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 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 entrepreneur

If it Don’t Make Dollars, it Don’t Make Sense.

Let’s keep it real: businesses are designed to make money. Sure, there’s childhood dreams, life-long aspirations, passion, talent and love involved – but the purpose is positive cash flow. The whole idea is to make money in a different way.

Dreams & passion aside, we all need income to survive. To pay bills, keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. We don’t always like to talk about it, but it’s true.

When you start a business, the scariest leap is the financial one. Will this business make enough money for my life? Will I go into debt? Will I lose everything?

We were lucky that our business was pretty cheap to start. We had cleaning supplies, our real estate licenses, some software and a shared laptop in a one-bedroom apartment. That was it. As the business started to take shape, though, we constantly came up to the same obstacle:

This would be great for our business, but does it make financial sense to do so?

The answer to this question popped up as a lyric from one of our favorite groups: if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

We wanted so many things: a luxe office space, all organic, locally made cleaning products, sustainable/fair trade cotton linens, and a third person to help us out.

We settled for a new laptop, a cheap desk from Walmart, and generic cleaning products/linens from amazon. It was what made financial sense at the time, and it was absolutely the right choice.

Two years later, we’re moving into a beautiful three-bedroom home so we can have a proper office. We’re still working towards our third person, but for now, we’ve started contracting out the cleanings and laundry work, so we can focus on accounting and growth.

It’s what makes dollars and sense, where we are right now. And that’s what has empowered our business to grow and improve without putting us into debt.

So keep in mind – if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense. You have to put YOU and YOUR business first. Before all the partnerships, collaborations, and shiny, attractive services you can’t quite afford yet. It doesn’t mean you have to give up on what you really want – it just means that you have to take your time to get there.

Posted in Running, Veg/Vegan

PSA: Instagram is Not Real

How often do you see photos like this on Instagram? Big booty, tight waist, strong arms – but is it real? As someone that’s been hardcore into fitness for 5+ years, I couldn’t understand these images that  kept appearing on my feed – until I played around in front of the mirror and realized its just posing. Booty popped, an awkward twist in the waist, good lighting and a little bit of dehydration and BAM – insta-model approved.

I didn’t grow up in the age of Instagram, so I worry so much about the women and girls that see these images and believe they’re real life. I would never stand, sit, pose, squat or appear this way in person,  so while the photo is me, it is not TRUE TO LIFE. In simple terms, it’s not real.

Instagram can be a great place to showcase and normalize all kinds of bodies, which is why I personally choose to show photos of mine. But when you’re scrolling through your feed and come across an image that seems unachievable, keep these key points in mind:

1.      No two bodies are the same. Even if you eat, sleep, and train exactly like the girl in the picture, it is physically impossible for you to achieve the exact same results because of your (and her) unique size, shape, genes, body composition and metabolism.

2.      These images are often the result of perfect lighting, careful posing, angles, retouching, and even photoshop – not perfect people.

3.      Most of these people are professional models/bodybuilders/personal trainers, whose job is to be fit and look the part. You wouldn’t compare your ability to cook to that of a professional chef, right? So you can’t compare your body to someone who’s full time job is fitness.

4.      Most of these images are selling something. They are carefully curated to represent an ideal that’s unlikely (or impossible) to achieve in order to promote the protein powder/leggings/detox tea/personal training services being offered.

5.      Instagram is a highlight real. It does not, and cannot, depict real life.

6.      Everyone can physically, mentally, and emotionally benefit from exercise, regardless of their weight, size, shape, age, gender, ability, etc. Do not let the images on Instagram deter you from doing something great for you and your body, if that’s what you chose.

7.      Let me repeat it one more time: fitness is for and benefits EVERY BODY.

Okay, rant over.

 

Posted in Eating, Veg/Vegan

Eating Vegan in San Fran!

During our one-week trip to California, we only spent two beautiful, glorious days in the big city of San Francisco. San Fran has always been known for its activism, openness, and emphasis on love and equality, coupled with its stunning natural beauty and penchant for the unique. From block-to-block, there’s no city in the world quite like it.

We knew we’d be spending a few short days in the city, so Terry had been amping me up about the gourmet vegan food world captivated within many of San Fran’s distinctive districts. We walked around the gorgeously forested Golden Gate Park, dotted with wild buffalo, museums, ice cream stands and winding storybook creeks and rivers.

Our first food stop was La Méditeranée in the Fillmore District, a family-owned Mediterranean restaurant that served up old-school Turkish coffee, homemade Baklava, and a full vegan menu. Open since the 70’s, the place was small, quaint and warm, with a flurry of friendly waitresses guiding us through the menu and to our table.

The waitress steered me toward the veganized Mediterrean plate, a standard hodgepodge of plant-based mid-east dishes. It featured grape-leaf Dolmas, baba gounesh, hummus, olives, mixed greens, and homemade falafel. The food was just as incredible as the atmosphere and service – straight-up perfect.

The next day we drove around the bright, rainbow-adorned Castro Dstrict and stepped through an alley of wall art, one of my favorite things to discover in a new city. Gigantic faces boldly declaring equality, unity, peace and love decorated every wall as we wound our way down the street and stepped out into the Mission District.

My friend was ecstatic to take us to Gracias Madre, an artsy tavern serving up organic, locally-sourced vegan Mexican dishes (say whaaaaat!). I was stoked to discover that they served a HORCHATA LATTE, two of my favorite things combined in one.

I was so in love with my mole enchiladas stuffed with potato and zucchini, black beans and kale that I could barely contain myself in public. My boyfriend also got cashew cheese nachos, which we’re definitely made and fried in-house. It’s been a few days and I am still super obsessed with this place!

I also grabbed some vegan ginger snap cookies from Hot Cookies, a quaint little cookie shop in the Castro District. We stopped there after a few drinks and a lot of dancing, and sadly, I forgot to take a picture.

I ate a quick, healthy breakfast at the hotel. After adventuring around the city, we drove through the Pacheco Pass, a long and windy northern California road that cuts through the region’s abundant farmlands. We stopped at a fruit stand to grab avocados, oranges, pickled garlic, eggplant and asparagus to grill at T’s mom’s house in Merced, our final destination. The prices were rock-bottom, and the fresh fruit was top-notch.

We spent the night in the quaint town of Merced, and woke up to an impressive spread of fresh fruit and locally baked bread laid out by T’s mom. I filled up on freshness and grabbed some snacks for the road back to Santa Cruz.

The last meal of our adventure was on the plane to Hawaii, after a long day of traveling. We took a bus from Santa Cruz to San Jose, then the BART to San Fran, an air train to SFO Airport, sprinted to our gate to catch a flight to LAX, then sprinted from our arrival in LAX to our plane departing to Honolulu.

It broke all my traveling rules – we didn’t stock up on enough snacks, we didn’t eat before getting on the plane, we didn’t drink enough water. We were starving, grumpy and lethargic on the plane, and decided to cave in and purchase food. I was stoked to find an all-vegan, non-GMO Tapas box from Delta. It was packed with gluten-free seeded crackers, quinoa and red pepper dip, hummus, almonds, organic dark chocolate, a lemon fig bar, and more. It was surprisingly cheap, filling and satisfying, and I was happy to vote with my dollars to keep the option around.

All in all, it was a busy and fulfilling trip that totally re-stoked my love for vegan food and rekindled my dedication to living a life of kindness. Thanks much, San Fran!

Posted in Travel

5 Keys to Happy, Healthy Travel

Whether your flight is early, late, short or long, it takes a lot out of us. Every time i see a plane land at the airport, it unleashes a hoard of tired, hungry, cranky, and dehydrated zombie-like humans that look effing miserable. If you’re trying to sustain a healthy lifestyle, flying can be even more daunting.

I’ve done my fair share of travel, and standby travel at that – so I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way. These 5 steps are easy, cheap, and help you stay happy and healthy no matter where you’re headed to.

1. BYOB

I know this one seems obvious, but it’s sooo easy to forget to byob when it’s 5am and you’re headed to the airport. Plus, airlines seem to barely even hand out water these days. I bring a full water and chug it on the way through security, then fill it back up and sip on that sizzard throughout the flight.

2. Bring Electrolytes

Not only do I bring a water bottle, I also bring an empty shaker bottle with an electrolyte packet to drink. Depending on how long the flight is, you might want to bring more than one. My personal rule is one packet per 5 hours of flight.

3. Snacks on SNACKS

Back in the good ole days, the airlines used to feed you. While they’re forced to feed you on international flights, you’re lucky if you get more than a packet of five mini-pretzels and 4 oz of water flying domestic. So, I keep myself stacked with items that won’t get taken away at security. My faves are fruits, veggies, hummus packs, Lara bars, protein packets, and nuts. I would not recommend bringing any nut butter – mine always gets taken away. Sad.

4. Melatonin is LIFE

I used to have the hardest time sleeping on planes, but was scared to take any sleep aid because most of them give me terrifying nightmares. Which, naturally, I don’t want to experience in the air.

However, personally, melatonin is my bestie during times of travel. On a 12-hour flight to china, I spaced them out so nicely that I slept for eight beautiful hours straight. For long flights, I like to take two 3-5mg tablets at first, and then take 1 every 4 or 5 hours as the flight goes on.

5. Bring a Book/Journal/Planner

I’m not sure why, but traveling – even en route – brings about a lot of clarity. There’s been many, many times when my electronics die or I’ve exhausted my playlists or the movie selection is lame (or not free) and I’ve wished I brought a damn book. Flights are a great place to plan out your day/week/trip/life, or catch up on a great book. BRING IT ALL.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Body Positive Athlete

A friend asked me how you can be body positive and an athlete at the same time. It’s a great question, because I don’t think the two have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they can go hand in hand, if that’s what you’re about! All you need are these key points:

✨all bodies are worthy or respect & love

✨athletic ability & health can’t be judged by appearance

✨athleticism and health doesn’t make anyone superior to another

✨movement should come from a place of joy, not punishment or sacrament

✨bodies are beautiful and capable of so much!

That’s literally it! Shifting to a body positive mindset allowed me to actually enjoy the activities I love – soccer, running, hiking, swimming. It disconnected me from the ingrained need to “work off” my food/weight and brought me back to a place of fun.

Posted in Lifting, spiritual

You Don’t Need a Makeover: Food Freedom Friday


You don’t need a makeover.
Yep, you read that right – no matter your weight, size, shape, gender or age, you DON’T need a makeover. The fitness/diet industry does. 


Imagine if you had a store that sold a single size of clothing – or offered a single, specified entree – or if Jamba Juice offered ONE smoothie?

It’s illogical to sell one specific item because we all know people are different. Some people like berries, some people like citrus fruits. Some people are short, others are tall. 

Yet, the diet and fitness industry gets away with selling us a single ideal per gender – a tall, muscular, chiseled and well portioned man, coupled with a slender, yet muscular, yet still distinctly feminine woman. And they make billions of dollars a year on the mere fact that the majority of the population is physically incapable of achieving the image they’re selling.


If you sell an unreachable image, customers will never stop buying. If we all looked perfect, why would we buy powders and pills and capsules and workout programs? There’s no money in the achievement; there’s money in the chase. 

So no, you don’t need a makeover. Healthy eating and exercise do yield a wonderful breadth of benefits, like increased energy, deeper sleep, higher dopamine and serotonin levels, better focus and cognitive function, improved digestive health, and the list continues. But being healthy looks different on every. single. person. Be you, and be healthy if you choose – but don’t let clever marketing and photoshop make the choice for you.