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    Still Life Louise Penny

    Book Review: Still Life

    Still Life - Louise Penny

    Still Life – Louise Penny

    My sister recommended I read this book. I loved it! It was wonderful to discover this new genre of “Cozy Mysteries.”

    And what is a cozy mystery, you ask?

    Well… Wikikpedia defines it as books where “the crimes and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.” Also violence and sexy times are downplayed. (Remember Murder, She Wrote?)

    The story takes place in a rural village south of Montreal called Three Pines. I want to go there. It sadly doesn’t exist. I checked.

    Heart = broken.

    I’m not sure how to write a useful book review, so I will just tell you that reading this book made me feel happy, intrigued but not too nervous or unsettled. A very pleasant read. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

    Some of the character names are in French. After finishing the book, I watched the made-for-tv movie on Amazon. I realized I was so wrong. hahaha! Beauvoir is not pronounced Beu-boar. It’s Boo-Bwah. Jean Guy is not literally Jean Guy, it’s Shogh-Gee.

    Ay, French. Why u so tricky?

    While reading, I highlight sentences I like. Cool similes and metaphors, or observations that make me reflect. Here are some of my highlights for Louise Penny’s Still Life:

    “Rummaging through the cupboard like a wartime surgeon frantically searching for the right bandage […]”

    “This village was old and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.”

    “I have no talent for choosing my battles. Life seems, strangely, like a battle to me. The whole thing.”

    “‘What was his name?’ She consulted the yellowing Rolodex in her head.”

    “He spoke calmly, but firmly. Without hostility but with an expectation.”

    “Gamache knew that while fear came in many forms, so did courage.”

    Reading these again makes me want to start the next book naaaaooooo.

    Thanks for reading this book review attempt.
    Malu

    PS: Go for the book first, not the movie. <- My recommendation. 🙂

    Saja Eraser

    Wonderlukah: Eraser Queen

    Before you begin reading this story, please know… it won’t make sense. It never has, it never will. 

    But it happened.

    In 3rd grade, I somehow realized that eraser crumbs were fun to play with. Not the dirty, used crumbs… but clean ones, using the eraser on a blank piece of paper. I began collecting them in an extra pencil case. It was like a mini zen garden. The group of girls I hung out with were intrigued and started doing the same.

    Now, I’m not a competitive person in general… but, I can be territorial about my weird ideas. I welcome anyone to try them, but I must remain the best.

    While I was flattered the girls copied me, I also felt pressure to remain ahead of the game. 

    Everyone had their own eraser crumb collection. How could I improve mine?

    I made a comprehensive comparison of all erasers I had. The solid colored ones created way more crumbs than the transparent ones. Cute erasers smelled good but were a joke.

    I got as many types of erasers as I could from the school supply store until I found the brand for this purpose. Saja. A super soft eraser with a distinct, pleasant smell. Compared to other erasers, it crumbled with the least amount of pressure and the crumbs were fluffy, not rubbery.

    Wonderlukah's Eraser Test

    Everyone soon caught on to this eraser type and again, copied my process.

    Determined to reclaim my position at the forefront of eraser crumb innovation, I sat down to think.

    What if… I wondered… instead of rubbing the erasers on paper, I found something else? A rougher surface that would disintegrate the erasers faster… Like… sandpaper?

    My dad had some sandpaper among his tools. I tested it.

    Saja Eraser

    Behold. With little effort, the resulting eraser crumbs were plentiful and pristine. I had a hard time sleeping that night.

    The following morning, I strutted to my desk with my Saja, sandpaper, and an air of superiority that silently scoffed, “Peasants!”.

    I sat down and methodically laid out my tools, all eyes on me. As I began scraping the eraser on the sandpaper, the girls huddled around my desk and watched in awe as I effortlessly produced this magical, fairy dust. I was Queen. Who knows of what. But, I was on top of the world.

    The next day, everyone showed up with sandpaper and my reign promptly ended once again. Hahaha! We kept collecting eraser crumbs, mixing colors, textures, and scents. Trading cute Sanrio pencils or pens for little baggies of this new, absurd currency.

    To this day, it’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever done.

    At a school reunion last year, some of the eraser girls remembered this, asking, “Why on Earth did we do that?”

    I shrugged and rolled my eyes at our foolishness, secretly cherishing the memory. 

    Inexplicably proud of the movement I spearheaded.

    Did you do any weird things as a kid?

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Thor Drawing

    Drawing 101

    I just spent a few minutes trying to draw Thor. My boy. At least by the time I got to the hind legs, I sort of got the perspective a little better? Maybe? Hahaha!

    Thor Drawing

    I know there are tons of tutorials I could watch online… But, for awhile at least, I want to see what I can figure out on my own.

    I drew this on an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. My mom gave me some real drawing pencils years ago that I have been saving. I think after I get a little more practice with shapes and stuff, I will try them out.

    It will give me an excuse to use an eraser. I love the smell of erasers. hahaha!

    I love the smell of these Saja erasers in particular. They remind me of childhood. And of a really absurd trend I unintentionally started in middle school which I’ll have to tell you about in another post.

    Malukah

    Thanks for reading!
    Malu

    MIFallout

    Mission: Impossible – Fallout (No Spoilers!)

    We watched the latest Mission Impossible movie on Friday and I loved it!

    A common characteristic of action movies these days is to “allude” to action with extreme closeups, rather than using wider shots.

    You don’t actually get to see a fight, or a speed chase… What you see are frantically changing zoomed in shots of elbows and shoulders and hair flying. Or closeups of wheels screeching, steering wheel turning, etc.

    Mission: Impossible – Fallout handles the action beautifully. From fist fights to street chases… Being actually able to see what was happening made me feel adrenaline. The movie also knew when to use action music and when to let the sound design (engine sounds) have center stage.

    The FirmHave you seen it? Did you enjoy it? (Without spoilers, please.)

    As a side note, watching Tom Cruise made me remember my favorite movie of his, The Firm. It’s also one of my favorite John Grisham books. If you haven’t read this book, or seen the film, I highly recommend them!

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Watercoloring

    A Cozy Cabin

    Behold. My watercolor painting.

    Watercolor Meditation

    It may look silly, but it served a purpose.

    During the hour I spent trying out different techniques I’d see on online tutorials, not a single thought of expectation crossed my mind.

    There were a lot of, “Oh, I see, the brush needs more water”… and “Oops, that’s too much water.” And “Oooh, that’s a pretty color!”

    Zero thoughts of, “Why isn’t this better?”… “Why is that line crooked?”… “I’m terrible, I should just give up.”

    Doing things I’m not good at eases my mind into a gentle, meditative state. It’s like being inside a cozy cabin in the woods that offers a break from all expectations.

    This is why I have brush lettering pens, calligraphy pens, and now watercolors. They are my cozy cabin where I can retreat and rest.

    What’s your version of a cozy cabin?

    I’d love to know!

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Before and After

    Bright Lights

    Whenever I make music videos for YouTube, I’m always shocked by how much makeup I have to wear in order to look normal (or a bit done up) and not washed out.

    I took some pictures while getting ready to film The Bard’s Song cover.

    Before and After

    By the end, I feel like I’m ready to go clubbing. Haha! But once I turn on the studio lights… I look…

    Normal Under Lights

    Quite normal. It amuses me so much. I have to constantly remind myself to not shy away from strong makeup for filming.

    Just wanted to share 😛

    Hugs,
    Malu

    Instagram Challenge

    The Healthy Food Instagram Challenge

    This week I’ve been revisiting foods I previously thought I didn’t like. Omi and I came to the conclusion that so many people enjoy salads, vegetables and fish… They can’t all be crazy… We made a pact to try preparing healthier meals for awhile to see if we could get used to new flavor combinations.

    Just in the past 6 days, I’ve realized that I actually do like the following:

    1. Jocoque (sour cream)
    2. Salmon
    3. Quinoa
    4. Cherry Tomatos
    5. Roasted Red Peppers
    6. Chinese Noodles
    7. Requesón (this is similar to cottage cheese)

    I’m still in the process of learning to like Hummus. Don’t know if it will be possible. Celery was a confirmed nope. Don’t like the taste of it.

    It’s been fun trying new things and new combinations. AND, I feel good. Ended up losing a couple of pounds without really trying. I am two pounds closer to becoming WONDERLUKAH! hahaha!

    Now, I am doing a made up Instagram challenge where I try to make the meals look as good as in the pictures. hahaha!

    Malukah Instagram Food Challenge

    Looking forward to seeing what other foods I can add to our rotation. It’s about time. Meals were starting to feel copy/paste, which left me turning to snacks for diversity. And that usually meant sugary things.

    And sugar =/= elegant clavicles.

    It’s all about the clavicles.

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    PS: The Instagram I’ve been taking recipes from: nutriologa.alegpaez

    Malukah Unexpected Obstacles

    Unexpected Obstacles

    Yesterday, I planned to finish mixing The Bard’s Song cover I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. Technically, I did finish… but, after I took a break and returned for the final listen, I realized I wanted to rerecord the lead vocals. Haha!

    Ughhhh. Whyyy am I like this? Always fixing things that are probably in my head.

    So, I set up the mic, was ready to go, and noticed the mic was very noisy. Just on its own. It made this constant wind-like sound. There was no wind. I googled and found a range of issues that this could be about.

    I spent the next hour testing different cables, different inputs, anything I could to get rid of this noise. Nothing worked.

    As someone who works from home, it’s sometimes tricky to convince myself to focus and get to work. When I finally manage to do it, it’s frustrating to have something unexpected and out of my control go wrong. Makes me throw a small mental tantrum and want to go lie down in fetal position.

    I was about to call it a day, but really wanted to finish the song like I had planned. I ended up recording with my old mic. I’m bummed I couldn’t use the nicer mic, but I’m very happy that I went ahead and redid the vocals. The song is DONE. Really. I swear. Honest. You don’t believe me?

    Haha, I don’t blame you.

    I give myself a gold star (inspired by Happier podcast) for carrying on, even when something unexpectedly went wrong.

    It may seem like something silly to celebrate, but perseverance can be a big struggle for me. I’m glad to see I’ve been building tolerance for failure or frustration. This is a much needed skill in life.

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    PS: I ordered a new tube mic cable, which was the only cable I couldn’t replace. I hope that fixes my windy mic.

     

    Demons and Puppies

    “Demons hate fresh air.”

    This phrase found via Austin Kleon’s blog makes me smile. It was said by Ingmar Berman’s daughter in this Vogue interview.

    It’s so true.

    Noisy thoughts can follow me all around the house. They have a high speed network in our home that’s more reliable than our wifi. Hehe.

    But they don’t follow when I step outside to take a walk with Thor. Demons hate fresh air, and puppies love it. There’s so much win here

    Park

    When we get home, thoughts are quieter and easier to manage.

    And Thor looks at me like I’m his hero.

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Wonderlukah

    Wonderlukah

    I love the word Wonder.

    Wonder, to me, is imaginative and playful thinking. It’s not “2 + 2 = 4″… it’s “I want to buy a bag of 20 oogly eyes. What could I use them for?” kind of thinking.

    Feeling wonder leads to learning, investigating, trying, and experimenting.

    Most importantly, wonder is a beautiful way to keep my mind engaged while staving off any sort of darkness that can creep up from time to time. It keeps frustration and despair in perspective, by reminding me there is so much more to life than what’s in front of me in one single moment.

    GalGadotAt the beginning of this year, I jokingly said I wanted to become “Wonderlukah” when I confessed my dream of finally getting my life together, exercising, losing weight and developing elegant clavicles like Gad Gadot (the actress that plays Wonder Woman).

    Part of getting my life together involves writing. So, here we are. This step proved easier to start than going the gym. So… hahaha!

    Welcome to a space where I hope to share personal thoughts and adventures.

    A place that will help me remember to keep wonder front and center, no matter what.

    Thanks for being here.
    Hugs,

    Wonderlukah

    Wonderlukah