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Life Notes

Hubby Organizes!

The Crane Wants to Read

It isn’t always my hubby organizes things around the house. So when he suddenly took the initiative to organize our bookshelf, I was really happy. 😀

Looking at our bookshelf, I realized how my husband and my interests intermingle on those shelves. His books relate more about business, entrepreneurship, travel, and superhero related coffee table books. My books, on the other hand, are about cooking, design, adult coloring books, and some novels.

Those intermingling of interests is fascinating. The books aren’t arranged in any specific order. One shelf even just consists of my artsy stuff, inclusive of my sketchbooks, colored pencils, origami papers, etc. Yet, those disorganized pieces of knowledge, stories, and intellectual modules are a culmination of the eccentric (and may I see sometimes nerdy) creativity of my husband and I are happy to acknowledge is the reason we are together.

Great minds think alike right?

Life Notes

Shopping for the Hubby

Light snow accumulated in our lawn.
The thick snow in our backyard.

0005. Feature Photo above: Winter Wonderland

It took some persuasion for me to push my husband to get up and drive us to the Market Mall for his yearly wardrobe shopping. The snow piled up so much from yesterday’s light snow I almost didn’t want to go out. But you know what? The snow is pretty. I detest the cold, but when I see snow sparkling in the sunlight, it made me forget for a bit of my hatred for winter. Mustering up the courage and layering on many clothes for warmth, we were able to spend a few hours at the mall for what I call a couple “date”. No errands, no appointments, no work waiting at home. Just leisure strolling and shopping for his clothes.

0006. Coat fetish

Shopping in Market Mall, Calgary
Choosing a coat for the hubby.

I didn’t realize I like looking at men’s clothes. I’m not sure if I I have the eye for men’s fashion but I did enjoy seeing my husband trying one coat after another until we were handed one we both liked on him. Kudos to the Asian assistant, who assisted us patiently going from one end of the store to the other, just to find the right coat for us. By the end of the day, my husband got a Vince Camuto coat, 2 Old Navy shirts, a couple of Jockey shirts, and a Bucketlist journal.

I, on the other hand, got a simple 2017 planner, a panda bookmark, and a cute orange stress ball.

Life Notes

Victory in DnD!

Dungeons and Dragons boardgame
First "Descent" boardgame Victory.

0004. We Have Descent to Victory

It’s our first board game (and victory of the year). Yay! We lost the same campaign before from not being used to the app mechanics.

I wasn’t a Dungeons and Dragons player before. Playing “Descent” made me practice how to manage competitiveness in an immersive fantasy game widely different from playing video games. It’s a religion of its own once you get the hang of it.

Here’s to more board games for 2017! Any board game recommendations for me?

Food Journal, Life Notes

The Cranes Start to Fly

The First Crane Has Landed
This is the first paper crane for the year (and for this artsy project).

Happy New Year everyone! I was supposed to make this post yesterday, but my husband and I attended a fun and food-filled evening of a get-together with family last night. We went home around midnight and just jumped into bed. We were to well-fed (hehe) and conked out from singing karaoke, talking, and well, eating more.

Oh, and for your information, I don’t do karaoke. I just sing along with everybody else. 😀

This entry is a start of a 1000 crane challenge I imposed on myself for the following reasons:

(1) I want to do something artsy. I felt deprived! I was able to do some artsy stuff this year but I felt there weren’t enough. This year, I want to have a bit of art on a regular basis. Thus, the origami crane thing.

(2) I find romance in the legend of folding 1000 paper cranes. According to the legend:

After being diagnosed with leukemia from the radiation, Sadako spent her time in a hospital folding origami paper cranes in hope of making a thousand of them. She was inspired to do so by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Her wish was simply to live. Source: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes – Wikipedia

There’s no loss in trying to fold 1000 paper cranes right? Plus, it will be a good art project to have all cranes displayed on a large frame once they’re all done. It can be a good living room decorative.

(3) My paper cranes can become a constant companion in my wanderings, work, chores, etc. They can be my partners in crime in photography.

To no further ado, here are my first paper cranes for the year.

0001. The Crane Has Landed

The First Crane Has Landed
This is the first paper crane for the year (and for this artsy project).

Our 7-ft Christmas tree will possibly be taken down in a week, depending if we feel like it. So a crane has taken refuge on its needles and hanging trinkets, becoming a decorative in itself, colorful and fragile, a small beauty preparing for flight.

0002. It Smells Too Good

Freshly Baked Goods is the Best Scent for Any House
Creamy Red Velvet Cupcakes. I need practice with putting frosting though.

The house smelled of freshly baked cupcakes. Yum! I made Red Velvet Cupcakes that had cream cheese with white chocolate filling and cream cheese frosting. Here is the recipe I used for it.

Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 1 pkg Duncan Hines® Red Velvet Premium Cake Mix
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 container Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin pans or line with paper baking cups.
  2. Prepare batter according to package directions.
  3. Spoon batter into lined muffin cups. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and egg; mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and coconut.
  4. Spoon about 1 Tbsp cream cheese mixture onto batter of each cupcake.
  5. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes following package directions. Spread cupcakes with frosting.

0003. The First Big Chow of The Year

Chips and salsa
Chips and Salsa before the first Big Chow of the Evening

It’s a fact. Befriend a Filipino family and you discover just how much food they can make (and chow) in every special occasion. We love reunions, get-togethers, fiestas, and the likes. And food is the most important aspect of every occasion. We got an invitation from our Tita for a New Years dinner, and true enough, there was so much food we were invited to take some home. Just check out how much we chowed down.

New Year's Feast
New Year's Feast

New Year's Feast
New Year's Feast
New Year's Feast

And here are family and friends enjoying the food and company.

2017 New Year Dinner

2017 New Year Dinner

And so to my family and friends from other places, I hope you had an awesome 2017!!!


Life Notes

The Nutcracker – A night of awe, music, and colorful storytelling – one of my life wishes came true


This is a late post but nevertheless memorable as I was able to accomplish a milestone I’ve been wishing for years.

I don’t remember when was the last time I watched a live ballet performance. I don’t even remember the title. It was probably at a time when my mind was too young to interpret what the myriad of ballet movements meant and how they corresponded to the tempo of the classical music. It must have an effect on me since every time I see ballet, whether it be a YouTube presentation or a Barbie movie, I drop whatever I’m doing and watch. I never understood how some people my age don’t appreciate ballet. They found it boring and yawn worthy. I, on the other hand, saw magic. Every twirl, gesture of the hand, each jeté, and pirouette is a graceful accompaniment to storytelling. Everything in it is refined, elegant and distant; something you can’t touch.

I came to comprehend the sacrifices ballerinas experience through a manga titled “Swan“. It tells the story of Masumi, a contented, young ballerina, who gradually found herself in the competitive world of professional ballet. She undergoes extreme challenges, both physically, and emotionally, until she becomes known in the world of ballet.

Similar to how I came to appreciate the world of basketball through Slam Dunk, the Swan showed me that ballet isn’t all about grace and beauty. That like any athlete from any sport, injuries happen, lives can change for better or for worse from a wrong misstep, and that ballet is among those artforms that put their artists’ lives at risk for that perfect interpretation. Every technique, breathing, and imagination is a skill and talent needed to be cultivated from years of training, body aches, and criticism.

When I learned of the Moscow Ballet troupe coming to Canada to dance The Nutcracker, I immediately invited my husband to watch. It had been a dream to watch either The Nutcracker or Swan Lake danced by the Russian troupe since ballerinas from Russia are known to be of the top caliber in the ballet world.

It was a very cold night commuting to Jack Singer Concert Hall but it was all worth it. Tchaikovsky’s music has been a favorite of mine, possibly because a lot of his music was used in commercials or other forms of media usage, but nevertheless emotionally stirring. Moreso when I finally understood how each musical note corresponded to a certain scene. The colorful backdrops and clothes were a visual treat to the eyes and the crew made good use of subtle light effects to add magic to the plot. If not for the sound issues that happened at the later part of Act I and early part of Act II, it would have been flawlessly perfect.

2016 The Nutcracker at the Jack Singer Concert Hall Downtown Calgary

What I love about ballet is how it reminded me the power of the dance and music art form. No words were necessary and you hold the power to give interpretations of your own through the natural course of an already known storyline. It is a magical feeling of intuition and emotional stirrings that can only be brought to the surface by an already well-experience cast.

The Nutcracker - Children's Gallop and Dance of the Parents
The Nutcracker – Children’s Gallop and Dance of the Parents
2016 The Nutcracker stage
The Intermission.
2016 the nutcracker
The Nutcracker – Waltz of the Flowers

What my husband and I felt after the show: we wanted more. We felt like there could have been more. More story, more dance, and magic. Later that evening, I discovered that The Nutcracker ballet doesn’t fully follow through the story as adapted by Alexander Dumas based from the libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. I wanted to see more of the Flowers dancing, I wanted to see the Angels come down to the heavens, and I wanted to be mesmerized again by the Arabian dancers hypnotic movements.

Watching The Nutcracker stirred up an old love for classical music, which started about 9 years ago, when I first saw Nodame Cantabile, a Japanese drama about a pianist, who’s life greatly changed when he became the conductor for group of musical losers. Thus, I looked for a YouTube audio of a complete ‘The Nutcracker’ soundtrack.

I’m now keeping watch on when the next ballet Russian troupe will be in town. And if they will happen to dance to Swan Lake, I’ll definitely be there.

Life Notes

StudioBell – The Musical Haven of History, Culture, and Art

Studio Bell

Last Saturday, I pulled my husband off the bed early morning in preparation to brave the cold weather and commute to Studio Bell. It has been on our bucket list to visit the recently opened Calgary’s musical haven and I knew deep down that my husband will enjoy it immensely being the music lover and composer that he is.

StudioBell is the new 160,000-square-foot facility built to become the first national cultural institution dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the Canadian music in all forms.

StudioBell is artistically designed for each of its 5-floors to feel interconnected, to maximize the feel of spaciousness and acoustics throughout the whole building. We could clearly hear the choir practicing from the 2nd while we were on the 4th floor. It’s that awesome.

Amazing skylight that enhances the museum’s space and light.
View from top floors
This is not for the faint of heart. But the view is amazing.

StudioBell Level 5 – Best of Canada

“Celebrate the Canadian musicians who have left their mark on this country and beyond.”

StudioBell Halls of Fame

StudioBell Idols and Icons Costumes
Stories and costume displays from great Canadian musicians – past and present – including some of their instruments and artifacts.

Idols and Icons displays

Wall of idols and icons
Wall of present and past Canadian musicians.

StudioBell Level 4 – Making Music

Even if you think you are not a musician, you are capable to make music.

I also call this the “Interactive” floor. This is where parts of the exhibit are displayed for visitors to play with.

See rare acoustic instruments and try out some instruments yourself!

There was a number of other plugged in headphones and touch screen interactive displays to teach anyone chords that translate to hit songs. Even if you don’t play an instrument, you can become a musician in no time!

The hubby learning new chords from an interactive lesson.

Hubby playing with the drums
My hubby trying his hand at being a percussion rock stor.
Roots of NMC piano display
This is one of the incredible keyboard displays from the Cantos Collection that led to the vision of creating NMC. Even with left-hand tendinitis, I was still able to play a few bars of Fur Elise. It’s a futile attempt to recapture my piano playing days but hey, I still enjoyed the moment.
Roots of NMC
One of the amazing keyboard collection in StudioBell.

Plugged in

This room is an instrument where you can see sound move. Use your hands and feet to control the tones.

This is my husband enjoying the interactive Bodyphonic experience. You stand on a marked floor symbol, raise your hands, make a fist, then move around to enjoy the sounds your body movements make.

StudioBell Level 3 – Power of Music

“Music is powerful stuff, don’t you agree?”

An exploration of distinctive Canadian voices.
Sound Affects
Remarkable showpieces are on display wherein some are played at certain times of the day.

One of the displays explaining the science behind music.

How does music move you?
This got to be my 2nd favorite part of the museum. Put on a set of headphones, listen to the music, then select a postcard on what you felt about music. Share and read experiences from other visitors.

Our thoughts about music.

The listen wall.

StudioBell Level 2 – Music Mosaic

“Have private or public concerts that can play for the entire building. The sounds are heavenly.”

Influential artists that made a unique contribution to music in Canada.

Other parts of Level 2 were the ‘Soundscapes’ and ‘Where Music Lives’.

Level 1 – Canada Music Square

“Where your musical adventure starts… and it’s worth every penny.”

The ground floor of Studio Bell houses the Drop-In Zone where you can map out your activity for the day, and the Rosso Coffee Roasters and NMC Shop, where you can grab a coffee or shop for souvenirs.

I recommend StudioBell for everyone!

You will enjoy StudioBell’s uniqueness and ingenuity to curate musical icons and treasures. It powerfully delivers messages of music’s effect through landscapes, time, and people. If for but one moment, we forget the outside world and realize how minuscule our part is in a universal story that expands through time and history without much use of words but through the abstract feeling of notes and sounds.

studiobell logo

850 4 Street SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R1
T 403.543.5115
TF 1.800.213.9750