Monday, 18 April 2016

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Clay Mask

Last night was probably my fifth time using the Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask so I feel like that's enough times for me to make a definitive decision on whether or not I like it. 

So, do I like it? Well, yes.

Do I think it does anything for my pores? Yes, but it's not life-changing in any way. I still have to use it once a week or else my pores will start being crazy again. But I feel like that's the way it is with all clay masks. There is yet to be the holy grail: a mask that will make your pores virtually invisible ... forever.

My skin is quite on the oily side, and I wear quite a bit of makeup and powders in my daily life, so my pores get gross pretty fast. Generally, I use the Origins mask once a week, and I find that's enough, but I have to make sure I actually use it once a week. I find that while it helps make my pores seem smaller, it doesn't do anything for the tiny acne scars I have, which is fine because I never expected it do to anything. Maybe it's the placebo effect though, but I find they're not as aggravating to look at after I use this mask.

I really like how there's no smell to the mask save for kind of salty smell that I assume is the clay. I actually really enjoy the tight feeling of clay masks, and this one dries up pretty fast unless I use it literally right after I wash my face while it's still wet. I generally leave it on for fifteen minutes while I do other stuff, and it's easy enough to wash off. 

It wasn't crazy expensive; I got it from Sephora for about $25.00, so it was a good middle ground for what I'm willing to shell out for a mask. 

Recommend: 10/10!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Yu-Gi-Oh! TFSP WIP: 'Blue-Eyes White Dragon'

The first deck I blogged about (my Magician beat deck) is a deck that's more or less reserved for tag duels with Yami Yugi. This Blue-Eyes deck was originally conceived for tag duels with Kaiba as a partner, but as I started to add more to it and personalize it, it became my main deck for quite some time. It's one of my better decks, but I consider it a WIP because I know there are some good dragon supports in the Tachyon booster (which I didn't even start purchasing yet lol).

MONSTER (23) MAGIC (10) TRAP (7)
Alexandrite Dragon x1 Dragon's Mirror x1 Bottomless Trap Hole x1
Blue Eyes White Dragon x3 Gold Sarcophagus x1 Call of the Haunted x1
Flamvell Guard x1 Heavy Storm x1 Dragon's Rebirth x1
Armed Dragon Lvl 3 x1 Lightning Vortex x1 Draining Shield x1
Armed Dragon Lvl 5 x1 Monster Reborn x1 Mirror Force x1
Battle Fader x1 Mystical Space Typhoon x1 Negate Attack x1
Divine Dragon Apocralyph x1 Polymerization x1 Scrap-Iron Scarecrow x1
Honest x1 Silver's Cry x1
Kaibaman x1 Tribute to the Doomed x1
Kaiser Sea Horse x1 United We Stand x1
Lightpulsar Dragon x1
Magna Dragon x1
Maiden with Eyes of Blue x2
Mirage Dragon x1
Prime Material Dragon x1
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon x1
Rider of the Storm Winds x1
Shining Angel x1
The White Stone of Legend x2

Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon x1   Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon x1 Evilswarm Ouroboros x1
Exploder Dragonwing x1 Gem-Knight Pearl x1
Ancient Pixie Dragon x1
Stardust Spark Dragon x1
Hot Red Dragon Archfiend x1
Light End Dragon x1
Moon Flower Dragon - Black Rose x1
Red Daemon's Dragon x1
Stardust Dragon x1
Black-Winged Dragon x1
Trident Dragion x1

Like obviously, once I get more Xyz Dragon monsters (hopefully even before the Tachyon booster), I will take out monsters like Gem-Knight Pearl or even the Black-Winged Dragon (which I honestly never use if given the choice). I am also considering adding more monsters like Shining Angel and the Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon. At the moment, I consider this a Blue-Eyes deck, but I also feel like it's just a dragon deck just more geared towards the Blue-Eyes? That could also be because of my Extra deck, which is pretty much the entire Team 5D's.

I'm probably going to have to add Hieratic monsters if it's going to run a bit smoother in terms of Blue-Eyes but what do you guys think? The ideal is a deck that can keep putting out powerful dragons whether it's the Blue-Eyes or a Synchro, but I realize that it might not be realistic to constantly be firing them out every turn. I'm putting a lot of hope on the Tachyon booster to provide a bit more support, but now that I'm thinking about it, wouldn't the Tachyon booster mainly provide cards for the Galaxy-Eyes line?

Anyway, disregarding the Tachyon booster, what do you guys think about this deck? This deck runs pretty well for me in both TFSP and on YGOPro. Dragons are done to death so I'm sure there's plenty of people out there that can help a poor girl out with fulfilling her lifelong dream to literally be Seto Kaiba!

Yu-Gi-Oh! TFSP WIP: 'Basic Magician Beat'

A common advice for bloggers is to write about either what you know like the back of your hand, or what you love. I generally write about what I love, because the only thing I know like the back of my hand is the back of my hand. So what do I love? In general, I love Yu-Gi-Oh! and I love to make fun of myself. I've been playing Tag Force Special on the PSP since October 2015 and it's truly. It's truly wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a PSP (or an emulator) and has a love for Yu-Gi-Oh!. It's great for fans of both the anime and of the game.

Something to keep in mind with Tag Force Special is that you have to slowly unlock cards by 'purchasing' booster packs with DP. I don't have all the cards yet, so some of my decks are incomplete! I'll probably be adding on to them as I get more cards. The reason I'm putting these up while they're technically incomplete is that if anyone has any advice for me, I can take them into consideration a lot easier than if I already had a 'complete' deck!

Today, I'm going to talk about my magician's deck, which I use when I tag team with Yami Yugi. I don't usually like using magicians, so this one is hard for me to use properly unless I have his support.


MONSTER (22) MAGIC (14) TRAP (4)
Dark Magician x3 Dark Magic Attack x1 Call of the Haunted x1
Gemini Elf x1 Diffusion Wave Motion x1 Dimension Wall x1
Apprentice Magician x1 Gold Sarcophagus x1 Magic Cylinder x1
Battle Fader x1 Gravity Axe - Grarl x1 Mirror Force x1
Blast Magician x1 Horn of the Unicorn x1
Breaker the Magical Warrior x2 Lightning Vortex x1
Chaos Command Magician x1 Mage Power x1
Chaos Sorcerer x1 Magical Blast x1
Dark Eradicator Warlock x1 Magical Dimension x1
Dark Magician Girl x1 Monster Reborn x1
Defender, the Magical Knight x1 Mystical Space Typhoon x2
Element Magician x1 Spell Absorption x1
Herald of Creation x1 Swords of Revealing Light x1
Maha Vailo x1
Mythical Beast Cerberus x1
Rapid-Fire Magician x1
Skilled Dark Magician x2
Tsukuyomi x1


XYZ (6)
Evilswarm Ouroboros x1
Gem-Knight Pearl x1
Grenosaurus x1
Melomelody the Brass Djinn x1
Muzurhythm the String Djinn x1
Number 39: Utopia x1

The Basic Magician Beat 1.1 is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It's a no-frills, no-bells magician deck centred around keeping the Dark Magician on the field while keeping up a constant attack using high ATK monsters. There is no focus on spell counters. There isn't even a true focus on the Dark Magician other than the DMG and Diffusion Wave Motion. At the point of this deck's creation, I didn't really have any magician support cards in my trunk and by the time I got them, I was over magicians. They were so passé.

I will be creating a Dark Magician-centred deck in the near future, along with a deck focused on spell counters. Both decks will build off of this deck, since it's easier improving a frame than it is building a completely new one, in my opinion. The reason I didn't fixate on spell counters while designing this deck is because this beat deck is for tag team use, and I worried that spell counters would confound the AI a little LOL.

What do you think about this magician beat deck, and what cards would you add to improve it? Apart from Djinn monsters, I'm actually at a loss of what kinds of spellcaster monsters I should put in the Extra deck, so some suggestions for good spellcaster Xyz monsters would be nice! (For this deck, I will only be focused on Xyz in the ex deck).

Friday, 1 April 2016

Fire Emblem Nohrmal: Pairing #1 (Avatar & Niles)

I've been playing 'Fire Emblem: Conquest' like a fiend. Despite my recorded playtime being 38 hours, my real playtime for Conquest is probably something close to 40 hours; I'm estimating I lost about 2 hours in my logged time because of all the resets. All. The. Resets.

I may be calling it my 'nohrmal' playthrough, but I'm actually playing it on Hard. And man, let me tell you. It is Hard. It deserves that capital H. And why am I already planning out couples for a Lunatic playthrough? Oh, yeah. It's because I'm apparently a masochist.

P.S. If you play Conquest, I strongly suggest getting Boo Camp and Ghostly Gold. It helps a lot with getting money and extra experience to make sure all your units are up to scratch. If you want to experience true Conquest suffering, of course, save your $5 for future DLC maps. 

Here is my take on Caetuna (my nohrmal avatar) and Niles, and the Kana & Nina produced from them. On a side note, Nina's Japanese name is Eponine, which I personally like a lot better than 'Nina'. But when it's Nina, she sounds like she could legitimately be a canon sister of 'Kana', and I think that's super cute.

Personally, I'm not really a fan of the pairing in terms of the relationship. I adore Niles, and I think he's a really neat and interesting character. He's also voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, which is like whoa (in the Japanese version, he's Koyasu so it's like good thing I got the English version LOL). But the dynamic that's between Niles and the Avatar doesn't look like it's too healthy or good in the long run. 

I realize that it's unfair to really judge the kid units before I properly train them, but I'll save that for when I blog about Revelations. Since I had a diviner/onmyoji as my hidden talent (or whatever it was called), Kana has access to the diviner, onmyoji, and basara classes. I chose basara, just because I wanted to keep improving on his strength when I eventually send him back to the Nohr noble class. I literally just reclassed him, as you can tell from this picture; I didn't even give him a naginata yet! I feel like I'm going to regret this decision though, as I won't be able to use Kana's skill with the Dragonstone. 
To be honest, I'm not really a fan of Kana. I keep comparing him to Awakening's Morgan, who was a button. My button. Kana's just...way too much of a kid. I understand that all the kids in Fates are generally softer, but the way Kana interacts with Caetuna (my Avatar) makes me feel like I'm sending a nine-year-old to war. 

At the point I unlocked Eponina's paralogue, I had already fallen in love with Keaton. My wolf-man. But then when I got Eponina, I was no longer regretting my hasty decision to marry Niles. Eponina is what my real-life daughter would probably be like. Though hopefully not as awkward as she is. She looks a little odd, in my opinion, when she has red hair. I will have to be careful on my consequent playthroughs as to who Niles marries.

I'm not sure if it's because I had fairly low stats when I unlocked her, or because I'm too used to a powerhouse Mozu, but I noticed that I had trouble keeping Eponina alive. Her evasion and defense are all pretty terrible. She's fast enough that she can attack twice per turn, but she's not strong enough to down an enemy in one go (or survive an attack if they're long-range enemies). It might be because she has a low weapon level, so even though I'm disappointed with Eponina as a unit, I have Boo Camp to try and get her to at least 'decent'.

I didn't care who I married Caetuna to, since I figured the Avatar would be a good match with anybody, but I don't think I will be letting the Avatar marry Niles again any time soon. I'm reserving a final judgment on the two of them though, as I haven't actually used or trained them for a decent amount of time. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Gallant Generation 1.1: Serah Gallant

It may surprise my friends today, but I was rather sickly and frail during my childhood. I spent many days out of school, forced to stay in bed while my neighbours and classmates gambolled under the sun. I must have read all the books in my room five times each, and they didn't have any fancy video games during my day. I was always bored out of my mind. My mother must have felt sorry for me, because she bought for me a nice little journal to try and keep me occupied.

I never used it, of course. What would I have written about? How bored I was? Yeah, right.

But now that I'm in my golden years, I find myself changing my tune. This is why I'm sitting here in bed, this leather-bound journal in my lap. I want to write down my story for future generations of my family, so that they can see their history unfold throughout the ages.

I moved into a small house after I graduated from university; my parents helped me to pay for it, since I was still broke from all my student loans. They didn't give me much, but I am eternally grateful to them for helping me get back on my feet. The house was sparsely furnished, but I didn't mind; I was only really home to eat and to sleep. After what felt like a lifetime inside my childhood bedroom, I was in no rush to start spending my downtime indoors.

I loved the outdoors with a great passion. I enjoyed fishing, jogging, swimming ... you name it. The exercise and fresh air must have done wonders for my health, since I never got as sick as I did as a kid ever again. I worked as a gym teacher at the local Twinbrook high school, and I loved it. I'm sure the kids didn't appreciate it when I got them to do the beeper tests, but at least it got the less athletically-inclined ones to run around!

I particularly liked to spend summer vacations in Shang Simla, China. I always chose to stay in a remote mountain village, away from the hustle and bustle of cities like Shanghai or Beijing. In my opinion, I want my vacations to be the exact opposite of what I get in my everyday life. Twinbrook's no Bridgeport, but the industrial sectors and job opportunities really made it a busy little town. I wanted to get away from all that noise, even if it was only for two months a year.

Martial arts became my most beloved hobby. It's less a sport, really, and more a lifestyle, if you understand what I'm saying. None of my previous sports experience really prepared me for learning the art, so it was really fun learning something new. I wasn't very good at it, but hey, no one is perfect.

During my time in Shang Simla, I met and fell in love with a man named Jiang Lu. He was a local merchant who also liked to visit the martial arts academy on weekends. Though I had to return to Twinbrook at the end of each summer, we wrote letters and e-mails to each other constantly. We spent three summers flirting with each other in between training sessions, before I finally confessed my attraction to him.

He admitted to me that he was actually the father of three kids despite his young age, and that he had separated with his wife after irreconcilable differences. I was shocked, to say the least. He had never mentioned any of that! But I wasn't disgusted or anything, like I think he expected me to be. I loved him all the same, despite his less-than-perfect romantic background.

The two of us decided to move to Twinbrook; he wanted to start a career away from the judging glares of the Shang Simla people. I was pretty happy with that decision - to be honest, I don't think my relationship with Jiang would have turned out as well as it did if I had had to move to Shang Simla for it! I may love the place, but I wouldn't have been able to stay there the rest of my life, especially since it meant uprooting my life as a teacher.

Jiang and I lived together for about a year, and then Jiang proposed to me out of the blue in our kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised; I certainly expected a proposal, but never in my wildest dreams did I think he would do it while we were doing the dishes! I love that man, but he's no casanova, that's for sure.

We decided not to have a wedding party; we weren't really interested in paying an exorbitant amount of money for a party, and Jiang didn't want to have to invite his relatives all the way from Shang Simla (especially because some of them were still bitter about his divorce with Jiannan). We had our own private wedding along the cleanest of Twinbrook's rivers, in the midst of the autumn chill. I can still remember the bitter bite of the wind, but Jiang kept me warm in his embrace.

Jiang wanted to 'get a real job' in Twinbrook, but he found it difficult to do so. He moved to town right after the big employment rush, and there were no more jobs for him. He started fishing to pass the time, and found that he had a real knack for the craft. Luckily, the market never turned down fresh fish, and Jiang managed to scrape together some bucks for us by selling off the salmon and whatnot he fished from the river. 

"I was hoping the fish I catch could feed us," Jiang had explained to me once while we were tucking into our usual dinner of grilled cheese. "It was just to save some money. I never thought we would be making money off of it."

"I guess we could keep some of the fish you catch," I had suggested. "Maybe I can make grilled cheese anchovy sandwich."

"No," Jiang had grimaced. "You should see the stuff they dump into the rivers. I wouldn't want to eat that."

It was good for us that Jiang's career as a fisherman had started to kick off, even though it wasn't exactly what he had had in mind when he moved here. I had become pregnant, and we would definitely need the extra cash. My wages as a teacher were livable, but if we wanted to give our baby a happy childhood, I knew it wouldn't be enough.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Leap Wishes

For all I consider myself an 'aspiring novelist', I haven't been writing as much as I was in the past. There's something about adult life that kills my muse, but it might also be that since I have less time for leisure time, I try to get the most out of it. Obviously, writing is not the top of my 'leisure' list!

In my spare time, I do keep writing just so I can stay in practice. My inspiration during these writing sessions is from, embarrassingly, my Sims. I write stories about my Sims 3 legacies, and it's actually pretty good in terms of practice. If I write in a diary form, I can work on different voices, which is something I always struggle with, since I can only write as 'me'. If I write in semi-omniscient third person, I can work on my prose. I can work on world-building and description, since I can't rely on pictures as I usually do for Sims stories. It's pretty great fun, and I'm quite happy with it.

I'm thinking I might post some small samples online so you guys can see what I'm talking about. But, of course, I will have to polish them first. Keep an eye out for that! I will probably include family trees or something as my Sim family gets along in the generations, but that's mostly just for my own fun. I don't know if you guys know, but I LOVE the Sims. Now that I'm focusing all my attention on this blog rather than my other blogs, you can expect lots of Sims rambling!

Sciue Lasagna & Pastas

Daily Lasagna & Cafe Au Lait

It's a race against time as I struggle to at least finish the main Tales of Zestiria plot before the anime comes out, and before Tales of Berseria's release. It's been almost ten years and I still haven't finished Tales of Vesperia, so that's next on my gaming to-do list. What's that? Fire Emblem? Yeah... that's going to be on the back burner for a bit.

Today, I want to mention that I love Sciue. It's not pronounced sck-ewy, like my friend suggested. It's apparently pronounced shoo-eh. My coworker was surprised when I told her that, as she said she and another coworker always avoided mentioning it by name because they weren't sure how to pronounce it. I think it's a little alienating when your customers can't pronounce your business name, but the Sciue on Pender Street at least is doing great. There's always a lunch rush when I go, and for good reason. Its fresh-tasting pastas and breads are a-maze-ing.

They always include a little piece of bread with the pasta, and the bread is always just the right level of warmth and chewiness. I usually forego getting a drink there, preferring to grab some Tim Horton's on my way back to the office so I can roll up my rim. But I was in a 'treat yoself' mindset when I got my lasagne; the cafe au lait was really nice, but I let it cool too much while I played Fire Emblem the day I took this picture. It was still a lot better than the stuff I get from Tim Horton's, though Sciue would probably balk at being put on the same level as Timmie's.

The lasagne was nice and filling, though nothing special. I had a particularly nice pasta there a few days back that had pesto mixed in with the tomato sauce, with sausages and mushrooms. The pasta there was a lot harder than I was used to, but it was actually really delicious; I feel like the extra texture made it seem a lot more than it was. I might start making my pastas closer to al dente from now on.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Pistachio Ganache, Mink Cafe, and Macarons

     Pistachio ganache with a cafe au lait, which I got from Yaletown Breka! I went with some coworkers two nights ago to Juno, and then we went to get a bit of dessert. It was very yum, though all together, it was a bit too much. 
     The pistachio was really sweet, but it never got overpowering to the point that I had to stop, so all in all I was really happy with it. My coworkers both got the strawberry shortcake, and they both said it was too dry, so I made the right choice. The cafe au lait was really heavy, and I think that was what made me feel a little sick. I'm sure if I hadn't eaten a sushi roll and udon carbonara earlier, I could have finished it fine though.

    Earlier that day, I went to Mink Cafe to get some coffee (I'm tired of drinking double-double, and I hadn't felt like washing my cup to make another Keurig). Normally this wouldn't warrant much of a mention on my blog, but I just have to reiterate something I'm sure a lot of my real-life friends know. I ... really don't like the downtown Mink Cafe. It has terrible customer service. While waiting for my coffee, I watched the barista in charge of it chat and jam out with his friend, which wouldn't really bother me normally. Except that his friend was just that - his friend. Not an employee, but an actual friend. It's so unprofessional, and I could see the manager there behind the counter not saying anything. Last time I went, it took me a while to get someone's attention to pay for my coffee because they were all seated at the bar drinking Jugo Juice with their friends. Like if you want to drink Jugo Juice with your buddies, do that on your own time.

     My mother came back from France last night and she brought some macarons from Laduree. Not 'macaroons' - I know some people who think the terms are interchangeable. There's a Laduree in Taiwan, and when I got some there, I mentioned to my grandmother than the macarons in Taiwan are, as a whole, too mushy. They taste too much like cake, and there's no sensation of a crust, which is what normal macarons should have. My grandma was just like, 'no, you're wrong.' But when I bit into one of the macarons my mom brought, and felt the distinct 'crunch' of a shell, I immediately put it down and exclaimed, "I WAS RIGHT!"

     I just wanted everyone to know that. I was right. And also not to waste your money on macarons in Taiwan, because that stuff doesn't taste genuine at all.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

DAVIDsTEA "Pistachio Ice Cream"

Today was a lot chillier than usual, which is quite the positive change from February, which, according to Obama, was record-breaking in terms of warmth. Of course, being stuck in a temperature-regulated office for eight hours a day, I'm thankfully free from the frosty bite. I apologize for being absent from this blog since August 2015... holy moly, I haven't updated it forever! This blog was always meant to be a writing blog, but it's only now that I'm starting to write creatively again. I'm finally used to post-graduate Adult Life (although career changes might be in my future), and with studying and essays out of the way, I finally have all the time in the world (read: between 6pm and 12am every weekday) to fulfill whatever creative whim floats my way. 

To get back in the writing kick, I have started working as a content creator at Vivalife, though this website has not launched just yet. I have published an article on the best Japanese restaurants downtown, and though some of my personal recommendations didn't make the ultimate cut, I'm still pretty proud of this article. I put in quite a lot of time (and quite a few episodes of One Piece) into writing it, so I was really happy when my editor said she liked it. I will also be posting little excerpts from personal projects on here, mainly for my own benefit, so that I can look back in the future and see how I've improved. 

Today, I want to talk about the Pistachio Ice Cream tea from DavidsTea. This one is limited edition for springtime only, though some stores might have stock even after. I had this over the weekend when I worked a shift at Body Shop, so I didn't get the chance to take a picture; even if I had had the time to snap a pic, it would have just been a picture of my take-out cup, with my name hastily scrawled across the lid with a Sharpie. Not exactly Kodak worthy! Here's a picture of the tea leaves themselves from the official DavidsTea website. 

The pistachio ice cream tea is, just like the sweet it's based off, the perfect blend of salty and sweet. Mixed with honey, it's absolutely divine, almost like a tea latte without the foam. The lady at the store did tell me that the tea is VERY suited to be in a tea latte, but since I was already paying for my coworkers' tea lattes, I was a little 'eh' about it. I regret it now - it's only $1 difference, really! It's a shame that the tea is limited edition, because it's already crawling up the ranks of my Favourite Davidstea Teas. I will have to buy some of the tea myself to brew at home to really decide, though; I found it watered down when I drank it because DavidsTea employees are notorious for adding way too much milk. I will have to make it myself the way I like it, I guess, in order to fully appreciate the tea. 

Pistachio Ice Cream
Type: Black tea
Caffeinated: Low
Price: $8.75/50 g - eh
Flavour: 9/10 - delicate and harmonized, but I personally don't like the flavour of rooibos
Recommend: 99%

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Beauty Regime (Current: April 2015) ... mostly Body Shop products

This little blurb will be something I put up from time to time so that I can see what works and what doesn't in the future when I pick skincare and beauty products. This isn't a complete list, of course; I have masks and night creams and the like I didn't put on here. This is really the regime that I use on my way out of the house.
I will include pictures when I get back to my apartment; it's been work-and-school hell for me and it's a lot more convenient to stay in the downtown area with my mom. But that also means some of the products on this list aren't here.
A LOT of these products are from The Body Shop, so be warned.