Take Inspired Action

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This week, I took a huge leap outside my comfort zone and I posted a before and after pic of myself on Facebook wearing just a sports bra and leggings!!! EEK!!! I’ve seen so many people post these before and thought to myself, “I could never do that!”. I have always been so self-conscious of my body, stemming from tiny, seemingly meaningless comments from my childhood all the way through motherhood.

Before I hit the post button, my only wish was that someone out there would see it and realize that if I can make this transformation, so can they. I have worked so hard to reclaim my health and I was hoping to inspire some action by anyone who has ever felt defeated and doomed. That’s how I felt for so many years. So many stories replayed over and over in my head.

“It’s too late to get healthy.”

“You don’t have time to go to the gym.”

“You love food too much.”

“You wrecked your body when you had kids.”

“Don’t bother losing weight. He loves you no matter what you look like.” This, by the way, is true. My husband loves me no matter what I look like. But, I was using it as an excuse to not get healthy.

I know now that those stories were all holding me back. It wasn’t until I got fed up with my lack of energy, motivation and overall health that I decided to make a change.

The response from my one Facebook post has been overwhelming. All I really wanted was to inspire just one person. I am humbled by the kind words that people wrote, but the ones that touched me the most are the ones that mentioned how they were inspired to take some kind of action. That excites me. I know it can be crippling when you feel hopeless and helpless, so if I can be that beacon of light for someone so that they can see their potential and work towards it, then it’s worth it. There have been a handful of people who are that beacon to me. I hold them dear to my heart and always remember them when I’m feeling down and unmotivated.

My journey is not perfect, nor is it over. I am continuously working at it. One of my coaches at the gym shared this quote with me and I’m probably gonna mess it up but it goes something like “Be proud but never satisfied.” As long as I am inspired and inspiring actions in others, I will keep going.

Like Me, Love Me or Don’t

Do you seek approval or support from anyone? I had to ask myself this question and the answer was both painful and insightful.

Being the youngest of four siblings, I grew up expecting to be told what I could and could not do, always having to get the nod from my parents and older siblings for various things and depending on their approval before I proceeded. As I grew older, became a mom and made career choices, I still sought the approval of the ones closest to me. Granted, I think I made some pretty traditional, sound choices so it wasn’t hard to get their nod of approval or support. I married a nice man, went to college and became a nurse then had three beautiful daughter, which I know pleased my parents and family. Why wouldn’t it?

In more recent years, my husband and I have made some “different” choices based on what we felt was best for our family. I decreased my work hours from full time to part time, began homeschooling the kids, started a network marketing business, embarked on an amazing fitness journey and most recently launched a blog. Honestly, these are ideas completely foreign to most of my family members and things that my parents would never dream of trying. It has taken a great amount of courage to step out of my comfort zone and take on these ventures. At first, it hurt a lot when people would ask me “WHY?” I chose to take on such lofty dreams. They weren’t asking why in a genuinely curious way. They were asking in a condescending, degrading way as if questioning my decision-making capacity. I’ve learned that for me to succeed at any of these new undertakings, I needed to maintain a strong mindset and not let any other people’s opinion dictate my path. I also learned that whether or not someone supports me doesn’t matter. I will do it with or without them. I got this. These days, I do my best to go about my life not worrying whether my loved ones will support me in ALL I do. Although I’m human and yes, it feels nice when the ones closest to me can share in the joy of accomplishments or even empathize with failure, I will not let it define me. This is my journey to make and I’m a big girl. I can handle this.

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Today marks the first day of a two week vacation time for me. I don’t have any travel plans. I’m staying home with the kids while my husband takes a business trip to the mainland in a few days. I’m actually excited to have this time off from work. Although I love my job most of the time, this is a much needed break. I plan on using this time to refuel, recharge, reconnect with my family and relax.

Lately I’m guilty of “low vibing”. To me, this means feeling tired, uninspired, unmotivated and just bleh! I’ve recognized this and chose to shift my mind as soon as possible. In between those moments, I have shining moments of pure joy and bliss. High Vibing!!! These High Vibe moments are the ones I live for. But I understand that we all go through ups and downs depending on what life is dishing up everyday. My dear friend Dina is a Badass Mompreneur Healer and Professional High Vibration Specialist in my eyes. She always reminds me with all she does that the only way to roll is by High Vibing!!! Giving love, respect, excitement, inspiration and joy no matter what the situation. I am in constant admiration of her.

I need this time to get back to my high vibration so that I can share all the good I have inside me with you. I’m nowhere near being a perfect person, nurse, mom, daughter, wife or friend but I take the time to work on myself as much as possible. If you feel like a low viber, good for you for recognizing it. Most people don’t even notice they’re doing it. Choose to surround yourself with people who inspire you, encourage and support you and love you for whoever you are. Get outside and experience the sun on your face, smile for no reason, genuinely listen to people and judge less. We are all works in progress and the journey is what makes life interesting. I hope to have added some high vibes to your day and life!!!!

Burn Your Boats

The other day I was talking with my friend about our journeys toward better health. We were reflecting on how far we’ve come so far. We have both dropped some pounds but most importantly, we are physically stronger, have more endurance, confidence and can really see results in the way our clothes fit. She mentioned how she was getting ready for date night and because she had toned up her body, she had so many more options of clothing. She had kept a lot of her smaller clothes as many people do…with the hopes of maybe fitting into them one day. Well, her one day had come!!! She was so excited to measure her progress by fitting into once snug outfits. I am so inspired by her.

I can see my progress in the way my clothes fit. But I never kept any of my “skinny” clothes. I’ve worn a size 12 for more than 10 years, so my hope of fitting into smaller clothes was long gone. I had settled, and actually was on the verge of buying a size bigger when I finally decided that enough was enough. That was a year ago. I have since dropped 22 pounds. I have a ton of size 12 clothes. I considered wearing my current clothes that are now hanging off my body, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked sloppy. I didn’t like it. I bought a few new items in size 10 and I’m loving how they fit.

After much contemplation, I decided to start getting rid of my size 12 clothes. Up till now, I was keeping them because I wasn’t 100% sure in my ability to maintain this new lifestyle. I was afraid that I might slip up and gain the weight back. I lacked confidence in my own ability to remain accountable to myself. I convinced my self that it would be okay if I gained the weight back because I would still have a lot of clothes to wear. I would have an escape option, a safety net. But then I remembered hearing the story of Cortes as he conquered VeraCruz in 1519. As they came ashore, he ordered his men to burn all the boats so they would either conquer or be killed. Tony Robbins recounted this story to us at one of his live events. He said, “If you want to take the island, burn your boats!!!” Make the decision to succeed and remove all options for failure or retreat. Yesterday, I removed all my clothes that are too big for me. As much as I love them, they’re gone and no longer serving a purpose for me. I have a renewed sense of commitment to myself, my family and my health. With no more “big” clothes in my closet, I have no choice but to remain relentless on this journey. My boats have officially been burned.

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Focus, La!!!!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a moment of pure panic. I’m typically a very calm person, cool under pressure and not easily flustered. Today I had a short lived moment and my kids didn’t know what hit them.

Rewind. We woke up to a beautiful day and it happened to be the first day of summer, so we decided to make it a beach day. Hubby is working today so I knew it was going to be just me and my three girls. This is not unusual but when we go to the beach, I’m usually on high alert. I make sure we have all our beach gear together. This means no less than 4 bags and maybe a cooler. I’m extra careful about my purse and valuables too. It’s always a little bit stressful for me but they enjoy the beach, so I gladly suck it up and go with it.

It was a glorious day playing in the water and on the sand. No one drowned. That’s my biggest concern when I’m alone with three girls at the beach. My second biggest concern is losing something valuable such as my wallet, keys or phone. When it was time to leave, I carefully packed up everything and we put some things into the car and headed towards the showers to rinse off. With my purse in hand and beach bag on the shoulder, we were in good shape. Yup, one, two, three girls, check. I set down our bags right next to the showers in a dry spot and as each girls finished, they grabbed their towels from the big beach bag. I put my purse in the beach bag and continued to rinse off the beach toys and reef walkers that my kids love. Okay, all done now. Let’s go home.

I grabbed the bag and all three kids followed me to the car, about 50 yards away. Half way to the car, I reach for my purse, which is not on my shoulder. Sheer panic enveloped me and I think I whispered in S-L-O-W motion, the “F” word. I ran back towards the showers and when almost there, I remembered that I had casually placed my purse inside the bag that was hanging on my shoulder. Boy did I feel like a dumbass. My youngest said “Mommy you really scared me!!!”. I apologized quickly and was actually glad none of the people on the beach saw my moment of pure panic.

We all had a laugh because I am always so careful when out alone with my kids but sometimes distraction and loss of focus happens. Routine tasks can be so routine that we don’t even realize what we’re doing. Today I learned that even the most careful moms can have a moment and it’s ok. We just need to maintain focus with all that’s going on in our life. It all worked out in the end. I’m still a careful mom. At least my kids had a great day.

My Person

This past week has been such a great time for me. I spent quality time with my best friend who lives in Wisconsin now. It’s been several years since we’ve spent real quality time together. We’ve known each other since Kindergarten and we’ve seen each other through every stage of life thus far. There were definitely times when other priorities took precedence and we may had even grown apart for a bit. But we somehow always seem to make it back to each other and pick up right where we left off each time.

These days, we’re both busy wives and moms to three girls each. Our life dynamics have morphed tremendously in the past decade. Despite our physical distance and very different lifestyles, she is often in my thoughts. I miss having someone around that knows me so well, that I never have to explain myself to. She knows my story. My real story. I meet new people all the time and I am constantly sharing my story with whoever will listen. I don’t mind sharing my story of where I came from, what I went through and where I’m going. But some days I just want to hang back and feel relief knowing that there is someone out there that already knows my story inside and out and just needs an “update”. That’s exactly how Dayna and my relationship goes. Even though we’re separated by thousands of miles, we’re just a phone call or text away. She had one short week here on O’ahu and I think we surprised ourselves by spending pretty much everyday together. It was such a fun time. It felt like we were kids again. We ate, worked out, laughed and had tons of fun together with our kids.

My husband observed a change in me while Dayna was in town. He commented “This is the happiest I’ve seen you in a very long time”. He was right. I had been missing the kind of closeness of the friendship and Dayna and I share. We all need that person that we can be completely free with. That no-judgement zone is so important. That place where our opinions matter and are heard from a heart’s perspective as well as our mind. We laugh at each other’s crappy jokes, sometimes till our bellies hurt and send tears down our cheeks.  I missed the connection and bond that we have built over the years. I have been fortunate to have Dayna in my life. She is my person. My husband understands that my heart is a big place with lots of room for all the special people I hold dear. My hope is that everyone can experience the kind of connection and friendship that I am grateful to have.F058CD5C-B69A-4C3C-978F-64F234CA11AA



Make The Trade

We all have expectations of how things are supposed to happen. Looking back on my life, I can honestly say that a lot of my heartache and disappointment is due to failed expectations that I set for myself or others around me. I focused so hard on what I hoped would happen that I failed to appreciate the journey. And when things didn’t work out as planned, I got down on myself and often took it out on others. I missed my opportunity for some awesome, joyful moments because I was caught up in the shortcomings.

Last weekend, I had the crazy idea to fly to Kaua’i with my 3 daughters to surprise my Mom for Mother’s Day. I personally love surprises and I thought she would enjoy seeing her granddaughters. We were so excited and in my mind’s eye, I had pictured something like a Publisher’s Clearinghouse commercial where the lady in her bathrobe would come to the door and be totally surprised and overjoyed to see visitors pulling up to her house. Well. Well. Well. Was I ever wrong. Let me just say that it didn’t turn out quite like I had envisioned. My Mom was less than thrilled to see us at first. Turns out, she’s not a fan of big surprises. Obviously we have very different ideas about this. I felt embarrassed, hurt, confused, disappointed and almost resentful. We almost left her house without seeing her. She eventually came around and the rest of our short, twenty-four hour trip was wonderful. We spent time together. That was really all I wanted. Three generations of our family, just enjoying each other’s company.

The joy that I felt seeing my daughters laugh and play while completely carefree was enough to remind me that no matter what a disaster my surprise was, I had to appreciate all the good that happened. Whatever my Mom was going through was not my burden to bear. I love and appreciate her for all she has done for me. I am grateful for the time we spent together that day.

I learned a simple principle a few years ago and this was the perfect opportunity to put it into practice. When we trade our expectations for appreciation, life will be filled with a lot less heartache and disappointment and a lot more happiness and joy. 51E85D1B-03CA-4669-B6A1-744AB4A587AC.jpeg4955D82A-A170-47B7-82B0-5C6D543F029C.jpeg


A Simple Lesson

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? I do. I believe that people come in and out of our lives at just the right time. Nothing is by chance. I also believe that lessons are everywhere. It’s up to us to recognize them, learn from them and take them with us through life.

On Mother’s Day 2018, I had a moment. While my Mom and I were sightseeing around Kaua’i, my nephew called to wish my Mom (his Nana) a Happy Mother’s Day. He’s my sister’s second kid, 23 years old and now in the Navy. We’re all super proud of him and naturally we’re happy whenever we hear from him. He was surprised to hear my voice on the other side of the phone when he called my Mom.

As our conversation went on about how life was going for him, the tone turned serious when he said, “Hey Aunty La, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a few years now.” I thought to myself, “What could he possibly be holding in all this time???”. He continues, “So people here tell me that I’m one of the most polite guys they know. I don’t know if you remember the summer I spent with you when I was 6 or 7”. Of course, I remember it like it was yesterday. I treated my sister’s kids like they were my own, long before I became a Mom myself. “Well anyway, I vividly remember you telling me that ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ is something I should never forget”, he said. “I just wanna say Thank you for teaching me that because it is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.”

Wow!!! In HIS LIFE????!!!! He went on to say that this life lesson was preceded by something as simple as me giving him some food and him forgetting to say please and thank you. He said I gently reminded him of the proper thing to do when someone does something nice for you. I’m pretty sure I scolded him for forgetting to say it.

I was fighting back the tears as we drove to our hotel. I guess I never thought I could have such an impact on someone’s life. It was an extra special feeling because I love my nephew very much. I learned that even the smallest act that we might do can cause such a huge impact in someone’s life. To this day, I still remind my kids to mind their manners always. I hope one day they will be as grateful as for the simple life lessons that we share with them. Never hesitate to share a lesson with someone if it’s the right thing to do.

My Decision To Homeschool

Two years ago, my husband and I decided to start homeschooling our two older daughters. There were so many factors that contributed to our decision, but most of all, we wanted to do it because we knew that time with them was precious and we wanted to spend time with them while they were still young. Early on, we agreed that I would be taking on the primary role as their teacher.

Our decision was met with mixed reaction from our friends and family. Mostly supportive but some very skeptical. The most common thing people said and still continue to say is “I don’t know how you do it! I wouldn’t have the patience to do it.” I don’t believe it’s about patience as much as it’s about will power and flexibility. I would half-jokingly tell people “Well, there is definitely yelling involved.” I mean, some days my kids just will not cooperate with the school schedule. My schedule. But it’s on those days that I am so thankful that we decided to homeschool them. We can take a break. Come back to it later. Let them chill out. And maybe let me chill out too. The flexibility that we enjoy through homeschooling is an amazing benefit.

“What about the socialization??” People always ask me this too. I personally am not worried about them being socialized. Not even one bit. My husband and I take our kids wherever we go. And these days, we are constantly surrounded by awesome, supportive people who are amazing role models for my kids. If you ever met my kids, you would see that they are happy, thriving young ladies. And I’m not just saying that because they’re mine. I truly believe it. If I’m gonna be completely honest, I am perfectly fine with  them missing out on the supposed “socialization” that goes on in some traditional school environments. It saddens me to hear more and more about the stresses that school kids have to endure these days, like bullying, cyberbullying, school shootings and other threats. We have enough of that crap in our world already. I’d prefer to let my kids just be kids and enjoy life while they’re still young.

It was a giant leap of faith for us to choose this path for our kids, especially since I have no experience with teaching but we had confidence that we were doing it for the right reasons. While homeschooling is not for everyone, I come across so many people who wish they could do it but for one reason or another, feel like it’s not an option. If fear is what’s holding you back, I say just try it out. Reach out to me and I’d be happy to share more of the nitty gritty details. I’ll also be sharing more in future blog entries on Tuesdays!!!


Mom!!! What’s For Dinner??


I don’t know about you, but the most frequently asked question in my house is “Mom, what’s for dinner??”. My response to this and any food related questions varies from day to day, but I do like to keep it interesting. Luckily, my kids and husband are all pretty down for trying just about anything I cook. Of course, I have my go-to dishes, but I also love trying new things. I have done extensive (ahem) “research” on Food Network and while reading numerous cookbooks and recipes.


With our busy family life, I’ve had to figure out a sort of routine when it comes to meal preparation. Take out or eating out had been a mainstay in our house for a long time due to the fact that we are lazy sometimes. Yup, I admit it. We all need a break sometimes…in our case…two to three times a week! Yikes!!! I love being in my kitchen to cook but somedays I looked in my fridge and was absolutely dumfounded by the lack of food items that “go together”. I thought to myself, how can I make strawberries, cucumbers, leftover chicken, eggs and almond milk work? They don’t work, so let’s go out to eat! That was happening way too often and it was taking a toll on our wallet and our waistlines. I had no grocery shopping schedule or plan. A typical grocery shopping trip went something like this…we wandered through the aisles and asked each other what we wanted to eat and haphazardly grabbed items with no real plan.


In the last year, we have become much more intentional about our grocery shopping habits. I’ll share some easy tips that have helped us to stay on track with our eating habits.


Pick some simple Go-To dishes that you can whip up on the fly

For me, I always have eggs, some kind of veggie, and starch in my pantry. In my upbringing, eggs can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Chinese people cook a dish called Egg Fu Yung which is basically an omelette with various savory vegetables stir fried in. My kids love it, especially with lots of bean sprouts, its fast and nutritious if I pack in a lot of veggies. I like to add carrots, onions, green onions, bean sprouts and green beans. Simple seasoning of salt and pepper tops it off.


Plan some basic meals for the week

If you have an idea of what you’ll be cooking for the week, you can buy your groceries accordingly. I say “basic” because you can always tweak flavors or combinations based on your family’s preferences. For example, if I plan on cooking a baked chicken dish, I can vary it by using ranch powder, shoyu, or just salt and pepper. All of these seasonings are staples in my house. This way my family never really gets bored. I use this principle with all my dishes.


Build a shopping list

This one may sound obvious, but it is an important component in our household. It helps to keep the unnecessary purchases to a minimum and we tend to stay on budget. I base my list on my meals that I have planned for the week. I don’t have a specific “shopping” day because frankly that’s way too routine for me. I like to change things up and leave room for spontaneity and flexibility. When I go shopping, I try to buy enough to last a week. Of course, some foods may overlap into the next week’s meals and some may run out faster, like the 2 lb tub of strawberries that my daughters devour in a day or two.


These are a just a few quick, easy tips that I use to keep us on track in our household. Hope this was helpful! I’ll be sharing some recipes and other food-related tips in Monday Munchies each Monday!