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.
Edit 1/4/2016: 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’d like to, here’s my post on Nirvana in Fire. 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.
Some of you may already know this (through my Instagram or from me justing 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, Renée 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!
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.
Well, gosh, I’ve been on a roll lately, haven’t I? I mean three posts in three consecutive days? 😛 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. 😄 In twenty days (January 22) I’ll be 20 years old!
Hi! I’m taking a break from studying and exams to write this post. I’m not quite ready to create a book review yet so this is going to be a non-bookish post, but I’m really excited to share it with you guys nonetheless. While I was on my reading hiatus (aka reading slump) I decided to start a subscription to DramaFever because it’s just been so long (a year?) since I’ve watched any Asian dramas (I did have a fun Netflix marathon with Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, and Reign this year though; boy, am I a CW fangirl) and so I binge watched a couple of dramas. She Was Pretty was one of them; though I wasn’t much of fan of that one I finished watching all 16 episodes anyway. Maybe I’m just really tired with the whole magazine/journalism theme and “oh! I find my cranky boss so attractive” approach (it’s way overused in lots of entertainment). Although, I have to recognize its merit for the plot with role reversals (a pretty teenage girl ages into an physically unflattering woman, while a chubby boy “blossoms” into a handsome guy). But anyway, I wasn’t planning to make this post about She Was Pretty but rather another show.
I recently finished watching It’s Okay, That’s Love, which has now become one of my favorite dramas. I’m not sure if it’s the post binging high or what, but I seriously fell in love with the story. It made me laugh and cry… and just experience a ton of emotions I wasn’t expecting. So I thought I’d share this while I’m still fangirling over it.
I’m scheduling a post today because, my gosh, I haven’t published anything on here in nearly two weeks. There were several reasons behind this unprecedented hiatus.
Some of you may already know this if I commented on your blogs, I’ve been in an awful reading slump (and thus a blogging slump) since mid-October. I’ve started a bunch of fantastic, brilliantly compelling books (A Little Life, A Monster Calls, Wolf By Wolf to name a few)… but I just haven’t been in the mood to… read. And I think the best way to deal with this is to just not read for a while. However, I want to thank every one of you that gave me great suggestions for remedying the slump-from light contemporaries to short stories.
Another reason why I think I’ll take it easy with the reading is that I won’t be blogging that much in the next few weeks anyway. Fall classes are coming to a close and finals are about to begin the start of December. My focus really needs to be on my studies especially since this is the year I applied to professional school and they’ll be monitoring my every academic move (lol, that was awkwardly worded, sorry heh) until the end of the spring semester, and I have to admit that blogging (and blog hopping) does take a considerable chunk of my time-even though I do enjoy it! However, I do have one exciting news to share with you guys in terms with my status with admissions to pharmacy school-I got an interview! By the time this post has published, I’ve already have had it, but regardless of it going well or not, I’m just so relieved and happy I was competitive enough as an applicant for them to want to meet me in person. Fingers crossed, that everything will go well from here on out.
Yet another great thing that has happened to me recently is… I went to Yallfest! Those of you that follow me on Instagram and Twitter probably knew I went. But yeah. It was such a wonderful experience, being my first book signing event. I ended up meeting authors I never thought I’d ever get to meet, befriending fellow bookworms while waiting in the signing lines, and just having a blast. The only regrets I had were not getting to see panels. I wanted to attend the Keynote collab between Richelle Mead, one of my all-time favorite authors, and R.L. Stine so bad, but I wasn’t able to buy a ticket in time before they sold out. And every free panel conflicted with a signing that I couldn’t give up. However, I’m happy to be able to say “maybe next year.” That’s right! I’m already thinking about going to Yallfest 2016 because it was just that fun this year. 😉
And before I end this post with a few pictures I took at Yallfest 2015 (omg, I was so derp-y in the pictures; don’t mind me, OTL), I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that comments/likes, just silently reads, or does whatever to support Xingsings even when I’m not active in the blogosphere. I know that a lot of my blog traffic comes from my usual blog hopping sprees, but it really does mean a lot when I still see people actively reading this blog even when I’m not present. Like I’ve mentioned before, I really do read every comment and eventually reply to them.
Anyhow, I hope everyone has a lovely and safe week!
When Big Hero 6 was released, all of my nerdy engineering friends were going to see this. I’m not a huge fan of robotics in general, so I decided to sit this one out. Months later, my expectations were still low despite the awards and rave reviews the film received, because the creators of this film also produced Frozen, a movie I wasn’t too fond of and found to be overhyped. However, now that I’ve watched it, I regret waiting this long to see it. This beautiful animation way exceeded my expectations. Big Hero 6 is, hands down, my new favorite animation of the year (not that I watch that many to begin with but that’s beside the point).
Update 8/13/15: When I originally published this post I didn’t think that many readers would read this since I was a newbie blogger and had like what? 5 followers? It’s unbelievable that I’ve been blogging for over half a year now and that this is my most viewed post to date. So I just wanted to thank you guys that have read and shared this post. As I said, this is one of my earlier posts on this blog so I apologize for the lack of balance of professionalism and bias, which I now constantly strive to display in my later blog posts. And for K-pop fans, I initially wrote this thinking my reading audience would be new to K-pop, so there’s a good bit of an introduction. I will often refer to “Gangnam Style” and other K-pop cliches.
Lately, I’ve been hearing two debates. Is the dress blue and black, or white and gold? And the controversy within the Korean pop music industry. It’s likely you’ve seen the dress, but I’m pretty sure you haven’t caught onto the K-pop situation. Recently, Sojin Ahn, a K-pop trainee, was found dead due to jumping off the 10th floor of her apartment building with thoughts of suicide. Continue reading