Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm Stuck On Belial! (And a finished drawing)

I love Zombie Dogs... I love every kind of Zombie Dog.
Patch 1.0.4 went live on August 21st.  I jumped for joy.

I got back into it, and tried it out with Kevin, but it just wasn't any better with the both of us.  While I certainly wasn't breezing through elite mob packs it felt a little easier.  Kevin was just not impressed.  I'm not really impressed, per se, but I'm pretty fucking hellbent on finishing the game on inferno just to say I did it.  Which is hard for me because I'm a casual player.

One of the most noticeable things in this patch is the Paragon system.  Once you hit 60, xp goes into your paragon levels, which go up to 100.  Each level you get a bonus to gold find, magic find, and core stat increases.  Every 10 levels, your character portrait updates.  This is excellent - along with five stacks of Nephalem Valor blues are dropping everywhere, and I get a couple yellows per rare mob pack.  Even though, depending on the specials the rare mobs have, I might die a couple times before the do, the gold I get makes it so I don't even notice the ding in my bank.

Helping with this, though, is the fact that they removed enrage timers and heal to full mechanics from rare mobs.  Going back in to finish the job rather than going back in to start all over makes it feel less like a defeat and more like a setback.  (Still frustrated the shit out of Kevin.)

They improved legendary items.  Not the ones that dropped before the patch, just the ones dropping now.  That doesn't really help us at all.  Even worse, they are most definitely improved, but most of them look like I could find rare item replacements.  Ouch.

I am enjoying immensely that you can now cancel auctions whenever you want, and they increased the number of searchable stats. :3

Now for the best part: they helped out my Witch Doctor some! Increased mana regeneration and spell-casting animation resolve time.  This makes it so much easier to kite things around like, say, Zoltun Kulle... uhg.  Pet survivablity has increased!  One of the main reasons why I started a Witch Doctor was because of the pets, and I am overjoyed that they made pets viable again.

While farming is a little easier, it's mostly just vendor trash and gold.  Even though I am picking up more rare items, most of them are complete shit.  Maybe once every two vendor runs I find something that MAYBE someone will buy on the AH.  I still haven't found myself any upgrades.

And now, I am stuck on Belial.  More farming for me!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why GameStop is Not Normally My FirstStop.

Upset.  A couple days ago I wrote about our trip to Costco, but after talking to Kevin we decided I should talk about the first part of our trip and what prompted it.

Kevin sat down to play some NCAA this morning, and after looking at a couple stat screens, he got up and went to his computer.  After a few moments he turned slowly around in his office chair, wielding the look of death.

"I can't believe I've wasted all this time."

"...What?"

"You can't even import into Madden.  I've played this game for nothing."

"But.. I thought that they usually let you?"

"Yeah, I did too.  But not this one.  I shouldn't have even bought the fucking game.  I'm so pissed."

"I'm sorry, are you still going to play Madden?"

"Why should I if I can't import?  I'm not  buying it, I'll just play Madden '12 if I want to football.  We should just go trade this in at Game Stop."

"...let's go."

He said it should probably net a decent amount of money since it came out recently.  We got it the day after it came out, 7/11 I believe, and he's been playing it since then, getting his players read to be imported into Madden. He's super pissed.  We also decided to trade in Mass Effect 3 since he finished it and for some reason I am horrible at playing the Mass Effects.

I asked if there was another game we should put the money towards, say... Borderlands 2?  He said no.  Alright, I can wait until the price on it goes down. :(  We'll save the money for when we need it.

Now, of course, knowing about Game Stop already, I wasn't really expecting to hit the lottery with the games.  Just, you know, something substantial.

$16 for NCAA and $8 for Mass Effect 3.  $20 and $10 respectively if we had received in-store credit.

Wow.  Alright.  Let me look up these games online and see how much they sell them for pre-owned.

$47.99 and $34.99.  Soooo you guys are getting at least $20 profit per game.  You scan them in, give us money, put stickers on the case and the CDs in an envelope in a drawer.  The amount of money we got back was almost as disappointing and depressing as the reason WHY we traded in NCAA.  The idea of trading in games is not as novel as one might think considering how much they are making off of them.

But, you know.  It's a for-profit business so I guess they do what they gotta do.  In any case, we got a little pocket cash.

Oh, I'd also like to mention that back when the Nintendo DS Lite came out, I received one for my birthday.  I decided to see how much money I would get trading in my first generation Nintendo DS at GameStop.  It was in PERFECT condition and had screen protectors on it and everything.  They wanted to give me $20, while they were selling used ones for about $100.

I just gave it to my friend's little sister for her birthday.  She loved it, and worth way more than $20.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making Dinners on a Budget

Today Kevin and I packed up the younger and headed to Costco.  Well, we went to GameStop first but I'll tell you about that later.  We needed rice and probably some more ground beef, but who goes to Costco and only comes out with two things?

Since we were there, we decided it would be a good idea to pick up some more things.  We have already gone through half of our frozen chicken  and it's always a good idea to not run out of these kinds of things.  The last time we went to Costco we picked up a large back of thin cut chicken breasts for $22.99 and divided it into bags with two breasts per bag.  This equals out to about 14 servings of chicken.  We also got a package of 6lbs of ground beef for $16.50, which equals to about 6 separate meals.

So, we are getting about 20 meals worth of meat for about $2 per, feeding two adults and two small children.  But, since a piece of meat a meal does not make (and probably by itself would not feed us all on its own), we bought rice and canned vegetables.  I am not a fan of canned vegetables, but the other three are and it's within our budget at the moment, so I'll suffer.

We got a 25lb bag of rice for about $9.  I did a quick Google search, some math, and came up with 62.5 cups of rice per 25lb bag.  That's only $0.14 per cup of rice!  Add the 24 cans of vegetables at $15.08 total, or $0.63 per can, and we come up with a very reasonable figure for dinner.  Not including any sauces, spices, or drinks, we are spending about $3 per dinner.

Happy Kirsten is happy.

This, combined with my couponing efforts, is really going to pay off.

This is not to say, however, that we wont do other dinners like grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, but those are relatively cheap also.  I make large batches of meatballs and freeze them in separate bags, each enough for a meal.  They taste just as good as when they were first made!  I would also like to try making mini breakfast and mini beef burritos and freezing them.  I never thought planning meals and saving money on them could be so excitingggggggg!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

On August 5th I decided to zoom down to the nearest Sephora and pick up my birthday gift: A set of two mini Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments.

I am very much on the fence about these moisturizers.  I applied the rose tinted treatment when we got in the car, and Kevin told me it was very pretty.  The color is so sheer with just the lightest hint of pink to where it blends in with my natural lip color.  That, of course, pleased me very much.  The cherry on top is that it smells like lemonade.  Mmmm.

As we drove I contemplated the little tiny stick.  I'm not even sure there is a proper adjective for it.  Melty?  The solidness of the lip treatment was seriously lacking.  I am completely understanding in the fact that it's full of softening moisturizers that make it hard to formulate into a lasting stick, but I am very hesitant to keep it around for use.  Being that I live in a part of California where sometimes it's about, like, oh, 110 degrees in the summer, there is no way I am keeping a stick of balm in my pocket or purse that would melt if I even bit my lip and winked at it.

That being said, it does feel absolutely luxurious on my lips.  A couple times a day I'll have a private spa moment.  But, because I'm terrified it will melt all over the place, and the price is very steep for a lip balm, it will never become more than that.  Which is unfortunate, because the luxury does not last long.  And neither does the scent, which is gone in about 5 minutes if I'm lucky.

In fact, I have started having a problem with dry lips after I began using this product.  If I don't apply it constantly throughout the day my lips become taught and dry.  There is no way I am getting addicted to an unportable $22.50 chapstick.  When this happens I slather my lips in lanolin for instant and long lasting relief.

I guess there was a reason why the caps to these minis are a mini screw-on, so it'll catch the melty balm before it leaks?  It's very awkward.  I'm pretty sure that every time I try to open it I pull before I remember to twist.  What was the thought process behind that?

All in all, I will most likely intermittently use them until they run out and forget that they exist.  I'll go back to Burt's Bees and Lansinoh... and oh would I love to tell you all about Lansinoh.  You really don't know what you're missing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Nad's Natural Hair Removal Gel

After a couple attempts of making a sugaring gel at home, I decided enough was enough today.  It sounds like a great, cheap alternative to traditional waxing.  You know, once you get a hang of actually cooking the gel.  It's like cooking candy; it's very temperamental and you have to pay attention to it constantly.  If you don't cook it long enough it's just a syrup.  If you cook it too long and burn it it just turns into a brittle non sticky pot of disappointment.

I cleaned up my mess and finished eating my apples and cheddar cheese of failure.  I communicated my sadness to Morgan via text message and she said maybe I should just  buy some stuff to wax with.  The point, of course, was to not have to spend much money to do it.  I'd still rather wax than shave, though.  Still moping, Kevin and I talked about what we were having for dinner and we decided to dress the little one and head to the store.

While he got coffee creamer I veered down the beauty aisle and poked through the various hair removal options.  I've tried several different depilatories and my hair just does not give a single fuck about them.  My eyes first went to some sort of 'roll on wax' but it was by Nair and I was looking for something a little different.  Then I spotted Nad's - not only was it Nad's, but it was Nad's Gel Kit with Moisture Plus Body Balm.  It includes the gel wax, Popsicle sticks, strips of cloth, cleansing pads and some lotion.  Perfect starting kit.
Ack this photo is blurry. :(

After picking up stuff to make Pineapple Nasty (more on that another time if I get permission), we.. uhm... alright we were distracted by the doughnut shop and made a quick one over there, too.  Ahem.  We got home, put away groceries, and I cracked open my Nad's box.  We sat on the couches, me on the love seat so I could spread out my kit, and turned on NFL Highlights.  The best thing about this kit is the fact that it's no heat.  No messing with microwaves or hot bowls of water or pots on the stove unless it's colder than 'room temp' in the room.  While the pot of gel looks small, since you're only to use a thin layer I think it'll last a decent amount of time; especially if the hair will take as long as it claims to grow back.  I wiped down my legs with one of the wipes, dried them, and smeared on the the all natural gel in the direction of my hair growth...

And Kevin told me it smelled good.  I was confused; probably too busy thinking about ripping the hair from my body to really process much else.  But yes, Nad's does smell good.  I would maybe want something thicker to apply it with, like a butter knife, because the sticks bend easily as you smear.  I do, however, love the thick 100% cotton WASHABLE strips this kit comes with.

Waxing one's self is not easy when you first start.  I was a little scared at first and I'm sure it messed up my form.  The confidence I gained as I ripped hair from flesh was very visible, ending in my best areas being my bikini lines!  Since you're not supposed to repeatedly wax over an area my legs look like a war zone, but I'll try again in a few days.  The gel is SO. STICKY.  But...

It's water soluble! I jumped in the shower and immediately couldn't even tell I had been slathered in the remnants of a bad science experiment.  I didn't even use the "body balm" that comes with it because it honestly doesn't have anything more than what a good moisturizer normally has these days.  I just used some Eucerin Dry Skin Calming Creme and hours later my waxed spots are just fine.

Tada!~

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Diablo 3

I was excited for years for D3 to come out.  The first day it came out, the (now) boyfriend and I ran to Target and picked up two copies.  We then spent the next two weeks playing every moment we got...

We each tried a couple different classes.  He usually plays Paladins in video games, but since there isn't one he went with the Barbarian at first.  It played nothing like a crusader class, so I suggested the Monk.  A little better.  Still not what he had in mind, but it became fun.  I think I went through one of every class up to about level 7 before I settled on the Witch Doctor.  Zombie dogs?  Fun. Shooting poison darts?  Pew pew pew! Throwing spiders?  Fucking.  Awesome.

Our interest dwindled after we got through the first couple difficulties.  We held out hope that it would get more difficult and require more strategics.  For the most part it did, but as we progressed through difficulties it turned more into a run-around-and-hit-it-when-you-can fest.

Surviving felt more based on our gear than what skills and strategies we used.  Yes - we could farm better gear, but since even the current level of mobs we were killing (well, having trouble killing) dropped items ten levels lower, how would that help?  We had to resort to farming for gold and then scouring the Auction House.  While doing that can be thrilling all on its' own, we didn't buy the game to plajy the Auction House.  We were ready to farm gear, but how satisfying can that be if we're not getting upgrades?

I love Witch Doctor.  The spells I got were so fun.  Throwing spiders, flaming skulls, summoning walls of zombies... zombie heads spitting out acid, raining frogs on enemies... not only that but I got glowing zombie dogs and a bumbling gargantuan.  For the most part I could use whatever cool spell I felt like to get the job done save for on some bosses and hard mobs.

We managed to get through Hell (hehe).  By the end we were trying to stack resists.  It was easier for Kevin,  my boyfriend, as a Monk because he had a passive skill that raised all his resists numbers to his highest one.  He only had to stack lightning, while I was stuck trying to find resist to all gear.  The sad thing was, once we got to Inferno, he got up to 70% resists and he still failed miserably on rare mobs with or without me in game.  We could kite things for what felt like hours and still not get very far, or die 10 times before finally defeating the last guy.

This was when we realized that we picked the two worst classes in the game.  We tried a balanced approach to defense and offense, purely offense, and purely defense approaches to gear and skills.  None of it helped.  I could kite things alright but I didn't have enough DPS to effectively whittle then down before I ran out of resources and  cool downs.  His DPS was better, but being a melee class he had to be close to the mobs, which in most cases was impossible due to their special abilities.

In the middle of us trying to farm gold and gear, they changed the way gold and item drops worked.

After a few more attempts at Inferno content, we gave up.  I've been playing my other classes through a quest here and there.  I haven't gotten into Nightmare with any of them but I can already tell their DPS far surpasses my Witch Doctor's.  Blizzard is talking about a patch in the works to fix balancing issues or whatever they want to call it.  I'll try again seriously after that and hope I can get back into it... and that Kevin will peek over his shoulder at me before logging in himself.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

First!

So, after two days of brainstorming, my boyfriend and I finally figured out a good title for this.  We were driving to Target with the kids with the 110 degree sun beating down on us and he said wistfully, "I wish it were raining."

Today I decided to start coupon clipping since we now have a printer.  We saved a little over $22 at target, including his Target Redcard 5% off.  I'm hoping as we accumulate more coupons and start to shop for only thing we have them for the savings will accumulate better.

I have discovered so many wonderful (and not so wonderful) things that I would like to share with people, and what better venue? :)  Maybe I should start with these pull ups our two year old is soaking through every hour...

So.. onward!