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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.

WHAT A YEAR, 2021!

I remember at the beginning of the year, we all said 2020 was tough and 2021 would be better. Little did we know, 2021 was even more challenging than 2020. To many of us, 2021 presented so many challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. I experienced an enormous challenge in the business, so much that it felt like there was an invisible person who kept throwing stones at my head as I was trying to climb up to the top of the mountain. I refused to quit even some days it felt like that was the easiest thing to do. 

Now, looking back, I'm still thankful for all that "stones" throwing at me this year. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and to grow. I wasn't the first one who reaches the mountain top in my career, I was, however, able to achieve many big milestones in my personal life. Some of my long-time dreams come true. For that, I still came out as a winner, even though 2021 was a bitch (sorry for the harsh language, but it really was).  

As usual, I'd like to look at the bright side of things, hence this post is going to be a flashback of all the wonderful things that happened in 2021. Here we go! 

One of the biggest changes I've had in 2021 was the upgrade of my living space. Some of you have seen enough of my new home on Instagram. But in case you haven't seen it, you can have a virtual tour of my new home on this post "Home Sweet Home"

I spend so much time at home even after the lockdown was lifted. When I'm not working from home or sleeping, I'll find time to read, do something fun, and learn new things.  

A new home is also a place where I'd like to catch up with many old friends over tea time or dinners. Why need to go to the restaurant when you can have a candlelight dinner at home every night. Right?

Living near the sports hub inspires me to have more outdoor activities this year. Once in a while, I'd like to go cycling around the East Coast beach. 

Otherwise, on a regular day, this would be my beautiful walk around the neighborhood. This view was an instant cure for any frustration I had last year. 

2021 was also a year of learning for me. I never thought of one day I would buy a piano and start learning those C, E, D major notes, but I did. It's such a great stress-released activity. 

This year, I spent so much time and effort on personal development. I can't count how many nights I've stayed up until 3am to finish the course assignments, simulations, essays, and capstones. It's exhausting to study at night and work during the day. But everything has its price and it's so worth it. I've always dreamed of going to Harvard University to study, but I couldn't. The 18-years-old Crystal would have never imagined one day she'd own the Harvard Business School certificates. Not 1, but 4 of them. This makes me feel emotional and proud. Honestly, without all the lockdowns that happened in 2021, I would never have had time for this. Like I said, every challenge is an opportunity. Sometimes, opportunities come to look for us. Other times, we have to go out and create them. 

Since the Covid dining restriction eased up, I managed to spend time catching up with many good friends. Some I'd call my "guardian angels", the people who support me unconditionally and guide me through many storms in life.   

Health & wellness always stay on top of my list. I completed all of the Covid vaccine shots in less than 6 months thanks to the Singapore government. I exercised more. I went from doing yoga at home one day to going to the gym the next. A healthy lifestyle doesn't start from eating one salad bowl a week, it's the repeated activity that you maintain for a long period of time until it becomes your routine. 

Another proud achievement I've had this year was my contribution to this meaningful charity. I was invited by Multimedia, organizer of Vietnam International Fashion Week to take part in the charity auction event "From the heart to the heart". 2021 was a tough year for my country- Vietnam in fighting the battle against Covid. There were over 10,000 cases reported daily and many cities were struggling to cope with limited medical supplies and resources. With this auction, we hoped to raise money to buy equipment and medical supplies for doctors and hospitals in Vietnam. When I received this invitation, I couldn't say No. 

I was grateful for the opportunity to take part, for the mention of the local media in Vietnam, and most importantly for the generous contributions and donations from my family and friends. Together, we were able to raise USD120,000 in one evening. We bought some breathing machines and donated them to the hospital in Ho Chi Minh city. It was definitely the highlight of my 2021! 
This year, I also made some important steps to build a strong foundation for my retirement future. I was never interested in any investment book before, yet here I was reading it like my life depended on it. The book really motivates me to take financial planning more seriously. Not only was I able to invest, but I also diversified my portfolio into multiple assets. I was lucky to have help, guidance, and encouragement from my friends on this journey. Saying the word "portfolio" out loud feels so good and I can't wait to watch this "baby" grow. 

Before writing this blog post, I thought I didn't have much to share. I didn't travel anywhere exciting. I wasn't on the top of any list. I wasn't at the most fun and fanciful parties, I didn't receive an award. But then I realized that these are also the things that kept me grounded. It's ok not to travel, not to be recognized, not to be at the center of the party, and not to receive an award. What's more important is how you grow from the inside: mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

I took a photo of this tree on one of my walks and it resonated with me so much. I hope it resonates with you too.

Let's hope that 2022 will really be a better year, not like how 2021 had betrayed us. The lessons I learned in 2021 will help to shape me in 2022 (hopefully not in a round shape). I'll keep stretching, learning, and trying. In that process, I'll always be reminded of how lucky I am to still have support from many friends, mentors, and guardians angels.

If you have been reading this blog for years and we have never met in real life, I sincerely thank you for your support and time. Wishing you all a magical and successful year ahead! 
Till 2022!  

Crystal Phuong
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[name=Crystal Phuong] [img=https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2rX6quipNhI/XFfam4j35qI/AAAAAAAADZ0/AFDn5ZbYgqYT6sRbDXwMStFHz5PPDHFMgCK4BGAYYCw/w345-h245-c/Crystal-Phuong] [description=Singapore Travel & Lifestyle Blogger, hoping to connect and inspire young women to lead a healthy and happy life] (facebook=https://facebook.com/crystalphuong) (twitter=https://twitter.com/ncrystalicious) (instagram=https://instagram.com/crystalphuong)