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.


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.


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


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.


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. 


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

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