Friday, 5 September 2014

What I've Been Up To

It's been a couple weeks since my last post and I just wanted to check in and say hello. I haven't been up to too much lately. Just things have been crazy at work. And the craziest part? I quit my job this week. There are definitely things I'll miss, but I just can't handle working 12 hour night shifts. So I am soon to be unemployed. Hopefully not for long.

Other than that, I haven't been up to much. Rewatching Supernatural Season 1 (so good!), riding my horse and job hunting.

Also, time to start my Fall Movie Challenge!

And lots of sewing new week in preparation of Edmonton Expo! My fabric finally arrived for my Poison Ivy costume which I need to start (thanks to Costume Supercentre for the awesome accessories I will be featuring soon). Plus I still need to do the top for my Belle provincial costume.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Throwback Thursday Book Review: Sabriel

Info: 
Title: Sabriel
Author: Garth Nix
Series: Abhorsen #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 30, 1996 (first American edition - Originally published 1995)
Source: Gift.

Synopsis:
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn't always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

Review:
I absolutely loved the world building in this one! I started reading this one as part of a read-a-long (which I totally failed at. AGAIN). I read this one a long time ago (junior high?), but I remembered hardly anything, so it was basically like reading a new book.

Sabriel is a likable character. It's really easy to feel for her and see where she's coming from. She knows so little about what she is supposed to do on her quest and her only source of information is a bit questionable and also often prevented from passing along information. She goes through so much and I really wanted her to succeed (the consequences if she does not are dire indeed).

The other characters are interesting as well. There are only two we get to see a lot of: Mogget and Touchstone. I loved Mogget. Probably because I have such a soft spot for animals, especially cats. But also because of the mystery surrounding him. And a few times we get to see another side of Mogget and I personally found it fascinating! Touchstone was just alright for me. He seemed trustworthy and dependable, but he has a lot of guilt, which translates into a I'm-not-worthy attitude that got a little grating.

As I mentioned earlier, I loved the world building in this book. The concept of Death is a tricky one, but I though Garth Nix handled it beautifully! It's really original and captivating and intriguing. The living portion of his world was also great. I loved the bizarre separation of the Old Kingdom and those across the wall and those caught between the two, like Sabriel.

The only thing I didn't love about this one was the romance. I found it to be rather sudden. Not instalove (thank goodness), but it appeared suddenly for me without much build-up. The romance by no means ruined the book, but honestly, I think the book would have been just as good without it. 

Overall, I did really enjoy this one. The world building was some of the best I've read and our heroine definitely did not disappoint. It's always great when a book is just as good the second time through!





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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Source
Title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Release Date: July 11, 2014
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis

I'm not really sure how to feel about this movie.On one hand, I think, for what it was, it was well done. On the other hand, I found it very depressing. Not quite "The Grey" depressing, but not a happy film by any means.

This was actually my first Planet of the Apes film (I live under a rock, ok?). I asked my bf for a preamble to prepare me and this is what I got: "Apes get really smart and pissed off." After watching this movie, that seems like a pretty good nutshell description.

Like I said, I think for what it was, it was well done. The graphics were excellent, to the creepy-realistic level on the non-human characters (I don't like to just call them Apes, since humans are also apes). There was a ton of fighting. That's what I found so depressing. This was basically a war movie, just with one side composed of non-human apes. I'm not a fan of war films, so I think that's why I didn't end up loving this one. I guess I had higher expectations for the non-humans.

I also got totally distracted by certain things in the movie. Cesar really reminded me of Sean Bean, with his world-weary eyes and all that. Also, I'm pretty sure chimps would have a difficult time riding horses. They have a really high center of gravity, which is not helpful to riding a horse. But I suppose it's not fair to get hung up on that point when I've suspending my disbelief for chimpanzee's who speak English and group-social orangutans. But it was so distracting.

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I also wish there had been some badass female apes. There is only one female ape character and she needs saving. There is a decent female human character, with her doctor skillz, but that's it. This one definitely failed the Bechdel Test.

If this is your kind of movie, I think you will really enjoy it. I enjoyed it, but won't be rushing out for the DVD.

Moral: There's always a couple of A-holes who ruin everything.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fall Movie Challenge

I just discovered the Fall Film Challenge from quirky pickings. I always joke that I live under a rock because there are so many films I've never seen. So why not attempt a challenge to watch a few more? Going to start this baby September 1st. I feel like this is going to be a little tough and will definitely push me out of my movie comfort zone.

one. any action/adventure flick. - The Incredible Hulk (So behind on movies)
three. any awarded an oscar for best cinematography. - Life of Pi
four. any drama/biography/documentary.- Julie and Julia
five. any awarded an oscar for best film editing. - The Social Network
six. any science-fiction/fantasy flick. - District 9
seven. any starring an actress whose last name begins with the letter g. - The Grudge (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
eight. any set during any holiday. - Halloween
nine. any from internet movie database's top flicks list. - Amelie
eleven. any starring an actress whose last name begins with the letter k. - Epic (Beyonce Knowles)
twelve. any shot in london, england. - Hugo
thirteen. any awarded an oscar for best original score.- Finding Neverland
fourteen. any adapted from any novel. - The Giver
fifteen. any awarded an oscar for best original screenplay. - Midnight in Paris
sixteen. any awarded an oscar for best picture.- The Artist
seventeen. any featured on american movie classic's fifty great movie quote's list.- Clerks
eighteen. any romance or comedy.- The Decoy Bride
nineteen. any sports flick. - United
twenty. any thriller or mystery. - The Woman in Black
twenty-one. any starring an actor whose last name begins with the letter u. - Priest (Karl Urban)
twenty-two. any shot in a country you've never visited. A Royal Affair (Czech Republic)
twenty-three. any shot in wilmington, north carolina. - The Crow
twenty-four. any western or war film. - Texas Rangers
twenty-five. any from american film institute's greatest american movies of all time.- Taxi Driver

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Book Review: Jex Malone

Info: 
Title: Jex Malone
Author: C. L. Gaber & V. C. Stanley
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: June 18, 2014
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review.

Synopsis:
A famous case. A missing girl. If they find her, will they be heroes? Or dead?

Bored out of her mind during a summer with her police detective father in Las Vegas, Jessica (aka "Jex") Malone starts doing what she does best--snooping. When she meets three new friends who share her passion for crime, from the geek to the fashionista, suddenly, the stifling desert days don't seem so long.

Her dad is never around, just like when her parents were married. But Jex's crew, the Drew-Ids, take the pledge of eternal secrecy and then get down to the good stuff--digging through the cold-case files in Dad's home office.

One of them, the thirteen-year-old case of Patty Matthews, is still a mystery. Finding Patty, who vanished into thin air, became such an obsession for Jex's father that it destroyed the Malones' marriage. So not only is this a big deal, it's personal.

Jex is determined to find out what really happened, and her excitement is contagious. Soon her friends are all on board and so is the missing girl's brother, the hunky Cooper Matthews.

But as they dig up more and more troubling information--more than the cops ever did--they also get the clear message that someone out there wants to prevent the truth from coming out. That somebody is also prepared to do anything, absolutely anything, to prevent it.

Jex isn't afraid; after all, she's a cop's daughter. But maybe she should be.

Laced with humor, toughness, and real CSI investigation techniques, Jex Malone could be the Nancy Drew for a new generation--but with a chilling twist. These wannabe detectives are on the brink of finding out the fate of poor missing Patty. But will they disappear without a trace, too?

Review:
Jex Malone is the latest in a long line of girl detectives (although I think Nat deserves most of the credit). To be 100% honest, I never read Nancy Drew as a kid (I was too busy reading Saddle Club and Pony Pals), but I did find myself enjoying this one.

Let's start with my favourite part of this book: diversity. While our heroine Jex and her new crush Cooper may have both been white, Jex's friends did show some diversity. Deva's parents are Indian, Nat's family is Jamaican and I think Cissy is Latino. So it was nice to see a bit of diversity in YA.

I did have a few issues with this one though. These girls are insane. Lots of the stuff they did made no sense to me at all. There was a lot of sneaking around and withholding of evidence from Jex's dad, who is a police officer. Although I'm sure that evidence would never stand up in court, which Nat should have known if she was as smart as we're led to believe. And the whole thing at the end was beyond silly for these girls. Maybe that's the adult in me talking, but I just couldn't get behind these girl's crazy ideas.

I also wasn't a huge fan of some of the characters. Deva annoyed me with her spoiled-rich-girl thing, Nat was so nosy, especially when she first meets Jex and Cissy just kind of faded into the background most of the time. And Cooper was okay, although I have no idea why he didn't get these girls to leave him alone instead of following them on their crazy plan.

Overall, it was fun to follow these girls on their crazy adventure, as long as I ignore the fact that I had no clue why they were being so crazy. I did guess the ending, although I never know if this is because the ending is obvious or if I am just good at guessing.


NOTE: This review also appeared on Megan Likes Books, a blog also run by me.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Growing Up With Games

BF's mom and her partner have been out visiting. Friday night, BF's brother and his girlfriend also came over after we had all gone out to dinner and we decided to play some games. I was actually shocked at how little game experience they had. Neither of them had ever played played Yahtzee before!

Source

So this all got me thinking about growing up with games. I grew up with lots of games and I'm sure it has affected me in the way I view games, and other things besides. We did play a few board games; I distincting remember Monopoly, The Farming Game, Risky Business, Risk and Trouble. However, we played a lot of cards growing up. Every family event, the cards were brought out after dinner. Every family reunion, we have a Smear tournament! I remember starting out with Go Fish, then endless games of War, Cheat and Speed with my cousins. A family favourite is Presidents and Janitors (aka Asshole). We played lots of Rummy and 31 with camping (along with Trouble). In more recent years, my mom has fallen in love with poker and will play it any chance she gets (including in Vegas tournaments) or even just watch it on TV. In short, I grew up playing board and card games from a young age. Maybe this was because I grew up with 4 television channels right up until I was in high school.

Source
So what about BF? He is a very savvy gamer, despite his mom not being into games at all. Well, one story she told is that he would all but force her and his brother to play Monopoly with him. One other major thing in that BF played a lot of chess as a kid, thanks to his dad. He even went in tournaments. He also learned poker from his dad.
Source

What about you? Did you grow up with games or did your family do other things together? Do you think this affected how you feel about games now? Also, any board or card game recommendations would not go amiss!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

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Last night I convinced the BF to go to the movies with me. I've been dying to see Guardians of the Galaxy since it came out and we were supposed to go on Friday, but ended up not going, so last night was it (plus Tuesday nights are cheaper). We arrived right at the showtime (we were delayed because we had to eat ice cream first) and unfortunately, it was sold out. However, I convinced BF to wait 40 minutes until the next show and we are both so glad  we did. This movie was awesome!

Source

I really enjoyed this movie. First, I'm a big fan of Chris Pratt. He is adorable in Parks and Recreation and he was really great in Guardians. Starlord is a funny character and I think Chris Pratt did a great job. I loved all the main characters. Gomora (Zoe Saldana) had all kinds of things to prove and was pretty tough, but also kind, as we saw with her interactions with her crazy-ass sister Nebula (Karen Gillian!). Drax (Dave Bautista was cute for a hell-bent-on-revenge kind of guy. Rocket (voice by Bradley Cooper) was so funny, he came close to stealing the show I think. But my favourite was Groot (voice by Vin Diesel). Groot was adorable and I just loved him so much! Best Vin Diesel character ever!

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Also, great villain in Ronan the Accuser. He was great and scary with his creepy face paint and I really wanted our heroes to succeed against him. I also enjoyed Karen Gillian's portrayal of Nebula. It's the first role I've seen her in since her days as Amy Pond and it was a nice chance to see her play something completely different.
Source
The one thing I didn't expect were the feels! I was crying within two minutes! What kind of movie is this!? I didn't go into this movie expecting to cry (twice), but there you have it.

Seriously, one of my favourite Marvel films so far!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Review: A Study in Silks

Info: 
Title: A Study in Silks
Author: Emma Jane Holloway
Series: The Baskerville Affair #1
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Source: I received an ecopy in exchange for a honest review.

Synopsis:
Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?

Review:
This book really should have been a home run for me. I love steampunk and Victorian manner and mysteries. But this one fell a bit flat for me and I can't quite put my finger on why. I think it is at least partly because there was so much going on. Steampunk aspects, magic, political intrigue, murder mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes, young woman forced to reconsile her past a future. It was a lot.

I had trouble getting into and staying with this one. I think the pacing was a bit off, as the book felt really long (I guess it was over 500 pages) and didn't really pick up for me until the final third. I think it would have been more manageable (and possibly enjoyable) if we had just followed Evelina, instead of diverting to follow Lord Bancroft or Tobias or Jasper Keating. I think this was mainly done to give readers more information about the mystery, but it made the book very long.

I did like the main character Evelina. She smart and resourceful, but still has some insecurities and vulnerabilities. The rest of the characters were certainly flawed individuals. I really felt for Nick, although he did some things I certainly didn't like. Tobias was an interesting character and I felt for him as well, despite (or because of) his weaknesses.

I wasn't entirely sold on the Sherlock Holmes aspect. As I mentioned before, it felt like too much when combined with steampunk and magic. This might have been a personal preference though, as I tend to favour more streamlined stories.

Overall, I did enjoy Evelina and the enjoyed the final third of the book, once things really got going, but I found a large portion of the book to be a bit of a slog. I think this might be one you have to try for yourself.



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NOTE: This review also appeared on Megan Likes Books, a blog also run by me.

Oops...

I just looked and my last post was in May. Whoops! I've been rather busy this summer and my home has been a bit upside-down lately, with my boyfriend simultaneously completing his Masters degree in immunology and preparing for his MCAT exam for medical school (which was last Friday).

As you may have noticed, I changed the blog name again. Yep. My logic is that since I don't have many readers, now is the time to do it. I also plan to start including more book reviews and also sewing stuff. Hope you enjoy.

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Comic Review: My Little Pony: Friends Forever Vol. 1


I was lucky enough to get a chance to read My Little Pony: Friends Forever Vol. 1 a bit early (it comes out June 17!). I loved My Little Pony when I was a kid (this is long before Friendship is Magic came on tv). My cousins and I would play with our plastic ponies for hours! So it was a real treat to get the chance to check this comic out.

The stories really felt like episodes of Friendship is Magic, which I enjoyed. The style of the plot and the drawings was really similar, which I think fans of the show will enjoy. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the television show. I didn't find the writing to be very difficult, so I definitely think this is suitable for confident young reader.

My only complaint was that the stories focused very specifically on a few ponies. Pinkie and Applejack shared a story, Spike had a story, Twilight Sparkle had a story and The Cutie Crusaders had a story. Which left of my two favourite ponies: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy! Also, Rarity has only a couple of lines. I found this disappointing and wished that the stories had covered all the ponies more equally.

Overall, I enjoyed this title and appreciated how cohesive it was with the television show. Will you be checking this one out when it goes on sale June 17?

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ecopy of this comic for review purposes.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sewing and Sewing Indie

I'm just going to throw this out there: I love sewing. Like really enjoy it. Not just for costumes, but I love sewing everyday clothes as well. There's just something about building a connection to clothes and knowing it's history and where it came from that is so different than the 'fast fashion' you find in the shopping mall (but that's a topic for another post).
So basically, I wanted to announce that 'm going to be including sewing as a fairly major portion of this blog. It will consist of both cosplay and everyday garments and will be awesome!

It was through reading sewing blogs that I learned it's possible to move beyond the "Big 4" sewing pattern companies and into the amazing world of indie pattern designers. And as if the cute designers weren't enough to make you want to support these small businesses, a bunch of them have partnered together for Sewing Indie Month! There's an awesome competition that I've already made some plans for (fabric is washed for garment #1)! And, as an added bonus, one of my favourite indie pattern designers (I'm dying to get my hands on a Sugarplum pattern), Lolita Patterns is even having a sale to celebrate. Check out the post here!

Sewing Indie Month

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tea Tuesday: David's Tea Organic Peppermint Amour

Tea Tuesday is a weekly featured inspired by Ambur's version at Burning Impossibly Bright. It's been a while since my last Tea Tuesday and I've made a couple BIG trips to David's, so these are going to be a David's-centered for the next couple months. This week I'm featuring Organic Peppermint Amour. Here's what David's has to say:

Peppermint Amour (Organic)

Peppermint is said to enhance your dreams. It’s also said to stimulate passion and creativity. Not to mention its fresh, cool flavour and aroma. This peppermint tea is organic, for great taste and good karma. We didn’t want to compromise when each cup has so much potential to enhance your life. 

Source


Peppermint is one of the few herbal teas that I enjoy. I find mint really perks me up, so if I'm feeling sleepy, but don't want to have anything with caffeine, peppermint tea is my go-to. This tea is nice, but very simply. The only ingredient is peppermint leaves (grown in Oregon apparently). Because this is such a simply tea, I found it tasted the same as any other bagged peppermint tea I've tried, though perhaps not quite as good as my aunt's home-grown peppermint tea. However, it is organic, so if that is something that is important to you, this is a good option.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Holy Geek Weekend Batman!

This weekend was a super geeky weekend! Free Comic Book Day on Saturday and May the Fourth on Sunday. Yikes! Of course, it was SNOWING the entire weekend!

On Saturday the BF and I hit up once one comic book store because the weather so so crummy and he needed to go out to the mall for something. It was a 2 free comics per person limit and 25% off the entire store! Of course, I had to take advantage of that sale! I'm trying to save money, so I managed to keep myself to only one item: Ticket to Ride India! I mostly wanted this one for the alternate map (Switzerland) which is designed for 2-3 players. There also wasn't a crazy line, which I was kind of worried about. But at the same time, there weren't any cool events at that store.



Last night we played some board games with friends. Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Carcasonne, and Lords of Waterdeep. All fun and I even won the 2nd game of Carcasonne, which was a first!

Finally, today was May the Fourth. I didn't do anything special, although I did see some Starwars cosplayers outside of Toys R Us!

I hope everyone had an awesome geeky weekend!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

DM Diaries: Diseases


DM Diaries is the ramblings of a newbie DM running a 4e campaign.

Dire rat (source)
As a DM, I've realized I love diseases! Which sounds creepy and crazy. But seriously. Recently, my adventurers encountered some dire rats and wererats. In the first encounter with the dire rats, they managed to infect the fighter and the barbarian (both the party's strikers) with Filth Fever. Two encounters later, they encountered some wererats, where the warden and ranger were infected as well, meaning the only character to manage to not be infected was the bard (he was so proud).

My players got a little crazy with this one. The players of the fighter and warden are actually engaged. When they were planning who would stand where, the fighter asked the warden to stand in a specific place, but he didn't. The fighter (who was already infected), got pissed off and actually bit the warden, thus infecting him as well. He was pissed! I guess this may be why some people dislike running games involving couples, but that for another topic.

During their next extended rest, the fighter, barbarian and warden managed to heal themselves of the disease. The ranger, with his limited endurance, did not. He was dismayed to find that the town nearby was not large enough to have a doctor and insisted they find a city large enough for him to be healed. Luckily, they were going that way anyhow. In the 4 days it took them to walk to the city, he's condition actually worsened, so I guess it was worth it (despite the barbarian getting them throw out of the doctor's shop).

So clearly, including a disease in my game added a lot more than just making things a bit more difficult for the players. It added some roleplaying (which my table tends to lack - they like hitting stuff) and influenced their decisions on where to go and what to do next.

While I certainly don't want to overuse this mechanic, I feel like it definitely has some cool features and I will be including more diseases in future encounters/campaigns.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Goodbye April, Hello May

Wow, I totally can't believe it will be May tomorrow! This spring has just flown by!

April was a pretty good month, although I was a terrible blogger. The weather started improving, I got switched from shift work to Monday-Friday at work (every weekend off, yay!) and I went to Calgary Expo, which was awesome as usual!

May is looking like it will be a pretty quiet month. I actually have no events planned, other than my dad and brother's birthdays.

I've decided to start making monthly goals and I'll check in at the end of every month to see if I've achieved them!

May Goals:

 1. Blog a MINIMUM of 1X per week. More is better!

2. Finish Belle costume (apron, shirt and slip)

3. Read 4 books.

These goals don't seem so tough. And with fairly limited weekend plans, I should have time for reading, blogging and sewing!

Have an Awesome May everyone!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Calgary Expo

I went to Calgary Expo on Saturday, which was awesome, despite the horrible weather. Seriously, it was snowing all day and many of the lines were outside. My bf and I brought our winter coats (and I felt pretty smart about it), but I felt bad for all the cosplayers who must have been freezing! I chose not to wear a costume because I didn't want to be wearing one in my photo, although I came close to bringing my steampunk outfit along. Kind of glad I didn't, as it would have looked stupid with my parka.

Me and a giant inflated Nemo (where is his special fin?) and a lot of snowflakes!
The highlight was getting my photo with Matt Smith (Doctor Who), which involved waiting in line over an hour and a lot of money on my credit card. Karen Gillian (Amy Pond) and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) was also there, but I limited myself to one photo for the sake of my bank account. Also some LotR and the Hobbit actors were there (names Samwise and Pippin and some of the dwarves from the Hobbit).

Matt Smith!!!

I also got to watch the Doctor Who panel with Matt and Karen. They were so funny and you could tell that they are great friends!

A cardboard TARDIS
The other highlight was meeting Max Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z,  which are some of the bf and I's favourite books. He signed our books and we bought a couple of his graphic novels. So cool to meet him and he was super cool! The bf even got to ask him about his thoughts on the World War Z film.

WEGA studios sweet display
Of course, there was also shopping to be done! I got a bunch of GoT items and also a Skyrim necklace. Calgary Expo was so much fun, I can't wait to see who they will get next year. I hope they bring back more GoT actors (in 2013 they had Peter Dinklage and Lena Headley).






Another redesign

Guess what?! I've redesigned and renamed the blog. Again. I actually just wasn't happy with the name I chose last time (too artsy or something). So I'm trying it again. Yay! Now I can feel great talking about anything and everything that is Capital "A" Awesome!
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Monday, 28 April 2014

Matt Smith!!!!


I got my photo taken with Matt Smith!!! Amazing! I was so worried I would get completely starstruck, but it was so fast (literally 3 seconds per person) that I didn't have time to get flustered. Also, we exchanged hellos, which was pretty cool.

Coming up tomorrow will be the rest of my Calgary Expo adventures!

Gadabout Gamers: My Biggest Gaming Regret



My biggest gaming regret is all of the games I have yet to finish. I have a tendency to play a game, but then get excited by the next cool game and never finish the previous game. Do you know how many worlds I've left un-saved? It's a tragedy!

Seriously though, it's a terrible habit of mine to have the best of intentions, but then get side-tracked, so I think this is just a reflection of that. But I keep telling myself "one day".

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Calgary Expo!!!!

Hello everyone! Two things:

1. Sorry I've been MIA. I don't want to make excuses, so just sorry.

2. I'm going to Calgary Expo today, which is an amazing gathering of all things geek. Not only that, but I'm getting a photo with MATT SMITH!!! I don't even know. Stay tines for a post or two about the awesomeness soon!

Lots of love and I'll try to be a better blogger!

PS: MATT SMITH!!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tea Tuesday: Teavana Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea

This week I'm featuring a holiday tea. I bit late, I know, but oh well. This one was a Christmas gift to my mother, but she is very picky with tea (basically only drinks white tea) and this one was for her, so into my hands it came.

Here's the info on the package:

Pumpkin Spice Brulee

FLAVOURED OOLONG TEA

Ingredients: Cinnamon, white chocolate pieces (sugar, cocoa, butter, milk powder, dextrose), pumpkin pieces, chocolate flake (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa powder), carob pieces, oolong tea, natural & artificial flavour, ginger pieces, chicory root, pumpkin seeds, cloves, allspice & nutmeg.


I'm often not a big fan of sweet teas, but I do enjoy this one. It's sweet and cinnamon-y and makes a nice dessert. To be honest, the pumpkin doesn't really come through for me. However, like I said, this tea is tasty and I would definitely recommend this one for anyone who is looking for a sweet, dessert tea with lots of cinnamon.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Tea Tuesday: David's Ceylon Star

I love tea. Like a lot. Whenever conversations turn to hot beverages, I always say "I drink a lot of tea." and my boyfriend follows up with "Seriously, she drinks a LOT of tea." So I want to share my love of tea with my blog! This post is inspired by my friend Ambur from Burning Impossibly Bright. Check out her blog if you like nails, tea or books!

This week I want to feature a new-to-me loose leaf tea: Ceylon Star from David's Tea.

Here's the info from the bag:

Ceylon Star
BLACK TEA
Star anise and Ceylon black tea is a classic combination, but here we sweeten the deal even more with white chocolate, cocoa nibs and coconut. The result is sweet and creamy, with a hint of exotic spice

Ingredients: Ceylon black tea, star anise, cocoa, white chocolate (sugar, milk powder, cocoa butter, soy lectin, natural vanilla), natural and artificial flavouring. Contains coconut, dairy and soy.



This tea is tasty, but I wouldn't classify it as a favourite. The chocolate flavour comes through a bit strong for me. This is 100% personal preference, so if you are a big fan of chocolate-y teas, this one is probably for you. The flavour is also almost smokey.

I prefer this one with milk, as it tamps down the flavour a bit. But be careful not to add too much, as I found it quickly got a watered down taste with too much milk.

This tea is also really pretty to look at. The coconut shavings add a nice contrast to the black tea and the star anise (which I didn't manage to capture in the photo) is such a cool shape!

I believe this one is discontinued, as it's only available in a large quantity at a discount on the website.

Have you tried this tea? Are you a fan of Ceylon tea? Are you a loose leaf tea fangirl like me?

Monday, 3 March 2014

From My Kitchen: Slowcooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

I didn't grow up in a cooking kitchen as a child. My dad's specialties as wieners & beans and friend potatoes. My mom has a small repertoire of dishes she can make well (pot roast with potatoes and carrots, cream of cauliflower) for Sunday dinner and special occasions. I took a foods class in grade 9 and faked being sick on the day we were making meatballs because I didn't want to touch raw hamburger.

So how is it that now I'm addicted to cooking blogs? It started with moving out and living on my own for university. I lived off campus from the start and therefore needed to feed myself. As I got older, I had a few realizations:

1. I need to eat. Everybody does, but I get especially hangry when my tummy is empty.
2. Eating out is expensive and often high in calories. I still love going out for dinner, but it's not a feasible everyday option.
3. If I'm going to spend the time to make something at home, I might as well make something delicious!

And now I'm constant perusing blogs and pinterest for recipes to try!  So here's one I made last week that turned out very tasty! And it's ridiculously simply to throw together!

Slowcooker BBQ Chicken Sandwich

 Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts - frozen
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
1. Mix BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl and mix well.

2. Place frozen chicken breasts in slowcooker and pour sauce overtop.

3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I told you it was easy! And really tasty! It reminds me out my favourite meat sandwiches from Holy Smoke BBQ. Next time I plan to add some heat to the sauce with chili powder and hot sauce.

Recipe adapted from this one.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

This Week in My World (1)

I've decided to start doing a weekly wrap-up post to recap my week and share all those cool things that don't quite merit their own post.

On the Blog:

Gamer Monday: Gadabout Games NES cross stitch
Lady Geek Out Recommends: Hancock's House of Happy
A Bit of a Change...
Kickstarter: Dead Pastel
The LEGO movie

New Arrivals:

It was a busy week in my mailbox!

2 new Doctor Who t-shirts from Blue Box Tees




2 more Doctor Who t-shirts from TeeFury



Another Doctor Who t-shirt from Ript Tees

Lotions from Bath & Body Works and some new nail polishes.


David's Tea haul: Tea ball, Stormy Night tea, Ceylon Star tea and Spiced Fig tea.


My wig arrived for my Ursula cosplay. It's a Marty in Pure White from Arda Wigs!



Is my obsession with Doctor Who shirts going a little overboard? Probably not...

What I Was Up To:

Obviously this was a big week on the blog because I changed EVERYTHING (except the background). I'm really excited for the new direction I'm taking the blog (that is, every direction!).

I made my first trip to David's Tea! Now, I'm not completely new to loose leaf tea, but I'd never actually been to this particular store before. I went in for a new tea ball and walked out with 3 new teas! I'm planning to feature them on the blog soon.

For girl's night, a couple friends and I went to see The LEGO Movie! So good!

I've also decided I want to do more photography because I always find it so inspiring. So I'm going to be doing the March Photo-a-Day challenge from fatmumslim. I haven't yet decided how I want to share these, but I'm thinking weekly.







Saturday, 1 March 2014

The LEGO Movie

Last night a couple friends and I went out for a girl's night. One thing I love about my friends is that a girl's night does not consist of heading to a dark club filled with loud noises and creepy dudes. Instead, we went to to see The LEGO Movie.

Source
I'm sure this is old news to many of you, but it was so good! I honestly think this is one of those movies that a parent could certainly end up enjoying more than their kids! This movie is really clever and my friends and I were laughing out loud at multiple points in the film. All of the characters were great, but I think my favourite was Will Arnett as Batman. I love Will Arnett and I found his character so hilarious!

Then we proceeded to sing this song for the rest of the night!


Go see this movie!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Kickstarter: Dead Pastel

This project is actually the first Kickstarter campaign I've backed (I've since backed two more). It's a clothing line called Dead Pastel. I love the cute designs and even more, I love the range of sizes. While I'm not plus sized, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to find cute clothes, especially if you are more into alternative styles. But I love even more that it's not JUST plus size. Girls of all sizes can get these super cute tee-shirts! This campaign is still fairly far from it's goal so please stop by and check it out!