ON TURNING 30

I took this photo for my 25th birthday. It felt like a milestone to me. I was moving into my mid-twenties. Thirty still seemed like a century away. Now thirty is in two days. And now I feel like I’m standing on the precipice of something. That something is a new decade.

I remember turning 20 — leaving behind my teenage years. I think to that version of me now. It’s not a hard leap to say that I’ve grown from that girl. I’ve enjoyed my twenties. Perhaps a bit too much ;) I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve grown to be the woman I am today. As I enter my thirties, I know I’ll continue learning and growing — and continue to evolve into the woman I’m meant to be. As I brave this new decade, here are a few things I’ve learned:


TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH:

What your body was when you were 18 is definitely not your body now. My back hurts. Frequently. I can’t go all night. My hangovers last days. Externally, your body will change as well. Your metabolism will slow. Your skin won’t bounce back as fast (sunscreen is your friend!). Visits to all your doctors and your dentist is important. Make time for yourself.


JOMO IS A THING:

I used to have FOMO. Now I’m looking for excuses to not attend things. A quiet night in is my favorite past time. And that’s okay. Nowadays when I tell my friends I’m not doing anything; everyone enthusiastically agrees. Because we all know, self-care time is important.


ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT:

Be it negotiating your salary, taking on new projects, in high-level meetings, conversations in a relationship, or just sex. You want things. You have opinions. Don’t be afraid to vocalize them.


CHOOSE YOUR COMPANY WISELY:

I’ve always been a person who made friends easily. As an only child, if you want companionship — you have to go out and get it. But as an adult, I’ve been more selfish with my time as I’ve gotten older. I still have a wide circle of acquaintances, but my true friends always know who they are because I can’t spare anymore time for people who aren’t in sync with where I am in my life.


NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU:

And so what? Who cares. This was my favorite discovery. It is statistically impossible for everyone to like you. There will be someone, somewhere that just won’t. So if speaking your mind, being yourself — ruffles a few feathers, fuck ‘em.


OWN YOUR SEXUALITY:

Guess what, women like sex too. Shocker, I know. We like it with ourselves, with like it with each other, we like it with men, we like feeling good. And going after it, doesn’t make us bad people. And wanting only it, doesn’t make us bad people.


LOVE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU CAN LOVE OTHERS:

If you don’t love you, how can someone else?


IT’S OK TO TAKE THE UNCONVENTIONAL PATH:

I went to college to be a lawyer. Clearly that didn’t happen. My best friend sine I was 6 years old is married, with two kids, and two dogs. Meanwhile I’ve had 18 addresses in 29 years, switched across 3 industries in less than a decade, and have more passport stamps than long-term relationships. Both routes are fine. Your path is your own. What matters is whether or not you’re happy.


Am I a tad bit nervous about turning 30? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But my biggest fear is not being able to do everything. I’m learning that’s okay. I’m feeling good. I’m ready to do the damn thing. And I’ll see you at 40. 



BEFORE & AFTER: A KITCHEN RENOVATION

When I first bought this place, the fixes I made were quick. They were meant to make the house livable in the fastest amount of time I could handle. This included things that were immediate #need like: popcorn ceiling removal, swapping vertical blinds for curtains, repainting the walls, and stripping the carpet for wood. Three years later and several Pinterest boards later, this eyesore of a kitchen was still staring me in the face.

This is how the place looked when I first toured it. Started at the bottom.

The condo was built in the 80’s and only had two previous owners prior to myself. Both owners never made any time for any upgrades — keeping the original fixtures as is until it was turned over to me. I tackled many redesigns for this place prior to the kitchen, knowing it was my biggest hurdle. But finally I decided it was time to climb the mountain. 

Now we here!

The space had always felt dark and dreary before. And I knew in the update, I wanted to freshen things up. I kept true to the white cabinets — but swapped them from those clinical, boring boxes for these clean, modern ones. The white plastic handles before just melted into the cabinets themselves. Here, they get their own moment after being replaced with brass hardware

The most eye-catching thing in the kitchen is definitely the countertops. I was very much inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi — which uses gold to repair old pottery. It gives the appearance of gold cracks within vases. The gold hardware and the gold flecks on the marble were my own spin on it.

The previous kitchen had divided the sink into two sides; both of which were pretty shallow. I opted instead for one main sink that was super deep. And naturally, I stuck to the gold fixtures with this champagne-colored faucet.

It was a week long effort, but am so infinitely happy I did it. It’s made me even more attached to my place and even more hyped up to take on more renovations. Here’s a breakdown of what changed and where I got the materials:

Cabinets / Sink / Handles - from 405 Cabinets (cabinets are in Spartan White)
Countertops - from MSI Surfaces in Titanium Granite
Backsplash - from MSI Surfaces in Whisper White Hexagon
Range Hood - from Pacific TrueSteam
Gold Faucet - from Amazon

Hope this inspires you to get started on any renovations you’ve been putting off! And if you have any Q’s, feel free to drop them below or slide into my DM’s (@minhbui_). Happy remodeling!


2018 - THE YEAR THAT JUST WAS

My year recaps are usually expanded lists of what happened, but not this year. 2018 was the strangest year, but at the same time the most enlightening. So I think I will let it stand alone.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
: My travel photos graced the packaging cover of the Born to Run palette by Urban Decay, which is sold worldwide. And you can now shade-match to my face in Sephora worldwide. It’s still unreal seeing myself like that. 

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS: San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York (multiple times), Essaouira, Marrakech, Bali. 

My time abroad (in this year and all the years before) has been a humbling experience. I feel honored + privilege to be able to see such marvelous sights and to be welcomed into the countries of so many. It has been a learning experience and the biggest lesson I have walked away with is that happiness can come with ease if you let it. It doesn’t live in materialistic things or lengthy resumes or another human. It lives within yourself. In many of the places I have been, the locals do not have grand lifestyles, yet they are incredibly happy with what they have. And in all honesty, it is I, who envy them.

With each passing destination I cross, I strive not only to be seasoned traveler, but a conscientious one. I strive not only to go through life but to truly live it. And as an artist, I strive to share the stories of those I met who may never have the chance, the medium, or the platform to do so themselves. 

Working on something in 2019 that will do just that – can’t wait to share. Watch this space here: shedidthat.network.
Coming February 1, 2019. Stay tuned!

Photo by Tyler Dunleavy. 


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