Wednesday, December 7, 2022

My Musicals Playlist

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of our favorite musicals. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


September is my late father’s birthday month. I thought it would be nice to have this month feature more than my usual music playlists since my father was the one who made me fall in love with music.



I grew up with my father playing music all the time and growing up, he even taught us to sing. To this day, my sisters and I joke around saying “Hangin! (Air)” when we’re singing because our father always says that to remind us to use air from our diaphragm instead of straining our throats when we sing. 

The cool thing about my father was that he did not just like one type of music, so even as children we were exposed to many different genres, which influenced us to be the same way. I can’t tell you how many times people have been surprised to hear me playing classical music one moment and my sister playing hip hop the next…then my niece starts playing something from a musical. We like a lot of different types of music and I think that makes our individual Spotify liked songs lists a weird combination of artists.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Lessons on Debt

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of our Tough Ten Adulting Realizations. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to the topic of Learning the Value of Money. The episode on Spotify  and YouTube is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


Debt. Who doesn’t have it these days? I know I do.

When I was younger and starting out I had responsibilities to take care of that I couldn’t pay off with just my salary alone per month tiding me over. I learned early on how to avail of loans and had started using credit cards to be able to pay off the necessary expenses. Thankfully, however, I also learned the value of being able to responsibly decide when to take on a loan and how to pay it back. Some people, however, are not as lucky.

photo from Rilsonav on Pixabay.com

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Product Review: Three-in-One HiFu Device

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of aesthetic services. During the pandemic I tried the "at-home" approach and bought items I could use to get the similar experience at home. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


As I have been posting about last year, I have been focusing on working out more during this pandemic. Mostly just to make sure that I stay healthy enough so that my body/immune system would be strong enough during these crazy times. One positive effect of this practice has been weight loss. I have lost a lot of weight in the past few months as a result of diet and exercise and one thing that I made sure to pay attention to was my worry about sagging skin on my face. One thing I’ve noticed about people who lose a lot of weight is that they tend to look older in the face after so I thought I’d make sure that it did not happen to me. This is where this product from Kissed Beauty MNL comes in: the Mini HiFu portable device.



I had heard about the concept of using high-focused ultrasound to make your face firmer and slimmer before but it was only when I was going through some stores on Instagram that I learned that there were devices that you could buy for home use. When I discovered this device, I had messaged several stores before I finally decided to buy it from Kissed Beauty Manila. They were very easy to contact and were able to give me all the information I needed to know about the product. An added bonus was that I could pay via credit card, which I preferred since I would rather not go out to pay for it or use cash to pay a delivery person. They have been very helpful from the purchase to the delivery process, along with the after-service when I had a lot of questions during the first time I was using it. 

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Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Chasing Life

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of TV shows we binge-watched. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this because I forgot to mention this show! The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


One of the TV shows that I’ve found myself becoming a fan of is Chasing Life. The story of a young woman and her journey with cancer, it is something that I find myself relating to after my recent thyroid scare.


I love that the TV show inspires people who have the disease to “chase life” even if they have cancer. I love that they give cancer patients a face and help viewers understand what they go through. There are some things in life you cannot relate to or understand unless it happens to you -- this show gives you the opportunity to look at what life could be like if you had cancer.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Confession: I Was (Am) A Fan of Dennis Trillo

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed The Men Who Made Our Hearts Flutter. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this.  The Fandesals episode from Season 1 Episode 11 on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


It’s rare for me to be a big fan of any celebrity. I may like one celeb here and there but no one has ever made me go on the whole “showbiz fan” ride except for one actor: Dennis Trillo.

The first time that I noticed Dennis Trillo was in his role in the move Aishite Masu 1941. I thought his portrayal of Ignacio/Inya was amazing. I was such a fan of his performance that when I learned that he was going to make an appearance at a nearby mall, I had to drag my sister over so that I could have my DVD of the film autographed. I met and befriended a few of his fans from that day and it all just went super crazy from there. Dennis Trillo movies and TV shows became an addiction for me.

I watched Dennis Trillo in Mulawin (TV and movies) and in all the other shows where he was made into all sorts of supernatural or superhero characters, no matter how corny some of the shows may be.


fan pic
First time I met him.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

My Min Yoongi Playlist

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed BTS. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. Here is an entry on my favorite songs from Min Yoongi, AKA Suga of BTS. Originally posted on March 2022. The Fandesals episode from Season 1 Episode 2 on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


As many of you may already know, I am a big BTS fan. I am also a big fan of one of their rappers, Min Yoongi, also known as SUGA and as Agust D. I’ve admired the lyricism of his work and the backing tracks that he uses for the songs he produces (along with him whispering “SUGA” on every track he works on. It’s like his signature as a producer).

Since March is his birthday month, I decided to share a playlist of songs that feature Min Yoongi as a rapper, songwriter, and producer. I want to share the songs that made me a fan and I hope that after listening to this playlist, you will be too!

Let me start off this list with a video of the song Agust D, which is the title track of his first solo mixtape. I love this track so much I play it via Soundcloud often. This isn’t available on Spotify or iTunes, so I am sharing this here from YouTube:



If you liked that first track, here are the songs on my Spotify playlist:



First Love - This was a song that moved me without even understanding the lyrics, even more so when I understood what it meant, which is something that I could (in a way) relate to. You could just feel the emotion and the sentiment in the song, and I loved the piano that went along with it.

Intro: Nevermind - SUGA wrote this song that was released in 2015. I loved the message of this song about doing what you want and not what people expect you to, alluding to his own personal success story of not doing what his parents expected him to and ending up with BTS. 

Trivia: Seesaw - This is one of those rare songs where SUGA actually sings as well as raps. Written by SUGA himself, this talks about a difficult relationship where no one wants to be the one to initiate the breakup to be the bad guy, dragging things on and making things worse in the process. I loved the story of this song, which is surprising given the melody that makes it seem that it is a happy song. 

Interlude: Shadow - This is another moving track from SUGA. I love how he is not afraid to get personal with his songs, particularly about how he now has the dreams that he has wanted and his fear of the shadow that comes with this success. I remember him talking about similar fears when he was having a conversation with Jin on In the Soop season 1 so I guess this still resonates with him in a way today. 

Best of Me - SUGA is credited as one of the writers in this track. I loved his rap verse in this one so much!

Telepathy - In the first season of In the Soop, SUGA plays one of his songs to the rest of BTS. I later learned that this is one of the songs he played for them and they decided to record it as a group. It’s such a happy track about reaching out to someone you care about.

Cypher Pt. 3: Killer - A rap for the haters of BTS, this song is in the group’s first album. All the Cypher songs are amazing, but this one I think is the best one of all of them. If I’m not mistaken, SUGA wrote the lyrics to his verse in this one, which was – well – an eye-opener as I did not know about the whole Hong Kong thing until I looked up the lyrics to this one.

So Far Away - I thought that this was such a personal track that talked about one’s dreams and fears in life. Plus, I loved that it had a female voice in the track that makes me love to sing along to it. 

The Last - I remember liking the sound of this song and the way he raps as Agust D on this one. After reading the translation I understood why the rapping was the way that it was as he told the story of his battle with mental illness, particularly depression, social anxiety, and OCD. I think it’s a very powerful song. I was blown away by it.

Give It To Me - Another song that is for the haters as he embraces the success he has in life. I love the beat and the hook of this one. 

Moonlight - Again, another personal track that I like because it’s an honest take on his success and the doubts he still feels as an artist. 

People - This is one of my favorite songs on his D2 mixtape. I like the message of this one and the backing track of this song. 

Burn It - This is a song he did with the singer Max, who he collaborated with in the song Blueberry Eyes. I love the chorus of this one, and how it talks about burning one’s past and anything that has gone wrong with one’s life and starting anew (well, at least that’s what it meant to me).

Daechwita - This is one of my favorites from Agust D. It’s a song for the haters that uses traditional Korean music. I thought that it was a very creative move and it is one of those catchy songs that I just cannot seem to get enough of. 

SUGA’s Interlude - This is a short song, but it’s still a meaningful one. Once you understand SUGA’s lyrics you see a side of him that is very introspective and personal, something that I often admire about his work. 

Eight - This is not a SUGA song, but he is featured in the rap part of the song. He is also the producer of the track. I really like this one. 

Wine - SUGA is credited as a producer and songwriter for this song, which talks about someone looking back on a past relationship.

You - A track produced by SUGA for Japanese artist ØMI. I didn’t think I’d like the song since he was only a producer on this song but like all the other tracks he has worked on, this had a sound that I enjoyed listening to.

My Universe (SUGA’s Remix) - This song was an instant favorite for me because of the message it sent that fits the times so well. As much as I love the original version, SUGA’s remix just sounds so much better to me. 

Girl of My Dreams - When it was announced that SUGA would be on a single in Juice Wrld’s second posthumous album Fighting Demons, I eagerly waited for this song to come out on Spotify. SUGA’s verse on this song and the meaning of his lyrics just hits hard for me that I can’t help but listen to it over and over again. 


What do you think of my playlist? I hope that you enjoyed listening to the playlist and learning about the songs as much as I enjoyed sharing them!



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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

My Sworkit Journey

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of our favorite workouts. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. Wow, I have come a long way since this was first posted in 2021! The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


I read online that one of the things that can help a person prevent the infection of serious cases of COVID is regular exercise. During the start of this pandemic, I started exercising more regularly, something that my doctor would probably be happy to hear. I used to exercise a lot in the past, but after my thyroid surgery things just went downhill for me and workouts became sporadic to nothing at all. I was so frustrated that I would work out daily and not lose weight at all, so I stopped. It was only when the pandemic started that I found myself wanting to work out daily again.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Appetizer Recipe: Crab Rangoon

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of food we love. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


During my random attempts at cooking, one category that I wanted to accomplish was seafood cooking. I had tried the Steamed Cream Dory in Light Soy Sauce and it was a success so I decided to try another one.

I was searching for seafood ideas and found some appetizer recipes featuring seafood. I found a recipe from Alison of Pint-Sized Treasures for Crab Rangoon and decided that this was the recipe that I was going to try. I changed up the crab meat and opted to use the crab sticks you can buy at the grocery store but other than that, the recipe stays the same.

appetizer recipe


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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Quick Trip to Iloilo

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of places we've traveled to around the Philippines. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Iloilo for work. My niece and nephew are part Ilonggo, so it was nice to see the province where their grandfather came from. They were able to take the trip over a few years ago and I have been curious about what the place was like.



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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Swipe Right for Michael Vartan

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of online dating. It's something that I tried but never took seriously, but I did have an amusing anecdote related to it. Here I recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog about this story. Enjoy!


The first time I noticed Michael Vartan was in the movie Never Been Kissed with Drew Barrymore. I became a fan and started looking for Michael Vartan movies to add to my collection. I had a huge crush on the guy. I was crazy about him!

When Alias came out, I became a fan of Sydney and Michael. I watched every single episode and waited until the two characters ended up together. This was before the term “ship” was even popular. I was so happy when Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner started dating and I was very disappointed when they broke up because I always thought they were perfect for each other.

Eventually, Michael got married and for some reason, he was not so visible in the entertainment scene. He had movies and TV shows, but I don’t think they ever had significant airtime or cinema showings around here. In short, I forgot about him for a while. After a few years news came out that Michael Vartan and his wife had split up (uh, yay?). Just two years later, he is back and visible on TV on the new hit show The Arrangement, where he plays a very creepy leader of a group that is NOT based on Scientology (wink, wink).

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

My Sharon Cuneta Story

On the first episode of The Fandesals Podcast (available on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed our beginnings as fan girls, where I shared my earliest experience as a Sharon Cuneta fan. Allow me to repost a post from an older version of my blog on my Sharon Cuneta story:


Back when I was a little girl I used to be a big fan of Sharon Cuneta. I was a big fan of the days when she was paired up with people like Rowell Santiago and Gabby Concepcion. I was so young then, probably in prep or first grade. I was hooked to all things Sharon growing up: Sharon Cuneta movies were a must. Sharon Cuneta's songs, especially theme songs from her films, were the ones I knew by heart (yes, even the Jack and Jill theme song, which I used to sing with my younger sister).

My father once told me that the reason my sister was named Sharon was that I had insisted on having her named after Sharon Cuneta when she was born. In a weird twist of fate, Sharon Cuneta ended up being my sister’s godmother for her confirmation (but that’s another story altogether).

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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

My Francis Magalona Playlist

In one of the earlier episodes of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we talked about the songs we loved that were OPM (Original Pilipino Music). That episode made me look back at this old blog post I did in an earlier version of my blog that you might all be interested in.  Enjoy!


I was going through some of my digital photos and found one of the late Francis Magalona during one of his shows here in Cavite. It was the first and only time I had seen him perform live even if I had been a fan for years. It’s just so sad that he passed away so early from cancer because there would have been so much more that he could offer as a pioneer in the Philippine rap industry.


Back when I was younger I was a fan of his as an actor so when he came out with his first album, Yo!, I just had to ask my parents to buy me a copy. It was probably the first rap album in the Philippines because I don’t remember anyone doing it before he did. He came out with a lot of hits, a lot of them nationalistic in theme (but never boring). My sisters and I are fans and we were all together to see him during that one show that I have a photo of. 

Since I promised to post more than one playlist this month in memory of my music-loving father’s birthday, I decided to post a list of songs from Francis M that I love the most.

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Sunday, July 3, 2022

On Regrets and What Ifs

Do you ever find yourself looking back on things in your life and wondering, “What if?” Do you ever find yourself questioning the decisions you have made and wondering if you did the right thing? Are there moments where you wonder how life would have been different if you had chosen to do things in another way?  



I used to have those thoughts often. I used to think back and regret things I have done and decisions I have made that brought me to the life path that I am on today. I would wonder how much better could my life have been if I had chosen things differently.

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Friday, June 24, 2022

(Not) Happily Ever After, But Happy Nevertheless

For the first time in two years, I attended my first large-group work gathering. While meetings had been back to normal since the start of the year, I have often begged off attending. I have not had COVID and it is still something that I am very careful about. 

My boss had been trying to convince me to attend meetings, telling me that people have been looking for me constantly and everyone wants to see me. I have been able to dodge a major convention recently but because the recent meeting was coinciding with a visit to the wake of someone that I respected a lot, I had no choice but to finally attend a meeting.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

It's That Day

This month marks another year since my father died. Even after all this time, his passing still feels like it happened yesterday. The events of that day and the weeks after that felt like a huge blur, like a dream that you faintly remember once you wake up. You cannot remember the details, but you could never forget that it happened at the same time. I wish it were all a dream, but sadly the death of my father was very real.

All these years in but I still feel the loss of my father. There have been so many times when I have said out loud or thought in my head that I wished he was still here. I have repeatedly wondered or imagined his reaction to the things happening in the lives of me and my sisters if he was still with us.  Sometimes, in my most vulnerable moments, I still shed tears thinking of him. 

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Why I Deactivated on Facebook

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of social media platforms. I have since left one of them: Facebook. Here's my take on it. The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!


In October of 2020, once people started filing their Certificates of Candidacy for the coming elections, I decided to deactivate my Facebook. I was starting to see people taking sides and posting their political opinions on the app and I felt overwhelmed by it all. I decided that it was time for me to take a break from it, at least until the elections were over. It has been nine months since then and if not for the fact that I still actively use Facebook Messenger, I would have deleted my account already. The only times I have been back on Facebook were limited to around 5 minutes at most, and were only to try to transfer the accounts where I used the app to log in to the more traditional username and password format (as well as to update my profile photo, which you apparently cannot do via Facebook Messenger).

How do I feel right now without Facebook? Surprisingly calm and fine with it, actually. 

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Cornelia Street

One of my favorite songs from Taylor Swift is called Cornelia Street. In particular, I am a fan of her Live from Paris version, which I discovered on Spotify. I am a Taylor Swift fan, and there are so many of her songs that I could say are part of the soundtrack of my life. 

Cornelia Street is just one of the many of T. Swift's songs that I love, but it is also one of my favorite songs to play and sing along to at the moment. According to the singer herself, the song is about memories and the nostalgia that we feel about certain locations and the things that have happened to us in those places.

The first time I heard the song, I immediately began reminiscing about the places, people, and events from my past. Cornelia Street had a melody that brought me back instantly to one particular part of it the first time I heard the song in full.




Just like the song, there was a time when I hoped to never lose a particular person in my life. I had wished that the moments with that individual never ended. The song made me think and reflect on how certain moments in life become memories that can make you both happy to remember them but sad at the same time because you know those moments will remain in the past forever.

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Monday, March 28, 2022

Netflix Picks: Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb

I was a nerd as a child. I think I actually still am. One of the things that I used to nerd on about, apart from Greek mythology, was anything to do with Ancient Egypt. I used to dream of being an anthropologist and archaeologist so I could learn more about these things when I grew up. While that never happened, I still carry that fascination with history with me now that I’m older and read up on it or watch documentaries related to it as a hobby. One of those documentaries is Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb on Netflix. 

I remember watching the news on the Saqqara tomb online when they opened the casket that was discovered there. Later on, when I found out that Netflix had a documentary about the discovery, I knew I had to watch it!



The documentary tells the story of how in 2018, archaeologists discovered an untouched tomb from the 25th century (BC). In the same area, they found adjacent tombs that had well-preserved mummies, along with some mummified animals. This main tomb was later on discovered to be that of an Egyptian high priest named Wahtye and his family.  

The film interviews the various people involved in the site during the discovery. I think this is the first documentary that I’ve seen involving a dig that did not have any white people involved or in charge. It was quite refreshing to see that the Egyptians were doing this on their own. I saw the sense of pride and respect each worker had for the history that was involved in their work. This was about their story and they were happy to be a part of uncovering it. 

I loved how the whole thing was put together and how it presented the facts of the dig to the audience without making it too boring. As a nerd about these things, however, I was half-expecting Zahi Hawass to make an appearance since he is almost always featured in films like this. I later discovered that he was already 74 years old, so I guess maybe he retired or doesn’t join digs as much as he used to. 

The discovery of the Saqqara tomb is extraordinary in the way that everything about it was an undiscovered territory. The tomb was well-preserved, which meant that everything in it was free for the archaeologists to study, as opposed to many tombs that have been discovered and raided by robbers through the years.

It was amazing to see the process involved in the expedition. I admire the people working on these digs because the work involves a lot of patience and attention to detail. Considering that everything has to be done manually and you have to be extra careful with every little item, it made me realize that I probably would not survive as an archaeologist. I would get sick from the extreme heat that these people have to go through and all the dust they have to endure. 

I thought that it was sad to discover how the story of Wahtye and his family was unveiled: from what they could gather everyone died at the same time due to some disease. Such a tragedy. At the same time though it was inspiring to see how this was discovered just by studying the tomb and every detail in it, including the bones of the dead.

The way I see it, there is more to be discovered at Saqqara if they continued their work after the documentary ended. I hope that they have learned more about the area and that they found more tombs to learn from. All that history and culture is a wealth of information that we can all learn from and I can’t wait to hear more about their progress. 

If you are a history buff and Ancient Egypt fan like me, you might like this documentary. It’s worth the time watching it!



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Friday, March 25, 2022

Series Review: The Lost Symbol

Let me get this out of the way before I start my review: I am a fan of the Dan Brown books. I read the books long before the movies came out. I read The Lost Symbol before it was made into a TV show. Naturally, as a fan, as soon as I read about this show being made I decided that I wanted to watch it.

According to some sites that I visited about the show, this was supposed to be a movie, a prequel to the other movies since this is set before The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Inferno. It did not work out and they decided to, later on, make this into a TV series.

I am not familiar with any of the actors on the show with the exception of the male lead who plays Robert Langdon. I remember seeing him before on Designated Survivor. I think that it was good that I wasn’t familiar with the actors as much because sometimes if I’ve seen actors repeatedly in more famous roles I tend to see them as those people rather than the characters they are currently playing. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Netflix Picks: The Fabulous Filipino Brothers

There’s so much opportunity for Asian representation these days with the rise in popularity of Korean music (BTS), movies (Parasite), and TV shows (Crash Landing on You) in the US. Movies like Crazy Rich Asians also paved the way for more opportunities for Asians in Hollywood. 

I think it’s a natural step in the right direction to have a movie that focuses on Filipino culture since there are so many of them in the entertainment industry. People like Lou Diamond Philips, Vanessa Hudgens, Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R….there are so many of them to mention. I think it was a given that eventually a movie would come out to showcase some of that Filipino talent. Enter the Basco brothers (Dante, Darion, Dionysio, and Derek) and their movie, The Fabulous Filipino Brothers. 

The Fabulous Filipino Brothers is about the four male siblings of the Abasta family and the series of events each one had leading to the wedding that is at the center of the movie. In a way, you get four mini-movies or episodes in one movie that ties them all together. All this was also being narrated by an unseen female, whose identity is revealed at the end of the movie. 



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Monday, March 21, 2022

Series Review: CSI Vegas

One genre that I have always been a fan of is crime procedural TV shows. I enjoy watching policemen/detectives solve crimes and beat the bad guys by finding clues and evidence that lead them to their suspects. 

I remember being a fan of CSI back in the day. I watched all of them: CSI, CSI New York, CSI Miami, and CSI Cyber. They were all interesting shows. A bit cheesy at times, but still entertaining shows. When all these shows died their natural deaths, I thought I would never see their stories on TV again. That is until I heard of CSI Vegas.

CSI Vegas was meant to be a sort of epilogue season to the original CSI show: the season showed what has happened under a new set of people now that the original detectives and CSIs have moved on with their lives. While not all the previous members of the cast were shown in this season, there was mention of some of them and several of them were also part of the cast for this new version. 

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Monday, March 14, 2022

Netflix Picks: Locke & Key

I’m not really into comic books, I’ve never been a fan. Graphic novels are just not my thing. When I heard that the Netflix show Locke & Key was based on a graphic novel, I was not sure if I would be interested in it. However, during one of my (several) times quarantined during this pandemic, I had enough time to watch things online and I decided to give this a try. I ended up watching the two seasons available on Netflix. 

Locke & Key is the story of the Locke Family. The father Rendell was murdered by a student in the school he worked in. His wife then decided to move her children to Rendell’s family home in Massachusetts, called Key House. While there, her children discover magical keys that each have a specific magical purpose. They also come face to face with a demon who is after the same keys to gain power.

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Friday, March 11, 2022

Series Review: A Discovery of Witches Season 3

Finally, after a long wait, fans like me finally got to see the third and final season of the TV series A Discovery of Witches. Based on the All Souls books by Deborah Harkness, the season follows the story of witch Diana Bishop and her husband, the vampire Matthew Clairmont as they travel back to the present day from Elizabethan England to learn the secrets of the Book of Life. 

In this final season, there are only seven episodes, as opposed to the original 10 from the first season and 8 for the second. It was explained that the budget for the 8th episode was used for COVID protocols, which is understandable during these pandemic times. I’d rather have one less episode than not have it at all. 



It was bittersweet to be watching the show knowing that it was the last season, which was to be expected as this would end the story of Matthew and Diana as it did in the books. It was exciting to see this part of the story come to life but at the same time, it felt a bit like saying goodbye to all these characters that I know and love.

The cinematography and the effects, as always, were perfect. The acting is still as good as it has been in the previous seasons. I think the difference with this season compared to others was that there was more time and focus made on the ensemble cast than just Matthew and Diana. I liked that there were moments that focused on these supporting characters because I did enjoy reading about them in the books as well.

I was very pleased with the casting of Toby Regbo as Jack. At first I was skeptical because I had my own idea of what Jack would have looked like. I have also seen Toby’s other roles and wasn’t sure if I could picture him as Jack. But, being the good actor that he is, he pulled it off. I’ve always enjoyed the way he acts, there is something about him that seems so subdued and yet impactful.

As someone who has read the books, there were several parts that were changed in the story. Given the limited time they had to share the story, I understood that changes would have to be made to move things along faster. Still, there were critical scenes from the books that made it and I loved watching them, clapping happily at how good they were executed. 

Fans of the show would notice that the actor who plays Baldwin has changed due to scheduling conflicts with the original actor. Peter McDonald did a good job being Baldwin. It was a bit of a different take on the role but he still exuded that power that the character had. In fact, I felt that I could sympathize with the character more when he played Baldwin. There was a softer, redeemable side that I saw in him more than with the first actor. 

The final episode was very beautifully made. It was nice to be able to say goodbye to each of the characters and to the books themselves with the way the ending scenes were presented. I know that the story ends here but I would love to be able to see spinoff shows featuring the other characters, even those who don’t have detailed back stories in the books yet. Fans of the books know that there is a book about Marcus and Phoebe, but I’d love to know more about Marcus’ children in New Orleans. I feel like they have this whole different dynamic there that would be interesting to watch.

As a Toby Regbo fan, I’d love to see a show about him as Jack and how he has struggled in the years without Matthew and Diana. And, as a Gallowglass fan, I would love to see more about the character as well. Maybe not so much about the years he was pining for Diana, but maybe about how he moves on from there. I know that Deborah Harkness confirmed that a book on Gallowglass is in the plan, but she’s not quite there yet. I hope we get to see that book or maybe an authorized spinoff sometime in the future.

So sad to say goodbye to this show….I loved every minute of it and I wish there were more! Thank you to the cast and the production for bringing Deborah Harkness' books to life! This fan is very grateful!



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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Review: You are My Destiny

Tiktok may be an app that I have yet to understand completely but it can be useful for some things. I saw a scene from a Chinese drama there and I decided to search for it online. Turns out the drama was a remake of the Taiwanese drama Fated to Love You. 

You are My Destiny is about two complete opposites: a nerdy, doormat type who works as an assistant for a law firm and a confident and rich businessman. Both cross paths as they step onto a cruise ship with their respective significant others. As destiny would have it, she ends up breaking up with her boyfriend on the ship and he is left alone by his girlfriend (who leaves before the ship left the port) and they end up having a one-night stand together, which results in a pregnancy. 




The two end up getting married, although the guy, Wang Xiyi, gets the girl, Chen Jiaxin, to sign a divorce agreement that would ensure that they would split up once the baby is born. Somewhere along the way, the two fall in love with each other, only to be split up through attempts from Xiyi’s (ex) girlfriend and her art broker friend, who is also interested in Jaixin. In the process, the couple also loses their child in an accident, which hits them both hard and complicates their relationship. Now that I am writing about it, the show really had a lot going on and it was pretty heavy. Still, they were able to make it work without the show becoming depressing.

Many years later, fate brings the former couple back together again, which then starts their path to reconciliation. It’s a long, dramatic road, but it does lead to a satisfying ending. 

As long as this series was (36 episodes!), I still enjoyed watching it. The actors, both lead and supporting, were entertaining to watch. The male lead even reminded me of Korean actor/singer Rain because he had that same vibe to him. I enjoyed that it was not just about romance but also about how the relationship brought about the personal growth of both characters into better people. Love was part of the journey, it was what pushed that journey/growth further, but it was not all there was to it. 

I appreciated the fact that the supporting characters, specifically Xiyi’s aunt (the actress who played her was so pretty) and cousin, were not portrayed in the stereotypical way that I was expecting them to be played. I was expecting them to be after the money and to be manipulating, evil characters but they turned out to be very endearing as the show went on. Even Dylan, the guy who was interested in Jaixin, turned out to be a decent guy despite my expectation that he would be just as manipulative as Xiyi’s ex, Anna (who also happens to be his long-lost sister).

One thing that I need to take note of is the product placements made throughout the show. I think this is the norm for some movies and TV shows these days because I’ve seen this in Korean dramas as well. The thing is, with Chinese dramas, I think they are more blatant or more obvious with their product placement. With Korean dramas, the products simply happen to be there whereas the Chinese dramas seem to have a more “here’s the product, take a look at it” mentality.

If you’re looking for a drama that’s easy to watch, this is something that I would recommend, especially if you have seen the Taiwanese version, Fated to Love You. If you have also seen the drama The Day of Becoming You, which I reviewed on this blog, you might also recognize Jaixin as she was portrayed by the same actress who played Yun Sheng Sheng. 

FYI, You are My Destiny is currently on WeTV. Fated to Love You, on the other hand, is on Netflix if you are interested in watching the original first! 


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Friday, March 4, 2022

Review: The Witch Part 1 - The Subversion

In one of my earlier posts, I shared my love for the Korean drama series Our Beloved Summer, which stars Choi Woo-Shik and Kim Da-mi. I recently learned that they were in a movie together called The Witch Part 1: The Subversion so I searched for it online to see what that was all about. I found it on iQYi. 

The movie is classified as a horror-action drama and it was released in 2018. It tells the story of children being used as lab rats for experiments and made into superhuman warriors. They are extremely talented, strong, and smart. One of them escapes and is discovered by an old couple who takes her in. 



In the film, this young girl (Kim Da-mi) grows up with no recollection of her childhood and eventually joins a TV singing competition. It is because of this that the people from her past discovers she is alive after she was presumed dead when she escaped. This starts a chain of events where people are after her either to kill her or to use her abilities for their own benefit and her life is never the same again. 

The film had a lot of action and those action sequences were so good that I was looking for more of them throughout the movie. I thought the concept of lab-created superhumans and the abilities that they have opened up this whole world of stories which I assume will be tackled in future movies (this film is labeled as Part 1 after all). For those who do not like the sight of blood, this may not be the movie for you. The film does not shy away from the blood and gore during their action scenes. It may look a little too violent, but I think they would not have been able to portray how strong and how ruthless every one of these superhumans were if they did not do that. 

Kim Da-mi looks like a baby in this movie as opposed to how she looks in Our Beloved Summer. Choi Woo-Shik, on the other hand, looks the same in both the movie and the TV series. Does this guy not age? I liked watching these two as enemies in this movie after watching them as a romantic couple in Our Beloved Summer. It shows how good they both are as actors because they are so different in this movie when you compare it to the series. Both of them have this eerie, creepy aura about them in this one. They have this confident and ruthless air that is so far from their roles in the series, I can’t help but admire their acting abilities. 

As I mentioned before, Choi Woo-Shik is a really good actor. That scene on the train was charming, creepy, and ruthless all at the same time. I don’t know if any other actor could have pulled it off. He was so effective in his role that I had goosebumps in that scene where he talks about the parents and how Da-mi’s character should really go home and see them. He was creepy good. 

Kim Da-mi was no pushover either. I loved her in the scene where she had her big “reveal” (no spoilers, I won’t say what that was about). Just one look from her and she revealed a lot about her character. You knew exactly what was happening without her saying a word. 

I really wish that Woo-Shik’s character lived on somehow from that movie. I would love to see him as her big nemesis as the other movies come out. The chemistry these two have either as love interests or mortal enemies is so good that I can’t help but admire their interactions with each other.

I can’t wait to see the second installment of this movie series. I hope that the movie pushes through because I would love to see what happens next for this character, especially since it ended on a sort of cliffhanger for her. 

If you are a fan of both actors or if you liked Our Beloved Summer, I recommend this movie so you can see the two leads in very different roles. I suprised myself because I don’t really enjoy bloody movies, but I highly recommend this one. 



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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Netflix Picks: Hometown Cha Cha Cha

One of my sisters is a big fan of actor Kim Seon-ho, the actor who rose to fame after appearing in the series Startup. He recently had a follow-up K-Drama on Netflix called Hometown Cha Cha Cha and my sister and her daughter were both watching it every week as it was being released on the streaming platform. A few weeks later my nephew followed and started to watch it as well. I think he was already on the 10th episode when I started to get curious when they talked about what happened in the latest episodes. I decided to see what the fuss was about and began to watch the show myself. 

The show is based on a 2004 South Korean film called Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong. This show, one of the most-watched Korean dramas on Netflix,  did not disappoint. I found myself liking the plot of the story where the city girl dentist loses her job and finds a new life and home in a seaside village as their resident dentist. As someone who moved out of the city and to the province, I could relate to the adjustment that the lead character, Yoon Hye-jin (played by Shin Min-a), had to go through. Luckily for her, she had the very capable Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho) to help her every step of the way.

 


I am not always a fan of shows that have too many supporting characters but for this one, I have to say that they enhance the show and do not take away from the lead character’s screen times. I love that every one of them has his/her own back story that people can easily relate to and grow attached to. By the end of the show, I found myself rooting for each one of them. 

The show wasn’t a heavy drama, I think it was marketed more as a romantic comedy. There were a lot of cute and funny moments, including “kilig”-worthy scenes that rom-com fans would enjoy. But there were serious parts too, such as stories on different types of love, relationships and divorce, grief, and sexual harassment. 

I love the plot throughout the show that showed Hye-jin and Du-sik repeatedly running into each other at various points in their life, showing that these two were destined to be with each other. I thought that was a cute part of the story. One thing that I didn’t expect but also appreciated having were the parts about Du-sik’s back story: his grief and guilt the deaths of people around him and how it drove him to be the man that he was in the village. After all the cute and kilig moments in the show, it was unexpected but refreshing to have this episode that made me cry buckets while watching it. This show had a lot of heart, I liked that. 

It’s too bad that as this show was coming to an end, Kim Seon-ho was involved in a media scandal involving his ex-girlfriend. I won’t go into detail as I have no idea what is true or not but I just think it’s too bad that this affected the show at the end (I read that they had to cancel some promotional things at the end of the show because of the scandal). I think that he is a good actor and is very charming on screen, it would be such a waste if he did not get to come back to work on other projects because of this issue. 

And as a little side-note, I have to add that I saw a little BTS connection with the show when the plot went to a couple of K-pop idols who went to the village to live there for a few days. The way they were going about the show reminded me so much of BTS In the Soop, only that they were in a seaside village. Another little connection was during the end of the show where I noticed Du-sik wearing the exact same shirt that Suga was wearing when they were interviewed by Chris Martin for their promotion of the song Permission to Dance. Those connections may not be intentional, but they were very cute for an ARMY like me. 

If you love K-dramas, particularly romantic comedies, this is a must-watch for you. I highly recommend it!


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Monday, February 28, 2022

Thoughts on Being a BTS Fan

It’s 2022, who has not heard of BTS at this point? I for one am a big fan. BTS is probably the world’s biggest music act/artist of their generation. I think it would be a disservice to call them the biggest boy band or K-Pop group since they have gone beyond being in those categories. After all, they are also Louis Vuitton brand ambassadors and South Korean Cultural Ambassadors too.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I first heard of BTS when my niece introduced them to me in 2017. I have since become a fan of their music and have appreciated the variety in their songs as well as their jaw-dropping performances. Although I was already listening to their music and watching their performances back then, I can’t say that I was part of the BTS Army until last year.




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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Netflix Picks: Red Notice

The movie Red Notice starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot was one of the movies that I was most looking forward to when they announced that they would be making it. The day it got released on Netflix I watched it and, sadly, I was very disappointed. 

Maybe I was expecting too much and thought it would be more of an action-adventure film but it turned out to be more of an action-comedy film. I thought the movie was well made and it did have the right amount of action, but I felt that something was missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something felt lacking when I was seeing it. 




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Monday, February 21, 2022

On Birthdays and Growing Older

I remember being in philosophy class in college and my professor said that “As soon as we are born we begin to die.”  It’s something that I’ve thought a lot about since I first heard it, mostly because it made me think about how fragile life is, and how short it can be. It made me wonder about how I should live it to make sure that I have done my best with it. 

February is my birthday month. Again, I grow a year older. Again, I have this tendency to count how many years of life I have left. I know that no one knows when he or she will die, but I tend to count it by deducting my age from 90 (which is in the age range that my grandparents had when they passed).  It’s weird, I know but I tend to mentally do it without even thinking about it.


Photo by m_u_z007 on Pixabay


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Friday, February 18, 2022

My Midori 5-Year Journal Experience So Far

As a blogger, I think it’s a given that I love to write. I’ve loved writing since I was a little girl and I think I’ve had journals as early as elementary school. I’ve filled up several notebooks through the years but for the most part I have cringed over them all. After moving homes several times, I have lost most of those journals and I have not written much of them since. 

I tried journaling a while back, but I could never commit to it, maybe it was because I was blogging and was writing enough there that I couldn’t even fill a page of a small journal anymore. Then I discovered the Midori 5-year journal: a journal where you simply wrote a couple of sentences about your day (every day) for five years. I bought it from Scribe, an online store that specializes in writing products and accessories.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Netflix Picks: Army of Thieves

After watching the movie Army of the Dead, I wasn’t sure if I was up to watch the prequel movie titled Army of Thieves. Thankfully, I learned that there were no zombies in the movie (although they were mentioned) so I decided that it was something I could risk watching to see if it was good or not.
 


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Monday, February 14, 2022

What Does Love Mean to You?

It’s February and it’s the 14th…Valentine’s Day! It’s the day when a lot of people celebrate (romantic) love and people go on dates or do certain romantic gestures in honor of the holiday. For the most part, it is a day for couples (or people who want to be couples). For someone like me who has been single for a long time, it doesn’t really carry much weight for me. It’s just another day. But love? Well, that’s another story. 

Even if I have been single for a while, I still consider myself a romantic. I still swoon at the sight of romantic scenes in movies (and real life, if I get to witness it). I still believe in love, even if it has not happened to me. 

I once ran into an old college buddy of mine and we talked about how different our life paths were. He is now married and I am, well, still single. We talked about me and my (lack of a) love life and he commented that the problem with me is that I was still a (hopeless) romantic. He said that marriage (and love) isn’t about that. It caught me off guard and it made me reassess what I thought love meant.

So just what is love? What does it mean really?

Photo by 1866946 on Pixabay

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Friday, February 11, 2022

Product Review: IPL Device for Hair Removal

With the pandemic still going on, I still have this fear of going out in public and I would rather avoid the need to do so as much as possible. My family and I shop for everything online and get things delivered to us so we don’t have to go out. We cut our own hair or at least get someone to come over and do it for us so that we don’t have to be around many people in the salon. Same goes with mani-pedis. If possible, most of our health issues we consult with the doctor online first. If we absolutely need to go to the hospital, that is the only time we do so. 

One thing I do miss is getting spa treatments. One treatment that I have always wanted to do but would need a time commitment for is the IPL treatment to remove unwanted hair. These treatments require you to come back for follow ups and at this day and age I am not keen on going to the spa regularly. Last year I discovered that you can buy IPL (intense pulse light) devices that you can use at home for the same purpose. 


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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Netflix Picks: Army of the Dead

Zombie films are not my thing, which is weird since there was a time when I used to watch The Walking Dead a lot to the point that I was pissed when people shared spoilers of the latest episodes. My tastes and interests have changed in recent years, but not enough that I wouldn’t be curious about the movie Army of the Dead, which was on Netflix. 



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Monday, February 7, 2022

February '22 Playlist: Love is in the Air

It’s February, which means it’s Love Month! I thought I’d try to get into the spirit of things by sharing a playlist of some of my favorite love songs to listen to. While I do have a lot of songs that I like a lot, I’ve selected these songs because these are the ones that remind me of what love is like…or maybe what I hope love should be like, ideally. Take that any way you want.

Photo from Ben_Kerckx on Pixabay


Here are the songs and what I love about them. I hope you like this playlist!


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Friday, January 28, 2022

The Challenges of Intermittent Fasting

For the past six months or so, I have been doing intermittent fasting to help with my weight loss. It’s something that I have tried more than once before but I found it to be too challenging for me so I stopped. 

These days, however, I finally got the hang of intermittent fasting. Usually, I fast for 18 hours, then have a six-hour eating window. When I can, I even go for a 24-hour fast once a week. If I don’t have much time to fast because of certain occasions where I have to eat with other people I go for a 16 hour fast at least. 


Photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay


When people ask me what I did to lose weight, it sounds simple to say calorie deficit, intermittent fasting, and exercise but it is not as easy as it sounds. Just with intermittent fasting alone, there are challenges that go along with it:

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Netflix Picks: Emily in Paris Season 2

Finally got around to watching Emily in Paris season 2. Took me a while to digest this second season compared to the first one for some reason. No binge-watching for me this time around. Not that it means that the show was bad, it’s just that I wasn’t able to do it this season even if there were (still) only ten episodes that lasted less than an hour.


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Friday, January 21, 2022

Makeup Under Your Mask: Yes or No?

To all the ladies out there I have a question: how many of you wear makeup underneath your mask?

I only ask this question because I do. But I have also had people talk to me about how silly it feels for them to wear makeup during this pandemic because it makes them break out from wearing it under a mask all day. Some have commented that they did not see the point of wearing makeup if people won’t see it anyway. 


Photo by RobbieWi on Pixabay


Wearing makeup under the mask is not easy. During the first few months of the pandemic, I tried it and realized that the normal way I put on makeup meant that everything was going on the mask. By the time I took it off to eat lunch, most of my makeup was practically wiped off by the mask. Maybe it was because my makeup, while normally smudge-proof, was underneath the mask and I was probably sweating underneath it. 

For a time I found the whole smudge thing annoying so I stopped wearing makeup altogether. But then I realized that I wasn’t feeling “dressed” going to work without makeup for some reason. I felt like mentally without makeup I was not in a professional mode so I decided to try wearing makeup to work again. 

It was not easy to find the right combination of makeup that I could use that would not smudge off underneath the mask. Here’s what I do for makeup at work:

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Netflix Picks: Made You Look

After I graduated from college, one of the first things that I wish I could do for a living was to be a museum curator or someone who worked in an art gallery. The arts was one of my two majors in college and it was something that I was passionate about. Unfortunately, life happened and I went on a different career path.  The closest I’ve been to art now has been visiting museums and watching documentaries on TV like Made You Look on Netflix.

Made You Look tells the story of fake art, particularly how one person was able to dupe one of the oldest art galleries in New York in a span of ten years into certifying works of art from artists such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock despite the lack of provenance (proof of history and ownership).




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Monday, January 17, 2022

The Annoying Act of Catfishing

This pandemic has everyone going online for everything. Shopping, food deliveries, dating…just about anything that you can do online is currently being done online. Apparently, even scammers have become more active online as well. 


Photo by vojta_kucer on Pixabay


There are so many people that I have encountered online recently who have been messaging me on my Instagram account. I never had a problem with it before but it seems that with my weight loss I have had messages from men a lot lately who are showing “interest” in me. I told my family about it and they said it wouldn’t hurt to see if it was real or not and that I should reply. I tried it a couple of times but every time I did there were all these red flags that showed that these guys were just catfishing (pretending to be someone they’re not) to message with me. I have read about instances where people do this to get the woman’s interest and scam them out of their money. No way will I ever be interested in that. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Netflix Picks: The Blacklist

One of the TV shows that I loved watching since it started was The Blacklist starring James Spader and Megan Boone. I remember watching the first season in 2013 and following this crime series as much as I could. I think I watched the first season from start to finish, then for the next seasons, I would watch a few, enough to catch up on the storyline until the eighth season. I think at some point I was merely reading up episode recaps then deciding which episode to watch/catch up on (since we get the show on the same week as the original airing).

Recently, as a way to pass the time on the elliptical on my daily workouts, I have started binge-watching The Blacklist. I’m on the elliptical for more than an hour daily, so there are days when I watch the show when I’m on it, Since I work out daily, I have been able to finish catching up on all eight seasons available on Netflix. I think the current 9th season is being shown somewhere on cable, but I haven’t been able to figure out the time. I think I’ll catch up on it when it goes to Netflix later.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Netflix Picks: Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed

Does anyone remember Bob Ross? He was this painter who was on TV who would make these works of art during his TV show called The Joy of Painting during the 80s and early 90s. I don’t remember when I was able to watch his show exactly, I just know that I got to see the show on one of the local TV channels when I was younger, probably in grade school. It was fascinating to watch him paint and he made it all seem so easy. I think that it was because of this show that when I was in high school I decided to choose art as an elective so I could learn more about making art myself. 



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