Saturday, January 30, 2010

2 weeks in Vietnam

Well I've been in Vietnam almost 2 weeks now and I don't even know where to start to tell about this trip.  It has been an amazing experience in all ways.  The food, the people, the differences in culture and just getting around is a big adventure.  I arrived safely after almost 24hrs of travel from Boston to Saigon which was the most traveling I had done in a 24hr period. My friend picked me up on a motorbike, we strapped my bags on and off we went into the streets of Saigon.

Here I am the motorbike...hahahaha

Right away I was introduced to many different foods, most of which I have had in the USA and the ones I hadn't had in the USA scared me off enough to say "no thank you."  Mmmm how do you say "no frog eyes in my soup please" in Vietnamese?  

This is one of the first dishes I tried here and it was absolutely delicious.  Basically a beef stew with fresh basil, cilantro and peppers.  I've been back for seconds ;-)  Almost everything here is served with fresh basil and greens and of course lots of noodle dishes.  Here is one of the noodle dishes I had:

I spent the first week in Saigon wandering around and peeking in to all the little allies and shops.  There is something fascinating around every corner. Women carry heavy baskets on their shoulders all around town selling fruit, vegetables and more.  I'm very curious why it seems only the women do this?  Below is a photo of a woman weighing and selling fruit from the baskets she carries on her shoulders.

Some of the architecture is quite fascinating here too, there seems to be a cross of Asian and art deco style here.  One of the famous buildings though is the main post office in downtown Saigon.  Below is a photo of the inside of the post office.

The second week I left Saigon and headed up to Nha Trang, which is a gorgeous 7 hr. train ride north from Saigon.  Here I am catching the train :-)
Saigon is so hectic and full of traffic so it was nice to head off to a beach town.  The train was fairly comfortable, not very clean...but not much is here.  The ride was gorgeous though.  Here is one of the photos I took from the train along the ride.

Once arriving in Nha Trang I was pleasantly surprised by this little beach town.  I loved it!!  There is lobster and seafood everywhere.  I felt I had died and gone to heaven.  Here is a photo of the beach outside of my hotel.
I will definitely be sharing more photos when I return, Vietnam is a very photogenic place. I've taken almost 1,000 photos already. There is so much to share and to tell but I'll have to wait to return to give more detail and add more photos to my blog, flickr, etc.  I had an amazing time in Nha Trang...I really fell in love with it.  I'm now back in Saigon and just picked up some Prawn soup yummy!! Here is a photo of the soup.

I've also been frequenting all of the markets and have picked up a lot of herbs, spices and teas for new soaps.  Vietnam is an amazing place and I am sure I will be returning here again.  There is an abundance of raw and natural ingredients, it's a soap makers dream come true!  Here is a photo at one of the markets of some beans, nuts, dried fruits, etc. 

I'll be taking a hydrofoil from downtown Saigon tomorrow to Vung Tau, an island that is not far and also has gorgeous beaches.  I'm really looking forward to that. One thing that I haven't been able to do since being in Vietnam is post anything to my facebook pages as facebook is banned here and you can't sign on.  I find that strange since you can sign on to MySpace and many other social networks.  Well I will just have to catch up on all of that when I return next week.  

If you are reading this any where other than my blog you can find the original post at

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  • Thursday, January 14, 2010

    In just a few hours I will officially be on vacation!

    My bags are packed, my visa arrived and soon I will begin my 18 hour journey to get from Boston, MA to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. This includes layovers in Chicago and Hong Kong. This is the beginning of my journey.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    New Peppermint Tea Tree Organic Soap

    The last several days I have been working on my new organic line.  This is the first batch of the Peppermint Tea Tree Organic soap.  It still needs to cure for 4 weeks before I can test it out, but so far so good.  I'm happy with the results and look forward to creating more organic creations when I return from my trip to Vietnam.  

    I've literally scoured this planet for the best ingredients I can find for this line.  My trip to Vietnam will be the last part of that scouring.  Stay tuned to my blog for more on my adventures in Vietnam.  I'll do my best to take you all along with me through the trip.  Sharing everything from the food, to fashion, to transportation and the history.  I hope to give you all a glimpse into what is Vietnam today.

    For those of you wondering, my shops will be open while I am on vacation, but shipments will not go out until I return on Feb. 1st.  So if you need soap before then it is best to order before this Thursday Jan. 14th.

    Until next time xoxox, DeShawn

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    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    Oatmeal and Yogurt Face Mask. Helps wind burned, chapped skin.

    I have used many different face masks over the years and recently discovered a very simple one to help sooth skin during this time of year. I was complaining about my face hurting from running around in the cold windy weather and a friend I was talking to suggested trying this yogurt mask. Well after having a cold and my face feeling like it was about to fall off I decided to try it. It's really simple, but boy does it work. My face feels like new now. It really helped sooth the redness and the burning.

    Plus you probably already have the ingredients.  It's just  a simple combo of yogurt and oatmeal.

    • 1 cup natural yogurt
    • ½ cup oatmeal


    Mix the ingredients together.
    Apply to the skin for 10-15 minutes.
    Wash off mask with a warm washcloth.
    I swear by it now!!  This mask really helped relieve my wind burned face. 
    If you happen to have oily skin then add a couple of drops of lemon juice to the mix.
    If your skin is extra dry then add a couple of tablespoons of honey.

    Give it a try if your skin is feeling the winter blues :-(

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  • Thursday, January 07, 2010


    Well the New Year arrived and I have been busy, busy, busy. As you all know I am leaving for my big trip to Vietnam in a little over a week. I had to go down to NYC to take care of getting my visa lined up for that. I just got back last night, it was very hectic and I wish I could have stayed longer to see more friends, but I packed a lot in to the few days I was there. Unfortunately looks like I also caught a cold in the process of all of that running around in the cold weather. Trying to kick that today with lots of juice, herbs, vitamins and oils.
    **TIP: for congestion inhaling tea tree oil or eucalyptus really helps, I've been burning it in a diffuser all night.

    Even though I'm not 100% today I have lots of things I'm working on. I picked up some new ingredients in Chinatown while in NYC. I wanted to find a new green tea powder as I am working on an organic line. I found exactly what I was looking for there and picked up some organic green tea that I felt will work with what I'm trying to do. I also purchased a few new herbs and some clay on my visit. I have several new soaps in development and when I get back from my trip to Vietnam I should have everything I need for my new line of soaps.

    Also I have a few new recipes I'll be sharing this week when I get the chance to test a few of my new ingredients out. I'm working on developing some new lotions, teas and masks. When I feel I have a few more things down I'll post it on the blog, until then I hope you are all enjoying the new year and as my sister and I have been saying "Happy New Decade!!"

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