Saturday, May 5, 2012

Korean Dramaz

Where should I start with this topic? If you haven't watched a Korean soap opera you are not living in the 21st century. Go on, start now! I will give away my favorites during this article.
Grandmas vigorously face slapping unruly rich grand kids (normally male), women dressing up (and acting) like dudes so they can get a job or be closer to the man they fancy and of course poor slum living girl falling head over hills with high class brat. All these and even more "interesting" patterns you will come across once you open the Pandora box of Korean modern Drama. Only if you thought that Mexican or Brazilian soaps keeps you on your toes wait till you get hooked on this side of the world, Eastern. 

Lets start with the things I have learnt about Korean culture solely by watching their drama series. It's ok to slap almost everyone if you are of a higher class especially being a Chairman, usually a woman of power in her late 50s having worked really hard to make it along the way, self made type of a thing. She is granted all the power of slapping her family and/or employees and almost everyone surrounding her. The rest of the bunch can slap/mistreat lower hierarchy/classes than theirs for example translated in Western mode your mother can slap you, you can slap your kids and your neighbors' kids if they are lower class, the postman for not delivering on time, the cleaner for breaking that vase and you can get smacked by your own boss at work. So I guess in Korea people must go around slapping each other a lot on the face when they are charged and the anger has build up. So careful not piss any Koreans off and always remember to bow to people of higher status, it shows that you have been well raised apparently (an extra tip on not to piss them off). 

Girls having a crush are not allowed to tell. This must be some sort of a rule in Korea as in all the series I have watched no female is giving away that she likes a guy. Honestly I find that quite frustrating as there are plenty of clues around for the guy to realize it. The guy's thoughts: Hei, I kissed your sister or your best friend (enemy in reality) and you just happen to see it, why are you so upset about? Or: Your best friend (enemy in reality) has been hitting on me fiercely and I just announced to you that we are about to get married. What was all this change in you all of a sudden after we told you? What's wrong with you, why did you slap me (they also slap each other when they are in love-confused)? Why don't you smile at me anymore like before? Have I done something seriously wrong? I always saw you as a friend even though we shared all these fond memoirs together (holding hands, smiling like fools at each other, running without a purpose like kids outside somewhere while teasing each other, hundreds of almost accidental kissing situations).

Who are you dating is everyone's business. From you grandma of course, who is actually the one dictating who you should be dating on the first place to the simple man owning a little corner shop who knows much more about life than you ever will. The aunt is a catalyst to your dating as she normally observes everything and either approves greatly helping out with big favors or gives the bride to be the hardest time ever by blackmailing to disclosure her secrets to the world and/or just being bitchy.

The transformation. At least one of the protagonists of the show has a transformation whether this is of exoteric or esoteric nature. The physical transformation usually happens to a poor girl who has players far above her league to compete with in clothes and hair/make up level. Someone takes that poor "little" girl and gives her a complete make over, sometime they even teach her good manners as she comes from a "lower/peasant" class. Once they finish with her she wins the hearts of everyone and gets what she wants easily. The actress of course looks already drop dead gorgeous from the beginning of the show but she just has been hiding her beauty all these episodes behind these huge glasses, the ugly haircut or these saggy looking boyish clothes. The other sort of transformation is usually harder to achieve (takes more than half the episodes) and it normally happens cause either he/she had an accident, he/she came back from a coma, someone he/she knew was killed... all those sort of life changing experiences.

The gayness of men.  If a guy takes more time to get ready than you in the morning then you might wanna double check his business if you know what I am saying. In Korean soaps men have hair highlights, wear low cut Ts with  chest opening, apparently shave or wax their exposed body parts, wear skirts sometimes, huge scarves, expensive shoes with a heel, skinny jeans, metrosexual you say? If it was only the clothes then yes. The behavior though indicates a bit different. When poked they act like sissies and when it comes down to getting their hands dirty they would rather skip the hard work. I can't get used to seeing guys accessorizing an outfit more than their ladies counterparts in these series. I don't know if Korean women find that attractive but I think they find it cute reading from comments they leave for K-pop boy bands. 

The "Orphan" phenomenon. Did I mention that one of the protagonists most likely doesn't have a father or a mother in life or most likely both? All the orphan stories of this world are aforementioned in these dramas. Likelihood of scenarios, parent had an accident when kid was very young, was killed by a relative, consciously abandoned the kid handing him/her to a relative, suddenly disappeared only to be found again later by the son/daughter, you get the drift. It makes me think if actually most people in Korea are abandoned as kids or are orphans so the scriptwriters try to relate to this category. Lets not forget though that these parents are mostly loved and honored by their kids after death (at least one funeral is shown in each series) and mostly they pass on a huge fortune that is secretly been consumed by the wrong relative.

The eating craze. Apparently one of the major differences I have noticed from the Western series is that for some reason in the Asian ones they eat A LOT. I mean it. Please don't watch them before having lunch or dinner cause you are going to end up drooling all over your shirt. Even when I am full when I watch an episode I still feel like eating after I see the main characters slurping down all these noodle dishes. Some actors spend 40 percent of their tv character life eating on camera. Are these scriptwriters on a rally to make the Korean nation fat? I did actually come to hate some actors judging only from their ability to eat big portions of noodles in a very disgusting way. There is no way though to eat too much pasta on Korean tv or make it look disgusting so that brings me to the next subject of Western food.

It is just pasta and coffee to the rest of the world! Not in Korea my dearest readers. These two are synonymous to the coolest Western inventions that attract the curiosity of the Asian population or is it just being dictated by the tv over and over till they become the country's favorites (so that the corporations can make millions). The actors tell you over and over how to pronounce pasta correctly and how it is eaten. Also how to order a latte or macchiato or any other cool Italian coffee. So huge is the propaganda for these two goods that they even have two series dedicated to this madness, Coffee Prince and Pasta which I both highly recommend by the way.

The good guys always, I repeat, always get abused. Kind of what you would expect from a drama but here we are talking about serious abusiveness. One strike of misfortune after the other hits these poor souls and the evil turn eviler. Not only they have no parents to help them out, they get mistreated by their living extended family and they have no education or money to make it on their own. Moreover they romantically fancy someone who doesn't give a rats ass about them. I am asking you, how much more worse someone's life can get?

Bad guys are rotten. Beneath all these smiles, expensive clothes and pretensions hide some evil masterminds. I am not only going to be jealous, I am going to make your life a living hell and you better believe it I will (words exchanged between two sisters). I am going to destroy your career just because you were everyone's favorite as a kid (ex-best friends). Lets steal your half sisters' part of the will and hide it from everyone also blackmail her if she tries to let the cat out of the bag (mother to her daughter). 

There is no middle class. Here is how I have imagined Korea through the lenses of the soap operas. A place occupied only by the Louis Vuittons and the Oliver Twists. The rich just have it all, the most expensive imported cars, house up the hill with great gardens that require daily care, super chic and trendy clothing, vacations abroad wherever they fancy, rich friends, superb condos for their kids, educated abroad (mostly US). They also get everyone to bow in their presence. Life like a King? The poor ones don't get anything, maybe some noodles to eat.

Whoever has a nose job say I. You would get lots of Is from Korean actors. In fact even men get it I think. Plastic surgery is quite common on set and people go all the way changing parts they think are not perfect, chin, lips, cheekbones probably earlobes. I haven't read anything on the subject but it is pretty obvious. "This didn't go as planned" transformations, Park Jun-Keum, Bae Yong-Joon, Lee Hye Young. If you know others please comment below.

Study abroad is in. Almost in all series someone is meant to go abroad, study, come back sophisticated and wiser. The only thing is that they don't speak much English when they come back just broken sentences here and there. From Italy to NY, Korean students are exploring the world living off the rich parents/grandparents money. When they return home they are the ones who "got" it or not (some of them just waste their wealth). They immediately are expected to take over their parent's business and fulfill their elders wishes, are chosen someone to marry and their lives are set. Few of them start their own business to show everyone else that they can make it and follow their passion/talents. 

Besides contemporary stories Koreans are very good in making epic series like Chuno for example, one of my favorites. A wonderful mix of drama and comedy, full of action but not an overkill. For those who want something  Ally McBeal  style look into Prosecutor Princess, a light comedy, Glee funs look no further than Dream High and You're Beautiful. Both singing   and fame related. Where did I get to watch all these shows with English subtitles? On Hulu Plus.

Here is some words that I learnt watching these shows, they are quite common I guess, just tend to be repeated very often in shows. 
Araso> It's ok, I understand. Or I will do as you say.
Aniyo> No
Yoboseyo> Hello? > phone
Kumao> Thank you
Kamsahamnida> Formal thank you
Halmoni> Grandma
Eomeoni, Eomma> Mother
Kre>Yes, sure
Chincha> Really?
Oppa> Bro.
Aggashi> Young lady.
Fighting!>A bit mispronounced there by our fellow Koreans. They have a gesture that comes with the saying, they say it at least once in every series. Don't know where it originated, please leave a comment if you do I would like to know. It shows support in what you do, encouragement if you will.

Thanks for having the patience to go through this long article, I hope it amused you in a way:) Don't forget to hit the like button! Leave your comments below...

Monday, July 18, 2011

NYX round lipsticks in Watermelon, Ceto, Milan, Pandora and B52

These are swatches of the NYX round lipsticks.

 From higher to lower, Watermelon,  Ceto, Milan, Pandora and B52

 Pandora and B52

 Watermelon, Ceto, Milan

These are my favorite shades in the NYX round lipsticks. If you have fair to medium skin these will complement your complexion and they will look like the right "fit" on you. Highly pigmented and they go on smooth like butter. They have the characteristic "clean" smell of the NYX round lipsticks. Probably not good for you if you like non-perfumed cosmetics. Very good value for money.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

DEAD BIRDS - We can change it! You can help!

I read recently an article about how many millions of birds are getting killed by USDA every year. They poison them. Check the list out: list of killings by USDA. Page related to bye bye blackbird article.
What is unfair is that WE allow this to happen! In times when climate change is affecting everyone and lots of species will die out eventually simply from natural causes humans took charge and started killing them by thousands before their time! We are not owning this planet, we are co-existing/co-inhabiting with other species. Why the killing rage? Lets learn to live peacefully with nature. So detached we are, sometimes we think that we are alone upon earth and that someone handed us the keys to the Gates and said "Here, don't let anyone or anything else in, take it all for yourself and make sure you exploit everything around you". It is not this way of course. We depend on the balanced system we call Nature it terms we cannot even realize. There is not so much scientific proof as yet as to what happens if we kill that many birds here and there. But think about it for a moment, those birds are food to someone else or they feed upon something else that is going to keep increasing in numbers having no predators and possibly cause a big hole in the system one day. It is proven, I have read somewhere  that the more you kill a species, it bounces back in even bigger numbers. If that is the case then we are in big trouble either way.
Another big birds killer's area is the Gulf of Mexico with its thousands of Oil and Gas offshore platforms (around 6,000!!!). Believe it or not the birds get confused by the red light of the platform and  loose orientation and die off the platform since most bird migrations take place at night and there is no sun light for birds to help orientate themselves. They have their own navigation system which is probably more complicated than we know. This problem was known since '79 see here bird killings. Recently there is someone who is fighting for a change and whom I have witnessed lecturing on the subject: Dr. Michael Fry, Director of Conservation Advocacy, American Bird Conservancy. It has been also brought to the public eye here.

How can you save them? Call up the White House and complain about the situation. Tel : 202-456-1414
Write about the situation, speak about it, communicate it any way you can. Help out! It is your kids that are going to be affected too in the future!

How to revive gel eyeliners-cream shadow liners

Money Saver *****

Has your eyeliner gone dry? Have you got it for more than 3 years (like me) and wonder if it is time to get rid of it and buy a new one? Don't despair, you are lucky you came across this blog :) First of all which brand eyeliner do you own? The ingredients that kept your gel/cream liner moist have now evaporated and gone. You need to add substances that have the same ingredients with your eyeliner so that you re-introduce the moisture in them which is what is missing. How do you search for the lubricants from the ingredient list of your liner? Well thank to some websites which provide you with tons of information like or Once you find the volatile ingredient (or mentioned as lubricant) you Google it and figure out in which creams/products it is contained. Often look for a combo of the ingredients that are listed in your liner cause they work together best chemically. So say at least 3 of the ingredients listed first in your liner's list of ingredients should exist in the cream product too. By the way, the ingredients are listed always in the order of quantitative abundance. Meaning the first ingredients on the list typed on the product's package are lets say 80% of the whole mixture and the last ones less than 1%. I did study Chemistry and trust me this works. Now you can try this it yourself!

Some help to get you started:

-Is it a Bobbie Brown long wear gel? Another blogger gave me the idea and saved me some money. Just add a tiny drop of Nivea for Men After Shave Extra Soothing Balm. Seriously only that much! Then working it in your eyeliner with a little spatula. It works!
 - Is it a Benefit cream shadowliner? Just add a tiny bit of Bare Escentuals bareVitamins Prime Time Eyelid Primer. Exactly the same ingredients! Again blend it in patiently for some time with a spatula.
- Is it a MAC Fluidline, Stila Smudge Pot, Coastal Scents? Try mixing Glycerin-Water based mixing medium with Clear face primer. From Enkore ( He also shows you how to execute.

As you see these different brands have all different ingredients so don't mix them up. If you brand is not listed here follow the instructions at the beginning. Good luck and have fun with it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Holiday Smokey Silver eye look

Here I am using first The Body Shop Eye Definer shade BLUE SMOKE at the upper and lower lash line smudging it for a smoky look. Then Benefit's Skinny Jeans on the lid, followed by Ice Princess by L.A. Minerals, a lighter silver color placed at the extension of Skinny Jeans. On my brow bone, right beneath the eyebrow I used Aspen Summit from Sephora which was part of my Birthday Sephora Gift Set. Towards the end I used Calvin Klein's eye definition crayon in INTENSE BLACK on the lower waterline. The Eyeliner to cover the false eye lashes is Black Radiance Waterproof  in Black. The Lashes are by ylure, pre-glued ready to wear in 116. I applied a small part of mascara from Jane Be Pure, Aquaceuticals closer to the tear duct.

NYX Mega Shine Lip Glosses Swatches and Review

Besides being really nice lip glosses for the price, NYX Mega Shine Glosses come with a disadvantage. Some of them smell bad. As I figured they come in two categories, the nice almond sweet smell in which case you wanna keep it and the plasticky- cough syrup disgusting smell in which case just throw it away!
If you would like to help other people that are interested in the product I am listing which ones smell nice and which ones don't. If you can help me complete the list then we can all figure out if the smell is consistent with a specific lipstick or arbitrary. It could also mean than the bad smell is an indication that they've gone bad!
Here are my finds: Chandelier, French Kiss and Chestnut smell good like sweet almond. Candy Shop and Sweet Heart smell plasticky.
How about yours?
Please leave a comment, thanks!

P.S. I shot the photos with a white reference (my business card), fixed in PS,  so that you get a more accurate color representation.

NYX Mega Shine Lip Glosses