Outside of the local supermarket, a man rings a bell next to a red tin. He stands by a sign that reads “Doing The Most Good”. While volunteering is a year-round activity, the holiday season brings out an extra desire to spread good cheer.
Every contribution can make a difference, from the volunteers who decorate donation bins to the person that drops a can at the bin in his office.
International organizations like The Salvation Army rely heavily on volunteers to support its programs. According to The Salvation Army USA, volunteers are “the army behind The Army” and are key to providing quality social services for the community.
From The Salvation Army’s Annual Report, over 29 million people were assisted last year, and 14 percent were helped through holiday assistance. With data since 2003, volunteering during the holiday season remains a high percentage of The Salvation Army’s projects.
Another local organization, Santa Clara University, offers students and alumni opportunities to volunteer. The school partners with local nonprofits in an effort to “transform the world”. In an email from Santa Clara University’s Alumni Association, former students are reminded to honor the season of giving. “As you begin to celebrate the holiday season, consider volunteering in your community. Join one of our Alumni for Others (AFO) volunteering projects and give the gift of yourself this season.”
November through January is often known as the season of giving, evident by the actions and results of organizations and volunteers. Nonprofit organizations, individual and group volunteers, money donations, company programs, and food donations are some of the things that make the wintertime such a charitable time of the year.
Above all, volunteering is not limited. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations. Whether one’s passion lies in education, employment, animals, or another, there is likely a group for everyone’s interests. A great way to pay it forward is to volunteer by doing something you love.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities provided by local organizations.
Here are a few upcoming events:
- 11/29: Feeding the Hungry (Centerville Presbyterian Church, Fremont)
- 12/5: Food Sort (Sunnyvale Community Services, Sunnyvale)
- 12/14 – 12/25: Peninsula Holiday Project at Nursing Homes (VA, Menlo Park)
- 12/16: Holiday of Wishes (Old Golfsmith Store, Fremont)
- 12/20: The Family Giving Tree (Former HP Facility, Cupertino)
- 12/29: Serve Lunch Saturday (Slide, San Francisco)
- 1/25: Serve a Hot, Nutritious Meal (Loaves & Fishes, San Jose)
Other local opportunities:
- Toys for Tots Drop-Off Bins (Various Locations)
- Tri-City Free Breakfast Program (Fremont)
- Tri-City Volunteers Food Bank (Fremont)
- Wish Grantor (Make-A-Wish Foundation Greater Bay Area)
- Meals on Wheels Driver (LIFE ElderCare, Inc., Various Locations)
‘Tis the Season of Giving.
<UPDATE> Published on the Front Cover of Flipside Times!
<UPDATE> My company is having an Adopt-A-Family fundraiser, and they are matching our donations. Prepared these for our bake sale today! Cinnamon streusels and lemon bars. Yummy.
Whether you grew up in the 1940’s or the 1990’s, nostalgia is coming, and it’s back with a flash.
It was the most exciting feeling bringing my new Polaroid Pic-300 camera to the cash register with a pack of film on the side. Like a good researcher, I posed questions and hypotheses for my experiment.
Will it work? Doubt it.
Will I use it after a week? Eh, most likely not.
Is it worth the money? No… there’s something called Instagram.
I can safely say that I proved all of my opinionated hypotheses wrong. I adore this new-school instant camera, and you will too if you love the feeling of an instant snap and shake. The camera takes film that comes in a roll of ten, and the pictures are smaller than the original Polaroid shots. I would classify them as business-card size. It costs around one dollar per photo for Polaroid film, but the great thing is that Fujifilm came out with a very similar camera that takes the same type of film. You can actually order Fujifilm Instax film for about seventy-five cents a shot and it works the same! I’ve been using my Polaroid for about one month now, gone through thirty photos, and just ordered five more packs for the future.
An additional feature that I wasn’t expecting from this camera is the four-scene setting that works with the automatic flash. I use my camera mostly indoors, and the indoor light setting really makes a difference in the picture quality. Needless to say, I am impressed- and so are my friends. This Polaroid camera has outdone itself for sixty-nine dollars.
If you’re looking for an HD quality, zoom-capable instant camera, this is not the product for you. But if you can find value in nostalgia and good old-fashioned feeling, then I can guarantee that you will give the Polaroid Pic-300 a five-star rating.
One year ago on 11/11/11, a 3 pound mutt was whimpering under a McDonald’s bag in the pouring rain, strapped to a pole with a Bad Boys Bail Bonds lanyard.
She wouldn’t have survived that night.
I was never one to believe in fate, but I think that it all happened for a reason.
To find a bond where you know you both rely on each other the same.
To find a puppy that brings so much life to your senior dog.
To find a puppy that sings with your 15-year-old bird every morning.
To find a new member of your family that puts such a big smile on your mom’s face.
To know that you have a little shadow that will never leave your side, never hold grudges, and never doubt you for one second.
- 11 pounds
- Minor asthma
- Separation anxiety
- But most importantly, happy and loved
I wouldn’t have asked for it any other way.
Happy One Year, Suki boo