Beauty Haul: bareMinerals, Ren, Missha, UNT, iHerb

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First off: I’M VERY SORRY for lack of posting. I’ve been super busy and TIRED, that I couldn’t bring myself up to put together a decent blog post. It seems like all I do on my free time now is sleep and rest. My brain refuses to do anything other than sleep :(Any-who, I managed to order some goodies that I want to share with you today. There are more stuff that haven’t arrived yet, so I guess we just have to do this without them.

Most of the things here are from iHerb, then a few things from LookFantastic, UNT and Ebay. I’m sure, you’ll noticed at the end of this post, that I’m on a quest for brighter skin – so wish me luck with these products!

At Last Naturals, MSM Herbal Moisturizing Bar

The Seaweed Bath CO, Detox Cellulite Soap

NOW Essential Oils, 100% Rosemary

NOW Solutions, Organic Jojoba Oil

Nature’s Alchemy, Fennel essential oil 100%

UNT EX White De-Mela Mask, Ultimate Luminance Anti-Pigment Facial

UNT Color, Ex White Miracle Glow Anti-Pigment Water Resistant Compact Powder SPF30

UNT Ex White Intensive Facial

Life Flo Retinol A 1%, Advanced Revitalization Cream

Reviva 5% Glycolic Acid Cream

At Last Naturals, MSM Creams Moisturizer

MRM MSM Cream

bareMinerals READY SPF20 Foundation

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

NOW Vitamin C Crystals

NOW Vitamin C & Acai Berry Purifying toner

Andalou Naturals, Get Started Brightening Kit

Acure Organics, Brightening Facial Scrub

Yes, I feel weird sharing about these two too :D but I’ve already taken the picture, might as well include them.

Sex and Bacon by Sarah Katherine Lewis

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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

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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.

Ice Ice Facey: DIY Minty Ice Cube Facial for Summer

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Need to cool down? Try the Minty Ice Cube Facial.

The ice cube delivers a cooling sensation along with peppermint oil to soothe irritated skin. Combine with mint leaves, it balances excess oiliness and shrink down your pores. Lastly, aloe vera gel helps restore hydration back to the skin. So if you suffer from oily skin, big pores, dull or irritated skin – you need this facial ASAP!

We’re going to use peppermint essential oil in this DIY recipe, but it must be diluted in another carrier oil before use. I’m using sweet almond oil for this purpose, but you can use whatever vegetable oil that is available at home.

DIY recipe:

dilution: 1 drop of peppermint essential oil, 1 tsp. sweet almond oil

  • 0,5 tsp. diluted peppermint oil
  • mint leaves
  • 3 tsp. cold water
  • 3 tsp. aloe vera gel

Remember, you want the facial mixture to be thick, not too runny.

How to:

Take the ice cubes out and leave it in the room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Take one out for each use and put the rest back in the freezer.
Rub the Minty Ice Cube all over your face and leave on until the cooling sensation is gone.
Rinse with cool water.
You can store the Minty Ice Cubes in the freezer for a month.

Stick With It

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No matter what, stick with it.

It’s like hearing cowbell ringing from every direction. I never like hearing people telling me what to do – I’m a grown woman, let me decide what I want to do.

I’ve heard people tell each other to stick around and shouldn’t disturb their lives by quitting, but when the best thing to do, from my point of view, is to throw in the towel.

I just started working full-time and the work is physically demanding. It’s only a summer job, but I’m hesitant about am I able to keep up with it. I’ve been thinking about quitting ever since I started there and one of the major turnoffs is most of the employees are very unhappy about the work.

On my first day, someone told me not to accept the job because it’s not worth it, “it’s terrible. You don’t want to stay here. Leave while you can.”

From the 4:30am wakeup calls to the muscle soreness from heavy lifting and standing 8 hours a day, and not much time for bathroom breaks – believe me, it’s very tempting to quit.

It’s only a summer job, right? Who cares if I leave now, when they already expect I’ll be gone after summer. They can always replace me with another loser.

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The first week went by quickly like insomnia combined with body aches – it was achingly slow. The first couple days of work, I couldn’t lift a thing. Everything was too heavy for me.

The second week started with shaky hands, muscles still sore and I felt like my body was getting weaker. Plus by then, I’ve heard enough of complaints about the job and that I shouldn’t stay there.

Then something really interesting happened right after I admitted, it’s very possible that I’m not able to continue
“Oh, don’t leave. You have a good job here, why do you want to leave a good job?”
“But this isn’t a good job, and I’m not the right person for it either. I’m slowing everyone down, because I can’t do half the work here. And I’m only working temporary, might as well look for another job.”
“You have a good job here. The job that pays you, it’s a good job. Stick with it.”

This was the conversation I had with almost every single person who told me how much they hated the job. Even my mom told me to stick with it, when less than a week ago, she told me to quit because it’s too rough.

When I finally made my decision to leave, they all wanted to stop me
“Stick with it. Just suffer through it, this is working life. It supposed to be hard.”
“You got a job and you supposed to stick with it. It’s not right to leave a paying job.”

I have muscle soreness from the heavy lifting, so I’ve asked them about it and how they recovered. The answers I got were all the women suffered from muscle pains and it’s continuous because they don’t have time to fully recover.

And every time they thought of leaving, something or someone always held them back. Either they were promised the conditions were going to get better soon and if they quit now, they’re giving up a good job for someone else. Most of them have worked there since the beginning, yet nothing has improved.

Or everyone was against their leaving, because you supposed to stick with it. Nobody leaves a paying job. You just don’t quit, it’s not an option.

People always complain. Negativity attracts one another and it just grows.

But I want to focus on how many people rather stay in pain and misery, than get called a quitter and jump to another possible pain – the pain of unknown what the future may hold for them after they’ve quit.

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I’m very familiar with this situation. A few months ago I quit a very comfortable, great paying 9-5 job to chase after my dream. The idea sounded effing crazy, I know.

Because I knew I was going take the jump, I panicked and to had everyone in my life questioning and trying to stop me from doing it – the decision came with great resistant to say at least. I am happy that I did it, though, my dream hasn’t come true yet and I’m running out of gummy bears to count my days with.

The whole lousy job scene reminds me of how many situations we should have given in, when we already been around long enough to know that it’s not worth it and it’s not working. Still, we stick with it.

There were many things in my life, I wished I’ve quit sooner but I didn’t have the guts to do it. But there were also times that I wish I didn’t give up.

Do you know anyone who’s in a marriage that she hates being in?
Do you know a friend who works in a dreadful job and that the thought of waking up in the morning to go to work feels like torture?
Have you talked to anyone who admitted that the next thing everyone expects him to do in his life, didn’t feel right to him?
Have you ever been in a relationship, where you knew it wasn’t right for you, whether it was bad timing or you’re with the wrong person – but you couldn’t get out of it?

The sad part is I may have just described you in one of the above situations.

I get what it feels like not knowing how you’re going to survive next month, if you leave your sucky job now. But if there’s a slightest chance that you believe you have the power to change your own world, do it. You don’t have to do it all now, but you have to start at some point.

The people that I now work with, I don’t think they understand that they’re creating their own personal hell. I don’t think anybody should suffer through life. That’s not a way to live.

If you find yourself using negative words or feeling negative emotions when talking about your relationship, work, school or life…Ask yourself, why stick with it?

It’s true, we grow through pain. But it’s never going to happen when you are comfortable with your pain.

Brighten Up: Turmeric + Vitamin C Mask DIY

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I wasn’t able to blog much this week due to busy schedule. But here’s a DIY recipe that I’ve been wanting to share with you :)it’s a new version of my turmeric facial with a little more kick to it, because of the vitamin C crystals and manuka honey. It brightens my complexion and I found that it’s also more moisturizing. Give it a try and let me know what you think…yeah?

DIY recipe:

½ tsp. vitamin C crystals
1 tsp. organic turmeric powder
1 tsp. natural yogur
t½ tsp. water
½ tsp. manuka honey

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

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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

Tell Me I’m Beautiful

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In my recent post, I admitted that I’m not feeling good about my skin right now. And there are a few things that have caused me to feel more insecure about it.

You know what I’ve noticed? That most women give power to other people to make them feel beautiful. Probably, because we are seeking acceptance.

Some kind of validation, that we’re beautiful in someone’s eyes, or in most cases, in anyone’s eyes. So what’s wrong with this?

I don’t like to feel weak, and I hate it even more when someone has that power over me. Especially somebody that, I don’t even know.

Do I need someone to tell me how pretty I look, so I can feel good about myself?

Compliments are always nice to get, but if my self-worth depends on them, then there got to be something wrong with that.

The compliment made me happy, because I have actually allowed someone to put a value on me. It’s a cheap way to boost my confidence. So why did this happen?

Let’s recap:

I have a bad breakout on my skin, then I got a terrible haircut and the guy who been giving me non-stop flirty looks before, finally saw me without makeup and with my recent hairdo, and totally gave me a cold shoulder right after. Like seriously, dude?

And when I said a terrible haircut…do you remember that “Friends” episode, where Phoebe accidentally gave Monica the wrong haircut? Yup, I’m Monica/Dustin Hoffman now.

But that’s not the worse. It’s the guy that bothers me.

The guy who I don’t even know, the guy that I’m not even interested in from the beginning. I got all the attention from him in my better skin and hair day, but as soon as those things were stripped away from me, he treated me like I’m a walk by cockroach. A little melodramatic, but you got the point.

I know, because I was already feeling bad about how I look and when that happened, it added up to the low self-esteem.

But I see this with many girls and women too, how we just give up that power to anyone to make us feel worthy.

I see how someone’s face lights up when she received a compliment about her look, or the disappointment in her face when she doesn’t hear one, especially when she’s taken time to get ready. Or when her friend get complimented and she doesn’t – yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

And it’s not only the people we know that have that effect on us. But even strangers have the power to make us feel bad, about being ourselves.

I want to take that power back.

Men stand differently in this than us. Most men don’t care about it because they don’t expect compliments.

But women do.

Women are used to get compliments and attentions and if they suddenly stop, we immediately ask ourselves “What’s wrong with me? Don’t I look good today?”

We think getting admiring looks and being told that we’re beautiful, are part of our birthright. When instead, we should treat them like sugar in our coffee. Yes, it does make the coffee taste better but do we really need it?

If you’re used to the attention, most likely that’s how you measure yourself too. This could become a bad case of addiction, if you only live for compliments.

I think the only way to cure this need for attention is to practice self-love, and stop seeking validation in the wrong places.

I need to remind myself (everyday), that I am worthy, even with my bad skin and hair.

But there’s also another reason, why it is important to gain that power back.

It’s for rainy days, like when someone tries to make you feel shit about yourself, but it won’t crush you, because you know your self-worth, and you don’t allow anyone to step all over it.

It’s like super power.

Awww, thanks Ryan. Now take off your shirt.

What is Good Enough?

I give up

I think we measure ourselves too much.

In our mind, we always aim too high.

I think it’s a bad thing, if that’s the reason stopping you for doing something.

I want to be able to do and learn many things in my life. I’ve always wanted to do that.

But in the past, I never thought of pursuing them.

I thought I’d never be good enough. I thought I could never become great at these things that I want to try.

So, why even bother to?

This kind of thinking stuck with me for a really long time, for almost my entire life.

I know a lot of people have desires to try new things in life, but they rarely go for them.

People are afraid of investing time and money into something that they might fail at. That’s a legitimate fear. The feeling of disappointment is usually connected to failure.

Reality is we measure ourselves not to what we think is good, but to what other people think is good. And by good, I mean excellent, like “you have a natural gift” type of excellent.

Most of us are wired this way ever since we were a child. Our parents, teachers and coaches were the ones who set the bar for us. If you failed, you never heard the end of it.

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And that stuck with us for a really long time.

Sure, thinking this way is not all bad, because it enables us to push ourselves further, to try our best in life.

It’s all or nothing. But the side effect of thinking this way, make most people choose the nothing rather than the let down.

I remember the talk that I had with my friend about getting new hobbies. We’re talking about different things that we’d love to learn, or generally curious about.

And he said something that reshaped my thinking,

“If I can, I want to learn about everything. Try something new every month. Think how cool it is that you’ll know a little bit about everything. You can just take the first class and see how you’d grow into it, and if it doesn’t keep your interest then move on to the next. But still, you’ve learned something. Imagine, how many stuff you’d know?”

I loved the fact that, he never once mentioned about how good he wanted to become and his expectations, but the experience he’d gain from trying something new. He also understood that it’s about discovering something you didn’t know before that you’d enjoy doing by expanding yourself.

If I don’t do something, because of the fear of I can’t be good at it, isn’t that kind of a failure on its own?

How much I get out of it and what I can accomplish with it should be what matter the most.

I believe we are born with natural gifts in us, I think we all have more than one gift. It just the matter of how devoted we are to these things.

Here’s a challenge for you, try this with something that you already love to do. Now, think of yourself doing the thing that you love and try to suck at it.

That’s right, try really hard to do a lousy job at the thing you enjoy more than anything in this world and see how it goes.

I bet you can’t do it, can you? It’s like asking you to hate your favorite food while you’re chewing it in your mouth. It’s not about can you be bad at it, it’s about how much you don’t want to.

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When you’ve found something that is really yours, it doesn’t matter how bad you are at the beginning. If you know you can own it, there’s no way you going to let yourself be bad at it. It becomes who you are.

I think we shouldn’t be afraid of failures – easier said than done, I know. We should be afraid of all the things that we don’t get to fail at. Without those, how will we ever know what makes us happy?

I don’t think I’m the best at anything in my life right now. But there are many things that I have yet to try, so my story is still being written.

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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.

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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.

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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!