2012 in Review

Once again, it’s time for my “Year in Review” post. 2012 has been monumental, in both good ways and bad. I have experienced so much overwhelming happiness and gut-wrenching sadness this year; to the extent that I have never felt before.

At the beginning of 2012, I was still riding off the amazing high from our wedding and holiday season a few months before. The keyword for this year was “Ready.” AMN was beginning to take its official form, Ninong’s was growing slowly but surely from the year before, and we had just launched Creative Cartel. In my heart of hearts I really thought I had control of everything while mowing down everything in my way. But little did Charlie and I know that we were only wading our feet in the shallow end of the pool that was 2012.

March was a BIG month for me. I was about to take a scary leap with Creative Cartel that has led us to where we are today – our iPhone and iPad cases. Oh goodness, I had no idea what to expect! But my expectations have exceeded far beyond what I ever thought. I just need to take a moment to thank everyone for their kindness and faith in our products/company. Without all of you, we would be nothing!

This spring, AMN was also in its beginning phases and slowly growing momentum. We were slowly growing our team to who it is today. I can’t tell you guys enough how much I love these people. We have pulled through some major ups and downs which has only made us stronger. This year, we were able to launch 2 of our products – Assemble Magazine and Traklife Radio. Seeing the stats from these 2 products grow throughout the year has been so rewarding. I cannot wait until you all see what we have in store for 2013!

My dad also went home to the Philippines in March. Whenever someone goes on vacation at the bakery, I always fill in. And one day, while unloading groceries from the car, I looked up at my mom who was cooking in the back and I said, “I KNOW! Ube pancakes!” She looked at me perplexed and had no idea what I was talking about. After I explained to her my idea, she gave me the green light to try them and see if they would be any good. A week later, Charlie and I bought the ingredients and made them for my mom and aunts to try – they approved! The rest is history. Since we started selling our pancakes we have grown exponentially! On top of our growing retail customer base we also gained some very important wholesale accounts – we are beyond grateful for the success of our little shop!

Needless to say, I have more than enough for be thankful for this year. And I’ve got to tell ya, that was just the tip of the iceberg. But the way I see it, all these good things came at a price. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful and blessed. But if there’s something I learned this year it’s that nothing in this world comes free. Everything comes at a price. Where there is bad, there is good – where there is good, there is bad. We will not truly know happiness without sadness. And with all the great things that came in 2012, 2 of the saddest moments in my life happened within 2 months of each other.

On September 4, 2012, I got a call that would change my life forever. Charlie’s groomsman, Assemble’s Traklife Director, my fellow dreamer – our very good friend Ray Ray – passed away fighting a heroic battle against leukemia. This was the first time in my adult life that someone so close to me had passed away. And if you know me or have read my blog, it devastated me to my whits end. It devastated so many people.

Then, on November 4th, exactly 2 months after losing Ray I got a call from my Dad and I found out my Lolo passed away. I didn’t know that my heart could break into that many pieces. To see my family shaken, to feel the pain and sorrow I felt…it was unbearable. To say the very least, I was incredibly heart broken. <———- Understatement of the year!

I cried. I cried hard. I would wake up in the middle of the night and need to get up to wipe my tears. I’d cry when I woke up the next morning to go to work. I’d cry when I was driving. I’d cry when I would hear a song that reminded me of those 2 amazing men that touched my life in such a big way. To be honest, I still cry to this day and I don’t think it’ll ever get easier.

2012 was a hard lesson. It was one of the best and worst years I’ve had. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands of time, do things differently. I wish every single day that I could just wake up and give Ray and my Lolo a big hug and kiss. But I know that wouldn’t change their fate. They are now my 2 biggest inspirations. Through all this sadness I knew 1 thing: I had to continue on. They both would have wanted that for me, they would have wanted it for everyone they loved. They wouldn’t want me to wallow in my sorrow. They would want to see me persevere, to endure, to go on, and to be the best I can be. Man, God is so lucky to have gained back 2 amazing men. They were truly angels on earth.

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