Happy New Year! Happy 2019!
Continued from last year’s Style In Review, I’m going to answer the same 5 questions and share with you some of my favorite looks and memorable moments in 2018. I think it is a good practice to reset and take on the new year, so whether or not you own a blog, you should do the same! Print out photos from your phone and save them in a photo book with written commentary or simply answer the 5 questions with me below.
// 5 Questions to Reflect & Plan for the New Year
1. What were my highlights of 2018? (Highlights can mean your accomplishments, special memories, significant changes in life, or any moments of joy that you want to remember.)
The year of 2018 has been the most trans-formative year ever in both of my personal and blogging life. I was able to work with so many amazing brands and collaborated on countless projects, especially in the second half of 2018. My boyfriend and I, we traveled places together. We cooked. We shot so many outfits together. We hiked all over Washington, Oregon, and spent many sleepless nights on the road together. We did a trip exploring Arizona and Utah together, and witnessed out friends got engaged. We also made a big step in our lives early December. I also made the hardest decision to leave my current job end of 2018. So 2019 will be a very interesting year to be!
2. What about 2018 am I most grateful for? (List out anything that comes in your mind and reflect on the past year)
I am grateful for this platform and be able to share my life with you guys. I love every DMs, suggestions, advice, and comments you have ever sent your way. 2018 was filled with so many outdoors activities and endless hours spent on the road. It was quite tiring but rewarding at the same time. I ate a lot of good food. See my best list of 2018 including lots of good restaurant recommendation here. I am grateful for my boyfriend and all of my friends and loved ones’ support. I am grateful for this opportunity to live the life that I want with freedom and hope. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that I have finally chosen the path to live out my dream.
3. What is my theme for 2019? (It can be a word or a phrase that you want to accomplish in a year.)
I’d like to continue the same theme from last year. here.
4. How do I want to evolve & grow in 2019? (Put on your dreamer hat, what difference you want to make in your life?)
For the blog, I’d want to continue living and making more conscious decisions towards food I eat and clothes I purchase. Buy less and buy quality. I also want to re-launch my Youtube channel, do more lifestyle like home decor and food content. Of course, I want to reach out to hotels and traveling agencies and start targeting audience in Asia, especially in Vietnam (my home country). I also want to take my IG closer to the 10k mark this year. Buy myself a sewing machine and start making stuff towards my future brand. Am I dreaming too big?
5. What areas do I want to focus on? (And ask yourself what are your goals in those areas? We cannot multitask and accomplish all things at once, but listing out specific goals, deadlines, and try to quantify your goals by breaking them out into actionable steps. And the put in the work and check off the list as you go!)
redoing my blog’s theme, SEO, Pinterest, IRL networking with more local creatives, start making and learning stuff (learn how to shoot manual, shoot products and learn more about lighting, Photoshop and coding, etc.), join the gym, try yoga, camp overnight, learn to cook and bake more things, learn and practice more makeup and hair techniques to change out my look, practice posing and smile more, purge old clothes and continue to invest in quality stuff that last.
Looking back, my style really has not changed much. I am still wearing a lot of the pieces I wore early in the year. I can name all of the brands and how I got them if you’d ever ask me, so that is a good thing right? My hair was long and dark, and for some reasons, I always looked so sad in photos. I’m aware of it, and that is something I need to work on more in the new year. In January, I started picking up brand projects. I got sent a gold vermeil signet ring from Mejuri (it’s the start of an exciting brand collab, and I’m still working with them up until now!). I did a giveaway with Jord and gave Glossier products a try and wrote about them here.
February was a another gloomy and gray month. It felt like forever! February was my birthday month, so that at least made it a little better. My boyfriend got me a Kozha Numbers bag for my birthday, and I could stop wearing it. I found out that Kozha Numbers was based here in Portland, so that was the start of me realizing that I really didn’t need to spend a fortune on a bag. I rarely bought myself a bag since bags were investment pieces that I had to save up for. This year, however, I was glad to see more affordable designer pieces and brands starting to make unique looking pieces at affordable prices.
It started raining a lot here in Seattle, and to my surprise, the city had transformed drastically in a matter of a few days. Flowers started blooming everywhere, all shades and all colors. I could easily find a photogenic tree filled with flowers or bushes of them at every corner I turned.
April was the month of even more flowers, could you tell? I highly suggest you guys going here in the spring. It’s gorgeous! Also, be on the look out for cherry blossoms at University of Washington. There is live countdown on their website as you will most likely see my post on Instagram about it. So stay tuned! Also don’t forget to keep an eye on the daffodils and tulip festival in Mt. Vernon.
May flower theme continued from last month. I went to Arizona and Utah at the end of this month. I got to ride a horse for the first time, and it was such a dream-come-true moment for me! So enjoy extra ‘throwback’ photos below!
Arizona & Utah trip, read more here
Seattle truly has gems hidden everywhere, especially when it comes to cool outfit locations. I’m talking about Instagram worthy and photogenic locations. In fact, it really doesn’t matter where you shoot your outfit. My tip to you is just try to find a simple background that has similar colors or colors that compliment your outfit. Aim for flattering angles and good lighting (soft light, not direct light of course!), and you’re golden! My boyfriend and I drove down to explore the east side of Portland, and we discovered so many amazing nature spots added to our travel diary book this year.
We went to the lavender festival in Sequim and were able to get some amazing content there. The lavender field photos were some of the most liked and favorited on my Instagram this year. We had to drive back to Sequim later in the day since noon lighting sucked. Luckily, we found this tiny privately owned field with the bushes planted so closely to each other. It was indeed so worth the long drive!
We started hiking a lot more often now that the weather got warmer. Days were longer, so we never stayed home on the weekends anymore.
I wore animal print, hiked every weekend, and shot a fun campaign with Rothy’s.
Fall colors in Washington were at peak the first two weeks in October. My boyfriend and I took a hike up North exploring Mt. Baker area for the second time. It rained so hard that we couldn’t even see anything the first time, so it was a failed attempt. The drive was about 2 hours from Seattle, but the views were well worth it every time. I also went to New York for the second time with my best friends from Minnesota. Photos will be shared in the November segment. Also, don’t miss my New York travel diary here.
I went to stay with Headlands Coastal lodge and spa for 2 nights the first weekend of November and had an incredible time. Read more about it, here. I’m also sharing a few photos from New York from my trip end of October here. Enjoy!
December was also a success since I got to get myself a real and (real expensive) Christmas tree. It smelled amazing in the car, but I couldn’t quite smell it at home. However, we had a lot of fun decorating it and making our place super festive. We drove to La Push to shoot something very special and personal to us. December 8th was marked in our memory. I also let my boss know that I would be quitting my job at the end of January. So that was weird but was by far the best decision I had ever made in life.
Read my 2017 Style in Review here
Thanks for 2018! All photos by my amazing bf. Check out his work and book him for any of your special life events in 2019: Toan Chu Photography