Monthly Archives: April 2020

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.