Pewdiepie: Legend of The Brofist

'Tis the season to be jolly!

Regardless of Typhoon Nona (who rudely decided to crash for a while in the Philippines), I still believe we have reason to stay positive. So far, things are still quite calm and everybody is hoping it'll stay that way until it leaves the PAR (soon, I hope). My internet is "turbulent", and I'm desperately trying to get back to work and all. But still. Let's me joyful! Think positive! Pray! Relax!

Speaking of relaxing, I've been playing the Steam release of Pewdiepie's
"Legend of the Brofist" on co-op with my brother, and we've been having too much fun with it. Too much. The iOS version (priced $4.99) was great, but it had no co-op mode and I'm not really comfortable playing on a small screen, so the Steam version was a real treat.


As my first Steam purchase (I usually just play F2P's and free games on there), I feel like I was under an obligation to enjoy this game. Thankfully, I didn't have to force myself at all.

I LOVE THE GAME! I'd been waiting for a new release on a different platform since the original iOS version came out, and watching Pewdiepie and other Youtubers play the game got me all hyped for a PC/Mac release. It's just SO fun! It's one of those rare games that I wouldn't mind raging over ('cause of me dying a lot and being stupid in-game) and doing over and over again.

With co-op mode available, you can use two controllers or have one use the keyboard instead. Using the controller is easier for me though, but my brother says it's easier on the keyboard. It really doesn't matter as long as I get to play. Haha.



Like I said, I love the co-op feature on this release as I get to play with my brother (who's also a fan of all the Youtubers mentioned in the game). It took me a while to memorize certain buttons (uhuh, definitely slow) but that's just me. The games quite easy to play with someone else, but solo? I tried playing on the hard level and I was a noob. Pretty embarrassing for an FPS gamer like myself. I should be used to arcade games by now. (I played as Pewdie and my brother played as Markiplier. Above screenshot shows my brother has died two times already. No worries, I probably died more times than he did.)

Anyway, I'm really excited for the updates they'll be rolling out (hopefully soon!). The Christmas and Halloween maps were pretty cool as well and I can't wait to play more. I especially loved their Halloween costumes. Haha! Pewdie-chan! :D




Of course, a Pewdiepie game wouldn't be complete without Stefano, Jennifer, Shannen, and FalconLover.

Regardless of whether you're a fan or not of any of these Youtubers, the gameplay itself is really great. There's still room for improvement with the controls and the actual physics of the game, but it's too early to complain. The game IS new, so I doubt the developers will stop working on this any time soon. I just hope the next updates are free, though I wouldn't mind otherwise. I support games like these, especially if it involves people I like.

Apologies if this post is a bit all over the place - the Typhoon's getting stronger by the hour and I'm thinking about the internet stability and current, among other things. 

If you haven't purchased Pewdiepie: Legend of the Brofist yet, I highly recommend it for people who just want to play pixel games, who are a fan of it, or those who just want something to play with. It's really cheap, so it's not a big deal if for some reason you realize it's not for you.

Have fun!

All images ©Steam.

It's THAT Time of Year.


It's the holiday season, and that means shopping, shopping, and even more shopping.

I was just kidding, by the way. It's not about the material things you'll get or the Christmas bonus - it's the way you celebrate, and I mean that.

But, before we get too deep into this conversation about "the real meaning of the season", the first thing people do think about is buying something new, probably as a treat for themselves or a gift for someone they love. (Also, since my last giveaway was a success (at least, in my start-up standards), I'm close to deciding another giveaway or pursuing my Instagram shop for opening (I've had the products on hand - just no time to actually start the venture)).

For those who know me personally, it's nothing new when I saw I want to have something from Apple this Christmas. I've been a fan for so, soooo long and there's no question that I am as devoted to Apple (in general) as I am to my career and family.

Here's to hoping for a fun-filled holiday month!

Review: Binge (Audiobook) by Tyler Oakley

Image from Barnes & Noble

Note: While I am writing this review, I am on my second cycle of listening to Binge. I love it THAT MUCH.

I've never really thought about subscribing to Audible for two reasons: (1) I love reading a book more than I do listening to a narration of it, and (2) I couldn't afford an additional expense. Just last month though, I finally decided to give it a try - and boy, was the journey unexpectedly great.

It's a fact that everybody on the internet knows who Tyler Oakley is (unless you've been living under a rock), and are also aware that he released a self-written book titled Binge. It's just too bad the hard copy isn't available here in Naga, and if I had to spend for a book, I wanted it physically. So, it occurred to me that, since Tyler would be narrating his own audiobook, it was the next best thing. I wasn't wrong. Binge (Audiobook) is amazing. AMAZING and very personal. Let's just say I am more than rooting for Tyler and his #goals in this life.


| Story

I really don't think rating an autobiography is the way to go, but the arrangement and the wordings in general were great. I really felt a connection with Tyler Oakley and his person (though Queen Tyler would never know I exist) and the things he had to go through in life. He's... normal, in a good way. I love how informal he wrote his story and made it seem like we were best friends sharing stories over coffee.


| The Audiobook

IT IS LIFE, honey, L-I-F-E. I am an avid watcher (binge watcher, haha, truly) of Tyler's Youtube videos and I just love how much fun he has (also with his collaborations with others) and the content of his videos. It's relaxing to just see him enjoy his life and somehow, it makes me enjoy mine too. (I love you, Tyler!)

His narration of his own book was more than I could've asked for. I mean, although I already knew he would be doing it, I still didn't expect so much entertainment just by listening. I'm a reader first, then a listener.

I could keep telling you how much I love Binge, but then you'd have to go through tons of paragraphs just pointing in that direction (and you really have no time for that, right?).


| The Verdict

There's no question about it - Binge is amazing both as a book and audiobook.

Overall Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Have you read/listened to Binge by Tyler Oakley as well? Are you planning to? Are you subscribed to Audible? How do you like it?

Audible grants a 30-day free trial of their service, and you won't be charged for succeeding months if you decide to cancel before the trial period. Try Audible now and understand why I've come to love it.

Want your own dream car? Go Online!

In a time where commuting from one place to another is incredibly stressful, a common desire among Filipinos is to have their own cars (I am no exemption). Although I don't live in Manila, I've spent most of my life there, and I know exactly how difficult it is just to get to the mall or hang out with friends. I just hate it. However, as much as I'd like to get my own car, I have no idea how to get one without having a heart attack.

For those of you with a similar sentiment (and who are quite uncomfortable visiting dealers), worry no further. BPI has a solution for you: a virtual car showroom.



Through the BPI Family Auto Loans program, BPI now has a showroom online for people who want to browse and compare different brand-new car models without having to leave their homes. It's very user-friendly, interactive, and have a handful of useful features like a comprehensive car buyer's guide, a self-service auto loan calculator, a simple online application form (goodbye, hideous paper-work), and an easy-to-use self-assessment test.

This is great news. I love the fact that BPI has taken into account the public's needs (and wants) and continue to look for ways to "Make the Best Happen" through innovative and relevant promos and products. Through the website, prospectives are given complete information that will help them in financing and deciding which car would suit their lifestyle or personality (and budget) best.

If that still doesn't pique your interest, the comprehensive car buyer's guide available on the site provides up-to-date information on car models available in the country along with their prices, variants, and specifications.

Personally, I think one of the greatest features available on the website is the auto loan calculator, which shows the initial cash-out and monthly amortization that goes with your chosen down payment percentage and loan term. Applying is easy via the online application form, and once submitted, the loan decision is a quick wait, with a period of just 3 to 8 business hours.

“With the improving economic condition of the Philippines due to its strengthening industries and the government’s initiatives to improve transportation, auto manufacturers have seized the chance to provide more options ranging from high-end to affordable cars that will fit what the market needs. Likewise, BPI Family Auto Loan compliments this progress by providing car financing that is affordable, easily understandable, and highly accessible, for everyone. We are committed to contributing to our country’s progress and helping our countrymen realize their dreams of owning their own car,” shares Pepe Carlos, VP and Head of Auto Loans Division.    

If you want to know more information (and maybe shop for brand-new cars yourself), head over to www.bpiloans.com and start making your dream car a reality.

Happening Now: My Retainers hurt - BADLY

I have a little confession to make.

I'm supposed to be wearing my retainers every night while sleeping, but lately (because I've been so busy) I haven't had the energy to complete this nightly ritual. So tonight, I decided to wear them again.

NEWS FLASH: The bottom retainers no longer fit.

That's right - one side of my teeth have sort of moved inwards, so the right side of my retainers are no longer in their proper place.

Now, while this is incredibly scary (read: I DON'T WANT TO WEAR BRACES AGAIN), I've devised a plan to get them back in line. I'll be sleeping on my right side for a week to see how it goes or if it moves at all. Then I'll know if this is a problem only my dentist can fix (I really hope it's not that bad).

Ugh.

As I am writing this, my teeth on the right are hurting like crazy. How do I make this pain stop? I can't pop them out again and discontinue using them for good! That would make my situation worse. What to do, what to do?

I really hope this can be remedied immediately. I'm already freaking the eff out.

K. Bye.

A Time for Renewal

It's definitely an awesome time to be alive because today, I met someone who'll help me get back on track with my Christian life.

It's been a few years since I've had a proper ministry at church and to be totally honest, I've felt dry all this time. Dry in the sense that even though I do my devotions, there's no one to help me dig deeper. On my own, it's just my knowledge being tossed back and forth - stagnant water, if you will.
It's high time for a refill of fresh, clean water.

Getting into the ministry and feeling comfortable with the people at church will no doubt be a journey on its own. I'm an ambivert (but most of my acquaintances and friends say I'm DEFINITELY an extrovert), and my level of confidence varies from person to person. That being said, I won't let that get in the way of my thirst for God. A thirst that has been pushed aside for so long that I've become accustomed to being parched. A thirst that had no right to be there for THAT long.

It's taken me this long to finally do something about it, and the guilt is just TOO MUCH. I do what I can to try to make up for my inactivity in the Lord's work but it's never enough. It'll never be enough until I become active at church, do regular devotions, connect with other Christians, and stay committed.

Committment.

Sounds easy, but hard to execute. You're committed when, no matter how busy and stressed you are, you still make time for it. Even if it goes beyond what you say you signed up for, you still do it.
Why has it been so hard for me to stay committed to something? I start a project but often neglect to finish it. I get bored easily. But there's no room for boredom in a dynamic, living body. The church is dynamic. There's always something going on in God's kingdom, so why is it so difficult to get involved?

Frankly speaking, it's my inability to focus directly on God instead of people. There's always something that demotivates me from diving deeper. People are superficial - either that or they really don't care as much. (What am I going on about? This is turning into an incredibly long post about my attitude problems.)

Back to the topic, I'm living for this moment. It's the lightest I've ever felt in a good while. I almost bared my soul to tita Monet today, and I have mixed feelings. She's really easy to talk to and I feel like we can talk about anything for hours. Do I bare more of myself? Do I expose myself more? It's probably because I know she's a Christian and won't use my secrets against me but still. (Aaanndd... we're going off-topic once again.)

Right now, I'm seeing great potential in my involvement with the church. I want to be used to glorify God and be trained not to have second thoughts about anything regarding doing His bidding. I WANT TO STOP PUTTING HIM ASIDE. I mean, I've put my career in front of me for most of my life. When will it be God's time?

I know, I know - my blog wasn't meant for these kind of posts, but it is a lifestyle blog, and to be Christian is to live as Jesus did.

I'm guessing it's time to move forward, haha. \m/

Back in the groove

The last week was AMAZING!

My first ever giveaway turned out better than I thought and I've contacted the winners. Three out of the four have responded, so I'm just waiting for her confirmation.

Underneath ALL that though, I've been very, very busy that my other commitments have been ungraciously neglected - something I never want to do. So, as soon as I get everything together in a well-thought schedule, I'll reconnect.

For now, here's an image of my latest artwork, a [kind of] pinup girl bunny. Very loose, this was just something to give myself a break from real-world things. The speed paint video is just below. Have fun!

P.S. The HTML/CSS tutorial series is still happening - just not as immediate. I'll have that up within the weekend, I promise.


Aaand... here's the speed paint!



Have a kick-ass weekend!

I'm holding a giveaway to celebrate!



It's November, and that means my blog is turning five years old!

This level of commitment is new territory for me.

Maintaining a blog hasn't been easy, and until now, I'm still struggling. With a lot of work and other side issues I have to attend to everyday, it gets harder to write content for my blog, content for other people's sites, do HTML/CSS projects, write reviews for certain companies and still work full-time as a Graphic Artist. Whew. 
However, as exhausting as it may get sometimes, this blog has been a blessing to me in a lot of ways. Now that it's reaching one of its biggest milestones, I figured it's time to finally hold my first, small giveaway.

Let's get started!

Rules


1. There are a total of two prizes included in this giveaway: (1) One Art Commission (subject of your choice from a select style I'll be providing); and (2) a $10 iTunes Gift Card (strictly for users whose iTunes country setting is "United States".

2. Only one winner will be chosen for the iTunes Gift Card, and two for the art commission prize. Upon winning, I will contact you through Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. We'll get started with your prizes at this point.

3. This giveaway is open to Philippine residents only. Prizes are all digitally delivered.

4. The Art Commission prize has the following restrictions:

  • Request for nudity/images with sexual themes are not allowed.
  • The final output is FINAL, and may not be altered by the winner or anyone else.
  • Once turned-over to the winner, that character/artwork may be used for personal projects. Do with it as you will, as long as it is not sold, traced, or printed as a product. Posting this as your artwork will require me to take legal action.
  • Image rights will still belong to me.

5. Participants only need to do each task/requirement in the raffle below ONCE. It's your call if you want to keep sharing. :)

6. Style samples for the art commission prize can be found here: STYLES

Please be reminded that I will only draw your request using one style of your choosing from the options. :)

7. The giveaway will run from November 3 (starts at 12 AM)  to November 14 (ends 12 AM), 2015. Winners will be announced on November 17 on my blog page and on my Facebook page. No emails will be sent out.


This is my FIRST EVER giveaway, so leave your suggestions about future prizes for my next one.

I'm thinking of giving a mystery prize to at least one "runner-up". More details on that soon, so stay updated!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Software of the Month: Sketch 3, Graphic, & MacClean

This month, I've made a couple of purchases that have become a part of my art-making process. I've always used Photoshop for work and other projects, and Paint Tool SAI for other random doodles or light drawing studies. Although I greatly enjoy working with these products, my love for discovering other tools thankfully never dies.

Around two weeks ago, I went software-hunting. It lasted for three-fourths of the whole day but I came out of it feeling really satisfied with my finds. Of course, my primary goal was to find free software that didn't suck, but there are seriously great products out there that are worth the price. Note: These applications were made for Apple devices. I'm not sure if there are versions for these on other systems.


MacClean - FREE


Image courtesy of Imobie





















Since the upgrade to El Capitan, my Mac has been lagging a lot. Photoshop was at its worst, just opening a Finder window would take a minute or two, and it felt like my Mac was at least three years old. After installing MacClean and allowing it to sweep my system, my former issues were gone.

I've tried other cleaning apps but most are only free to try for a limited number of days with incomplete functionality, while some have even worsened the state of my system. I highly recommend MacCleaner to others who suffer from a slow OS after upgrading. The cherry on the cake? It's FREE FOREVER.

Download the software here: MacClean


Graphic by Autodesk - $24.99


Image courtesy of Autodesk




















Autodesk has some incredible products on their catalog. I don't think there's anything I'm not fond of in their list, from Maya, Mudbox, and now, Graphic.

Whenever Photoshop flips out for some reason (it probably just needs an update/optimization fix for El Capitan), I find myself immediately shifting to Graphic. While Photoshop has an insane amount of features for editing and creating, Graphic has a simple interface with straight-forward functions meant for graphic design and vector illustration. They both have the pen tool (Graphic's pen tool has become my personal favorite), layers and blending modes, the brush tool, and a few other similarities.

I'll say it again to be clear: Graphic is a vector creation software. It doesn't pretend to be a replacement for Photoshop and it also doesn't say it's the ultimate art software around. It's great for it's primary purpose, but it's also an awesome substitute for Photoshop.

Know more and buy this software here: Graphic


Sketch 3 - $99


Image courtesy of Sketch













My favorite out of all the software I've purchased this month, Sketch is a GODSEND. For someone looking into UI and wanting to get started, this application is truly one of the best (if not the best) available.

It does come with a huge price tag, but when you think about the vast capabilities, the number of things you can do with this in your software inventory, it just makes sense to purchase this awesomeness. Personally, since buying Sketch 3, my interest in UI has gone up at least 50%. Everything is easy with Sketch 3, from creating wireframes, full-blown website mockups, to creating UI for iOS and Android devices, plus.

The money you'll spend buying this app is used to it's full potential. They have tutorials, kits to get started, a sh*tload of resources to help you get on the train, and more.

Discover and purchase Sketch 3 here: Sketch 3


What are some of your favorite software this month?
Let me know - I'd love to try them out too!

HTML/CSS 101: Part 1 - Introduction


Have you ever wanted to spice up your blog and make it completely you, but have no idea how?

I've always wanted to customize my blog theme but I had zilch knowledge on making it happen! It's incredibly frustrating when I know how I want my blog/website to look like but don't know how, so I made it my goal to learn the basics and move forward from there. (Note: I'm not claiming to be an expert. What you read in this series will be based on my self-study and experience coding my blog and other people's.)

Before we dive into the coding itself, it's important to know what HTML and CSS are and what their functions are.


What is HTML?


HTML (short-form for Hyper Text Markup Language) is a markup language for describing web pages. HTML documents are described by HTML tags, and each tag describes a specific content.

You'll notice that forms of the word describe are repeated in the definition, and it's because that's exactly what it does. It paints the page's elements - placement, content, sections, navigation, link addresses, and others. It's the interpretation of code you see in a site without the formatting, which is where CSS comes in.

What is CSS?


CSS is short for Cascading Style Sheets and can be applied to HTML in three ways - inline, internal, and external.

Inline - uses a style attribute within HTML elements
Internal - uses a style element in the HTML head section
External - uses one or more external CSS files

In simple terms, CSS is the custom formatting you can apply to an HTML tag. This is where you can add color, borders, and practically everything you want to make your site/blog even more personal.

Now, let's get started!

What does a basic HTML document look like?


HTML documents all have this basic format:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Page Title</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>
</body>
</html>

Here's a brief run-through of what these mean:

DOCTYPE defines the document type to be HTML 
<html> and </html> describes your HTML document
<head> and </head> gives details about your document
<title> and </title> gives the title for your document
<body> and </body> describes what you see on the page
<h1> and </h1> defines the heading
<p> and </p> describes a paragraph

You'll notice that they have a start < and end /> tag - anything inside will take on the description given by tag names.

The simplest examples would be styling text bold, italicized, & underlined. Take the following:

<b>Make this bold.</b> is translated into Make this bold. 
<i>Make this italicized.</i> is translated into Make this italicized. 
<u>Make this underlined.</u> is translated into Make this underlined.

HTML keywords, also called tag names, are enclosed in angle brackets. It is common for these to come in pairs as they determine where a certain keyword ends. End tags are, therefore, very important.

This is just the introduction to HTML/CSS styling, so keep posted for the next part.

What would you like me to include in the next parts? Leave a comment and I'll do my best to deliver. Ciao!


My Illustration creation process

If there's only one thing I could be sure about when it comes to this, it's the fact that there is no one way to create 'art'.

People are different, and the way we think, the way we learn, the way we do things, and the way we perceive one another is highly unique to each one. There may be similarities from time to time, but they're never exactly the same. That being said, I'd like to show you my 'creative process', if I could call it that.

I've still got a long way to go in terms of technique, but since I've recently started to notice a pattern in my process, I figured it's a good time to write about that.


The finished illustration



My art style is what you can call 'non-existent'. Simply saying, I've got no specific style apart from what my emotions were during creation. My friends know it's been a struggle of mine to find my style or my distinction, and up until now, I've lost hope. Now, I know I do have a style, but it's a mish-mash of influences added to my emotions. Still pretty vague, but I understand it a lot.

Can you tell what I was feeling based on the illustration above? Are her eyes looking directly at you, or are they on something else beyond?

This wasn't supposed to be a 'finished' artwork. I had intended her to just be a sketch with black and white shading and a touch of red/pink, but an hour later, I found myself looking back at this. It seemed to me that I somehow got lost as I was painting her.


Process


Click image to enlarge. 











Whether by sketching or color-blocking, the first thing I do is plot the background and the figure. I try to stick to grey tones first, but eventually add color to get a better glimpse of what it might look like. Since her hair is plain black and has no shine or anything, I completed that part first.

Next come the basic shadows and a sketch of the face. When I do shadows, I have my layer on either multiply or overlay depending on the effect I want to achieve. The color adjustment tool has become a staple in this process.

Sometimes, when I want really clean lineart, I sketch the whole thing first, then do the lines, then the color. With this illustration, I started with color blocks, so that other process wasn't necessary to do.

This is around 30 minutes into the illustration.


Click image to enlarge.











It's usually around this time that I get a mental image of how I want it to look like subconsciously. (Like I said, I give my hand and emotion free-reign at this point. Everything I do from here is out of feeling.)

Since she already started looking like a vampire the minute I blocked in that red gown and raven hair and also because it's almost Halloween, I went on to make the piece a little more eerie. I didn't know if I wanted it to stay "dark" as is typical, or something a little brighter. I guess my subconscious wanted the latter.

I added a greenish glow to her, some bubbles, and the rest of the elements you see in the image above. I was thinking "elixir", or something.

This was 50 minutes in.


I'm not quite sure if it's evident that I tried to make this messier than my usual style. :/ I tweaked the brush settings to achieve this sort of crayon texture, but that's about it. The rest was just a matter of adjusting the opacity, size, and pen pressure.

So, that's it. I illustrate based on how I feel. I don't stick to one style or theme as well. If ever, I stick to females. I don't know why, but I guess... it comes more natural to me.

Have any tips or questions for me?
Leave me a comment and I'll be glad to talk.

Ciao!


The Thrill (and Horror!) of Wearing Glasses


My need for glasses started when I was in second grade. 

I had just arrived in Sydney, Australia and was settling in to the new culture and surroundings at my new school. Shy, I didn't tell anyone that I had a hard time seeing things far from me at first, and I'd simply request to be seated at the front or be allowed to sit on the carpeted floors in front of the board. Then, health month came and we were subjected to a few tests - including an eye check. Turned out I was near-sighted. Figures. That week didn't end without me getting glasses.

It was initially incredibly irritating. To make things worse, I got the ones with a string (don't know what it's called) attached to it so I could hang it around my neck like it was some sort of accessory. I kind of hated my first pair. They were close to round-shaped and had a weird zebra design on the rims. It would take me at least 6 months to finally embrace my new friends.

Believe me though, glasses aren't all that bad (especially if you really need them).

  1. Everything you see are in High Definition (within the shape of your lenses, of course).
  2. Glasses may make you look more 'scholarly'.
  3. It's a trend these days (shout-out to my Hippies).
  4. It may complement your facial shape and features.
  5. It'll help correct eye problems (like mine). 
  6. There are now heaps of styles to choose from, so think of it as a fashion statement.
  7. They can protect your eyes on windy days (personal experience, everyone!).
Naturally, they have their disadvantages as well.

  1. Taking them off when going swimming sucks.
  2. Depending on the type (plastic or metal), irritation can happen where it makes contact with sweat.
  3. You've got to take extra care of them when playing sports, sometimes making you more focused on keeping it on your face than on the game.
  4. If you have lashes that are quite lengthy, be prepared to have scratches on your lenses. (I've had to buy new ones just because my lashes have permanently marked them.)
  5. Wearing headphones while wearing them can be quite uncomfortable. I usually just put on my headphones first them my glasses second, so it doesn't get squashed or pinned to the sides of my lobes.
From someone who has been wearing glasses for 16 years, I definitely wish my genes worked with me and gave me perfect 20/20 vision. It's not that bad now though, since I can wear contacts when I don't feel like putting on my glasses or when I have to attend parties and special gatherings. Contact lenses have their own evils too, so it's really weighing my options and tasks for the day. If I have to do work on my laptop for most of the day, I stick to my specs, if not, I wear my contacts. 

Do you wear glasses / thinking of getting a pair? 
What are your experiences wearing them?

Review: OSX El Capitan - Initial Thoughts


Ever since Apple's new OS became available for download last September 30, mixed reviews (some bad, some good) have been popping up, and as much as I wanted to upgrade on that same date, a number of reasons held me back. Now that I've been able to test OSX El Capitan on my Macbook Pro, I'd like to say a few things that I like and those that could be better.

The Positives


General Notes


Compared to Yosemite, El Capitan looks even more slick and intuitive. The new OS also runs incredibly well (and surprisingly fast) on my mid-2012 MBP, even with Adobe CS and a whole lot of files stored. I didn't even bother clearing my cache before installing, and it still works great. The trackpad functions (swiping, zooming, etc.) have become smoother and transitioning between screens is a lot better than before. It looks cleaner and more minimalist, something Apple has been doing very well recently with its iOS and OS releases. The lag has definitely decreased (especially when opening Word and Spotify) and the waiting time for opening apps has gone down. It totally feels like a new computer.

Apps


Since I'm a Graphic Artist by trade, the usability of certain software is crucial. After installing, I proceeded to test them one by one and I'm incredibly relieved that they ARE running on El Capitan. Adobe Photoshop CS6 and the whole suite is functioning nicely, Mixed In Key is also good, and Riffstation as well. Reading a bit of the documentation for this OS, I found out that most apps that ran on Yosemite will work like a charm on El Capitan as well.

The only thing left for me to test is if the current driver for my Wacom Manga Pen & Touch Tablet will continue working.

The Negatives


The Split feature has been on Windows for forever, and now that Apple has taken steps towards the same thing, it should be a good thing, right?


Well, not so much. I agree that being able to view two windows/apps at once is great, allowing for multitasking, but the way the pages are fitted into each side could've been thought out more. They could learn a few things from looking at a Windows screen with the split feature.

Another feature I'm having second thoughts about (takes a lot getting used to personally) is the ability to 'pin' your most visited or your favorite websites to the browser for easy access. Here's how it looks:


If you look at the top left corner, my pinned sites are there. The reason why they take effort to get used to is because it sometimes gets confusing, and I find myself looking for that "Facebook" label on the tabs. I know it'll be helpful in the long run, but for now, I'm not so sure. Does it double the mac's processing need or not? It'll always be active whether or not you're actually using it, right? (This might be more of a positive than a negative though.)

Basically, this is just a short, right-off-the-bat review of OSX El Capitan. I might post a follow-up once I play with it more, but for now, here's my two cents.

Who's excited for October?




Another month has just rolled into the year, and I am more than excited to be moving along with it! It's been a while since I set my foot down and decided to alter my appearance and I realized October would be the perfect month to do so.

One problem (out of quite a few) I've had since I was a kid is my weight. I've always been more on the "fun-sized", "bonus pack" side, and though my weight on the scale screams "oh my God", I've always been healthy. I get colds very rarely, I'm not allergic to anything, and I can do everything a slim person can do, and sometimes better. Growing up, I didn't feel insecure about my frame at all. I was active in swimming and track & field, did a little dancing on the side too so in my young mind, I was okay.

Now, at 23, everyone around me (including myself) disagrees. My career has pushed me to stay on a chair all day in front of a laptop, and my work hours are quite longer than average. When I do get free time, I spend it resting or doing more side work to help my family financially. I used to go to the gym 5-6 times a week (had a membership at The Avenue Hotel) but life has strapped me onto an office chair. You know the "myth" that once you've stopped going to the gym, you'll gain weight faster? Well, it's a fact for me.

So, since I've been energized by new friends I've gained on the internet and new sites I've been exploring (also, the fact that I'll be attending a few events that need me to look presentable), I'll be doing my best to eat healthier, eat less (I've already cut back on snacks), and move more. Given my busy schedule, documenting my progress regularly on the blog might not happen, but that's why we have Instagram. I think that would be the easiest way to keep track of what's going on in regards to my (hopefully) weight loss.

If you've read one of my previous posts from last month, I talked about buying something that I wanted to show you, but couldn't because I was reserving it for something special. Well, that product is actually a limited edition Cara Delevingne crop top/sweater from Penshoppe. Here's the twist: I bought it two sizes smaller than my current dress size.


My reason behind it is simple. If I bought something priced a little higher than most apparel in a smaller size, I'd be pushed to make changes to myself to make sure the money I spent on it would be worth something.

That's exactly what's been happening. Since buying that top, I've lost 1.5 kg. I know, it's not a lot, but considering I've done everything the same (I just cut back on the in-between snacks) with minimal exercise (mostly just daily, brisk walks to and from the office), that's something I'm proud of. Just imagine how much more I could lose if I stepped up my game!

It's all about healthy living for me this month. Go October!

The Pros and Cons of Having a Credit/Debit Card

When I was in high school, anyone with a credit/debit card was #goals. 

It always seemed so glamorous and cool to be able to purchase things online, buy music, apps - anything I set my heart to - and with some relatives talking about how easy it was to acquire gadgets and how they often get freebies at their favorite local stores and restaurants, I knew I wanted to have one the moment I started working.

Fast-forward several years later, I am now a member of the working tribe - with a debit card.

Photo from oraclefox.com
In less than three months, I had spent a lot. The figures don't even matter. The point is, if I usually thought about buying something before, I would put it off until I had really thought about whether it was a necessity or a luxury. These past months, however, I would buy things whenever I felt like it - or whenever I had money in my card.

So, to help out my fellow starters in the working world, I've put together a list of pros and cons I have personally experienced and thought about since acquiring one of those fancy modes of payment. I'm still learning, but hopefully, this helps you avoid the mistakes I so immaturely made. 

The Pros

1. Everything online is available for purchase.

Items that are sold at one place aren't necessarily found in another, and thus, there's a distance barrier we're immediately faced with. PVC dolls or high-end clothing and jewellery are hard to come by in the Philippines (and I expect in other countries too), and without an online mode of payment, they get even harder to purchase. Imagine wanting to buy a best-selling, hardbound book that can only be bought online but not having any means to get it? Or, say, wanting a product that will be released in the US ahead of your country and wanting to have it at the same time? With a credit/debit card, buying is literally just a click or tap away.

2. There are bulky wallets no more.

Of course, depending on the type of spender you are, you may or may not need a wallet that has multiple pockets and coin space once you own a card. In college (a.k.a. a time not so long ago), my wallet would look like it was about to burst. All. The. Time. Coins took most of the space, followed by other cards I use (like the National Bookstore Student Card or the Starbucks Card), then the receipts, then the bills. It was horribly stuffed, in other words. Nowadays, my wallet isn't as fat as it once was, all thanks to my card.

3. Paying for online services has become a breeze.

I love paying for online services that give me great content. Sites like Hulu and Netflix are my current favorites, along with Apple Music, Kobo, and Kickstarter (I might write a separate post for these guys). Just recently, I backed Batband, a project on Kickstarter that promises to give you an audio experience like no other and still hear whatever's going on around you. Awesome, right? It's the little things like these that make having a debit/credit card the greatest thing on the planet. 

4. Eating out has become a better experience.

I'm not sure if it's just in the Philippines or if it also happens in other countries, but if you own a debit/credit card and use it to pay in restaurants (or anywhere in the mall), the waiters/cashiers treat you better. I've had an insane amount of experience with this (combined with a few social experiments) and it's incredible. It's not like you're trying to be someone else and pretending you're filthy rich, I assure you. Sometimes, the waiters don't pay much attention to me when I give off a normal vibe (this is quite hard to explain - perhaps another dedicated post for this?), but when the bill has arrived and I whip out my card, they suddenly change their mood. It's weird, but awesome.


The Cons

1. There's a tendency to spend a whole lot more than usual.

The fact that anything can be bought online means we might not realize that we're spending more than ever. This happened to me around a month ago, while I was browsing through the iTunes store for new tracks to add to my list. Since the price for each song tends to be around 0.69c - 1.29c (depending on the track), my brain thinks I'm spending very little by buying one by one. After looking through my purchases at the end of the day, I realized I had spent at least $12 worth of music.  That's around P560 in the Philippines. While there's nothing wrong with buying and supporting music (which I really fight for), I had never spent that much money on iTunes before. It was quite shocking, too.

Aside from online purchases, buying form physical stores really prove the efficiency of having a card in place of cash and coins. As I mentioned earlier, I usually spend time to think about buying a product, but since I know I can easily pay for it, the decision-making process is shortened. Want that cool statement shirt? Swipe. Like that hip sweater from H&M? Swipe. 

I think you get the point.

2. Materialism takes on a bigger, clearer form.

What we don't have, we really want. Be it gadgets, clothes, or other things, we try to acquire that item that we think will make us happier. With an easier means to support our materialism, we can get easily tempted. I know that from experience. Simply put, because I have money to spend, it no longer matters where that money goes, as long as I feel satisfied for a little while about something I bought online. Not good.

3. Maintaining the balance between card and cash gets trickier.

Well, for me, at least. I rarely have any cash on me these days. Since I've begun to rely on my card to buy things, I've seemed to have forgotten that I need coins for transport and lunch with my co-workers. The place we eat at doesn't accept debit card since it's a small eatery/canteen. Although this isn't a huge problem, I thought I'd include this also as a reminder for me to be prepared for emergencies when I need cash on hand.


While I'm not going to ditch my debit card anytime soon, a little separation wouldn't hurt I guess. There are a lot of advantages with owning a card and a few cons that go along with it. I would've applied for a credit card instead (a bigger problem in the future, I'm sure) but I'm 9 months shy from being qualified. That's for the best, it would seem.

If you're thinking about getting a credit/debit card, I hope this post helps you become more aware of some things to consider and keep watch over when using it. It's not all glamour.

Either that, or I'm a shopaholic.