Merry (Belated) Christmas & Happy New Year!

12.31.2011


Sooo I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas ^_^! As usual, I went on a cupcake-googling rampage looking for holiday dessert ideas again :)  The fondant decorations are so pretty and festive!


I'm too lazy to work with fondant but one day...one day.... Maybe as a New Year Resolution ;)?


I found a couple New Year cupcakes (plus 1 cake) too.  The silver disco ball ones fascinate me....but look disgusting ><  Also I dug up my 2011 New Year Resolutions from last year, let's see how I did:
2011 New Year Goals List
1.) Procrastination! When something need to be done, do it right away!  
Hrmm....not really.  I think I got a little better, but I still have a way of putting things off to the last minute. This isn't going on my list again tho...I feel like everyone puts this on their list and it NEVER WORKS -_-

2.) Keep an updated address book. 
SCORE. Though I am still decided what the ideal electronic contact book is for me.

3.) Sleep by midnight, get a full 8 hours. (tho I'm having doubts about this one already...)
WAY TOO SUCCESSFUL.  I sleep far too much now -_-

4.) Keep up with this blog, strive to write more interesting posts and better reviews.
Hrmmm...ever since I've settled on my skincare routine, I think I've sort of lost interest in trying new products (aka no reviews).  Also this goal was way too vague.  I'm going to have to tweak this one to be more specific.

5.) Improve videos, make them more fun to watch, be creative...and start a vlog channel. 
Uh....seeing as how my YT channel hasn't been updated for several months now....no.  Though I did start a vLog channel ^_^!

6.) Take care of my health.  Eat more veggies and try to cut back on sweets (...though my blog indicates this may not happen ^_~).  Eat vitamin pills everyday (already doing this :D!).  Overall, adapt a more balanced diet.  
I do actually eat a lot more veggies and eat gummy vitamins everyday (Yum!)  If I could just bring myself to exercise...all would be well.

7.) Master writing in Korean.
....
 definitely not "master."  My handwriting is that of a 5 year old.  Gotta work on this more.

8.) Master speaking in Spanish and increase vocabulary.
What was I thinking? Mastering two languages in one year?  I'm deluded.

9.) Make nonprofit work and volunteering an integral part of my life.
Sort of sort of.  I volunteer regularly at an animal shelter now (yaaaaaaaahh) but I dropped the ball on donating.  This goal is too vague...damnit.

10.) Drink more water!  I hate drinking fluids (weird I know)...the need to pee just gets annoying :\ nic nic knows what I'm talking about ^_^. Yet when I do drink water I can really tell a difference in my skin....
Siiiiiii!!! I do :)  I drink a lot more tea, which is just as good right  :)?

4/10...not too good. Though I don't think it helped that I had way too many vague goals.  Now for 2012!

2012 New Year Goal List
1.) Fine tune my electronic address book.
2.) Learn how to use Final Cut Pro: take that class in June.  Make at least 1 video using new skillz :]
3.) Update blog at least 2x a week. And finish the Korea Trip 2010 series - good lord!
4.) Pass licensing exam by March.
5.) Finish Korean writing workbook.
6.) Donate $100 to H4H and $100 to another animal-related organization.  Continue to volunteer at least 3 hrs/m at animal shelter.
7.) Visit NYC in March.

That is it!  4 hours till 2012 - man, this year has just flown by quick as a blink. This blog is already...1 year and 3 months old ^_^ Have a good one everybody!

Happy New Year!

A Small Bag Review (Vera Bradley, Tignanello)

12.30.2011


This is kind of a random review, particularly because I'm not much of a "bag person." I currently own 3 bags and really only use 2 of them; one is a Coach purse I only use for special occasions (aka never), one is a Tignanello black leather tote for work, and one a Vera Bradley mailbag in Java Blue for the weekends. I'm going to just chat about the Tignanello and Vera Bradley bags I've owned now because those are the brands I've used regularly.


First, my work bag! When one of the straps on my big, black Nine West bag snapped, I went on the hunt for a new work bag. I didn't care which brand, I just wanted it to be black, have a wide bottom, and be a shoulder bag. I found "the one" at Marshall's - a Tignanello tote that had the most sumptuous silk lining I'd ever seen ^_^ the picture really doesn't do it any justice - it's pure autumn in a fabric!

Features:
  • 2 deep, wide pockets on the outside
  • 1 zippered pouch on the inside
  • 1 ID window on the inside
  • 2 smaller (cellphone/passport sized) pockets on the inside (opposite of the zippered pouch side)
  • 3 pen loops


The good (and there are many!):
  1. The size. I can fit everything in here: my papers, my lunchbox, my umbrella, my makeup pouch :)~ love it!
  2. The wide base with little metal feet. I was adamant on getting a wide bottomed bag because it "sits" better when you place it down and doesn't lose it's shape over time.
  3. The generous pockets on the outside. This bag has pockets on both the front and the back, both lined in that beautiful silk. They don't close but the pockets are so deep that I haven't had a problem with things falling out of them. I keep my gum, tissues, hand sanitizer, and little odds and ends in these pockets.
  4. The gorgeous silk lining! It's very "thick" silk...or satin (I don't know my fabrics well), so it hasn't torn and has a study heft to it that is MUCH nicer and durable than the polyester lining my Nine West bag had.
  5. The zippered ends are protected with leather covers.
  6. Overall, the stitching is impeccable with no loose threads or unraveling anywhere even after 6 months.

The bad (sadly this is not a perfect bag :( ):
  1. The black leather material is very soft but is rather prone to scuffing. It's a decent leather but I dunno, it's not the prettiest leather I've ever seen in my life.
  2. The brown leather strap material has a strange cheap shine to it. I haven't had problems with it at all, but something about it...
  3. Another strap complaint. This is a little hard to describe...but basically, since the straps are wide and very, very smooth, the straps slide so easily off my shoulders. See how the straps on this one are folded in? The edges that pucker out make it so that it stays so much better on your shoulders. I wish they had folded in straps for this bag :(
  4. The cheap looking zipper pull. Why did they put that stupid thread through it (see 1st pic)!?


Overall
Recommended! You can buy the bag here (has a different lining), though at $209 I don't think it's worth that much. I got mine from Marshall's for $80 (worth every penny), so I'd say poke around places like Ross, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx.


Ok, I admit it...I always thought Vera Bradley was a little tacky >< but when I recieved a Vera Bradley Mailbag as a gift last year, I fell in love! The Mailbag design is discontinued, but you can find it everywhere online in lots of different prints. Average prices run $50-65 on Ebay and more expensive for popular prints. I would say a bag like this is worth up to ~$60.

Features:
  • A front zip pocket
  • A zip pocket under the flap
  • 3 little cell-phone sized pockets on the inside
  • Adjustable strap
  • You can zip the bag along the top as well

The Good:
  1. Very well-made. This is an entirely cloth-quilted bag (a la Vera Bradley's style) but every stitch is in place and tight as a button.
  2. Great bag design. The practical design of the bag won me over. The flap closes magnetically (so convenient) and the size is is just perfect. I regularly carry my iPad, a book, keys, cell, and wallet and it all fits great. I could also pop in an iPod and sunglasses with no problem. It gets a little "bludge-y"/out of shape if you put more in but if you want it to, it could fit in more.
  3. The cloth material is remarkably durable. I had reservations at first, but it's been about a year and no stains and minimal fading so far. I'm still surprised how vibrant the colors are after all this time! And the shape of the bag has held up quite well too. I've grown fond of the whole cloth bag thing really; it's casual, fun, and makes a great pillow in a pinch ^_^ There's something quite cozy about it.
  4. Great attention to detail, like the embossing of the brand name on all the zipper ribbons and on the adjustable strap ring. It's little touches like that that make a bag special.

The Bad:
  1. I kind of wish the base of the bag could go a little wider so I could squeeze more things in but honestly, that's just me being picky.
  2. If you don't have a lot in the bag and close the magnetic flap, the flap tends to puff up (see the last picture on the bottom row above).

Overall
Highly recommended. Obviously, I was being really picky but I still couldn't come up with many negatives. This is a perfect casual weekend-er kind of bag for people who aren't keen on slouchy, shapeless bags, which seem to be all the rage. I love this bag a lot, the crazy print has grown on me too :) Like I said, this bag is well worth at least $60.



.....which brings me to this: the Vera Bradley Mini Hipster. You know how I said the VB Mailbag design is retired? Well, they are currently selling a bag called the Mini Hipster that looks suspiciously similar in pictures to the Mailbag.

Features:
  • 59 ¼" adjustable strap
  • Doubles as a purse and wallet
  • Four interior slots keep credit cards at hand (and a secure zip-top closure keeps them in place)
  • On back, one curved slip-in pocket for quick access
  • The full flap has a zippered front pocket and handy ID window underneath
  • Knot the strap to your perfect length

In a nutshell, I made the mistake of ordering this online because I thought it was an updated version of the Mailbag for a criminal $44 (go figure it's marked down now to $33.75). Let's just say when I received it, I almost shit a cow -_-

The Bad (there are no Goods):
  1. This thing is TINY. While the the Mailbag could comparably fit an iPad or two, this thing will fit nothing but a Kindle, I swear. THIS THING IS BLOODY MINUSCULE. I'm not going to lie, I didn't read the fine print showing the measurements (6" x 8" x ½" - 59¼" strap) but I am telling you now - they aren't kidding when they say "doubles as a purse and wallet." You are literally getting a wallet on a string.
  2. This thing is one of the most uselessly designed bags I've ever seen. The strap is very long (I'm 5'5'' and it goes past my butt) and this does not have an adjustable strap! i don't know what kind of poppycock they're going on about "knotting the strap" because let me tell you, it looks stupid. What a horrible, cheap idea.
  3. The flap closes with velcro. Yes, the kind you see on kiddie shoes. So cheap, ugly, and not durable since velcro will inevitably lose it's "stickiness" after a couple uses.

The Good (an attempt at fairness):
  1. Ok fine...the print is vibrant and the bag itself, for being a doll accessory, is well-made.
  2. The packaging was very nice. It came in this monogrammed box and the bag was swathed in green tissue paper with a Vera Bradley sticker. Good for gift giving.

Overall
It beggers the imagination what this oversized wallet could be used for. I guess, according to reviews, if you carry nothing but a Kindle and lipgloss and are over 5'9'', you will love this bag. Otherwise, coming from a soul who likes to carry at least keys, a wallet, a cellphone, and a makeup bag and is 5'5'' - this thing was a poorly designed disaster. I returned this and do not recommend -_-

I will admit, however, most of the fault is on my side. Lesson Learned: Read the fine print very, very carefully. I still don't recommend this bag though.

Episode 6: The Shepard

12.30.2011


Heyyyy everyone :)  I hope y'all had a great Christmas!  I went on a Grimm marathon (all episodes are available rn) and finished writing these recaps over the holidays....man...there are few things in life as satisfying as a bag of chips, dip and Hulu.   Grimm was a lot better than I thought it would be actually.  The people I talked to all said it was kind of boring and while I hardly think Grimm is boring, I think I get why OUAT is more popular.  Even though Grimm is well-crafted in its own right, there's something missing in the series for me - I don't get the gotta know what happens next feeling and there is little emotional resonance for me.  Not sure why :\ but let's just say the only character I feel much affection for is Monroe and we're already 7 episodes in.  Detractors of OUAT say it's just Lost with fairy tales thrown in, but I never got into Lost (only saw a few episodes here and there), so I guess I have the luxury of just enjoying this series as an easily impressed newbie :}

Dragon!

This episode gives us a peek into Prince James' aka Prince Charming's back story. Although I'd already read the short preview synopsis, I think this episode was still surprising in the way it deftly intertwined various fairy tales and made Prince Charming even more lovable :)

Episode 5: That Still Small Voice

12.19.2011


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh I have missed OUAT so much! Ahhhhh I need a life! I actually missed the last episode between work and sleeping (I must have been a bear in my previous life because I practically hibernate in winter). However, Episode 8 isn't airing till January 8....so plenty of time to catch up eh ;)?

Rumple's spinning wheel!

This was hands down one of my favorite episodes. The previous episodes were pretty good too, but most of the emotional resonance thus far has been centered around Snow White & Prince Charming's love imho. This story arc begins developing the back stories of one of the periphery characters - Archie Hopper aka Jiminy Cricket! We find out how Jiminy came to be as we know him today - a cricket and a conscience - and hits you right in the heart in the process. I think this episode is close to perfect in how it ties so neatly to the main Storybrooke storyline while still providing plot momentum, character development/growth for many characters, and fleshing out the worlds of Storybrooke and Enchanted Forest. Archie became one of my favorite characters after this episode and I hope this recap successfully captures why it did.

P.S. This isn't going to turn into a recap blog (believe it or not!).  I have a couple reviews socked away that I need to edit pictures for *sigh*

Caramal Flan + Strawberry Cake KitKats!

12.10.2011

I got some KitKats with the Angel Wing earrings I ordered from Stephanie in February :D It drives me nuts how many kitkat flavors there are out there to try but it doesn't stop me from wanting to try them all ^^;;

Caramel Flan KitKat

How cute is the packaging?!  I believe it was a Halloween release in Japan. It's coated in milk chocolate (though it looks like dark chocolate in the picture) and the cream between the wafers is apparently "caramel flan" or "purin" flavored according to this blog


It smells very strongly of caramel (some of it must be artificial) and tastes gratifyingly like a caramel flan :) It's a little stronger tasting than the 'sweet' caramel flavors of most American kitkats, it has a burnt, slightly bitter bite.  It's not a bad bitterness, it adds a complexity to the kitkat :)  Overall, it's not my favorite kitkat ever but it was fun kitkat to eat that was undeniably caramel flan in flavor.

Strawberry Cake

Of the two this was my favorite!  It was light pink tinted (slightly artificial tasting) strawberry white chocolate with a very distinct strawberry frosting flavor between the wafers. 


It's ridiculously sweet and a little fake tasting but it's the perfect sugar kick for two mini bars.  There's something very addictive about it and the sweetness goes very well with the crunch of the wafers.

Anyway, here are some of the previous KitKats I've reviewed~ Sakura Matcha and Yokohama Cheesecake are still my favorites :}

Episode 4: The Price of Gold

12.07.2011


I just noticed that the intro for each episode is different depending on the story! This time there is a winged fairy, episode 3 it was a troll, and in episode 2 there was a unicorn ^_^ And no, I don't know if the fact I noticed that is actually a good thing. Anyway, we get introduced to a new character this time. Tis Cinderella! I initially thought that Kathryn Nolan might be Cinderella (the blue and blond hair threw me off) but I guess not.

Rumple is back to so yahhh -- he's so bad ass! I want to dunk him in the bath every time he's on screen but by gosh, he's a fantastic villain :)

Episode 3: Snow Falls

12.05.2011


Man I am on a roll with these recaps xD There's something really addicting about recapping even though by the end I'm half blind and I swear I have carpal tunnel syndrome trying to pick out the "right" screencaps.  It doesn't help that I write as much as I talk -_-

This episode shows us how Snow White and Prince Charming first met.  It's a nice twist on the tale and I'm glad that this Snow White got her true love by actually doing something and not just sitting around on her rump stupidly accepting food from sketchy strangers.  I find Snow and Charming's chemistry very convincing and it was great to see a little more of Charming's character.  I like how he's definitely an optimistic, polite, overall polite guy yet not stupid, has a strong moral center, and is no pushover (even for Snow).  Snow is as feisty and dare I say, charming ^_~, as ever - so it was a great pleasure to see how their love blossomed.

Episode 2: The Thing You Love Most

12.04.2011


This episode was all about TEQ as we dive into how she brought about such a powerful curse.   I think there were some complaints about the slow pacing but I thought it was perfect.  The twist at the end was satisfying and it was actually quite moving to see TEQ show her softer side, even for a moment.   Mr. Gold is definitely emerging as one of the most interesting characters even though he didn't have much screen time this time around.


Episode 1: Pilot (Once Upon A Time)

12.03.2011


Helloooo :)   Since I've taken up on watching Once Upon A Time, I thought it would be fun to recap the series; inspired by one of my favorite recapping sites ever, Dramabeans ^_^   I haven't found a site that does picture recaps of OUAT so I thought I might try doing it, at least for just Season 1.  I remember the joys of wasting many an hour reading recaps and what better way to share the love :D?  I'm a sucker for fairy tales with the modern twist thing so I hope y'all don't mind joining me for the ride ;)

I've put this after the jump since this is pic heavy~

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