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Life Lately: Shopping, Shopping, and More Shopping

Hi everyone!

I only have 3 more days of summer school and then I’m FREEEEEE! I’m so excited that I’ll be able to start posting on a normal schedule again. I can finally start taking product photos in the morning, start going back to yoga/the gym, and focus on what I want to do. I’ve had a blast teaching summer school, and I’m definitely going to miss my kids, but I’ll be so happy when I have free time again.

To celebrate finishing summer school (Johnny actually worked 10 weeks of summer school!), we’re jetting off to Bangkok next week for 5 days. I’m SO excited! I can’t wait to eat lots of food, see some new sights, and most importantly, GO SHOPPING! There’s a Sephora in Bangkok and I’ve already made a wish list.

I mentioned previously that sometimes the shopping in Ho Chi Minh City can be a bit blah, but I’ve found out that all the action is actually on Instagram! I met up with a friend last week and she showed me all of the cool, independent retailers that are making their way online. There are people that sell everything from clothes, to shoes, to authentic cosmetics, typically much cheaper than what you can find in the stores. My favorite shops are popbirdy, where I ordered this AWESOME see-though jacket, linhlipstick for authentic, high-end lipsticks, lookbook saigon for edgy street wear (I totally bought the Bitch, Please t-shirt), and yenshop_vnxk for awesome shorts and jumpsuits.

helloweekendmarketBesides working, I’ve been hitting up flea markets in Saigon. It’s my new favorite thing to do. This past weekend, I went to the Hello Weekend Market in District 1. It was pretty bad ass! It was bigger than the Saigon Flea Market, and featured more local, independent designers. I bought some perfume, some gorgeous kimonos, a new pair of shoes, and a new makeup bag. If you’re interested in seeing a haul post, let me know!

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Once I get back from Thailand, posting will resume as normal. I’ve just ordered another package (sent this time via express mail) from w2beauty.com, so I hope to get that soon so I can post what I bought. My skin has finally returned to sort of normal (although I have a TON of acne scarring leftover, sniff sniff), and I feel more confident about testing out products again. I also plan on exploring much more in Ho Chi Minh City, as there are so many cool cafes, shops, and restaurants that I haven’t been to yet.

And now, I’m going to get in my bed and watch Broad City because my little ones were all sniffly on Sunday and I feel a bit under the weather. I refuse to be sick for my trip!

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Saigon Flea Market

fleamarket6 Hey everyone!

Yes, I know it’s been like a century since I’ve last posted. Truth is, I’m burnt out. I went through a phase a few weeks ago where I was getting my life together (sort of), and now. Blah. I only have 2 more weeks of summer school left though, then it’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Last weekend, I was at work when I received a notification from one of my Instagram followers that the Saigon Flea Market was happening right around the corner. I ran over to the Crescent Mall in Phu Mu Hung in between classes, and sure enough, right outside of Boomerang Bistro, was a super cool flea market.

It was full of vendors selling all sorts of wares, from vintage clothing, original designs by local designers, sunglasses, jewelry, homeware, the works. There was even a woman there selling a ton of imported cosmetics from the US, but she was charging like $10 for a stick of Dove Deodorant. Girl. The sad part is, I almost bought it. The buying deodorant in Asia struggle is real!

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I ended up buying a pair of new sunglasses (because one can never have enough sunglasses), some gorgeous handmade rings that you can see on my Instagram page, a clutch from local designer Ric’s Culture Handmade, and a gorgeous dress from local designer Bii Youngi.

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If you’re living in Saigon, make sure to add the Saigon Flea Market to your Facebook groups so you can see when the next one is. There’s actually one this Sunday, and I totally think I’m going to go! I was in a rush last time and didn’t get a chance to really, REALLY see everything. If anyone is interested, maybe we can meet up! Let me know in the comments if you’re interested. I’d love to meet some new friends! 🙂

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The Coffee Lady

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I shared this story on my tumblr page, but it’s so awesome that I wanted to share it with all of you.

I love my apartment building. It’s conveniently located,  it’s safe, there’s a taxi stand for easy access around the city, and there’s always a multitude of street vendors selling everything from snacks to coffees right outside.

For the past three weeks, I’ve had the same routine every morning. I wake up at 7, shower, makeup, eat breakfast, check e-mails, yadda yadda. Everyday around 8:15 I head out for work. And every morning, without fail, for the past 3 weeks, there’s been a woman outside with her drink cart on her bicycle, selling drinks to all of the commuters. She always wears leopard print, and a huge floppy hat. Every morning, I order a ca phe sua da from her (a traditional Vietnamese iced coffee). She’s always smiling, and always super friendly. After I grab my coffee, the taxi lady calls me a cab, and bam. I’m off to work.

A few mornings ago, I strolled out of my apartment, eagerly anticipating my morning coffee (totally addicted to Vietnamese coffees, and I’m not ashamed). But much to my surprise, the coffee lady wasn’t there! The taxi lady saw the panic come over my face and rushed over to me.

“Ca phe?! Ca phe?!” She asked, while making the phone call gesture.

Before I could even answer, she was on her phone. And in less than a minute, the coffee lady sped up to my apartment, hopped off her bike, made me a coffee, and pushed me in the cab. As I tried to pay her, she shooed me away, laughing and smiling, and saying something in Vietnamese.

It was just the kindest gesture! From the taxi lady actually calling the coffee lady, to the coffee lady giving me the coffee for free….I’ve just been smiling about the situation all week. The people in Vietnam are so genuinely kind. It makes me happy to live here.

 

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Mui Ne

beach
This past weekend, Johnny and I took a little trip to Mui Ne. It’s the closest beach town to Ho Chi Minh City, and trust, we definitely needed the break. After work on Friday, we hopped on a bus, and in about 6 hours (was supposed to be 5 but traffic was crazy), we were in beach heaven. Mui Ne is also an extremely popular tourist spot for Russians, so in a few of my pictures you’ll see a lot of Russian written on the signs and stuff.

Per Lauren’s recommendation, we stayed at the Ananda Resort, which was AMAZING. We rented one of the beach bungalows, and from our door to the ocean was about a 30 second walk. Best of all, it was only $50 bucks a night! A light breakfast was also included, and the staff and service was phenomenal. If you go to Mui Ne, you definitely need to check them out.

We were only there 2 days, so we didn’t have much time to explore. We basically just ate and lounged around on the beach. Perfection. We both came back with tans and a little more pep in our step. Well….we did have one minor mishap. Our bus on the way back broke down, so for about 2 hours we were stuck in some roadside restaurant in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t pleasant, but I’m thankful Johnny was with me to keep me sane.

And while I was there, I had the chance to pull out my trusty ol’ camera. I’ve really been neglecting taking photos here in Vietnam, and that’s gotta change. But for now, I have about 20 photos from our little weekend getaway. Hope you enjoy!

bus sunrise breakfast crocs rainandrussia beach foodmuine playinggames sheryllbeach seashells johnny stormybeach beachbungalow cosmeticsmuine store gangnamstyle beachchairs beeflunch fruitstandsleep ocean

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Busy, Busy, Busy

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This week has been crazy. It’s not even because I’m working a lot as far as time goes (even with the 2 jobs I’m still only working about 30 hours a week, not even full time).

BUT.

It’s the amount of preparation I have to do for these 30 hours of work that I have. Summer school was somewhat challenging this week because I’m getting used to the super high level students, but it uses the same book for the entire 6 weeks and I have the same students everyday who are lovely and listen and aren’t crazy children (thank god). But at my first job at the English center….PSSSSSSSSSSH. Let’s all just take a look at my crazy ass schedule shall we?

I teach 8 classes per week. No biggie. Three of them are 3 hours long, and the rest are 2 hours long. Still okay. The issue is this:

Wednesday: 17-27 year olds (mostly college students)
Thursday: 40-50 year old men (all work for the military and are like….JUST learning English)
Friday: 10-12 year olds (they are my worst class and I actually somewhat dread teaching them. sigh)
Saturday: 1st class – 6-7 year olds, 2nd class – 4 to 5 year olds
Sunday: 1st class: BARELY 4 year olds (like I swear some of them are 3), 2nd class: 8-10 year olds, 3rd class: 5-6 year olds.

Each of these classes uses a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BOOK. Each of these classes is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEVEL. Each of these classes is a freaking COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AGE group. How do I go from teaching 50 year old men in the military to 4 year olds? I don’t know. But my brain hurts. I feel like all I do is plan lessons. Everyday. All day. Forever. It’s taking a toll on me, mentally. I’ve had to cut my yoga time to only 4 days a week because my schedule doesn’t allow me to go Wednesday-Friday. It really sucks because yoga is the one thing that’s been keeping me pretty level headed and calm. Sigh. I’ve been still making to-do lists every night, but most of the time it looks like this:

1. find a game for ____ class
2. find an activity sheet for ____ class
3. plan lesson on writing a topic sentence and find appropriate worksheets
4. plan TOEFL prep course

and on and on and on.

I’ve been neglecting both the blog and Glamtrotting, and I can’t let that happen, so I’m trying to figure some shit out this weekend to try and make better use of my time. I’m thinking that I’ll have to do lesson plans for the week on one or two days only, that way I have the rest of the week to work on MY things. Part of me wonders why I spend so much time working on lessons when a lot of people literally come in, open the book, print a worksheet, and that’s it. But I want to be a good teacher and have a good influence on my students and make it seem like I care. So…yeah.

I know going into next week the summer school job will be a bit easier because I know all of the kids, and the book is incredibly fun and easy to teach. It’s probably one of the few ESL books in the entire world that isn’t a steaming pile of crap. It’s a National Geographic one, so all of the topics are really interesting, the topics are relevant and modern (examples: longevity and happiness, start-ups and Silicon Valley, climate change, etc.), and the bookwork is challenging and stimulating. I’m actually learning from the book too!

So enough about work. I’m tired of talking about it, but I just had to get it all out there. I was supposed to receive a package from w2beauty.com a while ago, but I still haven’t received it. I’ve heard that people often get their packages stolen here, so I’m hoping that’s not the case. SIGH. It was a very expensive su:m37 serum, so I’m a bit pissed. I need to go to the post office on Monday and get it all sorted out.

This weekend, I think Johnny and I are finally going to have some quality time together. I want to go exploring! There are a few restaurants I’ve been dying to try, and maybe we’ll get a couple of drinks too. Lord knows I need one (or a few).  Sunday, I have a lunch date with a friend. And next weekend, we’re going to the BEAAACCCCHHHH! YASSSS! It’s going to be our first mini vacation since coming here. We wanted to go to Singapore, but I think we’re going to wait until we both have more time to take off.

And before I go… what are some of your favorite toners? After what seems like FOREVER, I am all out of my Benton toner. I’m looking for something that provides a chemical exfoliation as well. Bonus points if I can actually find it in Vietnam, as I’ve lost all faith in the mail system here.

How have you been? Tell me some happy stories about puppies or traveling or something fun. Have a good weekend!

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