My March Adventures!

Welcome to the March Adventures! March is a big month. Not so much for work (such a rare thing to say over here) in the beginning until the pandemic was announced and things took a flipside and changed the working situation and the general routine.  Not quite the way I expected my husband and I to turn a year older but hey, what can you do, right? On a happier note, as a lot of us have shifted our lives at home, I’m 34 today and celebrating in the beautiful confines of my home, still employed and healthy! In the state of things right now, its important to be grateful and appreciative for the things that we have!

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon Done!

Early March wrapped up the Ultimate 2010s Blogthon that I co-host with Drew’s Movie Reviews as we celebrated with our fantastic guest reviewers their favorite/most significant 2010s movies. You can find all the entries HERE.

Day Off

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I had a day off in early March after a 10.5 days work week to recuperate. The husband also had that day off so we ended up going to do some shopping since I needed to upgrade my skincare routine. You can see the new purchases. I had a birthday discount card so it was alright. We also had a lovely lunch at La Belle et la Boeuf eating some burgers.

Little did we know how things were going downhill after this date outing.

Kavala & Boulangerie Ange

Right before we had all the social distancing orders from the government, I did manage to have a few last hurrahs with friends.

Boulangerie Ange

The first was checking out the new bakery at a new condo district called Boulangerie Ange. We did pick up some bread, croissants and baguette while trying out their breakfast combo. Its pretty good and would definitely be something to check out later on when things get back to normal.

Kavala

We also managed to squeeze in another restaurant hangout with our Battle of Ingredients crew at a Greek tavern called Kavala. I was going to do a post on it but have decided to postpone it as its not like restaurants are currently open (other than takeout and delivery). Either way, it was a delicious place but I’ll talk more about it afterwards. On that note, Battle of Ingredients is, of course, on hold until further notice when things get back to normal.

Work Changes & New Routine

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After a week of nerve-wracking public commute to work with all kinds of preventative measures in the bus and sanitization and home cleaning, my boss figured out a way to let me work from home. Although, above is only immediate needs for the week or so and I do have to pop back into the office every week or so to grab new documents and drop off work done, its been a fairly quick adaptation to working at home although its somewhat changed my routine as I’ve needed to add in time for doing things I’d usually use for reading and walking to work as workout. Still, I can’t complain as I still have a job as we’re considered essential services when the province lockdown came into effect. As of writing this post, I have already gone back to pick up another crateful of documents to work on as we’ve outlined the goals for the next few weeks.

New Routines and Plans 

In lieu of the current state of events, I have already talked about new routines. While I’ve been trying my best to keep up with setting a new routine, mostly with better chore management during the week. I’m slowly finding more time to get in the other projects. You should be seeing more baking related posts (yes, Baking Through Disney should show up after a few little basic baking to get myself back on track to make sure I’m still good with the basics and organization. At the same time, I have an huge amount of backlog of double features and TV binges to write as well as a lot of  book commitments and blog tours to work on over the next little while. Content should be back on track as I know the last 2 weeks or so have been a little all over the place.

At the same time, Elwood and I have been working hard on getting ahead with both Game Warp and Movies and Tea podcast recording so remember to check out our wrap up for Season 3 as we look at Ang Lee and then our After Hours and Shark Week. You can check out Movies and Tea HERE and Game Warp HERE. More podcasts and written reviews/posts will coming up from myself at least as I start finding time to wrap up a few of them. In terms of gaming, I might actually start streaming soon as I kind of made a deal with myself that if I had the ability to work from home and had more time that I’d start doing that..just deciding on the game to stream right now.

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for the March Adventures!

I’m going to assume right now that if things stay the way they are, I will have to be a little more creative with the April Adventures as its less adventures in the going out but more what I’ve been up to at home. I have some buried project ideas and whatnot that I want to find time to do so we will see.

On that note, feel free to share what you have been up to? Have you been confined to your homes as well?

Music Obsessions – March 2020

Welcome to March 2020! Its time to do a monthly roundup of music that’s been on my playlist! Its been quite a mixed bag and some of it is from various phases I’ve gone through and shows I’ve been watching and whatnot.

Just Let It Be – Dimash

A few years ago, I heard Dimash’s first performance on I am a Singer 2017 snippet and it was awesome! He sang this French song called S.O.S. Although there were pronunciation issues, his voice is amazing because of its range and control. I hadn’t realized that he had released music since then but then I found this song and its just awesome. Its nice to see him break out of his classic music and head into something that brings both this classical skills to something a little fast-paced and modern.

Amazing [Find Yourself Ending Theme] – 林世民 Shimin Lin

I just finished Find Yourself this past week and TV binge is coming up soon. A little backlog this year so it’ll happen soon. The ending theme for Find Yourself was unusually an English song, albeit a little language issues in the lyrics but the rhythm and the singing is pretty soothing. Because of that, then it played during the series, it actually matched a lot of the scenes well and this one kind of really grew on me over the process of watching the 40 episodes.

皮囊 Pi Nang – 蕭敬騰 Jam Hsiao

I can’t believe that I haven’t shared songs from Jam Hsiao sooner. This Taiwanese singer actually came to fame around the time that I had fallen out of Chinese music so he’s somewhat of a newer discovery. Jam Hsiao is part of The Singer 2020 this year and he has a killer voice with a wonderful grasp on the falsetto and higher pitches plus he likes fast, quirky and more hard rock style plus adding on his performances, it all works really well. This song is amazing. Honestly, it seems like a fun one to just sing to your heart’s content (even if its not going to be easy to sing).

《爸爸去哪儿》第五季主题曲MV
Dad Where Are We Going 5 Theme Song

I went back the past month to check out Season 5 of Dad Where Are We Going because of my recent wrapping up of Ashes of Love and my new obsession with the actor Alan Deng. In this reality show where celebrity dads take their young children on various trips to challenge and build their bond, Deng Lun takes on the trial dad where he takes care of a little girl who seems to have some social media fame. Its just incredibly cute and heartwarming to watch. This theme song is so cute that I can’t help to listen to it non-stop. Plus, almost all of these dads were celebrities that I grew up with: Jordan Chan (from Young and Dangerous series), Will Liu (Taiwanese singer where I went through a phase of loving his album), Wu Chun (from ex-Taiwanese boy band Fahrenheit).

等爱 -[“海棠经雨胭脂透”片尾曲MV] – 邓伦 & 阿兰

Well, I did say that I’ve been looking up Alan Deng’s stuff so while I haven’t went on to other TV series yet but I did find that he has a talent for singing and this song for last year’s series Blossom in Heart is a beautiful duet that he does. It has some more harmonizing moments with the female singer Ah Lan, who I also do like her music. I’m still debating whether to watch this series since it seems to hit a few things I don’t like about TV series from the snippets here so we’ll see. However, this song has been playing on repeat! Love it!

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
Its been a pretty solid month for music discoveries!
I actually had to make some decisions to not overload!

What have you been listening to?

My February Adventures!

February has passed us by and with the month ending, we take a look back at all the little adventures that happened! Its been a crazy month with a lot of work and overtime and just fatigue, more and more. I took some days off here and there and there were some inconsistencies in the blogging schedule. I also did manage to have some fun little moments between all the snowstorms and daily life things. I already know that it would be a hard and busy month but hey, we’re done now! Suffice to say, it might not be as eventful but still, let’s check it out!

Bouge Bouge 5KM Montreal Souterrain

Kicking off February in absolutely style as I went to do the 5KM MTL Underground Run. The second year participating and this year, while I didn’t feel tip-top and wasn’t sure whether to go for it despite the fatigue from work and really wanting to recuperate, I was the one who said that I’d do it this year, unlike last year where my friend signed up for me and was slightly forced into it. I toughed it out and my time wasn’t too bad. I’m actually enjoying these 5KM runs that keeps me motivated to train a little. This one is a bit tough on the knees with all the stairs going up and down. I’m thinking of doing one or two more 5KM runs throughout 2020 but we will see how things go.

Ramen – Lunch at Kumamoto

We had a crazy snow storm on Friday and after having to dig ourselves out and help out our neighbor and then go save my friend from a little dilemma, we headed out together for a lunch at Kumamoto. Previously, I went there for a hotpot for two people but they are a ramen restaurant so we went to give that a go. I have to say that, in terms of variety of soup bases, this one has a lot. They also have a nice bit of side dishes to choose from. The karaage chicken here is probably the best out of the few places that we’ve been to.

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon

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Just like clockwork, Ultimate 2010s Blogathon started the week after Valentine’s Day. This year, we’re celebrating the movies of 2010s the stood out to ourselves and our guests. As the blogathon is in its final few posts, nearing out wrap-up. You can find all the reviews released HERE.

Snowstorm, Family Dinner, New Plant & Souvenirs

I didn’t take a lot of pictures for any of these things so I figured I’d just cover it all in one section with what little pictures I have. First to hit in February was possibly the first big snowstorm. An actual storm with like 35cm of snow or something that made for some crazy shoveling. When we went back to shovel our backyard patio, it took the collective effort of the husband and I over and hour to clear it all out.

As holidays are a rarity in the first 2 months of the year, my mother-in-law gathered up the family to have a dinner together. We had some surprise news drop and then also had a delicious meal with Italian soup, ham, potatoes, meat pie and then chocolate dip for fruits and cakes. That was a lot of fun.

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We went shopping for something to fix my shower and ended up picking up a cactus because the husband wanted one. I’ve never had a cactus before so I’m going to read up on it and try to not kill it.

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Finally, my friend went out to UK for a few days vacation and ended up getting me some cool souvenirs including a UK themed Mickey and Minnie to join my collection. They currently occupy the empty office table so I guess they are quite royalty in my house.

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for February Adventures!
Anything fun that you did in February that you’d like to share?

Music Obsessions – February 2020

Welcome to February 2020! Its time for the Music Obsessions to kick off this month! I usually take February as a love song expose of sorts but somehow this time, this time is a bit of a mix. The starting and ending song are more up-beat but nothing related to love however, the middle stuff is all about love stories as they are all theme from movies or TV shows. Let’s take a look!

Daydreamer 白日夢想家 – Vision Wei 魏晨

If there’s anything that I love from discovering the amazing Who’s The Murderer, its how it adds in so many great celebrity investigators and the best one that I’ve found is Vision Wei who is great in the variety show but at the same time, it gave me the motivation to look up his music and so far, this one is absolutely fave. Its upbeat and fun and the video isn’t is done really well. Its one that makes me all happy and a great way to kick off this Music Obsessions.

A Kind Of Sorrow 有一種悲傷 – A-Lin

I haven’t seen the actual movie, More Than Blue that this song is for. I am hoping to watch it at some point as it looks really good. A-Lin is a phenomenal singer with great vocals. Her voice is just exceptional and emotional. I love listening to her music and this one is no different.

天地無霜 (Ashes of Love Main Theme) – Andy Yang 楊紫 & Allen Deng 鄧倫

I’ve already expressed my obsession with Ashes of Love. This TV series really is amazing. I’m working on the TV binge but at the same time, the main theme is this wonderful duet from the main leads who are not actual singers but actually do a great job. Its captivating whenever this song appears in the series as well. At the same time, there is a solo version for just Allen Deng which is equally great. Allen Deng is my biggest discovery from the show and I’ve been finding traces of his musical talent and not just his acting talent. For fun, here is the solo version:

Don’t Cry 不哭 – Rocket Girls 101 Sunnee 火箭少女101 楊芸晴

I’m not a huge fan of Rocket Girls 101 in general. They have some okay songs but I can’t say that I’m completely behind their music but individually, some of the members are very good as they branch off to do their own things. My fave vocalist in the group does go to Sunnee who is unique in herself and as I look up more of her music after watching her participating in Masked Singer China, its definitely had some great finds. My fave goes out to this promotional song for the movie version of Cry Me A Sad River. I haven’t seen the movie but the TV series was one of my top series of 2019.

Blah Blah & WYTB – NEXT (Zhejiang New Year’s 2020 Gala Performance)

Ending it off on a high note, I wanted to open with NEXT as its more upbeat. I might have shared WYTB and maybe a snippet of Blah Blah before but Blah Blah is one of my favorite songs from this group. I think Yuehua Entertainment really found gold with putting this group together as a part of them definitely have the idol stars. Of course, it helps that they got a great gig with having a reality show for Mango TV called Master in the House that shared a bit of who each of them are and their aspirations, giving each of them a chance to learn from some great musicians and celebrities in the music industry. They are all very well-rounded and I can see great things in the future for them. They are only like 1.5 years since the creation of the group so still lots of time to get even better.

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to?

My January Adventures!

2020 is among us and well, January has passed, hence why this post is here! January is always a busy month for myself especially on the personal life and work front. Its unavoidable and just regular clockwork and expected in general. This year kind of hit a little as it included some health issues like infections and whatnot. However, first line of business is to apologize for the second half of January lacking posts in general as life kind of destroyed me between preparing for Chinese New Year (a happy thing) and working crazy overtime (a more exhausting process). Its been a rather negative first month but I’m still trying to stay positive. If I can’t change the situation then just change my mindset, right?

Re-Organizing the Office and Bookshelves

The first in the operation is to free up two levels of bookshelf filled with Disney plush toys so that I can use it for some other overflowing books sitting around the different bookshelves elsewhere. It was a debate to use the new utility cart for plush or for books. The final decision was plush toys and use the book shelf for actual books or other little gadgets lying around.

Announcement: Ultimate 2010s Blogathon

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If you missed it, this year’s Ultimate Decades Blogathon was announced. We’re looking at 2010s movies and the ones that made your favorites whether it identified the decade or it was one that highlighted the decades best. Here is all the info on the blogathon. There’s still time so don’t be shy and share with your friends who you think might be interested in joining!

Happening Gourmand: Taverne Gaspar

Taverne Gaspar

Happening Gourmand went on as an Old Montreal event. The past few years, we’ve missed out on our group dinners due to work or whatever other reason. This year, we ended up making it for Taverne Gaspar. I’m still working on the recap and its going to happen.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year happened on January 25th which is a week before of just deep cleaning the house and preparing everything. In our case, it was a day of taking down Christmas and then jumping into getting into Chinese New Year vibe from getting flowers to doing some grocery shopping to stuff up the fridge and buying things that bring good luck. Looking back at this, we can only hope that its a long term luck thing because we’ve got some pretty meh updates lately. Apparently, Tigers are supposed to do well this year so fingers crossed 😉

Montreal Auto Show 2020 & La Centrale

Kicked off the actual Chinese New Year day with friends at the Montreal Auto Show. It was a crazy 5 hours of walking about looking at cars. We did have some solid goals for friends who are looking for the next car and also to see whats new on the market. The highlight this year was the electric cars as well as the one hydrogen car from Toyota. Its pretty interesting as well to see the other fancy cars as well, of course.

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After that we all went out to see Le Central which is a new concept food court style food but with some classier food. We tried out the fried chicken place called Ho Lee Chix and had their burger combo. After that, we went ahead to Mignon Churros & Nougat to pick up some churros and chose their house chocolate dip and then bought some nougat to go.  Everything tasted pretty good. I’m definitely a fan of Le Central than Timeout at Eaton Centre.

Valentine’s Marathon Coming Up!

I’m a bit behind in everything because of the work rush. Obviously, as this post is also going up later than I expected. However, I’m lining up the start of the Valentine’s Marathon with some romantic film double features and of course, a review for the upcoming To All The Boys: P.S. I Love You, among a few other things!

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this January Adventures!
Its been kind of a crazy month with lots of stuff going on and probably the definition of work hard play hard, if anything else!

Music Obsessions: January 2020

I know its Monday and I just realized that this whole holidays and beginning of January is very much making lose track of a time a little. Music Obsessions was neglected this weekend as I simply forgot. However, we’re here now and I do have some good music to share so here we go!

Pretty White Lies – Jason Zhang 张杰

Jason Zhang is such a talented singer. I can’t say this one quite lands as well as Perfume (HERE) did. However,  I believe that I heard this one in Vivia La Romance Season 1 or 2. I can’t remember right now but its a pretty good one. Upbeat and decent singing and lyrics. The guy is very charismatic and I’m really looking forward to see what other songs he comes up with. He does have  a lot of good songs but there are a lot of good ones that are much more ballads. Both a quite good but it’ll be nice to see this style a lot more.

旁观者(Onlookers) – 朱正廷THEO

Theo Zhu is definitely getting a ton of attention in 2019. He had three MVs come out for his EP. He was part of a few variety shows and it shows just how much popularity he has. Nine Percent helped and then when that ended, the continuation fully into NEXT also did. I can’t find the clip for his performance in China’s version of Masked Singer but it truly did show off his singing talents. Its also quite nice to see him embrace the different sides of him. Here, he goes back to this cute boy image which seems to match the person that he is in variety or reality shows. Either way, this is a fun and cute one. We’ll see where NEXT and Theo goes in the 2020.

Pick Up The Phone – Justin 黄明昊

Justin has really grown on me over the last year. In 2018, when he first got out of Idol Producer, it felt like his solo stuff was lacking and not truly in what I like to listen to. Its obvious that he has improved a lot especially as we get to this one where his rap is better and his singing is better. There’s a better rhythm to the whole music. Its also quite fun for this one. He still plays on the whole bad boy thing a lot which is quite different from the comedic sort of personality he has when he does variety shows like Great Escape and Who’s the Murderer. Pick Up The Phone is the first solo that he’s done that I’m liking quite a bit.

别勉强 Don’t Force It – G.E.M. 邓紫棋 & Eric Chou 周兴哲

There’s no doubt that both GEM and Eric Chou are great singers. I’ve shared a lot of their music over the past year or two. Seeing these two collab together is probably one of the best things ever. As expected with Eric Chou, its a slow ballad sort of song but luckily GEM also thrives in the slower music. She seems to be going into the fast-paced bad-ass songs lately which I’m not a huge fan of, so its nice to see this two come out with something more along their line of excellence and deliver a very decent duet.

就算沒有如果 Even If Not (“Eternal Love” OST) – 香香 Xiang Xiang

The last week of December was spent binge watching Eternal Love. All 58 episodes of this 2017 series that I have managed to finish at the beginning very recently (like yesterday of this post’s release). I’ll talk more about Eternal Love in the TV binge post which I’m releasing very soon. The songs in this series are absolutely wonderful. I would have filled the entire Music Obsessions with it but reason took over so here’s one which I particularly thing is pretty good and is really the theme for one of the side romances with Bai Feng Jiu & Dong Hua Di Jun shown above in the thumbnail.

Oh..you know..why not? Here’s another one of the songs in the series that I’ve really liked also for the main pairing in the series.

I’m usually not into oriental China series as they usually get rather dramatic and it does BUT their music is really good as I like the sound of Chinese instruments. I’m having this crazy idea of putting together a post for just Eternal Love music…that might be a good idea as a pairing for the TV Binge posts. Let me think about that a little more 😉

Let’s end this before I can’t stop myself!
Here’s the January 2020 Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to lately?

2020 Upcoming Plans!

2020 is already among us!

For new readers, welcome to Tranquil Dreams. I’m a blog that doesn’t quite follow the successful route of blogging (meaning to focus on one topic), instead I’m a fan of doing what I like and just using this as an outlet of doing the things I love. They primarily make up 4 categories: Movies, TV, Books and Food. There are weekly and monthly segments and a whole bunch of random spontaneous things going on. Now that the introduction is done for anyone new here!

Let’s check out plans for 2020! Note that a few little changes but not too many. I’ve indicated where the main changes are. 🙂

READING

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge: 25 books

Last year, I set a bunch of books that I wanted to read and then didn’t get around to reading 90% of them, I’d say. Its probably because I forgot about it at one point being busy with everything else. This year, I already have about 5 books set for the first 3 months which is a great start as it all goes towards blog tours and such. I’m not going to say which one and will leave it as a surprise. The goal is to participate in blog tours and then work through a ton of TBR books on my bookshelves and Kindle. I won’t change the 25 books this year and if I exceed, then so be it. In general, its been a struggle to find reading time especially in the second half of the year.

MOVIES

Movies are staying relatively the same. I’m hoping that I will still be able to get the media accreditation for film festivals like in 2019 as that is always a lot of fun and brings in some really nice film discoveries. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it always brings in a nice refreshing change to the normal fare on Netflix.  Fingers crossed on that, right? 😉

As for movies, we will be keeping the double feature usually around 1-2 per week, depending on time. Full single reviews are for theatre viewings and festival screenings. The normal themed months still apply:

  • February: Valentine’s Romance
  • October: Halloween Horror
  • December: Holiday Films

This year, I’m thinking of doing some themed months randomly so that I can catch up on various genre of films. Its still in the air whether I’ll do it as A-Z or simply as random screenings.

As for any other things, I’ve neglected my Sunday Lists in general and will hopefully be aiming to get one a month. I’ll set a Sunday per month for that.

TV

TV has really turned into a Chinese drama series deal since middle of 2018 and that will continue this year. I’m hoping to get a few of the TV binges that I didn’t do last year done this year as I didn’t do any for my Top 5 shows last year and that seems sad as they were all very accessible on Youtube and/or Netflix.

Aside from that, Netflix series are the other focus and perhaps Shudder depending how long I keep the subscription. A short little no change section at all: TV binge for Chinese dramas will keep the normal format I have and may actually use a part of that format for any other series I watch as well.

OTHER RANDOMNESS

After getting through the top 3 categories of focus here, its time to take a look at the random other segments at weekly or monthly frequency.

  • [change] Wine Recap will wrap up with its final one with December 2019 and it will be over. I’m no wine connoisseur and the whole 2 year experiment of doing it has really helped me appreciate wine better but its becoming more of a chore to write it up. I’ll share some of it on Instagram instead so feel free to follow me over HERE.
  • My Adventures: I’ve already changed it to a monthly segment in the middle of 2019 and it will remain that way. I’m finally happy with the structure so we’re keeping this as the fun and more personal post.
  • What’s Up 2020: will remain a weekly segment set on every Wednesday to recap the previous week.
  • [change] Baking Through Disney: has been a neglected segment over here that I’ve tucked away but never forgot about. As I aim to get back into baking, its the project that will hopefully be revived on a monthly basis. One baking day a month seems fairly reasonable.
  • [change] Goodfood recaps: have been no more since the middle of 2019. It was due to a few bad experiences that Goodfood has finally fixed on their end. I didn’t talk about it at the time and won’t go deeper into it. As I’m not paid to do this and I have to pay for the experience, its becoming a convenience choice for our life so its become less frequent as well. I’ll share some of the meals on Instagram whenever we do order.
  • Battle of Ingredients: has changed its structure since its beginning. We’ve been talking about how to get things back on track to fit its name but we are also enjoying taking the time to highlight some recipe trials as well as using local Quebec products in our cooking. This one is really supposed to be monthly but we have random hiatus due to our busy schedules.
  • Ultimate Decades Blogathon is coming back in 2020. We are currently in production phase of getting things together. If you are interested, remember to check back here. We should be announcing it soon.
  • Music Obsessions: almost got cut but this segment was saved by a recent comment. I enjoy the segment but its the one that does the least well out of everything here BUT at least its a fairly fun and easy post to put together. So its staying without any change, on a monthly basis on the first weekend of the month.

I know we cover a ton of stuff here including Restaurant recaps and other event coverage including shopping hauls and such. It shouldn’t change much on that front. I’m hoping to get some more DIY going on and other things, if possible. However, time is scarce so I’ll do what I can.

I think that generally covers everything for 2020 plans!
Its not a ton of changes but I will work on being more organized this year!
Happy 2020 and all the best to all of you lovely people!