Friday, November 29, 2013

Combating the Crowd on Black Friday -- Success!

So, how many of you went shopping today? There were some really great deals out there!

Normally I don't go Black Friday shopping, since the crowds are crazy, and I always have this idea in my head that if I go out shopping today, then someone will push me down and a stampede of human feet will run on top of me. This has caused me to shy away from Black Friday shopping for years.

But not this year.

This year I got dressed (reluctantly), grabbed my purse, and braved the crowds. Traffic was crazy, but since I went out with my mom, it was her that had to deal with psychotic drivers (thank goodness). We hit a lot of stores, but I was unfortunately unable to find some of the things I was really hoping for from my outing.

These things being:

  • Cream colored earmuffs 
  • Black shorts
  • A black dress
  • A cute black hat
Unfortunately, I couldn't find those things. At least, not at a reasonable price. But I got a few other fantastic things instead! 

First off, I'm going to show you the absolute best thing I got during my outing today. 

Are you ready for the cuteness?

Is she not the cutest thing ever?!

I don't think I've shown you my newest puppy, Zoey, before. (Don't worry, I'll make a blog post this weekend introducing you.) 

But lately, now that it's getting cold, whenever she goes outside she always comes back in shivering like crazy. Even if she's just laying around the house, she'll start shaking since we don't keep our house very warm. So when we went to Petco today, and I saw this adorable little jacket for her, I absolutely had to get it. And she seems so happy now when she wears it. She's no longer shivering, and it doesn't seem to bother her at all.

I was worried she would hate it and we'd have to take it back, but she seems perfectly content with it on. Thank goodness. I was so worried she'd be half-freezing this entire winter. 

Now, onto the other things I bought (it isn't much.)

I got three other things this Friday (Well, four, but the fourth is a present for someone. And on the off chance that person decides to visit my blog for some reason, I don't want them seeing it!)

The first is a dress I absolutely fell in love with when I saw it. In case it's hard to tell, the dress itself is pink with a cream-colored (I don't know what the right term for this color is...ivory?) lace overlay. It's incredibly cute!

A close up view of the colors/lace.
I love this dress I got from Deb Shops. The only problem is, the back of the dress, down to the hips, it just bare lace. So you can see my back if I wear it. I've never had a dress with an open back before, and have absolutely no idea what to do about a bra. So if any of you have suggestions, I'd like to hear them. The best thing I can think to do is a skin-toned, strapless bra? I'll have to do some research I suppose!


These shoes. 

I cannot put into words how much I love these shoes. I have a pair of them already in black, which I loved. But as soon as I saw this color, I knew I had to have them. If you love them as much as I do, you can buy them here, also from Deb Shops. They're the prettiest wine red color I've ever seen on a shoe, and although I have absolutely no idea what to wear them with, I'll think of something/buy something eventually for them. (I couldn't pass them up today though at only $10.) Until then, they'll just be sitting in my closet where I can admire them. 

And lastly, I got Hard Candy's Glamoflauge Heavy Duty Concealer. I already tried it on, since I had heard great things about it and wanted to try it right away. I'm actually quite happy with it too! The concealer pencil it comes with is very nice as well. I'll have to do a review sometime to show you all why you should be buying Hard Candy concealer!

My parents did some Black Friday shopping today and got something too. And guess what they got...?

Yep! They snagged an Xbox One today! Now my parents own one, my boyfriend owns one... I'm the only one without!

(Which yes, is my fault since I could have been saving money, instead of just asking for it for Christmas. I am aware.)

Oh well. Less than a month left until I get one of these babies for my very own. (Yay!)

So, I would love to know what you got for Black Friday!

Let me know in the comments below! Or, if you made a blog post about it on your blog, link me! I'd love to see!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What are you thankful for? (I think my big one is coffee. Maybe.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (I say as it turns midnight on the day after Thanksgiving)! I hope everyone got to eat lots and lots of turkey today! (Unless you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, or are a vegetarian... or don't like turkey.)

Anyway, other than delicious food, Thanksgiving Day has always been about being thankful for things you have. I've had a wonderful life so far, and thus have many things to be thankful. So many that I couldn't possibly write them all down. So these are just a few of the many things I'm thankful for in my life.

  • I'm thankful that I've always had a furry friend at my side. First it was Killer, then Chomper, and now Meeko and Zoey. I've been so lucky to have grown up with pets that love me.

  • Family get-togethers. My family is pretty crazy (isn't everyone's?), but that's what makes holidays fun!
  • Starbucks.
  • My boyfriend, Zach. Especially when he cooks for me! (Since I can't cook. At all.)

  • Oranges! Eating healthy is hard. Luckily, tasty things like oranges make the whole process much more enjoyable.
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream, for those days I couldn't care less about eating healthy.
  • That one amazing waitress at Carlos O' Kelly's that recognizes me and my boyfriend every time we go in and has our orders memorized. 
  • Starbucks. 
  • Books and TV shows that make me cry like a baby. *cough*Merlin*cough*
  • Great hair days. Those days that your hair falls in just the right way on its own? Perfect.
  • Lazy days in winter when I can just sit in bed in my warm house and watch snow fall, drinking a hot cup of latte.
  • The look on a loved ones face when they open a present you got them and they love it.
  • Starbucks.
  • How good popcorn and chocolate taste together, especially when you're watching a movie. 
  • That video games exist. My life would be a whole lot more boring without getting to slay dragons on a regular basis. 
  • Finding that perfect shade of foundation for your face.
  • And, um... Have I mentioned Starbucks?

Yeah, so, there's my list. Sorry this post is coming out when it's not even Thanksgiving for some people that might be reading this. (It's only a moment away from not even being Thanksgiving for me!) I hope your day was wonderful though, and full of love and delicious food! And now, for some reason, I'm craving Starbucks.

Darn them, not being open at midnight.

Oh well!

What are you thankful for? Leave me a comment and let me know! ♥

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Xbox One Review

Hey everyone! Here I am, actually keeping my promise to blog more regularly.
(Yeah, I'm a little proud of myself.)

So here it is. My Xbox One Review.

I'm pretty excited about getting to show you exactly why I love this console so much. I've never really done a console review before, unless you count showing off my 3DS XL when I got it (which I don't).  So go easy on me if this review isn't perfect, alright? Let's get started then!

So here's the box. It's a, um, nice box.
It's the box for the Day One edition Xbox One, so if you buy them from stores now, you'll get the green box instead (I'm assuming), which isn't nearly as pretty but honestly, who buys a console for the box?

So moving right along...

Here is the actual system, from the front, since I realized I didn't actually show you guys the front of the console in my last blog post. It doesn't have a disc tray that comes out, like the Xbox 360 did. Instead, you just slide your disc into the slot you can see on the left side of the system. I do really like their glowing Xbox logo, which serves as the power button. It's a lot cuter than the glowing green power symbol on the Xbox 360. The design of the console itself is alright. I think it's prettier in person than pictures manage to show of it, but I don't like it quite as much as I liked the Xbox 360 slim. I do, however, like it's design more than the original Xbox 360.

Now, above you can first see the new Xbox One controller, and then afterwards, a side by side comparison of the Xbox One's controller (right) to the Xbox 360's controller (left). I'd have to say I love the Xbox One's controller more than the 360's controller, which makes the One's controller my favorite controller of all time. It's quite similar to the Xbox 360's controller, with a few differences. The logo is higher, the buttons are prettier (in my opinion), the triggers are much better, and the D-pad is much better to use. There are also circular ridges around the analog sticks. At first I didn't like the ridges, since I was use to the smooth analog sticks of its predecessor. But I've noticed that with these ridges, the chance of my thumb sliding off the analog stick is barely existent. This wasn't a constant problem or anything with the 360 controller by any means, but it's still a nice addition, although I think the ridges may bother some people, especially if playing for long periods.

The only real complaint I have about the controller are the bumpers. The Xbox 360's bumpers were, in my opinion, pretty superior to the Xbox One's. This new controller's bumpers are larger, but it's impossible to tell were the bumpers actually stop towards the middle. This can easily result in pressing the bumper too closely to the center, which won't actually allow you to press the bumper at all. It's also quite a bit harder to press the bumpers down in general, compared to the 360's controller. It's not like you have to apply much force, but the difference is noticeable enough to make me prefer the 360's bumpers. Over all though, the controller is great.

And now, the headset. I have one complaint about the Xbox One, and this is it. Pictured below, you can see the comparison between the Xbox 360's headset, and the Xbox One's headset. While I certainly think the Xbox One's headset is better to look at, it is in no way better to wear. Rigid is the word that comes to mind when I wear the Xbox One's headset. It's a lot less flexible than the old headset, and a lot more uncomfortable. It seems to slide off of my head much easier, and the earpiece is very uncomfortable against my ear. It seems almost hard, pressing down on my ear rather than comfortably sitting on top of it.

 I do, however, like the volume control on the new headset much more. Pictured above, the Xbox 360's (left) had a much smaller volume control than the Xbox One's (right), but it was a lot more annoying to use. Volume was controlled via a dial on the side, which could easily be accidentally slid. This would result in either not being able to hear the people you were playing with, or suddenly having to deal with earache-inducing volumes. The Xbox One did away with the dial, now instead having large buttons to press to bring the volume either up or down. (Thank goodness.)

I don't know why the three lights appear so bright in pictures. In reality, the lights are very dim, and red.

Kinect! Kinect was a large issue for fans of Xbox. There were people, me included, that was happy my Xbox would come with a Kinect. But there were a lot of other people that hated the idea of paying more for Kinect when they didn't care to use it. I can understand why they wouldn't want to do that, but for someone like me, that's always enjoyed Kinect but never used it enough to warrant purchasing it on its own, I'm glad that it came included with the Xbox One. Giving Xbox voice commands has never been easier, and I love that Xbox picks up so well on what I'm saying (with a few exceptions of having to repeat myself).

The list of voice commands is a long one, with only a few shown in the picture above. You can see the rest of the commands here.

The homepage is fantastic too. The colors are even able to be customized! Don't like that bright green color? No problem! Change it to whatever color you fancy. Personally, I'll definitely be picking pink for my homepage.

To the left of the homepage, you have 'Pins'. Pin your favorite apps and games here for quick access! And then the store is to the right, allowing you to buy even more fantastic games, movies, and more.

No doubt, if you're looking into getting an Xbox One, you've also heard about some of the problems it's been having since launch. Defective disc drives, the Green Screen of Death, bricked consoles, and issues with online services. Luckily, these problems seem to be rare. The Xbox One I have at my house has not had a single issue at all, I'm happy to say, and I know a few other people that have been happily playing their Xbox One's since launch with no problems either.

If you do have a defective disc drive though, and send it in to Microsoft, you'll actually get a free game out of the deal. So there's a silver lining in an otherwise depressing occurrence.

So, time to actually rate the console. This is, of course, based on my opinions, and you'll no doubt have your own. Please keep in mind that my view in no way is the same as everyone else's.

Console: 8/10; A pretty console that is slightly too large and bulky.
Controller: 9/10; An otherwise perfect controller with rather annoying bumpers.
Kinect: 7/10; Good at responding to your voice most of the time, but expensive and not very useful so far.
Headset: 6/10; Quite uncomfortable, but with a nice design and better volume control
Games: 8/10; A decent launch line up with many more amazing games on the way
Dashboard: 8/10; Tidy and easy to navigate, offering a nice level of customization

Overall: 8/10

The Xbox One is a great system with amazing potential in the coming years. I highly recommend picking one up for ether yourself or the family this holiday season.

So, are you planning on getting a next-gen console this year? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Xbox One - Launch Night at Gamestop

I'm just going to skip over the "I'm sorry I was gone for so long!" speech, and the "I swear I'll write more often!" promise. I feel like it's going to get old if I keep starting my blog posts with those on a regular basis. Just know that now that it's the holiday season, I definitely will have more stuff to write about, so you'll probably see me here bugging you more often than I have been! (yay!)

Even this blog post is a little late though, from when I wanted to post it. But can you blame me? This is, after all, about Microsoft's new Xbox One. So I had a very fun weekend playing a brand new next-gen gaming console! (And the beta for Elder Scrolls Online, but I unfortunately cannot go into details about that. Sorry!)

Unfortunately, the console isn't mine. No, the Xbox One that I've grown so fond of belongs to my dear boyfriend, Zach. I'm hoping to get the console for Christmas, since it is a hefty $500 and I'm currently without the means to pay for it.

But this isn't a post to really review the Xbox One. That will come in a couple days (I promise!), once I get my hands on Zach's Xbox One again. I know some of you might be curious in a review since Christmas is coming up and you might be wondering if it's worth it. (Just so you know, it is!) I'll definitely but the review out soon though. And unfortunately, I cannot review the PS4 this holiday season, since I have no plans to own it for quite a while (I really didn't like the PS3), and I don't know anyone getting it well enough to ask them to let me mess with it for a day. So I'll probably review the Xbox One, and the Nintendo 3DS for any curious buyers.

But today, my blog post is about the 12am launch of the Xbox One at Gamestop, the morning of 11/22.

And first off, let me just say: It was freezing!

I am not a person that can handle the cold very well. At all. The entire time I was in line, my teeth were chattering, knees were shaking. But it was worth it. Luckily, my Gamestop is nice enough to let us inside the store until a few minutes to midnight. So we were able to hang out inside the warmth of the store and talk to friends and other Xbox fans before we had to face the cold of that midnight launch line.

He wasn't even cold. Ugh, lucky. He always says he's a nord, and thus has frost resistance.
We were out there in line for a little while, waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Meanwhile, the owner of that Gamestop gave a speech about how one of the higher ups, who makes millions of dollars a year (it was at this point I decided that perhaps I should in fact pursue a career at Gamestop...) visited this Gamestop specifically because of the high approval rating and how well the business does. Which I think is pretty cool for them, considering the only time I actually had a problem with this Gamestop is when they told me, only a week or two before the release of my 3DS XL that the pink/white one was only ever going to come out in Japan.

That's really the only bad experience I've had with them. So I was pretty happy to find out they're doing so well. Plus, he said that because of that, we got free swag. And my boyfriend, being the generous thing that he is, decided to give me the t-shirt he got from the store, since he wanted me to have something from this launch event, since I went down there with him.

I didn't need anything of course. I love midnight events for games (or awesome movies), but it was pretty great getting the t-shirt all the same. It's too big to wear around, but I have a pretty awesome (very comfy) night shirt now.

I wish I could have taken more pictures of the launch event, but it was too dark at midnight (obviously) to take many pictures. But once we got to my boyfriend's home I took quite a few.

Unboxing the Xbox One was pretty exciting. It was a lot prettier in person than any picture I'd seen of it. Sure, it's a little big and bulky, with no real shape to it other than a giant rectangular box, but it works for the Xbox One, and I personally love it.

A closer picture of the Xbox One, and my adorable boyfriend's reflection, sticking out his tongue in concentration.
I wanted to take a picture with the new controller, but I basically failed. 
Speaking of the new controller, it's perfection. I know I said I wasn't going to review the Xbox One, but I have to say. The Xbox One's controller is my favorite controller of all time. Better than the Dreamcast, and better than the Xbox 360, which were my top two favorite controllers before the One made it's debut. It's just really comfortable to hold, and so pretty. But Zach only got one controller, so I haven't been able to really see how two controllers work.

 For example, the Xbox symbol at the top of the controller lights up a pretty white. But, as far as I can tell, it makes no mention of the fact I'm player one when I use it. So I don't really know how that works. I suppose some research is required before I write up the Xbox One review.

A better view of the pretty Xbox One controller.
What you see plugged into it is the headset, which I admit is pretty uncomfortable to wear, but I love the buttons for 'mute' and the volume buttons this time around. So much better than using the dial to scroll to the volume you want, like on the 360. I was always accidentally bumping that thing and sending the volume to either zero, or headache-inducing highs.

And so it begins.

After getting everything plugged in, turned on, and set up, it was pretty fun watching my boyfriend play until we both passed out. (It was pretty late at this point, and my poor boyfriend had work at 7am that day, so we both only had a few hours of sleep, at the most. ) I haven't played it much. I'd rather wait for my own Xbox One to sit and play for long periods, but I've messed with the homepage so much that I'm pretty much familiar with it. I'll need to try out Ryse still, so I know whether to get it for myself.

My boyfriend bought quite the collection of games for the launch of the Xbox One. (He also got the limited edition version of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, not pictured here.) He tried them all out, and while I didn't think the graphics were enough to really blow me away, that's to be expected from launch titles, I think. The games will get even better, and prettier, as developers are able to fully utilize the Xbox One's capabilities. So that's something to look forward to.

The games out so far though look pretty amazing. Battlefield 4 seems just as great as Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Ghosts is the best CoD so far, in my opinion, Deadrising 3 seems just as crazy as its predecessors, Assassins Creed IV is basically Assassins Creed III but with pirates and harpooning, and Ryse seems a little repetitive, but it's a pretty gorgeous game and he story seems well done from what I've seen so far. Over all, the Xbox One got a pretty great line up of launch titles, with even more awesome games on the way soon. (Like Fable Legends, Thief, Dragon Age III Inquisition, and more).

And before I let you go, here's a quick picture of my look from launch night. I figured an event like that was enough reason for me to actually put on eye makeup and curl my hair. Of course,then we spent most of the night back at my house until eleven, so maybe it was a waste. But oh well, because I felt gorgeous. ;)

My hair is always so frizzy though ._.
 I'll be back soon, so you can look forward to plenty of posts within the next two months. Posts such as an Xbox One review, a 3DS review, game reviews, collector edition game reviews, and more. See you all soon!

Until Next Time,
Bye Lovelies! <3