Cheers to Napa!

Last week started off horribly with nightmarish apartment troubles and ended with such a bang as one of the best weekends of my life… in Napa Valley. The father of a friend of ours is a pretty big player in the food and beverage industry, so we got to stay in Silverado’s four-bedroom guesthouse, dine at the Franciscan (with our personal chef), and tour Opus One and taste their 2007 vintage — nobody could wipe the smiles off our faces all weekend. In addition, we also ate at Chandon’s restaurant Etoile, Top Chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, as well as Go Fish, which was present at Toast of the Town two weeks ago. We wrapped up our trip nicely by visiting my favorite sparkling wine maker, Mumm Napa. I acquired so many new corks (each one embodying a moment and memory) to add to my cork collection — Cheers! Continue reading

Myths: From the Rise of the “Model Minority” to the “American Decline”

In honor of Women’s History Month, I was invited to speak at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland last Friday about My Mom is a Fob. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s daughter, Lailan Huen, joined us as well as others from various backgrounds, so we had a great discussion about our cultural (and generational) similarities and differences growing up.As expected, Amy Chua’s name came up again, and a gentleman from the audience actually assigned me homework, namely to watch Charlie Rose’s interview with Amy Chua and read his lengthy commentary (written under the pseudonym “worldwatcher”). Here is my response organized into three overarching themes. Continue reading

Nisha & DV’s Vegas Wedding

I haven’t known DV and Nisha for long, but from the way my colleague, Steve (Best Man), and boyfriend, Ryan (groomsman), talk about them two, they seem perfect for each other. They both possess the playful presence to be the life of any party, and so they would have the American wedding in Vegas and they would have multiple weddings on two sides of the world. DV’s laughter can be heard across the room and his optimism exudes to all those around him, while Nisha’s cheerful good nature just bubbles up and overflows like sweet champagne. Despite the traditional hurdles they had to overcome, their persistence and love for one another prevailed, and so Vegas was quite the celebration. Cheers! Continue reading

Sarah & Lee’s Engagement

Sarah and I have been neighbors and best friends since sixth grade, and from all the heart-felt talks during walks home from school together, I’d say I know her type pretty well.All too soon, college separated us and communication simmered down to lengthy updates via email. The first few describing Lee surprised me. This guy races motorcycles, bangs on drums, and wants to fly jets for the Air Force? Then there were more stories about how Lee appointed his friends to set up a table for two with chocolates and wine at the beach on Valentine’s Day, how he managed to learn salsa just so Sarah wouldn’t dance with other partners, and eventually, the proposal atop the Eiffel Tower.When these two are together, they are full of joy and laughter, and despite the rainy weather in Santa Cruz, the smiles shone through and brightened up the atmosphere. Continue reading

A Weekend Getaway in Monterey!

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
400 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA, 93940

Despite the age of the building, this place truly values customer service. The first night, I made a passing comment about the extinguished lobby fireplace (“Aww…”), and a bell staff member overheard me and offered, “I can turn it back on for you if you’d like!” The second night, I ended up bringing a book downstairs to read next to the warm fireplace as a live performer serenaded us with hits from Stevie Wonder to John Mayer. Afterwards, I was craving some calamari (not listed on any of the resort menus) and room service offered to special order it for me late at night! Not the mention, the ocean view from this resort is drop-dead gorgeous. Easily 5 stars.

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My Mom is a Fob Events Recap!

2011 started off with a bang. After coming back from New York (for the book launch) and Vegas (for various conferences and a birthday), life never quite resumed to a normal pace… but sped off for some sort of marathon.

For starters, we’ve been interviewing potential hires for Bullet Media, and I’ve been catching up on work while receiving numerous requests for other freelance projects. For stressors, the media has been interviewing me non-stop for fob-related features online and in person — a KRON4 news segment live from Hayward, an NPR recording from Sports Byline’s studio in SF — and I’ve been running off to various back-to-back events (which I’m still very grateful for). Though the Listen to the Silence workshop at Stanford didn’t go quite as I had hoped it would (silent crowds!), the audience at Book Passage was really receptive and spurred some good discussions after the reading. Click through for photos and a short clip! Continue reading

A foreign accent is a sign of bravery

Only one week after our blog-turned-book, My Mom is a Fob, had come out, Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother took the world by storm, raising controversy and quickly scaling Amazon’s rankings to #1 — her favorite number. The day I had my book signing at Book Passage in San Francisco, she was addressing a crowd at Berkeley (no wonder the media was absent at my event).

The more I hear about Chua and tiger mothers, the less I want to comment on extreme Asian parenting being “right” or “wrong” (except I’ve actually read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother from cover-to-cover — and quite enjoyed it); and while many people have asked me to write a “rebuttal” post, I can’t help but draw numerous parallels between the two non-fiction books (both published by Penguin publishers). Both quote the ridiculous things Asian mothers say to their children; both demonstrate a clash of eastern values and western upbringing; both exhibit our parents’ obsessive compulsive tendencies for excellence and perfection; and despite the brutal honesty and bubbling pressure, both unveil the underlying love our parents feel towards us, through their endless sacrifices. Continue reading

Concrete Jungle Where Balls Drop

I truly enjoyed New York the last time I visited, but this trip was as stressful as getting to Times Square on New Year’s Eve in heels. We had to walk all the way up to Central Park and enter 7th Ave from there because all the horizontal streets were blocked off. Not to mention, we also paid exhorbitant amounts for hotels in Times Square, where everyday, I had to fend off the stand-up comedy club flyers and walk away from the smell of roasted peanuts and halal carts (mixed with trash bags piled on sidewalks — a post snowstorm nuisance). Continue reading

The Road to Hana

Being 1. prone to motion sickness and 2. acrophobic, I tried to keep my eyes closed although I couldn’t because we drove through tropical rain forests with papaya and mango trees and the occasional waterfall. From high altitudes, we caught glimpses of the untainted blue ocean and hidden beaches before ending up on multiple shores. Continue reading
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