December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!


Hi guys! Long time no see, eh? Anyways, I'd just like to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whichever holiday you are celebrating with your family! And may this New Year bring us changes for the better (or the worse), and make us an even better person.

Have a lovely holidays!

Grace :)

December 14, 2012

Suddenly, my worries don't seem like much

This Saturday (so tomorrow), my family and I are heading on a cruise to the Caribbeans. ^^

But one of the major things that have been preoccupying my mind for the past few days is the size of our room. Yup, I have been worrying about the size of our room, and how apparently it is twice as small than a average hotel room. I have been pondering as to how I will survive sleeping in such a small room for seven days.

But then I thought...

If the Jews could survive concentration camp, if the less-fortunate people living on the streets could survive the winter nights, why can't I survive a seven day cruise in a small room? I will be fed, I will be visiting great monuments, I will be swimming in the pool, and yet I am still complaining of a small room?!

Suddenly, a lot of my worries don't seem like much anymore, and for good reasons.

If we pause for a moment and reflect on all the great things we have in our life, we will realize that we should be grateful for many, many things, and we should not always complain about the things that are "downgrades".

So, on that note, I will not be posting anything for about a week or more, because there is no WI-FI (Cry of total despair!!!!!) on the cruise...

Wishing you guys a very happy holidays!


December 10, 2012

The Spirit of Childhood

Just a short little post a decided to do. This song put me in the mood.

I've been quite busy these past few months. Sometimes, I feel like I barely have time to breathe. Time is passing at such a rapid rate that I haven't even settled on the notion that Christmas is soon approaching. And every time I find some time to read, or to blog, my mind is always a little elsewhere, thinking about other works, other events that are soon coming in my way.

December 7, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy


*I've got a new playlist on Youtube for all my Classical Pieces of the Week! You can check it out here!*

I went to watch The Nutcracker last year, and I must say, I wish I had appreciated it just a little more, because I do realize now just how fantastic the whole ballet- and the music, was!

One of the pieces I particularly liked was the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by (evidently) Pyotr Tchaikovsky. It has got a really mysterious, yet gorgeous feeling to it, and the dance number that goes with it is absolutely stunning.

December 3, 2012

Book Review: The Queen of Kentucky

Author: Alecia Whitaker

Pages: 375

Year Published: 2012

My Rating: 3.5/ 5 stars!

Quick Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer's daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, buys new "sophisticated" clothes and somehow manages to secure a tenuous spot at the cool kids table. She's on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door Luke says he misses "plain old Ricki Jo." Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her. It takes a serious incident out on Luke's farm for Ricki Jo to realize that being a true friend is more important than being popular.

Well, Alice Whitaker, you got me. You went beyond what I was excepting, and wrote an ostensibly cliché book into a one of a kind, one that you could call your own.

After reading the synopsis and the first few chapters, I thought I had the whole book figured out. First, Ricki Jo would be that awkward new girl at school, but then would slowly blossom into one of the "populars". Then she would catch the attention of her since-the-school-year-started crush, the hot but actually not hot bad boy Wolf. While their relationship developed, Luke, Ricki Jo's lifelong best friend, would be watching silently from the side (but not in a stalker-ish way) wishing that Ricki Jo would realize that he is the one who is truly for her. Then, several turn of events, including the realization that Wolf is actually a jerk, would lead to our naive yet oh so charming protagonist to discover that Luke was the one she should've loved from the beginning. The two would then have a heart-felt conversation, kiss, and live happily ever after.
 

Well, needless to say, this book was not like what it seemed.

November 30, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin


So, I have noticed that I have been posting a string of really depressing or sad music these past few weeks, so I thought, to lighten the mood, I would go for a much softer, happy-sounding, piece. La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin by Claude Debussy, fit perfectly with this theme.

November 28, 2012

The Good Old Times

Ever since 6th grade, there has always been two distinct girls I have hanged out with in the school bus. Let's call them Bea and Em. So, at school, we aren't really in the same group, occasionally striking up a conversation in class or at recess, but not anything that went beyond that. But in the bus, we were like three good friends, talking, eating (although we aren't supposed to), and having a good time. It felt nice to have two girls to talk to, and to share laughs, even if it didn't go beyond the bus. Well, these past few months, we've had a few new additions to our school bus, and along with the fact that Bea and Em don't take the bus so often anymore, I've seen a whole new dynamic change in the bus. Gone were the days of chit-chatting and sharing food with my friends, and in came a whole new group of people who talked about explicit subjects and insulted people. They weren't like Bea and Em, they did not make me laugh or smile, they just made me frown in disagreement.

November 26, 2012

Book Review: Beauty Queens

Author: Libba Bray

Pages: 400

Year Published: 2011

My Rating: 3.5 stars/ 5 stars

Quick Synopsis from Goodreads:
The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness.

I think ludicrously serious (...does that even make sense?!) is how I would describe Beauty Queens. It has such crazy concepts, some ridiculous characters, but amidst all that, it still deals with serious subjects such as feminism, sexuality, discrimination of different skin types, and social and cultural identity.

November 16, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: One Summer's Day


I'm not a big movie watcher. But I cannot resist a movie with a great soundtrack. In fact, I think the soundtrack is a big deciding factor on whether or not I liked a movie.

The movie Spirited Away has an amazing soundtrack. This film is about a 10 year-old girl named Chihiro who is trapped in this alternate universe that is full of spirits and alikes, after her parents ate forbidden food and turned into pigs. Honestly, this movie is absolutely spectacular, and so is the soundtrack. But there is this one piece that I find just a little more special than all the others. One Summer's Day, by Joe Hisaishi. It is, to say the least, brilliant.

November 14, 2012

Food, and the different emotions it evokes in us

Food. An essential of life, an accompaniment of my journey. It is always there, something that I often time take for granted.


Food. Oh what a lovely, lovely word! I don't just eat it, I savore it. It is a delectable little taste of heaven. It is the light of my day, it is my passion!


Food. Possibly the most complicated relationship I have ever had. An ongoing battle between my good conscience and desires. It brings joy to me and my taste pallets, but not to my waist line. I gorge myself of it, yet always regret it.

November 11, 2012

Book Review: Forgotten

This is a pretty negative book review. I, in no means, am intending to bash the author, or anything like that. The purpose of this review is just to share my opinions with other people, and that is all :)

Author: Cat Patrick

Pages: 320

Year Published: 2011

My Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Quick synopsis from Goodreads:                          Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come. When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

When I found this book at the library, I thought I had discovered a hidden gem. The premise looked ever so fascinating and original, the cover was really well-done and fit with the theme, and the book felt like it was brand new (something pretty darn special if it comes from the library). Alas, I was wrongly mistaken, I had not discovered anything close to gold, I had only discovered pyrite, "fool's gold". Along with pyrite, the outside of this book looked ever so genuine, real, and amazing, but what lay inside just did not do the exterior justice.

November 5, 2012

Igudesman and Joo: A Big Nightmare Music (a.k.a. The Best Concert Ever!)

Igudesman and Joo= Epic Swag
Saturday night, I went to the Igudesman and Joo: Big Nightmare Music concert. I went into the concert hall with a hint of excitement and a bit of a headache (which is pretty normal for me) and came out with a goofy, full-teeth grin and sparkling eyes (in a figurative sense...) that read: That. Was. The. Best. Concert. Ever.

Okay, a little backtrack: If you don't know who Igudesman and Joo are, feel free to click on this link. So basically they are two musicians, Aleskey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo, who play some fantastic music whilst adding a lot of awesome humor to their performances.

During the concert, Igudesman and Joo played with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. I thought that was fantastic because it just added another layer of sheer musicality and awesomeness. I do not remember the entire order of all their performances, but what I do remember from that night was this:

November 4, 2012

Liebster Blog Award (2)


Hey guys! I'm happy to announce that I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award a second time! This time it was by the amazing Lottie Eve from la lovely stories. Lottie writes very insightful and vivid reviews, and I highly recommend for you to go check out her blog!

I'll be answering Lottie's five questions for me, and if you want to know the people I have nominated for this award, just head on over to this link.

So, without further ado, here are the five questions:

1. Do you tend to like the villain or the hero of the story?
Hero. Villains are much to evil for my taste.

2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I love reading the comments! They always warm my heart because then I know that at least one person reads my blog :)

3. If you could meet any fictional character who would you choose?
Goodness that is extremely hard... But I think I would like to meet D.J. from Dairy Queen. She just looks like such a down-to-earth girl but still someone fun to be with.

4. What is your favorite genre? Why?
YA. It's like the only kind of books I read, hehe.

5. If you could invite five authors for a party who would you invite?
1- Sarah Dessen, because she looks like an awesome lady and she loves GMA like me!
2- J.K. Rowling, because then I could interrogate her further on my unanswered questions regarding Harry Potter ;)
3- Grace Lin, because she writes amazing books!
4- Beth Revis, I follow her on Goodreads and she just looks like a great person!
5- Susin Nielson, I attended one of those events that features an author talking about her books, and that author was Susin Nielson. She was so funny and laid-back during the whole thing, and I love her for that!

Well, that is all for now. Thank you Lottie for nominating me for this award!

November 2, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Légende, op. 17


There are moments when you praise the Lord for inventing the violin. For inventing such a beautiful instrument that emits such a beautiful sound. The playing of Légende, op. 17 by Henryk Wieniawski is one of those moments.

November 1, 2012

Operation: Eliminating the Unnecessary Sugar

A video on YouTube entitled "The Real Bears" helped inspire me to write this post, click here to check it out.

Remember those days when the only kind of sugared drinks available were honey-flavored water?

Or when treats consisted of apples and oranges and not artificially flavored candy and licorice?

Well, I sure don't.

These days, so many people have come to rely on artificially sugared stuff that soft drinks have become the number one source of calories in the American diet (and possibly other countries' too). A scary fact indeed. And even though most soda drinkers know that sugared drinks are bad for their health, some choose to keep an ignorant eye on all the health scares that can be caused by these sugared drinks. And not only soft drinks. Candy, lollipops and similar can have equal effects on the body. And you know what's even more depressing about all this? These kind of food have no nutrition. I mean, grapes and strawberries are pretty sugary, but at least they hold amounts of vitamin and antioxidants and other good stuff in them. Soft drinks are empty calories. There are no benefits from drinking them. Only harm will be brought to your body.

October 29, 2012

Book Reviews: Looking for Alaska & The Fault in our Stars!

Oh yah, double John Green awesomeness! Here are reviews for two of his books: his first one, and then his latest one.

Author: John Green (obviously)

Pages: 221

Year Published: 2005

My Rating: 4/ 5 stars!

Quick Synopsis from Goodreads:
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. After. Nothing is ever the same.

Brilliant. Simply Brilliant.

From Alaska to bufriedos to Takumi's rapping. I savored every word written in the book. I guess the only reason I didn't give this a five stars is that sometimes I got a little bored. But don't get me wrong, this story is so hilarious and heart-breaking and thoughtful that you just can't help but love it.

Here is a little taste of the main characters, with a little snippet of their rapping as accompaniment:


October 21, 2012

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327873479l/7824322.jpg Author: Ruta Sepetys 

Pages: 344

Year Published: 2011

My rating: 5/5 stars!

Quick Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

There's a rawness to this book that I have never felt while reading another book before. This rawness resonated in me a sense of urgency, pain, and everything in between that. That being said, Between Shades of Grey is a must read.

October 19, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Gymnopédie No.1


I was surfing the web, in search of classical pieces, when I stumbled onto a website that featured this piece on its Top 10 Classical Pieces list. Needless to say, I fell in love. Entitled Gymnopédie No.1, this piano work is composed by Erik Satie, and is the first out of three "gymnopédies" written by Satie.

October 18, 2012

Would you judge a person like you judge a book?

When I was young, I used to judge a book by its content, not by the number of praises it had. I always looked at the synopsis, and I found books with snippets of positive reviews in the back rather annoying.

Well, times have changed, and so have my perspective on the world- and books. These days, I am more attracted to books with plenty of praises in the back, or that have received many awards. I still look at the sypnosis, but the praises make up a bigger part of my decision to whether or not I should borrow it.

October 14, 2012

Book Review: How it Ends

Author: Laura Wiess

Pages: 344

Year Published: 2009

Quick synopsis from Goodreads:
All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her. Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.


One time in your life, you might come across a book that plays with your emotions, invades you with an overwhelming feeling of sadness, and leaves you with an utter sense of hopelessness. It consumes you with its waves of melancholy, and tickles you with its little bursts of happiness. How it Ends was that book for me.

October 8, 2012

Book Review: Dreamland

Quick sypnosis from Goodreads:                                 Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?




Author: Sarah Dessen

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

My Review:

What makes Sarah Dessen's books so special is the fact that you feel like you can actually relate to the characters. Also, the plots are almost always the same, complete with a girl, a boy, and some romance, and the main character always has some kind of emotionally damaging problem they have to deal with, but it never seems repetitive. 

Dreamland was haunting. It was disturbing. Not words you usually associate with Dessen, the queen of summer romance and chick flicks. But words that Dessen definitely pulled off. 

October 5, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Ständchen (Serenade)


Funny how something as simple as the weather can suddenly make you inspired. This week started off beautiful, complete with sunny skies and temperatures topping up to 25° Celsius. Then, yesterday, out of the blues, it started to snow. The skies became a moody dark gray, and the ground was a mixture of mud and melted snow.
Here's to a seemingly long winter!


One cannot help but feel sad when such situation happens, and I was definitely not an exception. So after all my sulking and refusal to accept that summer, no fall, is basically over, I thought about this piece. Ständchen, by Franz Schubert.

October 2, 2012

Ordinary Miracles,

Note: Listen to the song Ordinary Miracle while or after reading this post.

People can search far and wide for the miracles of miracles. Maybe it's a girl that survived a terminating cancer, or the feeling that God has communicated to you. Or they can stop the searching, and look in front of them. And they'll see a miracle.

How so?

September 28, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Waltz in A Minor



Well, I've got to admit it: I've lost my inspiration this week. Not one piece has really caught my attention in the past 7 days, and I've been only listening to my old Classical Pieces of the Week ^_^ But I am lovin' one of the pieces I'm playing on the piano right now, so I decided to choose it. It's called Waltz in A Minor by Frederic Chopin. Usually, Chopin's song are pretty hard, but I'm glad he did compose easier ones, for people that are not as advanced like me. ;)

September 25, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Quick synopsis from Goodreads:
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Author: Veronica Roth

My Rating: 3.5 stars

My Review:

This is the kind of book that will jumble your head with endless thoughts and waver your emotions to extreme lows and highs. That being said, I will be making a list of what I liked and didn't liked, to avoid any some random bursts of madness or just plain randomness ;)...

September 23, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

Yay, another blog award! This time, I was nominated by the lovely Erika Anderson from Living for the Books and also the always very awesome Annie from Leopard Kitty Girl Books. Both have fantastic blogs so I recommend you to go check them out!

The Rules:
  1. Thank and link back to the giver
  2. Answer the award giver's questions
  3. Nominate 5 other blogs that have fewer than 200 follower
  4. Ask 5 questions for one's nominees to answer   
Since I've been nominated by 2 different people, I'll just answer all 10 of their questions :)

So, without further ado, question time!

Erika's Questions:

1. Why did you start to blog? Well, I've always liked writing, and sometimes, I just felt like I needed to write my thoughts down on something, which sparked the idea of creating my blog! 

2. Do you judge a book by its cover? I'd like to say no, and that I'm not that kind of person, but in all honesty, yes, I do judge a book by its cover. I don't entirely judge it by only its cover, but I think it plays a big role in my decision to borrow it from the library or not.

3. If you could write a book what would it be about? It would be probably be about the life of a teenage girl or something. I'm absolutely horrid in writing adventure or fantasy stories...

4. Have you always been a reader? If not then what book got you into reading? Yes, yes, yes! I've been a reader since 3rd grade when I read the fourth book of Harry Potter. I love reading and I will never stop loving it!

5. Would you rather read one absolutely amazing book your entire life or read books that were only ok or bad for the rest of your life? Oh that's a tough one... But I think I have to go with reading one absolutely amazing book, because I would definitely have lost my taste in reading if all I was reading was a mere okay.

Annie's Questions:

1. What is your favorite genre to read and why? Hands down, YA! I just feel like I can relate to a lot of the characters, and YA books are always very fun to read!

2. Do you like reading books for school, or do you like choosing what you read by yourself? Definitely choosing what I read. Some books I read for school are not that bad, but I still prefer my own taste for books.

3. What is your favorite thing about blogging? Reading the comments! Lol, it's actually really fun, because it's nice to know that some people are actually reading my blog :)

4. Do you like to read better than you like to write? Yes I do! I love both reading and writing, but ultimately, I prefer reading.

5. Have you ever read a book that was so bad that you couldn't write a civilized review? Haha! Oh that's funny. Actually, when I read a book that bad, I usually don't have the will to finish it. But if I did write a review for it, it'd be probably pretty nasty ;)

Whew! Well that's all the questions! And now onto the nominees:

1. The Bookworm 
2.The Perks of Being a Bookworm 

Okay wow, I'm pathetic. I'll try to think of more nominees, but it seems like most of the bloggers I know have already received this award...

Well, here are my questions to you guys:

1. What do you like to eat the most? (sorry, had to ask ;)
2. When did you started to get really interested in books/reading?
3. Other than reading or blogging, what would you do on a rainy day?
4. Do you borrow books or buy books more often?
5. Quick, tell me, what is the weather outside like right now?

I hope you guys don't mind my lame questions, lol... Anyways, I'd like to give a big thanks to Erika and Annie for nominating me, and I'll see you on my next post!  

September 21, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Igudesman & Joo



So this week's Classical Piece of the Week will be quite different, namely, I have not chosen a piece, instead, I have chosen a music group. This music group is called Igudesman and Joo, and includes Aleksey Igudesman, a violinist, and Hyung-ki Joo, a pianist. I discovered this group thanks to my Youth Orchestra, as we will be going to one of their concerts in November.

September 18, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award!

 Hurray, I've been nominated for another blog award! This time, the nomination came from Kim, from The YA Book Geek. Kim never ceases to make me laugh with her thoughtful and humorous posts, so you should definitely go check her blog out!

Here are the rules:
  • Include the blog award logo in your post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 15 other people, and let them know you have done so.
  • Give 7 random things about yourself. 
 So, without further ado, here are 7 random things about myself: 

1. I hate being late.
2. Every time I go to the library, I always borrow more books than I can read :3 (Sadly, I can't help it, because I'm always afraid that someone else will take the book if I don't take it myself!)
3. Everybody in my grade doesn't like band- that is, except for me :)
4. I would like to work in the journalism field when I get older.
5. One time I ate so many sweet potato fries that I felt sick XD
6. I can't help but put smiley faces and alike at the end of a lot of sentences, as you might have noticed... 
7. I'm a morning person :)  (I love to wake up early!)

My nominations:
1. Babbling of a Bookaholic 
2. Lectus 
3. Leopard Kitty Girl Books 
4. The Random Ranterer
5. College Life

Ok, so right now, you're probably going like: But that's pretty far from 15 nominations, Grace...

And yes, you are right, I only have 5 nominations, but I think they're the ones most deserving of this award, and so 5 it is.

Again, I'd like to thank Kim for nominating me for this award, and I hope you take a little time to check out the blogs I have nominated!


September 14, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Morning Passages


Honestly, gymnastic video montages have just the best music ever. And this Classical Piece of the Week is no exception. If you watched the video in my Old-School Gymnastics post, you know what I'm talking about, and if not, well, that's why I'm here to introduce it to you guys. The piece is called Morning Passages by Phillip Glass, and it's featured in the 2002 movie, The Hour.

Originally, in the film score, it's kind of like chamber music, with the piano playing the main melody, and other instruments coming in on different moments. But I like the solo piano version better, because I think it has more depth and emotions to it. The theme of this song is quite melancholic, with hints of softness and unique chords.

September 11, 2012

Will we ever be Satisfied?

So for Labor Day weekend, my family and I headed to the States to do some shopping. Of course, the purpose of this trip was to get new clothes, because I think we were all pretty bored with our old ones. But then I thought, we will eventually get sick of our new clothes, and thus we will have to buy new ones the next year, and so on. It's like we will never be satisfied with what we have, as we are always expecting more.

September 8, 2012

Rewinding Time. . .

You know that feeling when you're so excited for something, you can hardly wait for it to happen? And when that day does come, it goes by in a flash, and suddenly all you can think of is: Wait... It's already over?

I guess, it's just another way that life is telling you to not take things for granted. I know I say these things a lot, but I feel like it's so important to make yourself  believe that you don't have all the time you think you have.

Appreciate whatever life has to offer you.

Whether it's good,

or bad.

Because every second on Earth is precious.  

                                  Because at the end, time cannot rewind itself.

September 7, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Caprice No.13


Anybody who plays the violin must know about the great Niccolo Paganini. He and Lizst were the respective virtuosos on violin and piano of their time, and both brought great contributions to the world of music, both in performances and compositions.

Paganini has composed many violin pieces, and I think most of them are rather virtuosic in nature. Caprice No.13, might not be his most famous one, but since I'm learning it right now, I thought it'd be a great idea to introduce it to you guys. It's closer to an étude than an actual piece, but I think it's super fun to play, and to listen to.

September 6, 2012

. . .Wait, I Have School Tomorrow?

Well, one moment I'm enjoying my first day of summer vacation, and then suddenly I'm already buying supplies for the next school year. That's how fast this summer went by. It almost feels like every year is just passing faster than the previous, up to the point where I have not fully digested the fact that I Have School Tomorrow. I mean, what happened to summer? I had set so many goals for myself, yet I have completed only one. I thought I would have all the time in the world, but I guess not. The thing is, I always underestimate time (if that makes sense), as I always think that I have enough time to do what I want. I guess, as I'm writing this post, that I am learning new things myself. Do not take time for granted, as it just might be your downfall. (I think it's already mine...)

On another note, since I am starting school, along with other extra-curricular activities, my number of posts will most likely drastically decrease. I will try my best to write at least 2-3 posts every week, but it might vary from week to week, depending on how busy I am and if I actually have ideas for new posts.

Well, I'll try to enjoy my last day of summer vacation to the best of my capabilities, and to those that are still going to school, I hope you guys will have a fantastic school year!

September 4, 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award!


Hurray! I've been nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award by the lovely Erika Anderson. She has a really fantastic blog, and I absolutely love reading her book reviews. You should definitely check out her blog, Living for the Books.

Rules:

  1. Write a little something about the Beautiful Blogger who nominated you with the award. See above. Don't forget to visit her blog!
  2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
So, here are 7 random things about myself:

1. I am absolutely obsessed with old school gymnastics! (1970-1990)
2. My two favorite gymnasts are Elena Mukhina and Olesya Dudnik.
3. I love the smell of old houses and new books.
4. I'm allergic to hamsters yet we have a hamster in our house... : /
5. I was born in the States.
6. Badminton is my favorite sport (and the only one that I'm relatively decent at playing, lol)
7. I'm in a Youth Orchestra :)

And here are the blogs/bloggers I nominate:

1. The YA Book Geek
2. The Perks of Being a Bookworm
3. The Bookworm
4. Ramblings of a Book Junkie
5. Pika Pages
6. Lectus
7. Forever is Now
8. Dahl's Doll
9. College Life

Whew... I nominated much more blogs than I thought I would, but nonetheless, they are all very deserving of this award :) So, don't forget to check out their blogs, and I'll see you on my next post!

August 31, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Polonaise Brillante in D Major


Woohoo, it's Friday!!! And you know when it's Friday, there's Classical Piece of the Week! ^-^

This week, I decided to go with Polonaise Brillante No.1 in D Major, Op.4 by Henryk Wieniawski. Wieniawski was a virtuoso violinist, but he was also a composer, writing some of the most important works in the violin repertoire. Now, I'm not sure if this Polonaise is counted as a very "important" work, but I do know that this piece is mind blowingly amazing. This is like the ultimate piece to showcase all of the different skills and techniques that can be found playing the violin. Spiccato, double stops, harmonics, large interval leaps... All of this and more are displayed, while still making the music very enjoyable to listen to.

August 29, 2012

Reality TV is Brainwashing our Society!

Why do people watch reality TV shows? The question has lingered in my mind for several weeks now, yet each time I just can't get put finger on the true answer.

For years, humans' thirst for entertainment has made us strive for something even better than the last. We always want a show that will make us even more captivated than the previous one. And the producers will go to extremes to make the audience satisfied.

What is the point of reality shows though? At the end of the day, we're just invading other people's private life. We watch them fight and make-up and then fight once again. We share their laughs and joys and pain, yet, all of this through a TV. We know them, but they don't know us.

It's basically an invasion of privacy, but we don't seem to care, and neither do the reality stars. They most likely do it for the money, and the attention, and sometimes that just really sickens me. I'm not saying that they are bad people, but I just find it pathetic that they earn their money by partying and arguing all day.

August 27, 2012

Book Review: Dairy Queen


Quick synopsis from Goodreads:
When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

My rating: 5/5 stars!

My review:

August 25, 2012

Old-School Gymnastics (Part 2)

PART 1

So, I decided to do a Part 2 because I felt like I didn't completely explain the whole history of old-school gymnastics. In fact, one of my mom's co-worker made a comment about my post that definitely made me realize that I had only explained one side of old-school gymnastics. Here's a little part that she wrote in her comment:  

"...Today in gymnastics the coaches are much more in tune with the gymnast as a whole person, so there is less eating disorders, than in the past…"

And she is completely right.

August 24, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Solo Piano

 

So, if you have read this post I wrote a while back, you know that I am literally addicted to old-school gymnastics. So, while on Youtube, I stumbled upon this video called: "The Tragedies of Gymnastics- Solo Piano (Raul Di Blasio)" and I fell in love with the music. It fit the video perfectly, and it was utterly perfect. So, if you haven't guessed yet, my classical piece for this week is Solo Piano by Raul Di Blasio. Style wise, it is more towards contemporary music, but I think it fits wonderfully in the category of Classical Music.

August 22, 2012

Book Review: How I Live Now


 
Quick sypnosis from Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy. As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way. 


My review: 

August 21, 2012

Plastic is Invading our Lives (and Environment)

Yummy...
I love drinking DanActives. You know, those mini pro-biotic yogurt drinks? So, a few days back, I discovered a little fun fact on the bottle: "More than 120 bottles of DanActives are being consumed each second around the world!" And that fun fact soon becomes into a pretty horrifying fact. 120 bottles of plastic used every second! Now, if this fact proves to be true, that'd be 10 036 800 of DanActive bottles consumed every day! To put this into perspectives, it'd be roughly equivalent to 49 127 of those water cooler jugs! Or it also means that all these bottles of DanActive could fill roughly 140 Olympic sized swimming pools each year! I know that may not sound like that much, but think about it, this is only DanActive bottles we're talking about here. Milk jugs, yogurt cups, frozen meal trays... They are also thrown in the garbage.

August 18, 2012

Appreciate that Moment

So, this week I had badminton camp from Monday to Friday. It was incredibly fun and I can't believe that it's already over. I feel like time just passed away so fast, and I haven't had time to process everything. I feel sad that I didn't have time to appreciate every moment during the camp. I know it may sound silly- after all, it is just a camp, but it's a badminton camp. It seems like when you have fun, time is no longer as slow as waiting for that school bell to ring on a Friday afternoon.

Now I think of all the great times I've had in my life, and how I have failed to appreciate them during the moment. I always seem to appreciate it after it happens, which is too late, since the moment has already passed.

Life, and time, are tricky things. I wish I could control them, but at the end, I know that I can only do so much. All good things will always come to an end, no matter how much I try to convince myself that I can change that.

Next time you're having a good time, or if you're just simply very happy, try to remember that moment.

That moment will eventually end, but appreciating it will maybe help you yearn less for it, instead, you just might feel satisfied that you took the time to enjoy that moment.

August 17, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: Pavane


Notice anything different? That's right, I've got a banner (or logo, or whatever you call these things) for my Classical Piece of the Week! (Hurray!)

Moving on to the piece...

This week, I have chosen "Pavane pour une infante défunte" by Maurice Ravel. A pavane was a type of dance from the Renaissance era (1500s). It was originally danced with moderately fast music, but the music has slowed down over time, as heard in this Pavane. Ravel wrote this as a piano work, but I strongly prefer his orchestrated version. The title translates into "Pavane for a Dead Infant", so of course, the mood in this piece is rather somber; yet, there are some places where the music sounds almost like a dream, like you're floating away. The lead melody is given to the horn, which I find absolutely perfect, as the horn has this very rich sound that is not overly powerful when played right.

There is no better word to describe this Pavane than beautiful. Ravel has this amazing talent to compose pieces with interesting harmonies yet making it sound just so right. Delicately crafted, Pavane pour une infante défunte is an absolutely magnificent masterpiece.


August 14, 2012

Old-School Gymnastics

I can't help but feel a little sad when I turn on the TV, surf the channel schedules, and recall that there is no more Olympics coverage. Those 17 days have passed by so fast that my brain is still processing the fact that there will be no more Summer Olympic Games for another 4 years. Just watching the Olympics has taught me so many things: I discovered new sports, learned new rules, and found new interests.

The one thing I have learned to love by watching the Olympics is women's artistic gymnastics. I was absolutely in awe with the incredible talent and skills shown during their performances. With further research on Youtube, I discovered that old-school gymnastics are even better! It's honestly just a simple matter of opinion. Modern gymnastics focus more on the difficulty of skills while old-school gymnastics bring out the more balletic and elegant side of gymnasts. I'm absolutely fascinated by their talent and ability to transform a simple apparatus into an amazing work of art. Their gracefulness was incredible and they made everything look so easy! Anyways, here is a video that I found on Youtube that I'm completely in love with right now. It's entitled "The greatest gymnasts of all time" and it is beautifully edited and produced. The music has a little bit of melancholy to it, but I love the extra vintage feeling it adds to the video. Hope you guys enjoy!


August 12, 2012

Book Review: Before I Fall

Well, now that I'm back with books from the library, I'll be posting book reviews on my blog and on my Goodreads! I'm still pretty new at writing book reviews, so if you have any suggestions on how I can improve my writing, don't hesitate on commenting below! Well, without further ado, here is my review... (hehe, it rhymes!)

Quick synopsis from Goodreads:

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.


My rating: 5/5 stars!!!

My review: I can't... No... Is this for real... I mean...

Well, my emotions are kind of all over the place, so bear with me if this review is a little scattered around different subjects...

Let me start off by saying that if you haven't read "Before I Fall", you're seriously missing on some YA brilliancy. I'm literally jealous of Lauren Oliver and her ability of writing something so genius. She really gets it; highschool, teenagers, the haves and have-nots, I mean, this book is the real deal.

In the beginning, I resented Samantha. I disliked her personality, her friends, her attitude. But I shouldn't have been surprised, she was in the popular group after all. But slowly, as the (same) days went by, I started to see a new side of Sam that I totally didn't expect. She wasn't shallow as I thought after all. Yes, she wasn't a total nice girl, but at the end, I think she always did want to do the right thing, but I guess she was just too insecure or scared to make a move. Oliver made every character in the book so complex, yet simple. Their personalities were just all really genuine, and their imperfections and flaws just made them seem more real.

I love how this book is so hard to predict. Every new page always brought something I never would have expected, and I loved the anticipation I felt at every turn of the page. I couldn't take my eyes off this book!

I find the whole idea behind this book absolutely brilliant. This book could've easily turned into a flop, but instead it blew away my expectations. Right pace, right characters, right plot. Everything just felt right and in place.

"Before I Fall" made me feel a flurry of emotions. It overwhelmed me with its melancholy and sadness. Yet, I feel satisfied with this book. I could not have asked more of it. Sam's story will take you into a tumultuous ride filled with pain, grief, love and realization that life is so much precious than you think.

August 10, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: La donna e mobile

So, I was going choose a pavane by Ravel, but I changed my mind, because that piece is kind of sad and right now I'm super happy!!! The reason: I finished my music history exam!!! I feel so free now, and I will finally be able to go to the library (after one month of no library, can you believe it?)! ...Ok, I've got to stop going off the subject.

Well, I decided to change it up this week, and choose an aria, which is basically a song from an opera. Now, I'm not a super big opera fan, but I absolutely love "La donna e mobile". It's just got this incredible power to it that makes it utterly spectacular. So, this song is from the opera Rigoletto, which is composed by Giuseppe Verdi, and the librettist (person who writes the lyrics) was Francesco Maria Piave. Rigoletto tells the story of Rigoletto (of course), a hunchbacked court jester to the Duke of Mantua. Rigoletto has this super gorgeous daughter, Gilda, that is only allowed to go to the church. Gilda then tells Rigoletto that she has fallen in love with a young man she met at the church (who is in fact the Duke of Mantua). At night, a bunch of courtiers come to their house to abduct Gilda, as they believe that Gilda is Rigoletto's mistress. Rigoletto then learns that his daughter is in love with the Duke of Mantua, and he's very concerned as the Duke is known to be a womanizer and very disloyal. So, he makes Gilda dress up as a man to leave the court, and he hires Sparafucile, an assassin, to kill the Duke. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, coming from a composer like Verdi, you can almost predict that something's gonna go wrong. At night, in a tavern, Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena, falls in love with the Duke, and begs Sparafucile to spare his life. Sparafucile agrees, but says that if their is a volunteer victim that comes out, that person will be killed. Gilda hears the whole conversation from outside, and sacrifices herself. When Rigoletto opens up the bag in which the victim lays in, he discovers in horror that it is his own daughter, dying in his arms.

Yah, a pretty gruesome opera, but that's what things were like back then, the more tragic, the better. "La donna e mobile" is sung by the Duke, as he lays on the infidelity and fickle nature of women (which is quite ironic, coming from a person like him). It's in strophic form, which basically means the same music is repeated throughout the piece. It is honestly a pretty fabulous piece, and the ending is absolutely off the charts! Gotta also give credit to the singer though, Luciano Pavarotti was an amazing singer. Anyways, hope you guys enjoy this song! I know opera stuff might not be a lot of people's favorite thing to listen to, but give this one a try, it's just brilliant!


August 9, 2012

An Award! (Yay!)


Well, whataya know, I got an award! I feel quite grand right now, even though most of the bloggers I know have already gotten this award.  :3

Introducing... The Versatile Blogger Award! 




A big thanks to Becca from College Life for nominating me for this award!

There are a few rules that you have to follow to accept the nomination:
  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging.
  2. Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award.
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  4. Thank the blogger who has nominated you.
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post. 
A few random facts about me:
1. I can speak in French and Mandarin (aw shucks, that's two!)
2. I play the violin
3. I love COSTCO!!! (Favorite store ever!)
4. I live in Canada (eh?)
5. I eat when I'm bored (well, let's just say I also eat when I'm not bored)
6. Reading is my passion
7. I consider myself as an amateur hockey spectactor

My nominations:
3. Fall Into Fiction
4. My Paranormal Book Review
5. The Perks of Being a Bookworm
6. Pika Pages

Yes, I know, I only have 6 nominations. But I went through all the blogs I'm following, and these are the only one that I think are fit to be nominated for this award and that have not been nominated for this award yet.

And, that concludes my acceptance speech for the Versatile Blogger Award! Hope everyone has a nice day (or night)! :D

August 8, 2012

Human Laziness (Is this the Faith of Humanity?)

Every time I think of human laziness, I think of the movie Wall-E. Those who have watched that movie know what I'm saying. For those who don't know: Humans are forced to live in a spaceship because the Earth is too polluted. In the spaceship, the humans' mode of transportation is not walking, instead they're in these mobile chairs with screens to chat with people and stuff. Here's a clip to show you what I'm talking about.

Humans have become more and more lazy over time, yet a lot of people don't seem to realize it because sometimes the signs are very subtle. Remote controls, frozen meals, lamps that turn off with the sound of a clap; all of these things are factors in why humans are so lazy. Now I know what you're thinking: these items are just making our life easier, and that doesn't mean that we're lazy. Yes, I know what you mean, but think about it, humans are constantly finding new ways of making life easier, and if these things are only step 1, what will be step 2, 3 or 4?

August 7, 2012

Google Doodle!

So if you guys have google as a homepage or you search up stuff on google, you know that they've been having these awesome new doodles everyday now since it's the Olympics. There's been one of a javelin thrower, synchronized swimmers, an archer, a diver, and a few more. But today's doodle is not only a drawing, but an interactive one! Just press the play button, and to make your little dude start running, press the left and right arrow repetitively without stopping, and press the space when there's a hurdle, so that he can jump! It's really, really awesome, so you should really check it out!

(And honestly, it's a great finger work-out! ;)

Click here to start playing!

August 6, 2012

Heart-breaking loss for the Canadian Women's Soccer Team

Well, the title says it all. Canada vs. United-States. Semifinal game in soccer at the Olympics. Canada, coming as the heavy under-dogs, but still a threat based on their last few games.

The Internet: My Best Friend and Worst Enemy

Do you ever find yourself searching up a word on an online dictionary and ending up watching a video of cute kittens on YouTube? If you answered no, then you are a very lucky person! These kind of things always happen to me. Once I sit onto the chair facing my computer and open up Firefox, I am sucked away into the Internet world. And once I get in, it's hard for me to get out. I don't know, I feel like there's this magnet or something that is always attracting my hand to the mouse or keyboard, forcing me to stay on the Internet. Sometimes, I wish that the Internet wasn't invented, but of course, without the Internet, life would be incredibly different. I mean, I can't even imagine my life without Wikipedia!

The Internet is such a valuable part in my everyday life, yet an excuse to waste my time. I wish I had the will-power to spend less time on the computer, and more time on something else, which is ironic, because here I am, typing away another post on my blog! Anyways, what I'm trying to say here is that spending so much time on the Internet ain't gonna do anybody (including me!) any good. So right now, I will finish this post and get my bum of this chair and go practice my violin!

...

Ugh, this is very, very hard.

...

Ok, bye! (For sure!)

August 5, 2012

Japanese Food and what it has Taught me

I have always loved Japanese food, but I had never actually gone to a real Japanese restaurant. Usually I just eat an occasional roll of suhi at the mall or a homemade "novice" one by my mom. That's the thing, when most of the people think of Japanese food, their brains automatically directs them to images of sushi and wasabi. And I won't deny it, that's what I thought too. So it was quite a nice experience yesterday, going to this humble, little Japanese restaurant. Of course, I had sushi, but there so much other stuff that I had, like miso soup (not my favorite, but I'm glad I gave it a try), tempura shrimp (so, so good), dried, baked, cooked fishes (amazingly delicious), and hehe, rice. There was also sushi with raw fish in it, something that I have avoided to try in fear of the rawness. But I tried it this time, and it was fantastic! Japanese food is just so exquisite and beautifully crafted. You can see that they put a lot of work in their food. Delicate, elegant, and absolutely flawless.

Ok, I'm hungry just looking at this delicious yumminess!

It's amazing how much one can discover when trying something new. Quite frankly, don't be afraid of trying something you are scared of! I know it sounds kind of tacky and cliche, but there's a reason it's cliche. I was scared of trying raw fish before, maybe because I was scared of raw meat or contacting some kind of disease. Yes, it's possible to contact a disease, that is, if it's not properly cleaned or if the fish is infected. But now I have full confidence in those sushi chefs, because they know what they're doing.

The world will just open around you when you discover something new or gain more knowledge, even if it's only from trying a new kind of food. Go out there, and have fun exploring the cultures around you! They're right at your fingertips, and the only thing seperating them from you is yourself!

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