This is goodbye.

Happy 2019~! I’ve got some happy and sad news to share with you all today. It’s January 2nd so today marks my fourth year blogiversary (insane!), but after a lot of deliberation and careful thought for many, many months, I have decided that it’s time for me to retire Xingsings after four years.

Honestly, it feels utterly unbelievable and surreal to even type that since I never thought that I’d be part of the blogosphere for so long.

Many reasons contributed to why I came to this decision-from me knowing that I’ve lost the inspiration and drive to create posts to sillier (and sort of embarrassing) stuff like how I’m actually running out of WordPress media storage space and I’m unwilling to commit to moving onto a self-hosted site. Then there’s also the fact that I’m in my final semesters of pharmacy school and I can’t see myself blogging as I complete my P4 rotations, which are anticipated to be intense and full of high stress. And as much as I try to deny that it doesn’t, the fact still remains that it does really bother me when I leave comments unanswered and am unable to blog hop or visit other blogs like I used to.

However, with that all being said, there were factors that certainly made this decision difficult and encouraged me to want to stay as well. The declining viewership due to my inactivity was evident but it didn’t worry me because I always used this corner of the internet as a personal diary of sorts; I will definitely miss this aspect of blogging once I stop. And, most importantly, I truly believe that it’s because of the warm and kind community that has kept me a blogger reluctant to leave for so long. So I want to say thank you to the old and new friends that I’ve made over the years. I really appreciate all of you, and I can easily say that I consider many my best friends. To those part of the latter, I hope that we’ll be granted a chance to meet in person one day.

Anyhow, I really ought to end this post soon because I’m (for real) getting kind of teary. T_T Through this blog, in these last few years I’ve created a lot of content that I’m proud of, shared so much of my life online, made a lot of of incredible memories, had meaningful conversations with others from all over the globe, and built so many irreplaceable friendships. Thank you for joining me on this crazy ride that was Xingsings. My blog was a mess and had zero focus, but thank you for sticking with me for this long.

Of course, I can always be reached via my other social media accounts such as Instagram (@readxings) and Twitter (@xingsings). So feel free to keep in touch and contact me on those platforms anytime!

I am forever so thankful for my time here as a blogger and, perhaps, I’ll return someday. But for now, this is goodbye.

Love,
Summer Nguyen
xingsings.wordpress.com

P.S. This link might seem pretty random to share but it was one of the very first songs that got me into music in general (and that changed my life clearly since I don’t think I could live without it now). Anyway, this is my go to track when I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. So naturally this was on repeat as I was contemplating what to write for this final post. In true Summer fashion, I thought I would end with one last song on this blog. :’)

Pin Collection

Happy Halloween, friends!

I don’t have a bookish post ready since I seldom read nowadays, but I do have a different and (maybe?) interesting post to share instead: a brief look of my pin collection. I won’t be sharing all the ones I have but here’s a few photos that I shared on Instagram the past few weeks. I have a variety of pins honestly (form K-pop, movie/animation, to miscellaneous). ¬†And I think I started collecting them since 2013 but I’ve only been actively bulking my collection recently.

Anyhow, that’s it for now. Hope that you’re all well! ūüôā

Goodbye 2017 + 2018 Resolutions + 3 Year Blog Anniversary + Giveaway

Edit 1/28/18: I’m so sorry, guys, I haven’t had a chance to reply to the comments on this post and choose the giveaway winner just yet. I¬†promise to do it by the 2nd of February at the latest though. Thanks for understanding!

Happy 2018, friends! It feels strange typing this because where did 2017 go? Last year was totally a blur to me. XD

From the title, it’s safe to assume that I’ll be packing a lot in this one post. I’ve been so out of blogging that I completely forgot how it’s tradition for me to post a lot in the beginning of the year (with my new year resolutions post, blogiversary post, monthly recap, etc). I guess I lost track of time and didn’t account for all that, so I’m going to have to settle with a¬†long post this time around instead.

Believe it or not, today marks three years of blogging for me! I started Xingsings on January 2, 2015 and, to be honest, I never thought that it would be around for this long. Anyway, I want to sincerely say thank you all for the love and support that I’ve gotten over the years. I’ve met so many wonderful people and created irreplaceable friendships through this platform. I really could not be more grateful.

While on this subject, I should share my decision on whether I want to continue this blog or not since I did promise an answer to this. After talking to some close friends of mine (both from the blogosphere and outside of it), I think I might continue after all. (Man, I feel like this “should I or shouldn’t I?” debate pops up every year around this time for me and I always decide to go on.)

I should also mention that the biggest factor that made me consider quitting the blog in the first place. I’m not going to lie, my lack of replying to comments and blog hopping last year made me feel horrible. When I think about how little I interacted with other bloggers it made me feel very guilty. I don’t know how to describe it but I felt underserving of the response I got towards my posts. ¬†I’m not encouraging or saying that I have a “comment for comment” mentality exactly but I genuinely like keeping up with friends that keep up with me and I felt bad when I couldn’t.

Anyway, 2018 is going to be the year where I want to change this.¬†Another one of my new year’s resolutions is actually to just blog more in general. Somehow, I’ve managed to at least blog once a month since the beginning of this blog but I want to go back to writing more book reviews because that’s probably the part I miss the most about book blogging, aside from the blog hopping and interacting with others.

Speaking of book blogging… I think it’s time for me to shift my focus away from being just a book blog. My main focus will probably still and always be about books, but I’m ready to expand the non-bookish side of Xingsings this year, by incorporating posts like product reviews (like my bookish/literary candles), more Asian drama and anime/manga reviews, and maybe even some planner/hobonichi/bullet journaling and crafting posts. I guess whatever inspires me!

I know in the years past I’ve “reviewed” and reflected the previous years goal’s, but I sort of failed epically in the reading and blogging portions of my 2017 resolutions. (Actually, the only portion I did seem to fulfill completely was the career/academic aspirations. But, I suppose this isn’t a bad thing since those were the most important.) Therefore, I won’t be doing a reflection on last year’s goals in this blog post. :’)

And that’s really all I have to share with this post for now. I have book reviews, a long overdue book haul, and a December wrap up in the works so until those posts, see you next time! ūüôā

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Happy International Women’s Day + My Most Listened to K-pop Girl Group Songs

I’m always going on and on about K-pop (probably Exo specifically), and I noticed that I rarely talk about girl groups for some reason. So in honor of International Women’s Day I¬†thought I would share the top 20¬†K-pop girl group songs I’ve listened to the most. I won’t be talking about each track because that would be quite redundant, but I will say that if I had to choose favorites…¬†Taeyeon, F(X), and Spica are the most consistent artists in that I normally like all their releases.

Oh and a¬†brief¬†history of me and K-pop (if you’re curious and/or new to this blog)… I started listening to Korean pop music when I was in high school (about late 2011). And I believe¬†the biggest reason why I haven’t outgrown the musical genre and still listen to it¬†to this day is because of the great stage presence these idols have. They train at a young age and for many years before they can debut. (Actually the K-pop industry like many music industries anywhere around the world are pretty cutthroat and unstable.) During that time, they¬†learn a¬†variety of skills including singing, dancing, variety¬†sense and humor, languages, etc. Their¬†live performances are always so phenomenal due to the thorough lessons they had as trainees. And for that reason, I have huge respect for these idols and truly think they’re¬†are on a whole other level compared to other international artists. Haha, so that’s my short spiel.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the list. They’re in the order from most listened to least listened to. But even the least listened to… have been listened to many times seeing as this is only 20 songs out of thousands I have on my iTunes. (Yes, my music listening is no joke.) Lastly, keep in mind some of these releases are pretty old¬†because, well, I did begin listening to this genre of music 5+ years ago. XD

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Nirvana in Fire (A Long Review + Appreciation Post for the Best Historical C-Drama Out There)

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Despite having been¬†on winter break for the past ten days, I’ve neglected¬†this blog badly. Simply because life has been busy. I’ve been helping out with the family business since the holidays are our busiest, and on my days off I’ve been running many errands. In between working, getting things done (like Christmas shopping, visiting the optometrist, renewing my driver’s license, etc), and just having finished an academic semester, I also have¬†not felt that motivated to read. And, subsequently, I haven’t been inspired to blog. Of course,¬†(I know I keep¬†saying this but) I promise¬†I’ll get back to comments and bookish related posts before my winter break ends¬†if not very soon. However, for now, aside from this small update, all I can offer is sharing my most¬†recent non-bookish obsession that has taken over my life as of late.

A few weeks ago, I posted a quasi review of Princess Weiyoung, a Chinese historical drama that was extremely compelling and entertaining but not necessarily flawless for its jarring plot holes, sometimes awkward acting, and repetitive storyline. Soon after completing that one, I moved onto yet another lengthy period drama also set during the Southern and Northern dynasties called Nirvana in Fire. What reservations I had with Princess Weiyoung were completely absent with the latter.

To not give too much away,¬†Nirvana in Fire¬†is a story about a man’s quest of revenge and his path on clearing his family’s name of¬†crimes they did not commit as well as secretly help his childhood friend, an¬†unfavored prince,¬†become emperor. Though this one line synopsis suggests that¬†this series is quite simple, straightforward and uncomplicated¬†it certainly was not.

Nirvana in Fire has been called “China’s Game of Thrones”¬†for the vast¬†recognition its received since airing¬†in late 2015; it reached¬†commercial and critical success with its positive ratings and viewership numbers (exceeding 10 million views by the second day!). Despite its popularity, I’ve put this title off because there are fifty four 45 minute episodes, which is a great commitment to juggle with¬†school-especially since I was already watching Princess Weiyoung at the time. So once my break began, I knew it was about time to marathon this series. And, gosh,¬†Nirvana in Fire¬†went beyond my expectations and¬†absolutely¬†blew me away.

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Princess Weiyoung

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Edit 1/4/2017: In hindsight, I feel like I overhyped Princess Weiyoung¬†with this review post. After completing (and loving!)¬†Nirvana in Fire¬†subsequently after this one, I thought the latter was much, much better. So if you’re curious what my thoughts were on Nirvana in Fire¬†here is¬†my (massive) review post for that series. I highly suggest watching NiF¬†instead if you haven’t already. It’s also set during the Northern and Southern dynasties and has a revenge plot (like Princess Weiyoung), but the storyline, acting, and execution is more¬†phenomenal!

Alright, everyone, brace yourselves for an extremely long, intense fangirl session. (You’ve been warned.)

Many of you know I’ve been on a¬†hiatus because of school. But fall finals hasn’t been the only thing keeping me occupied. I’m not sure why this always happens… but¬†near the end of the semester (when it’s pretty much¬†a dark time¬†for students), for some stupid reason, I think it’s okay¬†to start watching a drama. Even crazier and worse¬†is that the one I choose tends to become one that¬†I totally obsess over. Last year it was It’s Okay, That’s Love,¬†and this time (no surprise really if you’ve read my latest post or have talked to me outside Xingsings)¬†Princess Weiyoung.

Princess Weiyoung is essentially another revenge plot that takes place during the Northern and Southern dynasties (so roughly sometime between 400 to 600) adapted from a Chinese novel called The Poisonous Daughter¬†by Qin Jian*. The story begins with a general from the Chiyun clan falsely accusing and murdering the Northern Liang’s royal family, turning the young, care free Liang princess, Feng Xin’er, into a girl without a family and identity. Then¬†perhaps by fate, Xin’Er meets and befriends Li Weiyoung, the illegitimate daughter of a general that works for the Northern Wei. Weiyoung dies while protecting Xin’Er, and the latter assumes Weiyoung’s identity and vows to avenge her friend’s death as well as her¬†late family.

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Yallfest 2016

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Some of you may already know this (through my Instagram or from me just chatting with you recently) but I visited Charleston, SC for a bookish event on November 12th! My feet and arms are actually still a little sore from Saturday (lol) but the trip was so worthwhile because I got to meet many wonderful authors and hang out with the coolest bookworms.

This was my second year attending Yallfest, the biggest YA book festival and event in the southeast US. I want to say the level of excitement was about the same as last year, and the turnout of people attending and participating were a lot higher, which was to be expected since this event only grows each year.

Since I had already gone in 2015, I had¬†the routine down to a tee¬†this year. Driving and parking was so much easier. (Though I’ve been to Charleston many times before I had never driven there myself. So it was a bit of a struggle with the congested streets to find a parking garage last year.)

I also learned my lesson and didn’t¬†bring a book bag. I do think it’s an absolute must that attendees¬†bring something to carry their books in, such as a¬†backpack, tote, or even suitcase (don’t worry people actually bring wagons of books to this event-it’s pretty intense).¬†However, if you plan to drive there like I did and find a parking space near the venue, you¬†can easily go to your car to exchange and get books throughout the day. But I must say¬†this only works well if you can coordinate these mini runs. Personally, I really liked this technique¬†because it really saved my¬†back. I would only carry about five books at a time, which wasn’t any trouble at all, and after each signing I tried to use my time¬†efficiently so that I could make a trip¬†to the car to exchange it for another set of books for¬†the next signings. I did this about twice in the day. Like I said, it may not be¬†practical for some, but this method¬†gave me a much better experience because I was more comfortable as I was walking around.

Oh! Plus,¬†throughout the day¬†it’s very unlikely for you to not get free totes along¬†the way to signings and panels. So you’ll end up with more bags than books by the end of the day anyway. (I literally had a huge book bag and 5 totes to lug around last year hence the body aches the following days.)

Also, this year was much more meaningful with signings for me. Because I took a long hiatus from reading during high school and the beginning of college, I wasn’t up to date with new authors that wrote YA fiction. It wasn’t until¬†I started blogging early 2015 did I come to learn about these authors (such as Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, etc). So the author line up from last year had a lot of familiar names but only a handful were ones that¬†I had read books by them. And since I wanted to see as many authors as I could, all the while trying to avoid picking those that I read their books¬†pre-2010, I decided on authors of books I’d already owned (regardless if I read their books yet)¬†to get signed. (Man, what a wordy sentence. I hope I made my point…) I was somewhat greedy, and didn’t want to waste the opportunity of getting to meet those authors even if I hadn’t read their books. (Honestly, it was only three authors that I did this: Alexandra Bracken, Ren√©e Ahdieh, and Victoria Aveyard. This proved to be a¬†smart move since both Bracken and Aveyard became “wristband authors” this year where only a limited number of readers could get the chance to meet them if they had a wristband.) I was still able to make great conversation, but because this year I only chose to meet authors where I’ve read nearly all their published work (and quite recently)… I was¬†able to have much more¬†meaningful, memorable conversations.

Anyway,¬†I don’t want this post to be just text… so like last year’s Yallfest blog post, I will continue to recount my fun day¬†in pictures and captions from here on. Hope you guys enjoy!

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To begin¬†my day off right, I met one of my all time favorite authors (and absolute favorite YA contemporary author), Sarah Dessen. She said she loved my name, guys. T_T And that she liked it so much she was close to naming her daughter Summer. (Dessen’s husband insisted on a¬†different name though so their daughter’s name is¬†Sasha.)¬†Also, she was the only author where I wrote an actual letter to. I made it the day before because I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to adequately express how much I love her books in the short time I got with¬†her. (And the other author also signing in the background is Adam Gidwitz.)

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Attack on Titan (and a Brief Recap of What I’ve Been Watching)

Attack on Titan

Today marks my last official winter break weekend. The spring semester begins this Monday and I’ll be back to having an irregular posting schedule (I predict I’ll only be able to post¬†a couple times a month and blog hopping will likely¬†have to cease).

Anyway, today I wanted to share a non bookish post since I am currently experiencing this awful post binge hangover (aka I don’t know what to do with my life now that I’ve finished this epic, epic¬†show), and I must discuss this anime with someone, anyone.

After I got a good dose of catching up on all the Asian dramas¬†I wanted to squeeze in during my break, I went ahead and signed up for my free trial with Crunchyroll (when I was in middle school and high school I used to use AnimeCrazy but that free online streaming site has long closed down; I don’t think I’ll be continuing with Crunchyroll though since they don’t offer a lot of the anime I used to watch and want to rewatch), a site that offers English subtitles for anime watchers that don’t understand Japanese.

But before I get into how amazing Attack on Titan was, I wanted to give a brief rundown on what I’ve been watching this last month. In terms of Asian dramas, I marathoned She¬†Was¬†Pretty,¬†It’s Okay, That’s Love, Kill Me, Heal Me,¬†Prince of Lan Ling,¬†Sound of the Desert,¬†Detective vs. Detectives,¬†and¬†Oh My Venus, which recently just finished airing.

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Xingsings is a Year Old + Blogiversary/Birthday Giveaway

Blogiversary 1

Well, gosh, I’ve been on a roll lately, haven’t I? I mean three posts in three consecutive days? ūüėõ I hope everyone had a blast celebrating the new year yesterday! Honestly I didn’t really do much but read and relax, which is the best type of day in my opinion. Today¬†I thought before I went to work I’d write this post.

I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet so it won’t be too complicated.¬†As you’ve read from the title of this post, this blog hits one year old today!

And January is a pretty special month for me because… it’s my birthday month! That’s right, I was born in the winter despite my name. XD In twenty days (January 22) I’ll be 20 years old!

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