Today, I want to write about my battlestation. A lot of my hobbies involve my computer and I spend even more time here than ever since WFH was mandated back in March. As with all things, i’m all about the aesthetics so when I moved in with Dustin, and he said that I could use the den as my office, the cogs in my brain started turning. I measured out the space and, to my dismay, every configuration that I came up with was about an inch too long to properly fit. This room is just the right size that any standard desk I was finding either wouldn’t fit or wouldn’t make efficient use of the space. I had decided that I wanted a rounded corner desk for my computer area and that posed yet another obstacle; the specific corner piece (Ikea LINNMON / ADILS Corner Table) that I wanted was no longer sold at Ikea Canada. I scoured Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace every day to no avail until I finally realized that I could just make a “Searching for” post. Within a day, a kind soul responded and sold me the piece I needed for only $20. The next step was to construct the rest of the desk. What I ended up doing was buying a rectangular LINNMON tabletop (also on Craigslist, for only $10) and cutting it into pieces to fill out the rest of the space. The challenge with this was that LINNMON is mostly honeycomb inside, with only solid areas at the parts where the legs get attached. Luckily my dad is a handyman so he helped me hammer some wooden planks into the now-exposed ends to serve as something for the legs to drill into. I already had two 2×2 Ikea Kallax units that I wanted to use as supports for the desk but unfortunately they were the wrong height to work with Ikea’s standard table legs. To solve this, I commissioned someone from Facebook Marketplace to make some metal hairpin legs, painted teal; I am really happy with how they turned out and I think they make my desk even more unique. I also got him to make some little miniature ones which I used to build a riser for the middle monitor.

Remember how I said that I had two 2×2 Kallax units? Well, I was wrong! It turned out that one of them was actually EXPEDIT, which is a little bit taller. It was about an inch or so shorter than the final height of the rest of my desk so I ended up putting it in the corner opposite my computer area to serve as extra table space. The 1″ height difference annoyed me but it was something I could live with…until one day, while wandering the Ikea as-is section, I discovered a shelf on sale for $5 that was the exact dimensions needed to act as a riser. I stuck it under the EXPEDIT unit and now everything sits perfectly flush! The EXPEDIT just feels like an extension of the rest of the desk now.

The area not occupied by my computer is my crafting space. It’s the perfect size for sewing, resin-crafting, or whatever other project I happen to be working on. I picked up a nice desk mat from Ikea to keep it clean and protected.

Once I had the desk in place, the next step was to decorate! I thought about going for the same cozy, airy feel of my last battlestation but decided to opt for something more neon. Cyber Tokyo by Alex Knight was my main inspiration but, being the sugar fanatic that I am, I also wanted to integrate candy somehow. Luckily, I found some neon lights on AliExpress, two of which are popsicle shaped! This was perfect because my mouse is the Mionix Ice Cream and I have the corresponding popsicle-covered deskpad. I also have a pencil case with popsicles on it that I picked up at Daiso during one of my trips to Japan. To go along with the candy theme, my favourite hand cream is the Skin Food Gummy Bear. The packaging is too cute to throw away and I haven’t found a way to refill them so I had just been stashing away my emptys. Since they’re purple, they matched my theme perfectly! I kept teal as a primary colour so I was able to use a bunch of things from my previous set-up. I ordered a bunch of posters from Society6 and put them up on the walls and got some coasters, also from Society6, to keep my desk white. I also picked up some LED light strips on Amazon where I can set the colour from an App on my phone and used those to add pink and blue back-lighting.

Overall, i’m extremely happy with how it all came together!

Now that the space is so cozy and aesthetic, the only issue I was having was the temperature; often it would be so cold that my hands would be too stiff to play games and with the built-in heating, it would usually warm up just about when I was done playing. Dustin solved this issue for me; for Christmas, he bought me a little space heater and did a bunch of research to find an awesome one that perfectly matches my space. It’s amazing; aesthetic, has a remote control, and, most importantly, warms me up super quickly!

P.S. here is what it looked like before

More photos →

Travel Keyboard

This post will be short and sweet. I just wanted to show off my beautiful keyboard. I have a Macbook but I hate typing on it so I wanted a 60% keyboard that would be easy to lug around with me. I was very tempted to try building my own but that seemed like a dangerous rabbit hole to go down, and would also have required investing in tools that I probably wouldn’t use for anything else. Instead, I decided to buy this keyboard with Cherry Browns from AliExpress. The posting shows it with black pudding keycaps but I messaged the seller and they were kind enough to swap them out with white ones instead. I ended up changing them with my NPKC Rainbow Keycaps but now I have a white set for if I ever get bored. It’s so beautiful and I love typing on it. Very happy with my purchase.

30th birthday

Back in January, I turned 30 and, thanks to Dustin, it was a celebration the likes of which I would have never even imagined. You see, I have always wanted a surprise party but I never thought it was something that would happen for me. At the very least, I thought that even if someone tried to plan one for me, that I would figure it out and end up just feigning surprise. December for us, and particularly for Dustin, was very busy. We visited his family in Edmonton and he spent the last week of December and first 2 weeks of January pretty sick. On top of that, when it comes to planning things, i’ve known him to be pretty last minute. For example, when we went to England in 2018, he booked his hotel room and exchanged money on the morning of our flight. With all of these things in mind, I didn’t think he’d have had the time or energy to plan an extravagant birthday for me but boy was I wrong…

About a week or so before my birthday, he casually asked me how I wanted to celebrate. I was kind of annoyed by this as he knows I hate planning things so I sassed back, telling him that what I want is to not have to decide what we do. He pointed out that there was a new exhibit at Science World doing a pre-opening adults night on the day of my birthday, featuring Lego architecture. Knowing that I like Lego and have a civil engineering background, he suggested that we do that and “all my drinks would be on him”. I grumbled and said “mehhhhh”, reminding him that “it’s not my 29th birthday and it’s not my 31st birthday; it’s my 30th birthday!”. I spent the rest of the night kind of annoyed but was over it by morning.

One of our friends had been hit by the car while biking and spent 27 days in the hospital so we had been trying to visit him as often as we could. The hospital he was at was downtown so we had been taking the SkyTrain and walking there. During one of our visits, we saw an ad at a bus stop for the Science World event and I was feeling more cheerful by then so I told Dustin that we should do his suggestion and celebrate my birthday there. It actually did seem fun and we had gone to a previous adult night there, which was a blast. Lame as it sounds, I was actually excited.

Dustin’s brother and niece had been in town so we had dinner with them a few times. The hotel where they were staying was right next to an amazing sushi restaurant called Miku. It’s one of the top sushi places in Vancouver and that’s saying something, because Vancouver has a lot of great sushi joints. Miku would have been my first choice place to spend my birthday but I didn’t choose it because Dustin is a vegetarian so it just didn’t feel right to drag him to a sushi place. One day, seemingly out of the blue, Dustin commented that he hadn’t been to Miku in a long time (since before he became a vegetarian!) and we should go. I was very surprised but wasn’t going to argue with that! He said he’d call and try to get us a reservation. I suggested that we also stop by Pourhouse afterwards to end the night with some drinks and he happily agreed.

Continue reading →

Out Of This World

If Dustin and I ever decide to do something, we tend to go all out on it. We both work at the same place and luckily our employer has the same idea when it comes to the annual holiday party; they go ALL OUT. The theme for the last one was “Out Of This World”. It was pretty open to interpretation but we went for a metallic, holographic look.

I bought this amazing cage dress in holographic silver from MONAMORaccessories on etsy. Dustin ordered a turquoise sequinned blazer from Amazon. When we were in Vegas, he found this perfect pair of holographic converse. They were kind of expensive, but they were so pretty and perfect for our look so he ended up buying them. I was dreading wearing heels so I actually ordered a pair online since they didn’t carry my size at that store but mine arrived two days after the party so I wasn’t able to wear them. I think it turned out to be for the best though because the heels looked way better and were actually super comfortable because I managed to break them in by then.

Also while in Vegas, we happened upon a shop selling these awesome hats. By the way they looked, we were both expecting them to be super expensive but were surprised to find that they were actually only around $30-$40 USD. We each picked one up and they ended up being perfect; I feel like they really pull our look together. Dustin also ordered an acrylic cane on Amazon. When it arrived, the bottom rubber piece was gray, which made it look a bit geriatric, so he spray painted it white, and stuck a blue light inside. It ended up looking super cool because the light radiated up the acrylic, lighting up the whole cane.

My friend, the super-talented Nina did my make-up and I am so happy with it. It was heavily inspired by this piece from one of my favourite artists, the late Qinni, and I think it turned out beautifully.

Our employer pulled out all the stops for this party. The food was amazing, and there were bunch of activities going on like laser tag, charicatures, alien beauty bar, and various interesting photobooths. Lots of people were dressed up and I saw a bunch of different space and sci-fi costumes. The decor was my favourite part, everything looked so awesome. It was very immersive, right from the moment that you enter. You forget that you’re actually in a hotel conference room!



More photos →

Rainbow Ducky

Pastel ducky

Today I wanted to talk about my keyboard.

My relationship with keyboards has been an interesting one because I have always been very particular but not always very discerning. When I first built my desktop back in 2013, I didn’t want to bother spending any extra money on peripherals so I just used things that my dad already had lying around. Among these was an old dell rubber dome whose grip pads had already peeled off. Over time, as I became used to it, I also grew attached to it. In retrospect this was terrible because it truly was an awful keyboard. The lack of grip pads was especially problematic because I needed it to be positioned on my desk in a very specific way otherwise I would feel severely handicapped in whatever game I was playing. My brother would always tease me about how I was so attached to something so crappy and he could never understand why I wouldn’t just buy a new one.

One day I woke up and decided that I wanted a keyboard with a backlit keys. I didn’t care about the specs and I didn’t know the difference between a rubber dome or a mech; all I knew is that backlighting looked pretty so I needed it. Still not wanting to spend much on a keyboard, I turned to CraigsList where I found a CM Storm Trigger with Cherry MX Browns for a very reasonable price. This was my foray into mechanical keyboards.. It wasn’t gaming, it wasn’t coding, it wasn’t even stumbling upon r/mk and discovering the endless possibilities for customization. Nope. I accidentally converted myself to mechanical simply by being cheap and superficial.

Pretty in pastel

Once I got used to that keyboard, I knew that there was no way I could go back to using mushy rubber domes which posed a new challenge when it came time to re-design my room. Like I said, i’m a very particular person so that meant every aspect of my room had to be perfect. This resulted in me buying a new monitor, tower case, and mousepad. I wasn’t able to find a white or mint green speaker system so I sewed matching covers for my existing one. My headset was already white so all that was left was my keyboard and my mouse. The only mouse i’ve used so far that properly fits my grip is the Razer DeathAdder but unfortunately it only comes in black. I ended up finding an older one (with the blue backlight instead of green), again on CraigsList, and I will be taking it apart and painting it glossy white in the future. For my keyboard, the process was a little bit more complex.

After discovering r/mk, I became very excited with all the possibilities available for customization. Things like custom cables, keysets, and artisan keycaps..really just so many opportunities to turn it from a hunk of metal and plastic into a work of art. I already knew that I wanted a white keyboard–that was a given–with Cherry MX Browns, as I loved the feel of my CM Trigger, but how could I allow myself to see all these other wonderful possibilities for customization without capitalizing on any of them? That just wouldn’t be right.

Other matching peripherals

I knew that this time for backlighting, I wanted more colours than just red. Ideally I would have liked my keyboard to have the full spectrum available but I was okay with just red and blue as long as they could be mixed to make various hues of pink and purple. I wanted it full-sized for no other reason than just having more space for pretty keys. I’ve always thought that artisans look impractical so I figured the extra numpad could be used as a place to put them if I ever became (i.e. had the resources to become) a collector. I also stumbled upon a beautiful set of pastel rainbow keycaps and once I had seen it, I had to have it. You see, the world of mechanical keyboards is a world of no turning back; once you’ve entered it, you continue to discover more and more things that you want until your wallet is empty and your desk is full.

I ended up buying my keyboard on MechMarket, a beautiful white-cased Duck Shine 4 with Cherry MX Brown switches. It wasn’t cheap but it was what I wanted and i’m very happy that I sprung for it. For the keycaps, I bought the front-printed NPKC Rainbow Keycaps from MassDrop. I actually think that the blank ones look a lot prettier but i’m not familiar enough with key content to fly blind like that. Front-printed allowed me to have the beauty of the blanks when viewed from above while still having the option to easily see what’s on each key. I also bought three Gen.S Gem Artisan Keycaps from MassDrop in Rose, Turquoise, and Jade and was able to win a raffle with Bad News! Keycaps; the cap I got was quite simple but it has a pearly opalescent shine to it which is one of my favourite things. It now sits proudly atop the ESC key. Lastly, I ordered a custom USB cable from 90N1NE and I am very happy with it. It is a beautiful teal colour that perfectly matches my storage boxes and it looks great with the gem artisans and rainbow keycaps. He also let me order some extra teal sleeving which I plan to use on the cable for my mouse when I finally get around to it.

Discovering r/mk has also ignited another fire in me and that is artisan keycaps. They look so beautiful and I have always liked the idea of working on small scale things like that. I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head for caps that I want to make. When I have time, I’d like to learn to create silicone molds and also learn resin-casting so that is a project I will look forward to doing in the future. Another thing to mention about r/mk is that it’s one of the friendliest and most welcoming Reddit communities that I’ve stumbled across. Of course I’m sure there are exceptions, but overall, their community seems to consist of a lot less snarky and catty people than I’d typically expect to encounter on a hobby-based subreddit.

As far as MassDrop goes, i’ve participated in 3 drops and have had a good experience with all of them. Everything that i’ve ordered has been great quality and has arrived either earlier or exactly when it was supposed to. The gem keycaps took a while to be prepared and ship out but I already knew the expected timeline when I committed to the drop. Recently i’ve been seeing reviews from people who have had terrible experiences with drops so be sure to do your due diligence and conduct thorough research before committing to anything.

Overall, i’m thrilled with how my keyboard turned out. It makes me happy to be surrounded by pretty things and I can now proudly say that my keyboard is not only pleasing to the touch, but pleasing to the eyes as well.

More photos →