Category Archives: Books, Movies, TV, & Games

SUMMER RECAP: Cosplayholic

Just like last year, I took a break from blogging for a few months – I mean, summer IS the prime season for social events and outdoor activities. But apart from that, it gave me the opportunity to dabble in a side job, reprioritize my life, set aside some much-needed time for myself, and improve some aspects of my lifestyle that I wasn’t satisfied with. But since I can’t recap my entire summer in a single post, I’ve decided to do a series of entries to get all my followers caught up. Enjoy! :)

Cosplayholic is an eBay shop (with an impressive positive feedback score) that I had been eyeing for months. Since I know many of my readers are comparison shoppers like myself, I wanted to share an honest and detailed narrative of my purchasing experience with this seller.

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My boyfriend and I decided to order the custom-tailored Tidus and Songstress Yuna outfits, since we had two events coming up – my annual trip to New Jersey for AnimeNext and a Final Fantasy themed rave in Brooklyn called Vinyl Fantasy IV. We sent Cosplayholic our measurements and paid the outrageous shipping costs, thinking it would be worth it. Unfortunately, my bank thought the order was fraudulent and activated a chargeback – which would take several weeks to process, even after I cancelled it.

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Since the convention was approaching soon, I made an agreement with the seller to pay the $220+ total again via PayPal while the chargeback was processing, and in the event that the money would get taken out of my bank account a second time, they would return it to me. Yes, I know that the terms of agreement on eBay specifically state that they are not held responsible for arrangements done independently of their site. So I took the risk, thinking the seller was trustworthy.

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When the costumes arrived in the mail several weeks later, we were pleased to find that both fit perfectly and looked just like the photos in the listing. (They even included a note in the package that asked us to leave them positive feedback, since they’re feeding their families in China with the money they make from their cosplay shop, and any store below a certain score is banned from making any more transactions.) It was a personal decision for me to wear a different skirt, since I thought the one included was too long. Nonetheless, we received many compliments at both events – so I’m not taking a jab at the quality of their products at all.

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Now fast forward a little over a month later, where the cancelled chargeback was finished processing and I am charged a second time for my order. Despite our agreement, Cosplayholic denies receiving the second payment. After many phone calls and messages between me, my bank, and PayPal – the consensus was that the seller did receive the money. After threatening to file a dispute with them through my bank, and giving them both PayPal transaction numbers as proof of my payments, they CONVENIENTLY only responded back to me once a week – promising they would return my money but never actually doing it until months later. Ultimately, it took them from April until September to return $220+ to me even though I was messaging them every week. I do not recommend them, the customer service is a nightmare.
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I’m sooo done with winter.

New York, you crazy. No, really – it was 12°F outside last week, and now it’s 50°? Just having a taste of warm weather for the past few days makes me crave Spring and Summer so badly. I miss wearing skirts and dresses without shivering. :( The only thing I like about winter is that I can use my combat/poleclimber boots in the snow. :D Definitely a more stylish and practical alternative to galoshes or Uggs – both of which I’m not a fan of.

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Like my style? Hype it on Lookbook! :) ~ Take It Back

What I dislike the most about winter is how it interferes with outdoor activities that I would be doing otherwise. I’ve been meaning to go ice skating in the city with my best friend for a while, but Mother Nature just hasn’t been cooperative. (I like to feel my fingers, thank you very much.) Fortunately, I know how to keep myself busy with all this free time indoors. :P Namely, I’ve been catching up on some scrapbooking and I even started playing through Final Fantasy XIII for the first time. Better late than never, right? I’m really enjoying the battle system and plot, but I just can’t develop any connection with the characters yet. :/

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While I’m on the topic of video gaming, excuse me while I nerd out for a little bit. My boyfriend and I have been playing a lot of Diablo III lately. I stopped shortly after beating the storyline once a couple months ago, but just recently started playing again and finished Inferno Mode last week. I hit Paragon Level 8 last night, and with my new ring I can consistently crit for over 700,000 damage. I still have a long way to go before I’ll be prepared for PVP, though. (Whenever it comes out, that is. Damn you, Blizzard!) Here’s a screenshot, but don’t judge me for playing on the lowest graphic settings. My laptop isn’t built to handle the game. :< And yes, my character is wearing a bird mask.

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In other news, what’s new with me? Well, I just received several packages of goodies in the mail. Eventually, I’ll get to posting about them over the course of several entries when I find the time. :P It’s actually my last fashion haul for a while, since I’ve made a resolution to stop impulse-shopping until I drop a few more pounds. I’m also thinking about putting a percentage of all the money I’ll be saving into separate savings accounts for each goal I want to reach – I just don’t know the exact figures. I’ve never been good with numbers or finances, but I’m sure my friends at WallStreetSurvivor.com could help out those of you who are in the same boat as me. Until next time! ^.^
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The Birthday Massacre

First of all, let’s get this out in the open so that there’s no room to make  assumptions – I love the goth subculture. I know it may not seem likely at first, but from the fashion to the music, I’ve always found its dark influences appealing. So when my good friend Peter invited me to see The Birthday Massacre in concert last Saturday, I couldn’t say no. :) Not only have I been listening to them since early high school, but they had just released their new album a few weeks ago. And while many musicians’ work declines as time goes by, I feel the exact opposite about Hide and Seek. Although it doesn’t contain as many heavy tracks as their earlier albums, you can definitely hear how much their sound and songwriting has developed and matured since they formed in 1999.

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The venue was Gramercy Theatre, which I hadn’t visited since I saw Dir en Grey back in 2009, and is also where I will be seeing Emilie Autumn in February. :D We arrived just in time to grab a drink at the bar before the first opening band started playing. Without even knowing who else was performing, all it took was a single glance at the frontman’s mutton chops to know it was Creature Feature. A blast from the past, if you ask me, since I first discovered them on MySpace when I was 14 and haven’t heard of them since. They even played an old favorite of mine: A Gorey Demise, based on Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Next up was Aesthetic Perfection, a electro-industrial duo whose lead singer sounded eerily like Marilyn Manson. (Don’t hate, it’s a good thing.) To be honest, they were my favorite out of all three of the opening bands. Mostly because so many of their songs were so fun to dance to. :P

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The next musician to come on was William Control – who was dressed like a priest,  smoked cigarettes on stage the entire time, and was wearing his hair like Elvis. To be as concise as possible, he sounded like a VNV Nation wannabe. I do admit that his music has a lot of potential; I just think that most of his songs are very rough around the edges. When the time finally came for The Birthday Massacre to perform, I was beyond excited. I love Chibi’s voice, and she sounded even better live than on their albums. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t as energetic as I was hoping them to be. It’s really a letdown when you’re the only one actually moving to the music, and everyone’s just standing there like zombies and occasionally bobbing their heads. :< The band didn’t play too many of my old favorites, nor did they play the entirety of their new album like I was expecting, but I still had a great time. :) All of the photos that I took of the performance came out blurry, so here’s a photo of le boyfriend and I after the concert, instead. <.<;

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And since we’re on the topic of goth – a friend of mine recently commented on my most recent Facebook profile picture to say that I look like Misa Amane from Death Note. Since my hair is currently dirty blonde and I recently cut my bangs into a straight/blunt fringe, I suppose I can see the slight resemblance. :P Side note, I took both of the photos above and below with my old cheap point-and-shoot. The lens is a bit scratched up and I feel like the image quality has worsened since when I first bought it two years ago. Should I buy a new one? I was thinking of saving up for a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V to replace it.

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The Mistress Manual: The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance

There are only a few, selective memories of my childhood that I actually remember, but some of the most prominent ones involved my idolization of two fictional television characters in particular – Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both heroines were strong, sexy, independent women whose skills surpassed most (if not all) men in their respective series. And who were they to me? They were my role models, and the embodiment of female empowerment to my seven-year-old self.

So it only makes sense that when my boyfriend brought up the words “dominatrix” and “mistress” in a casual conversation about our intimate fantasies, these women are who I imagine. Not the stereotypical leather-clad she-devil brandishing a riding crop so often featured in fetish pornography. And although BDSM culture has been around for a really long time, I find that with the recent popularity of 50 Shades of Grey (which, after reading a few excerpts, I believe is terrible writing) the idea has gone mainstream to the point where anyone from young hipsters to stay-at-home-moms have convinced themselves that it’s the “new, edgy, cool” thing to do nowadays. Take a look at the classifieds on Craigslist, if you don’t believe me. On a related note, if you want to read good BDSM-themed literature, I’ve heard great things about Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. (Which I’ve also conveniently added to my wishlist page, lol.)

So for the sake of research, curiosity, and wanting to be an open-minded girlfriend, I purchased The Mistress Manual: The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance by Mistress Lorelei from Amazon for about $11. Not only do the first few chapters cover the psychology behind female domination and power exchange, but it’s a recurring theme throughout the book – even when it gets technical about the more hands-on skills. My favorite thing about this read, though, is how she dedicates an entire chapter to each of the five archetype fantasies: Nursemaid, Governess, Queen, Amazon, and Goddess.

Because the author takes the time to describe these archetypes in-depth, the reader gets a thorough understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the relationship between Mistress and sub during role play. For example, in the simplest terms: the Governess is more inclined towards punishment and reward, whereas the Amazon style relies on bondage and the struggle for power. On the other hand, the Goddess fantasy is heavier on the servitude and worship aspect.

The goal is to identify which archetypes reflect both you and your significant other’s needs, and come to a compromise so that both parties are satisfied and fulfilled. In a way, this manual is a metaphor for planning, preparing, and enacting the perfect theatrical play. Ultimately, she emphasizes that it’s easy to get carried away, and there should always be a line drawn between fantasy and reality. Importance is placed on a safe word, as well as a mutual respect for each other. She sincerely believes that dominance play is healthy for relationships because it takes the highest amount of trust to give someone that kind of power over your physical self.

Some of the phrases and vocabulary are a bit dated, but otherwise this was an excellent book that opened my eyes to a different lifestyle. And although it may not be something I ever saw myself doing, I have noticed a significant and positive difference in my self-image since starting to experiment with it. So much so that I lent it to a good friend of mine who is having issues with her overbearing boyfriend, because I think that it has the ability to change your own attitude about your self-worth as a woman. Definitely a recommended read. If you’re interested, a few chapters are available for free here. Enjoy! ^.^

No, I’m not dead.

I know I’ve been gone for a really long time – and I sincerely apologize. Between work, friends, family, and le boyfriend.. it’s kind of difficult to juggle everything else. So I’ll do my best to summarize what an amazing summer I’ve had.


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Summer 2012: Things I’m Looking Forward To

1) Graduation. In three days, I’m receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Care Management. These past four years flew by way too fast, and dorming on campus has transformed me into a completely different person. Not only did I meet so many different and wonderful people, but it also taught me so much about life and the world that I never would have learned otherwise. Words can’t express how grateful I am to have taken this opportunity to grow. Goodbye, Stony Brook University. <3

2) Work. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was hired for the job that I got interviewed for a few weeks ago! :D I literally feel like all the stress and anxiety that I’ve been feeling since last semester just melted away overnight. I’m going to be working as a Medical Records Coordinator for the Medical Consultants Network. Although it’s only an entry-level position, I’m incredibly excited to start next week. I also feel like the experience that I would gain with health insurance records and billing would be valuable to my future career prospects.

3) NYC Nightlife. It’s no secret – I love to eat, drink, and dance. Now that the majority of my friends are 21+, I’m looking forward to visiting new bars, restaurants, and clubs in the city. I’ve even started a list of places I’d like to go! :D You can find them under the “Take Me Out” tab above my blog header. Since I’ll finally have a disposable income, be sure to make plans with me! ;)

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Can you see me as Sailor Mars?

Because I’m going to be joining two or three of my girlfriends next month in dressing up as one of the original Sailor Scouts and driving up to New Jersey for AnimeNext! :) Imagine my excitement at the thought of frolicking around a convention center as one of my favorite childhood characters. <3

The Sailor Moon series and I go way back. I remember waking up super early in the morning as a kid just to be able to catch it on television. My best friends and I even role-played our favorite characters and pretended to save the world during recess when we were six years old. And although I loved all the Sailor Scouts, Mars was always my favorite because she had such a strong personality. Her transformation and attack scenes made me want to be her even more!


But because I didn’t think I would have enough time to make a costume, my friends and I all ordered our respective uniforms from the Azure Costume website. I didn’t mind spending the $50 because it was way cheaper than anything else that was similar on the internet. Some costume makers were even charging $200+ for the outfit. >.<; So I really had high hopes for this.
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