Monday, January 30, 2012


Well, I had a great time in california! Always love getting to see some palm trees and surfers - but we did some very fun extras on this trip including whale watching, a comedy show, La Jolla Sunsets, LA, the Chinese theater, Universal Studios, a casino, and visited a farm!

Where do I start?! Whale watching was surprisingly fast for a 3 hour tour, there were about 6 gray whales that we saw pretty consistently the whole time and about 600 dolphins. Also spotted a Sea Lion sun bathing.

Down to the artsy part of town for some shopping at a salvage store, antique boutique & mid century modern resale shop! The best salsa ever at a restaurant I cant remember all decked out in Día de Muertos colors and skulls.

My sisters very good friend Jeff has an aunt who raises miniature horses - it was even better because we met a 4 day old baby donkey and lots of dogs, cats & peacocks! Then off to the casino where we lost too much money - oops! but had a great time anyway.

Kelly and I rented a red convertible and drove with the top down up to LA - coastline view the whole way. First we went to the Chinese Theater and tried on everyones shoes - then we walked up and down the star studded sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard. I even got to see the Hollywood sign!

After our taste of Tinseltown - we headed to Universal Studios. I will make a note to always go on Tuesdays because we felt like we had the run of the park. The best ride was probably the Mummy coaster... but I must say the Krusty Land and the Universal Tour were equally fin and amazing.

Not even going to try to scrape the surface of all the great food we ate - Thai, Wine Bar, Inn & Out burger, the Spot, Snooze, world famous... time for a diet.

And did I mention Kelly's most amazing friend Laura (check out her blog - the Color Room Confessionals) cut my hair and gave me some sunshine highlights to take home with me? Love it! Not to mention her daughter Ella (up in the mustache picture) is the cutest little girl ever.

All in all a great trip - I always have so much fun with the fam on our Cali vacations!

Friday, January 27, 2012

cali sneak

so I didnt get to my recap post this week - but here's a peak!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

nerd alert : professor layton & the last specter

// from here
There is a monster in the town of Misthallery and Professor Layton has been sent a suspicious note from an old friend asking for his help in the investigation. Together with his assistant Emmy and apprentice-to-be Luke, Layton leaves London to see what can be done about the Specter. He starts to unearth clues; an ancient flute and an archeological dig to unearth a legendary golden garden.

This is the 4th installment in the Professor Layton series, and it solves the question of how Luke and Layton came to be such a formidable duo. I'm not sure I remember Emmy in the other 3 games, but I like her spunk. This game, like all of the Layton games, is a puzzle game - like, puzzles that are otherwise unlinked to any part of the plot. Let me try to explain...

Professor Layton : "Hello random townsperson of Misthallery"
Randon person : "Why hello, you look pretty smart - think you could help me with this puzzle?"

And then you get a nice puzzle to solve - it could be anything ... even something like "if a train left London at 12:15m traveling 56 meter per hour..."

Get the gist? There is a nice storyline and the characters are well developed - but the puzzles are why I play. Not sure if you'd like it? Play the free demo!

01/ scooter necklace $59.99  //  02/ puzzle workshop $70.40  //  03/ mouse pendant $10.00  //  04/ stove pipe hat $30.00  //  05/ Luke $19.99  //  06/ flute $12.95  //  07/ Vespa paper clips $7.98  //  08/ Hershel Layton $23.11  //  09/ Keats the cat! from the game  //  10/ dino ring $31.00

6/6 Toes // Overall

1 // Graphics
These 2D cartoon games are a cross between french (think triplets of Belville) illustration and anime. They are cute and cool at the same time.

1 // Storyline and Characters
Professor Layton, Assistant Emmy, and apprentice-to-be Luke are quite the trio traipsing around Misthallery looking for the facts on the Specter. There are a lot of secondary characters in this game to interact with as well, and some very frustrating villains to deal with. Find out who is playing the mysterious flute that follows the specters appearances like clockwork, work out what really happened in a mysterious suicide, get to the bottom of a local group called the black ravens, and help out 2 orphans who have more to do with the mystery than they are letting on.

1 // Soundtrack and Sound Effects
I always appreciate when characters are given voices - it makes them more real. The video and straight talking segments are very nicely done and the !! sound when you solve a puzzle is something you will be very glad to hear over and over again.

1 // Length of Game and Price
The game took me around 14 hours to complete. I know this because it logs your time next to your saved game (depressing and convenient). for $30 that's not too shabby (considering that's about 2 weeks of casual gaming for me).

1 // Replay Value
The puzzles arent really going to change, but it will take you a few times of replaying them before you memorize the answers. There is also a great mini game called "little london" where you create a character and try to create a little digital london life for yourself. Its addictive. 

1 // Puzzle Difficulty
Thank goodness for the hint coins in this game - because otherwise I would've been stuck more than once. There are a total of 170 puzzles in this game (if you can find them all!) and each one is great.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012


... addicted to punk rock? huge fan of modernism? never could figure out a way for these 2 loves to come together as one?

Swissted (like twisted... get it?) is a graphic design project by mike joyce that takes punk rock groups and creates swiss style posters. love.

Its kinda funny to see such a juxtaposition of items, head over to swissted and check them out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

a fish with a view

Well I am officially back from California! In one piece & with lots of laundry to do... I promise I will do a full blown recap post next week - but in the meantime have a gander at one of the coolest items I saw on my trip - the fishscape fishbowl. Seriously, if I didn't have cats this would already be in my apartment.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

transparent speaker

stop hiding your stereo equipment - display it proudly, because its not some clunky black plastic elephant in the room anymore - now its gorgeous and goes with any decor. Now if only you could buy one.... by PeoplePeople

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

chevron love

I might be in love.... the black and white one needs to come live with me stat.

// Bold and Something to look at by Charlene McCoy

Friday, January 13, 2012

california here i come!

Well, I'm off to sunny San Diego for a little family R&R. I love California, someday maybe I'll live there - but for now the yearly trips to the sun are just what I need during the (cold) winter.

When we drive out into the desert and see all the mid-century houses its almost like going back in time. So how about some retro travel items to get me in the mood? yes please!

01/ luggage tag $9.00  //  02/ Hollywood sign $25.00  //  03/ pan am wings $62.00  //  04/ plane necklace $24.00  //  05/ travel clock $18.99  //  06/ pan am bag $45.00  //  07/ California table $1650.00  //  08/ California scarf $6.99  //  09/ L.A. pic $15.00  //  10/ Samsonite $38.00  //  11/ carry on $38.00

Thursday, January 12, 2012


One of my biggest problems with life as i know it - is that I can't take this girl everywhere I go. it's a tragedy, she's sweet and fluffy and has an unnatural affinity for spooning. That being said i think there is a solution on the horizon! No, they haven't started breeding pocket sized kitties... check out Ref.

Ref is a robotic cuff you wear, it senses your mood via your pulse and takes necessary action to make you feel better - its like a traveling pet! now if only they could make it look less like a manta ray and more like polly... oh and a purr setting would be appreciated too.

// all from here
So how do you feel about a traveling robot pet therapist? too weird? or too cool?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

nerd alert : big fish sampler 4

Another BigFish sampler post! I might be addicted... Let me tell you a little about the three I played this past week... 

Voodoo Whisperer: Curse of a Legend

Lillian, is from a long line of women gifted in the art of Voodoo. New Orleans has been put under a spell and she is the only one left to help. Save the town from evil and unravel the mystery behind the curse as you hear the stories from the people you encounter in the game.

The spell aspect of the game really takes it to the next level. There are different spells that you acquire as you progress in the game - and there are Voodoo recipes to make for each person you meet. This obviously makes the inventory items key - and since you know what to be on the lookout for, it makes the seek and find element of the game more relevant to the story.

Overall strength of the games story line 5/6
Quality of the graphics, especially in the seek and find elements 6/6
How far through the game did I feel I was after the hour 6/6
Odds that I would buy the full version of this game 6/6

***** UPDATE : DO NOT BUY. I played and finished this game and it was.... to be continued!!! which is fine if I hadn't bought this game - felt like a total cop-out. not really that interesting to merit a sequel, and definitely not happy that there was literally no ending, it just stopped in the middle of the story.

Haunted Manor : Queen of Death

Your astranged sister writes to tell you that your parents have died and that you are both now orphans - you head home, sad and bewildered to find your family manor surrounded by evil. It soon becomes clear that you must do what you can to save yourself from the evil. Is you sister Stella behind this? or is she in danger too?

This is the first BigFish game that I have played from a child's perspective - your character is probably around 12 or 13 years old. The graphics are superb, the dying people are creepy, and you are kind of left guessing whats going to happen next. I feel like after the hour I was almost done with the game - but I could be wrong. My biggest qualm is that there is a back story of the manor being cursed and they barely explain it to the player. If there's a curse i want to know all the spooky details!

Overall strength of the games story line 3/6
Quality of the graphics, especially in the seek and find elements 6/6
How far through the game did I feel I was after the hour 2/6
Odds that I would buy the full version of this game 3/6

Penny Dreadfuls : Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd returns to London in search of revenge. Its your job to track him down and put an end to his murderous rampage before its too late. Walk around London town in search of clues and solve puzzles with items you find along the way.

This is a beautiful game - hands down one of the most nicely animated BigFish games I have played thus far. The details are outstanding - even the exit game pop up is designed to please. I also love the fact they honored the musical nature of the Sweeney Todd story with a song intro to the game. There is also a somewhat helpful peeler to narrate your moves throughout the game. very awesome.

Overall strength of the games story line 6/6
Quality of the graphics, especially in the seek and find elements 6/6
How far through the game did I feel I was after the hour 6/6
Odds that I would buy the full version of this game 6/6

So.. which one would I buy? I didn't technically have to buy any because I used 2 of my Big Fish Game Card Punches to buy BOTH Sweeney Todd and Voodoo Whisperer!! psyched!

** read the update for the voodoo whisper above. I wouldn't recommend buying this game.

Monday, January 9, 2012

iPhone 4S

// from here
Santa always knows exactly what to get me. Probably because its my mom & dad, and i usually drop lots of hints. If you didnt know, I'm a huge apple person - i love all my apple products, and now I love my new iPhone 4S.

I wasnt sure, it was just an upgrade from the 3GS - how different could it be? um, a lot. For one its GORGEOUS, it feels like you are holding a mini machine instead of a phone with its real metal detailing. I got the white (just like my previous 3GS) because theres something more futuristic about it, and i love to pretend i am from the future.

Looks aside, its fast as hell. On my 3GS I would wait for websites to load, and wait some more - now its like BAM!

The Cloud is also pretty amazing - Download a song to your phone and its also on your computer. Take a picture, and look at it on your iPad. amazingly seamless.

Siri and I are having a rough time getting to know each other, but I am hopeful... she is really good at answering all my questions with a city map (especially when i just want her to search google). But I appreciate what she tries to do for me - and she really just reminds me of Marsinta Drewbish from the Douglas Adams written PC game Starship Titanic. (I guess I'll just need to adjust her cellpoint settings lol)

me: "Oh Siri you are beautiful"
siri : "I bet you say that to all your apple products"

She's right, I do.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

nerd alert : syberia 2

// from here
Lets pick up where we left off shall we? I will try not to give too much of the story away, but in case you haven't played the first one (and don't know how it ends) here is the mandatory...

 *spoiler alert*

Syberia 2 starts up right where the first one ends - Kate abandons her entire life in New York and joins Hans on his quest to find the Mammoths. Oscar, as always, is right there to (kind of) help out. Youki is the cutest addition to the team, part dog part seal, he is almost like an inventory item at points in the game. and Kate's outfit gets way more weather appropriate (can you believe she traipsed around northern Europe in a white bomber jacket?)

01/ bear pillow $22.00  //  02/ shearling aviator jacket $699.99  //  03/ dream catcher top $34.00  //  04/ white owl mittens $28.94  //  05/ bronze tusk $75.00  //  06/ owl pendant $20.00  //  07/ Youki! from the game  //  08/ gear heart $220.00  //  09/ ice crampons $20.00 

You guessed it, just like Syberia 1, I loved this game. This may shock you - but its actually my favorite of the two games! Sequels are always coupled with a bit of apprehension, but this is more of a continuation than a sequel.

It's more like the second installment of a really good book series, the charters grow, Kate is determined and confident throughout the game (instead of one foot in like Syberia 1), the story gets more complex - it's great. Hans is also a huge addition to the game, one of my favorite details is how he has taken over the train and made it into a traveling workshop - its now covered in gears and things he is tinkering with.

There are also general improvements to the navigation (hotspots include directions instead of just a general highlighted circle) - and the train got a little makeover too (you can make fun of me all you want - but I love that the bathroom is assessable in this game).

6/6 Toes // Overall

1 // Graphics
The quality of the second game is the same, if not slightly better than Syberia 1 - I especially love the constant wandering of Kate's fuzzy companion Yuki - so lifelike and doesn't cause any lag or delay during gameplay. Also, since you are in a winter wonderland in this game, they have taken the liberty of animating falling snow in a lot of the scenes - gorgeous, and very realistic.

1 // Storyline and Characters
When you finish Syberia 1, the game feels complete - but you know there is going to be a sequel. After you play the second one, theres no way to imagine the story being even a fraction of the way over after the first game. The journey is just beginning and you need to help Hans make it to the Mammoths in Syberia, before its too late. The relationships are great, there are a lot more people in this game compared to the first one, the towns you travel to and from are full of people, you even visit a (drop dead gorgeous) monastery. Its great to see the imagined life on the edges of civilization - almost like going back in time. I wont lie to you, this game made me cry. I won't spoil it, but if you don't cry at a specific part (you'll know when you play it. And no, its not at the very end) then you might be sans one heart. On top of that, Hans is adorable - his age paired with his small size and child-like personality melt your heart (despite all of the snow). Even though it seems somewhat complete, I cant wait to see what the (much anticipated) Syberia 3 has in store! Its currently on hold - but we can only hope it comes out sometime in 2012. 

1 // Soundtrack and Sound Effects
Sound in Syberia2 is great. more sound effects for the ice and snow, more music for the new environments and cultures you encounter.  Also there is a huge attention to detail on which sound effects are used - example, if Kate walks in water there is a "splash", if she walks on metal there is a "tink" and if she is on snow "crunch", etc... such attention to elements like that makes games so much more fun to lose yourself in! Also when the wind blows through the trees you can hear the clinking of icicles and blowing of snow. Two thumbs up! 

1 // Length of Game and Price
Buy both games together (they are even available on BigFish Games for $9.99 each!), and spend days exploring the gorgeous environments and solving every challenge Hans throws in Kate's path. 

1 // Replay Value
Like I said, this is pretty much a seamless continuation of the first game, so they should ideally be played together. And then played again, and again - yearly at the very least. (I recommend January - the weather is perfect lol). 

1 // Puzzle Difficulty
The puzzles are vast, and very inventory/sequence based like the first game. You come to a location - you encounter a problem (train needs wound again) you talk to the people you meet, do some favors, find some items, and you are on your way! To make matters a but worse, the train is getting stopped by weather and snow. There is also a lot of other travel including boats and sleds. And don't forget the Automatons! The addition of Yuki to help you out is a great game addition, and there are also some pesky villains to outwit.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

cocoa favorite

Hope everyone had a happy new year! I am ringing in 2012 with a cold... but its ok because now i have a great excuse to drink gallons of my new favorite hot cocoa from land-o-lakes.

land-o-lakes? I know, I was right there with you til I tasted it - Love! the raspberry and artic white are my current favorites. Stay warm!
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