Monday, June 19, 2017

Kdrama Review: My Secret Romance

Drama: My Secret Romance

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Sung Hoon, Song Ji Eun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This drama breaks the tradition of regular kdramas and has a pretty steamy sex scene in the VERY FIRST EPISODE! Our two leads get together quickly due to a set of circumstances and proceed, because of reasons.. to have a one night stand. She slips away before he wakes up and then three years pass without them knowing anything about each other.

The the day comes where the girl gets a job as a nutritionist at the big company where the dude is... you guessed it, the head honcho. (or at least the son of the head honcho and due to take over any day). He realizes pretty quick who she is but she is slower to figure it out and then he reveals his face and bam. Let the conflict begin!

So they talk a bit and she is embarrassed and tells him, you know, that it was only a one night stand. But we learn that he has thought about her ever since and in fact, non stop thought about her, and in fact he's pretty much totally and completely in love with her.

And so he begins to court and woo her. Which is the cutest thing ever because he's such a cool snobby dude and he has to humble himself a little. And when he does, he's the best.

One of the best scenes... of course.. in a swimming pool

And so it goes. Things are up and down as they always are and soon we are DYING for them to just finally admit how things are! There are so many swoony kisses. And Sung Hoon is so over the top swoony himself that.. it's just ...yeah..a lot of fun!
Some of you will recognize Sung Hoon from Oh My Venus! and Faith, and Noble My Love.

So if you want a fun romantic comedy without a whole lot of extra drama, you might enjoy this one.

Here's a trailer:

And my favorite... the song... sung by both of the leads.. with all the cute clips:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Currently: So Much Stuff!

Listening: At the very moment of this writing I'm listening to a very random Spotify playlist that includes ALL my favorites... pre kpop and post. It's perfect. I need to add to this list more often so I can have it always updated with the very best music!! Anyway, it's been a great blast to my music past of just over a year ago. I really do love all kinds of music... all kinds. All languages. All genres. All. ALL!!

What what I'm loving right now Kpop-wise? This new song that two of our BTS boys gave us this week:

Watching:  In the Kdrama department I'm watching a lovely romantic comedy/suspense starring the beautiful Ji Chang Wook called Suspicious Partner or Love in Trouble depending in which site you are watching on. It's...perfect. It's like a beach read, full of a mix of silly swoony romantic stuff and then edge of your seat what the crap is going to happen stuff. This one is currently airing and doesn't end until July 12, so we have a few more weeks to enjoy it. I've finished a couple other dramas which I'll be reviewing soon. Stay tuned.

In the American department, I finished Survivor, which was another fun season, though I was MAD MAD MAD when Ozzy got out. Dang, that dude is fun to watch on that show. I guess you could call him my Survivor bias. LOL!! I'm woefully behind in the movie going/watching. Sheesh, nothing sounds interesting. But I would like to see Pirates. And since you are all raving about Wonder Woman, maybe that one too.

Reading: I feel like I'm doing SO MUCH BETTER with reading lately. Let me know if you think so too as the reviews start coming. Ha. We'll see I guess. I'm determined to fit it in better. I just need to give up more sleep I think. Right now I'm reading Tell Me Three Things, a YA contemporary that I'm totally enjoying even though it as some content that is making me cringe a bit. Anyway. I'll tell you about it soon when I finish it!

Writing: So beta read a book for a friend this past week, and that was so fun! And it's made me pick up my very first story (the skinwalker one if you are keeping track) to try and spiff it up to the point where I might be able to let it back out into the wild. And I'm dying to finish up some of the other unfinished stories.. so the bug is back and here's hoping I can run with it.

Blogging: It's been better too, hasn't it? I do want to blog more about the K stuff and have made a few changes to reflect that. But I'm still leery. Anyway, I'm going to try and let it loose (and you thought I already had... ha!) more but still do all the same stuff I've done all these years too. It may take awhile to find this balance that I'm searching for. A work in progress as they say...

YouTubing: Well. This aspect of life is using up most of my time and keeping me insanely busy. I wish I could make money on it but since all our videos include copyrighted music YouTube says... no way. Anyway. We are on the verge of 10,000 subscribers which blows me away. Still, it feels like it's been forever since we've been hovering there and it's making me crazy. Meanwhile, we have so many ideas for videos and so much new music to react to (reaction videos are the weirdest and stupidest things but that's what this audience wants!) that we can do sometimes two or three videos day. It reminds me of how I felt back a few years ago with blogging. It's overwhelming the amount of stuff! And so far, I'm still loving it though I fear the momentum will wane after the summer and life changes. Anyway, I'm riding it while I can. To answer the currently question though, we are currently working on a marathon of a lesser known kpop group called 24K and they are awesome. Also, we've put up a couple of BTS videos, riding the wave of their huge current popularity. And then the other day we reacted to a video that was so crazy fun we couldn't stop giggling. Watch if you are in the mood for some silliness. :)

Oh, but you all actually might be interested in this where my daughter did a cover of a song with her harpist friend. It's quite impressive, don't you think?

Health Watch: Two weeks every day on the treadmill again. Keep your fingers crossed it actually does something. Eating continues to go the same. Either I eat crappy or I starve. I don't know how to do the middle thing.

Family Fun: 

  • last violin gig yesterday after 13 years of lessons and recitals and things
  • little family camping trip coming up in a couple weeks
  • youngest graduated from high school and got a job which actually hasn't started yet
  • oldest graduated from college and is on to graduate school and CPA tests (CPA right? That's the accountant one?)
  • second is in the process of buying her first house
  • third broke his arm in a bike crash but is doing well now and back to drumming and gardening
The family at graduation minus the daughter who lives far away. 

And that's my current update for now!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Book: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Genre: Literary Fiction- ish
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

So here's a book I've heard about forever and finally read for book club this past week. And no, it's not the Alice one who has Alzheimer's. That's the other one! (We got these books mixed up SO MANY TIMES!)

Anyway, it's about an Alice who fell one day and clunked her head. She woke up thinking she was 10 years younger than she is and pregnant with her first child. When she realizes it is actually 10 years later and she has three kids and her marriage is on the rocks, she is blown away. How could this be?

She slowly tries to figure out her "new" life. And is even more blown away when she figures out she has become a stranger to herself during these ten years. And it all seems due to someone named Gina who no will tell her about.

It's all very mysterious.

I found the premise really fascinating because the first thing it does is make you think about your own life and would you recognize yourself ten years from now. Or would your younger self recognize the you you are today? Have you made good changes or bad ones? Have you done anything with your life? Have you alienated all the people around you? Are the things that were important ten years ago still important?

It's an interesting thing to think about!

I felt a little depressed though because it made me crazy that her life was so messed up, in some sense. Pretty great in others I guess. But her marriage fell apart because of just stupid things and it seemed like even her new perspective on life wasn't going to fix it. That really killed me. But....

I'll just leave it there in case you decide to read it. But probably you've all read it already and you know what I'm talking about anyway!

In the end, I really liked it. It was well written and fun and fast paced. Even in my altered reading state these days, I managed it easily!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Adventure is Over!

Do you remember back last summer when I announced we would be getting an exchange student? Well, can you believe that it's over?  Ten months and one school year later, we sent her home. That was last week and now we are trying to get used to the new normal. It's truly like having a kid that you have to GIVE BACK! What's up with that?

Here's a goodbye video we made of her last day:

(The song is saying "bogo shipda" which means I miss you in Korean and it's about wishing one could keep in touch with old friends. This is also the phrase we use at the end in Hangul.)

Many of you follow my Instagram so you've probably seen all these pictures, but if not, I thought I'd share a few to illustrate the fun we've had this past year with Sangi.

First day!

First day of school

Turning 15 years old

Going to Comic Con and meeting BillyBoyd

Visiting the Utah mountains

Hiking in Bryce Canyon

Seeing the Grand Canyon

Her first Halloween!

First time carving pumpkins

Meeting authors

Making pies for Thanksgiving

Holding a cat for the first time!

Sitting on Santa's lap for the first time!

The lights at Temple Square

Christmas Eve

Kpop stuff for Christmas

Seeing Blue Man Group in Las Vegas

Giving a presentation on Korea

Going to the BTS concert!

Visiting Alcatraz in San Francisco

Seeing her host sister graduate

Hiking to Delicate Arch
(obviously this isn't her, but doesn't that picture crack you up?!)

Experiencing southern Utah

And finally, cooking s'mores on the last day!

And that's only SOME of it! It's been a great experience and we are sad it's over. Here's hoping we can visit her in Korea some day!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: Kidnapped Idol by Jennie Bennett

Book: Kidnapped Idol by Jennie Bennett
Genre: Contemporary romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

When I went to that conference that I talked about on the last post, it was mentioned in that class that someone had written a kpop romance. I was all.. WHAT? Cause you know, that's what I want to do. Well, I sort of wanted to do. I didn't think anyone would want to read it. And I sort of wanted to do it just for fun. But here someone actually did for real. So, of course I was intrigued and looked it up that night and since it happened to be free, I downloaded it!

Then I proceed to actually read it... in a day or so.

It's about a girl and her friend who are in China in a study abroad program. One day, they are visiting the Great Wall, and it starts raining and she twists her ankle and she hides in a sheltered spot and then suddenly there's this guy who is also hiding there. And so they talk a bit and she realizes he seems to be running away from something or someone. But he helps her and her hurt foot get back to the their bus at which time there is a ton of chaos and commotion and  he is nabbed and taken away.

So she realizes that he is actually quite famous and well known but everyone is calling him by a different name then how he introduced himself. (His stage name vs. his real name, yeah?)  Her friend helps her fill in the pieces and it's not long until she understands that he is a member of kpop group.

And it appears that he is in some kind of trouble.

Well, of course their paths cross again and she ends up hiding him for a bit in their apartment and it's all very exciting and crazy and impossible. And now I'm a bit fuzzy on the details of what the conflict is but before it's over they are both running from this crazy company and they both end up being kidnapped and threatened and mistreated.

In the meantime, they fall crazy madly in love. They quickly figure out how to deal with these issues and it all ends happily ever after of course.

Well, and so. I enjoyed it just because it was a fun story with all the stuff I'm quite into. But it all felt very surface-y and and I wanted more deepness. That's basically my biggest complaint here. I needed more to it... more to sink my teeth into and to grab a hold of. A more intense romance. More back story. Just... more. Maybe that's not the nature of these types of stories. But if I do write one of my own, I'm determined to try make it just a little more meaty.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Korean Formula and Writing

It wasn't long after I first started watching Korean dramas that I realized they had a certain template, or formula, that they followed that made them dang good stories. (I even wrote about my thoughts on this back then.) And then when Nano rolled about this year I thought it would be fun to try and write a story using this formula.

Imagine my surprise when I went to the latest writing conference (Storymakers back in May) and realized that they had a class addressing this very phenomenon on the list! (I should have known before arriving, but since I was sort of not very much into attending the conference this year I hadn't even looked over the classes until I got there and bam!)

This class, called The Korean Formula, was taught by a couple of authors who are also very much into this fandom, both kdrama and kpop. (Yes! This gives me hope! A person CAN do both!) They are Shelly Brown and Crystal Liechty and here are some of the interesting things they had to say.

First of all, they claimed that maybe we are all trying to tell the same stories, but Korean dramas are using better ingredients! And, they are using tropes, huge tropes, tons of tropes, that work. Tropes that we all love and look for and expect. Tropes that make the story even better.

Some of these tropes are:

  • forced cohabitation... which always intensifies the relationship that's going on in the story. Since this culture has different values than ours (we'll get to that in a minute) they are forced to become friends first and not skip right to sex, which makes this forced cohabitation so crazy and fun.
  • multi generational stories... the importance of family and the respect they have for their elders makes it so we have side stories about ALL the people in the lives of our main characters. Parents and grandparents always have a big part and our main characters are always stressed about what these people think of them.
  • Polar opposites... it seems often it's rich boy and poor girl. What one is, the other is not. You know we always like these kinds of stories!
  • Second male leads... almost ALWAYS there is a second guy who loves the girl, but the girl ALWAYS chooses the main lead. We had an interesting discussion on this and the conclusion is that the second male lead is perfect for the girl, but she chooses imperfection over perfection every time... she loves the main guy enough to choose him even with these flaws. The perfect guy, in the end, wouldn't make her happy cause he's too perfect. I like this thought. Even though it makes my heart ache every single time.
Sadly that's all time they had on tropes (in my link above I listed many more!) but they did have a discussion on the differences between our cultures that make their stories different (better?) than ours. For instance:
  • In America we have this idea of independence and self. That we are expected to go off and discover ourselves and do our own thing. In Korea they stress the importance of family and community and it matters what everyone thinks of you. You don't want to disrespect your family and you don't want to let down your community. 
  • Speaking of respect, it's a huge thing. It's built into their language. You talk differently to people even if they are just a little bit older than you. 
  • Consequences for your actions are bigger. This makes the stakes higher in situations that we might think stupid here.
  • Classic gender roles are still the norm and people are expected to act accordingly.
  • Romance is more about the slow burning developing love and not the lust and instant going to bed together. This is probably one of my favorite aspects about kdramas. 
  • In America we tend to have an idea of entitlement and it's all about me and blame everything and everyone. They have the idea that if something isn't working, your just work harder. You aren't a victim, you don't wallow in stupid things... you struggle and get yourself out and don't blame the world. 
There is so much more that we could have talked about in this class but these are the things we touched on! I loved the discussion and find it to be spot on. There is something different with the way these stories are told that make them resonate more, with me anyway, and with so many other people discovering them!

And now the idea is to use these things to write a fabulous novel! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We Don't Talk Anymore: A Cover

For those of you don't enjoy the Korean music because, well, it's in's a song for you:

This is two of the BTS boys doing a cover of one of their favorite songs, We Don't Talk Anymore, singing in a language they don't understand.... and doing a dang good job of it! I can't get enough of their sweet, breathy voices and adorable pronunciation.

Jungkook and Jimin


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