Salon des Metiers d’Arts de Montreal Haul & Recap

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And its the final weekend for Salon des Metiers d’Arts de Montreal. If you didn’t get a chance to check out the show this year, well, there’s probably next year since its been going for quite a few years already. Granted the structure has changed quite a bit in their vendors and such, its always a fun tradition to go every year and just see whats there and look around. This year, I was holding back on spending too heavily and particularly the food and wine area had much less choices so it helped a lot.

SMAQ 2017

Unfortunately, I didn’t end up picking anything too different from previous years. I will however highlight some cool vendors that I saw to change things up a bit. Just because I can’t afford it right now, doesn’t mean that I can’t share some unique ideas and products that I would have totally picked up something if I had the chance in the future. I’ve been really into highlighting local art and food and all that sort of stuff lately. Just goes to show that you don’t need to speak perfect French or be hardcore Quebecois all for separation to support the things you love about the beautiful city and province.

Let’s check it out!

Haul

SMAQ Montreal

The first visit to the Salon was all about the food. I picked up:

  • Cidrerie du Minot – Des Glaces: Winter Harvest (Limited Edition)
  • Coach House Shortbread: Ginger
  • Coach House Shortbread: Almond & Sugared Rose
  • La Nougaterie: Christmas
  • La Nougaterie: Lavender
  • La Nougaterie: Classic
  • La Nougaterie: Dark Chocolate

Everything here is really very typical. I actually skipped out on Cidrerie du Minot last year however I did remember liking their ice ciders a lot the year before so I ended up picking the Winter Harvest (Recolte Hivernale) up which is something of a reserve product and it has some delicious flavors. We’re a big fan of the La Nougaterie nougats and this year, they brought back the Christmas and had the Dark Chocolate which I totally love. As for the Coach House Shortbread, its a big favorite for the holidays as it is smaller cookies and work really well to share with friends and just take little bites that melt. Its so awesome. Ginger is my normal fave flavor but I remember trying out almond and sugared rose last year (and this year) and it was really good as well.

The second visit to the Salon happened yesterday with my co-worker (as we usually do go together) and we check out the art and craft area instead of the food part. I ended up picking up a few things:

Pottery Hazama

Pottery Hazama

I’ve put off buying from Pottery Hazama for a few years and finally this year, I decided to buy one. There are a few different designs like hearts, cats and christmas trees. This year, they had a star design. The designer told me that it represents good fortune (or something along the line). It looks beautiful and I just couldn’t resist and its hung on the Christmas tree now.

Ana Maria Dessin

Ana Maria Dessin

I’ve been searching for a wallet for a long time. My wallet is actually falling apart but to find one that fit everything I had in there as well was always a challenge. Then I saw Ana Maria Dessin at the show and originally I was captured by the hot air balloon print originally but then I turned around to take a second look and saw the floral collection which leads to me finding this wallet which is exactly what I want. After thinking for it long and hard, since it is $68CAD for it, I went back to get it especially because its made with leather and print canvas and the design said that its very durable. I’m sure hoping it will be because I love it.

Places I Love
(but put on the backburner)

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  • De Tete et De Bois: This stall has been one that catches my eye every single year that I go except I never can figure out where to put the little canvas if I end up picking one up. We still have art and puzzles to put on the walls so I can’t justify buying one yet. Hopefully next year I’ll sort it out and pick one up.
  • Sol Designs: I believe this one is new to the show this year and they had these really cool wood-looking purses. Its a very unique product.
  • Ju et les imparfaits: This store makes little lamps with wood bases and it looks absolutely adorable.
  • Fil de Fee: If you love hanging designs and cute fairies, this one is absolutely recommended. I saw them and fell in love with it.
  • Baltic Club: Stationery and gifts with some great design
  • Ana N Jay: Geometrical jewellery which looks so very cool.
  • Christophe Poly: Handmade Crono Design jewellery. I actually have a few of these but they designed some new bangles that are absolutely beautiful.
  • Lolipop: Blown Glass jewellery is what this place offered and has some nice designs and especially catchy colors.

That’s it for recap and haul for Salon des Metiers D’art!
I’m really happy with the stuff I got and wishing that I had more money so I could pick up some of the stuff I mentioned at the end one day.

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Merry Kissmas (2015)

It took a few days to get here but the first holiday movie is here! As mentioned in the marathon announcement, we’re looking at a few Hallmark movies. Why did I start with Merry Kissmas? Frankly, its because there’s Brant Daugherty and I’m still missing Pretty Little Liars and thinking of rewatching the series. Like many romantic comedies, a lot of these types of stories are quite predictable however the winning point is in their believable and feel good factor. While that might sound like I don’t really care about these movies, I actually do like the entire feel-good happy endings especially during the holidays. So let’s see how this one is.

Merry Kissmas (2015)

Merry Kissmas

Director: Michael Feifer

Cast: Karissa Lee Staples, Brant Daugherty, David O’Donnell, Brittany Underwood, Ion Overman, Roxanne Hart, Doris Roberts, Ben Levin, Keith Dobbins

A woman engaged to marry a self-centered film and stage director/choreographer falls for a caterer whom she kisses, as does he for her. – IMDB

Merry Kissmas is an entertaining title of these feel-good films. The story is quite simple. Kayla (Karissa Lee Staples) comes back to her hometown for her engagement party while her fiance Carlton (David O’Donnell) coincidentally is there to work on The Nutcracker ballet choreography and rehearsal for Christmas. Being the manager for Carlton also, she sees that her relationship is falling apart mostly because Carlton’s fame has pulled his attention away from her, leaving her with doubts about their future. At the same time, coming home warrants her a lot of unwanted attention from old neighbors. It is in one of these escapes that she meets Dustin (Brant Daugherty), a caterer who she kisses in the elevator spontaneously and have an instant connection with and soon realizes that he’s actually the caterer for her engagement party. To be fair, other than being set during Christmas and Kayla being a Nutcracker figurine collector (unique hobby might I say) and the Christmas decorations (mistletoe in the elevator) and of course, Santa (which I have some thoughts on), this movie is really just a romantic comedy. That isn’t a criticism, just an observation. While it had some clunky dialogue here and there (as I’ve come to expect from these films), it was pretty fun to watch and an all around good time.

Merry Kissmas

Starting from the basics, Merry Kissmas does have some funny moments. For one, we do have Doris Roberts here as the elderly neighbor that keeps wanting to kiss Dustin under the mistletoe. Its a little weird but also pretty funny also. There’s also Roxanne Hart who plays Mrs. Joyner who ends up with some funny moments running down the road. Carlton and Kayla make for some laughable moments in the beginning although the film does a great job and showing how Carlton is really not for her in extreme ways and sticks in our face that he is a jerk. Some of the best parts do go to the banter between Dustin and his cousin Kim which leads to a hilarious scene with Dustin in the elevator.

merry kissmas

Talking about Carlton and Kayla, we need to take a look at the romance here. It is quite obvious that Carlton and Kayla are not for each other right from the beginning. And David O’ Donnell and Karissa Lee Staples has a lot to do with them throwing in decent performances and making some parts properly cringeworthy as well. However, romcom is all about the featured couple and their chemistry and whether it feels like it is natural. Karissa Lee Staples and Brant Daugherty makes Kayla and Dustin believably perfect for each other. Sure, they have the usual hesitation trope and being sidetracked but they are one of the better and natural romances I’ve seen in these types of movies. Right from the start with their first spontaneous kiss, it feels really great to watch them together.

merry kissmas

If I were to get a little weirded out about something here, it might be that Santa is everywhere. He is always around when Kayla is in town. I’m not sure if thats an emphasis at how small the town is or there is weird fairy godmother sort of thing to offer support and guidance but matches up with the Christmas theme. Second thing which I am starting to be okay with is the whole hanging a mistletoe on the elevator. At this point I have 3 of these TV movies to review (reviews coming soon) and there is an odd infatuation with mistletoe. Maybe its because I’ve always around people who don’t use mistletoe as decoration thats why it seems odd to me but to be fair, the first kiss for the lovebirds here are under a mistletoe but the mistletoe had nothing to do with it, the elevator did (apparently). Still, the justification is that its Christmas time. Why not, right? I’m really not that picky about Christmas TV movies.

The more I talk about this, its going to sound weird. Overall, Merry Kissmas is one of the better TV movies I’ve seen to date. Its fun, packs a nice dose of laughs and heartwarming plus Brant Daugherty and Karissa Lee Staples have great chemistry making it romantic and heartwarming. It delivers on being very feel-good and (if you are into this genre) a great choice to check out.

My Weekly Adventures #56

Its December! Christmas month just started for a few days on the blog. I already talked about how I had done all the Christmas decorations in late November and a bit in early December so we’re not going to talk about that. There are a lot of events going on and in general, its been pretty busy as end of year stuff piles in before the holidays drop by and we all take a few days off. The blog won’t be affected as I’ll have stuff backlogged and ready to go, plus we’re hosting Christmas this year so I’ll be here and just taking it easy.

Let’s check out whats happened the first part of December!

Alight at Night

alight at night

Check out the full post HERE.

On the first weekend of December, we headed out to Upper Canada Village in Ontario to go to the opening weekend of Alight at Night, which is a Christmas/winter event. This historical town has put up all its lights and its a walk through a town. There’s a place to visit Santa as well as different areas. Overall, a cool experience to get in the mood for winter. We didn’t have any snow yet but I’m guessing this weekend would be really pretty, although it does come with the extremely cold weather.

The Game Awards & Playstation Experience 2017

This is just a quick mention. The Game Awards happened on December 7th and the Playstation Experience was last weekend. There were some cool reveals and we, (Game Warp aka Elwood & I) did a full recap of both events (remotely thanks to the magic of livestreaming). You can find the links below:

The Game Awards
Playstation Experience Panel Recap
Playstation Experience Trails Recap

What was also very cool was that Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro both made appearances which was incredibly cool.

Salon des Metiers D’Art

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One of my annual December events is going to Salon des Metiers d’Art. I usually end up going two times. I went the first time last week and picked up a few little things. I’ll be heading back very soon to scope out some other stuff and see if anything else catches my eye on gift ideas and such. I’ll be doing a haul post on it soon or some places that caught my eye if the haul isn’t particularly inspiring.

Signé Local – Le Vitrine du Fait au Quebec

signe local

Finally, for another local event is this one that I spontaneously found on a shopping outing with my husband at this shopping district called Quartier Dix30 in the suburbs. Every weekend, there are different vendors (for the most part) that sell their products from local arts and craft companies. Its pretty cool. I definitely have a mini haul post for this one as well and since I’m not a millionaire, I couldn’t get everything I wanted to but I’d like to highlight some really cool companies (and log them for future reference when I do have more disposable income).

Cute Kitty Pic

cat

Upcoming:

  • Christmas Movie Reviews
  • Sunday List (Christmas related)
  • 2017 Movie Reviews
  • more Christmas related stuff…

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
Not exactly a ton of stuff but just a few moments here and there!
This will most likely be the last one as the next will probably do a 2017 in review!

Opinion Battles Round 25 Favourite Film from 2000

Time for Round 25 of Opinion Battles. We’re looking at our favorite film from 2000. Some awesome choices here. After much pondering, I chose American Psycho. Head on over to drop your vote on which movies you agree with the most.

If you are enjoying this year’s Opinion Battles, you can join into next year’s Opinion Battles. Head over to Movie Reviews 101 to find the info as well.

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 25

Favourite Film from 2000

The year 2000 bought us a new century and of course more movies, we are going to end the year by look back in time to the year 2000 and what we think was our favourite film of that year.

If you want to join the next years of Opinion Battles we will be take on Favourite Oscar Winning Actress in Lead or Supporting Role, to enter email your choice to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby Friday 5th January 2018.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Pitch Black

I am picking my film on which film I enjoyed at the time, this was an edgy sci-fi film upon release, it has a strong female lead like all in the genre but it also gave us Riddick who is the only line of defence for the survivors trapped on the planet where creatures hunt in the dark.

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Alight at Night (Upper Canada Village, Ontario, Canada)

Back in October, we went to the Pumpkinferno event in Upper Canada Village, you can check out that post here. When we went there, we picked up the combo that included their winter event called Alight at Night. In the rare organized times, we set up the date with friends for this event. Granted there was no snwow when we went on the opening weekend, the city still brought a lovely holiday mood to everyone.

Alight at Night is different than Pumpkinferno. For one, this one leaves the exploration up to the visitor so you can wander outside and in the backyard of buildings and its  city maze in itself for this town transformed with lights. Aside from that is the obvious, its all different lights decorated instead of pumpkins. There was the Santa mansion and then the church had a live performance of a singer and her piano accompaniment that took song choices from the audience and performed them. You could watch the bakers make the bread on the spot. There are also shops and restaurants to eat. If you fancied, there are also horse drawn wagons to take you for a tour. If you choose to walk, just make sure to stick to the side of the path as to not step on anything you don’t want to. It took us about 2 hours to walk through (what we think is) everything.

Being the fool that I was, I forgot to charge the battery for the DSLR camera so only used my phone for these photos. I apologize for any bad quality and blur in advance.

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

That’s it for this beautiful event recap!
If I were to go again, I might have liked it after a light dusting of snow to give it an even more festive atmosphere.

Recap: Goodfood #9

Goodfood is a nice routine for us now. Its actually motivating us to cook more regularly even when we don’t order the box. I do have to say that I’m feeling like our lifestyle is becoming more balanced and healthier.

Last week’s box was a bit of some more experimental choices for us however that is also the charm of this experience.

Squid Ink Pasta Puttanesca with Haddock

Goodfood

Squid Ink Pasta Puttanesca with Haddock

I’ve only had squid ink pasta once before in Hong Kong surprisingly. However, I do like it and this dish is pretty good. Its fairly simple to make plus haddock is one of those fishes that we like to eat but never make enough of since salmon turns out to be our default fish to buy and cook. This is a simple dish and I think perhaps one of the few meals in these boxes that I made very easily and almost on par with the time they said would take on the recipe card.

Fajita Bowl with Refried Beans & Fresh Tomato Salsa

Goodfood

Fajita Bowl

The husband chose this one. Suffice to say that its not my favorite meal by far. It was somewhat of a pain to make as it took a lot of coordinating multiple tasks at the same time. Its not complicated though and the chicken tastes delightful. It does pack a little heat in the spices for both the chicken and the peppers. However, the refried beans did turn out tasting better than I had expected them to which is always a plus.

Black Garlic Ramen with Shiitake Mushrooms & Bok Choy

Goodfood

Black Garlic Ramen

The vegetarian meal of the box is the black garlic ramen. Black garlic is also the highlight ingredient that was highlighted for this box. While I didn’t read a lot into it since its been busy, at first glance, it feels like a soy sauce infused garlic. However, I love to choose the oriental noodle meals here because I’m Chinese and it saves me from having to go to the Chinese supermarket which is almost always full of people whenever I have time to go. Back to the meal, simple to make and put together and packs a lot of lovely flavors and tastes so very good.

Provolone-Stuffed Burgers with Rosemary Oven Fries & Aioli

Goodfood

I know that this was a provolone stuffed burger but I let my husband decide on it and for the fact that I can’t have the stuffed cheese, he just made the patties and added the cheese on top. The aioli sauce is pretty good. I would have liked to know how much lemon juice instead of saying the remainder quarter as all lemons will have different amounts so ours turned out quite sour. The balance was lost although it was easy to  see that if there was less lemon juice, it would have been great. The fries also were really good. I never thought of crisping garlic and rosemary as a topping so it was fun to learn that. My husband is the burger connoisseur and he loved this one a lot.

That’s it for last week’s Goodfood box!
A lot of hidden gems here. Some delivered better than others but overall, efficient and tasty meals.