My Etsy journey, revisited.

 

About 4 years ago at the prime age of 22, while in college, I joined Etsy and started my own shop as a way to let my artistic side shine, as well as make some extra cash. At the time and as you could probably imagine I was a very young and immature minded girl with no main focus. Therefore, many of my ideas for my Etsy shop (thinking about it now) were very disorganized and not amazing. All I cared about at the time was making money. It also got quite expensive and tiresome, posting various listings and only making little profit. After a while, I decided to just shut it down for a more stable income.

As March approaches, and I’m about to be laid off from my job, I’ve decided to try this again.  I’ve accomplished a lot to this point — gained more life experience, met a lot of people, and got my heart broken along the way.  But, I’m more focused now than ever, as I slowly approach 30 and a whole new stage in my life and love.  I am recreating and rebranding my Etsy shop, and I’ve decided to capitalize on that idea of “the perfect love”. I’m calling my new shop – The Little Love Letter – an idiosyncratic approach to the typical love letter.

Be innovative. Be spontaneous. Think outside the box and give a loved one something that really shows you care.

 

 

It’s a part of me.

The other day, my new found friend, Trevor, asked me a question that caught me off guard.

We were at The Curb in Kaimuki, doing our usual routine of sipping on a cup of coffee and hanging with the other Curbies.  Unexpectedly, he came from across the room to sit in the seat right next to me.  He waited until the massive crowd of people left the shop, and then said, “hey, I’ve been wanting to ask about your legs?”

Now, any random bystander would’ve probably misunderstood that and thought that was just his creepy way of possibly hitting on me or something.  But, no.  As soon as I heard the question, and judging by the tone of his voice, I knew.  I knew what he was trying to ask.  And, that’s why it caught me off guard, because I could’ve sworn he was there the day I talked to a bunch of other Curbies about my disability.  But, I guess not..

Today, I got that same question…again, from someone else.  And so, I’ll repost this..

For many years, I’ve tried my best to hide this part of myself from everyone.  Other than my family, only a handful of friends close to me truly know.

I was born with a disability.  A disability known as cerebral palsy.  If you google it, Wikipedia will tell you that it is “a general term for permanent, non-progressive movement which causes physical disability.”  In my case, it has affected my legs, and more specifically, the tendons in my ankles.  If you’ve read the book (or seen the movie), “My Left Foot”…my situation is basically the same, just not as drastic.  And well, for me, it’s more so my RIGHT foot. Lol.

For many years, I’ve gotten away with hiding it.  It’s the reason why I always prefer to wear pants, long dresses/skirts, shoes over slippers. Other than my family, only a few my friends have been fortunate to know the truth…for some, it was already obvious. For others, they weren’t sure and decided to ask about it.  Only recently, and I mean a few years, did I start to let go and tell more people.  Before that and even still today, I make up stories about how I twisted my ankle or stubbed my toe, etc.  And now, well at 26, It’s about time I accept it as a part of who I am.

To be completely honest, I absolutely hate when people pinpoint my disability.  Growing up, my family taught me to be strong and independent.  Not to let my disability define me and not to depend on anything or anyone too much. Make sure people see me for my personality and my abilities, and not for the way I walk.  So when I see people stare or when people stop to ask me about it, I won’t lie, it really bothers me.  But at the same time…it’s a part of who I am, and it’s not necessarily something a lot of people know about, so it’s to be expected.

I won’t go into complete detail about my disability here, but I will leave you with the video below…which I had to create for a “disability and equality” class I took in college.

 

I used to feel so alone in the city.

I once came across a quote on a Starbucks cup…

“I used to feel so alone in the city.  All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for many years. And then I realized, you just say, “Hi.” They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.” –Augusten Burroughs

 

Well,

I used to feel so alone in this city.

All these gazillions of people and then me, on the outside.

…how do I meet a new person? I was stumped  by that for many years.

And then I realized, you just say, “hi”.

They may ignore me. Or they may say “hi” back.

And then, it’s just friendship forever…or The Curb.

 

With Christmas behind us, now comes the wondering minds of others, asking how the day went… for me, it went surprisingly well. And I say that because with my family not being within close physical reach, and my roommate having already made his own plans to spend time with his own family and his girlfriend, there wasn’t much that I had planned for the day.

I’ll tell you a little secret — A small part of me really really hates Christmas. Not because it’s a time where gift giving tends to eat away at your wallet, but because it reminds me of the many times when my heart got ripped out and stomped on, not literally but of course, figuratively.

You see…Christmas Eve last year was the day that the guy who I fell so madly in love with, who I saw as my best friend and soulmate, broke my heart and ended not only what little of a “relationship” we had, but also our friendship all together. And around this time, when I was about 19, was a time when the first guy I ever fell in love with broke my heart via text message while he was in the military — long story short, he had a baby with another girl and married her.

Yeah, so you see…Christmas has quite the negative connotation for me. Which is why I said, this Christmas was one of the best I’ve had in a very long time.

The Curb Kaimuki is my saving grace.  Thank you Reyna for wanting to work on Christmas. Thank you to Devin and Ross for those amazing ginger cookies. Thank you Ziad for being so open with me. Thank you Jesse for your amazing musical skills, your killer personality, and for letting us all kick it at your crib after hours! Thank you to the countless smiling faces that walked through the doors of The Curb on Christmas.

You all made it better than I expected!!

Thank you Sumner for saying hi to me three years ago through the little window of that blue truck outside PPC, meeting you and all the other Curbies has forever changed my life.

#ILoveYouAll

Updating my “bucket list”

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, where it’s at now and where I want it to be in the future.  I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and I should probably start doing that.  Every time someone asked me what was on my bucket list, I always said I didn’t really have one…because really I don’t.  I don’t really like to live according to a list…I just LIVE, that’s all. If that makes sense….kinda like, live in the moment and see where life takes me.  Heck, I don’t even really plan out what I’ll do for the day.

In some way though, I guess I do have a bucket list…a more sophisticated one, if you will. Of just a bunch of life goals I want to accomplish before I die. (and if they don’t happen, I would hope someone close to me would try to accomplish them in my honor) :)

GET A MASTERS DEGREE — In either International Business or Entrepreneurship. 

LEARN MORE — “Learn more.” Sounds stupid and a little vague.  But really, I want to gain more knowledge about a lot of things…especially marketing, web design, photography, even coffee and baking. (It’s probably a good thing then, that my boss is making me attend a web design class for a few days.) 

BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL PERSON — Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally.  Most people might disagree with me and be like, “What?! Girl, you’re crazy. You’re already beautiful all around.”  Although I can see how you might think that’s true, I personally know that there are certain parts about me physically, mentally, and emotionally that need to change.  Which is partially why I started yoga and meditation in the first place. 

OWN A BUSINESS — I already have an idea in my head. A pretty cool one at that, all thanks to Thomas Obungen. If not a sake and dessert bar, it’s going to be a photography cafe. I already have certain things for it planned out in my head and written down on paper, now it’s just a matter of when I’ll be able to execute it.  Probably not for many more years. 

TRAVEL THE WORLD — Well, maybe not the ENTIRE world.  But, I do especially want to go to Japan, China, Thailand, England, France, and Australia.  Really though, and people might already know this due to a review I once wrote on Yelp, but I’m on a mission to find the best coffee shop in the world :p

PHILANTHROPY — That’s right.  I want to be a Philanthropist.  I’m a big believer in giving back to the community.  So, that is definitely one thing I plan to do, preferably using the “photography” part of my cafe as a vessel.  I also want to possibly start my OWN charity geared towards a cause close to my heart. 

And lastly…but absolutely NOT least (because I’ve talked about it many times before.)

FIND TRUE LOVE A love that is not forced, but natural.  A love that is based off one’s connection with the other person, and not purely physical.  A love that keeps progressing and never stops growing.  Sounds cheesy. But, it’s what I want.  Heck, it’s what every girl wants.  I want someone who will make me smile every day of my life, who I can have fun with, that I can trust with every secret that I have, and who will support me and all of my dreams, and of course, in return I’ll do the same. (After all, with all that money I plan to have in the future…I need someone to share it with) ;) Lol.

My so-called “bucket list” here hasn’t changed all that much.  Except, I do want to add a few things which might actually fall within a few categories above.

Lately, I’ve been yearning to live better. By live better I mean, in all ways possible. I want to live healthier and happier. So, from now, I plan to eat healthier, exercise more, and most of all live happier.  By that I mean, to be happy, maybe not ALL the time, but most of the time.  Focus more on the good things around me, rather than the negative.

Also, I’ve also been wanting to continue my language learning. And, a recent Hawaiian History film event at the Curb with Mr. Ron Williams really inspired me. Not only to learn more about the state I live in, but also to take on its native language. My friend, Juli Burden gave me a brilliant idea today, by taking the “word of the day” approach.  And in fact, that’s what I intend to do, not just with learning more about the Hawaiian language, but also with the other languages I’m learning (Japanese, Chinese, and Korean). :D

I’ve seen the light! Lol.

Collect memories, not things.

Collect memories, not things.

This is something I’ve come to realize is very important in life, especially now.

An issue with humanity I notice is that we have a tendency to take others for granted, especially those we love the most. We may not do it purposefully, but life just takes over and other things end up a priority over loved ones, because in the back of our minds we assume that we’ll “just see them tomorrow.”

The truth is, life is short. And honestly, you never really know when the person you “made plans to spend time with” will be gone forever, whether it’s your parents, siblings, grandparents, best friends, or even the random person you live with who you only met months ago but already feel like it’s been years…

As a cancer, it’s only natural that I have a sensitive side. I mean look, I already have a journal with a bunch of messages dedicated to my most important loved ones should something happen to me sooner than expected. Truth: I add at least one person to that journal every month.

But that’s not what this blog post is about.  I’m actually dedicating this one to my recently deceased great-aunt Veronica Tolentino, as well as her sister (my lovely grandma) Consuelo Yamane.  Lately I have to admit, I have been MIA socially, within my circle of best friends, even with my lovely new roommate (who I feel I still have a lot to learn about as well as from him), but more specifically my family.  My aunty Taling (as the family would refer to her as) was more than just an aunt.  She was like a second grandmother to me.  She was a nice reminder of my grandma when I couldn’t actually be with or see her.  She and my grandma, together or not, have taught me so much throughout my lifetime, and I feel there is still a lot for me to learn.  Thus, there is so much I wanted to say and share with her, people I wanted her to eventually meet.  But now, although I have come to terms with the situation, I can’t believe she is gone forever, and I will never get to really share all those memories I wanted to share.

Last night, while on the phone with my grandma, she brought up the fact that her sister and brother are now, “paving the path for her to join them.” And although I don’t really want to think about that, especially not right now, I know that it’s only a matter of time…because well, life is short.

So here it goes,

Aunty Taling,

I love you with all my heart.  It still beats me up inside that the opportunity arose a few weeks before you passed to finally get to see you, and I didn’t jump at the chance.  Even knowing you were sick, and breast cancer was winning this battle you had been fighting for years.  I may not have been your granddaughter, but you will forever have a special place in my heart. You have taught me so much that I will forever be grateful for. There is so much I wish I could have expressed to you.  Thank you for your unconditional love.  Thank you for always being there for me, for teaching me so much, for all the motivation and strength.  At times when I felt so homesick (while living here on Oahu) you were always a nice reminder of home and my own grandma.  There were times when I would forget that you were actually my aunty, and for that kind of love I thank you.

Now…

Grandma,

I know that your still here, and there is still time for me to create memories with you. And to share the most beautiful parts of my life that I have acquired while living on my own. But, it scares me that I may not get the chance to..that life and its lemons will take over and somehow hinder those opportunities to do all of that.  Thus, grandma, I hope you do know that I love you.

You are one of the most important people in my life.  You have taught me so much already.  Trust me, I would probably not be able to survive on my own without everything you’ve taught me — my ability to cook, especially.  Oh, and all that make-up advice you gave me growing up, I thought it was silly then.  But now, I realize it is essential.  Eyeliner and mascara, yes I use it. Red lipstick, I use it on special occasions. Parting my hair to the side, hated it before, but yes I do that now.  And, Pond’s Moisturising Cream has become a part of my daily routine.  And, I know there’s still a lot you can teach me.

And grandma, I know you still contemplate my decision to move away from home and often toy with the idea of me moving back home.  Although I probably do hope to come back to Kaua’i to live someday, it may not be for a while.  Please don’t be upset or sad however, moving here may have been one of the best decisions of my life.  I have learned so much, and met so many amazing people who I believe will be a part of my life for a long time.  Some of whom I wish you could meet, and aunty Taling too…

— My coffee enthusiast friends, I would have to say have been an essential part of my adulting process. Heck, my friends Sumner and Chelsie were probably two of the first people I met who I truly considered friends after moving here who were actually “new” people to me, and not someone I knew from home or because of someone I was related to. And thanks to my connection to them and the Curb, I have met so many other lovely people — Patrick, Juli, and Justin. (just to name a few)

— My wing woman Kat.  My partner in crime. The one friend from back home who I always felt safest with, even when we were out getting crazy drunk.  She was probably like a guiding light, helping me realize my potential to be great and reach my goals.

—  My most lovely coworkers, who have by now (after two years) have become family.  — Travis, my “other” brother. Jess, the other half of my sanity (at work). James, my homeboy, the one that continuously had my back, even in times when I didn’t deserve it.

— The coworker who I fell head over stupid for within the last year.  Although it may have not worked out, and he is no longer a part of my life, I still wish you could have met Liam. The first guy I would probably say I was in love with.  Many may say I was stupid, and maybe I was, but in that moment it felt special. And honestly, yes I still do care.  Do I still love him? No. But, of course I will always care…it’s only in my nature after all. But yes, I wish you could have met him too, because he not only meant a lot to me at the time, but he also taught me a lot and well, obviously was a big part of my love life.

— My former roommate, Jasmine.  She, was and well, still is a sweet girl.  Although there were things she and I didn’t agree on at times, and as of currently we are apparently no longer friends, I am still glad I met her.  She and I shared a lot of memories, and she helped me through a lot (at the time).

— And, more importantly (at least, right now) my current roommate, Kaleo. Mainly because well, we live together and are pretty much putting each other’s lives in the other’s hands for the next year. But honestly, he is the sweetest, most genuine person I have ever met.  He has his flaws, but then again what person on earth doesn’t? He is without a doubt the best roommate and one of the best friends I’ve had thus far.  I know you may have your opinions about me living with a guy, who is not my boyfriend. But trust me, there is nothing to worry about.  And if there was one person that I wanted you and aunty Taling to meet on this whole list of people that I just made, it would be him.When he first moved in, I remember he said to me, “so, you met my family. when do I get to meet yours?”  As I told him that most of my family lived on Kaua’i and more than likely he’d probably not be able to meet them unless they came here or we both flew back to see them, one person came to mind, and that was aunty Taling.  I kept hoping that one day we’d both have a day off and some freetime available to go out to Waipahu and see her.  But it never worked out.  And well, grandma I really would love for him to meet you — the woman most dear to my heart besides my mother.

Grandma, all of these people are just as dear to me as you are, and I hope that one day I’ll be able to introduce them to you. Or at the very least tell you about them, and all that they’ve taught me and inspired me to accomplish.

RIP Aunty.

26

A friend of mine, Patrick Oiye, once told me…

“You must always be happy with everything and everyone in your life. If you’re unhappy with a certain part of your life, you must change that.”

I have a small confession…

I’ve kinda been unhappy about certain things in my life for a while now.

Not necessarily with the people. Honestly, the people in my life, especially now, are some of the BEST people I have ever known and I feel so fortunate for each and every single one of them.  Most recently, my newly found roommate, Kaleo.

I feel especially fortunate to have met him. I know he has his doubts about how honest I am with him sometimes. Especially when it comes to whether or not I enjoy living with him…well, I will gladly admit that he is by far the best roommate I have ever had.  Finally, someone who is on the same page as me on almost all levels of life. He has brought some much needed fun back into my life.

But, you see…that’s also a problem.

When pretty much the only thing I look forward to every day is being at home and spending time with my roommate (who just in a matter of three months has become my best friend), there is a definite problem.  When it’s obvious to my closest friends and family that I am unhappy just based on the tone of my voice, that’s most definitely a problem. When my family is always questioning where I am and why they haven’t seen me in so long, you know something’s wrong. And, really those things are reason enough that something in my life definitely needs to change.

I said 25 was gonna be my year. The year that I finally make things happen. And, sure I made a few imprints on my path already.  But, I’m 26 and it has all finally hit me…like a freight train. Actually, more like a bunch of uncontrollable tears. And, honestly I’m just tired of being unhappy. THIS will be the year that I turn EVERYTHING around. Time for me to follow through with a bunch of things I once said I would do. Time for me to start my CAREER.

here’s to new ventures.

Has it really been two months since I last updated this thing?

And, gawd. That was quite an emotional time for me.  My broken heart was a fresh open wound and I was in a very depressed state of mind, having believed that I had found my soulmate but lost him forever to some silly high school girl.

While I still believe I’ve found my soulmate and my heart is still in a healing process, I have reached a different stage in my life.

I’ve come to a point of feeling content with everything…maybe a few weeks to a month ago. But, it ultimately hit me about a week ago, during a brief moment of insanity when all of the emotions I’ve been bottling up finally exploded and it was all aimed at my best friend 5ever, Liam.

You see, on top of my healing heart, I’ve also been under an immense amount of stress at work and with my own personal life health-wise. I will not go into detail here.
Little did I know, Liam was also dealing with his own family health crisis at the same time…which makes me feel worse about everything that was said between the two of us last week.  I’m sorry…for everything. all of it.

But, really. I’m at a different point in my life now. Yes, I will admit now that it will take a lot longer, if ever to fully mend my broken heart.  But at the same time, I can say that I have fully accepted the situation for what it is. And at the end of the day, I just want my friend back.
More than that, I want my friend(s) back. PLURAL.

Lately, I’ve been so busy with everything work, work, and more work…that sometimes I’m surprised I even breathe.  I miss my life, simple as that. I miss having fun and spending time with people, outside of work. I’m just tired…and honestly I’m feeling very very stuck.  Which is why, I’ve been trying to get unstuck….is that even a word? Well, whether it is or not, I’m sure you know what I mean. If you’ve been keeping up with my instagram, you’ll notice that I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Curb.  Why? For several reasons…

– Well, not only is it my favorite coffee shop on the island.

– But, the people who work there, not only are they some of my closest friends, but they’ve kinda grown to become my family. I love them all, every single one of them — some more than others, but nevertheless, they mean serious business to me.

– they provide my life with the fun and happiness I’ve been itching for, even if it’s the tiniest little bit of it. After a long stressful day at work or otherwise, even if it’s just seeing their lovely faces makes me smile.

– And lastly, well I sorta work here now. Well, helping out my friend Sumner really…because we all know he definitely needs the help.

I’ve also been trying to focus more on myself and my family. I mean, it makes sense considering certain circumstances. There are things I want to accomplish and places I want to see.

Recently in trying to stay focused on myself and my own personal happiness, I’ve not only been trying to surround myself with amazing friends and happy people, but I’ve also been trying to move along with my bakery/cafe ideas.
In fact, if you’ve kept up with my social media ventures you’ve probably noticed that I started a second blog that I hope to have follow the path to bakery/cafe success.

If you’re curious and/or want to join me on my journey, check it out…
cupcakesandcortados.wordpress.com

P.S. it’s still a working progress.