Book review: The mordern girl’s guide to life – part 3: hospitality

Instead, I try to keep a well-planned, well-stocked pantry, just in case. I’ve come up with a failproof list of ten things to have on hand, all designed to satisfy even the most ravenous of spur-of-the-moment guests. Virtually all of it can be bought at a grocery store—and keeps for months.

  1. Tapenade or marinated artichokes—Sure, if I’m prepared I buy Brie and some snazzy pâté. But too often my purchase has gotten moldy in my fridge, and one friend barely escaped botulism when I simply ignored an expiration date (Come on, what’s an extra two weeks anyway?). Tapenade looks gourmet, and since people aren’t really sure whether they like it, you probably can get by with a small jar. Just make sure you also have toothpicks and cute cocktail napkins on hand. Modern Girls know that a harmless little artichoke can drop pellets of oil onto clothes, furniture, or worse yet, your new handbag. (Should this happen anyway, refer back to chapter 1 to help get it out.)
  2. Garlic-, Brie-, or jalapeño-stuffed olives—Olives somehow say “cocktail hour” and “hors d’oeuvres” in one. They’re the gourmet’s answer to the bar nut. They can prove quite filling and can either wind up in martinis or on a little serving plate. And if you buy pitted ones, even olive skeptics will dive in.
  3. Nuts—Go for candied walnuts, pecans, almonds, and cashews, as these look fanciest and can be served at virtually any occasion,from brunch time to cocktail hour.
  4. Bread sticks—When in doubt, pull these out. I like the thin Italian ones that aren’t too filling. Sure, they may be a bit phallic, but depending upon your guests this may not be the worst thing.
  5. Walkers Shortbread Cookies—You have to hand it to the English. They make a crusty cookie seem like the height of refinement.

    They somehow convey to your guests that they’re lucky, sometime you’ll invite them to a proper dinner party when you’ve had more notice.

  6. Box of chocolates—If you’re like me, you’ll have to store these on a high shelf and convince yourself they don’t exist. Otherwise you’ll wind up opening them hoping some visitor—any visitor— might pop by.  Assuming you can resist, chocolates are perfect whether a guest shows up at 4 P.M. or 4 A.M.
  7. Bread/muffin mix—If your evening visitor turns into a morning after, then nothing says prepared like fresh baked goods. Find a mix that requires neither eggs nor milk. Modern girls are gracious, but not dairy queens.
  8. Bottle of champagne—If nothing else, get some champagne in the house—preferably a label that will wow them, but any will do.

    No matter what the time or the other accoutrements, champagne signals festivity and makes your guests feel you’re happy to see them (even if you’re annoyed because you seem to be blowing a fortune on champagne lately). On top of that, chances are your guests will leave a little too tipsy to realize you didn’t feed them enough. You can “speed-chill” wine or champagne in about twenty minutes by completely submerging the bottle in a bucket filled with half ice and half water. This will chill the bottle much faster than ice alone.

  9. French onion soup mix—Okay, this falls in the realm of extra credit. I’ll toss it in with plain yogurt, cream cheese, or sour cream that has yet to grow curd. Whipping up a dip is a supereasy way to satisfy guests when you have minimal prep time.  What good are crackers without spread or spread without crackers? The key to maintaining your last-minute entertaining ability is to replace any item you’ve used virtually the instant you’ve used it. Keep the empty box or container out of the garbage and to the side when you’re done. That way you’re more likely to remember to refill it tomorrow

How to stock a bar

The Hard Stuff

  • Vodka (splurge on a pricier one so you don’t get a hangover) and store in the freezer. That way it’s ready to go—and chances are you have more room next to the ice cream than you do in your pantry, thanks to your newly stocked cupboard, per the list at the begin-
  • ning of the chapter.
  • Gin (ditto above on the pricey part)
  • Rum (dark rums are sweeter but light rums are more commonly
  • found)
  • Tequila (go for the gold label)
  • Whiskey (see pages 225–28 to pick the perfect scotch)

Other Basics

  • Imported beer
  • Wine
  • Angostura bitters
  • Triple sec
  • Amaretto or Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Vermouth


  • Tonic water
  • Club soda
  • Ginger ale (you can get by with tonic, but it’s nice to have around
  • for future tummy aches)
  • Grenadine


  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Olives


Buying Wine there are some facts that might help you feel more confident next time you buy and serve wine. While a $100 bottle probably isn’t ten times as good as a $10 one, a $20 bottle may be ten times better than a $5. So your best bet is to stick within $17 to $25 if you can afford to. Here are a few tips from Wine Spectator  to follow when looking for wine:

  • Don’t be a wine snob. Trust what you like and don’t get caught up in high prices or critic’s awards.
  • When you’ve found a wine you like, buy it by the case. Some retailers give you a 10 percent discount, or one bottle free.
  • Having said that, shop around for different styles. There are many new types of wines, and you may find one that better suits you.
  • Shop for values. You can get great prices on very good wines. Find a shop you like, build a relationship with the owner or sales clerk, and ask them to alert you to new specials.
  • Like you, wine should never get old. Unless you’re buying super-expensive bottles, most should be consumed within ten years.

What Wine to Serve? Modern Girls know that when it comes to matching food and wine, you should forget about “The Rules.” After all, you’ll drink most of the wine before and after dinner, so just find a wine that you like and would drink by itself.

According to Wine Spectator,  the old rule about white wine with fish and red wine with meat is a bit outdated. It used to be that all

white wines were light and fruity and red wines were heavy and weighty; but that doesn’t hold as true today. It is true that hearty food usually needs a full wine because robust food will make a lighter wine taste dull. With lighter food, a light wine fits better, but you can also use light food to bring out the fuller flavor of a heavier wine. If a guest brings you a bottle of wine as a gift, don’t feel compelled to open and serve it. The guest should understand that you have probably selected the best wines for your meal, and the gift is more of a thank-you. If you think your guest is expecting it to be opened but you don’t want to serve it with the meal, serve it for cocktails. When entertaining at home, it’s up to you whether you want formally to “taste” the wine. Unless you are having a tasting, it isn’t mandatory or even necessary. But when experimenting with a new bottle that you are unfamiliar with, you may want to taste or ask one of your guests to taste it for you

Storing wine hates heat. Keep bottles out of direct sunlight (total darkness is best) and store them on their sides. If you don’t have wine cases or racks, store them as low to the ground as possible in a cool, dry space that doesn’t get much light. A low cabinet you don’t open often is ideal. Anything over 70° F will affect a wine, resulting in flatter flavors and aromas. In addition, rapid temperature fluctuations (and I don’t mean between you and your date) may cause pressure changes within a bottle, moving the cork upward and allowing air in the bottle. This can lead to oxidation, which produces a brownish color and makes it taste icky (that’s a technical term).


For most of the wines I serve, a plastic cup wouldn’t change the way it tastes. But occasionally even I splurge on (or receive) a fine bottle. In this case, the glass matters. The size and shape of the bowl of the glass will affect intensity and complexity of the bouquet. The rim matters because it determines where the wine lands on your tongue, affecting the taste. The stem of the glass should be long enough so that your hand doesn’t touch the bowl. Not only will you get unsightly fingerprints on it, but you might warm the wine when you shouldn’t. The stem shouldbe almost as long as the bowl is tall. As for the bowl, the clearer the glass is, the richer the wine’s color will appear. Unless you’re looking to get yourself and your date really drunk, fill a wineglass no more than half full. This leaves enough space to release the aromas. Many glasses are too small; few are too large. A good red wineglass will have a capacity of at least twelve ounces (that’s a full soda can). Generally, glasses for red wines are wider than those for white. Champagne flutes should hold six and a half ounces or more (smaller than your red wineglass) but should be filled two-thirds of the way up to the top. They have smaller openings to conserve the bubbles. Because port and sherry are stronger wines, they are usually served in smaller glasses. Brandy snifters have little to no stem, because your hand should cradle the glass to heat the brandy slightly.

Hangover Help

What about that wicked hangover headache the next day? To keep you from praying to the porcelain gods the next morning,

follow these tips:

How to Prevent a Hangover

  • Have a preparty meal. Before you imbibe, load up on a low-sodium combo of complex carbs, protein, and fat, which will be digested slowly. Try a whole-grain pita stuffed with grilled chicken, veggies, and cheese.
  • Take a Berocca vitamin supplement before you start drinking (consult your doctor first). You can purchase a bottle of Beroccas atthe pharmacy. This gives you additional vitamin B, which can help you better combat a hangover.
  • Skip carbonated alcoholic beverages. The alcohol in beer, champagne, and wine coolers is absorbed faster than in noncarbonated drinks.
  • Alternate fruit juice or water in between your drinks.
  • Beware of sugary libations. The sweet flavor masks the alcohol, which can make you consume more booze than you think.
  • Drink lots of water before bed to help prevent dehydration.

Hot Hangover Remedies

  • Mix a drop each of lemon juice, heavy cream, and powdered sugar with equal parts orange flower water (which you can buy at pretty much any upscale food store), egg whites, gin, and soda.
  • Should you not have the forethought (or the damn flower water), try to stock up on the energy powder available at most health food stores. It’s typically used to ward off a cold, but can work wonders on the “too-much-partying” flu.

Table setting

If you don’t have a runner (which is basically just a long strip of fabric laid down the center of your table), a quick makeshift idea is to

use a long scarf. I’ve even used a black brocade scarf of my grandmother’s before. Another option is to run a row of fabric place mats

down your table. With your flowers and olive oils and other small dishes on top of them, no one will notice they’re not all one piece.

For a formal table, splurge on a tablecloth. White is always a safe bet because it won’t clash with your plates or food. But don’t worry

about getting the finest quality. What’s more important is that it’sironed and crisp-looking. If you’d sooner have your teeth drilled

than iron, send out your napkins and tablecloth to be pressed. A truly formal setting implies having all of your cutlery, dishes,

and glassware already on the table at the beginning of the meal. What I like about this—whether I’m actually serving a formal meal or

not—is that not only does it pass the Miss Manners test, but as the hostess you don’t find yourself scrambling for more glasses during

the meal.

Traditionally, cutlery is laid smallest to largest, working toward the plate. Forks go to the left of the plate, spoons and knives to the

right. The exceptions are the dessert fork and spoon, which go above the plate, spoon on top. There is great debate among my friends as to whether you should put out a full set of cutlery even if you don’t need it (i.e., a salad fork if there is no salad). My feeling is, put out whatever you think a guest might use (who knows, she might want to cut her rigatoni with a knife). But skip anything that will lead a guest to think a course is coming that isn’t.

Place the water goblet right above the tip of the knife, and set the wineglasses slightly in front of the water. For more formal parties,

preset for as many different types of wines or champagne as you plan to serve. Forget which side to put the bread plate and which side to put your drinking glasses? Make an “okay” sign with both hands—you’ll see that your left hand makes a “b” for bread, and your right hand makes a “d” for drink. Easy! Remember that all food and drinks should be served on each diner’s right (that’s why the

glasses are all on the right), and cleared from each diner’s left.

I prefer to set the napkin in the center of the plate, with a nice napkin ring. Many people like to place the napkin in the water goblet,

but after breaking a friend’s Tiffany crystal stemware trying to remove it, I now try to spare guests of mine—and my fine crystal—the

same fate. After you remove your napkin from the ring, place the napkin on your lap and the ring to the left of your plate. After you have finished your meal and get up to leave the table, you can place the napkin to the left of your plate, or once your plate has been removed, you can place it where your plate had been, but not back in the napkin ring. However, it’s proper etiquette to leave your napkin on your lap until you get up from the table…  even if you’re finished eating. If everyone stays at the table and chats after the meal, it is considered rude to have your dirty napkin in sight.

Don’t have napkin rings on hand? Here’s how to fold one like a pro: Fold the napkin into a triangle. Fold in the two bottom corners

one quarter of the way. Fold both of the corners over one another so they meet in the middle. Fold the top point down and flip the napkin over, and you have a chic envelope shape. You can leave it as is, or insert your silverware, a pretty flower, or chopsticks if you’re serving an Asian menu.

The centerpiece Part of entertaining is just making things look pretty—you, your pad, your food. It’s not about spending tons of money; it’s about showing guests that you made an extra effort to have things feel a bit more festive for them. While everyone knows that flowers can make a room, unless you’re sent a magnificent bouquet, do not feel obliged to take out a second mortgage to make your living room look like the botanical gardens. In fact, when it comes to arranging flowers, here’s the best advice I’ve been given: Don’t. When possible, avoid arrangements. Truth is, it’s hard to make cheap flowers look expensive and remarkably easy to make even expensive ones look cheap. Instead, consider “alternate” arrangements that make guests think you’re far too creative to resort to flowers or have held so  many dinner parties already that you’ve run through the entire botanical repertoire. Another bonus to these alternative arrangements is that they are all fairly low to the table, making it easy to talk over them.

Snazzy Alternatives to Flowers

  • Fruit: Bowls or vases filled with one variety of whole fruit (GrannySmith apples, lemons, and limes are my favorites) are as colorful as most flowers but last longer . . . and certainly come in handy should your bar run short.
  • Floating candles: They have varieties that look like flowers, but I prefer a single color arranged in a bowl. It adds to the mood, is safer than long tapers, and there’s no arranging necessary. You can also add a few floating single-bloomed roses or sunflowers to the bowl.
  • Wheat grass: Simple flat beds of the stuff add greenery to a table, last longer than most flowers, and can be whipped into an elixirshould your party leave you feeling run down.
  • Candy: Nothing is as tempting as a vase or bowl filled with multi-colored jellybeans, childhood favorites, or sweets in bright wrap-pers. The added bonus is that after dessert, you’ll have little to clean up

The Real Deal

  • Invest in a nice short vase. Keep it low. While tall arrangements are eye catching, they can ruin dinner conversation. Flowers need to be low enough to allow guests to see one another. In general, flowers should be one and a half times as tall as the vase they are in.
  • Go for a single bloom. One of my favorites is to put three or four low square vases on the table with one blossomed rose in each. It makes a dramatic statement, but requires little work and even less skill.
  • One color is easier to make look good than many. Try to pick three similarly hued flowers for an arrangement.
  • One of the easiest arrangements is a “hedged” or vase-top arrangement—in which the flowers are bunched together right at the top of the vase. Get a bunch of one type of blossom and cut the stems down so that the bud is just resting on the vase. Repeat with the remaining flowers until the vase is full. You may cringe at cutting long stems off flowers like roses and calla lilies, but it will look elegant and doesn’t really require arranging. Showcase the blooms in a short, squat vase. Big blossoms (like hydrangeas) can be donein a more statuesque vase if you prefer.
  • Use that green Styrofoam to arrange your flowers. It keeps flowers in the place you want them and if the best florists use it, why shouldn’t you? But the trick is to make sure the foam isn’t visible. Use in an opaque vase, or if that’s not available, try to get a big banana or palm leaf (florists have them) to wrap around the inside of the vase. Or cut lemon, lime, or orange slices and place on the inside of the vase for cover. Similarly, use bubble wrap or newspaper to fill in areas of an opaque vase and make a few flowers seem like more.
  • To get grime out of vases: Pour in ice and rock salt (or table salt if rock salt isn’t available) then rinse. It leaves the vases shiny. Alternatively, soak the vase in water and Clorox for thirty minutes.
  • Arranging flowers is much easier without water. Get all your flowers in place, and then add the H2O. It’s more likely that

    the buds will stay in place

Picking and Maintaining Flowers

  • Don’t cut with scissors. Get a real pair of garden cutting shears. Scissors crush the stem and prevent the flowers from getting water. Invest in garden shears and use them only to cut flower stems, or they will get dull.
  • Bacteria are what kill flowers fastest. Put a few drops of Clorox in the water to keep blooms fresher longer. (I know, you really should change the water every other day, but I’m lucky if I take a shower that often.)
  • If it’s an extra-special bouquet, use bottled water. Or if you’re cheap like me, at least use water from a Brita-style purifier. This cuts down on the bacteria.

Tips for Particular Flowers:

  • Roses: When choosing roses, squeeze them. If the petals feel tightly bunched, chances are the flowers will bloom. If they are loose, it’s safe to guess they’ll droop before dessert. Also, look to see whether the tiny leaves surrounding the bud are pointing up. As in many other situations, pointing up is a good thing.
  • Tulips: To keep the stems from bending, roll them in wet newspaper, and then submerge them in cold water up to the head.

    When you are ready to display them, switch to a vase with cold water and ditch the newspaper.

  • Irises and daisies: Treat with three drops of peppermint oil in a quart of water. (You can buy peppermint oil at most natural

    food stores.)

  • Lilacs: Scrape the bark off the bottom of the branch, smash the end with a hammer, fray it, and soak in cold water with the

    powder packet you get at the florists.

  • Lilies: Add one-quarter cup vinegar per two quarts of water

The Modern Girl’s Flower Kit

Garden cutting shears

Green Styrofoam

White vinegar


Brita water jug

Peppermint oil (if you’re a big iris and daisy fan)

Bubble wrap

Flower food (stock up on the packets you get from your florist)


  • A great way to get tapers to burn longer is to pop them in the freezer for a few hours before your party. Right before guests arrive, take them out, place them in their holders, and light them. You’ll get twice the burn time out of them. Always trim all candle wicks to one-quarter inch.
  • Tired of your cylindrical candles looking like lopsided mushrooms after the first few uses? Burn them for no less than three hours the first time you light them. This creates an even ring on the top. We all know notto cry over spilled milk, but what about spilled candle wax? No sweat. For hard surfaces, let the wax cool and harden, then scrape it off with a credit card. For difficult-to-reach spaces such as moldings and creases in tables, use a hair dryer to melt the wax and wipe clean. For rugs, heat up an iron and place a brown paper bag over the wax spot. Run the iron over the bag. The paper will absorb the wax. Be sure not to use a hair dryer or iron on anything flammable
  • Don’t have a dining table, or your kitchen table seats only two? No problem—either buy a cheap card table and put a pretty tablecloth over it, or make your cof-fee table your dining surface and have guests lounge around it on large, cushy pillows. Wrap couchpillows in saris and scarves for an exotic look.


Like lighting, music can either make your party sexier  . . . or seriously put a cramp in it. The first thing to consider is pacing: The

faster the music, the faster people will drink. So start out the night with your slowest grooves because this is when your guests will be drinking cocktails on empty stomachs. When you sit down, build to something a little more upbeat, but make sure the beats don’t go faster than a normal heart rate. Otherwise, people will subconsciously eat faster to keep up with the pace of the music—not what you’re going for! You can finish off the evening with something a little more fun and wild because this is when people are loosened up. Another tip: If you’re not into playing deejay, choose a CD without lyrics. No one will know if that Coltrane CD has been playing four times in a row.  Next, consider the vibe of your menu, decorations, and guests. Are you serving sushi and sake, and talking art exhibits and indie ilms? Or will it be a rowdier, plate-sharing evening with heavy flirting and politicking? Once you can visualize the scene, choosing a soundtrack will be easier.

How to Make a Decent Cup of Coffee :  Before you put the coffee in, fill your carafe with hot water and then dump the water, so

the carafe is hot. It makes a big difference.

Nothing can ruin a good meal like a bad cup of coffee. If the secret to a good martini is about being cold, the secret to a good cup of coffee is about being hot. The hotter the water, the more flavor it will extract from the coffee grounds. Many say that’s why you

should invest in a great maker (experts suggest the Bunn B10-B). Now, I hate coffee grinders and can’t see the merit in freezing

beans. It just seems so elaborate. But the truth is that if you buy preground coffee, know that it will be stale. Typically, whole beans stay fresh about two weeks after roasting. Keep a can of coffee in your pantry for emergencies, but do your best to stock up on beans every two weeks or so. Keep the beans in an airtight container. Store in the freezer over the long-term (over a month) and in the fridge in the short-term (two weeks or less). Invest in a decent grinder, but you can get away with a relatively inexpensive one. Don’t grind it too fine. That will make the coffee bitter. There is some debate over paper versus metal filters. The metal ones are reusable and you’ll never run out. Paper filters will absorb some of the oils from the coffee and make it taste less rich. However, these oils may also raise levels of LDL cholesterol. Go for the paper and if guests dare complain, tell them you’re just looking out for their health.

Start with cold water (preferably filtered). Measure two level tablespoons of ground coffee per six (not eight) ounces of water. Ideally

you should use a coffee scoop, but you may want to measure it against a tablespoon to see how accurate your scoop will be in a pinch. Rather than leaving the unused coffee on the warmer, pour it into an insulated carafe. The longer it sits on the warmer, the worse it will taste, because the coffee is actually cooking for a second time (the first being when it was brewed), which technically “burns” the coffee. So don’t get ahead of yourself and turn on the coffee when you start the appetizer. Guests would rather wait a few extra minutes for a fresher cup. Don’t clean your coffeemaker with dish soap. It’s really hard to get that last bit of detergent out. Instead, use a nonabrasive scrubber and about a teaspoon of baking soda and rinse thoroughly.

How to Gracefully Boot Guests Who Have Stayed Too Long: Never do the dishes during the party (it’s a total downer)

The cleanup:   The water temperature in the dishwasher should be at least 120 degrees. The problem is—beyond the fact that few Modern Girls actually know how hot their dishwasher gets—that it’s the hot water that first preconditions the dishes for the wash cycle. So to be sure, run the hot water in your sink before starting a dishwashing cycle as this will flush out the cold water in the lines.

You shouldn’t have to wash the dishes, but at least scrape them, and a rinse is never a bad idea either. Any surfaces that are not ex-

posed won’t get clean, so don’t pack them too tightly or have plates touching or spoons, well, spooning. Items should face down. Cups, bowls, or containers that face up will simply fill with water. Wine-glasses must be anchored to something (many appliances have racks preset for them). Otherwise they will be bandied about by the water and break. And be careful. While many glasses and china patterns can go in the dishwasher, if instructions say wash by hand, do it. Otherwise you’re likely to ruin them.

There is great debate over silverware in the dishwasher. To get it cleanest, you should load it handle-down, allowing the utensil part to get the most cleaning. However, if you have small children, consider their safety, give an extra rinse, and load them handle-up. Every toddler I know has reached into the seeming treasure chest of glistening items. You don’t want your child grabbing the blade. (And frankly, I’ve never figured out how to unload without getting my hands on the perfectly cleaned cutlery anyway.) For extra credit, give each silverware item its own compartment (forks together, spoons together). This will save you time in the inevitably badly timed unload phase. Don’t overload the dishwasher. If there is no room for the grub to get out, it will settle where you are

least likely to notice it (until your mother in-law stops by and picks a bit of crusted macaroni from your serving bowl). Typically you don’t have to fill both cups with soap, unless you’re morally opposed to scraping and rinsing. But do make sure the one you fill is latched. If your glasses are spotty, try JET-DRY rinse conditioner. Otherwise, buy one of those plastic white baskets your mother

had that allows you to put in spot reducing tablets. Attach it to the lower rack. It works.

Sleep Tight

Chances are it’s around midnight now. And you, darling, have done a fabulous job of cooking, greeting, wine pouring, awkward-silence saving, wax-removing, dessert dishing, cleaning, and being an all-around dining diplomat. So go to sleep. As in, put your head on your pillow, shut your eyes, and don’t stay up all night wondering whether people had a good time or not. They did. Whatever little appetizer you forgot to serve or CD you overplayed, no one noticed. And the best part is, you’ve always got another shot to make it better next time.


101 questions to ask myself in life? (yearly review: 2011)

  1. Who are you?   I am a single dentist live in HCMC with my parents and 2 sisters. 
  2. What are you passionate about? I love travel, beauty, and food
  3. What are the achievements you are most proud of? It in the past, I was an excellent that had many awards in high school
  4. What are you most grateful for in life? I am grateful for being a dentist, for being child of my dad…
  5. What are the most important things to you in life? It’s defenitely money
  6. How would you describe yourself? I am lazy girl
  7. What are your values? What do you represent? What do you want to embody? Of course I represent a food lover
  8. Do you love yourself? Why or why not?  No, not really. If I lose 20kgs more, I’ll love myself
  9. How can you love yourself more today? A good meal + a good sleep
  10. What is your ideal self? What does it mean to be your highest self? Know how to dress and know how to cook
  11. Look at your life now. Are you living the life of your dreams? Part of.  I have a family, a job, a house.  I don’t need to worry about earning for a living, I eat what I want..  However, I still want sth more.
  12. If you have one year left to live, what would you do? I will travel around the world and finally donate all my property to porverty.
  13. If you have one month left to live, what would you do? I will spend every moment with my family, esp my dad.
  14. If you have one week left to live, what would you do? I will write a will
  15. If you have one day left to live, what would you do? I will touch and hug my family as much as I can
  16. If you have an hour left to live, what would you do? I will cry and call my family
  17. If you have one minute left to live, what would you do?  I will lay down and waiting for it
  18. What would you do today if there is no more tomorrow? I will spend all of my money and eat as much as I can
  19. What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date? Gossip is bad habit but I can’t resist it
  20. What advice would you give to yourself 3 years ago? Study harder
  21. If you are yourself 1 year from the future, how would you advise the you now? Get fit
  22. Is there something you’re still holding on to? Is it time to let it go? No, nothing.
  23. What are you busy with today? Will this matter 1 year from now? 3 years? 5 years? Treating patients.  Maybe, or Maybe not.  I have many plans.
  24. What are your Quadrant 2 tasks? Save money. Start exercising.
  25. What opportunities are you looking for? Travel oversea and Invest in Stock and share as well as real estate
  26. How can you create these opportunities? Accumulating
  27. What are your biggest goals and dreams? Finance freedom. Live without worries.
  28. If you are to do something for free for the rest of your life, what would you want to do? I don’t know
  29. What would you do if you cannot fail; if there are no limitations in money, resources, time or networks? I will enjoy the best thing, travel around the world and do charity
  30. What do you want to achieve in 1 year from now? Travel to 3+ countries and have 200+ net worth
  31. … 3 years? Have a child
  32. … 5 years? Have my own house
  33. … 10 years? Can live with my passive income
  34. How important are these goals to you? It a must
  35. What if these goals are doubled? Tripled? Magnified by 10? How would you feel? Would you prefer to achieve these or your previous goals? It’s  perfect.
  36. Who are the people who have achieved similar goals? I don’t know
  37. … What can you learn from them? I don’t know, either
  38. Are you putting any parts of your life on hold? Yes, getting fit and have my own family
  39. … Why? Because I’m afraird what if we can’t get along with each other.  It may be a waste of time and money
  40. What’s the top priority in your life right now? Earn and save and invest money
  41. What are you doing about it? Compound saving.  Diversified in USD and invest in stock and share VNE 2700
  42. If you were to die tomorrow, what would be your biggest regret? Not saying good thing with my mom and Nguyen
  43. For every experience you get: What are the biggest things you have learned? nothing
  44. How can you do this better the next time? I don’t know
  45. If you have 1 million dollars, what would you do with it? I will buy a house, invest and save.  Then, travel around the world.  Then give to my mom and dad and sisters as well as donate it.
  46. Do you love your job? @ 3M?  @ dental clinic?  Not really.
  47. What is your ideal career? I try to find out
  48. How can you start creating your ideal career starting today? Dunno
  49. What is your ideal home like? Not to large, not to small.  Smell good.  Have all convenience.  Have sauna 🙂
  50. What do you need to do to achieve your ideal home? Marry a billionaire? 
  51. What is your ideal physical look? Thinner
  52. What do you need to do to achieve your ideal physical look? Diet and work out
  53. What is your ideal life? Slow, enjoyable, controlable and worriless life
  54. What can you do to start living your ideal life? Still dunno
  55. What do you fear most in life? porverty and being criticized
  56. Is there anything you are running away from? Admit that I was wrong
  57. Are you settling for less than you are worth? No
  58. … Why?
  59. What is your inner dialogue like? I don’t know
  60. What limiting beliefs are you holding on to? I don’t know
  61. Are they helping you achieve your goals? I have no idea
  62. If not, is it time to let them go?
  63. What empowering beliefs can you take on to help you achieve your goals?
  64. What bad habits do you want to break? ill-disciplined
  65. What good habits do you want to cultivate? Patience
  66. What’s the biggest step you can take now that will create the biggest result? I don’t know
  67. What would you want to say to yourself 1 year in the future? Do you achieve your goals?
  68. … 3 years? How was the baby?
  69. … 5 years? Love your husband
  70. … 10 years? Travel more
  71. Where are you living right now – the past, future or present? Still the same
  72. Are you living your life to the fullest right now? not really
  73. What is the meaning of life? Still don’t know
  74. What is your purpose in life? Why do you exist? What is your mission? be a better person and help the others
  75. How can you make your life even more meaningful starting today? Cooking and working out
  76. What drives you? Nothing
  77. What are the times you are most inspired, most motivated, most charged up? Morning
  78. What did you do during those times? How can you do more of that starting today? Hanging around and surfing net.  I don’t want to do it more
  79. How can you change someone’s life for the better today? I don’t know
  80. Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? Dad, mom, sis Chi, sis Yen.  I can’t even name 5 people
  81. Are these people enabling you or holding you back? They are holding me back

    Image ©
  82. What qualities do you want to embody? (Refer to Q5: Values and Q10: Ideal Self) Where can you meet people who embody these qualities? I don’t know
  83. Who inspire you the most? I don’t know
  84. How can you be like them? I don’t know
  85. What is your ideal life partner like? Funny, enjoy my food,  earn big money
  86. Where can you find him/her? I dunno
  87. How can you get to know him/her? I dunno
  88. Are you afraid of letting others get close to you? Yes
  89. … Why? They will hurt me

    Image ©
  90. Who are the most important people in the world to you? My dad
  91. Are you giving them the attention you want to give? No
  92. How can you spend more time with them starting today? Visit him
  93. What kind of person do you enjoy spending time around? Funny and kind and share interest with me
  94. How can you be this person to others? Be myself
  95. Who do you want to be like in 1 year? Thinner, richer and travel more
  96. … 3 years? Happy family
  97. … 5 years? Everything on track
  98. … 10 years? Finance freedom
  99. Who are your mentors in life? (formal or informal) my mom
  100. What is one thing you’re going to do differently after reading this article? nothing

Things to make me feel happy series

-  A decision to take a risk: change job

–  Great movie: Tangled 3D

first day at 3M

Miss O’care guyz.  Haiz..but life has to move on

3M is so cool.  Everybody is friendly.  First day,  I had luch with Ms Ngoc and Chadran,  an Indian orthodontist.  We began the course at 2.  The 2 salemen from the North aren’t good at English so Ms Ngoc and I had to take turn translate to them.  fewww,  lucky me.  My English is good enough to answer all Chadran’s questions.   We worked from 2 to 6p.m and just took 5 minutes break at 3:00. However, I don’t feel tired, I’m happy and full of energy instead.  :))  maybe I love this job.  I learnt a lot today, more than any class in my uni.  Tomorrow, I’ll take part in 4-day Orthodontic class at National hospital for free.  hehe.  The sign up fee is 2800USD/person.  I wonder why my friend is so rich to spend that money for that course.  Admire! :))

Happy new year – Happy new me

Let’s throw away all bad luck of last year. All bad and good memory is always in my mind: Ham Thuan Nam trip, My Tho trip, un-graduation…The bright side is I’ve got 2 jobs with many chance to promote, to travel and the salary is not bad.

Check out some horoscope for me in 2010:

THINK ASTRO: This is a great year for publications, travel, education, foreign tour, and spirituality. If you we have interest in all these areas, 2010 provides an excellent opportunity to fulfill your dreams. You are in middle of these things and 2010 will accelerate the changes. These changes are supportive to your sign.

In 2009, you might have seen good career optimism. This year is more about exploiting career success by expanding your horizon. It may be about expanding your social base, spiritual base, or knowledge base. Teacher or a guide will help you in this exploration.

2010 is a busy year for all Taurus. Do take care of your health and plan your calorie chart for whole year. You may need breaks at regular intervals or may need a consistent health management schedule. Travel or work pressure may be a reason of this energy burnout.

Action time
Domestic health, mother, home, or real estate Jan 1 to Jun 7
Romance and children, creativity, fun Jun 7 to July 29
Work , health July 29 to Sep 14
Relationship and marriage Sep 14 to Oct 28
Partner’s income, gains, or losses Oct 28 to Dec 7
Travel, education, and spirtuality Dec 7 to

After combining all these aspects, it may be possible that you may be working or studying aboard which require frequent travel at home. Alternatively, your sibling may be getting married this year and you are entertaining many relatives at home. Your in-laws may also see changes where you can play a significant role. These are just few possibilities you may come across.

Eclipses – Dramatic changes
Sibling, communication, short distance travel – Unexpected changes

# Culmination point 31 Dec 2009 +/- one month
This may be landmark year in your life especially in travel or publication. You may see many dramatic changes in these areas. You may want to go away but commitment at home may need your attention. You may also go for a trip as well. The third house, where your lunar eclipse is happening, rules contracts as well, so you may be asked to sign papers. (OH YEAH, WITH 3M)This deal seems to be built for the long road ahead, for Saturn will be aiming for long-term stability. You may be signing a contract for business or personal reasons.

# Initiation point July 11 2010 +/- One month
You may plan holiday trips in next six months. Some trips may be taken for business too, and with quite successful results. If you absolutely can’t leave town, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time on email, the telephone, and Twitter.
It appears this work will be ongoing, not a one-shot assignment. You may need a new car or you may take many train rides. With Mars in love life on July 11, you may see lots of creativity or fun in these trips.

Higher education, spirituality, in-laws, or foreign people – Unexpected Change / Transform Foundations

# Initiation point January 15 plus +/- one month & Jan 4 2011 +/- one month
With Pluto, Venus, Mercury, Sun, North node, and Moon in your travel and education, Taurus will be most supportive sign at this time for broadening your horizon. This kind of support you are getting after long time. If you have been doing hard work for long time, this eclipse can give it a completely new direction.

You may get unexpected opportunities to travel abroad at this time or to do business internationally but never have to leave home – you may be doing so from your desk. A solar eclipse has long lasting effects, so you may set up a new situation that will be in place for many years. Publishing and broadcasting opportunities shine.

If you are getting ready to go to college or graduate school, the eclipse will allow you to adapt to a whole new lifestyle. You will like the change, and you’ll find your new educational experience amazingly broadening. You may be especially interested in philosophical or theological subjects, as the ninth house, being so strongly lit this year, will encourage study of these areas.

Second eclipse in same travel ad education area is also little negative. This is on square with Saturn from your work and health life.
# Culmination point – June 26 2010 +/- one month:

The initiative which you took near January 2010 may see culmination point near June 26 2010 and January 2011.  This will be a very important event, for better or worse, with a huge impact on global public opinion.

It is likely you’ll go to a foreign country where you’ll need a passport and use different currency, or you may host friends or relatives from afar in your city.

It is also possible that you will explore the idea of doing some sort of import-export of goods, services, or information with individuals in a foreign country. If you write, perhaps your books will be translated into other languages, or if you have a popular website, it may be translated as well. Global relationships, study, and travel are certainly on the docket, and as said, this is a trend that is just cranking up.

Earned income, self worth

# Culmination – Dec 21 2010 +/- one month

The emphasis on earned income will be more at the solar eclipse December 21. This eclipse will help you find a new steady source of income in your paycheck. The second house, which will be lit up for you on July 21, also rules possessions, so you may purchase something important this month, such as a car or even a house or other real estate. It is a good time to do so, but I always suggest getting away from the precise day of the eclipse for purchasing anything new and expensive.



This year will be going to favorable for you and help you in working on your plans that you are not able to work for in previous year. It will be much better for Taurus people to plan in proper way and make a strategy so that the small difficulties get smashed down. Support from friends and colleagues help you in achieving bigger targets. Along with guidance people born under the sun sign Taurus also need to hear the voice of their inner heart or sixth sense. Taurus Students and Taurus Professionals related to Technical fields will get advantage during this year 2010.

Love and Relationships Horoscope Taurus 2010

Taurus born will experience new depths in your relationships. If you are a single and looking for a partner, the planet Saturn in fifth house might create some hurdles in your way to find a suitable match for you. From January 2010 till May 2010, it remains retrograde and brings some sort of confusion in between you and your love. If you are having someone near to share your views, you need to give proper respect and attention to your partner otherwise you will yourself become reason for the
misunderstandings. Jupiter is transiting over tenth house and motivates Taurus sun-sign born to focus more on work as compared to love affairs or relationships. The fifth house (House of Love) and seventh house (House of Spouse/Life Partner) in your horoscope is afflicted by Saturn during this year and you need to be little bit cautious and slow while dealing with your affairs/marriage. If you are still finding a better person for yourself, the months from May 2010 to November 2010 may bring positive results but during September 2010 till October 2010, your mother/elder lady in family may try to bring some confusion in between you and your partner. Better to keep your emotions in control and avoid any sort of aggressive actions. Jupiter remains in retrograde position during July till November 2010 and it will be good if you pay proper attention to your love/partner desires rather then being focused on your interests. You might also have to do some expenses and buy few gifts to make love/spouse happy. Better not to think much about your expenses. The middle of this year 2010 will help Taurus people in gaining confidence of their relatives and other people associated in family. You also try to provide them proper respect and love to pass your extra time with them. Saturn transiting in fifth house will have the power to break your affairs/marriage, hence be careful………….

Work/Profession, Career/Business Taurus 2010 and Finances Horoscope Taurus 2010


During this year 2010 Taurus people will manage their finances with proper intelligence and if needed, they will not feel ashamed in taking advice of even ordinary person. Taurus people doing service in any company will find a positive energy in themselves which will further going to help them to grow professionally. Lot of work and time is seen consumed in work and other similar activities. Superiors may expect much more and sometimes it will be really hard to satisfy them. Taurus people doing their own business must remain alert as someone will show them false pictures and try to put them in wrong investments during the first half of year 2010. Saturn in fifth house is seen in retrograde position and going to increase some back biting for you through your own people. It is very important to judge who your well wisher is and who is not. Finances seems normal and your efforts will sure bring better profits during second half of year 2010 but keeping an eye over the total expenses is better for you. Jupiter will always keep you active and try to maintain a good will for you in the market. Go for partnership only if you are very much assured about your partner’s integrity. This year 2010 in the end will sure bring some better results but only if you have done good job for those benefits.

Finances see satisfactory for you in year 2010. Sometimes, you feel that the results will not as per your hard work but it is advisable to keep on working with complete devotion. Any change in work profile is seen beneficial during May 2010 to September 2010. If you have any debts or loans on your head, this year will help you in finish most of them. You need to go for wise decisions and must re-examine your budget. 

Travel Horoscope Taurus 2010

Saturn is having the lordship of ninth house and its placement is seen well in fifth house and promising better travels for Taurus born. Students who are planning for a student Visa will sure find good results. The months from February-April and during November 2010 till December 2010 are showing better enjoyable trips for you if you plan them with family members. Professional involved in traveling business or whose job demand heavy traveling will receive chances to make income or other profits with increase in their name, fame during these journeys. 


This is an excellent period for you and monetary gain is on the cards. There will be gain from women and favors from superiors. As far as money matter is considered it is a fruitful period, especially first quarter of 2010. However, you should avoid stretching your luck too far. There could be some cash crunch due to your locking money in various channels in third quarter of 2010. New investments & risks should be totally avoided during this time. There could be hurdles & hassles in this period. This period could also see progress in financial matters, but only if you work hard and keep a long term & stoic attitude. There would not be any shortcut to success. Partnerships are good for you this year, in both the professional and personal sphere. You may purchase precious metals, gems and jewelry this year. There could be chances of getting money unexpectedly in last quarter of 2010, but needless to say expenses will be very high.

Go for attempts in your career life as the success is assured in 2010. Gain of material things is also indicated. Your enemies will not be able to plunk before you. Your desired will be fulfilled during this period. You will come out as a winner in your career. You will be able to carry out your responsibilities and maintain the same closeness with your juniors and seniors. Communications and negotiations will click for you and bring in new opportunities. If in a job, the year will begin very aggressively .There will be dynamism & growth for you in 2010. There will be frequent travels especially in second quarter of 2010 regarding business/job etc. Though, third quarter of 2010 will not be favorable for you. Job matters will remain mostly below average and not entirel
y satisfactory. Work environment will remain disturbed and under pressure during this period. Risk taking tendencies should be curbed totally. You should avoid major activity during this period. If working as a professional, this period will experience hurdles and some challenges. There will be uncertainty and some confusion. You will lack full support from your own people. Possibility of some legal action against you is also there. So try to be extra careful in third quarter of the year.

2010 will prove to be an important year in the life of Taurus. January to July is a growing period and you will be getting many fruitful opportunities during this period.

Good time to make new friends and be into relationship, if you are single. But if you are married than be cautious as there are some problems likely to occur which will effect your relationship. Family problems will disturb you but with your sincerity you will overcome those problems very easily. Some health problems may occur so take care of that. Money loss will bother you in 2010 so control your expenses.


In year 2010, you will benefit through friends both financially and emotionally. You are likely to be optimistic in whatever you do and will be successful in your social and financial endeavors. There might be unusual health problems, frustration at work and face dilemma in duties and responsibilities. But all is well that ends well. Read more below.

Love is in the air, in form of affairs, marriages, partnerships, friendships and arrival of new members in family and social circles. There will be socializing and fraternizing leading you to get contacts and contracts and hence extra sources of income. You must learn to keep your egos aside and let relationships flourish smoothly and easily. You’ll have support of friends and loved ones at the time you need them most, in fact they’ll help you in achieving your dreams and hopes. For the most part you enjoy weaving and dreaming a bright future and even accomplishing the impossible will become possible. Others tend to seek your invaluable advice and help. You could find yourself being more involved with friends or in your social circles. As a result, returns from your business or profession are likely to have a boost.

At the same time, your work/job/profession might have become highly demanding and conflicting with your personal goals. Or it may happen that, you may not be able to serve well the people you are responsible to. So there is a possibility of mental stress and health problems. You need to draw the lines, what’s more important and to what extent. Keep your cool and you’ll get what you deserve, unnecessary hurry and hard work would lead you to trouble. Because things you may have been ignoring previously now come up for inspection. You’ll find yourself busy answering questions like how can I live a balanced lifestyle and make better use of my time. You may have to take extra care of your body and health and may pay a few visits to a doctor or a spiritual healer. There is also a possibility that all of this related to a family member/friend and affects you indirectly. However, this year you’ll be able to accomplish significantly at your work and emerge out as a winner. That’s more important.

So to sum it up, dream big this year and you’ll have support of friends and relatives. The way to go about it is by enlisting the support and loyalty of all those around you. Also, you must try to get the backing of powerful and influential people. Work may be demanding but nothing to worry about, just give your b

Oh, finally, my new year resolution is:
–  Stick to BOY budget plan
–  Finish writing my 1001 to do list (digital and writing version)
–  Invest more (forex, stock n share…)
–  Travel more
–  Have a laptop
–  lose weight
Happy new year – Happy new me!



2 movies in a row

Sau khi coi lien tuc 2 phim: Christmas Carol voi 2012, rut ra:
1. da lau roi khong cam toi cuon sach, phai doc sach, sach van hoc nhiu vao de nuoi duong tam hon. hix. bay lau nay toan choi net voi game, minh da bien thanh cai may hoi nao khong hay. Gio nuoi duong lai thoi, xuc dong toi rot nuoc mat khi xem phim nhung tinh cam do la can thiet cho cuoc song. Suy ra, nen khoc nhiu, nen nhay cam hon chut nua.
2. Cuoc song von rat ngan ngui, nen:
– Di nhieu hon, thay nhieu hon, cam nhieu hon, keo mot ngay co muon cham vo nhung vat than thuoc cung khong duoc.
– Noi nao co nguoi minh thuong, co gia dinh minh, noi do chinh la nha.
– Wan tam cham soc moi nguoi xung wanh minh bat dau tu bi gio, ngay hom nay, vi co khi se khong con co co hoi nua.
—> quyet dinh di Europe next year

such a roller-coaster day!

It’s raining cats and dogs outside.  I’m here talking with my journal.  What a loser I am! haha

1.  This is the first time I’ve got upset with Linh.  I don’t satisfy with her attitude at work. I’m not her friend, not her collegue, I’m her boss.  All orders I gave must be followed at the time, with the people, with the manner as I said. It’s not a joke.  I was very angry when shouting at her.  At the end of the day,  she knocked at my room and give me a small present to apology.  I hope that she understand, and from now on, I won’t be so easy with my employees anymore.  

2.  Many people in my company don’t like me.  There are many gossips about me.  They talked that I worked as if I didn’t need money (hell, yeah…),  that I had a light piece of work with high salary , that  my salary must be high so my lifestyle, my spending was generous.  what the hell! At first,  when I gave the accountant my eating-out bills to help the company get the repay tax at the end of year, I didn’t think it would be the topic for them to discuss about where I ate, with what price, how  I could spend that money just for lunch frequently.  Hey hey,  that’s my money.  I spend it the way I want. That’s my life.  I live it the way I want.   you got it?  From now on,  my kindness, my dumbness is over.  They tried to get my boss shout at me, but it didn’t work haha…Lucky me.

3.  Dung gave me some advice that made me thinking alot.  I was so wrong.  He encourages me to start over.  thank him.

4.  Nguyen is so selfish.  He just wants me to listen to his blues.  He can be blue all day all night all month all year.  When I am happy, I don’t dare to share with him.  When I am blue, I don’t dare to tell him, either.  I just want him to listen to me, not to  judge me or tell me what to do.  Maybe I will try to do this to him first.

5.  Duong.  You made me disappointed.