How a tiny cat launched a creative empire

Next up in this Creativity Week is Priscilla Aguirre. She’s one of my favorite local artists, the force behind the Holalola brand and the illustrator of my book back in 2016, much to my eternal delight. During the pandemic, she’s been putting forth lots of new designs. This week she unveiled a new website that goes behind the scenes of her creative process.

While it’s brand-new, it’s already full of great stuff, from a recipe for coconut pancakes (what? Yes, please), to tips to creating a gallery wall in your home, to a beautiful essay about how Holalola came to be. It turns out Priscilla adopted a cat years ago, Lola, and that cat changed everything.

That little cat changed my life. At first, I was afraid of hurting her – she was so small – and then she gave me allergies and scratched me up plenty. But something about her fascinated me, and as she grew, I fell in love with her “cattitude,” her independence, her adventurous spirit, the way she set limits. And I began to transform, too, little by little. I started trying things that had been unthinkable with the anxiety to which I was so accustomed. Saying no. Listening to myself more. Having more confidence. Paying attention to what I wanted to do.

So confident did Lola make Priscilla that she – the artist, that is, not the cat – even managed to take a trip to San Francisco with her young son. There, at an exhibit, she saw the artwork that eventually inspired Holalola, a business named for the cat that made it all possible. The cat has gone, but “now, I am Lola,” Priscilla writes.

In this time of great stress and tremendous creativity, here’s to the Lolas who make it possible for us to change and strive. And, if you’re a Spanish speaker, please check out You’ll be glad you did.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or FacebookIf you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly – or for ways to enjoy Costa Rica from afar, visit Virtual Costa Rica.

6 thoughts on “How a tiny cat launched a creative empire

  1. I love this, Katherine. I think back to my earlier years in adulthood, I needed a Lola. It’s amazing how fear can hold us back from being authentic. It’s refreshing to know that a little cat who she was clearly allergic to changed her trajectory in life. I’m glad that Priscilla got the lesson. Thank you for sharing.


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