Saturday, July 9, 2016

Toy Review: Kawaii Cubes from Wish Factory


In figuring out how to totally crush the competition, Wish Factory came out with these nifty little plushies called "Kawaii Cubes". And even though they are complete knock-offs of the Tsum Tsum plushies in my opinion (they're cubes instead of cylinders, they come in different sizes, and they're stackable, too? What a totally unforeseen coincidence!), I can't tell you how ecstatic I am that they are here. Why? BECAUSE DC COMICS. 'Nuff said. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Toy Review: Tsum Tsum Plush


The Tsum Tsum plushies are among the first merchandise that came out when the Tsum Tsum app spawned a loyal cult following among us Tsum addicts. These stackable and insanely adorable cuties come in small, medium, and large sizes. The smallest ones come at around Php450 a pop here in the Philippines, roughly Php360 in Hong Kong, and only around Php250 in Japan. They're quite pricey for their size, and understandably so, since you just can't beat all that cuteness. And because I don’t want to burn a gaping hole in my wallet, I try to collect just the ones that I really REALLY like (plus, I’m still looking for Mike and Sulley).




Monday, June 27, 2016

Toy Review: Tsum Tsum Vinyl Mystery Stack Pack Series 2 by JAKKS

I’m a self-confessed addict when it comes to all things Tsum Tsum, and aside from me swiping away at the app/game, I’m also collecting every Tsum Tsum collectible I can find. The latest discovery is the blind pack that’s available in Toys R Us and Toy Kingdom branches nationwide, and thanks to our Extreme Powers and Expertise in the Kapa-Method, my husband and I were able to effectively feel our way (that just sounds so wrong LOL) through the blind packs to get the characters that we want.

For Php199 a pop, these blind packs feature different Tsum Tsum characters, each with their own background set or prop. This is already from Series 2 of the Vinyl Mystery Stack Pack from JAKKS (because Series 1 just didn’t interest me very much), and the quality is incredible.



Monday, June 20, 2016

Toy Review: Gudetama Gashapon Keychain

I fell in love with this adorably lazy egg the moment I saw his tired face and wobbly butt in toy shops everywhere in Hong Kong last year. Gudetama, the lazy egg, is Sanrio's latest cuddly creation, but unfortunately, he is not exactly popular here in the Philippines. I had to scour the metro for just glimpses of him, and occasionally, I'd spot him in certain toy conventions every now and then. But lo and behold! One day, the hubby and I stumbled upon one of the more obscure Gashapons in SM North Edsa The Block, and Gudetama was there! Obviously, I bought tokens like a crazy maniac and started collecting these keychains just because they can't be found anywhere else. Just look at that shameless little butt and tell me he's not adorable!




Friday, June 17, 2016

Top 8 Most Exciting Stuff From E3 2016

The annual E3 has always been a much-awaited event that we gamer geeks just love to look forward to. With so many things to gush about this year, here are just some of the biggest highlights from the expo.

1.Sorta-Kratos has a beard now in the next God of War game

When Sony showed off its mind-blowing footage of the next God of War game in the works, we’re not quite sure if the protagonist is still the same Kratos we’ve known from the franchise. He’s definitely older now and sporting a glorious beard, and if he is the same Spartan demigod we’ve come to know and love, then he’s got a son in this incarnation (gasp!). Still, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of brutality here—the same blood, gore, and violence will definitely keep fans entertained. And in this clip below, there’s some pretty hardcore tough love going on, as Sorta-Kratos teaches his son how to hunt for a deer. On this supposedly simple quest, some unexpected enemies show up, prompting the player to act quickly and dive right in to some fast-paced and brutal action. And then, the tender but morally questionable moment of the son killing the deer follows. The ten minutes of this gameplay trailer alone is definitely enough to make anyone want to play the game!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Want to rule the galaxy? Be a stormtrooper at ToyCon!

What has plastoid composite body armor for blast protection, modified sniper plates for field operations, and a soft spot for helping others? It’s none other than a Stormtrooper from the 501st Legion, and at the ToyCon 2016 at the SMX Convention Center last June 10-12, these troopers with a heart of gold spread the terror (and love!) of the Empire all weekend.

Bad guys doing good

Every year at ToyCon, avid collectors hold exhibits of their prized possessions, trusted merchants lay out their wares for eager bargain toy hunters, and cosplay fanatics duke it out on stage and revel in the sheer joy of wearing their fandom. While the other participants of ToyCon last weekend lined up for much-awaited comic book signings, rocked out to Kristian Nairn (who will always be revered for holding the door for all of us) and his Rave of Thrones, and gushed out to Dean Cain’s interviews, the members of the 501st Legion’s Philippine Outpost patrolled the grounds in the name of the Empire. Of course, when they’re not trying to rule the Galaxy or trying to scour the scene for trooper hopefuls, they’re happily posing for pictures with devoted Star Wars fans—all in Vader’s name, of course!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Upcoming Video Game Releases This June 2016

It’s mid-year madness this June, as some of the most awaited releases are coming this month. Pat your pockets and get your wallets ready for these upcoming video game releases this June.

1.Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

To be released this June 28th, this Playstation 4 exclusive marks the fifth installment of the world-renowned franchise. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is set in an undeveloped planet, effectively setting it apart from its predecessors where the main party usually comes from more civilized planets. In this new game, the quiet life of the main protagonist is shaken to its very core when chaos ensues after an encounter with more developed individuals from other sectors of space. This kind of endeavor celebrates the theme of the series, which is exploring the interactions between vastly different civilizations, societies, and planets.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Video Game Releases This May 2016

If you don’t really feel like going out in the scorching heat of the season, staying indoors is just as relaxing. Summer is the perfect time to let the gamer in you run wild, so to satisfy those urges, here are some of the best video game releases this month.

1.Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Just like any last installment in a timelessly beloved franchise, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End brings a bittersweet ending to the nine years of emotions that we have all invested in this mind-blowing game. Set three years after Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and released on May 10th, this Naughty Dog masterpiece puts Nathan Drake in another unbelievable adventure with the title’s signature parkour, innovative and intuitive combat, and outrageous action. The guaranteed blockbuster almost feels like a coming-of-age tale, with Nate getting over his reckless thrill of finding glory and fortune and instead focusing on growing up. The unparalleled graphics are only made even better by the stellar performances (as always) of the whole cast. The voice cast truly brings the highest standards of quality to the cinematic flair that the Uncharted series is so well-known for. Of course, the immortal Nolan North reprises his role as flawed but fab hero Nathan Drake, and voiceover legend Troy Baker plays Nate’s brother Samuel Drake. The return of Elena Fisher and Victor Sullivan is also a welcome treat for fans, with the roles played by series veterans Emily Rose and Richard McGonagle respectively.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why NexCon3 Wasn't Worth the Hype

As an avid comic book fan who frequents the annual geek fests in our country year after year, I haven’t actually had the chance to attend previous NexCons before. This being the third, I was expecting a nerd-gasmic experience as it claims to be the biggest fantasy and sci-fi event in the country. Unfortunately, after spending some time at the event, I found myself sadly disappointed—I probably ought to be flipping tables and rage-quitting by now.

I have nothing against Cosplay.ph and Stompworks Media Studios, who I’m sure did the best they could to make sure that this uber gathering of pop culture fans becomes a smashing success. But in a venue like the SMX Convention Center over at Mall of Asia and with a price tag of Php350 per head as an entrance fee, I would have thought that everything would be worth my time and effort. Maybe it’s just me, but I left the event gravely unsatisfied.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Health Benefits of Matcha and Where to Find the Best in Manila

It’s that green powdery goodness taking over coffee shops today—and no, it’s not a veggie smoothie for all you meatlovers out there. Matcha gets its brilliantly emerald color because it’s actually green tea powder, ground finely in its natural state. Though originally from China, matcha has been used in the Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years. Just what is it about this deliciously healthy goodness that makes it so popular today?
Health Benefits of Matcha
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Justice League Fever: Most Memorable Batman and Superman-Themed Video Games

Looking for a gamer-iffic fix for DC’s World’s Finest? With Batman v. Superman coming out on March 26th, we can’t be more excited. So while we sit here and wait in excruciating agony until the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel duke it out on the silver screen (not to mention the Amazonian warrior princess from Themyscira makes her big screen debut, too), here’s a look at the top Batman and Superman video games out today.
1.The Arkham Trilogy Games

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Recreating the Dark Knight: Top 5 Funniest Lego Batman Moments

In anticipation for the Batman v. Superman movie coming out in theaters late this March, why not check out a different version of Batman—one that isn’t all about the gloom and doom? Lego is the universal brick that has brought joy to kids and adults for decades, and when you combine that with the World’s Greatest Detective, there can only be one result—an explosion of awesomeness, complete with flying Batarangs and everything.
Lego Batman, among the many ways Lego reimagines fan faves, has been kicking bad guys’ butts since the very first Lego Batman game in 2008. And if you’re not a believer of its worldwide success, just ask the Guinness World Records, because the game has been officially awarded as the best-selling superhero videogame of all time in late 2014. The sequel, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, was just as successful, as well as the third installment, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
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“I am the night. For JUSTICE!”
Just what is it about the brick-fied Caped Crusader that makes him such a delight for fans and non-fans alike? Here are the many ways that Lego has successfully recreated Batman, turning him into a hilarious and ridiculously flawless legend.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Adventure Time Right Now

If you can’t surf more than one website on the World Wide Web without seeing your meme popping up, it can only mean one thing—you are insanely famous. This is exactly what has happened to the popular Cartoon Network show about a boy and his loyal dog doing heroic deeds in the Land of Ooo. Adventure Time is now considered a cultural icon, and the hordes of fans and cult-like following of made-up slang prove just how good the cartoon is. If you’re not addicted to the colorful series just yet, here’s why you should tune in to it right now:
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BFFs for life!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Book Review: The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich

Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Isn’t that the way that love works?
No matter who you are or what your age is, love will always—always—find you, and not in the best way you think. It doesn’t matter if you’re a revolutionary scientist who’s theory on human evolution has changed the way humankind views life on earth, the most famous detective the world has ever known, or even the creator of every single thing in this universe. One thing is for sure—a girl out there is just waiting to break your heart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Great DC Comics Show Crossover

Smallville: it all began in a small Kansas town filled with cows, corn, and a disturbing amount of “meteor freaks” roaming what otherwise would be the dullest place to be. Of course, the handsome and naïve blue-eyed boy in the Kent farm made all the difference, and we loyal fans watched him grow up in ten seasons into the legend we’ve always known he would be.

Fast forward to today, where costumed crime fighters are popping up on screens both big and small everywhere you look. It’s the era of the superhero shows, and DC Comics is at the forefront of the TV universe with crossovers between our favorite characters that leave us with nothing but nerd-gasms. A friendly warning: there are mild spoilers for the shows up ahead!



Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray

How do you know what’s real and what’s not? At the end of it all, does it really even matter?

In this hilarious dark comedy by award-winning author Libba Bray, readers are faced with one big question: if you were to die of an incurable disease, how would you live your life to the fullest? The crazy yet earnest journey of the protagonist will no doubt make you question whether you’re living your life the way you should, or you’re just wasting away one day at a time.




Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong 2015


Another long overdue post, this short photodump on the Comic-Con equivalent in Hong Kong will hopefully be the start of a series where I get to explore the different toycons and comicons around Asia (at least, since SDCC is quite an impossibility). The Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong 2015 was held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre last July 24-28, 2015. It's the biggest geek event in the country, so naturally, the hubby and I were ecstatic. 


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Guide to Toy Shops in Hong Kong


Being the weirdos that we are, my husband and I prioritized the most important activity when we went abroad last year—toy shopping in Hong Kong.

I know that this is a long overdue post, but it was the first time we ever went toy hunting in Hong Kong so we kind of panicked like little kids set loose in a candy store when we got there. I would have liked to take more pictures of the shops and the actual toys available there, but all thoughts of snapping photos were thrown out the window the moment we set foot inside the toy stores in Hong Kong. So. I’ll have this list updated with more photos soon when we do come back for more, but for now, I hope some descriptions will do.

1. In’s Point - 530-538 Nathan Rd, near Yau Ma Tei MTR Station



This is pretty much every toy collector’s haven. Be prepared to squeeze your way through the narrow hallways when you arrive during peak hours after work. Think Greenhills tiangge but purely for toys—it’s basically an even bigger and way better Shoppesville Plus. There are two floors filled with all kinds of collectibles from Hot Toys to lose Gashapon capsule toys. You can also find a lot of anime goodies here (Sailor Moon is still a popular bet), along with DC Comics and Marvel figures as well. While it used to be packed with action figures in years past, it’s now steadily becoming more of a Lego hub, as most minifigs, playsets, and loose bricks can be bought at an extremely cheaper price than here in the Philippines. I got myself a couple of Tsum Tsum collectibles (there’s one stall dedicated entirely to official Tsum Tsum merchandise straight from Japan!), while the hubby scored some Lego sets for himself.


Monday, January 4, 2016

I Fell In Love With The Boy In The Coffee Shop


No, it's not what you think.

It wasn't some random stranger, a fated young man on the far side of the cafe, our eyes meeting and lingering as I sit there in the corner of my booth, book in hand and the sweet aroma of brewing beans in the air. No, I don't turn my eyes away, my cheeks burning, half expecting him to get up and walk over to me until he finally does. He doesn't slide over, charm me with his smile, and strike up a conversation that will forever be immortalized and hailed as the most romantic conversation in the annals of history. No, I don't smile and he doesn't smile and we don't decide right then and there that this is it, the thing most people spend their whole lives searching for, rare and unadulterated and pure, the white-hot fire of raw love burning deep inside our hearts and threatening to consume us completely.

No, it was nothing like that.

But there was a young man. There was a lingering of eyes, a runaway fire, a coy smile, a spark.

There was a coffee shop.

And I fell in love.

.....

A secret meeting in a bookstore, when he called me and I turned around to see him. To this day, I still keep turning around for him, seeing his face light up and feeling my heart skip a beat. A trip to the comic book store. Some embarrassing geekiness. The realization that we are kindred spirits—broken and found and pieced together—and despite taking forever, our time has finally come.

.....

Falling in love is nothing grand.

On that first date, it's the twitch in the corner of his lips, a hint of a smile. It's him leading me across the coffee shop, the touch of his fingers on the small of my back—light, unsure, afraid. It's the endless stories we shared and the beauty of our silence, nodding our heads and feeling like we understood each other even though no words were said. It's him leaning forward on the table across from me, eager to hear everything. It's the wave goodbye, the promise of another meeting, the giddiness that reached up to our eyes. It's the way I bit my lip, my heart racing, thoughts of dancing in my room and me gazing out the car window on the way home.

I was twenty-three, and there I was, in a cheesy Taylor Swift song, one that I never wanted to stop. I’ve had my share of heartaches, but her song was right: on a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched love begin again.

.....

It’s been five years. Now I'm lying in bed in the dark, listening to the soft rise and fall of my husband's chest, my hand over his heart, his hand over mine. I can still see the hint of a smile on the corner of his lips, the same one that captivated me all those years ago. I can still feel the spark in his touch, the gentleness in his fingers. I can still see him, that shy stance and those hopeful eyes, as clear as the day we first met.

He is still that same boy in the coffee shop.

And every day, I fall in love with him.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2015

Contrary to popular belief, comics and graphic novels are not just all about DC and Marvel. Being a huge DC Comics fan myself, I can be pretty biased when it comes to what I think are the best. Still, 2015 was a big year for comics, and it’s only fair that we focus on what else is out there in this year-end roundup. So based on international rankings around the Web, here are a few representatives of the cream of the crop.

1.Sandman: Overture

After more than two decades since the world first read the epic tale of the Sandman, Neil Gaiman is back with a vengeance to bring us The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition. With beautifully surreal art by J.H. Williams III, the comic book is listed by Amazon as the best graphic novel of the year as chosen by the editors. The legendary story of the Dream King is reintroduced to the readers as a prequel to the main series released 25 years ago, and it chronicles just exactly what happened before Morpheus was captured—vulnerable, weakened, and burdened by an inexplicable conflict.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Book Review: ‘Wind/Pinball’ by Haruki Murakami

“One bright April afternoon in 1978, I attended a baseball game at Jingu Stadium, not far from where I lived and worked,” writes Haruki Murakami. “The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.”

Thus began the acclaimed writing career of one of the greatest novelists of our time. In Wind/Pinball, Haruki Murakami gives us a sneak peek into the early life and humble beginnings of the eccentric author. “I can still recall the exact sensation. It felt as if something had come fluttering down from the sky, and I had caught it cleanly in my hands. I had no idea why it had chanced to fall into my grasp. I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now. Whatever the reason, it had taken place,” Murakami continues in his introduction, The Birth of My Kitchen Table Fiction. “It was like a revelation. Or maybe epiphany is the closest word. All I can say is that my life was drastically and permanently altered in that instant—when Dave Hilton belted that beautiful, ringing double at Jingu Stadium.”

Saturday, December 26, 2015

How to Make Healthy Food Choices This Season

Just like Joey Tribbiani from FRIENDS, we’re all guilty of getting annoyed when somebody comments on our holiday weight. They do say that a moment on the lips will forever be on the hips, right? It’s tempting to eat mindlessly during the holidays especially when we’re celebrating with friends and family every single day, but making healthy food choices this season doesn’t have to be a hopeless battle. You really can beat the odds and indulge in your favorite food by keeping everything in moderation, and here are just a few tips on how to keep your calories in check this Christmas.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Best Books of 2015

If you haven’t spent the whole of 2015 reading, then it’s not too late for you yet. Here are the most popular literary works in fiction for the year according to online rankings and critics, so grab your copies and get reading!


1.Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

This generation of readers probably doesn’t realize how lucky it is to witness the release of a sequel to something that was published about half a century ago. As a companion novel to the smashing success that is To Kill A Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman brings Scout and Atticus back in a masterpiece by the one and only Harper Lee. Jean Louise Finch—or Scout as we all know her—is now twenty six years old, and she’s coming home amidst political turmoil to visit her father. The book beautifully chronicles the bittersweet, painful, and eye-opening journey of a young woman struggling to reconcile her past with her present. It no doubt brings justice to the American classic with the profound wisdom and touch of humor that only Harper Lee is known to bring. The novel may have been written in the mid-1950s, but Go Set A Watchman is more relevant to our current situation than we might expect.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Wish List: The Most Wanted Tech Toys This Season


Who says toys are just for kids? In this mobile world we live in today, Santa’s list will no doubt be filled with gadgets and gizmos our tech-savvy generation just can’t get enough of. Send out your wish lists and wait by your stockings with these most wanted tech toys this holiday season. 

1.BB-8 by Sphero


It’s Star Wars mania around the world this Christmas with The Force Awakens coming out this week. Join the craze with this adorable BB-8 droid. Not only is it fun to see rolling around with that head balanced (with magnets) on top, but it is also educational for kids—if you want to use them as an excuse for buying this cutie. Controlled via smartphone with a BB-8 app, the creative Sphero toy can spin away on most surfaces to bug the members of your household with its cuteness. Best of all, you can also use voice commands to order BB-8 around and view holographic recordings, so it’s the perfect gift for any Star Wars fan. This truly is the Droid you’re looking for! Learn more about this sweet plaything in the official Sphero Facebook page for the Philippine market here:  https://www.facebook.com/GoSpheroPH.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Best Films of 2015

Before the year comes to an end, it’s only fitting that we list down the most awesome movies that rocked the cinemas for 2015. From swearing teddy bears to the little voices in our heads, here are just some of the films that made our year.

1.Inside Out


Who’s your friend who likes to play? Yup, it’s none other than Bing Bong, right? With that rocket that makes you go hooray, and who’s the best in every way? If you’ve already seen this animated masterpiece, then you’re probably getting the sniffles by now.

The brilliantly creative minds at Pixar have done it again. Inside Out is an honest and heartfelt look at the emotions that drive us every waking hour of our lives, with a particular focus on Riley’s circumstances. The beautiful coming-of-age film is all about change and growing up, and about how we all need to adjust as we enter the real world. The personifications of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust are just too loveable not to enjoy, and as with any Pixar film, audiences should definitely get ready to cry their eyes out by the end of the movie. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Recap and Highlights of The Game Awards 2015


Already dubbed “video gaming’s biggest night”, The Game Awards 2015 certainly delivered last December 3rd in Los Angeles when it gave the fans what they wanted from the industry. The event aired live on gaming screens all over the globe, featuring much coveted awards, musical performances, exclusive world premieres, and major announcements from the industry’s biggest players. The Game Awards also offered huge discounts for gamers when they purchase titles at that very moment during the show on Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network. These sales include The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (which won the coveted Game of the Year award) for 50% off, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for 25% off on PlayStation Network, and 25% off for Pro Evolution Soccer 2016.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Video Game Releases This December


Our schedules may be fully booked for the holidays, but that’s no excuse—these hot new games are fresh off the developers’ desks and just waiting for us to play them. Here are some of the latest releases you simply can’t miss out on:

1.Just Cause 3


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

8 Ways to Have a Peaceful Christmas



“Christmas now surrounds us, happiness is everywhere. Our hands are busy with many tasks, as carols fill the air (Shirley Sallay).” Yes, it’s true that we’ll never be as busy as we are now during the holidays, but is that really what the season is all about? Instead of driving yourself crazy with all the errands you need to run here and there, check out our suggestions on what you can do to get some elusive peace of mind this Christmas.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Top Productivity Apps for the Busy Holidays

Now that the hectic holidays are upon us, you’re no doubt facing year-end deadlines left and right—not to mention all those family reunions and barkada get-togethers you just can’t excuse yourself from. Because everyone (including yourself) is fighting for your spare time and your weekends, it helps to have some life-saving productivity apps on your ever-reliable smartphone. Here are some of the top picks that you should download this season for your own sanity’s sake.


NaNoWriMo 911: Insider Tips on Getting Published

According to Harlan Coben, “Let me back up a little and tell you why I prefer writing to real life: You can rewrite. A novel, for example, can be cleaned up, altered, trimmed, improved. Life, on the other hand, is one big messy rough draft.”

While it’s true that writing can be revised, editing your novel to perfection is anything but easy. Now that we’re midway through National Novel Writing Month, do you already have something worth showing the world, or have you not even begun to jot down a single word? Writing your masterpiece is extremely difficult—we can all agree with that. But thanks to an editing master class I attended last month during the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators conference that our home country hosted this year, I at least got a glimpse of how editing actually works.

Award-winning author Sally Breen held a writing workshop last October 24th titled “What Editors Want”, and the class was just that—an insider peek at the publishing landscape so that we can finally find out what exactly editors want. She shared a bunch of do’s and dont’s on how to get noticed and how to rise above the so-called slush pile, so without further ado, here are some insider editing tips that I’m totally sharing with all of you (free of charge!):