Learning Japanese | Vocab & Phrases

Learning Japanese | Phrases & Grammar

MindSnacks Japanese

Hands down, my absolute favorite app thus far. It’s only on iphone/ipad, but it’s totally worth it if you own one. It’s free for the first lesson but I paid the $4.99 to access the rest. It’s amazing. If you’ve ever used the MindSnacks app before, you know that you learn key phrases through fun games, where it doesn’t feel like learning. This has given me very useful grammar phrases, like greetings, food, and numbers (so important!) and also teaches you in either romaji, kana, or kanji, so you can learn based on what you want. Personally, I already knew I wouldn’t be learning kanji so I focused on learning in kana.

Japanese from Zero

I admit, I got this book because it was one of the cheapest on Amazon, and had good reviews. I’m not disappointed. I’m making my way veryyyyy slowly through this and making flashcards with each lesson. So far it’s been very helpful – easy to follow, with manageable lessons. I think it’s been a great resource for the price, especially if you’re looking to learn at a leisurely pace.


I’ve only just downloaded Anki, but every article I’ve read says Anki is one of the best tools out there. It’s like a really powerful, pre-made flashcard software you download on your computer. I’ve downloaded a few decks so far and what I’ve found really helpful is the audio, and the way you can mark up or bookmark specific cards. We’ll see if I keep using this in the next few weeks.


Speaking of flashcards, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Chegg (an app on my phone) has a lot of decks in Japanese that you can download and study with. Or, like Anki, you can create your own (though I prefer to use ones people have already made). Unlike Anki, however, there’s no audio but I like the simple interface of being able to “turn over” cards. Because these are student-made, you’ll find everything from full kanji, words in hiragana, and words in romaji.


I mentioned this in my previous post, but that was for learning Basic Japanese, and I have moved on to learning the JLPT N5 vocab (though there isn’t a focus on learning kanji; it quizzes you based on hiragana and katakana, so if you learned that, you’ll be fine taking these courses). I wouldn’t call the terms I’m learning particularly useful for a vacation to Japan, but they’re basic words you’d learn in any language so it’s still interesting and of value to me.


As always, I’d love for you to share your favorite language-learning apps and tricks!


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since it’s now February (where did January go?!), that basically means it’s Valentine’s Day! Not my favorite holiday (nor a lot of people’s…) but it’s a great excuse to spend time with loved ones or get yourself a little pick-me-up. Speaking of pick-me-ups, here’s a little list of some fun valentine treats:

Valentine's 2016

Be Mine Card Cheesey, adorable, and to the point. For all the science nerds out there!

Pixel Heart Quilt This quilt is actually handmade by my friend, Tara! This is a large baby quilt, but I can see this being used easily as a lap quilt.

Pixel Washi Tape Use this pixel tape to tape up your valentine’s card – or for general scrapbooking goodness.

Romance Orée Board The ultimate romance for your geeky and gaming partner; you can choose initials to highlighted in red on the keyboard.

8-Bit Flower Bouquet Because real flowers are so boring, right?

Sailor Moon Cosmic Heart Necklace I have a different Sailor Moon necklace from this seller, and can say it makes a great gift.


What I Wore | Jedi Dress

I bought this awesome Jedi Dress by We Love Fine from Think Geek back in December for the premiere of Star Wars. Can we say awesome?

Kyla Is Inspired | Jedi Dress
Kyla Is Inspired | Jedi Dress
Kyla Is Inspired | Jedi Dress

The best part about this dress is it can be worn either with the hood up (like a true Jedi) or down as a cowl for a more elegant look. I’ve worn this dress to work with a cardigan a few times and everyone keeps complimenting me on my patterned scarf! ;)

I do prefer it with the hood up, but it’s not exactly a typical look. Fun to wear though! I paired it with some brown lace up boots and threw a sweater on because it’s cold. Since it’s sleeveless, I’m looking forward to wearing it during warmer weather.

Kyla Is Inspired | Jedi Dress

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of the Jedi, they also have a Sith dress. Which means I have to ask… are you a jedi or sith?


Cosplay | Neo from RWBY

Today I wanted to share with you my Neo cosplay from Rooster Teeth’s RWBY, worn to New York Comic Con back in October.

This was quite the challenge, as it required splicing two wigs together (a first) as well as heavily modifying a jacket pattern. Details are below!

Kyla Cosplay | Neo
Kyla Cosplay | Neo

Costume Details

Wig: I bought these two wigs from ebay. I follow Arda Wig’ splicing tutorial (method #3) as a guide. The white strands were from one Arda clip-in.To be honest, I shed a lot of tears and was finding wig fibers for weeks after. If you look closely at the seam, you can clearly see threads (quite clearly -_-). If I have a heavy wig project like this again, I’d probably commission it.

Jacket: Believe it or not, this started out with Simplicity 1299 (though I think 1300 might have been better). It was the only jacket pattern I had at the time…I ended up heavily modifying it and drafting the front and tail completely by hand. It took about 7 hours.

Corset: This technically isn’t a corset since there isn’t any boning, but I slightly modified my previous Fionna cosplay pattern. That pattern was drafted by hand and I’ve used it many times in the past years. However, here I think this could have benefitted from boning and I’ll definitely be adding that when I wear it again.

Parasol: I bought this parasol from Amazon, and a whole lot of fabric paint from Jo-Anns. I spent two nights watching Fate/Stay and painting both sides. Here’s a detailed shot from my instagram.

Boot Covers: I took a pair of old boots and draped some fabric over them, and pinned it into place. Using a marker, I marked where the panels needed to be, and used that mock-up as a pattern. Fabric was a heavyweight bottom fabric from Jo-Anns, and was interfaced. Once the panels were sewn together, I sewed on mock buttons and added velcro straps to go below the foot; the whole thing slips over the boot so there’s no need for a working closure down the side. Take a look at a progress photo for reference.

Kyla Cosplay | Neo
Kyla Cosplay | Neo

Photo: Rob Logan Media

Kyla Cosplay | Neo

Have you guys seen RWBY? Season 3 is currently airing, and I definitely recommend watching if you haven’t already. Besides Neo (who is sadly not in this season), Blake is my favorite character…who is yours?


*Follow my cosplay progress on Facebook & instagram!*


Drink Recipe | Magical Girl Cocktail

Hello lovelies, welcome to 2016! Who else is excited for what the year has to offer?

I’m starting this blog of with a sparkle with a magical girl cocktail as part of my nerdy drinks column!

Kyla Is Inspired | Magical Girl Cocktail

A friend of mine got me this gorgeous viniq liquor, and it legitimately sparkles. I’ve never seen it before in any store and was happy to learn it’s pretty affordable (because I’m definitely going to keep this in stock on my bar cart…) It was practically begging me to come up with a magical girl recipe.

Kyla Is Inspired | Magical Girl Cocktail

You will need:
  • 4 shots of viniq
  • 4 shots of cranberry juice
  • 1.5 cups of prosecco
  • 1 meyer lemon
  • Mix viniq, cranberry juice, and prosecco in a champagne glass
  • Add a splash of lemon juice and garnish with a lemon peel
  • Enjoy!

Super easy, fruity, sparkly, and delicious!

Kyla Is Inspired | Magical Girl Cocktail

Kyla Is Inspired | Magical Girl Cocktail

Of course I brought out my Madoka Magica babies to do this shoot with me. I definitely recommend this recipe for parties or a pick-me-up…because honestly, who doesn’t want to feel like a magical girl?

Let me know if you have any magical girl recipes you want to share, or if you try this one. It’s just so much fun!

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