Banish a bad mood

There's no denying that at time I can be real moody. My mood swings, once triggered, can have me spiraling down a depressing loop faster than I would care to acknowledge it. When someone pointed this out, I was in vehement denial. "I couldn't possibly as bad, was I?" In truth, I was unknowingly becoming like that. So, I have a firm resolve to change it up. I wouldn't want to be walking around with a dark cloud over my head all the time.
Here's what experience has taught me on how I can banish a bad mood fast.

1328003372_58f5934895 Pump up the music. No don't put on ambient music yet, I find it much more soothing to cue up heavy rock songs on my playlist for a few minutes first just so I could channel my bad vibes to the drum beats and blaring guitar solos. Then when the bad feeling has abated somewhat, I shift to chill and downtempo music. This calms me down and eventually clears my head.

Take a breath of fresh air.
This doesn't just work in the movies, I've only done this a handful of times myself but it really does work. It will leave you alone grueling with your thoughts but the change in scenery will calm you down.

Get yourself distracted. I've read somewhere that you should address bad feelings immediately so that it won't fester deep inside you but what do you do if you really can't do much about it at a given moment? What works for me is that I do something else that would keep my mind off it for a while. Just until I can think straight enough to figure out a solution for (if there is) or source of my bad mood. I'd watch a funny television show or movie for a while or even get out my PSP and play for a bit.

1335870848_2c17a9983c Write about it. I find this the most efficient of all. If you've ever kept a journal then you can relate to what I mean. My journal is where I keep my most inner and private thoughts. This is where everything is uncensored and if I am caught in a really bad mood, I find that writing about it helps ease it in some way. Sometimes after writing about it and reading what I have just wrote, it helps me identify if my bad mood was just a silly reaction.

Vent it out to a friend. If you're not a journal writer with no plans on having one, talking it over with a friend does the same thing. You may just have a friend listen while you rant, there doesn't necessarily have to be a need for him/her to give you advice, just having a friend there to listen helps a lot.

Now the tips I've mentioned above may or may not be the same for you but they work for me. Perhaps you may have other ways that can uplift a bad mood. And in the next time that I have one, maybe I would also find it useful. It would be great if you can share them with me and my readers.
(photos from Flickr creative commons)

Fashionable Eco-totes

When supermarkets and department stores began to promote the use of canvas bags for shopping and lessen the use of plastic bags, we score points in favor of the environment. Now it's nice to see that eco-tote designs have now been more fashionable than ever and it is now more chic to be shopping in these bags,

Totes from Envirosax

envirosax

Totes from GreenGirlWorld

green girl world

Divergent Book Review

My interest for dystopian novels began when I finished The Hunger Games trilogy and for a while, nothing has ever rivaled it. That was until by sheer chance of luck that I participated in the book of the month readings at a Dystopian Novel group at GoodReads. and discovered Divergent by Veronica Roth. This had me hooked the moment the first chapter began. Trust me, it's that good.
Here's the blurb on the book's back cover: 51Mry4w810L In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
The book had some similarities with The Hunger Games trilogy. They both have heroines as the main character although Tris is smaller, she doesn't have outstanding physical skills unlike Katniss and she doesn't pretty much standout in the crowd. The setting is also somewhat similar because the community is divided into factions that are so cleverly named after the dominant traits of the citizens who are members of it.
That's where the similarities stop. Divergent can stand out on it's own in terms of story and plot.

What got me hooked
The Factions
Not only are they so good to pronounce, it was a very clever use of wordplay. Each of the factions describe a trait that is dominant on its  members and I can't help but wonder at which one would I be suited to fit into. Joining Dauntless would be very tempting because of the thrill of danger but I also find myself drawn to Erudite as well.

Rooting for success and redemption.
Tris faced a lot of challenges and matches when she chose the faction that was a far cry from the faction she grew up in. I found myself rooting for her to come out on top even though it is obvious that she's physically weak. Tris was brave but she failed more times than she succeeded and this is got me hooked.

Honest tone.
I can't believe that the author is only 22 when she wrote this book. There was an honest and almost endearing tone to the writing style of the book. It's not very hard to read but it's not too simple that you'll find it boring either. I especially like the parts when the main character is voicing out her thoughts. It feels like you're viewing everything from her standpoint just by reading those paragraphs.

The twists.
They were perfectly timed and I'm delighted to say, cannot be foreseen. In other words, they were genuine twists of the story.
Divergent is shaping up to be another trilogy and I'm really happy to have discovered this gem. I can't wait for the release of the other two books and find out what happens next.

A Generous Serving of Black & White in Kung Fu Panda 2

The most awesome of awesomeness serving part two.

The first movie was all about Po's journey into fulfilling his destiny to become the Dragon Warrior. This time, with the help from the Furious Five, Po has to save China from the threat of Lord Shen. Jack Black and Angeline Jolie spearhead the original cast reprising their roles as Po, the Dragon Warrior and Master Tigress respectively.

kung-fu-panda-2-clip-still What makes this movie different from the first one?
Po has clearly mastered his Kung Fu moves and he is in the process of refining his technique. One clearly see moves that are uniquely his own. The Furious Five now follows his leadership and nearby towns and villages are under his protection. In the first movie, the Furious Five mocked Po of his inexperience but he has long since earned their friendship and respect. We can see how they now work as a team, a few minutes into the movie.

The new enemy is Lord Shen, a white peacock with red and black eyelets on his majestic tail. He's one of the masters of Kung Fu but he fell on the evil side. He uses gunpowder and metal to forge weapons of destruction. Since he has more resources and more men under his command, he posed a more grievous threat than Tai Lung was.

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Also in this movie, we learn about Po's past. Obviously at first glance, we know that Po's adopted but it wasn't focused on in the first movie. This time, we get to know what really happened and why there aren't any other pandas in the area other than him.

My favorite character in the bunch is Master Tigress. She clearly is tough and while in the first movie she brooded on jealousy and negative emotions, here she is now a loyal friend to Po. Now she also isn't afraid to show a whole new range of emotions. Kung Fu Panda 2 wasn't short of any action scenes and of kung fu. It's pretty cool to see new masters aside from Master Shifu. The movie has more spectacular battle scenes than ever and this alone sets it apart.

kungfupanda2review

Kung Fu Panda 2 follows the same elements which made it a huge success on the first run. A cute childhood flashback is still present and I couldn't help but say "aaaw" when little Po came onto the screen, much the same way I was when a little master tigress graced the screen before. Since it's also a Jack Black film, it is expectedly funny. Even in battle scenes, there were cleverly humorous elements that made it really fun to watch. Words of wisdom are still present and kung fu techniques were fantastically demonstrated towards the end.

KungFu2

Kung Fu Panda is one hell of a fun ride that's guaranteed to keep one entertained. Best if seen with family or friends and get ready to laugh your hearts out.

398312-kung-fu-panda-2-film-still-621x322

Character Banners for Horrible Bosses

What kills a dream job faster? Horrible Bosses. This new movie sheds a comedic light into a workplace's worst nightmare in a film with a star-studded cast.

The banners feature the individual bosses codenamed Psycho (Kevin Spacey), Maneater (Jennifer Aniston) and Tool (Colin Farrell), plus cameo character Murder Consultant (Jamie Foxx).

horrible bosses banners

What is the movie about?


            For Nick, Kurt and Dale, the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con, the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers…permanently.
            There’s only one problem: even the best laid plans are only as foolproof as the brains behind them.

It looks like we're in for a fun ride with this one. Oh and Jennifer Aniston sports a new do in this film. Will she start a new trend?

HB_Poster

The Dogbrella

I saw this and I couldn't help but smile. Dog-owners won't have an excuse anymore not to take their pets out for a walk even when there's a slight drizzle. Dogs will be more than happy! I can't help but wonder if the designer is a dog lover too. The dogbrella is one very unique but very functional design.

dogbrella

Another Green Lantern Trailer out

Finally, the old one was getting too tiresome to watch already. For people like me who has really no idea what the Green Lantern movie will be about, check this trailer out.

Lady Bloggers Blog Hop Batch 3

Here's another round of great blogs from wonderful bloggers who responded to my thread. This was a very interesting mix of posts and I found browsing through these very worthwhile.

Living Montessori Now

Living Montessori Now After a few minutes of browsing through several posts, I finally chose this one. Offhand, the blog has a lot of posts teaching kids about crafts, science and it also had some resources for teachers. It was minimally designed but with a light gray background and white page foreground. It's very easy on the eyes. Going back to the post, this reminded me of the time I first learned of butterflies. It wasn't through a series of pictures as shown in the post but through leafing through the thick volume encyclopedia that my parents bought for me and my sister. I learned a lot but this would have been much more interesting. This led me to ponder on how different the teaching techniques are today and how teachers need to adapt to the online world in order to keep up with more technology-oriented kids.

Raising Figure Skaters

Raising Figure Skaters This was another interesting site. Figure skating is one sport that I've always loved to watch, wanted to try - tried and failed at it. So as you can see, it has some source of frustration in me but it really is a very competitive sport that not only required physical prowess but also artistic touches and creative skill. I love how the blog author creates "Word-art Freebies" embedded into her posts to get the point across.

Philosophy of a Cynic

Philosophy of a Cynic The template of this blog just spelled a lot of whimsy for me. I love the doodled sketches of the birdcages on a baby blue brocade background. This is a gem of a blog. I really admire the way she transformed dilapidated and bland objects into something crafty and stylish. I'm envious that she has the time. The blog has great projects that feature before and after pictures so that you can really admire the transformations.

Polkadot Pretties

Polkadot-pretties  Friday Favourites I was re-directed to this new blogsite from the old link that the author placed in my thread. I admit I have been pretty backlogged with this list because work is piling up but don't worry, I'm getting through it week by week. This is another blog with a very pretty template and it kinda got me nostalgic about digital scrapbooking. Anyway this post caught my eye because she listed some of her favorite things, which also made me want to list my own. I'll make a mental note to make a separate post for that within the week. Check out crafty posts within the blog too.

Commentarista

5 Dangers Of Blogging  Commentarista This post was a very interesting read because I couldn’t help but agree with the points that the author listed. In my two years of blogging, most of it has happened to me too and I can’t help but reminisce and see how far I’ve come from being a newbie. Blogging really is a learning process, one that some people would think was just easy-breezy but for a serious blogger, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

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Til next blog hop. :)

The old ways still work

Back when I was in college, while waiting between classes, I usually spend some time at the college bulletin boards so that I could check out what's the latest buzz and forthcoming events in the campus. The bulletin board wasn't exactly a pretty sight to look at. Mostly it was a jumble of tacked papers one on top of the other with no particular organization or categories to classify one from the other. Some even consider it an eyesore but no one can deny that it's an effective way to spread information especially to students like me who actually take the time to look at it. The board is a mix of posters and flyers of different sizes and colors, each boasting of a different design or layout that aims to catch the eyes of passersby. My time in college was the time of pre-Twitter and pre-Facebook.

In an episode of Hellcats, Marty's mother was competing for a promotion at the restaurant she was working in. The gimmick that she wanted to do was to get as many people as possible into the restaurant through a live band and free drinks. Marty offered to share the event via the internet through social media networks. Her mom wanted to employ the service for flyer printing and have the flyers posted up around town. Surprisingly what generated more positive feedback was the flyers that Marty's mom posted in front of the Frat houses. She strategically pinpointed a location that was prime for marketing and she succeeded. See? Sometimes, the old ways for promoting something still works.

Alice X. Zhang’s fantastic illustrations

I've always admired artists who did their own interpretations of popular pop culture icons. In Zhang's Deviant art gallery, I found some awesome works based from Disney movies. See if you can identify which movie they came from.

daughter_of_triton_by_alicexz-d31zrbq-118x118 rapunzel_by_alicexz-d3ce8mathe_wind____by_alicexz-d32dzjq

For more of her works, please visit Alice’s Deviant art page. [LINK]

Jolie and Black reprises their roles as Master Tigress and Po

My two most favorite characters from the first Kung-Fu Panda movie was Master Tigress and Po. Now I'm excited to see them again in the second installment of the movie. The film promises more action and more kung-fu. It's a great relief that the original actors who lent their voices to the characters have agreed to sign up again and make another awesome sequel.  

In Kung-fu Panda 2 we get to see more of Master Tigress not as a rival to Po but as an equal. Although her pride was hurt for not being the chosen Dragon Warrior, her toughness and competitive personality will get to be balanced out by a softer side that she will reveal in the second film. Angelina Jolie will get to infuse more voice acting techniques to give life to this wonderful character.

Here are some snippets of the interview with the actress concerning the film:

angelina_jolie_2011_kungfu_panda_2 So how was it coming back to the character, any different, did you have like, I’m coming home feeling? 

I think it was more fun the second time around that we all got to know each other and our characters already had history.  So it was fun to kind of jump in and immediately start to play and we didn’t have much time off because you start doing them, they take so many years.  We kind of jumped in right away and I love her, for me, Tigress is one of the best characters I’ve ever played, I love it, it’s a pleasure.

I’d like to know if the fact you have these six kids at home make you feel more interest in films like this, like Kung Fu Panda and also I would like to know, what do you think in general about second part? 

Certainly anybody with children.  But at the end of the day we’re all big kids and we all just wanna play and we all like to do these movies.  You know, it’s a great deal of fun.  But certainly, having my kids and we talked about them as being a bar, ‘cause they were from two to ten and we figured that this was a good group to get a gauge of whether or not the film was working when we brought them in.  So, of course in so many ways, I did it for them and I’m excited for them to see it and for sequels I think, you know the trick of a sequel is you have to make it better than the first one and that’s a very, very hard thing to do, especially with one that was so successful and I think, our very, very talented Director pulled it off.

How do you deal both as an Actress and as a Parent with violence in movies in general to show to your children and how much is enough?  How do you look at this film and find the balance of just enough violence, not too much for kids?

Well, I think one you have to know your children, ‘cause I think there are children that have a better understanding and are ready earlier than others.  But for a film like this, I don’t see this as a film that’s too violent.  I think this actually show, it’s actually quite the opposite because the strength, even in the final battle, it’s the inner peace and the way of kind of sending back somebody’s negative energy, is actually what wins against the kind of manic aggression and violence and war weapons.  It’s the one that doesn’t want to use violence, but the one that chooses to kind of find a centre.  So, you know, all my boys are in martial arts classes and it’s been a great way.  Boys are boys and they have a certain kind of energy, naturally and it’s been wonderful to get them focused on martial arts, to teach them about the discipline and the respect and the control of their own bodies.  And I think, to ignore that that’s a part of humanity, of human beings and especially little boys, is wrong.  So it’s to help guide them through it and help give them some assistance of, you know, what is a positive thing, what’s a good guy, who do you fight against if you need to and to try not to, certainly.  But if you have to, to defend yourself.

I’d like to know, growing up, who were your own heroes of fiction, what were your own favourite children’s stories and can you tell us a little bit about why?  What was it about certain stories that made an impression on you when you were at the age of the children who are going to see this movie?

This is always the one I can’t answer, you’re really good at it.

You said before that Tigress is one of the most interesting characters that you play.  Why is it so and another question is, it’s developed the character this time.  Has it anything to do with, that it’s a female Director?

I think it is an interesting question.  I’m sure there is something to do that that, yes.  I’m sure.  We’ve never discussed it.  I don’t think a man couldn’t have seen that, I think it was something though that, I thin the original Tigress, it was wonderful in that it was chosen that, one of the strongest leaders of the Furious Five was a woman.  When I first saw the characters, I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl but I wanted to play her, whoever she was, ‘cause I liked her and I was very excited that it was a girl and for my Daughters, for me, I thought it was great and then I think, you know, we talked a lot about the fact that Po has, actually for a male character, he has a lot of sensitivity and emotion and so it seems like a very nice balance that she’s kind of the harder one that needs to learn to be a bit more emotional and he’s the very emotional one that is getting tougher.  Right, can I say that?

You play a lot of fighters, a lot of tough women, a lot of femme fatales.  Are you a fighter?   Where does that come from?  You’re a tough customer on the screen, what’s the personal alter ego to that, if I may ask?

Well, certainly my alter ego is who I am 100%, which is a Mum who’s changing diapers and colouring all night long.  So I’m sure I’m very, very soft.  But no, I’ve always been somebody that’s been drawn to strong characters and I admire strong women, emotionally and physically, not just physically, just people that I feel are fighting for something.  I have a sense of justice and injustice and it’s always been more that than just wanting to be tough and I’ve been very lucky that I came to my career at a time where women are being allowed these roles and have had such great opportunities for these types of characters.

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KUNG FU PANDA 2 SPECIAL SHOOTS Probably the reason why Kung-fu Panda was successful the first time was because of Jack Black. He's really one of a kind. You get kind of swept up by the kind of passion he delivers with his craft. In Kung-fu Panda 2 we get glimpses of Po's past. Him being adopted was lightly touched on in the first film and this past will now be explored in the second film. What I'm really looking forward to seeing is how Po will find a special kind of power in him that will save the world and his friends. In the process, I'm hoping that he'll also the discover the secret to his past.

Kung-Fu Panda 2 is now showing in theaters nationwide. (May 26, 2011)

Final Destination 5: First-Look at Trailer and Poster

FD5_FINAL_Tsr1Sht_INTL_7#37 You would think that surviving a near-death incident would be a cause for celebration but not in the Final Destination movie franchise. They just keep coming up with stuff to keep us on the edge. Anything, anywhere can possibly kill you especially if Death is out to get his revenge.

The film brings together an ensemble cast led by Emma Bell (“Frozen,” TV’s “The Walking Dead”) and Nicholas D’Agosto (“Fired Up!,” TV’s “Heroes”), along with Miles Fisher (TV’s “Mad Men” and “Gossip Girl”), Arlen Escarpeta (“Friday the 13th”), Jacqueline MacInnes-Wood (TV’s “The Bold and the Beautiful”), P.J. Byrne (“Dinner for Schmucks”) and Ellen Wroe (TV’s “Huge”). Rounding out the rest of the cast are Courtney B. Vance (TV’s “Flash Forward,” “ER”), David Koechner (“The Office,” “Anchorman”) and “Final Destination” franchise icon Tony Todd (“Hatchet II”).

Final Destination 5 is set to come out in theaters on August 2011.

 

Food Cravings

My appetite is growing as ever and I'm struggling not to gain weight. Haha. Don't laugh but I'm writing this post with the intent on giving you visual thrills and a grumbling in your tummies. Ok I'm the bad guy here but I just gotta share these food cravings.

PROSCIUTTO AND CHEESE SANDWICH

prosciutto and cheese sandwich

I copied the recipe here:

⅔ of 1 French baguette (save the rest for homemade breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Sea Salt
4-6 slices prosciutto
4 slices Comté or Gruyère cheese

Slice the baguette into three pieces, setting aside one piece for another use. Cut the two remaining pieces of baguette horizontally, to make two halves of a sandwich. Divide the butter between the four slices, spreading to coat lightly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Divide the prosciutto between the two bottom slices of bread. Top with the slices of cheese and place the top half of the bread on top of the cheese. Wrap and pack for a picnic, or enjoy at home with a mixed green salad.

Source: Marcus Samuelsson’s Blog

MACARONS

macarons Read up on the Ten Commandments of Macarons at Brave Tart. [LINK]

KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN

Korean Fried Chicken

Recipe as copied from Pigspigscorner:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs oil
  • 10 chicken wings - separated, tips discarded
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 stalk spring onion (sliced for garnishing)
For batter:
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) plain flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For chili sauce:
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp ginger - grated
  • 1 garlic clove - finely chopped
  • 2 tbs (30 g) gochujang (Korean chili paste)

Directions:
  • For chilli sauce, combine ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the batter until it’s a thick paste. Add the wings and mix with your hands until they’re thoroughly coated.
  • Put the coated wings in the ActiFry and drizzle with the oil. Close the lid and cook for about 35 mins or until brown and crispy.[OR Preheat oil in a deep-sided saucepan to 180C. Dip chicken pieces in batter and deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally until light golden (5-6 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper until cooled slightly (10-15 minutes).Deep-fry chicken again, in batches, until crisp and deep golden (6-8 minutes), drain on absorbent paper.]
  • Add fried chicken to sauce, add sesame seeds, toss to coat and serve hot topped with spring onion.

RED VELVET CAKE

red velvet cake The cake had a gorgeous red color and you can find the recipe for it at Pick Yin’s Blog. [LINK]

Guard yourself against SPAM.

NoSpam I love SPAM for breakfast, especially when it's cooked crispy on the sides and served with rice and eggs cooked over-easy. Well that's about the only time I like spam, I don't like it on my inbox. Well, you know what I mean. There's a reason why I don't use my Yahoo mail anymore that much. I found that Yahoo doesn't have a good spam filtering system, it was forgivable before but when my contacts started sending me spam emails unknowingly, that's where I lost patience altogether. I decided to keep it just because some people tend to send email to it at times. I prefer using Gmail now because it has a much more efficient filtering system and the spam emails don't sneak in to my inbox.

Be more vigilant in the fight against spam, learn to be cautious before clicking any suspicious links. Save yourself and your computer the trouble. Experience has taught me these things:

  • When a friend sends me an email (this is always in my Yahoo inbox) that doesn't have a subject and is only 6KB, then it's probably spam. I automatically delete it. If I want to find out if a friend really sent me an important message, since we're living in a time where communication takes various forms, I contact him/her some other way.
  • On Facebook, I don't click on videos shared on my News Feed wall unless a friend insists that it's not linked to any malware sites. I also don't allow posting on my wall so that other people can't put any malicious links there. DON'T click on the app that shows you how many people has viewed your profile or Facebook's alleged "unlike" feature, both of which has been reported as spam links.
  • Since I use Google Chrome as my browser of choice, I've installed extensions that help guard against spam sites. I use W.O.T. It's very effective. Links on sites I visit are automatically checked. There's a symbol that appears next to the link. Green means it's a safe site, Yellow means be cautious and it could be a potentially harmful site and Red means stay away altogether.
  • On Yahoo Messenger, sometimes contacts unknowingly spread hijacked links there too. I don't usually click on a link except when it's part of a conversation I"m having with a friend. But when a message from a contact that appears out of the blue and it just says "Hi there" then another pop-up which says "Please like this and so and so....", I'm immediately suspicious. This has happened to me before and it turns out my friend's YM was hacked. It's a good thing that I didn't click on that link.
  • I also use an antivirus which also monitors my internet browser so that it can also alert me of harmful sites. Remember to keep the antivirus program and the virus database up to date.

The internet is a fun place to explore and get yourself immersed upon. It's easy to lose yourself in the vast network of data and social media. Just be guarded against potential spam and malware sites that are out there. It's better to be aware and prepared.

On Stranger Tides

After a successful franchise trilogy for Pirates of the Caribbean, I was a little surprised and delighted at the sight of the trailer for the fourth film when it was shown in theaters months ago. I guess Jack Sparrow was back by popular demand. People just can't get enough of the charming and enigmatic Captain Jack Sparrow. Last week I was fortunate enough to attend an IMAX premiere for On Stranger Tides.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

The movie takes us on a quest for the Fountain of Youth. Just like any quest, the search party must need to obtain necessary items in order to complete it. In this case, Jack and his friends needed to get a mermaid's tear, two chalices and someone to take drink a toast to at the fountain. The race to get to the fountain added the thrilling element to the film. True to the Pirates of the Caribbean fashion, there are the ever-present shifting loyalties and trademark twists. It will just keep you guessing and expecting for Jack Sparrow to come up with something brilliant.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

What makes the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise interesting is the pirate lore and mystical elements incorporated into the film. In this movie, we get to see Black Beard, who is probably the most famous pirate of all. From the little that I know of Black Beard as a pirate, I know that he had a notorious reputation but Disney seemed to tone this down a little for the film. Maybe this was to keep the children from having too many nightmares about him. I also love the mermaids in this film. Up until this movie, the only mermaid lore that I know of is Disney's version of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid fairytale.  Here however, mermaids drowned sailors and lured men to their deaths. I later on found out that this was what they really do based on mythology. The mermaids' battle with the pirates was wickedly awesome. I guess this might also be the feminist in me talking.

"PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES"

Although On Stranger Tides was very entertaining to watch and there was no shortage of action scenes, I felt that the ending was a bit rushed and predictable. It also lacked the story depth found in the previous films. It was still fun to watch though. Jack Sparrow did not fail to deliver. The movie offers plenty to look forward to: the hauntingly enchanting beauty of the mermaids, Black Beard and the fountain of youth itself.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

If you've already seen the first three movies, there's no reason for you to miss this film. It might also be nice to note that Penelope Cruz's performance as a female pirate is also amusing to watch. On Stranger Tides is now showing in cinemas, make sure to catch it.

Oh and there’s something at the end so you might want to stick around after the credits. :D

First Look: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

Ever since the announcement for the lead actress playing Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movie came out, I've been wondering how Jennifer Lawrence would look like as the dark-haired heroine of the series.

Now the first photo of her transformation is now up via EW's magazine cover and I can't help but be more excited about the film.

jennifer as katniss everdeen

MouseHunt’s Curious Chemistry Weekend

e3ac0b5599a5eceedf41ea3cdf37ef09 After months of being at a Baroness level and still unable to go to the Baron/Baroness-only area, I’m beginning to feel that the devs have cursed my account. On a sixth run now, I’m still trying to catch a Mystic King and Silth mouse, both of which I need to get the sandtail coat of arms loot. It is THE loot that opens the new area.

When I opened my MouseHunt this morning, I saw on the headlines that it’s Curious Chemistry Weekend from May 20 to 23. Luckily I am currently hunting for the Curious Chemist Mice. During this three special days, the curious chemist mouse will drop a special kind of wicked gnarly potion which makes more cheese. Finally, luck is on my side. Maybe this time I’d get to catch the elusive Silth mouse.

Here micey micey!

X-men First Class

Mutants held my fascination ever since I saw the X-men cartoon on TV during my highschool years. My favorites have been Rogue and Jean Grey, then when I learned of Elektra, she's been added to the roster as well. There's no doubt that the X-men storyline is listed as one of the most popular sagas followed by comic book fans around the world. That's why when the first movie trilogy for the X-men came out, it was met with much criticism from the hardcore fans of the series. Non-comic book fans however, enjoyed the flick and saw it for the hyped up big-budget action movie that it was really intended to be.

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While there doesn't seem to be any shortage of comic book adaptations in movies any time soon, X-men First Class aims to provide an alternate time line in the world of the X-men. As soon as the first trailers came out, another wave of criticisms came out because enraged fans wanted the story to be true to the comics. As for me, I'm curious enough to see what "alternate storyline" this was.

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From what I can deduce, the movie would be about how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr came about to become Professor X and Magneto respectively. This is the beginnings of the X-mansion. I'm also looking forward to the performance of Jennifer Lawrence as she plays Raven/Mistique. Judging from the new mutants that will grace the screen, I'm eager to see their powers. So here's to hoping that this movie will be worth the hype.

Joe Fenton's Solitude

Back in college, one of my favorite Architecture subjects was Arch 2 because it was our drafting class. I really love to draw. In Arch 2, we were taught different rendering mediums like pen and ink. When drawing with pen and ink, you have to learn different techniques like cross-hatching and stippling in order to give your drawing more depth and detail. I remember staying up until the wee hours of the night, slaving over a project plate. I lost a few hours of sleep but I loved every minute of it.

Solitude is Joe Fenton's ticket to fame in Behance where he got 165K+ hits in just two days. Why wouldn't he? His artwork was a true testament to his talent and extremely long patience. Imagine doing an artpiece with just a mechanical pencil for several days, labor of love right? See for yourself in the pictures below:

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As you can see, the work is very detailed and it has several religious and children’s book references. All of which were drawn and rendered according to how they live in the artist’s imagination.

Click here for Joe Fenton's website and Behance page

Ed Bing Lee’s Delectable Series

While I have been known to take up a crafty hobby from time to time, I’ve never tried my hand at knitting. I can crochet but the process of knitting just baffles me. The Delectable Series is a knitting project by Ed Bing Lee and while some choose to knit conventional items like sweaters and socks, he chose to dig deeper into his creativity and came up with these.

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De-stress with Food

No matter how much we try we can’t banish not feeling stressed altogether. One way or another it seems to sneak up back into our lives. You might be surprised at the reasons behind the stresses that we feel. When I’m stressed, I tend to forget to do things and I become very irritable. I also begin to eat unhealthily with junk food. Recent research show that if you choose the food that you eat carefully especially when you’re under stress, you can de-stress instantly.

Here are some of the food they suggested that I’m now sharing with you:

  • Eat a handful of nuts.

3811452420_0deea6761a Note that the amount is only a handful because nuts DO contain a high amount of calories. If you’re on a diet, better skip this one. The nuts contain magnesium which help maintain cortisol (the stress hormone) levels low. [Photo credit Nutsinbulk]

  • Dips and Broccoli

4212597691_5aa631f111 This is one of my favorite vegetables and it’s very high in folic acid which is known to fight stress symptoms. You can eat it boiled or paired with some slices of chicken and beef. If eating boiled you can choose a low fat dip of your choice.

  • Cool off with a sorbet.

4891742517_ff87259dac A Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavored with fruit and it’s best to enjoy when stressed (or also on hot summer days). The sugar helps decrease the production of stress-inducing hormones and it keeps it in check. It does have fattening side effects when taken in huge amounts so treat yourself to a viable proportion only.[Photo credit annshi]

  • Eat a whole-grain bagel or bread.

4135440216_33d8d59678You can dress the bread up with jam or honey. Eating carbohydrate-rich foods helps boost serotonin levels which helps elevates your mood. [Photo credit Baha'i Views / Flitzy Phoebie]

  • Indulge in a Salmon dish.

2756502603_53dc2d88d8The omega-3 fatty acids in Salmon helps the brain work more efficiently. When the brain functions well, logic follows that stress levels will be at a minimum.[Photo credit consumedithis]

  • Dark Chocolate

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My personal favorite way of de-stressing because I love dark chocolate so much and yes I’m psyched that it’s healthy for the body too! The higher the cocoa content (70% and above) the better. This endorphin-producing food really is a great way to lift someone’s mood up.

  • Drink Milk

2821342617_515ce864fd Now there’s more excuse for you to indulge on the good stuff because as it turns out, milk contains tryptophan which boosts the production of serotonin. [Photo credit Joe Shlabotnik]

  • Drink black or green tea.

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A study at the University of London indicated that when stressful events occur, the body seems to respond more to the calming effects of black tea. So maybe you can ditch the coffee for a while and fill your cup with this instead. Green tea however has theanine which aids in the production of the brain’s alpha waves and suppresses the tension from the beta waves. Choose whichever suites you, both will significantly lower your stress levels by the end of the day. [Photo credit .A.A.]

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