Sunday, April 6, 2014

Where Travel Meets Making The World A Better Place

The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with, they all have the potential to affect your life, even who you are, forever.”

Friends and Foes, Family and Fawns,

     Spring is finally here in North Central Massachusetts! The last of the snow has melted and the days are slowly (very slowly) getting warmer when the sun is present. My cat Olive, who turns a year old next month, shakes her butt and stomps her little hind feet when she watches the Robins through the blinds from the desk top. This makes me happy.

     I don't think I even adjusted to being back in my hometown for the past 6 months. For the 3 years prior, I yo-yoed my way around and didn't even spend 6 months in total at home! I finally chose last Fall, to return home for winter because that's what my gut told me to do.

     I spent time with friends and family. I continued to work for Habitat for Humanity. I applied for lots of jobs, listened to lots of music and watched too much television. I ate and hibernated like a bear. I remembered to reflect and waited for a new perspective.

     Reflection is especially necessary in our busy lives as to not forget where we are from, what we stand for and how we have got ourselves to where we are. Remember, we are all where we belong.

     I was on a service trip to Mexico in 2010 when I discovered my wings. I realized I was part of something much bigger than I had ever imagined and I finally felt it in me and around me. I couldn't describe it and of course, I didn't know what to do with it. I certainly dropped the ball several times before I was able to direct my energy and efficiently move forward towards a goal. I had always been afraid to make a wrong choice but I soon found out, it was never about the right or wrong choices, it was simply about making any choice.

     You would think I'd clearly remember the moment I drove away from my parents house in September 2011, en route to the West Coast, to start what would be 2 years of serving in AmeriCorps, however I only see that month as a choppy slideshow. After my Meme past away, the weddings I attended, the suitcases I packed, the loose ends I tied, the 12+ hour days of driving, the grief I finally was able to shed passing through Texas, they are all just snapshots now, already aged but forever permanent.

     I had finally made choices. I had applied for AmeriCorps. I worked the extra hours. I traveled. I worked more extra hours. I made the goal to better myself, those I encountered and the communities I entered. I had known what it was like to receive and give back on a personal level, but never on the worldly level. That was tremendously rewarding and I realized how much we personally benefit from allowing ourselves to be of complete service to others. Not feeling the need of the crutch anymore, I even chose to quit smoking cigarettes! It's been over a year!

     In the recent past years, I have served long and short terms with roughly 20 non-profits, I have made personal connections with hundreds of people of all ages, cultures and histories; I've traveled through 70% of the US, started to venture internationally and learned what the terms “goals and values,” “communication,” “hands-on,” “team based,” “community” and “work ethic” in all essence, truly mean.

     As the support of AmeriCorps came to a close, my contract with Habitat for Humanity Portland / Metro East was extended and then also came to an end. So, I packed up my year-in-the-making in Oregon and retracted back to Massachusetts for one last time. I still can't answer, “why?” but eventually, I'll be able to piece together my recent perceptions, emotions and new connections from a different perspective. Again. I swear, it's not what I'm running from, it's what I'm chasing.

     Like my favorite pair of jeans I keep in the dresser, as soon as I slipped back into Massachusetts, I couldn't even get in up to my hips let alone button up! I always know they won't fit, but I just. keep. trying. Massachusetts isn't mine anymore, was it ever? I want to feel pride in where I live and I want to share my neighborhood. Coming back to momentarily settle, opened to options (maybe too many), I was listening to the universe.

     I went to Argentina on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Trip (which still deserves a blog of it's own) to deal with the dreaded “Life After AmeriCorps” that was rapidly setting in. They don't tell you “LAA” is actually an emotion and NOT the actual events that follow your service year. Remember that. You heard it first, here. Buckle those belts... it may be a bumpy ride.

     In my #JobHunters2014 adventure, I applied to many positions at non-profits, for-profits, colleges, cruise ships and hotels galore. After 3 steady months of resumes, cover letters, references and applications, the rejections started to roll in. Ideally, I was thinking “volunteer coordination,” but all my skills/experience are in-field. As many options where in-office, I was not most qualified. I did participate in phone interviews and receive offers for positions in different locations that financially could have worked but above all else, I was focused on listening to my gut. And my gut was always asking me “can you see this as a long-term opportunity?”

     I have been grateful for the luxury of time. After learning how to effectively speak in all the noise of the previous years, I've finally learned how to actively listen in all my recent silence.

     After being encouraged by a friend who works for the website,, I applied for a Customer Experience Specialist position with them. is an online marketplace where folks can rent or host rooms, apartments, houses, tree houses, yurts, igloos and other unique spaces as alternatives to hotels. Thus, producing a reality out of an on-line social network, providing the guest with a personal connection and insight to the community they are visiting.

     The application process was lengthy, yet thrilling (kinda like my blogs). After filling out a simple application and submitting my portfolio of paperwork, I was instructed to complete videos and creative written responses. Then, I was invited to a “hiring group meet-up” in Portland. I flew across country and participated in the role playing scenarios, team builders, more written responses and a brief one-on-one interview. The next day, flying East with a new friend, we received email invitations to complete Skype interviews.

     I can now say, that after an itchy 2 month process, I am a proud soon-to-be employee of the AirFamily that is As a Customer Experience Specialist, I'll answer questions/concerns/emergencies out of Airbnb's brand new North American hub offices and facilitate experiences where “travel” meets “making the world a better place.”

     In total excitement, I posted a quick Facebook status last night, that was a bit out of style for me. I blurted out the fact that I “GOT IT,” never really elaborating on what “it” was; I made effort to mention I'd be in San Francisco for my birthday, failing to mention it was during a week of training. And I clearly typed something along the lines of “the start of a wonderful life.” I definitely acknowledge I already have a wonderful life. 24 hours after posting the status, the post-er's remorse settled in but much to my surprised, my little update clocked in 127 “likes” and almost 50 comments. Holy fuck, right?! The people I've surrounded myself with most certainly have had a huge affect on my life. It shows and I love you for it.

     It took equal parts time, support and courage to finally make some damn choices for myself, to start climbing and in retrospect, I don't regret anything. Now that I've made a few, I can reflect on my choices and map the experiences and connections they have provided. My choices have shaped who I am. They aren't “right or wrong.” They weren't “good or bad.” They just are what they are.

     Maybe I wasn't suppose to be listening to the universe after all. Maybe the universe was suppose to be listening to me. I am so excited to have followed my gut and found a long term opportunity I could finally set roots into. I'm entering a new (hopefully longterm) career of Travel and Tourism. I'm finding a studio apartment in the city and I'm moving Olive back West. Find your direction. Choose something. And stick to it. No excuses. Only goals... and values... and communication... and “hands-on...”

I'll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

  • Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

Friday, March 7, 2014

Couch Potatoes and Volcanos

     February, being the shortest month, I knew I had to take full advantage of my time. I spent the cold, snowy, buried days as a hermit, constantly applying for jobs and looking into studios on the West Coast. I watched the Superbowl from the White Mountains, the Olympics from my parents couch and also almost completed the entire Showtime series of Dexter. Needless to say, I'm ready for fresh air, the color green, a change of pace and a gym membership!

     Fingers crossed, March, I've got goals to meet!

     I also want to continue sharing my favorite songs and while I'm talking about television, I may as well confess... I'm also completely obsessed with American Idol again. I've only seen a handful of seasons and haven't watched since Meme passed away. The new judges (Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick JR) are what drew my attention this go-around. And I love being a part of such an exiting journey these talented kids are on as they shine, grow and live in the spotlight for a few months. I wish them all the best of luck but I've got to give a personal shot-out to New Hampshire native, Alex Preston. I'm thrilled Mount Vernon, New Hampshire is back in the papers in a positive light. Much love!

Here he is singing an abbreviated version of Damien Rice's song, Volcano during American Idol Rush Week to make the finals. Alex is currently in the top 11.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


These girls know how to kick up the funk and reel in the catchy beats. After supporting big name artists on tour and releasing an EP in 2012, their first full-length album, "Days Are Gone" landed last September.

Haim consists of three sisters: Alana, Danielle and Este, Haim hailing from Los Angeles, California.

I first heard about the girls through the Shadowboxer's monthly cover series, when they covered Haim's "If I Could Change Your Mind" last November. To me, their music is nostalgic of the 80's yet sounds so current. I dig it… you should grab a shovel too.

Check out this one last video of Haim covering Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough."

Friday, January 24, 2014


This came on the radio today!

Happy forever-ago-Friday!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm On Top Of The World, 'Ey!

Imagine Dragons - Top of the World

Alright, back to the music, been busy with the remodel at work lately.

Last month, when I was asked what my favorite song of 2013 was, I automatically spit out Imagine Dragons - Top of the World… then I realized it came out the year before. #fail

BUT, it was that question that actually what prompted me share my favorite songs in my blog all 2014 long instead of a "30 Day Challenge," cause I don't have that kind of discipline! 

This is simply the best song to get you focused and amped during yoga. Just sayin'.

PS. Happy Game Day y'all! #championships #niiiineeers #NEpats #seeyouattheSuperBowl,BrunoMars

Thursday, January 9, 2014

1,000 Miles


Loosing people is one of the hardest things we endure as humans. It's all our damn emotions! It's hard to believe that this is my Meme's third birthday I've quietly celebrated without her.

I'm accomplished so much since she left us. I know she is always with me and knows the family's triumphs but I'd love to sit down with Mem and talk about everything. And of course, give her a big her.
#MissyouMem #Becareful

It's no surprise when I say, when Vanessa Carlton's 1,000 Miles was released, it was over-played but the first time I heard it after Meme's passing, it held captive a whole new meaning.

"Heaven couldn't wait for you, so go on now, go home." - Beyonce

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Human Nature (sadly, not Madonna)

Brand spanking new cover song from the Shadowboxers! This month, they chose Michael Jackson. You can never go wrong with Michael… well, his music at least. Other topics are left questionable.

Check out their WEBSITE because you should all be following these talented guys.

And if you're in NYC on Thurs Jan 30, check out their SHOW at Piano's! I can't believe I'm missing it. #have to work #non-profit #responsible

Monday, January 6, 2014

Love Pusher

The Shadowboxers - Lover Pusher Girl (Justin Timberlake cover)

First Tuesday is certainly my favorite day of every month. Last month, my favorite Atlanta boys, The Shadowboxers released their monthly cover, this time a Justin Timberlake song. Well, in less than 30 days it had 103,000 views; What an extraordinary amount! I'm so excited to hear what they release tomorrow! Hell, forget tomorrow - I hope this year is HUGE for them!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year

Ian Axle - This Is The New Year

This song came out a few years ago and I remember I picked it up on iTunes, used it on a New Year's mix and forgot about it until I heard it the other night on a commercial! I realized how much I missed it, so here it is. The video is kinda fun too.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Only Girl

Happy New Year! I'm starting 2014 off by posting some of my favorite songs and what they mean to me.

I've been thinking about when I was living in Austin, Texas a few years ago and had to get in touch with my old room mate after remember our late-night dance parties at our apartment complex, East Side Commons. My room mate would usually kick off the night with this after I got home from work, almost demanding respect from her then boyfriend.