January 23, 2011

Thanks for visiting.

Sometimes, it takes a visitor to get me up to the Met. With just twenty minutes before the museum closed, I paid a little visit for some tranquility at the Temple of Dendur.

July 03, 2010


My dad passed away four weeks ago. I haven't had the capacity to write, but my sisters have, and if you have ten minutes, I'd be so happy if you'd let me share their beautiful memories with you.

My favorite line of the three letters? From my third sister: "If Silvio and I can raise Lulu to love us half as much as we loved my father, we still win."

From my eldest sister, Kiki, read hers here: The Buttercream

leaving Orlando!


From Kelly:

Dad 1959Dear friends and family,

Just to let you know that my dearest Dad, Chuong Giu Hong, passed away peacefully last evening at 8:26 PM. We were all here with him and his passing was peaceful, quiet, and dignified, as he was in life. His last look was at my mother, Bach Tuyet, to whom he has been married for 42 happy years.

We are deeply saddened by his death, but so very grateful for his life. He was the best dad anyone could have ever had. He was gentle, kind, loving, generous, and very funny. I think it's a testament to the way he and my mom raised the 5 of us that we each felt ourselves especially loved, and the "favorite" in their eyes. My Dad was an immigrant to this country, and exemplified the American Dream. From being a Lieutenant Colonel in the Vietnamese army, liaising with the CIA during the Vietnam War to try to save his country, and eventually losing it, he was a cashier at our local Giant Food for 27 years. In that 27 years, he never took a single sick day or was late even once. It was hard physical labor and he never once complained. That is where our work ethic comes from. He and my mother provided a beautiful home for us, braces, college educations, and all the love we could have. Today we have them to thank for any professional or personal successes we as a family have achieved. He literally saved our lives 35 years ago when we fled Saigon and gave us new life in this wonderful country.

My Dad was also one of the wisest men I ever knew. My parents were living in Arlington VA not far from the Pentagon and I in NYC on September 11th. I called my parents to reassure them that I was well and I remember my father saying: "Con [child], sometimes you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. There's nothing you can do. You must live your life and never be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of." That was how he lived his life, and how I hope to live mine.

My Dad is one of the few people I know for certain who left this life with no regrets. He lived for his family, and provided well for them, and died knowing we were safe, happy, healthy, and there for each other.

In his loving memory, we go on.


and from Souris:

Dear family,

CHUONGThank you for your kind words. Your thoughts mean a great deal to me, Silvio, and our extended family. To my surprise, my eyes aren't sweating too badly and its mostly because my father passed exactly how he (and we) wanted.

At 77 years old, my father, Chuong Giu Hong changed cosmic addresses last night at 8:26 pm in the company of his family. Before taking his last breaths, he opened his eyes for the first time in days, looked intently at my mom, his wife of 42 years, closed his eyes and left peacefully. I told my mom it's because she is so beautiful he wanted one last look to take with him to the afterlife.

Our family arrived in America as war refugees in 1975. My parents, who lived a very privileged life in Viet Nam, had to start over with five kids (ranging from two months old to five years old) in a mostly foreign country. They worked hard for everything we had and made sure we worked hard right beside them. I remember being told, "If you can't do it with a smile, don't do it at all." When things appear seemingly impossible, all the Hong kids can STFU and just do it. Thank you, (mom and) dad for this ability we've all discovered is not-so-normal.

I feel especially fortunate to have been able to spend the last month with my dad in Florida. And with Lulu, no less. That said, I never felt far from my father since we checked in often. I am lucky to have been raised in a family that needed and wanted to know several times a week, "Hey daddy, what are you eating for dinner?" and then my dad would tell me and then I would lament my missing another fantastic mom-made-meal. We made the mundane, meaningful. Especially knowing that dad was on "borrowed time" -- something he sometimes reminded us of (since his father, who was born in 1888 passed in his early 60s).

In the past couple of weeks my dad was already preparing for his journey ahead. We talked about taking a cross country road trip (he loved traveling cross country, as do I, having done it three times already) and although in my heart I knew he was too fragile to physically hit the road, I walked him through all the different places we would visit together. Dad wanted to return to Arlington, Virginia where we were raised and to visit, Carmel and Monterey Bay, California and surprisingly to me, he wanted to visit Seattle, Washington again. He also wanted to return to his beloved Paris. Dad also told me he'd "drive through Texas". That made me laugh. I'm happy dad is now out and about continuing his adventures.

My father imparted a lot of wisdom to us over the years, always in a kind and non-obtrusive way. He was not religious but lived with principal and discipline. There are few people I've met with my father's integrity -- a trait I strongly admire. He was also loyal to the core. Sony, Charmin, and Bounty made a ton of money from him over the years!

Dad reminded us that money comes and goes, you can lose your country and never to see it again, and "family is everything" (the one you are born into and the one you make). He also warned me to be careful what you wish for, as he had once wished we would all someday, be educated in America (as all foreign bourgeoise desire) and while he got his wish, it wasn't exactly how he planned.

I'm grateful that I got to say everything I wanted to, to my father. And I'm even more grateful, he often told us he loved us. Although Lulu only got to know her grandfather for a year, this past month she made him smile a lot. He remarked she was so beautiful and funny and was happy to have her around squawking up a storm. Shortly after he passed, while she stood over him, Lulu waved frantically to him with a huge smile on her face. Just waving and waving and smiling and smiling. I'm certain she got a secret message. Maybe she'll share it with me someday.

If Silvio and I can raise Lulu to love us half as much as we loved my father, we still win.

I love you daddy. Bonne nuit, a demain (Good night, see you tomorrow in French -- the last thing my father said to us every night after he tucked us in and turned the lights off).



June 26, 2009

Kodak Moments

Mill House Day 3
Mill House, Day 2The Mill House
The mill house is one of my favorite quiet spots on earth. It sits by the river where I can hear the water rushing below me as I nap on the porch. My friends, the loving proprietors, come with it, making it all the more extraordinary.

As appraisers of music ephemera -- anything from a bust of Beethoven, centuries-old sheet music, harps, books, antiquities, etchings, and the correspondence of composers and conductors -- Gene and Marianne are two of the most fascinating friends I've ever known. They've got incredible funny stories, and a cool job.

During this particular weekend at the mill house, Gene sorted through the letters of Leopold Mannes: a composer as well as the co-inventor of Kodachrome -- by content into a music pile and a photography pile. The most interesting letter to me? The one by Eleanor Roosevelt.
Mill House Day 3The Mill House
The Mill House
Letter from Eleanor RooseveltLetter from Eleanor Roosevelt
Letter from Eleanor RooseveltSorting the letters of Leopold Mannes
The Mill House
The Mill HouseThe Mill HouseThe Mill HouseThe Mill HouseThe Mill House

April 06, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park
Visit Joshua Tree National Park if you haven't yet. You feel like you're on another planet. There's rock climbing, hiking, and all kinds of interesting things. Bring food and water, and you need at least a full day. Camp spots are available on site!

Joshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park

February 28, 2009

OCO Space Launch

I went to the launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, NASA's 1st environmental satellite. It was incredibly dramatic, exciting & sad!
www.spaceflightnow.com/taurus/oco/failure.html for the news on the launch.
Status reports to see the drama unfold here: www.spaceflightnow.com/taurus/oco/status.html

Photo album here (guest pass). I have a countdown video too, but haven't posted it yet. Here's a short video from just after launch.

January 08, 2009


I don't suppose I can even begin to describe how incredibly cool Egypt is, but I went DIVING IN THE RED SEA and jumped at the pyramids with the Grateful Dead's Danny R., toured Luxor with a private guide, rode a fellucca, and saw a whirling dervish for new years. About as cool as going to the gelato conference in Italy last year... Life freaks me out how good it is.

Album here.

Jump SakkaraIslamic Cairo
Temple of Karnak
Sunrise at the hotel in DahabTombs at SakkaraThe Pyramids in GizaAt Sakkara with DannyFellucca Ride on the Nile
New Year's Eve in CairoIslamic Cairo

December 17, 2008

Consumable Gifting

Homemade Marinade
As kids, we worked super hard for our parents every year at the Arlington County Fair -- for fourteen years -- selling fried rice, spring rolls, egg rolls, and our best selling grilled lemon chicken kabobs among other things. We were even photographed in 1982 in the Washington Post.

Since I've been on the road for a few years, this coveted consumable is really the best gift I could offer my friends and clients this winter. Friends have scrambled for them, I have many standing requests for the marinade, and I'm reminded by childhood friends just how complete our childhood memories are with our family meals as a part of their lives.

These were made with a lot of love, and in a rather direct way, shape who I am; my work ethic, and the gourmand in me.

Happy holidays everyone!

November 04, 2008

October 17, 2008

Export iPhoto Folders to Back Up Drive

About a month ago, I wrote a post about how to transfer your iPhoto albums while keeping your folders since iPhoto export options don't help. Now, I have an easier method.

• Do a FILE SEARCH on the name of any image file that is in your iPhoto, for example, "IMG_8321" or just "IMG_" or "jack.jpg". ***see note at bottom of post

• In the finder window, select the image. The full path in your iPhoto library appears at the bottom. In a regular finder window, iPhoto does not allow you to see your full path. If the full path does not show, go to FINDER > VIEW > SHOW FULL PATH

The folder path will be ...iPhotoLibrary > ORIGINALS > 2008 > ALBUM > FILENAME.JPG as seen in this screen capture.

There are also modified photos: ...iPhotoLibrary > MODIFIED > 2008 > ALBUM > FILENAME.JPG

• If you want your full, original library, you must choose the 2008 (or whatever year) folder in your ORIGINALS folder. If you want all of your originals and modified photos, follow through this process twice - first with originals, and again with modified (search for a vertical photo to pull up the MODIFIED folder). If you don't edit photos in iphoto, and don't care about rotation, you can ignore your modified folder.

export albums in iphoto

Double click 2008 (or whatever year) for the photos that you want to transfer. A new finder window opens with the albums in your iPhoto. Select your folders, and drag to an external hard drive or burn to DVD for export. That's it.

export iphoto albums to folders

***Nate, a reader, posted a quick tip in the comments below that is VERY useful. Instead of the search, simply go to your iPhotoLibrary folder in your Pictures folder. RIGHT CLICK [or hold down "CTRL"+click (on Mac)] and select "Show Package Contents." This will open a new Finder window with both the Originals & Modified folders mentioned above. Originals are your original imports. Modified will ONLY contain images that were modified. I save both. Thanks Nate!

To COPY folders and not MOVE them out of your iPhotoLibrary, hold down "ALT"+click+drag (you will see the green "+" icon with your pointer); drag all the way to your backup drive.

(a french forum post links here, so hopefully these words will help you find this easier: Exporter l'arborescence Dossier - Album d'iPhoto)

October 02, 2008

Tag 5. You're It.

Google is working to help centralize voter information, and posted this on their blog.

Get out and vote. But you have to register first, and you'll have to do it soon. Voter registration deadlines are coming up quickly

Find out where to vote at http://maps.google.com/vote

And pass this on to five people you know.

September 28, 2008

Wearable Works of Art

dragon onesieAt the beginning of this year, my friend and I launched Fierce Hugs Organic Baby Clothing to the world.

Fierce Hugs packs imagination, sustainability, and an eco-friendly lifestyle into remarkably soft organic baby clothes. These fair labor onesies and cool baby tees feature unique graphics by international indie illustrators from Italy and the Netherlands and come packaged in an adorable gift box, perfect for baby showers.

In our first year, we sponsored the Silver Spoon Celebrity baby event, and the incredible first annual Feel Good Film Festival in our continued pursuit to support independent artists. All the movies have happy endings and inspirational themes, and Rainn Wilson from "The Office" MC'ed the gala.

We've been lucky enough to get a lot of great press and celebrity exposure. Fierce Hugs baby clothing is worn by many celebrities' babies including the children of Sex and the City's Evan Handler, Oscar nominee Jason Reitman, 90210's Tori Spelling, Oscar winner Halle Berry, Hairspray's Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur, Scott & Renee Baio, Entourage's Constance Zimmer & many more.

Fierce Hugs has appeared in gift sets for People, X17, Life & Style, Extra! and US Weekly.

Buy one for the coolest baby you know at www.FierceHugs.com. Fierce Hugs is a member of the Organic Trade Association.
organic baby clothes
organic onesieorganic baby tshirtorganic onesie