Life is worth living. I refuse to merely exist. I pursue a life of meaning and purpose, fulfillment and joy. The world is not yet as it ought to be. Neither is my city. Neither am I. Yet, I reject apathy and despair. I engage the world, my city, and myself to make an impact for good.

– Credo House

credo coffee houseThe next morning, Kathleen asked if I would like to visit a non profit coffee shop in town. My heart skipped a beat! “I figured that would be right up your alley” she casually mentioned as if she had not planned this entire Galentine’s adventure already. So off we went to Credo House, where I was immediately charmed by the friendly welcome, clean coffee bar and romantic string lights (I’m such a sucker for lights!). Photos of Haiti by a local photographer hung on the wall, and large glass windows allowed all the sunlight in without any of the cold. Downtown Credo’s donation only coffee shop is an opportunity to drink a delicious cup of coffee with purpose. Credo’s website explains that as customers assign a value to their coffee, they become more conscious of where their money is going and are invited to consider the impact it makes. Credo House partners with fair trade Guatemalan farmers, and supports several projects within the Orlando community as well. The more the cute ginger bartender indulged us in their mission, the more we fell in love. We claimed residence on the oversized chairs by the window and spent the next couple of hours discussing life and happiness.  We shared a piece of coconut banana bread, that could not have tasted any fresher or better. The world needs more businesses like this.

image1 (1)Fast forward a few hours later, we’ve walked through two malls too many and prepped ourselves for a night on the town. We gracefully landed at the Courtesy Bar, where the vibe was dark, romantic and vintage. The thought provoking art within the bar captured our interest and served as a beautiful backdrop for elegant lady conversation. A kind & knowledgeable gentlemen served us a tasty, classy cocktail. As he elegantly made each drink, he provided an eloquent summary of ingredients, and a brief history of the drink itself, making for an even more lovely experience. We were so fancy.

12486028_10153783825303361_8168466447244090454_oWe strolled down to another bar briefly before entering the independent Bar for Mac & Cheese Night, featuring DJ Mac and promising the cheesiest music! Without question, we needed to check it out! After the doors opened at 10 PM, we entered the club without any cover, and ordered some drinks before heading to the dance floor, ready for whatever cheesy music may inspire us! The ’90s and ’00s music was off the chain! From Spice Girls, NSYNC, to Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer”, the crowd belted out lyrics that they know all too well, and the date Kathleen met there may have been overwhelmed by our performance! As any incredible night should end, we crossed the street after the last call and fed our stomachs some vegan hot dogs!

Love is all around us!
Love is all around us!

As we always have it, our adventures came to an end when she dropped me off at the airport to head back home. Just after take off, I looked down to see a lake that’s naturally shaped like a heart, and thought to myself, “Love is all around us.” 

 

 

Being a newhire flight attendant can be rough. A lot of airlines don't pay for training, or pay very little. If you manage to make it to graduation (many don't!), you quickly realize that the hours you get while flying aren't enough to making a living wage. Hopefully, this is where you come in! You know someone who is going through flight academy and you want to help them out! Here are 10 items that can bring a little relief to the crazy experience that is Flight Academy. 

1. Large Lunch Tote - $37.99

Newhire Flight attendants don't make much, and a big part of our expenses when flying is food. If you don't think ahead, and pack your food you will quickly find yourself in the red. So help that flight attendant in your life by giving them the gift of packed food! Snacks, food, and drinks can all safely be transported in this large tote bag. 

2. Instant Hem Tape - $4.10

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3. Sewing Kit

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4. Multi Restaurant Gift Card

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5. Dry Erase Board

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6. Waterproof Portable Speakers

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7. Leak Proof Travel Bottles

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8. Flash Light

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9. Daypack

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10. Foldable Wine Flask

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Being a newhire flight attendant can be rough. A lot of airlines don't pay for training, or pay very little. If you manage to make it to graduation (many don't!), you quickly realize that the hours you get while flying aren't enough to making a living wage. Hopefully, this is where you come in! You know someone who is going through flight academy and you want to help them out! Here are 10 items that can bring a little relief to the crazy experience that is Flight Academy. 

Large Lunch Tote

Newhire Flight attendants don't make much, and a big part of our expenses when flying is food. If you don't think ahead, and pack your food you will quickly find yourself in the red. So help that flight attendant in your life by giving them the gift of packed food! Snacks, food, and drinks can all safely be transported in this large tote bag. 

Education is the key to success. – Oprah Winfrey

It’s been 9 years since I met the adorable little 12 year old boy who carried my umbrella throughout the International Women’s Day parade. He was wearing broken flip flops and a big smile. He was living with his uncle at the time, far from town. His father had passed and his mother wasn’t in the picture. His face was skinny, and I knew that he was only eating once a day, so I invited him into my home and into my life, and we began sharing recipes. He taught me how to kill and pluck a chicken. I taught him all about cake, Mexican food, and pizza flavored goldfish. Little did I know the role that I would later take on, that he would move into my house, that I would host his 14th birthday party (see below), and that one day he would add my last name to his.

At the age of 22, I learned a lot about motherhood and the love you can have for someone, even when they drive you nuts. Now Franck is much older, and he’s grown so much that picking me up mid-hug just came naturally when I first visited Franck a couple years after I had left. Leaving him was one of the hardest things I had to do. Since then we’ve grown into our differing lives, he settling into an orphanage and me going forward with the opportunities before me. I feel that I’ve lived several different lives, while he’s been stuck in his. I’ve been disappointed, proud and more forgiving than I’ve ever been with anyone. During our time together, I did my best to equip him the tools that I felt could help him succeed. I emphasized moral values, I talked to him about safe sex, no matter the blushing face, and I repeatedly taught him that education would be the key to his success. For Franck that key would bring him to America, but I’m not entirely sure of what that key will open up for him yet.

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Right now we are working through his last year of high school and his final Bac exam. So while 7 years and an ocean separate us, I will always be rooting for his success. And while some of my friends are skeptical about trusting this teenage boy who continuously asks me for money, and rightfully so, I’ve decided that I want to be no part of why Franck doesn’t have a chance. If he finds some way to blow it, it’s on him. But I’m doing my part to carefully give enough to allow him every opportunity to soak up an education, and all the love I can give him from where I stand as his remaining living family. Today, that means sending money through Express Union to a trusted mama friend  in town (see her featured below), who will go with Franck to pay his school fees tomorrow. And that puts a big smile on my face.

 

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