That List.

Back in December 2008 (which seems like eons ago), I started the 101 in 1001 project – essentially 101 goals to be completed in 1001 days.  If you’ve had a look at my list it is needless to say that I failed miserably lol.  I’m generally quite a goal-driven person (I love checking things off a to-do list!) but I think there were two reasons why I wasn’t as motivated as usual in completing the list:

1) There were a number of items that I took from the lists of other people (hence, I wasn’t personally committed to them)

2) Your interests can change a whole lot over 1001 days.

However, in the spirit of bringing things to an end before the year is out, I thought I’d highlight a few of the things that I got done or learnt as a result of the list…

Note: This is a very VERY long (and potentially boring) post.

Continue reading

Project365 Completed!

The end of 21 also meant that Project365 has been completed!! I was a bit distraught at first because I thought I had somehow forgotten to make a record of one of the days since they didn’t seem to match up with the list I’d been keeping on my iPhone (Notes App FTW!)… I finally worked out that I’d mislabeled one of the photos which had been mucking up my order (somewhere at Day 76) so I have spent the last hour, painstakingly correcting each one since then and IT IS FINALLY FINISHED!! There are about 8 photos that I missed out on taking… 8 out of 365 is a pretty good effort I think :P.  I’ve noted down what photos still have been taken and will get to them eventually I guess… but I wanted to share a few of my favourites here :).

Day 80: 1st July 2010 - Woodend retreat (wandering the town)

Day 129: 19th August 2010 - the day Jo and I both stayed awake for Contracts ;).

Day 172: 1st October 2010- the day we said goodbye to Scottie... :(

I guess this one isn’t really a ‘favourite’ per say, but it is one that evokes a lot of emotion from me still…

Day 337: 15th March 2011- the day I ran around the block with way-too-short-shorts and saw some lovely berries :).

Day 346: 24th March 2011- the day I stepped in a puddle and it rained too much in Melb...

I’ve made the albums viewable to public so the rest of the project can be viewed here and here.

As you can see from just this small selection, the photos have been taken from either my lovely G11 Canon or my semi-adequate iPhone camera with the occasional Hipstamatic flare ;).  If you have a look through the whole project, you’ll see that the food to ‘non-food’ ratio is quite unbalanced too haha.  I hope to give it another go down the track and perhaps add little goals along the way to keep it interesting (i.e. one of the girls I’ve ‘inspired’ to start her own Project365, does a self-portrait each week) and take better photos as well :).  I’m a bit disappointed that I’ll no longer have an excuse to pull out my camera everyday but I think the whole experience has reminded me to appreciate the little things in life and find beauty in the mundane… everyday is precious and worth making memories to last a lifetime :).  As I was sifting through the photos, I realised that 21 has definitely been a year of ups and downs but it has, more than anything, been a year of growth that I believe has prepared me for what lies ahead…whatever that may be!  Bring it on 22- I’m ready for the new adventures He’s got in store :D.

This post is related to goal number 31.

♥ Ames

#28. to #31. ‘Summer Flicks’

In an attempt to clear the slate of this blog space in anticipation of many new and other exciting things to write about, I give you a quick rundown of the movies viewed this summer (this is in relation to goal 28 from my 101 in 1001 list).  I can’t remember the exact dates when I watched them so….

#28. The Green Hornet (2011)

Occasion: taking cousins and Fi for their belated Christmas pressie movie shout :)

Rating: 3/10

Thoughts: I guess after a string of good movies, there had to be a dud somewhere along the line… I found the main character obnoxious and frankly awful.  He treated everyone so horribly and swore his head off so often that I wanted to cover the ears of my teenage cousins!  Even in light of his troubled childhood, I couldn’t muster any sympathy for the supposed hero.  That said,  Jay Chou wasn’t as bad as I thought he was going to be… his English was still a bit incomprehensible at times but he, along with the cool gadgets, were the only things in the movie that kept me from walking out.

 

 

 

 

 

#29. Persuasion (2007)

Occasion: Girls Night In at Miss Sunshine’s :)

Rating: 8/10

Thoughts: I do love the classics.  I hadn’t read Jane Austen’s Persuasion but there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to meet some of the awesome girls I knew Miss Sunshine would be bringing together :).  The movie itself moved at a good pace and the mix of loveable and detestable characters made for good entertainment indeed.  It followed the standard Jane Austen formula with the poor but intelligent heroine with the slightly aloof love interest… we were all amused by the array of miscommunications that happened throughout the course of the film and I have to say that I found the running commentary that everyone participated in whilst watching the film as enjoyable as the film itself.  This will not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you can appreciate the English countryside and the beauty of English literature then it is definitely one to watch in the company of like-minded friends :).

 

 

 

 

#30. Morning Glory (2010)

Occasion: In-flight entertainment on the way to WA :)

Rating: 8/10

Thoughts: I’ve been meaning to watch this ever since it got released so imagine my excitement when I found out that this was going to be the film for our flight hehehe.  Rachel McAdams is such a flawless actress and beautiful as ever in the role of Becky Fuller, the career driven new producer.  With an all-star cause it wasn’t hard for this film to do well… I loved how the wall that Harrison Ford’s character had built up around his heart is slowly taken down by Becky’s persistence, upbeat, positive and contagious attitude.  I loved the soundtrack of this movie as well, particularly the two songs that kicked in when Becky starts running back to the studio towards the end… I guess a feel-good romantic comedy that I probably won’t watch again any time soon, but wouldn’t mind staying a few moments there if it was shown on TV on a weeknight lols.

 

 

 

 

 

#31. The Social Network (2010)

Occasion: In-flight entertainment on trip back to Melb :P

Rating: 4/10

Thoughts: Honestly, I didn’t really like this one.  I generally like to watch movies based on true events but this one was kinda tragic… Not much I want or need to say except that I wish I had watched ‘Life as we know it’ first so that I could have finished it all the way through before arriving back at Melb…

Meh.

*Disclaimer: All ratings are purely based on my own personal opinions.

♥ Ames

#47. Co Do and #49. Dong Que

With Semester 1 just around the corner, it was that time of the year to trek in and collect these babies…

My arms felt like they were going to break off, carrying these from the Law School, to the tram stop, on the tram, to the train… thankfully, a ride was available so I didn’t have to carry this load on the 20 min walk from the station…. *shudder* I was smart enough to save one of these as a self-reward though…

I think I may be coming slightly obsessed… lols, oh well, I guess there could be more expensive and worse obsessions…

Anyway, as aforementioned the semester is about to start so I’ve started getting a bit organised around the place and it’s time I start clearing up these pending posts for more exciting things to come… I hate being in limbo about things…kinda like, ‘let your yes be yes, and let your no’s be no’ but ANYWAY…

#47 Co Do

196 Victoria Street,

Richmond VIC 3121

(03) 9421 2418 ‎

From the date that I had down for this visit to Co Do, it must have been in early Jan when my aunty in Sydney had come down to visit.  It was a very warm summer day and I had just trekked into the restaurant having spent a lovely day with Miss Sunshine and got my summer subject reading (how ironic!).  The way to cool down at a Viet restaurant?

Being a newbie food blogger and an oblivious Viet church goer, I don’t remember the name of this drink but it is a sweet one with seaweed, lychee (?) and other assorted chewy things :P.

As stated on their storefront window and other advertising, their specialty is ‘Bun Bo Hue’ which is a special type of soup noodle dish from the region of ‘Hue’ in VN.  Naturally, that was my choice.

This was beautiful :).  Noodles were not too soft, the soup was flavour-some but not too overpowering or salty.  My dad who also ate the same dish said that it was close to being as good as the dish cooked by one of the ladies at church, who is actually from Hue :).

Definitely worth stopping by if you are in Richmond and looking for this dish in particular.  Some of the others had other dishes that were alright too but I was too busy scoffing mine down after I clicked this shot to take any more photos lols.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: standard prices for Viet food – $9-$12 a bowl

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#47 Dong Que VN

102 Hopkins Street,

Footscray VIC 3011

(03) 9689 4392 ‎


We’d never tried this place before but after visiting my grandfather who was at the local hospital at the time, we decided to escape the 40 degree heat before venturing back down to Richmond for their Vic St Lunar Festival celebrations.  Anyway, we stepped in here because my father said that there was a restaurant with the same name in Vietnam so if the owners of this place actually thought it could live up to the same standards, it was worth a try.

We ordered from the Signature Dish section:

First up was the Vietnamese Spring Rolls:

I’ve become accustomed now to eating Hanoi Spring Rolls now and don’t really like the regular ones now unless they are missed in with vermicelli noodles so these were definitely something I was keen to try here.  The skin is a lot thicker and chewy-er than the regular spring rolls and they are generally quite crispy on the outside if done well…. and they were here :).  Can’t remember what was in the filling but it was definitely a thumbs up from me :P.

The next one was something neither of my parents (or myself) had tried before- Steamed Rice Paper with Grilled Pork and Rice Cracker:

Definitely not your average Vietnamese dish… it was quite a nice combination though… with the crunchy sesame rice cracker with the silky rice paper on the inside.  The grilled pork was also nicely cooked, not too oily and the accompanying greens complimented everything well.  I should have opened it up to get a photo of the insides…but well, I’m still learning :).

For our last main we had the Grilled Fish Fillets with Rice-Vermicelli:

This dish has the special fish sauce, pronounced ‘Mum’ that is kind of sweet and sour with, as you can see, a fair amount of chilli…thankfully, my chilli tolerance has been increasing so I was able to handle it.

The fish itself was BEAUTIFUL.  It came on a sizzling plate so it was still cooking away while we finished off the other dishes.  The skin was suculent and the flesh was so juicy!

I’ve also taken to ordering avocado drinks at Viet restaurants lols.  This one was good because it didn’t have too much sugar.

All in all, one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had at a Viet restaurant to date!  Would definitely come back again.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 10/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: standard prices for Viet food – $10-$13 per dish

♥ Ames

#50. San Cho

298-302 High St,

Kew VIC

(03) 9852 9119

We celebrated the 1st month of my cousin’s little boy, Emmanuel over the weekend and of course, lots of food accordingly :).  Our CNY was a very low-key one so this little relo get-together for the little one made it feel more like CNY for me… plus, a few red pockets never hurt anyone ;).  As much as I loved receiving them, I’m looking forward to the day when I can give out some red pockets of my own if anyone gets my drift hehehe.

As per tradition, all guests were presented with eggs dyed red for the festivities and the choice of eggs are to symbolise new life (?).

Standard cold meat platter… I hadn’t eaten at all before this feast so it tasted particularly good :).

Instead of plain rice, the family hosting the lunch opted for abalone fried rice…I really liked it but didn’t realise that it was to be eaten with the main dishes that came after… and hence, I finished my own bowl before any other dishes came hehehe.

This was a very interesting tasting dish… because the menu was already set, I had no idea what the name of it was but it had an odd taste that took us a while to work out… turns out it had kumquat flavoured sauce… definitely not your usual Chinese seasoning, but interesting…

This was my favourite… again, I’m not sure what it was called but the egg based dish with rice noodles was so silky that I kept going back for more… it was very light too so made it more enjoyable.

Chow with fermented tofu flavouring… nice.

Steamed chicken…. standard I guess.  Was a bit dry for my liking.

Fish!  Not sure what kind… but it was alright.  I was kinda full by the time this came out… *shrugs*

‘Twas a lovely lunch, especially since I got to see my little (2nd) cousin for the first time :).  Probably not somewhere I’d go specifically to again but if I was in the area, it’s somewhere you know can’t really go wrong :).

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 7/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: bit hard to say since I wasn’t paying lols

♥ Ames

P.S. I think this will be my last post for a while… I probably shouldn’t have even written this but I’d just resized these photos so I thought I’d indulge a bit before heading full steam ahead for this essay!! Take care people :).

P.P.S. Though I haven’t written up every single one yet, this post also marks the completion of goal #21. from my 101 in 1001 list ! Woot !

#27. Unstoppable (2010)

Date watched: 6th January 2011 in cinemas with the parentals :)

Rating: 8/10

Thoughts: Dad had been keen to watch it since seeing the trailer and Mum is always interested in stories based on true events and I just wanted to escape the heat soooo… Unstoppable happened :D.  It was the first day it was released in cinemas so Hoyts assigned us to their special Xtremescreen cinema which of course had a massive screen and black, luxurious, comfy leather chairs :D.  With Kettle Chips, Asian beef jerky and GrainWaves, we were all set for our premiere movie experience :D.  

Inspired by Ohio’s unmanned train incident in 2001, the film opens up by giving us some background to the main characters played by Chris Pine and Denzel Washington. Now, I’ve watched enough films with Denzel Washington to know that he has a good track record when it comes to choosing good scripts and movies to be involved in and this was no exception.  The director does really well in drawing out the suspence-filled story… Chris Pine’s character was in an estranged situation with his wife and kid, but when she realised that she might actually lose him, his wife forgets all her past grievances to root for his survival.  I guess I came away realising the fragility of life and how silly it is to let misunderstandings or resentment rule our lives… life is so precious and we should not take our loved ones for granted.  I’m glad I didn’t have a train rushing towards my town for me to realise this.  Glad I watched it but not something I’d go out of my way to watch again I guess.

*Disclaimer: All ratings are purely based on my own personal opinions.

April

#26. Tangled (2010)

I will definitely not be posting as often as I have been in the past two weeks (23 posts in 11 days!), but I know time will just run away from me once the summer subject starts, so…

Date watched: 6th January 2011 in cinemas (3D) with Miss Sunshine :)

Rating: 10/10 !

Thoughts: I’ve always loved Disney, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make when Miss Sunshine suggested to watch this movie :).  We chatted through the previews but the moment the film started, we were in awe of the beauty of the scenery as the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale unfolded.  Disney has outdone itself again :). 

The only thing I remembered from the story was the witch’s chant, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,” so it was good to hear how the princess actually came to have extra extra extra long hair :).  I was surprised how many songs there were in the movie, it was more like a musical and the casting of Mandy Moore as the voice of Rapunzel was right on the mark.  Her somewhat breathy vocals captured the innocence of the naive princess who’d never left her tower.  The four-legged characters, Pascal and Maximus added just the right amount of humour and helped bring the two leads together.  Keep your eyes out for the amazing floating lanterns scene (breathtaking in 3D!) and the use of the frying pan hehehe! Definitely one to see in 3D! 

*Disclaimer: All ratings are purely based on my own personal opinions.

♥ April

#46. Dao Vien

22 Buckingham Avenue,

Springvale VIC 3171

(03) 9546 6564 ‎

Being an avid lover and follower of food blogs, I’ve decided to dabble a bit here as part of the move over to this new home :).  I’ve done mini reviews in the past as part of goal #21 of the 101 in 1001 project, but I thought I’d try my hand at it and see what happens…. so here it goes!

Date visited: 5th January 2011

We were killing time while waiting for my Auntie to finish her ‘beautification’ process at a family friend’s house and as we were in the area (and hungry!), Dad suggested to have ‘Banh Canh Cua’ which is a Vietnamese-tomato-based-crab-noodle-soup-kinda-thing and if you are ever in Springvale, Dao Vien is the restaurant famous for this dish in Asian circles.

It’s a bit dodgy looking on the outside, with lace curtains hiding the busy atmosphere of the shop from passerbys and once you go in, you are left standing to find your own table and if you don’t signal to the staff, you’ll be left waiting around (service is not an ingredient of most Vietnamese restaurants in Springvale… well, in most of Melbourne).  We actually saw one couple get up and leave in exasperation because no one came to serve them.  Being in the company of  seasoned Vietnamese restaurant patrons, we called over a member of staff (I have a feeling he was the owner of the shop) and placed our orders.  Here’s the thing with some of these Vietnamese restaurants.  Some only make a certain number of each kind of dish per day and when they are done, they won’t make anymore.  So sadly, we were advised that they had run out of ‘Banh Canh Cua’.   I quickly scanned the menu and picked out ‘Hu Tieu Tom Thit’ instead (I’m putting things in inverted commas since I’m not sure how to do the accents):

So as you can see, ‘Hu Tieu Tom Thit’ is a beef, prawn rice noodle soup dish which was quite good indeed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the dishes my parents had (I felt a bit awkward sitting cramped up at the corner table getting odd looks from other patrons) but my Dad had the dry noodle version of this dish and my mum had some spicy noodle soup that she couldn’t finish because of the spicy-ness.  She ate a bit of my dish and declared that they did the soup very well and authentically…and she ordered one herself :).  The soup was rich in flavour but not too salty which is can be the downfall in any Vietnamese soup dish.  Sadly, there was only one prawn in my bowl :(.  I’ll have to go back and try the ‘Banh Canh Cua’ one day… probably best to call in first to check if they still have any orders left because this is one place that is constantly overturning customers, especially during lunch hour.  Other than that, there’s are a lot of other Vietnamese restaurants to try around Springvale so I wouldn’t exactly make this a favourite, but if you are in the area, unsure where to go, it’s a reasonably priced place to have a quick bite to eat. 

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the quality, food and service.

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 6/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 5/10

Service: 3/10

Value for money: 7/10

So how did I go?

♥ April

#2. The Four Loves

Author: C.S. Lewis

Date began: 1st January 2011

Date finished: 5th January 2011

Synopsis: Millions of words have been written on the true nature of love, but few are as succinct as in this book.  This seminal inspirational work divides ‘love’ into four categories: Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity.  The first three come naturally, but without Charity, C.S. Lewis shows how all love can become distorted, bitter and even dangerous.

Thoughts:  I actually bought and read this book in early 2010 but never got around to reviewing it so I thought before putting my 2 cents to it, I should read it through again… and I’m glad I did.  C.S. Lewis really is a literary genius.  Perhaps I don’t read enough of the classic authors to make this statement, but I do think he writes very eloquently and there is always a quiet reasonable logic behind the observations he makes about the different natures of ‘love’.  As C.S. Lewis was an author who was a strong atheist before becoming a Christian in his later life, he does write from a Christian perspective and uses lots of examples from literature.  I did find that I had to exude a lot of concentration or read lines twice to grasp the meaning of his words but there was definitely worthwhile insight to be gained.  The most intriguing section, in my opinion, was his observations on the love of ‘Friendship’ (hence, it was also the section I coloured most with my green highlighter).  He observes that ‘Friendship is – the least natural of loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious and necessary’.  ‘It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival’… just one of the many amazing insights I got from the book.  I personally felt that his descriptions and analysis of the other aspects of love were also quite accurate and would encourage everyone to read it either for personal development or just for the admiration of such well-thought out proses (though I think you’d need a fairly good grasp of the English language and more than a handful of patience to persevere to the end- was quite a brain workout for someone who hadn’t read anything that intellectually stimulating since exams).

Favourite Quotes:

“Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship.  Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest.” – pg 73

“The mark of perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all.” – pg 84

Last review can be found here.

♥ April

#26. Despicable Me (2010)

 

 

 

*BEWARE SPOILERS*

Date watched: 4th January 2011 on DVD

Rating: 10/10!

Thoughts: I’ve been wanting to watch this even before it was released in cinemas :).  The humour of the  ‘It’s so fluffy’ line was kind of a let down since I’d watched it over and over in ads before watching the film all the way through.   However, having said that, Agnes’ overall cuteness won me over with her Unicorn song and ‘Goodbye, recorded message’ hehehe.  I thought the whole concept was quite endearing and glimpses into Dr. Gru’s childhood helped the audience understand how he came to be the villian who wanted to steal the moon.  I personally thought that it had the perfect balance of child-like fun and witty storyline.  And the minions!!  They were awesome :D.  I loved their gibberish language… you could sometimes here some French words and the occasional English one too…soooo cute!  I guess with an all-star cast including Steve Carrell, Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother’s Marshall), Russell Brand and Julie Andrews, Despicable Me was always going to be a success!  I’d watch it again….and again and again and again!  Definitely get the DVD and watch the behind-the-scenes clips (not to mention bonus short films!) because it amplifies the awesomeness of this movie even more :).

As a side note, I wanted my parents to watch it with me but after the first scene, they had lost interest (“What is this?  Some kid movie?”).  I hope I’m never too old to enjoy a good ol’animated feature film…

“Cure you, tiny toilet!”
*Disclaimer: All ratings are purely based on my own personal opinions.

love these guys ♥♥♥

 

♥ April