This Summer’s Guilty Pleasure Must-Read: ‘The Ring & The Crown’

Looking for a good summer read to bring along to the beach? We have just the thing: Filipina American author Melissa de la Cruz, best known for her young adult Blue Blood series, is back with another page-turner.

The Ring & the Crown is touted as a melding of European history and magic, but the book doesn’t focus on magic at all. Rather than a politically-driven fantasy one would expect, the story’s driving force is allll drama, and trust me, there’s a lot of it.

The story shifts between the narratives of four very different girls who lead four very different lives. Marie-Victoria is a sickly princess who wants nothing to do with royalty. Aelwyn is a mage who wishes she were royalty. Ronan is a social-climbing beauty, while Isabelle is willing to do whatever it takes to reclaim her prince.


As you can expect, The Ring & the Crown is filled with jealously, betrayal, manipulation and love triangles. Get through the first couple of chapters and you’ll soon find yourself quickly flipping through the pages just to find out who’s sleeping with whom.

So will this make it onto your list of all-time favorite books? We’re not sure. Feminists will be tempted to rip this book apart and there are some plot holes here and there. But should you read this book anyway? You bet. The Ring & the Crown certainly has all the qualifications for a guilty-pleasure read. Besides, it’s summertime. Go ahead and indulge in all the addictive drama. You’ve earned it.

Details Hardcover, $17.99,

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Forget Cuteness, This 7-Year-Old Will Destroy You

Back in October of last year, we showed you just how cute martial arts can be when performed by little Asian toddlers. The video, most known as “The Cutest Taekwondo Match Ever,”  features two little girls gently swaying their hips and lightly hitting each other to show off their taekwondo skills.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. Take 7-year-old Mahiro-chan as an example. She proves that little Asian girls can be much more than “cute” while performing martial arts. 

Mahiro-chan begins her routine with a vicious scream and as soon as she begins showing off her moves, one thing is clear: this little girl can kick assMahiro-chan moves with an intensity, fierceness and speed that would impress any martial artist.

Mahiro-chan is practicing Kankudai which is also known as Kūshankū (クーシャンク, 公相君) or Kūsankū. It is an open hand form of karate kata that is known to be basic, but very technical and long to perform.

Apparently, it’s also extremely impressive. Check it below and don’t feel too bad about your own fighting skills after seeing this– she can probably beat up all of us.

Top 5 Most Extreme Cases of Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery seems to be the debate of the year. Half our readers believe that we should all just accept our physical appearance while the other half believe people should not be judged for their decisions.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, plastic surgery rates are growing fast in Asia. After all, a double eyelid procedure is a common graduation gift given to high school girls. As you can imagine, we’ve seen quite a bit of instances where people alter their looks to better fit society’s standard of beauty, but some cases are more intense than others. The following are the top 5 most extreme cases of cosmetic surgery that we’ve come across.


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1) Woman gets surgery to look like Miranda Kerr.
“On a recent episode of Martian X-Files, a Korean reality TV show that spotlights eccentric and unique non-celebrities, one of the guests was a woman who underwent plastic surgery to look like Australian model Miranda Kerr.” (Read the full story here)

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2) Twins sisters look unrecognizable after appearing on plastic surgery show.

“The purpose of this show is to “help those with special circumstances or people who are too ugly to feel confident in their life.” The participant facing “special circumstances” will have their plastic surgery sponsored by the television program and audiences follow along during the transformation.” (Read the full story here) 

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3) “Hand lifts” for engagement ring selfies.

Note: We realize that this is invasive surgery and not plastic surgery, but it makes it onto the list since hand selfies qualify as an extreme justification for cosmetic alteration. (Read the full story here) 

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4) Television show reverses excessive surgery… with more surgery. 

“Back to My Face features contestants who have had 10 or more procedures done and may have some regrets about their decisions.” (Read the full story here) 

5) A Brazilian man gets plastic surgery to look Korean

“A 25-year-old model has had 10 surgical procedures on his eyes to achieve an Asian appearance. Originally blonde and blue-eyed, the man who goes by “Xiahn” became fascinated by plastic surgery while studying in South Korea as a foreign exchange student.” (Read the full story here) 


Heartwarming Video of What Growing Up With Sisters Looks Like

They say that the bond between sisters is a bond like no other. Sure, sisters can be a headache and they can argue way too much, but when you think about it, life wouldn’t be as beautiful without them.

The following video, created by Buzzfeed Yellow shows how three sisters are as children and how they turn out as adults. Clearly, some things never change.

The video was only released earlier this month, but it already has over a million views. Why? Find out for yourself by checking out the video below. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Why Asian Barbie Dolls Are Important

When I was a little girl, I had a lot of dolls. I mean a lot of dolls. There were Barbie dolls cluttering my toy box, Cabbage Patch dolls lining my window sill and Ragdolls taking up most of my bed.

Despite my ever-growing collection, I noticed there was one doll in particular that I favored above the rest. She was the one doll that went on family vacations with me, accompanied me to the dinner table and was the only one in my arms for nap time.

As a child, I couldn’t figure out why I played favorites with her. Now as an adult, the answer is obvious: she was my only Asian doll. I quickly realized it wasn’t favoritism at all. It was my natural craving to find anything that looked like me in a toybox filled with blond hair and blue eyes. It was the craving to know that the way I looked was “pretty enough” to be created into a doll. It was the craving to know that it was okay to look different.

This is probably why there is quite some sadness over the recent news of American Girl discontinuing their only Asian American doll. Our community has lost an already rare opportunity for our little ones to see their culture and experiences reflected in mainstream/popular culture.

Luckily for us, in the midst of this bad news, we discovered something incredible. While looking for alternate Asian dolls that our little ones could have instead of an American Girl doll, we uncovered something even better.

As it turns out, Barbie, the world’s most popular series of dolls, saw the necessity in having diversity among their dolls. We found everything from Korean and Filipino Barbies to Japanese Kens.

Now don’t get us wrong. We’re aware of the various problems that come along with the Barbie franchise and we certainly don’t want our children facing unrealistic expectations to be thin, but having Asians portrayed in such a mainstream fashion is clearly a win for us. Imagine children going home with these and gaining a curiosity for the cultural significance of their Barbie’s dress or headpiece or jewelry. Imagine children having dolls that make them proud of their ethnic makeup.

Unfortunately, many of these very limited-edition dolls are no longer available from Mattel and are probably in the hands of hardcore doll collectors. Maybe if we cross our fingers enough, we can get these Barbies back? We could certainly use them.

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Philippines Barbie® Doll

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China Barbie® Doll

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India Barbie® Doll

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Japan Ken® Doll

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Japan Barbie® Doll

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Japan Barbie® Doll

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Happy New Year™ Barbie® Doll

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Sumatra-Indonesia Barbie® Doll

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Thai Barbie® Doll

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India Barbie® Doll 2nd Edition

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Japanese Barbie® Doll 2nd Edition

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Chinese Barbie® Doll

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Japanese Barbie® Doll 1st edition

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Malaysian Barbie® Doll

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Korean Barbie® Doll

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India Barbie® Doll


Couple Recreates Photo 51 Years Later

For this week’s #tbt, we decided to showcase the “adorable image of the day” from last month. Why? We still can’t get over how cute this is.

Some say that romantic love doesn’t exist anymore and who can blame them? After all, there’s a Korean website for “discreet cheating” and in Japan, people have resorted to virtual girlfriends.

Luckily for us, there are still some believers of love and every now and then they help us believe in it too.

The Twitter account History in Pictures shows us exactly what it’s title suggests. They post pictures of a New York blizzard in 1888, a San Francisco drive-in theater in the early 90’s and even a rare picture of Charlie Chaplin and Helen Keller.


Recently, they posted an image that has been capturing hearts. An Asian couple posed for a picture in 1963 and then recreated the picture in 2014 at the exact same spot. The picture was only uploaded last night, but it has already gathered nearly 4,000 retweets and over 7,000 favorites.

Unfortunately, no one seems to know who this adorable mystery couple is. We’d like nothing more than to get in contact with them and thank them for reminding us of how love looks like.


Summer Beach Hair Tutorial by HEYCLAIRE

The weather is picking up and that can only mean one thing: summer is around the corner!

You probably already have your sunscreen, sandals and sunglasses ready, but what to do with that hair? For summertime, many of us want perfectly textured beach hair, but we have no idea how to achieve that look. I can’t tell you how many times I came back from the beach and my tangled hair was the opposite of sexy.

Well we have just the thing! Make up artist/vlogger Claire Marshall, otherwise known as heyclaire, shows us how to get that perfect summer hair in quick and easy steps. Check out the video below and get the products you need to style textured hair.


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Top 10 Asian Babies Who Became Online Sensations

Whether it’s memes on Reddit, gifs on Tumblr or videos on YouTube, Asian babies and toddlers have definitely had their share of viral fame. After all, who doesn’t enjoy looking at cute and hilarious Asian kids? This trend seems no where near its end and we have absolutely no problem with that. In fact, we’ve put together a list of our Top 10 Asian Babies Who Became Online Sensations.

1) Business Baby Meme

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2) Evil Asian Baby Meme

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3) Squishy Face Baby Gif


4) “Mom Tries to Teach Adorable Girl Life Lesson” Video

5) Zony & Yony Dance

6) Nom Nom Baby Meme

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7) “Soon” Baby Meme

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8) Baby feels rain for the first time – Video

9) “I Must Dance” Meme


10) Yerin Park

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This Dancing Baby Will Be The Best Thing You See All Day

Move over Psy, it looks like you have some major competition.

This video titled “What a dance by a chubby Korean baby!” already has over 400,000 views since it was uploaded onto YouTube yesterday. The reason? Watch below and find out for yourself. We promise you won’t regret it.


Want to check out more adorable Asian babies? We have just the thing:

1) Adorable Asian Babies Who Dress Better Than You 
2) Adorable Asian Babies Who Dress Better Than You (PART II)
3) Audrey Readers Have Adorable Asian Babies
4) Adorable Asian Babies (Halloween Costume Edition)
5) Adorable Asian Babies With Puppies 


The Filharmonic’s Breathtaking ‘All of Me’ Cover

We’ve seen a lot of covers to John Legend’s “All of Me” over the past  couple of months. Just when we thought we had seen the last of these covers and remixes, The Filharmonic releases what may be our favorite “All of Me” cover ever.

Fans of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” will recognize The Filharmonic from season 4 where the boys reached the final four. Needless to say, the group has continued to gather fans since their appearance on the American television singing competition.

The all-male a cappella group consists of six Filipino singers: Vocalists VJ, Joe, Trace and Barry, Vocal Bass Jules, and Beatboxer Niko. The Filharmonic’s official website goes into further detail about the singers:

“What started as friendly chance encounters at singing competitions eventually solidified into a harmonious group as the boys discovered their shared genuine chemistry, unparalleled love of music, and undeniable musical talents. Through social network and a strong kinship to their Filipino culture they have found their niche in the musical community. Though their passion for great music is on par,  their combined talents come from a wide variety of backgrounds in the performing arts industry, including pop, a capella, jazz, opera, theater, classical, etc.  Together they honor their Filipino heritage through incredibly nuanced musical performances that are both moving and fun to experience.”


Just today, the group released a breathtaking a cappella cover of John Legend’s “All of Me.” Trust us when we say this is a must-see. Check it out below.