My December 2021 Adventures + Overview of the Year

After an entire year of pandemic (and ongoing from the previous year), we’ve finally reached the end of 2021. Its a tad wild and yet 2021 went by incredibly fast despite all the sitting at home, watching TV, playing games, and finding other ways from our own homes to connect with friends. Of course, the blog is not about that and while here took a little slowdown in the last few months mostly for personal IRL reasons, I still think it was very much needed. With that said, a little look at some simple activities in December. We will end with an overview of 2021: some simple numbers, and top 10 lists. You know, this is the normal deal on the last day of the year.

Christmas Decorations

Beyond Monet

Before things started getting worse in Montreal, we managed to make it to the Beyond Monet exhibit. Monet art is something that means a lot to me as art is something is what reminds me of my childhood with my father. With that said, this exhibit was quite the show as its a 360 wall of Monet art that flips through the details of each collection while pairing it with classical music (in majority, there was some opera as well).

OVERVIEW OF 2021

Its the end of 2021 and with that, its time for some quick numbers! First of all, we are dropping blogging statistics this year because its really not something that was top on my list this year. However, let’s focus back on the content that was consumed.

  • Total films watched: 215 movies
  • Total books read: 9 books
  • Total TV series binged: 69 seasons

Top 10 First Time Watches

  1. Hand Rolled Cigarette
  2. Vicious Fun
  3. Dreams On Fire
  4. The Final Girls
  5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  6. Inglourious Basterds
  7. Better Days
  8. The Dressmaker
  9. Hello! Tapir
  10. Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes

Top 10 TV series

  1. Flourish in Time
  2. Baking Impossible
  3. Our Secret
  4. Squid Game
  5. Moonlight
  6. Lost In Space (Season 1-3)
  7. Love Crossed
  8. A Murderous Affair in Horizon Tower
  9. Use For Our Talent
  10. Sweet Home

Overall, 2021 was a decrease in content in general for film watching in general. The actually movie watching for 2021 releases was all focused on what was accessible on streaming services or online. Some of which is still waiting to be written up. Less posts written, less movies watched, a new podcast (which is currently in hiatus for rebuild), more TV watching (I believe since I didn’t track it last year), an unbelievable backlog of movies and TV series to write up reviews and a whole lot less books read is where I’m at as we approach this year-end. However, its been a crazy year in real life so I think all things aside, its amazing that things are still running the way it is.

Drop by tomorrow to see the 2022 upcoming plans post!
There’s some little changes and announcements!

TV Binge: Blown Away: Christmas (Season 1, 2021)

Blown Away: Christmas (Season 1, 2021)

Host: Bobby Berk & Katherine Gray

Five fan-favorite glass blowers return to the hot shop to compete in a series of Christmas-themed challenges; the winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, plus an additional $10,000 will be donated to his or her charity of choice. – IMDB

Let’s just put it out there right now that I never watched any of the Blown Away seasons before this one (at the point where I’m writing this post, but probably will later). I also know nothing about glass blowing. The extent of my knowledge is the one time I went to Seattle and saw it being done at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. With that said, I am really happy with the variety of competition shows that Netflix produces since it shows off a lot of the different arts out there and giving it a platform for others to know more about the artists just quietly working on their craft in their corner.

Blown Away: Christmas is four episodes long and brings back five of the fan-favorites from the past 2 seasons as they compete in different Christmas-themed challenges. The variety is pretty good as well as the whole narrative. The episodes run fairly short as well at about 20-ish minutes. Its very swift to say the least as they run through some of their processes on what they are making and introducing some of the techniques that they are using as they dive into their different meanings towards Christmas whether its memorable presents to the big finale creating their own version of winter wonderland. The artists are all very diverse in their artistic style which always adds to these types of shows. Plus, all the artists are all really interesting people as they share their own traditions.

The show itself is hosted by Bobby Berk who admits right away that he knows nothing about glass blowing but from the Queer Eye show he is very familiar with home decor so his expertise comes into play for the artistic elements of the piece. Plus, he adds in the little pun-y jokes in his narration as well as a fun personality as he hosts with resident judge, Katherine Gray, who is there to offer her expertise in glass-blowing and knows these artists from the previous seasons. The dynamic between the two is pretty good.

Overall, Blown Away: Christmas is pretty fun. Its a great introduction to the show itself and has left me wanting to check out the normal seasons, like the previous 2 seasons. The pieces are truly beautiful and very creative. The whole show is pretty feel good to watch even if it is a competition.

Double Feature: Angela’s Christmas Wish (2020) & The Grinch (2018)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wrapping up this year’s Holidays marathon on Christmas day is how it usually works so the next double feature is the final 2 movies of the marathon, although I did have one more alternate Christmas movie but we’ll pair it up later after Christmas. This time, its a animated Christmas films double feature with a Netflix sequel, Angela’s Christmas Wish and 2018’s adaptation, The Grinch.

Let’s check it out!

Angela’s Christmas Wish (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Damien O’Connor

Voice cast: Lucy O’Connell, Ruth Negga, Moe Dunford, Brendan Mullins, Shona Hamill, Oscar Butler, Janet Moran

A sequel to the much loved Angela’s Christmas, Angela’s Christmas Wish is a heart-warming tale of a determined little girl who sets out to reunite her family in time for Christmas. – IMDB

There’s something so heartwarming about Angela’s Christmas Wish. It has that same type of charming little girl character for Angela that continues from Angela’s Christmas (review) where Angela’s imagination is one that makes it so beautiful to be a child because of the naivety to believe in the things that she knows probably isn’t true but also shows her big heart. Last year was keeping baby Jesus warm and stirring up a lot of commotion that the townspeople hasn’t quite forgotten as it still gets mentioned but this year, its running around trying to bring her father home. Being an adult watching this, its obvious that whatever she is thinking up is absolutely impossible to happen and the adults do bring it up, however its the persistence and the pure hope of bringing her father back home that makes this such a heartwarming tale, which takes her on an adventure and makes a new friend in the process.

Wrapping it up with a tale about a pauper and what he wished for that made him happy as a string between the conversation and a Christmas surprise to look forward to, Angela’s Christmas Wish is all about family, the meaning of happiness and the best intentions. The story is all about the kids and their shenanigans especially based on their simple minded ideas that kids have, liking digging to Australia. Its all the world that crafts up these cute funny moments that make up this story and makes Angela such a charming character who has this convincing enthusiasm that makes her brother and this other little girl to follow along her since her wish would make for her father getting involved and that would allow him to spend time with her. Its all these little desires from children to be close to their parents and yet, adults can see through those beyond the lines moment that make it so meaningful to watch.

Angela’s Christmas Wish is a fun and heartwarming story. One that has all the right values and such charming characters in a cute little town. The ending bit was so touching also that I got a little teary. Its one definitely worth a watch, especially since its less than 50 minutes in length.

The Grinch (2018)

Director: Yarrow Cheney & Scott Mosier

Voice cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Tristan O’Hare, Kenan Thompson, Sam Lavagnino, Ramone Hamilton, Angela Lansbury, Scarlett Estevez

A grumpy Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville. – IMDB

*Originally posted on Movies and Tea Friday Film Club*

Based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss book How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the third screen adaptation following the 1966 classic TV adaptation and the 2000 live action film, The Grinch is a computer animated film and the second Dr. Seuss by Illumination following The Lorax. Illumination is rather on point with these adaptation. For those who are unfamiliar of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, its about a green-furred Grinch who was born with two hearts too small who lives alone in the mountains with his dog Max above Whoville. The Whos are festive and love Christmas a lot which rubs The Grinch the wrong way that he decides to put a stop to it by disguising as Santa on Christmas Eve and stealing all their decorations, gifts and foods to stop them from celebrating Christmas however, he soon realizes that Christmas is more than the material things and that its all about the Christmas spirit which lives in them and ends up with this revelation making his heart grow two sizes and deciding to give back all that he stole to the Whos who in turn, take him in for their Christmas holiday.

While the first adaptation in 1966 is the one that most interprets the original story, these adaptations all add their own twists to fluff up the full length. In this adaptation, it gives the Grinch a backstory that makes him less of the disagreeable character but one where he grows up suffering from being alone that he doesn’t know how it feels to have companionship whether as friends or family. At the same time, giving a lot of life to certain characters in Whoville and not just focusing on Cindy Lou Who. She still plays a big element but giving her more of a backstory, a ploy to meet Santa with her friends and a connection with her mom. Sure, maybe it does stretch far from the original but all this does add a lot of fun characters. Cindy Lou Who and her friends are very adorable in design just like Max and the addition of a buffalo and then there’s the very fun neighbor Mr. Bricklebaum.

Plus, there’s a decent cast of voice actors from Grinch by Benedict Cumberbatch, Cindy Lou’s mom by Rashida Jones, Cindy Lou by Cameron Seely and Mr. Bricklebaum voiced by Kenan Thompson. Of course, a big part of Dr. Seuss story is the Narrator. In this case, its narrated by Pharrell Williams who actually has some narration that strays away from the original text but still keeps the rhyming and creative elements.

This adaptation of The Grinch still has a lot of heart. Its light and fun and fairly entertaining. There’s no doubt that The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is its best without all the extra bits but as its straightforward story like the 1966 TV movie, however this version does an exceptional job at making it very entertaining. Its still full of the Christmas spirit and its a great effort as an adaptation plus in my opinion, its much more redeeming than the 2000 live action adaptation. This one might have some slight pacing issues but it still delivers as a family holiday animated film.

My December Adventures!

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

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

CRHS Annual Craft Fair (December 1)

DIY Christmas

You can see the post on it HERE.

Marbled Ornaments

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

Marché Casse-Noisette & Mini-Comiccon

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

Salon des Metiers d’Art 2019

Salon des metiers d'art 2019

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

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

Ottawa Day Trip

Mavericks Donut

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

Holiday Festivities: Christmas Dinners & NYE Hotpot

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

Boxing Day Shopping Haul

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

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

Cute Kitty Pic

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

Double Feature: Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019) & My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018)

The next double feature is a holiday themed children features! I don’t know when I started to get into the Super Monsters specials as I don’t watch the normal series anyways but they are a decent 20+ minute long. As for pairing it with My Little Pony, I actually do like My Little Pony, the old stuff and watched some of the newer specials as well so here we are (plus its pretty slim pickings for Christmas kids films that I haven’t reviewed on Netflix…).

Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019)

super monster save christmas

It’s Christmas Eve in Pitchfork Pines, and the Super Monsters are joining forces to deck the halls, find Santa’s missing reindeer and save the holiday. – IMDB

Super Monsters is honestly geared towards kids. Whether its the characters and their cutesy appearances to the dialogue that revolves around emphasizing the good values to have through the consequences what happens, its all about delivering a positive message (similar to a lot of other kids shows). Its a harmless movie this time about a neighbor (who we learned is related or friends with Santa Claus from last year’s special) who gets overzealous about his Christmas decorations and blows the power for everyone but of course, the Super Monsters try to fix it to soon realize after Santa finally stops by that someone has detached the reindeer and they run off to play hide and seek of all things. Of course, Super Monsters to the rescue again.

There is nothing essentially wrong with this one. It directs its attention solely to its intended audience. Its not quite the entertainment for parents perhaps but it does offer some nice lessons on Christmas and friendship and working together. It has a little bit of singing and music and stays pretty colorful and cheery with lots of Christmas-y things. I’m not a parent but for its length and its quick-paced plot points, it should grab a kids attention.

You can check out my review last year of Super Monsters and the Wish Star HERE.

My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018)

my little pony best gift ever

Director: Denny Lu & Mike Myhre

Voice Cast: Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Ashleigh Ball, Cathy Weseluck, Tabitha St. Germain, John de Lancie

In this one-hour Christmas-themed special, the Mane Six and Spike are each hoping to find the best gift ever for Hearth’s Warming. – IMDB

While I’m not a huge supporter of this new My Little Pony designs with giant heads and such instead of the sleeker design when I was a kid, these My Little Pony movie specials are actually pretty. It does feel like perhaps its geared kids a little older than Super Monsters above.

The movie feels like an actual story with the ponies changing tradition and deciding to do a Secret Santa gift swap. They obviously call it something else but I never quite realized how fun all the ponies have and its not some dumb down dialogue but it does work pretty well even if they do play with some movie references like their take of meshing Sleeping Beauty’s fairies with The Christmas Carol or whatnot. That’s just one example. Its all about the value of gifts and of course the best gift ever is defined here. If you watched some other My Little Pony shows or movies then you might already know what it is because its a big focus all the time.

This one was surprisingly fun to watch and pretty entertaining. Its still not exactly geared towards parents but more to keep kids attention but this is not for young kids so it has more complete dialogue and the music is pretty catchy. I wouldn’t mind watching more My Little Pony movies if its like this one (but then maybe I’m a bit biased).

That’s it for this kids double feature for the holidays!
Have you (or your kids) seen these two? Share your thoughts in the comments below to give a more accurate kids perspective on this one. 

What’s Up 2019: Week 50

Its Week 50 already! That is absolutely crazy! The end of the year is just around the corner and its been a lot of wrap-up and thinking more about the next year and of course, holiday stuff. There is also a bit of holiday fatigue and work rush before holidays factored in here, so things have slowed down or been a bit irregular. Anyways, lets see whats going on!

READING

love potions and other calamities

  • Love Potions & Other Calamities by Charlie Laidlaw

Currently reading: Legends of Exile

I am working on double speed to get things back on track on the reading front and took some extra time to finally finish Love Potions and Other Calamities. I literally just finished so the review is coming up this week. And then, its time to finish Legends of Exile to get these things done and next year a clean slate. I have accepted that I won’t on the books make the Goodreads challenge evem if I read 3 book packs at the beginning of the year that only counted as one entry. So, I guess I did… I’ll know when I do the final overview of 2019 😉

PLAYING

Roki

carrion

  • Roki Demo
  • Carrion Demo
  • Wooden Nickel Demo
  • Chicory: A Colorful Tale Demo

The Game Awards happened as well and of course, Game Warp did watch it and did a recap on the winners as well as the trailers and impressions. Some fun stuff. You can read it HERE. This is the first year for The Game Awards to work with Steam to have a 48 hour Steam Game Festival which is like most game festival concepts to play demos of upcoming games and that was most of my gaming as I tried to play as much as I could and ended up playing 4 demos (out of 8 or 10). It has made me anticipate both Roki and Carrion. Different gaming styles but both so fun in different ways. I did record the playthrough of those demos so it’ll be going up on the channel soon. Its in the process of revival.

WATCHING

Klaus

  • Hulk (2003)
  • Let It Snow (2019, Review)
  • Holiday Joy (2016, Review)
  • Shazam! (2019)
  • Klaus (2019)

Other than Hulk which was for Movies and Tea, its been a lot of holiday viewing. You can argue that Shazam isn’t but it is set during Christmas with snow and Christmas decorations everywhere so it counts even if I do admit it was simply added in because the rental was going to expire and I almost forgot about it. My fave goes to Klaus which is a new Netflix Original about the beginnings of Christmas and Santa Claus in an original story and has voice acting by J.K. Simmons and Joan Cusack.

BINGING

who's the murderer 5

  • Zumbo’s Just Desserts (rewatch, Review)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, The Brightest Star in the Sky, Viva La Romance (Season 1)

I am watching VERY little TV right now as I am trying to read and catch on blog posts on all projects so I did rewatch Zumbo’s Just Desserts which is my go-to for rewatch and background when I work. Other than that, I am still rewatching The Brighest Star in the Sky on Huace Channel and wanted to finish Viva La Romance Season 1 before finishing Season 2 and 3. Its almost done but I do have to give mega props to Who’s The Murderer Season 5 which has really taken a lovely turn this season and become not only one that has some pretty good cases and mysteries but has been edited in a way that makes it somewhat have a better line of link to make educated guesses on the culprits.

That’s it for Week 50 recap!
Things are starting to get back on track! Yay!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

Double Feature: Holiday in the Wild (2019) & The Knight Before Christmas (2019)

And we’re off! Officially in the Christmas double features phase with some holiday movies and such. The first one, Holiday in the Wild is more set passing through Christmas and is more about a literal holiday vacation instead of actual holiday but its paired with The Knight Before Christmas because the first movie is playing on TV in this one. Its a very Netflix movies promo experience in the second film with Holiday Calender also getting a scene playing as well.

Holiday in the Wild (2019)

Holiday in the Wild

Director: Ernie Barbarash

Cast: Kristin Davis, Rob Lowe, Fezile Mpela, John Owen Lowe, Colin Moss

Jilted by her husband on the eve of embarking on an African safari, a woman travels to the continent alone where she meets an elephant conservationist. – IMDB

Holiday in the Wild isn’t exactly a Christmas holiday movie but I thought it was so it ended up being part of the line-up. Luckily, it did have some overlapping Christmas scenes in Africa. These types of Hallmark style movies that Netflix is tackling in their originals usually is something of a hit and miss deal. Holiday in the Wild is a bit awkward to watch. Its definitely featuring an older couple and probably aiming to get the more mature audience than its normal audience. For that, its also a lot more serious and drama oriented with some jokes here and there. The script is a bit all over the place but with the right heart of focusing not only on romance between the characters Derek and Kate but also on the importance of the conservation work for elephants. Some people choose to bring awareness through documentaries (like Virunga) and they choose to deliver it this way. It works all the same and its the good intentions that matter.

The best parts of the film actually are with the elephant conservation and this whole location which is rarely used. I think the last time I saw anything about animals and Africa was maybe in the TV series Zoo and I can’t remember if that was Africa or not. Point being, the exotic location does this movie some wonders and it is delivering an honorable message which they take the effort to share some statistics at the end of the movie. There are a lot of flaws in the romance and some really bad dialogue but with what they had, Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis had some decent chemistry but its easy to feel like the movie wasn’t really about them and it wasn’t about family but more about Kate finding her way back to being herself and living the life that she wants.

The Knight Before Christmas (2019)

The Knight Before Christmas

Director: Monika Mitchell

Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Whitehouse, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Ella Kenion, Isabella Franca

A medieval English knight is magically transported to the present day where he falls for a high school science teacher who is disillusioned by love. – IMDB

The Knight Before Christmas is something of a fish out of water story and for anyone thats been here for a while, you know that I’m a sucker for those types of stories because they can bring in a ton of humor. Humor isn’t the same for everyone but for me, it works for me. The Knight Before Christmas actually surprised me quite a bit but that might be because I sometimes wonder about Vanessa Hudgens movies. I don’t know why I do it because a lot of stuff that I’ve seen her do has been pretty good.

With that said, a lot of the normal holiday romance Hallmark-like films that Netflix has been getting on does have some of the normal trademarks that a lot of people don’t like which is cringe-worthy dialogue and fairly predictable and formulaic story. This movie definitely suffers from some rather subpar dialogue and its not hard to imagine where things end up but it has this positivity to the Christmas message that its trying to deliver and also it has some nice chemistry and romantic elements between Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse’s characters, Brooke and Cole.

There are some really nice Christmas sets here whether its the winter and snowy weather or the whole Christmas decor inside and outside the house along  with the Christmas village and the Christmas decorating and baking, etc. Its a movie that sets its Christmas setting very well and uses it in a nice way with two pretty decent performances from both Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse.

Plus, Netflix is taking this year’s holiday films to really cross-promote all its projects especially with this one as it shows movies playing on Netflix for the characters like last year’s The Holiday Calendar (review) and the movie we reviewed above, Holiday in the Wild. At the same time, it mentions A Christmas Prince’s kingdom, Aldovia and how the parents went to get ornament that they have there to tie in the universe together. Its pretty neat to see Netflix as such a giant that it can link its projects together like this. They just now need to remember to not mesh The Knight Before Christmas’s sequel if they have one to vacation in Belgravia where Vanessa Hudgens’ character is now Queen since the events of last year’s The Princess Switch (review).

On that note, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel for The Knight Before Christmas or maybe its already hinted at with how they did the post-credits scene..

That’s it for this first Christmas Double Feature!
Have you caught up with these new Netflix holiday movies?

DIY Crafts: Branch Wreath (1st attempt)

Signs of the early years of Tranquil Dreams is coming back into shape this December as I get through some housekeeping for the blog going on in the background, I’m having this sudden urge to get back into doing some DIY crafts and also some cooking and baking planned as well. Its going to be (hopefully) a fun little December that will get back on track on all the positive things that I’ve always liked doing as a crafty and creative outlet that is a very wonderful release for me when I manage to put together something nice.

First project to tackle is a branch wreath. I’ve put together all the wreaths at our current home and while it might not be as economical as a store-bought one, all of mine are unique to what I want on there and how I want it to look like. Feeling like a bit of a change, I went for a branch wreath at Michael’s during the Black Friday Sale and picked up a bunch of wreath decorations to see what I could do.

Here are all the supplies that I had bought:

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  • Branch Wreath
  • Wreath Decorations

There’s something very different from doing a branch wreath than doing a pine wreath. It has to do with the whole messy elements of trying to put all the elements in. Putting in the decorations is trying to find that spot to hold them in place while hiding the sticks holding them up also. I didn’t use any wire which you could get or go with using hot glue to keep them all in place. With that said, designing branch wreaths are more minimalist in some ways where less is more.

Here’s my first trial which didn’t quite look like how I wanted so it was quickly pulled apart to rethink and redo…

Branch Wreath

Back to zero, I did some research on Pinterest on how branch wreaths usually are structured and then thought about a new structure where I would go find some supplies that I had bought before but never used. There some gold hollies and berries that I had picked up a year or two ago at Michael’s at a previous sale but never found a way to implement in anything else.

The final branch wreath turned out like this:

Branch Wreath

The final one looks like this.

It is a very simple first attempt and I can see some places where I can improve at filling in the gaps and making it feel more full and giving it some more volume as well. Overall, I am fairly happy with it as it does have the fun little elements of Christmas that I like and its along the lines of what I wanted to do.

Branch wreaths are this very interesting element to discover because of the whole fitting the pieces into a more classy style and it also has this less is more element to it while giving it space for the branches to have its compliment to whats put on it. I’m definitely having some more ideas on what themed wreaths to do. But there’s still time to maybe spruce this one up as nothing there is set because I also like my wreaths to have the chance to change it up when I get tired of looking at it. This version doesn’t have any glued elements and just held from strategically placing them to hold in place by the branches under and some of the wired holders on the wreath decorations.

*As a side note, I am working on a second one as a gift so expect a post on the new one (along with an update if I do change something on this one). That one is looking a lot more refined than this first one in my opinion so far but the theme isn’t fitting in as well as I’d like it to so its still in the making. *

TV Binge: Nailed it! Holiday (Season 2, 2019)

Previous seasons reviewed: Nailed It! Holiday (Season 1)

Nailed It! Holiday (Season 2, 2019)

Nailed It! Holiday

Hosts: Nicole Byers, Jacques Torres

Its the time of year for Nailed It! Holiday again! Its always a fun time with Nailed It as I always say in the little TV binges that I do. Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres are a great team together in terms of just finding the chemistry together and being able to deliver the jokes. They both have their own place in the show that helps advance it forward. This time, they picked a lot of comedic guest judges and that adds a lot to how fun the whole experience becomes. There are some returning guests, some of the more entertaining ones for sure and then some fun new ones as well. Of course, we can’t forget to mention (which I always do) associate director Wes, now has a lot of screen time from Nicole cracking jokes at him to bringing all the prizes and trophies in themed outfits sometimes.

Nailed it Holiday s2

Nailed It Holiday also is a bit more diverse than just Christmas, just like its previous season, except this time, they didn’t go into crafts territory and stayed true to different designs in the realm of holidays. The wider themes outside of Christmas like Hanukkah and New Year’s and some Christmas related stories from Christmas Carol to Dr. Seuss stories all really do add to what it does (as well as the latter helping cross promote other Netflix Original series like Green Eggs and Ham, of course). A lot of the Nailed It designs are quite amazing. A normal baker would take it as a feat already but for amateur bakers who audition for these things because a  lot of them get confused in the whole realm of baking, its a mountain to climb and the show is about highlighting their failures and shortcomings and boy, this time does it deliver.

Nailed It Holiday S2

It sounds really mean to have a show that really just picks on its bakers for how bad they do but also giving them pointers on how to improve, whether its as simple as breaking the habit a lot of times of ignoring measurements and quantities. The best seasons of Nailed It is not only its hosts, guest judges but also how the participants are chosen and this season has some real gold and you know that when in one of the episode, Nicole Byers comments “Where did we find these people?” I’m not one to laugh at other people because while I do enjoy baking, I still consider myself an amateur seeing as I don’t do this professionally but some of these things that happen, its hard to imagine how, but then that is part of the charm of the show.

Overall, Nailed It Holiday’s second season is a real fun time. It has some great guests, the hosts are absolutely on point and the bakers that they chose for the competition are a lot of times very entertaining in all their mishaps. Not to mention, they have some really nice baking projects, from cakes to cupcakes to cookies and the designs are really nice. Its an overall good time so can’t really ask for more! Plus, if you take your time  and not binge it like I did, you can actually watch it all the way to New Year’s.

Double Feature: Gods of Egypt (2016) & Holidays (2016)

Welcome to the next double feature. This time, we’ve landed coincidentally on two 2016 movies. Our G selection is one that had some pretty bad reviews when it came out and that is fantasy action film, Gods of Egypt. The H selection is horror anthology Holidays directed by a good few directors, one of their headlines being Kevin Smith.

Let’s check it out!

Gods of Egypt (2016)

Director: Alex Proyas

Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Nikolaj  Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung, Rachel Blake, Bryan Brown, Chadwick Boseman

Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. – IMDB

So…Gods of Egypt…not sure where to start with this one. The cast here is pretty good and probably one of the reasons why I decided to at least give this a shot. Sad enough though, this movie is a lot of flare and not a whole lot of substance. Its actually not even a lot of fun to watch because its pretty boring and stupid. Gods of Egypt is one of those films that remind me of previous bland experiences like Clash of the Titans (the remake) and The Immortals (which I also disliked both of these). It bases itself on playing with the various gods of Egypt (as per its title) and uses a fairly basic story where Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is an pretentious god who eventually gets his throne taken from him when he gets blinded by Set (Gerard Butler). In the process, Set puts Egypt into this world where everyone needs to gain whatever value or money in order to get a better afterlife. In desperation to save his love of his life, the mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites) tries to get Horus to stop his self-loathing and help him get back his sight (aka his powers) so that he can get back the throne and hopefully make Egypt better again.

There’s some romance and some bromance and some good versus evil and some personal character development. Its not clear who is the hero here or who is the main lead and the story is as predictable as it sounds. There’s a whole lot of plot holes and its pretty forgettable and there’s nothing very special of it. I can’t really find a whole lot of good to say about this. I really liked Chadwick Boseman’s character. It gave the story some well-needed humor and enthusiasm.

Holidays (2016)

holidays

Directors (and writers): Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, Gary Shore, Nicholas McCarthy, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart, Adam Egypt Mortimer

Cast: Madeleine Coghlan, Savannah Kennick, Rick Peters, Ruth Bradley, Ava Acres, Mark Steger, Sophie Traub, Aleksa Palladino, Joceline Donahue, Harley Morenstein, Harley Quinn Smith, Ashley Greene, Seth Green, Clare Grant, Lorenza Izzo, Andrew Bowen, Megan Duffy

HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions. – IMDB

Its always tough to decide how to approach reviewing anthologies. Holidays takes 8 shorts from different directors that center their stories around 8 different holidays and the darkness in the characters involved. There are some very odd stories in this anthology that can only be described as weird and bizarre. However, in some ways, it does work. In some other ones, my less favorite ones, the stories are a bit too far-fetched for my taste. Its one of those things in anthologies where some things just work better than others and that changes by personal preference.

Here’s how I’d rank the 8 shorts in this anthology:

  • Christmas
  • Father’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Halloween
  • Happy New Year’s
  • St. Patrick’s Day

Taking a look back at the 8 stories in Holidays, my favorite was no doubt almost equally Christmas and Father’s Day. In terms of the horror comedy style, Christmas nails it and has Seth Green who does a stellar job however, in terms of horror atmosphere, Father’s Day captures that one really well. The execution of the both of these are on point. If we talk about creepy kids and a little weird and psychological, which is the type of horror that I like also, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day both have these elements and for that, these four are the most memorable to me and well rounded.

If we talk about the last four, the one that I remember the least is St. Patrick’s Day. Aside from, there are some creative twists to say the least. Easter is creative in the sense of mixing the Easter bunny and recreating it with a religious twist. I can’t decide if maybe it might not be as welcomed. While Halloween had a more over the top twist which was a tad disturbing but strayed away from the very gory bits and as much as I like over the top in some scenarios, I wasn’t a particularly huge fan of the execution while acknowledging the psychological elements behind it and Happy New Year’s also has a clever twist behind it which I have to say works also.

Holidays isn’t the best horror anthology out there but in terms of embracing its weird and horror comedy nature, it achieves that quite well. The stories vary in tone and atmosphere and using the theme of 8 different holidays is a nice idea.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films?
Are you a fan of horror anthologies? If you’ve seen Holidays, which is your fave segment?