Castor Oil Queen: My Many Uses of Castor Oil

For those that know me, I am the queen of castor oil. For those of you who are new to castor oil is or are interested in how to use it, below are my favorite ways to use castor oil. But first, castor oil is an inexpensive oil that has been around for thousand of years with multi purpose usages. 

 

Moisturizer

For someone who suffers from eczema, castor oil is perfect for me. It is extremely moisturizing and scent free so it does not irritate my sensitive skin. Many popular moisturizing products contain harmful ingredients like perfumes, sulfates, and dyes which could further irritate your skin.  

Promotes Wound and Cut Healing

Sometimes you shave your legs too quickly, and end up nicking your leg. Ouch! Instead of using Neosporin, you can apply some castor oil to a cotton pad and apply it to your nick or cut instead. The oil is super thick and will coat the wound, preventing your skin from forming a scar. 

Promotes Hair Growth

I cut my hair 5 years ago and immediately regretted the decision. I applied castor oil to my scalp and on my ends (to treat my split ends), and I definitely grew my hair back much more quickly. Although it wasn’t instant, it does work! Consistency is key. Apply castor oil directly to your scalp, massage, and cover with a shower cap. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the oil to remain in your hair. For optimal results and faster hair growth, leave in overnight. Be careful while washing it out, it will be extremely sticky and hard to wash out. Will cause your shower to become slippery as well. You have been warned. LOL!

Soften Dry, Cracked Heals and Feet 

Nothing I love more than coming home after a long day of work for a foot soak, especially in the winter and colder months! After your shower or foot soak, while your feet are still soft, slather on a bit of castor oil on the heels and soles of your feet. Slip on  nice, thick pair of socks and leave them in overnight. The next day your feet will be baby soft. You’re welcome. 🙂

Fuller Lashes and Brows

Because castor oil has been effective in helping with my hair growth, I also apply it to my eyelashes and brows. The Vitamin E, minerals, and proteins in the oil can help strengthen and lengthen your brows and lashes. Thankfully, for someone that wears strip lashes daily, my eyelashes are still intact, and I thank the castor oil for this! During the quarantine months I haven’t been wearing my strip lashes, giving my real eye lashes time to breathe and grow again. I definitely noticed a difference! Apply a tiny bit of castor oil onto a Q-tip to apply on lashes and brows.

Hydrate and Soften Lips

If you do not have any lip balm on hand, castor oil works wonders. Apply the oil directly onto lips to hydrate and soften. The best time to apply the oil is at bedtime so you are not eating or drinking anything. Sleep tight!

I hope you all enjoyed my many uses for castor oil. Please let me know if you have tried any of these, or if there are other ways that you use castor oil. I’d love to hear them!

Xoxo,

 

 

My Opinion About Skin Bleaching & Beauty Standards

As someone whose parents are ethnically Thai/Chinese, I come from a background where people are either extremely dark or extremely light in complexion. Just like other ethnicities, we all come in different shapes and shades. 

More recently, because it’s summer time, I can get extremely tan; whereas during the winter months, while my complexion isn’t milky white like my mother’s, I am much lighter. The other night I was looking at some Thai beauty products online in search of an herbal night cream that my mom loves for her upcoming birthday and came across multiple creams with the purpose of “skin lightening” and “skin bleaching.”

It was quite shocking to see the obsession with skin bleaching especially in the Asian community. Skin bleaching, if you’ve never heard of it before, is a process of lightening your complexion. Darker skinned people bleach their skin in attempt to be lighter. People do this for various reasons but the main reason is vanity. It’s a cosmetic procedure with no health benefits, and it’s primarily due to color-ism and in some cases classism.  

After doing some researching to become more informed about what is really in skin bleaching products, I found the two main active ingredients are hydroquinone and mercury. In 1982 the FDA approved hydroquinone for over-the-counter products. This was typically used for hyper-pigmentation, freckles, and dark spots. However, in 2006 the FDA revoked that approval because further testing on animals were found to cause harmful side effects included infertility and cancer. The other ingredient that is found in most skin bleaching products is mercury, which is more commonly found in African American targeted products. Mercury is commonly known to be very harmful, and these products are being made and sold illegally online, often untested. These products can come in the form of pills, soaps, and topical creams. Mercury poisoning is not a joke, you can get kidney failure, loss of brain function, fatigue and numbness. Physically the side effects can be blisters, skin ulcers, rash, and burning.  

How these two ingredients work is basically they attack the melanin in your skin. They stop the production of melanocyte cells. Typically the amount of melanocyte cells depends on genetics. Unfortunately I have known friends of the Asian and Black community who bleach their skin and they look rather gray. Having melanin in your skin has a lot of health benefits, one of them being your skin ages more slowly. Additionally, melanin provides the ability to dissipate UV Rays, meaning you are less susceptible to radiation poisoning from the sun. Of course everyone should still wear sunscreen! 

I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am proud that I have a lot of melanin in my body, however the downside of it is I scar extremely easily and scars appear more visible on people with more melanin. I think all skin shades are beautiful, and it does not define what makes someone appear more attractive whether they are darker or lighter. I know this topic may seem a bit controversial, but this is just my opinion. 

I hope we all can learn to love ourselves a bit more and the skin that we’re in. And I hope that with time there becomes more representation of beauty in all forms and not just what is considered to be the standard.

 

Xo

Some Ways to Practice Self-Care & Self-Love

With everything that is going on in the world right now, it’s extremely important that we take care of ourselves and practice ways to love ourselves even more. Here are some ways I try to practice self-care and self-love.

Better Sleeping Habits:

I’ve always been someone who doesn’t sleep well at all. Ever since I was a child I was a light sleeper. I wake up easily, and it is extremely hard for me to fall asleep. In the past I typically average about 4 hours of sleep a night (crazy, I know!). Everyone used to ask how I am able to function. I think we all require different amounts of sleep, and that amount changes as we grow up. As I’m not getting any younger, I now try to make sleep a priority. I make sure that I am getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep has a big role in your temperament and affects your mood and overall health and wellness.

Meditation:

Meditation contributes to self-care and self-love. The purpose of meditation is just to sit in your body and be in your body, feeling your breath, and even feeling the discomfort and pain. I’ve been having some discomfort in my knee, and to be able to just focus on my breathing helps me push through it. I just stop everything and just allow myself to be with myself. I know I’ve spoke about meditation multiple times, however there are many different types of meditation that I practice. Shower meditation, sleeping meditation, and crystal meditation. 

A Day Off from Everything to do Nothing:

Sometimes we get in our head that we have to always be productive and accomplish something otherwise the day is wasted. This is not the case, and having time to spend on doing nothing is good once in a while for healing. For me this means just sitting around, lounging, and doing nothing. In actuality you have to have a rest day to recharge and not clean the house, go to work, etc. 

Taking Better Care of My Skin:

Since I’ve still been trying to get my eczema under control, this means I am constantly making an effort to take better care of my skin. I have been trying to follow my eczema diet by not consuming dairy products, eggs, or gluten. It has been hard and 3 days out of the week I tend to slip up, but I am now consciously making more of an effort than I have ever done before. I avoid long hot showers and make sure to moisturize my skin right after I jump out of the shower (literally!). 

I’d love to hear what are some ways that you practice self-care and self-love? There are so many ways to practice self-care and self-love, these are just some of the simple ways that I practice mine. We really don’t realize the positive effects it can have on our lives by just doing some of these practical things.

Xoxo

Welcome to the Dark Side and the Importance of Shadow Work

Whether you’re trying to battle your inner-demons or have a dark shadow that seems to follow you wherever you go, the reality is we all have them. Some of us more than others. We all have a dark side somewhere deep inside of ourselves. 

If you let your “dark side”/”shadow” run wild your life can seem uncontrolled and chaotic. Classic shadow signs are anger, blame, and laziness, but it can also be expressed as insecurity, co-dependency, or even independence. These signs can manifest issues with mental health, addictions, negativity, and low self-worth; and left unchecked, these issues will begin to effect the overall quality of your life.

Disclaimer: The purpose here is to help and heal others.

Before delving further, I just wanted to include the disclaimer that I am not a mental health expert nor do I have a degree in psychology. I have read many books over the years to help me deal with some of the trauma that I have experienced in my life, and these books were on topics such as self-help, psychology, and spirituality. All of my readings have touched on the topic of dark sides, shadow work, and how it all goes together. I thought I would share more about what I have read and learned along the way so that I can help others who might be of need. 

The idea of “Shadow” was popularized and studied by Carl Jung who is a 20th Century psychologist from Switzerland. According to him, “Shadow” refers to the hidden parts of our being. These are parts of ourselves that we may try to repress because they make us feel sad or vulnerable. This is a side we often do not show others. It can also indicate how we internally perceive ourselves as “being weak,” therefore we feel the need to hide certain parts of ourselves. Jung believed in the acknowledging our full self, including the shadow side, so that we can live in a balanced way.

Learning How to Confront Your Shadow:

My shadow is the fear of being vulnerable. I often avoid certain situations whether it is in the past or present; knowing that a situation may cause me to be placed in a vulnerable position, I would do anything in my power to avoid it at all cost. I think a part of it has to do with my upbringing and how I was raised. Although I’m not placing any blame on anyone in my family or those who have raised me, I was always taught that I have to be “good” all the time and showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I’m thankful that I am aware of my shadows because knowing the struggles and battles we had to fight in order to succeed makes our victories all the more meaningful. As crazy as it may sound, the pain and suffering we see in the world around us are often mirrored by our internal pain and suffering. It is only in facing our difficulties that true change can be made, and the hope of peace can prevail, inside and out. 

Shadow work may seem counter-intuitive on the outside because you will have to face your pain instead of running away from it. The process works by allowing yourself to feel and understand the painful aspects of yourself, so they become fully integrated. I’ve learned that it takes courage, time, and an open heart to face your pain, but these tools learned along the way help in almost every other aspect of your life as well.

Shadow work is an introspective psychological practice that anyone can do and helps lead to a more fulfilling life. When working with your shadow, you may have a moment of spiritual awakening that lead to greater authenticity, creativity, and emotional freedom. 

Some of the benefits that I have noticed in some areas of my life included: improved relationships through understanding yourself and accepting others, overall enhanced state of well-being and mood, better communication with others, ability to set boundaries in every aspect of life, and cease the cycle of self-destruction. 

I wish that you all find your shadow and learn to work with it so we can all live a more balanced and more fulfilling life.  

Xoxo,

Tawny V

 

serene sunday

Serenity Sunday = Mediation Work

 

 

Transformation Tuesday

Good morning everyone and happy Tuesday!

This morning I woke up, made a delicious coconut and dragon-fruit smoothie after doing some meditation, and thought to myself what better way to start the day than to write down my thoughts before I head to work.

I know I have talked about toxic relationships in the past, however today I will be discussing about the toxic relationships we have with ourselves and the ones that I have had with myself. I don’t know of anyone that has a 100% healthy relationship with themselves, especially around my age. I think it’s because we’ve been trained and conditioned for so long not to. It’s very easy to fall into negative behaviors especially in how we talk to ourselves and what we think about ourselves. 

I definitely had a toxic relationship with myself. I notice that it is getting a lot better: I have so much more compassion and love for myself this year than last year. What I have noticed about myself was that I tend to hold a lot of guilt when it comes to everything. I constantly felt bad and feel everything. I have a lot of empathy for everything. For a long time I was holding those feelings in, and I would punish myself for some things that weren’t even a big deal. For instance, I would worry if I offended someone or feel guilty if I cancelled plans with someone when I felt tired or just didn’t feel up for it anymore. In the grand scheme of life it doesn’t matter, but I would hold on to that guilt and punish myself internally by sitting around and sulking in my guilt. My entire day would be ruined because of it.

Because this was a toxic trait that I recognized in myself, I forced myself to practice self- love, compassion, and grounding to remind myself of who I am and what I want. What really helped me was meditation. I know I spoke about it a few times already, but I have been able to maintain my emotional state right now. I know that meditation has helped me with cultivating and maintaining those positive emotions. Some of you have also said that I seem happier nowadays, and I could cry just thinking about the ways that I have changed my relationship with myself for the better. I’m not going to sit here and say that I am not hard on myself anymore because I still am, but now I am just more aware of it. The goal now is to correct that type of thinking, whereas before I was just on autopilot: going through the motions and unaware of my own role in the cycle. 

I have read a few great self-help books to get me through the tougher times last year. I can list and talk about some of them in another post if anyone is interested. These self-help books made me aware of how I saw and treated myself. I was beginning to see how others see themselves. Sometimes when I go to events, whether personal or for work, I sometimes feel others’ emotional energies and they’d drain me. I felt the need to protect myself and my energy because I was starting to see that it wasn’t coming from me but from those around me. I was just absorbing all of the negative energy, and I hated it. I found myself not wanting be around anyone anymore because I was afraid of their emotional and negative energy and the way it would affect me. That might sound selfish and might be selfish, but I cannot be of service to anyone if I am in need of help. I have been protecting my happiness and working hard on myself, and I am not going to risk undoing all the progress I’ve made. People who love me and support me will understand and see where I am coming from. 

There are many who will take advantage of kindhearted and happier spirits. When you have a positive aura, people will naturally gravitate towards you, even people who don’t have that same aura or intentions. They just want to take it for themselves and drain you. Most of the time they aren’t even aware of it. I feel I am a naturally kindhearted person inside, and if I sense someone is troubled I just want to help them anyway I can, even if it will hurt me in the end. I know that what it’s like to be in their shoes because I’ve been in that emotional state. I know what it feels like so I want to help people, but some people don’t want your help. I had to recognize and learn that the hard way. That brings me back to the question of “How can you help anyone when you yourself are so emotionally sensitive and fragile?” That is what I am working on, and I have come a long way but the journey goes on. 

I wish you all love and light. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and concerns. If anyone has any good book suggestions, whether it’s a novel or self-help book, please feel free to send me a message or comment!

Let us all continue to be self-aware and love ourselves a little more each day so that we can continue to love one another. 

XO,

Tawny V.

Let’s Talk About Spirituality

I have always been a spiritual person, however the stresses of the pandemic, work, and life drove me be more in tune with my spirituality. 

It’s a common misconception that you have to be a religious person in order to be spiritual.  I think that there’s no single way to be a spiritual person and that spirituality is deeply personal. It’s in the moments when you are quiet, reflective, and intentional that you become your own teacher and guide. And it is in those moments that you commune with your own higher power and answers become clear. 

You may be asking, “How can one become more spiritual?” Below are several ways you can start living your best spiritual life.

By Helping Others

We are all here on earth to help each other. Help others whenever you can. Extend a helping hand, smile at people, open up your heart!

Journaling and Manifesting

This life should include self-love, compassion, self-gratitude, and appreciation. Think about the energy of desires, hopes, happiness, dreams, and feel-good intentions. Put these thoughts and wishes down in a journal or diary, and will them into existence!

Meditation

When I was younger I loved to mediate and would attend meditation classes with my mom every Sunday at the temple. Unfortunately meditation went out the door as life happens. Many years later I would try to meditate, but I could not stay focused. My mind was everywhere! Recently however, I was able to mediate again during the quarantine months, and even now my morning ritual includes mediation. So I thank the quarantine for this. Meditation and prayer helps us to stay centered. For beginners, I would advise you to set aside at least 5 minutes of your day to meditate with the specific intention of connecting to what’s really in your heart and just focus on your breathing.   

Learn to Forgive

Forgiveness is crucial for spiritual growth, whether it is forgiving yourself or someone else. Whether we realize it or not, we hold onto so much trauma and heartbreak from our past that it affects our present if we cannot learn to forgive and move on. Decide to forgive whatever and whoever it is that is holding you back. Only you hold the key and have the power to do so. 

Patience Takes Practice

Although I am into crystals and believe in their healing properties, you don’t need to go out and start a collection to become more spiritual. It’s more about taking advantage of the opportunities all around you. For instance, you’ve ordered a coffee at Starbucks and the barista gets your order wrong. Forgive them! Be patient. Things happen in life that we cannot control. These are just the little ways you can commit to being more patient.  These small steps everyday can lighten your spirit and create more inner peace. 

Focus on Gratitude

Life isn’t always fair and we are not all dealt with the same cards and that is just reality. Sometimes that guy in your math class who never attends class somehow manages to do better than you when you studied your ass off. It happens! Or there are some women who get pregnant so easily when others cannot. Life isn’t fair. But we can’t focus on just the unfairness. What we focus on is what we will manifest. Keep being bitter and things will and can only get worse. Focus on being grateful for all of the things that ARE going well in your life. 

Listen to Your Instincts

You have to learn to be in tune with your gut feeling sometimes to make informed and intuitive decisions. Our gut feeling is often always right. Sometimes you just get a feeling that you should stay away from someone! But most often times we ignore it and ask our brain to make that decision for us instead. Take opportunities and listen deeply to what is inside of you. 

Laugh Often

Laughing is one of life’s greatest medicine. Laughing carries an energy of joy, playfulness, and happiness. I’ve always noticed that the people who live a long life often laugh more and are happier. 

Eliminate Envy

Being envious is the worst thing you can do to yourself. However, if one had said they have never experienced envy they would not be human! Spirituality and selfishness do not go together. Work on being happy for others instead of envious of their success. 

Learn to Love Yourself

We are all living beings on this earth with different beliefs, personalities, and values. We have to first learn to love ourselves before we can love another. Forgive yourself sometimes, own your quirks, and love yourself a little more each day.

 

“Being on a spiritual path does not prevent you from facing the darkness,

but it teaches you how to use the darkness as a tool to grow.

– @Messages.from.beyond, Instagram  

 

Quick Life Update!

Hi Guys and Gals!

It’s been a while since I’ve last had a chance to last blog. Well, I was able to go back to work this past month. The industry has taken a major hit, but we are back to work and just trying to pick up the pieces while staying safe. 

Our company made sure that we were all tested for COVID-19, and thank goodness I tested negative! I wasn’t surprised because I am naturally a hermit. Even with the reopening of the nail salons and malls I have surprisingly managed to stay away! I am definitely surprised and proud of myself that I have just been working and saving money as I continue to do my own nails at home. Not much has changed for me since the quarantine aside from returning to work. 

I haven’t seen my friends in a while either, but those that I am close to understand and know how I am anyway. I still do not feel safe going places, especially when there are tons of people out here with no regard for others and refuse to wear masks! I really hope that everyone continues to stay safe while living your best life so that this can all be over soon and life can continue the way it was before. 

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 Nail Crisis is Real

I know I am not the only one! Like most women around the world, once the pandemic occurred and nail shops were being forced to close, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of panic. I know that nails are the last thing anybody is going to worry about especially during times like these, but hey, call me a diva all you want; this girl still cares about her nails even if  no one is going to see me!

I was fortunate enough to have had a set of custom gel press-on nails made for me by my nail artist. Once I wore them out after 3 weeks I knew that the right thing to do was to attempt to do my own nails for the time being. Because as beautiful as the custom set was, and as much as I want to help support my local nail artists, it was pretty pricey and I needed to save my money! Because I don’t do my own nails the only thing I had at home were a set of nail clippers. I headed to CVS for the first time since the pandemic, and went wild in the store (haha!). 

I picked up a bottle of Glittery Gold nail polish by Essie, a quick-drying top coat, nail file, acetone, a set of press-on nails from the brand KISS, and some other nail tools. Fifty-something dollars and a dark chocolate mint KitKat in hand later and it was time to head home and get started!

After I cut my natural nails down to little nubs, I filed and buffed them. I decided to save my set of press-ons for another time, so I painted my natural nails with the Glittery Gold nail polish and finished them off with the Essie quick drying top coat. I was happy to see that my real nails were still in great shape given the fact that I haven’t remove my acrylics for years and years. I am guilty of either getting a fill or a new set each time I am at the nail salon, therefore my nails were never given a break to breathe. A lot of nail techs often tell me how  they are surprised and that I am extremely fortunate to have such great nails despite the years and years of damage that I have done.

remove

polish

 

nails

I really believe that the only reason why my nails aren’t in as bad a condition as they should be is the fact that I have been taking hair, skin, and nail gummy vitamins for years and I also enjoy drinking bone broth. I am often sipping on some bone broth at least once a week! My friends think I’m gross for this (lol), but honestly it tastes delicious! It’s like drinking chicken soup and I enjoy it a lot! Bone broth is known to promote collagen production which aids in the health and wellness of your nails and your skin. I also have noticed that my eczema has gotten a lot better after drinking bone broth.

boneb

I don’t know when nail salons are able to reopen again in Los Angeles but I am pretty content with the money that I am saving monthly from not doing my nails. Not to mention, I am pleased with my real nails and I think I am starting to get use to them. I hope everyone is staying safe out there. What are some things that you all miss? I’d love to hear what everyone is looking forward to once this pandemic is over!

Xo,

 

 

 

Pandemic Stress Update: Thoughts and Concerns

valf

If  I’m not watching the news about the pandemic, I’m reading  about it. There are new developments and concerns every day regarding the Coronavirus, and it seems to be getting worse and scarier as the days, weeks, and months pass by.

I have hope that things will get better. I stay inside all of the time and only head out once a week to go food shopping with the exception of ordering something to be delivered once in awhile (hey, we have to support our local businesses during these tough times!). When I do head out to go grocery shopping I wear my DIY mask. I don’t know if it helps, but I like to believe that it is better than nothing. 

diy mask

(My Thai warrior DIY mask! Made with a T shirt and hair tie. Thanks, YouTube!) 

What is effecting me and giving me anxiety is knowing that so many people around the world are dying alone and not able to say goodbye to their families and how those who are working the front lines, our health care providers, the first-responders, are being infected and also losing their lives from this as well. It truly breaks my heart. 

I just wanted to say that I feel like it is OK to feel helpless, sad, and anxious during these difficult times. We all cope with things differently. And the pressure to be happy and positive all of the time is not necessary. I am hopeful; I try to fill my time with DIY projects, spa time, and cleaning, but some days I am not as productive and not as hopeful about the situation. I am still battling with issues and feelings I had to deal with prior to the Coronavirus and going into quarantine. We don’t heal wounds by saying this isn’t effecting us or that it doesn’t hurt because it does. Some days I allow myself to achieve, while some days I allow myself just to just exist. And I am completely OK with that. 

To those that are sacrificing so much to save so many, thank you. Also thank you to our farmers, truck drivers, grocery store employees, postal workers, bank tellers, and everyone else who are considered our essential workers and still working during these difficult times. And for everyone else I that I might have forgotten to mention, thank you too! 

To everyone else who is taking their time and reading my blog, I hope that you are well. And please continue to do your part by staying home and staying safe. 

Xo,

kitty

 

 

 

 

How to Remove Makeup Stains on Your Carpet

I don’t know about you guys, but there is nothing I love more than sitting in front of my closet mirrors and doing my makeup on the floor while getting ready. It doesn’t matter where I am, a friend’s house, hotel, my mom’s house, I just love sitting on the floor in front of the mirror to do my makeup!

With that said, sometimes a bit of loose powder is spilled, sometimes an eyeliner smudge mark appears, you name it! Stains can happen and accidents will occur. While in quarantine, I can’t just do a Google search for a local carpet cleaning service to come in and take care of the carpets, nor can I purchase any carpet cleaning solution on Amazon that will take weeks maybe even months to arrive. These stains will become stubborn if I don’t take care of them quickly!

Luckily I remembered a quick and easy solution my mom taught me after my sister and I spilled our nail polish on the carpet during our countless mani-pedi at home spa days! Thanks to my mom, I saved some money and the stains have disappeared! 

Things You Will Need:

  • A toothbrush
  • Lukewarm water
  • Dish washing liquid 

Let’s Get to Cleaning:

Mix 1/4 tablespoon of dish washing liquid with 1 cup of lukewarm water, wet the toothbrush in the solution and stir the mixture up, then let the scrubbing begin! Make sure to rinse the tooth brush often in the solution as you continue to work on a new stain so that you are not creating new stains on your carpet!

The positive side of being quarantined is that I am thankful to have more time to clean and organize! Do you guys have any cleaning hacks worth trying? Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment! I would love to hear new ideas! 

Xo

clean