A White Christmas; Filled With So Much Gratitude


On set, Minneapolis commercial

It’s been a few months since my last post, and to be honest I’ve spent that last few months doing the other thing in my life that makes my heart happy. I’ve been mentoring. And, most people who know me personally would tell you that I’m being modest because I also filmed a commercial in Minneapolis. No lie, I did jump up and down on my bed like a kid on Christmas the day I go the call for the filming dates. But true story, I really do enjoy hopping a plane to meet the new talent in my industry.

A flight to New Mexico, a drive down to San Antonio, and two trips to Kansas later…I have had the honor to help our future superstars to hone their craft. So, from September to December I focused my energy on growth thru not just my travel experiences, but thru teaching the new generation of hairstylists how to care for the next generation that will follow them. And for that I am filled with so much joy.

To close out this year, after 37 weeks on the road, spanning two continents and 3 countries I’m ending this year at one of my favorite destinations in the world–Mom’s house.

I arrived at Denver International with a couple of hours to spare before my shuttle was scheduled to pick me up. It was Christmas Eve and the snow has dusted the mountain tops over Boulder, CO–which I can see in the distance.

I chatted with my shuttle driver on the way up the canyon towards Glen Haven; he’s also a resident of the quiet town, and boasted of my mother and stepfather’s heroics during the flood that occurred last September. For 2 months–without power–they stayed to help clean-up and to assist as volunteer firemen, and as rescue workers. They used a generator for power, and gathered water and food (with permission from the residents) from neighboring homes that had been left by the owners. Two drops were made via helicopter, with supplies, and a line for power was draped over the mountain when it was safe enough to start restoring it to their side of the canyon. With no roads to get in or out of Glen Haven, the two of them hiked up 2 miles to one of the peaks–each day–to obtain cell service to call family with updates. And when the hospital–a town away–regained the means to operate business as usual, my mom (a CNA) hiked over the top of, and later around, Comanche Peak Wilderness to make it to a rendezvous point so she could be shuttled into Estes Park for work. To give you an idea of what that would feel like…the weather in Sept {2013}, when the floods occurred, varied between 30-70° (Fahrenheit) on any given day.

IMG_0502Fast forward to December and it looks a lot more like the picture here to the left.

Mom took me on both hikes today; Christmas Day. It was about 30° and we are slated to get 6-8 inches by this evening.

As I lay here watching the silent snow fall, for the better part of the last two hours, I can’t gather the words to express how proud I am to call her my mom. But, maybe I just did.

To close out this year, my last bit of travel advice is this:

1. Be a kid at heart.

Kidding around

Kidding around

2. Play in the snow, if it’s available.

Glen Haven, Colorado

Glen Haven, Colorado

3. Have a picnic in the sun. Even if it’s by the hotel pool.

Breakfast at The Standard, Miami

4. Take a train…anywhere.

There's a first time for everything

There’s a first time for everything

5. Be adventurous. 

Slieve Donard, New Castle

Slieve Donard Summit, New Castle, N. Ireland

I hope to share more travels with you in 2015, but until then I’ve started a Vegetarian Food Blog with my mom. You can find us on the link below.

Mimi & Maina, will soon be filled with easy to make dinners, snacks, smoothies, and everything you need to fulfill your vegetarian cooking needs. Yay!

Happy New Year, Friends!


The Farmer’s Market: Bringing Rural to Urban Living

Sustainable, Certified Organic, Locally Sourced and Vegan Lifestyle are pretty common phrases heard here in Dallas, and probably where you live, too. I, for one, am so proud of our society for becoming more in touch with what a healthy lifestyle can provide for our future as human beings. Living as a Pescatarian for the past 17 years has been a constant journey for me, personally. I’m always discovering better ways to live life to the fullest. Pardon the cliché, but feeling constant ‘fatigue’–one of the most common words used in prescription drug advertising–is not something I want to surrender to for the rest of my life. To get directly to the point, I took a quote from Hippocrates that read “Let thy food be thy medicine”, and have diligently been applying that to my state of health.

In regards to the title of this post, I recently received an email notifying me that the USDA keeps a current directory of all the Farmer’s Markets by zip code/city.

 “As of National Farmers Market Week, (the first full week in August), there were 8,144 farmers markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. This is a 3.6 percent increase from 2012.” AMS/USDA

The local food directory is very exciting for me because (with my travel schedule) I am not within cycling distance of my hometown FM as often as I would like to be. Being able to support local farmers and getting the scoop on how to prepare seasonal fruits and veggies, like pattypan squash, is a favorite on my to-do-list.

And now, I get to do it in all corners of the U.S.! Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

And speaking of pattypan squash…tonight’s “Sunday Night Cooking Show” includes a grilled version of the squash that I’m hoping will be just as tasty as the recipe states. Fingers crossed.



A Sunrise Trail: East Texas

The motive behind Sunday morning’s journey was strictly personal. At least until 3pm, anyway. I’ve been working non-stop since returning from the UK, so I’m holding onto the weekend until the very last moment.

I had a yearning for fresh air, the sound of only my boots on a well beaten path, and the serenity of the sunrise in the middle of the forest. I pictured the stillness of the morning, branches that have yet to stir beneath the weight of a cardinal, and a bass breaking the motionless surface of the lake for the first time. Sounds like the backdrop of a fairytale, huh? I was definitely manifesting it into existence…and fortunately I was headed to the piney woods of east Texas for work, anyway.


Maybe I’m biased in my opinions of such simple things, but what we may take for granted is that when we hit the snooze button (sometimes repeatedly) life has already started without us. So I seize the opportunity whenever its afforded; and 5am is never too early for fairytale-style hiking.

Lakeside trail, Tyler

Lakeside trail, Tyler

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The Maiden Voyage of my Video Diaries; of sorts

Ever inspired by documentaries that showcase an epic journey in someone’s life, or in the lives of many, I wanted to try my hand at a project that I hope will become a regular entry on my blog. Admittedly, I’m not the greatest cameraman, and I’m only armed with a smart phone, but my goal is to get some professional gear in the very near future….and work towards less panning. [my apologies to those with vertigo]

Music is also key in evoking emotion (just take a look at Star Wars; epic). Essentially, I chose to go with the soundtrack of my summer. Music that makes me smile, get giddy, dance around like a fool and reminds me of where I’ve been. I hope you enjoy this cliff notes version of the last month abroad. Continue reading

UK Holiday: a (new) perspective

If we teach our children intolerance we set them up for a lifetime of resentment. As an adult we have the choice to integrate ourselves into this world. Accepting other’s culture, race, religion, and even freedoms allows us an ease of existence. Easier said than done when you grow up believing that another’s life path is inferior to your own. Thankfully, this (intolerance of others) was not taught in my household.  I’ll explain…

Scotland's HIghlands

Scotland’s Highlands (or somewhere’s about)

As I rack up the frequent flyer miles I also gain an education of greater proportion than I would have ever gained in school, or in my own town. The way people live, work, dine, party, and entertain are pretty similar in the sense that our priorities are dictated by the most important item on the to-do list, on any given day. But what’s different is how we exercise our freedom. If we start out each day—grateful for all we have—we can consistently move thru each task with the promise of the reward of our own personal freedom. The freedom to breathe, love and learn are true freedoms.

After three weeks abroad, zig-zagging the UK, I came home with a better perspective of what it really means to surround yourself with love. If we separate our minds from oppression we can clearly see that the human sitting next to you on the train, in the street, or beside you at the bar is just that: human. Aren’t we all living parallel lives? What’s stopping us from embracing each other’s presence? Fear? Maybe…

Amidst celebrating talented artists (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), meeting new friends in unfamiliar places (an impromptu trip to London), and driving on the left hand side of the road (I’m still in the learning stages of round-a-bout etiquette, btw) I became more aware of each nation’s struggle for independence. Continue reading