Traveling in Style


Hiking in the town of Cabrera, DR. The cutie in the back wants my hat! (Photo: Colleen Wolak)

Greetings, it has been awhile, and I am back from a much needed Goddess sabbatical. If you live where I live – or have traveled to many major cities – I will bet that you have come across people who you instantly know are tourists, especially the North Americans (*smiles*).  I really never understood the concept of the unattractive hip packs, the over-sized sweatshirts and loose fitting t-shirts, the heavy and bulky looking sneakers, and the funny-shaped baseball caps.  Certainly, there are so many options out there for comfortable and stylish clothing, footwear, and accessories for travel. I am not certain why people on holiday still dress in such odd and unpolished ways.  Perhaps they do not have a clue, or perhaps they are simply following what is portrayed in the films of the tourist characters.

As for myself, when I am traveling, I usually take into account where I will be traveling to: the weather, the culture, the people, and how they express their sense of style. From there, I adjust my individual style to fit in while still keeping it simple, unique, comfortable, and certainly easy to pack and wash by hand.

I hope you like the looks in this post from my recent goddess travels including the Awakened Retreat I hosted in Cabrera, a quiet and pretty town in the Dominican Republic.  I like keeping my inner goddess happy with clothing that feels soft and luxurious against my skin, easy to slip on and off and that allows me to breathe freely. Cotton, silk, rayons, and slinky silky knits are usually my favorites to wear. Most importantly, I never travel without a pair of my oh so comfortable stylish leather sandals handmade in Mykonos.

Think about where your next travels might take you – How will you pack for it?  What will you be wearing? If you need assistance, let me know. My style goddesses and I would find delight in helping you. Many of the clothes and accessories in this post are from my goddess sanctuary, tu-anh Boutique.  If you do not live near Old Town Alexandria, you can always shop online instead.

My favorite spot on the villa to recharge (Photo: Ryann Doyle)


Sweaty from the hike, but happy and resting by the waterfall. (Photo: Ryann Doyle)

Cotton Crochet bag from Mexico and comfy sandals from Mykonos are my travel musts.

With Nha Nha, the villa pet that I fell in love with in Cabrera. (Photo: Regina)

Moi in the backyard of my parent’s home in Florida. (Photo: Yanni Nguyen)

Leaning, smiling, and pretending not to be afraid of falling backwards. 🙂 (Photo: Maria Leiva)

Hiking Retreat in Laguna Beach on New Year’s week of 2017.

Hiking Retreat at the top of the world with the Pearl Laguna in California.

Enjoying the beautiful day walking around Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo before my goddess retreat. (Photo: Cesar)

Reasons I Love My Forties


Owning it. photo by Charles Martin

Do you know people in their forties who are going through a midlife crisis or depression because they feel like they are missing out or living life without purpose? I definitely do. But who said being in your forties has to make you feel that way? How we live our life is a choice that we make. No one can force us to do anything that we do not want to do. So how are you choosing to live your life?

Moi, I feel my forties is my most powerful decade of all and I am actually looking forward to my fifties as well. Call me a late bloomer, but I have never felt more powerful, more confident, more fearless, more beautiful, and more aware of myself and what I want for my life.  Below are some of my reasons why being in my forties is so oh-so wonderful.

My dear forty-something goddesses, I hope you embrace this beautiful decade and take ownership of it. Don’t wait around for the right job, the right time, the right house, or the right titan to come to you. Become the right person and enjoy this time with yourself. And soon, you will attract everything that is right for you. Titans, that goes the same for you, too. Don’t ever allow anyone or anything to design your life for you.

Reasons why being forty-something feels so amazing!

  1. Confidence.  Nothing and no one else matters but you. There is no need to please anyone but yourself. When you own your confidence. You own everything else!
  2. Feminine Powers. I used to be criticized and made fun of for being overly feminine. So I would play it down and try to suppress my femininity.  Well, you know that did not last very long because being a feminine woman is part of the fun for me. I own it now. It’s the best feeling ever to just let your inner goddess express herself freely without any fear of judgement.
  3. Saying NO Comes Oh So Easily.  I know this does not sound good, but I used to say yes to everything and everyone because I felt bad about letting others down, and then I get stressed and resentful because I overcommitted myself. It really was an Asian-Catholic-eldest girl in the family kind of thing. But now, I think of “me first” as a priority before giving away a YES, and wow – what a difference it makes.
  4. Life Experiences. By now, I have added more to my goddess’s toolkit. Those experiences – the wins and the losses – made me a better person because I learned what to do and what not to do.
  5. Respect. I feel like I respect myself more and because of that, I have also noticed that others respect me more and listen to what I have to share.
  6. Higher Standards and Expectations. Some people lower their standards when they get older, but it’s the opposite for me. My standards are even higher than ever before and I don’t settle for anything less than quality…and that includes men! 🙂
  7. Owning My Sexuality. Growing up in a Vietnamese-Catholic family, sex was considered something bad and forbidden and only for procreation. I used to feel guilty if I showed any kind of sexuality or indulged in any sensual pleasures. I believe there was even a time where I dressed a bit more like a tomboy to hide my feminine and sensual aura because a fortune teller in Vietnam told my mother to watch over me as I will have many suitors and am the most vulnerable to being taken advantage of out of her three daughters. Oh boy, was she wrong! 🙂 Believe it or not, I used to feel guilty when boys looked at me or liked me. It was bad, but I never showed that it really bothered me much. That’s probably why I did not experience my first real love until I was in college. Now, in my forties, I think owning my sexuality and being able to appreciate all things sensual is so wonderful. Embracing your senses and being aware of your sexual energy keeps you young and alive and is also good for your health. This is a deeply spiritual gift from God. You should know that your sexuality belongs to you and only you. Take ownership of it. Don’t depend on others to please you, but don’t give it away to those who don’t deserve that experience with you either. Knowing what brings you pleasure and understanding what turns you on before anyone else can is a natural thing. I am so grateful for that power.
You can just pick up and go as you please without any worries.

You can just pick up and go as you please without any worries.

Smiles...the secret to feeling youthful.

Smiles…the secret to feeling youthful.


You take better care of your body, mind and spirit, too.


My beautiful younger sister and I feeling fun and fearless in our forties…


We don’t leave the house without looking fabulous and polished 🙂


My friend David about to take me for a fun ride in one of his toys…

Forties, Fun and Fabulous


Loving the gorgeous weather

Remember when we were young and the age of 40 seemed so old?  And some people celebrated turning 40 as if life was almost over?  Do a google search for “life in your forties.”  A lot of the results are negative and doom and gloom.  Moi?  I had a big 40th birthday party to celebrate the next chapter of my life, the real thing, as my adulthood is just beginning.  I am realizing that being in my forties will probably be the best time of my life.  Some of you ladies in your forties out there may disagree with me, but here are my reasons why you should be celebrating your womanhood during this period.

1.  I am more confident and fearless than ever!  I know who I am, what I want to do, where I want to go, who I want to be with, and most importantly, what makes me happy.  I feel powerful from the inside out.  I live for me and I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.  I don’t need the world to accept me as long as I accept myself.

2.  I am wiser, more patient, and more experienced in the game of life.   By now, I have been there and done that.  I have made mistakes (many of them) and have learned from them, experienced true love as well as painful breakups.  So I definitely know what it is like to love and have loved.   I am also more patient and  more focused when it comes to achieving my goals whether business or personal.  I have also learned not to act upon impulsive, but rather take a step back and analyze all options before making a move.

3.  I am healthier.  I know I can’t take back time and erase those few extra wrinkles under my eyes, but I can control how I take care of myself.  I am more educated about healthy living, I eat better, I sleep better, I wear sunblock and stay out of the sun when I can, I focus more on quality than quantity, and I exercise regularly to keep my body alive and my spirit youthful.

4.  I have more fun.  Ever since I turned 40, I no longer worry about what other people think or say about me.   I just focus on enjoying every moment and not taking life too seriously, like I did in my teens when there was no opportunity for me to enjoy life because of my family’s circumstances at the time.   I work very hard but make time for fun, especially dancing and simply just chilling with my dog or experimenting with different types of foods.

5.  I am more selfish in a good way.  Up until now, I spent my life focused on pleasing, serving, and making others happy.  I thought that my happiness was dependent on making others happy.  But in reality, in order for me to truly be happy and be able to make others happy, I must focus on my own internal happiness first.  These days, it’s all about me.  If it does not please me, then I don’t do it.

6. Lastly, I feel sexier, more powerful, and more in tune with my femininity.  I used to feel uncomfortable when people would tell me I am too girlie or overly feminine.  I would often lower my voice to sound firmer or even wear pants more often than dresses so that it made me appear tougher in a man’s world.   Now, I celebrate my inner goddess and womanly qualities and I just express myself naturally in a “take it or leave it” attitude.

These days, I am more internally focused rather than putting importance on superficial external things.  I know that in order to attract what I want, I must become what I want to attract.  And while I can’t (and don’t really want to!) stop the aging process, I value my mind, my body, and my soul and spirit too much to let that go.  I hope all you ladies in your forties out there feel the same way I do and always take care of body and feed your souls.

Pictured in this post is one of my very close and dear girlfriends and my partner in crime.  She is a Harvard grad, a mother, a wife, and a successful business woman who knows how to work hard and play hard.  I love and admire her very much.  Like me, she loves life and celebrates every moment of it.  These photos are from our recent holiday in Mykonos, where we took the time to refresh and rejuvenate together, without work and family responsibilities.  The focus was about us.  Even with the late night fun, there was plenty of sleep, plenty of walking, and a healthy breakfast the next morning.  We might have a few laugh lines and a gray hair or two, but who cares – it’s the attitude that counts!  And we don’t feel a day older than 21! (smiles) Our time together was so precious and playful.

What are you ladies doing to celebrate your forties?  I’d love to hear from you!


Relaxing after a long day of eating, shopping, socializing with the locals.