Chasing My Sunset

Chasing-My-Sunset-Helz-Nguyen

It feels so weird to start writing again! I hope everyone had a great summer and you’re well rested.

I apologized for being a way for this long, but there were things happening in my life that made it hard for me to keep up with blogging, plus I hit a point where I found myself tired of it.

I was repeating the same cycle again, like I did on my first blog. Something just didn’t feel right or was still lacking that made it hard for me to continue. I thought it was best to take a break and think through things. Things like should I even continue to blog, what were my plans for the future and where I was in my life.

It was a painful and dreadful process. Luckily, some clarity did come out of it.

A friend of mine told me recently that I reminded her of the character in “Eat Pray Love”, a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. I seen the movie before years ago, I didn’t remember much about it, so I decided to watch it again last weekend and my friend was right. I resonated a lot with the character this time. Leaving everything behind and go on quest to find myself sounds very tempting right now!

Let’s cut to the chase: I’m going to start a new blog soon, but it won’t be about beauty anymore. If I’d write about beauty, it’d be in a different way. The new blog is going to about
-life as a dreamer (working on your goals)
-life as a single
-life as a woman
-living an authentic life

The good news is if you had enjoyed my Thinking Out Loud topics, I have a feeling you’d enjoy my new blog – so stay subscribed.

At one point I thought, it’d be best for me to quit blogging all together. I thought I wasn’t good enough and my voice alone wouldn’t be enough to attract readers. Then I got messages from people who read my blog, and the feedback was incredible. I still can’t believe that someone stayed up all night to read my blog. That got me speechless.

Believe it or not, even with the feedback like that, I was still hesitating to come back. So I procrastinated, until one day I got a strong feeling that I needed to continue writing and start a new blog. I even got a new name for it.

When the new blog is ready, I’ll send you a newsletter about it. Stay tuned.

Sex and Bacon by Sarah Katherine Lewis

Sex-and-Bacon

Sex and Bacon is based on Sarah Katherine Lewis’ collection of short essays. In the book, she shared her favorite recipes which most were “cook to impress” that guarantee you’d get laid.

We are talking about a woman who loves sex and a whole table of finger licking good food.

Sarah is very open in her writing; straight to the point, loveable, witty in her words, laugh out loud funny, honest and most of all, encouraging.

The level of her honesty that she brings out in the book was refreshing and mind-boggling at the same time. Sarah talked about her past working in a sex industry, where she spilled out all the dirty deeds that either make you choke on laughing or totally gross out.

I love her stories about the people that she once called her lover, her experiments with food and her view of life. You wouldn’t think a former sex worker could have something morally right to say about life, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Turned out that she has her heart and mind in the right place, and her opinion about the world and our society is on point.

You don’t have to agree with her, she’s just telling you the truth, about her life.

What I got out from the author of Sex and Bacon is that she’s very driven by passion, and honesty. She’s not ashamed of her past, but she also admitted that she’s done things that she wasn’t proud of. I think she has a very good understanding of people.

She makes you feel like you two are BFF, and you could just sit down with her and have a heart-to-heart conversation. Over a big plate of fried chicken and a bottle of cheap, red wine! Nonetheless, she’s hella funny to hang out with.

If you’re able to keep up with the book, you’ll notice how it changed its tune towards the end. While she was in the middle of writing her book, Sarah struggled with a lot of issues. For months, she didn’t have money to pay her rent, couldn’t afford to buy food nor get medical care. She got into deep depression and it was the time when her partner left her too. So she wrote about it – all of it.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I also love how she writes and I truly admire Sarah Katherine Lewis as a person. I think she’s a brave woman and deserves some sort of recognition. There were many things that she shared in the book that were insightful and admirable. There was this story, where a sex client paid Sarah to say “I love you” to him but she refused, because she didn’t want to lie about love. I mean you gotta respect her for that, at least.

Sarah’s language is very colorful and bold. She uses words like fuck and shit like there’s no sunshine tomorrow. Obviously, she’s not being offensive. Just her way to express herself, but if that’s too much for you to handle, then you should stay away from all her books.

The author’s recipes are like Holy Bible of Getting Laid :D which I’ve already made a mental note that I must try them at some point.

helen nguyen

Book of the Month: #GIRLBOSS

Book-of-the-Month-GIRLBOSS-Helz-Nguyen

I’m excited to announce this month’s book is #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amuroso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal. I can’t wait to read this book, yay!

#GIRLBOSS includes Sophia’s story, yet is infinitely bigger than Sophia. It’s deeply personal yet universal. Filled with brazen wake-up calls (“You are not a special snowflake”), cunning and frank observations (“Failure is your invention”), and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that being successful isn’t about how popular you were in high school or where you went to college (if you went to college). Rather, success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

Review-The-Body-Book-by-Cameron-Diaz-Helz-Nguyen

First off: I didn’t finish the book. It was impossible. That’s why it took me this long to review it.
This book was nothing like I expected.

I didn’t expect Ms. Diaz would talk to me like a 6th grade teacher.

Then after we’ve graduated from 6th grade, she jumped straight to hardcore scientific stuff. It was like reading a biology book. There were diagrams in the book but I couldn’t view any of them because I was reading it on my phone.

I kept falling asleep while trying to read the book, it was way too hard to focus. Too much information, Cam!

As intelligence adults, I think we all know the importance of breakfast, yet, Diaz felt the need to keep going on and on about it.

The Body Book is far from an easy read: it’s boring, poorly written and repetitive. I struggled since the first chapter, after that I jumped from chapter to chapter to see if it gets better. Nope, it didn’t.

Basically The Body Book is about eating healthily (breakfast, vegetables, avoid sugar and processed foods etc.), drink lots of water, check your pee and poo, take some time out of your day to walk and dance, and don’t laser your pubes.

It might be a good book for teens, but not for grown women. Well, unless you’re interested to know how your body works at the cellular level, then go ahead. But the book isn’t a diet book either, it’s a lifestyle changer. Unless you are ready to change your habits for good, The Body Book would be too much for you too.

I’m a fan of Cameron Diaz and I adore her personality and sense of humor. Since this book is written by her, I thought I’d get some of that reading through her words, but got none of that either.

I don’t get why her book is even a bestseller?! Because thinking of it still makes me…

helen nguyen

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

A boy and a girl met each other for the first time in a Children’s Cancer Support Group meeting. Both suffered from terminal illnesses and were forced to come to terms with their mortalities.

The Fault in Our Stars is a heartfelt love story that is nothing like your regular puppy love story. The two main characters, Hazel Graze and Augustus Waters allow readers to enter into the deep complexity of their thoughts and dialogues.

I, admittedly, had great moments with this book. Moments of laughing out loud, and also moments that I couldn’t hold back my tears.

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The book by John Green provides laughter, tears, a whole lot of tweetable quotes and a glimpse into a world, where people were doomed to deadly diseases and young deaths.

Hazel Graze and Augustus Waters fought hard against cancer, and they didn’t want to let it define who they were. Their cancer battles were heart-wrenching and devastating to follow.

The story was well drafted and for me, once I started reading, it was hard to stop. I actually pulled an all-nighter, because I was eager to finish the book.

Although I think The Fault in Our Stars is a great read, but there were some undeniable cliché and pretentious moments that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

I understand that Hazel Grace and her great love; Augustus Waters were not normal teenagers, they had to live with cancer – or in Hazel Grace’s words, cancer was consuming them. They were both wise beyond their years, it reflected in their thoughts and dialogues, and that was something that bothered me the most about the book.

Hermione_eye_roll

I had a hard time getting over their overly philosophical and deep conversations. I mean, no teens talk like that in real life! And Hazel Graze’s obsession with the ending of her favorite novel An Imperial Affliction was also pushing my nerves sometimes.

This cancer fighting love story is thought-provoking, meaningful and beautiful even in its rawest moments.

The author, John Green reminds us that some people have to fight harder, just to catch a breath, or living with the uncertainty that their lives might end any day. And that life is truly unfair and we don’t always get what we want, because “the world isn’t a wish-granting factory.” But despite hopelessness, we should make decisions that reflect on how we feel now, instead on fear of what might happen in the future.

Because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

that's the thing about pain

The movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars will be out this summer, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort :) I can’t wait to see it!

Actors Anonymous by James Franco

Actors Anonymous by James Franco

Actors Anonymous takes place in Los Angeles, where wannabe young actors starving for fame stumble their way into the acting world. The book is based on different characters in a form of short stories.

The novel has many twists and turns, it’s understandable that not everyone is able to keep up with the dramatic pace.

In this book, James Franco blurs the line between reality and fiction, making it hard sometime to tell which is which. Merging his own stories with fiction is maybe his clever way to reveal the truth.

The truth about James Franco? The truth about the movie world? These were the inescapable questions that were hard to avoid, while I was reading the book.

The common theme of the characters is the need to be accepted and the struggle with their own darkness. All stories are open-ended, leaving the reader slightly confused and a sense of sadness of the characters’ despair.

Just when you think you got the map down, James takes you to another route. You think you going straight, he’s going zigzag. You think you finally got the gist, he’s takes a U-turn and leaves you feeling lost, again.

I have to give Franco proper recognition for how he allowed the characters to fully developed into their own skin. Even though the stories maintained short, they were dense, raw and sort of poetic.

James shines a light on the ugliness and makes us look at it, when our first instinct is to turn our heads away. Because it’s too ugly and shameful to be admitted to the world that we all have it in us, and how far some people are willing to go, just to get rid of it.

Because the way the book is written, I think it allows the reader to go back and reread it time and time again, and still discover something new and reassure the connected dots. I’m pretty sure that I have missed a few of his messages, he doesn’t put them all out on the page, you need to read between the lines.

As an experienced actor, James Franco is a master at capturing his characters in the most vulnerable, graphical and humanizing ways. He wastes no words when describing each scene in the stories, as well as the thoughts running through his characters. The paragraphs are packed with details that make your head spin sometime.

If you can keep up with him, you actually discover James is thoughtfully clever and witty in his words.

I feel the need to mention that there are quite a bit of sex in Actors Anonymous. However, these sex scenes are not meant to turn you on – they are disturbing and disgusting to say at least.

The characters in this book are disjointed, miserable people who have the strong need to become something else – if not, their lives would be pretty much dead end. The strong drive to act and to become successful is like an addiction to them. It’s like they believe when they reach to success and stardom – it’d be their salvation.

When I reached over halfway of the book, I started to get a little bored because all the stories so far seemed to describe the same type of people. Then the character called “The Actor” showed up, which in my opinion was the most confusing character in the book. Probably because it was James Franco or an extreme fictional/asshole version of himself. Franco definitely loves to screw with your mind and enjoys every bit of it. THAT good looking bastard.

Although the book is entertaining and intriguing, Actors Anonymous is heavy, dark and bizarre to read.

Plot – 82%
Writing – 94%
How HOT is James Franco – 100%

92%

User Rating: 4.9 1 votes)

This isn’t part of the review, so you can skip it if you want to.

I want to say that, because how this book is structured, I’ve noticed a lot of readers’ reviews out there are based on reading the book. I have Actors Anonymous in audiobook and I think that’s why it was easier for me to follow through.

Reading can feels like too rambling at times, especially if you mind can’t keep up with the plot. Many people gave up on reading the book, because it was challenging to read.

I got the audiobook version and even before finishing it, I purchased the ebook version because I knew I want to reread it again at some point. It would be just easier to follow the stories, if I have the text while listening to it.

I always purchase books in audio, it’s time saving. I’m a very slow reader. If I like the book enough, I usually get the ebook too. And if I really love it, I’d buy the hardcover version as well, to show support.

If you’re still reading this, bravo to you and your reward: Him. In bed. You’re welcome.

I could dry hump him all day.