About last year // 2017 by Myan Duong

Are you officially an old person when you consistently remark about time passing faster and faster every year? If so, I'm in full on geriatric mode. (*slow down, Time. You're freaking me out.)

Shit, 2017. I have so many feelings about you. 

Sitting back and reflecting on what literally seems like a one minute montage is so hard, but part of my hope of being more mindful, not just in 2018, but moving forward, it seems like it's a good time to solidify the thoughts and emotions I have about the past 365 days. So what happened... let's see...

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After almost two years at a startup, I decided it was time to move on. The surrounding circumstances had changed and things were just a little too dodgy for my taste, so for this control freak, it felt like the best time to mosey along. The experience was great. I learned a lifetime of things I never would have otherwise, but among those were what I don't want in a work environment. That's not necessarily a remark on the company, but more so what I think all people should do for themselves - that is to define what is right and wrong for them. Whether it's conducive to my creativity, my mentality or my general well-being, this stopped being that place for me and I'm old enough now to call it when I see it. 

So now I'm at a slightly larger place (by slightly, I mean tenfold) and I feel like it was a good move. Client work isn't always sunshine and roses, but its nice to be around a lot of new energy and each day is well-paced. That statement alone makes me feel like I've aged a million years, but something that I'm coming to terms with is giving up the idea that I have hustle every day to consider myself successful. After years of pushing and fighting, I'm okay with willfully choosing to slow things down and enjoy some predictability so I can focus on other parts of my life. 

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I believe I've stated this before - I'm not a political person, but I've always been a person of beliefs. Politics and beliefs can be one and the same, but I've always struggled with the manifestation of belief in policy. It's just so difficult to fully grasp the implications of these choices from one life to another, which is why I've always left it to the "professionals" and stepped away. I'm neither educated nor engaged enough to feel worthy of an opinion... 

Until now. The night that "he who will not be named" was elected will always be burned into my soul. It was a sad day and I know I was not the only one hoping that if we went to sleep, we'd wake up and it was just a bad dream. HOW? How in the flying fuck did we just put a man who made a cameo in "The Little Rascals" in the highest office in the land? How did we just validate someone who admitted it's okay to "grab them by the pussy" and then pretended like he wasn't recorded saying it? This confusion. This vomit-inducing rage. This supreme fear is the first time I'd ever voted, or stayed engaged in an election, or professed unabashed political view points on social media. 

The day after this happened, I knew something in me had changed. But I also knew something changed in everyone around me. While it is absolutely impossible to see the bright side of things in this case, the one phoenix from these ashes I am grateful for has been the awakening of all the dormant, angry, inspired people (especially women, let's be honest), including myself. I often ask myself that while it's crazy to think that we'd have to fight this hard for basic human rights and equality, who would I rather be this fired up? Labels aside, I want it to be the resistance of today. First we march... now we run.

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I've been blessed in my life to have people who have always supported, encouraged and nurtured my desire to create things. The greatest tragedy in life is passion squandered by lack of support. 

A few times this year, I've gotten the privilege to speak to the talented kids at University of Utah studying multidisciplinary design. One of the greatest influences/professors in my life and now friend is changing lives at U of U like he did in Houston many years ago and it's so refreshing to see him take on that challenge. A large part of me has always wanted to teach because I loved school so much. Everything was an experiment and there were no (real) wrong answers.  It's funny how getting ready to speak to a bunch of students make you reevaluate your entire career. Fortunately, they didn't mind that my overall message was that it's important to know that you don't to have all the answers when you graduate college. If anything, you're better off not trying to force it. The plans I had for myself and the way my life ended up are light years apart and I wouldn't trade it for the limited things I thought I wanted. I wish someone had reassured me of that when I was in school, tbh. 

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Most everyone wants to own a home one day. It's just pumped into your brainwaves while you're in the womb. So naturally, after the wedding we started entertaining the idea of looking for houses. What turned into a simple exercise in assessing what was possible turned into me being totally consumed by this idea of owning my own little haven. 

After about 9 months of searching, we came across something we went to see "just as reference" for our realtor. The moment we walked in, the attachment was formed and there was no way I was going to let anyone else have that house. Did we think we'd really ever own that house? Hell no. But magical things happen when you stop being scared of what's possible and just fucking go for it. So for our 1 year wedding anniversary, we celebrated by moving into our first home and I've been living in my pajamas ever since, nesting like it's my damn job. Best. Gift. Ever.

My mom's happier than on my wedding day. Go figure. 

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Anyone who knows me knows I hate lumping too many life milestones together. Let's face it, there are only a few major adult ones, why not space them out a bit? Ride the wave, you know? So after we got married in 2016, the questions came pouring in, "When are you [insert annoying expectation here]?" 

2 days after Jonny's birthday I found out we were gonna have a baby. The simultaneous joy and fear was pretty overwhelming. So overwhelming that I couldn't tell him until the end of that week because I just needed to process it. Every time I thought about it, I'd well up with tears. When I did manage to tell him, we were both filled with such warm excitement and love I couldn't have imagined. It was a new wonderful feeling and for a few weeks, the daydreaming was nonstop. 

5 days after my birthday we went in for a second check up. Our first glimpse of the baby was an embryonic sac and at this checkup nothing had changed. Essentially, the baby we were preparing for wasn't quite ready to be a baby - so we were going to have to have it removed so that my body would stop thinking it was pregnant. While we never technically formed a baby, the room we made in our hearts and minds was real- not to mention we had just let our immediate family know. The loss of that alone was more devastating than I could have predicted and its taken me a good while to be able to verbalize just how I feel about it. 

Right before this happened, I had my tarot cards read for the first time. I don't normally prescribe to things like this, but what struck me was the accuracy in which it described me as person in dire need of control. (You think?) A few cards specifically called out the notion that things completely out of my control will occur and it would best serve me to stay resilient and remember there is value in the things we can't prepare for. Is this loss the Universe's cruel way of teaching me that lesson? Who knows. It definitely popped into my head when this happened. I couldn't have predicted how devastated I would feel being hollowed out of a dream I had always had or feeling like I failed at something I was supposed to naturally be able to do, but what it did so was fortify the desire to want to start this family. Together. Now. We now know we're more ready than we thought.  

Punctuating the year this way has made it tough for me to set my usual intentions for the new year. Sure, I'll drink more water, go to bed early, be nice to people, yada yada. Most of my hope for the new year lies in the ability to heal and grow in a wabi sabi kinda way. I'm hoping that as I'll still make my plans and my lists, I can find it in me to loosen the grip and let my life unfold more, evolve more freely.

All in all, 2018 is gonna be a great year. I can feel it. Despite all the future twists and turns, I see a pretty full glass. I hope I can share more thoughts - mostly for my own piece of mind, but I'm wishing you (whoever is reading this) immense hope and growth in 2018, too. 

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#ALJETSNODUONGS by Myan Duong

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As cliche as it is to state, I can't believe how fast this year flew by... mostly because that means we've been married for a whole year! We did it! *Whew*

I look back on the day itself and wish I could've just slowed time down or frozen it (you're lucky, Zach Morris) so that I could stop and admire all of the amazing people who came together to celebrate, all the details that we set up, the happy glow in my husband's eyes. It really was one of the absolute best days of our lives and feel so fortunate that we got to plan it just the way we dreamed it would be with the help of so many gracious people. 

Post wedding, the first year certainly wasn't the hardest, but it wasn't all cake and sunshine either. We learned that as you start shift your focus and plans, you really need to work hard to build a life that make you both happy - even after ten years together, that's a challenge. Being married somehow amplifies all that. I am so grateful for the partner that I chose and that he chose me back.

This year we went on trips, got new jobs, had new arguments, made new inside jokes, laughed, cried, and get this... we bought a mother fuckin' house! That's right, mom and dad! Your kids are badass adults (kinda). We are so stoked about the new chapter and the chance to bear witness to each other as we grow. My husband's pretty great (and I don't think I'm even a little biased). I think he likes me, too. 

Happy Anniversary, love. You da best. #aljetsnoduongs

An Apology to Houston by Myan Duong

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Lots of people have been writing their love letters to Houston after the devastation that is Harvey (this one and this one are just lovely). Anyone who knows me doesn't need a letter to know that I'll cut you if you talk bad about my hometown. So it goes without saying what an incredible place it has in my heart.

What I will do is apologize to Houston on behalf of all of us that needed such a numbingly sad circumstance to point out all the beautiful things about you. How you have cradled generations of immigrants and their children with such a warm welcome and limitless opportunity. The way you kept so many of us from feeling the real cold of the recession - graduating without a clue of what to do and where to go. How you can hold many so newcomers and let them truly experience the American dream; to be able to buy houses, raise families, maintain a decent job. I'm sorry we had to see all our favorite restaurants and dives underwater to fully express how much color and joy they bring to our lives. 

I'm grateful that you were wise enough not to repeat Katrina, risking so many lives in an impossible situation. We all really feel like you did your best. And now, as the water starts to find its way out, we'll truly begin to see your character. When the adrenaline drains from our bodies and the real work starts. I hope that you know you set the bar very high. That devastation only resembled compassion and determination when lobbed at you. (I'm also sorry I couldn't be closer to console you). You weren't bitter when your (or rather "the") President couldn't bother himself to actually come into the city at the height of your pain. And when he did come, you still welcomed him and thanked him. Way to take the high road.

I'll take this experience with me. And when I feel at the brink of some trivial breakdown, I'll try to remember how you handled yourself and draw from it as best I can. We are here for you, Houston. Thank you for showing us what real strength can look like. 

#houstonstrong #texasforever

So I started vlogging... by Myan Duong

It seems like forever that I've been priming myself to start this project. I'm obviously not good at writing about my life, but I certainly find the energy to film it somehow. Last year, I challenged myself to create 15 second monthly recaps on Instagram and miraculously accomplished it knowing that I wanted to eventually make full fledged videos. So here we are. The start of something really disastrous or really cool. Here's to my Youtube dreamz coming true.

Hope you enjoy. **be merciful.

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by Myan Duong

๐Ÿ’€ P O P U P S H O P ๐Ÿ’€ Donโ€™t miss the Manready Mercantile x New Living Pop Up shop this weekend, y'all! โ€” 321 West 19th Street, Houston TX 10am - 7pm Caturday (Iโ€™ll be there!) 11am- 6pm Funday #hiddenvicesjewelry

๐Ÿ’€ P O P U P S H O P ๐Ÿ’€ Don’t miss the Manready Mercantile x New Living Pop Up shop this weekend, y'all! —
321 West 19th Street, Houston TX

10am - 7pm Caturday (I’ll be there!)
11am- 6pm Funday

#hiddenvicesjewelry

us/02 by Myan Duong

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Despite popular belief, Galveston can be really pleasant.ย 

J’s lovely family from Iowa came to visit a few months back - so I’m backlogging the fun little Houston adventure. It’s sad that it takes visitors coming into town to really make your city (former city) come to life for you.ย 

P.S. I’ve been just as terrible as I predicted at taking more portraits of us. Go, me!

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