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Disclaimer: The following post is my personal experience that should be taken as information, and not personal medical advice.

About three years ago, I decided to stop taking the hormonal birth control I’d been on for 2 years. The birth control I took was called Diane 35 which was prescribed by my doctor in Vietnam.

The reason I decided to go on the birth control was because I was in a serious relationship and I did not want to risk getting pregnant. Also another reason, was because my dermatologist told me it would help clear my hormonal acne.

Prior to taking the pill, I was using Nexplanon which is an implant they put in your arm. The nexplanon is different than the pill because you do not need to remember to take it everyday since it is practically in your arm! Sounds scary, I know but it does not hurt.

Those are the only two type of birth control I have used. For this blog post I am focusing primarily on the pill.


  • Flawless skin
  • Regulated Periods


  • Water Retention
  • Retaining a lot of water around hips, thighs, arms and even face
  • Feeling sluggish, fat and tender around breast
  • Weight gain
  • Irritable mood
  • Depressed
  • Unmotivated to do anything
  • Lost interest in many things

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Hello everyone,

Over the past few years, my blog has been a platform for me to share with you all my experience of studying abroad in Los Angeles and how I adjusted to living in America. I shared with you all my challenges, my fears as well as how I overcame any obstacles that I faced as a Vietnamese living in America.

But today, I guess I’m ready to share with you all my truest, deepest and most vulnerable feelings.

I am not sure why I put this off so long, but I guess the reason why I never wanted to do a blog post like this was because I was scared of being judged. I also thought writing something like my “Saturday night thoughts” would be a boring blog post that people would just laugh at…Anyways, after debating whether I should write this or not, I decided to go for it!

My blog can be anything I want it to be and I guess I am just sick and tired  of holding myself back and giving into that negative voice in my head thinking that nothing I do is good enough. I’m done with it.

So here we go! Welcome to Catherine Ha’s vulnerable side 🙂

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Studying abroad is an amazing experience. But with every experience there is good and bad. I wanted to share with you all some of the challenges I experienced as an international student living and studying in Los Angeles. If you are new to my blog, welcome! I am from Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam and I have lived in Los Angeles for 3 years. I study communications and go to LMU. I love the photo I used for this blog post because it was taken in 2017 when I first arrived to LA. Oh the memories…

Here are the top 10 challenges of studying abroad and how you can overcome it:

#1 Being far from your support network

This one I struggle with the most. Most of my friends and family are back home in Vietnam. When I have a bad day and I want to see them and talk to them in person, I can’t do that. I have to wait until Christmas break or summer to fly back home. But to overcome that I created my own network of friends here in Los Angeles. It was hard to find a group of friends that I really connected with but overtime I am happy to have found a few that I click with. 🙂 And even if you cannot physically do that right now with Covid-19 calling, facetiming or skyping them is better than nothing. I know life right now is not the same but it does make you feel good to talk to a friend and catch up with them after a long time. Keep going, don’t give up. I know this pandemic makes you feel like you want to throw everything away your hard work, joy and sacrifices. BUT DO NOT DO THAT. Keep going. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

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This year marks my 3 year anniversary living in Los Angeles. I moved to LA back in 2017.

To celebrate this awesome milestone I wanted to share with you my experience living here in LA. This is going to be a very honest review from a person who is not from America, but from abroad.

I am from Vietnam. I went to ISHCMC and graduated class of 2013. Afterwards, I left Ho Chi Minh City and studied in New York. I was accepted to Sarah Lawrence College and dropped out after one semester. Sadly, the school was not a right fit for me and my dream of studying and working in New York completely derailed.

I then ended up moving back to Vietnam and attended a local university there which I felt even more depressed. I decided to return to America but this time not the East Coast but to San Jose, California. Living in the West Coast compared to the East coast, made me realize how much I love the sun. Having sunny weather not only improved my overall mood but made me very productive.

I lived in San Jose for 4 years while studying at De Anza college. When I was done with community college I got accepted to LMU. And now I am here! I did not get into USC which made me sad so it was between LMU or Santa Clara university. I wanted a change of scenery and so I made the decision to move to LA.

So far I love it. But, there are days where I absolutely hate it and dream of moving to somewhere more quiet and less crowded. It is a love hate relationship.

The good:

There is something for everyone: There is K-town, Manhattan Beach, Downtown LA, Pacific Palisades…and more. That is what I love about LA. There is always something for you. If you’re into fashion, DTLA, Rodeo Drive, Melrose is for you. If you’re into fitness, Venice the bodybuilding mecca is for you. If you’re into real estate, Malibu, Beverly Hills is for you. You like dancing? Drive to Studio city and enroll yourself at Dance Millenium complex. All I am saying is that there are so many opportunities here compared to when I was living in San Jose. San Jose was predominantly tech related because it was silicon valley. Nearly everyone I knew there was a software engineer or worked at Google. :p

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