A Friday Well Spent: Wing Hua Chinese Restaurant.

This summer everyone is out enjoying the pleasures this tropical paradise has to offer, and some may be on excitement-rich adventures in the lands overseas. However I decided to do some courses in the summer semester this year. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying myself once in a while.

For some reason I find hang-outs planned at the last minute always turn out better than I’d expect. The same could be said for my little leisure time last Friday with one of my good friends, Chantal. We would have loved if our other good friend, Kaveeta, could have joined us but we considered that the last minute arrangement could have inconvenienced her a little. Kaveeta, if you’re reading this, I promise we will make it up to you. 🙂photo 1(1)

My classes on Friday are three hours apart. So just for this week I needed to kill time on campus because my mother couldn’t pick me up and bring me back due to my brother’s exam schedule. Chantal and I decided to meet up at a Chinese Restaurant which is located very near to campus. We agreed to meet up for 10 a.m and catch up over some delicious food. What we did not know at the time of the planning, was that the restaurant opened at 10:30 a.m!!!

My first class finished at 10 and I did not want to keep Chantal waiting so I power-walked to the place. I did not know that she had checked the restaurant’s opening hours from a copy of their menu she’d kept at home and forwarded the message to me via SMS. I was too busy speeding down the backstreet, trying not to get run over in the process.

Anyway, when we met up – after about 15 minutes of waiting with sage-like patience – it had still been too early, so we decided to go get a Vanilla Bean Chiller at Rituals back at campus. We shared one since we needed to keep room for the food we were going to get afterward.

Brace yourself! “Funny Moment” Ahead!!


A funny/embarrassing thing happened on our way to campus though. Now, Chantal is not a student of my university (she attends a different one), so in order to avoid being questioned by the guards at the main entrance, we decided to use the side entrance instead. To get to this side entrance, we had to walk down one of the side streets. We goofed around, talking nonsense as we walked. To the side of the road we noticed a bright purple, dirty, bristle-like object. It was small but it did not take to long to identify that it had been piece of a broken broom. I pointed to it and exclaimed, “Look! A broom!” very childishly as though I had made an enormous discovery. Like I said….we were goofing around.

Suddenly, this middle-aged lady came out from behind the shrub near the broken broom…with the remnants of the broom (including the long wooden handle). I can’t remember if Chantal’s wide-eyed gaze met with mine. All I can recall is the embarrassment that took over us and caused us to laugh at ourselves. The embarrassment doubled when we realized that the woman must have thought we were laughing at her! I felt so horrible. We stormed down the street until we were certain she was far away. Sighs… We are two very silly children. If I could go back in time and avoid that situation, I would.

The Restaurant and Food…

The name of the Chinese restaurant is Wing Hua Chinese Restaurant. It’s about five to ten minutes away from the university (depending on how fast you walk, of course). We decided to have something we had never eaten before, but were only limited to vegan dishes since I was fasting. I don’t know why we always end up eating at that place when I’m fasting…

photo(8)We ordered 1/4 portion of Hong Kong Fried Potatoes, 1/4 portion of Tofu with Vegetables and 1/4 of Singapore Noodles. This was different from what we usually order – Fried Rice with vegetables, Tofu/Chicken. The Singapore noodles came with curry. This was my first time having noodles with curry.

I will be honest – I did not like it one bit. Firstly, the noodles were cooked in oil and it seemed that they made a gravy out of the curry to add to the noodles. The oil from the noodles plus the oil from the gravy made the entire dish awfully oily. It’s sad to say those noodles were also…bland. I had to add Soy Sauce to it for it to taste well enough for me stomach it.photo 2

On the other hand, we really enjoyed the fried potato. I felt like I would have just been content having that alone. Maybe because of the noodles we did not manage to finish our meal. I think the waitress must have figured we hadn’t eaten any of it since there was not much of a difference in the amount of food on the plates when she brought it to us. Let’s have a comparison, shall we…photo 2(1)
See? Barely touched.

Maybe if we had ordered rice instead of the noodles, I might have eaten more.

Next time I think I’ll make a video review instead, since there were lots of funny moments in between everything. We ate like pigs, but it wasn’t too embarrassing because the area we chose to dine was comfortably secluded by ornamental bamboo trees.

I must say, the interior decor was pretty neat and appealing to the eyes with lots of gorgeous Asian ornaments. I wish I had taken a few more pictures of the restaurant’s interior, but unfortunately I didn’t want the other customers to feel evaded in any way.photo 4

The staff service was pretty friendly too. The waitress who took our orders seemed to remember us because she seemed to know we wanted everything to be strictly vegan.

If you’re a university/college student wanting to have lunch with your clique, this place will certainly be appealing to your budget. The entire meal came up to $110.00 which is pretty good for the amount of food we got. To top it off, we split the bill between the two of us ($55 per person).

In the end we decided to box away the rest of the food to take home for our families to try…

Some Things That Annoy Me: Part One

I’m feeling a bit irritated so I’m just going to vent here in this post until I’m satisfied. I’m doing a few courses in the Summer Semester at my University. First week had orientations and no official classes. When classes actually began I got myself prepared – reviewed the course outlines and made some of my own notes…like a good, studious girl. Next class a new girl sat next to me. She told me that she had registered for the course late and asked me what had been covered in the previous class. I told her what she wanted to know.

Then there was silence. The lecturer had not arrived just yet. My note book was on the desk (I had everything that I needed to use on my portion of the shared table). Then to my annoyance, the same girl who sat next to me decided that it was alright to – without permission – take my notebook and skim through it…

Yesterday was one of those days where the annoyance levels were beyond average. But I took a breath in and exhaled and successfully kept my mouth shut. It probably wasn’t her fault she didn’t know about seeking out permission before, you know… prying into other people’s belongings. Or maybe she was just nervous beyond infinity because she was totally unfamiliar with the people in class or the environment, period.

Still…I would have greatly appreciated if she asked me to look through my notebook. I mean for Heaven’s sake the thing could have been my journal!

The important thing in this situation however, was my reaction at the scene. Yes, I was annoyed but I didn’t show it. I let it slide just once. If the same person repeats the same mistake where I’m concerned, I will be sure to tell her about it. Because that’s how people learn, right? When you do something that is unacceptable in society, you get corrected. We’re all human and we all make mistakes.

We have to remember the way we react to a situation often says a lot about US.

University Life: Through the Eyes of a First Year Student.

Starting a new chapter in life is always exciting. I’m always looking forward to new experiences to learn from or to simply enjoy. As I’ve mentioned before, my first semester at university has ended and I would like to use this time to reflect on all that has happened. Hopefully what I share with you in this post will, in some way be helpful to you too.

At the start of everything, I was literally walking into something I knew nothing about. Thankfully my faculty decided to give orientations on the first week. I had no classes that week, just orientations from the different departments. The week ended with a faculty orientation which was huge since all the faculty’s first year students were required to attend. It was at this orientation I saw quite a lot of familiar faces — people from elementary school and high school.

I was excited and nervous when classes officially began. Initially, I planned to be a loner, having only Kaveeta as a close friend. Of course I would have acquaintances but nothing too deep. From what I had been told, there are many parasites in university. Leeches that you had to beware of. This was where you would have to take seriously the quote, “Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.” Because university can be pretty tough and everyone wants to be at the top…and they’ll do anything to reach there. Even play nasty games.

By keeping a strong mind I was able to see the fake friends. It was like they had ‘Parasite’ written all over their faces. But not everyone was like that though. I met a lot of genuine people too. And although I was not planning to develop close friendships…it just happened. But I was very careful.

Throughout this semester I learned that one of the keys to surviving university is to pester anyone and everyone you know who has done your courses before. Yes, form links. You can acquire a great deal of advice from them including study material. Also, if possible record your lectures. If not, make sure to make extra notes even if your lecturers tell you that the slides they use will be emailed to you. Slides only contain main points…not all the important details.

Another thing — no matter how much you dread this idea…do your assignments as soon as they are handed to you. It’s not due until next week? That doesn’t matter. Treat it as though it’s due tomorrow. Worried about losing sleep? Why? You’ll have enough time to sleep when the semester ends. All you need is about five hours and that should generate enough energy to get you through the day. Unless you have classes all day…only then you should get the extra hour. But stay away from energy drinks no matter how much they tempt you, because the last thing you need is a nervous break down.

The last thing is pretty much learning to manage your time. It is possible to make time for everything and everyone that you care about. You just have to control how much time. Yes Chantal, this part is especially directed toward you. Haha. Too much of anything can have a negative effect on you. Ever heard of a drug called ‘KPOP”? Haha…

University life is it’s own adventure. It’s a whole new journey in life…a very different experience. It’s the place where most meet their future spouses, establish long term friendships, make a one or two hiccups. If you try to shy away from the new responsibilities this new journey entails, then you are simply not ready. Remember, as you get older you are expected to grow wiser. And this can only be achieved by undergoing various experiences. You stumbled a bit at the beginning? Oh that’s okay. It was expected. No body is perfect. But at least now you know how to deal with the situation, how to handle similar tasks at hand. 

To a special friend of mine, I’d like to say –as you embark on this new journey, keep a focused mind in everything you do and learn from the events you will now face. But more importantly, don’t lose sight of that goal you wish to accomplish…

Christmas 2013 Preparations

I haven’t blogged in forever, I know. University life is very hectic and I think I’ll write a post on that later. The first Semester ended off with finals and I started preparing for Christmas as soon as I possibly could. When I was little, Christmas was amazing…something my brother and I looked forward to the most. We had tons of fun. The food always tasted better on that day and the air just seemed so different. All of that changed when my grandmother passed away. Christmas just seemed like an ordinary day…

This year my brother decided that things need to go back to the way it was before. After nearly nine years, we are going to rekindle the Christmas spirit. That means lots of food, presents and family. My brother decided that everyone in the household will get five gifts. He seems to have awakened his inner child — the more gifts, the merrier. For me, it’s all about the food. So I’ll be baking two cakes and my mother and I will both work on lunch. Not sure exactly what the lunch menu will be yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be amazing!

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First-time Experience: Voting At Local Elections

So today I played a big role as a national of my country. I made a very critical decision. I participated in the local elections.

I was was very interested in voting today since I’ve never done this before. From what I’ve heard from my parents, it’s not much of a big deal. Voting in different communities usually just takes place at schools located in that community. On this day, children get a day off from school because the schools are used as voting centers.

So today I saw how the voting process takes place. I went to the elementary school that’s in my community with my mother. Once we entered the compound, the guard at the building’s entrance asked us our last names. Then we checked with a lady at a desk for our names. Once she confirmed our identities, she checked our names out of a long list of names. Then we each proceeded to another lady at a second desk who demonstrated how to fold our slip. She even showed me how to use a stamp. I am a young adult, why wouldn’t I know how to use a stamp…? Well, I guess that’s procedure.

Then I was instructed to make my decision in a VERY small cubicle and fold it just the way I was shown. Then…placed the slip in the box while dipping my right index finger in some dark ink to signify that I have voted and can no longer vote again (until the next elections).

Personal, Random KPOP questions…

1)Favorite Kpop Band & Bias?

I honestly don’t believe I can have one favorite KPOP band or bias. With respect to bands, recently I am impressed by a rookie group called EXO. Their popularity is growing by the minute so I am pretty sure you’ve heard of them. SHINee is also out to recapture my interests again with their latest mini album. As for biases. If I were to choose one, I’d be lying to you. Does my bias have to be in the KPOP industry? Can’t it be an actor? Lol. SHINee’s Minho…for the sake of providing an answer and I’m also considering the fact that SHINee was one of the 1st KPOP groups I was introduced to.
2)Who out of all your bias has the best aegyo?

EXO’s Baekhyun. He is capable of giving Sehun lots of competition. Then there’s also Kris…and Xiumin (I only saw his aegyo once but I thought it was so adorable!)
4)Can you speak korean?

No. Not at the moment. But I certainly plan to! Now, I don’t like people to think that KPOP influenced my to want to learn the language. Before KPOP, I used to be interested in all different types of dramas, anime, Bollywood films etc. and I always find myself interested in learning how to say phrases in many languages. Imagine not having to read subtitles of your favorite anime…
5)Which band have you been the fan of for the longest? How long?

SHINee. Since 2010.
6)Did you introduce any of your friends to kpop?

Yup. Why wouldn’t I?
7)K-Pop Ships?

I don’t really care for it, honestly…but if I really have to choose one…based onbrotherly affection it would be HunHan
8)Do you know any of the dances? Lyrics?

Dances: not completely; Lyrics: not completely
9)Cutest kpop nicknames?

Baozi, Picasso Kris
10)Funniest reaction gifs?

Chanyeol charging at a pack of cookies and another one where he’s peeking out from behind one of the members on stage…

New Chapter, New Challenges, New Experiences

Today was my first day of University life. Everything is all new to me since I’ve never been given a heads up about what my experience at university will be like. The relatives that have walked this path before me are either unwilling to share their experiences or couldn’t care less. My relatives on my father’s side are pretty much centered around wealth. They don’t see the value in giving advice or emotional support. The relatives who are attending university on my mother’s side are in the same boat as me.

Anyway, in summary: I’m a newbie at the moment. I’m excited about this transition. My life feels…different. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But I’m glad that my life isn’t stagnant. I’m excited to get working. I’ve never felt hunger to excel so much in my life. I’m nervous, but I know that I can’t shy away from my responsibilities now.

The university, like many others around the world, is an understandably huge compound. I got lost today…but I was okay. It helped me find some familiar faces. It may take about three weeks to learn the campus.

I don’t think I’ll be able to update my regular blog stuff as much as I want. I believe that now I’ll have to only update once per month. ‘Random Stories’ will be updated regularly though. You know what? Here’s a layout of how my updates are going to be from now on:

Random Posts: Regular (update times will vary depending on the topics I rant about)
Movie Reviews: Every two months
Music Reviews: Every three months
Memories: As soon as something worth remembering happens
Gingerelle Update: Whenever Gingerelle does something very, very, VERY adorable (there are 3 ‘very’s since EVERYTHING she does is adorable)
TV Reviews: At the end of 2013
Other things: When I have time

There you have it! 

Life Lesson: Keep On Running…

I’m more than happy to help friends and family. If someone asks me to lend a hand, motivate or to simply just be the shoulder to cry on I’ll do it to my very best ability. Very often I seem to get a very common line from some friends and family. It triggers fear in me. It worries me. I get stressed out and dwell on it more and more. Maybe it’s a phrase a lot have us have used or heard on a daily basis.

It sounds like this:

“What if {insert the negativity}…”

Life is based on a balance of positives and negatives. In life, without ups and downs then you’re not really living at all aren’t you?

It’s good to think a little negative because it makes us plan ahead; makes us prepared. It’s also good to be positive because it gives us the courage to get up and move on. Both play a vital role in man’s survival. Not physically, but mentally.

However as I mentioned before — these days I’m hearing too much of the negative. And too much of anything is dangerous…

I — along with many — have a dream in life. I hope to achieve it. The piece of advice I’m about to give is given to everyone so you should be no stranger to it.

If you strongly desire something, you must work towards it or else you will never get it. Don’t dwell on your dreams and sit back and expect what you hope for to just meet you along somewhere in the future. If you want it, then you’ll have to go and get it.

If you stumble along the way, don’t say to yourself, “It’s never going to happen. I’m never going to reach where I want to be.” Find a solution, then pick yourself up and continue to run.

Our decisions are entitled to change along our journey but don’t let these changes be due to our surrender to disappointment. Because that is true failure. Let our decisions be influenced by reason.

Random Story: That Feeling of Relief

“To cry was to release all sorts of ugly little pressures and tensions. Like waking out of a long, dark dream to a sun-filled day.”
Anne McCaffrey, Nerilka’s Story

Now I feel like I can handle the greatest tasks and I won’t breathe a single word of complaint. This is the effect of the feeling of relief. My life is now moving forward again and I am grateful to a limitless extent. Also I’m thankful that my appetite has returned. I’m glad that I can now enjoy everything without worry before the time comes again where I will have to endure hard work to achieve my ultimate goals…

Random Story: Backyard Photography

This evening I got a little bored. My brother decided to wash our mother’s van and I just roamed around in the grass looking at almost everything in our little garden. Our garden is far from maturity so there’s nothing much to see, but the natural lighting from the evening’s sun made me admire how everything looked. So  I decided to do some random photography of the flowers. It temporarily took my mind of the current stressful matters at hand.

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Put The Back In The Pack

The Fashion Medley

white backpackchanel backpack 2

My love for backpacks go back to my childhood days, 6 years old to be more accurate; when my uncle went to USA and brought me a mini denim backpack with three applique pink flowers. Then I remember in middle school begging my parents to buy me a Nike backpack for school. Again in high school opting for a Lacoste backpack whereas all the other girls were carrying shoulder bags. Then I cheated on them with crossbody bags, totes and satchels – living in a country famous for pickpockets you can’t leave anything to chance. Now, almost 10 years and two continents later, my dear old friend has turned back into my life. I started with borrowing my husband’s Urban Outfitters leather look backpack but now I think I have to own one myself. Maybe even two?

I think my favourites are floral mini backpack from Bank (hello childhood subconscious),

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3.1 Phillip Lim for Target

Love the blue and the black dresses.

The Fashion Medley

31_phillip_lim_LOOK_04mini-black-40494-096-f-copy31_phillip_lim_LOOK_07Gone are the days of cheesy or absurd collaboration pieces, the ones that can be referred to as “impulse buys” later when you see them sitting in your closet, so not congruent with rest of your stuff, bought for the sole purpose of owning a “designer” piece. Phillip Lim (and Target, hand in hand) managed to create a timeless, work appropriate collection (it’s a huge 100 piece collection of women’s and men’s apparel, shoes and accessories) with signature prints and to-die-for bags.

If you live in the US it’s worth to stay sleepless on September 15th to get a “Lim” bag for $50.00 instead of $800.00 (it’s the real deal!). It may even be worth migrating to New York from Montreal for just one day. It would totally pay off.

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My Top Five Favourite Celine Dion Tracks

No matter how young you are, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard a song by Celine Dion somewhere. I’ve heard most of them at weddings. Then I used to hear her songs a lot because the radio station my mother used to listen to usually played many of Celine’s songs. My mother really liked Celine Dion’s work so every time I hear them, ma comes to mind.

They’re all moving songs and Celine has such a beautiful voice but I’m a picky person. After much thought I’ve managed to create a list of my top five favourite songs.  

Number 5.

I’m Alive

Number 4.

That’s The Way It Is

Number 3.

Taking Chances

Number 2.

My Heart Will Go On

Number 1.

A New Day Has Come

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Our First Sleepover (May there be more to come)

The highly anticipated sleepover with Kaveeta and Chantal started at Tuesday 6th August 2013 and ended on Wednesday 7th August 2013. In the months before, we had created a list of things we wanted to do but we weren’t able to do everything. I had two feelings about that:

  1. We were never bored
  2. I wish we had more time.

The highlights of the sleepover were the quizzes we prepared (winners were awarded prizes), basketball, the girly makeovers. We didn’t get to make kimchi (which is something we’ve always wanted to try). We also wanted to do some dancing and bake a pound cake.

I was glad my brother kind of participated because I don’t really like him to feel left out. It was nice to see him join us in a few basketball drills. We even played a game we made up on the spot. It involved randomly passing the ball to anyone. Everyone had a total of 20 points and every time someone dropped the ball or missed a catch, they’d loose a point. The loser ended up being Chantal whose dire punishment was to write her entire name with her hips (in front of my house).

Thinking about the sleepover makes me smile and want to host another. Next time I hope we can chat more since I feel as though we didn’t really do enough of that. There was so much going on.

I just wish the pictures my brother took were…presentable, however I doubt that editing them would make them any better so I’ll just leave out that. It was such an enjoyable event that I hardly think lack of pictures will make it less memorable.

Blueberry Crumb Muffin Cookies

These look so yummy! I love blueberries and I hope to try this out soon! I also find these pretty creative….

The Craving Chronicles

I’ve been gorging on blueberries this summer. I just cannot get enough of them. I mostly just eat them plain or mixed in with some yogurt, but when I found myself craving some comfort food recently my mind went immediately to blueberry muffins.

Blueberry Crumb Muffin Cookies

There’s just something so warm and home-y about a good blueberry muffin, right? I remember my mom and I would bake these blueberry crumb muffins that I loooooved when I was a kid. They were a boxed mix. You know, the kind that came with the tiny wild blueberries in a little tin? I could not get enough of them.

Fact: the best part of blueberry crumb muffins are the crumby tops.

Blueberry Crumb Muffin Cookies

So that’s what I made. Blueberry crumb muffin cookies that are just like the best part of blueberry crumb muffins.

The cookies are soft and moist just like a muffin, with fresh blueberries (not from…

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My Month In One Post

I did not mention this before, but I got a job for this month (and possibly next month). I used to volunteer as a remedial reading tutor to help illiterate children on Saturdays as part of my community service. Then they told me that they had a three-week program both in July and August and asked me if I’d like to work for them during that time. I’m not sure about August. The job is very tiring although I love it. I have to put some time aside to prepare for what happens for me (academically) next, plus I want to focus on getting my driver’s license…and then I also would like a little vacation in between.

This week my little cousin (well…she’s 13, so not exactly ‘little’) came over to spend the night for a whole week. She and my brother made me do crazy things. I was once again able to relive some of my childhood. We played see-saw in the hammock and water fight. I just did what I liked to do when I was little — fill the sink with water and sit in it. Gingerelle isn’t happy with my cousin’s long stay…but I guess she can bare with it for a few more days since Vinnie doesn’t usually have company like that to enjoy. Yeah…he’s sick of me. I mean if I ask him to play Monopoly or Chess with me, he’d refuse so quickly. But with our cousin, he’s more than happy to. So yes, he’s sick of me. Haha.

This month I also watched so many movies on the internet. They were all great, but ONLY ONE will be chosen for my ‘Movie Review of July’. I still have so many things to put up on this blog. They’re all piling up!

Oh and two days ago I planted some Zinnia seeds which my friend gave me. I’m excited. I’ve always wanted to start a beautiful flower garden so I can’t wait to see how they grow! They’re supposed to be orange flowers. Maybe next time (depending on how these flowers turn out), I’ll ask for some other colors.

Still to come is the long awaited sleepover with my two awesome friends — Kaveeta and Chantal. We have so many plans! I’ll talk more about that after it actually happens.

DIY Food: Microwave Mug Cake!

I had originally seen this idea on my friend’s tumblr. Unfortunately I can’t share it directly from her page. I don’t think tumblr allows other sites to embed either. Instead, I got a similar recipe from Youtube. It’s not the exact same thing, but you CAN try this one out. When I saw this little recipe I was amazed. I didn’t think I could make a small cake in just two minutes! Plus I had all of the essential ingredients.

My Turn!

Like  said before, I used a different recipe but it’s similar and just as simple as the one in the video. Here’s what my microwave mug cake turned out to be like:

My microwave mug cake

My microwave mug cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Music Review: EXO — XOXO

In 2012, Korean boy band EXO debuted with their album ‘MAMA’ and fans were eagerly anticipating something new from them since the beginning of 2013. Finally, after a much long wait the group made their comeback on 30th May 2013 with the release of their first song ‘Wolf’ from their new album ‘XOXO’.

As I mentioned, this KPOP group recently debuted. They’re rookies, but they learn so fast they give you the impression that they were in the entertainment industry for decades. It’s difficult for me to find flaws in this group so far…well, except that they change their hair colour too often? That’s not even a flaw!

Let’s look back at the album ‘MAMA’…

I remember when I heard their first song in 2012. ‘MAMA’ had this dark, mysterious, supernatural concept with chantings at the beginning, in between and at the end of the song. Hearing the song without watching the MV made me think of gods like Hades and Zeus and I’m very much into mythology. Just imagine how excited I was when I found out that the MV depicted something VERY similar to my imagination! The album ‘MAMA’ incorporated some Asian symbolism and myths. Their debut song introduced each member’s powers which were basically nature’s elements: fire, wind, earth, water. In Asian mythology and in Buddhism, these elements play a huge role, surrounding the idea of spiritual energy.

Each member had to have something different, so powers like flight, telekinesis, invisibility, time control, frost and lightening were given to the other members. This was understandable since the group is made up of 12 boys.

In the MV for ‘What is Love’, we saw another one of the Asian mythical signs — the eclipse.

I thought the idea of the members having supernatural abilities and being from another planet (EXO Planet), suited them well. After all, every one of them is gorgeous and appears to be quite charming.

Comparing songs ‘MAMA’ and ‘Wolf’ & My impressions of ‘Wolf’…

Before the release of ‘XOXO’, I remember hoping that the group would keep to a similar (or if it had been possible, the same) concept they went with last year because as I mentioned, I thought it worked perfectly for them. And also, it was nice for a change. I mean SHINee has this ‘lady’s man’ image already. I think I feel the same way about Super Junior as well. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying I don’t like these groups or their concepts. In fact those groups will always have that special place in my heart.

As I was saying, almost all of the KPOP (boy) groups out there have these lovely, warm, romantic songs. Some are very up-beat, but still romantic. Even though I love them all, for me it was kind of refreshing to hear a somewhat new kind of KPOP (especially from SM Entertainment).

Comparing ‘Wolf’ to ‘MAMA’, I would have to say that I’m very pleased that they decided to stick to the supernatural theme! There is a difference, however. Unlike the previous album where they used Asian myths, ‘XOXO’ has a more Western type of supernatural. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out…

‘Wolf’ was exactly what the title meant. The song includes howling at a good timing and even some snarling in the background. It’s very energetic and electric! It gives me the feel of a wild beast on an adrenaline rush. 😉 Well, in this case I should say ‘BEASTS’. It’s a very sexy and charismatic song…even exotic in a sense.

‘MAMA’ on the other hand talks about humanity and mankind — the harmony of humans, the struggles of humans, the communication among humans.

Two versions of ‘Wolf’ had been made — Korean and Chinese. The song begins with rapping which flows straight into the upbeat music. It was quite expertly done. The majority of the song consists of unanimous rapping, both fast and rhythmic. Every member rapped, not just the designated rappers (Tao, Kris, Kai, Sehun, Chanyeol).

Then in the chorus, there is howling at timed intervals. Now, I know if you haven’t heard the song, you’re probably thinking that the howling would just kill it. But honestly it sounded terrific!

I absolutely love when they hit the high notes, and I got some of that from Chen, Luhan, Baekhyun and D.O. I really can’t describe the feelings I get when I hear those powerful voices. It’s like that sensation in your stomach when you’re descending a steep slope on the road with your car. Okay no, that statement does not do justice. Try a roller coaster!

Here’s the track list for the album:

  1. Wolf
  2. Baby Don’t Cry
  3. Black Pearl
  4. Don’t Go
  5. Let Out the Beast
  6. 365
  7. Heart Attack
  8. Peter Pan
  9. Baby
  10. My Lady

You may recognize that the titles that are in bold are the titles of the teasers that were released before the group debuted last year. 

The Music Videos

Since two music videos were done for ‘Wolf’ by both sub-units, I’ll discuss this in a more general manner.

Like in the music video for ‘MAMA’, this video featured the ‘Tree of Life’ at the very beginning (however, minus the long narration). I liked the idea of it since ‘MAMA’ and was pleased to see its appearance once again. In my opinion it shows the uniqueness of this band. Unlike the rest, there’s a story behind them.

The Choreography

The choreography of this song was in keeping with the concept of wild beasts. In between the complex dance moves, they incorporated beast-like movements such as crawling on the ground, scratching the ground, scratching gestures in the air and even wild facial expressions. Some may wonder how on earth can you incorporate these to make a fine choreography? Well, what can I say? Welcome to KPOP!

Like I said before, when you think of a werewolf…or simply just a wolf, what comes to mind is a savage beast and this was precisely what EXO portrayed expertly in their choreography.

The Graphics

I’m very pleased that the computer graphics weren’t overdone. They were used at minimum but it was sufficient in bringing about a beastly aura. At some points in the video, you will see transformations from man to beast and/or the other way around. The CG graphics was like the right amount of spice added to any dish to give it a “spark”.

I remember saying to my friend, “What if  this video was in 3D?”

Now I’m thinking that would have been TOO MUCH spice. I’m not complaining…because I eat spicy food every single day of the week. 😀

But I guess we have to remember that too much of anything is just as bad as too little of it.

My Thoughts On The Overall XOXO Album

Before the group’s comeback, the fans were teased with many photos, nearly all of which centered around high school. The first set of pictures were in the form of a classic high school yearbook which I thought was a unique idea. Then there was the more…creative yearbook with the boys in their uniforms and also sporting hats and unusual, fun, spunky expressions.

When a KPOP group releases teasers (be it in the form of videos or pictures), fans look to pinpoint the similarities of the teasers or what is portrayed by the teasers in order to assume a concept.

According to the picture teasers that had been revealed to the fans, the concept of this new album seemed to be ‘High School’.

Then suddenly one day we see two video teasers containing the group’s depiction of wild beasts. And so, the concept altered.  Many tried to forge a connection between “High School” and “Wolves”.

One of the video teasers dramatized conflict amongst the group. We have yet to see what had been the main idea behind those teasers and how exactly it is linked to the concepts we suspect. I heard that a drama version of the ‘Wolf’ MV will be released, so hopefully when it is we’ll be able to understand what EXO’s new album is really about.

Unlike ‘Wolf’ which is charismatic, beast-like and sexy, the other songs in this album seem more romantic and sweet. Well, with another exception being ‘Let Out The Beast’ which gives the vibe of an ‘intro song’ that can be used at the beginning of their concerts. Somewhere in the middle of this song actually makes me think of a Zumba workout. But that’s just my opinion and to each their own.

Conclusions

I was very satisfied with this album. The wait for EXO’s first comeback was indeed a very long one, however I must say the reward was certainly worth it.

One other thing I must comment on is that I was very pleased with the fact that the ‘Wolf’ MV featured ALL twelve members and they ALL sang in Mandarin (for the Chinese music video) and Korean (for the Korean music video).

Enough of my ranting! If you haven’t seen the music videos for EXO’s ‘Wolf’, then I suggest you check them out below. And if you have already seen them, it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy them again. In fact, I dare you not to watch them…

EXO ‘Wolf’ (Korean Version)
EXO ‘Wolf’ (Chinese Version)

 

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Random Story: The Persistent Shop Attendant!

Today I went shopping with my brother and my mom. This morning she just randomly came up with the idea to go to Chaguanas, a sub-urban part of the country. There are several malls there as well as outdoor shopping stalls where you can find really good bargains. I hadn’t been to Chaguanas to shop in about two years!

First we went to one of the many malls — Mid Center Mall. My mom used to work in the electronic store when she was younger so we went there for her to reminisce a bit. The interior did not change much from how I remembered it. Apparently the place is now run by a new person so the staff changed too.

The mall seemed generally dead. I know other malls up in the Northern part of the country would be more lively even on week days.

I checked out this little cosmetics store. The stuff there was more expensive than Wonderfull World (where I buy MOST of my make-up related cosmetics). My eyes happened to fall on a nice set of hair ties, so I picked it up. I took it off the rack and proceeded to look around at the other things in the store, but before I could’ve done that one of the attendants walked up to me and said, “Are you buying that?” I nodded in response. Then she asked, “Are you taking anything else?”

I wanted to tell her, “Well, I would only know that if you let me have a look around carefully,” but instead I just brushed off the annoyance and paid for the hair ties. Did she think I would shop lift? Or was it that they were so desperate for sales? I don’t know about you guys, but I love to shop comfortably. Some shop attendants need to just give their customers some space so that they can actually decide on buying something. If you want to offer your assistance, ask us if we need any help or simply let us know that you’re willing to offer your services. But don’t go breathing down our necks because it’s bad for business.

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The Random Interview: 20 Random Questions for Me

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Different people call me different things: Chris, Wati, Muddia, Mudds, Mommin, Manda, Christina. I love all of them because they are used affectionately.

2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

“Rapture” by Lauren Kate. I bought it some time ago but with exams and all I did not get a chance to read it. I have the time now, but I got taken up with trips and blogging, Kdramas as well as “The Shadowhunter Series” which I found online. I just can’t leave it alone! Help me!

3. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

I doodle every single time I talk on the phone (how often is that? Not much really). They turn out to be many things: funny faces, henna patterns…

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I listen to music until I feel tired. Sometimes I would drink some milk and just watch television or play video games with my little brother. Counting sheep never works of me. It just gets me more frustrated.

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?

Confinement where? I hope it would be somewhere I can shower! Haha. I might just loose myself in a daydream. Hmmm…if that happens, I hope I can come back to reality at the end of it all. If not, well that will surely suck! I may not last long. Perhaps a day or two? I don’t like being alone. If I am, there must always be something to keep  me occupied or else I will get bored pretty fast.

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?

I save all the greeting cards from my cousin Isabelle and her family in Indiana. I don’t get to see her very often so I get excited when she sends cards or letters. I keep them all and I will never throw them out.

7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

I don’t know a pack rat. Haha. Hm…let me think… NOPE! No one!

8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?

I would immediately scour the area for someone I know. I’d feel so awkward just standing somewhere by myself. That’s why I will never go to a party that’s filled with people I don’t know. Or I will more than likely ask a friend or relative to accompany me just for the company.

9. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

If I’m heading out, when I wake up in the morning and at the end of the day when I wash my face and brush my teeth.

10. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I’m not sure which one to pick. That there were wolves on the streets at night? Or that another world existed inside a bucket of water? I think it’s the latter.

11. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Instant Ramen noodles. I know, I’m slowly killing myself.

12. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

No one. We are all selfish bastards. Muahaha!!!

13. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?

Oh boy. Once every six months? I love reading….just not the newspapers. If I DO happen to pick it up, I’d find the cinema guide first then read the international section. Sometimes I’ll look at the ads for any nice deals.

14. Which animals scare you most? Why?

Snakes. Because they’re snakes. That needs no explanation.

15. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

Depends on the type of conflict. But I am no coward.

16. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?

A past classmate of mine met my mother at the grocery the other day and told her, “Not to worry about Christine. She’s a very smart girl ever since I knew her,” when talking about chances of success in my exams. Child, I hope I can live up to your expectations and I thank you very much for having faith in me.

17. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?

I may complain sometimes, but I like who I am. I’m grateful to be born to the parents I have. They’ve done so much for me and I appreciate that greatly. I hope to never disappoint them. Everyday we wish to change a different part of ourselves, but deep down we don’t really mean it or the reality of it happening is too far-fetched. I’ll say one thing however: I’ve planned what I want for myself in future (where I want to go and what I want to experience) and I intend to make it happen.

18. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.

I must have Coca Cola with breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, I can survive without it for a short while if there’s another soda flavor as a substitute.

19. Are you high maintenance? Explain.

Nope. Just feed me. If I want something, I’d rather get it using my own sweat.

20. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?

18th June 2013 to be precise. I went to Tobago. Had a fun day filled with so many activities you’d be jealous of me. 😛

Tobago Trip (18th June 2013): Places

Once we arrived at Tobago, we wasted no time on beginning our adventure. Our first stop was at the Fort King George. From the fort, we got an amazing view of the island’s coast just beyond a mass of green fields and forests. The fort was built in the early 1770’s to serve as a defense for the capitol of Scarborough which had been newly appointed at the time. As expected, the fort was surrounded by many canons that faced in the direction of the sea. I felt as though we did not spend much time exploring the fort however I really loved that I was able to see buildings that were constructed from so long ago (long before I was even born), still standing today. They were ancient, designed with old stone bricks.

They really maintain the buildings well because the walls were free of moss and vines from the trees. Well, except for one — the one at the foot of the small hill. From above it reminded me of buildings you would see in movies set in medieval times. You could see the moss on the stone roof (or at least it looked like stone to me). Chantal, Kaveeta and I were fascinated by it since it reminded us of our favourite movies, so we went down to have a look.

When we got closer, we assumed — from the bars at the entrance — that this building was something like a small dungeon! The sign at the entrance, however stated that it was a powder magazine. It looked too creepy to be a powder magazine! It had an unpleasant, old stench so we did not stick around for too long.

Our second stop was at the Genesis Nature Park which was started and is still run by a guy named Michael. We arrived there pretty early (around 8:15) and the nature park usually opens at 9:30 a.m but Michael decided to open the doors early just for our sake and we were thrilled. To be more precises, it’s a conservation “zoo” which he runs all by himself. He welcomed us and was more than happy to show us every part of his zoo. I was amazed by what I had seen. The compound was hilly, however Michael had designed the zoo to make everything fit. There were lots of vegetation, a man-made waterfall, historical equipment and animals.

If you’re planning a trip to Tobago, I suggest you stop by the Genesis Nature Park. Michael enlightened us with ample information about the local plants and animals of the island. You’ll even get to see some interesting local artwork!

Our next destination was the Argyle Waterfall. It was quite a magnificent scene; the BEST waterfall I have ever seen in person so far! In order to get there we had to walk along a short trail, walk up and down some steps and then — the best part of all — we had to hike. We used our shoes (obviously) to get across rocks and water. After a steep ascent followed by a short descent, we made it to the highest pool. What a work out it was, but certainly worth it! The water was pretty cold but we didn’t mind because everyday I’m usually complaining about hot weather…

Unfortunately I have no pictures of the waterfall (since I didn’t take my camera with me), and the pictures I managed to get from my friends don’t belong in the category of ‘Places’. So if you have the password, you can head to ‘Memories’ and check them out.

The other places we visited were the Buccoo Reef, Nylon Pool, No Man’s Land and Storebay; however the things I have to say about these places are more suited for ‘Memories’ so if you know the password, read about them there.

About the password

Some of the pictures I post up contain friends and family who — although they want to be part of my blog — are not comfortable being exposed in any way to unfamiliar people. And I respect that. So if you ever come across a post that requires you to enter a password, please understand. And in case you’re wondering: no they’re not famous people!

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Gingerelle Update: Father’s Day Surprise!

This morning my mother and I were wrapping the gifts we kept hidden from my father to present them to him for Father’s Day. We locked my bedroom door and I wrapped one of the gifts while my mother scrambled through some drawers looking for some more gift paper. I sat on my bed as I worked. The gift bag was also on the bed, placed horizontally.

Gingerelle was in the room, skidding across the floor, under the bed with a piece of unwanted gift paper. Sometimes I wonder if in her eyes, simple little things such as paper grow wings and become a griffin or a Pegasus. She has so much fun with garbage…makes you feel like keeping them for her sake…

Suddenly she became interested in what I was doing on the bed and jumped up to investigate. She looked over every item: the bits of paper strewn across the sheet, the scissors, the tape (which she tapped with her little paw) and then moved on to the gift bag…the ‘cave’.

In one swift movement Gingerelle dove right into the gift bag before turning around so that she was facing the opening and then laid down comfortably.

I gazed at her and said, “Oh! So you want to be a part of the presentation too, huh…”

She is very much adored by my father, so there was no harm in letting her sit with the gifts. My mother insisted that I take a picture so I took several. I mean…how can I look at the sweet little thing and just take ONE picture? The ones I chose to share with you are the best ones in my opinion. It was very difficult to choose just two, but I had to because of limited storage space. Forgive me.

She just made our gift presentation to my father more special. That stern facade always comes off when she’s in front of him. He loves her to pieces and he doesn’t hide it! I should be jealous but I’m not because..well, how can I? Look at her. :3

See that bell she’s wearing? I picked that up for her when I visited the pet shop at the mall on Thursday 13th June 2013 with my friend, Chantal. Gingerelle loves it even though it annoys her sometimes (when she’s grooming herself). She would dash from the kitchen to the living room just to hear it jingle.

However at night, we remove the bell from around her neck, because this lovable cat is like any other kid in the world when it comes to being naughty…

Gingerelle, The Present

Gingerelle Update: The Sky Is Falling!

Today a contractor and a few of his workers came to our house at my dad’s request to fix our roof. During this season the winds are pretty strong and we could lose our entire roof because it’s not properly in tact. Several cases before, we could actually hear the loose galvanize raising up when the breeze blew in.

The noise is irritating and the dust falling from the ceiling as they pound the surface on top really gets to my nose. But that doesn’t really bother me much as I’m curiously staring at my beloved cat, Gingerelle. I’m wondering about the thoughts that are currently running through her mind as she looks up to where the sounds come from. Her head moves from the pounding to the left and then to the drilling on the right.

Perhaps she’s wondering, “Are those sounds coming from HUGE pigeons crash-landing onto the roof?” Or, “Is the sky falling!?”

My dear, you’ve been looking at too much television!

Now there’s the sound of something rolling…

“Is that thunder? A storm is coming?” I imagine her thoughts again.

Suddenly she dashes under the table with her tail between her legs.

Sometimes I wish I could understand what she’s thinking…

Awesome Paper Art — I Want To Try!

Source: usefuldiy.com via Katherine on Pinterest

Paper quilling is something I’ve always wanted to try. If only I had more time and a variety of paper colours, I’d make dozens of interesting quill crafts! This crafting technique allows you to construct very creative items. You could use it as wall decor, fashion accessories and even Christmas decorations.

Handy Little Pouch

Source: duitang.com via Pang on Pinterest

I was actually just surfing Pintrest, looking at random DIYs and stumbled upon this cute little creation. Looks pretty fancy, doesn’t it? I really want to make one like this for my digital camera. When I actually get that done, I’ll show you what it looks like. I promise 🙂

Movie of The Month (May): Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki

Movie Title: Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Translation: Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda

Voice Actors: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Bunta Sugawara, Kumiko Aso, Shota Sometani

Genre: Animated, Adventure, Family, Supernatural

Synopsis: The theme of the film is the love between parents and children. The story covers 13 years and begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana who encounters and falls in “fairy tale-like” love with a “wolf man.” After marrying the wolf man, Hana gives birth and raises two wolf children—an older sister named Yuki who was born on a snowy day, and a younger brother named Ame who was born on a rainy day. The four quietly lived in a corner of a city to conceal the existence of the “wolf children,” but when the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana decides to move to a rural town far removed from the city. (Source: ANN)

The Review

The Story

I don’t think I’ve ever come across a Japanese animated movie quite like this one. If there are any out there, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. It’s quite nice to sit back and enjoy this 117 minutes anime movie on a quiet Sunday afternoon with the family if they’re interested in animated shows.

There’s hardly anything I can say I disliked.

The movie begins with Yuki narrating the story of her parents and how they lived trying to hide the secret of her father being half-wolf. As she narrates, there are scenes showing how her parents met and the birth of Yuki and her brother, Ame.

You get a taste of romance between the mother and father at the beginning once they start dating, however the movie does NOT center around romance and therefore not much of the movie is spent behind the parents’ love life. So if you’re looking for romance between a human and supernatural being, then you’ve stumbled upon the wrong film.

How could this be an intriguing movie without romance? Well, I’ll have you know that not all movies need romance or action to capture viewers’ hearts and interests. Honestly if there was more romance than the movie had contained, the film would have been a huge flop.

The film focused on a young mother (Hana) who had no idea of how to raise wolf children. It showed us how she managed through her unusual life with them; her dilemmas when it came to her children’s health, education and their social lives. Hana had to dedicate a great amount of effort to hide her family’s secret otherwise the consequences would have been heartbreaking.

This movie made me understand Yuki’s feelings about her life’s events and mother’s story through her narration; and it made me live Hana’s experiences.

For me, this film was like a breath of fresh air.

After the death of Hana’s husband, she decides to take her children to a secluded part of Japan in the rural regions. She takes this decision upon realizing through one or two close calls that her family’s secret can easily be unfolded.

But the challenges only BEGIN when they move to the countryside. Hana learns many old school methods of survival. She was compelled to start her own vegetable garden due to the great distances between her family’s new home and the nearest grocery. The fact that they also did not have any transportation at the time just added to her problems. At the beginning, Hana tries to go at everything on her own without the help of the few neighbours in the neighbourhood. However, she soon learns that her method was wrong from a grumpy, old man who showed Hana a cold facade which she was able to see through.

As Yuki grew up, she longed to live a normal life. She started attending school and maintained the life of a regular child. She taught herself that the children around her were very different, and adapted comfortably to her new environment.

Ame on the other hand chose a different path. He opted for life in the wild, keeping the peace in the forest.

The family managed to keep their secret safe…until Yuki got involved in an incident at school.

The Artwork and Audience

I enjoy an anime movie more when I know it’s recent. Why? Because you’re CERTAIN that the image quality will be superb. Don’t get me wrong — there ARE anime movies out their from the 1990’s (or even earlier) that had poor drawing quality BUT the intensely intriguing plots made up for that entirely!

The children were adorably drawn and while they pelted across the fields, playing they would smoothly transform from human to pup and then human again.

Another thing I loved about this movie was the many scenes of nature — the forest, the snow, the rivers, the dew drops on the leaves. It gave the viewer a crisp, clean and refreshing feel. When the wind blew just after the rain had stopped, I would imagine myself feeling its coolness against my skin.

The sound effects completed the masterpiece. They were very detailed and gave this animated film a realistic sensation.

I would say this movie targets adolescents. And it’s not just because young children may have trouble understanding it. You see, at the beginning, there is this absurd intimate scene between Hana and her husband. And you’ll see why I said absurd when you view the film. During this brief scene, there is very vague nudity and therefore I suggest this film is more suited for young teens over the age of 15.

At the end of this movie, I was still longing to know what Yuki’s life may be like in the future. There is a potential romance between her and one of her schoolmates. I really hope the creators decide to make a sequel centering around Yuki and if she — like her mother — will be able to safeguard her family’s secret in the future.

Other movies I liked watching during the month of April:

  • Nanny McPhee II It wasn’t quite as magical as the first, however certainly a fun and entertaining family film!
  • The Secret World of Arriety — It reminded me a lot of Thumbelina, but I liked it nonetheless.
  • Wolf Boy (Korean Movie) — This one was very interesting and very different. I would not mind watching it again. 

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Own problems

Your life is yours, and that means: so are your problems. We can only look to others for advice, however our problems must always be solved on our own. Our problems have a strange way of giving us knowledge, encouragement and strength and that’s why it’s best to fight our way through until the very end.

The Gingerelle Update: Someone’s In the House!

Early this morning around three, I was awakened by loud creaking sounds from just outside my bedroom. I was only half awake and thought maybe the noise had been part of a dream I was slowly coming out of, but then I heard it again. By then I figured that the sound came from a cupboard door by the sink that was in the hall outside my room.

I sat up on my bed and listened for more sounds. While I did, a train of thoughts coursed through my mind. But the most terrifying ones were, ‘What if someone’s in the house?’ and ‘What if whatever is causing the cupboard doors to creak isn’t even human?’ I know, that last one may sound absurd to you, but I know that my house can feel a little haunted from time to time. I knew that I should go investigate, however I reasoned that if there was a burglar, I would be unprepared to face him since I came across nothing in my room with which I could use to defend myself. So, I reached for my cell phone which was on my bedside table. I figured that I could call the house phone which was situated in my parent’s room, to alert them. But then I don’t know what possessed me to just scrap the idea and check the situation out myself. Where did I suddenly get that courage?

As I walked to my door, I remembered scaring my friend over the phone with a bunch of supernatural ‘What If’ stories for the day we have our sleepover at my house. I almost regretted it, thinking that I just may be about to experience something supernatural. I was so scared that I started to ask God for forgiveness. Chantal,if you’re reading this, don’t laugh. 😀

I opened my door and poked my head out, and I saw that the cupboard door was more than ajar. And then it creaked again!

I could not see what had been behind it, constantly pushing it so I took two steps forward and leaned over very silently.

And then….I breathed a sigh of relief.

Gingerelle dropped the small teddy that had been in her mouth, sat down and looked up at me. I went over to the other side and took up Stinky (her teddy) and placed him back into the cupboard before closing it shut and scooping my baby into my arms. We hide her toys in that cupboard because she loves to present them to us only at night, after which she would begin to nibble at our toes and legs and even ‘meow’ in a high pitched tone. And it’s not like we don’t feed her. She does this even though her kibble bowl is full.

So I just took her to her kibble bowl and rubbed her tummy as she ate. Then I went back to bed…

Music Review: SHINee — Dream Girl: Misconceptions Of You

I know this review is extremely late but this is only because I’ve been ridiculously busy completing school assignments. I know…there’s actually something that can come between me and KPOP. But don’t worry, this never lasts long.

Anyways…moving along…

After their previous mini album “Sherlock” which was released in 2012, SHINee — a five-member KPOP boy group who never fails to surprise their fans — released their glorious, new, FULL-LENGTH album on February 19th 2013. Well…not the entire thing. I almost got seizures when I found out that their album would be broken into two chapters — Dream Girl: Misconceptions Of You and the next one being Dream Girl: Misconceptions of Me. Also, they released a Japanese single called ‘Fire’.

Sighs…there’s so much to talk about and I don’t even know where to start!

Album Art and Concept

Okay, first thing’s first — the album art!

The album cover was very different from their previous ones. It was very artsy, funky and vector-like — definitely not what I had expected. They seem to be very brave when it comes to taking  chances at different concepts. I like that attitude 😉 However I prefer dark concepts, so honestly speaking, while this new concept had me curious as to what these young idols had in store for us fans, I was also a bit disappointed. But I did not let myself get discouraged one bit. It was not what I had expected from them, but I showed my support and when the album was released, I was keeping very much up to date with the album tracks, SHINee’s explanations behind their new concept and I also anticipated the MV for their title track ‘Dream Girl’ just as much as I did for their previous works.

As they revealed, this chapter of their album was about their ideal types — what they would expect their significant other to be like. Of course this caught the attention of many fan-girls as we all were curious about their ideal types 😀 They also revealed that the concept was meant to be ‘dreamy’ and THAT’S where I understood why everything about this new album did not live up to my expectations in the beginning. Thinking about it, I don’t think it was very ‘SHINee’ of them to sport the attire they used for the concept photos and MV. Honestly the patterns reminded me of curtains I’ll never use. My friend on the other hand got the impression of pajamas! The point I’m trying to make is that in dreams, things can be perfect, surreal, horrible, unexpected, uncharacteristic and I now can safely say that SHINee pulled off that ‘dreamy’ concept quite well! The concept was surreal, unexpected and unusual. This only added to my excitement for the MV!

The Tracks and Music Video

Here’s the track listing for Misconceptions Of You:

01. Spoiler
02. Dream Girl
03. 히치하이킹 (Hitchhiking)
04. Punch Drunk Love
05. Girls, Girls, Girls
06. 방백 (Aside)
07. 아름다워 (Beautiful)
08. 다이너마이트 (Dynamite)
09. Runaway

The album commences with a track called ‘Spoiler’. At the beginning of this song, you can clearly hear the beginning of their song ‘Sherlock’, the title track of their mini-album from last year. However, after that bit the song has a completely different beat and it’s VERY catchy. This is one of my favourite tracks from this new album. It makes you want to get off your seat and just dance and pretend you’re on your own debut stage :D. This is one I like to dance to when I’m doing house chores because it just makes it a lot more enjoyable. In fact, I do almost everything with KPOP! In the lyrics of this track you can hear them introducing the titles of their other tracks from both chapters, even the title of chapter two — ‘Why So Serious’. There’s a reason why it’s called ‘Spoiler’ ;). I thought that was really cool; it seems like a MAGNIFICENT opening and I can only imagine a SHINee concert in the order of this track-list. Wouldn’t THAT be mind-blowing? It gets you more anxious to hear the rest of the album. When I listen to this song using the headphones, it feels as though the music just EXPLODES in my ears and I imagine fireworks!

Okay..enough about this song. The next one is my THIRD favourite. Yes, you read correctly. THIRD. ‘Dream Girl’ is the title track of this entire album. It’s very up-beat so don’t you go using this as your lullaby.

My second favourite song is actually….*drum rolls*…’Hitchiking’!!! Why? Listen to it and at the 0:18 mark, just listen to the music. Hear that? That heavy-metal feel I get is just epic! It really raises my pores! Well…that’s just my opinion.

That’s all for the tracks. I won’t say any more in case some of you haven’t heard the album yet (which is hardly possible :D).

Next up — The MV!!

SHINee will never be SHINee if they didn’t impress us with their complex dance moves. Come on…this is something we all look forward to with every new release that comes from them!

Five gorgeous guys, blinking lights, colours, god-like vocals, rhythmic music…COMPLICATED DANCING WITH MIC STANDS — what more could I possibly ask for!?

The video depicts what happens in a dream — the defiance of gravity, glamour, colours, surrealism (I think I even saw EXO’s symbol! XD). What really got my attention — like most other fans — was the use of mic stands. I am no expert entertainer, but I do know that those things are said to be really heavy! So how on earth were they able to swing those things around and dance about the stage so effortlessly!? My answer: they aren’t even human. Haha…kidding! That’s the result of a lot of practice. And as we all know by now, SHINee is a group of perfectionists. Very admirable people indeed. 

I think during one of their on-stage performances, Minho broke the mic? I can’t remember the full story…but that’s a man for you :P. The video was not totally what I had expected. I wanted to see more dancing, but they only showed bits and pieces of that and more of the boys bouncing around and falling onto beds (not such a bad thing, huh? 😉 ).

Why I Was Disappointed At First and Conclusions

When I think of SHINee, the first things that come to my mind are electric, sometimes chaotic, hipster, dark, glamourous. And for me, Dream Girl was a bit more whimsical than I had wanted it to be. However this was only because i didn’t fully understand the concept at the time. It wasn’t long before it grew on me.

Listening to this chapter, I was glad that Minho got to rap more. Unlike many people, I’m actually fond of it and I believe his voice really suits that job. Sometimes I would catch a piece of the vocals where he’s singing so I hope to hear more of that too.

I think I’ve ranted enough. In case you somehow didn’t listen to their new album, you can do so here in this link. And what about the MV? Watch it here.

I will do a review on Chapter Two and Fire as soon as I can. In some other KPOP news — EXO is finally making their 2013 comeback!!!

The Devil’s Woodyard

On 19th April 2011 we visited a place called ‘The Devil’s Woodyard’. I had heard of it before and expected it to be a very scary place with dead trees and old abandoned, dilapidated buildings covered in volcanic matter. So you can say that what we actually came across DID disappoint me a bit…

The Devil’s Woodyard is a volcanic site in our country and has been so named by the Amerindians who believed that the devil himself had emerged from beneath to dwell on land when there had been an eruption in 1852.

The area consists of several mud vents which you can take a look at below.

Question: My Second Favourite Animal

Inner Sanctum (website: http://sanctumobesession.tumblr.com/) asks, “I see that your favourite animal is cats. What is your second favourite and why?”

RESPONSE:

You will not believe how difficult this question is for me!

Okay, I guess in answering this question I will be able to find out for myself. When I was younger my family and I owned dogs. We were very fond of them because they were all very special — each had their own adorable personalities. But gradually we began to lose them. Chester died after being bit by a snake, Scooby passed because of old age and Boxer we had to send away because I was getting too viscous and started scaring us. Now he’s a watch dog somewhere in the country (it was better that we didn’t know where exactly).

Then of course we got our Gingerelle. She lives in the house with the rest of the family. She is not allowed to step foot outside because we are very, VERY overprotective of her. We would think of all the series of unfortunate events that could possibly occur once she steps out that door — there are the cars on the road, the occasional hungry stray dog, the desperate toms…yeah, I know. It’s crazy but I can’t help it. I’ve seen too many road fatalities where animals were concerned and it really breaks my heart.

But just recently my dad found a little tortoise in a cane patch that he was clearing in our back yard. So we took him in. We fed him and kept him safe. Gingerelle seemed to adore him. She mothered him, checking on him a couple of times. But after a word with my biology teacher who suggested that it was best to release him into his natural habitat…i mustered up the strength to let him go. My dad took him to a river that’s located five minutes away from our place.

So I guess I like dogs, cats and turtles…

But then on TV I would see more wildlife and get attached to them. That’s one thing you have to understand about me — I get attached to basically all animals. Except for frogs and snakes (shivers).

Now that i think about it…there was one movie I saw ages ago. The name of it was The Protector. You can read the synopsis in the link but basically it was about an elephant that was looked after by a Thai fighter in Thailand. One day the elephant got stolen and the boy made it his mission to get his elephant back. This movie made me cry tears by the bucket-load! I’ll do a review on it some time.

Come to think of it…I do love to read about elephants and when they’re featured on Discovery Channel, I give my undivided attention to the program. They are one of the most intelligent creatures. And I think I also have some sort of emotional attachement towards them because they are symbolic in my religion.

So my answer for you: My second favourite animal is the elephant!

Want to submit your own question? Well, you can do so by clicking this link!

Gingerelle Update: Impact of the ‘Night Shift’

Today she has probably slept on every piece of furniture and appliance. She even has this old box which used to package Teflon Saute Pans we bought a couple of weeks ago. My dad modified it to make it more comfortable for her to sleep and play in it by cutting off one of the faces. She really loves it…even slept in it too for more than an hour before moving to the dirty curtains on the floor to sleep again for a next couple of hours.

This my friends is the result of working the night shift. She suddenly took up the task of capturing a small lizard which she happened to catch a glimpse of in the dead of night. I was told by my mum that she ended up swinging on the curtains and even tried to climb up the wall. And after a miserable failure, Gingerelle – our beloved tabby – decided to call it a night.

She’s been sleeping for the entire day so we’re bracing ourselves for lots of mischief tonight…

Question: How are you more likely to make an important decision — by reasoning through it, or by going with your gut?

Response:

This was a question from the ‘Daily Prompt’.

Decisions. Life is full of them. I guess for me everything depends on the situation at that point in time. There are so many factors that influence a decision — society, finances, opportunities..and the list can go on. If given the time and provided that the circumstance isn’t crucial, I love to reason through the decisions I make. I always keep in mind that the decisions I make will affect my future in some way so it’s wise to be careful. So if I’m at the mall and I see this new makeup kit but it’s pricey, I’d ask myself, “Do I really need this now?” Or if I have the option to either join college or enlist in the army, I’d ask, “Which one will benefit my family more? How will it impact them?”

However if my back was against a wall then I’d definitely go with my gut. Because everyone has one goal in common — survival. I have never been in any situation where I had no options…or did not have much time to think before acting. So I am definitely more likely to make an important choice after deep thought rather than taking a chance. But for the sake of fun, it’s good to take a chance once in while. You can learn a lot from the experience. And it could be an adventure…but you won’t know that while you’re having it…
😛

Remember, if there’s a question you’d like to ask please feel free to do so. I love hearing from you. Just click here!

Visit to the Wild Fowl Trust

These were taken on July 18th, 2010 when we visited the Wild Fowl Trust which is located behind a petroleum plant. We had an amazing tour guide who made sure we did not miss out on anything the nature park had to offer. The only regret I have about this visit was missing a shot of the white peacock who flaunted his beauty…while I was busy stuffing my face 😦

I couldn’t grab the camera and hike up the hill quick enough to snap what would have been cool pics!

For those of you who are wondering — the Wild Fowl Trust is basically like a sanctuary for the birds of the country (and even birds from other countries looking for a temporary habitat) to reside in safely. Here no poachers are allowed. Other animals such as snakes also reside in this beautiful place.

Gingerelle’s Arrival!

The little baby when she was just seven weeks old!

Meet my adorable cat, Gingerelle. She oozes of warmth, fuzziness and love. She was adopted by my cousin and given to my family as a Christmas gift in mid December of 2010. When we first got her, we were told that she was seven weeks old, so with a little mathematical calculation we found that her birthday was on November 1st 2010. Her birthday is celebrated every year on that date!  ❤

The Hike to Rio Seco Waterfall

The colorful festival of Carnival was celebrated on 11th and 12th February 2013 in my country. Although it is a part of my country’s culture, I prefer to use the granted holiday to spend some time with my family and our family reunions happen in a GRAND way. This year we decided to meet up and venture into the wild to reach a small, but lively waterfall known as “Rio Seco”. 

We left our humble abodes in the early dawn began the journey along the path bordered by endless forest after a quick double-check on our supplies. The path was carpeted by mush made of dampened earth and dead leaves. Keeping it off our clothes and skin was unavoidable, but we did not let that hinder our journey.

The air was pleasantly moist and fresh, adding to the beauty of the varying shades of green and brown surrounding us. The scenic view of moss-covered, fallen trees created adventurous stories in my mind as my eyes lingered on them. They say green is a color capable of stimulating the mind and I have come to realize completely that it is not a myth.

It was a great feeling to focus all of my energy on something that was not related to school. While some may have seen the hike as a tedious journey, I personally found it to be more of a blessing. The hike was about an hour long to the waterfall. If the trail was easily accessible, I would have done it everyday because in my opinion, it is by far the best exercising program anyone could sign up for. Usually when I exercise on the epileptic I listen to music on my phone to make it less boring; however while hiking, there are many things to entertain your eyes and ears with. And to top it all, it costs you nothing at all!

Sometimes the space on the trail seemed a bit narrow…and tricky — a big slip could send you down the gutter. But for me, that did nothing but increase the excitement. My father who is terribly afraid of heights told us to go on ahead. I felt bad for him because…well, he missed out big time!

Along the way, we had to cross an old, wooden bridge with dried bamboo trunks for railings. The bridge had been stretched across a narrow stream. We did not stray from the path and eventually reached another narrow stream which had to be crossed by foot. In attempt to clean the mud off my shoes without using my hands, I passed through the shallow waters while the others used the rocks as a bridge. As we continued to make our way up the path I realized that cleaning my shoes was indeed a pointless notion since I ended up walking through even muddier places 😦 . But I’ll let you in on a little secret — I kind of secretly liked it ;).

The last thing we crossed was a creek. The water was of a considerable depth, reaching all the way up to our knees. Waddling through this creek, we were really able to feel the water’s low temperature. At that point it seemed more rejuvenating than freezing.The Creek

Finally we arrived at a flight of stairs created by earth firmly held together by the strong roots of the trees. Upon descending the earthen steps we were led to another which was quite steep and descended into the flowing, pristine mass of water below. It was not too difficult to climb down into the welcoming waters, but rather more so going up.Earth Stairs

Once we had completely immersed our lower bodies into the water, we carefully tested out the rocks — some of which were rather slippery — and made our way to a settling spot that was to our liking. And we did not forget to take some time to admire the beautiful waterfall that had been so highly anticipated!

Lotteria Korea Launches Noodle Ramen Burger

I’ve never heard of this before…
Really creative food 😀

8 Shots of Soju

korean fast food store lotteria launched ramen burger

롯데리아 라면버거 출시!

Have you tried the new ramen burger!?

On January 6, Korea’s fast food franchise Lotteria launched their new menu “ramenburger (ramyun burger)”.

It is interesting to see a burger looks like this.

korean ramen burger, lotteriakorean ramyun burger, lotteria

As you can see in the pictures, it has two noodle buns, instead of bread buns and has a chicken patty in the middle.

Despite the unappealing look, a lot of people tried this burger on the day it was released.

It is not the first time, they have released an adventurous burger.

In KFC Korea, you can also find a burger called “Zinger Double Down (징거더블다운)” which has tomatoes and a slice of cheese sandwiched between two chickens. Also available in spicy flavor, “Bull Double Max (불더블맥스)”.

kfc korea has zinger double down max burger

Lotteria is a Japanese corporation and the noodle ramen burger was originally launched in Japan.

japan lotteria ramen burger

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The Gingerelle Update: Photoshoot time!

imageThese days Gingerelle has been taking over my Instagram, showing off her cuteness to the entire world. She’s quite the model and seems to know the camera really well. I love all her pictures, but my favorite one is the picture at the very center — the one where she seems to be looking right at you with those bright, big, angelic eyes. That there my friends, is my cure to any depressing moment in my life. She’s the greatest blessing of all the blessings I’ve been gifted.