Wine Recap – December 2018

Wine Recap

Welcome to the wrap-up for 2018’s December wine recap. Its one of the final wrap-ups of this year. I’ll do a little wrap-up at the bottom for my fave wine of the year and the one that was disappointing for us (as it should stand-out). Without further ado, December is a gathering month and holidays and our health is slowing climbing back to par so we had a few other drinks to relax and enjoy.

Here it is!

Petit & Fils Sparkling Rosé Cider

Petit & Fils Sparkling Wine

Producer: Petit & Fils Cidrerie
Alcohol Content: 6.5%
Location: Quebec

If I remember correctly, we picked this one up at Costco. Its pretty light and more on the semi-dry area in taste. We liked it okay. I can’t say that it left a very memorable sort of feeling. It wasn’t quite on our palette but it also wasn’t a hard one to drink. Plus, if it remember correctly, the price was fairly reasonable.

Note to self: Should really make a note of the price and where I bought it for 2019 recaps.

Bulles de Nuit Sparkling Pinot Grigio

bulles de nuit

Producer: Bulles de Nuit
Alcohol Content: 6.9%
Location: Quebec

I’ve been a big fan of these Bulles de Nuit collection of sparkling wines. I like the Rose a lot and enjoy the normal one but surprisingly, this pinot grigio one is quite fantastic. I’m not usually a fan of pinot grigio because it tends to be on the sour and dry side of the spectrum but this one is really good. I would consider this one almost better than their Rosé one and I like that one a ton.

Bow & Arrow Cider

Bow & Arrow Cider

Producer: Groupe Geloso
Alcohol Content: 4.5%
Location: Quebec

I’m a big fan of these type of ciders. This one is made in Quebec. I got it for its cute can. I won’t lie about it. However, this was super delicious. Its light and fruity. The way I like my ciders. It doesn’t feel dry and is very pleasant overall experience. I’d definitely get this one again.

Blanche Jasmine Ginseng De-Glutenized Beer

Gluten-Free Beer

Producer: Brasseurs du Monde
Alcohol Content: 4.9%
Location: Quebec

I’ve pretty much given up beer since 10 years ago mostly because when it comes to gluten-sensitivity, nothing hits me as hard as beer does. Its not a huge loss since I was never a big fan of beer anyways. The taste just never quite worked for me. We’ve been trying to lower gluten in our diet a little bit and since my husband liked the deglutenized beers that we had bought before but I never covered here, we’ve been giving that a go until they don’t sell it anymore, I guess. If you think my wine terminology is bad, wait until you see my beer terminology. This White Jasmine Ginseng Beer actually is pretty tasty for a beer. I have to say that it does quite please my palette. I’ve only taken sips of the other 3 flavors so I will share that when I actually have a glass of it.

Albert Bichot 2016 Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes

Alex Bichot Chardonnay

Producer: Alex Bichot
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Location: Bourgogne, France
Taste Tag: Aromatic & Mellow

An actual wine, everyone! We had this at my friend’s place for the holiday gathering. I have to admit that French wines are usually a hit and miss for myself. I think it depends on the region and the variety. This one was a bit too dry for my taste. It had a very sour finish and was pretty tough to drink overall.

Moving on to the picks of this year…

My Picks of 2018

Banrock Moscato 2016
Queen Street 501 Cider
Frisky Beaver VQA 2015
Somersby Red Rhubarb Cider
J.P. Chenet Ice Edition

Surprise: Rodney Strong Chardonnay

This wraps up the December 2018 Wine Recap as well as my picks of the year!
Did you try any new wines (or alcoholic beverages) lately? What was your fave of the year?

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What’s Up 2019: Week 1 A Good Start

Welcome to the What’s Up 2019 for the first week of the new year. I know that I said that I’d do some more videos for it and I’m not lying about it except I currently am fighting a cold so its not exactly pretty to film under these circumstances. I have been pondering turning this into a quick podcast format so that I don’t have to edit video so much as also having an audio version for it. More and more ideas..just not sure what would work best.

Bear with me as I get out of this unwell phase and hopefully next week, I’ll get things back on track!

READING

the penultimate peril

  • The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11)

Currently reading: The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12)

I’m still working through the 4 book pack to wrap up A Series of Unfortunate Events currently. I’m getting one of the books done every week. To be honest, I’ve been kind of tired so I only read on the bus which also is when I sometimes take a nap (its not good to nap on the bus so I try to refrain). However, its still moving along quite nicely. I did want to read the book and watch the matching episode and as you will soon see, that didn’t go as planned.

PLAYING

Bound Game

  • Bound
  • What Never Was (official release on Jan 11/2019)

Currently playing: not decided yet…

Its been a pretty good gaming week. I finished up Bound this week which uses dancing with a platforming sort of narrative story. Its a beautiful game with some beautiful music and hints of a lot of my gaming faves however, there is something that I find seems to take away from the game. Aside from that, I tried out an upcoming free game called What Never Was that will be released on January 11th. Its an exploration puzzle game that takes less than an hour to finish. I’ll have the review this coming up very soon.

WATCHING

a quiet place

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (rewatch)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (rewatch)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (rewatch)
  • A Quiet Place
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (rewatch)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (rewatch)

This weekend, we wrapped up rewatching the Harry Potter franchise. It is nice to see that it still holds up and we had a lot of fun watching it. I haven’t reviewed any of them on the blog before so I’ll be getting that up either as a huge post or maybe individually, we’ll see how I feel about it. However, A Quiet Place also ended up on the roster, pretty much a year after its theatrical release and it was one that I was really anticipating in 2018 but decided against going to see it in theatres because other moviegoers could easily ruin the experience. I regret not seeing it earlier but liked it a lot. I didn’t love it because there’s one element in the story that I thought felt a bit forced and I’ll talk about that in the upcoming review.

BINGING

a series of unfortunate events

  • The Inn (Season 2)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 3)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer S4, Meteor Garden 2018, My Amazing Boyfriend, My Little One S2

The Inn finally wrapped up Season 2 on Friday. It was a sad thing to see leave. It had so many great messages wrapped in that one little show and was such a genuine sort of reality show that I got pretty connected with the celebrities involved. It seems Season 3 should be a go so I’m hoping that it’ll be coming back later this year or next year or something. January 1st also kicked off the final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix which I was super excited to see but as you saw before didn’t manage to finish the books but still went ahead and finished the series. Its one of those shows that every season is better than the one before in my opinion. TV binge for both of these coming up soon.

As for some new shows that went on, one is a new reality show which is a girl version of My Little One that was aired last year. Other than that, I started watching My Amazing Boyfriend which as Janice Wu from An Oriental Odyssey. This is from 2016 so its more in line with a binge.

This wraps up the first week!
Some old and some new! Somethings got wrapped up as well!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

Battle of Ingredients: New Year’s Eve Hot Pot

BATTLE OF INGREDIENTS

It seems we do about 6 Battles a year looking at things to land on our 12th session for NYE Hot Pot in our second year of Battle of Ingredients. We are definitely getting more organized, I can tell you that much. Most of the time, things don’t happen because we are busy with one thing or another with life. 2018 wrapped up in style with ourselves doing a New Year’s Eve Hot Pot session. There isn’t really much to talk about usually but here’s a little sharing on the stuff I put together and other vegetables and noodles we used.

Wines

Wines

We actually only got to drinking the J.P. Chenet Rose Sparkling Wine. It was a nice match for the meal. We mixed up some drinks for the rest of the evening with some people spiking their soda with tequila or Rum and Coke and myself, I had some Cranberry Ginger Ale spiked with Irish Whiskey or Apricot Brandy.

Hot Pot

Hot Pot

Our division of tasks for this battle of ingredients were Phoebe with the vegetables, fruits and other things necessary like noodles and she prepared a soup base (which we didn’t end up using because of technical difficulties she is still thinking about).

Hot Pot

She brought:

  • Bok Choy
  • Chinese Broccoli
  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Udon Noodles
  • Konnyaku Noodles
  • Egg Tofu
  • Apples and Oranges

I took care of meats and dessert. I forgot to take a picture of everything so forgive the incomplete bits.

Dumplings Pork Balls

  • Pork Balls (Homemade with minced lean ground pork and garlic seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • Dumplings (Homemade with the same as the previous and store-bought wonton wrappers)
  • Sliced Chicken breast seasoned with sesame oil, salt and pepper
  • Store bought Frozen fondue beef slices
  • Fish Tofu (from my mom)

Pumpkin Cookies

As for dessert, I had some dough left from the previous potluck so made some more Pumpkin Cookies.

Also bought:

  • Marshmallows
  • Lindt Dark Chocolate
    • 70% Madagascar
    • Swiss Dark

For soup bases, we had a divided pot borrowed from my mom. One side was with water and all the flavoring was from the ingredients added in while the other part was diluted Chicken Broth.

The hot pot went really well. Phoebe and I did most of the cooking and allocated food to everyone around the table. There’s always the worry of not having enough food and it all worked out. We even had leftovers. Definitely something to consider for the winter months to do as it makes it a lot simpler and actually quite nice to explore what ingredients to use and soup bases to make and such. It is an idea that we can discuss further to change things up just like how we slot in BBQ during the summer.

What’s Up #16

Whats Up

A slight miscalculation on my part that these weekly What’s Up is always a few days after the week ends for the previous week. That means that there is one more week of What’s up for 2018. Reason to be this accurate is just because I’m trying to change the titling and how to do that for 2019. Either way, its been a few more days than normal off from work, which means that I did spend more time doing stuff.

Let’s see what I’ve been up to!

READING

grim grotto

  • The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10)

Currently Reading: The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11)

Chugging right along with A Series of Unfortunate Events, I finished The Slippery Slope and moved along to The Grim Grotto. The holidays took away a lot of reading time that I usually would have on public transport to and from work. Its not a bad thing per se but I had wanted to get further with the reading before starting up A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, which as this posts goes up has just been updated with the final season.

PLAYING

Bound Game

Currently playing: Bound

I didn’t finish any games this past week. I’ve been playing mobile games  mostly to get better ideas on wrapping up the Mobile Games Round-up for December that just went live at the end of the month. However, for consoles, I’ve only been focusing on Bound, which I’m about two chapters away from being done. Its a pretty good experience although what drew me in the first place is starting to feel like a gimmick.

WATCHING

devil's backbone

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
  • The Christmas Chronicles – rewatch (review)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • The Devil’s Backbone
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Overlapping Christmas usually means a lot of Christmas movie. However, this year we wanted something a little different so decided to watch the Harry Potter franchise. We got through quite a few of them. I also go to watch The Devil’s Backbone for Movies and Tea Podcast, a movie that I’ve always been recommended to watch since forever. I definitely regret not seeing it sooner because it is pretty awesome.

BINGING

The Inn

Currently binging:

  • The Inn (Season 2) – one more episode until it ends
  • Who’s the Murderer (Season 4) – ongoing
  • Meteor Garden (2018) – rewatch
  • An Oriental Odyssey (2018) – rewatch

I’ve been spending a lot of time rewatching Meteor Garden primarily. I want to work on the video or analysis piece that I talked about back in August when I was watching this series the first time. Lots planned for the new Chinese focused content so we’ll see where we go from there. On that note, The Inn only has one more episode left so I’m feeling kind of sad already in anticipation while I believe Who’s the Murderer might be wrapping up soon also.

This wraps up this What’s Up!
We officially wrap up the What’s Up for 2018 and we’ll have a fresh start next week.

Overview of 2018 & What’s Happening in 2019!

Welcome to the annual overview post. I didn’t get a chance to get to it yesterday so I’m doing a quick one with the look forward to 2019. We could do two posts but I’m honestly not really in the mood to overload anyone with these posts. Its more of a reminder of what I’ve achieved in 2018 and new or adjusted plans to work with for 2019!

OVERVIEW OF 2018

2018 was a rough year in general. I had some PC issues in the beginning of the year which caused a whole lot of crazy as I had to get another PC built which put a lot of stuff behind. We had some other personal issues that caused a lot of worries and issues. However, 2018 is over now and as I look back, there were some really nice achievements and that is what matters. I started Tranquil Dreams to focus on the positives in the first place so that is what we’re going to do right now.

How about some stats to start? I haven’t done those in a while, it feels like at least.

Total Posts in 2018: 374 posts
Total Views: 69,450
Top 5 Countries: USA, India, Canada, UK & Hong Kong SAR
Top 5 posts published in 2018

And then for some achievements:

  • Goodreads Challenge – 30 Books
  • Fantasia Festival coverage of 20 films
  • Festival du Nouveau Cinema coverage of 9 films
  • Blood in the Snow Festival – remote coverage of 8 films
  • Montreal Comiccon coverage for Game Warp Podcast
  • Ultimate Decades Blogathon co-hosted with Drew’s Movie Reviews
  • Started up and co-host Movies and Tea Podcast with Elwood
  • Set Up the Facebook page for Tranquil Dreams
  • What’s Up segment on Youtube
  • Set Up a Weibo social media account

What to Expect in 2019!

2019 is here! A lot was done last year when I look back so I’m hoping to keep up and polish some social media skills and hopefully promote the blog a little better. Its all about working on the content right now. A lot of my issues this past year when I look back is procrastination and that sprouted from lack of organization or following through with tentative schedules and just not having the motivation from all the garbage that life threw at me. Then I added on a few segments as well (probably should of mentioned in the above section).

Resolutions: Less Procrastination (because none would be impossible) & Better Organization

BOOKS

  • Goodreads Challenge: 40 Books (might increase to 50 depending on what happens)
  • More focus on Graphic Novels and Comics
  • Getting back to reading Classics
  • Other TBR books that I own, outstanding book requests and blog tours

MOVIES & TV

  • What stays the same: Most movies and TV from Netflix and rentals and Web series on Youtube as well as film festival coverages
  • Adding in focus on Chinese language Asian movies and TV series (could be China, Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan, Singapore)

FOOD & DINING

  • Battle of Ingredients, Goodfood recap, Food Festivals and Restaurants
  • Baking Through Disney revival (whether its Disney reviews and conceptualizing baking projects)

WEEKLY/MONTHLY SEGMENTS

  • Music Obsessions (first weekend of each month)
  • Wine Recap (10th of each month)
  • Weekly Adventures (15th and 30/31 of each month)
  • What’s Up (everyday Wednesday – possibly back to video format)
  • Sunday Lists (biweekly to monthly frequency)

The main shift this year is the focus on Chinese language Movies, TV and possibly books since I’ve been meaning to get back to some Chinese reading. I’ve felt like a part of what started off a lot of my interests in the first place so when I moved into blogging and gave up a lot of it, its been always something that I’ve been trying to get back to. Its a risky move because no one really reads those posts but this space is about my interests and I do want to share those interests with you especially since a lot of it is now moved to more modern platforms like Netflix and Youtube having access.

Other than that, after some thought, I’m also heading back to more food-oriented content. It might be a slow start but I have changed my approach on the Baking Through Disney project and will start on reviewing Disney films while figuring out how to approach the design for baking. That way the project doesn’t get held up and ends up falling apart again.

As for What’s Up, as I’ve mentioned before, will end up going back to a video and written format. Both formats are fun to do so depending on time, I will work on trying to have both of them  paired up.

Its kind of long but quite a bit of the same going on!
A lot of the repeat for those new to the blog to see where you can navigate.

My Weekly Adventures: Holiday Celebrations

weekly adventures

The last Weekly Adventures of this year everyone!

It is going to be a really happy one full of holiday celebrations and food and family. Its hard to imagine that its New Year’s Eve and I’m sure not a ton of you are sitting around looking at blogs but still, I’m keeping to my normal routine to share this. I have something to get done hopefully today as well if New Year’s Eve cleaning and dinner party prep doesn’t take up too much of my time.

Winter Solstice Festival

Dinner

Winter Solstice Festival was celebrated a day later so it was just the day before our Christmas Eve gathering meaning that we had a few days of lots of eating. This festival is more of a Chinese celebration between family. My mom made some turkey and as usual made more food than the amount of people since she also invited one of her friends as well. It was delicious and fun. My husband was occupied with watching NFL football match while I chatted with my mom and her friend. It was really nice.

Christmas Eve Family Gathering

Our annual Christmas Eve gathering was at my in-laws this year. The whole taking turns to celebrate is a pretty nice. Everyone showed up as well as some close family friends and their loved ones. Its always a fun time to see everyone and just have a good laugh, eat lots of food and do some gift exchange. The adults are usually just simple little things so we actually brought a bunch of stuff that I had bought from the haul in the previous weekly adventures and did a little pick your prize style so everyone got to just close their eyes and put their hands in the big christmas bag and see what they got. It saves me the trouble from figuring who wants what and they have a little surprise element. I just hope that everyone liked their little sweets.

Friends Holiday Gathering

I forgot to take a picture of the food at this gathering. However, this is part of what I brought. I also brought dessert, pumpkin cookies. (recipe HERE). My meal though was finally putting the many goodfood boxes to use and added my own little twist from something I had learned from those recipes in their one pan recipe. This had squash, brussel sprouts, nantes carrots and chicken thighs and some garlic. Lots of fun with my girl friends and their other halves. This year did make our gatherings less frequent than previous years so we have agreed to try and make things happen more frequently in 2019.

Game Warp Podcast – Year in Review 2018 (plus new audio format)

Gatherings and family is a big deal but in between all that, I did manage to get our big year end episode for Game Warp edited. These episodes are usually mammoth tasks so I did procrastinate a little and pulled two evenings of working hard and got this one done. Hopefully you have time to check it out and enjoy. On better news, Year in Review 2018 is also available audio on Himalaya FM now. I can’t figure out how to embed the player but you can find it HERE. I’m still exploring this Himalaya thing so hopefully things will get better.

Cute Kitty Pic

Kitty Cat

This wraps up the last 2018 Weekly Adventures!
Hopefully I’ll be back with an overview of 2018, if not, I’ll talk about 2019 plans tomorrow.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVE CELEBRATIONS!
(and Happy New Year if you already have past midnight)

What’s Up #15

What’s Up hasn’t been around for too long and it has its rough patch but we are at the last What’s Up for 2018. Next year, the structure will have its own polish and I’ll talk about it later on. I still have a few little decisions to make about it to work out.

Let’s just get started!

READING

  • A Kiss For Christmas by Melody Grace (review)

Currently reading: The Slippery Slope ( A Series of Unfortunate Events #10)

You can just read the review for A Kiss For Christmas. The only thing I have to add if you didn’t read the review is that I am done with contemporary romance for a bit (like at least a year if not more). However, moving on to better things, I am back to reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and moving on to Book 10 to get ready for Season 3 which launches on January 1st. Excitement is an understatement. Plus, these books are thoroughly entertaining and amusing.

PLAYING

unravel 2

  • Unravel 2

Currently playing: Bound

Its the holidays. I have a whacky and rather out of the ordinary busy work schedule this week but the husband and I recently picked up Unravel 2 (which I’ll talk about as pre-boxing day deals in an upcoming post) so we got to playing that this weekend. Its short but the coop aspect is super fun. We are still working on the challenges which are pretty challenging ( as expected). Review for that in the new year while I edit all the playthrough for the channel. January is going to be busy so editing overtime to get things sorted out in advance. Still one more Game Warp podcast in editing right now and should release soon. In the meantime, you can also go and check out our latest podcast sharing our Top 10 Games Played in 2018.

WATCHING

  • Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable
  • Dreamworks Home: For the Holidays (review)
  • Trolls Holiday (review)
  • Christmas Wedding Planner (review)

I am a huge Ellen DeGeneres fan. I love watching The Ellen Show snippets online. It goes without saying that I had my eyes on Relatable launching on Netflix and started it up the day it released. It is a pretty fun time. I like Ellen’s humor for the most part. A few bits didn’t land quite as effectively but it is still a fun time with lots of laughs.

As for Christmas marathon, which is officially over as this goes up, its Trolls Holiday that brought a lot of musical fun even if it wasn’t exactly a Christmas movie but more of a holidays sort of thing.

BINGING

sugar rush

  • Sugar Rush (Season 1) – Rewatch
  • Happy Do Re Mi (Season 1)

Currently binging: The Inn (Season 2), Who’s the Murderer (Season 4),  Meteor Garden 2018 (rewatch), An Oriental Odyssey (rewatch)

A lot of the same going on in binging. I have way too many TV binges that I haven’t written and want to write so I’m taking on some time to rewatch and buy some time. Its not a bad thing as it does give me a better perspective the second time around. I’ve polished up the TV binge segment a little over this year so I like the structure of how to approach it now which helps a lot in making them easier to write. With that said, the main rewatch this week is Sugar Rush. I always love rewatching cooking and baking shows so it was a ton of fun. At the same time, Happy Do Re Mi finished this past Saturday. Its been a fun time and I’ll do a little overview of it as well.

In terms of current ongoing stuff, The Inn should end soon from what I’ve seen in social media. As for Who’s the Murderer, I’m picking up a lot of the clues now and starting to get involved as I watch to figure out who I think is the murderer and making some good assumptions. Its both a really involving experience whether its about thinking about life in general or deciphering the cases.

That’s it for What’s Up in 2018!
Thanks so much for being here! I know that my segment changed from written to videos to written again!
There’s a lot of polish to do for this segment so bear with me as we head into 2019 in the next one.