My Weekly Adventures: New Year’s Special (2015 Recap & 2016 Goals!)

My goodness, 2015 went by in a flash! So many things happened and most of it was pretty awesome!

Let’s start with some 2015 recaps and the last half month of stuff.  Then we’ll wrap up with 2016 goals, okay? Sounds like a plan!

End of Year Things: Christmas Party, Boxing Day Finds, Snowstorm & New Year’s Eve

Christmas Eve party with the family was crazy fun.  We hosted for the first year and I went into a frenzy about the house not being clean enough and now having the turkey defrost in time but we found backup for everything and it ended up working out and

Boxing Day

Boxing Day finds at Walmart & Best Buy (waiting for a few more movies/games coming in from Amazon)

Boxing Day

Boxing Day Finds at Adidas and Nike

Boxing Day

Walmart Online order for Kitchenaid Ultra Power Standing Mixer

Dynamite Clothing

Dynamite Sweater and Pants (Online order arrived rather efficiently so I tried it out and took an awkward selfie)

Snowstorm

Snowstorm

New Year's Eve and Jenga with Friends

New Year’s Eve and Jenga with Friends

2015 RECAP

2015 was kind of a half-half deal.  For the blog, my main goals and projects didn’t exactly work out as I planned but my overall views have averaged higher than the previous year which makes me quite happy.  Jumping into the 4th year of blogging, I’ve finally found how I want Tranquil Dreams to be positioned and what content I want to write about.  As much as versatility seems overbearing and crazy, I really do enjoy every bit of it.

  • Baking Through Disney Project: Only one movie was done completely (kind of a fail but I did add a side project of watching adaptations when available)
  • The Classics Project: It went pretty good.  Currently, I’m reading the second last novel of Jane Austen.  These are more time-consuming than I initially imagined but I’m continuing right along.
  • New segment: Netflix A-Z was added on.  We got one round completed with much success.  I felt great that a lot of you not only commented about the movie and even joined in to guess what the next movie would me, sometimes opening my eyes to movies that sounded completely out of the world weird.
  • Joining That Moment In: Its one thing to own a blog but its another to be part of someone else’s.  That Moment In is a great blogging family for me.  I love being part of The Random Chat Show with my awesome co-hosts Melissa and David and chatting up all sorts of randomness, even when we debate and argue over our different views. As for writing, I’m loving getting back into playing video games and writing about them. I may  not be a skilled gamer but I always have tons of fun.

On a personal life level, my weekly adventures expanded with:

  • Getting married in October
  • Visiting different festivals in Montreal: Fantasia Film Festival, MTL a Table, Sherbrooke met la table
  • Vacation and first time cruise experience on the Norwegian going to Alaska and sightseeing in Seattle
  • Falling in love with Zumba (I probably didn’t elaborate on this one too much) & getting running into my summer workouts

If you do want an overview of this year, you can check out the WordPress annual report HERE!

An general look of the how many of each categories I’ve posted about for the last few years:

  • 103  novels and short stories reviews
  • 510 movies (and maybe short films) reviews
  • 129 recipes

Personally, the goals I set out for this year kind of did flop but a lot of things did happen.  I’m a lot closer to where I need to be in the final Practical Piano exam except the curriculum changed and now the technical bits have caused a little problem, making the theory part also a little change to my original plans.

2016 GOALS

2016

This year, we’re taking things kind of the same but a little different. Since last year was really about finding my footing and getting a sort of routine going, I think we’re ready for some stable and organized posts going up for once in almost 5 years. I do have a few personal goals I need to get out of the way so I’m still working out how to maybe get something like that here, if not, it’ll all be about getting things done in advance to make time for it.

Let’s get down to 2016 business!

  • Netflix A-Z: As usual, its appearance will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The only interruptions is on themed months and other events going on. It all depends if there are fitting movies that match up with it.  I don’t think there will be an interruption for February’s Valentine’s Day since romantic comedies are abundant. If you do have any suggestions, do tell me what Netflix movies, you’d like me to review.  Keep in mind, I am in Canada so I have far fewer choices than the US selection.
  • TV Binge: A much more sporadic series but I do love TV in between a lot of busy  movie seasons.  I have one coming up and this next year, I’m not going to be too ambitious but I’d like to see Hemlock Grove Season 3, From Dusk Till Dawn Season 2, Criminal Minds Season 8 & 9, Once Upon a Time Season 4, Jessica Jones, Daredevil just for starters.  That looks doable. Of course, I also follow The 100 and the new season is sometime in January if I’m not mistaken.
  • Baking Through Disney: The goal is one movie and baking a month.  I can’t guarantee it but I’m hoping we’ll get through 12 movies in the Disney Classics list this year. To boost the confidence level, I already have the next one, Pinocchio watched and I have a pretty cool baking idea set. Just a few details I’m deciding on to actually get down to business after the holiday season.
  • Marathons: All the themed marathons are staying except I’ll try to have more scattered and not just movies.  I’ll try.  For Valentine’s Day, I have acquired the latest two movies for Nicholas Sparks to continue on that journey, among other choices which I’m deciding on. Halloween should be either Hellraiser or Final Destination themed series.  But then, I have a vague memory of promising someone here that I’d do Scream so that is going to happen except I need to find the 4th film. If thats the case, I’ll go with the Final Destination series just to have a reasonable amount of time. I’ll decide when it gets closer. As for Christmas/holidays, its getting harder and harder to find Christmas movies so I’m thinking up a twist for it 😉
  • Books & The Classics Project: This year, I’m not going to do a Reading Challenge.  For one, I’m planning to contribute more to That Moment In so I want to get back into gaming a little especially since we did get a PS4 and there are some decent games coming out this year that I’m excited to play. However, the focus from now on will be on books that will be adapted into films and indie books.  But, don’t be fooled, I am not giving up The Classics Project.  I’m currently finishing up Persuasion and have one more to go before I finish that up.  You can see the updated list of classics I plan to read for next year.
  • My Weekly Adventures, Music Obsessions and Pinterest Therapy: These are my more personal segments.  I keep them around because they are fun to put together and really less thought heavy. It shines a little on who I am.  Music Obsessions and Pinterest Therapy are a monthly segment for the most part and My Weekly Adventures has dropped to being a biweekly event.  I did add on a seasonal Montreal events segment and I might just continue to do that.  Winter hasn’t gone up yet but I might see if I can work it in the schedule.

There you have it! That’s 2016 for you.  My brain thinks about the blog all the time and how to improve it and make it more me.

What has me curious is what segments do you drop by here to read? Is there anything you’d like me to incorporate in these topics? Feel free to share your opinions.  I do a lot here but its rather scattered and recommendations are always appreciated.

Overall, 2016 looks like its going to be a great year!

panda hugs

*VIRTUAL HUGS* FOR EVERYONE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY LOVELIES~!!! 🙂 

Updates and New Year’s Goals!

2014 is just around the corner. In a few hours (in Montreal), I welcome a whole new year and I’m excited but as bad as 2013 was, I look back, reflect and realize that its actually been pretty good also.  We lose some but we also gain some, right? The little things that make my day better still shine through.

KEEP BREATHING

For Tranquil Dreams, its been an amazing year, if you missed my earlier post with the 2013 recap its HERE, reminding me that all the hard work and dedication I put into this is for something.  I’m not just talking to a empty space.

This year, there was a lot of additions to the blog.  I can still remember when my blog was just a place for me to write and I reflected using Daily Posts.  Posting back then was really hard but as things started to form, last year, I focused on movie reviews and book reviews.  Expanded to workout posts and personal/inspirational/music posts all wrapped into one on the weekend and even touched on TV series obsessions.  Although, my cooking project really didn’t get very far, I did explore the baking world a little bit more also. Plus, I even did vlogs and piano covers.

This year, I shared with you my New Year’s Resolutions/Goals! I did manage to accomplish a few and some are just about to be wrapped up within the next 2 weeks or so.

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Piano Harmony studies start right after my TESL and that course took a turn to surprise me, putting this back just a little.

Piano Grade 10 prep is going well.  I should be able to do my exam next year for sure.  Just have 2 more pieces to memorize and some polishing of ear test skills

TESL certificate should have been done before BUT it turns out there are 2 terms so now I’m stuck because I have 26 days to get the remaining 75% of my 2nd term done.  I have been working hard and I’m not going to give up.  I know I can do it!

– So, I may not have finished editing my Nano 2012 novel but I did write 2013 novel that I’m much more proud of and will start editing that in 2014. Along with the fact that I actually have a fabulous novel idea that just popped up and I think I’ll start writing that one.

– My stress level was pretty much in check.  You all don’t know my boyfriend but I’m sure he has to agree that this year, I’ve been in check with my stress.  My moods have been more wobbly but I’ve managed to not get angry so often and let things irritate me so much and tried to keep positive as much as possible even in the most *seemingly* impossible situations.

Saving money is one that been successful.  This year, I reached a good goal and I even managed to contribute to my RRSP during the Christmas season.  I have some nice announcements coming up related to this one soon-ish.

– Last one was working out and that has to be by biggest successful.  Go ahead and click on my Weekly workouts and you’ll see that I am not on my 43rd week of workout and holding strong despite all my injuries.  Forget 2-3 times, I managed to do 3-5 times in general.  I’ve been eating healthy to add to the mix so I’m ready to polish my new goal 🙂

2014 cans

2014 is a new year! One I’m very happy that its coming in a matter of hours.

Its time for some NEW GOALS/RESOLUTIONS! 🙂 As I wait for my best friend’s updates from Saskatoon and her new set of resolutions, I’ve been putting mine together.

In general this is what I want to live by:

2014 GOALS

As usual, I will keep a few uncompleted ones this year!

1) Finish TESL certificate (deadline: Jan 24th)

2) Grade 10 Piano exam (latest: Fall session)

3) Work out 3-5 times a week and maintain healhty eating habits

4) Keep up saving and not buy useless things!

5) Edit my Nano 2013 novel and write the novel I’ve have in my head.

6) Improve on my baking skills –> decorations and appearances

7) STAY POSITIVE!

and two final thoughts:

BAD DAY

KEEP SOME ROOM

AND FINALLY!!

HAPPY 2014! I WISH YOU ALL THE VERY ABSOLUTE BEST!

HAVE LOTS OF FUN WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND OODLES OF SUCCESS!

Thank you for everything this year and I hope that you all will come back to check out what I have in store for you in 2014.  You’ve made 2013 and my whole blogging experience fantastic and most days, I keep doing this because I know some of you really care.  Your comments, likes, visits, views, retweets, pins, follows (and whatever way there is) means the world to me! Hugs and kisses for all of you!

*raises a glass of champagne (or whatever you like)*

CHEERS! TO A GREAT 2014! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Book Review: The Book of (Holiday) Awesome by Neil Pasricha

If you’ve read The Book of Awesome before, you’d know all about how this book is done. What started out as a blog has turned into a Bestseller for Neil Pasricha.  A quest to write daily about the little things in life that are in fact awesome or make us feel awesome! That was pre-book review days for me and a few years back and there are times when certain events that book mentions happens, I still think back and smile then cherish that moment because it is in fact awesome.

book of holiday awesome coverFollowing that book, he put out The Book of (Even More) Awesome which I’ve started but haven’t finished yet.  Same goes for this one, The Book of (Holiday) Awesome.  I started reading this book back in December 2012 and had originally wanted to read the whole thing and post it up as Christmas related posting.  As I eventually realized that it spread through little awesome things for holidays throughout the year, I stopped and only picked it back up earlier in June.  If I did put it down again, I’m probably going to forget it again and it’ll never be finished so the past week, I read it at night to relax until the end.

I’d have to say that this book was still enjoyable to read and I liked it quite a bit.  However, there is that “feel good” factor that isn’t as great as the first one.  I do say that the first part of the book when it focused on Christmas and New Year’s festivities. Along the way, there were some that stood out more than others for example, the Christmas lights on cranes.  I remember seeing that the day after I read that part and snapping a picture of it right away.  It was a pretty awesome feeling.

There isn’t really much to say about these but its really worth your time.  It helps us to appreciate the little things in life and on a bad day, they are just the perfect thing to brighten the day. It also lets us notice the details around us that we may miss.  Its all part of a very important underlying theme of being grateful for the things that we have and the everyday experiences that we go through.

If you had to pick one, I’d still say to go with the first one.  This was does a pretty decent job nonetheless 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved… and New Year Resolutions

For some, I have talked about before how I set New Year’s goals instead of resolutions.  There are some that are similar to resolutions.  Let me show you for myself my awesome board.  This is only a part of it with my goals.  The other side is with my monthly calender and other reminders.

Here are my goals for 2013: The things I resolve to do!

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I usually just do this through email with my best friend and then we check up at the end of the year to see how many we’ve accomplished.  This year, I’d like to share it with everyone.  So that, if ever I neglect my blog and vanish, you know I’m off going crazy trying to get these things done…mostly would be the case when I study for the exams.

Today I also did a little tidying up of my movies and in honor of having more space and resolving to save (more) money this year, I’m going to have to try watch movies others than buying it.  And also to resolve to try and keep things organized so I don’t spend over an hour putting things in order on my shelf and having this happen…

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And that my friends is just about 25% of all my movies…So yeah, big problem here…although I’ll probably restart my whole movie collection marathon. Another goal in the next year..or more like a continuous goal!

Way to go, NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS! You are now all my witnesses to these resolutions…maybe I’ll even post up some updates!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’m sitting at a party right now and remembered some of you are already in the new year!
I’d like to quickly wish everyone a beautiful 2013!

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY WONDERFUL FRIENDS IN THE BLOGOSPHERE!
I will see everyone in 2013 with bigger and better things. Thank you to everyone for stopping by!

All the best wishes to everyone and wishing you lots of happiness!

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

In the beginning of 2012, I had set myself a few goals which I called New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve talked about this in a previous post but now, let me show you month by month, what’s worth remembering, also giving me a look at what makes up my 2012 and appreciate it all over again with all of you!

JANUARY

Chinese New Year’s celebration marking the beginning of the Year of the Dragon was the main focus.

We celebrate it with the normal traditions.  Its to wish everyone a prosperous and happy new year with banners of wishes.  We decorate with flowers to signify life.  These yellow ones have the name of “String of Gold” to wish for fortune and Lilies translates to togetherness.  My mom always makes a lot of food and she is the absolute best at it.  Here you see the Turnip Cake , however she also makes Taro Cake, which are both for meals and are not sweet as what you’d expect in a cake.  This year she tried out Sweet Potato cake and it turned out very delicious.

FEBRUARY

One Ottawa trip with friends led me to a small discovery in the most unexpected place: A perfume box for a line called Amazing Grace.  The philosophy quote they had was this: “how you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain, and, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one gigantic lesson….  Its how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light.”

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MARCH

The 4th anniversary with my boyfriend, my 26th birthday celebrated with friends.

APRIL

I went on Toronto road trip during Easter with one of my best travel companions and best high school friend.  We go to explore every time and this year, it was to the Toronto Zoo, where we saw a cute baby polar bear and his mother next door.  We also had awesome Chinese food, to us the best at Asian Legend. At the end of the month, my boyfriend took me to see Beauty and the Beast Broadway and we both had lots of fun however, there were no pictures.

MAY

My boyfriend and I have a growing love of hiking and exploring new places.  We finally made it on Victoria Day (Canada holiday in May) to go to visit Ausable Chasm in New York.  A quick one day trip that was really fun.  We found amazing scenery, beautiful walk and if you’re into video games, even found an area that was like the one in Uncharted and took funny photos.

JUNE

This marked my friends and I bringing in Summer with crazy amount of activities.  A lot of first time and some long time revisiting activities.  First time experienced doing the Tree Adventure, which I fell in love with.  Although I was screaming at the top of my lungs when I did my first zip-lining.  Note that I am VERY scared of heights.  Also, went to the beach with friends (hadn’t done that since 2007 in Taiwan) so it was super fun.

JULY

Fun times yet again with friends: went to Train Concert, went a water park and did lots of water slides, went to a friend’s wedding, won my first and second Dragonboat medals and the best of all was vacation to Saguenay with my boyfriend and hiking up to sit at the foot of a gigantic waterfalls. Wait one more thing, I had a stare down with a wolverine at the zoo also.

AUGUST

The best part was one of my greatest friends who lives in NYC visiting me in Montreal with her friend.  Its always fun to make new friends.  We all merged into a Star Wars Identity at the Star Wars exhibit. We visited the Biodome and saw a baby lynx, a very rare sight as Canadian Lynx are endangered species. I also went with my best friend to celebrate her birthday seeing an awesome broadway show, Wicked! ONE MORE THING: as a Star Wars Identity, Dreams, I rejected the offer to join the Dark Side!

And if you missed my full description of the Star Wars Exhibit and my Star Wars Identity, you can visit it HERE!

 

SEPTEMBER

This year we managed to successfully complete the St-Bruno lakes trail and saw a chipmunk and had a wonderful walk.  Its more of a crowded trail so it was hard to get a moment but I took my boyfriend helped me take my first levitation photo.  Very fun stuff!

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OCTOBER

Halloween and this blog got me back into watching horror movies, giving me many many sleepless nights. I also visited Lantern Festival and the Japanese Garden at Botanical Gardens.  Then took another night to drive up to Upper Canada Village to see Pumpkin Inferno.  By the end of the month, I transformed myself into Alice from Resident Evil based on her Apocalypse look for Halloween.

NOVEMBER

This was possibly the BIGGEST month of the year.  I spent my two weeks vacation in Hong Kong and met up with lots of fantastic friends and family.  Spent a lot of time with my grandmothers and saw a lot of wonderful things.  I came back and gave a last minute week long effort writing like crazy and won the NaNoWriMo.

DECEMBER

Christmas with family and friend, the biggest winter storm in Montreal since forever, I have no pictures but helping with surprises always make me happy as well.

Its been a fantastic year in 2012. I’ve had great moments with family and friends, experienced new things, conquered some fears and had so much fun on the blogosphere.  Some bloggers here I’m happy to call my friends and some have given me the most unexpected gifts on Christmas and New Year’s.  Not to mention all those comments and likes.  All your support has been incredibly important to me and means everything to me.

Lets welcome 2013 and I promise you that I’ll step up my game! I’ll have a few posts coming up within today and tomorrow updating everyone.

Have a awesome weekend everyone!