Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Single Review: First Love (BTS)

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I consider myself part of the BTS ARMY these days. I’ve been a fan of their work before but I never really paid attention to them as much as I have been doing so this year. While I did listen to their songs and watched their performances since 2018, I never really took the time to check out their discography or watch their other media content until recently. 

One of the songs that stood out to me the first time I heard it was the song First Love. It is a solo song from Suga from the Wings album, and was written and produced by him as well (along with a certain Miss Kay). 



As someone who does not speak the Korean language, the first time I heard it I relied on the music and Suga’s performance to appreciate the song and the story it told. Based on the title and the fact that he kept mentioning the word piano, I more or less understood that it was about his love for the piano (and most likely, about music in general). Sure enough, when I read the translation of the lyrics, that was exactly what the song was about.

I was moved listening to the music and the way that the song was performed, there was so much emotion in it. The song felt like there was a lot of nostalgia and love but a lot of pain too. I fell in love with the song without understanding the lyrics. It’s a song that just pull you in with how he begins his story until he reaches the end. I loved it even more after I read the english translation of it.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Netflix Picks: Emily In Paris

I have a confession to make: I was only interested in Emily in Paris after watching the trailer and seeing Lucas Bravo in it. My head was running with thoughts that sounded like this: “Ooh who is that cute guy? What is this show? When is it coming out on Netflix? But really, who is that guy?” Since I had no idea who he played in the show I decided that watching the series would be the only way to find out how long his role was in the show (the answer: long, but not long enough). 




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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Review: Permission to Dance Onstage

Finally experienced my first BTS concert after officially becoming a fan (or to be more accurate, ARMY) by watching their live concert called Permission to Dance Onstage, which was streamed last October 24th. I've seen their performances online, but it was my first time to experience a live concert of the sort with BTS. This is going to be a long review, so bear with me! I'll try to be as unbiased as I can be, but that is going to be hard!

I had purchased a ticket for the concert and their soundcheck (again, my first time to watch a soundcheck performance), so my niece and I were already waiting in front of the TV as early as 2PM, passing the time by watching BTS performances from YouTube. We were talking about songs we wanted to hear at the concert when we heard that we could enter the site for soundcheck already -- are were welcomed by nonstop ads that featured BTS. I didn't really mind since it featured the guys anyway, but it was a bit of a long wait before soundcheck happened.

Soundcheck was as expected -- just BTS performing three songs to check the sound for the concert, with all of them dressed casually and chatting in between songs. We had just heard that Taehyung/V would not be dancing due to a leg injury so my niece and I were watching and checking if he was OK. He seemed like he was, but we knew that it still meant he wouldn't be able to dance with everyone else. I know some non-fans would say I should be disappointed and that it meant that the concert wasn't worth it with one of them sidelined but I was more concerned about the guy being OK enough to be onstage with everyone more than anything else. 

A few hours later, the concert finally started. I had purchased a 4K video with a multiview option for the show but our ISP picked that day to have issues so I was so frustrated with the video quality the entire time. I couldn't even switch to multiview without having issues with the connection. 

Anyway, back to the concert: the opening video reminded me of their Mic Drop and Butter music videos, this time with the boys seemingly booked in prison until they managed to escape with that paper clip that drove a lot of fans crazy (you need to see it to get it).

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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Four Eyes

How many of you wear prescription glasses? I do. Well, not as often as I should be, but I do have prescription glasses.

I started wearing glasses when I was in elementary school. I was diagnosed to be nearsighted and that I had astigmatism. I loved reading even at an early age, often to the point where my grandmother would have to turn on the light for me while I was reading because I never got up to do it myself when it got dark. I refused to stop reading (nerd alert!) and insisted on reading even if it got dark. I remember my mother blaming my bad eyesight on that bad habit and my grandmother getting mad at me for straining my eyes like that. I don’t know if there is any truth to that, but I can’t blame them for saying it.

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Monday, September 27, 2021

September 2021 Playlist: Random


Since I promised a few more playlists on this blog for September, I am now sharing some random songs on my Spotify Liked Songs list. These are songs that people probably have not heard about or songs that people do not expect me to be listening to. I have already excluded similar songs that are in other playlists I have shared in this blog so that they can be completely different from my previous posts.

Are there any songs here that you also like? Leave me a comment and let me know!


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Friday, September 10, 2021

Scarred

I’ve been planning to write this entry for some time now but I wasn’t sure how to say what I want without being cheesy or overly serious. I should probably put in a trigger warning for those who have had or are suffering from depression and the like. OK, you’ve been warned. Carry on.



Recently I have gotten to thinking about life scars. The things that have happened in my life on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Events and experiences that have made their mark in my life and how I have been dealing with them. I’ve realized that through the years, I have changed my outlook on life and how I look back on these scars/trying times in my life compared to before.

According to Charles R. Swindoll, life is “10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  I have to agree. The things that happen to us, especially those that we classify as hard times, often happen when we least expect them and we have no choice but to face and deal with them. It is our choice on how to handle it and how to live with the things that have happened to us. 

What are these scars that I am talking about? Here are some of them:

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Friday, September 3, 2021

My Writing Projects : Should I Keep Going?

A couple of days ago, BTS member Jungkook celebrated his birthday by going on social media to ask his fans for lines that could be turned into song lyrics, and he later turned it into a song during his live stream. 

It was an interesting idea, and it reminded me of the days when I used to write song lyrics and put melodies to them. No music though since I can't write those down even if my life depended on it. There was a phase in my life where I had a bunch of songs and I even recorded them and gave it as a demo to a certain celebrity (who shall remain unnamed) who had released his own album at the time. Nothing ever happened after that. The only feedback I got was that that certain celebrity wanted to know if it was me singing (yes), that was it. The whole situation was disappointing and I think I have stopped writing songs since then.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay


At the moment the writing I do is mostly for work. Contracts, corporate information, business letters, proposals...those types of things. On the side, I try to keep my creative side alive by writing this blog and working on the book outlines I have (current book count: 8, a mix of several genres such as romance, action, suspense/thriller & historical drama). It's all still a struggle since I haven't finished a single book, but I do have scenes for them that I just have to stitch together. 

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Meditation: One Month After

Today marks a month since I started practicing meditation. I never thought that I would do something like this. If you asked me about it a few years ago, I would probably laugh at the idea but now that I have been practicing this for a month, I can’t imagine going a day without it. 



Yesterday I was telling someone at work about it and I was asked what the difference was between this and yoga. I explained that while I also practice yoga and meditation can be a part of it, I mostly practice yoga for the physical exercise of it, and I do meditation to help me clear my mind and start the day right. 

Mostly I do meditation by listening to music and/or to audio meditation guides that I find online. There are people who share recordings that help guide you during your meditation. It can take a while to find the right one for you and it’s more of a hit and miss kind of thing until you find what’s best. What I focused on are meditations that involve visualization and affirmations. Given how stressed I often felt pre-pandemic (and even more now that we’re in one), meditating this way has given me a more positive outlook during my day to day life. It helps me to calm down and relax and to focus on what I want my day to be. 

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Me and My RBF

 “You’re just like your father.”

That was my mother’s comment when I mentioned how surprised I was when I was told that the reason why our neighbors hardly said hello to me on the street was that they were a bit scared of me. This was when we had just moved and I hardly knew anyone in the neighborhood. I was hardly home because of work and if I was home, usually it meant just staying indoors without seeing anyone else. That meant that people didn’t know me that well, so what people thought of me was based on what little interactions I had with other people.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

KTH1

As many may be aware by now, I have been converted and I am now a big fan of Korean group BTS. Yes, I am now part of the BTS Army. While I am what my niece calls a fan of OT7 (all 7 of the guys), I also have my bias (favorite -- ah the things that I have learned in this fandom). Apparently, there is such a thing as a bias,  and a bias-wrecker, which means the other member of the group that makes you want to change your mind on who your actual bias is. People who follow me on social media would probably be able to figure out that Suga is my bias...but the thing is, I love Taehyung/V too. I can’t say that he’s the bias-wrecker though...I love both guys equally. If there would be a bias-wrecker, it would be Jimin, but only because as I have said before, he feels like he could be my son in my past life. A male version of me, sort of. 

Anyway, I will blog about Suga in a later post, but this time I want to share why I am a fan of V, also known by his real name Kim Taehyung. When I first discovered BTS, I remember referring to him as the other Jungkook because JK was the only guy whose name I knew (he was my niece Sam’s crush). As I started listening to them more, Sam introduced me to a playlist of songs that he sang a lot on and songs that he actually wrote himself. I have to admit, I fell in love with his singing voice immediately. 

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Passions I Miss

As they say, so much to do, so little time. 

A few days ago I was cleaning up my room and I realized that there were a lot of things that I have not touched in a while. It’s not so much about having too much clutter, but more about not having the time to do those things that I have been passionate about in the past. 

I can’t completely blame the pandemic (OK, maybe a little) for this lack of motivation to do things I love. I feel like lately, I have been too distracted with work and other adult-type responsibilities to take on the things that I used to be crazy about. As much as I want to force things, I feel that my passion for them would be ruined if I made it an obligation to give it a try again. Nevertheless, I would love to have the opportunity to enjoy doing these things soon.

Here are the things that I would love to get back into:
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Friday, August 13, 2021

Cravings: Food I Miss

Just when we thought that the production of vaccines would mean that the pandemic would soon be over, here comes the stronger Delta variant of COVID 19 that is spreading the virus faster than people can get the vaccine. I was hoping that the entire family can be vaccinated by this year so that it would be safe for all of us to go out, but given the rate of people getting vaccinated at any given time, it would take longer for them to get scheduled for their shots. 

While a lot of people have commented to me that I can go out safely because I am fully vaccinated, I have to correct them that it doesn't mean that I am immune. The vaccines can protect you from being seriously infected, but it doesn't mean you can't be infected. You can be infected and you can still transmit the virus. Hence, I have decided to stay home and only leave for work. That's it. 

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Kitchen Goals

This pandemic has me going stir-crazy at home. There are a lot of things I want to do, but I also find myself procrastinating over a lot of it, eventually opting to just lie in bed watching TV or reading a good book. One thing that I always plan on doing but never get around to is cooking. Pre-pandemic I used to randomly pick recipes online and try them myself but it has been a while since I last did that. 

One of my recent (stress-induced) pandemic purchases was an oven. Our old one broke during the start of the pandemic and it has been a challenge getting someone to fix it. After all the hassle I decided that it was easier (read: less stressful) for me to buy a new one -- which turned out to be less expensive than the original one, by the way.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Right now I have a list of recipes that I want to make using the oven, but I haven’t tried anything yet because of these ECQ/MECQs (aka lockdowns). The Delta variant of the COVID 19 virus is wreaking havoc all over the place and it has been scary to go out to shop for ingredients for anything. As much as possible we purchase from nearby stores to avoid crowds (which I had been afraid of pre-pandemic anyway) or get food delivered these days. Going out for the hard to find ingredients means risking the health of people around me (since I am fully vaccinated, but members of my family are not since they are not part of the schedule yet). 

For now, I can only plan to make these recipes. I really hope that the pandemic will end soon. There’s so much I want to do when we are finally free to do what we normally do again.

Here are some of the food that I am planning to make once it is possible for me to do so:

Chicken Enchilada - I miss eating this in Mexican restaurants. I want to try to make it at home so that when I crave it I can just make it myself.

Buttery Baked Chicken - When I was younger a neighbor used to make this amazing chicken baked in butter. I never got the recipe for it but I found one online and I want to try to see if I can recreate that recipe from my childhood.

Baked Fish with Mushrooms - I am obsessed with baking fish. And I love mushrooms. This is a recipe that is a must-make for me.

Saengseon Jim - I found this recipe when I was looking for one for baked fish. I have no idea how this would taste but since I have liked almost all the Korean food that I have tried so far, this might be a good one to try.

Easy Oven Baked Ribs - There was a recipe from Chrissy Teigen that I tried involving ribs that  were supposed to be grilled but I baked them instead and they turned out really good. Trying a recipe that is specifically for baking seems to be a good one to try.

Chocolate Blackout Cake - I have been craving for really good chocolate cake. Maybe I can make one?

Snickerdoodles - This is something I have always heard of but never tried. I love the taste of cinnamon so when I read that it was an ingredient, I knew I had to try it.

Oatmeal Cookies - I think the last time that I made oatmeal cookies was in high school. That was so long ago! I need to remember how to make this again because oatmeal cookies are a personal favorite!

Rosemary Focaccia Bread - I tried this a few years back and even if it did turn out good, I felt that I could still make it better. I want to try this one again!

Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread - I have been seeing this online but I have not tried it. It looks so good and I want to try it!

I can’t wait until this pandemic is over…I might keep salivating over the thought of all this food until I can make them!



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Thursday, August 12, 2021

August 2021 Playlist: When the Old Soul Strikes

Growing up, I was exposed to different types of music. Because of that, I tend to have favorites in almost every genre (well, maybe except death metal). But one thing that I tend to have a preference for that most of the people in my family do not really care for are old songs. It could be old songs remade into new ones or literally the originals themselves. Or they could be new songs that have a similarly older, classic type of feel. They are not really in any specific genre, but they do evoke a different era from our current times. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I have been called an old soul because of this interest. And maybe, if I did have a past life, this is the reason why I love songs like this. Maybe in a past life, I loved these songs. It really is a bit difficult to explain, but let me share these songs here and say something about what I like about them. Songs like this remind me of BTS' V, who seems to share an interest in old songs as well. It's nice to know I have something in common with one of my favorite artists.

I've also shared a playlist of these songs below. Enjoy!



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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

#Army

A few years ago I blogged about the Korean group BTS and how I was introduced to them by my niece. These days, however, I have shifted from being an admirer from afar to a fan. Now I would like to think of myself as part of the BTS Army. I have gone a long way from not knowing who was who to become a fan of each member of the group. When my niece said that her bias is all of them because it changes every time, I have to agree because I have learned to love all of them too. 




However as I mentioned in another post, I may not always admit to it but I do have my favorites: Taehyung/V for his vocals, Jimin for his charm and talent (and for making me feel he was my son in a past life), and Suga because of his personality and talent as a rapper. He is someone I find very interesting. Seeing him work as a producer and listening to his work is so appealing. . I admire his work and I find him so attractive (or dare I say it, so hot) when I see him in producer mode.

I feel like a parent who says she loves all her kids equally but deep inside she has her favorites. I can’t help it. But I promise, I love everyone else too. It’s just that those three have a special place in my heart.

Because of this "favoritism", I realized that I have been listening to Suga nonstop on Spotify. I have only started to listen to his mixtapes/albums recently but Spotify has already recorded his song Daechwita as my most played song. OF. ALL. TIME. But V has not come out with his mixtape yet, so we'll see who gets more streams from me when that happens. I swear the voice on that one just has a calming effect on me. His song Sweet Night from the OST of Itaewon Class is a big favorite!


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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

App Review: The Pattern

One of the things that I have always been curious about studying an individual's personality and have insights into what makes a certain person tick. I remember when I was younger that I was curious about people who credit certain traits to people because of their zodiac signs (be it the Western or the Chinese ones). I still find it interesting that people think that can analyze one's personality by your date and time of birth. 

I recently discovered an app that takes that personality insight to the next level by giving you an in-depth analysis using not just your date and time of birth, but your place of birth as well. The app is called The Pattern and is available on Google Play and the App Store. Channing Tatum talked about the app online a few years ago and he was featured on Access News because of it:


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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Book Review: Once Upon a Royal Summer

A while back I made a review of Teri Wilson's Accidental Beauty Queen, a romance novel that to this day remains to be one of my favorites (that I have re-read several times). I have since started buying and reading her books on Amazon. While many of those books have been entertaining, I have not found anything that would top or equal my love for the Accidental Beauty Queen until I read Once Upon a Royal Summer.
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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Travel Plans

The pandemic may make travel difficult for a while with the varied vaccine requirements in different countries, higher cost for transportation, and the required quarantine upon arrival, but it hasn't stopped me from dreaming of being able to travel one day. If I had the resources, I would travel A LOT once the pandemic is over. For now, I can plan the places I want to visit and find a way to see them later when things get better.


Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay


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Friday, August 6, 2021

Moments I Miss

This pandemic has made our lives pre-2020 a thing of the past. Even if there are moments when restrictions have been lowered (only to go back up again weeks later), it just hasn't been the same. Life hasn't been the same. And it sucks, to say the least.

As I have often mentioned in this blog, I have been careful about going out during this pandemic. Until everyone in the family is fully vaccinated, I don't see myself letting my guard down anytime soon. That being said, I do miss life pre-COVID. There is so much about life back then that I miss and often took for granted. 

I can't help but think of these missed moments so much lately since we are almost nearing the two-year mark of this pandemic. Here are some of those moments that I would love to have again:

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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Drama Review: The Day of Becoming You

It has been a while since I last watched an Asian drama. I have been watching mostly Korean dramas so during one weekend without much to do, I decided to randomly pick a series from iQIYi. I decided on the Chinese drama called The Day of Becoming You.

  

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Music Recommendation: Scott Bradlee's Post Modern Jukebox

Music has always been a big part of my life. My father exposed the family to the love of music since we were children and in a way, I think this is what helped me to appreciate many different types of music. If you were to look at my liked songs on Spotify you would see that I have a mix of various genres: classical, rock, pop, country, folk, alternative, grunge, Broadway, R&B, and hip-hop, among others. The only genre you would never find from me would probably be something extreme like death metal. 

Among the music I enjoy are the old songs...I guess in a way I am a bit of an old soul because I appreciate that. I'll share more about that love in a future post.

One artist that I love and discovered on Spotify because of my love for the old classics is Scott Bradlee's Post Modern Jukebox. It is a band that gives modern songs a vintage feel intending to bring classic sounds to the mainstream. Discovering that a few of my favorite finalists from American Idol have done songs with the group made me want to listen to more of their music. Also, if you're a BTS fan, you would recognize this group as the one that V was copying in a video (he was watching a video of their version of Closer).
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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Are You Man Enough?

It all started with a TED Talk on "Why I'm done trying to be man enough." Actor, director (and now podcaster and author) Justin Baldoni talked in 2017 about how there are certain expectations of what a man should be, what a man is supposed to be, and that he is tired of that. He says that the definition of masculinity today is broken. While there are good things, there are areas that need to be changed.

I loved how he talked about how the more feminine qualities of men are often discouraged. How men are taught that to be men, they cannot be soft or vulnerable. They cannot admit to their feelings, they cannot feel hurt, they cannot cry, they cannot show weakness. Showing these qualities were automatically being equated with being gay. I loved when he said, "As if being gay makes you less of a man."
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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Financial Disadvantages of Being Single

This pandemic has had many people thinking about preparing for the possibility that you would get infected, be hospitalized, or worse, pass away. I know of people who have prepared journals for the necessary info in case anything happens to them and those who have double-checked on their insurance or have suddenly signed up because of the times.

One thing that I realized when I looked into these things myself is that I am at a financial disadvantage as a single person. I may make a significant contribution for my retirement/pension fund and while it may be a sizeable fund, only my mother can benefit from it if I pass away. If my mother passes before I do, no one gets the money I had invested in myself when I am gone. 


Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay


As a single person, I already know that I am taxed higher than those who are married and have children, it doesn't matter if I am spending and helping to support my family. It's like I am being punished for not being married or having children and for helping my family out. Married people can have beneficiaries other than their parents and they can use their children as deductibles for tax and I, as a single person, have no option to choose another beneficiary other than the one parent that I have left. I don't think that's fair. I am taxed like I have nothing else to spend money on because I am single and therefore have no life and responsibilities.

I think widows/widowers with no kids have a similar dilemma in terms of pension. You also cannot choose another beneficiary for your pension when you go if you have no husband or child (or parent). That means all the funds that you were meant to have will remain with the pension fund. It's our money, but we do not seem to have the option to decide what happens to it.

An article talking about this situation in the US also talked about how singles are seemingly punished for being single with taxes and lack of other benefits that married people have. I can't help but agree. Social security/pension benefits are not so beneficial when that is the way it is set up. 

It makes me wonder if the people who made the laws about this are married. They do not know that expenses for a single person can be just as high or even higher than a married one, who can share the burden and income with his/her spouse.

Now that I think about it, single people are also at a disadvantage at work. Singles are often expected to do more work than their married co-workers since they do not have a spouse and kids to go home to. Married people are also forgiven for certain lapses at times because they have certain responsibilities at home. Again, like singles have nothing better to do. As if anything not related to having their own family is not as important or relevant. 

Is it not enough that single people are often told at a certain age that they have to be married and have kids otherwise their lives would be such a waste? That we have not matured enough to settle down? Do we really have to be punished for something that may be beyond our control? Or even if we did have a choice, why must we be punished for our choices?

Unfortunately, this is the situation for single people. Considering how overpopulated our country is, you'd think that there would be benefits for people who stayed single and without children. 

I wonder, are there any countries that treat singles fairly?




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Monday, July 26, 2021

The Down Side

Recently I have been feeling down. Is it a bit of depression? I'm not sure. Maybe. I have been shutting myself in my room whenever I am home more and more these days because I have been feeling low. I don't want to bring anyone else down. 

I have been feeling dissatisfaction in the workplace. There are so many things that have made me sad about the place that I have been working for almost all of my adult life. I am no longer happy, but at the same time, I cannot bring myself to let go. Especially not now that there are other people out there who are having a difficult time during this pandemic to get and keep jobs. It feels unfair to give up when so many others are struggling. No matter how much my frustrations make me cry sometimes, I know I cannot just let go. I have people who depend on me too, so that is a choice that is not easy to make.


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


Another thing that I have been struggling with has been in terms of creativity. I have been trying to write more but it has been a struggle to do so. The one book I have been trying to write only has 3000 words so far and my blog posts have been sparse. The low feeling has made it difficult for me to express myself without constantly second-guessing myself. I am trying to force it out of me, as writing has always been my outlet to de-stress/de-compress but it is still hard. I'm taking it one day at a time.  I thought maybe if I can let it all out here I can let it all go and (hopefully) feel better.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Current Wants

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that this pandemic has caused many to go on an online shopping binge. I do not know why that is but with all the anxiety that this period in our lives has been I could not help but keep clicking the "add to cart" button on several online shopping sites. I do not necessarily end up buying everything though. I try to weed out my cart to make sure that my purchases are needs and not wants. Sadly, that means that most of the things that I really, badly want end up waiting in my cart for the day when I can afford to buy them.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay


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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

I Am a Difficult Woman

Taylor Swift has a song called Mad Woman that talks about how women are defined by society. It reminds me of this quote going around on Facebook (supposedly) from Dr. Jane Goodall about how it does not take much to be considered a difficult woman. This is something that I can relate to because on more than one occasion I have been considered to be difficult as well. Just by speaking up and having an opinion that is different from that of a man, you can be considered one. You can be a “mad woman” too. 


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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Climate Change: Is it Too Late?

It is all over the news: temperatures keep getting hotter and hotter. Every year has become the “hottest year on record.” The UN says that we are getting closer to the threshold where we can no longer avoid the effects of climate change. To me, climate change equates to extreme heat and humidity, and all the health concerns that it brings. 

My worry is not so much for myself but for the next generation. For the kids: for my nephews and nieces, the ones who will live with this the most. We do not have that much time left. This is something that a vaccine or staying at home cannot fix. 


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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Netflicks Picks: Shadow and Bone

After a long wait, I was happy when Netflix released the series that I have been waiting for, Shadow & Bone. From the time that casting was announced to when it was released was too long a wait but it was worth it! As someone who read the books by Leigh Bardugo, I felt that everything from the show just leapt off the page and onto the screen. It was perfect! Any changes that they made only led to serving the story better and I am all for it. 



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Friday, April 30, 2021

Thoughts on The Sussex Interview

It is sad…just sad all around. I saw the interview that Oprah Winfrey had with Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle about how their life was when they were still active members of the royal family and now that they are out of it. I felt sad watching the whole thing. Sad that they had experienced what they did, sad that the outcome was something that caused a rift within their family, and sad knowing that after that interview, things will not change for the better.



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Monday, April 26, 2021

Can't Stop Watching: Air Force One

Have you ever had that one movie that you just cannot stop re-watching no matter how many times you have seen it? The kind that you were not planning to see but once you flip the channel and see that it is on, you end up watching it? I have a movie that is like that for me. It’s weird since the lead actor is not exactly my favorite and the genre is not really my usual flavor, but I still end up watching it anyway. That movie is Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford. 

There are other movies with similar themes of being trapped in a vehicle and needed to save other people and escape. Speed and Snakes on a Plane come to mind when it comes to that theme. For this movie, Air Force One, the official plane of the President of the United States, is hijacked by a group of terrorists who want to have their leader freed from prison. 

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Revisiting Wayne Goss

The pandemic has brought about many changes for a lot of people. For me, one of the changes that happened in the past year is the fact that I hardly ever wear makeup anymore. It has gotten to the point where I feel like I do not remember how to put it on. 

The fact that I wear a mask and a face shield whenever I’m out made me feel like the less I put on my face, the better. I know a lot of other people still wear makeup, but I haven’t felt like doing so underneath all the layers of protection.

Still, there are days when I need to put on makeup. I have video meetings sometimes and, if I am home for them, I am usually mask-free. That means putting on makeup so that I do not look pale or look like I am just lounging at home. 

Because of the need to put on makeup again, I decided that I needed some help. Of course, I went back to the one person who I knew could help, Wayne Goss

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Discovery of Witches Season 2

I love reading. I love books. I love it when books come to life on TV and in movies, especially if they get it right. One of the books that turned into a TV series that I enjoyed was the adaptation of the series A Discovery of Witches.

The series, as I have mentioned in a previous entry, is adapted from the All Souls series of Deborah Harkness. The first season covered the first book, and recently, they aired the second season, which is based on the second book, Shadow of Night. 

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Monday, April 19, 2021

When This is All Over

I was going through my newsfeed on Facebook this morning and I saw that people in Israel can now go mask-free when they are outdoors. People are basically back to normal now and have no worries about this pandemic. I envy them so much! At the rate things are going here in our country it will probably take a while to get to that level. Maybe a year – or more. I’m hoping it would not be as bad as I am thinking but these days, I’m more of the hope for the best but expect the worst kind of gal. 

Still, those photos from Israel made me think: what would I want to do when this is over? When people are allowed go out to see friends and family again and be able to go mask-free without worrying about a virus that can take your life? What would YOU want to do?

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

April 2021 Playlist: Country

I have not done a playlist post in a while. With the summer (oh sorry Philippines, it’s actually the “dry season”) here already I thought it would be nice to post music that I enjoy listening to that helps distract me from the summer heat (and the stress of COVID, to be honest).  This month, I share with you some of my favorite country songs with my April playlist!

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay


Country was never the type of music I listened to when I was younger, but now that I am older (or should I say, more mature), I have started having an appreciation for this genre. That is not to say that I like all country music, but there are some songs that I have grown to love that I cannot help but sing or dance along to when I hear them.


Play It Again by Luke Bryan is a song that I (literally) love to play again. I sing along to it too (and maybe dance along as well). I completely fell in love with this to the point that like the girl in the song, I want somebody to play it again after I hear it. 

I do not think many people know that Lucy Hale, who played Aria on the show Pretty Little Liars, tried her luck with country music. Her song Loved is a sweet and feel-good song that I can’t help listening to over and over again. 

My playlist cannot be complete if it does not have country royalty Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in it. To me, their song It’s Your Love is a classic. I love singing along to it. 

Wanted You More by Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum…dropped the second name to be politically correct?) is a song I only discovered when someone sang it on a reality competition a few years ago. I love this more than their previous hit, Need You Now. Another song I discovered by watching a singing competition on TV was Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves. I discovered it on the Masked Singer, of all things!

If I had a country crush, it would be Sam Hunt. I love almost all of his songs, but I Met a Girl is something that I sort of pretend that he’s singing to me, so it is a personal favorite!

Tonight I Wanna Cry by Keith Urban is probably one of the earlier songs that got me into country music. I felt that it had a pop feel so it was not hard a transition for me to appreciate it. 

Again, who would have a country playlist without Shania Twain? Her song Man I Feel Like a Woman is such a female anthem that is fun, empowering, and such a nice song to dance along to (while I sing to my hairbrush!).

As a Swiftie, I loved the song Babe by Sugarland, which also features Taylor in the backing vocals. This is another song that I love singing along to while I pretend that Brandon Routh (who played the male lead in the music video) is my cheating husband.

There are a couple of songs that I fell in love with when I heard them on made for TV movies. I had to search for them on Spotify just to learn the title and who sang it. They are the songs Sweet by Johnny Douglas and I Love How You Laugh by Carey Moore and Josh Rush. Some songs, on the other hand, I discovered through a Country playlist on Spotify, like Keeping Score by Dan + Shay featuring Kelly Clarkson, Lovin’ Lately by Tim Rich featuring Tim McGraw, Thank God I Got Her by Jonny Diaz, and Love Like Theirs by Maddie Wilson.

Of course, there are country songs that I love that broke into mainstream charts like Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line, Last Name by Carrie Underwood, and Honey Bee by Blake Shelton. Speaking of Blake, I also love the song from his ex-wife, Miranda Lambert. The song Somethin’ Bad About to Happen featuring Carrie Underwood reminds me of Carrie’s songs Last Name and Before He Cheats. It has the same feel to it, and I love that!

Another feel-good-sounding song for me is I Look So Good (Without You) by Jessie James Decker. But the one that really makes me smile when I hear it is Sweet Home Alabama by Lynrd Skynrd because it reminds me so much of the movie that has the same name (it stars Reese Witherspoon if you want to check it out!).

In Case You Didn’t Know by Boyce Avenue is another song that tugs at my heartstrings. The original is from Brett Young, but this version from Boyce Avenue is my favorite. 

Lastly, I am a fan of a couple of songs from Rascal Flatts. Bless the Broken Road is a classic and I think so many people have used this song for weddings and whatnot but my big fave is What Hurts the Most. It’s a song that really makes you feel the pain from the story of it when you hear it. I love the duet version of this, with Natasha Bedingfield I think, but I can’t seem to find it on Spotify.

Do you like country songs? Is there anything on my list that you like? Leave a comment and share the love!



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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Netflix Picks: Tiny Pretty Things

One of the things that I have a weakness for in terms of movies and TV is if the story revolves around dance. That is the reason why I decided to check out the Netflix series title Tiny Pretty Things, which is based on a book of the same name. Based on the lives of people involved in a Chicago ballet school, the series is jump-started by the literal fall of their top dancer, Cassie. Her incident triggers the arrival of a new dancer Neveah, who enters on a scholarship. 



The series is a quick watch at only ten episodes for the first season. I have no idea so far if there will be a second season. I guess it was not as big as Bridgerton to get an immediate renewal. There is no news that it was canceled or that it was a limited series so there is still a chance that this is a show that will still have more stories to tell. The way it ended gave it room to have a second season, but it was also satisfying enough to end with just one season.

Most of the characters in the show are dancers. There is Cassie, who is lying in a hospital bed for most of the series. It is what happened to her that becomes a curiosity for all the other dancers. Neveah is the new girl who takes Cassie’s place on a scholarship, much to the dismay of Bette, who thought she was good enough for the position as she is the younger sister of Delia, a graduate of the school and a ballet star.

There are also the boyfriends: Nabil -- the French-Muslim boyfriend of Cassie, Oren -- Bette’s boyfriend, Ramon -- one of the top choreographers in the world and boyfriend of Delia, and Caleb -- who is secretly sleeping with the school’s director, played by veteran actress Lauren Holly. 

Other main characters include June, the dancer who becomes Neveah’s roommate, Isabel, a detective who wants to find out what happened to Cassie, and Shane, a gay dancer who becomes Neveah’s confidante (and is in a friends-with-benefits secret relationship with Oren). 

The show features a lot of dancing, but for some reason, I cannot get myself interested in the dancing as much as I am with the complicated stories that each of the characters is involved in. There are a lot of stories in this series. Maybe a little too much for ten episodes.

There is so much about how big the loss of Cassie in the school was as she lies in a coma in the hospital, about the determined detective wanting to find answers about what happened to her and who and why she was pushed from the roof of the school. There is the fight to be the top girl in school, which Bette is determined to be no matter what it takes. There is also the complicated relationship between Oren and Shane, and the rift between Oren and Nabil, and the secret relationship of Caleb and the school director. Add to that the secretive background of the choreographer Ramon and you have this large mishmash of stories that sometimes makes it feel so hard to keep up with. 

I also have to say that there is a lot of sex scenes in this show. Way too much considering how old the kids in the show are supposed to be. Maybe I am being too conservative in that observation. I know that kids are having sex. It is just that there seems to be way too much in this show for me to wrap my head around. 

While the dancing is good – apparently all the actors are dancers themselves – I do not think that the acting was up to par. The acting seemed very cheesy and soap-opera-like for the most part, which was something that I did not expect from the show. 

If you are in it for the dancing like I was, I think that you would appreciate the show. But if you are looking for good material, this may not be the show you are looking for. 

I say watch it, but keep your expectations to a minimum. 



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Monday, April 12, 2021

Baumgartner Restoration

Art is something that I have always interested me. When I was a student I took art classes and I always enjoyed learning about and appreciating works of art, particularly those with historical significance.  I loved learning about the background of a painting, what it was about, what it told about the time it was made, and what story it told. 

I recently discovered the YouTube channel for Baumgartner Restoration, a Fine Art Restoration studio based in Chicago, Illinois. It is a studio that has been around since 1978 and is now being run by Julian Baumgartner, the son of its founder, R. Agass Baumgartner. Based on its website, it works on restorations with clients from small museums, universities, art galleries, art dealers, collectors, and private clients.

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Re-Follow

My social media accounts are things that I check almost every day. I follow a lot of people, mostly people who I know personally, but I also follow a lot of people that I admire: writers, celebrities, fellow bloggers, and other influential people. There used to be a time that I felt that I was following too many people so I did a purge and unfollowed people who I felt had posts that I did not agree with. Recently, however, I did a re-follow and followed back some of these people. Why? I felt that it would be a healthy thing for me to do so. 

Image by ijmaki from Pixabay


Yes, I know that sounds weird but it’s not like I re-followed anyone who is toxic or negative. I decided that I should be open to listening to people who have different points of view and interests from what I have. It’s about re-following people who are also open to a discussion/conversation about topics that we do not always see eye to eye on. I feel that to grow as a person, I need to open myself up that way.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Netflix Picks: The Bonfire of Destiny

Anyone else doing Netflix binges while they work from home? I have been doing a lot of that lately. Mostly I watch shows or movies that I have already seen before, so I do not get distracted from what I am doing for work. Eventually, I decided that I needed a change and picked this French drama called The Bonfire of Destiny (La Bazar de la Charite).

Originally aired in 2019 in France, this miniseries is inspired by a true event that happened in Paris in 1897. The fire at the Bazar de la Charite becomes the main event that pushes the show’s main characters to various directions in their lives, changing them completely. I originally wanted to watch it with the French audio, but I figured I could not work and read subtitles at the same time, so I decided to use the English audio provided by Netflix instead.

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Monday, April 5, 2021

Guilty Pleasure: The Graham Norton Show

I love talk shows. I have loved them since I was a young girl. Oprah will always be my favorite, but these days if I want to watch a talk show that would make me smile, it will have to be the British program The Graham Norton Show. It is that one show that is guaranteed to make me laugh when I need it most. Thank God for online videos!

Living in the Philippines means we do not get the show on TV. I only discovered the show on Facebook, and I have been watching and following it from there and from their YouTube channel since then. From what I’ve been able to gather online this is a show that has been on air since 2007, with the show featuring the same things that most talk shows have: several guests who share a couch while they talk to the host, a musical guest, and the red chair portion where people share a story and there is an option for the guest (or Graham himself) to pull a lever to dump the speaker if the story was not interesting enough. 

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Do We Really Need Cancel Culture?

This era of social media and the internet is an interesting thing. The online world is a great way for people to express their opinions and reach out to more people than was ever possible in the past. It helps make this large world feel smaller, its people are more connected. We get to learn more from each other. With the internet, we get to expand our world and our thoughts and ideas. We can call to action people from all over the world to support causes that are important to us, and it can make a difference for the better. But, as much as it can do a lot of good, it can do a lot of bad as well.

There are many things that I believe we could do less online: trolling, fake news, and the like. But the biggest thing that I find myself conflicted about is cancel culture.  That act of calling out people and “canceling” them is something that I feel does a lot more bad than good.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Yep, Still Single

When are you getting married? 
Don’t you want to get married? Are you scared of commitment? 
You should get married! You’re wasting your genes! 
If you don’t want to get married you should get yourself pregnant at least – you’ll regret not having kids when you had the chance! 

Being a single woman at a certain age in life can be very annoying, especially when you're at a family gathering. Everyone wants you to get married or have kids. It can get tiring to answer the same questions repeatedly. I know (most) people mean well but it is still such a pain.
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Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review: Swipe Right

One of my recent reads was a book that I enjoyed reading…I seem to enjoy reading about couples who seem to get the love right, but the timing so wrong because this is another one of them. Swipe Right by Stephie Chapman is about Fran and Ollie, new recruits at a media content agency who start off clashing with each other to work friends.

Credit: Hera

The story revolves not just on the friendship and the wrong timing romance (they met when she had a boyfriend, and Ollie was seeing someone else), but on Fran’s project for work as a result of her recent breakup: dating and evaluating men that she meets from an online dating app. 
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Friday, March 26, 2021

Book Review: The Substitute

Picture this: you are going home to your parents because your mom has planned your wedding – to a fiancée that you have already broken up with. You could not find the words to tell your parents about because they have already spent so much on the wedding, so you go home on the date agreed anyway. What are you going to do? If you are Megan Vandemeer, you could get lucky and meet someone like Josh McMillan on your flight home. This is the story of the book The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank. 

In this story, Megan gets drunk on the flight and Josh tries to help her off the plane to her family. They mistake him for her fiancée, and he goes along with it because he found out that one of the people that he planned to investigate during his trip was Megan’s father. 

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Never Stop Learning

The best piece of advice I have ever received about life is this: Never stop learning.

I used to think it meant that after college, I should continue my education in other ways but these days I think of that advice as including and beyond the academic experience. It means learning in the biggest school ever, life.

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Monday, March 22, 2021

Book Review: The Perfect Dress

It is always refreshing to read love stories that feature characters that are not always given their time in the spotlight. One such book is The Perfect Dress, which features a plus-size female lead along with a group of friends who are plus-sized as well. 

Credit: Montlake Romance


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Friday, March 19, 2021

Throwback Post: Online Friendships

This is an old entry from my old blog, edited/updated for this one. Hope you like it! I've been missing these people since I haven't seen anyone for a long time now. Hope they're all doing well!


I remember during the earlier days of the world wide web, people used to say that it was hard to trust people online. Can you make real friends online? Do the online friends you chat with tell you the truth about who they really are? In these days of catfishing and trolling I think a lot of people will still answer in the negative but thankfully, my experience with online friendships has been very good. Yes, you can make real friends online. I know I did.

In the early days of blogging, when it was more about personal experiences than it is about OOTDs or the latest events and places to see and be seen, I came across people like me who were trying out that new thing called a blog. Through the years, even though some of them have since moved on and stopped blogging, we have kept in touch through social media and have even met once or twice (as much as my faraway provincial life can take me). The friendships, despite the distance and the lack of face to face encounters still exists. For that, I will always be grateful. It is amazing to see all of us grow up and move on with our lives: getting married, have kids, move to a different country (or in some cases move back home). My online friends have been there to support me when I had surgery and was worrying about the possibility of cancer. They were supportive during the loss of my father. If that isn’t proof that online friendships are real friendships, I don’t know what is.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Film Review: Love, Rosie

Cecilia Ahern is one of my favorite writers. I first started reading her books when I discovered P.S. I Love You and I have read almost every book she has released since then.

Love, Rosie (also known as Where Rainbows End) is one of the books Ahern released around the same time as P.S. I Love You. The book is about best friends Alex and Rosie, two people who grew up falling in love with each other but afraid to tell each other how they felt. I fell in love with the book and was very excited when I heard that it was going to be made into a movie. Obviously, I watched it as soon as I had the chance.
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Monday, March 15, 2021

Movie Review: The Lost Husband

One of my favorite movies way back when was the film, Safe Haven. I fell in love with Josh Duhamel’s character of a small-town guy/ dad who won over Julianne Hough’s heart. I have not seen him in any romantic films in a while so when I heard about the movie The Lost Husband with Leslie Bibb, I decided to watch it online.

The Lost Husband is about Libby (Leslie Bibb), who lost her husband in an accident and is left with two young girls to take care of. Living with her mother, with whom she has a complicated relationship, she finds it hard to get over her husband’s death. The movie starts with her moving out of her mother’s house and to her Aunt’s farm in Texas.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Film Review: Somewhere in Time

The movie Somewhere in Time is one of those classic films that I’ve loved since I was a child. The episode of Jane the Virgin which had Jane Seymour as a guest sparked an urge to write a post about my love for this movie. When I saw her on my TV screen, I had a flashback of the first time I saw the movie that I think made me become such a hopeless romantic.



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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Book Review: That Weekend in Paris

This is a silly reason to read a book, but when I saw that it was about a country singer and a songwriter, I thought that it would be a good thing to read. Add to that the Paris setting and I immediately thought this would be worth the purchase and the read. If you are interested in a book with those elements, read on for this review of the book That Weekend in Paris by Inglath Cooper.

Credit: Fence Free Entertainment, LLC


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Movie Review: Hello Stranger

A work acquaintance of mine recommended this movie to me and I didn’t get around to watching it until recently. Being a rom-com and Asianovela fan I was curious about this but it took a while for me to get used to listening to the Thai language enough to enjoy the movie.

The story revolves around two Thai tourists in Korea. One was there to enjoy a trip he was supposed to take with his ex-girlfriend and the other was there to attend a friend’s wedding. During the course of their trip, they bare their hearts to each other and fall for each other in the process. Sadly, the relationship doesn’t progress because the guy gets back together with his ex-girlfriend, who followed him to Korea.

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Monday, March 1, 2021

Netflix Picks: Book Club

There is a movie that I have been meaning to watch but have been unable to find for rent, streaming, or purchase anywhere until recently. I was very intrigued by this movie, so I was happy when the film was finally available on Netflix. The title of the movie is Book Club, and it stars Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as a group of friends who have been together for 30 years and have a monthly book club together. 





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Monday, February 22, 2021

Netflix Picks: We Can Be Heroes

My nephew is currently seven years old. I used to bond with him watching Baby First (which these days he says are “for babies”) but now we bond while watching cartoons on the Cartoon Network. During one appointed bonding time with him, I decided to try something new: we watched the movie We Can Be Heroes on Netflix.

We Can Be Heroes is a sequel to the movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl that attempts to continue the superhero story now that Sharkboy and Lavagirl have grown up and, like all other heroes, have their own child. This movie is directed by Robert Rodriguez, who was also the director of the original film as well as the Spy Kids movie series. 




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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Movie Review: Baggage Claim

 

Do people marry because they want to and are committed to it or because they have to?


That line was the premise for the movie Baggage Claim, a romantic comedy starring Paula Patton. The story revolves around a single 30-something who is being pressured by her mom to find a significant other after her younger sister announced her engagement. She then goes off to find Mr. Right in time for her sister's engagement party.




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Monday, February 15, 2021

Netflicks Picks: Rebecca

As many of you are aware, I have been spending a lot of my free time watching movies and TV shows online. Sometimes I catch good ones, sometimes not so much. Other times, I am not so sure. The Netflix movie Rebecca, starring Lily James and Armie Hammer, is one of those movies.




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Friday, February 12, 2021

Looking for a Heart of Gratitude

In these trying times, it is extremely difficult not to encounter bad news. The act of opening up Facebook and Twitter or any other form of social media means encountering the latest in the slew of negative news that could be anything from the environment, politics, or the pandemic and its related issues. With so much bad news it is sometimes a struggle to stay positive, especially when people we know or their family, friends, or loved ones have suffered and died in the past year alone. 


Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay


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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Movie Review: Coffee Shop

If you have read some of the reviews I've made on this blog, you would know that I am a sucker for made-for-TV movies. I once caught another one on (the now-defunct) DIVA Universal that got my attention for two reasons: (1) it was about a coffee shop and (2) the leading man had the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.

Coffee Shop is a romantic comedy about a young woman who owns a coffee shop that is in danger of being closed down. Starring Laura Vandervoort, it features a life I’ve dreamed of having: owning a small coffee shop (and ending up with a really nice guy, I have to add that). 

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Monday, February 8, 2021

Book Review: The Five-Year Hitch

This is a new one for me. Whenever I listen to an audiobook, it is usually one that is based on an actual book that you can read. These audiobooks usually take hours to finish and if I get tired of listening, I could switch to reading them myself. For the Melissa de la Cruz book The Five-Year Hitch, I could only listen to the book, because there is no written copy for me to read (that I know of anyway). Despite that, I decided to give it a try since it featured the voice talents of two actors that I admire: Rachel Boston and Daniel Di Tomasso.


Credit: Audible


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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Book Review: Ugly Love

Colleen Hoover’s book Ugly Love was something people were saying that was going to be the next 50 Shades of Grey. Curious, I read the book and I just have to say this: if you’re looking for a 50 Shades kind of book (read: the S&M stuff), this is not the book for you. To be honest, I don’t get the comparison because I thought that Ugly Love was nothing like 50 Shades of Grey.


Credit: Atria Books



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Monday, February 1, 2021

Netflix Picks: Bridgerton

I think this is a post that requires no prior explanation. After all, around 63 million have already streamed this movie on Netflix (or so they say). I am, apparently, one of those 63 million. I have watched/streamed/binge-watched Bridgerton on Netflix and I loved it! 

Word of advice: do not watch this with your parents. It does not matter if you are already an adult or have children of your own, just do not do it because it can get pretty awkward. I was watching this over breakfast with my mother when suddenly Anthony Bridgerton was getting it on with his opera-singing lover (and they were not being quiet about it if you know what I mean). We both ended up pretending nothing was happening on the screen until I slowly put up my hand to stop the video. Considering how I later discovered how many more steamy scenes there would be between Simon and Daphne, it was a good call that I later decided to just watch it on my own.




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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Memories of Making Rosaries

My education has been purely Catholic. From grade school to college, I attended Catholic schools, run by priests, nuns, and brothers (in that order). Being around them growing up was a normal thing….I think it’s because my mother and her family are what people call “Sarado Katoliko”  or people who are deeply religious. That’s why attending those schools has been the way for me.

Back when I was in grade school I remember that my younger sister and I often had to wait for our father or our family driver to pick us up. I think I took a school bus and commuted briefly but for the most part, we had to get driven to and picked up by either our father, a driver, or a family friend/relative. Since my sister and I had different schedules, that meant we each had to wait for each other’s classes to end before we could go home. It often was a very long wait for us so we had to find something to pass the time before we had to go home.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Book Review: Be Careful What You Wish For

 Consider the implications. We think we know what we want, but we can never really know until we've got it. And sometimes when we have, we discover we never really wanted it in the first place - but then it's too late.


Credit: Hodder & Stoughton



Alexandra Potter's book Be Careful What You Wish For is about exactly that -- knowing what we want and realizing that we never really wanted that in the first place. It is the story of Heather, who suddenly gets everything she wished for (literally) and later finds out that the thing she wanted was not what she expected it to be. 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

I Can Cook Scrambled Eggs

I remember back in the day a friend of mine told me that if you can’t cook eggs, then you can’t cook. Naturally, when I decided to go on a cooking frenzy the first thing that I had to try was cooking a breakfast recipe involving my favorite breakfast staple, eggs. I think I do a decent sunny-side-up version so this time I decided to do creamy scrambled eggs.

The recipe I used was something I found on Pinterest. It involved lots of cream cheese and milk, some parsley and tomatoes. The recipe was based on the one from Jeanne Benavidez on Just a Pinch, with a little change from me:
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Friday, January 1, 2021

Netflix Picks: Midnight at the Magnolia

By now I am sure everyone who reads my blog knows how addicted I am to Hallmark and Hallmark-ish movies. When I found this new one on Netflix, I knew I had to check it out. Picture this: two people pretend to be a couple to get their radio show syndicated, with their big “relationship reveal” for their fans to be made during a New Year’s party. As with many movies and TV shows that involve stories where people pretend to be a couple, the whole act becomes complicated when the two people realize that there is more at stake with what they are doing than they realize.




Natalie Hall and Evan Williams play Maggie and Jack, longtime friends who are morning radio show hosts from Chicago. They have been friends all their lives because of their parents, who co-own a restaurant/jazz bar called Magnolia. When they were informed by their producer that there may be a chance for their show to get syndicated, they jump at the chance by playing off the idea that their fans had of whether or not they can be a couple by pretending that they already are. This excites the producer, who then plans a big event where they will make the reveal of their relationship during a special live stream New Year’s Eve party at the Magnolia.

As soon as they start pretending, complications started to happen. For one, their families apparently wanted them to end up together all along. Lying to their all-too-happy families and knowing they will be disappointed when they admit to their act was something they did not expect to happen. Then, there is the fact that Maggie was already in love with Jack back in high school and he broke her heart by going out with another girl instead of her. Eventually, Jack also realizes that he had feelings for Maggie too, but not after she decides that he is not worth the trouble. Things become all too real for both of them that they ended up breaking it off right before the party, only for Jack to make the expected grand gesture in the end that brings them back together. 

As with most romantic movies like this, the story is fairly predictable, often cheesy, and the lead characters will of course end up together. Stories of people pretending to be a couple almost always end up with the two people falling in love. It also asks the often-asked question of whether or not a guy and a girl could just be friends. I think the thing that makes predictable films like this stand out is when the movie features charming lead characters and has a good enough story to fill up the in-between the beginning and the end of the story. Unfortunately, I felt that this movie was lacking in that department. 

To me, the movie did not establish the falling in love part enough. It was like they were friends, pretended to be in love and then BOOM – love! I also did not feel the chemistry between the two characters, which made the whole thing tough to watch. Honestly, I only stuck with it because of Natalie Hall, who I really enjoyed watching on several TV shows such as Unreal and Charmed. I love that she can take on different roles and be a completely different person every time and I was hoping she could carry this movie enough to make me like it but sadly it did not. 

I wanted to like this movie so much. It had its moments, but it was not enough for me to like it. Still, it is better than another movie that I have put on hold because I could not get myself to finish it (even if Netflix keeps reminding me to finish it). I wish I could recommend Midnight at the Magnolia, but you are really not missing out on anything if you do not want to watch it. 

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