Sunday, 1 January 2017

Hello 2017!

Morning glorious 2017!!

The past year had been my year of hibernation, spending most of it bed-bound nursing illnesses whilst battling career rifts and unemployment. I was told according to astrology / feng sui / fortune telling that 2016 was going to be a tough one for me but as much as I didn't want to believe it, I eventually surrendered.

I had a major health episode at the beginning of the year, one that shook up some seriously cold reality checks and had to grow up immediately over. I relocated back home, broke off some toxic relationships (personal and work), then suffered a whole bunch of unexpected culture shocks (physically and mentally).

A lot of people had been asking after Karina Dash on instagram, and I'm eternally grateful for these kind souls especially when it comes at the most unexpected but needed times. I think I'm finally ready to talk about this, and clarify a few things for those who are interested. Karina Dash started off as a fun & games outlet for me, but it picked up a storm so unexpectedly quickly that consumed my whole life in a blink of an eye. I was feeling so exploited towards the end, and even the biggest global names were taking advantage of my puny one-man-band. Perhaps I should have realised the need to acquired an entourage earlier, perhaps I should have been more legal savvy from the start, perhaps I should have been less naive and handled the whole thing as a business instead of a hobby or passion. Sometimes I wonder if I had ruined this opportunity that a lot of people would only dream of. Sometimes I still think it was a dream. Either way, I chose to let it all go and watch the cards fall where they may. I had rapidly lost about 2k followers in the first few months and it was painful to watch. So I stopped checking. Now though, I realise over 7k of you are staying firmly put and I honestly can't tell you how grateful I am for your support (or how many neglected accounts there are out there lol). So I feel compelled to announce officially that Karina Dash will most probably never come back to how it was recognised. That version was me on a dangerous dosage of steroids fed by people who were supposed to take care of my pay cheque. I have, however, recently started entertaining the thought of reinventing the account. It will be a lot less glamorous but probably a lot more personal. I am prepared for a phase of unfollowers so it will be a process I guess! We'll see we'll see...

I had also finally landed a full-time job by August-end and had been rehabilitating into a 9-6 ritual since. It had been hard if I was being totally honest, to go from globe-trotting and getting recognised at comic cons to an desk life getting bullied by small minded people. Am I practically Kara Danvers? Hah I wish I can fly. And Kryptonian. It's actually a pretty cool company; works towards making viral videos (like a fraction of a speckle of buzzfeed) and I'm a content creator there :)

I'm a survivor of 2016, and I feel stronger and more optimistic than ever.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Captain America: Civil War

So I watched Civil War the other week - with my mother, lol. My sister and I couldn't have been more excited, finally booking tickets; then my mom overheard and totally wanted in. Coolest mom ever.

The film was epic. I feel like superhero movies have been taking a slippery slide and I especially had to brace myself after reaching a new low with BvS (so painful to say that I can't even type their names out-loud). Civil War was action packed from the start to finish and it was in a fantastic way - not in a hectic and messy can't-even-see-what-I'm-watching way. The sequences were so sleek and that big fight scene at the airport everyone can't get enough of!! As if in our wildest dreams we got to watch exactly how one beloved character would fight another.

It was impressive how refined each character was and literally no one I felt was left out with not-enough attention. Everyone's emotions were so real, what stuck with me most was the grace and loyalty Black Widow possessed when forced to take sides. Reality is there isn't always a strict right and a strict wrong, especially on matters as complex as the world's safety. Then there's leadership whilst the Cap is protective of Wanda and Stark makes sure Peter (Spidey) doesn't stretch himself too thin. Seriously, zomg chillsss of excitement just rethinking about the whole thing!

 The storyline was simple but modern.  I did not, however, approve of the chemistry between Captain America and the love of his life Agent Carter's granddaughter! Is it just me?

Who's side am I on you might ask - Team Cap or Team Stark? Even though I understand the deep guilt and empathy Stark has on his shoulders for all the innocent lives killed as a by-product of their service, but being ruled onto the sidelines until further notice is simply unrealistic. Their job was to keep casualties as low as possible at every occurrence and they had done precisely that. Perhaps improvement measures to better manage civilians is a more realistic solution but then we wouldn't end up with a great movie of our Cap fighting Stark. Haha!

Whilst on a Civil War high, I built my lego set. The Black Panther Pursuit set, to be precise. The plane was pretty satisfying to build and the bike was zomg *heart eyes emoticon* even though it was the simplest part of the set. I certainly didn't expect to like Bucky more than Captain Rogers, like in any given situation, but I do here! Lego Bucky looks the most like the real character of the three! I also totally judged the production team for deciding to go with Captain America's golden blonde locks over his what should be un-negotiable headgear. Why not have both?

I, of course, made a video of the build! Head over here and watch the set emerge and this photo in action!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

My Hangout!

As you may or may not know, I've recently allocated base to Hong Kong. Still adapting to the hustling bustling city where space is literally tighter than some of my PVC cosplays, I had to look high and low for a place I can focus and play catch up (aka work). Coffee shops are a natural choice except here in HK, they are almost constantly slammed. Students and freelancers sitting on top of each other staring eagle-eyed into their laptop screens with a common goal - to get their sh*t done before the timed complimentary wifi expire (usually 1hr, 2 if they were generous). Sound familiar? Then you should come join my hangout!

Welcome to my ritual of Getting-Sh*t-Done! I almost always start here...where my caffein's at:

Now that I have my sanity in hand, let me quickly show you around! (Yes have totes missed the memo to record landscape on iPhones...!!)

Isn't the place just so zen with possibilities?

Ok. Here as I type away in the open space (they call Hot Desks), I have as much space as I need, all the peace and quiet, charging points everywhere, unlimited wifi and complimentary coffee - all for only HK$50 (£4/US$6) a day. I'm here all the time, doing emails, browsing, blogging, procrastinating on Facebook and Instagram (of course); so I chose the monthly rate which only works out to be the price of 10 days (HK$500; £40/US$60 a month). At the peak of my cosplay building days I had actually planned to rent out a room here as my own studio/office space where I can work around the clock with 24/7 access. You don't even need to worry about housekeeping as all utilities and cleaning are part of the service.

I've even connected with random people here who were only passing by this city, some on business stopovers and another a freelance globe trotter. All interesting stories. If you are a local craving just a few hours or an afternoon of space and table space to focus every so often, come join me!!

The true essence of the set-up here is actually to support small businesses; start up companies who don't need the heavy cost of full office spaces. I am all for supporting small businesses and freelancers, which is another reason why I love this place. It's an uplifting feeling to be amongst like-minds. So if you're ones with all sorts of ideas kicking off but only lacking a space to make the magic happen, this place could be the start to your own empire. 

To find out more:

Or talk to me! I'm not an affiliate, but this gives me more to procrastinate with for a better cause!
As far as I know I think they're doing a welcome discount right now. So so so, hope to see you sooooon!!

Friday, 22 January 2016


The new legend begins! As Sylvie insisted, this is not Rocky VII but rather Creed I. As we already know, Michael B Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, the illegitimate youngest Creed blood. He was saved from his adolescence of group homes and violence in juvi by Apollo's widow wife. With a great education he advances in the banking industry but quits instead upon a promotion to pursue boxing against his step-mom's will. His performance was very enjoyable with a great balance of sensitivity and drive. There were a lot of close ups and hands up please - who knew he had such dreamy eyes??

Sylvie's role of mentoring was more humorous. My absolute favourite line of his in this movie was when Johnson came up to him for the second time as he was off-loading stock for his/Adrian's restaurant; "what are you doing here? You need something to eat?" It was so effective in setting the tone to his now-retired character. Soo endearing!

Without going further and risking spoilers, a family I wish I was a part of forms an unbreakable bond. I wasn't too sure about the girl though, a little too young particularly in the things she says sometimes. I can't wait for the sequel eeeek I hate the waittt!!! 

My feast before the big SHOW! Hah


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

My Precious........

My lovely big brother got me these precious Jo Malone perfumes, the famous mix & match ones nuzzled in the perfectly sculpted foam, box, and that gorgeous ribbon. So that was last Christmas. It still remains exactly how I had described it, still sitting on a pedestal. I'm the type of person who tries too hard to preserve things, the best example being Charbonnel et Walker Champagne Truffles...anyway I've learnt now to make sure I finish them before its expiry! All too devastating a position in the end when all I can do is bin them!

So now, look at this Jo Malone candle! I lit it! It took some strong will power but I did! Man was I glad as I didn't expect to be transported to such a romantic place from the unique scent. "English Pear & Freesia", the scent of Autumn. I have since replaced the silver lid and nuzzled the preciousness back into its box with its matte black (my faaav) matches. 

Baby steps.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Get up to SPEED!

I'm in New York!!

Having watched The Flash's Season Premier on the way here and arriving just in time for The Arrow's Season Premier - life could not be more seamless! Granted, I'm knackered from running all the way here (of course) and frankly very jet lagged; I can't wait for New York Comic Con to commence in 11 hours exact!!!!!!!

The first season ended with Jay Garrick's helmet, also known as The Golden Age Flash. As you might know I had actually only just caught up with Season 1 about 2-3 weeks ago - right when I was finalising outfits for NYCC! So voila - love a vintage comeback!

I love wings, and had really enjoyed making these 2 pairs - a structured pair for the helmet and a lighter softer pair for the boots. What do you think!

Both the premiers start with some key changes of events and characters. Because they don't air in UK for another week I don't wish to include spoilers; but I bet the anticipation is killing!! All I'm going to say is The Flash ended with Jay Garrick's appearance so I can't be happier about my choice to debut NYCC with! The Arrow, following its demise from last season, has reinvented himself as The Green Arrow! Oliver's suit is closer to the comics than ever now! Then the premier's ending - someone died. Don't worry this isn't a spoiler, because everybody is asking the same question on twitter!

Must sleep now, to wake up to NYCC! EEEEEK! :D

Friday, 2 October 2015

Bad Boy Ray Ray

Ray Donovan Season 3 just finished last night. Anyone else a fan sharing my emptiness?

In case you don't know what the show is about (first of all where have you been?), Ray is a situation fixer in LA with a troubled upbringing with 2.5 brothers and the perfect family in Calabasas waiting for him to come home to every night. All in all - start catching up! You won't regret it!

The first half of this season started dark and slow, but be patient, or you'll completely lose track when it all kicks off. Katie Holmes is the new blood to the show as Paige Finney, a hungry millionairess to her grossly twisted father. What seemed like a typical rich kid kidnapping was only the tip of the iceberg for deeper, darker secrets of family dynamics.

Micky's presence got old quick (for me anyway; he is second to Joffrey on my list of top hate characters!), Terry's condition deteriorates rapidly after leaving jail, developing into serious paranoia. Bunchy has a serious crush on the Mexican Wrestler, Teresa who bullies him around the gym. Abby & Ray's dynamics don't quite improve while their kids continue to spiral downwards in decadence. Ray's focus in this season had shifted from the past, but we finally get to the roots of Ray's haunting childhood in a powerful finale.

It is a little disappointing that we don't get to enjoy as much of Ray's refined sporadic problem fixing skills as we used to, but instead we get a more solid and streamline story of events: Ray with the Finney's & Mick with the Minassians (The Armenian Mafias). It was ace to see Ray's old dream team eventually recruited back together too!

I thought Holmes' braces were very random and apparently I'm not alone. Hashtags were started and she was even asked about them at TV interviews. "It was supposed to help her migraines" was the explanation in the show, and herself furthered that "this is to show she is still flawed despite being able to have whatever she wants". I found the show very poetic in Season 2, but lacking the same depth in the last. Her supposed chemistry with Ray was both unconvincing and the one kissing scene uncomfortable to watch, but it is nice to see her in a show again as a significant character.

News has it that Mickey will still be in Season 4, boo, but so good to know that Abby & Terry will remain nothing more than close friends. Thank god!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Emerse yourself...

Following several disruptions caused by the Galactic Empire, we must now leave Earth to strengthen the rebellion. Tell no one. 

Above is the meeting location. Coincidentally, I had lived there for a good few years not that long ago so this had come in pretty handy. The building utilised used to be the printing factory for Daily Mail & Evening Standard and had only closed down a few years back. It is amazing to know it is being put to good use - little did I know how good. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I'd spend an evening roaming around this factory as a Rebel Refugee. (I have a thing for machines & tools).

The Rebellion is coming to an end, but I will still try my best to avoid spoilers and offer tips for those of you who have yet to leave Earth before it's too late!

"Heels must not be worn" says the invite. Ladies, this is the most precious piece of advice for the evening. It is a secret escape mission. There will be light running, and on a day like mine it was wet, muddy, and puddly. Even indoors there are plenty of grated surfaces. Sounds mighty fun doesn't it?

Each attendee is assigned an identity. Try your best to dress the part even if you don't buy the outfits from the Rebel-X store off Brick Lane (not maked in Earth language and will disappear once the mission is over). This actually sounds a lot easier than it sounds, for most characters white/sand/khaki colours work wonders. Think hobo chic and you'll fit right in. Unless you're Han or Leia; which then it's really a no brainer isn't it? There were people on my night who blatantly made no effort and went in human attire (reds, blues, most non-earthy colours would really stand out) which I thought really spoiled the atmosphere. I guess it was a Tuesday after all...?

I had my camera very openly hanging off my neck from the start and been at front of queues again and again. Then I got to 'immigration' to enter Tatooine and the immigration officer came to me and confiscated the camera right off of me. I carefully inspected all the signs and none said no photography! Even at the beginning when they inspected bags (my tiny one was inspected by "The Force" pahah) or at the gates where "all communication devices must be sealed in these silver bags" - noone had warned me. Anyway, feeling like a sad fool, I moped with my mighty strong cocktail in Cantina that was enough to floor me if I sat down with nibbles from the market stalls of Mos Eisley. 

Side but very important piece of advice - remember your name. Not the one you use on Earth but your real Galactic one. Trust me. I witnessed a bewildered woman in human clothes being marched away by stormtroopers for not having her "papers".

The schedule gives you an hour before and after the screening to explore Mos Eisley and to find out what your secret tokens will get you. My bag of crystals gave me...curry seeds. Hang around town for reinactments of our favourite scenes, especially near Luke's Landspeeder. I will say no more! I will say though, brace yourself for some epic goosebumps while a life-size x-wing flies above you right before the screen room opens!

Now before you do enter the 'cinema', I would advice you kit yourself out with drinks and snacks for the duration. The seats are tight and every time someone needed something the entire row had to get up for that one person while everyone else behind huffs. I was one of them (huffing) by the 4th time within 30mins. If you are an indecisive one, sit on the left where you can roam as you please.

The movie playing was disappointing. We first had sound issues, then focus issues, it just kept coming. The women behind me didn't help, in full human clothes, calling scenes cheesy, and literally did not stop chatting like they were in their own living rooms the entire time, crunching the loudest foiled snacks from Earth. Then ended with "are they playing the entire movie?!" and left. Was it too nerdy of me to want to genuinely indulge in this re-watch of The Empire Strike Back?

Trivia aside, it was a fun night and definitely a bucket-list experience for all Starwars fans! The passion and effort behind the whole production is what hope & dreams are made of!

P.S. All photos here are from official Secret Cinema - my camera got confiscated remember? lols

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