Intangible Happiness

Happiness is one of those intangible assets that is much sought-after and increases in value the longer you keep it.

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Stardew Valley Farming and Life Simulation Game Review

Stardew Valley is the best thing to happen to life and farming simulation games since Natsume’s Harvest Moon game series and Maxis’ The Sims. The best thing about it is that unlike those two games that I mentioned, Stardew Valley is an indie game developed by Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone. In other words, it’s one guy’s passion project that has become a big hit, not a big budget release by a large game company.

I bought my copy of the game from Gog.com which I prefer over Steam.

Here’s a screenshot of my farm which can also be seen at https://upload.farm/1GjCAs.

stardew valley

Stardew Valley Farming and Life Simulation Game Review

It’s a great game! The player starts off with a dead-end job at some big corporation but then leaves the city life behind when she (or she) inherits a farm.

Wheee!

At first, the farm is small, basic, and overgrown with weeds, deadfalls, trees, etc. that all have to be cleared before the farmer can plow the land and plant crops.

Stardew Valley: Farming and Foraging

Of course, the game is mostly built around farming. The farmer has to clear the land, plow the soil, buy seeds from the general shop, plant the seeds, water the plants, and, after the crops are ready, harvest them!

The game runs on an internal clock where there are days and seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter). Crops can only be grown during their proper season/s.

In addition, as the farmer explores the map, there are some items that can be foraged like flowers, berries, wild vegetables, truffles, and various stuff at the beach like corals, shells, and clams.

Stardew Valley: Fishing

Unfortunately, I absolutely hate the fishing part of Stardew Valley! It’s just too much clicking! Thank goodness there is a mod that lets me fish without the massive clickfest. πŸ˜‰

I do love the way that the farmer gets different fish depending on where he fishes and the different hours of the day and seasons.

Stardew Valley: Mining and Combat

Mining is super awesome! Mining is done two underground cave systems that are full of mining areas (rocks) and monsters. It’s exciting and somewhat dangerous if your farmer is still low level.

Combat is pretty straightforward: the farmer is equipped with the best weapons and items that money can buy (or that dropped) and one click is one weapon attack. There are also bombs that can be used. Recovery items are plentiful so that’s not really a problem.

Stardew Valley: Crafting and Cooking

It wouldn’t even be a proper farming or life simulation game is there was no way to craft or cook! There are tons of items that can be crafted and lots of recipes that can be unlocked. I think it’s pretty cool though I personally did not spend a lot of time crafting. However, it’s a good way to earn money in the game.

Stardew Valley: Friendship and Romance

*laughs* Yes, I greatly enjoyed the romance and friendship aspects of the game. People in town are generally either enthusiastic (the old folks), polite (people your age), neutral (the young kids), or standoffish (a few hostile characters).

As a newcomer to the country life, the farmer has to talk to the townspeople to get to know them better and give them thoughtful gifts. Each character has specific likes and dislikes, so giving the proper gift requires a bit of memorization. That, or just googling it.

Apart from the regular townspeople, there are some “targets” that the farmer can choose to woo and eventually marry and even have children with.

I always pick Elliot, the writer character. πŸ˜€

Stardew Valley: Events and Seasons

Another nice thing about the game are the seasonal events that are quite fun. Some, like the Flower Dance in spring, are there just for color and to add background details to the country life. I like those.

Other events or festivals, have a competitive element to them, like Stardew Valley Fair where the farmer creates a display or her (or his) best products and can win a prize.

Stardew Valley Review: Conclusion

I greatly enjoy playing the game. In fact, I love it a lot. If you like life or farming simulation games, in my opinion, this is a must-buy. The farming and other skills are great and if there is an aspect that you don’t like, there’s probably a mod for that.

Rating: 5/5

Note: I have not played the multiplayer since I prefer to play it solo. This review is my own and I was not paid for it nor did I receive any free stuff or perks for it.

CLICKPOCALYPSE II Review

Quite recently I played Stardew Valley so much that I actually overworked my clicking finger. I love Stardew Valley! The result: an aching right hand and the inability to play most games. I say “most” because, in fact, there is one type of game you can play even when your hand hurts: incremental games. In this case, I played the incremental/idle RPG game CLICKPOCALYPSE II.

Note that, for some reason, the game is ALL CAPS. That’s not me screaming at you. πŸ™‚

This type of idle game is truly idle in that you can actually just watch the action happen and the game runs even when it’s offline. Here’s a screenshot of what I see after I get back to playing the game after hours of being offline:

clickapocalypse 2 offline

So yes, this is absolutely at the top of my list of games to play when I want to relax and not bother with anything hardcore. Or when my hand hurts from playing other games. *cough*

The game is quite interesting and I do enjoy watching the little avatars running around killing mobs and grabbing loot.

The player starts off by choosing a bunch of heroes to do their dirty work for them. In this game, I picked the Fighter (Melee, Crowd Control), Rogue (Loot Gathering), and two Chicken Kings (Summoner). There are other character types like Barbarian (AoE Melee), Priest (Healer, Buffs), Ranger (Archer), etc.

Then once the party has been created, they immediately start exploring dungeons on their own.

clickapocalypse 2 review

The player does need to put in a little bit of work:

  • equipping weapons and armor
  • drinking potions that give various effects like “monsters die easily”
  • buying upgrades like “monsters drop 5% more gold coins”
  • activating character skills
  • manually scheduling a castle attack
  • unlocking achievement bonuses
character skills

This is the character skill screen. One skill can be activated every time the character levels up.

The goal of the game is to clear all the dungeons and then conquer all of the castles. There are a lot of dungeons and once they have been cleared, they become a source of kill points, which are needed to get upgrades.

dungeons

The dungeons give kill points

castles

The player can see a list of castles that have been conquered or can be attacked.

CLICKPOCALYPSE II Review: Conclusion

TL;DR – the game is fun and I enjoy it. I think the little avatars are adorable and the game is a good mixture of idling (just watching/not doing anything actively) and clicking (activating skills and upgrades). I’ve played it for hundreds of hours (including offline hours) and I’m still not bored with it.

Honey Bear Bakery – SM City Fairview

SM Fairview recently expanded so there are a lot of new shops. I personally enjoy baked goods a lot and the new Honey Bear Bakery looked interesting so I checked it out.

honey bear sm fairview

Honey Bear Sm Fairview

There’s a big white bear at the entrance which is how I noticed that there was a new shop there. The place is small but there are two small tables with chairs where you can drink some tea and eat their baked good.

honey bear bakery

Honey Bear Bakery

The display counter only has a few items but they are the type that I like. I bought a few things.

pastries

Pastries

I ate the chocolate covered croissant (nice), sausage pastry (quite filling and savory, as well as the Japanese cheesecake (yummy).

mini bear cake

Mini Bear Cake

There was also this super cute mini bear cake. I gave it away to someone since it was too cute, it looked perfect to gift to other people.

honey bear bakery sm fairview

Japanese cheesecake

I particularly enjoyed their small Japanese cheesecake. The portion size is just right: enough for a few satisfying bites but not big enough to make me worry about the calories. It’s light, airy, and cheesy. In case you’re wondering why I said “Japanese cheesecake,” that’s because this is a Japanese-style cheesecake, not the type that’s made with Graham crackers and Philadelphia cream cheese. This is more like a chiffon cake flavored with cheese.

All in all, Honey Bear Bakery has some really great-looking items and the taste is good. I forgot to list down the prices but I recall that they were the same as other bakeries. It’s not expensive to buy from them.

Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HoneyBearBakeryPH/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/honeybearbaker?lang=en

This is not a sponsored post and I am not affiliated with Honey Bear Bakery. I paid for all the items with my own money.

The Chocolate Kiss Cafe Devil’s Food Cake

The Chocolate Kiss Cafe opened its doors when I was an undergraduate student. At that time, all of the restaurants inside the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City were all lower-priced, just right for a student’s daily allowance.

That’s why, when it opened, many of us felt a little surprised. I mean, we wondered who would pay those prices for food when there’s cheaper food at Rodics, for example? But it turned out that we were wrong. The cafe was always full at mealtimes!

Obviously, many people had enough money to pay more for food. Since then a lot more restaurants have opened andΒ The Chocolate Kiss Cafe has become one of the best-known places to eat in Diliman. They also have two places inside the campus now at the first and second floors of the Ang Bahay ng Alumni.

Here’s one of their most popular offerings: Devil’s Food cake.

chocolate kiss devil's food cake

It’s actually just a basic chocolate cake with some sort of white icing that tastes like marshmallows on it. I found it a bit dry but still good.

They now sell mini cakes, which is good since they are cute and the size is just right. I forgot to take a pic of a slice so here’s a pic from their official Instagram.

By the way, although their cakes are good, what I like to eat there is their Beef Salpicao.


Official website – http://www.thechocolatekiss.com/

UP Diliman Campus
2nd Floor, Ang Bahay ng Alumni
R. Magsaysay Street
Quezon City
Philippines
+632 433.1140, 434.3577

Pickle Food Co. Diet Delivery Review

Pickle Food Co. is a healthy diet delivery service that offers calorie-controlled meals along with all-natural cold-pressed juice.

I ordered their 1200-Calorie Low Carb High Protein plan and here’s my review.

Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Pickle Food Co. I paid for this diet delivery. They didn’t ask me to review.

Ordering from Pickle

To order you can go to their website or Facebook page to view the details.

They actually have different packages that you can chose from. I picked the 1200-calorie (per day) Low Carb High Protein package which cost P2,500 for five days.

They will deliver food everyday from Monday to Friday and each day’s food consists of three meals and two snacks.

The order form is on their website. I filled out the order form on their website and they emailed me to confirm. You have to order the week before you want the food delivered. I ordered on Thursday and they emailed the confirmation on Friday.

One week’s food

apr-16-20+LHCP

Before ordering, you can check out the week’s menu beforehand.

Pickle Food Co. Diet Delivery Review

Actual Food – One Day’s Diet Food

So what does the food look like? Here are my pics of what I got.

monday

This is the food I will eat for one day. As you can see, there are three big microwaveable containers for the three meals and two smaller ones for the snack.

monday breakfast

Now, when you got to their website they show the food nicely arranged and everything. This photo shows what you actually get, with no fancy plating. πŸ™‚ This was my breakfast: Greek Beef with Garlic Yogurt and Chickpea Mash. I liked the egg and chickpea mash. I poured the yogurt over the ground beef. It was okay but not something I would have ordered myself if I had a choice.

One of the problems with the diet delivery services of this sort is that you don’t get to pick what to eat. There’s a set menu for the entire week and if there’s a dish you don’t like, tough!!!

monday dinner

Lunch was Spicy Thai Basil Chicken. It was flavorful but a bit too salty for me. Eating it like this without rice (to lose weight) isn’t really my preferred way but it wasn’t too bad. I felt full after I drank a cup of coffee and a glass of water.

A little tip for you: Drink plenty of water! Don’t be in too much of a rush when you eat. Eating too fast means you aren’t giving yourself time to feel that your hunger is satiated.

monday lunch

According to the menu that was posted, dinner was supposed to be Chicken with Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Spinach. However, as you can see, I seem to have gotten something different. Where’s the spinach? It did taste good, though.

Pickle Food Co. Diet Delivery Review: Conclusion

The price is a bit expensive at P500 per day for very little food. This does seem to be standard as I checked the other diet delivery services in Metro Manila and they all had the same pricing.

Overall, I thought the food all tasted good. There was too little of it to keep me really satisfied but I guess that is to be expected when it’s only 1200 calories per day. It’s okay if you can afford it.

Contact details:

Pickle Food Co. Diet Delivery website:Β http://www.pickle.ph/

Facebook:Β https://www.facebook.com/pickleph/

Crisostomo Restaurant Review – UP Town Center and Ayala Fairview Terraces

Crisostomo Restaurant is a Filipino restaurant that serves Filipino food. Its food is a bit pricey but most servings are meant to be shared. After you calculate the cost of food for each person, the price is only twice as much as what you would pay at a fast-food joint. They have a few branches in Metro Manila but the ones I visit are the UP Town Center and Ayala Fairview Terraces restaurants.

Crisostomo Restaurant Review

There’s one reason I eat there. Behold!

crisostomo up town center review

Yes, it’s because of their paella. I love it! I forgot what it costs exactly but when I ate there with a senior we ordered one of these and the bill was below P400. This big picture shows the size. It’s not a huge paella pan as you can see when you compare its size with that spoon.

It’s served piping hot, hence the little foil thingie on the handle. Delicious! This dish contains rice, peas, boiled eggs, prawns, grilled pork, Spanish sausage, black olives, red and green bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and chicken, plus two slices of lemon and herbs as garnish. It’s a rather extravagant meal. When I order it, there’s always some leftovers that I can take home.

Here is a close-up of the paella.

crisostomo

This picture is one of my 2017 Favorites.

The ambiance in the restaurant is very homey and calm. If you go on a weekday it won’t be full. I mostly see a lot of groups or families eating there since the meals are meant to be shared. Sometimes people will order like two dishes per person and their whole table looks like it’s fiesta time.

I myself am perpetually in a diet and their food is good for that. Their stuff is healthy, with a lot of vegetables and fish. From what I can tell, the most recommended dish is their “pompano na sinigang sa miso.” The servings are large but you can just bring home what you don’t finish eating there.

Links:

Crisostomo Restaurant official website – you can check out their full menu here as well as the address and telephone numbers of their branches. They cater.

Crisostomo Restaurant Facebook page – good to check if they have any ongoing specials or promos

Above is a picture of their famous sinigang. It doesn’t look like much but it’s very tasty, filling, and healthy.

Hakone Japan Souvenirs – Delicious Cookies

Hakone, Japan is a popular tourist place. I didn’t go there myself but I was lucky enough to receive this box of four kinds of cookies as a gift from a relative who was recently in Hakone.

Hakone Japan Souvenir

hakone japan souvenirs

This is what it looks like. The box is quite large and pretty nice. The four kinds of cookie flavors are chocolate, strawberry, green tea (matcha), and I think either vanilla or plain butter/sugar.
hakone souvenirs
Sorry for the blurry pic. Anyway, this is just to show what it looks like inside the box.

As you can see there are four rows, one for each type of cookie, and there are only three cookies for each flavor, for a total of 12 cookies inside.

They are individually wrapped. This is good for sharing, especially with kids since… well, you know they can be less than hygienic sometimes.

*cough*Β  Understatement! *cough*

The chocolate ones ran out first then the plain ones, then the strawberry. In my family no one but me wanted to eat the matcha cookies. Oh well, more for me!

Hakone Japan Souvenirs – Delicious Cookies

hakone japan souvenirs cookies

Here is a nice close-up of a strawberry cookie! As you can see, it is pink but just a light color. I like it. It also has little strawberry bits.

It’s yummy and tastes like strawberry but not intensely so.Β  It’s also not too sweet. I was not able to sample the chocolate or plan ones since the kids in my family grabbed them all. πŸ˜‰ The matcha ones were not my type, actually. They weren’t horrible but I preferred the strawberry cookies.

All in all, I’d say they were pretty good and the kids were satisfied. The cookies are a nice treat to bring back home when you come back from Japan.

As far as I know these are not available except in Japan. I haven’t seen them in online stores or anywhere else. If you want to buy online, there is one store that I like to use – Candysan. They are in Japan and ship worldwide. Check out my Candysan review here.

Thank you for reading.

Nimona Book Review

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a graphic novel that was originally published as a web novel. Now it’s in book form, which is perfect for presents!

This Christmas, I decided to give a young (teenage) relative a book as my Christmas gift. I must say that, unless your relative is a HUGE book nerd, it’s better to give another more “Christmassy” gift. You wouldn’t want to disappoint someone with an “uncool” present. I gave her Bluetooth headphones as an additional gift.

nimona book review

Nimona book review – my Christmas gift to my a teenaged relative

Nimona is the story of a superpowered sidekick, the titular Nimona, who works for the legendary supervillain Lord Blackheart.

My Nimona Book Review

In one sentence: It’s absolutely hilarious, touching, and has beautiful full-color art.

In addition, it’s a standalone which pretty hard to find these days. That’s a big plus for me since practically every other graphic novel has multiple volumes. That’s why it’s perfect for gifting – the recipient won’t have to buy the other volumes to read the rest of the story.

I do have one small nitpick though. The text was sooooo small! It was readable but I would have preferred much bigger text.

Nimona Sequel

Will there be a sequel? The interesting ending has left fan wanting more so people are asking whether or not there will be a Nimona 2. There has been talk about on the internet but nothing solid thus far. It seems like this is truly a standalone book.

Favorite Quote

β€˜β€˜I can’t have a kid following me around all day.’’

β€˜β€˜I’m not a kid. I’M A SHARK.’’

nimona comic book review

You can read the first three chapters for free on the website – click here.

Theme Fragrance Review – Best Indie Fragrances Part II

Department store fragrances are all well and good. I love them since I love all types of good perfumes. But, honestly, I feel that indie fragrances are much more special because they make me feel like I don’t smell exactly the same as thousands, or possibly even *millions* of people.

So here is my second review of indie perfumes.

Theme Fragrance Review

I bought this from their old Etsy store but they now have a new website of their own at https://themefragrance.com/.

This review is not sponsored. I have not been paid to review. I have also not received any free or discounted items from Theme Fragrance in return for a review. πŸ˜€

theme perfume

I’ve had both hits and misses before from indie perfumes so this time I decided to stick with something very easy to like – a sweet vanilla macaron perfume. It’s named Amuse.

The scent is sweet but not overpowering. It’s light and sweet. It’s great for hot, sweaty summers when I need something to that smells cool and sweet.

Link to product – https://themefragrance.com/products/amuse-perfume-spray-vanilla-macaron

Not much more to say here, I mean the scent isn’t too complicated. It’s just a sweet, gourmand fragrance that is nice to wear.

It seems that all Theme Fragrance items are shipped with a free item. I didn’t even know that was included. Anyway, since I already said I didn’t receive free items for this review, I will not be reviewing that free item (Go Go Soiree perfume roll-on). Also, I can’t review it because when I took it out of the box, a family member saw it and swiped it with my permission.

By the way, from being a small Etsy seller to having their own website, and being featured in various magazines, Theme Fragrance is becoming more and more successful. They are also selling on Amazon now. Here’s the link to Amuse Perfume Oil on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G7UMI6G/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_Zrx2ybGE5CJRB (this is not an affiliate or referral link).

This post is the second of a series. The first one is Alkemia Perfumes Review – Best Indie Fragrances Part I

Elixir of the Rapid Mind

Elixir of the Rapid Mind is an item used in World of Warcraft. The effect is that it increases experience gain.

If it was available in real life, it would be an item that helps a person learn things faster. It would be great for school, learning a second language, or any other learning. If I had one, I would use it to learn Spanish.

coffee elixir

Coffee is like a real life Elixir of the Rapid Mind. Caffeine is one of the oldest brain enhancers around.

Did you know that there are real life substances that allegedly work like an Elixir of the Rapid Mind? Just recently I came across the concept of Nootropics, “substances that improve cognitive function.” Wow, sounds good, right? Well, a lot of Nootropics are just regular foods like coffee (yeah, it really does help me concentrate!), green tea (I haven’t noticed any effect), pure dark chocolate (it’s super expensive to use the really high quality stuff), etc. There are also food supplements but I haven’t tried those. I prefer to stick with just food/drinks that improve brain function.