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dear michelle

Inspiration > Keep Going

By: Candice Kumai

dear michelle,

I’m not quite sure where to start this letter.. but empathy, compassion and love come to the forefront of my mind.

In divine timing, we have stayed friends, we traded places.

As I moved from LA to NYC, seven years ago….you were moving from NYC to LA. Two ships passing in the night. Two big hearts that have grown together for the past 9 years.

You have always been, and will always be, my little sis. You never judged me, you always showed up, you and Mer were always my +1’s.

… and in all honesty, when you left to Cali, after your going away party… I didn’t think that we were going to stay in touch as much, or continue to be sisters. You proved me wrong.

Much like my friendship with Meredith when she moved to Hong Kong, to pursue her dreams as a designer, I thought it was a long goodbye.. you both proved me wrong. At one point, I felt that all of my closest friends in NYC, were starting to bail. You you both did an incredible job of being my best friends, no matter how far away, so many different jobs, awful breakups, travel across the globe, some boys came and went, as did even some friends. That never drove us apart. In fact, us leaving the safe harbour and leaving steady paychecks, the comforts of insurance, health care and retirement plans.. none of that kept us away from leaving the safe harbour.

In divine timing, we have both also grown our own businesses, independently. No man, no rich hubby, no nice home, no extra cash or savings.. but yet pure grit, sheer determination and a calling that was undeniable to your soul. That is what you followed… I am beyond proud of you.

Money isn’t what brings people happiness.. Happiness manifests itself by helping one another, by being of great use. Happiness is being compassionate, being empathetic and real, it’s always doing the right thing.. it’s opening your heart to the world. It’s giving even when you feel that you have nothing left to offer, it’s giving with no expectation….That’s what you do.

You will always have your character, and so many of us love and adore you.

You held me in your arms back when I was working in LA, when I needed you most. You were always there for me to listen and to care. That was huge, I never forgot how you helped me.

And as I held you in my arms this past month, I could not tell you how deeply touched I was by your every breath and beating heart. Every tear, every hug (even the ugly cry on you was beautiful), even the moments we laughed and bickered on set… and just like how you held me over that apple box to shoot those images, I’d hold you just the same. Support, love, compassion.. empathy. As we are thousands of miles apart now.. we grow closer.

I recognize your work, I commend you. You have incredible taste in photography and fashion and you can write and edit like a badass b. I take my hat off to you — being a travel writer, independently is not easy work. But I hope it is rewarding for you, it’s been so rewarding for us to all see how successful you have become.

I will always be here for you.

The world is your oyster, Meeshie. Be strong, be steadfast, be resilient. In Japanese we call this gaman — to be resilient with depths of grace.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you, little one. Fear not the world is grand, it is your giant and grand oyster…  Remember Meesh, you promise to show us all how to live like it’s the weekend everyday…

I love you always, xx my little sis,


Michelle Halpern is the founder and CEO of Live Like it’s The Weekend. She is the former editor at StyleCaster, the former social media expert behind Joie, Equipment and Current Elliot and an account exec at CA Creative. She travels the world curating content and capturing the essence of her travels through her writing and photography. She is a photographer, yogi, daughter, sister and a best friend to so many. Michelle studied at Syracuse University and currently travels the globe in search of the weekend.

dear xxx is a quarterly series here on candicekmai.com: Celebrating + recognizing my most cherished mentors, friends and colleagues, the ones who kept me uplifted and going not in my times of success, but rather in my darkest times of struggle. Michelle, is one of my very best friends + embodies what women in LA and NYC, and everywhere should be: Kind, hard-working, caring, nurturing, smart, fit, beautiful, witty and full of life.

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