Happy easter 2014!

Happy easter everyone! :D Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

This is one of the busiest weekends of the year here, not because people care much about celebrating easter, but since you get a few days off work and school EVERYONE goes on holiday. The stores are packed with shoppers, the mountain resorts are packed with vacationers, and the roads are packed with traffic.

Normally we’d go somewhere too, but I have a cold and don’t feel well, so we’re just staying home. Which feels really good actually. 4 days of just relaxing and sleeping in, how lovely doesn’t that sound?!

Easter 2014 - decoration

As is tradition, I’ve put up some decorated branches outside the front door. This year I got not only birch, but also some willow branches with catkins on them. I love catkins, they’re so cute and fluffy, like little botanic kittens. :heart:

In addition to the coloured feathers and wooden eggs, I also got a bunch of little witches to decorate with. Gotta love how easter gives me an excuse to go crazy with colours and cute decorations! Less is not more if you ask me – more is more and less is a bore. ;)

Stay safe and don’t overdose on chocolate!

Easter 2014 - willow catkins

Easter 2014 - witch

Entering the world of Windows phones

Karins Lumia 1020

Behold my new shiny! Ok, not that new seeing as I bought it in February… but newer than my old phone. My previous (and first) smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy S2, which I loved it dearly, but after 2 years I felt compelled to upgrade.

The reason I went with Android last time was simply because it seemed to be the more open and customizable alternative for mobile phones. I have an iPad and when comparing iOS to Android I thought Android looked much more fun to work with. In hindsight I belive it was the right choice, Android suits me way better than iOS.
At first I was aiming for another Android device, but in my search I stumbled upon a bunch of info about Windows phones (WP for short), and got interested.

I like trying out new technology, and the look of both the phones and the user interface really appealed to me. In the end I decided to take my chances with a Nokia Lumia 1020.

Karins Lumia 1020

The Lumia 1020 comes in black and white too, but I chose yellow because why not?

This isn’t a tech blog, and there are many great reviews out there already, so I’m not going to get into a lot of detail about specs and such. I just wanted to share a few points of interest:

Nokia + Windows phone = drop dead gorgeousness.

The user interface is BY FAR the fastest and most beatiful thing I’ve ever seen. It looks smooth and runs even smoother. I love having colourful tiles instead of icons, it’s fun to change the tiles around and fiddling with colours and sizes to create interesting combinations. I also love how things aren’t hidden in a bunch of menus and folders and stuff, everything is right there, in a list.

I didn’t have any difficulties learning a new operating system either, everything felt intuitive to maneuver. Biggest issue was having the “back” button on the opposite side of the phone. :P

The hardware is equally beautiful. There are no seams or cracks, just one solid shape with a glass display on one side. I love it. If you want beauty, you want a Nokia.

Apps are, unfortunately, not aplenty

There aren’t as many apps for WP as for the others, which I guess is understandable since it has a much smaller userbase.

For me it isn’t much of a problem as I don’t use that many apps and my needs are pretty basic. I want the common social media apps like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc., and I also want Reddit and Endomondo.
None of that has been problematic to find, but you can tell some of the companies have put way less effort into their WP apps compared to the iOS or Android versions. For example, the standard Instagram app for WP feels like something they scribbled together over the weekend compared to Instagram for Android. Luckily there are unofficial Instagram apps that do the job better.

Can’t say anything about games as I don’t play games on my phones, but I assume it’s the same story there: much less to choose from.

The Lumia 1020 camera is kickass

This phone has a really imressive camera, which is one of the main reasons I wanted it, and it does take beautiful pictures. It’s almost like having a real camera, with all imaginable settings and functions.
I’m not really that knowledgeable about photography, so I don’t know what most of the settings mean, but having this makes me more interested in it. Maybe I’ll finally learn what ISO means, haha!

So far I’m really happy with the phone.

It works well and looks good. Because I’m a clutz, I’ve dropped it to the floor a couple of times, but it didn’t seem to mind. Didn’t break anyway. The battery lasts for about 2-3 days with regular use (some surfing, some texting, some calling).
Also, it’s actually kinda fun having an unusual phone. People actually react when they see it and asks questions. :) I haven’t regretted my choice yet.

My 31st birthday

You know, turning 31 is considerably less traumatic than turning 30. Going from being a 20-something to 30 felt like such a huge step, but now that it’s done it’s like, well, done. I’m going to assume the next age crisis won’t come until I’m turning 40. :P

But I have to tell you about my birthday, because it was fantastic!

Markus had told me in advance that he had planned something for the evening, but he wouldn’t tell me what. Up until I left work on Tuesday, I had no idea what we were doing. And I love surprises! :D

First stop: pub dinner

The Bishop’s Arms is arguably the best pub/restaurant in town, they serve real nice food and have pretty much any beer you can think of, and that’s where we headed for dinner. I had an amazing club sandwich served with french fries, salad, coleslaw and aioli. My stomach is still stuffed…

My birthday 2014 - dinner

Second stop: the great shopping challenge

There was an event in town that night called the “Inspiration Evening”. It was like an indoor faire with a bar, fashion shows, lotteries, and a bunch of other events. Most importantly though, there were lots of local businesses selling their products at discount prices. Once we got there Markus handed me an envelope with some cash in it:

My birthday 2014 - the challenge

“Shopping challenge 2014!
By 20:45 tonight the contents of this envelope must be spent, what remains will be discarded.
Let le spending start!
Good luck!”

See, I’m a pretty bad shopper.
I tend to get cheap and refrain from buying stuff, even if I can afford it, and even if I really want them. If it’s not practical or needed, I probably won’t spend money on it. So the challenge was to get me to buy stuff I want, not need, for once. :P

It was hard at first, but I made it! Not a bad haul, I must say. Not bad at all. ;)

My birthday 2014 - shopping challenge haul

My birthday 2014 - deer box
My birthday 2014 - Salvador and Pablo
  • A white wooden container box thingy
  • A bunch of cute tissues
  • Salt and pepper shakers with Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso (so funny!)
  • Two rice ladles
  • A little white owl
  • A ridiculously embellished metal box with a deer (isn’t it hypnotising?)
  • Refridgerator magnets in the shape of hummingbirds
  • Patterned tote bag from RICE

Final stop: the movie theatre

The night ended at the movie theatre where we had tickets for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
I guess people don’t go to the movies so late on weekdays, because we were the only people in the salon save for 3 teenagers. It was almost like a private screening, having neraly the entire movie theatre to ourselves.

The movie itself was actually brilliant. I hadn’t really heard much about The Grand Budapest Hotel before, and during the first scenes I had my doubts. A shabby hotel in eastern Europe didn’t sound very interesting… But then the plot took off, and it was genius!
I found the movie was both interesting and entertaining. The story was really funny, and it was impossible to predict what would happen next. The characters were hilarious, and almost every one of them was played by well-known actors: Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, Jude Law, Edward Norton…
And the visuals… This is a seriously beautiful film, on par with The King’s Speech in terms of amazing interiors and settings. I found myself wanting to press “stop” and “print screen” more than once.
In short: I can definitely recommend it!

Yeah, this was a good birthday. :)

LOTRO fanart dump

I’m a big fan of the MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online and spend more time than I’d like to admit playing it. I think I’ve talked about it before. :P

When it comes to MMORPG’s I’m an altoholic, I love making characters and always end up having a whole bunch of them. Some I play more than others, of course. Like Tallind, the elf Guardian from Lindon:

Karin Persson - elf watercolour sketch

Karin Persson - elf promarkers

Another adventure in ProMarkers

Tallind is my main character. Guardians are the tank class of LOTRO, with heavy armour and insane defense. She doesn’t dish out as much damage as Champions and Captains, but on the other hand she’s damn near impossible to kill, and that’s kind of what I like about her. There’s something so satisfying about jumping fearlessly into a horde of enemies and be able to keep them all in check, despite being severely outnumbered.

“Come at me orcs!” :rock:

Karin Persson - LOTRO characters

Tallind, Rothryn and Nimmaer.

Rothryn is a woman (human) Hunter from Rohan, which basically means she’s an archer and use a lot of traps and sneaky stuff.
Nimmaer is an elf Loremaster from Mirkwood. Loremasters are the magicians of LOTRO and can have pets, so that’s her raven companion on her shoulder.

LOTRO characters

My 4 “normal-sized” ladies. ;)
Rothryn, Tallind, Nimmaer, and to the far right, Lithfora of Gondor, a woman Champion.

Karin Persson - hobbit sketch

My “fun-sized” lady, the hobbit minstrel Dovila. :P
The Minstrel is a class that is rather unique for LOTRO. You fight with music and songs rather than with weapons, which is quite interesting. And actually pretty awesome. Imagine encountering a giant spider and PLAY it to death, haha!

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