2013 has been a year of facing new challenges for me. I started this blog earlier this year because I wanted to share some Thai dishes I learned from my grandmother, as well as things that I had picked up on my own. Later in June I launched a Kickstarter project to fund my children’s book, Howard & Chloe Go to Bunnyland. I was promoting my project while taking care of my aging father who was visiting NYC for two months. His last words of wisdom to me were not to worry too much about monetary gain, but do more for others while pursuing something you love. I published my first children’s book a little while after my father’s departure. It was a wonderful experience while promoting the book, I have met many amazing people: Authors, film-makers, and many more. I even hosted a book drive for children, Literature for Young Learners. Working on this event with the huge support from Magnolia Bakery, Fresh Direct, who helped us to donate the books we received to Jackson Heights library in Queens, New York.

This Summer I watched a Netflix original series, Orange is The New Black. I can say this show that has changed my life for the better. Through it I have interviewed some of the cast, discovering such warm and talented people. While everything seemed to be at peak to me, I learned the worst news that my father had fallen very ill, and probably wouldn’t make it by the time I returned. I had to drop everything and fly home to be by his side. Unfortunately, I was too late to see him. That’s when confusion kicked in, what would I do without my father. All I could think about is that my role model wouldn’t be around to watch me grow. Something I learned from this experience is to draw feelings of growth and success from within. I know my father would love to see me make my family proud. Those three weeks in Thailand were priceless; being with my family, reconnecting with old friends, and refreshing my soul.

Leaving my mother behind is the hard part but nothing’s kicking you harder than life. You just have to fight till your last breathe. I came back to the U.S. And went right back to where I had left off. since then I’ve been working hard, recieving tremendous support from the cast and my Twitter followers. It’s amazing that because of this awful event that happened to me had also enabled me to connect with a lot of people that I had no clue who they were! It’s been over three months now since my father’s passing, but I have never been better. I have met the creator of Weeds and Orange is The New Black, Jenji Kohan, OITNB producer Lisa Vinncour, the cast and recently, Piper Kerman the author of OITNB and even interviewed her. Who would have thought that I would have come this far.

I have not forgotten the words of my father in helping others. This year I joined in helping the Olevolos project, supporting Stockings With Care organization and ended the year with participating at Alysia Reiner and KiraKira shopping event to benefit Women’s Prison Assosiation (WPA.) Along with supporting a lot of artists through Kickstarer projects and those who created amazing arts for OITNB. Looking back, I have no regrets and more than ready to move forward to the year of 2014 knowing that a lot of people got my back and I would do the same for them.