Confessions Of A Closet Gangsta Rap Listener…

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There are some days I can’t wait to get in the car and turn up my own music! I have this playlist that only a select few have (had the honor or a have good laugh) of witnessing me jamming to.

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And this playlist, Yo! this playlist… has got me through lots of late night work! I used to “study” to this playlist! That Big Sean “I Don’t F**k With You gave me life (and still does). And no joke, I get ready for work with Shmurda!

Lately, Kendrick Lamar has been on repeat. Not to mention, Post Malone’s new song, “Rockstar”. Rake It Up with my girl Nicki Minaj.

Hey, you can take a girl from the hood, but not the hood from the girl!

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Etch(ing) & Sketch(ing) Life

There is a silent struggle I’ve been trying to deal with for the past few months and it is the constant struggle between, “Where I Thought I Would Be In Life Vs. Where I Actually Am.”

A year ago, I was so sure of where I wanted to be, what I wanted to be doing, and how I would do it. Today, in the quiet corners of my mind, I often ask myself, “What am I doing with my life? Where am I headed? What is my plan? Hashtag, Looser”. Then I get to sulking, just answering myself, “I don’t know.. anymore.”

I know that I can’t let one bad apple hinder my growth or question my ability to achieve my goals, but, yet, it weighs me down. I can’t help but to think, maybe I don’t have what it takes to become that version of me I thought I would be a year ago. So then I begin to re-evaluate everything, starting all over again from scratch,  kind of like shaking the etch-and-sketch. With that an overwhelming feeling of starting over, or more like moving on to the next chapter,  with a clean slate (canvas) forward.

Times like these, (my little moments of epiphany) where there is a lot of soul searching involved, I cannot deny there is so much to be thankful for.

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I’ve resorted to doing things that make my soul, my inner divinity, happy and peaceful. I’ve never been one to stay in the negatives for too long. I always find that good outweighs the bad. Always.

I’m slowly picking up the camera, perhaps getting back out there again. Photography has always been a part of my life, capturing moments for people, and conveying my vision into the stillness of a photo is what I’m good at. There’s many factors to being a good photographer besides the right equipment and having the eye for it. The personality of a photographer has a lot to do with it, because you have to deal with people. And that’s what I’ve been realizing lately, even when I’m at work, is that I am truly a people person. I have a knack for picking up people’s energy and conversing with them and making everyone feel like “ohana.”

If there’s anything you want to know about me, is that, I have been a scrapbooker, or “Keeper of Memories” since I was like 3rd grade! The other day, I caught my daughter and her friends looking at an album I made when I was a teenager to my first trip to Disneyland, and she said, “It was so cool,” and she and her friends want to do this too.
Documenting life with photos and stories, has always made my soul happy, simply because I find myself “living” life and recapping them in photos + words so that I can share the moments with my family and friends.

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Moments, that’s what life is about. When I sit there and remind myself of that, everything else just falls to a mere second. So I will continue to do what makes me happy, try to worry less, and stop comparing myself to others because comparison is thee ultimate thief to self love.

Just so glad, that this silly man puts a smile to my face, daily.

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The Big Four…Oh

As I often do on my birthday, I’d like to share some life lessons that I’ve learned this year because we’re always learning and growing— at least, we should be — even a year or two ago seems like another lifetime in terms of what I’ve learned about life, and I find it incredibly useful to write these life lessons lists — not only as potential guidance for others, but also as a way for me to reflect on how far I’ve come (and how far I still have to go!). This year has been a transformative one for me in so many ways, so here are just a few of the things I’ve taken to heart this year:

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Dear Izzy,

Today you begin high school… (tear, sniff, sniff, tear) Phew, where does time go?

Wasn’t it just yesterday you were in Preschool or Kindergarten?

Gosh, it seems like it was just yesterday you were tagging along with me everywhere I went, like when we lived in Alaska. I used to take you to the Scrapbook Store that mommy worked at and you would help me “scan” things in. We would wear matching outfits and you would pretend to put on makeup while tip toeing on a stool next to me to see what color lipstick I picked for the day. You had the cutest voice and giggle! I loved hearing you “pretend” you were cooking for a baking show as you baked us, yet another cake. You were and still are, very creative. You loved drawing! I think we had a drawing a day!

You know, I was ready and prepared (mentally as a parent) for your brothers to go to high-school, because they had one another. But with you, I was not ready for it. You, on the other hand, were always ready to do all the “big kid” stuff. Look at those photos of you in Pre-K and Kindergarten, confident and always awaiting the next adventure.

How I wish I could hold on to you a little longer. Even though I was a stay at home mom to you and your brothers, it doesn’t seem to be long enough. I’ve always felt my time with you was cut a bit short, as you were going to middle school, I was trying to figure myself out to and finishing up school myself. But no matter how much I struggled to balance it all, you were always so understanding and patient with me.

Now look at you, a Freshmen in high-school, entering a new chapter in your life with what seems to be the pinnacle moment for most teenagers. A time to be with your friends, join the many clubs, attend football games, go to dances, and maybe even date.. (Ask your dad about that). You’ve witnessed your brother’s high school years (some good and some not too good) and you also saw the heartbreak of each brother when we’ve had to change schools in the middle of the year. So many changes for everyone, but we hope staying in one place for a little while longer, will give you the opportunity your brothers never got, to enjoy high school in its entirety, the way your dad and I did, with all of our friends!

I hope this new adventure is filled with many twists and turns, I meant that in a good way. But I know, as a teenager in high school, your going to be faced with so many new situations, some that we can help you with, but I know there will be times you will have to figure out on your own. I know this is the time, where I need to step back and let you go just a bit to give you that freedom you need to be who you are. Just know that, your dad and I will be there for you no matter what. We will always listen, and I know you don’t like to hear it, but we were once teenagers too.

So, embrace all these milestones sweetie, this new adventure of being a high-schooler with your girlfriends. We will always be your biggest cheerleaders! We love you and are so proud of you, everyday!

Love Your (Cool-Ass-Mom) and Your (Just Cool) Dad

Goals With Soul

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I’ve been reading The Desire Map, and kind of taking it slow, trying to really dig deep and do some soul searching. Desire Mapping is a holistic, life planning tool that helps spur our thinking about our “core desired feelings” and how to use them to start creating some “goals with soul.”

I’ve been thinking and adding to my list when I ask myself “What I Desire…”
Keep in mind

  • Desire is the engine of creation
  • It infuses us with the courage to do the most noble acts
  • Steers our pleasure
  • It is the root of our divine impulse to evolve
  • Desire leads the way home

What I desire:
I desire to be present with my family, to spend the rest of my days with my husband (laughing hand in hand), to paint, to scrapbook, to keep creating, to visit a winery, to travel with my husband (France, Italy, Germany, or even Oregon), read more books, to encourage and steer my children to the right direction, get more tattoos, do charity work/find a way to give back, go to more art museums (MOMA), master kerning, learn the programs, speak another language, try new recipes, write more,  challenge myself physically, to work hard but play harder.

What do you desire in this life?

Foodie Connoisseur In The Making

In case you didn’t know, I-LOVE-TO-EAT. I wish I could say the same for working out right now, but that’s another story. I enjoy various cuisines and trying new things and thrive on finding “new eats.” A big part of why I love trying new foods is growing up in a diverse cultural state like Hawaii. This opened up my eyes and taste buds to explore various kinds of foods. Luckily, the love of my life shared the same passion, food. We have been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit in his 20+ year military career that allowed us to live in so many different cities, therefore, trying new food! Today we ventured out to Nola, we’ve been seeing this place pop up on our Instagram Feed and since trying our first beignet in a food truck in Austin, we have been on the lookout for some closer to us. From the menu we tried: The Classic Beignets, A La Carte Pancakes & Sausage, The Nola Brunch Plate (Scrambled Eggs, Grits, Fried Green Tomato, Praline Bacon), Bread Pudding French Toast, and a side of Fried Oysters. (I know random choice by the hubby). The verdict: Yum, Yum, Yum! I enjoyed Rudy’s choice of the Nola Brunch Plate, those grits tho were delicious! This is the first time I’ve had “fried” oysters, I usually like them raw or slightly grilled. So I was wondering how the breading would hold because oysters are juicy and retain water. My verdict, it was alright. I think it’s because I like them more fresh. All in all, I enjoyed this quaint little eatery. I’ve got a few more food adventures that were discovered this week alone. Till then, Happy Eating!

Smile, turned upside down…

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Murphy’s Law states that “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong..” And honestly, lately that’s exactly what it feels like. Almost like I’m tumbling down this steep hill and I’m taking with me all the bad shit that life is throwing at me. Just when I thought, “Oh it can’t get worst than this… oh but it does.” Today was a prime example of getting knocked down (over and over again). I literally felt like huddling in a dark corner and yelling at the world, “Why Me?” But, the human spirit can surprise you with it’s resilience and ability to get back on it’s feet no matter what, we bear down and get into survival mode, for me, it’s the unwillingness to let this “darkness” take over. Also, it helps to be surrounded by people that love and support you. There is a reason why God says, “Two is better than one…”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Right now life has taken some major twists and turns for my family and I, but I am using this time to step back and find the clarity that I need. I’ll be digging deep doing some deep soul searching. A while ago, I bought a book recommended from a dear friend called, The Desire Map. At the time I bought it, I felt to busy, to caught up with life, to really sit and really submerge myself in the book. True, right now, it seems as though my smile has turned upside down, but I know it won’t last for long.