Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Week in Photos

I live an uninteresting life. I mean, what can possible happen to a fulltime student in a small college that doesn't have a part time job or social life?

I don't like to whine about school given that I believe post-secondary education is a blessing buuuut, it's tiring. I'm so tired of taking midterms and finals and completing a final project that consist of a 15-20 minutes PowerPoint collection and a 10+ page essay reports every three weeks... yes, you've heard right, every three weeks. So, the next time you think you got it bad with exams, try midterms/finals/final projects every three weeks... it's not fun.

And now you can probably see why I don't have time for a social life or a part time job right now.

But, anyways, here's some little tidbits of this week:


Due on Monday, my reports. Spent hours (and weekends) on this. If you're wondering how Canadian I can get, I will do my projects on Canadian-based companies. Hockey is so widely accepted, my professors allow me to do an analysis on the Canucks, haha. How awesome?!

I told my friend I got a 99% and he said "Where's the other 1%? Epic Asian fail."


Here's Derpina. You guys probably haven't seen her since my previous post of welcoming her!


Guys, do yourself a favour and watch Archer on Netflix! It's HILARIOUS, trust me! It's currently on season 5 right now, sooooo... get watching! You won't regret it!

But, anyways, I got myself 5 new books. 3 of which are mini "books" provided by my professor about religion. The other two books I picked up on Friday: Stalingrad and Did Jesus Exist? 

Here's Summer ignoring me all morning.

Sushi date with Arcy and Sharlotte again. We're making it a weekly thing to hang out and catch up! Next week, I'm getting a pedicure with Arcy and then meeting up with Sharlotte to catch Divergent!
Who doesn't carry around $50 worth of two dollar coins?!

Hope you guys have a fantastic new week!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Summer of 19 You+Me

Sometimes, I forget that I made this blog as a personal outlet and not a "lifestyle" blog. And, tonight, I just really need to pour my heart out.

It's been nearly 6 months. 6 months since I've last seen you. 6 months since I've heard your voice.

6 months and I should be over you. I should be moving on with my life, regardless if you want to be friends or not.

Just two weeks ago, I was so sure that my heart has finally healed. I was so sure that we'll have a positive future together as friends. But, I think unconsciously I still hoped for something between us. When you told me you weren't home yet, I deliberately missed 2 busses in hopes of catching a glimpse of you. Or that you've seen me. I wanted you to see how much I've changed in 6 months.

But, this one time, when I was on the bus and we drove by your favourite pho place on Thursday night, I knew you were in there. My heart didn't stop pounding for minutes. Isn't that pathetic? Just that one second and I knew instantly it was you. I know the way you sit when you're at a dining table. I know the way you look when you're about to take a drink. Imagine what my heart will do if I saw you for a full minute.

But two weeks ago, I didn't meet anyone.

Two weeks ago, I was confident, and happy. Two weeks ago, I was hopeful.

Just a few days ago, I met someone. We're talking 24/7 and it's one of the best conversations I've had since we last spoken. The more we texted, the more I didn't care if you ignored my texts or not. The more I texted him, the more I knew you were drifting away and it didn't matter.

Would you attempt to do anything if I told you I met someone? A part of me fears that once you know I've found someone, you'll flirt and sleep with as many girls you want.

Eventually, we talked on a bit more on a personal basis. That's when it hit me. The more I talked with the new guy, the more I miss you.

I miss the stupid things. I miss the rush of emotions you give me.


I get nervous when I think about being with the new guy. I feel bad that I'm seeing someone new.

Just now, I saw that you liked the same girl's Instagram photo - and it wasn't even a selfie, it was her newly painted nails. Since when did you ever liked fashion/beauty pictures? I'll admit, I get fairly jealous that you like nearly every Instagram photo she posts when you haven't even liked mines since the last week of October of 2013.

Aren't I sad that I notice these little things? 

Now, I feel a bit upset and hurt that you haven't replied to me recently. Just two weeks ago I didn't mind that you read my messages and that was it. And now, I'm at a full circle - feeling betrayed that you're not talking to me.

I shouldn't feel this way if I was so confident I was over you. I shouldn't feel this way when I've finally met someone since we broke up.

Sometimes, I wish I never met you. Sometimes, I wish we didn't rush in. And then there are times when I'm so happy I've met someone like you.

Why am I holding so tightly to you when you've given up? I wish you never told me, "Who knows, maybe in the future, we can try again." I wish that you haven't told me, "Sometimes, I regret giving up on us.", "Some nights, I stay awake at night thinking about everything. Thinking what I could have done differently."

I swear that's what got my hopes way, way, way up.

My biggest fear is finding someone for the rest of my mind but know you were the one that got away. Because the closer I get to the new boy, the more I feel like you really are the one that got away.

I don't want that regret and thought when I'm 90 years.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My "Less Than $5" Look!

Yeah, I GIF-ed myself. Deal with it.
Did you know that my look from Arcy's birthday was done with products that costed me less than $5?! (aka the look from above).

Natural lighting with no edits. Kept everything pink-ish and light to match my dress. You can see the little bits of bright pink eyeshadow, and I'll explain why I don't wing my eyeliner or go outside my eyelid.

When it comes to make-up, you probably know that I don't splurge because I'm not a make-up person. So, naturally most of my looks are simple and settled. I don't wear make up on a daily basis so when I do wear make-up, it will dramatically changes enhances my features to make me look new, fresh and a "new person". To be honest, during my selfies spree, there are times when I don't even recognize myself. Isn't make-up a funny thing?

But, I do wholeheartedly believe that make-up should be used to enhanced your beauty and not transform you. I have friends that I don't recognize without their make-up, and that's probably the saddest part. Without make-up, people should still recognize you easily.

You guys probably just want to jump into the beauty aspect... I mean, less than $5?!

My secret is shopping on eBay. Don't panic like your hair is on fire. The make-up I purchased from eBay are completely new and sealed. They're from China, but they're not unhygienic or contaminated. I've been wearing "cheap" make-up for years and have done no harm to me. Plus, my relatives overseas often buys cosmetics for me to use.

"Lidanxui" eyeshadow. One of the blue shades got broken when they shipped here. I didn't want to wait for another replacement (despite it being free) because I have a similar colour from NYC.

I also have another palette (neutral colours) that I got off eBay. The top palette costed about $3.30 while the neutral palette about $2.90.

So, how does it compare to worldwide brands? Well, in comparison to my mini Too Faced palette, the Lidanxui colours were highly pigmented, just like Too Faced. I loved that so much. It's more pigmented than Forever 21 and much cheaper too. It can literally last me an entire day and very few eyeshadows last long for me!

The only thing that got wiped off was my lipstick. Excuse the horrible angle and lighting!
The pictures made it look a bit dull, but the pink was still vibrant as earlier! It never lost its colour throughout the night. My blush actually lasts all day too - and that was only $1.
The GIF above demonstrates how my eyeshadow looks. Because I don't brush past my eyelids, it's a bit hard to see colours when my eyes are more open. However, when I'm glancing down or close my eyes, my eyeshadow will show.

Why don't I cover past my eyelids? I've had a(n) horrible embarrassing experience with eyeshadow back in 8th grade. For dance performances, we were required to wear bright make up that can be seen from the very back of the auditorium. In 8th grade, I never touched make-up, let alone owned any palettes or anything. So, my friend (Arcy, actually, hahaha), offered to do my make up. Let's just say... she ended up painting bright purple eyeshadow up the my eyebrows. And we did this last minute so I didn't even have a chance to check it out because the next performance was due to be backstage. However, when I left the dressing room, my classmates went "Wow... too much, that's too much" and I took that as a compliment - I trusted Arcy's make-up skills! Hell, I trusted anyone's make up skills since I didn't have any. 

Literally, my first eyeshadow experience was like this provided by Arcy. Just imagine the pink as purple!
The worst part? I had two classes after the performance and NOT ONE person told me my eyeshadow made me look like a clown. Not even my best friends! Ever since that experience, I never got my eyeshadow past my lids (professionally done or not). I don't care if people can't see any colours unless I lower my glance, but I just can't do that... not after my clown look.

Why don't I wing my eyeliner? There are days when I want to wing them out but I never got the hang out it. Although it looks fine to other people, I criticize it so much, I just think the "winged" part looks ugly, so I got the point where I just line my lids, and that's it. It does make a big difference, given my eye shape, and it's noticeable so I don't worry about making anything more dramatic with the winged look.

What else is on my face? I noticed I talked a lot about my eyeshadows. To complete this "look", I wore local drugstore Vitamin E moisturizer, followed by Rimmel London Stay Matte Power. I covered any redness and breakouts with L'Oreal True Match foundation. Aside from my eyeshadow, I used Revlon liquid eyeliner and Lancome Hypnose Star mascara (seriously, the best thing ever). To finish the look, I brushed 'Qianle' blush on my cheekbones ($1 for a super long lasting pigmented blush!) and wore Rimmel London Lasting Finish lipstick.

I know the products seem more than $5, but being the smart (and cheap) shopper I am, most of these were purchased on sale. The Lancome mascara is actually a sample size from my mum's lavish Lancome purchases and the L'Oreal foundation was purchased by my mum.

Teehee, I love how I can look great without breaking the bank!

Do you have any "cheap" make-up that you use regularly? What's your make-up style like - light and bright or heavy and dark?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy 21st Birthday, Arcy!

Last night was one of my best friend's 21st birthday. It's so surreal that I've been celebrating her birthday since 2007! It's even more surprising to know that March is ending and in a week, we'll welcome April - that means a quarter of the year has gone by already! Can you believe it? I swear it was just only yesterday that we celebrated the countdown for 2014 and now time is flying by so fast.

Is it just me or is time going by faster and faster as we grow older? I never recalled a year going by so fast when I was a kid or in high school. It's only since I graduated high school have I noticed the time is slipping away... wow, I sound so old.

Arcy had a small dinner for the closest friends. Like me, she's discovering the loss and gains of friendship and like any women in her early 20's, we're pretty much discovering who's really there or not.
Brownie Sundae!
Our table talk was hilarious. I forgotten how easy-going my girlfriends are, and it made me realize that I need to be more open to these people instead of bottling things to myself.

Our table talk was also nasty. We ended up talking about the distant friendships we've had, and the three of us ended up talking about a mutual "friend" and her bad habits. She distant herself when she chose her new boyfriend over us, and now we're all fed up with her priorities and excuses.

Arcy also planned a big clubbing event after the dinner, but Sharlotte and I bailed out because we're not down to see some people. To be honest, I don't want to see certain people too but I'm also not ready to get back into the clubbing scene after the break up. My experiences always includes at least one guy hitting on me, and I wasn't ready to flirt with people yet.

Sharlotte and I!

Sharlotte, me, and Arcy, the birthday girl. I swear, everytime we have a group photo, I always end up in the middle and look like a little happy child with two grown women, haha. Damn you, asian genes.

Don't you just love her headband?!
I have about seven months left until I'm legal worldwide, but I'm not counting down. The closer I am to being 19 years old, the happier I am.

I'm at the point where I don't even remember my own age, and I'm only freaking 20 years old!

When people asked me how old I am, I usually go, "Oh, I'm ninete-- wait, umm, I'm twenty. Yeah, twenty."

And then they can't decide if I'm lying or telling the truth about my age. I loved being 19. I don't want to enter my 20's or even mid 20's.

Have a fantastic Sunday and a great week!! :D

Right, can't leave this post without some selfies!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Privacy on the Internet (and How to Protect Yourself)

Y'all like my creepy edit? Haha, don't worry, I didn't black bar three strangers. It's me with a couple of friends!
I've had my dumb share of actions on the internet before. Like my previous story of being a victim of money embezzlement, I shared my e-mail, home address and contact info to complete strangers in Russia. And honestly, I've probably shared my home address to third party marketers when signing up for shit that was too good to be true.

Admit, we've all done it; some may have given out more information, and some maybe haven't. But, as a young adult with hopes of a successful career, I got extremely paranoid about my online footprints.

Yes, I was one of those that shared all my social network accounts and registered accounts with my full name on the bio and as an username. Needless to say, if I didn't change my online footprints, a Google search with my full name will give you access to my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. And it's open for the public to just browse around (except for Facebook).

Creepy, eh?

The reason why I'm talking about online profiles and privacy (AGAIN), is because I can't stress this enough, and I want people to be more aware of their online presence. I thought that my Twitter account and my old blog isn't "popular" enough for creepers to creep on me, but put it this way, if you're on the internet, you're on the internet.

I see bloggers and Instagramers sharing their full name(s) on their profiles. I see teenagers (less than 16 years old) sharing their full name and location, alongside with dozens of selfies and all I'm thinking about is... STOP THAT. DELETE YOUR LAST NAME! Even if there are 10 billion other people with the same name, it's not hard to narrow it down.

People with domains, don't cheap out and skip out on WhoIs protection ($10/year, some offer for free!). Many of my favourite bloggers don't have WhoIs protection and a quick search on their URL gave me EVERYTHING a stalker can ever want - full name, contact number, address, etc. It's scary, and I'm no creep, I only searched them up to make a point for this entry, but imagine what a creep CAN and WILL do for information. The world may be big but you can't assume the best for yourself.

I haven't read any stories about crazy stalkers from the Internet, but I can guarantee you, it's probably happening somewhere right now on this planet. If it's not stalking, the most common case is having a full Google CV of your social networks available for friends, family, and future employers/academics available for them to click through and "get to know you".

I chose to keep my blog private because I'm not ready (or ever will be) to share it. I chose to use 'Jess' and 'Claire' for most usernames and bio names. Now, whenever I Google myself (and I do it a lot), only my LinkedIn profile appears and that's all I want. Nothing else, and God forbid, no Google images.

So, how can you protect yourself?
  • For starters, don't use your surname, no matter how common it is. Use your first name, or a combination of your first and middle. Hell, even pick a fake name! Most of my profiles now just states my name as Jess, and some Jess Claire (like my Twitter). A lot of people seem to like to use their full names on popular social medias. I can also understand that your account may be private, but believe it or not, some companies pay Facebook to have "corporate" access and can view personal data. I'd rather have my boss assume I don't have an Instagram account.
  • Pick a new username. This might be hard for some but I chose to let go for my Twitter and Instagram username because it was just my full name. A Google search provided links to those two media outlets and I didn't like it. Sure, I could have private them but I enjoy sharing my Tweets and pictures with readers and strangers (ironic, eh?). Come up with a fun username, for example, I chose 'finnandfriendsgoldfishes', named after the Goldfish crackers.
  • Delete unwanted social media accounts*. I stopped using Flickr, Vine, umm... Springform, etc. Why keep a history of your foolish actions and remarks on a site you don't even use anymore? 
  • Delete your meta info from photos. I don't do this enough but sure, it's fun to geotag your photos but a news segment showed how easily it is to get the exact location of where that photo was taken. Sort of like your photo was a GPS. This is mostly a concern for parents. 
  • If you're under the age of 16, don't share your age. It makes me feel so, I don't know, concerned, to see bloggers saying, "Hi, my name is Lucy and I'm 13 years old!" Substiute your age by saying you're a teenager, or a high-schooler. Many bloggers now just say "20-something". 
  • Google yourself, and Google often. I don't care how narcissist that sounds, but I do it whenever I'm bored. I need to keep myself updated on whether or not professionals employers/schools can find me. The only thing that should show up on your Google search is LinkedIn or perhaps, your online portfolio, etc.
  • Purchase WhoIs Protection. It's usually $10 from most domain/hosting services. Some even offer it for free or discounted. Under Canadian regulations, any personal .CA domain actually comes with a free WhoIs protection! Whoooo! And for those who don't know what a WhoIs protection is, it's a service where you pay to have your personal information hidden from anyone that looks up your URL. With WhoIs, instead of your name and personal data appearing, it'll show viewers the service provider of your domain/hosting service. For example, if you look up my domain, it'll list only CanSpace information, and not mines.
  • Create a new e-mail for your blog. It's great to have readers e-mail to you, but always, always, create a new e-mail that you intend to share to the world. I've seen bloggers that shared their personal e-mails as a contact method and if you're comfortable with that, it's fine, but personally, I'd like to separate mines. I already got dozens of spam e-mails on my Blogger e-mail because it's out there on the web.
Yes, in a way, I am a bit hypocritical about protecting myself while sharing my photos and personal experiences so openly, but I'm comfortable with that. I'm 20 years old, and my readers and Instagrammers knows I live in Vancouver. That's about it. Unless you've followed me from 5 years ago, you'll know my full name. But otherwise, no one else does, and if I can, no one else will. Sharing photos is acceptable, but sharing your personal information that can leave a negative impact is something I'm not down with. I'd rather have my surname protected, address protected, and employers looking at my LinkedIn page instead of how many beers I chugged last weekend.

Ya, diggin?

*Had too many accounts and can't remember all of them? Google all your possible username(s) and you'll be surprised. I nearly forgot I had half of these accounts if I didn't Google about three usernames that I would've used. Most, if not, all sites will give you the option to delete or suspend your account. If you can't find the option, e-mail their support team and let them know you want the account cancelled. I've done that a few times and support desks are more than happy to make you satisfied.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#2014BloggerChallenge - Favourite Foods

I can't cook. My parents never taught me how to cook, and I don't blame them for my lack of knowledge, but lets just say, I've met guys that cook better than me. I'll start learning how to cook when I move out, haha. Better late than never!

However, since I don't cook, I cannot share recipes with you guys. Instead, for this week's challenge topic, I'll present to you some of my some of my favourite foods!

Sushi
This is a no-brainer! I love, love, love sushi! Seriously, I can live off sushi for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. In July 2011, when I was overseas, I had salmon sashimi nearly everyday because I'm not a fan of Chinese food. And the sushi is expensive in China - for a plate for sashimi, it costs around 50 RMB ($9 CAD, super cheap in Canadian currency!). I love sashimi, tuna/salmon roll and salmon avocado roll... do you see a trend in salmon? Haha.

Bonus fact: I hate California rolls... I don't know how people can stand eating that.

Alcohol
I'm a social drinker. I stopped drinking vodka since 2012 so you're most likely to catch me with a beer in hand instead. The only time I'll ever consume vodka is probably shots or jager bombs. 

Bonus fact: I've been drinking for about ~7-8 years and I have developed NO tolerance to alcohol... so, if you think you know someone's that is a "lightweight", well.. I'm a feather weight, or a 'one shot wonder', haha. However, there's a silver lining in this situation: I (or men) spend only very little on drinks for me! I'm a money saver!

Chicken
Who doesn't love chicken?! I love chicken wings (especially roasted red pepper flavour!), and BBQ chicken from Urban Fare. Honestly, I think I paying someone's paycheque at Wings or Urban Fare.

Bonus fact: I love chicken, fried or not, but I hate KFC and Church's Chicken. Last year, I decided to eat Church's because I had a coupon, and I nearly threw up after that meal. A friend also had Church's a few months ago and ended up having a chicken's brain in her meal.. that's disgusting!

Cultural
I love the fact that Vancouver is a city where you can taste the world from your backyard. Aside from sushi, I love Japanese oysters (baked or raw). My mum and I can feast on that like crazy. I also love Indian food (duuuuuuuur!), especially dosas, butter chicken, naans, and Indian snacks like Bhel Puri, Parle-G biscuits and Indian sweets.

Bonus fact: I love the Indian cuisine (especially Punjabi cuisine), but I'm not a big fan of samosas...

Snacks
I'm a lover of junk food - in fact, my body is probably 90% junk than healthy food... I know, that sounds extremely bad and save your judgement, I don't wanna hear it (but I am working on improving it!). My Instagram is finnandfriendsgoldfishes... which is named after Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers... holy crap, I don't know how anyone can hate these crackers. I also love potato chips, and Smarties McFlurries! My favourite chocolates are Hersey Cookies n Creme and Bueno bars.

Bonus fact: Despite the amount of chocolates and candies I eat, I have yet to get a cavity! (Knock on wood!).

Do we share any favourite foods? If not, let me know your favourite food and hopefully, I'll be openminded enough to try it out :P

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm sorry, BBM... (1 1/2 weeks Lent update)


On Wednesday, it'll be about two weeks since Lent season started... and this year, I decided to only give up social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr).

Here's a brief update:
Facebook: I deactivated FB about a week before Lent started and I've done it numerous time that I no longer suffer from "Facebook withdrawal".

Instagram: I do miss sharing photos and "keeping update" with friends and celebs buuuut, I'm happy I'm not loading up Instagram every hour or so. 

Tumblr: I miss those beautiful quotes and inspirational photos.

Twitter: This is the one I miss the most. I rant on a daily basis (and science proves ranting is good for you!). Soooooooooooo, guess where I'm updating my rants, thoughts, and wtf moments. 

On BBM. My poor BBM status bar has been abused. I think I annoy everyone on my list already and no matter HOW MUCH I try to not update... I just feel the need to. So, I do apologize to all my contacts (though, it's not like they'll read this apology anyways) and need a similar outlet to Twitter asap.

I am suffering from BBM withdrawal :(

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Was a Fraud Victim of Travel Agency Spectour/TLRU International Inc.

Hello,

Today is another serious (can't stress that enough) life changing eye opening experience I went through in the summer of 2013.

As you can probably tell from the title, in the summer of 2013, I was a victim of fraud embezzlement. And, at first I was extremely embarrassed to share my story so I kept it so myself and did an anonymous guest post over at Kendel's old blog a while back. To this day, I'm still embarrassed to share the actual truth with my friends and family so when they asked about the job, I simply told them, "I quit". Now, I want to share my experience and like any of my serious topics, raise awareness to a problem.

I'm part of the generation that grew up with computers. So, naturally, I've been on the Internet for my entire life. Back when I shared a family computer with my brother, he was extremely keen on anti-virus programs and making sure our computer didn't get infected... I mean, way back then, the only threats were viruses.

That importance of an anti-virus follows to me this day as viruses and malwares and everything in between is so much more complicated, advanced and vicious than ever before. However, no anti-virus can protect people from scams. Simple as that. 

I used to roll my eyes and daze off when a police will come to talk to us about the danger of potential scammers out on the internet. There are tons of documentaries and news segments about online fraud victims - most of which are part of the Generation X that is still getting used to their keyboards.

To be honest, I felt and knew that I was smart enough to not get scammed. Even when I'm doing online shopping on eBay, I make sure everything is legit and fine.

However, in the summer of 2013, after my years of being on the internet, and being 'tech-savy', I fell victimized to online fraud.

It all started out when I left my job at Best Buy; it got to the point where I just wanted out so desperately, I didn't have a new job lined up for me. I figured, my resume is good enough, if not, exceeds expectations of a retailer. But when the retailers (general clothing and grocery stores) weren't calling, I eventually started looking at entry-level business jobs such as administrative assistant - I didn't have the skills or degree for it but I figured that I could bullshit my way through.

I eventually started looking online which includes the trusted job boards, and the infamous Craigslist.

One of the ads was for a travel agency looking for an administrative assistant and I applied to it. In about 2-3 weeks, they replied saying the "position has been filled" but they were offering another position - financial manager.

Here's the thing; you'll think that I would have noticed something fishy when Travel Agency Spectour suddenly offered me a managerial position.

Or, another sign was that there was no interview process or even a building for me to meet the HR person. When my then-boyfriend asked where I work, I had to lie and said "Downtown at _______ street."

But, when you're in my position, desperately looking for a job while your credit card bills are constantly rising, you'll take the job before even thinking twice.

The "hiring" process consisted to this: e-mailing forms, filling them out, e-mailing them back and provided that my bank account has e-mail transfer. As a financial manager, my role was to "take the sales from customers and deposit them at Western Union," where I assumed that I was transferring the profits to the main HQ (they told me the company was a Russian company) but take a 5% commission for myself to keep.

My wage was $3,200/month, with 5% commission, paid either by a mailed cheque or bank transfer. I chose the cheque so I also provided them with my home address. 

I was so happy, literally, all I could think about was the money and how easily I could pay off my debts. My dad was super proud of me, telling people that he has a daughter that is a manager at the age of only 19! My friends were all shocked saying, "Wow, a managerial position?!", even my old supervisor got a bit jealous!

All of that blinded me. No red flags were flying when I was agree with "Anastasia Borodina" about my new job.

That's what makes me feel so stupid. That I didn't stop and look twice at the circumstances.

On my "first day" of work, an e-mail transfer came in at 6AM. I accepted it, went to my bank and withdrew the cash amount, less 5% for me to keep. I then headed down to Western Union to transfer it to the Russian address they provided. It's funny because the clerk warned me about potential frauds but I told him, "Oh, no, this is my job. This what my manager told me to do." The clerk just shrugged. When I finished the deposit, I'll e-mail Anastasia with the confirmation code for the Russians to pick it up on their end.

On the second day, Anastasia will reply back with a confirmation on the previous money transfer along with a new e-mail transfer for another thousands dollars or so.

This continued for only a few days. On the fifth day, I woke up with no e-mails from Anastasia. Not even a confirmation e-mail about the last transfer. I figured it might be delayed but eventually no e-mail came that day. I didn't think much about it.

After school, I had sushi and 20 minutes later, I decided to drop by McDonald's to grab a drink. My debit card got declined for some reason, and when I called my bank, they simply told me to go down the my nearest branch. I thought it was the oddest thing that just 20 minutes ago, my debit card approved the $13 sushi lunch but not a $1 drink?

The next day, I went down the branch and explained to them what happened with my debit card. The teller told me to take a seat and the next thing I knew, the manager came to meet with me with papers in his hand.

I thought, well, of course my bank will suspend my debit card - they probably assume that all that money withdrawal is theft. I thought all I needed to explain to them was that I got a new job that requires me to withdraw ~$950/day.

The manager sat me down and asked me about the recent money transfers and withdrawal. I told her it was a job and the manager told me, "Jess, you do know the money is illegal right?"

She basically told me I was a victim of fraud. The bank's HQ fraud department caught my transaction and froze my entire bank until further notice.

A few days later, my bank called me again. They reviewed my case and told me that my bank is still willing to keep me as a client BUT I have to pay back a total of $2,300 to the bank. My heart literally sank. I have no job, let alone even $2,300 laying around.

I asked if I can pay it off slowly and they told me no. Until I pay back the $2,300, my bank account was semi-frozen; which meant by bank released $500 to me but kept the rest frozen.

I started to panic, not knowing what to do. I couldn't tell anyone because they'll think I'm stupid. I eventually resorted to lying to my parents about additional school fees, and when asked upon my new job, I lied and said they didn't pay me yet. So my mum and dad each coughed up $1,000 each and I figured I'll pay the $300 out of my own bank account.

When I had the money, I realized I didn't know "how" to pay the bank back. I tried calling the manager but she wasn't in that day. So, I figured the best I'll do is just deposit the money and the bank will probably automatically take it.

They never did.

I was so confused and eventually, without knowing, I blew through my funds and the bank never contacted me again. My account was still semi-frozen, meaning they kept about $200. I figured, it's only $200 but at least my bank account and bank card is still working.

In January 2014, I eventually met another manager at another branch whom cared a lot about customer service and felt pity in my situation. When I was at the bank, I didn't even inquire about my situation; I had another issue to deal with but the manager took the time to review my entire account. She basically unfroze my bank account in about a week and cleared my bank account from red flags. She was extremely embarrassed about how her colleages from the other branch delt with my situation and ended up reimbursing me a bit too.

However, dispite my lucky outcome of a great manager and never repaying the amount that I owed, I'm now keeping a close eye on suspicious replies from job postings. Not many people can be lucky and "get away" with circumstances like this. Just a few weeks ago, I read about a lady in Alberta, in the same situation as me but embezzeled more money than I did, had to repay the bank in full amount. And we are under the same national bank!

I don't think online job hunying is a bad thing, I just think there are scumbags that takes advantage of people like me. I've found a great job through Craigslist and so did many of my friends.

In the end, no matter how long you've been on the Internet, don't underestimate a situation. I was so blinded, no red flags were popping in my bank and I ended up as a victim of fraud. It's best to look at the situation from a different perspective, aka, don't be afraid and tell someone about the "job offering".

To prevent any more victims, here are the information and people I've dealt with:
There are actual people purchasing vacation packages from these people. If you know someone who's planning to travel/vacation in Russia, let them know about this company. I came across a forum where someone was asking about this company.

Company: Travel Agency Spectour
Company website: http://spectour.com
Contact: tours@spectour.com
Telephone number: (812) 347-75-07
Address:
83 Vitebskiy Ave.,
St.Petersburg, 196233, Russia


Anastasia Borodina
resume@spectour.com


Ivan Bolotny, "manager".


Money sent to:
Last name: Shpakau
First name: Pavel
City: Saint-Petersburg
Country: Russia
Address: 83 Vitebskiy Ave.
Postal code: 196233

They even had the nerves to send me another e-mail about another "job offering" with another "company".
 
Anna Bolonina (Same person, different name)

"Official website": http://www.tlru.com/index.php

Contact:
TLRU International, Inc. 
37 Nevskiy Ave. St. Petersburg, 
191011 Russia

Phone: +7(812)346-1144
info@tlru.com

Stay safe, my fellow readers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Seeing Your Ex on a Dating Site

Maybe it's the "rebound relationship thinking" that has gotten me curious about the online dating world, but I have yet to venture on to it (and probably never will until I leave this city).


However, I did sign up for Meetup in hopes of meeting new people and making new friends (seriously, I have like... no friends AND DEF. NOT FOR DATING [see above]) and get out of my comfort zone to do stuff instead of moping around after my ex. But, despite the fact that Meetup is essentially NOT dating site and more of a "meet new people with similar interests" site, I still can't bring myself to RVSP to an event and show up. There are some events that allows you to bring a +1 but I feel so awkward explaining to a friend that we're meeting up with a 20 other strangers at this restaurant.

I have met up with strangers, only to buy and sell stuff... so, why is meeting new people in hopes of a friendship so much tougher? I mean, after all, that's how all friendships are established. You and some stranger meeting up at a place.

If you have any tips to meeting strangers (Meetup is always a group outing), let me know!


Which brings me my first ever online dating site experience... that wasn't even on my own account.

One of my good friends, MJ, created a profile on Plenty of Fish and because POF was created in Vancouver, there are a ton of Vancouverites on it.

Here's the thing about MJ's situation. She's an international student from Korea and wants to experience a Canadian boyfriend (am I the only one that thinks that's odd??) before she leaves the country after studying. However, our school is so tight-knit, we're like a family which feels odd to be dating within the school. And, a lot of the student population is international students and hardly any North Americans.

So, MJ and I met up at Starbucks before class and she confined in what she has just done. She's one of the few people that knew I broke up with The Boy so she suggested I give this a try too. I told her I wasn't ready for another relationship but I wanted to hear about her experience. I was fascinated with online dating, so to have someone with an actual profile to play with was like a kid on Christmas day!

MJ's search criteria age was from 20-35; I'm not sure if that was the default or not. She showed me a few messages from guys that were talking to her and together, we sort of just browsed profiles.

In that short amount of time browsing before class... I have stumbled across old high school classmates, co-workers, and most shockingly, an ex.

Curious, I checked out a few of those profiles, and it was so weird to see these guys saying they're actively looking for a relationship. Reading their bios and preferences was odd - I mean, I considered some of these people as brothers so it was just... bizarre!

I checked out my ex's profile - that was probably even more strange. He had about 7 pictures up with bios, statues, preferences, ideal dates... sooooo, soooo, soooo strange. He's actively looking for a relationship too and from what I've heard, he has trouble finding "the one" after me (and even before me, he had trouble too). I thought it might have been an old profile that he stopped using, but he had pictures from 2013 Holiday dinners and last logged in about a week ago.

But regardless of my little stalking spree, I realized, I can never sign up for a local dating site because I'm afraid and embarrassed that someone I know will find my profile. Would I ever consider doing it if I wasn't in Vancouver? Of course. I'm planning to move into a whole new city so meeting someone would be nice (assuming I'm ready to date again).

(I hope I don't get bad karma for laughing and stalking profiles).

I'm not going to lie though... there were a lot of cute and good lookin boys available, hahaha. I kept pointing them out to MJ so she could send a message or something, but I guess she's too shy to do anything when I'm eyeing her screen like a hawk. I bet you anything she sent them when she went home... :P

Have you ever... stalked guys on a dating website?
Woooow, when I just typed that I felt like a creep.

Also, don't forget to leave some tips if you've ever been a similar situation as my Meetup situation!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jessica's Ultimate Guide to E-Reading!


Hello! Today, I'm here to share with you my love for reading (or in this case, e-reading) and a guide to how to get started with e-reading. Whenever I tell my friends that I e-read, they always get fascinated telling me how is it like, how do you get books ,etc. Which brings to me writing up this guide for those who are interested or know someone who is interested in e-reading.

What is "e-reading"? E-reading is the process of reading an electronic book on an electronic device. Basically, you're reading a digital format of a book.

Why do I love e-reading? Don't get me wrong, I love to read normal books too! However, being a bookworm, I switched over to e-reading because it's lighter in my bag (seriously, it's just the weight and size of your e-reader), I can carry my entire library everywhere I go, and it's cheaper.

What is e-reading like? E-reading will be a different experience for everyone. For me, it's just like reading any other book. However, many people will dislike e-reading due to the screen (if you're reading on a tablet) or simply because people enjoy the feeling of a new book.


To start your journey into e-reading, a great place to start is to recognize the file format for these e-books. The three most common e-book files are: .epub, .mobi, and .pdf. I don't know what they stand for, but they're the most generic formats. There are many more, but trust me, you'll probably only ever going to use these three. 

And did you know you can read comic books on an e-reader too?! When I first discovered that, I downloaded a few Black Widow comics. Listed above are the appropriate file formats for comics.

Do they have a difference? Between .epub and .mobi, there are no difference. Your e-reader will recognize these two formats and will do its job (eg. bookmarking, picking off where you left, etc.). However, if you have experience with PDF files, you'll notice that once you close the document, and reopen it, it doesn't pick up from where you last read. From my experience, some e-readers (and apps) support PDF files but don't recognize them as an actual "e-book file" so you won't get the benefits of bookmarking, for example. 

Keep in mind that although the e-book version is exactly the same as the printed version, the pages will not match up with the printed book due to the size of your e-reader, or the customization of font sizes. For example, Chapter 13 in a printed book will be on page 266, however, on the e-book version, Chapter 13 may be on page 345. If you're my friend on Goodreads, you'll notice that I update my reading progress as a percentage rather than pages. 

 

I'm not going to go into an in-depth product review for each e-reader because I don't want to sound bias towards a particular product in this guide. 

E-reading offers you two platform: a generic e-reader, OR a tablet. 

"Generic" e-reader: 
What I consider a generic e-reader is basically an e-reader that is built solely for e-reading. You may recognize the Kobo e-reader/Glo/Mini or the Amazon Kindle. These e-readers are built with "e-ink" which simulates a paper-like reading when you're using the device. In other words, you know how the text and paper is like for a book? An e-reader will give you the same, if not, similar experience. E-ink allows you to read in direct sunlight (like a normal book) and will not strain your eyes (like a normal book). E-readers are built to give readers a really similar experience to reading a printed book.

Pros: no eye straining, ability to read under direct sunlight, generally smaller and weights less than a tablet.
Cons: no 'entertainment' (eg. no videos, musics, and apps), no colours (if you read magazines and comics).

E-readers are best suited for those who just wants to read.

Tablet e-readers:
When I say "tablet e-readers", these are no different from a regular tablet like the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, even the Kobo Arc!

Tablets, as you may know, is like a flat portable (but limited) laptop. Aside from Facebook and Angry Birds, you can also read on a tablet. Reading on tablets is like reading on a computer screen. Your eyes will get sore (for some readers), sunlight will reflect on your screen, but you get to read with nice colours. If you're wondering how to read on a tablet, you will (or can) download an e-reader app such as Kindle, Kobo, Moonreader, etc. So yes, although you're using an iPad, you can download the Kobo app to get a Kobo-like experience.

Pros: a lot of entertainment and multi-purposed usage, colours, ability to use different reading apps.
Cons: pricier, eye strains, unable to read under direct sunlight, slightly heavier/bigger than an e-reader.

Tablet e-readers are best for those who are used to LCD screens, reads colour content materials (such as magazines, comics and cook books) and wants additional entertainment.

(TIP: If you got an Android tablet, download 'screen filter' which darkens the screen PAST the system setting. This is my #1 app/method to read without eye strains or the annoying brightness in the dark.)

Does size matter? This depends on you. I chose 7" reader because I want something that can fit in one hand and doesn't take up room. However, if you're not one to customize the size of the fonts, a 7" may require you to "flip" (aka tap) the pages more often. As compared to a 10", the amount of space available for the texts will limit your tapping and making the chapter appear much shorter. Also, if you're not a fan of looking at a big page full of words, this is where a smaller size will matter.

What do I use? I used to have a Kobo 6" reader and switched over to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I have my reasons to switching over to a tablet, and choosing Samsung over Apple. If you're interested in why, leave a comment, but otherwise, I don't want to include a review.

If you purchased a Kobo (or Kindle), you'll be using their own e-book management program. While I did use the Kobo management for a while, it was quite limited. 

Downloading an e-book management may be a bit technical for a few. Aside from keeping all your books organized, some programs allow you to edit the e-book file (eg. changing the cover).

Popular management programs include: Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions (required if you're borrowing books from the library), and of course, Kobo/Kindle management.

I use Calibre to edit my e-books from time to time, and I use Adobe Digital Editions when I borrow e-books from my library and/or when I read textbooks on my laptop.

 
You can purchase e-books from the Kobo store and/or Kindle store, which is accessible via your reader or the app. You can now also purchase books from the Apple iStore (iPads/Apple products only) or even the Google Bookstore. 

Prices tend to be cheaper than printed books. Also, Kobo sends daily coupons/discount codes which is why I tend to purchase from Kobo a lot.

To be honest, if you're one to pirate (who doesn't?), be aware of missing content/messed up contents. I have downloaded a few pirated e-books, and although the file isn't corrupted, there are missing words/pictures which frustrated me a lot. This is probably the reason why I rent and purchase my books so I don't have to deal with a messed up book. 

That being said, there are sites that offer free legit e-books, but these are more academic-like books. A quick Google search will bring you to the top free e-book sites but personally, they're a waste of time to look through because you won't find any of the New York Best Sellers YA books there.

So... what now? Find books to read! I love using Goodreads to discover new books!

PS: Yes, you can also use your computer to read if you don't want to invest in an e-reader. Just download Adobe Digital Editor, or the Kobo Management program; start purchasing books and read!

If you have any questions or concerns, let me know and I'll try my best to answer them. If you're looking for a product review, I'm only experienced with Apple iPads, Kobos, and Samsung Galaxy. I don't know much about Kindle e-readers (we don't have them in-store in Canada; online only) or Sony e-readers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What is it like to be white?


So if you're from Canada, why are you Chinese?
Haha, it doesn't work as well as Karen Smith's.

*Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be racists or discriminating. It's tended for pure fun and entertainment.

I don't mind being Chinese... I mean, what can I possibly do about it? But, if I'm honest, I've always wondered what it's like to be Caucasian and I know it sounds weird but it came across my mind when I was a kid!

What is it like to...
  • Be called by your surname and not feel/sound weird about it? I swear, I sometimes wish I had a surname that can easily be used as a first name by someone that hates me dearly. Like, Potter, or Granger.

  • Be able to pull off every, and I mean every hair colour? For most Asians, you just look trashy with platinum blonde hair.
  • Have boobies? Seriously.
  • Know you sort of have a 'advantage' in life. I hate to say it, but it's true, racism still exists so I believe that some employers (illegally) prefer a Caucasian.
  • Have family traditions? Asians family don't do really do traditions...
  • Move out once you graduate high school? For us, it's usually not until we're married.
  • Have parents and siblings say "I Love You" to you? I'm not saying we don't love each other, but we just don't express it to each other.
  • Have eyelids to put eyeshadow?! Seriously.
I'll tell you what it's like to be Chinese:
  • Small boobies, but big brain.
  • "I bet you can solve that math equation in your head... in like 10 seconds!"
  • Chinese school... forced upon you.
  • Hearing "I love Chinese food!" Only knows chow mein and sweet and sour pork.
  • Getting stared at by traditional Chinese people for dating someone that's not Chinese or White. Yes, I think Chinese people are accepting Chinese/Caucasian couples but they can't accept a Chinese/Indian? (I dated an Indian).
  • Random family gatherings and meeting an uncle you've never heard about... 
  • Not to mention the comments that come from family gatherings like... "Why are you so fat?" "Are you on a diet?" "Are you dating anyone? Why are you not dating anyone?"
  • Generic Chinese surnames that you share with every Chinese person... like Wong, Ho, Hoang, Lee, Li, etc.
  • Getting excited when you see an Asian in Hollywood

My parents got Westernized by the time my brother was born so when I was born, I was literally raised with a Canadian culture. English is my first language, not Chinese. It surprises people when I tell them I don't have a Chinese name... why should that shock you?

But yes, despite growing up with a Canadian culture like the rest of the white people in this country, being ethnically different still proves how different one Canadian can be from another. It really has crossed my mind to think what it's like to be Caucasian.

Have you guys ever thought what it's like to be a different ethnic? 
Or... is it just me? o_O

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Is it ever OK to trash talk your ex(es)?


I'm currently talking to my friend right now, and somehow the topic led to our exes and he just went ballistic about his ex from years ago. He told me how she always gets around, how she's a gold digger, and eventually, how she ended up getting (and giving) STDs to the people she slept with.

I also had my fair share of bashing an ex. Back in high school, I had a nasty break up which filled me with so much anger from the bullshit that piled up from our year of dating.

One of the biggest thing that angered me was finding out that he was sexting graphically to his first ex on Facebook and then lying to be with excuses like "She hacked into my Facebook account", "She thought it was a fun joke," etc. etc. I was smart enough to see through his lies but when I found out about those messages, I also emailed a copy to myself. Why? I have no idea.

But, when the break up came and I was filled with anger, I ended up posting their entire conversation on my old blog and on top of that, calling him the worst names possible and sharing the details of his personal dating/sex life and preferences.

Back then, I shared my blog with everyone so a lot of people from his school read it. I also Googled his name and the girl's name (I didn't delete their names from the convos) and it was the first hit on Google.

I felt so... happy... from what I did, bashing him for treating me like shit. But then my friend, Amy, told me to take it down for the sake of his professional image. I was also scared that he or the girl might press charges so after a few weeks, I ended up taking it down. However, Google and a few other sites managed to have a cache file of it for a few more months.

That's the last time I've ever bashed an ex. Even my heartbreak from a few months back didn't receive any backlash. The worst I've ever said to him was "Fuck you!" and even then I was felt guilty. Despite the few bad things he's done, I haven't bitched about him saying he's a horrible person that deserves to be driven over by a truck and then eaten by a lion. It could be my feelings talking, but to me, he's still a beautiful being.

I mean, it's one thing to say, "He was a cheater,", "He treated me like shit, that asshole," etc. etc. you know, those one liners that just sums up your ex's character and the emotion of hatred towards them.

But, is it ever okay to bash an ex?

Looking back, I admit that I crossed the line and let my emotions get the best of me. I learn to keep my break ups and relationship troubles privately, or at least, just a casual, "we broke up". But from my experiences, I think it's such a waste of energy to take the time to spend hours, hell, even months trash talking about an ex. I understand it's nice to get it allllll out, but after that, just move on. If you're still bitching about him five months later, it just looks bad on you.

Despite what I've done, I don't believe in trash talking about past relationships. I don't want to taint him image; words spreads quickly. But, if the boy ended up cheating on me, well, yes, I'd feel like I want to warn the next girl that this guy is a potential cheater. But other than that, I wouldn't spend an hour telling everyone at the party that my ex has a small wee-wee, you know what I'm sayin?

Have you ever bashed your exes? What's your opinions on people that trash talk their exes?

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Silver Lining in March

March has just begun on sad grounds for me.

A) I snapped at a "friend", and now we're not talking and I don't know if I should feel upset about my actions or angry at him not supporting me. Either way, I vowed that after months of arguing, I'm just going to let things simmer down and not talk to him at all for a month or so.

B) Long story short, my parents are dealing with legal issues, and it wasn't until about a week ago that my dad is finally eligible to receive his passport back. That being said, he offered to take me to China for a mini vacation and also to pay respect to my Grandmother that passed away years ago.

Due to my student loans, I'm not allowed to take more than 2 weeks off... and my dad was fine with 2 weeks but when I went to talk to my school, they told me that technically, the "2 weeks" is actually 10 school days. So, I got pretty choked that my 2 weeks time-off suddenly got reduced to 10 days because of the way they phrased the terms.

When I told that to my Dad, he told me that his new passport wouldn't arrive until next week so we eventually agreed that I wouldn't go back to China this year... I mean, $1,500 airline ticket for just 6 days? It's a terrible waste of money.

My last day of school is on Nov. 7th!

However, after getting back to school, they hand me a new schedule... which basically took my 3 weeks summer vacation out of the schedule, rearranged the times and courses, and now, I graduate an entire month earlier!

I'm a bit disappointed that I'm missing out on China and my 3 weeks summer break, but at the same time, I'm sort of happy that my post-secondary is coming to an end... I can finally start my career (hopefully my co-op hires me!) and be free from textbooks and exams.

But the more I think about it, the more I'm realizing.. I'm going to be shoved into the real.. REAL world. Like, they say after graduating high school, it's the real world BUT if you continued with studies, you're still sort of sheltered from the real world.

And now, in 132 days, I'll have my first HR job experience, and in 249 days, I'll be done with school.

It's amazing how just cutting 3 weeks out of your school schedule will make all the difference.

#2014BloggerChallenge - Nails

I'm going to be honest with you... I hate art and nail painting. The only time you'll ever see me with nail polish on is when you know I was extremely (extremely!) bored. Unless it's a fancy occasion, I'll decorate my nails.



I mean... look at my ugly chipped yellow nails from one of my Instagram photos.

If you take a look at my nail polish stash, you'll notice a lot of Sally Hansen (yaaay for cheap polishes!) and Asian branded polishes.

Nail polish companies... if you want me to buy your polishes, price them between $1-3.

This one time, the day of my flight to head back to Vancouver from China, I decided to get my nails done for the first time with my cousin. We went to this salon downstairs and the artists recognize my cousin. I decided to pick this floral pattern and my cousin chose a simpler design.

Let's just say... I did not expect to be sitting for 4 hours waiting for paint to dry on my nails... on my last day of vacation. Granted, the art turned out beautiful but if I knew I was going to be sitting for 4 hours with nothing but Chinese magazines (that I can't read) and Chinese people whom I can't even speak with, I probably would have chosen a simpler design... or not even get my nails done at all...

Nails are too fussy to maintain for a lazy person. But, I've always received compliments on how nice my nails are ^__^ that makes me happy, haha.