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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.



And just like that, my favorite month of the year- November, came to an end. It's the period when I find myself going through the introspection process a lot. My birthday is at the beginning of the month, and Thanksgiving is towards the end. Plus, the rainy weather in Singapore happening in between makes a perfect time to stay in, have a coffee, and reflect.    

Last year, I was lucky that the government lifted the social distancing rule just before my birthday; hence, I could still celebrate with some friends. But, unfortunately, the restriction was extended this year, and only two pax dining and visitors were allowed. So, instead of having five people gathered for dinner or lunch, I had five meals with different friends the entire week. Most of the celebrations were in my new home. It was the first time in 12 years living in Singapore; I hosted birthday parties at home. It was a unique, special, and memorable birthday indeed. 

When I was ten years younger, my birthday didn't mean so much to me. I didn't find joy in celebrating getting older, becoming chubbier, having more wrinkles. I wish I were forever 25. Turning 30 was fun, remarkable, but scary. I have some female friends who are older than me; they responded, "I'm 40 years old already", "OMG, I'm 45 this year," when I wish them "Happy birthday." Some are at 39 years old but already feeling down thinking about turning 40 in 10 more months. I have not heard any male friends complaining about turning 40, 45, or even 50 yet. But women, we do this to ourselves, all the time. Why?

I was the victim of my negative thought and insecurity before, so I understand these feelings very well. But, what could we have done to stop our number from going up? Nothing, unless our time is up and our clock stops permanently. Saying it out loud helps change my perspective completely. I'd rather like my age to go up every year as long as possible. I'm sure you would too, wouldn't you?  
And that's why the older we get, the more we should celebrate our birthday well. Instead of feeling worried about getting old and ugly, we should focus on creating memories, living well, and making the most of every day with people and things that matter to us most.

Despite the Covid restriction, I still had a wonderful time celebrating with some old and new friends, which I appreciated so much. There are still many super close friends that live far away from me. I wish we could celebrate with them in person soon. For now, here are some throwback photos from the celebrations of my 37 trips around the sun. Many more ahead!

Pre-birthday dinner at home with my ex-colleagues.

Steamboat dinner at home prepared by yours truly. Thanks Roger & Benjamin for always supporting me at work. I'm gonna miss working with these 2. 

First birthday cake of the year, thanks to Benjamin!

Surprised breakfast delivered to the home by a mysterious man. :D  

Surprised birthday flower delivery! Love it so much! Thank you Faith! How could I not see this coming when you asked for my home address. So cheeky! 

Birthday staycation at Fairmont Singapore, special thanks to Accor!  

another surprised birthday cake. 

and birthday dinner at Skai Restaurant. Thanks to Emmanuel, the General Manager for the champagne treat. 

Ready for another birthday brunch! 

With Anna, whom I'd like to call my guardian angel. Thank you for always listening and helping me grow over the last 4 years. I can't believe we finished all the food and still stay so skinny :D

Another day, another meal. Brunch with the man in the afternoon

Happy hour and chill with the girls in the early evening. It's so lovely to finally be able to invite my new friends, Sylvie and Chloe to my new place. Three of us went to view the same house at the same time without knowing each other. Then, five months later, we were here. How amazing life brings people to you sometimes.   

Another birthday cake, courtesy of American Express. They really know how to treat their customers. 

I went out to have a lovely dinner with one of my male best friends for the post-birthday celebration.

If only every Monday looked like this.

The last birthday cake this year. 

Dhilip- one of the most kind-hearted, sweet, funny, and silly men whom I've been lucky to know for 4.5 years now. Our relationship has many titles over the year: from colleague to a friend; from friend to a work competitor; from a competitor to brother and sister. Thank you for your unconditional support in work and life. Your loyalty and friendship mean so much to me, especially at a time like this. 

How many more trips around the sun can I take? I don't know. One thing I know for sure is as long as I can still breathe fresh air and see this gorgeous view from up here, it's a good enough reason to celebrate. I promise that I'll never whine about getting old ever again. I hope you'll also have a fresh perspective about your birthday celebration after this post. 

Thank you so much for reading!  
Crystal Phuong

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Crystal Phuong- Home Decor

I couldn't find a more appropriate time than my birthday to share one of the big news about my life with you. If you still follow my Instagram, you've probably already known that I decided to move to a new house mid of this year. When I spoke to some of my friends about this decision, everyone seemed surprised as they knew how much I loved my old place. I even invested time and money to redecorate it and blogged about it here. Then, less than a year later, one day, while I was reading a book about getting out of the comfort zone, all of a sudden, my mind spoke to me, "Crystal, it's time to move." Then the fear held me back and said, "But you've invested so much in this place? How to find such a spacious bedroom elsewhere? Why need to leave when no one asked you to". That conversation repeated in my head for months, plus other factors to consider. I couldn't decide, so I relied on faith. Typical Asian me, I know. But experiences have proven to me many times that if something is meant to be, it will happen. So I keep holding to that thought whenever I have to take the leap of faith. Some people relocate so easily like they change clothes. I admire them. When I left Vietnam for Malaysia and left Malaysia for Singapore, I had only 2 pieces of luggage. 12 years later, I had 30 large carton boxes, 5 pieces of luggage, and dozen pieces of furniture to take with me. Hence, moving house is my worst nightmare. Besides, it reminds me of the teenage memories where we had to move house every year for nearly 10 years. It was sad.   

I tried to stay as long as I could. Then, a couple of things happened that made me feel like it was the right time to change. After a few months of thinking and seeking advice from my most trusted group of people, I finally decided to move out and move forward. That was in April 2021. 

I viewed nearly 20 houses within one month. Tiring, frustrating, disappointing, exciting, drooling, disheartening were the emotions I processed every week whenever I went for house viewing. And yet, in my mind, I was so sure that I'd find the house, or the house would find me. I viewed the last house on May 2nd, and it was not even on my top 3 list. But people often "Save the best for last.", who knew the Universe was doing the same to me. I was curious about the last house. 

As soon as the car arrived at the condo entrance, I heard the soothing sound of the water fountain. Almost immediately, I felt like this could be the place that I call home. By the time I took my first few steps in the house, I knew I no longer had to schedule another viewing after that. It felt right. Right time, right place, right people. 

June 8th, I moved to a new house. It was an auspicious day, as advised by my Dad. The house was empty without any furniture. It's like a blank canvas for me to paint a new artwork. Although I'm terrible at painting, I'm not too bad at home decoration, I think. 

It took me 2 months to turn this empty space 

Crystal Phuong- Home Sweet Home

into something I'm proud to call HOME. 

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 2

It's much smaller than my last house, but it's cozy, bright, and windy. Exactly how I like it. 

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 3

I buy fresh flowers every week as they make me happy looking at them. I enjoyed staying home during the lockdown before, but I love spending every minute in my new home much more now. A perfect morning routine to me (if I'm not working) is switching on the water fountain, opening the window, playing soft piano music, having my coffee and breakfast, reading a book, or playing with my piano. It's simple yet so satisfying. 

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 4

Moving from a big house to a smaller one has turned me into an organized freak, in a good way, of course. You can tell from my work desk with no messy cables around, considering the number of devices I have. Wait until you see how I organized my closet. I'll save that for the Instagram stories maybe, so do follow me if you want to see.  

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 5

This year, I've taken a big step back from social media. I went completely offline for a few months and didn't miss it at all. As if packing, moving house, and working weren't busy enough, I decided to go back to school. I took a couple of leadership & management courses from Harvard Business School Online to improve my skills and knowledge. More importantly, it was my dream to study at Harvard when I was in college. I couldn't do it then, so I do it now. As a result, I barely had 8hrs a day to sleep, but when these two certificates came into the mail, they made all the sleepless nights worth it. I'm still not done with my study, and I still have two more certificates to earn. But I can finally cross the "Study at Harvard" off the younger Crystal's bucket list. What's on the older Crystal's bucket list? Well, it's for another blog entry. 
For now, here are some more photos from my lovely place. Oh, I also started learning piano. Why? I don't know. Covid made me do it. 
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 6

May the new home be filled with sunshine, love, and abundance.  
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 7

A typical breakfast at C's! 
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 8

Coffee with Crystal corner! 
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 8

Having a clean, organized kitchen motivates me to cook more at home now. The spice and condiment containers are bonuses.  

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 9

I have a much smaller bedroom in the new house, and I don't have a walk-in closet anymore, so I had to be super creative about keeping all the shoes and bags. Although it's smaller, it's super cozy, clean, and comfortable.

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 10

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 13

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 14
These babies have a new home and I think they are happy 
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 11

The beauty corner
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 12

Once a while when I feel like I need a at-home spa day. 
Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 15

An afternoon walk after work in the neighborhood has become routine every week. I can never feel upset looking at this view, especially with a sunset view like this.  

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 18

This view never gets old. 

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 17

Every time I look at this, I feel immensely grateful for many things, especially this year. The global pandemic lasted much longer than we all expected. So many people lost their family members, their jobs, their hopes, and their dreams. Yet, I moved to a bigger house. Saying this out loud made me feel that I'm so spoiled. But the truth is, after 16 years of living abroad, moving from a shared bedroom to a storage room, from a storage room to a partitioned room (picture below), from a partitioned room to a master bedroom.

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 19

Finally, I moved from a master bedroom to a whole house. 

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 20

It was a significant change that I didn't see it coming myself. But here I am celebrating my 37th birthday in my lovely home with a grateful heart.

Crystal Phuong- Home Decor 21

Thank you to my family, my guardian angels, for guiding me on my journey! Thank you to my friends for staying with me through ups and downs and supporting me! For now, I need to go to sleep (it's 4.09am) so I can have energy to celebrate tomorrow. 

Thank you so much for reading!

Crystal Phuong

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When 2020 started, we were all so excited about welcoming a new decade. Like many people, I had a long bucket list of what I'd like to do, where I'd like to go in 2020. Little did I know that flying back to Singapore from Vietnam in February was my last flight in 2020. That also means it's been 16 months since I last placed my footsteps on an airplane. It feels like forever ago. It's all because of the deadly virus called Covid-19! 

Missing my family so much! 

As I'm sitting in my comfortable home writing this blog entry, over 3millions people died of Covid in less than two years. I can't complain that I couldn't be home with my family to celebrate the last Lunar New Year or I couldn't go on a holiday. I'm blessed and still incredibly grateful that I still have a great job and perfect health. This pandemic made me realize how unpredictable and uncertain life is. You can still plan your life, but you need to be flexible and adaptable to changes when necessary. My 2021 resolution list got longer, with many items brought forward from 2020, which I don't know when I can cross them off. Now that the pandemic has the world on pause, it's a perfect time to take things slow, reflect, and focus on what's most important. I miss traveling. I'm sure you do too. When I looked back at all my beautiful travel photos, they instantly put a smile on my face. This post will be a long one, as I wanted to take you back to my 2020 memories. I wanted to reflect on how I lived my life through the global pandemic and how blessed I was to thrive through the world's most challenging time. 

So here we go!

January 2020, Stef & I were lucky enough to be able to welcome the New Year in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Rome. We had breakfast in Vatican City one day, threw a coin in the Trevi fountain the next. I'll save Rome stories for another entry. For now, here are some throwback photos from our fabulous trip. 

After Rome, I flew back to Vietnam to celebrate Lunar New Year with the family. I remember watching the news with dad about the virus happening in China. We thought this was just China's story until it spread out to other countries and things got serious pretty quickly. I came back to Singapore in Feb and didn't plan any more trips after that. I wanted to focus on my health, so I went for the whole body checkup, read a lot about Lasik surgery.  One of my 2020 resolutions is to focus on improving my health and wellness overall, and that's what I did. Four days before the Singapore government announced the lockdown on April 1st, I went to have my Lasik surgery done. You can read more about my Lasik surgery experience here and why I decided to do this before the lockdown started. The question is, why not? Looking back, I still think it was the bravest and best decision that I made in 2020.  

Before the pandemic, I was hardly home. Either I was traveling for holidays or work, or I was out with my friends during the weekends. I thought it would be difficult to be locked in the house for a few months. Somehow, I adjusted my lifestyle very quickly and got so used to staying at home. Even after the lockdown was over, I hardly went out. I enjoyed working from home more, taking my conference calls at home while having a cup of coffee when the morning sun lighted through the window. Working from home gave me the work-life balance that I didn't have before. I spent less time traveling on the road, more time getting things done, and most importantly, more time on my fitness routine, which I love. I set my workout routine at 6 pm every day after I finished working. 

Being in the lockdown for a month urged people to do things that they had never done before. Myself included. I had my hairstyle cut extremely short and I liked it. 

I never cared about plants before, but I started growing some herbs and plants at home. I was so motivated to redecorate my bedroom after 4 years of living in it. I know right? What's the odd! But Covid, everything could happen. 

This is how the room looked before. 

I changed the shoes closet once, but didn't quite like the room still. The high beam ceiling really bothered me and I used to have so many nightmares. Some dreams were so strange and scary that I woke up crying and my heart beat so fast.  

Then, I started reading about fengshui in the the house, measuring every corner in my bedroom, searching for furnitures, and redesigning the whole room. This is how the room looked like during the day and the night after a month of measuring, rearranging, and furniture shopping. Surprisingly, I have no crazy nightmare ever since. How amazing! 

I was so pleased with how the room turned out that I seriously consider learning more about home decoration & interior design. 

During the lockdown, we also started to appreciate our relationship, health,  freedom, and many other things that we took for granted. I called my family almost every day to make sure they know that I'm well and safe. After the lockdown, I had many long-overdue catch-up lunches and dinners with friends. 

I even had the most memorable birthday party on a yacht, organized by my best friend, a birthday staycation at the most luxurious hotel in Singapore, many cakes to eat, and candles to blow that birthday week. 

Yet, on the same day, thousands of people around the world were dying of Covid. Thinking of it made me sad but also made me realize how fortunate I am. That is why I'm constantly reminding myself not to take anything of that for granted and always offer a helping hand whenever I can.   

When Stef told me that she needed help with her endometriosis surgery, my first instinct is "Yes". Yes, I'd help her in whatever way I could physically, emotionally, even financially. Yes, I would be her appointed guardian to give consent to the proposed treatment if she was unable to handle her affairs in critical condition. Yes, I wanted to be the first person she'd see when she woke up after her surgery. Yes, I wanted to stay in the hospital the entire time until the doctor let her go home. Everything sounded so easy until I was at the hospital ward. The reality kicked in. As soon as we said Goodbye and the nurse took her away from me, I felt so heavy and terrified. I was praying that no one called my phone that day and asked, "Are you the guardian?" or "I had to give consent that impacts someone's life." The nurse said, "the surgery usually takes 3 hours approximately," but 5 hours later, she was still in the Operating theatre. My brain started going down to the "negative" lane with all the scary thoughts. No matter how strong I am, I can never handle the emotion when someone I care about gets hurt. And I cried in the waiting lounge for no particular reason. It was an overwhelming and exhausting day and week. 

Looking back now, I'm so proud of Stef for doing this surgery and willing to share her experience with the world so she can create more awareness about endometriosis. You can read more about her story via this link here

Although we didn't manage to travel to other countries as planned, our year-end holiday last year became the most memorable one as Stef's surgery was just one week before Christmas (December 17th). For the rest of the weeks, we spent time at home for her recovery. I had a couple of dinners towards the end of the year with some other friends. It was a quiet and unusual New Year's Eve with no midnight countdown. But we still had some fun with new friends in a bar, then rang in the New Year with champagne, laughter, and wish at my house until late. 

2020 didn't turn out to be a great start of the a new decade like what we all hoped for, but at least, it reminded us of many things we took for granted, many valuable lessons that we needed to learn and relearn.There will still be many uncertainties in the year ahead. But as long as you are content, healthy, and surrounded by good friends, you are good. 

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)