“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” -John F. Kennedy

To celebrate the anniversary of Peace Corps this March, I decided to take you on a stroll with me down memory lane- or in my case, a dirt road leading into my village of Bare, Cameroon…Where is that? You may ask yourself. I did when I read my invitation. West Africa… picture the arm pit of Africa on the map. Voila.

I hope you enjoyed my video tour! Peace Corps was important to the person that I am today, and could not imagine my life without having had the experience!

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!

“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!

 

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 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!

“The littlest things can brighten a person’s day. If we all showed a little bit more love, we could change the world. It all starts with one. One person, one act. Smiling at a stranger, holding open a door, lending a helping hand, giving someone a compliment. Spread the beauty! “

Kindness. Connected by our humanity. Compassion. Understanding. In their shoes. Good karma. Enriching to both the giver and receiver. Opportunity to help others. Opportunity to serve purpose. The golden rule. Showing love. Kindness!

What comes to you when you think of kindness?IMG_6331

I recently sat down for an interview with Hannah Jones for her Kindness Project, an initiative that promotes and inspires kindness. The Kindness Project is all about spreading the love. She created this place to encourage people to be kind to others, and to share what kindness we come across. In light of all the energy and effort Hannah’s been putting into the education and importance of  kindness, I’ve been thinking about kindness more and more since our rendez-vous. There isn’t a whole lot more I can say about kindness, but there’s so much we can do! Taking a page from Hannah’s website, and in an effort to inspire and cultivate more kindness out there, here is a list of my favorite 50 flavors of kindness:

1. Smile!
2. Volunteer!
3. Compliment someone.
4. Tell someone you love them.
5. Feed someone.
6. Forgive someone who has hurt you.
7. Leave a love note hidden somewhere for someone to find.
8. Clean out your closet and donate stuff you don’t want anymore.
9. Truly listen.
10. Give someone a hug.
11. Hold the door open for a stranger.
12. Let someone into your lane when everyone else is subtly ignoring their blinker.
13. Dog sit for a friend, requesting nothing in return.
14. Fundraise for an organization you believe in, using your talents!
15. Send someone a letter or a small package (They are so fun to get!).
16. Offer to help a friend with something they seem to need help with.
17. Pick up trash you find on the ground and throw it away.
18. Bring a treat to work to share with your coworkers (like candy or donuts).
19. Leave encouraging, loving comments on peoples photos & posts on social media outlets.
20. Say thank you, all the time!
21. Call your family.
22. Do an errand or a chore for someone who is feeling overwhelmed.
25. Take the time, to do something for someone else.
26. Offer someone your seat if there are none left.
27. Email or write someone who made a difference in your life.
28. Buy someone coffee.
29. Have a photo of you and good friend framed (or family member) and give it to them as a random gift.
30. Help someone carry their groceries to their car.
31. If you see someone crying, ask them if they’re ok and give them a hug.
32. When someone is rude or hurtful to you, responding with kindness can do more than you know.
33. For Christmas, sponsor a family and buy & wrap presents up fro them.
34. Organize a volunteer project, and create an opportunity for others to give back.
35. Hand make a card.
36. Contribute to someone’s GoFundMe, even if it’s just five dollars.
38. Rescue an animal from your local shelter and give them a forever home!
39. Text someone in the morning telling them that you hope they have a wonderful day
40. Buy some dog or cat food and give it to an animal rescue or shelter.
41. Create a care package for a homeless person (toothbrush, deodorant, feminine products, a banana, a sandwich, a water bottle, a crossword puzzle and a pen).
42. Help someone elderly.
43. Make someone breakfast in bed!
44. Leave encouraging notes somewhere like a public restroom.
45. If you appreciate something someone did, tell them!
46. Don’t dwell on your problems, remember your blessings and cultivate an attitude of gratitude!
47. When someone cuts you off in traffic, or treats you rudely, respond with kindness and remember that you never know what that person could be going through.
48. Take the extra step to recycle.
49. Give someone a book you already read.
50. Notice the kindness around you, and spotlight those acts and the amazing people doing them!

IMG_6329

You’re doing a great job with this project, Hannah! I think you’re awesome. I love you! Seriously, I love you and your kind heart.

Check out Hannah’s Kindness is Beauty project here!

On this day, April 20th, many of you will first think of cannabis, some of you will think of Spring. But I will think of both of those things, when I think of Lauren Hoover. You may have seen her as a manager at Back Country Cannabis Club on High Profits, a docu-series about the cannabis industry. Her happy, upbeat, yogi spirit made everyone think twice before labeling cannabis users as lazy or glued to the couch. On an average morning, Lauren would get up early to snowboard, run 12 miles and do yoga before working an evening shift at BCC. But more than that, she was a light to everyone she met- and to some she had never met, too.

lauren bubblyWith a slight obsession for the show and a trip to Breckenridge in early March, I learned that Lauren was unconscious after a head-on collision during her commute to work, on an icy morning on March 2, according to her sister’s GoFundMe. I was upset, and feeling an overwhelming injustice that good people who take care of themselves and who are kind to others have to face such horrible trauma and suffering at 26-years-old. So I thought good thoughts at her, meditated on her recovery, and snooped on her social media pages. I picked up her core message, allowed it to resonate in my life, and shared it. Love and light.

lauren yogaHer laugh was contagious. She provided free Funky Buddha Fitness in the park. Her love for life was infectious. She was known for leaving love notes for people she worked with, such as: “Have a wonderful day. The sun’s shining so enjoy the hell out of it”. She had a fiance of 6 years. Her Facebook timeline’s abundant with messages that are inspiring, uplifting and love-filled. In one post she wrote,”And if you forget that you are beautiful… Remember that everything beautiful in the universe resides within you. You are a reflection of light and even stardust lies in your very DNA.”

laurenNow Lauren resides within the universe and the stardust. She passed away on March 23rd, after fighting for her life for 3 weeks. I’m sad that I never even had the opportunity to be Lauren’s friend, but she would have been my friend, taking mouth open selfies because it means you’re having more fun and all. The world seems a little colder with her gone. She made each day count, and I am ever so reminded to enjoy the present moment. Because life is short, and every day could be your last. You may have had your last day on earth, but I intend to carry on your message, Lauren. I’m going to enjoy the hell out of sunshine, and remind others to do the same. Love and light always.

“The adrenaline filled walk up the bridge to spectacular city views made for memories to last a lifetime.”

This year, my mom, dad, sister, boyfriend and I decided on Australia for our vacation spot. We weren’t sure what to expect down under, but we figured we would have fun. We were not expecting to fall in love with the city of Sydney. Our trip was far too short (we only stayed for a week), however we made the most of the time we had! Here are the top five things that I’d recommend doing:

1. The Sydney Bridge Climb12966504_10208937088052910_812079975_n

I was a bit unsure about booking this tour, as it is a bit on the pricey side and seemed a little too expected and touristy, but it was worth every penny! The adrenaline filled walk up the bridge to spectacular city views made for memories to last a lifetime. Word to the wise- Do NOT stop for a beer before you go. They actually breathalyze you before the climb! Also, if you are a flight crew member, bring your badge! You get 50% off!

12939087_10208937088572923_1070321638_n2. Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk

Best part about this activity? It’s FREE! This gorgeous trail can take a couple of hours or more based on how many times you stop and take pictures! My family stopped what felt like every 10 feet, so this walk took up most of the day for us. If you get hungry, I would highly recommend stopping for lunch at “Nourished: The Healthy Food Co.” near Avalon Beach for lunch. It was on the way, and the food included was very tasty and energizing.

“Being up close in the mountains, it was more like being in a mystic, fairy-like world.”

3. Blue Mountains/Scenic World

12935220_10208937089332942_77927553_nThe Blue Mountains are about an hour outside of Sydney. They are called the Blue Mountains because they appear blue from far away due to the eucalyptus oil evaporating from the plants. Being up close in the mountains, it was more like being in a mystic, fairy-like world. Scenic world is basically a place to explore these mountains, and the world includes three attractions: Two cable car rides and one sort of train ride that is apparently the steepest train in the world. All of the rides were awesome and offered spectacular views.

4. Featherdale Wildlife Park12966386_10208937091813004_346930791_n

This was our chance to experience Australia’s wildlife up close! We had the opportunity to feed and pet kangaroos and wallabies! They were very sweet and docile. We also got to pat and take some pictures with an adorable koala. The experience made me realize that koalas are my spirit animal. They are just so cute and cuddly, and I share their love for the eucalyptus plant!

“…I can truly say that the trip was like a detox for my soul.”

5. Surf Bondi Beach!

Okay, so we were pretty unsuccessful at our surfing attempt, as conditions were pretty terrible, but it was still fun to try! If you have never surfed before, or maybe even if you have, I would definitely recommend splurging for a lesson. Surf’s up!

12966121_10208937092493021_1197413524_nAll these fantastic adventures aside, what truly made our experience in Sydney unforgettable was how kind everyone was to us. To be honest, it was a bit surprising at first. Nevertheless, we found ourselves smiling more and more, and when it was all said and done, I can truly say that the trip was like a detox for my soul. There is something about that city that makes everyone be nice to each other, and it makes you want whatever juice they are drinking. We are all just human beings seeking joy in the world, and Sydney was definitely a place where we found it. I can’t wait to go back!

 

 

“No matter what, try your hardest to strengthen and maintain those bonds. This is what will keep you in the positive..That love and support is what will get you through the most difficult of times.”

11846518_10205734277568781_6158439121258078112_nMultiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, which interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. To better educate myself and others about MS during March, which is M.S. Awareness Month, I asked Itzy Medina to get up close and personal about life with MS, how the disease has changed her life and what gets her through the most difficult times.

12935315_10207361121278857_361073569_nTell us about you!

“My name is Itzel but my friends call me Itzy. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. Spending time with my family and friends is what I enjoy the most. They bring me the most comfort and joy and they are the closest and most important support group I could ever ask for. Life can be challenging at times so they are really important to me as they bring me strength and support, and provide me with my greatest happiness! 🙂 Family and friends are everything.”

What’s a typical day in your life with MS? 

“Before I was diagnosed I had symptoms that I remember going back about 10 years before my diagnosis, the main one being fatigue which is a major factor in MS. I was much younger at the time barely heading into my twenties and remember thinking how that extreme fatigue I felt seemed out of the ordinary for someone of my age. Being one of my only symptoms back then that I was experiencing, I went to several different doctors trying to figure out the underlying problem but no outcome was ever found. It wasn’t until I suffered my first severe MS attack in 2010 that I finally learned where my extreme fatigue issue had unfortunately manifested from. Since being diagnosed and having my first attack, which is typically a cluster of numerous and varying MS symptoms, most symptoms have mild down but some have stayed and lingered until this day and new ones have unfortunately manifested as well. Every day is different in the life of someone with MS so I try to handle each day as it comes. Positive outlook is always key.”

I learned to appreciate some of those little things in life that I was not able to see clearly before my diagnosis.

How did you first learn that you have MS? How has this changed your goals & dreams?

“My diagnosis 6 years ago was the hardest, most difficult, confusing time in my life. With no warning whatsoever one day I woke up to go to work as usual, but noticed my right toe was numb. As the day went on the numbness spread to the rest of my toes, then my foot, then my ankle, and before the end of my work day my entire right leg was completely numb. Later that evening that numbness spread to my other leg, up my torso and then to my right hand. I had no feeling in my legs which led me to be unable to walk. Unfortunately, I also lost partial vision in my left eye, along with other various symptoms that were also just as difficult to deal with. Everything just came at once.  After numerous tests and MRI’s and Lumber Puncture procedures, I laid in my hospital bed not knowing what my diagnosis would be. The prognosis was Multiple Sclerosis. At the time I had no previous knowledge what this illness was. I soon would learn everything about it. But the hardest part to hear was definitely the NO FOUND CURE part of it. It was hard to take in. I thought and knew my life would now somehow change forever and it most definitely has. There is a positive to this though…knowing that every day is a gift is important and everyday should be lived to the fullest. I learned to appreciate some of those little things in life that I was not able to see clearly before my diagnosis. After months of my first attack I regained the feeling in my body and regained my vision as well, but I was left with the lingering affects of the attack which involved muscle weakness and strength. That’s something I work on everyday to overcome and make great strides in.”

How do others react when you tell them you have MS?

10251932_10203852524886140_2105025862218438588_n“If I don’t tell someone directly that I have MS they would never know. I look completely healthy and good on the outside, but the story of what my body is fighting inside is another. The two reactions I mostly get is from those who know what it is and immediately tell me to stay strong and those who like me when I was diagnosed have no idea what  MS is so they ask and I gladly fill them in. Awareness and education of this disease is very important and I try to do my part in educating people about the different signs and symptoms. The sooner treatment is acquired for an individual the better and the more manageable this disease is, before permanent damage is too late.”

What do you want people to know about MS?

“What I would like people to know about Multiple Sclerosis is that even though there is no known cure for this disease, it is not a death sentence. Even though no two people that have MS are alike, this disease is very manageable so one can live an almost normal, average life once treatment is successfully started.”

What can people do to help? Is there hope for a cure?

The National MS Society is the absolute best place to help in anything related to Multiple Sclerosis including information about disease, symptoms and diagnosis, treatments of MS, Resources and Support, Health and Wellness, Research News & Progress and how to get involved including how to donate and volunteer for fundraising events such as the “Walk MS” that is held in different cities across the U.S all throughout the year. I myself have participated and lead my own team, the “MS Fighters”, for the past 4 years. I hope to continue to do so until a cure is successfully found!”

66063_553128098037217_1183700010_nWho has been your support & how have they been there for you?

“As I mentioned before, my family and friends are my best support. The bonds we have with our friends and family are linked to our happiness and overall well-being. They bring us joy during the good times and support during the challenging ones. When you have Multiple Sclerosis you need these relationships most of all so I am very lucky and grateful to be able to have this in my life.”

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement to share with others who are living with MS?

“Learning to cope with MS is challenging and can be a stressful experience, not only for yourself but your loved ones, but no matter what, try your hardest to strengthen and maintain those bonds. This is what will keep you in the positive..That love and support is what will get you through the most difficult of times.”

Lastly, what does the future hold for you?

“I’m not sure what the future holds for me and that can be scary, but it can also be hopeful at the same time. Comparing MS now to twenty years ago, we have advanced so much in medical research and treatments that has improved quality of life. Disability isn’t something we have to fight against much longer, which means that in just a few years more advanced treatments will come out and the quality of life will get better in time. I’m hopeful that a Cure will be found in the process. I will stay positive until then and I will not let this disease defeat me. I will FIGHT for a Cure. There is power in positive thinking!”

You can follow Itzy on her YouTube Channel:My Life Living with MS.

 

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

1. No Leak Travel Size Bottles.

emotions.engagementpic
Photo by E-Motions Photography.

This is one of those things that will make you happier than you ever thought it would. Fork up the money and invest in this because the peace of mind is worth it. Your soaps won’t leak or explode all over your suitcase, despite how rough your luggage is handled. But my favorite characteristic about them is the way my soap squirts out of the bottle and into my hand, with such a precise squirt that inspire flower and heart designs; I suddenly become an artist with every shower!

2. Post Card of The Future.

balloon
Photo: Terrell Smith.

Instead of purchasing a postcard and stamp, consider the Postagram app. Take a photo of wherever you are, type in the receiver address, connect your credit card and off your card goes. No need to find a mailbox either! Thanks to this app, my grandparents are much happier!

3. Travel Extension Chord.

For those inconvenient and often times non-working hotel outlets, every traveler needs their own 6 foot long extension chord. A flight attendant hack, this is a sturdy and compact extension chord that can handle up to three power chords, and it rolls up nicely without getting tangled up with other belongings. Many of my flight attendant friends don’t leave home with out one of these.

4. Flight Track App.

Flight Track alerts and notifies when gate changes or delays occur, you can see when a plane has taken off and landed. It has saved me from walking to a gate in a different terminal, and in some cases has alerted me to a delay before my airline did. There is a free version as well.

5. The Diva Cup!

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Photograph by Kathleen Kerr.

Menstrual cups have existed since the 1930’s , yet its breakthrough into the feminine hygiene industry is much more recent. The Diva Cup empowers women to connect with their bodies and menstrual cycles like never before. Perfect for travel, its easy care and use make for a better period experience. Ladies can wear the Diva Cup for up to 12 hours without leaks or worry. Ladies, you will never need to buy tampons again! And guys, go tell your ladies about this! This rubber device is efficient, comfortable and re-usable. This is my favorite on-the-go item because of the way that it has improved the entire traveling female experience!

6. Granola Bars.

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Photo by Tara Smith.

These may not be much of a thought right now, but you’re going to be happy when you’re aimlessly wandering through a strange city, hangry for food, or when you’re stuck on the tarmac because you’re flight is delayed. I like Kind bars because of their nutritional value. Granola bars can’t replace a hot meal, but they can certainly provide you with enough protein so that you don’t become weak. Store your granola bars in a plastic container or Ziploc bag so that their flavors aren’t contaminated! By the way, you do have an emergency travel kit, don’t you?

Do you have a few secret hacks that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you! Please send submissions and ideas to: [email protected] !