September 9, 2013

New Career, Engagement, and Things!

Hello again!

I am officially a Washington Real Estate Broker, woohoo!
I have my first listing appointment this Wednesday. ^_^ I also have to go take a few MLS classes starting on Friday. You all know how much I love real estate in life browsing. lol
I'm excited for a change and I'm eager to learn this new trade. I'm lucky to have a few amazing people help me with my new career. I can share more of my path to real estate experience if anyone wants to read about it! The whole classes, real estate exam, joining a real estate brokerage. Just let me know in the comments and I will be more than happy to write about it. ;)

The online world, my blogs and my jewelry business will always be my #1 passion. I felt like I needed to get out and be more involved in the local community and not just the online community. :D
I think real estate will be a great way for me to learn more about Seattle. :) These next few months will definitely be a test for me to learn how to balance life. I think I need to cancel Direct TV. jk.

Anyhoo, I've been thinking about my schedule and I really want to change it!
Ideally, I would love to be one of those people who wake up at 5am everyday, go to the gym and take the dogs on their walk. I know it takes a month or so to form a habit, but waking up in the early morning hours is so hard for me. I feel like my day is half over by the time I take the dogs on a walk and then start on any work I have to do for the day. I believe I have it in me to be an early bird! I do love the smell of the early morning air.

I'm typing out my goal here on the blog. Wake up at 5am and start living! I feel like I waste so much time asleep. I don't mind going to sleep a little bit earlier. I'm no longer the night owl I used to be a few years ago. I normally head to bead at around 10:30pm-11:30pm after watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa on my DVR. I never used to enjoy watching cooking shows until recently.

I feel like I have changed a lot this year. I can't believe I'm in my mid twenties already! I'm 26, and the fiance is 30 turning 31 at the end of this year. We haven't taken much time for ourselves to travel apart from visiting family and friends in different states in the US. I hope that changes in the next year or two. We did get engaged at the end of May. :)

We had somewhat traditional engagement ceremony with both of our families. Note, I'm not a very traditional person...I just do what my mom encourages me to do when it comes to formal, traditional cultural things. lol Let's be real..I'm as American as it gets for a Vietnamese girl raised in the Midwest of America. 

The proposal was in front of our whole family on May 26th, 2013. In our (my family's) Vietnamese Hue culture, the engagement (din hon) is considered more of a "big deal" than the wedding. They say the wedding is just the celebration of our commitment. My Grandpa (he's 84!) spoke and gave us some of his wisdom via Vietnamese poem. It was really sentimental and sweet. Minh's dad made everyone laugh with his cheerfulness and little jokes. 
 The tea ceremony at my parent's house.
It's weird because now we both have new mom and dad that we're supposed to call mom and dad, but it's still a little weird. It just doesn't feel natural, and it makes me feel so old to have in-laws! I am incredibly fortunate to be part of a good, complete family. My parents love his parents, and everyone gets along and has good conversations and laughs. After our engagement in Michigan, all my relatives who had a chance to meet his family kept telling me how lucky I am to join such a good family. ^_^
 I did my hair and makeup really fast because I spent the morning waiting for and picking up our cakes at a hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. lol. I think I got home at 11AM, and all our guests were arriving to my parent's house at Noon. I had to rush to get ready. I curled my hair, and applied some makeup and false lashes (Ardell Wispies, of course!). 
 For my nails, I painted them the night before with OPI Princess Rules!
The engagement was followed by a fun brunch at my parent's house and an engagement dinner later that night at a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant. I didn't want anything fancy and I pretty much let my mom plan the whole thing with the help of my amazing aunts. We had about 7 tables at the restaurant and it was filled with mostly my family and friends since it was in Michigan. The wedding will be in Portland, Oregon most likely to be fair for his side of the family. I have never ever liked to be the center of attention in my family. I really just want to blend in and not be talked about. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I guess I'm really shy when it comes to having all eyes on me. I think that's why it's taken me a while to write this post even!
We picked out a cushion cut diamond with two half moons on the sides. Everyone we knew and people at the jewelry stores kept telling us to get a round diamond because no one regrets a round diamond. We went with cushion cut. :D Hehehe
My future in laws gifted me with a pair of round diamond earrings in a pave diamond flower setting. The petals of the flowers are actually hearts layered on top of one another. I absolutely love them! It was one of the best surprises/present I've ever received. It extra special because the future in laws/family picked it out for me.

I feel like my life hasn't exactly played out as I planned it in my mind, but I don't dislike the reality. I always thought I would be more of a serious person when it came to things like engagement and marriage. But I'm actually quite chill about it! It's wild that I'm just learning this about myself too. I've really learned to relax and not take life too seriously. I view commitment on a more real level than anything that's for show. The celebration is fun and it's great to preserve tradition, but I don't think I will push a formal or traditional engagement on my future kids if they don't want it themselves.
 The engagement party at the restaurant. So AZN, I know! lol

I don't even want to think about wedding planning...can someone just do it all for me and I just show up? lol. As much as I want to start a family and be married, I have a lot of anxiety about the wedding. I'm really voting for a destination wedding with only our closet family and friends, but the families don't feel that is fair for everyone who they want to invite to the wedding. Vietnamese weddings are more for the parents than they are for the couple getting married. At the end of the day, I'm not going to let either family "pressure" us to pick a date. :P It's not a timed race or anything!

I can't be the only girl who doesn't get excited to plan a wedding. It just seems like so much work and there's so much pressure involved to have everything be "perfect." I must admit, I did love designing and ordering the flowers for the engagement. That was such a fun experience for me because I love flowers more and more as I get older. 
A huge thank you to Horrock's florist in Kentwood, Michigan for making the prettiest flower arrangements! I ordered 8 vases total for the restaurant tables. Moving them to the restaurant wasn't an easy task! I love my cousins Nathan and Ryan for helping me move the flowers. :) I miss you guys so much!

In other news, I also now have a new appreciation for Mackerel fish. I absolutely love Vietnamese "Ca Nuc Kho" or Braised Mackerel. I used to hate eating fish growing up because I grew up in the Midwest and always preferred American food over Vietnamese food. I think spending time with my new Vietnamese girl friend here in Washington State has really helped me connect more with my Vietnamese roots. She's teaching me how to cook foods that I never thought I could make myself. She's also a few years older than me, married, and just had a baby!! I see her as a big sister figure who reminds me a lot of my mom. They have actually met last year and really clicked.

So far in my life, a lot of friends from grade school, high school and college have come and gone. It's so weird how you can spend so much time with them and then just drift apart completely. I feel old friends make you who you are today, and it's bitter sweet to reminisce of the memories you shared with them. I do miss my bff, and college roommate Bonnie (aka BGB) the most. I wish I could turn back time and mend our friendship before time grew us apart. I cherish the friendship we had and I often wonder if we'll cross paths again in the future. I'll stay hopeful! :) Every once in a while I wonder if I can bring myself to going to our high school reunion. Who organizes those things anyways? lol

All in all, I'm very happy with the way life is for us in Washington State. I do still miss all my friends and family in Michigan, but Washington finally feels like home. I'll be celebrating my 4 year anniversary living in Seattle at the end of September already!

I will talk with you all later. :) Thanks for reading my long post!


  1. I'm so happy for you!!! This has been such a big and eventful year for you! Getting engaged AND passing your real estate licensing exam!! Can't believe you're already part of a brokerage! I'm a little upset at you for not updating your followers a little sooner!! lol jk =)

    You look absolutely beautiful in the picture considering you 'rushed' your makeup and hair. Wish I looked that good when I rush!! :) Your outfit looks so cute, wish we could see the rest!

    And you guys chose a beautiful ring. I learned from 'Lisa Loves Coco' that half moon diamonds are rare, therefore more expensive haha! And the earrings your future in-laws gave you are so lovely! I've never seen earrings like those so it makes them even more special.

    BASICALLY, I love everything in this post! :) :)

    Time to hit up pinterest for wedding ideas!! Did you choose a bridsemaid yet? A lot of people I know basically had their bridesmaid do most of the wedding planning LOL so maybe once you do, you'll feel a little bit more relaxed!! :)

    1. Thank you! Haha, I clearly remember Lisa's post about the half moon diamonds too! I think they're pretty unique! I'm still getting the hang of Pinterest, I just feel like it's a time trap! lol I'll spend hours and hours looking at all the pretty pictures.

      My sister will probably be a bridesmaid, and perhaps two of my closest girlfriends, but I they all live in different states! I think it's going to be hard to plan a wedding in Portland when I live 3 hours away in Seattle. Sighhh.

      So what's been going on with you!! I'm a little upset you don't update your blog because I have absolutely no idea what's going on with you! I feel like I have to write a good blog post so I can wait for your comment to say Hi!! :P

  2. I'm happy for you Steph! Congrats :)

    1. Thank you Dee! I'm excited for this new chapter. :)

  3. This was such a beautiful and wonderful post! Congrats again on your engagement and congrats on passing your real estate licensing exam! Lots of wonderful things happening for you! It's exciting and I'm happy for you! Thanks also for sharing with us!

    Your engagement party looked spectacular. I'll bet the food was delicious! Where's a pic of the cake? Your flowers are beautiful and that ring...just breathtaking! Wow! I think you made a most excellent choice! The diamond earrings from your soon to be in-laws are gorgeous! You're a lucky girl. :-)

    Your picture is beautiful. I agree with everything that Gjee said! lol

    I am not a morning person at all! I have great intentions to get up at the crack of dawn every day to walk...still waiting for my mojo to kick in. ha ha!

    I really wanted a destination wedding too, but my hubs wanted a traditional church wedding. I don't like people making me the center of attention either. LOL

    This was an awesome post!

    1. Thank you Crystal! I'm very excited for this new work experience. :)

      I will update the post with more photos soon. :) I just have so many photos to sort through! The cake was amazing!! I had the same cake on my very first birthday too from the same bakery!

      A destination wedding sounds so amazing. I want to have a wedding where I know everyone and have a relationship on both sides of our families. But we'll see!

  4. Congratulations on all your exciting news!!! Looking forward to the future Wedding post! And yes please write a future post on your Real Estate journey it is something I am also considering and would love to hear about your experience.

    1. Thank you Fifi!! I can share more about the whole real estate process (however, I'm in Washington) and I think it's a little different in each state. :D

      I will put that post together soon for you!

  5. 4 years! Wow, I can't believe it's already been four years... I still remember some of the very first posts you made about your move to Seattle. My, how time flies. Congratulations to both you and Minh! I am so happy for you and your accomplishments thus far!

    1. Thank you! I can't believe four years went by already either. I'm feeling really old right now. lol

  6. congrats steph! so many exciting things for you!!!
    can't wait to read/see all about your new adventures! :)

  7. Congrats again Steph on your engagement and your broker license!! So exciting! And honestly.. I loved planning my wedding but it was a lot of work, stress, and more stress (thanks to the family trying to get involved). But just remember, it's all about you and your fiance. :) You guys are the ones getting married so you should do how you want to do it. There's been plenty of times that I wanted to do a destination wedding in Hawaii but in the end, I realized I might regret it later on. But if that's what you want to do, do it! ;)

    Love your engagement party and those flowers are gorgeous!! I hope to see more upcoming wedding posts soon. :D

    xo - Sheila

  8. Congratulations Steph! Do you guys have a date yet? In the middle of wedding planning chaos a destination wedding is probably going to sound heavenly!


    so so many exciting and amazing things in this post!!!

    first of all.. you go girl! congrats on getting your real estates license and finding a new job already that's amazing!!

    but seriously OMGGGG!! congrats congrats congrats!! you're engaged!! aww i'm so happy for you!!

    and talk about BLING!! your honey did SERIOUSLY good!! i'm so happy you went with half moon diamonds.. they definitely hold a special place in my heart hehehe :p your ring looks gorgy!!!

    can't wait to see updates on the rest of your career and life journey :p


Thank you for your comments!