Mother-Daughter Traditions

September Edition of Vogue

September Edition of Vogue

When I was a young girl, we would come back from our family trip to Myrtle Beach South Carolina late August. Then, we would prepare for school by purchasing my school things. The weather would cool down slightly and I would become very excited for fall.

On Sunday afternoons, my mom and I would typically do my nails. I would put leave-in conditioner in my hair and just enjoy the beautiful laziness of Sunday. We would watch a movie or two. But then, my favorite of such weekends was the one where we would purchase the September issue of Vogue Magazine.

It’s a behemoth of a magazine. You could lift weights with it.

We would discuss the fashions for hours. It was the simplest of times and one of my best souvenirs from my youth.

Now that I’m all grown up, I purchase it. I do my own nails, I watch a movie or two, I put a leave-in treatment in my hair and I lovingly peruse every page of the magazine. I share the magazine with my daughter and we plan our next shopping excursion around what we’ve seen. The mother daughter tradition has been passed on from one generation to the next.

Case in point, Grandma Claudette just got Emilie a darling pair of boots. She needs leggings and jeans that will highlight the boots. There were these ads from H&M called “Between the Shows.” I dog eared these pages and am planning to take Emilie shopping shortly.

All this to say that I think of my mom, who’s the absolute best mom in the world, every second I spend looking at the Vogue Magazine. She is also the best manicurist and hairdresser. She is a multi-talented lady. I love you mom and thanks for all those lovely Sundays. Thanks also for all those cool shopping trips where we would come home with our hands loaded with bags.

Now, if I could only get Emilie to sit still in order for me to give her a manicure, life would be absolutely perfect.

After the Vogue September issue, I start looking forward to the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue.

What are your mother-daughter traditions? Or father-son traditions? Let’s discuss.


Fall Tv…what are your top picks?

This summer, our lives revolved around “True Blood”, “Under the Dome” and “The Following ” which was actually airing reruns but that we only discovered this summer. I also enjoyed Mistresses but this was more of a girl night tv show, I would watch it while the guys played Football.

Fall is well on its way and we are about to start a brand new tv season. There are exciting new shows coming out shortly. I am looking forward to a few shows, most notably, ” Agents of Shield”, “the Black list” and “Sleepy Hollow”. I am also wondering about The Originals and The One Hundred.

What about you? Which Summer shows did you enjoy the most? Which fall shows are you looking forward to the most?

Let us discuss what will make us turn into potato chips on our couches.

Good night my friends, cooksploratrice!

The Great White Manatee

I took the kids to see the Shark Exhibit and movie at the Montreal Science Centre.

We took the subway to get there. Kids under 12 are free. Ben is not yet twelve and Emilie is only 10 so we got a pretty good deal on transportation.

Emilie and Ben in the metro heading towards Place D'Armes.

Emilie and Ben in the metro heading towards Place D’Armes.

We made a great day out of it.

Our first activity was to locate food trucks in and around Montreal. This is new for us Montrealers (or for Montrealers by proxy like Lavalites). We typically could not have food trucks on our territory. Now, there is a trial project that if a restaurateur owns a fixed address establishment, they can also own a food truck and serve food in one of the 9 food truck locations:

Now, I knew I had seen food trucks in the old port and this is where I went. Only to discover that the trucks encountered there are actually fixed address trucks that rent lots on the old port grounds and not part of the food truck association.

We ate at Dic Ann’s and Deli Vieux Port de Montréal. There were picnic tables laid out for us. It was a great unhealthy but tasty start to our day.

The Kids ordering from the fixed food trucks In the Old Port of Montreal

The Kids ordering from the fixed food trucks In the Old Port of Montreal

Emilie with her Poutine

Emilie with her Poutine

Ben with his hamburger

Ben with his hamburger

Then, we walked on towards the Montréal Science Centre to see the Shark Exhibition.

The Exhibition includes a 45-minute Imax movie about Great White Sharks and a 3 room exhibit on the various shark species, etc.

The entire Family pursued by a shark. Is it Bruce from Finding Nemo?

The entire Family pursued by a shark. Is it Bruce from Finding Nemo?

Now, what I found most interesting is that we got to see shark teeth from Megalodon. My son and I are fans of the Meg series written by Steve Alten.

Steve Alten Meg Origins

Steve Alten Meg Origins

What is interesting in the Imax movie we see is the Great White Shark is shown as an almost placid creature. Very smart but almost placid. Almost like the Florida Manatee.

However, there are moments of sheer beauty when a lone diver is in a water with a great white and they are having an eye to eye. That is a thing of wonder. I do not think you can stare at a lion or a jaguar or a crocodile like that and live to tell the tale.

We do not see them eat any creatures, we see what shark tourism can bring to communities, etc. It’s a very very pro-shark movie. Now, I’m all for preserving sharks but what makes them worthy of preservation is their keen hunting skills, their longevity on the planet.

Sharks are made of cartilage and not bone. Their teeth grow back. They are lean mean surviving machines and this is why they need to be preserved. If we can’t save the Great White, what hope is there for us feeble humans?

Ben in a Shark Cage

Ben in a Shark Cage

Afterwards, we were sharked out. We went to visit the Science 26 exhibition and got to make science with our minds and hands. We got to play with science which is absolutely marvelous.

Emilie in a bubble Shower

Emilie in a bubble Shower

We stayed until closing time. They actually had to kick us out! You should make sure to visit the Montreal Science Centre on your next trip to town:

Emilie Feeding Duck Chicks

Emilie Feeding Duck Chicks

Then, we walked up Beaver Hall to reach Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream.

Both kids at Ben and Jerry's in late afternoon

Both kids at Ben and Jerry’s in late afternoon

Afterwards, we shopped at Zara’s and went to Chapters to peruse books.

The Producer joined us there and we went to dinner at a Japanese Brasserie.

Stay tuned for that story.

Enjoy your Sunday my friends.

Yours Truly, Cooksploratrice





The Chihuly Exhibit: A great Find

What is more brilliant? The Sun or the Beautiful Girl in front of the sun? Together, they are absolute magic. I am enchanted by the vision. I might be a bit partial but sue me, that's my flesh and blood up there.

What is more brilliant? The Sun or the Beautiful Girl in front of the sun? Together, they are absolute magic. I am enchanted by the vision. I might be a bit partial but sue me, that’s my flesh and blood up there.

Miss Emilie is an “artiste.” She’s extremely creative and we try to feed her interest by visiting art museums and perusing art books. She also took art classes and will be taking some again this fall. The men will have their pig skin this fall while the women will work on canvas. Is it not stereotypical? Maybe, but it’s okay!

Incidentally, she has her own blog where she posts her creations. Please check it out:

I had heard about Dale Chihuly in La Presse. He’s an American who has managed to establish glass as a fine art medium. His creations are dreamscapes that are lovely to behold. There is a current exhibit at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts of some of his blown glass creations.

Dale Chihuly At Work

Dale Chihuly At Work

Chihuly visited the Michal and Renata Hornstein museum and created 8 beautiful custom environments: the sun, turquoise reeds, Persian colonnade, Persian ceiling, chandeliers and towers, mille fiori, the boats as well as glass forest number 6. If you’ve seen Chihuly’s work elsewhere in the planet, you will not have seen them presented this way. Each Chihuly exhibit is unique which is particularly thoughtful of the artist and shows proper respect for the venues in which his works are presented.

Dale Chihuly was injured in 1976 while on a trip to Ireland and does not see with his left eye. This handicap has not stopped him from creating some of the most beautiful works of glass known to man.

This exhibit is a good enough reason to visit Montreal. You have until October 20, 2013 to come and see it. For more information on the exhibit, please click on this link: For more information on visiting Montreal, please click on this link:

Emilie’s favorites were the boats and the reeds. Understandably so, Emilie is a very blue girl. Very different from her pink loving mom.  I enjoyed the boats and the chandeliers and was flabbergasted by the sun and its warmth.

The Chandelier Room and the cubs circling the creations

The Chandelier Room and the cubs circling the creations

Don't they look like gorgeous marbles you'd want to play with or incredibly luxuriant beach balls?

Don’t they look like gorgeous marbles you’d want to play with or incredibly luxuriant beach balls?

A Boat overfilled with rainbow colored serpents. If they bite, can you really taste the rainbow? Are they the Skittle Ad brought to life in its most wondrous application possible?

A Boat overfilled with rainbow colored serpents. If they bite, can you really taste the rainbow? Are they the Skittle Ad brought to life in its most wondrous application possible?

The kids at play in the sculpture garden outside the museum

The kids at play in the sculpture garden outside the museum

Cooksploratrice and the Producer with a very happy statue behind us

Cooksploratrice and the Producer with a very happy statue behind us

An Interview With Bella Forrest

Since Bella had shared her Shade of Vampire book with me, I had her in my grasp.


I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions in order to get a better sense of who she is and how she wrote “A Shade of Vampire”

Question: Tell me a little about yourself Bella?

Answer: I’m an avid reader, a big fan of cookie ice cream and I’m often travelling.When working I have to disconnect the internet for fear of being endlessly distracted by websites such as

I can Has Cheezburger? One of Bella Forrest's guilty pleasures.

I can Has Cheezburger? One of Bella Forrest’s guilty pleasures.

Question: When did your life as a writer start?

Answer: I guess my life as a writer started when I was five; I’d sit under the kitchen table with my box of multi-colored wax crayons (I miss those) and create picture books. Creative writing was always my favorite subject and I used any free time I had to sit down with a notepad. Not much has changed, except that now I have developed vampirish habits: my writing “day” typically starts at 1am.

Question: Can we get a picture of you?

Answer: Unlike the beautiful girl on my cover, I’m camera-shy…

Question: If we want to know more about your world and what’s going on with you, where should we go?

Answer: If you want to stay informed about my latest book releases, sign up for email updates here:, and visit my website:

Question: What inspired you to create the Shade universe? Who was your inspiration for Derek Novak, prince of the Shades and of the vampires?

Answer: My answer to both of these questions is similar: I’m honestly not sure what/who the direct inspiration was. The idea for The Shade just popped into my head one day, so I sat down at my computer and everything developed organically from there.

Question: Was this story easy to write for you?

Answer: Yes, the story did flow quite easily because I was excited to explore these new characters.

Cooksploratrice note: As you know, I am also writing a book Tumbleweed but I have a love-hate relationship with the story which does not incite me to write all the time. It’s a bit painful at times. It seems that Bella was blessed with a story that did not bring a mixed bag of emotions with it.

Question: Could you describe the process? Such as where you wrote the book mainly?

Answer: Nowhere too fancy: just in a comfortable chair at my desk. 🙂

Question: In the mornings or in the evenings?

Answer: My favorite time to work is from about 1am to 7am.

Cooksploratrice note:Those hours are reserved for bed time for me. I’m not a night owl. Methinks Bella Forrest is a bit of a vampire herself maybe not from a nutritional aspect but from a waking hours aspect.

Question: What music did you listen to?

Answer: Wow, the list of songs is long. I’m actually in the process of compiling the playlist and plan to post it on my website.

Question: Which beverages did you drink?

Answer: I drink either water or fruit tea!

Cooksploratrice Note: I would think the fruit tea would be cranberry or raspberry flavoured to ensure a deep red hue touches Bella’s creative lips. If I’m wrong, no matter, that is how I will imagine it nonetheless.

Thank you Bella for sharing a bit of yourself with the cooksploratrice community.

And to all of you, I wish a Happy Friday. This was a sentence that Joe Dongarra from Tenrox used to say and it was always a joy to hear at the water cooler. Joe, I salute you.


A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forest, Book Review

Shade of Vampire by Bella Forest.

Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest.

I read a shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest.

She wrote to me personally and asked me to write a review on Goodreads.

The process we followed was quite simple: she sent me a PDF which I uploaded into my Kobo. This was my first Kobo upload. Yahoo! I had issues with the resizing of the PDF so I read it in really really small characters.

Now as to the book itself. I would call it more of a novella because of its length.

It’s a great first foray into this universe she’s created. With her skillful prose, she’s created a rich tapestry of the world of the vampires that inhabit the Shade. The shade is a protected island of forever moonlight. It has its own vocabulary of lodgers, elites, harem, pavilion, etc. The vampires band together in the Shade to avoid the threat of the Shadow Hunters.

In this first book, we do not meet any actual shadow hunters. I am quite convinced that in book 2, Shade of Blood, the sworn enemies of the vampire race will surface. I fully intend on reading Shade of Blood.

Shade of Vampire focuses on Derek and Sofia. Derek awakens from a 400-year old slumber. He is the reluctant prince of the vampires. He is attracted to Sofia, a 17-year old brought to the Shade to be his slave. Sofia has a crush on her best-friend back home, Ben. Sofia hates the Shade at first but learns to trust Derek in time. This coming together is not rushed and is believable. Derek is an exception amongst his kind. Most vampires are evil and use their humans to slake their every desire and whim.

My favorite characters in the book are Lucas Novak, Derek’s power-hungry older sibling and Corrie, the witch. Lucas is a source of much distress to Sofia. He is evil, hungry and a real SOB. He’s therefore an absolute bad boy. The witch character is so strong, I hope we get to read more about her in future books.

I really was entranced by the Shade and by Bella Forrest’s bold prose. I’m looking forward to meeting the Shadow Hunters. I hope they’re fearful and scary.

I recommend Bella Forrest’s books to any fan of the fantastic genre and of the vampire genre and even romance novel aficionados.

My Two Cents on Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Last week, The Producer took a week off to spend time with yours truly.

We wanted to see one movie together while the kids were in school.

I got to pick and I selected Star Trek.

Star Trek Into Darkness Cast

Star Trek Into Darkness is a 2013 American science fiction action film.
It is the twelfth installment in the Star Trek franchise and the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek.
It was directed by J. J. Abrams from a screenplay written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof. Chris Pine reprises his role as Captain James T. Kirk, with Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin,
Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy, John Cho, and Bruce Greenwood reprising their roles from the previous film.


When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

My Review:

I loved the film though you never quite get a grasp on what the villain wants. He seems like a pure psychopath with no clear motive. The motive dilutes itself along the way.

I typically love the bad guys in movies. I adore the character of Hannibal Lecter for example. But this bad guy was not bad enough to be good. He was exceptionally strong, yes, but you could not really sympathise with him. At least, I did not. The Producer, my producer that is and not the producer of the film JJ Abrams, also felt this is where the movie goes awry. He thought the movie was OK!

But, I adore Spock in the Star Trek franchise more so in the Star Trek reboot than the original series. I adore the humanity he tries to shut down but does not quite achieve. I adore his relationship with Lieutenant Uhura and with Captain Kirk. To me, this movie is about his journey. I find myself quite attached to Zachary Quinto’s Spock. I am looking forward to seeing him in more films in the future.

I also quite enjoy Lieutenant Uhura as portrayed by Zoe Saldana.

Graphically, I loved the look of the new Klingons. I hope the next movie will let us spend more time with John Cho’s Sulu and maybe plenty of Klingon exposure. I would also like for Spock to become a father.


Did you see the movie? Did you enjoy it? Do you prefer the Star Trek reboots to the original Star Trek films? Are you a closet Trekkie? What do you wish for in the next movie.