Monday, June 27, 2016

It Always Grows Back

I meant to get this post published weeks ago, but uh, hey, I cut my hair! Once the temperature started hitting the 90's I was like, "Nope, this isn't gonna work," and made an appointment to get my hair cut. I live a few blocks away from one of those student salons, so I made my appointment there. A handful of people I know are too nervous to go there, because when students are cutting your hair there's always the chance for mishap - you even have to sign a little slip that says so when you get there. Personally I've only had good experiences there, BUT if for whatever reason something went wrong 1) Hair grows back, and 2) the haircuts only cost $4. If I hate it that much it's not a huge loss to just go to another salon and have them fix it. So if you live near a Milan Student Salon, consider giving them a chance. I showed the nice girl a picture of what I had in mind, which was basically a long bob. She was surprised by how much length I was cutting off, as were all the other hairdressers in the salon (it got a little awkward tbh, everyone kept walking by saying things like "WOAH, you are REALLY getting a haircut" uh, thanks?). To me, the haircut didn't seem all that short, but I guess I've never been that scared about hair changes. When I was a teen I had my down-to-my-butt-length hair chopped into a pixie cut. Again, it's just hair - it grows back! Have some fun with it!

When I was a kid I really wanted long, flowing hair. Like a Disney princess. Except my mom wouldn't let me grow it because I hated having my hair brushed. She said if I started brushing and taking care of it myself without any crying or nagging then I could grow it long, and eventually I did. I guess some bad habits never go away, since here I am with short hair again (although my mom doesn't tell me to brush it anymore; Andrew does...well, gently suggests it). But to be perfectly honest, no one could tell that I never brushed my hair (once it was dry, anyway). Not to brag, but I consider myself pretty lucky in the hair department; it's thick and smooth (too smooth tbh), doesn't frizz, and best of all, didn't look like a rats nest even though it was all the way down my back and I rarely combed it (but it's not perfect, sometimes in the winter I get dandruff ;_;). Except you know what's NOT CUTE, is when someone goes to touch your hair and their fingers get caught in it because you're too lazy to brush it. #SorryNotSorry.

Adding big giant emoji's to my pics is my favorite thing right now.

Anyway, back to my salon story. After getting my hair nice and detangled, the first thing she did was put it in a low pony tail and just snipped the pony right off to take care of a bulk of the length we were cutting. Maybe it's just me, but no matter how excited you are about a haircut, seeing someone dangle your cut-off ponytail in front of you is still a little terrifying. I had a tape measure in my bag, so I asked her if I could measure it and take a picture. Twelve inches! She cut off a whole foot of hair, and I'd only been in the chair for a few minutes! I snapped a pic and sent it to a few people while she got to work. Most were like "OMG, THAT IS LIKE ALL OF YOUR HAIR." Except it was far from it, obviously. If I try hard enough I can still put my new, shorter hair in a ponytail (a pathetic and ugly one, but that's not the point). I also got a lot of questions on if I'd be donating my hair, which yes, I will be, but I still have to look into where and how. Locks of Love was the name that came to mind first, but I've recently heard some rumors about them and I'm not sure if they're actually true. I'll need to do some research. A few people also suggested donating to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Maybe it's a little silly to be so concerned about where I donate, but it's going to be awhile until I can donate that amount of hair again so I'd like to donate it to the right place, you know? So until then there's a bag of dead hair hanging from my bedroom doorknob :P

What are your experiences in donating hair?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Bay Area Book Festival!

Earlier this month I journeyed out to Berkeley for the Bay Area Book Festival, a huge, FREE book festival held every year in downtown Berkeley! It has authors and speakers, bookish activities and of course loads of book vendors. Even though I've lived in the area forever, I didn't learn about this festival until last year??! Back story: I was exploring downtown with two friends (we were actually looking for the store Half Price Books, not knowing we'd run into something way better), when we notice half the streets downtown are filled with white canopies. We went further in and learned we'd walked into the second day of the Bay Area Book Festival! I was bummed I didn't know about it sooner, because I'd have actually made PLANS to go, rather than just stumble upon it. So when I got home I followed it on all social media so I'd remember to plan out a trip the following year. And I did! My mom and I love going to bookish events together, so I asked her to go with me this year!

Lol just kidding. So over Frozen right now. Also my mom isn't Idina Menzel with ice powers.

One of the first things we decided to check out was Lacuna (pictured in the first post image). Lacuna is described as an "art installation made out of 50,000 books" (think used books, library discards, things like that). The books were all donated by the Internet Archive, and the most exiting part? They're all free to take! We wanted to visit Lacuna before too many of the books were gone, and I'm glad we did. I saw some people taking away wagons full of books, which was a bit excessive, I thought. It also made it a little difficult to look through things. Even so I ended up grabbing two books: Pop Apocalypse and How to Become Ridiculously Well-Read in One Evening. My mom grabbed one of her favorite books, Kiki Strike! After Lacuna we had some time to roam the festival a bit before heading to our first author panel.

My "IDK what's going on but it sure looks interesting" face. Next to Lacuna was a bunch of these spiky inflatable tents, where
they encouraged children to hang out and read. Wouldn't mind having my own spiky tent, if I had a backyard.

My mom wanted to go to the Tom Stienstra panel at 1:30 (he writes about camping and stuff), so we went to go wait in line for that. For all the author events you're able to buy tickets on the website beforehand to be certain you have a seat, but she didn't have a ticket so we were in the stand-by line. However a woman in the ticketed line said she had an extra and invited my mom to go in with her, so I went off to see more while she was in the panel (camping isn't really my thing). After that ended it was almost time for the panel I bought tickets for, with one of my favorite writers, Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints)! I was so excited! The panel also featured Tim Federle (Tequila Mockingbird, Better Nate than Ever) and Jason Reynolds (As Brave as You, All American Boys). It was a lot of fun, and I got to sit right in the front row (which was both cool and awkward). After the panel they headed outside to sign books. I wasn't sure if book signings were going to happen or not, but I had brought my copy of American Born Chinese with me because YOU NEVER KNOW, and I'm so glad that I did. I waited in line and Gene Yang signed my book, then he let me take a selfie of us! That night I turned it all into a photo collage because YAY.

Have you noticed I'm really bad at taking selfies yet? I have another pic where less of my face is cut off, but I think this one's funnier :P

Those were the only panels we planned to go to, so the rest of the day was just for roaming around. The vendors were organized by genre, which I like. I wanted to see as much as I could, but when there's only so many hours of the festival it's nice to be able to prioritize the things you know you want to see, just to be sure you don't run out of time. I haaate getting lost, so I printed out a map of the festival the day before.

Literary Lane, Writers Row, Eco Alley, Radical Row, Inspirational Ave, and Teen Town.

There's a lot of free bookish loot to be found, but one of my favorites were these stickers from the Star Wars: Epic Yarns series that I got at the Chronicle Books table. Felted Star Wars characters! So cute. Haven't figured out where to put them yet, though??! Bullet journal? Phone case? On my comic book boxes?! Hmmm. There was also a set of postcards from their other series, Cozy Classics, which I also wanted but they wouldn't let me take both, hahah.

San Francisco Center of the Book had a pop-up shop where you could make your own mini notebook using an old-timey letterpress! Mine got a little smudged at the top, but that just adds character, right? I also got to try Ben & Jerry's for the first time! It was super yum, now I know why everyone loves it so much. #Winning

I'm so glad I was able to go to the festival, I'd been waiting for a year and it was definitely worth the wait! My mom also had a great time which I was happy about, because how dumb would I have looked if I dragged her all the way out to Berkeley and she didn't even like it, hahah. Can't wait to see what they have planned for next year! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Guest Post: Gifted, by J.A. George

Good morning, friends! I hope your Monday has been ok so far (yeah I know, Monday's are dumb, but it was worth a shot). Today I have a super awesome guest post for you! I recently had the pleasure of "meeting" (you know, because it's the internet and all) YA author Jessica George. Today she's here to tell us about her new book, Gifted, the first in a four-part series! Take it away, Jessica!


Hi everyone!

My name is J.A. George and I’m the author of Gifted – The Hayven Series. My novel was published in April this year and I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you five things you might want to know about Gifted. This guest post is for those of you about to read it and for those of you who might be interested in reading it. If you’re reading this right now but are not interested in Gifted whatsoever…well, then…keep reading anyway. It’s the least you can do!

Number one – Gifted is about a nineteen year old university student who meets a woman a little on the strange side, and then meets a young man a little more on the stranger side. These meetings lead to the eventual discovery of Hayven – a city separated from the rest of the world where only those with gifts can go. She makes an eclectic bunch of friends, who, even though I’m biased, are pretty awesome. But Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, Cliders are determined to see the golden city of Hayven return to the way it was one thousand years ago when the city was under the dominion of Madrina. Want to know more about her? You’ll have to read Gifted; it’s too long a story to explain here, well, 287 pages long.

Number two – I wrote Gifted because I wanted to read it. I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love or a chosen one. I wanted to write about real life and the simple fact that the decisions we make, even the minor ones we consider unimportant, can have major consequences. Or rewards. I also wanted to look at real young adult relationships and what they consist of, and how infatuation or intrigue can often be misinterpreted for love. But most of all, I wanted to read about a normal character. Ava is a size 12 university student with a penchant for dry humour and doesn’t wake up every morning prepared to kick ass. She’s ordinary and I wanted a character I could relate to, a character who becomes extraordinary because of the decisions she makes, not because fate chose her.

Number three – This version of Gifted is my second edition and contains 5% or less of edition one. Edition one contained everything I didn’t want to read: a stick-thin, pretty protagonist with no personality, a chosen one and instant love. So why did I write it? Because I thought people would rather read that. I don’t know why I thought it, but I did. Two years I spent writing and hating my novel, until I randomly made the decision to write for myself, to return to writing a book I wanted to read. I wrote like I had no intention of publishing and the result was edition two of Gifted.

Number four – Some readers of Gifted call it a romance. I don’t think it is. Edition one was, but I wouldn’t say edition two is. But views and opinions are subjective and can never be controlled. I can’t interpret how people will read my novel and so I don’t try. Read and think of it what you will. If it’s real in your head, then it’s real! The reason I say it’s not a romance is because I took all the romance scenes from edition one out; they all revolved around instant-love and for me, instant-love isn’t realistic. My main character Ava is not in love with my other protagonist, Theo. Some readers think they are and once someone picks up your book, it is theirs, and what they get from that book is fact in their eyes. Ava thinks Theo is handsome and his weirdness attracts her to him, but I never wrote Gifted with the intention of having them fall in love. Infatuation or interest is not the same as love. Not in Gifted anyway.

Number five – I really enjoyed writing this novel. More than I could ever tell you. Edition one was painful to write. I lost sight of what and why I was writing and thought only about what readers would think and if it would sell. I wrote edition two like I was the only person who was going to read it. Some readers enjoyed edition one, but I’ve gotten more interest and positivity from edition two so... no regrets! I love Gifted and the entire series. I hope you will too.

Buy it: Amazon US / Amazon UK
Add it on Goodreads!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bloom VoxBox

Bloom VoxBox
Red panda not included :P

This post contains affiliate links; using them might earn me a few cents which will go into my "I should start planning my wedding" fund.

Last month I was sent the Bloom VoxBox from Influenster, full of products to help you get ready for spring! Influenster is a company that sends out products to try, free of charge, to qualifying participants. All you have to do in return is give them some feedback and a review! Signing up is totally free, and while you're not guaranteed to get any boxes, what's the harm in trying? It's easy and worth a shot. Sign up here! (That's my referral code, btw. I get a few points added to my account, which helps me qualify for more boxes!) Anyway, here's what was inside.

Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads / I thought this was a really great product - for someone else. So basically these are individually wrapped wipes doused in nail polish remover, so all you have to do is whip one out and wipe your nails down with it. I LOVE things that are meant to make your life easier, but for me these just didn't work. I use a lot of glitter on my nails. A LOT. Most of my manicures consist of a base color and three coats of glitter polish. Unfortunately my glitter polish just tore these wipes up. You know how when you go to take off glitter polish with a cotton ball, but after you've already started wiping you realize you didn't saturate the cotton ball with enough remover, and the cotton ball gets all stuck to your nail and everything is just a a big frizzy mess? That's what happened with these wipes. So I highly recommend these as long as there's NO GLITTER on your nails. Another thing to know is that the wipes dry out quite fast, so work quickly!

Not Your Mother's Plump For Joy Spray / I've yet to find ANY spray that does ANYTHING for my thick, fine hair. It's like no matter how much spray I use, my hair just eats it right up and goes back to looking how it normally does. So unfortunately I can't give much feedback on this spray. I can say that the smell is pleasant and that it didn't leave my hair feeling heavy or greasy, which is nice :)

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil / I'm just gonna be real with you guys. I can't figure out what to do with this. Pro tips???

Sunbelt Bakery Granola Bars: Oats and Honey / Yum :) Tastes like the Nature Valley granola bars, but not hard as a rock. These are on the chewier side (but not too chewy), which I like.

Sinful Colors nail polish in Teal Midnight / Generally I really like this brand. In my experience their polishes last very well, especially considering that you can often find them on sale for 99 cents. Unfortunately this particular polish I was not crazy about. It's a blue glitter polish, but has a blue jelly like base coat that's too sheer to wear alone (you'd need at least 5 coats to make it opaque), but too dark to wear over a different color polish without ruining the other color. So I guess if you wanted to use a different blue polish as a base coat it'd be fine, but for me that's no fun. I like to mix and match my polish with a contrasting glitter :)

Secret Outlast Deodorant / I don't have much of an opinion on this one?? I mean it's not a bad deodorant, but it's not particularly amazing? It's deodorant. Hahah. I'm keeping this little guy in my bag, because summertime gets smelly.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tales From the Bookshelf: Archie, Volume One

Archie Volume One Review
(When I started typing this review it was originally supposed to be part of a "stuff I read in May" type post, but I just have a lot of feelings about Archie, ok?! I'll get back to writing about the rest of May's books later. So I hope you enjoy this review of Archie, Volume One, by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish!)

I read a lot of good stuff in May, but this one I was the most excited about. Everyone knows I love Archie everything, so I was excited to see what was going on with this fresh looking revamp! I'd been tempted to buy the single issues so. many. times...but I resisted. Not only do I have nowhere to store so many issues, but it's a lot cheaper to wait for the book. (Although I'm making an exception for Afterlife with Archie, since new issues don't come out very often anyway. I am definitely picking up issue 9 next week!) Anyway, I was excited to see that issue 1 was getting a reprinting for Free Comic Book Day, so of course I had to pick it up (yeah yeah I just got done talking about how I don't get single issues, but it was FREE, YOU GUYS). I loved it so much that Andrew surprised me with the full volume a week later!

What I loved about this series is that all your favorite characters are still alive and well, but everything as a whole just has MORE. The characters have more depth and you can actually imagine them as real people, the story has WAY more depth (especially if you grew up reading Archie digests with 10 different stories that had nothing to do with each other) and the town of Riverdale feels like an actual place, rather than this happy bubble where nothing bad ever happens. Jughead is more than a guy that likes to eat (he's also my favorite!). Veronica is more than a rich bimbo, so on so forth. It respects the series history while still progressing and moving forward.

A major story difference here is how the Archie/Betty/Veronica love triangle is handled, which didn't bug me one bit because I always thought their thing was kind of weird. Traditionally Betty and Veronica are BFF's and BOTH dating Archie, which is somehow totally ok because neither are going steady with him, though they wish they were. I don't think I know anyone that would knowingly date the same guy as their BFF for YEARS and still manage to be friends?? But again, it's in Riverdale, where nothing too terrible ever happens! So the new Archie took care of that weirdness. In the beginning of the story Archie and Betty have recently broken up, after having been going steady since middle school or whatever. Something called the "lipstick incident" happens (which we don't get full details about until later) which leads to an awkward and abrupt breakup, and now they're not speaking to each other. A couple weeks later Veronica moves to Riverdale and takes a liking to Archie, and he has this puppy-love thing going on because she's hot and rich. Since obviously there are still so many loose threads with Betty their story is far from done, but now with Veronica thrown into the mix we're back to our original love triangle, but in a less cringey manner than the original comics.

Now let's talk about the art. A lot of people are picking this up because OMG Fiona Staples (of Saga fame). I love her, too. She illustrated the cover and the first three issues (there are six in vol. 1). While being very different from OG Archie art, I love her style and thought it somehow mixed really well with the characters! Issue 4 is illustrated by Annie Wu (Hawkeye, Black Canary), which I didn't dislike but was a really abrupt change. Issues 5-6 are illustrated by Veronica Fish (Pirates of Mars, The Wendy Project), who's now the regular series artist. Her style reminds me a lot of Fiona Staples, but a little more cartoony. Sort of like an in-between of the classic, bubbly Archie illustrations and Fiona Staples-style. I like it!

Archie Veronica Fish
Veronica Fish's take on Archie.

Finally,  and I don't want to start any diversity arguments, but I want to touch on something really quick. I've read a few complaints from people saying there are no LGBT characters in the book. If you think that as well then don't you worry because we're going to nip that in the bud right now. I want to make this as clear as possible, so I made you a lil graphic :)

Archie, Kevin Keller
Scanned from the book, sorry it's fuzzy hahah.

Alright? Kevin shows up only four pages into the book, and you see him a handful more times throughout the volume. In this reboot they don't make it super obvious that he's gay, but he's been in the Archie-verse since 2010, and the introduction of the first gay character in Archie made quite a lot of headlines. So if you pick up the new series, having never read anything Archie-related before, and assume there are no LGBT characters, it's understandable. But just know that that isn't true, and that Kevin is awesome. Now, I'm not saying the series couldn't use more diverse characters, but I don't want people to say there aren't any when that just isn't true. Put your faith in Kevin, he's a cool guy!

Overall I'm a HUGE fan of this series! I can't wait to read more! Will I be able to wait for Volume Two??! I don't know! I wish I lived by a comic shop like Stuart's in Big Bang Theory, where you can just sit around and read comics without having to buy them, hahah.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June Goals + May Check-In


I can't believe it's already June. Not in the "time sure is flying by" sense, but more like "I can't believe I have to deal with summertime heat ALREADY." Because summer is the worst. And what's even more awful? Is that it's not even technically Summer yet, but it was 92 degrees outside this afternoon. Why?! Ugh. With that said, I do have some excited things going on this month. I'm going to the Bay Area Book Festival (and seeing Gene Luen Yang there!), I'm going to see Warcraft on opening night (I don't even remember the last time I saw a movie opening night - most boring 24 year old ever) and I'm really looking forward to the next musical we're doing at work - Little Mermaid! But anyway, let's see how I did on last months goals.

1. Finish reading The Heart Goes Last. I did this! Except a few days after I started reading it, the bookclub decided they weren't going to read it anymore. Oops. I was a little bummed, but was enjoying the book enough to continue reading it anyway! Longer review on this book later.

2. Get my Pandaren to level 100 (World of Warcraft thing). I didn't do this :( But I have a very good reason, and that reason is.....Overwatch. Whoops. I did do some leveling though - level 87 last month and 92 now! I can totally get to 100 this month.

3. Start meal planning semi-regularly. I sort-of did this. I did REALLY great for the first few weeks, but then my schedule changed again and it became harder to find the energy to cook -_- I'm going to continue working on this, but be a bit more realistic this time. Obviously I'm not going to stop hating cooking anytime soon, so I'm going to stop pretending otherwise. If I decide to plan grilled cheese for that night then fine! I still planned it, and I still made it. That's an ok start for me.

4. Move Turtle into a bigger tank. Done! I don't think Turtle liked it for the first few days, probably just trying to get used to it? I'm hoping he likes it better now, though. He has so much more room to swim! I wish reptiles weren't so hard to read.

5. Hit 500 followers on Instagram! Yesss! It was a close call but I did it (for now, anyway). I kept hitting 500 and then it would drop. That happened a BUNCH of times (spam bots are are assholes who only follow you in hopes that you'll follow back, who then UNFOLLOW you a day later). However as I type this I'm still only at 503 (while yesterday I was at 505), so I'm not totally celebrating yet :P

Now here's some goals for June!

1. Get better at promoting The Powerpuff Bloggers. (As I sneakily do it right now...join us!)

2. Start looking into wedding locations. This doesn't mean I'll settle on one, but I at least need to start getting serious about looking for a place. I feel like whenever I see people now the only thing they care to ask is "have you started planning your wedding yet?" Sigh. I don't want it to sound like I'm not excited to get married, because I AM excited. But right now it's pretty fun just being engaged, also planning events really stresses me out >_>

3. Read one book I already own. Something I wanted to work on this YEAR was to read more books I already owned, and so far I'm off to a crappy start. Currently I've read twenty-seven books, but only four of them were books I already owned. As much as I love the library, I think I need to finish reading the books I have checked out now, return them, and then stop checking out books for awhile. What I'm trying to decide is if my newly-owned books count or not? I have some book prizes from Armchair BEA that should be coming soon, and I'm really excited to read them!

Just three goals this month :P I already have a lot going on in June, so I don't want to overload myself! What are your goals for the month? If you wrote your own goals post feel free to comment with a link, I'd love to check it out!

Linking up with Hodge Podge Moments and My So-Called Chaos :)