My February Adventures

In a blink of an eye, February is over! A tad late, much like everything else in February. Its really unbelievable probably because the first two months of every year is just a pile of deadlines overlapping each other for work so I don’t really know what’s going on in actual life. Work is just taking a real good hit on my energy accumulated from the past year, so I just gave up on forcing myself to get some crappy post up and taking longer to release better content but less frequent. Hopefully you all have been enjoying the little content that I have posted up.

With that said, Montreal is definitely looking much more like winter in February. Some lower temperatures and a few snow falls and one or two snowstorms. With curfew still in place and things gradually opening back up more, its been rather mixed feeling on the whole situation in Montreal about how its improving on the pandemic front. The numbers sure look better but…as this post goes up, spring break (aka what started up the pandemic last year) is also happening.

With that said, all the everyday life stuff caught up, here were some few highlights of February! There’s not a lot as you can probably imagine but still, here we go!

Valentine’s Marathon (kind of)

Like past years, I tried to get a Valentine’s Marathon going! Try being the key word here. It was probably the last amount of posts and the furthest from the actual tentative schedule that I had initially planned. Still, I tried to do the most I could. I still managed to get my highlight post to end the marathon done and less movies meant some better picks overall. You can check it out HERE.

Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021

We’re halfway through Ultimate Decades Blogathon currently (well, in the last week of it). The changed format is pretty cool and the selections by our guests have been very interesting for sure. If you haven’t caught up with it, you can check out the entries HERE.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year came around on a super busy phase and with the pandemic, it was a very simple version. I did manage to pick up some beautiful flowers. The bouquet split into 2 vases: one just tulips and the other of the rest of the batch. My mom also gave me some forsythias. The flowers did give the house a nice burst of energy and aliveness.

International Packages Arrived

I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided ordering online was a good idea. BUT, everything arrived after the expected over 1.5 to 2 months time. The first from Hong Kong (ordered at end of November) as I had this weird rush while browsing through an online store in Hong Kong to find a film and ended up picking up three movies, 2 of them that still hasn’t popped up on any online streaming service over the span of the wait. I can’t wait to watch them.

Next is a bunch of T-shirts from QwerTee (ordered end of December) which I didn’t take a picture of when I got the package so here’s a few of them. I have a Digimon Agumon Digivolve that’s currently in the wash and I also got my husband a FF7 Continue screen. It might have taken a while to get here but the quality is pretty nice. They do have some pretty good designs.

Update: Tranquil Dreams Podcast

As some of you may have noticed, Tranquil Dreams Podcast has been far and sparse and that mostly has to do with the real life job that’s taken over my life. With that said, as much as I wanted to do the podcast, I just took into consideration that there was no way that I could do it. However, instead of going back to the old written format, which I did for 3 weeks, I’ve decided that podcasts will aim to be weekly but if they aren’t, then the podcast itself will cover the missing weeks, just for my own organization sake and not having to flip back and forth as its a bit crazy some times to track. However, it will not exceed every 2 weeks.

You can check out the most recent episode HERE.

Cute Kitty Pic

My work companion when I’m working from home
She tends to sleep and snore a lot so its really just moral support that she offers

That’s it for February adventures. Nothing too exciting!
What have you all been up to?

My Weekly Adventures: My First 5KM!

Welcome to February! We just passed through Valentine’s Day yesterday which I spent with my mom for dinner and then went to do some errands and wrapped up the night preparing for a podcast recording and writing and gaming. Suffice to say that I didn’t celebrate but then I’m hoping that you did enjoy the ongoing Valentine’s double feature celebrations going on here. Its been a packed first half of February whether its personal stuff to settle or working (yay to overtime) or trying to get everyone to join into Ultimate 2000s Blogathon and much more. Its been a packed 15 days!

Let’s see what went on!

MY FIRST 5KM – MONTREAL SOUTERRAIN

While I did get forced into doing the 5km and it was a painful experience especially afterwards because I hadn’t trained for it. However, I did a pretty awesome time, coming in 10 minutes faster than I initially expected. Time was: 35:21.9 . Not too shabby,right? Anyways, I’ll be getting back to working out soon since I need to fit into dresses for two upcoming weddings in 2019. And I’m sure that after my good time without training, my friend is going to try to get me to do more 5km runs. I’m not opposed to them because it was quite fun but then running inside through the underground and running outside are two different things completely.

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2019 – YEAR OF THE PIG

February 5th was Chinese New Year and we did some nice decorations different from last year and went crazy looking for flowers to decorate. 5 flower shops but at least now, we know where to buy some flowers near-ish to our neighborhood. Yay to discovering new things, right? Its the year of the pig so Piglet and Pua made its appearance onto the shelf outside of my office as piggy decorations. I also picked up some new fake flowers from Michael’s for the tall floor vase to give it some color.

VALENTINE’S MARATHON

Valentine's Marathon

For the first time in all the years that I’ve done the Valentine’s Marathon, this is the first time its extending past the 14th. Because of the theme this year with the Netflix alphabet, I am going to continue through this until the end of February to finish out the alphabet. There are some fun changes due to lack of choices. Anyways, point is, I have a nice little tentative schedule to pair up with the blogathon as they overlap and be able to finish off the Valentine’s Marathon with the entire full alphabet runthrough. I’m pretty excited. I’ve picked a nice variety of subgenres so it still feels very fun.

ULTIMATE 2000s BLOGATHON

Sign up has ended as of last Monday. If you are just seeing this and want to join, you can drop me and email and we can see if we can get it arranged. However, we will be emailing out notices to participants on their posting date. It starts on the coming Monday! Time flies, right? I believe we have over 3 weeks of posts so its going to be a fun time because there are some nice additions this year, some new blogs that haven’t joined in before and then returning ones and some other pieces aside from written reviews. I love seeing our participants getting creative! As usual, I will have a page ready to go on the menu so you can catch up on any posts you missed on either here or Drew’s Movie Reviews.

If you haven’t followed Drew yet, then you definitely should HERE. My blogathon co-host is absolutely fantastic!

MONTREAL SNOWSTORM

We are currently in the aftermath of the snowstorm which means sitting here waiting for the city and boroughs to clear out the snow. The day after the snowstorm in the morning to work was when this photo was snapped. As you can see, not much as been clear and well, walking on the streets is because the sidewalks were pretty much non-existent or just snow-covered ice which is almost more dangerous. The city whether Montreal or suburbs have been doing a pretty slow job in general this year. As I’m writing this post, its raining outside so bye-bye to snow but welcome rain on ice and giant slush puddles at all corners of the street. You know…the fun stuff, right? 😉

However, I can’t complain too much because we are incredibly lucky at our home. I went out to shovel at 11:30pm and the city was clearing their second round of snow and the very nice guy plowing saw me, the crazy lady that shovels in the middle of the night, and decided to move his plow up my driveway and cleared it all including the path. Its the first time its happened to me so I was pretty shocked in a really happy way. Although, when we woke up in the morning, it was so very tall that I had to climb the mountain at the foot of the driveway to head to the bus stop. But we are also super lucky because my neighbor has a snow-blower and he does our driveway when we get storms or lends it to my husband.

Cute Kitty Easter Gnome Pic

**Pictures taken at Winners Homesense at Quartier Dix30**

Thats it for this Weekly Adventures!
What have you been up to?

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.

Dessert

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!

Happy Rooster Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

After a week of overtimes and coming home to massive cleaning, its a day to celebrate and rest and dinner with my mom, of course. It will be a ton of fun and we are excited to go chat amd eat together.

This entire week consisted of a lot of tidying up and getting the house ready. Flowers somehow were quite hard to find. Although I did end up with three bouquets of them.

20170126_214603

20170126_214656

20170126_215002

20170122_173740

Decorations are pretty much the same as previous years for the most part. If only my Chinese calligraphy was better, I’d make some myself.

Today’s just a short post to share some of the floral arrangements here. They are simple this year but believe it or not, it was actually pretty hard to put them all together.

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year! Its the Year of the Rooster! 🙂

Happy Year of the Fire Monkey! :)

Happy Chinese New Year~! 🙂

We’re stepping into the Year of the Monkey today in Chinese tradition.  Spring has arrived in the lunar calendar and we welcome it with a lot of traditions.  We spent most of the weekend tidying the house and making sure that we’re all set for a fresh start in the New Year! This is the first year I’m spending Chinese New Year living at my new house away from my mom.  We had to put together a bit of decorations to hopefully bring some good luck.

Here’s a bit of the decorations around our house and some of the Chinese New Year celebrations and we’ll end with a 2016 New Year video.  Its in Cantonese and its a ton of good luck wishes but yeah, its fun to watch even if you don’t know what its saying. And well, Hoi-Pang Lo is one that you’ll recognize if you watch Hong Kong movies. 😉

I know its more flowers than anything but its really lively and I love having them there.  We have a few of those hanging decorations.  I just didn’t want to bore you with how they are everywhere as well as those lucky slogans.  We have 3 of those around the house. As for the orchids, they opened just in time for the New Year.  The timing couldn’t be any better! 🙂

Dinner

Dinner

Chiense New Year

Year Cake

Rice Balls

Dessert

Heading over to my mom’s for dinner is always awesome! I think my mom makes the best food ever so what more can I say? Plus, we had the Superbowl playing in the background which I talked more than I watched but the halftime show was fun.  I thought it did the 50 years justice.  Bruno Mars was a great special guest and its great that they had him because well, he got judged so harshly back when he did it a few years ago that having him back gives him justice that he is definitely a great performer. Plus, Coldplay is always great! 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year from my family! :)

Happy Chinese New Year from my family! 🙂

And now for the song! 🙂

Have a great day, my lovelies! 🙂
It may be Chinese New Year but expect another post this afternoon!

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! 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

We’re surrounded by tons of little objects that make up our day.  It could be something that we use or something that holds memories or whatnot.

I thought about this for a few days and decided that my object on my mind these days that represent the continuing unstable schedule of my blogging is my dear friend right here, Nyquil.

IMG_5095

Lovely Nyquil here has been my friend since Sunday night conquering that evening nasty coughs that I’ve been having.  Rest assured, I’m feeling a lot better and things hopefully will look up from here.

Now onto happier things, Chinese New Year doesn’t really end on last Friday.  It lasts for a while and plus, I’m too tired to actually take the stuff down so I decided to show you some decor that I took quick shots of last night.

Red Envelope

Lay see = Red Envelope

Red envelopes are little pockets of money that people give.  Usually, people who give are married people who are older than you.  If you want a cute little take on it, my fellow friend and blogger, Day’s Lee did a post on that HERE!

Treasure Box

Treasure Box

A treasure box has little sweets and little treats inside that signify good luck and happy/sweet moments.  Ours had cashews, Ferrero Rocher and Chinese style sesame snaps and milk candy.

Good luck hanging decorations

Good luck hanging decorations

Another decorations is little hanging decorations or little good luck slogans by the doors and walls.  This is ours that we put over the stairs every year 🙂

This is my response to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge for the theme Objects. Check out more entries HERE!

Happy Year of the Horse! :)

Some of you may already know it.  Its Chinese New Year today! Yeah! Its the Year of the Horse.  Any of you horses? I’m supposed to be compatible with horses and I believe that because me and my cousin get along pretty well 🙂

Its not so eventful at my house right now but this weekend, I’m going to try and cook and bake to celebrate a bit more, once my work deadline is over.  Plus, I’ll have dinner with friends tonight and I’m thinking of going to catch a movie.  Not sure if it’ll happen though.

Anyways, I have to catch the bus soon but I did a late night shooting of my very horribly arranged flowers but its for the meaning and to uphold some tradition at my place 🙂 Hope you like it!

This year, I decided to get those lilies in that color and it really made it hard to work for the plants because of their mutant stems.  Still, I tried my best to make the pictures look nice 🙂

Lilies in chinese literally sound like the blessing of staying together.  Its a blessing for couples and families to wish them happy times together sort of thing.  My nose doesn’t appreciate it as much but I always get them for what they stand for and they are just so pretty 🙂 Don’t you think?

And when do I not leave you with a quote?

keep looking up snoopy

Happy Chinese New Year! Stay positive and Happy friday!

The weekend is just around the corner! Are you excited??? I know I am! 🙂

Chinese New Year Movie: All’s Well That Ends Well 2011 (2011)

I know Chinese New Year was yesterday but at my house it ends 7 days later, because my mom told me that on the 7th day its called people’s day, which means its everyone’s birthday. Still, how could I not take the opportunity and review a Hong Kong movie? Plus, this one is one of the longest ones going on. They’ve been making one for Chinese New Year since 2009.  In 2009, it was rebooted from its original starring Stephen Chow back in 1992.  The 1992 version still stands as one of my favorites but when they rebooted it in 2009 it took similar characters and gave it a connection and it helped that movie get really popular.  But as you see, I’m not reviewing the 2009 one or the 1992 one (yet) but I’m reviewing the 2011 one.  That one was good fun because it had Donnie Yen and he was not doing martial arts…

all's well that ends well 2011Director: Hing-Ka Chan, Janet Chun

Cast: Louis Koo, Cecilia Cheung, Donnie Yen, Carina Lau, Chapman To, Bak-Ming Wong

This is a romantic comedy which is something like the cross of Valentine’s Day (many interlinked storylines) with Scary Movie (mocking/implementing snippets of multiple movies concepts).  Here’s how the storyline goes: Sammy (Louis Koo) is a straight guy who pretends to be a gay make up artist in order to thrive in his industry.  He is very popular and always has to appear in TV shows and events, etc.  When a Chinese oil tycoon (Bak-Ming Wong) decides to buy a growing entire beauty products company called Beauty for his girlfriend Dream who doesn’t know anything about running a business, and because of that Sammy gets tricked into being hired as the CEO. He is then assigned to have a clumsy, chatterbox assistant called Claire (Cecilia Cheung) who in an photo shoot attracts the attention of a rich guy, Slippery who is scared of women because he’s always tricked by women for his money.  Its there, Sammy tries to set up Claire with Slippery.  At the same time, Sammy also hires Keung (Donnie Yen), who is also a make-up artist who isn’t doing as well but understands what women want and how to transform them into extreme beauty, and has him work in the most expensive and popular make-up counter in Hong Kong to serve rich ladies to help promote Beauty.  The side story here is Keung is actually in love with his first girlfriend, Moni (Carina Lau) who is now just a good friend who is an author who writes under someone else’s name and always pretends to be someone else.  A Cinderella story happens with Slippery and Claire, while an unrequited love happens with Keung and Moni, at the same time, the oil tycoon wants to make sure that Dream will be not leave him and decides to do anything for her with the help of Sammy to get into shape and to make himself more attractive.  However, the main character is Sammy who learns how to become himself and be confident that being himself he can still have great accomplishments both in career and love.

awtew keung moni

This is a few love stories all mashed together with a lot of funny slapstick humour.  Is it my favorite among all the All’s Well that Ends Well? That it is not but this one has a lot of funny moments that keeps me watching it all the time.  Plus, you know, the selling point is Donnie Yen not doing martial arts and believe me, he can a funny man.  This was just the first one where he does a comedy because he’s also in All’s Well That Ends Well 2012.  But I mean, who doesn’t like Donnie Yen? He’s just complete awesomeness, especially when Carina Lau (Moni) makes fun of Ip Man.  If you have seen Louis Koo in Flashpoint, (also a Donnie Yen action film), you won’t ever imagine him doing this role but fact of the matter is, Louis Koo has been in the business for a long time so his acting skills are fantastic.  They have a great cast to support it.  Also, one face you will recognize if you’ve seen Infernal Affairs is Chapman To.  He is a very good comedic actor in Hong Kong so they threw him in here and it helps out the movie quite a bit.

awtew 1

There isn’t really much to say.  It has a strong cast and offers an entertaining time. Its a funny movie that celebrates and always ends with a happy ending and almost always has a shot similar to this with the cast wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year!

To end it off, here is the trailer:

A Bite of China: Poached Chicken

Finally I have found the time to officially launch this project! Starting is the hardest time.  Since I don’t live in an Asian city, some times the ingredients are a bit harder to find.  However, its never too hard to get some chicken into our meal. I love chicken and so its the best way to start off this project.

This was part of my meal in celebration of Chinese New Year: Poached Chicken.  Either later tonight or tomorrow, I’ll be posting up my second part of my meal.

Forgive me though, the beginner chopping chicken into pieces…was really tough.  Anyone has any tricks..please enlighten me.

Here’s how it turned out:

P1200848

If you want the recipe, I’ll give you an idea of what it is.  Chinese recipes have a certain obscurity to it…which is why I never really want to post them up or even follow them.  Because ask a housewife (say my mom) how she cooks, she’ll tell you its a general feeling, no quantity to it.

Ingredients:

1 whole Chicken

3 stems Green onions

4 slices Ginger

Sesame oil

1/2 spoon (table or tea, you decide..I used teaspoon) Salt

1 spoon soy sauce (yet again I assumed teaspoon)

How to make it:

1. In a big deep wok, fill it with water and put in the green onions and ginger.  Set it on high heat till it boils.

2. Put the chicken into the wok in the boiling water and let it cook for about 5 minutes.  After set it to low-medium heat and let it simmer for around 20 minutes.  It will be ready when you put a chopstick (or other utensil) into the chicken thigh and there is no blood.  When the chicken is ready, take it out out of the water and transfer to a plate.

3. Cover the chicken with sesame oil.  Let it cool and then cut it into small pieces.  Afterwards, mince the ginger and onions and put it into a separate small bowl.

4. Heat up a bit of oil and pour it over the minced ginger and onions and add salt and soy sauce.  Finally, add in a teaspoon of the chicken broth (from the wok) and add a bit of sesame oil.

P1200856

If anything doesn’t make sense, just ask me.  I’m translating this from my Chinese cookbook.  Its a relatively straightforward recipe.  My old stove decided to go crazy and not work halfway through cooking it, so my time on the 20 mins is not exactly certain. It might have taken me a bit longer.  I also think I didn’t add enough onions and that would help with the taste absorbed in the chicken.

However, the verdict was good. You have to have it with the sauce for it to taste good because by itself, it is a very plain chicken with hints of onion and ginger and sesame oil.  The sauce brings out the essence of it.

Here it is! The first recipe from A Bite of China Project.  Yet again, if you haven’t checked out the page, you can find it on the bar on the top or I have linked back to it.  I know that for me to do this by myself could be challenging and if any of you are interested, just drop me an email with what you’d like to try and I’ll send over the recipe to you.  An official guest contributor here on my little blog! It will be fun. If you have any suggestions, please do tell me in the comments or whatnot.  I’m still working on how to make this project into a great experience for everyone as much as its a journey to learn more about Chinese cuisine.