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About Me

About Me
CrystalPhuong.net is a Personal Style & Travel Blog based in Singapore, written by Crystal Phuong. The blog was nominated FOUR times in Top 10 Best Fashion Blogs in the annual Singapore Blog Award from 2012- 2015, voted as one of the Best Lifestyle Blogs in Singapore in 2013 by Hotelclub.com, and Best Travel Blogs in 2016 by Foodpanda.com. Crystal hopes to connect and inspire young women to lead a healthy and happy life. Be confident, be positive, and be kind.
BLESSED 36TH BIRTHDAY

BLESSED 36TH BIRTHDAY


I felt like I just celebrated my 35th birthday not so long ago, but now, I'm already 36 years old. Where has the time gone? I thought I would have a quiet, low-key birthday celebration this year with just one or two closest friends. But I ended up having many birthday celebrations instead. I'm not complaining.

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

We started with a yacht birthday party in the morning. (Thanks to my BFF Stefanie for arranging everything, and to everyone for spending their time to celebrate with me! I'm so touched). I just needed to bring my bikini and show up. We had a delicious birthday cake from American Express, too much wine, a good dose of vitamin sea, and endless laughter. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

The weather had been gloomy with heavy rain all week, and the sun came on out my birthday to play. I also wanted to thank Mr. Ang, owner of  No Name Yachts Pte Ltd, and his team for taking a good care of us that day. We had a great time. It was so perfect. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

My initial plan of having a quiet birthday was spending the weekend at Marina Bay Sands hotel, swimming at the sky infinity pool, reading books, or going for a walk at the Gardens by the bay. But, nothing can be quite quiet when my girl, Stefanie, shows up. In a good way, of course. She always brings sunshine wherever she goes. We checked in the hotel room just enough time for me to have an important meeting that I couldn't afford to skip. The hotel also offered the birthday girl a free upgrade to Deluxe room with a sky-view (exactly how I wanted) and sweetened my stay with a surprise birthday cake. Then, we had another birthday cake when we had lunch the next day at one of the restaurants. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration
    
Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

In the evening, I went out to have dinner at an Italian restaurant with my friends and colleagues. Thanks to Stefanie for arranging this again! Mazzo restaurant team surprised me with a flamingo Lamborghini shot and a delicious birthday cake. Thank you, Patrick & Mazzo team! I had way too much fun that night. My jaw hurt from laughing too much.      

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

The next day, Stef and I had a morning swim at the famous infinity pool, took a couple of photos, and enjoyed the city view while sipping our cup of coffee. We didn't get to stay long as our appointment slot was only for one hour per day. Who would have thought that we had to make an advanced booking to swim at the hotel pool before? But this is the reality we live in now during the pandemic. A lot of adjustments, changes, new rules applied. I did what I wanted to, and I was happy, regardless. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

After the swim, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant and went to the casino right after because Stef was feeling lucky. Thirty minutes later, we walked out of the casino with an extra $200 in Stef's wallet. It's my birthday. Of course, everyone is feeling lucky! At least, I like to think so. 

At night, we went to have drinks and dinner with my good friend, Javi, at the Fairmont hotel. Not only did I have a great laugh, but I also had another birthday cake, and a happy birthday song sang in Spanish, by the most fun & good looking Spanish man, I know. A big hug and thanks to Emmanuel, General Manager of Fairmont hotel, for the champagne. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

On day 3 of my 36 years old, I celebrated with two women whom I dearly love and admire. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for their support, patience, and guidance in the last three years. They watched me grow and celebrated with me every important milestone in my career and now personal. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

Have I done all the celebrations yet? Probably not. I'm the kind of person who, if I can wake up and be happy every day, I will celebrate no matter how big or small. But every birthday, it's a chance for me to reflect, to look deep into my soul (and sometimes my insecurities), to question myself, "How much have I grown?", "What have I accomplished?" "Am I happy?". Then, I started looking back at old photos. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

The photo on the left was Crystal 2.0 ten years ago. She was young, innocent, ambitious, energetic, and impatient. The image on the right is the Crystal 3.0 now. She is still young at heart, more experienced, always ambitious, more patient, understanding, and compassionate. What have I lost over the last ten years? Perhaps, the insecurity about my flaws, the doubts about my ability, the negativity when I hit the roadblocks, and the need to find someone make me happy. What have I gained on the contrary? Some wrinkles on my face, a few pounds on my body, a lot more patience and emotional maturity, and a longer list of work-life experiences, and the contentment in life that is so hard to find. 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Lifestyle Blog- 36th birthday celebration

There will still be days when PMS syndrome hits me; I'll feel like I've not accomplished enough, I won't have time to achieve all the goals I set for myself, I haven't spent much time with the family, where will I be in the next 5 and 10 years, and the list goes on. But as soon as those doubtful feelings got me, I quickly realised that the hormones rollercoaster is trying to give me an emotional ride. I can let it swing my mood up and down, or I can choose to say, "Stop it. It's enough". Whether I'm at v2.0 or v3.0, I'm still fighting my own battles every day like everybody else. But at 36 years old, I learn to choose what's worth fighting for and what to let go. I'm lucky to be surrounded by many great people. Some help me before even meeting me in person. Some spoil me with their love and support. Some help me to grow from my mistakes. Some motivate me to go after my dreams. Some push me out of my comfort zone. My memory sucks, but I'll never forget these names. 

I'm always a work in progress because I'm nowhere near perfect, and I will never be. But I know what I'll bring to the table, and I'm not afraid to express myself. I love the woman I've become, and I am enough. 

As always, thank you for reading! To all my beautiful friends, thank you for being a part of my journey! 

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9 DAYS IN MINNESOTA

9 DAYS IN MINNESOTA



Around March 2017, I lost my job, and I published this photo on my Instagram with a caption "New day, a new beginning. But first, let's take a break." Indeed, I took this "retrenchment" opportunity to have the longest break I've ever had by far. It was almost four months of traveling nonstop. First, I went to Yogyakarta, Indonesia then flew to Ho Chi Minh for the Vietnam International Fashion Week. After the fashion week, I went back to Hanoi to spend one week with the family before I headed to the US. I was so lucky that I got to travel that much, even when I was unemployed for four months. During this time, I came across some job opportunities, but nothing materialized after a few rounds of interviews. Not sure why, but I wasn't even worried about looking for a job. I just kept believing that the right job would choose me at the right time. Leaving the stress behind, I took 30- hour flight to Maple Grove, Minneapolis, to visit the boyfriend's house for the first time.  

I didn't know what to expect. Many friends asked me, "What's there in Minneapolis?"- "I don't know. I'm going to find out", I told them. Perhaps, because I did not expect anything before the trip, everything turned out to perfect for me.

The weather was beautiful in August in Minneapolis. I started my morning with a cup of coffee, egg, and toast looking at this beautiful backyard. 


Then, we went for a walk around to explore the Maple Grove neighborhood. The air was crisp; the road was empty, and the scenery was breathtaking. I still remember very well how beautiful the houses there. 


During the days that Ken didn't have to go to work, he would show me around his hometown where he grew up either spending time at this giant lake near his house or driving around to see his friends for lunch. 





I remembered my feeling while sitting on that high chair looking at this lake. I kept telling myself, "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end". My mind was instantly at ease. I was able to enjoy my nine days in Minneapolis without any stress or worry at all. 
One day I went to the largest mall in the US, Mall of America, for shopping and witnessing the largest indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe.







The next day I went river fishing with Ken's nephew. It was my first time fishing in the river, and it felt like I went on an Amazon jungle adventure. It was scary at first and fun later. We also drove up to Duluth, a port city on Lake Superior in Minnesota, and spent a night there. I thought the lake near Ken's house was massive, but it was only a tiny lake compared to the Lake Superior. 



Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America, is also the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area, and the third-largest freshwater lake by volume. Its area is 82,103 km², and I could feel the waves coming towards me. It looked more like an ocean to me than a lake. It didn't feel real. It was also the first time that I saw a span-drive configuration movable lift, aka Aerial Lift Bridge, constructed in 1901-1905. Watching the giants ships passing through the lift each time made me think of the "timing." When the time is right, it will happen.  


Leaving Aerial Lift Bridge, we stopped by at the Split Rock Lighthouse to explore the beauty of the Lake Superior from a different angle. 




Then, we moved to Gooseberry Falls State Park, one of Minnesota's most popular state parks that has many spectacular falls. It didn't disappoint me with this view.   




Few days before I flew home to Singapore, I spent time at the lakehouse with Ken and his family. It was the first time I experienced an evening with a campfire by the lake. A drink on my hand while listening to everyone talk. It was freezing that night for me, but I felt warm from the inside. 


I also tried to learn fishing, but I realized I shouldn't continue; otherwise, people would get hurt. I tried the casting technique, but instead of throwing the bait into the water, my fishing hook landed on Ken's nephew's shirt, who was standing right behind me. He didn't get hurt, and I couldn't stop laughing. 


Time flies when you are having fun. I didn't know when I would revisit Minneapolis then, and I still don't know now. But I know now why they say Minneapolis people are genuine and friendly. If you look at scenery like that every day, how can you stay mad?






Till next time, Minnesota! 
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VIFW 2017: STREET STYLE IN HO CHI MINH CITY

VIFW 2017: STREET STYLE IN HO CHI MINH CITY


Crystal Phuong in Betty Tran- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

If you can remember when I had these photos taken, you are truly one of my most loyal follower. I wore these outfits to attend Vietnam International Fashion Week in Ho Chi Minh in 2017. It's been a long time, I know. But these outfits are so stunning, they deserve to be seen on my blog. Besides, the first two outfits were styled by my dear friend, who is also a fashion designer, Betty Tran, I had no reason not to give her a shoutout. 

I had the best time shooting these photos with talented Vietnamese photographers. I admit it was a little dangerous walking on the main road full of traffic, but I had a few people watching the oncoming vehicles from behind to make sure I didn't get hit by motorbikes. But that's what fashion week is all about. It's crazy, adventurous, rushing, and sometimes dangerous, but always exciting. 

Walking along the busiest street in Ho Chi Minh City in this gorgeous Betty Tran outfit made me feel like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the city in my country. Carrie said "As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going."    

That sounds pretty much like me! I just keep going.

(Watch my video at the end of this post) 

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

Crystal Phuong in Betty Tran- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

Crystal Phuong in Betty Tran- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

Crystal Phuong in Betty Tran- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

Crystal Phuong in Betty Tran- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

Crystal Phuong in Betty Tran- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh

Outfit 1 & 2: Dresses by Betty Tran
Sunglasses: Linda Farrow

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 2

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 3

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 4

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 5

Outfit 3: Zara boyfriend white shirt (More styles here)
Iris & Ink beaded dress 
Christian Dior handbag
Nasty gal pvc boots
Linda Farrow sunglasses

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 6

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 7

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 8

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 9

Outfit 4: MSGM top and skirt
Playnomore handbag (Thanks to Playnomore)
Sophia Webster candy heels
Alexander McQueen sunglasses 
Carolina Herrera bracelet & Michael Kors watch (more choices here)

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 10

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 11

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 12

Outfit 5: Bardot blouse (Similar here)
Vintage denim midi skirt (similar here)

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 13

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 14

Crystal Phuong- Singapore Fashion Blog- Street style in Ho Chi Minh 15

Outfit 6: Nicholas top and pants
Christian Louboutin gladiators

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