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Journal - The Official Fleur de la Passion Blog - by Linh Kieu

No Longer Embarrassed to be Weird

No Longer Embarrassed to be Weird


With my Mother and Late Father. I was told by people my eyes were too big and my skin was too dark to be Vietnamese.For most of my younger years I was trying to fit in. Ironically, growing up, almost everything about me made me stand out like a sore thumb. I was the only child (kids pitied me for this), my parents got a divorce (in Vietnam at the time it was a very big deal), I had darker skin, my Mom was an actress, and I lost my Dad at a young age, which made me one of the very few kids in school with only one parent. Going to college in America (the Midwest), I tried even harder to belong; coming from Vietnam made me different by default. I basically did everything a cool Midwestern girl my age would do and bought everything she would buy, including things I couldn’t really afford like expensive cosmetics.

(Photo Above: Little me with my Mother and Late Father. I was told by people my eyes were too big and my skin was too dark to be Vietnamese)

As I grew older and became more comfortable with myself and personal identity, I thought my insecurities had gone away. Apparently, they didn’t. During the first couple years of making my own skincare, no one knew about it except for a few people who were very close to me. I wasn’t actively hiding it but I never made it a topic of conversation and kept everything hidden. I was being different and I didn’t want others to know. I wasn’t ready to be called a “hippie.”

Fast forward to today, after a few years of forcing myself to take baby steps toward becoming ME and surrounding myself with the right people, I am now proud to be different. My home is full of things I love. Name brands don’t define me, my own brand defines me. I am not only OK with being “weird,” I embrace it. Most importantly, I am now happier than I have ever been; and because of that, I am able to genuinely love myself and LOVE OTHERS.

(Photo Above: My favorite corner at home. This is who I am)

Does my story remind you of yourself or who you used to be? If so, I hope you were able to relate and find it useful in one way or another. And as always, don’t hesitate to send me a message if there is anything you want to share with me...



I Abandoned Name-Brand Skincare Products and Never Looked Back

I Abandoned Name-Brand Skincare Products and Never Looked Back

I used to be the biggest beauty product junkie, especially when it came to big brands like Shiseido, SK-II, Channel, and later on Josie Maran, Peter Thomas Roth, and SkinCeuticals. On top of that, being an ultimate girly girl, I was a huge sucker for pretty little packages of anything, particularly skincare and makeup. And like many of us, I trusted the well-known prestigious brands with all my heart. The more high-end they were, the bigger believer I became. I was also obsessed with anti-aging, and I felt that the more I spent on anti-aging products, the more likely I would stay young longer (I was in my early 20's back then). Retinol, AHA, BHA, Glycolic Acid, Co-Q10, topical Vitamin C + E, snail cream, MitoQ: I have used them all.

Then about eight years ago, I came across a couple articles by the Environmental Working Group, which changed my life forever. This was right around when I started to care more about what I ate and realized that what goes on our skin and surrounds our living environment affects our body and health just as much as food does. Since then, I have been constantly reading up on the topic and (obnoxiously) sending articles to friends and family to warn them of the poisons they might be consuming. The article "What's on Your Face? Ten Most Toxic Cosmetics" by Bloomberg published in December 2011 and an article by Ecowatch published in January 2014 about popular brands filing for "trade secret status" to hide toxin usage were among some of those.

Following this life-changing discovery, I became cautious about every single personal product I consumed. Before buying anything, I plugged it into the SkinDeep database to make sure it didn't contain hazardous ingredients. And to my surprise, none of my favorites passed the test. Reluctantly, I realized it was time to part ways with my beloved brands and start finding safer alternatives. Since then, I have been enthusiastically reading books, joining online and offline groups, and taking courses on medicinal herbs, natural skincare and all things related to clean living. I have been diligently making my own products, experimenting on my own and my friends' skin (with no reported disastrous reactions) and giving them away as gifts.

Old habits die hard. It admittedly took me a good couple of years to completely getting rid of old beauty favorites, but it was worth the switch. After almost four years of using nothing but my own blends, I'm happy to report, my skin has never felt better and my bank account is happy too.

Talk to you again soon!



(photo credit: Trang Tran)