Week 29/52 : Be yourself – an original is worth more than a copy

I bought this shirt at the ToyCon last June. It’s the shirt that G-Dragon wore in this “One of a Kind” MV.

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I looked for it last October when Ezra and I dropped by Cosmania, but they didn’t have it. Fortunately it was available at the ToyCon  The stall I bought it from had a bunch of other Kpop and Jpop designs too. (Ezra’s still beating herself up for not buying a One OK Rock shirt when she had the chance.)

Anyway, this is just a simple self portrait. You’ll probably see a couple of these in my next few uploads, seeing as I’m already 6 weeks behind. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Gah~

Book Review : Veiled Innocence

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I have to say I’m in love with Ella Frank’s writing.   I’ve never read any of her other works before, but now I’m probably going to have to check them out.  Reading Veiled Innocence was like putting together a puzzle in my mind, it was very fascinating.  It alternates from past to present events, therefore readers only get bits and pieces of the story at a time.  The book starts in the present, so you know where Addison has ended up, but you have no idea how she got there, and you just can’t help but read on to find out.  At the same time, the point of view changes between Addison and Mr. McKendrick, so readers get an idea of what goes on in their minds.  I couldn’t put the book down because I couldn’t wait to see how everything unfolded.

I should probably mention that this book belongs to the student-teacher romance genre.  I love reading forbidden romance novels, and although I don’t necessarily gravitate towards student-teacher romance, it seems to be a pretty popular genre and I’ve read several of them already.  I know it’s probably not a good thing for me to admit that I enjoy student-teacher romance novels, considering that I’m a teacher myself.   Believe me when I say that my love for the genre does NOT translate to real life.  I know it’s wrong and definitely unethical.  I have never gotten a desire to be romantically involved with a student, nor do I think it’s okay for other teachers to do so.  I understand that sometimes a teacher will form a special bond with their students and might end up dating one of them.  As a teacher, I think this is only acceptable if (a) the student has passed the class/has graduated, and (b) you are not breaking any laws (example : dating a minor).  If for any reason the teacher and (former) student feels like they have to hide the relationship, then that probably means that they know that they’re doing something wrong and should probably stop.  I believe that true love is beautiful and it should be celebrated and not hidden.  But, this doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy forbidden romance novels 😀

(Technically you could say that I’ve been in a student-teacher relationship before.  My boyfriend and I were batch-mates during college, but I graduated before he did.  I started teaching immediately after that, so for a while, I guess you could say that we were a student-teacher couple.  We were both Applied Physics majors, and after I graduated I taught in the same department he was studying in.  But I don’t think this counts since everyone knew that we were already a couple before I started teaching.  Besides, he was never MY student since he was already finishing up his thesis at the time, and I was a new instructor so I only handled general service courses.)

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Week 25/52 : Some infinities are bigger than other infinities

I’m pretty sure that most of you already know which book inspired my self portrait this week. I saw this shirt being sold at the ToyCon last June and I knew I had to get it. You guys know that I’m a fan of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. I loved both the book and the movie. (You can read my review of the book HERE.) I actually shot a self portrait last year that was also inspired by the book (which you can see HERE), right after I finished reading it. When the movie came out last month, I knew I had to watch it. Ezra and Ckloy had no interest in seeing it but fortunately I was able to get Amie to watch it with me. Having read the book, I already knew what was going to happen but I still ended up crying my eyes out at the theater. I actually think that reading the book made me more vulnerable because I knew what was coming. Even during the happy moments, all I kept thinking about was the ending.

I usually prefer comedies over drama, but I really enjoyed the movie. If you guys haven’t seen it then you might want to check it out. Give the book a try too if you have time 😀

(My title came from one of my favorite quotes in the book)

Book Review : More Than This

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I rarely do book reviews these days, but I finished this the other day and I still haven’t moved on so I figured I should write a quick entry about it to get it out of my system.

This is a story about how a young girl’s entire world shattered in one evening, and how she managed to piece it back together with the help of some amazing people.  It’s a story about fate, destiny, love, friendship and family. It’s about accepting our weaknesses and finding our strengths and moving on.

From the very beginning, I was immediately intrigued because the main character is part Filipino.  It doesn’t really play a huge role in the story but I rarely come across books with Filipino characters.  I think the last one I read with a character who was part Filipino was from the Georgina Kincaid series, and she was just a minor character.  Then I learned that Mikayla’s favorite book is The Sea of Tranquility, which was my favorite book of 2013.  (You can read my review HERE).  I actually had to put the book down when she mentioned this and tell all the people around me that Mikayla Jones loves The Sea of Tranquility and Josh Bennet as much as I do.  Instant connection, right there.  Throw in a hot guy with a sexy accent to the mix and I didn’t stand a chance.  I really enjoyed the writing too.  It was very enchanting and I felt like I was putting together a puzzle in my mind.  Within the first few chapters, I experienced a whirlwind of feelings and emotions.  Anger, happiness, joy, and pain … so much pain.

I loved the characters in this book.  I admire Mikayla for being so strong.  She lost so much in one evening, and at such a young age, but she managed to keep her head up and find a way to move on.  And I love Jake because, seriously, what’s not to love?  Hot guy, sexy accent, athletic discipline, kind, supportive, caring and a family guy.  I respect the fact that he never pushed Mikayla to do something she wasn’t ready for. He always let her know know that he will be there to support her no matter what path she chooses.  It’s kind of unbelievable that a guy she only knew for 24 hours would take her under his wing and help her get through something so horrible.  But then again, there are genuinely nice people out there.  Jay McLean undoubtedly created Jake Andrews to give female readers someone to drool over.

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Week 11/52 : “Non est ad astra mollis e terris via”

The quote in the title is by the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca. It translates to “there is no easy way from the earth to the stars”. I chose it because I think it serves as a nice reminder that we have to work for our dreams. I’m the type of person who will always chose the most convenient path (or in Physics terms, “the path of least resistance”). It doesn’t matter where it will take me, just as long as it requires the least amount of effort. I realized that while this may lead to an easy life, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the life I want. I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog how frustrated I am that I have no goal, nothing to aim for. I think the reason I’m too scared to dream is because I know that having big dreams always mean lots of hard work. But maybe that’s something I’m willing to face now.

Last week I mentioned that I wanted a self portrait with stars, and here it is. This is all thanks to my recent obsession with the K-drama You Who Came From The Stars. It’s been about two weeks since I finished it but I still can’t get over how much I love that show. I was able to get Brinks to watch it and so far she seems to be enjoying it.

K-drama Review : You Who Came From The Stars

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(Also known as “My Love From Another Star“)

It’s been a while since I last watched a K-drama, and it’s been even longer since I last saw one that got me completely captivated. The last one was probably Secret Garden, back in 2011. (Although I did really enjoy To The Beautiful You). My sister is still pretty updated with the latest dramas and she strongly encouraged me to watch this one. She told me that since I love shojou mangas with a tsundere male, I would enjoy this a lot. And surprise surprise, she was right. Just one episode in and I was hooked.

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SUMMARY:

Here’s the basic plot of the story according to Wikipedia:

Do Min-joon is an alien that landed on Earth in the year 1609 during the Joseon Dynasty. As his spaceship is broken, he is stranded on the planet for the next four centuries. He possesses a near-perfect appearance, enhanced physical abilities involving his vision, hearing and speed, and a cynical, jaded view regarding human beings. He meets a young girl whom he saves from death, but later on she gives her life saving him.

As time goes by, Min-joon is forced to take on a new identity every ten years, as his human appearance never ages.

In the present he works as a college professor and finds out that due to a comet coming in three months, he will be able to return to his home planet. In the meantime he accidentally meets famous actress Cheon Song-yi, the biggest Hallyu star in Korea, when she moves in next door to his luxurious apartment and also turns out to be attending his classes at college. Song-yi is an obnoxious, entitled attention seeker, someone who became a top star in her teens and never learned how to live a normal life. Min-joon finds out that Song-yi looks like the young girl he fell in love with in the Joseon era. He tries to keep himself away from her, as he needs to leave the planet.

However, Song-yi gets entangled in the dangerous game of Lee Jae-kyung, the elder brother of Hwi-kyung, who has been her friend since middle school and is in love with her. As Jae-kyung tries to silence Song-yi, Min-joon finds himself saving her multiple times and eventually the neighbours fall for each other. But Jae-kyung turns out to be much more dangerous than Min-joon suspected and he mysteriously also starts to lose control over his superpowers, making his only friend and confindant, Lawyer Jang worried about his life and return to space.

(The summary is pretty accurate, except for the part where it says his spaceship was broken. I’m pretty sure the reason he was stranded on Earth was because he was poisoned when it was time for the spaceship to leave so he got left behind. But I definitely agree with the statement about his “near-perfect appearance” XD)

I have just got to say that I LOVED this drama. So even though I’m extremely busy with work, I just had to write this quick review. To keep it short (well, shorter than my other K-drama reviews), I will try to focus only on the aspects of the show that I liked. Please be warned that this review will contain MAJOR SPOILERS. So if you plan to watch it, then you might want to close your browser now.

THE CHARACTERS/CAST:

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Cheon Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun)

She was one of the main reasons I decided to watch this K-drama. My Sassy Girl is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I loved her in it. I remember first watching it back in college. I enjoyed it so much that I even made all my friends (and a few family members) watch it. I love that Cheon Song Yi’s character in this drama is pretty similar to her character in My Sassy Girl. They’re both bossy, confident and ultimately “sassy”. One major difference from her character in Sassy Girl is that Cheon Song Yi is pretty ditzy, which only makes me love her more. You guys know I have a soft spot for girls who are adorably cute and clueless. (think Go Mi Nam in You’re Beautiful, Mi Ho in MGIAG, Nodame in Nodame Cantabile and Yuan Xiang Qin in It Started With A Kiss). I say “clueless” because I don’t believe that Song Yi was actually stupid, despite what her bashers say – in fact I think she’s pretty clever. It’s just that she’s always had someone around to do things for her and clean up her mess ever since she was a kid, so she’s never had to fend for herself. She never had to take school seriously either because she started acting and earning big money at such a young age. Naturally, when the people taking care of her abandoned her, she was at a loss.

I truly admire Cheon Song Yi’s confidence and tenacity. And I applaud her for going right up to Do Min Joon and admitting her feelings to him. Personally I think it’s absurd to love someone and not tell them (unless they’re married or in a relationship or something). You’ll just waste years of your life wondering about things that could have been (example : Yoo Se Mi). I understand that confessing to someone can be terrifying, but at least you’ll know how they feel about you. If they like you too then hooray! And if they don’t then you can make a choice to keep fighting for them or move on.

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I didn’t think I could love Jun Ji Hyun more after My Sassy Girl but this drama proved me wrong. The reason I enjoyed this show so much was because of her crazy antics. She’s not afraid to make herself look stupid or crazy, and I admire her for that. She’s confident, self assured and dauntless, but you can’t help but want to take care of her because she’s so clueless. Even her brother, a high school student, seems to know more about the world than she does.

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I read on Allkpop that Kim Soo Hyun personally called and persuaded Jun Ji Hyun to play this role after they worked together on Thieves, because she initially refused. KSH believed that JJH is the only actress who could do this role justice so he convinced her. I’m glad he did because I don’t think this drama would have done aw well if it wasn’t for JJH 😀

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Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun)

Ah, Kim Soo Hyun. Why must you do this to me? It’s been a while since I obsessed over an actor. I was doing pretty well but you had to go and ruin that. Gaaaah! Why must you be so perfect~

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Yep, you know it~

I absolutely loved Do Min Joon. I’m such a sucker for male tsundere characters (i.e. Hwang Tae Kyung from You’re Beautiful, Chiaki Shinichi from Nodame Cantabile and Jiang Zhi Shu from ISWAK). I love how they try to act all tough and emotionless, but deep down they’re willing to go through anything for the girl they care about. *sigh*

Kim Soo Hyun did an amazing job in this drama. I smiled when he smiled and cried when he cried. I broke down in tears when he told Cheon Song Yi to leave him alone because he doesn’t have feelings for her, but froze time as she walked away so he could give her a goodbye kiss and tell her how much he truly loves her. And when he started crying as she was talking about the things she wanted to do for their future anniversaries (because he knew he be gone by then) – that was just heartbreaking. This was my first time watching any of his work, but you can be sure that I’ll be keeping a lookout for him now.

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(I found this on Tumblr and I gotta say I agree XD)

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Lee Hwi Kyung (Park Hae Jin)

He was one of my favorite characters on the show. I was a big Family Outing fan so I’m happy to see Hae Jin in this drama. Although, honestly, I didn’t recognize him at first. He got so thin!

I thought Hae Jin did a great job with his character.  I never knew he was such an amazing actor.  His actions and expressions are just spot on.  Lee Hwi Kyung’s the kind of guy that girls would want to have in their lives. He was caring, loyal, attentive and he never expects anything in return. (Like that scene when the reporters had Song Yi trapped in her apartment building – his first thought was what if she was starving in there.) He would go to the ends of the earth for Cheon Song Yi if she asked him to. He hopes that Cheon Song Yi will love him back someday, but he doesn’t pressure her to do anything she doesn’t want to do – he just waits patiently by her side and constantly lets her know that he loves her and will do anything for her. She’s rejected him for 15 years, but he never gives up. Honestly, part of me was hoping that they’d end up together, because I felt bad for him. But love is never that simple. And to be fair to Song Yi, she never lead him on. She made it clear that she never saw him as anything more than a friend, and tells him that that’s all he will be to her. There even came a time when she thought about giving up their friendship because she didn’t want to cause him more pain by keeping him around, but he refused. He believed that being friendzoned is better than not being with her at all. Seriously, I just wanted to reach into my laptop at times and give him a hug.

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Don’t worry Hwi Kyung – girls will be lining up just to be with with a guy like you. If I didn’t have my Ckloy (and if you weren’t fictional) then I’d be right there along with them.

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Review/Initial Thoughts : Elementary

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These past few days I’ve been glued to my iPad, watching this show.  I’m almost done with season 1 so I figured I would share some of my thoughts here on my blog.

As some of you may know, Sherlock (BBC) season 3 ended a few weeks ago.  I waited for it to come out for months and I can’t believe that its already over. (Some people waited years, but I only started watching the series last May.) Ever since the show ended, I’ve been on a sort of Sherlock withdrawal, so I decided to give Elementary a try.

I found out about this show through a Buzzfeed article entitled 31 Perfect People You Wanted To Date In 2013. Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson were numbers 20 and 21 on that list. Yes, you read that correctly  JOAN Watson. Not John, but Joan.  I haven’t heard of the show before this, so I was curious as to who these people were.  After a quick search on Google, I found out that they were the main characters in Elementary, a contemporary US adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. In this version, Sherlock Holmes lives in New York City.  He had just come out of rehab and his father hired Dr. Joan Watson to be his sober companion to make sure he doesn’t relapse.

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At first I was hesitant about watching this show, especially since I’m such a huge fan of BBC’s Sherlock.  I didn’t believe that anyone else aside from Benedict Cumberbatch could play Sherlock.  I’m quite happy to be proven wrong.  Of course I still think that Benedict’s Sherlock is unbeatable, but I also appreciate Jonny Lee Miller portrayal of him.  They play the same character, but they do it very differently.  Benedict plays Sherlock as an emotionless sociopath with very little concern for social etiquette, while Miller depicts him as a much more relatable human being.  He does get a little crazy every now and then, but nothing too over the top.

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