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Project: Reflect 52 #52 - My year in review - 2012


My 8 greatest achievements in 2012

1. Achieved my optimal weight and stay healthy.


2. Got married. Summary here.

3. Honeymoon in Da Nang, Vietnam. Summary here.

4. Got promoted at work. Blog post here.

5. Started a family project with my hubby.

6. Went for a few mini weekend road trips.


7. Read 26 books and watched almost all blockbuster movies of 2012.


8. Done my Project Reflect 52 2012. Summary here.


3 personal developments I have made in 2012

1. Learning about gratitude
2. Learning to be positive
3. Putting this principle into practice: Believe, Commit, Persist


3 things I need to do less in 2013

1. Worrying, complaining, and whining
2. Over-thinking and over-analyzing
3. Fretting about getting caught in traffic jams


3 things I need to do more in 2013

1. Don't worry, be happy
2. Getting in touch with friends
3. Stay healthy and robust


A sentence that sums up my 2012

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" by Neale Donald Walsch. Blog post here. 


Annual year-end summary posts

2011: Good things from 2011 for a better 2012!
2010: What I've Done in 2010 & What I'll Do in 2011
2009: Bye 2009! Hello 2010!
2008: 2009 Goals / Resolutions!
2007: Thank You Lord for 2007


That's all. What about you?


Let 2012 ends with fond memories and 2013 begins with many more new adventures, blessings, and even fonder memories! Have a blast everyone!

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26 books in 2012


These are the books I have read in 2012.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins:

1. The Hunger Games (Book 1)
2. Catching Fire (Book 2)
3. Mockingjay (Book 3)

The Hollows series (the Rachel Morgan series) by Kim Harrison:

4. A Fistful of Charms
5. For A Few Demons More
6. Where Demons Dare
7. White Witch, Black Curse
8. Black Magic Sanction

The Damask Circle series by Keri Arthur:

9. Circle of Fire
10. Circle of Death
11. Circle of Desire

The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella:

12. Shopaholic Ties the Knot
13. Shopaholic & Sister
14. Shopaholic & Baby
15. Mini Shopaholic

Others:

16. Audition (Ryu Murakami)
17. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
18. Many Bloody Returns: Tales of Birthdays with Bite (edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelmer)
19. For One More Day (Mitch Albom)
20. The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
21. The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
22. The Legacy (Gemma Malley)
23. The Killables (Gemma Malley)
24. Stardust (Neil Gaiman)
25. The Girl Who Chased the Moon (Sarah Addison Allen)
26. Holidays are Hell (Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, Vicki Petterson)

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Movie: CZ12 (十二生肖) (2012)

CZ12 (十二生肖) (2012) is an action-adventure movie by Jackie Chan.

Synopsis from here: Globe-trotting soldier-of-fortune JC (Jackie Chan) is hired by shady antiques dealers to track down six missing bronze animal-heads by any means necessary. The six bronzes originally formed part of a set of twelve, representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, forming part of a fountain in the old Summer Palace outside Beijing; they were looted and dispersed when Anglo-French armies sacked the Summer Palace in 1860.

JC and his crack team of assistants first head to France, where two of the bronzes are believed to be held in a private collection. The operation to 'liberate' the bronzes from a heavily guarded Chateau brings JC into an uneasy alliance with Coco, a Chinese student in Paris, who is active in a global movement which campaigns for stolen cultural treasures to be returned to their homelands. Along the way, JC makes an enemy-for-life of Pierre, the chief of staff at the Chateau Marceau, and an unexpected friend of Katherine, a bankrupted aristocrat whose home contains another of the missing bronzes.

The trail next leads JC and his team, now including Coco and Katherine, to a forgotten tropical island in the South Seas, where two missing animal heads are found in a beached wreck. A multi-national band of pirates moves to block the team's getaway, but JC's skill and resourcefulness wins the day. Back home, JC is stunned to learn that his employers already had the sixth missing bronze all along, and he sets out to teach them a lesson for tricking him.

Meanwhile the protest movement has persuaded buyers to shun auctions of stolen national treasures, and the shady dealers are threatening to destroy the sixth bronze in public. Will JC's conscience – and his sense of Chinese national pride – kick in to push him to save the last bronze from destruction? The answer is played out on the slopes of an active volcano...

My verdict: This movie bursts with a cacophony of emotions - funny, irritating, annoying, confusing, boring, exhilarating - Jackie Chan's trademark. Conversations among the characters - spoken in three main languages - Mandarin, English, and French - can be quite entertaining at first, but when I have to read the subtitles way too often, it becomes kinda annoying. The action scenes are entertaining and they are basically all about Jackie Chan and his almost impossible stunts for a 58-year-old man.

If you're a staunch Jackie Chan fan, you might enjoy watching this movie. As for me, I find it watchable, as expected.

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Kim Harrison's "Black Magic Sanction"


Kim Harrison's "Black Magic Sanction".

Synopsis:

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter - and lived
to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind... until now.


Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment - her worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom. But trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and a lowlife ex-boyfriend-turned-thief.

Here's the list of Kim Harrison's books that I owned.


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My 2012 Movie List


Archive: 2009 Movie List | 2010 Movie List | 2011 Movie List

Here's my 2012 Movie List - watched, blogged, rated.

Disclaimer: I'm not a movie critic, I'm just an average movie maniac & cinema-goer. The lists below are based purely and solely on my own opinion. :)

Rating:

1 (Not Recommended At All)
2 (Poor Yet Watchable)
3 (Okay)
4 (Recommended)
5 (Highly Recommended)


Rating = 1

Rating = 2

Rating = 3

Rating = 4

Rating = 5


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Project: Reflect 52 #50-51 - My permanent Christmas wishlist


1. PEACE!

The worrywart me needs lots of peace, peace of mind. The Lord is the Prince of Peace, He shall be my Peace. Peace is everywhere in the Bible.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; and the government is upon His shoulder; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. - John 14:27

And the peace of God, which surpasses every man's understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7

And let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts. - Colossians 3:15a

And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace continually in every way. - 2 Thessalonians 3:16a

2. REJOICE, JOY!

My name is Joyce. So I gotta be joyful and rejoicing all the time!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all men. The Lord is near. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man's understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7

Always rejoice, unceasingly pray, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

3. HUMILITY!

Not the kind of humility that gives people courage to shit on my head, but the kind that reminds us how God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.

And he who will exalt himself shall be humbled, and he who will humble himself shall be exalted. - Matthew 23:12

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. - James 4:6b, 1 Peter 5:5b

For I say, through the grace given to me, to every one who is among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to be sober-minded, as God has apportioned to each a measure of faith. - Romans 12:3

4. ARMOR OF GOD!

For safeguard from enemies, seen and unseen, including human beings.

Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in the might of His strength. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the stratagems of the devil, for our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod your feet with the firm foundation of the gospel of peace; besides all these, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints. - Ephesians 6:10-18

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My December CosmoBox by Box Culture

Beauty boxes - a super hot beauty goodies subscription trend that's currently spreading like wildfire in Malaysia! Out of curiosity, I subscribed to Box Culture's December CosmoBox.

According to Box Culture, CosmoBox is an easy way to reignite me-time, the little moments you can now spend with a little surprise, a bit of discovery, all in a box filled with beauty goodies. Each CosmoBox is packed with little tips and tricks from the experts to help you not just with the use of the little treats in the box, but so you discover new things about your skin, your body and overall, how to pamper you.


My December box has arrived! I like the box cover's chic color and design. I'm also pleasantly surprised with the sturdy quality of the box's material.


After I remove the chic pink-and-black CosmoBox cover, I see an elegant white sturdy box.


There are more layers of papers - including a pink greetings placard with the list of this month's beauty goodies on its back, a black envelope, and also a black ribbon - before I can get my hands on the beauty goodies in the box. 

Ooohhh... the element of surprise! :P


There's another final layer of pastel pink crepe paper and a black CosmoBox logo sticker "blocking" the way! :P


The black envelope contains information booklets and vouchers related to this month's brands - Avène, Soap Artisan, and Sebastian Professional.


Tada! The beauty goodies are presented nicely on a bed of stripped pink crepe paper. They are:

  • Giorgio Armani fragrance sample
  • Avène Sensitive White Whitening Essence
  • Avène Sensitive White Whitening Fluid
  • Sebastian Light Shampoo, Conditioner, Treatment (in the black Sebastian box)
  • Soap Artisan's Mt St Helen Mud Whitening Soap
  • A roll of red ribbon (because this is special Christmas edition box)
  • A mini Santa hair clip (because this is special Christmas edition box)

I believe I get my money's worth this month: RM33 per box/month. More info here: www.boxculture.com

Have fun!!!


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Holidays are Hell (Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, Vicki Petterson)


Holidays are Hell (Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, Vicki Petterson).

This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones - living and dead...

Synopsis: 

There's no place like home for the horrordays - unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard... or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here - and whether it's a solstice seance gone demonically wrong with the incomparable Kim Harrison, a grossly misshapen Christmas with the remarkable Lynsay Sands, a blood-chilling-and-spilling New Year's with the wonderful Marjorie M. Liu, or a super-powered Thanksgiving with the phenomenal Vicki Petterson, one thing is for certain: in the able hands of these exceptional dark side explorers, the holidays are going to be deliciously hellish!

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel (Kim Harrison) introduces us to a younger Rachel Morgan - an undergraduate witch-in-training - who naively resurrects a spirit and sparks a terrifying showdown with a deadly undead adversary.

Run, Run, Rudolph (Lynsay Sands) serves up a scrumptious stew of Yuletide suspense when, in order to escape from a determined stalker, a beautiful, reluctant shape-shifter must assume different forms.

Six (Marjorie M. Liu) keeps a petite-but-powerful government agent's hands full when she must join forces with a hunky necromancer to prevent an unholy brotherhood of terrorists and vampires from ringing in the New Year with blood.

The Harvest (Vicki Petterson) brings a former superhero - an elite Zodiac warrior - back to the mortal world for a Thanskgiving reunion with her equally hated and beloved enemy to do battle for the lives of her imperiled children.

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Our first Christmas tree


Like a fairy tale... Beautiful!


The tree with fairy lights.


Our tree when it was just set up with baubles and ribbons, no fairy lights yet. There will be more presents to be piled beneath the tree when the whole family meets up to open presents. :)


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Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

From the smallest beginnings come the greatest legends.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) - directed by Peter Jackson - is an epic fantasy movie, the first installment of a three-part movie adaptation of the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings trilogy).

The Hobbit is set in Middle-earth 60 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings.

Synopsis: Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever... Gollum (Andy Serkis). Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities.

The next two movies are The Desolation of Smaug, to be released in 2013; and There and Back Again, to be released in 2014.

I have never read the novel and I can't remember if I have watched all three The Lord of the Rings movies. That's how detached I was regarding pure fantasy movie / novel genre. Therefore, I watched The Hobbit with an unadulterated, child-like awe.

I'm basically in awe with my new-found knowledge about dwarves being fearsome warriors. I really like Thorin Oakenshield; I think he's the best-looking dwarf I have ever seen. I have always thought dwarves are genial, non-combative creatures like those in Disney's cartoons. 

Smaug the dragon is nasty. The ethereal Elven race - Lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) - are so beautiful. The Trolls, Wargs-riding Orcs, and Goblins are horrible, vile creatures. All in all, the Middle-earth is a very dangerous but adventurous place to live in.

Wow. You really shouldn't miss this movie!

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Movie: Life of Pi (2012)

The journey of a lifetime

Life of Pi (2012) is a magical adventure movie based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. Ang Lee is the director.

Synopsis: Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) and his family lives in Pondicherry, India. His father is a zoo keeper. One day, Pi's father decides to move the family to Canada. Halfway through their journey, the ship carrying their animals (and Pi's family) sinks due to a storm. Pi finds himself stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat and some wild animals as his companions – including an adult Bengal tiger called "Richard Parker" – all fighting for survival.

This is a very aesthetically beautiful movie with breathtaking visuals, meaningful lessons and questions about life and religion, and a really great storytelling approach. There are poignant, funny, and tear-jerking moments at different points of the movie. I have to agree that Ang Lee did an awesome job directing this movie. Kudos!

Note: Ang Lee directed the famous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain.

James Cameron gave us a fantastic 3D experience with his mega-blockbuster, Avatar in 2009. Life of Pi has an almost similar impact.

Yann Martel, the author of the novel on which the movie is based, says, "I'm happy it works so well as a film. Even if the ending is not as ambiguous as the book's, the possibility that there might be another version of Pi's story comes at you unexpectedly and raises the same important questions about truth, perception, and belief." [via]

Two memorable quotes from the movie:


  • All of life is an act of letting go but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye. 
  • Faith is a house with many rooms. But no room for doubt? Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. Afterall, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested.

Don't miss this meaningful movie!

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Fruits and bread in KT


Duku

Duku is different from langsat or duku-langsat (hybrid of duku and langsat). Langsat has a milky sticky latex in the skin when it's peeled (duku doesn't have).


Mini tangerines

They resemble miniature Chinese lokan (Chinese New Year tangerines).


Mulberries

Mulberries are interesting caterpillar-looking berries. I love the different shades of red.

Mulberries have significantly high amounts of antioxidants, i.e. anthocyanins - potent against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections; lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotene - protection from harmful effects of aging-causing free radicals.

Mulberries are high in vitamin A, B-complex (B6, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid), C, E, and vitamin K. Mulberries are also an excellent source of iron, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.

[via]


Passion fruit

Passion fruit is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, C, and flavonoids. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin A and flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

[via]

 
How to eat passion fruits without making a mess. :)


Homemade bread

I baked a loaf of homemade bread after I learned the steps from my father-in-law. :)


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My father-in-law's homemade bread


Earlier this year, before I was married into the family, I watched my future father-in-law baked a loaf of delicious homemade bread with the bread-maker.

Last weekend, I spent the weekend with my in-laws and my father-in-law taught me how to bake homemade bread. :)


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How to bake homemade bread with the bread-maker


As a start, pour 1 cup of water into the baking "tong". Prepare 2.5 cups of normal flour and 0.5 cup of wholemeal flour. Pour the cups of flour into the "tong".


Add 2 tablespoons of butter, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and 0.5 teaspoon of salt.


Add 2 handfuls of raisins (optional) and 1 teaspoon of yeast (compulsory).

Note: If you forget to add yeast, your bread will not rise.


My happy father-in-law. :D


Put the "tong" into the bread-maker. When power is switched on, the ingredients will be mixed together.


Let the machine does its wonder for the next 3 hours and 45 minutes.


Tada!!!

The smell of freshly baked bread is awesome! :)

Note: No preservatives are used. You will need to refrigerate leftover bread if any.


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