Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-One Ampoule

sharasharahoneybombHi my lovelies! Sorry for the long delay in posts. I have good and bad news. Good news, I got a new great job! Bad news is that I’ve been super overwhelmed this past week trying to juggle 2 jobs, Glamtrotting, the blog, and I also just started private tutoring. So yeah..I’m busy. But I’m trying to work on scheduling my life since that’s something I’m awful at. I’m more of a ‘figure it out as I go along’ kind of person, but that isn’t really working out. Scheduling will be where it’s at from now on.

Anyway, today I’m reviewing the super lovely Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-One Ampoule. The ladies at Glow Recipe sent this over in a package with the LJH Tea Tree Serum and this definitely was the product that I was the most interested in. I started using it while I was back in the US, but thought the real test would be how it would hold up in Vietnam, so I started using it consistently about 4 weeks ago.

closeupsharasharaThe Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-One Ampoule is a multi-tasking product that can replace your toner, serum, and moisturizer. It’s fortified with Manuka honey, Royal Jelly and Propolis Extract, and contains other awesome ingredients like bamboo extract and sea buckthorn berry extract. It’s free of parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes, and mineral oil.

A complete list of ingredients: 

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Diglycerin, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-51, Piper Methysticum, Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Phellinus Linteus Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Honey Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Bambusa Vulgaris Water, Hamamelis Virginiana Flower Water, Soluble Collagen, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch, Hydrolysate, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Disodium Edta, Caramel, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pvm/Ma Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Folic Acid, Ceramide 3, Cholesterol, Raffinose

It’s designed for all skin types, though I think if you have dry skin, you may have to use a moisturizer with this product as well. If you have normal to oily skin, this would be a perfect product for you. I am in LOVE!

It’s packaged in a huge amber colored plastic jar that contains a whopping 250ml of product. The jar is huge, and I’m personally challenging myself to finish the entire thing because that would be an amazing feat. The product is slightly honey colored and faintly smells of honey. It also comes with a spatula that you’ll definitely want to keep handy with such a huge jar of product. There’s no way I’m dipping my hands into it all the time!

productinjarsharaThe texture is one of my favorite things about the Shara Shara Honey Bomb. It’s a very lightweight, slightly runny gel. It’s not sticky at all, and applies like a dream. It doesn’t leave my skin oily or shiny, and hydrates without the heaviness. If you live in a hot, tropical climate like me, this may be a go-to product for you.

swatchsharaLike I mentioned earlier, I’ve been busy. I haven’t had time in the mornings to go through a complete morning routine, so I’ve been washing my face, using the Missha First Treatment Essence, then slapping this on. You only need a small dime sized amount of product to cover your entire face. It’s soothing, hydrating, and feels great on the skin. Plus, since it absorbs quickly, I can move on to my sunscreen and makeup in a snap. Afterwards, my skin is bright, glow-y, and smooth. You can also use it as a nighttime sleep mask, but I haven’t used it that way yet. I may try that tonight!

I think my favorite thing about this product by far is that it’s a true multi-tasking ampoule. If you’re a traveler, this would be an amazing product to decant and take with you on trips. One of my biggest problems is trying to decide what to bring on trips and not having enough space for all of my products, but this ampoule completely eliminates that problem. I’d feel 100% comfortable just bringing this product and a cleanser on a trip.

You can find the Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-One Ampoule at Glow Recipe for $40. It’s a bit pricey, yes, plus the sheer size of the product ensures you get more than your money’s worth. If you use my link here, you can receive $5 off your first order.

Disclosure: A sample product was gifted from Glow Recipe. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 

 

Life in Vietnam – iPhone Edition

I don’t share nearly enough photos of my life in Vietnam on the blog. Now that I have a fancy-pants new iPhone 6, I take pictures constantly, but I don’t want to flood Instagram. I’ve decided to start a little photo series here each week where I can share with you what I’ve been up to, where I’ve been eating, all the good stuff.

This week, I discovered a new cafe/restaurant in Phu My Hung called Eden Cafe. They have a delicious brunch and excellent coffee. They even have a mini library of English books that you can read while you’re there!

brunchateden2 tiles dinnerswithfriendstaco night with friends in D2

pretetflowers notredame operahouse babaskitchenYummy Indian food at Baba’s Kitchen down Bui Vien

saigonstreets apartmentliving beerclub prembistroLunch date at Prem Vegetarian Bistro

buddha saigonviews brunchatedenBrunch at Eden Cafe

valentinesday2Valentine’s Day Dinner at Cobalt Restaurant

lusine notredamesaigon 40years notredameflowers sherylljohnnysaigon quanututThe BEST pulled pork sandwiches at Quan Ut Ut

favoritecafeMy favorite Korean coffee shop in Phu My Hung

fruitsandveg afternoonlight pinkcatholicchurch refineryLate night drinks at The Refinery

I love sharing my photos, so let me know if you like this sort of thing!

xoxo

Current Morning Skincare Routine

morningroutine

My current morning skincare routine features a lot of new products I’m testing out, so I don’t have full reviews ready, but I just wanted to show you what I’m using now!

In the morning, I start off by washing my face with the Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Foam. It’s nice, but ridiculously expensive. I wanted to try it since it’s one of the less expensive options from Amore Pacific, and I’ve never tried anything from the brand. I’m not sure that the cost is worth it, but for now, I’m quite enjoying it. It doesn’t strip my skin, smells AMAZING, and leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft.

Some days, after I wash my face, I like to use the Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, which is 100000% totally worth the high price tag. It’s a gentle, yet highly effective botanical based exfoliator that helps brighten and even your skin without harsh chemicals. After seeing that it has 549 five-star reviews on Sephora, I just had to see what the hype is. And girl it is worth the hype. It’s SO GOOD. Expect a full review soon.

After I cleanse and exfoliate, I use my Innisfree Rose Clear toner (not pictured), followed by the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. Again, I’ve only been using this for about 2 weeks now, so I can’t make an accurate review, but I’m pretty sure this paired with the Biologique Recherché p50 lotion I use at night has literally transformed my skin. I do not have a single spot of acne on my face right now, which hasn’t happened since I left Korea almost a year ago. I put it on a cotton pad (applying it directly with my hands was causing them to peel), and wait about 5 minutes or so before I move on to the rest of my routine. My skin has actually been a little dry after using this, so I think I’m going to cut back to every other day. But it works!

After the Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant, I use the HERA Cell Essence Cell-Bio Fluid Sync. HERA is another luxury Korean beauty brand I had yet to try, so I wanted to give some of their products a whirl. The Cell-Bio Fluid Sync is supposed to “fill your skin with the energy it needs everyday for restoration into clear and revitalized skin”, whatever that means.  I haven’t been using this long enough to say anything specific about it, but it’s really hydrating and feels nice on my skin. I’m definitely going to do a full review in about another 3 weeks, so be on the lookout!

I then use the C20 Pure Vitamin C21.5 Advanced Serum, followed by the LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence, and finally the su:m37 Water-full Rebalancing Gel Lotion. I’m desperately trying to finish the bottle, so I’ve been using it everyday so I can move on to another daytime emulsion.

I can’t wait until I can get a better grasp on some of the newer products I’m testing out so I can write some reviews. What have you been trying out lately? Let me know in the comments!

LeeJiHam (LJH) Tea Tree 90 Essence Review

teatree essence

For all of those who’ve asked me, “What brands are great for natural Korean cosmetics?” or “Where can I find natural Korean cosmetics?”, your questions can finally be answered at Glow Recipe. Sarah and Christine, the founders of Glow Recipe have created an awesome site for natural, harsh-free Korean beauty products. When they contacted me to test out some of their products, I obviously couldn’t resist!

One of the standout products I received from Glow Recipe was the LeeJiHam Tea Tree 90 Essence. When I came back from my trip to the US, my skin was a disaster. I was battling a major hormonal breakout, on top of my skin being stressed in general from changing climates and the long haul flight. As I was unpacking my bags, I remembered that I had the Tea Tree 90 Essence and decided to check out the reviews. Every review I read praised how amazing it was at healing acne, so I decided to give it a whirl. And trust, It’s just as great as everyone says.

I’ll be the first to say that tea tree in any form was never a favorite ingredient for me. When I was battling my major adult acne, I tried many tea tree products, and they never worked. I hate the smell, and it would always irritate my skin. Thankfully, this essence nourishing, calming, and effective. It contains 90% tea tree extract, and is free of parabens, mineral oil, silicones, colorants, alcohol, fragrance and water. If you’re interested in the full ingredient list, you can find it over on Glow Recipe.

The LeeJiHam Tea Tree 90 Essence is packaged in a small bottle with a dropper top. It contains 50ml of product. I love that this product has a dropper, as it makes it easy to not use too much. It has a very light and watery texture, and thankfully is 100000% scent free. If you have sensitive, acne prone skin, I feel like this could be a game changer for you.

teatree essence 2

I use this essence during my morning and nighttime routine. I apply it after cleansing and toning. I squeeze 2 to 3 drops in the palms of my hands and gently press and massage the essence into my skin. One of my favorite things about this essence is that it’s incredibly moisturizing. A lot of acne treatments dry out your skin, but this one is super soothing and hydrating. It absorbs almost immediately and doesn’t leave behind any stickiness.

IMG_0570

Above is a makeup free, unedited selfie. In just 30 days of continued use both morning and evening, a majority of my acne has been healed. I’m still left with a lot of scarring, so I wouldn’t really say that this essence is a brightener, but as far as healing acne, it’s a hell of a product. I’d say that I could see a visible difference in about a week, and I have only had a few pimples here and there since then (mostly due to over indulging in too many rum and cokes one night).

You can purchase the LeeJiHam Tea Tree 90 Essence from Glow Recipe for $45.00. If you use my referral code, available here, you’ll receive $5 off your first purchase!

Disclosure: A sample product was gifted from Glow Recipe. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 

 

Driving a Motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

motorbikevietnam

Never in a million years did I think that I would ever be able to say that I can not only drive a motorbike, but I can drive a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City. If you have ever seen the traffic in HCMC, you know that this driving a motorbike here is both exhilarating and a nightmare.

When I first moved here, I was pretty adamant about never driving a motorbike. I used only taxis for the first few months, then graduated to only taking a xe om (motorbike taxi).Then I bought my own electric bike that was cool to use in Phu My Hung, but completely useless for longer rides. After about 7 months of spending money, waiting around, and wasting time, I finally decided to pull the trigger and rent my own motorbike.

I started off with a Mio Classico, built specifically for short women (I’m barely 5’0 ft). I liked it because it’s super tiny, my feet could touch the ground, and it was lightweight. However, it had basically zero storage, and was really awful to ride with two people. I’ve since upgraded to an Attalia Elizabeth and it’s AMAZING. It’s much bigger, and I like it because it has enough storage space to fit a large bag, so I don’t have to worry about driving with a bag on me (a big NO NO in Ho Chi Minh City).

So say you’ve just moved here, you got a bike, and you’re ready to go…here are my tips for staying safe and not losing your mind.

– My friend Nicole gave me the best advice about motorbikes – only drive when YOU are ready. Don’t let people pressure you into riding if you’re not ready. I honestly believe that being here for 7 months and dealing with the traffic daily before I started to ride made me more confident, and in turn, a much better driver. I wasn’t afraid to ride, whereas I’m about 99.9% sure if I had started driving when I first moved here I would’ve been in many an accident.
– Get used to the fact that there the traffic rules are non-existent here. When I first moved here, I couldn’t believe the shit I was seeing on a daily basis. Red light? Doesn’t matter. Looking before you make a right turn? Doesn’t happen. Yielding to make a left turn? HA! It’s extremely frustrating and at times, super dangerous, but that’s just how it is. At the same time, know that 97% of the time, motorbikes will drive to avoid you. Say you’re trying to make a left and there’s just a mass of motorbikes you’re turning into, they’ll move out of the way. I don’t know how it works but it does.
– While driving, try to move with the group of traffic, and stay in a “pack”. Someone once told me the traffic in HCMC moves like water, and they’re totally right. You want to stay with the “river”. If there’s a giant group of people making a left turn, join the group.
– The pollution and exhaust is a HUGE problem for me. I’ve noticed that if I drive without wearing a face mask, my skin freaks out. I bought a pack of 200 medical face masks for about 5 bucks, and I keep a stash in my bike storage. If you drive long distances during rush hour traffic, it’s probably best to invest in a high quality mask that not only protects your skin, but filters the harsh pollutants.
– On the subject of skin, wearing an SPF is a must. The sun is NO joke. I used to have the worst short tan lines on my legs from wearing shorts without sunscreen. There’s a reason why Vietnamese women are typically covered from head to toe while driving. If you’re particularly sun sensitive, wear a light jacket/cardigan while driving.
– As ridiculous as motorbike drivers are, cars, taxis, and buses are even worse. Taxi and bus drivers drive like maniacs. If you’re driving near buses, be aware that they can, and will pull into different lanes at a moments notice, and generally don’t give a fuck about motorbike drivers.
– Driving in the rain here is one of the worst possible things ever and I HATE it. Rainy season sucks, no way around it. Grab your poncho, buy a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, and drive slow, homie.
– Look forward at all times, don’t worry about what’s happening behind you. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Driving in HCMC requires 100% attention at all times.
– I’m not that familiar with the small streets in the city center and other districts, so I always have my GPS on if I’m going somewhere I don’t know. If I get lost, I’ll pull over (somewhere safe!) to look at my map.
– Don’t drive with your valuables on you, if you can help it. Always drive with your purse in your storage. I am absolutely paranoid about being robbed on my motorbike, which is why I don’t drive into D1 with my computer that often. Sadly, my laptop doesn’t fit in my bike storage, so if I go work in D1 it’s a special occasion for me. I’m sure that it’s safe most of the time, but better safe than sorry for me.

Have you ever driven a motorbike? What are your tips for staying safe?

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