UNBOXING: NCT DREAM HOT SAUCE PHOTOBOOK VER.

Disclaimer: This is my very first unboxing video, so I’m quite unsure if I did it right or decently. Nevertheless, feel free to comment on how can I improve this further. Thank you!

As a Czennie (called to fans of NCT), I am so hyped up with the release of the much-awaited first-full-length album of NCT Dream. Hot Sauce is finally here and I did not miss my chance to get a hold of the latest album.

For those who do not know NCT Dream, it is a 7-piece boy group and is one of the many sub-units of NCT or Neo Culture Technology debuted by SM Entertainment in 2016. The members are Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung. They first released a bubblegum pop single Chewing Gum featuring an impressive choreography using hoverboards.

NCT Dream, which is focused on a younger demographic and songs on youthful dreams and aspirations, first had a graduation system wherein a member has to graduate once he hits 20 years of age. In this regard, Mark is the first and only member of NCT Dream to officially graduate from the unit. The remaining members then had to promote in 6 or sometimes 5 (as Haechan also actively promotes with NCT 127) for the We Boom and Reload promotions. Hence, Hot Sauce is a special release as it marks the return of the original 7DREAM lineup under the revised NCT Dream system.

Without further ado, here’s my unboxing of the Hot Sauce photobook version. I got the Boring version under fast ETA from Charlie Chartreuse. I had a pleasant and flawless experience with this seller, so hit the link if you’re interested to order!

It is indeed fast and I got cool freebies, too. Special thanks to the seller for the thoughtful freebies—my bias is Na Jaemin so I was touched that most of my freebies are his photos. All in all, I got a free Hot Sauce-inspired notepad, stickers, and unofficial polaroids/photo cards.

Album freebies!

Personal thoughts

I did not watch any of the unboxing videos out there so there will still be an element of surprise once I get my album. If you watch the video above, you will see that I struggle with where and how to open the whole item (I lagged for a few good minutes figuring out the outer packaging).

I personally like the concept and the layout of the photobook. I don’t know what to call it but it is a mishmash of a food nutritional label, desert-like vibes, explosive colors, and icon collage, and then there’s NCT Dream in their very chill and laidback photos for the Boring version. I think the Crazy version fits the overall concept perfectly, though. Also, I just have to mention something practical: the paper quality is quite good as well hahaha

My Pulls

There’s an inside thingy in K-Pop wherein you kind of knock, pray, or bless over your albums before opening it. This pre-unboxing ritual is believed to bring good luck and great pulls to the owner. Mine got this prayer circle taped to the bubble wrap—and guess what…

I got Jeno Cafe DREAM and Chenle beret! I also got Haechan as my individual poster. Though I am Jaemin-biased, I am super duper satisfied and in love with my pulls. I love each and every one of them. Also, Chenle beret is one of my targets when I saw the PCs, so the prayer circle truly worked!

A snippet of my pulls

Coda

K-Pop and merch are definitely my stress-reliever in time where I am nothing but stuck at home, doing mundane stuff such as my day job, playing Candy Crush, and trying to get by in this lockdown situation. Hot Sauce, I must say, fits well with the scorching heat we are experiencing now in the Philippines, the only difference is that Hot Sauce is my kind of heat—one that I can’t get enough of.

What do you think about Hot Sauce? Listen to the full album on Spotify or watch the MV on YouTube.

NCT Dream’s Hot Sauce set charts and records ablaze

ICYDK: K-Pop group NCT Dream finally released their FIRST full-album Hot Sauce last May 10.

This was also the first album for the complete and original 7DREAM lineup since We Go Up EP in 2018. The group initially had a graduation system and was only changed last year, bringing its leader Mark Lee back in the team.

The album contains 10 tracks starting off with the hit explosive single, Hot Sauce. The hip-hop mixed with Afrobeat single expresses the group’s hot-sauce like charms and a new flavor showing the hot side of NCT Dream. The song also presents a stark contrast to their bubblegum pop debut track, Chewing Gum.

NCT DREAM HOT SAUCE MV

Meanwhile, the group also performed the B-side sweet track Dive Into You during the first week of music show promotions. Their performance shows off a cool, playful, and laidback yet more mature side of NCT Dream. This track tackles on love and the desire to dive further into the relationships.

Other notable tracks in the album are Countdown (3,2,1), Diggity (first released as one of their teaser videos), and Rainbow which featured writing credits from members Mark, Jeno, Jaemin, and Jisung.

The Hot Sauce album has Photobook version (Crazy, Boring, Chilling) and Jewel Case version (each member). The Apple Music digital album also comes with an exclusive digital booklet upon purchase.

The taste of firsts

Apart from being the first full-length album, Hot Sauce gave way for some of the record-breaking firsts for NCT Dream.

On May 16, NCT Dream finally gained “million seller status” with Hot Sauce, garnering more than a million sales on its first-week, joining the ranks of BTS and SEVENTEEN.

It is also one of the fastest NCT MVs to reach 30 million, beating the previous record held by NCT U’s Make A Wish.

NCT Dream also achieved first quadruple win and first wins on Show Champion, M! Countdown, Music Core, and Inkigayo (the FIRST Inkigayo win for the whole NCT brand). It beat their personal record of triple crown with My First and Last, a song that gave NCT Dream and the whole NCT brand the first music show win ever.

Adding to the list is the recent global recognition with Hot Sauce as the first song in three languages (Korean, English, and Spanish) to hit the Billboard Global 200 chart.

The Dream Team

Composed of 7 members, NCT Dream is Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung. They debuted in 2016 as part of the NCT brand, with the Dream unit focusing on youth-centric and inspiring songs.

The group has released EPs, mini-albums (featuring the award-winning We Boom), and collaborations (they teamed up with American-Canadian group PRETTYMUCH and English singer HRVY for Up To You and Don’t Need Your Love, respectively).

Wanna get your hot sauce on NCT Dream? Follow their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for the latest dish on the team.

Random Finds: Paper Soap

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. I just want to share random finds that you’d might like to try out as well 😉

Even before the pandemic outbreak, I already got the habit of sanitizing my hands every once in a while especially when handling bills and coins.

Now that alcohol and sanitizers are definitely a must in and out of the house, I know how it can be frustrating to run out or forget to bring a bottle of rubbing alcohol when going outside. This is where paper soap can be handy.

It sounds surreal but it’s true. Paper soap exists, and I was able to spot a good steal of paper soaps when I visited a Penshoppe branch in a nearby mall. It was originally priced at P99 each, but I bought it from a Buy 1, Take 1 sale. The size is almost similar to a dental floss so it can easily fit in your pouch or bag pockets.

This how the product looks like. It matched my nail color too!

How to use it?

Alcohol or sanitizers are only a spritz away, but keeping a paper soap in your bag at all times can save you when you accidentally run out of alcohol. Needless to say, paper soap can also give your hands a thorough-cleansing. It’s great when you dine out and needs a good ol’ handwashing to remove the smell of food from your hands.

This item is pretty straightforward—here’s how to use it:

  1. Get a single film or sheet of paper soap.
  2. Put it in the palm of your hand. Add water.
  3. Lather it up and watch as the paper dissolve and turn into a foamy texture.
  4. Wash your hands for 20 seconds!
  5. Rinse then use a dryer or a clean paper towel.
Just a quick video demo on how to use it.
Production quality: In progress.

My Experience

The item itself is interesting; it’s my first time seeing a paper soap in the market. The packaging is simple but sturdy while the sheets itself are a bit damp (not sure what I was expecting but I was fascinated upon seeing it). The sheet dissolves easily and has a filmy texture. It will look like a small chunk of soaked tissue when you lather it up, but no worries as it can be easily dissolved.

For the scent, I’m not actually a fan because it reminds me of a certain brand or variant of men’s deodorant. Though overall, it gives you a clean feeling afterwards.

Verdict

It’s pretty easy to use and carry around. So if you want to be extra careful, I really recommend you keep a paper soap in your bag. If you find this cool, it’s also fun and practical to give as a gift to your friends. There’s a pink variation of this one with a different scent as well. Overall, this product is worth buying because apart from an essential hygiene item, you can also use it for long travels or light packing. If you don’t want to bring a bar of soap or a bottle of liquid soap, this can be a good space-saver option.

Let us know if paper soap is a Yay or Nay for you!

Stay safe, stay clean, and most importantly, stay at home.

Premium workspace brand THE EXECUTIVE CENTRE now in ph

Premium flexible workspace provider, The Executive Centre (TEC), opens its flagship centre in Ayala Triangle Gardens Tower 2, Makati CBD.

TEC is known as one of the leading premium flexible workspace brand among businesses in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

The flagship centre is set to open in Q2 this year and targets businesses eyeing prime locations and prestigious office addresses.

“Our approach is always to think of our Members first, even when it comes to our international expansion strategy. We move into cities and markets based on Member demand,” said Josh Alfafara, TEC Philippines Country Manager. “Philippines is an exciting opportunity to develop our presence globally while supporting the strategic growth of our Members with our premium flexible workspace solutions that is currently lacking in this market.”

Alfafara further explained, “In times of uncertainties, many corporations become more cost-conscious and shift towards an agile and responsive business models. Innovative office solutions that offer cost-efficiencies and the freedom of rapid scale are favoured over traditional leases with long rental periods that become a heavy cost.  As a result, companies today are changing the way they take up space and are adopting elements of flexible workspace strategies to empower their corporate real estate portfolios. It is this flexible  model towards real estate that TEC has perfected over 27+ years and can tailor to suit the size and needs of organisations in various professional industries. As we move into a ‘new normal’, we foresee that even the most traditional of businesses will see the benefits of our unique premium flexible workspace offerings.”

The Philippines is a rapidly growing market for commercial real estate, with Metro Manila being the key financial hub that is dominated by domestic and multinational corporations.

The flagship centre provides high-end design and interiors to cater to all kinds of businesses.  Its layout is finished with subtle accents from contemporary design pieces, height-adjustable standing desks, iconic Herman Miller ergonomic chairs and pays homage to the local Manila culture. It will also be supported by state-of-the-art audiovisual technology and a dedicated team of on-site professionals who are experts in the field of hospitality, administration and IT support to ensure a seamless day-to-day business experience for its Members.

Globally, over 76% of TEC’s client base are MNCs from diverse industries, including leading financial services & banking, consulting & professional services, and technology companies.

Twitter Spaces, now on Android

People come to Twitter to talk about what’s happening, and in December Twitter started testing a new way to bring the conversation to life with Spaces, a place for live, host-moderated audio conversations.

Rolling out over the next few days, people with Android will now be able to join, listen, and speak in conversations over Spaces.

Joining a Space on Android is easy. Keep an eye out for the purple aura in your fleetline and tap to join. You can also join Spaces via a link shared with you (via Tweets, DMs).

People on Android can also use emoji reactions, view captions, and be invited to speak in a Space. Other updates to come include the ability to see more of who’s in your Space and naming your Space to add context for new joiners.

Celebrating #IWD2021 with #SheInspiresMe campaign on Twitter

Twitter is the place they come to converse in an authentic way and this #InternationalWomensDay, Twitter is highlighting those voices with a Southeast Asia-wide campaign, #SheInspiresMe.

Twitter’s #SheInspiresMe campaign gathered more than 40 creators across Southeast Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) to create a personal #SheInspiresMe video Tweet from March 8-19 and share about the women that inspire them, and why. They will also tag 3 other people to encourage them to join the campaign.

In the Philippines, Twitter is engaging with Alexa Asahina (@alexaasahina), Andrea Torres (@andreaetorres), Antoinette Jadaone (@tonetjadaone), Catriona Gray (@catrionaelisa), Dr. Gia Sison (@giasison), Inka Magnaye (@inkamagnaye), Jayda Avanzado (@jaydaavanzado), Joyce Pring (@joycepring), Kat Galang (@imkatgalang), KC Concepcion (@itskcconcepcion), Kyla Alvarez (@kylaessentials), KZ Tandingan (@KZofficial), Moira Dela Torre (@moirarachelle4), Ria Atayde (@RiaAtayde), Sen. Risa Hontiveros (@risahontiveros), Sofia Pablo (@realsofiapablo), Spark! Philippines (@SPARKphils), Mitzi Jonelle Tan (@mitzijonelle) of YACA Philippines (@YACAPhilippines), and Zephanie Dimaranan (@imzephanie) who will each share a video Tweet about the women that inspire them.

Available throughout the month of March, the emoji is actuated when people Tweet with the following hashtags: #PandaigdigangArawNgKababaihan, #ArawngKababaihan, #BabaeKami, #Henerasyongpantaypantay, #InternationalWomensDay, #WomensDay, #WeAreWomen, #ActForEqual, #IWD2021, #IWD, #GenerationEquality.

Here’s how to join in Twitter’s #SheInspiresMe campaign:

  1. Create a video Tweet of up to 2:20 mins in length to share a positive story about the women who inspire you, and Tweet it out with the hashtag #SheInspiresMe.
  2. Tag 3 others to join in the campaign. Don’t forget to tag @TwitterPH.

Replay: A lookback on entertainment conversations on Twitter

People turned to online entertainment for a meaningful escape from all the stress and worries of the world—and use this as a topic to connect with people.

 In the first quarter of 2020, Twitter saw 678 million[1] entertainment-related conversations in SEA. While conversations in the Philippines about celebrities, local TV, and movies dipped last year, Tweets about shows available on OTT channels increased throughout the region in countries with 184% growth (Q3 2020 vs. Q3 2019) in the Philippines.

From #SB19 to K-drama hit #ItsOkayToNotBeOkay, fan chatter on Twitter is still at an all-time high. Here’s a lookback at what kept Filipinos glued to the edge of their seats (sofas) in the most extraordinary of years.

When the big screen went black

Although entertainment was enjoyed rather differently last year, what stayed the same was how Filipinos continued to discuss and bond over plenty of films. With its historic win at the Oscars in 2020 , hit Korean masterpiece #Parasite generated major buzz among Asians, with people joining in the celebrations online and cinema operators re-screening the movie. 

Back to the small screen

Teleserye tapings proved to be difficult in 2020, but noontime shows tried their best to resume as soon as possible to bring delight and entertainment for people who are stuck at home. ASAP Natin ‘To (@ASAPOFFICIAL), an all-star Sunday noontime, was a staple conversation driver among Filipinos, as their favorite artists perform song and dance numbers in the show. On the other hand, the Philippine adaptation of K-drama Descendants of the Sun also trended on Twitter as they shared their sentiments seeing their fave K-drama with a relatable local spin.

The stars in their eyes

Since we #StayHome, fans weren’t able to meet their fave celebrities face-to-face. Tweeting therefore became their way to show support for their idols. For example, #MayWard fans are actively in the loop about Edward Barber (@Barber_Edward_) and Maymay Entrata’s (@maymayentrata07) projects; they use hashtag parties and other fan group initiatives to make sure their efforts are amplified.

We all know by now how powerful SB19 (@SB19Official) and A’TIN can be as they ruled most of the charts in 2020. The P-Pop group released their first album last year and landed on many endorsements and achievements. All of these are made possible by A’TIN who are passionate in supporting their favorite group.

Streaming the night away

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services like Netflix (@Netflix_PH), iWant (@iwanttfc), and iflix (@iflixph) provided Filipinos with endless options in 2020, setting Twitter alight with a flurry of Tweets across various genres. Twitter recorded a notable 184% spike in related conversations in Q3 2020 as compared to the same period the previous year in the Philippines.

Filipinos were treated with diverse choices, but of course, Korean dramas maintained their title as the indisputable attention winners of 2020 – including time-travelling royals in #TheKingEternalMonarch and forbidden love in Crash Landing On You (#CLOY).  

2020 was a year of unexpected and unprecedented change in the entertainment landscape but, Twitter continued to play its part in keeping conversations thriving,” said Carl Cheng, Head of Entertainment Partnerships, SEA and Greater China. “Even as parts of the world look towards recovery and easing of lockdown measures, entertainment will certainly remain a key part of our lives. As this year promises new reality TV, local dramas, award-winning films and more in 2021, Twitter is excited to see where the next big escape will take us.”

[1] Source: Twitter Internal Data | Q1 2020

Trends that will shape the Future of Work in 2021

If last year’s new normal made offices massively adopt remote working, what would be the look of working in 2021? Will work-of-home be the new norm? Will offices still matter?

We are still in the phase of trying which strategies will work best. But if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s the need for organizations to rethink how they operate. Instead of focusing on equipping the office to be spic and span, leaders must focus on keeping a good connection with its people.

To help organizations on what to expect in the coming year, Samir Sayed, Managing Director, ASEAN and Korea, Poly, shares insight on the 6 key trends that will shape the future of work in 2021.

  1. Hybrid Work is here to stay

Work is not a place, it’s what you do. Work is no longer defined by the hours you put in or an attendance check several times a day, but on the outcome of the work and seeing that things are getting accomplished in or ahead of time. With this, hybrid work model will still prevail, and people will still mostly work wherever.

  • Anything-as-a-service will drive business agility

Digital transformation will be fuelled by XAAS, or Anything-As-A-Service. This is an adaptation of the digital services subscription model, as providers shift to providing value as a service. This lets businesses introduce and scale deployments as needed, providing the agility to continue to work seamlessly and without disruption.

  • The rise of the Prosumer

Employees have realized that consumer-grade gears simply cannot deliver. They need quality technologies that will allow them to work seamlessly. Organizations should consider investing in their employees’ gears, perhaps a stable net connection, noise-blocking headsets, or video conferencing solution for their meetings.

  • Transformation of the office

Instead of being the place for work, offices will more likely to become a gathering point for employees to meet, while majority of work will be done remotely.

  • Video is the way forward

Thanks to technological advances in the past few years, collaboration thru video is now on a whole new level, catering industries such as telemedicine and education where video is critical to continue business-as-usual and at the same time, adapt a whole new way of doing it.

  • Connectivity to drive better collaboration experiences

Businesses will look to technologies like 5G to drive a better collaboration experience through seamless connectivity, as if in person. Digital transformation efforts will also see an increase in focus on technology that adapts more seamlessly to the end-user.

Starting 2021 with Twitter’s #NewYearNewList

Each new year brings a glimmer of hope for things to be better; a fresh start to rethink and focus on our interest such as fitness, a new business, or a new skill.

Last January 13 to 15, Twitter brought together creators across Southeast Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand) to bring inspiration among people on Twitter. The #NewYearNewList campaign encouraged musicians Keiko Necesario-Cubil, Coeli; artist Cyrill Acuna; and gamers Alexa Asahina and Een Mercado to create their own Twitter List featuring the accounts that inspire them and share their resolutions for the year.

They also did Q&A on Twitter to interact with their followers and to answer questions about their resolutions, goals, current activities, and anything under the sun.

Check this Twitter Moments to see the compilation of #NewYearNewList among creators and people on Twitter. If you still haven’t made your new year’s resolutions, it’s never too late. Start jotting down on paper or Tweeting your List along with the hashtag #NewYearNewList!