Sunday, November 02, 2008

Response to Mae

Hi there Mae! Thanks for the comment. Nope I didn't have a nose job. The change happened naturally as I had both the upper and the lower jaw surgery. Have you talked to your surgeon about what sort of changes to expect?

I'm going to be completely offline for two weeks, traveling in Ireland. Leave a comment here if any other questions come up, and I'll be happy to respond when I return. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire, courtsey of Vanity Fair.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. On what occasion do you lie?
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
11. Which living person do you most despise?
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
16. When and where were you happiest?
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
21. Where would you most like to live?
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
24. What is your favorite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
26. What do you most value in your friends?
27. Who are your favorite writers?
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
31. What are your favorite names?
32. What is it that you most dislike?
33. What is your greatest regret?
34. How would you like to die?
35. What is your motto?

Wanna see how some celebrities answered these? Go to VF's archive.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Response to Bailey

Hey Bailey, surgery coming up on the 3rd? Exciting!!

I'm not sure I have much to say in response to your questions.

For instance, did my "lips thin out"? Um, no. If anything, they're fuller. Honestly my surgeon never mentioned them. I don't see much difference, and certainly NOT for the WORSE.

3 mm upper jaw advancement. Hmm. I believe mine was advanced 2 mm. Needless to say, everyone's case is different. Did it make my face shorter? Hell yeah. That combined with my lower jaw surgery - shortened my face by a whopping 9 mm.

Being able to close your lips without a conscious effort would be a good thing, don't you think? Has your surgeon indicated which option he favors?

The best thing I can share with you is this: relax. Trust that everything will go just as planned, and that you'll be THRILLED with the results. I recall being rolled into the operating room, scooting over onto the operating table, and passing out promptly, the instant my head hit the table (or maybe even before!). When I came to, it was all done! Voila! Nothing to it.

Oh - and eat what you enjoy while you still can. You'll be very hungry for the next few weeks. ;)

Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nose and Cheekbones

Hi Susan - thanks for leaving a comment on my blog.

Q: "I am writing you again because your comment on this thread about Dr. Li saying your nose would be wider was intriguing. I'm guessing that the composite photo pre-op wasn't able to show you this?"

A: No, it wasn't. The composite was only of my profile.

Q: "I'm concerned about how upper jaw advancement will change the look of my cheeks and nose from the front view, not just profile. Did you find that his prediction turned out to be accurate? It's hard to tell from the photos you've posted - your hair is different and there's swelling that makes it hard to compare - but would be great to get your personal take on the nose / cheek changes."

A: Yes, Dr. Li's prediction did turn out to be accurate. My nose has become slightly wider. See photo above showing day of brace installation vs. now. But I suspect I'm the only one that notices. Trust me, no one else stares at my face as much. LOL. I don't dislike the change, however, and quite frankly, I don't think much about it at all. Why? Because I believe it's not about any single feature. It's about proportions and balance. It's about adjusting what was misaligned/malfunctioning to make it function optimally, and as a by-product, make the features look more balanced. Does that make sense?

Now, about the cheekbones. Mine are slightly higher now. My favorite pair of sunglasses leave a slight indentation on my cheeks now while they never did before. That's the ONLY give-away.

Overall I think the thing you'll notice the most in the long run is that your facial features are more balanced and harmonious. For instance, in my case, I used to feel very self-conscious about my long and prominent chin. I felt like Jay Leno. Now when I see photos of myself I don't see any single feature jumping out at me.... they all kinda blend in and play well together.

Talk to your surgeon if any other questions nag at you. They've heard them all and will most likely have answers that would help put your mind at ease. Good luck! :)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Happy Findings of A Nomad

  • Old book stores with the soothing, intoxicating smell of yellowed pages.
  • Gray-haired, graceful old couples arm in arm at the symphony.
  • Watermelon on a hot summer day.  Guilt-free indulgence.
  • Manolos on sale at Barneys.  Guilty indulgence.
  • Loving my own solitude. 
  • Catching his eye from across the room, and the quiet smile.
  • Seeing a city for the first time.  Assuming it's a city worthwhile.
  • My cynicism occasionally proven wrong.
  • Being aware of the difference between my ego and my inner core.
  • An enduring friendship that distance and time cannot fade.


Coldplay's tour destinations read like my travel wish list. Though it'd require me to double back to countries (but not cities) I've already visited. Oh the wanderlust.

02/08/08: Hartford, CT
03/08/08: Washington, DC
04/08/08: Boston, MA
09/08/08: Osaka
10/08/08: Tokyo (check)
01/09/08: Strasbourg
02/09/08: Mannheim
04/09/08: Lyon
06/09/08: Barcelona (but NOT in the summer!)
07/09/08: Madrid (check)
09/09/08: Paris (Check, check, check. What's the hype about Paris anyway? It doesn't even make my top 3.)
10/09/08: Paris
12/09/08: Cologne
14/09/08: Hamburg
15/09/08: Berlin (check)
17/09/08: Stockholm
18/09/08: Stockholm
19/09/08: Oslo (for sure, in 2010.)
22/09/08: Prague (A little too Eastern European - I know it's not PC - but freedom of speech!)
23/09/08: Budapest (I hear it's beautiful)
24/09/08: Vienna (almost went last year, but ran out of time)
26/09/08: Munich

Later this year I'm going to Ireland, and perhaps Scotland. Next year will be an all Asian fare: my best guy friend's wedding in Taipei, then adding Vietnam to the itinerary. 2010? Hopefully any and all of the following: Vienna, Oslo, and Stockholm.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Composite Image

Question: Hey Kristen! Random question, I found your blog because you had jaw surgery. I was wondering did your surgeon give you a composite image before surgery? I found someone who doesn't want to do a composite image, and I'm wondering how commonly people get them, and if you think I should ask for one, or if I don't need one.

Answer: Yes, I did ask for a composite image (before/after profiles) prior to even getting the braces. My surgeon and orthodontist worked on the projection together. They provided two computer sketches that outlined how I would probably look after the surgery. In retrospect, it gave me a good ballpark idea, but the final results, if I say so myself, were even better.

I don't know if patients normally ask for a composite image. But my surgeon and ortho didn't seem surprised that I wanted one. Quite frankly, I'd have reservations about any doctor who wouldn't provide an estimate, and I would definitely ask him/her why. Another way to ensure you pick the right doctor? Ask to see the before/after photos of previous patients. They should have some on record who have consented to share those photos. My 2 cents.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Who Knew?

A 19-year-old Jude Law had a minor role in an episode of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, starring the late, great Jeremy Brett.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Once in a while life throws you a curve ball....
  • A few years ago I dated a UC Berkeley graduate. I met him and his brother at a pizza joint in Berkeley for lunch. On my way in, a homeless guy stopped me right outside the restaurant and asked for money. I didn't have any change but said I would give him some on my way out. So as we finished our meals, I started rummaging through my wallet for change. My then boyfriend asked me why, and I told him about the homeless guy.

    "Don't give him money," he said, "he's only going to use it to buy beer or drugs."

    "How do YOU know? You can't automatically assume that," I argued.

    His brother stepped in and said - "How about you get him a slice of pizza instead?"

    I thought it was a good idea and proceeded to the counter to get a slice of pepperoni pizza - when my boyfriend stopped me and said - "get the vegetarian instead." "Why? Everyone loves pepperoni!" "No, trust me on this. Just get the vegetarian."

    I did, and we walked out - to find the same homeless guy still right at the door. I handed him the slice wrapped in foil. But he took a step back and said - "It's not pepperoni, is it? I'm a vegetarian."

  • My friend Mark went on a 10-day vacation in Egypt last March. He booked it through a travel agency, who promised stays at 5-star hotels. When he returned, he told me that yes, they stayed at 5-star hotels alright, but hotels in Egypt are on a 10-star scale! :D

Sunday, June 22, 2008

George Carlin Dead

Just received an email news alert from New York Times that the famed comedian, George Carlin, has passed away from heart failure this evening.  He had been just admitted into an L.A. hospital earlier this afternoon for chest pains.
Well, at least it was a quick one.
George Carlin had a knack for words.  He poked fun at everyday absurdities and pointed out the nonsense in phrases that we all thought made sense.  If you've never heard of him, watch him in this YouTube video, it's George at his best.  If you've been a fan, watch him in this YouTube video, it's George at his best.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Buddhist Five Precepts

Perhaps as a Christian I should not be discussing Buddhist values. I'm not certain where the lines lie. But my conversations with a friend led to the following five Buddhist precepts, and I found them profound and valuable:

1. Do not kill. Sure, this one's easy.
2. Do not steal. "In its broadest sense, observing the second precept also means that one cultivates the virtue of generosity."
3. Do not indulge in sexual misconduct. Not sending anyone on a guilt trip, just everything in moderation, and have respect for yourself.
4. Do not make false speech. Respect the truth.
5. Do not take intoxicants. Cultivate your body, as well as your mind.

A motivational speaker - whose name escapes me - who focuses on the topic of morality once said he always asked his audience why they'd do the right thing. "Because it makes us feel good," they'd say. His response? "You should do the right thing NOT because it makes you feel good. You should do it simply because it's the right thing to do." Food for thought?
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Last Lecture

Professor Randy Pausch, from Carnegie Mellon, is dying from pancreatic cancer. His doctors gave him months to live.

If you haven't heard his Last Lecture, click on the YouTube video below. No, it's not the usual pep talk you'd expect. It's inspiring, witty, and wise. It helped me see things from a different perspective.... and more importantly, feel the responsibility, the NECESSITY, to lead the best life possible.

The video is 76 minutes long, so make time for it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


In honor of tax day....
the IRS
....not mine

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Why is it....

  • That white kids are rarely adopted by non-white parents, while Caucasian parents adopt black, Hispanic, and Asian kids all the time?
  • That Obama is referred to as the first "black" presidential candidate, when he's in fact, only half-black and half-white?
  • That more Asian women date outside of their race than Asian men?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In-Flight Video Show-Down

Delta Airline's new safety video hit it big on YouTube because the flight attendant in it supposedly looks like Angelina Jolie. No.... she reminds me of Jamie Lee Curtis... with big lips. Personally I like Virgin America's video better. It's animated and sassy - fun to watch.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Do's and Don'ts

  • Do splurge on facials and massages.
  • Don't buy more clothes.
  • Do drink plenty of water.
  • Don't drink coffee and soda.
  • Do sleep until you naturally wake up.
  • Don't stay up late.
  • Do get addicted to working out and the endorphins it releases.
  • Don't work late on a regular basis.
  • Do sweeten your water, tea, and oatmeal with honey.
  • Don't indulge in refined sugars.
  • Do eat and eat healthy.
  • Don't deny yourself if you truly crave something.
  • Do live below your means.
  • Don't confuse your means with your meaning (that's a line from a Citibank billboard I liked).

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stuff White People Like

A friend of mine IM'd me the link to this site yesterday.  Warning: potentially offensive.  If you're easily offended, don't click on the link.
For the rest of us - it's hilarious.  True-to-life observations of "white people".  Things that we all think about but haven't articulated into words.  Sharp wit, sharp tongue.  No wonder it's gotten over 6 MILLION hits in 2 months!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Shout Out to Susan

Susan, you have the same orthodontist AND surgeon? Whoa, small world. Leave (another) comment and let me know however I can help out! :)

I live in San Francisco. Don't wanna post my number or email address here for obvious reasons, but you can IM me on Yahoo Messenger at "kristenchat" so we can connect.

One word that will hopefully help put your mind at ease: Dr. Li will send your insurance company a request for authorization. It's his standard procedure. No need for you to lift a finger.

In my case, it was considered Class III Skeletal Deformity. Medical reason enough for any insurance company. The trick is, some of them state explicitly that medical reasons or not, they simply don't cover jaw surgeries, period. That you gotta figure out directly with them. Best of luck!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

1 Year Post Op, Before & After Photo 4

Before and after profiles!

The surgery is now a distant memory. I hit my one year post-op anniversary last Thursday, January 31st. You can still see some gum when I smile big - that can't be helped. But, it's part of what makes me look like ME (and my mother), so I don't mind it at all.

Most importantly, I've been excercising my front teeth and cutting through lots of sandwiches and noodles, etc., which I hadn't been able to do in a long time, due to the edge-on-edge bite. Oh, the joy and satisfaction of literally sinking your teeth into food! :)

Another benefit? No more jaw fatigue. Some people get headaches when they're tired. I used to get jaw aches. My jaws would get tired and feel a dull ache. Very annoying. Now poof, that's long gone. Plus, no more clicking or weird shifting when I open wide! That used to freak me out: the weird twisting and popping of my jaw joints when I had to open wide at a dentist's. No more of that. The nightmare is over!


My very gummy smile and pointy long chin before braces and surgery, vs. a much rounder face now.

1 Year Post Op, Before & After Photo 3

Before Braces Vs. One Year Post-Op.

1 Year Post Op, Before & After Photo 2

Before Braces Vs. 1-Year Post-Op.

1 Year Post Op, Before & After Photo 1

Morning of braces installation (Feb. 7th, 2006) Vs. (almost) one year post-op (December 2007).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random House

An importer of wine and sake.  A deportation officer.  Two graphic designers.  A stage producer.  A software marketer. 
What do they all have in common?
They - WE - are all taking beginner level voice lessons on Wednesday nights at a local music school.  Tonight we learned what "solfege" means.  We've also started singing Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe".  A very old song, but it has such a sweet innocence. 
Life is good.

A Lost Art

How often do you write? As in, pen on paper, free form, NOT typing (as I'm apparently doing right now).

I have a notebook at work - most of us probably do - but rarely write anything in it. It's just so much easier to jut down notes in an Outlook email and keep to-do lists and appointments in Google Desktop. Forget "writing" a friend - that's what we have txt msgs and emails for. Letters are so WW II.

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine had a birthday. In the card I wrote a couple paragraphs in addition to the usual "happy birthday!". A few days later, I received a "thank you" card in the mail from her with a long hand-written note. All of a sudden it took me back 20, 30 years. A HAND-written note! Someone put pen to paper and WROTE these sentences! It's become so rare these days when practically everything's electronically input.

Her handwriting is beautiful, by the way. She's a graphic artist by training and has taken calligraphy classes. It looks just like the handwritings you'd see in a Janue Austen movie - fluid, curvey, and classic - truly a lost art in today's world.

I'd forgotten about the whole thing until this morning, when my Daily Candy email promoted a local calligraphy class next month. Write on! How very....old school! I'm in. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Saw the Bucket List yesterday - a touching film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, about two dying cancer patients fulfilling their last wishes and squeezing the last bits out of the great experience that we call life.

Saw the movie at a Sundance theater, a new theater in San Francisco. I didn't know this - but at the time of the ticket purchase, they ask you to pick your own seat on a touch screen, just like you would booking a flight online. Very cool!

Walk in and you'll find that the theater isn't big at all. It only accommodates maybe eighty people, IF that. The arm rests are wide, and comfortable, complete with cup holders. The seats are oh so comfy. The whole place smells clean, and the floor's not sticky at all.

If you have a Sundance theater in your city, I'd recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Irony

Saw someone yesterday that I hadn't seen in almost a year and half.

"So you had jaw surgery. What did they do?"

"I don't want to tell you." I half-joked to avoid the gory details, and we moved on to other subjects.

Was telling a friend about this just now. She said, "You could just direct him to your blog." "Oh no, that's too personal." I responded, then laughed - "Too personal for someone I know to read, but not too personal for random strangers online who are also going through the same experience." Now THAT's ironic.

But you know what I mean.

Updated on Jan. 17th - Mary commented:

"I think it's human nature not to want to expose to much to someone whom we might feel more vulnerable to. There is a certain appeal to anonymity, don't you think? M"

Yes, that's exactly it. You summed it up perfectly. Sigh. Thanks Mary.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mid-Life Crisis?

Here's a no-nonsense article in the New York Times about mid-life crisis. Often times, the author points out, they're just "a garden-variety case of a middle-aged narcissist grappling with the biggest insult he had ever faced: getting older".

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Two Sides of the Same Cord

Swedish singer Sophie Zelmani's "Going Home".

Chinese singer Faye Wang's take of the same melody. I love her voice - clean, elegant, and angelic. In fact, she says she hated its crystal-clear quality so much that she used to smoke, hoping to make it more coarse. !!! And that dress! She's probably the only one that can put it on without looking ridiculous.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Die Vs. Diet

Flipping through the current issue of Fitness magazine and found their survey of 1,000 women, on how, when, and why they diet.  Yeah yeah, diets are all the rage after the holiday binges.  But they did have some juicy data points:
The most popular weight-loss plans are:
  • Slim-Fast (35%)
  • Weight Watchers (34%)
  • Atkins (25%)
Our #1 dieting trick?
  • Drinking water constantly (67%)
  • Chewing a lot of gum (20%)
  • Smoking (15%) -  !!
30 - the minimum number of pounds most women want to lose.  Typical target weight?  131 to 145. 
Anecdotally, I saw a new Weight Watchers ad campaign in NYC last month that flashed catch-phrases such as "Diets are mean" and "Take a diet from dieting" on subways and cabs. 
Ironically, there are fellow human beings who're malnourished and struggle to survive, while we fight the battle with fat.  Is this all happening on the same planet?  What can we do to level the playing field?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Clean Air!

Smoking has been banned in every commercial corner in France.  Thank goodness!  No more stinky hair or overcoat because you had to sit in a cloud of smoke to enjoy live jazz in a local piano bar. 

Money Money Money

IRA is on my mind this morning. The maximum amount you can contribute for 2008 (either ROTH or Traditional) is $5,000. It pays to max out as early as possible, so your fund can snowball throughout the year - January through December - as opposed to just a month or two at the end of the year.

Missed out in 2007? No sweat - you have until April 15th to make up for the previous year. The maximum amount for 2007 is $4,000.

Of course, I'm no expert on any of this. Read up on Jim Cramer. He's handpicked some gems.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Mark made hush puppies, coleslaw, and catfish for dinner tonight. Great southern fried food - exactly the right way to kick off a new year where I'd like to lose a few pounds. :P Also on this year's "bucket" list?

1. Eat more veggies and fruits.
2. Get a physical done.
3. Take French and either photography or voice lessons.
4. Adopt a puppy.
5. Visit Vietnam.