Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saving Money

I am always looking for ways to save money as well as make money. My budget has been a bit tight lately since I stopped working and taking care of baby Brandon. As any parent would understand, diapers and formula are expensive. Mainly, I collect and redeem coupons. Here are some other ways I do to save money:

1) Coupons: I use them whenever I can. Oh, I recommend checking out SmartCanucks.ca forums to see other people’s coupons they are trading. (eg. Pampers, Huggies, baby food, etc.). Also, pick up a copy of the Entertainment Book. You'll find a lot of savings.

2) eBay: Depending on what I am looking to buy what I need, I occasionally browse eBay for deals. I’m pretty good at finding stuff that is cheaper than buying locally, even with the shipping added. Just have to remember to review the seller’s liability and watch out for brokerage fees if you are spending a high amount from outside Canada.

3) Local Classifieds: Sometimes I go online to browse local classified listings such as CraigsList or Kijiji. You might find some good deals if you are lucky. Also sell stuff that you don’t need nor use; someone else might find it useful to them. If it doesn’t sell, I’d just donate it or ask if any of my friends want it.

4) Trading: You might find someone who can trade your stuff for their stuff. I’ve had some success so far with item trades via CraigsList. It’s a good way to get rid of stuff that you don’t need, and at the same time get what you want. So far I’ve traded baby formula for a different brand and baby stuff for other baby stuff.

5) Clubs: Joining store clubs and newsletters (eg. Starbucks, Boston Pizza, Dairy Queen, Quiznos, NCIX, Toys-R-Us, Future Shop, etc.) can get you little perks/coupons and promos in your email. FuturaRewards.ca is another good one I recommend where members can earn cash rewards.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Ballistic Publishing: Exotique 4

The World's Most Beautiful CG Characters

Ballistic Publishing has recently released the latest Exotique art book series. Just after the release, I decided to buy a copy for my Christmas gift just a few months ago. I was so excited when I received it. I got the soft cover version instead since the Special Edition was a bit too much to pay for (and I am not getting much income from my maternity leave). Anyway, I was amazed by the breath-taken CG artwork from top artists around the world. It has inspired me to become a better artist.

In its fourth edition, EXOTIQUE 4 firmly establishes itself as the benchmark for CG character art featuring the work of artists from 45 countries (a record for the EXOTIQUE series).

EXOTIQUE 4 includes more art from China, Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore showcasing a broader range of styles and cultures. The work of 215 highly-talented artists fill EXOTIQUE 4 with 322 pieces of inspiring character art in genres from science fiction, fantasy, and anime, to photorealism and stylized realism.

EXOTIQUE 4 also packs an additional 30 pieces of artwork into 16 more pages than the previous edition.

The Special Edition hardcover includes 4 bonus high-quality prints. The bonus prints also come with the first 300 softcover editions.

Today I just received my May 2009 subscriber issue of ImagineFX magazine in the mail. Lucky for me, it came with the bonus prints that I missed out in the Exotique copy. YAY!

1. Pepper Superstar [Pepper character - Stanley Lau] by Mario 'Ryo' Wibisono (Indonesia)
2. Butterfly by Tang Yuehui (China)
3. Red Angel of Revenge by Yang Qi (China)
4. The Beckoning by Benita Winckler (Germany)

Also, check out the cover tutorial here on CG Society's Feature Article.

Ballistic Publishing is now calling for entries for the upcoming Exotique 5. I've entered my artwork and hopefully I will get selected.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to Playing Warcraft

Well, I am somewhat back to playing World of Warcraft. Since my little baby Brandon came along, I've stopped playing for a while. Currently on-and-off playing with my human mage and just reached level 76 now. The only chance I get to play when my hubby asks me and when Brandon is either sleeping or with the Grandparents.

Picked up some cool armor such as shoulder and a nice staff weapon (Chilly Sloberknocker) from the quest The Champion of Anguish. This one is a 5-man battle with a chained quest of 7 series.

Rewards include gold and the following items:

Icier Barbed Spear
Chilly Slobberknocker

Wodin's Second-Best Shanker
De-Raged Waraxe

Screw-Sprung Fixer-Upper
Crimson Cranium Crusher