Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite

Infinity can produce contrasting effects on (and in) us: it might make us feel dwarfed or amplified, afraid or empowered. It might take the form of a wide panorama or a zoomed-in fraction of an object. A starry sky? A sea of commuters on a train platform? Rows of corn in a field? No pun intended, but the possibilities really are endless.- Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite

Long winding roads, paths, trails always look infinite.  Large bodies of waters, like the sea, ocean, or even just a big lake can seem infinite and neverending as well!

First up are some shots from my trail from this past weekend in Magog on the Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises.

Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises Magog

Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises

Marais de la Riviere des Cerises Magog Quebec

Marais de la Riviere des Cerises

Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises Magog Quebec

Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises

Full post on this trail coming up tomorrow! 🙂

As a little bonus, I added in one from my Maine trip this summer when we were on the water to see lighthouses and puffins 🙂

Maine, USA

Maine, USA

The fog on the water really gives it that infinite and mysterious feeling.

This is my response to Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite!

Day 5 Part 1: Fort Knox Historic Site!

Vacation time passes by so fast! I couldn’t believe that it was the last day of the trip when it came around.  Lets check out the recap of my last day in Maine!

Our first stop was Fort Knox Historic Site.  We had postponed that from our original plans on Day 3 but we wanted to really enjoy it especially since this was the part that my boyfriend was looking forward to.  After I almost turned him into a popsicle the day before because I wanted to see puffins, I felt it was reasonable to give him as many hours as he would like to wander around Fort Knox and fully experience it.

Fort Knox Historic Site

Welcome to Fort Knox!

Friendly advice here is that if you go, bring flashlights please.  Some of these tunnels are mega dark.  You will see soon enough.  First stop, we went to Battery A.

Fort Knox Historic Site

Fort Knox Historic Site

Battery A

We had to walk through the main Fort Entrance before getting to Battery B.

Fort Knox Historic Site

Fort Knox

Fox Knox Historic Site

View on the way to Battery B..Fog creeping in!

Fort Knox Historic Site

Looking from inside

Fort Knox Historic Site

Giant Cannon in Battery

Fort Knox Historic Site

Now that we’re done the Batteries, we went to the Fort Knox itself. All the tunnels and everything!

Fort Knox Historic Site

In the Fort Knox

Fort Knox Historic Site

In the dark tunnels

On the highest level of the Fort Knox, the view was amazing and it was pretty cool!

Fort Knox Historic Site

Top level of the Fort

Fort Knox Historic Site

The view around Fort Knox

Fort Knox Historic Site

View from Fort Knox

Before we left the Fort Knox and Maine, we needed to take our iconic thing to mark our trip! 🙂

Me and my boyfriend!

Me and my boyfriend!

Part 1 ends right here! There’s a part 2 to Day 5 as the drive home was pretty scenic.

Plus, my cold has pretty much decided for me that that I am about to pass on the keyboard. I draft these posts the night before.

Check back tomorrow morning for the final post on my vacation recap! 🙂

Have a great Monday!!

MAINE DAY 3: Portland Waterfront and Meeting a Blogging Friend!

After going to bed early on Tuesday night and having a relaxing morning to check out of our hotel in South Portland, we had a few things planned for the day as we made our way over to Bangor to check into our second hotel.

Our first stop was to the Portland Waterfront.  We never made it to the actual waterfront I think but from where we walked, it was pretty nice 🙂 Here’s some of the stuff around that area!

Portland Waterfront

Portland Waterfront area

Portland Waterfront

Portland Waterfront

By the waterside/harbor, I think it was full of boats for the tours

Portland Waterfront

Beautiful flowers 🙂 Stood out in the gloomy skies

We didn’t put a lot of money in the parking meter so before we knew it, we had to run back to the car and not get a ticket.  Along the way, I took the opportunity to stop at Bam Bam Bakery to get myself a tea.  Tea does for me what coffee does for others.  I also asked randomly if they have dairy free baked goods and GUESS WHAT!! THEY DID ! 🙂

I got myself a delicious Earl Grey cupcake with lemon frosting!

Bam Bam Bakery Early Grey Cupcake with Lemon Frosting

Bam Bam Bakery Early Grey Cupcake with Lemon Frosting

I ate it a bit later in the day, after lunch and it was delicious! 🙂

After a few phone calls back and forth, we finally met up with fellow blogger Jonathan Hilton from Life of Jonathan. We chatted in the middle of nowhere for almost 2 hours until it started to rain so we went to have lunch in Bath, Maine. After some hectic find for parking, we ended up going to eat at a restaurant called Beale Street Barbecue.

Here’s what we had:

Beale Street Barbecue

My Dish: 1/4 Chicken with sides of fries and mashed sweet potatoes

Beale Street Barbecue

My boyfriend: Italian Sub with fries

Beale Street Barbecue

Jon’s dish: 1/4 Chicken with sides of Mac n Cheese and fries

This restaurant was pretty good. I really enjoyed my chicken and it was all done pretty good.  My boyfriend also loved his Italian Sub.

Jonathan is an amazing person who is now not only a blogging friend but an actual friend! He’s super nice and so insightful. I learned a lot from the stories he told about his job and life and all that.  He is definitely an inspirational person! 🙂 Before we left, we had to take a picture together!

Tranquil Dreams meets Life at Jonathan ;)

Tranquil Dreams meets Life at Jonathan 😉

I know I’m short.  5’4 to his 6 feet (I think)! Haha! Some of you may have seen his version of this same picture over at his site which I did share on Facebook. I know a few of you are my Facebook friends.  Doesn’t matter! Its the same one and he wrote a post about it where you can find right HERE! While you are there, you should check out some inspirational posts that he has there also 🙂

He did give us a little advice to take the longer Scenic drive to Bangor.  We took his advice and on our drive we went through some pretty cool towns.  I was fumbling with everything so I didn’t really take any decent pictures.  We did manage to stop to rearrange some things in the trunk and search out stuff, bathroom breaks, that sort of thing.

My supposed "trespassing" through a parking lot of a lodge inn...

My supposed “trespassing” through a parking lot of a lodge inn…

If I did trespass, I’m sorry! *blush* but I’m a tourist and I don’t even remember the exact location of where this was…

Our second stop was a tad closer to Bangor and I realized that I had stuffed the hotel booking confirmation/itinerary in the luggage so I had to dig it out.  Well, my boyfriend did a bit of that while I went off to take pictures…haha!

2nd stop on the way to Bangor

2nd stop on the way to Bangor

Of course, my instructions are always vague so I came back to dig it out myself. Off we went after that was settled and we went off to our hotel! Let me just say, parts of it was quite scenic and nice.  This route passes through the food truck for Red’s Eats for lobster rolls.  I read about it in the travel guide but didn’t go because I didn’t want to taunt my stomach too much after the previous day’s episode.  If you are interested, thats just a suggestion I wanted to throw in.

This hotel that we booked in Bangor was out of the world.  It was so new, parts of it still smelled like fresh paint.  We took a normal King size bed room and look at the size of it!

Hampton Inn Bangor

The *almost* complete view of the room

I was pretty much at the far edge flat at the window when I took this picture.  The only things not in the picture is on the far left corner was the desk and then right in front of that sofa was an average size LCD TV.  Look at the amount of space there.  I swear, if I could still do cartwheels I would’ve done it.  Plus, everything was so nice. I didn’t take a picture of the bathroom but it was crazy huge also.  If you decide to stay in Bangor, this is a pretty affordable and awesome choice! 🙂

We rested a bit at the hotel and then went off to explore Target! WOOHOO! I love Target and also went to do some spontaneous shopping at the nearby mall until we felt hungry and went to eat at Olive Garden!  My boyfriend hadn’t tasted the awesomeness of it yet 🙂  I had Salmon and my boyfriend had pasta and garlic bread along with some delicious Minestrone Soup for both of us.  I forgot my phone and my tablet took crazy dark pictures of our food except for the drinks!

Olive Garden Bangor

Olive Garden Drinks! Bloody Mary and Sparkling Wine with Blueberry Pomegrenate (or something like that)

My boyfriend was trying to avoid the camera but hey, thats the life of eating with me.  The meal was quite delicious but I was less fun that I had expected so I couldn’t finish part of my meal.  Maybe if I didn’t eat that whole breadstick and just had a half.  It was so tempting though! 😉

Day 3 was pretty eventful and fun! It didn’t seem like we really did much but we did see a lot of scenery and had some awesome meals and met an amazing friend! Overall, it was a fantastic day! 🙂

DAY 4 was the one of the planned events I was looking forward to the most!  Remember to check back tomorrow to check it out! 🙂

A Word A Week Challenge: Distant

This week, Sue at A Word in Your Ear’s challenge theme is DISTANT! Landscape and waterfronts always tend to have some form of DISTANT.

I just came back from Maine! Driving to and around and even back home is possibly one of the most scenic trips ever! Of course, you’d also have to choose to take the less direct path and enjoy some of the fantastic waterside landscapes.

Take this as a teaser for now 🙂 I will be writing more extensive posts on this trip all through next week.  I went away for 5 days so I will try to keep it within a count of 5 posts for each day but maybe (just maybe) it might take a bit more.  I haven’t drafted them out yet so I don’t know.

Now, lets take a look at Maine’s awesomeness!

On the first day, we took a little scenic drive which we ended up having to cut short due to it being one of our most packed days. We also learned that road signs were slightly vague so after going around, I strongly believe this is the sight of where Height of Land is 🙂

Maine Height of Land

Maine: Height of Land (I think)

Breathtaking, right? Talk about being impressed! If Maine looks like this in every corner, I’m down for more trips to other parts of Maine!

On that same day, we also went on a hike.  Where? I will tell you tomorrow.  Spontaneity brings us to interesting things and this time, we were absolutely wowed! Check this place out!

Bald Mountain Trail

View at the top of our first Hiking Trail in Maine!

This was just one side of the 360 degree viewing tower at the top of the trail! It was possibly one of the most adventurous climbs ever but so rewarding!

Moving onto the second day (I think..I need to check my timeline again), my boyfriend assumes that I trespass to take this picture but I swear that I didn’t! I never knew walking onto a parking lot for a lodge inn was trespassing…but well, its done!

Maine

Distant building somewhere in Maine…

Seriously, I forgot where this was.  This is why I should vlog my trips.  That way I wouldn’t miss anything, right? Its an idea the next time when I don’t chicken out of doing vlogging in front of strangers…

Jumping forward to the 4th day, we all went off to get our butts frozen unexpectedly.  Apparently, we missed the memo that it was going to turn from 28 degrees to 8 degrees.  Still, I was the most excited for this part of the trip so I soldiered on! This where I got this shot through the thick fog of the lighthouse (and more)!

Arcadian Boat Tours Puffin Cruise

On a cruise in Maine

This was partially zoomed in so the actual lighthouse is even more distant!

Have I tempted you to head off to Maine for vacation? Whether I have or haven’t, you should check back to see next week’s day to day account of what I did and the fun and beautiful things of Maine! 🙂

This is a response to Sue’s A Word A Week Challenge: Distant! Please follow this link HERE to check out her beautiful photography and travel blog and join in the challenge and have fun with all of us.  You also get to see other awesome responses from other bloggers!  🙂

I’m BACK!! :)

I’m back home from my vacation in Maine.

Vacation was great and I’ll be posting about it throughout all of next week once I finish sorting out all of the 630 pictures that I took.

I know that I kind of dropped off the map  for the last two days but thats because I didn’t manage to wrap up the movie review but its work in progress and since I promised a vlog, I’ll fit it in also.

Some things have happened as of the last 24 hours in my own personal life.  I will get things back on track.

BUT, first things first, I’m going to start reading those 600+ emails/posts sitting in my inbox….

I’ll be back really soon and I’ll get cracking with everything!

For now, I’m just checking in to give you all a heads up and wish you all a fantastic evening/night (maybe morning?) depending where you are.  I will have a post going up tomorrow (most probably).

Jell-O Shots, Hiking and More Flowers!!

No huge intro this time since there’s quite a bit to cover from last Sunday evening till this week! We’re going straight into it!

Last Sunday evening was dinner with my girl friends! You’ve heard of them before as we were at the wedding together as bridesmaids and one of them was the bride back in May.  This time around, we had a nice dinner to celebrate Canada Day!

Snakes and Ladders and Jell-O Shots ready!

Snakes and Ladders and Jell-O Shots ready!

One of the girls had suggested that we do Jell-O shots with the game of Snakes and Ladders.  I’m totally new to that concept (the shots, not the game).  Its somewhat of a silly confession to make (but not really).  I live in a party city but yet I really haven’t gone clubbing all that much, meaning I don’t drink that much either unless with a close group of friends and its never about drinking or trying out too many new drinks.  Jell-O shots are a new thing but I have heard that they are quite strong.

Lined up for our doom..umm...consumption!

Lined up for our doom..umm…consumption!

My share of Jell-O shots!

My share of Jell-O shots!

My friend made 3 types: Strawberry Jell-O with Vodka, Orange Jell-O with Tequila and Raspberry Jell-O with Tequila. We all ended up having about 6 Jell-O shots before the game ended.  I conclude that it wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be 🙂 After that we did some karaoke and then watched part of Ocean’s Eleven before we were all tired and went home to rest!

OH! And I have to show some love to one of my girl friends, Day’s who just started a blog on WordPress! She’s totally awesome! She posts about food and Chinese-Canada culture.  She’s an awesome writer so you should check out her blog.  Just look at the awesome dessert she made for the dinner! Click HERE to check it out!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Pecan Coffee Cake

Monday was an early start with piano lessons then hiking at Mont St. Hilaire. This trail was possibly the most underwhelming with not such great scenery and lots of hills. It was solely walking and spending time with my boyfriend and my mom. Here are a few shots of the trail and the one viewpoint that we saw the lake in the distance!

The beginning of the trail!

The beginning of the trail!

The "view" at the top of the trail we were at....

The “view” at the top of the trail we were at….

Even though there wasn’t really anything fancy about the view we saw.  I’ve seen lots of better views in the many trails we’ve walked.  We did come back to the welcome center and I found a little pond that said they had frogs…which was inaccurate! They had tadpoles! I live in the suburbs of a relatively big city in Canada, ok? I haven’t seen  tadpoles before in my entire life! That was SO AWESOME!

TADPOLES!!!

TADPOLES!!!

My mom at this point was rolling her eyes are me…and my boyfriend was laughing but still, it was special to me 🙂

Coming to this afternoon, I managed to get in a few shots of the flowers in my garden!

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Lavender are a darker shade of purple! So beautiful and smells wonderful! :)

Lavender are a darker shade of purple! So beautiful and smells wonderful! 🙂

Grape vine!

Grape vine!

Can you tell my mom loves purple? 🙂 Actually I like it a lot too! The first two I don’t remember the name of the flowers..so if you do, please tell me! Those grapevines looks like its going to have lots of grapes again this year!

Today was crazy humid and hot! It was completely burning!

Hope you are all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was great!

Especially since I’m on the road now!! I have some awesome plans for tonight so I’m excited!

How’s summer for all of you? Any vacation planned?

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

My original intention was to finish reading World War Z before the movie hit theatres, however, that simply didn’t happen.  There were many reasons that I decided to see the movie without finishing the book, the main one being that the adapted version had about 10% correlation to the book.  If you happened to miss the review, you could check it out HERE! Moving on…

world war z by max brooksWorld War Z by Max Brooks is about the aftermath of the world surviving this zombie apocalypse.  The story is written as the person (Max Brooks) who interviews many of the men and women who witnessed it first hand in different countries with different backgrounds, contributing and taking advantage to or of the situation as it happened.  In their stories, we see the underlying social, economic, technological, political, etc issues.  The interviews and stories are separated in the phases of this war the almost ended humanity, from the warnings to the blaming, the panic, how it evolved in USA and then relating it to all around the world and eventually the way it ended, so to say, revealing the world they lived in as everyone rebuilds their life and many situations are reversed.

What started as a rather slow buildup in the beginning caught on slowly as each story progressed in their way and in their own direction. I supposed it was intended to be like that as in recounting the early stages of the zombie apocalypse and the warnings was slower.  It also reflects on the issues of ignorance.  The warnings were ignored and many eventually in the next part blamed it on the government or leaders, whichever organization for not acting at the correct time which would have possibly prevented this from happening or at least nipped it in the bud before it became a worldwide pandemic.

There was one part where I felt (as a Canadian) that there was a very pessimistic view of the American value.  I just wonder if an American reading this would feel that Max Brooks had a very strong feeling of hatred towards the population’s tendency to be self-centered and ignorant because for a few stories in the section of blame that was what I read between the lines.  However, those parts were also the ones that peaked my interest in the whole book from there.  However, if you think about it, many times we live our own lives and ignore a lot of issues going on around us until it is too late so maybe he was just using one population to reflect how many common people would react to a situation like this if it were to occur.

For the most part, this book was very intriguing.  The way it was set up was also very good.  The only issue I had was as I got to the end, I couldn’t remember the names anymore and in the last section when some of the previously interviewed men and women were saying their final parts and what they got out of this war, I had to flip back to the front and look at the countries and recheck their story to not be confused with what they would say.  That was slightly frustrating.  If it had an index or table of contents of the countries, that would’ve helped.  Just saying…maybe a lot of other people have better memory than me, but sometimes, after reading 30 different stories over 2 weeks, it gets a bit hard to recount it.

Overall, a great concept and an interesting read.  It spread through the worldwide spectrum and reflected the urgency and desperate situation that the zombie apocalypse brought and the different ways people fought it in different countries.  The majority of the stories were ones that would tug the heartstrings or make you sympathize or connect with the character, some other ones would make you wince in anger at the negative effects and how some people still was too selfish to see the big picture and many times causing it to be worse.  Its an eye-opener in general of human nature when put in the most gravest danger.

I gave it 4 of 5 stars in Goodreads but honestly, maybe it was more of a 3.5 (but I like to round up).  🙂

Have you read this before? How did you feel about it?

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Signs sometimes mean a little more than they seem. We can find a joke in some misleading or misspelled signs or just certain that just bring up memories or others that alert us of something going on.  It reflects the culture and the region and the environment you are in.

This week’s photo challenge was THE SIGN SAYS.

CROSSING THE BORDER INTO USA on Saturday!

I'm not the one driving...haha!

I’m not the one driving…haha! Thats how I can take this fab pic for you 😉

Right before we cross..its the exciting moment before we see the US customs.

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Waiting for our turn to go see the US borders officer who will in turn ask us in a serious tone where we’re going and why? Shopping run to get Gatorade and food…Usually thats when we get a blank stare and they just let us go.

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At Champlain Centre, they even have bilingual signs for one and also, they don’t say Smoke free but Tobacco Free. Hmm…interesting! I’ve been here a few times but its the first time I noticed it!

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This Starbucks ad sign was all cute and angled nicely. I found it inside the Target.  I thought it made the drink, Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino look extremely delicious.  Even if I can’t drink this…Attractive ad though!

You’ve seen my Plattsburgh trip in what I found and now, its measured by the signs I saw 😉 Creative, right? (Please say yes…)

This is my response to this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says.  Check it out HERE!

Morning Walk in the Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont

Good morning to you all! Happy Wednesday!

Let me take you on a morning stroll in the Waterfront Park in Burlington Vermont.  Sounds like a nice refreshing plan?

Right when we walk in, the first thing we have to cross is the train tracks.

Train tracks extending into the distance

Train tracks extending into the distance

This actually reminded me a little bit of home because Old Montreal has a very similar scenery before we hit its waterfront also 🙂

As we walk in, we cross, we pass next to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, where I will take you tomorrow but its a cute little glass building.   As we walk in, we can already see the water extending in front of us.

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Right in front we have the big boat, and as we turn to the right, we have a little area where we can go down near the water.

Ducks in and getting out of the cold water

Ducks in and getting out of the cold water

Lake extended out into the distance

Lake extended out into the distance

Dogs playing in the water with the branches floating around

Dogs playing in the water with the branches floating around

As we get back onto the high platform, we go down a boardwalk. There`s not a lot of people and its pretty calm and relaxing to walk down here…

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Along the path, if you want to enjoy the view and just have a casual chat.  I did that with my friend, while the other girls went to take pictures on the train tracks.  There are this cute chairs.  I used to have a similar swing-y chair in the backyard when I was younger but in metal.

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Just lightly swing back and forth as we chat about little things here and there and catch up with friends, this is such a perfect place for it.

After about spending 30-45 minutes here, we went off somewhere else.

We came back the next day of course and thats where some of the more gloomy background pictures were taken.  Nice place for a morning stroll and a great way to start the day 🙂 We felt all refreshed afterwards!

How about you? Do you like to take walks next to waterfronts? Where was your favorite place to walk along? Do you have something near water near where you live?

 

Restaurant Review: El Cortijo at Burlington, Vermont

After a long night, we were all exhausted and got back to shower and rest at 7:30pm at the hotel room.  Not much of a partying group, eh? Well, after everyone was sitting in bed at 9pm, we turned on the TV and landed on the Food Network. It was at the show called Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (or something like that) hosted by Guy Fieri.  We are now forever glaring at this Guy Fieri, something like a love-hate relationship.  My friend started craving all the food she saw him showing on the show at the different joints he visited.  It was then we started searching up the restaurants to see which ones were open.

We eventually ended up jumping out of beds and changing quickly and heading out to get ourselves some tacos at El Cortijo.  On Fridays, this little restaurant is open till 1am.  Which worked perfectly for us 🙂

Here’s a little bit of the menu!

El Cortijo Menu

El Cortijo Menu

First up we ordered some drinks.  I went with my craving for Sangria and got a red one.  The girls decided to get a margarita.  One chose Pomegranate Margarita while the other one chose an orange flavored one.  I only got my own in pictures though.

Sangria

Sangria

I’m telling you this.  If you go to places and you suspect people are diluting your drinks and giving you more fizzy soda or fruit juice than actual red wine, this place is for you.  Mr. Bartender at El Cortijo made this drink in the way that all I really tasted was the red wine.  The girls also had high alcohol content in their margaritas and started getting a tad tipsy by the end, which made for a lot of laughing loudly.  We all learned that we are all happy drunks, if ever we did get to that point.

So did decide to have a light late night snack and took the solo tacos which is just one taco pretty much. The girls eventually took another one because it was going to help the margaritas sit better and get a bit of the tipsy feeling away.

Solo Tacos

Solo Tacos

I ordered the Chicken one and had to remove one of the ingredients but I think its alright. It was a pretty tasty taco although this one proved to be way messy with the sauce leaking as we were eating it.  Gotta work on those taco eating skills 😉

After sitting for an hour or so, we had to leave.  Suffice to say that Burlington downtown and Montreal downtown is very different at midnight.  This is what it looks like in Burlington!

Night in Burlington Downtown

Night in Burlington Downtown

Empty streets! 😮 Montreal is add packed with people to this scene and less space to walk and there you go.  Granted this place, had a lot of pubs and clubs and bars that had a lot of people inside and loud music blaring and a few people standing outside.  I like the different atmosphere 🙂 Plus those lights are just so pretty!

What do you like to have for late night snacks? What do you crave for in the middle of the night?