When Amanda Servis told me she’d like to celebrate Lucky Locks Beauty Bar’s one year anniversary by giving back to the Mosaic community, we went to work! We collected donations from around the community and invited everyone who could join the party. I knew that we had to go bigger this time. Invites were sent out, communications were communicated, I created an online volunteer signup form, and background checks were checked!

Today, it all came together. We held our second Makeover event for the women and children of Mosaic Family Services in Dallas. I’ve been trying to think of my favorite moment throughout the day, but there are just so many.

Before we could even finish setting up, a few ladies came over to check it out, and became excited when they saw clothing they liked. All the ladies jumped in, “Yes, girl, take it!”… “That color would look SO good on you!!”…“Don’t forget to get some shoes!” Their faces lit up over and over again.

We took turns passing around and bouncing children while their mothers were getting pampered with new hairstyles and manicures. Many children were very happy to receive their very own crayons and coloring book! Some of them took them and retreated to their rooms quickly, while others stayed out with us and colored alongside their siblings. Christina organized the donations, and together we rinsed the dishes and put them in their appropriate places. Women talked and laughed in between pizza and Rebecca’s variety of baked goodies! There was a lot of love, light  and laughter in that room.

To make for an even more perfect day, weather was just lovely! I had a lot of fun watching Sarah Gibson do silly things to get the babies to smile for her camera! She worked it like a charm! As families posed for their photographs, I wondered how long, or if they had ever had a professional photograph taken of them. The mothers seemed the happiest of all.

One woman and her daughter received a haircut, and at the end of the day, she expressed her heartfelt gratitude in her native Russian language. We gathered around her and listened intently. We didn’t need words to connect with her, or to feel the emotion in her crackling voice. Standing next to her was her daughter, smiling contently with fresh, new bangs. She thanked us with such grace and feeling. All I could do was reach out and hug her, “You’re welcome and Thank You.”

This beautiful day was made possible by 12 incredible volunteers: 7 Stylists (Lucky Locks Beauty Bar & The Bearded Lady), 2 Coordinators (Christina Clark & Tara Menendez), 1 manicurist AND baker (Rebecca Brooks, and OMG that pumpkin peanut butter fudge was delicious!), 1 Fashion Assistant (Amber Walters Frisbie at Lularoe), 1 photographer (Sarah Gibson- Indigo Bird Photography), and 1 tech wizard (Angel Menendez- AZ Technology Solutions)! Special thanks to Diana at La Di Da for the generous clothing donation! This event would also not be possible without Le Ta, Mosaic‘s Director of Development!

T’was the night of the gala for Mosaic
A lovely autumn night
To, despite the horrors of this world,
To celebrate what is so right.

One group of people
Each one doing the best that they can
Coming together for a grander purpose
To love, to give, to give thanks, to take a stand.

The night was as shiny as
The people who light up the way
For so many others in need
Of a new life, a brighter day.

A sweet reminder,
That, while the need is still great,
Love will always prevail.
T’was the perfect night to celebrate.

As written by Le Ta, Director of Development, Mosaic Family Services:

The Mosaic gala is an annual celebration of the work that Mosaic has accomplished and the people who make that work possible. It’s a chance to gather with friends and celebrate the resiliency of victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.

On October 20, 2016, the gala honored Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates with the 2016 Champion of Human Rights Award. Jennifer’s extraordinary work with the Domestic Violence Task Force and Public Safety Committee continues to bring awareness to human rights abuses and empowers the clients we serve. Mosaic’s work would not be possible without her.

Emceed by Steve Kemble, party guests enjoyed dinner by Stock & Barrel, cocktails, an exciting silent auction, a raffle drawing, casino, amazing swag bags (SoulCycle Preston Hollow, Stock & Barrel, Nothing Bundt Cakes) and live entertainment by DJ Lamont Carlis. Step & Repeat Photos: How Very Photo (Wesley Holmes).

"We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too." – Helen Hayes

Create change in your travels! In the last few years, my idea of "home" has taken many forms. When I became a flight attendant, my world view grew larger, and the more I traveled, the more that home warped into wherever I find myself, living, breathing, enjoying the moment. I became a citizen of the sky, which also meant that routine on the ground was thrown out the window. I began looking for ways to create change in my everyday life, through my travels, and eventually creating something of a routine of my own. Below are six ways to give back in your travels. No matter where you are, no matter how much money you have, YOU are totally capable of creating change in the world. My hope is to encourage you to create change from wherever you're standing.

“We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too.” – Helen Hayes

Create change in your travels! In the last few years, my idea of “home” has taken many forms. When I became a flight attendant, my world view grew larger, and the more I traveled, the more that home warped into wherever I find myself, living, breathing, enjoying the moment. I became a citizen of the sky, which also meant that routine on the ground was thrown out the window. I began looking for ways to create change in my every day life, through my travels, and eventually creating something of a routine of my own. Below are a few ways to give back in your travels. No matter where you are, no matter how much money you have, YOU are totally capable of creating change in the world. My hope is to encourage you to create change from wherever you’re standing.

  1. hair3Donate to a local shelter.
    Collect your hotel amenities and pens, throw them into your bag, and store them in a box until it’s full! Someone needs those! I partnered with Mosaic Family Services in Dallas, but there are many shelters around the nation full of struggling families who would be most grateful for your contribution!
  2. Fight Human Trafficking with TraffickCam.
    U.S. Department of State estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 persons are brought into the United States each year for labor or sexual exploitation. By uploading photos of your hotel room, you can help in the rescue of these persons. Your photos will be used to determine where perpetrators of sex trafficking are committing their crimes. Download the TraffickCam App!
  3. Turn Someone’s Day Around.cuba-2016-04-11-23-53-39-tara-s
    Write a kind note to someone, compliment someone, send someone a photo you took of them, or share a song with someone who may enjoy it. This one may be fairly obvious, but I still wanted to include it here. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind, and yet it can mean so much to someone else, just to know that you’re thinking of them. Hannah Jones has compiled a great list of ideas, and spotlights stories of kindness at her website, Kindness is Beauty.
  4. Support The Little Man.
    Add small businesses to Google Maps and write reviews for the local venues you visit!This helps to support the local economy, gets the word out about small businesses, and helps those local entrepreneurs to thrive! My husband is now a Local Guide because of how many reviews he’s written- Pretty cool, right?!
  5. Create New Friendships.crew-travelers-in-greece-2016-06-19-10-48-47-cheryl-w
    If peace is understanding, then by simply introducing one culture to another culture, you’re expanding their mind, helping them grow, and in understanding why we do the things we do, we begin to grow empathy in others. This is not a new idea. When John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps, the second and third goals were to help promote a better understanding of Americans as well as of other peoples on the part of Americans. In the same way one friend might introduce his friend to another, introducing a group of people to another may just be the way to promote peace, understanding and harmony! Crew Travelers In Greece - 2016-06-18 02.29.25 (Cheryl W.)

I hope that this post inspires you to go forth and make the world a better place, no matter where you are in it. You don’t need money, nor a routine on the ground, to create change while you are traveling! I would love to add to this list, so please send me more ideas!

 

Packing your bags again? In my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Flight Attendant and Tour Guide, I've learned a few travel hacks that I must share with all of you! These tips will change your life!

I’m still riding the high of emotions, breath-taking views, and the delicious fried feta pies. This month we successfully completed our first Crew Travelers’ trip to Lesvos, where a group of strangers from all around the IMG_0868world became a family, as they joined together to help in the refugee crisis during the Dirty Girls Beach Clean Up. Of course we also took time to explore Molyvos, and fell in love with the Lesbians (C’mon, you didn’t think I would write grammatically incorrect sentences, did you?). If you care to read a more detailed account of our trip (and learn more about the refugee situation), check out My Big Fat Greek Adventure! While I recounted our trip activities there, I felt I needed to take a moment here to paint the picture that drew me in.

I’m still riding the high of emotions, breath-taking views, and the delicious fried feta pies. This month we successfully completed our first Crew Travelers’ trip to Lesvos, where 17 strangers from all around the IMG_0868world became a family, as they joined together to help in the refugee crisis during the Dirty Girls Beach Clean Up. Of course we also took time to explore Molyvos, and fell in love with the Lesbians (C’mon, you didn’t think I would write grammatically incorrect sentences, did you?). If you care to read a more detailed account of our trip (and learn more about the refugee situation), check out My Big Fat Greek Adventure! While I recounted our trip activities there, I felt I needed to take a moment here to paint the picture that drew me in.

Now, how to describe paradise adequately? If Lesvos was a box of chocolates, every one of them would be sweet. Everywhere you look, the ocean views are spectacular. Everything you eat is delicious.The Aegean ocean is amazing for swimming in June, and the weather is just lovely. Every road is interesting. Every restaurant cat purrs with affection at your feet. Every person I asked for directions provided me with a friendly, elaborate explanation of how to be on my way, and would then smile and wave as I backed up, blocking traffic going the other direction as I continued on. No honks or dirty looks. What I noticed were people laughing a lot. I sensed a 13417664_10208571607839148_2327472806575214859_n (2)happiness, love and kindness in the people of Lesvos. The olive trees always shield you away from the direct sunlight, but you still feel the sun. The sunsets are always gorgeous. The blooming flowers scent the air with a naturally sweet fragrance that even make your nose buds happier. All of these things made me feel alive, and incredibly thankful to be alive. And I understood exactly what it meant when Katarina told me that you can feel free here.

13417444_10208561989758702_4488948420466493619_n (1)
Aphrodite, Alison of Dirty Girls, and me!

During the week that I spent at Hotel Aphrodite, Aphrodite and her family made an even bigger impression on my heart, as they helped me each day to navigate my way through the island, pointing out things to stop and see along the way on the big map I unfolded every morning with Aphrodite in the hotel lobby. Aphrodite personally drove me to the market on the day that my group arrived because I needed help finding water shoes for them. She took me to her friend, who gave me a great price, and where I then fell in love with the most beautiful hand-made seashell chandelier

“We will close earlier unless something drastic changes the situation.”

I heard the stories of families, children- even musicians, who arrived on the pebble beaches in front of their hotel cabana, and the post effect of media images that scared away tourists, the main revenue source for Lesvos. Now hotels are closing down. “Room for rent” signs are posted everywhere. The hotels that are in operation aren’t full, in what should otherwise be peak season. Aphrodite wrote to me a few days ago. And let me tell you about Aphrodite Hotel! Established in 1988, rich in history, located directly on a pebble beach, their vegetables from fresh from the hotel’s organic garden, the breakfast spread is always delightful and everyone works very hard to take care of their guests. Aphrodite wrote to me, “We usually close the end of October, but this year, as we don’t have any reservations at all for the month, we will close earlier unless something drastic changes the situation.”

I would like for us to be that something drastic that changes the situation. Whether you go with one our incredible Crew Traveler’s tours or by yourself, please add Aphrodite Hotel in Lesvos to your “in the near future bucket list”! Tell your friends and family about the kind people of Lesvos, tell them it is incredibly safe, and that the Greeks are now suffering because they did what was right and helped the refugees who arrived onto their beaches. In the enchanted town of Molyvos, where a castle sits at the top, you will see spectacular Aegean views, you will experience that same kindness, you will stop to smell the flowers in bloom, and you will feel free.

Heart Art, made from refugee life vests.
Heart Art, made from refugee life vests.

If someone like you cares an awful lot, it’s not going to get better, it’s not. As a side project to our September trip, Crew Travelers will collect/deliver donated supplies for the refugee camps, volunteer camps and schools in Lesvos. For flight crew, throwing those hotel amenities into your bag can make a huge difference, and it only takes a call to Guest Services to double or sometimes triple your portions! I created the following Facebook event as a space where people can get involved and help, whether they are going on the trip or not, and where I can post progress pics of our roller-board suitcases! Check out My Big Fat Suitcase: Refugee Relief & Love to Lesvos!

 

I woke up one morning in April to a calling, a direct line to my heart from the universe. As a citizen of the world, I knew that I had to do something with the passion and outrage stirring within me over the global refugee crisis the world has been watching. After all, we are all connected through our humanity. It was time to go see it for myself, and to create a space of opportunity for other airline crew who want to do the same.

Continue reading below!

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. – Dr. Seuss

Title Credit: Bethany Reinhart

I woke up one morning in April to a calling, a direct line to my heart from the universe. As a citizen of the world, I knew that I had to do something with the passion and outrage stirring within me over the global refugee crisis the world has been watching. After all, we are all connected through our humanity. It was time to go see it for myself, and to create a space of opportunity for other airline crew who want to do the same. 

I was welcomed with open arms to volunteer with Dirty Girls of Lesvos, a wonderful non profit organization that washes clothing and other items to recycle back into the hands of refugees who need these supplies. Alison, Founder, recommended a great family run hotel, and like that I booked some rooms. The itinerary was neatly woven together after discovering island charms such as the Healing Springs and historic Molyvos castle, and thanks to a lot of assistance from Aphrodite Hotel. Within a couple of weeks, more than a dozen travelers signed up for the trip, and I realized that this calling was not just my own. With big hearts and smiles, 16 of us found each other on the island of Lesvos!

The drive into Molyvos was lovely, a twisting curvy road that leads you through cities and across the island, until we came upon Molyvos, a beautiful enchanting town with a castle at the top of the mountain! Our hotel was just behind the mountain, facing a beautiful beach. Our first activity on the itinerary would be eating a dinner at the hotel taverna, meeting with Alison of Dirty Girls, and to see a photo slideshow by Aphrodite herself. We needed to know more about the refugee crisis, and how we could help.

…the media has portrayed a crazy image of the island that has scared tourists away, and now local businesses are suffering. Hotels are going out of business.

It has been said before that if you take care of others, God will take care of you. But in the case of Lesvos, they have welcomed refugees, because as Aphrodite says, “What choice do I have?” She tells us of how she was in the middle of serving customers last summer at the very same spot that we were sitting in, when boats would arrive, and she would excuse herself and go check on the incoming refugees. It’s the right thing to do to give someone water if they are dehydrated, and to provide clean clothes if theirs are wet and dirty. The golden rule, quite literally. And yet, not many have stepped forward to back up Lesvos, in fact the media has portrayed a crazy image of the island that has scared tourists away, and now local businesses are suffering. Hotels are going out of business. The world needed to know what’s going on, only because it deserved the world’s attention and reaction. I’m so glad I put my feet on the ground as I attempted to put myself in their shoes. It’s hard to imagine that less than a year ago, up to 8 boats were arriving jam packed with people, sometimes with no gas, often taking twice as long as it should have taken, on the beautiful beaches I enjoyed during my stay. The locals helped the refugees, despite the laws against it. There are now some boats arriving, but not anything like they did last summer, receiving up to eight boats per day at Aphrodite’s beach. I’ve only seen refugees driving through Moria where the largest camp exists. I noticed the barbed wire fences, and a few people walking alongside the road. 

But the help that Lesvos truly needs requires you do nothing more than go to Lesvos and enjoy yourself!

But the help that Lesvos truly needs requires you do nothing more than go to Lesvos and enjoy yourself! As Katarina at our lovely hotel says, “You can feel free here.” I felt both guilty and lucky to be given the extra attention, and perhaps a more personal experience. Our euros spent there push the economy forward, and if more tourists returned, we could turn it all around for the locals and their land- the same land where Aristotle first studied birds, where Sappho was born, where the prices are right, where gorgeous sunsets can be seen every evening, where they’ll gladly help you if you’re lost -and in fact you will probably get a long, detailed set of directions- and where you’ll never eat a meal alone because there will always be some sweet stray cat that keeps you company. From the breathtaking views to the beautiful beaches, hot springs and castles, in your effort to create change, you may be subjected to wonderfully kind people as well!

Day One, we collected together many bags of accrued amenities, pens, ladies underwear & water shoes. Alison invited Crew Travelers to participate in a beach clean up at Light House Beach, where we hiked down to work in the hot sun to collect trash, discover clothes to be recycled, and cut up 4 plastic boats! Afterward, we jumped into the clear blue ocean to cool off! After we hiked back up to the road, we made our way to a lovely restaurant on a terrace surrounded by flowers and olive trees, with a view of the ocean, and Turkey in the distance. We shared a wonderful meal, and then a lemonade liquor shot over a big “Opa!” That evening, we enjoyed a delicious Greek BBQ by the sea. We kidnapped some of the Light House volunteers for a pool party, which followed by a night of dancing at Congas, a beautiful beach-side bar with great music!

Day Two, we made our way up the castle for some rich history, fun photos and incredible views. Then we headed over to the best natural hot springs and spa in Lesvos, where we enjoyed the beach, some of us received massages, and where we couldn’t help but feel like models in the infinity pool! We made our way back to Molyvos, where some travelers went to explore the traditional market. Bethany and I picked up some hand-made olive oil soaps and locally-made olive oil, before meeting up for dinner at The Women’s Cooperative of Petra, the #1 Restaurant via TripAdvisor, and an initiative to increase and expand opportunity for local women! Costas and his staff of waiters did an amazing job of giving us a taste of Greece as we chatted and drank white wine on the balcony and looking out onto the sea every once in awhile. I felt like I was part of a beautiful painting. We said “Opa!” a lot, and after dinner we all stood around on the cobblestone streets of Petra, taking photos, looking into the shops, and slowly saying our goodbyes. This group of strangers turned family in just a few days, as we fell in love with Lesvos over and over again.

Everything about the island will steal your heart.

There’s no reason not to go to Lesvos, as the people are lovely and kind. Everything about the island will steal your heart. As an added bonus and way to give back, you will support a local economy that is truly appreciative of your euro money by simply doing whatever you want on the island. And there’s even more to explore, such as a boat ride to snorkel and visit Rabbit Island, perhaps a tour to the Ouzo factory, a trip to the Oxy beach-front nightclub, and more time at the hot springs spa. The day I got back to Texas, I was already thinking about returning to Greece, with 3 travelers requesting a return trip in early October. The truth is that I would return again and again. Somewhere between the sun’s kiss and the salty blue ocean in beautiful Lesvos, you will find my heart! Opa!

If you have 8 or more people in your group who would like to volunteer and explore beautiful Lesvos, I would love to coordinate your adventure! Just send me an email with dates to  [email protected]! Check out more trips at http://crewtravelers.com! Efcharisto!

 

I will remember the sweet faces of everyone looking back at me when I arrived at the top of the steps, the strum of the uke, and an overwhelming gratitude for every single thing in my life that had led me to you.

The first half-year of marriage has shown me so many new colors of love. We’ve spent 182 trips around the sun as husband and wife. We’ve been to at least 5 states, Cuba and Jamaica, learned how to swing dance, we’ve started 2 businesses and you have mastered the way I like my coffee! June 5th marks 6 months since we stood in the sand and promised to share one life together, and while I don’t remember every single detail, there are key aspects of the day that I will forever hold in my heart.

I will always remember how you reminded me that no matter how crazy things got, at the end of this we will be married and together, and that’s all that matters. I felt like a princess when I stepped into the dress of my dreams, only possible by the loving votes of airline crew family. I’ll remember how much I laughed with your sister when she presented me with your beautiful gift. I will remember the sweet faces of everyone looking back at me when I arrived at the top of the steps, the strum of the uke, and an overwhelming gratitude for every single thing in my life that had led me to you. I will remember that when you took my hand from my dad, I felt like you would always do everything you could to take care of me, to love me and to water the garden that is our marriage. I’ll never forget how open my heart was when I told you I would love you forever. We made the same joke in the vows we wrote separately, and it seemed like the universe was winking at us. Your parents were balling their eyes out because they love us so much. I will remember how you almost kissed me before my cousin pronounced us husband and wife. Audrey held a beautiful bird’s nest with our rings in it. I will never forget that a bird flew across the sky behind us during our first kiss. You were kind with our first bite of wedding cake. I’ll remember that my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing.

I’ll remember that before we were married, Mamita said something that stuck with me during one of our chats, and it made me want to marry you even more… “People forget how great it can be to have a long lasting relationship with one person, how beautiful it can be to share your entire life with someone.” Life with you is really beautiful, and I’m so thankful for the time we have together. Thank you for loving me, even when I’m not shining so bright. I would say “I Do” again and again!! Happy 6 Months Anniversary, Hubz Caps!