Dream . Inspire . Mahalo

A Beautiful Detour

Angela Tseng

Recently I had someone tell me: the moment you start celebrating success is the start of your failure. And if got me thinking … a lot!

After meeting and talking to many people all around the world I have come to realize something: everyone, no matter their age, gender, or culture is trying to figure out something; being it in their careers, relationships, or just their purposes in life.

But recently I made the big mistake to think I was close to have it figured out … until I realized I wasn’t. What I had thought was going smoothly and according to plans WAS actually going smoothly and according to plans, but in my head, not in real life.

And I am very happy and grateful that I was able to hit a wall at an early stage of my “arrogance”. I realized that I was no longer listening, I was no longer trying, and I was no longer learning because I was comfortable and maybe even “celebrating” perceived success. But when reality finally hit me I realized how lost and UNfigured out I was. And that is when I took a step back, took a break, and revamped my plans. Although I still don’t have it down, life gave me a gift from this experience: a beautiful detour, where I could see things in a different perspective and remember to always stay on my toes.

It is really easy to get lost when we are too focused on the destination while too many things are being thrown at us that we end up forgetting to enjoy the road leading us there. So taking a little detour is not always a bad idea, because you might see beautiful things that were not in the original path, you might learn a different route, or you might even completely change your mind about your destination. But either way, detours happen for a reason like Carmen Borgonovo said: everything happens for a reason, so there’s always a purpose for the path you went down – even if it was tough.

For me the most valuable lesson from all this was: to be a student forever because there will always be something new to learn and to be confident enough to stay true to yourself but humble enough to accept criticism because people who will take the time to criticize you are the people who care.

Where'd all the good people go?

Angela Tseng

I want to start this post by saying how grateful I am for being surrounded by great people filled with great energy!

We did a video shoot down in San Diego for my soon-to-launch Kickstarter campaign last Thursday. At first I was a little concerned because I did not know what to expect. I did not live in SD, the models, the filmmaker, the photographer, and the make-up artist didn’t know each other, and it was my first time shooting a video. So needless to say, I was up all night worrying about everything that could happen. Call time was at 7:30AM but by 6:00AM I was worrying about nobody showing up.

Turns out, all my worries were in vain. The shoot was as successful as I could have asked! And I have to say it was a great shooting day not only because we got great images but because we got great people who contributed, more than anything, with their super positive energy. They were all willing to work around their schedule to make everything happen; from providing the apartment as a shooting site to showing up at crazy early hours, from fitting the shoot in between finals to shooting great images while being jet lagged. All the ladies were amazing and it could not have been possible if I was missing a single one of them!

After a full day of shooting we were ready to make our way back to LA around 10PM. The drive back was pretty smooth and all I could think about was getting home, taking a really nice and hot shower, and of course, my bed.

But when we were about 20 minutes away from home on the 405 the car stopped, and we were on the fast track lane. Although we had the emergency lights on, the other cars were coming at us at full speed as if they did not see us (which I can’t blame them since it was late at night and no one would expect a car to be stopped in the fast track lane). So all we could do was call 911 and wait while all these cars were rushing by us at full speed or stopping behind us by an inch from hitting us.

Finally a silver Honda Civic REALLY almost hit us, but like a guardian angel a guy came out of the car and he not only did not get mad at us for being stopped in the middle of 405 he did everything he could to help us, and I mean EVEYRHITNG. Unlike all the other cars he did not just drive away angry. He stayed parked behind us so no other cars would hit us; then, he walked into the on coming traffic to stop a pick up truck that had warning lights. The guy in the pick up truck, without hesitating, stopped next to us closing the adjacent lane and turned on the warning lights. At this point I was not only scared, I was also overflowing with guilty as I was putting so many lives in danger all because I forgot to check the tank before we started driving.

Moments after the pick up truck stopped, we got the attention of a tow truck that was actually making his way home. But out of kindness he stopped for us and started strapping the car to the truck. At this moment, after Mr. Guardian Angel made sure we were in good hands, he got in his car and drove away without leaving a name or saying anything.

When we were almost ready to take off, we hear the cop’s siren and see a car zig-zagging through traffic on the 405 and stopping all the cars. So now not only have I put people’s lives in danger I had caused a commotion on the freeway. Finally, when we were safe in a residential street I was certain that the police officer would come over with a fat ticket and an endless speech but all he said was “he (pointing to the guy in the tow truck) saved you guys, have a good life” and left.

The adrenaline rush was wearing off when a friend picked me up. So I cried and cried and cried and drank some wine to my heart’s content. And that’s how I spent the rest of the weekend, crying and drinking because I felt scared, guilty, and lonely. But on Sunday night when I finally built up the courage to call home, my mom made me see things in a different way. Instead of crying over spilled milk I should be grateful for having met so many great people that helped me through such a delicate situation. Instead of beating myself up, I should be helping others who are also in need, because something that may seem like nothing to some might be the world for someone else.

So, where'd all the good people go? They didn’t go anywhere, they are all around us. Amidst all the craziness that has been happening around the world, human kindness still exists and unconditional kindness is real. It doesn’t matter if it is someone you know, someone you have just met, or a total stranger; always be kind and considerate without asking for retribution because you might just become someone’s guardian angel without even knowing.

Models: Erin, Nicole     MUA: Rachelle     Photo: TanyaBree     Video: Tanya

Definition of Love

Angela Tseng

For the longest time my definition of “love”  was something shared between you and your significant other. And that is how I spent a few years of my life; always in a relationship one after another and always trying to find that perfect match, someone I could love. Yes, I was (and probably still am) a hopeless romantic.

Maybe I was afraid of being alone or maybe I just liked the feeling of being in love. But it wasn’t until I broke off a long term relationship that I realized how wrong I was about the meaning of “love”. Because while I was busy looking for “THE one” I neglected the love from family, friends, and most importantly from myself.

When my last relationship ended I was devastated, I was empty, and I was lost. My friends worried that I would once again jump into another relationship, but instead, I packed my bags and went on a surfing trip in Central America. Needless to say, I had a life changing experience.

I met great people that were full of passion for life, adventure, and freedom that inspired me and showed me that there is so much more to life than just finding the perfect one. Among those people I met Mr. Carefree a guy who soon became my travel partner; he was beautiful inside and out, fun, loving, caring and free. 

He was 33 but had a younger heart than I did. He inspired me with his kind heart, his passion, and his free spirit. He illustrated what a real relationship with mutual respect looked like, he taught me to love and forgive myself, he reminded me of family’s unconditional love, and he ignited my passion for life.

After a long day helping the community build schools and playing with the kids, we went on a last sunset surf session. We caught some waves and later we just sat on our boards and watched the sunset quietly. For the first time in a while I felt alive. And while watching that sunset I realized that the time spent doing good, the smile on a little kid’s face, or the moment spent with a loved one are things that can easily be taken for granted but they are also the most precious ones.

I came back from that trip and realized I was in love, but this time, for the right reasons: I was in love with life. And I was thirsty, thirsty for new adventures, for new accomplishments, and for new challenges that would come my way. My goal went from finding the one to living a meaningful life.

Soon after I came back people around me started getting married. But instead of feeling lonely I was happy, happy to share their love, happy to be part of their exciting new journey, and happy to be around my family.

It doesn't matter what kind of love it is, family, friends, lover, puppies, or kitties, love can be tricky and not always perfect, but as long as you’ve tried your best there is nothing to regret. Some people come into our lives and go others come and stay but they all leave a mark either as a lesson or a blessing.

Happy Valentines Day to all the beautiful dreamers out there! 

Embracing 2017 With An Open Heart

Angela Tseng

I heard from a lot of people that 2016 was a challenging year. Most people close to me had a consensus that in general 2016 was a difficult year in all aspects of life: personal, professional, relationship, family, etc … Thinking back, for me 2016 was challenging yes, but it was also a year with a lot of changes and break throughs.

Last year, I began 2016 having one of the biggest fights I have ever had with my brother. And just like that a whole year passed. Everytime I had my down moments I would think back to that episode and sometimes it would keep me motivated to go after my dreams but sometimes it would just send me to the deepest and darkest holes.

Regardless of whether that fight did me good or bad, it was and will always be my biggest regret in 2016. Around December of this year, I was getting moody all the time and I wasn’t sure why until it hit me that this would be my first time spending new year’s eve without my family. It felt weird, lonely, and empty, especially when I thought back about the previous new year’s eve and the fight I had with my brother.

I had planned to spend the new year’s week camping and surfing with friends I had met earlier this year. But last minute I almost didn’t go because I was feeling very under the weather and didn’t want to ruin the mood for everyone else.

I bailed on the first day, but out of some sudden random energy I started packing and was on my way to the campsite on the next day. On my drive down to the campsite I still wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice and was regretting leaving the comfort of my apartment. But the moment I got there I saw a beautiful sunrise that put all my uncertainty aside.

There is something about mother nature that calms your mind and eases your soul. I immediately felt peace in my heart and was grateful that I had made the choice of going to the trip. Needless to say that I had a great time with my friends and enjoyed every second of the trip.

On the 31st, however, I became a lot more pensive, I needed some time alone to reflect about 2016. We went for a morning surf session and I got my alone time. It was empty in the line up, just my friends and I; while they were messing around, having fun, and high-fiving each other I was sitting on my board in the vast Pacific Ocean, breathing the rainy air, and staring at the infinite horizon. Just me, my thoughts, and nature.

I spent a good hour reflecting about 2016. The decisions I had made, the people I have met, the people I had lost, and everything in between. And yes, like a lot of people said, 2016 was a tough year, but a good kind of tough with a lot of growth and self-discovery.

Since it was still raining at the campsite, we spent the last hours of 2016 freezing, laughing, joking and being frustrated for trying to build a fire under the endless drops of rain. And at last, with 30 minutes remaining of the year we finally got it going and started roasting marshmallows for the so desired campfire s’mores. And that is how I spent new year’s eve: one hand holding a s’more and the other one holding a glass of wine while making the resolution to embrace, good or bad,  every opportunity, every moment, and every person that comes my way.

Thank you 2016! Although I had a bumpy start I ended the year with great wine, great food, great memories, and above all I was surrounded by great people with great vibes!