Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

Symmetry(noun): the quality of something that has two sides or halves that are the same or very close in size, shape, and position; the quality of having symmetrical parts. – The Daily Post

I don’t usually construct my photos based on symmetry but sometimes, I have these weird moments where some objects work really well because they are so linear or the contrast, etc.  It just works out better that way.  And some of them might even just be accidental.

Here’s a few of them 🙂

Hong Kong

Western Monastery, Hong Kong, 2012

Lighting

Dining Room light 🙂

Hong Kong

Upper Deck in Hong Kong Double Decker Bus, 2012

To tell you the truth, I went to the Hong Kong 2012 photos with another photo in mind.  I totally forgot about that ceiling photo at the Western Monastery and that was totally a chance thing because I was standing around waiting for my mom to get out of the washroom.  Who knew it would come out so nice, right?

Which is your fave pic of symmetry? 

Happy Friday!

I’ll be back with another Oscars week review. Hint: its another Best Picture nomination!

Happy Chinese New Year!! Its the Year of the Sheep!

Today is Chinese New Year! Although I’m not the cook when it comes to these things because my mom is the boss.  I just felt like I should share some Chinese New Year decorations.

Since I’m STILL in the midst of moving to my new place.  Final moving date set for March 1st tentatively….but I’m set about 80% positive it’ll happen because I’m plain sick of having my life divided into two.  This year, I had to take care of flower decorations for both places 😉 Sad thing when Valentine’s Day is around the same time is that its incredibly hard to find flowers so I couldn’t find the lilies that I wanted and this year, our flower selection is different from previous years.  Change can be good and it still works out good 🙂

Lets start with my own place’s decorations.  Not quite as abundant and it was taken with my smartphone.

Sorry for the poor lighting.  I didn’t play around with it too much on my phone. Next year, I’m going to get a little more decorations and have earlier prep 🙂

Moving on to my mom’s place,  I didn’t put all the decorations because its literally EVERYWHERE! But here’s a few pictures from last night taken with my DSLR.

Flowers

Flowers

Now to wrap up the post, last night’s Chinese New Year Eve dinner with dishes including fish, lotus root, chicken..all having their own good meanings.

Chinese New Year Eve Dinner

Chinese New Year Eve Dinner

Like always, my mom makes the best meal! It was so yummy! 🙂

That’s it for now!

Happy Chinese New Year!

May the Year of the Sheep bring you lots of happiness, awesomeness and success. 

Psst..another Oscar review coming up in the afternoon! Remember to check back! Appreciate it! 😉

Kahaani (2012)

After enjoying a week of having no Netflix expiration (which is seemingly rare), I came upon a few more movies that will be disappearing from Netflix soon (again). I did check out another one before this and I should write that review but its been a while since I’ve reviewed a foreign movie and I was in the mood for it 🙂

This is an Indian thriller called Kahaani.  I remember another blogger (was it you, Meera?) had told me about it a while back and I never got around to it.  Man, did I miss out?

Lets check out a little synopsis.

kahaaniDirector & writer: Sujoy Ghosh

Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Indraneil Sengupta, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

A few weeks ago, Arnab Bagchi goes to Kolkata for a work project at the National Data Centre.  After 2 weeks, he vanishes.  Concerned about his well-being, his pregnant wife Vidya Bagchi travels from London to Kolkata to report him as a missing person.  After reaching many dead ends, one young cop Rana agrees to help her as she hunts down trail after trail leading them to realize that there’s a lot of people going out of their way to make sure she doesn’t get her hands on the information.

I’ve been pretty blessed that I’ve seen mostly good or simply entertaining Indian movies.  Sure, they are kind of peculiar because any sort of genre just can find a reason to break out in song and dance.  Raavan is one that comes to mind.  I’m not even sure if I reviewed it.  It was like this action drama or something.  Imagine the anti-hero (of sorts) supposedly to be all bad ass gets all dancing around and then acting all aggressive and emotionless the next scene.  Anyways, we’re not here to talk about that.  This is the first Indian flick that I’ve seen that does not have any singing or dancing.  Its through and through a thriller and an exceptional one at that.

kahaani

For an Indian movie bordering the 2 hour mark, it keeps a really good pace.  There are moments where if you pay enough attention to certain details, you might actually catch the twist they are setting up for but I only caught a fraction of the twist, meaning I knew where it was headed but I didn’t quite pinpoint it. Its pretty refreshing to have that experience.  It was an intense experience as I watched this.  I was literally at the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next, where the trail would go and thinking thinking thinking.  Those brain juices were just pumping non-stop. There aren’t just one twist.  It starts off with a little deception that turns out to be just one point that you have to keep remembering.  If you caught it, then you will get where this movie is trying to go.

kahaani

Other than a well-paced story and clever twists, Kahaani benefits from a group of powerful performances.  The main character, Vidya Bagchi played by Vidya Balan is an actress I haven’t seen before.  Her performance as a pregnant woman trying to hold it together while she searches for her husband and jumping into some pretty intense situations made her into something of a memorable character.  She drives the movies in every direction that it needs to go.  Supporting her are some pretty great roles.  Well, because I can’t spell these actual actor names properly, I’ll just go right ahead and use the character names. First one to really light up to screen in an antagonistic way is the very rude Intelligence Bureau office, Mr. Khan. Oh goodness, this guy literally made me believe that he’s part of this plot and he’s got this hidden agenda and I wanted to beat him up because it was just so mean. See, but thats his role so hey, good job for that.  Not everyone can be the good cop, Rana who you know is totally falling in love with someone he shouldn’t be (aka Vidya).

kahaani

Another rather smaller role because the screen time isn’t that much is this retired or in hiding National Data Centre Colonel Badpai.  There was this moment where he goes all intense and gives the ultimatum of how he would only get out of retirement if certain circumstances were met. That scene was epic. It was so short but held so much details that would either determine whether you’d get the final twist or not 😉  While the dude in the photo above was pretty creepy also seeing as his role kind of needed him to be scary/creepy/weird depending on the situation. He was a great match.

I’m saying way too much (if you want to check this out). I’m going to shut up about it.

Point is: Kahaani is a very good thriller: great performances, awesome pacing and good twists 🙂 I think the bonus here goes to some of the really sweet music in the background during some parts.  Its not singing or dancing but does remind us of what culture we are watching, but I enjoyed it. It reminded me of the whole 90s Hong Kong pop era matched with the movie theme songs and that was a pretty sweet feeling.

Have you seen Kahaani? Do you watch Indian cinema? 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!-The Daily Post

On Tuesday night, one of my girl friends asked me to go with her to go see the Lantern Festival in Botanical Gardens.  This year the entire event is called Garden of Lights.  I had gone two years ago and rumor has it that this year is captivatingly beautiful.  We both headed over after work and got there a little before it was completely dark.

I will have a full post on this after I sort through more of the pictures but I did go to this event looking for dreamy pictures for this challenge 🙂

Botanical Gardens

Walkway going into the main Chinese Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Walkways in the Chinese Garden

Botanical Gardens

Botancial Gardens

Lanterns on the water

Botanical Gardens

A full view of the main feature

Botanical Gardens

One of the walkways

Dreamy is something that is obscure and mysterious, maybe a little dark and lots of contrast.  Something unreal and out of the ordinary.  This captures how I felt in the Gardens.  It was a beautiful, mysterious but so mystifying experience. It was definitely nicer than the last time 🙂

What does dreamy mean to you?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

This week’s challenge is to show humanity.  Its hard to show humanity if we go the idea of compassion and kindness.  However, humanity can also be seen simply as just mankind. So here we are!

This is also hard because I’m not much of a photographer when it comes to taking pictures of other people, except people I know and for the most part, I avoid putting up other people’s pictures unless I have their consent.  These are random shots I took that reflect a bit on the culture in other a few places I’ve visited.  It could be just crowds and certain people doing various tasks wherever they live. From the street musician from Frankfurt to the how people live in rural areas of Egypt to cultural festivals in Hong Kong along with the crowds up till Macau with its cute postal service booth.

I’m not exactly sure it fits the topic but this is my best effort.

This is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity. To check out more, head over HERE!

My Weekly Adventures!

First, a massive THANK YOU to Laurie at Pride in Photos for suggesting to give my weekly personal updates this title 🙂 Now, I don’t need to get all fancy and can just use this lovely simple My Weekly Adventures.  I just learned the whole  acronym of KISS –> Keep It Stupid Simple.  This however is not stupid in any way and its recaps exactly what the weekly posts are about.  Thank you for being so awesomely genius, Laurie! I owe you one! And if you haven’t visited Laurie’s blog Pride in Photos, I advise you to because she is an amazing photographer and I love her posts to bits.

From now on, this segment will now be MY WEEKLY ADVENTURES.  I will add that on the menu some time this week (hopefully tonight).

Lets see what adventures I went on this week 😉

1) Moon Festival!

Moon Festival

Dinner for Midautumn/Moon Festival!

Midautumn Festival

Moon Cake

Last Monday was Midautumn Festival or more commonly known as Moon Festival. Its a time for family and symbolizing the arrival of a new season.  The moon is like a completion of something mostly in the complete family being there and the blessing behind it.  My mom made a delicious dinner and then we had moon cakes later on at night. We even stepped outside for a walk together and to look at the lovely full moon 🙂

2) Another room finished!

wpid-20140910_204358.jpg

Thanks to my boyfriend being super awesome at picking up the pace for painting. Another room in the basement is done 🙂 This color is absolutely adorable and actually turned out way better than I expected! Only 3 more rooms to go and one of them is already in progress.

What do you think of the color?

You think it’ll make you feel energetic? This should eventually be a workout room..haha! So thats kind of important 😉

3) My first Montreal Comiccon!

Montreal Comiccon

On Saturday, I went to my first ever Montreal Comiccon! After finally having to go alone, I ended up spontaneously meeting up with fellow blogger and one of my very awesome girl friend, Day’s on the way to the line-up.  She was there alone as well so we paired up and went together 🙂 Very nice turn of events.  I ended up going to 4 Q&A panels and then checked out some exhibits and took tons of pictures of some awesome costumes.  I’m still shifting through my pictures but the detailed post on that one will go up tomorrow!

I’m totally going again next year.  If there is someone awesome, I would love to go do a photo op.  This year, the photo op was full by the time I decided I would like to dish out the money to do it.  Plus, I’m planning on going to Toronto Comiccon next year if I can arrange my finances and find some friends who would like to road trip with me.

4) Little Finds at Comiccon!

Although I did spend most of my day at Comiccon running back and forth between Q&A panels, we did find time to eventually hit the exhibition hall and check out some merchandise.

Our first find was this Moonglow Jewelry.  The concept behind it is that you can use whatever date you choose.  I chose my birthday and looked up the code for the moon that was on that birth date and it a photograph of the moon on it.  Then you can attach it to either a bracelet or a necklace (in various models).  I eventually chose a bracelet and added on my boyfriend’s moon on his birth date as well.  When you buy this, it give you a little card with a description of the personality of the person born on that moon.  I was born at the 3rd quarter of full moon while my boyfriend is the new moon.  These little charms absorb UV light and at night, they glow in the dark.

Pretty neat, right?

Moonglow jewelry

Moonglow Jewelry

After debating on getting some artwork to decorate my new place, I eventually came across a place, where I bought a T-shirt (which is going to be delivered to me in 2 weeks) from TeeTurtle but they also sold posters and this one caught my eye. The Totoro bus with a bunch of Ghibli characters on board just stole my heart away.

TeeTurtle

TeeTurtle Posters

Luckily this poster is still in one piece.  This was a free poster from Warner Bros booth celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman.

Batman

Warner Bros free poster: 75th anniversary Batman

5) One Day Road Trip to Charlevoix

Charlevoix

Along the shore of La Malbaie

After taking a few months to figure out when to do it, my friend and I finally decided to go on a one day drive through Charlevoix to take pictures and see the area.  I’ve already been before with my boyfriend a few years back but when my computer got attacked by a virus, those happened to be the only photos that were not backed up AT ALL.  So this trip was essentially for me to do a reboot of those photos except this time, I have a more powerful camera on hand 😉

I’m still sifting through Comiccon pictures so these ones are the next ones to go through.  This post will go up nearing the end of the week 😉 Prepare for some breathtaking moments!

6) Finds in Charlevoix

Charlevoix SAQ

I love going to different regions and looking at some wine stores because some times they carry some alcohol different from the ones in Montreal. This time, I stopped at the SAQ in La Malbaie before turning around and heading home and found a Rose wine La Rose Gabrielle and a Dry Gin made from herbs called Ungava.  I haven’t tried the gin yet but we did open it to smell (when I got home, of course) and it has a very distinct smell.  I’m intrigued as to what it would taste like 😉

7) Some Funny Moments!

Some of you may have missed my funny moment on TV and the post and that was pretty much the most funniest moment of my summer.  YouTube offers mostly hilarious moments from Ellen Show channel and I’m so happy that its back because it means I get to share those again! This week’s video that cracked me up the most was Channing’s Biggest Fear…

Fears, my friends! No matter how awesome you are, it just destroys you.

8) Awesome Music!

You all know by now (if you’ve followed me a while) that I love Youtube artists or in general, independents artists.  I’ve talked about Sam Tsui, Kurt Schneider and the whole crew.  This time, the spotlight is the extremely talented Daniel de Bourg.  This guy has such an amazing voice.  I love listening to his originals and his covers and its pretty crazy that I haven’t mentioned him yet.  Maybe its because he doesn’t have as many covers come out.

I’ve never heard the original yet so I can’t really compare but I’m liking this one a lot 🙂

Thats it for this week! Life’s adventures just never stop and they almost always give me inspiration for something new to check out.

How was your week or weekend, my lovelies? Happy Monday!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag

This week, share a photo that foregoes the straightforward in favor of the twisting and winding.- The Daily Post

Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery

Zigzag path near the top of Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery

Le Labyrinthe

Zigzag in Le Labyrinthe in St Jean sur Richelieu

Reserve faunique Laurentides

On the way to Saguenay Lac St Jean

Western Monastery

Stairway zigzags in Western Monastery

A few pictures from past vacations and activities from the past few years showing the zigzags in my life.

What do you think of when you see the word “zigzag”? 

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 🙂

Hong Kong Restaurant: Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao

Last time I went to Hong Kong, I had praised this restaurant called C-Jade for its Teochew style food located in New Town Plaza. You can read about it HERE.

Unfortunately, it had closed some time during the 1.5 years I was away.  Luckily, in the vicinity there was another one in the same chain but this time specializing in noodles and Soup-filled dumplings. Its called Crystal Jade and located right across from The Spaghetti House.  This was the one where the previous evening we had been waiting on at the same time but didn’t get a seat quick enough. This time, we managed to get a seat relatively quickly.

Here’s what we had to share with each other:

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Vegetable & Meat Buns

Crystal Jade Restaurant

5 Grains Fried Rice with Shrimp and Scrambled Eggs

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Chicken Pot

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Shanghai Ramen

 

Crystal Jade is pretty good at what it does.  Everything tasted really good.  My favorite in this meal has to go to the 5 grain fried rice.  I’m a huge fan of fried rice but not 5 grains however this one was spot-on tasty.  Healthy and delicious? Count me in any time 😉 I’m definitely going to try to replicate this one in my spare time one of these days!

A few days later, I met up with my soon-to-be-wed cousin and her mom (another aunt), along with my mom for lunch also at Crystal Jade.  The menu doesn’t vary very much between lunch and dinner but with another group, we also got to try something new.  My cousin chose for us.  My aunt was on her vegetarian day of the month so we had to adjust a few dishes to suit her diet that day.

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Noodles

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Dumplings with Chili Oil on the side

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Taro Pastry

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Soup-filled Dumplings

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Beancurd rolls

Vegetarian Dumplings

Vegetarian Dumplings

Crystal Jade Restaurant

Fried Pumpkin Pastries

For this lunch, the noodles which I can’t remember exactly what was in it was really good.  The soup-filled dumplings were splendid and the best of all was the beancurd rolls.  They were so delicious.  The fried pumpkin and taro had a very good taste but I’ve never been a huge fan of these sort of dishes.

From what I know, Crystal Jade is a chain that specializes on different types of Chinese cuisine.  I enjoyed this one more than the Teochew style or maybe its just my memory fading from the previous experience.  Plus, I love Shanghai cuisine a lot.  This place is really awesome.  The service is decent and its very accessible in New Town Plaza in Shatin.

I had some great foodie memories here 🙂

Have you ever tasted Shanghai cuisine? Are you a fan of dumplings and/or vegetarian food?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

Light and dark, tall and short, happy and sad — this week, share a shot that captures a contrast. – The Daily Post

I’ve been on my Hong Kong recap, so I figured I’d search up some contrasts.  They are in a lot of pictures and it just takes going back to find them 🙂

Hong Kong Harbor

Colours in the gloomy weather

Ocean Terminal

Tall people exhibited with normal sized people walking around

Green veggies bringing some color to a home cooked meal

Green veggies bringing some color to a home cooked meal

Daisies

Dark red with yellow daisies

Color contrasts are possibly my favorite to look at.  Light and dark, colorful and dull.  It gives a picture life.

What contrasts catch your eye?