You Can Do Anything With The Internet

Lately we have been watching a lot of YouTube videos involving surprise eggs, PlayDoh, and food. We inevitably ended up on videos of people making those Japanese candy kits, which prompted a, “I wanna try that!” from the little one. So yesterday I went to the mall in search of some.

I started at the Tokyo Lifestyle store, where I tried to find the kit that looked the easiest to do, considering I was making it with a three-year-old, and none of us can read Japanese. I decided on the pudding, and also the chocolate and Oreo Pocky (the bottom row). Then I decided to try the Lolli and Pops store downstairs, since they have a pretty good international selection. I was also on the lookout for some cinnamon jelly beans and potentially some surprise eggs. They didn’t have only the cinnamon jelly beans and only had the Kinder Joys, not the plain chocolate eggs. But they did have gummies, another different flavor of Pocky, and my Pandas (which were also at the other store, but I was trying to be good). And, of course, I got taken in by the caramels hanging near the register.

Anyway, enough about the way too much candy I ended up buying. On to our adventures trying to make this kit. As you can see, the whole box is written in Japanese. My first thought was to re-download the Google translate app and just take pictures of each step. That turned out to be less than helpful. It translated well, but as often happens with straight translation, it wasn’t very understandable. After looking all over for pre-translated instructions, I finally just found this video on YouTube.

It took a lot of pausing and rewinding, but we managed to pull it together. It didn’t look quite like the picture, but it tasted really good. And isn’t that what making candy is all about?

Whose Song Is It Anyway?

August is going to be music month here. I feel like I’ve been neglecting the subject lately. Also, I just got a new microphone and had a week home alone to test it out. Here’s my first experiment:

This is just a quick recording of the song “Iko Iko” which has been covered by everyone from The Grateful Dead to Cyndi Lauper to Aaron Carter. I used the lyrics from The Dixie Cups’ version (because they all seem to have slightly different wording) which has been coming up on our house radio a lot lately. I also found something interesting when looking for the lyrics.

In 1953, James “Sugar Boy” Crawford released a song called “Jock-a-mo” with his band, Sugar Boy and the Cane Cutters. It failed to make the charts. About ten years later, The Dixie Cups were in the recording studio and started an impromptu version of “Iko Iko” while drumming on chairs, an ashtray, and a Coke bottle. They had learned it from hearing their grandmother sing it, but didn’t know of its origin.

In 1965, The Dixie Cups’ version became a hit and James Crawford sued. The suit was eventually settled with Crawford making no claim of ownership or authorship, but receiving 25% of public performances. It didn’t end there, though. In 1990, the band’s former manager, Joe Jones, filed a copyright registration alleging he and his family had written the song. The band sued him after he licensed the song outside of North America. In 2002, the jury unanimously affirmed The Dixie Cups were the sole writers of “Iko Iko”.

It seems crazy that such a simple, catchy song could create such legal controversy spanning over forty years. Perhaps that helped it stay popular in the long run. In addition to the covers, The Dixie Cups’ version itself has appeared on the soundtrack to many movies, TV shows, and even commercials.

All information is from this Wikipedia article. It’s a really interesting read, if you want more information on the various versions.

Make Up: A Review

Confession: when the whole “Internet beauty guru” thing got started, I didn’t get it. I had been introduced to Xanga as a freshman in high school (because, unlike the MySpace pages we were all obsessed with at the time, we could rush to the library and check it at lunchtime). As I got more into it as an online community and less as a place to keep up with my real-life “friends”, I discovered the “popular bloggers.” One of those was RiceBunny, who I would read occasionally, but wasn’t subscribed. Like a few others popping up, she posted tutorials along with more typical entries on the platform.

Then, she had the audacity to move her videos to YouTube. Seems silly now that we would complain about her becoming popular on another site and “abandoning” the community. Especially since I think most of the people who were complaining at that time jumped ship within a few years as well and now the site looks like it is still frozen in time around 2010.

Anyway, RiceBunny went on to own her own beauty empire. And be known by her own name, Michelle Phan. From a successful YouTube channel (to which I am subscribed. I get it now!), to a subscription sample service, her own cosmetics company, and now her own book, Michelle is a perfect example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off.

This all makes her a perfect candidate for writing a “Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success – Online and Off,” as the tagline for her book Makeup puts it. The book begins with a look at her early life, and then leads into the things that brought her to where she is today.

Once you know Michelle’s story, she gets into the beauty basics. Chapter three is all about skincare and creating a good base for the rest of the beauty tricks.She doesn’t even try to promise you’ll have “perfect skin.” As she says in the second paragraph of the chapter, “These are steps each of us can take to ensure that our skin is in optimal condition”…”So perfect skin? No. But better skin? Absolutely.” She takes you through determining your skin type, creating a skincare routine, and even gives tips for caring for skin elsewhere on the body, not just the face.

Chapter four has a good set of makeup basics, from choosing your shades to how to apply everything correctly. She even includes tips on organization, tools, and a DIY brush cleanser. Chapter five is all about hair and nails, same premise as the previous two chapters were for skin. She covers nail polish, hair dye, and just basic care for these parts of yourself.

Chapter six delves into fashion. Instead of harsh, “no white after Labor Day” or “no one should ever wear…” style rules, Michelle keeps with her general guidelines in this section. She even provides some basic “Do & Don’t” lists for various occupations, as well as dressing tips for various occasions. As with the previous chapters, she also provides good storage and organizational tips as well as tips on caring for your clothes and accessories. This chapter does a good job of bridging between the beauty and life sections of the book.

Chapters 7-10 are full of great life advice. From balancing your digital and personal lives to using manners in the modern age and finding a job, this part of the book includes wonderful hints to help you life the best life possible for you. It’s not an “everyone has to work from the bottom up” or even “everyone should find a way to be their own boss” type of advice. It really is about finding a way to do whatever you love, not what someone else says you should love. All of the tips are things Michelle has learned over the past few years that help her and may help you, too.

Overall, I was very impressed with this book. While there are brief mentions of Michelle’s various business endeavors, the book itself did not feel like a giant advertisement for said endeavors like some other books written by bloggers that I have seen. It is very much what it claims to be: a life guide. I would highly recommend it if you are someone who is into beauty and fashion, or even someone who wants to be and is looking for a place to start out. I would especially recommend this to someone getting ready to graduate and move on to another stage in their life who might be looking for some general guidance.

You can find the ebook or physical book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Target (physical book only).

Video Friday: Heart Like That Cover

Happy Friday! It’s almost the end of the first week of NaBloPoMo, which means I’ve posted six entries in the past six days. Granted, some were not very long, or coherent, but I made through the week anyway. This post makes number seven on day seven.

Like I mentioned yesterday, today’s entry features a video. I thought a Friday video would be nic after all that reading. Though there is quite a but of reading to be done here, too. So, video first, more writing after.

This particular video was filmed using the trusty “stack a bunch of stuff on each other to make the camera taller” method. Because that is totally a thing. No really, it is. Just trust me.

That’s the camera on the desktop tripod, on the overturned trash can, on my closet step stool, on my cajon drum. I’m an expert macguyverer. Pretty sure I also just made a word up there.

This was the first time I’ve ever recorded sound separately from the video. Usually I’ve just take what my camera records and put that straight up, but this time I ran the keyboard through the computer as a midi keyboard and recorded the vocal track, too. Mostly because I wanted to see if I could then manage to sync the audio and video correctly. Nothing like putting a challenge into a challenge in a challenge. Challenge-ception.

Since this month is all about the challenges, what should next week’s video be? Leave me a comment below with suggestions of songs or any other type of video you want to see next Friday.

NaBloPoMo November 2014


I just can’t do it very well right now. You should’ve seen me this afternoon. I was wandering through the house, flitting from thing to thing as I saw it.

I came back from walking the baby to school and set about soaking his lovies for the wash tomorrow. But first I needed to make some tea. Then I needed to gather the lovies, except the tea needed to be poured over ice in the kitchen. So I needed to dilute the vinegar in the soak bucket. Then I finally gathered the lovies and tossed them in, moved the soak bucket to the laundry area, and found clothes that had been sprayed with stain spray yesterday that needed to be taken back to the laundry basket.

Eventually everything found its way into place and most everything I meant to do got done. I say most everything because once I get going I can’t always remember what it was I set out to do in the first place.

One thing I’m going to try to focus on and get done is a video for tomorrow’s post. If it works out, I’m trying to make Fridays video days for this month. So far, I have a list of covers I want to attempt. But maybe someone has a suggestion of a different type of video they’d like to see?

Videos are going to be posted here on Fridays, but you can get them a day(ish) early (Thursday night, and hopefully) if you subscribe to my Youtube channel. I’m going to try my hardest to get them uploaded the night before I post them. Mostly because I do my major editing, etc., on my desktop that is only plugged in and turned on from around 7pm to 7am because my poor little laptop is getting too old to handle much more than my daily Internet/regular usage. Editing video gets too frustrating when I’m constantly waiting for it to catch up to itself.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Why Isn’t This The Song Everywhere?

Forgive me if you’ve already seen this one, but I just found out about this song today and it’s totally in my head in a good way:

This is “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. Apparently it’s been out since early June.

Seriously, why isn’t this the song this summer? I’ve never heard this one until I saw it on YouTube today. It’s five billion times better than that stupid “Wiggle” song or, ugh, “Take Me To Church”. Seriously, is it me or does that one sound like someone took a Florence and the Machine song and played it down at half speed? And yet, those two horrendous songs are everywhere. I’m liking this one much better.

Don’t even get me started on miss “I-G-G-Y” *wide-eyed Barbie stare*. Ughhhh *shudder*.

My YouTube Channel Has a Video (Times Like These Cover)

Okay, I had promised Friday, but if you had known me in high school you would know how prolific I am at lying (I swear I printed that and put it in my notebook last night and now it’s gone… I was working on the Powerpoint last night and it was there, but when I opened it this morning it was blank…). Though this one isn’t a total lie. I had said it would happen Friday depending on how my day went, and it went for about 14 hours straight. That said, I did at least film this yesterday:

That’s right, my first YouTube video ever and… it’s a cover. Yeah, yeah, typical. But I wanted to do something different and a little bit fun compared to my normal routine of stitches, more stitches, some typing, more stitches, other kind of stitches, you get the picture. So I played through half of the Foo Fighters “Times Like These” about 70 times and actually got through the whole song without messing up a handful times in there. Of course, those times the camera didn’t focus or there was a weird noise outside.

I know that the camera shakes a bit. Happened because I only have my tiny tripod and every seating surface in the house is horribly backlit when I place my camera on a solid surface. So I had to set it on my tablet, on the bed, with my phone propped up behind it with the forward facing camera on so I could tell whether I was in frame or not. I would liked to have taken a picture of the set up, but the only thing left with a camera on it was my laptop and that would’ve just been too much craziness. I should’ve done it anyway…

Anyway, point is I finally managed to record it. And now my fingertips of my left hand are still numb, but that’s beside the point. I promised something different, and here it is. Well, up there it is…Enjoy.