True story: I got into Korean popular culture (and from there beauty products) because I had a problem with working too much. I was finishing my doctoral dissertation and I discovered that if I tried to work every day of the week, I eventually got less and less efficient. BUT if I took the weekends off (two full days), I could return to my desk with renewed fire on Monday morning and write my usual 5 double-spaced pages per day.
The problem was that I was running out of things to watch.
One sad day in September or October of 2011, I think, I was scrolling through Netflix and I found a show that I’d never heard of called My Princess. The promotional image looked absolutely ridiculous and I thought that I’d try it for a few minutes just to have some material for jokes or the sorts of weird anecdotes that help people fill time with people they like while talking about nothing of real substance.
An hour and forty minutes later or so I was in love. Prior to that, my only connection to Korea was a friend from elementary school who had been adopted as a baby. Otherwise…I dunno, I’d gone to a fried chicken place on 32nd Street (Koreatown) near school once. That was it.
And now we’re here. I actually learned how to read Korean Hangul in order to translate kdrama previews. My first writing for a site that wasn’t my own was a kdrama recap (unpaid — I don’t recommend doing that). While looking for kdrama news I ran into a photo of a dude with a weave and got into kpop. From kpop, kbeauty.
My Princess, a fluffy confection mainly known for showcasing Song Seung Heon’s abs and Kim Tae Hee’s amazing headbands changed my life irrevocably.
I got into kdramas because at the point in my life when I discovered them (and ever since, tbh) I felt like most popular US tv shows weren’t giving me what I wanted. Many “prestige” shows like Mad Men were about miserable people in terrible marriages, doing awful things to each other. If I wanted to see that in my free time, I could just pay attention to the world around me. Shows with any sort of romantic plot tend to be 90% about something else (procedurals like Bones are what I’m thinking of) and even if they aren’t, they drag on for as many seasons as viewers can tolerate, only disappointing loads of people who have invested years of watching when a lead picks the “wrong” person. Kdramas can be about anything, but most of the popular ones tend to be romantic comedies focused on the relationships among the main characters. Most importantly, with very few exceptions, they tend to end after 16 to 20 episodes with some sort of satisfying closure for the main characters.
I was obsessed with kdramas for a few years before becoming a SHINee stan, so I’ve actually watched quite a few, especially if they aired between 2010 and 2013. I find it really hard to find time to watch tv now, but for some reason (probably the general mood at the end of 2016, I now realize) I decided to give a new drama called Goblin a try.
Aaaaaand I’m back to being obsessed with dramas, clearly I need some forced time off from work and fluffy escapism in my life. ahahaha
My Favorite Kdramas Ever
Three years ago I compiled a list of my favorite kdramas for my original [kpop] blog:
If you’re completely new to kdramas, let me narrow this list down a bit:
High School: Dream High (my heart explodes thinking about it)
Love Between Teens/early-20-somethings: You’re Beautiful (total classic, super cute), Coffee Prince (the classic of classics), My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (Nine-Tailed Fox) (this was my first drama true love, I basically died over it)
Hard-hitting historical drama: Tree with Deep Roots (prepare to cry and also be amazed)
What I’m currently watching
Goblin (OBSESSED, COME DIE WITH ME), Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (omg so cute), My Love from Another Star (I’ve stalled out for more than a year), Legend of the Blue Sea (I stalled out after three episodes), Signal (same)
Where to watch, where to digest
There are two main, virus-free sites for watching dramas (both now offer paid plans starting around $5 that offer ad-free viewing, I think I subscribe to both). Historically I’ve preferred the subtitles by Viki because they’re done by fans (they still are, right? I need to check) and give way more complex, meaningful translations with more nuance, which I find adds to my enjoyment of the dialogue. Kdrama dialogue can be really crackling and witty, so it’s a shame to miss out on that. Viki has comment supertitles from fans that you can turn on and off; I find them amusing for some shows, but they often contain spoilers and ridiculous levels of thirst. Dramafever is fine, too. Sometimes shows will be exclusive to one company or the other, but most are available on both sites.
My favorite site for reading recaps and getting a sort of second pass at certain dialogue bits is Dramabeans, which has been around and major since I first got into dramas. The drama ratings list is a gift for when you’re searching for a good, new fix.
Any drama recs for me? I’m hoping to get back to writing soon, but…DRAMAS!!!
The Lipstick League – week of 12.19.16
Question of the Week: What’s your biggest skincare issue, and which product(s) do you use to help with that issue?
Adult, hormonal acne, sigh. I think that the active, new acne part is mostly under control thanks to my skincare routine, but I have so many “legacy clogs” still surfacing and it’s really difficult to see that I’m still dealing with my past skin issues (and likely will be into the future because those clogs need to surface sometime). The latest thing that’s helping get all the nasty out is lactic acid, which is not as common as glycolic, but SO GOOD at gently bringing up the clogs. I love Sunday Riley’s Good Genes the most, but I’m on an epic hunt for a suitable, cheaper alternative that’s just as good and effective.
we heart this – Think the NARS Unfiltered Cheek I palette is too dark for pale skin? No way! We explain how it works for everyone!
Beautygeeks – is hitting $$-saving mode with this How to Be a Better Home Hair Colorist post.
Beauty Junkies Unite – Didn’t get that beauty product you wanted for the holidays? No worries! Amber is giving away a $100 Bluemercury gift card — they have the best in prestige brands. Enter here!
Blushing Noir – Not only am I sharing one of my favorite looks to do with the Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette that is perfect for New Years, but you’ll also get to see 7 other looks from my Makeup Wars friends! If you don’t own this palette by now, you’ll want to after these posts!
fanserviced-b – After testing more than 20 Korean beauty oil cleansers, LJH Dr’s Care is still my favorite for busting through oil and makeup to get smaller, clearer pores.
Gouldylox – Looking for inspiration to go with your new Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette? Makeup Wars serves up ten different ways wear it well.
Prime Beauty – has a beauty find that’s a steal! An awesome collaboration with YouTuber Chloe Morello has resulted in the fabulous Ciaté London Beauty Haul Makeup Set and it’s a great value too!
we heart this is Currently Craving: the brand new additions to the Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil family. Especially the Dry Oil Finishing Spray; imagine a light mist of featherweight oil for shine and softness. NEED!
(Wondering what the Lipstick League is? Find out here.)
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