Unboxing my 2021 limited edition Funko POP! figure of Mose Schrute 

Disclaimer: This is not a branded post. The item reviewed here was purchased using my own money and I do not receive any commission or payment on the links in this post. 

Sometime last month, I finished watching the entire nine seasons of The Office (US version) and truth be told, I’m still not quite over the series. Because for the past few months, it’s kind of been my stress reliever. There, I could always count on Michael and Dwight to make me laugh, swoon over Jim and Pam’s blossoming romance, and enjoy the crazy antics that happen at the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch. 

In a way, the series became a safe place for me to unwind and relax and it helped me a lot in forgetting my anxieties. That’s why after finishing the show, I couldn’t help but check local collectible shops for The Office Funko POP! toys. Since then, I’ve bought the collectible figures of Jim Halpert, Kelly Kapoor, and Angela Martin. 

Recently, I decided to splurge a little more on a limited edition figure of a quirky yet lovable side character in the series. In this blog, I’ll be unboxing and reviewing the 2021 Funko Exclusive Fall Convention vinyl figure of Mose Schrute. 

Viewers of The Office will remember Mose (who was played by Michael Schur) as Dwight’s strange cousin who lived on his beet farm. Although the character had little screen time, a lot of people (including myself) enjoyed his over-the-top actions and couldn’t help but laugh out loud at his unusual mannerisms. In fact, there’s a whole compilation of clips on YouTube that’s all about Mose–proving just how much fans love him!

This Funko POP! figure highlighted a funny scene between Mose and Ryan in season 3, wherein Dwight, as part of Ryan’s initiation to becoming a salesman, asked Ryan to fight his cousin Mose in an attempt to “wrestle fear to the ground.” 

I purchased the figure through the Big Boys Toy Store website for 1,100 PHP (excluding shipping fee). It arrived a few days later, well-packed in bubble wrap and the store’s box covering. After removing the plastic and box, I saw Mose through the clear POP! box protector.

I unpacked the figure from the box (which had a 2021 Fall Convention sticker) to reveal Mose Schrute. Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t fangirl while unboxing the figure. It looked exactly like the character did in the scene, complete with Mose’s bushy black beard, ‘Fear’ shirt, and gray pants and overalls.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the figure with a screengrab of the scene from YouTube

Unlike other Funko POP! figures in the series, Mose doesn’t have a clear base plate. The figure, however, didn’t need it since it could balance well on its own. 

At first glance, everything seems to be in place–the figure’s a good size, it stands well, and twists easily from side to side.  

But upon closer inspection, the figure had a few paint defects. Mose’s hands, in particular, didn’t look smooth and well-put together. And there were some minor paint mistakes in the front and back of the figure.

The collectible toy brand Funko has addressed issues like this on their website, stating that they “cannot control slight manufacturing variations and are not able to replace items based on these variations, including but not limited to minor paint flaws or figure positioning.”

Personally, I don’t mind these minor flaws since they’re not super noticeable in the figure. If they were bigger, then that would become an issue.

Via GIPHY

Overall, I am satisfied with this special edition figure and would probably give it a 9/10 based on character accuracy and design (removing one point over those paint flaws).

It’s on the pricey side for a Funko POP! (compared to other The Office figures) though, so only get it if you’re a really big fan of the character or just can’t get enough of The Office-related merchandise.

Until the next blog!  

See y’all soon! Via GIPHY

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From ‘boob mugs’ to makeup, here’s a review of my most recent online purchases

Just like many millennials nowadays, I like to look through online shopping websites for new items or accessories. Most of the time, what I buy are necessities like toiletries or stuff for my dog (and yes, I do classify those items as essential). But this time around, I was lured by the much-awaited payday deals of these local, online platforms–and I (inevitably) ended up giving in and checking out some items.

Via GIPHY

Here’s my review of those purchases: 

  1. Boob Mug 

I’ve been eyeing the boob mugs of peek a boob ph ever since I saw them on Instagram. They were cute and quirky; and they celebrated the feminine body in all its imperfect glory. 

They even stated in one of their posts, “Our boob mugs are meant to express the value of women in our lives–how individuals, represented in boob form obviously, are perfect in all shapes and sizes.”

Given this, I was excited to get one of these mugs… and as luck would have it, the store offered a 10% discount on some of their on-hand items. Through this month-end sale, I was able to purchase a medium-sized Birthday Sprinkles Boob Mug for only 630 PHP (original price was 700 PHP). 

The ceramic mug measured at around 4 inches tall with a diameter of 3.5 inches. According to the brand’s post, it can hold 300 mL of liquid.

What I liked about it was that you can clearly tell it was handmade. It had a large handle that drooped down and a pair of sculpted breasts that were not 100% symmetrical (just as most boobs are). But it’s this rustic look that makes it that much more unique and special. 

I also liked how it was handcrafted by Filipino artisans. This just goes to show how innovative and creative many of our artists are.

I’ve been drinking from this mug for a few days now and I enjoy it’s size and its colorful appearance–it really does make my morning coffee sessions that much more enjoyable! 

2. Benefit lip tints 

I’ve been a fan of Benefit Cosmetics ever since I tried their eyebrow gel in 2017. Although I absolutely love their products, any makeup enthusiast would tell you that their items are NOT cheap. 

Thankfully, National Lipstick Day happened and with it, came an awesome deal for their lip tints. Because for the price of 1,190 PHP (and free shipping), I was able to receive (1) 6.0 mL BeneTint, one (1) 2.0 mL ChaCha Tint, and one (1) 2.0 mL Love Tint. 

These lip tints all came safely in a colorful Benefit box. 

I first tried BeneTint, which had a see through, light red hue to it. What I liked about this product is that since it’s water-based, you can easily build color by dabbing some more of the liquid on your lips and cheeks. 

It’s also long-lasting–I barely had to reapply throughout the day–and it has an addicting rose scent to it. 

I highly recommend this product for those looking for natural-looking and buildable lip and cheek stains for their virtual meetings.  

Next, I sampled the Cha Cha Tint from the package. It had a light orange hue and was much thicker in consistency than the BeneTint. 

It also had a pleasant mango smell and when applied, it gave your lips a subtle peach color. 

This item is definitely for people like me, who like to rock the subtle makeup look.

Lastly, I tried the Love Tint. This lip and cheek tint had a thick, dark red color to it and definitely gave your lips a striking scarlet look.

Personally, it’s not my favorite color out of the three; but it is very pigmented and easily buildable when worn both as a lip tint and blush. 

Overall, I am very happy with the Benefit products I received and will surely use them during many of my virtual meetings.

Via GIPHY

Here’s to hoping my next shopping haul can be as nice and awesome as this one! 

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Here’s why I can’t get over Ben Barnes’ soulful cover of the ‘Friends’ theme song

British actor Ben Barnes may be known for his many roles in film and television; but one thing some viewers might not know about him is that he’s an insanely talented singer and musician. In fact, the Shadow and Bone actor often posts his music covers and song collaborations with other artists on his Instagram account.

Just check out this duet he did with singer-songwriter Anoushka Lucas.

Recently, Barnes thrilled his followers with a soulful rendition of the Friends theme song–and it’s so good that you’ll be left in awe and utterly speechless.

Screengrab of the song cover from Ben Barnes’ Instagram.

The one-minute and 51-second cover has a slower tempo compared to the The RembrandtsI’ll Be There For You track. This allowed Barnes to take a more soulful and emotional approach to the original song–making it seem more personal and sentimental rather than fun and upbeat.

Couple that melody with Barnes’ clear vocals and smooth falsetto and you’re left with song cover that’s worth fangirling over.

This is definitely me after watching the video. Via GIPHY

Understandably, I wasn’t the only one to admire Barnes’ version of the song. A lot of his followers also left positive comments on the video praising the actor’s vocal abilities. One Instagram user even wrote, “So much talent [in one person] should NOT be allowed.” While another person posted, “Ben, you blessed us so much with this [cover].”

As of this writing, the video has garnered over 560,000 views on the social media platform. And hopefully, it continues to increase in views as fans still continue to gush over Friends: The Reunion.

Watch the song cover for yourself below:

Here’s to hoping we see and hear more songs from Ben Barnes in the future!

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I bought a few sustainable jewelry pieces online–and here’s what I think of them

I first learned about sustainable jewelry back in 2018, when I came across a news report that said Twilight actress Nikki Reed partnered with Dell to create a line of accessories made from recycled computer parts. Curious to understand how this could even be possible, I started to do further research on this topic. It was only then that I discovered the existence of sustainable jewelry. I then began to understand that it was more than just recycling discarded, old pieces of gold and silver–it was also about processing the source materials in an ethical and more environmentally-conscious manner. 

With this in mind, I became intrigued with the concept of sustainable jewelry and was definitely on the lookout for stores that supplied this type of accessory.

How I probably looked like scrolling through my feed in search of sustainable jewelry pieces 😂  Via GIPHY

Then, just last year, I came across a Facebook advertisement for Penny Pairs. There, I discovered that the brand not only offered a variety of cute, stackable earrings but they also had a line of sustainable jewelry. And when they released their “Buy One, Get One at 30% Off” Mother’s Day promo earlier this month, I decided to purchase a few of their sustainable jewelry items for myself. 

Here’s what I thought about their sustainable jewelry pieces: 

On Packaging 

When the package arrived at my residence, I was pleasantly surprised to see the words written on the “plastic”. It read, “this [is a] 100% biodegradable cornstarch bag.” And my excitement only continued to grow when I opened the bag and found that my order was wrapped with honeycomb bamboo paper–an eco-friendly alternative to the typical bubble wrap packaging. 

So, right off the bat, the brand was already taking the initiative to reduce plastic waste by using a compostable bag and a biodegradable protective covering (major plus points IMO). 


After unwrapping the bamboo wrapper, I then found a plain white, canvas zipper pouch. The contents of this pouch included the two jewelry pieces I ordered–each stored in an individual pull-out box and pink pouch–and two information cards that discussed details about the items and how it impacted the environment. 

I particularly appreciated the brown card as it had Spinach seeds ingrained inside; thereby allowing you to plant the card once you’re done reading through it.


Moreover, the pull-out boxes seem to be very strong and sturdy–assuring the products’ protection while in transit–and the small pink pouches make for easy storage (especially when you want to pack these pieces up for travelling).

On the sustainable jewelry items 

Now, the items I have ordered are the following: one (1) Flora Gold Necklace and one (1) Mini Baguette Ring (Gold). So, with this, I’ll be starting off with the necklace… 

The Flora Gold Necklace was stored in the bigger box and featured a 1 centimeter (cm) cubic zirconia flower pendant. The necklace chain is 39 cm-long but can be extended to 44 cm depending on your desired length. 

Upon closer inspection, the item seems to be very sturdy, with the cubic zirconia stones firmly placed inside the pendant and the necklace chain strong. The item is also very shiny and would honestly make you wonder if it is really made out of 100% recycled silver! (It is though, according to the website’s product description).  

And what I like best about it is its extendable chain that allows you to layer it with other gold-colored necklaces to achieve a more chic look. 


The gold-colored Mini Baguette Ring was also a stunning piece of jewelry. It featured a slim 10k gold-coated silver band and a small, rectangular cubic zirconia stone. It even has an “open back” to allow you to adjust the size if you need to.

Also, since the stone isn’t too big and imposing, you can even choose to wear it together with your other rings. It really is the perfect piece for everyday wear!

Overall, I am very happy with the sustainable jewelry pieces I have ordered. Both items are very dainty and work well with my other pieces of jewelry. And just by looking at them both, I would have never even have thought that they were made out of recycled materials–further proving the excellent quality of these items.  

On pricing  

Penny Pairs prides themselves in providing “affordable, well-made jewelry,” as stated in their website. Although their items are well-made (based on what I’ve seen in my recent purchases), I would have to disagree with the idea that it’s affordable. 

Of course, the concept of affordability differs from person to person. But personally, I would consider the brand a bit higher-priced than other “everyday wear” jewelry shops. 

Because an affordable piece of jewelry, for me, would be one that ranges from 100 to 500 Philippine Pesos (PHP), but the items I purchased here each went over 800 PHP–to be exact, the necklace costed 2,399 PHP and the ring amounted to 839.30 PHP (original price was 1,199 PHP but I got it at a lower price because of the discount). 

Wait, it’s how much? Via GIPHY

So, even though I don’t doubt the quality of the items they make, I do warn you that it’s also not as cheap as you think it is. 

My overall assessment 

Through it all, I absolutely do not regret the sustainable jewelry pieces I bought from the shop. I would also definitely consider buying more from them in the future… but only when my budget would allow it. 

My thoughts exactly. Via GIPHY

If you want to know more about the brand’s sustainable jewelry initiative, you can check out the Penny Pairs website. And to better understand the concept of sustainable jewelry (in detail), I suggest visiting Sustainable Jungle.

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In case you missed it, ‘Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure’ turns 10 this year

Back in 2006 to 2008, kids and teens alike were obsessed with the movies and songs of the High School Musical franchise. Because of this, Disney created multiple projects centered on the pop culture phenomenon. This included a North American concert tour, sing-along and dance-along versions of the films, and even a 2019 Disney+ drama series inspired by the movies. And until now, fans (including myself) continue to sing the songs and talk about the movies–especially since the first film turned fifteen in January of this year.

However, there is one High School Musical spinoff that does not necessarily get as much attention as the television series and the original three movies–and that’s Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.

As you can already tell from the title, this 2011 film focuses on the life of the East High alum Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) as she moves to New York and attempts to make a career in Broadway. But when things don’t go according to plan in the Big Apple, Sharpay is left reassessing her goals and dreams as a theater actress. What happens next is a journey of rediscovery and love that will remind Sharpay (and viewers) why she deserves to be in the spotlight.

It’s a lighthearted and fun movie that more High School Musical fans need to be talking about. And this April–particularly today, April 19, 2021–the movie officially turns ten!

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, I’ve rounded up four reasons that make this High School Musical spinoff worth watching (or rewatching). Here they are:

Sharpay finally gets to shine in this movie

Let’s face it, back when we were younger, a lot of us thought that Sharpay was the villain of the movies. Though, now that we’ve grown up, many of us have come to realize that she was actually robbed of recognition during her high school days. I mean imagine this, you and your brother work tirelessly for days practicing and rehearsing for the musical and then, some newcomers show up and immediately take your spots onstage. Annoying right?

Via Giphy

But in this film, we get to see Sharpay in all her much-needed glory on the stage. And finally (after three movies), her talent and dedication to the art gets recognized by the world, albeit after some less-than-pleasant events.

Sharpay is finally seen as more than just a spoiled drama queen

In the first High School Musical film and in the first half of the second movie, Sharpay was portrayed as Ryan Evans’s (Lucas Grabeel) narcissistic, spoiled twin sister who was obsessed with getting everything she wanted no matter the cost. But in the latter half of High School Musical 2, viewers finally got to see the goodness that was inherent in her character–especially when she decided to give up her duet with Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) so that he can patch things up with his girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens). This particular scene also showed viewers that there’s more to this pink-obsessed queen than meets the eye. In fact, in Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, we get to see different facets of her character.

For one, we got to see her generous and selfless nature, which was evident when she chose to share her dog Boi’s stage time with his canine competitor Lady, even after going through so much trouble dealing with her handler.

Second, we got to see her learn to adapt and make the best of her situation–especially when it came down to improving her living arrangements.

Third, we got to see her openly admit to her mistakes. In this movie, she wholeheartedly acknowledges her wrongdoings against Peyton (Austin Butler) and becomes a better person from it.

Honestly, her character development alone makes this movie worth the watch!

Sharpay finally gets a love interest that’s worthy of her

Throughout the first two High School Musical movies, we saw her character constantly obsessing over Troy Bolton (Efron). And in some parts of all three movies, it was hinted that she might have had a romantic fling with the baking-basketball player Zeke (Chris Warren). However, none of these two boys seemed to truly appreciate her character and dedication for theater.

In Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, she gets introduced to Peyton Leverett (Butler), the son of her mother’s friend–and finally, Sharpay finds a love interest that’s worthy of her!

Not only was Peyton very attentive and helpful towards her, but he also never tried to change her or force her to be something she was not. Instead he embraced her as the overdramatic (and somewhat, high maintenance) go-getter that she was.

Moreover, he encouraged her love for the theater and even helped her gain back confidence when it was initially lost. It’s because of him that she was even recognized by theater producers as a possible lead for the musical. Without him, she would have never made her debut performance on Broadway–so yeah, he really was a great catch!

The Evans twins finally get the endings they deserve

Earlier, I mentioned that Sharpay finally got her spotlight in this movie. But another thing that I absolutely loved about this film was the fact that it gave viewers a look into Ryan’s (Grabeel) promising future as well.

In the ending credits of the movie, Ryan makes a surprise appearance wherein he congratulates his sister for her success and shares that he’s been touring the country starring in a musical.

This is the perfect ending for two siblings who have worked hard to master their craft and go after their passions!

Via Giphy

So after reading this, I really hope you watch (or rewatch) the movie on this special anniversary. And to Ashley Tisdale and the rest of the cast and crew of Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, happy ten years!

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These affordable, flavored chicken wings will definitely satisfy your food craving

NOTE: This is a personal review of the product and not a paid, branded post. This means the author does not receive any money from the publication and clicks made on this article. 

I don’t know about you but one food item that I often crave for is chicken wings. Whether it’s mixed in a sweet, soy garlic glaze or coated with a spicy buffalo flavor, it’s one dish that always seems to get my mouth watering when I see it.

So, when the Mandaluyong-based shop My Food Grabs PH let me sample their newest chicken wing variants, I was definitely excited to dive in and eat their newest creation. And here’s what I thought about it: 

The chicken wings were full of flavor

The chicken wings were carefully packed into two food containers and they came in three variants–namely, sweet soy, sweet chili, and buttered buffalo. 

The sweet soy variant and the buttered buffalo chicken wings were placed in the rectangular plastic container, while the sweet chili-flavored wings were placed inside the circular one. 

A photo of the My Food Grab PH’s food packaging.

The sweet chili wings were coated in a thick layer of sauce that dripped down when picked up. And it wasn’t necessarily spicy, but it did have a delicious sweet and tangy flavor that paired quite well with rice. 

A photo of the My Food Grabs PH’s sweet chili chicken wings.

The sweet soy variant, on the other hand, was not as “saucy” as the sweet chili one, but it was glazed evenly and topped with sesame seeds. It wasn’t too sweet either–which was good (since not everyone likes their food to be overly sweet)–and the soy flavoring gave it a nice, savory taste. 

A photo of My Food Grabs PH’s sweet soy chicken wings.

The last set of flavored wings–which is, perhaps, my favorite of the three–was the buttered buffalo wings. 

These chicken wings were such a delight to munch on as the butter gave it a sort of creamy texture that complemented the ‘buffalo wing’ flavor. And out of the three variants, this is definitely one I’d come back to order!

A photo of My Food Grabs PH’s buttered buffalo chicken wings.

Although these flavored wings don’t come with dip, I think they are flavorful enough and could stand on their own. Plus, they make for a scrumptious ulam (viand) come lunch or dinner time. 

The chicken wings come at an affordable price 

Personally, I think these chicken wings are well worth their price. Because for only 160 Philippine Pesos (PHP), you can enjoy six (6) pieces of these delectable, flavored wings. 

You can also expect more exciting things from the shop in the near future 

I caught up with store owner Sabrina Mata to get more insight on why she decided to add these flavored wings to My Food Grabs PH’s menu. To this, she said that she was inspired to create and offer new food items due to the dining restrictions brought about by the quarantine. 

“I think this is a perfect opportunity to innovate my products. So, I’ve decided to add flavored chicken [wings to the store’s existing menu] which is [made] accessible to anyone across Metro Manila through online [orders and food delivery],” she explained. 

Recently, the online store shared its newest variant, Korean spicy chicken wings. And this new addition is just the beginning of what the 25-year-old envisions for her food shop in the near future. 

“I’m planning to further innovate the products by adding more flavor options and dips to my chicken wings,” she shared. “Also, I’m planning to partner my chicken wings with french fries and bring back [customer] favorites on the menu–which are the dynamite and cheesy lumpia [dishes]. So, stay tuned!” 

You can now order and stay up-to-date with My Food Grabs PH by liking and following their Facebook and Instagram pages. Happy eating, everyone! 

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‘Derry Girls’ might be a quirky comedy show but it’s one that will grow on you

The first time I heard about Hat Trick Productions’s television series Derry Girls was through a comment I found on a video about Bridgerton. In that video, the online user mentioned that Nicola Coughlan–the actress who played Penelope Featherington in the Bridgerton series–was amazing in her role as Clare Devlin in the Irish-based sitcom. Curious about it, I searched for Derry Girls and found that all two seasons of the show had been placed on Netflix

Screengrab from Netflix.com

So, after around three or four days of watching, I finally finished the show–and here’s what I think about it: 

Although set in the 90s, Derry Girls is a coming-of-age comedy you can relate to

Derry Girls is set in the early 1990s when Ireland was experiencing ‘The Troubles.’ Although the show’s timeline was set during a political conflict, the series takes a light-hearted tone and features the lives of four 16-year-old Irish girls and one English boy as they navigate the trials and tribulations of a typical high schooler. This includes going on exciting adventures with your friends, understanding young love and its trivialities, and even, discovering one’s sexuality.  

It’s a coming-of-age sitcom that will let you remember all the fun (and oftentimes, embarrassing) moments you and your friends have probably gone through at that age. And if you’re like me, who went to an all-girls Catholic high school, you might even be able to relate to how these girls interact given their surroundings. 

The characters all have quirky personalities–which make for a hilarious show 

When I started watching the show, I was taken aback by how strange a lot of the characters were, particularly Orla, who’s out of the blue comments and absentmindedness seemed weird at times. But as I continued watching, I came to realize that all of them had unique, over-exaggerated personalities, which all come together to make for a hilarious show. 

Admittedly, it took me the first few episodes to really understand and enjoy the dynamic between the characters. However, after seeing their quirks and eccentricities complement one another in each 22-minute episode, it made me appreciate and enjoy the jokes on the show all the more. 

So, if you’re considering watching Derry Girls, I suggest giving it time. You will definitely grow to love the characters on this series! 

Overall, I give the series a rating of 9/10–and I’m hoping season 3 can continue its upward momentum 

As a comedy series, I give the show a rating of 9/10. And with season three confirmed, I am hoping the show continues its upward momentum of producing quality entertainment. 

This is the show’s current ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Photo Credit: Screengrab from the online review platform

Moreover, I hope it would hint at a potential romance between the characters, particularly between James and Erin. Like many of the show’s fans, including actress Nicola Coughlan, I agree that the two would make a sweet and unconventional pair. And if you’re still unconvinced, take a look at the prom scene from the show!

Until then, I really hope you all consider watching the show and who knows, you might later find yourself screaming #IAmADerryGirl (just like James did on the show). 

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IN PHOTOS: Unboxing my first-ever Funko POP! Alien Remix figure

As many of my loved ones already know, I am a huge fan of the Toy Story franchise. From the moment Pixar introduced the animated characters back in 1995 to its final movie in 2019, I have loved every part of this four-part film series. So, when the Funko brand announced that they were releasing their second set of Alien Remix POP! vinyl figures to celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary, I was rightfully excited to get my hands on some of these collectible toys. 

Luckily, my brother decided to give me one item from the second wave of the Alien Remix POP! figures and one POP! keychain from its previous collection, as a birthday present for me this year. So, this is the first time I’m unboxing and reviewing them.

Please note that this is a personal review and not a paid, branded post. And I’ll be starting with my thoughts on the figure and then, the keychain. 

With that said, let’s begin unboxing… 

On the POP! Alien Remix figure 

The POP! figure was encased in two boxes. The outer box was just a regular box that showcased details about the item (this was most probably a spare box from the store as it said that the figure was from “Pretty Woman” when it really was not). The second box featured the logo of the store where the item was purchased from. 

Upon opening, I found that the figure my brother had chosen to give me was the Pixar 25th Anniversary Alien Remix #759 Sulley Pop! Vinyl Figure.

The item was securely intact within its clear protective covering and there were no damages on the box itself and its protector. 

The plastic covering was also very strong and sturdy–so, it took me a while to get the POP! figure out of it. It’s also good to note that this POP! protector is ideal for customers who want to keep the collectible safe inside its box. 

The POP! figure itself was in good condition. The head was easily moveable and Sulley’s features–his furry eyebrows, neck fur, purple spots, and even the gray ridges on his back to his tail–were perfectly captured in the figure. 

I particularly liked how the designers were able to seamlessly showcase the Pizza Planet alien’s annoying (yet very likeable and endearing) personality through the figure. It’s almost as if you can hear its nasal-ly voice saying “The claw” as you look at the collectible toy. 

Overall, I am very happy with this collectible figure and if I were to rate it, I would give the item a solid 10/10. 

On the POP! Alien Remix keychain 

The keychain was wrapped in a few layers of bubble wrap when it arrived at my house. Although it seemed to be properly wrapped, there was a dent on the box probably made when the item was still in transit. 

Now, this is definitely a deal-breaker for collectors who want pristine casing. However, I was okay with it since I really plan on taking the keychain out of its box packaging. 

The keychain I got was a POP! Alien Remix of Russell from the first wave of the Funko POP! Alien Remix collection.  

Upon closer inspection, the keychain was very detailed–even more so than the #60 Funko POP!  Russell figure

Compared to that POP! figure, the remix version has a bit more detail, particularly in the back where it showcases Russell’s backpack of knick knacks. This is impressive especially considering the size of the keychain compared to the standard four-inch vinyl figure. 

And much like the Alien Remix version of Sulley, I liked how this one also exemplified the Toy Story character’s quirky personality.

Through it all, I really do like the appearance of the keychain. Though one part I do question is the hole found at the top of the figure’s head behind the keychain pin (as seen in the right most image). 

After some research, I found out that that is where the alien’s antenna should be. Here’s a comparison of the one I received to one being sold at Amazon. 

Given this product defect, I’d have to give this specific item a rating of 7/10.

Via Giphy

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I painted a stylized portrait of Merlin–and here’s how it went down

The months following May 2020 was a difficult time for me. Because not only was the country under community quarantine, but I was also unemployed and grieving the death of my beloved dog Kia. But one thing that helped me get through it all was spending time at home, binge-watching Netflix with my mom. And one of the TV shows that helped me get through this trying time was the 2008 BBC show Merlin

Thanks to the streaming platform, I was able to watch all five seasons of this awesome series.

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Now, there’s so much I can say to describe how obsessed I am with this fantasy show–but I’ll have to save all that for another blog post. This time around, I wanted to fangirl by creating a stylized portrait of the series’s titular character, Merlin (which was played by actor Colin Morgan). 

Here’s how I came about doing it:

On sketching 

First and foremost, I am by no means a professional artist; I just paint as a personal hobby. So given this, there are a few imperfections that I still have to improve on as a painter–many of which I hope to apply in future projects. 

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In this particular piece, I started off with a rough sketch of the character’s facial features on a sheet of A5 canvas paper. Then, I went on to mix different shades of acrylic paint to begin painting. 

I started with the character’s face as it would require the most attention to detail. Then, I proceeded to do the hair and apply highlights to both areas. 

The left image shows the rough sketch of my portrait, while the right photo shows my initial painting of the face.

I also decided not to follow my initial sketch and create a bigger set of eyes for a more “caricature”–like appearance. 

On mixing colors 

This was probably one of the hardest parts of painting because I had to try and get the closest possible colors to the one shown in the reference photo. 

This is a photo of the completed stylized portrait beside its reference picture. Color of the image might look different due to lighting.

I admit, this required a lot of trial and error, but I do believe that I was able to mix the right light and dark shades for the skin, hair, and the clothing. 

On shading  

Finding the right tones to use on the shadows of the character’s face was a bit difficult to do, as well. I had to experiment with varying degrees of black and gray shades to get the desired color. Then, I had to blend those in with some light dabbing strokes using my paintbrush. 

Here’s a close-up version of my stylized portrait.

The end result may not be totally perfect but I am definitely happy with the outcome of my painting. And hopefully, in the near future, I’ll get to paint other characters too like Arthur, Morgana, Guinevere, and Gaius. 

Until then, I hope you give Merlin a try–and who knows, you may even end up enjoying it as much as I did.

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This online shop makes the most beautiful paper flowers–and they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day

NOTE: This is a human interest story and not a paid, branded post. This means the author DOES NOT receive any money from the publication and clicks made on this article.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, a lot of people are rushing to malls and online stores to purchase their loved ones a present. Whether they would buy something simple like chocolates or something lavish like diamond encrusted jewelry, gift-giving on the day of love is a tradition that has been present since time immemorial. And one gift that will always be available during this holiday season is flowers. 

From roses to orchids, many have chosen to show their love and appreciation for their friend, family member, or significant other by buying bouquets of these colorful floras. Although these gifts are beautiful in themselves, one downside to them is that they don’t last forever. After a week or so, these flowers will wilt and you will only be reminded of their beauty through pictures. 

But what if there was a way to give a flower that will never wilt? Would you be open to that? 

Well, now there is. Local online store Alaya Paper Blooms offers shoppers the chance to give their loved ones flowers that are not only beautiful, but will also last far longer than a week. 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Created with quality colored paper, these flowers are the ideal presents to give come Valentine’s Day. And to help you better understand more about the shop and its products, I got to chat with its owner and designer Kevyn Tapnio. Here’s what I learned during my interview with her: 

There is an ‘everlasting’ beauty in paper flowers 

Typically, when people think of flowers, they don’t relate it to paper. But there is a sweet and genuine kind of beauty to receiving paper flowers–a sentiment that Tapnio realized when she decided to make these floral creations.

“Some people think flowers are overrated, myself being one of them up until recently,” she explained. “As I started to learn more about them, flowers started to become dear to me. Paper flowers take the fleeting nature of flowers out of the equation, so you wouldn’t have to throw them away.” 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Tapnio first started making paper flowers in 2017 when she helped create a bouquet for her aunt’s wedding. Then fast forward to 2020, she decided to return to paper flower-making while waiting to start her new job. 

“My start date was moved back due to the community quarantine that was put in place. With nothing much to do at home, I ended up making paper flowers, learning more about the craft, and falling for a different flower every day,” she shared. “I didn’t intend to make a business out of it at first, but then I thought, why not?” 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Today, the shop has over 300 followers on its Facebook page and continues to produce intricate paper flowers. 

The flowers are each a tedious yet rewarding work of art 

Much like any masterpiece ever made, a lot of time and effort go into creating them. The same principle applies to each of Tapnio’s flower creations, which take multiple hours to make. 

According to her, a “single, long-stemmed Ecuadorian rose can take 2 to 3 hours to make” and a  “sunflower can take around 3 to 4 hours.” Boxed flowers and bouquets–on the other hand– take even longer to create because there are many elements that go into them.

“One full arrangement of our heart-shaped boxed blooms takes me a whole day of non-stop work. [And] Bouquets with stems take longer, since I have to add the leaves and several fillers as well.”

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Also, crafting these floral arrangements isn’t always easy. Tapnio admits that there are times she has faced difficulty in making them. 

“It can be frustrating when you’re unable to get the look that you’re going for. Paper does have its limitations, and it could take hours and hours of experimenting to really achieve the likeness of certain flowers. Even the tiniest of details can affect the look of the whole flower–the curl of a petal, the length of the stamens, the ridges in the leaves.”

Despite the complications she has faced, she still finds the end result worth it and she is always elated when her customers find delight in her products.

“Made to last forever, our paper flowers are created with utmost love and care, and with only one goal in mind: To make you smile,” she added. 

Shoppers have variety of flowers to choose from  

The online shop offers a variety of products to choose from and the prices differ depending on the item ordered. 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Though for Valentine’s Day, Tapnio highly recommends their boxed creations. 

“Our heart-shaped boxed blooms are a crowd favorite, though all slots for those have already been reserved as of writing,” she said. “I do recommend our Mini Gift Boxes though. Many people go for roses and hydrangeas, but we also make them with different flowers by request.” 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

If you’re interested in ordering any one of her paper flower sets, visit their Facebook page and send a message. You and your loved ones will definitely not regret purchasing any of these gorgeous paper flowers! 

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If you want to stay updated on my latest articles and stories, you can follow me on social media at Facebook.com/CMilitarWrites

For media invites, partnerships, or writing collaborations, you can contact me at cmilitarwrites@gmail.com.