My Top 3 Holiday Movies

‘Tis the season to be jolly!

If I’m completely honest though, Christmas is a nightmare. It’s calmer now as my family are now for the most part “mature”, responsible grownups. But let’s be real, the minute any family comes together for the holidays its anarchy and chaos… too much for me to handle. This formula might have worked when my house was filled with toddlers to children, but now it’s a complete moot of a holiday. I’ll be surprised if we have a turkey dinner, key word is turkey. We always have a dinner; I’d just like to know if it will be a turkey dinner. While I was in university I generally stayed at school cause a couple other friends, if I’m lucky roommates, would be staying as well and we’d keep each other company. Plus, I didn’t want to come home, I was in Hawaii that’s a holiday right there. I only returned once and that was because the previous year there was a massive snow fall and I’ve wanted a white Christmas for years! Did I get one? No!

Wish this was my tree...
Wish this was my tree…

A bit of a side track but one of my favourite Christmases was a friend of mine was staying in the dorms over winter break as well, Darcy*. We agreed to have a Christmas brunch on the beach. We made this amazing cold pasta salad, fruit salad, paired with some delicious “sparkling juice”. We cheered and ate, then afterwards Darcy* pulled out her Ukulele!! We sat on the beach watching the ocean and singing whatever songs she knew how to play. I think later in the evening we went up North Shore and had a dinner with our roommates, can’t say 100% sure if it was Xmas day. It was mainly our early Christmas day brunch that I have fond memories of from that year (first xmas away from home too)… ah memories.

Merry Christmas!!!
Merry Christmas!!!
Brunch was the bomb!
Brunch was the bomb!

Back to what the purpose of this blog is. Movies. Now I know there are the usual suspects: Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas, etc. and they’re all good. It’s not like I’m not going to watch them (some of them I have already), but it’s these three below that I’m feeling most in the mood for this season.

Love Actually: You cannot have a Christmas without Hugh Grant being in there somewhere. His charming, beguiling mannerism is almost unbearable, but fits his character suitably. I could list off why each actor is so well suited for each character they play but I sum up this movie as filling my optimistic jar. It’s like there’s a hallucinogenic in the air and everyone breathing it are waiting for something to happen… anything…waiting…is only the air in the UK affected? Bah!


Bridget Jones Diary: Bridget speaks to me. I wish I could say it’s like she’s expressing and going through everything I feel, but real life does have some variations. She’s not too far off the mark though! Hahaha, I made a pun. Again Hugh Grant… and Colin Firth! I have a slight fascination with British culture…


Harry Potter: Their release dates themselves have become synonymous with winter holidays as they were generally premiered in the November time period, so during school holidays it was straight to the movie theaters all children went. The movie’s themselves always have amazing “happy Christmas” scenes with snow, decorations, and…. not going home for the holidays!! (Right there with you Harry!)


Hope everyone has an amazing holiday no matter how they spend it! Mele kalikimaka

If that doesn’t get you throwin’ tinsel on your tree there’s always Michael Bublé.


A Message to Sony: The Interview

Dear Sony,

I feel as though your eyes have been covered by $$$ during these trialing times leading up to the release of the movie “The Interview.” We see your dilemma, but I’d like to offer you a solution: release the movie online. These hackers seem to have their own synchronized plan of what information is to be released. Increasingly becoming more invasive and more embarrassing. I understand these emails were private and never meant to be seen by anyone other than the recipient and that censoring one’s own emails should never be anyone’s concern. Unfortunately these are happening. I know there are probably more logistics and safety concerns you have to think about, but the way I see it is this; If they want to use the internet to expose your laundry and use American’s finest business establishment, the media, to their advantage. Take the internet into your own hands! If they want to fuck you online, fuck them back! Release the movie online! Forget about profits, that possibility is gone. However! Once it’s out there, it’s done. Anything else they release just becomes pitiful (and the feds should get that dealt with sooner rather than later). BE BRAVE!! BE DEFIANT!!


p.s. This is just my personal opinion, I’m aware there’re are gonna be flaws so please take what I say with a grain of salt. Thanks

Book Windup: The Children of Men

Finished!!! (warning: may contain spoilers)

Novel Cover
Novel Cover

So happy to have finished this book! I’ve felt like I’ve been slacking in the reading department the past couple months, final papers and exams happening, so this felt so nice to be back in a rhythm of reading. This book I’d give a 6/10 which may seem severe but it’s not because I didn’t like it, but because the climatic scenes didn’t feel climatic enough. Let me explain, because this novel it written in narrator form, first person. Theo’s character himself, the novel’s pov, has a very skewed perception of life at this point because it’s been 25 years since the last born child and his cousin has taken up the dictator role of “Warden of Great Britain” enforcing vary degrees of inhumane treatments of Britain’s citizens and incoming “Omegas.” This picture of a cynical, isolated, defeatist mannerism of a man is with which the author chose to create this novel’s pov and in turn the energy level throughout the entire novel with. So even when Theo joins up with the renegade group “The Five Fishes” there is some sense of self-containment in his thoughts, he even admonished himself on many occasions for having a natural emotional reaction any average person would have but because it’s not in tune with his own nature of feelings it must be stomped out.

On the back of the book along with a synopsis are a few review clips from various news publications The New Yorker says, “As scary and suspenseful as anything in Hitchcock,” which I’ll kind of agree with. I mean, nothing will ever replace Hitchcock, but combining scary and suspenseful will give you a thriller which I feel is closer to the mark. I’ll just round up this book review as simply describing it as an adult dystopian worth reading!

Now I feel the need to be kind of picky and point out some major differences between the novel and it’s adaptation into film.

Movie Poster
Movie Poster

#1: 2021 vs 2027

Why? Too soon? I don’t get it unless it has something to do with 7 sounding nicer than 1.

#2: Jasper Novel vs Jasper Movie

In the novel he’s quite an irrelevant character otherwise known to the reader as Theo’s former professor and now a major paranoid senior with an vegetative state wife whose only purpose in the end was having a secluded home with a large store unit for himself to be self-sufficient. Before the second time Theo visit’s him he committed suicide. Movie Jasper on the other hand seems like fun character that has made best of a sorry situation.

#3: Julian N vs Julian M

Julian in the movie is presented as Theo’s ex-wife and is killed early into the movie. Julian in the novel is a complete stranger who Theo falls in love with (and vice versa) and has him try to help the Five Fishes initial cause by approaching the Warden.  Julian is also the pregnant character instead of Clare from the movie, who doesn’t exist in the novel. The baby’s father is Luke not the leader Rolf’s aka her husband.

#4: Xan vs Nigel

In the movie Theo’s cousin is just a high ranking government official whose power extents to recovering art work. In the novel Xan is the leader of the country and his power is omnipresence in a sense. It almost feels like a game of chess the way Theo helps the group evade Xan, and Xan trying to find Theo. Xan even has the Royal Family become obsolete and wears the coronation ring himself as a symbol in his words “familiarity.”

#5: Revolution vs Peace

In the novel for the most part, there is very little room for any revolution or acts of crime to occur without any immediate action against the persecutors being shipped off to the Isle of Man, a self-governed prison where death, starvation, and abuse is a common occurrence with no intervention from the Warden’s council. The Warden’s slogan being; freedom from fear, want, or boredom. Xan’s council member’s follow up with; protection, security, comfort, and pleasure. With the general population accepting those in turn for obedience there isn’t any sort of revolution that occurs in the book. The novel ends with the baby’s birth and Theo taking on the leadership role of Warden. Hence the Hitchcock reference because of the lack of conclusion or epilogue.

Movie Poster
Movie Poster

Rise and Shine: Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

I don’t have a real rhythm to writing these blogs I feel, even though I’m only a few posts in, so I thought I’d share a few more stories/tips on various spots on Oahu. I lived there for a decent time and had my routine of school, but when the weekend came it was game on!

Makapu’u Lighthouse. Sound familiar? It’s the most south-eastern tip of the island. You have quite a few choices on where you might like to begin your day of hiking and exploring. Makapu’u lighthouse trail, the tide pools, the beach around the bend (when your there you’ll understand), Pele’s chair, etc.

#1 Tip: GO EARLY

Makapu’u is a hot spot for whale watching during migration season, November to May. You need to get there early in the morning, around 8am, that’s the best time to catch all the action. It is a windy spot, however you’ll warm up along the hike, just remember to bring a light jacket or sweater. You can bring binoculars or a camera to zoom in, but the best method is with your own eyes. You’ll get so caught up in your devices trying to spot the pinky sized whales you lose this stunning moment. Put all that away and just soak in this magical moment you’re lucky to watch. Your memory is stronger than you think and a photo will only deteriorate those swelled up emotions your feeling from watching this magical animal from breaching, diving, spy-hopping, lob-tailing, or even spouting. Humpback whales are very active whales when they want to be, and you should never feel the need to peel your eyes away from that show. Tatianna* and I were fortunate to have the trail to ourselves one early morning and got a good 30 minutes of whale activity from this one pod, we were delirious calling them “our family” or plain old “ours” as if the pod knew we were watching and wanted to give us this private show. One of the best ways I could have started my morning.

The lighthouse
The lighthouse
Closed, thanks vandalism. hahaha
Closed, thanks vandalism. hahaha


I’m not sure this is the most common knowledge piece of information, however; Hawaii has its own Paris Pont des Arts Bridge. At the “summit” of this hike there are some stairs that lead up to a man-made viewing area that’s fenced in. I’m not sure when it began on Oahu, but clearly this spot can be a romantic spot if the occasion calls for it. Just because honeymooners choose Hawaii instead of Paris doesn’t mean they can’t lock their love and throw away the keys for an eternity of happiness. All of them signed and dated, at that point I was fully saturated in girly mushy sighs. Ahhh

Bringing Paris love to Hawaii
Bringing Paris love to Hawaii


What a better excuse to dip into the ocean but a nice hike upon an extinct volcano? You have a few options, so let’s talk.

First, Makapu’u beach, it’s just on the other side of the lighthouse hike, 10min walk along the highway (there is side space along the road) or a 2 min drive from the lighthouse trail parking area to the Makapu’u beach parking lot. The waves here make it perfect for body-boarding or boogie-boards. The beach is crescent shaped so there’s plenty of space to layout. This beach actually seemed more of a local spot rather than touristy to me, and my guess is because to drive/bus here you’ll be passing lots of other amazing spots you’ll want to stop at as well (I’ll tell you about them). Makapu’u being a former volcano and all means is lava rock is in abundance along this coastal area. The beach also has an area where you can walk on top of the lava rocks and look to see the kind of sea life that lives in these coral-like areas. Lot of baby urchins! 

Makapu'u Beach Park and Sea life park
Makapu’u Beach Park and Sea life park

Second, the Tide pools. If you want to waste no time to getting soaked from your hike instead of walking all the way down about mid-way you’ll see on ocean-side (of course) a bit of an off-beat rocky pathway down along the side of the cliff. If my memory serves me right near where the information boards about whale migration are located. Not an extreme 90 degree angle cliff just a steeper path than the one you took coming up the path, so there is a slight barrier just so your reminded of where your feet are going should the view distract you (kind of like the barriers on the inside lane of a track separating the first lane and the inner grass field). Be sure-footed during your decent, loose rocks will have you slip occasionally. Once you reach the bottom, again, its lava rock, so if you’re not comfortable barefoot on sharp rocks it’s easier to keep your shoes on until you get into the pool… I’m teasing…sort of. Anyways, these tide pools do have a strong currents so be prepared for the incoming and outgoing waves. Also on stand-by for a good photo shoot is a blow hole! I’ll insert a photo below so you’ll see what I’m talking about, it’s pretty amusing because as much as you prepare for the action photo you’ll initially will be spooked by the abruptness of the water shooting upwards so aggressively.

Careful! it's kinda steep
Careful! it’s kinda steep
Blow hole!!
Blow hole!!

Lastly, Alan Davis Beach & Pele’s Chair. The least stressful because of the natural barrier the rocks and coral have created means little to no waves. The sand in the water is nice and fine to waddle in, the water level is deep enough to attempt a few tricks if you feel brave and confident about your balance on the wood pole. I squealed like a piglet, and it’s not even that high from the water! I just scream easily. To reach this area, it just requires taking the alternative trail that’s offered at the beginning of the lighthouse trail to the left. Don’t worry about the trail forking off a couple times during your trekking; they all come back together every time. Easiest way for me was to just keep left on the path. The name for this area is pretty simple, there’s a rock formation that looks like a chair so why not let it be Pele’s? And Alan Davis use to own tons of land back in the day. 

Alan Davis Beach
Alan Davis Beach
Pele's Chair
Pele’s Chair

So hopefully any future travelers to Oahu have found this post intriguing enough for them to venture southeast of the island. It’s such an awesome place to spend a sunny day, pack a lunch or even stop in Hawaii Kai for an early dinner. This type of adventure is one you’ll remember!

Panoramic view of southeast coast
Panoramic view of southeast coast
Mānana aka Rabbit Island
Mānana aka Rabbit Island
Ariel must be around here somewhere... her wave crash scene is up!
Ariel must be around here somewhere… her wave crash scene is up!
Some locals enjoying a "spa treatment"
Some locals enjoying a “spa treatment”
a free ticket to the nature show

Fun Fact: This area of the island is actually not too dissimilar in vegetation as to desserts; abundance of cacti and succulents along the trail.

My Watering Hole

Back when I was living in Honolulu, Hawaii I would regularly check online for the best happy hours available in Waikiki. I was a student on a budget that still wanted to enjoy myself to the fullest with great company and drinks. I can’t quiet recollect what made me click on “Cha Cha Cha 2 Waikiki,” maybe I was feeling up to tequila for the night or just a Mexican themed place. It was off the main road parallel to Waikiki beach, right across from Ross, attached to a hotel. Wasn’t the biggest place, but enough space for a few outdoor patio tables to enjoy the evening breeze that everyone sings for by the end of a hot day on the beach, best of all? $12 pitchers!! beer, margarita, or sangria. Take your pick or get more than one or $4 just for an individual which was just as amazing. My first trip there was with my roommate and one of the best people you can ask for for a day of exploring doing everything and nothing as the same time, I’ll call her Sasha* in case she doesn’t want her name known.

Back to the story!

We approached the place unsure because of the umbrella’s covering the restaurant’s name plaque. When we saw that it was indeed our destination, we grabbed the best patio seats available (which isn’t much of a brag considering location wise) and were promptly served by our soon to be regular server Nicole*. We did start with individual drinks as we weren’t sure right away of what the drinks were going to taste like or the size of the glasses, which were a normal size not undersized. I got sangria, fruit pieces included (that was a big deal for us) and Sasha ordered a margarita. We were in heaven! We felt like such sophisticated well-traveled women for finding such a lovely place snacking on nachos and salsa, sipping on our drinks…our next drink came in a pitcher and I’ll proceed with that wonderful  cliché “the rest was history.” I felt so pleased to have found this establishment that would meet the needs for me and my friends. That year I’m pretty sure we went as least once a month and Nicole noticed as well because they’re would be those nights where you know she put a good word in to the bartender to make our drinks stronger than usual. We were sedated with complete consent! Did I mention Taco Tuesday had $1 beef tacos?? And a ridiculous list of 30+ type of tequilas?

These were the good times. Life was good. However I finished school, moved back to my hometown and Cha Cha Cha stayed in Hawaii. In the spring I returned to Hawaii to visit friends and enjoy a relaxing vacation on the beach and return to my watering hole… wait…. where’s Cha Cha Cha?!?! Where’s my delicious sangria?!? Closed? This can’t be happening?!?!….

Turns out their lease on the space was coming to an end and negotiations ended when a new lease contract couldn’t be agreed upon. I’m sorry such a great place had to go. I’ll treasure those nights and memories at Cha Cha Cha. I ❤ U

p.s. I do have a new watering hole, want to know?

Yummy Drinks!
My usual kinda meal at Cha Cha Cha 2 Waikiki
My usual kinda meal at Cha Cha Cha 2 Waikiki
Not enough Tequila?
Not enough Tequila?
not the most noticeable, but once you knew...
not the most noticeable, but once you knew…

I should make a disclaimer: Apart from the first photo, the others I just searched online as I never did well to remember to bring a camera. Just wanted to help give a nice visual of what I was talking about. Link of their fb page

BIP: Books in Progress

Ever come across a book you’ve wanted to read so badly but it’s just a challenge to open the book knowing the hard road that’s about to come your way? It’s not a leisure read, but it’s definitely rewarding to close that book and think, “YES!!” throw that book onto the bed and do a celebratory dance then proceed to kitchen to enjoy that well earned glass of wine.

Well no wine for Emma just yet, she’s got some books to finish.

Book #1: Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

This book is a challenge to read for me right now because of my sense of accomplishment towards book 1 & 2, along with the Hobbit has me all J.R.R. Tolkien out. I had a very good reading pattern for this series going, 1 hr 3-4 nights a week. This initially did start out as a leisure read however; I do get distracted easily by the young adult section (knocking out 4 YA books in a month with no sweat). Regrettably this book has begun collecting dust and my bookmark is my sole indicator and reminder of just where I am in the book (with Pippin exploring Minas Tirith and seeing day become swallowed by darkness from Mordor). I’ll make a mental note to finish this before the year has ended… or at least January 3rd. That happens to be both Tolkien and myself’s birthday.

#2: Children of Men by P.D. James

Novel Cover
Novel Cover

If this sounds familiar to you, its because it was adapted into a movie back in 2006 staring Clive Owen. That was my first exposure to this story, and it took quiet a few years for me to finally get around to buy this book and find a set time to sit down and read this story. Before I continue I’ll say SPOILER just in case this should reveal anything for anyone who might choose to read this book. I’ll start with this; I’m a book over movie type of person. No matter how visually exciting a movie may be, I’m crazy for the small details and background information characters would have that films don’t have time to inform the audience about. Which this book does, in very wordily detail your given amazing information and imagery about Theo and his relationship with minor characters and societies attitude towards their demise and how governments (mainly Britain) have seen to proceed life with as much structure (oligarchy??) as it can possibly enforce with a world mixed with “who cares?” and “what’s the point?” also, jobs/careers that become moot in this sterile world are discussed as well. This books a challenge for me right now because of how dense of the novel has been. Contained in under 200 pages, I’m only a quarter way through yet it feels like I’ve made little progression in the plot. I feel like Yoda is whispering in my ear “Patients you must have.” I’M TRYING YODA!!

#3 A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin 

I don’t need to elaborate very much on why this book is a BIP. It’s over 1000+ pages! Holy crap I’m on chapter 26 of 64! I’m not beating myself up over my slow progress over this one. Each chapter is a different character so it’s more like 8+ books in one. The only complaint I have is I wish Arya had more chapter’s in this book. I understand Feast of Crows is in the same timeline as A Dance with Dragons and she had many chapters in FoC. Doesn’t stop me from wanting a book solely on her adventures in Braavos. How amazing would that be! George has released an Arya chapter from The Winds of Winter and my reaction? I just felt like I was at Eminem’s first ever Rap battle backing away from the computer screen, arms up in the airs, making inaudible noises from shock and excitement. WHAT!! WOAH!! OH NO HE DIDN’T!!!


As the title has stated, and if it weren’t obvious from the sheer lack of content on this page; this is my new blog. I’m not sure how to proceed into worded conversations in such casual manners that I’ve seen other bloggers achieve, so I’ll just pause right now so we can all hear the crickets chirp….

Well! glad we got over that introduction. If you’ve forgotten already, my name is Emma, no worries I forget names as quickly as they were told to me. I’ve started this blog (and soon to come youtube channel) as an experiment for myself as I see my coming winter holiday to be a right dull one that needs some sort of intellectual stimulation. Along with filling this void called life with various activities, I also saw this time as a chance to create a space where I can put thoughts and opinions out onto the world wide web (aka www) with some off chance someone else might see this and find me vaguely interesting. I may also provide this to some future employer as proof that I’m capable of creating online content.

What I’ll discuss here will be a variety of subjects that I can fill plenty of space with, or depending on how this all goes a video in conjunction to my blog posts. I have a wide range of subjects that keep my mind occupied; food, current events, entertainment, sports, books, dogs, weather, travel, school, and how much advertising I’m exposed to on the daily. Which is what I think I’ll make my first youtube video on (whenever that happens), “what channels I watch.” Hopefully my writing and video skills will become more refined as this journey goes on. I’ll just consider all this my new years resolution.

My expectations of this “journey” is to create a better idea of how I’d like my life to be, As huge as that sounds, like an umbrella of many subcategories, lets narrow that down to my career path. I’ve been in post-secondary school for way too long (5 year degree European History, and now in the works a BBA for marketing/management) for me not to have this figured out. I do have an idea, but I don’t want to jinx it by writing/saying it out loud. Let’s just hope this blog does the trick. I know this will initially be seen by my close friends and family members so…. Hello! if you’d like to share some ideas for posts let me know.

I’m going to stop here so I can work on making this page look more visually exciting, we’ll see how that goes, and when my first youtube video is completed I’ll be sure to make that breaking news here. Toodles

Bespoke Traveler

Immersive Tales for the Curious Traveler

diary of a tight-lipped girl.

me, my idiotic behaviour and my wish-to-have-boyfriends...

Elizabeth Rosalyn

Arts & Entertainment + Travel & Culture

Brittany from Boston

Seeking travels & adventures around the world

Single Strides

A blog about falling in love, falling apart, and traveling the world in between

Hiking Girl with Dog

Dog-friendly adventure guides and gear reviews

Plus Ultra

Stories and photographs from places “further beyond”.


Training, working and exploring the world

Emma's Trial Blog

Any thought I can put down in words

The Hudsucker

Read. Think. Repeat.


Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

The Open Suitcase

Vacation is a State of Mind

Kate from the States

"And then I realized that the best way to learn was through adventure..*"

Jodie in AMERICA!

Studying abroad in UMASS - global ambassador for uni of manchester