March 29, 2013 2

open your golden gates

By Jenn Wong in photography



one of my favourite things about living in san francisco is going past the golden gates and out into the surrounding areas. we’ve had tons of family in town and venturing out on little journeys. <3

February 26, 2013 0

let’s dap together.

By Jenn Wong in san francisco


spent some time yesterday with my dear friends (and ex-colleagues) nick & jon, so fun! they are ad industry creative giants and always so nice to get their ridiculous perspective on things. i also learned from jon about “dapping”, the strangest term for the strangest thing.

also stopped by a zaarly event last night and ran into my wedding coordinator slash DIY girl extraordinaire, kiersten!. definitely recommend hitting up their next event, check their page for more details, so much cute stuff in one cute space.

am i getting better at blogging yet? dear diary, i hope you’re well!

February 25, 2013 0

a big book dump!

By Jenn Wong in books of 2013

i’ve been reading, even though i haven’t been posting! a big book dump, a couple sentences each for my own remembrance. still loving the san francisco library system, most weeks i look at the nytimes book section and put in my selections. some of these (most of these) books were just taken off shelves in the library though, a case of me judging by the cover.

people who eat darkness – richard lloyd parry:
richard lloyd parry is the asia editor of the times, based in tokyo and i guess, very obsessed with the murder of lucie blackman, a british girl who moved to tokyo and became a cocktail hostess. this book would have been much better as a long form story in the times magazine – it’s readable and somewhat interesting but it’s also nearly 400 pages. i read this while sitting vigil for my grandmother in vancouver, a rather grisly read, especially when you’re in a hospital. poor lucie blackman.

invisible monsters (remix) – chuck palahniuk:
i do really enjoy mr. palahniuk, his books are always so thrilling and fast paced. this is a new edition of “invisible monsters”, a director’s cut if you will. i read the original years ago and loved it, the new format of choose-your-own-adventure, read by looking through a mirror (annoying) – a bit gimmicky for my taste, i think the editors of the first edition had it right in this case.

scenes from early life – philip hensher:
a beautiful story about bangladesh and pakistan. i liked the cover and checked out the book without reading any reviews or synopsis and am so pleased that i did. the story is wonderful and well told – you’re given snippets of a story that focus into a whole as the book progresses. the new york times had nice things to say as well – just looked up the book and realized it was only released a few weeks ago. would very much recommend, i have read so few stories about bengali families outside of india – this book is touted as the “midnight’s children” of bangladesh, which i feel is a bit lofty. it’s a rich story and fits in nicely on the shelf with the orhan pamuk and thrity umrigar’s of our world.
(ps – speaking of midnight’s children – did you know there’s a film version? not sure how i missed this, but it’s playing at CAAMfest and we’ve got our tickets all ready to go. salman rushdie is a producer, oh man i hope it’s not awful).

runaway girl // escaping the streets – carissa phelps:
a very gritty, tell all memoir about a street girl who blossoms into an MBA-earning lawyer. it was fine, not particularly well written, pretty much everything you would expect from an underdog against all odds memoir. i also randomly pulled this off the shelves of the library, a few pages in i realized i had heard an NPR story about carissa last year, which made the book a bit more interesting? blerggh.

you are the love of my life – susan richards shreve:
suburban white woman chick-lit, a secret once-in-a-while guilty pleasure of mine. not a particularly interesting or compelling story but there are probably loads of women on goodreads.com that love it. another blergh!

all we know: three lives – lisa cohen:
finally something i’m not embarrassed to blog about. i listened to an all things considered interview with lisa cohen, which lead me to reading this book. really really fabulous – would have liked to know more about the connections between the women but it’s really beside the point. really great profiles of three very interesting women living in a very interesting time. recommend!

whew!

February 25, 2013 0

zhongguo wo ai ni!

By Jenn Wong in san francisco




china reunion dinner party at our place on washington’s birthday – all of us (minus b-ma) so completely happy about being back in ahhhmerica and not dodging firecrackers back in shanghai. karaoke adventures and silly antics. when we got home, we found my neighbour outside and locked out. i was unceremoniously hoisted through an open window and mission impossible’d my way into the apartment. we are good neighbours!

have been doing so much socializing lately – my introvert is battling my extrovert and it sure has been fun. san francisco, i’m loving being inside of you! xx

February 14, 2013 1

#ALLEYESONUS

By Jenn Wong in uncategorized


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SOMEBODY requested non-book updates, and since he’s probably one of the four people that read this, voila! three things since moving to san francisco:
001. we have an awesome roofdeck
002. giants won the world series!
003. halloweenxwedding = <3<3<3<3

ps more book blogging’ comin’ up tomorrow, have been reading up a storm + happy valentine’s day to the san francisco public library system!

February 7, 2013 1

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

By Jenn Wong in books of 2013

finally finished this beautiful, juicy, wonderful book. probably my favourite so far of 2013, i am such a huge fan of mrs. julia child and filled with so much love for her and her incredible life. bob spitz has really covered a ton of ground in this biography – from her early, aimless life around the globe to meeting paul child and slowly but surely, becoming the whirlwind force of life that she eventually was known for around the world. the story is sweet and sad, and bob spitz puts a lot of time into covering the relationship between paul and julia, a wonderful love story that wasn’t perfect and pushed both of them to be the people they needed to be, sometimes at the sacrifice of one or the other. it’s a very reassuring story, too – how the cookbooks she became so famous for could very well never have happened, how there were so many failures, so much questioning about what it is she wanted out of her life – so nice to see the human, insecure, real side of the giants of this world. as julia ages, the story becomes heartbreaking – you know the end is near and that paul is just so old, so lost. i would highly highly recommend this, even if you’re not into cooking and you have no interest in julia, it’s a fantastic american fairy tale full of successes and failures and stops and starts.

also – i spent alot of last year reading about julia child, there is so much material out there, not to mention wedding gifts of many of her lovely cookbooks. i would also really recommend the book of letters recently published (as always, julia), something that i always very much am impressed by is the volume of letters that people used to write to each other – long, beautiful stories sent across the country or just down the street about daily life. with all of the techno clutter we have in our lives, it’s sometimes nice to sit down and write a note to someone, i’m thankful to have a couple people in my life who i correspond with regularly in print (or more likely, via email) – there is something so wonderful about opening your inbox and seeing a long letter from someone, something that’s not a request or question, just an update on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. bon app├ętit and happy reading!

January 20, 2013 0

The Snow Child // The Light Between Oceans

By Jenn Wong in books of 2013

while out of town, i finished reading the snow child by eowyn ivey and the light between oceans by ml stedman. i think the san francisco library system is playing tricks on me and releasing my holds based on book type – last time it was the book about the queen and the the book about jackie o, this time it is two books about childless couples desperate to be parents.

both were beautifully written, the light between oceans is based on a lighthouse in australia, the setting sounded similar to what i imagine the very eastern part of canada to be like – desolate, lonely and all the way at the end of the world. the snow child is based in alaska in the 1920s, a couple pioneering out in the wild. we have been watching with great interest the documentaries of dick proenneke, a man who left civilization and moved to untouched alaska, where he lived for thirty years completely off the grid and off the land, to the extend of building his own cabin with materials found in the area. i suppose i’m too social by nature to ever consider going off the reservation, but books about people living in such isolation always move me and impress me, growing your own vegetables, hunting and fishing game, living a simple life that is kept busy because there is so much to do to keep yourself alive.

having no children of my own and no immediate wish to have any, the story lines of the two books were touching and wonderful and understandable but probably would be more meaningful if i was desperately kicking against a ticking biological clock. still, both are easy reads and definite page turners, i would highly recommend!

ps some photos above from our trip to hawaii. we stayed in kona and swam and snorkeled and ate our way through four nights of heated bliss. it was a bittersweet trip, my sister and her boyfriend were originally supposed to come with us but had to cancel at (literally) the last minute, we had the service for my grandmother the day before, everything felt topsy turvy but at least being in the sun helped. we landed back in chilly san francisco this morning at 5am and i’m still feeling like a bit of a zombie. 2013, you have been very difficult so far, please shape up.

January 18, 2013 0

RIP Young Il Lee, February 23 1928 – January 12, 2013

By Jenn Wong in uncategorized

Young Il Lee of Edmonton, Alberta, passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 12th, 2013. The fourth of seven children, Mrs. Lee was born on February 23rd, 1928 in Pyongyang, Korea and during the Korean War, moved to Seoul. In 1974, she immigrated with her late husband, Mr. Soon Ku Lee and their four children to Edmonton, Alberta. Later in life, she moved to Surrey, British Columbia and was an active member of the Korean Central Presbyterian Church and the Amenida Seniors Community. She will be remembered for her kindness, sense of humour, love of food and devotion to her family.

She is survived by her four children and their spouses – Jay (Rosa) Lee of Seoul, Angela (Dick) Lee of Edmonton, Paul (Ann) Lee of Seoul, and Brent (Jennie) Lee of Calgary, as well as her six grandchildren and their spouses, Christina (Brian), Byron, Jennifer (John) and Jason Wong, Alex and Andrew Lee and her great-grandson, Kai Wong.

Donations in her name can be made to The Great Commission Foundation via their website. The family wishes to thank the Amenida Seniors Community and St. Paul’s Hospital Vancouver for their kindness and care in Mrs. Lee’s final days.

January 8, 2013 1

ELIZABETH THE QUEEN / The Life of a Modern Monarch

By Jenn Wong in books of 2013

i swear that my usual reading list does not regularly include tedious bios of aristocratic women, it’s just how the library holds list has worked out! i only got about 3/4ths of the way through this book and couldn’t bear to read anymore. well interesting to anyone with deep fascination with the royal family, and actually quite interesting to track the history of the government throughout her reign, just not quite, as the british would say, my cup of tea. wish that the author would have spent more time on the nitty gritty of parliament and decisions made and less on endless accounts of horse breeding and races.

still, as part of my resolution for 2013, here i am, dutifully committing my thoughts to blog. actually, the timing of this post is quite relevant, i spent the entire bulk of the last weekend obsessively watching all THREE seasons of downton abbey, including the behind the scenes documentary and both christmas specials. i know it’s now airing on PBS but does america not realize it’s already out on the internet? i am not condoning any illegal behaviour and i promise to add PBS to my donation cause list this year, i just couldn’t resist and i simply don’t understand how anyone else could either. after i finished downton, i started re-watching season one of GIRLS to prepare for season two, i would not recommend doing this as the whole premise of the show will seem highly ridiculous after the elegance, pomp & circumstance and restrained, proper joy of downton abbey!

ps on a more personal note, things are good and things are sad. my grandmother is very ill, i am making another trip to vancouver this afternoon to see her, hopefully before she passes. we are due to fly to hawaii on the 12th for a week of fun & sun, however i’m not so sure how realistic that will be anymore. hug your family really close, gather them round and tell them you love them, tell them your secrets and tell them all the things you wish they knew about you. see you in a few weeks!

next up:
the snow child by eowyn ivey
the light between oceans by ml stedman

January 3, 2013 0

mrs kennedy & me // happy 2013!

By Jenn Wong in books of 2013

one of my resolutions this year is to start blogging again – i don’t have anything to say and i am saying it regularly! other resolutions are the same as yours – eat better (#paleo), travel more, be a better friend. hopefully the blogging resolution will push me to find more interesting things, have more interesting experiences, be more engaged, have more to say. if it didn’t happen on the internet, it didn’t happen!

just before christmas, john and i finally joined the san francisco public library. there is a branch right down the street from our apartment and ordering books has been a breeze. a few days ago, i made a list of 20 or so books i wanted to read, requested them online and easy as pie, when the books come in, i walk the block and pick them up. the first book that came in was the admittedly guilty pleasure read of mrs kennedy & me by former CIA agent clint hill. during jacqueline kennedy’s time at the white house, clint hill was her agent in charge, and during the assassination of john f. kennedy, he famously jumped onto the back of the presidents car in an effort to shield the couple from gunfire.

the book is an easy read, clint hill is not a strong writer but he tells his story in a way reminiscent of your grandfather talking about the one that got away. there are no scandalous stories and the book is filled with touching anecdotes, jacqueline kennedy floats through the pages in a whirl of visiting dignitaries and trips around the world. a very nice tribute to a very nice woman, the book dips a toe into the cuban missile crisis but generally stays away from anything concrete. there is genuine sadness and love within this book and a nice feeling that clint hill is an old man trying to tell his story to the world – no nastiness, no unkindness, just a story from a unique point of view. in our world of gossip and treachery, maybe this is a good thing? xoxo

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