Sunday, January 1, 2012

My impromptu "Happy New Year" e-card to you. BUT. More importantly, ROUND TABLE PIZZA IS COMING TO VIETNAM!

Salutations from the future!

If you're in the Western Hemisphere, you are probably still reveling in the New Year's festivities while I only have half an hour more till New Year's Day becomes "Day TWO" of 2012.

I only have one resolution this year, and unfortunately, I can't publicly announce it.  But it's a good one.  Ohhhh, it's a good one.  I have friends taking bets already.  So I plan on reaping a big payout at the end of 2012.  That is, if it doesn't end.  (Which, it won't.  Don't make me type Y2K.  Gah.  Too late.)

I'd like to think of my resolution as a possible memoir or a romantic comedy in the making.  The latter definitely not starring Rachel Green - oh whoops, I mean, Jennifer Aniston. Same thing.  I'd most definitely call in Zooey Deschanel for a casting.  I'll stop here, because you guys have no idea what the resolution is and I sound like I'm rambling.  Per usual.

Moving on.

This year has been AMAZING.  I have never done so much in such a short amount of time.

And! I stayed single.  Yes.  Me.  The girl who has been known to her friends to always be in a relationship.  I'm sure you have one or two of those in your group of friends.  Refer them to me, please.

The pattern has finally been broken and this is the longest I have ever been without a serious commitment.  I have gone out of my way to make this happen as I have a tendency to meet amazing people along the way, fall in love quite easily, and emotionally invest myself completely to my partner.   Thus, neglecting myself and the goals that I want to pursue.

This time around, I was able to concentrate on the relationship with myself  by emotionally investing in...well, me.  The ROI? I feel like I have grown so much more in the past year than I ever have and I'm proud of what I have been able to accomplish this past year.

Also, naturally you always have your ups and downs in life, but unlike the other years, I got over my "downs" at a faster rate and my "ups" constantly crescendoed in 2011.

As you may or may not know already, I'm usually based in Saigon, Vietnam.  But I have a weakness for traveling and living abroad, so I'm going to backtrack my travels for the year:

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (for the millionth time, yay)

An old college friend of mine, Sharlene, became a beautiful bride and had her wedding in beautiful Manila.  It was like a mini-reunion with old friends from Chapman University.

And then, I did a photo shoot while I was there - might as well!  Especially if it's with renowned photographer Enzo Mondejar!  (Styled by Eric Poliquit, MUA/Hair by Nina Dumpa) Check out his work here.

BALI, INDONESIA (for my first time)

Yes.  There should be photos where I'm frolicking on Bali's beaches and enjoying cool drinks at Ku de ta by the soothing ocean with some good friends.  Unfortunately, a make-up artist "accidently" deleted all of my photos from Bali before I could upload them.  And the only visually tangible thing I have from the trip is this helmet I ended up bringing back to Vietnam.  Guess that means I'll have to come back!  Darn!  

(I hadn't seen my mom for 2 years and I hadn't been back here for 5 years)

I flew just in time for Mother's Day to spend it with my mom!  And this trip was the best thing I spent my money on.  I want to make my first million for my mom and sister.

I can't remember the last time I wore so many layers!
Oh wait.  On the motorbike in Vietnam.  So I don't get completely fried in the sun.  
Allow me to rephrase this, I don't remember the last time I felt so cold!

Big one and little one reunited for what?  CHOCOLATE. DUH!

Bonjour et au revoir Montreal!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (for The Weeknd)

Here I am with accomplished director/photographer/colleague Bao Nguyen and with my good college friend Lani Nguyen (no relation) who is an amazing advertising strategist by day, an uber talented DJ with the moniker Lani Love by night, and a fancy style blogger at all times on Sugar Rock Catwalk .
I have only been to New York once and unfortunately, it was right after 9/11.  This time, I got to experience New York with a self-proclaimed "hipster" local who knew the ins and outs and all the hole-in-the-wall joints.  

It is during this weekend, I confirm my thoughts on "hipster" types, New York veterans and newbies, and how New York can charm me any day - but I'm forever a Californian girl at heart.

SAN FRANCISCO/SAN JOSE, California (for 3 weeks)

I hadn't been back in the Bay Area, where I was born and raised, for 2 years.  I thoroughly enjoyed it actually.  I initially planned on being in Southern California for 3 weeks but the reverse happened.  I ended up staying in Northern California longer than expected.  I reunited with my close girlfriends I have known since high school and then met a few new characters to add to my life.

I went to a the Treasure Island Flea Market in Frisco with some friends and one of the Gemini halves in my life, Jenny!  We found a photo booth where there was a costume box full of gizmos and props and we had only 4 seconds to change for each photo snapped!  So that photo above is the outcome.

Turner got me a hamster PJ set.  'Nuff said!

Napa Valley wine tasting with the girls.  But in my case, I was wine sipping.

Becky and I got to visit Cathy at her workplace, the Facebook headquarters!  
In addition to spending time with good friends, I saw it as an opportunity to bring my laptop in person to fix the Facebook bugs I had been having, lol.

I spent my birthday playing Cranium and ate Fondue with all the girls.  Yummmm!


Reunited with my beauty Tamie.  We were roommates in Cebu, Philippines about two years back.  She is actually one of the many reasons I'd move back to LA. 

Reunited with my good friends and old roommates Van and Irene who I funnily enough found on craigslist when urgently trying to find a new place to move to during college.

Yes, I reunited a lot in this year, I realize.  Bare with me here.  I haven't seen these girls since graduation!  I spent the most time with them in college, especially when I took on leadership roles in the Asian Pacific Student Association club.  Yes. That would be "APSA", for short.  But "the Asian club", to get to the point.  And yes, we were awesome.

Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) with Turner, who is a character all of his own.

GUANGZHOU, CHINA (for one month)

Casting, casting, casting.

With my sweet booker Justin and my very sweet roommate Estera.

With Piotr, another roommate of mine, who never failed to introduce to me ear candy that my iTunes so happily consumed as part of the top 25 Most Played playlist.

Tourist time!

NINH VAN BAY, VIETNAM (for The Weeknd)

Sometimes, you have to take a vacation from a vacation.

Singapore (for a month and a half)

My first Zoukout!

Unfortunately, at this time, I'm not allowed to post certain photos from Singapore.  But I'm going to post this photo dedicated to some of the most awe-inspiring girls I got a chance to meet at the end of 2011.  You know eggxactly who you are!

Summing it all up, I got to be in 7 different countries and this turned out to be the most "personal" blog I have up to date.

With some of these friends, there are a few where I literally just met them this last year but we bonded instantly. With the others that I have known for awhile, we have gone for a few months to even a few years without speaking to one another.   And that's okay.  You pick up from where you left off.  This is something I have come to accept and continue to learn to accept.  Especially since it's not easy saying bye, time and time again, not knowing when the next time you'll see each other again.

However, I'm going to go ahead and say that I have relatively good judgement when it comes to my friends.  They're good people and I am thankful that I even crossed paths with them.  I will now dub my 2011 as the year of reunions.

Again, hope you all had an amazing year, but an even better one that's about to happen.  Especially in March when Round Table Pizza is opening 20 locations in Vietnam.  YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!


Isablog Du


  1. Happy New Year to you too sweetie!
    I was amazed by your photos and suddenly the travel bug that I thought disappeared I got bit with it again...pretty soon I'll be traveling out of the country to somewhere far off....don't know where...but if I end up writing a book called "there and back again"....i will be the most happiest camper...EVER!

  2. Thaaaanks! Well, you have 365 days left in the year to travel! Oh, the choices! I'm excited for you! Traveling does good for the soul. It rejuvenates you in a way that nothing else can ever satisfy you the same way. If you ever write that book, I'd like to preorder an autographed copy, please! :)

  3. Happy New Year, Isabelle.

    I've never heard of Round Table Pizza. Is their pizza really that good?

    Love the photos, as always. I think the helmet has to be my favorite. With the hamster PJs as a close second.

  4. Ohhhhhh yessssss, especially their Mac Arthur's surpreme but their GARLIC TWISTS is to die for. It's twisted bread with garlic all over and inside is just oozy goozy yummy cheese!!!

  5. You are adorable! Good luck on your resolution :)
    I was in Bali in October. I really miss that place, it hurts my heart.

  6. Shucks, thanks giiiiirl, much appreciated. I am there with you. Now there are two heads in this world hurtin' because of Bali's beauty.

  7. Isabel! :) So glad I decided to google you... It's been a long time since my xanga days lol & you're still as gorgeous as ever. Happy new years! xox An

  8. Aw! Thanks An for that awesome comment, I have to say, it's really nice to see old xanga followers come up here. I miss that xanga community and have been strongly reconsidering moving back there, lol. But still thinking about it. Anyways, you look great and fun blog! I wish I can buy everything hahaha.Happy new year!