Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 7]: Icy Point Strait, Alaska

We’re almost nearing the end of the vacation.  Second last stop before we arrive back in Seattle and finish off that half of a day before going home.  But, let’s not jump ahead too much. These vacation posts are in delay and I did do a few little day trips afterwards so I’ll be probably posting about those after this series 🙂

After a beautiful day in Glacier Bay National Park, we arrived early morning at Icy Point Strait, which seems like a little island.  We didn’t have any shore excursions for this one so we just wanted to do a walk around the island and explore. For the first time, we needed to get a ticket sort of thing and have a shuttle boat or whatever you call those things get us from the cruise ship to the shore.  New experiences, right?

Right when our boat was about to head to shore, a whale popped up right in front of it. Obviously, it was a split second deal so my eyes captured it and not my camera.  Throughout that day, it was fabulous weather in Icy Point Strait and the island had a little trail that we took a walk around and then just explored the little museum area.

Along the waterside, I took a ton of close-up shots of shells, waves, stones, seaweed.  Stuff that doesn’t matter but I really like taking close-up shots and thing finding focus and adjusting what is the key of the photo and whatnot. That’s just the learning photographer side of me.  Here’s just a few selected ones that I thought was pretty good.

Icy Point Strait

Icy Point Strait

Icy Point Strait

We ended up going back to the cruise ship relatively early and having some time to finally enjoy some time in the hot tubs with my mom.  While I was reluctant and first to do it at first, it was remarkably comfortable and relaxing.  Plus, from where we were, we could see humpback whales playing in the water everywhere.  It was pure awesomeness! We didn’t get any whale watching shore excursions but we still got to see it as a bonus 😉

Icy Point Strait

It was a great day.  The next one would be spent at sea before we head on board back in Canada at Victoria, British Columbia.  I have a friend that moved out there so I was pretty excited to meet up with her.

Drop by next week to see the post on Victoria, BC 🙂

My Weekly Adventures!

Instead of boring you with my little details, this time, I spaced it out deliberately to two weeks.  I had nothing to report back with so it just makes sense to get this in now with a little bit more activities. This time around, its slowed down quite a bit.  I’m trying to clear up my schedule a little and just relax, catch up on some sleep and find back some energy.  Plus, I need to get ahead with the blog so its all a work in progress. We are also trying to get the house in order and looking nice enough for any relatives that come and want to visit 😉

1) Second visit to Poutineville

As mentioned in the last Weekly Adventures, we went on our second visit and I met even more of my fiance’s friends.  Crazy stuff, eh? This wedding, I tell you. Its making life colorful.  And I mean, his friends are really colorful like their personality and their thoughts are hard to catch up with.

Anyways, I finally had the poutine at Poutineville.  Its not so much real as I wasn’t sure about the gravy so they suggested the Italian meat sauce instead. Its kind of what we call Michigan-style (instead of hot dogs, we have fries and cheese).


Chicken & Bacon Poutine with Dairy-free Cheese and Meat Sauce

Then, like the last time, a visit to Chocolate Favoris.

Chocolat Favoris

Gelato choices

Sorbet choices

Sorbet choices

chocolats favoris

Ice Cream with Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Dip

chocolats favoris

Banana Mango Strawberry Sorbet

Its turning into something of a tradition.  I just might want to refrain from Poutineville for the next few weeks until after the big day. So that, all my hard work is not put to waste, right?

2) Nike Re-Run

Last weekend, Nike Running app sent me an email telling me that on Saturday, a run that we did would give us the chance to have a Nike Re-run video.  Now, that sounds awesome and what’s great about having this blog is I love trying out new little things.  So, I got in an afternoon run on Saturday even though I was so not feeling like it.  But I did it and kept to my workout goals. I was thinking that maybe I wouldn’t get it because the run wasn’t all that great.  My time was a little meh. But on Sunday, I ended up getting the email prompt to get the video.  We got to choose the time log and pick whichever one.  My routes are more or less the same.  It varies in direction, side of the street or going through the park or whatever small streets.  I actually need to map out a new path to explore the other side of the new neighborhood I moved in.  Still, here is what I yield.

That is my fastest time I’ve done so far. I haven’t quite beat that time yet as an average.

Oh right, and I run against traffic because it feels safer for me and the lights don’t change when I plan on crossing the road or whatever.  I just like to run with as little interruptions as possible. On a side note, a few days later, I ran my fastest km…but still, this is my best average pace.  Lets hope it improves 😉

3) Quantico’s Set

If anyone is interested in seeing the new series Quantico, they have been shooting in Old Montreal right in front of the old Royal Bank building. They had done filming on and off for 2-3 weeks at least.  It looks really impressive and my guess is that its going to be the series headquarters or something.  The series already has me intrigued.  Its right up my alley of what I usually watch for TV series and with it being filmed so nearby, it has me even more interested 🙂


4) Vist at Seigneurie de l’ile d’Orleans (and some spontaneous stops)

We bought a voucher for a visit to this garden at l’ile d’Orleans a while back and its edging near expiry and we even missed the peak season to see the lavender gardens but we did buy it so we took a little day trip out to l’ile d’Orleans and visited a rather green garden 😉  I apologize but I only have my fiance’s pictures.  My pictures haven’t quite made it in the computer yet. However, I will be doing a full post on this if the pictures do turn out good.  I think I did some artsy stuff playing with the focus and whatnot. Not sure how it turned out.

Seigneurie de l'ile d'orleans

seigneurie de l'Ile d'Orleans

L’ile d’Orleans in summer is definitely different from winter.  It was full of people.  We did end up stopping at a newly opened La Nougaterie which is a place that I love which makes amazing soft nougats.  Apparently, they just moved to this location for two weeks and I caught it completely spontaneously.  We bought some little nougats and had some tasting.  If you haven’t tasted these nougats, you have to.  I look forward to getting it at the arts and crafts show for their Christmas flavored one.  Its like heaven in my mouth.

The last stop we made before we left was at Cassis Mona et Filles which is a winery that focuses on blackcurrant wines and liqueurs.  They have a really awesome recipe using one of their Fruité liqueur and the syrup based one along with club soda and fruits that makes THE BEST sangria I’ve ever tasted. We, of course, got that. They also sell some more dry wines like their Port.  I almost couldn’t swallow that one because it was rather dry.

5) Garden Updates

Its almost time to close the gardens but we had a surge of heat wave and my plants are all confused.  Its good though.  We’re getting our big batch of strawberries and raspberries.  I’m considering to get a blueberry plant for next year.  I have a bit of space next to all these berries but it might not work so well because sun doesn’t hit that corner as much.  Anyways, next year’s projects aren’t anything to discuss now.  Look at those strawberries and raspberries 🙂

Raspberry plant

Raspberry plant


Strawberry plant

Confused plant doesn’t get any more than my clematis.  It has the hardest time staying alive in that spot.  I was starting to think about moving it again but didn’t know where just yet.  Then the heat wave hit and its having a ton of buds.  I sure hope the weather holds up so that it can bloom.  I haven’t seen one flower bloom on it yet.  Better late than never, right? 😉



Finally, we are seeing signs of the fall chrysanthemums coming out.  Its budding and about to bloom.  The big one is from the previous owners and my little ones last year, only one survived but its more than enough with whats there now since the marigolds are still blooming.

Fall Chrysanthemum

Fall Chrysanthemum

6) What’s Next…

  • Netflix A-Z: I-L movies (next two weeks)
  • The Classics Adventures: book review and corresponding movie review
  • Alaska Cruise: Day 5 & 6
  • PRIORITY: Baking Through Disney: recipe & next movie

That’s it for this time’s Weekly Adventures! Short and sweet! 🙂
Happy Friday, my lovelies! Enjoy your weekend!

Seattle (Day 1): An Extreme Walking Tour [Part 2]

Continuing on with my vacation adventures, Part 2 of the extreme self-made walking tour to make sure our legs would hurt at the end of the day is all about the Seattle Aquarium.

I love Aquariums and its always a blast to visit. The Seattle Aquarium is pretty big with a lot of walking areas inside and outside there are viewing areas for seals and river otters and sea otters.  We had a lot of time here mostly because I insisted that this place we don’t rush.  If they were going to rush, they could do the next thing without me.  My objective for Seattle was to go to the Seattle Aquarium so that was my one request.  Luckily, they didn’t ditch me because I would have regretted not going to the spot afterwards for the Underground Tour which I talked about HERE for a photo challenge a few weeks ago.

Let’s go check out the Seattle Aquarium!

Windows on Washington Waters

Seattle Aquarium

Life on the Edge: Touch Pools, Moon Jellies, Giant Octopus

Seattle Aquarium

Touch Pool

Seattle Aquarium

Moon Jellies

Seattle Aquarium

Giant Octopus

Pacific Coral Reef & Tropical Pacific


Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Underwater Dome

The actual Underwater Dome is just that last picture but I’m starting to get a little confused as to why there was more corals and sea creatures between after the Birds area.  I’m a little confused but you get the idea, right?

Marine Mammals: Sea Otters, Harbour Seals, Northern Fur Seals, River Otters

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

There really are no words for the Seattle Aquarium.  There were a ton of really neat corals and fishes and much much more. I loved it a lot! Its worth every penny.  The Underwater Dome made it hard to take good pictures but standing in it was really nice.  Plus, the seals and otters are really alive and happy.  It shows that they seem happy with the environment they are in since they come off as extremely playful.  You have the above and underwater viewing for those so its really well thought out.

Part 3 will be coming up to wrap up Day 1 of Seattle.  I just didn’t want to overload the posts with too many pictures.  I’m a little surprised Seattle took up that much time and we haven’t even started Alaska which will have a ton of different segments, other than pictures, one special segment that I’m getting stuff together for but I think it’ll be a finale and also my views on my first time cruising. Just a heads on what to expect.  My guess is this travel bit is going to span over the next month.

What do you think of the Seattle Aquarium? Have you ever been?

Seattle (Day 1): An Extreme Walking Tour of Seattle [Part 1]

Seattle is a beautiful city.  The last time I was there, I was probably around 8 years old or something.  My only memory was seeing family and thats a pretty vague one at that.  So this time, its a totally new experience and with other 20 years, I’m guessing the change has been drastic even if I did remember. So we arrived two days before we boarded the cruise.  Day 1 was pretty much a lot of layover time in Toronto and waiting to get to Seattle and by the time we got to the hotel, it was like 10pm.  We already knew that the next day would be a crazy long walking day so official first day starts when all the touristy stuff begins 🙂

Like, I said, A LOT happens.  So this might just turn into a possible 3 part Seattle tour.  Some places won’t have too many pictures but the few spots, I liked more might merit a post of their own. Seattle was where I reunited with my DSLR a little more so there was a lot of bad shots as I tried to figure it all out again before heading onto the cruise and needing it for Alaska which was obviously the highlight of my trip in my mind! 🙂

First things first, Seattle Day 1 Part 1.  Lets START!!

First Stop: Museum of Flight

I’m not huge on aircrafts and I’m far of knowledgeable on it.  However, this place is awesome if you are and even if you aren’t.  Our schedule was so tight and my mom’s friends were rather rushed that I found it sad that I was rushed to not get the chance to read everything there from space history to just all sorts of planes and whatnot.  It was so much to learn and see.  I tried to get as much as I could down but if I ever were to go to Seattle again, I’m definitely hitting the Museum of Flight again just to be able to do a proper tour of everywhere without have to try to catch a 2 hour transfer to save a bus fare because I felt like I lost more than $2.50 or whatever the fare was by leaving so early.

Second Stop: International District/Chinatown for lunch

Next on our stop is catching the bus to head into the International District/Chinatown for lunch.  Its kind of a Chinese thing to want to visit how developed Chinatown is wherever else we go.

International District

International District

We ended up asking a random Chinese lady and she was super nice and actually took us possibly the most crowded restaurant in Chinatown that we walked past for dim sum and even managed to get the hostess to find us a table.  Definitely lucky there! 🙂

Third Stop: Skyview Observatory

After some research, my mom’s friend suggested that the best skyline view of Seattle was Skyview Observatory and not the Space Needle.  I had no objections because c’mon, that view was amazing.  And in the last picture, we even got an idea of where we were to board the ship the next day.  Granted, we were going to walk past it later on in the day.  It was all in our schedule to scope out the area in advance 😉 Still, breathtaking view!

Here’s where I’m going to end the first part of Seattle! By the time we get back on street level from Skyview Observatory, we started heading over to visit the Underground Tour which turned out ot be fully booked for the next one, so we headed over to the Seattle Aquarium and came back afterwards for the tour.  I want to dedicate a whole post to Seattle Aquarium because we spent the most time on Day 1 there.  That’s what Part 2 will be all about!

And I’ll wrap things up with Part 3 where its the rest of the landmarks we ended up visiting.  Seattle does have a Day 2 which is half the day before we board the ship so we’re looking at 3-4 more parts for Seattle.  It might take a good bit of time to get all these posts up but bear with me because its also helping me put together a photobook for it 🙂

A quick look at whats to come but I’ll stop the rambling now! 🙂

What do you think of Seattle so far? Have you been before? 

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.



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! 😉

2015 Montreal Auto Show!

On Sunday, I went to the Montreal Auto Show after having wanted to go for the last 8 years or something.  Every year, its held for a week in January at the Palais des Congres in Montreal. I’ve never been either because of timing problems, lack of company or just it being during the time my work deadline is massive.  This year, what was supposed to be meeting my boyfriend’s friend ended up being our little date, which is absolutely fun because we’re planning way ahead for our next car purchase.

There really is nothing to say more other than to show off the car pictures, right?

Psst..I’ve set it up so the four bigger photos are the most memorable cars for me (on a non-affordable level) but our main goal was to look at hatchbacks and crossovers.

It took about 4 hours to get through the Montreal Auto Show.  The highlights was seeing the Canadian supercar, Magnum MK5, which is from Quebec. Plus, the concept cars were all pretty interesting from Nissan BladeGlider, Hyundai Intrado, Toyota FT-1 Concept, etc.  My boyfriend was saying that FT-1 Concept is supposed to replace Supra and thats my fave car ever! So, it was pretty nice to see it there. I was also pretty impressed with the Honda HR-V. And then there was two rooms with somewhat tuned up classic vintage cars (where the girls are posing next to it) and it felt like we had entered a club or something, which was a change of atmosphere from the main show rooms.

Did I tell you my second fave car is Nissan GT-R? So yeah, it was great to see that one also.  And my boyfriend’s crazy love for Corvette has kind of affected me also because that car is plain sexy!

The car we do look forward to checking out next year hopefully is the VW Golf TDI which only had display but we couldn’t sit in and get an idea for.  I’m guessing that means I’ll be there for 2016 Auto Show also 😉

It was a pretty fun experience and just next time, I’d bring more snacks so I don’t starve.  Oh, and don’t go on the last day of the event or on weekends if you can,  because then you are fighting with kids to sit in the cars.  For us, it was last minute decision so next year, we will plan ahead and avoid this situation.

Have you been to Auto Show? Where was it? Are you a car enthusiast?

A Little Christmas Cheer!

While I take a little intermission and try to work out my originally planned post for 2015 plans, I’m going to share a little Christmas cheer. Hmm..That almost rhymed.

I feel like I get to show off a little of my lovely 7.5 feet Christmas tree. Why? Because it took weeks to put together, like various weekends and going to stores over and over again. The joys of getting our first big Christmas tree comes with learning what length of beads, ribbons and lights we need to fit the whole thing.

On Sunday, with Christmas only a few days away, we put it all together! 🙂

christmas tree

By the way, under the tree are actual gifts.  I got my whole Christmas groove on and started wrapping up the gifts.  Only 2 more to wrap and one that has to be shipped off and its going to turn out to be more of a holidays gift.


Then I did this little berry vase thing by the window and thought of filling it up with colorful lights and lining the edge of the bay window with LED lights.

Plus, I have a lovely wreath (now with a ribbon) and some garland along the stairway. Its definitely starting to look like Christmas.


Add a little triple wick Christmas scented candle from Bath and Body Works in the scent of Twisted Peppermint 😉

I’m feeling this holiday cheer right now! Everything just feels awesome! Plus, last day of work tomorrow (for the week)..YAY!

How do you prepare your home for Christmas? 

Photography 101: Glass

Incorporate a form of glass into your image to add a layer of complexity.

Glass is incredibly fun to experiment with when taking pictures, resulting in multi-layered and sometimes unexpected shots. – The Daily Post

My cat's POV looking out the balcony door

My cat’s POV looking out the balcony door

The fascination of glass is that it can create a feeling of being separated like there is a barrier despite its transparent surface.


While in other cases, it can create a reflection when light hits it at a certain angle.  In this case, it widens the perspective of what’s going on in the street.

There’s so much to do with glass.  I had done one before with the conversion of angles using a angular vase. I could’ve done one through multiple colorful glass bottles but I couldn’t find a subject that worked.  Maybe I’ll do another one focused on that one day, just for fun 🙂

Photography 101: Street

To capture your street snapshot, wander your own neighborhood — or explore someplace new!

In your wide shot, also think about its basic components: a foreground and a background. The foreground is the part of your scene that’s nearest to the viewer, and where you can place a subject or focal point of your picture – The Daily Post

I work in the business sector of the very pretty Old Montreal.  Although there are still a few tourist attractions nearby, like the Notre-Dame Church.  These streets are ones I walk by everyday and they are ever so breathtaking to see the European style in Canada.  A very special feature of Old Montreal and probably why a lot of tourists choose to visit here.

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

I’m not exactly sure what story was told here.  Mornings are just people walking around and parking and running off to work.  Its a quiet area since its the business district so I guess thats why I chose to use a tree as the center on the top to show the autumn season and the “bureaux a louer” (aka offices for rent) sign and the Canada Post mailbox next to a lamppost in the third to add a little something.

What streets do you frequent? Do you like to explore new streets?


Charlevoix Day Trip!

On Sunday at about 9am, my friend met me at my place and we set out for our day long drive to Charlevoix.

I’ve already been a few years ago during summer vacation with my boyfriend.  We actually came across the whole area on a spontaneous desire to see where the autoroute 132 would lead and ended up with some pretty amazing scenery.  Last time we didn’t stop at a lot of viewpoints but I was fully aware of the beauty of the landscape itself.  However, an unfortunate situation with technology, aka a virus attack, wiped my computer that fall and those were the only pictures that I had not backed up yet.  Actually there was some other ones from Canyon St Anne, also in that area, but I’ve been meaning to go back to that region for a second visit and redo my pictures. So, here I am!

It takes about 4.5 hours to get to La Malbaie and a little bit less, maybe ten minutes less to come back.  Its highly feasible as our main goal is to make short stops at various viewpoints we come across and take pictures or take short visits in whatever location.

This drive would lead us for a first part of a rather uneventful drive is to get to Quebec City. Its essentially nothing much to see for 2.5 to 3 hours.  The best part is seeing cows and farms and endless straight roads surrounded by trees. However, the weather was a little gray when we left but took the turn for the better as the day went on.  That always helps 🙂

Our first stop was after crossing the Pierre Laporte Bridge in Quebec City to the autoroute next to the Montmorency Falls Park, which we drove by and then further down, we reach a beautiful church called St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary.  I was here last time as well and its just amazing.

St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary

St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary

Parking was per person so we tallied up to $4 and went off to take a walk around the area and inside the church.  There was a mass going on so I kept the pictures at a minimum and only in the other rooms and not where there was the actual mass, because thats not only against the rules but also quite disrespectful.

St anne du beaupre sanctuary

st anne du beaupre sanctuary

st anne du beaupre sanctuary

After walking around a little and my friend going to get a shooter glass for his collection for this trip, we were on our way again.

Next stop: Baie St Paul –> The beginning of the River Route

The first viewpoint is also the beginning of the River Route along with the Charlevoix tourist information centre.  I always like to visit these because then I can get a good idea for future trips, especially for the next time my boyfriend and I go hiking.  Other than beautiful scenery, the best part about Quebec is all the mountainous areas and all the hiking trails.  Its the biggest province in Canada but its not densely populated so it leaves lots of rooms to connect with nature 🙂


Viewpoint #1


Viewpoint #1

After grabbing a bunch of pamphlets and maps and seeing all these potential hiking trails, my enthusiasm came right back (probably even more than before that long morning drive felt). The scenery is breathtaking already and this is just the start.

Back in the car and on to the next viewpoint! This time, we are going uphill for a bit and buried in a mountain side looking back into the water and land.


Viewpoint #2


Viewpoint #2

After enjoying this and taking a bit of an opportunity to stretch out, while cursing at the stupid car that parked super close next to mine despite ALL the other places, especially since it was a close maneuver to get out and back onto the uphill (and pretty busy) road, I finally got out and continued along.

The next viewpoint is located in an area called Les Eboulements as in the mountains that surround it.  Its pretty much a plateau looking over the St Lawrence River and also if we went further near the coast, it would be the ferry to go over to the Iles aux Coudres, an beautiful island that you can see partially in two pictures below.

Les Eboulements Charlevoix

Viewpoint #3

Les Eboulements Charlevoix

Viewpoint #3

Les Eboulements Charlevoix

Viewpoint #3

I’ve never been to Iles aux Coudres but I plan on going one day.  It looks absolutely beautiful and there’s tons of activities to do.

After this area, the rest of the River Route starts going downhill till we eventually get to the coast running along what I believe is the St Lawrence River with a few wharfs, beaches and whatnot.  We eventually saw that where there were a few cars that pulled over.  That is our final “unofficial” viewpoint.


Viewpoint #4


Viewpoint #4

St Irenee Charlevoix

Viewpoint #4

This was a really comfortable and peaceful place to look at.  It did eventually get a little too breezy and that was when we knew it was time to head home.  At the end of this River Route along the Route 362, it merges back at La Malbaie, the final region and merges back into autoroute 138 to go back home.

The drive home was pretty intense, especially the first part going back to the Quebec City area.  I had to make a stop to freshen up with some lovely green tea.  And on we went back home pretty much afterwards.  I had stopped drinking tea for a few months already so I guess my body completely reacted (or overreacted) to the caffeine because I was wide awake for the next 4 hours and made it back right on track at around 8pm.

It sounds a bit crazy to do a day trip with that many hours to get to our destination and just taking pictures but believe me, the view in Charlevoix is part of the 1000 Places  to see before you die book.  Its soothing and breathtaking.  You could even go back via the Mountain Route, which I was supposed to do but apparently I missed the part to go in so we skipped that and just left.

Beautiful scenery, a nice escape, road trip, good company…I really couldn’t ask for more.

Have you been to Charlevoix? Which viewpoint do you like the best?