Blog Post #26: The Thorn Birds Review

Hello, hello! It’s been a while since my last post, and I apologize profusely for not updating! So, for that reason, I won’t keep everyone waiting any longer. I’m really excited to share this next one with you all. Blog Post #26 is on romantic-drama novel, The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough.

This book begins in 1915 and takes place Down Under. It tells a tale mainly focusing on Meggie Cleary. While living a very modest, albeit difficult life shearing sheep in New Zealand, Paddy Cleary, Meggie’s father, out of the blue, receives a message from his wealthy but estranged older sister, Mary, who invites him as well as his wife and children to live Australian property, where she also offers them steady work.

Seeing this as a good opportunity for his family, he accepts Mary’s offer. After enduring the long and tiring journey to their destination, they are greeted by a priest named Father Ralph de Bricassart, who shares a special connection with Meggie instantly upon meeting her. From there, strong familial-like affection towards one another that initially transpires eventually turns into a poignant romance between them where Ralph is torn between his aspirations as a priest and his feelings for her. Spanning over five decades, McCullough shows how this tragic love story alters the course of their lives and the generations to come.

There’s no other word to describe The Thorn Birds other than “INTENSE.” I kid you not that this is unlike any other work I’ve read within the genre. It just grips readers by the shoulders and shakes you to your core. There are many amazing elements to it, with McCullough expertly incorporating so much irony and wit throughout the book. I absolutely loved it.

What really struck me as I read was the incredible amount of resilience, strength and pride that Meggie’s character maintains despite various hardships the universe inflicts on her and her family. I’ve admired a lot of strong, female characters in my time, but none quite like this.

If you’re looking for a novel with gripping intensity, do not hesitate to look further into The Thorn Birds.

VIRTUAL PHOTOSHOOT

It is so important to keep yourself creative while social distancing. Tash Serena(my sister) and I have been doing photoshoots and being our own creative directors since we were kids. At such difficult times we managed to find some inspiration and had our first virtual shoot.

We gave this trend a go as it is definitely a solution for the time being for many photographers, models and others in the creative industry for the time being.

What you’ll need:

  • A device: Any smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer that works with video calls should work just fine. I used my laptop as I personally felt it was much more stable than leaning a smartphone against a pile of books. I found it a lot easier to adjust the screen as well.
  • Videotelephony software: Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Whatsapp, etc. whatever works best for the model and the photographer. We used zoom. Think of a normal video call on the laptop, I just posed while the photographer (my sister) captured the images directly off the screen using her camera.
  • Set time and date: Plan this out as time difference may interfere. Bali and Vancouver has a crazy time difference, so we agreed to shoot at my sisters 9AM Bali time and my 6PM Vancouver time.
  • A photoshoot concept: Looking for inspiration pictures are good as a reference. My sister sent me a whole collection of inspo pictures from Pinterest which made it a whole lot easier to understand angles and the vibe we were trying to achieve. This allowed myself to somewhat take part in being a creative director.
  • Props and any accessories/clothing: I recommend having an organized pile of all the useful props and outfits to save time and messiness. We used my standing mirror, a table lamp for lighting and a few outfit changes.
  • Setting and location: We decided on a bedroom setting, using the bed and simple backgrounds to focus on shadow play and natural lighting.

PREVIEW

My take on it: 

It was different and surprisingly super lively. It is convenient in a way as I was able to see myself pose, fix my angles. It was simple and I felt much more involved with inputting ideas as I was in charge of creating the setting, the placement of the laptop and styling myself. However, the only issue would be the outcome may show the glare from the screen, but with proper editing and lighting this shouldn’t be an issue.

The outcome:

MY INK

We all have our own ways of expressing ourselves, and some choose to express it on their bodies forever, and that includes myself. The story of getting one, the meaning, the placement, it’s all so unique.

THE ARROW

I got my first tattoo when I was 15 years old for my birthday. A little arrow on my left side rib. The arrow is a simple reminder to always aim for your goal.

THE LOTUS

There we were, my friends and I getting tattoos spontaneously. So memorable. The lotus and moon on my upper back symbolizes the rising from the dark to radiate into the world.

THE WAVE. THE 9.

I got these together, the wave to symbolize where I grew up, the island of Bali, and the number 9, my dads lucky number and my favourite number so I decided to always have it with me.

THE COORDINATES.

The coordinates of Indonesia and Canada represents where my parents come from, which represents a part of us. This was our first matching sister tattoo.

Love and Light.

My dads handwriting, love and light. This is the most meaningful tattoo I have as it is a reminder of him and his words to always do things from love and that light and happiness will always be found.

CHARLIE

Charlie is the model in the image, although it isn’t her real name, Charlie is her name within the story. She has that spectacular city life, yet struggles financially but always makes the best of things. Her adventurous and free personality has her exploring the city, meeting new people and gaining opportunities to fulfill her career as a photographer. Life is fast paced for Charlie, plans are made last minute.

One Hit Wonder

Over the course of the past month I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with TikTok. Yes, I too was one of those people who swore they would NEVER EVER get TikTok, but as a Communications major and full-time creative I eventually dove headfirst down the rabbit hole and for anyone who has TikTok you know exactly what I mean.

I first downloaded the app in early January of this year. At first I didn’t really understand it, but after posting my first video doing the ‘Wasian check’ (a trend to show off those of mixed race) and catching the attention of over 500 viewers in the matter of a couple hours made me understand how powerful this app really was.

As some of you already know, it’s always been my dream to entertain others through YouTube videos and that’s honestly why I’m even here writing to you in the form of a blog. After scrolling through TikTok and watching 15-60 second videos that had acquired hundreds of thousands of views, likes and comments in the matter of hours I was slightly annoyed. I started comparing YouTube to TikTok and asking myself why the algorithm preferred me on an app that I didn’t even want to use.

When it comes to YouTube, I find myself working around the clock to create content on the platform every week. First, you have to develop a concept, then film the content, edit the content, and lastly, promote the content on all of your social platforms to ensure it gets as much exposure as it possibly can. Since I started posting videos in September, I haven’t gained that much traction. My most viewed video is of me doing a bikini photoshoot in the snow (which got flagged, and is now ranked as 18+ content on the platform) which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. As much as I love YouTube, I’ve found it an incredibly difficult process to get my videos viewed no matter how many times I share them on my other social platforms. 

I’ve found myself questioning if this is really what I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE YouTube and it’s always been my dream but when I’m scrolling through TikTok and see a video of someone pouring glitter into a can of paint and getting over 2 Million likes, sometimes it’s hard to keep pushing forward, especially as I get older. So, I decided to expand my brand by logging onto TikTok and posting content on the app as an experiment and to say that my short time on the platform has been like a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. 

From late January to late March I had been posting random videos on TikTok, since I don’t have a specific niche or type of content I create specifically for that app I decided to just post a bunch of different content. I hopped on a couple of trends, posted some content from some of my creative shoots, and even did a couple of dancing videos. 

I posted a video on March 14th of me and one of my closest friends, Gary Mo doing a trend that failed. But to my surprise, that was my most liked and viewed video that I had posted- gaining the attention of over 2000 people. 

  • I experimented further and thought I’d start doing a series of “forcing my brother to do TikTok’s” which would just be me dressed as a boy. I found that the videos weren’t gaining much traction, they were funny, don’t get me wrong, but they still weren’t catching the attention of others. 
  • The very last test I did was a cooking video. I cut together clips showing how to make ‘Healthy Fudgy Avocado Brownies.’ Again, the video didn’t do well, only catching the attention of about 500 people.

At this point I wasn’t sure what kind of content I wanted to pursue on TikTok, I didn’t feel super inspired with what I was producing up to this point, as most of the content I was posting was testing to see what content would do the best on the platform. 

On April 8th, I went out to an island with my brother and his girlfriend for the afternoon. I decided that I would film a couple of TikTok’s on the beach and see how they fared. And just like that, I posted a video at 4:40 pm that day and by the time I had checked in that night the video had over 10,000 views. When I woke up the next morning, the video had over 15,000 views, I didn’t think it would continue to grow but to my surprise, it did. Exponentially increasing, the video shot to over 100,000 views in the matter of days, now resting at 162.8K. From that video alone, I gained over 1,100 followers on the app in just two days. 

I’ll be honest when I say that I was completely riding on a high after that point. On April 10th I spent seven hours in my bedroom filming different TikTok’s which haven’t done nearly as well as my first big video. I’m not going to lie to you, I felt defeated. This is what happens when you care more about your views than your content. Don’t get me wrong, I was working hard to produce content for my new audience, but I was doing it primarily for the exposure I was getting, not because I wanted to. After posting a couple of hard hitting videos on TikTok, I saw my Instagram following skyrocket, as well gaining more traction on YouTube.

I didn’t know this when I first started using the app, but TikTok doesn’t allow creators to message each other unless they’re directly following each other. So as I gained more followers on TikTok, they would look at my bio and click the link that brought them to my Instagram page in order to get in contact with me. And at that point, I realized that if that many people were actively searching for more of my content on other platforms then TikTok was ultimately the best way to grow my brand. 

However, I got a little ahead of myself. After doing more research on the app, I found that the videos of people dancing get quite a lot of traction so just like that every night I was forcing myself to learn anywhere between 5-10 viral dances. Mind you, I’m NOT a dancer, I took a couple of classes when I was a kid, but it never went any further than that. I don’t feel creative copying others, but at the time I didn’t care. I was hungry for the exposure and likes, it took me three months to raise my Instagram following from 2,000 followers to 3,000, but in just three short weeks of using TikTok, my Instagram following went from 3,000 followers to 4,000. 

But here’s where the story comes to a screeching halt. 

I started experiencing every TikToker’s fear of shadowbanning. Unfortunately, TikTok is well known for filtering out content from creators simply if they don’t like it. This means that less people see your videos, which means that you aren’t getting much or any exposure. 

Although they have an extensive community guideline list, I wasn’t violating any of their terms. I was able to post videos on my account, but they weren’t getting any views which I thought was weird. Even if the videos didn’t land on the ‘For Your Page’ they would at least land on the pages of those who followed me. When the videos didn’t gain any views, I started deleting them and I began getting really frustrated. I made a second account as a backup and after looking at my main account, I realized that my content wasn’t showing up. 

So not only were my videos not getting any views, but TikTok wasn’t even posting them to the public. And from here on out, it’s basically a downwards spiral. 

Since then, I’ve had two videos removed as violations on their community guidelines, without any comments on why they were removed. I’ve found that there are days that they will let me post content and there are days where they won’t depending on what I’m wearing generally. Mind you, I’ve been fully clothed in every since video. Yes, I’ll admit there has been a lot of skin shown, but that isn’t a violation according to their guidelines.

So here I was, sweating my ass off every night practicing these dances (that I didn’t even like), taking hours out every couple of days to film the dances over and over again in different outfits, only to have them not be posted to the app. My account is still active and I post on it every couple of days, but what I’ve realized is that it’s extremely easy to get sucked into the number of views, likes and comments. 

A lot of what I was posting didn’t even make me happy, but I was doing it for exposure for my other platforms. I still don’t know my niche for Tiktok, but I’ve relaxed a bit. I don’t force myself to post anymore, or make content for the platform every couple of days. I’ve realized that I don’t want to just be a one hit wonder, I want to be remembered for my content, which is a reflection of who I am when I create. When I was on TikTok I started feeling like a puppet, tiptoeing around what the algorithm allowed me to post. I also found that I started comparing myself to other creators and getting extremely competitive about the numbers my videos were raking in which isn’t like me at all. 

I’ve learnt a lot using the app, but a lot still remains a complete mystery to me. I don’t want to use an app that makes me unhappy, so I took a break and got back to working on content for YouTube and I felt better. I always promote being one’s truest self online, and I realized that I was going completely against what I was saying because I got too wrapped up in what the app was doing for me. I started being really hard on myself when my views dropped on my other platforms and blaming myself for my lack of content on TikTok, I felt like my hands were tied as posting became harder with my shadowban. 

To wrap this all up, I will definitely continue using TikTok. I think there is a way for me to use the app and still be an original creator, mixing in a couple of dances here and there because some of them were actually a lot of fun and if you’ve ever learnt a TikTok dance you know it’s some of the best cardio you’ll ever do.

It’s best not to count the likes, but rather post for yourself and not others. 

Productivity During a Pandemic

I’ve been in quarantine for two months now, and it is not going the way I expected. When it first started, many people (myself included) saw it as an opportunity to be productive and do things we hadn’t had time for during our everyday lives. Friends told me about their big plans and I read about famous novels and plays that had been written while the authors were quarantined, and it put a lot of pressure on me to finally write a novel. This was my chance, after all. I’d never get another stretch of time this long off work, so if I didn’t do it now, I might never do it. The immense pressure I felt had the opposite effect it was meant to, and I still haven’t done any creative writing, but that’s okay.

I’ve talked about this before, but I really don’t think pressure is a good motivator (at least not for me). I also feel that my goal of writing an entire novel that would (hopefully) one day become a bestseller wasn’t very realistic, and that made it even more difficult to do. I’ve never written a complete novel before, so it is already a daunting task without the added pressure of having to do it before quarantine ends.

Quarantine itself has also been a strange experience; initially I was too stressed to accomplish anything, then I overcame my anxiety and focused on finishing my final projects, and since then, I’ve spent most of my time relaxing. I do feel like I deserve a break; I did just finish my degree after five grueling years, after all. Plus, as I stated before, I’ll never have another stretch of time off like this – it’s possibly the only time I can spend months relaxing until I retire, so I might as well take advantage of it and recharge before I start working full-time (whenever that happens – there aren’t a lot of jobs available right now, for obvious reasons). For these reasons, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not going to write a novel during this time, and I’m okay with that. I still have the rest of my life to write, after all.

So, since I won’t be accomplishing the one big, unrealistic goal I wanted to accomplish, I set my sights on a few smaller goals, and focusing on those has made me feel much better. I had a few realistic goals for this time: I wanted to work out consistently, I wanted to start writing on my blog again, I wanted to grow my nails out (I compulsively pick them – it’s a bad habit I’ve had for years), I wanted to talk with friends more, I wanted to rewatch some of my favourite film series such as The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and I wanted to read (as an English major, I’ve barely done any pleasure reading since I started my degree, and I wanted to get back into it).

None of these goals were crazy, unachievable things, and that made them easier to accomplish. Plus, I kept them vague – I didn’t plan to post three times a week on my blog or read 25 books, and this vagueness also helped. I could accomplish these goals at my own pace, and any effort I put towards them counted as an accomplishment, which made me feel better about it and encouraged me to continue.

I can proudly say that I have accomplished each of my goals, even if only to a small extent. I’ve been working out every other day, I’ve been writing blog posts about once a week, my nails have grown, I’ve talked to all of my friends (some almost every day), I’ve rewatched most of my favourite film series, and I’ve read two books and am halfway through a third. These may seem to be small accomplishments, but I’m proud of them nonetheless.

I think making a few smaller, more realistic goals is better and easier than having one or two big, unrealistic goals, and the feeling you get when you accomplish the smaller goals may push you to keep going and work at one of your bigger ones. Even if you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything during the last few months, I encourage you to look back and try to name two or three accomplishments, no matter how small they are. This will help you realize that you have not just been wasting your time, and will make you feel better when you look back on this time. Though, of course, there is nothing wrong with not accomplishing anything – in fact, relaxing could be seen as a sort of accomplishment, or at least something that’s good for you.

Basically, don’t beat yourself up over not achieving that Big Goal you had – it’s totally fine to use this time as a break, and small accomplishments are still valid and important. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or put unrealistic expectations on yourself. This is a tough time for everyone without the added stress of being productive, so don’t let that weigh you down – just do whatever is best for you.

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Back on Track

Soooo, I’ve been absent for quite some time now! I told myself that I’d take some time off from my usual weekly posts to figure out the next couple of steps I’m going to take to continue to expand my brand but unfortunately, I’ve found that I’ve been continuously hitting dead ends. 

I’ve been back on Vancouver Island for almost two months now, which is more time than I spent here in all of 2019. The last time I went to a photoshoot was on the 19th of March. I remember that shoot so well, I knew it was going to be my last one in the city for a while, but as I walked off into the sunset I was confident that I’d continue to be creative whether I was in Vancouver or not.

Fast Forward to now. 

Am I still confident? I’ll be honest, it’s been tough adjusting to this new lifestyle but at the end of the day, I’m alive and healthy. For the past month I’ve been in a rut. I haven’t been productive at all and I seem to be constantly fighting with myself about what my next move is going to be.

I thought I was going to take this time to catch up on all the little details that came with building one’s brand but lately I’ve been waking up, showering and crawling back into bed binging ABC’s Modern Family. 

As a creative, I feel as if it’s my job not only to myself but to others to continuously keep our spirits up- especially right now. But who’s there to lift me up when my spirits are down? Lately, I’ve found that every social media platform I’m on has become an extremely consuming place. The truth is, it’s always been extremely consuming, I just didn’t notice it as much when I had a busier schedule. My current reality is sulking in my robe (that I haven’t washed for three days) with a handful of chocolate approaching my mouth watching other people I know be creative. And the reason why I’m addressing these embarrassing new attributes of my life is because they scare me.

I’ve mentioned it before on my blog, but to rejog your memory… last summer I was at the lowest point I’d ever been in my life. I wasn’t going to school, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a purpose. Everyday I would wake up and then just go back to sleep because I didn’t feel motivated to even continue with the rest of the day. I spent about 7-9 hours on social media every day drowning myself in the lives of others while I failed to live my own. Day by day, it just got worse and I started feeling extremely stuck. At this point, I wasn’t doing YouTube, and I was only taking a few modelling gigs every couple months but I knew that if I didn’t change my ways then I would never be able to achieve my dream. I was ready to completely give up on creating content, I was letting everything knock me down to my knees, and I stopped fighting for myself. 

But slowly things started to get better and the events that took place on two nights in particular turned my entire life around. After that point, I started living for myself and I haven’t looked back ever since. That was only last July, it hasn’t even been a full year and so many amazing things have happened to me in that short amount of time.

I haven’t had any thoughts about quitting creating, and I’m definitely not even close to the state I was in last year but laying in bed not being productive freaks me out. I need to keep busy in order to stay sane. Creating has always been a positive outlet for me and I’ve always wanted to use my creativity to help others. I’ve received a lot of DMs recently about people enjoying my YouTube videos, putting smiles on their faces and just giving them a laugh during this hard time. Messages like that continue to remind me why I do what I do. 

Helping others is my passion and creating is my purpose. That’s why I create, when I’m down I watch my favourite creatives on YouTube and it always makes me feel better. Seeing people genuinely happy, living their best life is sometimes the greatest kind of medication. Real, everyday people living their dreams helps encourage even the most unmotivated people to do the same. I know that without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And that’s why I feel like it’s my job to push myself to do the same for my audience. 

“There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You’d think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not the opposite is true. You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground.”

  • Cameron Tucker (Modern Family, season 3, episode 9)

The Most Binge-Worthy TV Series (on Netflix Canada + more!)

One of my favourite activities (in and out of quarantine) is finding new shows to watch! I’m the type of person who constantly needs to be watching something. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite TV series, and as always, I’m totally open to suggestions for what to watch next. Enjoy 🙂

Gilmore Girls

Maybe my all-time favourite series, Gilmore Girls has been with me since I was a kid. It’s the type of feel-good, laugh out loud show that you put on whenever you need to escape reality. Lorelai and Rory’s adorable mother-daughter relationship will have you hooked by episode one. Gilmore Girls is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Breaking Bad

If you have yet to watch Breaking Bad, DO IT. It may seem like the show has been over-hyped, but I’m telling you it is worth it. There is drama, suspense, action, and so much amazing character development throughout the series. It’s the type of show that you will want to binge watch everyday. It’s just that good. Breaking Bad is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Revenge

A totally underrated series, Revenge is everything I want in a show. Families and relationships, secrecy and action, and SO MUCH DRAMA. Emily VanCamp plays Amanda Clarke, who seeks to destroy the Grayson family to avenge her father’s wrongful conviction.

Imposters

Another series that did not get much hype, but is certainly binge-worthy! The two-season series is all about Maddie, a con artist who marries people and then steals their money. The series is very entertaining as it certainly has its comedic moments. Imposters is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

The End of the F***ing World

SO GOOD. All about teenage angst, crime, action, and young love. The End of the F***ing World is a great series to binge during quarantine! You’re sure to fall in love with the quirky characters and get totally invested in the plot. This series is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Killing Eve

Another great crime-related show, Killing Eve is a dark and twisted story about an assassin, Villanelle, and Eve, the MI5 security officer obsessed with trying to catch her. While I will admit that the storyline started to go in a strange direction after the first series, I would recommend giving it a go!

90210

A classic 2000’s series about teenagers in Beverly Hills and all the drama that they get into. You’re sure to get so wrapped up in the story that you won’t even realize you’re still in quarantine.

Black Mirror

If you want a show that is going to make you question everything about your life, then Black Mirror is for you. Each episode follows a completely different set of characters and storylines, which makes them like miniature movies. For the most part, the episodes revolve around technology and the dark and twisted ways that it can affect humans. Black Mirror is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

You

I’m sure most of you have seen this one, but You is another great crime/love/drama show. Based on the novel by Caroline Kepnes, You is a psychological thriller that follows Joe Goldberg, a stalking, toxic boyfriend whose obsession with his lovers lead him to become violent and criminal. You is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Queer Eye

Queer Eye is a feel-good reality TV show that follows the Fab Five in their journey to making over the lives of deserving individuals. This show is sure to make you laugh and cry and everything in between. Queer Eye is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Currently Watching: Scandal

The current show that I am watching on Netflix is Scandal. I’m on season three so far, and it is definitely scandalous! After the first season, I was not too sure about continuing to watch, but I found that the story line really picks up during season two.

On my need-to-watch-next list:

Based on recommendations online and from friends, the shows that I am looking forward to watching next are: Russian Doll, Maniac, and Dark.

Please leave your series recommendations below, and let me know if you watch any of the shows that I suggested!

Moving On After Losing A Pet

It’s been over six months now since my brother’s cat, Lee, passed away. It was the worst day of my life; I was absolutely devastated and I spent the entire day crying at my desk. I couldn’t function knowing that he was gone, and so unexpectedly too. The video call in which my mom told me what happened still haunts me and serves as a reminder to appreciate my loved ones while they’re around, as I never know when I’m going to lose them.

The first few days after Lee’s death were the hardest; I had to pick myself up and go to school and work and pretend everything was alright when inside I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I remember being amazed that life was still going on around me, as for me, it had stopped completely.

Going out was good for me, as it taught me to compartmentalize my feelings – something I’d need to be able to do when my family’s dog passed away a few months later. As time passed, my wounds began to heal, and a new normal emerged.

Since then, I have cried a few times, but generally I’m fine. I still miss him, of course, but the pain I feel is a dull ache and only bothers me occasionally. Lee will always be in my heart, but I have moved on and grown to enjoy my life as it is.

As those with pets understand, you know you have really moved on when you are ready to open up your heart to another pet. My mom mentioned looking for cats on the SPCA website when I came home almost two months ago, and I wondered if we were ready. She said that my brother really missed his cat, as evidenced by the increased attention he paid to my cat, Jenny. So, we began searching.

Not long after I started looking, I found Zeus. I knew he was special the moment I saw him. He was a beautiful cat, with a few personality traits similar to Lee’s. Most importantly, he was very sweet, and loved cuddling. My mom showed his picture to my brother and he liked him, so we contacted his foster and adopted him about a week later.

He is very skittish – he hid in my mom’s bedroom the first day we had him, and over the subsequent days he hid under her dressers but would let us pet him. Eventually he started coming out from under the bed, but he would run away every time we tried to approach him. It’s been a couple weeks now and he’s improved a lot – he comes out from under the bed and bothers us for cuddles, he meows a lot, and he plays constantly (he’s still a kitten, so he has A LOT of energy).

I was hesitant to get another cat, as I thought it would feel like we were replacing Lee, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to love a new cat, but I was wrong. Zeus is a different cat with a different personality who we have welcomed into our home, not as a replacement, but as an additional family member. I loved him from the moment I saw him, and now that he’s become comfortable and cuddly with me, I love him even more than I thought possible. My mom told me that when you get a new pet, they don’t take over the part of your heart that belonged to your previous pet – your heart expands to make room for them, and I truly believe that.

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What I’ve Been Doing in Quarantine…

This has been a crazy year for everyone. I could go on about how devastating this time is and all the unfortunate consequences of COVID-19, but instead I thought I would share some of the positives that have come from my experience in quarantine.

I’ve Been Getting Crafty!

Something that I have really enjoyed doing in quarantine has been crafting! I was always crafty growing up, but as I got older and life got busier, that hobby slipped through the cracks. Some projects that I have enjoyed are doing water colour painting (super easy and fun), reverse tie-dying my clothes with bleach (click here for a tutorial), and knitting (an easy way to pass the time while watching tv)!

I’ve Started Working Out Again!

I have always loved having a workout routine, but when university classes demand a lot of my time, I found it hard to stay on track. Now that I have a lot of time on my hands, I have decided to get into working out again! On sunny days, I like going for hikes around my neighbourhood. Other days, I have been enjoying at-home workouts. I am currently on Day 19 of Chloe Ting’s 26 Day Hourglass Program (highly recommend Chloe’s videos)! Having the schedule that Chloe put together makes it super easy to follow and gives me no excuses to skip working out.

I’ve Been Journaling More!

I started a journal last year but found that I hardly ever wrote in it. During quarantine, I’ve enjoyed documenting my thoughts and doodling. It is a nice break from being online all the time and I’m excited to have it to look back on in the future. The COVID-19 crisis is such a unique time in history that it will definitely be interesting to look back on. Let me know if you guys would like a me to write a “how to start a journal/inspiration” post!

I’ve Been Reading Books!

Another hobby that I enjoy but never seemed to have the time for before quarantine. I tend to get really bad headaches when I spend too much time looking at screens, so it has been essential for me to find some off-line activities to keep me busy during the pandemic. I plan on making a post about book recommendations soon, so look out for that!

I’ve Cleaned/Re-Decorated My Room!

Some of you may be rolling your eyes at this one. Don’t worry, I’m not here to be your mother and tell you to “clean your room!” However, I have personally felt a lot more at ease when I got my bedroom set up to my liking. As you’d expect, I have been spending a lot of time in my room for the past couple months, so it is important to me that I enjoy my space. First, I painted some art pieces for my wall that make me happy when I look at them. I also got some plants that help liven up the space. De-cluttering has also been important for me, so I’ve put a lot of my non-essential items in storage to keep my room looking open and clean.

I’ve Been Trying Out New Hobbies!

This is the perfect time to try learning new things. Today, my boyfriend and I decided to start learning how to code. It has been very fun learning something new and bonding together. And who knows maybe we will be programmers by the time quarantine is over?!

I’m also planning on doing some cooking. Since many of my favourite restaurants are closed right now, I am looking forward to trying to recreate my favourite meals. I made this recipe this week and I would highly recommend for an easy dinner (5-minute Mediterranean Bowl).

I’ve Been Watching Lots of Netflix (obviously)!

Probably the most common quarantine pass time, but I had to include it. I’m working on a Netflix recommendations post, but feel free to let me know if you guys have any suggestions on what to watch!

I’m Taking Things One Day at a Time!

Everyone is coping with this situation differently, and I understand that not everyone is going to be positive during this time. But, I hope I have been able to share some ideas of what can help keep your spirits up while you’re at home.

Let me know in the comments how you guys have been dealing with quarantine!

Disclaimer : the images used in this post are not my own. They are stock images retrieved from pexels.com

Schitt’s Creek and Happy Endings

Over three weeks ago, the series finale of Schitt’s Creek aired on CBC. If you had told me three months ago that I would eagerly watch it and bawl my eyes out throughout the episode and the subsequent documentary about the show, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s crazy that in such a short amount of time this show has come to mean so much to me. I have a deep connection to this show, and I expect that I always will.

I started watching Schitt’s Creek during a very turbulent time in my life. I was less than two months away from finishing my degree, and my long-term relationship had just ended. Things were changing in my life, and it was a sad, scary, and lonely time. I was looking for some hope and joy, and that’s when I discovered Schitt’s Creek.

I had heard of the show, of course. It was a rarity – a Canadian show that successfully broke into the U.S. market. I had seen video clips from the show in my Facebook news feed, and though I sometimes gave them a try, I didn’t usually find them funny. More recently, I had read a lot of good reviews about it on reddit, and as someone who tends to trust the opinions of random people on the internet for some reason, I decided I would have to give it a try sometime. Well, I found myself single and alone with no idea how to spend my newfound free time, so I figured it was the perfect time to start watching it.

Now, for those of you who haven’t seen the show, here is a quick synopsis, as you’re typically supposed to include those. Schitt’s Creek follows the filthy rich Rose family as they lose everything and are forced to move to a small town they bought as a joke many years ago, appropriately called (you guessed it!) Schitt’s Creek. There they are humbled and learn to become better people and what not. The show is kind of like Arrested Development but with way more heart (not sure Arrested Development has any heart to be honest, but I still love it).

And that’s why I fell in love with it. The heart. This show is oozing with positivity and love, and it was exactly what I needed at the time. It’s not mean-spirited in its humour, and the drama isn’t so serious that it makes you feel stressed just watching it. It is incredibly easy to fall in love with the characters in this show – both those in the Rose family, who are endearingly selfish but massively entertaining, and those in the town itself, who are all unique and interesting characters that feel like real people.

My favourite thing about this show is the love. It’s ultimately about love – familial, platonic, and romantic. It is incredibly refreshing to watch, especially when you’re going through a hard time. I felt the love between the characters, and it felt like I was the one receiving it. Every kind of love on the show warmed my heart, and made me appreciative of my friends and family, and hopeful that I can find a romantic love like those displayed in the show.

Watching the finale air live was extremely bittersweet for me. The show had come to mean so much to me in a short amount of time. Few TV shows have made me cry as much as this one has – it’s a special one. It helped me get through a tough time, and reminded me that happy endings do exist (and that every person’s happy ending is different), and for that I will forever be grateful.

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Life in Quarantine

Over a month ago, when COVID-19 ramped up significantly and caused my classes to go online and my jobs to close, I made the decision to go back to my hometown and quarantine with my family. I’m so glad I made that decision, as I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling if I was alone in my apartment right now.

Temporarily moving back home has been pretty weird. The first few days, I just worried about everything going on, but I slowly calmed down and tried to be more positive. I started adjusting to my new normal, and now I’m completely used to living here. I truly never thought I would live with my parents again, but this is a pretty unusual situation, and at the end of all this I will be heading back to Vancouver, although being there will surely feel different.

My initial plan while staying here was to be extremely productive and do everything I’ve never had the time to do before, but I quickly realized that that was not going to happen, and that’s okay. I needed to relax and focus on my mental health for the first little while before I could think about doing “productive” stuff. I watched movies and tv shows, I spent hours on reddit, I talked to friends constantly. It was actually really nice to have a break – I think I needed it. Life has been pretty crazy, with COVID-19, me finishing my last semester of university, and my post-graduation plans being thrown out the window, at least for the time being. I needed to just unwind and take a break.

Now that I feel sufficiently relaxed, I’m ready to start being productive. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself – I initially planned to write an entire novel while in quarantine, but the pressure to do so caused a lot of anxiety that led to me being too scared to even start. I’ve since made my goals a little more realistic, and have subsequently started working out, started reading again, and started writing blog posts again (guess I’m doing pretty well so far). There are a few more things I’d like to do, including video chatting with friends, as I’ve done this once so far and found it much more enjoyable than talking over text, plus I would really like to talk to people other than my immediate family. I would also like to do some creative writing, but this time, I’m not going to put as much pressure on myself – I don’t need to write an entire novel, I can write short stories or slowly start writing a novel without pressuring myself to get it done right away. I think if you put too much pressure on yourself, it impedes your ability to actually get things done (or maybe that’s just me).

Apparently, we have at least another month of social distancing left until things go back to “normal”, and in a weird way I am grateful for that, as it means more time with my family and more time (hopefully) being somewhat productive while I actually have time to do everything I want to do. Nobody knows how long this will last, but it’s important that we all take care of ourselves and our mental health right now and do what is best for us, whether that be accomplishing nothing at all or being super productive. We also need to show empathy to others, as not everyone is lucky enough to relax at home and not have to worry about their loved ones. These are truly extraordinary times, and hopefully when everything is said and done, we can work to make this world a better place.

Stay safe, everybody.

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Blog Post #25: I Must Say Review

Hello, hello! It feels great to be back and blogging again. I was really busy these past couple of weeks, so I didn’t have the time to post, but now I do! Well, let’s dive straight in, shall we?

This week I’ll be discussing I Must Say,by Canadian actor, comedian, and writer, Martin Short.

I Must Say is an autobiography providing a very detailed description of Short’s life. It highlights major components including career-defining moments, marriage, his childhood, and life-long friendships he’s made throughout his impressive time in the entertainment industry. From describing what it was like growing up being the youngest of five siblings and knowing at a young age that he had a knack for performing, to having a tumultuous time as a Saturday Night Live cast member and creating iconic characters, i.e., Jiminy Glick, readers are in for a treat once they open this book. I also really liked how Short incorporates hilarious stories of relatable awkward encounters with other celebrities such as Hollywood royalty, Katherine Hepburn.

However, what stood out to me while progressing through I Must Say was reading about his determination to maintain a positive outlook on life despite enduring several unimaginably heartbreaking events. For example, he lost his eldest sibling and both parents before turning twenty, as well as his wife to terminal cancer in 2010. Although Short went through the (inevitable) grieving stage(s), he always considered himself a happy person and vows to continue living that way, which I truly admire.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book! I must say (pun totally intended) that this is one of the best written autobiographies I’ve ever come across and was even better than I expected. I have the utmost respect for Martin Short after learning so much more about him. Overall, if you’re looking to find just a solid autobiography, I highly recommend you take a look.

Hello Again

It’s been almost a year since I last posted, but I recently became motivated to start posting on here again due to boredom and encouragement from friends. A lot has happened since I last posted – I started and finished my final year of university, two of my pets passed away, my relationship ended, and now I’m staying at my parents’ house until who knows when because of a pandemic that’s devastating much of the world. What a year it’s been.

It feels kind of weird coming back now, with everything going on, but maybe it’s a good thing. I mean, everyone could use a distraction now, right? Plus, being quarantined for over a month now, I have had a lot of time to think, and it would be nice to write some of those thoughts out. I find it difficult to open up on here – it feels like I’m spilling my secrets to the whole world, even though only a few people read this blog, and they’re mostly friends and family. Just the thought of others being privy to my private, innermost thoughts is terrifying. I’ve never exactly been an open person – I tend to keep problems to myself, which only makes them fester and get worse. So, I’m trying to be more open about what’s going on in my life, in the hopes that it will improve both my mental health and my relationships with those close to me. Plus, if anyone reading this can connect to what I’m going through, that’s pretty cool too.

Going forward, I am going to try my best to post at least once a week (optimistic, I know). I would like to post more personal essays, as I would like that to be the main focus of my blog – it is called Tessa’s Thoughts, after all (is that name too cheesy? should I change it? probably). But if you come here for the film and tv show reviews, worry not, as I have seen more movies and tv shows over the past year than I can count, so I will have no problem cranking out reviews for those who want them. I also want to be more open to writing about other things outside of these two categories, so look out for different kinds of posts (maybe I’ll finally start posting some of my creative writing online hahajustkidding). Either way, there will hopefully be plenty of posts to keep you busy during and potentially after this quarantine, assuming that this spike in motivation is ongoing and doesn’t drop off immediately after I post this. If it does, please feel free to annoy me until I post again – I’m not great at self-motivation, as you probably already know.

That’s all for now. I look forward to sharing my thoughts, experiences, reviews, etc. with you in the near future. Stay safe, everyone!

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The 9 Books I’ve Read in Self-Isolation: March Reading Wrap Up

In the past couple weeks I’ve have been self-isolating, and in order to keep myself entertained I’ve been 100% keeping up to date with ALL of my school work! Oh wait, no, sorry. I have actually been keeping up to date with about 0% (maybe 1%?) of my school work. What I’ve actually been doing is reading a lot of books and watching some movies and binging some TV. However, today I’m going to be focusing on the books that I’ve read. Mainly because there are 9 (NINE!)

1.) I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

This first book is actually one I read as part of a book club! It’s essentially a “soft sci-fi” which pretty much means it’s a contemporary book with some sci-fi elements mixed in. Following three teens on the journeys they each embark on after earth is contacted by aliens, telling everyone they have seven days until hey are put on trial. I enjoyed this book, but found myself disconnected from the characters due to the way that it was written. And the ending kind of feels like the author just stopped. That being said, I would actually recommend this to anyone looking for an “end of the world” type thing, especially seeing out current situation.

2,3,4.) Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy, Chain of Gold and Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare and others

The reason I have lumped these all together is because they are all part of a much larger series of books known to many as The Shadow Hunter Chronicles. Cassandra Clare has three (going on 4/5 now) complete series, as well as three short story compilations that follow characters known as Shadowhunters — humans with angel blood who fight demons. The problem with the three books I’ve read this past month is that I can’t really recommend them to anyone who hasn’t already read her books, because they do contain spoilers for her other series! That being said, I really enjoyed all three books and if you’ve read Clare’s other books and liked them, I would definitely suggest checking them out. And if you haven’t read any of her books, check out either The Infernal Devices or The Mortal Instruments first.

5.) A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

This is an extremely sweet as well as heart wrenching — but also warming — book. Following a young muslim girl who moves to a new town just one year after the 9/11 attacks. chronicling her year at a new school, the new people she meets, as well as the break dancing club she starts with. her brother. I really enjoyed this book, especially because I have never read anything with this subject matter. Being an own voices story, inspired by the author’s adolescence (break dancing and everything!)

6.) Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell

This book isn’t really a book, and is rather two (very) short stories compiled into two bindings. The first Midnights follows a girl who pines after her best friend and has to watch him kiss a different girl at midnight every single New Years Eve. And the second story, Kindred Spirits, follows a young girl who waits in line for the first movie in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy. And the trials and tribulations of sleeping outside a movie theatre for two days and with two people who don’t know — despite the fact that they share a love for Star Wars. Now I’m not a HUGE fan of extremely short stories like these, mainly because I’m an extremely character based reader. I love to get to know characters, and by the time I got to know these ones — the story was over. That being said I really enjoyed the second story, being a Star Wars fan myself. There were lots of cute little references mixed in that I was able to enjoy.

7.) In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

This next book I read was yet again for the book club i’m a part of! inspired by the board game Clue, this is a modernized murder mystery. Taking place in a fancy boarding school and following the few students who get trapped in one of the school buildings when there is a horrible storm. The only way I can describe this book is fun. It’s extremely easy to read and gets it’s point across easily. My only complaint is the different points of view that it’s told in throughout the story.

8.) All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

This is an audio book that I ended up listening to as I cleaned my room one day. I signed up for the Scribd free one month promotion, and chose a book I saw a few people talking about online. Putting a modern twist on Agatha Christie novels mixed with The Breakfast Club. X teens are invited to a scholarship dinner with the mayor, but he never shows. With the door slamming shut and trapping them in the room, stuck with a bomb, a syringe, and a note saying: they have an our to kill someone, or everyone dies. Although, unfortunately I just don’t think it was for me. I had trouble believing the overall “reveal” and like many of the other books I read this month — I didn’t love the way that it was written.

9.) If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

The last book I read this month is one I have been DYING to read. Following the 7 teens that make up the fourth years of a very prestigious Shakespearean theatre program. It goes back and forth between their 4th year and ten years in the future when one of the students is being released from jail, for murder. I really really enjoyed this one. It is so pretentious, but that’s something I really enjoy — so if you get annoyed at 21 year olds who quote Shakespeare in everyday conversations it’s not for you. I will also say that I started to read this one day, tried to stop, but then ended up staying up until 3am so I could read the whole thing. But if you don’t like Shakespeare, this is probably not for you.


So there we have it! the 9 books I read in March! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and healthy. If anything this is the best time for us to be turning to things like literature and film, as they help us escape the world outside.

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Looking Forward: Process Post #11

Today was our last PUB201 class, and to be honest I’m a bit sad. Publishing classes are always a fun and a highlight of my semesters — I mean today in our online lecture we started playing pictionary, what other class would that happen in?!

But alas, as it is the last class that does beg the question: where do we go from here?

for me, I’m looking forward to continuing this blog. Especially in a time like this I think not only those who pop in and read my posts need this — but so do I. It’s been so much fun to post different reviews, lists, and everything in between this past semester and I’m looking forward to continue to do so!

However, in the upcoming weeks I do have exams. And if I can’t focus on studying when I’m freakishly busy with work — how on earth am I going to be able focus when I literally have all the time in the world!? So, that being said, I will most likely be able to get back up and running some time after the 20th of April (my last exam).

I look forward to posting all the reviews (mainly books because literally every single new movie has been pushed back to the end of the year or 2021 🙁 ) While also using all the knowledge I have gained from this course. Including SEO, Google Analytics, and everything in between. I also look forward to taking more Publishing courses in the future, and most likely sticking a shiny Publishing minor alongside my English Major.

P.S — Thank you Suzanne and William!

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Motivation: Process Post #10

The other day I was talking to my friend over FaceTime. I said to her, “my TA wants us to post a response to the overall discussion question and then a another response to someone else in the class — I don’t have time for that!” To which she replied, “actually Emma, you literally have all the time.”

This was a moment when I really noticed the way that this change in pace has affected my motivation to complete school work. I literally have no excuses. I’m not going into work right now, so my usual excuse of having to teach kids dance from 3-6 Thursday through Sunday isn’t going to work when i’m not up to date with the many tasks I know i’m behind on. And I literally have all the resources I need in order to be the successful — ie: working computer, internet, food in a kitchen — and I’m very lucky for that. However, I did realize the other day (while trying to write I long paper in approximately 48 hours) that I have the most uncomfortable desk chair and will likely need to upgrade before my summer courses begin or my back WILL begin to resemble a cave man’s.

But anyways, I’m hoping that in the summer I will be able to motivate myself to keep up to date with my classes. I think (and i HOPE) it will be easier due mainly to the fact that those classes are always going to be online. What was most difficult these past few weeks was not just doing classes online, but the abrupt switch to online. I felt like I got whiplash going from a 3 hour lecture on film history to a short recorded lecture that my professor sent out.

So that being said, I’m hopeful for the coming months. And I hope that this all starts to settle down soon. Because if there’s one thing that’s not helping — it’s everyone freaking out.

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Imagine: Process Post #9

I’m not too sure if everyone has seen this, but last week actress Gal Gadot posted this video to her Instagram account. And it caused quite an uproar. I could see the sentiment behind it, but all in all I think it’s pretty cringey. Most people just asking: “what’s the point?” There was no charity attached to it, which could’ve to possibly encouraged people to donate to those in need — but it was instead a bunch of celebrities awkwardly singing Imagine by John Lennon horribly off key. Although, what it did do was make me interested in looking to see what different celebrities have been doing online. Not only trying to brighten people’s days, but helping charities as well. And two of the main things that stood out to me were: living room concerts and late night talk show hosts.

Living Room Concerts

“living room concerts” are simply celebrities (usually singers) posting videos on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, or through live stream services where they perform different songs. While I’m not sure who did the first one ever, John Legend was one of the first big celebrities to do it. Doing an Instagram Live along with his wife Chrissy Teigan and their children. What’s interesting about this is that when John posted the video to his Instagram, he used the hashtag #togetherathome, tagged fellow musicians to do the same, as well as included links to the WHO (World Heath Organization) and this website. And what the website shows is a way in which they are getting different musicians to come together and encourage people to stay home — all through music.

Similarly I’ve been seeing videos on various different Broadway themed sites. As some of you might know, all of Broadway has shut down due to the virus. Thus resulting in thousands of Broadway performers (and those who work behind the scenes) without work. Sn Broadway.com’s youtube channel, they’ve been done a live show hosted by Rosie O’Donnell with numerous broadway guests — all to raise money for The Actor’s Fund! Similarly, Broadway World has been posting videos on their website and Instagram page of various Broadway performers doing living room concerts. And another one of my favourite things has been Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been asking his Twitter followers to send songs they want him to play on the piano — all while sat in front of his beautiful and giant Cats oil painting! (another awesome charity is Broadway Cares, known for the Aid’s fun they regularly raise money for when shows are happening!!)

Late Night Talk Show Hosts

Now I’ll admit, one of my guilty pleasures is watching late night talk shows. I don’t watch them all the time, but I really enjoy some bits of Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon’s shows. And in this quarantine I’ve actually been tuning into Jimmy Fallon’s Youtube channel quite regularly, because he’s been doing The Tonight Show: Home Edition for the past few weeks. I believe Jimmy Kimmel was actually the first talk show host to do this, but I genuinely enjoy the way that Fallon has been running his show from home. He has his wife film (as well as not laugh at a single one of his jokes), and his two young daughters often steal the show — with an inability to listen to him, and the youngest always ending up climbing all over him. What I also really enjoy about Jimmy Fallon’s show is that they’ve been highlighting various charities throughout the episodes (on the first episode alone they have already raised over $53,000 dollars for Feeding America). So I think he’s done a really good job of not only continuing to entertain people, but bring awareness of what’s going on. [Seth Meyers, Conan, James Corden, & Stephen Colbert have also been doing at home episodes of their talk shows]


I think there’s quite a difference between the video Gal Gadot posted, and the one’s I’ve included here. I get what she was most likely going for, but it definitely didn’t have the same affect as these celebrities, who are coming together to bring awareness to not only the virus, but bringing help to those who have been affect most — all while continuing to do what they do best and entertain the general public.

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Eat | The Lockup

The Lockup is a reservation-based horror prison-themed all-you-can-eat restaurant that can be found in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. They have a lite 10 item menu, regular 150 items menu, seasonal menu, and occasionally collaboration menus with different artists. The restaurant holds the Monster show 3 times a day at the 18:30, 20:30 and 22:30, hence to not miss the show, I booked our table at 18:00.
[I apologize in advance for all the blurry pictures due to dark lighting]

The entrance of The Lockup

The Introduction

Our cell of the night

Before entering the restaurant, a staff approached me and my food buddies to confirm our reservation. Shortly after that, an announcement urged us to enter through the rear door. We were in an empty room with mirror walls. The light slowly dimmed to complete darkness, and suddenly the emergency alarm rang loudly. A door on the left opened up and a server dressed in a police costume was waiting for us. She asked what sin brought us to prison, and one of us said eating too much mochi. Then she guides us to our cell, with comfy sofa seats and a table inside. The whole restaurant is really dark with mere lightings just enough to see the person across the table.

After ordering our meals, we excitedly wait for our food when looking around like we have never been in a prison before (sadly none of us are criminals).

Main Course

Drink in IV bag

We ordered deep-fried chicken, pasta, fries, takoyaki, salad, potato wedges, rice, drinks, desserts and way more than I can remember. Everything tastes really good, but what’s better was the plating and garnishes. Drinks were put into IV bags, which you have to lift up the bag and drain the drink into a science lab beaker. Fries were put into a red envelope so you can shake and mix in the fries and spices. Sauces for pasta and deep-fried chicken are made into purplish pink colour, some hues that are too creepy for food. My favourite one is the Russian roulette takoyaki with one out of 6 pieces filled with deadly spicy sauce.

As we are happily enjoying our meal at peaceful times, the emergency alarm rang and announced that the top criminal at the prison has escaped! It’s the Monster show time! We did not ask for danger tapes on our cell door since we wanted the monsters to bang on our door and come inside to grab us. And luckily they did! One of them even sit next to me and invite me for a selfie!!!

Me on the left and the Monster prisoner on the right

It was a really fun time for all of us, and as I am writing this blog post I am also planning my next visit to The Lockup. Their food is really good and the overall atmosphere and show are very engaging. If you have a friend that screams for the least scary peekaboo pranks, bring him/her to this place cause it is going to bring you so much entertainment during the Monster Show (not saying I did, but you know, it was fun). Promise me to find some time to lock yourself up in your next Japan trip!

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The Power of FaceTime: Process Post #8

I’m an introvert. And so, I’m someone who usually prefers time to myself. So, if i’m being honest, self-isolating hasn’t been the most difficult thing for me to do. However, as the weeks go by, I have begun to get restless. As much as introverted people enjoy their time alone — that does not mean that we are all recluse. Some of the things I have enjoyed doing during my self-isolation is reading and watching movies, but I’ve also been FaceTiming my friends and family. I think I’ve used the FaceTime app on my phone more in the past couple week than I have in the however many years I’ve had an Apple device! (like 8 years?)

I live at home with my parents, but I have three older brothers who live with their significant others. Two of them live in Vancouver, while the eldest and his wife live in Toronto with my baby niece. And so, in order to talk to one another regularly, we’ve been having makeshift family dinners in order to connect with one another during quarantine (at about 3pm because of the Toronto/Vancouver time difference and because my niece eats at 6’clock). In some ways I would actually say that the virus is bringing us closer, as ironic as it might sound. I see the two brothers who live in Vancouver quite often — but I’m definitely not able to talk to the oldest as often. Although, through the power of the internet, we’re all able to check in on one another and make sure everyone is doing well — and it’s of course awesome to see my baby niece walking and “talking” (she has about two words in her vocabulary “light” and “hi”).

Alongside my family, I’ve been trying to stay in touch with my friends as well. One of my best friends and I would always meet up at SFU on Wednesdays, during a break we both had between classes. And so, even though we’re not in school, we’ve been facetiming at the same time! It’s not only nice to see my friend, but it still feels like I’m maintaining a part of my old routine.

So while I’m doing a lot of reading and watching a lot of movies, I’ll be honest and say that those are things I would always do during my free time. So, during this time, I’m also trying to keep in touch with those around me — and I’d suggest you all do the same!

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Week 13: Process Post

A part of me still can’t believe that we finally made it to the end of the semester alive (jokes of course). I thought that last semester felt like a lifetime when it slugged on by, but getting kicked out of school due to a lung-drowning virus made me realize how much I missed attending in-person classes, as online lectures really put a damper on self-isolation.

When Spring semester first started, Suzanne heavily encouraged the class to sign ourselves up to present our blogs to the class in the final week of classes. At first, I thought, “no way, I would never do that.” But as the weeks flew by, and I started posting regularly on YouTube and adding more bits and bobs to my website I realized that it was something that I did want to show the class. In the beginning, I was extremely nervous to see what everyone would think, but I realized that I share my life everywhere I go to a global audience, never once batting an eyelash if they saw what I was up to. So why did sharing it to the class seem so daunting?

It’s easy to share your life online- every photo you’ve ever taken was taken in the past, every video you’ve ever filmed was filmed in the past, it seems as if nothing is ever really happening in the moment anymore. It’s easy to feel your best when you’re posting a stock photo of yourself dressed to the nines while you’re at home in your bed with a facemask on shoveling ice cream into your mouth. In a way, I felt that if I presented my website to others I’d be exposing myself as someone who doesn’t capture things in the moment, but at the end of the day that’s what I wanted, I wanted people to get a real glimpse of these fake lives we make up. I’m not saying my life is a complete figment, but I definitely don’t look like how I do on Instagram everyday. I’ve struggled a lot with branding as well as expanding my brand since I’m the literal face of it, worried that if I change one little thing that people won’t resonate with it the same way. 

I realized on a bus ride home from PUB 201 that I was going to present my brand to the class because I was proud of what I was doing and that I wanted to be the one to show others that although I created this extravagant life for myself that I was still me at the end of the day. 

When we post, we let the content speak for itself rather than using our own words. People can never really get to know who you really are when you don’t explain who you are and from what I’ve learnt over the last 13 weeks is that people want to see who people really are behind the cameras and filters. I’ve always wanted to inspire others, so ideally the only thing standing in the way of me and my presentation was myself.

Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of the virus we are unable to present our sites in-person, however after doing many peer-reviews and attending tutorials I’ve found that every person in our class has something that they should be proud of. If we all signed off of social media and banded together to share what we’ve been working on all term then I think all of us would’ve felt confident enough to present because there is an unbelievable amount of talent in that room that just wasn’t ready to speak up about it.