If there was a name for the pinnacle of love in today's modern society, it would be #relationshipgoals. And if there is one couple who truly embodies this achievement, it is food blogger and entrepreneur June Quan and her fiancé, Dan Tran. Her newly-engaged perspective represents the hope and excitement of this important life stage in its purest form, perhaps because she and her fiancé are true partners in every sense of the word (they own three food businesses together). But June and Dan's commitment to putting their love first is something to admire.
As the proud faces behind three thriving businesses serving up quality ingredients — Shrimp Daddy (which serves Hawaiian-style garlic butter shrimp), Chichi Dango (which offers Hawaiian-style shaved ice with mochi), and Young Bud (a line of colorful and delicious rainbow matcha beverages) — June and Dan can't wait to enter the ultimate partnership: marriage. As she prepares for this monumental new stage in life, June's sharing six of the most important lessons she's learned about going from "me" to "we" in business and in life.
If an intangible "I just know" type of feeling helped June realize that Dan was the one, it was his thoughtful, thorough, meticulous planning that solidified her realization. Dan's proposal to June could go down in history as one of the best planned. He coordinated a surprise proposal six months in advance under the guise of her 30th birthday party in Sonoma, California, and "he did all his homework on who to invite," June says. "Every person that I had mentioned in the past three and a half years, he looked them up and he was able to reach them."
"He made a toast for my birthday, and it turned into a proposal!" June recalls with glee. "So he surprised me, and it was amazing because it was in front of everybody that I loved, and so essentially it was my engagement party, too." Afterwards, Dan had everyone relocate to a bar for a 1920s-themed party to say goodbye to June's 20s. He even planned out her flapper outfit ahead of time with her best friend.
It's often said that how a man proposes will say a lot about the marriage, and if that is true, then June and Dan are in for a very romantic, thoughtful, and well-organized marriage. As for the wedding planning — you guessed it — Dan's got this. "He was like, 'You know what, don't worry about it. I'll handle the wedding planning.'" And that's how the definition of "keeper" came to be.
Most couples say they put their relationship before anything else, but actually practicing it is far more difficult, especially when you're jointly overseeing your growing empire and running additional businesses separately (June has a food blog called Stir and Style and Dan is a personal trainer). But if June and Dan have just one rule they adhere to unequivocally, it's putting their relationship first. "You can't put business before the relationship or else everything is going to fall apart," she says.
She believes in this credo so much that she would not hesitate to halt operation on any or all of her businesses if her partner was unhappy. "If business is getting in the way of our personal lives," she says matter-of-factly, "we put the business aside."
So how do a pair of self-starting entrepreneurs make the time to actually enjoy each other's company? No matter how busy they are, they make sure to slow down, connect on what needs to get done for the day, and savor a moment together in the morning with a cup of delicious coffee. Now June and Dan can enjoy coffee house taste at home with a Keurig® coffee maker. "A Keurig® coffee maker is so easy for us. When we got it, it was a game changer." Now that they can't go without it, they're recommending all their engaged friends put one on their registries. The big selling point: having access to a variety of bold and delicious coffee means everyone gets the perfect cup they love in under a minute.
That extra time together in the morning is crucial for the couple. June explains, "Whether we have the actual time to sit down and drink coffee or whether we're putting it in our to-go thermoses, it's that time that we're focused on each other and the thought of coffee that really helps us to take a moment to slow down from our crazy day that's about to happen."
Although the two are pretty seamlessly aligned when it comes to values and life goals, there is one area in which they sometimes butt heads. "We both love food," June says. "My cravings are always Asian food. For him, it's burgers and pizza." They've learned how to keep each other happy. "He'll always go with what I want to eat, but I want to make him happy too, so we'll do both." They both have a mutual love of Mexican food, which often settles the debate for them. Quality ingredients and flavors are also a must. Luckily, when it comes to coffee, the couple never has to compromise because their Keurig® coffee maker offers them a broad variety of options to each have their coffee the way they like it.
Perhaps the greatest lesson one can learn about love is that it is impossible to predict. The way June met her fiancé is a prime example. "We actually met at the club," she recalls with a laugh. "I never thought I'd find anyone at the club. He asked for my number, and I was like, 'Whatever, sure.' And then he basically swept me off my feet."
Much to her surprise, their seemingly fleeting club romance blossomed into a full-blown relationship. She quickly realized that this wasn't going to be just another boyfriend. "I think once we met and dated for a short while, it was already very apparent that we had met for a reason and that we were going to be together forever." The couple has now been together for three and a half years.
Certain work obligations have prevented June from savoring every last second, but she's putting her foot down and saying, "I'm going to enjoy this time."
"When we got engaged, immediately the week after, we had a huge event — it was an event for 100,000 people," she recalls. "It was just go, go, go!" The two were so busy with work, constantly surrounded by their team, that it took them weeks to finally sit down together to watch their engagement video. At first she didn't even let herself ogle the sparkly new addition to her hand. "I didn't want to wear my brand-new ring to work with food." Eventually she decided to just keep it on and embrace the mess.
When it comes to doling out advice for other new brides-to-be, June plays it cool, emphasizing emotions over wedding planning. "I think that you should feel excited that you're going to spend the rest of your life with this person," she says. The spectrum of emotions coursing through her every day mostly fall within the exhilarated and elated range. Her last words of advice for anyone preparing for the milestone of marriage: "Just be thankful and excited and feel privileged for finding that one person to embark on this journey with. Just to have that one person in the world." Like I said, #relationshipgoals.
There are important achievements, and then there's motherhood, arguably the most important job in the world. Actress Daniella Rabbani understands this so well that she's not afraid to use terms like "miracle" and "magic" when describing her 6-month-old son, Ness, but somehow it doesn't sound at all cheesy coming from her. When Daniella gushes about motherhood, it makes you want to fist-pump and say, "Yes!" And with the help of her Keurig® K250 coffee maker, Daniella is able to get through the first few months of motherhood and stay as witty, hilarious, and charismatic as she's always been, even while juggling her busy career.
That's what makes Daniella the perfect person to dish out important mom tips, from savvy life hacks to other nuggets of wisdom that will simultaneously give you the chills and the giggles. Here are her most invaluable lessons that will help make your motherhood experience as fun as hers.
Oftentimes, one of the first things to go out the window after a baby enters the picture is alone time. Even before welcoming Ness into her life, Daniella was constantly surrounded by people, but now that she's responsible for another human, it's even rarer for her to have personal time. So sometimes you just have to enforce it.
Daniella's Keurig® coffee maker helps her take full advantage of "me time." "To me there's nothing better than a delicious cup of coffee in the morning, because it's just a reminder that I'm an adult, that I count, that it's time to greet the day," she says. That's why she cherishes her daily routine of sitting down with her perfect cup of coffee and savoring not only the delicious flavor, but also the peace and solitude. For someone who didn't even drink coffee prior to having a baby, Daniella can't imagine going without her Keurig® coffee maker now. It's one of the few things she can't live without.
Prior to giving birth to Ness, Daniella relied on her agents and manager to help facilitate her thriving career (she's appeared in a hot TV series and her short film is currently making the festival rounds). "I'm doing my best, but I have to give it up to my team and all the folks who worked with me pre-baby," she says. "People are so understanding and helpful."
Now that she's a mom, Daniella's village has grown slightly larger, and she tag-teams parenting responsibilities with her husband. "He's so awesome with Ness." She says he takes the early shift because Daniella is "so not a morning person" and takes over again after work. But that's not all. "On weekends, he's super hands-on, and I get to recharge: sleep, work out, see friends, pamper myself, and hang out with my favorite people — my family — while my husband fixes bottles, puts Ness down for naps, and preps bath time." She also reaches out to friends and family members like her mom when she needs a hand, and suggests other new moms do the same.
When asked how she juggles motherhood with her career, Daniella says, "Clumsily." Like any working mom, doing both often feels like navigating foreign lands with no compass and newly added weight on your back (or front, depending on your preference of baby carrier). That's why it's crucial to learn those tips and tricks that can help you save time and energy so you don't lose your way . . . or sanity.
Keeping yourself looking glam and put-together is not usually what you think about as a new mom, but Daniella has a clever suggestion: she treats her local nail salon like a one-stop shop. "The nail salon down the block from me is open until 10 p.m., which gives me plenty of time after the hubs comes home to get a mani-pedi and a 10-minute massage, maybe a wax. Hey, they do facials, too."
Here's another obvious but often overlooked tip for new moms: ask for a hand when needed. "I have steps leading up to my apartment," Daniella explains. "It's hard to get the stroller up and down, so I just wait for someone to pass by and ask for help. Mamas don't have to do it alone."
Sometimes, amid the diaper changes and stroller pushing, parents can forget how much they can learn from their little one. In fact, Daniella says the most surprising thing about being a mom for her is gaining a new perspective through her son. "[I feel lucky] to be able to experience life through this new lens, both his and mine."
It's refreshing when parents treat their babies like the sentient beings that they are. Daniella tries to allow Ness to feel his natural feelings, good or bad, uninterrupted. "When I do this, it's like magic," she says. "His feelings, like a wave, swell and then crash into the ocean as if they were never there." It's a poignantly beautiful way to describe letting your baby just be himself. "I love tapping into this compassion I feel."
In return, baby Ness has completely redefined life for Daniella, in the best way possible. "Everything has changed," she says. "My world view, my body, my day-to-day. Every moment is consumed with doing the little dude right while balancing my own soul's calling."
So how has she figured it all out? "No one has the answer. I don’t have the answer," she confesses. Daniella says it's OK to feel that way about the humbling experience of parenthood. "If you, as a new mom, feel totally daunted by caring for this fragile, tiny, sweet baby, the secret is that we all feel that way."
When asked what advice Daniella would give, she offers some similar wisdom: "Keep an open mind." She elaborates, "I think it's fantastic to educate yourself and plan for your ideal birth plan, have a plan for when you'll go back to work. But consider this: you've never met this person. You have no idea how they'll impact your life. And all that matters is that they're healthy and happy. Back at work in three months? Bam! In fighting shape by six weeks postpartum? Oh, yeah! But if not, that's cool, too."
At the end of the day, every woman will have a different pregnancy and motherhood experience; there is no one prescribed method or process. To anyone who has ever been told to do things a certain way, Daniella says, "Please, please, please shut out the noise and enjoy your heart being cracked open by the tiny miracle you made." But don't forget that that miracle took two. "[Also] enjoy the miracle site that is your body," she reminds us. "Holy moly — it's incredible!"
Your home is your haven — Noa Santos believes this should be the case for everyone, even if they're not aware it's achievable. That's why the interior designer launched Homepolish, an interior design startup that connects the average dweller with hundreds of designers, offering hourly services at attainable prices. The monumental step of home ownership often leads new homeowners to engage in Homepolish's services. Firm in his belief that quality home decor shouldn't be reserved for the one percent, Noa shares nine priceless design tips for new homeowners with POPSUGAR.
When talking to Noa about interior design, he will keep returning to one non-negotiable notion: design is like a muscle that you need to constantly exercise, and you want to flex it when it counts. "The way we like to think of design is it's not project-based," Noa explained. "It doesn't begin and end discretely. It's an on-going conversation so your space constantly feels like it reflects your priorities, where you are in life, what's important to you, your aesthetic." That means even if you're still on the hunt for your dream home, you can start that design conversation in whatever space you're currently in, even if it's a rental with roommates or a tree house. And if you've already purchased your dream home, start flexing that design muscle the minute you move in.
Perhaps the reason so many people put off interior decorating is because it can feel like a daunting task. To this, Noa says, "You're going to make mistakes." It's pretty much inevitable. But the important thing is "accepting that that's part of the process."
Noa always makes sure to include a piece of advice that extends far beyond home decor. Part of living comfortably, he reminds us, is actually enjoying your life. This generation in particular has realized that "time is worth more than money," Noa points out. "You want to curate your life in such a way that you're spending your time doing exactly what you want to do," he says. "And having items like a Keurig® coffee maker in your home helps you do that." Making coffee with his Keurig® coffee maker allows Noa to enjoy coffee-shop quality at home with the press of a button.
Not to mention, if you want to tackle the maelstrom of tasks ahead of you, you've got to start your day off right. Praising his cup of coffee in design terms, Noa says, "Just like you want to wake up in the right sheets on the right bed with the right pillows and slip on the right bathrobe, having a great cup of coffee in the morning is a pretty important part of a daily routine."
According to Noa, it's perfectly fine to heed frugality while you're in your experimentation phase and filling your dorm room with build-it-yourself furniture. However, when you enter that very official stage of life that comes with very official titles — an abode that's yours and yours alone, with rent checks that are now mortgage payments — that's when you may want to enlist a professional to save you money and grief in the end.
"A lot of people try to save on the services, on the advice side of home design," Noa says. "[They] end up making much more costly mistakes when it comes to specifying what materials or finishes they want to use in their home." Are you trying to remodel your kitchen yourself? Do you have an aesthetic in mind you can't quite articulate or piece together? A professional can help with the big changes and important decisions to make your house a home.
Hiring professional services is especially important when it comes to reflecting two people's tastes. Noa has been living with his longtime boyfriend — now fiancé — Ross Matsubara, Vice President and Style Director at Nike Communications, Inc., for six years, and he still enlisted extra help to decorate their New York City apartment. Why? Because when it comes to reconciling two people's very disparate tastes, having a third party to mediate is key. "It's like when you need a marriage counselor: don't do it yourself," Noa says. "It's worth spending the money."
Alternatively? "Stay single!" Noa jokes. "Live alone!"
So what upgrades will your interior designer tell you to make that won't crush your budget? If he were Noa, he'd tell you to start with lighting. It's a design element that some may never even consider, but it just so happens to be one of the most pressing.
"I think about lighting just as you would the finish of a floor or the placement of walls," Noa says. "It's something that should be considered pretty early on in a space."
But that's not the only reason he emphasizes lighting so much. Not only will lighting completely transform your space, but it's also cost-effective, giving you copious bang for your buck. "Put all your lights on dimmers," he suggests. "That's a pretty inexpensive change and definitely adds a lot of functional flexibility to a space."
It may seem like a small change, but lighting is one of those design elements that goes unnoticed when it's done well but is very, shall we say, glaring when it's done poorly. "A bad light can ruin a good space pretty easily and make everybody else in the space feel bad."
But lighting isn't Noa's only hack for creating a beautiful space. If there's one object that he could put — and does put — in every client's home, it's a bar cart. "It literally goes with everything," Noa says. He even recommends bar carts for clients who don't drink; he'll just adorn it with something else. You can even try setting one up with your coffee maker!
"Bar carts are interesting because it's not something that pops up on people's must-have lists," Noa says. That means they're still unique enough in and of themselves, but they're also great canvases for personalizing. "Even if you repurpose it as an end table or whatever, just having that is a nice little piece that sets [you] apart."
Most interior design neophytes might imagine the process of hiring a decorator to go something like this: the decorator takes a look at your space, makes a mental checklist, goes out to make purchases, and comes back to fill every nook and cranny with objects that may or may not fit your taste (but she's the expert, so who are you to object?).
Noa bucks this old-school method of interior decorating completely. "The aesthetics of a space should be secondary," Noa asserts. "Good design is a matter of function and form, and if you just have one or the other, it doesn't work." He begins the design process by having his clients ask, "What function do I want my space to provide for me and my life?"
For example, if the couple includes a budding chef who loves throwing dinner parties, their space should accommodate a sizeable dining table. If they plan to have regular overnight guests, then he'll create a second sleeping area. "Don't craft your shopping list, whether it's furniture or decor or whatnot, without that fundamental question being answered first."
Another tenet Noa firmly adheres to is choosing pieces not based on aesthetic or monetary value, but on personal value. "As you grow and change and your living situations change, swapping things out for things you really love — things with significance — I think that is an important part of design."
Though home design is about individuality, when it comes to creating a haven, there are some objects every homeowner should invest in. "Buy a good sofa," he says. More specifically, he recommends buying a well-upholstered one. "Upholstery is one of the things you don't really want to skimp on." There are furniture pieces that you could pick up off the side of the street and no one would be the wiser, but the sofa is where people gather to park, and a poor-quality one will not go unnoticed. "You can feel it in the springs, in the filling, in the fabric," Noa says.
On the other hand, Noa is not ashamed to admit that he still has a cabinet he purchased from a DIY furniture store years ago. "Knowing where to high-low is a really important piece of making an interior feel expensive, but it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive."
Most people might consider a flat screen or a microwave to be a home essential, but for Noa, it's something much more organic. When asked what essential every homeowner should have, he said, "Something living." No, he doesn’t mean everyone should run out and adopt a cat immediately; plants can get the job done just fine. "I think living elements just warm up a space," he says. "It gives the space more personality." For him, the simple addition of a few plants around his office has helped to remind him to slow down throughout the day. "To me, it's a point of slowing down in a city that moves so fast."
Photographer: Jane Kim
Stylist: Mary Kate Steinmiller
Hair and Makeup: Carrie LaMarca
Art Direction: Lindsey Bissing
Prop Styling: Anna Lemi
Food Styling for Noah: Maria del Mar
Food Styling for Daniella and June: Julia Choi
Production: Sasha Bar-Tur