April 21, 2016

Explore YEG | The Woodrack Cafe

Even before their opening, I had wanted to go to The Woodrack Cafe because Edmonton's cafe scene is finally growing and I wanted to be able to try as many cafes as I could! Unfortunately, I became really busy with school, and also had been waiting on friends to come with me, but I finally went this month. These pictures are actually from the second time that I went!

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I really love that the rustic interior completely contrasts with the professional looking exterior! There's a certain warmth that comes with the furniture, and the large windows brings in a lovely natural lighting even on cloudy days. The interior is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it is almost enough for the amount of people that go there.

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The left of the picture is where you would enter, and the first thing you see is a rack with local products, and to the front is their little bar for treats! You can also order sandwiches, oatmeal, and soup, all of which I haven't tried yet as I enjoy eating banana loaves a lot more.

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I didn't take a picture of my drink - black coffee, but this is my friend's hot apple cider drink (I think) Their mugs are extremely cute, and have a little engraving of their logo on the front!

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Review ( + Thoughts) | All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews


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"Can't you just be like the rest of us, normal and sad and fucked up and alive and remorseful?"

"Where does violence go, if not directly back into our blood and bones?"

"Wild was the worst thing you could become in a community rigged for compliance."



April 17, 2016

Sunday Snapshots | Play

Yesterday was my cousin's birthday party and, naturally, it started out with everyone playing video games and staring at their phones. However as the day wore on, no one could deny the beautiful weather outside so we decided to go to the soccer field and playground! Here are just a few photos that I took.

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This is my cousin (in her 20's) going down a slide. I still remember running/racing my friends to the playground at recess, or just when they were over at my house. The excitement, anticipation, and all the games we could play, it was all we looked forward to during the summer. I really do hope that children now are still going to playgrounds, but I know for sure that there are many who would rather spend their time on computers or other devices.

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I guess I am a hypocrite too, as my life as transitioned to a very technology-based style. However, I do enjoy my time away from it as well. Although not the biggest fan of soccer, I threw around a frisbee and just enjoyed the fresh air, the sounds - nature. I think it's important to incorporate some sort of play into our lives that involves being outside and being active. Whether that be taking a walk around the neighborhood, or playing soccer. 

April 14, 2016

Review | All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


The style in which this book was written was extremely elegant and beautiful, helping the story to flow naturally despite the changes between time periods. I absolutely loved it as the time periods slowly converged through the book as it had been done quite seamlessly, and in a way that drove me to keep reading. It also allowed me to easily put down the book when I had to, say before class, as the chapters were kept quite short, yet detailed.

Being that history has always been a fascination of mine, I loved this book even more as it was set during WWII. Furthermore, it is also set in both Germany and France, switching between perspectives of two characters. I was intrigued by the storyline of both Werner and Marie-Laure and the situations that they were both put in. Moreover, through Werner, a German orphan, we can really see the conditioning and brainwashing of too many children during the Nazi regime in Germany. It was a disheartening reminder of how easy people comply with certain ideals when faced with less than ideal situations such as the hyperinflation and poverty of Germany prior.

Through Marie-Laure, we were able to see the beautiful imagery and description of Saint-Malo, a place I hadn't known existed before I read this book. But because Marie-Laure is also blind, Anthony Doerr used this fact to heighten the description of Saint-Malo through sounds and smells, which was extremely effective. Her story is also one filled with sorrow, but also with inspiration. In a way, her storyline reminded me of Anne Frank too. Anthony Doerr did an amazing job in slowly shifting the frame of references of both characters as they grew up.

All in all, All The Light We Cannot See was a beautiful book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction set during WWII.


April 10, 2016

Sunday Snapshots | Home made

I always love watching my mom as she prepares a larger meal, usually on Thursdays. These are usually my days of learning how to cook different meals and also to truly appreciate all the time, effort, and different components that are put into a dish. Today's menu:
Spicy Sour Soup

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First of all, she pan fried a fish just to get the outside a little crispy and the meat inside mostly cooked. It is better to use a fattier fish (like salmon) in order to bring even more flavour to the soup!

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There are actually a lot of ingredients that went into the soup that I don't remember. The sourness comes from a type of seasoning that I can only really name in Chinese, my apologies. However, the later pictures will show what other vegetables we put into the soup!

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Here is the fish taken out of the soup after it was left in there to boil for a few minutes!

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The soup: Okra, tomatoes, pineapple, bean sprouts, and another vegetable whose name I honestly do not know.

"It was all there - the old flavours I knew, the beautiful salt, the sweet, the excellent taste." - Chang Rae Lee, Coming Home Again

April 03, 2016

Sunday Snapshots | Practicing Mindfulness



The past Friday was an interesting collection of events. In the morning, I lost my bus pass for April - on the first day of April. My keys dropped out of my pocket and I didn't notice that my bus pass came out with them, so I picked up my keys and got onto the train without picking up the bus pass. I was quite distressed and frustrated with myself, but I just had to remind myself that it wasn't the end of the world. Sometimes things just happen and there isn't much we can do about it afterwards.

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Not letting the loss of a bus pass ruin my day, I decided to go forward with my plans to go to a cafe and read The Great Gatsby for school. Sitting down next to the window, the sun warming my legs, a cup of steaming coffee accompanied by a strawberry rhubarb muffin, it took me a while to calm down. Practicing mindfulness is a challenge for me, noticing my mistakes but not judging myself. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

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This red door is on Whyte Avenue and I only just noticed it a few weeks ago despite having walked this road many, many times over the past 3 years. A few doors down is the blue "Time is Precious" door that many people take pictures of, but I think this red door is just as important.

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Afterwards, my friend and I walked from Whyte Avenue all the way across the high level into downtown Edmonton. It wasn't that tiring, but I also don't walk that much on a normal basis; at the end of the day, I recorded over 21000 steps for over 3 hours! My legs are definitely sore, but the weather was also extremely beautiful and it was a lovely day to go for a walk.

We all make mistakes, all the time. Sometimes it's extremely easy to become frustrated and angry at ourselves for something that was completely in our control, something that we could have prevented. During times like this, it's important not to let our emotions drive us too much because, yes, I lost my bus pass; yes, I DEFINITELY could have prevented it from happening - in fact, I was debating putting the bus pass into the back of my phone case instead. At the end of the day, like my French teacher always says, personne va mourir - No one is going to die. Get your emotions under control, and try your best to correct the situation or find another way to solve the problem. Getting angry at yourself rarely helps.
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