Category Archives: Discover

Recommended Beach Reading

The beach is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life. With so little to no distractions at all in the beach, one definitely will have a good time reading his or her favorite book. Aside from that, a place surrounded with nature inspires people to read and we feel and understand better what we read when we are in a natural environment. Here are some recommended beach reading suggestions.

  1. A Hundred Summers

The book was written by Beatriz Williams – New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author from Seattle – and was published on May 30, 2013.

The book unfolds in 1930s Seaview, Rhode Island; where Lily Dane returns not just to escape the New York’s social scene but also from a heartbreak that still haunts her. Here, among the Seaside community that has embraced her since childhood, she finds comfort in the familiar rituals of summer. Until the Greenwalds, an unwelcome specter from her past takes up residence in the community. The arrival of Budgie and Nick Greenwald, her former best friend and former fiancé, complicated further her own life. As a massive hurricane churns northward, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional storm that will change their worlds forever.

Lily’s story of love, betrayal, fun in the summer sun, and plenty of scandal, makes A Hundred Summers a great and engrossing beach read.

  1. Mrs. Dalloway

This book was written by Virginia Woolf, an English writer from United Kingdom and was published on May 14, 1925.

This novel is about a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post–First World War England. It addresses Clarissa’s preparations for a party she will host that evening of June 1923. The story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters’ minds to construct an image of Clarissa’s life and of the inter-war social structure.

What makes this book perfect for the beach are the thoughts, impressions, and memories that will lap around like gentle waves and scenes that will dissolve into each other like sand castles melting away.

  1. The Island House

The Island House is a book written by Nancy Thayes, an American novelist from Massachusetts on May 31, 2016.

The story is about a girl named Courtney who seems to never forget the magical summer she spent with her college roommate Robin and his family on Nantucket. When Courtney started working in Kansas City, she decided to spend another summer in the sun-swept paradise for one personal reason – she needs to know whether James, Robin’s brother; shares the feelings she’s secretly had for him.

As the summer unfolds, a crisis escalates, surprising truths are revealed, and Courtney will at last find out where her heart and her future lie.

The Island House is a beautiful story about the ties that bind us—and how the blessings of love and family heal us in ways we never dream possible.

  1. The Nightingale

This is a historical fiction novel, written by Kristin Hannah, an award-winning and best-selling American novelist and was published in February 3, 2015.

It tells the story of two sisters, just coming of age in France on the eve of World War II. Vianne, who endures the capture of her husband has to deal with the oppression under Nazi system in order for her and her daughter to survive. Isabelle, the younger one decides to resist the occupation hiding under the code name “Nightingale.” She survives despite the hellish conditions she experienced and got reunited to Vianne before she dies.

The book is not light summer fluff, but anything about survival, love, freedom and heroic acts for the family or for other people is really an inspiring read while on the beach.

  1. The Martian

The Martian is a 2011 science fiction novel written by Andy Weir, an American novelist from California. In 2014, Crown Publishing purchased the rights and re-released the book.

The story follows an American astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars in the year 2035. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills, he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

The Martian is a perfect summer reading to someone who is always looking for adventure. While reading the book on the beach, you’ll get the idea of how it feels to be adrift on the desolate landscape of Mars.

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Expensive Chocolates around the World

Chocolate is already decadent in itself but did you know that there are some that go for a high price tag? Chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes, all kinds of flavors and can go for some hefty prizes. Here are a few of the most expensive chocolates around the world.

To’Ak Chocolate Bar ($345 for less than 2 oz)

Made from cacao bean found in the rainforests of Ecuador. This rare bean was thought to be extinct. There are only 100 bars produced each year and it comes in a handcrafted box with tasting tweezers made from Ecuadorian bamboo.

Harrods
87-135 Brompton Rd.
London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom
+44 20 7730 1234

La Madeline au Truffe ($2,600 per pound)

Imagine decadent 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, truffle oil and vanilla in a rich decadent ganache. In the middle is a rare French Perigord truffle enrobed in Valrhona dark chocolate and then rolled in fine cocoa powder. That’s plentry of chocolate to imagine. At $250 a piece or $2,600 per pound La Madeline au Truffe has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as the most expensive chocolate in the world. With a 7 day shelf life, these babies need to be eaten quickly!


Chocopologie Cafe
14 Wall St, Norwalk, CT 06850

Gargantua by The Ross ($14,000)

At just 6 pieces of uniquely designed chocolate in a spherical, faceted hexagonal box made of pure volcanic glass. Each piece is encrusted with gold and shaped like the natural elements of fire, air, earth, water, ether and vacuum in different geometrical shapes. Only 1000 sets at a time are made available.

Gargantua The Ross

ROSS CHOCOLATES
#119 – 1525 Broadway St.
Port Coquitlam, BC
V3C 6P6

Japan Summer Sonic Festival

Every year, Osaka and Chiba hold a two- or three-day rock concert at the same time called the Summer Sonic Festival. The majority of the bands playing in Osaka the first day go to Chiba the following day and vice versa. Many Japanese rock musicians from both major and indie record companies and some international acts contain the lineup for the festival that gathers around 200,000 people.

Summer Sonic Festival was founded in 2000. This year, Summer Sonic Festival will be held on August 19 – 20, 2017. The Tokyo venue comprises of 8 stages while the Osaka venue has four.

Here are some of the attractions at the Summer Sonic Festival 2017:

Osaka Attractions

  • SonicArt – an exhibition of live paintings in the venue by selected Japanese artists
  • Freedom Hills – a free activity area where anyone can put up a tent
  • Sonic Plus + – a refreshment room for women and a play area for kids

Tokyo Attractions

  • Seaside Village Camp – a place where guests can stay within the venue for a certain fee
  • Street performance – will feature Japan’s comedy act, magic show, pole dancing on the street, juggling act and more talents
  • Jungle Stage – Idol Sonic will feature 16 pairs of Japan’s new generation idols. This attraction will also feature comedy shows and live performances from DJ’s and other stage performers.
  • Autograph session – chance to have your stuff signed by the artists
  • Kid’s Club – play park, diaper change room, nursing room
  • Silent disco – a party where the Dj’s play music and the guests uses their headsets/headphones to listen and dance to the music.
  • Sonic Art – live painting sessions from various Japanese painters – professional and amateur
  • Space Odd – different talent show activity from yoga instructor, gymnasts, musicians and more

International artists will also be joining this year’s Summer Sonic Festival such as Calvin Harris, Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Liam Gallagher, and Lany.

 As early as August, tickets to the event will be selling like hotcakes, so grab yours earlier if you want to experience one of Japan’s most iconic music festivals.

Singapore National Day: Discover Hidden Treasures

We’ve known that Marina Bay Sands, Changi Airport, Merlion Park, Universal Studios Singapore, Jurong Bird Park, Sentosa Island are brands that Singapore owns. They are Singapore’s word-class attractions that brings millions of visitors annually. But do you know that Singapore despite being a young nation, still has a lot to offer to the world? It has more than 100 historic sites, complete with markers that tell the stories of days gone by. By taking the road less travelled, you will be surprised at just how close to your doorstep such adventures can be. Singapore National Day celebrates its 52nd Independence on August 9, 2017; let’s dig deeper into the nation’s very rich cultural and natural heritage as we present some of its hidden treasures.

1. Southern Ridges

The Southern Ridges is a beautiful 10km stretch of green open spaces perfect for walking trails, spanning the hills of some of Singapore’s most popular parks and gardens, connected by picturesque ridges and pathways. It crosses Kent Ridge Park, Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Hort Park, Labrador Park and Harbour Front on the Southern Ridge of Singapore.
At the top of the trail is the Jewel Box, a bar, restaurant and refreshment area. Southern Ridges is characterized by sheltered areas, rain forest and a variety of flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The place offers panoramic views and amazing sights and sounds of the forest.

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2. Keppel Hill Reservoir

This is one of Singapore’s abandoned reservoirs that has been off the map and was rediscovered in 2014. The 2m-deep forgotten reservoir, reported to be dated as early as 1905, had appeared in the early maps. But by the fifties, it had vanished from the maps and its location was not officially marked for sixty years.

Remnants of the reservoir still exist today, such as concrete steps, an old diving board and a bathing area. New pipes and pumps, appear to be in fine working conditions, linking to the reservoir that is only about one-third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The reservoir still has a working water filtration system and houses many different types of wildlife.

Photo credit: Remembering Singapore (https://remembersingapore.org/keppel-hill-reservoir/)
Photo credit: Remembering Singapore

3. Fort Siloso

Fort Siloso is a former coast artillery battery. It is the only remaining battery which has been restored, out of the twelve batteries placed in strategic positions which comprised “Fortress Singapore” at the beginning of WWII. Today the fort has been fitted with elements to bring history alive for the tourists. There are interactive exhibits recreating dramatic scenes from the part. Visitors are taken on a tour tram as guides describe the site and explain its role in the defense of the Malayan region. Visitors can explore the tunnels; see guns and cannons, film clips and historic photographs.

Photo credit: LimeBye (Flickr)
Photo credit: LimeBye (Flickr)

4. Orchard Road

Commonly referred to as Orchard, it is a boulevard that is 2.2 kilometers long and considered Singapore’s shopping and entertainment hub. It is locally called Tang Leng Pa Sat Koi by the Chinese Singaporeans and Vaira Kimadam by the Tamil people. Orchard Road gets its name from the numerous plantations and orchards that were present in that area in the 19th century and earlier. Popular legend also attributes the name to Mr. Orchard, the owner of many of the plantations in that neighborhood. Some of the numerous buildings from the colonial times that are worth checking out; are now luxury hotels. There are a number of cool restaurants and cafes to visit for some great food. It is also home to Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore.

singapore-1383055_640

5. Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin which literally means “Granite Isalnd,” first appeared on a map in an 1828 sketch of the Island of Singapore as Pulo Obin and in Franklin and Jackson’s map as Po. Ubin. Simply known as Ubin, it is an island situated in the north east of Singapore, to the west of Pulau Tekong. Granite quarrying supported a few thousand settlers on Pulau Ubin in the 1960s, but only about a hundred villagers live there today. It is one of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna.

Photo credit: PROJirka Matousek (Flickr)
Photo credit: PROJirka Matousek (Flickr)

What to expect at the Burning Man Festival

What started as a bonfire ritual during the summer solstice on a beach in San Francisco has turned into annual event. The Burning Man Festival this year will take place from August 27 to September 4, 2017 Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Thousands gather for a week of radical self-expression with art installations, performances, self expression and creativity within a temporary community. Among those who have attended are artists, CEOs and celebrities. To date there have been 70,000 “burners” that have attended in one year.

The festival has a theme every year and for 2017 it’s Radical Ritual. Past themes have included Fertility, Time, Hell, Outer Space, The Body, The Floating World, Beyond Belief, Vault of Heaven, Psyche, Hope and Fear, The Green Man, The American Dream, Evolution, Metropolis, Fertility 2.0, Caravansary, Carnival of Mirrors, and da Vinci’s Workshop.

The Saturday night before Labor Day is when the man burns, a much awaited part of the event.

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Photo credit: Cory Doctorow (Flickr)

Some tips:

  • There is no vending at the festival. Only coffee and ice are for sale.
  • There’s also no selling of any kind of items, instead guests can trade or give to one another in keeping in the spirit of community.
  • Bring enough supplies for your length of stay. You need to make sure to bring your own food, water, sleeping gear, etc.
  • Remember to hydrate because it is the desert.
  • Print out a map and plan ahead for meet up locations better yet rent an vacation rental the night before and gather everyone together ahead of time before heading to the event.

Lastly, enjoy this one of a kind unique experience!