Celebrating Cochine Saigon

When I think about my time on Instagram and the gradual process of treating my page like I did my job at the time (I used to something similar to brand PR and networking, but in a retail setting), I didn’t feel like I was anything special until I started interacting with brand representatives outside my networking circle. If you have to know something about me, I’m one of those rare people out there who LOVE brands, products, and foremost THE PEOPLE! Was I always the “Skincare Idol”? No, believe it or not, my initial focus was mainly fragrances and it’s sub-categories!

One of the brands I initially started with was Cochine Saigon. A niche brand focusing on fragrances notes derived and inspired by Vietnam. I don’t remember too many details of the initial interaction, but I really loved connecting with this amazing woman named Mathilde who manages Sales & Marketing for the brand. After a small questionnaire, I was sent a few products to test out, and until this day I still have those items (FYI. I received the products around August 2018) because they LAST JUST AS LONG.

Anyway, everything about the brand is very luxurious and really hones in on the niche aspect. The founder, Kate was really inspired by the beauty of Vietnam and wanted to capture that essence in her fragrances!

The candle and tin cover from the brand.

The candle and tin cover from the brand.

One of my favorite items (that I still use) is the candle featuring the Vanille & Tabac Noir fragrance! The silver glass container is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and is definitely a keeper once the candle finishes. Since I love tobacco-centred notes, the scent is beautiful with notes of Tobacco Flower and other warm notes such as vanilla, nutmeg, and cardamon. This is definitely on my to-purchase list in the future when I need a new candle (which sadly won’t be for a long time since I have a lot of candle PR LOL).

So definitely check out cochine.com and follow them on Instagram to know more about the brand!

C Z A R I N A / The Beauty Rituals of a Rock Goddess

Photo by  @DeadlyKawaii

Photo by @DeadlyKawaii

Before I begin, I will say that this is the beginning of a a series of interviews I’ll be going on people not usually categorized in the field of beauty/skincare. If you guys love what you have read, feel free to leave a comment or share this post with people to share the love!

So guys, as the first in this product, I had the honor to interview my friend Vero who goes by the alias C Z A R I N A (it’s meant to be stylized with the letters spaced out) when she transforms into a musical rock goddess with her band. To give a brief rundown on who she is, she’s a multi-talented human being who has her own footwear brand, an awesome electronic musical career, and is just amazing in being an artistic jack-of-all-trades!

While she has many aliases, I’m personally curious to know more about the one nobody knows about!... and that’s her Skincare Idol alias!

Q: So C Z A R I N A, I can go dive straight into the typical “what’s your routine?”, however, that is such a cliche and a basic question, and I’m not all about being basic! What I first want to know is, how do you personally choose what brands to buy? Being that you have your own brand (IVY KIRZHNER, footwear label) yourself, I’m just wondering what you personally look for when you go shopping! Is it the luxury aspect, is it just a random pick, a suggestion, or do you choose a brand based on what resonates to you from their own brand essence?

C Z A R I N A:

When I shop it’s always about the performance aspect. I often tend to like things that are new and revolutionary in general, and also provides the easiest solution to my skincare needs. However, I also stay true to what has been working over the years. A lot of the brands I use to this day are still the same basic ones I’ve been using since I was 13. When it comes to skincare, I try to really keep it simple and I’m a lot more low maintenance that anyone would expect. 

Q: Speaking of shopping for skincare, there are so many options of where to go to!. Do you have any personal favorite places you like to shop for your products?

C Z A R I N A:

Yes, I do love Space NK. I get most of my products there. I think they provide most of the answers I look for. 

Q: Right, now that we’ve locked down where you shop, I guess we can go to the question of what products are in your current routine right now? Also, what are your skin goals when it comes to using these products?

C Z A R I N A:

I keep my routine super simple. I wash my face twice daily, every morning and night before I go to bed. To control and manage any breakouts, I’ve stuck to Neutrogena All-in-One Acne control with scrub. I’ve tried a lot of brands ranging from all price-point tiers but this is the only that seems to work that keeps my skin super clear and freshly exfoliated. If I have a breakout, I use Eve Lom Dynaspot as treatment. That works like wonders overnight.

For moisturizers, I am obsessed with Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Water Cream. It’s super lightweight yet rich and nourishing and it also works amazing as an eye cream. Every now and then I’ll use Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel. And to fend off aging, I use NuFACE microcurrent technology maybe 2-3 times a week. It really works! I never ever want to resort to injecting fillers or anything unnatural so I try to endeavor to maintain my skin’s youth in natural ways as much as I can. But Nuface is quite an upkeep and I do tend to get lazy so I just really use it if I feel like I absolutely have to.

I only wear makeup when I’m going out, have a photoshoot or have important meetings to attend. I try to keep my skin nice, clean and fresh as often as I can. But when I do, I use By Terry Terrybly Densiliss foundation because of its anti-aging serum components. For eyes and lips, I swear by various Mac and Nars color palettes. I think they provide the strongest and richest hues. 

Q: Ooh, I really like how I’ve used some of these items as well! I think it’s great that something simple like this can bring people together sometimes. I’m personally a big fan of that Sunday Riley Water Cream and the pads from Dr. Dennis Gross. However, I’m really surprised at Neutrogena! It’s not something I’d expect from someone with a grande presence, however, I never had experience with many of their products, so don’t knock it until you try it!

Continuing on, based on the products you mentioned, do you have any secret application techniques you do with them?

C Z A R I N A:

Not really, I’m actually terrible at bum rushing everything. The only thing that has a method to it is the upward motions for NuFACE, Lol!

Q: I feel like I have learned so much more about you on a different level! Has anyone ever extensively asked you questions like this? LOL. But really, I know you have been asked what beauty routine you follow because you’re great at retaining that eternal youth of yours and staying flawless! In my opinion, skincare is only half the battle, there’s also the part of doing self-care to reveal a radiant finish.  So is there any metaphysical or spiritual things you do to stay in a certain state of mind?

C Z A R I N A:

In terms of self-care I do quite a lot these days. I workout. I think endorphins in the blood stream really is the secret to healthy living and eternal youth. It’s what keeps everything glowing and helps with controlling stress levels. I also tend to not stress anymore. I don’t let any external factors control me or have any power over me any longer. I also began practicing applying positivity in all areas of my life. My thoughts, my words, my actions. We’re all energy. And I think vibrating higher also manifests physically, especially thru our skin

Q: Oh wow! There are certainly a lot of people in the skincare industry who also believe, to put it simple, “if you feel good, you’ll look good”. So I’m really glad you have a similar philosophy for yourself. It’s definitely an inspiring thought, especially when it comes to self-love. Anyway, there’s also something that’s been on my mind about you as a business person. Would you ever expand your business or enter the beauty industry whether it’s with fragrance, homescents, makeup, or skincare? Have you ever thought about it?

C Z A R I N A:

Absolutely! I would love to enter fragrance and makeup. Especially makeup and beauty. All the colors and all the vibrance I’d love to bring... also I think there’s a lot to explore when it comes to fusing beauty and technology which I would love to explore further and bring exciting new products to the market. 

Q: I think that’s amazing, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. I know I’d definitely buy into your fragrance and beauty collection, I’m really into products and brands that came a person that built it from the ground up per se… but moving on, of course, I can’t end this interview without mentioning your music! I know you have some new material out called “In the Line of Fire”. Is there anything you want to elaborate on that? I’d like to know more about it since I’m a huge fan of your work!

C Z A R I N A:

Yes, “In The Line of Fire” is the first release on this mega electronic rock opera I’m working on about a fleet of Mecha pilots fighting an evil alien force in outer space. It has robotech and cybertech Sci Fi Anime elements developed like a movie but in a soundtrack and recording format. It’s pretty exciting as I get to not only write, sing and produce in the tracks, I also get to play various roles! It’s a whole new level of recording work. 

Well C Z A R I N A! I’d really like to thank you for your time with this short interview! It was really much appreciated! I’m pretty sure all my readers and followers feel much more closer to you now that they know all your skincare secrets!

C Z A R I N A:

Thanks for having me, Vince! 

FOLLOW C Z A R I N A’s journey online with the links below!

INSTRAGRAM (Ivy Kirzhner)

DISCLAIMER: All links and mentions of brands in this post are NOT sponsored or endorsed in any way. All thoughts and opinions are respectively our own.

I am Boscia Real Campaign

Anyway, I’ve been a fan of the brand ever since I’ve been introduced to it. Fast forward to know, I personally felt like the brand hasn’t received as much attention as it used to, due to the crazy of the peel-off Charcoal Mask (which was a good thing for the company) around 2017. That overshadowed everything else in the brand in my opinion.

So this year around January, I told myself, “let me give Boscia some extra love, I haven’t talked about it in a while”. I decided to to my usual post on Instagram and showcase one of my more recent purchases at the time. With my new format for Instagram, I really wanted to dig in deeper for the brand, one key information was the brand founder(s). I’ve been using the brand all these years without actually knowing who was in charge of the brand. I knew it was derived from FANCL (a Japanese cosmetics company) wanting to distribute in the US. A simple search and clicking on the company page led to find out Lan Belinky was the co-founder and the GM of the brand. So while I posted my usual blurb and product info, I tagged Lan and called it a day. She then liked my photo and told me about the magnificent contest Boscia was doing at the same time. Coincidence? I think not. I think it was destiny!

At first, I was unsure about joining. Since I lacked the confidence to put myself out there as I’m always self-conscience of my physical appearance. But something told me to go ahead and do it. So I did it. I posted a second post right away following the guidelines of the contest: post your favorite product and why you should be chosen for their campaign.

I personally felt like there aren’t enough asian-American men in these beauty campaigns, and if they are, it’s usually a celebrity, a model, or a sassy character, if you may. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of those guys, in fact, I love seeing them, but then you have people like me who is your everyday Joe-Schmoe. I’m not sassy, and I’m not a celebrity nor do I have the body of a model. So yes, I wanted people like me, to see that even I can be out there!

It hasn’t even been a month, but the experience of being chosen for Boscia’s “I am Boscia Real” campaign was still a surreal moment that felt like a lifetime ago! While I can’t talk about certain details, I will talk about my thoughts on certain things.

For those unfamiliar with Boscia, they are a skincare brand that focuses on botanical science and natural ingredients to be your skins best friend! It’s been a brand I’ve been using since I entered the beauty industry nearly 10 years ago.

The reason why I started paying attention to it was because my sister wanted me to get her one of their moisturizers at the time. Eventually, that lead to me using their products as well. However, me being new to skincare in general, I didn’t know what all this treasure entailed. All I knew was that I just had to buy it and put it on my face! To think I was just applying good skincare without actually knowing what it actually did for me.


After putting my entry up, I played the waiting game. At the same time, I just had this STRONG feeling about it. I’ve had a tendency to be psychic with a lot of things (if I told you my prior experiences, you’d be debating if it’s coincidence or premonitions). So I decided to put it out there and request those dates off from my job just to play it safe.

The day of the announcement I had work, so I haven’t seen my phone all day. At the end of my shift, I just happened to see all these notifications from some strangers saying “congratulations” on my Instagram. I WAS FLOORED. I immediately unlocked my phone to read the DM telling me that I have won. I was silently excited and my co-workers were wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

I was ecstatic and also reached out to the other winners. We all instantly clicked online, so I decided to create a “group DM chat” on IG so we can all keep in touch prior to the event.

As much as I want to talk about my experience during the campaign shoot, I’ll just say wait until April to see what they have in store as I don’t want to accidentally spill any secret deets!

New Beginnings

I’ve had several blogs from makeup to lifestyle. Both of them were forced out, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

However, to create one to feature skincare, one of my passions, is just something right up my ally!

So I just wanted to write this to get started on having my first blog post! If you guys have anything you’d like to see on my website/blog! Feel free to comment on this post! I’d really appreciate it!