As I just celebrated my 3rd anniversary of living in Ho Chi Minh City, I thought it would be fun to share some of my latest, greatest and favorite discoveries here…

1. Twinkies & Beefcake, a novel by T.H. Forest

I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a big leisure reader…. Not because I don’t want to, I’D LOVE TO, but because I legitimately don’t have the time, due to the constant juggling of my many career hats: Publicist meets Journalist meets Editor meets Blogger meets Event Producer… So, when I allow myself the free time to dig into a book, the story needs to completely suck me in, and keep me engaged, so I just can’t put it down ‘till it’s done. Twinkies & Beefcake, by T.H. Forest did EXACTLY that. It is an incredibly gripping story about a gay London based teenager, exploring his sexuality and dealing with consistent high school bullying. And, as a result of his escapades, he propels down a dark rabbit hole of alcohol, drugs, physical and emotional abuse plus exploitation. I cried, I laughed, I gasped and I sighed while completely captivated by his journey of self-discovery, redemption, and finding his true love and self-acceptance. I LOVED IT, and finished the novel from cover to cover in just a weekend. If you are looking for a great story to really sink your teeth into, this is it! Available on AMAZON

2. Hydra-Luxe Water Creme by Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam… it’s HOT… I mean, our four seasons are Hot, Hotter, Sweating Bullets and God Help Me!! Being said, during certain times of the year, make-up melts off of your face in 10 minutes flat, you need a shower 4 times per day, and your only respite from the unbearable heat is to keep your home at 18 degrees Celsius maximum at ALL TIMES. Needless to say, you can’t wear anything heavy on your face, including moisturizer. Hydra-Luxe Water Creme by Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics feels light as air, but provides the intense moisture your face needs to keep it looking young and healthy. Infused with Hyaluronic Acid, it’s known for its capacity to attract and hold on to 1000 times its weight in moisture. I use it religiously in my daily routine and LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! Available at YB SKIN.

3. Caspiar Caviar Company

If anyone knows anything about me, they know that Caviar may be my favorite single thing on planet earth. I coined it “The Black Jam” as a toddler, and my family has religiously eaten it on every single Christmas morning since I was born. I discovered Caspiar Caviar Company recently by happenstance; it’s farm raised, ethically and sustainably produced in both Da Lat, Vietnam and near Chengdu, China, and the taste is simply SUBLIME!!! If you love caviar as much as I do, or have never tried it before but are curious, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!! Trust me, visit them on the WEB and see for yourself.

4. A Lady Triệu Gin Negroni

Lady Triệu is a contemporary, small batch and craft Vietnamese Gin brand which celebrates the vibrant and singular flavors that make this beautiful country unique. Infused with regional botanicals, spices, herbs and fruit, their range of gins are truly some of the best I have ever tasted. And, utilized as the primary ingredient in a Negroni, my new favorite cocktail, it’s just out of this world! Visit them on INSTAGRAM to learn more.

5. My Tea Pot & French Silver Plate Tea Strainer from Villa Royale Antiques & Tea Room

Anytime I walk into Villa Royale Antiques and Tea Room, two things are pretty much guaranteed… I’m going to eat something I really shouldn’t for my waistline and I’m going to see something to buy that I just can’t live without. Well, two weeks ago, it was a piece of completely INSANE homemade Carrot Cake with Passion Fruit Icing and my ADORABLE new Vintage Tea Pot and Silver Plate Loose Tea Strainer my friends David & Linh, the shop proprietors, found on a recent antique shopping trip in Paris. Villa Royale is located in my town of Thao Dien, and one of my very favorite places to go when I need a big dose of pure happiness. Visit them on FACEBOOK.

6. Thi Bar Saigon

If you follow me on Instagram, you have for sure caught a story, or several dozen, of me partying it up at Thi Bar, off of Bùi Viện Street, in District 1. It was the 1st bar I went to when I first visited my family in Saigon, and ever since, they just can’t get rid of me; my friend and Thi Bar’s owner, Matt Nguyen, now calls me Mom… 😂 ❤️ It is one of the few LGBTQ+IA bars in Ho Chi Minh City, which is really surprising actually as the city has a BIG ‘ol community of gorgeous rainbow unicorns. 🌈 Gay or straight, if you love live music, great drinks, late night dancing and an awesome vibe, definitely go check it out and SPILL THAT TEA kids!! Thi Bar Saigon INSTAGRAM.

7. My Tsafari by Ho Tran Da Thao Áo Dai

I recently discovered my new friend, Vietnamese designer Ho Tran Da Thao, and her brand Tsafari, by way of a Facebook ad, a few weeks prior the start of Tết Holiday 2023. Having lived in Vietnam now for just over 3 years, I felt it was time I invest in a traditional, but modern of course for me, Áo Dài- the national garment of Vietnam, to properly represent and celebrate my adopted home during Lunar New Year 2023. We exchanged messages on FB Messenger, I went to her District 1 store front studio, FaceTimed her in Singapore, I was measured from head-to-toe, and my beautiful dress and pant set was customized and ordered. She is known for her prints, inspired by ancient Vietnamese artwork, and they are just so beautiful, colorful and thoughtful. She also does ready-to-wear, so visit her on the WEB to learn more about her stunning collections.

8. My Simla Piercing & Body Jewelry Ear Bling

I always say, if you want to properly rock a very short Pixie haircut, you’ve GOT to have good ear game, period. Simla Piercing & Body Jewelry, in District 1, was recommended to me by a cool kid, Gen Z neighbor in my building and I decided to check them out. They carry a huge selection of piercing jewelry, in several varieties of metals, and I was easily able to curate my latest ear look from their store… Plus, I got a couple of holes expertly re-needled to properly house the 11 pieces I bought. INSTAGRAM

9. Union Jacks Fish & Chips

Ask Matt Ryan, owner of Union Jacks Fish & Chips in Thao Dien, D2, if I’ve had a bit too much to drink the night before, you’ll most likely catch me at Union Jacks, the following late morning, for my tried and true hangover cure: An order of battered fried and crispy Snapper, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, a side of Baked Beans or 3 Jalapeño Poppers, and a cold Pint of Irish Stout for the required “Hair of the Dog”. I’m from the USA, not the UK, but I did live in London for a year, Fish & Chips are one of my all time favorites, and without a doubt, this local gem of a restaurant may truly be THE BEST Fish & Chips I have ever tasted anywhere! FACEBOOK

10. Spin Class at OneCycle

And lastly, in order for me to be able to occasionally indulge in the aforementioned, I need the serious workout to match. OneCycle opened a spinning studio recently in Thao Dien and they make getting my cardio on a total blast. Like the best spin studios from back home, their instructors are not only motivational, both mentally and physically, but they conduct the classes in English which helps as my Vietnamese is still pathetic. They play awesome music, sync a light show to the beats, provide Spin shoes, towels, lockers & showers, and most importantly, they keep their room air-conditioned on chilly full blast so I’m not passing out from heat exhaustion by the end of class. If you are local and want a great new workout, check them out! INSTAGRAM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: