What’s Up 2020: Week 3

Week 3 of 2020 has come to an end and its been something of a weather bomb. Luckily, we didn’t lose any power so things proceeded as it should..mostly. I’m having some other issues that is somewhat hindering some writing and whatnot so its been a slower week than usual. Not to mention, the desire to sit in front of the computer has been a little less as Chinese New Year preparations started as well. Let’s see what’s going on!

READING

archie vol.6

  • Archie, Vol.6

Currently reading: Buried In My Past

After a few reading rushes, I decided to take a little break and read a graphic novel. The reboot Archie comics set like a graphic novel and with a somewhat darker story (still not quite as dark as the TV series) has been one that feels like a refreshing update to the characters, making the more modernized. There’s a lot to like about it as it is helmed by Mark Waid. Volume 6 is the last one that will be helmed by Mark Wait for these Archic comics but will be handed over to someone else for the next one. Review for this one coming up!

PLAYING

glass masquerade

Currently playing: Overcooked 2, The Pedestrian

Wrapped up the base game of Glass Masquerade on the weekend and have been debating getting the DLCs but its been kind of getting in the way of the actual gaming that I need to do to record the next Game Warp podcast. You can check out the review for Glass Masquerade as that’s already done. Its a bit short but the game isn’t too complex either.

The husband and I are still working on Overcooked 2. We usually stretch it out quite a bit as we only play on the weekends. I think we’re more than halfway done at this point. At the same time, I started up The Pedestrian which is an indie puzzle game that I had backed on Kickstarter 2 or 3 years ago which is finally getting released on January 29. As backers, we got the game in advance, which is great. I’ll be playing that and hopefully getting a review out for next week or something.

WATCHING

godzilla king of the monsters

  • Short Term 12 (2013)
  • Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes (2017)
  • Leslie Jones: Time Machine (2020)
  • Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Its been a tad stressful at work so I’ve been honestly just busy with that and not watching a ton of movies as they don’t work in companion to work as much, especially first time viewings. With that said, I like to watch/listen to stand-up comedies. I can’t say the two I chose were really my cup of tea but they had some good bits. While Short Term 12 got added into viewing list as it left Netflix Canada and that review is coming up in a double feature. Other than that, Deep Blue Sea 2 literally just got added to Netflix and of course, I had to see how bad it was. I’m not being negative but the original is one of my favorites so its best to keep the expectations low and it became as a monstrous weekend as we also caught up with Godzilla: King of the Monsters which is a kick-ass movie. It was so awesome!

BINGING

The Circle

  • The Circle (Season 1, 2019)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, Ashes of Love

The Circle’s 3 week competition finally ended. I’m working on the TV binge for it as its an interesting little social media competition to talk about, both as a structure, the contestant choices as well as the mechancis as well as the concept of this being a social experiment which all has elements to talk about. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t be opposed to another season of these. TV is fairly calm right now as I’m trying to do some wrapping up on different things and Who’s the Murderer 5 is currently ongoing so only updating an episode a week and Ashes of Love is over 60 episodes and I’m pretty much halfway and things are getting really good, so I’m focusing on that.

However, focus will be cut short when Eternal Love’s sequel, Three Lives Three Worlds: Pillow Book (also titled recently Eternal Love of Dream), starts up next week and well, Handsome Siblings got acquired by Netflix and is releasing new episodes on weekly basis. All very exciting things!!

That’s it for this What’s Up for Week 3!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 2

Week 2 of 2020 has wrapped up and its been a fairly crazy time. A lot of it got affected by the fact that we had some bad weather hit Montreal and the lovely suburbs that I lived had power outage for 16 hours or something which of course, took a toll on the whole movie watching and gaming elements along with one other issue. With that said, it still is pretty balanced of late. I’m trying to start 2020 with a nice start of not procrastinating any writing so taking things a little slower to allow more time to do the write-ups.

READING

Death in Smoke

  • Death in Smoke by Barbara Elle (Review)
  • The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen

As with any power outage, my Kindle became my best friend, especially as the cell towers seemed to also be affected. I was able to catch up on some reading and finished up The Weighing of the Heart which will be reviewed in a blog tour coming up very soon. Both of these books that I finished was pretty good. I’d have to say that The Weighing of the Heart was good because of the Egyptian mythology angle as well as a quick concise story that helped keep the pacing really good.

PLAYING

color pieceout

Currently playing: Color Pieceout, Overcooked 2 (co-op mode)

I’ve been playing Color Pieceout for a while already but never really quite talked about it because its a mobile game. Mobile Game Roundups are hitting a little stand still over at Game Warp Blog which is mostly a writer’s block for specifically game reviews. Its coming up soon but I just need to get back into the groove of things. However, Color Pieceout is a fun little game. Its free and uses coins collected during the puzzles to unlock things which makes in-app purchases unnecessary. Its animation is similar to Professor Layton and blends Match-3 puzzles with mystery cases. So much fun!

WATCHING

brokeback mountain

  • Brokeback Mountain (2007)
  • Mamma Mia! (2008 rewatch, Review)
  • Sinister (2012)
  • The Marshes (2017)

I’m not going to lie that I started a few movies but just fell asleep so I’m not adding it in like Robocop, The Raid 2 and some other one that I can’t remember right now. However, these few are those that I did finish. We are getting back into horror, not that I took that big of a break from it in the first place. The highlight of this week goes to Brokeback Mountain which is part of the Movies and Tea season. Why it gets the highlight is simply because it surprised me how much I liked it. It shouldn’t because its Oscar fodder and it comes with its talent but I liked it a lot more than I expected that I would. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Sinister which was a pretty tight fight between the one to highlight. Sinister did a lot of things right and had a sequence that I absolutely loved and had some clever twists to the story.

BINGING

all i want for love is you

  • All I Want For Love Is You (2019)

Currently binging: The Circle, Who’s The Murderer 5, Ashes of Love

I took an unexpected turn and started watching All I Want For Love Is You, which wasn’t part of my list anywhere and just popped up on my feed and I was like, “Sure. Why not?” It turned out to be pretty fun overall. It had the whole teenage high school romance that went into university. There were some silly moments but it had some SERIOUS pacing issues. I’ll be getting the post done for this one and will talk more about it then. One the other hand, The Circle has one more week of their event to go before it ends. I honestly can’t wait to talk about it since there’s a lot to discuss about that and it’ll depend on how the final few episodes go. While I’ve started a new series via Netflix called Ashes of Love which was a big deal the year that it was released. I literally just started the first few episodes so hard to say how I feel about it so far.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

Wine Recap: December 2019

Welcome to the last wine recap covering December 2019 (at least for the foreseeable future of 2020). Wine recaps are fun but we’re moving on to other things. There’s more than enough to flip through over the almost 2 years of doing this segment. I will try to share it over on Instagram to boost up some content on that platform. 😉 December was holiday season so we might have tried out a few wines and such.

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay 2018

Casillero del Diablo

Producer: Concha y Toro
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Location: Chile
Taste Tag: Aromatic and Mellow

The beginning of December is a little blurry now. I remember this wine being a little on the dry side. Perhaps in the semi-dry territory but it did match the aromatic and mellow taste tag. There’s still subtle notes to it that does give it layers and actually gives the wine some depth (if you know what I mean). Its actually the first time that we’ve tried Chilean wine so its definitely a decent experience.

Brickworks Ciderhouse Burgundy Effect

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Producer: Trilium Beverage Inc.
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Medium-Sweet & Fruity

Big fan of blackcurrants here! Huge fan in fact! If anyone has had Ribena, that’s one of my absolute favorite juices out there. Kir is also one of those liqueurs that also appeal to me quite a bit. Saying all that, The Burgundy Effect is a blackcurrant apple cider which is pretty alright. Brickhouse does the Queen Street 501 the best in my opinion and then its the Batch: 1904 before it comes to this one. Its not quite as sweet as their apple cider selection but for those who are seeking a little kick and still getting the fruity with decent berry taste, this one definitely does the trick. Plus, the blackcurrant-apple cider is a pretty unique blend.

Grand Frisson de Glace Recolte 2017

grand frisson de glace recolte 2017

Producer: Chateau Taillefer-Lafon
Alcohol Content: 7%
Location: Quebec
Taste Tag: N/A

Costco purchase right here plus it was on sale. So I got this one for $10 or something. Crazy stuff because most Recolte varieties are actually quite pricey. Grand Frisson de Glace might be one that I’ve tried a few years back but don’t remember anymore (or it could be another one). This one is alright. It has a decent balance between acidity and sweetness. Its not my favorite but I don’t dislike it either. For the price and the accessibility, its definitely a decent choice.

Val Caudelies

Val Caudalies

This one is part of the Battle of Ingredients so I’ll send you over there to read about it right HERE.

That’s it for this Wine Recap!
I can’t emphasize how much I enjoy everyone that has dropped by to check out these posts! I’m not a professional wine reviewer and its more just a very basic feeling on wine appreciation using my own preferences. 

It was a pretty calm month in general and to kick off January wines as a start off point for everyone to find me on Instagram. Here’s the post on the Blue Nun 24K Gold Edition.

 

 

 

 

Battle of Ingredients #16: New Year’s Eve Hotpot

Welcome to Battle of Ingredients hosted by myself and Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road. As usual, we had our New Year’s Eve shindig. Just like last year, we decided to have a chinese fondue aka Hotpot. There’s not a whole lot of new things to share this time but its procedure to share a little of what we’ve been doing, even if its just sharing with you hotpot which is a really fun time to spend with friends and family, cooking and catching up.

Drinks

Val Caudalies

Kicking off the New Year’s Eve, our friends brought us Val Caudalies to try. The first was an ice wine of sorts which was pretty decent. It had lovely sweet notes that pleased everyone’s taste buds. The second was a vermouth which we tried to drink on its own and did taste pretty good but mostly mixed with soda (CocaCola, Ginger Ale) and then ended up trying some simple syrups that I had inherited from one of my friends when she moved (see below).

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The Hotpot & Table of Food

Hotpot

Here’s the table spread of all the food (except two things which we opened afterwards).

Phoebe took care of vegetables and such:

  • Nappa Cabbage
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Watercress
  • Coriander
  • 3 types of mushrooms: Enoki, Oyster, Shimeji
  • Winter Melon
  • Tofu

I took care of the meat and other things:

  • Udon Noodles
  • Marinated Sliced Chicken Thighs (garlic, ginger, salt)
  • Store-bought sliced beef
  • Homemade pork dumplings (Filling: Minced pork, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper)
  • Store-bought fish pancakes, cuttlefish balls, beef balls (not shown above)

Hotpot

With all that, we were ready for a feast! Hotpot is pretty much the concept of fondue so we all through things in gradually. We have a two sided pot. One side started out with boiled hot water and the other was with chicken broth diluted with water. Water is the key element here and needs to always have some extra boiled water on hand to fill it up whenever needed to keep things going. We did it in phases of tossing a ton of stuff we wanted in and then covering it until it boiled, eating all of it and then on to the next round, so on so forth. It was a pretty decent system and gave us time to sit down to chat and mix drinks and whatever in between waiting.

Dessert

So I’m not going to lie that at this point, I didn’t remember to take pictures as food coma was kind of in the midst of all this. My mom joined our little shindig and brought us a banana cake (which saved me from some baking), which I forgot to take a picture of because for me, its a normal thing.

Aside from bringing alcohol, my friend also brought an apple crumble which I also forgot to take a picture of.

One of the fun little things is that Phoebe found a little Japanese gummy making set for her little one to do under adult supervision and here were the results:

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Some of us had a taste of it but I’m not sure it actually tasted that good. It was more of a fun little experience as a group rather than it being really meant to be eaten as I think the main consensus was the texture wasn’t too good and it was really sweet. Phoebe can weigh in on it in the comments as I believe she did taste it.

That’s it for this Battle of Ingredients!
It was a great way to ring in 2020 as we ended the evening as usual with more chatting and video games.

What’s Up 2020: Week 1: The Start of a Decade!

2020 is finally here! As with a new year, I’ve spiced up the What’s Up banner for this year, giving it a little more depth.

The last few days of 2019 and the first few days of 2020 brought a lot of resting time and hang out with friends and such. With that, there is still some down time to get some little things done here and there. As with the beginning of the year, I do urge you to go check out last week’s announcement of 2020 plans for Tranquil Dreams in case you missed it. You can find it HERE.

READING

Death in Smoke

Currently reading: Death in Smoke

With a blog tour literally around the corner, I’m incredibly behind in reading and have been trying to catch up like a crazy person. A lot of this has to do with this Week 1 being all partying and not too much commuting so even less time to sit down and read. I’m working on getting myself a reading nook of sorts at home so that I can be away from any other distractions. However, standing at around the 30% mark as I write this weekly recap and only a mere few days that the review needs to go up, we’re looking at reading at every free moment that I have. Luckily, Death in Smoke is not too long and its been a decent read so far.

PLAYING

The Room Three

  • The Room Three (2015)

Next up: Life is Strange 2
Still playing: Undercooked 2

I love playing The Room series games. I’ve previously played the first and second game and honestly had bought The Room Three on Android and then just didn’t find the same motivation to play it until it landed on PC. Something about these games make them so great to just sit down during the holidays to play. The puzzles are definitely elevated again with so many different layers and different rooms to work with. I only finished one ending but apparently that unlocks other endings (4 endings in total) so I may go back to check it out more. In the meantime, I’m workingont he review that will go up on Game Warp blog soon (hopefully).

WATCHING

Turbo Kid

  • Geostorm (2017)
  • Turbo Kid (2015)
  • Hell Night (1981)
  • Summer of ’84 (2018 rewatch, Review)
  • The Big Sick (2017)

The husband got to do all the movie watching choices this week or the majority of it at least. I only ended up watching The Big Sick on my own as the rental was about to expire. Luckily, he picked some good ones. A lot of death and apocalypse to ring in the New Year’s for ourselves in terms of movie choices as Geostorm is a disaster film and a rather meh one then Turbo Kid is set in the future of the world as a wasteland and then an 80s slasher and then I ended up rewatching Summer of ’84 as the husband wanted to watch it after he loved Turbo Kid. I mean, its an obvious standout this week which came between Turbo Kid and The Big Sick, which both were pretty good.

BINGING

Eternal Love

  • Eternal Love (2017)

Currently watching: Who’s The Murderer 5, The Circle

Finally finished binging the entire 58 episodes of Eternal Love also known as Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. In fact, I actually didn’t really feel like I was connecting with a lot of the characters until it hit me in the most subtle and crazy way in the last two episodes when something happened and I bawled my eyes out non-stop for 30 minutes or something. Good job, Eternal Love, good job. That’s all I have to say as I’m already working on the TV binge. The sequel is coming out sometime in Janaury so I”ll be watching that, of course especially since, the sequel follows the secondary couple here as the main couple who I loved a lot, probably more than the main two.

I guess, I should mention it that I started watching the 3 week event on Netflix called The Circle. I’m not quite sure what to make of it right now. Its supposed to be a social experiment and while I get what they are trying to do, I’m not quite sure if the purpose is well delivered with the event. I’m going to need to think about that one after I watch the next two weeks.

That’s it for this Week 1 of What’s Up 2020!
Its a new year and a new banner look!
What have you been kicking off the year reading/watching/playing/binging?

 

Happy New Year: 2019 in Review!

2019 is finally wrapped up. It was an overall okay year. Some good, some bad, some average stuff happened. I made some decisions about personal changes in habits and other general life things that I want to do in 2020 for my own sanity and sake. However, we’re all about being positive here and the blog has definitely kept me through a lot of that even if its been so long and some months are much busier than I expect.

Before I get to housekeeping the blog and 2020 plans (coming up in a later post), which should last a good few days, its time to take a moment to reflect on the blog going-ons in 2019 and take a quick look at some stats, faves, and of course successes.

2019 in Review

2019 was something of a crazy year! I covered a few film festivals: some first time ones and then watched a reviewed a ton of movies. The views had some incredibly huge growths and then also had some very low days. At so many years on, stats really is just a number but does make me wonder what makes it grow sometimes. A look at some general stats without digging too deep.

  • Total views: 57,244 (decrease from the previous year but then 2018 was the best year in blogging for me)
  • Top 5 countries reading
    • United States
    • India
    • Hong Kong SAR
    • Canada
    • United Kingdom
  • Top 5 posts written in 2019
    • TV Binge: Rush to the Dead Summer
    • TV Binge: Who’s The Murderer (Season 4)
    • TV Binge: The Inn 2 (Season 2)
    • Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles
    • Announcement: Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

Definitely some interesting stats as I never realized that my TV Binges, especially for Chinese dramas and variety shows did so well. I’m just wondering who is reading them as they are definitely a slow accumulation over time. I do those mostly for my own enjoyment and not thinking that many people will read it.

2019 also has some other challenges and overviews in films and Goodreads Reading Challenges.

Goodreads Reading Challenge

  • Goodreads Reading Challenge was increased from the beginning of the year halfway, which resulted in my failing to reach the goal. I did log a book collection which was 4 books considered as 1 read. Technically I reached the goal, right? The total books read was 27 books! According to the My Year in Books 2019 from Goodreads.
    • I read 7024 pages over 27 books
    • Shortest book: The Princess and the Peacock
    • Longest book: Obsidio
    • My favorite books read in 2019 (not necessarily 2019 releases)
      • A Series of Unfortunately Events Collection: Book 10-13
      • The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: The Ava Lee Prequel
      • Obsidio
      • Always and Forever, Lara Jean
      • Hope
      • Proximity

In the reading department, I actually skewed away from a lot of what I had intended on reading at the beginning of the year probably when I did the 2019 plans. However, I did discover quite a few good reads and caught up with some reads sitting around that was way overdue.

Movies & Letterboxd

While Letterboxd’s Year in Review hasn’t come out yet, I’m going to start a little look over with the help of its stats to see how the movie watching thing was. Do note that my viewings were bloated by short film viewings but also lost some of the films that were premieres at film festivals and wasn’t listed yet but most likely forgot to go back and add them back later on.

  • Total movies watched: 249
  • Out of 249:
    • 80 films were from 2019
    • 5 Netflix Stand-up Comedy Specials
    • 3 Theatre viewings
    • 29 short films
    • 42 rewatches (including Harry Potter franchise, Evil Dead franchise)
  • Favorite 2019 movies (in no particular order – not surprisingly all festival viewings)
    • White Snake
    • Daniel Isn’t Real
    • Dead Dicks
    • Riot Girls
    • Paradise Hills
  • Favorite non-2019 movies (in no particular order)
    • Snowpiercer
    • Us and Them
    • The Hate U Give
    • Murder on the Orient Express
    • Anna and the Apocalypse

TV Binging in Review

Last thing to look at before we wrap up this much longer than expected post (causing me to change the original structure) – TV! Suffice to say that I watched a lot of Chinese dramas and variety shows. Much more than the English stuff. Its been a nice change in pace overall and there’s some really nice Chinese dramas out there, which are also getting acquired by Netflix or released as Netflix series. As I’m a ton of TV binges behind, this is where the What’s Up segment is going to help a ton in compiling this portion (although I have a clear idea of my faves already).

Top 5 TV Seasons of 2019

  • Le Coup de Foudre
  • Go Go Squid!
  • The King’s Avatar
  • River Flows To You
  • Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Honorable Mention: Love, Death + Robots; Umbrella Academy; The Brightest Star in the Sky

Overall, 2019 was a pretty decent year. I had some nice little fun successes like getting a few festival media accreditation and some rather fun little screener links offered for review. Its been rather busy starting from Montreal Comiccon in July then jumping straight to Fantasia International Film Festival, followed by a first time accreditation for Toronto After Dark Film Festival covering short films, then went on to a first time press pass for Festival du Nouveau Cinema and then finally a remote coverage for Blood in the Snow Film Festival. There was a lot of fun little movie discoveries as well as an appreciation for short films. A lot of originally planned things (from what I remembered) wasn’t all that achieved but at the same time, it went relatively smoothly.

That’s it for this 2019 in Review!
We’ll be planning out 2020 later today (or maybe tomorrow).

What’s Up 2019: Week 52

Its time for the last weekly What’s Up recap for 2019! We’ve been doing this officially in this new format for a year and its one of the segments that I truly do enjoy writing about. It not only helps me track whats going on but also let’s me remember things that I’m doing that I might have forgotten over the week..trust me, it happens.

Suffice to say with the final week ending in December included a lot of holidays…its not quite as eventful in a lot of the categories but here it is!~

READING

legends of the exiles

Currently reading: Legends of the Exiles

I tried to finish Legends of the Exiles but it just didn’t happen. I will finish it sooner rather than later but my assumption will be that other books with set dates of reviews to write might precede it. We’re reaching something that I’m not quite too fond of at the moment and its lost my motivation in reading it just for a second but I’m going to tough through it in hopes that maybe its just that moment. Its more of a pet peeve than anything.

PLAYING

overcooked 2

Currently playing: Overcooked 2

Boxing Day brought us Overcooked 2 which is fantastic because its one of the few coop games that the husband and I truly love to play together. Its currently in progress as we work through the different cooking challenges to help the Onion King fend off the UnBread. Who would have thought those words would be in a sentence, right? Its still as fun as the first one even though we are still fairly early and it still feels quite the same except with some little twists and one new mechanic (as of now).

WATCHING

Snowpiercer

  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol (rewatch, Review)
  • A Garfield Christmas Special (rewatch, Review)
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas (rewatch, Review)
  • A Wish for Wings That Work (rewatch, Review)
  • The Princess Switch (rewatch, Review)
  • Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987, Review)
  • Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019, Review)
  • Pet Sematary (2019)
  • Mean Girls 2 (2011)
  • Snowpiercer (2013)

You can tell this week overlapped Christmas as I spent Christmas morning watching all my fave Christmas specials and even snuck in The Princess Switch which is still as enjoyable as when I saw it last year and then may have figured out what next year’s sequel will be like because in this world of Netflix, I was confused about something before. We will see if I guessed right when the holiday comes by next year.

Other than that, I ended up catching up on a few 2019 movies and other 2010s movies. While Pokemon Detective Pikachu was a ton of fun, there is really no arguing that Snowpiercer is a fantastic movie that I shouldn’t have put off watching for so long because that was so awesome. Review coming up…

BINGING

brightest star in the sky

  • The Brightest Star in the Sky (2019, Review)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, Eternal Love

The shortest list ever for TV binging this year, I think as I wrap up the year. I wrapped up The Brightest Star in the Sky and even wrote the TV binge, which is great but it is kind of a repeat viewing on my part but remains as good as the first time and probably better. Who’s the Murderer 5 is still going on and I’m still loving it. As for new TV binges right now, its Eternal Love that was a big deal in 2017 when I first started watching Chinese dramas and the sequel is coming up this year at some point so I wanted to catch up with it. It is on Netflix Canada so it makes it so much easier to watch.

That’s it for this What’s Up 2019! 
We will be moving to What’s Up 2020 next week!
With this weekly recap wrapped up, the 2019 overview and 2020 plans and (slight) changes will be up later today!