YOUR New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve made my resolutions, now it’s time for me to help you make yours!

These, of course, are suggestions that you can take or leave but if you’re looking for inspiration or confirmation, this is it.

  1. Find a type of exercise you actually love. Story time: my mother is one of those people that wanted to do something about her current fitness level and tried to sign up for gym memberships and even beginner volleyball classes but nothing stuck and all motivation would peter out quickly. Just 3 months ago, she signed up for some aquafit classes at the local YMCA because she heard it was good for your back and she’s been going around 3 times a week since then! She’s become one of those people that complains when she had to miss a class! So you CAN get fit or lose those pounds, you just need to find your method! The gym is not for everyone, it might be competition or environment that gives you a reason to keep coming back to it.
  2. Read one book per month. Reading is something that people feel like they don’t have time for but books are, in my opinion, a great part of life and important to expand your imagination. So by setting aside your commute to listen to audiobooks or before bed to read a chapter or two, it is definitely plausible to get through at least one book each moon cycle. Definitely try to get a diverse selection from fantasy to non-fiction because the world is huge and there’s no telling what you might learn.
  3. Invest in friendships. You have no idea how important this is. It’s so easy to let great people slip out of your lives or to not initiate getting to really know someone because you already have your family to talk to. Coffee dates are easy to plan, letter writing is not dead and potlucks are really fun. You don’t have to become a social butterfly but do hold on to the friends you have and make sure they know that they are important to you! That isn’t done enough in my opinion.
  4. Create. Totally open-ended, totally depends on what you enjoy and what you’d love to try. I believe we all have something inside of us that needs to create things whether it be an elegant computer code, your very first knitted scarf or a story. I’m sure there’s something that you’re passionate about and if you’re passionate about it you will totally be able to make the time for it in this coming year!

These are my tips to making your year a success (hopefully), let me know what you would have added to the list or what you’re taking from mine!

Smek For President: Review

Oh J.Lo, how I love you.

It’s hard to give this book a real review explaining why I liked it and what I thought about the themes found inside when all I really want to do is quote all the funny parts to you. I’ll end up doing both, most definitely.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog at one point or another, Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday and anything that is remotely related to it is automatically my favourite thing in the world. I don’t make the rules that’s just how it is.

smekforpresident

Summary from Goodreads:

After Tip and J.Lo banished the Gorg from Earth in a scheme involving the cloning of many, many cats, the pair is notorious-but not for their heroics. Instead, human Dan Landry has taken credit for conquering the Gorg, and the Boov blame J.Lo for ruining their colonization of the planet. Determined to clear his name, J.Lo and Tip pack into Slushious, a Chevy that J.Lo has engineered into a fairly operational spaceship, and head to New Boovworld, the aliens’ new home on one of Saturn’s moons.

But their welcome isn’t quite as warm as Tip and J.Lo would have liked. J.Lo is dubbed Public Enemy Number One, and Captain Smek knows that capturing the alien is the only way he’ll stand a chance in the Boovs’ first-ever presidential election.

With the help of a friendly flying billboard named Bill, a journey through various garbage chutes, a bit of time travel, and a slew of hilarious Boovish accents, Tip and J.Lo must fight to set the record straight-and return home in once piece.

It was a little harder for me to get into Smek for President (you know, like reach that point where it doesn’t feel like you’re reading words anymore and are just experiencing the story) but it was a delightful read. I feel like the plot was less crazy than The True Meaning of Smekday as the setting remained the same the whole time and the reader wasn’t getting introduced to all of the characters this time around although it did have a pretty hilarious, spoilery twist that I found hilarious and perfect. You’ll know it. It’s even illustrated.

The novel made up for any of that by being classically random in the most ingenious ways. Our 7th grade selves that were known to sometimes say “I’m so rANdoM xD TACOS!!” have got nothing on Adam Rex’s genius. It’s example time now:

  • We’ve got the complete rules to Stickyfish which are actually coherent and could be adapted to the real world just like JK Rowling’s creation of Quidditch
  • A friendly billboard named William “Bill” Board
  • A hoverbutt
  • A boov not understanding the concept of “I can’t wait to do this thing” and explaining that you indeed will have to wait
  • Guns that turn everything blue
  • Some poomps, pardon my language
  • An appearance from “Rihanna”
  • The museum of noises

In short, read this book then come back and agree with me! (Or not, you do you)

Laces for Necks

Let’s have a looksee at all the necklaces that I own, shall we?
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This is my classic, tried and true staple. It’s silver, it’s simple and it’s blue, what more could I need. I am not a person that’s into big or flashiness when it comes to the jewelry I wear (all you will be able to find on my wrists are 2 hair elastics and a waterproof watch) and this matches with that aesthetic style perfectly! Blue is my favourite colour so throwing this around my neck makes a simple outfit a little cuter in my opinion.
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Do you heart this one too? This necklace is incredibly cute; the flower design on a glass heart is a really pretty pattern that’s perfect for making an outfit brighter. (I was going to use the adjective “smiley-er” but I don’t think that actually makes sense.)
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If we’re going for originality points, this one wins hands down. The context is that this was a craft at the summer camp we worked with and there were enough supplies left over for myself and some other staff to get one! I love this simple idea to death, this well-known lego piece can now be a statement jewelry item! It also makes the connection with my being an engineer as building things is a central theme there. Also it’s blue, can’t have a bad day with a blue lego piece swinging from your neck!
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I feel like a lot of people have this one lying around their house somewhere. I definitely first got this shark tooth necklace some time ago at the Museum of Nature and recently rediscovered it. It helps me feel hardcore when I wear it even though everyone keeps gently reminding me that I am a few degrees away from being hardcore.
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This one doesn’t actually get worn very often, mostly because it isn’t anything too special and it’s gold. I think having blonde hair limits the amount of gold or yellow that I can wear because if they’re not the exact same shade then it just looks wrong. I’m also very sure this necklace came along with my Secret Garden book someone gave me a long while ago.
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This is definitely my fanciest necklace, it was a gift for graduating high school! It is similar to the first necklace, keeping the blue gem, silver chain trend, although I think these gems are actually real instead of just glass. The shape of it signifies the path of my life that I’ve started as high school came to a close. I should wear it more often.

And there you have it! My vast collection of neck-themed jewelry! (read: 6) I’ve never been someone that wears them too often though, so they usually sit on my dresser until I remember that they exist!

Your turn! Let me know your favourite necklace that you own or even just favourite type of necklace that you’ve seen!

Road Trip Essentials

The most summer thing to do.

It may be quite late into the summer but it’s not too late to get in one last hurrah and plan a road trip for the fun of it! I’ll be going on one this coming weekend and thought it would be a great idea to outline all the essentials to keep this bon voyage from becoming a chorus of heavenly “are we there yet???”

roadtrip - destination

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is where you’re going. The road trip could just be driving aimlessly but then there’s no real purpose. Some ideas are:

  • A place where a lot of your family lives
  • A city where a friend you haven’t seen in a while lives
  • Somewhere you’ve never been before and know no one and are just going for the adventure
  • A place from your childhood

Anywhere you’ve been itching to go in order to see the sights or catch up on life stories is doable as long as there are roads between it and you.

roadtrip - transportation

I may be blowing my cover as Captain Obvious here but it needs to be said. Not only does there need to be a human that can drive a car in the party of people going, there also needs to be a car that
a) will survive a trip of your desired length and
b) can comfortably seat everyone.
It will be no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck for a couple hours and neither will a blast be had if you have to be in the middle seat scrunched between two other people. Think of these things beforehand and you’ll be thanking yourself by the end.

roadtrip - company

In the previous paragraphs, I’ve been directing this post towards one person – you. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even though solitude is nice sometimes, to just drive without anyone around you either in the car or on the roads, the friends are what make a road trip memorable. Make sure you get along with anyone in the car because if there’s something between you guys, it’ll most likely be amplified in the tiny space of a moving vehicle. Best friends are great candidates because willingly spending this much time with them isn’t a chore, unlike family road trips sometimes end up being.

You’ll have plenty of time to talk, invent silly car games and just be around each other so if you don’t know your travel-mates’ life stories at the beginning of this journey, you just might by the end.

roadtrip - music

This deserves capital letters because most people have strong opinions on the music they want to listen to. And since there’ll be a lot of time to fill during any road trip, the songs are going to need to happen! It’s best to know what common ground everyone coming along has in terms of music taste, including everyone’s vetos. Of course, everyone should be willing to be flexible in order for everyone to be happy and I really don’t think you can go wrong with Disney!

Some people like creating playlists that have the theme of summer or vacation or road trips to set the mood so if anyone in the car has a knack for that, get them to go right ahead and you’ll feel 10x more legit.

roadtrip - snacks

Humans need to eat in order to live. [citation needed] Whatever your food situation may be, be it quick runs to the Timmies* every time you stop from gas, an entire picnic meal/dinner or easy access snack items, it’s important to have some on hand so that everyone stays comfortable and happy. Water is also an important thing to pack, although in this scenario you have to think of when you’ll be able to let it out.

*non-Canadians can calm their confusion, I’m just talking about Tim Horton’s, our equivalent of your coffee and donut shops.

roadtrip - entertainment

We’ve talked about music which is a large portion of car ride entertainment but there’s plenty of other things to do. As I child, I was the queen of making up something to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat. I’m not sure how many I got from other places and how many I got from my brain but I will share them all willingly here.

The Alphabet Game – Very straightforward, you’re competing against or working together with everyone in the car in order to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on anything you see outside of the car. (stores, licence plates, road signs, etc) One of my rules is that you may only take one letter from a common location before you move on

The Rainbow Car Game – Same deal, look outside your window and find a car that is each colour of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple). Orange and yellow and quite rare and you may find yourself stuck on those for a while

Car Count – This is a straight up competition. You each pick a colour of car and count every time you see one of that colour. Whoever gets the most wins! Heads up, silver and red are quite common.

Animal Name Game – this game definitely was invented by me. It involves looking for animals outside and then giving them a name. That is all. Good for going through the countryside and seeing cow after horse after llama. I’ve given a flock of birds names, they get quite silly at this point.

Bingo/Scavenger Hunt – If someone wants to put in the necessary effort of thinking up things you could potentially see on a road trip, they should definitely do so because that could be a lot of fun!

roadtrip - plan

Overall, you just really need to plan this kind of thing out. I know in the movies and books, they just jump in the car with their sunglasses and romantic tension and off they go but really it’s important to have a very good idea of certain things like

  • what route you’ll take
  • where you’ll stop and how often
  • where you’re going to sleep
  • who brings what
  • how long it’ll take

Everyone should also be aware of the plan so that it’s not up to one person to stress all about it. If you’ve got locations in mind in advance, there’s much less of a chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance of everyone having a great time!

A Few Final Things…

You should keep in mind the distance as well because sometimes a road trip can be too long and cars can start feeling like a sardine can – smell and all. The longer the trip, the higher the cost with food and gas and places to sleep so although it feels very freeing to just go, it won’t do to use up all your funds on this expedition.

And that is all of my knowledge about road trips, please put it to good use and tell me about any road trips you’ll go on in the future or have gone on and loved. It’s good to enjoy the summer while you can because school is just around the corner (small gasp)

Home: The Movie

Based on my absolute favourite book: The True Meaning of Smekday

This is going to be a review of the adaptation of one of my favourite books of all time. I still haven’t made an actual review of it to link to you guys but one day it will arrive. Although I sincerely think the contents of it would be something along the lines of: “read these 17 quotes, aren’t they hilarious, oh here’s some context refer to the glossary for all the words that don’t make sense now look at this picture hahaha remember when oh yeah you might not have read it why are you reading this when you could read that dude go do it now trust this internet stranger”

Truly feeling like a hipster when I first read the book when it came out 8 years ago (le gasp I’m old) and finally the movie adaptation was released in 2015 with most people who see it never knowing that there was a book first and the book was better.

Yep, I went ahead and said it. The book was truly magnificent with a blend of random and deep and the movie chose a few of the lessons learned in the book, made the painfully obvious and then dumbed everything else down to kid level. Which I respect I guess, movies are a different form of entertainment than books and when you put that much effort into animating this world, it’s got to be something the masses and target audience will enjoy.

If I had seen the movie never knowing about the book’s existence, I still would have loved it though, the book is not the only thing that’s making me give Home an overall great review. I mean, I could spend the whole time griping about how they missed their chance of including teleportation, asphyxiation and just-add-water-sheep-lookalikes but I think I’ll pass.

CHARACTERS

Right away, Oh was a little over the top but it makes the plot by setting him aside as an outcast and making his transformation in the end more obvious. I bet the kids adored him and his silly antics even though I was more entertained with how they kept the stilted speech of the Boov similar to the style of the book than his ridiculous antics.

Side note: I was lie-on-the-floor devastated when I found out that they had changed his name from J.Lo to Oh because that takes away from the insane charm of the book. However, I was dance-with-strangers-on-the-street happy that they managed to cast the actual J.Lo as Tip’s mother.

Captain Smek was a character that I did not care for in the least. He was even more comic relief than Oh was and it was pretty much just annoying. The gelatinous and colourful body properties of the Boov were unnecessary in my opinion but I guess got a kick out of it. I need to keep reminding myself that this movie is in fact not aimed towards 20 year old girls.

Rihanna was perfect as Tip and Tip was the character that best translated from page to screen. They kept the fact that she was scared and needed her mother and was willing to do whatever it took to get there. She was strong and vulnerable and basically amazing.

The final main character was Kyle the traffic Boov and while he may seem like just some random guy that they added I basically died when I heard that he was actually going to be important.  In the book, J.Lo pretends that he knows a traffic Boov and calls her Kyle and it’s just a random not-really-that-important interaction so I love how big a role he ended up getting.

PLOT

The plot was so basic compared to that of the book but it had enough twists and funny moments to keep me entertained.

One of my actual favourite scenes was one they took straight from the book, direct quotes and everything‼ It happened in the mopo (although I forget if it was an actual mopo in the movie) slash convenience store where Oh and Tip first meet. All of that coming into the out and mimom and shoot forth lasers from my eyeballs and exploding heads being impolite was from the book and it made me so happy! If you are near me when that happens, I not only quote the entire thing along with them but I also fill in the rest with every fact from the book that you really didn’t want to know and are busy just wishing I would be quiet.

But who wouldn’t want to know that Gratuity found something called Tub! That came with its own spoon?????

In the novel, Slushious takes them across the United States but I found traveling across the pacific and around the world made the adventure even more exciting! There was just enough panic with the invitation bringing their enemies down upon them to keep you on the edge of your seat and all the Boov technology was really well done!

Some more subtle nods to the book I had forgotten about until now are the orange peels that Captain Smek was wearing as that ended up being all the rage to the Boov in Florida as well as Oh eating the urinal cakes in the bathroom.

Finally, the ending was really well done. The friendship and family tie-ins were very strong and real and pulled at all the right emotions. At this point we had strayed so far from the book plot that I could simply appreciate that finale for all it was.

FINAL THOUGHTS

At the end of the day, Home is an amazing movie with an amazing soundtrack featuring the first black animated protagonist which is pretty nifty and great. It’s cute enough for both kids and adults to enjoy and will hopefully expose people to the book it originated from so that they can experience true happiness.

Other things they missed out on in the movie:

  • Bubble writing
  • 7 magnificent genders
  • An alien hiding in plain sight in Roswell
  • Two separate organizations called BOOB
  • And of course, 4 pages full of the word ‘meow’
not pictured: me dying from this scene being in the actual movie

Smek For President

The first answer to any of those “what person dead or alive would you want to have dinner with” questions is Adam Rex.

smekforpresidentHe’s the author and illustrator to many a book, including my all time favouriteThe True Meaning of Smekday.

We’ll get into exactly why that is in a later post so that I can put all my focus into converting you into a major fan also but the point of this post is to celebrate and anticipate!

After 8 long years, there is now a sequel. The first book was a standalone, the ending was satisfying (actually it was a lot more than that) so it’s not like we’ve been dying over a cliffhanger for the past couple years but it excites me to no end that there will be more of an alien named J.Lo and a girl named Tip in a post-alien invasion world that will apparently include a presidential campaign but I know nothing because I haven’t even read the description I just want to go in blind and be amazed.

that was one very extremely long run on sentence

Things I Hope To See In The Sequel:

– more boovish history

– comics

– Gratuity and her mom

– J.Lo not understanding normal human things

– J.Lo’s horrible grammar

– how the aliens have integrated themselves into our world

The novel came out February 10th so there is absolutely no reason as to why I am not reading it right now. That makes me a little upset. Not sure if I should just go out and buy it or wait for the 8 people in line ahead of me at the library to hurry up and finish…

If you guys are fans of Adam Rex’s work, let me know so we can discuss at length how awesome these books are!!

Reasons To Smile #5

catching something without looking

lemonade

when the picture of of your birthday month in a calendar is the best one

sharing a look with your friend

putting your bag down after carrying it for a while

eating food from your very own garden

movie or book release days

compliments

learning about another culture

getting a hole-in-one while mini-putting

Dr. Seuss quotes

 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Oddly Specific Book Recs (OSBR #1)

In case you didn’t know, I read a lot.

I love to read and I love discussing books with people that also love to read. It’s one of the few conversation topics I can actually go on about for a really long time.

Another thing I like is connecting said other person with a book that I think they’d really enjoy. I might have just read something and just want every single person on the planet to also read it (aka that time I read Blood Red Road by Moira Young. If you haven’t GO! Go NOW!) but other times, if I know the person well enough, then it’s really fun for me to rack my brain for the actual perfect book for them. The one that just matches up with so many of their interests. Like a book soul mate.

Thus this series on my blog is born. It won’t be a regular thing like my Reasons to Smile, Masterposts or Beautiful Boys but whenever I stumble onto a perfect pairing of human and page, then I won’t hesitate to talk about it.

cinder - marissa meyerThe book is Cinder by Marissa Meyer and the person is my friend in Biomed Mechanical Engineering.

The number one similarity is that she’s really interested in prosthetics for different parts of the human body like heart valves or hip replacements and anything of that sort and Cinder, the main character, is a cyborg. That is the literal same thing, just a lot more advanced. Of course, the science behind Cinder’s superhuman body is fictional but it is backed by research done by the author on potential things that humans could someday achieve.

Then there’s that tiny connection that she’s in a type of mechanical engineering and Cinder is a mechanic.

And finally, my friend is a really rational, cuts straight to the chase, no nonsense person so if the romance in a book was the central theme with all the pining and overthinking she’d probably have a fit. In Cinder, of course there’s some romance, it is after all in the YA genre and a retelling of Cinderella, but it’s definitely not the most important aspect. There’s the whole equality issue and stopping someone evil from taking over the world business to take care of as well.

The verdict is actually in: she loved it! I lent her my copy yesterday and she was asking for the second book in the series today. I am a miracle worker. Just kidding, loved the fact that she loved it, dreading to tell her the news that the series isn’t finished yet so she’ll have to wait a while after finishing Cress to read the last book.

HOBBIT

Little known fact about me: I am a Hobbit fangirl.

Not Lord of the Rings that much, really just The Hobbit. I first read the book in grade 7 when I found it in my English teacher’s shelves, not really knowing what it was about or that it was in any way linked to Lord of the Rings. So yeah, I read it and I loved it for some reason and have loved it ever since! I think it was the fact that this was purely an adventure, nothing going on on the side with a purpose and destination, along with the fact that I sympathized with Bilbo. Murkwood was cool, Smaug was cool, the ring, Gollum and their riddles were cool. It just really stuck in my 11 year old brain.

I’ve reread it twice since then, which is actually a lot in my case since I rarely reread books even if they’re my favourite. (Usually I will read them in french. Just because I can.) One of those times was actually for the summer camp I work at. We were having a hobbit themed week and I wanted to have everything fresh in my mind. I actually got to play Kili, who was my favourite BEFORE THE MOVIES because he was the youngest and his name starts with the same letter as mine, and went full out with my hobbit costume, even creating a beard out of my hair. There’s quite a few pictures on facebook BUT no way am I sharing them here.

Having said all this, I was absolutely pumped when I heard about the hobbit movie. Still not sure why they need 3 2 and a half hour movies for that little book but I’m not complaining.

Loved loved loved that casting of Martin Freeman as Bilbo, man he plays the reluctant adventurer quite well. And Kili well hello there… Anyways, I’ve seen both movies that have already come out and many were they ever amazing. Of course, they strayed off course – a little in the first one and a lottle in the second – but it’s almost forgiven for how well the overall movie was made. If you want actual reviews of the hobbit movies, just give me a holler and I’ll do it!

What about you guys? What are you crazy about? Any thoughts on the hobbit?