Saturday & Montreal en Lumiere 2015!

If you haven’t noticed already, my weekly adventures have turned into individual posts.  I don’t necessary do a whole lot during the winter, especially when this year has been brutally in the freezing point.  The radio said last week or over the weekend that the coldness in February broke some records.  Just to give you an idea..

On Saturday morning, I did a little morning surprise for our 7th anniversary. I posted a little fun recording session last night with my boyfriend in celebration for it if you missed it, its here .  You might have because I forgot to put on a title and realized it afterwards, then changed the link, so maybe it might end up having the “page not found” come up.  I don’t know how these things work.  Anyways, I debated a little about posting this again but seeing as not everyone is going to check out the video, I’m going to post some of the pics here and talk a little bit more elaborately on Saturday and the Montreal en Lumiere festival since we explored the downtown area, which is new to us.

 Saturday morning surprise

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This is only a portion.  But right from walking through the door I had a trail of post-it notes listing “Why I Love You”.  There was pretty much very little prep work except for getting earlier than my boyfriend arriving home from work.  I also hid away in one of the rooms that he wouldn’t cross by, but when he stepped through the door, I put on a song that we love.

Montreal en Lumiere 2015: Downtown @ Quartier des Spectacles/Place des Arts area

Complexe Guy Favreau: art

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This second one is really cool.  There’s this projector up top and it has this very video game-esque sequence when we walked by imitating a helicopter and some dudes running around.  It looked a bit like an escape video game.  That was pretty fun.

Complexe Desjardins: Salon du Livre Gourmand

Salon du livre gourmand

These two books was our anniversary gifts to us.  I know I know, its just another excuse to spend.  I’m telling you though, these two are quite good investments, I can already feel it.  Maybe its going to be my next project idea: Quebec cuisine.  What do you think?

I’m not much of a cook but I certainly want to be a better cook at least a less frustrated one that enjoys the art of cooking.  Talking about that, once I get myself settled into my new place (hopefully this coming weekend) and get the kitchen organized, we’re starting the Baking Through Disney project.

Quartier des Spectacles/Place des Arts (outdoors area)

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

Urban slides

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

Ferris Wheel and Heat shelters

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

Urban zipline

That blurry flash is the person ziplining.  I had my phone so I couldn’t get really great shots.  I’m telling you though, if the line-up wasn’t so intense, I would’ve done it.  There’s something so amazing about ziplining over thousands of people in a city. Can you imagine how it would feel? Just wow! Whoever thought that up, please bring this back next year.

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

Ice sculpture: Harp

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

Garden of Lights/ Food kiosk area

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

Pianist on Ice Piano

Montreal en Lumiere 2015

The Pool, interactive “game”

Montreal en lumiere 2015

Scene RBC

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Break Dance performance

Montreal en lumiere 2015

La Maison de la Suisse

Its been a while since I’ve felt this hype for Montreal en Lumiere.  Last year, we went to the outside area of the main festival and saw penguins in the show and the Planetarium and Biodome.  This year, it felt amazing.  I’ve never actually stayed the whole night for this Nuit Blanche/all nighter event.  But with tons of free stuff from 6pm-6am, this festival is absolutely worth the time and even pushing through the crowd didn’t feel too bad either.

We also made a little stop at Hydro Quebec building to see the painting inside which was an abstract art by Mousseau with a series of lights panel running behind it which changed to emphasis different aspects of the painting itself.  It was pretty interesting.

However, the reason we had ventured downtown was for my friend’s belated birthday dinner so we made our way up to Ace Grill & Bar. I had Filet Mignon Brochette which was actually better than I expected. 🙂

Ace Grill & Bar

Filet Mignon brochette

It may have been a late dinner but its been a while that I’ve seen my friends around so it was really nice to kind of catch up with everyone and share some laughs.

Saturday was pretty awesome and the weekend itself was efficient.  I just always wish it was longer.

Thoughts on Montreal en Lumiere?

Montreal Comiccon 2014!

The past weekend was Montreal Comiccon! I’ve never been to Comiccon in Montreal and although last year I wanted to go, I had to give it up because I had something more important in the form of TIFF for The Wind Rises and Rigor Mortis.  I totally do not regret making that trip. However, this year, I’m working on the Montreal events and this one was right on the list and I bought the ticket right when they were released.  I only got a 1 day pass.  However, after Saturday, I’m positive that I’m going to be going back and maybe even for 3 days if they have great guests..we’ll have to see for next year.

Lets not get ahead of myself: here’s how Saturday went!

Shortly after running into Day’s Lee, we saw Spiderman perched on the railings on top of the escalators leading to the hall looking awesome.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Spiderman

The line-up was super intense.  It was one line to get our tickets checked, then another line to get our tickets scanned and hands stamped then up the escalators and weaving all over the place to eventually get to the exhibition hall area.  Apparently, starting this year, Montreal Comiccon took over all of Palais des Congres (the convention centre in Montreal) so it covered all the floors.  We took a good look at the map to get to the first Q&A.  The lineup took longer than expected so I didn’t get to Billy Boyd’s Q&A so we went straight to Star Trek with three lovely ladies, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby and Gates McFadden.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Star Trek Q&A panel: Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby, Gates McFadden

I haven’t watched a lot of Star Trek.  Only bits and pieces of it: a little bit of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine mostly.  However, these ladies was absolutely a joy to watch.  They were all extremely hilarious and entertaining!

Getting out of this one, we looked at the time and found it perfect timing to go straight to lineup for Sir Patrick Stewart’s Q&A in the main exhibition hall.  We sat down to eat lunch while waiting an hour in advance.  We chatted a little and before we knew it, we were moving inside. We managed to sit in the middle of the last row in the first section.  Still, my zoom wasn’t great so this was the best I could get.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Sir Patrick Stewart Q&A Panel

There is something amazing about seeing Sir Patrick Stewart.  It could be the whole crowd giving him a standing ovation as he entered the hall.  Or just how completely classy he is while bringing in lots of funny moments.  He is extremely charming to watch and so very much achieved.  It was really something to hear him talk about how he didn’t take himself getting a role in Star Trek serious as his family didn’t either and how even when he got he role, he didn’t unpack the whole time because he wholeheartedly believed that they would realize they made a terrible mistake and would kick him out.  When asked who was the best to work with in all of XMen, he thought for a second and said Ellen Page.  He even explained in a funny way how he should be called Sir Patrick (as opposed to Sir Stewart) and even joked with someone who said Good Evening although it was clearly the afternoon.  Regardless of the questions, he took each one and gave it his own twist and it made for an extremely lively and fun panel to listen to.

Plus, he gave us a quick 5 minutes update of what he is up to.  Aside from the next X-Men movie, he is part of this Seth McFarlane produced sitcom called Blunt Talk.  And he recited some Shakespeare which I didn’t record the whole thing.

After this panel, and finally finding our way to get back downstairs, we managed to get to the main area where there was tons of amazing costumes.

There’s a whole bunch that I don’t know.  If its part of video games (newer ones) or anime, chances are I won’t know them.  However, the efforts are amazing.  So amazing that Day’s asked me if maybe we should do it next year.  I mean, I did a pretty quick version of Resident Evil before.  With a year to plan, I’m sure I could ressurect that or do something else.  Its always something to consider.

After a bit of shopping and photos, we had to get to Q&A panel for Danny Glover.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Danny Glover Q&A

Danny Glover is an actor that I’ve known more of his more recent roles.  I know what he has done before and I really should get around to see those roles.  You can tell that he’s a man with a lot of deep thoughts.  Plus, he took a lot of time to give detailed answers to the questions.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay for the whole thing and had to leave, and even that apparently wasn’t soon enough for the next Q&A.

The next Q&A panel was in the main exhibition hall again and this time, although arriving 45 minutes in advance, we ended up lining up right at the entrance of the waiting area.  That was pretty intense.  This Q&A was for Stephen Amell 🙂 Its also my last Q&A for the day.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Stephen Amell Q&A panel

Needless to say, although I was only 3 rows back from where I was for Sir Patrick Stewart earlier in the day, it was far enough that you can’t really see much.  Still, he had people lined up to ask him questions even before he entered the stage.  There were two rules as he entered with the Comiccon host: No marriage proposals (because he’s already married and he touched his wedding ring at that same time) and no asking him to take off his shirt (because then the host would do it). I wasn’t exactly sure on what to expect for Stephen Amell because I am a newer fan of his and I haven’t followed his social media much either.  However, everyone asks a lot about the stunts and asks him to recite lines like “You have failed this city”.

He talks about how he wants to get the chance to do all the stunts himself and sometimes he really works on a simpler but more realistic version to make it work.  He did that for one scene where he tells the stunt crew about how they were robbing him of the opportunity to slide over the hood of a car and he argues to get it shot both ways and eventually  his way works better and thats the one they used.  A charming and funny guy to listen to.  He makes a few jokes and talks about how he would love to have Arrow as part of the Justice League movie except with shooting schedules for TV series, it wouldn’t work for shooting a movie.

The best part was this part where they asked him to recite the lines for the opening of Season 2 or something (I couldn’t hear that question properly) but he gave it his own twist and decided to do the first opening of the pilot in Season 1 of Arrow instead.

After this last Q&A panel, we were ready to walk the exhibition hall and all the vendors and stalls. They had a few things for viewing and we took pictures here and there.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Indiana Jones

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Ghostbusters

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Doctor Who phone booth (100% of donations went to Montreal Children’s Hospital)

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Piglet visiting the Comiccon

Montreal Comiccon 2014

Little Big Planet 3 poster at PS4 booth

This may sound stupid but I’d totally get a PS4 JUST to play Little Big Planet 3.  Thats how much I love it.  Just to justify this picture a little.

Now, I was being extremely cheap and kept thinking about the photo op and eventually by the time I wanted to do it, it was full.  So to end this post off, its not Stephen Amell but this guy has a fantastic Arrow costume.

Montreal Comiccon 2014

And that was my first Montreal Comiccon! It was so much fun and I’m definitely going again next year. Whether in costume or not, I’ll think about that a little first 😉 However, next year’s Montreal Comiccon is now pushed into early July, set for July 3-5, 2015.  If you are looking to check it out, jot that down on your calenders!

Also, please go check out Day’s post on the Montreal Comiccon right HERE!

Which costume up there do you find the most impressive?  Out of curiosity, would you like to see Arrow as part of  the Justice League movie? 

Heat Wave, Home Stuff & Luck!

I realize I talk about weather a lot but its the Montrealer in me. The proof is right HERE in #14 ;).  Well, at least you all gain knowledge about how Montreal’s weather is doing, right?

This week has been calm for the most part (although a lot of you still seem to find my life crazy busy…which it isn’t).  The goal of this post is to see the positives in the little thing.  Even when its just the simplest things going on.  Sure, my weekend is busy especially on hot days because I’m accepting that its the part of owning a house. Plus, its slowing down at work so I find myself trying to fit in what I didn’t have time to do before August.

Anyways, this week has been rather special for various reasons and I’m about to get into my next little steps that I’d like to share.

1) Surprise Sunflowers

sunflowers

Sunflowers

Some of you would agree that July is kind of the dead season for flowers and gardening.  The garden is just green.  A few weeks ago, I talked about the hard work of squirrels burying sunflower seeds in our front yard and after a few small ones bloomed, a gigantic one bloomed last week and its just a lovely yellow delight.

Flowers always make me happy 🙂

Do you like flowers? Whats your favorite ones?

2) Harvests

Raspberry and Tomato

Raspberry and Tomato

I haven’t gotten a picture of my raspberry harvests to show yet.  This week’s was by far the best harvest so far and I see lots coming out.  I just need to find a way to prop up the leaves so it has room to grow freely.  I actually need to do the same for my yellow zucchini plant as well.

3) Winning an Advanced Screening

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I never win anything. EVER. My luck is shot.  I think it has to do with having used up a lot of luck finding the amazing people that entered my life so I have none for anything else. So, when I got the email that I won these advanced screening tickets for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. I was skeptical until I actually got the pass in the mail.  Which I did on Monday and invited my best friend to go with me.  Although, I’ve been completely ridiculously slow at putting up my post for Guardians of the Galaxy, I pushed myself to at least put this one up because its a significant event in my life, one that makes me feel so very lucky 🙂 If you missed my double review of Sin City 1&2, head on over HERE.

Have you seen Sin City: A Dame to Kill For? What did you think?

4) Cleaning Plushies

First batch of plushies

First batch of plushies

As said in the beginning, this weekend was gorgeous. It was just so hot with a nice little cool breeze here and there. I’m at the stage of moving where its the dusty little plushies that need to move so I brought the first batch over and gave them all a nice wash.  The first batch are the smaller ones and my non-Disney collection ones.  Oh right, I collect Disney plushies but its really for the goal of hitting ALL the Disney stores eventually 😉 So, feeling a little bit more accomplished, I hung these up and they pretty much spent a good part of the weekend drying off.  The small took only the Saturday whereas, there was two larger ones (not here) that are still drying today 🙂

Next batch is next weekend for the Disney, my guess is Zazu, Classic Mickey and Stitch might get the second round 😉 Maybe a few more…I don’t know yet.  Maybe I’ll let the relatively new Bambi join in.  Dumbo, Lady and Tramp are the oldest bunch so they might be the hardest to clean.

Do you own collections? What do you like to collect?

5) New Fruit Discoveries

Pluot/Plumcots

Pluot/Plumcots

I love Costco for many reasons.  Oh yeah, so many reasons, one of them is the gluten-free choices I talk about all the time.  Now, the other one includes having all these awesome fruit selections.  I find Costco fruit a bit pricey but when I saw these little beauties and had no idea what they were.  I figured they must be those hybrid fruits and they were.  These are called Pluots or online says, Plumcots.  Its a mix of plums and apricots except its closer to the plum taste (whereas if you had aprium then it’d be more apricot taste).  These taste very delightful and I can see them going very well in pies, tarts, even crumb bars. If we don’t finish them before they get completely ripe, I’ll probably have to use them to bake 😉

Have you tried any hybrid fruits? Have you tried Pluots/Plumcots/Apriums?

6) Garden Mission

Garden Mission

Garden Mission

The downside of buying the house in winter is not seeing what the garden looks like or how the previous owners cared for it.  Thats something I’ve learned.  My previous owners were certainly not in the green thumb category because now that everything has pretty  much grown, I can just see how disastrous and neglected it was. So after I went crazy cutting and freeing one of the plants in the back so that they have some sort of space and order, I started pulling out weeds (still!).  Now I have patches of empty soil sitting around waiting for some grass seeds to fill up the space.

My mission on Sunday ended with this patch which could look so nice but with the ungroomed overgrown hedges here, it just looks like a mess.  Do you see the chrysanthemum? No, right? Well, its there. And this picture was after I already pulled out a ton of plants and vine-y weeds. How to fix this mess?

I have so many plants to pull out because its just way overgrown and too much. This is the final month before things switch around.

And please, someone tell me what leaves bear tiny apple-like fruits and sheds bark, leaves and twigs in the middle of August? I’m stumped! I’ve been searching for the two gigantic trees and the type and I just can’t find it.  Maybe I should have taken a picture but I’m still a bit angry that I’m the only crazy person raking leaves in August..haha!

7) The Lion King Musical

The Lion King Musical

I love musicals. This year, I already gave up a bunch of concerts because I’m trying to budget my money better. I was about to give up The Lion King musical until there was a 25% off coupon online for some pretty awesome seats.  Yesterday, me and my girl friends went out to see it at Place des Arts. We had balcony seats, which is a completely different experience.  Plus, whats nice is that being in the balcony, you get to see the animals walking down the aisles and then the people in the upper balconies and around.  The show is just so fun.  The singing, the costumes and the props: all so beautiful. Its really one of the best musicals I’ve seen.  My favorite was the starting of the second part and there was the bird props soaring all over the room.  It was so magical 🙂

Have you seen The Lion King Musical before?

8) Inspiring (and Energetic) Music

Shattered Glass – Brad Paisley

Footprints (Kaaze remix) – Tiesto

Just two really  nice songs with different styles depending on what you like that has really caught my attention.  I love Brad Paisley’s new single Shattered Glass because the video is amazing and the message is inspiring. As for electronic music, I love to listen to it to sort of detach a little and relax.

What songs/music have you been listening to?

Its been an epic week! I spent time with a lot of my girl friends, my garden is progressing, the move is going well and we even started painting the dining room which is making my head spin because its a leap of faith whether the walls and color will match.

I’m not sure if its the heat or the sudden change in weather or just a lack of sleep causing it, but I’m feeling a little under the weather with a sore throat creeping up.  Hopefully, with more sleep and more water, I’ll get rid of it.  Today’s energy level is a bit low so I’ll end it here. I’ll get something fun tomorrow.

Also, this week, look forward to FINALLY  the Guardians of the Galaxy post and a few posts from my Saguenay weekend getaway 🙂

Happy Monday, my lovelies!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Share a photo of what “relic” means to you — it could be your still-running 1979 Honda Accord Hatchback, an historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field.-The Daily Post

This year’s trip to Hong Kong, although it seems like involved a lot of eating (and kind of turned into a foodie trip), it wasn’t.  It was for family.  One main reason was to see my aging grandmothers as much as I could.  The other was to see other family members and also to visit my dad’s resting place as we moved his ashes to Hong Kong.

As much as those were the reasons, another was to help with the final move for my grandmother’s previous leased apartment (before she moved to a nursing home).  Its a hard trip down memory lane because everything in that little space has been with me for every single visit to Hong Kong.  It was a constant in my life and all those antiques had its own place.  I think everyone who helped out really felt connected because of the things we dug up around the house packed away into boxes, drawers, etc.

Lets revisit a childhood item that wasn’t mine but probably one of my darling cousins.

Street Fighter set of bowls

Street Fighter set of bowls

Then we have the more visible gigantic Blackwood furniture thats been there forever. These took up most of the space.

Blackwood Antique

Antique furniture

Tucked behind old photos of my grandfather were the linings with old newspaper.  Remember we are in Hong Kong and it used to be a British Colony so check these ENGLISH newspapers out…

South China Morning Post

South China Morning Post, October 1938

South China Morning Post

South China Morning Post, 1938

I had to show a few pages because I mean look at the inside, it has an advertisement for Ovaltine, which is a drink if you haven’t heard of it.  And there’s Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce.  I have a few more pictures of the newspaper.  But serious, 1938! I’m still wrapping my head around that.  It was pretty cool 🙂

I could’ve gone with buildings for relic because I love historical buildings but I think little historic and more personal goodies to share was more in line with this.  Its a piece of history that even if I didn’t live it (the 1938 bits, to be exact), it felt like I was connecting with my family, especially the grandfather I never met.

What does “relic” mean to you? Join into the challenge here or drop me some comments 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

This week, share a photo of something that’s art to you. It could be some actual “art,” like a painting by your grandmother or the misshapen but perfect clay sculpture your child brought home from kindergarden, or something most people wouldn’t consider beautiful at all, but that has meaning to you. The important thing is that it’s art in your eyes. – The Daily Post

I’m a movie lover, a bookworm, a blogger learning how to write and an amateur photographer.  Not to mention, a patient crafter and I’m all about DIY-ing.  I can sit down and do photobooks, sift through pictures, compile scrapbook layouts hours on hours.  I can cross stitch for hours which feel like minutes and make bottles of origami stars and buckets of origami cranes.  And finally, as an aspiring baker, I can sit around and craft my baked goods for a long time, like with my glow in the dark cupcakes HERE!

What I’m saying is that I’m all about art in cinematography, the picture weaved by the words on paper and the images filtered through the lens of a camera. The best work of art comes from your heart.  Thats the reason why I do DIY and thats the reason why these following things popped in my head when I saw work of art because they are all art in my eyes. Maybe its not worth oodles of money like Van Gogh but they are irreplaceable.

First up is the work of art from my mom…

Cake

Simple strawberry birthday cake

Sure, my mom doesn’t get all fancy like when I bake but what shines through her simplicity is her love. Plus, didn’t we all learn to not judge a book by its cover because my mom makes a kick ass cake.

After an exhibit from my mom, how can I go through without something from my dad because that was the first thing I told my mom and my boyfriend I would be moving to my home: one of my dad’s work of arts.

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You got that, right? This painting may have migrated to another part of the house because my university diploma is occupying its place above the piano but its coming with me. My dad’s painting of this bird is my favorite.  I always believed that my dad should have taken up the arts diligently and he would have gotten so far with the right opportunities.  Maybe thats because I’m his daughter and I just admire him despite our differences.  Thats my award-winning work of art that I own right now.

Now, we all know my friends hold a crazy place in my heart, at least they all know who they are.  Although my friend’s wedding earlier this year was done in a fanatical rush and frenzy with only 6 short months for a 200 guest wedding, she may not believe it but all those endless hours she put in to make the centerpieces on each table and the individual party favors that made up said centerpiece, they were the most beautiful ever.

20140217_202724I spent a few hours helping out with punching out the little parts of these butterflies and let me tell you, she has some admirable patience and the time and care she put in this work of art was memorable to me, even if no one else realized how much work was put into it.

Unless you just dropped by, you all know I’m addicted to flowers. I love flowers so other than baking and the myriad of things I do, my work of art every year is in making the perfect Chinese New Year floral arrangements 😉

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How about it? What is the work of art that you love? 

Here is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge.  Please see other entries HERE!

Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Move

For this week’s photo challenge, share your interpretation of “on the move.” You can be the subject of your image, or you might want to experiment with movement or transportation in a different way. – Daily Post

I’m  on the move a lot.  During weekdays, its by foot and on the weekends, its mostly by car.  How about a little Saturday afternoon traffic?

A-132

Autoroute 132

No worries, I was not driving. I was the passenger 😉

As much as I love showing off the *rarely so* sparse traffic.

However, the most eventful (kind of) “on the move” pictures are when I’m wandering around.

Here’s some pictures I took last month on the walk home from the bus terminus in some late Friday evening.

Art under the overpass :)

Art under the overpass 🙂

Thanks to this art, the city now lights up this once very dark area under the overpass.  Plus, the art is pretty amazing with the natural elephant slowly turning mechanic from city to country.

When I was over the overpass, because of the lateness, this was a nice shot of an empty suburban roads.

Empty roads

Empty roads

Now back to the present time, yesterday on the way home from work in Old Montreal, the restaurants are putting their plants outdoors now and this new tavern/restaurant/bar.  Not sure what it is exactly since I’ve never been had this beautiful flowers that I want to figure out what they are called and have in my garden.

Flowers

Flowers

Before I wrap this up, ON THE MOVE has a somewhat different meaning to me especially since I am technically on the move from my mom’s place to my new place.  One of the many things is cleaning all our linens and whatnot.  Last weekend was curtain cleaning and we hung them out to dry and there was lots of wind. So it was part of our ON THE MOVE (because I figured taking pictures of boxes wasn’t as interesting…)

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What do you see when you’re on the move? Do you mostly move by bike, train, car, foot, subway?

Here is my response to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  Check out more entries HERE!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

For this week’s challenge, share a photo with letters — no matter the alphabet. You can capture a neon sign, a sentence scribbled in an old phone booth, a random letter that’s seemingly out of place, or anything else. – The Daily Post

Finally there’s a challenge that I felt instantly inspired by 🙂 Thats something to be happy about especially when I’ve been REALLY slow with this whole blogging business.  I’m trying to get time to do this but I’m promising you all, once I get pass April 30th, I’m drafting up a ton of blogs and watching a million movies, and that night (if I don’t pass out from fatigue), I’m going to bake.

Before I start rambling about the future, lets focus on the present challenge.

Letters are what we as bloggers are in love with after all, right? We write and we communicate with our words (or our pictures/photos if you are a photographer to some level).  We communicate with our creativity!

Letters form that language we use and sometimes they may differ from ours and it may not even be English for all we know.

BUT, lets start with the basic!

Pumpkin Inferno 2013

Word Search at Pumpkin Inferno 2013 🙂

I’ve been to Pumpkin Inferno for a Halloween event for the past two years.  You can check it out HERE and HERE! Its a pretty awesome event and one of my most impressed times was seeing this word search for the first time.  They usually have a board on the side with words you need to find.  What words do you see?

Aside from that, Pumpkin Inferno is all about exploring different cultures and areas and whatnot so they also have another language there.  I present to you, Egypt and hieroglyphics 🙂

Pumpkin Inferno 2013

Hieroglyphics at Pumpkin Inferno 2013

Isn’t it just so cool? I don’t have a great picture of it from 2013 but I think one of the links up there have a nicer version of it from the 2012 event.  I’m not sure.

Now, language and letters aren’t just as direct as symbols and words.  Sometimes, it comes in one of my favorite alternate forms.

Music notes and rhythms and the instrument to carry that out, which is why I loved the whole public piano project in Montreal last year.  Too bad, I didn’t actually have the guts to play it in public but I did get a picture near my work.

Piano Project Montreal

Public Pianos in Montreal, 2013

Thats some awesome letters for me.  It opens up my creative outlet completely.  Music communicates so much about feelings, emotions, the best stress reliever, etc.  It helped me through my younger days and its been helping me till now, even when I get frustrated at being stuck in a rut from not improving fast enough for my exam preparation. I’d say music notes/piano keys are a fit way to express letters, no?

Here is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters! Check out other participant’s entries HERE!

Book Review: Twelve Nation-The Book of Epoch by Michael Reiss and Walter Timoshenko

The Twitter-verse is one I’m still learning about.  I guess I underestimate how easily you can search up someone there or connect with other similar bloggers because when a new follower, Michael Reiss sent me a direct message asking if I’d like to review his novel, I was thinking if this was a joke. Well, things like this don’t usually happen to me especially when it comes to an absolute stranger.  Point is, I figured that I liked the genre that he wrote and it sounded interesting enough and hey, if I could help someone else promote their novel, I feel like it would be great.  You need to step out of comfort zones sometimes and just give chances to the unknown, right? Thats how I got my hands on the review copy of Twelve Nation: The Book of Epoch by Michael Reiss and Walter Timoshenko.

twelve nations book of epoch

Meet MAC COOK, the 12-year-old who will soon find himself in the midst of a mission to save the world. Shortly after his father’s mysterious demise, and his mother’s subsequent coma, Mac is living with his grandmother while trying to adjust to a new normal – when everything turns upside down. Instead of worrying about homework and games, Mac is suddenly on a mission to save The Book of Epoch from the forces of Darkness while uncovering the secret of his father’s magical ring and the universal symbolism of TWELVE…- Book of Epoch, Goodreads

Book of Epoch is a adolescent/kids fantasy adventure book set in the future.  It references a lot of what we have right now and uses it in somewhat of a joking/mocking ways at times.  In some ways, it takes time to adapt to certain elements of our future according to The Book of Epoch but at the same time, even though at times it veers into the awkward and weird area, it still was a fast-paced novel.

One thing that this book does well is the way it presents the story.  For one, we know about Mac and his life and the struggles and he has some good friends that we get a good idea of.  He is a normal student who has his small niche of friends and the girl he likes and family that he has to protect.  Also, it uses both the real world and the fantasy dream world and fluctuates between the two as Mac visits in his quests to learn about Doria and his destiny. It incorporates a bit of mythology and also martial arts, then we have the whole video gaming aspects.  Altogether, its a pretty nice adventure with sci-fi and fantasy elements.  Definitely very fun and engaging!

Overall, this is a great kids books.  Even though I’m in my 20s, I still found it very good.  Its an exciting adventure and gives lots of twists and turns as to what happens.  Of course, as I’m not exactly the demographic of this book, there were some parts I guessed but to kids and adolescents, I think they would appreciate and enjoy it.  I definitely recommend it! 🙂

A huge thanks to Michael for asking me to review this! 🙂 To reach the Twelve Nations site for the book, you can click on the book cover or right HERE!

Recap of NaNoWriMo 2013!

I’m not a writer.  Goodness, no, I’m not a writer. When I signed up for my third year of NaNoWriMo in mid October, I knew that.  I don’t plan on publishing what I write, ever.  So, people ask me why I do it? Its probably for the same reasons that I blog. Its my creative outlet and aside from the stressful last few days when I have no idea HOW I can manage to crank out x thousands of words, I look back and I’ve learned a lot.

NaNoWriMo this year was actually pretty surprising.  I’ve never really looked back at the process but this year my goal was to be disciplined and to stay as on track as possible.  The first 10 days actually faired pretty well.  I had been burned out from work on November 1st but I still managed to almost reach my first 1,667 at the end of the day.  I slipped behind by a day and held onto that.  My issue was preparing for my weekend away and the actual trip took away a lot of my time and after that, it was a game of catch up. Then I made the horrible decision of watching TV series and then I lost my focus. I mean it went from 5,000 words then 10,000 words behind in the week that followed.

Going in this last week was hard.  I wanted to give up with everything in life happening at the same time.  But, I reminded myself that I can still get back on track.. I did it last year with even less word count. So I sat down, pulled out my notebook and took a section to brainstorm the next few things I wanted to happen in my novel.  Those things got me through the 10,000 words, then I took another timeout to outline the connections and possible crossings that could happen and there you go, ideas came flowing back to me. Stress, of course came at the same rate but I averaged about 3000 – 4000 words a night in the past few nights.  It wouldn’t be enough to make it but at least, the last day was on a Saturday and I can just sit and write and write and write. It didn’t exactly turn out that way and you’ll see why soon enough but I did spend the evening doing that 🙂

Reality was, by Friday  morning, I was exhausted and tired and with about 11,000 words left to write in two days and getting about 4 hours of sleep every night, I wasn’t sure how to approach it anymore.  Should I quit? Go on? Its funny how things happen.  My mom’s never really interferes in what I do regarding blogging and writing.  She just observes but when I started talking about it, she looked at me, and I swear she genuinely just wanted to ask me why I put myself through this crazy thing because she didn’t understand. Its funny. Thinking about it now, its been a while that I’ve answered anything with such certainty about what I do. So, what did I answer her, you ask? I told her that it was once a year that I reminded myself that I can put all my heart and energy into something, focus on it and with a fair amount of hard work, make it to the end.  It reassures me of what I can achieve. Most things in life takes time to happen even if we keep working at it but this reminds me that even if I don’t see the results now, it’ll come around eventually 🙂 The most important part is to at least start it.

Maybe that little bit meant nothing to you but to me, suddenly that whole vision of the next two days being impossible to happen actually went away. I realized why for the majority of it, I was so calm because I remembered that.  I was doing this to learn from the experience, whether I won or not wasn’t so important.  But I also value finishing what I start so if it means overdosing on some green tea and opening my eyes with a toothpick and gluing my butt to the chair for 10 hours straight, I’m going to do it.  Last year I did 40,000, whats 10,000 in 2 days, right?

Everyone has their reasons for doing (or not doing) NaNoWriMo.  Writing should be fun and the point of NaNoWriMo is not necessary that we have to pass the 50,000 but its to try your best to start something and hopefully finish it.  You’re already a winner if you did that.  Maybe there is no badge and maybe I didn’t reach my word count and I don’t get to buy the winner T-shirt but in my heart, I learned from what I experienced during these past 30 days and thats what counts.

2013 nanowrimo winner banner

BUT, wait, all hypothetical here because you know what? At around 11:35pm, I managed to validate my *very flawed* romance novel for a total word count of 51,048.

2013 nanowrimo stats

I really would like that one time where its not up to almost the last minute.  Good thing is that I am very proud to say that I’m actually excited to edit this one because I know that I have more stuff to add in and a whole lot of corrections and goodness, where did I put that thesaurus?

For now, I’m going to take a break and get back into some reading. I’ve missed my books SO MUCH! Especially that half-read Ender’s Game sitting at the corner of my night table crying out to me every night…

Remember to check back for the December announcements and updates 🙂 I’m aiming to get it out later today, if not, latest would be Monday morning.

Have an awesome Sunday everyone! You all rock because despite the schedule slowing down over here, you all still came and gave me support.  The likes, comments, follows all made my day when I thought my stats were going to drop.  Talk about warming my heart, that says it right there.  I give a virtual hug to everyone of you because you are all awesome! Remember that 🙂

 

Adapting to a New Pace & Attending a Book Launch!

Nanowrimo has started for a week now.  Surprisingly, a lot of my life has been consumed with it.  I can’t help but to be drowning in my own story.

On Thursday, I had a moment walking to work where my mind was still waking up and I found myself feeling like my character in my story.  Weird feeling, ladies and gents.  I pulled myself out pretty quickly but thats what happens when you have to cough up 1666 words a night, I guess. I usually aim for more.  It also marked the first day I had to stand on the way home and scribble in the upright position while balancing myself.  Probably didn’t look too elegant 😉 Still extremely efficient.  That fell apart when Friday came around and I was a full day behind and haven’t been able to catch up.  Right after this post, thats what I’ll be doing until I pass out from fatigue.  The pacing is alright in my book. With almost 12,000 words in the bank,I’m already pretty proud of myself especially since I’m using this Nanowrimo to experiment with some new stuff: a new genre (*ahem* romance) and third person narration (usually I just do first person).  Challenges all around! Another update next week!

Plus, I have my whole workout challenges that I’ve set in place and those will be more in detail on Monday’s post 🙂

One of the highlights of this week (and maybe a bit sad and cold realization) is that winter is sneaking its chilly arms into Montreal.  Snow is expected soon and its been getting cold.  Even the first of my Christmas cactus have started blooming.

White Christmas Cactus

White Christmas Cactus

I probably sounded like a crazy lady when I leaned over and had a heart to heart conversation with it about how they were blooming a bit too early.  Christmas is more than a month away, no? But then, the only witness was my cat looking at me through the plants by the window.  Although her main focus wasn’t me, which has lead us to focus a lot on bird-watching.  I actually say in one week, the abundant robins but also, one Blue Jay and an red cardinal. I haven’t seen one of those in so many years.  Imagine my excitement!

Bird!

Bird!

Another from last weekend that I forgot to mention in the last personal update was that I made another batch of those awesome Peanut-BETTER Gingersnaps! That recipe just total rules! If you missed it before, check it out HERE! This time, I made it for the Halloween party and I believe I made the best batch so far.  They were the perfect size and shape 🙂

Peanut-BETTER Gingersnaps

Peanut-BETTER Gingersnaps

There was another reason why my word count dropped on Friday.  I tried to write as much as I could but I was out pretty much from right after work till midnight with my best friend.  We went for a delicious dinner at our normal hangout, Les 3 Brasseurs and shared a pitcher of Sangria. Those look even nicer in the pitcher than in a glass. Plus, I finally had my fix of BBQ ribs that I’ve been wanting to eat forever!

Sangria

Les 3 Brasseurs Sangria!

Les 3 Brasseurs Ribs

Ribs! Yummy!

After that, we made a late decision to go do some long-awaited karaoke just the two of us! I did make some recording but I’m a tad shy to post it up.  So if you ask, maybe I’ll put it up in a separate post, or I’ll whip something up at home, of course, my system is not as awesome but I do have the gear. 🙂 It was really fun and thats what counts!

I ALWAYS leave the best news for last, right? You already know from the title but I attended a book launch this afternoon of an awesome girl friend that I’ve mentioned on multiple occasion and also a dear blogger, Day’s Lee! She did her official book launch for her young adult novel, Guitar Hero at a cute little bookstore called Babar Bookstore in Pointe-Claire.

Guitar Hero Day's Lee

Her books, Guitar Hero on display on top of a fireplace

Signing books for attendees of her launch :)

Signing books for attendees of her launch 🙂

The food table :)

The food table 🙂

Day’s offered us some very delicious snacks and in addition, she made the almond cookies.  They are pretty awesome. She actually posted up the recipe the other day, check it out HERE if you want to give it a shot! There’s no milk in almond cookies so I could have it. YAY! You rule Day’s! 🙂

My own signed copy! :)

My own signed copy! 🙂

I’m all for supporting my friends plus Day’s is my inspiration (she probably doesn’t know that).  She reminds me that no matter how hard it is, its perfectly okay to pick up our courage and follow our dreams.  A huge congrats to Day’s! I’m going to review the book in December (in case you were wondering).  I’ve already read it once before it was released last year but I’m not sure if she fixed anything, so I’m going to read it a second time.  I urge you to give it a shot.  Show her some love! 🙂 

This week has been pretty eventful.  Since I’ve taken up enough of your time (and well, my novel is calling out to me), I’m going to leave you with some music that I’ve loved this week!

Who is tempted to watch some Pirates of the Caribbean now, eh? 😉

This is my thoughts right now!

dont you dare give up

If you want some more reading, I actually wrote a post about something similar to encourage my writing in Nanowrimo the first year, it helps me till now (not so much the first time).  Its right HERE! These 300 reminds me to keep going!

Have a great rest of the weekend! 🙂