August Wrap-Up

Butterfly on flowers

Hello September and goodbye August! August was a lot of fun with family, friends, and enriching leisure activities. The weather was pleasant so I spent more time outdoors in August than in July. Let me share my highlights and I invite you to tell me yours.



I went to see five art exhibitions in Toronto and visited one new-to-me art gallery in Kingston:

  • The Museum of Broken Relationships exhibition caught my attention because I had passed by the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia. The exhibition was more interesting and less sad than I thought.
  • The Brain Project 2019 showcased fifty brain sculptures designed by artists, celebrities, and researchers to raise brain health awareness and to advance research on dementia and aging #noblankbrains.
  • The Art of Zhen (Truth) Shan (Compassion) Ren (Tolerance) International Exhibition is a collection of over 60 paintings. It has toured about 300 cities in over 50 countries.
  • The 17th Annual Canada International Children’s Art Festival showcased many colourful and impressive artworks. Most of them were created by 7 or 8-year old artists.
  • The Into The Clouds installation by FriendsWithYou displayed the adorable Little Cloud and three friends. I liked both the installation and its location in the beautiful Allen Lambert Galleria.
Embrace the Earth painting by Xiao Yu Ren
Embrace the Earth by Xiao Yu Ren, age 7
Into The Clouds art installation by FriendsWithYou
Little Cloud and three friends are spending the lazy days of summer hanging out in the Allen Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place.”


I wrote four blog posts to document my fun experiences at home, in Heidelberg (Germany), and in Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada):


I enjoyed reading seven good novels. The authors’ biographies are also interesting in case you want to look them up:

  • The Moroccan Girl by Charles Cumming
  • The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen
  • Crimson Lake by Candice Fox
  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  • The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • And Then You Were Gone by R. J. Jacobs
  • Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare


I attended nine outdoor concerts. The music and vocals were fantastic, especially the first four artists listed below:

  • Ammoye
  • Alana Bridgewater
  • Jordan John
  • Avery Raquel
  • The Arsenals at Island Soul festival
  • The Recipee band at Island Soul festival
  • Susie Vinnick Trio
  • Elinor Frey & Phoebe Carrai: Duoletto violoncello
  • Toronto’s All-Star Big Band: Dance music from the 50s


We had two big family gatherings in August, one was to celebrate my nephew’s new home and the other was to celebrate a few birthdays in my family clan. We were glad to see family members visiting us from the USA. It was so nice to share meals, talk, and do fun activities together in person. Some of our good eats came from the weekly farmer’s market. How lucky we were to have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables! They were as delicious as they looked.

August harvest


I went out six times with my friends for coffee and some of the concerts I mentioned above. My family and I also met and dined out with our friends in Kingston when we were there for a few days.


I completed 14 strength workouts in the gym, 8 yoga classes, and 4 swimming sessions. I also meditated and walked every day. One of the very enjoyable walks was on the beautiful Toronto Islands.

Toronto Islands


I enjoyed learning new words from my daily French and Spanish lessons. I learned about the artists and/ or the projects from the art exhibitions that I viewed, the authors of the books I read, the actors and musicians at the shows I attended, popular songs in the 50s, and the history behind some of the places that I visited this month.


I watched only three movies because it was more fun to be outdoors:

  • Long Shot (comedy)
  • Stockholm (drama)
  • Idiocracy (comedy)


My family took a six-day trip to Kingston which is located about 2.5 hours by train east of Toronto. In typical Natalie the Explorer style, I walked to explore some of the historic sights in Kingston. For arts, I visited the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University. I’ll share some of my discoveries in a later post.

Kingston Sign


August was incredibly fun and enriching. I look forward to September when I’m expecting more relatives visiting us, a trip to Vancouver Island, and lots of leisure activities.

How was your August? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.

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July Wrap-Up

Sunflowers in Regina

Hello August and goodbye July! July was a fun summer month filled with warm days, plenty of leisure activities, a family trip to Regina, and a blogger meeting. Let me share my July highlights with you and I invite you to tell me yours.

JULY 2019


I visited the 58th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair where over 300 artists participated and displayed their arts for sale over three days. It’s a wonderful annual event to see so much artistic talent in one location.

On one of my outdoor walks, I saw the Ordinary Men sculpture exhibit by Thomas J. Price who lives and works in London, UK. This is his first solo exhibition in Canada. His sculpture ranges in size from small busts to monumental bronze statues.

Thomas Price's Ordinary Men art exhibition
Clockwise left to right: Cover Up, and Numen 1, 2, 3 by Thomas J Price


I had a fun walk along Toronto’s waterfront with my new blogger friend Joanne (My Life Lived Full). I wrote about where we explored and what we had for lunch here. We saw a number of interesting public art installations during our 5 km walk.

Totem pole in Little Norway Park
Totem pole at Little Norway Park


I read five fine books in July. Although there is a lot of human suffering, especially in the first three novels, all of them show human resilience, love, and all have a hopeful or happy ending:

  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
  • The Kite Runner also by Khaled Hosseini.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman).
  • Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan.


I attended five outdoor concerts in July. Simply great music of different genres and powerful vocals heard in an urban setting on warm summer days. I always feel so fortunate to have easy access to these free events:

  • Jordan John & Denis Keldie
  • Sara Dell
  • The Métis Fiddler Quartet
  • Tyler Yarema & Allison Young
  • Joanna Majoko


My family clan held a get-together in July. It took place on the weekend that we had a heat wave so we were all thankful for air-conditioning. As usual, we enjoyed good food and fun conversations. I love chatting with my siblings, nieces, and nephews. Our next gathering will be in August.


I did a gym workout with one of my friends and met two other friends by the farmer’s market for coffee catch-ups in Toronto. I also had fun catching up with our family friends in Regina when we were there.

Summer in the city


In July, I meditated and walked daily. I also completed seven yoga classes, fourteen workouts in the gym, and four swimming sessions. On warm and humid days I tried to do my physical activities early in the morning before it became too hot. I missed two instructor-led yoga classes when I was away and made up for them by practicing the yoga poses by myself.


I did my French and Spanish lessons every day in July. There is always something new to learn, from the daily language lessons that I take on Duolingo, to what I learn from my health and leisure pursuits.


I enjoyed watching the new Spider-man Far from Home movie in the theatre, and two in-flight movies The Mule and How To Train The Dragon II.


My family went on a trip to Regina in Saskatchewan. Regina is about 3 to 3.5 hours west of Toronto by plane. We spent some time catching up with our friends and enjoyed our visit to the beautifully landscaped Wascana Park surrounding a 120-hectare lake located in the heart of Regina. More on this trip in a future post.

Wascana Lake in Regina
Wascana Lake and Park in Regina, Saskatchewan


I enjoyed July very much. It was a summer month packed with fun activities with family and friends. If anything, it went by a bit too fast for a month of thirty-one days.

How was your July? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.

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June Wrap-Up

June yellow flowers

JUNE 2019

Hello July and goodbye June! June was an enriching month in so many ways. I spent half of the month in Canada and the other half in Malta and Germany. Let me share my June highlights with you and I invite you to tell me yours.


At home, I viewed various art exhibits at the Luminato festival. Admission was free. Here’s a sample of Kristian Spreen’s Compositions exhibit with her pretty glass and underglaze art work. The vases were displayed behind enclosed glass windows with spot lighting so my photo had shadows in it.

Kristian Spreen art work

When I was in Valletta, there was a show of beautiful (and likely very expensive) cars in St. George’s Square, to mark the 90th anniversary of auto sales in the city. I enjoy examining the car designs as I think they are another form of art.

The quantity of high quality visual arts that I saw really skyrocketed in June, thanks to my trip to Malta and Germany. I’ve shared my Malta highlights here, and plan to write about my time in Germany soon.


My gradual transition from Blogger to WordPress has been good so far. I wrote four posts in June, two of them were on Blogger, and two on WordPress. I’m also redirecting readers from my blog on Blogger to WordPress.

I hope my change of blogging platform gives my blog readers a ‘like or better’ experience. If you’re following my blog, thank you. If you have my blog on your blog roll, please update it with its new URL. I greatly appreciate your support and patience.

A friendly reminder that the next Wellness Wednesday link up is on July 10. The optional prompt is Family. Please feel free to join in on the fun.


In June, I finished two books (Persepolis, and Oversharing) before going to Malta and Germany. That brought the total number of books that I’ve enjoyed reading to thirty-two so far for this year. I’ve picked up a few more books from the library for my summer reading.


I attended four terrific outdoor concerts performed by Jordan John, Sandra Bouza, Denis Keldie, and Montreal’s Les Voix Humaines viol quartet. Admissions to these events were free. Toronto has an amazing number of free concerts in the summer. I try to make time to attend at least one every week.

The concerts I go to are casual where the audience can see the musicians up close. They are not the high-end productions in big arenas that cost a lot of money. Nevertheless, the music and vocals are superb.

Sandra Bouza music

When I was in Munich, coincidentally the outdoor Stadtgründungfest was on at Marienplatz, the main square in Munich, to celebrate the city’s 861st birthday. Marienplatz was packed with people enjoying the dancing, live music, and food and drinks at the on-site beer garden.

Stadtgründungfest in Munich


My family clan got together at the end of June to celebrate various good news in the family (birthdays, school graduation, new home, and new summer jobs). A lot of fun conversations and good food. We’ve arranged to meet again in July.


I managed to have two meet-ups with my friends in June. One of them took place in Stuttgart, Germany, and the other was in Toronto. Both are longtime friends. I’m grateful to have enduring friendships regardless of the distance or time lapse.


In June, I did my daily meditation and walked outdoors every day. While at home, I worked out in the gym seven times, attended five yoga classes, and got in three swimming sessions.

I brought my resistance band with me for my strengthening exercises when I was away from home. I also used local ‘fitness amenities’ in Malta and Germany. Some are man-made like the stairs in Valletta, the swimming pool in my hostel, and some are natural resources great for swimming like the Blue Lagoon in Comino, and the lakes in Bavaria region in Germany. They were good reminders for me to continue my exercises to stay fit, and that one can do exercises without a gym membership! You know the saying ‘When in Rome…’.


I completed my daily online French and Spanish lessons in June even when I was in Malta and Germany. I spend about 15 minutes on each language and have been consistent with my learning activities. I view them as my brain exercises and they’re fun to do.

One other obvious learning source is from my travel. A new destination awakes my senses and provides ample of practical learning opportunities. For example, I learned to book a shared shuttle service from and to Malta airport, to take public buses and ferries in Malta, to ride regional trains and intercity trains in Germany, and to learn about the history of the various sights that I visit.


I saw five movies (one at home and four in-flight). In order of preference, they are Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Captain Marvel, Spider-man Into the Spider-verse, and Isn’t It Romantic.


My trip to Malta and Germany went smoothly from beginning to end. It was great catching up with my cousins and longtime friend in person. The weather was sunny and warm every day that I was there. This is another enriching and fulfilling trip that I treasure very much.


June was a wonderful month for me. I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. I’m enjoying July and the summer fun that comes with it. July has started off with a bang, thanks to Canada Day celebrations and fireworks on July 1st.

How was your June? What good things happened? I’d love to hear your comments.

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