RANT: My Problem with “Otakus”

For this week’s blog, I will like to share a small rant. It is highly based on my personal opinion and experience. And to this day, this topic is still relevant, unfortunately. But I will be as professional and adult about it. I will be discussing the topic of anime and some video games; particularly, the so called “otaku community.”

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As a child, I didn’t have much friends. I was kept mostly to myself as I enjoy my video games and anime. I always wished to have friends with common interests such as those. When I attended a community college, I found out a club for students titled as an “Anime Club.” I was excited to meet people around my age who were also into anime and video games. As I joined however, I started to regret it as time went by. Every person I met from that club were toxic, critical, arrogant, selfish, and just rude overall. And mostly because we had different opinions on our hobbies and interests. I spent years in the club because I wanted friends but instead, I made enemies out of the most immature community that only made me feel even more embarrassed of being a fan of anime and video games that now I tend to keep those interests of mine secret. My reason being, I do not want to be labeled nor associated with the same people who ruined my hobbies for me. Here are some points that were mostly what irks me about “anime fans” after a decade of experience associating with them.
• Dub vs sub: A debate I find honestly, ignorant. Most “fans” always feel the need to criticize any anime that has officially translated to English for the American audience. I then always beg the question, who cares? What I especially loathe, is when the “fans” would act as though the English language and voices, their own speaking tongue by the way, is horrendous and ruins anime. Now, I watch both English dubbed and Japanese original with subtitles. Let me say that I prefer watching in English voice work. Why? Cause personally, I wish to admire and watch the animation in motion while listening to what the characters are saying. For most anime I seen with subtitles, I read slow and the subtitles change too fast for me. And hearing the characters speak in a language I do not know nor understand is distracting when I try to read, and I find it hard to read and watch at the same time. Stop calling English voices dumb cause you speak English too. Also, anime deserves to be shared with the world so of course they must do voice dubbing and translations for the audience from each country and culture.
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• Anime are not Cartoons: The definition of an anime is “a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.” Cartoons are by definition, “a motion picture using animation techniques to photograph a sequence of drawings rather than real people or objects.” Both are animation. Cartoon is the English term we use while Anime is a genre for the Japanese style of animation.
• Supporting the arts: What really grinds me, is when the self-proclaimed “Anime fans” brag because they caught up on their favorite anime on a internet website. Not Netflix. No Hulu or even Crunchyroll. From a free service such as “animesanctuary” or some sort. First of all, those sites upload anime from sources ripped from television services or dvd so you can watch for free. Guess what? You’re stealing. Anime costs money to produce. If you call yourself a fan, you should purchase the dvds or actually watch the programs on legally paying services such as Netflix. Oh, but you don’t want to spend money on anime? Don’t call yourself a fan when you’re not even supporting the art form. You have no money? Get a job instead of binging on One Piece for 15 hours straight on a website with pink subtitles that were written by an unprofessional translator with poor grammar.

 


• Manga: The same goes for the graphic literary versions of which most anime are adapted from. There are websites like manga reader or manga panda which allow you to read manga for free. Same issue with watching anime for free; You’re not supporting the art! Also, each chapter is uploaded weekly while they are technically scanned. Therefore, the pages may be distorted or darkened. And worse of all, the translation; they are not accurately translated. I recently purchased and finished reading the 15th volume of My Hero Academia on Kindle. I am aware I can read it for free, but I wish to support the artwork since I love the series so much. I am willing to wait for volume 16 in December of 2018. I read a comment the other day where a person complained to VIZ Media, a manga and anime publishing company in the U.S. stating to “let the characters say [insert swear word here] in the manga as the they do in the same chapters on “manga panda.” Why does that matter? Because it doesn’t make the character or series appear “mature”? No. Swearing does not make you look mature.

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• Being called autistic or retarded for having a different opinion: Isn’t it adorable that when you have a different opinion from another person, you are scolded and labeled as “autistic”? This offends me, not only because I am diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but the fact that these “mature” people believe Autism is the same as “mental retardation.” Autism by definition is “A serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.” In other words, it is a disorder that revolves on the impairment of social interaction and communication. Please enlighten me on why one must be “autistic” for the reason of preferring the English dubbed version of My Hero Academia rather than the Japanese original with poorly written and translated subtitles. I’ll wait patiently while I sit here drinking my tea.

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• Console wars: Though not related to anime, it is something the “geek” or “nerd” community does that irks me. Much like the subject on being scolded for having a different opinion, apparently if you play video games on an Xbox One rather than a PlayStation 4, you’re retarded. Really? Let people enjoy their games and play on wherever they feel like it. I own an Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and Nintendo Switch. I love video games and yes, each system has their pros and cons. But why bully someone or criticize just because they like to play Destiny on their Xbox One instead of a PS4? “Oh, PS4 is a better console.” Yeah, in your opinion. Let people enjoy things.

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Overall, these are majority ignorant debates that this community still argue on to this day. Even as grown adults. I still love the art of anime. But I guess the fans would always disappoint me for how embarrassing they make themselves look. I let you enjoy your interests the way you prefer. So please let me enjoy my interest my way as well. That’s all I ask.

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Blog #4: Drugstore Cruelty-Free Makeup.

Welcome back beauties! Today we will continue our look into the cruelty-free options in makeup. Last time we went over the more expensive makeup, the high-end makeup. Today we will look at more affordable makeup that is cruelty-free. Unfortunately, I will not be able to name all cruelty-free makeup brands because it is a huge list that continues to grow each day. In addition, I will also be mentioning products I have personally tried in order to give a more detailed review.

 

As a refresher of last weeks post, cruelty-free is a label used in products and activities that do not harm or kill animals. Makeup companies that test their products on animals are not included. Makeup testing on animals can be very harmful/painful to animals and cause the death of millions of animals every year. There are various companies that might say they do not harm animals but they might still test their products on animals, therefore it’s important to know which products are actually cruelty-free. We are able to know which products are on sale based on the logo on the product. This logo is shown below.

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E.L.F

This is a makeup brand that have some great products and some not so great products. Their prices range from $1 upwards depending where it is being sold. Although some of their makeup is not up to standards with high end makeup it is a great brand for those that want to stay on a budget or are starting to experiment with makeup.  They also have some great affordable brushes, be advised not all their brushes are cruelty-free since some are made of natural animal hair. Some of their most popular makeup products are:

  • Baked Highlighter ($4). This is a cute little highlighter that comes in various shades such as Moonlight Pearls, Blush Gems, Apricot Glow, Pink Diamonds. This is a highlighter that gives off a great shine and the price is amazing for that color payoff. Pro tip: scrape the top of the highlighter and then go nuts.

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  • Eyeshadow Palettes ($10). These makeup palettes are quite amazing for the price. Some of their palettes are Rose Gold, and Mad for Matte. The colors are amazing and they can be used to create the most amazing looks.

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  • Clear Brow and Lash Mascara ($2). This is one of my favorite gels to set my eyebrows, I recently just purchased a new one and with this price who wouldn’t? This is a gel that can be used on brows and lashes since it is double sided and brings a little spoolie (brow and mascara brush). The gel is a clear color that helps your brow hairs stay in place, the other side is a clear mascara that helps you get a natural lift to your lashes.

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Physicians Formula

This is a makeup brand that focuses on makeup for those with sensitive skin, it is “hypoallergenic” making it mostly paraben-free. Some of their do contain some products that might cause an allergic reaction so please always check their ingredient lists before purchasing. I have personally tried many of their products as it is very nice on my skin. They have recently expanded their collection to include liquid lipsticks, foundation, and serums. Some of their most popular products include:

  • Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick ($8). This is a long-wearing velvety texture lipsticks. The colors are amazing and offers 13 great selections from nude to bold colors. Their ingredients include Avocado Oil, Vitamins A & E, Hyaluronic Acid, and Anti-aging Peptides. This is a wonderful formulate that does not dry out your lips and actually hydrates and moisturizes your lips.

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  • The Healthy Foundation SPF 20 ($15). This is their new foundation, it is a long-wearing, breathable, and comes in 15 shades. It is a quite sheer foundation but can be buildable, it also offers a healthy satin finish. Some of their key ingredients are Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin A, C & E, Brightening Complex (Chinese Wu-Zhu-Yu Extract). It also has an SPF 20 which is very important to keeping your skin healthy and protects it from harmful sun rays. This is a great foundation for a subtle cover, it does not build to a full coverage so this is a foundation for a more natural everyday look. It also does not dry you out and actually feels quite light on the face.

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  • Butter Highlighter ($11). This is a long-wearing, cream-to-powder formula that has a unique soft texture. It leaves a gorgeous highlighted finish to the skin that can be natural but it can be buildable to a more opaque tone. They offer five different colors for all skin tones and is a beautiful highlight for anyone. My favorite color is Champagne which is an amazing gold tone highlighter that makes me feel glamorous.

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  • Butter Bronzer ($15). One of their most famous products is their bronzer. This bronzer comes in an incredibly creamy and soft formula, it combines the best of a powder and cream bronzer for your daily needs. It is also infused with a blend of Murumuru Butter, Cupuacu Butter and Tucuma Butter that come from the Amazon. All of these butters come together to make a soft bronzer that gives a natural sun kissed look to your skin. The bronzer also smells wonderfully, it’s like paradise in a dish! I love this bronzer and it can be quite sheer but it is buildable. Unfortunately it only comes in four shades which make it hard for darker skin tones.  

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Wet n Wild

This is a makeup brand that is very widely available in many drugstores. Their prices are also quite inexpensive with great products. Some of their products might not be as great but many are wonderful additions to any makeup collection. Their makeup offers a great variety of colors and products. Their shade range in their makeup is also a little wider than regularly seen at drugtores. Some of their most popular products are:

  • Eyeshadow palettes ($5). For this price these eyeshadows are amazing! The company has redesigned their palettes. There are many nude and colorful palettes which can be used to create amazing eye looks. These palettes have 10 shadows, the colors are opaque and vibrant. They also have single-pan eyeshadows and four-pan eyeshadows. I really love their colors and their payoff and with that price it is quite unbeatable.

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  • MegaGlo Highlighting Powder ($5). This is a highlight that can be seen for miles! Now this company is famous for their affordable highlights. Their highlighters come in a wide selection of colors for pale and dark skin tones, for the price you also get a huge amount of product that can last for months. Each new launch of makeup brings new wonderful colors to their collection giving us many more options to choose from. Their highlight is wonderful and I love the color payoff for their price.

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NYX

This makeup brand offers highly pigmented products in bold and natural shades. Their prices are also quite affordable and give many different wonderful products. Their shade ranges are also quite inclusive for pale and dark skin tones. They have a lot of favorites in their products so I will only mention some of the very best and most affordable. These products are as follows:

  • Slim Lip Pencil ($4). These lip liners glide on smoothly and accurately. For this low price it has a great payoff and helps you keep your lipstick in place. Their shade range is also wonderful! There are a lot of bold and neutral colors to choose from. It also comes with a lot of product which helps it to last longer as well. The pencils also come in different finishes like matte, and metallic. 

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  • Jumbo Eye Pencil ($3-5). These are eyeliners that can also be used as an eyeshadow. They come in amazing colors that range from neutral colors to bold ones. They are great for adding a pop of color to the inner part of your eye or as eyeshadow all over the lid. My favorite colors are Cobalt (dark blue with glitter), Pure Gold (Yellow-Gold), Strawberry Milk (Pearly Pink), and Rust (Rusted Red). Honestly I have all the color and they truly are amazing, they last a super long time, they never dry out, and there is a great amount of product in those pencils. They truly are amazing and opaque colors.

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  • Micro Brow Pencil ($10). These are a brow pencil that can help you build beautiful brows in no time. The pencil is smooth and helps you create the best eyebrows ever. I really like how thin the pencil itself is because it helps you be very precise with your brows. It also makes it easier to shape your eyebrows, it almost feels like you are wrtting on your face but it is a wonderful product.

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There are many other great makeup companies that are cruelty-free at the drugstore, sadly not all can be mentioned. These are some of the brands that I personally adore and are also more readily available for all. These companies also have a lot of great products and although they are not mentioned I do encourage you all to look into these companies. I hope you have all found something interesting that you might try or have found something new. Thank you for your time. Until next week when we will be looking into my October Favorites.

 

A remember stay classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy.

Vitamin a day keeps the Nags away

Hey guys it’s Saturday and you know what time it is let’s get into the world of health again. So today we’re going explore the importance of vitamins and/or ways around vitamins. Sometimes parents and doctors can nag us about taking vitamins because it’s great for our bodies like the muscles, bones, and of our course health. Let’s start with Vitamin A which is supposed to help protect the teeth, help with vision, lungs, kidneys, the heart, and the immune system. Instead of having to take a pill or liquid version you can eat fruits or vegetables. In my case I tend to wear jeans a lot in the summer, don’t eat red meat consistently, nor drink/like orange juice, and I also don’t drink milk. This limits my supply of iron, vitamin c, vitamin d, and calcium in general. But I realized I love vegetables and some fruits but mainly green vegetables and certain others. When you don’t want to take supplements, gel capsules/pill, or powder to gain those nutrients then try some vegetables or even fruit snacks. For example I love spinach, collard greens, string beans, kale, and even asparagus some of those are high in vitamin A. I like carrots and cantaloupe when it’s sweet this stuff plus spinach, collard greens, and kale are very high in vitamin A. As for vitamin C that’s pretty easy because oranges and of course orange juice are two of the biggest sources for this. For this common vitamin you can eat papayas, broccoli, strawberry, lemons, persimmons, and this will help the immune system, blood vessels, and connective tissues in the body. Just think citrus we all need at least a little bit of it especially if we don’t want to have health issues in the future plus the stronger your immune system the lesser chance of catching colds or flu. Let’s say you do catch it drinking orange juice and keeping fluids in your body along with medicine helps knock it our faster than Mike Tyson. Vitamin D you could gain that from getting sunlight or drinking and eating things with lots of calcium sadly ice cream doesn’t count. This is super important because when we ignore this there’s going to a lot of bone and muscles aches or pain to come whether it’s in early sage or late. Some people are lactose intolerant but you might be able to eat small amounts of cheese but have to drink lactose free milk. Also my readers if you’re not a fan of milk like me there’s also cereals, eating salmon, tuna, orange juice, soy milk, beef liver. It sounds weird to eat liver but it’s a suggestion because honestly guys I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat I just want you guys to be mindful about what goes inside your body and know the way some of our foods are cooked can have a positive or negative effect on food. I personally don’t drink milk, I’m not allergic to it I just don’t like the way all milks taste and I eat but in certain ways. Plus I eat more meat, carbs,  veggies, and sometimes fruits because that’s what I grew up on and what I can afford at times. I sometimes snack on seaweed. I am on and off anemic because sometimes I wouldn’t eat a lot of red meats like burgers, steak, or if I am eating something with iron in it the amount wasn’t very high. Now I take iron vitamins, vitamin d gel pill, and calcium pills to try to prevent myself from having bad eye sight, low iron levels, and bad bones. Also for my readers that use contraceptives besides condoms sometimes that can also mess with our energy levels, immune system, and vitamin levels so it’s important to read the nutrition facts. Plus just like in my title it stops the nagging because I highly dislike people nagging me. Also if you like gummy or chewable vitamins there is adult version such as One A Day Women/Men, Multipurpose, Biotin, and more. Definitely do your research first and see what you like, for me personally I like gummy vitamins because, sometimes I gag when swallowing pills and gummies are just yummy. Also in case you don’t know the vitamins are things we’ve learned about in science during middle school, high school, and/or college. Like vitamin K that’s potassium which you can gain from avocados, guacamole, bananas which is part of protein too. Now for nuts, greens, and sunflower seed lovers like myself here’s how you get your vitamin e. All I want you guys to know even when you eat meats, fish, vegetables, or peanuts a few times you’re helping your body more than you know because each vitamin builds upon their self because as you can see greens pretty much helps with all vitamins. Vitamins are one of the many building blocks that helps prevent or slow down risks of bad/high cholesterol, glaucoma, osteoporosis, heart disease, and immune problems. Thankyou you guys for reading I hope you all learned a lot and feel inspired to try different kinds of foods, fruits, vegetables, and/or even vitamins. See you next Saturday guys and always feel free to leave me comments or questions.

#3 Pour Your Heart with Art: Paint and Pen as Positive Mental Health Tools

It’s not uncommon to utter the words “I’m not good at art” or “I can’t draw for my life” or “I’m not the artistic type” when someone asks you to join in an artistic activity. But don’t be fooled by your own inexperience and self-doubt, you can create something beautiful or something that helps you find something beautiful within through art! Often times the world may feel gray and dull, especially for those struggling with depression, which is the worst around the holidays, which are soon approaching. It will soon be a time when people may be unfortunate to not be around friends and family or it may even be seasonal depression that comes in waves. This might even bring about crippling anxiety due to fear of how a person may not be able to handle the holidays alone. So as Christmas and New Years approaches, it’s best to be equipped with a helpful tool like art to calm the anxious spirit.

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Throughout my time exploring the different mediums and forms of art, I’ve encountered many people who have been turned away from art because of trauma from not having their art be recognized or praised, but what people may not know is that art can be a cleansing and healing practice, that helps remove those old ideas in our brains that prevented us from growing through our own creativity. Some people have even had their art criticized at a cruel level causing negative self-criticism and a low sense of self-worth, but this is not how things actually are. We must remove ourselves from those negative people and voices into better environments that will allow us to flourish.

So the best spaces for creating art are well-lit (best by natural sunlight) spaces that are comfortably cool and quiet, kind of like spaces that are good for writing but with more flat space for drawing, painting or whichever art form you decide to tackle. Once you’ve prepared the space then you want to lay out your materials which can be things you find from home like magazines for collages or paper clips for DIY jewelry. Then you can play relaxing music like a favorite song or begin to create in silence.

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Here are some activities that you might want to explore your artsy side with:

  1. Dream board making. You can drop by your local 99 cent store and pick up some poster board then use old magazines at home or print out pictures to create a visualization of your goals and aspirations.
  2. Photo collage. If you have old photos in shoe boxes that are collecting dust, you can take them out and cut them out to make into cool photo collages to use as room decor or a scrapbook memory.
  3. Paint or draw swirls. This movement is relaxing on the hands and soothes the mind.
  4. Friend portraits. Pick a friend and draw/paint each other to do a bonding and self-image building activity, where you can create drawings/paintings based on the beauty you see in each other to learn how to be less critical of the self.

These and other activities can surprise you and by exploring your inner artist you can unlock a calm way to create and clear the mind.

Having gone through art therapy, I must say that it is a healing and relaxing way to travel through the mind as well what it has been and is going through. Art therapists are professionals who are excellent at exploring the hidden meanings behind your art but you yourself might be pleasantly attuned to your own mental space when looking at your own artwork and exploring your own capabilities. 

Be Kind to the artist within your Mind, readers, and try to create to ease the anxious, worried mind.

– Kat

​Blog #3: Cruelty-Free High End makeup

Welcome Back my Beauties! Sorry for the late post midterms have arrived and it has made my life hectic. Anyways now let’s dive into the makeup. For this blog I would like to shine light into makeup brands that are cruelty-free. I will not be able to name all because it is an ever growing list but I will name some that are most accessible to everyone. I will also be listing products and brands I have personally tried in order to give some recommendations as well.

What does cruelty-free mean? This is a label used in products and activities that do not harm or kill animals. Makeup companies that test their products on animals are not included. Makeup testing on animals can be very harmful/painful to animals and cause the death of millions of animals every year. There are various companies that might say they do not harm animals but they might still test their products on animals, therefore it’s important to know which products are actually cruelty-free. We are able to know which products are in fact cruelty-free based on the logo on the product. The cruelty-free logo is shown below.

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These are high end makeup, these are the products that are the most expensive in stores.

Kat Von D Beauty

This is a makeup brand started by the tattoo artist Kat von D. Her line of makeup offers everything from neutral and nude colors to bold and colourful makeup. One of her best known products are:

  • Tattoo Liner ($21), this is a liquid eyeliner which allows you to make the best wing you can. The formula is not actually waterproof as it says on the packaging but it is long lasting and matte.

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  • Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($21) is also a cult favorite offering various matte liquid lipsticks for your daily needs. This is one of my favorite liquid lipsticks, they have amazing colors, they last quite a while but not if you eat anything oily, the packaging is quite captivating.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills

This is a brand that mainly focuses on brow products but has expanded their line into eyeshadows, lipsticks, highlighters, and other products. Some of their more popular products are:

  • Dipbrow Pomade ($18), this is one of my favorite brow products, it helps you create the eyebrows of your dreams. Their Dipbrow is also long lasting on you and it also last for quite a few months before needing to be replaced. Pro tip: if your Dipbrow is a little dry just wet it with a makeup mist.

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  • Eyeshadow palettes ($42-45), they now have six different palettes with a wide selection of colors. Their palettes are as follows; Modern Renaissance, Subculture, Soft Glam, Prism, Soft Glam, Norvina, Sultry. In my own personal collection I am missing two of their eyeshadow palettes but I have no doubt that when I get my hands on them they will also make my list.

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Urban Decay

Now this is a makeup brand that you might have seen browsing around. They have a wide range of products like eyeshadows, lipsticks, setting spray, highlighters, brushes, and many more. Some of their most popular products are:

  • Eyeshadow palettes ($49-54). Their collection includes nine palettes, previously ten palettes (they have now discontinued their Smoky eyeshadow palette). Their palettes are Naked, Naked 2, Naked 3, Naked Heat, Naked Cherry (their newest release), Born to Run, Elements, Moondust, Ultimate Basics, and Distortion. Their palettes have many great colors and their payoff is great. My favorites are their Naked Heat palette which offer a lot of warm orange and brown colors, and the Naked 3 which has a lot of pink nude colors for a cute everyday look.

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  • All Nighter Setting Spray ($15-39). This is a setting spray which is used at the end of makeup application, it helps to keep your makeup on your face longer. I really like this spray it does help my makeup stay longer but because I have dry skin I only use a few sprays.

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  • Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($13-24). This is a primer that helps to keep your eyeshadows more vibrant and longwearing. This is a really good primer for your eyes it keeps my eyeshadows from creasing and helps me have a smoother application.

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Too Faced

This is a makeup brand that offers great options for those that want a little edge in their natural-looking makeup. Their makeup line is amazing and offers a wide variety of products, it also doesn’t hurt that their packaging is adorable. Some their most popular products are:

  • Eyeshadow palettes ($49). They have a lot of eyeshadow palettes with many beautiful neutral colors as well as colourful ones. Since they have so many I will only be mentioning some I have tried myself and their new one. Some of their palettes are; Chocolate Gold, Chocolate Bar, Sweet Peach, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar, Chocolate Bon-Bons, Gingerbread (special holiday release). These palettes are mostly on the neutral side but they do have some colourful colors included, they are long lasting and my favorite are their metallic eyeshadows which look great on many.

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  • Better Than Sex Mascara ($12-24). This mascara is a cult favorite for many makeup wearers. It is a long lasting mascara that gives volume and color to your lashes. It has an hourglass shape that helps to separate, curl, and coat your lashes to perfection.

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That is all for today, there are a lot more makeup brands that offer cruelty-free makeup but there can only be so many mentioned. Next week we will be looking at cruelty-free makeup at the Drugstore. Thank you for your time and see you next week.

And remember stay classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy.

The Return of Soulcalibur

The past weekend was exciting for me personally and in this blog, I will explain why. After several years on hiatus, one of my favorite video game franchises finally dropped a new game; Soulcalibur VI by BandaiNamco Games is a 3D fighting game, unlike games like Street Fighter where you’re in a two-dimensional plane, and has you choosing amongst a variety of characters with uniquely different weapons and fighting styles. Soulcalibur has always been a unique fighting game as the well-known fighters are more focused on hand to hand combat (ex: Tekken, Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Dead or Alive, etc.). Of course, there are fighters that also use weapons such as Guilty Gear, Blazblue, and Samurai Shodown; But, Soulcalibur goes in depth with their weapons system. SC6

As great as my passion for the series is, I never got to play the very first game, Soul Edge or Soul Blade (1996) for the original Sony Playstation. I was about seven years of age at the time and when it came to fighting games, I only played Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) and this one Ninja Turtles adaptation for the Super Nintendo System, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (1993) and I was not exploring other games that were out there besides my home and the arcade. It wasn’t until I was ten years old that I was exposed to Soulcalibur (1999) on the Sega Dreamcast. The game grew on me; I remember wanting to play it nonstop.

 

Then it was 2002, I received a Nintendo Gamecube for my thirteenth birthday, and Soulcalibur II (2002) was one of the games I found myself investing so much time on. It was also exciting to have an addition of a guest character from outside the Soulcalibur universe; Link from The Legend of Zelda was playable as in the Xbox and Playstation 2 versions of the same game, you had Spawn and Heihaichi instead, respectfully. As the years went by, I noticed the series was becoming less popular, but it did not affect my passion for the game. Despite my passion however, I missed out on a couple of more games, Soulcalibur III (2005) and Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny (2009). In 2005, Soulcalibur III was more of a sleeper hit as it was the year the Xbox 360 was first released and thus, the game was highly overshadowed. I also had gotten rid of my old Playstation 2 console at the time. As for Broken Destiny, it was after Soulcalibur IV (2008) was released and of course, I bought that game for the Xbox 360 and was not into the Playstation Portable system Broken Destiny was exclusive for. There was also a spin off exclusive for the Nintendo Wii under the name Soulcalibur Legends (2007) but it was either that or IV and let’s just say I made the right choice.

 

Introduced in Soulcalibur III, was a feature known as Character Creator. This feature was thus included in IV and I spent a lot of time creating unique characters. And like with previous installments, the game included guest characters; However, I was not really feeling these guests at all. Mind you, I love Star Wars, but characters from that franchise do not by any means fit in to the Soulcalibur universe. I’m 100% sure it was just to promote Star Wars: The Force Unleashed which was a game released the very same year as Soulcalibur IV. Here were my problems with the characters: The Apprentice was stupidly overpowered that fighting against him is far from fun. Yoda is too damn short that you can’t even grab him, and most attacks would not reach him. And Darth Vader was $5 since he was supposed to be exclusive to the Playstation 3 version as Yoda was only for Xbox 360 but fans like myself were outraged with that decision. Both overall, IV was a decent experience. Then there was Soulcalibur V (2012) with another guest character who I personally thought fitted in much better, Ezio Auditore from the Assassin’s Creed franchise which is another favorite series of mine. And of course, I took advantage of the Character Creator feature in this sequel. But V was showing the series’ downfall which personally made me sad. The game was missing half of fan’s favorites such as Taki, Talim, Xianqua, and Kilik was changed to a “edge master,” which basically means he randomly uses any weapon besides his traditional pole. Meanwhile, they included a score of new characters that were forgettable; Natsu was basically Taki accept an annoying teenager. Xiba was a weird kid that always, and I mean always, talking about food. In terms of gameplay, the game felt unbalanced, so it was becoming less fun.
Six years have passed since. The Soulcalibur name was thought to be dying out even with the rereleases of the first Soulcalibur as well as II in HD for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 and a lackluster online only free-to-play game, Soulcalibur Lost Swords. Thus, when Soulcalibur VI was announced, I was shocked but amazed as I wanted a new entry to the series. Interestingly, I did wish for a new entry to go back to what made the original and the second game so great; And that’s what Soulcalibur VI does.

 

Released on Friday, October 19, 2018, Soulcalibur VI reimagines the original story of the series. Therefore, characters such as Mitsurugi and Ivy appear young (as they were old looking in Soulcalibur V) and makes the combat system more fluid and simplistic. The game also includes Character Creator mode, now called Create a Soul, and this time, there’s a variety of variety of fantasy races you can create; Elves, Orcs, Angels, Demons, etc. There’s even a new single player story mode called Libra of Souls where you take a journey as your created character and face against enemies as you level up along the way. There is also a separate story mode specific for each of the original 20 characters in the game, even for Geralt, a new guest character from is an RPG game known as The Witcher. Though I have yet to play The Witcher games myself, Geralt fits perfectly well with the Soulcalibur universe. If you ever wish to try the game out, don’t worry about missing out of all the previous games; Soulcalibur VI is like a soft reboot as it revisits the original story with the original cast of characters. The gameplay has become simplistic and fluid as well. It is critically the best entry for the series and I’m happy that the fanbase has grown. Hopefully BandaiNamco supports the series more in the years to come. As the narrator of the game states, “The legend will never die.” That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

The Curtain Call with JRC 10_21_18

JesusHHola a todos/Hello All/اهلا جميعا,

…and welcome to another installment of The Curtain Call.  This week we are bringing a review of the Lehman College production of Jesus Hopped the A Train.  This production is one of redemption and true reflection. We are first introduced to Angel Cruz, played by Giovanni Ortiz, as he is attempting to recite the Our Father.  He stumbles in decided if it is said are or art. As he is contemplating this, he is reminded to Shut the F*#k up. This sentiment is echoed by two other inmates. Angel’s reflection is broken as he repeats the statement back to the inmates.

The set for this production offers a very less is more vibe.  There are two large cells parallel from one another. The majority of the plays action takes place within this two cells revolving around Angel and Lucius.  In an age were instant gratification and more is more, it’s refreshing to see a minimalist attitude to truly force the action to captivate the audience. We are then introduced to the protagonist of the story, Lucius Jenkins.  A convict that admits to murdering multiple innocent people. The character offers an upbeat attitude that is at times alarming and disarming at the same time.

How can a person that is responsible for the death of so many be so positive and cheerful.  The audience is drawn into characters charm which is strongly because of the amazing job done by Jonathan Carter.  His command of his mannerisms offers the audience the luxury being guided into the story by a masterful pilot. We are given a glimpse Lucius and his relationships with the guards and the other inmates.

Jenkin’s relationship with Cruz offer the true heart of author, we are offered glimpses of the inner struggle of two men who have committed the crime of murder.  One whom has accepted the immensity of his actions and has accepted God and his mission, the other who is struggling to decide his role and actions in this new environment.

Veteran actor and Assistant Professor Jennifer McCabe is the director for this production and has offered a genuine look into two characters that have true reflection and eventually accept the ramifications of their actions.  McCabe has taken people and made them true players on a stage that can often be misinterpreted as an amateur forum for student actors. The entire ensemble offer very genuine portrayals of their characters. The audience was on their seats and truly enjoyed the journey that Ortiz, Carter and the entire cast took them on.  Lehman Theatre alum Cynthia LaCruz said, “It was truly amazing.” LaCruz exclaimed, “Lucius was amazing…I was so…he is so good!” Her sentiment was universal as the majority of the audience gave the cast a standing ovation during their curtain call.

This production harkens the beginning of the MMTM department.  If this is a preview of what they have in store, this looks to be a year of truly amazing, theatre, dance and the arts.

As I leave you, I bid you…The ideas in your mind are not yours, as soon as you have an idea or notion it no longer belongs to you, it is your duty to share it with the world.

Next week, we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Halloween in theaters by reviewing the latest installment.

 

Your Humble servant,

JRC