Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Crafty Stuffs!

   There are a few days in the year when I absolutely refuse to go to the stores or anywhere there's the potential for an extremely large mass of people....Black Friday and that entire weekend would be one of them. I generally don't really check for much in the way of deals unless there's something I know I want and want to see if there's a deal, or if I see a deal and decide I want whatever it is. LOL. I'm just not a people person (especially if it involves large groups of folks that are crazy for deals) and I usually just get what I need or want as budget permits because as I learned this weekend that you have to be super quick with the Amazon Lightning deals (well, pretty much most online deals) since there are thousands of people that want that as much, if not more, than you do!
   I did manage to find something that seems like a good deal --especially since I missed out on several Amazon Lightning Deals of a smaller, but similar bundle-- was that Silhouette has several holiday bundles for their machines! So, I showed the hubby and asked his opinion...and got a good approval of it and apparently he wants to use it too. LOL.
    I've always liked the concept of the Cricut (it's the only one I'd ever heard of. Who knew there were other machines?!), but wanted something that allowed me to do more than what Cricut offered. I don't want to buy the cartridge/die things all the time, especially if there's only one or two images in the pack that I want. And fonts? I have crap tons of them already, so why do I need to buy a die with them? Great concept, but I wanted more. Well, that's where Silhouette appealed to me. You can use your own stuff, they have a lot of great single images on the online store for a good price, and you can use your own fonts. That just appeals to me. A bit more expensive initially, but for me it pays off in the end.
   I don't have the Cameo yet since it hasn't shipped as of now, but I'm really anxious to play with it and see what all I can do with it! Everything I've seen people do online has been amazing and it's really making me impatient to get the danged thing. Once I do though, I'll have to check back and let you all know what I think. Whee!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From Miss to Mrs.

   Long time, no post! Lots of stuff has been going on and I think it just might have settled down...maybe. Time to play catch up.
   The Fella had his interview June 11, 2013 and all went well and ended with an approval! :D It took a bit of time for him to sort through his stuff, sell some, store some, put in notice that he was quitting, notifying people, etc., but he got it done and flew over here September 4th. YAY! While he was getting his stuff in order, I was getting my stuff and some of the wedding stuff taken care of. Once he got here, there was more wedding stuff to take care of, getting his social security number, adding him to the bank account, lease, and a few other things, and some other miscellaneous stuff that I can't recall. LOL. Everything worked out and we got married September 27th...then honeymooned in Vegas for a week. Whee!
   Since then we've been working on getting my name changed on stuff which is taking a bit since the government was shutdown and I had to wait to change my name on my social security card, hence delaying some stuff. Whee? We've definitely been enjoying the married thing though. Something about it is just...wonderful. Not sure what makes it different, but it is. Huh. Anyway, we filed for the Adjustment of Status, Employment Authorization Document, and Advanced Parole last week and got the text stating they received our crap. Now we're back to the waiting game. Fun times.
  Other than that, that's pretty much it. Been keeping entertained at work and such, but nothing overly exciting. Well, nothing I want to post about online anyway. LOL. As usual life happens and sometimes the stuff in life isn't fun to deal with, but you kinda have to. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Click for a larger version
   This morning I woke up to a text on my phone telling me that my case status had been updated! I checked out the uscis.gov website and I found out that the USCIS approved The Fella's visa! YAY! We still have a lot of stuff to do yet, but at least we're over the "worst" bit of it. :D Now I have to send a copy of the initial application packet and some other paperwork to him. :D The US Embassy over in Frankfurt will send him a packet stating some stuff that he needs to gather and some paperwork that he needs to fill out. There's more than that, but I don't want to bore you with all the gritty details. LOL. Still, this is a *big* step forward.
   I was really surprised to see this notice though. Right now, California Service Center (the center our paperwork was sent to) is horribly backlogged. So backlogged in fact, that they're still working on visas from July. Freaking. July. Very little of August and September have been touched as well. They're supposed to be doing these applications in the order they're received and while I am extremely grateful that we have our approval, there should be no reason whatsoever that a bunch of people from late November and beginning of December have gotten approvals while people from July are being told that USCIS is doing what they can and they'll just have to wait. It's bullcrap. So anyone with a K1 visa from before November, I'm sorry you're waiting. :( You should have had this long before now and I really hope you get your visas approved soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


   I'd been considering getting a dedicated e-reader for awhile. I have a 1st Generation Kindle Fire and while I really like (ok, love) the thing, the battery life is kind of crappy for plane rides, car rides, or a quiet day reading. Even while stopping to do paperwork or answer the phone on my slower days at work, I still usually end up having to plug my Fire in towards the end of the day, even though the Wi-Fi is off and I've turned the screen brightness down. When I'm near a power outlet--basically at home or work, and a few vehicles--that's not an issue. Long plane rides though, not so much. LOL. Hence, the reason for a dedicated e-reader, and not another tablet style e-reader.

  After looking around a bit, I opted for a Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. The price wasn't too bad ($119) and I have the option of adding more memory which really appeals to me. I also get a little built in light for when I don't have as much ambient light around, so win for me! What I didn't know though, was that the fiance is apparently part Betazoid and was thinking an e-reader (Kobo Mini) would be a *great* Valentine's Day gift. LOL. Imagine his surprise when a few days before Valentine's I'm going on about how I like my Nook...and my surprise when I get a Kobo Mini in the mail the day after Valentine's. Now I have 2 e-readers. Whee! In lieu of that, I decided to put together a post on the pros and cons of the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight and the Kobo Mini. I haven't used any of the standard Kindle readers, so I'll not touch that subject. 
   *Also as a side note-- I sideload everything via Calibre. It's free, easy to use, and you can keep all your books in one spot and have a hard copy. I found it simpler and more intuitive to work with than Kindle for PC, Nook for PC, and Kobo Desktop App. Of the 3, Kindle for PC is probably the best set up and easier to use, but does us no good with a Nook and a Kobo. LOL.

  Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight-- One of the better known (right along with Kindle) is Barnes and Noble's Nook. They have one without the GlowLight for $79, so if the $119 is a bit more on the steep side price-wise, I'd suggest just going with that one. The GlowLight is nice to have, but not totally necessary unless you have very little light nearby. It comes with a computer cable/wall charger which is great because you don't have to charge it in the computer unless you want to. I love that it has expandable memory! You stick a mini SD card in there (it doesn't tell you which way on the slot or, so be careful when loading it and don't force it). Being able to use a mini sd card also means you can unmount the card from the Nook, then load it in the card reader on a computer. Considerably more convenient in some ways, especially if you can't find a cord right off the bat. For flipping pages, you can use the touchscreen or the page turner buttons on each side of the Nook. Top button moves the page forward, bottom button moves the page back. Perfect for if you have a dog on your lap and can only use one hand (or eating, or having a cup of tea...whatever problem you have). I think that's probably my favorite feature because it never fails that when I read at home, Bear *has* to sit in my lap and demands to be petted. LOL. Another favorite feature is the fact that you can customize your screensaver for it. All you need is a grayscale 600x800 photo (there are plenty pre-made, free screensavers for the Nook online), load it onto your Nook (BN.com tells you how, just check out FAQ or Support), and change it from the Screen settings on the Nook. Boom. No more creepy dead author screensaver. LOL. Worst surprise ever was seeing that screensaver pop up the first time. Less than 30 minutes later, I had that resolved. 
  • Expandable memory
  • Customizable
  • Page Turner buttons on each side, or you can use the screen
  • Great battery life
  • computer cord/wall charger included, it's also the micros usb so you can use another charger in a pinch
  • Lots and lots of free ebooks and you can Lend some books or rent from your local library (if the library has that option, not all do)
  • All sorts of covers and accessories are available and you can get them most anywhere
  • Convenient tech support if you have a store nearby
  • Price. $79 is pretty reasonable for the basic Simple Touch (pretty average price for ereaders), but the GlowLight version is another $40...just for a built in light. 
  • It doesn't allow you to set it to shut off after a certain amount of time, you can set how long before the screen times out and goes to a screensaver, but not shut off.
  • I'm listing this even though it's common to all e-readers--ebooks are DRM. I know *why* it's that way, but it's a huge pain in the butt when you buy a freaking book and can't read it on whatever device you own. I'll get more into this later.
  • Can't share snippets of non-Nook for PC side-loaded books. So if you like sharing what you're reading on Facebook or Twitter, not a great option unless you buy books from B&N.
  • Doesn't show percentage wise how far you are into the book, just page x of xx. I like percentages. LOL.
Kobo Mini-- While they aren't a big name like Kindle or Nook, they're still pretty good. If you want something that isn't well know and a bit more...open, for lack of a better word...they're a good option. At $79, they're comparable in price to your other e-readers as well. Multiple language options and while they have their own version of an epub file (ke-epub) and you can buy your ebooks and read them anywhere. Not sure if it wreaks havoc with certain countries that are funny about copyrights, but it at least sounds more open. The smaller size is perfect for if you want a reader that fits in a purse or pocket without being obvious. I have a good sized purse and my Fire and the Nook stick out a bit or reach close to the top of one of my pockets. I do have a lot of crap in the purse though. LOL. 2 GBs of internal memory so you can store about ebooks on there. It's a great travel sized e-reader! It's about the same height and only about 2 inches wider than my Motorola Razr phone, so not much bigger than your average smartphone. It's fairly customizable too. I can set the screensaver/sleep screen to the book cover or a sleeping Kobo design. I can also set it to shut off after a certain amount of time (YES!) so I don't drain my battery as much if I forget it's on in the case...for about a month. lol.

  • Small size
  • Timed shut-off
  • Computer cable, but no wall charger. Not too big of a deal since it's a micro-usb.
  • Surprisingly clear text for such a small thing. You can change the font size and type too and find a more comfortable sized text.
  • Great battery life. I actually have better battery life on this than the Nook.
  • Can share snippets of side-loaded books to Facebook. 
  • Has some fun little awards for little things like "Finishing your first book on your Kobo," "read so many books," etc.
  • Reading stats! They show you how long it takes you to read a book, average time per page of the book, percentage done, etc. 
  • Setup can be...interesting. It takes awhile. You can set it up wirelessly or via computer, so that is a nice option. Tried both and they're about the same. You do need a Kobo account, so set that up first.
  • A little laggy at times. Touchscreen can be a bit more temperamental than the Nook. Not terribly bad though.
  • Due to its smaller size, I really don't recommend this for people that need large print books or if you have a more difficult time with smaller printed stuff. Use a bigger e-reader. Your eyes will thank you. LOL. I wear glasses, but I don't have a problem with the text size. My corrected vision is really good though, so if in doubt, don't get the Kobo Mini, but get a Kobo Touch, Glo, Nook, Kindle, whatever. lol
  • Not as many accessories for it, so if you like to accessorize your gadgets you'll have to be more creative with this
  • Again, with the proprietary ebooks. 
  • Desktop app sucks. I'm not a fan of it as you can tell. LOL. 
   It basically just comes down to what you prefer. I found I actually enjoy the Kobo Mini a lot more just because it's so much easier to keep with me all the time. I like the Nook a lot, especially for reading in bed or the lower light at home, but the Kobo Mini was really more of what I wanted in an e-reader when I was trying to find one. 

   As for Calibre, ebooks, and DRM-- Part of why I use Calibre (and not just because it's easier for me to use), is the fact that with the proper "unofficial" Calibre plug-ins, I can strip the DRM off of my ebooks. It takes some experimenting, but it's really not hard. Now I'm *not* advocating stripping DRM off of ebooks so that you can sell or disburse ebooks to the whole internet or "stick it to the man" and upload them for anyone and everyone that wants them. That isn't fair for the authors that took the time to write those books.
However, as many others have said, I paid for the books and I want to read them on any and all of my devices. I see nothing wrong with stripping DRM for that. /rant

   And that's just my 2 cents worth on those two particular e-readers. :)

*Oh, and the particular ebook you see on screen is "Winter's Heart" by Robert Jordan. His Wheel of Time series is amazing! If you like epic fantasy, check it out. ;)

The screen saver on the Nook screen is one I made from a photo I took in Paris. :D