2020: Goodbye and mostly good riddance

What a crazy year. To be fair it wasn’t all bad. I started it off at a party full of friends. My new years selfie looked gorgeous. I had a huge crush one someone, during that window when the crush makes you giddy. My life was alright and my kid, who is my everything, was pretty happy too.

Then came my crushing workload that never really ended. My crush turned into a sweet and sour memory. And coronavirus showed up ready to destroy the peace and lives of so many people across the globe.

At first, the pandemic did very little harm to us. My parents, who live in other states were safe, I was sent home to work remotely and the kid was sent to finish school at home, but the work was mostly easy and school expectations were lowered.

We are a team of two, and single parenting without nearby family is basically a course in isolation already, so social distancing wasn’t that hard. I did miss visiting friends and going out to eat, but we took a lot of walks, marathoned dramas* and took some isolating trips, to a really nice cabin in the woods and to a quiet coast where we basked in the waves.

I also started teaching myself to cook Korean food since k-dramas made me crave it like crazy and the restaurants around here are really expensive and carry only the most standard fare. The markets have everything I could ask for to make great meals, and I have made some great ones.

The worst thing about the summer was my workload, which was much more than full-time. And also the growing coronavirus case and casualty count, which was extremely depressing to see.

Then school started up for the youngin’, a new one for her. She got into the ivy league of public schools which should have been the greatest gift, but they started up virtually and did not know what they were doing. The kid had 11 (yes 11!) classes and a new online system that was complete chaos and an insane class and homework workload. I was forced to work and act as part-time teacher, tech support and emotional support and it was exhausting.

My child started having anxiety attacks because she had too much work, the teachers didn’t accurately calculate the amount of time things would take to complete, she didn’t know and couldn’t see her classmates and her teachers were too overwhelmed to remember that kids like her were new and struggling to get adapted and fit in.

For a few months, life went to hell in a handbasket.

Luckily we sought help for her anxiety and alerted her teachers, the school improved their virtual schedules and teaching methods and things started getting better.

I have continued to work 40-50-60 hour weeks, but I have at least perfected watching shows as I work, even reading subtitles while I write reports etc. Pretty bad*** right?

And despite the hard times, there has been a lot of smiling and giggling, cuddling, and walks amongst the flowers this year.

And now we will have a president who isn’t a few tools short of a toolbox, which gives me some hope for the new year ahead. So do coronavirus vaccines.

I have mixed feelings about the last year, but I am happy to see it wave goodbye. I look forward to the new year and hope it improves on the one before it, not just for me and my sweet kid, but for you and your families, and everyone everywhere.

Best moments of the year:

  • Sitting in the sunlight, next to a waterfall, with my feet in the water, while pink flower blossoms rained down in the breeze.
  • Watching and laughing at Reply 1994 with my kid who has been all in on this drama.
  • Having a picnic with two very happy kids while the sun sets in bright pink and purple colors behind us.
  • A very sweet date that made me smile and laugh and learn new things about the person I was interested in.
  • Intertubing on a lazy river during a drizzle.
  • Taking car trips to try new things, and eat new food, and bond with my kid, while schooling her on good music along the way.

*The kids favorite dramas that she watched this year are Reply 1994 (Korea), Fake Princess (China) and The Gifted (Thailand), and she loves Gabby and the Untouchables on Disney (America).

Here is a list of my favorite dramas of 2020.


K-Drama: World of the Married (9.5/10)

I know I am late to the party on this one. I didn’t watch this show when it first aired. This is because I am single, which is mostly fine with me, for a lot of reasons, but what single person gets enthusiastic about a show called World of the Married?

Obviously, I didn’t read the summary. I just judged a book by its cover and I am so glad I decided, months later, to watch it anyway. It is MY FAVORITE SHOW OF 2020.

Here’s is the summary for anyone that did what I did and didn’t read it before:

Ji Sun Woo is a family doctor and is married to Lee Tae Oh, with whom she shares a teenaged son. Lee Tae Oh, with the financial support of his wife, has established an entertainment company and dreams of becoming a famous director. They seem to have everything; successful careers and happy family life. But that perfect image will soon be shattered when one spouse betrays the other, and those that serve to protect them. (Source: JTBC Worldwide)

What the summary doesn’t tell you is that the show is about a betrayal which causes a series of events that are CRAZY and displays how difficult it is to be betrayed, unloved, unappreciated or to go through a break up, especially when your spouse has moved on. And how difficult it is for the kids when their world as they know it ends and their parents are too caught up in themselves to notice.

From the first episode I was all in! It had the best cliffhangers. So good that I had to know what would happen next and marathoned it.

The story focuses on the two spouses, one who was loyal and the other who cuckolded them, the person they did it with, their family, a couple who unexpectedly got caught up in the spouses drama, the spouses neighbors and people at the hospital where the wife worked.

Almost every character was both good and awful. Thinking about others occasionally, but mostly about themselves. The spouses were a successful doctor living the dream and a film director producer who relied on his wife for funding and was the lucky loser among his friends because his wife always stepped in and supported him.

Other characters included the couples teenage son, who bore the brunt of their issues, the interloper in the spouses marriage who was immature and had no guilt over breaking up a family, the wife’s best friend who was sometimes supportive, but usually selfish and shady, the wife’s boss who was an open misogynist, the couples neighbors who had their own marital issues that took many episodes to work through and a couple in the throes of domestic abuse.

It seems like this show would be a heavy lift to watch with all the emotional stuff and family issues, but it’s not. This show stays interesting all the way through. Because it was interesting and exciting and did I mention crazy? It had cheating, tears, blackmail, rags to riches, violence and near death experiences.

There were only two things I did not like about it. One was the characters black and white views around who would have custody of the kid when there were so many compromises available. The other was the ending.

Obviously, I won’t tell you what it was. And I didn’t hate it. In fact it could have been so much worse. It was good, but a little wonky, overly dramatic and yet a little lacking, in my opinion. I felt like the writers had other better options and were probably just exhausted at the crazy ride they had taken themselves on while writing the drama. Or maybe they had different ideas about the ending and compromised in the end. I don’t know.

I do know that even with my criticisms this was the best drama I have seen all year. The writing was excellent. The acting was amazing. The production was great. Overall, I give it two thumbs up 👍🏻 👍🏻

K-Movie: Dream with Park Seo Joon & IU is coming out in 2020 (Can’t wait!)

This movie looks like it will be soo good! Not only is it two of my favorite actors but the plot looks very entertaining.

Plot summary:

Yoon Hong-Dae (Park Seo-Joon) is a soccer player. He becomes involved in an unexpected case and, because of this, receives disciplinary measure. Yoon Hong-Dae is then appointed the coach for a special national soccer team. The team consists of homeless people and they have never played soccer before. Yoon Hong-Dae and his team compete in the Homeless World Cup.

Right now the projected release date is December 2020, which is sooooooooooo far away.

Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait.

Asian Fusion Cooking

Kimchi Pancakes

Long before I ever watched a drama, I had a passion for Asian food. Watching them cook and eat in dramas just makes me hungrier for it. Chinese food (Americanized) is my favorite if I have to choose, but after trying every single kind under sun I realized that my true favorite is a fusion of different kinds mixed together. And that’s usually how I cook when I make food at home, so I thought I would share some of favorite fusion meals with you all.

My love for Asian fusion food started on Clement Street in San Francisco, which is one of my favorite places on earth. Here is a great guide to it, called 13 Reasons to Love San Francisco’s Clement Street. Clement Street includes almost every type of food in existence, but it’s primarily Asian. Within a 6 block radius you can find amazing dim sum, bahn mi’s, the best thai noodles in the country at the OG King of Thai (which PS does not wear crop tops 😂), korean bbq, sushi, and food from Burma Superstar, one of my all time favorite restaurants. And if you’re like me and try a dish and think it would be even better if you only added blank, there are also many Asian groceries. New May Wah is my personal fav.

New May Wah is how I got started mixing my cuisines together and coming up with really successful results. I could never resist their fresh chow mein noodles, but sometimes I would want them with one of the dozens of Thai curries pastes that they sell. I also LOVE sweet tofu skin, which is the outer home of Japanese Inari. It’s usually stuffed with rice, but I eat it straight, and have stuffed it with chicken teriyaki, avocado and really anything that sounds good at the moment.

So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite fusion dishes and meals in case you are looking for something new to feed yourself or your family.

This weekend I went full Asian fusion since the closest grocery store between my daughters school and home is Asian Mexican (yes really : ) One night I made Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce and Thai basil, Korean kimchi (which the stores sells fresh!) and Thai rice, which all pair really well together. I also made Kimchi pancakes with Japanese rice on the side. Yum!

Some of my favs:

  • Tofu stir fried with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (preferably the spring roll dipping sauce which has carrots in it) and Banana Sauce from the Philippines (which I am addicted to). This sauce mix is also great to use for shu mai or spring rolls.
  • Sweet Potato or Carrot bisque with light coconut milk. Bonus if you add Vietnamese caramelized shrimp (Slanted Door style). Adding some kimchi is also great.
  • Bahn Mi’s with teriyaki chicken, Hawaiian bbq, pulled pork, bacon OR bacon flavored meatballs. Just make sure to use the freshest bread you can find! Also, I sometimes pickle my daikon and carrots for it inside a jar of sweet and spicy jalapeno liquid after I eat most or all of the jalapenos from it.
  • Rice noodles with peanut miso sauce
  • Rice Noodles or spaghetti with Thai basil pesto, just omit the parmesan from the regular pesto recipe. It can be strong so adding some sweet soy sauce is always a plus or even an alfredo.
  • Spaghetti with green curry and pineapple and any vegetables you want to throw in.
  • Korean burritos (not my invention. I first tried one at a cute Korean place run by youngins that looks like a pink house on Seventh Street in Long Beach, CA). Just add anything you like into your tortilla: bbq, bibimbap, anything, include rice, some sauce, maybe some kimchi. You can also make them with Thai bbq or cambodian, or Chinese beef, shrimp or chicken.

I could go on for days but I’ll stop here. If you ever want a recipe or a recommendation for food in Northern or Southern California or parts of the Northwest and the South, I’m happy to help.

C-Drama: Pretty Li Hui Zhen (to finish or not to finish, that is the question)

Pretty Li Hui Zhen is the Chinese remake of K-drama She Was Pretty.

The reason I don’t if know if I should drop it or continue is because the plot is copied almost word for word from She Was Pretty, which I’ve already seen, so I feel like I’m re-watching the exact same drama again, except it’s approximately 30 episodes long. And it’s in Mandarin and the stars are different.

This version stars Dilraba and Peter Sheng. Dilbraba does a great job of acting and looking unpretty. She even walks funny. And it’s hard not to root for her. She also wears some of the ugliest clothing I’ve ever seen, so bad I can’t even look at her in some episodes.

Her co-star is Peter Sheng does a good job, but he’s a little too rigid for me, and let’s be honest, not many actors, Chinese or otherwise can do as good a job or better than Park Seo Joon. In my very biased opinion, Aaron Yan was meant for this role because he is the only one who could have rivaled Park’s k-drama performance. But sadly it didn’t happen amd bless his heart, Sheng did his best.

The question is, do I slog through approximately 15 more episodes because I really like Dilraba and want to see her makeover or do I call it a day because I have many other things to do to fill the time? Or maybe I skip to the last few episodes…


You’re Beautiful (aka The Yoko Ono of A.N.JELL)

You’re Beautiful is another classic k-drama that I decided to review after reading Unbothered Unnie’s post on second lead syndrome, because this drama gave me my very worst case of it. I heart Kang Shin Woo and wouldn’t be single if I met a guy like him in the real world (I haven’t 😢 – yet).

In my opinion A.N.JELL bandmaster Kang Shin Woo was the best thing about this drama. His character was smart, talented, thoughtful and oh so cute. Of course the lead girl couldn’t see it because we like what we like…

The gender bending plotline where a girl who plans to be nun pretends to be her brother to keep his spot in a Korean boys music group is right up my alley. I love gender benders, makeovers and dance competitions movies because I’m cheesy like that. There were also a lot of great parts to this drama. There were funny moments, including the faces the character Jeremy made during the first half, some really sweet parts and most of the characters were interesting.


I also had some serious issues with the lead girl Gemma/Go Mi Nam and with some of the plot holes. First off, Gemma was planning to become a nun, but other than a statue of Mary she was essentially unreligious the whole time she was in the band. She was also supposed to be helping her brother but never once called him or even mentioned him, except to talk about her own gender bending plans to other people around her. And worst of all she became the Yoko of the group, getting the attention of all of the males and being so self absorbed that she didn’t even notice or do anything to make them feel better. In the real world a band could break up because of a girl like her. Cough. The Beatles.

Another issue was that the lead kept calling the rich famous mean girl who wanted him a fraud for faking a relationship while he was a party to actual fraud, pretending to the world that the groups new group member was a male when he knew that they weren’t. It might be fiction, but it’s still no excuse for the pot calling the kettle black.

Although it was generally good, the negative things made what would otherwise be a great drama a little bit irritating, and made my support of the leads less enthusiastic than it could have been.

For these reasons I give this a 7.7/10.

K-Drama: You Who Came From the Stars – Yay or Nay?

So, I started the Korean drama You Who came from the Stars because so many people said it was good, but after watching the first episode, I am struggling to continue.

The main female character, who is an actress is so dumb even her fans think she’s a moron. She is also entitled and mean to her assistant (sidenote: I am not ok with this since I was once the assistant to a C-list celebrity who was not always nice, and it was miserable).

The main male character is an alien whose been on earth for 400 years, but has somehow failed in FOUR CENTURIES to learn any patience for the opposite sex, or to understand them.

It is also revealed in the first episode that the characters are fated (as they are in pretty much every k-drama). It turns out that the guy saved the girl’s life after she dangerously, stupidly and inexplicably ran away from her rich, attractive childhood suitor. She was almost hit by a truck, but the alien used his magic, alien powers to save her. When the suitor (now an adult) proposes, she turns him down because she says she has to meet the guy who saved her. I really don’t understand this logic. Or the fact that her and the alien already met and even though he can move objects with his mind,and see the future, he has no idea it’s her.

I just don’t know how this is going to get better and I worry that I could invest hours of my life I can’t get back in something I don’t even like (see Innocent Man post for the last time I did that).

What to do, what to do…


I am pretty sure my New Years Eve’s are cursed, and have been since one special, slightly crazy one that changed my life a while back. It was like the end of a k-drama, all fireworks, and hand holding and happiness, which sadly changed from that to war of the roses in the blink of an eye, and created the New Years Eve curse that just won’t go away.

This curse is how I found myself spending a News Years Eve at home, refusing to acknowledge it, and watching my first C-drama.

Of course, I was hooked because they are like crack (note: I’ve never done crack, but I am assuming crack and Asian dramas are equally addicting). I watched 30 episodes in one sitting, and wanted more when it was over. So in between work, my social life and child rearing (I have one amazing daughter who is my life, my bff and my frenemy rolled into one, since it’s just the two of us navigating this crazy life) I have managed to watch more, way more, and thought I should share my thoughts on them with anyone as addicted to Asian dramas as I am who cares to read them.

I am:

·        An American

·        A thirty something California girl (that doesnt
live in Cali anymore)

·       A f/t parent (as mentioned above)

·        A professional at well-known American organization

·        With a love of architecture, art, fashion,
politics, flowers and food

·        And a serious case of Peter Pan syndrome

All my insights are based on this, and the fact that I have never been to an Asian country, despite my daughters dad living in one for years now + my Instagram travels, so they may be slightly ethnocentric (sorry in advance!)

Hopefully I can help other addicts navigate the many shows that are out there in an entertaining way.