Monthly Reads | March 2019

New segment alert! I absolutely love reading but too lazy to dedicate review posts for every single book I read. Also, maybe because I’m jaded from school book reports but for the life of me, I also can’t write reviews on books, lol. I figured, a monthly round up is the way to go with a few sentences regarding the book!

All links directs to Goodreads.

Black Magick, Vol. 1: Awakening, Part One by Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott (Illustrator)

Rating: 4/5. I’ve been into witchcraft lately and heard about this comic book. Intrigued, I found myself a copy and gave it a read. The illustrations are really cool and I love how Greg has incorporated witchcraft into a modern day. It’s a great story line and very informative for baby witches.

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way (Writer), Gabriel Bá (Artist) & Dave Stewart (Colourist)

Rating: 3/5. I loved The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and wanted to dive more into it. For an entire volume, I felt the story line was moving way too fast and the characters lacked depth. There were a lot of similarities between the comic book and the TV series but overall, I didn’t enjoy the comics as much as I enjoyed the TV adaptation. I suppose I enjoy getting to know my characters a bit more…

Go Eat Worms! by R.L. Stine

Rating: 3/5. This is a Goosebumps classic! I have the entire Goosebumps series and one night felt like reading a Goosebumps book. Yes, they’re written for kids so I tried not to overthink the entire story. The worms were creepy and reading it at night did give me a few chills as R.L. Stine does a great description throughout the book. Otherwise, if you’re a bit older, the narrative gets a bit cheesy, lol.

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Eunsun Kim, Sébastien Falletti & David Tian (Translator)

Rating: 2/5. I’ve read a lot of North Korean defectors memoirs and unfortunately, this one falls short. I understand the reality and horror of Eunsun Kim and her family, but unfortunately, I found it hard to connect and truly see and experience what she was going through. It felt as though she was just telling short stories that eventually led her up to where she is now in life. There was no depth to her characters – seriously, what about her sister’s background? She didn’t paint a picture of what North Korea was like, and instead, painted a picture of her years in China. This is a true story so I won’t be too harsh but there are other memoirs to read if you’re ever interested in North Korea.

Hope you guys enjoyed the first installment of monthly reads! It feels so good to get these reviews off my chest, lol.

Have you read any of these books? Got one in mind I should try? Let me know! And, if we’re not friends on Goodreads yet… what are you waiting for?

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.