Hello, from the otherside

To say that a lot has happened lately would be the biggest understatement of 2017 and 2018 combined. Before updating you on my ~life~ if any of you even care, I wanted to talk about the importance of self-care because I recently realized how much of a difference it makes.

First, I started this routine by making sure that the boyfriend and I each have time, at least 30 minutes, to totally decompress from work each day. It’s not that we hate our jobs, it’s just the we both wear a lot of different hats at our jobs which can sometimes be stressful, and that it sometimes requires us to actively focus on not thinking about work while we’re at home.

Next, said boyfriend travels quite a bit for work and during our first year this used to drive me insane and bring out the needy brat in me. Now, I find it somewhat refreshing. With that being said, here are some ways that I take care of myself throughout all the craziness in life:

  1. Turn off my cell phone — or at least put it on Airplane Mode. This used to make me anxious af – millennial drama, I know – but now I see how important it is to completely unplug from life, especially social media.
  2. Bend + Flow. I’m super out of shape so I recently started working out again – specifically getting back into the groove of going to yoga at least twice a week. THIS right here, MAKING time to center myself is so crucial to my sanity.
  3. Get outside. Now that I live in Seattle (update), it’s a lot colder but it’s still so important for me to get outside and go for a walk, even if it’s just 5 mins. This is a great time for me to take some deep breaths and appreciate all the beauty around me.
  4. Read scripture. Whether it’s my daily devotions or flipping open my bible, I am most at peace when I am accepting God’s peace. I know that when I’m in the heat of the moment, I can seriously lose my shit but I’ve really been working on praying and being in constant conversation with Jesus
  5. Girls Day/Night. The other week, I went and painted pottery with two girlfriends from work and boy, was it therapeutic. Not only did it feel great to get my creative juices flowing again, it was fun having girl talk and stepping away from the grind for a bit.
  6. Write. I’ve seriously been neglecting the writer in me — hence, no blog posts as of late. I’m going through a transition where I don’t want to publicize my life as much as I used to so I’m now journaling a lot more instead of posting. That alone, helps me a lot. Whether I’m writing down my goals and dreams, or reorganizing my daily life, or just writing down my prayers, I learned that writing is another way to take care of myself.

I’m going to try and get back into blogging, because let’s face it, I’m never gonna stop writing. So hello, this is me, from the otherside (of 2017?). I’ll write more, soon.

Xo,

C.

Wedding belles in El Paso, TX

  I love attending weddings. So when Jesse invited me to his best friend’s wedding in El Paso, I thought it was a pretty big deal. I managed to take the time off and get a plane ticket, and we were off.

I had never met Jesse’s best friend before, so this was pretty exciting. The wedding took place in the backyard of the bride’s sister and it was so beautiful and intimate. It was a small wedding, but Jesus’ presence was definitely there. The pastor talked about these two beautiful people becoming one, raising a family together and always being each other’s partners, no matter what.

I didn’t even know these folks and I was crying.

And the weather could not be more perfect. It was scorching hot all day, but once it was time for the ceremony, it cooled down. Thankfully.

Here are some gems from the beautiful shindig:

Super cute and last-minute centerpieces made by the families.

The groom, T., with his (and mine) best man.

The bride’s son and niece walking down the aisle. Two families becoming one!

My honey in charge of the rings.

*cue the tears*

Us with the bride and groom.

The best wedding date, ever.

Us with Jesse’s brother Julian and his wife Shanelle.

Cheers!

Proverbs 31

This morning I finished the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 31 is a well-known verse. It’s a reading of King Lemuel, but the most remembered part of it is what it says about women. The “ideal” woman, what women ought to be, and really, how God sees us.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Similar to a lot of women, Proverbs 31 is one of my favorites. It is the Lord speaking life into us, saying that yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that each of us is unique. And although I love this chapter so much that it even frequents my Instagram captions, I do not live by it.

I forget.

I often forget who I am and who’s I am.

I allow evil to sneak in and I allow toxic thoughts tell me that I am not good enough. Pretty enough. Strong enough. Smart enough. There really is no excuse for these thoughts. I have a loving family. I have a loving boyfriend and loving friends. And yet, something always seems to be wrong.

Most days, I talk about how God has saved me and how much better my life is after giving myself to Him. Yes, my life is amazing because of that, but the daily life of any young woman is a struggle. We are constantly put under pressure to look good, feel good and act good. I am almost 25, I have my own car and apartment, a career, and someone who loves and cherishes me. This is fantastic and I am very grateful and blessed. However, society tells me that I should be married and that I should have kids and a house, etc. And my toxic thoughts tell me, “All of your previous relationships have failed. This one surely will, too.” I am extremely too hard on myself.

Living in fear causes me to push those that I love away. It is no excuse to be crazy, and yet I am. I am always questioning, always doubtful, and never comfortable.

For the first time in my life, I am in a relationship with someone who wants to be my teammate and partner in life. Instead of picking fights and doing things out of spite, he constantly works at how to be a better partner. He sees me. He knows me. He loves me. And most of all, he is patient with me. I fear that if I don’t get my act together soon, I will lose him, too.

So reading this chapter this morning came at the perfect time. It reminded me of how God sees me. These words motivated me to live more like this, to not care about what others think and most importantly, to be kind. Jesse constantly tells me to only control what I can control, and right now, being kind and patient are the only things that I can do. The rest is up to God.

Another thing that I am immensely grateful for are good girlfriends who also love God. One friend shared her devotion with me yesterday and it seemed to be a step-by-step on how to get rid of these awful, toxic thoughts.

  • Identify the toxic thought patterns you’ve been nursing
  • Confess errant thought processes to God
  • Dismantle the stronghold by taking your thoughts captive

I believe that I am on Step 3: Dismantle. The devotion goes on to share that This is not a passive assignment. It requires forethought and proactivity. Basically, instead of just saying you won’t do it anymore, actually work your butt off to not do it anymore. Paul says to “take every thought captive,” (2 Corinthians 10:5), meaning to resist the urge to agree with or rehearse the negative thought (<<< THIS IS 100% MY PROBLEM, not being able to resist), and to instead, replace the negativity (GOALS).

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that the woman talked about in Proverbs 31 is who I want to be. Cheers to day one.

Xo.

5 Things I Wish I Learned in School

Most days, I’m really whiney about being forced to wake up and “adult.” That’s not to say that I am ungrateful because I know that I live a very blessed life. It’s just, sometimes, having to be responsible for myself is much more difficult than I expected it to be.

Now, this miiiight be because I grew up very spoiled. Everything I could ever need or want, my mom and Paul provided. But there are a few other things that I wished they taught us in school (first, because it’d be useful information and second, I was a good student so I would have learned fast).

1. How to fill out those damn W-4 forms.

I’ve had about four jobs since I was in college and these forms stump me every time. Is there something I’m just not getting? Each time, I am confused and I have to Google the best way to go about filling out this form for a single lady.

I mean really, Enter 1 if no one can claim you as a dependent. OK, done.

Enter 1 if you are single and only have one job … OK, yup.

Enter 1 if you are the head of your household. OK, check.

Add it all up and 3 is a shitty start for the number of exemptions so, wtf.

2. How to find an apartment and sign that lease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my apartment. And at the time, my sweet studio costed about $200 more in rent in comparison to another studio that I was looking at that was much older and in a less appealing area of Honolulu.

HOWEVER, I didn’t take into consideration my actual cost of living. I thought I did, but I failed somehow along the way and now I am perpetually poor. This brings me to my Broke and In Love phase that I am currently in.

Anyway, back to signing my actual lease – It all read like jibberish to me. It basically meant that I was sort of signing my life away – no more savings, no more weekend getaways, no more curfew (LOL, OK this was a plus.

I am definitely learning and will definitely live someplace cheaper or get a roommate next year. So if I’ve learned anything, it’s that.

3. How to buy a car.

A name for my new beauty here is still ~pending~ but she brings me to my Broke and In Love pt. 2 series of my life. Hello, car payments, hello insurance, registration, etc.

A few months ago I ran into tons of car trouble with Rice Rocket (R.I.P.). Everything from needing a new battery, alternator and then evaporator because the damn A/C stopped working and Hawaii summer’s are really just too hot to not have A/C. One thing led to another and I tried selling Rice Rocket.

A nice high school boy and his dad wanted to buy him but when we took the car to get serviced (due diligence, ya know), Rice Rocket was deemed UNSELLABLE because who ever “fixed” my A/C completely ruined EVERYTHING beneath the dash. This was stressful because I was planning to use the money from the sale on my down payment.

Anyway, like everything else in life, things worked out, and I had good enough credit to get this baby all on my own ;).

4. How to do your taxes.

Does this even need an explanation? Who doesn’t struggle with doing taxes? I tread my way through Turbotax but it sure would have been helpful to learn this in school.

5. How to build and follow a budget.

I am the princess of organization so this is what my monthly budget looks like. Do I always follow it? No, because credit card bills and everything-bills pile up and I am still not making much money to not have to worry about such things.

I learned how to do this through online research and since I am a visual learner, I keep this Excel sheet and update it almost daily.

I know I missed a few things on this list … What do you wish you learned in school that would have been helpful in early adulthood? Holla atcha girl!

Xo.

Goodbye, MidWeek

When I was 8 years old, I decided that I wanted to write for a newspaper.

Now, this career decision came from a long list with choices like Princess, Astronaut, Actress and more. But journalism seemed to follow me around until I was in college. And even when I got to college, I tried to dodge the field and do something else. Things like law, computer science, counseling — careers that sounded more promising and rumored to have a bigger pay out.

But nope, my first big girl job was a “journalist” for the largest newspaper in the state of Hawaii. At the age of 23, I achieved a goal I made when I was 8.

I loved this job and my time at this company, but it got to a point where I started to think, “what now?” And I continued to think this and then the weekly routine just got mundane and gray and I needed something more. This led me to perusing job boards online, contemplating going back to school and asking myself, “what’s next?” at least 10 times a day.

I spent a lot of time thinking about my next career move, and a lot of time praying about it. I told my connect group that I’ve been “binging on Jesus,” because I really had no idea what I was supposed to do next. For the longest time I wanted to be a pilot — a job that would allow me to travel whenever and where ever I want, a job that had a helluva pay out, and heck, flying is fun!

And for some reason I keep putting this option on the back-burner, too. Using the high cost of school as an excuse. Which leads me to my newest venture: finding a way to be some type of business owner. And with my new job that I’ll start on Monday, I can tell you that I’m really excited because this could be the first step.

Through lots of prayer, devotion, stressed out evenings, conversations with my parents and my boyfriend, I think I am making the right move.

Thus, it is time to move on from MidWeek. My first big girl job. A job that opened my eyes and taught me the process of producing kick-ass publications each week. I’ve had so many awesome opportunities here. I got to write about the coolest and latest restaurants, and eat there, too; I made some amazing friends who I will miss seeing everyday; I learned how to communicate, verbally and through writing; and I really think that my writing skills improved tenfold. This office is like family, and I will miss it.

But like most things, my time here has come to an end. So to MidWeek, thanks for the memories and the lessons learned.

Xo.

Checking in on those NY resolutions

It’s the middle of March and I think that this is the time when most people start to lose sight of those resolutions that they set back in January. I know I could use a little reminder to stay on track, or get on track for that matter.

I thought I’d do a little check-in. Here are the resolutions that I set for myself at the beginning of the year:

  1. THRIVE in my career — take advantage of all opportunities.

    I think I am doing OK on this one, but I could always do more — like ask for more writing assignments, take initiative to get ahead, etc. However, this year in itself has presented itself with lots of opportunities such as helping to publish the first of four (somewhat) travel magazines (YAY).

  2. Become a better writer.

    One thing I’ve learned within the past month is that I am terrible at receiving constructive criticism. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child and grew up being spoiled and awesome at almost everything (probably it), but the minute my boss tells me ways in which I can improve on something, I freeze and think that I’m out of a job. When that’s not it at all. So this one, I can clearly do better on.

  3. Read at least three books per month.

    FAIL. I’ve read one book this entire year and it was a book of poems (no offense, Rupi Kaur, because Milk & Honey was amazing).

  4. Learn to cook (at least one meal per month).

    This resolution was an attempt for me and the man to start cooking together. In the last three months, I’ve learned one new recipe and it was during a brief stint of me on a diet — baked salmon with some type of healthy mayonnaise topping (I know, healthy and mayo sound awful together), and then some sautéed spinach.

  5. Live a healthy + active lifestyle. Get and keep the body I want.

    I’ve been fairly active between barre, yoga and bootcamp. Still not where I want to be, though. Nor do I have a routine nailed down (dog). 

  6. Have a healthy + loving relationship.

    I’m happy to report that we are slowly getting there. He is great.

  7. Grow closer to God.

    This has been so important to me and it takes a lot of effort, but I am also enjoying my growing relationship with God.

  8. Go on at least one international trip.

    BALI at the end of April 😉 stay tuned.

  9. BALANCE.

    More zen, less psycho. Everyday is a work in progress.

  10. SELF-LOVE.

    With all my body goals, it’s insane to think that I’ve lost weight because I don’t feel skinny or feel good about my body image. (Need to stop this.)

  11. BE BOLD, CONFIDENT & COURAGEOUS.

    Another constant effort ~

 

Goodbye, 2016

Time is such an intricate thing. When you suffer heartbreak, most people will tell you, “Just wait, things will get better with time.” 

With time. 

And as much as you’ll hate hearing that, these people are absolutely right. Things do get better with time. With each passing day, you learn and you grow, and you eventually choose to stop being sad. You choose to stop letting the past affect you negatively. And you choose to

keep.

moving. 

forward.

Because that really is the only thing you can do.  

I remember exactly how I spent the last day of 2015. I finished work and sat on the beach and wrote. I wrote my heart away, I reflected on the year and what had happened and how with a blink of an eye, so many things had changed. I was discouraged, broken, unmotivated and alone. I sat there on the beautiful shore, watching the sun set beautifully on what had been a horrible year. 

Today is the last day of 2016. 

2016 was equally the most amazing and awful year of my life. I suffered heartbreak. Every single one of my insecurities surfaced the minute this guy stopped choosing me. 

I fought with my parents a lot — more than ever before about the blurred lines between trying to grow up and still being treated like a child. 

I realized how similar I am to my mom, in both good ways and bad. To this day, she is my best friend and No. 1 supporter.

I cut ties with some people I thought I’d be friends with forever. 

I made new friends and met a lot of great people. 

I got baptized. 

I traveled. A lot. 

I visited Japan for the first time and it was the most enlightening trip.

I went to more concerts than I can count on my two hands. 

I learned how to be alone. 

I realized how important family is and learned to put them before anyone else. 

I also met someone who makes me excited for life. Someone who is so passionate about what he does and achieving his goals. Someone who makes me feel loved and valued every day. 

Today is the last day of 2016. Another year has passed but here I am again, sitting on a beautiful beach reflecting on the year and looking forward to the next. Except this time, I’m not alone. 

Floating on a shinkansen to Hakone

A passionate woman is worth the chaos.

With each passing day, I’m realizing my passion more and more. A passion to live, to travel, to explore, to fall in love.

Hakone

As I sit on this speeding Shinkansen I notice this about myself. I was not meant to stay in one place. I was not meant to settle down. Our time in Tokyo has come to an end and it has been the best few days. From visiting Meiji-Senji Shrine, walking and shopping in Harajuku, petting owls, visiting Asakusa, to a delicious food tour, catching up with old friends and making new ones.

There’s something about being in this vibrant city that assures my desire to travel the world forever. Maybe it’s the crowded yet orderly streets, or the endless shops stacked onto one another in each building. Or the sounds of another language and embracing the fact that I can’t understand any of it. Or maybe it’s the novelty of it, like a new relationship where the guy is shiny and new and I can’t stop obsessing.

Maybe I’m feeling this way because of the season I’m in: the season of finding myself. Figuring out what I like and dislike, doing what I want on my terms, and creating the kind of life I want to live — figuring out who I am without him.

I’ve never felt more alive and I never want to stop feeling this way.

HAKONE

A letter to my ex

Welp, here we are.

Or, here I am.

Today marks one year since you decided to not want me anymore. One year since we got into a petty fight at the gym that led to sitting outside of my house in your stupid car where you sat there and told me, “I just know that if we stay together, I’m going to end up hating you and I don’t want to hate you because I love you.” Thinking about it like this, I can remember it like it was yesterday.

I dreaded coming home for months after that night because I still pictured your damn car beneath that streetlight.

That night, my world shattered. I was hurt and confused, and I was pissed off. I remember pathetically sitting in your car crying, bawling, begging for you to change your mind. I couldn’t believe it was real. I couldn’t believe that after everything we had been through, every promise we had made, you were just giving up.

Stunned.

That was just the beginning. This agony of not knowing whether we were actually broken up lasted for a month. One month of seeing each other every day, acting like nothing had happened, laughing together, crying together.

One month of you giving me hope, making me think that we could somehow work things out. One month of having sex every day as if you actually still loved me. As if I could physically convince you to take me back.

That was probably me at my lowest. Because one day, you stopped holding my hand in public. One day you stopped paying for my meals and my movie tickets. It’s like you gradually broke up with me. Day by day, little by little, you ripped my heart apart.

And then December 9 came around when you moved back to Indiana. That’s when you fell off the face of the earth. After you promised we’d keep in touch because, “Cait, I can’t see my life without you. We’re always going to be friends.” After you took my dog.

I never heard from you again.

From there, you blocked me on social media, texted me here and there with an occasional drunk call, you moved on pretty quickly and let the world know about it right away — which always baffled me because in the five years that you and I were together, you hated social media.

I wrote this to you after the last time I heard from you:

I don’t know who you think you are, coming in thinking that it’s OK to talk to me as if we’ve never skipped a beat; apologize for things you wish you had done differently while we were together, but then casually mention that you want nothing to do with me now.

It’s as if you have this weight on your shoulders and you are using me to lift it off for you. Just like when we were in college, I was your rock. Here’s a little advice: it’s time for you to lean on something else. Your new girlfriend, your awesome friends who you’ve chosen over me since day one, or here’s the real winner, God. Lean on him. Please. He is the only way you will be freed by all of this pain and guilt that you claim to carry around with you.

Yes, I wish you had done those things differently, too. There’s a lot I could have done differently, too. But we still would have ended up here. Broken up. Strangers. That hurts me to even think about but trust me, I thought up every single scenario of how things could have have turned out. And then I looked to my faith and realized that He has already seen every single day of our lives. This was going to happen, one way or another.

These little sweet text messages and drunk phone calls are things that I have been waiting for, almost living for at times.

But I can’t.

Your words mean nothing.

Your actions mean everything.

The things I see you posting on social media

mean

everything.

And yes, getting these things off your chest will help, for now. You get your fill, and you leave me with the last say. You leave me wondering if you’re going to text back. (Hint: you never do).

But at the same time, it is nice to hear from you. Sadly, I still miss you. Pathetically, I still hope to be your friend someday.

Until next time,

C.

But there was no next time and part of me is glad. One year later and although I see my friends and peers making huge strides in their lives — buying homes, getting promotions, getting married, etc. — I have grown so much emotionally and spiritually. Not that my progress is any of your business but I am finally in a place where I do things for me. I learn and learn and continue to learn. I am vulnerable. I love and I put my all into everything I do.

And after everything I’ve been through in the past year, one thing I know for sure is that I can handle anything. So thank you for breaking down that barrier. Thank you for kicking me while I was down so that the only thing I could do was beg God for comfort. Thank you for picking at each and every one of my flaws so that I could only grow and learn and be the best thing for myself and for the man I’m meant to be with.

Pre-departure vibes on my way to Japan

travel wander japan

Here I am sitting at Gate 6 at Honolulu International Airport, waiting to board my flight to Japan for the first time! This is my first international flight since 2013 and I couldn’t be more excited, yet nervous. Getting here, I was honestly a little overwhelmed — coming straight from work after having to leave early, hardly researching or planning anything, always feeling like I’m forgetting something — but I made it! I arrived early — but actually, I was literally the first person in line to check in, and the check-in counter wasn’t even open yet.

My real experience began when the ticket counters opened up for service.

Picture this: Gate agents, five along each side of the aisle separating business from economy, they recite their welcoming spiel and proceed to all bow simultaneously. To me. (OK, and like 20 other people, but still.) Anyone who has the ability to make me feel like royalty while I stand there in an oversized t-shirt, yoga pants and a pair of Birks is a winner in my book.

Now that I’m sitting at the gate, the real fun begins as I’ve realized my boarding pass says “standby” and doesn’t have a seat assignments.

“Oh shit,” I think.

And even as I ask the agent, she ever so politely asks me to wait and check back in 20 minutes. She tells me not to worry because I have a seat assignment.

I don’t even get mad or impatient over the fact that I bought a confirmed ticket so my boarding pass should already have a seat assignment because she is THAT nice.

I feel, however, like a real jerk standing up there in my baseball cap to which I completely forgot is rude. Then of course she thanks me profusely for being so patient and wishes me well.

Arigato gozaimasu. Here I go!