December 21, 2014

Blissful Mornings

These are just a few pictures that I took 2 months ago when I woke up earlier to go volunteering. I'm not the biggest morning person but my body has actually adapted to waking up early for school, so now I can't sleep in even if I wanted to. I also wanted to mention that it was probably around 0 degrees Celsius that day and I was afraid to miss this beautiful sunset so I ran out of the house in slippers and a light jacket. Enjoy! :)



Played around with the settings a little bit to get a different look.


October 27, 2014

Thoughts On... Just One Year by Gayle Forman



I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed! To be honest, I think I went into the book expecting for Willem to meet Allyson/Lulu much earlier in the book and then being able to experience their romance again.

Much of this book is about Willem's journey to find this girl whose name he can no longer recall, but remembers that he had an extremely special day with. For me, that almost became a sub-plot because it no longer mattered in my mind. I became much more interested in his unconscious journey of his self discovery through trying to find Lulu.

I loved that this book took us as readers to so many different places in the world, and allowed us to experience the different cultures. Gayle Forman wrote in such a descriptive way such that sometimes I could picture the ruins around me, the smells, the street markets, the beautiful river and canals... There was something unique and distinct about each city we arrived at.

There's nothing else I have to say about this book! It was quite the adventure for sure with moments of reflection, humour, and obviously, sadness. However, it fell short of my expectations and did not really compare to the strong tug on my heart that I felt when reading Just One Day.


October 20, 2014

Thoughts On... Raging Star by Moira Young



This series is one that immediately caught my attention through the unique dialect and style of writing. But having read the last book over a year ago, I had to read the spoiler filled summaries of both Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart beforehand.

Previously, if I remember correctly, the books were written from the first-person POV of Saba. However, a different anonymous first-person POV, as well as Emmi's POV was introduced in this book to add a further element of mystery.

The pace of Raging Star was a bit slow, lacking the action that was prevalent in the previous books. Because of this, the final instalment of the Dustlands series was not as captivating, and had I not been reading this on the way to school as a way of avoiding my habit of falling asleep, it would have taken me so much longer to finish. The book started becoming more captivating about halfway through though, I was in such a trance that I nearly missed my bus stop. Nearly.

However, I still really liked the ending. Quite a few surprising twists that were thrown at me, and not the kind of story that ends with a cute little bow on top. Albeit most books do come with traumatizing events along the way, I have to say that halfway through this book, I no longer anticipated the happy ending we get so often.

There were so many final lessons to be learned that were beautifully interwoven along with the plot and characters. Moira Young has written such a beautifully crafted story about a girl who is extremely stubborn, head strong and sometimes selfish in a selfless way. This story was full of contradictions, and a beautiful satire of wrongfully carrying out a common desire.


October 19, 2014

A Night Out

This week, by far, has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I had 2 exams, labs and a French project that are due next week, and more exams next week. Although I had a long weekend because of Thanksgiving, it wasn't really a break as I was basically working my butt off the entire weekend. All of that is just to explain my absence from the blog for the past little while, and probably for the next few weeks or months as well.

In light of all of that, yesterday night, my family and I went out for dinner at Earl's and this is what I wore. :)


September 29, 2014

Book Review: Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry


I was extremely excited for the final book of the Benny Imura  series. The past 3 books were fairly entertaining and enjoyable to read, but I was anxious and curious as to how all of this would end.

Starting off the book, I found it hard to remember everything that had happened before, and that Fire & Ash did not recall enough from the previous books to remind readers what happened. I'm not sure if there was an intent behind it, because it seems to put us in the same position as the characters who want to suppress certain memories.

September 22, 2014

Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare



I started reading this series about 5 years ago, and I completely fell in love with it. But because I felt the last two books had gone downhill, I had low expectations for the final installment of The Mortal Instruments, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking it.

September 19, 2014

My Birthday!

My sweet 16th was just a little over a week ago and it honestly wasn't that big of a deal to me. It was my TOM and I had the worst day on the 9th, the day before my birthday. All I wanted to do (and I told my parents this) was go out for hot pot because I was seriously craving it. Upon arriving at school on Wednesday, I was showered with "Happy Birthdays" and my closest friends had actually left some gifts in my locker for me. I thought I would take this post to show the things they got me, not to show off, but because I am truly so grateful to have these wonderful people in my life who care about me.

This is such a cute book and I love it because it has tons of healthy recipes that encourages people to use locally grown food.

Also very very cute, I can't wait to use this!!

White Barn Warm Caramel Cider Candle!

White Barn Marshmallow Fireside Candle P.S. I just burned this one, and the melting wax is brown and it all looks like a roasted marshmallow! SO CUTE :)

A bath bomb and hand soap from Lush! These are the first things I've ever had from Lush :)

My mom got me this little bag and it's actually extremely practical to use. 


After I got home, we went to Asian Express Hot Pot in Edmonton (you should go) and ate a lot. My mom also got a cake that was half cheesecake, half cake, with jello that looked like clear glass on top.

There are times where I think that my life is so hard, but I know that there are people out there who have it even worse. I constantly forget that my birthday is National Suicide Awareness Day, so hopefully I remember next year and will be able to do something related to that topic!

September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith


Because I've been so busy with exams and summer school, it pretty much took me 2 months to read this book. To be honest, it was quite difficult to get through it and I found myself constantly struggling to pay attention to every little detail. However, I highly enjoy anything related to crime and, like Robin, I was intrigued by the career of a private detective, therefore I continued to read.

September 08, 2014

Product Review: Organic Gluten Free Black Bean Spaghetti

Image taken off of website

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti 

$10

Explore Asian Cuisine (Purchased at Costco)

Disclaimer: I am in no way being sponsored by the parties mentioned below. All statements made are purely my own judgement and opinion.


In May, I decided to start living a healthier lifestyle. In other words, I gave up a lot of the junk food and also grains that was part of my daily diet; imagine my parents' reactions when I told them I wouldn't eat white rice. As I was out grocery shopping at Costco, I saw another customer purchasing this and thought it was really interesting, I never thought that there would be an alternative for pasta like there was for rice. It's also gluten free!! :)

The first time cooking this, I was surprised at how brittle it was when dry, but when it was cooked, the texture was really similar to normal spaghetti, just thinner. Don't let the colour throw you off! The taste is not peculiar, and if I were blindfolded, they would taste exactly the same as normal noodles.

I usually mix this some corn and tomatoes, then add some Mrs. Dash on top for flavouring. There are obviously many more recipes and I will be trying them soon as well. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them down in the comments! :)

This is what I usually make! It's pretty tasty but you can add other seasonings of your choice! 

This is just some home made tomato sauce over the spaghetti that I made.


August 25, 2014

Product Review: Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream

Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream (50mL)

$20

The Body Shop



Disclaimer: I am in no way being sponsored by the parties mentioned below. All statements made are purely my own judgement and opinion.

Why did I start using this? When I returned from Italy my skin was extremely dry. No matter how much moisturiser I used, my face was dry, uncomfortable and bloated for the entire school day.  Then my mom pulled this out and told me to try it, and I'm pretty sure it saved my skin. In less than a week, I had used up half of this, that's how many times I had to reapply it throughout the day!

I would seriously recommend using this only if you have dry skin because it is an intense moisture cream. The scent of it isn't great because there are no added fragrances. Furthermore, I like buying products from The Body Shop because they are a cruelty free company.

August 22, 2014

Road Trip: Granville Island and SUSHI {Day 6}

On our last day, we went to Granville Island and explored the Farmer's Market they had there. There were so many people and it was an extremely fun place to be! We then ended the day by going to get sushi and it was just so delicious. 


August 19, 2014

SCHOOL IS APPROACHING...

I can't believe the month is already half over, that went by way to quickly.

Thanks to a fellow Edmontonian Book Blogger, my friends and I were able to get an advanced screening of If I Stay on August 13. Even though I swore that I wouldn't watch any of the movie adaptations (i.e. City of Bones, TFIOS, Divergent) I went out to watch this one because, yenno, free tickets. It was surprisingly quite a good movie and followed the book quite well. There were definitely tear-jerking moments, and the ending made my friends (who has not read the book) go like "wtf?", and everyone who had read the book just chuckle.

Last week, I had the opportunity to volunteer at my piano teacher's church for the Summer Day Camp they were holding. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had so far; instead of waiting for my elders to tell me what to do, I had to take the initiative to talk to the children and get to know them. The past week gave me more confidence in speaking to others and made me feel like a responsible person! At the same time that I was teaching the kids, I also learned from them to just take life a little less seriously.

School is coming up, and I don't know if taking life a little less seriously will be for the better or for the worse. I go to an academic school where everyone is pretty uptight about their marks, and I admit, I am too. However, over the last few weeks of summer vacation that I've gotten, I've really just let loose for a while and have been reminded of all the little things. Taking life a little less seriously, to me, means to not let my marks affect me too much. There's seriously a lot to this, but this year, as much as I want to focus on school, I still want to try and make time for all my other commitments.

Looking at my schedule and what the grade 11's before me went through, I can tell that this is going to be a pretty hectic year. Most likely, I won't be able to update the blog as much, or make as many videos, but I'll try my best!

So whether you're heading back to school, work, or maybe you're one of those lucky people who just get to stay at home, I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and best of luck to whatever you do! :)

August 15, 2014

Road Trip: Seattle Premium Outlets and Beautiful Ocean Sunset {Day 5}

It was raining (like it did every day except for the last day) as we left Richmond to head across the border into Washington State. We didn't actually buy a lot of things at the outlets. When we arrived back in Richmond, we drove to the Vancouver Airport and out to a walkway that went straight into the ocean. Little did we know that to get there and back was a total of 8km and by the time we got back to our cars, it was pitch black. 






August 11, 2014

Book Review: Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian



Book from Lisa

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this book because I remember liking Burn For Burn but it didn't really live up to my expectations, especially after reading The Summer Trilogy. (I completely bawled my eyes out in those books) However, when I finished the book, I found myself wishing that the next book would come out sooner! It was a lot better than I had expected!

August 10, 2014

Mid-Summer Update

I can't believe it's already August, which means I have less than one month left before school starts. Here's what I've been up to recently:

1. I've watched hours and hours of Friends, and am planning on watching some other shows before school starts. It's probably actually one of the funniest shows I've watched so far, and it just puts a smile on my face every time I watch it. For some reason, I really enjoy watching old TV shows.

2. I've started the 52 Lists Project (source), a project where I have to make a list for every week of the year. I'm pretty sure it was meant to be started in January, but I was extremely bored. Hopefully this project will help me open up my mind and stay creative since I couldn't find a full list of prompts for all 52 weeks.

3. My friends and I go biking around our neighborhood quite often. I'm also trying to stay as active as I can throughout the summer, and hopefully finding some time to keep active once school starts.

A picture I took while biking with my friends.


4. I will be volunteering for the next week at a summer camp, teaching arts and crafts to children. I'm a bit nervous because it's my first time, but I've taught kids before so I'm hoping it will go fine.

I haven't been motivated to read at all lately, but I will find some time to relax in the backyard and read on the deck chairs. The weather has been really lovely lately, with enough breeze to cut through the heat. The books that I plan on reading in the last few weeks are: The Cuckoo's Calling, City of Heavenly Fire, and The Revenge of Seven.

How has your summer been so far?




August 08, 2014

Road Trip: Boats and Night Market {Day 4}

There were so many people walking on the docks and buying the huge variety of seafood. Afterwards, we went shopping at Aberdeen Centre where I bought a few things! Of course, being in Richmond, we went to the huge night market that was full of people and lots of food!


Some sea urchins :)


August 06, 2014

52 Lists: Words That Touch Your Soul {Week 1}

For some reason, I love making lists; as I was watching Friends, I was finding something to do and came across this idea of the 52 Lists Project. Every Wednesday, I will post the top ten things on my list, not all of them so it's not overwhelming. In no particular order:

1. Family

- I just spent about 4 days with my cousins and I really appreciate all the time I spend with them.

2. Friends

- My friends keep me anchored and in check with my morals and values, I'm just so grateful to have them around.

3. Love

- I feel like this one is on everyone's list but it's something I want to find in the future, whatever it is.

4. Autumn

- This is my favourite season, the colours, the wind, the smells, and the comfy clothes I get to wear. It also happens to start about 12 days after my birthday, on September 22nd. 

5. Confidence

- It's been an important concept to me for a while now, trying to become more confident with myself and who I am. Not only is it a word that touches my soul, but it's also one of my goals for this year.

6. Help

- One of my biggest goals in life is to leave a mark by helping others.  

7. Coffee

- This is pretty self explanatory, I love the smell and the taste of coffee.

8. Intelligence

- Not only is it a quality I look for in others, it's also a quality that I hope I will always have. 

9. Smile

- Try smiling at least once a day, it really helps. For some reason, just smiling makes me happier, even if I'm feeling down. It's weird.

10. Dusk

- One of my favourite times of the day, resulting in some of the most beautiful pictures. It's also the perfect time to go biking in the summer, not to hot or cold.

August 01, 2014

Road Trip: Suspension Bridge and Whistler Village {Day 3}

Instead of going to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, our friends brought us to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Even though it was raining on us (which made it really hard for me to take pictures), it was such a cool experience walking through the forest. We then drove for about and hour and a half to Whistler to see the Olympic rings from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. As we were driving back, we wanted to take pictures by the ocean and ended up spending another hour there. Back in Vancouver, we took a drive around the city to see the night scenery (more pictures on my Flickr) then returned to our hotel in Richmond.




July 28, 2014

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


After the initial hype over Eleanor and Park, I was still afraid that it wouldn't actually live up to it. When I finished the book, I sort of wanted to kiss it because it was just such a beautiful story.

July 25, 2014

Road Trip: Going to Vancouver {Day 2}

We woke up around 7AM today, ready for a long 10 hour drive to Richmond. My intention was to wake up early and get a picture of the sunrise, but I ended falling asleep really late and couldn't bring myself to wake up. We arrived in Richmond around 7PM, it took longer because we got lost on the Vancouver roads, and then we went out for dinner with my parent's friend.

The morning view of my hotel!

July 18, 2014

Road Trip: Glacier Skywalk and Columbia Icefields {Day 1}

Today, we woke up at 7AM and left the house around 8AM headed to the Columbia Icefields. On our way there, we stopped many times to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. I absolutely love the mountains and I am so grateful that they are only a few hours drive away. When we arrived at the Columbia Icefield Centre, we got our tickets for the Icefield Excursion that took us up to the Columbia Icefields, and the Glacier Skywalk. Click here for a video of me completely flipping out because I'm scared of heights. We then returned to our hotel, which was in the same building as the Columbia Icefield Centre, and was a really cute room with a loft!


The Columbia Icefields are so beautiful!

The vehicle we took to the Columbia Icefields!

July 14, 2014

Book Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin



This book caught me by surprise as I actually liked it a lot more than I expected. When the whole romance came up, I actually rolled my eyes at how stupid it was, how it would just turn out like every other book. However, the author was able to make this relationship distinct, and add a bit of a twist to the romance. For that reason, I actually ended up really liking the romantic relationship between Araby and "ahem". Besides the romance, I felt that each relationship was well developed and supported, with enough evidence and time for these relationships to really bloom between all the characters.

On that note, Araby is a really cool name and I'd probably butcher it if I said it out loud, so I'm glad I'm just typing this. At first, I found myself annoyed at her tendencies to shun other people who had the disease. Although it was understandable why she looked down upon them, I just found that she started off as a very narrow-minded character. However, what I absolutely loved was the fact that I could just see how she progressed from that narrow mindedness, and how much her character had changed by the end of the book.

The setting also really hooked me in, a dystopian society suffering from an ongoing epidemic. From the moment I started the book, I just wanted to find out more about the society, the city, and I loved that my need for that was fulfilled. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre of Dystopia, or YA in general. It's just a nice read with lots of literary techniques that served as symbols. If you've already read Masque of the Red Death, by all means, please comment! I would highly enjoy discussing the contents of this book! :)



July 07, 2014

ARC Review: Rogue by Gina Damico



Going into the final book of this trilogy I was sort of afraid as to what would happen, especially after having read Allegiant (which I actually started slamming against my desk because I was SO INFURIATED) I hate it when trilogies or series end up being a huge let-down, or if the series is evidently going downhill (The Mortal Instruments ahem).

It had been a while since I read the last two books, and being me, I was too lazy to re-read them. However, it wasn't hard to get back into the world of the Grimsphere simply because Gina Damico put in little reminders here and there that eased me back in.

I was glad to see that the same sarcastic humour was still there, along with the highly entertaining and diverse characters. It is clear that each of the characters have evolved from the first book. They have a deeper understanding of the events occurring around them, and make attempts to try and fix things. I really liked the blossoming of new relationships, and also how the old ones continued to be developed as well. And of course the romance was still there, with all of its awkwardness that made it even more adorable.

The plot of this book was enjoyable, mainly because the other two books were leading up to the bigger moments of Rogue, but they were a lot freer and relaxed. Rogue was different, and I actually liked it because there was action, but occasionally there would be humour that would make me chuckle. I absolutely loved the fact that it would be all serious, full of tension, and then someone would just crack a joke.

There isn't much I can say about this without actually spoiling the book, but I highly recommend reading this series. It's funny, amusing, but at the same time, an extremely well written and crafted story.