Just Give Me A Reason

Hello, there.

I realize that my travels exceed the number of blogs I've written in the past year. I'm not sure why my writing keeps coming in random spurs, but I have to feel the inspiration. These days, inspiration takes more than a trip. It takes wanting to share the details with all of the people who can and want to listen. I traveled to Dallas in April and May, Boston in October (lovely city), New Jersey/New York in July (2012), and China in June ('12). Details and reviews in the recent blogs posted have been limited during that time, but I've been a little preoccupied...

Last March, I hit it off with a wonderful man and recently landed the perfect opportunity to jumpstart my career. Two things that will keep you distracted - careers and romance.

A week after I started my new job, they had their annual conference in Dallas, TX. Ironically enough, I found myself back in Texas for a second time within such a close period of time (April & May)... It was like another chance to live my Dallas experience and I took the time to relax and enjoy every day as a fresh start. I spent most of my time working the conference and getting to know my new co-workers, but I left time for me to decompress. I even made it out for dinner with a friend from undergrad!

About two weeks after Texas Pt. II, I set out for another adventure! My boyfriend and I hit the road to enjoy a weekend of music, memories, and fun.

The Head and The Heart
The Head and The Heart in RIVA**
Although I enter state lines daily, that Friday was different. We made an afternoon departure for Richmond, Virginia to see The Head and The Heart on Brown's Island. After spending 3 hours in Virginia's [fabulous] traffic congestion, we checked into our [free*] hotel and headed to the show.

The night was fantastic. The music was spectacular. The mood was perfect. Everyone was enjoying the tunes, drinking beer, and loving it all. Apparently, this type of thing goes down every weekend over the summer on Brown's Island; and they call it "Friday Cheers." While I don't know most of the artists they have lined up, THTH was definitely worth the distance and time.

After the concert, we needed to refuel and ended up at The Well - which came highly recommended for local late night dining. The food was delicious/cheap, and the scenery was a small corner [college] bar with perfect mood lighting. We headed back to the hotel to prepare for another day of adventures.

Saturday morning, we ventured to Virginia Beach. We spent time walking on the beach and main waterfront strip. It was your typical commercialized beach scene, but it was nice to be there with a guy I was into...as opposed to family trips to the beach that seem so much more familiar. It was a good time and quite relaxing. We did make it to a cute, house-like restaurant called Tautog's. The food was delicious, but I was sad when the only two things I asked for were conveniently the only two things sold out for the night (guess I have good taste buds).

Tautog's Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Tautog's
The evening was pleasant and the weekend was moving at such positive, forward pace. It was like nothing could bring down the momentum, and nothing did. I was enjoying every moment of the trip so far.
We checked out of the hotel on Sunday and headed back toward the Maryland line...with a detour. Instead of taking the guaranteed traffic route back (e.g. I-495/I-95), we drove toward the Eastern Shore and ended up on Chincoteague Island. The longer drive was beautiful and offered more time to spend with my travel partner. Although the weather on the island was not as pleasant as we wanted and the water was a bit cold, we walked in the calm and peaceful breeze on the ocean/river front. It was truly wonderful.

Chincoteague Island
Chincoteague Island Horses
**Chincoteague Horses

I am still going on adventures and I still love to travel. I do apologize for not sharing the special details from my other trips, but eventually, they will come. For now...I anticipate the next trip to be as good as the last and hopefully better. The next travel adventure will be to Pennsylvania..an interesting treat with my guy and his friends. All I know is that there will be beer.


*Courtesy of going to Dallas with both of my companies and staying in the "right" hotels each time, I managed to score enough points for a free room.
** All photos, unless otherwise indicated, courtesy of J.G.

Why so long?

The conference began on Sunday an it was so nice to put names to a face! We had a "new hire" dinner for all of the new employees who started after March 2012 at the Dallas Fish Market (sister to Chophouse Burger - my first Dallas dining experience). The food was delicious with a preset menu and several options to select from. I guess going for the steak was not my best decision after tooth pain from the night before...but when in Texas, LOVE the red meat!!!!

I eventually made my way to Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse with some major disappointment, and introduced my friends to Wild Bill's Western Store - where you can find boots on boots on boots!

I have never seen so many boots in my life, but that is possibly because the farthest I've been out West is Chicago (minus my trip to Australia and the hours of waiting in LAX).

Unfortunately, my tooth took it's final hit with the "BBQ" brisket from Sonny Bryan's; and I needed a solution.

Bourbon, anyone? Or whiskey? Either way, you forget that you're hurting and I was told a little swishing around my mouth would help numb the pain. A select few and I headed to the hotel pool with wine and bourbon in hand.

The next two days were a bit of a blur due to the intensity of my toothache and my primary goal became to make it stop. Even with antibiotics, 'real' pain killers, and peroxide, I felt helpless.

I did meet some cool people and got a taste of what professionalism should be while away on business. I definitely did not do it all right, but I learned a few things that will help me in Round 2 (please standby....). I made new connections and got an opportunity to discuss theories/beliefs about life, religion and love. I had time alone to think and reflect about my life and where I thought I would be and want to be at age 22.

I'm still not 100% sure; but I want to be happy. I want to live comfortably without worrying about what's next or spending an extra $1 in my bank account that I don't really have. I want to know that getting into so much debt for my undergraduate college education was worth it. I want to end up in a career that allows me to help people realize their true potential and the unlimited opportunities. And I want to love and be loved until there is no more love to give.

Thank, Dallas. I don't [/didn't] plan on coming back for you, but it was definitely good while it lasted.

Thnks fr th mmrs.


Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse on Main St.
Same corner

Watching from Above
So I tried too...


Y'all ready for some noise?

My first day in Dallas was spent with my supervisors, who geniusly suggested a trip to the local market to save money and time throughout the week. I stocked up on a big bottle of wine, a six-pack of beer, and some grocery items that really ended up getting untouched. Although I only made it through 1 beer, the wine came in handy for pre-gaming several outings throughout the week! We headed to karaoke for the night and enjoyed the presence of our other coworkers based out of New Mexico, Kentucky, and Texas.

Six hours of free time on Saturday left me to roam the city of Dallas all afternoon. I was excited to meet and mingle with locals; but to my surprise, the city was not as booming as I'd hope from about Noon to 4pm.

The Dallas Art Fair was "happening" from April 12-14, but perhaps I missed all of the festivities...
I walked into the Arts District, where I encountered one of the coolest parks I have ever seen for children and families alike. There were food trucks aligned the street/sidewalk and people simply enjoying the sun on a Saturday afternoon. I was particularly impressed by the pianos (2), bright colors, and a display of books, magazines, and boardgames for all to enjoy simple, clean fun. Walking through, I felt as if I was in a Dr. Seuss book without the music or oddities. I took a few snapshots and continued on my journey...

I walked around the city in hope of some excitement; headphones blasting a 5 hour playlist my boyfriend made in my ears. It was the perfect ammo I needed to keep the juice flowing.

After a great flight to Dallas on American Airlines Friday, I noticed they also have a building in Dallas. The closer I got...the more I realized it's not "just" a building. It's the home of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars (Hockey team). I was quite disappointed to not find any Dallas Cowboy signage until someone pointed out that this is not football season...

After seeing some beautiful attractions and what Dallas, Texas had to offer, I was starving. I wanted something that made me feel like I was in Texas.

Texans love their cows. Heck, Texans love their meat! I stumbled onto Main Street, where I found a few restaurants that seemed promising.

I ended up at Hoffbrau's Steakhouse, a well-made decision! I had my heart set on steak until a local convinced me otherwise. He told me the quail and sausage were hearty and would bring me to a place of comfort. :)

He was right. I indulged on sausage and 3-cheese mac 'n' cheese, paired with a small salad and 2 bread rolls...topped off with a margarita - for $15.  

Best first real meal in Texas by-far! I even had enough leftover for Sunday's lunch!

Unfortunately, with yummy sausage came the beginning of my tooth pains that very much affected the remainder of my trip...

Live from Dallas: Opportunities Await

Beyond an "educational training" conference, this trip is an opportunity.

The excitement and stories I have encountered in my life are based on opportunities that presented themselves, as well as a desire to take full advantage of any experience that may never happen again.

The key to maximizing experiences involves the realization that you only get one chance. And one opportunity.

The time is now. There will NEVER be another chance or moment that is the same as another. Whether it is the layout of a location, an audience or people you are with, or even the emotions and thoughts being deposited into your brain that cause you to remember that very moment by sight, taste, touch, and smell -- you will only feel that exact way once.

As my first time to Texas and my first professional trip, I plan to take complete control of my surroundings through positive attitudes and behaviors. I'm not so much impressed with the Downtown Dallas area by the Dallas Convention Center (I am staying at the Sheraton right next door), but I am hoping that my opinions will change once I explore the city this afternoon.

It is also my mission to visit the famous Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse, after my dear Adam Richman from Man v. Food Nation gave the restaurant a fond recommendation on the Travel Channel.

I'm not so sure if everything is bigger in Texas, but we'll see....

p.s. nothing like a good playlist from a special someone to keep you going :)

Until then, peace out y'all.

Week of the Draw: [right] it up

I miss writing.

It happened in Australia when my laptop disappeared and my blogging stopped. I got a little pink notebook; and it became my everything. I wrote all my thoughts, fears, "lessons learned", letters to God, and personal insights in this little pink notebook. In times when I had nothing or no one, I had my book. I could still release my thoughts, twisted and unjudged. It's not something I would want anyone to see or read, necessarily...but it's too late now. I'm not sure what happened to that little pink notebook. One minute I had it at the Hungry Jacks (Aus. version of Burger King) and in the hallway of my apartment, and the next - gone.

I miss writing. I miss letting my creative juices flow. I started sketching last year. I realized that a new outlet was needed since I couldn't sing out loud while living in other people's homes (during my "homeless" season last year). I suppose the option of writing was always there, but I like to write in a place that is my own [head], in peace and quiet. Anything I could think of writing was too personal and deep for thought. I will have a book eventually and let it all out one day...

For now, it's back to the things I like. Letting those creative juices go and conquer for good.

I will be going to Dallas, Texas for the first time on Friday morning with my company for a conference. My blogging has not been as up-to-date or current as I would like, but that is about to change. Please, look forward to it.


P.S. To anyone who finds/found that little pink notebook, please email me...(contact info inside...)

NY Connection: Find your beat!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to Your New life! This time last year, I was still cranky, easily agitated, and ready to throw myself back into the lion's den/world at a moment's notice. Fortunately for me, I could not really do all of those things without eyes and ears around me, i.e. people who care.

In January 2012 (only 19 days after returning from 'Down Under' - literally), I set sail for another adventure. The Big Apple. For an opportunity of a lifetime...

Network. Network. Network!

That was the theme and moral of my trip to New York. It was the 10th annual New York City site visit trip with the School of Communication and KOGOD [Business School] from American University (also sponsored by the AU Career Center).

Group at the Associated Press
Property of Nicole Federica
Four days were spent at various companies throughout the city and my journeys led me into different boroughs. I was lined up to visit Nickelodeon, the Associated Press, Fox News, Condé Nast, and Arcadia Creative.

In front of my feet laid opportunities to meet and mingle with people in various industries that I, myself, would love to conquer one day.

My experience was pleasant, except that my mind was still in a fog.

I'm writing more than 12 months later, regretful for not being in my field and without taking advantage of the opportunities presented before me in New York as well as Washington, DC in my last semester of uni.

It's interesting to look back so long ago and realize what I missed, and wonder why or how I let myself get so far away from reaching some of my goals.

I determined that this is my field. This is my passion. Networking, communicating, meeting people, making connections, bringing others and ideas together to do the same thing.
How didn't I see it then? How do I make up for it now?

New York was still an amazing trip and I did have the opportunity to ask questions, observe behavior from leaders in the industry, and learn about what I could potentially do with my life. I even had the opportunity to go back in July to meet up with a friend from Australia (pianist/producer Daniel G Felix from my performance @ the Sydney Opera House).

One thing I learned from my experiences abroad, and in life thus far, is that people where placed on Earth to create a community and work together. Society caused us to become wrapped up in our own "institutions" and processes that we forget about the people who help create a system that flows. Even those at the top forget, or at least refuse, to acknowledge that their positions, money, and power is due to the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of individuals at the 'bottom' who devote countless hours to ensure that these processes actually function properly.

Essentially, nothing matters; but people matter. Humanity is all we have when there is a need for  clothing, food, or shelter; and there is no money or bank accounts, no tabloids, no tablets, no technology, or material "things" to keep us occupied with the matters of nothingness.

Too often, too many forget. Networks and connections - they matter. At the end of the day, you only have yourself and your network. Nothing else.