Silicon Valley Comic Con

This past weekend, San Jose hosted its very first Comic Con. Pop culture and technology merged for this 3 day event, which was held at the San Jose Convention Center. I decided to attend one of the days, but made sure I got to make the most of my time there. A few friends and I ventured out early Saturday morning and took a train to the event. In about an over half hour trip and walking a few blocks, we arrived at the venue just after it opened. First line of business was to do a quick scan of the exhibit hall. Among the vendors included the typical geek merchandise you’d normally find at any Comic Con, with the addition of booths that featured current developments in the tech industry (e.g. Virtual Reality (VR) demos and mobile applications). The latter were scattered in between the retail booths.

Each day of the convention had a schedule of celebrities signing autographs and/or doing photo-ops. Much of that was arranged towards the back of the exhibit space. There was also a section of the hall that had the Delorean from Back to the Future, an area with various Marvel collectibles dubbed the Stan Lee Museum, another museum featuring  a collection of Star Wars memorabilia, and wax figures from Madame Tussauds.

 

And what is a comic convention without panels? I had the opportunity to sit in on the Spotlight on Back to the Future panel with Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd, which was amazing. This was a paid panel in which those interested in attending had to purchase a separate ticket in addition to one for admission to the convention. Staff made sure to clear the hall of attendees from a previous panel before ticket holders were allowed in. I also saw a bit of a discussion regarding the future of technology between Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) and Palmer Lucky (co-founder of Oculus) following that panel.

 

The vibe I felt throughout SVCC was mainly positive. I ran into several friends there, and they were having a great time. Meeting Stan Lee for a photo-op and autograph would make me excited too! But yeh, been there, done that. ūüėõ From the looks of the crowd, many were simply happy to be there. For myself, this was redemption for San Francisco losing WonderCon a few years ago. I also saw¬†some attendees in awesome¬†cosplay. Even MythBusters’ Adam Savage joined in on the fun (he also made an autograph/photo-op appearance).

 

 

The first year of a new comic convention also has its downsides. As with majority of these events, there will be lines. That was very apparent if you came in to purchase your ticket on site. One of our group waited nearly an our at registration to purchase and pick theirs up. There were also pretty long lines for the food vendors, of which a few had sold out of their inventory not even half way into the day. Via word of mouth, those who had VIP access to the event didn’t so much get actual VIP treatment, which is sad considering 1) It’s Silicon Valley and 2) What’s the point of spending extra money if you’re only going to be seen as any other “regular” attendee? I had general admission, so I didn’t get to experience this first hand.

Overall, I had a great time at the convention and hope to see many improvements implemented in time for their next one, which will take place March 2017. The Bay Area has more than enough potential to hold their own annual Comic Con. I wouldn’t see this as a replacement for larger cons like San Diego or New York. Not just yet, anyway. The concept of SVCC is great, but it is very much in its baby stages. This article¬†touches on the ups and downs that the event and downtown San Jose businesses experienced last weekend. San Francisco may not care too much about the geek culture that Comic Con brings (although they will host their own later this year in September, at a smaller venue compared to when WonderCon once graced Moscone Center), but I’m 110% behind San Jose. Looking forward to next year!

Just came across some great photos from the event. You can check them out here.

 

 

Japan Crate Mini, Volume 8

20160209_185629.jpg

What’s inside:

Chip Star Norishio – The resemblance of the packaging itself is similar to that of Pringles. The same applies to the chips. The the flavor is a mix of seaweed and salt. Not bad.

Twinbo Drink Gummy – These double sided gummies had different colors corresponding to different flavors:

red = cola

yellow = lemon

blue = ramune

green = lime

The only thing I couldn’t understand is why there wasn’t any green (lime flavor), despite the description stating it would be in the contents. I swear I’m not color blind. Although, there was purple, so maybe that’s what it was. They tasted great regardless.

Coris Grape & Soda Kajirittyo – This has a texture similar to Laffy Taffy, and has a layer of grape flavor taffy surrounding a core that’s soda flavored. It feels like chewing gum ¬†at first, but then easily breaks down.

Toppu Trio Stick Gum – The pack contained 2 sticks each of 3 flavors:¬†cola, cider, and grape. I’ve only tried the grape one so far. Good flavor, but unfortunately it doesn’t last very long.

*Bonus item* Nericcho Soft Cider Cones – Japan really likes cider flavored stuff, don’t they? This is a DIY kit where you combine the enclosed packet with water to create a foamy “ice cream”. It also comes with 3 mini cones to serve it in. The result tasted like a foamy lemon sorbet, but the cones were stale. Cool concept, but not necessarily a great product overall.

 

I’m in the process of opening and trying out the items from this month’s crate, which I received last week. Stay tuned for my thoughts on it! Check out Japan Crate’s site to see past boxes and subscribe if interested. You can apply the code MSA5 to receive $5 off of either your first Original or Premium box (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).

Target Beauty Box – Sweet Treats

I had to get my hands on this box because it had 10 items. That’s the most I’ve seen by far. Price points are listed for the products’ full size in USD.

20160216_172209.jpg

What’s inside:

Soapbox Coconut Oil Shampoo and Conditioner ($5.99 each) – I’m not often fond of coconut, so the first thing I did with these was smell them. The scent thankfully isn’t overwhelming. The formula is said to moisturize and thicken hair. I’ll be testing this during the trip I’m taking at the end of the month.

Mayfair Soap Foundry Body Creme – Sea Lily Jasmine ($8.99) – Haven’t used this yet, but I’m excited to since it’s gotten 5 star reviews on Target’s website. This is one of 2 scents that the product comes in, and this one smells amazing.

Vera Wang Embrace Eau de Toilette – Green Tea and ¬†Pear Blossom ¬†($29.99) – Anything with the scent of green tea is right up my alley. It’s a nice floral mix of the two, plus notes of freesia and sandalwood.

L’Oreal Boost It Air Blown Texture Mist ($3.99)¬† – This is said to provide lift at the roots and build body with its weightless formula. I luckily don’t need this, so I’ll be passing it along to my mom.

Skinfix Lip Repair Balm ($4.99) – This flavorless balm contains coconut and jojoba oils. I don’t think my lips have felt this smooth and healthy in a while, and that’s just after one use! This is nice to¬†use at night before bed.

The Bathery Exfoliating Mesh Sponge ($1.99) – I liked how one of the previous Target boxes I received had one of these sponges, which I’m currently using. Now I don’t have to worry about purchasing a replacement.

Laneige BB Cushion ($34) – I already use the full sized one in Medium. It’s nice for light coverage, and added SPF is a definite bonus. The sample comes with 3 shades and puff to use with them.

20160312_171427-1.jpg

Derma e Hydrating Night Creme ($25.99) – The texture of this is not too thick and my skin felt nice when I tested it on the back of my hand. Although I would prefer if it had a lighter scent or none at all. I honestly wouldn’t want to fall asleep smelling like a bouquet.

Incoco Nail Polish Applique in Second Nature ($4.99) – I haven’t used these yet, but the instructions on how to apply them are similar to the ones that I’ve tried from Sally Hansen in the past. The neutral shade of these are all me. ūüėõ

This box contains over $100 in product value (full size), and there are only 2 products that I don’t plan on using. That’s pretty darn good! If you also purchased this box, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Assassin’s Creed SDCC Contest

Although it’s still a few months away, one of the largest geek gatherings in the US will soon be here. Both advanced and general registration for the event have come and gone, with badges selling out in record time as they have¬†in past years. Yet not all hope should be lost. There are still some ways you can try to snag a pair of them to this year’s event. Chances may be slim, but they’re there.

With that said, Kernel, Ubisoft, and the upcoming movie based on the Assassin’s Creed game franchise is hosting a contest to send 2 lucky winners to the convention. The contest is open to US and Canada residents until May 13th. Visit the Kernel website to enter. Special packages for the movie can also be purchased for an additional 10 entries.

This is just one of a handful of contests that will be held prior to the event. I’ll post more as I come across them. Good luck!

 

Mad About Matte

Matte lip color has been around for a while, but it’s gained hype recently with several low and high end brands producing their own versions. In this this post, the word¬†“mad” refers to a mix of good and not so good experiences with the products I chose to try.¬†For the record, matte products are no stranger to me. I do own a few eye shadows, nail color, and lipsticks with this finish.

Beginning in late January, I had tapered myself off my beloved lip glosses to experiment with other lip colors. The first one I tried was the Foxy Ultra Matte mini set from Colourpop ($19.99 USD).

Of the 5 shades in this set (from left to right), I liked the first two. The third was a bit too dark and the last two were too bright. The consistency was thin, almost runny.¬†They’re¬†highly pigmented, so I recommend using a good quality makeup remover with them. I had to use a bit of elbow grease with Garnier’s Micellar Water¬†to take them off my arm after swatching.

I already owned NYX’s¬†Soft Matte Lip Creme¬†in Cannes prior to this little experiment. The texture is slightly thicker, with good color payoff. Plus it felt comfortable on my lips. When their store in San Jose opened, I grabbed another one in the shade Rome, plus a few of their Lip Lingerie colors. The latter has a mousse-like consistency. It felt slightly tacky after it dried down, but not enough to bother me. Both formulas had good¬†wear time and were easy to remove with either micellar water or makeup remover. I grabbed 2 more shades of the Lip Lingerie from a local Ulta a few weeks later. Both products are priced under $10 USD. What can I say? Neutral cravings happen!

Wearing Cannes on the left pic

Wearing Lip Lingerie in Exotic

The most recent product that I tested was tarte’s Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint ($20 USD) during a visit to Sephora. This too had a mousse-like texture and was comfortable for the most part. Unfortunately after about an hour, the inside of my lower lip felt a bit chapped. Boo. Not what I expected¬†from a high end product.

20160229_143341-1.jpg
Wearing Tarteist Lip Paint in Tbt

So here are my overall thoughts on my experiment:

Pros:

  • Option for a lip look sans shine
  • Lightweight in texture/formula
  • Highly pigmented

 

Cons:

  • Can be drying to the lips. Exfoliating them beforehand is highly recommended.
  • Difficult to remove depending on the brand
  • Can bleed on the lips. Using a lip liner as a base prior to application may help prevent/lessen it.
  • Lip balm could be used before application, but can affect how long the product lasts during wear.
  • When testing/swatching colors before purchasing, let the product fully dry before deciding if the color is something you’d like. I had to find out the hard way with some of these that what you see from just looking at the tube¬†isn’t always the end result.

It might not matter to some, but for me the process of using mattes requires more steps than using a non-matte lipstick or gloss. It’s not something I’d consider¬†during my regular work week. I’ve happily gone back to using gloss after just over a month. However, I’ll still rock a matte lip when I’m in the mood for it.

 

 

 

 

Movie Review – Only Yesterday and The Boy and the Beast

This past week I watched two Japanese animated movies, both of which are currently available for limited release and in select theaters. The first one I watched was Only Yesterday. It was originally released in 1991, but has finally made a North American debut in honor of its 25th anniversary. The film’s main character Taeko is voiced by Daisy Ridley (aka Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens). On a trip to visit family in the countryside, Taeko finds herself reminiscing about her childhood, particularly her 5th grade self. This wonderful production by Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata has a nice mix of humor and stirring emotions. It is currently showing in¬†the US and Canada until late April. Visit the movie’s website to check locations.

The Boy and the Beast, directed by Mamoru Hosoda, follows a young orphaned boy named Ren. One night while¬†wandering around, he stumbles into an alternate world inhabited by beasts. One of them, a bear named Kumatetsu, takes Ren (evenually named Kyuta in the beast world) to become his apprentice. They form a father/son bond during Kyuta’s training and he evolves into a strong and brave individual. His skills are put to the test in order to defeat the darkness that has taken over an unlikely enemy. I enjoyed the animation style of the movie and the various characters.

Check here for showtimes and theater locations for this film.