Archive for » April, 2010 «

April 23rd, 2010 | Author:

If you saw a person dressed up like a clown at a business event, wouldn’t it make you look twice?  That’s what everyone seemed to do at this event I attended. For three days, this woman dressed up in very colorful outfits, complete with matching wigs, crazy makeup, and interesting shoes.  At first people wondered what was up and if I hadn’t talked with her myself, I would probably still be wondering.  But I’m glad I met her (and I’m sorry I can’t remember her name now but the story is still the same).

When we started talking with her, she took off a silicone bracelet that had the words “I GET TO” embossed on it. After talking with her awhile, we found out that her daughter had been really sick for a long time and was in and out of hospitals. Apparently when the daughter did attend school, they used to have crazy dress-up day and she was sad that she would miss it while she was in the hospital. So her mom decided to take crazy dress-up day to her in the hospital every week. After a long illness, the girl died. The mom said she wanted to keep her daughter’s memory alive so she did crazy dress-up day one day a week.  It didn’t matter where she was or what she had to do, she still dressed up silly.  Then we asked what the bracelet saying meant.  “I get to” meant she had her daughter with her for as long as she did but when it came time for her to go, the mom was able to let her go up.

She let me keep her bracelet and my whole family uses it.  If I start to complain about little stupid things, my mom will hand me the bracelet. Believe it or not, wearing it even if just for a little while does make me think about all the things I should be thankful for and the fact that I GET TO for lots of things.  After I have a reality check, I’ll put it back on my dresser. Sometimes I’ll see Mom wearing it and I know it’s usually because she’s glad that she has me, even though I make her crazy sometimes. (After all, I’m a normal teenager.)  Dad would wear it but it doesn’t fit on his wrist so he just has to remember to think I GET TO when he feels bummed about something.

The reason I shared this story with you is because there are so many times when everyone complains about little stupid things. It’s easy to do, especially for kids because no matter how good of life we have, it seems we can always find something to gripe about. Wearing the I GET TO bracelet for awhile makes a big difference.

Sometimes we tell each other as many examples as we can think of, like:

I GET TO do homework because kids in some countries don’t even get to go to school.

I GET TO pick weeds in the yard because some people are homeless and don’t even have a house.

I GET TO argue with my son (that would be for Mom) because he is a healthy, happy teenager.

I GET TO travel and be away from my family (this would be for Dad) because I have a good job which provides for my family at a time when many people are unemployed.

Well, you get the point.  No matter what’s happening in your life, you can always find something to be thankful for.  So even if you don’t have an I GET TO bracelet, find some other object and write those words on it. Put it in a place that you see every day and when you start to think that your situation stinks, remind yourself that you get to.

April 01st, 2010 | Author:


When the founder of Dekoposh invited me to speak at a charity concert to support Champions Against Bullying, I was pretty excited. Then I found out it was in Hollywood and since I have never been there, I had no idea what to expect.


The big day was March 25.  I got out of school at lunch just to make sure we had time to get to Hollywood with freeway traffic.  We got there early and pulled into this deep underground parking structure. The entrance/toll booths looked like Disneyland’s Autopia ride with curbs between the lanes which winded down through the structure.  It was pretty cool. After driving down to the basement level 4, we found a parking spot and made our way back up to the surface over escalators, up stairs, and in elevators.  The parking was an adventure in itself.

If you’re wondering by now where all this took place, it was at Hollywood & Highland where there is a humongous mall over the parking structure which is right where the El Capitan Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and the famous stars on the sidewalk are.  Since we had time, we walked down the street a ways, pretty much people watching.  And believe me, there were some interesting people to watch.  It was hard to miss about a dozen or so people dressed up in costumes from movies and TV shows.  It didn’t take too long to figure out their gimmick.  They would walk up to you and ask if you wanted to take your picture with them but most didn’t tell you ahead of time that they expected a tip in return.  (Click for Hollywood characters slide show)

When you add in all of the characters, tourists, street musicians, and cars, Hollywood is not at all like our lonely city of Temecula. Hollywood is loud, busy, and interesting.

The concert was held at a nightclub called Level 3 which just happened to be on level 3 of the mall.  After we checked in and got our wristbands, we had time to get some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen where we met up with Drew De Leon and her dad.  Drew is another biz kid we met through Twitter and is the founder of Aktive Wrap.

After dinner, we headed over to Level 3.  Obviously, it was my first time in a nightclub so I didn’t know what to expect. Two big bouncers were standing at the door and there were a lot of tweens, teens, and older people inside.  Loud background music was already playing and everyone was just walking around waiting for it to start.

Some of the performers throughout the night were Celeste KelloggAshlee KeatingDaechelle, and Austin Anderson. My dad bought 10 raffle tickets and amazingly we won about five times, including a Custom Snuggie, t-shirts, notebooks, and a pair of autographed jeans worn by Austin Anderson which I thought was really funny.  Of course, they’re not my size but I wasn’t planning on wearing them anyway. 🙂

Me on stage

After a few of the singers performed, they invited the speakers on stage to talk about their businesses, charity work, and their thoughts or experiences on bullying.  The audience was still in concert mode so I’m not sure how many were really listening as people spoke.  I must have talked loud enough to be heard though because the founder of Champions Against Bullying came up to me afterward and complimented me on my talk and also invited me to work with their organization and speak at future events.  That was pretty cool.

I was competing in a Math Olympics the next day so we had to leave before it was over since we’re about 2 hours away from Hollywood.  Overall, it was a very interesting experience – something I don’t get to see or do that often.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you’ll know when I post the video of my talk on there. You can also watch other videos I have on there about Pencil Bugs and what I do to support Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA.