How Running With Me Looks Like and Challenge updates

A mid week workout update? Just to show you how sporadic things are over here. I’ve been working hard to get all those posts I promised to bloggers on top of that. Lets hope I clear some stuff off my to-do list this weekend, while having family visit and fixing the house and trying to finish up a work deadline, oh, and those darling income taxes. Maybe thats why I’m writing about working out because thats been the most calming time.  I don’t even need music to do it anymore.

As of the last post, the weather has been ridiculous.  For one, we had a snowfall with a bit of accumulation last week so forget about my following that Walker to Runner routine.  I had my first run two weekends ago because it was lovely weather and being the amateur I was, I went out running in a sweater and man, I heated up so quick. I did for a short 3km walk/run in the early evening. On that same day, I came home and did Day 1 of the Beach Body Challenge!

30-day-beach-body-challenge

Today, I just finished Day 12! A little recap on progress.  I’m starting to really feel how I haven’t been training doing push ups in a while so even 30 is slightly hitting hard, but I know I’m improving.  Bicycles, crunches and planks are all just testing my abs and its muscular endurance.  So far its been pretty good.  2 mins planks near the slightly shaky phase.  I’m not a huge fan of tricep dips as they are my weakness so its good to get back into doing those, same goes for wall squats.  I can’t imagine Day 14 coming up and I have to do a minute of those.  Burpees are pretty tough too.  I never had to do 50 in one go so thats the biggest challenge.  Aside from that, I like the cardio inserts with butt kicks, skaters, jumping jacks and high kicks.  Tiring and refreshing at the same time :) So far, it seems that I feel like its a bit more promising on me completing this. Thats already a pretty good start!

run like you stole something

 

As the weather warmed up and the snow went away, rain stopped falling and chilly winds moved away a little, Saturday cleared up and it was a lovely day.  I mean, it was a no jackets day pretty much or have a jacket but don’t zip up type of day.  After all the house errands were done, it was early afternoon and I went out for a quick jog and to get some images in for the #RunWithMe event thats going on in Tribesports.  I sent them in and here’s my GIF that defines me as a runner.  Credits to my boyfriend for being a champ and walking behind me and snapping random shots :)

RWM_red

 

Isn’t that pretty cool? Now, what is your running story?

Maybe you’d like to join into the Run With Me campaign and get your own little GIF to motivate yourself and other runners. Click on the image to get the instructions on where to send your images and they’ll do this for you :) Other than my best friend and my boyfriend, Tribesports has been immense at keeping me motivated with everything.  If you are on Tribesports, add me! By the way, thats my Twitter contact there but I’m @kimtranquildreams on TS community ;)

I’ve only done two jogs in 10 days but thats already better than last year’s 2 jogs in 3 months. I’m really seeing the appeal of it.  I’m ver much still a beginner at this and I’ll figure out what works best for it but no doubt, its a amazing feeling and I look forward to training to be a better runner. As the weather warms up and my lungs can deal better with it, I’ll be getting a bit more intense.  Right now, I’ll take it a little easier and build up slowly :)

Things are definitely getting back on track with my work out motivation after a month of break.  I’m ready to take on this summer!

Here’s to running more and building a better balanced lifestyle.  Its only the first step. I’ll be back in 2 weeks with another update probably! :)

What are your workout strengths and weaknesses? Are you a runner? Are there exercises you absolute love or hate doing?

Steve’s Music Mix: The Good Will Out

Another week went by so fast and aside from workload overflowing, at least there’s always Steve’s Music Mix to make my day.  Looking at how his player was treating him in a fairly decent way, I wonder if mine would do the same.

In case you would like to join in, here’s how to do it:

Each week I will post 3 new questions so…

(1) Go to the music player of your choice and put it on shuffle
(2) Say the questions aloud and press play
(3) Use the song title as your answers
(4) NO CHEATING

 Title your post “Steve’s Music Mix – …” and link back to this week’s page.

Post your response in the comment section of that week’s page. – Steve Says…

Let’s pull out the MP3 or iPod, whichever you own and see what answers it comes up with, shall we?

I’m so bad at…?

–> Kiss Me Slowly – Parachute

I don’t know how to interpret this.  I think my MP3 is saying that I’m a bad slow kisser.  I don’t think I’ve had complaints yet but then that would just be rude, right?

I’m so good at…?

–> Lady Marmalade – Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya & Pink

Seriously? No comments, ok? I think its a bit mixed up between good and bad.   Oh, oh, or it means that I’m so good at singing the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.  Well, I do like it a lot :)

I want to be good at…?

–>Paramore – Still Into You (Tiffany Alvord Cover)

Huh? Excuse me? I give up…I’m don’t need to “want” to be still into my boyfriend.  I already am.  Or..if it means that I want to be good at making covers.  That I do very much want to do and I’m working on those skills bit by bit.

My MP3 has been a tad mixed up.  It could be because that its running out of juice and after that last song, just ran out of batteries completely.  Maybe you’d like your MP3 to give you some of these answers and join into this fun :)

Head on over to see Steve’s answers and check out how other participants did HERE!

StreetDance (2010)

Some of you may know I’m very much a musically inclined person and I may not dance very well but I love dance movies, especially Step Up series.  I love them! They are fun and energetic and I sometimes pretend I can bust a move and try in my room (just never in public).  So, I always give chances to these movies.  They aren’t masterpieces but they are cool. I’ve heard of StreetDance but I’ve never seen much publicity on it.  Honestly, the poster looks a tad cheesy but its been sitting in my Netflix list for a few days and I needed to unwind with something less heavy after Contagion and Conviction (which makes this review pretty late), so here we are!

Let’s see what StreetDance is all about!

streetdance posterDirector: Max Giwa, Dania Pasquini

Cast: Nichola Burley, Richard Winsor, Ukweli Roach, Frank Harper, George Sampson, Charlotte Rampling, Rachel McDowall

Jay 2.0 just passes the auditions to enter into the UK Champions Final.  If they win this, they get their big break to go to the World Champions in New York.  Right after this, Jay (Ukweli Roach), the leader of Jay 2.0 says he needs a timeout from everything including his girlfriend Carly (Nichola Burley) and passes on the crew to her care.  The crew doesn’t have money for renting space to rehearse and while on her delivery job, she meets Helena Fitzgerald (Charlotte Rampling), the head of the ballet school.  Helena is impressed by Carly and her crew’s talents and offers to let them rehearse in her studio for free but with the condition that they have to include her top 5 ballet dancers into their routine. With no choice, Carly decides to take on the challenge and see what she can make of it.  Could ballet dancers turn into street dancers? Will they have their routine ready and win in just 5 weeks? Or maybe, there’s something more, after all, ballet and street are both just different forms of dance. Maybe accepting to see the point of view through Thomas (Richard Winsor), one of the ballet dancers, would open up new possibilities.

StreetDance

StreetDance is just another dance movie.  I would agree with that completely because it has all the elements you would find in Step Up series as well.  In fact, what makes StreetDance stand out for me is that its not set in US (like usual) but rather in UK.  It gives a new style to the movie.  The language is a bit different and at the same time, the interaction and vibe is also different.  Its refreshing to see how they put together a dance movie with a different setting giving it a little something extra.  I really liked the change.  This also brought on some good music choices as well, a lot of which I haven’t heard before.

StreetDance

The story is about meshing ballet with street dance and seeing if the two worlds can actually go together.  The idea that dance is a universal language regardless of the style.  While its about two worlds, it also adds in the side story of Carly, the leader of street dance crew and Thomas, a talented ballet dancer and their romance that kind of grows. Why I say kind of is because there is a bigger emphasis on the infatuation of Thomas to Carly more than the other way around since she is still getting over Jay for a good part of the flick.  Although meshing ballet and street dance isn’t a new concept, Step Up did it, in many ways I found this one better than that one.  Maybe its because I like the characters more in this one, maybe its because its gives focus on not only two dancers but on a group effort, seeming a bit closer to Step Up 3 or 4.  Plus, it has some neat dance choreography and good tension here and there.  It brings in a good level of fun.

StreetDance

I don’t really know how to dissect a dance movie other than saying whether I had fun with it or not.  However, the acting here is not immense but it does make up for it with some unique dance choreographies and some pretty awesome dance music.  It made me really fall in love with the movie. In fact, I went back to watch the full movie for the whole week afterwards, which was probably one of the reasons why I haven’t posted this up yet and especially going back for the dance parts because its just fun.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to street dance so it particularly pleases me. I’ve also had all the music on repeat on my MP3 for the last 2 weeks.  Its upbeat and motivating and helps to wake me up during the day :)

In my last post, I talked about the movie that brought back Bodyrox into my life and this is it so before I wrap this review up, here’s a song from the movie:

Or maybe one thats more known:

The second video has clips from the movie so maybe you can get a quick idea of the movie.

Overall, StreetDance isn’t an epic dance movie but its new setting and style gives it something new and gives it a breath of fresh air.  The cast are not great actors but the characters they are given makes it attractive.  The best part is to sit back and enjoy some upbeat music and watch some brilliant dance choregraphy.  The idea of finding yourself and breaking out of the norm and that dance is an universal language works very well.

Are you into dance movies? Whats your favorite? Have you seen StreetDance?

 

Spring Came! Just in Time for Easter Weekend! :)

It has been a rather crazy week especially weather wise.  Can you believe last weekend, I went for a jog and then during the week we had snow fall with a little accumulation (which melted the next day) but the temperature dropped again.  Thank goodness, by the time we hit this Easter weekend, things got back to normal spring weather.

I’m going to try and keep it short with my recaps.  I can only sum up being busy with work and my new house so much before I bore you all out ;)

On Wednesday, I had my chiropractor session and then went out for a spontaneous dinner with my friend at our neighborhood joint that I’ve talked about over and over again called Mrs. Amigos. That place is awesome!

Vegetable Soup Mrs. Amigos

Vegetable Soup at Mrs. Amigos

Mussels in White Wine

Mussels in White Wine

Spaghetti Fried Chicken

Spaghetti with Fried Chicken Thigh and Tomato Sauce

I had my normal fave, Spaghetti with Fried Chicken Thigh with some vegetable soup and we shared some very delicious Mussels basted in White Wine :)

Being a four day week, Good Friday came by really fast.  Normally, I’d have the day off but because its crunch time and my boss took on a new client, I had to go in to wrap up some work and ended up doing a bit over half a day.  After that, I met up with the same friend and we made a spontaneous trip to Plattsburgh, NY to do some shopping.  Luckily, we dodged the pile up at the border and got through as we normally would with just a bit of waiting.  Thats pretty good considering it is long weekend.

I tried to minimize my spendings there and it was pretty successful.  Only ended up damaging my wallet by $100, so not too bad :) The most notable ones are probably these:

Oreos

Berry Oreos & Fruit Punch Oreos

I love trying out these new flavors of Oreos.  I need to divide them with my friend so that I don’t eat them all.  Whats great is that Oreos are the only ones without any milk in them unless its the Birthday Cake ones.  I bought a pack of those for my boyfriend because its his fave.

The Fray Movies

Music, Book & Movies

As for this, The Fray is because I’m too cheap to go buy tickets to their concert.  The book is the final book to the Sookie Stackhouse series and I REALLY want to finish that up because its been dragging way too long and plus, isn’t it the final season of True Blood this summer? And movies, I didn’t buy Frozen in Plattsburgh as you probably figured with the French title but I bought that last weekend.  And Ender’s Game was Bluray combo for $13 and I think thats a good price since I’ve been looking forward to watching that and well, I’ve heard so much about Europa Report that I wanted to check it out :) That pretty much sums that part up!

Saturday came around with some wonderful weather.  So wonderful that I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep till relatively later and ended up forgetting to set my alarm to wake up to help with the painting at my new place especially since I had a ton of chores to finish at my own place.  Thats okay, I still accomplished all that I had to and the walls were all painted. If you are wondering, my bedroom is painted in THIS COLOR. The trimmings will be an off white.

Now, Saturday wasn’t completely useless because I started shifted some of my items to the new place and slowly, I’ll be getting there.  I did manage to also get a jog in after everything was taken care of, sometime in the afternoon.

Doing my jog!

Doing my run!

My boyfriend went for a walk so he took a picture of me doing my run. My point is not me but look at the beautiful weather :)  I had to keep it short since I had to pick up my mom from the airport and because my boyfriend came with me, I was able to take pictures of the beautiful Montreal driving on the Champlain Bridge.

Sunset in Montreal

Sunset in Montreal!

The zoom on my phone makes it not so pretty but the sunset was very nice when you look at it like this.

Sunset

Sunset on the highway

Aside from that, it was a pretty peaceful yet efficient weekend, I took a few random pictures here and there of flowers and cat paws.

Purple Flowers

Purple flowers (I don’t know the name)

Cat hind paws

My cats hind paws as she slept on my lap

Now, before I leave you and run off to finish off some more stuff before I go to bed, I’d like for you to go welcome one of my childhood friends, Phoebe (who I was the maid of honor recently in March for HERE, HERE, and HERE) to the blogosphere.  She’s super awesome and has some pretty remarkable talents, one of them including gardening which she has been sharing with me quite a bit.  She just posted her first “real” post after her initiation one for the Weekly Photo Challenge with some lovely pictures. Please check it out HERE and show her some love.

Before I wrap this up, lets bring you to a song I’ve been pretty obsessed with and then one thats an oldie but a goodie in my book.

I used to not into Max Schneider but his original music has really impressed me.  It all has some sweet beats and very fun to listen to.

Funny one about this one is that Bodyrox came back into my life because of a movie I watched (review coming up) and this song used to play every time I got in my boyfriend’s car when we weren’t an item yet and just on dates and in the beginning of our relationship because of his car’s CD or MP3 system or whatnot and starting at the first song of the playlist.

Last song is a Chinese song with a pretty classic singer and his song is “Friends”.

Its an awesome song just about long time friends. The lyrics roughly translates to this:

Through all these years, smooth or rough times, I always think of my friend,
When we are sad in our journey, we realize who can share our problems with.
Through all these years, time flies by, the people in our lives come and go,
Past events flash through our minds like an old song, and we reminisce a little.

Friend, oh, Friend, we both yell together as we cross through the hilltop.
What we believe in our hearts, we keep for always, we don’t need to say out loud.
Friend, oh, Friend, we lift our heads and have a drink together.
In the future path, we walk together. No matter how long, we’ll be by each other’s side.

Maybe its not a great translation since I did this pretty quickly but you get the idea, right? I love songs like this.  Its just so meaningful and the man has an awesome voice! :)

Hope you all had a great Easter weekend and maybe some of you still have tomorrow off!

Which movie should I start with from the new ones? Which Oreos are your faves? Do you know the name of the flower up there?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

In this week’s challenge, show us your take on a monument (broadly defined). It could be a fresh angle on a well-known tourist site, or a place nobody knows outside your community. It doesn’t even have to be an official monument…anything can be monumental as long as it’s imbued with a shared sense of importance.- Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

As the days close in on my vacation to Hong Kong and the most crazy time of the year at the office is stressing me out, I can’t help but to wander back to my vacation photos (since I barely have time to leave the office to go take pictures). I flipped through some of my photos and found a few.

First up is the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower.

Clock Tower Hong Kong

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower in Hong Kong

Why is this Clock Tower a monument because its one of the few original Hong Kong landmarks that remain.  I’m not a big fan of having landmarks that show the history of Hong Kong especially when they were a colony to be ripped away and revamped.  Its hard to preserve history as it is and going back to Hong Kong is kind of a trip down my own family’s place which I love to learn about.

Next is the Bank of China Tower.

Bank of China Tower

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong

This is a monument to me because I can remember this being how I remembered Hong Kong even when I was a little girl. The towering high building that was oddly shaped and an obvious skyscraper that stands out.

Third monument is actually the first that I thought of when I read about this challenge: Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha) on Lantau Island.

Big Buddha

Big Buddha in Lantau Island

I’m not much of a believer in religions.  I follow any particular rituals on my own but I do respect all religions, I guess that makes me agnostic? I believe there is a higher force and that life is ruled by something.  My family is split between Christianity and Buddhism.  As I said, I respect both but Buddhism (aside the rituals) holds a great philosophy of life and I can’t help to feel a little bit safe and sound when I’m looking up at Big Buddha in Lantau as I walk up those neverending flights of stairs to go up.  That makes this a monument.  Plus, its huge and definitely a landmark.

Next and last is the Ruins of St. Paul’s situated in Macau.

Ruins of St. Paul's, Macau

Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macau

This is possibly one of the newest place since I only visited Ruins of St. Paul’s on my 2009  trip to Hong Kong and took a day out to visit Macau. The Ruins of St. Paul’s is the most important landmark in Macau.  Everyone who visits goes and I never quite understood visiting ruins (despite my respect for history) but something about this is monumental.  Its high for one and standing in the back panels and looking out of the face of a broken church is just a pretty odd but incredible feeling.  And just look at how many people are there.  This isn’t even high season when I went.  It was sometime in November.

What places are monuments to you?

This is my response to this past week’s photo challenge: monument. You can find more entries HERE!

Hop (2011)

Easter is just around the corner and I felt like I should post an Easter movie.  How many are there out there? I already saw Rise of the Guardians (review HERE).  Netflix had this movie sitting around and I remember seeing the first 10 minutes of it a few weeks ago at my boyfriend’s parents.  Honestly, I have zero hopes for this one and I really think it’ll turn out bad but that is what makes it perfect for a brain-dead day ;)

I always try to push away any early expectations or lack of before I see anything so lets check it out!

hop posterDirector: Tim Hill

Cast: James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco, Hank Azaria, Hugh Laurie, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins

Ever since he was a little bunny, EB (Russell Brand) has known that he will be the next in line to be the Easter Bunny to take over his father (Hugh Laurie). As he grows up and the time that he will take over the Egg of Destiny, he knows that he isn’t right for the job but rather he wants to be a drummer.  Not caring for the consequences of the impending Easter day in 2 weeks, he runs away to Hollywood to search for his fame.  There he meets Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) who accidentally hits EB with his car and takes him in.  Fred has no direction in his life and while helping his sister (Kaley Cuoco) house sit for her boss, he tries to get his life in order while helping EB reluctantly as they both unknowingly is searching for approval from their father in their own way. At the same time, back at the Easter Bunny headquarters, Carlos, a chick and the current Easter Bunny’s number 2 wants to take over the Easter Bunny duties.

Okay, I give up.  I don’t know how to make this sound interesting. I’m just going to leave the synopsis like that.  You get the idea, right?

hop easter factory

Suffice to say that I didn’t really like it all that much but I didn’t particularly hate it either.  It was just pretty blah, for lack of a better word.  Now, I do have some pros I’d like to talk about before the cons. They are worth a mention and maybe what will push you to watch this.  At the same time, I think maybe kids might get some enjoyment out of it more than say, me. I like pretty childish animation but as musical as this got, it didn’t really work for me. Oh right, I’m getting carried away.

One of the biggest pros is the beauty of the animation.  C’mon! Look at that Easter factory: the vibrant colors, the details and even the animated characters were done in a rather cute way. Look at our ninja royal guards, the Pink Berets.  They actually carry a bit of the Alvin and the Chipmunks qualities, in a way. Here’s for the director who made Alvin and the Chipmunks a few years back, right? Tim Hill gets to do this plus the little one is so cute and clumsy, qualities I love in animals ;)

hop pink berets

Another pro is James Marsden. I never quite understand why he takes on these animation crossed with real life movies.  I like it a lot usually, especially Enchanted (which I probably should review soon) and in this one, I actually liked Fred O’Hare.  James Marsden pulls the funniest facial expressions and he puts some fun into this.

Hop 2011

I guess this makes me go to the bad part.  What really hurts this animated flick is the story.  It could because once you start the beginning narration, you already know what will happen in the end so the sense of danger never amounts to anything.  And Carlos, our supposed villain, isn’t really that threatening.  He’s actually kind of funny in a weird way but then Hank Azaria does his voice and that man is a voice genius.  And then we have Russell Brand.  I’m not a fan of him. Period. I don’t like him as an actor, or even as the voice of EB. As a voice, he was tolerable but nothing that made me feel like I liked EB very much either.

Hop 2011

Overall, if you are watching this with kids, they might enjoy it because its not scary and it has some nice happy beats and furry animated bunnies and chicks, plus lots of candy.  However, the story does lack a bit of inspiration. Even its nice animation and James Marsden’s involvement couldn’t give it more life.  I really don’t hate it.  I’m just indifferent and I know that I probably wouldn’t watch it again.

Have you seen Hop? Do you have any movies you watch for Easter? What are your thoughts on James Marsden?

 

Marshmallow Moments Cupcakes!

Happy Thursday, my friends!

This week I’m finally picking up on a few things I need to do despite all the work crazy going on.  Plus, today is supposedly the last day of the work week.  “Supposed” because I might have to go in to work and I believe, everyone at the office will be there also.  Either way, yesterday night, I needed to relax and after postponing actual baking for at least a few weeks, at somewhere near midnight, I decided I was not going to do it anymore and decided to improvise some cupcakes.

These Marshmallow Delight cupcakes didn’t turn out quite as pretty as I had envisioned in my head, but I think I have a way to remedy it if ever I make a second batch. Look at them, they aren’t too ugly, right?

Marshmallow Moments Cupcakes

Right out of the oven!

In case you wondered how I got the name, Marshmallow Moments is for the name of cereal I used from Sally’s Cereals.  They sell it at Walmart here in Canada (not sure about elsewhere). You could probably use Lucky Charms and it would have the same effect :)

How did I do these, you ask? Its actually extremely simple.

I used the recipe for Yellow Cupcakes in Betty Crocker’s The Big Book of Cupcakes and then before putting the batter in the oven, I sprinkled and nested the cereal as I liked on the top so that it would be combined together when it baked a look like little marshmallow (cereal) treasure on the top.

Here’s the recipe for Yellow Cupcakes:

Yellow Cupcakes

makes 24 cupcakes (I halved everything to make 12 instead)

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup milk

Marshmallow Moments Cupcakes

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350F.  Place paper baking cups in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.  Grease and flour muffin cups or spray with baking spray with flour

2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside

3. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds.  Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occassionally.  Beat 2 minutes longer.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at  a time, and milk, about 1/2 mixture at  a time, beating just until blended.

4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.

5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 5 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks to cool.

Marshmallow Moments Cupcakes

As usual, there are a few changes to this recipe.  While halving everything to get 12, I used 2 eggs (since 1.5 is a bit hard to achieve) and the normal amount of vanilla since it wouldn’t make a huge difference.  I also replaced the milk with almond milk (due to my lactose intolerance).  Thats all for the modifications on this one.

These cupcakes may have turned out to be a bit deformed looking.  Its only because I believe if I kept them in for 20 instead of the full 25, the marshmallows might not have melted quite so much and it would look better. As I was monitoring it, it was looking so pretty, except that if I were to make it again, I would stuff the cereal in the batter even more abundantly so it would look like a mountain of treasure hiding in the cupcake.

Marshmallow Moments cupcakes

Aside its flawed appearance, this cupcake is really good.  The taste was well balanced and if you want less sweet, just decrease the sugar a tad because the cereal is already sugary.  I didn’t really mind because the taste was like biting into a crunchy layer on the top and then into the fluffiness of the cupcakes and I love the contrast of that feeling as I chew :)

“Long” weekend is coming up so be prepared, I have more baking adventures planned with a bit of an Easter theme hopefully!

What do think of this Marshmallow Moments cupcake?