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First Step in Achieving our Goals

phnom penh, cambodia, mission trip

Tonight, I just wanted to slow down… my life has been so fast paced lately and I feel like I can’t keep up. So I resorted to youtube and searched up my girl Oprah. I feel like she’s always got something to feed the soul and so I watched a 20 minute speech she made and honestly, I didn’t even watch the whole thing but I cried watching it. I’m still trying to figure out why I became so emotional over it and maybe it’s because the person that has been functioning is so far from who I am at my core. Just rush rush rush to get things done. I haven’t breathed, taken things in to process and really one of the big things is that I haven’t done anything to serve myself nor others.

She shared about her story on building a school and I can still remember at one point in my life where I really wanted to focus in on developing a nonprofit organization that could benefit so many people. I never got around to figuring out what it was going to be… and I thought maybe my blog would eventually become that one day and I’m sure it still has potential to become something big. But I gotta figure out what I want to create, why I want to create it, who I want it for. I know that I want to impact, on a larger scale. I know I want to work with women, I know I want to empower and influence… just don’t know on what. But Oprah talking about her experience going back to South Africa to carry out her Christmas Kindness mission of giving a gift to young children reminded me that I haven’t put any effort in doing anything larger than myself in a really long time. And part of me felt called. Called to come back to that place. The place where I wanted to help, encourage, and inspire. Not sure how, or who or even what… but I know it’s time to explore my options.

phnom penh, mission trip, tonle sap, siem reap, lasalle pothum

First step

First thing that comes to mind is I’d really like to get out of the States and go serve somewhere. The second thing that comes to mind is influencing through my blog and bringing my mission and vision to life. Because the slate is so clean, it can be really intimidating but the first step in pursuing that scares is committing to following through.

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How to Bring Your Life to the Next Level

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I believe that all of the activities we partake in outside of our obligations can essentially be categorized in three different ways. Being able to identify your activities throughout the day can easily show you things you can do to give yourself a little pick-me-up, especially on days they are much needed. So I’ve defined these activities as life-giving, chill or fun activities.

Life-giving Activities

Are things that give you life! Activities that fill your soul up with goodness so that you are full so you can easily share and support others.

Chill activities

Are  just like they sound, chill. They are things you do to relax and numb your brain so you don’t have to think about anything else.

Fun activities

Are things you just enjoy doing that aren’t quite life-giving but they just help  you have a good fricken’ time!

So for me

Life-giving activities – writing, gratitude, reading, working out, church at St John Fisher/Cottonwood, reflection, eating healthy, devotional, volunteering, quality hang outs/conversations

Chill activities – Netflix, social media

Fun activities – blog, photography, planning trips, online shopping, apex, chillin’ with friends

And now that I’ve categorized my daily activities, I have a much better sense of what I’m doing with my time and it allows me to be more conscious of what I do to ensure that I am filling my day with life-giving activities rather than chill activities that make my brain go numb. They say that if we’re not measuring progress, how do we know we’re improving. And if we don’t know, how do we know to shake things up to take things up a notch? So let’s think about what your activities are, and how can we be more conscious of doing more life-giving activities during our day because those are the ones that recharge and rejuvenate ourselves.

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How to Do a Self Check-In Assessment

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I believe reflection is a phenomenal way to process life, take a step back and make sense of all the chaos that surrounds us every day . Looking back at my life last year, it felt like a bunch of random events and moments I collected with not much understanding nor connection. Let me tell you, it’s the worst way to reminisce on life. And while I hit a major low last year, it was definitely something that needed to happen to spring me forward into the direction I’ve been wanting to go.

I’m currently reading this book called I am That Girl by Alexis Jones, and essentially it’s a self help book for women to speak truth and find their purpose. It had amazing reviews on Amazon so I figure I’d give it a shot. I’m loving it so far because the author tells her story and intertwines it with other powerful women’s voices and best thing is that it gives you activities to work on (definitely one of my favorite aspect of books that I read). One of the things I’ve really liked so far that I’ve actually completed is a life self assessment that you can do several times throughout the year. It is a way to stop and reflect, figure out where you are so you can figure out where and how to continue to proceed with life to get closer to manifesting those dreams.

Since March is just right around the corner, I decided it would be the perfect time to do this because Q1 of the year will be over next month!

i am that girl, book, women's self help, alexis jones, purpose life

Self Check-In

Take some time to answer these self assessment questions and it’s ok not to finish in one sitting. It’s best to ponder and provide a thoughtful response than to rush through the process. I’ve also went ahead and shared my personal responses to each of the questions below. I think it’s best to be raw, and real… and feel as much as you can through answering these questions because it’s the only way to get an honest look at life.

So here we go…

  1. What are you most proud of recently? What are you least proud of? What did you learn from your least proud moment, and what can you do to inspire more of what you were most proud of?
  2. Rate yourself from 1-10 on the following attributes: AuthenticitySelflessness

    Kindness 

    Compassion

    Patience 

    Creativity 

    Forgiveness 

    Passion 

    What areas need the most improvement? How can you put them into action? Schedule them into your planner

  3. List out your top priorities (ideally) in order.
  4. Where are you spending most of your time (I’ll list what a typical week looks like?) Where are you spending most of your money? Do your priorities match your actions (bc where you spend your time and money is a direct correlation to your actual priorities)?
  5. How do you feel in general? Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Do you feel deprived in any area, too focused on any area, or in need of serious attention in any area?
  6. What are your current personal and professional goals? Write them down, steps to accomplishing them and schedule them into your calendar
  7. What was the last act of kindness you did? Think of a new one and schedule it

 malibu, malibu beaches, california, beach, beach life, california

My Responses

  1. What are you most proud of recently? What are you least proud of? What did you learn from your least proud moment, and what can you do to inspire more of what you were most proud of?

Recently, I’ve been really proud of my fitness progress. I’ve been eating well, working out 5-6 days a week for the last 3 weeks. I’m definitely beginning to see and feel results.

I am least proud of the way I’ve treated my loved ones, especially in times of need.

Promises are huge. I live in a gray zone, my life is gray, things intermix, change and constantly flowing and I need to learn how to compartmentalize. Be rigid, be strict, it is yes or no, not maybe.

  1. Rate yourself from 1-10 on the following attributes:

Humility (authenticity) 5

Selflessness 6

Kindness 8

Compassion 7

Patience 8

Creativity 7

Forgiveness 8

Passion 4

What areas need the most improvement? How can you put them into action? Schedule them into your planner

Passion, humility and selflessness need the most improvement. Passion, I’m unsure if I can truly say that I am passionate about blogging or nursing. At some points I feel like I have to do it… and of course there will be parts of any job or career that is not fun, but they must be done because they add to the bigger picture. Passion, I need to continue to push through and constantly remind me of the core reason why I began the blog, and why I went into nursing.

Authenticity, and I know I haven’t been incredibly honest and or authentic with others. Partially because I feel I can’t, that I don’t have anyone I feel safe enough to do it with. Isn’t that crazy? Coming from the lady who values it? But that’s it, I need to model it for others. Because this is truly something I believe in wholeheartedly.

Selflessness, I feel like I can be A LOT more selfless for Hoan. Hoan tells me I’m his number one priority and I believe him. I’m going to be more actively conscious of being more life giving to him.

  1. List out your top priorities (ideally) in order

 

  1. God
  2. Hoan
  3. Family/friends
  4. School
  5. Blog
  6. Work
  7. APEX

 

  1. Where are you spending most of your time (I’ll list what a typical week looks like?) Where are you spending most of your money? Do your priorities match your actions (bc where you spend your time and money is a direct correlation to your actual priorities)?

Two days of work, the weekend is usually chillin with church. The other three days, I’ll either work on blog, homework, do online shop, gym, prep food, grocery shop, watch Netflix

I’m spending LITERALLY all my money on food. Good, healthy, groceries, and also online shopping.

  1. How do you feel in general? Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Do you feel deprived in any area, too focused on any area, or in need of serious attention in any area?

You know physically I feel pretty good. I’ve been going to the gym the most I’ve ever gone in ever, I think. The other day, I weighed myself and breaking record I was 118.4, the lightest I’ve been in… like 3 years maybe?! Also, eating really well, lots of greens and shopping a lot more at trader joe’s and whole foods which is phenomenal. I’ve been much more conscious of what I’m putting into my body and limiting the amount of preservatives and unhealthy foods.

Mentally, I feel okay.. definitely not feeling burnt out in regards to school yet because it literally just started and school is actually (I think) going to be fun this semester? I’m not feeling mentally drained at all surprisingly. Probably because I’m definitely having a lot of balance in my life. The other day, I had such a productive day. I woke up around 8 or 9, went to the gym, grocery shopped, cleaned, made my shake, showered, did some online shopping and by the time I started homework, it was about 2pm. I literally cranked it out until 830pm and finished my project! It was such an exhilarating feeling. I need more days like that.

Emotionally, I feel okay. I know for sure that I haven’t quite tapped into those moody, negative, tough emotions yet.. regarding my friendships and healing from my move. I know there’s still a lot to dissect and I’m looking forward to mulling through it with my therapist. She provided me with some homework to work on before we meet again in March.

Spiritually, I feel okay, I don’t think I’ve been fully in tune with God and my spirituality. Lately, it’s just like I know I need to go, so I just attend. I’m not excited about going but it’s just like it is, what it is. The last time I felt really spiritually present and connected was when Hoan and I went to Agape church. Service was okay, but the community was what got me. I definitely felt God’s presence being with them. Their openness and realness was exactly what I needed in a season of stillness. Seeing how tight knit they were as a community of Believers was just so heartwarming. I need more of that in my life.

  1. What are your current personal and professional goals? Write them down, steps to accomplishing them and schedule them into your calendar

Personal goal – Write more. Write down what I’m grateful for every day. Post at least one blog post a week on the blog.

Take my finances to the next level. Hoan and I want to purchase a property by end of this year or next.

  1. How much money am I putting into it?
  2. How much will I have by the end of the year?
  3. How much do I need?

Professional goal – Find a part time nurse educator position that works in NRPs either in Seattle or LA.

  1. Apply for RN in Washington
  2. Sign up for nurse educator jobs on Indeed – CA and WA
  3. What was the last act of kindness you did? Think of a new one and schedule it

7. What was your last act of kindness. Schedule the next one

Last act of kindness… well, I attempted to give the lady next to us at church who was coughing a cough drop this last Sunday.

Let me think of an act of kindness. Being of help to my colleagues at work is normal. With this one, I feel like I need to go out of my way to do something kind. So I decided, I’m going to create care packages and donate them to a nearby women’s shelter once I get my bonus. Stay tuned for more details!

Well, I hope you all have really enjoyed your self-assessment, please let me know how it goes for you!

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How to Follow Your Heart – 3 Steps

follow your heart, hearts, forever 21, blogger, fashion blogger, los angeles

I think all my life, I’ve trusted the reason my heart would speak of and while I know it doesn’t always align with what is logically correct, in the end I know it’s what I need to do. Listening to that little voice inside me isn’t always easy though. Urging myself to do something that might feel uncomfortable is something I think many people have difficulty with. In the past I know that when I don’t do what that voice is telling me, I ended up feeling really disappointed in myself. I began to practice it more this last year with living intentionally, but I don’t think I did it enough. So with that being said, I’m definitely going to do my best to speak up when my heart says that I should.

How?

So how do we get ourselves to follow through with what we know is right in our hearts?

  1. Recognize the voice

    I think the first step in doing is realizing the voice is actually there. When you get into a situation where you feel compelled to speak up or do something, it’s important to be aware of the fact that your heart is trying to say something.

  2. Reason with yourself

    Once you recognize there is a voice, explore it more and ask yourself why? Why are you feeling compelled? What would be the end result if you did do it, and what would happen if you didn’t? Would you be willing to walk away from the situation without saying or doing and if not would you be okay with it? Figure out if it’s something worth your time. Sometimes the turmoil is what’s most difficult to experience.

  3. React to the situation

    After you’ve gone through the scenarios and realize you can’t walk away not doing what your heart is telling you, then it’s time to follow through. Sometimes this can be the most difficult task but take a deep breath, let it out and if you need support go seek it so you can stay accountable.

 I can’t say following our hearts is easy and I feel like as time goes on and the more practice we get in, the more comfortable it will become. One thing that helps me is reminding myself that we need to trust that the process will lead us to our end destination. The road may twist and bend but all of it will eventually lead you there.

 

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surprising moments of 2017

 

how to make a new city feel like home, laguna beach, california, orange county, oc, beach, west coast

there’s so much happening around me that all i feel i can do is freeze as to attempt to keep at least one thing constant. i feel like a little figurine stuck in a snow globe with a blazing blizzard endangering my comfort and safety and all i want to do is stop time so i can get a handle on all that’s happening around me. it’s been a long time since i’ve really sit down to write but i know I NEED to do more of it to really think through and reflect on my experiences. i feel like my thoughts are just getting lost in the mix of everything.

surprising moments of 2017

today ann asked me what was surprising to me this last year. can you believe that all the things that came to mind were negative? i was surprised that my extended family basically wants nothing to do with me… i find it so challenging to live in two different worlds, with two very different expectations. there’s a life that i want to live that may not necessarily seem fitting or appropriate to others. at one point in my life, it was easily shrugged off my shoulders because i felt i had support and the constant reminders of why when times were tough but i honestly don’t feel like i have that anymore.

i always thought i was such a resilient person, that i could easily adapt to new environments and social settings but just like anyone else, i experienced how difficult it can be to make new friends and really open up to others. i’ve always had a fear of people recognizing my faults but now there’s a fear of being authentic and showing my real emotions to people which is quite the opposite of who i was before.

and finally… because i’m not looking forward to moving, i wasn’t looking forward to the wedding. because i knew that when that time came, my time in LA was up. which is a sad concept to comprehend; that the most exciting day of my life that i’ve been looking forward to since i was a kid is now tainted because of this notion. but i’m definitely trying my best to lean in and trust the process.

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Paralyzing Emotions

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ever since i got back from my thanksgiving trip in seattle, i’ve been in a bit of a funk. i couldn’t help but notice that i was feeling out of my element and while everything had remained the same, there was this running theme i felt all week long. i’ve been trying to process through the emotions and i’m realizing it’s multi-layered.

i think part of it is because the reality of moving  is sinking in… knowing that my life is going to completely change very soon with hoan moving down and then moving up to seattle, getting married and wanting to plan a life around two cities is right around the corner. all of that is just a lot to take in. and while i’ve always enjoyed the option of having more, i’m feeling the nostalgia of resistance from 2 years ago when i first moved to LA resurfacing with this next move.

the other things i kept noticing was feelings of inadequacy, the inability to be myself, fear of judgment and this internal struggle of believing people expected something of me, trying to live up to it but knowing it wasn’t me. with these emotions hitting me all at once, i realized all i could do was numb, do my best to freeze. it’s all so foreign to me feeling like this… never in my life have i felt not enough… not myself or felt fearful of what others thought of me. these were never beliefs that consumed my being and all of a sudden, it was all i could think about.  it’s been really paralyzing and i think i’m still trying to wake up from this trance…

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Before I die Proposal

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The day of the proposal I was still jetlagged from my red eye flight into Minneapolis but also stressed because I had an online presentation for class that evening and I had found out earlier that my slides had gotten deleted so I was just really anxious to get home. My best friend Ann and I had gotten a late lunch that day and I told her I should probably get home early to work on my presentation so after a little stalling on her end she said “ok, but before we go home can we quick run an errand? I have to go pick up tickets at the Orpheum.” I said, “sure” and we were on our way to downtown.

She decided to park in this parking lot near the Orpheum and I thought… hmm this looks oddly familiar. And as we drove in and parked, I looked up and said, “oh hey this is where Hoan and I had the [before I die] wall date! “And she was like, “oh yeah?” And I was like, “…yeah!!”

Proposal Time

Once the car came to a stop I told her I would sit in the car and wait for her since it was sprinkling out and she said, “oh… I need two people to pick them up.” In my head, I was thinking, that’s odd… I’ve never heard of that before. I noticed she grabbed an umbrella and walked over to my passenger car side and got me out of the car. I got out and was still thinking, this is so weird that she is having me go pick up tickets with her. As we continue bickering, all of a sudden Ann goes, “ugh, just look over there” So then I look over and there is Hoan standing under an umbrella in front of a “Before I die” wall and I literally just bawled my eyes out.

In that moment, it felt like time just stood still because I was completely floored! I had a variety of different emotions run through me from shock, to guilt, to feeling so incredibly loved. I couldn’t believe he had been working on all of this without my knowledge! I also couldn’t believe it was me who was getting proposed to… It’s like you dream of it as a child, you think about it growing up and wonder what your proposal would look like and here it was happening right before my eyes. It’s a good thing it got documented because looking back now it felt like such a whirlwind.. but the most dreamy, thoughtful, romantic whirlwinds of all time.

Proposal Video here

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4 Tips on How to Have a Successful Relationship

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hoan do, couple, engagement, fiance, how to have a successful relationship, successful love, love

Hoan and I have been together for 2.5 years. While our relationship is not perfect, we’ve been able to maintain a happy, healthy, successful relationship. Granted we’ve been long distance for the entire duration of our relationship but like any other relationship we have differences that can make things difficult. Despite it we’ve been able to maintain a happy, healthy, successful relationship. 

1. Communication is Key

It’s imperative to be transparent in any relationship but especially a romantic relationship because your significant other needs to know how you feel. If we shut down because we’re put off by something and don’t let our significant other know, that’s going to lead to confusion and frustration and eventually withdrawal of efforts if they don’t see that their prying is making any progress.

2. Compromise

You’re going to have differences every single day but it’s key to know when to pick your battles and know when you can compromise. Not everything is going to go your way because a relationship involves two people with obviously different opinions.

3. Continue to Hold on 

One of the best pieces of advice we ever got was that you should always hold on. And hold on means that whenever you have an issue, one person should always hold on. For example, if you guys are arguing over the phone, don’t hang up if you know there’s more you need to talk through, continue the conversation until you’re both able to feel better about the situation.

4. Your significant other is your number one

Priorities are a huge thing that drives our daily activities. It’s important to make your significant other your number one priority, (of course after God for us). This allows for both people in the relationship to feel certainty and love which is one of our human needs. A lot of times, marriages begin breaking apart because they aren’t receiving the love they need from their spouse and then turn to their children for the love that they yearn for. Eventually, this cycle allows for separation and disconnect.

All of these practices have really helped Hoan and I in our relationship but again, it’s definitely not a guarantee because it’s also important to note that not every person is the right person for you. Regardless, i hope these practices can help you to have a successful relationship! Happy loving

 

 

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Vulnerability is Who I Am at My Core

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Something I’ve realized is that I haven’t been fully vulnerable lately. I’m not quite sure why that is but it could be that I’ve been tapping more into my airy side. The side that enjoys chillin’ and having a good time because I’m in sunny So-Cal.

After writing just these two sentences, I felt a gut-wrenching emotion telling me this doesn’t sound right.  Because I know this isn’t who I am at my core. In this moment of desperation, I looked up at my vision board for some answers. This is actually where I look and refer to to remind myself of who I am, what I want to achieve and I what I value. I inherently knew authenticity and vulnerability had to be somewhere on the fricken board.

And what do you know, front and center with the definitions of who Anh Thu is: “Continue to be authentic and vulnerable.” And that’s when it hit me… I don’t feel like I’ve been myself because I haven’t chosen to be real or very open with many people.  So really, it’s my fault that I haven’t been feeling like myself. Because this is a decision I made but this is also where it ends. 

THoughts

So, who are you at your core? I think it’s important to reflect upon who you are and how it’s being reflected in your daily life because your actions may not necessarily show it. Would be curious to hear your thoughts!

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What to Ask Yourself when You’re About to Walk Away

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Some of the most difficult things we’ll ever have to do are usually the most important things that could make or break our relationships. And as I’m trying to figure out whether I should bring it up or walk away… one of the questions I need to ask myself is

Is it worth it?

I’ve found that over the years, I can easily let go and set camp up elsewhere. Since my move here.. I feel like it’s gotten incredibly easy to do that because you’re not held to a certain standard or peer group because of the circumstances. In a new city, no one knows who you are… so you have more freedom to do as you please without judgement.

But as I ponder on the question of whether it’s worth it to bring up, I think about the relations that are involved and which option I’d be more okay living with. And that brings me to my answer, “I have to say something.”
Wish me luck, gulp.

 

 

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