Light My Way!

Quite often I feel that the beauty of being in the real estate business is the continuous Memento that connects me with the past, present and the future.

As I was standing on the balcony on 10th floor of Mosiac building overlooking the Herman Park, I inhaled deeply. Just about 17 years passed by since the announcement of this development. The greenery echoed live and eternity. I remembered the first time I saw this breathtaking scenery under my feet. I was a “new kid on the block” then and I was dreaming to sell one of these glamour units to any buyer. Sadly, the project went down fast as the market crashed. The twin towers went dark along with the bankruptcy filed by the developer. Being an “inner looper,” I commuted back and forth and passed by the location almost every evening. There were no lights in both buildings. They were like the tallest signs that spelled “foreclosures” right in my face. I was, as many others in the real estate business, struggling to see the light. I couldn’t help thinking from time to time, that if there were a light turned on in these towers, that had to be the light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

Thankfully, the lights started to be on, floor by floor. Surely there had been non-stop challenges since then, not to mention all the hurricanes and the pandemic. Yet the lights not only have held onto their full blast but also joined by the recent HEB and numerous townhome and apartment projects in the surrounding area. Moreover, today, there is an upcoming 53-acre Levit Green development that will include 25,000 square feet biotechnology building, green spaces, and small lakes along with fitness center, garden, conference center, café, and restaurant.

The lights have dazzled our way and lifted our hearts. We’ve left the darkness behind.

Cruise to the future, shall we? #HoustonStrong!

“What’s in it for me?”

A while ago, Margaret asked me a question about the Women’s Council of Realtors. “About the referral…I wonder…I haven’t got any…have you?” Margaret Cruz is one of our JWang realtors and she’s the president of Women’s Council Lake Houston network 2022. I was the president of Houston network in 2016. I’m very proud of Margaret and admire her dedication to our professional organization.

            It’s a simple question but to me, it’s complicated to answer. In general, it searches for the motivation of “why are we doing what we are doing?” Or “What’s in it for me doing what I’m doing?”

            It’s natural to ask as a leader of the board. She has dedicated her heart, mind, and countless hours in creating educational and networking events for others. She’s a generous volunteer. When I served, many others asked me similar questions, in different formats, such as: “Do you get paid? Have you got any deals out of it?”

            The answer is:” No.” And another big “No” if you ask me again!

            But “Why?” Why are we working so hard to produce the opportunities for others, our fellow realtors? Because we thrive to be “better” in helping others to be “better.” We are not doing it for the “immediate award,” we are doing it because we want to “be better!” Women’s Council is a tremendous workshop to advance the realtors through leadership training and practice. Through the consistent educational programming and networking events, we build relationships that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Our business is based on relationships, relationships with each other as realtors, with other professionals in the industry and with our clients. As I always say, “I may make a dollar by closing a deal, yet I make a joyful and valuable life by building a relationship.”

            I was honored to be on the panel of “Women Investing in Real Estate” at Women’s Council Lake Houston on May 27. It was a glorious sunny day at the Oakhurst Golf Club. I was not only floored to see how many guests came but also how smoothly Margaret and her board delivered such an empowering event. They have given us pride, joy, and value. As a realtor, I instantly felt I was standing “tall” with my team, old and new friends.

            And that…was the moment of “Women’s Council,” that I had never seen anything more magical!

Dare you, say it “Hot” One More Time…

In the old days when I took a relocation buyer, showing 30 houses a day was normal. I would help the family to pick out 10 to 15 houses in two different areas to tour. I tanked up the gas, instructed them to mark 1 to 4 stars on each printed listing so they would remember their favorites and then I would drive till the sky turned dark and their kids fell asleep in the back seats.

            And today, taking a relocation buyer, it’s “old days” no more! It’s been a week and half, the total of houses we toured, from west to south, about 60 miles in between, were merely 3. Offers made were 4, including a house we didn’t see. Fortunately, we got a contract on 1 out of 4 offers. Unfortunately, my client changed his mind the next day. So, we are back in square one. We expanded our search to north, far north, 50 miles north and 30 to 40 miles northwest of Houston. We found 2 houses that may work.

            When helping a relocation client, the time is of the essence. The time he was here in town to see houses was the time that needed my full devotion. That meant there were things I had to miss or postpone, including but not limited to: seeing parents, cooking family dinners, friend’s puppy 1 year birthday party, hair appointment, home maintenance and repair, grocery shopping, other housing deals. Never mind manicure and pedicure. A quick uplifting entertainment more than the endless discussion of “Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock at Oscar’s” would be more beneficial for stress relief.

            However, none of the other factors really are the real reason for the frustration. From showing 30 houses plus in a day to barely finding 3 houses to see is the crucial problem. It’s no surprise that all the available inventories are overpriced on an average of $80,000 or more. When I visited the new community in Katy West, I had a chat with the builder. I was informed they were “over sold.” I only heard ‘over booked” for air tickets before. “Over sold” is a new word to me in our business. She said there is a “wait list” on the upcoming 4 “summer release” lots. So, if my client was interested, he would be the 5th in line.

“How does it work?” I asked.

“We’ll call the first one in line. The buyer needs to come in within 4 hours and sign the contract and drop the earnest money. If the buyer fails to do so, we’ll move on to the next one.”

“Sounds like the chance for the 5th one in line is pretty slim.”

“Well, it could be worse.”


“At least we don’t get everybody into a bidding war. You know some other builders make buyers agree to ‘unknown sales price” prior to the release. The builders can increase the price however they like upon the ‘release day…’”

            I heard enough. I left.

            Thank goodness for April 1. I never missed the opportunity to “fool.” I posted a Lake Como photo that I took with my old phone 3 years ago and announced via Facebook that I moved. “JWang Properties, Mama is outta here! Y’all on your own. I’ll be back when there are enough houses for all buyers.”

“But where is George?” Someone commented. Americans, when you mention Lake Como, they name it George Colony. I want the two lakefront houses for myself, “I didn’t invite him” was my reply.

            If I hear any REALTOR say nothing but “market is hot” one more time, I’d chase that person down in my ghost version and make sure he or she would hand me a minimum 20 houses within my buyer’s criteria to choose from. Otherwise, I’d send my “virtual slap”—SHUT-UP!

Who’s “#BrokerJenny?”

            I was born and raised in Beijing. I immigrated to Houston in 1991. I graduated from Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership of University of Houston. I had always been working on the restaurant’s side of the business as a student, so naturally, I was offered a “restaurant’s manager” job after I graduated. It was different running a restaurant in the real-world compared to working at our “magic-kingdom-like” Hilton College. Instead of setting a goal to climb up the managerial ladder, I was only frizzled by the daily operational stress. Being exhausted, I sank into a phrase of “lost,” not sure who I was, what I was doing and why I was there. I was up for a change. I went back to Hilton College to take some graduate courses. I thought the idea of pursuing a master’s degree may elevate me. But it didn’t. I was bored after finishing a few initial courses. I felt like drifting through a dark tunnel. Until eventually, one day, some friends talked me into selling real estate. Real estate, it sounded so new, yet I felt invigorated. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

            Without much hesitation, I had dived into it without any experience, knowledge nor clienteles. Yet my heart was full, full of hope and determination. Obtained my licenses in August 2002, I joined RE/MAX and started my career as a REALTOR. In the following 16 years, I grew with the Metro team, personally and professionally. Rain, or shine, I had never thought of changing brokerage. I stayed where I was. During those years, I rose, failed, and rose again. I earned countless awards, Top Producer, RE/MAX 20/20, Hall of Fame…along with the ups and downs in life, market fluctuation, and all the hurricanes we survived.

            In 2014, I joined the Women’s Council of REALTORs Houston network. I served on board and started as VP of Membership. In 2016, I was honored to be the President of the Women’s Council Houston network. I served with passion and learned with heart. Serving the network helped me to root deeply in our industry. I was enlightened, in a sense of becoming aware of who I was, where I was and what I was doing. I gained a deeper and better understanding of what it meant to be Me as a REALTOR. I was no longer lost. I found myself. Through building strong relationships, I was bonded with our business, industry, and communities. “JWang on the block” was on the horizon.

            By that time, we had already lived in the social media platform era for some years. Since Facebook was launched in 2004, many other popular apps were up hastily like popcorns. Though some called it “disruption,” I called it “revolution.” We evolved into a new way of communication and marketing. Serving the Women’s Council, we fully utilized social media to connect members, create educational programs and networking events. I was doing a lot of photos and video clips then, sort of the “president” accidentally turned into a “photographer.” Nonetheless, the more I did it, the more I felt a “need,” a “need” for a professional media presentation that can truly reflect us, our image, and our voice. So, I thought, what if I build a video production?

            In February of 2018, I founded JWang Media, a production to promote and market our real estate professionals through “story telling” type of custom videos. Whether it’s about a REALTOR’s profile, a lender’s insight, a title company’s statement, a networking event, or a property highlight, every quick video presents a theme, a personality, and an expertise. Since then, we’ve created, crafted, and produced many videos to blast out via social media platforms. Not only the listings gained more “limelight” but also the professionals gained the “stardom.” In result, we received more than hundreds of thousands of viewers. The audience liked and complimented the true voices and authentic messages. It’s been a popular marketing approach that delivered both value and joy.  

            A few months later in the same year, in November 2018, I obtained my broker license. I established JWang Properties, a Boutique realty with personal touch. I declared that “through our innovative system and custom video production, JWang Properties advances REALTORs to be the Superstars to serve our clients, industry, and communities. We offer one stop customized strategies and service plans tailored to each client’s individual needs in both residential and commercial real estate.” You can imagine, however, holding my broker license and looking around, it was only me, a broker/ agent of JWang Properties. Yet that didn’t bother me. I planned a Grand Open Party to draw the curtain of a new phrase. It was a perfect time to celebrate and thank the support from friends, colleagues, industry, and communities.

            Today, less than four years later, we have top producers and expert agents in both residential and commercial fields. Together we bring value to our clients and strive for multi-million and more sales volumes. Value, no doubt, is what we produce and deliver. Yet we offer more. We offer joy. I believe many REALTORs out there can relate, that when it comes to representing our clients, their problems become our problems and their happiness become our happiness. We get on this journey together, sharing the experiences and building the memories. As REALTORs, we are the hub and personal touch in every transaction. Even when we fail to close the deal sometimes, we let our relationships prevail. This is how we define us, a JWang team.

            In July 2019, I started to draft my debut, a novel, “Girl Wears Those Shoes.” Writing has always been a great part of me and finally, I decided to put it into a perspective. I’ve been a fiction lover, so I wanted to venture into that. There was no doubt that “creating a fiction” was the toughest project I had carried on. I wanted to portrait characters that can inspire young professionals in the business. I wanted to share the ideas, experiences, answers, values, and even controversial issues in a young REALTOR’s life. 

            The story came together towards the end of summer of 2021. The protagonist of the story, Gigi O, represents a new model of Chinese immigrants of our time. Through her personal and professional growth, the spirit, principle, and value are universal. The battle, discipline, and the strength it takes to run through the course are the same for everybody, regardless of any race, sex, or ethnic background. The triumph, like the Red Sole, does not prejudice. It loves the woman who rocks it! 

            On December 14, 2021, “Girl Wears Those Shoes” was officially released. I had a Holliday launch celebration party prior to that. I’m grateful for receiving much positive feedback. “It’s a fun read!” “I’ve never known it takes that much to be working as a REALTOR!” “I’ve learned a lot about real estate!” ….. I’ve always told people that my approach to the book is: “If you want to learn, you learn. If you don’t want to learn, at least you will be entertained!” The joy is what we love to bring and share! We love what we do. It’s a journey. Why not make it fun?!

            In January 2022, we officially launched our new website:

This new site contains three landing parts: “JWang Properties”, “JWang Media” & “Girl Wears Those Shoes”. The book page leads to: There, I have created a donation button for our Houston Ballet, supporting the art and performance of our city.

            Welcome to our JWang Family, an entity of Business with Culture. And sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I am your #BrokerJenny!

Find your Wheel

We had a great discussion on social media at our team meeting. Yes, we have been playing quite a few apps for almost 20 years and we are still talking about it…the content, what to say or not say?

            I can’t ever understand if any realtor would say, “I don’t do social media…” Oh, well, then this realtor must have done enough business without pursuing further marketing then. Thanks to the forever evolving apps, Facebook, Instagram, twitter, TikTok and many others, we have plenty of options to get ourselves out there these days, comparing to, Realtor Gigi O in my book, who jumped in the business prior to Facebook time, that other than talking to her family and a few friends about her new career, her option to reach the immediate public was only limited to the paid advertisements in papers, which it turned out to be a fairly quick way to throw out the dollars she saved.

            “When you are struggling to create any content,” I said. “Relax. And put it away until you feel like having some fun with it.” It was meant to be a game. Like all else, let’s find ourselves first. “What do you mean?” I mean each of us has a wheel, just like any actor. Think Al Pacino, for an example, he practically is the same person in every movie. He drove his wheel, talked the talk, and walked the walk, and he magnified the screen time after time. Even when he looked like hell, like he hadn’t slept for three days or something, yet we watched him with fascination. The trait in every individual is the demeanor one carries. It’s the wheel one drives, be it as pretty, sexy, funny, smart or whatever.

            Treat it as a business strategy and have fun with it. Social Media certainly has provided us with an enormous opportunity of “marketing with personality.” Just be yourself, true and real, just like when you walk into any social event, or you work with any client.

            However, “do remember, kids,” I added. “As entrepreneurs, there are three things we should avoid discussing: Religion, Politics and other people’s Children.” The last one, even if I think my dog is smarter than someone’s scholar honored child, I won’t post it.

Vivian Ahn, the “Stellar” narrator!

I’m beyond the moon to have Hollywood actress, Vivian Ahn, on board, as the narrator of my audio book. At the beginning of the publishing process, I was very much impressed about the great voiceover of my book trailer, rich and personal. Her voice captured every motion of the visual impact ( She seized my attention from the beginning to the end. Nonetheless, I was oblivious to the lady behind the scenes.

            After the Holidays, I got into a discussion about the audio book of my debut with my publisher. As always, Gary and his team played the magic. They got Vivian on board! I was on cloud nine after I received the news.

            I learned that Vivian not only has the voice but also has the look. She’s very interesting to watch. After I read her resume, I understood why. She’s a brilliant talent with a “Stella” training:

            “Stella Adler trained, some of film and TV credits include ‘Come Across Love’ and ‘Henry Danger’. Vivian was in several AFI projects and played many classic roles from Shakespeare to Clifford Odets to Neil Simon. Vivian is known for her flexibility in taking directions, crying on cue and her multi-lingual abilities.
Vivian was born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Mississauga, Canada to loving parents and one younger sister. At the age of 8, Vivian knew she wanted to be an actor. After studying and receiving her degrees in Communication Arts with emphasis in Motion Graphics and Japanese, she finally moved to Los Angeles and completed her 2-year acting training at the prestigious Acting School ‘Stella Adler Academy of Acting’ in LA from 2010 to 2012. Through the encouragement from her teachers, she discovered more and more about herself and went through great transformations. Vivian is also a member of the Actor’s Union SAG-AFTRA in 2011. Scriptwriting is her other passion; she is working on creating her own feature film scripts and has shot a few proof of concept scenes in 2018.”
            As an author, after the delivery of my book, I couldn’t help feeling a certain level of “lost.” Perhaps it could be best described as a “post-delivery syndrome,” sort of like carrying a ‘baby” for more than two years and finally it was gone out of my body. “Where was I?” and “What am I supposed to do next?” ……Authors out there, who’s with me?
            And now, the ‘syndrome” was relieved. Thanks to the audio production and the Superstar Vivian on the horizon, the fun time has just started!


“I Love You More…”

—A Valentine’s tribute to Mrs. Santamaria

Mrs. Rita Santamaria is the founder and CEO of the Champions of Real Estate School in Texas which was recently named the biggest real estate school nationwide. Working in the Houston area, I know there are probably close to 40,000 realtors and that, most likely we all graduated from the Champions’ prior to taking the Texas board exam.

             The first time I met Rita in person was at a luncheon of the Women’s Council of Realtors’ Houston network. Standing by the podium, she looked striking in an impeccably tailored white suit. I sat close to this “Houston’s 50 most Influential Women,” so I could see the stars in her eyes. She smiled at me and then started her speech. I was drawn. There was not a sound of needle on the floor other than her sweet sultry voice. She was like, Lleida Craig, if you’d recall in my book, that leading lady in the cherry red suit. Sitting there and listening to her, I felt like being embraced by “log cabin” syrup lava, hot, molten, and sweet. I did not want to move.

            I’ve always felt so connected with her since then. Every time I stepped onto a new stage in my business, I’d share with her. Surely upon finishing my debut last fall, she was the first one I called to “review.”

            She was as cheerful as always, asked me about the thinking process, and complimented my creativity. She sent me her detailed “review” in a very short notice. Little I knew, she was with her husband who was getting cancer treatment at that time.

            Until I heard from her again, I received the sad news. On February 2, her husband of 28 years, Henry Santamaria Jr., passed away from the valiant battle with cancer. Henry was the love of her life, a wonderful dad to their five children.

            I attended service. Not sure why I didn’t think of putting the Kleenex in my purse. Maybe because I planned not to cry to ruin my make-up for the next appointment. And how terribly this “plan” failed. Their son talked fondly about how much he learned from his dad, from sports to becoming a “great” man. At the end, he paused and choked: “Thank you for being my dad…” Tears run down my face uncontrollably. I got up to fetch some tissues.

            In a little while, they lined up the grandchildren and asked each of them to say a few words of their grandfather. The gentle voice echoed: “I love my Paco so much because he loved my granny so much…” Henry and Rita’s love through “health and sickness” was deeply admired and profoundly cherished by all their children.

            Seriously, by then, I started to worry about my make-up. They opened the reservoir of my tears. I wondered to myself where all my tears came from. Wasn’t it a little too early in the afternoon?! The hell my optometrist told me that my tear line was “clogged” last time I saw her.

            The family presented Henry’s favorite song by Beatles: “In My Life:”

“…There are places I remember…. all these places have their moments…In My Life I Love You More…. Love You More.”

            And as I heard Rita’s voice merged with the big portrait of her and Henry, smiling happily by the beach with their hands together in a heart shape, tears dropped down into my lap. I could care less about my make-up then. There were hardly any dry eyes in the room.

            Love was all it was about. They had raised a family with love. They had built an empire with the most tender, generous yet vulnerable emotion of mankind. In the journey of my life, there were times I was broken. I gave up the faith in love. I was hardened. I tried jungle into everything else other than love. To love without fear seemed like the most challenging stake from time to time. And now, drenched in tears, I was stripped down to the core.  I felt like an infant again, being caressed for the first time.

            When we arrived at the cemetery, I stepped closer so I could see her. Maybe it was my shadow, she turned her head and laid her eyes on me. She smiled. Within a blink, the earth beneath me crushed into a gentle embrace.

            She’s given us love. She’s taught us love. And the symbol of the Champions School of Real Estate is nothing but her love for us and the world. I am blessed in her generous gift, along with many of her forever humbled followers.

With the Legendary Mrs. Lynn Wyatt

She hugged me and rocked my body from left to right. We giggled like high school girls. “Oh, it’s been so long…” What a wonderful moment to hold each other again! “Your book cover…I love it. Can’t bypass it.” She complimented. “I sketched myself!” I was eager to tell her the story. “And my publisher did a great job to enhance it and make the 3D effect…”

            It’s always been my greatest pleasure to see Mrs. Lynn Wyatt, our beloved iconic socialite. With her champion blond hair, red lips, and megawatt smile, she has always been the light of every room as she walks in. And today was even more precious and surreal: she invited me for home-made tea at her house.

            “Oh, yeah, I told them to get it going with the Lynn Wyatt Square,” she sipped the tea. “Mm…it’s good. I want some more…but they told me it’s been raining…”

I blinked and then waved my arm up and down as if making a whip. “Come on, it’s been sunny days now!”

            We laughed.

            The Square with green oasis at the epicenter of the Theater District will accommodate many future outdoor performances. Excitement rushed through me with tea. I felt warm and fuzzy. I stared at her with the greatest admiration. Lady Lynn Wyatt is our legendary icon, not only for her endless list of lifetime achievements in supporting our city and art, Opera, Ballet, Houston Media, Museum of Fine Arts, and many others, but also for her stunning southern charm, charisma, and kindness. She always has fun stories to share. We chatted about our families, random events, and her recent visit with Elton John, and of course, those breathtaking twin portraits of her on the wall by Andy Warhol, in which that lighting, intriguingly soft yet mysteriously glimmering.

            “I was born with bread and butter. When I was in high school, I wanted to work. I said ‘daddy, I want to make my own money. Can I work at the store?” She persuaded her dad to be the salesgirl at the Sakowitz family department store. “When the girl asked me how she looked. I was thinking if I should make the money or tell her the truth.” The truth, of course. It’s always been a part of the golden aura about her. “So, I told her, ‘That doesn’t do anything for you. You have a great figure. How about trying these?’ I brought her all-other pieces. They were so happy…and they bought everything.” She laughed. “I didn’t tell them my name, you know. I told them to just ask for Lynn. Because my last name is the store’s name.” This story of her is one of my favorites. It sounded even more darling hearing it from her in her honeyed southern tone.

            “I’m so proud of you and so happy for you.” She locked her eyes with mine.” You are working and writing…. How great is that…What does your husband say about the book?”

“Hm… Crazy?!”

We laughed more.

The afternoon sun shifted. The tea was clear colored. It tasted lemony with a hint of ginger. Time stood gently in her green eyes. She was elegant and slender. I felt extremely privileged.

            Mrs. Wyatt, she is larger than life.

“Story of ours,” Part 1, Curly & Blondie

I walked Curly outside the driveway. There was a little white fuzzy thing running over to the fence across the street. I stared. “Hello!” He was pure white with a round face and dark eyes, jumping ups and downs like a little snowball. He put his paws on the fence as if he was saying hello back. Then he ran back to the house like a white flash. I walked away with Curly. The neighbor has got a new puppy. His cuteness pitched my heart. Enviously maybe, I doubt if anybody deserved such an adorable creature other than me…but no, not me anymore.

            Ever since Blondie passed away, my mission was to take care of Curly till the end. And then that was it. I told my mom that I would not want to have another dog. I lived mostly with my mom when we had our last generation of dogs. I was a young and inexperienced doggie mom when we adopted Lucy. So, my mom was really the main caregiver. Lucy was a pure breed Shih Tzu, white hair with some light yellowish shades. She must have had another name prior to arriving at our house. We didn’t know much about her. We simply named her Lucy. It took her a while to adapt to us and respond to her new name. In about a few weeks, we noticed she put on some weight. She looked sleepy all the time. Then it was our vacation time. Mom and I left for China. We left Lucy with my brother, Xin.

            The last night we were in Beijing, Xin called in a panic mode: “I didn’t know what’s going on…and Lucy was going hysterical. She went to drag the bed and knocked down the shelves… and then she just had babies!” We were shocked. We had no idea.

            Lucy was a great mom. She practically let four puppies eat her alive. Her hair was frizzled by nurturing them all day. The puppies grew fast like wheat. We decided to keep one “boy” and one “girl.” We named them according to the look of their hair, Curly and Blondie. We had never met their dad, but supposedly he was a good-looking hunter dog with caramel colored curly hair. Lucy did well. Both Curly and Blondie were “showstoppers,” round face, button nose and dark eyes.

            Blondie was my little princess. She became the center tip of my heart. One time when I had some house construction going on, she couldn’t stand the mess and noise. She walked off to campus. Maybe she thought she was going to see my mother there, for my mom used to walk them at the University of Houston Campus every day. I lost her. I was heartbroken and cried all day and night. I put up fliers with her photo all over campus like a madwoman the next day. She was about 10 years old then. Luckily for the $500 award, my phone rang. I paid $500 and got her back. My friends couldn’t believe the woman would take the money. But the vet was right. She suggested it to me: “Listen, with $500 they can buy a puppy and they would give up your old dog.” That was exactly what happened.

            Blondie had several health issues when she reached 12 years old, breast tumor, skin allergies, and finally kidney failure. I took her home after the vet’s final diagnosis. We just wanted her to feel comfortable during her last days. My parents were gone in China, and so was my brother and his family. Burl and I were together. He was my only family in Houston at that time.

           When that day came, I thought she knew. She was frail and wouldn’t look at me. For days, I was soaking in tears. I shampooed her and brushed her hair before I took her in. I held her tightly. She laid softly on my chest. Her hair was blond and shining. She was still warm. Through my blurry wet vision, I saw the most gorgeous puppy with her wings.

            I couldn’t even imagine Curly would survive without Blondie. He loved Blondie. He let her always have her ways.

            He lived, but just a little more lonesome in his “Curly” way. We survived with heartache.

           I thought for sure, no more dogs after him.

            Until one day….

            To be continued.

Dumpling Thoughts for Lunar New Year’s Eve

Our Hill country home is located at the beautiful Tierra Linda Ranch in Kerrville. We work hard to arrange our short getaways from the gloriously hectic live in Houston. This time was for Lunar Chinese New Year. 2022, the year of tiger. I carried dogs in the car, Sunny and Yuanyuan, served them “first class” beverage, Spring water, and then picked up my parents. It was dark when we made the exit. We had to make a stop at the HEB. There was a Ford jeep slowly stopped at the light in front of me. After about 4 hours’ drive, I was anxious to bypass anything in front of me. But the light was red. Stop was the only option. As soon as the green light hit, the Ford motioned to right like a floating boat however into the same direction as I was going. I wasn’t sure if the car was going to stop or moving forward, since it was as slow as 3 miles an hour. I had no option other than stepping on the gas. I passed by it on the widely opened left. Habitual, maybe. It didn’t take much analysis.

As I was picking the produce, debating which bag of green beans was better, a young man called me out.

“What?’ I looked up.

“You were the one who passed by me on the way to HEB.”

“Oh…yeah?” I looked at him dumbfounded. He seemed in his late 20’s, or 30’s. Who knows, age is deceiving by looks these days, think JLo.

“That was pretty rude though.” He looked at me with certain irritation.

“Oh…I’m sorry…” I smiled behind my mask. Typical side effect of being a realtor, instant smiling with sincere apology at all confrontational situations. It worked. Within a blink, he disappeared, and I went back to the bags of green beans. He caught me off guard, however, he shook my mind and stirred my vision a little.

What was that all about?! I passed by him. That was “rude?” I’m from Houston, what did he expect?! He was in my way. What did it make him think that driving 3 miles an hour on a 35 miles lane was ‘legal?” I picked the green beans, grabbed strawberries, and threw a bunch of bananas in the basket. I had no answers in my head. I walked to the “check out.” I was eager to get back to my family and home.

The next day, I saw a posting from a colleague via Instagram, “the feeling of a car in front of you stopped at the red light…” I laughed. I was not the only one. I’m in the time zone where I work on Sunday for the coming week. I work the whole summer for the following year. I work during the holidays for the business days. The goal is to be “on top of things” and feel “one step ahead of time.” So, if anything is in front of me prevent me in doing so, I need to figure out how to bypass it and overcome it. Surely, a car wasn’t moving in front of me was just ridiculous.

But really, instead of feeling “ahead of time,” I’m mostly feeling “behind” all the time, even if I’m trying to keep up with this upbeat schedule. Planning the Holidays in the late summer would even make me feel a little ‘behind.”

Am I doing it all wrong? What would Einstein’s principle apply? Like think backward. What if the young man was right? That I should have slowed down and stayed behind him to not to be “rude.” What would be the cost of it? Arriving 5 minutes later at the destination?

A familiar melody came from the kitchen. My parents are making the special dumplings for Chinese New Years’ eve. Teresa Teng’s sweet voice was saying:

“甜蜜蜜, 你笑的多甜蜜。 在哪里, 在哪里我见过你。。。“

I paused. “Should I tell her to turn off the music because I’m writing. Or Should I go to the guest house to continue?”

“你的笑容多么熟悉。 啊, 在梦里, 在梦里见过你。。。 ”

Was it that angelic voice? Or was it the aroma from cooking? Miracle happened. I dropped what I was working on. I kissed my husband and puppies. I walked towards the kitchen. Maybe I was wrong. All things could wait. It was only me who couldn’t wait. I poured a glass of chilled Pino Grigio, Gigi’s favorite. It’s the New Year’s Eve after all. Hanna was right, “Nothing a glass of wine won’t cure.” It’s time to pause, appreciate, and cheer to the Year of Tiger!


Our chief economist of Stewart Title, Ted Jones, is one of the most sought-after speakers in our industry. He’s always fully booked all year along, especially during the beginning of the year. Luckily, Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Houston got him for a luncheon on January 21, just in time to kick off the Lunar Chinese New Year. Surely, I clicked registration immediately. To me, he’s not only this superman with a crystal ball of economy but also a dear friend. As busy as he was, he called to congratulate me on the book release. He has always been encouraging with a great spirit. He complimented our team on our accomplishments. “Remember to save me an autographed book,” he said. “I really want to read it!”

            I carefully wrapped the book and came to the luncheon. Waiting to start, Ted sat at a corner by himself outside the banquet room. What a perfect time for our visit! Any minute I could talk to this man was gold. As I was excitedly sharing my business model and marketing approach, I was happy to know that it was the same concept of “Omnichannel Marketing” that he was going to present at the luncheon. “Great minds think alike!” How exciting that we are on this adventure together!

            My brokerage is a boutique realty. The JWang Module includes: JWang Properties and JWang Media (a custom video production to promote real estate business). After the release of “Girl Wears Those Shoes” on 12/14/2021, it seems like the two productions have come together beautifully and integrated as a streamline of the JWang concept with the mission of bringing “joy and value” to our clients and industry. The new site of is in the working process to reflect the module, content, and philosophy.

            Nonetheless, we live in a world of “instant gratification. “Fast and graphic” information tends to get more attention than a paragraph of a blog. Websites won’t do the “talking” without a sufficient presence via social media. The dynamic of social media platforms has changed our lives in so many ways, not just in communication and interaction with one another but a whole ordeal of broad spectrum of marketing and promotion.

            Ted showed us his “Omnichannel marketing,” which includes social media, email, TV, radio, websites, direct mail, and other channels. His chart looks like “many roads to Rome.” It is. And we have so many affordable options now to get ourselves out there, compared to the days before Facebook.

            In retrospect, when Gigi O jumped into real estate with zero clientele, what could she do to market herself other than informing her families and limited numbers of friends? Image marketing was what she adopted to try, such as advertising in newspapers with photos, signage with photos…that wiped out all her savings but didn’t make her phone ring. It was the year 2002 for a brand-new REALTOR. She fought the fight and continued the journey.

Follow Gigi O, “Girl Wears Those Shoes.” Her spirit and endeavor will put faith in you. No matter what kind of the challenges ahead, if she could make it then, you can do it now!

Teresa Teng, a Culture Icon

A friend’s young daughter loved the story of Gigi O. One thing she was really excited to learn was the iconic singer Teresa Teng (邓丽君) and her legendary songs, like “Sweet (甜蜜蜜).” I was floored. During the 80’s, as a kid, I was thrilled to receive a cassette of Teresa Teng’s music from somebody, and somebody got it from Hong Kong or Taipei.  Her music was prohibited in public at that time in mainland China. The government banned it as “lewd” music. I didn’t know what “lewd” meant but couldn’t help falling in love with her angelic voice and the enchanting melody, immediately. I wasn’t the only one. Her music spread out in China like a wildfire, red hot just like her. For more than two decades, she was not just a pop singer, she was a culture icon. Even till today, it’s very true that “Wherever there are Chinese people, there is the music of Teresa Teng.” Never mind for somebody like me who can hardly sing, except for after two glasses of wine, I can sing a few of her songs. Her music has been tattooed in my heart. Her legacy was the Chinese culture I know.

I’m privileged to share a glimpse of her in “Girl Wears Those Shoes:” For instance, at her parents’, Gigi would fall asleep in Teresa’s music. It was like the gentle rain drops that comforted her, soothed her pain, and delighted her heart. It made her feel she was home. No matter how tough it was out there, she could rest tonight, and let tomorrow be another day!

“Is there a Quick Answer?”

“So, you still haven’t answered my question: did it start with the Girl or Those Shoes?”

During the publishing phase, I was fortunate to have a great conversation with Frank Billingsley, the Texas beloved weatherman and author of Swabbed & Found. One of the things he reminded me was, “You Realtors want everything ‘quick.’ ‘Quick buy.’ ‘Quick sell.’ ‘Quick close…’ Quick, quick…” I laughed. True. But, compared to retail sales, real estate is still a “slow braise.’ Every transaction is a process. The quickest close may still take a week and half. Too long, right?! We live in a world of “quick” mentality: “lose 20 pounds in 10 days!” “Erase wrinkles in 3 days!” Oh, here is my favorite, “Flip a house and bank $50,000 without even owning the house, overnight!” Guess what?! I actually sat in that class myself and tried to comprehend how it would work. And I almost threw $5000 to join that “club.” What a scam! Yet, these slogans draw crowds. Until one day we could humbly accept the term of life, a journey to greatness, we would free ourselves from the mentality of “quick and quicker.” As in the book, at Hanna’s Boutique lounge, Gigi was feeling the softness of the red velvet couch while indulging herself the Silhouette’s signature Martini, Poppy Blush. Time slowed down. Moments were to be savored. She didn’t want it to be over. She wanted it to last longer. We’ll learn that it’s the “process” that produces magic, that to dedicate ourselves to it would make our hearts sing with joy.

“Call me Crazy!”

A great colleague and friend called before Christmas, “I started to read your book, and I love it! Wow, how did you put it all together…that’s just crazy!” “It’s official,” I said. “Call me Crazy!” We laughed. Before I go into how I came up with the idea and how I started to develop the landscape of the story, I’d say to write a novel simply because of: “I have to.” All the things in my head had been scrambling for a while until they were ready to burst out. I believe all the writers out there can relate. It’s not like “I should write a novel and then I’ll just do it.” No. It doesn’t work like that, at least not to me. The rest of it was devoting myself into the journey of Gigi O, Hanna, Ronny, Sally…. It was work. And “love” kept me going. The process of creating lit my soul with such joy like nothing else. “Freshly off the boat” writer with no experience, I only thought, if anybody could tell a REALTOR’s story, it would be me. So, here we go, like in the Book, Gigi O said: “I’ve got to start somewhere, right?!” This is my debut.