Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: End of Event Meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?
I got really comfortable in my reading position in bed during hour 4 but quickly shook my feelings of sleepiness away with some moving around.  I think it might be actually this moment now - it's finally hit me that I'm tired (this has been the easiest 24 hour day I've ever experienced) but I still actually need to 'get ready' for bed after this hour is up instead of just crashing and going to sleep.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I find that either a fun YA or children's book offers a fast but entertaining read and is a nice break before going back to the 'heavy' stuff.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I can never really answer these 'how to improve' type questions and since this is my first readathon, I feel like I have no suggestions based off of comparisons.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I like the hourly mini challenges - it's an opportunity to take a minute to see something to checkout and offers a way to have a short break from reading and a chance to socialize (the socializing part I need to work on).

How many books did you read?
6 - 3 manga, 3 novels

What were the names of the books you read?
Codename: Sailor V vols 1 & 2, Stardust, The Mark of Athena, Fairy Tail vol 3, and One Salt Sea

Which book did you enjoy most?
Probably Sailor V - I think it was a good first book when I woke up fifteen minutes before the start of the marathon and I love character.

Which did you enjoy least?
I guess Fairy Tail - it's a series that I'm not really attached to even after reading 3 volumes now but it's not like I'm bored with it and do plan to continue reading it, but I know it's a series I wouldn't actually buy

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Wasn't a cheerleader this time, but maybe in a few rounds I'll give it a shot

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I"m definitely participating in the next Read-a-thon.  I'm definitely plan on being a reader again but with a goal to be more social

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: Hour 22 Mini Challenge

Having finished One Salt Sea, I thought I'd do this mini challenge that caught my eye while I was a little over halfway done with the book (but I didn't want to stop reading).  Choosing my top picks of my reading year:

Best Book of Your Reading Year/Best Fantasy Book of Your Reading Year
These two go together because it's the same book: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire. It's the third book of the October Daye series, the most intense, and the best of the series so far from what I've read. It's a very fast pace novel and I could hardly put it down once I started (I had to since I was reading it on my break at work).  If you like fantasy, especially dealing with the fae and the like, I highly suggest you check the series out.

Best Author of Your Reading Year
Seanan McGuire, the author of the October Daye series.  This is probably my current favorite series to read.  I have the first book of her InCryptid series to read which I'm hoping is as entertaining. She's also one of the few female writers that I like.

Best Story Line of Your Reading Year
There were a lot of great lines in The Mark of Athena which, naturally, I can't find most of them right now except for the first one: "Boys," Annabeth interrupted, "I'm sure you both would've been wonderful at killing each other."  One of the reasons I love the Percy Jackson series so much is for the humour.

I feel like I've done more reading this year than the past couple of years combined, which on one hand makes me happy but I still feel I need to branch out and explore more.  I definitely need to pick up some new science fiction (especially to read some more of the classics in regards to that genre) but I'm slightly discouraged by what I see coming out in bookstores.  I sadly do judge a book by it's cover at times and the summaries really don't encourage me either. Ah well - that's what book swaps are for.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: Update #2

Well, I've finally finished The Mark of Athena.  I wished I had The House of Hades with me, but I have to wait for my library hold. I also have The Blood of Olympus on hold as well, but the last time I checked, I was over the 1,000 placement on the waitlist.
My dinner break was much longer than I anticipated but it was good to see my friends and a nice break from the near constant reading since 5 AM.  I actually mentioned the readathon over dinner - my friends thought it was interesting but that they probably couldn't do it.  Two of them are in school and the another had gotten an English major, so all the major reading they have/had to do has kind of sucked the joy out of pleasure reading (or at least reading for fun for such a long time).
My next two books: Fairytail volume three by Hiro Mashima followed by One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
     Still on Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan - I don't know how many hours (at least three).  I'm on what I believe is chapter 35 (page 437)

2. How many books have you read so far?
    I've completed three, this is book #4

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
     I think I'm going to start reading the next October Daye books I have waiting.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
    Not many - just being asked some questions from the parents, and taking a break to cook lunch. Though I am going out in just a few minutes to go celebrate a friend's birthday.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
     It really feels that time is going by a lot faster than I thought.  I also thought I would have read more books, but it does feel good to save I've read at least 600 pages so far today - hoping to make that at least 1,000 before the end.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: Update 1

Hello fellow readers! It's a little weird to think that we're in hour 4 of this reading extravaganza! I've just finished reading Codename: Sailor V volumes 1 and 2.  I"ve been a big fan of Sailor Moon for years and was so excited that when the series was being reprinted and Sailor V was finally going to be published in English as well!  This is actually my first time reading Sailor V, though I had bought the manga a few months ago.
And now it's on to the next book.  I'm going to be reading my very first Neil Gaiman story, Stardust.  I love the movie though I heard it's very different from the book so this should be a interesting read.  I actually just picked this up from the library a couple of days ago - it was the one Neil Gaiman book on the shelves.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
     The Pacific Northwest

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
     I think my first books, Sailor V

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
     Swissroll cakes

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
     I work front desk at a beauty salon

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
    Spending the day curled up in bed for the sole purpose of reading and socializing with others doing the same.

And now the reading begins!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2014BloggerChallenge | New Beginnings

The past couple of weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me.  Mostly in that I still feel 'stuck' in life and how badly I wanted to move out.  I found it rather odd that I still feel 'stuck' even after taking the risk and getting a new job and I'm wondering if it's because I want a completely new environment in a new city (possibly in another state), where I really could have a 'new beginning'.

When I start feeling this way, I tend to go through my things and purge stuff out.  The last time, I went through my bath, makeup, and nail polish collection and cleaned out anything old or gave away things that weren't getting enough love.  This time around, it's clothes and accessories. I thought it was appropriate to tackle this section since I've been needing to update my wardrobe - not only do I need more clothes for work (I think I've been coordinating looks with the same 10 pieces), but I really want to start dressing up on my days off instead of just throwing on some pants and a shirt. 

However, if I want to make room for new stuff, I need to get rid of some things I already have.  Even though I find going through and choosing stuff to donate or throw away rather therapeutic, I tend to drag it out and hold off on doing it.  I'm very guilty of connecting 'things' with memories and feel reluctant to part with it (or feeling guilty if it was a gift).  It's something I really need to work, because it really is just stuff that (for the most part) is easily replaced and there are more important things in life than owning as much as you can.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Great Soda Substitute Search

One of the goals on my current List is to go a week without soda.  A huge undertaking considering how many cans I drink during the week. On a good day, I'll just drink one (sometimes two), but when I'm stressed or unhappy, I tend to drink 3-4 in day.  Not only is this unhealthy but does add up financially as well.  But since I don't want to be limited to just water, I've been on the search for a new carbonated drink or a juice that isn't syrupy sweet.

First candidate:
I was first introduced to this brand of drinks when I was at a friends house, though I had seen them around at Fred Meyers.  I picked this flavor up as it sounded really promising, but was rather disappointed with it: too much lime and not enough cherry in my opinion.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag August 2014

I have to admit, this is a mix bag for me in both body product and nail polish.  We received a body splash in the scent Summer Juice, and a roll-on perfume and cuticle balm in Royal Fruits in this month's bag. Royal Fruits is briefly described as 'a summery fragrance reminiscent of beautiful warm weather and refreshing summer fruits'.  Of the fruity scents sents so far, this is my least favorite - there's some sort of creamy note (I though something like coconut but someone on a forum mentioned banana) that just doesn't do much for me but it isn't cloying like Midori.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reading Round Up 3

It was a slow month for reading. It's been very annoying finding books I want to read, but are unavailable at the library and I don't want to waste money on something I may or may not like.

Want To Read

Went browsing around the bookstore on my lunch break and hope I can get to these in the future:

Battle Royale Slam Book edited by Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington
Three by Jay Posey
The Executioner's Heart by George Mann

Recent Reads

Skin Game by Jim Butcher - enjoyed this latest Dresden Files offering, though I felt it was more filler than moving the overall plot. We had a couple of new characters introduced and plot points which bring up more questions than answers.  He's obviously setting up for a huge event but it's coming along slowly.  And thus begins the long wait for the next one.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin: I've read very little from this author but this is a series that's been on my to-read list. I like how important Names are in regards to magic. While enjoyable, I felt it dragged in some places but plan to read the next one.

Drifters vol 1 by Kohta Hirano: So another series by this author while browsing the bookstore which unfortunately isn't available at the library but this was (I'm a big Hellsing fan as well). I love series that include historical characters (whether I'm familiar with them or not) so I'm looking forward to where this goes.


Sailor V vols 1 & 2 - I'm a huge fan of Sailor Moon and finally bought the Sailor V manga (I also need to start collecting the SM reprint). Though I know the basics of this 'prequel', I've never actually read it so I'm quite happy that it's now mine.

Can't Get Into

Marlfox by Brian Jacques - this is actually my first Brian Jacques novel. I'll probably return to this after I read Redwall but I've never actually been that interested in the Redwall series, but I got about 50 or so pages into the book so I feel I should go to the start of the series and see if my feelings change.

Currently Reading

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire: I received the first October Daye book in a swap a couple of years ago, and just now getting to the second book.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014BloggerChallenge | B Movies

Even having a whole month to write this post, I'm still waiting last minute to tackle the latest topic of the #2014Blogger Challenge (which is about movies).  I love going to the movie theatres, and I'm all about action, science fiction, and horror (I also love fantasy, but that seems to be a genre that doesn't seem to get a lot of love at the moment).  I also really enjoy bad movies: the so-bad-it's-good, why-are-we-even-watching-this kind of film. 

Growing up, I loved staying up late on Friday or Saturday nights to watch the old horror or science fiction movies that would play on AMC.  Before today's trend of almost showing only slasher films, Halloween was always the best time because they would show a lot of the classic monster movies (The Wolf Man is probably my favorite classic).  My appreciation for B movies was also cultivated by watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 - it also cultivated the joy of making commentary when watching B movies.

The SyFy channel (or back when it was better spelled SciFi) shows quite a lot of made for TV B movies. It's always funny to see the commercials for the newest Saturday night movie that will be shown, whether it's a disaster film or a monster/creature movie. And bad monster movies have become an art form for the channel. Some (or a lot) of people may scoff and make fun of movies like Snakes on a Plane or lower quality films like Sharknado, but movies aren't always about making a deep moral point or to make you think about the big questions.  Sometimes, you just want to watch something mindless that can make you laugh - whether from ridiculous plot points, bad acting/animation, or being really happy when the character you hate bites it.

Are there any 'quality' films that you get a laugh out of?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag July 2014

I got my Mystery Bag last week and finally had time to get this post up.  I've been wearing Rainbow Honey for the past 2 weeks and have gotten lots of compliments from both coworkers and clients, so I say this bag was a success.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reading Round Up 2

I haven't gotten as much reading done the past few weeks because I keep forgetting to take a book with me to work as I can read on my lunch break. I do have a Barns & Noble that's literally a 3 minute walk away from work, but I've been trying not to go there that often to protect my wallet.

Recent Reads

Puella Magi Oriko Magica v. 1 & 2 by Magica Quartet, art by Mura Kuroe: I love that we see other magical girls and we see more of Mami and Kyouko, but I was not the biggest fan of the art of this story compared to Madoka.  But I think it's interesting that another magical girl was also trying to prevent the same event that Homura was, but in a different way for different reasons.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Topic #13: Summer To-Do List

I was bad and didn't complete topic #12 for the #2014BC, but I couldn't make anything I wrote sound right. This was a fun topic to think about - I tend to not do much during the summer, and it's a bit difficult to plan something when I've started a new job. But, here's what I'd like to get around to doing this summer

Go back to EXP - I really loved this restaurant. I want all my friends to try it out.

Go to another derby meet - I really enjoyed my first time and would like to see another.

To not spend all my money on eating out for lunch - Not really a to-do, but something I really need to keep in mind. I now have an hour lunch break, which makes it easier to actually go somewhere to sit down and eat. There are also food trucks that park in the parking lot next door, and I love food trucks.

Visit my sister in Portland - My sister just got her own place, and while she's coming home to visit, I'd love to go back down to do some more exploring.

Sort Through Stuff - The more I think about it, the more I really grow attach to the idea of moving down to LA.  However, I really need to go through my things and decide what I really need or want.  It's something I've been putting off for a while, but needs to be done.

I'm hoping that I get a weekend day off so I could plan something with friends, but since I'm one of the new kids, I'll be working the weekends for the most part.  I'm really very sad that I wasn't able to visit my friend in California this weekend as originally planned, but I didn't think it would be smart to ask for time off so soon after getting hired.  I was really looking forward to the Moon Crisis art show and very sad about missing Anime Expo.  What do you guys plan on doing this summer?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Favorites June 2014

It's been awhile since I've done a favorites post, but there hasn't been a lot of things that stood out for some time.  But there are a few things that I've really been enjoying this past month and thought I'd write up something since I've been so quiet - I really need to get a new computer before this one completely decides to not turn on ever again.

I needed some new mascara, as I had used up the one I had gotten from The Face Shop, so I grabbed
Great Lash and The Rocket Volum Express from Maybelline.  Great Lash has been my go-to for the month, as it's less 'heavy' feeling than Rocket.  I love that there's hardly in flaking after 12 hours and is rather easy to remove.  It's been years since I've worn Maybelline mascara, but very happy that I gave it another try.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Recent Accomplished Goals

In the past few weeks, I've been able to cross off a few goals off my List, mostly around my 'events' category.

Go to a new convention: My friend Freya was the first to discover Crypticon while we were at Sakura-Con, and we decided to do a day there.  We are both big horror fans and this was definitely up our alley.  We went to several different panels and none were disappointing but the last two panels kept getting hijacked by a very outspoken attendee and the panels kept straying from the intended topic.  I really wanted to see one of the short film blocks - the first one that was shown, Mad God pt 1,was really interesting and I still need to find out more about it.  One was more of a music video and the one video that was really polished was kind of awkward in that it was about necrophilia.  It was a rather easy going convention and I definitely want to go again next year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag June 2014

I got my June bag today!  Earlier in the month, I was actually contacted to get my full name because it was not on the shipping label which I found odd since there was no issue with the first one.  I've edited the subscription, so hopefully there won't be anymore issues.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reading Round Up 1

Since I love reading and still have quite a way to reach my reading goal, I'd thought I'd start a series of posts where I'd share what I've read recently or currently reading, share recommendations, or just talk about a book that I'm really excited about.

Recent Reads

Puella Magi Madoka Magica v. 1-3: I love the anime and this is basically an adaption of it, though not completely the same.  I do think that some panels (or full pages) are extemely dark and kind of difficult to make out details, but still an enjoyable read.  And I really like how Kyubey is drawn in the beginning and then you have the switch after the big secret is revealed - it has a much bigger impact than it did in the anime.

Jim Henson - The Biography by Brian Jay Jones: This was a great read. I'm a huge Muppets fan, and Labyrinth is one of my all time favorites, so it was great learning more about the man behind them, as well as the background to how everything came about.

Recent Library Pickups

Dune by Frank Herbert
Foundations by Isaac Asimov
John Constantine, Hellblazer: Original Sins by Jamie Delano
Agatha Heterodyne and the Bettleburg Clank by Kaja Foglio
Vivienne Westwood - Fashion, Perversity, and the Sixties Laid Bare by Fred Vermorel: This is also what I'm currently reading and it's... interesting.


I participated in a spring cleaning swap and received a few books:

Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Pretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley

Tried But Couldn't Finish

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott: I tried really hard to finish this - the history itself is fascinating, but the book feels like it's trying to be fiction and non-fiction at the same time and I find that annoying enough to not want to finish it.

Want To Read

Skin Game by Jim Butcher: The new Dresden Files book! I feel we've been waiting forever for it, and I'm 170 on the waiting list at the library.  I think my dad is higher up, but it'll probably still be a month or more before I can read it.

If you've read any of these, tell me what you thought of them.  Or if you have any recommendations, please do share!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Topic #11: Collections - Sihaya Designs Jewelry

So collections was our next topic for the #2014BloggerChallenge.  I love to collecting a various number of things, but I thought I would share my Sihaya Designs collection.  Sihaya Designs is handmade artisan jewelry by Christina Allen Page which I found through the BPAL forums.  I've been buying pieces since 2010, and it's always exciting when she updates her Etsy store

My collection

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tentatrio Plush Pals Kickstarter

Hey everyone! Just wanted to make a small post about a Kickstarter project that I'm very excited about.  I discovered inki-drop at Sakura-Con this year, when a friend showed me her booth in artist alley.  Shelly Rodriguez, the artist behind the name, had prototypes of her newest plush toys she was hoping to produce for people to look at.  The close, practically perfect translation from drawing to plush is really incredible, especially in regards to Ika.

Monday, May 19, 2014

365 and Counting

It's been a  year since I've started my second List for the 101 Things in 1001 Days and it's been six months since my last update on my progress. Here's how things are looking:

See at least one ballet - I got tickets to see Sleeping Beauty from my sisters this past Christmas.  It was really great; some parts were really quite funny.

Go to 33 new food establishments (I feel like I've gone to more, but can't remember)
Black Bottle Postern - went here to celebrate some friends' birthdays. We probably tried about a 1/4 of the menu (the dishes are great for sharing); the pork tacos were our favorite. 
Black Crow Tavern
Molly Moons - a ice cream shop that I went to the first time after karaoke on my birthday.
Boiling Point - hot pot.  This is where I went for my birthday.  They have 10 different flavors and you can have as many add ons as you like. I got the beef soup, requested no tofu and added a side of beef and udon noodles.  So good.  Only downer to the whole thing is the cabbage got so soggy to the point of being uneatable.

Clean make up brushes on a regular basis - This I've gotten much better at. I'm currently using a cleaner that I got from Sephora which is generally used for quick cleans; I need to sit down and do a deep clean on all my brushes.

Read 150 books
Got farther along on this goal, though I've gotten lazy about keeping track of what I've read.  I just finished reading the Jim Henson biography by Brian Jay Jones and have started Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott.

Save 10% of monthly income (once consumer debt is gone) - though I technically still have consumer debt (my car) I am now credit card debt free and will finally get to see my savings grow again.

Complete 52 week money challenge twice - I restarted this challenge at the beginning of the year, and I just passed week 20 (have saved up $210) and I'm still going strong with this second go around.

Try out bangs again - while I haven't gotten my hair cut in almost a year, a wig I wore at Sakura-Con featured bangs and really convinced me to go for this.  Not sure when I'll actually get my hair cut (and it really needs to happen as my hair is riddled with split ends) but I think it'll be a fun change.

Get a new job - The search has begun. Already applied for a few different positions, but no luck so far.  I kind of feel guilty sometimes, almost feeling obligated to stay where I'm at, but it does feel like it's time to go.

I have to admit, I feel like I've got nothing done on my list since I last talked about it. I'm going to be fulfilling two more goals in the next couple of weeks if everything works out but I need to get more proactive.  I also think that I'll go back to making individual posts about goals that I'm successful in completing.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Topic #10: Hair - Bar Shampoo

I was a bit stumped on what I was going to talk about when I read that the next topic for #2014BC was going to be on hair.  I have a love/hate relationship with my hair.  It's rather fine (which I love) but I'm hopeless when it comes to styling.  I love curls but unless it's a perm, curls don't last very long.  I let my hair air dry and almost never use styling products.  So I thought I would talk about the current shampoo and conditioner that I'm using.

In January, I bought a couple of of bar shampoo and conditioner from Basin White during my Disney trip.  I've been a fan of bar shampoo since trying Lush's Jumping Juniper bar shampoo but since I was almost finished with the current bar I had, I thought I'd try something new.  I got the bars in Iced Cherries and Oatmeal Honey.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rainbow Honey Mystery Bag May 2014

As soon as Rainbow Honey had the sign ups for the monthly subscription of their mystery bag, I signed up for the full size version.  I've been a fan of the brand for a couple of years, but only placed my first order a couple of months ago. I had gotten the March mystery bag free and was very happy with it, so I was thrilled when they announced that they where giving us the option of a subscription.

Everything comes securely wrapped and I love the super adorable sticker design.  There's a card that lists everything that you receive.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sakura-Con 2014 *pic heavy*

Finally getting this post up! I had a really fantastic time and loved that pretty much all of the panels I went to were really great.  Compared to the past couple of years, I felt there was much more 'content' in terms of panels this time around.  After a very stressful nine days of working the spring break rush at work, it was such a relief to go downtown for the sole purpose of having fun for three straight days.  I went to see a really fantastic Alice in Wonderland themed burlesque show, which was a great start to the weekend.
While everyone else was getting ready on Friday, I headed over to the convention center for opening ceremonies.  They opened with a taiko demonstration which was a lot of fun - I love when the more traditional and cultural aspects of the con are brought to attention.  After guests were announced, a performance by the Mary Ohno and her academy, as well as a bit of kareoke, the convention was 'officially' started.  I immediately headed to the dealers hall and straight to the h.Naoto booth (and then proceeded to spend of all of my spending money at said booth).  The girl who was helping run the booth was super helpful and a lot of fun to talk to and I got to take a picture with MINT.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Topic #9: Music - Opening Themes

Getting back on track with the #2014BloggerChallenge.  I missed the last one due to being way to stressed from work to really put energy into it. However, I'm determined that that will be the only one that gets skipped.  I also love that music is the latest topic.  Since Sakura-Con has inspired me to get back into watching anime again, I though I would share some of my favorite opening theme songs.  Opening and closing themes are a great way to discover new artists and what really got me into jpop and jrock.

First song is [crossing field] by LISA, the first opening to Sword Art Online.  I just marathoned all 25 episodes of the series in two days and plan on ordering the first volume of the light novel.  I discovered the show thanks to an AMV shown at the contest at con, and would highly recommend it (though I personally enjoy the first half of the series more than the second).
Next is Connect by ClariS for the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  Another series I marathoned after watching the first couple of episodes with a friend; a really fantastic, darker take on the magical girl genre. All of the music in the show is great and I would love to get my hands on the OST. You also should definitely check out Magia by Kalafina, one of the shows closing themes. Sorry for no video, couldn't find one that I liked.

One of my favorite openings for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is Again by YUI.  I first learned about her from her song Rolling Star that was used as an opening for Bleach.  She's currently still on hiatus, so there's been nothing new from her in over a year, but a good singer to check out.
So, there's a very small selection of some great songs that came to mind.  Generally, the longer the anime, the more opening and closing themes there are. Opening themes also tend to be more energetic than the closing themes.  If you have any suggestions on anime I need to check out, please let me know! I'm fairly behind on the newer stuff that has come out in past the past couple of years.

Monday, April 21, 2014

You Have No Power Over Me

Spring Break was an extremely busy time for us at work (as bad as the holiday season), so when Mab Graves posted about these limited edition cameos, I decided to indulge in some retail therapy.  Labyrinth is one of my all time favorite movies, so this was very hard to resist.  As with a lot of artists I've discovered lately, I found Mab through another Etsy seller's favorites.

The cameo is printed on archival paper with jewelry grade resin. There are only a few marks on the surface that look like they were caused by air bubbles, but are only noticeable at certain angles. Extremely light weight.  I like wearing it at the shortest length (16"); I also love the type of chain she used as it's very different to what I have in my collection.

I'm very pleased with this first piece from Mab Graves.  Shipping was very fast so I was able to wear it over Sakura-Con, and got several compliments on it.  A good piece to start my collection of her art.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kickstarter: Angry Cat

Last year, I spent some time browsing around Kickstarter and helped fund a few projects (all successful) and I just got my first reward! The Angry Cat Plush by Amanda Coronado (here is her Tumblr).  I actually found this project through Tumblr and thought it was adorable and had to have it.  I chose The Angry Cat Adopter reward which included the plush as well as an adoption certificate. I would have gone higher but since I chose to fund a few other projects all ending within days of each other, I decided against it.

The plush is much smaller than I thought it was going to be (it measures at about 6.5 inches), which makes it that much cuter in my opinion.  The majority of the line markings match (except at the top of the head) and the top point of the stomach seems to be veering to the left, which while a little annoying, doesn't really detract the overall look of the plush (the embroidery has no fraying which is more important).  Honestly, it's the face that makes this plush so perfect.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Topic #7: Photo Challenge - Day Off

Our next topic for the #2014BloggerChallenge was a photo challenge, a 'Day/Week in Photos' kind of deal.  Nothing really exciting has been happening, and I got sick at the beginning of last week, so I wasn't too enthusiastic about blogging (and I was doing so good at posting stuff).  So, I just decided to detail what I did yesterday on my day off. My days off of work tend to be all about being lazy, but still try to accomplish small things.

I try not to sleep in too late on my days off so my schedule isn't completely thrown off since I get up at 4 the rest of the week.  So I usually set my alarm for 7 but always seem to actually really wake up around 10.  First thing I do is wash my face, followed by eating breakfast if I feel like it.
Current morning skincare products

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Phantasmat Collector's Edition

I first learned about Phantasmat when the artist, Gracjana Zielinska, started posting concept art for it on her deviantart. I can't remember how I stumbled upon her but I love her style.  I held off buying the game for quite sometime, until earlier in the week: I really wanted to play something new, so I decided to splurge and get it.  I went for the Collector's Edition because it also included an epilogue.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Topic #6: Food - Recipes

Well, as it's been mentioned, I love food.  I have a list of places I want to try here at home as well as out of state.  And I'm willing to go pretty far to try them out.  I also enjoy cooking, but lately been too lazy to try out any of the recipes that I keep finding.  I tend to find recipes through Pinterest, and I'd thought I'd share some of the ones that are at the top of my list to try my hand at.
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
This looks like a lot of fun to eat and I think would be a great breakfast dish, though it would take some time to make, as you do need to let the dough rise.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
My family tends to eat a lot of shrimp paired with salads during the summer since it's less heavy dish. I would love to find other ways to cook or 'dress' shrimp up other than frying them up in butter and garlic.
Chao Shou (Sichuan Pork Dumplings) - Photo Credit: Ariana Lindquist
I love dumplings of all kinds but I've never actually tried making them at home.  These look amazing but I might go easy on the red chile oil.

What are some of your favorite recipes? Always looking for new things to try, especially meat dishes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Making Some Shinies

I'm participating in my first swap of the year, a St. Patrick's Day one, and I really wanted to hand make something for my swappee. I decided to do jewelry, since I couldn't think of anything to knit, and since this is a quicker swap, I didn't think I could knit something fast enough.
These beads were originally going to be accents for the quartz pendant necklace I had originally planned to make, but the proportions to the pendant were too uneven for my taste (the chain I was working with also broke).  So, after some more supply shopping, I decided to use them to make a pair of earrings instead.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Topic #5: Nails - My Favs

Really late with this post - rough two weeks at work which left me not so motivated to write.  But here we have the next topic for the #2014BloggerChallenge: nails.  I used to bite my nails all the time, at times to the point where I was bleeding.  I started to make a real effort to stop around high school and when I started going to college, I began to paint my nails on a regular basis.  This really helped me get over the nail biting habit.  In the span of a couple of years, my collection of polish grew from 10 to over 200 bottles.  However, my 'obsession' has died down which does help my wallet and while I have still have a long wishlist of the polishes I want to buy, most are on the pricier side of the spectrum and those purchases need to be planned out.

But today, I thought I would so you some of my favorite polishes that I have in my collection. It's a bit random but these would be counted in my top choices.

 CND Stickey base coat.  This has been my go-to base coat for years now.  The brush isn't the best but I can deal with it.  I really believe that the tacky finish it has does help the staying power of my manicures.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 2014 Favorites

February is almost over and I'm kind of glad.  The month started out great but we got slammed at work towards the end, which has put me in a very bad frame of mind.  Things should be back to normal for a couple of weeks before the rotation of spring breaks start to happen. But anyway, it's been a while since I've done a favorites post, and I actually have somethings to talk about this month.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Topic #4: High End vs High Street

As much as I enjoy reading reviews and looking up swatches of various high end brands, I'm always wary of buying it.  I hardly ever go to makeup counters (a lot of sales associates that man the counters that I've been to tend to be a bit too aggressive in their pitch to make me buy something and can get rather offended if I don't).  My first experience with brands that weren't drugstore was during my first trip to Sephora; Urban Decay really caught my eye, but I also really liked Benefit and Stila.  UD is still a top favorite while I've drifted away from the other two. I know some consider these high end brands, but I tend to view them (and a lot of brands available at Sephora) as being in the middle: quite a bit more expensive than drugstore, but something I'm comfortable with spending.

However, I still would love to start owning more high end makeup. I tend to follow Lancome and Guerlain releases more than others (and are the brands that I actually own pieces from), but Chanel and Dior have a few items that I love to try.  Here are the two high end products I do have:

Lancome Color Design palette in Teal Fury. I'd been eyeing the palettes for a while and wanted one of the more colorful ones as I have plenty of palettes with a neutral focus. Overall, I think it's really nice.  The lid and highlight colors are very pretty; the majority of the shadows are very smooth and not that difficult to work with (for more color payoff, I use my fingers to apply the lid color).  The only problem shadow is the the crease shade for the fact that I hardly get anything on the brush and I feel that I need to apply quite a bit of it to have any impact.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Food Adventure in Canada *pic heavy*

This past Sunday me and my friend Nina drove up to Vancouver to try out some restaurants. What better way to spend a day eating around the city?  I completely had forgotten that it was Superbowl Sunday when I put in my time off request (and it was nice to see that the Seahawks won when we crossed back over the border).  We had an easy trip up and over the border and an equally easy trip back home (thank god for clear weather).

Our first stop was Peaceful restaurant, which was the restaurant that started this idea. I had gone to grab some food and the restaurant at Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on while I was there and it was the episode that featured Peaceful.  Later that night, Nina had brought it up and so began our idea for a trip.

The Peaceful Beef Roll

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Topic #3: Once Upon a Time...

So for the third topic we were tasked with writing about a book.  I tend to read series more often than stand alone books, so I thought I would talk about the current series that I've been reading: The Last Apprentice (or the Wardstone Chronicles) by Joseph Delaney .

I got into the series because the movie Seventh Son is loosely based on it and wanted to get some background knowledge of it. After reading the first book and comparing it to the movie trailer, it's already going to be a vast different story I think. This young adult dark fantasy series is about Tom Ward (who is the seventh son of a seventh son) and his apprenticeship to Master Gregory to become a Spook, someone who goes about dealing with 'the dark' in the County.  There is a total of 13 books in the series (I'm currently on book 5), with a few additional books that expand on the world.

(Everything else under a cut, because this could be taken as being a bit spoilery)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Disney World 2014 *pic heavy*

Had a great trip to Disney. It was kind of weird going when there weren't any Christmas decorations up, but from what my Dad had heard, they had cut down on them this past year.  It was quite busy in the parks - the marathon had occurred on Sunday (the day we arrived), there were several Brazilian tour groups there, and it was especially crazy on Friday as it was a holiday weekend.

We stayed at concierge level at the Grand Floridian, the Victorian style resort.  We always had a quick bite to eat there in the mornings before heading off to whichever park we were going to that day and usually got back in time for afternoon tea (always had fresh scones during that time and my mom and sisters were very disappointed that trifle wasn't served everyday).

Probably the greatest annoyance of the trip was the new Fastpass+ system they've implemented.  Instead of just getting any number of  FastPasses for the day, you are now only allowed three passes per day and only for one park.  Even after using the passes for that park, you can't go to another and get more passes.  Unless you choose your passes before your trip, it's a great possibility that you won't get them or at least have really awful return times (for example, you might choose your passes at 9 o'clock, but depending on the demand for a ride, you could have a return time of 3 o'clock).  This new system really hinders the park hopper option, almost forcing you to stay in one park if you want to utilize all your passes. I think Disney really needs to work this out or they will get serious backlash for this.
My MagicBand - room key, ticket to the parks, access to FastPass
The castle after the fireworks - had a great view of Wishes at the dessert party

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Topic #2: Skincare

Today I have the second topic of the #2014BloggerChallenge which was skincare.  This is going up a little late as I was gone on vacation this past week and didn't really have much access to internet while I was gone.  It was a family trip to Disney World and very enjoyable but my skin is hating me right now.  Between getting a little sunburned, not having all of my skincare items, and how hard the water was, my skin is feeling really coarse and dry and needs some serious TLC.

But to start, here's a rundown of my current night routine:

On the days I wear makeup, I first use the Neutragena make up remover wipes. Out of all the makeup wipes I've used, these are the best.  I then follow this by using Villainess Datura Slick, which is an oil cleanser good for removing eye makeup and helping with congested skin (this was the main cleanser I used on my trip as I could not find my travel size bottles to bring my usual cleanser).

During my shower I wash my face using The Face Shop Herb Day 365 Cleansing Foam in Acerola. I also have the same cleanser in lemon waiting to be tried.  My toner is Etude House Skin [Mal:Gem] Smoother.  I finally used up all my moisturizer samples that I have and recently bought Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. This I took with me on the trip, which on top of not having my cleanser and toner was probably not a great choice.  I don't think it's moisturizing enough for my skin but I have to wait to decide that once I incorporate with my full skincare routine.

I exfoliate twice a week using The Face Shop Smart Peeling White Jewel Peeling.  Using exfoliators that beed up are the most gentle on my sensitive skin.  When I want to pamper my skin a bit, I use a sheet mask (my current stash is all from The Face Shop).

Since my skin is not in the greatest condition right now, I thought it would be appropriate to share my bad habits in regards to skincare.
  • I tend to not wash my face in the morning on the days that I work. My shift usually starts at 5:30 in the morning, so I tend to stay in bed til the last possible moment before getting dress and leaving.  So usually, I only wash my face once a day.
  • This is more make up related but it does impact my skin - I'm awful at cleaning my brushes (which seems to be a pretty common vice).  I really should probably wash my brushes once a week or even every other week, so less bacteria grows and probably transfers to my face.
  • I think I tend to overestimate how oily my skin is. I know I have combination but am always hesitant on a heavy moisturizer even though it helps the dry skin I do have immensely.
  • I am willing and happy to buy a lot of new skincare products all at once.  I sometimes can get a little carried away with trying multiple new products at a time, being too impatient to wait to ease them in my routine to make sure I don't have any bad reactions.
I could probably go on about this topic but I think I'll stop here.  Just saw the third topic which ties in nicely with another post I was planning on doing.  But for today I'm going to just read and catch up with everything while I was gone. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Blogging Goals 2014

It's a new year, and my blog is now 2 years old! I thought I would share some of my goals I have for my blog that I hope to reach this year.
  • Reach 100 followers: This might be a little too ambitious, but I think it would be great to hit my first 100 by the end of the year. I want to thank everyone who has followed me thanks to the #2014BloggerChallenge - there have been some great posts on the first topic.
  • Post weekly: This will be a challenge; I've got the #2014BloggerChallenge, which means 2 guaranteed posts up each month, but I really want to start putting out more content on this blog. I take forever editing my posts - I'll write something up, and just edit it to death before posting (it can be a week between writing and posting).
  • Blog everyday for one month: I would love to participate in a 31 day blogging challenge, but I always seem to find one when it's already halfway through the challenge. Still, it's something I want to attempt this year.
  • New layout/background: I really want to clean up the look of my blog - it just looks kind of plain to me and I would love to make it pop some.
I've got some other ideas, but these are the main goals I plan on working on.  I found some great blogs to follow last year, and can't wait to find new ones. 

I don't really do New Year's Resolutions but I do have one personal goal that I would like to work on and that is to be more social. I tend to prefer to stay at home once I get off of work and am more than happy to spend the entire day in bed on my days off.  I usually have only a couple of big social events (going to conventions) during the year, but I want to make an effort to go and hang out with my friends more often.  I'm actually planning on doing something on my birthday this year and have a tentative plan to do a day trip to  Canada to check out some restaurants so that isn't too bad of a start.

Hope the new year is off to a great start for everyone.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Liebster Award

Charlotte over at Girl in my Mirror (a fellow #2014BloggerChallenge participant) nominated me for a Leibster Award a little while ago. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers on Bloglovin. You must give 11 random facts about yourself, answer the questions given by your nominator, while creating 11 questions for your own nominees.

11 random facts about myself:
  1. I drink a minimum of 2 sodas a day.
  2. I have a BA in Sociology.
  3. I have two younger sisters: Alyssa (24) and Heather (22).
  4. I have never written a status update on my Facebook.
  5. Bottlecaps are my favorite candy.
  6. I can justify buying expensive jewelry over expensive clothing.
  7. I have over 200 bottles of nail polish (still haven't counted).
  8. Legally Blonde is one of my happy movies.
  9. The Nutcracker is some of my all time favorite music.
  10. I love and prefer to wear dresses, but hardly ever do.
  11. I love to collect coin banks.

New Years Inspiration

Happy New Year, everyone!!  For my first post of 2014, I'll be tackling the first topic of the #2014BloggerChallenge.  The Challenge has over 400 participants so it'll be fun to see everyone's take on everything.  The first topic is to share a quote or picture that inspires us and what could inspire others in the New Year.

When I got the e-mail telling us what the topic was, I immediately knew what I was choosing.  I saw it a few weeks ago on tumblr and it really got my attention.
I really need to keep this in mind this year.  I want to make some big changes but I always think of everything that could possible go wrong and/or things that should be taken care of first.  I keep justifying staying at a job I hate, out of a sense of responsibility to my managers and possibly being a little bit afraid of change.  I feel that I'm wasting time that I won't get back and letting myself be miserable - I need to take a more positive approach at life in general and gather the courage to go after what I want, even if it seems impossible.

Good luck to everyone this year!