July 2017 Favorites

 
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I feel like I start every monthly recap by saying how quickly time has flown by, but July was actually a slow burn for me – both figuratively and literally.  It was so unbearably hot, I could bake cookies on the dashboard of my car! Hellish weather for one hell of a month, which had its fair share of highlights and hurdles.

We’re well into August now and it might be a tad too late for a July recap, but I’ll get to that in a bit. In short, it’s been an eventful month. We had relatives from overseas visit, so that’s always fun. We were basically trapped in our own home when the neighbors blocked the streets to set off fireworks – not so fun. Anime Expo happened and, as you can guess, I was balls to the walls excited. And spread throughout the month were much-needed family outings and reminders to take breaks and treat myself once in a while.

JULY FAVORITES

1 | IKEA Cart

 
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When I changed up my workspace, I failed to consider the lack of storage for all the art supplies and stationery I’ve hoarded over the years. Enter IKEA’s RASKOG cart, which I’ve been eying for quite some time. I’m one of those rare beings who actually enjoy building IKEA furniture, and this was one of the easiest products to put together – got it done in 10 minutes, tops. And the result is a sturdy and versatile three-tiered cart to organize and display pretty much anything.

At the top, I’m slowly building a collection of succulents and small houseplants, along with pens and brushes for inking and painting. The second tier houses all my main art supplies minus the paper. And the last is for the more neglected supplies that I promised myself I’d get to one day. One day.

 

2 | Kuretake Clean Color Real Brush Pens

 
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Yet another brand of pens and markers I’m gradually compiling. I bought one of these water-soluble brush pens on a whim at a Japanese novelty shop, which I don’t recommend because they really jack up the prices. But I love how easily and smoothly you can lay down, blend, and build on the colors. And since they’re water-based, you can immediately go in with a wet brush to give it a watercolor-like effect.

 
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Initially, I had issues controlling the pen because its super soft bristle tip allows for huge line variations with the slightest change in pressure. But once you get the hang of it, it’s a delight to use! It’s a great tool for adding dimension and color to sketches on the go – just be sure that your drawings are done in a water-resistant ink or pencil before laying colors on top.   

3 | Daiso’s Hello Summer Washi Tapes

 
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I mentioned Daiso’s summer-themed stationery products in my previous post, but I’m still mildly obsessed with them, especially the washi tapes. And because this is Daiso, they’re super affordable. I mean, I got four rolls of succulent and cactus printed tapes for about half the price of one roll from Paper Source! Don’t get me wrong, I usually favor quality over quantity. But when it comes to washi tapes, as long as they stick and I like the colors and patterns, I’ll make an exception.

4 | Trader Joe’s Ranch Seasoned Crispy Chickpeas                                                                         

 
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Mindless snacking was never an issue for me, that is until I added this snack to my weekly Trader Joe’s runs.  I’ve been going through bags of these crispy chickpeas like it’s nobody’s business.  But I guess this isn’t the worst thing to snack on, considering that each serving packs a considerable amount of fiber and protein. It has the right amount of crunch and seasoning, making it insanely addicting! I highly suggest adding these to salads or grain bowls. And of course, you can enjoy them on their own.

5 | Shinsekai Yori

If you’re wondering why I wrote a July recap nearly ten days into August, it’s because of Shinsekai Yori. I picked up the series towards the end of the month, finished it on the cusp of August, and needed a long week to process what I’ve just watched. Hands down, one of my favorite anime series ever and one of the most complex shows I’ve seen in a very long time – a paragraph or two in my favorites cannot do it justice.

Shinsekai Yori is a dark coming-of-age story that takes place over a thousand years into the future following the emergence of humans with psychokinetic powers. We see the world through the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl named Saki Watanabe as she and her friends attend an academy to master these powers in a seemingly peaceful village. As we quickly learn, however, something about their society is very off as children begin to disappear without anyone really batting an eye.

 

Warning: If you get scared easily, prepare yourself for the 0:19 mark.

 

Shinsekai Yori is one of those series that you’ll either love or hate. The animation is flat and inconsistent (brace yourself for the eyesore that is episode 5) and the pacing is confusing during the first half of the series. But if you can get past that, you’re treated to one rollercoaster of a story that touches on themes of slavery, sexuality, and the human nature, presented in a compelling and hauntingly beautiful way. I can go on and on about this series, so I’ll save a more in-depth review for another time.

Well, would ya look at that? I broke my pattern of uploading a monthly favorite every other post. I guess that’s what happens when you post every other week. Once summer projects wrap up early September, I hope to get back to uploading a new blog post once a week. Looking forward to that!