May 2015 Favorites: I’m addicted to Hearthstone

I’ve been meaning to do this post but you know, life got in the way. Anyway, better late than never! My top May favorite (and June favorite, and probably summer favorite) has been the game Hearthstone. You can play it on your computer, iPad and now it’s also an iPhone app so you can play in the bathroom at work everywhere you happen to be. It’s basically a card game, kind of like Magic, but with the computer doing all the damage maths. If you’re familiar with World of Warcraft, you’ll appreciate the murloc sounds when you draw a murloc card. There is strategy involved because you build your deck to fit your style of play, and luck because your opponent seems to always draw the card they need. Rage! My sister introduced me to this game and at first we played on the iPad so that’s how I like to play still. Something about the tablet size just feels right but it looks really nice on the phone too (if you can keep from fireballing yourself). I should also add that the app is free but you can spend money to get card packs, or purchase adventures and things in the game.

My second favorite is the Princeton Select Round Brush Series 3750R, size 6. I bought this brush for the second time at the Yosemite Art Center – it’s the perfect brush for traveling because it’ll hold a lot of water for a watercoloring painting, so you can use it to paint large areas, and a fine enough tip for details. Obviously, I also bought it for the mint handle color.

To relax, I’ve been loving Korean spa masks. There are a ton of different options and types from snail masks to cucumber cooling masks. A couple of my favorite brands are Skin Food and the Face Shop. There’s even a fun video from EYK’s Simon and Martina trying them on – Korean Beauty Face Masks – Animal Style! When you’re wearing the mask, it can look a little Hannibal-like so make sure to warn your roommates! Pro-tip: put the mask in the fridge a few minutes before using it and you’ll get a nice cooling sensation. Ahhh, feel the calm. Where can you find these besides every corner shop in Seoul? Your best bet is the Internet, or a Korean market. Sephora and other beauty shops also have similar masks.

On the other hand, exercise can be relaxing (ahahahahah!) Ok, but seriously using Fitbit to track steps has been motivating me to move more and I’ve even started a C25K routine! You can add friends to motivate (or taunt) you and while it’s not great for tracking food, it syncs with MyFitnessPal so it’s not a problem. The hard part is forgetting to wear it and then charge it but my Fitbit is bright pink and the app will notify you if your battery is low, so again not a problem.

I also finished Norwegian Wood, a novel by Haruki Murakami. I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t want to spoil the experience. That’s actually how I feel about the book – it’s an experience. I took it with me to Yosemite and I couldn’t put it down. How does he do it? The story grabs you completely so definitely put it on your summer reading list.

That’s all for May favorites! Now I heard a new Tavern Brawl is out so I’m off for more Hearthstone. Thanks for reading – new videos from Yosemite are coming Sunday!

April 2015 Favorites: Books and Beauty

Huntington Library Botanical Gardens

April is on it’s way out, much like the Red Wings chances of a Stanley Cup this season, so I thought I’d share my favorites this month.

I recently discovered the Lush Daddy-O Shampoo. Don’t let the purple stuff inside fool you! It’s like magic! My hair feels so light, smells good, and most importantly, it doesn’t get tangled after I wash it. I don’t think this is an intended effect, but it’s what happens and I’m not going to argue.

April has been a busy month at work so I’ve been trying to keep organized and stay on top of things. One thing that has helped me is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing written by Marie Kondo, who is a Japanese organizing consultant and has a business in Tokyo transforming homes and spaces. I picked this book up at Vroman’s Bookshop in Pasadena (thanks to Karen!) and it has transformed not just my closet, but my life. I got rid of so many things and discovered that I had been stockpiling paper, toothpaste and random things that I didn’t need. Another thing I bought from the bookshop is the Stackbook, a sketchbook from Plumb Notebooks. This sketchbook is so beautiful with cream-colored paper and color swatches from a project by artist Linda Geary.

To get drawing, I brought out my long-time favorite sumi ink. The one I’m currently using is the Sumi Drawing Ink in a 180ml Bottle from Daiso. I often feel that I waste “good” ink on sketches and doodles, and then I end up just not drawing which is silly. To get myself to draw more without worrying about wasting materials, I just got a big bottle of this stuff. In my opinion, it’s good quality for the price. There’s something about drawing flowers in April that cheers me up, with all the birds singing outside and the sunshine.

Indoors, I’ve been addicted to YouTube, and one of the reasons why is Fran Meneses who has an amazing channel about drawing and going out and drawing and hauls about drawing. Wow. Watching her work and talk about finding an illustration style has been eye-opening and inspired me to start my own channel.

Looking forward to May!

(Photo: Huntington Library Botanical Gardens, see others at orloviephoto.tumblr)