Browsing Category expat life

Life Lately – Teaching, Yoga, and Glamtrotting

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Hi everyone!

I wanted to write a quick update on my super interesting (or not) life here in Vietnam. I’ve officially been in Vietnam for 3 months TODAY! YAAAAAY! I can’t believe time is passing so quickly though. Johnny and I initially planned to be here only 6 months, but now that I’m already 3 months in, I don’t know how I’m going to leave in just a few short months. We’ll see.

I’ve been teaching for a month now, and I can finally say with confidence I have the hang of things. I have my own classes now, and I teach about 16 hours a week. Sadly, most of these hours fall on the weekend. Word of advice, if you are planning on coming to teach in Vietnam and you work at one of the Vietnamese language schools, be prepared to most definitely work on the weekends. Thankfully, I have most of the week off. But Johnny works during the week, and since I work mostly on the weekends, we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. We’ve been carving out mid-day lunch dates, so we can actually sit and talk and not worry about one of us having to plan lessons or go to work. It’s nice!

I’m finally getting the hang of teaching the wee ones, and they are definitely becoming my favorite classes to teach. They are just so adorable! They aren’t moody or temperamental. They love EVERYTHING. And when they see me in the school outside of class, they all run up to me and grab my legs and say, “HELLO MISS SHERYLL!”. It’s so cute I could scream. I still have to take a nap after teaching Saturday and Sunday morning, but it’s worth it.

I also picked up a short 6 week summer school job at an international school! I’m super excited! It pays really well, and the school is gorgeous. They have a pool, a full 350 seat theatre, a gym, a soccer field, a huge library, a computer lab, the works. I start on Monday, so for 6 weeks I won’t have any days off, but thankfully the summer school job is just 3 hours in the morning so it’s not *too* bad. I’m definitely looking forward to the extra $$$ though. Dolla dolla bills ya’ll!

I started taking yoga classes 2 weeks ago and I am officially obsessed. I don’t know why I never practiced yoga before. Not only is it GREAT exercise, it’s improved my mood 30497234986230562357634x. I feel like I’m walking on clouds, especially right after a class. My mood has definitely improved tons since moving to Vietnam, but of course, I would still get into weird slumps. Not so much anymore. I feel like I can do anything! I’ve always wanted to work on my flexibility, since it’s basically non-existent, and I’m already making huge improvements. I’ve been going 6 days a week, and still going to the gym about 4 days a week now, and I can see myself slimming down. WOOP WOOP! And for some reason, yoga has really helped my appetite and cravings. I no longer want fatty fried foods, and instead find myself fixing a salad for lunch instead of something cheap and quick.

And yea, I know the K-beauty posts have been lacking, but my skin is just…really a mess and I’m not sure what to do. I keep getting these weird jawline/chin breakouts, and despite me going back to my failsafe products, it’s not clearing up. The same exact thing happened in the same exact spot last summer, so I’m not sure what the deal is. It’s like a weird summer breakout. I’m also probably exaggerating because most people are like, “what breakout?”, but it’s making me so self-conscious. Ugh.

Glamtrotting is coming along smoothly, and we’ve gathered an amazing team of writers and editors. I’m learning so many things as I go. It’s rewarding to teach myself about running a magazine, setting up guidelines, pitching it to people, setting up interviews. I feel like a professional! It’s still not too late to pitch your articles for our August launch, so if you want more information on how you can be a part of our team, send an email to submissions@glamtrotting.com!

 

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Creating Habits

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If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning, then you’ll know that I’ve struggled with my weight for quite some time now. While I was going through my rough patch with depression, I also struggled with emotional eating. I gained about 30lbs, and at my highest weight was about 150lbs. I know that may not seem like a lot, but I’m barely 5’0ft tall, so yeah. I’d always been a really confident person, but the weight gain took a big toll on me, and the effects still linger to this day.

While living in Korea, I dropped about 20lbs just by eating healthy. I rarely, if ever, exercised. I cooked a vast majority of my own meals, and brought my own lunch to school. I’m now at the lowest weight I’ve been in about 4 years, and am determined to get the rest of the weight off.

Like any other goal, losing weight is daunting. Food is fucking delicious, and life is just too short to deny yourself a cupcake (or pho or bun thit nuong or com tam or spring rolls) every once in a while. Since I was unemployed for a while, I started working not only Glamtrotting, but working on how to improve myself, my body, and my spirit. It’s so easy to get into a slump when you’re not working – constantly refreshing Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all day, reading articles that don’t matter, or watching endless YouTube videos of people doing their makeup. I knew that something needed to change. But for me, when I focus on the outcome (losing weight, making more money, being super successful), I get frustrated when I don’t see the results right away. Then, like clockwork, I’ll revert back to my old habits and nothing gets accomplished for days. But not this time. This time, I’ve been focusing on creating habits – things I do daily that will ultimately help me achieve my goals.

Working out is just something everyone should do. It’s good for you, whether or not you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve made it a habit to go to the gym 6 days a week. I just signed up for yoga, and I go 5 to 6 days a week as well. I don’t push myself ridiculously hard to the point where I can’t walk. I don’t spend crazy long hours in the gym. I just go for 30 minutes, 6 days a week. It’s the first major task I complete when I wake up in the morning. I start the day already feeling accomplished, which helps me focus on my other goals throughout the day. Not only do I feel better because I know I’m getting stronger and healthier, it has done wonders for my mental health. Going to the gym is now a habit just like washing my face every day. And slowly, but surely, I have been losing weight! But weight loss is no longer my main focus, it’s just a result of me going to the gym and making eating healthy a habit.

Every night before I go to bed, I write out my daily to do list on a notebook I keep by my nightstand. I write EVERYTHING down. When I need to eat, when I take a nap (I wake up really early and nap about 30 minutes a day), my time at the gym, what e-mails I need to answer, what lessons I need to plan, if I go to work, my manicure appointments… everything. Then when I wake up in the morning, I look at my list and already have a sense of what tasks I need to complete for the day. I love having a routine established everyday! There’s also a huge sense of accomplishment crossing things off of a list, even if it’s as simple as “grab a smoothie.”

Creating habits instead of focusing on the big goal at the end has increased my productivity and has significantly improved my mood. Going to the gym and writing to-do lists are just like washing my face and brushing my teeth. When it becomes second nature, you’ll accomplish your goals in no time!

What are your goals? What do you do to help you accomplish them? Let me know in the comments!

And Glamtrotting Magazine is still looking for contributors! Do you have any travel beauty tips or tricks? Have you been to an awesome spa or hair salon, either in your ‘hood or abroad? Do you use a must have product from a country other than your own? Do you love browsing drugstores in different countries? Glamtrotting would love to have you as part of our team! We’re gathering an AMAZING team of women and it’s ridiculously exciting. E-mail your pitches to submissions@glamtrotting.com for more information on how you can be a part of our team.

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Glamtrotting – For Glam Girls on the Go

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After weeks and weeks of being afraid for some weird reason, I finally think it’s time to unveil my new project.

Introducing Glamtrotting Magazine – the e-zine for Glam Girls on the Go!

So what is Glamtrotting? Glamtrotting is a bimonthly e-zine for women who want to know about the best in beauty around the world. Traveling to Brazil? Want to know the best place to get waxed? Glamtrotting will be your guide. Do you live in Bangkok and want to know about the best local beauty products? Glamtrotting will be there to help you too.

I was inspired by my love for Korean cosmetics and travel. I found myself wanting to know about beauty cultures and products in other countries outside of Korea. I wanted to know about beauty in India, Morocco, the UK, Singapore, Nigeria, Hungary, etc., etc., the list can go on and on forever. And I thought, well, if I want to know about these things, I’m sure others would like to as well! How cool would it be to know the must have products in different countries? How awesome would it be to know where local and expat women like to go and get pampered around the world, to have beauty traveling tips at your fingertips?  And then, just like that, a magazine was born.

Glamtrotting will feature travel beauty tips, tricks, interviews, product reviews, spas and all things beauty from around the world. It has been quite the labor of love for me, and something I know in my heart that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to start an online magazine, and bounced a lot of ideas around, but when I thought about Glamtrotting it just stuck. I knew that it was destined to be. I hope that you’ll love it as much as I do!

And in the meantime, please check out our webpage and sign up to be notified when we launch and all the details on how you can purchase your copy. There won’t be any spam newsletters, so don’t worry about that! And please make sure to like and follow our Twitter and Facebook pages. An Instagram page will be coming shortly!

Twitter: Glamtrotting
Facebook: Glamtrotting

Can’t wait for you all to see it! YAAAAAAAAY!

Glamtrotting is currently looking for contributors! If you are a woman who loves traveling and beauty and would like to be a featured writer for Glamtrotting, please send your pitches to submissions@glamtrotting.com. We will contact you with further information on how you can be a part of our team!

– some ideas: your beauty packing tips, flight routines, best ____ in x country, homemade beauty in x country, travel beauty products, etc. etc.  

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A Banker’s Secret – Homemade Beauty in Vietnam

abankerssecret A Banker’s Secret – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

It’s sort of funny how I ended up finding out about A Banker’s Secret, a small, independent homemade beauty business located in Ho Chi Minh City. I had read Kerry’s post on how she eliminated her acne and decreased her skin sensitivity, and got on twitter to rant a little about how getting pure oils shipped to Vietnam is a hassle and a half. She suggested that I try to find rosehip seed oil, and I decided to Google “rosehip seed oil Vietnam”, and what do you know…A Banker’s Secret popped up.

One look at their website and I knew it would be a match made in heaven. Featuring whimsical prints, gorgeous photos, and local cash on delivery in Ho Chi Minh City, I was obsessed from the start. For my first order, I purchased the Sweet Ginger Shine Scrub, rosehip seed oil, Anti-Blemish Oil, the Top-to Toe Oil, the Oatmeal soap and a vanilla ylang ylang lip balm. I loved everything SO much I recently made another purchase, this time buying the Sea Salt and Tumeric scrub (which smells like HEAVEN), a green tea lip balm, the xuan soap, the super lovely hand cream, and some more rosehip seed oil.

What I love about A Banker’s Secret is that everything is not only homemade, but you can tell that it was made with the upmost care and love. The packaging is gorgeous and the scents are heavenly. It’s like the boutique version of Lush.

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve purchased so far, but the standouts have been the hand cream, the rosehip seed oil, the ginger shine scrub, the lip balms, and the soaps. I am also beyond obsessed with the Top-to-Toe oil. It’s a blend of almond oil, rice bran oil, and argan oil with sandalwood, white champaka, rose, lavender, and kaffir lime. It smells like an incredibly sexy hug. I didn’t photograph it because the label is all wonky from me spilling a little of the oil all over the bottle. The Ginger Shine scrub is perfect for shaving days, as it leaves your legs super silky smooth and incredibly hydrated. I have extremely dry skin and whenever I shave my legs, they are itchy and uncomfortable for a few hours afterwards. Not so much with the scrub. I don’t even have to put on lotion afterwards! I feel like some people might find it a bit too oily, but for me, it’s just perfect.

The hand cream is made from sweet almond oil, avocado butter, wheat germ, dried chamomile and lavender petals, beeswax, and aloe vera gel. It’s lovely. It sinks into the hands quickly and the scent is heavenly as well. The lip balm is also fantastic, made with beeswax, jojoba and rosehip seed oil, avocado, shea, and mango butter. It glides onto the lips and leaves them soft and supple for hours. I hate lip balms that you have to reapply over and over again, but this isn’t one of them.

If you live in HCMC, or are here traveling, I definitely recommend that you support A Banker’s Secret for some homemade beauty goods.  The packaging is pretty, and the products are really, really lovely.

Do you like natural beauty products? What are your favorites?

**I wasn’t paid to write this, I just really like their products!!

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Ho Chi Minh City’s Hidden Cafes – The Morning Cafe

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Ho Chi Minh City is home to an amazing cafe culture, and if you know me, you know I LOVE going to cafes. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than going to a cafe, ordering a big mug of tea, reading, people watching, and doing my blog work. I’m always much more efficient at getting my work done in cafes… something about the ambience always makes me more productive.

A few weeks ago, I met up with Lauren from Never Ending Footsteps and her boyfriend Dave, for a little blogger hangout session at an adorable cafe called The Morning Cafe. Despite being on the one of the main roads in District 1, The Morning Cafe is located in an alleyway, in a nondescript apartment building, on the second floor. I actually passed by the building a few times before I looked really closely and found the tiny sign outside.

The Morning Cafe is gorgeous inside. It’s insanely quiet, and for a moment, you feel like your in a completely different city. There’s no honking or the noise of motorbikes zooming by. It’s quite small, but still very comfortable . It’s cozy and peaceful, the perfect cafe to spend an afternoon in getting work done.

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I ordered a passionfruit smoothie, and it came with a nice dollop of whipped cream on top. It was super delicious, although a tad bit on the sweet side. Lauren, Dave, and I were the only customers in the cafe for a long time, and the entire time we were there, there were only 3 other people that stopped by. The business cards say “Writers hangout, book lovers corner”, and I’d say that’s exactly the kind of cafe this is. I was able to get more done in 3 hours than I normally do, and that’s saying something!

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If you’re ever visiting Ho Chi Minh City and want to go to a pretty, quiet, and peaceful cafe to get some work done, The Morning Cafe is your place. I’ve only been once, and I’m dying to go back again.

Where is your favorite cafe? Let me know in the comments!

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