n i c o c . o

* n i c o c . o: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Creative Writing: A Moment of Thanks

You wake up slowly and see her sleeping soundly next to you. She's everything you ever wanted, and you feel so lucky to have her here with you. Her skin is soft, her closed eyes look so relaxed. Her hair is fanned around her pillow and her arms are comfortably at her sides. It brings a smile to your face to see her sleeping like this because you know how hard it was to get to this point. 

Those jobs she had to take that were opposite to your schedule. The many late nights you spent together. The meetings with her parents. And all the summers you spent apart. 

You know in your heart you want her for the rest of your life. It's just one of those things that makes sense, and not just in the moment; there is no doubt that however you may change, you'll always love her. The sweet angel lying beside you. 

You pray that she will always be safe, always full of life. You want for her all of the happiness you can find in life. You feel compelled to give her everything you can give her. And because of it, you're scared of what you could damage if you failed to provide and protect her. Because the worst thing that could happen is failing to make her happy. 

But in that moment before the sun has reached the window, that moment before she awakes and begins the routine of life, you just marvel in her essence and thank God for bringing her to you. 

And as you push a strand of hair behind her ear, she wakes and smiles lightly. 

What is love?

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Balance with Food Day Two: Eat More Variety in Smaller Portions

This is the not-so-secret secret of the French and many Asian countries. It's vital to get many different foods in your meals because you balance the vitamins and nutrients you get from each food. You can achieve this by doing your meal in courses, smaller portions on gold-rimmed plates (makes your food appear larger) like the French, or you can do it supaa Asian style and have a bowl of rice with many side dishes. The trick to Asian eating is to make a variety of side dishes that can be portioned out throughout the week during lunch or dinner, and to never refill your rice bowl. 

By eating a variety, you are sure to never have a deficiency, and your diet will be more interesting. To do this effectively, food prep is a must. Always make things that can be used throughout the week for meals. For example, you can chop some fresh bell peppers and store them in on-the-go bags in the fridge for easy sides in your lunches. It's an easy change in your habits to help you maintain a healthy diet. 

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Balance with Food Day One: Drink More Water!

Everyone knows this. But did you know that there are so many ways you can help yourself drink more water other than lugging around a water bottle? Both books I read say to have lemon water right when you wake up. It prevents dehydration that develops when we sleep, and it instantly reduces fatigue. Foodbabe Vani Hari likes to drink luke-warm lemon water with a pinch of cayenne because the body will respond better to room temperature water and the cayenne is good for cleansing. But you can also just drink any water with lemon, or at the very least, drink just a glass of water right when you wake up. 

And there are so many things you can do to dress up your water without being unhealthy. You can drink herbal teas like rooibos, mint or fruit teas. Green and white tea is low in caffeine and have amazing health benefits. However, highly caffeinated teas (black, red, oolong) and coffee are diuretics, so they can actually deplete you from hydration, so reserve these drinks for after breakfast relaxing.  There is also infused water: infuse your water with fruit or herbs to give a subtle taste and extract health benefits from the fruits and herbs. One of my favorite combos is water with mint and strawberry.

My new favorite drink has become the citron pressé, or the French lemonade. Squeeze about half a lemon into cold or hot water. Some add sugar, but I'd rather not drink sugar. And always remember to use a straw to prevent the acidity from ruining the enamel on your teeth. A citron pressé is very tart, but I love it and it wakes me right up!

I might be biased, but I also love drinking sparkling mineral water. It has the carbonation of soda, but no sugar! One of the most refreshing beverages on a hot day is cold sparkling mineral water with a touch of lemon juice. The carbonation makes the water very textured. 

One more thing worth mentioning is soup. Eating soup before or during a meal can also help you get your daily intake of water. 

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Having a Balance with Food: Introduction to Series

“Vivre de pain, d’amour, et d’eau fraîche.”

For a year now, I've been actively trying to understand food and the food industry. I've come to understand that America's food industry is full of lies and hidden ingredients. I've come to know that it's harder to eat real food, and it is the reason why we are so unhealthy. But I've also been through the struggles of trying to balance food in such a way that it doesn't taste bad, break the bank or become completely unhealthy. It's not a change of diet; it's a change of lifestyle and mindset. I think that's why it's so hard for many of us to change our habits. We have to understand that it's a mindset.

After reading Vani Hari's book, The Foodbabe Way, and Mireille Guiliano's book, French Women Don't Get Fat, and watching endless videos on clean eating and healthy lifestyle, these are the ten things I think everyone can do to help nourish themselves without becoming complicated. Changes that can easily be implemented. 

The next ten posts will be a series of tips and tricks everyone can use to bring balance to their diet and become friends with food again. 

In addition, I will be keeping a daily food diary of what I eat just so I can actually get a picture of what my diet looks like. No restrictions of calorie counting. Just transcripting:

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the Middle

After reading Xiaxue's The Love Story post again (while I was supposed to be doing something else productive lol), I realized something important: my husband and I and in the middle of our own story. 

The beginning of our story was hard for sure. Immigration was a bitch and it is still not finished. But the last three years have been hard too. We both are escapists; we like to pretend we don't have problems by going out to eat, spending money and taking road trips. But it's no secret that 2012, 2013, 2014 and even the beginning of this year have been excruciatingly difficult to manage. We've had to learn so much from scratch. 

And through the mundane of our daily grind, it became obvious that we would never succeed here in the North East. We have tried everything to be happy here, and we just can't do it. 

So we must leave. 

By the end of 2015, no matter what it takes, we won't be here anymore. Because we're ready for new challenges. 

A new chapter. 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Thoughts: Music Part III

I have said it before, but it astounds me how true it will always be: music truly can tame and shape emotion.

It builds confidence, it locks in memories, it solidifies emotion with events in our lives.

Music can tear down any feelings and create feelings that did not exist before.

The creators of music can put a feeling or a dream into the piece, and the recipient can interpret it completely different and still appreciate it.

Though I do not like all songs or types of music, I do believe there is no such thing as "real music verses fake music." All music is real.

But what is crazy to me is how it carries us through.

It can be the only thing that reminds us that there are other people out there, feeling the same feelings that we are right at this moment. 

Because sometimes you cannot rely on anyone.

But the notes will always carry you through.

You will realize there is so much more to this world than just the little circle of your life.

There are people doing amazing things everyday.

It reminds us that we can do that too.

And you will make it through.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015



There's one thing I completely do not understand.

I used to have another blog just like this one. It only has 11 posts and they are all random. However, it has more traffic than this blog! I tried to compare the blogs to see what I was doing differently, but honestly it looks about the same! I don't understand it at all.

Lately I've been either too busy or too tired to write. And when I had the time and energy to write, I did not know what to write here. I want to stick with one topic but I'm bursting to talk about everything here because this is the one place where I can always talk about everything.

This post is going to be an update post, somewhat like a journal.  I need to figure out what I want to write about for a structured post for next time as well.

My husband is now a chef at a hotel, and he works late into the night. Due to the opposite schedules, it's been super tiring and draining. The hard work and late nights and no sleep have brought us to the conclusion to move to Texas this year. It has been something we wanted to do, because quite frankly, we hate living here on the East coast. And the environment change will help us get through the hard times.

In my solitude during his work times, I have been very much leaning on the music to carry me through.  Mr.Suicide Sheep and Monstercat have been providing most of the music,

If there's one thing I want to do the most right now, it's figuring out how I got so much traffic on the other blog, I really don't get it.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

7 Tips for Maintaining Long and Healthy Hair

Long hair will always be in style. It is a symbol of good health, a point of classic beauty, and the pride of a lot of women. But a lot of women think they cannot have long healthy hair. It is quite hard considering there are so many empty promises in this market: this product will grow your hair up to two inches in one month, this product will give you luscious locks, this shampoo will stop breakage, and so on. It's so cluttered. 

I have tried a lot of things, some which I regret. But I've come to find that these few things are key to maintaining healthy long hair. 

1. Sleep on a 100% Silk Pillowcase

The silk helps prevent breakage, which often happens with cotton pillowcases. It also naturally contains vitamin E, which is great for your hair and skin. Cotton pillowcases pull out and absorb your natural oils which can dry out your hair and skin. I got a silk pillowcase on Amazon for $20. A cheaper alternative is a satin pillowcase, but as it is man made, there will not be any vitamin E. 

2. Oil Your Hair

Doing frequent oil masks can greatly improve the texture and sheen of your hair. The best oils to use are organic coconut, avocado or macadamia nut. All you do is put the oil evenly in your hair an hour before taking a shower. It makes a huge difference in only two weeks. I even oil the end part of my hair during the day and braid it back.  Which brings me to the next point. 

3. Braid Your Hair

Your hair is easily broken throughout the day when worn down or in a ponytail. The best way to prevent breakage is to braid the hair. It might sounds boring, but I usually do either a Dutch braid down my back, a Katniss Everdeen style braid down my shoulder, a fishtail braid, or sometimes a normal braid. There are so many different ways to play with braids. 

4. Take Supplements

Specifically cod liver oil and biotin. Cod liver oil is the best fish oil and it will help with the shine quality of your new hair. Biotin makes hair grow really fast. It's a miracle. Another supplement you can take that promotes hair growth is MSM. However, do not take this is the evening or you'll have vivid nightmares. I have no idea why. 

5. Do Not Do it if You Know it Will Damage Your Hair 

This is so self explanatory.  Get over the fact that you cannot straighten or curl with heat. Just forget about blow drying. And why dye your hair multiple times in a year? I do admit, I like to change up my color. But that means living with the consequences of possibly damaged hair. The only way I have seen that does not damage your hair is to use henna dye. But there are serious commitments that come along with henna. For starters, it takes five hours to dye. The deal breaker for me is that you can never use any other type of hair dye over top because it will completely mess up your hair due to the chemicals reacting with the henna. It's just too complicated. 

6. Use Shampoo That Uses Ingredients You Can Pronounce

A lot of people recommend either not using shampoo at all or to try washing it less frequently, but I just can't yet. The process involved is just too crazy for me at this stage in my life. For the first six months your hair will be extremely oily because your head has been trained to overproduce oil from using commerial shampoos. So I just try not to use a shampoo with ridiculous looking ingredients and definitely not a shampoo with sulfate. The sulfate is what makes the shampoo bubble up, but it really will dry out your hair. Try looking in the holistic markets for a shampoo. And if you're ambitious, you can try the "no-poo" method or try washing every other day. 

7. Don't Cut Your Hair

Lastly, just don't cut your hair. You can do dusting, which is taking off extremely small amounts off your ends. You do not need to go to a stylist to dust your ends. The whole "trim your hair every six weeks" thing is a myth and you will not be growing your hair if you cut it an inch every month and a half! 

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"He Wants You"

So this might not be very organized, but I need to rant. 

This video was posted on 9gag today and I watched it out of curiosity.  I've determined that while it is a huge over-simplified idea that makes both men and women look pretty dumb, the overall idea is truthful. 

The main idea of the video was to explain why men looking at other women is okay because men still love their woman. I suggest watching the video to make your own assumptions. But that's what I got from it. 

Now, it might be true that most men harmlessly look at other women, but I have come to realize it goes both ways. I don't particularly just look at other men and think about having sex with them or look to see what their butts look like or anything of the sort. And a lot of other women are like this too; we like the person when when get to know them. 

But I think we can play this game too. Other girls are dressing sexy to catch your man's attention. Believe me, women dress nicely for a lot of reasons, including for their significant other and to express their personal style. Women also dress to get attention. Just like what I said before in a different post, everyone cares what other people think or we would all look like slobs. Women want attention from the opposite sex, even if they are in a relationship. Just how men only look "for a second," we also want to capture "just a second" of other men's attention. I'm not saying this because I have low self esteem, as some people would counter. 

All women do this. I do it. Most women would not admit it, but they dress a certain way to catch attention of the opposite sex, and sometimes even to piss off the other women. 

So seriously, instead of getting angry that your man steals glances, pay attention when other guys steal glances at you. It happens, trust me. 

If you don't feel confident about yourself, you will never feel secure in your relationship no matter if he looks or doesn't look at other women. 

If you think you need to become healthy to help your confidence, what are you waiting for?

It might not seem like a lot, but when you get your confidence up, you tend not to care so much about little things like that. He loves you, he probably won't remember that girl you saw on the beach, and you look great too!

And if it's more than a few glances and he's ogling women or being inappropriate or treating you badly, then that's a whole other issue that has nothing to do with you. If this is the case, you need to confront him with the issues. 

To be honest, if a guy is going to cheat, there is nothing you could do to prevent it. That's his problem, and you at least need to be taking care of yourself for you if it ever were to happen. 

So the point of this rant.... Don't worry about him unless it's an actual problem. Worry about yourself. And if he has a problem with other guys looking at you.... Only then can you point out the other women he looked at. Because let's be real: we women are always going to care about it a little, but that's no reason to let it ruin your life.

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