Life Update pt. 2

Hello and good morning Minhions! I hope you enjoy the light reading of my life while snuggling in your blanket! I’m not sure where all my readers are from, but the weather for my area has been sporadic!! It could be 80 degrees one day then 40 the next which isn’t the best mixture to stay healthy. So sip your coffee, your tea, or anything iced – to each their own!

You know, I started this blog as a creative outlet because I was stressed about not having a job after graduating. This led to some deep and enlightening holes about myself. If you ask me 6 months ago where I thought I would be, it wouldn’t be here. I wanted to graduate and get a simple 9-5 job in architecture and explore different avenues of life. However, as you all know that didn’t happen.


I was given the opportunity to talk to dozens of inspiring individuals and learn about so many paths that I can take. Possibly grasping at different straws for my future, but it gave me clarity about my career. Here are a few things since graduation that I’m proud of:

1. Content Writer for ArchiHacks

Who knew that I would be a writer? I give thanks to this blog and ArchiHacks for this opportunity. To be honest, I have never been a strong writer especially in the grammar department! One of the two “C”s I received in my college career was Spring semester freshman english… I know… How did I even join an architecture website as a content writer?!? Grammar might not be my strength, but keepings things lighthearted while delivering content through writing is a little better! I’ll let you guys be the judge of that.

Starting now, I’ll be creating content for the platform. My articles may have been posted by the time this blog comes out, I’m not 100 percent sure!

If any of my readers are interested in architecture tips or learn more, please visit ArchiHacks.

2. Freelance Designer for SL Haus Group

On my opportunity hunt post-graduation, I received a freelance position with SL Haus through UpWork. Upwork is a platform for freelancers to take on any type of jobs! Using this blog as practice, I had to submit a proposal through UpWork for a chance to be interviewed. This is where all my effort of learning how to write professionally, direct, and informational came in handy. Unlike blogs where I would to show my personality, I had to balance between personality and professionalism. Crazy! Anywho, I’ve been supporting this firm through Revit producing 3D models and construction documents on several projects.

Although still searching for full-time opportunities in large cities, I’m grateful to gain experience and support an amazing and kind firm! Rest assured, I made my intentions clear because I believe in clear communication in professional relationships.

They are a small firm in Boston! Here’s their website if you are interested! SL Haus Group

3. Gaining New Followers

When I started this blog, I wasn’t hoping to gain followers. It was a platform for anyone interested in a suburban Asian American architectural designer trying to dissect who he was, what he is, and what he wants to become. So thank you to my 9 followers who felt that my journey is relatable. Here’s to more?!

In addition to my blog, I gained new followers on my Instagram account. It’s hard to figure out all the tips and tricks of leveraging social media to my advantage, but I’m trying. Like this blog, I have a weekly post on Monday of my New Lens series. If you want to learn more about that, please head over to my portfolio!

4. Venue Manager and Events Associate at 718 Venue

718 Venue is a space in the heart of downtown Fredericksburg, VA available for all types of events. With that being said, I met a lot of different individuals, teared up at weddings, and danced to fun music. Event planning was never my intention, but I wanted to stay adaptable during the pandemic leveraging multiple roles to ensure employers that I’m well-rounded candidate. A short anecdote to lighten the flood of information! Being a big romantic, I teared up when I saw the groom and mother dance at a wedding. My coworker looked over to me and said, “Your time will come, just wait.” We laughed, but I replied, “I’m not ready!!!!” I’m sure many can relate to this, but marriage is out of the mind for now. We can talk about how and why I’m a big romantic on another blog.

The venue is beautiful and the people are sweet!

All these responsibilities can be a lot to handle, but I think it’s important to stay active and adaptable in uncertain times! One thing is certain, I’m lucky to have mentors, friends, and family that look out for my future. Everyday I’m learning to love myself by accepting these achievements and stay optimistic about the future. I’m not sure where this will lead, but excited to share my life with those reading.

If my story ever inspires you or at least make you smile through failed attempts of humor, please reach out!


Frustrations of buying a new vehicle!!

Good morning minhions! I hope your week has been amazing filled with happiness and caffeine!! Today, I want to tell you about my first accident and the journey of trying to purchase a new vehicle.

A few weeks ago, I was involved in a fender-bender that took away my beloved “Big Bertha” from me. I was on my way home from playing tennis hungry and ready to eat, but BAM. First accident – totalled car. She was a 2013 white nissan rogue that I’ve had since junior year of high school. She witnessed tears, joys, stupidity, and love so it was really sad that I had to say goodbye. In a way, it was poetic because I’m setting off on a new journey after graduation and Big Bertha’s time was over.


To continue, I have been searching for a couple of weeks the specific pickup truck I wanted.

I’ve never felt so flustered and confused on this new journey that everyone will eventually have. The dealerships are always packing the most expensive packages and I’m like I don’t need all of that!! A first-time buyer like me who focuses on convenience/usage more than aesthetics can be very picky in terms of prices, packages, and accessories.

Although frustrating, my dad and my uncle has been providing tips and tricks about dealing with salesmen and dealerships. These resources are integral to finding a successful price range for a new car and understanding new vocabulary.

A place to look for fair prices would be Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds!

The final negotiation price isn’t even the final price when you walk out the door! WHY! Always ask questions and especially for the spec sheet/invoice so you can see the break down of the vehicle.

I’ve been using this calculator to figure the amount I have to pay on a new vehicle so I can calculate that amount into the final price when making offer.

Make sure to include sales tax, charges, and deals when calculating your offer.

At the end of the day, I’m learning more about adult purchases, how to negotiate, finance, and the best usage of auto loans. It’s fun learning these things as long as you aren’t being rushed otherwise it’s a huge mess. If you have tips and tricks that you used at a dealership, please write them down in the comments to help me or others that are struggling with this!!!!

Here’s a list of additional resources I’ve been learning from when making a purchase!

Guilty + Grateful

Good beautiful morning minhions! Grab your cup of coffee, get your morning breath together, and prepare for for a blog unpacking another personal revelation.

Growing up, I dealt with scenarios that any hopeful kid will be crushed like absent award ceremonies, family trips cancelled, and etc. I learned early that I shouldn’t expect things out of situations or others because it’ll only hurt me later and it developed into an early sense of independence. I learned how to cook, took care of myself, and continued moving forward to what I felt as by “myself” which is not true at all! It was not entirely bad though, on the contrary, I learned important life-sustaining skills. However, I had to grow up faster than my friends, sacrificed “fun”, and ultimately it affected how I deal with personal and professional relationships today.

How did my upbringing affect my relationships today?

My natural sense of self-independency means that I assume nothing from others. In other words, keep people at a certain distance to avoid getting hurt… it’s super toxic, but I am trying to be more vulnerable to the people that I allow into my inner soul.

So why do I feel guilty

I feel guilty and awkward when I receive things that I haven’t worked. I always expect that I to return something or I owe a debt to that individual. You can probably guess that my birthday isn’t something I look forward to each year. It is the most awkward day for me because my amazing friends and family would be so thoughtful to give me a gift, but it’s hard for me to accept it. I stopped celebrating my birthday since 5 and presents weren’t common so receiving gifts makes me feel like a deer frozen in headlights…

I’m grateful, but. . .

How am I supposed to accept things from people when constant Pavlovian conditioning and unconscious bias of childhood trauma affected the core of who I am? This is detrimental to my personal relationships with friends and family because they all want to love me and for me to not accept that?!?

It makes me an arse…

I’ve had a few conversations about this and it could be a mix of pride and childhood trauma, I’m not sure… I can see how hurt they felt when I would reject their thoughtfulness so instead I’m learning to accept their gifts as feelings of the individual rather than objects. On top of that, it is still hard for me to accept praise! Very awkward…very shy….

Relating this back to my professional journey, I’m an ambivert with a belief that I have to give something back to the people I’m networking with because it’s a giving relationship. What can I do for you so you can help me? Am I wrong to think like that? Probably… I’ve had so many discussions about my weird feeling towards networking, but it’s all the same. My peers and mentors described it as a cycle; everyone who is already in the AEC industry were once in my shoes, so they would understand where I, a new grad, is coming from.

Still in my current situation, I see networking the same as receiving gifts (opportunities) when I have nothing to offer just yet

I’m straightforward, honest, and shy at times so networking tosses me into the ocean of uncomfort when I’m trying to establish a relationship with a stranger. A peer described that networking should be like dating…

What happens when I’m not great at dating?

Dating is hard and takes a lot of effort, so people who are rolling in disappointment….sorry not sorry?

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs. This is my emotional outlet to share about what’s on my mind to strangers on the internet that could potentially use this against me one day… I hope not, but I do hope you enjoy my journey of exploration with some seriousness, a dash of humor, and first-world problems.

Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels (slightly edited)

The Lion and The Elephant by Miriam Dorsett

Good morning minhions! Today, I want to talk to you about Miriam Dorsett and her new children’s book without revealing too much!

Although short, I had a coffee chat with Miriam Dorsett on October 14! It was inspiring to see her goals and future endeavors. Beyond being an artist and author, she is also the founder of a startup, Chibur, that supports local business in the Miami community.

Not many people in the world can find the sweet spot between passion and interest while having financial success. That’s why I couldn’t wait to talk to Miriam when I saw how she found the intersection of art, community, technology, and sustainability in her career. As you know, I’m still trying to find the path(s) to reach my aspirations!

Miriam Dorsett’s new book, The Lion and the Elephant, is a children’s artbook exploring friendship between two very different species. Although both animals have a long list of symbolic meanings, typically lions represent strength while elephants represents wisdom. How can the two be friends when naturally the lion is a predator while the other is not? Great thing it’s a children’s book!

Reality tangent: I’m sure we have friends that are very different from us! So why can’t an elephant and lion be friends?!?

A powerful move in Dorsett’s new book is giving the children the power to illustrate and unfold the story’s ending….


I felt this message now more than ever as a budding adult in a world filled with possibilities and uncertainty. I forget at times that I have the power to control my own narrative and struggle with self-identity. In an age of social media, I’m sure many people, like myself, let go of this power when unconsciously comparing ourselves to the highlights of others.

It doesn’t have to be the highlight of other individuals too! I lost the control of my narrative for a long time when I was trying to chase after this figment of success defined by my own parents. I’m sure many Asian-American immigrants can relate to this feeling… This led to hard moments and harder conversations with people who only want me to let go of that burden.

Sometimes, I arrogantly believe that I could develop myself on my own, but that’s not the truth at all. I’m grateful for friends and family that are willing to set me straight because it is strengthening my resolve.

The resolve to control and take the reigns of my narrative to pursue my goals regardless of circumstances.

The power to stand behind choices and controlling your narrative is a strength that everyone must find so why not let it form when they are young? Instilling this notion for children who are now tech-dependent is important to their personal growth in the future.

Are you controlling your narrative?

You and your child will love this book! Even adults who enjoy coloring will too! If interested, you can learn more about Miriam through this 44 minute podcast.

Single Mom Tribe Podcast

Staying focused = Less conversations

Featured image is by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Good morning minhions, I hope this weekend is amazing for you! Grab your cup of coffee and enjoy the writings of an ever-evolving human striving to gain your attention with provocative vocabulary. Kidding…

I want to start this blog with something I wrote a while back on a bench.

The deafening silence in my mind with only chirps to remind me that I’m present

That I am here

My men ready to fight the war of thoughts

Hearty and strong at best, but not the strength I need

The state of mind is fickle

Easy to disturb

Harder to calm

The imagination ends

Sitting here

The turbulent thoughts stilled by the silence.

Interpret that snippet in any way you’d like.

From graduation to now, I began focusing on myself through fitness and the ongoing search for a career making it a lonely path. I can remember the constant laughs and crazy schedule at Virginia Tech, but always hated the lack of financial stability (just another broke college student). Now I’m constantly weighing decisions about my future causing me to redirect my efforts and the type of conversations I had with others. From going to . . .

“What are you up to”

“Let’s go do something”

to. . .

“I haven’t talked to you in forever!!”

It’s a natural progression of life becoming more conscious of the time we expend on things changing both actions and conversations we have.

Staying focused = less conversations with others.

Staying focused = more conversations with yourself.

I’ve been having more conversations with myself learning about what I need and want. For instance, am I willing to loosen the imaginary constraint on the idea of success and how to achieve it? This is one of many important and ongoing conversations I have through these blogs and others.

This is why my thoughts are at war.

My brain is filled with these type of conversations because I have the luxury right now with the pandemic and career hunt.

This doesn’t mean I’ve become some hermit just endlessly applying to jobs and removing my friends from my mind!! I may get a little awkward because I can’t do much “small talk” anymore, but my relationships with individuals have deepen.

This is why conversations with yourself is so important!! You get to be kind and reasonable with yourself about your future. People will recognize this! They will be infatuated with how perceptive you are towards yourself causing them to look inward. This will inadvertently help improve the self-development and consciousness of the human collective.

I’m here, but how do I walk toward this direction of self-development and aspiration while fighting fear and doubt?!?

I’m young both in age and professional experience that I find myself justifying decisions based on factors that are non-conducive to my potential. When will it stop? I’m not sure… All I know is that I’m constantly going through the evolving process of self-accountability.

Minhions, I know it’s hard to know what you want especially for the future but I urge to have a FAIR conversation with yourself! It is easy to be negative when you are talking to yourself so please be kind too!

What Motivation?!?

Good morning readers or should I say minhions? I’ll stop now… I’m here to deliver another blog on this fine Saturday morning!

If you notice the video, click play! Cool, right? That was me 4 or 5 years ago in the early part of my parkour journey. You’re probably wondering why I showed this clip to begin my blog about motivation. Well… Growing up, I was fat. I’m talking about obesity in the 3rd grade and the brunt of my family’s jokes. It became so inherent that my “nickname” in Vietnamese was mập which meant fat in English. I had terrible insecurities about myself, as a result let’s just say I wasn’t a good bean. Fast forward, I was so frustrated with constant negative remarks about my body that I set out to prove a point. I began my fitness journey starting freshman year of highschool in 2010.

You see, there’s this negative idea that your motivation or drive has to be this grand sentiment, but I think it could start by wanting to prove something. Whether that is proving something to yourself or others, it gives a temporary reason to start. It’s okay to have the fire lit by an external force, but it is up to you to keep that fire going.

How did I manage to keep this motivation all these years?

I changed the narrative and perspective. Several times.


My motivation started by proving a point, but over the years it became a sense of joy. I love having my body move freely whether through parkour, exercising, or extreme sports. The ability to see and play with the built environment as a gigantic jungle gym is something not many people can do. Eventually, I fell in love with how I looked and felt forming an interest in fashion and amateur modeling which is another aspect that came from just “proving a point.” The constant change of narrative and perspective of one motivation allowed myself to explore the fluidity of my soul.

So how could all that translate to a professional setting?


The endless hours invested into my fitness journey and having a single goal formed the foundation of positive habits that are integral to my success

Plan, Execute, and Work

In a world where everything is at your fingertips, what do you choose? This notion creates something called a “paralyzing paradox.” It is the feeling where you want to make a good choice, but can’t. For example, when you go to a restaurant how many times do you get stuck on what to eat? It’s annoying, right?

View life like a menu at a restaurant! Figure out the ingredients, how it is prepared, and try it! Don’t like it? Come back on another day and try something else. There’s so many options that we are fortunate to have, but it becomes a negative factor causing us to stress out. Don’t even get me started on personal struggles with motivation.

Therefore, keep your goal or motivation simple and build from there. In my case, write a blog every Saturday, develop my older projects, send out at least 3 applications/week, and continue to chase after my long-term goal.

I’ve had many people tell me that they were inspired by my drive to excel, but I never reflected why I continue to move forward.

The only difference that sets me apart is that I am willing take one step forward at a time. I tell people that my motivation comes from being bored because I never had a distinct reason. It was just fun moving forward and seeing how my life unfolded. 

I lied.

My motivation is that I can’t sit idly when my actions can influence a future where I can make a difference for just being me.

The beauty of any goal or motivation is simple. It could be fulfilled today, next month, or in several years. It’s continual process of exploration and being held accountable to your own standards. Others may view your goal as vain or superficial, but you are controlling the narrative. Just be a good bean and have fun playing the game of life!

Well that’s all there is to my post today! I hope you enjoy the read.</p>

Also the featured image is by David McEachan from Pexels

No motivation?!? Let’s start one!

No judgement zone: write in the comments below what you want to prove to yourself or others.

Learning How to Pitch Myself

Most, if not all, who’s reading my blog does not know how difficult it is for me to pitch myself. Why do I have so much trouble with this essential skill? I WAS NEVER TAUGHT HOW TO!! Growing up in an asian household, I was taught to be humble and allow my to work speak for itself. However, this does not work all the time in a saturated market. Setting aside your skills and experiences, learning how to excite employers by pitching yourself is another mission.

We’ve all seen how writing and communication skills have declined through the intervention of technology, but what does that mean? Thousands of young adults, like myself, has difficulty navigating the thin-line between confidence, arrogance, professionalism, and imposter syndrome. So what have I done to improve these weaknesses?

I learned how to pitch myself and communicate better through applying for the Venture for America fellowship, dozens of cover letters, coffee chats, and etc. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Venture for America fellowship required writing 2 essays about 300-500 words forcing me to be direct in content.
  • My cover letters are specific to each firm/company so highlighting skills and experiences pertinent to the position developed a better sense of priority.
  • Improving my communication, I joined a networking service called Lunchclub connecting me with individuals across the globe establishing meaningful and inspiring conversations with strangers under an hour.
  • I gained more confidence to network with people through LinkedIn asking for coffee chats to learn more about a specific company. So far, no one messaged me back on LinkedIn.
  • I’m currently reading The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill engaging in practical steps and thinking to be successful!
  • Evaluating myself after interviews.

Balancing between self-development while applying to companies and working on my portfolio has been challenging. Although I do not have a benchmark indicating growth, I can see the results of my effort.

Write down in the comments if you felt like this was something you struggled with! If you want to have a short and low-commitment coffee chat, let me know! Head over to my portfolio too!

P.S. I’m challenging myself to write a blog every saturday about my journey so stay tuned!

Venture For America Fellowship

I mentioned in my previous blog that I was applying for a fellowship program, but didn’t give any details about it so here it is!

The fellowship is with Venture for America! It’s an amazing fellowship that seeks out recent graduates to experience entrepreneurship first-hand within a startup environment equipping them with necessary skills to improve the economic ecosystem in growing cities. It’s a four-step selection process; resume screening, essay portion, interview, and a full day of exercises and interviews. They receive over 3000+ applications and accept an average of 205 applicants to give you a picture of how thorough VFA selects their fellows. The program places their fellows in one of their 14 placement cities; Baltimore, Birmingham, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, San Antonio, and St. Louis. They wanted to funnel talents into these growing cities than to have more individuals go to larger metropolitan areas like LA, San Francisco, or New York City.

I never know about Venture for America until Joel Vazquez reached out to me through handshake to apply. I was inspired to apply by past fellows and VFA’s mission to improve the ecosystems of cities, socially or economically. Although I was a strong candidate, they moved forward with others whose skills and experiences are most closely aligned with the program.

It was sad to read that I couldn’t move forward with this amazing program, but it gave me hope for the future. The world became much bigger through this process of learning what I could do with my degree and experiences. Funny enough, I had a dream about receiving this fellowship so I thought the universe was reciprocating my signals. However, I still aspire for my career to have socio-economic impact on communities. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to anyone reading my journey! Writing has never been my strength and it has been therapeutic during this time.

I’m still looking for opportunities in the design industry!

Facing the pandemic

Since graduating in May, I have been stressed about finding opportunities and deciding what’s next to this grand journey we call life. I went from frantically searching for jobs and making connections to questioning my personal and professional life. I have reached out to people, created two mentor-mentee relationships with architects, applied for a fellowship, taken LinkedIn learning courses, and picked up a part-time job as an events associate.

Here’s is what I learned: 

  1. How to be patient when finding opportunities especially during a pandemic that has affected the world
  2. If you want to achieve a certain goal then believe you are taking the right steps in that direction even when you don’t see the results
  3. Family is important, but it’s necessary to know when to be selfish for yourself
  4. Being who you are is 10x more important than what you see on that resume
  5. Comparing yourself to another will only deplete your energy
  6. Exercising often and staying hydrated is important for your mental health too
  7. Learn to accept personal flaws and develop those weakness to strengths
  8. Believe in yourself and your ability 
  9. Be more empathetic
  10. You aren’t in this alone

I’m still struggling to be patient and believing in my worth. Whether I belong in my chosen career or another, I’m continually learning more about myself as I move forward. It’s easy to spot out the negatives in this journey, but I’m blessed to see the outcomes from this pandemic. These lessons may seem arbitrary, but I believe these are constant scenarios that come into everyone’s lives. All I’ve done may seem random, but the goal is to learn and sharpen my skills. I aspire to do more with the life that I’ve been blessed with so I know the time I’m investing in now will help me in the future.