Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Sharing some exciting news

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I have some exciting news to share with you today. You may or may not know this about me but I'm a career-oriented woman. Financial independence is the one thing I take very seriously. Crushing my goals makes me feel powerful and confident. Since I was a little girl, I envisioned myself spending my days in a downtown office. I know the 9-to-5 life isn't for everyone and it might sound boring/unfulfilling to some of you. However, I thrive on routines and schedules so the 9-to-5 life is perfect for me. I went though a couple of career jumps in 2018 (you can read more about them here and here). To recap: I was with one of the previous companies for 9 years. Towards the beginning of 2018, I felt like it was time for a career change (the kids are getting older, there was little to no room for advancement..etc..). After 6 months of looking, I accepted a new position and left the company in July of 2018. One month in, I knew this company wasn't for me. After 3 months, I decided to put my resume out there once again. I got an offer within a few months and left the company at the end of 2018. Because I needed to get out of a toxic work environment, I took a pay cut and a downgraded job title (mid-level) in order to make the change. Thankfully, after 8 months, I got promoted to a senior-level position with my new salary to match. I mentioned in this post that I may have found my dream job. The company takes exceptional care of their employees. They recognize employees for going above and beyond and promote them from within. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I put in extra working hours and take on additional responsibilities because I wanted to prove to the leadership team what I am capable of. At the beginning of 2021, I felt like it was time for me to put in a request for promotion. I went thought the entire process from writing a justification for promotion, 2 interviews, waiting for the directors approvals, HR approval and financial approval. I am extremely happy and excited that I am officially stepping into a leadership role.
As much as I am excited about my new position, I am going to tell you right now that this is going to be the final role in my career ladder. I mentioned in the past that I have no intention of being a manager for a couple of reasons: First of all, I don't like to manage people in general. I am now leading my team when it comes to technical skills and processes but I am not managing them. I don't like confrontation, I always have a hard time saying no to people, I easily shut down when I am stressed and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Those are my weaknesses. I have to overcome them if I want to become an exceptional manager. However, the main reason that I have no intention of being a manager because I want to spend more time with my children. The time with them is so important. My husband puts a lot of hours into his start up company (we're one of the investors). He's working 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week. For that reason, I want to be there for the kids, take them to practices, attend their PTCs, go over their homework or just spend time with them in general. Hubby does help when he's around but he has a lot of his plate. I have no interest in putting more than 45 work hours a week. We are financially stable so maintaining a healthy work-life balance is way more important to me right now.

As I read the official offer letter last week, my heart is filled with happiness and bursting with joy. This is what I wanted for the past 9 months. The sense of accomplishment is indescribable. After 9 months of hard work and dedication, it's finally paid off. The promotion came with a hefty raise, a higher bonus percentage, a higher merit increase and stock options. I couldn't be more thankful. With that being said, I did treat myself to something special. I am a true believer in if you work hard, you should play hard and take good care of yourself. This post is getting long so I am going to reveal what I got in a later post. If you have any guesses, leave them below. Thank you for letting me share and being a part of my everyday life.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Black and Brown

Mixing black and brown is no longer a fashion faux pas. As the matter of fact, the combination became so chic and on trend. The two neutrals complement each other to create a sophisticated outfit. I love the logomania trend but I am not ready to drop $1K on a sweater yet. This little number is a great Fendi dupe. It has a boxy and very cropped fit. The pattern pairs well with my black skinny jeans. A plain sweater and jeans can get boring sometimes so incorporate a print is the easiest way to break up the solid blocks of color. Have a great Monday, everyone! Outfit details: Femme Luxe sweater | Old Navy jeans | Target boots

Friday, February 26, 2021

Level 2 Gymnastics Competition 2021

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you all had a great work week. I am definitely ready for the weekend. Two weeks ago, Madelyn had her first competition. She did absolutely amazing! As a proud Mom, I can't help but wanting to share her accomplishments. She brought home 5 medals (1st place beam routine @ 9.325 pts, 2nd place floor routine @ 9.525 pts, 5th place bars routine @ 9.000 pts, 5th place vault routine @ 9.300 pts and I can't believe she earned 2nd place all-around @37.150 pts). I mentioned before that as much as I want to protect the girls from COVID-19, team sports are so good for their mental health. I am so grateful that they still get to do what makes them happy. So proud of my little girl. She works really hard to master these routines. Her hard work and effort have paid off! There are 2 more competitions in March and I can't wait to see her perform again. You can watch her routines below:

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Get up to $400 off your designer shoes and handbag purchase

Sharing a great promotion on designer bags and shoes. You can get up to $400 off your designer shoes and handbag purchase. There are quite a few exclusions but 2 of my favorite brands (Saint Laurent & Manolo Blahnik are included). Take advantage now if you're looking to add a pretty pair of shoes or bag to your Spring wardrobe.

Monday, February 22, 2021

All about the Teddy Blake Ava bag

Happy Monday, everyone! Today, I have an exciting handbag review for you. There is no secret that I love designer handbags. However, they come with a hefty price tag. We all know that spending thousands of dollars on a designer handbag is not always possible. However, you definitely do not have to spend that ridiculous amount of money for a well-made handbag. Exceptional quality and craftmanship contemporary handbags do exist. One of the brands that come to mind is Coach. A leather Coach bag is just as nice as a Louis Vuitton bag but for a fraction of the cost. Teddy Blake is also a great brand that worth looking into. I've reviewed quite a few Teddy Blake bags. Out of all the bags I've reviewed thus far, the Ava is my number one favorite. My opinions in this post still ring true. I still love the bag and wholeheartedly recommend it. The one that I reviewed in that post is the Ava 11". I rarely buy multiple versions of the same item but this bag is an exception. Since I love the bag so much, I wanted to own the 9" version as well as the tiny 6" version because why not?
First up is the 9" Ava in pink. Not generally a pink girl but I love this subtle shade of pink for Spring. The gorgeous pebbled leather gets me every time. While the 11" version is great for work, the 9" version is perfect for every day use. If you're on the petite side, the 9" version is the perfect size for you. It's not too big but not too small either. All Ava bags come with an adjustable shoulder bag which I appreciate. It's a great classic!
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If you are into luxury bags, you might have noticed micro bags are becoming the trendiest accessory. Jacquemus is the brand that started it all. Even though I love the textured leather, I purposely chose the smooth leather to review. Just as expected, the smooth leather is just as gorgeous as the pebbled leather. The Ava 6" is absoluately adorable in person. Please keep in mind that it's tiny. It will not fit an iPhone. It will fit your cards, a lipstick and your key. Sure, micro bags are tiny but they're the perfect size if you're a minimalist. Also, I was thinking if you have a little girl, these coordinating handbags would be perfect for a mother-daughter duo. Out of 3 sizes, the 9" is my favorite. Whether I am dressed super casual or dressy, the Ava bag is the perfect accessory. It's classic, timeless and elegant! TeddyBlakeBagReview_SydneysFashionDiary-2 TeddyBlakeBagReview_SydneysFashionDiary (1)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

First luxury purchase of 2021

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! The family and I came home late last night from a ski trip in Michigan. The girls did wonderful. By the end of day 1, both of them were able to go down blue runs without any issues. It was a perfect family getaway for the long weekend. Today, I am sharing my very first luxury purchase of 2021. I wasn't planning to purchase this particular item but my SA texted me a picture and I couldn't resist. I showed the text to hubby and he said just get it for Valentine's Day. He didn't have to tell me twice (lol!). It's not always easy to find a classic Chanel long necklace. They sell really fast. A pre-owned piece is often selling for more than its retail price and this is a perfect example. I included the price tag for your reference. The tag says REV (revolving) meaning the item is a part of Chanel's classic collection and is released every season. I don't know when I get a chance to wear this beauty out but I am excited to have it in my collection. I included a short unboxing clip just for fun. Have a great week, everyone!
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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Happy Lunar New Year

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Happy year of the Ox! We celebrated Lunar New Year early since my husband and I are taking the girls on a family trip for the upcoming long weekend. I got my traditional Vietnamese dress (áo dài) just in time for the new year. The dress is absolutely stunning in person and the measurements were spot on. I love the design and the beautiful patterns. I feel like wearing a piece of art. I opted for a non-traditional neckline to show off my necklace. Shopping online for the perfect áo dài is not an easy task. The owner was an absolute pleasure to work with. She is responsive and attentive. This dress is made from a stretchy silk fabric. It feels cool to the touch, flows well and is very comfortable to wear. If you're in the market for a traditional Vietnamese dress, check out the shop here. Their dresses come in different colors, materials, patterns, and designs. I highly recommend and will come back next year for sure. I cooked some of my favorite Lunar New Year foods and shared with my family. A dear friend has gifted me 2 sweet gourd. I used one to make red sticky rice (xôi gấc). I gave the other one to my Mom. This kind of exotic fruit is next to impossible to find in Ohio. I also made some sticky rice and banana cakes. They turned out super delicious. If you're celebrating Lunar New Year, I wish you good health and lasting prosperity. Outfit details: Vietnamese dress | VCA earrings | VCA necklace
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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

January Recap

The first month of 2021 has come and gone. For the most part, not much has really changed. Now that political madness is somewhat behind us, we are focusing on planning and setting goals for 2021. Having extra time on my hands is probably one of the positive aspects of this pandemic. We are able to sit down and really think about what we want to accomplish this year. As mentioned in this post, we have met with our financial advisor and started the ball rolling.


Highlights of the month:

1. Madelyn is getting ready for her first competition of 2021! I am so thankful that she's still able to maintain her skills during the pandemic. I know there is an increased risk while playing team sports but at the same time, team sports reduce risk of depression in kid. Social interaction does wonders for her well-being. I wouldn't have it any other way. So far, the gym has done a great job keeping everyone safe.

2. Courtney got her temporary permit! I still remember the day she was born and I can't believe she's driving now. If I have to say so myself - She's the most responsible teenager you'll ever find (lol!). She has her bad days but for the most part, she's navigating through this pandemic and eLearning like a champ. I am so so so proud of my first born!

3. My Dad got his first dose of the vaccine. Thank goodness! One step closer to a proper hug. Coming from a close-knit family, I really miss seeing my parents. With the kids having (limited) social interactions with their friends, I don't want to put my parents at risk by seeing them regularly. It's best that we wait until both of them are fully vaccinated. 

4. As mentioned in this post, we are redoing Madelyn's room. It's a slow process since we do everything ourselves. My husband and I spent the entire weekend putting up wallpaper in her room. It turned out so good. Although, I have to say it was a lot harder than anticipated. Can't wait to reveal it to you all =)

5. We took advantage of the upcoming long weekend and booked the first trip of 2021. Our family desperately need a weekend getaway. Everyone is so looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Vietnamese Mung Bean Cakes for Lunar New Year

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I just finished making these delicious Vietnamese mung bean cakes yesterday. I know Lunar New Year is still 2 weeks away but we won't be home for the next 2 weekends so I am planning ahead of time. These cakes has certainly been a labor of love. Took me 2 days from start to finish. I marinated everything overnight then woke up at 4:00 a.m. the next morning to put everything together. Check out my video demonstration below. I am giving them away to my family and friends today. Hope they'll enjoy them as much as I do. Let me know if you end up making these cakes. I'd love to know.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Vietnamese Dried Pickles for Lunar New Year

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Happy Sunday, everyone! Lunar New Year (Tết) is 3 weeks away so I thought today, I'd share a super easy yet delicious pickles recipe. These crunchy pickles are served along-side Vietnamese Mung Bean cakes (which I shared last year). I am making them again next week. My Mom usually makes this but sadly, I am not seeing my parents this year due to COVID so I am trying my hands at making it. They turned out incredible! You can sun drying the vegetables. It's not doable for me since it's currently 16 degrees outside =) You can also use a dehydrator to speed up the process but it's not necessary. You can make crunchy and savory pickles without any fancy kitchen gadgets. It's easy to make and keeps well refrigerated.