BEHOLD! Colours for the paper stars that I will store in the aptly named star jar!

A few notes.
1. The 1-5 star colours refer to books I read.
2. With ongoing anime/TV shows, when I finish a season, I’m going to count that as a star.
3. With completed shows, I have to watch the show in it’s entirety to create a star.

Want to create your own star jar for 2015? Watch my tutorial below!

The Fault in Our Stars | Movie Review


I was excited to attend an early screening of the film during The Night Before Our Stars. As expected, the theatre was packed, buzzing with enthusiastic attendees. Entering the theatre, I was given an autographed poster, and TFIOS charm bracelet—lovely keepsakes to remember the night by. As I settled into my seat, the preshow was looping The Night Before Our Stars event which entailed a Q&A session after the film with John Green, the cast, director, and producer of the film, as well as live performances by Birdy, and Nat and Alex Wolff—more on that later.

Finally it was 7:30. The lights dimmed. Show time.

So I cried. It was at the first ‘Okay, Okay’ between Hazel and Gus. Once the flood gates were open, they remained open. So, SUCCESS! I reacted appropriately to a sad film—with TEARS. It was a combination of the story and its characters, of course, but also mixed with my personal experiences when I was younger, which made the film relatable to me.

Shailene Woodley who played Hazel was amazing. I thought she was down-to-earth, and exuded a quiet strength. Ansel Elgort who played Augustus Waters was very endearing and likeable. The on-screen chemistry between Ansel and Shailene was great—I fell in love with their love. I will admit that the first time I saw these two on screen, I only saw the actors Shailene and Ansel, but as the film progressed, and I witnessed their relationship take root, the actors melted away, and Hazel and Gus shined through. It was wonderful.

The flow of the film was fantastic—I was engaged from the beginning till the end. Like I said, there was crying, even at the un-sad parts. But the tone of the film wasn’t all sadness. Like the book, it showed many moments of smiles and laughter. I didn’t read the book prior to watching the film because I didn’t want to closely compare the two together, and as a result, I think it gave me a better movie-going experience. I will say that I was hoping the Gus/car scene was longer (weird, right?). Ansel did a spot on job of capturing that heart-wrentching, and painful scene, but I wanted more…just more.

My favourite scenes:
• Oblivion is inevitable
• first Okay Okay
• the sad swing set
• Gus’ first experience on an airplane
• Egging the ex’s car
• Picnics with the skeleton
• the eulogy
• the end

With all of that being said, I give the film, The Fault in Our Stars, 5/5.

It’s the result of excellent casting, moving performances, awesome screenwriting, great soundtrack, and TLC that made The Fault in Our Stars film thought-provoking, rememberable, and wonderfully faithful to the book. Could I re-watch this film again and again? I think so, just give me a minute…

As for the Q&A and live performances, short story: it was a lot of fun! I think John Green stole the show. I particularly loved his response to “how do you feel about killing off your characters?’.  I thought the cast was very thoughtful in their responses, and the live performances by Birdy, and Nat and Alex Wolff were spectacular. There were slight technical difficulties with the Wolff bros, but they played through it like pros. Hey, that kind of rhymes. Heh.

Anyways, go watch the movie. Bring tissues.

Behind the Scenes

1. Moleskine notebook | 2. iPad | 3. Rocketfish tripod | 4. Canon 60D, 18-135mm lens | 5. Camera remote
6. Final Cut Express | 7. After Effects | 8. Photo Basics soft box

This is the Behind the Scenes tag created by readbyzoe and WhittyNovels. I’ve received quite a few questions regarding the equipment and programs I use, so I thought this was a great tag to address that, as well as other questions.

1. Where do you find inspiration for your videos?
Mostly from other booktubers and videos going on in the community. Sometimes I get ideas scrolling through my tumblr dashboard, or checking out lifestyle, design, and book blogs. So pretty much everywhere.

2. Do you have a word document/notebook/etc. dedicated to video ideas?
Yes. I have a green Moleskine graph paper notebook to keep track of what kind of videos I want to do. I also have several text documents on my computer noting different tags I need to do, and books I want to read.

3. How do you prep for a video?
I usually write notes in my iPad about what I want to say. I also want to look somewhat decent, so I touch up my makeup/face/hair. I also set up my tripod and softbox.

4. How long does it take for you to prepare your appearance for a video?
Usually 10-15 minutes, mostly used to fix my hair. It’s thick and unruly—I have a love-hate relationship with it.

5. What time of day do you film?
Weekdays, after work, between 7-8pm.

6. Show/tell us where you film.

BTS01My work area, and the setting where I record my videos.
My tripod and softbox.

7. Natural lighting or studio lighting?
Studio lighting—most convenient for me, and helpful in keeping the look of my videos consistent.

8. What type of camera do you film with?
Canon 60D with an 18-135 mm lens.

9. Do you ever script your videos/go off of an outline?
I do have an outline, especially when I do book reviews. I find it difficult to read word for word from a script. :O

10. If you edit your videos, what program do you use?
I use Final Cut Express to edit my videos, and Adobe After Effects to add my intro, outro, colour grading, and visual effects/animations.

Clockwise: Scott Pilgrim, Attack on Titan, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, Hetalia: Axis Powers, Kuroko’s Basketball

11. How long are your unedited videos before you scale them down?
Errr…15-30 minutes long. Anything over 30 minutes, I just re-record because I DO NOT want to edit that down. It’s a pain.

12. How may times do you try to film per week?
At least once a week for my Top 5 Wednesday videos. I’m also trying to film and upload a book tag each week, so I’m working my way up to two. ^__^;

13. How often do you pre-film videos?
Rarely. I try focusing on getting one video done before working on the next.

14. How long will a typical video take from setting up your equipment to uploading?
Set up: 5 min., recording: 30 min. max, video rendering: 2-3 hours, editing: 3+ hours, output video: 10-15 min., uploading: 30 min… so just over 7 hours.. err minimum.

Graphic Design Q & A

Note: All images were created for school assignments back in 2005–2008. So they are OLD.

1. Are you a graphic designer? What do you do?

Yes! I’ve been working at a small design studio for over five years now. I design print materials, from posters, brochures, postcards, and programs. I also design ads, front end websites, and flash web ads. Recently, I’ve been working on a lot of illustrations, which I really enjoy. I illustrate in many different styles depending on what job I’m working on.


Illustration for Taipei Toy Festival poster design

2. What would you tell someone in high school considering this career path?

Get the ball rolling and take art and graphic design classes. Graphic design class will introduce and get you familiarized with industry standard programs. If there are no art or graphic design classes available, the next best thing is to make things. Just be constantly creating.

For myself, I took one semester of graphic design in grade 10, and didn’t take any art classes throughout high school. Why? I didn’t know I would be pursuing graphic design. Funny how things worked out. But what I did do was draw. All the time. I had a dedicated last page in all my notebooks where you’d find drawings, and the margins in my notes were always filled.

4. What do you think is more beneficial for a career in graphic design, going to a  4-year university, or is a 2-year school fine?

In the end, what matters is your portfolio, and what it is you really want to do. Do you want to specialize in something, like illustration or web design? Check out the school’s website, and student portfolios. See what kind of projects are assigned, and the work the students are creating. Go to a school that can help you develop the skills you need for the job.

I went to a college that offered a 3-year Graphic Design program. Before applying to the school, I looked into the program, checked out the graduating class portfolios, and I was really interested and excited with the projects they worked on. Being a shorter program, there was a lot to learn in a short amount of time. The workload was heavy, and at times it was a whirlwind. But it was one of the most engaging and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had.


Layout design

5. What are some of the tasks and projects that you’ve worked on?

First Year
First year was all about learning the principles of design, colour theory, composition, and the history of graphic design. For illustration class, lot’s of life drawing.

Second Year
In second year we were assigned more real world projects like layout, logo, web, and package design.

Third Year
I LOVED third year. We were given a lot of creative freedom and assigned really interesting projects, ranging from poster, book, and type design, video and motion graphics.

TheReadables-RamuneProduct photography for ad

6. Do you have any advice on college? ; A ;

As far as getting work done, I would put on my headphones, listen to music, and get in the zone. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for input. A fresh pair of eyes and insight is a good thing.

Know that you will get better with more practice and work.

7. Were you a studious person?

If you mean, did I try hard to do well, then yes. There’s not a lot of studying during the program, but more creating, getting feedback, and re-creating.

8. When did you know you wanted to be a graphic designer?

During my first year of Graphic Design. I loved the projects that were assigned, and the creative environment.


Graphic Design open house concept

9. Do you ever have periods when you do not feel inspired but have to create something anyway?

Yes, and I have to work through that. Sometimes the best thing is to step back, take a breather, and do something else. There are times where I’d check out design books and blogs for inspiration.

10. How do you cope with making something for someone with a completely different taste than yours?

Being a graphic designer, I have to design for the client’s target audience—not the client. That’s why creative briefs are necessary—to determine the client’s goals. When presenting to a client, I need to convey strongly how the design fulfill their objectives.

If a client still insists on a particular change that doesn’t fit the brief, I can do it… but at the end of the day it won’t benefit the interests of the client, and most likely a piece I wouldn’t include in my portfolio.


Skateboard design

11. I’m looking at Graphic Design as a major, but I’m scared I’ll find classes really boring or hard. I’m terrible at conventional art like drawing. But I love images/photography & I sometimes add txt to pictures just for fun. What was school like & was it enjoyable or did you not really like what you were doing until after you had graduated?

If your initial feelings toward graphic design is a negative one, it may not be the right fit for you. Particular classes and assignments will be challenging, but that’s what pushes you to work harder and become better. You don’t have to be a great illustrator to be a great graphic designer, and vice versa.

I really enjoyed the Graphic Design program. Even though it was work intensive, I loved the creative environment, and working with peers that encouraged, critiqued, and inspired each other to do better. Once I started working, I learned so much more.

12. Is it easy finding a job?

I think it comes down to what you want to do and where you want to work. What’s also great is that you can be your own boss by being a freelance designer. And even then, there are times when work doesn’t come in continuously.

In my case, my boss contacted me because of an instructors recommendation. I still went through the review process, but luckily I didn’t have to do a lot of footwork applying to different places.

Final Thoughts

I really hope this post gave you some insight into what I do and how school was for me. Looking back on past school projects made me cringe—a lot of them were REALLY bad. But it showed me how much I’ve grown—still growing—and become better as a designer.