General UpdatesKristina PinoComment

I'm finally settled into my new place and I'm making space for and accommodating all my beloved figures and statues among my books. Some of the stuff I'm unboxing right now has never seen the light of day, either because of the cramped situation at my previous apartment, or because I acquired it while I was living abroad, or because I didn't have space for it at my parents' house before that. So they were sitting in their boxes in a closet, poor things.

As a result, I'm rediscovering my love for figures I've definitely taken out to take pictures and review and all that, but then sadly had to return to their boxes, as well as figures I've never even looked at outside of their packaging at all. I'll probably be uploading some galleries here and/or on Tomopop soon, because I've got the time and energy for it now. Also, my shelves are looking gorgeous, and they make me happy.

Friday Things: 06/05 - Balloon art and a TANGLED animated series

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Welcome to another week of links I saw and did around the net. I also realize that lately this is the only thing I'm posting on my blog. That'll change soon. Promise!]

The first teaser trailer for The Good Dinosaur is out! This looks like it'll be fun.

Super cool balloon art by Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto. They're so detailed and amazing.

"We live in a culture that produces girls’ tops with narrower shoulder straps than boys’ tops, girls’ shorts that expose more leg than boys’ shorts, and then shames girls for wearing the clothes that are sold to them. We live in a culture that tells boys it’s OK to shed clothing in the heat in order to be more comfortable, but tells girls that their comfort is secondary to how others perceive them." I couldn't agree more.

"When he’s not singing or producing music, Akon is busy providing sustainable living options to people in African countries. The Senegalese-American singer’s initiative, appropriately called Akon Lighting Africa, aims to supply electricity to 600 million people in Africa who lack it with the launch of the Solar Academy." Amazing.

On Panels: "What the Flark? With GROOT, Less is More" (I take a look at Groot #1)

Wondering why Rapunzel has blonde long hair in this one promo image for the new Tangled series is making my head hurt. Especially when it states right in the article that it takes place after the film and before Tangled Ever After. Just... what?

Jon Stewart makes some smart points about Caitlyn Jenner's transitions (I pluralized on purpose there).

On Panels: Comics Fetish: Volume 34 (it was my turn again this week!)

I'll round things off here with this week's Friday Reads. What are you reading?

Friday Things: 05/28 - Grotesque ladies with power and clearing up misunderstandings

Kristina PinoComment

[Welcome to another week of stuff I saw and did around the internet. Enjoy!]

A thoughtful article about how (or why) Elizabeth I ends up being depicted as grotesque. Why, indeed? This isn't universal, of course. Meryl Streep didn't get this treatment after all. Well, not really. But it's an interesting thought.

On Panels: 12 rad comics artists to follow on Instagram. I might do a sequel to this one - really enjoy featuring cool art.

Cool Disney-inspired nail art roundup. I wish I had the patience for all this.

How to draw Fred from Big Hero 6.

Here's a cute article about the awesomeness that is Jillian Tamaki.

Great infograph/resource for folks who freelance and struggle with figuring out how much they should charge per hour.

Good read about misunderstandings and the way we communicate our feelings and intentions.

I'll wrap this up today with this week's #fridayreads video.

[Have a great weekend/week!]

Friday Things: 05/22 - One-Handed Piano Serenades and Manga for YA Fans

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Oh hey, the Friday Things column is.. back?! Maybe. I think so. Okay here are my links for this week!]

Here's a look at Inside Out-specific kanji created by Sisyu, a Japanese calligraphy artist. I love the way she applied different emotions to her strokes for their names.

How long and far did Frodo and Sam actually walk? Cool look at that, if you're into these things.

Apparently there's music composed for one hand with small children in mind, so you can hold your baby with one arm and play with the other until they fall asleep. Genius. And pretty!

I had never given it any thought, but there is a reason why baby Groot freezes mid-dance whenever Drax turns his head in the end of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Japanese A Song of Ice and Fire book covers are gorgeous.

Take a tough Would You Rather quiz for book nerds.

Here's a cool recommendation list for folks who like YA and want to get into some manga. I've added a few titles to my TBR with this.

On Panels: this week's Comics Fetish was my turn, check it out.

[See ya next week!]

Oh em gee - I'm back! A look at what I'm reading and watching

General UpdatesKristina PinoComment

After an extended, way too long break, I'm back and ready to rock. The Reading Challenge is back on, and of course I'll be blogging as usual about my other reads and what I'm seeing around. I'm also watching more anime recently, so I'll probably blog my thoughts about that here, too. 

Here's a quick update on what I'm reading, watching, etc.:

Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen - I've been reading this book for what seems like forever, because I'm in the middle of a hardcore reading slump. Moving/vacation/reuniting with friends and family will do that, I guess? But I want to finish it by this weekend. (library)

Boys Over Flowers (first few volumes) by Yoko Kamio. This series is kind of a shoujo manga classic, and I've just never looked into it. Changing that! (library)

Last Stand of the Wreckers by Nick Roche, James Roberts, Guido Guidi, and others. I've never read any Transformers-related comics, and this was the book my pals suggested I start with. I've got a whole reading pathway lined up that I'll be slowly working through. (borrowed)

Nisekoi (anime). I started reading the manga a while back, and I had thought it was rather fun and funny, so instead of hunting it down to keep reading, I'm giving it a watch. (Crunchyroll)

I've polled Twitter on what other anime I should watch, and so far the list looks like Attack on Titan, Shingeki no Bahamut, Durarara!!, Mawaru Penguindrum, and... more. If you have suggestions of your own, I'm trying to keep it within the last ~5 years, and I'm also avoiding horror. Have any for me? Let me have 'em in the comments!

Thanks for sticking around.

2015 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Task 5 - FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE by Eloisa James

BooksKristina PinoComment

As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia's audacious proposal, but there's one thing he won't give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil's bargain...he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can't afford to lose.

Romance is one of those genres I have never really read into or tried for myself, so picking a book for this task was as simple as grabbing the first title I'd heard of (because of author/book buzz) when I was at a book store. At the time of writing this post, I'm actually three chapters in, and I'm already rather liking it! If this is the book that gets me "into" romance as a reading genre, then I'll have opened up a whole huge world of book options for myself. And really, that's the point of the challenge.

Of course, in case it wasn't clear, this book fulfills the romance task of the Read Harder Challenge.

Elementary School Lunch: 03/23 - Bittersweet Pork Beans

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today was our very last school lunch of the year! The new school year starts up in a few weeks, but I'll be getting ready to fly back to Miami around then. Also, I mentioned in a previous post that I'd post our bentou lunches, so here's a quick look at what we had for lunch on Friday after the graduation ceremony and early dismissal:

There's a little bit of everything in there - pork, fried chicken, fish, veggies, rice, fruit, some soup, and a nice, big, chewy cookie from Costco. There's a much prettier picture on my Instagram if you're so inclined.

Today's lunch was pork beans, which is one of my favorites. It's got a tomato-based soup, and plenty of other goodies: potato, edamame, white beans, onion, carrot, and of course, bits of pork. As for the sides, we had some cocoa bread which went rather well with the bowl, and a tuna salad which comprised spinach, tuna, and cabbage with Italian dressing. Everything was tasty and perfect, as usual.

Calorie count: 635

And with that, this column is officially dormant, indefinitely. I wrote a bit about what's up with that in a recent post, so you can read about what's coming up for me there, but yeah. If you've been following along, thanks for your support/curiosity! It's been great keeping track of the school lunches like this, a real eye-opener to say the least. Thanks for reading.

Elementary School Lunch: 03/19 - Katsu and Happiness

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Since today's lunch was the very last elementary school lunch for the 6th graders who are graduating tomorrow, we went with a luck and happiness theme. Instead of regular rice, we had sekihan, which is sticky rice cooked with azuki beans. It gives the rice a red color, which signifies happiness in Japan - this rice is for celebrations. To top it, we got some black sesame seeds and coarse salt for flavor. Our main plate had some pork and lotus root katsu (breaded and deep-fried), and salad. The katsu is significant because it's a homophone with the word in Japanese for winning. One of the little fun things Japanese do say, before a big exam, is enjoy some katsudon (katsu rice bowl). We had some today to wish the 6th graders (soon to be junior high 1st graders) good luck.

The salad was a plain one: some napa cabbage, carrot, and cucumber seasoned with sesame seeds. We had some kenchin soup, which is a root veggie sort of soup in a konbu (kelp) broth. In it, we enjoyed some tofu, taro, konjac, burdock root, carrot, onion, and more cabbage. It was simple and tasty, and went really well with the rest of our meal.

Finally, dessert! We had a little strawberry frozen jelly cup with a little bit of cream on top. The dessert was お祝い (oiwai) - celebratory. Like the katsu and the rice, this was also a significant dish that was worked into our lunch in honor of our graduating students. On the cup's lid it also says "congratulations."

Very tasty meal! As a reminder, Monday is the last day of school lunches, and this column will stop being a regular thing after that. Tomorrow there is no school lunch; staff are going to eat bentous (packed lunches), so I'll show you what that looks like. I actually have no idea what they've ordered, but usually it has a little bit of everything.


Calorie count: 692

Elementary School Lunch: 03/18 - Stir-Fry Radish

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

This week, my graduating students have been spending their play times swarming the faculty room and hallways looking for the teachers they want to sign their year books. Their last day is tomorrow, and they're graduating Friday! On Friday, we're only really going to school for the ceremony, so there isn't going to be a school lunch (the kids are being sent home early). Instead, the faculty have ordered out - I'll share a bonus shot of that here.

Today's lunch was some masu salmon, served with salad, rice, and a brothy stir-fry of pork, radish, and veggies. The salad was fab, some bean sprouts, spinach, and carrot just drenched in sesame seed flavor. It's definitely one of my top five dressings ever. As for the stir-fry, besides the pork and radish it had konjac, edamame, carrot, and onion. Simple, but oh-so-tasty.

Calorie count: 648

Elementary School Lunch: 03/17 - Spring Veggies

Food, JapanKristina PinoComment

Today's lunch focused on spring vegetables, although they weren't too different from our usual fare with the exception of snap peas. Today's main item was some cubed fish, pan-fried with sesame seeds, a salad of bean sprouts, cucumber, carrot, and spinach, and the soup. The salad dressing had some Japanese karashi (spicy) mustard, which the kids are always kind of iffy on - they don't tend to like spicy things. As for the soup, it had miso, fried tofu, potato, cabbage, snap peas, and onion. It was pretty much greens and whites this time around, which is rare - we tend to go more colorful.

Either way, tasty and filling.

Calorie count: 659