random


The more times I see Avatar, the more I seem to like it.  This second time watching it, this time in IMAX, opened my eyes to all the subtleties of the music-visual pairings, the Na’vi language, and the tiny, tiny details of the amazing CGI work.  The only quip I have wasn’t even within the movie itself—it’s that the screen was too small (I could see the edges in my peripheral vision!), so it was impossible to become completely immersed into the movie’s world. 

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I also adore the soundtrack.  Just pure love… makes me feel like I’m flying :)  Though I don’t think “pretty” is the right word to describe the soundtrack album art.  Some things just look better in (CGI) motion, haha…

I won’t be falsely optimistic here… school was a hellhole this week after that (wonderful?) huge snow break, and next week will probably be just as bad.  Piling up missed assessments, which I still happen to be in the middle of finishing up, is NOT cool nor fun.  I think I got ~3.5 hours of sleep for the past 3 days.  I’m freaking exhausted.  I think I’ve been running on adrenaline lately or something… it’s that weird feeling where you know you’re tired, but you don’t “feel” tired until you go somewhere ideal for sleeping.  Such as a dark movie theater.  But of course, Avatar was just that good—I was unable to fall asleep while it played.  ;P

Before our Avatar adventure #2 ver. IMAX, we picked up a quick dinner in the mall’s food court.  This was my first time at this particular mall, and the food court was “strange” in that it wasn’t really fast food except for the actual fast food places… you placed an order and actually waited for them to cook it for you.  :)  I ordered from a multi-ethnic cuisine-serving place called Sakura Grill, and when I saw Caribbean and American-Chinese food on the menu along with sushi and hibachi stuff, you can bet that I was more than a little skeptical on the quality of the food. 

Can you say “pleasantly awed”?  This is the first time I’ve had legitimately tasty mall food court food!

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My dad said that this oxtail meat reminded him of Chinese soy sauce-braised beef (hongshao niurou).  Well, there’s a question of authenticity… I’ve never eaten Caribbean food before, so I can’t exactly judge.  All I can say is that it was fairly yummy—warm, not overly-spiced, and fall-off-the-bone meat.  Rice + veggies = look typical, taste typical. 

The brown crispy things were deep-fried plantainsI liked these more than the oxtail, haha!  They were freshly fried, so they weren’t soggy in the least—perfectly crispy, crunchy battered exterior with a subtly sweet, banana-like creaminess on the inside.  And hot.  :) 

I’ve got looots to accomplish tomorrow.  The plan is to get a ton of stuff done in the morning, go out to eat lunch and buy a gift for my friend’s birthday gathering, do some more homework, and then go out to eat @ The Cheesecake Factory with the b-day girl and some old friends.  :)  Should be fun.  I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my friends, whom I haven’t seen for a year or so now, I think.

I hope you all had great weeks, and I hope your weekends are even more exciting!  :)

Lovelovelove,
c a n d i c e

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I’m finally back at school!  Not exactly lovin’ it 100% though, y’know?  Bio three times this week + chem midterm (which I hoped would be canceled/rescheduled) = not my cup of tea.  I suppose things will start to fall into place by the end of the week, but I’m going to miss my glory week of sleep, to say the least!

I’ve found a new study tactic that will hopefully reduce the amount of time I spend kneeling at my bed doodling and playing around with my iPod.  Yes, because whenever I start to get distracted, I’m going to start doing jumping jacks.  Yes, the evil ‘jacks that I used to do obsessively each night when DE was the dominant persona in my life.  But I am determined not to abuse them again.  Seeing as my exercise routine has been nonexistent for the past… 5 months, I think I need to start doing something little heart-stimulating again every so often.  Okay, more like every day.  :P

After I do 100 or so jumping jacks in the time that I would be spending dilly-dallying, I feel so refreshed and ready to work again.  When I was exercising obsessively and not eating enough to boot, I just felt fatigued and nauseous after jumping jacks, and accordingly, I absolutely dreaded it.  Now I actually am able to feel the little endorphin rush, and that exercise is not supposed to be a chore!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my “break” from exercise, it’s that I will NOT become a whale if I don’t! 

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The highlight of lunch today was a bowl of ludou tang—mung bean soup, I believe?  I’m tempted to say “green bean soup,” since that is what it is literally, but that’s so obviously wrong that I won’t even go there.  ;P  Chinese-inspired because the Asian party that we were supposed to go to was canceled due to snow.  I wasn’t too disappointed about that.  ‘Twas probably just another opportunity to be totally and completely awkward with people I haven’t talked to in years…

The soup is supposed to be sweet, so I added some unconventional maple syrup to it and topped it with my precious lentil-potato crunchies for added texture.  It was the purrrfect combo of savory + sweet.  :]

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Crrruunch.

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And I just realized that practically every dish I feature in my posts is held in Asian-looking dishware.  Yup… the bowl above was from China, brought back in who-knows-what-year.  The majority of our dishware is made up of stuff bought in Japan in the ‘80s, haha.  ;]

I’m going to study now.  I’m sorry if I don’t comment as much (or at all?) this week—things are picking up again, and I don’t want to get distracted or end the night feeling “guilty” about reading blogs instead of working… I still love you all, and I will try to get the scoop on what’s what come Friday evening.  :)

Lovelovelove,
c a n d i c e

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I don’t know where to begin.

I don’t know how I should begin to tell you guys how happy I was when I took a break from my reading/collaging/venting/crying to check my inbox.  All of your wonderful comments were neatly chained together in an email from WordPress, and the warmth that I felt after reading every one of them was just… astounding.  I’m not really a “online confession” type of person to begin with—I’d take a handwritten letter over a ten-page email any day.  I find online communication to be very impersonal, and it’s frightening to me how much easier it is to lie and pretend to be courageous when I know that no one can see my tears.

But yesterday, I looked in my inbox and received a big, fat “Hello, welcome to blogland” thump in the head.  For the first time, I had poured my true feelings out for the world wide web to see in the moments succeeding complete hysteria.  This is the real blogging community that so many others have written praise and thanks for—a community built on mutual love and support, with comfort during the dark hours and funny emoticons and exclamation marks during the brighter ones.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.  And by the way, I’ve got your backs, girlies.  ;)

Here’s an excerpt of a post I wrote a couple of days ago and was planning to publish before… stuff happened.  I don’t want to let it go to waste, so I’m just putting this out there!

~ * ~

I have an innate distrust in weathermen.  There were too many instances when I was younger where I would hear even the mention of snow and grow ecstatic, because school was going to be canceled!… and then nothing.  Or that a huge tornado was coming our way, take cover or die!…. annnd nothing.  To this day, whenever I hear “snow” or “hurricane” or any kind of news about possible inclement weather, my brain automatically pops the question, Will school be canceled? 

Well, as Google Weather promised, it began to snow this morning.  Light, almost invisible flakes streamed down from the sky—the kind of snow that you can only see clearly for an instant when the wind picks up and pushes the trillions of tiny snowflakes together.  I watched them, not with the cute little smile of a fourth-grader who found out that she would be able to play in the snow, but with the sullen, wrinkly frown of an eighty-year-old grandma, cursing the fact that she ran out of flour to bake with for her granddaughter’s birthday cake.  With the snow, the roads are muuuch too dangerous to go out and get it now…

But no, I’m not that grandma—not yet, anyway.  With my supposed-to-be-observant science nerd analytical skills, the first thing I infer from the scenery is that “It ain’t enough for them to cancel school.”

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-___-;

Yes, because it’s Saturday, and the school board will have to “argue” about that anyway… Sigh.  I think I’ll be trapped in this mindset until I am a grandma, unless I move to SoCal or Florida or a place where I will never have to think like that again.  Actually, I think I just may be on an equal level with a grandma now.  After all, I go to all these restaurants where old grandmas gather and eat and wear antique pearls and sweaters and chat about… well, who knows what they chat about…

What would’ve tied this whole post together is a breakfast with a sprinkling of coconut shavings as a foodie imitation of freshly fallen snow.  Or even a schmear of the coconut butter that I wanted to, but never did buy, at least not this week.  But alas, I’m going to spend the next couple of days desperately trying to eat up my Great Harvest Sunflower Crunch bread, because according to Kath, it takes at least a week for it to go stale.  … Oops… it’s already been more than a week!  Putting things in perspective, though, I’m the only one who eats it, and I only have about one-fourth of it left.  ‘Sides, if it does indeed become stale, I can always make bread pudding with it, à la Mitri.  Or croutons.  ;)

So here was breakfast yesterday…
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 A proper picture of my raw cheese-and-butter-on-toast-with-sea salt action. 
… what a healthy combo, hehe…

… and today:

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Two slices of toasted Sunflower Crunch with vanilla-cantaloupe-green tea jam (jam + matcha powder).  Sides of knife and crumbs.

Vanilla and green tea make quite a delicious balance of rich tinged with bitterness.

~ * ~

I’ll be off now.  I have to study, study, STUDY for my giant history test tomorrow, and I’m basically brain-dead from attempted creative thinking for about two and a half hours.  Sigh.  Beginning of the new semester = tougher workload begins.  We’re doing spontaneous essays in bio now, too—fun stuff!  :D D:  Yeah… I’ll try not to completely obsess over my work.  What’s sad is that all the stereotypes about my school are true.  I die a little inside when I see the skinny guys in glasses congregating in the halls discussing physics theories and calculator programming.  Or the guy in one of my classes who runs to his precalc teacher at every possible opportunity and got a 106.2% in his class… or, something that I discovered last night: there are such things as Starcraft parties. 

Won’t comment on that.  I’ll do my best to keep posted on what’s going down with you lovely bloggettes, and until then… peace :)

ox ~ candice

Somehow, I found two containers of the new chocolate Oikos greek yogurt in the refrigerator this morning.  Naturally, even though it wasn’t the beloved caramel flavor, I had to try one.  Me and greek yogurt are just meant to be.

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But you know, it’s an unbalanced relationship.  I’m so stupid, so yogurt is always exasperated with me.  I have to eat it quickly, before it leaves me…

So, I lacerated the covering and the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Hm, this looks like plain yogurt to me.  I guess they didn’t use artificial colors!  :D”  But alas, when I tasted it, I thought, “Erm, this doesn’t really taste all that chocolatey.  Am I missing something?!”  And then my spoon hit the bottom of the container.  VoilàI found a magic pile of cocoa powder and chocolate chips just waiting to be mixed with the—yes—plain, yogurt.  Oh gosh, what a concept!

Note the dramatic change in color after the proper mixing was done:

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The verdict?  Eh. I mean, it was tasty enough, but I could’ve just added chocolate chips and dark cocoa powder to plain greek yogurt and gotten the same result.  Caramel, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to recreate.  I’ll have to track down that flavor ASAP.  ;)  And speaking of things to track down, has blood orange season begun already?  If so, then I need to get my hands on some of those ASAP.  They’re my favorite type of winter citrus.  :)

Random breakfast items this week also included a delightfully runny microwaved egg topped with a sprinkling of wakame furikake

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Hello, my half-eaten beauty.

Slices toasted Great Harvest sunflower crunch with melted raw milk cheese were frequent, hearty additions to breakfasts during the week.  Why?  It’s ‘cause they’re pure. heaven. I’ve been eating this bread every single day since I bought it less than a week ago!  I’ve single-handedly consumed about half of my loaf already!  It’s just so good, and I’m a total bread + carb-a-holic, so I can’t resist… it calls my name every time I see it sitting on the kitchen counter!  P:

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Sorry that all of my pics in this post are an ugly yellow tint—I wake up when it’s literally pitch black outside, so I have to resort to unnatural, icky fluorescent lights to shoot my breakfast foods.  :|  I’ll try to get a proper shot of the melty-cheesy-toasted bread sometime.   It’s just too tasty to not be commemorated properly!  :]

I have a four-day weekend this week (end of the semester, woo-hoo~), but it’s totally packed.  Tomorrow, I’ll be up by 7 AM—“late” for many other bloggers, I know—for a one hour-drive to a classmate’s house to work on our English project for The Canterbury Tales. And I wonder why I go to this school, where everyone lives so far apart.  -_-  This was one of the rare “creative” assignments our teacher gives, so we’re basically doing a giant collage of two rather sketchy women from the works.  Ever since I stopped taking art, I haven’t gotten the chance to partake in a real, artsy-craftsy project, so it’s been a lot of fun.  :]  I miss just hanging around in art class sometimes…

I stayed after school today to attend a lecture at Carnegie Hall about genomes and sex.  It was so much more interesting than the first one I went to, which was basically two old men spewing arcane, monotonous nonsense (to me, at least).  I couldn’t help but sleep through practically the entire thing last time (the man’s voice was just so dull), but the biologist this time had an Australian accent, which automatically perked things up a bit.  I could also understand what she was talking about, so I only found myself on the brink of dozing off simply because I was drained from the week.  I think I did okay on the math midterm today, but it seems that whenever I feel okay about something, it turns out to be the opposite.  And vice-versa.  School is a vicious mind game for me…

By the way, I packed the best. sandwich. ever. for dinner tonight.  I didn’t photograph it, of course, since I won’t risk lugging my precious SLR to school with a bunch of heavy binders and textbooks.  It consisted of two thick slices of sunflower crunch, a smear of cilantro-jalapeno hummus from Trader Joe’s on one slice and vanilla-cantaloupe jam on the other, a few shavings of the amazing raw milk cheese, and two slices of deli ham.  Chewy, dense, crunchy bread + spicy hummus + sweet, deeply vanilla-flavored jam + rich, aromatic cheese + salty ham = sdfijsofjsdiofj. Yup.

I think I’m going to keep track of the little things from now on.  It’ll be fun to look back on this stuff and descry all these little tidbits of life right now.  The big things are important, but the details make everything all the more interesting and personal.  Plus, things like a schoolwork schedule will hopefully keep my guilty conscious strong when I slack off.  :D

Craving of the Day
* Dolsot bibimbap. I’ve been craving it all week…

Grocery List
* Goat milk yogurt
* Sunflower seed butter
* Coconut butter
* Crazy Richard’s creamy peanut butter (Yes, I buy a LOT of nut butter.)
* Toasted black sesame seeds (I go through these things too quickly!)
* Multigrain Puffins (must try)
* Chocolate calcium chews
* Gum
* Vosges chocolate

Things to Accomplish: 01/29/10
* English group project
* Chemistry midterm studying: chapters 11-12
* Chemistry lab report (finished tonight, 10:40-ish, woot!)
* Biology reading: Chapter 34 (VERTEBRATES!  Ugh.)
* Chapter 35 note card

Q1: What’s the BEST sandwich you’ve ever created?
Q2: How do you hide the fact that you are asleep during a lecture?
Q3: Are you a carb-a-holic?  Veggie-craver?  Carnivore?
Q4: What’s YOUR craving of the day?

Okay, I be going to beddie now.  But tonight… not without a prayer.  Let me try this again.  I need to find a little peace before the busy days commence…

Hello all!  How has your Saturday Sunday Monday been going?

… What?  I’m posting on a weekday?  Without homework nailing me into my chair?  I can kneel on the floor and blog?!  (Yes, I do!)

Score.  :D  Sweet freedom comes only once in a blue Pandora, and I’m going to savor it.  By blogging, of course.  ;)

To start off, I’ll recap some of my Sunday eats.  A portion of breakfast was brought to you by my first loaf of Great Harvest bread, the sunflower crunch, which was dense, chewy, and chock-full of nuts and tiny yellow grains…

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… and most importantly, circular!  I was super excited to go to a real bakery and buy a real, circular loaf of bread.  <3  I don’t think I ever want to go back to elongated buttock bread!  See the lovely sunflower pattern on the bread, complete with a seed in the center?  I’m not really sure what the yellow grains are, but they do help to make it delightfully crunchy.  :)  I like dense, chewy breads just as much as I love fluffy, soft ones.

I decided to have my second taste of this bread (LOVE the fact that they give such generous samples) with a savory twist:

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A simple schmear of butter and shaved raw milk cheese was all this needed to taste great.  Sooo much richness from the cheese… and so fun to shave off with a knife!  :D  Cheese ‘n buttah really do make everything better (I actually typed “butter”…).  I would include bacon in that statement, except it failed here.

Lunch included a lovely jewel yam from Whole Foods from waaaay back when.  Apparently, sweet potatoes last a long time, and I’m grateful for that, because this was divine.  Ah, nothing like a roasted sweet potato.  Not as sinfully delicious as my precious Japanese sweet potatoes, but it was tasty in its own lovely, orange right! 

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Savory was the name of the game on Sunday.  After roasting in the oven at 375* for a little more than an hour till it was hot and caramelized, I topped it with more shavings of raw milk cheese, crushed, addicting edamame crackers from Trader Joe’s, and pepita dust.  Mmmm… creamy and luscious from the sweet potato and the cheese that melted on it… made just salty enough by the pepita dust and crackers.  <3

Speaking of pepita dust, Oster’s customer service told me that a new blender should be arriving in two to three weeks.  Pray that this one won’t be as flimsy and break down after the first go…

Except for the beginning (I woke up ten minutes before I was supposed to leave), today was fairly relaxing for me, which was much appreciated after the everyday-sucks routine of last week.  I basically did nothing except take a test, which I do not think I did well on.  Invertebrates are hell, I say… the fact that I didn’t remember that crustaceans have two pairs of antennae killed me doubly.  Ugh.  -_-  Not a good start to the new semester, but you know what?  I’m not going to let this bring me down.  This cannot nullify the joy of freedom that I’ve felt all day!  Laughing, drawing funny pictures, listening to music, snacking on junky Snyder’s honey mustard pretzels (damn. addicting.)… can’t be beat :D  One test failed?  I can make it up with like, twenty more!  :) 

Q1: What texture do you like in a bread?  Dense and chewy or fluffy are both fine with me, but I dislike “hard” breads that are hard to bite.  :/
Q2: Sweet or savory?

Have a lovely evening, ladies!  I wish you all a week filled with joy and relaxation :)

Hello everyone!  I’m still alive here after my Week-from-Hell #2.  Done with three midterms, two tests, and three quizzes—score. I only have 1 midterm next week and another the week after, and then it’s back to the regular testing routines.  … Hurray?!  :) (:

My brain has been fried for about two weeks now, and my short-term memory has basically shut down entirely (past cramming biology into my head).  I actually had to think for awhile before I could remember what I wanted to recap for this post.  -_-;

Breakfast on a date that has been shoved out of my brain was this lovely bowl of cereal with my first pouring of original Pacific almond milk.

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It was eh. I forgot to buy the unsweetened kind (if there is such thing), so this tasted really watery and well, unpleasantly sweet.  :/  I think I’ll just stick with Almond Breeze from here on out.

This is a lunch prepped on another random day was a random mixture of leftovers that I was trying to use up.  This had leftover spicy tofu, shredded Mexican cheese from TJ’s, and leftover salad. Obligatory toasted sesame seeds and wakame-rice ball furikake are obligatory.

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Annnd another date stuffed with grainy peanut butter and sea salt.

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Dee-lee-cious.  :)

As for this, there is only one lonely square of this milk chocolate bacon bar left now…

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It wasn’t as good as I expected.  The bacon bit-chocolate flavors don’t really meld together—when I eat it, I just taste bacon, salt, and then chocolate.  Muuuch prefer the goji bar. You can never go wrong with a pink bar of chocolate.  :)

On Friday afternoon after school, I went to a Great Harvest Bread Co. bakery for the first time.  I had actually wanted to go last week, but it closes pretty early (around 5-ish), so we were too late.  :(  This week, we arrived ten minutes from closing time, in which I tried three different types of bread and bought two of ‘em.  I call it my “reward” for getting out of this week alive.  :)  I’ll save that for another post, though, since this one’s picture-heavy enough as it is!  It was really exciting though, since I’ve never bought “real” bread from a bakery before.

The weekly Friday night dinner out was at Bazin’s on Church, which had (mostly) rave reviews on Yelp!.  Though it was a little noisy—it’s a small place, and the bar was just a few feet away from us—the food was très delicieux. :)  I think this was one of the only three-course meals I’ve ever had?!

I loved the decor.  I felt so warm inside!  :)

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The location was pretty awesome, too, with lots of big windows and pretty holiday lights.  Even if the candles were fake.  ;)

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The feast began with a bit of warm bread and butter and the butternut squash agnolotti, which was basically butternut squash ravioli with sage sauce and crumbled amaretti cookies.  It reminded me of the first meal out I photographed (and wrote about), pumpkin ravioli.  Creamy, buttery outside with a surprisingly sweet, fluffy filling.  “Special,” said my father.  :)  But, um, where are the cookie crumbs?

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Maybe they drowned in the sauce.

For my main course, I made a historic decision in the course of eating out [in my life]—I ordered red meat for the first time!!!  I usually go for seafood, salads, or carbalicious dishes, but I’ve never ordered red meat at a restaurant before (not a DE thing—I was like this before all that jazz, too).  I’m not much of a steak person, and I find BBQ ribs annoyingly messy—you could say I’m picky with red meat.  But this… this was amazing.

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The toughness of red meat is the one thing that puts me off about it, so I was surprised and excited by the super, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of this.  I guess there’s a reason it’s called tender pecan pork?  The pecans added a whole other dimension to the meat with their prevailing, deeply toasted and nutty flavor, and the vanilla sweet potatoes had a real, pronounced vanilla flavor, and they weren’t cloyingly sweet, thank goodness.  :)  Perfectly balanced out the umami of the meat.  The roasted baby spinach was a bit too salty, but I loved the roastyness that roasted foods have (oh yeah, I’m specific), and the fact that it wasn’t a complete pile of mush.  And, as much as I was excited for it, the bourbon-bacon sauce was just average.  Is bourbon sour?  The sauce certainly was…

For a little sweetness to end the meal, my sis picked a key lime pie with coconut-macaroon crust and chantilly cream for the three of us to share:

The coconut-macaroon crust was amazing, even though I’ve never had a macaroon in my life.  Totally stuffed with coconut, and huge shreds of it at that.  The pie itself, on the other hand, was not nearly as sour as the ones I ate by the busload in Florida.  In fact, it was a bit too sweet.  I needed periodic dips into the fluffy and perfectly sweet chantilly cream to cleanse my palate.  ;)

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I was originally planning to post all of this on Friday night, but spontaneously made the decision to see Avatar.  It was a 9:40 PM showing, and being the wonderful three hours that it is, ended at 12:30-ish… thus, I got home around 1:15 the next morning.  o_o  Being the goody-goody that I am, I’ve never stayed out that late before.  I beat my record by more than an hour… whew.

But OMG… it was completely worth it. To see this?

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original image from
here

Heck yes.  I loved, loved, loved this movie.  The fantasy world totally drew me in with the lush CGI and brilliantly imagined flora and fauna.  The whole thing was just explosive with its color and life—immersive and completely believable once you’re drawn in.  I mean, bioluminescent organisms?!  All of them?!  Synapses and exposed nerve endings?!  <3  This was a feast for the eyes (and the mind!) and a thousand times better than Twilight. I think I’m going to become an Avatar geek or something.  Gosh, I’d kill to see this in IMAX 3D!

Q1: What do you look for in a restaurant setting? I like quiet restaurants… can’t stand bars :/  (But I’d go back to Bazin’s on Church for the food!!!)
Q2: What do you usually order at restaurants?
Q3: What’s the latest you’ve stayed out?
Q4: Have you watched Avatar?  Do you love it?!  If not, what’s your favorite movie genre? I normally dislike sci-fi, but this was a whole different story, obviously.  ;)

Alright, I’m out.  :D  Have a happy week, everybody!  Yay food!  And, for Avatar, yay nature and phosphorescent organisms.  :)

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grasping

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breaking.

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sweet and pure,

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though easily bruised.

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~ * ~

I’m feeling pretty terrible right now.  Just suddenly, I yelled at my mom for something completely insignificant… and I apologized seconds afterwards because there was no reason why I should have done that.  It just happened.  I need to learn stress-combative techniques fast, or else my temperament will be completely on the edge for the next two weeks.

I’ll try to catch up on reading + commenting + picture-uploading this weekend.  By the way, the beautiful heart-shaped fruit shown above is the cherimoya.  It’s delicious, and super fun to eat!  The flesh is very sweet—there are many better descriptions out there, but all I can say is that it reminds me of a [virgin ;)] piña colada.  I urge anyone who hasn’t tried one to track one down ASAP~ :)

Have a great rest of the week!

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