Early Birthday Present for Me from David! :D

I got a birthday present in the mail! A buddy from the Basement Geeks, David, sent me along two awesome Funko Pops that I’d realllllllly been wanting! Thank you so much David!

(P.S. By the time you guys are seeing this blog post it has actually gone past my birthday, but this video was recorded before it. ^_^)

NYCC GameStop Exclusives Pop Haul and GIVEAWAY!

Of COURSE I had to pick up a few NYCC Exclusive Funko Pops, although you guys might be proud of me because I restricted myself to the GameStop shared exclusives. ^_^ We’re showing them off in this video, but the really exciting part is the GIVEAWAY! If you like exclusive Pops, you should definitely check out the video for details! 😀

Funko Pop Haul #5 (aka “What the hell is wrong with me?”)

Have you ever had a mild enjoyment that turned into a nigh obsession? That’s me and my Funko Pops. It’s really gotten ridiculous, and I definitely have to reign myself in someday, but it’s not going to be this day. Therefore, should you so choose, please feel free to check out the following video and send me enabling comments about how awesome all my Pops are.

Nerd Block Unboxing and Review for May 2015

Okay, so we’re well into the fifth month that I’ve claimed I was going to cancel Nerd Block and then didn’t. The problem is that they keep throwing out themes that sound interesting, and I’m weak! So with that thought in mind, check out the unboxing video for the “Ani-May” Nerd Block:

What did you think? Let’s just say that I’m not terribly disappointed that I stayed on for yet another month. Let’s look at the breakdown:

Mobile Suit Gundam t-shirt: Though I didn’t get this shirt in my size, I’m still pretty impressed with it. It’s a nice, standard design without a bunch of useless flair, and the fact that it’s an older show that I actually used to watch is definitely a plus. My hubby will be the one wearing it, but even so I’m pretty happy with the shirt this month. Giving this item the standard t-shirt value of $15.

“Freiza” Funko Pop: It is terribly unfortunate that they chose to send a Dragonball Z Pop in the anime-themed box, since I already have almost all of them. I can appreciate the fact that it was a good choice for the anime-themed box, but it’s just too bad that they didn’t send something from one of the lines I don’t have. Regardless, I’ll give this item the average value that Funko Pops tend to cost around my neck of the woods, which is approximately $13.

“Cowboy Bebop” Convertible Bandana: Although I’m not really sure how I’m going to use it, I have to admit that this item amuses me a bit, because it’s something different. The fact that it’s Cowboy Bebop helps, because that is definitely one of the greatest anime shows of all time. Maybe I’ll use it to keep my hair back when I’m gardening. 😛 Regardless, based on similar bandana products, this item is worth about $10.

“Neon Genesis Evangeleon” manga #1: Now we’re talking. Although I don’t read manga nearly as much these days, I still appreciate it, and it’s awesome that this is the anime they chose. NGE was one of my favorite ones when I was younger, and yet I don’t have a single one of their manga, so this is a nice book to get for sure. I definitely approve of the choice for this item, and since manga go for about $12 each, it’s a nice value to the box as well.

“My Neighbor Totoro” pins: Yeah yeah, I’ve never seen it. I’m sure there are lots of nerds out there right now screaming internally, because Totoro is supposed to be a classic. Despite my ignorance on these matters, I can appreciate these cute little pins, especially the one with Catbus on it, because I find that ridiculous and funny. Based on similar pins this four-pin set would go for about $6.

“Attack on Titan” drawstring bag: This is another show I haven’t seen, although I’ve heard lots and lots of good things. It’s also an item that I’m not terribly fond of, because I find these vinyl drawstring bags look pretty cheap. That said, it is a bag, and everyone sometimes needs a bag, so I’ll take it. These types of bags retail in at about $10, which – just for the record – I would never pay for one of these.

Total approximate value of box: $66
Total cost to me: $37

So right off the bat, the first thing that I want to point out is that this is the first themed Nerd Block for which every item in the box worked perfectly with the theme. In the previous themed boxes there was at least one item in every one that had absolutely nothing to do with the theme, but for this month’s box every item was definitely anime-themed. That makes me like it automatically, because what’s the point of a theme if you don’t stick to it, right?

The second thing I have to mention, of course, is the fact that the Funko Pop was one that I already have. That sucks – it really does – but it was bound to happen eventually and I can’t really down-rate the box because of it.

The third thingI want to mention is that while I’m not on the up-and-up with Nerd Block’s new desire to put books in all their boxes, I do appreciate the manga that was in this one. For one thing, it’s an excellent story. For another thing, it adheres to the theme, which is something the previous books didn’t really do. So two thumbs up for that one.

In conclusion, it was actually quite a good box. The shirt was a good one, the Funko would have been awesome if I didn’t already have it, the manga was a perfect choice, and the other two little items were cute additions. All in all, I have to say that I was pretty impressed. The overall cost to have a Nerd Block shipped to me is still pretty painful and makes it less worth getting, but it’s nice to see a box that was straight-up good.

The question now, of course – as I mentioend in the video – is whether or not I’m going to continue on for next month. I had planned on cancelling after May’s box anyway, because the cost of it is just not okay with me, but then they threw out that “British Invasion” theme, and I’m torn. What if there’s a super-cool Doctor Who item in there and I miss it because I cancelled? Rawr. This is the problem with these subscription boxes!

So, as I said in the vid, I’m looking to you guys for advice. Do you think I should hold on for another month, or should I finally do what I’ve been saying I was going to do since Christmas and cancel my Nerd Block subscription? There’s only four days left to decide, so vote quick!

Random Favorites of Early 2015

I was considering doing a YouTube video for this, but since I have a hard enough job getting the other videos I do out on time I thought it would be safer to just go ahead and make this a blog post. So without further ado, here are some of my random favorite things of the first part of 2015.

Steeped Tea’s Pop Top Tumbler & Strawberry Fields Tea

steepedteaIn January a friend of mine hosted a “Tea Party”, which is one of those parties where a bunch of people (usually women, let’s be honest) get together and look through a company’s product line. The company in question is Steeped Tea, and since I love me some tea I decided to order a few things. One of the teas I ordered, Strawberry Fields, is my absolute favorite so far. Not only is it made with all-natural ingredients and flavors, but it smells so heavenly that I would be happy to sit with a spoonful of it under my nose all day. Plus, the most important part: it’s delicious. It’s an organic green tea with strawberry and papaya that is smooth and comforting, with just a hint of sweetness. It needs no additives; it tastes absolutely perfect all by itself.

The other super awesome item that I picked up through the party was one of Steeped Tea’s Pop Top Tumblers (in purple, to match my coat, purse, carry-on luggage, etc…I have a problem). I grabbed it because I wanted a travel mug to take out West to work with me, and because the steeping net inside is made of a stiff material it looked like this one would be a lot easier to clean than the last one I had (which was a disaster). What I didn’t realize when I bought it is that this thing is super air-tight. When closed you can shake it around upside-down if you want and nothing will escape. There’s even a little locking mechanism on the cover release so that you can make sure you don’t accidentally pop it open while you’re traveling with it. All this means, of course, that the heat is sealed in. The tumbler is double-walled so you don’t feel a hint of heat when you touch it, and inside your tea is piping hot for hours. I have actually made tea, forgot about it for several hours, and then burned my tongue on it when I finally had a sip. It’s seriously that good, and I’m so glad I picked it up because it has made my 12-hour shifts a hell of a lot more tolerable.

Tibetan Goji Berry Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Serum

Tibetan-Goji-Berry-Let me first say that I don’t go in for products that make outrageous claims like “anti-aging”. I think that the majority of products that claim to make you look younger, make your wrinkles vanish, or otherwise defy normal biology, are generally just a pack of lies wrapped in clever marketing.

But. I received this item as part of my Fab Fit Fun box for Winter 2014/15, so of course I was going to give it a try. And I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with it. I don’t know if it necessarily lives up to all its claims, but I have definitely noticed a difference. By dabbing a small amount under my eyes at night I’ve noticed that the skin under my eyes has been tighter, smoother, and significantly less dry. I really suffer from dry skin under my eyes, so this is a pretty nice result. My only problem with this product is the price. The bottle, which only stands about an inch and a half high, retails for $88. Now, I’ve been using it nightly for over a month with no signs of running out, but it would have to last at least four or five months more for me to even consider maybe spending that kind of cash. So, while it is one of my favorite things at the moment, I don’t expect I’ll be buying more of it in the future.

The Dragonball Z Funko Pop figures

DBZFunkosMy husband and I have finally begun the task of turning our basement into a geek and gamer area, which means that I’ve finally begun opening my Funkos. There are lots of the little guys that I love just to death, but right now I think my absolute favorites are the Dragonball Z crew. I don’t have them all (I missed my chance to get black-haired Goku…booooo…) but the ones that I have make me giggle like a fool every time I look at them. My particular favorite is Vegeta, whose crossed arms and little scouter make him extra-super adorable. I love cute versions of things that have no business being cute.

Physician’s Formula Super BB Powder & Bye Bye Under Eye from IT Cosmetics

ByeByeI had to combine these two items because I always use them together and I love the effect. The Bye Bye Under Eye I got as a sample in one of my Ipsy Glam Bags. I originally didn’t think that it was the kind of thing I would use, but I gave it a try and I’m so glad I did. I have chronic black circles because the skin under my eyes is very thin, and this product does a great job of minimizing those circles. It doesn’t get rid of them completely (I don’t think that’s even possible), but with only a tiny application I look instantly brighter, healthier, and more awake, and I love that.

The Physician’s Formula Super BB Powder I actually purchased on a whim after seeing how great the Bye Bye worked and noticing that it was on sale at my local drug store. I don’t like a lot of gunk on my face, but I thought I’d try this out as a complement to the Bye Bye, and I wound up loving it. Because of my work in the super-dry Alberta oil sands, I often wind up with dry, red patches on my cheeks and forehead. With a little moisturizer to combat the dryness, the Physician’s Formula does a beautiful job at hiding that redness. The “Light” option matches my skin tone extremely well, it blends very smoothly, and it doesn’t make me look like I’ve got a ton of crap on my face. When I use these two products together I absolutely love how I look, and with just a little lipstick I feel ready to face the day!

Dragonforce

DragonForce_logoDoes this seem way out in left field? It may be just a little bit.

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but most people wouldn’t expect Dragonforce to be the kind of band that I would listen to regularly. Most of their songs are extremely loud, fast, cluttered with an abundance of different instruments and sound effects, and their lyrics more often than not sound like they were written for the soundtrack of a 1980’s swords and sorcery movie. And I love it.

I mentioned before that I find their music counter-intuitively relaxing because it’s so complicated that it practically forces my brain to turn off, and that hasn’t changed. I have five of their albums on my phone now and I’ve been rather enjoying how the loud, fast tracks strangely make my anxiety melt away when I’m trapped on a work bus. I’ve even been known to fall asleep while listening to this music on said buses, and believe me when I say that is a big deal.

So that’s it for now! Are you familiar with any of the things I’ve mentioned? What do you think of them? Have I convinced you to try anything new? What are some of your favorite things so far this year? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

Tracey’s Tricks and Treats

While I can’t honestly say that Halloween is my favorite holiday (sorry, but Christmas will always hold that candle), I have always loved it ever since I was little, so I thought that today I would share some memories of Halloweens past.

A large part of that love for this holiday is, of course, the candy. I can remember when I was little that we would get sacks of treats. The houses in my town were pretty close together, so you could get to a lot of them very quickly. People also seemed to give out better stuff back then (though that might just be my memory being nostalgic and my current self being cynical). To top it all off, there were no curfews on Halloween back then (or at least, it was so late that it was never really an issue), so we would be out for hours, hitting every house in town and winding up with enough candy to kill a kid. I remember that my best friend and I used to do a kind of figure-eight through town so that halfway through the night we would end up back at my house. We would dump our candy (which by then was an absolutely disgusting amount), grab new bags, and head out for round two.

One of the Halloweens that I remember the clearest from my childhood was one when my bestie and I were still pretty young – young enough to need a parent to take us around. Her stepfather took us that year, along with her younger sister, and by the time we made it halfway through town and back to my house, her stepdad was several years closer to death. You see, cans of pop must have been on an excellent sale that year because every second house seemed to be giving them out. It didn’t take long before my friend and her sister and I couldn’t carry our bags anymore, so stepdad carried them for us. By the time he got the opportunity to drop off what we’d collected thus far he must have been lugging about eighty pounds on his back whilst trekking through town after three kids. I remember afterward, when I was going through my candy, I tried to fit as many of those cans of pop in my parents’ fridge as I could. I filled both crisper drawers and half a shelf, plus put a bunch on the door of the fridge, and there was still a bunch left.

I had a few store-bought costumes throughout my Halloween history, but my mother concocted quite a few of them on her own as well. Some were from the patterns you buy at a store, like the year I was a pointy-hat-wearing clown with funny felt dots all over me. Others were less creative and more…horrifying, for the wrong reasons. One year in particular I hadn’t yet chosen a costume myself, and my mother kinda forgot about Halloween until it was too late to start anything complicated. I eventually ended up convincing my parents to buy this Arabian Nights-style dancer outfit for me, but there was no way that I could wear it during our chilly Halloween night (the damn thing was a belly-shirt, for Pete’s sake!) The end result of our combined procrastination was that at the last minute my mother bought an orange garbage bag – the kind with a jack-o-lantern face on it that you’re meant to stuff with leaves and put out in your yard – cut arms and leg holes in it, and stuffed it full of crumpled newspaper to make it round. For her part, it was some quick thinking, but I nearly denounced my relationship to her that night. The costume was annoying as hell to walk around in, and by the end of the night all the crumpled newspaper had worked its way down around my rear end so that I looked more like a holiday squash than a pumpkin.

Another Halloween, one of the last that I went out because I was getting older, my two friends and I took a long route around areas of town that we didn’t normally go to because it was a really long walk. Just when we were as far away from any of our houses as we could possibly be while still being physically in the same town, it began to rain…a lot. This was before the days of young kids having cellphones (in fact, I think this was even before my dad got his first cellphone), so we had no way of calling for a pickup. We had to walk all the way back to my house in the rain. We were actually pretty cheery about it, all things considered, but the detail that I recall that really made the night for me was that all the mascara and eye makeup that I was wearing (I was a vampire that year and I went all out) ran so much that it got in my mouth. I almost threw up before we managed to get in out of the weather.

The very last Halloween that I ever went out, I went with a group of friends from high school. We were way too old to be trick-or-treating, but we thought, screw it, and went on our merry way around a small town where the houses are very far apart. It took us twice as long to get through the night as it ever had any other year, but we came out of it like thieves. As it turned out, the majority of the people who lived in this particular town saw very few kids on Halloween (remember, the houses were quite far apart), and as a result they gave out majorly nice goodies. I recall one house in particular that was way up on the top of a hill on a dead-end road; that guy was giving out big brown paper bags packed with goodies, and since it was near the end of the night by the time we got to him, he gave us each two. Another older woman had a giant bowl full of random stuff and just kept tossing huge handfuls of it at all of us. It may have been the biggest haul I’d ever gathered, and I can’t honestly say that I didn’t feel a little bit dirty about that, given that I was 16 at the time.

In later years my husband (then boyfriend) and I tried to be fun and cute, dressing up to give out candy, but over the years we’ve never had a lot of luck. We’ve always manged to live in areas where very few kids bothered to tread, so our efforts were generally in vain. But we always had one or two kids whose nights were made that much better by our playfulness. One year I made hubby into Goku from Dragonball Z, and the few kids who came to our apartment were flabbergasted. Unfortunately the pictures from that Halloween were lost on a bad hard drive, but another year we dressed up as Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees…
hallo.ween07 035-1…and there were definitely a few kids who fell in love with us that night. We eventually stopped dressing up, but we’ve always continued our tradition of giving out super-packed treat bags since we always get so few kids overall. I’ve heard more than one “Wow!” in my candy-distributing days, and I can’t say that those moments don’t make me smile like a fool.

These days my Halloweens are, of course, more focused on my daughter than anything else. We still make up great treat bags for the kids who make it to our door, and the hubby has taken to actually decorating the house (though that seems to be a tradition that’s gone by the wayside around these parts), but of course the important thing is the little missy’s costume. Before her first Halloween my husband suggested that I make her costumes from scratch, and to be honest I thought he was insane (a seamstress I am not), but it’s been a lot of fun so far.

20121021-050342.jpg10. October02I’ve gotten to use her as a canvas for our insanity, and next year she will be old enough to actually understand Halloween and tell me what she wants to be. Until then, however…we’ve got one more bout of retro fun to inflict upon our poor child…
1384065_10153462049010647_2110521018_n
Whoever knows who she is gets a virtual Halloween cookie. ^_~

Happy Halloween everybody!