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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.
Showing posts with label New Year resolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Year resolution. Show all posts



I apologize in advance for a lengthy post, but 2019 was a very long, exciting, and eventful ride. So, get yourself comfortable and slowly take a walk down the memory lane with me.

At the beginning of 2019, my brother told me that I would have a very eventful and successful year that is beyond my expectation (he is our fortune teller Master in the house). I took his prediction with a pinch of salt. Now that I'm writing this blog post on my hotel bed in Rome, Italy, I have to say, "Boy, I did have a fantastic year indeed!" 

The first thing I did in January of 2019 was to sign up for a Kickboxing class. I'm always interested in learning Muay Thai, kickboxing, or any self-defense, but I never had the motivation to do it. Finally, I had one when I felt like kicking and punching something nonstop to help me release frustration and strengthen my emotions. I wasn't angry anymore, but occasionally still go back to the class for fitness purposes.

One week after signing up for Muay Thai class, I had to fly to Jakarta just one day for a business trip, and Da Nanang right after that for one week. It was my second time in Da Nang and the first time for work. After a 6 hour-meeting with the customer on the second day in Da Nang, I caught a cold and felt really sick. 

There were eight more meetings I needed to attend the following four days. I was coughing my lungs out at night, feeling hot and cold during the day, and not being able to sleep at night. The worst sickness that I've ever experienced in years, especially when you were alone in a hotel room, eating the same room-service food every night, and trying to respond to everybody's urgent email requests. Luckily, my mom flew to Da Nang on the last two days I was there to take care of me and to take me home. I wasn't feeling my best but had enough of the hotel's food, so we decided to have dinner by the beach and watch the sunset before flying home the next day.  

Always love spending a Mother-Daughter time with her whenever I can. 

Two weeks spent at home in Hai Phong during Lunar New Year in February helped me heal. I had a wonderful time with the family and was ready to head back to Singapore to kick start the lunar New Year with a bright and positive mode. I flew to Bangkok in March to train my new colleague for three days, came back to Singapore, and back to Bangkok again in early April for another work trip. 

After Bangkok, I flew to Ho Chi Minh to attend a business conference. Vietnam Fashion Week happened in the same week, so I was able to spend all evenings and weekends to attend the shows and to catch up with old friends.

Then, India was calling. I might have to travel to 11 cities in India in 7 days. As much as I love traveling and visiting new places, the idea of taking my luggage from one meeting, getting in a car, taking another flight to another appointment for five days straight scared me. I delayed all my bookings until the last minute when I knew a colleague in India would fly to all those places on my behalf. It was such a relief. April was the most stressful time that I've ever experienced in my career life. I used to think, "What's stress? I don't have any." While I was very grateful for many big opportunities landing on my lap, I had to do an enormous amount of work. So much that I always stayed up until 3 am or even 5am some days to finish it.  As a result, my body just gave up on me. Then I knew how stressed I was. I couldn't sleep at night; I felt light-headed during the day, I almost fainted in the office while standing up from my seat and my heart was beating so fast. That was the first time I experienced an anxiety attack.  It was scary. When the doctor and your boss give you an order to stay at home and rest for two days without touching the laptop at all, you know it's serious. It hit me, and I quickly spent all the effort I could to take better care of my health. I spent more time outdoor, doing yoga or gyms at home when I can, turned off email notifications on my mobile phone, and tried to sleep early at night. It helped. 

I also signed up for a Scuba Diving course in May and went to Malaysia for my scuba diving test. Thanks to Serene from Cuddle Fish Diver, who kept pushing me to join her diving trip. Otherwise, I don't know when I could cross this off my bucket list. Serene is also a certified and very experienced scuba diving instructor. If you want to learn, sign up for her course here.

After Malaysia, I went back to Ho Chi Minh at the end of May to join my friend at a charity event organized by his media company. We gave out toys, food, and clothes to the unfortunate children who are fighting their battle with all kinds of cancer at the hospital on the occasion of Children's' Day.  My heart ached to look at these innocent faces who suffer from pain and don't know when will be their last day to live. I wish I could give more to them than just toys and food.

June came around so quickly, I brought my family to Nha Trang for an annual family trip to celebrate my biggest deal won. I took my brother, mom, and nephew go snorkeling for the first time. It was their first time doing this water sport, and I'm glad they loved it as much as I did.

After Nha Trang, I flew back to Da Na Nang in June for another business trip and transited in Ho Chi Minh for 18 hours to attend this I'm Diva fashion event organized by Harper's Bazaar. It was by far the most stylish transit I've done.

In July, I took another trip back to Da Nang sooner than I expected, followed by a business trip to Ho Chi Minh city. The half-year flew by, and I finally had my first holiday. August, I brought my parents to Hua Hin for our annual holiday trip, just three of us. It's always been my dream to bring my parents to see the world with me. I'm so grateful that I'm able to make that dream come true now.

After Hua Hin, I flew to Bangkok in September for a work trip.  Three days after I returned to Singapore, my grandmother passed away. I booked the earliest flight the next morning after I received the news to fly home. I'm happy that she could finally reunite with grandpa, but I was heartbroken that I couldn't see her one last time and held her hands. She taught me to be strong, independent, and fearless (that's how she survived through war, she said). I will continue to be brave and be kind, just like her.

I was supposed to go to Manila on the day that my grandmother passed away, for a strange reason, the trip was postponed until a few days later. So after Hanoi, I went to Manila for the first time for work. Nine days later, I found myself on an airplane heading, heading off to Jeju Island, South Korea, for another business trip. Two new destinations in October added on my travel bucket list. But the best trip was yet to come.

I came back to Ho Chi Minh for a star-studded event, Star Award, organized by Harper's Bazaar. It was the first time I dressed up like Venus, the Goddess of Love. Ho Chi Minh always makes me feel like I've never had enough time to enjoy all the great things this city offers, no matter how many times I visit.

November, my most favorite month of the year came. I spent a couple of days in Hanoi for work, for a family matter, and a special event- Vietnam International Fashion Week. My schedule was so full from 8 am to 12 am. I was running around town for customer meetings, lunch appointments, fitting with the designer, street style photoshoot, visiting Uncle in the hospital, and getting ready for an event. By the time I got back to my room each night, I couldn't feel my body. I was so tired, but I was still excited to do what I was doing. The adrenaline rush was real. On November 1st, while I was attending Vietnam Fashion Week, the hosts called my name to come up on stage to receive the "Best Fashionista Award.", my Uncle passed away. I didn't know how to process two extreme sides of emotions at one time. I walked up the stage, said "thank you" to the organizer, and tried not to cry. I was grateful for the award and glad that I came back to see him in the hospital the night before he was gone, but sad that I couldn't stay longer to attend his wake. Bali was calling, so I packed my luggage and left home at 5 am the next morning.

You already knew what happened in Bali through my 35th birthday blog post. In short, when I was having the best night celebrating my 35th birthday with the girlfriends, someone broke into our villa and stole our valuable things. Another day, another extreme roller coaster ride of emotion.

After all, I still came out strong and did what I needed to do. Life goes on. I didn't even have time to sit down and feel sorry for myself for so long. By the time I came back to Singapore, I was so busy working with my boss to hold the first Asia Pacific sales conference for our team. It was the first time I co-organized such a big event. From designing event invitation, planning the agenda, selecting the music to hosting the event, managing the 3-day conference, and having a 20-minute presentation to share my 2019 career success story with the team, I felt like I've outdone myself. I could do it.

December, the most magical time of the year is here. I'm writing this blog post on my comfortable hotel bed in Rome, Italy (I never imagined myself saying this). My girlfriend, Stefanie and I had the most beautiful 3 days in Florence. We went to Leaning tower of Pisa (photo below), Siena and discovered the beauty of Tuscany region. I woke up to the second biggest business deal of 2019 closed on the second last day of the year. My heart was bursting with happiness. I was so happy that I could cry. 

Remember this girl in 2009? She first arrived in Singapore, trying to make her living with multiple jobs at one time and only dreamed one day she could afford to buy a $60 dress. Traveling to Europe or the US was just her dream. She struggled to find her voice and purpose.

A decade later, the same girl is now enjoying her best time in Rome, celebrating life with big gratitude. Ten years went by, just like that. I'm so glad I didn't give up when I was at the lowest point in my life. I'm so grateful for many amazing friends, bosses, mentors, who have been guiding and supporting me throughout this journey.

2020, I have many big realistic plans and goals to achieve. But I'll slowly share with you when the time comes. I don't know what the next decade will bring, but I know for sure, as long as I stay grounded, humble, grateful, positive, and kind to myself and people around me, I can overcome anything life throws at me. The last decade was a steady preparation. Now, it's time to accelerate.

If you are reading this, I wish you and your family nothing but good health and abundance happiness. Spread the kindness and love around.

Happy 2020! 

Crystal Phuong

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GOOD BYE 2015, HELLO 2016!

GOOD BYE 2015, HELLO 2016!

Greetings from Vietnam everyone! 
I forget how difficult it is to update my blog while I'm here. With the turtle- speed internet connection and an adorable nephew trying to snuggle next to me, it's hard to get any work done. I'm fully aware of the long overdue blog post "Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016". I thought there is no better time to publish it than the first day of Lunar New Year (Lunar New Year is the first day of a secular, sacred, or other year whose months are coordinated by the cycles of the moon). That's when a New Year truly starts for us. 

2015 was really an exciting adventure for me. I made 6 resolutions last year on this blog and I'm proud to stay that I've accomplished 5 out of 6 resolutions and achieved many other things that were not on my list. Keep reading and you'll find out what they are. I published 118 blog posts last year, many of them are beauty-related posts as promised. From the WORK perspective, I had incredible opportunities to collaborate with some amazing brands last year.

Kicking 2015 off with a one-of-a-kind dinner with Grand Hyatt, a part of their global campaign #LivingGrand

For the first time, I worked with an automobile brand and it's none other than Volvo. It was truly a surreal moment.

Not to mention some of my favorite fashion labels that I had an honor to introduce to you. From a local jewelry brand like Taula

to Icelandic jewellery brand Aurum 

From a popular online-fashion shopping site like Revolve Clothing

to upcoming fashion houses like Styletribute

Michelle Worth (Indonesia)

and FewModa (US)

2015 was also the year of TRAVELING and It wouldn't have happened without Mr. Bear. Knowing how much I love traveling, he really made an effort to bring me to many places, every time we had a long break from work. 

We went to Bali in April

visited Phuket in June and stayed at the Radisson Blu Phuket hotel.

We went back to Bali in July

and found our way to Perth in August for the first time.

I also flew back to Vietnam and spent a week there with my family before my Phuket trip. That's when I decided to have a change in my career. I needed a break. I left a company that I was working with for 5 years and tried something new. Life turned a new page. After months of brainstorming, discussing and crafting, my other "baby" was born. 511Styles, that's how I call it. It's a brand new fashion and lifestyle avenue for me to share a lot more content with you. Please do check it out and give me some feedback. 

After Perth, I packed my luggage again and headed to New York for FASHION WEEK. It's that time of the year again. I didn't prepare for it as much as I did for the first year. No photo shoot pre-arranged, no itinerary booked, and no party confirmed. I decided to go with the flow and be a little more spontaneous this time. The best things always happen unexpectedly and that's the truth. 
I have never thought, in my wildest dream, that I would have opportunities to interview so many amazing fashion designers backstage, at the parties, and at the events. One of them is the world famous fashion designer Zac Posen. I was shaking when I received an email confirming the news. It was a dream come true for me. 

Watch the entire journey that I and my photographer Evelyn filmed it for you. 

Vietnam International Fashion Week (VIFW) happened right after I came back from New York. I had only 2 weeks at home before boarding my flight to Ho Chi Minh in October. It was my first time attending VIFW and as usual, I kept my expectations low. It turned out to be more wonderful event than I'd ever expected. 
I met many great designers including the renowned fashion designer- Kenzo Takada, Australia couture designer- Alvin Fernandez from Alkemi, Dubai couture designer- Ezra Santos and a few others. 

Striking a pose with fashion designer Kenzo Takada on the last day of VIFW. 

With Trang Le, president of Vietnam International Fashion Week. 

Fashion weeks came and went as quickly as a storm but not as fast as time flew. My birthday was around the corner right after I came back from Vietnam Fashion Week. It reminded me that there were only 2 months left to the New Year. I still felt like I hadn't done as many things as I wanted to. Nonetheless, it's time for celebration. 

I had the best birthday celebration this year. Special thanks to Radisson Blu Phuket hotel for arranging everything and Mr. Bear for flying me there. 

I thought 2015 was already at its best for me, but I was wrong. Having won Her World Social Media Awards was something I'd never expected. It closed my 2015 on such a high note. If you read the blog entry about this award here, you'll know why it is so meaningful to me. 

I'm at the stage where I feel so content and happy with what I have in life. Being able to do what I love and surrounding myself with many wonderful people make me appreciate life so much more. I used to have a list of 10 things I wanted to achieve in a New Year. Right now, I can't think of anything to put on my list, but I know for sure one of my New Year resolutions is staying happy, healthy, and positive. I believe that as long as we think positive, positive things will happen. As long as we are healthy, we'll be able to conquer everything. Don't ever lose HOPE and give up on your DREAMS. 

I'm so excited for 2016 as I have already seen some great things in store. I can't wait to share with you about it. May this New Year bring many fantastic opportunities your way, explore every joy of your life, and turn your dreams into reality. 

Thank you so much for being here with me. I couldn't have gone this far without your support. 
Happy Lunar New Year to all my Chinese readers and a Happy New Year to all! 

Crystal Phuong

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I have been sitting in front of my computer, staring at the iMac's screen for nearly an hour, without knowing what to write in this blog entry. I feel like I have so many things I want to share about 2014, but when it comes down to details, there wasn't anything exactly spectacular other than my New York trip. I'm not even sure that 2014 was a good year, an average year or a bad year. Maybe because I'm too ambitious, I wanted to accomplish a lot more things than I was supposed to do in 2014. It could also be that I forgot a lot of things; I have an impression that I didn't achieve much success. Before my short term memory can erase all the good and bad things about 2014, I must quickly write them down and keep them safely in this digital box. It is always a good reminder to me how I have progressed over a year, even just a little bit.

If you ask me to sum up my 2014 in just a word, I will say it must be GROWTH.

I no longer spontaneously act like I used to; I had a purpose in everything I did. Since last January, I had a plan to focus on producing high-quality content and images for my blog. I spent weekends-after-weekends looking for inspiration, working with various photographers to come up with some fantastic editorial-like work. Black Night was the first editorial shot I did

then Keep It Cool,

and the craziest Stoping Traffic idea.

All gave me a great satisfaction of being able to do what I love and love what I do. I didn't blog for any award or title, but somehow my love and passion were rewarded with a nomination (once again) in top 10 Best Fashion Blog, Singapore Blog Award in July. Though, I didn't win (only was one of the top 3 most voted blogs), but I felt very satisfied knowing that my blog was recognized three years in a row.

2014 was also a year that I turned A DREAM INTO REALITY. I have been dreaming of visiting New York for more than ten years but didn't know how to make it happen. Because the crazy New York Fashion Week kept calling, I decided to take a leap of faith to book a flight and made my dream come true. Ten years thinking about New York was enough, it was time to stop the fear and do something about it. Before flying off, I received invitations to many shows during fashion week after I received a media credential from IMG.

Standing outside Lincoln Center, with a media pass in hands, was the most surreal moment that I will never, ever forget in my entire life.

NYFW Day 3 was pretty overwhelming with lots of paparazzis outside Lincoln Center

Day 4 was a little bit chilly in the morning,
and hotter after the Porsche Design SS15 fashion show.

Day 5 was flooded with color block

 Day 6 was Times Square wandering.

 and day 7, having a quiet moment at The Brooklyn Bridge.

 I blogged about the whole journey here in case you haven't read it.

One dream led to another. After New York Fashion Week, it was a dream collaboration with one of my favorite luxury brands: Porsche Design.

I had no idea how this happened, and I thought they made a mistake. But no, the email clearly stated my name. I had to pinch myself twice to make sure that I wasn't dreaming. That's when I knew I had reached an enormous milestone in my blogging career: being able to collaborate with a big brand. At the same time, a new milestone also required me to stretch myself much further, to grow much faster and to be stricter in producing good work for you and my beloved brands. It was hard, but it was all worth it.

Shooting for Invisalign as one of their ambassadors

Collaborating with Daniel Wellington

Partnering with Flopstore Singapore for a giveaway

Promoting for Marks & Spencers "I Like It Perky" campaign

Styling for Glitz and Love

Every coin has two sides. Besides the significant growth that you already saw on this blog, there were many GROWING PAINS that I decided to keep them to myself. These were the pains when I had to say No to certain projects that I knew I couldn't deliver due to job mix-match or timeline. Or, the moment when everyone gossiped about me online, out of the blue, for no good reason. I learned how to deal with hater's comments, ignore the negativity, and just focus on my work. I'm glad it is all over.
Regardless, I have to say 2014 was, indeed, another incredible year. I met many wonderful people, made new friends from across the globe, learned new things, and stepped out of my comfort zone. My style has changed and evolved so much over a year mainly because I've changed and I've grown.

Last year, I was fortunate to meet many amazing people. They inspired, taught me, and motivated me to continue doing what I love.

I also met some people who told me that they read my blog. They made my day. I wish I could meet every single one of my blog readers to personally say thank you. Thanks for staying here with me on this journey, witnessing how much I have grown, and always being here to support. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. In return, I have dedicated some of my 2015 Resolutions for you:

1. I'll try to blog more often, on a regular basis, two or three times per week on every Monday- Wednesday (or Thursday)- Friday (or Saturday). 

2. Instead of accepting just any sponsorship, I'll be taking up selected sponsored products or services that will benefit you, and I can add value to the respective brands in return. There might not be a lot of sponsored posts this year, but if there are, they'll be good. 

3. I'm working on my schedule to get back to Youtube video soon. 

4. I'll try to write more Beauty-related content for you. In fact, I'm looking for someone who is in love with beauty and good at writing. If you know somebody like that, please do recommend. Thank you so much!

5. Going to New York again for Fashion Week in September 2015. 

6. This year, my big goal is to go to London, Milan, Paris and Australia for Fashion Week. 

That's pretty much what I have in mind right now. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please do share with me. I'm dying to know. I hope you had an excellent 2014 and may 2015 treat you even better. Please continue to be awesome, be happy, be different, be adventurous, be fearless, and most importantly, be kind.
Thank you so much for reading!
Crystal Phuong

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