Book Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Title: Modern Romance
Authors: Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
Pages: 277
Published on June 16th, 2015 by Penguin Press
Links: Official Website, Goodreads, Indigo! Chapters, Amazon CA
Summary: Comedian Aziz Ansari takes a complete look on how romance became modern in the world of technology and a new generation. He analyzes the habits of young daters in the hook up world, the apps and websites connecting all of us, and the trends of dating using a smartphone (or any technology/app). There is no longer a “traditional” romance in this era; it’s a modern romance.
Review –
We all know who Aziz Ansari is, right? He’s one of my favourite comedians right now and to find that he released a book this summer, I had to jump on it and grab a copy myself… and it’s by far one my favourite reads this year. Modern Romance is the first novel (to my knowledge and excluding academic papers) to focus on the new relationship between the dating world and smartphones.

How many of you guys tried online dating via a website or an app? How many times have you stared at your phone hoping your crush would call you by now? Text you? How many of us have sent nudies? Nearly all of these trends began only recently (aside from calling) with the increase of technology usage.

Ansari describes these new trends on dating, “modern romance”. Gone are the days we marry our next door neighbours by the age of 19. Gone are the days of “kind men” and date nights. Gone are the days of “traditional” romance.

Mixing his comedic skills, this light read proves all to real in the dating world. Now, note that although Ansari is a comedian, he did put a lot of resources and dedication into conducting his studies for this book, and co-written it with psychologist Eric Klinenberg. So, don’t brush this off as another silly comedy book – it does have some psychology to it.

Through his studies, the two authors shares real life experiences of the dating scene with technologies. He touches base on apps such as Tinder and Grindr, and sites as OKCupid. He analyzes why we take ages to reply to messages, or how some guys come off as rude. Ansari even provides tips on how to text. He explains the transition from traditional to modern romances. He even talks about marriage and arrange marriages.

The novel provides a humongous insight on the dating habits our generation has developed thanks to the usage of our mobile phones. He reflects on dating habits of our generation, eg. putting careers first or waiting until we’re in our 30s to get married.

It’s funny to realize that what we do individually isn’t so insane. It’s a habit, or a reflex that smartphone users developed overtime. Dating in this age is different, and some may say it’s harder than the previous generation.

Regardless, all of us fall under the “modern romance” generation now. If you’re one to use “non-traditional” means of finding love, or more interested in how our generation finds love and approach the dating scene, I definitely recommend picking up Modern Romance. It’s insightful and guarantee to make you laugh!

I picked up the audiobook version which was read by Aziz, himself. If you’re looking for a different experience, try his audiobook. It’s 10x more hilarious than the book since Aziz adds his own commentary and personality.

Rating – 5/5

*Disclaimer: This review was not sponsored by Penguin Press or Aziz Ansari/Eric Klinenberg. It is also not sponsored by any of the corporations the links above leads to. The purchase made for this review came out of my own pocket.

Braun Silk Epil Bikini Styler (FG 1100) Review

When it comes to the hair “down there”, there are a couple of ways to maintain it: shave, wax, laser, cream or trim.
Of course, it’s all about personal choices whether you choose to maintain it or not. I don’t believe it doing against your preference because society deems we need to.

I’ve been bare “down there” many of times through many different methods. Shave? Yes, quickest buuut hello stubbles and itchiness; wax? ouch and $$$! laser? I can’t afford $500 sessions LOL; cream? waaaaay too time consuming… seriously, 15-20 mins?!

And, if it’s not the excuses made towards all the different methods, it’s just the fact that I really don’t like going bare down there. I feel uncomfortable (physically and mentally) but, I can’t keep it untamed. I feel extremely dirty when I don’t maintain it.

So, I resorted to trimming. It’s fast, easy and clean. It maintains everything down there to a level where I feel comfortable and clean… plus, it’s pretty much cheaper than waxing, buying cream and replacing razor blades.

If you’re opting to trim, invest in a trimmer. I use to do it with eyebrow scissors and while it does the job, everything was uneven which you can imagine, it gets pretty ugly. You have an area with more hair and then you have an empty bald spot. A trimmer not only creates an even trim, it also decreases any risks of injuries you might sustain with a pair of scissors around such a sensitive area.

I purchased the Braun Silk Bikini trimmer because it was one of the cheapest trimmers in market from a reputable brand. It’s a nice handheld electric trimmer that runs on one AA battery with two comb heads for trimming.

1. The trimmer itself. Light, easy to hold and waterproof.

2. 5mm comb to attach to the head to get a close trim.

3. 8mm comb.

4. Brush to clean out hair.

5. Little trimmer for facial hair/eyebrows.

I’ve been using it for sometime now and it does a great job of removing hair without any tugging. The comb acts as a shield for your skin so you won’t cut yourself, especially in areas where it’s hard to see/reach. I used it delicately when I had a lot of time and I used it when I had little time – it’s amazing how fast I can run the trimmer over the area and not have the fear of getting nicked or anything!

It gets down to a really close shave (5mm!) and yes, it does a great wonder on that thicker patch just above the… you know what. I’ve ran the trimmer through my inner thigh to get to the hard to reach area and while it does trim off some of the hair, that area is better off trimming it manually with eyebrow scissors. With the comb, it’s extremely tough to get a close shave in a small area.

For most part, the trimmer gets most of the hair. Sometimes, you would need to run the trimmer over the area once or twice again to catch a few hair that didn’t get trim.

However, I do not recommend using the electric trimmer (without any combs) as a substitution to your razor. I’ve tried it and it doe not remotely get a close shave as a razor. In fact, it tugs on the hair a bit and after one try on a little area, I had a feeling using the trimmer as a regular razor can easily lead to ingrown hairs around your pubic area.

So, if you want to have a clean shave, opt for your razor. Don’t use this to shave your leg hairs as well. It’s a great trimmer but not a great shaver!

This trimmer also comes with a mini facial razor. I haven’t tried it but after experiencing the poor shaving from the previous razor head, I don’t think I want that razor near my face. I’d stick to my regular facial shaver.

Unfortunately, the razor comes with some cringe-worthy “designs”.

Yup, these are stickers that Braun recommends sticking to your hair and trimming around the sticker for a fun design. I haven’t tried it because I threw away the stickers the moment I saw it… just no.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable bikini trimmer, opt for this Braun Bikini Trimmer. It gets the job done effectively without breaking the bank (or your skin). Like I said, I recommend you using it with either the 5mm or 8mm comb on your bikini area only. If you’re looking for an all-in-one trimmer that can be used as a regular razor, this isn’t for you.

Right now, this razor retails for $34.99CAD at London Drugs. I got mine off Amazon for $29.99CAD. If you live in the states or traveling down there, I’ve read it goes about $15-$20USD.

Buy/Rent/Sell Your Textbooks with

Selling textbooks can be a chore. I hate meeting up with people because they’re all over the city and my schedule is no longer flexible to meet up in the afternoon or morning. And if I have an available time slot, the buyer is busy.

I don’t keep my textbooks. It’s a waste of space in my home and an eyesore too. But, being a student, I do want some pocket money back from the books I purchased. Rather than using the traditional Facebook groups and Craigslist to sell them, I decided to use Bookmob to sell my textbooks.

Why? Because they’re the highest paying buyback program in Canada, with free shipping, fast payouts and they buy your books instantly! Instead of letting them collect dust in my room, I chose to get some money back from my books!

It took only 4 days for my textbooks to reach (I shipped it out on the 18th but I made my buyback on the 17th). Bookmob pays for your expedited shipping to Ontario via Canada Post; you would need to buy your own packaging but they’re less than $5 in a Canada Post office.

Bookmob takes about 2-3 days to process your payment. You can select between Bookmob credit (highest payout; worth it if you use Bookmob to rent/buy textbooks as well), PayPal, or by check. I chose PayPal because it’s the fastest with no withdrawal fees as well.

Proof of Bookmob PayPal payout

Within three days of receiving my package, Bookmob sent me my quoted amount of $96.24! While using Bookmob to sell my books, I was able to go about my days completing much more important tasks instead of constantly advertising and traveling the city to sell my books.

Bookmob is not only a buyback service, but you may also choose to buy or rent your textbooks with Bookmob, saving about $500/year!

*Disclaimer: This business review is not sponsored by Bookmob nor is this blog affiliated with Bookmob. All opinions and experiences are my honest opinion and any additional resources required were paid with my money.

Movie Review – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Last weekend, I got the opportunity to finally catch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

I’m a big fan of The Hunger Games; I would place this trilogy right after Harry Potter if I’m being serious. It’s really dramatic, well written and keeps you on edge.

If you ask me, personally I don’t think this film should have been split into two parts because the story isn’t even that long! But, for marketing purposes, I suppose it’d make more money in the long run.

Mockingjay is the third and final installment of The Hunger Games series. It instantly picks off where Katniss is rescued after destroying the previous games. In this film, she’s the symbol of hope and retaliation against the Capital and all the districts are going into war.

Here’s the thing about Mockingjay Part 1: it’s a filler.

It ends of right at the climax of all the action (if you follow the books). It is literally a two hours tease for Part 2. It’s ridiculous.

The first hour of the film is boring. Yes, it is. My friend was about to fall asleep because it was really dry. This movie lacked action… a lot of action. Yes, there were scenes of things blowing up but that only lasted for about two minutes. The most dramatic scene was perhaps when Katniss finally reunites with Peeta, and if you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand why. And hopefully agree as well.

Admittedly, Jennifer Lawrence’s acting was great, as it can get in this film. I think this film really suppressed her acting skills, but don’t get me wrong, there are scenes where the killed it, but overall, JLaw’s talents were held back tremendously. There’s a lot more Liam Hemsworth than in the previous two combined but he utters a few sentences that makes you question his acting abilities. Then there’s Josh Hutcherson that makes you cringe everytime he comes on the screen because that’s one ugly tuxedo he wears in this film.

Is this film worth it? If you’re a big fan, sure, it’s worth it. If you’re not, you can personally skip this one and probably pick up all the action in part two. I was warned that this movie was a filler but I went in with somewhat high expectations.

Lower your expectations. The previous two films were great for me, and unfortunately this one was a let down.

Have you guys seen Mockingjay Part 1 yet?
Did it blow you away or did you walk out of the theaters saying, “Eh…”?

Product Review: Clarisonic Mia Cleansing System

Hellllo beauty lovers! I’m back with another review, this time for the iconic Clarisonic cleansing system!

For those who aren’t aware of this tool, it’s a facial cleanser than cleans deeply into your pores to remove make up, oil and build up. It’s highly raved about and consider the best tool in the market. It boasts that it can clean up your face in just one minute!

I originally purchased this product because I was looking for something to clear up my blackheads. The beauty adviser from Shoppers recommended this tool and claimed that it helped with his blackheads too. I originally thought it was too much (retails at about $145CAD) just to clean out my blackheads but the adviser told me all the benefits and promised that I’d get my money back guaranteed if I don’t like it.

Upon first impression (after getting over the high price tag), I was a bit turned off by the one minute timer. I mean, it’s not the end of the world but after one minute, the tool powers off and you gotta turn back on. It’s just a hassle because I want something that is powered on until I feel like my skin is clean enough. The brush head is soft and doesn’t damage your skin. It’s the default brush head so for those with more sensitive skin or a rougher cleaner, you’ll need to cough up additional $50+ for alternative brush heads. On top of that, Clarisonic also recommends you replace your brush head every 3 months.

The package comes with a sample size cleanser for the system. It’s recommended that you purchase their cleanser to use with the system but it actuality, it’s perfectly fine to use any other cleanser as you wish. The good ones to use are the ones that foams up!

I’ve been using it for nearly a month, and to be honest, I’m disappointed by the product.

After forking out almost $200 for this system, I wanted my face to feel fresh, or at least, my blackheads gone. I’ve been using their cleanser and using mine and NOTHING works. The annoying 1 minute time still gets to me but on top of that, I just feel like it’s not doing much. It’s uncomfortable when I put the system on my nose to clear my blackheads.

It doesn’t do anything. My blackheads aren’t disappearing and reappearing, they just sit there like they’ve never been touched.

(And, I ended up buying a cleanser that ACTUALLY cleared up my blackheads for a fraction of the price of a Clarisonic!)

After a month of no clear results on my face, I decided to claim my money back with their 90 days money-back guarantee.

Here’s another kicker. Their customer service sucks! I called their support line to start my return process and the line cuts me off. I sent them emails after weeks later, still no response. I can’t return it to Shoppers and I think Clairsonic (as a business) doesn’t want retailers taking them back. So, I believe if you ever decide to return Clarisonic, you need to contact the company themselves to start the process.

I wear minimal make up and my skin is generally in good health. This product is probably suited for those that wear a lot of heavy make up and/or have troubled skin such as oily skin or acne problems. Their customer service sucks SO be sure that you really want to invest a few hundred dollars on a system that might or might not work for you!

A lot of people rave about this product, but, unfortunately, I don’t think my skin needs this product and now I’m stuck trying to contact Clarisonic for a refund.

If you’re blessed with good skin and you’re trying to target a specific area, don’t invest in Clarisonic, regardless of all the positive reviews. It’s probably not meant for you and you (and your wallet) is better off buying special scrubs/lotions to target your areas.

Business Review: Blanche McDonald Hair Services (Q&A Hair Salon)

If you don’t know, I like to be thrifty without sacrificing a whole lot. Since growing out my pixie cut, I felt self conscious with my hair because it had no style and it was literally just a shapeless blob of hair. I also had a tail growing which made me the most self conscious.

I knew one thing: I’m not going back to the salon that gave me my pixie cut, and all the nearby salons were too expensive (we’re talking starting $30-$50 for a women’s cut)!I like student services because they’re affordable and they actually do a great job! My last experience with a student salon was with VCC but I didn’t feel like going back to VCC. I felt that Blanche McDonald would be a better choice since it’s specialized in make-up/hair.

I paid $16 for my hair cut… yes, only $16 for a good hair cut compared to all the salons!

Upon arrival at Q&A Hair Salon, I was surprised at how spacious and lovely the place was! The staff greeted me instantly and I had no problem finding the salon. I was paired up with Raina, a lovely stylist with a great humour. I normally don’t enjoy small talk but she was just sooo wonderful! I wish a successful career as a stylist when she heads back to Mexico!

Anyways, I explained to Raina what I wanted and showed her some photos. Unlike my experience with VCC, I was able to communicate with her effortlessly. There was no miscommunications whatsoever. Before the students start, they must complete their worksheets and have the instructor sign off and you also have to sign off acknowledging that they’re students.

The entire process was refreshing. The instructor checked up on us frequently and even made suggestions on how to cut may hair!

It took longer than I expected but that’s the thing about student salons – you pay a good price, good service but you need to allocate a few hours of your day. It’s not like those quick cut and go sort of thing.

(And we all know how much time I have when I choose to procrastinate!)

I think the process took about two hours or so. There’s a little bit of touch up here and there but nonetheless, it was a great experience with the Blanche McDonald hair services!

The prices are comparable to VCC but the quality isn’t! This is soooo much better (sorry!) For a list of their prices, click here, however, I think they updated their prices without updating their website and the new prices are about a dollar or so more.

Overall, I’m probably going to come back for my highlights! I recommending this place to all my friends now instead of VCC.

Location: 410 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
(Inside CurliQue Beauty Boutique)
Price: 5/5
Quality: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Highly recommended you try at least one of their services!

* Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Blanche McDonald school. Everything here is my opinion and paid with my own money. This blog is not affiliated with Blanche McDonald in any way.

App Review: ProCapture for Android

ProCapture Camera on Google Play Store

I don’t like paying for phone apps. That being said, I normally go for the free apps.

Since switching over to the Samsung S4, the one thing I missed most was the Apple Camera. I loooved that app, considering I was a big fan of Instagram and selfies. The first thing I noticed about the S4 camera was the lack of features I usually use and the poor quality of the front camera.

I searched the Play Store for a camera that was really similar to the Apple, or at least, gave me the options I wanted (which was different ratio sizes of pictures). I stumbled across ProCapture Free which was limited but I fell in love with it that I ended up coughing up the $2 but the full app (it was 75% off too).

Just recently got addicted to Once Upon a Time!
At a first glance, you’ll notice the camera layout is much different than the native camera application. With ProCapture, you’re greeted with many options on the top of the screen. A handy feature I love is the little counter on the bottom that tells you how many photos your memory is allowed to store and on which setting. 

Aspect ratio has a lot of settings, and the famous setting of all, 1:1. Square photos for Instagram!

The little button in the red box is a mini toolbar that accesses your settings, pictures, video camera (which switches to the default camera) and the button to switch to the front camera.

Aside from its vast options to allow you to get the perfect shot, ProCapture also offers screen touch shutter which allows you to take a photo just by tapping the screen instead of the blue button. It doesn’t have the speech shutter like the native app does.

However, despite the extra buttons you’re required to touch to get to the front camera, there is also a few drawbacks of ProCapture.

For instant, the camcorder is not built into this application. It’s a shortcut to the default camera in video mode. I don’t shoot much video so it doesn’t concern me that much, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was integrated with ProCapture.

Another big thing that bothers me from time to time is the delay of saving photos. You’ll be greeted by this lovely progress bar whenever you’ve shot a photo:

Rest assured, the delay is only about a second or two long. Which also means you need to consider the burst mode. I’ve tired the burst mode and in between each shot, there’s a longer delay time which means all three burst photos weren’t crisp or “in the moment”. In most cases, you wouldn’t mind the one second delay if you’re taking a photo of your food or a selfie. But, do keep in mind if you want to snap photos all night long, you’re probably best to use the default camera app as it handles burst mode better.

Now, another big bonus in addition to the features is the quality of the front camera. Prior to getting the S4, I never realized how shitty the front camera is. I know it’s a 2MP camera, but the iPhone’s front camera is 1.2MP and gives me good quality.

I guess, because it’s 2MP on a bigger screen, the quality is blown up. So, yes, if you’re planning to get the S4 (and maybe even later models), be aware that the front camera is SHITTY. We’re talking webcam shitty.

ProCapture’s quality for selfies is sharp and crisp. I believe the processing process enhances the pictures quite a lot.

If you can tell, the default camera creates a slightly blurred photo. But you can tell by the texture of my skin and hair that it’s a poor quality – everything seems too smooth, like a fake airbrush. On the other hand, ProCapture snapped my selfies in a sharper, non-blurry quality. It doesn’t create that awful airbrush quality or anything. The colouring is much brighter too.

Another example of side by side camera action for the back camera at full 13MP. I was extremely steady with the default camera when I took a photo of my papers. Even then, you can tell the blurriness on the business card.

And, my favourite feature, it the lovely ratio aspect of 1:1 aka square photos for Instagram.

With the default camera app, you don’t have the option to take square photos BUT you can use other applications to share your selfie without cropping it. I did noticed the amount of white space when you choose this option because the S4 has a 16:9 ratio so the pictures are really big which equals to a lot of border space when you import it into an square application. That’s ugly. (To fix this, take your pictures in a smaller ratio).

All in all, ProCapture is worth the tiny $2 (when it’s on sale), even for those who aren’t professional photographers. It offers much more features and better quality than the default camera can ever offer you. If you don’t mind the one second processing delay for your photos, you’ll fall in love with this application too.

The best part about Google Play Store is the ability to get a refund. If you don’t like the application, you can return it within 15 minutes. Or, just download the free version to play around. Honestly, the best camera in the market to replace the default camera.