Ariel Nendoroid!

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Recently, I was finally able to receive my Christmas present from my friend T! They preordered this Nendoroid figure for me, it finally released in March (or April?), and by the time the post office stopped fucking around (as they are wont to do with T’s packages) and it arrived, it was May.

Nendoroids are figures of pop culture characters manufactured by the Good Smile Company. Over the years they’ve released figures from anime and manga, as well as video games and movies. Nendoroids aren’t the only type of figure Good Smile makes — what makes them unique are their big heads, tiny bodies, and overall kawaii/chibi/cutesy look. Also, they come with a ton of alternate body parts (but are not the only figures on the market that do).

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I’ve been aware of Nendoroids over the years, but haven’t purchased any for myself because all the little parts seemed such a fuss, and I knew I would put it in one pose and leave it that way forever. But T spotted the announcement of this one in the fall and thought I would love it, and I do! She’s very cute, and I was excited to see the little dinglehopper (fork) in the box. I immediately set about putting together a pose that used it.

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Disappointingly, I found that even once I sorted out which hand was for the dinglehopper, it didn’t stay in the hand very well. I also found that sometimes when I was manipulating the figure, the tails would pop out of the slot easily. Additionally, it could be difficult to get the peg into her back. The top of the peg actually comes off of the the rest of the blue arm that she’s attached to, and that happened to me a lot as I was trying to get the blue arm situated. That big head of hers is heavy, and it was a little tricky to keep things balanced on the base. This isn’t an issue that all Nendos have — Ariel is made to look as if she’s swimming, but many of the other characters just stand on the base (which is usually clear, but, again, we’re swimming here). But, she is very cute!

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I took this shot to demonstrate how to change the face plate. You just slide the front of her her hair out of the pegholes and then slide the face off in a similar fashion. Here you can also see where the peg keeping her up enters her back. It’s a little rough to get it in there under her hair. The back of her hair actually comes off as well, and when I first inserted the peg, I found it easier to do with the hair off.

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Another arrangement of the parts. I imagine that she’s fleeing from Flounder and Sebastian while on a mission to do something incredibly headstrong and foolhardy, lol. This one was hard to achieve, though. The pole holding her up is made of two parts that curve in the same direction and putting her so far forward made the whole base want to tip over. It took very precise positioning of the curves to get this shot.

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Here’s a close up of Flounder and Sebastian. They are…not the best. Sebastian looks sort of okay, but Flounder looks a little off. (Or is that just me?) Their posts are also a little flimsy and awkward. I kept accidentally popping them apart at the hinge while putting the pegs into the holes, which were a tight fit. This is the same pose as the previous picture, and you can also see a little bit of the tricky curves of the post holding Ariel up that I just mentioned.

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She also has a pair of arms that is specifically for holding Flounder. Maybe Sebastian would fit too? I didn’t try it because it looked like it wouldn’t work as well.

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This is the final pose I settled on, the one that she will now stay in for the rest of her days. I think I would get another Nendoroid or two in the future if they made any characters that I was really really interested in. (For instance, if they ever make Seto Kaiba, they will immediately have all of my money.) But despite the fact that she is really cute, I’m not totally sure I would recommend this figure to just anyone because of struggles I had that are specific to this particular figure.

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There wasn’t really a good place to mention it above, but there is such good attention to detail with this line of figures, even the interior of the box was beautiful. It would be a nice display backdrop for the figure if I had the space for that, but instead I recycled it. The figure has really good attention to detail and quality throughout this figure. So, again, I would recommend checking out other Nendoroids if  you think you’d be interested, but, again, I don’t know if I would recommend this one.

All the same, Good Smile has links to places to buy this figure on the product page for her, so check it out if you want to!

Empty Products!

I love Empties videos on YouTube, because if someone is showing you a product they’ve totally used up, you know you’re getting a fully formed opinion on it. I always wanted to do one myself, but couldn’t justify holding onto trash, waiting to accumulate enough stuff for a video. But when I recently finished up several products at the same time, I realized my blog could be a good venue for this sort of thing, because I can take pictures of the empty containers before I dispose of them, and compile them into a post when I have a good amount.

Today I have five empty products to share with you!

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1. Folle de Joie Perfume: I found out about this perfume in 2014, during the brief period of time I was subscribed to Birchbox. They sent me a sample of this, and I fell so deeply in love that I treated myself to a proper bottle. To me, it’s kind of flowery, but not in a full on girly way — it’s got a bit of an undertone to it that I associate more with masculine scents. To be more precise, according to the website, it’s got top notes of sweet citrus, woodsy floral, and cognac, mid notes of jasmine and rose, and base notes of spicy wood and leather. In my experience, it sticks around the whole day. I still like this perfume a lot, although not as much as I first did. I won’t be repurchasing it, because I really only have room for one fancy perfume in my budget (and several cheap ones, lol) and I’ve since fallen way more in love with another.

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2. Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads: I talked about these in my full skincare routine post, and I’m still digging them. In fact, I’ve already bought another tub (which was probably my 4th or 5th one)! To reiterate what I’ve written over there, I use these as a nighttime toner. There’s a lot of nice skincare acids in them that weaken the bonds between my skin cells to kind of chemically exfoliate the skin and aid in the renewal of my complexion.

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3. Soap and Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream: I’m not gonna lie to you, the bottoms of my feet are not the prettiest in the world, especially in the winter. I remember that I saw a YouTuber (I forget which one) recommend this in an Empties video, so I thought I’d try it out. This helped a lot, but I think I’m just going to go back to slathering tons of regular body lotion onto my feet because there are a few things I wasn’t crazy about.

Firstly, the scent — I’m very picky about scents, and I find that I usually do not like Soap and Glory’s scents. This one wasn’t as bad as some of the others, and I did get used to it, but still am not interested in smelling it again anytime soon.

Secondly, it’s hard to get it to absorb — When dispensing this cream I found there was a very thin line between “not enough to cover my foot” and “whoops, way too much lotion.” I’d put my socks on and go about my business for the few hours between shower and bedtime. Then when I’d take off my socks to go to bed (I can’t sleep with them on), I’d find my feet felt kind of sticky, even on the days where I got the amount of product right. It wasn’t a major discomfort, but I wasn’t fond of it. Also, I couldn’t rub the leftover cream into my hands after coating my feet, it didn’t work. It left a weird residue that made me feel like I couldn’t touch anything, and had to immediately wash my hands.

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4. Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask: I mentioned this in my post about the face masks I own. I’ll be honest — technically this isn’t fully empty, but it’s past its expiration date (always look for the little jar icon the back of cosmetics/skincare!). The last few times I’ve tried to use it, I’ve found that it’s hard to remove from the pot because it’s dried out a bit. So I figured it was time to pitch it, since I’m paranoid about fucking up my skin. I’ve described this as kind of a poor man’s version of the famous Glamglow mask, and I’d buy it again in the future once I use up other face masks I have.

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5. Noxzema Classic Clean: This is another one from my big skincare masterpost. This cleanser is my basic, twice a day go-to. It makes my skin feel clean, but not dried out. Like it says on the tub, it tingles, which is super refreshing and helps me wake up in the morning, lol.  I’ve gone through maybe four or five of these, but haven’t bought a new one yet because around the time this was running out, I was also prepping for my trip to Boston and bought a stick based cleanser (partly from curiosity, partly for ease of travel). But once I use that up, I’m going straight back to this!

That’s it for this Empties post! Let me know what you think of this format. I think I’d like to do more of these — it’s a nice way to share a bunch of recommendations at once, instead of doing a lot of little review posts.

Have you guys been using anything interesting recently?

I hope you’ve been having the best week you can.

–Krys

Review: Netgear WiFi Extender!

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Hello, friends! This week I am here to tell you about a product that has massively improved my technological life — the Netgear N300 WiFi Range Extender (EX2700), purchased here. Probably I shouldn’t kill the suspense by telling you it’s good in the first paragraph, but screw the rules, I have WiFi.

In this day and age I definitely feel very fortunate that I live in a populated area where good internet is not hard to come by. My family even got a new router from our provider in 2016 which fixed some WiFi problems we’d been having (the router we had was quite old). However, this past summer, I discovered an issue thanks to one fun little device.

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This is my Nintendo Switch. I bought it in the summer, because I’d bought Splatoon 2 for my friend’s Switch, but decided I wanted to be able to play it at home and had the finances to make that happen. There was just one little problem. It had a very hard time picking up WiFi consistently. I could download games, extremely slowly, but Splatoon decreed that my connection wasn’t good enough for me to play online. I suspected that this was a problem with the distance between the Switch and our router, as when I brought my Switch to my friend’s small apartment I was able to easily connect to Splatoon’s servers. This was odd to me, as none of my other numerous devices were having internet issues. But I did some research and found that the Switch apparently just has a really shitty, weak WiFi receiver inside of it. Great!

So I scoured the internet, trying to figure out something to do, and stumbled upon the concept of a WiFi extender. I compared a few models, concerned about getting the most quality while spending no more than thirty or forty dollars. I’d rather only be able to use the Switch for offline games than spend a ton of money to make one device work better. That idea was just nuts to me!

I settled on this model from Netgear.

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It had (has) four stars on Amazon after 25,000 reviews, so I figured it’d probably be fine for my uses. I don’t want to extend the WiFi to the moon, I just need it to reach a few extra feet so my Switch can function online just as well as my PS4 does.

Setting it up was very simple. I’m pretty tech savvy so it easy for me, but Netgear’s extender comes with an instruction book that is easy enough to understand that I’d say my far less technologically inclined mom could probably figure it out. I had it up and running probably within five to ten minutes, and it only took that long because the encryption on our router meant I had to fuss with Netgear’s website instead of just pushing the buttons on the side.

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It lives unobtrusively in this corner, with my camera equipment. I need the room to be really dark when I sleep, and I was worried that the bright green lights on the extender were going to bother me even though it’s kind of tucked behind my dresser. I even turned it off at night initially! But it’s actually not bothersome at all.

I bought this extender for my Switch, but it’s actually improved the overall quality of my at home internet life! I’d never had any problems playing online with my PS3 or 4, but it sometimes did feel like downloading games or large patches took a really long time, way longer than I’d like. One day it occurred to me that I could swap them over to the extender’s connection, and it’s really made a big difference! Downloading games no longer takes a bajillion years! It’s great!

So, like I said at the top of this post, I definitely would really recommend this WiFi extender from Netgear. I’m not sponsored, obvs, because who would sponsor me? But I like this device so much that I wanted to let you guys know it existed!

I hope you’re all doing well.

–Krys

Review: Mania by Fall Out Boy

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I’ve been a Fall Out Boy fan since my freshman year of high school when a girl at my bus stop introduced me to them. They’re probably the band that I’ve been actively keeping tabs on for the longest, and also they’re one of two bands where I know all the members’ names. (Fun Fact: the other one is Rammstein.)

So suffice it to say, I was very, VERY excited when I heard Mania was coming out, although since they announced it with the first single in April 2017, I had a very, VERY long wait. (The album was originally supposed to be released in the summer, but they pushed back the release date so they could scrap most of the album and write new songs. [Source]) In fact, the wait was so long that I very nearly forgot about it, but lucky for me, I remembered, because there is some very, VERY enjoyable music on this album.

There are a lot of the hallmarks of Fall Out Boy here, such as big, booming, inspirational choruses, titles that have nothing to do with the content of the songs, and lyrics that occasionally sound like the poetry a high school freshman would write and think was so cool even though it’s kind of awful. It’s not my favorite of their albums (that would be Folie a Deux), but it’s pretty solid!

Before I go into a song by song breakdown, I’d also like to put it out there that I have one major complaint regarding the packaging! I’m a big physical media person, so of course I bought the CD instead of buying it from iTunes or whoever else sells MP3s nowadays. The color combination chosen for the tracklist on the back cover makes it nearly unreadable in anything other than bright daylight. AWFUL graphic design choices were made here.

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WHO DESIGNED THIS??

And now for the breakdown. I’m going by the order of the songs on the CD, which is apparently different than other places such as Spotify for whatever reason. So don’t be confused if you’ve seen a different album order elsewhere!

Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea: The beginning of this song kind of alarmed me when I started up the album for the first time — it was kind of like being musically punched in the face. The lyrics are both cheesy (“Are you smelling that shit? Eau de resistance!) and inspirational (“The only thing that’s ever stopping me is me.”). Musically it’s fun to listen to. I like it!

Last of the Real Ones: Definitely one of the songs that feels more focused and tells a clear story without having to read into the lyrics too much. It’s catchy. Kind of in the middle for me in terms of the songs on this album, but on the upper end of middle. I’ve linked the music video here so you can hear it, but it’s kind of….weird (I’m not crazy about the llamas), and sort of makes me feel like they needed to to make the video cheaply so they reused the costumes from Young and Menace because they already had them.

Hold Me Tight Or Don’t: This feels like a super boppy summer song. It’s definitely one of my top favorites from this album and it makes me want to dance. The lyrics are kind of disjointed, but I do get the overall sense we’re talking about a friends with benefits or on and off kind of relationship here. The lyrics are CATCHY though, and I really like the way some of them sound individually. (ie: “I took too many hits off this memory // I need to come down.”) I can totally understand why they chose to make a music video for this one, although only the good lord knows why they picked a Day of the Dead theme.

Wilson (Expensive Mistakes): I’ll be honest, I’m not crazy about this one at all. I feel like it’s lyrically weak. “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color,” feels like it would fit right in on the album that made them go mainstream, From Under the Cork Tree. And, no lie, the first time I heard the line, “I became such a strange shape from trying to fit in,” the image that popped into my head was Spongebob when he became round from trying to be too normal.

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It honestly feels like the most disjointed song on the album to me, like it’s just a bunch of different lines mashed together. The video makes me laugh a lot, and it seems like the guys had fun making it, but it does not make me like this song any better.

Church: I’m always drawn to weird, overly dramatic songs, so of course this is my favorite song on the album. There’s a big beautiful chorus that I’ve had a lot of fun belting out in the car, but I was originally annoyed because I thought it didn’t relate to the verses at all. However, then when I was reading the album booklet and actually understanding all of the words Patrick was singing my dormant English Major training rose from the grave and I felt like I could write a traditional five paragraph persuasive literary analysis essay with the thesis, “Fall Out Boy loves and worships fame, despite the negative aspects of it.” Spotting the wordplay in, “Take the pain / make it billboard [Billboard? ; ) ] big,” was a lightbulb moment for me. The bridge section often gives me chills, and I love how Patrick really gets to show off his vocal range. I’m not at all crazy about the video, but I need you to hear this song.

Heaven’s Gate: I think this one is my least favorite, despite the fact that the chorus has a nasty tendency to get stuck in my head. I like the oldies vibe, but that’s pretty much the only thing I like. The lyrics are kind of goofy, despite the sweet subject matter of wanting to be in heaven with a loved one. Meh.

Champion: This is one of the songs they kept when they overhauled the album. It’s got one of those big anthemic Fall Out Boy chrouses. “If I could live through this, I can do anything,” is something I’ve been repeating to myself as a mantra since I heard it, since I’m in a very unhappy place in my professional life at the moment. It’s a solid song, nothing too exciting or original, but still good.

Sunshine Riptide: This one is way down on the totem pole for me. I just find it a little boring, but that’s okay, that’s just my opinion. I don’t really have a lot to say. It just feels a little pedestrian to me.

Young and Menace: I have serious mixed feelings about this song. I LOVE the verses, both lyrically and musically. When I first heard it back in April I was like, “Oh my god, I love this song.” And then the “chorus” arrived. It was SO jarring. I’m not super into dubstep/super electronic music, so I’m not into the nonsense they’ve put between the verses at all. I didn’t actually time it, but I’d estimate that probably about a minute of this nearly four minute song is taken up by this thing that I don’t like. Also, there’s a sound in those bits that’s basically a car horn, which can be disorienting when you’re listening to the song while driving.

I can appreciate a band trying to do something new and different than what they’ve done, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. Also, the music video is pretty weird and really did a lot to put me off the song as well, tbh. (If you’re curious, this is the other song they kept from the original version of Mania.)

Bishops Knife Trick: This seems to me like another rumination on fame. (“I’m struggling to exist with you // and without you.”) It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s not awful. It’s a pretty solid song. Not much to say about this one.

So there you have it, my thoughts about the newest album by one of my all time favorite bands! If you like the music in the videos I’ve linked, then I definitely think that Mania is worth purchasing (or streaming someplace if you can’t spare the cash).