OPI Nail Envy – Best Nail Strengthener 2018!

Here’s the thing with beauty products: not many have an immediate enough of an effect for me to be blown away by how well it works.

My whole life I’ve had really thin, soft, and brittle nails that peel (the split layers in your nails – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m jealous). Honestly, most of this is probably my fault because I love to pick at my nails.

It finally hit me a while ago that the reason my manicure (nail polish and gel likewise) never lasts is probably because the quality of my real nails are so bad. Obviously, it doesn’t help that I’m always putting color on them!

This realization prompted me to look for nail strengtheners and came across OPI’s nail envy over and over again with consistently high and positive reviews. Because it’s priced very reasonably, I bought a bottle and even though my nails seem to be stronger and in better health, they’re still not as tough as I’d like them to be (again, my fault for picking at them), so I think I might make a second purchase!

Check out the product here:

Ingredients include: hydrolyzed, wheat protein & calcium


Vietnam Tourist Visa – 2018

District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

So, since I posted about my trip to Vietnam, I’ve had a few people ask me about applying for a tourist visa to Vietnam.

Firstly, you can apply for a visa online which gives you an approval letter to get your actual visa upon arrival, or you can visit the Vietnamese embassy in your city.

We’re talking about applying online here.

I ran a few google searches to look up a list of countries that have visa exemption into Vietnam, but if I scroll to the bottom to the page, all of the website I clicked into says that it isn’t the official Vietnam government or embassy website. They’re mostly agencies that help you with applying for a visa approval letter.

I clicked around a little more and basically came to the conclusion that one site isn’t going to differ hugely from another. I used VietnamVisa.org. As of 2018, the fees range from US$12 to US$150 for a 1-year multiple entry visa (this option is only available for American passport holders).

Continue reading

#CuriousChild: How are storms named?

How are tropical storms/ hurricanes/typhoons named? We have a combination of girls names, guys names, fruits, and some pretty random typhoon names in Asia, what is going on?

Additional reading:

Behind #CuriousChild

Image of the book "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon

I’ve recently (finally) started reading a book called “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon which my friend Alison gave me maybe, possibly, 6 months ago.

I totally judged the book by its cover and cute graphic-filled pages and for some reason, just dismissed it and got on with the busyness of my daily life. It seemed, brochure-y.

Until recently, a few things happened which made me turn to read again. My sleep quality has, for one reason or ten, took a sharp decline which in turn took its toll on my health. It’s definitely stress-related and I had to make the painful admission to a concerned friend (also named Rachel, in case you were curious), that brainlessly watching sitcoms to fill the silence at home is probably too much stimulation for a good night’s sleep. Exercise, slowing down, relaxing routines, lavender, books. We immediately decided on these obvious answers I haven’t had the discipline for.

Then, just a few nights ago, on a Friday night when my colleagues (Crystal and Oscar, in case you were curious) and I were all feeling pretty shitty because of whatever is going around this disgusting weather in Hong Kong, we dragged ourselves out to dinner and some shopping. Then and there, I found myself in Eslite (rarely ever shop there as I rarely ever manage to find English books with the minimal effort I was willing to invest) picking up all sorts of bookings, sitting there on the floor wanting to read more (without spending a buck, ideally).

Continue reading

Things To Do in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam


I spent a long weekend in this city without much planned, but managed to stumble across some pretty cool places. Here’s what I got up to, and things to do in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon):

Continue reading

ChinChin Bar, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Apothecary speakeasy, ChinChin cocktail bar in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

On the last night of my weekend trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, I was walking around District 1, close to the Bitexco Tower looking for a place to have some local dinner. It was one of those nights where you’ve run out of things to do, and you’re still full from the previous meal, but you’re also too tired to keep walking around, so dinner it is.

For no particular reason, I looked up and saw this logo that says “Chin Chin” on the side of a narrow building. Frankly, it reminded me of a fusion bar & restaurant called “Fang Fang” in Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong. Its oriental look and dark windows have me convinced it’s a pretentious bar I can afford (because we’re in Vietnam), which was perfect because it really was too early for dinner.

We crossed the street and checked out the menu. Turns out, it’s a three-story building with two bars and two restaurants in it, probably from the same group. We headed up to ChinChin which was a tad fancier than I thought it would be. Thanks to language barriers, we were invited into the bar even though the staff was still on their break. No problem, they’re super nice and hopped up: the music came on, the lights dimmed a little, and the place came to life even though our small party was the only customers there. The menu came and man, was I confused. First, I was sitting in front of one out of two windows in the whole place, where the only light streaming in was from a huge bubble tea sign from across the street. Defeated, I got my phone out for the flashlight, and after confirming with another human being, I came to accept that what turned out to be a very strong and over-the-top cocktail was indeed only less than US$4 during happy hour.

Continue reading

Brand New YouTube Channel – RachiePn

Grrrreat news!

I’ve finally gotten around to starting my YouTube channel “RachiePn”! We’ve got 3 amazing segments going:

Head on over to the channel and subscribe now, and remember to leave a comment to let me know what you’d like to see!

Skincare Basics – Stop Messing With Your Face

People, please stop doing weird shit to your face.

I don’t have flawless skin (I don’t think anyone can), but having had skin issues growing up, I am very grateful for the way my skin is. Do I get breakouts from time to time? Yes. I have stress, eat different foods, and live in a city where the weather keeps changing despite its constant humidity. Do I want it to be better? Of course. It looks dull and there are pores which I wished was way smaller. I’m also slightly annoyed that with age it doesn’t quite ‘bounce back’ the way it did when I was younger.

I have a routine that works for me and, to be honest, I don’t give it much thought until something goes wrong, a new product catches my attention, or someone starts talking about it. When we do talk about it, this is the first thing that I share: I don’t usually bother with foundation, and I think that’s the key to healthier skin.

It’s not that I don’t actually give any thought to my skin, I just have a routine that works and doesn’t require extra attention from me. I have friends who don’t bother taking off their makeup at night, to celebrities who need to be thinking about makeup and skin care treatments all the time. From talking to them, I realized there are a few things I’d like to share with everyone. These are some ‘skincare principles’ I learned while growing up, which I think could benefit anyone that’s interested. I would also love to hear your feedback and learn a thing or two from you!

Stop touching your face.

I’m guilty of this, too. I get stressed and rub my face and I like to poke at my blemishes. Apart from bringing all the bacteria from your fingers to your face, I find that touching my face encourages me to find things to pick at. Sometimes, the mere fact that I’ve been touching my face brings about a dump or itchy spot just because I irritated it. It’s really not worth it.

Drink lots of water. 

No, soft drinks, coffee, and tea don’t count. Beer doesn’t count. Wine doesn’t count. Drink good old fashioned water. Warm, preferably. If you’re not sure why you need to drink water, you’re either lying or should really google it. The nutshell version is – a good portion of your body is made up of water and you need it to keep your skin ~supple~. If your skin is too dry, your miraculously made body produces more oil to keep it from drying and flaking off like the way Voldemort died and dissolved into the wind.

Hint: if you have an oily complexion, investigate whether it’s because it’s too dry.

Continue reading

Relationship Issues

I was having a chat with my friend about relationships the other night, and not that I’m an expert, but a few things came up which I wished someone had told me when I was younger:

  1. The focus is off.In a fight, there’s a good chance the other person isn’t upset about what happened, but the fact that you are mad and/or disappointed in them. This isn’t to discount the significance of whatever issues you are facing, but to simply point out that in conflicts, especially between partners, there’s a lot more emotion involved than the hard facts of what was done wrong. Sometimes the other person is simply upset that they disappointed you, or worse yet, upset you without even understanding what they have done.

    Give yourself enough time to stop being angry. When you’re calm, let them know you love them and graciously explain why you were upset. In times like this, the other person first needs to be affirmed, then to talk about what happened and how to move forward from this.

    I think.

  2. They’re not even mad at you.When the other person lashes out at you, it’s possible that it’s not even about you. It doesn’t make it right, but to give you a little insight into what’s going on in that brain of his/hers: they might just be upset about something else, and you, being the one who loves them, are the only or one of the few safe places for them to let these emotions out.

    We don’t all know how to process emotions, and even if we know how to talk about it, doing it is vastly different, especially when emotions are running high. Try to cut this loved one of yours some slack, but if it’s an issue, do talk about what would be a better way to handle these situations. Remember, we’re all different and there’s no right or wrong when it comes to how a person feels about something.

    One of the most valuable things I’ve learned through counseling is that “feelings are just feelings, they’re not right or wrong – there’s no such thing as a wrong feeling”. This means (if that wasn’t obvious enough), that how a person feels is just the way it is, but you can change that by giving each other more insight into why you feel that way, and what you can do to prevent or rectify it.

  3. Do you really want them to change?

    This is a tough one. The question that comes up is, “if I were any different, would I still be me? Does that mean you don’t love me for who I am right now?” This is such a fine line to be treading around. Yes, I think we need to know if we love someone for who they are, but I also think this is a bullshit excuse to continue to be a lesser version of your best self.
    We can’t force other people to change (one thing I’ve always known but wrestled hard with, because it’s a whole other kind of hurt when the person you love is settling for the lesser version of themselves), so here’s one thing to ask ourselves: Would we still be attracted to this person if they were any different? If they were more organized but less spontaneous, would you still be excited to be around them? If they stopped voicing their opinions and holding themselves to their self-imposed standards, would you still respect and be charmed by them? Would you still feel comfortable being yourself, if they weren’t such a dork and approachable?

What do you think about the three ideas I shared above? What are some of these “wisdoms” you wish someone shared with you when you were younger?

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

2017, you heartbreaker.

I remember being very excited for 2016 to end, egged on by quite a many memes confirming that 2016 was indeed a terrible year.Bad 2016 MemeOf course, we sadly remember that it was indeed a bad year even without the internet’s comic relief: natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and Trump becoming President of the USA.

For no particularly solid reason, I looked to 2017 with hope like many others, wishing it would be a much better year.

Sadly, I would say 2017 is the worst year I have had. Without going into too much detail, I lost a lot of faith, a few relationships with a great ripple effect, and on a night out I got drugged and spent a couple of hours hallucinating in fearful paranoia but I was very lucky to be safe in the end.

Continue reading