The Art Of Shaving by Admin

Shaving. It sucks.  It's a hassle.  However, there is no doubt that it feels DAMN good when you get a good shave. When I was younger, I used an old electric razor my dad gave me.  It worked for a while, but eventually it irritated my skin.

In college, I converted to a regular razor and used some shaving gels/creams.  My favorite was good ole Barbasol, which the scent always reminded me of getting my haircut at the barbershop as a kid.  At the end of my haircut, the barber would always shave my sideburns and neckline with Barbasol.  It's musky, manly, and a scent that brings me back to those times.

I had decent results after the switch, but would get razor bumps every once in awhile.  Annoyed at those occasions, it eventually brought me to the pursuit of the perfect shave.  I went online back in the day and found this article on the wetshave. Essentially, the steps is to open up the pores via a hot shower or hot towel over your face, splash a layer hot water on your face to act as a layer between your skin and shaving cream, apply the shaving cream with a badger brush, shave in the right direction, close the pores with a splash of cold water, then pat down your face with some after-shave lotion.

I wanted to give a try, and went to CVS to look for the products it recommended. I found some cheapo brush, shaving bowl, and shaving soap all in one package.  I bought it, brought it home, and in the end, it worked out pretty well.  My only complaint was that the brush was falling a part quite often, which was quite annoying.

Fast forward to about a year ago.  As I walked around the local mall, I noticed a store called The Art of Shaving.  I was intrigued, and walked in and took a look. The atmosphere of the store gave off a fancy, high end, not only am I a man, but a super baller rich man type of vibe. Just as if I was a part of the cast of Mad Men.  I looked at the razors, brushes, products and couldn't believe the high prices I saw.  Why would anyone be paying so much for these things?!

A salesman did approach me, and I was still curious and asked him what this store was all about.  He explained to me the 4 essential steps to a great shave, and then went on to demonstrate the products.  The methods were pretty much the same as a wet shave, however instead of water as the layer between the skin and the shaving cream, it was a pre shave oil. The other interesting thing I noticed was the amount of shaving cream he used.  It was the tiniest amount, but it lathered into a very big amount. 

I asked him, what's the difference between using your shaving cream and Barbasol?  He explained that the products from the store used all natural ingredients while Barbasol and other creams had different type of chemicals.  The demonstration, the fact that that it was natural ingredients, it all impressed me.  But I just couldn't give it a try due to the prices.

Months and month went by, and whenever I walked by the store, I was always still so intrigued.  About two months ago, I walked in again with my friend Mike to show him what the store was all about.  He got the demonstration, and thought it was interesting too. As I walked around the store, I noticed they had a starter kit for $25. I finally bit the bullet and bought one to try out.  What was also nice is that a $25 off coupon was inside for a future purchase of a full size kit. They had various versions of the kit, but I decided to go with the Sandalwood which smelled great and reminded me of that Barbasol scent that I enjoy.

When I got home, I was eager to test it out.  I took a hot shower, and followed the steps.  I used the pre shave oil first and could tell that it was going to make my shave so much smoother.  Next, I used the mini badger brush to apply the small amount of shaving cream and was really impressed.  The CVS version I had before used some other type of hair and did not spread the shaving cream so smoothly in comparison to the new one.  The mini badger hair brush seemed finer, and felt better.  I then shaved with a fresh new Gillette Fusion Power Mach 5, which sounds like i'm shaving with a nuclear reactor.  It was such a smooth experience.  I re-lathered and gingerly shaved against the grain for a even closer shave without any problems.  I finished up with a cold splash of water and then applied the after shave balm in a patting motion as directed.  

Let me tell you, after that shave, I felt like a million bucks and smelled like it too. For about two months, every time I had to shave, which was about every other day, I was always looking forward to it.  I was excited to partake in the art of shaving.  When looking at the trial size, I didn't think it would last me that long, but it did.

Tonight, I finally joined the brotherhood of shaving.  When I first looked at the prices of a full size kit, I couldn't understand why it would cost so much.  However, after my experience with the trial size kit and seeing how long it lasted, I understood why.  With high quality products that are designed to last a year and a great shaving experience, it made the price worth while.

So if you are interested in a better quality shave, I do recommend checking out a demonstration at the store and trying out a trial sized kit. I think you'll be impressed and I'm looking forward to seeing more members joining the brotherhood!

Hello Again by Thomas Nguyen

Sorry folks, I know it's been a long time.  I apologize.  Life has been... busy.  I think I always say that, but it seems as if it always is and somehow gets even busier everyday.  However, I kinda like it.  I've been focused on work and growing the company and learning more and more about myself.  Again, I feel lucky everyday for everything that I do in life and that I'm able to follow my passions.  

Work has been my passion because it's working with people I love.  All I think about is how I can help grow the business and have everyone in the company being happy and loving what they do.

Tonight, I just finished a great book called "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh.  It's a fun and easy read that puts onto paper many of the thoughts I've already had in my mind.  And of course, I've learned so much from it too. The funny thing is that I knew nothing about this book or the author at all. The title drew me in and it was just released and at the top of the charts.  So I decided to give it a try and let me tell you... it delivered.

Careers are always on everybody's mind. Is it exactly what you want to do?  Are you doing it just for the money, or for the status, or just because?  This book tells how he became successful, almost lost it all for the company he runs now, and could have never been happier.  He found passion and purpose.  He created a business, a culture, and core values that everybody in the company has grown personally and professionally.

Anybody working for a small business knows the trials and tribulations.  I highly recommend this book to anyone as a great source of inspiration. Learn more at

My thoughts on the iPad. by Thomas Nguyen

The Apple iPad was finally announced today.  Overall, it's basically a ginormous iPod Touch with Amazon Kindle capabilities.  So it doesn't seem that great or innovative right?  Well in my opinion, what makes the difference is size.  Size matters. TWSS.

The iPad has a 9.7" screen that will make everything just more enjoyable. Watching videos, reading an ebook, browsing the web, emailing, playing games, etc... all of that can be done on an iPhone, but the user experience is just ok.  The iPad however should blow away the user experience in all those activities.

During their presentation, The New York Times unveiled a new app of theirs that displayed their news articles just like a traditional newspaper.  It looked amazing!  However, imagine that on an iPhone.  It just wouldn't look that great.

Another great app that was featured during the presentation was Brushes.  Brushes allows artists to use the iPhone or iPad as blank canvas and their fingers as brushes to paint with.  It's a cool app for the iphone, but on a 9.7" iPad.. that's pretty dang sweet right there.  

Besides the stunning screen, the processor has been upgraded to be amazingly fast.  Games and pretty much every application is going to be running very smoothly.

And of course, lets not forget about the ebooks! The iPad features a new app called iBooks that allows you to buy and read ebooks in a stunning color capable 9.7" screen.  


The Kindle's top of the line model costs $489.  And it's only an ebook reader. The base WiFI model of the iPad is only $499. But with the kindle, 3G wireless is a free service.  This doesn't matter if you will be mostly in WiFi Spots.  But if you want to use 3G capable iPad, it will cost you more.  The 3G + WiFi models are $130 more and you also have to pay a monthly fee for 3G.  It costs 15 bucks for 250mb worth of data or $30 bucks for unlimited data.  Bummer!  The only good thing is that there is no contract and you can cancel anytime.

I was holding out on buying a Kindle since I wanted to see what Apple had to offer.  Well, they are definitely offering more features and a better screen! I wish it had a screen and multitasking capabilities though! But I need to live up to my twitter name, addictedtoapple haha. I will most likely go with the iPad and probably a 16 or 32GB WiFi + 3G model.  I'll mostly be on WiFi but I like having the option of using the 3G if I needed it. Another bummer is that it's going to take 60-90 days to get one! 

So what are your thoughts?

Music Video of the Day & Weekend Updates. by Thomas Nguyen

Sylvie's Crew

On Saturday was the first time I helped volunteer with my cousin Sylvie.  Usually once a month, she gathers a couple of friends to contribute some food or money and creates a lunch for a needy organization.  This time around, it was for the N Street Village organization that helps out with women who are homeless or recovering from drug addiction or mental illness.

I made my way downtown and walked into the Bethany Women's Center, where the food would be served.  As I walked in, I was the only guy in the place, being stared at by whole bunch of women.  I was a little nervous trying to look for Sylvie, but luckily, a member of their staff knew right away I was looking for her.  She guided me to the kitchen and I finally saw Sylvie & Jenny.  Later we were joined by Nichole, Joy, and Christine.

On the lunch menu that day, Sylvie decided to create some pizzas, pasta, and salad.  Sylvie had some home made pizza dough in which Jenny, Joy, Nichole, and Christine helped make a variety of pizza pies and the pasta.  And I'm not joking about the variety.. white pizza, cheese with tomato sauce, vegetable, pepperoni, pepperoni and olives, white pizza with pepperoni, combination with turkey sausage.. and there might be another one that I'm missing. Nikki and I were on salad duty.  We were a little slow, but now that we know what we are doing, we'll be more efficient next time :P  Oh, and I forgot, Joy brought some awesome ginger snap cookies for desert.

We were able to finish up everything in 2hrs and were ready to serve by noon.  The ladies lined up as we served them pasta, salad, and three slices of pizza.  There was still room for leftovers and we encouraged them to eat some more.  One cute elderly lady came up for a vegetable slice to go. As she walked away, she took a big whiff of the pizza, exhaled "Ahhhh" and smiled at us.  That right there.. made my day.  It was such a great experience that I hope I will be able to do it again.  I think it's pretty amazing that my cousin has been organizing, taking lead and doing this for quite some time now.  I believe now, we are known as Sylvie's Crew. Be on the lookout for where we'll be next haha.

Ping Pong Dim Sum


Ok, with a name like that.. how can I not try this place out?  Ping Pong Dim Sum is a London based restaurant that just opened up recently in downtown DC.  It's right on 7th street in Chinatown/Verizon Center.  I met up with my college buddies, Christy, Mantik, Jenn and Almond.

The menu offered a pretty interesting variety, however from what I noticed, it was a lot of seafood related dishes.  The restaurant recommends that each person should get 3-4 dishes.  Each dish costs anywhere from $2-7, which is a bit pricey.  We all ordered a good amount, at least that's what we thought.  Each dish had 3 portions, which is not good when you need to split it up for 5 people.  We cut everything in half and ate from there. Overall, the food tasted pretty good, but the portions were way too small and way to expensive.  Definitely not a great bang for the buck. By the end of it, we were still starving. Right after, we ended up driving to Centreville to feast at BBQ Chicken & Beer which more then satisfied our hunger.  Terigold is still my flavor of choice!

I'd only recommend Ping Pong Dim Sum for Happy Hours.  Small portions, hopefully some cheaper prices, drinks and a nice atmosphere could be the right setting and reasons for you to visit.  If you are going there for true dim sum feasting... then look elsewhere or be prepared for a big bill. And also on a side note, the Flowering Jasmine & Lily tea is quite cool. It actually sprouts at the bottom of your glass with a flower in the middle.  It's like a secret garden inside your tea glass haha.  But the taste is too subtle.  C for taste, and an A for the wow factor.

Ground Level Gourmet

My good buddy Huong has finally started a blog!  Huong is an amazing cook that everyone should look out for.  I've been fortunate to taste her creations.  She puts alot of thought into her dinner parties, from the food, decor, and how everything is presented.  Just a like a true chef!  Check out her site at

Music Video Of The Day: P.O.D - BOOM

In honor of my ping pong dim sum adventures, I present to you P.O.D. Boom.  It's the only video I know of that features ping pong the majority of the time.  What's cool is that I know some of the people in the video.. and some of the guys are actually wearing our North American Table Tennis Shirts!  Woohoo.  Enjoy!

Starbucks Via Review by Thomas Nguyen

For the longest time, I have been intrigued by Starbucks' new instant coffee.  I'm not too fond of instant coffee in general, but Starbucks has claimed to produce a higher quality one.  I recently bought a pack and tried it out for the first time.  It's quite quick and easy.  Empty out a packet in your favorite mug  (Yes, that is my apple mug), fill it with 8oz of hot water, stir and BAM you are done.

Starbucks did a pretty good job in my opinion.  Well for starters, let me just say that I don't expect too much out of instant coffee.  Never have.  However, this is one notch up in all categories.  The aroma, the flavor, the aftertaste, it was all a notch up for instant coffee, and of course, probably 1-2 notches down from a real cup of starbucks. So it's not bad for quick cup of joe on the go.  

And this is coming from a former Starbucks Barista =P