I Am Chris Nguyen

Happiness is good communication.

E-Book Launched!

At last. After three months of work, I launched my e-book, “How To Write Like A Journalist.” Hope you can take a look.

http://howtowritelikeajournalist.com/

Be Impeccable with Your Words

I started talking to my son Maddox before he was born. Every night when my wife and I were in bed I would talk to her bulbous belly. Often my son would respond, kicking and punching. Even then I knew he heard me and recognized my voice.

When my son was born he was placed under the heat lamp to stay warm. Like many newborns he was crying. I was so proud, trembling with happiness. My eyes were filling up with tears.

I leaned down near him and said: “Hello, Maddox. I’m your father.” (He stopped crying instantly and, right then, I knew we had made a connection that started when he was in my wife’s belly.

In life and in business, everything starts and ends with words. How you communicate — what you say and write, and even your body language — will lead to success or failure. In business, good communications either sets the tone for something fruitful or hinders a relationship from getting started.

I’m a communicator and have spent the last 20 years in one form of communications or another. My career path: journalism, public relations, corporate communications, social media and now marketing. I’ve worked at big companies and little ones and with a lot of people along the way, from CEOs to celebrities to pro athletes.

To get far in life and in business, there is one key best practice: Be Impeccable with Your Words.

What does this mean? Everyone should strive to improve their written and oral communications, but it’s not about mastering the art of writing or public speaking.

What I’m talking about here is being true to your word. Your integrity is a direct reflection of what you say and how you say it. If you’re impeccable with your words, you’ll establish respect and trust. It makes people feel safe to believe in you and trust you — one of the greatest asset in life.

Here are 5 Tips to being impeccable with your word.

1. Keep Your Word, Even with Kids

My wife taught me this one. When I leave for business trips, I would tell my son Maddox that I would bring him home a gift. That made his day. During my trip my wife would ask whether I’ve found a gift. Half of the time it was yes, but often I would come up short or totally forgot.

For the times I forgot my wife would bail me out, either picking up something from the store or ordering something from Amazon. Sure enough, I always had a gift for my son, whether it came from me or my wife. My son, now 5, knows that I do what I say … often thanks to my wife.

2. Clean It Up

Everyone has expectations, especially when they were promised something or told something was going to happen. Deadlines, emails, whatever the case. We’re all human and there are times we forget or didn’t follow through with something.

It could be something as benign or casual as saying you’re going to call. People do this all the time. “I’ll call you next week.” “My wife and I wanna have you over for a BBQ.” Don’t let it go, hoping someone will forget about it. Chances are, they won’t.

The best thing to do is to acknowledge the oversight.

3. Put a Timeframe on It

After acknowledging your blunder, set up realistic goals and follow through. “I’m so sorry, I totally forgot to call you. Are you free this Friday?” would go a long way.

Put it on your calendar if you need to. Me, I’m an avid list making. I have lists for everything — things to do, restaurants to try out, movies to set, etc. There’s numerous apps for lists. My favorite is https://en.todoist.com/ which is free and synchs across all your devices.

4. Be Literal with Your Words

A lot of people speak and write in generalities or use words they don’t mean. Don’t be a part of this group. Be literal with your words. If you’re direct and accurate, people are going to take you seriously.

If you say you’re going to call someone, then call them. Don’t email or send a text.

If you say you’re going to bring guacamole over for dinner, then bring guacamole. Don’t bring avocados.

Is it better to have a reputation for being true to your word, or a reputation for being someone who may or may not follow through?

5. Be Selective and Don’t Over Commit

Having boundaries is one of the hardest things to do. There’s always going to be lots going on in your life, and people will always want some of your time.

  • Set realistic goals
  • Choose things that expand your life
  • Be with people who support you and believe in you

When you’re impeccable with your word, you’re respecting others and respecting yourself. That builds integrity and trust. Take a moment and reflect on the past week. Did you follow through with everything?

How to Roast Garlic on Your Grill

My first time having roasted garlic was at the Stinking Rose, a landmark in San Francisco. The restaurant, as you can imagine from the name, was all about the garlic.

It was delicious and roasted to perfection. So soft and creamy you could spread it like butter. You leave Stinking Rose stinkin’ happy, and smelling like garlic for days. You’re happy, but the people around you may be unhappy about the stink.

Roasting garlic is simple. A lot of cooks roast it in an oven. My favorite is roasting garlic on a grill, a method that adds a subtle garlic aroma to the other stuff you’re grilling. Plus, it’s faster.

Here’s how:

Use the biggest garlic cloves you can find. (Avoid “Elephant Garlic,” which I think tastes more like onion and lacks the authentic garlic taste.)

Cut off the top, which is the pointy part of the garlic. You’re going to cut off about one-fifth of the clove bunch, like this:

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Place the cut garlic on a sheet of tin foil. Use a sheet about 12 inches x 12 inches.

To cook the garlic and help it stay moist you’re going to use olive oil, about two generous tablespoons. Pour it directly on the garlic.

Close the tin foil loosely, using two hands to gently bunch the tin foil at the top.

Leave some space around the garlic for steam and heat to circulate. Also, leave a small opening so the garlic scent can escape and add aroma to the meats and vegetables you’re grilling.

Now it’s roasting time. If you’re grilling at 350 degrees, it’s going to take about 30-40 minutes for the garlic to become buttery soft.

Use a knife to remove the garlic from each clove. Now spread the love … on bread or anything you want. Or eat it plain.

Super Easy Sriracha Sauce

If you love Sriracha sauce but think it’s too strong or spicy, then here’s a quick way to bring it down a notch: just mix it in mayonnaise.

For a hearty Sunday breakfast I used it as the sauce for a chicken, provalone, egg, pickle and butter lettuce sandwich. The mayonnaise keeps the creaminess but reduces the spice. Perfect.

Sriracha Sauce

Grilled Citrus Chicken Recipe

This recipe is a hit. My son loves it, and the kid doesn’t even like meat. How it’s done:

Ingredients
Half of Chicken
2 Lemons
2 Oranges
Salt and Pepper

Brine the chicken overnight. It’s your choice on light or dark meat. (Dark meat is juicier.) Use about a half gallon of water and a third cup of salt.

Preheat grill to about 350 degrees.

Before grilling, drain the water and lightly coat the chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Cut the lemons and oranges in half.

Place the chicken on the grill. Flip every 6-8 minutes. Each time you flip, squeeze some citrus juice on the chicken. Alternate between the lemon and orange.

Grill for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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My Wife’s Freckles

I’m married to a gorgeous strawberry blonde, and as you can only imagine she has freckles. Yup. Lots of them, and there’s lots to love about them. One of the best pickup lines she’s heard was from a guy who wanted to help count her freckles — all of them. Very witty. As a kid she recalls her grandfather joking that her freckles were rust spots that needed to be rubbed off.

I love my wife’s freckles. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some areas are darker than others, and some parts of her body have more than others. They’re clustered in some parts of her body, more spread out in others. A couple things to know about freckles: they’re genetic, so not everyone can get them, and they get darker with tanning. That’s why my wife wears sunscreen or long sleeves when it’s bright out.

It’s interesting what people are self-conscious about. Freckles. Cellulite. Moles. Scars. Stretch marks. Birth marks. Me, I have big scars but forget they’re even there. For men I guess scars are pretty cool and something to brag about. But, I have stretch marks and I’m really shy about them. My wife’s a bit shy about her freckles, but I absolutely love her freckles. I think they’re beautiful and give her complexion texture and richness.

Our son has a few freckles on his face and they are adorable. One above his eye, a couple on his cheek, one on his neck. I often joke with him and say my kisses make freckles appear. He laughs about it — warms my heart.

I have a soft spot for my wife’s freckles.

Moving from San Francisco to Idaho

Idaho. My wife and I recently celebrated our one-year anniversary living here. We didn’t quite celebrate. Just acknowledged it. We really like it here, though we’re still mourning the loss of California.

What a culture shock going from the San Francisco Bay Area to Idaho. San Francisco is like dating a money-hungry hot girl. It’s beautiful, drives you crazy at times, you can’t afford to stay but have a hard time leaving the benefits. We left to make a better life for our family and be in a place we can truly afford.

What we left behind are the creature comforts. To name just a few things:  the amazing food and diversity of cuisines, breath-taking views of the Bay and Pacific Ocean, awesome weather, the energy and buzz of being in a big city.


And memories that bind our life together – playing in the sand at Stinson Beach and soaking our toes in the cold ocean, hearing the deep, long hum of the fog horns, hiking the Marin Headlands and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge covered in dense fog.


In Idaho, we were greeted by our neighbors the first week of moving in. They came over, all dressed up with their kids, and brought fresh-baked pastries. (You don’t get that in California, and it’s pretty common to live somewhere for years without knowing the people around you.) Our neighbors often plow the snow off our driveway. They offer to watch our son on date nights, and even offer to watch him overnight. People in Idaho wave hello when you pass by. There’s a raw realness and genuineness that we love. Our neighbors are now our friends we trust.

For my wife and I the culture shock isn’t about the creature comforts we lost – those are things you can get back, attain yourself or visit. The shock really is about the sincere warmth we have discovered here in Idaho, and this is something you may not find in abundance anywhere in California.

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