Monday, February 27

How to Use Craigslist to Sell Stuff

"A couple of extra bucks could be floating in your direction." - Fortune Cookie

I have been using Craigslist forever it seems. I try not to buy too much stuff in general, but when I can't use or don't want an item anymore I will put it up on Craigslist. This is a great way to get a little back from your purchases or potentially make a profit on old collectible items.

10 things to keep in mind when selling on Craigslist:

- Get a feel for the site by taking some time to browse. See what others are doing, and pay attention to the ads in your category. The site is pretty straightforward. You need an account to sell (it didn't use to be like this). It's free, you just use your email address to sigh up, and you can start posting ads right away.

- Your junk is someone else's treasure. Never assume that people won't be interested in your stuff. Just because you don't want it doesn't mean someone else might not need it. It might be just what they're looking for. For instance, I put up a broken computer for parts, and it sold. For cheap of course, but nonetheless, someone needed it and could reuse it. My friends think I'm mad, but when the item sells it always surprises them and I'm happy to get it out of the house without throwing it away.

- Do not overprice. Be honest about the cost of your item. It will sell faster if you do. One way to check the value of something is to look it up on other sites like EBay or Amazon. This is especially useful for collectible items, because you might get way more than what you paid for it originally. I have sold retro video games for twice what I bought them for.

- Write a clear detailed description of your item and take pictures. This is so important. Just imagine searching for the ad yourself. The ads with pictures, a detailed description, and clear contact information is the one that gets the buyers. Let people know why you're getting rid of it as well, because it's natural for them to think that somethings wrong with it. It's reassuring to just let them know that you just don't use it anymore, or you need more room in your home. Keep search keywords in mind that people will use to find your item. Here's an ad example below of a PC game that I just sold to a nice lady. She got a great deal, because these boxes are going for twice that on EBay. Notice how I used both "World of Warcraft" and "WoW" in the title, because both titles might be typed in for searches.


World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Collector's Edition: WoW CE   

This RARE and OOP item is BRAND NEW and SEALED. It's in the original shrinkwrap and has never been opened or used.  It’s from my collection. I just need more room!


The WoW Burning Crusade Collector's Edition includes:

-World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade on both CD and DVD
-World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Behind-the-Scenes DVD
-The Art of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Hardcover Art Book
-Exclusive In-Game Pet: Netherwhelp
-Two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Starter Packs, plus Exclusive Cards
-Map of Outland Mouse Pad
-World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Soundtrack CD

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/burningcrusade/townhall/collectors.html

$125 and it's yours!


The item is adult-owned and comes from a smoke-free and pet-free home.
Please email me if you are interested.


- Be patient with your sale. This is really hit or miss depending on how hot your item is. I've sold some items on the day that I posted and others three years later (books specifically). Personally, it's worth the wait to give it to someones that loves it and you can get a little money back in return. I never throw stuff away, that would be sad. There is always a person out there that wants it.

- Don't let a buyer haggle too low. Sometimes it's just insulting and to top it off they want you to come to them. Don't waste your time, because someone will buy your item for the listed price. Also, it's courteous for the buyer to come to the seller. Don't get me wrong, in some special situations I'll come to them or give $5-10 discounts, but half off an item and an hours drive. No thank you. 

- Be aware of spammers and scammers. Sadly, this happens just like on any other site. The one email I get often is someone saying the are out of town and their assistant will pay you with a check or money order when they get the item. It's a copy and paste message and it's exactly the same every time. Report these emails to Craigslist and don't respond to them.

- Meet at a safe location. Buyers usually come to sellers, so I never meet at my house. It's just a precaution I take. Pick a crowded place like a coffee shop or library in the middle of the day. Ideally, something that you can walk to is great, because then no money is spent on gas and it's always nice to get some fresh air. Eco-friendly right! I typically don't meet after dark and I have someone come with me. I've never had anything happen, but I've heard stories of people getting robbed in dark parking lots. Just be careful.

- Always get a phone number. There have been times when I would get so excited to sell something (it's funny how I get sellers high, that's the minimalist in me), and the person would never show up without even letting me know that they couldn't make it. I would wait for them and waste my time. We live in a world where the ambiguity of an email makes us faceless, so there are no repercussions for selfishness. People don't care. So from now on I always get a phone number to avoid this from happening.

- Take down ads after the item has sold. This just keeps your account and Craigslist nice and orderly. It feels good to delete the sold-item ads, because it's like putting a big mental check mark next to it. Also, it will save you and other people the time if you have to reply to emails telling them that the item is already sold.


Good luck with Craigslist! Cleaning out the house, bringing a smile to someone's face with 
your old items, and earning a little extra money is always a good thing. It's worth the time.

♡ Claudia

Thursday, February 23

Blossoming Garden




Photography from my backyard townhouse garden in Northern California.


Also check out the Blossoming Garden Photography Video here:

Tuesday, February 21

Skyward Sword Zelda


A pretty little Zelda painting in honor of completing Skyward Sword after 65 hours.

The color swatches I made for this painting. Feel free to use it!

"Skyward Sword Zelda" - Painting Demo
Level: Advanced


Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Monday, February 20

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Zelda Booth at E3 2010

Zelda is something that's dear to me, as most of you already know, so when I heard about Skyward Sword I was excited about the next big Zelda. I wasn't a fan of Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks, so I figured a console Zelda would help heal old wounds. All though even when I saw it at E3 it wasn't enough to get me going. I thought that it had a pretty art style, but I wasn't too jazzed about it being another motion-controlled Zelda. Let me push "A" for my sword and I'm good, no waggling needed.


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- This game is so beautiful. It looks like every asset got Paint Daubed in Photoshop making it one of the most wonderful art directions I've seen yet. Definitely one of my favorite Zelda's from an art standpoint. The use of color is amazing, something as simple as saturated shadow hues, textures with a range of rich tones, and the use of complementary colors like with the soft orange clouds of Skyloft that go perfectly against the blue sky.

- Zelda and Link have a little thing going on. It seems like they like each other, which was nice because it's been awhile since there has been any hint of romance between the two. Perhaps because this is the origin story that the two hook up, and establishes that future generations could potentially be linked.

- The save system is interesting this time around. There are bird save statues scattered about, which changed the way I play. For instance you can save in a dungeon; where as before if you saved and then quit you would have to start off at the entrance. So this is a welcomed change.

- The character design is great, and not just the main characters. Even the NPCs, which are sometimes hit or miss (like in Twilight Princess I couldn't stand some of them), are all fantastic. Zelda, once again, is my favorite character. She's just so pretty and I'm very fond of her look. Her dresses are lovely and her little fringe is absolutely adorable.

- The environments are pretty too. I love all the locations and had fun exploring them. Especially the desert. It has such a gorgeous analogous color palette consisting of teals, yellow ochers, and orange rust reds. The puzzles and platforming in the desert are entertaining as well.

- The Sand Sea, the pirate-themed stuff, and all of the time changing done in the desert is very enjoyable.

- Very Prince of Persia because of similar platforming elements and the clawshots are reminiscent of how the Prince gets around with his claw. It's an interesting new direction. Even the desert changing to a lush green landscape reminds me of the fertile grounds.

- When you bottle a fairy it's the cutest animation. Sad though, because it bumps into the glass and tries to get out. Small details like that are nice.

- Beedle is awesome in this game. His "OOOOHHHH!" is quite amusing, and I found myself repeating him quite frequently. Also, I love that he has Target Lady hair.

- The love letter side quest is assuming. Unfortunately, I end up haunting poor Cawlin by giving his letter to the toilet ghost. I was just so curious to see what happened. Typically I would do the romantic thing, but not this time and I feel bad for him.

- Synthesizing is a cool little system that's been added to a Zelda for the first time. I enjoy upgrading my gear.

- The gossip stones dance when you strum your harp for they. It's super cute.

- The heart pieces are very pretty and well designed. Probably my favorite thus far.

- Collecting gratitude crystals for Batreaux is fun and it's nice to see him turn human. Plus the items he gives you for helping are useful. 

- Snagging levers with the whip through doors, and using the beetle to find hidden things is fun. I pretty much enjoy using all of the different items.


Cons

- Too much hand-holding at the beginning and the Skyloft intro is a little long. It would be fun to figure things out by yourself as you go. That's what made Zelda games fun in the past. A happy medium between help and doing things on your own.

- Precision with the Wii Motion Plus is not as accurate as advertised, and is hard and cumbersome to use. So any type of fighting, flying, or landing is hard to get the hang of. I find most of the game play to be annoying when asked to do something precisely. Like jumping off the edge of the Goddess Statue at the begin. Landing in a small area is a pain in the ass.

- Fi unfortunately is one of those annoying support characters that treats you like you're retarded. She repeats unnecessary information all the time, to the point that it's not helpful. That, and when she sings new songs she looks so weird, like she's broken or something. Not a big deal, but that animation could be better.

- The whole bird thing where everyone has their own special companion reminds me too much of Avatar. Especially the hero, Jake... I mean Link, getting the biggest most awesome red bird.

- No one knows what the surface is like, really? Clouds don't go away or the people of Skyloft don't just fly down there with their birds? Really? And it's always sunny on the surface, not cloudy like in the sky? Really?

- There's no way to fast-forward text. This is a major step backwards. I'm a fast reader so this is frustrating. Also, if you had to redo something, you couldn't skip text. It took way longer than necessary. 

- No voice acting once again. It would make this game so much better. If Link doesn't talk fine, but everyone else should. Nintendo's innovative with other things like motion controls, why not voice acting?

- Once again with most games, the Wiimote hurts my hand and arm. So I have to keep gaming to a minimum of a few hours a day.

- I don't enjoy the Silent Realm Trails. They're pretty and exciting at first, but having to redo them all too many times isn't enjoyable. Also, big scary things chasing you is stressful.

- The singing/harp music mini game at The Lumpy Pumpkin is so bad. Cursing up a storm trying to beat something is never fun.

- Eiji Aonuma, the director/producer of this title, recently told reports that he never beat the original Legend of Zelda. He said it was too hard and he didn't want to make Skyward Sword a game like that. What! So he basically didn't want to make a Zelda game.


So... Yeah. I don't recommend this game. I would even say that I've had enough of the franchise, to the point that I might just replay the old ones again if I ever feel like a Zelda again. Three games in a row have been disappointing, therefore it feels like a waste of time. It took 65 hours for me to beat Skyward Sword, so it wasn't quick. My insatiable curiosity always gets the best of me though and I always seem to give the new Zelda's a chance no matter what. We'll see what happens next time.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Friday, February 17

100% Pure Super Fruits Eye Balm Review

Awhile back, for my birthday, my sister Carin got me a gift card to one of my favorite stores, 100% Pure. I love them because they sell natural, organic, vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free products. Sometimes I cheat for makeup, because I don't wear it too much, but when it comes to skin and hair care it's all or nothing. Typically I just use olive oil or jojoba oil for all my skin care needs, but since I was treated to a gift I figured why not try something that I would never buy on my own.

So I picked out the 100% Pure Super Fruits Eye Balm ($26) which included free lotion samples:

Contains anti-aging fruits and helps moisturize the skin.

Usually I go to the store since the have some in my area, but this card was specifically for online. I don't like ordering online normally because of all the extra changes and the fact that I feel bad for all the wasted packaging. This company sadly was no exception for the packaging. The box was twice the size of the item and was filled with styrofoam packing peanuts. So that put a damper on my experience. I was hoping that since the company seemed so eco-friendly that they would be a bit more responsible about their packaging. At least brown paper, instead of styrofoam (Amazon has started to implement this, which is awesome).

Aside from that, they did include some lovely body cream samples that I used up right away. Their body cream is worth the money, and if you're into that, I highly recommend the Cabernet Grape Nourishing Body Cream. It's so yummy smelling that you just want to eat it. Don't worry, I haven't tried, but that's a good point about beauty products - If you can't eat it, it probably shouldn't go on your body. Chemicals seep straight into your bloodstream through the skin, so the less toxic stuff you put on your body, the better.

Back to packaging though, the eye balm came in a large paper case which wasn't necessary. Unless it's protective in some way to help keep light and heat out there is no reason to have it. It's made from 100% recycled paper and is recyclable as well, but less is more when it comes to trash. Reduce first, then recycle.

The small glass container is about the size of a silver dollar

The balm is nice, soft when warmed with the heat of one's finger, and has a wonderfully luxurious texture. It's super moisturizing and helped me get rid of my dry skin. This winter I seem to sometimes have a dry patch on my right eyelid, something that's brought about by the cold weather and excess heater usage. This eye balm helped it, and would make it go away completely if used daily. Although, jojoba oil does the same thing, and is a faction of the cost. 

As far as anti-aging benefits go, it's too hard to tell. I have been using it for months now and am almost out, but still haven't seen any improvements. Although, there is not much to improve because I don't really have any wrinkles. So I might not be the best candidate for that; it was primarily for prevention. 

Overall it's a great, thick moisturizer for the winter but don't expect it to erase years off your face. Eating right, exercise, sleeping well, and low-stress living plays a much bigger role than anything topically applied to the skin. So I won't be repurchasing this, unless I have similar dry skin issues next winter, because my jojoba oil will work just fine for the summer months.

Love Claudia  xx

Monday, February 13

My Attempt at the SF Chinese New Year Parade

 "Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power." - Fortune Cookie

Over the weekend I went to the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. It was my first time going and I didn't know what to expect. I was invited early last year by my friend, Arnold, so I was very excited that the day had finally arrived. Before making my way down to the parade, I went to the farmer's market (because I go every Saturday) and was fortunate to receive some free mandarins with the leaves attached from one of the fruit stands. I was so grateful! Farmer Paul told me to hand them out at the parade because the people would love them. They're symbolic of "the sun, and connect with the yang principle, which represents the positive element and generative force in nature." (Read more here)

So I was just beaming at the fact that I got to hand them out. Of course I did; they all went to lovely people that I meet along the way. You can't beat fresh locally-grown organic fruit! Sadly though, things did not go very smoothly when I got into San Francisco. I arrived an hour and a half early and it was already extremely crowded. I have never seen the city like that before. I figured that I best find a good spot for us to watch since I was the first one in. Unfortunately, my friends arrived a bit too late and could not cross the street because the parade already started. I was on one side of street corner, and they were on the other.

I decided since I knew the city well that I would be the one to come to them, but that meant that I had to go around the entire parade route. That took me about two hours to do because of the crowds. It made me sad that I missed most of the parade trying to get there. Also, because of this, I didn't get to take a lot of photos. So the ones I got weren't as "artistic" as I would of liked.

Here are a few shots that I took:

Me trying to find a good spot before the parade begun.

Look! A pretty blue dragon in the clouds.

 The staging area at the very beginning of the parade route.

White lions love adorable children.

 Visa Float?

Red lion awesomeness.

Does anyone know why the dragons chase the ball?

 Watching the parade go by...

 Firecrackers in the middle of the blocked-off Chinatown street.


That's pretty much it. Despite all of the things that went wrong I had an enjoyable time overall. Seeing my friends made up for it, and the good definitely outweighed the bad. I will never forget my first large parade experience in a major city, and now I know to get there even earlier.

Has anyone ever been to a Chinese New Year Parade?
~Claudia

Friday, February 10

Recycled Toilet Paper Can Save 425,000 Trees A Year?

Cracked.com always has the most amusing articles, but 5 Seemingly Innocent Ways You've Screwed The World Today really got to me. Why you might ask? 

Read the article here:

Well, because these things listed are the easiest things to fix. It's interesting to see the reader comments as well because some of the people are talking about overpopulation issues which encapsulates all of the topics discussed. That aside, the things listed are pretty easy to fix if people just wanted to. That's probably the point though, most do not care.

It's super easy to unplug your electronics from the wall. I've been doing that forever. When I'm done, it gets unplugged. Also, don't even get me started with birth control. If it kills fish, just imagine what it could potentially be doing to you if you use it. Natural is always best, just be safe about it. Lastly, it was the part about recycled toilet paper that interested me most.


"Even though we'd save 425,000 trees per year if every household in the country would replace a 
single roll of triple-layered Charmin with a recycled alternative." - Cracked.com


Just one roll! Oh my, that's good news. The fact that 75% of the world doesn't even use toilet is great, but that doesn't excuse the one's that do. If you choose to use toilet paper, please oh please, make sure it's recycled.

Here's the brand I've been buying for years, and it doesn't hurt me in anyway. It's soft and awesome. Try it, and you just might save a gazillion trees.

Trader Joe's 100% Recycled Bath Tissue - $4.49 for 12 rolls


Being eco friendly is totally awesome, and so is this toilet paper. So pick some up right away.
Cheers,
~Claudia

Wednesday, February 1

Look of the Month :: Winter 2012 :: February

Where is the rain this month? I'm sad about that. Our plants in the garden are so yellow and unhappy. Typically by this time of year they're bright green and full of life. So I hope it rains soon. That being said, I've been focusing on creating new things this month. Art, writing, and videos. To keep going with old projects and begin some new ones. February's a great time of year for that. Winter's on it's way out and so is the heavy coloring blocking of the season. Here's a look that reflects that, it's colorful but is toned down. A natural look with a pop of color; in which the navy blue is a reflection of my mood.

The current look is:
F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 2


Color trends for this month:
Navy, mustard, carmine, white, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
The end of winter, making art, and being adventurous


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 2

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Jojoba Oil Benefits - 10 Amazing Ways To Use It | CLAUDIASUTTON.blogspot: Health and Lifestyle