Monday, May 29, 2017

Everlane Review | The Form Crossover Sandal

As a long-time subscriber, first-time buyer, to the transparent but high-quality retail brand Everlane, I decided to give their newest Form sandals a shot, after reading what looks like every Startup and Kickstarter's campaign of a minimalist product. What does differ Everlane from other smaller and online-based retailers is being open and transparent on how they are manufactured.
In the case on these sandals, they are made in Italy.
This product stood out to me, starting with the Email Subject Name they opted for to advertise these: Give Your Cork Sandals a Break. 
Ah yes, the infamous Birkenstocks. While comfortable, and take time to break to, they are a staple go-to for many consumers. Myself, once upon a time, included.
However, the cork showed wear much sooner than expected, and I had to retire the show after just over three years.
Via their website, here's what they claim about these sandals that surpass any cork-based sandals:
Our Form Sandals are designed with a sole that’s already formed to your foot.It’s kind of like we broke them in—so you don’t have to.Made with soft Italian leather so it improves with wear, andengineered contouring (quite the buzzword!)
They also sweetened the deal by adding a free unknown French nailpolish brand for the first 1000 orders. Why not?

The package arrived a little under two weeks since my purchase. Upon opening the box, I found a beautifully packaged grey show box. Upon lifting the lid I found a Thank You card (two in fact), my shipping manifest, a card specifying the free nail polish I got, and both the sandals and nail polish carefully packaged.

I forget if I had a choice on the nail colour, but I love the bright red and how it will look with these sandals.

As for the sandals...

They are not as milennial pink as I expected. More nude, but I am ok with it...for now. It could be the lighting. 

Upon trying them on, they are very comfortable and as claimed, no need for breaking in. As I slip them on and walk around, I can already tell these will be my go-to summer sandal.

As other reviewers noted, there is a sticker place on the back to prevent the sandals from getting scuffed while shipping. While this is considerate, the sticker is hard to remove and leaves a tiny bit of residue. One could argue that I don't know how to peel off stickers well, but if many other people were annoyed enough by this to leave a review about it, it can't just be me.

Speaking of the bottom, the bottom of the sandals feel very soft as well. I am a bit anxious of the wear that will happen to the bottom of these sandals but I'll just have to find out as I continue wearing them in the long-run.

I haven't done a review like this in a very long time. Perhaps with my upcoming JapanCrate I'll do another review. Maybe, maybe a video.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Life. The Universe. Everything.

I always find it amusing as to how much I have dedicated myself to Blogger. Despite the newer, more easily accessible blogs out there on the web today, I stay loyal to Blogger.
I've had this blog since 2007/2008 and it's always crazy looking at my past attempts to become the "successful fashion blogger" to my game development and the random critiques on cafes that gave my free vouchers.
While this blog should really be titled "Clusterfuck" I decided to share some process of my concept art.
This class is sadly my back-burner class (eep) but I really want to shine with some great artwork to show off to portfolio investor people..things.
And with the Oscars tonight and based on one of the movie excerpts I'm choosing for the piece above, I thought it was fitting to paint something showing tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Take note, this is unfinished as I (thankfully) only need rough work for tomorrow.
Hopefully this post will get me back into blogging more often. And who knows! Maybe, just maybe, my birthday blog will be edited and posted.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Grand Opening: Neo Coffee Bar - FREE Small Coffee

Short post (#sorrynotsorry) but today's the grand opening of Neo Coffee Bar and to celebrate their opening, they're giving customers free coffee!

Neo Coffee Bar is a Japanese-esque cafe that has all the kinds of espresso and latte you need (AND coffee) with Japanese desserts like cream puffs and cake rolls!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the food, but I ordered a pistachio and raspberry cake roll and had a black coffee to complement the sweet dessert.

For starters, it wasn't as sweet as expected. As a lover for raspberries and pistachios, I found it light but sweet. They serve many kinds of cake rolls, including their classic which is matcha and cream.

The coffee was great too! If I was a George Brown or just living/working around King and Sherbourne, I would frequent here a lot more! They also have a stamp card!

Be sure to stop by before 5 pm today to get four complimentary free coffee!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A Letter to Miranda July, and my overall issue regarding casting minorities in Hollywood

Dear Miranda July,

I recently read your most recent and debut novel The First Bad Man. I finished it within a week, which took longer than expected due to my hectic schedule at that time. I never bought it. I never buy books, especially novels (the only exceptions are some graphic novels, literary classics and some used novels/novels on sale). Instead, I placed it on hold and waited as the 455-something-th person in line. I was fine. In fact, it built my anticipation for reading this more.

Before I get on to the issues regarding this novel, let me go back in time to when I first discovered Miranda July. A very close friend of mine was reading No one Belongs Here More Than You when we were in high school. The stark yellow of the slim book intrigued me and the your deer-caught-in-headlights look on the back cover. So much so that when I was sixteen, I accumulated enough money of my own to purchase one out of the two copies sold at my local Chapters (at that time).

At the time, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Truly. Some scenes still stick with me, which in the case of other books I've read,  have been long since forgotten about.

From there, you were (kind of?) on my radar. I remembered your limited edition of No one Belongs Here More Than You with the variation of book colour choices. I remembered your art installation [specifically Eleven Heavy Things], which I wrote a whole critique on in my art class.

I later watched Me And You And Everyone We Know when spotting it at my public library (for context: I volunteered at my local public library and one of the duties was shelving DVDs. Scored some pretty rad ones as I had first grabs at a lot of them!). I didn't finish it (not in the hating-it way but I-honestly-can't-remember-why way) but one scene in particular (the two girls watching the guy looking at the girls from his window scene) was one was brought laughter from both my dad and myself. 

Another project that popped up on my radar was We Think Alone. I subscribed, read some, forgot all about it. At the time, I didn't mind Dunham so I wasn't surprised that she was one of the correspondence.
Now, I'm not surprised they're friends, and not in a good way.

Another project she did with some fashion designer was a bag that represented a women's "going out for the night/club/bar/event" bag.
It's a clutch called "The Miranda". It retails for $1500 (still on sale by the way. Gee, I wonder why). It showed me personally of a too good for you air and attitude and exuding this bougie-ness which I never thought she had prior to this project.

Then, and I don't know how I discovered this (by myself anyways) on my newsfeed, but Miranda July was coming to Toronto to talk about her book (mentioned first paragraph), her life and other artworks, etc. I was estatic. So much so, I was extremely disappointed when I found out that tickets were sold out (it was a free event) but hopeful when I read that I might have a chance if I come 15 min before the show started (in case of no-shows).

I show up to the event with this glimmer of hope and luckily for myself if worked out. I sat down, listened attentively, had a question (but didn't have a chance to ask it) and even re-purchased the damn yellow book so I could get it signed (in all fairness, the first one I bought as a ripe teenager got warped in a rainstorm). They were selling The First Bad Man there too, don't get me wrong, but to me it's not worth $25.00.

And boy am I glad I did not spend that amount.

As I read the book, something was rubbing me the wrong way about it. At first I couldn't place my finger on it, but soon I came to the conclusion: race.
Yes, race. Yes, I understand that most people in the United States are white. Yes, books are allowed to describe race. No, they should not be done (anymore anyways) in the manner July used. Ever.
It's a little subtle at first, but then becomes a pattern. Consistent.

Here's an example.
Any character that's described and is white is described by their expression, hair, eyes, lips, face-shape, clothes, everything to the air they produce.

Then, there's "The Indian mother", and "The Asian chubby girl" and "The Hispanic women"



Besides this being the worst book of your, and goddamn Lena Dunham praising it, pushing this book into hypedome (didn't know that until recently but not surprised), this irked me to no end. I'm comparing this to the first Hunger Games novel, to which the author described people of colour by their features and not just race. It brings the issue of your perception of people that aren't white like you and encourages society of how other races should be described, which is entirely wrong.

It bothered me to a point where I was trying to re-collect the memories of your short stories, and I couldn't for the life of me remember such atrociousness about race. However, I'm doubting that at the moment and will go back to that book to confirm.

I hope one fine day (but in reality never)  read this and acknowledge my problem with the book. It it a serious issue amongst the numerous issues minorities deal with that while may seem slight, has a much bigger impact than you can imagine.

Yours truly,


 PS. Somebody? More like Nobody (seriously, no one bothers being the messenger).

Which brings me to Hollywood and media with minorities.
It is a huge issue still to see other races case in titular roles, or have any speaking role in a film (when it is not a film based on colour as the main theme). This is such a huge issue still because at this point in the century, any goddamn fucking character played in a film (minus a biopic) can and should be played by anyone.

Race. Does. Not. Matter. When. Casting. Roles.

And yet, it does.
Don't bullshit me about "not enough minorities want to be in Hollywood". That is bullshit and you are fed lies from other people or are in serious denial.

Yes, there's The Mindy Project. But that' one, one. And after the black nurse on the show, it's all white people.

And don't get me started on the "token black guy/girl" which nowadays just is "token minority" in media.

I am riled up about this because it's 2015 and unless we start altering things, it's never going to be altered. So many people of colour are struggling in Hollywood and while casting directors are to blame, so are so many more people out there, July included.

With all this in mind, please check out Buzzfeed's article (aka my inspiration for this additional rant as this sums up my issue with Hollywood so beautifully) on Dylan Merron's work.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Design Exchange: Panam Games Mobile Game + Podcasts I Listen to While I Intern

I've been offered an internship position commissioned to work on an HTML5 game based around Design Exchange's Panam exhibit that'll be featured in the Distillery District.
I realize I have a bad habit of not documenting my process work so I thought I'd continue with this work. That, and seeing people put up their school assignments, which I did well in, though with games, I want to work on them more, hell, redo them entirely.
That will be my goal then. Redo my shitty imo assignments.
Here are some of my progression shots of the character I've been working on.

Original character concepts and animation sprites. 
From the various feedback we got from our client, this character won (and shows some obvious inspiration...) and since this exhibition is showcasing sports textiles. The background art (which I'll eventually show...someday..) focuses on cut-out images of Canadian landmarks and Toronto landmarks. I'd like to think it's looking pretty good so far.
Now, onto animation....
I have the opportunity to work with two monitors (a pleasure I do not have at my own place), but while I work I enjoy listening to podcasts (sometimes more than Spotify).
Some of the podcasts I've been listening to while art-ing:

The Truth Podcast
I've been obsessing over this one lately. Since a friend of mine recommended it, I've been hooked by the various stories told, narration, sound effects and the voice actors involved in this production. They last between 10-20 minute on average.

Welcome To The Nightvale
I'd be surprised if you were a Tumblr user and have never heard of this podcast. I usually wouldn't look (or should I say listen) twice when seeing Nightvale on my dashboard, however after an interview with the creator of the show on CBC I wanted to check it out. From what I've heard, it kind of falls flat as it progresses but so far (since I'm only on the forth episode) I've been enjoying it. It's got that old time radio feel (think War of the Worlds) with the kookiness of Supernatural. Maybe that's a terrible example but that + his voice makes me want more.

Another, and probably the most popular on this list, is This American Life's spin-off series, recommended by a former professor of mine. Season 1 follows the case of Adnaan Sayeed, who was accused and sentenced for life in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend. The way this is presented and investigated is thrilling to follow and realize how f#$%#$d up the trail was and how its case was handled initially. There are various parodies of this which apparently make fun of the host's and producer's constant self-doubt on whether Sayeed is innocent or not, but I find that it gives more of a human quality to each episode. Season two, which is focusing on an entirely new case/story, is coming out September 2015.

This American Life
The Mecca of podcasts (I kid) that I think(?) is part of NPR (the true Mecca of podcasts, I know). I haven't listened to many episodes from them. This was recommended by a family friend, whom I told to check out Serial (myself not having explored This American Life yet). One episode I recommend is The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar.

The Talk Pit
This is by a friend of mine (& his friends). He is also the one that recommended The Truth podcast to me (shoutout!). Supposedly, they're all on a plane; some are pilots, one's a steward (the guy I know actually), and one's supposedly a father figure.
It's 99% improv (100% just looks off anyway). It's a bit disorganized, but that gives it candidness. The annoying them in my opinion is how it ends abruptly. Sometimes it's due to technical issues. Otherwise, it's hilarious and I catch myself laughing out loud chuckling to myself.

There you have it! I never thought I'd be so sucked into podcasts. The very first one I ever listened to was Pottercast (lol) and later on (and sometimes currently) CBC's podcasts. My favourite ones are The Current, Vinyl Cafe, As It Happens and The Debaters

ETA I used to listen to the Q, but you know, with Jian Ghomeshi & all..

#PayPalitTO Series II | Eating & Drinking For Free in Toronto [Using PayPal]: Paypal has yet more deals on some of the same establishments!

Hello again! Click here on how to get these vouchers/free food & beverages.

While I thought I wouldn't expect another 5 dollar voucher deal for some time, I checked in at PayPal & discovered they have some vouchers yet again! Whew!

I've decided to list the places (& link to their location) to show you which ones were giving $5.00 off your order:


- Jimmy's on Gerrard !!!**
- Jimmy's on Portland !!!
- Kupfert & Kim (at Metro Centre, the Sun Life Financial Tower, First Canadian Place, Brookfield Place & Waterpark Place)
- Cafe 260
- Rsquared Espresso Bar !!!
- The Coffee Bar Inc !!!
- Dineen Coffee Co !!!
- Atlas Espresso Bar !!!

*Most of these places serve food but mainly your typical croissants & scones and sometimes sandwiches. I know Jimmy's doesn't serve sandwiches but Rsquared does for instance.


- Mean Bao (on Bathurst & Queen) !!!
- Belly Busters
- Wilbur Mexicana  !!!
- Niche Coffee And Tea (been there however I have no official review other than it's great)
- Fresh Off The Boat (been there however I have no official review other than get the crab sandwich)
- Dufflet Pastries
- Toma Burger Addiction 

** (!!!) = my review on this place

This deal expires on June 21 (next Sunday), go take advantage of the system while you're at it!

#PayPalitTO Series | Eating & Drinking For Free in Toronto [Using PayPal] - Episode 5: The Coffee Bar Inc & Atlas Coffee

For more context, click here.

This episode/post of the #PayPalitTO series revolves around coffee places/cafes I've never gone to before that had the $5-10 vouchers. I would never venture this far west of Toronto just for coffee but having this voucher + some time off allowed me to check out these places.

By the way, every coffee place I've mentioned has free wifi. It seems to be a given, however I have been to establishments (cough MOONBEAN cough) that do not have free wifi.

The Coffee Bar Inc

The Coffee Bar will definitely be swarming with tourists by the time the Panam Games occur (most likely) located by Front and Spadina. While judging its Papyrus typeface, this place boasts ample space (2 floors), relatively dark, yet cooling as you enter.
It seems to have an affiliation with Australia (well, most of the baristas here have Australian accents) and have a partnership with Kanga and sell Aussie meat pies as well. Some business people were there and a few other individuals. It was around noon when I went so I didn't expect a crowd of sorts (like some places..)

I ordered a cheddar and bacon scone and an iced coffee. Pretty good, but not my absolute favourite iced coffee. Maybe their regular kind of coffee is better.

✎-------------------------------------------------------------------Overall Verdict--------------------------------------------------------------------

- Great service
- Great atmosphere/space
- Nice front patio
- Perfectly located by the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, anything touristy

- OK iced coffee (maybe even regular coffee)

Fun fact: apparently The Coffee Bar posts questions online that you can answer for free drinks/prizes if you like them on Facebook.

Atlas Espresso Bar

 I was a little disorientated at first when I approached this sign. I go back to this sign noticing the arrow...*facepalm*

Atlas is the furthest south-west I've gone for coffee (the absolute furthest being RSquared I'd imagine when speaking distance). I entered to a dead silent coffee espresso house with immediate greetings from a barista whose unique and apparently nickname I'll forget. He was very kind and made an awesome recommendation: iced coffee. In fact, I recall seeing some item (some sort of lemonade obviously) that looked interested but sadly, I already ordered and never used my other $5.00 voucher there after this visit. Whenever I'm around that area though, I'll go back and try it. 
I know, I know, iced coffee again? Without even showing it? Well, I felt awkward taking photos of the space though they would've completely understood (most likely...I'd like to think so..). I had it with milk this time, something I usually don't do and this iced coffee blew me out of the water. I'd say it was the best iced coffee I've ever had. 
I'd definitely come back here, but sadly, this is too far for me to venture out to (then again, you're reading this from a person who finds a five minute walk to Jimmy's on Gerrard too much of a venture).
By the way, they are also hiring other servers/baristas so be sure (if you want to) to drop off your resume to them in person. (I did........).

✎-------------------------------------------------------------------Overall Verdict--------------------------------------------------------------------

- Excellent service
- Great atmosphere/space
- Great iced coffee
- Great space to work in*
- Too far out (not just for myself, in general-ish) as it's right by Front and Bathurst. I could be wrong, but venturing down there, well, there wasn't much else around. 

*Didn't check for any outlets sadly but I'm 90% sure they do have them + free wifi

& There you have it! I didn't check out every place listed on #PayPalitTO. There were postcard-like flyers at RSquared that listed all of them and included a map of all the locations. However, today yesterday aka June 14 was the last day of the second $5.00 voucher provided by PayPal.


I hope you enjoyed my posts. Please leave any feedback/praise/criticism you have for this series and feel free to check out my other posts too. 
Now, I can finally rest in peace after finishing OITNB these posts.