Saturday, February 25, 2023

My Writer Dream

In an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded at the end of this post), we talked about some of the jobs that we dreamed of having when we were younger. One of the jobs that I mentioned I wanted to have back then that I still want to do now is to be a writer. Specifically, to be a published author of novels that people would love.
Image by Yerson Retamal from Pixabay

I have always had a love of reading books and getting into the worlds that the written word can take me. You can go on different adventures and visit different places while reading books. You can dive into a variety of emotions and learn so much about so many things when you read. It was that love and appreciation for books that inspired me to want to become a writer myself so that I could take people into the stories of the characters I have created in my imagination.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Disney+ Rewind: Romeo and Juliet

After watching the movie Elvis recently, I decided that it was time to do a re-watch of another Baz Luhrmann movie, the modern-day retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes.

This is probably the first movie from Baz Luhrmann that I had seen, and I loved every minute of it. During the time that it was shown in cinemas, I was actually in my Shakespeare phase: I had read some of his work and was so fascinated with the stories he had written so it was exciting for me to see it on the big screen. I had already seen the 1968 movie starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting and was already curious about this modern-day interpretation of it. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Disney+ Rewind: Sleepy Hollow

One of the shows I used to watch on TV that I recently found available on Disney+ was the supernatural show called Sleepy Hollow. It’s a story that is loosely based on the short story of the same name and is set in modern times. In the show, the main character of the story, Ichabod Crane, died after killing/chopping off the head of a soldier in the war and woke up from his grave in Sleepy Hollow in the present time, where the soldier he killed became the headless horseman and the Horseman of Death.

The show lasted only four seasons, with the last season oddly set outside of Sleepy Hollow and without one of its main/lead characters, who was killed off in the previous season. For the most part, the show was about Ichabod Crane and Detective (and future FBI agent) Abby Mills fighting supernatural beings who want to bring the end of days into the world, all while discovering that certain historical figures from the time of George Washington had known about this and had been fighting off the same in their time. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Netflix Picks: Little Women

The Korean drama Little Women first got on my radar when I saw BTS’ RM post about it on his Instagram Stories. Of course, with that familiar title, I had to look it up and check it out to see if it would be something that I would like.

First off, I learned that the title is a bit misleading. It has the same title as the Louisa May Alcott novel, but it is very different from it. The show is described as a modern-day retelling that is loosely based on the novel, but I thought that while it had some slight similarities to the book, the entire series turned out to be very different.


Monday, February 20, 2023

Filipino Food The World Needs to Know

These days there are a lot of cooking shows popping up everywhere. Some are competitions, and some are documentaries. I remember back in the day the most popular shows were the ones where they teach you how to cook certain dishes. I don’t think I’ve seen those types of shows anymore. I’d love to be able to learn from shows like that.

Photo by SJ 📸 on Unsplash

Lately, I’ve seen that there are a lot of shows that have featured more Asian dishes, with some of them even featuring Filipino food. I’ve seen these shows feature balut, sisig, and adobo so far and I was very excited to see other people from other cultures try the types of food I grew up loving.


Sunday, February 19, 2023

Filipinos and Food

Food seems to be a particularly important part of Filipino culture. Whenever there is something to celebrate, this is done with a lot of food. When you want to comfort someone, you try to give them something to eat. It is a very Filipino trait to have food around for anything and everything. When I say anything and everything, I mean it: I’ve grown up accustomed to people bringing food even when they visit someone at the hospital.

Image by Freepik

I remember that I had a friend whose love language was asking someone if they’d already had something to eat and if not, she would offer to join that person for a meal. I would like to think that we Filipinos may have different approaches to it, but most of us have food involved in our love language.


Saturday, February 18, 2023

Sharing on Social Media

We all live in the age of social media. These days we share things online and with the rest of the world that we normally would not have done in the past. We document our lives in a way that we never have in the past. 

Image by Marie from Pixabay


Friday, February 17, 2023

Disney+ Review: Paper Man

Short and sweet. That was what the Disney Short Film Paperman was for me. It is a seven-minute movie that is in black and white (mostly). There is no dialogue, just music and other background sounds here and there. There is no script and this is a story told through animation but it still made me feel the emotions that were in the story. 

The story starts with a meet-cute where a young man and a young woman encounter each other while waiting for the train. The girl leaves ahead of the guy and he thought the moment had passed and he would never see her again. While he is at work, he looks out the window and sees her by the window of another building across the street. He then makes paper airplanes and tries to fly each one to her to get her attention. Even after finishing a pile of paper, he fails to get her attention and by the time he runs out, she is already leaving the building. 


Thursday, February 16, 2023

On SOGIE and Pinoy Drag

News about the Sexual Orientations and Gender Identity Expression Equality (SOGIE) bill in the Philippines was recently all over my social media due to the appeal of a Senator to dismiss this on basis of religion. He also said that what the bill is really about is same-sex marriage, which he is against. 

I don’t want to be too political about this but I don’t see a reason for not having this law passed if it is truly only for providing equal rights for and to prohibit discrimination of people of different sexual orientations and gender identities. I don’t agree on dismissing this on basis of religion when not all of us have the same religion. If we all have the right to different kinds of faith, we cannot lock in our laws based on just one of them. You can also say that there are only two genders but we cannot deny that there are other people who identify or express themselves in another way. I believe this bill is simply asking that we respect each other’s preferences and give them room to be themselves. It is not about insisting that we become like them but that we allow them to live their lives in the way that they are comfortable with. As long as they are not hurting other people I don’t see the reason why we cannot give them the freedom to be themselves.


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Elvis Effect

One of the celebrities that I became a fan of first from my childhood was Elvis Presley. I remember watching a TV special on his death anniversary when I was younger that made me interested in the man. 

Back in the days of no internet I only got to know Elvis from what was available. I found a book at my grandmother’s house about Elvis and his ex-wife Priscilla called Elvis and Me and I read that when I was in grade school. Whenever I saw an Elvis movie pop up on TV or when we could rent out his movies, I would watch them and just be in awe of not just Elvis the actor, but Elvis the singer/performer. 

Now that the wonders of the internet have given me access to all things Elvis, I have become an even bigger fan of the guy as a performer. Can’t say the same for him as a person as much since I find it problematic how he was a 24-year-old who got into a relationship with his future wife when she was only 14. Then there are all the allegations of abuse of the women in his life and drug abuse that led to his death. It was like he was an amazing and bright light as a performer but he had such a sad and dark life as a person. I preferred seeing the performer as separate from the person that he was.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Disney+ Review: Snowdrop

One of the KDramas that is on Disney+ that I have heard a lot about is the show Snowdrop, which stars Blackpink member Jisoo. I was not sure at first if I wanted to watch the series because I thought it was a period drama. I can’t explain it, but period dramas, specifically dramas where characters are in costume in KDramas, is one sub-category that I cannot find much interest in. I’ve tried to start a couple, but I never finish them. I later found out that the drama was set in the 80s, and I realized it was not as period-ish as I thought so I went ahead and started watching it.

The show is set in 1987, with Jisoo’s character Yeongro as a college student living in an all-female dorm. She meets and falls in love with Sooho (played by Jung Haein), someone she met on a group blind date. One night, she finds him lying in her dorm room covered with blood and she assumes that he is a pro-democracy protester like her dorm mate and decides that she must help him and hide him from the authorities. She later finds out that not only is he NOT a protester, but he is a North Korean spy who was sent by their government to help certain South Korean officials to rig the elections in their favor in exchange for money. Finding himself trapped in her dorm with the other spies, Soohoo is left with no other choice but to take everyone hostage until they can find a way to escape back to North Korea.


Monday, February 13, 2023


Black cats crossing your path are bad news. Never walk under a ladder. Doing this and that brings good luck. Doing the opposite, bad luck. There are so many superstitions all around the world, with some becoming traditions that people keep doing not because they completely believe in them, but more because it is something that they have become accustomed to. Like when you knock on wood to avoid bad luck or when you have noodles during birthdays to wish for long life. Or when you choke on your food and people believe it is because someone is thinking of you. 

Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Some Thoughts on Beauty Standards

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just what makes a person beautiful? What traits, qualities, and characteristics does a person have to possess to be called beautiful? While I agree that it depends on the person looking to define what is beautiful to him or her, we cannot deny that these days, there is such a thing as “beauty standards” that we must take into consideration.

Image by sym from Pixabay

These beauty standards, what the majority think or agree to be beautiful, are things that I wonder about sometimes. Is it truly what the majority thinks? Or is it something dictated by the powers that be, by the so-called people of influence, that we the public have come to learn to be that standard to follow?

Could it be a cultural thing? Could it be something that depends on the history of a country or a community that molds what people think is beautiful? Is it truly made up of just physical characteristics or do other factors come into play that affects what we think is beautiful?


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Fish and Chips Time!

Fish and Chips. I’ve always liked that combination. Fish fillets fried in batter with fries (or chips, or potato wedges, doesn’t matter which one) was a favorite of mine when I was younger. I remember back in college one of my favorite things to eat on the McDonald’s menu was the Fillet O’Fish, because it had the same style/flavor as fish and chips (especially if you order it with a side of fries of course). It’s too bad that they stopped selling that years ago because that was the only thing I used to order at McDonald’s back then.

I’ve always wanted to try and cook this, but I have never been confident about making something that was cooked/deep-fried with batter. I know it’s supposed to be crispy, and I’ve had my doubts about whether I could make that happen. I have probably collected around five different recipes for fish and chips through the years because of how much I’ve wanted to make them. I finally decided to choose one recipe from the site Recipe Tin Eats and made it for my family one weekend. Luckily for me, it was a big success!


Friday, February 10, 2023

Disney+ Rewind: Ever After

My sister is a fan of Drew Barrymore. I remember that one of the reasons that I got to watch the movie Ever After before was because she was a fan. I may not have been that big of a fan of Drew, but I did love this take on the whole Cinderella story.

Ever After is a live-action interpretation of the fairy tale of Cinderella. The basic story is the same but not patterned after the Disney animation. There is nothing supernatural that happens in this movie. No talking mice, no singing, no fairy godmother with a carriage that turns into a pumpkin at midnight. The story is presented as being told to the Grimm Brothers, the men who wrote down folk tales like Cinderella that helped it become immortalized into the stories that we know today.


Thursday, February 9, 2023

Netflix Picks: Vatican Girl

Back in 2019, I remember reading something in the news about two tombs being opened in one of the cemeteries in the Vatican. This was supposed to find the bones of a missing girl from the 1980s. Apparently, there were speculations that the girl’s body was hidden in one of those tombs but unfortunately, they did not find anything, not even the bones of the people who were supposed to be in those tombs (said to be two unnamed German princesses). 

That piece of news was the first time that I had heard the story of the missing girl who lived in the Vatican. Years later, I found myself watching the Netflix documentary series called Vatican Girl which explored the story of Emmanuela Orlandi’s disappearance and the clues about what happened to her.


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Tips on Buying KPop Merch Online

Being a KPop fan, specifically a BTS one, is not easy on the wallet if you easily get tempted by the merchandise that comes out to promote the group. Now that they are taking time apart to do solo projects (and enlist in the military), there is more merch being promoted and sold because promotions are now individually done and not as a group.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

KDrama Review: Love is For Suckers

Long before I became a fan of BTS, I was also a fan of the K-Pop boy band Super Junior. Specifically, I was a fan of one of the members, Siwon Choi, who is also an actor. I’ve seen him in a couple of K-Dramas, and I was a fan of his role in the show She Was Pretty. He wasn’t the lead in that one, but I think he stood out so well that I was rooting for his character to get the girl in the end. I know he had other shows where he eventually became the lead (and got the girl) but Love is for Suckers is the first time that I watched him in a lead role.

Love is for Suckers has a common trope: best friends who should be more, and could be more, if only they both did not hold back at that one moment when the timing was right. It’s about them dancing around the situation until they, as expected in any rom-com, finally get together in the end. I hope that doesn’t spoil the show for anyone, not that anyone expects anything other than a happy-ever-after for a romance like this. I’ll try my best not to go into too much detail to avoid spoiling it for those interested in watching it.


Monday, February 6, 2023

The Magic of TV

One thing that I would say played a big role in my life growing up was watching TV. Yes, I am not ashamed to say that I am a TV baby. Whenever my parents allowed me to as a child, I watched TV and followed the shows I liked. I’d like to think that my childhood watching TV shows in English helped me learn the language apart from school. I love TV because, like books, they introduce you to a new world, a new set of people, new stories, and new adventures that you can be entertained with.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Something that kids today may not have an appreciation for is watching TV shows in a non-binge way. Back then without the internet, shows would have episodes once a week so you would have to wait to find out what happens next in your favorite show.  Plus, in this age of streaming where shows get axed if people don’t binge-watch the show on its first week (or so they say), it is now rare to have a series that you can enjoy for years before it gets canceled. 

I was going through my watch list on Disney+ and realized that a lot of it was series that I used to watch on TV back when streaming was not yet a thing. These were shows I would wait for every week on cable. Most of these shows lasted more than five years, some even lasting more than a decade! One of the shows is still going strong today!


Sunday, February 5, 2023

Get Ready With Me

My relationship with makeup is a love-hate thing. There are times when I love it, and there are times when I hate it. I love putting on makeup and being all girly about the entire process, but at the same time, I hate that it is too much work. I like to think of myself as low maintenance, so putting makeup on for me is usually more out of necessity than anything else. I will skip if I feel I can get away with not having any on. But I will wear makeup if I have to. 

Makeup is not easy for me. In all my years of wearing makeup, I still don’t know the right way to do things. I watch a lot of beauty vloggers to learn their tips and tricks but doing them myself is not as easy as it looks. I try, but it does not always work out the way I see it online. I think the process is something that you get good at with practice, but since I don’t wear makeup all the time, I don’t get the necessary practice I need to be good at it. Then the pandemic happened and with people wearing masks, there was less and less need for me to put makeup on. Now that there are places where people can take off masks, makeup is something that I need to do again. I’m not sure if I remember how to do it right anymore.


Saturday, February 4, 2023

Happy Anniversary Fandesals Podcast!

It has been one year since the first episode of the Fandesals Podcast was published online. Back then, this podcast that I have been doing with my friend Judith was audio-only. We recorded it together online and put it out to the world via Anchor, which automatically places it on Spotify, Apple, and other podcast service providers. 

When the opportunity to record together happened, we decided to start recording on video so the last episode of the first season was a surprise audio episode before we fully transitioned to video in season 2. Since then, Spotify has made video podcasts available on their service, so the Fandesals Podcast is also available as video episodes there as well. 


Friday, February 3, 2023

TV Throwback: Bones

Disney+ has so many of my old favorites, I didn’t know where to start when I first subscribed. I was a bit hesitant to re-watch this old series again after all this time because it lasted for 13 seasons, with most seasons having 22 episodes each. But, as someone who loved this enough to have a DVD collection of it, I eventually gave in and watched Bones again from start to finish.

It took a while for me to be able to watch the entire series again considering how long it was but since I usually watch my shows when I work out in the mornings, I was able to carve out time to see the show. It felt good to be reintroduced to my favorite characters and relive some of the best moments from this series and by the series finale, I was again sad to see everyone go.

For the uninitiated, Bones is loosely based on the books by Kathy Reichs about a forensic anthropologist who teams up with an FBI agent to solve crime. It is interesting to note that in the series, Temperance Brennan, the lead character, also writes crime novels, where the lead character is named Kathy Reichs. It is a good nod to the link between the series and the novels. 

I’ve tried to read a few of the Brennan books and while I am a fan of the show, the books were a bit hard to wrap my head around since I had already developed an image of the characters based on how they were on TV. I decided to stop reading the books and stick to the show instead.


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Four Eyes Part 2: Can't Live Without Glasses

A year ago I was recording an episode of the Fandesals Podcast with my friend Judith and we talked about the things that we can’t live without. One of the things that I mentioned in the podcast (episode embedded below) was that I could not live without my glasses. Now that I think about it, I think that I have been wearing glasses practically all my life!

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I was in elementary school when I started wearing glasses. It was embarrassing, to be honest. I had to wear thick ones that reminded people of the bottoms of Coca-Cola bottles. I was told that I had astigmatism and that I was near-sighted, something that I remember my paternal grandmother and my mother blamed on my habit of reading too much even when it was already too dark to do so. 

As I got older, I think I went through the stage where I would have glasses, but I would only wear them when they were necessary. I felt that wearing them made me look nerdy and unattractive so I tried to find ways to work around the situation. I asked my doctor if I could wear contacts, but that idea was shut down by my doctor because I was told that they were not good for people with astigmatism. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

My Vitamins and Supplements Story

Back when I was a young girl, I remember vacationing in my cousin’s house and every morning, they would give us vitamins to take after breakfast. I think that was my introduction to the whole taking of vitamins and supplements lifestyle. As I grew older, I started reading more about the vitamins and supplements that people could take to make themselves healthier. Honestly, there are way too many that I became overwhelmed with the idea. I would take a multivitamin then try a supplement or two that I saw ads for to see if they worked. If they didn’t I’d stop taking them and move on to the next. It was a bad idea. At one point I had a health scare that was caused by the supplements (and diet teas) I was taking to lose weight which caused issues with my digestive system. The resulting issues from it are something that I have to deal with today.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Later, I had a doctor who advised me to stop taking all these supplements and just limited me to vitamin C, calcium, and fish oil along with my maintenance meds (which I take due to other pre-existing medical conditions that I've had since childhood). He told me that we can get most vitamins and minerals from the food we eat as long as we have the right kind of diet and that any excess vitamins we take in are disposed of by the body anyway so taking too many supplements wouldn’t be much help and a waste of money.


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

My Book Lover Story

On one of the off-season episodes of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below), my co-host Judith shared her book lover origin story. As someone who loves to read books myself, I thought it would be great to share my journey with books. I hope people can relate to it and remind them of their book-lover stories too. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

It was my parents who started my love for books. I remember growing up with shelves of children’s books that they encouraged me to read: Disney books, Dr. Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie the Pooh. I regret not being able to keep those books when we moved because they were significant parts of my childhood.


Monday, January 30, 2023

Podcast Feature: Bailey Sarian's Murder, Mystery and Makeup

As a podcaster, I know I should probably be listening to more podcasts to find out what is popular, what is good, and what we should not be doing for the Fandesals Podcast. However, I only listen to a select few because I do not have that much time to do so. I appreciate those who take the time to check out our podcast because I know from experience that it’s not easy to carve away time for it.

We mentioned some of our favorite podcasts during an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below). Although it was Judith who mentioned most of the podcasts on our list, I did mention being a fan of Bailey Sarian and her Dark History podcast. I might have failed to mention that I also listen to her Murder, Mystery, and Makeup podcast.


Sunday, January 29, 2023

My Favorite BTS Performances

In one of my solo episodes on the Fandesals Podcast, I talked about my favorite live performances of BTS. I had limited time to share more performances on our YouTube channel, so I am sharing more about them in this post.

As I have repeatedly mentioned on our YouTube episodes, with BTS, you will always, ALWAYS get high-quality live performances. This is a group that will never half-ass anything, be it with dancing or with singing and rapping. The production level will always be of high quality, with each performance looking concert-level in terms of staging and backing performers.


Friday, January 27, 2023

Disney+ Review: Bao

Last month, I spent time babysitting my one-year-old niece and one of the things that kept her entertained was watching short films from Disney+. Out of all the shorts that we watched, the one that touched me the most was Bao. I had heard about it before but watching it with my niece was the first time that I got to see it…and I am glad I did.

The short starts with a Chinese woman preparing steamed buns while her husband watches TV. One of the buns comes to life, and she starts treating the little bun like it was her child. She takes care of, spends time with, feeds, and clothes the little bun as he grows up. In time, the little bun starts wanting to spend time with other kids and wants to spend time doing things away from the woman. This causes conflict between the little bun and the woman until it reaches the point where the bun decides to leave home to be with his girlfriend. The woman tries to stop the bun from leaving and when she realizes she cannot convince it to stay, she grabs the bun and swallows it whole. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Books I Love

As any book lover would understand, it is difficult to say what book is your favorite. Our interests in books in terms of genres, storylines, and other categories tend to change through time. As we grow older, as we get exposed to more things, what we thought to be our favorite book or genre gets overshadowed by another. What may seem to be a favorite now may be a book you do not even remember later. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Plus, it is hard to say that there is just one book that you would call a favorite. There are bound to be plenty of books that you could say that you love. Choosing just one out of many that have made a mark would be difficult to do. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Netflix Picks: Tomorrow

A little warning before starting this post: this show that I recently watched deals with sensitive topics so if you find yourself emotionally triggered by topics of death, depression, and other related issues, it might be best to skip this post.

Tomorrow is one of the K-Drama series that I watched last year on Netflix. I was not actively blogging back then, so I was not able to post a review, but I did share a bit about this show on the Fandesals Podcast on YouTube. It was just a brief review back on the show, so I decided to write a blog post to add to what I had previously shared on the vlog.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Thoughts on Romance

Who does not love a little romance? I am a fan of romantic songs. I love reading romance books. I love my fair share of romantic movies and series. I may not be as romance-crazy as I used to be in my younger years, but I still enjoy a bit of romance now and then. In an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded at the end of this post), I was able to share my favorite romantic moments from movies and series that I enjoyed watching. 

Image by Angela Yuriko Smith from Pixabay

One thing I realized from watching the episode that we recorded is that my definition of romantic moments has changed through the years. If I remember correctly, when I was younger my definition of romance was being swept off my feet with grand romantic gestures, flowers, big gifts, and public displays of affection. I equated love with passion and excitement, with big moments.


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Album Review: Indigo

After J-Hope’s solo album release, RM was the second among the members of BTS to release an album. As someone from the rap line of BTS, I knew that he was going to rap, but after seeing the promotional material from the album before its release I knew that it was going to be different from his previous mix tapes. I had a hunch it was going go in a more R&B direction and I was right.

Like Jack in the Box, RM’s Indigo is a very personal and introspective album that shares his feelings about his life and career. The only difference is that RM has packed his album with an arsenal of collaborations to go with it. 

The first single from the album is Wild Flower, which has a beautiful music video. Despite having this song as a first single, according to RM he would like for people to listen to the album in the order of the tracks as he had arranged it. This has been the way that I have been listening to it since then and I must agree that the music flows well from one song to another in that way. I also noticed that with each song there are elements of the musical style of each other the artists he collaborated with. It is a good mix of his music and that of his collaborator.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Cooking Time: Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Noodles

Chrissy Teigen, the wife of singer John Legend, is someone that I have been following on Twitter for a while now. I’m not sure which came first: following her on Twitter or reading her then-blog, which was focused on food and called Cravings. After a while, that whole concept blew up and Cravings not only became a website for her, but also a personal brand. She has since launched two cookbooks and a line of cookware. If I’m not mistaken, she also has baking items out in the market too.

I’m in a bit of a cooking mood lately, trying out recipes from books and online and I decided that it was time to try out another Chrissy Teigen recipe. I’ve tried a couple of recipes from her Cravings cookbooks in the past, so this time around I thought I’d try one from her website. As with other recipes I’ve tried, I had to adjust the ingredient instructions to increase the number of people I can serve the dish to, plus there are ingredients that were not readily available at the time of cooking so I had to make do with what I had.  The recipe that I tried and that I’m sharing on this post is her Creamy Garlic Chicken and Mushroom Noodles. 

At first, I thought I was making a pasta dish, but as it turns out this one calls for egg noodles, so this is something new for me to cook and eat. I don’t think I've tried egg noodles with cream before so I was both excited and nervous to try making this dish. 


Friday, January 20, 2023

Disney+ Rewind: Lie to Me

With Disney+ finally in the Philippines, I finally got to see what all the buzz was about. I signed up for an annual subscription package and as soon as I checked the shows and movies in there, I knew that I got my money’s worth with it.

I discovered that there were old shows that I loved in the past that were on Disney+. Shows that I used to wait for on cable TV once a week for years. This time, I could binge-watch all the seasons as often as I wanted. There were so many to choose from that I did not know where to start! I eventually picked a show that only had three seasons, the 2009 crime drama called Lie to Me starring Tim Roth.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Book Review: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop

What would you do if you had the gift of seeing into the future? Would you embrace it, or would you run away from it? In the book Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop, the lead character decided to do the latter, with disastrous results.

Image Credit: Penguin Random House


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Throwback Movie: The Shining

Horror movies are not my thing. I have watched a reasonable amount of them, but I watched them only because the rest of my family are fans of the genre. I am more the type of person who watches these movies only when I watch with family, I would never watch this genre of my own volition. I will only watch it if someone asks me to watch it with them, which is not often since people close to me know that I am not a fan. It is not that these movies scare me, but that I do not enjoy watching these types of films in general.

Image by Frank Reppold from Pixabay

That does not mean, however, that I have a limited list of horror movies that I have seen. Through the years I think I have still seen a reasonable amount of them. In an episode of the Fandesals Podcast, I was able to share the horror movies that made a mark on me (episode embedded at the end of this post). In that episode, I mentioned one of those movies that I cannot forget to this day: The Shining starring Jack Nicholson.

The Shining is based on Stephen King’s book of the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Classified as a psychological horror film, the movie is about a man named Jack Torrance, who moves his family (his wife and young son) to the Overlook Hotel, where he is the off-season caretaker while the hotel closes during the winter season. During the movie, the reveal is that supernatural beings live in the hotel, which Jack’s son sees because he has what they called “the shining.” Combined with the influence of these supernatural beings and his mental instability due to being an alcoholic, Jack goes into a murderous rage and goes after his own family.

This movie is something that I had first watched as a child and watching the film had become an annual tradition between me and my cousins whenever they visited our home in our younger years. It is one of those movies that we used to expect to see whenever we were all together.

While not a fan of this genre, I did appreciate that this movie is something that is not just about jump scares or blood and gore. Growing up watching the film through the years I have come to realize that this movie’s appeal for me was that it was something that made you think. It scared you more by playing with your mind rather than by killing people and showing violent scenes. Now that I look back on it, Jack only kills one person in the film, and even then, the actual killing is not in the way that modern horror movies do where it can be as gruesome as possible. Even the ending where they show Jack in photos of the hotel’s parties in the past makes you think and wonder about the supernatural power the hotel has over the people in it.

I have not seen the movie in years, but I still clearly remember images and scenes from the film. Jack Nicholson breaks down a door with an ax as Shelly Duvall screams in terror. The young boy on his bike riding along the carpeted hotel hallway. The same boy saying “Redrum.” The scary twins in matching dresses. The hedge maze with Jack Nicholson freezing to death while holding a scary look on his face.

Watching The Shining may be the reason that I prefer horror movies that mess with your mind more than slasher films. I still would not watch these movies on my own because I am not a fan of the genre, but if I had to choose, I would pick movies like The Shining. I heard that there is a sequel to this one called Doctor Sleep, but I have not had the chance to see that yet. Reviews do not seem to be that good, so I think I will pass on it because it might spoil what I liked about The Shining.

The Shining is available on YouTube for rent. If anyone out there knows if it is on any other streaming service, please leave a message on this post and let everyone else know about it!


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

KDrama Review: Love in Contract

One of the things that kept me going during this pandemic is watching K-Dramas. I have been a fan of Korean shows for years now, but it was only during the pandemic that I found myself watching these shows to relax and unwind after a long and stressful day.

Love in Contract starring Park Minyoung, which is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime, is one of the shows that recently got my attention. I am familiar with Park Minyoung because of her previous shows like What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim and Her Private Life, two shows that I previously enjoyed watching, so I was curious about this show.


Monday, January 16, 2023

Instagram Accounts I Love

When I first started blogging, it was about following fellow bloggers, and fellow writers. Real people who talk about their lives and their experiences. Gradually, bloggers started to fade away and attention shifted to social media where people suddenly became influencers, personalities, and celebrities themselves. There are so many people that you can follow online on an entire range of different platforms. To be honest, it feels overwhelming to me the number of social media platforms you can be on. I have come to realize, however, that if a social media personality is big enough, they usually have accounts on every platform and that the content is usually the same everywhere. Since then, I have decided to follow the people I like on the platforms that I am most used to (specifically on Instagram and YouTube).

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

My friend Judith and I talked about social media accounts/personalities that we have been following on an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below). While we have talked about diverse types of social media accounts in the episode, for this post I just want to share five of the accounts I follow on Instagram that I failed to mention in our podcast: 


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Music Review: The Astronaut

I still remember how it happened: Jin announced that he was releasing a single during the BTS Yet to Come concert in Busan. The following day they released an announcement that he was enlisting in December in the South Korean military. The news followed that the single release is by the end of October and that it was a collaboration between Jin and the band Coldplay, whom they had previously worked with on the song My Universe.

I had mixed feelings about the single. It was sad to think that he had something new coming out but that we could not look forward to more for at least 18 months while he is in the military. And when the single and the music video came out, I became even sadder because it turned out to be a love song for his fans and it was a way to say goodbye for now while he goes to fulfill his duty in the military.


Saturday, January 14, 2023

My Version of Galbijjim

After my too-spicy attempt at Budaejjigae from the BTS Recipe Book, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to try another recipe from it. I realized that there were recipes that did not require anything too spicy so I decided it would be best to wean myself back into it by choosing a non-spicy recipe. This time around I tried Galbijjim. 

Galbijjim is braised beef short ribs and, according to Korean Bapsang, is served on traditional holidays and special occasions in Korea. I am not used to cooking beef, so this was a first for me. I had to ask my sister for advice when I was making this because I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn out right.

As with my previous recipe, I had to multiply by 2 the amounts in the recipe from the book because I was serving it for more people than what was indicated. Here is the recipe based on what I had used since some ingredients were (again) not available to me at the time of cooking:


Friday, January 13, 2023

Disney+ Review: In the Soop Friendcation

In the Soop means a lot to me. My friend shared the first season of the show during one of my low points in the pandemic and I enjoyed it so much that I ended up watching the second season as well. While I did not watch the season that featured the K-Pop band Seventeen, I did take the time to watch the one that featured BTS’ V and his friends, In the Soop: Friendcation.

This four-episode special was the idea of V aka Kim Taehyung. He wanted to go on a trip with his celebrity friends with cameras in tow. The Wooga Squad, as his friend group is popularly known, is Park Seojoon (actor - What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Hwarang), Choi Wooshik (actor -Parasite, Train to Busan), Park Hyungsik (actor - Hwarang, Strong Girl Bong Soon), Peakboy (singer), and V (singer - BTS, actor - Hwarang). I have always been curious about the Wooga Squad because they are a close-knit group, and this show was on my list of Disney+ shows to watch. 


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Book Review: Almond

The recent Christmas holiday gave me a chance to read the books on my TBR pile. One of those books is Almond by Sohn Wonpyung. I only knew of this book from watching the first season of BTS’ In the Soop. RM and SUGA read this book in the show, with the latter seeming to highlight lines from the book so many times. I was curious about what it was all about, so I had to get my copy. 

Image Credit: Harper Collins

The book is from the point of view of the main character, Yunjae, who was born with a brain condition that prevents him from feeling emotions. Growing up, he had his mother and grandmother to support him, guiding him through the emotions that he cannot feel or understand in the hopes that he would be able to live and relate to others despite his condition. Sadly, on his birthday, both of his guardians become victims of a violent attack that kills his grandmother and leaves his mother in a coma, leaving him to learn for himself how to live in a world that does not understand his condition.


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Falling Out Of Love With Basketball

Filipinos, for some strange reason, love basketball. You can throw a stone anywhere in the country and it would hit someone who is a fan. From the fanciest of places to the most rural of settings, you can find someone playing basketball. It could be in a gym, basketball court, or on a makeshift court on the street where people are playing in their slippers. That is how much basketball is loved in the country.

Image by Darek Beach from Pixabay

I grew up in a family full of basketball fans. Watching the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) on TV was a regular family activity. We all had our favorite teams and our favorite players. I was also a huge fan of college basketball, and I was serious about it too. I followed the games, and I was usually the type who would be screaming my heart out in the stands in support of my favorite team. I also had an NBA team that I was a major fan of, and I used to watch their games religiously.

Sometime after college, I suddenly lost my interest in basketball. I do not know how to explain it, but I just got to the point where I did not care about the sport the way I used to. It was weird since this was the time when people I knew from school were playing in the PBA. You would think that a personal connection to the sport would be enough to keep me interested but unfortunately, that was not the case.

These days, I am not familiar with the players in both the PBA and the NBA. I do not even know the names of the PBA teams anymore. It feels strange considering that I even had posters of basketball players on my wall when I was a kid.

I tried to get back into being a fan of the sport, watching PBA and NBA games on TV whenever I had the chance, but I could not get the excitement that I used to feel back again. I thought it was because I was also watching other sports at the time like boxing and football, or sports in general were not as important to me as they used to be. It was sad to think about since I loved basketball so much for so long. Do I need to find a team to root for to get that thrill back?

The excitement of watching a game is lost on me these days, but I still have an appreciation for the sport. I recently watched an NBA game on TV, and I am still in awe whenever I see a player or team play well. I still love seeing a good play, a good assist, or a shot when I watch a game. I still enjoy watching a basketball game if it is good, but the thrill I used to feel with the experience is just not there anymore. It does not help that the family is not as into basketball these days either. They still watch games, but they are not as big on the fandom as they used to be either.

I am not sure if it is just me, but the PBA does not seem as popular as it used to be, not like the way it was when I was younger. It is likely because there are so many other basketball leagues that have sprung up through the years. It is also possible that the pandemic changed people’s priorities. Or it could also be because of the recent popularity of volleyball in the country. Philippine basketball just feels different these days. I cannot even bring myself to watch a UAAP basketball game anymore no matter how excited people can be about it.

I may not be a basketball fan anymore, but I will always have a soft spot for it. The sport has given me so many good memories as a fan growing up. The excitement when your team is fighting for a win, the heartbreak of a loss, and the frenzy that happens when your team wins are memories that I will always have as a (former) basketball fan. Hopefully one day I can enjoy watching it again. 

We talked about the sports we like to watch in an episode of the Fandesals, where I also talked about being a basketball fan. You can check it out here:


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Netflix Picks: Partners for Justice

Binge-watching series (should we still call them TV series if it is not technically on TV?) has been the norm for me lately. I tend to watch them in the mornings when I work out. I have been watching Netflix often lately, which is how I recently discovered the Korean drama Partners for Justice. It popped up as one of my suggested shows and I decided to try watching it. I ended up watching and finishing the series.

The show is a crime/medical drama that revolves around Eunsol, a newcomer prosecutor who solves cases with the help of forensic doctor Baekbeom. I am normally the type who watches K-Dramas of the romance and drama category so watching a Korean crime drama was new to me. I have seen Criminal Minds Korea, but since it is a US franchise show, Partners for Justice is my first in terms of crime-themed K-Dramas. 


Monday, January 9, 2023

A Non-Gamer's Gaming Story

Gaming is not my thing. Playing games on a computer or a device is not something that I can entertain myself with for extended periods. I may start out trying a game, but I will not always have the patience to finish it. I play games to entertain myself so if things get hard and I cannot get past a certain stage, I will quit. If things get too repetitive, that will also make me give up completely. The only time I have ever played for hours was when I was playing Super Mario Brothers when I was younger.

Image by Joseph Redfield Nino from Pixabay

We talked about the games we play on an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below). We shared the games we played, from the point of view of non-serious/amateur gamers. I guess you can say we are casual gamers: people who play now and then to pass the time.


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Music Review: Jack in the Box

When BTS announced that they would be taking time apart to concentrate on solo projects, the world went crazy: media announced a hiatus/disbandment, and fans worried about missing the group. What we did not know then was that with the solo projects, fans would have even more BTS projects and merchandise to go out and support. There has been so much that it has left my wallet shaking!

The first one to “go solo” after the announcement was j-hope. He has had solo efforts in the past with his mix tape Hope World in 2018, but his latest project, Jack in the Box, is his first official solo album. The album first came out with the single More, followed by Arson, and these songs were highlights of his performance at Lollapalooza in 2022. 


Saturday, January 7, 2023

An Attempt at Budaejjigae

Years back I was out on the road at night with people from work. We were still a long way from home and the weather was so bad and there was zero visibility on the road, so we decided to stop somewhere to wait for things to clear up. We have not had dinner yet so we went into the nearest restaurant we could find and wound up in a small Korean place where I had Budaejjigae. It was so good that I promised myself that I would try to make this dish one day and this month, I finally did with the help of a recipe from the BTS Recipe Book!

Budaejjigae, also known as army stew, because (according to My Korean Kitchen) it incorporates American-style processed food into the stew (jjigae). Budae means military base, which was where Koreans sourced the surplus American food for this back in the 50s. 

I remember watching In the Soop and SUGA made this for everyone, commenting that preparing food for a large group of people was hard. I agree. The recipe book listed the ingredients as good for three people, so I had to adjust mine since more of us were supposed to eat it. I decided to multiply everything by two to make enough for my family.


Friday, January 6, 2023

Disney+ Review: Disenchanted

Enchanted was one of those Disney movies that I enjoyed watching back when it first came out in cinemas. Having a story where a fairy tale/animated character transitions to the real world (and vice versa) was cute. It was exciting to hear that it was going to have a sequel so when we finally had Disney+ here in the Philippines, my family and I sat down together to watch this (warning: spoilers ahead!).

Image Credit: Disney+

In this movie, they said that in the real world, the story does not end with happily ever after. In the case of the family of Robert, Giselle, and Morgan, it meant more things can happen after the couple ended up together. Real life happens. Morgan grows up and becomes a teenager with an awkward relationship with Giselle (who is still as insanely optimistic, naïve, and bubbly as ever) and there is also a new addition to the family, a baby girl named Sofia. The now larger family moves to suburbia, to the town of Monroeville, where the growing gap between mother and daughter gets worse. 


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Book Review: Arsenic and Adobo

Reading is an activity that I have always loved. Being able to finish reading fifty books in a year used to be a normal thing for me. However, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I stopped. I could not bring myself to pick up a book. I read one short romance novel last year but at the end of it, I did not feel the satisfaction that I normally felt from reading. 

Image Credit: Penguin Random House

I decided that it was time to go back to my reading roots. Mystery books, particularly the Nancy Drew series, were my category of choice back when I was a kid. I looked around for current and highly-rated mystery books and found myself getting the book Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala. It is a Nominee for Goodreads Best Mystery and Thriller in 2021. 

A mystery book featuring a Filipino family? It was just the right book for me to dive into to get out of my reader’s block. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

My Superhero Story

These days, superheroes are a massive thing. Big-budget movie (and TV) franchises that are big hits revolve around these superheroes. As someone who grew up in times when these superheroes were only in comic books and cartoons (or in live-action movies and shows that had less than impressive special effects), it is awe-inspiring to see how today’s technology has made these heroes come to life in ways that we never imagined in the past. Today they can make all these fictional worlds and people (and super beings) come to life so well that it seems believable for these characters to blend into the real world as they do in movies and TV. It gives children even bigger inspiration to dream of being heroes themselves.

Image by Kathrynne from Pixabay

I grew up being a fan of Wonder Woman. I remember watching Lynda Carter’s old show and loved how she portrayed Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. She was both feminine and empowered/strong at the same time. She was a good role model during my younger years. I credit my being a fan of hers back then to the fact that I started to veer toward strong female characters in the books I read, and in the shows/films that I watch. I would like to think that this helped me to grow up stronger and more empowered as a woman as well. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Disney+ Review: Soundtrack #1

Disney+ is a streaming service that I had been waiting for around a year before it finally became available here in our country. I have been hearing about the number of movies and shows that I liked that was in this service and was excited to start watching when I was finally able to sign up for it. One of the first shows that I watched from Disney+ was the Korean drama Soundtrack #1.

Photo Credit: Disney+

Starring Park Hyungsik and Han Sohee, the 4-episode series is about best friends whose relationship develops into a romance. I have heard so much about this show and I was very curious about how they could pull off a romance in just four episodes. It turns out that the concept is doable and that it was more entertaining than I expected it to be. 


Monday, January 2, 2023

Throwback: My Favorite Childhood Snacks

Fellow adults, I have a question: what gives you comfort after a stressful day? I have a bunch of things that give me comfort, but one of the things that helps me to de-stress is eating my comfort food. There is an even longer list of what types of food give me comfort which would make this too much to read so let me settle on one category: snacks from my childhood.

Image by b13923790 from Pixabay

There is something about eating snacks that I used to enjoy as a child that helps me to feel better after a long and tiring day. This is because these snacks remind me of simpler times, and it brings me back to memories of days when I did not have as many responsibilities and was able to do whatever I wanted. 


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Blanket Lady

If someone asked me what I wanted as a gift right now, I would answer one thing: blankets. I know it is weird because I live in a tropical country, and it is too hot to use a blanket, but I love them. I would like to try a weighted blanket or at least something close to it. A heavy blanket or a duvet…something heavier than a regular blanket but not as heavy as the weighted ones out in the market. I would need to turn on the air conditioning to use it though. 

Image by Myléne from Pixabay

Blog Layout Designed by pipdig