Posted in Life

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT (read immediately or you’ll miss out!). So….this my the last post on this blog.

Hey guys.

You might have seen that I haven’t been as active the past two weeks or so. And from some of my past posts, you know that I’ve been prepping for some stuff for a while.

Well, that is what I’m writing about today.

Hopefully that gave you enough suspense and mystery, because now I’m just going to bombard you with announcements. 🙂

#1. I have moved blogs!

No, I’m not quitting blogging, and I will definitely still be very active. The thing is, I found I wanted to take Happily, Hedy a bit further, and there were just too many limitations through a free website.

I wanted to be able to reach more people, and build something bigger with my content. I took a while to really reflect on whether or not investing money would be worth it. And ultimately, my mission behind this blog. After sitting on this decision for several months, the whole self quarantine at home situation gave me that final push to get started.

My new blog is not that different from this one. I will still be writing personal posts, and my last reflective post covered all the main parts of the niche and content I will be focusing in. The style and graphic design is similar, though I wanted to make it more of a magazine feel.

Check out my new blog at happilyhedy.com!

The money side of things

I do want to address the concept of paying for my website some more, especially for those who were once in the position I was in where I wanted to solely stick to free blogging. This is NOT meant to be an advertisement–just some advice I’d like to give after looking back.

Yes, it was possible for me to monetize my blog and I actually grew it really well from a free domain and plan. So if anyone tells you that it’s impossible, well, I’ll outright tell you that it’s not. I did make money through this blog, albeit not that much. Of course, that was never my main intention or purpose behind blogging, but it’s a good way to support my studies as some side income. So part of the reason why I decided to move blogs is so I’m able to monetize it a little further, but also because I would have unlimited potential to grow my blog in general.

If you’re interested at all in this and want to do more with your blog, I definitely recommend switching away from WordPress.com. While I have met the most amazing and supportive blogging community through wordpress.com (which I am eternally grateful for), it is not the most ideal for bigger picture blogging. The moment you want to get your own domain, I recommend transferring–partially because it’s cheaper too. The cheapest plan here is $5/month and you actually get very little functionality from it. The hosting I found is $2.95/month and you’re able to have the same freedom as the $50/month plan on wordpress.com. Yeah, I’m not kidding. All you do is self-host through wordpress.org, so the whole format is actually really similar–the only difference is you own all your content (if you’re on wordpress.com, technically wordpress owns it and hosts it for you). I did a lottttt of research before I invested in this. And I’m telling you, it’s already paying off.

If you want to check out the host I use, it’s Greengeeks (just use this link to access the $2.95 price). I read a whole bunch of comparison articles, got many other people’s expert opinions, and compared the plans between several hosts, and ultimately Greengeeks was the one that stuck out. They are actually the only host that runs on green energy, which is something I support a lot! Plus they have all the essentials you need (amazing customer support, unlimited bandwith, daily backups, free domain and email that goes with it, etc.). Literally everything–I’m super happy with my choice and hopefully this will be helpful insight to my fellow bloggers.

#2. I have a podcast!

I also just launched my brand new podcast called Pursuing The Happy!

In this podcast, I’ll be chatting about all things lifestyle (from self care, self development, to rants, books and more), with personal stories and inspiring guests. It’s all about empowering you to dream big, and “pursue the happy” in life.

The podcast is available on all streaming services (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, etc.). Just go my podcast page and you’ll find little icons to the platforms you can listen to it on.

#3. I have an Instagram giveaway coming soon to celebrate!

I’ve put together a super exciting giveaway with some really fun and cute prizes! It will be going live on my Instagram on April 20th. If you guys aren’t following me there already, be sure to do so so you can enter. As a mini preview, I’ll be giving away a bath bomb kit, hair accessories, candle, home decor piece, and a custom illustration!

#4. I’m going live and doing a face reveal!

Head over to my Instagram page today at 7pm EST for my face reveal and a Q&A hangout session. I won’t be doing a replay of any sorts, so make sure to show up live! Leave any questions you have for me below. 🙂


Thank you, to each and everyone of you who joined me on this journey with my WordPress blog. You guys have literally brought huge goofy smiles to my face with your sweet comments, and I’m so grateful to have “met” you guys. This is by no means a good-bye: even though I won’t be posting on here and consequently not as active in the WordPress.com community, I will do my best to still log in and support your guys’s posts. I am still super open to any collabs you have in mind too! I hope to see you all over at my new blog! There isn’t a follow option like there is on WordPress, but you can join my email list so you can be notified of my posts and future exciting announcements.

Again, I cannot thank you guys enough for your support. I read each and every one of your comments and messages, and will continue to respond to all of them. You guys are truly what makes blogging fun, and I am so, so excited to see what lies ahead with Happily, Hedy.

Onwards!

Happily,
Hedy

Posted in Books

Book Review: Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by Kevin Kwan

This is the third and final post in my Crazy Rich Asians series review. Find the review to the first book here, and the second book here. Heads up: if you haven’t read the first two books, there are spoilers in my review. And the “About the book” section, because ya know, it’s the third book.

About the Book

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he’s not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim to their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on sixty-four prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’ childhood home turns into a hotbed of backbiting and intrigue. As Su Yi’s relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu but tormented by her ex-husband—a man hell-bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile, Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, Jack Bing, still feels upstaged by her new stepdaughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing.

In this sweeping tale that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace that is caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan hilariously reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia’s most privileged families and their rich people problems.

Continue reading “Book Review: Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by Kevin Kwan”
Posted in Books

Book Review: China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2) by Kevin Kwan

This is the second post in my Crazy Rich Asians series review. Find the review to the first book here.

This is probably one of the longest reviews I’ve done, but I really have a lot to say. Just so you know, there are some possible spoilers ahead.

About the Book

On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiance willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be able to walk her down the aisle.

Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined. Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore’s It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia’s most exclusive clubs, auction houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it’s like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.

Continue reading “Book Review: China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2) by Kevin Kwan”
Posted in Books

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I decided to jump in to reading Crazy Rich Asians in January, especially because that “Glorious” song by Macklemore and Skyler Grey popped into my head. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, the song came from the trailer. I highly suggest watching the trailer below before reading the review in order to get the full vibes on, and then watch the movie afterwards if you haven’t already. Trust me, the “Glorious” song is actually pretty motivational.

After finishing all three books (okay, I finished them a longgg while back, but you know the thing with magazines where schedule your posts ahead so new posts your write come months later? Yeah.), I decided to release a whole book review series for the series! I’ll link the other 2 reviews when they are released (March 19th and 23rd) to this post.

Book 2 Review (China Rich Girlfriend)

Be aware that there are some spoilers in my review. Without further ado…

About the Book

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.

Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich

My Review

So, I watched the movie before reading the book. I guess, in a way, I think the movie was slightly better than the book. But I definitely do not regret the order I read/watched it in. Having the movie running in the back of my mind actually reinforced the scenes and make them even more glamorous. And you didn’t have to to through the trouble of imagining how a character looks like and being disappointed in the cast (ahem, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before—this needs a whole rant post on its own). I think overall, the casting was done IMPECCABLY well for the movie though.

The book drew me in right away, from the very beginning. Yes, I knew where the story was going to go (mostly: there were some changes from the book to movie), but the writing was done really well so I was actually engrossed in the book. I loved the sass, charm, and snark of the characters, and they were truly brought to life by Kwan. Can I also just mention that he has stunning descriptions of the setting and things that the rich people buy/do? It actually makes you go “wow”. And now I want to go back to China and visit other places in Asia because I need to experience this for myself. It was pretty motivating, actually, to read this story. I feel even more drawn to the idea of running big businesses, acquisition, stocks, and the whole sch-bang.

The story and drama was so well developed, I really, really loved it. It’s refreshing to read a story with a new plot and atmosphere that you don’t normally read.

I definitely liked the ending of the movie better than the book. The mahjong scene was so EMPOWERING and the PROPOSAL!!! Can I just…I have no words. The ending was just so incredible. Part of that was missing in the book.

Posted in Books

Book Review: What The Other Three Don’t Know by Spencer Hyde

About the Book

Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am?  

Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.
 
If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.
 
A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.
 
One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated “perfect” image on Instagram.
 
Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they’ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.
 
What the Other Three Don’t Know is a poignant and gripping YA novel about the unlikely friends who accept you for who you really are and the power of self-acceptance.

About the Author

SPENCER HYDE spent three years during high school at Johns Hopkins for severe OCD. He is the author of the YA novel Waiting for Fitz. Spencer worked at a therapeutic boarding school before earning his MFA and his PhD, specializing in fiction, short humor pieces, and essays. Spencer and his wife are the parents of four children.

My Review

An ARC of the book was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

There were a lot of good things in this book, addressing the prevalent issues that teens face today. This was one of those coming-of-age stories where, amongst the whirlwind and uncertainty of being a teen, the main character learns valuable lessons and experiences incredible growth.

I will be honest, the beginning was a little bit slow for me. It wasn’t horrible to the point where you simply couldn’t carry on, but it took a while for me to figure out the plot and where everything was going.

The characters were developed well, and although they did represent stereotypes, I liked how Hyde added that extra edge and perk to each individual, bringing out that theme of how everyone hides something about themselves that others don’t know. And how that’s something that rounds out each of us and makes us unique. Specifically, I appreciated the character Shelby, as she shows the vulnerabilities behind being a content creator/influencer, and reminds us that we should sometimes unplug from our devices as there’s so much still to learn through being in the moment.

The main critique I have is that the themes and lessons in the story were kind of just blatantly stated; most of it was written out in character reflections. I can handle that to a certain extent, but I feel that its much more effective when its presented in a nuanced way, so that the themes are under the surface and detectible by the reader on their own.

Also, personally, I would have liked to see Indie’s mother’s death developed in a more impactful way. I think it would have a greater effect on the reader if we were able to feel more emotionally connected to the death–perhaps through more description on Indie and her mother’s relationship and why they were so important to each other.

The ending was very beautifully written. I love books that leave you with a reflective tone, and it matched really well with the river scenery. While there was some of that “telling” instead of “showing” I referred to in the last paragraph, the ending was overall refreshingly well done.

This book comes out March 3rd, 2020, so be sure to get it when it is released!