2012 in Review

Once again, it’s time for my “Year in Review” post. 2012 has been monumental, in both good ways and bad. I have experienced so much overwhelming happiness and gut-wrenching sadness this year; to the extent that I have never felt before.

At the beginning of 2012, I was still riding off the amazing high from our wedding and holiday season a few months before. The keyword for this year was “Ready.” AMN was beginning to take its official form, Ninong’s was growing slowly but surely from the year before, and we had just launched Creative Cartel. In my heart of hearts I really thought I had control of everything while mowing down everything in my way. But little did Charlie and I know that we were only wading our feet in the shallow end of the pool that was 2012.

March was a BIG month for me. I was about to take a scary leap with Creative Cartel that has led us to where we are today – our iPhone and iPad cases. Oh goodness, I had no idea what to expect! But my expectations have exceeded far beyond what I ever thought. I just need to take a moment to thank everyone for their kindness and faith in our products/company. Without all of you, we would be nothing!

This spring, AMN was also in its beginning phases and slowly growing momentum. We were slowly growing our team to who it is today. I can’t tell you guys enough how much I love these people. We have pulled through some major ups and downs which has only made us stronger. This year, we were able to launch 2 of our products – Assemble Magazine and Traklife Radio. Seeing the stats from these 2 products grow throughout the year has been so rewarding. I cannot wait until you all see what we have in store for 2013!

My dad also went home to the Philippines in March. Whenever someone goes on vacation at the bakery, I always fill in. And one day, while unloading groceries from the car, I looked up at my mom who was cooking in the back and I said, “I KNOW! Ube pancakes!” She looked at me perplexed and had no idea what I was talking about. After I explained to her my idea, she gave me the green light to try them and see if they would be any good. A week later, Charlie and I bought the ingredients and made them for my mom and aunts to try – they approved! The rest is history. Since we started selling our pancakes we have grown exponentially! On top of our growing retail customer base we also gained some very important wholesale accounts – we are beyond grateful for the success of our little shop!

Needless to say, I have more than enough for be thankful for this year. And I’ve got to tell ya, that was just the tip of the iceberg. But the way I see it, all these good things came at a price. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful and blessed. But if there’s something I learned this year it’s that nothing in this world comes free. Everything comes at a price. Where there is bad, there is good – where there is good, there is bad. We will not truly know happiness without sadness. And with all the great things that came in 2012, 2 of the saddest moments in my life happened within 2 months of each other.

On September 4, 2012, I got a call that would change my life forever. Charlie’s groomsman, Assemble’s Traklife Director, my fellow dreamer – our very good friend Ray Ray – passed away fighting a heroic battle against leukemia. This was the first time in my adult life that someone so close to me had passed away. And if you know me or have read my blog, it devastated me to my whits end. It devastated so many people.

Then, on November 4th, exactly 2 months after losing Ray I got a call from my Dad and I found out my Lolo passed away. I didn’t know that my heart could break into that many pieces. To see my family shaken, to feel the pain and sorrow I felt…it was unbearable. To say the very least, I was incredibly heart broken. <———- Understatement of the year!

I cried. I cried hard. I would wake up in the middle of the night and need to get up to wipe my tears. I’d cry when I woke up the next morning to go to work. I’d cry when I was driving. I’d cry when I would hear a song that reminded me of those 2 amazing men that touched my life in such a big way. To be honest, I still cry to this day and I don’t think it’ll ever get easier.

2012 was a hard lesson. It was one of the best and worst years I’ve had. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands of time, do things differently. I wish every single day that I could just wake up and give Ray and my Lolo a big hug and kiss. But I know that wouldn’t change their fate. They are now my 2 biggest inspirations. Through all this sadness I knew 1 thing: I had to continue on. They both would have wanted that for me, they would have wanted it for everyone they loved. They wouldn’t want me to wallow in my sorrow. They would want to see me persevere, to endure, to go on, and to be the best I can be. Man, God is so lucky to have gained back 2 amazing men. They were truly angels on earth.

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Less is More – My Constant Reminder

This is going to be my constant reminder. This year I’m not going to be different, I’m going to be better. As the new year began to approach I knew that I wanted to take 2012 by the reins and take the lead of my destiny. With God’s grace and a constant reminder that great success comes from hard work…I’m ready, let’s do this! 

Here are my goals for 2012:

  • Transparency. This has been a huge one for me in the past few years. This year, I pledge to be the honest and truest me. The good, the bad, and the ugly! Not worrying about what people think or say about me has always been something I’ve struggled with, especially with my work.
  • Strengthen relationships. This is 2 sided: strengthen relationships with those that have uplifted me and hope to do the same for them, but also clear the clutter of negative energy, unconstructive criticism, and bad habits.
  • Work, play, and relax. Easy to explain but not so easy to implement. Work hard, set parameters. Take part in the things I love to do most and enjoy it. Rest and relax when my body needs replenishment.
  • Patience. In 2011, I think I’ve learned more about patience and hope to continue to do so this year. As an I need answers now type-of-girl, this is a challenge. But I have come to see that with patience comes great thinking, time, planning, and success.
  • Growth. This is one of the most important goals for this year. I hope to grow closer to the Lord this year (and every year, obviously). As I have grown closer to Him I have seen more clearly, thought less abruptly, seen more confidence in my decision-making, and have been blessed with more grace than I’ve ever experienced.
  • Traveling. Charlie and I plan on going on 2 trips this year, at least 1 to a place we’ve never been!
  • Finding out who I am and what is the right path for me continues this year. Though I’m not as lost as I was a year ago, I know that this is an never ending journey.

I hope that all of you are having a please 2012 so far! What are your goals for this year?

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2011 Looking Back – How Can it Get Any Better

I’m going to have to do a series of new year posts. There’s simply just too much to fit into one post!

2011 was what I dubbed the year of CHANGE. There was so much transformation going on in my life for the good and the bad. Regardless of the outcome, I am so grateful for all the moments in 2011 that are shaping 2012 to be dubbed the year of MOVEMENT (thanks to one of my best friends Michelle!).

My favorite moments of 2011 (in no particular order):

  1. Buying our first home. We deliberately decided to buy our home before we got married so that we had a place to go home to after our wedding. And yes, after almost a year and a half of house-hunting, we finally found our place. Moving is always a pain in the ass and home upkeep is definitely different from renting but it’s so rewarding and beneficial. To be able to come home and not have to worry about packing up our stuff was a nice feeling.
  2.  Starting CO. Starting this business venture for the both of us signified a lot of different things. Simplifying (merging our businesses together), a new beginning, stepping forward, preparing for our future, and doing something we were passionate about. Everything we’ve learned in the past culminated into this business and we are so pumped for what’s in store for it. It feels like everything was purposefully laid out to create this business that is just right for us. We are beyond grateful to be able to pursue a career we really love.
  3. Our wedding. Forget 2011, October 8th was the best day of my LIFE. I married the most amazing man anyone could ever ask for. After over 7 years of dating, God finally united us as one. That day was absolutely wonderful, words can’t express how I felt that day. It was just beyond anything that I ever could have imagined. It truly surpassed any of the expectations that I could have had (and trust me, being in the wedding business gives you crazy expectations for your own!). Check out our same day edit by the talented Loyd Calomay Films. The days leading after it were/are even better. Being in a marriage is more rewarding than I ever thought it could be.
  4. Our honeymoon. 2 weeks in Hawaii, need I say more? 🙂
  5. Re-kindling my relationship with the Lord. I’ve always been religious (growing up in Catholic school). But as ashamed as I am to admit it, I drifted. I drifted FAR. Luckily in 2008, one of my aunts said something to me that knocked me off my feet. That day, I realized how far I’d drifted and began to cry – from shame, sadness, and anger. I told myself that I needed to get back down to the basics and needed to let the Lord back in my life. 3 years later I’m finally starting to feel my relationship with Him is getting closer. I know that it’s going to be a challenge but I’m continuing to work every day to learn more and to keep building the most important relationship I have.

So 2011, thank you for being so amazing. It’s difficult for me to let go, but 2012 is waiting!

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