Kawaii Box July 2015

What came in the July Kawaii box? This is my second to last box, since I have a 3 month subscription. I do so enjoy the messages on the cards, this one promises that the contents of the box “are as cute as you.” Well, we’ll see now, won’t we?

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These were the items I was most excited about, a toast coaster and a keychain with cute alpacas on it that matches the bag charm from last month.

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The toast coaster is one of those perfect things to get in a random subscription box, because I didn’t realize that toast coasters existed. I have also been meaning to bring in a coaster for my desk at work, so it will be practical too! Also, I just want to have the excuse to say to people, “Check out this toast coaster!” TOAST COASTER!

The alpaca keychain matches perfectly with the bag charm from last month, and who doesn’t sometimes need a new keychain? It is super cute.

Here are a couple things I was less excited about, candy and pencils.

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The candy was from the same company that was included in last month’s box, and the candy consisted of slightly chalky tasting links that were a bit harder in consistency than gummy candy, yet still somewhat gummy, if that makes sense. It was not that great.

Also cute pencils. I feel like I will have enough pencils to last for quite some time now.

There usually seems to be something absolutely surreal and ridiculous in these boxes, with the smiling pink poop pencil sharpener serving in that category last month, this month there is a doughnut pocket mirror. There was a pastel bracelet I will save for the next time I’m in the presence of tiny girl who likes bracelets. The sprinkles on the pocket mirror seem like they would wear off pretty easily if you actually threw it into a handbag.

Also, there is a plush mushroom with a somewhat tortured expression, which I find amusing. I enjoy erasers with weird shapes, so I did like the cupcake eraser.

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I can really take or leave glitter glue, but this looks like a good set, if I did want to glue glitter to anything. I really enjoy the sticker set, which features cute pandas with bizarre facial expressions.

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I was also happy to see this Rilakkuma post-it set, it is a little book of post-its that unfolds accordion style with a bunch of different shaped post-its. Super handy!

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Overall, I still think that a yearly subscription would result in someone getting too much plastic stuff, but a three month subscription or just buying a random box now and then is a nice treat, especially if you live hundreds of miles away from a good Japanese import shop.

Recent Media Consumption

Movies

I saw The Man From UNCLE, and I liked it. I think that anyone who enjoyed the old TV show would enjoy it, if they don’t mind seeing the characters recast. It was pretty restrained for a Guy Ritchie movie, the costume design and soundtrack were great at evoking the 60s, and overall it was amusing in a low key way. I kept getting distracted by how large Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin was, because TV Ilya was so tiny. Also, I am uncertain about the choice to have new Napoleon Solo vaguely mimic Robert Vaughn’s distinct line delivery. Still, fun and worth seeing for a summer matinee.

We rented The Duff the other night, and it was a solid teen movie! Nice if you have fond memories of John Hughes movies, but want to see something more modern that actually references tumblr.

K-Dramas

Having finished Healer recently, I moved on to Jeju Island Gatsby, the latest drama from the Hong Sisters. The mayor is my favorite character. I’m around midway through the series and enjoying it, although I don’t think it is in any way as great as You’re Beautiful or Masters’ Sun by the same writers.

Netflix

I’ve decided to rewatch 30 Rock! I actually missed several episodes here and there so it is fun to go back and watch it again from the beginning. I love netflix.

Kawaii Box June 2015 Review

I’ve been curious about subscription boxes, but I hadn’t found one that I thought I’d enjoy. I can’t subscribe to the boxes where one gets sent a random assortment of makeup and beauty products, because I tend to be overly sensitive to fragrance, and I figured those boxes are likely to have perfume samples and lotions that I would never be able to use. While I like the idea of yarn clubs, I have a crazy amount of yarn, and am also picky about the color of yarn I like to buy, so that also doesn’t seem like a good fit for me. When I realized that there was a box subscription that sent you random cute things from Japan and Korea, I thought that might be the box for me, simply because there are not a ton of store options to buy random cute things where I live. My sisters got me a 3 month subscription to Kawaii Box for my birthday!

So now, I will review the contents of the June box, exactly as a blogger does when they have no other blog content ideas than to post the contents of a subscription box.

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I like the way the card that came with the box listing every item says “Thank you for being so cute!”

Here’s what it looked like when I opened the box:

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This is what was in the box:

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A pink alpaca bag charm, tiny pillbox, and an eraser in the shape of smiling pink poop. I was particularly taken with the alpaca bag charm, and I put it on my knitting bag immediately. Many of the ladies in my knitting group have the same Sherpani tote bag for their knitting (because that is how we roll), and the bag charm will make it easy to pick out my bag in the crowd.

I use a larger version of the pink pillbox for knitting stitch markers and things, but I could see this mini one being handy for pills, or other teeny tiny supplies. The pink poop pencil sharpener is hilarious, I am not sure yet how well it sharpens anything.

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On the squishy side of things, there is a kawaii bean mini plush, and a squishy chocolate strawberry charm, both of which have a little strap you could use to attach them to a cell phone or whatever.

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There’s a mini sushi to plug into a headphone jack! Also a purple Hello Kitty mechanical pencil which is very nice.

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On the stationary side of things, there’s a blue pencil, pen, eraser, and sharpener set, some cute animal sticky notes, and some puffy stickers.

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There is also a “bling bling” Korean nail art set that I’m going to send to my little sister who enjoys nail art, and a Kracie Bubble Jelly Candy thing I will make with my kids.

Overall, I thought this was a good mix of items ranging from squishy things to cute office supplies. I could see how someone might have way too many bag charms if they got a yearly subscription, but I was quite happy with this random selection of cute stuff. My favorite item is probably the alpaca bag charm.

Vacation Reading: Magnificent Devices Series

It is nice to stumble across a long, entertaining series when on vacation. The first book in the Magnificent Devices series is free, and after I finished it I promptly bought a book bundle that contained the next three books.

The Victorian setting is typical of the steampunk genre, with the British class system split between Wits and Bloods. Claire is born in a family where she is expected to make a good marriage and settle down and raise a family, however her natural interest in Engineering makes her dream of attending a university. When her family falls on hard times, Claire finds herself free to make her own way in the world, and she accidentally becomes an adoptive mother to a large group of orphans, despite her only being 17.

Claire is unfailingly intrepid, securing a mysterious weapon to defend herself and her charges, setting up a school to teach the orphans how to read and write, and running poker games and intelligently investing the proceeds so she has a means of supporting herself independently. While the first book takes place in England, the next part of the series takes a detour to North America, both the Wild West and Canada. The extended cast are all well-characterized, and while Claire is the main focus of the books, this means that some of the sequels can focus more on the orphans as they begin to grow up. There are plenty of quirky touches, like the hen that follows Claire’s adoptive family about, and her engineering prowess ensures that most of the time she just saves herself instead of waiting to be rescued whenever she gets into a threatening situation.

While there are hints of romance, for the most part the books in the series that I’ve read so far focus much more on steampunk adventure and character development. I’m finding it very relaxing to read this series while I’m on vacation, and I recommend it if you enjoy steampunk as a genre.

Adventures in Amethyst Princess of Gemworld Cross Stitch

I’m still working on a larger cast of characters Amethyst Princess of Gemworld cross stitch, but I took some time out to make a DC Nation Amethyst and Topaz.

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I made it for Brianne! Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the proportions of the border I originally put around the picture would look odd once I put the piece in a frame, so the border came out. These superhero designs were modified from a pattern I bought from weelittlestitches on etsy.

If you can’t find the comic book merchandise you want, make it yourself!

Books Read, February, March, and April

I am doing such a poor job keeping track of my reading on this blog, but I have been better at updating Goodreads, so at least I have my reading lists saved somewhere:

On the YA front I’ve recently read:

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Scarlet and Cress by Melissa Meyer
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


On the romance novel front I’ve read:

Bound by Flames by Jeanne Frost
Lady Windermere’s Lover, The Importance of Being Wicked, The Ruin of a Rogue, The Duke of Dark Desires by Miranda Neville
Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt
Staying at Daisies, Millie’s Fling, An Offer You Can’t Refuse By Jill Mansell
Truely by Ruthie Knox – this was one of the more memorable books I read, in that I can actually still remember the plot and characters! Midwestern girl meets emotionally distant New York Chef. It was a really good contemporary romance.
Cold Iron by D.L. McDermott
Wanted: Wife by Gwen Jones
It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long
Royally Ever After by Loretta Chase
No Rest for the Wicked by Cresley Cole


Non-Fiction:

Using Open Refine by Ruben Verborgh

Comics and Graphic Novels (non-manga)

Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Ms Marvel Volume 1: by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
Captain Marvel Vol. 1: Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

Jupiter Ascending

I saw Jupiter Ascending and I was entertained. Keep in mind, I often do not feel the need to watch a “good” movie in order to be amused. The movie as a whole is an incoherent Cinderella Story, where Channing Tatum as a half human/half wolf looks profoundly uncomfortable most of the time and sports a mangy-looking goatee. He does have very cool rocket boots though! Mila Kunis as Jupiter has awe inspiring eye makeup, and a habit of falling from high places repeatedly only to be rescued by Channing Tatum and his rocket boots. There were scenes of long exposition about alien economics and immortality that were a bit boring. There were some scattered moments of humor. If this movie had been about 15% more funny, it would have been much better. Also, Jupiter doesn’t show much agency after being kidnapped by aliens. She gets a few punches in at the end, but it would have been nicer if she had been a more active heroine. I’m sure this could have been managed if perhaps one rocket boot rescue had been replaced with a different type of scene.

  • Sean Bean is in the movie! He loves bees!
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw is in the movie! She is wasted in her role as a sardonic bat maid.
  • Eddie Redmayne is absolutely committed to his role as an asthmatic alien prince with mommy issues. He was delightful.
  • The supporting cast (sadly not the main cast) was nicely diverse.
  • The rocket boot special effects actually gave me hope of what we might experience if the Jack Kirby character the Black Racer ever shows up in a movie.
  • The costumes were gorgeous.

Overall, this was an adequate matinee/dollar theater movie. I think it is better seen on the big screen so one can appreciate all the baroque spaceships. I wish the script had been better, it would be nice to have a non-comic book/franchise science fiction movie to truly appreciate.

Rocket boots!

Cowls and some things that are not cowls

I made another cowl! This was for my Stitch and Bitch group’s annual party and swap.

It is the Irisa Cowl, out of some Fleece Artist yarn I got from Margene when she was destashing!

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I was super lucky and got some grey mitts that Cheryl knit:

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I have been wanting to make some grey mitts for myself, and now I don’t have to! I only wish it was cold enough in Utah that I could actually wear them!

I finished the other cowl I was working on, which does look a little blobby since the yarn is so dark. It doesn’t photograph well.

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This is my third time making the Mira’s Cowl pattern, and I am probably ready to move on from it! It is super great tv knitting though! It is a very flexible simple pattern that also works well with different weights of yarn if you vary how many stitches you cast on accordingly.

I cast on for another Clockwork! Pictures soon.

Books Read, January 2015

I’m trying to do a better job of tracking my reading this year! This is what I read this month:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – For some reason it took me a couple attempts to get into this book, I think because during my first attempt I was a little bit distracted and Stiefvater’s prose and world building really deserve a reader’s full attention. But this was a wonderful book, and I’m only holding off on devouring the rest of the series because I want to savor the rest of it.

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare – This was slightly less whimsical than the first book in this series, but it still has the combination of cleverness and humor that I tend to enjoy in historical romance novels.

With this Kiss and Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James- Eloisa James tends to be one of those authors I turn to when I am feeling a bit stressed. With this Kiss as a set of novellas was a little disjointed, but that can only be expected. Once Upon a Tower is one of several volumes in James’ fairytale series, focusing on Rapunzel of course.

Trade Me by Courtney Milan – A new Courtney Milan is always an automatic buy for me, and I was interested to check out her first contemporary book. Some of the plot resolutions involved a bit too much suspension of disbelief, but I thought she was tackling a variety of important issues in the book, and portraying characters that are often not the focus of a romance novel in an interesting way.