Year in Review Series – Looking Back Before Looking Forward

I’m so excited to start my Year in Review Series! This week is a hectic one for us Americans – Thanksgiving is here! I’ll be spending time with family, hosting a few parties, and stuffing my face multiple times with turkey! (Of course)

This series is actually part of a 3-part series. This is the phase where I look back and reflect on my year. I’ve kind of been in reflection mode since October but I’ve just been making some mental notes here and there. I like to reflect during the last quarter of the year since I still have time to achieve some goals before the year ends.

I decided that my word for 2017 was “Forward.” The last couple of years have been difficult for me, personally and professionally. I made a decision that 2017 would be the year that I stop standing still. Let’s look back on this year and see if I made steps toward that!

We started off this year in the Philippines! We were at the airport on New Year’s Eve and were in the air shortly after midnight. It was a long journey to the Philippines, but we made it and had a great time! It was so great to see my dad, my Lola, and my family and friends. Not only that but we ate some great food and visited new places on this trip.

While I was out of the country I closed escrow for my very first client without my mom. Real estate has been very busy for me this year. I’ve learned a lot and got a lot of experience under my belt. I can’t wait to take it to the next level in 2018!

Days after I got back from the Philippines I had the opportunity to chat with Tina Malave from ABC’s Eye on LA. She came and talked to me about Ninong’s, it was an amazing opportunity!

This year, I challenged myself to get comfortable on video. Charlie and I started a cooking channel on YouTube – Good Bad Foodie. Stay tuned, I have some plans for our channel next year!

In April I also sold my products with CO Creative Cartel at Jackalope Fair in Pasadena. I also sold my products at Patchwork in Long Beach in June and this past November. This was the first year that I made CO Creative Cartel a priority in my work life and I’ve learned so much about my goals for the business. But! We’re not there yet, let’s focus on reflection first. 😄

In May we got a new car! 🚙

July was a really big month for CO Creative Cartel. We traveled to Las Vegas for a week as I made my first big investment and showcased at Las Vegas Market’s Summer 2017 show. This event was a huge turning point for me and the business. But as I said, more on that later! You can read more about my journey to Las Vegas Market here, here, here, and here. In August we were back on a plane (lots of traveling this year) and went to Australia for my brother-in-law’s wedding and quick stop in the Philippines to visit my dad and grandma again.

Ninong’s has been blessed with a lot of media opportunities this year which has really changed our business in so many good ways. We’ve met so many people this year and it has been so wonderful! We participated in Eat Play Move, LA’s first Filipino Food Festival in Eagle Rock. The organizers asked us to be one of the vendors to do a segment on Fox’s Good Day LA. So much fun!

But the biggest step forward of all this year goes to Ninong’s. After over 9 years in our current location we’re moving to a larger location about a mile away. Days before we left for Australia we put our deposit down on the new location. We’ll be opening the doors to our new location in January of 2018 so stay tuned!

Wow, I didn’t realize how much has happened this year! Looking back is so essential so that I can move forward with appreciation, humility, and a sense of pride all at the same time.


Please like & share:

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.

Please like & share: