I asked God for a great 2015 and he delivered.

 2015 has been really good to me. It was truly one of the best years of my life! I’ll admit I prayed. I asked God for 2015 to bring me happiness, adventure and love. He definitely delivered! Me! Non-practicing-Catholic-sarcastic-but-I-still-love-my-grandma-ME! I prayed and it happened. I truly feel it was the year I discovered a new layer of awesomeness about myself and those around me, made peace with what I’ve experienced in the past and found new goals to crush in the future.

I am so grateful for what I have right in this moment. Can I just list what made my year?

  • Surprising Abbey, the bestie, with a trip to Hilo for her 30th birthday and visiting Mauna Kea
  • Having a job that allows me to have creative freedom
  • Visiting Washington, D.C. for the first time
  • Having a boss that pushes me to grow professionally
  • Jumping off the rock at Waimea Bay
  • Going to Seattle and Portland to visit my cousins
  • Losing some weight, gaining a little back, now planning to lose it all and then some again
  • My cousin Tricia is finally pregnant…with TWINS! I cried when I found out.
  • Kevin ❤
  • New Zealand – I can’t even tell you how I knocked this off my bucket list (meat pies, learning about Maori culture, etc.)
  • Surprisingly being closer to God even though I still don’t attend mass
  • Finding an adult day care that my granny loves and enjoys
  • Putting myself out in the online dating world
  • Abu Dhabi – dune bashing, visiting the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrarri World, riding camels, ATV-ing
  • Crossfit Zeus and my Zeus ‘ohana – faced my fear of crosssfit and super athletes
  • Finally feeling in control of my life – balancing friendship, family, work, travel and love

Okay, there’s just too much to list. Sure, there have been many disappointments, failures, and hardships this year, but you know when your blessings outweigh the negative. I’m truly happy. Happy. That word makes me nervous! I’ve always kinda been a Negative Nancy, pointing out that happiness doesn’t truly last forever, someone is always there to wait for you to fail and steal your thunder, but who cares? We owe it to ourselves to thank God for this moment and appreciate all that we have. As you can tell, 2015 has changed the way I perceive situations, relationships and the world around me.

One of the catalysts in this transformation is…well…I work with some of the most faithful, humble and selfless people. I have to admit that even their faith and grace towards others and myself may have rubbed off. It can’t be helped. They’re a blessing and I learn from them every single day.

Among my many blessings, this year was THE YEAR TO TRAVEL. It started with surprising Abbey for her 30th, a couple work trips to Long Beach, CA and D.C. Then I took a first-time trip to Seattle to visit my cuzzies during the summer and visited Powell’s Books in Portland (checked that off my bucket list).

Lastly, I embarked on a long awaited journey to New Zealand: land of the kiwis, epic meat pie producers of the world, Hobbit habitation land, the place to live pre-zombie apocalypse and the country I have dreamed of for years. Thanks to my friend Lani and Warren for traveling alongside me and taking me on a truly unforgettable trip. The last and final trip of 2015 was to Abu Dhabi for Brentt’s first amateur golf tournament. The only expectation I had was that it was going to be hot. Although I nearly fainted from the heat on the golf course, I was blown away by the kindness of the locals, the intricate and unconventional architecture and the food! Oh the food. Mmm…if there was a reason for you to pay me to get fat in Abu Dhabi…even New Zealand…I’d be so good, you best be quadrupling that salary!

The final touch on 2015 was my mom, dad, and brother visiting me during the holidays. Mom came down during Thanksgiving, dad a couple weeks later and Brentt for Christmas. They all came down and filled my tummy and heart with happiness. I can’t ask for more.

Exactly one year ago, I wrote down my resolutions for 2015. They were to face fears, drink more, enjoy life and be happy. I didn’t drink more, but I’ve accepted that I’m officially allergic to alcohol and it’s best if I just drink on occasion. My goal in 2016 is to love on those that need it (no matter how annoying they are), face fears (yes, again), lose weight (sadly same resolution, different year – but with a little progress), be grateful, pray more, read more, edit myself a little less when it comes to writing and be present. Like right now, I’m present mentally, physically, and spiritually in my element of typing at Starbucks and inhaling burnt coffee grinds listening to bad hipster music…all right before I head into work this morning.

Happy 2016 y’all!

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Saying Goodbye

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It’s so sad to say goodbye to my HPU familia. I’ll definitely miss my colleagues and students. HPU is the second university I’ve taught at and it has been the most stress-free and relaxing job I’ve ever had. My colleagues are caring, creative and insightful. They’ve given me career and life advice that I’ll probably refer to time and time again.

Teaching others the Spanish language and culture is something that sort of fell into my lap and I thank God for the wonderful experience. As for my students, they’ve opened my eyes to new things throughout the years.

One of my biggest accomplishments is inspiring one of my students to apply for grad school and become a Spanish teacher. I like to think of it as a perfect way to (maybe temporarily) end my career in education. I’ve contributed one more Spanish teacher to the world.

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I’m so lucky to have met one of my good friends, Sue Haglund (on my left), while working at HPU. She kicks okole in everything that she does and is finishing up her dissertation this year. She, too, has opened my eyes to new things and always offers another perspective. As for the rest of my HPU family, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you all!

My new job at Easter Seals Hawaii, a Chicago conference and a new life mission

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I’m proud to say that I’m a new member of the development team at Easter Seals Hawaii! I never thought I would get back into public relations and marketing until my good friend Umma recommended that I apply for an open position. Upon my first week on the job, I was told that I would be flying to Chicago for a marketing and public relations conference at the Easter Seals headquarters. It was amazing and eye-opening. I’ve met some really altruistic and insanely intelligent marketing and PR managers that dedicate their lives to the beneficiaries of Easter Seals.

In addition to meeting fellow public relations and marketing managers and learning about the impact of having a news background (which I am very proud of), I was given a personal tour of the headquarters office in Willis Tower. I instantly became inspired by the quote that is embedded into the wall of the lobby. “Your life and mine shall be valued not by what we take…but by what we give,” said the founder of Easter Seals, Edgar Allen. This is something I’ll have to frame in my office to remind me of my mission in case any unnecessary stress arrives.

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After the conference, I did some exploring on my own. It was my first time in Chicago and I had never seen snow until this Wednesday. Crazy, huh? Aside from freezing my tail off, it was nice to see what people in Chicago ate, wore and behaved. Based on my observations over the past three days, I can tell you a few things: Chicagoans love sandwiches, pizza, dark clothes and they always joke around. Although I wasn’t a deep-dish fanatic, I did enjoy the regular pizza and cafes on every corner. People in Chicago love their coffee, heck, if it were 30 degrees out, I’d love coffee that much too. I ran into every coffee shop on every corner just to warm up. This island girl can’t take the cold weather! Can you see my teeth chattering in the first photo?

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This photo pretty much sums up my experience. I took a head cold and a new life mission as souvenirs and I’m full of ideas for my new job. Now preparing for takeoff…here we go!

A 15-minute break from reality

Whew! Isn’t this a relaxing site? Well, it’s probably not the most gorgeous view of Hawaii but it’s a nice change from the daily grind downtown. I’ve been working seven days a week for the past two months and although I wouldn’t trade my current jobs for the world, (unless it’s for Travel Channel), it’s nice to take a breather once in a while. It’s a bit humid and calm here in Hawaii Kai. This is the backside of Island Brew Coffeehouse, one of my favorite cafés on the island.

I’ve taken it upon myself to set some selfish goals before 2012 is over. Only now have I realized that it is the fourth day of November and I’ve been on autopilot for a while (working, cleaning my house, working, saving money, working…and oh, working). I make it a point to take some time to treat myself to some of life’s luxuries. So here are some snapshots of the little ways I try to keep sane and reward myself for working hard.

This is my mini-haul from Forever21. I spent a total of $36 dollars on two shirts, an Amour necklace and shoes. Luckily there was a 21% discount promo code. I’m constantly on the lookout for deals.

I finally got to catch up with my younger cousin Momo this past week. We went to Panya Bistro at Ala Moana. They’re known for their Laksa and salads. Even their salads fill you up with tiger shrimp and tofu. They also have the best ume martinis and Japanese cheesecake on the island.

Lastly, in my small circle of best friends, it is imperative that we celebrate each other’s birthdays with a bang. It was Healani and Janel’s birthdays during the past two weeks and I was excited to get out for a bit. Hanging with my girls is always therapeutic and fun. P.S. those are Jan’s sexy legs.

As for the rest of my selfish goals, I’m aiming to finish that design project that I’ve started, start promoting my t-shirt line (seriously) and getting that massage I’ve been needing all year. I’m still trying to figure out the rest.

 

On my way home from work…

…the sky was turning purple and lucky thing I had my DSLR in my trunk. This is one thing I love about working in Kaneohe. It’s country, it’s a little ghetto and you really can’t beat the beautiful scenery. These shots, however, were taken on my drive home through Waimanalo.

 

I usually listen to island music on my long journey home to unwind, but Frank Ocean made his way onto my playlist and paved the mood for the rest of the way.

You may be wondering why the sequencing of the photos don’t make any sense. Well, that’s because I was chasing the sunset towards Hawaii Kai. It was dark in Kaneohe and Kailua by the time I made it to see the sun go down from my house.