The Body Shop Skincare Q&A with Caroline Hirons

Caroline had a twitter live chat today and of course I had to take part. Not that I’m going to buy anything anytime soon, just that I needed to talk to her. I asked her about moisturizers for my combination to oily skin, sunscreen, muslin cloth, her favorite product, and I looked at her answers to other people too. Here’s to note down what I got.


  • 1st cleanse: Camomile Eye Makeup Remover/Sumptuous Butter
  • 2nd cleanse: Pomegranate Softening Cream Cleanser, Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish

Muslin cloth:

  • It’s written on package that it’s to be used twice weekly, but she personally would use twice daily.
  • Somebody also asked about how often should flannels be change, she said every 3 months.

Moisturizers for my recently-just-have-allergic-reaction skin:

  • Aloe & Nutriganics Creams

Moisturizers in general:

  • Seaweed during the day
  • Nutriganics Day & Night on hand to help out with the dryness

Combi drying out:

  • Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet
  • Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser
  • Nutriganics Day & Night Creams


  • Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

On using sunscreen:

  • Full protection when it’s SPF 30. Reapply when it’s SPF 15.


  • Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask
  • Warming Mineral Mask

Mask in routine (either or):

  • Cleanse, clay, mask, tone
  • Cleanse, exfoliate, mask, tone
  • Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, clay mask, hydrating mask

Minimize lines:

  • Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate

Base product:

  • Aloe serum (couldn’t find it on their UK website though…)

Her favorites:

  • Must have: Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
  • Others: Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, Nutriganics Creams, Bouncy Sleeping Mask, Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser

If ever think of facialist training:


It was a lovely chat and I was very thankful. ♥

i dreamed of Healer last night.

not the cool and mysterious Seo Jung Ho. not the dorky and lovable Park Bong Soo. certainly not Ji Chang Wook.

just Healer. gentle Healer.

i don’t remember the main events anymore, just the time when we held our hands together, interleaved.

“When I take his hand, the feeling of ‘It’ll all be okay now’ begins to spread out from his hand, through my whole body. It’s a marvelous, one-of-a-kind hand that tells me everything’s okay.”

it was exactly like that. gentle, warm, comforting. i was surprised.

i’ve been anxious and restless, but this made the day felt a whole lot bearable.

thank you.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Yesterday I decided to watch Kiki’s Delivery Service again. I had planned to do so for quite a long time, don’t know why I didn’t. Anyway, since I was (and still am) “in the mood for Healer”, I didn’t pick up any new dramas. I watched “War of the Arrows” (because of Moon Chae Won) and “Artificial Intelligent” (because of Truc) on previous days and what came next on my mind was Kiki’s Delivery Service, so I went for that.

For years on end I was really concentrating on My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. I was trying to see why they were so popular and appreciate them for all their worth. But to be totally honest with myself, out of all Ghibli’s films, Kiki’s Delivery Service has always had a special place in my heart. I didn’t quite know why, I just knew that Kiki’s struggle was similar with mine but I didn’t give it much thought. Then I watched it again yesterday and it was crystal clear.

At the beginning of the movie, Kiki was lying on the grass looking at the sky. The wind was breezing around her. She listened to the radio and decided she wouldn’t wait anymore and start her independent journey right that day. It felt as if I was lying on the grass looking at the sky and feeling the breeze around me too. And the way she ran toward home across beautiful and bright and colorful scenery made it all feel so exhilarating.

She came home with her announcement and naturally her parents had mixed feelings. The scene when her father couldn’t fling her up to the air like before was quite touching, but it wasn’t heavy, the atmosphere was just light. Her mother came to help her dress up as a witch, and the way Kiki said “black dress, black cat” was very cute. The moment what struck me the most was this:

Kiki’s mother: It’s not really important what color your dress is. What matters is the heart inside it.
Kiki: I know that having a good heart is very important. I wish I could show you that my heart is ready.
Kiki’s mother: Just follow that heart and keep smiling.


I was like, “Oh, no wonder”…

“A good heart” – that’s something I always want to keep as a critical part of my identity. And a genuine smile from the heart, too.

The movie went on with her journey as an independent witch girl to a city by the ocean. It didn’t turn out very well with her intention of giving first good impression, luckily she met a nice person and decided to stay. “I’ve decided not to leave this town. Maybe I can find others like Osono-san who will like me and accept me for what I am.”

Her struggle with the unknown was what drew me to this story in the first place. This time, I got to dig deeper and realized she was similar with me even more than I thought, notably in three instances.

  • “I think something’s wrong with me. I make friends, then suddenly I can’t bear to be with any of them. Seems like that other me, the cheerful and honest one went away somewhere.”
  • “We fly with our spirit.” “The witch’s spirit? Perfect! That’s what I’m talking about. The spirit of witches. The spirit of artists. The spirit of bakers. I suppose it must be a power given by God. Sometimes you suffer for it.” “I guess I never gave witchcraft much thought. That talk about discipline and training was so old-fashioned.”
  • And the fact that people’s ridicule and insensitivity, whether directed to her or not, could totally defeat her. It gave her doubts and questioned her confidence.

All in all, it’s safe to say Kiki’s Delivery Service is my most favorite Ghibli film. It really speaks to me. I like everything about it, not only the message it sends. Everything – the details, the colors, the scenery, the atmosphere,… Most recent, I enjoyed When Marnie Was There, a bit further back would be The Borrower Arrietty, but let’s talk about them some other time (if I ever have enough motivation…). For now, I’ll just be in the mood of this film a bit longer. Positively, hopeful, happy.

What happened to innocence?


Kim Yoo Jung and Baro being cute ♡

Recently there was a news about the possibility of Kim Yoo Jung and Baro dating. What made me feel unpleasant wasn’t the fact that they might be dating for real (they aren’t), but how people reacted to it. Most people said it was disgusting if it was real, that Baro must have deceived and manipulated her. I agree Yoo Jung is still a minor (she was born in 1999, 15 years old) and she should be protected, but since when the world has to be all serious and everything has to be so dark? I remember when I was 15, all I saw about the opposite gender if I felt attracted to them was their beautiful eyes and their gentle smiles. Maybe I wanted to hold their hands, but that was about it (not even hug). Of course the new generations are growing much faster but it doesn’t mean innocence is dead. Do we really need to say we’re disgusted when we see two young people liking each other? They should be aware of the serious consequences if things ever go further than it should and be absolutely sure how to protect themselves away from it, but it doesn’t mean they should stop having fluttering feelings for each other when it comes, because really, it’s one of the most beautiful things of the youth.

Talking about this reminds me of the time when it was known that Jacob (Twilight) liked Bella’s daughter. Many people had a hard time accepting it, concentrating on the fact that Renesmee was only a baby at the time when Jacob fell in love with her. To be honest, I was confused. To me, it was totally understandable and acceptable, because he fell in love when he looked at her eyes, and because they had this special connection through their souls that I didn’t quite get why people would oppose to it. At the time, I didn’t understand about the fuss, I thought if he felt that one-of-a-kind connection, it was natural as a given for him to be in love. Only later on I kind of grasped the idea that physical attraction and age could be issues here. Strangely, or not, it didn’t come to my mind at all at first, it took me a while to figure out. I don’t want to change my mind though. Not that I’m a fan of platonic love or any labels of the kind, I just feel that everyone deserves to be in love – the kind of genuine love that comes from their hearts, no need for excuse, no matter what the boundaries are.

These days I just feel like writing a lot about my thoughts. I didn’t feel like doing it much since, well, what’s the point? And I don’t like conflicts and being judged. But whatever, it’s okay. I suppose I just need to learn to not take everything to heart, to come to term with the fact that I’m just an ordinary human being with flaws and it’s okay. People believe what they want to believe. Sometimes they don’t care about me, they care more about their opinions to be understood – and it’s okay too.

It’s a bit of a pity that I didn’t write down my thoughts more earlier. It’s a bit exhausting to organize thoughts and put them to proper words, but if I don’t write down I will forget. If I write down, even when the time comes and I eventually forget, it feels like these thoughts will still be there and won’t disappear easily.

And times like this, I actually like the part of me that is still innocent, naïve, pure, the part that leans toward light and believes in it. Sun. Light.

Skin-care and make-up.

One of various things I’ve been trying to do is taking care of my skin. It started maybe two weeks ago when I came across Caroline Hirons’ blog from Bloglovin’s email. It’s not like I didn’t take care of my skin before, it’s just that I did without really think about it. It’s funny when I write down like this now, but I used to buy products pretty much based on how they were advertised, with the fancy marketing language and and myths about this and that are good without considering my specific skin. I heard times and times again about ‘everybody’s skin is different’ and only recently it finally clicked. (I’ve been having this “clicked” moments frequently, it’s amazing. Things I heard over and over again and thought I understood but actually I didn’t, I was only aware of it. Now, finally, finally they made total sense. Crystal clear.) I used to buy things that other people said were good, but no matter how much it’s good for them, it doesn’t guarantee it will be good for me too. When a product is widely famous, it only means there’s a high chance my skin will accept it since there’s a large number of people tried and it worked for them and it could more or less reduce the chance of my skin reacting negatively to it. At the same time, it may contain ingredients that only my skin would reject though. So when I use something that everyone praises and it causes me breakouts for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product is bad; it could very well means that the product is bad for my skin only. Knowing this reduces significantly my resentment to outer world. It’s my job to do better research. It’s my own skin, I must be the one who’s responsible. I can’t disown it, it’s with me for my whole life, better take care of it properly.

With this new mindset, I’ve been looking at the list of ingredients (INCI) more actively. Although it’s still hard, I don’t know many ingredients yet, but I already know what I should look for. I have combination to oily skin (acne prone) so I need products where salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and probably benzoyl peroxide (not too high in %) are high in the list or at least there. These things I get to know from a post from Caroline which I usually go back to. It lists what to look out for and what to avoid depending on skin issues. I’m a bit guilty on mineral oil since the ‘Blossom & May’ products I use for my night routine have it, but this thing is debatable and I really like using ‘Blossom & May’ so far and I don’t have money to switch yet, so it is as it is for now.

My current skincare routine is like this:

. morning:

  • Yves Rocher Daily Exfoliating Cleanser (inci has glycerin and salicylic acid)
  • Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence (inci has glycerin, and salicylic acid listed as willow bark extract)
  • Yves Rocher Zero Blemish Gel Cream (inci has glycerin and salicylic acid)
  • Yves Rocher Stop Blemish Lotion (inci has salycylic acid 0.5% as active ingredient, and glycerin too. This one I use only for spots, not for whole face since it would feel a bit greasy)
  • The Body Shop Pomegranate Firming & Refreshing Eye Roll-On

. night:

  • Blossom & May Deep Cleanser
  • Blossom & May Skin Tonic
  • Blossom & May Honey & Calendula Moisturizer

Seems like I was doing a good job on picking up the right products from Yves Rocher even before knowing about the ingredients. In this case, thanks a lot to the right targeted labels (for combination and blemish skin).

I’ve been trying to find a suitable sunscreen for my skin but no luck yet. I used to use Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 50 Mattifying Face Fluid Dry Touch since it doesn’t feel oily, but it’s difficult to blend and where it’s dry it’s really dry. Maybe my skin wasn’t hydrated enough and/or it isn’t compatible with the Yves Rocher Zero Blemish Gel Cream, in any case it was always a chore to put on. Recently I bought Badger Damascus Rose SPF 20 Sheer Tint Face Sunscreen Lotion which I’ve heard good reviews, yet at the end of the first day I tried it, I felt a bit hot at the face and there were two new red spots. It calmed down the next day but I haven’t been able to bring myself to test it again, to make sure whether on that particular day it was something else that cause the sensation or it really was because of the sunscreen. It has aloe juice and glycerin which are nice, but I may be allergic to one or some of other nice things what were listed. Lavender denatured alcohol, for example? I don’t know.

I’m also on the search for a good eye-cream. Base on Paula’s Choice review, I bought CeraVe Eye Repair Cream from ebay. It hasn’t reached me yet. Hope it will be good when I try.

Anyway, my skin has been great these days. It’s not perfect level but it feels smooth and nice. Apart from the products I put on, I think I should give credits to supplements, fruits and vegetables, and yoga as well. And thanks a lot to places where I can find trusted info and recommended products:

  • Caroline Hirons (love her practical advice! and humor, too :D)
  • Paula’s Choice (I come here for the reviews and sometimes list of ingredients. At times I feel like they are too harsh and nothing ever works, then again, the knowledge is there for me to pick up but it depends on me to make the final judgement)
  • Lisa Eldridge (it’s quite soothing to listen to her. I’m thinking of trying her facial massage routine.)
  • Jen (I’ve been following her for a long time and I picked up some of her make-up routine for myself now. Although I don’t find myself wanting to buy things she recommends as eagerly as before (I mean, seriously, how can I keep up? and again, it suits her doesn’t automatically mean it suits me), I still like her bright personality which at times brightens up my mood too.)
  • Pony (she’s another bright girl that I find comfortable to watch. She focuses on Korean skincare and make-up, and her name is established. Recently I like her Golden Rosy Make-up, it’s gorgeous.)

Oh as for my make-up currently, I keep it really simple, can’t slim down anymore than this. Everything I use:

  • Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara
  • Panasonic Eyelash Curler
  • Lioele Auto Eyebrow (optional)
  • NYX HD Grinding Blush Menage a Trois
  • Lipbalm & A’Pieu Long Wear Creamy Matt Lipstick

Except for the A’Pieu lipstick, all other products are products I’ve used consistently and buy new when the old one was used up. I get to know them from Jen, and they are like my holy grail. The Urban Decay Mascara holds curls really well. The Lioele Eyebrow is convenient to use with one end to fill up your brows and a wand to brush on the other. And the NYX blush, it’s a beautiful peach color with gold shimmer that gives quite a healthy glow. There are two other blushes I used before which were The Body Shop Baked-To-Last Blush and Benefits Dandelion Face Powder, they were okay, cute at times, but the NYX blush is my favorite so far. Love it.

Hmm this is quite a long post with no photo ha ha. It’s okay, I just want to jot this down and make space for other stuffs to come in. It’s kind of like marking a milestone anyway, it would be a pity not to.

Big Bang is back!



So finally, Big Bang is back! I don’t follow them closely (the only artist I follow closely is IU) but I do know that YG has this reputation of using a clock which doesn’t go according to Earth hour, meaning that Yang Hyun Suk (YG’s CEO) postpones the releases of his artists perpetually. I personally don’t mind because once he allows something to be released, it will be of top quality. He’s a perfectionist, I suppose. YG’s fans are frustrated though, which is understandable when you don’t know how your favorite artists are doing, when you’re going to meet them again, and you want new music from them. Imagine picking up the hints of them coming back, then be disappointed, over and over. And imagine, for example, you graduate from college, have a job, get married, have a baby, while still listening to Big Bang’s “latest release” ‘Fantastic Baby’. It must feel long and frustrating. In any case, now the boys are back for real. They will release new song(s) each month from now and have the full album release in September, if I remember correctly. Interesting way to keep them on top of the charts for months.

Big Bang let their fans (VIPs) listen to the new songs first before the actual release, and I saw the netizens mentioned most positively about ‘Loser’. When I first watched the MV, it reminded me a bit of their Still Alive era, particularly ‘Blue’ and ‘Monster’. Still Alive was my favorite album from them and still is, so it’s hard to beat. From first time watching and listening, ‘Loser’ didn’t quite impress me. I know it has all sort of deeper meaning to it as typical to Big Bang’s MVs (and maybe YG’s MVs in general), it’s just not my cup of tea. Even much less so with their second MV – Bae Bae.

It’s Big Bang though, I don’t give up on their music. I kept listening to their audio and gradually I grew more and more fond of ‘Loser’. It still has the Still Alive aura, but at the same time has its own distinct colors too. I also give credits to the headphones and the night, since apparently it doesn’t feel the same when I listen to it again the next day with my laptop speaker. It just can’t compare. Listening to it during the day with headphones still works, but without the headphones it’s just meh. I need to hear all the background instruments, beautiful harmony, and each member’s voice. If I can’t hear them, it doesn’t feel complete. Headphones make the music much smoother, give the experience much more pleasurable, and I feel deeper too. Times like this I also miss my separate set of speakers. I got it cheap at the time I bought, and it gave the most wonderful sounds out of all the speakers I listened to. Too bad it got stolen.

I got too carried away ha ha. Anyway, I’m pretty much addicted to ‘Loser’ now. ‘Bae Bae’ I like the bridge part; it’s strange how the song turned from “hm…” to “wow, this sounds good” real quick, I didn’t even notice the transition when the song was flowing. Wonder how their other songs will be like. Pretty sure they will grab some awards at the year-end ceremonies.


29.4.2015. I finished watching ‘Healer’.

It feels a bit empty now, so I’m listening to its OST album. I liked its theme song from the very beginning, even before I started watching the show. It seems appropriate to listen to it again at this point.

Name it “a song that makes me want to run through the rooftops”. :)

Doina said she saw me talking about joining a recovery club and wondered whether she should watch it. To think about it, did she say so because I like ‘Nice Guy’ + ‘I’m Sorry I Love You’ so much and both of them are really dramatic and she thought it would be kind of painful to watch? Back then I was so immersed in my emotions I didn’t think much to answer her.  In a way, they have this same way of stirring up my emotions to the max, but at the same time they’re all very different. With ‘Nice Guy’, it felt like many things happened in every episodes, it was quite fast pace yet still concentrated at the right part, I enjoyed every single one of them, not to mention the chemistry between Moon Chae Won and Song Joong Ki was so incredible it made me want them to date in real life (it was the first time ever for me to want a couple on screen to be dating in real life. One time I got mixed up this “first time” with Bu Bu Jing Xin since I watched them quite closely together, but really, ‘Nice Guy’ made the mark). With ‘I’m Sorry I Love You’, I adored Im Soo Jung’s character and the warm and gentle love they shared, it didn’t matter how it ended as long as it happened. With ‘Healer’, I have to say that the chemistry between the two main leads – Park Min Young and Ji Chang Wook – was so beautiful I didn’t care what was going on as long as I saw them together on screen. And that was why I was miserable. It may sound strange but the feeling was so strong it was hard to bear. Waves and waves and waves of intense emotions. Not because it was dramatic (it wasn’t) but because it gave me so much feels. So this year is quite special it seems. I thought it would take another while for me to meet another drama that could make me feel as much as ‘Nice Guy’ and recently ‘My Sunshine’, but I got to watch ‘Healer’ “thanks to” Linh and see what it did to me. Life is unpredictable, things come in the most unexpected way. And it doesn’t mean I was “only miserable” though, I was really happy while watching it. I still remember myself smiling unknowingly and automatically whenever I think about the show. It put me in a space of special happiness which was rare to come around; it was the kind of “misery”, after all, which I’m happy to encounter.

I chose the specific photo above for this post since it was the first time in the drama that it made my heart felt a bump. Was it episode 6? I was thinking of watching the drama again but I’m afraid of the roller coaster of emotions. Anyway. I started to feel it since ep 6, then from ep 8 (which they called “legendary“) onward it was a total whirlwind. The first half I watched one episode per day, sometimes once after a couple of days. Then the second half came and I made sure to watch it everyday, sometimes 2 or 3 eps per day. Linh said, “it sounds about right” :)))). Seeing other people share these same feelings and emotions puts smiles on my face. They’re all like, “yeah, I know. Been there, done that.”, very sympathetically.

I love this song from Michael Learns to Rock since it describes it so perfectly, “It’s a beautiful feeling…” Whenever I started hearing it in the background, the feeling about The Two came up as well. The other day I wrote this:

Healer makes me feel beautiful things.
it reminds me of moments of youth when you try and try really hard
you fight with all your might for belief you deelpy hold and people you deeply care about, no matter how helpless you would feel at times
it’s as if the passion within you would never die, and a single touch would mean so much.

In the drama, Chae Young Shin is my age and Seo Jeong Hoo is an age older (Ji Chang Wook was born in 1987 in real life, too). Can’t help but feeling wonderful about that. :P

Not only the two main leads but I also like the rest of the cast. They made a special team, every role was on point and no weak links as far as I remember. Once in a while I see a team like this (Dream High, Good Doctor, It’s Okay That’s Love,…) and it’s always sad to see it comes to an end. But it’s okay, I’m thankful for everything they (the cast & the production team) made, the effort they put in, and thankful for the chance that it happened.

Now, to cure my withdrawal, I’ll read some more about it, listen to its OSTs a couple more times, and listen to the podcast that dramabeans made for ‘Healer’ as Linh suggested (she’s responsible for helping me through this!!). I wish I could find the star necklace they had toward the end of the show as well, but the chance seems slim… Anyway, didn’t plan to write this post but I did and my mind seems more at ease. To conclude, I’ll just put here the first video I watched from them. Park Min Young had never been in the list of my favorite actresses and Ji Chang Wook had been far from what I would call “ideal main lead” from watching him in Running Man, then this video gave me a certain sense of their chemistry together. I remember giving Linh this link on the 27th of January, and exactly 3 months later I went back and watched it again. ^^


a couple of days ago i watched City Lights (1931). it was the first time i completed watching a silent movie, as well as a Charlie Chaplin’s one. thinking about it, i rarely ever watched anything completely when i was in Vietnam. i caught glimpse of this and that every now and then, but there was no recall of anything from the beginning to the very end. i wonder whether that was why i subconsciously set myself to finish every single movies and dramas that i started ever since i came here, to satisfy the freedom and control of life that i longed for, although back then i  really didn’t have any idea why i was doing certain things. i only stopped when i paused and thought, “why do i waste my time like this? if it’s not good, why do i keep torturing myself?”. freeing or trapping, it’s all in my head.

“City Lights” wasn’t bad though. it was very nice, in fact. it was light and humorous and endearing.

“He must be wealthy.”

“Yes, but he’s more than that.”

i’m glad i watched it.

coincidentally, not long after, i came across this short video (~ 4 minutes) yoga for wrists. it’s cute and it makes me smile every time i practice. lovely.

Gentle yoga sequences

i’ve been consistently practicing yoga every day after the 30-day challenge. i love the changes yoga does for my body. all the stretching does me wonder. no more sore shoulders and neck, straighter spine – to name a few obvious. i don’t plan to stop ever again.

yesterday i didn’t have time to do it in the morning, so i decided to do a gentle bed-time sequence. it matched with a gentle morning sequence so i did it today morning as well. usually i would like something more uplifting for the morning, but today is the first day of that monthly period (no wonder i’ve been feeling really tired) so seems like life has a way of better organizing things for me than myself. i liked both of them, maybe i will do them again for these days instead of exploring new videos for the time being.

i finished 30-day yoga challenge.

thank you, Adriene. ♥

thank you, Adriene. ♥

yes, i did it. consistently every single day. i’m proud of myself, and i’m happy for the change in my body and my mind.

that being said, it wasn’t easy. the first three days i was pretty much in pain, wondering was it possible that i did it wrong or maybe i dislocated something. some days i was tired, i didn’t even want to move let alone gather enough strength to be energetic on the mat. there were times when i did it at 9:30 in the evening. however, for each of the obstacles that came and i pushed and pushed some more to overcome them, i felt myself bits by bits getting stronger.

i remembered Adriene’s words of finding what feels good and creating space. it was pretty much following the sense of curiosity and being present that Andy (Headspace) often mentioned. keeping those thoughts in mind while practicing both yoga and meditation definitely helped. in this case with yoga, i did it with much more ease and in a gentle way. in one video, Adriene said something like “you’re on the mat now, the hardest part is over” and i smiled at how true it was. when i was tired, i did it anyway but with much closer care on how i felt. if something was too much, i skipped it and moved on to next move or relaxed for a moment without feeling guilty. i knew i could also skip a day and pick it up the next day, but i knew i would be able to do it and it would make me feel better, so on the mat i went and indeed i was satisfied. confidence begets confidence.

after a couple of days i already felt more awareness on my spine and therefore improved my posture. gradually, i felt much lighter in my whole body, as if i could just spring up and there it was music for me to dance to. not exaggerating. those were moments of realization i wouldn’t want to forget. i would love to experience more. there were poses i wasn’t able to do, but “someday i will and how great it is to have so much to look forward to” (quoting Adriene again). i hope to not lose this momentum and continue with this path.

thanks so much to Adriene for guiding us through this journey. it was enjoyable and fulfilling.