Saturday, 25 October 2014

Megpie's Newest Adventure

For anyone who doesn't already know, I went to school for Tourism & Travel and Recreation & Leisure. This has prompted me to contemplate working on a cruise ship on and off for the past 6 or so years. I finally decided to apply, and got the job.

The whole process has taken just over two months, from applying to interviews to being accepted and finally, receiving a date of employment. I leave tomorrow to fly to Miami, where I will stay the night and then get transferred to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to board the Oasis of the Seas. Funnily enough, when the Oasis was launched in 2009, I said "that's the boat I'm going to work on" and sure enough, here I am. I'll be working as sports staff, which basically includes working the rock climbing wall, surf simulator, zip line, and running any activities or theme nights.

I will be gone for almost 7 months, alternating between 7 night cruises of Eastern and Western Caribbean. Which means I'll be travelling to Mexico, Labadee in Haiti (Royal Caribbean's private destination), Nassau in the Bahamas (yay Atlantis!), Jamaica, St Thomas and St Maarten.

For the past 2 weeks since finding out I got the job, I've been flipping between being excited, nervous, sad to be leaving, stressing out about all I needed to do, and completely freaking out. I'm back to being nervous again.

I'm also sad because there were quite a few people who I wanted to say goodbye to before I left but I won't get a chance to. And I know I'll still have some ways to keep in touch but it'll be limited.

I'll try and keep up with writing blog posts while I'm away, but those might be limited as well.

my new home!

Wish me luck!

Brief Book Review: Jenny Colgan

In the last month I had the chance to read two of Jenny Colgan's novels. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris and Meet Me at the Cupcake Café. I originally found Colgan's novels because I was looking up books with cupcakes (because obviously cupcakes are the best and I love them) I then ordered Cupcake Café, found out my sister already owned an ARC copy, returned it and got Chocolate Shop. Both were cute, relatively "fluffy" books, but I enjoyed them. I'm putting them both into one very brief post, because I'm a super procrastinator and don't have time for two long ones.

I started off by reading The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, here's a synopsis.
As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandest dames of Paris.

It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.

With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed.

Who doesn't love chocolate? Ok, I know there are people (crazy people!) who don't, but the vast majority do. I am one of those people so this book enticed me. I found her accident a little random, she fell at work and ended up losing two toes. Weird right? I mean it was something that put her in the hospital and back in touch with her teacher, but losing her toes? I just couldn't wrap my head around it.

I kept forgetting that Anna was originally from England, so she wasn't really as far from home as I kept thinking (ie Canada). I really liked getting to read about Paris, and I would have loved to have visited Thierry's chocolate shop.

The book wasn't bad, although I could predict most of what was going to happen, and some of the characters were a little far fetched. Basically if you're looking for something light to read, and especially if you love chocolate, this is a good book to grab.

I read Meet Me at the Cupcake Café second, and it was an adorable read.

Having grown up in an apartment above her Grandpa Joe's little bakery, Issy Randal has always known how to make something sweet. She's much better at baking than she is at filing, so when she's laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open up her own little cafe . But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster. Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe is about how life might not always taste like what you expect, but there's always room for dessert!
For whatever reason, I was irrationally irritated by the main character's name. Her full name is Isabel, but goes by Issy, which I'm not sure if it's supposed to be pronounced like it's spelled or like Izzy. But I kept reading it Issy, which bothered me. Luckily that didn't stop me from enjoying the book.
For a while now I've wanted to have my own cupcake shop. Even though everyone else has told me it's a stupid idea. Luckily Issy had a lot of support (other than her d-bag of a boyfriend) and created this adorable little shop.
Speaking of d-bag boyfriends, he seriously needed to jump off a building. I hated him so much, and would tell anyone around me (mostly people from work), whenever he did something stupid. Fortunately I knew what was going to happen and she meets another lovely gentleman.
All in all, super cute book that made me really happy to read.
Both books were cool, they had recipes in them for you to try out, and I really enjoy books like that. I haven't tried any yet but hopefully I'll be able to soon.
Jenny Colgan has quite a few more books that I am really interested in reading now that I've read these two.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Brief Book Review: Rule of Thirds

I got Rule of Thirds from my sister for Christmas, it was even signed by the author. It was part of my sister's Book Buzz event last November, so she asked what book I wanted and she would get it for me. Since Rule of Thirds piqued my interest the most (I do love photography) that's what I chose. I finally got around to reading it and I was happy I chose this book.

Sixteen-year-old Pippa Greene never goes anywhere without her camera. She and her best friend/supermodel-in-training Dace long ago mapped out their life plan: Pippa will be the noted fashion photographer, and Dace the cover girl. But ever since last spring, things have changed for Pippa — and her junior year at Spalding High proves to have its own set of challenges. Not only is Vantage Point, the statewide photography competition, in three short weeks, but her mandatory volunteer placement lands her at St. Christopher’s Hospital, a place Pippa never wanted to set foot in again. With humour and pluck, she navigates her new role as a candy striper (watch out for Code Yellows), her changing relationship with her best friend (goodbye Honesty Pact), and — perhaps most stressful of all — her new love interests (yes, love interests plural).

Will Pippa make it to Vantage Point without having a panic attack? Will either one of the guys prove less sketchy than her last boyfriend? Can she and Dace figure out a way to dream big and be best friends? One thing is certain: real life is a lot more complicated than a photograph.

Pippa (real name Philadelphia, who does that to a child?) is currently in high school and part of the photography club and is preparing for Vantage Point, a big photography competition. She also finds out she has to do volunteer hours at the hospital she spent a lot of time at when her dad was sick. This book is basically about Pippa trying to navigate life, love and friendship in high school, while trying to avoid her panic attacks.

Pippa has two boys she's interested in, Ben and Dylan. Ben she meets through school and photography, Dylan she met when her dad was in the hospital and then runs into him again while volunteering. You start off liking both of them, and then you're not so sure you like either. And then if you're like me, you figure out what's going to happen with both of them and who she's going to end up with.

What bothers me with teenagers in books today, is that they're only 16 and are talking about sex and getting so wrapped up in that. When I was 16 that was the farthest thing from my mind. Maybe I was just weird, or I'm just old now and that's how kids are these days.

I like that even though this book revolves around photography, it doesn't focus on the technical stuff or use too much jargon. I feel like people who do take pictures would understand and enjoy it, but people who don't might have been put off.

Reading this book made me really wish there had been a photography club when I was in school, or even just that the photography courses were a little better. They didn't get really good until a year or two after I graduated. It also really made me want to take more pictures, but made me feel totally inadequate in my photography skills. Guess I just need to practice more.

All in all, Rule of Thirds by Chantel Guertin is a great read for any young adult. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Depth of Field, so as soon as my sister finishes that I'll hopefully get it.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Upcoming October Movie Releases

There are a few movies coming to theatres that I might be interested in watching, as well as one that I'm excited about being released on DVD.

Starting with the movies being released in theatres, is The Judge on October 10

In "The Judge," Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town's judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.
This movie isn't normally one I would really be interested in watching, but it looked like it could be a cute sort of family movie. It also doesn't hurt that it has Robert Downey Jr in it. It should be interesting to see him in a slightly more serious role. This one may not be one I watch in theatres, but I definitely would like to watch it some time down the road.

Next up on October 17 is The Best of Me

"White people almost kissing"
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, "The Best of Me" tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.

I think I may have seen one preview for this movie. But since it's based on a Nicholas Sparks book, it should be decent. Likely super depressing, but decent. I also love James Marsden. Apparently my movie choices revolve around pretty boys...whatever. If I find someone who wants to go see this with me, I'll go see it in theatres. If not, I don't think I'll be too concerned.

Finally there is Laggies, being released October 24

Overeducated and underemployed, 28 year old Megan (Keira Knightley) is in the throes of a quarterlife crisis. Squarely into adulthood with no career prospects, no particular motivation to think about her future and no one to relate to, Megan is comfortable lagging a few steps behind - while her friends check off milestones and celebrate their new grown-up status. When her high-school sweetheart (Mark Webber) proposes, Megan panics and- given an unexpected opportunity to escape for a week - hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year old Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Annika's world-weary single dad Craig (Sam Rockwell).
I feel like this movie speaks to me. That's pretty much all there is to it. I hadn't even heard about this until I started writing this post, but after finding it I have decided I need to watch it. Not only is Keira Knightley fantastic, I kind of feel like this in the sense that I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. And her name is Megan, it's always fun when a main character has the same name as you :) haha.
Being released on DVD October 14 is X-Men: Days of Future Past

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in 'X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.' The beloved characters from the original 'X-Men' film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, 'X-Men: First Class,' in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future.
I actually got to see this movie in theatres, and you can find my review for it here. I really enjoyed it, even though at some points it was a little confusing (past and present crossing each other). I may not be adding this to my collection right away, as I don't own any of the other X-Men movies, but at some point I plan on buying it.

All in all, October is a semi decent month for movie releases.