Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

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

JANUARY

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

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

FEBRUARY

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

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MARCH

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

APRIL

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

MAY

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

JUNE

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

JULY

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

AUGUST

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

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

 

SEPTEMBER

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

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OCTOBER

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

NOVEMBER

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

DECEMBER

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

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

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

Have a awesome weekend everyone!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

Hope is something we have to have the courage to face another day, to face new challenges as we wish for better days ahead or a better turn in events in our lives.  We have hope for continuous growth in living things (humans, plants, animals) during hard time.  We hope for a better future, better fortune, happiness, luck, health, etc.  We hope to have little occurrences that brighten our day.

Chinese New Year just passed.  Today is the 7th day of the Lunar New Year and its supposedly the day that we celebrate everyone’s birthday.  For Chinese New Year, our houses are all decorated with proverbs that wish for better things in the new year.  All the flowers we choose is a symbol of some sort of blessing or hope or wish for the new year.  The food we prepare also has significant meaning as well in hopes for having a more prosperous new year.

Here are a few examples:

This is an example of proverb that we hang around the house.

This one sends us hopes for a new year of happiness and achieving what our heart desires.

The flowers we choose to decorate our house is also those that bring on nice symbols of hopes for a better year.

We use lilies a lot to symbolize happiness/harmony in relationships.

Below we have the “string of gold” that I talked about last week.  Of course, this one symbolizes hopes for prosperity and fortune in the new year.

Being Chinese, the Lunar New Year has significant meanings other than simply the feast.  It brings in new hopes for the New Year.  Hopes for a better career, better health and most importantly, much more happy moments to come in the future.

Almond Cookies

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations for us.  With lack of family living near us, its quieted down a lot.  My mom has never stopped her traditions though. A week of celebrations is what it seems like.  We have plenty of food all the time: Chicken, Duck, Shrimps, Veggies, Fish, etc.  Also, my mom makes turnip, taro and chestnut cakes (which to me, are the best in the world).  No restaurant has ever compared.  My mom usually does everything for the celebrations every year.  This year my mom made New Year Cake and it was delicious

This year, I decided to contribute a bit on my own.  I made some pretty good almond cookies. I found the recipe at here: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/dessertcookies/r/almondcookies.htm   The only ingredient that I didn’t have was the actual almond to put on the top of each cookie.  I believe it was still a decent cookie.  Everyone who tried it liked it.

This is how it turned out:

There will definitely be a second batch where I will add the almond on top.  It would probably made the overall appearance look nicer and at the same time, it would probably not only smell like almonds but rather taste a bit of the almond flavor as well.