Review: Crazy Rich Asians

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I. Hated. This. Book.

Wow, it was the worst book I’ve read in a really long time and I made myself finally finish it last night. It’s hard to make yourself spend a few hours reading about a story you don’t care for and people you hate.

What the book lacked in plot and character development, it made up for in buttloads of descriptions of excess. I don’t know why someone thought that these unbelievable (but apparently fairly accurate) descriptions of the houses, cars, clothes, hotels, etc could make up for a weak storyline and even weaker characters.

Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians follows the story of Rachel, a young woman who goes on a summer vacation with her boyfriend Nicholas back to his native Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. Turns out that Nicholas’s family is, you guess it, crazy rich. And by crazy rich, I mean like they’re so rich they don’t even talk about how rich they are. And they don’t like Rachel because she’s not rich and her family is of questionable background.

We’re meant to see this crazy rich world through Rachel’s eyes. But I just found her so uninteresting. She is supposed to be a professor in Economics at (maybe) NYU. She is apparently worldly, educated, sensible, etc. She just ends up seeming unbelievably naive to me. Like, has she never visited an Asian family before? Has she never visited anyone’s family before? All she does throughout the novel is get shepherded from mansion to mansion to spa to mansion and has run ins with bitches, bitches and more bitches and she does nothing to stand up for herself. Her character is as frustrating because she’s constantly the victim and does nothing to assert herself. Why should we feel for this girl? Part of the issue seems to be how Kwan writes his female characters. He doesn’t seem to be a real idea of how females talk, interact and think. It reads like he spent a couple hours watching and rewatching Mean Girls. His male characters are better developed but again, why should we feel for any of them? They

The plot is so thin and the characters are of such little importance to the author who just masturbates all over the pages with so. much. description. that adds so little to the actual story. Why do I need to know the specific details of each character’s house – the outrageous price of such and such antique ming vase, the exact cost of the gold baroque detailings in the crown moulding, the amount of servants and lady maids, etc. Towards the end, I just started skimming past the descriptions because it was getting so annoying.

I will give it to Kwan that his setting is certainly interesting and Singapore comes across like a whole other planet because it’s so far removed from the world I come from. I also enjoyed his extensive and satirical footnotes. But none of that is enough to make me recommend this book.

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(LONG OVERDUE) MEXICO RECAP DAY 1

Day 1

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Waiting at our gate at YYC. (Yes, I’m wearing the same plane clothes I wore the day before.)

The next morning, we were finally on our way to Cancun. Immediately while waiting in line to check in my luggage, we both spotted a couple ahead of us who were far too fancy for the airport, especially considering the time of day it was. She was dress in a denim jacket and orange/coral pants. Her hair was perfectly coifed. But the worst offender of the two was him. He was wearing matching orange/oral boat shoes and an expensive looking cardigan. He also had the craziest left eyebrow which was extremely arched and added a nice air of money to the overall impression he was giving.

Anyway, we decided to video blog our Cancun trip which you can view below. Sorry about the bad sound quality; we didn’t realize the plane would be so noisy:

Stay tuned for Day 2!

(Long Overdue) Mexico Recap Day 0

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Thanks Jennifer for making this awesome gif

I’m sorry that I’ve been a horrible blogger lately! (You’ll notice my laziness and procrastination are running themes in this blog.) Here’s a gif of me acting funny. Jennifer (of the blog I Run For Chocolate Cake) was trying to take pictures of me jumping but apparently I can’t stay in mid air long enough for her to snap the photo.

Anyway, the last you heard, I was on my way to Mexico via Calgary.

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At YVR, waiting at my gate. Far too early in the morning for makeup and hair.

Day 0 (T minus 1 day to Mexico)

While waiting at the gate to board my plane at YVR, I figured something was wrong because the flight that was going out 15 minutes after us had managed to board everyone before we even started. At one point, I overheard one of the flight attendants say that they airline had no idea where the plane was. Anyway, we were late getting out of Vancouver – which was unexpected considering we were one of the first flights of the day but only ended up being a couple minutes late coming into Calgary.

Once i got into YYC, Jenn picked me up and we went to the Calgary Farmers Market to have lunch. I gotta say that Calgary’s Farmers Market is far far superior to anything we have in Vancouver. It’s much cleaner (the floors, the tables, the bathrooms etc), it’s got a bigger variety of (healthier) foods and it’s less chaotic because there are fewer people and the layout makes more sense. The closest thing I can think of in Vancouver is the Granville Island Public Market but it’s more crowded and definitely isn’t cleaner. At the farmers market, we got some crepes and smoothies lunch and meat pies for dinner later that night. Also some nuts and corn snacks too. Mmmm! Oh and some tea and some almond butter. The meat pies were the some of the yummiest things I had my whole trip.

After lunch, Jennifer drove me to her place which I also couldn’t wait to see. Since we last met up in early July 2013, she had went and bought her first place. I couldn’t wait to see in person all the uniquely Jenn touches she did to the place. (Shown in detail in this post here.) My favourite detail of her place was a little world map she drew that was also a bucket list of sorts.

We ended up just relaxing at her place for the rest of the day/evening because we was going to be an early morning (again) to get to the airport and off to Cancun (finally).

 

Look later this week for my recap of our first day in Mexico! Also a video! (Ooooh!)

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Cancun Day 2 & 3

Yesterday Jennifer and I went to Coba to climb a pyramid. Can I say that I hate heights? And this was high. Ok not exceptionally so, but it sure seemed higher when I realized I was going to be scaling it. Nonetheless we did it and it’s a cool thing to be able to say you climbed a pyramid. The hardest part for me was getting down because I’m scared of heights and when you’re going down, all you’re looking at is how high up you are.

Today is a rest day and actually tomorrow is too for me.

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Cancun Day 1

Today Jennifer and I went to Chichen Itza and checked out the pyramid along with the ruins around the area.

It was a really long bus ride there and even longer coming back to Cancun.

The excursion itself was fun; I especially enjoyed our guide who turned out to be a college history professor. He decided to give us a more academic tour of the ruins with I suited me perfectly.

The weather down here is very hot and even more humid. I was sweating bullets outside and am currently nursing a small headache from the day. Note to self for tomorrow’s excursion: more water, more sunscreen.

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YVR to YYC Live Blog

6:38 am. Bleary early morning ride to the airport. Wait wait wait. Now the flight is delayed. Just heard the flight attendants say they have no idea where the plane is. That can’t be good.

10:45 am. Delayed 1/2 hour but alive. Jennifer took me to the Calgary Farmers Market. I’m eating crepes. Mmmm.

12:39 pm. Spent $50 at the farmers market on nuts, corn chips and pastries. Guess I’m not getting anything in Cancun. Now hanging at Jennifer’s house.

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3 Happy Thoughts: February 5

1) Today is my sister-in-law’s birthday. She’s one of my favourite people in the world.

2) I managed to curl my hair with a clipless iron today in spite of having it chemically straightened. Hair options have suddenly opened up.

3) I’ve discovered Ted Talks on Netflix. Just watched three episodes of Life Hacks and my interest is piqued.

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

So today, I went to the gym because I had an appointment with my personal trainer. I was expecting the place to be crowded, what with new year’s resolutions and all. But strangely, it was pretty empty – so easy to get on a treadmill and also a bench in the weights area. Maybe everyone’s resolutions start tomorrow, on a regular non-holiday day?

Personally, I’m glad that I don’t have “working out more” as one of my resolutions this year. For some reason, I think if I had it as a resolution, I would have given up pretty quickly along with everyone else, never to go back again. I like that I just started for no real good reason.

Anyway, here are my resolutions. For fun, I should revisit this post in 6 weeks time (and then 6 months and next year) to see how they’re all holding up.

1) Eat quinoa, salads and/or fruits at least once a day. Rather than say I’m cutting out bad foods, I think it’ll be easier to add good foods. And maybe I’ll be too full from the good food to eat as much of the bad food? Hopefully my skin and tummy issues will improve with all these good foods?

2) Write on my blog (this or Shop With Anna) at least once a week. I need to sharpen my writing skills which are non-existent at worst and mediocre at best. I enjoy writing but I think I give myself a lot of pressure to either write a lot, or don’t bother to write at all. Or write something super interesting and original, or what’s the point? I think it’s better to write something though than nothing, at the very least for practice. I just find that as a I get older, it’s getting harder to find the right words to express what it is I’m trying to say.

3) Finish reading 3 unfinished books on my Kobo and afterwards, read a book once a month. Again, I love reading but for some reason I’ve let it completely slip off my radar. I’m just not reading. I swear I’ve got a dozen half finished books on my Kobo – some I stopped reading because it wasn’t grabbing or keeping my attention. Some I stopped reading because I got distracted.

Ok that’s all I got for now. No great personal changes I’m trying to do. Just be a better version of who I am already. What are your resolutions for this year?

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Cereal Porn

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Wtf is the guy on the right doing to the guy on the left?

…never said this was gonna be a classy blog.

Gym Talk

Y’know how I’ve been posting a lot about working out since I started going to the gym back in March? I’ve been pretty good/diligent so far about going regularly. (Even if, by “regular”, I mean twice weekly – thrice if I’ve been good.) All this exercise has had a marked impact on not only my physical appearance (I’ve been regularly getting comments about how I lost weight – which is another post for another time) but also my health, in particular my digestion issues. Last month, I even signed up to work out with a personal trainer once a week. It’s been lovely and I’m so glad that I’ve made exercise a part of my life.

But a couple weeks ago, I got into a car accident and while everything is currently being sorted out through the insurance company, I’ve completely fallen off my gym routine. Aside from my once a week sessions with my personal trainer, I actually haven’t hit the gym at all. Yes, of course there’s lots of paperwork to sort out and lots of questions about what to do about the car and money and all those things to keep me from the gym.

In reality though, I know the real reason I haven’t been working out is that I’m sad. When I’m finally done work, I just want to crawl into bed and sleep and/or cry. The last thing I’ve wanted to do is hit the treadmill or bust my ass stair climber. It doesn’t logically add up because I know that if I’m feeling sad and stressed out, then working a good sweat will actually make me feel better both physically and mentally. But I just haven’t been able to bring myself to go and I’ve been racked with guilt about it.

Today marks two weeks of not working out regularly. And inside, I know that if I put this off s’more, I’ll never head back to the gym and my damn membership will go to waste. So this morning I finally dragged myself down to my condo’s gym. Fifteen minutes on the elliptical (ugh, I seriously hate that machine) and 45 minutes strength training, I feel infinitely better! Of course I would; I knew that I would. But damn, I never realized how much of a mental game it all is. Even just putting on the workout gear to go. I always knew that half the battle is just getting down to the gym, but now I’d say that’s the biggest battle of the whole thing. I can do a lot of stuff, even if it hurts and my body is crying for me to rest (damn you burpees!) and I enjoy the challenge. But I hate hate hate the five minutes just before getting to the gym.