Danger Zone

Up until now, any reader of this blog could probably come up with the conclusion that I am a stereotypically, fashion conscious girl. A girly girl, if you will.

I like to think I’m the opposite.

After a long day, half studying, half working, I’m exhausted. It’s been a while since I’ve been this way, but when I’m exhausted, I’m grumpy. And when I’m grumpy, I’m not happy. And when I’m not happy, no one is happy.

And I’m very aware of that.

So what does one do when you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself because you’re just in a damn god awful bad mood?

Well, for me, I curl up with a cup of Higgins and Burke Pear Green Tea and watch a couple episodes of Archer.

(Daaaaannngggggeerr Zone)

If you’re not familiar, Archer surrounds a group of spies, who are mostly incompetent, drunk and drugged out all the time. Sterling Archer, being the most incompetent of them all, is the world’s most dangerous spy; There is meant to be a connection between him and James Bond. Whether they are on a top secret mission, or simply just trying to do desk work, each character has a major flaw that makes everything they do together unproductive. However, without each other, they are simply lost.

The most interesting argument I’ve heard about not watching the show is that idea that it is an adult cartoon. And it is. But if you’re making connections to Family Guy, The Simpsons, etc, you need to stop.

The most interesting thing about Archer is its character and plot development. Each character has a story. In the first season, it mostly surrounds Malory and Sterling and their relationship. But as we uncover more and more about the past and present of each character, we learn to love them a little bit more. There are plot lines that carry through seasons, through episodes and each situation affects the characters in some way that changes them. That allows them to grow. Topped off with probably the most phenomenal voice actors and actresses of all time, four seasons later, Archer is probably one of the smartest shows on television right now.

I’m a little late to the game, but I just found out that Archer is back with its fifth season in January and I’m pretty excited. One, because I love the show. Two, because I’ve watched each episode of all four current seasons about 100 times a piece. My Netflix basically just recommends anything that is in any way related to Archer.

Anyways, I’m off to watch a couple of episodes before I fall asleep (or let Archer watch me, that also happens often).

Until next time,

The Friday Playback #2: Chocolate

I’m feeling a little Aussie today. Chocolate by The 1975 has been on play for me for the past week or so. Honestly, when I started listening to it, I had no idea what the words were other than Chocolate in a few of the verses. If I’m not mistaken, it’s about authority being power hungry, but honestly, I’m not even sure of the lyrics. However, what I can say, if that I love the sound of this song. And if you’re looking for something different from anything you’ve listened to before, check out Chocolate by the 1975.

Until Next Time, Melissa

the1975

How to finish Christmas Shopping before December

Among my friends, I’m notorious for finishing all my Christmas shopping before December. As a matter of fact, I’m proud to say that I’m actually done all of my gift shopping except for one particularly difficult person. I’m always asked how I do it, and I think the answer to that is more like why I do it.

I’m no longer a full time student, however I’m not working, so Christmas shopping can feel daunting. I’ve never been fantastic with money or budgets and quite frankly, if I like you enough, I’ll want and will spend a decent amount of money on you. Especially in the past few months, I’ve gained a lot of new friends, since I moved back home from University and had to make new friends in my hometown. These people may be newer to my life, but they still mean as much to me as an older friend.

Because I have limited income at best, shopping early for Christmas is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. As ridiculous as it seems to start shopping in September, it’s actually the best way to save a little bit of money and really find meaningful gifts that you can afford, leading to my first tip:

1) Shop Early.

If you see something that you think you’d like to gift someone, either buy it or check back every week or so to see if the item goes on sale. One of the best things about starting shopping early is that you can afford to wait for a sale. When you start early, and your local store runs out of the item when it goes on sale, that gives you the opportunity to order online or find another store that has the item. You won’t be pressed for time and buy things on a whim or because you think if you don’t, it’ll be gone. The best things about shopping early is that everyone goes nuts around Christmas and buys whatever they can get their hands on. If you start in September, there will be less people buying and you can wait longer for your item to decrease in price OR for a coupon to come along. Not only that, if you have limited income, like myself, you can space out your gift buying. If you only make, say $100 a week, spending $20 on a gift per week until Christmas give you about $300 to budget, without actually budgeting your money.

2) Ask about coupons and promotions.

If you see something that would be perfect for Christmas, go online and add yourself to their mailing list or ask in store to be mailed coupons and promotions. A lot of stores give you coupons based on how loyal of a customer you are. The earlier you join a list, there is a chance you’ll receive a promotion or a better promotion than the people who added themselves more recently. (Starbucks is an example. The more loyal of a shopper and the longer you’ve been a customer with them, the more promotions you receive.)

3) Pay Attention to Return Policies.

Nowadays, return policies can be indefinite or up to 90 days. If you are shopping in late Sept, early Oct, 90 days from then is Christmas. If you change your mind about a product, you can return it before Christmas. Victoria’s Secret is a great example. Angel’s Day Out occurs in October, but they have a 90 day return policy. Their gift sets are usually available just after Back to School. If you see something you like, you have 90 days to return it and you will probably be able to get a great discount on it. American Eagle and Sephora are examples of stores that have indefinite returns WITH RECEIPT. American Eagle always has some sort of sale on and they offer a price adjustment if the item goes on sale. AND you can return anything as long as you have the receipt and the tags are still on it. Sephora, on the other hand, has their VIB sale in early/mid November. You can buy your Christmas gifts at 20% off in November and keep the receipt and return the item, if you change your mind.

4) If you are cross border shopping, pay attention to the return policy and gift receipts.

I live in Toronto, about an hour and a half away from Buffalo, NY; Going to the States to shop for a day is a feasible thing for me. Sometimes, you are able to find really great deals in the States that you cannot find in Canada. However, be wary of how returns work. Just because cross border shopping is feasible, doesn’t mean cross border returns are as well. Victoria’s Secret is actually a phenomenal example of why you need to be wary of cross border returns and exchanges. In the summer, I bought some underwear from Victoria’s Secret. When I got home, I realized that the colours weren’t my favourite and there was a tear in one of the ones I bought. I went to my local Victoria’s Secret and asked for an exchange. While processing the exchange, the cashier told me that I had to pay the difference in price between Canada and the US. I told her I wasn’t doing that (Assertiveness is also a great way to save money). The cashier offered to refund them (in CAD, when I paid for them in US), which wasn’t what I wanted nor was going to fly with me. It wasn’t until a second manager got into the process, that I was finally able to exchange the items.

5) Also, if you are cross border shopping, don’t forget to pay attention to the sales happening in Canada.

Has anyone else been paying attention to those Hudson Bay Daily Deals like I have? Oh my goodness, they’re absolutely amazing. And there is no way anything cross border could be as much of a deal as some of the stuff they have. Don’t forget that spending Canadian saves you the service charges, exchange rates, the gas to go to the States, your time, effort and dealing with the customs officer. It also helps the Canadian Economy and you are paying tax that you will benefit from (I understand the argument that the Canadian Government has no idea how to spend money, but if you’re paying NY Tax, you’ll never benefit from any of it).

6) DON’T WAIT FOR BLACK FRIDAY.

Stores want your money and do absolutely everything for a money grab. Black Friday very rarely gives you a good enough deal for the stress you face being outdoors on Black Friday. As a matter of fact, Black Friday sales often start 2 or 3 days before Black Friday or continue 2 or 3 days after. Go to the mall, check the stores that are on your list and see what they have going on. Sometimes, it may be just worth it to pay an extra 2 or 3 dollars to not have to fight with everyone else and guarantee that you get your item.

I hope that was helpful! I know this is a little late, however it’s a good lesson for next year. ;)

Until Next Time,

Paizo Playtest out Today!

Today, the new Paizo Pathfinder Playtest comes out for the Advanced Class Guide! I am currently trying to download it and I just want it sooo badly!

Well, let’s start with a few things. Pathfinder is a version of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s generally more beginner friendly and it’s the first version of D&D that I learned. I also know a bit of 4.0. Thing that I didn’t know about D&D and Pathfinder when I first started playing: You build a character from scratch. You want a rogue that is particularly flirtatious, you can have him. Or a ninja that is super clumsy, her too. Ninja and Rogue and examples of class. Then you can choose their races, human, being an option, their weapons, their skills, traits, if they have an animal companion. It’s all very exciting.

That being said, I’m excited about these new classes. I usually play a straight Cleric. I enjoy healing people and being helpful. Also, everyone loves a healer. Fellow players are never mean to you when you play a healer. ;) I’ve also played an Oracle/Ninja, which was definitely a nice change from always being a ranged magic user to an up close and personal attacker. Also, having actual movement skills is a really nice thing, since Cleric tend to not have that.

I’m pretty excited to try out the new Warpriest class. I mean, first off, I get to call myself a Warpriest (rawr). Second off, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO HIT THINGS. Clerics have god awful aim. And do minor damage, as they are obviously magic users and can’t be handy with a bow and have all these other things at the same time.

That being said, I am getting the error screen on paizo.com and I’m that jerk that is making things worse by clicking everything until something works ;)

Give me! Give me! Give me!

Well, wish me luck. I’ll be clicking here until I can get a hold of it!

Until next time,

Sending Love

I’m a bit of a chatterbox. I can chat anyone’s ears off, no problem. But one of the favourite things to do is write a card.

And I know it sounds old fashioned, but I think that sentiment can only really truly be expressed in something you put effort into. Not to say that you don’t put effort into an ecard or a Facebook message, but there is something about receiving a greeting card that truly makes me feel everything that the giver is feeling,

I’m known for writing long messages in birthday cards. As a matter of fact, I wrote one of my best friend, FA, not too long ago. I got her a charm for her Pandora bracelet, one that really reminded me of her, so naturally, in the card, I had to write why I picked it.

So I ventured into my favourite greeting card store, Papyrus, and picked one out especially for her. You’re probably thinking: Why would you pay $6-7 for a card, when you just spent money on a gift?

There’s nothing like receiving a card that you know was meant for you. The one I picked out for FA had a cupcake on it. Because she loves to bake. It’s disappointing to get a card where you know it’s very generic, or you don’t get the joke, or you don’t feel anything from it at all. I’ve kept every card that meant something. Even the one from my former best friend. Though we fell out, her card still meant something, because she picked it out and wrote something in it that made me feel something. And even reading it today, I miss her because of it. I can only hope that she felt something too, when I wrote her an apology card.

So, want to tell someone that you love them? And not in the I want to marry you and love you for the rest of my life kind of way, but where you want to let them know that you think they’re important, that they are important in your life? Or that you’re just simply thinking about them? Send a card. Go to a card store. Find one that suits them. Find one that makes you think about them. Trust me, when I say, when you have the perfect card, the words flow like liquid.

Until next time,

 

New Adult

Atria Authors Signing

I’m a pretty avid reader. I read a lot and very often. I have a irewards card instead of a Plum Rewards for Chapters Indigo because I spend way too much money there.

Last week, I ventured to the zoo. And not the Toronto Zoo. Yorkdale Mall. And not because it has a Rainforest Cafe, but Yorkdale Mall pretty much is one. The parking is atrocious. With 7200 parking spaces, you still have to battle to get one. Just one. For my little red Corolla. All because I wanted to go to a book signing at Indigo. And I went 3 hours early. Let’s not get me started with actually walking in that mall.

I’m an avid reader. I read almost everything. But I’ve come to a point in my life that I’m so stressed out from my studies and work that I just want to relax. Light reading is all I need and want.

I discovered Abbi Glines shortly after a breakup of a long term relationship. I was wandering in Chapters, looking for any source of comfort that wasn’t a venti soy no whip peppermint white mocha, with one less pump of peppermint and brewed at 140 degrees. When I saw the cover of The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines, I was immediately sold.

Reading this stuff really appeals to me. And I think it comes from the fact that I’m at the age, where I’ve completed my University experience and am not necessarily ready to enter the more mature, grown up, real world. The New Adult genre is just that. New. It’s different. It’s 19-25 year old characters, living their lives, whether rich or poor, trying to find love. It is modern: there is sex, drugs, iPhones and best of all, a whole crowd of young women who can identify with them.

Abbi Glines Signing

Anyways, I got to meet Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire and KA Tucker, KA being a Toronto author, which was amazing to see. They were really nice and were mostly flattered with it all. Yorkdale was their last stop on their mini tour and I’m so happy that I got my book signed and that they even thought to come to Toronto.

I think being in a group of people that you know have been reading Young Adult is so refreshing. I’m Asian, my parents were very quiet about this kind of stuff and growing up in a very predominantly Asian area, so were my friends. And I was always the kid that was naturally curious about it and never had anyone to talk to about the whole ordeal, never mind the stuff written in books.

It was nice to gush over the same guys from these books, get everyone’s view on them and have a mutual understanding that we all have ridiculously high expectations because of it. It’s oddly comforting and I’m really glad I went. I even met some new book buddy friends!

The picture on the right is the autograph, if you will, of Abbi Glines in my copy of the Vincent Boys, after I told her that those books got me through the worst breakup of my life. She also wrote in my copy of the Vincent Brothers. If she comes back, I’m bringing my whole collection with me. She was so sweet and I loved just being in the same room as her energy.

So the moral of today’s post is: Guys in trucks are better. Find one!

If you know one, let me know ;)

Until next time,

The Friday Playback #1: Story of My Life

I mostly have an unhealthy obsession with One Direction. But this friday is going to feature One Direction, because they might have released the most wonderful song ever (I also thought this with One Thing, More Than This, Little Things and Kiss You). It is also the first friday playback since I started writing in this blog, so naturally, only 1D can rightfully kick things off.

Story of My Life by One Direction is super romantic song about a boy’s reaction to when the girl he loves tells him she’s not really into the relationship any more. About how much he misses her, now that she’s gone. I think a lot of it is about how he is going to keep the memory of their love with him and alive, as a good memory.

As always, One Direction can do no wrong, and that is why, they are this Friday’s Playback.

Until next time, Melissa

Story of My Life

Reality Check

I don’t have much to say to myself right now, because I may have spent the last 24 hours, tracking Moltres on my Nintendo 3DS on Pokemon X.

Basically, after you defeat the Elite Four and the Champion, and become the new champion, you eventually run into one of the legendary birds (mine being Moltres) and have to track it using your Pokedex until it decides it wants to meet you at this random cave, where you can finally catch it.

Being unemployed has its downfalls, for sure. One being, that I’m pretty sure that finding Moltres was the most determination and sense of purpose I’ve felt in the past 6 months of being out of school.

That being said, it felt good to have a sense of purpose and to feel that I had a task at hand that was actually quite a challenge (if you’ve played Pokemon X or Y, you know that the Exp Share is clutch and totally makes the game super easy).

It’s easy to get discouraged when nothing is going right for you, where even the simplest thing makes you feel that you actually have a reason to do things. As much as I love the Pokemon Universe and video games and things that fill my time, they are simply that: Things that fill my time. Determination isn’t easy, it doesn’t just come without effort. If you want to find something meaningful, you have to work for it. You have to press on.

That’s all for now.

Until Next Time,

 

The Lake

“I used to love the ocean.
Everything about her.
Her coral reefs, her white caps, her roaring waves, the rocks they lap, her pirate legends and mermaid tails,
Treasures lost and treasures held…
And ALL
Of her fish
In the sea.

Yes, I used to love the ocean,
Everything about her.
The way she would sing me to sleep as I lay in my bed
then wake me with a force
That I soon came to dread.
Her fables, her lies, her misleading eyes,
I’d drain her dry
If I cared enough to.

I used to love the ocean,
Everything about her.
Her coral reefs, her white caps, her roaring waves, the rocks they lap, her pirate legends and mermaid tails, treasures lost and treasures held.
And ALL
Of her fish
In the sea.

Well, if you’ve ever tried navigating your sailboat through her stormy seas,
you would realize that her white caps
are your enemies.
If you’ve ever tried swimming ashore when your leg gets a cramp
and you just had a huge meal of In-n-Out burgers that’s weighing you down,
and her roaring waves are knocking the wind out of you,
filling your lungs with water as you flail your arms,
trying to get someone’s attention, but your
friends
just

wave

back at you?

And if you’ve ever grown up with dreams in your head about life,
and how one of these days you would pirate your own ship
and have your own crew and that all of the mermaids
would love
only
you?
Well, you would realize…
Like I eventually realized…
That all the good things about her?
All the beautiful?
It’s not real.
It’s fake.
So you keep your ocean,
I’ll take the Lake.”

[An excerpt from Slammed by Colleen Hoover]

Lilly Pulitzer Resort 2013

I have a weakness. Or an addiction. Hi, my name’s Melissa and I have an addiction. I want everything off the Lilly Pulitzer site. Size 2, please.

The Lilly Pulitzer Resort collection has finally arrived and basically, I want everything.

Over the last couple of months, I started wearing dresses. I hadn’t worn dresses regularly since I was six, because I found them impractical, and quite frankly, too girly for my taste. Then I realized that they were pretty and wearing pants is a ridiculous request in the hot, humid, Toronto summer.

I had known about Lilly Pulitzer for a while. I was never in a sorority; those things barely exist on this side of the border. I bought a few dresses and immediately fell in love.

Kate Puff Vest

Kate Puff Vest

Even the Kate Puff Vest, where basically the same thing was on promo at Old Navy for $10 two weeks ago, and I thought they were stupid. Lilly does no wrong in my mind. A piece like this would be great in the early fall or if your winter is mild.

Topanga Dress

Topanga Dress

And the Topanga Dress, in that beautiful Iris colour is super stunning. I’ve come to like dresses that just slip on. Maybe a belt, if I’m feeling particularly creative, but a dress like this would be great for when you have guests over and just want to look a little nicer than normal. The lace trend is really starting to get under my skin. And the best part is that I love the Lilly crochet type lace. It’s strong and durable and lets you take red wine out of it like a boss.

Oh. And all the sweaters. And I’m talking every single one. I love that Lilly pieces range from dress down to dress up. Each of these sweaters could be appropriate for work (except maybe the Marielle Sweater talking about summer), or just lazing at home paired with a pair of Roots sweatpants (You know you’d do it).

Marielle SweaterAna Sweater Ana Sweater

Bryn Cardigan

Maria Boatneck Sweater

Sigh. Being a Lilly Lover is hard work.

So I’m curious, what are your picks from this collection? What do you think of mine? Did you already splurge on something? Let me know!

Until Next Time,

Live, Laugh, Lilly,

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