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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 PERSONAL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PERSONAL. 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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It's scary to think how fast time flies. The first time I wore this green dress was on my 30th birthday, and the second time was on November 5th, 2019. Five years have gone by so quickly that I felt like I didn't achieve much. 

How did I feel when I turned 35? I honestly loved it, and one month after my birthday, I still love the Crystal at 35. Besides, I had a fabulous celebration. 

It was the first time I celebrated my birthday overseas with my girlfriends. We flew to Bali, Indonesia, on November 1st, to attend our close friend, Jessica's wedding. 

It was my first time attending a wedding in Bali, and boy, it was truly magical. The location was fantastic, the decoration was beautiful, the couple looked lovely, and the food was delicious. We danced until midnight when the couple tossed their bouquet. Guess who caught it? 

This girl. 

Does that mean I'll be getting married next year? I don't know. That story will leave for another time. For now, I just wanted to share with you my roller-coaster ride to the 35th birthday. So buckle up! 

We booked a two-bedroom villa in the heart of Seminyak. It was my first time celebrating a birthday overseas with my girlfriends. We spoke about this trip a few months in advance, so I was excited. We had our breakfast at a cute Australian cafe in Bali, then went shopping along Legian street. We spent our late afternoon drinking at a beach bar in the Marriott hotel, laughing at each other's jokes, taking way too many #wefie photos, and enjoying the sunset view of Bali. 

In the evening, we found our way to Alila hotels for a lovely dinner by the beach. The day couldn't be better.   

On the second day, I booked a private tour for three of us to check out some famous places in Nusa Penida. We first went for snorkeling at Crystal Bay with the hope to swim with the majestic manta rays of Nusa Penida, but we weren't lucky enough to see any. I was just happy to be underwater, regardless. 

Then we drove up to the mountain to catch a magnificent view of Kelingking beach that popped up on my Instagram feed almost every day. The photo doesn't do this place justice. You have to make a trip here to witness its beauty yourself. 

After Kelingking, off we went to Broken Beach. This beach is not like any other beach that I saw before. Probably from thousands of years ago, when the waves hit the rock consistently, it created a giant hole in the middle of the cliff. Now, the imperfect cliff makes Broken Beach become one of the most popular destinations in Nusa Penida.

By the time we came back to our hotel, this was what I saw. A bedroom was full of roses on the bed, in the bathtub, and on the floor. That was the loveliest birthday surprise I've ever received from my girlfriends. 

The next morning, we had breakfast and went for a photoshoot around the villa, specially arranged and paid for by my girl, Jessica. 

At night, we went to Motel Mexicola, one of the sexiest, most colorful and quirky Mexican bar and restaurant in Seminyak. I had a surprise birthday cake, we drank a few rounds of alcohol and danced until our feet hurt. My heart was bursting with joy and love.

Love these girls to bit Rebecca on my left and Stefanie on my right.

It would have been my perfect birthday celebration if only a burglary didn't happen at our villa that night. We were so careful to keep all our valuable items away in a locked suitcase and a safety box. Somehow, someone managed to open our villa gate, room doors, and knew where to find all our money and high sentimental value items. It was unfortunate that this happened on my birthday. From feeling extremely happy and grateful, to extremely angry, upset, anxious, and scared, we experienced all levels of human emotion on one night. Like the craziest roller coaster, we rode on. I was glad that we were safe, but still I was enraged. Some closest friends also reached out to offer to send me money in case we needed cash to go home. For that, I'm thankful! 

I've known Rebecca for almost four years now, but this was the first time I saw how calm and yet strong she was to deal with the situation. She never shed a tear when speaking with the hotel staff and the police, but broke down the next morning when telling Stefani and I how much the rings meant to her. I love and admire this girl so much.

This is life! Nothing is perfect. There will be many unexpected circumstances happen that are out of our control and imagination. It will make you wiser, stronger, and braver. On a brighter note, I had the most unique and memorable 35th birthday celebration. I can't wait to see what this new chapter in life has for me. 

Thank you so much for all these lovely wishes, presents, and cakes! 
Crystal Phuong

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I should have written this blog post on November 5th when I turned 34, but I was too busy celebrating, and I didn't know what to write. So I left it until now. As 2018 is going to an end in just a few minutes, I’ll make this as a 34-years in a nutshell post. One stone kills two birds. 

I love looking back at old photos. They remind me of my younger-self: how insecure, inexperienced, and innocent I was and how much I’ve grown up. I hope by the time I’m 40 years old, I’ll have solved some puzzles in my life which I’m still trying to figure out. Right now, I know I’m on the right path, and if I continue improving myself, everything will fall into place. Writing a post like this every year is like patting myself on the back and saying "You've done well. Don't give up!" 


When I was 25, beauty was never on my priority list. Unless I went for a dance performance, competition, or a photo shoot, I never liked to put on makeup, let alone spending a few hours in a hair or a beauty salon. Besides, I was still young. My hair and skin looked good, why would I waste money on beauty treatments? I also never went to a gym. My mom forced me to take her healthy supplements, but I always forgot until they were expired. 

Now that I'm 34, health becomes the most important item on my list. When I was sick, my mom and dad couldn't sleep at all because they were worried about me. If I can’t take care of myself, how can I take care of my family? That thought motivates me to take my health seriously. I started practicing yoga since last year, eating healthy, taking health supplements, going to the gym or exercising at home whenever I could. My body transformed. I feel healthier, stronger, and happier. It's incredible. I still don't like to apply heavy makeup, but I put more effort into skincare. Honestly, I love the Crystal at 34 a lot more than the Crystal at 25. Growing old suddenly becomes less stressful and more fun. 


If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ll know how close I am to my family. The family has always been a strong pillar of support for me over the years. Living far away from everyone means I'm often missed out on family events, unfortunately. Many times I wished I was home so I could give my mom and dad a big hug on their birthday, take them out on Mother's & Father's Day, or even have a drink with my brother. That is why I will do everything I can to spend more time with them and make them feel happy. Whether it's a Taiwan trip with my mom and dad or a short trip home to throw the 1st birthday party for my nephew, it makes my day whenever I see a big smile on their face. As long as they are healthy, I'm happy. 


For the longest time, I've always been questioning myself "What do I want to do in my career?". I was lucky that I had many opportunities to do different things at a young age (5 years old). From a singer, a dancer, and a dance teacher to an actress, a host, and a model, I enjoyed being on stage or in front of the camera so much that I thought I was born to be a performer. At the same time, the other part of me wanted to be a businesswoman, so I chose to study "Business Management" instead of accepting the Performing Arts scholarship.

Then, when I started writing a blog and stepped into the fashion industry in 2012, I gave up the "art performer" dream and had a desire to run my own fashion business and being a professional blogger instead. But when I had to choose between getting paid to blog full time and working in a technology company in the hospitality industry. I wanted to be in the hospitality industry instead. I wanted to travel. I'm glad I made that decision, and I found the career that I've been looking. Not only do I have a good job, but I also have a wonderful boss who trusts, supports, and helps me spread my wings to fly. She makes my days at work so fun and fulfilling. We are only at the beginning of our journey. I can't wait for the new year to start.  


They say good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are there. I'm lucky that I have many shining stars around me. They are there during my good and bad time. They don't just lend me their listening ears. They offer their helping hands when I need. I wonder “what have I done in my previous life that I have many guardian angels with me in this life.” They are like my brothers and sisters. Some I know for more than ten years, others I meet less than a year but feel like we already knew each other for a long time. I’ll probably have more bridesmaids than I need by the time I decide to be a bride. I'm not complaining. It's a happy problem to have.


Every girl loves being a princess on her wedding day. Some take a longer time to find their true love story than others. I’m very good at managing other parts of my life (Work, Health, Family), Love is the only thing that makes me feel out of control. I lost count how many times in the past 16 years (since I started dating), I looked up at the sky and wondered: "Where and who is my Prince Charming? Why it’s so hard to meet him?". Every time I fell in love, I had my heart broken over and over again. After so many heartbreaks and lessons, I learned that Love is not just a feeling. It's not just a word. It's not about the number of expensive presents a guy gives you. It's a choice, a commitment, and an action. We chose to love someone and accept them for who they are, including their flaws. Loving someone means we'll do everything we can to make the other person happy. We are inspired to be a better version of ourselves. We are willing to stay with them during the tough times and be their best supporter. In one of my love stories, I came to realize that loving someone also means letting them go and wishing them all the happiness whether you are a part of it. They say “God knows when you are ready for a marriage, he'll send the right man to you at the right time.” Apparently, I wasn't ready.

I wanted to get married at the age of 25. It didn't happen. I set my marriage goal at 27 years old. Again, I broke up. The same thing happened when I was 29 and 30 years old. All these years, I asked myself "Why do I want to get married?". The answers were: I want to get married because I'm getting old; My parents want me to get married; I need to find stability and security, and the list goes on". None of the answers was "I want to spend the rest of my life with him." Not that I didn't have a feeling for any of my ex-boyfriends at that time, I just had too many doubts and fear in my head. I didn't feel "right" like what everyone kept telling me "You'll know it if he is the right one."  So I walked away before things got worse and wanted to focus on loving myself first before I can love someone else.

Now,  I still don’t know if and when I will get married, but I no longer have the pressure of "I'm getting old" or "My parents want me to get married." I'm self-sufficient and enjoying my single life to its fullest. I love myself and I'm content with what I have. I don't need a man to give me financial stability. I'm not looking for a man to bring me happiness because I'm already happy. When I think of getting married to someone, I think of how much I want to share my positivity, joy, and my life with that person. Life is not always sunshine and butterflies. I won't mind going through storms with that person as long as he respects, trusts, and loves me as his life partner. A great relationship requires hard work, open communications, honesty, and a whole lot of bedtime activities. I get that.

Have I given up on love? Not yet. I still believe somewhere out there in this world, my Mr. Right is still finding his way to me. It might take him some time to get here. Until that mysterious guy appears, I’m taking one day at a time and keeping my mind open to see what happens.
For now, I’m happy, and I'm thankful for all the experiences life has given me. I'm ready to move on to the next chapter. And I’m so ready for 2019!

Happy New Year to me, you, and your family!
Thank you for reading! 
Crystal Phuong

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[name=Crystal Phuong] [img=https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEie2fJIeV0maiu1iSZBqXUcw3MA0I5aIOIFkNquz-3I9TubKru_nT6RtBidB9SShTMn6L8YRjDf8q3JtWSNcG2Z4aHEUT51k5X5eyzYXHwKUDM_Rglx1_kBrnE0wIbuRq2Gmr6Ngg/w345-c-h245/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)