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I know we’re only one month into 2015 to make this prediction, but I think in 2015, Asian dramas trend will shift to mainland China.  From TVB in the 80s and 90s to the Taiwanese idol drama frenzy in the early 2000s, and then to the current Korean craze, I think mainland Chinese dramas will begin to dominate the landscape in the next few years for a few simple reasons:

1. Actors/Actresses.  They put good looking people into their dramas.  No one really expects exceptional acting skills in TV dramas.  We’re really there for the eye candy ( I don’t know if you are, but I certainly am).  The K-dramas do this very well.  Though there are actors/actresses who are skilled at bringing a role to life, dramas like Heirs or You’re Beautiful or Boys Over Flowers weren’t popular because they have a great storyline or spectacular acting.  They were popular because they have a “pretty” cast, so pretty they can melt-on-your-screen cast.   The C-dramas production teams have picked up on this trend and is now placing “cute” looking younger actors/actresses in just for eye candy purposes.  Overall though, the four C-drama fadans: Stephanie Yi (Young Sherlock), Tiffany Yang (Perfect Couple), Yang Mi (Palace) and Cecilia Liu (BBJQ) do a decent job on providing the audience with “prettiness” and some acting skills.  They are not mediocre, but they are also not fantastic in any way.  They do a decent job to keep me interested even if they are a bit “stiff at times.  On the men side, unlike the K-dramas, C-dramas are dominated by older looking men who look nothing like their age i.e. Hu Ge (32), Wallace Huo (35), Wallace Chung (40), and Hawick Lau (40).  They are all like candy on screen, a face of a 20 years old, but maturity of fine aged wine.  No worries though, if older men is not your thing, There are a loads of new, younger looking male cast to fill up screen time just for your viewing pleasure.  Not to say that K-dramas have lost its “pretty” cast.  They do have gorgeous looking people, but I think C-dramas are catching up really quick.  There used to be a day when you can’t even compare the two type of dramas side by side, but these days, C-dramas are not all what it’s used to be.

2. Storyline.  Because China is such a big country compared to Korea, Hong Kong, or Taiwan (who all used to dominate the drama world at one time or another), they have plenty of materials for dramas.  From wuxia to historical periods to the revolutionary period of the 1930s and 1940s, to modern drama, they have it all.  And of course, 2015 is the year of novel adaptations.  The secret to a popular drama is to adapt books or novels already with a huge fan base and make the drama even better than the book.  Books from famed authors like Tong Hua and Gu Man are almost an instant hit because of the already established fan base.  It only makes it better when these authors themselves admit to the weaknesses in their novels and try to make it up in the on screen version.  In the past year, authors like Gu Man and Tong Hua even helmed the entire screenwriting process making you really wonder: was the book really better? or the drama?  Now if you add up the people who love the book, and the people who love the actors and actresses, and then people, like me, who watches anything rom-com under the sun, you have gotten a huge following even before the drama is even filmed.  Dramas like Bu Bu Jing Xin (Tong Hua), Boss and Me (Gu Man), and the soon-to-air Cruel Romance/The Fate of JinXiu (Nian Yi) are well-received based on this recipe.  On the other hand, I feel that the K-dramas are running out of storylines.  The recipes have all been over used, and there are one or two dramas that are exceptional in storyline, but not as creative as the C-dramas.  K-dramas will always have a niche in the Asia dramaland, but in terms of originality, I vote for C-dramas.  Come on now, can you imagine Koreans remaking a Wuxia novel?

3. Quantity.  K-dramas are generally 16 episodes, 20 if popular, and then a few reach to 24 just for fan service.  With three major companies and a few small cable network, they produce, at most 20 K-dramas a year.  However, C-dramas is often between 30-40 episodes with airing schedule as generous as 2 episodes per day for a straight 20 days with no weekend break.  When one drama ends, there are a few more sitting on the shelf waiting to be aired.  There are dramas that can be on the shelf for a whole year without an airing date because the companies do not have enough time slots.  China, with its many production team churns out dramas like a production line with beautiful costumes and expensive sets.  It is only a month into 2015, but I already have at least 5 more dramas that I am looking forward to in 2015 with no set airing dates because there are simply too many dramas for the available time slots.

So there you have it.  I think it’s time people consider watching a C-drama because I can see this underdog going mainstream.  For me, as audience, I say, bring it on!  The more the better.  I don’t mind going from one K-drama to a C-drama.  I don’t mind having my days dominated by drama schedule.  Even more fantastic, sub teams these day, are, in one word, amazing.  Subs are available in multiple languages within 24 hours, so who cares if you can’t speak Chinese or Koreans, there is no language barriers.  Now, in 2015, I will be looking forward to the following dramas:

1. Lady and the Liar – Tang Yan and Hawick Lau – I am not fan of either, but the production team behind this period drama is also the team behind one of my all time favorite King of Lan Ling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYR_qzMWNqQ

2. Cruel Romance – Joe Chen and Huang Xiao Ming – I don’t ship actresses, except Joe Chen, the queen of idol dramas, plus I finished the novel and I can’t wait to see the novel come to life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdjeJzpBH2A

3. Legend of Fragrance – Tang Yan and Li Yi Feng – I am seriously not a fan of Tang Yan, but I want to watch this drama, that’s it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zjwn7u3T0Y

4. Destined to Love You – Joe Chen and Bosco Wong – Simply put, Tong Hua is behind the script, and I love most of what she does, so I’m in

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Sef442mlnQ

5. Yunge From the Desert – Angelababy and Lu Yi – This continues from Da Mo Yao by Tong Hua, even though I am not a fan of either Angelababy or Lu Yi.  They actually annoy me, but I can’t help it.  I love Da Mo Yao.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Wf91_nN3Q

I Got My Bounce Back

I’m on a roll these days, happier, satisfied, blessed.  There is an unexplainable sense of satisfaction of life and loving the state that I am in.  I don’t know if this is what mindfulness is all about, but I can’t escape the positivity that feel in the deepest part of my soul.  I do falter in moments, but overall, I am happy with the exact state that I am in.  Just enjoying the moment.  Here are the few habits that I have adopted and it seems to contribute a lot to my satisfaction:

1.  Running twice a week around Mile Square Park. I am running with a group of friends and I am constantly improving.  The first week, I couldn’t even finish a mile without stopping and out of breathe.  I am now running at least 3 miles non stop and hopefully the entire perimeter non stop soon.  I love the fact that it’s doing good things for my body, strengthening while sweating to detox.  I love it!  I feel like I am invincible when I am on a run.

2. Packing lunch daily with little to no processed food and plenty of fruit and veggies.  I am trying to stay away from processed food, that means no boba, no fast food, and nothing that comes out of a bag if possible.  I have to admit that it is hard.  I am still eating crackers here and there, but I always have at least one serving of fruit in my bag a day and I am eating small meals during my break.  I am not perfect, I do throw away food, but I am getting better at finishing my food, clearing out the fridge with little to no waste.  Also, the feeling of filling my grocery cart with fresh fruit and veggies make me feel like I am putting all the goodness in my body.

3.  Water.  Last year, I was drinking less than 16 oz. a day.  This year,  I try to finish at least 22 oz. a day and even more on run day.  I love it!  I also mix the water with green tea which is supposed to be filled with antioxidants and such.  So proud of myself!

4. Saving work at work.  I have been staying late almost everyday, even if it means I am locked in, but I am on top of grading, prepared for the next day, and feel like I am getting more done than usual.  Once I get home, I don’t have to worry about work which makes my time at home even more precious.  Does this mean I get everything done? No, but it’s a start and I will slowly speed up to make sure I get things done.

5. Sleeping on time.  I have been forcing myself to a curfew of in bed my 10, which proves to be very successful.  I am getting enough sleep and the morning is much more bearable now that I am getting at least 6 hrs of sleep a day.  The next step is to set a curfew on the technology.  This means no computer, tv, phone, etc… after a certain time.  I think I can do it.

6.  Spending time with family and friends.  I have been closer with my family, taking them out to different places to eat, go to concert with the little sister, enjoying family time with my parents.  I am also keeping my friends close by checking up on them, visiting them, and facetiming them to keep the fire alive.  This has made my life busy, but satisfied.  I am investing in the people who mean the most to me.

7. Worry less about church business.  I have learned to let things go, depend on God and the faith of good people when it comes to church business.  I do what I need to, but I try to not worry about it too much.  I try not to care too much when things don’t go my way or people don’t show up.  I just try to do and be the best I can and the rest, I leave it up to God.  This has made my life a lot more enjoyable.  Though, I think cutting church business out of my life in general might be a better solution.

8. living in tidy spaces.  I try to keep my room and my classroom at work as clean as possible, putting things where they are supposed to go and not throwing them everywhere.  This has really helped my life feeling less clutter and less stressful because I don’t have to clean as often.

9.  I am investing in myself.  I am getting a facial every month or so, keeping a regular skin routine to keep it looking radiant.  This has been amazing because I can actually see the difference.  I am also painting my nails every week.  It makes me feel girly and pretty at the same time.
Goodness gracious, life is good right now.  It’s not a false sense of hope and serenity either.  I am just happy with where I am and it doesn’t really matter where I go from here.  Hope I can keep this up.  My time is about to come.  Woo hoo! I think I got my bounce back.

Packing Lunch Week 1

My Easy Lunch Boxes and cooler pack came in today so I decided that even though teaching doesn’t officially start until August 13, I should start packing lunch for work starting next week (while I am still committed).  A few things I notice from just looking at the lunch box system:

1. It doesn’t fit my Fage yogurt container.  I was hoping it would, but it’s doesn’t.  Then again, not many lunchbox system fits my Fage yogurt container.

2. It looks smaller than I thought.  The smallest container fits at most 10 grapes and the large space fits exactly one sandwich.  For my adult portion, it might not be too much, but too much food for lunch is probably not a good idea.

3. I probably have to find some small container for my hummus and tzatziki dip or salad dressing since I don’t want the container to smell like hummus or stained with oil.

4. The bag fits the box nicely, but I am looking for a small container for soup or cold orange juice if possible.

However, I am optimistic and excited for packing a healthy lunch.  A wholesome lunch.

As for the first week, I decided to cut down artificial sugar and salt as much as possible, which I think I did.  Even though there are things in this grocery bag that I am not exactly proud of.  The total cost of this week’s grocery is $40 even, which is definitely cheaper than I thought.  Here’s what I bought:

Everything costs me $40 even.

I couldn’t find any pita chip at wholefoods with no sea salt.  It was between sea salt, garlic, and onion – the latter two I am not a fan of since I can’t imagine smelling like garlic or onion after lunch.  I did remember having some plain pita chips at Trader Joe’s recently and it’s quite good except I would like to narrow my grocery shopping to just one location.  The Ritz crackers, even though it is whole wheat, probably has a lot of sodium and some enriched flour, but it was my only choice since the WholeFoods-brand graham crackers were out.  But overall, I am satisfied with my choices this week.  And here’s the rough menu for the week: ( I’ll try to upload pictures as the day go by)

Monday: pita chips, hummus, boiled egg, and grapes + yogurt and banana on the outside

Tuesday: Pita,tzatziki, cucumber, salad, boiled egg + banana, crackers

Wednesday: salad, boiled egg, orange, raisins + yogurt and crackers

Thursday: pita chips, hummus, grapes, salad, boiled egg + banana

Friday: pita, tzatziki, cucumber, orange, boiled egg + yogurt and banana

My overall strategy is to stick with a few familiar items a week.  This week is pita, hummus, tzatziki, grapes, and boiled egg.  Next week might be more bread, prosciutto, avocado, salsa, and a different fruit.  I really wanted to include papaya this week, but I think I have a lot already, maybe next week I will include papaya.  I also really want to finish everything before buying anymore to prevent waste when necessary.  I can probably extend what I have to another week since I know I can’t finish the hummus and such in a week, so maybe shopping every other week and just fruits every week.  I have also asked mom to cook some Vietnamese food to go with rice possibly the week after when I am bored with American food, so let’s hope I keep this up!  Here’s to a more wholesome food choices and healthier living!

Life’s Little Hiccup

Yesterday I thought it was the end of the world, but today I am comforted and at peace because all in all, I did all I could and handled the situation the best I could.

It is always hard to lose a friend.  It is even harder to lose a friend at the cost of anger, hatred, and possibly revenge.  I don’t think the person wanted the problem to be solved,  the purpose was simply to make me feel the way he felt, in other words to give me back whatever I have given him.  I am glad he is able to get it off his chest, seek whatever he needed, and, hopefully, move on.  I am always sadden by a lost of a friendship.  In fact I don’t think I have ever lost a friend in this way, under this circumstance.  I cried my eyes out, but just like the swollen-ness, it soon goes away because I was true to that friendship and in the end, I approached it as a friend should, so for that I am at peace.  I felt I treated that with the will and the hope that it’ll pass.  Unfortunately, I don’t think my friend felt the same way.

Until this day, I don’t regret what I did.  What I do regret was to go on that camping trip.  And I think the situation will turn out better if he can just come up to me and ask me for my side of the story and expressed how he feels.  Unfortunately, everything he has heard is from other people and not me.  I know I am not supposed to do this, but deep down inside, I am mad at the few people who have passed the story along.  And maybe I should learn to keep my mouth close and never tell anyone in the first place.  Well, just to end it all, I am getting out of this little hiccup better than I predicted, for this, I am glad.

So here’s a quote that I found that has given me some comfort:

Summer started a little bumpy, but I think I found a piece of sturdy ground to stand on and am beginning to lay the stepping stone for the path ahead, just one stone at a time.  Or maybe in another point of view, I am finally feeling the path God has for me and I am learning to follow (again).  I think everything begins with me, that I control the environment around me, I am the one determining the weather in my life.  Even though summer is ending and fall is here soon, I feel like I need to start my own spring.  A fresh, new, happier me maybe ?

To start off, lately, I have not exercise, watch my eating habit, or sleep properly.  All this leads to a little belly fat which all girls seem to be deadly afraid of.  I am not fat my any mean and I am comfortable with my weight, but I think I can definitely look a bit toner, and maybe getting rid of the belly fat would help.  Of course having both my mom and dad comment on my growing belly help push me to change the way I live, growing healthy emotionally starts with growing physically healthy first.  Blogging about it also helps to keep me on track, so here’s what I am coming up with so far:

1. Cut down on the artificial sugar (soda, boba, cookies, candies, etc …)

2. Drink more water

3. Get at least 7 hours of sleep and get into a regular sleeping pattern (maybe sleep by 10 PM and get up by 5 AM to accommodate working schedule)

4. Pack my lunch – staying with real food instead of processed food as much as possible

5. Get an exercising routine (big or small – more likely to be small than big)

After school begins, my ultimate goal is to : Leave all work at school, home should be for friends, family, and me.  This may mean going to work at 6:30 AM and leave work at 6:00 PM to avoid all traffic.  Long hours, which means I need to pack lunches, but will probably be good for me if I can stick with it.

I have started on some of my goals today, and hopefully will try to keep it up as much as I can:

1. Made Dr.Oz’s Weight-Orade which is meant to boost metabolism and the best part is that the mint leaves and kumqua all comes from my own garden, while I love green tea in general, so it’s only natural for me to start off this way.  If you want the the recipe, it’s here.  I am going to try to drink at least 16 oz a day, which is not much, but it’s a start.

8 cups of brewed green tea, 1 tangerine, sliced and a handful of mint leaves. 1 pitcher daily.

2.  Made a purchase for the EasyLunch Box System and pin a whole loads of ideas so I can start packing my own lunch when work begins.  This will allow me to stay at school longer and do work rather than bringing it home and get stressed out over it when it’s not done.  $21 dollars for a whole set, not bad:

Easy LunchBox System.

Goal for tomorrow: Get up at 8:00 AM, no more snoozing and no afternoon nap.  I would say I am going to try to squeeze in a run, but I don’t think it’s going to be possible.

I am also going to do work for my National Boards Certification so that I won’t be drowning in work when the school year begins.

Yaye to new beginnings! And let’s pray I keep this up!

Japanese BBQ

It is the second time we’ve met for dinner after a 6 months hiatus, and we had Japanese BBQ again.  Not as awkward as the first time, but there’s definitely a lot to catch up to.  He eats more meat than I can remember, just as picky as usual, especially with his salad, but who knows he eats so much yogurt nowadays.  On top of that, it’s a combination of taro, vanilla, plain, and coconut, how interestingly adventurous.  Oh yes, I miss that.  I definitely miss all that about him.  He is, after all, my best friend.

It feels like I am crushing on him.  The way his eyes glistens in the light.  And yes, it was definitely green today.  I love the way he hugs, the way he kisses goodbye, the way we used to be … I just really miss him.

 

 

April 2012

I miss N. I miss N terribly. It’s been 2 years and I just realized I am not fully over it. I am back to square one.

Day 3 of crying in my sleep, dreaming of N in my sleep, wishing to go to sleep just so I can see his face.