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).

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!

 

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!

“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.

“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.

 

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. 

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.