Saturday, March 28, 2015

2 Years of "Big Stuff"

Rather than a very wordy post to catch up on all that has happened over the past 2 years since I moved to LA, I will list some of the "big stuff", good and bad (in chronological order), so I can jump right into the "meat" of my life in upcoming posts. I may revisit some of these events in future posts, to give more detail, but this will give you a quick overview, for context. 1. Performed at House of Blues and various other venues in LA (as a featured soloist and as a backup singer) 2. Produced and released an EP with all original songs, which I'm proud to say is available on and iTunes: 3. Celebrated 1 year together with my boyfriend at the time! 4. Got engaged (whoot!) 5. Got married (WHOOT!!!) 6. Got pregnant and miscarried 7. Worked 5, yes, 5 jobs (teaching at 3 private studios and an elementary school, as well as a bakery (Georgetown Cupcakes) 8. Was offered a full-time music teaching job in Hawaii (we were already planning to move to Hawaii to further my husband's acting career) 9. Moved to Hawaii 10. Two more pregnancies and miscarriages So, to make a very long story very short, my husband and I live in Hawaii now. We have a sweet little studio on the edge of a park in a quiet little town called Laie, on the Windward side of the island. When it's not the death heat of summer, there are cool breezes and we have one, yes, one traffic light. It's a huge change from fast-paced, busy LA to the country life here in Laie. Life is quieter. Commute time is vastly improved! The spirit of Aloha is alive and well. We love our little town and the beauty of the island. It has certainly been an adjustment, though- my class sizes are huge, support for the arts is not what I had hoped it would be, living expenses are crazy, the summer heat was ridiculous- as with every new environment, it takes some getting used to. But, as with Boston, and as with LA, my journey continues and, I hope and pray, molds and shapes me into a better version of myself with each passing day.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I've neglected my blog pretty badly and figured I would pick it back up, more for my own sake and sort of journaling than anything else. If you're still reading, THANKS- feel free to comment/advise as you like. =) My life in LA is slowly coming together. I live in West Hollywood and, though the traffic and parking is RI. DI. U. LOUS. I do live in a nice neighborhood and my roommate is pretty much awesome. We get along great, although we have opposite schedules so I sometimes don't see her all week, but she's just easy to live with, very chill and a very cool person. I'm teaching for three studios now- Little Maestros, the School of Dance and Music and Join the Band. Each job has great things about it and I'm so blessed that things are working out financially. I also sold my condo recently, which was a tremendous blessing that enabled me to pay off some bills, get on my feet, and start recording an EP that will be released sometime this summer. (An EP is sort of like an album, just shorter.) I've continued meeting with the MasterMinds group- Tupua and I go together. We have meetings every Sunday, where we talk about our life/career goals and work with accountability partners throughout the week to stay on track. We usually do 8 week cycles- last cycle, I focused mostly on getting things going with my EP. The previous cycle, I was focused on finding work. This cycle, I'm focusing on health and losing weight, which is incredibly challenging for me. There are a lot of factors at play- some that are legit and some that are just excuses and bad habits I've formed, but it all snowballs to one big issue that's really hard for me to overcome. It's great to have their encouragement and support though, and we've all become friends as well, which is lovely to have since I'm new here. Lately, we've been reading Jack Canfield's "Success Principles" and, in the beginning, he talks about taking 100% responsibility for everything in your life. Man. That's a tough pill to swallow. I try to take responsibility for the things I do/say but this takes it to a whole new level. As I think about it and let go of my pride though, I can see how a lot of things that I felt weren't my fault actually are. I let someone treat me badly. I chose to take out student loans. I chose to move to LA. It's not that they're all bad decisions, but they were MINE to make and I am therefore responsible for the outcome. Once I got over the initial guilt of that realization, it was actually liberating because that means, if I'm responsible for the BAD things, I can DO something to change it and create GOOD things. I guess I've always understood this to some degree, but it's so clear now, and... it's empowering.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The latest...

The job search continues... I'll update you on that when there's something to update. Last night, Tupua and I went to a meeting at a friend's house. It's pretty much all people in the industry, that are in situations similar to ours. They talk about what they've learned the past week, their goals, how to reach them, things they're doing, and support and encourage each other. It was actually really beautiful to see their interactions- they're all extremely positive and motivated. At the end of the meeting, they choose accountability partners. I'm in a trio with two other girls, one of whom I've never even met (she couldn't make the meeting but we called her) and it's been really great so far. Both girls have checked in with me today, to see how I'm doing, and have been so excited and happy for me and, even though I don't know them that well, I feel excited and happy for their successes too! I'm actually really confused about what I want and what my goals are/should be, so I'm focusing mostly on that this week, but it's really nice to know I'm accountable to them, and to the group. It's also really fun to do this with Tupua and know that he has positive support coming from several sources too. Change is hard, but it feels doable. I'm reminded of a quote I always loved, on my grandma's fridge: "We are a certain way by nature; we stay that way by choice."

Monday, October 15, 2012


I haven't blogged in awhile, so I figured it was about time for an update. The last month, to be quite honest, I've been in lala-land. Without going into too much detail and embarrassing him, I'll say that I've been pretty much focused on a new relationship with a pretty great guy. Things are really good with him and I feel tremendously blessed just to have him in my life. He's happy and positive and kind and works really hard at life and at making me happy, and he seems to think I can do pretty much anything. He's an exceptional person and the more I get to know him, the more amazing I think he is. Despite that, things have been rough lately. I'm still getting used to LA and my new life- the people, the area, the traffic... I miss my family and friends. I've been in two very minor accidents and, although everything is fine, dealing with the aftermath has been upsetting and, well, embarrassing. I'm also used to keeping a pretty rigorous schedule and I thrive on being busy, so it's driving me a little crazy to have so much down time. I'm working, but my job is less hours than expected, other jobs are not coming through, unexpected bills have come up, and so finances are tight and I'm worried and stressed. This is an understatement. And yet, I knew this would be hard. I knew it, and I chose to do it anyway, because I felt like it was right and I trusted that the Lord would take care of me if I did my part. I told that to Tupua the other day and he said to trust that, and not to go back on my faith now. It resonated with me, because I realized I have a tendency to leap with faith and then, as I'm floundering around in the air, to regret my decision and fear it won't work out. I know it's counter-productive, because the decision was already made, and it's pointless to worry about what-ifs. I know it's important to just move forward with faith, but that's so much easier said than done. Anyway, today, I've spent some time reading my patriarchal blessing (thanks Ang!) and reading scriptures and watching conference talks, to build myself up and motivate myself to work harder, to be more creative in finding work, and to be more spiritually in tune so can receive the guidance I need. I know things will work out somehow; they always do, when I trust the Lord. I have learned this time and time again. In the meantime, I love how clearly Dieter F. Uchdorf stated in general conference that "our circumstances do not determine our happiness". That's a powerful thought, because it makes it so that none of us are victims of circumstance, but can really choose to be happy. Plus, I do have a loving, supportive family (I include my friends in that) and the love of a really wonderful guy... and that is something to be truly, truly grateful for. =)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

House of Blues... and Blessings

Things have gradually been falling into place. I still miss my friends and family in Sac, but I've met some wonderful people here, some that already feel like they always should have been a part of my life. I remember having that feeling when I met my friend, Melba, in Boston and hers has become one of the most genuine and deep friendships I've been blessed to know. I went to my brother's wedding recently, which was SO beautiful and wonderful, but it was hard coming back. Luckily, I went out to a friend's gig that night, with some other friends and had a lovely time. I spent that Saturday at the beach and it was GORGEOUS! Sunday, I received a calling at church, to play piano for the choir. Monday, I went to a jam session with my roommate (Carolyn) and my brother and sister-in-law, James and Hina. I LOVED it- it was like stepping into the South! The music was amazing, the food was amazing, the players were amazing, and I can't wait to go back! Now, about the House of Blues: A few nights ago, I was responding to some craigslist ads and I said a silent prayer that Heavenly Father would bless and multiply any efforts I made. I know He's blessed me with a gift and I want to do what He would have me do with it, but I feel lost and intimidated and so unsure about everything. The following day, I received an email from the House of Blues, inviting me to interview/audition for some bookings there and at several other big name venues here in LA. The email said to call the booking manager to confirm, which I did, but a HUGE part of me wanted to run away. I often have that feeling, in varied extremes- when I got my scholarship to Berklee, my first day teaching, my first big solo gig, my Ella concert, and it came back in full force last night. When I have this feeling, the urge to run is so real that I start to convince myself that something bad is about to happen, that this is a warning and I should heed it. But, because of good friends and family who never fail to encourage me, and because of a deep-rooted, bigger fear of regret, I do it. And... it NEVER fails, it always turns out wonderful, just because the feeling of doing something that hard, of overcoming fears, is so powerful, it brings hope! I have decided that THAT feeling is actually the gateway to greatness, that it means we're doing something that takes courage and, because of that, it changes us a little every time, for the better. Anyway, barely hanging on to my sanity, I left for the House of Blues last night. I said a little prayer that I would find easy parking (if you know LA parking, you know that's no small feat), turned the corner to Sunset Blvd and VOILA there was one large parking spot, less than a block from the venue. Long story short, it wasn't exactly an audition- they had already heard my stuff- it was more of a meeting/interview and they're supposed to call today to book some dates. Before you get all excited, it's the Foundation Room IN the House of Blues, which is a smaller lounge. That's a relief for me- I couldn't fill the big room anyway... yet! But they said celebrities and talent agents frequent there often and bookings at their various venues will help with exposure and fan base too. This is an amazing opportunity! This brings me to my final thought for the day: As I've said before, I prayed and fasted quite a bit about this decision to move. It was difficult to leave my job, my home, and my loved ones. BUT I feel that Heavenly Father has watched over me every step of the way, sometimes when I didn't even feel it or have the faith to trust that His plan would work out. I've been trying to be diligent about daily scripture study, about serving and loving others, and about talking with my Heavenly Father daily, so I stay on track. I really believe that, whatever His plan is, it's better than mine and I know He loves me and wants me to be happy. I feel His love and blessings as I meet loving, supportive people, as I'm inspired to write new songs, and as my life unfolds before me. And I'm grateful. Which is a vast understatement. Luckily, the Lord knows my heart and can fill in where words fail. =)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quick Update

I GOT A JOB! =) I will be teaching private piano and voice lessons at the School of Dance and Music, starting in September. SUCH a relief! Also, I attended the YSA conference this past weekend- good times and some really nice workshops, talks and discussions. Met some great people and got to catch up and spend some time with friends! Lastly, things are going better than last week (yes, I know it's only Monday). I was asked to sub at the school before I officially start work, which is a nice vote of confidence, and I feel myself starting to get more comfortable here. It's slowly starting to feel like home. Well, a type of home anyway- I think home will always be Sacramento, but Boston came to feel like home too. Still, I'm looking forward to going to Sac this weekend for my brother, James' wedding! =)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Settling In

Here's a quick update: This week has been a little rough because some of my recording equipment isn't working and things have just been stressful in general; learning the area, getting used to the people, making new friends, organizing my place, job searching/interviewing, finances... It's a lot to handle all at the same time and alone. I remember my first month in Boston; I think I cried every night and I was dealing with a lot of the same stuff. The good news is I have NOT cried every night here- success! I like to think I'm a little more mature, and it helps that I've done this before, so I know it gets better with time. I also have some awesome friends who have been there for me. Ang and Melba check in often, Felice sent a really sweet text about how I'm never alone and can call her anytime, and Tupua took care of me my first night alone here, listening to my woes and distracting me with card games. =) This past Monday, I met some nice people at an amazing FHE where we toured the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. They do, (among many other things), transportation design, so they were making car models and there was so much to learn and see. We also had a demo on Typography (see below), where this guy taught us all about the Helvetica font and its history. I promise it was so much more fascinating than I'm making it sound!
Yesterday, I had to co-teach a piano lesson and a voice lesson as part of the interview process for one of my potential jobs. I was teamed up with one of their current teachers who, by a kind twist of fate, happened to be a friend and the husband of my dear, long-time friend, Francesca. I think it went OK, but we'll see. After lessons, I went home where my roommate Carolyn and I had dinner with the sister missionaries. Today was really nice, because I got to spend the morning with Hina (my sister-in-law-to-be, if you're not familiar with her). We hiked up to the Hollywood sign (well, as close as we could get), then went to lunch at the California Chicken Cafe and stopped by Sprinkles for a cupcake out of the ATM!
Tonight, I had signed up to help set up for the BBQ my ward does every first Wednesday. It was nice setting up, but super awkward once the BBQ started. Everyone there was either prrrretty old, or married with young kids. I tried for about 15 minutes to make chit chat and introduce myself, but people didn't really know what to do with me. After the initial "Where are you from", they were at a loss, and it got to be pretty un-fun for me. So... I left and went to the beach. Overall, things are fine. Or rather, I think they will be. But if I can complain for a minute, LA and I have not grown to love each other yet. I hate the traffic- getting around here is like being in a constant obstacle course. People are really not friendly. I've been making a point of smiling and saying hello to people and I can honestly say that 99% of the time, they initially had no intention of even acknowledging me and then after I make the effort, often, they don't even respond. And if I hear one more person brag about what they've done, who they've worked with or how great they are... Anyway, like I said, I know it gets better- this is the tough part, so I'm trying to hang in there but it's pretty much the opposite of fun. Venting over now. As you were.