Natural Skincare/Health Favorites

Hi friends! It’s been so long since I’ve posted on this blog, but here’s to more consistent posting..

It’s winter! I’ve been experiencing more dry skin and chapped lips, unfortunately. Here are some products that I really like to use(in any time of the year, actually) for my skin & body:

Heritage Brand Rosewater

I’ve used both the rosewater and rosewater & glycerin before. I like to spray this all over my face as a toner, morning and night. After cleansing my skin at night, I spritz my face to tone and soothe my skin. In the morning, I don’t cleanse my face but simply give it a couple splashes of water and spritz with the rosewater. I buy my rosewater at Whole Foods, in the largest volume they sell(best bang for your buck).

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub 

I’ve used this scrub for at least a year and love the natural ingredients in it! It gently exfoliates my skin and I just love how natural it is. Also, it does NOT use plastic beads which a lot of exfoliating scrubs use(btw Obama recently signed a bill banning microbeads in products, which pollute our oceans and end up in animals stomachs).

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

This soap has a million uses, which you can find on google. I mainly use this as my bodywash. It’s a concentrated soap, so I dilute it with water(1 to 1 ratio) into a small bottle that I keep in the shower. A couple squirts of this on a Salux bath cloth and I’m good to go. The cheapest deal I’ve been able to find is at Trader Joe’s which sells a large bottle of the Peppermint scent for about 12 bucks. You can find other scents of Castile soap at other stores such as Target, Sprouts, Whole foods, etc.

Salux Bath cloth

This Japanese bath cloth saved my life(and my back). Sorry if this is TMI but I have had back acne for a LONG time and which I struggled to control. Then I started using this bath cloth and castile soap on my body and back. It’s helped immensely.

Trader Joe’s Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion(SPF 15)

This is a tried and true face lotion for me. I’ve been using this every day for the past 3 years of so. I have no other face lotions to compare this to, as I’ve only ever used this, but it works really well for me. My favorites about this lotion are the price, SPF, physical sunscreen ingredients, and it’s non-comedogenic. LOVE LOVE LOVE. (But I’m open to trying other face lotions with SPF, so if you have any recommendations of a natural face lotion w/SPF please comment below! I know it isn’t the most natural face lotion on the market.)

100% Pure liquid eyeliner in Black Tea

I’m not a makeup person at all, but I’ve been growing more interested in it lately, specifically natural makeup. There’s so many natural makeup & skincare brands out there, but one that I’ve been using is 100% Pure. This eyeliner is pigmented using black tea(isn’t that super cool?). I’m pretty bad at applying liquid eyeliner but I’ve learned how to apply this eyeliner pretty well after a couple months. It stays put all day, is waterproof, and I can feel good about not putting chemicals near my eyes. I also bought some other goodies from this company on Cyber Monday and can’t wait to try them out.

Yes to Coconuts Lip Balm

A simple tube lip balm with a coconut scent. Between this and the coconut scented EOS lip balm, I can’t choose a better one but love both. Lip balm is a must in the winter! (And yes I’m obsessed with coconut scented things thanks to my brother haha).

Products that I need suggestions of are a good hand cream, as I have the worst dry skin on my hands 😦

Well that is it folks!! Wishing everyone a happy new year!

 

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Nostalgia

Another school year is about to start, and so do feelings of nostalgia.

I was a member of my school’s marching band for my first two years of college. I remember entering as a shy and extremely quiet person. I was lucky to make a small but tight-knit group of close friends in the clarinet section. We weren’t the most popular people in our section, but we bonded together over band gossip, school pride, and Monday wet burrito dinners at Rendezvous. Looking back, I realize that band really helped me assimilate into college life. I wasn’t even that good at band, but it somehow gave me a sense of purpose, belonging, and excitement. It shaped my identity as a college student and made me feel like a part of something bigger than myself, a part of tradition. I remember feeling proud whenever people asked me about myself and I told them I was a part of marching band. Most people thought that was so cool, which made me feel cool. It was definitely a great conversation starter.

Now as I enter my last year of college, I feel a nostalgia for band. Never will I regret my decision to quit band, but I know I’ll forever cherish those memories that I made as a member of band. I had a blast performing at games and events and traveling with the band and football team.

I am nostalgic of how new everything felt as a freshman. I hope to readjust my outlook on college to see things with awe, wonder, and optimism, as I felt at the beginning of college. Although I’ve changed tremendously over the past couple years, one thing that I wish I hadn’t lost was that sense of wonder. Here’s to senior year. Here’s to a fresh start. Here’s to my best chance.

Friday Favorite: Scary Close by Donald Miller

I recently saw a book recommendation online for the book Scary Close by Donald Miller. I promptly put it on hold at a local library and picked it up to read. Scary Close is a story of the author’s journey through the habits and traits that prevented him from sustaining an intimate relationship.

I’ve been reading (usually nonfiction) books searching for advice and insight into relationships. That’s why Scary Close caught my eye. While the books I’ve been reading have been more focused on love or romantic relationships, I’ve found that the wisdom I’ve gained from them can apply to other types of relationships, such as with family or friends. I’ve gained what I think of as “life knowledge” from reading that I hope to apply to my own life and also share more of on this blog. This “life knowledge” is personal to myself and my outlook on life so feel free to disagree, agree or expand.

Back to the book…I found Scary Close inspiring in the deep honesty that Donald Miller openly speaks with. With the world of social media and technology, it isn’t often that we get to see someone’s true self and true feelings. When we do, it is a privilege. It was a privilege to read this book and learn from Miller’s authenticity. Without going too much into the book(I’ll save that for you to read on your own 😉 ), I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

We don’t think much about how our love stories will affect the world, but they do. Children learn what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for by the stories they watch us live. I want to teach our children how to get scary close, and more, how to be brave. I want to teach them that love is worth what it costs.”

-Donald Miller, Scary Close

Home

When I was younger, and even not too many years ago, I thought home was a place. It was the house I grew up in since the age of 4, the place I slept every night and ate most meals.

However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that to me, home is not a place but a feeling. It is the feeling I have when I meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and we reconnect and laugh and share our experiences. It is when after a long day I see my significant other and we cook and eat a yummy dinner together. It is Christmas at my cousin’s house, surrounded by family and opening presents under the tree.

There is a place that I call home but where I don’t really feel at home. It is the same house I come back to, and while it has not physically changed, the feelings I experience there have changed dramatically. I don’t feel at home, and without that this house cannot feel like home. It feels like anything but a home, it feels like walls containing me from the outside world.

I hope that one day, my feelings of home and the physical place in which I live will overlap. That is my dream and motivation.

5 Things I’m Thankful For

1. The people in my life who have stuck through phases of my life when I haven’t been at my best.

2. The internet, for providing so much information about things and for connecting people through social networks, blogs, and videos.

3. Being in OC for summer and in close proximity to so much Viet food 🙂

4. The experience of falling in love.

5. The chance to go to college at my dream school.

De-stress with Lavender Oil

Essential oils are amazing. There are so many essential oils available, each with unique qualities and uses. Today I want to highlight one of my favorite essential oils, lavender oil!

Many of us know the smell of lavender as it is commonly found in bath and body products. Lavender is known for its soothing, relaxing properties.

I bought my lavender oil from a GNC store, but it can also be found at health foods stores such as Whole Foods and Sprouts, as well as online.

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Lavender oil, 1 fl. oz.

One of my favorite ways to use lavender oil was taught to me by a physical therapist I encountered while volunteering at my university’s hospital. He told me to put my hand out and promptly dropped a couple drops of lavender oil into my hand and told me to rub my hands together and smell the nice scent all day long.

Now, I like to use lavender oil to de-stress. When I am having an anxious or stressed moment, I carefully dispense one drop of lavender oil into my palm, rub my palms together, and take a deep inhale and exhale of my hands with my eyes closed. I find that this really calms me down and brings me to a more relaxed state. Since I usually do this at night before I sleep, I also run my hand on my pillow to transfer some of the scent, helping me relax for sleep. Although I don’t use this oil often(maybe once every couple weeks or months), it really helps in times of stress.

Hope this tip helps any of you looking for ways to de-stress!

*Disclaimer*: Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with caution. For some uses should be diluted in carrier oil. Always be careful and do your research! 🙂

Taking it one step at a time

I still remember the words of my NSA(New Student Advisor) at my freshman orientation for college. There are mountains, but focus on overcoming the hills, not the mountains. Honestly, I’ve forgotten the exact words he said, but what he was trying to say was to take things a step at a time.

During that three day orientation, one of the things we did was sign up for our classes. We had a one-on-one meeting with our NSA to discuss our intended classes. I remember coming to that meeting, a nervous, just out of high school 17-year old. I wanted to take the second class of the physics series since I had taken a physics class in community college. Physics is known as a “hard” class and isn’t usually taken until sophmore year. My NSA gently told me that maybe I was taking on too much and that I shouldn’t take physics my first quarter of freshman year. I remember feeling so confused about what to take, and so stressed out about college that I broke down in tears during the meeting.

Sometimes we overwhelm ourselves, thinking about our overall goals. Maybe we should take on smaller things, the things we can do here and now, rather than worry so much about the big picture or huge goal that seems almost impossible. When life becomes overwhelming, this thought helps center me and somewhat alleviates the anxieties I hold in my heart, but it isn’t always enough. I find myself coming back to those negative thoughts, worry, and anxieties.

I’m still trying to learn not to beat myself up over my feelings of not being smart or motivated enough to succeed. So for now, I am trying my best to take life one step at a time and not let my pursuits get the best of me.

4th of July Weekend

Having July 4th fall on a Saturday gives a pretty good reason to enjoy the weekend. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend, from beaches, barbecues, and bonfires to poolside relaxing, family time, and fireworks.

Have a good one, friends!