Posted in entrepreneur

Becoming Polished

I’ve always loved yoga, but haven’t been committed to it for long enough to really feel its effects. Not flexibility or a deep breath or a strong core – but peace. Real peace. Inner peace. The kind of peace that does not come easy for most of us in the messy, complicated, distanced and overwhelmingly intrusive world we live in.

Getting through (or through so far) a global pandemic has been a transformative experience, to put it lightly and positively. 2020 was many things, ranging from terrifying to impossibly impossible to never-ending to heartbreaking. Owning a small business, especially a relatively new and quickly-growing one, COVID-19 really tested us, our system, our decisions and our plans. Yet despite all that, here we are.

A few months into COVID I realized that I could feel myself changing. The easiest and bluntest way to describe it was fast-paced mental and emotional puberty. It was painful and swift, but I noticed it; I was becoming stronger, smarter, more decisive, and direct. I was becoming less emotionally attached and sensitive and more action-driven and sensible. A great deal of my anxieties and hesitancies were ground out of me by the sheer force and time that only a year-long and historically unprecedented pandemic could bring.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that I was becoming the businesswoman I needed to be; not to just survive COVID, but to take my business to the next level. I still have anxious and fearful moments, but they are few and far between compared to a year ago. Despite the hardships COVID has brought, too, our business has grown – and so have we, both as business owners and as a couple.

Now that I’m ending the second trimester of pregnancy, I feel bold and brave about entering motherhood. I feel as strong and capable and ready as I could ever be, and so does my husband. Now that we’ve gotten this far together and only grown closer, parenting seems like a job we can handle as a united front.

Yoga has been a gigantic help throughout this ordeal – from being locked inside the house with gyms closed to simply being pregnant, it’s become an integral part of my life that I love. It’s helped me detach from myself and connect with everything else, which feels even more important as I welcome a human being into the world and an ever-evolving business back into the workforce.

I came across this quote from Rumi a few days ago and was brought to tears. I thought, I was being polished! I knew it all along.

Posted in Veg/Vegan

Easy Plant-Based Breakfasts

I’m normally a grab-a-smoothie/protein shake/banana-on-the-way-out-the-door type gal, but pregnancy has made me so hungry that breakfast is back on my plate. My first meal tends to set the tone for the rest of the day, but I don’t have a ton of time to make anything amazing. I’ve come to rely on a few staples that are fast, healthy, plant-based and a good carb/protein/fat/calorie balance to keep me happy and satisfied.

The Easiest – Healthy Cereal, Bananas and Almond/Coconut Milk

A lot of days I just have to get out the door, so my go-to is a healthy cereal like Mom’s Best Cereals (I love the Sweetened WheatFuls) or Nature’s Bounty (my fave are the Heritage Flakes). I top them with a sliced banana and pour in almond or coconut milk. I love using almond milk because it has so much potassium (along with the banana) to help combat leg cramps. Plus, it’s good!

The Sweetest – Fuity Waffles

I’ve been craving waffles my entire pregnancy, so I went hunting for healthier options than a late-night food run. My favorites so far are Nature’s Path (dark chocolate, buckwheat or plain), which I pop in the toaster and top with whatever I have in the fridge. They’re great with strawberries and almond milk whipped cream and agave syrup, with almond butter and bananas, or leftover raspberries or blueberries.

The Yummiest – Coconut Yogurt Bowl with Lilikoi Butter

Ok, so this is one of those breakfasts I’d make with a little more time – like a Sunday morning or if I just woke up a little earlier than usual. This bowl isn’t too tough to make, but just takes a little more time to make, eat and clean up. Mine is just a scoop of coconut milk yogurt topped with coconut flakes, a little granola, a banana, and lilikoi butter (popular out here in Hawaii).

The Savory – Just EGG Omelette

On the rare days I want a savory breakfast, I’ve been loving making Just Egg vegan omelets with spinach and non-dairy mozzarella cheese. I also add a little garlic and cook in a little bit of plant-based butter, and pair with a mock sausage patty and avocado salsa. This is another Sunday morning/extra time breakfast, but it’s enjoyable and well worth it.

The Savory-Ish Waffle

Waffles have been a constant craving, so I also started eating a more savory version with avocado and banana. The avocado adds a deeper texture and is great with a little lemon juice and salt on top.

The On-The-Go: Jamba Juice

I rarely every buy breakfast, but in the rare cases I do, my favorite is Jamba. They’re everywhere, we can order ahead of time, and I have plenty of plant-based options, obviously. My favorite is the Blue Sky Bowl which is packed with spirulina and other goodness.

The On-The-Go: Banan ‘Ulu Waffle

Here on Oahu, we are graced with the fruity magical-ness that is Banan. I am beyond obsessed. From their farm-to-table-to-farm business model (meaning the store’s food waste is composted and sent back to the local farms they get their produce from) to their ever-changing menu, it’s my favorite treat. Their ‘ice cream’ is made from super-sweet apple banans and topped with locally-produced guava, lilikoi, mac nut butter, macnella (macadamia-nutella, basically) and more. When they announced they had an ‘ulu (breadfruit) waffle, we had to run over there ASAP.

Happy Eating!

Posted in MAMA

An Active Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant – or when I very first got pregnant – I was beyond naive. I signed up for a 10K and 1-miler on the same weekend (instead of the Honolulu Marathon, of course) and assumed I’d slowly and happily jog through them with my barely-present bump and continue staying consistently, highly active through the whole 9 months.

By the time this weekend rolled around, I had been vomiting and barely eating for weeks. I was so nauseous in the first trimester I had trouble sleeping at night, didn’t want to socialize, and found most foods aside from bananas and crackers to be inedible. I still technically ‘completed’ these ill-fated digital races, but I half-jogged the one mile and walked the entire 10K. I also threw up several times during the 10K, and only continued because that was typical of any day at that time.

Now that I’m in my second trimester and counting down the days until the third, things have changed. I have a nice round belly that makes it tough to tie my shoes, but said belly is no longer growing and expanding like it was before. I can finally eat tomatoes again, have more energy, and can get through the day pretty normally with an afternoon nap. I can also walk/jog now that my new balance is under control, too.

Here’s a few things that have been incredibly helpful in staying active during my pregnancy.

Let It Go

This is the most important lesson of all. Whatever you thought pregnancy would be like, forget about it. You’re on your own unique journey and your body will be crystal clear on what it can and cannot tolerate. Sure, I’ve watched YouTube videos of women running half marathons or doing deadlifts or whatever else pregnant, but that’s their abilities and experience – not mine. I was an extremely active person before baby, and was almost completely sidelined by the first trimester alone. If that’s what’s right for me and my baby, I’m happy to stay on the bench as long as I need to.

Gym/Lifting Weights

The gym has been my go-to most days. I did some quick research to find safe exercises and even some that help build muscles for labor. My basic routine is a lighter/modified leg day with biceps & triceps and cool-down cardio.

At Home/Park/Wherever Workout

My husband is fairly active, and I’m usually playing soccer or skating right alongside him. Now that those things have been deemed off-limits, I started lugging my yoga mat, kettlebell and dumbbells with him to the park. This can also easily be done at home, at a kid’s soccer practice, or wherever.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is, according to my doctor, one of the best exercises for moms-to-be. It helps stretch out tight hips and uncramp crampy legs, bring some peace and stillness, and help with nausea and balance. Here’s one of my favorite youtube videos with minimal equipment I can do right at home.

Walking/Hiking

Running has been out of the picture for most of my pregnancy. At first, I was sick and dizzy, and then became wobbly and off-balance and plain old tired. Walking has been my best friend. I walk all the time, from taking my dog around the neighborhood to going to the track to taking a (literal) hike. Walking is low impact, keeps the heart pumping, and is gentle enough that I can do it on my worst days – and on those days, it actually makes me feel a lot better.

Important – I’m Not a Doctor

Just a quick note – I am not a doctor, and am sharing what’s worked specifically for me during my pregnancy. I ask my doc all kinds of crazy questions, and those include checking that everything listed above isn’t only safe for pregnancy in general, but for me and my pregnancy, specifically. Be sure to do the same with yours!

Posted in Veg/Vegan

Sustainability is Sexy – Food Edition

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we have very little control of the world around us. That makes things like New Year’s resolutions seem naive at best and obsolete at worst. Yet, here we are in a fresh, albeit still confounded, new year, and it feels impossible not to at least hope for the future.

As confusing, chaotic and damaging that 2020 was, it gave our global systems pause. It challenged us to consider what we really want and need. It mirrored back to us our own reality, and made a lot of the frivolous consumerism and distracted daily routines appear as they really are. I really do hope for a better world, now and in the future. I don’t have control of much, but I do have control of myself, my household, and my daily choices – and, at least in my life, they do matter.

My goal this year is to be more sustainable, and have our household do so as well. We’ve done the basic things like lugging around hydroflasks and swapping out cleaning products, but I’m still a bit shocked by the amount of trash two people produce every week. Now with a third on the way, we’ve started taking further steps to get our family on board with being conscious about how much we throw away and doable swaps we can adopt to soften the blow.

Food Containers

One of the easiest ways to reduce waste and save money is to pack your lunch. We bought a bunch of to-go containers and a couple cool items that make bringing our lunch super easy. My favorite is this cool stackable lunch box, which has an insulated bag and silverware.

Food Storage

There’s also a lot of cool ways to store the food you have and bring snacks. Instead of Ziploc-type bags, we bought some reusable zip-top plastic bags that can simply be washed in between uses. Stasher bags are awesome, but they’re expensive. These cheap ones from Amazon worked fine for us (although not as thick/sturdy as the Stasher ones) and are a great intro to reusable storage.

Another free food storage is reusing glass jars! I wash and sanitize spaghetti sauce jars, coconut oil jars, etc. and use them for leftover sauces, tea, coffee, broth, or anything that fits. They’re also great to take camping, so that you can bring smaller portions of items from home and either wash and reuse or recycle.

Water & Beverage Bottles

Everybody’s got a hydroflask these days, but it’s still worth mentioning. I have a large and small one, so I can leave the house with a cup of coffee, some homemade sparkling water, etc. and a big container of water too. My husband also recently bought this very cool coffee-cup-style mug, which I use almost every day. Once COVID is over, too, most cafes and coffee shops are expected to start accepting personal cups again, so it will be great for that too!

Travel Silverware & Straws

We seem to generally be in agreement about leaving plastic straws behind for the sea turtles, but we throw out a lot of silverware too. My lunchbox comes with silverware, but I tucked in a metal straw too and sometimes bring a travel cutlery pack with me too. I chose this one, which has a bamboo fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks, and is super easy to travel with. I also threw in a short metal straw like this one too.

Compost & Recycling

Composting is my dream. We still haven’t done so, but have started a garden outside that will be using the compost we will eventually be producing upstairs in our kitchen. However, we do have a separate recycling bin, trash, and space for a compost bin when the time comes. For us, it’s not about being perfect – it’s just about doing what is in our power, budget, and daily routine that can make a small impact in the world we live in.

Posted in entrepreneur

Lesson(s) Learned

If we’ve learned anything in the past six months, it’s that very, very, very little is in our control. We’re all helplessly embedded in the fabric of cities, towns, counties and countries, dependent on our neighbors near and far, and completely incapable of operating on our own.

I always considered myself a fiercely independent person, and sank deeper into that identity when we started our first business. I felt like I was operating outside the status quo and outside of the fluctuations and financial ups and downs that hit a lot harder when you’re in the back of the caravan instead of in the driver’s seat.

COVID-19 absolutely shattered one of my favorite parts of myself – my independence. I realized overnight not only that many things well beyond my imagination were possible – correction, currently happening in real time – but that those external things had near-complete control over my life.

Within a few days, our income was cut down over 90%, we were on full lockdown, and our island was shut off from the outside world. There was no timeline, no hints, no warnings. And the interim – of not knowing when we would reopen, when we could make money again, when things would go back to normal – has lasted for six long, painful months.

We didn’t know what to do, so we focused on what we could do. We could rearrange our business to bring in income. We could apply for the SBA, PPP and local grants and wait out as they ran out of money (twice) before ours got approved. We could speak to our clients, let them know our plan, and keep them updated as things progressed. We could keep our cool and put one foot in front of the other. So, we did.

It’s important to note that most of these changes were very uncomfortable, scary, risky, brave, bold, painful, laborious and miserable. There were days I woke up and just told myself to make it through today, and try for a better day the next. There were tears, panic, loss, loneliness, struggle, lost sleep, anxiety, mental breakdowns and panic attacks. There was all of it, but somehow we just kept moving forward.

And that, at least for us, is the lesson of it all – we just have to keep moving, that will always, always, always be enough. That’s something we can always do.

Posted in entrepreneur, Spoken Word

We’re Supposed to Change

As I’ve navigated the first few months of being 30, I’ve noticed a constant dialogue surrounding the idea of change. Our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our old hometown/high school acquaintances – I’ve encountered the same old phrase consistently: “wow, you/he/she has really changed.”

This is usually commented in an off-hand, slightly negative way, with the underlying meaning seeming to be, “wow, you’ve let life change you. wow, money/success has really changed you. wow, you’ve lost your way to yourself because of a/b/c.”

My reaction to this type of comment is usually, “what do you mean by that?” to which I almost never get a response, since people don’t tell you that you (or someone else) have/has changed as a compliment. What they’re doing is trying to say something they don’t feel comfortable saying without actually saying it, and assuming you’ll understand the meaning so they can wipe their hands clean of their intent.

I’ve never understood our cultural resistance to change in the first place. When someone states, “wow, you’ve changed!” my internal response is “you haven’t?” We should change in significant ways over decades of time. We should learn and grow from our mistakes and heartbreaks and mishaps – that’s the whole point of living a life in the first place. If we’re not changing over time, than what on earth are we doing?

In theory, change should be a fluid and celebrated part of life. We should ebb and flow on our way to who we really are, learning lesson after lesson as we encounter mistake after mistake. I realize that people usually mean “wow, you’ve changed!” to indicate that we’ve somehow betrayed ourselves; by changing our political views, our values, integrity, personality, or what’s most important. But I’ll argue that those things too, should be subject to change as we change as people over time.

First of all, the only person that knows our internal values, morals, items of importance, etc. is us. Ourselves, only. Not our friends, or peers, or co-workers or even family members or parents. No matter how we are raised or what values are instilled in us, we are still individual human beings that have a duty to uncover those gems for ourselves.

Secondly, if we are not supposed to change the big-ticket items, who is determining them? Where do our unchangeable morals and values come from? We start off as children and are taught those things by our parents, teachers, friends and society. We should not be beholden to the values of other people that we were instilled in childhood, and never be able to think critically enough to decide them on our own.

Lastly, we are changing, whether we want to recognize it or not. Over time, your cells are changing. Your brain is changing. Your hormones are changing. Your body is changing.

Just like they do for every. other. species. on. planet. earth.

Even at just 30 years old, I’m changing rapidly. Being a business owner – especially during a pandemic – has been like an internal-change pressure cooker. We’re learning so much and learning to deal and endure so much that it is logistically impossible for us not to change. Change is still scary, but so is everything else. We have to learn to deal with fear and change in order to move towards a better world.

The next time someone says, “wow, you/she/he has changed!” I’m inviting myself to openly answer, “of course I/they have. That’s life. We’re supposed to change.”

Posted in spiritual

Being the Change I Wish to See

It’s been hard to write lately, because to be honest – it’s been hard to merely exist and push through day by day. Tourism is effectively shut down for 6 months now, we missed my only sister’s wedding, missed being able to meet my cousin’s new baby, and have had an enormously tough time being a business owner during this pandemic. Top that off with police brutality, systemic racism, and a state of divisiveness in the country we call home, and the struggle has been really real.

The toughest part of all of it, for me, is the feeling of being unable to do anything about my own circumstances and to change the injustices and systemic injustice going on. I’m just one small, insignificant person. Does what I do even matter?

I firmly believe it does, for two reasons: 1. everything does matter, and collective action can make a difference, and 2. most of the time, that’s what we can do. No matter our financial, physical, logistical or social situations, we can at least do something for what we believe in and wish to see. If we don’t do what we are able to do to change the world – what do we have to say for ourselves?

That is my hope, and the light at the end of my figurative tunnel. I may not be able to control much, but i can control what is in my control – how I lead, how I love, what I speak and post about, what I buy, watch, and eat. My actions may be just a drop in the proverbial bucket, but a drop is a drop is a drop.

I will always do what I can do, at the very least.

Posted in Running

Training Season Begins, Uncertainly

IMG_5483Man, these are uncertain times. We have a worldwide pandemic, economic shutdown, and mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming visitors to Hawaii. This means that, in essence, we are trapped on our little island in the sun. We have less than 600 square miles we can roam around in, with no means of travel outside of flight. On the bright side, our 600 square miles are jam-packed with trailed mountain peaks and wave-trimmed beaches. We do have our perks.

I wasn’t planning on running any big races this year, especially in the wake of COVID-19. But this entire pandemic has brought an unprecedented level of stress and lack of control into our neatly-tucked lives. We’re small business owners that should be ramping up for summer, and instead we are praying each day to just make it through to the next, and hopeful that there will  be  a summer to ramp up for.

I started running again a few weeks ago for my mental health, which has been tough to hold on to during this crisis. Last week, though, I decided to download a training plan, get my training-meal staples, and make it happen. I slugged through one decent and two terrible, challenging runs that I somehow managed to finish. Yet today, I woke up on rest day anxious to hit the road again as soon as I can.

IMG_5446Since this is a tough year anyway, I figured my next race should be tougher, too. I’m tired of hot, flat, mundane race courses that all wind along the HNL Marathon’s out-and-back model. I’ve ran the same race 100 times under different names and distances, and have started to get into the trails.

I’ve chosen H.U.R.T. Hawaii’s Tantalus Triple Trek, a grueling, arguably vertical 30-mile trail race in September, as my dream race this year. It’s a small pool of runners, but I’m hoping to snag a registration and be able to race one of my favorite trails this fall. It’ll be my first trail race longer than a half marathon, and my very first ultra. But if there’s any year to do it, it’s this one.

 

Posted in Spoken Word

Growth

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I sense myself changing,
Ebbing and flowing
Like a river,
Smoothing out the rougher patches of my being.
I feel my spirit
Stretching forth and coming through,
Like the hips of a teenager
Making themselves known.
I know what no longer serves me
Because what I’ve outgrown
Is no longer comfortable.
I notice now
The nuances I did not before;
I hear what you’re really saying
Woven slyly among your words,
And I understand
Exactly
And can no longer be fooled
By pretty-winged things
That do not fly.

Posted in Spoken Word

The Woman I Am with You

All my life

I’ve been growing, shaping, and changing to

the woman I am

With you

My scars and wounds

small seeds

Blossoming

to the woman I am

With you

My hopes and dreams

Reaching

To the woman I am

With you

My mistakes and heartache

Teaching

To the woman I am

with you

God himself

Preaching

To the woman I am

with you.

And your heart, your growth, your path, your love, your light

Reaching out for me too.

You are my partner, my teammate

My best friend

My soul’s mate, my love, my man

And I know

That in whatever we encounter

We will grow

And be

and do

As the man you are with me

And the woman I am with you.