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Meeting myself with the 23andMe Health & Ancestry Kit

I’ve never known much about where I come from, but I’ve always been interested.

My mother did genealogy research about 10 years ago, but that’s only half of me.

I don’t have a close relationship with my birth father, and my paternal grandmother passed away when I was young.

So I had no way of knowing what makes me, me.

Then I decided to order a DNA kit, so I could finally figure out what I’m made up of and where I come from.


I decided on 23andMe’s Health and Ancestry kit because it gives you over 80 reports on your:

  • Ancestry
  • Carrier status for certain diseases and illnesses
  • Genetic health risks
  • Traits
  • Wellness

I ordered this thinking it would be interesting to know if any diseases run in my family, and exactly what percentage of Filipino I am.

See, before I took this test I thought I was just Filipino and a small mixture of Caucasian (French and German).

So I was blown away when I got my results back.


How does it work?

I may be living under a rock, but when I thought about DNA tests, I thought they could only be done via blood sample. But that isn’t true!

When you order 23andMe, they send you a small box with a saliva vile, you spit in it, send the box back and that’s it! It was super easy.

This map shows everywhere my ancestors are from.

North Africa?

South Asia? (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh)

Middle Eastern?

I was blown away. But that’s not all!

The test then breaks down your ancestry by the time period and ancestor.

Looking at this timeline really got me emotional, because I had never thought I was all these things.

And, each of these lines represents one of my ancestors. A person who lived and passed on traits to their children, and children’s children, and their children’s children, who eventually led to me.

It’s incredible.


Now that I know what makes me me, I want to learn more. I want to start studying my genealogy and learn about my ancestors, who they were, where they came from, what they lived through.

I’m so intrigued and fascinated by this, and I can’t wait to dive deeper!

Want to find out what makes you YOU? These kits are on sale on Amazon!

   

Have you done a DNA kit or studied your genealogy? Tell me your stories, I’d love to hear! 🙂

 

*Note: This is not sponsored, I’m just really passionate about this and HAD to share! Some links may be affiliate links, because milk is $7 a gallon in Hawaii.

Healthy & Delicious Banana Oats Breakfast Bowl

Giveaway!

This post is in partnership with Whole Foods and their Make Me Whole Campaign.

Whole Foods Market is giving YOU a chance to win groceries for a YEAR! If you’re like me and you’re trying to enhance your health this year, follow Whole Foods and tag a photo of what you’re totally obsessed with eating at the moment with 3 things: @wholefoods, #MakesMeWhole & #sweeps on Instagram or Twitter. It’s that easy!

Instagram    Twitter

The Official Rules are here.

Good luck!! 🙂


Since coming back from Las Vegas and Arizona, I’ve been on a major health kick.

As a part of that, I’ve been experimenting with different recipes! One of my favorites right now is this Banana Oats Breakfast Bowl that I threw together in my head while walking up and down every aisle in Whole Foods.

This breakfast bowl is packed with protein, superfoods and flavor – and I don’t even like oats! But this is just amazing. (I think you’ll love it) 🙂

whole foods, make me whole

whole foods, make me whole

whole foods, make me whole

whole foods, make me whole

whole foods, breakfast bowl

whole foods, breakfast bowl

whole foods, breakfast bowl


What you’ll need:

How to make it:

  1. Combine your oats and milk in a pot and place over medium heat. Stir and cover.
  2. When it starts to bubble, lower the heat slightly, remove the cover and gently stir until the oats absorb the liquid (this took about 5 minutes).
  3. After the oats are cooked through and your oatmeal is thick, add your egg white (for added protein!). Stir until your egg is cooked completely (about 1 minute).
  4. Add the mashed banana, chia seeds, cinnamon/nutmeg and vanilla, mix well and cook until desired consistency.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and then decorate with your toppings!

This is one of the easiest and yummiest breakfasts. I can’t wait to experiment more with different breakfast bowls and toppings!

Also! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for FREE groceries for a year! Good luck! 🙂


Life Lately: New job, getting healthy, and moving

The last few months have been a whirlwind.

I can’t even believe I’ve been back in Hawaii for almost half a year already (what?!) and since being back here, I’ve been really focusing on myself for the first time in years.

My breakup, leaving my job and home, and relocating back to America in the span of a week or two was rough on me. And while I’m being honest, I’m still healing. Every day is a struggle, and I think that’s important to recognize.


Heartbreak hotel.

I recently took a trip to Arizona and Las Vegas, and it was everything I needed. Being in the desert, driving for hours each day, immersing myself in foreign surroundings, seeing new people and new places was healing.

On my last night there, I broke down in my hotel room. I cried and asked “why, why, why” and when I woke up the next morning, it was as though I woke up in God’s hand. I felt okay. My heart opened up and I breathed out the biggest sigh of relief and felt thousands of pounds of resentment, guilt and regret lift right off my chest.

I got on the plane back to Hawaii, and watching the desert grow smaller and smaller, I knew I was ready to move on. I’d been holding on for so long, I didn’t realize how tired it was making me. It was time to let go.

I left my heart there in that desert, but I gained so much more.


Health (It’s all you got)

While I’m on a roll with “epiphanies,” I should mention that I realized that I’m getting older and should start taking care of my health. (I know. I’m only 25, but I’m sure not getting any younger!)

Tea

I started drinking mate tea every morning, afternoon and night. It’s an amazing metabolism booster and detox/cleanser, and it’s filled with antioxidants!

This is the one I got (because it was on sale and they sent me a free bottle too).

Vitamins

I also bought some personalized vitamins from Care/of! I’ll admit, I saw their sponsored posts on Instagram and was drawn to their marketing and clean design.

So I went on their site to take the health quiz, and they built a personalized program for me! It’s pretty awesome.

Also: They’re giving customers discounts and free shipping right now because shipping will take 1-2 weeks. So if you’re interested, now’s the time to try it out! 

(If you’re interested in a separate post about this, let me know!:))

Skincare

For the past two years, I’ve neglected my skincare. A typical night involved a makeup remover wipe, and that’s it.

So, I recently decided to splurge on some skincare products for myself, because again… I’m getting older and Father Time waits for no one to realize their neck is wrinkled and skin spots don’t disappear.

So if you need me, I’ll be diving head first into my Glossier skincare products I just ordered.


New year, new job

When you’re reading this, I’ll be starting a brand new job!

It’s a remote job that I landed by checking out these sites, and I’m thrilled to join their team of incredible, incredible people.

I’ll probably talk more about this later. Until then, just know I’m excited to put my skills and passions to good use 🙂


Moving. Again.

I’ll dedicate an entire post to the details about this, because it’s something so huge I can’t fathom squeezing it into this post. There’s just too much to say!

In short, I’m moving in June! I’ll be leaving Maui for the last time, and I’m excited, nervous, anxious and thrilled all at once.

The craziest part of it all? I have no idea where I’m going to.

I’m just going.


That’s what life has been looking like lately! What have you been up to? What’s something you’re looking forward to? ❤️

Visiting Las Vegas in the Winter

I recently came back from a quick trip to Arizona and Las Vegas. It was one of the most incredible weeks I’ve ever spent, and it was definitely a much-needed vacation. Plus, visiting Las vegas during the winter time is such a different experience than visiting during warmer months. I’m not sure what it is… But Las Vegas in January is my favorite Las Vegas.

And before you ask: Yes, people were still half-naked walking down the strip in 30-40 degree weather. But hey, it’s Vegas.

las vegas sign

las vegas blvd

las vegas strip

hash house vegas

I ate… a lot… during this trip… I easily gained 10 pounds (at least). But it was well worth it!

Just a hunk ‘o burnin’ (wax) 😉

las vegasThis was one of the best trips I’ve taken. Between driving through the desert in Arizona and walking down the Las Vegas strip, I’ve never felt so alive.

I needed this trip to reset and step back from my life to look at it from a different perspective.

I left a piece of my soul there in the desert, and I can’t wait to go back. ❤️

Driving through the Arizona desert

I recently drove through the Arizona desert, and I fell in love. I’ve been dreaming of deserts, cacti, quirky roadside attractions and friendly in-the-middle-of-nowhere gas stations – and this trip was everything I wanted and more.

There’s just something about driving through the desert. It feels warm even though it’s the dead of winter. It feel familiar even though I’ve never been here. There’s something about it, and I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.

Here are my favorite photos from my trek through the Arizona desert. I left a piece of my soul there, and I can’t wait to go back.

arizona highway

route 66, arizona highway

arizona desert

arizona desert

route 66 diner

route 66 diner

route 66 diner

Have you ever been to a place and felt like you’ve been there before? Or felt like if you were stranded there, you’d be able to make it “home” quickly? If you ever drive Route 66, stop in this town (and specifically, this diner). I don’t remember the name, but I do remember the waiter, the good food, the comfy atmosphere, the streets lined with lights, light dusting of snow that made the town look frosty (not overtly cold), and the strikingly out of place familiarity.

grand canyon

williams arizona, grand canyon

arizona highway, roadside america

roadside america

grand canyon

grand canyon

grand canyon

I visited the Grand Canyon when I was a baby, but I don’t remember it – I only have photos. When I visited on this trip, I cried. It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. Our world is so beautiful. When I visit places like this, it always seems so silly to get so overworked and overwhelmed over little mundane  things when magnificent places like this exist. Sure, the world can be scary, and wars happen, and terror seems to be everywhere. But beauty and life also exists – and in my experience, love and beauty trumps all. Go out and explore your world, we’re so lucky to be on this planet.

in n out


Have you ever been to Arizona, the Grand Canyon or an amazing diner in the middle of nowhere? I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

Boating Day & Whale Watching in Maui!

After finding out the Hawaii Missile Threat was a false alarm, we decided to make the most of the day by taking the boat out and enjoying sunshine, whale watching and good music – all things we’d miss had the missile threat been real.

Here are my favorite photos from that day! ☀️

maui boat

maui whale watch

maui boat

boating, maui

maui boat

maui boat, maui ocean

maui boat, maui snorkeling

boating, yacht

maui whale watch


It was a beautiful, beautiful day in paradise. I laughed, smiled, sang, and truly soaked in how beautiful my home is. I was present. I felt the wind in my face. I tasted the salt air on my tongue. I watched my freckles come out of hiding.

This was one of my most favorite days in a long, long time.

❤️

What It’s Like To Work From Home

Have you ever dreamed of working from home? Are you tired of waking up early in the morning, leaving the house when it’s dark and coming home when it’s dark? Do you wish you could say goodbye to the office for good and work according to your own schedule? Want to work in your pajamas? Guess what! It’s not totally out of reach!

In total, I’ve worked from home for a few years and while it isn’t for everyone, I personally love it. I love the flexibility that comes with it, and I love that I can work from anywhere and I’m not necessarily tied to one place.

It definitely takes a certain type of person. You need to be self-motivated, organized, and able to work in a solo environment.

Important! If you are prone to laziness, get distracted easily and/or need other people or an office-like environment in order to stay on task, working from home may not be the best option for you! 

However, if you’re still considering starting a work-from-home position, this blog is for you!

home office

How to stay motivated & focused when you work from home

Working remotely takes a lot of focus, and it took me a while to figure out the things that worked for me. Here are some of my best tips for staying motivated and focused while working from home:

  • Create a dedicated work space – Carving out a space for you to work while you’re at home will help your productivity levels soar. (If you read my post about writing tips, you already know how important this dedicated space is ;))
  • Set a schedule – Although you work from home, you should still create a daily schedule and stick to it! This will help you get in the zone and feel like you’re really doing something.
  • Get to know yourself – Through trial and error, you’ll be able to figure out when you’re most productive. Then based on that, you can determine when you should be working. (For example, I find that I work the best early in the mornings when the world is still quiet!)
  • Get ready for the day – Yeah, yeah, yeah. “I’m working from home, so why would I bother getting dressed or putting makeup on?” Well, because it’s proven to make you more productive! Just the simple act of putting some jeans on can make you feel much more motivated to get ‘er done!
  • Give yourself a break – I’ll be honest, I don’t do this often enough, if at all. I’m one of those people who needs to finish something as soon as I start it, and then I get on a roll and want to knock out tasks. But that isn’t always the best. Take breaks, give your mind a rest, drink water.
  • Get out! – I’ll also admit I’ve only done this a few times, but if you’re in a rut or having writer’s block, getting out and working at a coffee shop or a park can spark your creativity. (And, it’s a great way to meet new people, which is especially difficult if you’re working remotely!)
  • Buy 5 planners – Maybe not 5, but you get it. Buy a planner and use it! (This is the one I’m using!) Plan out your entire day and prioritize your tasks. And don’t forget to mark off things you complete, studies show that helps us become motivated to achieve even more!

How I stay organized while working from home

Aside from staying motivated, keeping organized is the most important thing to keep in mind while working from home. These are my favorite planners and apps that hold me accountable!

Planners:

Day Designer – This is my all-time favorite planner. I’ve seen it around the Internet for some time, but this year I finally got one and I love it! (Here is the exact one that I have!)

This one is amazing because it lays out your day by the hour, it has a section for your daily top 3 tasks, and it even has a gratitude box!

planner

Best apps to keep you organized:

I love apps, and I’m always downloading new ones to test out. Here are my favorites (so far).

  • Evernote – I wouldn’t survive without a space to jot down all my thoughts, ideas and tasks. Aside from my planners, I need an app to help me keep track of my to-do lists. Evernote is perfect because it syncs with my iPhone and iPad, and it even has some awesome templates that make staying organized super easy!
  • Dropbox – Unless your work uses iCloud or OneDrive, you’re most likely using DropBox to share and upload files. It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s reliable. I use it for my personal work, too!
  • Asana – This is one of the cleanest, most reliable time-tracking softwares I’ve ever used. You can create teams, projects, run company performance reports, and color code your projects (my favorite feature!). Plus, NASA uses it… so it must be out of this world (I had to… lol)
  • Noisli or Coffitivity or Rainy Café – Yes, I have them all bookmarked and YES I use them all. Each one has different features and sounds a bit different, so depending on the day or the mood I’m in, I’ll choose one over the other. I can’t work in silence, and sometimes music is too distracting, so these sites are incredible when I need a good, calming white noise!
  • Every Time Zone – If you’re working remotely chances are, your coworkers are spread out across the globe. This makes collaborating and communicating tricky sometimes, because of the time differences! I love Every Time Zone, because it lays out the different time zones in relation to the current time where you are, so you’ll never be confused again! (Hopefully)

remote jobs

My favorite websites for finding remote jobs

Not every job site is going to make it easy to find remote or work at home jobs, but I’ve done my fair share of searching around and here are my favorites (that DON’T require a membership!)

Jobspresso

We Work Remotely

Workew

AngelList

Remote

Remote OK

Authentic Jobs


That’s all I’ve got for now! I hope this was helpful to you if you work from home or are considering becoming a remote worker! If you have any tips, leave them below! ❤️

 

 

*Some links may be affiliate links. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do 😉

Living Through the Hawaii Missile Threat

January 13th, 2018 will be a day I’ll remember forever. It was the day I was told I had 10 minutes left to live.

At 8:08am, my phone blared with this Emergency Alert:

hawaii ballistic missile threat

My mom came running up the stairs screaming, but all I could do was stand there. Whether it was disbelief or complete shock, all I kept thinking was: Is this really happening? Is this real?

I immediately jumped to all the news sites, social media, TV, radios – but there was nothing. People were talking about it on Facebook, posting the same screenshots of that emergency alert. But all the news stations were silent.

We didn’t know what to do. If it was real or not. Where we should go. How long we had. Where it would hit. We didn’t know anything.

So I called my loved ones, told them I loved them. And then I waited. My family and I sat and waited, because that’s all we could do.

10 minutes passed.

20 minutes passed.

Our world was silent. The streets were empty. The sound of cars ceased. Even the sound of my breath seemed to disappear.

After 37 grueling minutes, I got another emergency alert:

hawaii ballistic missile threat

A false alarm. Sent to over a million people.

Over a million people were told they had 10 minutes before a ballistic missile would end life as they knew it. Over a million people hugged their loved ones tight and desperately made phone calls. Over a million people sought shelter in bath tubs, closets, parking garages, and storm drains. Over a million people lost their safety and sanity for 37 minutes because of one person’s careless mistake.


January 13th changed me forever. I now know what it’s like to be faced with a missile threat. I now know what it’s like to be told I have 10 minutes. I know what it’s like to feel completely and utterly helpless and scared beyond belief.

But possibly most importantly, I know what it’s like to wish for more time. I now know what it’s like to be faced with the threat of death, have an out-of-body experience and ask myself if I’d done everything in my life that I wanted to do.

While I was sitting and waiting for the inevitable, I asked myself these questions:

  • Am I happy with how I lived my life?
  • Did I accomplish enough?
  • Was I nice enough?
  • How will I be remembered?
  • If I live, how will I live my life differently?

Then when I received that second emergency alert stating that it was a false alarm, I thought about all those questions I asked myself. And I decided that from this point onward, I’ll live my life as though I only have 10 more minutes. I’ll let go of the built up anger and stress and worry and just live my life.

Because you know what? In those 10 minutes, I realized that nothing matters. The cars in the driveway, the clothes in my closet, the university degree on the wall didn’t matter when we were faced with a ballistic missile or nuclear bomb or whatever we thought was headed our way.

So for the rest of my life, I won’t live as though those things are the only things that matter.


After we were 100% certain it was a false alarm, and we were safe, we decided to make the most of the day and do things we would miss had that threat been real. We went out on a boat and spent the day swimming with whales and listening to happy, country music and soaking up the sunshine.

We lived. We spent that day living and enjoying living and being grateful for life. And that’s what I plan to do for the rest of my life.

Easiest Cherry Apple Pie Recipe (Chapel Pie?)

During this holiday season, I got really into baking. I spent hours in the kitchen learning new recipes, trying to master techniques and appreciating the art-form that IS a perfect pie crust. And one of my most favorite pies I made was a makeshift cherry apple pie (with a homemade crust!)

This was my favorite pie to make because I didn’t follow a recipe! I had one can of apples and one can of cherries so I decided to wing it. And this delicious pie was the outcome.

cherry apple pie

cherry apple pie

cherry apple pie

cherry apple pie

cherry apple pie


Cherry Apple Pie Recipe

What you need:

Pie Crust: I used the same recipe as the last pie I made! Find it here.

Pie Filling:

Pie Topping:

  • 1 tbs melted butter
  • 1 tbs sugar (I used turbinado, but any kind of sugar will work!)

How to make it:

  1. Make your pie crusts using this simple recipe.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, and allspice in a large bowl.
  3. Add apples and cherries and toss until mixture is well coated.
  4. Heat oven to 400°F.
  5. Place pie crust dough into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Press the dough firmly against the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
  6. Roll the extra disk of dough on your floured surface. Slice the dough to create ribbons to weave across the top of your pie.
  7. Pour the apple mixture onto the crust in the pan.
  8. Add your dough ribbons to the top of your pie. You can weave them, braid them, or lay them randomly like I did – it will all taste the same! 😉
  9. Press the dough strips into the sides of the pan so that they adhere to the crust edge.
  10. Cover the edge of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent the crust edges from burning.
  11. Bake 35 minutes. Remove aluminum foil. Brush the crust with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  12. Continue baking for 10-20 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  13. Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes, so the filling can set.
  14. Then enjoy!

If you decide to make this, tell me! I’d love to hear what you think! This was one of my favorite pies I’ve made so far, and it inspired me to get more creative in coming up with my own recipes!

pinterest pie recipe

Books I’m Reading Right Now

I used to read and write every single day, but over the years I slowly got busier and busier and didn’t have time for it anymore. But lately, I’ve been prioritizing my passions and now I make time to read and write every day! Here are books I recently picked up.

favorite books

Big Magic | Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time, because I’ve seen it everywhere. And now that I’ve started writing my book (more on that later), it seemed like the perfect time to pick up a book about living your best creative life. I just finished this a couple days ago and I loved it. It’s full of motivation that slaps you right in the face and it’s what got me to finally sit down and write the first page of my book!

If you have a dream or a goal, but think it’s silly or are afraid to start because you’re afraid of failure, go pick this up.

Eat Pray Love | Elizabeth Gilbert

Since I’m going through a tough time and healing my heart, I’ve been reaching for “comeback” stories about people who also overcame their troubles and heartache to get back to being themselves again. I’ve obviously heard of Eat Pray Love (Julia Roberts’ movie… c’mon), but I’ve never read the book OR watched the movie. I know, I know…

And since this book was on sale, I figured it was a sign. I just cracked it open the other night, but I have a feeling I’m going to love it!

Uncommon Type | Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors of all time, and when I saw that he wrote a bookhad to have it. This is a collection of 17 short stories chronicling the every day norms of people from different walks of life. I’m so excited to dive into this!


What are you reading right now? I’d love to know so I can add to my list of books to read next! 🙂

 

This post is happily a part of:

The Sway

Our Mini Family 

Pieced Pastimes

 

*Note: Some links may be affiliate links. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! 😉