Summing It Up: October 2016

summing-it-up_-october-2016

Happy November!

It’s that time again where I recap the events of the previous month. In terms of academics, it was uneventful and the usual. I did, however, participate in a number of volunteer events that proved to be super fun. (I’ve been a total bum and haven’t been involved with the community as much as I would have liked.) As for blogging, to my great surprise, I was actually productive and released a handful of posts! (I know… I can never take a real hiatus from blogging for long.) But this has only made me even more behind with replying to comments, unfortunately. The end of the school semester isn’t too far away. (In fact, I’m already bracing myself for weeks of nonstop studying in preparation of finals; I’m so dreading November.) So I really hope to catch up on all the comments in December at the latest! 🙂

And that in a brief nutshell is what I’ve been up to. Anyway, let’s get on with the more fun stuff and actual post, shall we?

October Blog Posts*

*in publication order

Favorites

Oh man, it’s been a long time since I’ve last had a book favorite! No surprise, for October I had to choose the Six of Crows duology. I read Six of Crows on my own (but vented all my fangirl feels to several bloggers along the way-thank you guys for putting up with my long Goodreads messages) and buddy read Crooked Kingdom with my friend Carolyn at A Hundred Thousand Stories. She has already posted her thoughts on the sequel, which you can take a look at here. (I haven’t written my review yet but I can’t wait to read Carolyn’s review after I do.) But here are some of my post-reading thoughts on the duology: I really, really adored Inej! She’s totally made her way up there with my group of all time favorite YA heroines (Hermione, Kestrel, etc) now. But, honestly, I love the entire Six of Crows cast so much. I miss them already. And, sigh, that ending was perfection. There certainly were some heartbreaking moments, but it was realistic and an ending I wouldn’t have wanted to be any different. Again, both reviews are a work in progress right now, but I hope to express my full thoughts on the series soon! 😀

My favorite fruit are strawberries, so the Frappula, a white chocolate and strawberry based drink, was a pleasant twist to my usual frappuccino. Unfortunately, by the time this post is published it’s no longer available anymore since they are only offered up until Halloween. But if I’m not mistaken it’s a seasonal drink that’ll return annually; there’s still next year if you want to try it. It tasted like a sweeter Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino, which is popular non-coffee alternative for those that like frappes at Starbucks. (I used to get them a lot when I didn’t drink coffee.)

Video Favorites (Sigh, there are so many…)

LOL. I’m only now realizing that Yixing is shirtless in the thumbnail. XD I feel awkward sharing this as the first video now, haha. Anyway… my favorite member of Exo finally made his solo debut with Lose Control! The song is completely composed and written by him, which makes me so proud. To be honest, the dated R&B isn’t normally my cup of tea, but after a few listens this really grew on me-especially the chorus (“oh baby no no baby no no; (some Chinese) lose control (more Chinese) lose control”). 😉 I also really like that this reflects Yixing’s personal taste in music, I think. (He’s always making small demos of songs like this.) Also, the sensual and mature elements of the MV really suits him since he’s one of the older members of the boy band. However, I’ve heard that the lyrics are super provocative (I had a feeling they’d be so anyway; I mean there is a painting of Venus (I think?) in the last gallery scene of the MV), but I’m just going to continue being the oblivious foreign fan and not look them up for now. Either way, I am so happy for Lay! I’m glad Yixing, the king of body rolls, is back and finally getting the spotlight he deserves (because XING can SING).

Oh and on his 25th birthday, Yixing gave a present to his fans by pre-releasing this track early. All I can say is… what in the world is that choreo? Butt hitting must be a new thing. 😮 That part of the dance never fails to make me laugh. XD I like how chill this song is though. And, it’s hilarious that he reacted to reactors reacting to his MV. Talk about inception x3. And, of course, I preordered Lay’s album so I can’t wait until it arrives to listen to the other tracks. 😀

I was originally going to post some photos of my parents in their flamboyant outfits pre-2000 and compare it to SHINee's outfits. But I picked out so many that I got lazy (and the lighting was awful when I decided to work on this post). I had to settle for this photo instead.

Click on the image to enlarge!

This is ABSOLUTELY NOSTALGIC. Everything about this video screams the ’90s to me. This is the style of clothes I grew accustomed to seeing my parents wear as I grew up. Honestly, some of the color combinations are hideous but it makes me so happy all the same. 1 of 1 is a feel good, happy song that transported me back to my childhood. Only SHINee would be able to bring back this era of music into K-pop successfully.

[<— I was originally going to post some photos of my parents in their flamboyant outfits from pre-2000 and compare it to SHINee’s. But I picked out so many that I got lazy and didn’t do it. Plus, the lighting was awful when I decided to work on this post and the pictures wouldn’t have been really nice anyway. I had to settle with this saved snap from Snapchat instead.]

This is actually one of my least favorite songs on BTS‘ new album, Wings, because it’s not really my style… (I liked the slower tracks like Begin, Wings, and Awake better.) However, the MV itself is so aesthetically pleasing to the eye that I couldn’t not share. The beginning is definitely cinematic with the orchestral snippet and Jin looking philosophically at a painting. However, the chorus kind of reminds me of something that’d be in Spanish (probably the “money, money, money” part, ahaha). My favorite scenes in the video are the silky sheet sliding on one of the members, the blindfolded scene where the ribbon is stuck in the door, and Rap Monster’s brief monologue where the balloon floats away out of reach.

I’m impressed that each BTS member had a solo track in the Wings album. It truly shows their musical maturity because they’re not relying on the backing vocals of the other members and performing everything themselves. Anyway, Begin is my favorite track because Jungkook is my bias if I had to choose within the group (though I don’t like that I’m older than him but whatever; I need to accept noona status since most new groups have members that are younger than me now anyway), and I think his vocals sound incredible with this type of song.

This song is so perfect for October because there are some dark and almost gritty musical elements. Anyway, Lie is another one of my favorite tracks from the album. I also kind of love how there are some dramatic R&B influences in this as well. And am I the only one that thinks this has some rock feels? They’re subtle but certainly there (at least to me).

Jay Park’s voice is so smooth, and just hearing it makes me feel a bit wistful. The summer after my sophomore year of high school I met a friend that was really in love with his music, and that’s how I noticed Jay Park more. (It’s kind of sad because I lost contact with that friend though.) Lately, a lot of his new music is more provocative but I still like it! This is obviously one of the tamer tracks. And isn’t it cool that he makes English subtitles for all his MVs himself? Pretty awesome.

Finally a Jay Park and 1Million collaboration. T_T

October was the perfect month to listen to the Suicide Squad OST for obvious reasons. (Also, so many of the songs fit well with our Six of Crows cast!) Plus, I love TØP…

Another haunting track from the Suicide Squad OST that I enjoyed.

I don’t keep up with 1Million that much anymore just because I don’t have time, so that can explain the lack of dance videos in my Summing It Up posts as of late. Anyway, this month I had to choose Sori Na’s choreo for Everyday. Sori Na never disappoints and her dancing is so effortless. Also, she was in Lay’s What U Need MV, too.

I prefer this song over Stay, surprisingly. I tend to really like the more acoustic sounds but the vocals in this one really stood out to me (and I don’t really like the clapping/harmonica part in Stay because it reminds me of country music, haha). Anyway, this group is so talented! They’re all great dancers, and the rappers can actually sing as good as the main/lead vocals; that’s really rare especially for new, rookie groups. Is it too early to say I think Black Pink is my favorite girl group? It’s pretty obvious that I prefer boy bands but I really like all the songs that Black Pink has released since their debut. Rosé’s (the one with light orange-y hair) voice is so unique and I think she’s my bias already. Oh and apparently they used actual fire in the making of the MV which makes the video all the much cooler!

Like always, I was crazy confused with what was going on in the MV. Anyone have any theories on what was happening? Honestly, overall, there were some parts to this video that I was disappointed by at first. However, I have a feeling when I see the full choreo in a live performance I’m going to become addicted. I can say that I really like Min Seok and Baek Hyun’s raps, Jongdae’s high note (of course!), and the shoulder shrugs at the end though. XD

Hyorin x Jay Park? There voices layer so well together! (Man, Jay Park has been on a roll with all the collabs and solo releases in October.)

Edit 11/1/16: Upon checking to see if this post published, I noticed the original video, which had the entire soundtrack for Your Name, I linked was made private probably for copyright reasons. Even though I can understand why blockage and legal actions should be enforced because of copyrighting, I’m so annoyed when this happens. -____- Anyway, I found the song I wanted to link so here’s the replacement video. The same Youtube channel should have the other tracks in the OST if you’re curious.

Edit 5/23/17: The same thing has happened as before. Here’s a replacement video for the one that is no longer available above.

OST of the month! If you saw my Instagram story from a few weeks ago, the song at 17:20 may be familiar to you. The entire OST is worthy of a full listen, but I linked it to that particular beautiful track.

What I’ve Been Watching

Arang and the Magistrate - 4/10 [Dropped]

Arang and the Magistrate3.5/10 [Dropped]

I specifically saved this drama to watch this month because it has ghosts and spirits. I was really hoping to like it since there’s Shin Min Ah (I adored her character in My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox) and Lee Joong Ki (who was so charming in what I saw of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, a drama that I didn’t like because it was nowhere near as good as the Chinese original). Alas, it bored the heck out of me so I decided to drop it. I still think Master’s Sun will remain as my favorite “creepy” Asian drama (creepy in quotes because it’s not too scary).

cats

Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku7/10 [Completed]

So last month I saw part 1 of the movie (the left movie poster) and was pleasantly surprised by how well the karuta scenes were executed; I was terribly worried that they’d flop and look ridiculous but they looked epic enough. Part 2 still did an incredible job with bringing this manga/anime to life in a way that made the sport still cool, however I did find I enjoyed this film a little less than its predecessor because not much happens. I didn’t realize that these two films would cover only a far as where season one of the anime ended. That’s too little for how long of a wait Chihayafuru fans have waited! -___-

House of the Flying Daggers - 10/10 [Completed]

House of the Flying Daggers9/10 [Completed]

This has been a critically acclaimed film I’ve wanted to see for many years now. I finally watched it and, wow, it’s as breathtakingly good as all the praise it’s gotten over the years. The story and plotline are vague and obscure at first, but then a lot is revealed. There are a bunch of twists and betrayals, which keeps the experience interesting for viewers.  And the actors/actresses did a phenomenal job with portraying the characters emotions. The soundtrack is exquisite. I’ve been listening it it so much! This song makes me want to cry just from how beautiful and raw the scene it played in was. Anyway, House of the Flying Daggers is a more passionate film about love blooming from lies (and so much more). I can see why this Chinese film was so successful in the US. Also, whatever you do do not watch the film in dub! Subtitles are always the better way to go (not just with this movie but anything really) even if you have to multitask with reading and watching.

Here’s a trailer (I’m going to start including trailers for the dramas/movies/animes that I think are worth watching from now on in future Summing It Up posts):

Seisei Suruhodo, Aishiteru

Seisei Suruhodo, Aishiteru2/10 [Skim Completed]

I went into this one not knowing what to expect because I knew it was a romance centered around infidelity. I think this drama tries to present a scenario to viewers where cheating isn’t so bad, but no matter how much is changed (or victimized the cheating guy is portrayed) cheating can’t be justified in my opinion. There’s no excuse for not filing a proper divorce before you move onto another relationship and it’s also not okay to string along someone else’s feelings when you’re already taken. Also, the “other woman” (OW from here on) totally felt like she threw away all her self-respect when she said something along the lines of “make me the OW.” I can see that this could possibly be realistic because love can make people do some crazy, irrational things, but what a toxic, toxic relationship. Maybe I’m being harsh about this all since I’ve never been entangled in such a relationship and can’t relate to the conflicted feelings of the characters. I know it’s just entertainment and that I should have stopped watching if I couldn’t take it likely. However, I have to give it the directors/producers because the drama was so bad that it became almost addicting at times. I couldn’t stop watching, because I wanted to know how it ended. Well, the HEA the cheating guy and OW gets is utterly ridiculous. The route the conclusion took is one I doubt often results from infidelity relationships.

Yuri on Ice - ?/10 [Currently Watching]

Yuuri on Ice?/10 [Currently Watching]

All the figure skating events (singles, pairs, and ice dancing) are my favorite Winter Olympics sports to watch by far. (I’m for team Davis and White (go USA!) in ice dancing, however I am also a fan of Canada’s Virtue/Moir because their chemistry and the emotions they pour into their routines are insane. I know there some animosity between the two groups fandoms though. (Why can’t people just be supportive and positive?) For pair figure skating my favorite will always be the retired and long time competing team Zhao/Shen because their hardworking journey towards eventually winning gold is awe-inspiring. And, of course, I agree with the majority and think Yuna Kim is the queen on ice.) So, naturally, when I heard a figure skating anime was to be released, what did I do? I added it to my TBW (to be watched) list immediately. It recently started airing, and I’m on episode four. And gosh, I have a really good feeling about this one. The art and movement is simply breathtaking. (I mean what did I expect? Kenji Minamoto helped with the choreographing, and he’s pretty much Japan’s best figure skating choreographer at the moment.) As for the characters, I can’t help but picture Tatsuki Machida and Yuzuru Hanyu. XD And I’m already feeling a connection with the Japanese Yuuri (there are two characters name Yuuri in this anime).

The trailer:


Thank you so much for reading (even if it wasn’t the entire post), and I hope you found some of this amusing and the videos/links entertaining. As always, feel free to fangirl/fanboy with me if we’re liking the same things. 🙂

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24 thoughts on “Summing It Up: October 2016

  1. Carolyn says:

    The Hey Mama music video made me laugh a little because I think “mama” means sexy lady or something but there’s so many gay af moments LOL
    And speaking of gay af moments, my sister loves Yuri on Ice and she forced me to watch an episode and the ending of the first episode with Victor in the pool made me laugh so hard LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      LOL, Hey Mama is like the worst title ever. Also, I find it ironic that Exo’s debut song was called Mama. XD
      And omg, I’m loving the dynamics between Victor and Yuri. Victor is so 4D and his entire persona is very comical. (There has yet to be an episode where there’s no zoom in of Victor’s butt.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lois says:

    Yuuri on Ice sounds like my kind of show. I love watching the figure skating at the Winter Olympics and I’ve been on such a sporty kick as of late that I might as well capitalize on all things winter and sporty. Ice Hockey has got to be my favourite of the winter sports though, I’m seriously addicted to it and the midnight streaming session of NHL games are exhausting but so much fun.

    My love for Crooked Kingdom knows no bounds. I’m still in recovery. Everything about the book was on point and as painful as some moments were, I’m glad that the ending wasn’t a neat and clean happy ending.

    It’s been so long since I’ve been to Starbucks but the Frappula sounds like my kind of coffee. Too bad it was just a seasonal thing otherwise I’d be buying in bulks haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Omg, well watch it together with me, Lois! 😉 I can totally send you a good anime streaming site if you’d like and each episode is only about 20 minutes long. (I’m totally trying to convince you here, haha. No pressure though!) And ooh, I haven’t been exposed to ice hockey but from the little I have seen it’s very exciting (and a bit scary, tbh).

      I know right? We share the same exact thoughts on CK. :’)

      …it’s probably best you don’t frequent Starbucks that often anyway, haha. I try to support my local cafés but there are Starbucks everywhere, which makes things so convenient. And tell me about it. I’ve been drinking some type of frappe every other day because of these darn seasonal specials. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lois says:

        I am so down for a buddy watching sesh, especially since the episodes are only 20 minutes long. In return I’m going to try and convert you into an ice hockey fan haha.

        If I can I’ll support my local cafes, especially since their food is fresh and usually very, very good. However, I must admit I’m a sucker for these seasonal drinks. We have a Costa, the UK equivalent to Starbucks, and they’re doing this toasted marshmallow coffee this winter and I need it in my life.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reg @ She Latitude says:

    OMG I have never heard of Yuuri on Ice but I watched the trailer you provided and it looks right up my alley! Ice skating is one of the only sports I can actually do well, and it’s probably the only sport I don’t mind watching, haha (everything else bores me sadly). I’m glad to hear that the art is amazing – I’ll definitely be checking it out. ❤

    And you know I still read Crooked Kingdom yet but those red-edged pages look SO BEAUTIFUL. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      When I was a kid my dad used to take me to the roller skating rink, and I loved it. I’ve never tried ice skating before, but I love watching the professionals perform competitively. And yay! Have you actually tried watching any episodes of Yuuri on Ice yet? It just ended with12 episodes, and it was so good! ❤

      Right? Everytime I see my copies of the Six of Crows duology chilling on my shelf it makes me extremely happy. They’re gorgeous!

      Like

  4. Lais says:

    I’m absolutely in love with Yixing’s new album – and I feel like you’ll love it as well. There are a lot of slow but good songs and I’ve been listening to it nonstop since the release.
    I’m also in love with BTS’ new album and my favorite song is definitely Lie! I believe Jimin is one of the best vocalists in the group and this song fits his voice perfectly.
    House of the Flying Daggers has been on my radar for a long time and I wonder when I will FINALLY watch it. I already downloaded it on my computer, but I always forget about it! However, reading your positive comments, I’ll make time to watch it as soon as possible!
    I hope you have a fantastic November, Summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      I finally got my copy of the Lose Control album in the mail; it took months but I’m okay with that. Ah, it’s gorgeous and Yixing’s gorgeous. I like nearly all the tracks (no surprise), and I love how it reflects the type of music Lay must like listening to.

      BTS always creates the best albums but I have to say they even outdid themselves this time around. Lie is beautiful and I can see why you love it. Jimin’s so talented.

      Ooh, you must get on with watching House of the Flying Daggers! 😉 That movie was more intense than I had expected it to be. In a good way, of course. Hope you have as good as an experience as I did when watching it.

      Thank you, Lais! I hope that your November (and December) was lovely, too. ^.^

      Like

  5. Anne says:

    (long time no see) Ahh! First off, Wings album was soo good and I loved the profound musicality and play with new styles! My favorite solo track is Awake and First Love, and my favorite group track is Lost. I am also digging SHINee, BP, Yixing, and Jay Park’s releases.
    I’m currently reading Crooked Kingdom and I love the writing style and the characterizations. I initially dreaded the ending since she did not provide a good ending for Grisha trilogy, but your blurb gives me hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Anne! It’s so nice to hear from you. Agreed, the Wings album was fab. I don’t love BTS the way I do with Exo, but they’re so talented it’s hard not to support them. Hehe, lately, I’ve been on a huge K-pop kick. So nostalgic because it reminds me of my highschool days when I was really into the genre.
      And I hope you enjoyed Crooked Kingdom (because I bet you’re finished reading it by now). Hopefully, you found the finale to the Six of Crows duology satisfying. 🙂

      Like

      • Anne says:

        It’s been a fantastic year for BTS and I feel like a proud mom watching over them :’) It feels so surreal because I’ll be seeing them in concert in March!
        And yes, I finished Crooked Kingdom! It was by far one of my favorites this year because it was so engrossing and fascinating from start to finish.

        Like

  6. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    YESSS how good are SoC and CK? I re-read SoC in preparation for CK and man, it was soooo good. I just had to buy those editions as well because they are absolutely beautiful! I know what you mean about the comments, I am always behind lol. Have a lovely week Summer~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      I will forever be envious of your fantastic reading speed, Jeann! I wasn’t able to make a single reread in 2016. Oh well. Haha, thanks for understanding. I’m glad that a veteran blogger like you relates; it makes me feel not as alone and little better. Hope you’ve been well!

      Like

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