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Top 10 KPop Songs of 2014 – Part 2

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Let’s waste no time in continuing with the countdown!

6 – WINNER – “Don’t Flirt”

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WINNER double-feature! This song was released and promoted as a single but for some reason didn’t have an accompanying music video.  In any case, you can’t deny that a reggae-like track is always a good bet to get into a nice groove.

5 – EXO – “Overdose”

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Being a huge EXO fan (did you catch onto that, yet?) I wanted so badly to put this track higher on the list but this song was released in May and there were some songs released later in the year that I feel were stronger.  But believe me, if we were talking about Growl, it would be a completely different story.
In regular EXO fashion, this track has both a Chinese and Korean version.
Headphone Alert! This song has some fantastic synths. Have I mentioned that I need a comeback. . .today?!

4 – Mamamoo – “Piano Man”

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These ladies can SANG. This was another case where I was blown away by the teaser and waited anxiously for the full music video to be released.

These ladies actually give me chills.  Their stage presence, confidence and vocal skills are top-notch in my book.  The classy vibe they excude is very refreshing.

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Stay tuned! The countdown continues this Wednesday!

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Top 10 KPop Songs of 2014 – Part 1

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This list was a CHORE to make.  Not because I had to decide WHICH songs to include, but because I had to decide the ORDER in which I loved them.  That was the hard part.  And, it was difficult to choose just 10. But, “Top 14” just doesn’t have to same ring to it.

However, after much listening, re-listening, organizing and reorganizing, I’ve finalized my list.  So, let’s do this!

Some of these songs benefit highly from some great speakers.  My Skullcandy headphones with extra bass put some of these songs into a whole other category in terms of grooving.

10 – Red Velvet – “Happiness”

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When I was first introduced to this video, I heard just the chorus and I was unimpressed.  The jungle atmosphere and the endless chorus of “la la la la la la la la la la” was just not my style.  But if there’s anything I’ve learned from the KPop hits of 2014, it’s that repetition is my friend.  After numerous random encounters of the song and my 127th encounter of the “la la”, I said, enough already, let’s watch this whole thing and I’m so glad I did.  They had me at, “BOOYAH!” and I’ve loved it ever since.

This song has a great melody, fantastic bass and percussion and the video is creative to say the least.

9 – Boys Republic – “The Real One”

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Some teaser videos that are released in anticipation of a new single leave a lot to be desired (more on that in an upcoming post) but then there are others that just get you pumped up and excited for a great new song.  That was the case with this one.  I was really looking forward to seeing this video after getting a glimpse from the teaser and the song and video were better than I was hoping for.

Everything about this video speaks to my love for the aesthetically pleasing.  The overall tonal quality is great and giving the men suits with personality adds to the overall look and feel.  The added bonus for me is the choreography and the twist that they put on it.

8 – BTS – “War of Hormone”

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I’m not one for aggression, but this approach works for BTS.  I’m loving this in-your-face rock/hip-hop fusion sound that they have.  They know how to grab your attention right from the start and keep the momentum going.

I love the tonal quality of this video, too – a really good look and feel.

7 – WINNER – “Empty”

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WINNER is hands down the one group that I am so happy to have discovered last year.  I enjoy the overall atmosphere and feel they bring to each performance, interview and song.

This song and video has a nice, calm and classic feel.

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We’re just getting the ball rolling here so let me know what you think so far.

Are any of these songs on your list for the best from the past year? Any guesses as to what’s to come? Let me know!

Be sure to catch the continuation of the countdown this Sunday!

 

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Welcome, 2015! But before we start. . .

Needless to say, it’s been a while since I’ve been here to share my thoughts.  My excitement and love for expressing myself through words by no means went away, I just needed a while to hone other skills and reignite the passion.

2014 was a fantastic year and I am looking forward to many new and exciting projects – some of which will be shared here.

Before moving forward, however, I’d like to enjoy taking a brief look back at the fantastic-ness that presented itself in the form of KPop music during the latter part of the year.

This music stimulated me so much in many ways and I just have to acknowledge it.

So, I will be presenting my Top 10 Songs of (the latter part of) 2014! This countdown will be released in multiple parts.

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Look out for Part 1 of the countdown this Friday!

The music of KPop in 2014 was great.  I wonder if 2015 can top it. . .let’s find out!

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White Noise is My Friend

I am a dreamer by nature.  A creative thinker that visualizes in full color and vivid realism.

Back in the day (and even in my adult life) it was always difficult for me to sit in one place long enough to finish a task that I had been excited to start, or even to begin the task in the first place.  My mind would always jump too far ahead of my initial goal that I would feel overwhelmed and soon after abandon my once sought-after aspiration.  After all, it was more fun to imagine the possibilities and excitedly plan for it than to actually do the work in order to achieve the goal. Tired of this personality quirk,  I realized that I no longer wanted to be a dreamer.  As a dreamer you imagine wonderful things, but none of them come to pass because you’re always only visualizing them.  Now, I plan to be an achiever of my dreams.

The first thing I did was pray.  It occurred to me that the one thing that I had never done about my fickleness was pray about it.  I pray about everything else in my life and see results, why is this any different? I wasn’t sure why it hadn’t occurred to me earlier.  I attributed it to just not finding the right project or activity on which to keep my focus.  I was convinced that surely once I found that thing that I was meant to focus on, I would naturally focus on it.

Not surprisingly, shortly after starting to pray about it, I saw results.  The answer – white noise.

Now, white noise is nothing new to me.  It comes in all sorts of forms – the sound of wind blowing, relaxing waterfalls, rain showers and so many other constant sounds. You can easily do an online search and find the type of white noise that best fits your personality.   I use it every once in a while to relax me to sleep and I absolutely love it (rain showers are the BEST!).  But what I hadn’t realized is that I could use white noise not only to relax me but also to keep me focused.

I tried it once on a whim thinking that music at the time would be too distracting – I was amazed by the results.  The constant sound that usually relaxes me also gives me a sense of focus that I can’t explain.  It turns my  ever-running mind OFF when it’s pumping through my ears.  It’s astonishing.  I’m in the moment, learning, creating, enjoying. . . .without wondering or thinking about anything else.  It’s absolutely phenomenal and I thank God for it.

So, if you’ve found yourself struggling to focus on a task that you’ve forever wanted to accomplish or are just tired of mindless thoughts inside distracting you from all that you can be and accomplish, I strongly suggest that you pray about it. . . and then, try white noise. 🙂

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First Impression: Strangers 6

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It’s been a while since I’ve been on the drama bandwagon.  To start, I’m very picky when it comes to what drama I get into – they don’t always suck me in right at the beginning.  If I’m not hooked from the start, it’s difficult for me to stick with it.

So, recently on my quest to try and find a drama to enjoy, I stumbled upon ‘Strangers 6’.  This drama takes place across Asia.  There is a huge threat to the continent and the top forces in China, Japan and Korea respectively have been called upon to work together for the greater good of the land.

What I love about this drama so far is the language diversity.  When I was initially looking for an engaging show to watch, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch a Japanese or Korean drama.  So when I discovered this show, it was all the more enjoyable because I got a great mixture – Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean AND English! And for the most part, the English is good.  Yes, some actors have a better grasp of it than others, but for the most part it’s pleasant.

The most notable English speaker focused in the first few episodes is Chinese actor Gregory Wong.  I so enjoyed his light-hearted yet respectable character in the beginning of this drama, that I learned a bit more about him and even sent my well wishes to him via social media – and got a “thanx!” back from the actor himself in response!!

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The main cast works well together. You’ve got the hunky Korean agent, his cool and at times sassy female partner and the Chinese agent also has his own female partner. Then there’s the Japanese agent – a troubled man currently going through a divorce and the only one who doesn’t have a female counterpart because apparently he can’t be trusted with one.  So he gets a young and meek computer programmer.  He’s a cutie and I’m hoping that at some point he is forced to face something that will turn his meekness into manliness, otherwise, his constant cowering is going to continue to be annoying.

Overall, I love the idea of this drama.  Different cultures combining for the greater good of their respective countries.  And even though they don’t necessarily get along – as individuals and in some cases on a larger political level, they still need to find a way to work together to prevent disaster.

If this sounds like a premise that you can get with, then definitely check out, ‘Strangers 6’.

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Missin’ Kris. . .

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Super sensation EXO has been dominating the KPop music world for the last few years, getting stronger with each released single, variety show and commercial in which they’re featured and they’re showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

But as with fellow SM Entertainment guy groups that have preceded them, they have now found themselves in the middle of controversy.

Kris (Wu Yifan, his Chinese name), has filed a lawsuit against his company which has caused him to no longer be part of the 12-member group for as long as the lawsuit is pending.

Kris was the leader of the sub-group EXO-M and for whatever reason, after the release of their most recent mega-hit, “중독 (Overdose)” in May, he decided that for whatever reason, he was not happy with his current situation.

Of course, this has polarized the KPop fan world.  Some are against him, some support only him and others support both sides.

I’m of the both sides camp.  I LUV EXO.  I am a fan and always will be.  I continue to watch their performances and variety shows and groove to their tracks pumping in my car.  But I have to admit. . . I miss Kris.

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Which is interesting because he only just started to grow on me.  When rumors last year claimed that he wanted to leave the group before and was allegedly coaxed back in, I then found myself paying attention to him more and wondering if the rumors were true and thinking, “Is he happy? Did he want to come back? Well, if he did, then good for him.  But if not, I hope he’s not miserable. . . ”

Then I started feeling that way about all the members.  After their mega-success as rookies and coming back with powerful hits and performances, their exposure grew and as a result they were working harder to keep up with the demand of more from them.  Their performances grew to bigger levels – incorporating newer choreography into already-established routines and adding intros to their performances and dance breaks to remixed songs. Their presence also increased on TV shows – being featured on their own variety show, as well as others and various commercials. I mean, these guys seemed to be constantly working.

What does make me feel better, though, is that when they are interviewing and showing their playful side, they do seem genuinely happy and I hope that is indeed the case.  After all, those shows make me happy, too.

So whatever Wu Yifan decides to do with his life after this lawsuit, be it return to EXO, move on to acting as he’s alluded to before, or just live a quiet life back in his native Canada, that’s his right to do.

I’ll still be an EXO fan.  And I’ll still miss him.

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Japanese Cooking Days! Stuffed Peppers

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The main thing I learned while making this dish: looks aren’t everything. I got super-frustrated when my creation wasn’t looking like it did in the video recipe I was following, but shortly after the frustration, I was good. . . .

So, this is isn’t exactly a Japanese dish, it just happened to be one of the video recipes from the Japanese cooking series that I’ve been following.

I was immediately drawn to this dish because it’s fairly simple to make: ground beef and pork, mixed with onions, Shiitaki mushrooms, a few seasonings and you’re good to go.

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All was great when I started but, frustration kicked in when I had to turn to the stove.

So, supposedly dusting the inside of the green peppers was supposed to keep the meat mixture adhered to it – but that wasn’t really happening and on top of that, the mixture was also sticking to the pan.  I definitely had enough oil in the pan, but you know how pans get sometimes.  And, yes, using a non-stick pan as was used in the video could have eliminated this setback, but I don’t use non-stick pans.

In any case, once I was able to flip each pepper over, I could tell that all was not lost after all and that I had, instead, added some character to each little piece.

After they were done, I put together a quick sauce to drizzle over the finished product.

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I chose to add rice to the side and what an amazing combination it made.  The meat was tender, juicy and had a great taste to it – seasoned perfectly.  I was a little concerned that the extra sweet sauce on top would be overpowering, but it was exactly what the meat needed to complete it.

That taste was compliment extremely well with the crunchy, spiciness of the green pepper.  Such a great combination on the palette from texture to seasoning.

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Besides it’s ease to make, it’s extremely tasty and could be served with a combination of sides.

This is definitely a dish that I would prepare again – totally satisfied!