My June Adventures!

In a blink of an eye, we’re at the end of June and summer is here. Weather’s been a bit nuts here with a crazy heat wave/drought and then the last few days has been raining and much more comfortable. A little update on the Montreal confinement situation or well, we’re pretty much deconfined at this point although still get cases everyday so you can decide how you feel about that situation. Of course, with this ease of situation, my work situation is getting back to pre-COVID normal soon, which I’m not too sure how I feel about it but I don’t make the call so I just have to follow through with it. Although, today’s announcement (I’m writing this the day before posting so I don’t know yet if its going to happen) is supposed to make wearing face masks mandatory on public transit so that’s definitely rather reassuring.

COVID-19 is part of our lives now for over 3 months now so it has to be addressed before we head into other things that has gone on this past month! Let’s check it out!

Nike Training Club – 4 Week Program

I’ve slacked off during the entire lockdown phase and really struggled to get back on track with working out. The weather is warming up and hiking is starting back up (as you will see later on) which also requires a little bit of outside training to make sure my muscles are strengthened and build a bit of endurance to do the harder trails so I’m getting back on track with another 4 week program on Nike Training Club to kick things off. This time is different from before as I’ve added in the running option.

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As the month ends, I should be getting back. Thing is, the weather turned so nice that I ended up being the most motivated to go running as you can see above so I didn’t stick to the program a whole lot but at least it made me want to be more active in other ways like pool workouts and hiking and running while still adding one of the workouts from the program to get some weights or body weight exercises in. At this point, its more of a guideline than following the program and its in the final week.

Movies and Tea Podcast

As I’m getting a rhythm of getting our archive on Youtube for Movies and Tea on a weekly basis, if you  haven’t caught up with the first season of Movies and Tea, you can start catching the episodes every Monday. The general idea now is that while we get through Season 4, I’ll be updating the archive of Season 1 every week until we start up Season 5 and that will be uploaded when it goes live so that we’re not always behind. Currently updated to Season 1, Episode 5 with our big Resident Evil Franchise episode.

With that said, I’m not going to go share all the episodes of Movies and Tea posted on Youtube but here’s the latest one above so that you can go check it out and subscribe to our channel if you enjoy it!

Hiking: Mont Cathedrale (Carre) & Marais du Kingsbury

Brompton - Mont Cathedrale

First hike done and the recap of the hike is already posted so you can check it out HERE.

Summer Game Fest

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We might have lost E3 this year but Summer Game Fest is the next best thing with a bunch of conferences spanning over May to August. We’re a bit late to the party so missed out most of the May events but June included the Playstation 5 reveal and conference (Recap), EA Play Live (Recap) as well as PC Gaming Show 2020 and a new show called Future Games Show (Recap). We didn’t get around to doing the recap for PC Gaming Show and now its already weeks later so a bit late to do it however, you can check out our thoughts on the other shows. There was a bunch of other things like developer showcases which present the new Crash Bandicoot game titled Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this June update!
I’ll share some garden updates next time. I just forgot to get all my pictures taken.

What have you been up to?

Hiking: Marais du Kingsbury & Mont Cathedrale

As Montreal starts reopening gradually (well, a lot of stuff is reopened at this point, except for a few things), the things we were looking forward to reopen the most is obviously the parks for hiking and such. Due to weather and the current situation, not all the parks are open but we did find quite a few to choose from. The husband decided that our best chance was to head further from the downtown area to the Eastern Townships to check out a trail part of Les Sentiers de L’Estrie. We’ve done a few other trails from that network before but this year, we’ve been thinking of getting the pass which would pretty much get back its worth if we do three more trails in the network and that sounds like a good deal (and doable, provided the reopening doesn’t launch a second wave of the pandemic).

First Stop: Kingsbury, Le Boucle de la Riviere

Kingsbury

Kingsbury

The hiking plans didn’t quite go as we planned even if we did head out the time that we intended, early in the morning. Our first stop as planned was to go to Kingsbury and do a 7.2 km hike. However, the instructions weren’t too good and we soon realized 30 mins in that there was a sign saying that the suspension bridge had collapsed. This trail is pretty much a trail by the water and marshlands. Uncertain of whether there was a detour or not, we decided to go back to the car and head to the next location.

Kingsbury

Collapsed suspension bridge

And we were off to the next location pretty much spontaneously. I suggested to go to the next hiking area in this network heading back the way we came so that at least we’ll start later on the actual trail for the day but lower the travel time back a little bit.

Second stop: Brompton – Le Mont Cathedrale

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Things not going to plan was apparently the theme of our first hike as we had intended on doing another trail but got mislead to believe we were on the right trail when it wasn’t. Oh well..these things happen and we ended up doing a fairly decent intermediate level hike (not what we had planned since we’re obviously not in that great of shape with the lockdown and such). I’m not quite sure how long the trail actually was but it was quick elevation to Mont Cathedrale so it was rather tiring to do, plus the scene was really lovely.

Brompton - Mont Cathedrale

If you look at the actual website, this trail is supposed to start at another parking location and then not only do the mountain but also a “Ruisseau Ely”, which we saw signs for but didn’t pursue it.

Overall, its a decent trail, in both cases. I’m going to say that this is one of the times where its less maintained than we’ve experienced before. I think its just the current times and the parks and the later than usual opening to not have addressed these things. We had a few hiccups in our plans but still, it was a decent few hours of hiking that we got out of it. Les Sentiers de l’Estrie has had a few places that we’ve done before like, Mont Chapman last year (that also had pretty confusing directions). That’s it for this hiking adventure! We’re looking up the next hike right now and will check in with the next one soon (hopefully).

 

My May Adventures

Its hard to think that May is over with and at this point, its been more than 2 months in lockdown mode. Montreal is getting into reopening phase so we’ll see how all that goes probably in the June recap as it hasn’t completely started yet, really just starting up. With that said, I still worked from home in May. Things have slightly slowed down but there’s a shift in my own responsibilities and whatnot. Its been a bit crazy, not just the general situation but the weather went from some light snow in the beginning of the month until this last week of May hitting the 30+ degrees Celsius mark so its insane. Not a whole lot to talk about in these adventures but I’m mostly following up from last month’s Adventures post with podcasts and gardening, etc.

Movies and Tea Update: We’re on YouTube FINALLY!

Last month’s adventures, I had talked about working on moving the audio podcasts to Youtube as a new platform to see if we can get some more audience there. After an entire month of trying to do it but never quite getting it done, I gave myself a kick in the pants and did it. The first episode of Season 1 of our archives is finally on. The plan right now is that archives once a week until our current season ends and then I will upload Season 5 in between of putting up archives in between. That way, the old stuff is going up and the new episodes as well.

I’m debating on whether to do some more content after all the main business is done! All up for discussion with my awesome co-host, of course…because as we always say, we hate free time. 😉

Garden Update

There’s probably more to update here. There are a few more containers as I also did try to grow almost all the seeds that I had in the house. Some came out and some didn’t but its still somewhat of a waiting game other than the butterfly garden flowers, which seem to be doing fairly well in both of the containers. I will probably share a picture of it once it has more progress than baby leaves.

The trip to the garden center was also decent. Its more that, probably because of COVID-19 and the later season and unstable weather, there was a very limited assortment of vegetables or plants or whatnot. For example, the zucchini was not even grown from seeds and I wasn’t going to take the risk so skipped it. All of this year’s vegetables are new trials: Butternut Squash, Squash, Delicata Squash, Hungarian Wax Peppers and Marina Cucumbers (which we’ve had before but never grown..my mom has though). It’ll be interesting to see what comes of it all. More updates next month.

The whole staying at home as given a whole new motivation to weeding though so hoping to take advantage of the nice weather and the extra time from working at home whenever I can to get the garden back up to how I’d like it to be.

Game Warp Podcast – New Episode

If the lockdown did anything for us, its getting us back into our Game Warp groove. I’ve definitely been gaming more even if its not for actual podcast recordings but its built up some backlog for game reviews and mobile game roundups to potentially go up as its all in the works right now. Above is our latest episode that you can give a listen!

Online Battle of Ingredients Group Hangout

No pictures here since I like to respect everyone’s privacy and online names and whatnot. We didn’t forget Battle of Ingredients and are waiting for this whole social distancing to go at some point to resume normal operations. We have thought about doing some online edition but its my fault mostly that work and changing seasons has added a lot to the to-do list so not a ton of time to think about it. However, the crew did get together for an online dinner together and then a Jackbox party together so it was a lot of fun. New times calls for new measures to still hang out with our friends and stay in touch.

Cute Kitty Pic

Kitty Cat

That’s it for this May Adventures!
Its mostly little updates on the different projects right now!

What have you been up to during this lockdown period?
Is your city reopening gradually?

My April Adventures!

As we step into April, the world is in a surreal state with COVID-19 running out lives back to the safety of our homes for those who aren’t essential services and/or can’t work from home. I don’t want to talk too much about it on the other posts but as Adventures is more of a personal offering, its hard to not touch on it. I’ve been saying whenever I mention this that its important to stay positive and with that said, we look at the pros of the situation (despite all the bad) and that is we learn to appreciate and be grateful that we still have this blogging community to hide away from the surreal reality surrounding us.

Working From Home

There’s not much to say about working from home other than the fact that April was a crazy month. March was just adjusting to working at home and then April hit so hard because staff decrease and I had to work a 2 person workload. Luckily, I had some help as I slowly got the office set up with the printer and getting new cartridge and stuff that took longer than usual to arrive because of the current situation. I’m starting to realize how hard it is to work non-stop for such a long time. Luckily, April is over and my staff will go back up to almost normal so I can work through May, hopefully more peacefully!

Game Warp Podcast
(& Learning About Headliner)

Game Warp is slowly coming back to life as we settle through our direction and how the shows that we’d like to do in the coming while. Our latest podcast is a review discussion on Life Is Strange 2 which recently won the BAFTA Games Award for Best Performer in a Leading Role with its character of Sean Diaz. We did record this before the whole awards thing so its just a coincidence that we released it at the same time.

As I struggled through how to structure the audio podcasts to be more appealing, my wonderful co-host told me Headliner which is how I made this video. Learning about new things is one of the fun things about blogging and podcasting. Hopefully you like the podcast! Of course, you prefer the audio version, you can find us on Anchor and a ton of other platforms.

Right before this post went live, we released another episode for Game Warp as a list/discussion piece on Greatest Female Characters as well as listing our favorites.

Garden Coming Alive

I do have a bunch of pictures for another Instagram post but then I never go around to posting it up. The garden is indeed coming alive and much more vibrant than the beginning of April. Blueberry is starting to show signs of life along with raspberry and strawberry. The trees are coming back as well. Then we have the perennials especially the new ones last year in the bee garden are mostly all coming back! I promise to share pictures soon on Instagram!

Movies and Tea Podcast

Nothing like blogging more and recording more for podcasts during this time. Movies and Tea is releasing on a good schedule now as we are having a decent backlog! Its all thanks to my awesome co-host Elwood who gets all these shows edited and released, of course! Ang Lee season is almost over. Above is the penultimate episode of Ang Lee for Lust, Caution.

On other news, which I hoped to share with you all this time around, Movies and Tea Podcast will be on Youtube soon. Its a new avenue and will be done with Headliner in the audio format as well. The channel is set up but its mostly putting up all the archive episodes gradually. I’ll give an update in May for sure!

New Objectives

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Everyone is trying to make the best of staying at home as something that they are tackling. I’m sure when you flip through your feed that you see a ton of your own friends tackling baking, cooking, entertaining others through music, streaming, etc. For myself, I’m more of an introvert and while I did say that I would stream if I got to work at home during this ordeal, things didn’t quite turn out that way, as explained in my “Working at Home” section above. However, I did set myself a new goal and that’s to pick one song to play on the piano really well (maybe not perfectly since I’m far from that) but be able to play it and sing at the same time. I’m mostly doing separate practicing right now: piano and singing done separately but soon, I might be able to start putting it together. The song that I picked is Encounter by Stefanie Sun, which is one of my favorite songs and I used to sing it well enough but singing is a tad rusty nowadays. Call it practice or whatever but its been really fun doing this.

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this April Adventures!
What adventures, right? Shameless self-promotion is what this mostly consists of!
I’ll try my best to get a better routine down in May once I have more time!

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?

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?

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!

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!

Happy New Year: 2019 in Review!

2019 is finally wrapped up. It was an overall okay year. Some good, some bad, some average stuff happened. I made some decisions about personal changes in habits and other general life things that I want to do in 2020 for my own sanity and sake. However, we’re all about being positive here and the blog has definitely kept me through a lot of that even if its been so long and some months are much busier than I expect.

Before I get to housekeeping the blog and 2020 plans (coming up in a later post), which should last a good few days, its time to take a moment to reflect on the blog going-ons in 2019 and take a quick look at some stats, faves, and of course successes.

2019 in Review

2019 was something of a crazy year! I covered a few film festivals: some first time ones and then watched a reviewed a ton of movies. The views had some incredibly huge growths and then also had some very low days. At so many years on, stats really is just a number but does make me wonder what makes it grow sometimes. A look at some general stats without digging too deep.

  • Total views: 57,244 (decrease from the previous year but then 2018 was the best year in blogging for me)
  • Top 5 countries reading
    • United States
    • India
    • Hong Kong SAR
    • Canada
    • United Kingdom
  • Top 5 posts written in 2019
    • TV Binge: Rush to the Dead Summer
    • TV Binge: Who’s The Murderer (Season 4)
    • TV Binge: The Inn 2 (Season 2)
    • Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles
    • Announcement: Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

Definitely some interesting stats as I never realized that my TV Binges, especially for Chinese dramas and variety shows did so well. I’m just wondering who is reading them as they are definitely a slow accumulation over time. I do those mostly for my own enjoyment and not thinking that many people will read it.

2019 also has some other challenges and overviews in films and Goodreads Reading Challenges.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

  • Goodreads Reading Challenge was increased from the beginning of the year halfway, which resulted in my failing to reach the goal. I did log a book collection which was 4 books considered as 1 read. Technically I reached the goal, right? The total books read was 27 books! According to the My Year in Books 2019 from Goodreads.
    • I read 7024 pages over 27 books
    • Shortest book: The Princess and the Peacock
    • Longest book: Obsidio
    • My favorite books read in 2019 (not necessarily 2019 releases)
      • A Series of Unfortunately Events Collection: Book 10-13
      • The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: The Ava Lee Prequel
      • Obsidio
      • Always and Forever, Lara Jean
      • Hope
      • Proximity

In the reading department, I actually skewed away from a lot of what I had intended on reading at the beginning of the year probably when I did the 2019 plans. However, I did discover quite a few good reads and caught up with some reads sitting around that was way overdue.

Movies & Letterboxd

While Letterboxd’s Year in Review hasn’t come out yet, I’m going to start a little look over with the help of its stats to see how the movie watching thing was. Do note that my viewings were bloated by short film viewings but also lost some of the films that were premieres at film festivals and wasn’t listed yet but most likely forgot to go back and add them back later on.

  • Total movies watched: 249
  • Out of 249:
    • 80 films were from 2019
    • 5 Netflix Stand-up Comedy Specials
    • 3 Theatre viewings
    • 29 short films
    • 42 rewatches (including Harry Potter franchise, Evil Dead franchise)
  • Favorite 2019 movies (in no particular order – not surprisingly all festival viewings)
    • White Snake
    • Daniel Isn’t Real
    • Dead Dicks
    • Riot Girls
    • Paradise Hills
  • Favorite non-2019 movies (in no particular order)
    • Snowpiercer
    • Us and Them
    • The Hate U Give
    • Murder on the Orient Express
    • Anna and the Apocalypse

TV Binging in Review

Last thing to look at before we wrap up this much longer than expected post (causing me to change the original structure) – TV! Suffice to say that I watched a lot of Chinese dramas and variety shows. Much more than the English stuff. Its been a nice change in pace overall and there’s some really nice Chinese dramas out there, which are also getting acquired by Netflix or released as Netflix series. As I’m a ton of TV binges behind, this is where the What’s Up segment is going to help a ton in compiling this portion (although I have a clear idea of my faves already).

Top 5 TV Seasons of 2019

  • Le Coup de Foudre
  • Go Go Squid!
  • The King’s Avatar
  • River Flows To You
  • Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Honorable Mention: Love, Death + Robots; Umbrella Academy; The Brightest Star in the Sky

Overall, 2019 was a pretty decent year. I had some nice little fun successes like getting a few festival media accreditation and some rather fun little screener links offered for review. Its been rather busy starting from Montreal Comiccon in July then jumping straight to Fantasia International Film Festival, followed by a first time accreditation for Toronto After Dark Film Festival covering short films, then went on to a first time press pass for Festival du Nouveau Cinema and then finally a remote coverage for Blood in the Snow Film Festival. There was a lot of fun little movie discoveries as well as an appreciation for short films. A lot of originally planned things (from what I remembered) wasn’t all that achieved but at the same time, it went relatively smoothly.

That’s it for this 2019 in Review!
We’ll be planning out 2020 later today (or maybe tomorrow).

My December Adventures!

Its the last day of December. Isn’t that crazy? I’m doing this on the last day instead of tomorrow since we have 2020 business to take care of then so shifting things up a little. We’re going through the very busy December and all kinds of recap and seemingly a bunch of shopping and gifts and fairs and outings, etc.

Fingers crossed that all will go as planned as writing in December has been a bit all over the place… (it hasn’t because this is going up much later than expected)

CRHS Annual Craft Fair (December 1)

DIY Christmas

You can see the post on it HERE.

Marbled Ornaments

Next up, I went along and tried out some Marbled Ornaments as well! Which was mostly a failed attempt in general but did decide that its a project to further pursue and figure out. Plus, its some nice way to use up old nail polish so that its not just thrown out without some form of recycling/repurposing. You can check my post on that HERE.

Marché Casse-Noisette & Mini-Comiccon

Marche Casse -Noisette took place from November 28 to December 8 at Palais des Congres which happened to overlap with Mini Montreal Comiccon held December 7 and 8 also at Palais des Congres just one was in the main hall and the other was upstairs. With that said, it made sense to go and check out both at the same time. While the haul wasn’t particularly a lot, it was a first time visit for both place for myself. Some nice discoveries to be found. I will definitely go check the Marché Casse-Noisette again but probably not the Mini Comiccon as its rather lackluster.

Salon des Metiers d’Art 2019

Salon des metiers d'art 2019

  • Coach House Shortbread Company: Dark Chocolate & Salt; Almond & Rose; Ginger
  • La Nougaterie: Salt Flower Caramel; Dark Chocolate; Christmas
  • Nutra Fruit: Chocolate Covered Cranberry; Dark Chocolate- Cranberry Spread
  • Cidrerie du Minot: Des Glaces
  •  Choco Chocolat: Dark Chocolate; Dark Hazelnut

A lot of the SMAQ 2019 sales is about the same as previous years, the exception being that I bought the spread from Nutra Fruit and the chocolate from Choco Chocolat, which I believe is a new booth this year at the Salon. Most of this stuff is for festival party time and gifts and whatnot.

Ottawa Day Trip

Mavericks Donut

We took a quick trip with a friend to go to Ottawa to do some quick errands. We had a nice lunch at Fatboys (post about our first time HERE) and then finally found time to go grab some donuts at Mavericks Donut, which they had 4 dairy-free flavors and the husband and the friend each chose 4 to get a dozen. After that, I finally brought home Pumbaa from Disney Store to join Timon at our place and then picks up some wine at LCBO and some food in preparation for NYE dinner plans at T&T Supermarket.

Holiday Festivities: Christmas Dinners & NYE Hotpot

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Christmas Eve dinner was a ton of fun with a lot of people at the in-laws. It was a fun little event with some surprise gifts for ourselves which we didn’t expect to get anything in the first place. My mom wanted to have a turkey feast (as shown above) so she held a dinner and invited us and some of her own friends for dinner and here we have the overzealous food galore. Everything was delicious as usual. NYE is a hotpot meal and part of the Battle of Ingredients festivities so a separate post will be done for that.

Boxing Day Shopping Haul

Boxing Day this year has been a little less exciting. It has to do a lot with the fact that we’ve been trying to decrease expenses and its truly changed the spending habits into being very cautious with our expenses. Its not going to seem it since we’ve done a lot of shopping this past month…seemingly..but then its all useful things or food. Either way, without further ado (as this is the last part before this post ends)..the shopping haul from Boxing Day.

  • Adidas outlet: Running Shoes
  • Dynamite: Sweater and 3-pack scrunchies
  • Steam Sale: Life is Strange 2: Complete Edition, Detention, Gris, The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, Glass Masquerade
  • Playstation Holiday Sale: Overcooked 2, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Amazon: Playstation 4 Controller Charging Dock
  • Walmart: John Wick 2

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this December Adventures!
How was your holidays? Had a lot of fun with family? Did you do some Boxing Day shopping?