Toronto & EGLX Haul!

We sneaked off for a little work and play trip to Toronto to cover EGLX and explored a little. To be accurate, we were in the surrounding Toronto areas and stayed in Markham. And of course, we met up with Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews, my darling Ultimate Decades Blogathon co-host like the past two years for celebration and fun friends hangout. This year, we decided to not go to Toronto Comicon and switched it to EGLX (Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo…something like that).

With that said, we picked up a few things here and there.

First stop: Pacific Mall

Glasses at Noble Optical

I have gotten my last three pairs of glasses here and my husband got his last pair here so when time to change, we got our new prescriptions and came to look for a new pair. He ended up with his 4th pair in a row of Hugo Boss glasses (never intended) and I had some struggles with this year’s style and ended up with a slightly bigger frame Ray-ban. Never thought I would get Ray-bans but they had a lovely matte finish and looked pretty good. I am still adapting to this new look but it happens all the time after a big purchase.

Noble Optical is pretty cool because they can get the glasses done the day of purchase which is useful for us because we come from out of town so we wanted it to adapt to new glasses over the weekend with our new prescriptions and everything worked out great.

The Best Shop

A little houseware shopping here as we picked up some kitchenware and a shower curtain. Nothing special just a little random purchases we found.

Egg Rolls

A staple of Toronto is picking up these sweet egg rolls usually as a little gift. They are delicious.

Location: Toronto Zoo
Toronto Zoo Cap

My husband loves caps. He gets a good few every year and the Toronto Zoo one had nice colors and the logo was really stylish. So it worked well for him.

Victoria’s Secret

I initially went into Victoria’s Secret to see what style of sports bras were available and whether they were on sale. To my surprise, the quality and design just wasn’t what I wanted. Walking out I saw these T-shirt bras that were so cute plus they had a 2 for $55 sale so I went for it, considering one is usually $43.


It wouldn’t be a trip to Ontario without stopping at LCBO for some VQA wines which we can rarely find in SAQ stores. First one is the seasonal rose wine called Sibling Rivalry. The next is a new tasting white Moscato wine called Fresh Beginnings. My husband chose the Innis and Gunn ale beer and I chose a local apple cider drink called Queen Street 501 by Brickstreet Ciderhouse. The next wine recap will review these ones.

Location: EGLX 2018

Studio VTAS

The big day for the trip was definitely EGLX for myself since it is kind of work and play. We didn’t pick up any games however, we did have a goal to fill up a few walls in our house with art and we found two places that we just loved. I had never seen these two artists either so it was a lovely find. The first above is from Studio VTAS. Not sure what the name is exactly but you can find her on Instagram and Twitter. The silhouette ones are beautiful. She also has a fantastic Studio Ghibli collection. Lots of great art here.

Mariya Haponenko

The second artist created these original art called Crystal Monsters at least the one on the right is that. There is an obvious influence for its general design but its inspired by the galaxy and botany for artist Mariya Haponenko. They were slightly pricey but I do love to support indie artists and they were just too awesome to pass up. I love the design of the galaxy one but the botany ones have a really cool technique of pressing glass together or something like that. I’m not artist but the way she described it was very cool.

Location: Vaughan Mills
Disney Store

In theme with yesterday’s Moana review, I actually picked up Pua. There was a sweet deal on plushes at the Disney outlet there and I just couldn’t resist. On a side note, over on Avenue of Daydreams, I will be archiving my Disney plush collection. Still thinking of how to structure it but it will happen soon.

Location: Big Apple

Final stop whenever we go to Toronto by car is The Big Apple where they have a ton of pies and other apple baked goods. This, time, my husband wanted the brownies (not apples at all) but he said it tasted delicious. I got the Apple Strudel and we got an apple pie for my mother in law.

Thats it for this Toronto and EGLX haul!
Enjoy this post as I sort through 1000+ photos for the trip to share!


Moana (2016)

Its a lovely Sunday morning! Nothing like talking about some Disney! Today’s we look at 2016’s Disney film, Moana.

Moana (2016)


Director: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Hall, Chris Williams

Voice Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches Moana’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod to set things right. – IMDB

The 2016 Disney film went to Moana. There was a lot of love for it because of its story and its strong female character and that this story isn’t the traditional princess finding a prince story but an independent girl following her destiny and saving her island. For all the above, I do like Moana a lot.



Is Moana my favorite Disney movie? It isn’t. I can think of a few that are better crafted. However, it is a solid entry and a nice way for Disney to embrace the stronger women image. We had started seeing it in Frozen with Elsa and now at Moana, she truly is doing what she can without the added love story (like in Mulan). There is nothing wrong with love stories and for my own roots, I loved to see Mulan get its spot in Disney even if the story was never about love but about her courage, bravery for her family, much like Moana’s is. Seeing that Moana took the angle to simply avoid the love story angle and be about her getting over her obstacles was a really nice take. Moana also is colorful and visually appealing. It has to do with the warm setting and the vast open sea adventure that she takes. It still has the magical element which works well. In terms of characters, it also has of course, Dwayne Johnson who plays Maui, the demigod who caused all the problems in the first place and she has to find to fix it all. There are some cute sidekicks like the Moana pig and a silly one which is a weird and dumb chicken called Heihei. The grandmother plays the other role as an inspirational figure and something of a guiding light.



Finally, a Disney film isn’t one without its musical elements. Moana definitely has a few fun and catchy songs. Our house is obsessed with You’re Welcome. The mention of it usually has that song stuck in our head for a while (guess what song is in my head now…). I can’t say that I love the soundtrack all that much though. It has some fun songs but nothing stuck a whole lot. But that might be because its so new and I haven’t watched it a ton of times. As nicely constructed and visually appealing as Moana is, its still somewhat of a good but not great experience. I love what its trying to do and it honestly all works together but somehow, I feel like its missing a certain grab for myself and I’m not completely sure why.

However, putting my own preferences aside, Moana is a well-crafted film. Its one that will have elements for both adults and children alike especially with its colorful environment and fun songs as well as its inspiring and silly characters, both human and animals. Its is a nice direction for Disney to take and I appreciate all of what it has achieved with Moana. Hopefully, we will be seeing more of these sort of films which help empower women characters and send them on some fun and adventurous quests.

New Segment: Wine Recap – January & February 2018

Welcome to a new segment! I’m trying to up the food and drinks content here, which is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. So here we are – a (hopefully) monthly wine recap. My husband and I love to get new wines and try it out so it feels like a waste to not share it with everyone as well. Wine doesn’t just stop there, if we happen to try out some new drinks like cocktails or beers or liqueurs, then I’ll share it as well.

Wine Recap

With that said, we are not professional or anything so its just really how we felt about it as we learn to appreciate wines and log what we’ve tried. There probably won’t be any fancy terms and we won’t know enough to talk a lot of depth about it. If you are looking for something much more professional than myself, you should definitely check out Wine Wankers.

Being a big fan of lighter wines, I’ve always been a fan of Riesling and Moscato varieties and with that said, completely coincidentally, this one has a lot of moscato wines.


Banrock Station Moscato 2016

Banrock Station Moscato

Producer: BRL Hardy
Alcohol Content: 6%
Location: South Australia
Taste Tag: Fruity and Sweet

Banrock Station was my pick for this time. My husband had never tasted a Moscato before. When we first cracked open the bottle, the scent was actual quite dry and soury. However, once we aired it out a little and took our first sip, it actually tasted very light and sweet. Its one of the smoothest Moscato wines that I’ve tasted.

Hardy’s Stamp Riesling Gewurztraminer 2016

Hardy's Stamp Riesling

Producer: BRL Hardy
Alcohol Content: 11.5%
Location: South Australia
Taste tag: Fruity and Sweet

Next up is coincidentally from the same producer, which we didn’t know until now, as I was doing the research on it. I’m a big fan of Riesling wines. They usually are quite good and has that perfect balance of not being too dry and just sweet enough with a lovely texture. I can’t say that Hardy’s Stamp is my favorite wine. Its pretty good. Its a little drier than I would expect and the initial taste definitely tastes less appealing than after a few sips.

Jacob’s Creek Moscato 2017

jacob's creek moscato

Producer: Premium Wine Brands
Alcohol content: 7.5%
Location: South Australia
Taste Tag: Fruity and Sweet

We’ve heard about Jacob’s Creek a lot but never actually had tasted any of the wines. Seeing a Moscato on a random trip to the SAQ sparked the interest to pick it up. Its not quite as sweet as Banrock Station however, Jacob’s Creek Moscato is absolutely a lovely wine as well. Its very delicate and light. In many ways, it actually tastes lighter in alcohol than Banrock Station, which it isn’t as this one has 1.5% more alcohol content.

Castella del Poggio Moscato d’Asti 2016

Producer: Castello del Poggio
Alcohol content: 5%
Location: Italy
Taste Tag: Fruity and Sweet

You may recognize this wine from our Battle of Ingredients 2018 Chinese New Year Edition. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find it here.

One of our friends is the wine provider for the evening. For the evening, he brought a wine that his father in law (I think) introduced to him recently. Its an Italian wine originated from Asti and is also a Moscato. With that said, this one is neck to neck with Banrock Station’s taste. In fact, to taste two spectacular Moscatos over the course of the month  has been wonderful. This one is sweet and light and even our friend who doesn’t drink much wine enjoyed it a lot as well.

That wraps up the first log or wine recap (whatever you want to call it).
Its nice and simple. Honestly, I would have just rated it out of thumbs up or down but I like to ramble and write. 
With that said, I’m still working on the structure of these recaps. 
If you have any wines to suggest, feel free to. Do note that I can’t drink red wines (allergies).

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

And the first of my list of anticipated movies for 2018 was released as a surprise Netflix launch after the Super Bowl. To see what other movies made my 2018 anticipated list, check it out here. We did watch The Cloverfield Paradox that night and it definitely reflects on the backlog that it took this long to share my thoughts on it now. Lets check out the third movie in this Cloverfield universe.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

cloverfield paradox

Director: Julius Onah

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Roger Davies, Donal Logue

Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality. – IMDB

The Cloverfield “franchise” (since there is only two other movies) has taken its viewers for quite a ride. To be honest, they benefited the most from a very strategic surprise and mystery sort of promotional campaign which keeps its audience guessing and the intrigue and anticipation is what drives most of it. I’m a fan of both Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Both had its issues but were entertaining and effective for what it tried to do. Of course, to link the two universes together was where it does fall apart a little. In this third installment of Cloverfield, The Cloverfield Paradox takes us to space with a bunch of astronauts who are trying to achieve a risky experiment that will essentially save Earth’s energy crisis. Just looking at the summary above, it already highlights some of the generic elements that you can expect in The Cloverfield Paradox. During the movie, elements of Event Horizon and Evil Dead will definitely be comparable here. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily as long as its executed well and for the most part, The Cloverfield Paradox is action-packed and suspenseful with hints of humor here and there and visually, its pretty lovely to watch. Is it a ground-breaking or memorable movie experience and lives up to the hype? No, it really isn’t. I watched it about a month ago and honestly, its starting to fade away. It did however make me want to revisit Event Horizon, a movie that has a criticism but I personally love a lot.

the cloverfield paradox

While the story and direction worked okay, despite its familiar territory, the cast here also portrays some very generic qualities of a space crew. There are a lot of familiar faces and to be fair, they all did a great job in their roles, even Ziyi Zhang (who I’m not a huge fan of). Chris O’Dowd provided the humor the story needed along with some of his banter with other characters. There was suspense and mystery surrounding some of them as well which kept it intriguing. There was drama particularly in the main character, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who delivered a nice performance. However, the problem was that the short run time and the pacing of the story gave these characters a lack of depth. We never had enough time with any one of them to make it feel remotely connected to sense a loss when they were in peril. The story itself kept it action-packed and constantly propelling it forward with accidents, deaths, dangerous situations, mystery, suspense and it was all over the place keeping the audience on its toes but somehow where it fell flat was the characters. I did like the international aspect of the characters because it had constant foreign language and some subtitle reading which kept it authentic.

cloverfield paradox

At this point, we have to look at The Cloverfield Paradox and how it fits into the franchise. If we talk about self-contained, well, this franchise is definitely self-contained since the connection sometimes seems like a rather far-fetched idea. It felt the same way with 10 Cloverfield Lane where the final part that somehow supposedly links back to its first movie was where I found it at its weakest. The same applies here, in fact, The Cloverfield Paradox is definitely the weakest link so far. It lacks an original story and lacks powerful characters. In terms of depth and connection, it actually just adds more questions to the whole Cloverfield world. At this point, the Cloverfield franchise is really just an anthology series with movies set in the same universe. Its not necessarily a problem but something more about this universe would be nice. I mean what is this universe afterall? When are these films set? We can assume that Cloverfield is the first film where we see these creatures or aliens invading the world. The world’s fallen apart in 10 Cloverfield Lane and definitely in The Cloverfield Paradox. What is the timeline though? You know, its nice to tease and play the guessing game and they have a strong promotional campaign team but at a certain point, it stops being fun and starts being just frustrating to follow, especially when if The Cloverfield Paradox is the commencement of the downward spiral in its quality.

cloverfield paradox

There are obvious entertaining elements of watching The Cloverfield Paradox. I didn’t hate it but thinking about it more, it felt quite shallow. They had a good cast that delivered good performances, a generic story that was visually done really well but still was very predictable and it had a mix of genre elements of riding between being serious and funny. However, The Cloverfield Paradox could have been any old sci-fi movie if it didn’t have the Earth segments. There are entertaining and tense, suspense-filled elements that work in the thriller world. Its decent for a one shot watch but honestly, it was a disappointment from the expectations after the first two films. I sure hope that if the Cloverfield world continues, it will take some time to try to find a more apparent link in the universe and add a little more substance.

Double Feature: A Bigger Splash (2015) & Baywatch (2017)

Time for the next double feature! I’m back on Netflix trying to get through some A-Z sequence, which I’ve failed the last few times due to different interruptions. I have a lot of catching up to do so here’s another go!

Let’s check it out!

A Bigger Splash (2015)

a bigger splash

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson

The vacation of a famous rock star and her boyfriend in Italy is disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter. – IMDB

A Bigger Splash is already set for success with its stellar cast. I’m personally a fan of everyone here, except maybe Dakota Johnson but that is only because I haven’t really watched anything from her or I don’t remember since I’ve a few of the titles listed on IMDB. I know she’s in Fifty Shades of Grey but I haven’t seen that either. I will however say that in terms of acting and the location, A Bigger Splash has set itself up with quite a nice touch. This cast acts their pants off (in some cases, literally) because its quite the psychological drama here as we dive into the relationships. The story takes place mostly in the present however, we still see the past of how Tilda Swinton’s character Marianne was when she was dating Ralph Fiennes character Harry and then how Harry sets her up with this younger director, Paul played by the incredibly handsome and talented Matthias Schoenaerts.

I can’t say that I was particularly charmed by the story itself so much as the characters themselves. The four characters here were distinctive in their own way and they each have their own mysteries and depth to explore. The contrast of the characters was what caused a lot of the friction. It was a test of tolerance and acceptance and just change in life that brought on different perspectives. In fact, that was the most thrilling part to watch the relationship and the tensions build throughout the film. However, it makes sure to have these diverse characters to still have these fun moments as much as the quieter moments.

Overall, A Bigger Splash is quite the movie experience. Its most attractive part is its visual location and its cinematography as well as its complex characters.

Baywatch (2017)


Director: Seth Gordon

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfanesh Hadera, Jon Bass

Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon butts heads with a brash new recruit, as they uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay. – IMDB

For those who actually  had Baywatch, the TV series to compare with, they probably would have a lot of bad stuff to talk about. My husband definitely had his comparisons. However, I only watched maybe like 2 episodes of it in passing glance when I was young so I don’t really have anything to compare the source material. With that said, I am also a big fan of Dwayne The Rock Johnson because his films, no matter how dumb it may be, is always a harmless, entertaining time. Its mindless entertainment which happens to work in the beginning of 2018 as I’ve never been so busy and stressed before. With that said, there are obvious flaws with this film and it won’t be for everyone and its obvious it wasn’t since it got some incredibly low scores (aka 18% on Rotten Tomatoes).

To be honest, there is a lot of dumb jokes and bad humor however, in some really weird way, I spent a lot of time both laughing at the movie for its stupidity but also some time laughing at some of the other jokes. Is this my typical type of comedy film that I’d watch, or even a first choice? The answer is absolutely no. However, it was a surprisingly entertaining viewing experience. However, I do think that it is a movie that is in the completely mindless entertainment. Its for those who want to just shut off your brain completely and can enjoy some silly humor and extremely over the top action sequences. If that isn’t something you enjoy, then Baywatch is definitely not going to work.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Its felt like a while since I’ve dived into a YA and Romance novel. Separately, I’ve read each of those genres and nothing has really stood out in a while however, I’ve heard some good things about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before so I was pretty excited to check this one out and toss those doubts out the window and give this one a chance. I didn’t know that this novel was the first book of a trilogy. The third book will come out this year, so its time to check it out, I’d assume.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)
By: Jenny Han

to all the boys i've loved before

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. – Goodreads

There’s something so honest about reading To All The Boys That I’ve Loved Before that pulled me into the story right from the beginning. Its been a while that I haven’t been that immersed into a book. Jenny Han definitely has a nice touch with bringing the Song girls to life and particularly our main character here, Lara Jean. Usually, we get stories about being chased or wanting a guy really badly. This story takes a refreshing new angle of how when the boys she loved before learns about her feelings, particularly one that she shouldn’t be having feeling for and she decides to fake it with another guy she used to love both sides trying to find their own way out that she gets caught up in something she doesn’t really understand anything about.

Its important to realize, and its what makes this story great that love comes in many forms as we grow up. When we do encounter love the first time, it might not be so apparent to realize until an epiphany hits and that can come at any time. Regardless, it takes courage to let go of fear of being hurt to hop into a relationship, no matter how old, and its because of all this, that To All The Boys That I’ve Love Before truly grabbed me. It tugged a little at my heartstrings but also gave a lot of really fun and satisfying moments while also giving enough drama and friction to make it engaging to keep wanting to see where Lara Jean’s choices would lead it.

At the same time, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before also feels a bit like a teen comedy, something like The Edge of Seventeen or The First Time sort of thing, where its not only about the romance but also about Lara Jean’s personal growth as she embraces her feelings. People frequenting here probably hear me talking about that a lot, but thats because I always find the best stories, any kind of stories really, excel when they manage to create characters that change and grow. They learn to be a better form of themselves and the people that are around them contribute to them learning how to not be afraid to dig a little deeper in themselves and take chances which is exactly how Lara Jean’s character is. She’s not only smart and caring, but while she stays in her little space and doesn’t stand out, she learns how to break out of that shell and see her worth and find her confidence.

Overall, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was an absolute page-turner. To tell you  how much I loved it, I actually picked up the second book right away and have started reading it as this review goes live. I guess however, that this does take me to a final point which I always talk about in series and thats self-containment. This book literally ends on a cliffhanger, while I’m not a huge fan of that, it feels fairly obvious what her cliffhanger was leaning towards so it was a little easier to forgive. With that said, the book did so many things right and I loved how it was structured and written and the characters that I ended up giving it 5 stars on Goodreads, so I guess that shows how much I do love it.

Battle of Ingredients 2018: Chinese New Year Edition

Welcome to the first Battle of Ingredients of 2018. Let’s call this Year 2! We didn’t get a full year for 2017 but this year, we are already much more organized. Battle of Ingredients has changed over the months and we are working with themed dinners more than we are working on ingredients however, we do try to stick within using seasonal ingredients available to the province of Quebec or ingredients related to the theme we are working with.

I have added Battle of Ingredients to the menu on top so you can check out any of the past events we’ve done that you may have missed in 2017.

The first Battle of Ingredients this year is a little belated celebration of Chinese New Year! Phoebe and I welcome everyone to enjoy this lovely event. Our best friend is back home so we luckily had her drop by to be part of this event along with the usual cast of guests.

Wine of the Night

Main Meal

Battle of Ingredients

Honey-Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry (Kim)

My contribution of the event comes from a recipe that Phoebe shared with me earlier in the week on Pinterest right HERE.

Stir-fry dishes always are a staple of a Chinese meal. I’m not a very skilled cook so this dish worked perfect for us. Its pretty easy to make. The original recipe asks for carrots but being the forgetful person I was, I picked them up at the grocery story to look at but forgot to put them in the basket so I replaced it with green beans. I kind of supersized the menu so I had to modify the sauce a little bit. My meal actually turned out to be a healthy blandness that I like but I offered salt and pepper to everyone to add if they preferred it stronger. The way to improve this one would be to use the chicken broth instead of water. However, this meal did make for some tender chicken as I did use thighs and vegetables had a nice crunch.

Battle of Ingredients

Ginger-Garlic Abalone (Phoebe)

Phoebe went with a lovely abalone dish. Abalone is a staple of a classy Chinese dinner ingredient. Sometimes the simplest way to make a dish is to go back to the basics. She used frozen abalones along with ginger and garlic on the top and put it to steam. It still had a little bit of the fishy taste here but to us, it was still very good. However, she did forget to bring green onions which would have helped with added a little more flavors to mask the seafood taste that some people (aka my husband) doesn’t like.

Sticky Rice (Outside contribution aka my mom)

Sticky rice is one of the Chinese dishes that you can find at dim sum restaurants and its also one of my favorite things to eat. Luckily, my mom had a potluck the day before and she contributed the sticky rice that one of her friends made to use for our Battle of Ingredients. It was delicious. One year, I will figure it out and I’ll give it a go.


Tangerines, Dark Chocolate & Wife Cakes

I slacked off on my original plan to make Baked New Year Cake (recipe HERE) and Egg Tarts (recipe HERE). However, we did have some tangerines which is pretty normal to have for a Chinese New Year fruit dessert as well as some Wife Cakes, which is a delicious Hong Kong pastry made with winter melon. Without any coordination, both Phoebe and I ended up picking up some Theobroma Chocolate from Costco. I like the Raspberry flavor Dark Chocolate one and she got the Original 72% Original Chocolate one.

That wraps up our Chinese New Year Edition of Battle of Ingredients!
We had a few months of hiatus but we are back!
We are getting back into the groove of things 🙂
Our next one will be next month with a little Easter celebration!