Windows 10, iPhone SE, and Cats!

Windows 10 logo
image courtesy of neowin.net
As you may know if you have a PC, use a PC, know someone who uses a PC, or have been anywhere that modern human civilisation exists within the past year, Windows 10 is here. You may also know that the Window of opportunity (pun very much intended) to get your FREE upgrade is closing next month. So I did what most people do whenever an OS upgrade comes out - I waited.

Part of this was because I knew that any fresh program update has its fair share of bugs. I've always heard it's usually better to wait for the update to the update, or even the update to the update to the update. You know, for safe measure. But the biggest reason I waited so long to upgrade, nearly a full year, was because Windows 10 was reportedly not compatible with my aging graphics card...until now.

This week I received the pop-up notice, that same annoying notice everyone's been complaining about, that Windows 10 was now magically compatible...... and that the automatic upgrade was scheduled for three days out. Wait. Automatic?? I mean, sure I could cancel, but then I'd miss out on my free upgrade. Not cool, Microsoft, NOT COOL!

I backed up all my files, and prepared myself for a night of waiting for downloads and installs, and massive frustration. But surprisingly the whole process was very smoothe aside from a very long download time (though admittedly my connection was slow). And once fully installed, and all the privacy-invading features and add-on programs turned off, I wasted no time customizing all the features and turning everything I could purple. ^-^

I've heard that a lot of people have had trouble with the upgrade, but I've not had any trouble so far. Perhaps that's due in part because I waited so long, and perhaps because I disabled many of the extra add-ons and features. But so far, aside from a little navigation training, I'm liking the experience. Windows 10 is also said to come with a more robust anti-virus program than in previous versions, but I chose to get third-party anti-virus software  anyway. If you're looking for a recommendation, I went with Avast.

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iPhone SE promoAnd on the polar opposite side of the tech world, I recently parted ways with my beloved Android platform, that I've been with for many years, and crossed over to the dark side. Yep, I bought an iPhone SE. Waaaat, they had cookies! Really really awesome cookies.

I thought the decision over for many months before I even looked at the specs for current iPhone offerings. I've been a diehard Android fan for a long time, but as a designer and artist (when I'm not overly stressed to the point of exhaustion, and art block sets in - more on that in another post), it's really frustrating to see all the awesome design/art apps and tools go straight to iPhone/iPad first. It usually takes a while before they're available on the Android market, if at all. And even then, they might be buggy or missing elements featured in the iPhone/iPad version. Some games never see an Android build either. Not to mention, most of the really great songs I like come out on iTunes first, and may not ever get released (officially) elsewhere. Very annoying.

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were the models I was most interested in, but they were simply out of my measly budget, even on a payment plan. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were slightly cheaper but had only 8MP cameras (and A8 chips), compared to the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and iPhone SE, which all feature 12MP cameras. The front-facing camera is only 1.2MP, but you may notice I don't take many selfies anyway...

The iPhone SE screen is a bit smaller than my trusty ol' Droid Ultra, but the overall quality and pixel density is higher. The processor is faster too, using the same A9 chip featured in the 6S and 6S Plus. I also opted for the 64GB version, which is a HUGE improvement over my old 16GB Droid Ultra. Now I have more room for all those songs and apps I could never get until now! And I still managed to stay within my budget. Good deal!

I do already miss some features Android had that aren't present on the iPhone, such as Active Display, a Back button, and the ability to overlay running apps together, but overall I'm happy with the switch so far. Another perk is that finding cases and covers will be much easier now since the iPhone SE is the same size and body style as previous models. Most decals and cases are made for the standard iPhone size, as opposed to Android phones which come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Speaking of decals and cases, I'm opening a new shop on Red Bubble. More on that soon!

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CATS!!!

Kawaii Kitty logoIf you've known me for any length of time you'll know how much I love cats. You might also know about my new shop dedicated to all things kitty and kawaii. It's been difficult getting things off the ground this year with all my personal struggles. But when you're passionate about something, you continue to work hard to help it grow and blossom into something awesomely wonderful.

There are many great things in the works for my new shop, as well as other projects I've been working on. I recently added a special section to my newsletter for my Kawaii Kitty shop! Here I'll be sharing exclusive info and special sales coming up. But I'm also starting up this month a "Kawaii Kitty Game of the Month" feature!

Here I'll recommend a kitty-themed mobile game that I'll be playing that month. Everyone is encouraged to play along and share their experiences on social media, so there will be links to download each game. The following month's MEWS-letter (I couldn't help myself!) will have my thoughts on the game, complete with a 5-paw rating system. (Such kawaii-ness!!) If you're not already subscribed, you can do so here, or click the cute button on the sidebar. Can't wait to see you there!



Sakura Natsu ConIn addition to creating new kawaii products for my shop, coming up in August I'll be involved in the super awesome Sakura Natsu Convention here in the States. I'm so excited and honored to be a part of it! Check out their Tumblr and Instagram for all the details and cool stuff going on. They even have a super kawaii mascot!

The event is free to get in, but if you would like to donate monies to help make this the most awesome Japanese arts and anime convention ever, you can help support their work through their donations page too.

The founders of this festival have done an amazing job of organizing everything, and I'm really touched by their love for, and commitment to the Japanese arts and anime communities. I hope to see this one around for many decades to come. Definitely attend if you can!!



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Have you upgraded your PC to Windows 10? What was your experience like? Are you an Android-to-iPhone convert too? Lemme here about it! You can comment below, or connect with me on Twitter. Would love to hear from you!


Stay kawaii!  =^-^=
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Holiday Time...And Such

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wow. I can’t believe 2015 is already almost over! As with 2014, this year has been quite a struggle. But there have been many positive events. You might already know my brain is constantly developing ideas, and I’m happy to say I’m closing out 2015 in a better position to make the magic happen!

Since I've been absent for so long, let me tell you a little about my year, both the bad and the good. If you read my holiday post from last year, you’ll know my mother has been ill. This year, her health declined further, and she’s currently facing a life-altering decision. Also carrying on from last year are my financial worries, some mental and emotional strain, and a bit of melancholie hanging over me from being apart from friends and loved ones. And for the majority of this year I was still living in the same difficult situation. BUT! Unlike the previous few years, this year has brought some major changes for the better. I really feel like I can move forward and heal from the past.

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So what have I been doing all year? Well, perhaps the biggest news is that… I MOVED!! I won’t go into too much detail here, but let’s just say it was a most welcomed event! I’ve also been involved in a few artistic endeavors, such as the designs I created for a cool new board game, and an awesome Dr. Who themed wedding invitation designed for a close friend. I did manage to work on a few personal art pieces, as well as a couple blog posts, but none are finished. As I said, this year has been tough, and unfortunately art blocks and depression are part of that. Hopefully the artworks will be finished soon, though, as I’m feeling a bit better now.

There’s more! You may already know about my stationery shop Moxie Makery. This year I merged the shop with my existing Imaginate Designs shop, so all my handmade creations are now in one place. And more creations are in the works! If you’re signed up for my newsletter, you’ll get news soon about a few other projects in development…

Finally, I got to participate in an a Christmas Sock Exchange hosted by the awesome Kim Wedlock! It was a random match-up exchange. I was picked out of a hat to send gifts to her, while another cool blog by the name of Paper Lilly Leaf was randomly picked to give to me. You can check out Kim’s post to see what I sent her. Here's what I got:


  • * awesome handmade Christmas card!
  • * cute Santa comfy socks (that all the following goodies were tucked inside of)
  • * Fanta Orange Lip Smackers chapstick
  • * Haribo Starmix gummies (sooo good!!)
  • * Blooming Gorgeous brand bath fizzies and hand lotion (smells lovely!)
  • * adorable little plush snowman!!
  • * mini candy canes!
  • * tiny woodcut reindeer decorations… such a nice touch!



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So, lots of positive experiences this year, despite all the downsides. Looking back, this year feels almost like a beginning in a strange way. A new start. Like I've begun tearing down walls that kept me from reaching my goals and dreams. I'm thankful to have had the opportunities given to me this year. Most of all, I’m thankful to have amazing friends and loved ones in my life, no matter where they are. They have helped me maintain a bit of sanity during the tough times, and shared in my joy in good times. I only hope I’ve been even half as much of a blessing to each of them as they have been to me.

I hope you and your family have a safe and wonderful holiday, and a happy new year. Looking forward to new opportunities and happiness in 2016!!


^-^~
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Happy Holidays, my friends!!

Wow, Christmas is already here again! This has been an…interesting year, to say the least. Now it’s time for celebrating with friends and family, and being thankful for what, and who we have in our lives. For those of you who have been with me throughout my first year of newsletters (yes, I have a newsletter!), you’ll know that I’ve featured a number of wonderfully talented artists and crafters from Etsy and beyond. I am thankful to each and every one of them for allowing me to share their amazing work with you, my lovely readers, and for just being awesome in general!

In case you’ve missed a few, or all of them, here they are again, listed by month, as well as links to the original newsletters they were featured in:

I wish all of these amazing and talented artists a very merry Christmas and happy Holidays, and that they continue to be successful in the coming year!!

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I have to say, I intended to have this post up long before now. In fact, I wanted to do a “12 Days of Christmas” special for my newsletter subscribers…but that didn’t happen. I've just had so much going on lately that this simply was not possible. This year has been full of surprises, and not necessarily the nice ones.  I lost my job in May. My mother was hospitalized through much of this year and has been in very poor health. My car broke down and I didn't have the funds to get it repaired, and still don't. My living arrangements haven't changed, and are still very difficult to deal with. And on top of it all, I’ve lost my financial independence. Certainly NOT the good year I had hoped for.

Still, there have been many things to be thankful for. My new Etsy shop, Moxie Makery, is still around, and has provided me with enough income this year to scrape by. My close friends are still there for me, even if they are now long-distance, and I’ve made many new online friends all around the world. Thanks to this, I've been able to improve my Japanese language skills...a little. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, being out of work has enabled me to take care of my mother, who needs much help due to her illness. She's also been kind enough to allow me the use of her car when I need transportation! And although my life is a bit chaotic right now, I’m still relatively healthy...if not a few pounds heavier thanks to all the Holiday festivities. Speaking of which, I think it's about time to really put Geek Fit out there, and in a big way!

I also started my own Patreon page where people can help directly support and influence my work, and also get really cool perks and exclusive stuff! Next year I plan to grow my new YouTube channel as well. I currently only have one poorly-edited video (hey, it's my first one so don't judge!), but you can get an idea of what my channel will be about, at least. It's a start! I really want to build up these networks and get closer to my online friends and supporters. More recently, I’ve been involved in a few artistic opportunities that hopefully will advance my digital art and graphic design career! I’ll be sharing the work I’ve been doing on these projects publicly once the work is finished…because, you know, it’s top-secret and all that.

Let's not forget about my Etsy shop! My sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled brain has been coming up with all kinds of new ideas lately for new items to sell in my Etsy shop for 2015, as well as new designs and artwork pieces to work on. If I can keep up this creative firestorm then I think next year will be full of surprises…of the awesome kind!

And so, as this year comes to a close, and we’re all celebrating the warmth and magic of the season, I want to finish out this post by wishing all of you a very merry Christmas and happy Holidays, for those of you who celebrate, and to thank you so much for all your love and support. See you next year!!

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BONUS!! Enjoy this sweet, wintery story -- a free game by Simogo!
The Sensational December Machine by Simogo



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How Mysterious is Your Mailbox?



Who wouldn’t like getting a mystery box full of unknown items you may or may not need or want? I know I would! We’ve all heard about these “subscription boxes.” Basically, you pay a fee every month (or so, depending on the service) and get a themed package delivered to your door full of awesome surprise goodies. But do you know just how many different companies exist?! Loads!!

I did a little research…ok, a lot of research…and found a ton of these mystery box services. There are quite literally 100s of services out there to choose from! So, for this post I have rounded out some of the most interesting ones out there…that are actually affordable (seriously, some of the boxes I found were over $50-$200 a month!!). Here they are, broken down into categories just for you!


As a fan of anime and Kawaii culture, of course I’d have several listed in this category! First up, there’s Betoyo Bento. Betoyo Bento offers the very best of anime and kawaii goodies, all packed into one cute box. The box itself even comes wrapped in a pretty red ribbon! This box is good for both guys and girls who are into anime.

Next, there’s Kawaii Box. This one is like Betoyo Box, except it’s geared more for girls, and is only about all things “cute.” Expect to find many chibi figurines and kitties!

Then, there’s Kawaii Monthly. You might think, “what’s the difference between this and the aforementioned Kawaii Box?” Well, this one is also aimed at girls and packed with all things “cute,” but it also includes all sorts of Japanese foods and beauty products.

The final box in this category is Q Box. Q Box is another girlie mystery box, but this one has not only really nice beauty products, but also jewelry and various everyday useful items from Japan and South Korea.

I actually was really interested in both Q Box and Betoyo Bento, as they seemed to include a wider variety of items relevant to my own tastes. But, to each their own. That’s the great thing about all these services – you can choose the service that gives you what you really want! It’s also worth mentioning that the awesome online anime streaming site Crunchyroll offers their own mystery anime DVDs box from time to time, and so does Tokyo Otaku Mode, an otaku's virtual paradise. Check them out!


Alright all you foodies, here are some of the best mystery boxes just for you! We have Try the World, which offers a neatly packed box of food items from a different country selected every two months. You can enjoy the unique foods each country has to offer, and learn a bit about the culture there.

Next is Japan Crate. This one looks totally amazing! You can choose from three box sizes, and each will contain only the best of Japanese snacks and sweets. A great compliment to one of the Anime/Kawaii boxes above!

Then there’s A Kitchen Box, which was cool before you knew about it. This box contains a hipster-worthy collection of foods, recipes, and kitchen items to inspire your culinary efforts. They even include ultra-hip music downloads from obscure artists…you know, totally non-mainstream.

Graze offers a collection of healthy snacks. From what I could tell they send a small selection wholesome snack foods from eco-conscious brands. And it’s all under $10!

Finally, we have Bulu Box, another healthy snack box. This service offers you healthy, weight-conscious snacks and supplements to aid you on your quest to be (and stay) fit and healthy. They even have an app for that!


Now this is perhaps my favorite category here, as you all know what a geeky nerd I am! We’ll start with Loot Crate. It’s one of the most widely-known geeky subscription boxes out there, and for good reason! You get a variety of geeky, nerdy stuff, with a different themed box each month.
*UPDATE: Loot Crate now has themed boxes!! Go check 'em out!*

Another cool service is Nerd Block. Same type of stuff, but Nerd Block offers you a few choices of themed boxes such as Horror or Arcade, and even a Jr. Box for the little nerds in your family!

There’s also 1up Box. This is a relatively new service, from what I understand, but they are no less awesome! Their September 2014 box featured a T-shirt I REALLY would have loved to have!!

Fan of comics and such? Look no further than Comic Bento! Comic Bento sends you a box jam-packed full of comics and graphic novels from big name brands, and some lesser-known-but-still-awesome ones, for your reading pleasure.

BoxyChan is another mystery box, but this one’s unique in that you can actually choose fandom-specific themes. They currently have over 15 box fandoms to choose from, such as anime, Star Wars, Hello Kitty, and even Final Fantasy. FINAL FANTASY!!!

For gamers, there’s also Indie Box. Indie Box sends you full (NOT demo) collector’s edition games and other related collectable items which may even include the game’s original soundtrack. Yes, I said FULL GAMES!!

Do you play Magic: The Gathering? Then you need this next box! Monthly Magic Box gives players all the gear they need to be awesome.  Each month you'll get booster packs, game gear, and collector cards, as well as other random Magic: The Gathering items…maybe even a T-shirt.


Not only am I a geeky nerd who likes anime, but I’m also a graphic designer. So, this next category is dedicated to all us creatives! Whimsey Box was the first arts and crafts box I came across, and I think you guys will love it. Each month they pick a project, and send out all the materials you need to create it. You can also buy supplies for other projects on their site.

Art Snacks is next. And no, it’s not a box of foods in artsy-looking packaging (although, their logo makes me want a soft pretzel for some reason...). This box contains a selection of professional grade artist tools and supplies. If you’ve ever seen some of these items in a store and wanted to try them out, here’s your chance!

I love the name of this next one: Craft What?!? Not only do they donate a portion of the sales to charities, which is really cool, but the site also states these crafts are good for “ages 3 to 300!” Apparently they have traveled back 300 years to bring some 18th century geezer back with them just to test out this theory. Now that’s dedication!

Lastly, we have Pigment + Palette. This one is essentially the same concept as Art Snacks, but Pigment + Palette features a special artist every month for you to learn about and admire. It's so amazing that they do this! If you're an artists who would like to be featured, they have a contact form on the site where you can apply.


Finally, here are some mystery subscription boxes that don’t exactly fit in the above categories, but are equally awesome. Birch Box is filled with personal care products tailored to your preferences. They have one for men and one for women.

Fresh Neck: it's like Netflix for ties! (Seriously, that's on their site.) If you guys (and girls!) like to wear sleek, stylish neckties and other accessories, and like to keep it “fresh,” this one's perfect!

Another style I’ve been into lately is the Steampunk genre. Needless to say I was excited when I found that the people at Clockwork Couture have a Steampunk subscription box!! (Bonus props if you recognize one of their female models – if so, tell me in the comments!)

Want to travel to France? French Box can help you experience all the beauty and sophistication that France has to offer, without the hassle of the airport…or TSA. The French Box site is so pretty, too! The packaging of this box is gorgeous, as I’ve read and seen from other reviewers, which adds that bit of “wow!” to the whole experience. I would definitely love to try this one!

Another one for the ladies, Ipsy gives you a selection of makeup and personal care products, usually full-size, to try out from a wide variety of professional makeup brands. Fun fact: founder and spokeswoman for Ipsy Michelle Phan has her own makeup line, and did a really awesome Hatsune Miku makeup tutorial!



*If you like cosplay like I do, also check out some of her other anime-inspired tutorials.*

And finally, one for the guys: Manpacks (not THAT man pack! Get your mind out of the gutter!). This box o’ man stuff provides all the essentials a guy needs, without the hassle of shopping. Set your preferences. Create your quarterly shipment. Done. Now you have time to go do more important manly things.


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So there you have it, 26 awesome mystery subscription boxes to try out. Most of these also include free USA shipping, too! Now, I’ve not had the pleasure of trying any of these subscription boxes out, but I would love to have the opportunity to. If I am ever able to try any of these out you can be sure I’ll do a special unboxing video for you guys on my new YouTube channel!  In the meantime, if you have tried any of these services, or know of other awesome services not on this list, tell me about your experiences in the comments below!

*UPDATE: since creating this post I've had the amazing opportunity to try out Japan Crate! And as promised, I made an unboxing video I think you're gonna love. Also, it's my first ever YouTube video, and I had a lot of fun making it. Hope you enjoy it! If you do, please leave a like and comment, and subscribe so I can make more content!*
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Deep Midnight Musings

As a member of the Etsy community I have met some really fascinating artisans who's work is truly unique and inspiring.  Or just really awesome!  Earlier this year I happened upon a unique perfume oils shop who's beautiful product imagery and engaging product descriptions absolutely blew me away.  I had to try these perfumes out for myself!  The name?  Deep Midnight perfumes.

After sampling several scents I can now say without a doubt that the quality is amazing, and I encourage everyone I can to purchase their perfumes from this, and ONLY this shop.  There are many that I like, and many more that I'd like to try, but here are my two most favorites so far, with partial descriptions taken from the listings themselves.

  • Shangri-la: "the mythical kingdom hidden deep in the Himalayas, was the idyllic utopia sought after by Eastern and Western explorers alike. It was hidden valley of breathtaking beauty and regal temples, a people rooted in simplicity and meditative ritual... truly an exotic earthy paradise sought after in dream after dream."
  •  Twilight Nightingale: "Elven Maiden Lúthien was called Tinúviel by her love Beren, and in the Elven tongue it's meaning is "nightingale" or "daughter of twilight." Lúthien's hair was as dark twilight, and her song which was as beautiful as the lark's, could release the cold hold of winter and bring about the flowers of spring." 

 
Every one of these perfume listings has an intriguing, well-thought-out description just like these, based on folklore, historical events, or pure inspired fantasy.  Just beautiful! Cat, fine artisan and owner of this lovely perfumery, was kind enough to let me pick her brain, and to share what inspires her. The following is an interview with Cat...

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Q.What inspired you to venture into perfumery? What made you decide to create a business from it?
A. I began creating scents for myself and family and friends in 1996 mostly because commercial sprays and perfumes from department stores would trigger my asthma and I still wanted to smell nice. I always loved perfume oils and soaps my mom bought me as a teen. In 2003, I began selling a line of soaps, lip balms, and perfume oils locally in artist co-ops. When I discovered etsy, it was just a natural progression to move on to internet selling. It began as a side business while I worked in Eastern medicine, shiatsu therapy and acupuncture, but now it is my main business.

Q. How do you begin the process of designing a new perfume?
A. Usually I start with letting my mind wander about and I think…”could I create a perfume that smells like this, or takes a person to this place and time?” A lot of different genres inspire me and I like to tell stories and write poetry and photograph people so it all comes together. I start by testing out my “recipes” or ideas for bases and build on that and work on a scent anywhere from four weeks to a year depending on what I want to achieve and how fussy I get with myself and the feedback I get from my local testers.

Q. How would your describe your own personal style?
A. Well, I am an eclectic mix for sure. I love dark and gothic styles, romantic -Victorian -bohemian soul sort of styles, earthy and eco-friendly styles, and easy, clean and casual styles. You can see all those vibes reflected in my wardrobe, jewelry, home design, and also what I wear as scents. So I really have a strange aesthetic. I like being a little odd though; it keeps people wondering about you ;)

Deep Midnight Perfumes photos and artwork
Q. Your photography creates a beautiful visual for each of the perfumes it represents. How do you choose the imagery?
A. If it’s a person I use, I have a large number of friends who larp and attend Cons so I can pick a face or person to “represent” my scent. Sometime to me it’s a place or simply items that reflect what I want to convey about the scent. I enjoy using artwork too from artists I know.

Q. Different scents can bring one back to another time in one's life, for many reasons. Is there a particular scent of your own creation that brings back good memories for you?
A. I think Tenebrae is the one that brings me back to a very special experience as described in my listing for it. I worked on that scent for over 18 months…for me personally; I wanted to achieve it to relive that experience. When I finally finished it and it was the way I wanted it be as a perfume, I actually broke down and cried. I do have a lot of special ones I have worked on for myself and then shared in my shop, but Tenebrae brings back a very strong memory.

Q. I understand you attend / are a vendor at a lot of conventions. What is the best experience you've ever had?
A. The best time was at TeslaCON I would have to say. Amazing costumes and fun events and I met a lot of wonderful people!

Q. Any current favorite books, music, TV shows?
A. I read a lot to wind down at night, mostly fantasy or non-fiction history. Music wise, I love Irish music, Nordic music, classical, alt/goth and classic rock. I usually work to classical music as it soothes me as I fill orders and create. I like alpha waves! TV….well, I mostly binge watch on Netflix when I have time or watch PBS online. I love all the typical supernatural, fantasy shows out there. I like Netflix original series too. And I love BBC shows.

Q. What do you geek out over?
A. Lord of the Rings and anything Tolkien or fantasy. Rocks and minerals…since I was a kid; I love collecting them and studying them. And I go crazy if I can find really good history books on Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Great Britain. I have college degree in Anthropology, History, Legal Studies and Chinese Medicine. I try to keep up on the latest good nonfiction in all areas (well except legal).

Q. What hobbies do you enjoy?
A. I love jewelry crafting, reading, drawing, writing poetry and short stories, cooking, photography, the outdoors and spending time with my family and fur babies. Quite a few other things too. I like to be busy.

Q. If you could travel anywhere this very moment where would you go?
A. In real life, Scotland. In my fantasy life…back to the Shire of course!                                                       
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As you can see, Cat is pretty awesome.  And to all you guys, she makes scents for you, too!  In fact, my brother's current favorite is Pendragon.  Believe me, he wears it often!  Cat has also just released her 2014 Fall/Halloween scents.  As with all her other scents and listings, the photos and descriptions are wonderful and quite imaginative.  I especially love the descriptions for Faerie Feast and Drunken Pumpkin.  You can actually purchase the whole 2014 Fall/Halloween collection sampler here.  There's definitely something for all tastes.

Follow Cat on these social networks:

Special thanks to Cat for allowing me to share this interview with you.  I really enjoyed it, and look forward to purchasing more beautifully crafted scents for my collection!  Have you purchased scents from Deep Midnight Perfumes?  Will you in the future?  Tell me about it in the comments!

** All photos and descriptions used by permission. **
The product descriptions, product names, notated photographic images, logos, banners and product/label designs are the intellectual property of “Deep Midnight Perfumes” and may not be reproduced in any way without written consent. Copyright 2010-present Deep Midnight Perfumes All Rights Reserved.
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Let Your True Self Shine



So, I wanted to share with you an uplifting message I came across today.  For those of you who are struggling with feelings of self-doubt, a seeming inability to rise above the deep, dark waters of harsh criticism or even rejection, you are not alone.  Many of us allow ourselves to be pulled into these depths without realizing we have a unique purpose that may not be in line with “normal” ways of thinking.  For some of us, the effects can be seriously damaging, causing us to bury our imaginative spirit, never to find our own voice.  I have experienced this personally, but I'll leave that for another post.  Let's be clear: it is NEVER ok to put someone down for being who they are. 

Now, as a fellow creative/geeky-nerd I’ve had my fair share of raised eyebrows, criticisms, and downright rejections.  I’ve learned to take advice from the criticisms from those who actually care and use it to become a better person, and to ignore all the haters.  But it wasn’t always that way.  And I still struggle with feelings of self-doubt and ineptitude.  Thinking I'm just not good enough, or that I'm too...odd.  I think for all us creative people it kinda goes with the territory.  And that's OK!  Even though it’s tough to go through, if you can take the positive from it you can build yourself back up and create something truly extraordinary.  So what’s the uplifting message I mentioned, you ask?

One word: Miku!  Yep, the adorable, blue-haired Vocaloid singer we all know and love.  Today I came across a new song featuring the digital diva herself, created by the totally awesome Japanese group Supercell.  This song called “Odds and Ends” was written by the group’s founder Ryo, and is said to be a personal account of his experiences with being ostracized for his own interests and passions, and how he found his voice.

To me, the song and video are a message of hope and encouragement.  In the video, a robot is shown sifting through piles of junk, which we can think of here as bits of negativity, and through hard work and determination, despite setbacks, ends up creating Miku, which we can think of as the positive outcome of our determination to keep going.  It shows that we can create something real and beautiful out of the junk pile, and that this creation can help us to see the beauty in ourselves again.

So, wanna see that music video?  Here it is!



So what you can take away from this post is, no matter what people do or say, or how many times you fail at something, keep believing in yourself. Your inner light will shine through to the world.  Have you ever been criticized or outcast for your quirks or passions?  How did you overcome your hardships to find your own voice?  What did the song and music video mean to you?  Tell me in the comments below!

There are many English translations for this song available, but this one probably best captures the feel of the lyrics.  Go check them out and sing along!
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Life Just Smacked Me in the Face!


First, let me just preface this blog post by saying that I have always been a believer of things happening for a reason. There are no real coincides. If you think there are, it’s only because you haven’t yet learned the reason behind them. With that off my chest, let’s move on. Shall we?



To really understand just how hard said face was smacked, I’ll have to go back in time. And no, I didn’t steal the Tardis. A few years ago, 2011 to be exact, I had just completed my internship for my chosen field, Graphic Design, but had not found work. Well, three unemployed months and a mostly-used credit card limit later I was finally hired by an awesome website designer, and could resume supporting myself with actual income. Sweet! I enjoyed working for “Ms. Moxie”. We had so much fun, and the creativity that worked its way out onto the screens and in print was amazing! We were a team, and I felt like I was on the right track. But then, in 2012 I had to relocate due to financial troubles.

Until then I had been making it on my own: renting my own place, paying my own bills, and enjoying my time out with friends. However, as I had been forced to move into someone else’s house, I had to adjust my living habits and schedules. And the adjustments were NOT easy!! The living arrangements themselves were hard enough to deal with. But traveling over an hour to my job, driving an old car that was moodier than me on my worst PMS days, made things very difficult. Not to mention the amount of gas I had to pay for!! I began to feel trapped.

2013 was merely a continuation of my troubles. My boss went through a troubling time of her own, and decided to have me work from home. “Great!” I thought. I could save the nearly $400 a month I’d been spending on gas. However, my saved gas money somehow ended up getting forked over for other expenses. I also saw my mother’s health declining. The stress of my living situation, my job, my finances, and now my mother’s poor health was really beginning to take its toll.

Now, as you may have read, I was all excited about 2014. And the first few months really showed some promise! If you’ve read up on my Moxie Makery post you’ll know that I now own a second Etsy shop, and you know how I acquired it. I was also contacted by three super awesome ladies about a totally amazing opportunity! That stupid Saturn Transit was finally beginning to reveal its rewards. But life was about to throw another curve ball.

My mother was hospitalized at the end of April, and again mid-May. It was during her second week-long stay in the hospital that I lost my job. See, as great a team as my boss and I were, we were still dealing with an unusually dry season. The business just wasn’t there, and my job was on the line. We tried a few weeks of reduced hours in the hopes that business would pick up. It didn’t, and my boss finally had to make the heart-wrenching decision to let me go. That’s just a downside of having your own business; there are no guarantees.

But I still had my new shop, right? Of course! I thought, “sales are still up, so I’ll just put in applications for jobs, and in the meantime my shop will supply me with enough funds to keep going.” But then, my shop sales started to dwindle, as the summer months aren’t exactly the best time of year for stationery supplies. As I said, when owning your own business, there are no guarantees. Unfortunately my mother ended up back in the hospital AGAIN, having had a total of four surgeries for the same issue! And this is where I am now: no job, little to no shop sales in either store, a mother in poor health, and still living in a difficult situation. Oh yeah, and I’m still trying to pay off that credit card from 2011. Face thoroughly smacked.

However, I believe there is something to be gained from all this hardship. Remember what I said in the beginning? That everything happens for a reason? Well, here are my thoughts. My forced move may have been the beginning of a huge life lesson. I’ve had to learn to adapt to difficult situations, learn a new way of thinking, and, most (nerve-wracking) of all, I’ve had to learn the fine art of Patience. Damn you, Saturn Transit!

image of space
"Roche Limit" by Digital Blasphemy

But seriously, I can now see the links between events. Maybe I had to lose my job so that I could take care of my mother in her time of need. Maybe I was blessed with the Moxie Makery shop in order to survive this time financially and to aid in my future business success. Maybe I had to work from home so that my car wouldn’t break down sooner from all the traveling, and so my money could be freed up for the other expenses. Maybe I crossed paths with my now-former boss so that I could learn how to manage a freelance graphic/web design business, and to eventually acquire the Etsy shop I'm depending on now. And maybe, just maybe I was planted in the living situation I’m in now in order to help the people I’m living with somehow. And there may be many more lessons I’ve yet to learn. It’s all connected.

So, my final thought is that, no matter how difficult your situation is, no matter how much you want to just give up, remember that everything happens for a reason, and that the reason is to help you grow emotionally and/or spiritually. There is always a light in there somewhere to help you find your way, an inspiration to keep you motivated, if you just look for the positive. If you change your way of thinking you will find those links and find your path.

So, have you ever been in difficult situations where you were able to find your way out? If so, let’s talk in the comments below! I’d love to hear about how you did it. Maybe your story can be my inspiration!
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It's Going to Be a Good Year

Happy New Year, everyone!!  And for any of you who, as I did, experienced a rather…shall we say, unimpressive year for 2013, please join me in bidding adieu to the previous 365 days encompassed in what we as a modern society collectively call a “craptastic” year.  Say it with me: “GOOD RIDANCE!!!”

2013 was not such a great year for me, for many reasons…though I wouldn’t necessarily say it was uneventful.  We kicked off the year with a busted septic tank.  Without the necessary funds to pay a professional to repair it, we decided to DIY it.  We spent a fair amount of money buying what we needed throughout the project, but FAR less than we would have had to pay someone else, and we were able to repair the septic tank perfectly well…after about six weeks…  Yeah, pretty “crappy.”  (Get it?!)  And that’s pretty much how the whole year went.  (By the way, a BIG thank you to my friends who provided the use of their laundry machines and showers while we were repairing the septic tank…that’s real friendship right there!) To finish off my fantastically crappy 2013, I received my “Christmas present” from Santa a bit ahead of schedule: a cold.  Thanks Santa, you shouldn’t have.  No really, you shouldn’t have.  Now, I have to ask: if I had really been on the naughty list, couldn’t you have just given me coal like everyone else?  I mean, honestly!!  I am better now, but still have that annoying, lingering cough that keeps me (and probably everyone else in the neighborhood) up at night.

 ~~~~~oooOO0OOooo~~~~~
Now that I’m done with my little gripe-fest, it wouldn’t be fair to go on without acknowledging some of the good memories of 2013.  So, here they are:
  • I became an aunt…again!  My brother and his wife had a cute little baby boy mid-December.  Very healthy, and very much his father’s son!
  • Over the summer I had the chance to promote and possibly host a special viewing event for an awesome new movie called Rock Jocks.  It didn’t reach its full sponsorship level, and so the movie was not shown, but it was still exciting to be involved.
  • I made a new friend…from Japan!!   We found each other through an online language exchange forum, as I am trying to learn Japanese and she’s learning English (though, her English skills are FAR more advanced than my Japanese skills!!).  She’s very kind and energetic and is a crafter like me, so we have a good bit in common.  We are now even friends on Facebook, so we get to share and comment on awesome things like this:

  • Finally, I also had the opportunity to meet a few inspiring artists, authors and crafters who were wonderful enough to let me share their creations with you.

~~~~~oooOO0OOooo~~~~~
Anyway, now it’s time to get down to the real topic of this post.  After much research I believe that this year, 2014, is set to be a great year, at least from my standpoint.  Allow me to lay out the evidence that proves my theory (yes, more bullet points):
  • If you’re into numerology at all, the numbers in the year 2014 add up to 7, which not only happens to be my favorite number, but is also my “life path” number…apparently…
    Radiant Orchid
  • Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2014 is “Radiant Orchid.”  In case you don't know, Pantone is THE authority for color matching and standardization internationally, and the go-to for all us designers and digital creatives.  You can learn more from this awesome articleThis one is a double-win.  Not only is this color in my favorite color family – Purple – but orchids are one of my favorite flowers!!
  • I’ve been introduced to a lot of cats lately, both in person and via online sharing.  Now, before you start questioning the validity of this bullet point entry, let me give you a little insight.  Cats, in many cultures including Japan, are considered very lucky.  In fact, in Japan there is something called 招き (maneki-neko) which for simplicity’s sake could be considered as the Eastern equivalent to what the “lucky rabbit’s foot” is in the West.  (Though, there's a bit more to it than that.)  See this awesome Wikipedia article here for more info.  I also happen to like cats…a lot…can you see where I’m going with this?

~~~~~oooOO0OOooo~~~~~
Within the first week of the year there have already been some really great happenings, and a few surprises of the good variety, too.  And, thanks to some major brainstorming sessions I’ve had lately, I’ve been able to break out of my creative slump and get back in business.  Don’t forget to check up on my other blog pages here for updates.  I have many plans for Geek Fit, and will be expanding my Anime Favs page soon.  Now of course, you can sign up for my brand-spanking-new newsletter (the sign-up link is in the sidebar...shameless plug, I know) and you’ll be the first to know of my latest sleep-deprivation-induced musings.  If things keep up like this I can only imagine how awesome the rest of 2014 will be!

So, how was your 2013, and what ideas do you have that will help make your 2014 even better?  I’d love to hear from you, so tell me all about it in the comments!
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