Author: Stephanie

Unnie Recommends: Itaewon Class

With so many slice of life kdramas, I’ve learned that hardships is always a companion of any leading man/woman’s life. That sinking feeling that tells you something is wrong and antagonists always breathing down your neck making the world just a little more unfair with their power and influence. But if hardship is a constant, then so is hard work and good karma. What you put out in the world will surely go back to you✨

Park Seo Joon is back as the leading man of Itaewon Class where he plays Park Sae Ro Yi, a no nonsense guy who goes about on his own and abides by his values system to a tee. A series of events leads him to losing his father and opening up his own restaurant in Itaewon a few years later.

Current Impression

The first 2 episodes establishes the beginning of Sae Ro Yi’s journey as a student who moves to a new high school due to his father’s new job. He gets into trouble in school when he helps his fellow classmate who was being bullied by another classmate, Jang Geun Won, who just happens to be the son of a powerful CEO conglomerate. Coincidentally, Sae Ro Yi’s dad, Park Sung Yeol, works for Geun Won’s father and this prompts the former to quit and start his own restaurant business. Geun Won accidentally kills Sung Yeol and Sae Ro Yi ends up going to prison for having assaulted Geun Won at the hospital.

I like Park Seo Joon’s character here because he is essentially a good person — stands up to bullies, sticks to his beliefs, and is apologetic or expresses regret when he’s made a mistake. I do think it’s an idealistic character since it’s hard to be “good” all the time but he’s certainly a kdrama character we can aspire to be. Sae Ro Yi isn’t lonely with regard to matters of the heart as well as he is attracted to Oh Soo A, a classmate and orphan at an orphanage where his father frequents. Though it wasn’t love at first sight for them, they eventually grow to like each other after spending some time together. It was actually Soo A who gives Sae Ro Yi an idea of Itaewon and the latter falls in love with the neighborhood, enough to put up his own restaurant there. Any woman you put together with Park Seo Joon and I swear instant chemistry sizzles between them😍

It’s been awhile since cooking was an integral theme of a kdrama so I’m glad that they’re exploring the craft here. Itaewon Class may have started out on the dramatic side but expect lighter scenes and romcom feels once the show progresses! I’m excited to see from being a lone wolf, how Sae Ro Yi will meet and get to have his own loyal pack of friends, fall in love, and ultimately fight back against Geun Won and his father’s evil ways.

Unnie Recommends: Romantic Doctor Kim 2/Doctor Romantic 2

Fast-paced, adrenaline pumping surgical action, with a side of truth bombs and a potential romance, Romantic Doctor Kim 2 (Season 2) or Doctor Romantic 2 is back with a vengeance this 2020! Korean dramas rarely do a 2nd season of its shows but I’m glad that they decided to do it with Romantic Doctor Kim.

A quick background of the show is that the titular protagonist, Master Kim, is a genius yet unconventional (Not to mention brutally honest) doctor who works at a provincial hospital called Doldam Hospital. Aside from dealing with various medical scenarios within range of the hospital, a power struggle between him and upper management was one of the main conflicts of the 1st season. That story continues here as the villain returns to make Master Kim’s life just a little bit harder and a new breed of doctors battle with their personal issues as they set foot in Doldam.

Current Impression

Being someone who watched the 1st season, it’s heartwarming to see the familiar faces of the staff, listening to the the same background music, and remembering the overall intensity the show projected. I’m glad that they gave a short yet sweet explanation on why the main character doctors prior (Seo Hyun Jin as Dr. Seo Jung and Yoo Yeon Seok as Kang Dong Joo) left the hospital. I’m a bit sad they didn’t end up together but I could just imagine that they’re in a long distance relationship for now as they continue to pursue their careers, hee😙

A 2nd season means fresh faces and various potential for new storylines to get excited about and I couldn’t be happier!💙 Lee Sung Kyung is back in a new role as Cha Eun Jae, a 2nd year surgery resident working for Godae Hospital (Doldam is a branch hospital of Godae). Due to an incident of her getting caught performing surgery under the influence of medication, she takes the reluctant option of working at Doldam hospital instead of getting suspended. Meanwhile, Ahn Hyo Seop (Abyss) plays Seo Woo Jin, a smart doctor who has money problems and is treated as an outcast for a whistleblowing incident. He takes a job offer from Master Kim but with a deal that he gets paid USD10,000, by whatever means necessary, if Dr. Romatic deems his skills and attitude worthy enough.

Being rivals in medical school, Eun Jae and Woo Jin don’t exactly have a friendly relationship. There are some flashbacks indicating that Woo Jin might have feelings for Eun Jae but the latter is crushing on another doctor who happens to be working at Doldam. I felt butterflies in my stomach with their chemistry and I think it’s because Ahn Hyo Seop is a good actor. I hope this show further elevates him into becoming a male kdrama star.

What always captures my attention on medical kdramas is the variety of cases/situations that are featured in 1 or 2 episodes and Romantic Doctor Kim 2 is very skilled at this. Though I don’t totally understand the medical terms and why for example, a patient would get worse one minute after, it’s fun seeing them try to solve the problem like a puzzle. Getting to work with Master Kim is no easy feat as he is infamous for having a temper and doesn’t tolerate excuses. Seeing him in action once again is magic and having to interact with a new and younger generation will prove challenging, but it’s a chance for him to impart the tough love guidance he is known for😊

If you have the time, I urge you to watch the 1st season which has 20 episodes (Due to high ratings) but if you’re pressed for time, you can always watch Romantic Doctor Kim 2/Dr. Romantic 2 and still have a great kdrama experience!👨🏻‍⚕️

Unnie Thoughts: Prioritizing Who and What Really Matters

Happy New Year everyone! For some reason, I just felt inspired to write about something that I’ve already realized last year but have come to reaffirm on the last fe days of 2019. I wanted to start the 1st month of 2020 with a post that would encourage self-care and love not only to myself but also to anyone who needs it!🤗

Why is it when there’s 9 out of 10 people who care about you and only 1 out of 10 who doesn’t necessarily hate you but doesn’t like you either, we expend all our energy on that 1 person? Answer: Because we can’t stand the idea that there’s someone out there, whether we are close to them or not, who doesn’t like us. Call it our ego, our self-sustaining pride, that kicks into full gear and we immediately try to remedy the situation by exerting effort for that one person to like us. BUT what’s the point? There are 9 living, loving, and more appreciative people that like our company… shouldn’t they be the ones we exert our time and energy towards to instead?

We cannot please everyone, that’s a fact. It’s a hard truth to swallow because in our minds, we didn’t do anything wrong and we are cordial as we can be. It’s not our fault, it’s OKAY. I realized and felt so much better when I tend to the people that I truly love, my family and real friends, instead of trying to please other people that care little or don’t give a damn about me. I admit, my ego would be greatly satisfied if the person who doesn’t like me suddenly changes his/her opinion of me. It gives a great high but that feeling is fleeting and shallow…you’ll never be satisfied until you feel a complete acceptance on their end. I know that this can genuinely happen at times but I also know that there are people you just don’t get along with. Ever. Seeing my loved ones appreciate my efforts or even tell me what I need to hear (Even if it hurts) is more meaningful. Because deep inside, I know that their value to me and vice versa bears more weight than someone I’m simply trying to impress.

This 2020 and moving forward, I hope to stop chasing attention and seeking approval from people that I don’t necessarily need or care little about. I won’t be rude or boastful, but rather I’ll be cordial or neutral at best towards them. It won’t be easy and I know there are times that I’ll waver, but I hope that I’ll remember who and what are the things that really matter to me. Whatever happens, I’m focusing my love and energy to those I care about and those who chooses to stay by my side💖

As long as you know you’re not hurting anyone with your actions, live well and be happy🌈

Unnie Recap: Best Kdrama Heroines of 2019

2019 has been a great year for kdramas! From romcoms to mystery thrillers, a robot futuristic genre, to period/Joseon dynasty shows, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy😊 Not every show is fully relatable but there are aspects in each that make me excited to tune in for more.

This list is solely my opinion and subject to only the kdramas that I have selected to watch. Looking forward to meeting the new faces and villains who will conquer the 2020 kdrama landscape!

Top 5 Kdrama Heroines

1. Eun Dan Oh (Extraordinary You/Ha Roo found by Chance)

What if you found out that you were merely a comic book character and that you were just an extra whose life’s purpose was to serve the main character’s progression? Never the one to back down from a fight with destiny, Eun Dan Oh (Played by Kim Hye Yoon) is the #1 heroine in my list this year. Extraordinary You was such a relatable and fun korean drama to watch as the story mirrors our struggles with daily life as well. The story setting takes place in a high school where Dan Oh is fated with a terminally ill set-up and a fiancé who hates her guts. She didn’t want to steal the spotlight of the main character but rather, she just wanted to make her own decisions not planned by the writer.

Full of energy, persistent, and loyal, Kim Hye Yoon was outstanding in her role as Eun Dan Oh. Her character is living proof that you can carve your own path to happiness as long as you don’t give up. The fact that she was helped by her soulmate and friends further solidifies how influential and loved Dan Oh is. Extraordinary You also featured a great supporting cast (Baek Kyung, Do Hwa, Dried Squid) that made me root for them as well. Although there are set-ups in our lives that we cannot alter, we can still live out our best days by accepting this fact, learning to adjust, and appreciating the blessings we already have✨

Get hooked with Extraordinary You or if you’re done watching, check out my life lessons post for this wonderful show.

2. Goo Hae Ryung (Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung)

A confident and smart woman ahead of her time, Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung breathed new life into period kdramas. Putting the spotlight on the influence and power of women, this show tackled the fruition of women becoming historians for the 1st time in Joseon history. It emphasized the importance of being brave enough to tell the truth but at the same time being able to handle the consequences of one’s actions.

Hae Ryung wasn’t a role model by design but she slowly grew into one by learning from her mistakes. Of course, falling in love with the Crown Prince’s younger brother isn’t such a bad predicament to be in as well! This is Shin Se Kyung’s best korean drama for me because she was able to convey a range of emotions and a comedic side to her. With 40 episodes to spare, this kdrama is a treat for all romcom and drama addicts out there!

Read about my Rookie Historian: Goo Hae Ryung first impressions and if you want a detailed read of each episode, I also wrote a complete recap for your pleasure.

3. Jang Man Weol (Hotel Del Luna)

Feisty, beautiful, and hella badass, the only reason why Jang Man Weol is not higher in the list is because her character was made to thrive in a more supernatural setting. Hotel del Luna is a kdrama that focused on her being the owner of a hotel for the dead where they could do their unfinished business before proceeding to the afterlife. Man Weol had a lot of baggage against those who had scorned her and didn’t hesitate to get revenge. She also had money problems because she was always attracted to anything that would bring her money and fortune. Not all heroines are perfect of course but it’s these traits that made me rank her a little lower than Dan Oh and Hae Ryung.

With regard to the storytelling and character development aspect, Hotel del Luna gets a 5 star rating. There are misconceptions about the kdrama being “scary” (with the dead spirits and all) but don’t buy into that. It’s a visually entertaining and funny show with lots of emotional maturity and romance. Her perfect complement came in the form of Ku Chan Seong, the hotel’s only human manager and all around moral compass. Despite falling in love, Man Weol remained true to herself and didn’t change to be a friendlier or thriftier woman for him. She did learn to forgive and move forward with her life, and most importantly, love herself in the process🌙

Do check out my recommendation post for this korean drama and peruse my Hotel del Luna ending explained post after watching all 16 episodes!

4. Lee Yeon Seo (Angel’s Last Mission: Love)

Another tough and badass heroine, Angel’s Last Mission: Love was a beloved mid-year show for me. I remember being blown away by the 1st episode’s intensity and immediately wanted more! The male lead was an angel who was given a mission to help the female lead, Lee Yeon Seo, in finding love. Sounds easy enough right? Right off the 1st episode, Yeon Seo is a shell of her former prima ballerina life — blinded by a freak accident, alone in a big mansion without her parents, and cranky as hell, love is the last thing she could ever want in her life.

As much as this post is about heroines only, I do have to give credit to the leading man, Kim Dan (Played by actor L), as he brought out the fun and softer side of the show. He was the perfect complement to Yeon Seo for her to open up to other people and face her fears in becoming a ballerina again. Make it your mission to listen to Angel’s Last Mission: Love OST as the music elevated the show’s appeal even more🎵

Probably one of the hardest life lessons post I wrote, this is a must-read for everyone who needs some encouragement to not give up and keep fighting💪🏻

5. Yoon Se Ri (Crash Landing on You)

Taking the kdrama world by storm, Crash Landing on You is an ongoing show that collided with my romcom heart just a few weeks ago! The only reason why I couldn’t rank Se Ri higher is because there has only been a handful of episodes released and we don’t know her that well yet. Nevertheless, she made such a strong impression that it’s only fitting this kdrama made my top 5 list.

Getting stranded in North Korea due to a paragliding accident, Se Ri must figure out a way to go back to South Korea. As a successful CEO of her own company, Se Ri is a cheerful, confident, yet picky woman who has expensive tastes. She meets her love interest in North Korea, Captain Jeong Hyeok, as he aids her in getting back home. I was surprised that Se Ri had a dark period in her life as shown in a flashback (She contemplated suicide) so watching her character exude a lighter and happier aura is endearing. I’m ecstatic to see how she’ll eventually take over her dad’s business and how the aftermath of leaving Jeong Hyeok will impact both of them.

Read about my Crash Landing on You summary and find out why this kdrama will be your next TV addiction!

There are plenty of other great korean dramas that aired this year too so I hope you discover your own favorites❤️ We have a different kind of life compared to a kdrama heroine but surely the feelings and thoughts that we have coincide with theirs at one episode or another. As much as watching these shows makes me want to do better and live more fruitful days, I hope these same emotions influence your lives too.

Cheers to what has been and may you all have a blessed 2020 ahead🥂

Merry Unnie Christmas! (Year 2)

Is it that time of the year again? Time flew by this 2019 and as much as I am grateful for the memories I experienced, I am a little sad that another year has passed. There were times when I didn’t have enough time to watch because all the good shows premiered around the same time, while there were months where only a few interesting kdramas would be aired. Nevertheless, I am thankful for each and every korean drama that brought me joy this year!🎄

2019 was a breath of fresh air. It’s amazing how the human mind can store information as I have watched so many shows, it’s a wonder that I can remember the titles and actors/actresses of each kdrama. Each story tells a different tale, despite having the same formula, the details of each episode and new set of characters convey a unique sentiment. My favorites will always be those slice of life, romcom shows where the leads (or antagonists turned good guys) illustrate a road to self-discovery, love, and personal growth. As their journeys begin and end, I can only hope that my own path is as fulfilling as theirs are😊

I hope that you’re all having a great Christmas! Happy Holidays and enjoy this time to destress, reflect, and just have fun with your loved ones.

Unnie Life Lessons: Being your own Character by Extraordinary You

Life is what we make of it: You can choose to be a supporting character of someone else’s story or you can live a life as your own main character. I thought this was what Extraordinary You kdrama wanted to convey, and to a certain extent it did, but that’s not how we ought to just look at the big picture. So what if we’re an extra or helping someone else shine? It’s not bad to help others with their problems or cheer them on when they are going through something rewarding. It’s not always about us (me)… we all have our own moments in the sun and rain🌟

The main character, Eun Dan, Oh struggled in coming to terms with her role as an extra but along with the other characters of this show, everyone was able to learn what was truly important to them and achieved a happy ending for themselves.

Read my recommendation post for Extraordinary You korean drama to know more about the show’s plot and head over to my recaps page in case you missed anything!

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Being resilient and not giving up to make changes to your life despite your situation/environment.

  • Dan Oh’s fate was stacked against her pretty early when she realized that she was just an extra in a comic book. The fact that she had a heart condition and was engaged to a guy who didn’t care about her was the cherry on top of a grim set-up. I loved how she was so determined to change her life (which she did) and actively did something, even the smallest actions, to try and make a difference🦋
  • We tend to make excuses about our circumstances and whine that we cannot do everything that we desire. If we are being realistic, yes, there is a limitation to our capabilities BUT there’s also so much that we can do if we just stop complaining and just do something!💪🏻 The hard work and frustration that stem from such is daunting but just like Dan Oh, we have to buckle up and face our fears to enact change.

2. Finding purpose and learning to be content and appreciate one’s situation because our lives are unique and invaluable as it is.

*This seems to counter the 1st life lesson but I did say that realistically, we do have limitations outside of our control that we can’t change.

  • Dan Oh learned to accept that she was just a comic book character and her set-up of being terminally ill because she found happiness spending time with Ha Roo. There was nothing she could do about the comic book ending and together with Ha Roo, they made the most out of their precious time together.
  • Struggling to accept the reality that she was merely an extra, Dan Oh realized that she didn’t need to make herself a main character by making changes in the grand blueprint of her life. She found purpose as a person — undefined by any role, and rallied to live her life day by day as Eun Dan Oh. Not the lovestruck girl who gets emotionally bullied by her fiancé but a cheerful, spritely, and persistent character who found love, has good friends, and lived a pretty comfortable life.

3. Choosing to prioritize yourself by allowing convenience over hardships to govern your daily life.

  • Ju Da ultimately chose to be with Nam Ju instead of Do Hwa because she didn’t want to fight her destiny of ending up with him given the tough times she went through in the comic book. Initally I thought this was a cowardly choice because staying by Nam Ju’s side is exactly where she’ll end up since they are the main characters. Yes, it’s a convenient choice — devoid of the complications of changing one’s fate if she chose to pursue her feelings for Do Hwa… but being with Nam Ju made her truly happy so there’s nothing wrong with her choice.
  • There’s nothing wrong in wanting something that makes your life easier or better: Technology, shortcuts, efficiency. If following the love story predetermined for Ju Da makes her happy (And it did), then by all means. Life is hard enough as it is so choosing or doing something that lessens the difficulties is a good and acceptable choice. Just like how Dan Oh wanted to actively alter her fate, it’s okay that Ju Da didn’t want to change hers.

4. Letting go of the things you cannot control but at the same time living your life to its fullest potential.

  • It was inevitable that the comic book world our characters existed in would end but instead of trying to find a way to extend or fight it, Ha Roo spent his last moments happy and fulfilled to be at Dan Oh’s side. He did his best to change what he could (Help Dan Oh live) but still accepted that he would disappear first and not be able to be with Dan Oh until the last page.
  • Balance is the key to a good life and although we don’t get a manual for how to do this perfectly, it’s the mistakes and unexpected turn of events that help us do better next time. We cannot escape death or go thru our days without hardships, these are inevitable occurrences. But instead of lamenting these certainties, we can live out our best lives by spending time with loved ones, work hard, travel the world, and so on.

Just like how we are forging our own path, other people are also filling their life’s pages with their own details. Extraordinary You‘s greatest message is that we shouldn’t fixate on whether or not we are the center of attention to others or complain that we don’t have a glamorous and well-endowed main protagonist lifestyle. It’s challenging, yes, but it’s not impossible.

It’s our own actions and outlook towards what we have that makes us special. We have to allow and reshape our mindsets to truly see the blessings, love, and experiences that are gifted to us in the form of everyday life💕

Unnie Recommends: Crash Landing on You

Often or not, the path to true happiness isn’t always smooth sailing. You encounter unpleasant bumps with other people, go thru turbulence before achieving your goals, and sometimes crash hard on problems that you never saw coming. But the most fulfilling experiences come from the collisions that bring out the best version of yourself💥

With North and South Korea in unification, Crash Landing on You is such a timely kdrama to show a wider audience how the people in the former live out their everyday lives. The premise of the show is ridiculous (A woman is caught in a paragliding accident that whisks her all the way to North Korea) but it’s a refreshing change to the usual romcom story arc. It still applies the normal formula of star-crossed lovers falling in love but at least the details are different, hee💞

Current Impression

Our titular crash landed person is Yoon Se Ri (Portrayed by Son Ye Jin) — a confident and smart character who although is the CEO/ladyboss of her own company, she exudes a playful and warmhearted aura. Poised to take over her dad’s position in their (estranged) family business, she unfortunately encounters a paragliding accident and has to navigate her way in North Korea. This is where she meets her Prince charming, clad in green uniform and a stern expression.

Falling (literally) on Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok (Played by Hyun Bin), he is unable to capture her as she is able to run away from him as he had stepped on a landmine. When Se Ri doesn’t follow his advice, she ends up in the nearby village and he luckily takes her in his care. Jeong Hyeok is a by the book kind of man and although seems aloof, he actually listens and is considerate of Se Ri’s plight. It was an eye opening sequence of scenes as Se Ri witnesses old school methods used by Jeong Hyeok and his unit to cook, store food/ingredients, and have no technological equipment like a cellphone to communicate.

An added conflict to the story is Jeong Hyeok’s higher in command comrades who support underhanded activities (Ex. Tomb Raiding) and since he is harboring a potential spy, he and his unit will certainly get into a lot of trouble. Each episode also features an epilogue where previous scenes or a new one is shown to further develop the story, I like it as it adds more depth and color to the show. I already like Se Ri and Jeong Hyeok’s individual personalities and I can’t wait to watch how the former deals with her existence (and eventually escape!) in North Korea and how the latter will fight against his bosses and uphold his principles.

Crash Landing on You soared to great heights in establishing interest and romcom feels with its first 2 episodes. I’m excited for the journey that Se Ri and Jeong Hyeok will take together and how they heal their wounds moving forward. Plus the fact that both the leads are rumored to be dating in real life is also a nice extra treat❤️