a magical journey

April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

there are many things in life that make me feel grateful to be alive. and there are a few things that complete the puzzle, leaving me in daze each time i think of them. passion and love, they are. before i met anh, passion for what i do woke me up in the morning and fueled the fire in my heart. nothing could possibly bring the pure joy that a camera brings to my soul. the moment i hold it in my hand, my heart bursts into million stars for the beautiful scene in front of me; i press the button and memories stay with me forever, in photographs. but life has its ups and downs. i separated from my camera for almost a year and created no piece of art with it. never once in my life, though, would i think i stop photographing. at one point, i realized there’d be no end to photography and i. for as long as i live, with my baby in hands, i will keep creating. art has run in my blood, and it will only leave me the day i leave this life to return to earth. that bond is one of the strongest kind of love i had known in my entire life, considering it to be not that long thus far, really. then i met anh on a road-trip after college, a kind of love at first sight is what people call it. i wouldn’t be ashamed to admit i fell for him quickly and easily. how could i not? the sun was shining against the winter sky, and my heart was blossomed with magnolias. my gut was screaming and i instantly followed where it led. till today, months and months since the first time we met, i still fall for him every morning. murakami once wrote: “but who can say what’s best? that’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. my experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.” i would say my chance is here.

Taqueria El Amigo

March 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

“Life beyond photography” is how I think about this blog lately.. I always remind myself that some day in the future, I’ll miss today. And the only way for me to feel okay about time passing and for me to keep memories about these days is to photograph and blog about them. You never know how you’ll miss your favorite spot at that coffee shop or where you used to eat out on Fridays. Or maybe I have such a bad brain to remember everything.. Anyways… Just to say that I’ll be sharing more of my life from this moment on. Well, at least I will try to (:

Hieu and I are fans of all kinds of food, and we try to eat out once or twice a week during weekends. Each time, we vow that we’ll choose somewhere new to experience a variety of dishes. But for some places, it’s hard to eat there just once. Taqueria El Amigo is that sort of places: great Mexican food, affordable, and fun servers. Amazing burrito combo (burrito + taco) for $5.80 – that Chipotle can’t beat. Plus their horchata completes our night out. And we never say no to guacamole salsa. Alright, I shouldn’t blog about food at night.

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March 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Have you ever felt like someone that truly knows you would know who your favorite musicians are? That’s how I feel. When you listen to many kinds of music and the whole world thinks you are really into that deep house kind, which you post quite a lot on your Facebook – let’s say (and you do love it). But then this one person just stood up and said “Folk and Indie, eh?” – I can see myself running to give him a hug.

My heart always roots back to folk and indie tunes, and it always moves for some musicians. Mumford & Sons or Passenger are those kinds of musicians. I listen to every single piece that they put out in this world, and I watch every single music video of their songs. When my silence begins, I shall let their voices speak for me.

Passenger recently shared his new music video of “Travelling Alone” (British with double “l” huh?) and it gives me so much feelings that my heart wants to burst out into pieces and scatter around the world. I remember watching a live show – the first big show that Mike got to play, I think – where Mike shared a story behind this “Travelling Alone” piece. There’s not much to repeat here if you listen to it and follow the lines. Anyways, it’s quite touching to see the music video (gosh, and it’s in black and white).

The moment I started to watch this MV, my heart suddenly felt so much. And I started to wonder… I wonder if I could still live that dream life. I wonder if I could still travel the world. I wonder if I could still do the things I love most. But a friend once said: “Think of love as not a restrain to your future but as something that takes you further out there beyond the horizon.” I’m sure this is just a beginning of a great adventure for both of us.

And you know, “everything you want is on the other side of fear.” So hold your head up high, walk on and don’t be afraid.

friends in town.

March 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

I think I’ve been relying on Facebook a bit too much to showcase my pictures, and we all know how good the quality is (sarcasm, Sheldon). Plus, I should update this blog more often as there are more things happening in life lately. Someday, I’ll miss today, and I will probably hate myself for not taking enough pictures.

2 weeks ago, some of my best friends on this planet paid Boston (mostly me) a visit. This time, we aimed to relax and chill instead of checking all the sightseeings possible. There were late nights and sleepy talks. There were slow mornings and laughters. It was a farewell to an old life (but really, there is just one life) yet a good farewell because I had them all surrounded me. Friends. How I miss them dearly.











Joyce in a dress and slipper

Joyce in a dress and slipper





Một đám cưới

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Rồi cũng đến lúc tụi mình đã lớn

Cũng phải đi lấy vợ lấy chồng

Những đám cưới, nghĩ về, sao mà ớn

Cứ như là trông con sáo sang sông.

Mày sẽ bước lên một sân khấu lớn

Có em-xi và hai họ ngượng ngùng

Ly rượu lễ rót hoài không đầy nổi

Hai vợ chồng tựa nhau để thôi run

Người ta sẽ viết những lời chúc tụng

Lên phong bao hay một quyển sổ hồng

Người ta sẽ ngồi quanh bàn nghe ngóng

Món này rồi, còn món nữa lên không?

Mày sẽ rảo lòng vòng trong đám cưới

Chào từng bàn dù kẻ biết, người không

Thì mặc kệ, đôi giày cao mấy tấc

Váy áo này hôm nay nữa là xong

Tao một góc nhìn mày đi tấp tểnh

Mướt mồ hôi mà cứ phải toét cười

Chỉ mong được kéo mày ra chỗ thoáng

Vai diễn này vất vả quá mày ơi!

Rồi hết lễ tao đứng chờ ở cửa

Mới nhớ ra, à, nó ở bên chồng

Đường thơ ấu một mình tao đi ngược

Cũng đâu còn ai nữa để mà trông.


Nguyễn Thiên Ngân

Mình phải sống như mùa hè năm ấy

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Thơ của chị Ngân…

“Em ạ, bây giờ là mùa hạ

Chúng ta đang sống những giây phút không thể quay về.”

“Có những ngày chỉ muốn trở về quê

Nằm nghe gió rít qua hàng song cửa

Nói với mẹ: Con không đi làm nữa

Mẹ nuôi con đọc sách hết đời, nghe?”

“Lâu rồi đã quên cảm giác

That một con diều lên trời

Lâu rồi đã quên cảm giác

Nhắm mắt nghe dòng sông trôi

Lâu rồi đã quên mình cũng

Có nhiều ước mơ trong đời

Lâu rồi dường như chỉ biết

Từng ngày, sống từng ngày thôi.”

A note on creativity

March 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

A few things to remember from this great article by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings 

Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting


“Before we quit, we have to have invested all of ourselves in order for the full picture to reveal itself and justify the quitting, which applies equally to everything from work to love.”

“Before I can discard the verse, I have to write it… I can’t discard a verse before it is written because it is the writing of the verse that produces whatever delights or interests or facets that are going to catch the light. The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.”

“… Creative contribution coming from a place of purpose rather than a hunger for profit.”

Tchaikovsky (“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”), novelist Isabel Allende (“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”), painter Chuck Close (Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.”), beloved author E.B. White (“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”), Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope (“My belief of book writing is much the same as my belief as to shoemaking. The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.”), and designer Massimo Vignelli (“There is no design without discipline.”)

Monday Inspiration

March 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve made a few biggest decisions in my life recently, and now I’m in the phase of coping with them. All are quite exciting indeed.

Two days ago, I launched my babe ZINC Studio (no, it’s not an actual studio yet but it will be one day), which meant I would, hopefully, start working full-time as photographer. ZINC Studio focuses on wedding, portrait, and music photography – some areas that I’ve developed an interest in in the past few months. They say the beginning is always the hardest part – I would totally agree. But I’m sure everyone has got to start somewhere and so do I. By the way, random thing yet related – I love a saying of President Obama on Human of New York that basically says:

But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ — then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.

There will always be a path.


I wish when things become a little more official, I can update you all on what has changed then.

For now, I’m back on the Internet searching for inspiration. I’m feeling as if I’m, once again, lost without a clear direction in photography. I even feel like I vaguely know who I was a year ago. I’m in search for a new beginning – something different, something I didn’t know before.. After a long break (over a year), I think that is exactly what I need.

I haven’t seriously spending much time on photography as years ago (either shooting photos or looking for a source of inspiration), and at some point, I thought things will never be the same as 18. But I’m now a bit more certain that life will eventually lead me back to photography. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Let me know which books/ photographers/ sources I should take a look. 


Solange & Puma’s “Wild Wonder” Collection

The Siesta Project

Ben Sandler

Jaka Bulc

Antoine Bruy

Still Life

Thomas Prior

Franck Bohbot

Want to be happy? Slow down

February 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:

In 1972, Matthieu Ricard had a promising career in biochemistry, trying to figure out the secrets of E. coli bacteria. A chance encounter with Buddhism led to an about turn, and Ricard has spent the past 40+ years living in the Himalayas, studying mindfulness and happiness. In this free-wheeling discussion at TED Global in October 2014, Ricard talked with journalist and writer Pico Iyer about some of the things they’ve learned over the years, not least the importance of being conscious about mental health and how to spend time meaningfully. An edited version of the conversation, moderated by TED Radio Hour host Guy Raz, follows. First, Pico Iyer on how he became taken with the idea of staying still:

Guy Raz (left), Pico Iyer (center), and Matthieu Ricard (right) discuss mindfulness and the importance of being still at TED Global 2014. Photo by Duncan Davidson/TED. Guy Raz (left), Pico Iyer (center), and Matthieu Ricard (right) discuss mindfulness and the importance of being still at TED Global 2014. Photo by Duncan Davidson/TED.

Pico Iyer: When I was in my twenties, I had this wonderful…

View original 3,180 more words


January 16, 2015 § 1 Comment


driving home today and listening to a new addictive Viet song, I finally felt what I’d been feeling for years before anh came along—little nostalgic, missing a few people and some pieces of an old golden life. questions rose in the far horizon and quietly disappeared like the sun came up and down each day. I wished the ride home could be longer. maybe I could have driven longer and taken a detour, but life is now filled with things you’ve got to do. there are hardly times to daydream and to miss everything in this world. but tonight, I miss so many memories all at once. isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?–you either don’t feel a thing or you do feel so much.
the cigarette was lit, and I held it between my two fingers. friends—I missed friends. I miss good talks and golden silence among people who don’t need to say anything for others to understand how they feel. I miss the night rides across this country I have called home for so long—the nights we stopped at random gas stations, ate instant noodles as if it was the best meal a meal could be, and loved every single moment we were living.
we probably didn’t know it could be so easy to miss such moments badly. when you live pass good times then get back to rat race life, you wonder how you got the courage to do it all.
I long for nomadic days. I long for those nights we shared in the deserts of my southern home. I long for laying down on a bench, among some dearest people in my life, and watching the stars above our heads. each found their own comet crossing the night sky then made a quick wish, believing in miracles to come.
life was so easy and beautiful then.
now I can only long for it as if it was never my life… as if it belonged to someone else.


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